Gray day, longer day

It is not even ten o’clock and I have already had a full day.  My first surprise is that I noted when I went downstairs to set up breakfast that the first light of the day was already there.  It is clear the days are getting longer.  I have already noticed that in the afternoon as my two Ikea floor light fixtures that are on timers have been going on when it is still light out.  It is always such a nice feeling when that happens because it is the reminder that winter, although as strong as an ox, is on the way out.

I had the disappointment of having to deal with emptying the dishwasher and setting up the coffee this morning.   I must have been out of it last night to have forgotten the coffee!

When I got in my car after warming it up a bit, I noticed that the winter filth is annoying me more.  I cannot wait to get it cleaned up a bit!

Samantha withdrawal today as she is spending the day with her mom.  Somehow, this doesn’t make it feel like Friday!

I am a bit worried about the massive ice on the roof and hope that it doesn’t find its melting way into the roof area as it dissipates.  I really don’t want to have to deal with that.  I even have warming cables above the kitchen where I have had a problem but the ice is massive.  Supposedly a warming trend is coming in the near future.

Technologically, other than my success with the flashcard app, I had a disappointing blog day.  At present, my blog is appearing simultaneously on two web addresses.  I have not had the luck with the new address in that I still don’t have all the pictures and I still don’t have all the blog entries.  I have some work to do there as I am missing December 15th through 31st.  I talked to Christian at the gym (we are all being good about exercise!) and he gave me some ideas and will sit down with me and help me go about things from a different angle.  We shall see.

There is a load of wash in and I am about to start putting in vocabulary for the first year French students. 

I am already hungry and it isn’t time for lunch.  I guess the green tea I am drinking just isn’t staving off my hunger. 

More to come later…

Tuesday, what more can I say?

It is almost noon and I must face facts, I am lazy today.  I told MK and Mike this morning at breakfast, before heading out to the gym that I was having a “Rich Day.”  Mary Kay laughed and said that a “Rich Day” is nothing more than a day I spend in running around the house doing things.  She is right, but I am not sure what I should have called it. 

I am still in my leather easy chair but I do have my beloved laptop with me.  I have spent the morning messing around with blogorganization, making sure that I have everything properly documented and filed.  I have done some e-mailing and also a short translation from French into English for Christine in France, who requested that I go over something for a special “Fair Trade” exhibition taking place in a Strasbourg church in the near future featuring bronze statues from Burkina Faso.  It amazes me that a small piece of my work might soon be sitting in a French church.  It also just occurred to me that I forgot to mention to Christine, although with her English I am sure she is aware, that I used the American spelling of mold which would be mould in British English.  Oh well…

Yesterday was absolutely wonderful with Samantha but for some reason it flattened me a bit!  I fell asleep in my chair during her afternoon nap, something I don’t do all that often.  I thought about it and realized that I have really been terribly busy, so why not just have a plain old lazy day?

I had a great workout at the gym early in the morning.  Mike’s was less successful as he was dealing with Charlie’s somewhat unexpected exercise routine that “confused” his own a bit.  Mine was going along just fine, some cardio, my shoulder/chest machines, and then a “super” cardio finish because somehow having Michael next to me on a treadmill had me working harder than I otherwise might have. 

So, I came home, did some organization, a bit of translation, and am quietly sitting finishing up the herbal tea I prepared.  Lunch, perhaps?  Darn, I am going to have to prepare it myself!

I also did some work for MK’s upcoming birthday.  As usual, I will set some “grenades and bombs” of confusion about what will take place and about what she might be receiving for this particular “big” birthday that she wants no hubbub about.  I love the element of surprise and the stress as one wonders exactly what is going to happen.  Honestly, I haven’t done much planning…or have I?  Since she reads this blog, perhaps I am setting her up from this vantage point.  On the other hand, is her birthday this month or next month?  She knows me too well, I am not the normal husband, I remember these things.  My mother trained me well, Queen of Hallmark that she was!

So, although I am blogging later in the day than normal, at least I got to it!  Still keep wondering…the day is young, there are all kinds of mischief I can get involved in!

Samantha after her nap

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once Samantha got up from her nap, what is the first thing that comes out of her mouth after we changed her diaper?  “Buzz!”

We came downstairs; she spied Buzz where she had left him before her nap, in the baby stroller.  She grabbed him and sat down with him.

She is pushing his buttons and laughing aloud.  Life is good!

Samantha, imagining and hiding

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Samantha has found a new hero of late, Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.  Today, she found it among the toys we have saved from twenty to thirty years ago, and even not so far back, because I am guessing that Buzz is younger.

Samantha is really into hiding.  So we put up a tablecloth and set it up so we could go inside.  Once inside, I asked her if she needed a lamp and a blanket.  She said yes, but quickly divested herself of the lantern.  She did take Buzz inside and talked to him incessantly. 

While taking him around to different locations in the house and inside the shelter we set up, Samantha was weaving stories, something she has been doing for a bit.  Some of it I can understand, other parts, not so much.  She seems to be mimicking us; it is absolutely fascinating how language development is.  She is telling him to come with her, to climb, to fly, etc.  It is adorable.  She is having a relationship and communication with him.  Imagination is amazing and I want her to maintain it as long as she can.   I only wish I were privy to all that is going on in that intelligent head!

Petit Déjeuner with Papi

Samantha is here today, it is Monday, after all!  She told me that she wasn’t hungry; she had had half a banana, when at home.  So, we agreed that Papi might put a few things down for her in case she changed her mind.  She is a young lady and young ladies are known to change their minds…

So, today, some graham cracker, yogurt, and assorted fruit:  apple, prunes, blackberries (which she needed more of), cheerios, craisins, and raisins!

Bon Appétit!

Samantha, her tasks, her safety measures

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Samantha arrived around 8:30 or so as her parents dropped her off and then went skiing with Mikey in southern Wisconsin.  Richie is plowing as we are getting more snow than they had promised.

Before we settled into some good “num nums,” Samantha and I had some tasks to do.  She is truly a wonderful helper. 

When I had done the previous wash, I noticed a small load that Mikey had left in the laundry room and decided to throw it in the washer.  So, especially since Samantha likes to be a little helper and clean and such, we went into the laundry room and Samantha helped unload the washer.  The next thing she wanted to do was to clean the filter of the dryer.  She is quite good at it.  It is so nice to see at an early age that she is responsible and safe in all that she does.

Now, to respond to several people who have commented that perhaps I am breaking child labor laws, I beg to differ.  Samantha not only does these tasks because she wants to, she looks forward to them and asks me to do them!

Samantha and the iPad

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Samantha is no stranger to technology and that certainly is normal for a child growing up in this world.

Mary Kay noted this information from The Week magazine recently. To recap what she put on her Facebook page, she said that twenty percent of the two to five year olds can do smart phone applications. 

The other day, Samantha asked us to pull out either the iPhone or iPad to see one of the apps.  She has consistently enjoyed Talking Carl, an app that repeats what you say and things like Wordbag, which features Pim, who speaks in French if you so choose and introduces everyday item words and pronounces them, or Peekaboo Barn, which when you tap the barn door produces an animal and the word for it. 

My mind was wandering as Samantha poked at the iPad (which was readily available in our vicinity) and I noticed right away that she was able to see that I had filed the kiddie apps in the game folder and then she tapped on the Peekaboo Barn app.  She continued until she had viewed all the animals.

The next day she noticed I had my iPhone in my hand and we went through the same process, this time she did the same thing but noticed that the apps were in a folder called “Jeux” since, geek that I am, my phone is in French.  She went for the Wordbag app and “Petit Pim” appeared. “Pim” is the panda who is multilingual. She started tapping on his backpack so he would introduce the everyday items.

Am I the typical Grandpa, or plutôt the Papi who thinks his Granddaughter is just the smartest kid in the whole wide world?  Yes!  Wait a sec, is that what I really want or think?  Perhaps not, I know that Samantha is a well-adjusted young lady and I believe that our family will provide her with a stable network to get her through life’s trials and tribulations, but I also know that she, like anyone else has certain gifts and then probably areas where she is less gifted.  It is hard for me, as Papi, to currently recognize any flaws because, wow, she is just the “bee’s knees” to quote my mom. 

At present, Sam is playing Papi like a violin, and I must admit it is darn cute.  When she comes to “Papi House” as she calls it, she now plays quite the coy, coquettish young thing and makes me work for her affection.  If I don’t get the immediate hug and I go into a sad funk, she will run to me and put her sweet arms around me and give me that hug and kiss.  But sometimes she just makes me wait.  In her world, she has her ducks all in a row and knows she is loved and cared for by so many people.  Since I am a “certainty” in her life, she can most assuredly play the game and make me seem like a secondary fixture at moments.  I know better.  I know my place and her momentary putting aside Papi’s feelings doesn’t bother me one iota.

When I was younger and less self assured and had three children I learned a valuable lesson from MK who was often treated like Samantha treats me by the three boys, who for some reason must have deemed me needier in the emotional area.  They were right, I was.  I watched as they played the Samantha game and MK never flinched a bit.  I think I may have even mentioned the time Christian decided to go to school with me one day when he was quite young.  I told him that he couldn’t because I wouldn’t have time for him while I was doing my job.  He told me that I would have to because he couldn’t stay with Mommy because he liked me better!  Parents need to understand that these commentaries cannot be taken the same way they would be if they were coming from an adult.  Sometimes, that is easier said than done but as kids are feeling their way through emotional development this is often what ensues.

So, is Samantha brilliant? I am her Papi and she is the most amazing young lady in all aspects and has a beautiful future ahead of her.  Will I feel the same way about Samantha’s future siblings and cousins?  You are darn right I shall, that is what a good Papi is for!

Oh, and by the way, thanks for all the comments on how cute Samantha is and how she is growing into a beautiful, intelligent young lady.  (Papi is beaming!)