about a dream: February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another one bites the dust!

Today Nina was dancing maniacally and accidentally hit herself in the face. BAM! Out flew that loose tooth! I laughed, I'm a terrible mother. It was pretty funny though.

Behold! Toothless Nina!


Here's one of the two of us. It's a selfie (that's when you take a picture of yourself.)

In other news, the sun came out today for the entire day!! Honestly, I don't think we've had a full day of sunshine since October. We get the occasional hour or two (maybe once a week), but that's it. It's horribly depressing, I really don't know how the Austrians deal with it. Historically, not well I guess...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Maggie art!

She's such a good little artist! Here's some of what she's been drawing at school:

This is a complex one. There are a lot of birds in the sky and it's raining. There's a pegasus pony (pony with wings) and she's wearing an orange hat and orange wing protectors (she said pony wings melt if they get wet).

This one is kind of hard to see because she also drew on the back and some of that ink soaked through. But it's a bunch of baby chicks and baby ducklings in eggs. One has hatched and the others are still inside. The mother duckling and mother chicken are flying in the air up above the eggs. They're small because they're far away.

This is the drawing on the other side. It's a bunch of Easter eggs in a basket. The things on the left are ponies. They're not small because they're far away; they're just small. I just asked.

I had a particularly good drawing the other day, so what the heck:

It's a woman surfing!

Also, when Marina was here Maggie got into some kind of crazy mood and put on real clothes!

So cute! It gives me hope for the summer!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Maggie's getting a German accent

Maggie's always had her funny little pronunciation issues, but I was surprised when I noticed that it's gotten worse this year. Of course, it makes sense; she's learning another language! But since I don't speak German, I didn't recognize it as a German accent creeping in to her English.

For example, she's been pronouncing "golden" as "gull-den." That's new, she never had trouble with the "ole" sound before. And yesterday, she pronounced "cold" as "kulled." It's an "ul" instead of "ole" substitution. I asked Nick if that was a common German sound (because I'm having no such trouble! No German creeping into my brain over here!), and he said it is. I'm also wondering if it's an L sound thing too, since they have a funny way of pronouncing Ls kind of like Rs here. Or at least, that's how my language-impaired brain perceives it.

It's cute though. I'm assuming it's not permanent and that she'll get over it within a few months when we're back in the US.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

To who? Don't you know??!

Happy Birthday Rainbow Dash!

The girls spent all morning decorating and I even baked a cake. From scratch. For a pony. A toy pony. I think I deserve some kind of award. Well, virtue is its own reward, and the cake was pretty darn good.

They wrapped a whole bunch of presents for her, too. I should have piled them on the table in that first picture, all wedding-magazine style. Next time (I'm sure there'll be a next time).

Also, here's Maggie with the paper doll Nina made her:

She made one for everyone, even Marina. She's too sweet. (She made them when she was home sick on Thursday. She went to school that day, but she had a tummy ache and came home. She had a slight temperature before bed that night, so we had her skip swimming just in case it would have been too much of a chill, and she got to go in on Friday morning at 8:15. Blissful!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Speaking about sleeping Vanessa

I went to check on them before I went to bed last night, and this is what I found:

She just goes right over the pillow barrier I put between them to keep her off of Nina. Oh well, she didn't keep Nina awake at least.

So darn cute!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tough day around here!

Maggie woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, for starters. I went into the room when I saw her sweet little eyes open, but she just glared and me and told me to leave. Bad sign.

She recovered some and had a good day at Kindergarten, and we had a nice walk to Nina's school and a nice walk back home. Then she drew a person on some paper and tried to cut it out, and it just didn't go as planned. She had a long, even by Maggie standards, tantrum, wherein she moaned such priceless gems as "You have no idea how frustrating my life is" (pronounced "fuss-tur-ating) and "You're not the kind of mother I was hoping for."

Then she bumped her head and pulled Nina's hair. Poor little Nina. She felt a little under the weather today, as did I. Tickly throat and nose, ever so slight tummy upset... hopefully it's nothing. Usually if we're going to get sick, it happens pretty quickly, so I think we're gonna be fine.

Finally things rebounded after Maggie helped me cook dinner while Nina watched an episode of Ghost Hunters online. Dinner was uneventful, we told some stories and had a few snacks, and the girls fell asleep pretty quickly.

Cross your fingers that whatever was getting Maggie yesterday is gone tomorrow!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


We did it! We dragged our lazy butts out of the house and rode the big ferris wheel in Vienna!

There was a history of Vienna and the Riesenrad done in diorama at the entrance, which was nearly as cool as the Ferris wheel itself! It reminded me of the room in the Railway Village with the little scenes that move when you push the button. The girls call it the button house. Here, a picture's worth a thousand words:

If you look closely, you'll see that there are twice as many cars on the model of the reisenrad as there are on the actual thing. That is because it was bombed during WWII, and they only put half of them back on. Maybe it took too long to load and unload that many? Or they didn't have enough riders to make it worthwhile? Or that many cars ended up obscuring the view? I wish they had said.

Finally, we got in line!

Maggie was a little nervous!

No need though, it was great inside!

There were some other people in the car with us, and everyone had a habit of crowding on one side and tipping the car. Landlubbers! You can tell they have no concept of ballast!

It really was an impressive structure. I'm not sure that I'd pay 23 Euros ever again for the five-minute ride we got, but at least I got a decent blog post out of it.

Afterwards we got some truly enormous pieces of apple strudel at the reisenrad cafe

And then Maggie rode what was either a very large pony or a small horse!

She was like a queen up there, surveying her kingdom. Click here for a video!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another lazy saturday!

Really nothing to report over here! I spent the day cleaning and secretly throwing things out. Four weeks and 6 days until we head to Paris, so I figured I might as well start getting ready for our departure! I'm not sure what to do with all the drawings the girls have made. There are so many, and they're so cute, but I can't take them all. I'll try to weed through for the cutest ones and take pictures of some of the rest. Maggie made hand prints at school last week, I'll definitely have to take those!

What else today... the girls made a barbie house in the kitchen, which basically means there are barbies, ponies, and a million little paper cut-outs all over the kitchen floor. I do love they way they make whatever they need for their barbies, but why can't they remember to build it in their room?

Last night we did family movie night. Watched Bee Movie (Jerry Seinfeld does the voice of the bee and co-wrote it). I remember reading that it wasn't a big box office hit, but the four of us loved it.

That's all I've got! I think tomorrow we're going to go to the Ferris wheel in Vienna. Hopefully we're not too lazy to drag ourselves out in the morning. :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For tomorrow...

It's Valentine's Day and Nina's half-birthday tomorrow, so I had to spoil them a little bit. Or myself. Whatever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Instead of Fat Tuesday, the Austrians (and Germans and Swiss, according to Wikipedia) celebrate Fasching. Pretty much the same thing though! The girls both had costume parties at school. Maggie's was yesterday:
She was a princess! She wore her prettiest pink pajamas, a tiara, earrings, a necklace, and a ring. So cute! Pretty much every other girl in her class was a princess too. Adorable! They had cookies and a puppet show, and probably some more stuff, but since Maggie only stays for 2 hours, that's all she got to do.
Nina's party was today, and she was a witch!

She had a great time. They did potato sack racing and had a disco dance party in one room. No schoolwork at all today, just fun. They were even told to not bring backpacks to school, so no homework due and none assigned.

What fun! Maine needs to get in on the Mardi Gras celebration. It's such a fun part of the darkest, coldest part of the year.

In related news, Maggie and I were discussing Lent, and I tried to get her to agree to stop eating her boogers for it. No go. She says she's going to be nicer to Nina, I'll take that. She also rejected giving up talking about killing people and giving up talking about hating people. Nina's going to give up whining. The girls suggest I give up my laziness. Am I lazy? Yes, they say I am. Ouch. Well I am typing this as I lie on the bed, so maybe they have a point...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I love listening in on these kids

Today I was reading and overheard the following discussion:

Nina: Maggie, do you know what the fastest thing in the world is?
Maggie: A cheetah?
Nina: No, the speed of light.
Maggie: Wow.
Nina: Unless it's a broken, flickery light. But a working light is the fastest thing in the world.

I cracked up! No way is broken light going to go as fast as working light. Obviously.

Today we went out and picked up some costumes for Fasching, which is like Austrian Mardi Gras Halloween. I'm not going to tell you what we got, but I'll put up pictures Monday and Tuesday!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Auntie Cam left today

What a fun visit we had! Mostly it was just relaxing around the house, the girls were exceptionally difficult to get going this week. It's their school break, though, and they love nothing more these days than hanging out in their pajamas and playing with ponies. Poor kids are travelled out!

Nick and Cam went into Vienna yesterday afternoon and evening, that was nice. Frankly, taking the girls into Vienna was more than I was up for. There are always a million bathroom stops, food breaks, bathroom again, food again... I did see in a magazine that Cam got at the airport that there's a pathological anatomical museum in Vienna, with things like tumors and two headed pigs in formaldehyde, which would be right up Nina's alley. Her favorite thing to do these days is go on google and look up pictures of things like tumors and rotting teeth. I've learned a ton about root canals. And trust me, you don't want your tooth getting abscessed.

We got a care package today from the Hermans, it was so exciting! Tons of stuff, and everything we need (but can't get in Austria) to make chocolate chip cookies! Thank you! The girls were so happy. Nina said, "We'll have to write to them and tell them we are so-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh happy!" Adorable. And later, when we were Skyping with mom and dad and they asked how her day was, Maggie said, "Spectacular!" Pronounced "spek-TACK-lee-ur."

Tomorrow we'll try to do more. Maybe Bogi Park.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Downtown Baden yesterday

Yesterday we took Aunt Camilla down to Baden and strolled around the pedestrian district. Anne met us there after her day of physical therapy ended, and we got some coffee before dinner at a Greek restaurant.

I think today is supposed to be on the colder, wetter side, so we'll probably save Vienna for tomorrow and just hang out today. The girls moan loudly and protest for hours whenever I try to get them outside, so I'm tempted to not waste the energy today. It's their vacation week though, and they love just playing around the house all day in their pajamas. Plus, I invented a new game using the Uno deck (boy are we resourceful around here! We have Uno, Uno memory, Bungo, and now Goono. Goono is when everyone sticks an Uno card to their forehead without looking at it first, and asking the group questions to guess what they have. Inevitably Maggie gives it away, but it's fun.)

That's all really. Mostly just a lazy week around here!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Roman thermal baths

Finally! You know, Baden literally means "bath," and is so named because of the mineral-rich natural spring water that flows through the town. The Hapsburgs used to come here in the summer for some bathing, and people believed that the water would cure what ails you. The baths and the casino, that's what everyone else in Austria thinks of when you say "Baden."

Well, I've never been to the thermal baths (or the casino for that matter). Nick hasn't either, I don't think. Yeah, I just asked him, he said no. So he never took me, even way back before we had kids. Now, Aunt Camilla is visiting, the girls are on vacation this week (semester break. Nina got a report card, but it's blank because she's down as a "visiting student." This was decided at the beginning of the year, so she wouldn't feel an pressure about grades as she was learning German. They also probably thought she wouldn't do very well, on account of speaking no German, but obviously they didn't know Nina!). Anyway, it's also cold and damp, and I decided what better way to warm up than at the thermal baths.

They're lovely! Or, as Maggie put it, "This is brilliant!"

There was one giant pool for playing around in, one lap pool, one kiddie pool, an indoor hot tub, and two swim-out hot tubs (you enter inside and swim through a plastic curtain to get outside! Very European and relaxing).

Maggie swam nipple-free, as usual, and Nina had on her usual swimsuit. Nina's been learning the breast stroke at school, and boy is she good! What a great little swimmer she is!

Even I managed to last two hours without freezing, thanks to multiple dips in the hot tub. But now we're all exhausted. I think it'll be an early bed time tonight!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Nick's playing memory with Nina

This is fantastic entertainment. First of all, Nina has picked through the Uno deck for all the pairs, and the game is enormous. Way beyond my cognitive abilities. I played with her once and now I'm spent. But Nick is just a glutton for punishment. He keeps going back for more. Poor guy.

The whole thing reminds me of why I used to think Nina was psychic. She just tears through a game of memory as though she can see right through the card. She's not cheating, I shuffled the deck. It's just inhuman. I wonder if she has something like a photographic memory?

Now that she's bigger too, she actually focuses on the game. When she was younger, she'd be bouncing all over the place, staring up at the ceiling when it was my turn (and still beating me).

They're playing as I type. Nina's deploying psychological warfare too. Here's what's going on:

Nina: Your turn!
Nick: Shh! I'm thinking!
Nina: Red five, yellow skip, blue three
Nick: Be quiet!
Nick: Where was that green 8? (reaches for a card)
Nina: HA HAHAHAHA! (He was wrong.)

If she tries to get you to play memory with her, you'd better be ready to be on your game!