Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today's Higlight? The Hong Kong Rip-Off

Years ago, when David and I were in Hong Kong, we asked the hotel to book us a nice tour. We were pleasantly surprised as we drove around the island - and we got a pretty good overview.... until the last hour. Then we stopped by a jewelry factory and showroom, so that we could see jewelry making for real. It actually is not that interesting - tiny details, and stuff that's pretty hard to see. But after 5 minutes of factory, we then spent 55 minutes in the showroom, being followed everywhere by helpful salespeople. When we split up, the salespeople had a hard time deciding who to follow - it got to be amusing.

So today, we had a half-day tour of Istanbul - Haga Sofia, Blue Mosque, underground cistern... and just when I thought we were headed for either the spice market or a quick snack stop, we turned in to a pottery shop and were immediately ushered to the back for a pottery demonstration and participation workshop. No purchases required. But lots of apple tea, coffee - anything we wanted - and since all three kids got to make pots, the shop was guaranteed to have our full attention for 90 minutes, plus a return trip two days later to pick up the dried pots.

Of course, when we asked the kids what was the best part of the day today... and nothing cultural even made the list. Benjamin picked swimming, but Annika and Christopher were convinced that the pottery thing was the highlight.

The Universal Language of Football

David was in Barcelona last week, and brought Christopher a Barcelona team shirt (with Puyol on the back). Christopher was thrilled- and has been wearing the shirt now for at least 5 days in a row.

When we landed in Istanbul, and were walking through the "taxi greeters", one turned to Christopher and said, "Barcelona - Messi?" "No, Puyol", Christopher replied with a smile.

When we got to the hotel, all of the staff made a point of speaking with Christopher - Barcelona was scheduled to play that evening, and everyone wanted his opinion on the match against Real Madrid.

The next day, as we walked through Istanbul, Christopher received many comments and discussions - about Puyol who couldn't play because of a bad knee, of the loss Barcelona had suffered the night before to Real Madrid (1-0 in overtime), about his views of Messi...

So the take-home tip - buy your kid a football jersey before an international trip!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quoteables from Christopher

"When I get 18 I'm gonna buy a credit card."

"Do I get to have two girlfriend" "No, only one." "Why?"

then he thinks about it... "I know. If some people has two girlfriends then that means that some people don't get to have any - and that's not fair."

And right now, everything startes with a statement, followed by "I say why?"

I love 7!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How Long Will This Go On?

I was looking over past photos the other day, and I realized how often I dressed the kids alike (or at least in the same fabrics) when we were travelling. Italy in red and white checks... Colorado in red-white-and-green stripes... July 4th in Navy with red and blue stripes...

Now it seems as though I am relegated to underwear. The kids would never be seen wearing the same things again... or rather, Annika would never be caught dead wearing the same as her brothers. But when I saw the long underwear on sale at the local sporting goods store, I couldn't resist. And not a single protest!

Bored and Frustrated

We went skiing over sportlov, and Annika was broadsided by an adult snowboarder (while snowboarding herself). The instructor wisely called an end to her lesson, and she came home complaining of a pain in her neck and head. Fearing whiplash, I called the local doc and we went in. He reviewed the x-rays, and then immediately put her in the x-ray room again - the neck was fine, but he picked up a fracture in her collarbone. (Many, many thanks for the wisdom of the instructor who refused to let her snowboard some more!)

So... three weeks of no sports. No football. No riding. She started blogging, taking pictures, playing guitar - and wore the figure-8 brace for the full three weeks. And watched TV. And was very bored.

Three weeks to the day, she was back in the saddle again. Riding on Wednesday. Riding on Friday... and then she got cocky and decided to trot on the home stretch. Lupin bucked twice and she only managed to hold on through the first buck. She landed on her back (and head) and came home complaining of a headache. When the headache didn't get better on Saturday, and when she elected to spend the day in bed in a dark room, we realized that she probably had a concussion.

So Sunday evening she is asking me if she really has to go to school, since moving around makes her head hurt more, and makes her feel sick. But can she ride in her jumping class on Tuesday? So I respond with the logical if-you-can't-sit-at-a-desk-what-makes-you-think-you-should-sit-on-a-horse argument. "But I won't fall" she insisted. "Really?" I say. "So you planned to fall off Lupin?" And she thinks about it for a second, then looks me in the eye. "Yes, I did."