Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ice Palace

Last year Astana did not create its usual annual ice city, I heard the rumor that the reason was a previously warm and melty winter that destroyed a lot of the work before people could even enjoy it. Last year was a perfectly normal winter, wherein it dropped below zero some time in November and stayed cold into April. 

This year, however, the city did decide to make an ice city, which sort of sucks because it has been a ridiculously warm winter, continually rising above freezing. Last weekend the temps got as low a the December norm of -20C so we went to check it out.

People kept jumping into the ice throne so we told the kids we could take photos around the bear - his legs were benchlike.
The ice castle was pretty awesome, even though it was just for show and there was no way to actually climb in or around it.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas for the rest of us

Admittedly, it has been 15 years since Christmas was my own private free day, where I could read undisturbed all day and then run into other Jews in the evening having our traditional dinner of Chinese food.

I do have mixed feeling about this.

On the other hand, Christmas in our house is relatively low key, compared to the commercialism that's crept into the traditional American celebration of the holiday (at least, from movies and commercials it seems this way). In the morning the kids get presents from the grandparents who celebrate the holiday, plus a few from us (my throwing Terry a bone. He may remember how I explained to him that there would be no Christmas in my home, in our early days of dating. Sigh.)

This year via Facebook I learned of the Finnish tradition of giving loved one books for Christmas, then the family spends the day reading the new books. This is a tradition I can get behind!  Books were in today's haul, and some of them were read, but it certainly wasn't an all-day endeavor.  We then spent quality time building the science projects, playing the games, practicing with the Nerf bows and arrows, and helping Terry make the cinnamon rolls.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My little charmers

The children are planning some kind of surprise for my birthday. They want me to be prepared. Zoltan has specifically asked me to be sure to be beautiful on my birthday (aka, wear a dress) to be ready to accept this gift.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Yay for Alex!

At the kids' school, they can earn "yellow signatures" for doing good work or extra credit work; 10 signatures earns a Yellow Card. "Blue signatures," same general regime, are given for showing the positive character traits stressed at the school. Alex came home Friday with a certificate to go bowling Monday afternoon (leaving school a tiny bit early) and she doesn't have to wear her uniform that day, for having earned 6 or more yellow and/or blue cards.

Good work baby!