Maximo is definitely in a "Look at me, look at me!" stage right now. And, well, he's just so cute, we're looking at him a lot! Although the 1,000,000 "Mommy (or Daddy), Look at Me's between the end of the school day and bedtime can sometimes be a bit rough.
John and I have truly enjoyed watching Maximo as he begins his "school education" this year. He LOVES going to school! And, one of the definitely perks of being an international teacher is not only teaching at amazing schools around the world, but (even better), Maximo and Lola will be products of these amazing schools and hopefully, a full IBO education.
Currently, Maximo's class is learning about Art in his class for his Unit of Inquiry PYP Unit. The way the curriculum has been written and implemented by Maximo's teacher and collaborating teachers is amazing. It's so inquiry based and hands-on. He is learning so much.
He is fascinated by art now - he wants to make it all the time.
He draws on my white board in my room every morning, "for my students".
He connects to it all the time - and in amazing ways:
"Mommy, that's a sculpture."
"It's like a museum.
"Mommy, I put the cool colors on the warm colors"
"That's starry night by Mr. Vincent VanGogh" - WHAT?!
This week there are two culminating events that unfortunately I couldn't attend. One was the Arty-Party where there were different stations to create art using different techniques and mediums. There was a lot of parent-teacher collaboration with this event and the set up looked like so much fun!
Lastly, was the Art Show for Maximo's class and the two KA classes. I was home sick with Lola, although my teaching schedule wouldn't have let me attend. Fortunately a colleague offered to cover John's class for 20 minutes so he could go attend today.
Showing off his pottery
The (BBP & KA - 3 and 4 year old programs) Art exhibition -
Maximo proudly showed his off to Daddy explaining what each one was.
He had work chosen by him and some teacher selected work as well.
Earlier in the week during my 30 minute volunteer time each week with Maximo's class (another perk of your kids' attending your school), I assisted the kids in picking out a piece of art that they wanted to showcase in the exhibition. Then we asked the students how they created the piece, what materials they used, and why they chose it for the art show. It was great to be there to share that with Max and the classmates that I "interviewed".
Since I couldn't attend the art show and I felt guilty and always love the excuse to create myself (especially with food), I made an edible art gallery. I need to give credit where credit is due. I got the idea from a blog I frequent: The Decorated Cookie. This is her cookie art gallery. She has great cookie ideas with very easy to follow tutorials.
This is how we made ours:
Stage 1: Make simple square sugar cookies
Stage 2: Create a border with royal icing
Stage 3: Flood the cookie to make a canvas (let sit overnight)
Stage 4: Use edible food pens to recreate famous art - some took longer than others, some turned out better than others. It was starting to become really time consuming (and I had to write sub plans), so I did multiple Jackson Pollock-esque cookies and a few Mondrian-style geometric paintings.
My Lovely Assistant
Andy Warhol - Marilyn Monroe
The Scream by Edvard Munch (reproduced by John)
Picasso's The Dream
The Son of Man by Magritte
Stage 5: Let dry and send to school in hopes they don't fall apart on the bike ride! While it being awesome to ride our bikes everywhere, it's a bit hard to transport food in a bike basket.
I trolled the internet looking for easy-to-replicate famous art. Well, most famous art is famous for a reason, so this was easier said than done, especially with 8 basic colors to use.
They were a lot of fun to make, I find baking and decorating therapeutic and a whole lot better than writing comments for my report cards which are due in a week!
Teaching his sister how to draw - although she preferred to eat them!
There was a lot of time spent outside this weekend:
Max and Lola are really starting to play together and it's THE.BEST. THING.EVER! Max is really starting to really understand what it means to be a big brother and has been much more empathetic and caring towards his sister.
They played in this "tunnel" until we made them stop for dinner and then after their bath they wanted to do it again and they did it until Lola could barely keep her eyes open. When I say "they" I mean, Maximo, but Lola had a constant smile on her face and loved the attention (as she was being dragged around like a rag doll, crawl through dark tunnel, repeat).
We had a wonderful Winter Break. After a week in the heat with friends and two weeks back in Japan just relaxing, it was tough to head back to our normal schedules this week.
Needless to say, there may be some gaps in my posting, although I'll try my best. I don't even have Photo Friday any more to force me to post weekly.
Here are a few photos from our last week of vacation between going to Riley's birthday party on Mt. Rokko for sledding and just hanging out as a family. I've also started the January 2012 Photo Gallery if you want to see more!
As many of you may have read on John's Facebook or have heard from us, Flavius has passed away. He was a wonderful pet who had a full life. I'm writing this to share with you, but mostly for Maximo and Lola when they get older.
When John and I moved to Peru, we had just "lost" a cat (Lucy) and John's stepbrother took Max (the Cat), since there was an embargo on flying him in the summer to Peru and because we didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into with international teaching. After getting settled into our new environment, we realized something was missing from our home - a CAT! Another teacher from school had been feeding and finding other teachers cats from behind a church in our neighborhood where there were many stray/abandoned cats that were fed by a rotation of people in the area.
John and I went with her one evening in hopes of finding a kitten to take home. Armed with a can of tunafish and a zippered mesh bag, we went to the park behind the church. All of the kittens were too skittish and wouldn't come near us, but an older looking orange tabby plopped himself on our laps, with really no interest in the food, but more interested in the attention. We took that as a sign, and decided to take him with us. We only lived about two blocks from the park, but we decided that with all the hustle bustle of traffic and people, that he may freak out if we tried to just carry him home. So, we stuffed him in the bag and hailed a taxi. He howled the whole way home and John and I just exchanged apprehensive looks at one another.
As cats do, he stayed under a bed for a few days, but was eating and used the litter box without instruction. Our wild "street" kitty seemed to me more of an abandoned pet. He was very comfortable with people and was litter box trained. We also thought he was about 7 or 8 months old, but after his first vet visit, we were told he was probably 7 or 8 years old, he was just a bit underfed.
Why did we name him Flavius you might ask? Not really Peruvian. We were watching the HBO Series, Rome. So we were tossing around a lot of Roman names like Marc Antony, Auralius, etc. Then we thought of Flavius, meaning "blonde" in ancient Roman. It just seemed to fit... and we lovingly called him Flavor Flav or Flavi!
Flavius was pampered in Peru. Our maid, Clara would be in our house every day, continually giving him attention as she went about her work. When we moved to our house in Peru, he was able to go outside again, which he LOVED. He often scrapped with the other neighborhood cats (in the middle of the night), but otherwise was a joy to have around. He would plop down on our laps as soon as we sat on the couch to relax, grade papers, check email, whatever. Soon after moving, our first maid's sister, Rosmery, started working for us. She LOVES this cat. I came home one day to her mopping the floor with him zipped up in her fleece! She was always so sweet with him and even emails to ask about him and the kids since we moved to Japan. It was really hard to write her the email this week of Flavius's passing.
Flavius had a good life in Peru and loved Maximo from the day he came home. He was always loving and super tolerant of the kids' rough play.
He was so special to Maximo, so we decided that he should come to Japan with us. Unfortunately, getting animals into Japan is a huge and expensive process, but he was worth it! So, we followed all the rules and vaccine schedules so he could come live with us in Kobe. He had to go directly from Peru to Japan, so a good friend watched him and got him on a plane to come here.
Life's been a little different for Flavius here... Our place is much smaller, but luckily, we are on the first floor, so he could still go in and out. He was alone all day - the horror! But, he was still loved and happy here, with again, an occasional scrap with a Rokko Island stray.
A few days before we left for Thailand, we noticed that he had been sleeping a lot and not going out almost at all, which was very unlike him. He also wasn't plowing through his bowl-a-day either. He was still acting normal besides this. Then, before we left, he was looking a bit skinny and his fur just looked like he wasn't keeping up with his grooming. We had a lady watch/feed Flavius and he just didn't come back one day.
This is very unlike Flavius. He always went out, but he ALWAYS came home. So, like most cats do, we think he wanted to find a quiet last resting place. Unfortunately, we cannot find that place. He is definitely not in the house, but we've looked (as has the cat sitter) pretty extensively around our apartment complex and the areas close to us. It makes it sadder that we don't really know where he is... it kind of leaves it with a lot less closure. We still have the litter box and food out, in hopes that he will walk back on the porch again, although I think we all know that he will not come back. We're also a bit wary of someone else finding his decaying body somewhere too. This island is not that big.
It was our first "death" talk with Maximo. He didn't even notice Flavius wasn't around for two days after we got back, as he was wrapped up in Christmas and his new toys. Then he just looked at me and said, "Mommy, where's Flavius?"
I tried to explain the best that I could... a real parenting challenge.
He sobbed, so I cried. He couldn't understand how/why Flavius couldn't/wouldn't come back.
Finally, he just said, "Mommy, can we just get him new batteries?"
Everything in Maximo's life that has "died" has been easily fixed with a new set of batteries. Sad and sweet.
So, Flavius, we'll miss you buddy. You were a great cat to us and definitely to our little munchkins. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.
I was actually a bit surprised to find tons - at least a hundred pictures that Flavius was in... Here are some good ones:
2011 was a full and exciting year for Los Lemleys. We have a lot of great memories from 2011 and it was a fantastic year as a family of 4. There are many highlights, but I won't list them all here, as I could go on forever, and you could just scroll back through the blog posts.
For New Years Eve, we had the Welbes Family over for a low key night. Todd slaved for hours over some delicious gumbo, and I tried the "No Knead Bread" (phenomenon) which has been all over the internet the past year, and the artesian bread turned out pretty darn good. I also through together Grammy Wood's Apple Cake to celebrate Riley's birthday and we finished off a big pot of mulled wine.
The Welbes' brought over the game HedBanz because it seemed like a good game we could add "adult" cards too. It was a crack-up to play, and we struggled for hours just on the children's cards, so we didn't make any on our own. I will have to say the Lemley boys struggled a bit with the game. Maximo didn't get it and would constantly shout out what was on people's heads and John was getting worse and worse the more he drank - but it was comical!
Todd may have been stuck on "unicorn" for over an hour
And, here are three videos to start of the New Year. The first two I took of Lola walking on my iPhone, for some reason I can't record sound on it - I need to check on fixing this!
The last one, I could barely get through filming without cracking up. Maximo was in the tatami room with the cheapo guitar we got from the Central Market in Lima. He was making up a song that incorporated anything he could see - his trains, a Christmas List, Knapford Station, you may be able to make out more. The last note he hits make me laugh just thinking about it!