Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sono un genio..

Ho convinto i bimbi a mangiare i broccoli cuocendoli semplicemente al vapore e lasciandoglieli intingere nella salsa teriyaki. I bimbi adorano intingere - qualunque cosa in qualunque altra cosa - e adesso Appu mi chiede ogni giorno se ci saranno i broccoli per cena - ma non ho ancora ripetuto, per non rovinare l'effetto ottenuto con tanta fatica :)

Those in the photo are my two little boys, eating STEAMED BROCCOLI dipped in teriyaki sauce. Why didn't I think of this before?

Why they need to eat standing up, I don't fully understand, but it might have to do with being able to hunt for the best piece in the steaming basket - or maybe they just want to make it clear that they are free to leave at any time, who knows.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Piccolo Rajiv - The book

My next extracurricular project is going to be turning the old blog into ink and paper format - just in case the apocalypse comes and Google crashes and all blogs disappear into digital dust.

Seriously, this is something that does generate some anxiety in me. Even before we moved here to Due Fratellini I had been pondering the question of what would be the most time-economical way to get the blog in book form. After all, one of the reason why I started this in first place was that one day my kids could read it if they want to.

Then yesterday, completely by chance, I came across Blog2Print. It seems to be a service designed especially for Blogger, which is the platform I use, and it is just very easy to use. You give the address of your blog and within less than a minute you get a tentative preview of your book. Then you can make changes - like choosing the photos for the cover, deleting posts or adding extra content.

It is never going to be as neat as a photo book made on iPhoto, but as I said it is so easy that one might overlook that. Just for information, printing the full blog in hardcover format would come to about $60 + shipping. It sounds like a lot, but for the number of pages is really not that bad.

Anyway, I think I would like to do this. I will let you know how it goes :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Before the Zambonis

Questo video si colloca subito prima dell'apertura delle uova. I miei bimbi decidono di giocare a nascondino.. :)

Sorry, earlier I got so caught up in writing about my ineptitude with the Zambonis that I forgot to show the prequel to the story. Here it is. And for the last time - this year - Happy Easter :)

The Best Laid Plans

Cliccate sotto su "Read more" per video e foto.

In Case you are wondering - and I know you probably are not, really - I am intentionally borrowing the title from a book about Canadian politics that I haven't even read yet - but it looks good ;)

I thought about what to do for Easter for a while and in the end we did absolutely nothing special, as you well know. One thing I wanted to get right, though, was the eggs. I didn't want to get really good - and really expensive - chocolate, because:
  1. The kids really don't know the difference
  2. If we want to keep collecting the Thomas Wooden Railway we have to save money somewhere -- even if just symbolically
  3. I wouldn't know where to find really good Easter eggs here - because I'm a European snob
So the choice was restricted to whatever the Valuemart in front of my office had to offer. The boys love Kinder chocolate, but recently I have been very disappointed with the little gadgets found inside them. Not like those of my youth..  The thought of an oversized version of them popping out of the big Easter Kinder eggs left me cold.

Then I saw he official CHL eggs, which promised a pull back Zamboni inside every one of them: Perfect!

If you are not Canadian you might not know what any of this means, so let me explain.

The CHL is the Central Hockey League and ice hockey is of course the most popular sport in Canada - did you think it was curling???

A Zamboni is a large machine, looking a little like a road sweeper, that resurfaces the ice on an ice rink: meaning, it peels off the top layer of ruined ice and leaves behind nice smooth ice. All Canadian kids love Zambonis, just like kids everywhere love all sort of large and mean machines. Why this thing is called a Zamboni was a mystery for me for a while, until I googled it and found out that this machine was invented by Frank Zamboni and his company is still leader in the market. I'm afraid You have to be Italian to understand why all this sounds hilarious..

Anyway, Rajiv has recently become a Zamboni enthusiast, thanks to an episode of Caillou he watched in which Caillou gets to ride on a Zamboni after his skating class. For a few days after that, the toy bulldozer that Appu rides around the house turned into a Zamboni.

So I thought: this is great! We get to do the ritual cracking of the eggs with some cheap chocolate, and who cares about that anyway, and then inside there will be two nice small pull back vehicles that the kids can play with for the rest of the day. While I take rest.

If you have reached here without falling asleep, below the fold you will get to watch a video of the actual egg cracking. Papa' was with us on Skype, which was nice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I got it!

The photo album arrived yesterday. It looks quite neat, thank you Apple!

Rajiv and Rohan were very excited to see it. Rajiv took it to school today and I am very curious to hear how it went.

By the way, the only person who tried to answer my little quiz was achamma, so she "wins" a copy of the book, to be delivered, together with the grandchildren, next time we are in India. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vigilia di Pasqua col sole

You are going to hear a lot about Easter on this blog. Not because it is my favorite holiday or anything like that, but I had four full days to spend at home with the kids and I'm going to share the joy. Only the good parts, I promise: I will spare you the synchronized wailing contests and the I-want-to-go-out-in-the-rain-without-shoes moments.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the egg hunt with Kalena on Good Friday - but maybe I can get the video from Anna Marie? Anyway, let me tell you about our Saturday instead, in every boring detail.

I'm not sure you can tell from the photos, but the weather was really nice, the warmest we had so far. I sort of overdressed the kids, just in case, but I wasn't wearing a sweater and I never missed it.

We played for a while on the street in front of our house - it's a dead end, so it's very quiet. Appu insisted that we put together Rohan's new tricycle, but in the end Rohan preferred to walk.

Appu had a blast on his own big trike and kept riding back and forth on the sidewalk.

I asked him to take a photo of me and Rohan and I think he did a great job!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was finding two badminton rackets abandoned on the curb in front of some students' house. They were there to be picked up with the trash, but we rescued them and there was a soft ball too! What more could you want?

We also got a chance to play a little bit with our neighbor Kyle, after a long time.

Then we took mamma's bike with the buggy attached behind for the Rohan and Rajiv to sit in and we went for a short ride. We went through the park and to the office, to pick up some stuff I had left there, and then we went to the grocery store.

My idea of happiness, looks something like this:

If only there was another big bike in this photo...

But let me conclude with a little video, taken earlier while playing on our street.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's all about timing

Today I told S how to take a "photo" through Skype by using the Grab utility on his Mac.

It just so happens that a few rare events had also just taken place: I had managed to sneak away - almost unnoticed - to take a shower and wash my hair without causing an uprising; the kitchen table had been almost cleared and more or less cleaned to make space for the ritual opening of the chocolate eggs (more about that later); broken down by accumulated guilt I had cooked some proper food for lunch.

As a result of all this, when papa' took the following "snaps", we looked like a regular family having a normal Sunday lunch in a reasonably clean and pleasant environment. It's all about timing :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You tell them stuff, but who knows what they are thinking..

Just a few minutes ago, Appu shows me a drawing he made and tells me it's me - and by the way, he did that because Rohan yesterday had made a picture of me, and he wanted to measure up :)

Anyway, back to the story. Appu says:

- Mamma, it's you!

- It's me?

(maybe I sounded doubtful)

- Yes, when you were very small.

- When I was small?

- Yes, when you were inside *my* tummy..

The great potato rainfall of 2011

Uhm, che cosa ci fanno tutte queste patate per terra??

Hey, what happened here?

What are all these potatoes doing on the floor??

Maybe this is a clue..

and here is another..

..AHA! Mystery solved :)

But wait, why is Rajiv wearing socks on his hands now?!?

It's so exciting!

Appu is taking part in his first concert in two weeks. His group will get to play a simple rhythm on a single string to open the spring concert of the Suzuki school. It will be him with the cello and his two little friends from class - another cello and a violin.

To be honest, so far every attempt to get them to play this thing *together* has failed miserably, but it doesn't matter because they are going to be so cute that nobody will mind :)

I just went to buy a pair of black sweatpants and a white t-shirt for next week's dress rehearsal, so I thought I would share..

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One day - soon - people will be asking for his autograph :)

Rajiv improvvisa una canzone alla chitarra.

Rajiv improvises a song on the guitar.. The best part was before I started filming it but, alas, isn't that always the case?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photo Album - Rohan and Rajiv in India

Cliccando su "Read more" piu' in basso potrete vedere le pagine di un libro ricordo del nostro recente viaggio in India. Per ingrandire ogni pagina basta cliccarci sopra, pero' purtroppo per caricare le immagini sul blog ho dovuto ridurre la qualita', quindi le foto non sono nitidissime. Sono graditi commenti! E chissa' se riuscite a scovare nel muchio le foto scattate da Rajiv?

Maybe you have been wondering when I was going to start posting some photos from our recent stay in India. And probably you kind of expected me to start my usual 37 part series of "Pics you have missed" posts. I admit such a thing was on my mind, but then it occurred to me that I could save myself some work (this somehow ended up being a wrong estimate..) and you some pain by showing you the book I have made for Rajiv to share with his friends here in Canada.

Below the fold you will find all the pages of the book in individual jpg files. You can click on the picture to make it bigger. The book was made using iPhoto with one of the standard templates. Even so, it did take a long time to make; and converting each page to jpg format and uploading them on blogger was another epic enterprise. Just to say, I hope you appreciate my efforts :)

Some final notes and disclaimers (see how professional I'm getting?):

Please consider the target audience for the book are Rajiv's teachers, friends and some of my friends here in Canada. If you are a family member you will find some of the captions unnecessary and if you are Indian you might find that I have oversimplified some things or maybe made some plain mistakes - in that case please forgive me and then let me know..

I really like some of the photos. Some other ones are of poor quality, but the purpose was to collect some nice memories and to give a more or less full coverage of the whole trip, so quality was not a very important factor. I have also included a couple of photos taken by Rajiv: I wonder if you can spot them? Let me know in the comments and the winner will get a hard copy of the book or a signed hand print from Rajiv, you choose :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night

Non so perche' giocare con questa lampada piaccia tanto ai bimbi..

I am not sure why they like playing with this lamp so much..

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Big Brother

Rajiv has decided that it is his duty - and a lot of fun - to take care of his little brother.

He helps him put on his socks and he warns me when his brother is "making a mess again!". Like taking noodles out of his plate and dropping them one by one on the chair and on the floor, while mamma unsuspecting keeps filling the plate thinking he has a great appetite... :)

Yesterday night Rohan had "cacca", like we say in our family instead of "poo", which makes us sound very elegant to most people, except of course Italians who would probably just find us gross. Anyway, back to the story. Rohan had cacca and I took off his diaper and went upstairs to dispose of it in the bathroom. Then I hear Rajiv screaming "Mamma, quick, there is a little bit of cacca!!". I go down - I don't rush because it takes more than that to scare me at this point.

When I arrive I find Rohan lying down on the floor on his back with his legs up in diaper changing pose and Appu holding a diaper, pointing and saying "we need wipes!". So I helped Rajiv help Rohan with the whole process and both brothers were delighted. I think the plan is that soon they will be fully self sufficient and then they will take control of the house.

Later they decided to play with blocks and that of course involved throwing them on each other's heads, which really hurts, but then today morning Rohan was trying to make a tower and he hurt his finger with a block. He cried a little, until Appu told him "do you need a kiss?" and he kissed his finger and made it all better.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Through Rajiv's eyes

Or lens.. :)

Una foto originale di Rajiv: mamma prepara la cena e Rohan guarda con ammirazione il suo fratellone.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Calligraphy practice

Nelle prime foto siamo a Madras. I muri della camera dei bimbi sono stati dipinti con vernice da lavagna, cosi' si puo' scrivere sui muri - Rohan pero' non ha ancora capito che i pastelli invece non vanno bene.

Nelle altre foto siamo a Waterloo, nell'ufficio di mamma. Rohan cerca di incastrarsi tra il pavimento e la finestra (e' un concetto difficile da apprezzare se non avete visto l'architettura del mio ufficio..) e Appu continua i suoi esercizi di calligrafia. :) Scusatemi per la qualita' scadente delle foto, le ho fatte col cellulare.

Appu writes on the walls of his room in Chennai. The chalkboard paint was a good idea - the only problem is convincing Rohan that it is only for chalk - and by the way, papa', how is it going erasing all the crayon marks?

Uh-oh.. Suddenly some trouble with the A?

No problem, the A is easy, I'll show you. Then you write the rest. Well done!

The next photos were taken yesterday in my office. Rajiv and Rohan were delivered to me at 4:00 for the weekly "wine and cheese" family event. By the time we left I could have murdered the first person I met on the road, but we started out quite nicely as you can see, playing quietly in mamma's room.

I like how in this photo it looks like Rohan is lowering himself in the construction site in front of my window. Please don't worry, he really is not.

And here Appu is learning a valuable lesson: writing your name on the board is ok, but make sure you go around the math.

By the way, I took these photos with my phone and it just occurred to me that this is the first time I do that. How uncool is that? I mean, do you know of anyone else alive in this century who can say that? However, the quality is quite pathetic and plus, I think I am usually much more likely to have a camera with me than a phone. Add this to the uncool factor :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We have been back for more than a week

But it feels more like a month. Time flies when you are having fun - and when you are coping with two little people and monstrous jet-lag.

Anyway, I still owe you a lot of pictures and stories from our trip to India, but for now let me share some photos that were taken last week while we traveled back to Canada.

Un po' di foto del nostro ritorno in Canada. Le prime tre sono state scattate da Rajiv mentre ci imbarcavamo a Bruxelles. Le altre foto sono state scattate da me durante il percorso in macchina dall'aeroporto a casa. Come si puo' notare, un paio di giorni prima una poderosa tempesta di neve aveva colpito la zona. Adesso il paesaggio e' molto meno invernale, ma la neve cade ancora di tanto in tanto.

The first three photos were taken by Rajiv, with his own little red camera, at the time of boarding the second plane in Brussels.

All the remaining photos instead were taken by me, on our way home from the airport. Just in case you are wondering, no, this is not our car. We haven't fully embraced the suburban lifestyle cum SUV yet..

A couple of snaps of the outside as well, just so you can see the snow left from the recent massive snowstorm. This is the Waterloo exit on the highway. Can you read? As Appu pointed out, we were going "very very fast"... :)

Almost home. This is a view of the new part of the place were I work, to be inaugurated soon-ish. We are a couple of minutes away from our little house.

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