Our next post will be in 2012

I feel like every post starts with “We need to blog more often” or “It has been so long since we last posted something”, and this will be no exception. There have been many major events in the past two months since we last posted something, and of course I won’t be able to cover them all here. In fact, since it is already so late and I don’t want to wait any longer to at least say “We’re alive!”, I’ll quickly go through what is happening in each of the five photos below and then HOPEFULLY spend a bit more time covering recent events in future posts:

The first image below is a picture of Simone and I at our old house on Elizabeth Street, shortly before we moved. There’s a long involved story having to do with why we moved from Elizabeth Street to the Burch Avenue neighborhood, and it’s an ugly tale that will be best dealt with in a future post, or feel free to ask us about it. However, we do like our new house and we especially like our new neighborhood and its close proximity to Duke’s campuses and downtown Durham. The next picture is Simone in her new room:

Next is a picture of Simone at Chris and Jessica’s wedding in Kennebunkport, Maine (Chris and Jessica appear after that). It was a nice outdoor ceremony and a very fun reception afterward. We had a great trip and it was especially good to catch up with old friends and family.

Prior to going to Maine, Kyla, Simone and I spent a couple of days in Boston. Here is a picture of Simone and I at Boston Common:

As always, you can see all of our most recent pictures (which we have been pretty good about uploading) at http://picasaweb.google.com/schavez

I’ll go into more details about these past events as well as more recent happenings in the next blog post. We are almost done unpacking, so there will be more time for blogging (at least for me) soon. Kyla, however, is already in her sixth week of school and knee-deep in homework again. We’ll have to plan our next break soon …

Two Wheels and Blueberries

Hello! This summer is speeding by –
the trip to Spain was fantastic and feels like a dream now. We only have a few photos ourselves – including this one of Simone on the lap of her Great Aunt Mari Angelese the day we arrived. I personally have never ate so well or so plentifully as on this trip. There’s almost so much to say about the trip that it’s hard to say anything at all – you know?

Back to reality (Durham is definitely a reality check after Spain) and we need to work all that chorizo off. So we got a bike seat for Simone – it mounts on the handlebar. Here’s a picture of us about to go for a spin. Simone has her own helmet – dinosaurs and snakes with real google eyes. She loves riding, points at all the animals and birds as we go by. I really like the seat, you sure get a lot of attention when people realize that there is a Baby on Board – but it doesn’t feel heavy at all.

And just when I thought we hit bike nirvana, we found this little baby at a garage sale this weekend. I’ve been looking at Burley trailers forever but their price tag – $500-600 new -was a definite factor. This is an older model, but the price – $25 – was perfect. And Simone clambered right in and we went for a ride – it can haul two kids, which I’m interpreting as one kid and some groceries, if we get our route down. I had to take the picture of the trailer on our porch – because it won’t be our porch much longer. Our landlord has decided to sell the place and for a moment we considered buying it – we love this little house. But two break-ins in the last 6 weeks and our uncertainty if I could find a job in the area once I graduate makes it tough to make the leap. So we’ve been looking feverishly for a new home – we’ve got a good prospect and may be moving as soon as mid-August. Again! This family cannot stop moving. I will be sad to leave the only house that Simone has only known and one where we’ve been so happy and family and friends have visited – but I suspect she should get used to a change of scenery every few years.

I’ll post a link to some new photos and videos later this week – it took me so long to post this, the camera battery died.


We have so much to report on – Simone’s first bike rides and our trip to Spain – but our camera is actually still in Spain. I’m jealous – we had a fantastic time and would also still like to be there. But fingers crossed that it comes back soon as promised, and we can share some photos and start taking new ones. Simone is so different than even a month ago, I’m actually feeling pangs about missing documenting her newest feats. Hopefully we’ll be back soon with a real photo-riffic update…

Brother’s Day / Mother’s Day

Living proof world! That IS a picture of my brother Michael pushing the proverbial baby carriage. I have it caught on film too, in case it’s the last time. And yes, he is walking the mean streets of Durham, for he and his girlfriend Denise came over from Germany to North Carolina, of all places – and we were lucky enough to score a visit. They had already spent time on the coast and were all sunburned and happy already so all we had to do was throw in some stereotypical American experiences to round out their experience, like BBQ and baseball.

Here we are at a Durham Bulls Game, on a warm summer evening. With decent and not-exorbinant beer on tap, hot dogs, peanuts and a bull that snorts smoke, you’ve got a recipe for one of my favourite things to do in Durham. If you look closely in this other picture, you’ll see a little stuffed monkey in an argyle sweater, a Steiff monkey they brought over for Simone. Ask Michael to tell you the story of trying to find a pair of pants for the monkey. I almost cried from laughter over the image of my hulking big brother in toy stores, surreptisously trying clothes on Chuck the monkey. Pantless or not, Simone loves him and we love that she got to visit with her crazy Uncle.
It was too short of a visit and soon it was Mother’s Day. I had two requests for the day:
No breakfast in bed and a day free of decisions. The height of luxury to me are clean, crumb-free sheets and a day planned for me, as long as those plans don’t involve meetings, desk shifts or classes. Luckily Sergio kept those to a bare minimum and instead rustled up a fantastic day which started with flowers and chocolate croissants and a plan to head out to Winston-Salem to check out a new brew-pub and an arts fair in Mount Pilot. It was a beautiful day and Simone looked cute as a button…when we set out. This is just the first of three outfits I packed and she managed
to get dirty – I guess I’ve earned my Mom Badge if I’ve figured out that three is reasonable amount of outfits to carry along on a daytrip. This first fell foul to hastily gulped hot chocolate (check out her face in this second picture, it’s a crazy face she make when she thinks she’s in trouble and wants to charm us, I guess because we can’t help bursting out laughing when her lower lip sticks out that way). The second outfit fell prey to a first case of car sickness, an interesting treat for Mother’s Day, scrubbing down a crying vomiting kid and a car seat in a hot parking lot. I guess that’s when I REALLY earned my Mom Badge.

Summer is upon us, free from homework, free to sit on the porch in the evenings, free to read books again, ready to go to Spain in 14 days! (though not so ready for the flight with squirmy Miss Demanding, I have to say) and hoping to see each and everyone of you before the summer ends.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is definitely in the air. On the down side: Our porch is constantly covered in green pollen that we can’t wash off, we’re coughing with each new allergen that blooms, it’s raining all the time, and the bugs are back. On the up side: Friends and family have (or will soon) come to visit, better weather is around the corner, and Simone is going to have a fun summer now that she is walking and exploring more than ever.

Simone had her first easter egg hunt in our back yard and found all of her eggs after some helpful prodding from her parents.

Last weekend our friends Dan, Pam, and Jud came over from Vancouver and Seattle to visit us after driving down from DC. Jud (furthest right) appears a little sad in this photo taken at Milltown in Chapel Hill, although Simone appears to be having the time of her life. Cheer up, Jud, another beer is on the way. See? Pam is having fun – she’s even throwing a double hang-loose! We had a great time at the Barbecue Joint, Milltown, The Federal, and our own front porch as we made a barbecued Mexican-themed dinner, complete with Dan’s home made margaritas and delicious contributions from everybody.

We’re expecting the arrival of Kyla’s brother Michael and his girlfriend Denise in the next week or so, and we are hoping he will want to make a return visit to the Barbecue Joint and Milltown as they have become favorites of ours.
Here’s a video of me reading to Simone, and her picking up some new words:

Reading Bug from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

And another exciting development this spring has been the building of a nest by some robins on our gate in our backyard, and the birth of at least one (of hopefully three) baby birds:
Robin’s Nest from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

A House Divided (This title post won’t make sense unless you are from North Carolina)

NCAA and March Madness used to be fuzzy concepts – now in the heart of the Tobacco Road rivalry, they are a matter of life and death. It is best to pretend you care in polite company. On UNC’s campus I nod politely when people trash-talk Duke and at Duke, I indulge the K-Ville crowd. Truth be told, it is a little more interesting when there are brackets and Sweet 16’s, Elite 8’s, Final 4’s and reasons to drink beer in crowds. But I was at a kids consignment clothing sale the other night and one Mother in her Tarheels hat shouted at another Mom, total stranger, in a dark blue sweater, “Why aren’t you wearing Carolina Blue?” And she meant it. Yipes. I’ve had enough of the Red and Blue bickering, more than enough, I don’t need the Two Shades of Blue bickering too. Especially over something like college basketball. But then I substitute the words “college basketball” for “Canadian hockey” and I kinda get it.

In today’s videos, you will not see much blue. Pink and red are the theme of the day, a little late for Valentines but always in style at our house. Here’s Simone running around in said outfit (apologies for the angle but it wouldn’t let me rotate it:)

Simone on the porch from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

There’s another of her play sweeping over on Vimeo-land too.

I have night classes on Thursdays which makes my Thursday break down thusly:
9-12:15 – Cataloging Class
12:15-5:15 – Work
5:30-8:00 – Night class
8:00-9:30 – Travel home, as the bus only goes once an hour.
This means I miss Simone’s whole day and I really don’t like that. She’s particularly giggly and happy right now so Sergio filmed some of her dinnertime so I could watch her when I got home.

Simone goes bananas from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

This modern world. You gotta catch up with your child in the digital way. I’m looking forward to classes ending so we can spend more analog face-to-face time together.

Spring break!

Spring Break starts this week! In reality, I’ll be using this week to catch up on work hours and homework and attending a conference – but in theory, it’s a week off. School is zooming by this semester and I feel alternatively glad and queasy that I have another year to go in Library school – glad because jobs are so thin on the ground while libraries hold their breath and see what will happen with the economy. Queasy because who knows if it’ll be better in a year, and in the meantime, competition for the few remaining student jobs seem just as fierce. This recession is circling closer to home and I’m hoping all our loved ones stay untouched.
This week in weather has been similarly up and down.
Monday – we woke up to this:Daycare was cancelled, schools were closed – 5 inches of snow in North Carolina is a big deal, especially in March.

If I had a picture to post of yesterday, just 5 days later, you’d see us walking down Fayetteville Street and the Tobacco Trail – about 7 miles in all – looking at all the street food and the barbecue stands that had popped up because of the 80 degree weather. I got a sunburn because in the last four months I kinda forgot about sunscreen. Simone loved the walk because if there is one thing that kid needs, it is constant motion. Walking, touching, picking up – always always always the one thing that I thought was out of reach and is of course incredibly dangerous. She is a whirlwind – an opinionated whirlwind.

Here’s a video of her playing with her blanket (oh how she loves her blanket – any blanket, actually. She is happiest rolling on the floor with fabric , it seems) and using one of her favourite words, Bobby. Uncle Bob, perhaps she is channeling you?

Who’s Bobby? from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.
I’ve put up a couple of other new videos – Simone in sartorial splendor (a diaper and specially squeaky shoes) too, for the hardcore Simone fan.

Some new photos too:
Here she is in her new “big girl” car seat.

And here she is “helping” with the dishwasher -I love the “caught in the act” look on her face and she’s getting so tall! Plenty more in the ol’ family album, of course.
We’ve got lots to look forward to this Spring – a trip to the ocean next weekend, friends from the West Coast in town next month and of course, the trip to Spain is becoming a reality. Hoorah!

More Christmas, birthday, and walking footage

Here is a video of Simone walking:

Simone Walking (Part 1 of 1000) from Kyla Sweet on Vimeo.

She gets a lot of practice in every day, and her depth perception is improving, but she can still take a spill at a moment’s notice.

Here are three more photos from Simone’s Christmas photo shoot at Sears that didn’t make the final cut as the Christmas card image:

And below that are a couple more photos from Simone’s 1st birthday in Edmonton that Aunt Glenna sent us:

All of our photos can be viewed here, including some of the farm that Kyla has spent a lot of time knitting for Simone. It has cows, chickens, sheep, a barn, cats, a pony, a cow … and she’ll continue to add more pieces to it over the months and years ahead.

We spent the day in Raleigh walking around downtown as it was very warm today, especially in comparison to the many freezing days we had last week. It was nice to be able to walk around in comfort so we could all get some much-needed fresh air and look at the new construction happening around downtown. It will be spring before we know it and we’ll be able to start exploring more of the South again.

We hope everybody’s 2009 is going well so far.