Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beach Day!

Terry's team from work had a day retreat at the beach on Friday and we got to go along! It was the same beach we visited in March - but it looks very different now in the middle of beach season!

One of Terry's co-workers brought her two kids as well - a 10-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy. The girl loves little kids and speaks a fair amount of English, so she and Gabriel really hit it off. Valerie enjoyed them too though she was more shy and mostly did her own thing digging in the sand. Although she was very impressed when the boy buried his feet in the sand!

SPF 50!

Gabe LOVED going in the waves with me! I thought he'd be scared but he wasn't at all. He didn't like the sea grass getting stuck in his toes though. He loved crashing into the waves and wanted to sit by himself in the surf (which he did not get to do). When we went back in to our beach chair I saw I'd been gripping him so hard I left a red mark from my fingers!

Valerie called the boardwalk a "maze" and liked running back and forth between me and the cafe where Terry was in his meetings. 

The boy loves chocolate, and he loves ice cream, so chocolate ice cream = a little bit of heaven!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tirana summer

I'm not sure how much you'll hear from me in the next week or so - it's always feast or famine around here, isn't it? Shpresa, our nanny, is away at a church retreat for the next 10 days so my only internet time is while Gabriel is napping (yes, after faking me out for 3 days he went back to his usual mid-day nap). Valerie is playing with Terry's iPad right now - we got a bunch of learning-to-read and beginning math apps that she enjoys a lot. Maybe too much... subject for another post!

Anyway, we have lots of fun things planned for the coming days - trips to Fun Cafe, the pool, Twisty Slide park, Dada's office, maybe even the amusement park one day. Pool time on the balcony. Running up and down the hall with balloons, jumping on the couch, drawing on the floor with markers. Good times ahead!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gaza Field Visits

Terry comes home tonight! So I'm going to post another of his e-mail reports. This is a really long one (although Terry described it as a "quick note") but I found his descriptions of visiting farmers and WV projects in Gaza really fascinating, a little glimpse into another world. I wish I'd sent the camera along with him! 


Overall, it was a fun day – not least because I got to go out of the hotel grounds, but also because I like hanging with farmers and chatting over coffee or tea.

So in the morning, I was picked up and after a quick office stop, we went out to visit some projects.  The security situation here is a little amped up so before I pop out to visits, the Office Security officer has to vet the area I am going to visit and see if there’s been any “activity” (usually Israeli incursions or bombing).  I was told that this morning on the east side of Gaza, there had been an incursion with tanks and a micro-bus was shot at – a Palestinian was killed and two were injured.  It was sort of treated by the staff as “just another day at the office” – although the one M&E officer (the woman) was a little upset about a Palestinian being killed (again).  Anyway, the areas we were going to visit were evidently okay, so we set off.

More protocol is that any outsiders (me) have to be accompanied by a driver and a security officer and only travel in a WV dedicated vehicle.  So in addition to my guide (the M&E officer for the ADP – a woman named Hajar who is really good), I had the driver and a security officer.  They were kind of bored with the site visits – they aren’t really into programming stuff – so it was funny to see them kind of lolling around complaining about the heat and the farms and stuff.

So this cavalcade set off.  The first visit was to a farmer who had had his greenhouse repaired by WV after it had been bombed by an Israeli incursion during the war.  The farmers here are pretty good.  The issues in Gaza aren’t like campesinos from the highlands settling in the selva or trying to do some micro-enterprise by getting people who’ve never gardened to do good gardening.  Rather, their approach is that the technical knowledge is present in the people, but the infrastructure keeps getting trashed by the bombing and war.  Replace the infrastructure and people will be okay.

So, for example, the first farmer we visited was part of a family of 5 brothers who managed 14 greenhouses of the nylon plastic and steel pipe variety.  They grew melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and legumes in a rotating cycle.  Their grandfather had started the greenhouses, was passed on to their father, and now they were running it.  So it wasn’t like they were starting new.  It was interesting talking to the farmer.  He talked about how he experiments a bit each year by taking a single row of plants in his greenhouse and planting something new – to see how the production is.  If it works well in a single row, then he may expand it to his whole greenhouse in the cycle of plants they do.

Across the street his uncle had a potato farm and their big storehouse reminded me of the Phelps farm (except not cold).

We drank some Turkish coffee strongly flavored with cloves – really good.

The farms here are interesting because they are not really “rural” in the sense that we might think of farms – 1.5 million people live in Gaza strip.  The farms are more like 1-3 acre plots mixed around inside the city.  So in our first visit, it looked like we were in a neighborhood, turn a corner, and there are a bunch of greenhouses tucked away on a back alley.

The second visit was a farming family that was doing citrus trees.  Again, they had been farmers for a long while back, had had a greenhouse, but it was an old style greenhouse, not as efficient, so they converted to Citrus about 7 years ago.  WV helped them with some pruning and cleaning processes after the war when the trees had been sprinkled with phosphorus or something.  Their little farm was located in a rather nice neighborhood, shady with modestly nice houses.  I had asked about whether this was a nicer section of town and they said that this neighborhood was comprised of people who had used to work in Israel before all the blockade and war and they had earned pretty good salaries as workers.  The houses date from that time.  I think the family we visited was one of those that had had a worker in Israel who was forced back.  So the farm which had been a supplemental source of income became the primary source – causing a pinch.

The house was a pretty big villa type, but there were four families living in it now – the grandfather couple, their four children (married families) and the grandchildren.  They Gazans are interesting because they look working class, but there’s all this education rolling around in the background.  So for example, the lead farmer we were talking to had gotten degrees at the university in Economics and Political Science and three of the grandchildren were enrolled in university.

The impression I get is that this is an area that really goes against the archetype of “development” as progress from the noble savage to modern man, etc.  In reality, it’s a place that had a strong professional core, a solid foundation of farmers, a good university system, and a highly educated populace who have all been affected by the various wars and incursions and subsequent infrastructure destruction.  In one sense, what this means is that there’s a much better chance than in many places that “development” might actually work – meaning development as articulated through the Marshall Plan foundation.

At this second family, we drank a mint tea that was super strong and super sweet.  Tasted great.

The third site visit was a children’s center that had been started by 23 university grads who were trained in social work or children’s education and had gotten tired of working for NGOs or who weren’t happy with the lack of a children’s center.  So about three years ago, this cohort all chipped in on volunteer basis and started their own children’s center.  Everyone is a volunteer there and they have about 600 kids that come to the center – spread out into various shifts since they don’t have much space.  It was interesting just how empowered the kids acted though.  We sat down with about 6-8 kids who were excited, talked directly to Hajar and made direct eye contact.  You could see they were feeling their rights.  It was pretty cool.  I don’t know how long the center can last on purely volunteer basis, but it’s rather inspiring to see these young people put the time into the center.  They all work elsewhere and this is their volunteer time.  For example, the manager of the center is a young guy about 28 who works at the Italian embassy or consulate.  He was going to go to work at 3:00 after spending the morning at the center.  We were only given water to drink.

One side note about the women here – Gaza is a conservative Muslim context and all of the women wear the headscarves and the flowing long sleeved robes – usually black.  It’s also not that unusual to see the total burka look.  But what has struck me is how even with this conservative dress, the women aren’t particularly subservient or submissive.  Maybe it’s just the group I have interacted with, but the women will speak up, don’t act subservient around the men and will sort of hang out and chat casually with the men.  The ones I met are also highly educated – university degrees and such.  So that may be part of it, but still – it feels different from the horror stories about gender relationships you hear out of places like Afghanistan or Pakistan.  Maybe the key difference is that this is a population that had all been educated – including the women.  I don’t know.  Maybe more will emerge over the next few days.

The last visit was to a CBO that is a sports club for deaf young people.  It was started in 2005 after the Athens Special Olympics and has about 250 deaf members who come to the center to play different sports – including soccer.  This club just started a beachside café to help generate income for the club but to also give the deaf youth some opportunities for employment and training.  So we sat in the shade on the beach watching the waves do wavey things and chatted with the youth and the board members of the club.  I had asked about the profitability of the café and they admitted that it wasn’t really generating much profit, but it has gotten a LOT of publicity and it’s been great for the deaf youth to be able to run the café and learn business skills.  They said a lot of families with disabled members will come to this particular beachside café because they now consider it “theirs” – even the ones who aren’t members in the club.

It sort of looks like Gazans do the beach scene.  There are all these kiosks of bamboo and thatch up and down the beach with beach umbrellas and food and so forth.  My host told me that there used to be actual resorts and hotels along the beach, but during the war, these were all bombed and bulldozed by the Israelis to prevent them being used as bases for incursions – so now people just built everything from bamboo and thatch with netting because it’s easier to rebuild after a bombing.

One twist is that there are these little cubicles set up along the beach about 3 meters on a side, made of burlap and open to the sky.  I was told that families will come to the beach – usually in the cool of the day after noon - and rent one of these cubicles.  The purpose of the cubicles is so that the women of the family can have privacy and can take off their robes and headscarves and eat at the beach.  The young people hang out in the public area together, but these cubicles are the for the families and especially the married women.  We saw a family come down and rent one of those.  There were about 12 people or so ranging from grandfather to uncles to aunts to little kids.  They’d brought their own food in big baskets and they set up shop around one of the cubicles.  The men sort of lounged around outside while the women hung around inside and the kids ran back and forth.  There was one little kid about Gabriel’s age toddling around with his 7 or 8 year old sister and it made me go “awwww”.

We were there longer than I expected because they offered to get us some lunch – cooked by the deaf youth – “it will only take a half-hour, very fast” – ha ha – 2 hours later we were served.  It was great food though – the chicken was grilled and blackened with cloves making a really interesting flavor.  Then there were the usual suspects – humus and pita bread, tarator, and other dipping sauces.  If we ever move to Gaza, you’d better love humus.  The beginning of every meal is a bowl of humus and a pile of pita bread which is ripped and dipped in the humus.
By the time I got back to the hotel, it was about 3:30 or so.  By this time, I was pretty hot and salty from sitting at the beach for two hours (under a shade, but still) and so took a shower, and then tried to slog through the rest of the dark teatime of the soul.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video from G's Second Birthday

Am I stuck in a blogging moment that I can't get out of? The past two weeks have been very Bug-centric around here. I think that's ok. Valerie is really cute in this video too :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crossing into Gaza and First Impressions

Further notes from Terry's trip to Gaza; this one about crossing the border and first impressions:


So I'm in the hotel room now in Gaza after a fairly long day.  I'm pretty tired but wanted to take a shower and go down and get some food before going to bed.   
The ride [to Gaza] was interesting - heading south we went through more fertile landscape than the Tel Aviv/Jersulaem/West Bank rocky desert scene - in fact much of the trip down south through Israel proper reminded me of driving through Ohio or Iowa or something - very heartland looking from the road (Interstate quality), to the crops in the fields, to the small town infrastructure - just insert some palm trees and bougainvillea in rural Ohio (and write everything in Hebrew or Arabic) and you'd pretty much have the landscape we drove through.

...then we hit The Wall.  Talk about an experience.  So you basically are going through the Heartland, and suddenly "Whoomp" there's a big wall and checkpoint marking the border to the Gaza Strip.  It's a pretty serious crossing over exercise - you can't drive through - so the Taxi drops you off at Israeli side - you go through three separate Israeli checkpoints and four different turn-style gates - then you are walking across no man's land with the wall looming up behind you.  It's a pretty serious wall - maybe 30-40 feet high, razor wire and machine gun posts scattered across the top - it would be an Enver Hoxha [isolationist Albanian dictator] dream wall.

Walking across the No Man's land was quite the experience, I was on a covered cement walkway which was fenced in on both sides for a LOOOONG way.  The hot sun is beating down, the landscape is barren - except for razor wire and cement blockades - and I just walked and walked and walked.  Should have heard one of those hawk shrieks up in the sky that you get on movies to show the heroes have been walking for a really long time in the desert sun...it was probably about nearly a kilometer of walking to get to the end of the fence - just walking by myself away from the looming wall on this little concourse.  After I got out of the narrow fenced in walkway, then it was about another 500 meters on a beat-up sandy macadam road to the Palestinian side of the checkpoint.  I had to wait there until the WV security officer showed up, but he knew everyone and had the right documents and they were used to the WV crossovers (there are something like 50 iNGOs operating projects in Gaza so there are a fair number of foreigners that come over now and then).

The Palestine side was light years away from the Heartland.  Everything seriously sandy desert, decaying infrastructure - I saw a donkey cart go by the Palestine checkpoint while waiting and was thinking you wouldn't see that in the Heartland.  It sort of felt like going from the Heartland to an Indiana Jones movie.  The trip to the hotel on the Palestine side was pretty short - maybe 20 minutes - but the cityscape was one of those annoying ones that really felt familiar and reminded me of somewhere I'd been - but I couldn't name the place.  The hotel is right on the seaside (which would be cool if I was allowed to actually leave the hotel ever) and the drive along the coastal place really reminded me a lot of Somalia - but the plastic garbage litter really reminded me of Albania...and the Taj Mahal mosque just across the street from the hotel didn't really remind me of either.  So anyway, Gaza looks interesting.

And talk about a weird place to live - there's literally a 30 foot high cement razor wire wall with machine guns running the entire border of the Strip - no one is allowed in or out except with permits from BOTH the Israeli government AND Hamas (the current rulers of the Strip) - as you might imagine, there aren't a lot of people who get permission from both of those groups - although I did see a lot of people - maybe a few dozen - Palestinians coming through while I was hanging around the checkpoint, so I'm not sure what all the ins and outs are for moving back and forth - but let's say there's not really free movement.

Then, the Strip borders Egypt to the south and there are all these smuggling tunnels under that border which the Israelis more or less ignore unless the tunnels are used for weapons, then they collapse the tunnel - but all sort of goods and food are smuggled in - as well as people - I was told that there are five star tunnels that are lighted and you can drive a vehicle through, four star tunnels that are lighted with AC, three star tunnels with just lights, and so forth - so there's a bit of a system there.

Anyway - weird situation.  It will be interesting to learn more.  Oh, in addition - I'll be here for 10 days for the evaluation - the security officer here said that's the longest time he's ever heard of any foreigner staying here - he seemed kind of puzzled about what to do with me for that length of time since it's over a weekend - I think he was worried he'd need to baby sit me for the weekend... 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Little Dude

Gabriel drew this:
It's a car!

This is actually my teddy bear. 
(Can an almost-40-year-old woman still sleep with a teddy bear?)

 One day I turned my back for a minute, and when I turned around again I saw this:
Dude. If you can push the chair over to the counter, climb up and find your infant tylenol, then you are so ready to use the potty. Yes you are. Yes you are! Okay, tomorrow then.

And the next day he climbed up on the counter next to the sink and helped himself to the gummy bears hidden on the Shelf of Forbidden Things (e.g. electronics, coins, batteries...)


My Grandma Beth was always very interested in naming trends and patterns. In her later years, she had a practice of looking up the birth announcements in the local daily paper and memorizing the list of baby names for that day. It was also an exercise to keep her mind active.

I thought about her as I saw a wave of birth announcements come through on Facebook the past two weeks - SEVEN babies born within 11 days, to my friends and relatives! I thought it might be interesting to my readers to see the babies' first names. They are all girls except one. I think Grandma would have been tickled in recent years to see a resurgence of "old-fashioned" and classic names especially for girls.

July 1: Emi Sofia
July 5: Mira Joanna
July 9: Penelope Jane,
           Samuel Li-Wen,
           Elsa Amy (big day!)
July 10: Nola Jean
July 11: Pandora Bella-Rain

I've observed that Old Testament names for boys are currently popular, especially Samuel and Daniel right now. I've never been able to get on board with the OT names ending in -ah though; to me it sounds like a feminine ending. Maybe because the first "Micah" I ever met was a girl? And the -a ending in Spanish is feminine. This is babycenter's top 100 for 2011.

During my college freshmen orientation, we were told that there were 16 Jennifers in our class of about 500, and 15 Amys. Elizabeth is a perennially popular name - there are three Elizabeths at our church here, which is not that big - my, a Lizzy, and a Beth. It's kind of nice that there are so many possible nicknames and variants of Elizabeth. Lots to choose from.

I've heard parents of girls under 10 right now named Olivia and Sofia that when they chose those names they had no idea how popular they were going to be, lamenting a bit being part of a big trend. It's hard to predict. It seems to me that naming trends reflect something in the zeitgeist.

I love my name. I hope our kids like and enjoy their names for the rest of their lives.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post from Gaza

It's Monday, I seem to have developed a head cold, and at 10 a.m. it's so muggy I'm sweating just sitting in the shade. So I'm going to give you a brief update on the state of things in the Phantzi household, and then give it over to Terry for a glimpse into his exciting life as a demi-god of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation for an international development organization. (Sounds dull, but wait 'til I post the story of his crossing over from Israel into Gaza!)

We had a pretty good weekend here, although I've realized that the hardest parts of the day for me are 1) putting G down for nap, especially since V no longer naps in the afternoons, and 2) putting the kids to bed at night. I have yet to figure out a way to do this that doesn't end in my shouting at them to just lie down and go to sleep already. Sigh. But the spaces between were good. We played a lot. More Phantzi little yarns about that soon. Over to you, Terry (with tangentially related photos from a family visit to his desk in Tirana last year):


There are many important skills that a good evaluator should have - they have to be able to design a process that combines generating good data with feasible capacity and logistical constraints.  They have to be good at seeing patterns in the data and being able to synthesize these patterns into useful conclusions and recommendations.  They have to be good at writing a comprehensive yet comprehensible report.  They have to be a good facilitator and so forth.

However, I think that the single most difficult skill an evaluator must master is to be able to sit one's butt in a chair for six hours interviewing people with the same questions over and over while keeping an expression on one's face that implies that they really care about what the people are saying. 
Needless to say, I'm kind of beat right now.  Just did three KIIs [Key Informant Interviews] with ADP [Area Development Project] staff from North Gaza.  I didn't actually get to leave the hotel because when the ADP manager had come to get me in the morning, I had said, well, since you're here, why don't we do our interview here and then go to the office?" - his interview took 3 hours and while we were doing it - a demonstration started in front of the WV building related to something about the PLO.  It was pretty mild as demonstrations go and the staff weren't particularly worried, but security protocol said that you can't take a foreigner around a demonstration, so I wasn't allowed to go to the office after all.  So I ended up doing all three interviews here at the hotel.

I feel a little stir crazy right now.  Have to type up the notes,but thought I would pause to drop you a line.  Actually, I paused to go upstairs and take a nap, but now I'm back and ready for putting my notes into matrixes.  Yippee! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012


This is a belated Father's Day post.

When was it? Weeks ago, I'm sure. I think it was in the middle of our trip to the US.

Some of my best memories of growing up were playing with my Dad. When he would patiently take on the role of Prince Charming in our endless Cinderella/Snow White/Rapunzel recreations, or build a pretend Christmas tree out of a clothes rack while playing "Pi" (Pioneers), or when at bedtime I'd say "Daddy, let's talk," and he'd sit at the end of my bed and we would just talk about whatever was on my mind, usually random things I'd seen in my poring over our World Book Encyclopedia. I always expected him to know the Answers - especially what will the weather be like tomorrow? (That one was easy, I understand now - we lived in the Amazon - so that would be... um... HOT!) :-) 

I love watching Terry with our kids. I know they are building memories for the years to come.

Owl the goofball:

Making it safe to take little risks:

A firm foundation for fun:

Intrepid toddler wrangler:

Literary events:

Purveyor of popcorn in the park:

And Duty Free! (I feel like there's an awesome pun in there somewhere but I'm too hot and sleepy right now to think what it might be):

Love you, miss you, come home soon!

And this post would not be complete without mention of my Father-in-Law, aka "Grandpa Owl"! You've been a supportive and encouraging voice in our lives through the many changes and transitions of the past couple years. Also: thanks for washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen every evening while you were here in December! It did not go unremarked. Hang in there: we'll be seeing you soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Can you tell I'm making up for lost time with the blogging? 

It's easy when you have such adorable subject matter!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 Some mornings when Gabe and I wake up long before everybody else (not, obviously, when Terry is out of town as he is now) I take him out so his morning exuberance won't wake them up. We go down to the street, buy some bread or byrek (phyllo dough stuffed with cheese and/or spinach, onions, tomato, etc.) and then go to a cafe where we can eat and I can get some coffee.

He likes to help me put sugar in my macchiato, and then spoon up the foam and put it in my mouth - or sometimes his own! I think in these photos he was pouring the coffee dregs into the cup of cold water that you normally get along with your coffee.

We usually make a mess. Which is why we are big tippers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


This is what Gabriel does when you ask him "how old are you?"

(Oh, and I bought that shirt for Valerie, but she refuses to wear it - and those are her outgrown shoes... being the opposite sex doesn't save him from hand-me-downs!)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Field Notes

So Terry is away on an evaluation trip for the coming two weeks; he left Saturday night and will be back next Friday. So far we're coping pretty well; V keeps saying things like "Where's Owl? He will come back very soon to see us." On the other hand they got lots of Mama-time on Sunday and slept fairly well last night, so we're good on that score. 

Here are some excerpts from Terry's first e-mail recounting his trip, in his own inimitable voice: 


[Someone took him out for ice cream in downtown Jerusalem]…it was all open walkways, cool old city streets and modern malls built in a very outdoorsy grape-viney fashion.  So a cool combination of modern convenience coupled with Arabic architecture and Jerusalem history.  Plus awesome views.

In downtown Jerusalem there's this beautiful open, green space and lots of casual walkers enjoying their lives - and just over the hill out of sight are the Palestinian settlements clustered behind high fences of razor wire.  Downtown are the Jews and the Israeli Arabs and out of sight are the majority of the population crammed into these little barren hillsides - and getting more crammed as religious Jewish settlers encroach bit by bit on the "good bits" of the Palestinian territory. 

As we were driving back from the airport (an hour's drive) I kept thinking "why?  HOW is this type of thing allowed? - it's insane":  I told that to a passing Israeli and he said "oh, you're right - we never realized.  Okay, we're fixing it all now.  Sorry about that".  I felt good that I could make a difference - all it takes is an external consultant coming in and pointing out the obvious :)

Okay, that didn't really happen.  But it should have…
In terms of environment, it's a lot more deserty than I expected.  Well, we know the Middle East is desert, but still.  Driving back from the airport - I kept thinking "hot and rocky - with lots of olive trees everywhere".  However, the olive trees are a lot more scraggly and toughened than the ones we see in Albania.  Kind of like they are dug in and holding on by the skin of their rootlets in a hostile environment.

There's also more open space than I expected.  There are a LOT of people in Israel in terms of population density, but they are heavily concentrated to make better use of limited resources - it's cheaper to maintain people clustered tightly together in terms of services.  So you'll have these barren hills and then "poof" a thick cluster of apartment blocks of a settlement...and then "whoosh" back to barren hills again. 
There's LOTs of light.  That clear desert sky and light that's really cool.  Also, because it's desert, it's hot during the day, but at night it gets cool and comfortable.  So the time we were out for ice cream - everyone was out walking around and hanging out as the cool of dusk set in.  I really like that kind of scene.

Food wise - it's awesome - everything Arabic - humus, olive oil, pita bread, cheeses, falafel, etc.  So I was pretty happy on that score too.

Walking around the old walls of Jerusalem was kind of cool.  Lots of history there and I kept imagining Christ from the Mount of Olives (where WV headquarters are) saying "oh Jerusalem...." I can't remember the rest of it, but something like "you're great, but you suck". [Ed. note: Luke 13:34 [NIV]: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"]

 So that's Terry's Impressions of Israel/Jerusalem for you. Further updates as events warrant!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Pool Time!

Pooh in her happy place - potato chips! 

 Single ladies of Tirana, please take note:
 These are Shpresa's boys - they're so good with G!

Apologies to the random people who got caught in my lens...

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Birthday Boy: 2 years old!

Aw, Little Dude!  
How was it you were ever so small?
Look at those tiny little fists... that nose... oh sleeping baby!

One turn around the sun, 
Once again the heat of summer,
Here you were: one year old.

My sweet little boy!

 You are SO. MUCH. FUN.
You are playful, mischievous, friendly and a flirt.

You are cuddly and sweet;  sa i dashur the ladies say.

You are curious, delighted, full of laughter and enjoyment of life.

 You've been places!

 You love to monkey around. 
You're way more coordinated than any other kid you're age that I've met.

You are a budding artist!

And comedian!

You love music and dancing.
You have a natural sense of rhythm and exuberant response to music.

Happy birthday to my favorite son. We are so blessed by having you in our lives.
I love you more than I can say. Hugs and kisses, Mama.