A visit to Riga Zoo at this time of year is always a must - the ice has finally started to melt, spring is in the air, and the animals have woken up and are a-snuffling.
Every time we go to the zoo we draw.  Usually it was just Tiss but now Mikus has started as well.  Its a great pastime, because it makes the boys stop and examine the animals more closely.  This time, Mikus' rendition of a camel (complete with a very realistic pooing action) was priceless, and Tiss sketched an incredibly lifelike stick insect.  The fun bit was guessing which animals they were at the end - because I (M) had to work ALL WEEKEND, and only got the second-hand stories of the animals they saw. 

So, things have been hectic as usual around here. Only this time things seem to have come to some culmination - and a few things had to snap, so that we could restore some kind of calm here around the house. Ever since I had kids - no actually, I remember this feeling started some time when I was still unmarried and at uni - I have not had enough hours in the day. I don't know if its a personality flaw. I suspect it is - the fact that my life is, and for years has been so full of commitments, interests and responsibilities that I have not had time to stop and "chill". Heaven forbid I could ever say I was "bored". This concept has not entered my universe since primary school! So I guess it must be a personality flaw - because let's face it, no one aside from Barack Obama can really be that busy that they have no time to relax and do nothing at some point in the last ten years. In my profile description for a group I joined a few years back, the other group members describe me as a "mūžīgi skrienošā māte" (translation : the eternally on-the-go mother), so others must identify this "busy, busy, busy" side of my existence as well.
I guess it would be easy to fix, if I could identify where it all went pear-shaped. But I can't. All I know is that there is NO TIME, and I am constantly behind in my housework, payments, promises, meetings, blog updates, etc. Maybe I set standards too high? Hmmm, hard to believe, for me "near enough" is "good enough" most of the time. But to be fair, I do give myself a hard time about not updating this blog often enough. I feel like I should post on here more often to describe our life in Latvia and things we've been up to - and then tonight I stopped and thought about it. How many of the people who read my blog are themselves more efficient updaters and communicators? How much do I know about your (yes, you know who you are) lives and what you are doing with them? Apart from an awesome sister-in-law who is a prolific blogger - I am living vicariously through her pregnancy - most of the rest of you get your own lives together. Get stuff done around the house. Organise your own holidays. Watch a bit of TV, read the Saturday papers. All that stuff that normal people do while they're not updating their blogs. Well, I say - good for you. And good for me, too! So enough of guilt tripping myself.
What I have done recently to give myself a bit more time and energy is leave my singing group. Time will tell if its permanent or temporary. The girls have been such a big part of us living in Latvia, of the cultural contacts we have made and our understanding of the locals. A way of upkeeping the Latvian culture we fought so hard for in Australia. The twice a week rehearsals and common weekend performances were killing me, though - having participated for 7 years - and so I have left for a period of time to take stock, take a breather, and clean out my cupboards. Literally! Since leaving, of course I haven't joined the gym like I said I would. I also haven't read any significant books, or caught up with more friends, as was the intention. I have, however, got a tidier house than I have had for a long, long time - which makes and incredible change in the daily psychological grind. I have also got (marginally) happier kids, mainly, I think, because I myself am less rushed and stressed. So amen for that!
Another reason why I haven't posted for a while is because I realised that my blog could be easily renamed "Weather and Children", which in my opinion, does not make for very interesting reading. I vowed that I would not have more than the occassional post about either weather/children, and so I have stopped myself from updating on the constancy of the snow, or the developmental milestones of my ankle biters (like your own kids aren't doing/haven't done similar things at similar times...). Since this observation, though, I have surmised that life is largely made up of the above two factors (hi Dad!), so there's not much to say, really.
Anyhow, next week - the traditional Easter round up. Can't wait for that! I'll try to do it with minimum mention of kids'egg hunts, snow, mud, sun and air temperature. Ok? Ok. Cheers!

So seeing as we are avoiding comment on winter or the cold, here are some pictures of us on an excursion to the old town last weekend. Beautiful view of the Daugava River in the back. (Yes, it's all still a big block of ice)

And while we're on the subject of less kids commentary: here are M and M loving the recent toys exhibition at the Latvian National Museum of History. Getting into character as two little devils...

Here's Mikus this morning in line for a haircut. His hair is about as unkempt as our house and family at the moment! We have been super busy, as always, and the last thing I've wanted to do is update this blog. The endless winter is taking its toll, too. Last week it actually got sunny and the snow began to melt, and it seemed that there was an end in sight to the cold and ice. Yesterday and today it started snowing again. And I say, enough is enough. It's the middle of March already! I'm hoping to write a proper post soon, but for now, thanks for tuning in. Over and out!
PS. On the flickr link (right) there are some pics of our super-fast trip to Hamburg/Bremerhaven to visit some museums and get out of the daily grind. We went last weekend and very much enjoyed the environmental educational "experience", Klimahaus, a multimillion dollar experiential journey. We also stopped in at miniature world, which had truly amazing miniature trains going through all kinds of terrain. Even a mother of sons found it fascinating!


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