Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stepping Stones museum

Steve had to work today, so Sebastian and I took ourselves off to the Stepping Stones Children's Museum, in Norwalk CT. We had visited there once before, when Sebbe was much smaller and it was cold outside. This time, we played briefly in the water play room (always a favorite feature of any kids' museum) before going outside to the courtyard. They recently redid it and it's now great fun. Instead of a fixed playground structure of stairs and slides and tunnels, it's full of big blue blocks and cylinders that you can assemble in a variety of ways, as well as giant checker pieces, soft balls, and brightly colored plastic "stones". It really encourages creative play, both for the adults and the kids!

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After lunch and a short nap, we took a walk along the trail with Steve. Sebbe has been watching us kick soccer balls, or dribble them down a field, for quite a while, without really trying to kick the ball himself. Well, today a light bulb went off, and he totally got it. He placed the ball in front of himself, and then got ready, planted a foot, and kicked, and then ran after the ball and kicked it again, and again, and again. Running the whole time, just like a proper soccer player dribbling. He kept it up for at least 15 minutes, getting all red-faced and sweaty in the process. We were so proud. (Especially soccer-playing Steve, who is dreaming of soccer stardom for Seb already...)

And finally, Sebbe and I went for a bike ride along a more northern part of the OCA trail - we started in Sleepy Hollow and went alongside Rockefeller Park for about 40 minutes. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of traffic to look at, and one small boy started to get curious about the handlebars. He wanted to hold onto the part where mama holds on, and steer our ride. I guess this is the downside of the front-sitting bike seat. We compromised - I let him hold onto one handlebar. I fear trouble to come.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday at the Dobbs wading pool

Today was hazy, hot, and humid, despite a thunderstorm last night that woke everyone up. The lightning was so close to us - enormously loud and window-rattling thunder - that there was no chance of sleeping through it. Our poor boy was miserable that he was awake in the middle of the night. We cuddled a lot and he made it back eventually.

So today we stayed pretty close to home, accepting that everyone was going to need a long midday nap. We biked to the Hastings farmers market this morning, which was great fun. He points out everything to me as we go along - other bikes, mud puddles, dogs, trucks and buses - the important things. He also leans into the wind and says "wheee" when we pick up speed going down hills. This afternoon we went to the Dobbs Ferry wading pool, which is just perfect for toddlers. After a brief period of suspicion, Sebbe took to it like a duck. He splashed around, poured water on me, threw a ball up and around, and even tried to blow bubbles. He had one mishap - fell on his face and inhaled some water - but recovered very quickly and didn't immediately clamor to get out. It was a grand day.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sebastian versus the ant

Sebastian versus the ant from B. Avery on Vimeo.

country raabits and city raabits

We had a wonderful, fun-filled, busy weekend. On Saturday we drove north to Fahnestock State Park and visited Canopus Lake. Our friends Rachel and Gui (and their daughter Sonya) had recommended it to us as a great swimming and beach destination, and they were totally right. The beach is soft white sand (imported from Long Island), the lake is clear and not too cold, and there are picnic tables and tons of forested shade surrounding the lake. It's really perfect for toddlers. Sebastian could run around freely, throwing balls and making sand castles, he happily waded into the water, and we could sit at a table under the trees for our lunch. And it only took 30 minutes to drive there, along the gorgeous Taconic Parkway.

On Sunday we drove in the opposite direction, down to lower Manhattan. We wandered around Greenwich Village for a few hours, enjoying the sights and sounds of people and traffic. :) Sebbe was in heaven, surrounded by so many buses and trucks and taxis. He especially liked the tourist buses, double-decker with people on top. We watched the basketball and handball games at Seventh Ave and W. 4th St., listened to various musicians play in Washington Square Park, and played in the water sprinklers at a city playground. And Steve and I noshed on Korean hotdogs (bulgogi on top of the dog), Grom gelato, Beard Papa cream puffs, semolina and raisin bread from Amy's Bread, coffee and cupcake from Sweet Revenge, and the titular specialty at the Hummus Place. (Seb, despite our best efforts, was too excited to eat.) Yum.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mary and Joe's wedding

Mary and Joe were married on Thursday, on Long Island. The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a fabulous party at a great place on the water. We ate tons of food and stayed up late dancing - Sebbe made it to 10:30 in a wonderful, happy mood, and then crashed - we set up his travel crib in an office in the reception hall and he managed to sleep through the loud music, cheering, and the multiple transfers (to car, and then from car back to crib). Steve and I were really happy that we got to dance together, for the first time in a long time.

Our boy was the ring bearer and cousin Rio the flower girl. Mary bought a tuxedo for him, and after some initial fuss, he consented to wear it. We seriously doubted Sebbe's willingness to walk down the aisle holding hands with Rio - we thought he'd get into the church, look at all the people, and completely freak out. But instead he let Rio take his hand and walk him up - there was a slight hesitation about halfway down, but then he focused on his daddy in the front pew (beckoning madly) and he continued forward. It was awesome. Congratulations Joe and Mary!!!

There was one moment of excitement earlier in the day that we could have done without. Steve was letting Seb play in the front seat of the car - pretending to drive, etc. I called to Steve to transfer a carseat for Rio, and he left our boy in the car as he went for Rio's carseat. Unfortunately, Seb had the car keys and promptly locked himself in. Steve asked if I had the second set of car keys, and I didn't. We crowded around the car trying to convince Sebastian to push the open button, and he just kept pressing the close button over and over. Then he picked up a stray quarter and started bringing it toward his mouth. At that point, we were really not very happy. Fortunately, we convinced Sebastian to put the coin down (he even put it back into the coin slot, where it belonged), and Steve remembered that he had another set of keys in his briefcase. So we opened it up and rescued our boy, with no damage done to either boy or car.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

We have had a very busy few days.

Steve's grandfather, Thomas J. Ford II, passed away last week, peacefully, in his sleep. He was 91 years old. We went out to Long Island to visit Grandma Ford on Sunday, and then the whole family gathered for a wake on Wednesday and the funeral on Thursday. It was good to see everyone again, even for a sad occasion such as this. Sebastian behaved himself amazingly well at the funeral service. The family gathered in the morning before mass at the funeral home - everyone was very silent and there were a lot of tears. Sebastian and I came in a bit late, and he immediately recognized that something was different. He came into my arms and clung to me, and didn't try to get down or run around and play, but instead sat very quietly on my lap for 20 minutes or so. He didn't make a single noise for the entire time we were there. We were amazed that he was so observant and so well-behaved.

On Friday, since we were already on Long Island, we went to Robert Moses beach. Sebbe loved the sand but wasn't that keen on the ocean. He got splashed by a wave and seemed very suspicious of the water after that. He wouldn't venture near it, even when holding hands with one of us. So we made a bunch of (quickly demolished) sand castles and threw our tennis balls around.

From July 2009

On Saturday and Sunday we returned home and went back to our usual, favorite pursuits - the Hastings farmers market, the OCA trail, Matthiesen Park (where you can see boats, trains, and planes), and the Rockefeller State Park Preserve (with the gorgeously babbling Pocantico River). The weather was finally cooperative, remaining sunny and warm throughout.

From July 2009

And we finally did something we've been meaning to do for weeks - took Sebastian out on a bike ride!! We bought an Ibert bike seat, which attaches to the front of the bike. We assembled the bike seat, strapped our boy in, convinced him that a helmet was necessary (he hates hats), and away we went!!! It was awesome. So fun. He grinned at us and said "wheee". If he got nervous, he put his hand on my arm for comfort (so cute). But mostly he just looked around at everything and seemed totally into it. We went out both Saturday and Sunday, and I can't wait to go again!

From July 2009

20 months! So big!

Sebastian is starting to progress from nouns to directives. (As in commands.) It's rapidly becoming clear that we have our own little dictator in the house. Up, down, more, no, and lots of sounds accompanied by vigorous hand waving. A few days ago I taught him to tap on his chest for help - I was thrilled by how quickly he understood the concept and started imitating me. But then, of course, dinner-making that night was repeatedly interrupted by the plaintive and impossible-to-ignore pleas for help from one boy, whose train kept falling off the tracks (and the bridge keeps falling off the track).

I've posted hundreds of pictures of June, but haven't written anything about the month - too busy having fun and adventures. It was fabulous to have my mom and dad, and brother and family, all in New York. We were out and about and busy for the whole time they were here. It was magical to watch Sebbe learn to play with cousin Danica, but also to watch him growing more and more happy and comfortable with his Popo and Grandpa.

Another new thing - he has learned to jump. It's really hard to learn - bend your knees, coordinate your motion, and spring up. Sometimes he gets both feet off the ground simultaneously, but often one lags just behind the other. But he loves it, and tries hard over and over again. He likes to have other people jump too. He'll jump, then point at each of us in turn to also jump. I try to wimp out sometimes, lying on the couch, but he is implacable.

He's better at running now, and will walk and run for a really long time. We went out for three hours the other day and he was on his feet for most of that time. We were on the trail, dragging big sticks along in the dirt, stepping on stones, patting trees, shaking leaves, splashing in the puddles, pushing and running after the stroller, walking backwards, jumping, and a million other little things. We probably only went two miles in the three hours, but it was grand.

He loves to be outside - if we're home and he's awake, he's generally pointing toward the door and trying to convince us to leave. He loves to walk down to the water and watch the trains go by, but also to visit the playground, the trail, and any available body of water that he can throw things into. When we are home, he plays with the same toys - balls, blocks, matchbox cars, and trains. Such a boy!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


We do a lot of throwing. Tennis balls, soft balls, rocks, sticks...
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