Monday, February 28, 2011

plant life

In the last three years, a number of my plants have fallen victim to a sad lack of attention. Apparently I can't keep both multiple people and plants alive and thriving simultaneously. This is the latest tragic case.

But then, against all odds, both the orchid and the anthurium flowered this week! Woo-hoo! Hope is not lost, ye few remaining plants!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

winter sports

The end of February - the snow is melting, the trail is muddy, the local streams are rushing, and I saw a brave forsythia bush coming to bright yellow bloom. I can't wait for spring to arrive. We have rushed outside to enjoy these first few warm days. Sebastian has been riding his push bike around the neighborhood, and the difference in his confidence level between last summer and now is amazing. He actually lifts both feet off the ground and glides along for a few feet at a time.

I've also just realized that while I've blogged lots about Sebastian and Liesl, I haven't written much about how we've stayed busy this winter. Sebastian goes to daycare three days a week and stays home the other days, so we've had lots more time together. We signed up for a music class on Thursdays that has been great fun. Sebastian plays the instruments and dances, and Liesl gazes at everyone with rapt fascination. Seb requests that I play the accompanying music cd constantly, and so I have memorized all the songs and am able to sing along in my ridiculously off-key voice. :) We also signed up for swimming classes at the Tarrytown YMCA. We've only had three so far, and it's been rough going, but we're hoping to get him a bit more comfortable in the water before next summer. We've been visiting the library at least once and sometimes twice a week. The Irvington library is just a few blocks away and is one of Seb's favorite places, so we often walk down after naptime to pick up a few more books. At any given time, we have 10-20 library books scattered around, and it reminds me so much of my childhood.

Last winter, I couldn't convince Sebastian to wear a hat or mittens or boots, so our outdoor adventures were extremely short-lived. It was frustrating, especially for this Canadian. This winter he's been much more accepting of warm clothes and of the snow, and so we have done lots of tromping through the snow along the trail. Seb likes to make little tunnels in the snow with his boots, or get a stick and whack the snow, or drag along our little red sled. We went sledding a couple of times and had a really good time, although we had to start off very slowly. Our boy is not a daredevil and did not want to go too fast, so we had to start a couple of steps up the hill and work our way higher.

There were also a couple of special trips: we visited the Children's Museum in Norwalk, which has been completely redone, and went ice-skating with Nathan and his family. Ice-skating was back-breaking for me: bending over and holding up a 32-lb boy on skates is no picnic. I was crippled the next day. But he gamely tried it out and we went round and round the rink. And we discovered an indoor play space in Port Chester called Leapin Lizards, which has tunnels and slides and rope ladders and ball rooms, and have been there four or five times to let Seb run off some steam.

All in all, it's been a busy winter, with lots of small adventures. But I'm still looking forward to spring.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

hidden talents

(Click on the pic to see the video.)

I did not play with trains as a child, and was not much of a Lego builder either. Creating structures is not my strong point. But then I had a boy who loves trains, and sometimes needs help getting the tracks to join up into a circle. And so I've built a lot of tracks over the past year, and I'm getting better and better. (We've also bought a lot of new tracks, including some specialized pieces, which make the whole thing more fun and interesting.)

Seb and I made this track setup together, and I'm just amazed at how well all the junctions actually work!
From February 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Sebastian has very recently started to grasp the idea of money. We have always talked to him about money, of course, telling him that he can't eat food at the grocery store until we pay money for it, and explaining that we have to work to earn money to pay for everything. But it didn't seem to make much of an impression.

But then, he got six dollars from Great-aunt Adele for Valentine's Day. He was thrilled. He put the money in his piggy bank. And then he asked if he could buy the car Flo (Cars movie-character) with his money. We said yes, and he was super excited - starting putting on his shoes and jacket to head out the door immediately. We took him to Target, and while we couldn't find Flo, we did find a bright-yellow sports car that he really liked, and he got to buy it.

He then started to seem pretty interested in money - wanted to know how he could get more. So we started talking about an allowance, to be given once a week, if he was a good boy. He didn't say much, and we weren't sure he'd understood. But after about a week, he asked if he'd been a good boy and if he could have some more money. I gave him three dollars, which he took with great glee and stuffed into his piggy bank.

And then came today's swimming lesson, his third one. He really did not want to go. He dawdled, and cried, and told us he didn't want to swim, and looked fair to having an enormous tantrum at the Y. So I told him I'd give him a dollar for entering the room and joining the class, and another dollar for every time he went into the water. He thought that was pretty cool, and left.

I'm four dollars poorer tonight, and I have a sinking sensation that I might have unleashed a scheme I will soon regret. Ah, well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

playing games

This winter - cold and snowy as it has been - has been a season of games around here. Sebastian is now old enough to play and enjoy all kinds of games, and it's been fun for me and Steve to rediscover them as well. We've got Chutes & Ladders and Boggle Jr. - classics - as well as our favorite Busytown board game. We've got really fun wooden sets to play Memory and Dominoes, both transportation-themed. And in the last week, we've introduced card games - Go Fish, Old Maid, and Crazy Eights. Sebastian is really into all of them. Perhaps it's just a guaranteed way to get a parent's attention, as we can't insist that he play by himself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

comparing Liesl and Sebastian

Many people have told me that Liesl looks remarkably like Sebastian. It's hard for me to say. Of course, I've also heard that she looks exactly like me, and also like Steve, so I always take such comments with a grain of salt. But for fun, here are some side-by-side photos of Liesl and Seb, taken around the same age.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

bright eyes

Our girl is increasingly aware and interested in things - she especially loves watching us eat and drink - and she's starting to use her hands in an intentional way. This afternoon, she laughed for the first time - I was tickling her and laughing, and she giggled so sweetly. Steve and I were happily both in the room, and so charmed.

She continues to sleep for more time than I would have dreamed of - 12 hours at night, and around 4 hours during the day. Looking back at the (extremely obsessive) records I kept from when Sebastian was a baby, he never slept more than 12 hours a day in total. On the other hand, he fell asleep whenever he was in the car, and anytime he was in a stroller or baby Bjorn, and she is pickier about her environment. She likes our bed or her crib, and she likes it to be dark, and her favorite sleeping position is snuggled up next to me on her side. But overall she is a good sleeper, and we are not complaining!

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Liesl's beautiful quilt

My aunt Martha Avery made a beautiful quilt for Liesl. Pictures below. Thank you!!!

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