Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walking on a log

 Look at me! I'm walking on the log like mama and Sebastian!


Crash. Oof. (Bad mama, continuing to photograph a tipping baby.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

tough week

It's been a tough week for our girl's health. She's had a persistent cough since we returned from San Diego and a horribly runny nose. She's thrown up twice (we think triggered by the nasal drip, and not by a virus or food, but who knows). I took her to the doctor on Wednesday to check out her cough and rule out bronchitis, and while she didn't have bronchitis she did have an ear infection. We picked up some amoxicilin to treat it, which triggered diarrhea, which gave her a bum rash. And then this morning after the amoxicilin dosage she broke out in hives.  Sigh.  So now we've given her Benadryl for the hives and an alternate antibiotic for the ear infection, and we're just hoping that nothing else goes wrong. Poor thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

cartoon baby

Liesl continues to grow and change with extraordinary rapidity. She is clearly relishing her newfound ability to let us know exactly what she does and doesn't want with regard to food, activities, sleep, and clothing. She can shake her head no with gusto, say mama and more, point to her mouth for hungry and her chest for help, and point out objects of interest with her imperious little finger. She gets a lot of mileage out of those few skills. When crossed, she throws herself to the ground, screams and cries, and kicks her legs and pounds her arms on the floor. She's like a cartoon character throwing a tantrum.

I had a meeting with her daycare teacher yesterday just to check in and talk about how Liesl is doing. In general, she's just really happy. She loves other children and adults and will regularly make the rounds hugging all of the teachers. She sleeps well. She eats lots of fruits, veggies, rice, and pasta, but doesn't like most meat. Kelly described her as the easiest and calmest of babies, calling her "my little zen baby". Zen! Calm! I think it's fair to say she neither inherited nor learned that from me. But Kelly said that for the most part nothing really frightens, upsets, or bothers her. (obviously she's not nearly as zen at home, but that's to be expected).

She continues to astonish us with her physical confidence and willingness to try any maneuver and climb any obstacle. She saw Steve doing pushups and immediately got down on the floor and tried to copy him. She has tried to stand on her head, like Sebastian. She jumps. She can stand on one leg and do leg lifts. She likes to feed herself and brush her own teeth, she tries to comb her hair and put on her own shoes.  Her latest trick involves pushing the high chair over to the window and then climbing first up onto the seat and then from there up onto the window sill. It's so fun, and worrisome, to watch her.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

dinner conversation (or, the makings of a non-hero

We are looking at one of Sebastian's new puzzles, one with a picture of a knight on a horse, fighting a dragon that has fire coming out of its mouth. Behind the knight are two other boys; they're sort of hiding behind a hill (cowering is the word that comes to mind). We talk a bit about the knight fighting the dragon, and then:

Seb: "What are those other boys doing?"
Me: "Well, it looks like they're hiding from the dragon."
Seb: "Why?"
Me: "Well, the boy on the knight is brave, and he is fighting the dragon. But it's hard to be brave, and sometimes you're brave and fight the dragon and win and you're the hero, and other times you're brave and fight the dragon and you get eaten up. So that's not great."
Seb: "But you don't know if you're going to be the hero or get eaten up."
Me: "That's right."
Seb: "I don't think I would want to be brave. Maybe I'd just run away and hide."
Me: "Me too."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leapin Lizards

Winter is the best time for an indoor play space. LL in Port Chester is our favorite. This was Liesl's first time there as a walking toddler and she loved the tunnels and slides and ball pits. Especially the ball pits, where she kept throwing herself backward with abandon and glee. I was a little worried for her because of all the really big boys (8 year olds?) running around, but she held her own and was not afraid. I had to help her through various tunnels and up and down rope slides and mats, and Seb did a wonderful job of showing her around and protecting her.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Avery/Raab/Lees in San Diego

We went to San Diego for the New Year, meeting up with Carl and Kim, Danica and Roxana, as well as my mom and dad. We flew out a few days early to let the kids get over their jet lag before the rest of the crew arrived. For the first few days we stayed in downtown San Diego, right near the baseball field and Gaslamp district. We walked around the city, swam in the hotel pool, rode the lightrail train (just a joyride, for Seb's sake), visited the auto show (great timing!), and took turns trying to catch up on sleep.  It was unseasonably warm, apparently even for San Diego, which was just lovely.

Once everyone arrived, we rented a big house in Del Mar and all stayed there together.  The house was pretty good, with plenty of space for everyone and an enormous back yard with trampoline.  We did a couple of day trips to the zoo, the Birch Aquarium, and to Torrey Pines Preserve, but also spent a lot of time just hanging around the house and playing on the local beach.

Sebastian and Danica continued their magical relationship, immediately latching onto one another and becoming inseparable for the week. They wanted to do everything together - games, meals, sleep, car rides.  It was by far the easiest week we've ever had with Sebastian; he was on his best behavior, he was daily exhausted by running around outside, and he was entertained by someone other than us all the time.

Liesl struggled a bit with sleep and health, as did Roxy, but they were mostly cheery and interested in each other and in playing with everyone. Liesl loved the beach and the ocean, plopping herself down in the waves and remaining unconcerned and unafraid even after toppling into it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

snow bunnies

Liesl was confused by the snow, and then she was just cold and cried. We took her out a couple of times and she was not a fan. No surprise there - I remember Seb having the same reaction.

Sebastian, on the other hand, loved the snow. He wanted to go out at 7 am in the cold darkness, as soon as he saw it. We spent multiple hours outside today, shoveling snow off the car, walking around town, stomping in piles, and going for the rides in the sled. Even though we discovered just this morning (oops) that his boots were too small (bad mommy), he never once complained of being cold or having cold feet.  It was glorious.

Friday, January 20, 2012

pickup sticks and puzzles

Our boy has been very interested in playing games and doing puzzles lately. Maybe it's just the winter, maybe it's a developmental thing, maybe he's been copying a friend at daycare, but he's been very excited about puzzles in particular.  And he's clearly gotten a lot better since the last time he was really into puzzles, finding the 48 piece puzzles easy, and even managing to do the few 60 and 100-piece ones on his own.  We bought a couple of new ones, thinking that it would take him at least a few times to get comfortable, but instead he did it immediately with barely any help.  So now we're back on the market, looking for some 200-piece ones.

The other game we've been playing is pickup sticks, a spectacularly old-fashioned game. We have the sticks that the Avery family played all through my childhood, courtesy of Popo and Bompy.  We've been playing it a lot, and although we don't usually manage to pick up all the sticks before losing interest, it's been fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the end

After more than 14 months, I have stopped nursing Liesl. It was a good run, and a slow winding down, but we are through. I'm really happy and proud to have made it for such a long time.  Fortunately, she doesn't appear to miss it and although I expected to be a bit sad and wistful at the end, as it turns out I am not.  I am extremely happy to once again be free to drink regular coffee and more than the occasional single glass of wine! I stopped by the wine store last night to buy some celebratory bottles, in particular, Clear Creek's Cassis liqueur, an addictive drink. Skal!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted anything. It's been such a busy time, but still!  Sigh. In December, any free moment I had was taken up with shopping for gifts and arranging our trip to San Diego, or baking cookies, or wrapping presents. But it was a glorious holiday month, and a wonderful family reunion in San Diego, and we have tons of photos to document it all. I'll try to post them in batches, so I at least have some record.

We had the Happy Harbor Christmas party first, where Santa came on the fire engine and distributed presents to all the children. Sebastian knew the drill and was super excited. Liesl looked very suspiciously at this strange man, but once she got her present and opened it up, she looked at him with fresh interest. (New toys! I like him!)  The pre-K children all sang a couple of songs for us - Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Jingle Bells, We wish you a merry Christmas, and This Land is your land (complete with props).  It was great to watch and listen to Sebastian participate.

We let the children open two presents on Christmas Eve - new pajamas! With matching red and white stripes. And a new book, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Grandpa Avery skype-called from California and read the book to all the grandchildren.

We left out homemade gingerbread cookies for Santa, and he filled our stockings. Christmas morning was the usual jumble of paper and presents - new cars, books, dolls, socks, sweaters, and various other toys. We ate the fig bread I had made, as always - it was particularly figgy this year. It was Liesl's first time and she loved it.

After presents and breakfast, we drove out to Long Island to celebrate with the Raabs. Liesl and Hana wore matching red dresses, which was ridiculously cute. Sebastian and Rio had a great time playing together - the age difference matters less as they get older - which was terrific.  More presents followed, and lots of delicious food, and good times with all.