Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Liesl's words

mama, dada, occasionally Ba for Sebastian
no (which she says niuuuww)
wa-wah (water)
nuk (pacifier - Nuk brand)
rub rub (her tummy, in the bath)
bebo (belly button)
baww (bottle - not hers, of course, but other babies')
nana (banana)

She is just such a wellspring of pure happiness and radiant, uncomplicated joy. The smile, the giggle, the belly laugh, the hugs and kisses, the way she runs to us when she sees us, her little antics to make us laugh. Having a baby in the house is a wonderful thing. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

near disaster (averted)

One Saturday morning a few weeks ago, following an unusually terrible night with Liesl, Steve took the children away so that I could get some sleep. They went to Kneaded Bread in Port Chester and then down to Scenic Hudson park in Irvington. I met them there and then we all came back up the hill for lunch. We got home, and it transpired that Sebastian's duckies were missing. These are the magic sleep lovies - these duckies have been in his bed since he was a wee baby, and he's never taken a nap or a night's sleep without them.  This was a disaster. They were not in the car. Steve remembered seeing the duckies at the bakery in PC.  We asked Sebastian what had happened to them, and he reported that he took them out of the car at the park and was carrying them when he ran to watch the fishermen.  Ugh. Sebastian crawled in for his nap, distraught and clutching the backup lovies, while I ran back down to the park.  I spent 20 minutes combing the various pathways, the playgrounds, looking under trees - nothing.  No bright yellow and orange duckies.  I came back home and searched the car again - nothing.  Then I went online and tried to find replacements, knowing that the duckies were no longer being made and unable to remember the name of the manufacturer. At last I found them, at one random toy store site, and bookmarked the page.  And then, Steve opened one of the bakery bags, and there were the duckies, safe and sound and surrounded by our bread!! We carefully tucked them in next to sleeping Sebastian, and breathed a sigh of relief.  Disaster, averted.

And that's what passes for high drama in our household. Phew.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy 36th birthday, mama!


I had a wonderful birthday weekend with the family. I played frisbee on Saturday morning, which was terrific and fun. The children both made and decorated birthday cards for me, of which they were each very proud.  We went out for a family brunch at Harper's in Dobbs Ferry on Sunday, and Steve bought a scrumptious chocolate cake from Red Barn bakery in Irvington, which we all enjoyed very much that afternoon.  My mom, dad, Carl, Danica, and Roxana all called to sing happy birthday to me.  The boys did the grocery shopping together, alone, without me, which was in itself a treat, but then to top it off Sebastian picked out and brought home red roses for me.  And then, the piece de resistance, was a ridiculously lavish and unbelievably delicious lunch at Del Posto in Manhattan. They have a 4-course prix fixe lunch - appetizer, primi, secondi, dessert.  We ate ourselves silly. It was so very, very good.  It was a wonderful birthday, with my thoughtful and sweet husband and lovely children.

Monday, March 19, 2012


More from our weekend - blowing bubbles with cousin Rio and aunt Mary.


St. Patrick's day

We spent the weekend in Greenlawn with Grandma and Grandpa, and enjoyed a Sunday brunch with all the Raabs. The weather was beautiful, the children wore bright kelly green, and we all ate soda bread, corned beef, and cabbage. Happy Irish!

Friday, March 16, 2012

At the Met

My self-indulgent vacation week continued: I spent Thursday morning doing some chores and spring cleaning, but then caught a train into the city to meet up with Steve for another date lunch. This time we went to a soba noodle place, Cocoron, that was on the lower East Side.  It was amazingly good - I was skeptical, but Steve said "Just trust me", and it was so worth it. Warm, comforting, tasty Japanese peasant food.  It's really hard to explain why it was so good - simple broth, simple buckwheat noodles, simple seaweed and cabbage sides - but it made both of us really happy. We then walked around the lower East Side for awhile, buying some treats and checking out various restaurants and bakeries, before he went back to work and I went home to get Seb and Liesl.

Today, Friday, we dropped Liesl off at daycare and Sebastian and I had a special adventure. We took the train into Grand Central, and then a subway up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We stayed just over an hour and had a pretty good time wandering around looking at the paintings and sculpture. We haven't really done much to expose Seb to fine arts, and I was happy to spend the morning talking about art with him.  After the museum we had lunch with Steve at Num Pang (Vietnamese sandwich shop) and then took the train back home for naps. 

Seb dancing in front of the tomb in the Egyptian wing.

We spent time looking at the guns, swords, crossbows, and armor in Arms and Armor


We also checked out the American wing - he liked the court with sculptures, the Tiffany window, and any paintings with a hint of a train, streetcar, or boat.

And we walked through the European sculpture court - Seb imitating this lady, called Night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At the farm

It was spring break for Columbia students this week, and I decided to take the week off as vacation. Christmas, spring, and summer breaks are one of the great perks of working in education. 

On Tuesday I dropped the children off at daycare, took the train into the city, and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I spent a wonderful morning in the Greek and Roman wings, really enjoying myself. It was fun to see beautiful sculptures and objects, and to learn more about the mythology and history of the era, but it was especially fun to be by myself just doing whatever I wanted to do.  Steve and I then met up for lunch at Danji, a Korean restaurant in Hell's Kitchen. It was delicious - silky tofu, bulgogi sliders, pork belly, bibimbap, kimchi. And soju, to make us loopy.  We then went and strolled along the High Line before he went back to work and I did some window shopping downtown.  Such a terrific date day.

On Wednesday, I kept the children at home with me, and we went to the Stone Barns farm in the morning. There were baby pigs and cows, very pregnant sheep, and lots of the usual chickens running around. Liesl was very interested in all of the animals - kept pointing at them and making the appropriate sounds. (On a side note, I find it amusing that of the 20 or so words she speaks, at least five of them are animal noises. Only the really useful, educational stuff for our girl.)  Some pictures of our farm visit below.


They climbed over an old stone wall and went exploring in the woods, without me. They found sticks and rocks and leaves and were quite delighted with themselves. Making their Grandpa Avery proud. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

At Lyndhurst

We spent Sunday afternoon at Lyndhurst - it was a beautifully warm day and so we walked along the trail north to the "castle". Beautiful views overlooking the Hudson, and a nice steep hill to run down and climb up.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken tikka

Neither of our children are amazing eaters, of the eat anything variety. But they're pretty good and we do feel fortunate not to have nightly dinner table struggles.

Sebastian can stuff huge quantities into himself. He is excellent at meat, grains, fruit, fish, and beans. Vegetables are definitely hit and miss - some he usually eats, some he never eats, and many depend on mood and context. But he'll usually consent to try anything at least once.

Liesl is harder to figure out. She is occasionally very picky - only wants fruit and Cheerios. But more often she mystifies us by devouring a food in great handfuls one day and utterly refusing to even taste the same food the next day. Meals with her consist of the offering of many options, with no idea which she'll consent to eat. There's an appalling amount of waste.

But then sometimes they really surprise and delight us by loving something we didn't expect them to like. Tonight we ordered Indian food and they both loved the chicken tikka. Seb loved salmon sashimi the other night. They both ate very well at our Chinese New Year dinner, devouring duck, broccoli, sticky rice, and tofu. And those are really happy moments for us, hoping that our children will share our love of tasty food.