Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day weekend

We had a great weekend of outdoor play around the Rivertowns. On Saturday I played frisbee and then we went over to the Krapfs for some swimming. 

On Sunday we went to Scenic Hudson park and explored the puddles left over by the rainstorms. Some of us explored the puddles very carefully and at length. :)

I took Liesl out for a bike ride and to the playground, and she got to try out her new scooter. (It's too big for her still.)

On Monday I played frisbee again (yay!), took the children to Stone Barns farm (where we saw baby ducklings, chickens, lambs, and pigs), and then the whole family watched the town's Memorial Day parade.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bagels and lox on the Brooklyn Bridge

On Sunday morning we got bagels and lox from Russ & Daughters on the lower east side, and then walked out onto the Brooklyn Bridge. Yum.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's day

We were a little tired for mother's day this year, a consequence of having moved Liesl's crib the day before ( and a really busy workweek for Steve). But the day was beautiful and the children and I got to enjoy playing together at Halsey pond and various playground. And Steve and Seb collaborated on a delicious chocolate cake for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Sebastian's pre-k class drew pictures of their moms and dictated descriptions of them. The results are unintentionally hilarious and revealing. I think Sebastian's is easy enough to pick out. :) (Clicking on the pictures will make the text legible.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Liesl had her 18-month checkup on Tuesday. She is healthy, happy, and developmentally on track. She is also, unlike Sebastian, not afraid of Dr. Jane - she watched very carefully as Jane listened to her heart and lungs and peered into her mouth and ears, but did not cry. She even managed a happy wave and bye-bye at the end of the appointment.  She now weighs 22 lbs, 13 oz, and is 32 inches tall.  From her last checkup three months ago she's only grown an inch in height but she has put on a few pounds - moving up from the 15th percentile to the 25th. She's got a little round, protruding belly now and is sturdier in the arms and legs. It's good.

And so, Friday was her last day in the Infants room at daycare. Starting on Monday, she'll be with the Toddlers, 18-36 months old - no more high chairs or cribs, more independence, more outdoor play, more structured activities. We're happy she's moving up before the summer so she can play on the playground during the warmer weather, and we think she's ready for new adventures. She's very attached to her teachers, however, especially Kelly, and I fear dropoff will be much more sad and difficult for a few weeks.

Finally, we are at long last moving Liesl's crib from the corner of our bedroom to Sebastian's room. We meant to do the move long ago, but have been reluctant to put them together for fear of increasing our sleep difficulties. We, especially Steve, have struggled to get enough sleep in the last four years. Steve's insomnia has been awful - terrible. We worried that putting Liesl into Seb's room would mean they would wake each other up at bedtime, at naptime, in the middle of the night, and in the morning. That would mean less sleep for everyone.  We're still a little worried, but it's time. Sebastian is excited to have his baby sister with him all the time. She'll probably love it. We'll adjust.

As for Sebastian, he too is barreling forward toward a big transition.  Thursday night was a kindergarten information and orientation session for parents at the Dows Lane elementary school.  We met the principal and the kindergarten teachers and toured around the classrooms. The rooms are beautiful - big, bright and airy, with colorful art, stacks of books, and blocks and toys everywhere. Each of the six kindergarten classrooms has 18-20 children. The teachers talked about the schedule and the learning goals and lunch procedures, and I was just in disbelief that Sebastian is going to be old enough to go to school next year. No longer preschool, but school-aged. Amazing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the word game

Sebastian and Liesl have been playing together so nicely these last few weeks.  Seb came out of the horribly mean and grouchy phase he'd been in, and has been mostly sweet and loving and fun to be with. And reasonable, which is really all I ask for on some days.  Liesl has started to understand more and more words and directions and ideas, so she has started to be a fun playmate for Seb.  (She has simultaneously started exploring the full range of tantrums - kicking, screaming, throwing herself onto hard floors, crying so hard she throws up, sobbing, tears flowing, back-arching as she tries to throw herself away from me....  Getting her into the car when she doesn't want to go is like WWIII.)

Anyway, one of their new favorite games is a word game.  Sebastian will say "Can you say car?" and Liesl says "car"! "Can you say baby"? "Baby!"  They do this over and over, through the full range of Liesl's words, and any other random phrases that Sebastian throws out there. It's so cute. I love hearing them in the backseat talking to each other and laughing.

Generally, anything that Sebastian suggests to Liesl is met with a decisive head nodding yes. She'll do anything he suggests for games and play.  They've taken to wrestling with each other on the bed and on floor pillows - Sebastian throwing (more or less gently) Liesl onto the bed and then flopping down with her and the two of them rolling around like puppies. They laugh and laugh. Every once in awhile someone gets hurt, but it's usually minor and doesn't appear to detract from their enthusiasm at all.  They chase each other around the apartment, on foot and riding wheelie toys, Seb tickling Liesl when he catches her. And they hug a lot.

On her own, Liesl has been doing a lot of mimicking and role play. She likes to put her baby to bed, and give her a pacifier and a bottle. And she loves to pick up a bag, sling it over her shoulder like mommy, and say bye-bye with a wave as she heads off. She'll walk through the kitchen and around the living room and show up again, still waving bye-bye.  Sometimes she packs her Bunny Fufu and other toys into her bag before she goes.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Sebastian woke up on Saturday morning, and the first thing he said was "I'm fine. I feel fine. I'm not sick anymore. Please can I go to Grandma's house now?!"  (In the middle of Thursday/Friday night, after throwing up, he asked Steve to keep it a secret and not tell Grandma, so he could still go there for his special weekend. So sweet.)  So we called up Mom and Dad Raab, and they said come over! So we packed up the kids and drove out to Long Island, and left them there, and thus Steve and I had an unexpected and very sweet date weekend at home.

On Saturday we stopped in Astoria on the way home and spent a few hours wandering our old neighborhood. I'm not sure we've been back since moving out in 2006. We visited Omonia for Greek pastries, the Island Bakery for rainbow cookies, and Laziza for Middle Eastern desserts.  We saw a lot of our old restaurants as well as a lot of new ones, and had lunch at a fantastic place called Butcher Bar (pulled pork and brisket sandwich).  The ethnic diversity of the neighborhood is still stunning - young professionals mixed with older Greek and Italian families, recent European immigrants (speaking Eastern European languages) as well as families from India (swirling saris and all), the Middle East, Mexico, etc etc.  It's an amazing place to walk around. Still - crowded, and with a dearth of trees and parks. We couldn't imagine moving back there with the children.

We had dinner at the Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, and then a lovely, uninterrupted sleep. On Sunday we went for a bike ride along the trail in the morning and then went to see a matinee showing of the Hunger Games. I can't remember the last time we were in a movie theatre, and it was super fun. Good action movie. After that we had lunch at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, a Batali/Bastianich restaurant, and then came home and went for a long walk on the trail.  Mostly, for the whole weekend, we just talked. Talked and talked, without interruptions from little people. It was incredibly restorative.

Mom and Dad Raab showed up at 6 pm with two happy, well-rested, children who actually were not ready to say goodbye to their grandparents.  That might have been my favorite thing of all, since it means we can plan to do this again sometime soon...

Thanks, mom and dad. You're the best, and we appreciate you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

At least they're cute. And sweet.

Returning to the bright side, as I am wont to do, some recent photos of Seb & Liesl.