Tuesday, July 17, 2012


As I think I've posted previously, sometimes our two children do nothing but fight with each other - each can get terribly jealous of parental attention, or a particular toy, and they already know exactly how to get a reaction from the other - but then there are these magical moments, when they chase each other, giggling madly, or hug and tickle, or play a cooperative game. (Also - apparently, Liesl has taken to following Sebastian around the playground at Happy Harbor, chasing after the big kids, and is crushed when the pre-K class goes in before the Toddlers.)

We went to the Norwalk children's museum on Sunday and they were good as gold together. My favorite was their play together on the playground. They did the following loop about a dozen times, sticking together the whole way - Seb boosted Liesl up the wall before climbing up himself, they chased each other across the bridge, they came down the slide head first, side by side. The look of joy on Liesl's face in the last pic is priceless.

Monday, July 16, 2012


This morning, 5:45 am.

Seb: the green light!
Liesl: yay!
Seb: want some cereal? I'll take care of you , and mama will come out soon.
L: yeah!

And so I am lying here in bed, listening to Seb get the bowls, spoons, cereal, and milk. He occasionally admonishes L to stop eating before the milk is poured. He offers her the various cereal choices. She requests wawa and he gets her a glass. It is very sweet.

A few weeks ago I decided to move some bowls, cups, cereals, and snacks into a special cupboard for the kids. I showed Seb how to get his own breakfast a couple of times, hoping he would take to it. And lo... Success is sweet.

Breakfast is part of my most recent project: teaching the children some basic chores. I can't bear the idea of spoiled children who don't clean up after themselves and can't manage basic household tasks. So they both now throw away their own diapers/pullups every morning, and put their pjs back onto their beds. I bought a cool new laundry hamper, and they both throw their dirty clothes in there every night. When the laundry is cleaned, they put away their own clothes into the dresser drawers.  When the bed linens need to be changed, they participate (usually their job is to throw the stuffed animals off the bed, and then back on, as I change the sheets).  Seb takes his own dishes from the table to the dishwasher, and has realized he can fetch his own spoon/fork/ketchup/napkin/milk.  During grocery shopping trips, they help fetch and carry items and unload the cart for checkout.  And I bought some new plants, which the children are in charge of watering.  Baby steps. I have my grandmother Avery's voice in my head: "Don't put it down, put it away." 

Friday, July 13, 2012

City day

The whole family hopped on the 7:15 am train and headed into the city. We had breakfast at Clinton st baking company and then picked up bagels at Russ & Daughters for later snacking. Steve headed off to work and the children and I visited a city playground before taking the subway up to the Central Park Zoo. It's tiny of course, but we had a great time.

tropical blue birds
look! sea lions!
Sea lion feeding (and tricks)
snow monkey
sleeping snow leopard

Thursday, July 12, 2012

waiting for donuts at Kneaded Bread

patience, patience, patience

bring on the treats!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tee-tee! Nay-nay! And other adventures in language

Our girl's language development is exploding. It's amazing to watch her learn new words and try out new sounds on a daily basis. She is so interested in words and communication - desperate for it, to make herself understood, to communicate with us and others, to join in conversations.  She isn't afraid to try out a sound, even if she can't quite do it - very unlike Sebastian, who wouldn't say something until he was sure he could do it right. She occasionally gets frustrated when we don't understand, but mostly she just talks on. 

She is also very good at leveraging her few words into many concepts. She delights in showing you that she's understood you by trying to mimic a word or two, or more often distilling your long, complicated explanation into one key word.  (So you'll explain why running with wet feet leads to falling down and injury, and she'll point at her feet and say "no. boo-boo."  Or she'll point at something and say "Mine? Own".)

Some fun recent word sounds:

Fu-fu. Bunny Fufu! She learned to call her bunny by name! Now, of course, she demands Fufu whenever she gets a little tired or upset. It's very cute.

Tee-tee. Thank you.
Cue-me. Excuse me. (She's very polite, our girl.)
'Top.  Stop.  Usually used to address Sebastian, in a usually fruitless effort to make him stop something annoying.

Ahpuhl. Apples, pineapples, plums... Really, most non-berry fruit.
Bagel. Yum.
Nack!  Snack. As in, dried fruit and nuts in her little Oxo snack cup. Very specific.

Nay-nay! Naked! Our girl loves to be naked.
Toot. Always followed by a giggle.

Lellow. Yellow. Also orange. She also seems to grasp the concept of blue, but she calls green and red things blue too.

Mine? Me? Mine!! (She sounds like the seagulls in Finding Nemo)
Own. As in, get your own, you can't have mine. Very useful word for her.
'Ome. Home.

Aya.  Her friend Alex Krapf.

Babee. She loves babies. Loves loves loves.

Shuhbuhl. Shovel. She loves to carry around her favorite bucket and shovel, just in case I find some sand for her to dig. Anytime we go to the playground, she has to dig for 15 minutes before she'll move on to anything else.
Baba.  Or something like that. Really, it doesn't sound anything like the word she wants to say, which is playground. But she keeps trying because she loves the playground and wants to tell me to take here there.

Broke. Our elevator was broken for a week or two and it made a strong impression. So now she knows how to say broke.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Breakneck Ridge

We went for a family hike up Breakneck Ridge trail in the Hudson Highlands near Cold Spring. It was awesome - Sebastian was amazing. He clambered, he climbed, he scooted, and walked, for hours. We didn't have to carry him at all. Liesl rode in our hiking backpack and was a trooper - she fell asleep near the end, of course. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

We had a relaxed and happy 4th of July - we visited the local farmers market and got some produce and treats for our meals, I took Liesl out for a bike ride (she promptly fell asleep), we went to the playground.  For lunch we had hamburgers, hot dogs, avocado and corn salad, and corn on the cob, and then everyone got naps in the afternoon.  I baked blueberry muffins for breakfast and strawberry biscuits in the afternoon, which we ate adorned with more strawberries and whipped cream.  (Well, Seb ate biscuits and no cream. Liesl ate cream and nothing else. Only Steve and I had biscuits, berries, and cream all together. :)  ) 

And then after dinner (salmon, spinach salad, asparagus: yummy summer) we went down to Matthiessen, for the town celebration and fireworks. There was music (bad karaoke) and bouncy castles, and lots of our friends. Liesl absolutely loved the bouncy castle, despite being really too little for it at all. (She kept getting bounced onto her bum and head.)  I brought her home to go to bed, and Seb and Steve stayed, along with friend Nathan and his mom Sinde, for the fireworks. Sadly, they were too loud - it terrified Sebastian. He ran home all the way from the park - 6 blocks straight uphill - just to escape the noise.  We watched them from our living room window and he was much happier. Chalk that up to lessons learned.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Coxsackie virus

Liesl came down with Coxsackie virus on Monday morning. It's also called hand-foot-and-mouth disease, marked by a rash and sores on the various body parts. She's covered in an itchy rash and is very uncomfortable. Poor baby. She's not sleeping very well. (Poor mama.) So I've been unexpectedly home from work this week. We've cuddled and read books and colored, talked to Popo and Bompy on skype, and gone to the park. We went to the Greenburgh Nature Center to see the tortoises, bearded dragons, chinchillas, ferrets, and other creatures. 

And I've baked. Blueberry muffins and strawberry biscuits. Oh my.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Long Island weekend

Steve's grandmother Margaret Daly Ford passed away last Monday. She was 93; her husband had passed three years earlier and she missed him tremendously, and her health was in slow decline. We visited her in the hospital on the Sunday right before she died, to make sure Steve could say goodbye and Seb could have one last memory of her.  On that Sunday she was visited by five of her seven children and various other grandchildren.  It was, as things go, a good way to go.  The wake was on Thursday, the funeral on Friday, and all of her children and their spouses, as well as all 23 of her grandchildren and many of their spouses and children, attended.  It was sad, of course, but also celebratory - wonderful to see so many of the cousins together and get to talk with them.  Seb and Liesl were extremely well behaved throughout the wake, funeral mass, burial, and luncheon afterwards, which made us very proud.

I didn't take any pictures of the Ford gathering, although others did. I'll have to hope for a copy of the pictures, especially the one of all of us together at the lunch. 

We stayed out on Long Island for the weekend, to hang out with mom Raab/grandma for a bit. On Saturday morning we took the children to Robert Moses beach and played jump the waves, run screaming from the waves, and other classic beach games.  Liesl got a little swept away one time (she set up digging shop a little too close to the incoming tide) but was not overly traumatized.  It did awaken a healthy respect for the ocean - she kept an eye on it from then on - which I was actually quite happy to see.  My daredevil girl often needs a bit of a scare to convince her to be more careful.

Other than that, we stayed pretty close to Greenlawn. We watered the plants and picked ripening blackberries, and Seb played baseball with whoever would pitch to him. We visited the local library, which was huge and fun.  And we ran around the yard spraying each other with the hose until everyone got soaked.  It turned out to be a really nice and relaxing weekend.