Saturday, January 29, 2011


We're heading down to NYC for a few days next week. On our list right now are some children's museums our Discovery Museums pass will get us into for free, story time at the NY public library, FAO Schwartz, Central Park strolling, and shopping at H&M. We're staying on Staten Island and heard the ferry has some great views of the Statue of Liberty. Sam might pull some strings and visit the NYSE on his own.

Anyone have some other ideas for us? Where to eat with kids? Wholesale craft or fabric shops I can't miss? Little known secrets or out of the way places that we've got to get to? Please oh please enlighten me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

makes me want to kiss his tummy and nibble his toes

Sam's parents have a beautifully decorated home. Whenever we go I'm packing away little ideas I see all around their home to use once we have a home of our own. One of the things that I love most are the giant plushy sheepskin rugs his mom has all over the house. They soft and warm and have that beautiful natural wool creamy color. She has one on the floor of their master bath and my extra long showers (thanks to babysitters) were all the more luxurious with that to step onto at the end.

But I'm not the only one who loved those sheepskins. Levi loved to lay on them without clothes and feel that wooly warmth all over his baby soft skin. The sight was just begging for a photo...or 14...

And while we're on the subject of Levi, he was almost 9 months old in those pictures and he is now almost 10 months.
He started cruising last week and is highly pleased with himself.
He's eating mostly normal food now and grabs the spoon and throws it on the ground if I try to give him jarred baby food.
He's been sick for months with cold symptoms which culminated in a fever a week ago. I took him to the doctor when things started oozing from his ears and got some antibiotics.
He is MUCH happier now and has started playing SO BIG! ("How big is Levi?"...he raises his arms straight up..."SO BIG!") and peek-a-boo which nearly kills me with how cute it is to see his chubby little hands covering his eyes and his big gummy smile when we say "Peek-a-boo!"
He still has no teeth, though it still hurts when he bites.
He is super ticklish and giggly.
He loves his sister and she can make him laugh just by smiling at him.
And, my personal favorite trait of Levi, he loves to give me kisses (which mostly involve him putting his open mouth on my chin or cheek).
He is one beautiful, happy baby boy and we love him!

Friday, January 21, 2011

snow fun

When we got home from our trip to Texas, there was still a little snow left on the ground, so we went out and made some snowmen.

A few days later, we had a big blizzard that started in the middle of the night and lasted almost the whole next day. It was so snowy that Sam had to work from home, so we took a mid-day break to go outside and play some more.

baby angel :)

Here are the snowmen in the middle of the blizzard. (The big snowman's head fell off, so those are only the bottom two pieces showing)

We've had two more very snow days since. Here's Anna singing "Falling Snow" very gently...

(sorry about the backlighting)

And here are the snowmen after our big snow today. The little one's covered and the big one's almost gone.

We are loving this beautiful white wonderland out our window every day, and even Sam (born in Arizona and raised in Texas) has commented how much he likes the peacefulness and prettiness of falling snow (and he's trying to figure out a way to get a ski or snowboard day in before the season ends). And this New England winter is bringing me back to my Ohio childhood of snow days and Golden Acres sledding and hikes through the snowy woods behind my house. Sam and I both agree Utah's got nothing on New England when it comes to snow. We'll enjoy it as much as we can before a cold and inevitably slushy March comes along :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

happy face

This is what Anna loves to draw lately.

She was making another, and after she put the eyes in, she said, "This looks like a whale." I'd have to agree.

Monday, January 10, 2011

my budding chef

I've been wanting to have a play kitchen for Anna for quite a while. She loves to use her little pans and dishes and food to pretend to cook and I love seeing her put some "stew" in the "oven." And though I love encouraging her imagination, I just ached to give her a little something more than the top of a rubbermaid tub for a stove and her little couch for an oven.

A cute new one like this was out of our price range

And even if we got one of the free ones like this that's always popping up on freecycle, where would we put it?

from here

For that matter, even if I got up the gumption to make one like this...

see more hand made beauties inspired by Ana White's genius here

...or even as simple as this, space would always be a concern.

I fell in love when I saw this in Parent's Magazine. See more great ideas here

And that's when a shallow, wide box from arrived at my door. At first I just put it in our recycle pile, but every time I passed it, it called to me and by dinner time I was convinced. I gathered materials after dinner, and once the kids were in bed, I went at it. Here's the finished product.

I love that I already had everything I used, so not only did it not cost me a cent, but it also used up some junk lying around. And, it fits perfectly on top of that rubbermaid tub that had been the previous stove. Best of all, Anna loves it.

She can wash her pans...

...pick her produce

...taste her soup

...and, of course, dump things out into it!

When she's done, it looks a little something like this...

...which makes Anna one very happy little girl!

P.S. I'm pretty sure it also inspired this, her first recipe.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

christmas is more fun with kids

I had so much fun this month. Anna was excited about everything that had to do with Christmas (except Santa Claus) and we had a blast decorating and baking and partying.

Anna pushing Levi in the wagon she got from Santa at Sam's work Christmas party

Chillin' with Daddy

Sam's parents gave us the ultimate gift by using their frequent flier miles to fly us to Dallas for Christmas.

We had a wonderful time! Anna loved jumping on the trampoline, blowing bubbles, making cookies and cinnamon rolls with Grandma, going to the zoo, eating enough candy to make her sick, watching Richard Scarry's ABCs about fifty times, and mostly just getting to play with Grandma Ruth and Papa Van.

Levi loved wrestling, growling, jumping, and laughing with his uncles, learning how to pull to a stand, snuggling with Grandma, rolling balls around the house, getting tastes of Nutella and other treats from Aunt Katrina, climbing stairs, getting his head rubbed by everyone, and knocking over Papa Van's towers of blocks.
Christmas Morning Pictures

After a few minutes of this...

...Levi looked like this.

Sam and I loved playing games (video-, board-, and trivia-) with the fam, running the inaugural JB (Jiggle Bum or Jingle Bell, depending on who asked) run and having Jacob school us all, watching football, going to the movies (True Grit and Tangled-- I loved them both), going shopping, eating at Joe T Garcias, eating Bluebell every night, cooking (Cubanos, mac and cheese, chocolate raspberry ganache cake), and most of all, letting other people entertain our children.

Can you tell which of us is an NCAA scholarship athlete?

We also enjoyed our Christmas Eve pageant with Anna and Levi acting as the angels; Sam and I as Mary and Joseph; Van, Gordon, and Joe as the wise men; Katrina and Gordon as inn keepers and shepherds; and Jacob as Samuel the Lamanite and the sheep.

Before we left, though, we had our own little Christmas here in MA to give the kids their presents from us and from my parents. Anna got a little laptop (to entertain her when she wants our computers), and a doll she can take in the bathtub and a set of clothes for it. Levi got some cars, trucks, and a ball. It was a fun little preview of years to come when we just have Christmas at our house.

Levi's toy from the work party. Sam is happy that he has a manly toy now.

And one of the best parts about our New Year? Before Anna got up on the 1st, we packed up a garbage bag full of old toys to be rid of, and so far, she hasn't even noticed. Now THAT is going to be a holiday tradition.