Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year Thoughts by Z

New year, new great thoughts by Z. I love getting small glimpses into the way her mind works. I can tell she is starting to grapple with more difficult concepts while growing her already impressive imagination. I could listen to her talk for hours.

Thought 1:
Z: You can leave me in the bath by myself. I'm the oldest, for goodness sake. I won't drown!

Thought 2:
During Chanukah
Z: Do I get to open three presents a night? Or maybe infinity presents?

Thought 3:
Z: Ms. Leila (a teacher in her school) says I can't marry my brother and that's not nice. So I thought, and decided that I'm going to marry Asher and not tell Ms. Leila!

Thought 4:
Z: I know where chocolate milk comes from: brown milk, which comes from brown cows.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Monday, January 1, 2018

Winter Lights

When I was growing up in Texas, Christmas lights were a big deal. Neighborhoods went all out to make sure they had the best lights in town. Some neighborhoods had themes. Others had radio stations you could tune in to while you're driving around looking at the lights. It was intense. Especially for a Jewish girl with no Christmas lights of her own. But every year, we climbed into our car and drove around to look at the beautiful displays.

I knew that the kids would love the lights as much as I do--especially with a warm thermos of hot chocolate added to the mix. Last year we went to the Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park. It started off a little rocky as both kids were asleep, but Z woke up around half-way through and loved it.

This year, even though it was freezing out, we went to the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens. This light display is in the huge park near our house, where we did our last maternity photos. We bundled ourselves up in many layers, grabbed tons of snacks and hot chocolate. It was a huge success! Both kids loved it!

It took us about an hour to go through the gardens and the mini-train display. The timing was perfect.

These pictures do not do it justice. We loved the displays of animals, sea monsters, rainbows with storm clouds, and all the gorgeous flowers. I definitely see this as a new family tradition!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 16-17 Months

Dear Asher,

These past couple of months have been a blur. First, I was convinced that you were turning 17 months on November 27. You weren't. You're turning 17 months this month. I have no idea where I lost a month, but suddenly things make a lot more sense. You are doing exactly what you should be doing at your age!

The biggest accomplishment over these past few weeks is that you're walking! You took your first steps when you were 15 months, but were pretty hesitant to use your new skill. Not this month! You're off and running. You still resort to crawling sometimes when you want to get somewhere faster, but you're going longer and longer periods on two legs. You especially love running after your sister.

You're also starting to figure out patterns and repetition. We have a game we play at night when you're going up the stairs. You bang on the stairs, clap your hands, put your hands over your mouth, and start the pattern again. You love when I play along and copy you.

Your coordination is getting better too. You like playing catch, and you're just starting to draw. You look like such a big boy sitting at your art desk.

I know I say this every month, but I love watching you and your sister interact. It's not always sunshine and roses (for her, at least), but you guys really do get along. Z was in Florida for a week this month visiting Babushka and Dedushka, and you guys were adorable when you video chatted. Your face lit up when you saw her, and she cooed over you like you were her baby. It was so sweet.

 Ash, you've grown into a toddler in front of our eyes. I love watching your personality emerge and your sense of humor blossom. We can't wait to see what the future holds. We love you!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

First Snow Day in the New House

It's 60 degrees today, but not too long ago we had our first snow in the new house. Z and I had such a fun time playing in our yard and walking through the woods. We especially loved seeing the family of deer prancing about. I just love this time of year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Season 2017

I love this time of year. It's always so festive, and is filled with family traditions, delicious food, and lots of parties. This year was no exception. Here are some highlights from our holiday season.

One of my favorite family traditions is Fakesgiving. This year, we packed a lot in to our celebration. Dan stayed in Dallas with the kids and my parents, while Bradi and I took a road trip to San Antonio to visit my aunt, uncles, and grandparents. It was such a nice couple of days spending one-on-one time with this side of the family that I don't get to see too often. And of course, I treasure any time I get with my grandparents.

While I was in San Antonio, Dan and my mom took Z for a really big haircut! I was totally taken by surprise by this, but I have to say that she OWNS it! Such spunk! (Don't mind the blue teeth. It's from the lollipop.)

Fakesgiving itself was awesome. Drama-free (a first!), and delicious food.

As an early Chanukah present, mom and dad gifted Dan and me a night at a hotel. It was just what we needed. We read, we ate, we drank, we got massages and pedicures...it was heaven!

Actual Thanksgiving was perfect. We stayed in pajamas all day, watched the Macy's parade and the dog show, drank hot chocolate, made pie, and ate a true feast! A nice nap on the couch topped it all off.

This was our first chanukah in our new house, and it was lovely. Z actually spent part of it in Florida, and Asher doesn't quite know what's going on yet, but we enjoyed it. We even hosted a chanukah party this year. It was great! It was the first big event in the new house and it felt like everything was really coming together. There's still tons we need to do in the house (see this post for details), but people said they felt cozy and that the house was welcoming. That's exactly the vibe we're going for!

I hope your holiday season was as joyous as ours! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New House Update

This seems impossible to me, but I don't think I've blogged about our new house since we've moved in. That's nuts! We've been here almost three months and it is living up to every expectation we placed on it. I could not be happier in this house!

There are so many things I love about it. Where to start? It's huge, for one. The kids have so much space to run around and play. We have a lovely basement where they can read, build, draw, and get their energy out. And it's so nice not having toys all over the living room.

I am also obsessed with our open concept main floor. The kitchen is a dream. We added so much functionality with a massive island (I think it's 11 feet!), a giant walk-in pantry, double ovens, granite counter-tops, and enormous sink. I can wash all of my cutting boards in that sink, which sounds silly, but is awesome. We had laminate counters in our last house, so it has been life-changing to be able to place hot items right on the counter. It's the little things that are making it so fun to live here.

We are slowly making the place ours. We said when we moved in that we wanted to take our time and really think smartly about decorating and buying new furniture. That's really hard for Dan and me because we love just jumping to the end and having everything complete. But we're trying to be mindful that we plan on being here a long time. So, really, what's the rush?

Some of the upgrades that we've done so far have been wonderful though. Just last week we hired someone to install under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen for us. Dan installed it in our last house, and he did a great job. But this time it was a bit more complicated so we decided to hire out. It was not the smoothest process, but the end result is great. We ended up with 24 inch LED bars under each cabinet, which makes the light really seamless.

We also purchased a few pieces of furniture that I love! The one I am most likely to request being buried with is this china cabinet. It's from Arhaus and was definitely a splurge, but both of us really, really love it.

We also purchased two wingback chairs from Wayfair. They are wider and a bit more pink than I anticipated, but I think they work really well in the space. They tie in nicely to the new rug (a Homegoods find!), and are very cozy to sit in.

We're also in the process of getting a deck and a patio! More on that later, but we've submitted the plans to the homeowners association and hope to start building in the next few weeks. That will add so much functionality to the house in the warmer months. I can even see us sitting in the patio with blankets and hot chocolate watching the snow in the winter too.

While it feels like we're making great progress, there is also so much more to do. Off the top of my head, here are some other things we would like to tackle:
  • Kitchen backsplash (we're doing this ourselves over winter break!)
  • Kitchen bar stools
  • Dining room table and chairs
  • Office furniture (have a desk, need a place for printer and files, etc.)
  • Mudroom build-out (need a place for coats, backpacks, shoes)
  • Basement organization (bookshelves, toy storage)
  • Basement guest room curtains
  • Master bedroom bedframe (we put our old one in the guest room )
  • Master bedroom curtains
  • Master bedroom furniture (probably a bench for the end of the bed and a chaise lounge)
  • Master bedroom light (it's roughed in, but we need a fixture)
  • Asher room light
  • Zahara room light
  • Guest room curtains (bedroom and bathroom)
  • Guest room nightstands
  • Decor throughout the house (nothing is on the walls yet and it's starting to drive me crazy!)

Empty mudroom

So that's the latest with the house. Lots more to come!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Thoughts by Z

Zahara is sassy and clever as always. I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing the things that come out of her mouth!

Thought 1:
Z: Are chicken nuggets made out of dead chickens? I don't want to eat dead chickens.

Thought 2:
Z: It's nice being four, because then I can read!

Thought 3:
Looking at a smokestack in Baltimore
Z: Look! It's a cloud factory!

Thought 4:
Z to me: Can you please leave my room? I need to have a private conversation with G-d.

See previous Thoughts by Z here