Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dear Asher: 5 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy five-month birthday! What a big month this has been for you. You have two teeth!! I can't believe it! After weeks of intense drooling, bright rosy cheeks, and shoving everything in your mouth, you are now the proud owner of two tiny little bottom teeth. You've been such a champ though. You're still our happy little chap.

Another big milestone for this month is that you now sleep in your own room. You've been doing great with that and we're all sleeping better. You still get up a couple of times a night, but you generally fall right back asleep. Sadly, you will still only nap in the car seat, swing, or on me. You're so little (relatively, ha!) that I'm just enjoying the snuggles for now.

You're not rolling yet, but you're showing some signs of interest and ability. With my help you can turn to your side. Then you get the best proud look on your face. You're also starting to sit on your own a bit. It's still kind of floppy, but you're getting close. You are so strong--daddy likes to take you for a "walk."

You are ticklish (especially under your arms) and love laughing. You smile at everyone you see, but save your biggest smiles for daddy and Zahara. You really love when we have bath time with Z. You are just the happiest baby and we couldn't be happier with you. Happy 5 months!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 5 Months

Monday, December 19, 2016

What We've Been Up To: Winter 2016

It's been a while since I've updated the blog, but that doesn't mean we've just been sitting at home. Here's a look at some of the fun things we've been up to these past couple of months:

Thanksgiving in Florida
We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws in sunny Florida. It had all the makings of a great holiday, except for the fact that both Zahara and Asher were sick. Z had 102.6 fever on the day we flew there, and Asher had a terrible barking cough that forced us to keep him sleeping upright. After a few days with Z's fever going strong, we took both kids to urgent care. Asher just had a nasty cold, but Zahara had a double ear infection. Poor girl. Thankfully we were able to get her on some antibiotics and she felt better in time for our flight back.

I have to say though, both kids were troopers even while they were sick. We went to the beach one day and to Jungle Island another day. I've never been to Jungle Island before, but it was much better than I expected. There were tons of animals and you could interact with a lot of them. We really liked all the monkeys, apes, and kangaroos.

Zahara's First Ballet Recital
Zahara has been taking ballet classes this semester at school and a couple of weeks ago she had her first recital. It was amazing and everything you'd expect from a bunch of three- and four-year olds. They all looked adorable. One kid was sitting on the floor during the performance, one kid shouted that she had to go potty, and Zahara's head was in the clouds. It was great. You can watch the video here.

Zahara's Chanukah Recital
One of the things I love most about Z's new school is how she comes home singing songs in Hebrew and teaching us new words. Last week the school put on a chanukah play. Each class sang a song and performed a dance. I loved watching the proud parents filming their kids almost as much as I loved watching the kids themselves. Here's the video.

Visit with Friends
We had a full house last weekend! Our friends Kyle and Sarah came to visit with their two kids. It is so fun because they have a daughter who is only a couple of weeks younger than Zahara, and a son who is a few weeks older than Asher.

Sarah and Kyle live in New York now, but we first met in England. We traveled the world together (see here and here), and now there's a new generation of buddies. Zahara and Pearl got along a lot better than the last time they saw each other. They LOVED having a sleepover and were hilarious as they were jumping and giggling all hours of the night.

Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert
Dan and I went to an awesome concert the other night! I have always loved their music and it was incredible to see them at the Verizon Center. Our seats could not be further from the stage--serious nosebleeds!--but the show was designed to be seen from any angle and distance. Their stage presence was intense and the fireworks and lasers were incredible. If you ever get the opportunity to see them, grab your chance!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Thoughts by Z

More from the mouth of babes:

Thought 1:
Z: I'm going to make this delicious, like a salad!

Thought 2:
Z: Mummy, you can have this sticker because it is huge and you are huge.

Thought 3:
 Seeing Dan's mouth guard in the bathroom:
Z: When I'm big, are my teeth going to be in a jar?

And an extra thought from me, about Zahara:

Bonus Thought:
Me: I thought Zahara was so advanced that she got her "threenager" year out of the way at age 2.
Dan: Yeah, she's so advanced that she still poops her pants.
Asher: <laughs>
Calli: Asher, not sure why you're laughing. You poop your pants too.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dear Asher: 4 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy four month birthday! This has been a fun month full of growth and change. It's amazing how you've transitioned from a newborn to a little guy. You're so much more alert and playful now. We're starting to get a glimpse at your personality, which so far is calm and easy-going. Pretty much the opposite of your sister!

This month you did a lot of experimenting with your voice. It reminds me of the bit from Austin Power where he says he is having trouble controling the volume of his voice. That's you. One second you're laughing then you are crying then back to laughing.

Two things you absolutely love: your sister and your daddy's beard. You are mesmerized by anything Zahara does and give her the biggest smiles any time she's around. She's the best sister too. She sings you songs and calms you if you're crying. It melts my heart.

Daddy has found your ticklish spot: he rubs his beard against your neck and you burst into giggles. It's adorable. You still haven't found your feet, but you're starting to grab for toys and our faces. You are getting really good at holding your head up too. You're such a strong boy!

Sadly, you ended the month with a pretty bad cold. We were in Florida for Thanksgiving and you were up all night coughing. You slept sitting up outside our balcony. We eventually took you to urgent care, but there was really nothing we could do for you. Thankfully you're feeling much better already and are back to your happy self.

We love watching you grow and play. Can't wait to see what this next month holds!

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Day at the Farm

The weekend after Halloween a farm nearby hosted a pumpkin festival, complete with hay rides, pick-your-own pumpkins, and giant slides. We got so lucky with a perfectly gorgeous fall day (and well-behaved kids!).

The hay ride was really fun and took us to a giant pumpkin patch. Z had fun running around trying to find the best pumpkin.

We staged pictures for Asher's first pumpkin patch, just like we did with Zahara. They look so much alike, don't you think? It's the chubby little cheeks.

Price of admission included as many pumpkins as you could carry, so we grabbed two giant ones. We took them home, carved them, roasted the seeds, and Dan even made a delicious soup out of them!

Zahara is really getting so big. She went on a ride through the woods in a Cinderella carriage--by herself ! The ride was less than ten minutes, but it felt like a tiny glimpse into the future, watching her leave for college. Ha!

Other fun activities were the pumpkin darts, the corn pit (corn kernels replaced sand in a giant box), and the slides. These slides were pretty intense. They were really steep and long, and Zahara could not get enough! We went on them probably around 15 times. Such a little dare devil!

We capped off our day with some delicious apple cider donuts. It was the perfect afternoon. Why can't every day be a pumpkin patch kind of day?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. We celebrated over three days: Sunday (Oct 30) we had a neighborhood costume parade and ghost lollipop hunt that I helped plan. Monday (Oct 31) we went trick-or-treating. And Wednesday (Nov 2) my mom's group had a costume party.

The neighborhood party went great. We had tons of lollipops (see tutorial here) and the kids loved finding them. We had a quick parade around the playground before the kids ran off to play. It was so hot outside though! I felt so bad for all the kids in their hot costumes.

Trick-or-treating this year was great. Zahara's friend Liana came over. I just love watching the two of them together. They have been best friends for the past two years and used to see each other every day at day care. They miss each other so much now that they're at different schools.

Rounding out our Halloween celebration was the baby costume party. Is there anything cuter? I loved the teeny tiny batman (only 3 weeks old!).

Now that we're in November, I'm ready for Thanksgiving! How about you?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Portland, Maine

Sadly, our time in Maine came to a close. We got so lucky with the weather the entire trip except for the last two days in Portland. It poured our entire drive down from Bar Harbor and was cool and windy on our last day.  Our lobster boat tour was canceled, which was a big bummer, but we found something fun to do instead.

Our first day in Portland we headed to the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine. It had all the fun things that you expect in a kid's museum like a pretend grocery story. But then it also had a lot of unexpected things. A giant fire truck and gear, a tree house, a theater where they did story time, face painting, and more. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

That night we stayed in a Doubletree hotel by the airport. It's always hard sharing one room for all of us. Asher and I were downstairs watching the presidential debate and enjoying my warm cookie (best part of staying at the Doubletree!) while Dan tried to get Zahara to sleep. Here's our text exchange:

8:36 pm
Me:  How are things?
Dan: Wide awake and singing. Will let you know if anything changes.

8:59 pm
Me: Anything?
Dan: She's a rooster

9:23 pm
Dan: Pajamas are off. She's out of bed

She finally went to bed around 10. 

We started the next morning with blueberry pancakes at Becky's Diner. We couldn't resist the giant whoopie pies and grabbed one to go. We were supposed to go on the lobster boat, but it was too windy so the company canceled. We were scrambling to find something else to do when we found the Maine Wildlife Park. It's only a few minutes outside of Portland and is well-worth the trip.

We saw all sorts of animals like foxes, bears, mountain lions, and moose! We also saw a trout fishery. It was a bit chilly, but we had a good time. Thank goodness for the wagon rental! That was so helpful!

Our last meal in Portland was a good one. We went to Central Provisions near the Old Port. We got there right at 5:00 pm when they opened, and there was already a line. The food is tapas style and there were plenty of vegetarian things for us to eat. I loved everything, but the salad was a real surprise. It was delicious. Of course we forgot to take pictures after the first two dishes. You'll have to just trust me.


Egg, apple butter, hazelnuts, and fresh bread
And with that, our trip came to a close. Though we suffered through some pretty epic tantrums, the scenery, food, and people of Maine made the trip fantastic.

Read more about our trip to Maine:
Bar Harbor
Schoodic Peninsula

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Schoodic Peninsula, Maine

We spent two full days in Acadia National Park. The first day was on Mount Desert Island, and the second day was in Schoodic Peninsula. It was the right amount of time for us right now, but if the kids were older, or if we were by ourselves, we may have wanted to spend more time walking around the trails.

Our first stop was Schoodic Point. The scenery is really dramatic. We had so much fun climbing the giant rocks and watching the ocean crash against the cliffs.

There was a group of artists on a field trip scattered all around the peninsula that day. We met a guy named Timothy who was very kind and let Zahara watch him as he painted. Zahara became obsessed with Mr. Timothy. Eventually we had to drag her away, but not before she took her crayons and paper and drew a picture for Mr. Timothy to see. He was a good sport and told her he "liked the energy" in the piece and could tell she was an artist. It's a month later and Z still talks about him.

There wasn't really a good place to stop for a picnic lunch, so we just pulled over on the side of the road and sat in the grass. It turned out to be perfect.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Maine is incredible. It absolutely lived up to every expectation we had.

Read more about our trip to Maine:
Bar Harbor