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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 15 months

Dear Asher,

Happy fifteen month birthday! This was a big developmental month for you. The biggest thing is you took your first steps! It was a really exciting moment because you chose to walk for the first time from me to daddy, while Zahara was cheering you on. It was an awesome family moment. You showed off your new skills for babushka, dedushka, and Aunt Amy this weekend too! You haven't walked too much on your own since then, but now we know you can do it. We're excited to give you more opportunities to practice.


You're also talking a lot more now. In addition to the words you had last month (mama, dada, "hara"), you now say cat, ball, no, banana, bye, and you'll say "arf" when you see a dog. You still sign for milk, all-done, and up. You are picking up new words and sounds all the time. You love mimicking what everyone else says and does. You repeat gestures, sounds, and silly dance moves.


This month you were extra clingy, which translated into a lot of hugs and kisses from you. Who can say no to that? I think it was probably teething though, since you now have around 16 teeth! It's crazy! So many popped up this month.


You and your sister play so well together--for the most part. You, of course, love everything she does. The way you glow when she smiles at you or plays with you is the most beautiful sight in the world. You two are giving me a scare though, because neither of you hold back; you're so rough with each other! I'm always worried someone is going to get hurt, but you two are just shrieking with joy as you wrestle each other to the ground. And yes, you can hold your own against her. I guess that's what being in the 90th percentile for height and weight will do for you.


You still absolutely hate diaper changes and the car seat. You love food--any kind. You're excellent and crawling up and down the stairs ("tummy toes"). You sleep great at night (knock on wood!), but are getting a little fussier at nap time. And getting you off the bottle is going to be a real challenge.


Asher, your personality is really shining through and we can't wait to see what comes next. Happy birthday! We love you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

German Unity Day

Dan and I recently attended a really fun event at the German embassy. It was an invite-only cocktail party to celebrate German Unity Day, which is the anniversary of German reunification in 1990.


Dan and I will take any excuse to dress up and have a night out, but this was a particularly good event. It was very "DC," in that we were among elite government officials. I'm terrible at hob-knobbing and knowing who is whom, but I saw several Generals and other high-ranking officials.

The embassy itself was gorgeous. They had a real beer garden with long, wooden tables and excellent brew. Food was set up in various stations around the grounds. I was surprised at the variety of foods on offer. I never thought of herring and salmon as traditional German foods, but they are part of the coastal region cuisine. That was my favorite section. I also really enjoyed the warm pretzels and cheese from Bavaria. Of course they also offered schnitzel, spaetzle, bratwursts, and black forest cupcakes.


We had a great time. The weather was perfect, the music was fun, and the food was delicious. I hope to do it again next year!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

RennFest

A few weeks ago we went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival--something that has become an annual tradition for our family. Before you say anything, yes. It is totally nerdy. But it is so much fun.



The festival is not too far from our house, set in the woods. The 25-acre village is chock full of entertainment, including jousting, axe throwing, pony rides, face paining, and tons of performances. I especially enjoyed the Vixens En Garde--three women performing Shakespeare in a fast-paced, slightly naughty way.



All of the actors are dressed in period costume and remain in character throughout your interactions. A lot of people come dressed up too. That's always the most fun for me--the people watching. As Dan says, it is so fun because this is nerd heaven. You can just tell that many of these people had a rough time in high school, but here they are the popular kids!

There are also some great food and drink options. I love the Bee Sting, which is half mead and half cider. We also had a soft pretzel, fried mac and cheese, fried pickles, and garlic bread. We brought our own food for lunch too, but these were fun treats.


Zahara enjoyed the kids-centered entertainment. There were pirates, and fairies, and wenches.



Asher looks skeptical in this picture, but he had a lot of fun too. If you go, I'd definitely recommend a baby carrier versus a stroller. It's so much easier to get around the wooded village without having to push a bulky stroller around.


This is a family tradition I can't wait to carry on next year!

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Thoughts by Z


This month Zahara was very insightful. I wonder if it is because she was learning all about forgiveness and repentance in school in preparation for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is really interested to me to see how complex some of her thoughts are getting. Of course, she can still be just as silly as always!

Thought 1:
After talking about the fact that G-d made the world and everything in it:
Z: Did Hashem (G-d) make Himself too then?

Thought 2:
While doing taschlich--a Jewish ritual where we throw our sins (in the form of bread) into a river:
Z: I'm sorry for breaking the rules. I'm sorry for not listening. I'm sorry for being grumpy in the mornings.

Thought 3:
Z: I love our new house because it is so big it can almost touch the clouds!

Thought 4:
Z: When I kiss Omri at school, Felix says "eewww."

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 14 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 14-month birthday! This month marks your first in our new house! We moved a few weeks ago and are starting to settle in. You absolutely adore it. You love the basement where there is tons of space for you to crawl and play. You love climbing up all the stairs. And you especially love doing laps around your room, through the hall, into Zahara's room, through the Jack and Jill bathroom, and then back to your room.



Every night before bed, you and daddy play peek-a-boo with your new curtains. You crawl behind the curtain and wait for daddy to "find" you. Then you shriek with laughter, close the curtains, and do it again.


You're still not walking--though you are great with a walker!--and you really want to be carried everywhere. You've been especially clingy to me this month. It's very sweet, but it means I can't be out of your line of sight without a meltdown. You usually calm down after a couple of minutes, but it's hard. I think it's because we stopped nursing this month.  The nursing decision was all yours; you just decided you weren't interested anymore. I'm actually a lot sadder than I thought I would be, but I'm proud of how far we made it.


You still love your sister, but you HATE diaper changes! It is a two-person job to get you changed. On the other hand, you decided that books are actually kind of interesting. And you LOVE dancing.



You are consistently using a few words now: mama, dada, and "hara" for Zahara. How sweet is that? You will also kind of say cat and up. You sign for milk and all-done.

The best part of this month though has been your developing sense of humor. You  will try and do things to get us to laugh (like making silly sounds), and you will always join in when others are laughing. Your smile is contagious and people can't help but want to rub that furry head of yours.

Ash, happy 14-month birthday. Here's to many more happy and healthy months!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Montgomery County Fair

I love fairs. Growing up in Texas, the state fair was a big deal. We even got a day off school and free tickets every year! I love the fried foods, farm animals, and festive atmosphere. The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair isn't quite the Texas State Fair, but it is still a lot of fun. This year I had an awesome girls' day out with my friend Katie, her daughter Paige, and Zahara.



We ate our way through it! We had funnel cake, lemonade, ice cream, and roasted corn! Everything was amazing, except the corn. It was actually so salty that we returned it and got our money back. I LOVE elote, but this was terrible. The lemonade was like crack though. We split it between all of us, and even got one refill. It wasn't enough.


 


Zahara and Paige loved the animals. They got to pet a giant rabbit, see the huge pigs, watch sheep being judged, and even ride a pony!



We also ran into one of Zahara's classmates. I always love seeing her interact with her friends. Also note her outfit that she picked out: doctor princess. I love it!


It was a gorgeous day to be outside and I'm so grateful I was able to spend it with those wonderful girls. Thanks Katie! Let's do it again next year!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Thoughts by Z


New season, new gems from our little girl:

Thought 1:
Upon hearing a cricket making lots of noise outside:
Z: Aww, he's looking for a girl.

Thought 2:
Z: Quick! There's an emergency! There's a volcano about to erupt in Brooklyn!

Thought 3:
Z: What are you doing?
Dan: Exercising. It's good for your heart.
Z: And it's good for your tushy!

Thought 4:
Dan teaching Zahara to sweep:
Z: I'm 4 years old. I know how to do it. Give it to me. I'm on it!

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 13 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 13 month birthday, little guy! This month has been a whirlwind of packing and getting our house ready to move, and you've shown that you are one adaptable fellow. You are happy whether you're playing with a pile of toys, or a pile of cardboard boxes.


Teething has been hard on you this month. You've already got eight teeth, and we can see at least four more coming through. Hopefully this round will be it for a while and you can relax again.


You're cruising like a boss! You can move all around, even going up the stairs. But you don't seem to have any interest in walking. You're not standing on your own yet. You clearly can do it--and have done it at least a couple of times, but you're just not bothered. That's fine though. Everything it its own time.


This month you got your first pair of shoes--at least ones that actually fit you. They are Stride Rite size 4.5 wide. You look adorable in them. Especially with your new haircut. That's haircut number two for you so far. This one wasn't nearly as successful as the last time, but you did well and you look handsome--though we still call you our furry chicken. Sorry.


You're so interactive and love playing games with your sister. Your favorite is when we start in the living room and you crawl as fast as you can to the stairs. Zahara and I will chase you and "catch" you at the bottom of the stairs and carry you back in to the living room. All three of us will squeal with laughter and start the whole thing over again. So fun!

We love you and can't wait to spend all of your next birthdays in our new house!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stitch Fix Update

I told you a while back about this new thing I was trying out called Stitch Fix, a clothing delivery service. Since then I've gotten three more deliveries and I'm back with a review.

First Box:
I reviewed my first box here. I thought they did a great job getting my style right off the bat. I kept two of the pieces--the skinny jeans and the knit top. I still wear those all the time and really love them. The jeans especially are great quality and I'm really happy with them. The shirt though, was not the best quality. I actually wrote back to Stitch Fix to complain because after the first wash it was already pilling. They were great, and immediately credited me back the money.

Second Box:
My second box wasn't nearly as good. I didn't take pictures of all of the items (blogger fail), but I was struggling to keep even one of the pieces. I reluctantly kept a cross-over sleeveless shirt just so I wouldn't lose my credit. Turns out though, I LOVE it now! It's my number one go-to shirt this summer. It's so light and fits me well. I should have given my stylist more credit.

Third Box:
The third box was my favorite so far. I asked for clothes for my upcoming cruise, and they totally nailed it. I actually kept all five items! That earned me a 25% discount, so all five items ended up being only around $200. Not too bad.




I also got a great pair of white skinny jeans and a beautiful bright orange top. I don't have great pictures of them though. I really love all of these items and have worn them a ton this summer.

Fourth Box:
After my high of getting all five items in my last box, this one was a disappointment. I really didn't love any of the items. I again ended up keeping one just so I wouldn't lose my credit, and I do actually like it. I've worn it a few times since then and it's a great date night dress.


The jean jacket they sent was fantastic, and normally I would have kept that, however my mom just bought me a great jacket for my birthday. I don't need two denim jackets.


The other items just weren't my style and didn't fit well. The shoes were fun, but too big. The flower dress was way outside my comfort zone, but I was willing to give it a shot. It was just too big in the waist and not figure flattering. The maxi dress just looked cheap (but wasn't!).




I wrote all my reviews on the Stitch Fix site as I always do. This time, customer service reached out to me to apologize for my box and waived my styling fee for my next box. I appreciate that they are always trying to make things right.

So, what do I think about Stitch Fix now that I've done four boxes? I still really like it. It's fun to get items that are picked just for me. I like that the stylists refer to my notes and my Pinterest page for inspiration. I like getting things that are outside my comfort zone--things that force me to update my style. And, who doesn't like getting packages in the mail?

I'm getting my next box on Friday. I'll let you know how it goes!

And if you're interested in Stitch Fix, would you consider using my referral code? It doesn't cost you extra and I get small commission.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Things I Love: Halo Top

I'm probably pretty late to this party, but have you guys tried Halo Top ice cream? It is so good! My parents introduced it to me when they were here a couple of weeks ago, and I'm officially hooked.


Here's the deal: it's low-calorie ice cream that is packed with protein. Is it healthy? No, probably not. I mean, it's not like you're eating a carrot stick. But, if you have a huge sweet tooth like me (see: Sweet Tooth Traveler), and you're going to indulge anyway, why not do it with something that isn't quite so bad for you.

So far, we've tried the pistachio, chocolate almond crunch, and mint chip flavors. I'm not a huge mint chip fan (shocking! I know!), but Dan said it was really good. The other two flavors were really, really good. The pistachio is a little sweet, but I like it. It has a nice, nutty flavor. The chocolate almond crunch has yummy crunchy bits that kind of reminded me of a rocky road.

Next up on my list to try: chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cup, s'mores, black cherry, chocolate covered banana, and candy bar. I mean, right?! How good do these sound?

source

Have you tried Halo Top Creamery? What do you think?

This isn't a sponsored post, I just really, really like this ice cream!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Asher's Cake Smash

The best part about a baby turning one is the smash cake tradition. We didn't have a big party for Asher like we did for Zahara (#secondkid), but we still wanted to mark this occasion with a low-key celebration. My in-laws were in town, so we bought a small cake and let Asher have his way with it. It didn't take him long to figure out that sweets are delicious!





Zahara couldn't resist getting in to the act as well. Luckily, Asher was a good sport about it.



Here's to many sweet years ahead, Asher!

Read about Zahara's First Birthday Party here.

Also, did you notice that adorable onsie Asher is wearing? That's courtesy of my very talented sister-in-law Amy. She's got a shop full of great designs. Check it out here.