Saturday, January 27, 2018

Dear Asher: 18 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy half-birthday! Today you are 18 months. So much of you is toddler now that I can't really consider you a baby at all anymore. Sure, you still drink from a bottle sometimes, you sleep in a crib, and you wear diapers. But, you run! You make jokes! You wrestle with your sister!

You keep growing stronger and faster every day. You still stumble sometimes, and you walk like a drunken sailor, but you always pick yourself back up and keep going. You're much steadier on your feet now and can get up from almost any position. You're testing out your new speed by chasing your sister around the house. One of our new favorite games is at night when we're trying to put you to bed, you and Z conspire to avoid capture by running from your room, to the hallway, into Z's room, and back through the Jack-and-Jill bathroom. You'll sometimes make detours into Z's closet for a tea party or a tickle fight. It's hard to be mad that you're not going to bed when you two are playing so well together. I hope you always enjoy each other as much as you do right now.

You're also talking more clearly now. I still don't think you could be understood by others necessarily, but your vocabulary is sky-rocketing. You clearly know what you want most times and are starting to figure out the best way to communicate that need. You do a pretty good job mimicking sounds, so daddy and I will narrate everything around us and ask you to repeat words. I'd estimate you probably have around 30 words. I love hearing you speak!

Finally, finally, you're showing some interest in books. I know that reading is not everyone's favorite activity, but it is one of mine and daddy's and I'm so happy that you might be following suit. You've even started to pick up books and try and read them on your own, which is adorable. You make such hilarious sounds when you're "reading."

This month you were a little fussy though. You're generally happy as long as you're being held, but if daddy or I need to put you down for any reason (let's say to get you the milk you're desperately asking for), then all hell breaks loose. Maybe it's the benefit of being a second-time parent, but I have to say that these over-dramatic, fall-on-the-floor tantrums are a tad funny. I feel bad that you're feeling bad, but the antics are just silly. #toddlerlife

It seems like every day you are learning new skills. I love watching you grow and can't wait to see what the future holds for you. Asher, we love you to the moon and back! Happy 18-month birthday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Year's Eve 2017

I already told you about our Holiday Season, but there was one more celebration to round out the year: New Year's! My best friend Dina and I have been spending as many New Years' together as we can since college. We have been in DC, New York, New Jersey, and even England one year (though technically it was January already). Many of our New Year's celebrations have been wild, but lately, we're finding our favorite nights involve good food, good friends, comfy clothes, and a reasonable bedtime. Who's with me?

This year was the perfect celebration. Dina and Ed came with their two kids for a sleep-over. Together, we had four kids 4 and under, and it was a blast. The kids immediately took to one another, with Zahara acting as the group mom.

We planned a make-your-own sushi night and got the kids involved in the prep. The two older kids (age 4 and 3) did a great job helping cut the veggies and fruit and make the miso soup. I was legitimately impressed with their patience and skill.

Making the sushi was fun. The kids thought it was silly to play with their food (patting the rice on the nori, piling in the fish and veggies). Zahara and Asher devoured theirs. Charlie and Ryan were a little less sure.

Zahara and Charlie (age 3) even had a sleep-over in her room. They didn't know we had the video monitor on. Watching their unfiltered shenanigans was hilarious. Oh, the stuff they thought they were getting away with! Jumping on beds, turning on and off lights, telling each other was brilliant.

Once the kids went to bed, we made and ate our sushi and had some drinks. We played Cards Against Humanity and Trivial Pursuit until the ball dropped...can you believe we made it until midnight? A glorious authentic cherry pie straight from New Jersey capped off our evening.

The next morning we had a yummy breakfast before saying goodbye. Thankfully, we already have the next visit in the books, so we won't have to wait too long before seeing them again.

May all of our New Years' be as wonderful as this one!

Past New Years' With Dina:
2016: Quick Trip to Philly
2015: New Jersey
2013: England 
Plus many, many more not on the blog (all the way back to 2004!)

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!