Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dear Asher: 20 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 20 month birthday! What a fun month this has been (despite your two-year molars coming in)! You went through a big leap this month, both in language and motor skills. You are running all around now. You're even walking up and down stairs, with help. I love when you come up to me and grab my hand to lead me on a walk. You also say hi and bye to people now, which is really adorable.

You're speaking a lot more now. You're still using mostly one word at a time, but you copy everything anyone says, and have started incorporating those words in to your vocabulary. It's amazing how much you understand. You show comprehension through shakes of the head no, and slow nods yes. It cracks me up. You'll say yes or no too, but you are so serious with the head nods.

Speaking of serious, one of our favorite games right now is making faces at each other. We make a serious face, a happy face, a surprised face, and lots of silly faces. I love that we can play interactive games now.

Things you hate: diaper changes; not having milk the instant you want it; being in your car seat; eating green vegetables with daddy (you're OK with me); being put down. You love sweets; pretending to drive cars (especially honking the horn); and your sister (though it's not always mutual).

Asher, each month is getting more and more fun. We love you to the moon and back!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Quarterly House Update

It's been another three months since I last checked in with the progress of our house, so I figured I was due. It's been a whirlwind of a winter around here. Some good, some not-so-good, but we ended winter with a snowfall that covered our house and lawn in a gorgeous blanket of white. Just when I think it's not possible to love the house more, I discover that we have the perfect sledding hill in our backyard!

We've been really busy with house updates too, including some major ones like a new deck and patio! Guys, it looks SO GOOD!! Dan and I worked with a couple of designers to get exactly what we wanted. It's a nice sized deck (14x16) with a large patio underneath (14x28). We wanted some area that was covered and some that was open so that we can have a fire pit. We also designed the stairs so that we maximized the patio area and still kept our view of the woods behind our house. It's been too cold/rainy/windy to use it so far, but I can't wait for the warmer months to test it out. 

We also have a kitchen backsplash! We originally were going to install it ourselves over winter break. That didn't happen. First, we had a much tougher time picking out tile than we thought. It took three rounds to find one we loved (including purchasing the full job's worth of tile of one before deciding we didn't like it). A lot of the ones we loved were glass, which was a bit intimidating. We were quickly running out of time when the kids were in day care but we were off work, so we decided to hire it out. Thank goodness we did! The tile guy spent an entire day just making his cuts--so.many.cuts. We LOVE how it turned out though. It adds so much depth and personality to the room. 

Another task we accomplished during winter break was organizing the basement. We wanted something that would be durable, functional, and pretty. Since it's meant for a kid's space, we didn't want anything too precious, so we went with some IKEA hacks. We were gifted the table and chairs, which I then painted a light blue and gray. We purchased this bookshelf, turned it on its side, and made a cushion for the top (tutorial coming soon). These adorable canvas bins fit perfectly in the cubbies. We flanked the bookshelf with these other cubes that came in this fun turquoise color. Then I painted some wooden letters to give it the final touch. 

Lastly, we finally got lights in Zahara's room and the master bedroom. I found an awesome deal over the holidays for this gorgeous capiz chandelier at nearly half off! I'll have to take a picture of it in her room. It looks stunning.

And our room got some glam with this crystal drop chandelier and ceiling medallion. We searched forever to find a light fixture we agreed on, and finally found this Pottery Barn stunner. But at more than $1,000 it gave me pause. Luckily, I found this nearly-identical knock-off from Overstock at only $200! Dan gave the metal part a quick coat of metallic spray paint to give it an antiqued finish, and it looks amazing. The rest of the room needs a bit of help. Slowly, but surely.

It's really coming together, don't you think? Still tons more to do, but I really love this place. Here is our to-do list from the last update. We're making progress!
  • 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!)
And a couple of new items to add:
  • Patio furniture
  • Deck furniture
  • Fire Pit?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Snow Day!

It snowed! And it was glorious! Beautiful puffy snow that blanketed our neighborhood. I was supposed to be working from home, but with the kids and Dan off school and so much fun to be had, I decided to play hooky.

With the help of our neighbors who have a daughter Zahara's age, we made a giant snowman. The kids gathered the sticks for his arms, rocks for his eyes, a carrot for the nose, and a hat and scarf to keep him warm. 

It was so great watching the kids play in the snow. Asher is really in to his bike right now and didn't get the idea that it would be hard to bike in the snow. It worked out OK for him.

While Asher was napping, our neighbors brought their sled around to our backyard. It turns out our yard is perfect for sledding--a gentle hill that works well for little kids. We saw some bigger kids sledding down a bigger hill nearby.

How pretty is our house in the snow??

We called it quits before anyone got too cold and cranky. A nice cup of hot chocolate was the perfect ending to a great snow day!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Girls Day Out at Drybar

I've never had a blow-out before, but after listening to the founder of Drybar on the How I Built This podcast, I decided I wanted to give it a try so I asked for a certificate for Chanukah. The concept is simple: you pick a style from their look book and a stylist washes and blow dries your hair. That's it. No cuts, no color, just styling. 

I thought it sounded like something fun to do with friends, so I invited my mom's group ladies for Drybar and brunch. The verdict: it was fun, but I won't be a regular. 

The atmosphere and service at Drybar were great. I had read online that they offer you champagne when you arrive, but when we came they told us they were out. I joked that I was only in it for the champagne, and next thing I knew they had gone out and bought a bottle just for our group! 

The hair washing felt lovely, but nothing too different from a regular hair cut. The blowout was good. I chose the Cosmo, which is billed as lots of loose curls. They definitely delivered. My final look was a really close match to the look book. And they didn't burn me once, which is something I'm always paranoid about.

My hair never holds a style for long, so while this was really fun and the outcome was beautiful, it's not something I would do on a regular basis. I can see myself doing it again for another girls' day out, or a wedding or other special event though. And showing up to brunch looking fabulous was definitely a perk.

Have you been to Drybar? Let me know what you thought!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Family Weekend Getaway

When my friend Margot told me she was getting married at a ski resort, I couldn't wait to make a weekend of it with Dan. I pictured how romantic it would be: roaring fires, cozy lodge, drinks and dancing. While the kids-free vision didn't quite work out, we had some really great family moments, including Zahara's first time skiing!

The lodge was only around an hour and a half away from our house, so it was an easy trip up. We got there Friday afternoon and checked out the gorgeous property. I took Z swimming while the boys went to explore. Later, while Dan was putting Ash to bed (in the bathroom of our hotel room), I took Z to the welcome reception.

The next morning we put Z in skiing school! There was a daycare center on the mountain where we could have left Asher, but the wedding started at 4:30, so I didn't think we had enough time for Dan and I to ski too. Instead, we did a half-day program for her, which meant she got two hour-long sessions plus lunch. We went out to watch her (she couldn't see us), and it was amazing! She took right to it! I'm not saying she's the next Olympian, but it was really amazing watching her gear up, get out there, and tackle something new. She LOVED it! Her only complaint about the experience is that she didn't get to go on the chair lift. She had to be able to stop on her own three times before she could ride it to a taller part of the hill, and unfortunately time ran out. Next time!

Meanwhile, after we checked out  Z, we took Asher swimming. He loved the warm water!

The bride and groom very generously arranged for childcare during the wedding. It was such an intimate, beautiful wedding. I loved absolutely everything about the decor (glam winter lodge); the music (90s jams); and the food (breakfast for dinner)!

Cheers to the bride and groom and another successful family vacation! 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Thoughts by Z

Zahara's imagination and creativity have always astounded me. She's entered a new phase of story-telling that blends facts and fiction. It has been interesting watching her learn about little white lies and what makes a good story.

Thought 1:
Z (after screaming): I drew this picture too scary and creepy and now it scares me every time I look at it. And also, I want to hang it on the wall.

Thought 2:
Z (to Dan): Mommy didn't cuddle you last night because there was not enough room and she's not an octopus.

Thought 3:
Z: When we get home and you talk to me, I'm going to ignore you because I have work to do.
Me: What kind of work?
Z: Project work for mitzvahs (good deeds).

Thought 4:
Z (after not liking how Dan combed her hair): You hurt me and the hurting will never stop.

See previous Thoughts by Z here