the life and times of lauren, andy, and mainly, our little dean beans…

T-ball, Storyland, and spring!

Posted on July 6, 2014

So this post will attempt to catch up on the two months or so that have passed. I don’t know how it is possible but it feels like I have less and less time (and energy) to edit photos. Thankfully, my prolific photographing of the kids has slowed a bit, a tiny bit, well, maybe not much. The kids certainly haven’t slowed down, and neither has their photogenic adorableness.

So this spring was an eventful in more ways than one! At work I had the biggest event of the year (and maybe 25 years) as we celebrated City Year’s 25th Anniversary at the Boston Pops with President Clinton. While at home we celebrated my sister’s, my dad’s (with a surprise 65th birthday party), my birthday, lots of BBQs (both on our lovely newly painted deck and around the neighborhood), and a trip to Storyland in NH (more about that later)! We continued with swim classes for both noah and em, emily for the first time started transitioning to class without my mom, just with the teacher. It’s hard to believe after almost four years of being in the pool every weekend with the kids my mom is now just a spectator. They’re getting big! noah, meanwhile ventured into a new(ish) sport this spring, t-ball, to tremendous success. We already had an inkling he would like it given his love of all things red sox and general joy for wiffle ball. The t-ball league is probably the most organized sport he has taken part in so far, not really games, but actual, real drills like throwing, catching, hitting, running, the works. And he got to do it with two of his neighborhood friends, Gwen and Quinn. It’s pretty amusing watching pre-schoolers run the bases (let’s just say they break a few rules and may miss a few actual bases and might just entirely forget to go near home plate).

emily has lots of great new sayings. She likes to assert her independence, often telling us she can do it, “her very own self.” She is big into saying “yeah” instead of “yes.” One of our favorites is at bath time when she asks for “pan-shoo” (shampoo) because of the ensuing fun with the soap suds.  She and noah have also decided that guitars sound like “bampa bampa bampa,” and so they pick up the blow-up guitars from emily’s 2nd birthday party and rock out bampa-bamping all along. emily has really gotten into puzzles over the last couple of months. She is an expert at putting together the animal alphabet puzzle at my mom’s house, she has memorized every piece. It’s incredible the amount of information they can retain. She has followed in noah’s footsteps with loving “The Little Blue Truck” books, she sometimes sits down and flips through it herself saying a majority of the words from the book on her own. When it comes to dessert noah is still all about the chocolate ice cream while emily has developed an obsession with “sprinkles” and will just eat a cup of sprinkles instead of ice cream when we go to JP Licks. She is still an avid singer, often when we put her down to bed she will just sing to herself for a long time before going to sleep. What does she sing? I am glad you asked. She is quite the DJ, she creates her own mash-ups. It might start as BINGO (was his nam-o) and then halfway through transition to the Wheels on the Bus or You Are My Sunshine, there’s really no limit to mixes she’s willing to create. She, and noah, and every other child with ears has become obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, and the song to end all songs, “Let it Go.” Both she and noah know all the words (or some version of them) and happily, loudly sing along with it any chance they get.

So, Storyland. Lauren was able to throw together a quick trip for us to New Hampshire that included a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad (an hour trip on an old railway line, noah ate it up), a full day at Storyland and before we left, a round at Pirate’s Cove mini-golf. Storyland was awesome! It was everything you would want in an amusement park trip: no lines, no wait, no scary rides (although noah would beg to differ, he did not like spinning rides that made him queasy), not too many extra costs, not too many overwhelming cheesy characters, no meltdowns, and a condo we rented that was directly across the street so Lauren was able to walk em over for her nap! We got there first thing as it opened and immediately got a ride on the antique cars. Luckily noah has a while to work on improving his driving skills. Then we took a ride around the park on the train (one of em’s favorite rides). A highlight was noah’s first roller coaster, the “polar coaster,” which he mainly enjoyed, only got slightly scared, and I mainly enjoyed other than the sudden stop that banged my knees! Then there was “tea” with cinderella (we were the only ones that signed up for that day, so it was a private gathering!), which both emily and noah really liked. noah was clearly nervous and enthralled while em would just go right up to her and then run around on her own. We also got to go on a “safari” ride all together and both noah and em rode on the flying shoes. While em was sleeping noah and I got to explore the tractor ride and play excavators and we discovered the massive foam ball room: basically a bunch of vacuums and air guns so, a room where foam balls are flying everywhere!. noah also got his face painted… his ENTIRE face painted like a Spider-Man mask. As soon as it was done he showed off his “Spider-skills.” emily and Lauren would met us at the ball pit post-nap. I think that’s where we spent the most time, noah was pretty happy just stuffing the balls in the tubes to make sure the “kids upstairs had enough to play with.” Always the considerate one! We ended the day with the water rides including my favorite, the flume ride which has a massive downslide at the end, fun and splashy! We pretty much covered the whole park in one day. And it was a good day. The kids were still riding the buzz from the day at bedtime, so it took a bit longer for them to go down, but totally worth it. The next day we had a great brunch at Peaches and then got in a little mini-golf before heading home. All in all, a great, quick trip!

city year summit and gala!

city year summit and gala!

Happy Mother’s Day/Passover/Easter!

Posted on May 15, 2014

Happy belated Mother’s Day! We celebrated Mother’s Day by staining our deck (Lauren and I), not ideal, but boy are we happy to have it done!!! And really, every day should be Mother’s Day, there’s no way we could ever celebrate all the mom’s out there enough. I know we are infinitely appreciative of having both our moms nearby for our children and for ourselves. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow asking my mom for advice. Thanks for all that you do moms, you rock!
In emily news, she continues to fully explore the terrible twos! She can be very particular, especially about food. By particular, I mean, for example, one morning I have her a pancake cut up into pieces. “What’s this ridiculousness,” her eyes said as she immediately started screaming/crying, “WANT BIG PANCAKE!!! NO CUT, DADDY!!!” I futilely attempted to explain there is in fact no taste/nutritional/metaphysical difference, clearly a waste of time. So eventually I caved and made a new, whole pancake. This did not sooth the tantrum beast because now she was unable to eat it (too big!). So what did I do? Cut it into pieces. And repeat step one, tantrum over me cutting it. Le sigh.
The good news is she can still be as sweet as ever and makes the most adorable giggle faces and pretty much everything she says is the cutest thing I have ever heard. Our favorite is how she calls polka dots: “Paka dotes.” I also like how she is always telling me “can do it daddy!” Independent, she is. She picked up “oh my goodness” from someone too, hilarious (and us laughing just eggs her on!). Meanwhile, noah has discovered the hilarity and annoyance of “potty words” so he and emily love to throw out a volley of “do-do!” “Poopy!” “Pee-pee!” “Do-do head!” We are trying the whole “you can only use potty language in the bathroom” thing, sort of works. emily is making attempts at using the potty (with some successful trips), but we’re not pushing it.
emily has learned the jacket flip trip, although most of the time she insists on going out without her jacket on (“too hot”, no matter what the weather is), thankfully that shouldn’t be needed for much longer (maybe?!?). Both noah and emily love to do “cheers” at the table, sometimes with a bit too much aggression (spillage!)!
noah has been learning so much at school and it is amazing to see how much he soaks it in and applies to everything he sees and does. He loved the lessons on Antarctica, especially penguins (they became his favorite animal). He would tell us new facts every day about how penguins move on the ice or what they eat or how they only have one mate for life (ummm, do you know what that is?). And whatever he learns about he wants to see in “real life.” He told Lauren several times he wants to go to Antarctica and when she told him we would need to get a lot of gear for that he would check in on the progress of getting the stuff. And when she suggested going to the aquarium to see the penguins he was uninterested because HE wants to be on the ice too!
And then there was the lesson on environmentalism for Earth Day. He got very excited about recycling and “repurposing” stuff in our house and would constantly remind us about not leaving lights on and even reprimanded me for throwing out something that could be recycled (for the record, I always recycle!). It’s also so awesome to see how social he is and loves to talk to anyone about all these things he learns and sees and does, no one is spared his adorable stories!
We have a lot going on these days. In April we had lots of birthday parties! We had Harrison’s 1st birthday, Linus’ 4th, Patrick’s 4th, Juliet’s 4th, and Shelley and Papa’s birthday! We got to celebrate at the Children’s Museum and at a ballet class and for Papa we got to have a surprise 65th at his home! We also took noah to see the globetrotter’s, which he loved, especially the train ride there and all the silly tricks the players did. We visited Olivia and got to try out skateboarding. And of course there were Passover and Easter celebrations! For Passover we got two nights at G.G.’s to hang out with some of the DeNats and Mistrettas, and noah, Matthew, and emily got to search for the Afikomen! For Easter brunch at Nonna’s we got a big Easter egg hunt (there were less kids than usual so the baskets got pretty full!). noah absolutely loved the bunny ears I got for him on my LA trip, he wore them almost all day!
Here’s some pics from the last month or so:

emily is two!

Posted on April 14, 2014

So after noah’s big superhero extravaganza we had to gear back up and plan for emily’s second birthday (noah, meanwhile, immediately moved on to planning his 5th birthday party, it’s Cars themed in case you wanted to prepare). Whereas noah had very, very particular interests, emily is kind of game for anything. So we weren’t sure of what to theme the party, and then Lauren suggested music and it was all so clear. emily sings ALL THE TIME! She loves music, so it was perfect. We picked four of her favorites to put on the cake (I’m a little teapot, Baby bumble bee, The wheels on the bus, and, of course, Back in the USSR or as our kids know it “THE AIRPLANE SONG!”), ordered some blow-up guitars plus kid sunglasses, and made a mix CD of emily’s favorite rock songs. So not so crazy as noah’s party, nor nearly as large, but on par with noah’s second birthday party, so we’re being fair! It was nice to have a more laidback gathering, although, I won’t lie, I did miss getting crazy with the decorations and set-up, so I put all my energy into the mix CD packaging and a few record designs I put up. emily had a blast with her friends and actually ate the cake this time (for her first birthday she refused, which now seems even more crazy as she LOVES chocolate). And I got some pretty cool shots with the sunglasses on the kids, it’s pretty much instant cuteness.

The next day emily got her big gift, a dollhouse! noah and I were definitely into it, although play with it has been off and on. em likes to put everyone to bed while noah likes to tie things from the ceilings and roofs and swing them around. Clearly different play patterns. noah got a stomp rocket and scooter for his birthday. The stomp rocket has been a huge hit, we’ll see how long it takes before we lose all the foam rockets to roofs and trees!

and stomp rocket... (nice wing span!)

and stomp rocket… (nice wing span!)

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emily is still in love with reading, and has started to read books to herself (that is she has memorized books, or enough of a book to flip through it and tell herself the story, it’s adorable). She is still eating pretty much everything, although can be picky about when she will eat things and has found new treats to obsess over: currently cashew nuts and raisins (and still loving yogurt drops, obviously). She loves to imitate or follow noah’s lead when they play together. Whether it is running around the house playing “chase” or pretending to throw bananas at each other at the dinner table, or singing a song together, they definitely amuse each other. And they still fight over Lauren’s time, I’m only worth fighting over if Lauren happens not to be around, but I accepted that fate a long time ago. emily is still loving swim class and along with noah continues to progress into quite the fish. Her favorite part is jumping into the pool, so much so that she decided to bring that into her everyday life and now attempts to jump off of everything (yay!), thus adding gray hairs to both lauren and my head.

noah really likes to talk about how strong he is and flex his muscles (picture him grimacing while flexing his muscles so hard that he shakes, yes it is hilarious). He is pretty much stronger than anything and anyone according to him (including metal, wood, professional athletes, etc.). Although sometimes he admits I am stronger than him when I have to help with something (and by association I am therefore stronger than all other dads, so beware!). He has also been doing this annoying sing-songy taunting voice to brag about stuff he gets or things he has that others don’t.

Both kids still end up in our bed most weekend mornings. We used to be able to eke out a little more sleep this way when noah was little, unfortunately that is not the case with two munchkins. emily is unwilling to just lie quietly regardless, it is much more fun to mess with noah and giggle and kick and fight over being next to mommy. Very relaxing.

Other than Emily’s birthday party we also had lots of “Mardi Gras” celebrations. Mainly because noah and em love playing with the plethora of beaded necklaces my mom has at her house. So lots of wearing and collecting of beads and dancing with them. We also went to the Japanese Showa school for the celebration of Hinamatsuri. We got to meet Ada’s new baby brother, Nicholas, whom emily was fascinated by (she read him books!). Lauren went away for work to Seattle and got to bring Noah’s toy Flash for company to keep up the tradition I started last year with sending photos back along the way. It’s a great way for the kids to feel connected even when we are away.

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So here’s all the shots for March including some funny ones from his school the teachers posted:

noah’s superhero 4th birthday party spectacular!

Posted on March 20, 2014

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noah’s 4th birthday party was quite the extravaganza, which shouldn’t surprise anyone by now. He decided on a superhero themed party long ago and I was pretty psyched to make that a reality (well, his idea was more like TMNT and Spider-Man themed, but I broadened it a bit!). As you can see from above, I decided to go with the classic red/yellow/blue theme with touches of green for noah (his favorite color) and black dots (halftones harkening to the old school comic book printing resolution). More importantly, as you’ll see below, I decided to go crazy on creating some custom activities for the party itself. But first, we needed to find a space to host this nonsense (one of the issues of having winter birthdays: always have to find indoor spaces!). We were lucky enough to find a public space, Curtis Hall in JP, that could be rented for a very fair price (especially when you look at how much the gymnastics and other thematic spaces cost!) and most importantly, it was a blank canvas we could decorate as we liked (signage was all printed by me, streamers, WHAM/BAM/etc, tablecloths, balloons from Oriental Trading)!

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First things, first, I set out to make a classic telephone booth for our mini-superheroes to change in (not that any of them actually have ever seen or know about a phone booth. But, you know, big red box they can climb in and out of, they’re sold on it.). Shout out to Yale Appliance who was the first (after many) appliance stores to respond positively to my odd request (a fridge box for a superhero party!). I was inspired a lot by this blog I found, and many other sources I reference on my pinterest page, but I definitely added my own touches. And we all got to paint it together, including noah who loves “helping” (mostly it helps, but also leads to a lot more clean-up afterwards, but worth it!). The best part about this phone booth is the phone is actually a working phone, well, sort of. There is a coin slot I made that you can put the coins in and they will fall out the bottom (as simple as putting a diagonal piece of cardboard in the bottom so they slide out). The keys can be pressed in (I took apart a toy register and put new stickers over the buttons), but they don’t do anything (although there is a SUPERNOAH button that seems to work pretty well at getting him to come! :) ). And for an added touch of authenticity, I bought one of those retro handsets that can plug into your cell phone, so you can actually make phone calls with the phone (noah LOVED this!!!).

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As you can see below, the kids really got “into” it! :)

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At the same time I obsessed over painting an entire refrigerator box red (that did not fit in our house FYI, thanks mom and dad for letting your living room be superhero look and feel creation station for a couple weeks!!!), Lauren took on making custom capes for all the children. No small task when you invite about 30! She found this video from Jo-Ann Fabrics that worked perfectly. The key is to get thin fleece which you can cut without finishing the edges (it’s like felt, but more flowy, so more cape-like, if you will). I made stencils for all the letters (which we did in felt), and a lot of fabric glue later, ta da!!!

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Bonus: the window bars in the room worked perfectly for hanging the capes! noah got his own very special satin green cape that nonna sewed for him as his birthday present. It actually took a little coaxing for him to put it on (I think he was a bit overwhelmed by it all, being just post-nap), but once he did, he was flying around the room with it like, well, a superhero!

The best part of this party (other than the photobooth, but we are working up to that), was the open flow of it. We set up several activity stations that the families could partake in as they liked. No pressure to do any one thing at any one time, everyone could just play wherever they wanted. There was a mask-making station to complete their superhero transformation (we ordered the cut foam masks from a shop on etsy, got some glitter glue, which, BTW takes too long to dry, and foam star stickers).

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Then we had a coloring station with three designs i made and printed out in black and white for the kids to color in: A superhero skyline complete with mini-superheroes, a SUPERGIRL, and a SUPERBOY sheet. Because who doesn’t love to color in superhero drawings?

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Another favorite station was the “Brick Busting” station which was as simple as a bunch of cardboard bricks in red, yellow, and blue in front of a polka dot tablecloth and KA-POW/SMASH/BOOM! signs. You don’t have to ask a pre-schooler twice to knock down a wall of bricks. Luckily for us, my mom already had a large set of these cardboard bricks, but if you don’t have them you can always use a bunch of painted shoeboxes. Check out the craziness that ensued:

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The biggest attraction by far, for the young, the old, and everyone in between, was the photobooth. I had seen online many people do the superhero photobooth with painted buildings in the background, but I just had to take it one step further and make an actual city to pose in. I actually hemmed and hawed about whether or not to do it, because I had already created a pretty sweet backdrop that on its own was a good photo op (thanks Microprint for printing it and all the signage!). I took my superhero skyline and added “stick figure” superheroes, kind of think this should be a series (I borrowed a couple of the bodies from the noun project, thanks noun project!). Check it out:

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But then I painted one of the cardboard boxes we had been collecting and lined them up, and without doing anything else, noah was in LOVE with them. Based on the fact that he could move them himself, hide in them, play in them, set stuff up on them, and just basically be king of his own little city, he was loving it. So I couldn’t not do it at that point. This led to a marathon session of painting (I decided to reverse my invite design and paint the buildings red/blue/yellow and the windows black) and taping the corners for “outlines” (I used Duck Duct Tape, there is a specific one that is thinner and cuts cleaner). Followed by a marathon session of Lauren and I cutting the duct tape to make windows (noah even helped with this too). Upon seeing the finished project he did seem less than impressed, mainly because he wanted to know where the “green building” was (did I mention his favorite color is green?!?!?). So I added a little SUPERNOAH HQ on top of the yellow building complete with it’s own blinking LED glow stick. And, now he was impressed:

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But to really make this superduper fun (pun intended), we needed some superhero props! A few Hasbro superhero masks later, some Clark Kent glasses, a couple superhero accessories, and one big homemade barbell (cardboard poster tube + 2 foam balls, some paint, some foil tape, and duct tape), and voila! Superhero fun ensues…

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To say people had fun in the photobooth, would be an understatement, see for yourself (and BIG thank you to Megan for working the camera for this and of course Elliot for setting it all up and shooting the rest of the party!):

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Other than that, there was the small matter of a cake. We went to our usual spot, Party Favors, and gave them our usual overly detailed specifications which thankfully, they delivered on. noah was very excited about it, especially the characters on top and the whole “I GET TO EAT A BIG PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE” rush. If only characters from Marvel, DC, and TMNT could get together more often in the name of deliciously, sugary sweet birthday cake. Here’s the cake shots and a few others from the general party fun:

And one last shot of all the pieces I printed out for the party (if anyone you know is having a superhero party and wants these or the designs, let me know!):

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Thanks to everyone who helped us prep, prepare, create, set-up, transport (no easy task to get a 7 foot high telephone booth somewhere!), photograph, clean-up, and just attend and make this birthday extra special for our little supernoah! He thanks you too!

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mornings, no thank you

Posted on March 9, 2014

February was a pretty epic month, mainly because of noah’s superhero party. But this is going to be a short pre-party post; the party itself deserves it’s own post! So just a quick update on the month…

noah and em have become like teenagers in the morning. Neither of them wants to get out of bed, they are often grumpy and demanding and groggy! For some reason I only seem to be able to get one of them to come down with me at first, I then have to make several trips up until I can coax the other one out of bed, which tends to lengthen our morning routine! They both really like playing with these mardi gras beads that my mom has at her house (some of them have migrated to our house too). noah likes to put all of them on at once (the Mr. T. look), or swing them around (not so safe), or drape them over stuff to make “webs” or bridges. emily, just likes to put one on and twirl with it. noah has really gotten into legos, he makes some pretty sweet creations with them including boats, spaceships, and cities. Meanwhile, emily LOVES to draw, she has been working on the same masterpiece scribble on the easel for some time now. I have been trying to teach her circles and faces, so she often asks to draw “happy face, happy face!” Hopefully this means she’s on her way to continuing the art tradition of the family. They both like playing with the play kitchen, especially emily who loves to bring us food, and asks us if we want coffee (or ice cream) pretty often. She apparently has a magical sink in her play kitchen, because she fills her tea cups with “tea” from it. emily really likes taking out the board games too, mainly so she can dump the pieces everywhere. em continues to be an amazing eater, although dinner always seems to be very fast for her, she says “all done” and “want go play now!” pretty soon after dinner has started. But she will eat almost anything, including kale, tomatoes, beans, carrots, squash, broccoli, and her favorite, CHEESE!

This month included Valentine’s Day, so noah and I did a little photoshoot with a heart to make cards (which then got the requisite Hershey Kiss glued on them, of course). We also had Oliver’s 1st birthday party and Matthew’s 4th birthday party which was a lot of fun and included a Thomas the Tank Engine cake! Dinner at Shelley and Marvin’s turned into a dance party (which, frankly, is a possibility anywhere with our munchkins!). We also got to hang out with neighborhood friend, Phoenix, who got to preview some of our superhero props for the party. There was some shopping (both kids got new sneakers!) and lots of snow play. In fact, we got a wallop of a snowstorm where the snow came down superfast, but this didn’t stop noah and em from wanting to go outside. In fact, they insisted on going on the swings! That’s New England kids for ya! Lauren had to go away for work, so I got to play solo parent for a bit, which meant lots of craziness at bedtime and in the mornings (mainly extra storytime and play). noah and I also had some fun with glow sticks and a slow shutter speed:

glowsticks + slow shutterspeed!

glowsticks + slow shutterspeed!

Here’s the pics:

Why? Why? Why?

Posted on February 14, 2014

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New year, new schedule, at least for the weekends. I am writing this outside of noah’s Zumba class, yup Zumba, or something approaching Zumba. noah spends half the class hiding in a corner or drinking water, but I think he might warm up to it. Or not, a week later, we switched him into tumbling class, more his style. emily meanwhile has tumbling class before this (noah joins in on the fun there too), which is really just a chance for her to run around and bump into padded mats. Swimming classes have started back up again and they are going swimmingly if I say so myself, all except for how emily likes to run away when she is put out of the pool to jump in!

emily continues to love music class too. She is always singing to herself (and don’t even think of joining in with her, she will yell at you and wag her finger, “NO NO DADDY!”). She knows the entire alphabet song, baby bumblebee song, twinkle twinkle little star, London Bridge, and of course “Back in the USSR” by the Beatles. She is counting to 5 (sometimes 10!) now and has started memorizing a lot of her books. em insists upon doing things herself regardless of her ability to actually do them. So getting her dressed can often be a bit of a battle of wills. Although she does eventually ask for help, “I need hepah daddy, heahppah!” She has entered the “why?” stage, every question is followed up by 8 to infinity why’s. For example, “where mommy?” “Downstairs.” “Whhhyy???” “Because she is making breakfast.” “Whhhhhyyyyy???” “Because she needs to eat.” “Whhhhhyyyyy???” “Because she is hungry.” “WHhhyY?!?!” And on and on and on… emily continues to be a voracious eater, both in volume and variety! She has the same obsession with yogurt drops (“mommy, yoo-gahhhh dops!!!). She really likes to try out things, and she’ll often tell us it is “too hot!” Or “too cold!” We have our very own goldilocks!

em loves playing with stickers (“stik-kahs!”), while noah is a big fan of tape (especially Spider-Man duct tape!). em is still putting things in her mouth that shouldn’t and when you tell her so she always then puts it on top of her head with a questioning look as if to say, “but then can it go here?!?” Her favorite story to listen to in the car is definitely “chicka chicka boom boom.”

As for noah, he is still resistant to any transitions and will do anything to get out of cleaning up, often feigning being too tired to even lift a toy off the ground (how rough childhood is!). “Daddy this is too hard!” Or he tries the delay technique, “but daddy, I just want to do this one more time… I just need to put this here… I just have to go to my room first… Just one more time… How about 3 more times because I am 3? But daddy, but daddy, but daddy!?!?” He battles against eating often, complains it isn’t what he wants after he just asked for it or it is “too spicy” or “not cooked right.” Sigh. Gonna try a new strategy at the dinner table, not try to force him to eat (it’s not like he will starve!), just gonna tell him he has to sit with us for dinner, and let him decide what he wants to eat (inspired by this blog). noah has been really enjoying all the snow we have been getting. He is an avid shoveler/snow ball maker/sledder. He has been doing a good job playing with em, in fact they are pretty good when left alone to play with each other (until they start running around and bonking into each other or wanting the same toy, then all bets are off!).

We had a busy month (as per usual). A trip to the MFA with GG for art activities, and, you know, art. For the African mask-making activity, noah went with a Michelangelo-inspired look (as in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo!).

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emily, meanwhile, had lots of fun running around and checking out every glass window/wall (often up close or pressed against!). I don’t know if you heard, but we’ve gotten some snow this winter, like, a lot, a lot. So noah had lots of fun shoveling (em too actually!), sledding, making snow angels, and trying out his new snow ball maker. Here’s the remnants of our epic snowball fight (noah and I vs the street):

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We also had a mini-christmas with Shelley and Marvin since they were away on the 25th. noah got lots of fun art activities (and immediately put together one of them, a foam frog), and em got one of her favorite gifts of the season, wooden ice cream (looks almost as good as the real thing, and apparently just as fun to serve people, but not quite as fun to eat).

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noah and I continued our cardboard building tradition, making a bridge/tunnel for his cars with some of the new duct tape Nonna got noah for christmas. We had a special visit down to RI to see Mia and her baby sister. Mia was kind enough to share all her toys and give noah a bit of a princess education. We also had playdates with Micah and Henry and Oliver and we got more time with Omri’s brother baby Idan (noah and em insisted on helping feed him when Lauren was holding the baby, so cute). noah and I had a sick day home together where he learned the wonder of being able to type your name in really big fonts on a computer screen (sadly for me, so far, he had more interest in decorative typefaces than classic ones, but we compromised and settled on ChunkFive). Lauren had a lot of travel and extra meetings at work over the past month so I had to do a little extra solo parenting which lead to my first attempts ever of doing a ponytail. I think I did a pretty good job:

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For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I brought the children to their second service day. At my office they were able to make some instruments and decorate some winter apparel for children in need (all while proudly rocking their City Year mock red jacket tees!).

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We also got to attend Julia and Ada’s combined birthday party at myGym which was the usual trampoline/ball pit/run around like crazy fun (with the bonus zip line at the end)! Here’s the rest of the pics from the past 4 weeks or so:

Happy New Year!

Posted on January 10, 2014

It’s 2014 and just a month or so until noah is 4 and then another month and emily is 2! It’s so cliche, but it really is true, they grow up so fast!

The holidays were amazing. We had the usual insane seven fish Christmas Eve dinner with the usual cast of characters (plus our friends Jason, Tori, Burton, and Harrison). I was pretty excited to dress noah in his amazing red pants and herringbone vest, such a dapper gentleman he is. And em had her own Christmas outfit, so cute. Best of all though were their matching Santa Claus pajamas. They had fun running around with their cousins and friends. This is really the first year where we actually did a full-blown, pile of presents under the tree, stockings hung and full of little presents, cookies and milk out for Santa, type of Christmas. We were more low-key about it last year. This time we had a lot of fun playing Santa, and I definitely am enjoying noah’s interest in Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! In general, we try to not make the holidays just about presents, but it is pretty hard to not get excited about TMNT pajamas:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle PJs!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle PJs!

He also got a Raphael mask, TMNT socks, stickers, slippers, and underwear. His interest in TMNT is pretty hilarious since all he knows about he either learns from friends at school or from all the random questions he asks me, ie “daddy who is the radical rat? Why do they wear color stripes over their face? What is a nun-chuck?”

meanwhile, emily loved the doll stroller we got her. She was immediately strolling around to her heart’s delight with it. She also loves the books I made her, one for each of our families, siblings and us (ie emily & daddy, emily & Papi + GG, etc.). She is already memorizing the books and reading them to herself!

new stroller!

new stroller!

After presents at our house we went to Nonna and Papa’s where, you guessed it, we opened more presents. noah was greeted with a ramp and a homemade long cardboard road for his cars. em got to help everyone open presents, but her favorite was the Melissa & Doug ice cream and scoops play set, everyone was served!

Next, after a nap for em, we went to Aaron, Karen, and Matthew’s place with GG and Papi for a Christmas dinner and, yup, more presents. Oy. But the kids had an awesome time playing together, chasing each other around the house and making train tracks in Matthew’s room (and, oddly, throwing things in the air in the dark with a flashlight, fun). I made a book of noah and Matthew through the years which is incredible to see how the 2 of them have grown and changed together, we’re very lucky to have so much family close by.

Over the break we also got a fair amount of snow, which the kids loved! We went on our first sledding expedition at Larz Anderson Park, to rave reviews (noah and em screaming in glee!). We also had a great visit from Uncle Mark and Aunt Carin which included lots of good meals at GG and Papi’s. And there was a solstice party at Michael, Jerel, and Cora’s where noah and friends got to make and decorate a gingerbread house, and I mean decorate: half the candy in the house ended up on it (a lot in the landscaping, there were more than a few cavities waiting to happen in the shrubbery). We ventured out to Needham where Lauren’s co-worker’s family has a very, very big Christmas-themed model train set-up including a mini-Fenway Park and lots of winter activities like sledding and skating. It takes over the entire two floors of a barn. noah and em loved it!

so here’s the pics from the rest of December:

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