Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Charlotte: TWO years old!

Big, independent girl!
My baby was 2 on Sunday.  How can this be?  It seems like just yesterday we were in the hospital together, my brand new baby and me.  And now I have a big, smart, funny, beautiful girl.
Last night as a 1 year-old
Charlotte never ceases to amaze me.  She is such a happy, social girl, and people seem drawn to her wherever we go. She is talking more and more each day; she is up to 4-5 word sentences, and is like a little parrot. She'll say back almost any word I say to her, but often leaves out consonants in the middle of a word.  So "waffle" becomes "wah-ell."  Mostly I understand her, although this morning she was asking for "kisses" for breakfast and I couldn't understand what that was!  It is great that she's so able to communicate, which helps cut down on temper tantrums (sometimes). She can say her name, and tell you that she is 2.  She calls anything pink "my favorite color." I told her she was my baby and she said, "No baby! Big girl!"  She has always been in such a rush to grow up, that girl, and all I want to do is drag out her babyhood because she's my last baby.
Dessert: one of her favorite food groups
Charlotte's favorite foods are... impossible to predict.  She is no longer my eat-everything-baby- she changes her favorite foods from day to day.  She likes many fruits, and loves spinach and broccoli, and almost always loves pasta.  She detests all meats that aren't processed, which means she will spit out chicken, but devour sausage.  She likes pizza ("tee-ta"), cereal, eggs, cheese, and sometimes yogurt.  I think her favorite food is mac and cheese, because that is what she asks for the most.

As with her favorite foods, Charlotte changes her favorite stuffed animal from day to day.  Instead of always taking her Kitty Cat with her, sometimes she takes a rabbit ("raddit") or a small white kitty.  Lately White Kitty gets taken out on the town, but it's always Black Kitty who she wants when it's nap or bedtime.  She just got a gift of a big Hello Kitty doll and calls her "Hi Kitty!"  Her enthusiasm about everything is contagious and adorable.
Every birthday party needs a tutu
She is certainly a girl.  Besides loving pink, she loves pretty dresses and tutus.  She likes to dance in her dresses and twirls like a ballerina with her arms over her head.  She loves dolls.  But- she also loves cars and trucks and playing with her brothers.  She's pretty sure she is 4 years old and can do anything that they do.

Charlotte does like to watch TV.  Her top 2 shows right now are probably Animal Mechanical (pronounced "Amuhl Camuhl" and as bad as the title implies) and Care Bears.  But it kind of seems like she'll watch anything that comes on!
Playtime in the tubby
Everyone adores Charlotte.  Her brothers mostly dote on her, but they also take advantage of her younger age by bossing her around and blaming accidents on her.  I think she knows she's getting unfairly accused, and one night Eric heard her in her crib scolding all her stuffed animals.  "No, no, no Raddit.  No, no, no Kee-kee.  No, no, no Pih-ee."  But her brothers worry about her and take care of her, and often defer to her tantrums because we all hate to hear her cry.  One morning we heard Charlotte in her crib, and I didn't rush in to her, but Asher did.  When I came in to get her, he was sitting in her crib with her, talking and laughing.  She can be very bossy with them, and possessive of Mommy and Daddy, but for the most part, they let her get her way.
Playing at her party with her friend Elliott
Charlotte has developed a love of the words "NO!" and "My's!" (for mine).  Eric described her as willful, but also confident, with a mind of her own. The he said, "how many different ways can you say that she's perfect?"  She is a wonderful girl, a wonder, a miracle, a blessing, a marvel. How is it possible that we could make such a delicious and beautiful girl?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Away

Eric & me
Eric and I went away for the weekend- to New York City for my friend Amanda's wedding.  It was our first time away together since before Charlotte was born, and our first time spending more than 1 night away together since we had kids!  It was made possible by the help of our family and friends- my parents took the kids Friday night and early Saturday morning; my sister did Saturday into Sunday; Jane and Ed did Friday night dinner, Saturday night dinner, and Sunday morning breakfast; our friend Geoff took the boys to a classmate's birthday party on Sunday.

We had a GREAT time.  It helped that the whole weekend was planned and provided for by Amanda, her husband Brad, and their families, so we went from one delicious meal with an open bar to another.
Flat Iron at sunset
We took the train up on Friday afternoon, and did some work on the train.  We were staying at my mom's cousin's apartment at 37th and Park, which ended up being a very walkable location for most of our weekend activities.  We started by walking to Rent the Runway for me to get a cocktail dress for the night- I found a dress, but we ended up race-walking back up Park Avenue to get ready for dinner.  As is the way when you're already late, everything took too long.  I needed new pantyhose and there was a line down the aisle at Duane Reade; the first train that came through our station didn't stop and the train we did get on kicked us off 2 stops before our destination; we started walking the wrong way on Canal... We did get a cab and I was changing my pantyhose in the backseat, and double-sided taping my dress to my bra while we rode!
my Friday night dress
Friday night dinner was fun- we got to catch up with old friends, and I toasted the bride and groom.  We did try to get home a little early (10:30) since we knew we had so much we wanted to do the next day, and that the wedding would go late.

Saturday was perfect.  The weather was sunny and not too cold.  First thing, I went for a 5 mile run, up 5th Avenue and through Central Park and back down again.  I got to look at the store windows decorated for Christmas without inconveniencing Eric.  After my run and a shower, we went out to breakfast together, and then walked down toward the Flat Iron district.  We did Hanukkah shopping and shopped for ourselves (but didn't get anything. I looked at the things I want most for Hanukkah- Chloe perfume and cold-weather running gear- but didn't buy).  Then we parted ways. I went to one of Amanda's husband's offices (he runs a huge company, which is impressive, given he isn't even 30 yet) where there was a company called the Glam Squad set up to do hair and makeup for everyone.  There was Prosecco, coffee, sandwiches, small desserts... Amazing.  Back in college we drank cheap "champagne" and ate who knows what as we got ready together- Amanda has clearly moved up in the world!

I have never had both my hair and makeup professionally done, not even for my own wedding, and it was great- I felt so beautiful.  After hair and makeup, I went back to the apartment where we were staying to get ready for the wedding.  My parents were there, too.  We got ready and left with what seemed to be plenty of time.
my hair- loved it
But Saturday was a big day in New York.  Not only was there a large protest/march against police brutality, it was also Santa Con, which apparently means lots of people go around the city dressed like Santa/reindeer/elves and get stinking drunk and/or high.  All this translated to: not a cab to be found.  Well, we got one cab to pull over but when we told him where we were going he said it was "too close."  So we walked.  I was in 4 inch heels.  I couldn't do it (we walked 6.5 avenues west and 6 blocks south), so I poked my head into a nail salon and paid $1 for the cheap foam pedicure flip flops.  So I speed-walked all the way to the wedding in a long gown, a vintage fur stole from my great-grandma, and pedicure flip flops.  People were laughing at me the whole way there (and I was laughing at myself!) but I had to save my feet for dancing.
cross-town trek in pedicure flip-flops
The wedding was gorgeous!  Candle light, rose champagne, natural touches.  It was especially wonderful because it was so clear that the bride and groom were in love, and that their families were happy with the marriage and all got along.  There was no tension (that I was aware of or that was obvious) and everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to watch Amanda and Brad get married.  There was endless food and endless celebration.

We had so much fun- I had to take my shoes off to keep dancing.  I also felt great. I loved the dress I had rented from Rent the Runway (and so did Eric) and I felt so beautiful.  I probably felt as beautiful as I did on my own wedding day, or more, because now I feel especially proud of myself for getting back into shape after 2 pregnancies.
the back of my dress. I felt so pretty
Sunday was a brunch (more food! and mimosas!) and we were all running low on energy.  We left around 11 and got home around 1 to a house full of love bugs who had missed us.  It was great to be home- but being away definitely felt energizing and exciting.  I think we will have to do it again sometime sooner than 2 years from now.

And one of my best friends in the world is now happily married to a great guy.  I thought a lot over the weekend about how well things have turned out for all of my close friends from college.  We have married great guys; entered into meaningful and enjoyable careers; had beautiful, healthy children.  It was a gift to watch Amanda get married; after hours and hours of phone conversations over the years about love and heartbreak, she has married her perfect match.  I was so honored to be a part of all of it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Plague

Daddy and Asher at urgent care Thursday night
I had many other posts I had hoped to write, but we have all been taking down by a plague- or a variety of plagues.

Last weekend I started with a cold, and was miserable Sunday and into Monday.  Then Charlotte started a fever Monday/Tuesday. Then she seemed better Wednesday, but Asher had a fever.  Then on Thursday, Benjamin had a fever. On Thursday, I took Asher and Charlotte to school, and as we pulled into the parking lot, Asher said, "mommy, my throat hurts."  Being the excellent mommy that I am, I told him I was sure he was fine, and have a great day at school!  By 10 am, the school had called Eric to come get Charlotte because she had a fever.
Sweet, sick baby
By the time I got home from work on Thursday evening, EVERYONE in the house had a fever over 100.  Except me.  So we all went to urgent care.  Asher had strep (nice job for me, telling him he was fine, and therefore exposing a roomful of kids to strep), Benjamin had strep, and Eric and Charlotte were deemed "viral."  Friday we stayed home to recover; Saturday everyone but Charlotte had fully recovered, and she just had a runny nose.  Saturday night, my throat started to hurt.  I went to bed hoping that I was just a hypochondriac and not actually beginning with strep.
Mommy, Charlotte, and Benjamin at urgent care
Sunday, I woke up and knew it was definitely strep.  I called the on-call doctor from my doctor's office and explained the story- 2 diagnosed cases of strep in the house, huge tonsils with white patches, fever, dizziness... He called in antibiotics for me.  All 3 kids seemed fine, and Eric took them to Costco so I could rest. I was convinced I was going to feel fine, and we'd take the kids to Sesame Place in the afternoon.

I went downhill FAST and spent the rest of the day in bed.  Then Benjamin started with a fever around dinner time.  Then Charlotte woke up with a fever this morning.  I called her doctor's office and we were able to get in at 4 pm today, where they said she definitely has an ear infection, and prescribed antibiotics.
How a sick mommy gets to "take it easy"
Now 80% of our household is on antibiotics.  I have bleached the kitchen top to bottom, and our cleaning lady comes tomorrow- I will make sure she gets all our door handles.  We have been housebound for a week.  The kids have missed plenty of school, and it's just the beginning of December.  The only good thing is that this happened now- on our least-eventful weekend of the month, so we didn't miss out on too much fun or celebrating.  Now I hope we can all get well and stay well.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Charlotte and Eli playing together

pre-dinner cocktails in front of the fire
We had yet another Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.  For the first time, the boys really seemed to "get" it, and came home talking about what they learned in school, and the things they couldn't wait to do.  Asher especially was excited about seeing all of his cousins from Boston and his Aunt Elana.  He made cards for all of his cousins, and carefully wrote out their names as Eric spelled them out.  Asher is definitely beginning to put things together in terms of letters/sounds, so I am excited about him reading in the near-ish future.

Today the boys were singing a song that I assumed they learned at school, which included their names, saying, "Asher's in the long house, the long house, the long house.  Asher's in the long house [insert name of activity here]."  So, the first activity they said was "chopping wood."  Then, they clearly couldn't remember what activities they had sung about at school, and began making up lyrics.  We got, "Asher's in the long house, getting naked!" and "Benjamin's in the long house, killing animals!"  At which point Eric and I exploded and told them they were only allowed to do nice things in the long house, like baking cookies or giving hugs.  So tonight, Asher began to sing it again and said, "Asher's in the long house, NOT getting naked or killing animals..."

Thanksgiving morning, I did a 5 mile Turkey Trot with my sister and my cousin.  After having run a half-marathon the Sunday before, the 5-miler was just like a walk in the park!  It also absolved me of too much pie-related guilt later in the day.

Thursday night we had a delicious and abundant dinner at Jane and Ed's house.  We had 2 turkeys with 2 kinds of gravy and stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, challah rolls, parker house rolls, corn bread, apple sauce, 2 kinds of cranberry sauce, salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin tiramisu, an apple cake, a pear tart, bananas in citrus syrup, and chocolate candies.  I'm almost positive that there was more food that I'm forgetting, but isn't that plenty? Everything was delicious, of course.

All 3 of the kids had fun playing with their cousins.  Charlotte and Eli played together really nicely on Thanksgiving night, and then we were all able to meet up again on Saturday at the Please Touch Museum. I was very close with my cousins growing up, both geographically and emotionally.  While my kids don't have any cousins who are geographically near, watching them enjoy their cousins' company, and look forward to seeing them, is rewarding.

As in all the years that came before, I have much to be thankful for again this year.  Primarily, of course, the health and happiness of my little family.  And to be living a life beyond what I had even hoped for 10 years ago.  I am not rich or famous, but I never hoped to be.  I have a great husband and a wonderful family, and an extended family I love and can rely on. Even if we aren't rich, we have more than enough. In every aspect of my life, I am fortunate.  I am happy to wake up each morning to my beautiful children and husband in our warm home; to have food to eat everyday; to be able to use my body without pain; to go to a job that fulfills me and where I am respected for the work I do; to come home to a husband who takes care of me and our children without complaint.  I have friends I can count on and who like me for who I am.  I am thankful for much more than this, but I don't want to be obnoxious or tedious in listing off every little thing.  I think it is enough to say, I am a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the Nutcracker

Before the show
On Saturday, my mom and I took the kids to see the Nutcracker ballet at a nearby performing arts center.  As a little girl, my mom would take me to the Nutcracker every year.  I loved the music, the dancing, the story.  One year I got a nutcracker as a Hanukkah gift.  I've never forgotten those times with my mom, and couldn't wait to make those memories with my own children.

We all got dressed up.  Charlotte wore a beautiful dress that my supervisor had given to me as a gift before she was born.  The dress had a full skirt, and Charlotte couldn't stop twirling. Adorable!  The boys wore real pants (which is to say, not sweatpants) and looked so handsome.
A girl, her gown, and her fruit snacks
Mommy and her Bear
I found myself teary-eyed at many points.  How can it be that I am getting to experience my favorite childhood ballet with three beautiful children of my own?  To think that there was a time when I didn't know if I'd ever have children.

Asher stayed engaged throughout the ballet; Benjamin was able to sit through most of it; and Charlotte made it to intermission.  Not bad- the show we went to was very low-key, with mostly young children, so expectations for behavior were low.  Towards the end of the show, the kids stood at the front of the balcony (no one was sitting there) and danced along with the music.  It was one of the best moments of being a parent, to get to experience the magic of the world through my children's eyes, and to share something I love with them.  I hope we started a new tradition with this new generation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

first field trip

I never wrote a post about the boys' first field trip!  On October 31, I chaperoned their class trip to the local fire station (the one that is halfway between our house and their school).  I was maybe just as excited as they were.  I was definitely more excited than Benjamin was, since he told me in the morning that he didn't want to go, and that maybe he was sick.  Then when I told him boys who were too sick to go to the fire station were also too sick to go trick-or-treating, he made an instant recovery.

Here are some pictures of our trip:
the class had made fireman jackets for the trip
Asher spraying the fire hose

Benjamin spraying the fire hose

the fire station gave the class fireman hats
The class on the fire truck
The class with teachers and chaperones by the truck
I left the trip with enormous respect for their teacher.  4 year-olds are not always great listeners.  Miss Carol, their teacher, seems to have endless patience with them.  She offered many opportunities for the kids to ask questions, and then everyone would raise their hand and offer up a statement of fact.  She would then remind them that questions are things you "wonder" about.  And yet she kept offering the opportunity for the kids to ask.  I don't know how she does it day after day!  After about 5 minutes of nonsense questions or statements of fact with the kids, I find myself ready to say, "No more questions! Quiet time!"  I guess that's why I'm not a teacher.  Just a lucky mommy who gets to take her boys on their first field trip.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


my 3 little gymnasts

I enrolled all 3 kids in gymnastics.  Charlotte is in a 15-35 month old class where I stay with her, and the boys are in a 3 y.o. - 5 y.o. class with a teacher, all at the same time.

I don't think I blogged about it, but I had enrolled the boys in the toddler class at this same gym when they turned 2.  It was a terrible experience.  The class ran 8 weeks over what was essentially the first trimester of my pregnancy with Charlotte.  I was beyond exhausted, I was nauseous, the gym smelled like feet and my nose was over-sensitive.  The teacher was nasty and didn't pay even a second of attention to the boys, except to yell at me when they weren't doing what she had asked and to tell me to take them out of the gym if they couldn't follow directions (they were 2 year old boys! what did she expect?).  We suffered through and I tried to forget that it had ever happened.

This past spring, Benjamin did a gymnastics class at the JCC, but I was not impressed with the quality of the instruction there.  One day when I dropped him off, I was pretty sure that the teacher was high.  So that's not great, either.

Finally, Asher expressed interest in taking a class, which is exciting, since he has refused any activity since soccer in the summer of 2013.  Charlotte is amazing flexible, and can already do the splits, so gymnastics it is.

Our first class went great!  The boys did their thing, and every time I glanced at them, they seemed to be following the teacher and participating happily.  Charlotte was extremely enthusiastic about her class, especially the trampoline (which the boys refused to go on when they were 2; much hysteria and screaming around that activity).  The teachers adored her, and the other moms complimented me on her ability, considering it was her first class.  After the class, the kids get half an hour in the "fun factory," which they loved.

It was a very successful morning, and led to excellent afternoon naps.  I'm looking forward to this routine for the next few weeks!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

This post is belated because, like the excellent mother that I am, I didn't take any pictures and was waiting on my friend to email me the ones she took.

It was probably the most fun Halloween we've ever had!  All 3 kids were really into it, and loved trick-or-treating, and costumes, and candy.

I posted a few months ago about the trouble I had with some friends and neighbors.  Well, our Halloween was a reminder that we have wonderful friends who value our friendship and whose kids love mine as much as mine love theirs.  We hosted 4 other families for a pre-trick-or-treat dinner, since we live in an excellent trick-or-treat neighborhood (lots of houses close together, lots of families). Around these good friends, I feel like I can be myself, have fun, and just enjoy their company.  I told Eric they are my "real" friends- I never have to worry what they think of me or my kids.  We've seen each other and each other's kids at their worst and we still want to be together.  I felt happy to have them with us, and to watch all of our kids have such a great time together.
The group before we headed out
Asher the giraffe
The group going down the street
the rush for candy
the smaller ones at the back
my two big guys in their super-cute costumes
Charlotte Kitty Cat
Sad kitty cat
I loved that my boys chose to be animals, even when so many of their friends are Batman/Superman/Iron Man or something.  I think animals are the best costumes, and I couldn't have picked better ideas for them myself!  Asher's giraffe costume got a lot of attention because of its long neck, but it started flopping over before long, which bothered him.  And I had to put Charlotte in a fleece, since it was colder than I'd anticipated and had only gotten her a long-sleeve t-shirt.  Oh well, with a face like hers, the rest doesn't even matter!

The kids got what I consider a reasonable amount of candy.  I've been using it as a bribe ever since!  Charlotte loves her candy and is constantly trying to eat something, and then I take it away, and then she cries.  Meanest mommy ever.

On Saturday, Asher told me he was going to go trick-or-treating again that night.  He was very disappointed when I told him no trick-or-treating again until next year!  We tried to find other things to look forward to, and it seems Thanksgiving will be an acceptable substitute for Halloween.

Halloween is hundreds of times better as a mommy than it was from about age 9 on.  I used to dread it or avoid it; now I look forward to it and enjoy it.  It's one of the things I love most about having kids- the chance to see the world anew through their eyes.  It reminds me of the ways in which the things I take for granted or have become bored by are truly amazing and wonderful; that the world is still full of magic.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Back from vacation

I'm back from an 8 day girls' trip with my mom and sister.  This is by far the longest I have been away from my boys, and the first time I've been away from Charlotte for more than 2 nights. We had a great time, but it was hard for me to be away from my family for that long! I found that I don't sleep well when I'm away from my kids- this has been true ever since the boys were born.  Any time I'm gone for a night I think, here's my chance to rest and sleep in! and instead I'm up all night with anxiety.  Since I've been home I've slept just fine, no problem- nothing makes me happier than being home with my family around me.

We started by flying from Philadelphia to Seattle on Saturday the 11th.  Elana was taking the train up from DC after having returned from Angola the day before.  She texted me during the day to say she wasn't feeling well and thought she was coming down with something.  We hoped it was just a cold, but she deteriorated over the course of our flight and said, "I've never felt worse in my life!" Oh my goodness, we were just glad no one on the plane knew she had just returned from Africa, because all the fear of E B O L A would have led her getting quarantined and our trip ruined (I should add that there was NO question of whether she had it- there are no cases in Angola and she had no contact with anyone. We aren't irresponsible and would not have risked other people's lives!).

Saturday after we landed (at 9 Pacific time) we rented a car and I drove to Anacortes, WA, where we would get the ferry to Orcas Island in the morning.  Elana felt awful on Sunday, and we weighed our options- stay in Anacortes and try to find urgent care, or go to Orcas and try to find urgent care?  We decided to get on the ferry.
(all of the pictures on this post are un-edited and have no filter)
sunrise from the ferry
It was a fast ride to the island, and then we began looking for food and medical care.  Fortunately, people on the island are very nice, and the woman running the inn where we stayed gave Elana her doctor's number, and she immediately responded and saw Elana at 10 on a Sunday morning!  She was then diagnosed with strep throat and given antibiotics- thank goodness it was an easy cure.

Orcas was beautiful.  We stayed at an inn with farm animals, including chickens whose eggs we ate for breakfast.  The inn had a huge vegetable garden, and we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted from the garden.  Delicious!  In my next life, I will be a gardener.  

Everything I did, all I could think about was how much fun my kids would have- how much they would love the farm animals, picking their own vegetables, eating treats from the bakeries.
The view from our inn on Orcas
While Elana rested on Sunday, I went for a run- 4 miles.  There were some beautiful views, of course.
glimpse from my run
Sunday night we went to dinner at an inn in Doe Bay.  The food was delicious!  It was also the Orcas Island Film Festival, so there were many pretentious, arty types there, and a viewing of some film shorts.  Not really my scene.  In the bathroom at the restaurant, there was a box next to the toilet labeled "For Safety"- where they keep condoms!  It makes sense... a big bar, and next to the restaurant are clothing optional soaking tubs... and a good 10 miles from the nearest store... so we can draw our own conclusions.

Fortunately Elana was healed by Monday, and we went for a 4 mile hike on the bigger mountain on the island.  It was a pretty tough hike, but felt good- I haven't hiked in YEARS.
A hike in the forest
That night, we made dinner in our room at the inn- all food we found in the garden at our inn. What healthy living!

Tuesday we went for another hike before we took the ferry out of town.  This hike was much easier- my mom kept up with us.  
panoramic from Turtleback Mountain
After our hike, we got on the ferry back to the mainland, and started driving to Astoria, OR.  The ride felt like it took forever!  We were so impatient to get there.  We stayed in a house that my mom rented through Air BnB, and it was an adorable old house up the hill from the downtown of Astoria.  We went to dinner at a place called Baked Alaska, and it was also good.  A lot of very good food on the trip, no surprise.

Wednesday morning was rainy, and Elana was in a foul mood.  After breakfast in the pouring rain, the sky cleared and Elana and I ended up going for a jog in Astoria by the river.
Fishing boats on the river in Astoria
Then, back in the car to get to Oregon wine country.  
sun shower in wine country
 We started tasting wine as soon as we could.  We went to a winery near our inn in Dundee, OR, and this super cute guy was working there, and started flirting with us.  Elana was clueless about it!  I tried to kind of pave the way for her, but she didn't take the bait.  I was clearly far more invested in her having a vacation fling than she was!  We had yet another excellent dinner at the Dundee Bistro that night.

On Thursday we went to downtown McMinnville and looked around.  Then, to the Aerospace Museum (I forget what it's called!) in Evergreen, OR.  They have Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose in there, so we got to check it out, and look at all the other planes they have there- it was too early to taste wine!  After the museum, which also had a water park that I didn't get to use, we went to lunch at a market in Dundee.  This was memorable because while we were at lunch, I made fun of my mom and dad and got Elana to laugh so hard her water went up her nose- this is my special skill, which I honed as a teenager.  It was nice to know I still have that talent!

More wine tasting, then into the car to drive into Portland.  I wanted sushi for dinner, so we went out to sushi a few blocks from our rented house, and then went for a long walk.  On our walk, we stumbled upon a food truck hangout, with every type of food I could imagine! I was stunned- something like that is beyond my imagination.
Elana and Mom at food truck heaven
 Friday, Elana and I went for a run, and then we all went into Portland to explore.  Of course it started to rain, and we headed home.  Our cousins from California drove up through Eugene, OR to join us.  It was great having a rented house, because we had space to hang out, cook, and eat.
Wine and cheese before dinner
 We got to spend the day Saturday with our cousins.  Elana and I went on yet another run! We met our cousins in town and got Stumptown coffee and Blue Star donuts, then walked up to the farmers' market.  Too bad we weren't doing any more cooking, because the food looked amazing!
the city of Portland from one of its many bridges
with my very tall cousin, Kyle
We walked so much that my mom started to complain- too much walking.  We had dinner reservations on Saturday night (more food!), and we were all grumpy- so we came home and took a time out to have some quiet.
Mom chewing on a bone

We had a great time with our cousins- I managed to find a new pair of jeans and gifts for my boys and Eric.  It was a fun way to end the trip, especially since I think we were getting tired of each others' company.  We had many moments where we laughed so hard we couldn't stand up, and a few moments where we were ready to bite each others' heads off.  The trip was full of delicious food, amazing views, and good company.

On Sunday, I was ready to come home.  I missed everyone back home desperately, and couldn't wait to see them.  I didn't get home til 1 am Monday morning, but I came back to a clean house, happy and healthy children, and a handsome husband.  Nothing makes a husband more attractive than taking care of all the household chores!  I'm still happy to be home, and looking forward to spending the full weekend with my sweet angels.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Asher: 4.5 years old

Dressed as a knight for a birthday party
My Bear. I think that he might be my tough one.  He can be so wonderful- extremely loving and affectionate, helpful and thoughtful, sweet and caring.  But somewhere in there is a little devious streak... He thinks up ways to get in trouble, and mostly shows very little remorse for his wrongdoing.  Fortunately he seems to be about 95% sweet and 5% spice, but that 5% makes me nervous!
With a mouth full of cookie at Trader Joe's
Asher is currently interested in jewelry.  And money.  He continues his hoarding- he opened up a box of his "treasures" last night and I found 2 rusty tin can lids! He let me throw them out, but I can't believe that he picked up garbage and neither Eric nor I noticed.  Asher has such an eye for shiny things.  And for money.  At the zoo the other week, he found a $5 bill on the ground! I had not even noticed it. What an eye!

Asher is an excellent big brother to Charlotte. He plays with her, holds her hand when we walk somewhere, and checks up on her.  He'll read to her, and she loves being read to. He has a very cute baby-voice he uses when he talks to her, and I love to hear it. He also tries to parent Benjamin by parroting back to him whatever we've already said, which makes Benjamin say, "Asher! You're not a boss!"
Fruitaphobia at the Aquarium
He's continuing to get increasingly picky about food.  He has cut out many of his former favorite foods (go-gurts, string cheese, applesauce), and has reactions to foods he has decided he doesn't like.  He'll leave the table when someone is eating something he doesn't like, and once hid in the bathroom when Eric ate a banana.  We had our intake for occupational therapy for him, and I am hopeful that they will help him get back to eating a variety of foods.  Right now he mostly eats a variety of carbs, and vegetables.  I love that he loves vegetables, but lunches are pretty difficult to pack for him!  Everyday, his lunch box weighs half what Benjamin's does.
going to school in his Patriots shirt
Asher enjoys drawing, collecting "treasures," and is very social.  He makes a new friend wherever we go, and from the sounds of things, leaves people talking.  He is quick to warm up to new kids and is always ready to play and meet new people. He is very physically capable- strong and a fast runner.  He hasn't committed to a sport or joining a team of any kind, and I won't force him to, but I think he would be good at a sport if he chose to play!  At school, he got an award for hand washing, making his mommy and Papa Nick very proud.

Daddy gave Asher a loft bed- he was promised one 9 months ago when he potty trained, and now it is here.  The first morning he was in it, he leaned out and got his sweet face chopped by the ceiling fan!
a band-aid makes it better
That afternoon, Daddy sawed a foot off each leg of the bed to prevent any future fan injuries.

Asher is extremely helpful at home- he loves to help unload the dishwasher, put away laundry, empty the trash cans, and sometimes help with cooking.  He seems so grown up when he does things like that- and in the next minute, he will climb into my lap for a big, long snuggle. The other day he promised he would love me forever and never leave me.  I'm happy to hear that.  I promised I would love him everyday, no matter what he does.