January 27, 2012

My Weekend Off (aka My Husband is Awesome!)

Last weekend Brian took Isabella and Oliver up to his parents' house in Connecticut for two whole days.  Originally it was just going to be Brian and Isabella but when Oliver caught wind of what was going on he insisted on being included.  "ME!  Neti-neti-nut!"  He repeated it at least a half dozen times.  Brian wasn't sure how he would juggle two kids on the busy train.  He looked into Oliver's eyes and asked, "Will you be good?"  

Oliver met Brian's stare, "Dyes."

"Will you listen to Daddy?"


"Mommy will be here at home, do you still want to go?"


"Do you really, really, really want to go to Connecticut?"


I've never seen my sweet, happy boy have such serious eyes.  He was committed.  With some slight hesitation Brian agreed.

My mouth said, "Are you sure?"  My heart exclaimed, "YEEHAW!!"  I couldn't believe I was going to have two whole days just me and the babe.

I seriously couldn't believe it.  It snowed most of Saturday which stopped all my plans to go out and run all over the city with just one baby.  (I miss going anywhere, anytime now that I have 3 little ones.)  Instead Simon and I took it easy.  We stayed in.  I made banana muffins.  I relaxed!!!  It was uh-mazing!

When Brian and the kids got back on Sunday I was a whole new me...or should I say, the old me was back.  I felt happy and cheerful again.  I felt renewed.  It was a wonderful break.

Thank you Brian!!!  You are amazing!!!

At Grandma & Grandpa's house.

January 26, 2012

The Climber

This little dude is a climber!  He's determined to get higher and higher each time.  I wish I had photo documentation of all the surfaces he's scaled, but some are just too dangerous to not immediately remove him.

I actually love these phases of each of my kids.  They have each had at least one phase when they innately had to perfect a physical skill.  They are determined to keep at it until they've got it.  Nothing can stop them!  I love it!  Isabella use to jump everywhere, off everything.  Oliver insisted on sitting at a very young age. Simon, he loves to climb.

It's a tricky one.  He has two older siblings who constantly move chairs and stools to very fun climbing spots.  (They both love to help me in the kitchen.)  And a mother who is a bit more distracted.  I'm getting into the habit of scanning the room and putting all chairs against the one open wall or the couch before putting Simon on the floor.  He's been known to try and push an older sibling off a chair so he can get on, or attempt to climb onto the chair while it is still being used.  Fortunately, he hasn't figured out that he can slide chairs to climbable spots.  At least not yet!

Warning: removing him while in the act will result in extreme body convulsions and ear piercing screams.

My Sickies

A few weeks ago Isabella got sick.  Mild fever, cough, etc.  It lasted for a good two weeks.  Then Simon got it.  Now it's Oliver's turn.  His was pretty mild and I had thought we were almost done, until last night.  Here's to another week of hibernation*.  Another week of lots of movies.  Another week of lots of cuddles.

*This year I am finding joy in slowing down and hibernating during the winter.  It feels good to spend time focused inside, making food, reading, cuddling and just enjoying this time.

January 9, 2012

Christmas Highlights

Christmas was lovely.  Simple, pure loveliness.  The Carini's came down for a few days from Connecticut (they stayed in a hotel, cause there is no room in our "inn") and we celebrated the holiday with them.  It was surprisingly simple, fun, and dare I say, calm.  Just the way Christmas should be.

Christmas Eve

Grandpa was an excellent sport donkey for the Christmas story, carrying a pensive Mary; guided by an adorable Joseph (or was Oliver a shepherd?).
Great Grandma with one of her 15 great grandchildren
Exhausted Mary.  Gentle Joseph.  Squirmy Baby Jesus.

Christmas Morning

A highlight was walking to and from church on Sunday.  Spencer played Christmas carols on his accordion the whole way.  It was beyond awesome!

Sk8er Girl

Ice skating was part of our Christmas activity advent, but it didn't happen until after Christmas.  On December 31st we were up early, the weather was nice and we decided to head to Bryant Park to try a bit of ice skating.  We got there by 9am and there wasn't a line at all.   We tried to go the Monday before (at 11am), but the line wrapped around the block.  So, no line = awesome.

Isabella loved it!  I was so happy for her.  She was so nervous and shaky most of the time but by the end she insisted on doing it all alone (I had to get off the ice even :0)).  She is a very determined little girl.  It was hard to get a photo of her smiling because she was concentrating so hard the whole time.

When last Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day again we decided to go again.  Spencer was visiting, so we had to show him how wonderful it was.

this is the "Daddy stop making me laugh!" expression

We had a great time again!  Isabella got a hole in her pants and after that she had a hard time skating.  She was really worried about that hole.  So we put her skates on Oliver and the guys took him for a run.  He loved it so much he kept asking "1 more?!" with his finger.  I think he went around the rink about 10 times.

balancing all by himself
I think Oliver mostly loved just slipping and sliding everywhere.
It was hilarious.
And, if you were wondering what Simon and Oliver did while Brian, Spencer, and Isabella skated for a few hours:
When the Zamboni cleaned the ice all the kids would crowd around Oliver and watch him play on the iPad.
It is a lovely gadget at times like these.
We choose to go to Bryant Park instead of Wollman Rink (which is closer to us) because the rink at Bryant Park opens at 8am and they only charge $14 to rent ice skates.  Wollman rink doesn't open until 10am and the rates are significantly higher (adults cost $23?!  $5 just to watch?!).  Next year we plan to buy the kids their own skates (used, of course) at the beginning of the season and head to Bryant park as many beautiful mornings as we can.  This is a tradition we hope will continue.

January 7, 2012

Right Now

At Bryant Park. It's sunny. It's 50 degrees. It's perfect.

You know your kid is a New Yorker when...

...she asks for money by making signs.

The signs read: "I need some cash" "Isabella need for money" "Love Isabella" & "To Mommy"
I laughed so hard.  I couldn't resist and I gave her some coins.  (I usually make her work hard for her money.)  She insisted I put them in the "box" (a kids' chair turned upside down) rather than putting it in her hand.  She then, promptly, asked for "cash", meaning, paper money.  I caved and tossed in a dollar bill.  I figured creativity doesn't come cheap.  And since I took a photo...I totally had to pay up.

January 4, 2012

Activity Advent: Gingerbread Cookies

We made gingerbread cookies.  The kids were in a mess-making-mood and I was in a not-so-patient-mood.  Even Simon tried to climb up and join the cookie making party.  This is the only photo captured.  They were, oh, so delicious!  Here is my favorite gingerbread recipe.  (Not to be confused with my awesome gingersnaps!  Someday I'll post that recipe.)

January 3, 2012

Activity Advent: The Angel Tree

One warm day we walked across Central Park to the Met Museum to see the Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche.  More commonly known as The Angel Tree.  No photos were allowed at the tree.  If you want to see the tree, click here.

Here are some fun photos of our a beautiful day in the park.

January 2, 2012

Activity Advent: Gingerbread House

 I purchased one of those pre-made gingerbread house kits from Trader Joe's as soon as they appeared at the store.  (Last year I waited until after we moved.  But they were sold out.  Thank you Mom for saving the day and bringing one in your suitcase!  FYI: The one from Target--last year--was better than TJ's.)

Oliver ate the little candy people included...before they made it onto the scene.  And, fortunately, we had some candy stashed away, because there wasn't much in the kit.  Ummm...and, my kids ate a lot.

January 1, 2012

Activity Advent: Making Gifts

We spent a couple of days making gifts for others.  It's not an easy thing making a gift for someone else, who lives in the same house...when your house only has two rooms.  I was super stealth a couple of times and was able to hide things at the last moment.  It made the merry making even more exciting.  Isabella, wide-eyed and bouncing on her tippy-toes, "Mom, hurry!  Hide it!  He's coming!"

Isabella and Oliver are really into letters right now.  I found some ideas on Design Mom that I thought they might like to do.  And they loved it.  It was a lot of fun doing these projects with them.

monogrammed mugs
glittered initials
I added a little paint to the glue (watered down) so he could see where he put it.
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