Archive for January, 2012

I heart Etsy

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by Jen

This year, for my birthday and Christmas gift giving needs, Jordi and I chose to give a lot of our gifts through Etsy. I like the idea of supporting individual people and giving personalized gifts that are more unique than a lot of the things we can get at regular stores. Here’s some of the great things we got and gave:

  • Sticks. I kid you not. We gave Celia some honest to goodness sticks to play with, indoors. They’ve been very popular and are fun for all because they’re not so uniform and are very pleasing to touch, bang, stack, and pretend with.
  • Earrings for my mom, silver infinity shaped. Tons of choices and designs. I won’t link because I don’t want to give away the details of the gift.
  • Bean bags. Celia loves to hurl these things around, practicing her aim and strength. We use random boxes and bins for targets for Josie to practice with and Celia just whips them where ever she wants. Seems that the shop I bought them from isn’t selling more… but I’m sure someone is.
  • Vinyl Stickers for iPad. We got my dad a vinyl sticker to go with his ipad, it was a small pi symbol, as in a math geek. But my dad is also an avid pie baker, so it was a good double joke and just perfect to go with his new toy.
  • Sandwich and snack bags. A few people got these in their stockings, personalized fabric to go with each persons favorite things!
  • Barrettes, super cute! Some fancier barrettes with different styles. These grip hair well, but one did not survive so well after being dropped in Josie’s water glass.
  • Capes. Both girls got personalized superhero capes with their first initial on it to fly around the house in!
  • Princess Dress. Made to order and made to fit, even if both girls enjoy wearing both pieces of it. She wears it all the time.
  • I got a great new purse made to order as well, unique and reasonably priced! It’s become my new camera back actually a lot of the time because it’s just the perfect size.
  • Camera strap which makes my camera significantly more comfortable and prettier.
  • Previously I’ve also bought some reusable cleaning pads to fit a swiffer and bags to store little puzzle pieces.

I highly recommend checking out etsy when you’re looking for those hard to shop people! Just gotta give it a little extra time because it’s not amazon two day free shipping!

Little miss model

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by Jen

Josie is playing around with her modeling. I am playing around with white balance by kelvin and higher ISOs. It seems that I have some decent good light in my living room around 1pm.

Photos from today, January 24, 2012

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Jen

This is Celia at Waldo Park, she keeps trying to throw herself off the structure. I’m not sad that we can’t play there much as it is winter, but today it was almost 60 degrees, so we played even though it was sopping. Josie asked why so many dogs had peed all over the park. Uhh that’s melted snow dear.

Look at all those teeth! Don’t notice that her eyes are out of focus because I had such shallow depth of field. But I don’t get many good views of her mouth like this!

Here’s Josie reading, in her cinderella dress. I’m liking my compositions lately peeking around door frames.

Another common theme for me lately has been figuring out how to do back lighting and getting dreamy hazy photos. I find they make me feel warm and fuzzy and nostalgic. I thankfully didn’t have to even ask for these poses, they just walk down the street like this now.

Yes they’re sorta yellow on purpose.

It snowed!

Saturday, January 21st, 2012 by Jen

We haven’t had much snow this winter. So yesterday and today we played finally in it!

Celia at 15 months

Saturday, January 21st, 2012 by Jen

Since Celia’s past a year and things are slowing down developmental-wise a little bit, I’ve switched to three month updates. Her growth has slowed down but still sometimes she gets heavier overnight it seems! Her cold over Christmas definitely made her loose some of her pudge and so she’s a bit trimmer now and gained only 1.5 lbs in the last  three months while growing an inch.

Celia has some major separation and stranger anxiety going on right now, developmentally on schedule, which means she hated the doctors visit this week. Even just getting her weighed and measured produced a lot of screaming and crying. She needs to be close all night long, but absent colds, night terrors, and teething (you know those one or two days a month) she is sleeping a bit better once she’s next to me.

She wants to be just like the rest of us, from using a napkin, to making art whenever and however Josie is doing it. She screams if she isn’t involved, and climbs. She moves chairs around and climbs up on things very quickly and without much care. So I need to watch her more now lately because she’ll do dangerous things without realizing it and gets there in the two seconds it takes me to wash my hands and turn around. She’s shed more blood thus far than I think Josie has in her entire life, generally from bashing her face into something and having some bleeding gums. She’s just not as careful and I just can’t be beside her 24/7.

Celia loves to dance and frequently asks for me to put music on by pointing to the ipod and stomping on the ground. Or she’ll find the musical teapot or another music making toy.

She also likes to make things a game that aren’t, like putting on her coat. It’s a bit frustrating when she see’s me take down her coat and runs the other way. I often just try to wait for her to come back and to try not to play that game. That in combination with her sister screaming that she either does her coat herself or that I must help her do it (depending on her mood) getting out of the house is a challenge, but a necessity. Celia is not much of a homebody these days, she wants to go out. Even just walking around outside the house is a good way to cheer her up.

Her language is really starting to take off. I heard her say the ‘n’ sound this morning and new words will pop up regularly. On Tuesday we counted 17 words, including those in english, sign language and spanish. She also does a jabbing sort of point to try to get her message across. When she wants to say ‘no’ as in ‘no don’t change my diaper’ she has a very clear head shake, and when she wants to say yes she just sort of jumps and bounces happily. She understands a lot of what we say although now it’s not clear how much she’s just picking up the key words or really understanding the whole idea.

She watches Josie and copies a lot of what she does. Celia has started to pick up the lacing beads and string them like Josie. Her favorite game is generally throwing things. We’ve got a big set of bean bags and balls for her to work through and she likes to play catch even though she can’t really catch anything yet. She can throw the bean bag about 5 feet with some pretty good oomph. Her aim and calibration are still a work in progress. She loves to brush her teeth, Jordi suggests it and she goes running to the bathroom.

Celia continues to not be too interested in books though. Once in a while one will catch her attention and she’ll look at the pictures for some in the car, but otherwise she finds my habit of reading to Josie to be very frustrating and annoying and generally tries to grab the book and run away.

Celia is a very polite music listener. Even if she’s falling asleep or nursing, when a song ends, she’ll sit up and clap. She doesn’t go to many sing-a-longs but I guess she’s a good music appreciator or she learned from the few early sing-a-longs she did get to go to! She also likes to clap for herself when she does something ‘right’, like taking my slippers off my feet and putting them on the shoe rack. She’s also starting to learn how to help change the sheets by taking the dirty sheets and putting them in the dirty laundry pile for me.

Overall right now she’s an eager girl who has lots of opinions on what she does, when she does it and how. Just like the rest of us.

  • Size/weight: 18 months clothes, 31.5″ tall and 22 lbs 1 oz.
  • Favorite foods: breastmilk, avocado, cheese, pasta
  • Favorite toy: sticks, stacking blocks and lacing beads
  • Favorite book: not many, lift the flaps are favorites right now
  • Favorite activity: Playing outside, dancing, throwing
  • Sleeping: bedtime ~7:45; one nap; gets up between 6 and 7
  • New skill: climbing quickly and throwing
  • Teeth: 13 and more to come soon
  • Vocalizations: Over 17 words and counting

The day after Christmas 2011

Sunday, January 15th, 2012 by Jen

The day after Christmas and our last day in Florida we wanted to do some stuff together as a family. The girls were feeling a bit better although as I look back at the photos I can still see they’re pretty sick. We thought about the seaquarium, but Josie had already taken a nap by 9am and her mood wasn’t the best so we didn’t want to pay a couple hundred dollars to all get in and have her be miserable. So being the northerners that we are, we said, hey it’s 80 degrees! Let’s go to the beach! It was amenable with everyone and off we went to Miami Beach. The girls dug in right away, they needed no coaching on what to do and how to do it. Except for reminding Celia eventually that sand was not for eating. We even got a bit wet as the water was probably as warm as it ever gets in Boston. I saw a jellyfish but kept that to myself since I didn’t want Josie to freak out. Celia likes to do a lot of head stands these days and the beach was no exception, so they did some yoga (downward dog) together. Towards the end of the afternoon Javier buried Josie with a mermaid tail, and Celia with tiny castles. We all had a great time and it was a fun end to our trip in Miami. And some pictures…

Actually while Celia was digging in the sand like this picture, a group of people came walking up the beach with big cameras and stopped and started taking photos of her. I walked over and said ‘hey that’s my kid!’ and they walked on. Probably nothing but it brought out the mama bear instinct quickly.


What’s new Jen?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 by Jen

Since Josie was born I’ve often had trouble answering the above question. My kids are largely my passion, I love to read about the child development and activities to do with them, but this fall I’ve been working on getting in some ‘me’ activities and hobbies. It’s not always easy to squeeze in some of that time, especially for the months of November and December, but I find even just a few minutes of reading a book that’s interesting to me can help get me out of the stress of the day and maybe get a laugh. So I’ve been…

  • Reading. I like a wide variety from trashy romance novels to non-fiction make your life better type books. To start with the trashy, I’ve continued to enjoy the Stephanie Plum stories from Janet Evanovich, most recently number 18, and another one of hers from the library. I tend to switch between the funny and the serious. To get a good laugh, I also read Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. Tina was pretty funny all throughout, Mindy started off hillarious and kinda petered out by the end of the book. Like everyone else on the planet, I read The Help this summer and couldn’t put it down. Over the holidays I also enjoyed devouring The State Of Wonder. In the areas of self-improvement non-fiction I read The Life You Can Save, which is a bit of a tough read that takes some time to digest, especially as I was doing holiday shopping. Also a key influence on my holiday was Simplify. I’ve been reading his blog and it was nice to see the whole story together. For the kids, I’ve been reading goodies like You Are Your Child’s First Teacher and Creative Play For You And Your Toddler. Yes I’m an awesome mom who likes to read books to figure out how to play with my kids. To put those last two interests together I also read Simplicity Parenting and found myself nodding along. On my bookshelf right now to read is Organized Simplicity, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, The Rhythm of Family and The Digital Photography Book. Lots of reading, easiest thing for me to manage to do a little bit of each day, in addition to the 10+ books I read to Josie and Celia too.
  • Minimizing. In short, trying to get rid of stuff that isn’t bringing our family joy and happiness right now. You can see some of the reading above how I’ve been interested and I also read a bunch of blogs on the subject. Some people are crazy minimalists, like only owning 100 possessions total, including the table, silverware and their toothbrush. That is never going to be us. But in a 950 sq foot home, we’re short on space, big on noise and active moving things. We don’t have space in our living areas for things that we aren’t using, things that I don’t want to clean, and our basement is FULL. Kids obviously bring a whole lot of stuff and have a certain level of need for toys and I’m not about to toss out the clothes Josie has outgrown with Celia getting bigger by the minute. But we have pared down our wine and other drink glass collection considering we hardly ever drink anymore. We’ve thinned out our daily water glasses and mugs so that they all fit on the shelf, keeping the ones that are more memorable, useful and fun. Clothes that neither Josie nor Celia wore are passed along to other people who can use them. I love that I can now empty the dishwasher and the cabinets actually close without me having to arrange things just so. I’ve been going through the drawers throwing out or donating things we just don’t use, like about 20 assorted highlighters collected over the years, now the property of Christina’s 4th grade class in Belmont. It’s wonderfully freeing to remove things that are saved ‘just in case’ so that I can now easily find the things I use regularly. It also has made me more mindful of our spending and trying to buy things that are better quality, longer lasting, and truly necessary rather then something I’ll rarely use and clutters up the space I just worked so hard to empty. It’s also making me use and enjoy some of the nicer things we got for our wedding, like dishes and candles, rather than saving them for ‘some day’. As for all that reading I’ve listed above? The books are almost all either on my ipod with the kindle app, or from the library. Cleaning out is an ever on-going project.
  • Photography. Well if you haven’t noticed this one then you certainly haven’t been looking too closely. I’ve been learning how to control my camera and get some cooperation from my kids (got any cool animal noises anyone?). I enjoyed having 4 people’s Christmas cards featuring pictures I took on them this year, maybe next year I can do some more! I’m considering getting yet another new lens this year, learning lots on the clickin moms website, and trying to figure out how to take decent pictures without much natural light with my current set up. Anyone want to lend me a monitor calibration tool 🙂

So I guess that’s about it mostly in addition to my normal schedule of feeding, cleaning, dressing and cuddling my family. Filling my head, emptying my house, and documenting my life.

January 10, 2012, gymnastics and dresses

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by Jen

Today was Celia’s first day of gymnastics class, we’re back with Arlington Recreation and the two girls have back to back classes. They’re really laid back and so Josie gets to mill about while Celia has her ‘class’, which given that she’s 1 is mostly a free for all. But they both liked it a lot and were both really tired by the end. Josie made a new friend with a girl who also has a little sister in the baby class. Josie’s friend Sophie is also in the big kid class with her.

We also came home and had a photoshoot later with one of Josie’s Christmas gifts. Somehow Josie learned to tie a knot, she says from her lacing cards. I guess tying her shoes is next. We won’t be having my mother teach her. I had to relearn how to tie my shoes from my dad later because her bows are always crooked.

As overheard at breakfast…

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by Jen

Guess what I served for breakfast… Josie said

“Daddy, I’m going to have lots of energy at gymnastics today because I’m eating milk and cement.”





Oatmeal of course! plus eggs and veggie sausage and cantelope


Monday, January 9th, 2012 by Jen

Today we made bagels which is something I’ve never done before. We eat a lot of them so I thought we’d try. Part whole-wheat, and some flavored ‘everything’, others flavored parmesan and a few plain. They were a lot of work. The dough was so stiff that they mixer couldn’t keep mixing it, it started to smoke. So I had to finish kneeding it by hand. Josie and my mom helped out some too with the kneeding to start with. Then they rise again and we boiled and baked them off. The recipe had us flip them, but mine seemed to have no problem cooking through and flipping the bagels made their tops look terrible so next time I may not do that. I’d definitely bake them on parchment next time too, rather than a lightly greased sheet then they’d stay a little more whole. But they are/were tasty. We ate a lot of them already.

Celia got her hands into it too by making the ‘worms’ with her best effort. Here’s Josie’s discussion of the bagels later.