Archive for July, 2012

Graybills visit us!

Sunday, July 29th, 2012 by Jen

This weekend my aunt Diane, uncle Todd and cousin Ally came to visit us. Unfortunately Abby had to stay home to work, but we had some intense time all together hanging out at my parents house and then introducing them to our Quebrada habit and Harvard Square. Josie was super excited to see everyone and adopted Ally as her own personal playmate for the weekend, holding her by the hand and directing her in all her games. It was a short visit, but hopefully one of these summers we can go visit and enjoy their pool and Hershey park when the girls are big enough!

The big boys

Saturday, July 28th, 2012 by Jen

Newborn photos!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 by Jen

My friend Chrissie had her third lovely baby last week, Emma, and I had the pleasure of photographing her and her lovely squishy goodness. My first time since I’ve really learned something about photography to get to take pics of a newborn. Only wish I could have gotten photos like this with my two girls! Here’s just a few that I particularly liked.


Tofu and Celia

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Jen

Celia likes tofu, a lot. And I forgot to mention how she says it though in her post yesterday. So here it is for today. Tofoof. Tofoof tofoof, tofoof (as in toe-foof). I hope she never stops

Celia at 21 months

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 by Jen

Today Celia is officially 1 and 3/4ths! She is one little bundle of energy and intensity for life. She wants to be on the move and doing things all the time.

Her newest tricks are putting words together. She is obscenely proud of herself for combining nouns and adjectives, like ‘cold water’. She’s also extremely fond of saying ‘self’, as in she’s going to do it herself. Colors are a new concept that has also just clicked for her. She seems to understand that some words refer to colors, but hasn’t yet learned which word refers to which color, except for blue. Blue is definitely her favorite color and she always wants the blue plate and cups. She picks up more and more words every day I didn’t even know she could say. Josie loves to help her practice saying new words too, and Celia will cooperate with Josie in those exercises while she won’t with me.

Physically Celia will climb almost everything. She’s running all over the place, ignoring me as I call after her. She doesn’t fall down too often anymore and she’s also learned to jump with two feet and loves to take a few jumps off of our bottom stair step every time we go out.

She’s a very self-directed child. I don’t have to give her a lot of direction or suggestions for what to play with, unless she’s decided to get into trouble. If we’re outside she’s usually good, inside she’s reliably testing her limits all over the place. She is starting to get the hang of not hitting when angry, and even took a few tries at biting when angry, but we seem to be getting a bit better with that, or at least redirecting her to hit the couch. Both girls end up shoving a lot, we’re working on it.

She understands most of what I say, and anticipates it, which means I cannot announce that it’s time for a diaper change unless I want to chase her down. I do much better with a stealth attack. She has also learned a bad habit that we all have which is to say ‘one minute’ when someone asks us to do something. She doesn’t have a sense of the length of one minute yet though nor the implied promise of compliance, so she’ll repeat herself after a minute and be ticked that we aren’t obeying her stall tactic.

She loves to play in the water and the sand and dirt. We’ve been at swim lessons all this week and last and she’s been having a blast entertaining herself for my blissful enjoyment of mostly sitting still while Josie is in swim lessons. Backyard play is also a big hit as is the balance bike. She’s starting to sit down on it and glide a little, she’s going to send it flying by the time she’s 2 I swear. She is extremely determined to figure it out and bike like the big kids.

Unlike three months ago, I can now bring her to the library and have her actually look at some books or toys or puzzles, or at least not just throw huge quantities of books on the floor. She also visits the water fountain a minimum of 3 times each visit.

She loves to play with Josie and have her attention. Together they play a lot of dress up and build towers and knock them down. They struggle like siblings, but they’re starting to learn how to work things out as they both work on their calm and direct communication skills. Thankfully Celia still looses interest in toys relatively quickly and is ready to share.

Celia enjoys helping me mix and cook things, but following directions and impulse control are not her strong point yet so I have to watch her closely. In fact this is definitely stage of life for GOYA parenting (Get Off Your Ass), as I have to physically stop her, catch her or redirect her to get things to change.

  • Size/weight: 24 month clothes/ 2T, don’t know about the rest
  • Favorite foods: breastmilk, sour cream, avocado, cheese, peas
  • Favorite toy: lunchbox and filling and spilling with random things
  • Favorite book: Sheep in a Jeep
  • Favorite activity: Playing in the sand
  • Sleeping: bedtime ~7:45; one nap 45 minutes; gets up between 6 and 7 (on the good days, 5am on the bad)
  • New skill: putting two words together, jumping with two feet
  • Teeth: at least 16 and more coming
  • Vocalizations: two words together, commands

More pics from the other night

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 by Jen

I LOVED so many of these pictures, I’m so happy how they turned out. I feel like I’ve learned so much.

The trip from Paris to Amsterdam

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 by Jen

On Tuesday we took the train from Paris to Amsterdam. Packing up in Paris was a breeze since we didn’t have many things. One thing I took advantage of and enjoyed greatly in both our apartments was having some beautiful fresh flowers. At home, the cats eat them and vomit, so we don’t have flowers. In Paris I got some lovely yellow ones and some purple tulips in Amsterdam. In Paris I think we actually saw these same flowers in fields as we were landing on the plane, they had huge squares that were really this solid fluorescent yellow!

Back to our trip, lugging all our stuff we went on one bus and then one subway to the Gare du Nord train station. We had some food with us, and picked up some more at the station for Jordi, a little candy for Josie, and Celia fell asleep on my back. Our train was finally listed and we went for the long brisk walk down to our car. It had started to rain but we just tried to dodge it as much as we could. We got settled down and the train left very soon after. I managed to transfer Celia on top of me and she stayed sleeping.

Josie spent a little time looking out the window, lots more playing with the wiki stix I brought, and a good amount of time eating as well. It was so fantastic to see the lovely countryside going by outside.

We arrived in Amsterdam in late afternoon. We went directly to the tourist office and bought seven-day unlimited tram cards and tickets to the Van Gogh museum. We managed to find the right tram and get on it. Traffic in Amsterdam is hectic, but it’s not the cars. It’s the bikes and trams plus the cars, all on their own lane, different traffic lights and different lines. The bike lanes are just a different color from the sidewalk, not separated by anything and so keeping wandering children on the right spot is tough. We took the tram out to our apartment just outside the city-center. But unfortunately trying to get off the tram was trouble. It was rush hour and we did not get to the door in time and so we missed our stop even though we (and others) were yelling to open the door. That’s how they get the trains on time! They close the doors fast and furious. I actually had them close the door on my arm once with Josie on the inside and me on the outside, I did not let go and they thankfully did open the door again.

After walking back one stop to our apartment we found the place and it was great. A bit bigger, and one long room which made it easy for us to see what the kids were up to. One of their favorite things was the bathtub which was huge! We did many baths and they just had fun playing too. The dining room table was large and wooden so we could use our clamp on high chair too.

After we unpacked a little and rearranged the beds as we always do (this time Josie slept in a small mattress on the floor in the room with me and Celia). We wandered around for a restaurant to eat at. We found a middle eastern place with falafel and ordered a few platters to go. The falafel was good, but the french fries were divine! In one of Josie’s favorite books, Knuffle Bunny Free, a little girl takes a trip to Holland and eats french fries on the street. So Josie had been anticipating that for weeks. When she realized our meal had french fries she immediately wanted to go outside to eat them ‘on the street’. She was really upset when we told her that we were eating this meal inside and so Jordi agreed to have one french fry with her outside. They started eating it on the sidewalk and Josie was confused. “We’re not on the street,” she said. She was taking it so literally that she expected to be eating the fries where the cars drive, not the sidewalk.

After all the new stuff and stress of traveling we were pretty tired and went to bed without too much fanfare. The grocery store was nearby and I must have gone, even though at this point I can’t remember exactly when I went the first time. Unlike in Paris, all the food in Amsterdam was labeled only in dutch, whereas in Paris it was in at least three languages, none of them English, but it helped still. Everyone there speaks English though so I just had to be bold and ask random strangers if I was buying the right thing. Many things are obvious, like fruits and vegetables, but not so much for the milk and cheese variations. Turns out they don’t sell all different kinds of cheese (Kaas) in the ‘non-specialty’ case like we have here (mozzarella, mexican mix, etc). They have ‘new’ cheese and ‘old’ cheese depending on how aged it was. Either way it was good! They also had an interesting specialty which is basically chocolate shavings and sprinkles. We saw it pictured on toast and enjoyed it ourselves too. Plus we learned about stroopwaffles which were yummy as well!

We are family – July 2012

Saturday, July 14th, 2012 by Jen

Dragged the family out for some sweet evening light. I’m not sure Jordi would agree, but I’m happy with the photos for the meltdowns trade.

Chillin at the beach

Thursday, July 12th, 2012 by Jen

We’ve spent this week in the morning, and will spend next week, at the Arlington reservoir. I brought the camera today to get some documentation. Josie’s been taking swimming lessons and has really enjoyed them and learned a lot. She’s considerably more comfortable in the water now, just need to make sure it’s not too comfortable since she can’t actually swim or float yet or anything 🙂 Celia was the most willing model today, Josie’s too busy swimming and playing with her friends.


Monday in Paris, our last day

Sunday, July 8th, 2012 by Jen

By Monday morning we had gotten into a good routine and were actually up and out the door at a more normal hour. We first headed over to the Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. Not tons there, just a fountain and the obelisk. Way to the east was the Louvre, and to the west the Arc de Triomphe way in the distance.

By the end of this trip even Celia knew to holler for a coin to throw in every fountain we saw. Celia isn’t in most of these pictures because she’s hanging out on my back and fell asleep. After the plaza, we headed over into the Tuileries to the Orangerie museum. We had bought a joint ticket with the Orsay museum.

In the Orangerie museum are Monet’s water lillies. Some of his last works in a giant scale hung in rooms specifically designed to hold them and surround you with his art in several pieces. The waterlilies are painted at different times of day and wrap around two oval rooms. Then there was more impressionist art downstairs as well. We moved quickly as we knew Celia would be waking up and she has almost no tolerance for these museums. Luckily it was pretty small and we got to see most of it in the hour we were there.

Outside of the museum we had a snack and played with one of Rodin’s sculptures called “The Kiss”.

Rodin has his sculptures all over town as he could make multiple copies of them from the same mold.

We finished our snack and decided we’d better head out to find some lunch as these things tend to take time. We walked back through the Tuileries to the east and north of them to try to find a cafe or takeout shop for lunch. We seemed to find a fairly pricy touristy area with a lot of non-food shops, and then a more business area. We continued to amble on our way to try to find something, eventually found a bakery but the line was horridly long, and only got shorter when people ahead of us jumped out of line. On our previous trip to Europe Jordi and I were horrid about wandering the streets trying to find a great place to eat, we knew with the kids we wouldn’t have this kind of leisurely time afforded to us so we were all about meeting the bare minimum needs. Thankfully we found a small grocery store and picked up a few items for a picnic. I also stopped by a super-expensive chocolate shop and picked up some yummy things that I did not share with my children. Jordi got some chocolate covered peanut type thing too.

We then wandered back to the Tuileries and sat down for lunch amongst the business folk on the many chairs and picniced in the glorious sunshine. By that point we had walked almost the entire length of the garden and were just a small bit away from the Louvre. While we had no intentions of going inside, we wanted to show Josie the palace and the glass pyramid entryway that she had pictured in her book. Oh yes we had bought her a ‘where’s waldo’ type book of locations in Paris, except it wasn’t Waldo it was some other guy, and his dog, and a balloon and such to find. It was great way to give her something to do while waiting and bring home some of sights we saw.

At the Louvre we played in the garden a bit, looked at the big horse statues before we headed back to hop on a bus to bring us back to the Eiffel tower.

We were headed for a river boat cruise on the Siene as the girls needed a low key afternoon activity. The boat was loaded with student groups but there were plenty of seats and the girls enjoyed listening to and playing with the speakers with the tour information on it.

The glass topped ship made it almost greenhouse-like inside and kept us a little warm but we got to go around and see the sights from the river. I liked the stories and information but it didn’t wow us too much, we’d be around so much on foot already and some of the sights were very hard to see from down below in the river. I imagine it would be a very neat thing to do at night with the lights on the bridges. After the ride we got some ice cream, walked under the tower one more time, and headed for home to pack up for our trip to Amsterdam and eat the leftovers in the fridge.