Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 16-17 Months

Dear Asher,

These past couple of months have been a blur. First, I was convinced that you were turning 17 months on November 27. You weren't. You're turning 17 months this month. I have no idea where I lost a month, but suddenly things make a lot more sense. You are doing exactly what you should be doing at your age!

The biggest accomplishment over these past few weeks is that you're walking! You took your first steps when you were 15 months, but were pretty hesitant to use your new skill. Not this month! You're off and running. You still resort to crawling sometimes when you want to get somewhere faster, but you're going longer and longer periods on two legs. You especially love running after your sister.

You're also starting to figure out patterns and repetition. We have a game we play at night when you're going up the stairs. You bang on the stairs, clap your hands, put your hands over your mouth, and start the pattern again. You love when I play along and copy you.

Your coordination is getting better too. You like playing catch, and you're just starting to draw. You look like such a big boy sitting at your art desk.

I know I say this every month, but I love watching you and your sister interact. It's not always sunshine and roses (for her, at least), but you guys really do get along. Z was in Florida for a week this month visiting Babushka and Dedushka, and you guys were adorable when you video chatted. Your face lit up when you saw her, and she cooed over you like you were her baby. It was so sweet.

 Ash, you've grown into a toddler in front of our eyes. I love watching your personality emerge and your sense of humor blossom. We can't wait to see what the future holds. We love you!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

First Snow Day in the New House

It's 60 degrees today, but not too long ago we had our first snow in the new house. Z and I had such a fun time playing in our yard and walking through the woods. We especially loved seeing the family of deer prancing about. I just love this time of year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Season 2017

I love this time of year. It's always so festive, and is filled with family traditions, delicious food, and lots of parties. This year was no exception. Here are some highlights from our holiday season.

One of my favorite family traditions is Fakesgiving. This year, we packed a lot in to our celebration. Dan stayed in Dallas with the kids and my parents, while Bradi and I took a road trip to San Antonio to visit my aunt, uncles, and grandparents. It was such a nice couple of days spending one-on-one time with this side of the family that I don't get to see too often. And of course, I treasure any time I get with my grandparents.

While I was in San Antonio, Dan and my mom took Z for a really big haircut! I was totally taken by surprise by this, but I have to say that she OWNS it! Such spunk! (Don't mind the blue teeth. It's from the lollipop.)

Fakesgiving itself was awesome. Drama-free (a first!), and delicious food.

As an early Chanukah present, mom and dad gifted Dan and me a night at a hotel. It was just what we needed. We read, we ate, we drank, we got massages and was heaven!

Actual Thanksgiving was perfect. We stayed in pajamas all day, watched the Macy's parade and the dog show, drank hot chocolate, made pie, and ate a true feast! A nice nap on the couch topped it all off.

This was our first chanukah in our new house, and it was lovely. Z actually spent part of it in Florida, and Asher doesn't quite know what's going on yet, but we enjoyed it. We even hosted a chanukah party this year. It was great! It was the first big event in the new house and it felt like everything was really coming together. There's still tons we need to do in the house (see this post for details), but people said they felt cozy and that the house was welcoming. That's exactly the vibe we're going for!

I hope your holiday season was as joyous as ours! Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New House Update

This seems impossible to me, but I don't think I've blogged about our new house since we've moved in. That's nuts! We've been here almost three months and it is living up to every expectation we placed on it. I could not be happier in this house!

There are so many things I love about it. Where to start? It's huge, for one. The kids have so much space to run around and play. We have a lovely basement where they can read, build, draw, and get their energy out. And it's so nice not having toys all over the living room.

I am also obsessed with our open concept main floor. The kitchen is a dream. We added so much functionality with a massive island (I think it's 11 feet!), a giant walk-in pantry, double ovens, granite counter-tops, and enormous sink. I can wash all of my cutting boards in that sink, which sounds silly, but is awesome. We had laminate counters in our last house, so it has been life-changing to be able to place hot items right on the counter. It's the little things that are making it so fun to live here.

We are slowly making the place ours. We said when we moved in that we wanted to take our time and really think smartly about decorating and buying new furniture. That's really hard for Dan and me because we love just jumping to the end and having everything complete. But we're trying to be mindful that we plan on being here a long time. So, really, what's the rush?

Some of the upgrades that we've done so far have been wonderful though. Just last week we hired someone to install under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen for us. Dan installed it in our last house, and he did a great job. But this time it was a bit more complicated so we decided to hire out. It was not the smoothest process, but the end result is great. We ended up with 24 inch LED bars under each cabinet, which makes the light really seamless.

We also purchased a few pieces of furniture that I love! The one I am most likely to request being buried with is this china cabinet. It's from Arhaus and was definitely a splurge, but both of us really, really love it.

We also purchased two wingback chairs from Wayfair. They are wider and a bit more pink than I anticipated, but I think they work really well in the space. They tie in nicely to the new rug (a Homegoods find!), and are very cozy to sit in.

We're also in the process of getting a deck and a patio! More on that later, but we've submitted the plans to the homeowners association and hope to start building in the next few weeks. That will add so much functionality to the house in the warmer months. I can even see us sitting in the patio with blankets and hot chocolate watching the snow in the winter too.

While it feels like we're making great progress, there is also so much more to do. Off the top of my head, here are some other things we would like to tackle:
  • Kitchen backsplash (we're doing this ourselves over winter break!)
  • Kitchen bar stools
  • Dining room table and chairs
  • Office furniture (have a desk, need a place for printer and files, etc.)
  • Mudroom build-out (need a place for coats, backpacks, shoes)
  • Basement organization (bookshelves, toy storage)
  • Basement guest room curtains
  • Master bedroom bedframe (we put our old one in the guest room )
  • Master bedroom curtains
  • Master bedroom furniture (probably a bench for the end of the bed and a chaise lounge)
  • Master bedroom light (it's roughed in, but we need a fixture)
  • Asher room light
  • Zahara room light
  • Guest room curtains (bedroom and bathroom)
  • Guest room nightstands
  • Decor throughout the house (nothing is on the walls yet and it's starting to drive me crazy!)

Empty mudroom

So that's the latest with the house. Lots more to come!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Thoughts by Z

Zahara is sassy and clever as always. I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing the things that come out of her mouth!

Thought 1:
Z: Are chicken nuggets made out of dead chickens? I don't want to eat dead chickens.

Thought 2:
Z: It's nice being four, because then I can read!

Thought 3:
Looking at a smokestack in Baltimore
Z: Look! It's a cloud factory!

Thought 4:
Z to me: Can you please leave my room? I need to have a private conversation with G-d.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Friday, October 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 15 months

Dear Asher,

Happy fifteen month birthday! This was a big developmental month for you. The biggest thing is you took your first steps! It was a really exciting moment because you chose to walk for the first time from me to daddy, while Zahara was cheering you on. It was an awesome family moment. You showed off your new skills for babushka, dedushka, and Aunt Amy this weekend too! You haven't walked too much on your own since then, but now we know you can do it. We're excited to give you more opportunities to practice.

You're also talking a lot more now. In addition to the words you had last month (mama, dada, "hara"), you now say cat, ball, no, banana, bye, and you'll say "arf" when you see a dog. You still sign for milk, all-done, and up. You are picking up new words and sounds all the time. You love mimicking what everyone else says and does. You repeat gestures, sounds, and silly dance moves.

This month you were extra clingy, which translated into a lot of hugs and kisses from you. Who can say no to that? I think it was probably teething though, since you now have around 16 teeth! It's crazy! So many popped up this month.

You and your sister play so well together--for the most part. You, of course, love everything she does. The way you glow when she smiles at you or plays with you is the most beautiful sight in the world. You two are giving me a scare though, because neither of you hold back; you're so rough with each other! I'm always worried someone is going to get hurt, but you two are just shrieking with joy as you wrestle each other to the ground. And yes, you can hold your own against her. I guess that's what being in the 90th percentile for height and weight will do for you.

You still absolutely hate diaper changes and the car seat. You love food--any kind. You're excellent and crawling up and down the stairs ("tummy toes"). You sleep great at night (knock on wood!), but are getting a little fussier at nap time. And getting you off the bottle is going to be a real challenge.

Asher, your personality is really shining through and we can't wait to see what comes next. Happy birthday! We love you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

German Unity Day

Dan and I recently attended a really fun event at the German embassy. It was an invite-only cocktail party to celebrate German Unity Day, which is the anniversary of German reunification in 1990.

Dan and I will take any excuse to dress up and have a night out, but this was a particularly good event. It was very "DC," in that we were among elite government officials. I'm terrible at hob-knobbing and knowing who is whom, but I saw several Generals and other high-ranking officials.

The embassy itself was gorgeous. They had a real beer garden with long, wooden tables and excellent brew. Food was set up in various stations around the grounds. I was surprised at the variety of foods on offer. I never thought of herring and salmon as traditional German foods, but they are part of the coastal region cuisine. That was my favorite section. I also really enjoyed the warm pretzels and cheese from Bavaria. Of course they also offered schnitzel, spaetzle, bratwursts, and black forest cupcakes.

We had a great time. The weather was perfect, the music was fun, and the food was delicious. I hope to do it again next year!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


A few weeks ago we went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival--something that has become an annual tradition for our family. Before you say anything, yes. It is totally nerdy. But it is so much fun.

The festival is not too far from our house, set in the woods. The 25-acre village is chock full of entertainment, including jousting, axe throwing, pony rides, face paining, and tons of performances. I especially enjoyed the Vixens En Garde--three women performing Shakespeare in a fast-paced, slightly naughty way.

All of the actors are dressed in period costume and remain in character throughout your interactions. A lot of people come dressed up too. That's always the most fun for me--the people watching. As Dan says, it is so fun because this is nerd heaven. You can just tell that many of these people had a rough time in high school, but here they are the popular kids!

There are also some great food and drink options. I love the Bee Sting, which is half mead and half cider. We also had a soft pretzel, fried mac and cheese, fried pickles, and garlic bread. We brought our own food for lunch too, but these were fun treats.

Zahara enjoyed the kids-centered entertainment. There were pirates, and fairies, and wenches.

Asher looks skeptical in this picture, but he had a lot of fun too. If you go, I'd definitely recommend a baby carrier versus a stroller. It's so much easier to get around the wooded village without having to push a bulky stroller around.

This is a family tradition I can't wait to carry on next year!

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Thoughts by Z

This month Zahara was very insightful. I wonder if it is because she was learning all about forgiveness and repentance in school in preparation for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is really interested to me to see how complex some of her thoughts are getting. Of course, she can still be just as silly as always!

Thought 1:
After talking about the fact that G-d made the world and everything in it:
Z: Did Hashem (G-d) make Himself too then?

Thought 2:
While doing taschlich--a Jewish ritual where we throw our sins (in the form of bread) into a river:
Z: I'm sorry for breaking the rules. I'm sorry for not listening. I'm sorry for being grumpy in the mornings.

Thought 3:
Z: I love our new house because it is so big it can almost touch the clouds!

Thought 4:
Z: When I kiss Omri at school, Felix says "eewww."

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 14 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 14-month birthday! This month marks your first in our new house! We moved a few weeks ago and are starting to settle in. You absolutely adore it. You love the basement where there is tons of space for you to crawl and play. You love climbing up all the stairs. And you especially love doing laps around your room, through the hall, into Zahara's room, through the Jack and Jill bathroom, and then back to your room.

Every night before bed, you and daddy play peek-a-boo with your new curtains. You crawl behind the curtain and wait for daddy to "find" you. Then you shriek with laughter, close the curtains, and do it again.

You're still not walking--though you are great with a walker!--and you really want to be carried everywhere. You've been especially clingy to me this month. It's very sweet, but it means I can't be out of your line of sight without a meltdown. You usually calm down after a couple of minutes, but it's hard. I think it's because we stopped nursing this month.  The nursing decision was all yours; you just decided you weren't interested anymore. I'm actually a lot sadder than I thought I would be, but I'm proud of how far we made it.

You still love your sister, but you HATE diaper changes! It is a two-person job to get you changed. On the other hand, you decided that books are actually kind of interesting. And you LOVE dancing.

You are consistently using a few words now: mama, dada, and "hara" for Zahara. How sweet is that? You will also kind of say cat and up. You sign for milk and all-done.

The best part of this month though has been your developing sense of humor. You  will try and do things to get us to laugh (like making silly sounds), and you will always join in when others are laughing. Your smile is contagious and people can't help but want to rub that furry head of yours.

Ash, happy 14-month birthday. Here's to many more happy and healthy months!