Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mummy-Daughter Date

Last week I took a day off work to hang out with my favorite girl. We don't get a ton of alone time, and I thought that it would be fun to just be together. I had grand plans: lunch and a movie. It went...OK. I would give it a solid C+. A lot of the day was really fun, but some parts were downright miserable. 

Our Day:
Started off happy!

Decided she didn't want the mac and cheese she ordered because, "it has cheese on it." No problem! You can have my pad thai instead.

Just the two of us for a mid-afternoon screening of Beauty and the Beast. We even got popcorn!

The movie was great! So great that she didn't want to leave. Unfortunately, I needed a 15-minute break in the car to pump before we could continue on our day of fun. That was a non-starter for her. So here's how we ended up:

After a solid performance, she tired herself out with her tantrum and finally fell asleep (around 1.5 hours in).

Good news, the nap helped! When she woke up, she was marginally happier. Talk of arts and crafts outside pepped her up even more.

What can I say other than, this is three. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Memorial Day Trip to Philly

I love Philadelphia. I've been several times, most recently with Dina last year. It's such an easy place to get to and has so much that I love: great food, walkability; history. Knowing that my family gets kind of restless when we stay home too long, we decided to make the most of Memorial Day weekend with a quick trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

Dan and I took Friday off so we could get a head start on the long weekend. Our agenda was simple: relax and have fun. We booked a hotel with a pool, which is the best way to lead to fun. Zahara could spend all day in the pool. And even Asher loves these indoor, heated ones.

Our first stop in Philly was the Please Touch Museum. We spent several hours there, and actually closed the museum down. It is a little pricey, but well-worth it. Everything in the museum is designed for kids--from the mini-grocery store, to the hospital, to the tree house. There was even an Alice and Wonderland area that Zahara couldn't get enough of. And of course, the carousel was a huge hit. It's was Asher's first time riding!

We really didn't do too much else in Philly. Of course, we ate though! After getting a couple of recommendations from friends, we sought out the Franklin Fountain. It's an old-school soda shoppe with incredible ice cream. The store is tiny and the lines were really long, but it was delicious! Zahara's plain chocolate ice cream was the best, but my vanilla coke was pretty great too.

We also ate in the Reading Terminal Market, which was next-door to our hotel. I had a delicious curry tofu dish and Dan and Z had pizza. The meat selections all looked incredible though! There was one stall that had the most gorgeous display of deli meat. And another stall only sold condiments! If you brought your meat at the market, he would marinate it for you in one of his sauces while you kept shopping. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures, but it was fun.

We also took a walk through Dilworth Park, which has a really fun water feature. There are paths between the water fountains to allow you to stay relatively dry. My feet still got pretty wet, but the rest of me was fine. I can see bringing the kids in their bathing suits and a nice picnic on a warm, summer evening. Doesn't that sound lovely?

Sometimes being a parent is about sharing fun treats with your kids. Other times it is about sneaking fun treats behind their backs or while they are sleeping. First up in the latter category is a milk tea Dan and I enjoyed after the kids went to bed. He ran out to Tea Do and got me a coconut milk tea with boba, and him a Hulk (kiwi, green apple, lychee, aloe jelly). The verdict on the Hulk: weird. Mine was good though.

Next, I couldn't leave Philly without visiting my favorite gelato shop, Capogiro. This place has never disappointed. I honestly think it is the best gelato outside of Italy. Asher and I snuck one (well, he observed me scarfing it down), while Dan and Zahara went for a walk. I got chocolate banana and amaretto. AMAZING!! Cannot recommend highly enough.

And that was basically it for Philly. I told you--all we wanted to do was rest and relax. And that's what we did. Such a fun, quick trip!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Life Updates

The blog has been pretty quiet, but that doesn't mean life hasn't been moving. I just wrapped up a very busy work project and now have a little bit more breathing room. So let me catch you up on what we've been up to for the past couple of months.

Family Wedding
Dan's second cousin David got married in New Jersey and we decided to make a weekend of it. David's mom Stella was amazing and found us a babysitter to come to our hotel and watch the kids during the wedding. The rest of the time we were able to hang out with my in-laws, and my friend Dina who lives nearby.

Cherry Blossom Festival
There is no better place than DC in the spring. The air is so fresh and people are so happy. This year, the poor cherry blossoms didn't do too well, but even at half their normal bounty it is very impressive. Plus, a little ice cream on the mall never hurts anyone.

As you know, Passover is one of my favorite holidays. This year was really special because we had almost the whole family in town. My cousin Larin flew in with her little girl Phoenix and we finally were able to meet! Watching all the cousins together was absolutely incredible. 

And, Zahara's Jewish school is paying dividends. She recited the "mah nishtana" (four questions) all by herself, sang a bunch of Hebrew songs, and was able to tell a lot of the Passover story. If you know me at all, you know this made me way happier than I thought possible. I was practically bursting with joy--or as they say in Yiddish, nachas

Preparing to Move
We are in the midst of getting the house ready to rent. We initially thought we were going to sell, but the market turned on us and now it looks like renting will be our best option. Either way, we need to clear the house of the clutter and touch up a few areas. It's been pretty chaotic--and will only get worse! At least we have our new house to dream about. It will all be worth it in the end!

And now you're mostly caught up. I have a more posts planned about two of our recent adventures--both in Pennsylvania. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Thoughts by Z

Deep thought by Z this month:

Thought 1:
While swimming in an indoor pool:
Z: Mummy, come in! The water is glorious!

Thought 2:
During a thunderstorm:
Z: Good job bowling, Hashem (G-d)!

Thought 3:
Z: I kept saying to Zevi [her classmate], "no prob-llama mama" and he kept saying, "I'm not a llama," and I kept saying it until he cried.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 10 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 10 month birthday! The biggest change for this month is that you're sleeping through the night most nights now! It all started one night when I forgot to turn on the baby monitor. I woke up around 6:00 am to see you happily playing in your crib. I wasn't sure whether you actually slept all night, or if you just soothed yourself back to sleep. Either way, we decided to see what happened the next night, and the nights after that. Same results! Now you very rarely wake in the night. If only we could get your sister to sleep through the night...

You've been babbling for a while now, but you said your first word: dadda! You look right at daddy and say dadda. Of course, you also say it to the cats, the floor, me...but when you see daddy and say it, you seem to really mean it. No mama in sight, sadly.

You are a true Levin: you're an eating machine! You're still nursing all the time, but now you're also eating full meals three times a day. Here's a sample day:
Breakfast: oatmeal, Cheerios, mighty morning muffins
Lunch: baby corn, butternut squash, hummus roll
Dinner: shepherd's pie, broccoli, chick peas

You're pulling to stand on everything now. We got the first glimpse of that from Ms. Aster who texted me this picture.

Speaking of Ms. Aster, you love your day care! You're always so happy when we pick you up. You have a little group of friends. It's really cute when you're all sitting in a circle interacting.

A few more facts: you're still right on your growth curve (between 80-85th percentile, 24 pounds); you have six teeth; your knees are starting to get calluses from how much you crawl; you love the kitties--especially when they nuzzle your head while you're nursing.

We love you to the moon and back!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 10 Months

Monday, May 15, 2017

House Update!

It's been quite a while since I updated you about our new house. A lot has happened since we first signed the paperwork for our new digs. Let me fill you in.

Outside Design Choices
We picked all of our exterior finishes! We were able to choose nearly everything about the aesthetics of the outside of our house. Everything from the brickwork (and how much brick we wanted), to the siding, to the trim, and even the front door color.

We were given samples several choices for each element. Our only limiting factor was that we couldn't choose colors that were the same or too similar to our neighbor's. Here's what we chose:

The blue is our front door, the black is our shutters, and the green is our siding. I LOVE this combination!

Interior Design Choices
As I mentioned in my last post, we spent three hours at the design center just to pick floors, counters, and tiles. It is incredible how many choices there are and how long you can spend agonizing about things you never thought you'd care about. For example, whether you want your bath/shower to have a soap dish or not. Or whether you want your shower wall tiles to be 6, 9, or 12 inch tiles. 

We had some ideas going in about what we were looking for: hardwood floors, white kitchen cabinets, light granite--overall clean and modern. I know it's very trendy right now to have the white kitchen, but I honestly think it's classic and won't go out of style. And if it does ten or twenty years down the line, then we can refinish the cabinets for a whole new look.

We ended up not doing a gray island in the kitchen. Instead, all the cabinets will be white with a light countertop, and warm wood floors. We'll have hardwoods on all the main floor, and then carpets in the bedrooms and playroom.

Breaking Ground
We had our first meeting with our general contractor a few weeks ago. Eric gave us an updated timeline and told us we could expect the house around September 1st. It is a little later than we thought, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

They actually broke ground on Thursday!! Tomorrow they're putting in the foundation wall. You know how I found out they started? I got a text from my soon-to-be neighbor telling me she heard construction noises. She wanted to let me know as soon as she knew. Isn't that considerate? She seems awesome.

I am so excited that it is actually happening! I'll share more updates and pictures as they come!

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Thoughts by Z

Here's more from our sweet girl. She really is amazing, isn't she?

Thought 1:
Handing me a bunch of stickers while talking like a pirate:
Z: You have to watch these treasures for me because I'm going on vacation to Israel.

Thought 2:
Talking to me after a bike ride:
Z: Would you like the pleasure of taking off my helmet?

Thought 3:
Z: I want Asher to be a girl so he can do all the things girls do.
Me: Like what?
Z: Eat all the things.

Thought 4:
While playing pretend:
Z: I'm a doctor and a mummy. I can be both.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Asher's First Haircut

I can't get over what a big boy Asher is becoming. Just like Zahara, he was born with a ton of hair, and it keeps growing. It was starting to get in his eyes and we didn't want to put his hair in cute little ponytails and clips like we did with Z. Instead, it was time for his first haircut.

We went to the same place in Dallas that we did for Zahara's first cut. They do a really good job there, and Asher did so well! It's Kids B Kids in Plano, for any locals.

You could tell that Asher loved his new look. I mean, look at this handsome face.

Read about Zahara's first haircut here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 9 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy nine month birthday! What a little man you're becoming! This was a huge developmental month for you. The biggest change is that you are incredibly mobile. You are crawling at super speeds and are starting to pull yourself up on furniture. You love "walking" by holding our hands and moving your legs. I love watching you crawl from the living room around the corner to the kitchen to come find me. Your look of surprise and happiness when you see me is the best.

Another part of what is making you look like such a little guy now is your new haircut. Your hair was getting in your eyes and mouth, so we had to take care of it. Just like she did for your sister, G-mom took you for your first haircut. You did such a great job. I can't get over how handsome you look.

You are super ticklish! It's so funny! You are especially sensitive under your arms, on your neck, and on your chest. You laugh a big, throaty laugh that fills me with such joy.

I love how much you love your sister. And she loves you back--much to our relief. I love watching you guys interact. I know this phase won't last forever (especially now that you're mobile), but I'm enjoying it while I can.

You are eating solids a few times a day now. You will eat most foods, but you LOVE Cheerios and Veggie Straws. Probably too much. I think they feel good on your sore gums. Hopefully these teeth come soon!

Other quick facts: You love dancing to music; you squirm like crazy during diaper changes and often end up crawling around naked; and you still wake mummy up in the middle of the night.

We love you. Happy 9 month birthday!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 9 Months

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Purim Celebrations

I'm really late with this recap, but Purim this year was so fun and I want to make sure I capture the memories. With Zahara in Jewish school now, we have even more incentive to celebrate holidays. She learns all about the meaning, history, and traditions at school. She sings songs and talks about the foods she wants to eat. Purim is a particularly fun holiday because it is meant for the kids. It's a day where we dress up, eat yummy cookies called hamantaschen, and give gifts to our friends.

This year, we spread the fun out and had a few different Purim celebrations:

Playdate with Liana
Zahara's best buddy from daycare came over for a dress-up and cookie making playdate. Liana had never had hamantaschen before, so it was fun teaching her about them and, of course, eating them.

Community Carnival
I had no idea that there was such a large Jewish community in Maryland. But apparently, there is. The week before Purim there was a huge carnival held at a high school. There was face painting, food, games, music, and stories. We had a blast!

Purim Day Schpiel and Carnival
On Purim day we dropped mishloach manot (gifts) to a few of our friends and went to a synagogue to watch a Purim schpiel. A schpiel is a funny skit that tells the story of Purim. This year's theme was Sesame street. It was cute. And of course there was more face painting, games, and food.

What a fun way to celebrate the holidays!