Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Shape of Breakfast

You always hear the story about a friend's cousin or neighbor's sister who had a son who was rarely if ever exposed to guns but nonetheless he one day bites a piece of toast into the shape of a gun and starts to shoot things. (The story supposedly proving that boys have an innate interest in -- and love for -- guns.) Well, Zander has bit the toast.

Last week we brought home a stack of Zander's artwork from preschool. He and I went through it together and he explained each piece. Then, we came across this one:

It was the most realistic-looking thing in the pile. I was curious as to how he even knew what a gun looked like. He went and got a 2-inch plastic pirate figurine that he recently got in exchange for some tickets at a game room. Alrighty then.

Here I come with my new favorite saying -- "it is what it is." We now need to decide what we're comfortable with as a family (e.g. do we allow play guns in the house? Can you pretend to shoot bad guys? etc.) and move on from there. I'm sure, like most parenting things, I'm over-thinking this one.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sobriety (or "My Own Designated Driver")

We have it. Well, Brad has it -- 26 years of it -- as of Saturday to be exact.

As most people who know us are aware, Brad doesn't drink. (Actually he *does* drink gallons of seltzer water, but you know what I mean.) And he hasn't drank in 26 years. I can almost hear you trying to do the math in your head: "How old is he now and how old was he when he stopped?"

Regardless, this was the first year that we explained the importance of the date to Zander. He recalled how daddy drank grape juice at Passover, just like he did, but almost everyone else drank wine. We decided to commemorate the occasion by making Brad a card. Originally, Zander suggested it should say "Happy Wine Day," but we eventually decided on this:

Finally (and least importantly), for about 12 of those 26 years, I have been lucky enough to have my own personal designated driver. You rock Brad. We are so proud of you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coolest. Toy. Ever.

For Z's birthday, some friends pitched in and got him a 100-piece set of translucent Magnatiles. These things rock. They are addictive. Seriously one of the coolest toys out there. I'm sure we'll get years of use out of them.

The question is, "Who is having more fun with them: Brad, Jill, or Zander?" Here is some of Brad's handiwork:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Monumental Photo

Get it? That's the Washington Monument in the background. (Must give credit where credit is due: Photo taken by Brad last week during a father/son day of site-seeing in the nation's capital.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dividing and Conquering

We do a lot of what we call 'dividing and conquering' to get things done and still be able to do fun things with the chillun'. In fact, at one point this weekend when I pulled up with both children sans Brad, a good friend said, "Do you and Brad ever take the same car someplace?" (or something to that affect.) Yeah, I know our carbon footprint isn't so great and we feel bad about that. And I also know that the family of the person who asked me that gets even more done and goes almost everywhere together.

This weekend's 'dividing and conquering' included:

Bet you can guess which of us divided and conquered on "c". It says enjoying a night of camping. That should be a hint.

Here's a certain male someone old enough to drive participating in item "f":

And here's a different male someone getting another turn in a race car his own size (with his friend Macy, who prefers to be driven around):

Friday, July 17, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

Cassandra is eating it! We started her on 'solids' a week or after her six-month birthday. At first she wasn't too thrilled and probably wasn't really ready. But, then a dear friend came over and made a ton of homemade, organic baby food for Cass. (I was supposed to be paying attention so I can do it again when we run out.) Anyway, this coincided with a genuine readiness in Cassandra and she has been off to the races ever since.

She does, however, seem more finicky than Zander was at this age. He pretty much ate everything and didn't show much of a reaction. Cassandra, on the other hand, makes funny faces, spits the food out, and then keeps her mouth closed to show her preference. We send sent some green beans to 'school' (aka daycare) with her and the daily sheet that reports what she ate said the beans were "refused."

As a side note, I continue to count the months left I have to pump. (Okay, so I *choose* to pump.) Now, we're down to five. I'll count again tomorrow and it will still be five, but it makes me feel better. I'd nurse this child for as long as she wants, but I am so looking forward to not having to pump (twice a day while at work and on the occasional weekend day to stay caught up).

This doesn't mean I'm not a tad melancholy about the introduction of solid food. It's the first of many ways that little Cassandra will no longer need me and that is both freeing and a bit sad. My baby is growing up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Um...thanks?

I know you’re sick of hearing about our trip to Colorado already. This should be the last post.

It’s one where we say “thank you” without really knowing how. The entire idea – coming to Colorado for a baby naming, the execution of the event – was my mom’s. She arranged the details with the Adventure Rabbi, she organized the yummy picnic post-event, she gathered the family, etc. We even stayed at their condo in Boulder and my parents moved out to a nearby hotel. But wait -- it gets even better. They rented baby equipment (crib, swing, etc.), which was set up and waiting for us upon arrival. Not to mention that they um, ‘helped’ with the flights, the rental car, and on and on.

How do you say “thank you” for such a gift – something that is so generous but also so meaningful? As a family, we will always remember the baby naming and the time together. We know my parents would poo-poo even the need for such formality or appreciation, but here it is…for the record at least.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Roommates

Would you believe there’s still more from our trip Colorado. (See other posts here, here, and here.)

One of my college roommates lives in Boulder, Colorado. Let's call her Lisa, since that is her name. (Yes, same as my cousin in case you were keeping track.) Anyway, I usually get to overlap with her for a few hours when I am out there. Lisa and her current roommate were also able to attend the baby naming. Later on in the week, she came over for dinner and we reminisced over a bottle of wine. It was almost as if we were still in college. Only difference, for me at least, it's 20 years later and I’ve squeezed two human beings out of my you-know-what.

Here’s a photo of all three roommates from 1991 (at a sorority event of all things):

Man, how I miss these women and our lazy days. (Of course, I didn't think they were lazy days back then.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My life in a post-it note

This is -- in addition to being a bad photo and poor handwriting -- my life!

Every night I end up hurriedly scrawling a few things on a post it note, slapping it on the door to the garage, and hoping it doesn't fall off during the night. Because if it did fall off -- well I'm sure to forget something.

It's a combination of more details to remember, less room in my brain, and some kind of of bio-chemical change since I had that second baby. I just can't remember things like I used to and it drives me nuts.

This particular night I need to remember:

  • snack (for Zander's school), which each family brings about twice a month;
  • lunch, which I bring to work daily (and am saving boatloads of money by doing so). Aside: why didn't anyone tell me about this trick before?
  • my briefcase (self-explanatory); and
  • the all-important pumping stuff, without which I would be very, very uncomfortable and Cassandra would have nothing to drink.

Doesn't seem like so much now that I write it out. I know, I know. Spend less time blogging. But then, what would I complain about?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

California Cousins

One of my closest friends, who also happens to be a 2nd cousin, now lives in San Francisco. Let’s call her Lisa, since that is her name. (Lisa lived in DC for a few years and she and I never, ever got into trouble together. We stayed home and sewed quilts most of the time, abstaining from alcohol and other potentially questionable activities.)

Anyway, Lisa was also in Colorado when we were there. Just so happens she had a work-related conference that overlapped with the baby naming mentioned in this post. So, Lisa and I got to spend time together and our children met for the first time. It was momentous, wonderful, and a bit sad all at the same time. Momentous because she and I are both happily married (relatively) with children. (Hello?! When did THAT happen?) Sad mostly because we can’t do it every weekend (and I have the cellphone bill to make-up for it).

And because neither one of us ever met a photo of ourselves that met with 100% approval, here instead is a photo of our children:

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Colorado Cousins

My brother and his family (wife and two boys ages 7 and 9) live outside of Denver, Colorado. To date, we see them about once a year if we’re lucky. Zander pretty much worships these older boy cousins (see this post for the last time the children were together). Anyway, the boys spent a good deal of time together during our week out there. Of course, now Zander knows all about Wii and Nintendo DS, but that’s a small price to pay to see them play together.

Next up: The California Cousins...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Naomi Bat Yosefa Chai v’ Bradford

It’s a mouthful, but it’s Cassandra’s Hebrew name.

While in Colorado, we had a Brit Bat Covenant Ceremony (aka baby naming) on the side of Flagstaff mountain, presided over by the Adventure Rabbi. (Long story how we came to that particular location and officiant.)

Here’s a little about the origins of the baby naming ritual:

    While a brit milah (circumcision is performed for newborn boys, there is no corresponding formal birth ceremony for baby girls. Traditionally, newborn girls have been given their Jewish names in a simple naming ceremony in the synagogue. To many people, the disparity between the elaborate birth rite for boys and the brief naming rite for girls seems unequal in this day and age, to say the least. In response, many new birth ceremonies for infant girls have been introduced in recent years. Because it is not yet part of the liturgy, there are no standard, agreed upon elements for the ceremony. (You can read more here.)

Back to our story…

Cassandra is named “Naomi” after Brad’s paternal grandmother. (For those of you thinking to yourselves, “Wait, Brad isn’t Jewish and neither was his grandmother.” Well, that didn’t matter. Naomi still qualifies as a Hebrew name and Cassandra is still named after her. I only met Naomi once. She was confident, strong, and had the fortitude to stand up for what she believed it. As the rabbi wrote in the program, “As we bless Cassandra with her names, we pray she will carry on all that was good and loving about the one for whom she is named.”

Brad shared stories about grandmother Naomi that were gathered from the women who knew her (his stepmother, mother, and sisters) at the ceremony and choked up just like he did at our wedding. Zander sang the Sh’ma by himself. The weather was perfect. It couldn’t have been more lovely. Below are some pictures.

The Adventure Rabbi:

Cassandra (aka Naomi Bat Yosefa Chai v'Bradford):

My parents (being blessed for their 45th wedding anniversary) with their grandchildren under the make-shift chuppah:

Brad and Zander after the ceremony: