Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time Travel

In an amazing feat of time travel, my daughter (who was just born a few months ago) turned three today! She is joyful and delicious and fun. I can't get enough of her (except when she is insisting that she needs five pairs of underwear, two shirts, and two pairs of pants and we are running late or when she is stalling at bedtime).

In a similarly-related feat, Cassandra wears pull-ups for nighttime and that's all we see of what resembles a diaper. It's especially remarkable given how much we messed up the potty training with Zander. This time around, we let Cass lead the way and we simply provided support. Sure there is the occasional accident, but we're pretty much over that hurdle. (Knock on wood.)

I get it now -- why women who know they are done having children are nostalgic for the baby years. A friend just had a baby and I commented on the facebook newborn photo: "Enjoy these years. They go so fast." The post-partum Jill would have scoffed at such a comment. In fact, I did. Wistful sigh.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brown Applesauce?

On the way home from school today Cassandra said she wanted applesauce with dinner. I told her that would be fine. Then she excitedly asked for "BROWN APPLESAUCE!" Since the organic brand we sometimes purchase is a darker color, I thought that is what she meant. But when I offered her some of it at dinner, she insisted it was NOT the brown applesauce she had in mind. She went to the pantry to show me herself. Want to know what "brown applesauce" is to Cassandra? Pudding!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Requisite Halloween Photos

Our "Patriot Boy" amidst a sea of ninjas...

When we first told people he was going to be a "Patriot Boy," some thought he was going as a New England Patriots fan. After seeing the costume, someone thought he was George Washington and another thought he was Christopher Columbus.

Cassandra was a lion. But then she decided not to be a lion. Luckily we dug up a giraffe costume from our dress-up bin, but that "felt funny." So she donned Zander's old firefighter costume for three minutes before turning back to the lion. Call this "second-child-syndrome," but I only have one grainy photo of the adorable feline taken with my phone.

Did catch a trademark roar on video though:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Puddles

It's rare that Brad asks me to post something here as he knows I already feel bad about not posting enough and he doesn't want to add any pressure. But he asked that I post this and I agree that it shows a few important things:

  • how we have changed as parents since Zander was this age and that we actually support -- even encourage this behavior; and
  • a demonstration of just a sliver of the joy Cassandra gets from jumping in puddles and being all-around-wet.

P.S. The loud hissing sound in the background is from crickets. Cassandra is saying "My bottom is wet mama! My bottom is wet!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Next time you think your child isn't paying attention, think again.

Zander started Taekwondo in June and, unavoidably, Cassandra has sat through a few of the classes. Usually she spends the time yelling, "I see Zander" while I keep reminding her to whisper.

But I was shocked when she counted to ten in Korean the other night. I don't know that she understands the words. Scratch that. I'm sure she does *not* understand the words, but she *has* memorized them...

Here's the real Korean (from wikiHow):
1 = 하나 = Ha-na
2 = 둘 (dhul)
3 = 셋 (seht)(t is almost silent)
4 = 넷 (neh) nett (t is almost silent)
5 = 다섯 (DA-seot)(t is silent)
6 = 여섯 (Yeo-seot)(t is silent)
7 = 일곱 (il-gop)
8 = 여덟 (YUH-deol)
9 = 아홉(AH-hop) (say as one syllable)
10 =열 (yeol)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cousins on the beach, there's nothing better

Zander and Fin meditating at the beach during the July 4th weekend.

(Title of post pays homage to a favorite song of mine from when I was about twelve years old.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


It's as if I've been hit with some kind of writer's block. But,it's not writer's block, it's blogger's block. I write quick posts and never hit "publish." Here's one from over a week ago with some photos from Zander's 1st week of summer camp at Discovery Woods...

* * * * * *
For the record, the theme for the week was "gardening" and that's fennel from the camp/school garden:

Climbing what the children call "Mt. Everest:"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Hickory

Yesterday was Zander's last day of 1st grade. It seems fitting to post this photo of him prepared for his presentation on Andrew Jackson many months ago. The poster and head-costume-thingy did not make it home successfully and I feared (gasp!) that we would never be able to see it in action. Luckily, his teacher had taken a picture. He didn't actually wear the poster, just the giant $20 bill.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ye Olde 7th Birthday Party

I spend a lot of time explaining how I "lower the bar" these days in terms of what I find acceptable. My house is a lot less neat than I'd like it to be and I'm a lot less organized that I used to be. Half the time, I have so many details swimming in my head that I forget why I came in the room in the first place. Wait, what was I going to blog about?

Well, for the record, Zander's 7th birthday party is *not* an example of lowering the bar. Every year I say, "never again" yet every year I/we end up stressing way too much over the details of his birthday. We keep trying to steer him to having a party somewhere other than our home -- say, for example, a nice bounce house place where they do all the party planning for you. Heck, they often provide the invitations and the goody bags. No luck though. (For the record item #1: he was debating between the following themes for the party: aliens, karate, and colonial.) We ended up with a colonial theme, although a hybrid of all three would have interesting.

Activities included bobbing for apples, sack races, three-legged races, foursquare, make-your-own-spice-sachet, painting a clubhouse, and more. A friend of the family (affiliated with Cassandra's school) came dressed in full colonial garb and brought her goat (see photo above).

Oh, we also had a colonial moon bounce. Okay, so it wasn't colonial. (For the record #2: I was *strongly* against the moon bounce as I thought we didn't need it and it would ruin the colonial ambiance. But in hindsight, it allowed the children to burn off lots of excess energy from the rock candy.)

A huge thanks to the many people who helped make the party a success: Brad (my full partner in planning and execution), Grandma Paula and Pap-Pap, the Mitchells, Savannah, Rebecca, Betsy of Vranko Village, Lisa Bloch, Levi Wallach, the Karkowski family, and Grandma Susan. (For the record #3: Many of the people on this list are there because they patiently listened to me bitch and moan and stress, or maybe they put the phone down while I talked. Doesn't matter. It helped. Thanks.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Babies, babies, babies

For Cassandra, a good part of the trip to Florida and Disney was about babies. We gave her this baby at the airport before we left (new toys are part of my distract-the-children technique of traveling):

It's name is "Tiny Baby."

A day later, she got "Big Baby" as a present from her great, great Aunt Nettie (92 years old). She spent most of the next week dressing, undresssing, and putting these babies to sleep. ("She" being Cassandra, not Aunt Nettie.)

Here's Cassandra putting Tiny Baby, Big Baby, unknown-stuffed-thing-found-at-rental-house, and Popeye all down for a nap:

And just for the record, in her own words (out of the blue), here is Cassandra emphatically "NOT pinching Big Baby:"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cass and Characters

More from our trip to Disney (mentioned here, here, and here), which already seems like ages ago...

Cassandra was surprisingly drawn to the Disney characters, although we managed to avoid all Disney princesses. (Honestly, she wouldn't know what to call one if we did see one, but I'm sure she would be very interested.)

Anyway, one story has it that she was under the care of one of my parents and they turned around just as she was yelling, "PIGLET!" and running toward the ole' guy.

She went on lots of rides that probably meant nothing to her. That is, she doesn't know the story or characters in "Toy Story," so the 3D "Toy Story Mania" ride/game at Disney Hollywood Studios was over her head. That being said, she rode it and had a blast.

If you ask her what her favorite part of the trip was, she would said, "The tam." This means "The Tram."

The early bird gets the worm...

...or if you're talking about our trip to Disney, "the early bird has to wait in fewer lines." Most days, we arrived when the parks opened. Here's a shot of Cassandra at Hollywood Studios:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who is this boy and where is my son?

Zander had been on some mild roller coasters prior to the Spring Break trip. We weren't sure what to expect on the more exciting and scary attractions. After a few basic rides, we thought he was ready to try Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as his first thrill ride. From there we were going to gauge what to do next. Well, there was no looking back. He did the railroad coaster twice and moved straight on to Splash mountain which he also did twice. Later that afternoon, he experienced the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain (twice).

These rides might not mean much to anyone else, but I grew up in South Florida and went to Disney World many times. It blows my mind that now my child went on those same rides. It doubly blows my mind that Zander is that child.

The following day at Disney's Hollwood Studios, Zander rode the Tower of Terror (twice!). Here he is posing in front of the Rock n' Rollercoaster, which he also went on (thanks in large part to his father's fast pass skills):

Also at Hollywood Studieo, he tried out for American Idol. He was actually too young for an official tryout, but they let him go through the motions:

Below is a photo of him in front of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom (third day), which he road three times (thanks to the child swap pass and fast pass). Are you getting tired yet? How about nauseous? 'Cause my stomach was queasy after Expedition Everest, but he wanted to keep right on going.

Not pictured, but also on the list of enjoyed rides: Mission: Space (Epcot), Soarin' (Epcot), and many, many more. For the record, he/we went on lots of non-rollercoaster rides too.

Finally, here he is during out last day in Florida jumping from a three-meter diving board:

Who is this boy and where is my son?!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Magical Spring Break

So much to blog about and so little time. My life is full and I feel blessed, but also (and always) guilty for not doing more.

Over an extended Spring Break, we took a magical trip to visit my parents in South Florida and then road trip with them to Disney World. I hope to do a few posts on the trip in the next few days, but the quick story is that Zander became a roller-coaster/thrill-ride aficionado and Cassandra basked in the joy of swimming daily and having grandpa read her the same book over and over and over again. In between it all we had a Passover Seder, caught up with Popi and Grandma Joan, visited with Aunt Nettie (age 92) and Nat (age 98), and had a rare visit with Uncle Alan.

Like I said, full and busy! More to come...

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Small Misunderstanding


1. A failure to understand something correctly.

Here's the background:

Cassandra has a little self-propelled ride-on car which we keep in the house for reasons which I am still not sure. She often likes Zander to push her around in the car. By now, Zander is fairly used to requests from Cass, including thing like: "Zander: Ding Ding," which means he should feed her and simultaneously say "ding ding," etc.

So, one day recently Cassandra was scooting herself around on the little car. She decided she'd rather have Zander push her around, so she parked the car and went to find him.

In her cute little two-year-old voice she asked, " push me?" To which Zander, somewhat surprised by the question said, "Sure!" Then he took both hands and gave her a good shove.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tree for Tu BiShvat in Honor of MLK

Each year for the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat there is a drive to plant trees in Israel. I remember doing this when I was growing up too (not the actual planting, but the sponsoring of the planting). Zander chose to plant his tree in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. We just received the certificate and today, being the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, seemed like a good day to post it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Alone time? What is he a teenager already?!

Zander has been leaving us all kinds of notes lately. The above is an example. We found it outside of his room one evening last week. It says:

To mom and dad I love you but want some alone time please come at 7:25 to read me a book if you are really just chilin out I may come out before that.

Zander Kuebler

look on the back

From the back (not shown in the scan above):
top secret

I love you dad! I love you mom!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hitting the Jackpot

The fun fair (mentioned in the last post) has a raffle. In fact, they raffle off about 30 or 40 things from electronics (Wii, Xbox) to activities. Zander won "Principal for a day."

Let me back up a bit and say that the elementary school that Zander attends has an enrollment of 970+ students. The principal is a rock star. Now part of that is because the current principal is charasmatic, well-qualified, and good at his job. The other part is because, well, he's the principal!

We pretty much assumed that Zander wouldn't win anything in the raffle because the chances were slim given the high participation. When we got the call that he *did* win and it was "Principal for the Day," we felt pretty darn lucky. Now that he has actually been "Principal for the Day," we're sure that he (and we) won the jackpot. Here is *some* of what he did during his day-long tenure:

  • walked around the entire school outside to make sure things were safe and the buses were coming in on time;
  • made a decision with the PE teacher about the parallel bars;
  • went into all the kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and most 6th grade classes;
  • answered questions from children in each of the classrooms;
  • signed some budget paperwork (not real);
  • signed a leave slip for a staff person (real decision, but with the principal's prior approval);
  • made a decision about an item to include in the school's weekly newspaper;
  • placed a new child into a kindergarten class;
  • spoke with a 6th grade student and decided a discipline issue (not real);
  • had lunch in the teachers’ lounge and sat and chatted with teachers (photo above); and more!

Brad said it best -- most of the other things that he could have won in the raffle could be purchased. His day with the principal as "principal for a day" was priceless to him (and to us).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Born to Be Wild

I embed the video below for posterity. I do not expect anyone other than the parents (and perhaps grandparents) of these two wild boys to watch the entire thing through. And honestly, we've already watched it. But, I do think it needs to be preserved.

Here's the backstory: Zander has been a fan of the song "Born to be Wild" ever since he was first exposed to it in "Dooby, Dooby Moo" of the "Click Clack Moo" series. Fast forward a year or two to this week. During his school's annual "fun fair' (aka a fundraiser for the school where hundreds of children run around trying earn prizes and win raffles). Zander and his friend Max decided to perform the song on the karaoke stage. Zander is on vocals and Max has some rad moves. Oh -- right beforehand they had their hair done in the makeshift salon, hence the green and pink mohawks...

Video shot by Max's dad, John V.

For the record, this is Zander's 2nd official karaoke performance. His first was during a recent birthday party at the l0cal "Bach to Rock." And yes, I realize the subtle irony between the subject matter of the songs in the last post juxtaposed with the lyrics of "Born to Be Wild."

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Realizing I need to post something so the "penis" post moves farther down the page.

So here's a one about god. Well, it's not really about god, rather songs about god. Let me explain. The choir in which Zander sings (at the synagogue to which we belong) had a joint concert with Peter and Ellen Allard a few weeks ago. Z was over the moon about singing with "famous people." All of the songs were rather god-heavy (for lack of a better way of explaining it). As individuals and parents, Brad and I do not necessarily emphasize god. But, Zander's Sunday school sure *does* and Zander himself has been known to pray to god (although often before the roll of dice in a close game).

Anyway, here is a snippet of the performance:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"That's a Silly Penis"

We stumbled across this guy outside a toy store as we exited the temporary location of our local library, which is under renovation. Pretty clever for a toy store to be next to a library and also to put this outside to attract attention. Cassandra took one look at him and said, "That's a silly penis!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My baby is 2!

Actually -- Cassandra has been two for more than two months already. I just never got around to finishing this post. And also, she's not a baby anymore and will even tell you as much. She walks and talks and sings and dances and jumps and screams and has a personality all her own. She wants to do everything herself and is frustrated that sometimes she cannot. She is as fearless as her brother was cautious at this age. (One could argue that his caution was a result of -- or at least supported by -- my "first child" nervousness.)

For the most part, Cassandra adores her older brother and will pretty much copy whatever he says or does. This makes 1st visits to the dentist a breeze. It also (usually) makes things like riding in an infant swing or sitting in a high-chair out of the question.

She loves to cook. At the risk of never having dinner guests at our house again, here she is in a montage from 'cooking' sessions with Brad, Grandma Susan, and Auntie Jenna (all taken months ago).

I am head-over-heals in love with every ounce of this strong-willed little girl. Remind me that I said that come the teenage years.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cloudy with a chance of the kitchen!?

No, there was no rain in the kitchen or even in the forecast on this particular day last week. This is just Cassandra insisting on what clothing she wants to wear and when. She picked the raincoat and then spied the umbrella a few hours later. Truth be told, we're lucky she is even clothed at all, ever. She seems to much prefer to be naked. I have no idea how they keep clothing at her at school, truly.

Wait, you want to know why she is standing on the chair? What else would a two-year-old do when she wants to reach something...simply push said chair over to counter (near knives, toaster, etc.) and get whatever it is you want.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy _________(holiday starting with the letter "V") Day!

In January, I stumbled across a mention of some MadLibs-themed valentines by a crafty, mommy-blogger friend whom I've known since I was a little girl. I always knew she was talented, but further digging revealed that she actually wrote an article about her MadLibs valentines. (See page 22 of this issue of Modern Handmade Child for the article or just go to her blog to see a photo of her masterpieces.)

Anyway, Zander loves MadLibs these days and knowing I am nowhere near as artistic as Kristi, I decided to take her idea and work with it best I could. Zander was thrilled to come up with the text for a personalized class valentine. In all honesty, I *did* steer him from having each blank be a "noun" in which the word "poop" or "booger" would easily fit. He is a six-and-a-half-year-old boy, after all.

He dictated and I typed. Afterward, we printed it and tested it a few times for good measure. (I'm sure this breaks every copyright possible, but it's 1st grade, so I'm hoping to avoid jail time.) Next, Zander wrote the names of his classmates and his name on each sheet, we affixed individually-wrapped lifesavers, rolled the papers up, and tied them with a ribbon. (See photo above for the finish products.)

Below is only an excerpt. (I've blurred out a few identifying characteristics to protect the innocent.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Tribute to Lisa on her Birthday

This is an tribute to my dearest friend who also happens to be my cousin. She turns the big 4-0 today and having just experienced this same 'big' birthday, I am taking this opportunity to express myself about her and our lifelong friendship.

We've know each other since we were young girls...

....although from the very start, our purpose together seemed to be to act older than we were. Think of pre-tweens putting oranges in their shirts and pretending to be hookers. (Wait, what? You didn't do that too? Oh, forget it then.) We had x-rated inside jokes that dissolved us into fits of uncontrollable giggles, which in hind sight, we didn't even understand ourselves. None of that mattered though.

She's who I call when I need to vent or cry or laugh or share something embarrassing and/or disgusting. I say "call" because she lives in California which sometimes feels worlds away from D.C. When we lived in the same city we had the capacity to be dangerous and quite silly together. See, for example, a Halloween on which we chose to dress slutty like twin jesters. (What you've never heard of kissin' cousin twin jesters? Oh, forget it then.)

Over the years, we've traveled together -- although not nearly as much as either one of us would have liked. Here we are on our way home from a jaunt to Boston...

...and in Amsterdam...

...and San Francisco, which she now calls home with her husband Chris and daughter Zoe.

She stood with me when I got married, and I with her.

She's cuddled my babies, showered them with thoughtful gifts, and clothed my little girl with hand-me-downs from her well-dressed daughter (and has thrown in some adorable etsy purchases which I couldn't afford myself).

I know that deep down she thinks she doesn't deserve any tribute, but I am quite sure that she does. My life would be so much emptier without her. I daydream of us as old Jewish ladies reminiscing about our exploits. Wait, I think we *are* there already.

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY LISA! I love you.

P.S. I also know that she has never seen a photo of herself that got 100% approval (much like me) and that I am taking some serious risks posting these.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Boys sledding (or "Smokin' Six Year Olds")

Note: Alternate title suggestion compliments of Brad.

In the first part of this video Zander and his buddy Champe are sledding off of the back porch of Champe's house. Brad requested some "whooping and hollering" and the boys oblige. In the second part of the clip (at a hill at nearby Wolf Trap), the boys rode facing each other and I'm pretty sure they should have been wearing helmets considering the speed of the sled. Glad I wasn't there as I would have aged a few extra years watching. Yes, yes, I'm a neurotic Jewish mother. I realize that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coming Soon

I have all these great blog posts in my head and rarely the time to get them down....Long sob stories about historic gridlock, thundersnow, and seven-hour-commutes only to arrive to a home sans power....Local grandparents to the rescue with loving arms and warm beds....Clever things that the elder child comes up with and toddler things that the younger child does (e.g. walking by a counter where bagels are being sold, grabbing one, and taking a big bite).

I mean it when I say that I don't know how people do it with more than two children and full-time jobs. I love our life right now, but it's busy. Really, really busy.

The good news is that last night while the rest of the country was watching a certain football game, I got caught up on some blogging. So, coming soon...Cassandra's cooking videos, Zander speed sledding, and more.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


My mom recently transferred thousands of slides and old family photos to jpeg format and gave each of us a CD with the photos. The picture below, which has always been a favorite of mine, is of my maternal grandparents on their honeymoon taken in Atlantic City circa 1934.