Monday, December 31, 2012

happy new year!

i am very pleased to be saying farewell to 2012.  there were plenty of good things that happened this year, but overall i'd say it was challenging, and i'm eager to get a fresh start and kick off an awesome 2013!
penny has come leaps and bounds this year, thanks to her school, her friends and her awesome family. we were discussing resolutions this morning, and she has resolved to become batman this year.  and, if i remember correctly, eat more candy.  she is super close to accomplishing all of her resolutions from last year - though she can't read yet, she can recognize all of the letters, and knows what sounds they make.  i'm going to keep reading as a resolution for this year, and add being able to write her name, and corresponding with friends more.

i wish you and yours all of the best for 2013.  we all deserve a break this year, and i hope that you and those you love get all that you need and more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

picture book

this morning on our walk to school, penny was making up songs.  mostly they were about things that we passed - christmas decorations, cars, trees, etc.  she told me that she had a couple of songs that she had written that i hadn't heard yet - for chanukah, for the fourth of july and for christmas.  then she told me that she had written some books.  picture books.  i asked what kind of pictures were in the books, and she said "naughty pictures".  uh oh.  i asked her to tell me about the pictures - what were they pictures of? "kicking, hitting, yelling, not being nice to friends...a book for naughty kids."  oh, ok.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

big girl!

i got penny out of school a little early today and we went to the doctor!  our usual awesome doctor is out on maternity leave, so we got to see another awesome doctor in the practice, who is the first doctor penny met in the hospital!  penny is now 30 pounds 6 ounces, and 37 inches.  she is right on for her age, and while she didn't have the happiest appointment of her life, she did make it through; inhaled flu vaccine and all.
from the doctor we went to the supermarket, where penny picked out her own apples and was generally chatty and fantastic, then to "fancy lady time", which is where i get a coffee and she gets a milk in a coffee cup and we talk about our day and say "fancy lady time" a lot.  we got home and i started chopping veggies for stew.  penny asked if she could help.  are you kidding me?  guess who cut all of the potatoes for the stew?

Monday, December 17, 2012

this is what three looks like

birthday 3.0

dear penny:

as i started thinking about what to write to you for this birthday, it occurred to me that this is very likely the last letter that you will not be able to read by yourself.  you started school in september, and fit right in, and are well on your way towards recognizing all of the letters and their sounds.  you are an  incredible artist, and i finally relented and got you paint for this chanukah.  all of the other parents in your class tell me that their kids talk about you all the time - about how nice you are, how funny, and how much you love to give hugs.  you had your very first after school playdate this week, and it went super well!
you gave up your pacifier six months ago.  you are totally potty trained. you run the blender when we make smoothies.  you can tell jokes and solve puzzles and cut with scissors.  you can zip and buckle and button.  you have a library card.
it gets harder each year to tell you how amazing you are, which is very gratifying in itself.  you are observant, articulate and very, very sweet.
this has been a rough year for the world, and there were some tough times for us.  i think that we are all on an upswing - the future is going to be amazing for you, i can feel it.
some of my favorite moments of this year are from just before you fall asleep, whether i'm rubbing your back or your tummy, chatting about your day and our plans for the future.

all in all, the twos were not so terrible, and three is looking REALLY promising.  i am so proud of you and all you've accomplished so far, and i can't wait to see what comes next!  thanks for letting me be your mom.

ps: you call instructions "constructions" and i am never going to correct you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

penny has THE BEST dad!

through the magic of the technologies, alex has restored enough of the video to give you a really good idea of what was going on!  i am so excited to share this with you:
have you ever seen a more excited child?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

penny's debut!

tonight, penny had her stage debut!  i recorded the whole thing, and it was exceedingly adorable, but somewhere between my camera and my computer, the file has been eaten.  so, imagine penny being smiley and excited, knowing all of the words and singing along, and then taking her final bow so emphatically that she almost launched herself off the stage (one of her teachers caught her).  i'm so glad that she seemed so comfortable up there - her whole class was great!  the teachers recorded them all in class today, just in case it had all gone horribly wrong, so when i get my hands on that file i will share it with all of you.  i am sad that you can't see what we saw, but i'm sure this performance won't be her last.

also, at dinner, this happened:
Knock knock
Who's there
Candles on your nose inside your nostrils with milk on it on top of a giant
Oh, on a fork. With meat. That's my joke

Saturday, December 8, 2012

happy chanukah!

happy chanukah, everybody!  tonight, we lit a menorah that penny made at school, gave her her first present (total success!) and then made latkes and apple pear sauce. it was a totally fun, very festive evening!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


so i've managed to miss filling you in on thanksgiving, which was wonderful.  while alex is adjusting to his job, we are adjusting as well.  right now we are very lucky to have two teams of grandparents and an amazing babysitter to help us out.
today we attended the combined bar mitzvah celebration for our cousins yaakov & akiva, and we had a great time!  penny took a while to warm up, but once she did she had the time of her life.
yaakov has promised that they will have a balloon and cookie party, and if i know penny she will hold him to it!

on the way home, when it was just the three of us in the car, penny thought for a moment and then said "sometimes, when i'm at a party or someone's house or a place that we have never been yet, sometimes the grown ups say we have to go but i'm having fun and i don't want to go yet."
this was so succinct, and really the first time that she's expressed an emotion that complex with such clarity of language.

two quick stories:
- we were at a restaurant, and she kept asking to go to the bathroom.  it may not have been insulated, or maybe it was just freezing in there.  either way, the toilet seat was cold, so told her she should squat or she'd get a case of the cold tush.  she said "oh no!  will i have to go to a real doctor?"
- we were walking home from school together and i noticed she was wearing different pants than the ones she went in with.  i asked her what had happened and she held up her hands in an adorable way she has now when she's explaining something, and said "mama, mama, mama.  i did not have an accident.  i was playing in the playground and i sat in something wet so i changed my pants and my undies.  i did not change my shirt."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

wait, it's november?

and november is almost half over?  sigh.  please forgive me, i just haven't felt much like blogging.  we survived the hurricane with nothing more than some inconvenience, and consider ourselves incredibly lucky.  alex had a birthday during it.  penny and i baked him a cake.
penny was in charge of sprinkles and kisses
there was a zoo visit the day before:
super fun - boo at the zoo!
alex was supposed to start a new full time job, but it was postponed because of the storm.  we managed to go trick or treating anyway, though our awesome plans that i told you tune in for were cancelled.  i'm going to leave it a secret, because we definitely plan on doing it next year.  i thought it would be great if penny went trick or treating as thor:
i ordered her a helmet - she hates it.
but she ended up going as belle - which is fine with me!  she asked to wear her dorothy shoes, and the dress is made more for playing in than character accuracy, but everyone figured out who she was, and she was a perfect trick or treater, even turning back twice because she forgot to say "thank you".

we are a themed family - disney announced they were buying star wars.  penny is holding up admiral akbar and saying "it's a trap" at the camera.

alex started his job, and we are all adjusting to our new schedules. it will take us a little bit to figure it all out, but we are so proud of alex, and super excited to start this new chapter in our lives!
yesterday we went to the museum of natural history and had a live bat encounter!  we learned all about different bats and got to see four of them in person - it was so much fun!  they just reopened all of the refurbished exhibits, and they look amazing!  totally worth a visit if you haven't been in a while.

it's just been a weird couple of weeks.  i am really looking forward to spending thanksgiving with our family, and we all hope that you and yours are safe and warm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

candy party!

alex gets invited to all sorts of random fun stuff, and this time he got to invite us along, too!  alex picked penny up from school early (ooooh) and brought her into the city where we all met up at dylan's candy bar for an early halloween party that the hub threw.  i don't know if you've ever gotten the opportunity to tell a two and a half year old that they're going to a halloween party at a candy store, but it's an experience that i highly recommend.
penny wore her ladybug costume, and the first thing we did was take a picture with a ginormous care bear.
this, by the way, is an official press photo from the hub.  thanks!
the party was adorable - there were cookie decorating stations:

and lots of yummy food, specialty drinks and games with prizes.  everyone was so nice to us, and kept thanking us for being there.  at one point, alex turned to me and said "that guy over there talking to that lady...that's R L Stine".  and then he came over and introduced himself, saying "hi, i'm bob".  and my brain exploded a little bit.
he and the kids wrote a ghost story together

 totally adorable - and then we got to preview a show that had all of the kids screaming in terror and clinging to their mommies.  but that's ok!  because after THAT, we all got empty buckets that we filled up with candy!  it was amazing!
you can read alex's waaaaay more professional write up of the events here, and stay tuned for next week's blog post, where you find out what we're ACTUALLY doing for halloween.  it's pretty awesome.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

fish sticks

tonight, alex made fish sticks (from scratch!) for dinner, and penny "doesn't like fish".  she was happily eating away at them and asking "are these chicken strips?"  i do my best to never lie to her, but if we let her know what they were, she would definitely have stopped eating them and told us they were yucky.  here is as many truthful responses that i gave as i can remember:

  • you can certainly call them that!
  • they look like them, don't they?
  • aren't they tasty?
  • do you like them?
oooh, i just realized how many of these are questions - answering a question with a question, time honored parenting technique.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the apple festival that kind of wasn't

today we headed out to the queens county farm museum for the apple festival!  it was drizzly, so the hay rides and the world's largest apple cobbler were cancelled.  we got to do lots of stuff - like feeding adorable piglets:
petting tiny chicks & ducklings:
hanging out on some pumpkins:
and picking apples, sort of:

though we were a little soggy by the end, penny's assessment of the day:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

busy big girl

we started out the weekend at old bethpage with cousins!  penny looooves her cousin jacob, and they had a great time on a hay-less hay ride together.
the best part for both of them, so far as we could tell, was the school bus that brought us from the village to the parking lot.
we also went to a school friend's birthday party at the carousel, and a book signing for penny's grandma's newest book!  it was a busy weekend, but lots of fun!

today, penny and alex went to the library and got her her very own library card!  she is so big i can hardly believe it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

rosh hashana

it was rosh hashana a week ago, and we celebrated with penny's grandparents on long island.  i baked a  challah and an apple pie, and penny brought the shofar she made in preschool.

i finally remembered to take my annual mother's day photo:
other than that, penny has been loving school, and we are slowly adjusting to our new schedules.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ice cream!

after the first day of school, where else would we go but for ice cream (it's actually frozen yogurt, don't tell)!  bear in mind that she had just come from school where there was lunch and two snacks, and she ate carrots and hummus in the school yard after school.
so imagine my surprise when this:
went to this:

in no time.

first day!

and just like that, she's a preschooler.  we all walked to school together, she played outside in the schoolyard, i hung her backpack on her hook, dropped her lunchbox in her class bin, she sat down at a table to do a project, we hugged and kissed her and then didn't know what to do.
the experienced parents waved us towards the door with a "run while you can!" expression, and alex and i took each others' hands and left!  this was our last view of her until 3pm:
she's doing great, we're doing great, and it's all so good!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


today was orientation day at preschool!  penny has been waiting for this day for so long!  the first time we took penny to school, it was for a tour and an informational interview for us.  then we told her she was going to be going to school, waited a few weeks, and told her we were going to a school party, which was at the park.
today we told her she was going to school, but it started at 11, and was only an hour and a half.  it was a GOOD hour and a half, though - she did a project:
(they made placemats - i assume they'll be laminated by tomorrow)
and played with a TON of classroom toys, including this unprecedented conversation between a penguin and an elephant:

she will eventually be going 5 full days a week, but the jewish holidays will be closing the school for many days in september, breaking up her weeks, which both keeps her schedule thrown off but also eases her into her new schedule.  i'm sure it will all work out!  it's got to be so confusing for her at this point!  she had a great time - she did not want to leave, which seems like a good sign to me!

here is her unofficial first day photo!  real first day tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2012

well, that's it, then...

this morning was our last regular walk to the subway all together.  every weekday morning (with very few exceptions) we have eaten breakfast together, gotten dressed, and walked me to the subway to work.  occasionally alex and penny would end up turning off early and going to the playground or bookstore, but the idea was the same.  recently, we have added the potty as part of our routine.  still, in essence, every day we have walked me to the subway as a family.
tomorrow is orientation at preschool, and wednesday she will be starting  five days a week.  the plan is for me to walk her to school and for alex to pick her up.  and that's it.  no more baby at home.  she is starting her school career.  the next 16 years of her life (at least) will be governed by the "school year".  so bittersweet - she is so ready for school, and is excited and wishes it all started today.  i am thrilled for her, and know we're sending her to a great place, but at the same time i am sad that she's growing up.  sad that she'll have experiences that neither alex nor i will be there for.  sad that she's not a baby anymore.  and of course that comes with a huge amount of pride in how capable she is, how quickly she integrates herself in a group situation, and how much personality and individuality she embodies at such a young age.

i hope preschool is ready for her.

Monday, August 27, 2012


this afternoon, penny took her first trip to the dentist!  she was pretty freaked out initially, as the last time she was in a medical situation she was getting blood drawn and the phlebotomist rooted around in her tiny vein before giving up and prodding her in the other arm, but it didn't take her too long to warm up.  there's a new dentist joining the practice, and she gave penny a pair of gloves, handed her the mirror and had her check out alex's teeth.  the technician let her push the button to take alex's x-rays.  the dentist showed her the photos and video he took of alex's teeth.  eventually she warmed up enough to everyone to sit in the magic chair and drink some water, though she only let the dentist actually look at her teeth while i was holding her.
all in all, it was a successful first visit!  next time will be even better!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

sometimes i amaze myself.

usually, i am pretty confident with my craftiness and my ability to creatively problem solve.  i am pretty pleased with myself today, and i feel like this is an appropriate forum to tell you all about it.  moms of little girls out there, listen up!  also, maybe you've already thought of this yourself and i should just be quiet.
anyhoo, penny is now all undies all the time.  she has had several accident free days in a row, and stays dry all night.  this is awesome.  she is mostly  able to dress herself as well - also awesome!  the problem is the undies themselves.  while some of them have one design on the front, most are either solid color or an all over print.  this makes it really difficult to figure out which is the main hole, and where your legs are supposed to go.  also, it's basically impossible for a two year old to tell the front of a pair of tiny undies from the back (parents of little boys, i assume boys underpants have little flies or something that make this easier?  if not, hoo boy - keep reading).
a flash of genius struck me today.  while taking the laundry out of the dryer and making our famed laundry mountain, i told penny to meet me in the living room.  "today," i told her "we are giving all of your undies bellybuttons."  that's right!  at the top of the waistband, right in the front in the middle i made a little dot with a black sharpie.  it's on the inside of the waistband so you can't see it from the outside, and when i say that she caught on IMMEDIATELY, that is no exaggeration.  halfway through the marking up operation she asked me if i would be putting bellybuttons on all of her undies and when i said yes he said "mommy, that's going to really help me!"
so spread the word!  bust out the sharpies!  make your kids feel that much more independent!  bellybuttons for all undies everywhere!

also, hi, curicon!

Friday, August 10, 2012

2 stories

penny has a hard time staying at the dinner table - she is so busy, she knows it's the end of the day, and is always looking to squeeze in a few more minutes of play time before her bath.  tonight, alex asked her if she could tell us a story.  we got two.

story 1

once upon a time there was a cherry in a tree.  the cherry said "where am i?"  a bird flew into the tree.  it said "you're in a tree".  the end.

story 2

once upon a time a cherry was in the street alone.  a car came and smooshed the cherry.a man  and a woman fixed it.  it was fine!  the end.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

another biggest day!

on thursday, penny had a pants off day, where she wore no bottoms and used the potty all day.  on friday she had a pants off morning, and yesterday we spent a couple of hours at home with no diaper, and then went out to see the bindlestiff family circus perform outdoors at lincoln center.  we had a great time watching the show and then it started pouring!  when we got home, we tried some more no diaper time, and she had an accident but it was no big deal.
this morning* we spent a couple of hours with her running around totally starkers, with a quick break for this:
she also provided me with a costume, and we went trick or treating all around the house.

when alex asked her if she wanted to go out and buy some big girl undies she said YES!
we let her pick out her favorites at the children's place, and then got a few more at target - they were all out of all of the fun stuff - no princesses, fairies, dora, or sesame street.  we did end up getting her some training pants as well.  we changed her into undies right at the mall, and she did great!  we used the bathrooms at several fine retail establishments, then we took her for a haircut.  she fell asleep in her stroller, and i was terrified that she'd have an accident, but she slept for almost two hours, woke up and i took her to the bathroom about half an hour later and all was good!  since we were having such an amazing day already, we decided to watch "toy story".  penny is aware of the characters, but had no idea of the story, and she totally dug it!  she had an accident after the movie, but that was really our fault, as we went straight into family band time without checking in to see if she needed to go.  we put her to bed in training pants, which look TOTALLY RIDICULOUS, but will hopefully get the job done.

so far, so good!

*the first thing she did this morning was "help set the table", which ended up looking like this:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

potty training!

penny spent the whole day today with no pants on - and she had no accidents!  i bought her some princess pull ups, which she tried on but is not currently wearing, and some nail stickers, which she is.
this was a very successful first potty training day!

since it would not be so appropriate to post pantsless penny photos, and because there aren't any, here are some pictures i've taken over the past couple of weeks that didn't really merit their own posts.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

happy (very belated) father's day!

just because this post is coming late doesn't mean we love the fathers in penny's life any less!  sorry this is so late, everyone!

alex decided that he wanted to go to the bronx zoo for father's day, and since it's one of my very favorite places to go, i quickly agreed!  we got there 5 minutes after the doors opened, and got on the second monorail out of the gate!
we met up with my parents right outside of the monorail, and then penny and alex rode a camel!
we then met up with alex's parents, brother & his girlfriend, and we all ate lunch together.  my parents headed out, we saw a ton more animals, then went to dinner!  it was a really terrific day.  i'm sorry it's taken me a month to blog about it.  to make up for it, here are some adorable animal photos.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

we need your help!

penny keeps asking alex and i if we remember a happening, and neither of us do.  we also don't know who she's talking about.

allie and josh (who are either friends or cousins) and penny were at a museum or a house, and allie put bee oil (maybe honey?) on all of their jackets.  penny insists that alex and i were with her.

does this sound familiar to you at all?  please let me know in the comments!  we are freaking out over here!

Monday, June 25, 2012

a quick pizza story

i had to travel last week, so i haven't been able to compose a post about our fantastic Father's Day at the Bronx Zoo!  i just got this email from alex, though, and i wanted to share:

We were eating pizza. Penny asked me, "Do you want to hear the story of the pizza?" I said, "Of course!" so here's what she said:

Once upon a time, there was a pizza.

It was really angry.

The pizza said, "No, no, no!"

But I said, "Yes, yes, yes!"

And then the pizza said, "Okay, let's be friends."

The end.

Later, when I asked her to tell it again, she added this to the end:

Then an apple came. It said, "La, la, la."

Then Penny ate the apple. She said, "Yum!"

Monday, June 11, 2012

busy weekend...we may have done too much.

alex was busy this weekend, so i had penny all to myself.  since this is a rare treat for me, i guess i overdid it a little maybe and exhausted myself.  but it was all fun!  and i got some photos!

on saturday, penny and i ran into her friend andie and family at the playground.  andie has a two week old baby sister, so i invited all of them over to our place for a change of scenery.  penny and andie had a great time, and i hope andie's mom got a little bit of a break.  after penny's nap, we headed over to our friends' apartment for a race-day bbq.  penny used their toilet (awesome) and was terrorized by dogs (not awesome).  there were three friendly dogs at the party, and it was too much for penny.  just as she was beginning to warm up to them, one of them ran up to her out of nowhere, put his paws on her chest and took a bite out of the cookie she was holding.  before she could process what had happened, he jumped up and took another bite.  she and the dog were both totally fine, but she totally lost it and was inconsolable for a while.  once we replaced her cookie, things got a lot better.  we had a good time watching the race, though penny is still baffled by commercial tv.

on sunday penny told me that she wanted to go to the "other playground".  we packed up the diaper bag and headed to harmony. we weren't even halfway up the block when i noticed one of andie's shoes!  apparently she had lost it the night before!  quite an auspicious beginning to the day.
we stopped by these hydrangeas to capture penny's favorite color.  i'll give you three guesses. 
i had noticed on our way into the park that it was the carousel's 100th birthday, and there was going to be a celebration starting at noon.  since it was only 10:45 as we were leaving harmony, i figured we could spend a little time at the zoo first.  there was some construction in one of the tunnels, so i took an alternate route, which landed us at this playground.  we stayed for a while, penny ran around and climbed on all of the equipment, and kept running back to tell me "i've never been to this playground before!"  it wasn't until we actually got to the zoo that i asked her whether she wanted to go.  this is a parenting trick that you may use - it helps if you tend to get lost and don't want to disappoint your child with your inability to find a zoo.
we had a super great time!

we spent a fun hour an a half at the zoo!  penny loves the animals, and the baboons were all up front and center so she got a great look at them.  by the time we left the zoo, the carousel party had started, so we got our (free) tickets, and got in line.  as it turned out, they were cutting off the tickets two people behind us, so our timing was perfect!  we had a fun ride - penny chose a horse that went up and down, and i stood next to it for her first solo ride!  after that, we made a quick stop at a picnic, but penny was really done by that point.
she fell asleep in the stroller, and i ran a couple of errands.  we took a trip to the animal playground in the afternoon, but the sky got really dark really fast, so we headed home pretty quick.
penny decided to have a picnic dinner!
i may have given myself heatstroke pushing that stroller around all day in the heat, but i had such a fun time with penny.  girlfriend is fun to be around and funny and charming, and just as sweaty as i am.  we sang songs and cracked jokes, we watched dogs swimming in the dog pond, ate animal crackers, detected nature with her magnifying glass...i am having so much fun with this person!