Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy new year!

it's hard to believe that 2013 is over - penny is four years old!  about a week ago i realized that penny was 3 in 2013, will be 4 in 2014, etc.  this is really going to help her in the future when she's my age and cannot for the life of her remember how old she is.
alex and penny made a great resolution this morning - we are all going to try to clean up after ourselves more and keep the apartment in better shape.  she told alex that she is going to try and listen better.  she is going to write one thing that makes her happy in her diary every day.  she can now write her name and spell the names of everyone in her class in english and in hebrew.  she wrote wonderful thank you notes for all of her birthday presents.  three was a great year for penny - she's grown into such a self assured, intelligent, funny girl.  it is crazy to believe that this time next year, penny will be in kindergarten.  big changes in 2014!  i can't wait to see what happens next!

from our little family to yours, i hope 2014 is filled with health, joy, good food, and good times.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This afternoon, Penny's grandparents treated us all to Penny's first ballet experience, The Nutcracker at BAM. The performance was great, but it was very warm in the theatre, so for the second half, Penny wore approximately 1/2 the clothes she was wearing for the first half.  We peeked in the orchestra pit, we read the program so she'd have an idea of what was happening, and overall, she did really well! The ballet is tough, even for grownups, and the whole audience did very well. 
When we got home, we visited with our downstairs neighbors in pajamas, so Penny could see their Christmas tree. We are so lucky to have access to so many wonderful experiences - Penny had a great first day of Winter Break!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Birthday breakfast!

For breakfast this morning, Penny had a waffle with M&Ms in each of the squares. We live it up on birthdays!

happy birthday, penny!

another year has flown by and you, my dearest daughter, will be four years old when this is published.  year two of school, year four of bringing incredible joy and laughter to everyone you know.  this year has been one of incredible creativity.  you are constantly singing, dancing, drawing or telling stories.  you can now reach shelves, sit in a regular chair at the table, choose your own outfits, get yourself dressed, brush your hair & teeth, write your name and the names of everyone in your class.  you can put together a 25 piece puzzle with no picture for reference.  you can entertain yourself for hours at a time.  you can cut, glue, and tape.  at the beginning of the year, you took a notebook everywhere so you could take notes, which meant scribbling.  now you bring a notebook and write lists, draw pictures of what you see and actually take notes.  it's remarkable.  you are remarkable.  i look at you, and I cannot comprehend how I had a part in creating someone so lovely, so generous, so compassionate, and with so little interest in dessert.  seriously.  what is that about? 
penny, I love you.  i love your four year old face, and i am so excited to spend another year watching you learn and grow.  happy birthday, little one - i don't know how much longer i'm going to be able to call you that.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The story of Thanksgiving, as told by Penny

Once upon a time, there was a very mean king. No one could do what they wanted to do how they wanted to do it. Everything had to be HIS way. The Pilgrims got on a big ship called the Mayflower, and sailed to America.
It was Winter, and they were freezing. They had no food and no houses. Do you think that they were happy? (pause for reply) The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to plant food. They had a harvest. They had a big feast.

Happy Thanks-a-latke!

Here's the menorah Penny made in school and her list of things she's thankful for. I am thankful for all of these things, plus our continued health, our amazing daughter who can now write her own lists, and yarn.

Monday, November 11, 2013

bye bye, two boots

last night was the closing night of one of our beloved park slope institutions, two boots of brooklyn.  the restaurant was a kiddie paradise, with a window looking into the kitchen where the pizza chef tossed mini balls of dough to the onlookers; the whole place is done up in mardi gras decor; and the menu was child friendly to say the very least.  as of today, the alligator outside is gone and the space is closed until sometime in january, when it will open up as a more upscale something or another.  we went to ride the alligator one last time, order our last mac and cheese with trees, please, and get our last ball of dough from the window.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

halloween (and beyond)

remember last year when we had big, exciting halloween plans that i couldn't wait to tell you about, but then i couldn't because hurricane sandy cancelled them?  i'm sure you do.  this year, we finally got to do what i have been DYING to do since we first heard about it - trick or treat at the American Museum of Natural History!  the one with the dinosaurs!  for real!
in each major hall of the museum there were two tables, one for trick or treating, and one for crafting.  penny made a halloween card:
a spooky tree:
a paper bag owl and a bookmark!  she got an amazing amount of candy, plus a toothbrush and toothpaste.
i asked penny to take a photo with the dinosaurs, and she told me that this is her fighting crime face:

we left the museum in time to trick or treat in park slope.  we caught the parade, got a ton more candy, and decided to head home just as it started to rain.  it was a GREAT halloween!
just for fun, i put together this collage of penny's halloween costumes throughout the years:

penny took a series of selfies with my phone:
sometime over the past week, penny has learned to write:
Photo: Yeah, so... Writing.
she has been practicing writing Ns for 20 minutes at a time, and wrote a thank you card for our friends where she wrote the words DEAR  KIRK AND LEAH and PENNY all by herself!  we had a great weekend, and even though the time change knocked her for a loop a little bit, penny has been an amazing person to be around - she's right on the brink of being able to read, she is polite and funny and generous, and she has taken it upon herself to clean up her room in the mornings.
also, she got a haircut!  and a new vest!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

weekend trips!

we visited the bronx zoo for "boo at the zoo".  penny tried to go into the haunted house, but she was too frightened.  the very nice zoo staff let her have some candy anyway.  we got onto the monorail and penny's reaction to the elephants was priceless:
this weekend, penny's possible true love desmond came for a visit.  though the two had never met before, we are determined to get them married to one another ASAP.  i think they're off to a pretty good start:
we all went to the museum of natural history together, and penny brought along a notebook and pen so that she could take notes.  first up, a picture she drew while we were hanging out under the blue whale.  from top to bottom, there's a crab, the whale and three fish, all covered in waves because they are underwater:
next up was the elevator that took us from the lower floor to the upper level:
a triceratops:
a portrait of daddy:
and the letters A-E:
not too shabby.
the next day was our family celebration of alex's birthday.  penny waited while alex went to get the car:

and we went to the children's festival at the queens county farm museum:

we fed the animals:

ate grilled corn, watched pig races, and were unsuccessful in finding a candy apple for penny to try.  we drove to the red hook fairway and spent a good hour or so wandering through the grocery store.  i had penny distract alex so that i could grab the ingredients we needed to bake him a pumpkin pie for his birthday.  he didn't suspect a thing!  penny wrote the words DADDY and PENNY in his card all by herself!  it's pretty fun around here!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Penny picked out this yarn at a fiber festival that popped up at our playground. I designed these! There are matching mittens! It is finally cold enough to need them!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The photo and the anecdote are unrelated.

Last night Penny told me "I am going to pretend to draw an H. Line up and down, line up and down, line across", complete with hand gestures.  "Penny," I asked, "what's the difference between an H and an A?" "An A goes like this", she said, holding her hands together over her head, "but they're both line up and down, line up and down, line across.  Noah has an A and an H in his name.  Noah is N-O-H-A."  I almost passed out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pre school road trip

This morning before school, Penny came to visit me in Canada. Nobody was sitting on the bench next to me, and Penny introduced me to Nobody, I introduced Nobody to Penny, and then we tried the chocolate cheese pie that Nobody made.

Monday, September 30, 2013

family planning

this morning penny and i were talking about all of her friends at school who have little sisters - there are a lot of them.  "i wish i had a little sister", she told me.  "oh, yeah?  you're ready to be a big sister?", i asked her.  "yup.  if you ever get married again," she said.  "oh, daddy can't have another baby?", i continued. "no, daddies don't have babies, mommies do!".

that was the end of that conversation...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Penny fights off criminals before bedtime.

Penny loves her daddy

I am testing out blogging via my phone!

penny measures

penny has been growing a ridiculous amount.  she can now open the freezer if she stands on her tiptoes.  we both had the idea that it's time to measure her again.  we keep her height marked off on the side of her wardrobe along with the date, and alex was doing some work in the bedroom while all of this was going on.  she ran in to tell him what was up.

penny: daddy!  i am thirty nine and a quarter!
alex: you are older than me and mommy?
penny: no!  i weigh thirty nine and a quarter inches long!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

an ongoing project

penny's first day of school, holding penny's first day of school last year - a bit of photo wizardry by alex.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

penny the astrophysicist

I pointed out the incredibly beautiful crescent moon to Penny, and she told me that while she was riding in the car and walking around, the moon followed her.
"Do you know why the moon follows you?", she asked me.  I can't turn down an opening like that, so I asked her to tell me all about it.
"Because gravity. The moon has no gravity in space, so it follows you and goes and the sun is in space too with no gravity. Also Jupiter."
She already has a better handle on this than a lot of grownups I could mention.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Disney World 2013!

over this labor day weekend, we took our second annual vacation to disney world.  last year we went for four days, but this year we really pushed it and went for five.  the time just flew by, and here are a million photos.

and we're off!

airplane time!

the hotel has tiny chairs facing a tv playing cartoons.  i think they know their audience.

penny figured goofy must be going to a wedding.

aaah, home again.

we find clowns everywhere we go!

let me tell you - being cute and polite has its perks.  for example...

free chocolate covered favorite color sugar coated marshmallow on a stick.

we met ariel once, we rode the new little mermaid ride eight times.

this gaston was AMAZING.

can you see the lumiere up there?  the technology in this room is amazing!

wishes nighttime spectacular
day two!  the humidity makes beautiful effects!

highly authentic moroccan lunch
day three!  disney's hollywood studios!

penny shows off her daddy's new hat.

at the disney jr. live show. never have more things fallen from the ceiling.

penny learns the most important skill we can teach her.

so tempted, but i resist.

the line to meet buzz & woody is full of these photo ops.  it's a pretty cute, but poorly executed idea.

penny decides she wants to take photos.  i KNOW.

we take our photo with buzz and woody....

then penny takes over.  i KNOW.

i ride the tower of terror, penny gets a lolly as big as her face.

we head back to the hotel, spend some time in the pool, then penny gets a glowing buzz lightyear with her lemonade.
day four!  back to the magic kingdom!  they have installed a park-wide adventure game called "sorcerers of the magic kingdom" that is surprisingly engaging and fun.

surprise!  we're having lunch at cinderella's royal table for our anniversary!

we are inside cinderella's castle!

penny gets her own wishing star

penny LOVES princesses.

can you tell?

seriously, she loves them.

also, this jasmine was especially awesome.

this is a view i've never seen before.

make your own mickey ice cream sundae!  penny made it, but didn't eat any of it.  whose child is this?

the specialty dessert - the clock strikes twelve

high five from the genie

all penny has wanted all weekend was for tiana to recognize her dress.  SUCCESS!

penny's favorite princess.

and her favorite mouse.  then the question "when do we see the magic show?"  oops, too well themed, disney world!

anniversary portrait with a sleepy kid.

we discover how fun it is to lean back while spinning very fast.

our hotel room has a surprise for us every evening.  we got a double balloon the next night, a signed anniversary card from mickey & minnie...

we stayed up for the main street electrical parade - penny went to sleep at 11pm.  best vacation EVER!

 we spent the last day playing with friends at the animal kingdom park.  i was so tired and sweaty at this point that there are no photos - HOWEVER, it was an awesome time, and penny watched the "finding nemo" show that she was too frightened to watch last year.

even eating lunch at the hotel is full of fun - louis has lost his trumpet!  penny has found it!
and we are off.
what a truly wonderful vacation - now it's back to reality!  school starts soon!  i cannot believe that summer is over!