August 30, 2009

Just Because

Storytime Monday

Flip flops. That's what started this whole crazy weekend. damn things...

Followed by the need to pronounce a vegetable name without using my lips? Who are these crazy folks?

But FINALLY we were really there. The land of whirling and twirling and zooming and booming - the land of BLUE TONGUES! We were AT HERSHEY PARK!

But really, all I wanted was horsies, which came soon enough.

And mere moments later it was time to host a party at my house. I was quite kind in sharing, for the time being at least.

And mommy even had a flicker of a thought that 2 children could be possible. Let's just clarify that it was just a flicker of a thought and by no means a first step to any insane process potentially conjured up by that last sentense. Mommy may have experienced a momentary lapse of reasoning and is now in time out.

We dig the life as is. The happy one that includes days like this.

And moments like these.

And days at the fair when everything feels like a possibility while you soak up the cool'ish August air and breath a deep sigh of relief that this isn't just a dream.

The end.

August 28, 2009

Give A Boy A Fork...

And all of a sudden he's a rock star. Smack dab in the middle of dinner in the middle of the restaurant he insisted that mommy and daddy join in on the rock session. It was communicated to us in a "MOMMY, FORK! ROCK OUT!" kind of tone, which as you can guess was a request we were more than happy to oblige.

He's growing so fast. And by that I mean one day he's my 27 months and 2 day old son who can conjugate verbs and the next he's my 27 months and 3 day old son who is on searching for tickets to a Michael Franti show that he thinks might serve as the great next family outing.

And I've never felt more grooved.

August 24, 2009

Storytime Monday

A 2 year old on a motorcycle set forth with his dreams for the weekend.

Of course being the proper boy that he is, he made sure to check with mommy first. She said it was OK as long as he kept his hat on.

So he did

But then he arrived at his BFF's house and other hats evolved, of the "rip the tots room apart in as many directions as possible" type. And they did.

But they were quick to escape the scene. Clever little bunnies...

But alas they were caught, dancing and jiving and shaking their booties. Weekend bliss.

And Mommy and Daddy were left with no other option than to partake in an exhausting Sunday brunch at Marcus Samuelson's Aquavit while the boy napped. Quietly, soundly, and for a full 2 hours. Brunch bliss.

August 21, 2009

Friday's Favorites

Thursday's appear to be the new date night, at least for Ash and Mommy or Ash and Daddy that is. Daddy's been on more airplanes than he'd like to admit lately and Mommy's busy season is now officially underway, and for some reason Thursdays are always the night when at least one of us isn't home. So, it's been dubbed the night when Ash gets taken out by the one of us who isn't traveling. He seems to think that's OK and with the brilliance that is Skype we don't even miss our goodnight snuggle, though I highly recommend waiting until you're in the privacy of your hotel room to hug your computer. I may have gotten a few puzzled looks from the folks in the hotel lounge as I blew a kiss and wrapped my arms around my laptop. Apparently it's not yet "the norm" to Skype in public. Who'dofthunkit. If only they knew the adorableness I was virtual-loving at the time they totally would've understood. TGIF.

August 19, 2009

Blame The Bunny

August 23rd, 2009 marks 40 years of Gamma and Papa's marriage. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, we LOVE you! I can hardly think of anything that lasts 40 years let alone something that requires two individuals to not just LOVE each other but actually LIKE each other (which I sometimes think is actually more challenging) around the clock, which is probably why it takes so many different forms. It has to in order to suit each individual person enjoying it. Love affairs just happen to be like that, varying in nature and appearance and sound and smell and such.

Ash happens to have several current love affairs, but three that tend to preoccupy him more than others. #1: Chocolate, #2: Sidewalk Chalk, #3: The Bunny.

The 3 of us recently enjoyed lawn seats at a Phish concert in NY which started with the typical Phish tailgating fiesta where Ash (while doing somersaults over the back seat) discovered a bag of sidewalk chalk we had stored away for a future impromptu chalking moment. We had already said "no no no no" (which may have in reality actually sounded like "NO NO NO NO") to MANY "homemade brownies" being sold by our tailgating neighbors, so we gave in and opted to encourage sidewalk chalk love over chocolate love, despite the lack of sidewalk space available to actually properly utilize his sidewalk chalk love.

But we have a resourceful child on our hands folks, so no lack of sidewalk was going to put a damper on his don't-eat-the-brownies fun. Look mom! I'm drawing!

And then we decided to just let the moment be. As long as he had stopped asking for the brownies (or anything else baked for that matter, although HUGE thumbs up to the vendors for being VERY proactive in letting us know that we should skip their tent and move on to the next...). After all, he was loving a new found option to create body art via sidewalk chalk while those around him were, well, enjoying their own little versions of love affairs. But I would be doing an injustice if I didn't also report that Ash's body art was by far the best in the crowd despite some serious competition. Apparently your typical Phish groupie hasn't taken the time to learn the true art of stylizing the bod with sidewalk chalk.

And then along comes The Bunny. When we looked at his beautiful body sidewalk chalk art with puzzled faces not sure if we should be fully embracing this new talent he promptly decided to blame it on The Bunny. Mommy! Bunny draw on Ashton's tummy! And then later on in the week at dinner he became quite agitated and finally shared with us that The Bunny had stolen his knife and we needed to tip toe tip toe after him to go get it. Seriously. As our meal progressed we discovered that The Bunny had also taken his shoes, the sugar packet from the table, his red chair, and daddy's car. So, as any good parent would do we commenced a full on investigation starting with a profile picture. On the back of the restaurant's place mat. During dinner. Ash made it very clear that it was an extra tall bunny, with black curly hair, who must have taken the sugar packets so that he could make a birthday cake. But not for mommy or daddy, it was clearly a birthday cake for Ashton. This is the official police profile as described by Ash:

So at the end of the day there have been many lessons learned. Don't eat the brownies, you don't need a sidewalk to have fun with sidewalk chalk, and when all else fails blame The Bunny. I imagine that last one could come in handy as we embark on our own personal expedition to successfully make it from 8 years to 40 years. Yes, I foresee some serious Bunny blaming. And maybe, just maybe, some brownie eating. Which of course, we'll blame on The Bunny.

Happy anniversary Gamma and Papa, 40 years and you're still rockin it, without eating the brownies OR blaming The Bunny. We love you!

August 18, 2009

Apparently He Liked The Soup

We try not to discourage Ash from trying anything, so when he asks to dip his chicken yakitori (fancy name for chicken skewers at Japanese restaurants) in our wasabi, we let him. When he's convinced that he'll enjoy our lamb vindaloo (fancy name for an Indian dish of stewed lamb but REALLY spicy), again, we let him. Sometimes these moments result in his eyes watering up and cheeks turning bright pink followed by a whimpering little look at mommy wondering why on Earth I let him put XXX spiced smoke-will-come-out-of-your-ears deliciousness in his mouth, but then other times he just does this cute little tip of the head and waits a moment as he sucks off the last sip of spicy sauce from his fingers, and then very adamantly requests "MORE PLEASE!" What can I say, the boy likes his spice. Well, most of the time.

One (of many) not so thought out repercussions to introducing and constantly exposing Ash to varying ethnicities of food is an ingrained confusion about how to eat it based on which type of restaurant he's in. He doesn't understand why there aren't any chopsticks at his favorite BBQ joint, or why he can't use injera to eat pasta (would be SO much easier than learning to twirl his spoon/fork!), or even why there isn't any naan served with his sweet potato sushi when CLEARLY this would be a more efficient way to eat it. And who are we to disagree? So, we travel with chopsticks. We let him use whatever bread is on the table to pick up whatever entree it is meant to accompany. And, to explain the picture above and finally get to the point of this very long winded post, we don't dare not let him "drink" his soup just because he's not in a Japanese restaurant where "drinking" your miso soup is just how it's always done. Hey, you try and explain to a 2 year old why he can drink his soup in one restaurant but not in another.

So, tonight while we enjoyed a fabulous new discovery nearby in the form of delicious Latin American cuisine we didn't even think twice when Ash picked up his chicken orzo soup and drank from the bowl. Every last drop. And he didn't spill a drip, not even one. Although I am a little worried about one day discovering he has no idea what a spoon is... I suppose eventually we'll need to to review the "this is how its done here vs there vs over there vs etc..." but for now I'm just digging the fact that my 2 year old can down a cup of soup (chalk full of veggies!) without leaving half of it spilled on the table (or mommy). Cheers to that.

August 17, 2009

Storytime Monday

In the field there was a boy, harnessing his flower power with all this might.
He knew there were many exciting things awaiting him that day.
And finally they came! But so did the rain.
But when you're dancing to the groovy tunes of Phish, the rain doesn't matter.
And glow sticks help too.
The day only got better with the combination of glow sticks, puddles, and live tunes. All were very happy.
Just don't try and take away the boy's glow sticks.
Not even now.
The end.

August 15, 2009

Nice People

This was the only moment spent sitting still in these chairs, and as you can tell he wasn't exactly thrilled about it. He'd much rather be jumping from one to the other and back to the other saying "Ashton's chair?" then "Owen's chair?" and then eventually asking if the chair was really Moe's or Mia's and at one point it became Mari's, so really the question is - when are any or all of you coming to visit? I love the impression that other children make on Ash. When he meets someone fun to play with (in person or online, and no, we haven't signed him up for a dating service but he is a frequenter on Blogger and Facebook to keep up with his long distance buds) he remembers them. He remembers what they shared with him, sometimes in the form of fun new toys and sometimes in the form of cool new words to say. In Mari's case it's usually a new song to sing, and in the case of his daycare buddies it's usually a fun new act like jumping up and down or twirling around in circles till you tip over dizzy. Love that one. Anyhow, the point is there are lots of really nice people out there and we love meeting them and watching how Ash automatically identifies them as nice people and almost instantaneously incorporates them into his vocabulary. It's just, nice.

August 13, 2009

A Little Man

Seems to have taken over our household. He wakes up, shouts out in the most adorable voice "mommy playwithmeeee" and then we play in his room for a while. Then he asks to brush his teethe, says "new diaper please" and eventually points to the staircase and informs me that its time to go downstairs for cereal. We sing together on the way to school and without a doubt he asks for his spider snack and apple box even though he knows full well that spider snack (Spider-Man shaped gummy snacks) and apple box (apple juice box) are saved as a special treat for when we pick him up from school. He eventually shoots the most heart warming smile in my direction alongside his silly face which lets me know that he knew all along it wasn't time for spider snack and apple box, but he thought it couldn't hurt to try.

And then we find ourselves dining on the patio of a local cafe enjoying an evening. And by that I mean everything going on in the world around us seemed to suffice just fine for the evening's entertainment. The guitar players downstairs playing some tunes, the birds who insisted on moving from one spot to another (Ash was so bummed that he couldn't figure out how to lure the bird to his chair) and believe it or not just some good ol fashioned conversation and ambiance. I didn't even have to break out his toy Woody doll and purple horsie until the very end, and that was just because mommy insisted on savoring the last few sips of a delicious new Malbec.

When I say it's time for night night he takes my hand and helps pick out his jammies, and when mommy or daddy have been away working he stands at the window and points at each car in anticipation of "MOMMY'S CAR! or DADDY'S CAR!" pulling up the driveway. And when it finally does he launches into the cutest little happy dance, complete with jumping and clapping and head bobbing and well, you get the picture. When he's excited he lets you know it.

And sometimes he's a pain in the arse. Sometimes he insists on being a two year old (the nerve!) and sometimes he requires some additional observation just to make sure he doesn't build an airplane out of some silverware and bedsheets and decide to go blast off from the kitchen table. But for the most part he just wants to run and jump and paint and sing and dance and eat and twirl a lot, which from where we're standing seems to be symptomatic of a pretty OK way to be passing time.

A little man is in the house, and mama is feeling the love.

August 9, 2009

Excuse Me, Does Your Child Have An Indoor Voice?

Apparently the woman sitting behind us on the flight home was less than pleased with Ash's enthusiastic announcement of every single airplane that passed us while we sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half. MOMMY! Plane REEEED! MOMMY! Plane BLUUUUE! MOMMY! Plane SILVER like DADDY'S CAR! I politely smiled and told her, "well, I guess we'll find out!" and went about my business engaging my two year old in interesting and humorous conversation while several others (adult travelers) proceeded to become whiny and restless with the delay. As Ash excitedly shouted ALL DONE! HOME! when we landed, those same adult travelers were still complaining about the late landing. Needless to say Miss "does your child have an indoor voice" made a point of commending his travel behavior when we landed in NY. Booya.

BU 09 was amazing, the children were amazing, the families were amazing, the mojitos were amazing, and the city of Chicago played a fabulous host. It's going to take some time to wade through the pictures and do the weekend justice without posting all 973 of them, so for now I leave you with this one. Just two of the group of many adorable little Ethiopian beauties who decided almost instantly that they might just kind of like each other. Just a little bit.

And last but not least, Ash in all his glory grooving with some new moves on the last night in the hotel. He went from this to completely tipped over and out like a light in about 3.4 seconds. And then mommy and daddy followed about 2.6 seconds after that. I officially declare tomorrow National Sleep In Till 8AM Day.

Shake shake! Shake your booty! Shake shake! Shake your booty YEAH!!! (The Ash rendition)