Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Best Toy... a cardboard box.  True, a box can potentially take up a significant percentage of the square footage in our little apartment, but it can also fold flat at the end of the day's play.  We currently have a diaper box that has been crawled in and out of hundreds of times over the past week and has lost some of it's structural soundness.  We'll have to part with it soon, but that's okay.  That's part of the beauty of a box.  We only have to wait until our next Costco trip or Amazon delivery and we'll have a new one-maybe a different shape, a different size.  It will probably be so exciting that, just like the current one, it will be the cause of giggles, laughter, imaginative play, and many sibling squabbles.

And mostly I'm writing about boxes because I wanted to post these picture.  A few weeks ago, while Martin and I were in the kitchen putting away the Costco loot of the day, these two managed to set up a very comfortable Toy Story-viewing venue for themselves. I walked into the living room and found them exactly like this.  I love how they are right next to each other and how both of their boxes are lined with their favorite blankets.

Also amusing:  that Ezra is snacking on a mushroom (I later discovered the mushroom package that he excitedly tore into) and the fact that the expression on Lucia's face never changes (you can be assured that I was trying very hard to get her attention).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Big Slide and other Stuff

Spring his here!  Here are the only non-phone pictures on the post.  Lauren Cromar invited us to hang in the park with her and baby Oliver yesterday afternoon.  She like to take pictures.  Sometimes we benefit from that.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Don't know how Lauren got me to jump in a picture.  I am still recovering from some weird ailment where my eyes were super swollen.  Here not so swollen, but kind of.  Look how beautiful my children are though!  

This picture took a lot of convincing.  Ezra just wanted to squish the "grapes."  I remember being tempted to do the same thing to these flowers when I was a kids.  Apparently, they smell just like grapes too.

I love, love, love this picture.  Look at her pretty eyes!

One very warm spring day when we went to Brooklyn with friends.

Lucia loves the swings.  A month and a half ago, she was terrified of them.  Now she would swing the whole time at the playground if I let her.  Usually, when I take her out she throws a tantrum.   Big surprise there.

Saturday, during the afternoon session of General Conference, our kiddies were losing it from being inside all day, so we decided that we take them out while there was still a bit of light.  Conference, we'll catch up with you!

It turned out to be such a fun outing.  Rocks and grass and scootering.  And spring flowers!

Lucia is at that age when it is ALL about the stairs.  Nothing is more tempting (or makes here happier) than practicing her ascending/descending skills.  Maybe she's a little old for this, but city babies don't get a lot of stair practice (Imagine little hands on the subway stairs, or the stairs in our building, for that matter.  Yuck!), so their a little behind the curve when it comes to this skill.  Papa's a good helper.


Lucia LOVES her new rain boots!  She drags them around the apartment, and when she decides that she wants me to put them on her feet, she is very vocal in letting me know that she is not open to other options.

We've spent tons of time at the zoos (Bronx and Central Park) lately. Ezra very often requests to go the "museum with the live animals."  This of course, distinguishes the Zoo from the Museum of Natural History.  I keep telling him that the "museum with live animals" has a name, which is "Zoo," but that must be too simplistic for him.  I don't take pictures at the zoo, because honestly, I can barely keep up with my two toddlers.  They're usually running in opposite directions.  Here's a very sorry shot of Ezra showing off his beloved gift shop snake and Lucia picking up something that she probably shouldn't.  

Today we went to the zoo again.  I ran down to the Central Park zoo with my new Craigslist purchase that looks like this.  
I kind of love it.  It means that I can do fun park outings sandwiched in-between Mama runs.  I spent the last two summers doing these outings several times a week, but it seemed like logistically it wasn't going to work out this summer.   This baby is going to make it possible!  

The zoo was fun.  My favorite part was watching Lucia warm up to feeding the animals at the petting zoo.  At first she cried and walked backward when I put her too close to the fence.  I was so proud of her when she finally let a sheep slime her hand!

The highlight of our day was the the playground with the big slide.  Everyone with kids has heard of the big slide, but I had never been there before.  We were there for hours.  Such a good time was being had that Ezra even wet his pant for the first time since last summer.  We went and bought him some new shorts so that the fun could be continued.  It ended up being a 10-5 day in the Park.   When you see the kind of energy Ezra was exerting the whole time, you will be amazed.  

Ezra found some nice big kids.  Thank you nice big kids!  Seeing Ezra so happy to have "friends" to play with was the highlight of the highlight of my day.  

Does anyone else ever feel like your child is the loudest and the craziest?

Here is one of Ezra's new favorite pastimes.  You've gotta love the lyrics of a two-year-old.  Did I mention that he's loud and crazy?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's just cosmetic

Today the "big girl over there wearing pink" threw a truck down the slide at Ezra and chipped off a substantial part of one of his top center teeth.  Ezra wasn't really crying much when he came over to tell me that his tongue hurt.  I was certain he bit his tongue, but when I looked in his mouth and saw part of his tooth missing, I kind of flipped out.  First, I made Ezra open his mouth for each of my mommy friends so they could see the damage (Ezra's crying escalates).  I made the girl in pink apologize.  She did so with a half-hearted sorry and a shrug of her shoulders. I was not at all happy with her flippant response and start looking around trying to figure out who she was with so I could share my displeasure, but then Ezra sweetly said through his tears, "It's alright," and I learned a lesson about forgiveness from my 2-year old.

My reaction was perhaps a bit over the top, but my baby's beautiful smile won't ever be the same.  Ezra senses this, and while at this point, he had forgiven his "attacker,"  he had not forgotten Mama's initial response to his broken tooth.  He got more and more worked up over his loss.  He insisted we look for the part that fell off so that we can glue it back on.  I told him that teeth don't take to glue and he cries that his "tooth isn't correct anymore."  Honestly, I wanted to wail the same thing.

We stayed at the playground for some time after the tooth incident and eventually (after a good 30 minutes or so) the crying stopped.  His special tooth was now a novelty and he went around the playground proudly explaining how he hurt his tooth and then pulling up his lip to any friend or stranger who was willing to listen.  By the time we got home, he had forgotten about his misfortune and didn't even ask to see it in the mirror.  All of this drama and sadness and loss and he doesn't even know what the tooth he's been crying over looks like.

I don't know why I'm writing about the tooth incident, after all, I'm a pretty inconsistent blogger and most of the time I don't even write about the big things-like birthdays and such, but I can't stop thinking about it.  Every time he smiled this afternoon, I was surprised.  Tonight when I looked at my sleeping boy, I felt sad.

I keep telling myself that it's not a big deal-it's a baby tooth, it doesn't hurt him, it just looks a little different.  In a few days, I probably won't even remember what his smile looked like pre-chip, unless I look at photos.  I won't notice it anymore.  But tonight I understand motherly love a little bit more-you hurt for them (even when they don't hurt) and you mourn their losses (even when they're just cosmetic).  You know it's all a little silly and irrational (In this case I tell myself,"Come on!" Baby teeth fall out anyway!"), but you love them so much you just can't help yourself.
*Pictures of the lost smile.  I'll get a picture of his new "special smile" as soon as I can do so without being too obvious.  Don't want to risk traumatizing him again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Papa's Home this Week

Around these parts it's called mid-winter recess.  We call it fun time with Papa. 

We went to the zoo.  Ezra LOVES snakes.  Whenever we sing Old MacDonald the first animal that we sing about on the farm is the snake.

Lucia was actually way more into the animals than Ezra, or at least her attention span seemed to be a bit longer.  The first animals she saw were squealing monkeys.  She let out her own squeals of delight that were so loud, that for a moment we had more eyes on us than were on the monkeys.

The bug carousel is always a big hit.  Below Lucia is making her all too common face of sticking out her lower jaw.

Ezra chose the black and yellow grasshopper.

At first I was bugged that Martin didn't put Lucia next to Ezra.  He said he did it because he was sure Lucia preferred grasshoppers over caterpillars.  And if you know Martin, then you know that he meant this in all seriousness.

I got over my frustration, when I realized that it was much easier to get them both in a picture with this staggered set up.

This was a common sight this week.  Papa is really good at reading books.

And Lucia is really good at cheesing- it- up for the camera.

 Papa and Ezra went camping in the living room one night.  It was my great idea to set up the tent and then I sold Ezra on the idea that camping with Papa is the best.  I got the whole soft bed to myself and Martin got quality time with Ezra and the wood floor.

We're so sad it's already Friday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Botanical Garden Train Show...Twice

The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx set up an amazing train exhibit every year during the holidays.  The first time we went with the Mary and Emma (and baby Levi) during the day.  

Taking it all in....

Train viewing is serious business.

And sometimes it's just plain exciting!  Though it looks like Emma's still all business.

The Children's Garden was really fun too.  Luckily, it was another one of our mild winter days.  Here's some proof that Lucia came with us.

The butterfly chairs were a hit.

Ezra kept on talking about the trains so we took Papa up to see them.  We went after Christmas on one of the last days it was open and it was much less crowded than it was on our first visit-almost empty!  So if you ever plan on going I recommend an evening in January.  It's beautiful at night with all of the lights on.

Before we went to see the trains we stopped by a special sing-along Thomas play. Ezra got a certificate and a picture with Thomas.  Oh, the things we do for our children!  Max, Ruby, and Aunt Becky were with us too.  Oh, the things you do for your second cousins!  Becky was actually the one who convinced us to wait around for our turn for a picture.  So glad we listened!

All of the buildings are famous/historical structures in New York City and they are made entirely of plant materials.  Sticks, acorns, bark, and even tree sap windows.  It's all done in amazing detail-my pictures don't even begin to do it justice.

Lucia came on this trip too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And so, it turns out out that I'm a terrible Santa

Ezra has (had) a very specific item on his Christmas list this year.   This is the first year I took him to see Santa, but you would have never been able to tell.  He confidently and efficiently told the Santa at Brooks Brothers, even before he had a chance to climb on his lap, "I want train tracks that I can build on the floor all by myself!" (This is in contrast to the train table that he got last year where everything is screwed down.)

Well, it turns out that Cousins Max and Luke had a whole box of said track that they had outgrown.  Last week I hopped in the van with Aunt Becky and we drove a couple of hours up to their storage and brought back a box of all the track a little boy could ever hope for.  Santa had it made.  The perfect gift, and it was free!

Turns out that Santa needs to do a better job of hiding gifts.

I put the box in my closet and had been very careful not to open it when Ezra was near.  I was quite certain it was safe because little boy has never gotten in my closet...until today, when I suddenly heard, "Mama!  What is this?  It's track!  It's track!" And so, Christmas came early to the Caceres' apartment.  It was a fun afternoon- four straight hours of creating different winding, wooden configurations to frequent, oh so cute, exclamations from a two-year-old of, "Wow!  That looks amazing!" and "This is wonderful!"  

I don't mind that Santa's gift to Ezra turned into Max and Luke's gift to Ezra.  But now, what is Santa going to bring Ezra on Christmas Eve?  Not much.  At least Santa can thank me for lightening his load.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Little Bit O' Country

For the past several Octobers, we've had the little tradition of squishing in the Gilmore van and taking a short drive upstate to pick ourselves some pumpkins.  It's always fun-crisp air, a hay ride, apple cider, homemade doughnuts, and a real country experience.  Or as close as you can get to a country experience an hour and half from they city.   

This is what our real country pumpkin patch looked like.  The pumpkins grow nestled in a green, grassy field.  No dirt, no vines.   
I kind of like it because Lucia could crawl around without getting too dirty and the orange on green sure made for a pretty picture.  

Our real country experience also included a decent crowd of people and even someone directing parking.  Ha, ha! Look at Lucia's face in this picture.

Fun on the hayride.

And for even more fun, pictures from one of our first pumpkin picking adventures.  My how things have changed.  Look how little Ruby was!

And pumpkins used to be exciting enough to draw Luke out of the van.   To be fair, it was much colder  this year.