Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where the sidewalk ends

On the way to school today, you spotted this and said: "Mom, there IS a place where the sidewalk really ends."  The Shel Silverstein poems are sinking in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dentist drama

After many dramatic, traumatic dentist appointments, Sam, you've FINALLY decided the dentist is OK.  This time, Nick went with you and he went first. 

Nick, you did a great job on your very FIRST trip to the dentist.  You sat on my lap, let the tech clean your teeth, and even got the flouride!!

Sam, after you watched Nick, it was smooth sailing from there.  Thank goodness... dentist appointments were becoming quite anxiety provoking for me!

How do I...

Yesterday you asked me:  "Mom, how do you make friends?"
You were completely serious and matter of fact.  At first I thought you were joking, but you really wanted to know "how" you make friends, as if there were a recipe.  We discussed how kids talk and play together, and if they are interested in similar things and like being together, they become friends.  Sometimes your parents are friends, sometimes you meet in school, sometimes you meet doing activities.  "Humf... I have friends" you responded.  And that was it.  Now you have the recipe.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Turtles don't have teeth

Sam: "the people who made the Nemo movie didn't draw him right... Turtles don't have teeth".

An astute observation, my little Sam. You are so bright!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nicholas: 16 months old


You are just about to cross the 16-month mark and your character is already shining through loud and clear!  You are the happiest toddler I've ever met.  You smile constantly, have a bellowing laugh, you flirt, tease, and run into my arms to give me a big hug.  Our nap and nighttime routine is such a pleasure: you drink your bottle while making eyes at me and smiling, and you love when I point to your name letters on the wall (thanks Aunt Chrissy and Uncle Eric) and spell your name.  When I put you in the crib, you sit up, wave at me, and smile.  You are usually snoring within minutes!  You have gained the confidence to play rough with Sam -- body slams, jumping on top of him, and crashing into him with your ride-on tiger.  You are one tough cookie.

Watching you develop language is amazing.  Since Rosa Maria only speaks to you in Spanish, you seem to understand Spanish as well, if not better, than English.   Fortunately, "No" is the same in both languages and you have mastered that one!  You know the stove is a "no-no" because it's "hot."  You can tell me when your food is too "hot."  You know the light sockets are an "uh uh" (and you wave your hand or your finger to show me).  You know "car" and "walk" and when I ask you if you want your "pacha" (bottle), you take my finger and walk me to the kitchen to prepare it for you.  So far, you have only said "Da Da", which seems to refer to both of us, depending on who you are pointing to.  "Agua" was your first word and you LOVE water:  bath, shower, pool, watering plants, drinking water, playing in puddles, brushing your teeth with water.  You are my water baby!

First haircut!
You are also letting your stubborn side shine through.  When you get upset, you run away from me, sit on the floor, and put (or sometimes bang!) your head on the floor between your knees.  Lately, you've gotten creative and adopted the downward dog stance.  I like to call you "Yoga Baby."  I wish I had a photo, but I can't seem to grab my camera to document your tantrum.  You are insistent if you see something you want.  You point and say: "Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah..."

Each day, I am more and more impressed with your abilities.  Your motor skills are terrific - you love to put caps on markers, put together  stacking boxes, and even play with blocks.  You watch Sam and want to do WHATEVER he does, including art.  You watch him draw and mimic him on his easel.  You get art supplies from his art cart, sit down at his art table, and color right on it.  Your got your first haircut this week and it made you look so much older ... and now you look as old as your are smart! 

Nicholas, I love watching you grow.  Some parents love their kids as little babies.  I love every moment of getting to know you and your budding personality.  I love you, Nick Nuk!

Love, Mom

When you have gray hair

When you have gray hair, you are retired... you know, when you stop going to work.  Only old people do that.   -Sam

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Walking in the steps of Rop Pop

When I grow up I want to play football like Rop Pop. Then when I'm really old, I want to play golf and win trophies. Rop Pop says I can have his trophies when he dies if I don't win any myself.
-Sam to Carmen when she asked if he wanted to play water polo.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Road trip quotes

Driving El Camino Real headed from Malibu to Sunnyvale:

Sam: "dad why is there a bell on the sign?"
Dad: "well, those signs tell us about the CA missions."
Mom: "I think he meant the Taco Bell sign."

Sam: "why do they make things that aren't healthy for you, like soda?"
Well said, Sam. If only more people felt the same way, we'd avoid a lot of problems... And illness.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sam, the Lorax

Sam, tonight we read The Lorax.  It wasn't your first time hearing the story, but you made some astonishing observations:

1.  Why can't they just build a ladder and take off the leaves of the Truffula trees instead of cutting them down?
2.  Why don't they close off the chimneys in the factory so the smog doesn't get out into the air?  They should  also close the ovens inside the factory so that the workers don't get sick.
3.  Why don't they put the goop into an underground tank so that it doesn't go into the water?

I'm pretty sure our planet's best engineers have asked the same questions and come up with pretty similar answers. 

And then you went on to ask me what was "nature".... animals, plants, humans... cars?
When I explained that cars aren't nature, you retorted that you could make them nature by putting a lot of dirt on top, holding it there, and growing something.  A green-roofed car.  Now, I'm not sure our planet's best engineers have yet to conceive of this concept, but I think it's genius.  I am so very proud of you.  Your creativity, ingenuity, and compassion are stunning.

Love you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Camp

I'm sorry to say, you don't seem to like summer camp.  I can't say I'm surprised.  I don't remember being a big fan myself.  You especially don't like the counselors telling you what to you.  Again, not a surprise  :)

You got pretty upset this morning when I told you you had to go to camp and you asked me "Why are you so hard to deal with?"  Wow!  I didn't expect that one!   Nevertheless, when I dropped you at camp and saw you sad face and your teary eyes, my heart melted.  I never want you to hurt.   Fortunately, I think despite the tough mornings, by the afternoon, you actually LIKE camp.  Now that's a surprise  :)

I love you little man!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mom, I have a great idea

"You can have 2 weddings: one with Daddy, one with me. Mom, will you marry me?" -Sam
My heart is melting.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lessons from the playground

Sam, today you told me that, at school, "the girls don't like to play with the boys because the boys are too rough. The boys don't like to play with the girls because they tell the boys what to do. Actually, the boys don't really care. They just mess with the girls a lot."
Sam, these words could save a lot of marriages. You are quite smart!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Do fish have necks?

You boys... you never cease to amaze me.  Today was just a normal day and you two make it extraordinary.  I love you so much. 

Nicholas, you really have taken your first word, agua, and run with it.  You ask for it when you want it, you point to it when you see it.  There is no doubt in my mind anymore.  AGUA is your first word.  I love it!

Funny Face
And your expressions.  You are finding your outer voice for your inner frustration.  You make a very serious face and growl when you want something.   It's only a matter of time before you find a few words to add to your repertoire so I can understand you a little better!  Nevertheless, you are the happiest baby around.  Happy to play.  Happy (real happy!) to eat.  Happy to be outside.  In the yard, you make a bee-line for the swings.  You love to swing.

First there was your walker.  It took you a few weeks to warm up to the walker but once you decided it was going to give you some freedom it took you about 24 hours to master that thing.  You can do a 3-point turn to get yourself out of any situation.  You've even figured out how to lift up the front if you get stuck on a rug.  Pretty sharp, little man!

And now, you've moved on to your push wagon.  You push it yourself and with Sam in it.  You even like to climb into it and stand up.  I think you're gonna be a pretty adventurous guy - you don't seem to be scared of anything!

Your Dad and I have a bet about when you will walk.  I say right at 12 months.  He thinks by 11 months.   You could wake up tomorrow and walk.  Wouldn't surprise me.  :)

god is Nature
Sam, tonight, I told you the story of the lost city of Atlantis.  When explaining that the god of the sea, Poseidon, was the ruler of Atlantis, you asked me why there was more than one god at Atlantis.  Since you've been taught about one God at school, this was a legitimate question.  I explained that people believe different things and that long ago many people believed in gods of all kinds of things: sea, love...  Your response astounded me:  "Mom, maybe it's just like God is everywhere so there are lots of different gods.  Maybe god is nature."   Religion is not a straightforward concept in our house.  We don't subscribe to any one religion, but you are learning Christianity in school.  On your very own, you came up with a set of beliefs that have taken me over 30 years to cultivate and articulate:  god is Nature.

Do Fish Have Necks?
You also ask the most probing questions.  Today you asked both me and your Dad (separately) whether fish have necks.  I'm not sure if you thought of this questions because you seem to notice the smallest details in your drawing.  Perhaps you were drawing a fish and wondered if you should draw a neck.  Whatever the reason, we talked about how fish don't have necks like us and how they have to turn their bodies if they want to see from side to side.  You made the astute observation that fish can bend much easier than we can so that's not such a big deal.  In addition, we talked about vertebrate and invertebrate animals and you understood it right away.  Fish.  Vertebrate.  Snail.  Invertebrate.  Butterfly.  Invertebrate, of course, you said.

Shrimp School
And yesterday,  I had bought 6 shrimp at Whole Foods for you and you asked why I didn't buy more.  I explained that I rarely buy shrimp because fishing for shrimp destroys the oceans.   We spent the rest of the night and the morning playing a game where you were a shrimp and I was a shrimp fisherman.  You explained to me how my nets scraped the bottom of the ocean and pulled out all the coral and seaweed, caught lots of fish and turtles, and everything died.   We decided that we would start a shrimp school and teach the fisherman about how those nets hurt the ocean.  We would teach them to fish for shrimp with a fishing pole, which was your clever idea.  One fishing pole can't hurt the ocean floor and will only catch one shrimp!   I can't wait to start our shrimp school!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bath boys: your first bath together

Nicholas' first word: AGUA

Nicholas, I think you've said your first word:  "Agua"!  How fitting!
You love water:  you love to drink water from a cup, watch the water come out of the fridge dispenser, splash in the tub, have it poured on your head.  You are a water boy.  And Rosamaria has taught you lots of Spanish.  Sometimes, I think you understand more Spanish than English.  When I speak to you in Spanish, you light up.  I hope "agua" isn't your last Spanish word... somehow, I suspect there are many more to come.

Samism - all love

(hugging me) "Mom, all my dreams come true!"
"Ding, dong... My 'Sam loves mommy' bell is ringing."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Brother brains

Sam: Dad does Nicky have a brain? 
Dad: yes, he does.   
Sam: well, he doesn't think anything.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jamaica, mon!

After looking at pictures of our destination for 6 months, we finally made the family trip to Jamaica.  The Steinys, The Fentons, and The Smiths.  One word:  AMAZING!  The Tyrall Club has a magnificent villa, Sea Salt (, with a fabulous staff that made our vacation unforgettable.
We woke up to bright sunny skies and breakfast made by Chef Norman and delivered by Nigel with a smile and a "you're very welcome."  Nicholas and Sam you both LOVED the tropical fruit every morning.  

We would spend mornings on the beach playing, snorkeling, building sandcastles, and even treating Mom's hair with coconut milk!

Stu and Nicholas ate their first sand and Sam found a sea cucumber. We went on a nature walk and discovered shy plant, which would close up when you touched it.  We also saw urchins, sea fans, sponges, and sand dollars washed up on the rocks.  We traveled around the property to see an old canon that protected Tryall when it was a sugar plantation, the old water wheel used to process the sugar cane, and even visited Keith, the woodworker.   Sam, you ate lunch at the beach almost every day:  3 dinner rolls, cheeseburger or grilled cheese, french fries, and a glass of milk.

Beach time was followed by a fantastic lunch by the pool (chicken wraps, sandwiches, oxtail with rice/beans, fish kabobs, salad, fruit, and usually some cocktails).

Swimming in the pool was a real highlight for all the kids.  Sam, you LOVED the pool ring - you swam in that the whole vacation.  Nicholas and Stu loved their floaty rings too.  Nicholas, you showed your true inner fish -- you were swimming on your belly, getting your face wet, and kicking your legs.  You loved the pool.

We all usually had quite time/naptime after the pool.  Sometimes we played shuffleboard, had putting contests, or just drank cocktails... thanks Nigel!  Dinner was served at 6:30 and Chef Norman always impressed... fish, chicken, whatever... it was all good.  And dessert... homemade and amazing.  Needless to say, this week will be about food discipline.  

This was a vacation to be remembered for all time.*  Thanks Sea Salt for being our home away from home!

*There were a few forgettable moments, however:

1.  prior to the trip, Nicholas & Sam you both came down with the Norovirus stomach bug.  Fortunately, Sam, you were spared and had it for only one day.  Nicholas, you were sick for a week.  We thought we'd be safe since you got sick on Tuesday and we left Saturday but diarreah on the plane and projectile vomiting on night 1 were our reality.  You didn't eat for almost a week forcing us to re-up on Pedialyte in Jamacia costing us about $100 for the $7 bottles and the $80 ride to the store.  You're worth every penny, though!  Despite feeling stinky, you managed a smile in between each nap and even slept pretty well.  By Wednesday night, the Nicholas we know was back in action.
2.  given it's contagiousness, the Norovirus (AKA "the Goo") circulate through the family hitting some harder than others, but not enough to ruin the vacation for anyone!
3. the plane ride home was not exactly one to remember... Nicholas, you and your cousin Stuart decided naps were out of the question so you squirmed and cried on our laps for 3+ hours despite having your own seat.  That was money well spent  :)!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Samism: The pork chop in the tummy of America

Sam, last night you were telling me that Baltimore is in America.  America is all around us.  Therefore, we are in the tummy of America.  And our house is "like the pork chop in the tummy of America."  I don't know where you come up with this stuff, but it's priceless.   I was laying in bed with you, trying to put you to sleep, but I couldn't stop laughing.  The two of us just laid in your bed giggling.

Valentines Day 2012

My boys... you are my Valentines.  I wake up and see your smiling faces and I melt.   Sam, you walk out of your room and your face lights up when you see me and Dad.  I love to see you first thing in the morning (well.... as long as it's after 6am!).  And Nicholas, every morning you wake up with a smile.  You will chat to yourself for a while in your crib and then get just a little louder to let us know its time to get up.  When I come to get you, you have a giant grin on your face... what a fabulous way to start the day.

Last night we made valentines for your class.  You picked tattoos for each classmate based on what you thought they would like. You even drew some special pictures for your friends.  This morning, we planted the strawberry seeds I got you for Valentines Day in little pots.  We will watch them grow and then plant them in our NEW garden in the spring.

We play this game where I pretend to eat your food before I give it to you:   "Is this for me?"  "Nooooooo....its for you!"    You laugh and laugh and laugh!  Sometimes we play it with your pacifier.  BUT, this morning, for the first time, YOU played with me.  You put your paci in your mouth, took it out, looked at me with a sly little face, and put it in my mouth .... and laughed.  You were playing with me!  It is so neat to see you developing into a little person. 

Happy Valentines Day to my special boys.
Love,  Mom

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nicholas is getting teeth!

November 9, 2012.  The day I saw your first tooth.

Sam didn't get teeth until shortly after he turned 1, so I wasn't even looking for you teeth, Nicholas.  But lo and behold, you have 2 bottom teeth at 9 months old!  You haven't fussed, drooled, or spiked a fever.  They just came in!  And it looks like you have some on the top coming in too.  This is good news since you are quickly losing interest in baby food and gaining interest in just about everything else.  

Your 9 month checkup stats:

Weight: 21lb 6oz (75%)
Height: 30.74 (>95%)   Dr. Starr says you're tracking to be 6'2".
Head: 18.66 (90-95%)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sam is the Trash Police

Sam, on the way to school you saw a plastic bottle near a storm drain and declared you would one day have a hundred... No a million dollars to buy a bunch of nets to keep the trash out of the streams. I'm speechless... And overflowing with pride. You are one in a million.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sam's Snack

Sam, you asked for a snack tonight.  I happened to be holding a bowl of broccoli for myself and I handed it to you as a joke.  You just looked up at me, smiled, and said "Thank You."  You ate the whole thing!  You are truly amazing!

Monday, January 9, 2012


"I'll make you a deal, I'll go to school but I won't be happy about it."