Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: Year in Review

The most exciting news of the year won't arrive until 2015: we're expecting a new baby (a boy this time) in April!

But that wasn't all that happened in 2014. It was our first full year back in Ohio, and I think we're finally back in the swing of things. We have new friends and new schedules, filled with playgroups, story times and days at COSI. Edith finally took her first steps in March, and now we can't slow her down. That was followed much later in the year by her first haircut in October and then (gulp!) her second birthday in November.

Of course, we fit in some travels this year as well, both near and far. We took a day trip to nearby Yellow Springs. In June, we spent a week visiting our old haunts in Brooklyn and throughout New York City. And the last week of October found us on our first cruise, stopping in Mexico, Belize and Honduras.

What will next year bring? More milestones, more fun and certainly less sleep! No post on Wednesday. Happy 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season. The blog will be back next Monday following the Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 Family Photos

I am lucky to have a talented amateur photographer as a sister-in-law. That means we get great family photos even when we procrastinate and don't get around to getting them done until nearly Thanksgiving.

So thanks to Becky for these wonderful pics of us and of Edith!

The rocking chair is a family tradition -
my sister and I each had our photo taken
in it when we were 18 months old.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hungry All of the Time

I now eat approximately seven times a day.

I am hungry all of the time. You would think it would be fun to eat whatever, whenever you want. And the only time you can do that without judgement is when you're pregnant. (Not that it's ever stopped me before.)

But it's not fun. I'm always eating or thinking about eating. My meals/snacks go something like this:
  • Breakfast (cereal and orange juice)
  • Second breakfast (usually a Toaster Strudel)
  • Lunch
  • Snack #1 (toffee ice cream bar)
  • Snack #2 (currently chips and salsa)
  • Supper
  • Bedtime snack (nowadays, milk and cookies)
 And if I skip any of those, chances are I'll feel yucky and won't want to eat anything. It's tiring.

At least I have the Christmas smorgasbords to look forward to. I'll be taking advantage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why Infant Clothing Infuriates Me

With a boy on the way in April, I have to shop for an almost entirely new baby wardrobe. I have a few gender-neutral outfits from Edith's infant days, but not many. Now that I've shopped for both a boy and a girl, I can easily understand why.

If a piece of clothing was made for a girl, it can rarely be worn by a boy (at least not without a few stares). That's because most girl baby clothing tends to fall into a few motifs:
  • Pink
  • Flowers
  • Ballerina
  • Cats
And by clothing, I mean almost anything that touches any part of their body: onesies, sleep-and-plays, shirts, pants, socks, shoes, pajamas, whatever. Now that I'm shopping for pull-ups, I've even noticed that those are decorated for gender. Why pee-catchers are boy- or girl-specific, I'll never know.

Boy clothing, on the other hand, features:
  • Monsters
  • Dinosaurs
  • Cars and trucks
  • Camouflage
  • Airplanes
  • Space themes
For some reason, it's easier for a girl to wear boy's clothing. I got Edith a pair of monster-themed pj pants long before I knew we were having a boy. Why can only boys like monsters? And can only boys dream about becoming an astronaut? It's infuriating.

Luckily we thought ahead and purchased our large baby items (stroller, car seat, swing, bedding, etc.) in neutral greens, grays, blacks. But don't get me started about gender-specific toys! Our son has quite a few pink blocks in his future.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Fun at Graeter's Indoor Playground

Paul and I wanted to do something special on Edith's second birthday, but plans earlier in the day meant that the "something special" had to wait until after supper. And there's not much to choose from on a dark, cold November day.

So we decided to check out the Graeter's play space a few miles from our neighborhood. Graeter's is a Cincinnati-based ice cream shop with several locations in Columbus. But only this one location in the city has an indoor playground.

It was a good choice. We ordered our ice cream first, but as soon as Edith saw the slides and other toys, all thoughts of ice cream went out the door. We were there almost two hours as Edith had a blast with the other kiddos in the closed-off space.

Edith's fun exponentially grew when a girl a few years older than her took her under her wing. She helped Edith up the stairs and went down the tunnel slides with her -- something she certainly couldn't have done on her own.

We'll be back -- Edith for the fun, me for the raspberry chocolate chip ice cream.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Photo Friday: Edith's Second Visit to Santa

Edith's second visit to Santa on Tuesday went just as well as her first visit last year. That is to say, not well at all!

This little photo collage sums it up well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Video: Riding NYC's Roosevelt Island Tramway

In the odds and ends department, I realized I never posted this video I took of us riding the Roosevelt Island Tramway during our visit to New York City. It's such a neat experience that I'm ashamed that I've only done it twice -- once when we lived there and this time below, as a visitor. Absolutely beautiful views.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Finally, a Christmas Tree

Christmas came early in our household.

After seven years without a full-size Christmas tree (six treeless holidays in New York, followed by a tabletop tree last year) I couldn't wait to put ours up. So up it went, earlier than I can ever remember: November 14.

I was determined to have a tree that was taller than I was. Since I'm six feet tall, that's no easy feat. But someone was miraculously selling a 7 1/2-foot tree in July, so I snatched it up. With the angel on top, it towers above us. The hardest part is getting the angel on straight. She always looks ready to fly away.

At night, I ask Edith if she wants to help me turn on the tree lights. She stands next to the tree as I plug it in, and then touches a few lights and tries to name the colors. She mostly leaves the ornaments alone now, but we aren't taking any chances -- the breakable ones are displayed on the buffet.

Although our tree has already been up for more than two weeks, I'm not tired of it yet. Still a month to go!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Caribbean Cruise: Days at Sea

The first two days and last two days of our Caribbean cruise were at sea -- no stops whatsoever. Although normally I like to be on the go during vacation, these "days off" were lovely. For once, I didn't need a vacation from vacation when we got home. I now understand the appeal of a cruise: easy, no hassle, seamless. It's almost like Disney World.

The endless food was perfect for someone who was 17 weeks pregnant -- where else could I get an unlimited supply of every morsel I could desire? Motion sickness was a problem during the first trimester of both pregnancies, but I didn't have a problem on the ship. The swaying was more bothersome in the bathroom and in the theater, where I could see the towels and curtains moving back and forth.

Although I don't like to bask in the sun and I never once swam in the pool, I did enjoy finding a lounge chair and reading by the side of the sea. I finished two books that week, the most I'd read in a very long time.

We likely won't go on another cruise for several years -- not until both kiddos are old enough for the formal children's programs. But I do hope we go on one again. Alaska is my top spot now for a cruise destination. I never thought I'd be one to love a cruise, but I do.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Edith's 2nd Birthday Party

If we learned anything from Edith's birthday party on Saturday, it's this: she still needs her daily nap!

Paul and I had our parents, sisters and their families over for a taco bar and all of the fixin's for lunch, followed by homemade donuts that I fashioned into a cake. (Edith's too young to care about a real cake, and it's not my favorite dessert. I figured I can get away with an alternative for another year or so!)

When the meal was over, she had to open her presents, of course. And then play with them, of course. And then nap time had long since passed. My parents were the last to leave at about 5 p.m. A half an hour later, Edith was asleep on my lap.

We let her nap for a half an hour before supper, hoping it wouldn't interfere with her nighttime sleep. It didn't -- and in fact, we put her to bed about a half hour early, too. We had a grumpy girl on our hands for a bit Saturday evening, but the fun of the day made it well worth it. Happy birthday, Edith!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Edith

Three days old: Nov. 24, 2012

Today Edith turns two -- most certainly a baby no longer. Nowadays it seems like she has been a toddler forever, always running around and listening to her parents only when it suits her best (but do we ever really grow out of that stage?).

Every day is a new adventure, and it seems like she has learned a new word or skill before she hits the crib each night. Her favorite songs are "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and the "A, B, Cs", both of which she tries really hard to mimic. She knows most of her letter sounds and can recognize them when they are written out. Pretty close with colors, too.

The girl loves to be tickled, and especially announcing it! But when she says it, it sounds more like "TEE-cole!" It's my favorite word she says.

Coloring is one of her favorite activities, and I swear she hides crayons all over the house. Sometimes she just likes holding one in her hand and carrying it around. It always seems to be red.

We're still not sure if Edith is right- or left-handed. She uses a spoon in both.

I've been trying to explain the new baby to Edith, but right now when I say "baby" she thinks I'm either referring to her doll or my belly button.

Sure, she can try my nerves. She has a will of her own and wants things her way. Must run in the family. Happy birthday to my sweetie pie girl, and many more.

First birthday party, 2013

Mexico, Oct. 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Afternoon in the Banana Coast - Trujillo, Honduras

The third and final stop of our weeklong Caribbean cruise was in Trujillo, Honduras -- what has been dubbed the "Banana Coast" of the country. This was a particularly interesting journey because we were only the third major cruise ship to stop here. Ships in the area generally stop at Roatan, an island some 30 miles away. Trujillo, on the other hand, is still very undeveloped. That's both good and bad.

We didn't set an alarm the morning the ship was here -- we figured we'd take the tender to Honduras when we woke up and after we ate breakfast. That was a good decision since the tenders didn't start until about 10:30 a.m., two hours late, due to silt and dirt that had to be dredged. Luckily, the late start meant that our own deadline to be back on board was delayed from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

So we ate both breakfast and lunch and boarded a boat to Trujillo around 1:30. The locals seemed happy to see tourists, and quite a few bars and restaurants line the beach a short walk away. We found a shady spot where both locals and tourists were swimming.

This certainly wasn't Cozumel -- the water here was rather dirty, with both natural debris (tree bark and the like) and trash, but not awful. Just not the pristine blue waters we had seen in Mexico. Still, Edith enjoyed the water and sand, and she got quite a few friendly smiles, waves and holas.

After about three hours on the coast, we were ready to head back. We grabbed a fresh-cut coconut water for a buck, and Paul got a beer before we boarded the tender to the ship. We left at the right time. Shortly after we reboarded the ship, it began to pour down rain. I was disappointed that the downfall prevented me from taking a photo of the coast, with the mountain peaks reaching into the clouds. It was a beautiful afternoon nonetheless, and I am curious to learn how the town will be developed in the future.

Our cruise ship in the distance.


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