Anya’s birthday celebration (with pictures!!!)

Filed under: baby's progress,family,friends,photos — by Lauren on October 19th, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

We had a fabulous time celebrating Anya’s birthday – and we have 209 pictures to show for it!  Here are some of the highlights:

Celebrating at school on Friday morning:

The cake I made for the party (it’s made out of cupcakes):

Our birthday girl first thing in the morning:

We started the day out by opening some presents from Lex’s family.  Anya got some wonderful gifts, including some neat puzzles from Grammy and Papa Ducky and a Dora the Explorer doll from Aunt Marnie.  She also got a Dora fleece blanket which I made for her.  Then we got dressed and headed out to the pumpkin patch.  It was very cold out, but she had a great time:

Next we stopped at the bookstore to try to replace Anya’s copy of It’s Sharing Dayit seems to have disappeared 🙁 – but they didn’t have it in stock.  We did get her a different Dora book as a consolation prize, and then we all had lunch together at the Cheesecake Factory – yum:

About halfway through lunch, Anya begged to go on the rides outside of JC Penney, and how could we say no to the birthday girl?  She still doesn’t know that it’s possible to make them move by putting money in them, and if we’re lucky we’ll get to milk that for another two years.  For now, she’s content to climb on them:

We headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to take a nap before the big party after lunch. Then at 4 pm Anya’s friends and some of her cousins joined her at Gymboree to celebrate her second birthday:

After the party we went back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for pizza and presents:

Anya received many fabulous gifts from our family and her friends, and we are so appreciative!  She ended her birthday video chatting with her Grammy and Papa Ducky before going to bed.  We’re all exhausted from our busy day, but we hope that Anya enjoyed her second birthday!  Video clips will hopefully be posted soon – we’ve got about 30 minutes of footage to pare down.  I also forgot to take her bear picture today (OOPS!) so that should be up shortly as well.

Our trip to the Bahamas

Filed under: family,friends,photos,video — by Lauren on August 25th, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

We were very lucky this summer in that we got to join my parents, my sisters Samantha and Melanie, my brother Brian, Samantha’s boyfriend Erik, and Melanie’s friend Anne on a week-long trip to Taino Beach in the Bahamas (or the ‘Hamas, as Anya called it all week before we left). Despite getting hit with the outskirts of Tropical Storm Fay for much of the trip, we still had a wonderful time – and at least some of us managed to get to the pool or beach every day.

Anya loved flying on the planes! She was particularly excited by landing (“The plane is landing on the ground! It driving on the wheels! It go fast!”). We brought LOTS of things for her to do, but it turned out not to be necessary – she spent a good portion of the air time either sleeping, eating, or poring over the in-flight magazine and Sky Mall catalog. She had a little trouble falling and staying asleep while at the hotel (vacations should NOT involve waking up at 4:30 in the morning!) but towards the second half of the trip we were able to get into a groove that more or less worked. With nine adults and just one Anya in our group, she hardly got any attention this week. Yeah, right.

Between the three cameras that were brought, we took a lot of pictures (click here to see the full album). Here is a video and some of the highlights:

Yikes, THAT’S a big belly. Baby Girl #2 was there, too!

My parents and all of their kids:

Our “Bahama Mama”:

A piggy back train:

One of the storms:

The beautiful view from our balcony:

Anya admiring the ocean:

Lex playing in the sand:

Despite the look of worry here, Anya did end up loving the ocean:

Friedman family portrait:

Anya and Lex “chill-laxing” in a hammock:

She could not get enough of the slide!

Everybody in the pool:

Me and Anya, snuggling in a tube:

There were lizards everywhere! Anya was disappointed that she wasn’t going to get to pet and kiss them, as she announced excitedly when she first noticed them, but she still enjoyed chasing them:

The whole group at dinner on our last night:

Karaoke at one of the casinos:

Anya enjoying the play area at the Philadelphia airport during our return flight layover:

It really was a fabulous trip, with a good mix of activity and relaxation. I can’t remember the last time I had enough time to read two books in one week! Since my dad has access to the timeshare for the next 30 years or so, I am sure we’ll be back again some day, and I hope we have just as good of a time – except maybe with a little less wind!

Daddy Daughter Day

Filed under: family,funny,moments — by Lex on August 14th, 2008 @ 8:01 am

This past Sunday, Lauren went into NYC to visit a friend. I told Anya that because Mommy was taking the bus to New York, that Anya and I would have a very special Daddy Daughter Day.

I had her at “bus.”

“Mommy take the bus! Mommy go to New Jork!” (Anya has an interesting accent sometimes.)

Now, spending time with one’s offspring isn’t a special event. I hate when it’s implied that because I’m home with Anya, I’m “babysitting.” No; I’m parenting. Spending an hour or a day solo with kid is part of Dadhood, and doesn’t suggest that I’ve achieved some milestone.

Still, with Lauren going away for the day, I thought it’d be fun to label the day as special and plan some activities, vs. just hanging out and playing at home. I also assumed that if we gave the day a special name, we could add it to Anya’s repertoire of stories she loves to tell and be told (e.g., “Anya Goes to Sesame Place,” “Anya Goes to the Park,” “Daddy Wakes Up Anya in the Morning,” “Anya at School,” “Anya at the Library,” and “The Great Gatsby”).

After we dropped Mommy off at the bus for New Jork, we started driving to the Sprayground. During the drive, amusingly, Anya asked me to regale her with some of her favorite personal stories — the ones listed parenthetically above. Over and over and over again. It was cute, but eventually we ran out of stories, although demand for stories continued to rage. The stories became more self-referential and less, uh, interesting:

“Once upon a time, Anya and Daddy were driving to the Sprayground at Doorbrook Park! Anya wanted Daddy to tell her stories, so Daddy told her the story of how once upon a time, Anya and Daddy were driving to the Sprayground at Doorbrook…”

Anya has a good time at the Sprayground. She’s not the most adventurous kid at the park by far, but she can have a great time. We started with one of the little mini-streams, and she pretended it was a sink. (This became a major theme of our time at the park.) After washing her hands for awhile, she suddenly became consumed with the need to find soap and ran around looking for some until I suggested we use pretend soap instead. With some of the bigger sprayers, Anya enjoyed having me swing her around, darting back and forth through the sprays. There are lots of ways Anya plays at the splash park, and it’s a joy to watch.

Note for the jealous who can’t see how we played: I decided I wanted DDD to be a day I experienced live, instead of getting tied up in taping and photographing. You lose!

We ate lunch on our blanket at the park. Said meal was eaten very nicely by Anya, and punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm from her: “The man has a dog! The dog’s walking! The man is walking, too! He looks just like Charlie!” (I assume she meant the dog.) “The girl is wearing a swimsuit!” “The baby is crying!”

Post-lunch, we drove home. I tried to keep Anya awake — it was too early for her nap, but it was also clear she was pooped. As I attempted to engage her (“What does a cow say?” “What’s Mommy’s real name?”) The answers got softer and softer and more drawn-out: “L-aurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrren.” She conked out about two minutes from the house. Attempts to rouse her — loud taking, Charlie barking as we walked in, etc — were futile, and she went down for her nap. She woke up too early, after just 40 minutes, and rather than attempt perhaps a better solution in the long-term, I went for short-term success and satisfaction: I sat in the rocker and let her sleep the next 30+ minutes on my shoulder. Good times.

Post-nap, there was book-reading in the playroom, than piano-playing in the family room. When we first sat down at the piano, Anya began plunking keys at random and singing Elmo’s Song. Hilarious. We played songs together for a surprisingly long time.

Then, when I suggested we make a project for Mommy to welcome her home, Anya thought it was a heck of an idea. She made a beautiful card for Lauren, and when we finished up, it was time to go get her!

(“Mommy on the bus to New Jork!”)

Daddy Daughter Day was great. I do regret not having enough accumulated wealth to stick around and play with Anya all day long every day. The requirements of work and needing to Get Stuff Done aren’t flexible right now. But frankly, work doesn’t pay as well as Anya does.

I Love You

Filed under: family,video — by Lauren on June 26th, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

My sisters were little when Barney was THE thing for kids to watch. They started watching it before it was a show on PBS. You could only watch him on video, and watch it they did. Over and over. And over. As a result, I swore that any child I had would never watch a single second of Barney. Nevertheless, Anya has learned the words to that oh-so-charming Barney classic, “I Love You” (Thanks, Grandma):

As you can see, she very much enjoys singing it. Over and over. And over.

How we told

Filed under: family,funny,moments,thoughts — by Lex on May 21st, 2008 @ 11:39 am

We’ve been more hesitant blogging about Baby #2 here than we were the first time around, but I’m vowing to change that now. The main reason for me is the health challenges that we’re facing with this pregnancy — Lauren’s colitis flare-up, the subchorionic hemorrhage, more recently a potential amniotic band. But although these are serious and important health concerns that we have to stay on top of, I’m no longer going to allow them to hamper my excitement and enthusiasm regarding #2!

We’ve spent the last week or so informing key family members about this pregnancy. First, we told Grandma Esther — but only because we thought she already knew! Grandma had been using Lauren’s laptop, and Lauren realized in a panic that she had left some pregnancy-tracking websites open. We used the same method to tell her that we ended up using with Grandpa Marty a few days later:

Lex: Y’know, we’ve been thinking about that Bahamas trip you had in mind for this December. We don’t think we’re gonna go.

In-Law: Why not?

Lex: We don’t think the baby will be old enough by that point.

In-Law: Old enough for what?! Why not?

Lex: Well, by then, it’ll only be one or two weeks old.

Hehehe. Credit goes to Lauren, because that was her idea.

Next we told Great-Grandma Evie, since we wanted to give her some happy news before she went in for her second hip surgery in three months. The funny part there was, after Lauren told her the news (and that Daddy didn’t know yet), Ev asked: “So, what are you going to do?” Lauren replied: “Um… Have the baby.”

Ev: Oh, so you’re going to keep it?

Lauren: Um. Yes?

Ev: Are you going to marry him?

Lauren: Grandma, you know this is Lauren, not Sam, right?

Grandma Evie breathes sigh of relief that actually causes a breeze straight through the telephone line.

In between Esther and Marty, we told my parents (Papa Ducky and Grammy, which sounds more like a Saturday-morning cartoon, but I digress) via video-chat. Anya was wearing her custom-made “I’m going to be a big sister!” shirt. Grammy noticed first, and jaw properly dropped, said “I like Anya’s shirt!” to make my Dad spot it too.

Last night, Anya wore the shirt to tell her Aunt Samantha, and today she wore it for Great-Grandma Shirley. G.G., as she prefers to be called, was told to read the shirt, which she did. She thought nothing of it. “Put your glasses on, Mom,” Esther suggested. “I can read it!” Shirley said. “It says, ‘I’m going to be a big sister.'” Pause. “WHAT?!?!??!?!!!?!”

Today, we have four more siblings to notify!

An explosion in Houston

Filed under: baby's progress,family,photos — by Lauren on March 29th, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

No, no, don’t worry. I’m talking about a language explosion! On our trip to Houston last week to visit Lex’s sister and her family, Anya made some major advances in her speech. All of a sudden, she started smoothly combining two or more words together (as opposed to before when her combinations were usually more fragmented). She’s even said some complete sentences, such as:

  • “Read it to me.”
  • “I see baby!”
  • “Want some Mommy’s pasta, please.” (Well, that’s not quite a sentence)

It’s sometimes a little more difficult to understand her now than when she was only saying single words, mostly because she’s either slurring words together or filling in her sentences with babble. Along with talking, Anya’s been singing a lot more, and it’s getting easier to figure out what song she’s singing. She’s also been “reading” as much as ever, but is able to recite more and more of her books aloud (when she’s not animatedly reading the story in baby babble at top volume). We keep meaning to get it on video…maybe tomorrow…

Because Anya’s cousins had school this week, we had to make the most of our limited time together and somehow no one remembered to take out a camera. We did get a few pictures of Anya at the park one morning:

Click for more photos!

Also – perhaps spending time with her four older cousins inspired Anya, but Anya’s become a little daredevil. Today at Gymboree she climbed onto this big wooden rocking horse all by herself. This morning she nearly got up on our bed using Charlie’s stairs. Yesterday we stopped her from trying to scale the bookcase in the playroom. She’s still not very strong or agile, but she’s found the motivation to climb, and that’s a huge leap for her.

Sickness, Fears, Sweetness, & Victory

Filed under: doctor,family,moments — by Lauren on December 24th, 2007 @ 12:36 am

Sickness: It feels like Anya has been sick more than she hasn’t since her birthday. She’s had several colds, three ear infections, and most recently what might have been infant roseola (Thank you, day care). We’ve been at the pediatrician’s office a lot in the last few weeks – I’m thinking about renting space there and setting up a guest room for us. It’s too bad we’ve had to go there so often, because Anya REALLY hates it. She doesn’t mind the waiting room (at our most recent visit she had a grand old time toddling around, flirting with the other people there, and collecting all the magazines, which she called “books”), but as soon as she sees an exam room or a nurse taking out a thermometer, the screaming begins. I hope we can make it until at least January 1 without having to go back.

Fears: I wouldn’t describe Anya as a particularly adventurous kid. She’s not much of a climber and doesn’t get into too much trouble overall. That said, I wouldn’t say she’s a wimpy kid, either. She’s happy to explore as long as she knows Mommy or Daddy is nearby, and she’s pretty tough…except when it comes to vacuums. She started out being spooked by the Dustbuster months ago; we’re not sure why, other than the noise. After that things that sounded like a Dustbuster would scare her, too. Once we were at a restaurant when she suddenly started crying “All done, all done” and I realized that she was freaking out because one of the waitresses was running a blender. She has a toy vacuum that is permanently kept turned off. We try not to use the Dustbuster when she’s awake; it’s just easier that way.
     Well, we were given a Roomba vacuum as a Hannukah gift from Lex’s sister and her family this year. Today Lex decided to try it out while Anya and I were in the playroom. When she heard it, her eyes nearly popped out of her head and she jumped into my lap. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to take her to see what was making the noise so she would understand and not be afraid.
     I was wrong.
     She became hysterical, clinging to me with a strangle hold. Lex had to put it away to get her to calm down, which she did, until I tried to change her diaper and she saw it (turned off!) when we got near the changing table and she freaked out again. Lex had to take it upstairs to get her to stop crying. What’s nuts is that somehow she has associated the Roomba with the really neat wagon Lex’s parents got her for Hannukah, and now gets hysterical when she sees it, too. We had to hide it as well, which is a shame not only because she had so much fun playing with it this morning, but also because I just finished building it, and it was a pain! Sorry, Papa Ducky and Grammy, the Roomba has killed the wagon. Blame Abbi! Just kidding, and don’t worry – Anya will get over it and she’ll be happy to play with it again soon.
     The other weird fear she has is of this toy boat she got as a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle. It’s an ark with several animals that make noise if you press them, and she won’t go near it. She’ll even start to get upset if you just ask her if she wants to play with the boat. So bizarre!

Sweetness: When Anya nurses, she often interrupts herself to chat. Usually she tells me about things she sees in the room and stuff like that, but sometimes she can be SO sweet. Yesterday morning she said, “Hug,” then threw her arm around my neck and said “Oooh eee (Oooh squeeze).” This evening, she said “Mommy,” put her hand on her mouth, kissed it, and then put it on my mouth for a kiss.

Victory: After months of trying, Anya is finally eating finger food carrots! So far she’s only accepted steamed shredded carrots, but she eats them eagerly and even asks for more. When I finish the bag, I’ll try diced and crinkle cut again; hopefully she’ll eat them, too. We can finally give up carrot baby food! Now, on to green beans… (more…)

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Filed under: family,photos — by Lauren on November 28th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

Today is Lex’s 27th birthday! We celebrated by showering him with presents all day, going out to dinner, and then coming back home for cake.

Look how much Anya has grown from Lex’s last birthday to this one:

I made Lex a yummy cookie ice cream cake:

We sang “Happy Birthday” to Daddy (Well, Anya just sang “Happy” and then said “More!”):

Lex blew out his candles:

Anya loved her first taste of ice cream (yes, we broke our no sugar rule to celebrate this special occasion). Overall, it was a good birthday!

The family that eats together…

Filed under: baby's progress,family — by Lauren on July 3rd, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

Tonight we had our first meal as a family.  That’s not to say that we’ve never eaten together at the same time, but this evening all three members of our family had chicken, rice, and sweet potatoes (and two of us had avocado as well – can you guess who?).  When we took the high chair tray away it appeared that Anya ended up wearing more of it than she ate, but she had a great time feeding herself grown-up food, just like her mommy and her daddy.

What goes up…

Filed under: baby's progress,family — by Lauren on @ 1:02 am

…must come down. Even though we didn’t get home from our trip to visit Great-Grandma Shirley in Florida until after 10 pm this evening, we lowered the crib before putting Anya to sleep tonight. The day before we left, she pulled herself up to standing from a sitting position in her crib. Granted, she can’t sit herself up yet and she absolutely has not mastered pulling herself up, but while we were in Florida she started pushing up on her hands and knees (or really, her hands and feet) much better than she had been, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’m still really annoyed about the fact that the salesman at the furniture place where we go the crib was either an idiot or a liar – this crib definitely only has two mattress heights, not three. I also have no idea how it converts to a toddler bed, since the directions made no mention of how to do it. I may have to go back to the store and get some answers, hopefully from a different salesperson.

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