Friday, November 30, 2012

Vignettes from the Week

Before these stories fall out of my brain, I had to jot down these amusing anecdotes --

Traffic Light Greetings

Zoë: Daddy?

Daddy: Yes, Zoë.

Z: You know what Mommy does?

D: Hmm?

Z: Sometimes when we are going to school and we stop at a traffic light, Mommy looks at me in the mirror and says "Hi, Zoë". Then I say: "Hi, Mommy".  Isn't that nice?

(You never know what these kids notice and appreciate. It made me smile to know what such a simple gesture, practically an involuntary one, was observed and made some impression... makes me wonder about those not-so-good things that I do that might also get noticed. Hmmm...).


Tummy Chambers

We are out for cupcakes. While we wait for Daddy to join us, I find a couple of clementines in my purse. I peel one and offer some to Zoë. She eats a few segments and hands back the rest and says:

Z: No more, Mommy, I'm full. 

Mommy: But what are you going to do? Aren't we are going to have cupcakes?

Z: No problem, Mommy. See? My belly has different parts. One part is for bananas, one part is for oranges and one part is for cupcakes. The banana part is empty now, but the oranges part is all full. But don't worry -- there's always room in the cupcake part for more cupcakes. 

She's my daughter, alright -- always ready with some excellent justification for eating the sweet stuff.


The Lost Sock

When we were in Hawaii, I got Zoë some Hello Kitty socks, for our hike. It turns out that these are now her absolute favorite socks. One day, as I was folding the laundry, I discovered that I was missing one of the socks.

I told Zoë: Oh no! I think the laundry machine ate your sock. We'll save the other just in case the partner shows up later, but I think it might be lost. 

Zoë looked sad. The next day, as soon as I saw her after school, she ran over with great excitement and this news:

Z: Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! I found the sock! It was stuck to my blanket! (Then, sheepishly) Actually, I didn't find the sock. Ryanne did. (Pause... then, suddenly brightening) You know why? Ryanne's four years old. So her eyes are bigger than mine. That's why she can see things better and find things like my sock. When I am four, I will be able to see better and find things too!

Remember when you looked forward to aging?

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We had our mini-family Thanksgiving, complete with turkey, stuffing, pie, and platters of food, properly enjoyed, yet still languishing in our fridge (HOORAY! Megan's on her way right now to help us eat the leftovers and adding some variety with her special Thanksgiving dishes!). While we spent Thursday cooking and tackling dishes after dishes, we did talk a lot about the things we are thankful for. I was impressed with Zoë's attention to detail in her Thanks:

  • I am thankful that we went to IKEA and Mommy made me a dresser and a nice room. 
  • I am thankful for having the best Mommy and Daddy (awwww...) and I want to be best buddies forever.
  • I am thankful for my teacher and friends
  • I am thankful for Choo choo baby and my toys 
We decided to put these phrases on scraps of paper. Our poor pepper tree which lost its leaves, mainly in Hurricane Sandy, and bore us several nice peppers served as the base of our Thankfulness tree. We restored its splendor with fresh new leaves of gratitude and love. It was a really fun project and I think we will make it our Thanksgiving tradition -- the Thankfulness Tree.
Since we are never here for the Holidays, the Christmas tree tradition may just morph into this new version? Not quite the same, though. Hmmm...

Speaking of traditions and gratitude, we have been trying this new thing at dinner time: "Happies and Sads". Every day we each share our best and worst part of the day. It's a lot of fun to hear Zoë's assessment -- they are always more thoughtful than I would have imagined. It is nice to hear her appreciate the big and small in her life -- from playing outside, to reading with Mommy, or sitting in Daddy's lap for dinner... and also interesting to hear what upsets her -- someone pushed someone else at school, or hurt someone's feelings ... I guess this growing awareness offers the surest signs about how she is maturing.  Of course, she is growing and saying smarter things, but somehow it is the emotional growth that amazes me.

Zoë and I had a wonderful Friday (alas! Daddy had to work this day). We went to the pottery store and painted some gifts for her teachers. We will have to wait until next week to pick them up and see the finished product (stay tuned!). Then we went to cash in on Zoë's reward jar. Since she was such a great kid this past week, she got to have her nails painted! We went to the nail salon (yes, it couldn't simply be that Mommy painted her nails) next to Ballet class and Zoe chose a bright orange nail polish, that I'm sure only can look good on a little kid after all. Then a hot cocoa at Praline cafe. Then? A trip to the library for a fresh set of books! In Zoës words (well, paraphrased from Eloise, which was from our last library run): "Quite a day!" followed by a 2.5 hour nap. Whew!

I think we have a few more fun plans for this weekend. But I am especially excited to shop for Eddie with Zoë, a little boy that we are buying gifts for the Holidays, through a volunteer gift-giving program, the Angel Tree, at Zoe's school.

We are gearing up for the holidays -- the travel, the gifts, the plans. Oh! The fun...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Whoooooo is this?

Today, Zoë had a Costume Party/Bring your Friend to class in ballet. Zoë was a proud owl (an Owl Mama, in her words). We took lots of pictures in her natural habitat (that would be her room, of course). In true nesting temperament, yesterday we couldn't get her to leave the house because she loves to play teacher and exist in her imaginary world... at home. Park? What toddler can resist that temptation? Apparently, Zoë can! Well... this might be a good thing because of Frankenstorm.

What is Frankenstorm? Well, life in Washington D.C. continues to be exciting. For the third time since we lived here, we are expecting a hurricane to hit us. This one is stranger because... Whhhooooo has ever heard of a Halloween Hurricane? I thought tropical storms and hurricanes were summer phenomena? Yes, and because of that anomaly, this storm is behaving strangely, getting sucked back on land from the low pressures caused by cold weather above the middle of U.S. Poor Sandy is most confused which way to turn. In any case, we are prepared with water, food, flashlights, batteries, charged phones and tons of projects. Hopefully our little owl will not mind staying cooped (ha! pun sort of intended) up inside till Sandy passes through.

The good news? In the spirit of spookiness and forecasted gloom and doom, I've been making special treats. In truth, they are supposed to be for the school Halloween party (but who knows what will be by then) and I am justifying spending my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen as "preparing for food shortages in the storm".  Here are pictures of my creations -- yummy pretzel & chocolate spider webs and my pumpkin pie rice krispie treats.

More updates later. Till then, in case you miss us (we're fine-- Stop worrying!!! :) ), here are some photos to browse...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Fall"-ing behind

It is officially Fall. How do we know? The leaves are all sorts of pretty colors, the temperatures have fallen below freezing once or twice, the closet switch to Winter clothes is complete, and we have now been apple picking TWICE -- once with Zoë's class (Mommy came too!) and the other with her family! This week Zoë will be taking another fieldtrip to the Pumpkin patch!

It has been busy with birthday parties and Fall-themed outings (this weekend, we went on a beautiful hike in the woods near the Potomac and saw mushrooms, fallen leaves, feathers, acorns, and even a horse up close!) On top of that, Zoë has been learning a lot in ballet class -- see her video here or in the links below!

Our photos are all here -- please feel free to browse.

Zoë has been saying lots of smart and funny things. Unfortunately, I can't think of any examples now. She pays attention in sometimes shocking ways. Like the other day, we were listening to the radio on the way to school and I was only half listening and talking to Zoë about her upcoming trip to the fire station that day. We were both pretty tired since this fieldtrip meant getting up extra early. Suddenly the radio said something about cuts at the fire station. So I told Zoë: "Hey, they are talking about fire stations! And you will be going to one today. Cool!" and she calmly responded, "Yes, Mommy, but the ones they were talking about are in Chicago. Don't worry, they aren't going to cut anything here in Maryland." I was pretty impressed that she had the context of the news report and knew that the situation in Chicago does not affect that in Maryland, etc.

There have been other similar funny, but impressive stories. Especially now that there is so much in the news about the election, she seems to pipe in her two cents. The other day we were also discussing how we should vote on a Maryland bill to allow casino gaming. Zoë decided it was a bad idea and she gave her reasons. I forgot her reasons, but I was convinced. Zoë for President! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Settling...back from vacation

We returned last night from our vacation: San Diego, Hawaii (Oahu) and San Francisco Bay Area. The house is a little quiet and we are jet-lagged, cranky, and struggling to reinstate routine. But it does help to look at our photos and remember the good times (and silly ones, too). You can see our whole album of August from here, ending with the photos from our vacation (Baby Aria -- you are here too!) :

In addition, we have three videos of Zoë being Zoë: singing, dancing, and being entertaining.

Today, Zoe made a nice big tower and castle. She built a very thoughtful structure of stairs "so that the Prince could go out... you know, to go to the market to buy food or something." Ah... precious. I find it endearing that in Zoë's imaginary world, the Prince still has to leave (via most fantastic staircases, I might add) to do his shopping. I suppose even the truly exceptional have to return to the mundane sometimes... off to unpacking!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

visit to National Gallery of Art in D.C.

This week's Mom+Zoë fieldtrip was to National Gallery of Art. As last week, the outing was as much a part of the learning experience as the museum -- bus+ metro+ walking (sans stroller this time) in humid hot hot HOT weather. We arrived at the museum soon after they opened (and were still quite empty-- yay!) and headed straight for the potty. I was nervous as Zoë said she needed the potty as we arrived on the metro... finding another potty seemed as lengthy a process as booking it to the museum -- which took begging, bribing, and arm pulling to make in ~15 minutes (not that it was more than 4 blocks away!) Toddlers are fast when it comes to evading grown-ups, but extremely slow when there's a goal destination. Anyway... no accidents! Whew...

Once we got settled, I asked Zoë what she wanted to see. Let's back up a second. So earlier this week, I had already decided on this fieldtrip and was preparing for our visit. I figured even if we got in an hour of random cultural immersion, it would be better than not. But I did research the best way to introduce art to a toddler. There are sites upon sites of activities to do in museums with 5+ but very little suggested for 3 year olds. At that age, art is what they do themselves. But we wanted to go to the museum. So frustrated, I forged on ahead on my own path. We will call it the Basu-Zych technique. I threw whatever art I had on hand at home over the course of the day, tried not to push... but we leafed through some art books that I had on Van Gogh, da Vinci, Frida Kahlo and other women painters, some other special stuff from the internet. A few seemed to make an impression on her:
  • Vermeer's Girl Writing a Letter (shown on left)-- I have a print in my bedroom and she remembered that. So when we saw this one in a book, she ran over to the room to point it out.  
  • Van Gogh's room -- she has this in a children's book that Ninamashi gave her and when she saw in another book, it was a fun matching game. 
  • Mary Cassatt's Children Playing at the Beach (shown at right with Zoë) -- another one in the children's book and also in a book I had of women painters.
  • Frida Kahlo's self portrait (shown on right) with the thorn necklace -- this one fascinated Zoë : "Why does she have a necklace that is cutting her? Who gave it to her? I like the necklace but why is it hurting her? Why did she draw this if it hurts her? "... so we made up some stories and I tried to impress on her that that's the power of art... nobody knows the answers and the viewer can make up her own story! 
So with this preparation, Zoë asked to see Frida Kahlo and the necklace painting. I was really impressed that she remembered this since Tuesday's art lesson. See? Looks like random exposure does work! Sadly, this one isn't at the National Gallery, but may be at another museum (we will try to hunt it down-- future project). We did see lots of sculptures (and paintings) of Degas' ballerinas that Zoë enjoyed posing with.

We also saw the Vermeer Girl's series: Girl Writing a Letter, Girl with Red Hat, Girl with Flute. We also had a lot of fun making faces at Honore Daumier's caricature sculptures (one shown on left)--  "What an ugly nose! Can you look like that guy?" (As a bonus, we got some passersby to laugh... or look at us horrified. I forget. Probably both...), and tried to guess what made Rodin's Age of Bronze sculpture (at right) look so forlorn -- our best guess is that he missed the bus.

Eventually, we headed upstairs for Impressionism (my favorite! It isn't a successful trip to the art museum unless you see Impressionists :) ) I am sad we missed the Van Gogh room. Zoë enjoyed posing with her favorites. We saw Renoir, Monet, Pisarro, Seurat, Cassatt, Childe Hassam,  ... and then hit Zoë's limit at ~45 minutes. Perfect timing for lunch!

Daddy met us at the cafeteria. Food. Home. Sleep. That's what I call a success!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Butterflies, Giraffe Bones, Gems and more!

Wow! We are doing so much and having so much fun, I can't keep up. That's a good thing. So... three years into living in D.C. and we just became members of the Smithsonian. Yay!

Let me back up a bit. Today, we spent the morning at the Natural History Museum. We woke up early and headed out with Daddy, taking the bus and the train. Then Mommy and I waited in the balmy summer heat for the museum to open FOR ONE HOUR (Mommy's face leaked about a gallon of sweat, because it doesn't take much effort to sweat buckets in this weather-- walking several blocks with a stroller was sufficient... anyway...).  We did sit outside in the Butterfly Habitat Garden but alas! It was too hot even for the butterflies. The only ones we saw were those on the signs (sad face). At 10AM on the dot we and 8 other people entered the museum and had the whole place to ourselves!
Look closely on my pants!
My pet butterfly
We bought a membership and then got tickets to the Butterfly Pavilion, where hundreds of butterflies live and explore their guests. You see this one? The Owl butterfly found Mommy's pants irresistible and remained with me our whole time in there (actually, I am pretty sure it wanted to come home with me too, but the nice people in the museum had to gently brush it back into their special room)!

We also checked out the giraffe, gray whale, snake (that was really cool!)  and giant turtle bones (ok, on our way to the bathroom AND BACK! Two times, so that counts!) and the gem exhibit, which included some Earth and Space Science like about earthquakes, volcanoes and plate techtonics -- isn't it cool how science is so interconnected?
 Zoë ran out of patience here (at about 11:30) so we flew through these exhibits at warp speed (stopping only to buy a bag of "tumbled stones". What? No dinosaurs??? Alas, the fear of toddler meltdown precluded that option).

Then, museum food lunch and heading back home in the heat, exhausted. But the best part? Meeting Daddy on the way to the train for a shared cupcake (and coffee for Mommy, boy was that important!) Whew (... leaving out details of missing the bus, escaping exhaustion-late-nap-related tantrum...). This afternoon we have plans to read the book "Feathers" by Lois Ehlert, which includes a recipe (?) for making bird-feeders. It does seem it would be easier to bring the Nature to us *wink*.
From earlier in the week and last week:
  • Video of Zoë climbing the ropes in the park -- we took a nature hike that ended in the park. Zoë's turn to work out, Mom's was pushing the stroller and it's occupants up the hill!
  • Baking Cookies! Yummy...
  • Read a great article about this family that introduced math stories and puzzles in place of bedtime stories. What a cool idea! You can read more here: Bedtime Math -- I joined the email list so we can also try that some of the time. (After all ... books are important too! Just can't break that habit...)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Little Froggies Preschool

By majority consensus (2 out of 2), this is the name of our at-home pseudo-school. I am hoping that naptime is enough time to cram in a blog entry, clean up and get in a little work work. P.S. I'm tired... to anyone out there who thinks taking care of a kid is easy work read this.
This week I decided to work on spelling/reading a bit because Zoë seems very comfortable with her letters but still doesn't realize that the order and placement of letters have any relation to each other or spell words uniquely. She does write in a neat line when mimicking writing. On Tuesday, after nap, Zoë made her own sandwiches and cut some peaches. Then we worked on some spelling games (sorting magnetic letters and numbers and using a magnetic board to spell out some words, etc.). That was fun and she's sounding things out a bit more now.

Today, we made flashcards! I gave Z some old magazines and she cut out her favorite things and we glued them on cards and then on the other side I wrote out the word with her. Now it's part of our game to use the cards to spell. The bad part is that she chose some pretty tricky pictures! Still, it was a fun and great activity that practiced her fine motor skills (cutting and pasting) and hopefully is building her spelling skills too. Afterward, we relaxed and let loose with some wild toddler dancing to Pandora's assortment of kiddie tunes. Z showed me some of her yoga moves and we did a few partner yoga moves. We even managed a 10 minute meditation (surprised I didn't fall asleep!)

p.s. The dresser behind Zoë will be highlighted in a coming attraction... once we put the finishing touches on her new space and post pictures then! Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A new chapter

In the beginning, Mom stayed home with Zoë, then we moved to Maryland and Dad stayed home with Zoë. Then Zoë went to school, while her parents worked full time. This summer, I decided to spend more time at home, working part time, so Zoë and I could have more time to play together. Today's the first day of our new adventure (since last week we were relaxing in San Francisco -- need to catch up on those stories! teasers: pedicure, entertaining FAA security officers with Chicken Dance, tons of gifts for Ninamashi, and more...)
I hope that I can document this experiment here a little bit. So far, this morning was spent at the dentist office. Here's a photo for fun. We are also redesigning (all grown up: crib repaced by big girl bed!) her half of the bedroom. Photos to come... Also as a practice run, the storm took out power a couple of weeks ago at school and Zoë had to stay at home; we played fort! Here's a video of our fun picnic, complete with gourmet felt sandwiches, pretend tea, and plastic brownies for dessert. Yum!

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Imagine That"

This is Zoë's new phrase: "Imagine That!" Well... it is so. The last blog post was over 2 months ago, since which time we have had two visits from family members, a trip to NYC, a milestone achieved in aesthetic design (more about that soon! Read on...), several strawberries picked and consumed and ... oh! what else? Jobs attained and forsaken, leases renewed (wait! was it? Need to add to the 'To Do' list), et cetera. It's been busy. It's intimidating to try to report on any (forget all!) of these things, so forgive me while I throw a bunch of pictures up and a video too (it's a great one!) and instead, I leave you to extrapolate between the photo journaling :)

Pictures of our Spring 2012 (including Easter, Cherry Blossoms, visits from Basu's & Nulman's, random others)

Our trip to NYC ( p.s. Isn't Simona's Anna a real cutie? )... and here's the MUST-SEE video of Zoe joining Brian in entertaining the Central Park with her music:

Hope you enjoy!

Oh, one more thing -- the "aesthetic milestone"? Miss Zoë Zych has gotten her pretty ears pierced and now wears amethyst post earrings. This has made her very tough and very silly (ok, ok... she's still the same) In her words, though:"Now, I'm all grown up, like you, Mommy!") Thought you should know :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March madness

The weather is weird as we transition into Spring. The poor flowers and cherry blossoms, I fear, bear the brunt of this. We had snow! followed by sunny, warm temperatures, and now... back to icy temperatures with lots of sun. The daffodils have begun to show their bright faces and the dark cherry blossoms (or plum, maybe?) are blooming, as well as magnolias. I think the cherry blossoms are correctly more hesitant... but can they wait until late March/April (when family and tourists will flock to the scene)? It remains to be seen.

In our home, Zoë continues to entertain us with her antics. Mainly she's testing that the boundaries haven't shifted much since she was two... are clothes still necessary? Can I say no and then yes twenty times without incurring parental wrath? Is bedtime still in effect? When we are getting ready for school, can I run and hide 6 times without sending Mommy into exasperated sighs? etc. etc. etc. We are still fighting to maintain sanity, rules, and our previous hair condition (i.e. by not pulling out each strand in frustration, not going gray and white over an evening filled with gazillions of mini tantrums, etc.) The past week has been better. Although, this picture is what resulted when Mommy tried to get herself dressed while simultaneously trying to get Zoë to wear her sweater... you can see the (often funny, yet challenging) end product.

Last weekend we headed to the Natural History Museum (it's embarrassing that we waited three years to visit this gem! When it is so close!) We spent only a few hours and there was a lot to see -- we figure we will visit again soon. This time we went to see the dinosaurs (on left Zoë is making the RAAAAAAWWWWWR face), the gems (pretty pretty things!) and we went to visit the Butterfly Pavilion but they were resting (already closed).

Also, Zoë's ballet class read and danced the Frog Princess. The costumes were too adorable and I (nor any other mother's as far as I could tell!) could resist peeking and taking photos through the glass. Studious Zoë was awesomely focused on the task at hand, which means that all I have in my pictures are the backs of her head. It took great restraint to not break into the classroom with the camera. Luckily observation week is coming up and I can promise a video and flurry of apt photos from that. Stay tuned...

In honor of new weather and new age, we took an interview with recently turned three Zoë -- we hope you will enjoy and find amusement. Till our next post...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Growing up: cupcakes, rainbows, asbestos, and Annabelle

Zoë is now three years old. My friends have warned that three is a tricky age, but so far so good. Well, almost. The days leading up to and including the birthday were a little ... icky. Actually, let's go back to the birthday party, which was actually the weekend before (Feb 11).

Zoë had a party at a music center, with her buddies from school and a very nice music instructor, Sherri, who chose Zoë's favorite music -- songs about trains, "Roy G. Biv" about rainbows, and old classics like "Hokey Pokey". Only... after a relatively calm (read: boring!) Winter, the weather on this random Saturday in February decided to entertain us with all heaven had to offer: snow, ice, sleet, ... all offered in dark, pelting fashion at exactly the time that Zoë's party was supposed to begin. So... things did not go exactly as planned.

The biggest lessons I have learned in parenting: 1. Make plans, or you are sure to fail. 2. Always expect plans will be demolished in the most unexpected ways. Hey-- I can't complain that life isn't spontaneous and interesting! Anyway, about half the guests made it and all had fun, ate cupcakes, and made music. See the pictures here (press play to see the whole slideshow! There are a couple of videos too. The pictures aren't great because of the flurry of activity and low light conditions -- again, I blame the weather!))

Upon returning from the successful party, we find an email awaiting us at home. Zoë's school will be closed on Monday because someone drilled in a ceiling tile where they were not supposed to and ... now there was asbestos exposure and the clean up and testing would close the center for the weekend and Monday too. Well... embracing spontaneity, Zoë and I spend the morning back at the MusiKids center -- since their open play was on Monday morning, we had never been here (besides for her birthday party) and here was a shining opportunity. In anticipation of turning three (as we were informed, "3" is almost grown up and Zoë is almost as big as us, we are "4", after all. Eh... who's counting those extra 30 years anyway?), she put her coat on by herself... as you can see here, we are still mastering some of our skills before becoming totally independent. Kudos for trying! We had a super time with bubbles, and meeting new friends, and climbing and silly time. As for work... Daddy came home in the afternoon and Mommy practiced super-efficiency.
Then, Zoë's birthday and Valentine's Day: cupcakes are ready for school party, but Zoë is lying on the floor saying that she doesn't want to go to school. Of course! It's because Mom was so much fun yesterday, right? Well... after checking all body parts, nothing seemed amiss, except general lacklusterness. I was reluctant, but decided, maybe she needed a bit more sleep. But... in about an hour, she was burning with 104 degree fever. Hmmm... off to the Dr. and the rest is too sad for documenting here among her well-wishers. As I like to put it, we spent this day much like her first one on this Earth -- Mom and Dad worrying for her health, lots of snuggling and cuddling, and sleeping and resting. With the gift of Tylenol, we managed a sad-ish birthday celebration complete with homemade cupcakes (those never made it to school after all) and payesh (yup, somewhere in this weekend, I managed to made a yummy batch of this!), candles and gift opening. Plans 400-410 for this day out the window...(somewhere in that was some silly New Year's resolution about "cutting back on sweets"... someone had to eat the cupcakes and pudding and make space on the counter and in the fridge! Matt helped too.)

This is getting to be a long birthday post, but wait! The story has a happy ending, no fear. Zoë's school came through asbestos-free, Zoë recovered fever-free (and soon enough, Mom and Dad through stages made it too through their respective illnesses-- damn Global warming and the crazy weather. Hello Daffodils... shouldn't you still be sleeping? Go away Cheery Blossoms-- not yet, I say! Oh look, it's hailing now. sigh.)
Matt and I have been compiling our favorite random Zoë-isms... today alone, there were two gems (you can't make this sort of thing up!) --

1. Annabelle, author extraordinaire:

Z: Choo- choo baby needs to make a card for Annabelle.

Me: Who's Annabelle?

Z: She's the Children's book author.

Me: (feeling awfully out of the loop... yikes, how did I miss this great celebrity?)Oh yeah? What did she write?

Z: Oh. She writes about Choo choo baby.

Me: (slap head with palm... right! How could I forget?! The imaginary author... that Zoë, the wise, worldly, and well-read three year old, invented over breakfast this fine day...) Aha! hmmm... I can't remember the name of her book. What was it again?

Z: (with some attitude, if I might add)Welllll... Car and Bus -- that's the name.

How silly of me to forget... the adventurous Choo choo baby explores the world in car and bus, but of course. Naturally.
2. Later, as we are getting ready to nap, Mommy and Zoë are being affectionate.

Me: Zoë, have a good nap and I love you.

Z: (patting Mommy's face gently)Yes, I love you too. Always remember to love yourself.

Me: Wow. That's really nice. Who taught you that? Did someone say this to you?

Z: (And I know this will be shocking to all of you... )Choo choo baby.

I really need to start writing up these stories in a book. Adventures of Zoë and Choo choo baby., my pseudonym would be... Annabelle.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"It's getting complicated"...

One morning while rushing to get out of the house (it's like moving mountains...):

Zoë: Mom, it's getting very complicated with Choo Choo Baby. (Choo choo baby, as some of you might remember, is Zoë's favorite doll)

Mom: Hmmm, why? Put on your shoes.

Z: Yesterday she told me that she has a baby.

M: Hm. That is complicated. Baby's can't have babies! Then what happened? Put on your coat.

Z: Choo choo said that I was her daughter!

M: Really! Give me your other arm. What did you say?

Z: I told her that then I must be her sister and you were both of our Mom.

M: Yes, that sounds about right. We're late! Let's go!

That was a fun way to start the morning! Everyday is an adventure...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy 2012 ... so far!

We have had a hectic but fun beginning to 2012. The pictures on left are from our visit to "Choochoo Mall", our treat after spending the weekend car-shopping.... more about that later.

This last week, I went (and returned from) Austin for the American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference. It was ... fun/depressing/overwhelming/busy/useful/stimulating/... anyway. Zoë and Matt stayed here and kept themselves busy. Even in that week I was gone, I was surprised to hear Zoë's language getting more and more complex and was shocked with what she has "recorded" in her brain. For example, we bought a new car (long story... ) at the VOB car dealer and Matt has had to go to get something fixed. Later today she asked "Do you need to go to VOB again?" It seems ordinary except that neither Matt nor I realized that we ever referred to the car dealership by name during this discussion. Perhaps at some point we joked that we had a VOB license plate or something, but it was surprising to us that she put these random pieces together to realize that when Daddy goes to get the car fixed it is at VOB.

In this video, she's leading a yoga/ballet/aerobics class... and I catch certain descriptions that are unlikely from her ballet class, but probably more likely from a yoga or walking DVD (those are my go-to's in these cold winter days when outdoor exercise seems uh less than tempting, shall we say...) and possibly also in her daddy's football games? We are considering just video-taping Zoë's impromptu exercise classes and selling to top fitness producers as a side business. After all, she's cute, very energetic (considering it's bedtime), amusing and uses very creative instructive terms like "march and intercept". Too bad we started rolling the tape midway past the best stretches and instructions -- there was so much more! Ah... but for that, you will need to buy the full DVD -- it will make you sweat! It will tone your core muscles (as you laugh away your stress)... oh the possibilities!