Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Casey & Ernie Visit

A couple of weekends ago, Casey and Ernie came to visit us in the 'Burgh.  We had some yummy food, played cards, created art and hung out and just took it easy.  It was a fun weekend.  Thanks for coming up, Casey & Ernie!

Casey had brought clay for us to make a sculpture.  She created a boat and then we all created ourselves.  That was lots of fun!

Ernie with that great T-shirt of his

Casey builds the boat

Vivian plays with "Annelee" (created by Casey)
Annelee supervises while snacking on some melon

Vivian just loved to mash the clay around
Of course some clay ended up in her face  :)

In the boat: back - Ernie, Casey, a lizard (on the back rim), Will.  front - Vivian, Annelee on our sole remaining fish.  In front of the boat:  Jonas & Mattias, Franziska (lying down so my head won't fall off)

 As per usual, the chef created some wonderful meals ...
Dinner prep

Multi-colored beets, melon, melon foam, caramelized pecans, goat cheese, bacon, salad.  Delish!
Cupcakes were on the menu, too.
I'm pretty sure at least some of the icing made it into her mouth

Got icing?

And last, but not least, various Barbie-play and cuddle sessions!
Even Ernie got roped into playing Barbies

Annelee was never quite happy when not in fully body-contact with Mommy.  Good thing this is just a phase!

Morning cuddles with Aunt Casey

Casey, the girls, and (of course) Mermaid Barbie

Monday, August 29, 2011


Heiko and Christel gave me some very intriguing 'dippers,' as Vivian would say, for breads and stuff. One was a pomegranate vinegar, one is thistle oil, and one is a mystery vinegar. All were sehr lecka ('Sarah Lecka,' as Aunt Susan would say)! I am so happy I remembered these as I was preparing a caprese salad and wondering what to do with a baguette. Danke papa und mama Lang!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crazy Crawlers

I love when our two girls play together and have fun!

Click here for a direct link to the video if you can't see it above.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Idlewild 2011

The year in the title indicates that I should have a previous year's post to link to ... but I still don't have that one up.  :(  Maybe one day ...

Anyways, about a life-time or so ago (last May, I think), Marina and Kris, Katherine and I took our children (four at that point, Corwin & Kyra, Emma, Vivian, both Katherine and I were pregnant) to Idlewild.  It's about 1.5 hrs from here, so it's really just a once-a-summer trip.  Last year was fun, so we wanted to do this again. 

This year, only Kris and Marina (and Kris' cousin Morgan) and Vivian and I (I took a day off work, Annelee went to daycare) made it.

First and most importantly, Vivian and I had a wonderful and fun day together.  I thoroughly enjoyed her company, and the bonus of not carrying a diaper-bag or pushing a stroller (sorry, Annelee ;) ).  It was fabulous.

Last year, we had gone to the story-book forest first, and by the time we were done it was time for me to head home so that Vivian would at least get somewhat of a nap.  So we didn't manage to go on any of the rides.  We fixed that this year.  We went straight for the rides and spent pretty much all our time on them.  We didn't get to go to the Soakzone, but I think that's high on the agenda for next year.

The first ride we went on was one of those "plunge you into the water rides".  The carriages were pulled up a steep incline and then plunged down toward the water.  I had absolutely no idea if Vivian was going to start crying hysterically, laugh manically, or something in between.  I know I was thinking "what am I doing on this ride?!?" when we were pulled up the incline...

The verdict?  Vivian LOVED it!

So much that she then dragged me on the "Octopus", and patiently waited in the long and slow moving line to ride it.  I tried to watch her very blissful and enchanted face during the ride, but my stomach did not appreciate it, so I quickly focused on things further away  ;)

We got a few more adult-supervision rides under our belt before heading to the kiddie-zone.  There, you can only ride if you are under 56 inches, so we put the kids on lots of rides and watched them having just as much fun on those little rides as they did on the big ones.

We finally left Marina & Kris and their crew to head home, but not before we had an ice cream and went on one last ride.  The entire walk back to the car I had to explain at every single attraction that you can't possibly do them all in one day and that we needed to save them for next year.  Vivian is so ready to go back already!

We will most definitely be back there next year with Annelee and Will.

You were supposed to balance balls on the airstream, but Rapunzel had to test her long hair, of course

Going down that first ride, just before we hit the water

It's hard to take a picture of a short and a tall person when strapped into a ride, especially when you are one of them ...

Kris and Corwin waiting for the ride to start

My favorite shot of the day ... she's having a ball!

Everyone minus the photographer (Vivian, Marina with Kyra, Morgan, Corwin, Kris)

Serious about his driving

Looks like she's steering wildly and loving it

This ride is known as the "baby cage".  We contemplated slipping them a 20 to keep the cage locked for an hour   ;)

Morgan and Corwin.  The stick is to help pushing, not to "encourage" the kid to do the work  ;)

I did one of those rides with Vivian and they are hard work!  THEN I found out there was one for children w/out adults.  Sigh!

The things parents do to get their kids to smile for the camera ...

A very special water fountain

Nap time!

I love how Corwin is all focused on driving and Vivian's just relaxing and enjoying the ride

The final stretch, both are now fully into it!

Riding the motor bikes

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monkey Girl

Up until last summer, Vivian was the least monkey-like and risk-taking one of her friends. I kind of liked it that way. This has definitely changed this summer. Suddenly, she's climbing and jumping and sliding, mostly by herself (she used to ask for a lot of help). Occasionally, though, she will still ask for help. Almost always, she will ask someone (anyone, even strangers on the playground :) ) to watch what she is doing.

It took me a bit to adapt to that new normal. I still often hold my breath (I'm a chicken, what can I say), but I've also gotten quite good at saying "no, you climbed up there, you need to figure out how to get down". She usually does!

Today, Vivian asked that we go to Dormont Playground. It's probably one of my favorites just because it is so different from your standard play equipment (a slide, a climbing structure and one or two sets of swings). Instead, the playground is one huge wooden structures with opportunities for climbing, running, balancing and sliding all over the place. I posted pictures of it before, you can find them here in my post from November 2009 (and while you are at it ... look at how small our kids were then!).

Today, Vivian proudly showed me her latest monkey-skill. And of course I had to document it.  And post it for all of you to see :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shopping? Done!

This was the first time that Annelee rode in the front with Vivian. It went remarkably well. Two happy girls, lots of shoppers oohing and aahing over them and I got my shopping done.

At the big grocery store, I tend to have only Annelee with me these days, as they have a supervised play area and Vivian loves to go there.  In fact, mention that we need to go shopping and she'll immediately ask about the Eagle's Nest ...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dormont Pool

I think I've posted earlier that we have a membership to the pool this summer.  It's a nice pool ... kiddie pool, big kid/adult pool with dedicated section for kids, grass all around.  It has one drawback.  We don't drive past it every time we go somewhere.  We do drive past Dormont pool ever time we  go somewhere.  Dormont is an old long sloping pool, surrounded by concrete and struggling to scrape together enough funding to stay open every year.

The ONLY thing Vivian wanted for this summer was to go to Dormont pool.  On Saturday, Will and I relented and we took the kids there.  It was perfect pool weather, high 70s, it had been overcast all day (so the pool was pretty empty) but the sun came out literally as we walked out of the front door.  Because the pools is so shallow, I was able to snap a couple of pictures of the girls with my cell phone.

After the pool, Annelee fell asleep in the car and was successfully transported to her crib, Will had to work some more (boooo) and Vivian and I also ended up falling asleep.  Luckily, I woke up before anyone snapped my photo.  The girls?  Not so lucky.  But they are still cute when asleep, so it's ok. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Drumming Session

I wanted to post the video of Annelee's drumming session (complete with tribal chanting from her, additional singing from Daddy in the background, and of course Vivian's commentary) with yesterday's post, but ran into technical difficulties.

Finally got them resolved, so here it finally is:

I don't think you can view videos through the email (but you can if you click through to the actual blog), so I'm going to start posting links, too.  Click here to see the video if it doesn't display for you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Annelee's 12 Month Well-Visit

Well, this child of ours continues to enjoy her food and it shows.  Even the first comment out of the pediatrician's mouth was related to Annelee's delicious chubbiness.

Here are the stats.  Both height and weight are somewhere in the 95-100% percentile:

Height:  31" (79cm)
Weight:  24 lb 12 oz (11.2kg)

For comparison, Vivian was the exact same height at her 12 month visit, but weighed in at only 21 lb 1 oz. 

The pediatrician was very happy with Annelee's eating and the variety of food she's getting (thanks, Will!).  At this point, she's eaten pretty much every food that's often an allergen and has been fine.  The only one missing is peanuts and tree nuts, but she's already had peanut oil, too, so those are likely to be ok, as well.

Annelee's ears looked fine (one perfect, one very close to perfect) - yay! 

The Dr. checked her hips very carefully since Annelee doesn't like to really stand up or put her weight on her legs, and said she looked good, we should just wait and see.  Of course, today (only 2 days after the appointment), she's twice stood with me supporting only a little bit of her weight already.  Always one to proof us wrong, just like her sister.

Annelee got three shots (ouch - and she was sure to let us know that IT.WAS.NOT.ACCEPTABLE!) and I got a parking ticket (ouch - but only for the wallet, and luckily, only $10).

All in all, a very good visit.

So I don't forget, here are a couple of other things about Annelee.  She's got eight teeth by now (4 top, 4 bottom, one of the top ones is barely there, but there).  She still nurses 2-3 times a day (morning, evening, sometimes in the afternoon) but I (very gleefully and happy, I might add) threw the breast pump in the trash last week, so that bane of my existence is gone!

Annelee mostly naps twice a day, and it seems that she starts about 90% of her naps in the car.  In fact, there are times where we are at home and I wonder why she's so cranky ... and then I realize it's probably nap time for her, and I take her upstairs and she's asleep in less than a minute.

She's just figured out to put money in her play piggy bank, and today she got hold of  a drum and started drumming (when she wasn't eating the drum-stick, that is).  Talking about eating, everything, and I mean absolutely everything ends up in Annelee's mouth.  I know every kid goes through that phase, and Vivian did, too, but not to this extreme.  I sometimes give her the binky just so that she won't constantly graze on the floor.  Of course, I could sweep, but the binky is easier  :)