Allow me to introduce our newest baby

Meet Gingersnap.


I’d put down a deposit with a golden doodle breeder in NY in July, thinking we’d get a doodle from the litter due in December/January.  However, we were 9th on the list and there was a litter of 9 born in July.  The breeder gave us the choice of taking this little girl – who is very un-doodly in her appearance – or waiting until spring.  We decided to give her a try.  She sheds a tiny bit (so far nobody’s allergies have been triggered) but is a super mellow and loving dog who just wants a foot on which to sleep.  Gideon is great with her – he listened attentively to the trainer we brought to our house, and reminds us constantly of the rules! – he takes her for walks and plays well with her.  Asher is terrified of her – he screams and runs whenever she comes near.  Miriam considers her another doll and can frequently be found poking her in the eye or trying to pick her up to carry her.  So far Ginger takes it like a champ (and our trainer told us it’s important for Ginger to realize that Miriam is not a fellow puppy, despite the similarities in size).

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Let’s play catchup again.

Oh, hi!  I have a blog!  Let me tell you our crazy summer.

June 14-21: Camp Mather.  Crawling baby ate more dirt than I care to think about.  Gideon discovered a love of horses.  Asher whined.  We left a day early.  Signs of the Rim Fire were everywhere on the drive to Mather.  We couldn’t go to our beloved swimming hole because everything along the road was burned out – and there was a steep fine for leaving the road in the burn zone.  Fortunately the fire fighters – who had used Mather as a base camp – had done a fantastic job saving the camp itself.  There were no signs of fire in Mather or at Evergreen Lodge next door, but a few feet from where Evergreen’s property ended everything was blackened.

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After we got back from Mather I had 9 days to finish packing my house.  It was a stressful week.  My parents came to help, my mom was hospitalized with cellulitis, my dad did his best to entertain all three kids by himself.  And finally the movers came on June 30th.  It took four guys 8 hours to get all our stuff into the truck.  We had about 220 items.

We said goodbye to Gates and Bridges, Marin Prep, all our friends, our wonderful (if tiny) apartment), and hopped on a plane to Boston on July 3rd.


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Asher came down with a fever on the flight, and shortly afterwards developed the blisters characteristic of Hand Foot and Mouth disease.  One last parting gift from San Francisco.  Miri got the fever and blisters a few days later, so our first week in Norwich was a blur of grumpy baby.  The boys stayed with Grammie and Taba for a week of summer camp (Gideon) and lounging around trying to get better (Asher).  I spent a week waiting for our stuff to show up.  It finally arrived on July 13th.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of summer camps, trips to Dan and Whit’s to get ice cream, trips to Ice Cream Fore You to get ice cream, and Home Depot runs.  The highlight of our first couple weeks was the Norwich Fair, a carnival that was just the perfect size for an almost-8-year-old.  The fair fireworks are launched from the field behind our house, so the boys got to see their first fireworks show ever, thanks to the fact that it woke everyone up.



IMG_6014IMG_6023 Somehow the vegetation in the back yard managed to quadruple in size between April and July.  Eek.  Plans for “dealing” with the bushes on the back hill were tabled until things die back in October.  IMG_6044 IMG_6052 IMG_6073 IMG_6116 IMG_6313 IMG_6360 IMG_6486


School started for Gideon at the end of August. Ms. Fors, his teacher, seems wonderful.  She’s full of energy and ideas and so far Gideon is doing great.  Asher shifted from a preschool class to a pre-K class (five boys and one teacher!) at FitKids at the River Valley Club in Lebanon NH.  Miri started her two day a week arrangement at the same child care facility.  (So far she loves her teachers but still cries when I leave).

We’ve met a bunch of awesome new friends and explored the surrounding area a bit over the course of the last two months.  Hands down my favorite new place is Storrs Pond in Hanover.  Lots of beach to play on, a great pond, adjacent pool and ice cream shop.  They also rent paddle boards and canoes.  I think we’ll be spending a LOT of time there next year!

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All the stats!

Miriam turned one on May 2nd, and in true third child fashion she didn’t get a party.  We bought her a cupcake, but she was tired so I put her to bed and her brothers volunteered to eat it for her, while asking me to recount Gideon’s THREE first birthday parties.

All threeIMG_4256 kids have had physicals in the last month, so this is where they all stand:

Miri is 21lbs, 4oz and 29.5 inches.  She is a few ounces and two inches smaller than Gideon at that age.  Asher, our enormous child, weighed about 26lbs and was the same height as Gideon.  Still, she’s respectably in the 70th percentile for weight and 80th for height.  She also has 12 (or maybe 13) teeth, and has been cutting molars for WEEKS.  I never remember the boys teething this hard and miserably – and I can’t WAIT for these teeth to finally cut through Miri’s gums.  No walking yet, though she will happily hold your two index fingers and “motor”.  She says lots of words (mama, aba, bob (to mean Jen and Bob upstairs), up, down, bubbles, brother (with sign), woof, vroom, uh-oh) and signs lots of words (dog, bird, hat, fish, wash hands (bath), eat, drink, water, milk, please, horse, baby signing time (signs baby), brother, wheel, car, more, ball) and has a very painful way of grabbing the back of your arm in a pincer grip to steer you wherever she wants you to go when you’re carrying her.  If you don’t go fast enough, she’ll start kicking you like a horse.  The next couple years will be fun, because even now when you tell her not to do something she’ll have a tantrum – complete with banging her head on the floor.  Joy.

IMG_4715Asher had his 4 year 2 month checkup (just in time for school and camp physicals to be due) last week, and weighed in at a hefty  48lbs (clothed, but no shoes) and 43 inches tall.  This puts him in the 97th percentile for weight and 87th for height, and also deposits him in the obese range of the BMI chart.  He’s a dense kid – he might weigh close to fifty pounds, but you wouldn’t guess that until you tried to pick him up – and the doctor wasn’t too concerned (though he did suggest I cut down on Asher’s carb intake.  Funny, given how many crumbs from snuck crackers I find in his bed).  Asher recently told us his superpower was sneakiness, and he reminds us of that fact daily.  Asher has been appearing on many mornings with a  chocolate ring around his mouth, but I couldn’t figure out where the chocolate was coming from.  I finally had to move our dining room table a bit to fit more guests, and found a little stash of chocolate chips on the rug under the un-used portion of the table.  And of course, if you catch him doing something he shouldn’t be doing, he’ll simply say, “I just couldn’t help myself, mama!”  My little honey badger.

IMG_4827Gideon, at 7 years and 8 months, weighed in at 54lbs and was 49″ tall – about 40th percentile for both.  Gideon is deeply into Minecraft right now – both playing it on his iPad and watching youtube videos of some british guy playing it.  He’s finishing up first grade, and has enjoyed it (but is still reading below grade level).  I think we have our work cut out for us academically this summer.




Holiday roundup

Better late than never, I suppose.

Christmas happened.  The boys unwrapped their presents (agonizingly slowly, in Asher’s case), toys were played with and then forgotten.  Asher uses his pink toothbrush every day, after painstakingly applying the stickers it came with.  G has tried rollerblading once.  The lava lamps get turned on occasionally.  The surprise hit of the present pile was Asher’s pair of batman rain boots – bought at a consignment shop because Santa is cheap – which he has worn every day since Christmas.

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On the 27th we headed down to Carmel Valley Ranch, a lovely, kid-friendly resort about two hours south of SF.  The boys loved it – it was warm enough for them to swim in the heated pool, and there were s’mores every night around a fire pit.  Asher keeps asking to go back!

We drove back to SF the 31st, then back down to Capitola to visit friends on the 1st, then Asher was back in school Jan 2nd.  My plans for an easy Friday were shattered, though, when Asher barfed as we were getting ready for school.  An entire day of vomit followed, but was fortunately contained to just Asher.  And then, finally, after a horrible weekend of keeping everyone quarantined, I got everyone off to school on Monday Jan 6th.  Those are 16 days of vacation I’m glad I never have to do again!



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We spent a day exploring Monterey, first at the Dennis the Menace Playground and then at MY museum, a museum geared toward kids Asher’s age.  Fortunately Omer and G found the craft area, where there were hot glue guns for all.



Christmas list update

Asher woke up on Saturday morning and declared, “I want to hug Santa today!”  Cue a search for the big guy that involved fake snow, a long distance sighting at the Hyatt (breakfast with Santa – the biggest racket in town at $28/pp!), a forced march to the Westfield Mall, and – finally! – a Santa sitting around without a line in a paint-your-own-pottery place in the mall.  Score!  Of course, Gideon – who said he MIGHT stand next to Santa but definitely wasn’t going to sit anywhere near his lap – perched himself right on Santa’s knee and smiled his most winning smile for the camera.  Asher, who had been looking forward to this all day, managed his best threenager smirk.  Miri, who was rudely awakened from her nap to perch on her brothers’ tiny laps, was totally unaware of what was going on.  So we got this:



After the photo was taken, Asher reiterated his christmas list to Santa:  Pink toothbrush, candy tree, cereal that looks like candy.  If Asher wants something for more than about 30 seconds, it’s serious – so once we got home and the kids were distracted I started trying to find that pink toothbrush online.  Turns out, the specific toothbrush Asher wanted – the picture he’d cut out of the magazine – seemed to be discontinued.  Fortunately there were several for sale on ebay (ew), so that’s all set.  The candy tree I’ll make from one of those gingerbread tree kits with some extra candy thrown on.  Not a problem.  Cereal, too, is easy to find.  BUT – and here’s where I’m going to be bad Santa – since Asher has destroyed two tubes of my mascara in the last week by “painting” it on the bathroom walls, I’m planning on taking the cereal out of its box and replacing it with a tube of my mascara and a long letter from Santa about only touching one’s own belongings.  It’s either that or coal, and I think being denied a treat will have more of an affect on Asher than getting a bunch of rocks that could be used to further deface our bathroom walls.

Gideon is also holding steady with his Christmas list – a lava lamp, some spy gear, and blue roller skates.  I’m not entirely sure how he thinks Christmas lists work (or maybe he buys into my constant reminders that Santa is watching) but last night he decided he wanted a massager (like the one he tried out in the nail salon last weekend).  He pointed his face toward the ceiling and yelled, “Santa, I also want a massager!  For my back! And all the places that hurt when I have growing pains!”  Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!

So there you go.  Santa roundup 2013.  I’m ready for the holidays (and especially that pesky two week school vacation) to be over now!

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Asher’s Christmas List

I first brought up the subject of Christmas lists a few weeks ago, telling Asher we were going to write letters to Santa.  Being a literal three year old, he wanted to know WHAT LETTERS.  I didn’t understand his question, and we went back and forth for a while before he clarified: “No, mama – what letters?  A?  O?  G?”  Once we cleared up that misunderstanding, I explained to Asher that he could just cut out pictures of what he wanted, tape them to a piece of paper, and send that paper to Santa.  This percolated in his little head for a while, until he came home from school on Wednesday and declared that he was going to make his christmas list.  I was expecting pages of things, since he had been going through the toy catalogs and circling pretty much everything.  Instead, what I got was this:



He recruited Gideon to write “From Asher To Santa” on the back, and then brought the paper to me and asked me to send it to Santa.  I asked Asher what all these things were, and he said, “A pink toothbrush.  That cereal that looks like candy.  Half a candy christmas tree.  Do you think Santa will bring me all this?”  Without a doubt, kiddo.  Best Christmas list ever.

Six month stats

I’m half a month late with these, but better late than never!  At her six month appointment on November 8th, Miri was 17lbs 6oz, 26.75 inches long, and had a 44cm head circumference (68th, 78th and 88th percentiles respectively).  She’s still the runt of the family – Gideon had reached 18lbs by 6 months, and Asher was probably 18lbs by 4 months – but she’s doing great!  We started pureed foods about 6 weeks ago, and she loves eating all the combinations we’ve given her.  She will also attempt to eat any teething biscuits, puffs, bread or fruit we put on her tray – though she often gags when she takes a bite.  I’m  having trouble remembering how Asher went from not eating to eating pizza by 9 months old…so right now we’re moving slowly with the solids.  I have, however, given her a mouthful of peanut butter pumpkin soup, so at least that peanut allergy thing has been dealt with already.

As far as other milestones, Miri sits well without help, but dislikes being on her stomach.  She rolls with ease, and if I leave her on her stomach I will find her on the other side of the room in a few minutes, often chewing on a small plastic thing the boys have left out.  The next few months will be fun!

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Two down, one to go!

At three years and seven months, Asher is hereby officially potty trained – pee, poop and overnight.  This means only one child left in diapers and a whole bunch of un-used pull ups that need to be donated.

Asher is my honey badger child – he just doesn’t give a sh*t – and it’s almost impossible to make him do anything.  Whereas with Gideon a basket full of little wrapped “poopy presents” was sufficient to take care of potty training, everything I offered Asher was met with his signature “I just not like xyz that much.”  I can’t pinpoint exactly when Asher’s potty breakthrough happened – he just sort of started wearing underwear occasionally, and then more consistently at school, and then all the time – but I do know the exact moment when he decided to start pooping on the toilet.  We were at Target, and Asher had found a trio of iron man figurines he REALLY WANTED.  He rarely REALLY WANTS things (Gideon desperately wants everything all the time for about five minutes, but when Asher latches on to something, he latches on hard.)  I told him I’d buy those iron men, but he would only get them if he pooped on the potty.  One per day.  Any days skipped would mean an iron man toy confiscated.  And that was that – honey badger was suddenly all about pooping on the potty.  True to his commitment to being the anti-Gideon in every way, Asher now absolutely doesn’t want any help wiping – he just gleefully swipes at his butt, pulls up his pants, and then wonders why there’s poop everywhere.  So we’re working on how sometimes it’s necessary to accept help graciously (ha!) and wiping one’s own butt is one of those times. On the other end of that spectrum, we’re working with Gideon to convince him that I don’t need to help him wipe any more.  Oy.

Pinterest win: flat bottom yarn bag

Pinterest is full of fails, but every once in a while I manifest a win.  Since sewing is my new favorite craft (so much faster than knitting!) and SF has a bring-your-own-bag policy, I’ve enjoyed trying out bag patterns gleaned from Pinterest.  My latest attempt is based on this tutorial for a flat bottomed, zippered bag.

The finished results, perfect for stranded knitting:



IMG_7639This was my first attempt at adding a zipper to something, and next time I have to be careful NOT to sew the fabric quite so close to the zipper, as it keeps getting caught.  But since this bag will probably only get opened every once in a while, it’s not too big a deal.  The instructions also told me me sew up and over the zipper as I seamed the lining and outer fabric, and my sewing machine flat out laughed at me when I tried to do that.  As a result the edges aren’t as crisp as they should be.  I suspect a longer stitch would help next time.

For reference, the pattern I drew up based on the tutorial instructions was 10″ wide and 7″ tall, with a 4″ wide base.  Perfect size for a makeup bag or clutch as well.  I put interfacing on both the outer and lining fabrics, which makes it a tad too stiff IMO.  And remember to add grommets the bag before you sew the seams!


IMG_7571As soon as I turn my back on Asher he’ll try to pin Miri’s leg back over her head (extreme baby yoga is Asher’s favorite way to torment his sister).  But man, he can bring the cuteness when he wants to!