Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Road Trip Part 2

After a pretty tough couple of travel days, we were sure happy to see our cousins Ellie and Nathan and their parents, Aunt Mindy and Uncle Steve.  They came outside to greet us, and then had tons and tons of toys for us to play with.  While the grown-ups helped unload the car and get ready for dinner, we all played with the toys and got to know our cousins.  Aunt Mindy made a delicious Hanukkah latke dinner and we lit the candles together and all opened some fun presents.  We were so excited it was hard to get to sleep.  Mom and Dad didn't seem to have much trouble falling asleep though.

The next morning, Uncle Steve made us some of his famous waffles for breakfast.  We played outside in their yard for a while.  We also Skyped with Aunt Staci and Uncle Daryl who live in North Carolina.  That's when I told Aunt Staci why we were in Arizona; we were there to celebrate Hanukkah.

Since it was Christmas Day, there wasn't a lot open.  In the afternoon, we went to Reid park and played on a playground. Mom and I walked around a large pond where we saw lots of birds. I told her what kinds of birds they were and Mom took a bunch of pictures of me with them. A nice lady gave me some tortillas to feed the ducks, which really made me laugh.  Mom remembers feeding ducks bread when she was a little girl; apparently, we use tortillas in the southwest.

Meanwhile, Dad played chase with Ellie and Uncle Steve made Nate and Hazel laugh a lot.  For dinner, we went to a Chinese restaurant.  Turns out, although we were on our best behavior, bringing five little kids to a busy restaurant isn't the greatest idea in the world.  Still, it was a fantastic day in Tucson.

Turner and I were a little under the weather on this trip, and this time, it was Ellie's turn to get sick.  Aunt Mindy stayed home with Ellie on Monday, while Uncle Steve, Nate, Mom, Dad, Hazel, Turner, and I all went to the Tucson Zoo.  We saw lots of great animals there - elephants, giraffes, a zebra, a rhino, monkeys, and even some peacocks who weren't officially part of the zoo but have taken up residence there.

Turner wanted to join the monkeys
Thanks to Uncle Steve who served as our unofficial zoo tour guide.  After the zoo, Uncle Steve took Nate home, and we did some driving around Tucson.  We drove to one of Mom's favorite places - Trader Joe's, which we don't have n Austin.  We grabbed a late lunch at In and Out Burger, which we also don't have in Austin and Dad really likes. We drove up a huge mountain at the edge of town and saw some really great cacti.  Mom took lots of pictures and lamented the fact that the one thing she left at home in the interest of lightening our load was her camera lenses.  We also drove around the University of Arizona campus.  It was a decent looking campus, though Dad muttered something about still being bitter regarding the 1997 NCAA basketball championship.  Monday night we had another great dinner, lit the Hanukkah candles, and opened presents.

On Tuesday, Ellie and Nate went to school, Aunt Mindy and Uncle Steve went to work, and we were on our own again.  This time, we went to the Tucson Children's Museum.  It was pretty fun and their staff was really welcoming.  In the first room they had a firetruck and a motorcycle that you could ride on.  The next rooms had a Lego table where I spent a lot of time building things.  They also had a neat room where you could write with light pens on the walls.  Hazel did that for a pretty long time, then she went over to another room to draw on chalkboards.  The last room we went in had fruit and vegetables you could pick from trees, shopping carts, and a kitchen with blenders.  I made Mom and Dad some smoothies.  It was a fun time, and after driving around a bit, we headed back home for a Tamale dinner with our cousins.

All of us kids got along so well during our visit. Hazel followed Ellie around a lot, and loved playing with Nate. I spent a lot of time talking with Ellie too. Mom and Dad thought it was really great watching us all interact.  

We were very sad to leave Tucson, but it was time to go home Wednesday.  Our drive back was not nearly as eventful as our drive there.  We stopped to find out what "The Thing?" is and later, Mom and Dad pulled over at an out-of-the-way gas station, and a bunch of bees got into our car.  After that, we just decided to go home, so we did the whole drive in one day.  We got in before midnight - all of us kids slept for the last four hours of the drive.

Thanks to our cousins for hosting us on such a fun trip!

Click here to see our photos!

Holiday Road Trip Part 1

I have two weeks off school and Dad has vacation to burn by the end of the year, so last Thursday, Mom and Dad woke me up super early in the morning and told me were going to Arizona.

They had been telling me about our cousins Ellie and Nate in Tucson, Arizona, for the past few weeks.  Ellie is my age and Nathan is Hazel's age, and they sure sounded nice. So, I at least knew something about a trip to Tucson in the works.

This trip was different than our last few road trips though because we left very early in the morning - five o'clock! The drive was so long that even splitting it over two days was going to make for some very long driving days. Dad wanted to leave early so we would have time to stop at fun places along the way and still get in before it got too late. Plus, Mom doesn't like driving at night. So they loaded up the car, put us kids in our car seats -- still in our pajamas -- and headed out.

Hazel, Turner, and I immediately fell asleep, and so did Mom. Unfortunately for Dad, who was driving, the weather was not too cooperative. It was rainy and foggy, so Dad had to drive pretty slow the first few hours. He did get to enjoy watching the sun rise though.

By the time Mom woke up, it was light outside and the weather had improved significantly.  Before too long, we were making good time and already making our first stop. We stopped at a gas station, where we gassed up the car, changed out of our pajamas, used the bathroom and ate a nice breakfast. By the time we finished all of that, we had spent almost an hour at the gas station. That was pretty typical of our pace the first day -- we'd stop about once every three hours for around an hour. Mom did a great job of packing snacks, books, and toys for everyone, so Hazel, Turner and I did great on the drive.

A lot of people had warned Dad that there wasn't a lot to see or do on the drive out to West Texas, but we found plenty of things to do. For lunch, we stopped in a town called Fort Stockton. In case you don't know, Fort Stockton is home to Paisano Pete, the second largest road runner statue in the United States. (The next day we drove by the place outside Las Cruces, NM, where we could see Pete's nemesis, the country's largest road runner statue, overlooking the highway.) Hazel and I thought Paisano Pete was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, there was no place to eat around Paisano Pete, and it was very cold outside. Mom had made a delicious lunch for us, but we really didn't want to eat it in the car, since we had already been in the car for six hours. That's when Mom spotted the Fort Stockton Visitor Center and Chamber of Commerce. Dad ran in to see if they had an inside table we could use. The people in the Visitor Center could not have been any nicer. They offered us their very spacious and nice business meeting room to have a picnic lunch in, and even offered us extra food and drinks. The also gave us Paisano Pete pins and stuffed bears.  Dad took Hazel and me on a tour of a railroad car at the center as well. We were so thankful for the kindness and generosity of the Fort Stockton Visitor Center. If you are ever nearby, I definitely recommend that you visit.

After lunch, we proceeded on our drive to El Paso, Texas.  With the help of an extra hour due to the time zone change, we made it to El Paso way ahead of our goal. In fact, we were so early, Mom and Dad took us to the El Paso Science Museum, where we played for an hour and a half.  We then checked in to our hotel for the night, eager to get a start on what would be a much shorter drive on Friday.  Mom and Dad agreed that the trip so far had gone surprisingly well.  It was getting pretty cold outside though....

Hazel woke up pretty early in the morning with some screaming that got all of us up.  While we would have preferred sleeping in a little later, Dad thought that maybe it was for the best since we could get an early start and end up with moe time to spend in Tucson with our cousins.  Dad took us kids to the breakfast buffet at the hotel.  He was shocked to see on the TV that the road to Tucson, I-10 through New Mexico was closed due to bad weather!  He looked at the window and sure enough, everything was covered in snow!  Mom had no idea it snowed in the southwest. This was definitely a bummer  Not only did it delay our trip, the roads were so bad in El Paso that everything in town was closed, and we were pretty much stuck in the hotel the whole day. We did have one surprise - there was a Rudy's barbecue next door, so we walked over there for lunch.

Even with our fun lunch break, we were all going a little stir-crazy by the end of the day.  Around 4:00, I-10 opened back up, so despite Mom's hesitation, we packed the car and headed out to see if we could make it to Tucson.  Unfortunately, the roads were still very icy, and we wound up having to turn back and spend another night in the El Paso Holiday Inn Express.  Hazel even noticed how much our minivan was sliding on the ice -- she said "That was crazy" after one bridge, which was Dad's cue to turn back and try again the next day.  The hotel staff couldn't have been nicer, and  were especially nice to me, Hazel, and Turner.  I passed a lot of time by playing on the computers in the business center.  Mom's habit of overpacking toys and food finally paid off.

Saturday, I-10 was closed again but opened up again mid-morning. Mom and Dad decided to give it another shot, this time during the early afternoon when they hoped the sun would melt the snow.  They started driving, and even though there was a lot of snow on the ground, the roads were no longer icy.  It was a huge relief.

However, traffic was pretty bad since everyone else, like us, had been waiting for road conditions to improve.  We spent a lot of time just sitting on the highway.  At one point, Mom actually got out of the car, grabbed a big handful of snow from the side of the road, made a snowball, and got back into the car.  She gave the snowball to Hazel to hold, and then to me.  It was pretty neat.  Then, before it melted, she threw it back out of the car.  Mom had been smart to bring her camera along, and took some great pictures along the way from the road.  She took pictures of wind farms in West Texas, prairies in New Mexico, long, long trains, and mountains in Arizona.We also saw strange signs, like a notice that a prison was nearby and not to pick up hitchhikers and another sign that said dust storms sometimes kick up in the area, and there can be zero visibility.

We sped through Arizona pretty quickly, stopping only in one area.  Signs had been up for over 100 miles advertising "The Thing?" and we all fell for the advertisement.  Having anticipated "The Thing?" for over an hour, we were extremely disappointed to get there and find it closed for Christmas Eve.  Undaunted, we kept going, with our cousins' house only an hour away.  Just before dinner time we finally made it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hazel's bunny

Hazel and I have been pretending a lot lately. I usually pretend to cook, and it's usually when I am in my kitchen or the sandbox.

Hazel, on the other hand, pretends anytime, anywhere. Her favorite thing is to pretend she is holding a bunny. She likes to pet and feed it lettuce, carrots and broccoli. One day she handed the bunny to Dad. He pretended to eat it and Hazel really cried. She wasn't pretending -- she really cried and got mad at Dad.  Dad felt pretty bad about it afterward.

Hazel also sometimes pretends her bed is a sandbox, and she digs in it. When she reads books, she pretends to take food out of the pictures and she eats it. The other day she took a cow from Doctor De Soto and said she was holding it. After about 10 minutes, Mom forgot she was holding it and Hazel said she was going to put it down. After a while, Mom forgot about the cow again and then Hazel told her not to sit on it.

Life is pretty fun when you can imagine whatever you want!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah started this week and we're having a blast. 

We started celebrating Sunday night, two nights early because we're taking a road trip over most of the holiday. Our friends Clark, Benjamin and their families came over for latkes, candlelight, a mean game of dreidel, and presents. When we played dreidel, once one of us got hey and got an M&M, we all just started saying we had hey every time, which Dad thought was pretty funny. It was nice to see them and we had a lot of fun.

We're only two nights into it, but the presents we've gotten have been fantastic. Hazel has a garbage truck with realistic trash cans, Duplo animals and people, an airplane with Little People and a school bus with Little People.

I got a drum called a djembe, an ice cream set, a sock monkey game, and ABC Duplo blocks.

Turner got some cool toys and some much needed bibs. He also has had his first tummy bug and now a cold too, but that's not really a gift.

We all got a radio for our toy room, a zoo membership and renewed Children's Museum membership, mixing bowls and spatulas, and lots of books.

Mom and Dad are having fun opening their gifts too, but by the time they get to them, Hazel and I have already run off with our loot. Tonight I didn't even hang around long enough to open my second present. I just took my ABC Duplos and ran upstairs.

Happy Hanukkah!

Turner at 9 months

Hard to believe, but Turner just turned 9 months old already. Time sure flies! To mark the occasion, he had his 9 month checkup with the doctor. Good news - he is still growing. He weighs 18.25 pounds (15th percentile), is 27 inches tall (25th percentile), and has a head circumference of 43.5 cm (10th percentile). You can see Turner's latest growth chart here, or on the right side of the blog. Turner did really great at the doctor's office, even after getting a shot.  Hazel came along to keep him company.  The doctor kept telling Mom how cute Turner was. I wonder if she said the same thing about me when I was Turner's age!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The drive home

Our drive back was over three days, just like the drive to Atlanta. We tried to stop at the Jackson Children's Museum again, but when we got there it was closed because it was Monday. It was also rainy and super cold, so we couldn't even stretch our legs at the playground. All that was a major bummer, so we took a detour through Dallas the next day so we could stop at the Children's Museum at the Museum of Nature and Science instead. It made up for it.

The night we stopped at the hotel, we got in earlier than on our way to Atlanta, so we had time to eat in the lounge. We had a nice dinner that Mom packed.We jumped and ran all over the place and sat on the arm of a chair, which we pretended was a school bus.

Hazel made us all laugh in the car by saying, "Mitch is a penguin and I am a fish."
 Our trip was fun, but we were all ready to get back to our house, rooms, and regular routines again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  We sure did!

This year we took a road trip to visit Bubbe in Atlanta.  Mom and Dad decided to make the drive part of the vacation so we took it over three days.  Mom, Dad, Hazel, Turner, and I all packed in our mini-van and hit the road.  We left last Thursday evening and spent the first night in a Holiday Inn Express in Longview, Texas.  Hazel and I liked the Holiday Inn because they had cookies.  Unfortunately for Mom and Dad, Hazel and I kept each other awake most of the night. 

The next day we stopped about halfway in Jackson, Mississippi, and went to an awesome Children's Museum.  I spent a while playing with a real car they have there, filling it with gas.  Hazel liked the pretend kitchen, boat playscape, and music room.  There was also a great park and playscape right next door.  Mom packed us a great lunch that we ate outside.  We spent more than two hours there, and we didn't want to leave.  But we knew that we still had a long way to go, so we reluctantly got back in the car and drove to Birmingham, Alabama, to stay with my great Aunt Susan and great Uncle Stuart.  They have grandchildren about my age, so they had lots of fun toys for us to play with.  Hazel liked feeding a toy pony and I pushed around a vacuum cleaner.  The next morning, we went with Aunt Susan and Uncle Stuart to the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, which was really fun. After a great morning there, we drove to Bubbe's house in Atlanta.

Staying at Bubbe's house was really fun.  We spent a lot of time with Aunt Laurie and Uncle Jonathan.  They are really nice.  They took us to the Georgia Aquarium.  Hazel really liked the penguins, and the penguins really liked me. Mom noticed that a whole bunch of them flocked to the window next to me. Then she realized why -- I was waving a piece of paper around, trying to show them a penguin picture I colored in the foyer. They looked like they wanted to eat it! I liked the whales and the jellyfish. Surprisingly, Turner really seemed to enjoy watching the fish. He was calm the whole time we were there and Mom really liked watching his eyes and head follow the fish around.

Earlier in the week, Hazel and I visited Bubbe at the dentist where she works, and I got my teeth cleaned.  The dentist said my teeth looked great.  He also looked at Hazel's teeth and said they looked good too.  She is still too little to get them cleaned but she seems excited about it happening one day. In the meantime, she has become really excited about a new book Bubbe gave us, Doctor De Soto, which is about a dentist who is a mouse.

We did a lot of other activities throughout the week. We walked a lot to the playground nearby where Dad went to school when he was little.  Bubbe took us to the Atlanta Zoo where we saw zebras, meerkats, ostriches, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, and panda bears.  Bubbe liked the panda bears the best. When we left, Hazel pointed out that the jaguars weren't out.

Dad made sure we visited his favorite restaurants several times - Krystals and the Varsity.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, cookies, green beans, jello, carrott soufflet, and sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. Bubbe made us a great Shabbat dinner too.  She was pretty impressed with how we excited we were about Shabbat dinner. We also got to visit Great Grandma Millie, who was very happy to see us. 

Turner got a lot better at crawling this week.  He had plenty of practice, as Bubbe made sure to have plenty of toys for him to crawl around after. Turner also seems to be growing some more teeth. 

Sadly, after a week, it was time to head home.  We were sure sad to leave Atlanta and especially sad to leave Bubbe, but she'll be coming to visit us in Austin soon. 

Here are our photos from the week, as well as some from the McWane Science Center photos, courtesy of Aunt Susan.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Ha! I bet you thought I was going to mention another holiday. Today, however, I am wishing you a belated happy Halloween.

This year, Hazel dressed up as a monkey, so I thought I'd better dress up as a banana. It's healthier than candy, anyway. Turner dressed up in our hand me down pumpkin costume.

We really had a blast. We started early, at a Halloween party at an assistant living facility in our neighborhood. Other kids from my school were there, and it was nice celebrating with people of all ages.

Next up was the annual Halloween bash at Dad's office. We were happy to have another opportunity for an early celebration. Hazel really loved that they had a bounce house to jump in and I was really happy that they had -- you guessed it -- candy and other yummy snacks.

We took the day off Friday, then Saturday headed to a neighborhood parade. We joined everyone in the school parking lot out our back gate, then marched in our costumes to the next door park. It was short but fun. At the park, there was coloring, a puppet show and fun on the playground.

Sunday we went to one of Dad's favorite restaurants for lunch. Our food was free since we dressed up in costumes. This time, I went as a duck. Hazel stuck to her monkey costume and she was happy to find one of her favorite things, a motorcycle, used as decoration at the restaurant.

Over the weekend, Dad helped us carve a jack-o-lantern and Mom roasted the seeds.

Monday was the grand finale. We started off trick-or-treating with Mom and did half our street while Dad stayed home so he could hand out candy and stick with Turner, who had already fallen asleep. We wrapped up the other half of the street with Dad. This is the first year we really enjoyed trick-or-treating, and along the way, we ate a bunch of candy.

The other fun thing we did this year is we decorated our new house for the holiday. We hung orange lights and spiderwebs on our magnificent trees, and had a bunch of pumpkins and a skeleton by the front door. We also had a spooky jack-o-lantern glowing in one of the upstairs front windows. Next year will be even bigger and better in this department. Stay tuned! 

As you can probably tell by our lack of posts this month, we've been really busy. We had a fun trip to the Austin zoo a couple of weekends ago and have been enjoying the mild weather at our playgrounds behind our house. We've gone almost every afternoon!

Turner's coming a long way too. For the past few weeks, we have been able to sit him up like a tripod. At first he could only balance for a few seconds, but now he can sit that way for a while and play with a toy. He's really been working on trying to crawl, and he's coming pretty close.

For our Halloween pics, click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SF photos

Thanks to Tony Perrie for taking this photo.
Click here for photos from Mom and Turner's trip to San Francisco.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

While Mom Was Out

I'm sure Mom and Turner had a great time in San Francisco, but there is no way they had as much fun as Hazel and I had with Dad while they were gone.  After we dropped Mom and Turner off at the airport on Friday night, Dad gave us our favorite kind of bath - a giant bubble bath.  In fact, we had bubble baths almost every night Mom was gone.  We also stayed up pretty late every night, because we were usually doing something pretty fun.

Saturday, Dad woke up early so he could shower before we got up.  We gave him a break by sleeping in a little bit too.  After breakfast, we went to Tot Shabbat.  It was so fun!  We sang songs, danced around, and even got to hold the Torah.  Then we made our own little toy Torahs and had some yummy snacks.  Then we played on the playground until we were super tired and hungry.  After a yummy lunch, Hazel took a nap and I had some quiet time.

Saturday night, we went over to our friend Will's house for dinner and a Halloween party.  Will's house was really fun!  They had a ball bath and lots of toys.  Will's Dad built a HUGE patio outside, and we played outside for a while.  I played with bubbles, while Hazel impressed everyone by hitting a baseball off a tee.  She hit it pretty solid and had great aim.  In addition to Will, Will's friend Oscar and his parents came over too.  Will's mom fed us a delicious dinner with grapes, strawberries, pizza, and Halloween cookies.  After we ate, we all got in our costumes and rode in wagons down to a Halloween party.  It was our own little Halloween parade.  My costume was a banana, and Hazel was a monkey.  We had a lot of fun being in our costumes and riding in the wagon.  When we got to the party, Hazel and I ran around yelling trick-or-treat, and getting lots of good candy.  I also won an award for "Most Original Costume"  When it started getting dark, we headed back to Will's house and played for a little longer.  Dad was pretty surprised how well we behaved even when were out so late.

Sunday we slept in again, probably because we were out so late.  We started off the morning by going to the park.  On the way to the park we go past the school, where there is a big map of the United States painted on the ground.  On Sunday, Dad showed up where Austin is on the map, and where San Francisco is.  We pretended to get on a plane and fly from Austin to San Francisco and back, walking across the map to each of the cities.  It was pretty fun.  We played in the park for a long time and came home pretty tired.  Hazel had a nap and I had some quiet time.

Sunday afternoon, we took Dad on some errands to Costco and HEB to buy some groceries.  Hazel kept pointing up at the sky every time she saw a plane and asking if Mom was on it.  I kept telling Hazel that Mom was not still on an airplane, that she was in San Francisco.  Hazel waved at the airplane anyway.  Dad made us a yummy dinner, including chicken nuggets and honey.  Mom didn't think it was the healthiest dinner, but she thinks its okay for Dad to give us a treat every once in a while.

Monday morning, I had school and Hazel went to Leaps N Bounds.  In the afternoon, we went back to the park.  I also cleaned my room up so Mom would be proud.

Tuesday was more of the same - school and Leaps N Bounds.  Then we went to pick Mom up from the airport.  We were so excited when she and Turner opened the car door.  We all just laughed and cried.  We were sure happy to see her, but we had a really fun week spending some extra special time with Dad.

Dad had his hands too full to take any pictures, but Will's Dad took some great pictures of at at the Halloween party - we'll post them when we get them.  In the meantime, here's a short video of Hazel making Turner laugh.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello San Francisco!

Last weekend Mom found a new travel buddy – Turner! Turner can’t type yet, so he told me what to write.

Friday night we went to Taco Cabana for a sendoff dinner, then drove Mom and Turner to the airport, where they got on a plane bound for San Francisco.

When they got to the airport, a nice man who had no luggage of his own helped them through the security line. Mom thought she used up all their good karma when they got on the plane and were seated next to a snarly looking guy, but then the flight attendant told them they were on the wrong side of the plane and had to move to a seat where no one was next to them. They slept almost the whole way there.

When they got to San Francisco, our friends Rachel and Tony picked them up. Before Mom and Turner left for the trip, Mom told me they are funny people and they make everyone laugh a lot. One day, I said something funny and Mom asked who would make her laugh while she was gone. I told her, “Tony.” Sure enough, Mom laughed more than she could remember the very first night she and Turner were there.

The next day, they all headed up to Hawk Hill for a view of the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge. It was beautiful, and a bunch of airplanes that were all together flew by.

Mom said anywhere you look in San Francisco, you can see something interesting, and that drive was no exception. The road was very curvy and on the side of a huge hill. There were many people cycling up too, which was really amazing.

After that, they headed to Sausalito for lunch at the Winship, followed by ice cream. Then they went to Muir Woods to look at the redwoods, the biggest trees Mom and Turner have ever seen. There were many people there, but it was still very peaceful and relaxing.

Turner was tired after a long night of traveling and at the end of the long day, so they headed home for some Thai takeout and an earlier night. One of the many things Mom liked there was all the nice food. She really liked the pumpkin curry from the Thai place.

Sunday everybody set out for a trip on BART, San Francisco’s subway, and lots of walking. They took the train to Westfield Centre, where they loaded up on lunch (including a soup bowl and the best crepe Mom’s ever had) before setting out for Chinatown and North Beach. There were people everywhere in Chinatown and lots of fun shops. Mom picked up some gifts for all of us and they saw a fortune cookie factory, which consisted of about four people packed into a tiny little space. North Beach is the city’s Italian section and there was awesome food everywhere. They ended up in Washington Square Park, where an old guy took a picture of Turner because he said Turner is the youngest person he’s seen in a long time.

After walking through all that, Mom and Rachel were tired and sore, so they took a bus back to BART. The bus was packed and people kept smiling at Turner. When they went back to Tony and Rachel’s house, Rachel made nice lamb meatballs and pizza for dinner. Everyone was exhausted so we had another early night.

Monday Mom set out with Rachel for some grocery shopping. But this was no trip to HEB. First they headed to a huge Asian grocery, where they had every type of fish and sea creature imaginable. They also had great candy and produce. Mom brought back some candy from the store that combined two of her favorite things – chocolate and mushrooms. They must have been delicious because they are gone and only Mom and Dad had some.

Next they stopped at an El Salvadorian bakery for some banana bread pudding. Mom liked it because no one there spoke English so Rachel had to order by pointing and holding up her hands. Everything there looked delicious.

They headed to a Mexican grocery with loads of great fruits and veggies and amazing looking tortillas before stopping off at a Chinese restaurant to pick up some lunch. Mom liked all the walking and that one neighborhood had so much diversity within walking distance.

After the delicious lunch, Tony, Mom and Turner gave Rachel a break and headed to Alcatraz. Mom thought the boat ride to and from the island was nice, but it made Turner cry both ways. He slept the whole time on the island, while Mom listened to an audio tour.

On the way back, Tony drove through lots of interesting neighborhoods, where Mom spotted lots of things she thinks she’ll never see anywhere else, including a medical cannabis collective and shops with names too interesting to mention on this blog in the Castro They picked up Indian takeout for dinner before their last night of lots of talking and laughs.

Early Tuesday morning, Rachel and Tony drove Mom and Turner back to the airport. Mom and Turner were very sad to say goodbye. They didn’t get very lucky with their seat partner on the flight back and Turner slept only about halfway home, so Mom was anxious to finish that leg of the trip.

When Mom opened the door to get in the car when we picked her up at the curb at the airport, Hazel and I were inside giggling and wiggling around maniacally. We were really happy to see her and Turner.  The first thing I said to her was, “Did Tony make you laugh?”

Turner is making the most of his two teeth – he is eating like crazy and bit Mom for the first time on this trip – and he was happy to be an only child for the long weekend. He had lots of time to snuggle Mom, especially since he rode in his carrier instead of a stroller. But we’re all glad to be back together again.

While Mom and Turner were gone, we had our own adventure with Dad. Tune in tomorrow to read about the fun we had.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Turner had a big day today.

We met up with our friend Megan at Einstine's Bagels for breakfast early this morning. While we were there, Turner grabbed Mom's hand and stuck her finger in his mouth. Although she's been looking for it every day, she was surprised to feel a tooth! She looked and, sure enough, one of his bottom middle teeth was peeking out at us!

Turner had been trying to grab Hazel's bagel the whole time we were there, and when Mom told us what she found, Hazel asked if we could give him a bagel now that he has teeth.

Turner's next big moment today was lunchtime, when Mom gave him his next new food -- applesauce! When she gave him his first bite, he looked disgusted and shocked. Then he immediately opened his mouth for more and gobbled up a big bowl of it. He is still really enjoying bananas too and has given up on avocados.

After a nice nap, this afternoon we headed out to the playground behind our house, where Mom stuck Turner in a little swing. He liked it for a while, then wanted to return to his usual spot on Mom's lap. When we came home, he jumped and jumped in my old Jumperoo.

When Turner went to bed tonight, he fell asleep right away. All his new experiences today were a lot for such a little guy.

Farm photos

Muddy Feet
To see the photos from our Columbus Day trip to Sweet Berry Farm, click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rain + farm = mud

We had a long weekend jam packed with fun. Saturday was Yom Kippur, so we headed to our synagogue for services. Dad stayed there for the day, and the rest of us headed home so we could go to a birthday party for Benjamin, who lives across the street.

While we were eating birthday cupcakes, water started falling from the sky! Everyone was so happy and surprised, we all started laughing. This is the first time it's rained since we moved into our new house, so we ran home so we could see what it sounded like and where there are puddles. Hazel and Mom and I danced in it!

Mom had planned on taking us over to the park behind our house Saturday afternoon but we couldn’t go because of the rain. We tried to make the best of it by making pumpkin bread, playing in our toy rooms and reading books, but we all get kind of crazy when we’re inside too long. We did pretty well until 6:00. That’s usually pretty close to our bedtime but we had to wait it out so we could pick Dad up.

Anyway, at 6:00, Hazel fell and banged her forehead. About two minutes later, we were wrestling with each other over a toy and she got popped in the eye with it. Her eye started bleeding everywhere. She was fine within a minute, but it really scared Mom and now Hazel looks like she was in a brawl.

Saturday night we headed back to our synagogue to pick up Dad and eat dinner. He hadn't eaten all day so he was really hungry. He was surprised to see Hazel's scabby eye. Hazel and I had a great time running around with our friend Clark. All the old ladies befriended Turner.

Mom and Dad are in charge of teaching us about the world. Sometimes I wonder why. Sunday it was still rainy and we were in the car. I kept asking Mom and Dad what the black things on the windows were. They were trying to figure out what I was asking about. They kept asking if I meant the mirror. Duh. I started getting upset because they were being so dumb and finally I screamed, "The rain scoopers!!!" That was when they figured out I wanted to know what the windshield wipers were. Yeah, it's been that long since it's rained here. Anyway, Mom and Dad almost fell out of their seats laughing.

We couldn't hang out in our backyard or the park because of the rain, so we called my friend Vishnu and his parents -- he's from my class at school and he and his mom came over to our house one afternoon last week too -- and met them at the Austin Children's Museum. We played on the dinosaurs, watched the trains for a while (Vishnu and Hazel are REALLY into trains), played with some construction gear, and played with a light/peg board. It was great hanging out with my buddy.

When we woke up this morning, Mom said it was time to hit the road. Dad had to go to work but I had off school and we didn't want to be cooped up in the house all day. So Mom, Hazel, Turner and I headed to Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.

You may remember Mom and I visited this place in 2008. Hazel came too, but she was in Mom's tummy so she doesn't remember much about it.

There were many different kinds of gourds and pumpkins at the entrance. There were about a million moms with cameras taking pictures of their kids everywhere.

After Mom gave up trying to get Hazel and me to look at her camera with nice looks on our faces at the same time, we had a picnic lunch and danced and ran around in a big field. We sat on hay bales on the back of a tractor, then looked at goats, horses, donkeys, a cat and some chickens. Next we took a hay ride around the farm. There were 72 scarecrows along the hayride path! We got our feet all muddy while cutting some zinnias to bring home, then tried a strawberry popsicle and some homemade pumpkin ice cream. When we got in the car to go home, it took me 30 seconds to fall asleep. Hazel lasted about two minutes. Turner slept the whole way home too. It was a great day!

For many pictures of our rainy, muddy adventures, check back tomorrow.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hair it is!

We have a special guest today...and now, message from Hazel.

I don't like to sit still and lately my hair has been pretty long. The result of this combination is dreadlocks. Bob Marley, my favorite singer, likes them more than I do, so we decided this morning would be a good time for a trim.

First Mitch let Mom clean up his hair around his ears so I could see that it wasn't scary to get my hair cut. Then I sat in the chair and Mom cut about three or four inches off my hair. My hair has been sort of curling up at the ends lately, and we're hoping it'll stay that way now that we cut some of the ends off.

Mom thought it was hard to see the curls go, but we think I look pretty cute, don't you?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello Houston

When Dad came home from work Friday night, we hopped in the car and headed for Houston.

One of Dad's college buddies, Mike, lives in Houston with his wife, Jess. They have a dog with the same name as our old dog, but spelled differently -- Pippa. They were nice enough to let us all crash at their place while we were in town.

After stopping mid-route for dinner at Denny's, we got to their house pretty late Friday night, so after a tour we went straight to bed. They have two guest rooms, so the girls and Turner stayed in one room and I bunked with Dad. Mom and Dad know better than to let Hazel and I sleep together alone in the same room - we'd keep each other up all night and wreck the joint.

We had a nice al fresco breakfast on Mike and Jess' patio, then headed to the Houston Children's Museum. They have signs posted all over the place saying it's the number one children's museum. Mom was skeptical but after visiting, we all believe it's true. It was fantastic! There were so many fun things to play with. Some of the highlights were different types of real vehicles (a Mustang, a VW bus, some kind of Asian bike/car); face painting; a city where you could go to work, get paid and go spend your paycheck; a playground; a sandbox; a water structure; baby chicks and fish; and a huge man made of old telephones. We were there for more than two hours but we are pretty sure we didn't even scratch the surface. We were all really sad to leave, but everyone was getting hungry.

We headed back to Mike and Jess' place for some lunch, then headed out to Amy's Ice Cream and Houston's Memorial Park for a quick walk with Mike, Jess, and Pippa. After dinner and a bath, we went to bed. We had a hard time falling asleep, then were surprised when a lady named Sandra came over and Mom, Dad, Mike and Jess left so they could have dinner at a nice restaurant. Hazel told Sandra she wanted to watch football and talked with her for a while (Hazel told Sandra Mommy loves her, which Mom liked) before falling asleep. I finally relaxed and fell asleep and Turner slept the whole time -- he never even knew they were gone!

Sunday was a pretty fun day. We did our best to turn Mike and Jess' house upside down while Mom packed to go home. Then we went to the zoo. We saw lots of great animals, including meerkats, bears, lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. We also saw lots of monkeys eating bugs from their friends' fur. Tonight Mom noticed some stuff on Hazel's head and Hazel told her next time we go to the zoo, the monkeys can get it off.

We spent the afternoon driving back to Austin. We went out of our way to stop at Bruster's for more ice cream on the way home. At one point, Mom came back with us to try to feed Turner while Dad was driving. Hazel and I pointed out that it wasn't safe. Mom said she knew and it was a bad thing to do, but she wanted to take care of Turner. I held on to her arm and said, "I'll protect you, Mommy."

By the way, I am doing a great job of not using my pants as my potty. I went the whole weekend without an accident, although I have been dropping my drawers and going outside a lot, including once at Chuy's and once in the middle of the zoo. We're working on it.

We had a great trip and can't wait to go back sometime soon! Here are more photos from our fun weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September fun!

The past week has been nothing but fun.

The big thing last weekend was we went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Dad’s company rented out the whole park, so we had a chance to enjoy the rides without waiting in the usual long lines. It was hot, hot, hot – too hot to take Turner along, more on that later – and because of our drought they turned the splash pad off, so we had a shorter day than we expected. But we rode almost all the rides we wanted and had a blast anyway.

We liked all the rides so much, every time Mom and Dad asked us what our favorite rides were, we gave them a different answer. We rode the ferris wheel, airplanes, fruit salad, cars, a train, swings, and a school bus. I really liked the characters who were walking around, but Hazel was scared of them.

Last night was the start of Rosh Hashanah. Uncle Chuck and Aunt Kim came into town to visit. They came over o our new house and brought me and Hazel some great presents.  They gave me a spy set and Hazel a toy doggy that walks and barks.  We both loved our presents.  We had some apples and honey at the house and then went to Chuy's for dinner.  It was delicious.  It was great to see Uncle Chuck and Aunt Kim, and Hazel kept asking "Where's Uncle Chuck?" after they left.

We’re too little to sit through a whole day of services, so this morning we did something fun together as a family instead. We took the train downtown and went to the Children’s Museum. Right now, they have a fantastic dinosaur exhibit. It’s better for kids our age than the other exhibits they’ve had since we joined. Hazel sat on a triceratops and a troodon. She also really liked the bog walk and looking for fossils in the Big Dig. I liked the peg board at the front of the museum, the kitchen area and coloring.

We took the train back home for some lunch and a quick rest, then headed back downtown (this time in our boring old car) for children’s services at our synagogue. We were all pretty calm and afterward, enjoyed snacks and some time out on the playground.

Our day didn’t stop there! We next headed to a daycare that’s been hosting some fun free parties in our neighborhood the past few weeks. Tonight they had barbeque, a bounce house, face painting and live music. I had a mustache painted on my face and Hazel’s mug was painted so she looked like a cat. She really liked jumping in the bounce house – they had to kick her out so they could close it down. The best thing though, was just playing on their amazing playground. Mom and Dad waited as long as they could to take us home for bed, but they had to literally drag us out of there kicking and screaming.
Turner’s been pretty busy having fun in his own way. He’s growing more hair and his two bottom teeth are really close to coming through his gums. Tuesday he started popping up on his hands and knees, like he’s going to crawl. Once he’s up, he rocks back and forth.

When we went to Six Flags, he stayed in Austin for his own little adventure. He stayed with our neighbors in the morning, then with one of our friends at her house in the afternoon. They all said he was angelic and he smiled at Mom all night long once we came home.

For photos of some of our fun and a visit to the playground last weekend, click here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turner at 6 Months

Turner had his six month checkup today. The doctor was impressed with how much he's moving around and asked Mom if the house is babyproofed. She said he's on track with everything else. Turner is now a whopping 15 lbs 4oz (20th percentile), 25.75 inches tall (30th percentile), and his head is 42.3cm (35th percentile).

Turner didn't like being at the doctor's much. He would rather have been napping and cried a lot. The doctor thought his cry was pretty funny because he blows raspberries when he cries.

See the Turner's growth chart on the right side of the blog.

A funny conversation

Post from Mom:

Hazel was sitting in the learning tower with a plastic toy in her hand, making a whimpering noise. Mitch walked over asked why she was crying. She said, "I don't want to eat this chicken cheese." Mitch said, "Is that because it's hot or spicy?" Now Hazel's yelling, "It's too spicy! It's too spicy!"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ha, ha!

The day Hazel got ahold of Mom's hat and glasses
Every day, we make Mom and Dad laugh. Here are some funny things we said and did this week.

I can read like a second or third grader, and today I was helping Mom cook when I came across a funny word, "balsamic vinegar." All day long, Hazel and I yelled "balsamic vinegar" and cracked up. Mom and Dad are even laughing about it now, and when they need to distract me from trouble, they just yell it and we all laugh our heads off.

Aunt Lauren's wedding really made an impression on Hazel. The other morning, Hazel went up to Mom and said, "I'm getting married, Mom." Mom said, "Oh yeah? To whom?" and Hazel said, "To Mitch." Then she chased me around and in the bossiest voice imaginable, yelled, "Get married to me, Mitch! Get married to me, Mitch!"

One night last week, Mom and Dad put me to bed and later I went downstairs and told them, "I got all the sleep I wanted last night."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Turner's eating it up

Aside from his first big trip, which went great, Turner’s had a big month.

Turner’s really been teething – he’s been chewing on everything he can grab, even his feet -- so Thursday night, we gave him something new to put in his mouth. Rice cereal! It didn’t look or smell like much, but he seemed to think it was all right. Some of the time he opened his mouth like a pro for the spoon, and the rest of the time, Mom and Dad had to compete with his thumb to get the food in there. It’s a pretty exciting big step!

He’s also really interacting with everyone and is paying attention to everything. He’s been staring at his mobile as well as brightly colored animals and shapes on his play mats and sheets, has paid attention when we read books, and watches people more than he used to.

Turner’s also more mobile. He now rolls both ways and scoots himself, almost crawling. He can get pretty far pretty fast and when he’s in his crib, he scoots until he wedges his head in the corner. Then he screams until Mom helps him out.

He’s becoming more interested in the Jumperoo and he is sleeping better – he gave up his swing and just sleeps in his crib now.

Turner must have grown a lot the past month too. He’s in the next size in both his clothes and diapers!

Here are some of Turner’s funny stories from the past few weeks:

One night, Mom was putting us all to bed, and Hazel, Turner and I were sitting on my bed reading one of my favorite books, How Do Dinosaurs Laugh Out Loud. Hazel and I were cracking up and then Turner really started laughing too. Hazel kept making a funny noise and laughing at him, and he just laughed and laughed at her. Mom said he never laughed so hard at anything before. It was really cute.

A day or two later, we went to Ikea. Mom loaded us into the car, then tried to nurse Turner. He ate for a while, then kept staring at something intently, totally transfixed. Mom looked up and noticed he was starting at some flags in front of the store that were blowing in the wind. Turner doesn’t ask for much, so we gave him some more time to watch them before we went home.

Turner has been as sweet and snuggly as ever, and it’s really fun watching him grow up! We can’t wait until he can really play with us!