Saturday, January 29, 2011

An afternoon at the Austin Zoo with Zhenya

Dad's in Atlanta and we really miss him so we are trying to stay busy. The weather's been unbelievably great, so we've been spending lots of time outside in our sandbox and at the park.

This morning Hazel and I got new shoes, I had a good time watching a plumber replace our kitchen faucet, and this afternoon we tested our new shoes out and mixed things up by heading down to South Austin where we picked up our friend Zhenya and went to the Austin Zoo.

The Austin Zoo was a lot better than we expected. The zoo was beautiful Texas Hill Country and we saw loads of great animals there including a black bear, four lions, a tiger, two wolves, loads and loads of goats and monkeys, and a bunch of pigs. They also have parrots that say "hello" if you say "hello" to them first. I thought that was hilarious. Another great thing about the zoo is it is an animal rescue/sanctuary.

Hazel loved all the attention she got from Zhenya and she showed off by climbing on everything at the zoo. Mom had her hands full with me -- I was in a bit of a grumpy mood at first because I'd fallen asleep in the car and wasn't happy when Mom woke me up when we got to the zoo -- but I cheered up after a while and had a good time.

After the zoo, Zhenya took us out to dinner at a restaurant with a funny name, Mama Fu's. I noticed Zhenya has an iPhone, so I climbed on her and showed her all the things I know how to do with it. The food was yummy, especially dessert -- cheesecake in a fried tortilla with whipped cream! We also had fortune cookies. Hazel's fortune said, "Choose your own path." Mine said, "Humor is the affirmation of dignity." Mom's said if at first she succeeds, she should try something harder.

We got home later than usual but it was worth it. I talked to Mom and asked her funny questions -- like what time Zhenya puts her pajamas on and what time she goes to bed -- the whole way home in the car while Hazel slept. By the time we got home, we were all pretty tired and went to bed easily, especially Mom.

Check out photos of our fun day in South Austin.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A walk on the wild side

Mitch & Hazel making music by jumping on chimes
I've been asking so many questions about animals lately that Mom and Dad decided to take me and Hazel to the Waco Zoo this weekend.

We met up with Daddy's friends Deep and Virginia, who brought along their kids Maya, 6, and Sai, 3.  I was pretty excited to see a zebra, but it turns out the Waco Zoo doesn't have a zebra. However, they did have a lion that I could get right next too, and boy could he roar.

I also saw giraffes, lots of monkeys and birds, a tiger, antelopes, meerkats, and a rhino.  We also saw an elephant pee and poop - it was quite a sight. That's all us kids were talking about after we left.

Hazel and her friend
Hazel's favorite animal was a jackrabbit that came right up to the glass. She really liked it and didn't want to leave. She also liked this orangutan statue. She liked playing with its hands and when we left the playground area with the statue, she went to it, had a little conversation with it, and said, "Bye, bye monkey! Bye!"

The other neat thing about the zoo was that they had a lot of play areas for kids, including things to climb on and musical instruments. It was a fun trip and we were pretty exhausted from our day at the zoo.  Here are the pictures.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A short but funny story...

Yesterday we went to lunch at a place called Uncle Billy's Barbeque. Mom forgot to pack toys and books for us to play with while we waited for the food, so she gave us menus to look at instead.

She must have forgotten how good I am getting at reading because she absentmindedly handed me the drink menu. I reminded her how good I am getting at reading new words when I asked, "Why does this menu say 'room' on it?"

Dad explained that it said "rum," and that is a grown-up drink.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Animal planet!

For months and months, I was really into the alphabet. I didn't really want anything to do with things unless they had something to do with letters. The good news is, I am getting really good at reading as a result of this.

Anyway, in the past couple weeks I found a new interest -- facts about animals! All day, every day I ask Mom and Dad questions about various animals I have seen in my books. Some of my questions, for example, are what upland sandpipers say, what baby yaks are called, and where xenops live. I am especially excited about birds, including vultures.

We've been using the Internet a lot more than usual to look up facts about animals and probably have a zoo visit in our near future. In the meantime, we have been watching fun documentary videos on YouTube. Here's one of my favorites; it makes me laugh, yell and jump up and down.

Hazel, meanwhile, has been using more and more short (almost) sentences. Today she said, "Read bunny book," and she yells at Peepa a lot, when Peepa tries to mess with her food. Peepa is the only member of our family who has not figured out that it isn't smart to mess with Hazel when she's eating. She is pretty serious about food.

It's been cold and rainy here, plus Mom's been working a lot, so we haven't done much lately other than go to school. Hazel and I went to Leaps n Bounds one afternoon this week, which I was pretty excited about. Hazel went through a rough period where she cried a lot when Mom dropped her off, but she is doing a lot better now.

Otherwise, nothing's new! We're just trying to stay dry and warm.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

When we got back from Atlanta, I was super excited to go back to school. It was so fun to see everyone in my class, and we had a holiday party. Then I learned the party was over, at least for a couple of weeks, because of winter break. It turned out all right though. Mom and Dad had lots of fun plans for us.

The day we left for Atlanta, Dad moved Hazel's crib into my room. I didn't know what that was all about, but it turns out we get to share a room! The first few nights were rough but we have since settled in. Hazel always wants to be with me now; Mom and Dad say she asks for me when I am not around. I like it too. One night at bedtime, I said, “Hazel doesn't have to sleep in her crib.” Mom and Dad asked me where she would sleep, if not in her crib. I said, “My bed.” 

We both have been talking a lot more. I have been making up funny stories and words and I have been thanking people when they make me food. Hazel is putting more words together. She said, “Daddy, good job,” and “Peepa, get it,” when she drops food on the floor.

Last week, Dad went back to Atlanta to spend more time with Papa and Bubbe. Dad flew from the San Antonio airport, and we dropped him off so he could catch his flight. On our way home we made a pit stop at the San Antonio Children's Museum. It was great. We especially liked playing on a life-size airplane, a train, and a room full of bubbles.

When we got home, Mom realized we missed a whole floor of the museum. We wanted to go back with Dad too, so we went back today. We had a great time showing him around, but it was pretty crowded by the time we left. We spent some more time on the airplane and playing with a giant white board with magnetic letters. We also explored the basement, which we missed on our first visit. It was really fun – there were a grocery store and restaurant, where other kids checked us out and waited on us, and a cow we milked. Mom and Dad were pleasantly surprised that we forgot about the messy bubble room. On the way home I announced that I wanted to make dinner and while it was cooking, I would vacuum and watch a little tv. Mom and Dad thought that was awesome, but alas, the plan did not come to fruition. Instead, Hazel and I ran around screaming like banshees.

We also went to the Austin Children's museum a couple of times the past two weeks. Mom and I went one day while Hazel was in school. It was a morning when they are open only for kids three years old and younger, which was nice because it wasn't totally crowded and there weren't many older kids to avoid. The second time, Mom, Hazel and I went. It was the week between Christmas and New Year's, when many grown-ups have vacation, and it was so packed we could barely move. We had fun anyway but will be glad when schedules are back to normal.  

We spent a lot of time with my friend Clark and his family last weekend while Dad was gone. We went to his aunt's house for dinner Christmas Eve, then on Christmas went out for a traditional Jewish Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Clark, his parents, and his other grandparents. We missed Dad but it was lots of fun hanging out with Clark's family so much.

Dad had kind of a hard time coming back from Atlanta. A huge snowstorm on Christmas led to the cancellation and delay of many flights. Then when his plane was about to finally take off, a bag flew into the engine so they had to turn around, get off the airplane, wait for it to be fixed, get back on and wait in a long line again before they could actually leave. We were not sure whether he would end up coming home the day he was supposed to, and Mom explained to me that his plane was broken. I walked around most of the day telling everyone, including a cashier at the grocery store, that Daddy's airplane needed batteries. At one point I told Mom that Daddy broke the airplane. We were all very happy when he finally made it back.

Since my usual school has been closed, I really missed it, so I went to Hazel's school a couple of times. The first time I told Mom I wanted to go and joined right in with my classmates when she dropped me off. The second time I was excited again and when Mom picked me up and asked me if I was ready to go home, I said, “I'm not” and tried to run back to my classroom when we were leaving. Mom and Dad are really proud of how well I did and are glad because I will go to school there when my usual school is closed this summer. Meanwhile, I am excited to go back to my usual classroom this Tuesday.

Since Dad has been home, he had a lighter week than usual at work because of the holidays. We had lots of time on our hands, so we ventured to a mall one day to check out a play area we heard about. It wasn't great, but it was too cold to go to a park that day and it was better than sitting around our house. One thing that we noticed was that a lot of big kids were trying to pick on Hazel. Mom said she is going to send Hazel to her old gym, Bruce's Boxing. We probably won't go back to the mall anytime soon.

Another fun thing we did with Dad this week was celebrate New Year's Eve. We started out with a New Year's wagon ride. We tried to wear our New Year hats but they kept falling off. We also had some curly things to blow on, which were more successful. When we got home, we had a yummy dinner, then had a little party. We listened to Auld Lang Syne, which Hazel and I really liked dancing to, ate blueberries and a cookie, and drank sparkling cranberry cider. It was a blast!

Happy New Year!  Here are pictures from the last few weeks.