Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pictures with LD & Joey

LD & Joey came over on Sunday (mmm, Greek food). We got lots of great pictures.

First, here are some cute pics of LD & Chiara playing. In the first one, Chiara obviously said something funny.


Asher and Joey were playing foam letters and numbers. And some of them were harder than others to find...

And the sticky octopus kept getting stuck on the ceiling so Ash needed a little help to jump really high.

Look, LD & Chiara are wearing their matching Cambridge sweats. And just in time... Chiara is about out of this sleeper.
And finally, Chiara is leaning in this picture but she can sit up for a few seconds.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Siblings

Asher and Chiara absolutely adore each other. He would hug and kiss and snuggle her all day if it was up to him, whether she wanted that or not. Of course, she's pretty enamored with him too. The other day they were playing on her mats and another time on the couch. Here are a whole series of cute pictures of both of them.


Edited to Add (ETA): Rachel wants me to make sure to say that the dress Chiara is wearing in the pictures below is vintage and that she wore it as a baby.





Friday, April 25, 2008

Safe Plastics

Well, in my Earth Day musings, I noted our use of Nalgene bottles as one way that we try to be ecology friendly by not using tons of plastic water bottles. Come to find out that they are not safe. More worrying, many plastics in our homes are not safe.

But there are things we can do. Here is a guide to green plastics and bottles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Recycling

My brother just wrote me referencing my note of a few days ago and our love for Sonic/throwing away Styrofoam cups. Apparently the Austin American Statesman heard my plea and published information on recycling nearly everything including Styrofoam. Thanks, David.

Questions to dread...

So last night was one of Rachel's work nights. Actually more afternoon, I guess. It went well with Chiara sleeping for about an hour and then waking up and wanting to play. So the three of us were sitting on the couch playing. Chiara was sitting in my lap and giggling and kicking and Asher and I were finding countries in his big Atlas to look at the flags. And then he got very serious:

Asher: "Ima?"
Me: "Yes."
Asher: "Can I ask you a question?" This was said with the level of solemnity that made me expect a question like "where do we go when we die?" or "why don't I have a daddy?"
Me: "Sure."
pause
Asher: "Is 52 divisible by 4?"
Me: "Uh, yes."
Asher: "I thought so but I just couldn't remember."
Me: "Yes, 52 is 13 x 4."
Asher: "Ok. Thanks."
Wow, was I prepared for a harder question than that.

Then I told Rachel this story and she said, "oh yeah." Apparently yesterday was the day that they actually had the "why don't I have a daddy conversation" (which we've had before but, heck, he's 4). So maybe I was channeling that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

San Jacinto Day

Happy San Jacinto Day! I have been waiting for a year for the perfect combination of weather, free time, child care, etc. to stain the playscape. It arrived today. I had the day off for San Jacinto day, Rachel was home, and Kathryn even came in the afternoon. Add to that it was in the 80s all day and sunny in the afternoon and you've got a great combination. So I stained the play scape (Rachel did the high roof both because she could reach it and because once I got on that ladder, I wasn't comfortable). Then (at Rachel's suggestion) I stained the deck and table and benches. It all looks great or it will when it's dry.

But everyone who I've told that I had the day off had the same question. What's San Jacinto Day? Well, I'm ashamed to say that after 12 years or more of working for Texas and getting this holiday off every year, I didn't know. But the power of the Internet...

According to The San Jacinto Museum of History "On April 21, 1836, Mexican rule over Texas came to a dramatic close. The climax of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of San Jacinto eventually moved America’s western border to the Pacific Ocean. And its story will move you—to a better understanding of America."

Well, there you go. Your Texas history lesson for the day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend pictures and videos

Well, everyone is growing and trying new things. Not the least of which is Chiara. First are some pictures of her with her whoozit. A new friend or perhaps enemy. S/he gets a lot of animated action from Chiara so I'm not sure which.




Then, I wish I had been able to get the red eye out but I could not. But now I can totally say thanks to Watty who saw this post and fixed the red-eye for us. Thanks, Watty!


Then, here's that video I've been trying to get uploaded of Chiara saying Andrea (I swear).
video

And another video of Chiara rolling back to front. Here she's already gone to her side but she gets the rest of the way over. She's done it another 5-10 times too.

video

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Asher Spraying Kathryn

video Weeks ago, I posted some pictures of Kathryn and Asher playing with the hose. I've only just now had a chance to edit down the video to show what happens when Asher gets a hold of the hose.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Welcome to Avelyn Christine O'Neill

I'm not trying to steal Audrey & Will's thunder but we wanted to say welcome to their daughter: Avelyn Christine O'Neill. Avelyn was born 4/17 at 3:21 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19 3/4 long. Here are a few adorable pictures from the hospital.

Congratulations on your joy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earth Day Musings

Earth Day is next week and I'm starting to see some (much needed) Earth Day propaganda. I started thinking on my way to work today about the efforts we all make (or don't make) to be ecologically friendly.

What are some efforts our family makes?
  • Using cloth diapers
  • Riding the bus - I am back to riding the bus to work 2-3 days a week which not only is good for the ecology, it saves on gas expense and is more relaxing.
  • Green Energy - We just switched our electric provider to Green Mountain Energy which provides wind and water-powered energy.
  • Using Nalgene water bottles and refilling them rather than using bottled water.
  • Eating a Vegetarian diet - Plus fish.
  • Recycling - Even though we have to pay for a recycling bin where we live we opt to pay so that we can recycle our cans, bottles, cardboard, etc. I also take all the paper and cardboard to my work since we can't recycle those through our garbage company.
  • Turning off the home computer at night.
  • Composting
  • Farmers Market - Last week was our first time to go to the Round Rock Farmers Market and I hope to return all summer long.
  • Paperless statements - We're paperless with every company that allows it. Some, like our former electric company, our garbage company, and our water company send a statement every month even though we pay by automatic draft.
  • Using eco-friendly laundry detergent and cleaning products.
  • Reducing junk mail - It's insidious but we fight against junk mail. When I recieve an unsolicited catalog in the mail, I call the company, ask to be removed from their mailing list and ask how they got my name. When I subscribe to a magazine or shop I instruct them not to sell or rent my name and address. And we opt-out of credit card offers.

What are our eco-non-friendly habits?
  • Neither of us drives a hybrid car although we don't drive an SUV either
  • Styrofoam cups - Yes, the culprit here is our family's love for Sonic. We probably use (by which I mean throw-away) 10-12 sonic cups a week. For a short time, my brother thought he had found a place that would recycle them but alas. It was not so.
  • Eco-friendly dry cleaning - I used to use the eco-friendly dry cleaners conveniently located by the grocery store but it has changed hands and is now a regular dry cleaners. There is a new eco-friendly place up on 79 (6 miles from home) but what is the eco-tradeoff? If I take my clothes to a eco-friendly dry cleaners but drive 12 miles round trip to drop off and again to pick up is that better than dropping them by the grocery when I'm there?
  • Putting the thermostat on a timer - I've never been brave enough to tackle that project in spite of folks telling me it's easy.
  • Living in the suburbs.

What changes could we make? What changes could you make?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things you see on errands

I ran by Jiffy Lube yesterday afternoon (for the third time) to try and get my belt replaced (really, another story). This guy was there getting an oil change (or whatever service--I didn't ask). And this wasn't even in the Austin city limits. We were in Round Rock and Williamson County and still, there's a hippie (I seriously don't think he would be offended by that characterization) juggling in the Jiffy Lube parking lot.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Congratulations

Congratulations to our brothers David Serrins and Norman Levine on finishing the MS150 this afternoon. Both David and Norman rode their bicycles over 150 miles from Houston to Austin over two days to raise money for MS. This was David's fourth year and Norman's second. Congratulations to both of you; we're proud of your accomplishment.


Unbridaled cuteness

Wow, everyone is looking cute these days. Rachel got her hair cut and is really happy with it. She says it's the best hair cut she's ever had which is saying something. Here are shots of the front and back. Very cute and easy to handle.

Rachel and Asher comparing smiles.
I wish I could have gotten the red-eye out better on this one.
Chiara comparing her own smile to itself...


And for those of you who want to know what Chiara is up to, she hasn't managed to really roll over yet but she's close. What is she doing? A lot of talking. Here is an example.
video

And you know how some people have that fantasy of rolling in money? Asher obviously fantasizes about rolling in number flashcards.
video

Friday, April 11, 2008

Barrette Torture

Well, I think we all know that one of the benefits of having a baby is that you get to play dress-up. I was working when Rachel walked in and showed off this fantastic hair-do. It's not like we taped a bow to her head. These actually fit on her hair. Tee hee.
And here's a cute picture from the other day with her hugging a burp cloth. I think it's good that she had a close relationship with burp cloths given her propensity for spitting up.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Birthday hats and expressions

Not many kids want to wear a birthday hat but Asher saw one and was like, "hey! A hat!" Plus which anything that goes along with cake and cupcakes works just fine for him.

Did you say something?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bath towel pictures

Here are the aforementioned similar towel pictures. Both are at three months. Asher first and then Chiara.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cuteness

This post has some assorted cute pictures as well as some pictures from our trip to the zoo with the Sullivans.

First, here are a few pictures of Chiara following her shower wearing the embroidered bear (or maybe doggie) blanket from LD & Joey. We have a very similar picture of Asher in a towel I embroidered before he was born and without the difference in hair color, they look even more similar.







Here's the Longhorn flirting and playing.



And here are Asher, Mama, and Chiara singing one of the songs from School house Rock.

Dentist and Zoo
Yesterday was Asher's 4 year old dentist exam. The original plan was that I would take him and Rachel and Chiara would stay home but then it occurred to Rachel and Maggie that since the dentist's office is near the zoo, we could all go there. Asher has a really awesome dentist who seems to really "get" kids and talk to them about whatever they are interested in (also she thought Chiara was beautiful). I also love that when we got there the intake girl (Carol -- hmmm, intake girl sounds like a dubious title) said, "we have Asher scheduled for a cleaning, exam, fluoride treatment, and x-rays but we'll get whatever done we get done and that's ok." Considering that at the time she said it he was seeing if he could slide all the way off the chair like it was a slide at the playground, it seemed quite realistic.

Anyway, then we went to meet the Sullivans at the zoo. We had a great time although going in the afternoon means that most of the animals are sleeping. The only awake large animal was this tiger who was pacing and actually growled at us! Something I love about the Austin Zoo is that you can be so close to the big cats.


If it was up to Asher he would have gone into every cage and hugged every animal. When Rachel asked him what was his favorite part of the zoo, he said getting to go in and pet the goats and sheep and when she asked him his least favorite, he said that all the animals were in cages and he couldn't go in with them. Here's a picture of him hugging a huge goat.



And here are pictures of Asher feeding the spotted deer (you couldn't go in there). Leah and Molly wanted to feed them too but by throwing the food rather than letting the animals eat from their hands. I'm pretty sure that the deer were fine with that.


Oh, the funniest part of our visit was when we were waiting for the Sullivans and wandering near the monkey cages. Two women came by with one of them carrying her little girl who was probably about 2 1/2 or so and the woman was kind of struggling to carry her. She looked at Rachel who had Chiara asleep in the sling and said, "that sure looks uncomfortable." I think it would have been a strange comment either way but given how she was struggling to carry her child, it was quite ironic.


Welcome


And finally, we want to send out a big welcome and congratulations to Kae and Andrew on the arrival of Daniel Ransom Zimmerman 4/1/2008 8 lb. 6 oz. 21 inches long. I'm sure we'll get some pictures on Etherlimits soon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Easter Pictures

Last week we were invited over to the Serrins/Kremer Easter egg hunt and celebration. It was the first year we've gone and I remember that one year we all had colds but I don't remember why we've never been otherwise. It was a really fun morning with Asher and Ezra getting to hunt for Easter eggs. Our hosts had ensured that each child (including Chiara and Joey) had a special item with his/her name on it and Asher's was a fun card game of puzzle monsters. Chiara and Joey got wrist rattles and everyone got a chocolate bunny (to bite the ears off first!).

We forgot our camera but David took some pictures and shared them (thanks, David). Here's one of Joey and Chiara with Christie & Chuck.


Here are the four cousins. Ezra is holding Joey and Asher is holding Chiara. (I think the second picture is a better picture of everyone but you can see Rachel's arm so this one shows that the kids are really holding the babies).

Cutie pie:
Ezra shows Asher some computer games.
We had a wonderful time and great lunch and are so happy to have family to share the day with.