Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread houses

This morning I took my show on the road. I went to Zack’s class and decorated gingerbread houses with them. Zack was so excited to see me come with all the goodies, and his friends were pretty revved up, too. They say quietly on the rug while I set things up and explained how to decorate the houses. Then they took their seats and got to work. The room fell silent except for the occasional “Zachary’s Mommy, do you like mine?”, immediately followed by several others saying “And mine?” “And mine?” “And mine, too?”  It was a lot of fun, and the kids all seemed to have a great time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's all about framing

After I picked up Zack last night, we went to CVS. It was pretty clear that things were going to go downhill quickly: "I want to look at the toys." "I don't want to stand in line." "I don't want to eat dinner. I just want cookies." It is the latter that he fixated on while standing in line at the pharmacy, complete with "I don't like when you say No, Mommy. Say Yes. Say it.  SAY IT!"

Somehow we made it out without a major blowup. But it was pretty clear it wasn't going to get any better, especially when we got to the car and, tears in his eyes, said he didn't want to get in the car and go home. We were in front of Starbucks, so I asked him if he wanted to get "coffee," to which he tearily said yes.

We went in, he cheerfully selected a milk and a box of food. /we sat down and he INHALED his food--an egg, cheese, grapes, apple,peanut butter. We had a lovely time.

As we were getting back in the car, I told him that we could go home and get a cookie because he'd been so good.

"But I don't want dinner."

"No, of course not, you ate already."

I wish I could have caught the look on his face--a moment to process what I'd said, followed by a huge grin, a sheepish chuckle, and a damn-how'd-she-do-that? expression.  Absolutely priceless.  

Monday, December 05, 2011

My latest Google search

"How to get crayon out of my dryer"

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another good day on the trail

 It was a gorgeous weekend here, so Zack and I took advantage of it and went hiking on the trail, but on the other side of the creek. Just to mix it up a little.

This ended up being a good thing, as in the first 5 minutes of our hike we saw a snake. Well, Georgia spotted it first. It was just a harmless brown snake, taking advantage of the Indian Summer.

 Of course, after seeing this snake, Zack wanted to find more snakes. I told him that in the 10 years I'd been walking this trail, I'd never seen a snake before, so I wasn't too sure that we'd see another one and perhaps we should look for other things. He thought for a moment and decided that he'd like to look for "frogs, fish, and sharks." He also claimed to see crocodiles in the creek.

If he was disappointed in not finding any other wildlife, it didn't show. He quite happily played in the water for awhile, fishing digging, and exploring. He's quite a good hiker; this side of the trail is hillier and a bit rockier, but it was no problem for him. He was rather proud of himself for walking on rocks to cross a little rivulet. I love watching him exploring and taking in the world.

And what is it about a pile of leaves that draws kids in like a moth to a flame? With no prompts from us whatsoever, he dove in and must have been running, jumping, and swimming in this pile for a good hour.

So if you're looking for Christmas gift suggestions for him, just box up some leaves and send them our way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Note that he isn't doing this in our yard. Oh no. He'd rather go help Cessy.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Some belated pictures from Rob's and my trip to Milan. We had a lovely time, particularly since we knew that Zack was having a great time with Grandma and Papa back home. I'm pretty sure we missed him far more than he missed us

This first picture is from the Duomo, the third largest cathedral in the world. The irony here is that I wasn't allowed in the first day we tried to visit inside because my shoulders weren't covered---but there are fashion posters hanging on the outside.

This is the outside of the aquarium. We didn't go inside, but the outside is a lovely art deco building with lots of animals all over it.
Rob popping out of a lovely outdoor market.

A view of the Duomo from the new modern art museum. The swirly lines are part of an art installation reflected in the glass.



A very belated Halloween post. Zack wanted to be a skeleton for Halloween, so Rob went to work while I was away on a business trip. I knew it was going to be a great costume, but I was really blown away when I came home to see this. What you can't see in these pictures is that it also glows in the dark.

Zack really loved his costume and proudly told everyone that his Daddy made it for him.

The pumpkins were done by Rob and by Uncle Geoff, who had mentioned early in October that he thought he'd like to try his hand at jack o'lanterns this year.

Zack LOVED Halloween this year. He was so into the ghosts and monsters and skeletons and pumpkins and witches. He loved trick or treating--he went out with Rob while I manned the homefront. They ended up getting together with neighbors while trick or treating and Zack got a huge kick out of "tricking" me when he rang the doorbell with his two friends.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The face of tolerance

We have totally lucked out with Georgia--she is so very tolerant of Zack and his shenanigans. She's only protested her treatment two or three times. And believe me, it was warranted protest and was done very gently. Regardless of having to put up with this boisterous boy of ours, she's clearly attached to him. She sits for Zack, takes treats ever so gently from him, and sleeps in his bed nearly every night.

What I was surprised at was how Zack is behaving a bit as if he has sibling rivalry with Georgia. Little whacks here, squeezes that are a bit too tight there. Followed by a very gentle hug, kiss, and an "I love you, Georgia" 10 minutes later. And a reminder that we have to take her for a walk/feed her/let her out. This sibling rivalry, combined with other rascally behavior he has been exhibiting lately (more on that in another post), is enough to drive us slightly batty.

At least he's cute.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And this is the pit.

Why yes, that WAS our backyard and garden. And yes, Dad, they did go through the flagstone walk you just put in (though they pulled up the stones first). And yes, that is as much of our backyard as it looks like--probably more.

And yes, it is raining today, so the workers won't be here and all this will drag on even longer.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There is large construction equipment in our yard.

And also a big pit with an accompanying large pile of dirt.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I thought I'd downloaded Halloween pictures, but I seem not to have. Those will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some pictures of the activity that Zack and I have taken up on the weekends: hiking. We take Georgia over to the Northwest Branch Trail near our house and spend some time outside. This past weekend had the added benefit of being a beautiful autumn day. There's lots to explore for both humans and canines alike. Zack always manages to find the biggest leaves that have fallen, while Georgia is more interested in chipmunks and other dogs. This past weekend had the added benefit of being a beautiful autumn day, and Zack wanted to do some exploring by the water. He didn't manage to fill in the creek, but got a pretty good start on it.

Zack continues to be a cheerful and funny and a joy to be with--when he isn't being possessed by a demon who blatantly ignores his parents, does the exact opposite of what he's been asked, and openly searches for things to get into, break, and harm himself with. In an interesting juxtaposition, he is also becoming increasingly aware that other people have some sort of opinion of him, an opinion that may be different than how he sees himself. This realization has resulted him being much shier in unfamiliar situations and with unfamiliar people. He'll often warm up, but not always. Rob and I find ourselves aching for him in these situations. Despite being a very shy child myself, I have trouble figuring out how to help him negotiate these times when he's unsure. That said, I don't think he's nearly as shy as I ever was, thankfully.

The other interesting consequence of his realization that others have different opinions than him is that he's started....let's say "fabricating reality." I don't want to say he's lying because I'm not sure it's quite as sophisticated as that (though Rob might disagree). So for example, he tried pulling something off the counter the other night and it fell and broke. Now when we ask him about it, he says that it fell off the counter all by itself. Or he'll tell us that he didn't have a vitamin yet when he definitely has had one. Or he'll tell me that Rob said that he could have X, Y, or Z, when I've just heard Rob say the exact opposite. We're not quite sure how to deal with this because when he's questioned about it, it's as if he really believes his version of events.

So long story short, he's still keeping us on our toes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Heading home

I miss these guys. I'm getting on a plane in a few minutes to head back to them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Scene: Zack is tucked into bed last night, Georgia is curled up at his feet, and I'm lying next to his bed. To truly get the feel for this conversation, you have to know that Zack pronounces Georgia like Zhorzhia.

Zack: What is Georgia eating?
Me: (already half asleep) Nothing, she's just cleaning herself.

Zack sits up to see for himself.

Z: Mommy! She's eating fox!

I bolt upright and sure enough, she's got Zack's stuffed fox between her paws and it's damp. I take it away from her, I say something about how we're going to have to keep an eye on his animals, we lie back down, and all is quiet for a minute.

Until Zack says, very seriously...

"You give Georgia a time out, Mommy? I don't like her eating fox."

Monday, October 24, 2011

A boy and his dog

I think they might be buddies.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


...we're not dog-sitting this one. Meet Georgia. Seeing Zack's reaction when she first took a biscuit from his hand? Priceless. 

Friday, October 21, 2011


We've been dogsitting the sweetest dog this week, Sam. Zack might be just a little bit in love.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

Zack often talks in his sleep and last night was no exception. Sometime very early this morningHe very emphatically said "I love you, Nonno. And then went back to sleep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the Day (live version)

Quote of the day

As we were running errands yesterday, Zack came up with this one, out of the blue:
Mama Mia,
Where's my tortilla?
In my tuumm-my.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mish mash

So this post will be a mish mash. A combination of catching up from our trip to Milan, and some chatter about our boy.

Italy was lovely---the food, the wine, the weather, the gelato, the people. It was great to get away, and it was wonderful for me to finally get to Italy, since Rob talks so highly of it.

We did a lot. We saw a lot of churches (there are a few of those in Italy), including the Duomo, the 4th largest in the world. We went up onto the roof of that church and had a great view of Milan. What is astounding about all of the churches and many of the buildings is all the work, the hand labor, that went into building them. From the stonework inside and out to the painting of the interiors. And it was done so many centuries ago, often before America was even "discovered." Just astounding.

We did some shopping. Milan is all about fashion---from the designer stores, to the women walking around that look like (and might well be) models. We mostly looked, which was fun in and of itself.

We also went to museums and walked around a lot. It was perfect weather for that. We ate lots of good food---proscuitto and other salumi, gelato and granita, bread and olive oil, homemade pastas. Most restaurants are set up to take advantage of the lovely weather, so most of our meals were eaten outside. This also allowed for great people-watching opportunities.

Three of the evenings we were hosted for dinner by the Italian clients that Rob and his colleagues were in Milan to meet. The hospitality! It involved many courses of food, many bottles of wine and prosecco, and many hours. One night we went to the oldest restaurant in Milan, where Rob's client was obviously very well known. I've never had service like we had that night. While the attention was flattering, we Americans were all glad that we only had three nights of this---Italian hospitality takes some getting used to!

But it's also what was so impressive---how friendly and open everyone was. For example, after I was chastised by the elder caretaker of a church for taking pictures, he softened it by telling us about the history of the church, some of its architectural features, and about the important paintings that were in the church. He was obviously very proud of it. And did I mention that he did all this without speaking a speck of English? He really wanted to connect with us and he managed to.

It's funny--Rob and I were very excited to get away and get some time to ourselves, but we really missed our liitle guy! Our babysitters...I mean, Grandma and Papa don't really have to worry about us ever being gone for more than a week. We just miss him too much to go away for longer than that. Luckily, it seemed like we missed him a lot more than he missed us. Papa sent us daily email reports on how things were going, and while Zack would talk about us, he didn't seem to be very bothered that we were gone. By all accounts, he was better for Grandma and Papa than he usually is for us! He had a wonderful time the week we were gone, and I hope the same can be said for Grandma and Papa.

Pictures were taken in Italy, and I will hopefully get a chance to consolidate them this weekend. 


Since I see Zack every day (except when we're off galavanting in Italy), I take it for granted how much he's like both Rob and me. I forget that at first glance many people think that he looks more like me. I was reminded of this lately in a conversation with a friend whose son is in Zack's class. Just to keep his similarity to his father fresh in everyone's mind, I need to share with you these pictures that they took last night as Zack was (supposed to be) getting ready for bed.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A continuing conversation

The other day he was climbing into Rob's car. He stopped as he was kneeling backwards in his car seat, looking at the back of the car. I could hear the gears turning. He asked me about the back and then he said,

"My little dog could sit back there.........My BIG dog could sit back there."

And he turned around and sat down with a very satisfied look on his face.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

An observation

Zack: "I have to make noise."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A conversation

Zack:  We're going to get a dog soon.
Me: Ohhh? Who told you that?
Zack: I did.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slacking off

I know, I know, I've been a total slacker about posting. And it won't get better anytime soon since Rob and I are jetting off to Italy next week.

While you're waiting for me to get my act together, enjoy this picture of Zack and his buddy Sebastian, taken last night at our favorite pizza place. It was a lot of fun watching these two imps interact during dinner.

Until later, ciao!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Zack is trying to knock down a 50 foot oak tree by throwing acorns at it. He is convinced this is possible.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacation, Part 2.1

And this is a few minutes later. I'll spare you the pain and agony and hystrionics that occurred when we tried to move him into his bed. Suffice it to say that there was much screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vacation, Part 2

The result of a couple hours at the beach and a couple hours in the pool topped off with some pizza.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vacation, part 1

It's rained for two solid days. A lovely rain, really, but not conducive to the beach. We went to the aquarium yesterday, which was quite fun. Today we just kind of hung out.

Under the wildly-remarkable-news category, Zack tried and liked both steamers and lobster. Woo hoo!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Another first

We took Zack to see his first movie in the theater today--Cars 2. He did a great job and really enjoyed himself.

The movie was not the highlight of the day, however. That came when it started pouring after the movie and he got to run around in the rain. Figures.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More serious business

He painted his treasure box today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Strawberry gelatto...

...is serious business.

Zack and I went to our favorite pizza place tonight since Rob is (wait for it--it's a shocker.) out of town for the week. We sat at Zack's favorite table, from which we can see the train tracks, the fire station, and the guys throwing the pizza crusts. This is also called 3-year-old heaven. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Pretty darned well, thank you very kindly! Our efforts to enrich our horrible soil seem to be paying off. We've picked quite a few cherry tomatoes already---Zack is learning when they're ready and when they need another day. We've picked a number of squash already and are waiting for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

I learned last year that I have to grow basil in pots to thwart the slugs. That strategy is definitely paying off this year as I've already been able to harvest an armful each of Thai and Genovese basil for the freezer, and after looking last night, I think I could do it again.

The flowers are doing so well, too. Last year I helped our neighbor cut back the (formerly) huge bushes along our fence, leading to far more sunlight for our flowerbeds. What a difference! It feels like things are finally coming together.

Zack loves to help water, pull weeds from the patio, watch the bees and butterflies, and just generally be outside with us. We try to be outside as much as possible, but the gnats have been horrible, the mosquitos are horrible, and the heat has been oppressive. There seems to be a break in the heat this weekend, so it looks like we'll be back out there again!