November 01, 2006

Good Bye

It has been fun and interesting sharing Kate's many experiences during her first 3 years of life. However, Ken and I have decided it's time to move on to a more private location. We'll be leaving this blog here, as is, just in case it can help other new parents.

Some of the more frequently sought after posts include:
--The MMR vaccine and a picture of the rash following the shot
--Yellow nose baby
--3D baby ultrasounds

If you're a friend or family member that hasn't been updated on our blog's new location drop me or Ken an email and we'll fill you in.

October 31, 2006

Halloween 2006

For several weeks we've been talking about Halloween. We kept asking Kate what she wanted to dress up as this year. We were pretty certain it was going to be a Disney princess, but we didn't know which one. The minute we walked into the Disney store Kate went over to the Minnie Mouse costumes and picked one out with shoes and ears to match. I made sure she saw all of the princess costumes afterwards, but her mind was made up in seconds. I even had a hard time prying away the items she picked out in order to exchange them for the correct sizes.

With no hurricanes and only hot, muggy weather to burden us this year, we had our Halloween all planned out. There was a costume parade at school in the morning with songs, stories and sugary snacks. Notice how she licked the icing off the cupcakes without taking one bite from the cake part. And later in the evening there was trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with her friend Tyler. She also helped Daddy pass out candy to our Halloween visitors.

Kate absolutely loved being Minnie Mouse. She was so proud of her costume. She even liked the little foam nose I got for her wear. The whole ensemble looked really cute.

As a side note...without any other symptoms Kate told me her ear hurt yesterday. I took her to the doctor a few hours later. Sure enough she had an ear infection. Thank goodness the doctor said she would be fine to particpate in any Halloween activites. I'm not sure anything would've stopped her at this point anyway. In some of the pictures, though, she is looking a bit tired and under weather as compared to her regular cheery, active self.

October 26, 2006

Writing Practice

Kate loves mail. At our daily mailbox trip she asks, "Is there something for me?" I try to keep the mail flowing with DVDs from Netflix and subscriptions to Nick Jr., Sesame Street Magazine and My Big Backyard (we just upgraded from Wild Animal Baby). But nothing compares to a letter or a card. Luckily, Mimi and Omi surprise her from time to time with a card.

Omi has been sending Kate those $.99 Hallmark Warm Wishes cards. Apparently they haven't gone unnoticed because when we were in Walgreens Kate pointed to that card section and said that those were the cards Omi sends to her. Anyway, she decided she wanted to pick out one of her own to send to Omi.

It didn't stop there. She also wanted to do all of the writing in the card. Kate kinda knows how to write her own name, and it gets better and better with each week, both in legibility and her independence to do it. She's still working on other letters and words though. So I wrote "Omi" on a piece of paper for her to see how I write it letter by letter. Then she wrote the it on her card. Omi isn't the hardest word to write, but I still think she did a pretty good job. And she was quite proud of herself. Of course I had to scan it so I could show Ken when he got home from work later in the day.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 09:23 PM

October 24, 2006

Tuesday in the Park with Mimi

For her birthday, Kate got a couple of cool outdoor toys: a Little Mermaid scooter and a pair of Barbie rollerskates. I had promised to take Kate to a park to try them out as soon as we got the chance. Today was a gorgeous day and we were both in the mood for some outdoor play time. We called up Mimi in the morning to see if she wanted to join us as well. Everyone was on board so we packed the car, picked up Mimi and went to a park close to Mimi's house.

Kate got to play on the playground, as well as ride her bicycle, scooter and roller skates. She had tried her scooter around the house but this was the first time she gave her skates a whirl. She did a pretty good job. There were only a few falls, but she found them to be pretty humorous, especially when she tried to get up on her own.

Afterwards we drove to the park's nearby nature center to check out the exhibit and take a narrated ride on a covered boat through the mangroves. Kate had a great time and Mimi did her best to keep up with Kate. We're all going to sleep well tonight!
Posted by Jean-Marie at 10:29 PM

October 14, 2006

Oktoberfest 2006

(Video is in Windows Movie Format.)
Fun with Uncle Kevin at Octoberfest

It's October. Kate's half German. So of course it was high time for her to celebrate Oktoberfest. But instead of the polka and beer, Kate had fun with a hot dog and some rides. She really did have a great time. She especially enjoyed going down that big slide with Uncle Kevin.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 11:55 PM

October 09, 2006

Ode to Daddy

Today I picked Kate up from school and on the bulletin board was Kate's latest work, "Daddy."

I supposed I can see the resemblance if I close one eye, tilt my head and squint with the other eye. Hold on. It does kinda look like this picture of daddy though.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 11:08 PM

October 07, 2006

Happy 3rd Birthday, Kate!

Kate's 3rd Birthday Party
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This year for Kate's birthday we hosted her party at an indoor inflatable extravaganza featuring a bounce house, 2 obstacle courses and a big slide. She loves inflatables, so it was perfect. Kate and her friends got the chance to run, bounce, slide, dance, laugh, play and climb until they were good and worn out. Then, of course, it was time for pizza and cake. You can tell by Kate's disheveled hair and clothes and the food all over her face that she had a great time.

Kate selected Mickey Mouse as her theme. I custom made the invites this year. I printed the images as 4x6 photos at Wal-Mart and affixed them to colored 5x7 craft greeting cards. (This is a general template for the front and the inside ). Since the location wouldn't allow for any hung decorations, there wasn't much decorating to be done. We kept everything to a minimum -- themed balloons, table cloths, plates, cups, etc. And don't forget the Mickey Mouse cake.

For party treats each guest got a Mickey party hat, a blow horn, stickers, a Make A Friend Mickey (that I found online for $3.99 each) and a Mix CD that Ken and I made featuring a variety of Disney party songs as well as Kate's favorite Disney tunes. We played the same CD during the party while the kids were bouncing around in the inflatables. The playlist included: The Unbirthday Song, Following The Leader, It’s a Small World, Yo Ho, Blow The Man Down, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Mickey Mouse March, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, If You’re Happy And You Know It, Row, Row Your Boat, Clubhouse Birthday Party, Winnie The Pooh, JoJo’s Circus Theme Song, Take A Bow, “The Little Einsteins” Theme Song, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme, Mousekedoer, Hot Dog!, The Hokey Pokey, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Wiggly Medley, Wigglemix, Mousercise, Mickey’s Countdown, Under The Sea, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Hakuna Matata, I Love To Laugh, A Spoonful Of Sugar, Happy Birthday To You and Happy, Happy Birthday to You.

After the official party was over Uncle John, Grandpa John, Lisa and Grandpa came back to the house to open gifts. Gifts are a favorite part of the celebration for Kate. She loves to unwrap them and see what's inside. Little by little, though, Kate started to come down from her high. She showed signs of a party girl that had a really exciting, but exhausting, day. Kinda like a day at the Magic Kingdom.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 10:47 PM

October 05, 2006

Gymnastics Class

About 2 months ago Kate joined her friend Ava's gymnastics class. She loves it. I haven't been able to get any pictures because parents aren't allowed in the gymnasium. We can only watch through the glass windows, and glass windows don't make for good pictures.

I did, however, get a few end of class pictures. At the end of each class the kids line up for stamps on their hands and feet. It's very exciting for them to get stamps. Kate loves running out to the waiting room to show off hers. And since this was an end of session class, she was also pretty excited to show off her certificate.

After each class we usually have lunch and a playdate with Ava and her brother. Today we had lunch at Wendy's. Isn't it funny how a greasy ol' fries box can be fun to preschoolers? They have quite the imaginations at this age.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 11:40 PM

September 28, 2006

Little Mermaid Gear

I always wear my tiara when I'm eating my ice cream, don't you?

We're really loving these Little Mermaid accessories from McDs.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 01:35 AM

September 17, 2006

Hello Kitty!

Thank goodness I always have my camera ready for random celebrity spottings. :-)

Posted by Jean-Marie at 03:23 PM

September 07, 2006

Disney's Magical Beginnings

Labor Day Weekend '06 Disney Trip
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Time for another little Disney getaway. Well, it may not have been time just yet but the big reason for this trip was to take advantage of the Magical Beginnings program and the Playhouse Disney concerts at Disney-MGM Studios. The highlight of this trip was watching The Wiggles perform live. Kate just loves them, even if Greg can't ever make any of the live performance we attend. AND we got to see Johnny and the Sprites. We have always enjoyed Johnny and the Sprites on TV, but after seeing them live, we like them even more. That Johnny is a one-man dynamo show.

Both shows made the trip completely worth it. Our biggest disappointment, though, was that neither Wags nor Dorothy (or any of The Wiggles) came out to the audience to get the special bone and roses Kate had for them. (If you've ever seen their shows live or recorded you know that's what they do.) Instead they had "friends" gather up the gifts. I probably should've written Kate's name and address on the back of the tag on Wags' bone. Maybe they would've sent Kate a special thank you or autograph picture or something. Next time I'll definitely remember to give it a try.

After the big Wiggles performance we had lunch reservations for Hollywood & Vine. They updated the dining experience to feature more of a Playhouse Disney theme. The kids get to sing and dance with their favorite characters from JoJo's Circus and Little Einsteins while they eat. We had a blast. Kate really couldn't have had a better time. She was dancing and singing and hugging and kissing. Coupled with The Wiggles show in the morning it was the perfect day.

Another big highlight for Kate this trip was dining with the Disney Princesses at Akershus Restaurant in Epcot's Norway. Kate got to visit with Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I think the food was okay, but it was really all about the princesses.

The other big deal this trip was our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We stayed in a room overlooking the savannah and watched the animals eating, lounging and exercising every morning, noon and night. It was so relaxing and inspiring. It was a very special highlight for our trip.

Unfortunately, our visit to the Animal Kingdom park didn't go quite as well. We pretty much got rained out. They shut down most of the rides at the first sign of lightning, so there was no Mount Everest for Ken and no Kali Rapid River Ride for me and Kate. Kate was really looking forward to River Ride because she was a finally tall enough for one of those big kid rides she gets so excited about. We promised her that it's first on our list for our next trip. We did, however, get to see a few of our favorite Disney friends on the way out of the park.

August 28, 2006

Family Fun Fest

Yesterday we took Kate to the Our Kids World Family Fun Fest at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. We invited great-grandmom Teti (a/k/a grandmom) to join us, as well as grandpa Maier. Although grandpa already had plans for the day he met us for a quick meal at Denny's before the event. And I got a quick picture of the two of them. Grandmom went with us but for whatever reason I never got a picture of her with Kate. Maybe it's because grandmom just wouldn't get in the bounce house like we suggested. She's such a party-pooper. :-)

The family fest is a weekend event specifically hosted for kids 12 and under. They had fun activities, inflatables, characters, storytimes, singalongs and contest. You name it. They had it. And since it was indoors, it was a very good place to be on a rainy Sunday.

Kate particularly enjoyed visiting the The Nicklaus Children's Hospital hands-on area. She put on a medical mask, was weighed and measured (29lbs. and 36"), diapered and fed a baby in an incubator and got a cool finger cast. She had lots of fun.

Making Lemonade

All week Ken had been promising Kate they would make lemonade from scratch over the weekend. And as we all know Friday runs into Saturday and Saturday runs into Sunday and before we know it the weekend is practically over. But a promise is a promise. So after we got home from the Family Fest Ken prepared a "talk show" lemonade demonstration, while I gave Kate her bath. By the time Kate was dressed and ready to make lemonade Ken already had the sugar syrup ready and all but one lemon squeezed. He left that lemon for Kate.

Although it was the quickie approach to making lemonade, Kate really enjoyed the process -- the squeezing, pouring, mixing and, of course, the tasting. The final product tasted a whole lot better than that freshly squeezed lemon juice. Yum. Yum.

I found the "Perfect Lemonade" recipe somewhere online. I don't remember where exactly in order to link or credit it. (sorry) Anyway here it is if you are curious....

Remember the starting proportions - 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of lemon juice.

The secret to perfect lemonade is to start by making sugar syrup, also known as simple sugar. Dissolving the sugar in hot water effectively disperses the sugar in the lemonade, instead of having the sugar sink to the bottom.

In a small saucepan heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved completely. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice. Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add around 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 mintues.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons. Serves 6. Cheers!
Posted by Jean-Marie at 10:26 AM

August 24, 2006

Kate's Flower Girl

Waiting in a doctor's office exam room can be a really painful experience for anyone, let alone a 2 year old. Kate and I try to pass at least some of the time drawing pictures on the paper on the exam room table with the small, restaurant-sized box of crayons I always carry in my purse. I found this latest work of Kate's to be particularly interesting. She said it was a flower and a girl. To me it looks like a character out of a Tim Burton flick. Part Nightmare Before Christmas. Part James and The Giant Peach. Part Corpse Bride. With a little Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands mixed in. Hey! What do I know about art interpretation?

Thank goodness for digital innovations. Not only do I not have to save every one of Kate's creations, but I can also share the smallest and silliest of things with Ken when he's not there to see them for himself.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 05:32 PM

August 08, 2006

Kate and Max at My Jewish Discovery Place

Max is one of Kate's closest buds from camp. He's all boy and that's exactly what Kate loves about him. Now that camp is over we scheduled an impromptu playdate today with Max at the Soref JCC My Jewish Discovery Place Children’s Museum.

Kate's not Jewish, and Max is half, non-practicing Jewish. Max's mom Julia and I thought it might be a fun, different experience to try nonetheless. I don't think either of us would sing the highest praises of this museum or go out of our way to recommend it, but the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves with the variety of activities available to them. I think their favorites included dressing up, playing on the immigration ship, picking oranges at Kibbutz Discovery, shopping at the little market, sorting their market selections at the dinner table and pretending to be doctors at the Hadassah Hospital.

They both look pretty serious in the pictures I took, but sometimes pretend play just requires great focus and attention. :-) They defintely had fun and were very excited to see each other outside of camp.
Posted by Jean-Marie at 12:11 AM