Monday, August 31, 2009

The Sotos Do Science!
Our Day at the Liberty Science Center- Part One

This past Saturday Alex and I decided to get out of the house. Even though Saturday is our designated house cleaning day, we realized that we are not taking advantage of our only day "off" with the kids. So, at first I thought about going to the NJ Children's Museum in Paramus. However, it costs $10.00 per person, including adults and children. It seemed a little steep for what you get. And the reviews online weren't great. So, we thought about the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. It is even more expensive than the Children's Museum, but I thought more worth the price. $15.75 for adults and $11.25 for children.
Here we are waiting on the security check line. Lucia is wondering what the hold up is. Gideon is trying to disguise himself by wearing a finger mustache. He thinks security won't notice.

Daddy waiting patiently.

The museum is definitely geared toward older children, but they do have several areas for the littles.

The first exhibit we went to is called "I Explore". It is meant for children ages 2-5. There is alot going on in a kind of small space.

This was a bin that just had rice, and some measuring cups to play with. Simple, yet effective.

They had this ball machine, and you would turn the cranks to make the balls go where you wanted them to.

These are the balls. That is Lucia there, and Gideon is reaching in to get more balls. Lucia would just take them and throw them.

They had foam building blocks.

Lucia could almost reach them. I didn't really want her to grab them, since whenever she did, they became a chew toy. Wait, chew toys are for dogs, right? Not babies.
Ok, tell me this child is not up to something.

You could "paint' this slate wall with brushes and water. Lucia kept trying to suck the water off the wall.

There are more pictures that I need to upload. So stay tuned for Part Two...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Girl

We all went to IKEA just a few days ago to have a cheap, but tasty dinner, all while giving the kids access to the loads of fun IKEA offers children of all ages. In a play area, Gideon went jumping around with children he just met, in particular this 3 year old boy who enjoyed screaming. And, Gideon joined in on the ear-piercing fun.

Lucia was sitting in the shopping cart seeing all that was going on with the cutest smile on her face, as if saying, "soon, I'll be able to jump around just like my big brother." This same boy playing with Gideon noticed Lucia and must have thought her to be the cutest baby girl he's seen. He proceeded to run towards Lucia yelling and making funny noises that didn't make her laugh, but did force her to crack a smile. She kept looking away, but he would come back again and again, and finally gleeful noises came out of Lucia's mouth.

The whole time, I was sitting on a bench inside the play area holding onto the shopping cart. Everytime the boy approached Lucia, I would unconsciously strengthen my grip on the shopping cart. I knew I was doing it, but didn't know why. I just couldn't seem to help it. When Alexa arrived from getting our food, I told her that I knew what type of Dad I would be when Lucia reached boy-liking age.

Lucia, why must it be an inevitable thing that you grow up. Sigh.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alex and Alexa Go to Rockport

I have been putting off writing this post, because I feel like the second I write it, all memories of Rockport, and our lovely getaway will be a thing of the past. Alex and I used to take lots of road trips when we were sans children, and we very much enjoyed them. But, I don't think there has been a trip that I have enjoyed more. Maybe it was the fact that I could sleep in if I really wanted to, or that I didn't have to change any diapers. Whatever the reason, I highly recommend Rockport as a relaxing change of pace. (it sounds like I am writing a travel review)

When we were first talking about the possibility of going away, Alex kept saying his only criteria was to "do nothing". He wanted to sit and look at nature, preferably a view of the ocean. I didn't have any criteria. Just NOT HOME. I probably would have been happy at the nearest Hilton, just as long as I could get room service.

We wanted to do Cape Cod, but of course being the non-planners that we are, it was pretty expensive and there really wasn't anything available. My co-worker (technically, my boss) Annie suggested Rockport, MA. Her in-laws live there, and she thought we would like it. I Googled it, and behold:

That is picturesque, people.

I emailed every hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast in town. I got back a lot of "sorry, we're booked", but I got one very friendly email back letting me know they had one room available, the Seacrest Manor After getting everyone at my job to vote, we all decided that yes, this was the place. (It wasn't much of a vote, since it was the ONLY choice, but whatever.) I called to book, and was told that they only had a room for Friday night. However, they had a cancellation, so we could have a different room for Saturday, but would need to switch rooms. We thought that was fine, so we booked it. My Facebook status instantly changed and alerted everyone of our plans.

We left Friday morning, and after TONS of traffic, we arrived at the Seacrest Manor, and met our new best friend, Pat. She is the innkeeper, and the loveliest woman in the whole wide world. She had been waiting for us to arrive, and seemed very happy to see us. (I don't mean seemed, as she if was up to something. I am sure she was genuinely happy to see us.)

Here is my darling husband, posing in front of the inn.

Myself, and Pat! Hi, Pat!

Our room for Friday night. This room had no air conditioning, which we were warned about. However, the night was very cool, and the lack of air conditioning did not affect us. I forgot to use the flash in this picture. It also is a lot larger than it appears.

Our room for Saturday night. This room was extra lovely. See the pink thing on the bed? That is my robe. When Alex and I came in from being out, someone had laid it on the bed for me. I had left it out all sloppily, and I came back to find it all genteel and stuff.

The deck! The marvelous deck! The perfect place to sit and do nothing and look at nature with a water view! I think I fulfilled Alex's criteria. I am the fullfiller of criteria!
This is the view from the deck. With a some zoom.

The lovely dining area where we sat, and Pat brought out delicious breakfasts. Like baked French Toast. And vegetable quiche. And eggs with bacon or sausage. And toast with 2 kind of jam. Two kinds of jam! That is really living.

This is what you would get before the hot breakfast. See that cute white dome? That is the secret butter holder. And the little cylinder behind it? One of the jam holders.

Someone asked us to take their picture, and in exchange we asked them to take our picture. Nothing is free, people! Do we look adorable? And matching? We never plan on matching, it just happens.
The Annisquam Lighthouse. It took us forever to find it, because it is actually in a residential neighborhood. The "parking" was adjacent to someone's driveway. It was beautiful, and we usually go looking for lighthouses for my dad's sake.. He loves lighthouses, and I like to bring him a picture of one he hasn't yet seen in person.

A pile o'kayaks. Alex liked the way they looked, so he snapped this picture. I love them. Not enough to go kayaking, but I like the colors.

The lovebirds. Don't we look relaxed and rested? We loved our little getaway, especially staying at the Seacrest Manor. Alex promised me that we would return again. I think it is really important to take a break from your everyday, and just be a couple again. Of course, we missed our babies. I even shed a tear when we left. But we need to recharge, and be a wife and a husband again, not just a mommy and a daddy. We are both feeling better, and although we are back to our busy life, we have been more patient and loving with each other.

Happy Anniversary, Hunnie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crayon Rocks!

Alex and I went on a weekend getaway to celebrate 6 years of being married. I will write a post soon about our trip, and the lovely inn where we stayed. This post is about the souvenir we brought back for Gideon. It would be the first time we brought him anything, since it's the first time we have been away from him for any length of time, and it's the first time he may have noticed.

Gideon loves crayons. He loves to play with them, and have conversations with them. He's all like, "Hi Blue, what are you doing?" and apparently they answer back and tell him about the wonderful day they are having. Gideon also loves rocks. He usually picks up whatever rock he finds outside and also talks to it. I know, he's a little weird. But, he's my weirdo, and I love him.
So, when Alex and I saw this, we knew it would be the perfect gift.Right? Of course right.

He LOVES them.
They are pretty much what you think they are. Rock-shaped crayons. They are all natural, made of soy wax. (I don't know what that is), and are "Designed to strengthen the tripod grip muscles, preparing fingers and hands for handwriting." The woman at the store was very excited about them.
He likes to put them all on the mini canvas bag they came in.

And of course, he has meaningful conversations with them. Probably about why he can't watch They Might Be Giants whenever he wants to.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


As a junior in college, I often walked quickly down a street in Alphabet City in the East Village going to and from my part time job just trying to keep pace with the fast pulse of NYC life. Not wanting to miss my bus and train, I often focused on what was ahead, and maneuvered my way down the sidewalks to arrive at my destination in a timely manner. But one day, after visiting my boss's client somewhere closer to SOHO and making dozens of pitch calls to random journalists about a story they didn't care about, I was fired. It was my birthday and I went through a range of emotions, from immediate anger saying to myself, "how dare he fire me on my birthday." Come to think about it, I don't think he knew it was my birthday.

My next emotion was a little less distinguishable, but life was a puzzlement to me in this phase. I quickly moved on to visible sadness, and adopted a "woe is me" attitude as I aimlessly walked the streets of SOHO and other parts of the city. This time, I was walking at a normal pace, not speedily as everyone around. I was pushed, prodded, bulldozed .... and somehow felt like, whatever, all this being pushed around by people is nothing compared to being fired on what's supposed to be a happy day - my 21st birthday. So, my attitude quickly turned toward rebellion, not in a take over city hall kinda way, but in a "just see if messing with me is a good idea" kinda way. I guess I was challenging everyone and anyone to a fight - at least in my head.

Not so focused on trying to catch the bus before it left me, I ventured off into some unknown streets. I found myself in West Broadway, and then Houston. Along the way, I peeked into an alley, something I wouldn't have time doing if I was employed. It was shadowy, with grey brick laid out on the ground and plastered against all walls, but there, I saw a camera crew with a bunch of beautiful people (I think they were models) standing around seemingly waiting for instructions. I think they were shooting a commercial or something. I didn't stick around to see what they were actually doing. But, right there it was clear to me that amidst an alleyway that was less than inviting, can exist beauty, or hope. And, I wasn't so sad anymore about just losing my job.

So I like alleys, or at least the idea of hope in a dark place. Here are some pics of alleys in Rockport, which as you will see are nothing like the ones in NYC. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mrs. Perky Bird, Storytime Mascot

Storytime Drop-Out

We have baby story time at the library, and Lucia has been signed up all session. Unfortunately, with Alex's hectic work schedule, she has managed to only make it to a few of them. I was able to take some pictures of the very last one. Imagine my shock and dismay, when I told everyone that we would see them next session, and someone said, "But isn't she going to turn ONE in September?". Yes, she is! OMG! That means that she is moving up to the older story time.

I thought this picture was fake at first. Lucia rarely sits and just looks at a book like this.

Miss Annie doing "Twinkle, twinkle". Lucia not paying attention.
Going for Mrs. Perky Bird.

Lucia and her posse.

Gideon is usually a big help with the babies. He sings along very loudly and off-key. He helps hand out the scarves by hogging them all for himself. Apparently all the helping has exhausted him.

The video below just shows a little bit of the "action". Miss Annie wants the kids to play with the scarves, and Gideon is putting his all into it. Lucia is running away, and then she proceeds to block a baby and mom walking. I have to, as usual, apologize.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Down the Shore

One of my mother's birthday requests was that the family spend a day down the shore. With my work schedule and Gideon's swimming lessons, it wasn't the easiest thing to plan, but I have been CRAVING beach. So, this past Saturday, we sat in 2 hour traffic on the Parkway, discovered an alternate route, and finally met up with my parents and sister at Belmar.

First we stopped for some breakfast. Gideon is a "big boy" now, so he rarely needs a high chair. Here he is matching his crayons with the array of artificial sweeteners. Blue is for Equal, red for Sweet&Low, and where is the yellow for Splenda?

He is such a Daddy's boy.

I, of course, sit next to Miss Non-Smiley.

Gideon is a total beach kid. He loves the water, loves the sand. Doesn't care how wet he gets, or how sandy. He spent all day asking me if we were going to go back to the beach.

Giant wave splashed him in the face. AWESOME.

Who didn't think any of it was awesome? You guessed it. Princess Picky. It was too cold and wet. The water was TOUCHING her.

I do love her so. She was most content on the beach towel, sipping a margarita. I kid! Of course.

She was eating her puffs.
Can you stand that hat? I loooove her. However, sand was not allowed to touch her.

I just found this shot funny. We put our kids to work early in the Soto household.

No great day is complete without swinging in the ocean air.