Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas

Once again, it was just the three of us and our cat, Xander. The day before Christmas it rained and we mostly stayed inside. Except when we ventured out to the Barnes&Noble to use my 25% off coupon (yeah, my pile of books waiting to be read is growing). And we stopped by the Blockbuster and rented a whole bunch of movies - Bourne Supremacy, The Simpsons, Ocean's Thirteen, and Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End. All - 2-day rentals. It's a good thing Blockbuster relaxed their late-fee policy somewhat - no way we could watch all these in 2 days.

On Christmas morning we opened Mark's gifts first. He got a big toy piggy bank from his great Grandma Phyllis. Now, her gift was carefully wrapped in pretty wrapping paper and had a little red bow on top. This being Mark's first X-mas, he thought that he was supposed to play with the wrapper and the bow and, happy and easy-going child that he is, he was only too happy to oblige. As a matter of fact, he was so distracted by the red bow, that it took us a while to get his attention to a gift our neighbors got him - a Build-A-Bear teddy bear. The teddy even came with its own birth certificate and that's how we found out that it was exactly 10 months younger than Mark. Still no name for the little bear, so we're open to suggestions.






I got Chris a cezva for making Turkish coffee, an old-style coffee grinder that really powders the beans, and half a pound of Columbian Supremo. On a picture it looks like some funky stuff, but I assure you, it's perfectly harmless and totally 100% coffee related. And Chris got me 3 gifts. One of those he gave me last week 'cause he just couldn't keep a secret. It was a box of locally-made chocolates - yummy! The second gift was a book from my Amazon wish-list. It's only the end of day 2, but I'm almost done with the book - it's THAT GOOD! And finally, Chris got me a really nice yoga mat (I'm sitting on it in this picture) and it was my favorite color - blue and green. Now I just need to find time to do yoga.

Xander got a gift of our love and also a new box. He loves all boxes and bags - gets into every single one of them. So this time he squeezed himself inside the Build-A-Bear house and looked out of its window on us opening our gifts. And what about our gift for Mark? Yes, we did get him a really nice gift. But we decided to save it until the New Year's since he now has a lot of new things anyway. So we're going to keep our gift a secret just a little while longer. But it's something really awesome!


Mark's been kinda cranky lately (can't tell by this picture). Might have something to do with him teething again. Yes, his 6th tooth pocked through 2 days ago. So, armed with all those new sharp teeth, Mark munches on Cheerios and apples and bananas and even hard cookies. He loves finger foods! Of course, most end up not in his mouth, but all over the floor and on his clothes. We have to change his outfits after each meal, seems like. And a bib provides very little protection against a spoon-full of Organic Pasta Primavera.


Mazltov, Mark now travels around the house. He doesn't crawl nor does he walk. But he bounces on his butt in the funniest way. In the past few days he really perfected the technique. He's a Grease Lightning of butt-scooting. And because he travels so much now, he gets into all the places that were out of reach before - cat's water bowl, kitchen cabinets, file drawers, magazine files, you name it. So we did some urgent baby-proofing. He's also getting better at standing and taking little steps. And he tries to dance a bit. One of his interactive toys plays an alphabet song and Mark wiggles his butt and bounces on his feet when he hears it. Other times he moves his hands up and down along with the music. Oh, an a huge news today - he waved "bye-bye" to me when Chris was taking him on a walk! How cool is that?!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Do I Do At Work (Happy Holidays)

As a Translation Project Manager and a Vendor Manager I get asked this a lot - what is it that I do at work. Ok, ok, so not that many people ask this exact question. Most assume that I translate stuff. Bzzz, wrong! I have a very tough job though (even though I work from home). Why? Well, here's a little insight into our typical day at the office: FOLLOW THIS LINK.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scooting Around

Today Mark got a booster shot of the flu vaccine and, as a reward, a cool Spider Man bandaid. Getting a shot in left thigh first thing in the morning is not very pleasant. So it might explain Mark's crankiness for the rest of the day. Or maybe it's because he has to be dressed in his Buzz Aldrin suit every time we have to get out of the door since it's so cold now. And Mark simply hates getting dressed. But he looks so cute in his little space suite outfit; it simply can't be helped - all the compliments and cooing he's been getting.

Big development here - Mark is a very proficient now at scooting around on his butt. He started a few days ago and at first only moved a foot or two. Now he travels all around the kitchen, cruising from cabinet to cabinet to the fridge to dinner table to Xan's food and even as far as the living room. Laundry closet fascinates him the most since it has a front-loading washer. But for now it's off-limits since we still have to baby-proof it. Mark is very curious about things now - he tries to open every door and drawer he chances upon and take things out and bang them against each other and against the floor. He's been making new sounds - "baba", "eto", "schto to", "toytoy". Unfamiliar things call for "schto-to"; familiar objects - a mix of "schto to" and "toytoy". Every light fixture is a cause for excitement - we love lamps and lights!

Of course, there've been some accidents with all this crawling around - a couple of falls here and there. Also, as he learns to scoot more efficiently, he becomes more ambivalent about walking. Now instead of trying to take steps towards a toy or a book, Mark prefers to plop down on his butt and scoot to it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

10 Months and 1 Day

That's how old Mark is today! He's about 19 lbs and 27 inches now. He still doesn't crawl which is probably a good thing since our house is totally not baby-proofed. But not crawling doesn't mean sitting in one place. Mark can scoot on his butt, push and pull with his hands, wiggle on his belly and roll around. He also stands really well now, holding onto things and people. He can also stand all by himself for about a second or two. And even though he hasn't managed to pull himself up to standing yet, he does plenty of trying. He loves to stand and reach for things!




There are a couple of new toys, like a musical ball and an activity table, that keep him busy with music, lights and sounds. Old toys are good too, especially the ones that make lots of noise when thrown around. But anything and everything can be a toy now - an empty shoe box, a table leg, a stainless steel bowl and a set of measuring cups. A flashlight is a particularly fascinating toy - trying to catch that little light is plenty of fun. Mark also plays ball very well (he's been doing it for over a month now). We have a couple of ball games. One is the baby soccer - Chris holds Mark up and I roll the ball and Mark (with Chris's help) kicks it with both feet. Another ball game is just rolling the ball back and forth.



Finger food rules! Finally Mark went from chocking on the smallest mushiest piece of banana to feeding himself bananas, cooked carrots, cheese and of course, Cheerios. Most of it ends up on the floor or in his high-chair. But some does make it to his mouth. And solid foods are more fun this month too. They are lots chunkier. Also, he eats pieces of cooked meat and chicken, pasta, rice, and tiny amounts of regular foods, even ice-cream. He eats pretty much everything and he makes the funniest faces when he tries new food! And oh boy does it get messy - basically we have to change his outfits and clean half the kitchen when he's done!

Lost of new sounds now. Mostly dadas and nanas. Occassional nadas and daydays. Then there's "vvvvvv" sound and various gurgling and slurping noises with a "ma" and a "ra" thrown in for good measure. Also, when he "reads" through his board books, he makes different noises and "words" for different pictures - sounds like he's talking in some crazy foreign language. He's also very vocal about his wants. If something is not right - a toy is taken away or we read newspaper instead of playing with him - he loudly objects. Mark also knows the word "no" (in two languages). Most of the time when he hears a "no", he gives us a sly grin and a little giggle, waits a second, and then tries the same mischief just to see our reaction.

Mark's hair is getting very long now. It's not red anymore and is actually getting lighter and lighter. Looks funny - dark and reddish ends and blond roots. Still doesn't sleep through the night. And still sleeps in his bed only part of the night. But that's ok since Mark is a very snuggly little baby. That's except when he decides to wake up at 5:30am.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hanukkah

video



Today is the 7th night of Hanukkah. Mark is asleep and all is quiet. Every night this week Chris reads him a little story from Mark's first Hanukkah book. One story was about latkes and miracles. Another one was about space aliens. Tonight's one is about a parrot named "Dreidel". Also, we decorated a small potted rosemary plant and put blue and white garlands around our kitchen light. And yesterday, while my parents were here, Mom and I cooked some traditional Hanukkah food - a brisket, a kugel, and some fried sweet doughnuts (although they weren't really doughnuts, but pirozhki). And of course, we light a menorah every evening. The only thing we don't have this year is a little dreidel for Mark. It's really hard to find it in Raleigh, NC. Plus Mark is really too little yet. But next year, sure thing, dude!


So yeah, my parents were here this weekend. As usual it was a lot of fun and a lot of food. Mostly the food that they brought from NY. Yet again I failed to pursuade them that yes, Raleigh is the land of plenty and that no, we're not starving ourselves. Fortunately, the weather was really nice - in the 70's - the entire weekend and we went on long walks. Like today Chris and I and Mark walked all around the lake to burn some of the food calories off. And then we went for some ice-cream, hehe. Yesterday we also went to the lake. But also I took parents to the flea market. I love our flea market - there's so much stuff there. Dad didn't care much for it though since a) they don't sell any cheap airplanes there and b) as he put it "it was all mostly junk". But hey, isn't that the whole point of a flea-market?


I almost forgot about last Friday though. Guess what?! I got to see Rachel Ray and she even signed a book for me and Chris. She was doing book signing at our local B&N. Chris went there early on Friday morning to get a ticket (since it was a free signing, but they limited the number of people to "only" 350). Rachel Ray was to arrive at 7pm. We went to the store at 6:30 only to find out that since my ticket was #331, it'd take at least a couple of hours. So we went home for a while. Finally, around 9:30pm Mom and I went back to the store leaving Mark and Chris at home. It was absolutely crazy! We were actually next to the last people in line, so we didn't get to Rachel Ray until about 11pm. But as a reward, I got not only a personalized and autographed book of hers, but a picture with her as well.




Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Weekend

Wew, the holiday season is upon us. It all started last Thursday with the International Turkey Day, aka the Thanksgiving. Last year it was just Chris and I. This year, we had Mark and also my brother, Arkadiy, came down from New York. Also, this year the T-day fell right on his B-day - a double whammy that called for double the food, at least in my mind. So we went grocery shopping and got this 15-lb grain-fed, free-range, hormone-free turkey and a bunch of other stuff from the Whole Foods.

This year I made Dried Plums and Rosemary Roasted Turkey, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, double-baked sweet potatoes, ginger-flavored green beans, mushroom and cerely stuffing, and ginger and pear muffins. And Chris baked two loaves of bread - zuccinni and pumpkin and a pear and cranberry pie. And of course, I made a big bowl of Chris's favorite salad (the one with Jello and mini marshmellows).

We decided to have a dinner instead of a more traditional lunch. So we had a lot of time in the morning to wake up and get ready, cook all the food, and go on a walk around Lake Crabtree and collect pretty leaves. Mark really enjoyed the walk. We found tons of leaves, some of which I kept to decorate the table with and some - gave to Mark to play with.


So the dinner was ready and the table was set. Then we proceeded to stuff ourselves silly with all the food. Here we are, pigging out... We had to take a break before eating the pie 'cause we were so full. And then we went back to our Thanksgiving duty of eating... And of course, we sang a Happy B-Day song for my brother. We didn't have birthday candles, so we gave him a lighter to hold and then made sure to take our time singing, hehe. All in all, it was great!



Mark also got some holiday food. We gave him small pieces of turkey and some mashed potatoes and some sweet potatoes. He especially liked the mashed potatoes - got them all over himself. That's what he does with the food that he likes very much. And he likes a lot of different kinds of foods. So meal times are pretty much always followed by bath times. Check out Mark's new bath robe! Doesn't he look totally cool?






The next day it was very-very cold, but still sunny. Chris had to do tons of homework and Arkadiy and I took Mark on a walk around the lake. Mark had to wear his "Buzz Aldrin" space suit. Other than it being cold, it was a fine day - sunny and calm. Also, since most people were either shopping or eating left-overs, the trail around the lake was almost empty. And, more importantly, there were plenty of empty rocking chairs at the boat house for after the walk. And the birds - ducks and geese - were close to the little sandy beach, waiting to be fed.




It was a tough weekend for our cat, Xander. For some reason he is very scared of Arkadiy. I mean, the very second my brother walked through the front door, Xander started hissing and growling. Then he ran upstairs and stayed there for 2 days. He wouldn't even come down to eat or drink and Chris had to bring him downstairs to the kitchen at night. I mean, Xander never really liked Arkadiy, but this time it was really ridiculous. What the heck? Today was absolutely dreadful. We tried going on walk even though it was very cold. But less than 5 minutes into our walk it started to rain and we went back to the car. So we stayed in the house, Mark - playing, Arkadiy - on Internet, Chris - studying, and I - doing stuff around the house. Then, after Arkadiy left, we went to a mall for a walk and then - to Ben&Jerry's, of all places, for some Chocolate Therapy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Big News

1. Mark's now got 5 teeth!!! Yes, the 3rd tooth poked out just as we were leaving for Greenville. The 4th one - literally a couple of days later, as we were heading home to Raleigh. And today we got another tooth! This little baby is like a little alligator now! Mark, the Shark!

2. Mark plays with the wire labyrinth and guides little wooden beads along the wires. Why is it so exciting? First of all, it's really cute to see him figuring things out. Second, it's amazing how his little hands and fingers get more and more capable. Just a few months ago he had hard time holding a toy! As a side note here - he reaches for 2 toys at once now. They don't even have to lay terribly close to each other. He grabs both and plays with them (usually smacks them together).

3. Mark is learning to stand! This is probably the most exciting news of them all. Yes, he still doesn't crawl. But he stands! Today he progressed far enough in his standing that he can now stand for a few seconds grabbing onto something like a crib rail and without our support. With our support he can stand for a few minutes at a time! He seems to really like standing.

In miscelaneous news about Mark, he absolutely hates getting dressed. If he sees that we're planning on putting some clothes on him, he starts crying and tries to wiggle his way out of it. Undressing - this he likes. Also, he started getting quite an appetite for solid foods. He still doesn't eat much in one sitting. But he eats solids 3-4 times a day now, a little bit at a time. And he seems to like most of it - yogurt, baby cereal, fruits, cottage cheese, even some squash and mashed potatoes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Trip to Greenville, SC


Earlier this week we went to Greenville, SC. It was a business trip for me and Chris and Mark provided "life support" - relaxed (mostly) atmosphere and good company after stressful times in the office. The main purpose of my trip to the ForeignTranslations office was... well, to meet everyone face to face; to present my research project to the boss; and to help him get the company through operations audit required by one of our potential clients.



We stayed at the Hyatt right in the center of Greenville. The hotel was pretty big and rather nice. More importantly, it was right across the street from my office, so I shuttle back and forth between work and feeding Mark. The first evening in Greenville, after checking into the hotel, I took Mark on a little stroll around the Main St. Greenville has probably the most pleasant Main Street I've ever seen. It has a good mix of restored old buildings and some nice new ones. There are dozens of good food places, small stores, galleries, etc. There are also some businesses and the city government. And they even managed to find space for a great terraced park complete with a waterfall and a one-of-a-kind bridge! The side-walks are wide and lined with trees. Most cafes have outdoor sitting. It's all very relaxing, safe, and inviting. That first night we stopped by the Sticky Fingers, a BBQ place, for dinner. The food was excellent and I totally pigged out.

The next day I dressed in my most professional-looking outfit (the only one of that kind) and went to the office. After a short "meet and great" we had to go through a photo-session - our mug shots are going to be on a new company website. Boy, do I hate these things! Then I had to hurry back to the hotel to feed Mark. And that's when things started going wrong - I got stuck in an elevator! The company office is on the 2nd floor; so I felt silly taking an elevator and instead opted for the stairs. Little did I know, the stairs did not have an exit on the first floor, but only in the basement. Worse yet, the exit door locked right behind me when I stepped into the basement. The only other exit I saw was one to the loading/unloading area in the back of the building. I ignored it for now and instead decided to try a service elevator. I got in, the doors closed, I pushed the 1st floor button - nothing! The damn elevator wasn't moving. Ok, I pushed the "Doors Open" button... Nothing!!! And I had no cell phone on me. I could be sitting there in the stupid service elevator the entire day and nobody would find me! I pushed the alarm button and heard a distant buzzer. But I suppose the service elevator wasn't important enough to be monitored. After a few minutes of shear panic, I started banging on the doors, screaming for help. Nothing!!!! Completely loosing it, I accidentally pushed "Open Doors" button on another panel (there were a total of 4 panels of which 2 didn't work). Finally, the doors opened and I ran out and into the loading/unloading dock. Sure, I had to walk around the building, but it was such a minor inconvenience. Plus I really needed the fresh area.

The rest of the day was just more work. And a business lunch on the top floor of the office building, in the private business club. It was very fancy! I relaxed enough that the elevator story started to seem funny.

In the evening we were supposed to drive to a company dinner at the Romano Macaroni & Grill. So Chris and I and Mark got into the car and... had a flat tire when we were far enough from the hotel, but not at the restaurant yet... So instead of a dinner, we spent 90 minutes waiting for a AAA guy to show up and put a "doughnut" on. Let me tell you - good thing we had some toys and diapers in the car with us.



The next day I had to be at work even earlier to get through an audit. It went very well; better, in fact, than we expected. Afterwards I was free to go and check out of the hotel. But first I fed Mark and we all took a short nap. Then we checked out, loaded the car, and had some lunch at an Asian cafe (yummy; much better than the usual Chinese take-out). And finally we drove home.

Friday, November 09, 2007

9 Months - Playing Ball, Reading Books and Getting Around (sort of)


Mark is 9 months old today! Here's his reaction to the news (above).

What does he like? Well, he likes my laptop and tries to get to it whenever he can. He also likes all sorts of books and magazines, but we only let him read his own books for now. He also likes playing ball with his Daddy and both are getting really good at it. Also Mark loves bath time - so much so that he actually cries real hard when it's over. He likes falling asleep next to both of us; usually he snuggles close to Chris's hairy chest for comfort and warmth. And he likes to play "tickle-bees" before bedtime. He loves when people pay attention to him.
What doesn't he like? He doesn't like when we try to make him crawl. He absolutely HATES getting dressed. He doesn't like spending too much time playing with any one of his toys. He doesn't like car rides when it's dark (I guess he gets bored). He really-really doesn't like when his meals are late. And he doesn't like when I work too much. He doesn't like when strangers try to grab him, pinch him, tickle him, or otherwise get too close to him.
Here's a video of Mark playing ball with Chris and moving around... sort of.


video video

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Another Tooth!

Mark the Shark has 3 teeth now. Yes, the top front left tooth finally popped out and it's a big one. So we're going to take all the money out of our piggy-bank and invest into the ToothFairy Savings Fund. I bet by the time Mark is old enough for a visit from this fairy, the going rates for baby teeth would be like $50/pop.

If Mark's potty was an Army general, it would be the 4-star general now. And of course we're not planning on stopping here, but will take it all the way - to 5 stars and beyond. Per as(s)pera ad as(s)tra!

Mark is still not interested in crawling. He doesn't need to. For one, he learned to get around low-crawling on his belly and rolling around. And of course, we can always move him to a toy or a toy to him if all else fails. Yes, we do that and tons of other things such as letting him sleep with us, feeding him on demand, and picking him up a whole lot. Some call it "spoiling your baby". But they are wrong since actually it's called "attachment parenting" aka "intuitive parenting". It has tons of advantages too. For example, since Mark sleeps with us, we not only get more sleep (no need to wake up at night), but also save money on a baby monitor and extra heating.

One big thing that Mark learned - he can now pick up and play with 2 objects at the same time! That's a big achievement! He picks up two plastic rings and bangs them against each other.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 07

This is Mark's first Halloween ever and our second one in this house. Based on the last year's turn-out we upped the amount of candy. You see, our neighborhood is very kid-friendly with an elementary school, a bunch of playgrounds, and of course side-walks most everywhere. Seems like we have trick-o-treaters from all over Raleigh coming over. We must've had like 100 kids at our door in less than 4 hours tonight. We almost ran out of candy; just a few tootsie-rolls are left for me to munch on.

Mark was dressed in his lion costume aka bearded mouse costume. Actually, Chris put him in the costume shortly after lunch and took him on a long walk. Then Chris carved a scary toothy pumpkin. And then Chris handed candy to the kiddies. I guess you see a pattern here, right?

So now both Chris and Mark are soundly asleep after such an eventful evening and I get a chance to catch up on the news. Finally, I have time to put it on record all the progress that Mark's made:

- he learned to shake hands - Chris extends his hand to him and says "Put it there, pal!" and Mark shakes his hand and giggles
- he can hold all his weight on his feet now for a few seconds at a time
- he tries to pull himself to standing grabbing the bars of his crib
- he enjoys yogurt and baked squash
- his top front left tooth is about to poke out
- and he earned two stars on his potty already!

How about all this!!!

Chris started working on renovating our office/family room. Right now it looks horrible because we just dump all the piles of junk in there. But hopefully soon it will look very presentable. I just finished my first (out of 9) classes that would get me a localization generalist certification. And Xander runs out a few times every day, but always comes back (I guess 'cause he can't fend for himself).

That's it for now. You can watch a video of Mark in his lion costume.

video

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dunno

That's for "I don't know what to put as a title for this post". Big news - we (read - Mark) got our first invitation to a party! We're going to Louis's (see previous post) 1st birthday party! How cool, right?! Maybe Mark will be ready to eat some cake by then without looking like a little piglet? Right... For now he practices his table manners on cookies. This is what he looks like after eating half a cookie. What happened to the other half? It's mostly all other his high chair, his tray, his fingers, and some other good cookie-hiding places such as nose, ears, eyebrows, and Mommy's white sweater.

Saturday was a busy day for us. First we went to the Farmer's Market to pick up a pumpkin. But how can you pick just one when there are so many pretty pumpkins and gourds. Good thing we parked the car far away so we couldn't carry too many pumpkins with us. It was absolutely a great trip to the market. Most veggies are on the out now. But the whole entire section of the market is reserved for fall flowers and, of course, for pumpkins. People buy them by truck-loads. Or rather by SUV-loads. 10-20 pumpkins per family. What do they do with all them pumpkins when the Hallowing is over? What would you do with 20 pumpkins?! We only bought one (here's Chris inspecting the year's crop for that perfect one). Oh, and also we bought some little funky-looking gourds and two small mini-pumpkins. Gourds are for Mark to play with. Minis are for easy carving. And the big one is for a special photo-op with Mark.

Just as we were done unloading the pumpkins, it was time to change and go to the Trunk or Treat party. That's kind of like a tail-gating party for kids. Only the theme is Hallowing, there's candy instead of beer, and adults entertain kids instead of having semi-intelligent conversations with each other. Oh, and people decorate the trunks of their cars, mostly SUVs and mini-vans. It's actually more fun than it sounds, but only if you have a kid. Maybe we can decorate our car next year? Heck, we just won't clean the trunk (we're not doing it now anyway) and let the cobwebs grow. And then we will let the kids rummage around the trunk for edibles, spare change, and little critters to take home! We tried to dress Mark up in a costume. The costume was a hand-me-down and we were told it was a lion's costume. Hmm, is it me or does Mark look more like a bearded mouse in it? Adorable! Too bad it got so hot on Saturday that we had to change him out of that costume into some lighter clothes even before we got to the party.

Today, of course, the weather was much cooler. So much so, in fact, that we had to waste a big chunk of the day hunting for winter furs (read - shopping for warm clothes and a comforter). Exhausted from the hunt, we spent the rest of the day playing bubbles with Mark (ok, so he was entertained for only 5 minutes or so).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Extreme Drought


Why have I not been posting on the blog for so long? Well, we haven't had any real rain here in Raleigh for a few months now. So we're officially in the state of extreme drought. I guess it affected the frequency of my posts. Does it make sense? No!


Mark and I play a Godzilla game now - I build him a Tokyo out of Peek-A-Blocks and he demolishes it... over and over and over.

Seriously though, not much has happened between the last post and today. We did go to the State Fair a couple of weeks ago, on its opening weekend. But unfortunately we did not take a camera with us. So you won't see pictures of pretty tea gardens, adorable blue ribbon-winning calves, or giant pumpkins. But trust me when I say it - we had a great time! We didn't go to any of the rides or played any of the games where one can win giant stuffed pink dinosaurs (sp?). But we did get to see a lot of interesting things (cows, pigs, bees, pumpkins, crafts) and eat some of the oh-so-bad-for-you fair food (funnel cake comes to mind).

Oh, and we finally signed up at a local library. And what a library it is! Honestly, maybe it's 'cause I haven't been to a public library in years, but this one (in Cameron Village) really impressed me. Of course, any place full of books impresses me. Then again, they even had Russian books for kids. And they have story times for toddlers! And they have all sorts of interesting events for kids and adults!! And you can check out as many books as you want!!!



Yesterday I went to the Farmer's Market with my friend Kelli and her 11-month old son, Louis. Then they stopped by our house for a little playdate with Mark. Louis is very advanced - he not only crawls, but stands and scoots and even crawls up the stairs! The problem is him and Mark love the same toys. And since Louis is bigger and more mobile than Mark (for now, anyway), he gets to the toys first. Mark doesn't look too happy on the picture.