Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Marbles


I completely forgot that last week we all went to the Marbles - Kids' Museum here, in Raleigh. It was a total blast. Here are some pictures of all the different things that we did there.


Sliding down the big red slide:
Saving a puppy from the flames:
Harvesting carrots:
And taking them to the market:
Splashing with water toys:
Playing chess:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Big Boy Mark

Hooray! We just celebrated Mark's FIRST BIRTHDAY. (Hint: click on the link on the left - shown in blue - to see lots of fun pictures). We kept it small this year - just the three of us and my parents.

First of all, thank you EVERYONE for all the gifts and cute birthday cards and all the birthday wishes! We love you very much!!! All the clothes are so cute and will be very handy since Mark is quickly outgrowing his 12-month outfits. And all the money will be put into a 529 plan because a) Mark has way too many toys already and b) one day he will go to college and so your gifts will just keep on giving.

What did we do for Mark's birthday? After waking up to many hugs and kisses and getting changed and fed breakfast, Mark got to play with some old "new" toys that my parents brought with them from NY. I bought these toys a while ago when I had nothing else to spend money on. Subsequently, I stopped using them and, naturally, moved them to the parents' house. Stereotypically, the toys ended up stored in the attic there for years. And now they are back in my keep. A radio-controlled truck is a bit too advanced for Mark right now. But Chris is having great time with it. However, Mark is absolutely taken with the piano. My dad spent some time showing Mark the ropes and the little one quickly learned how to turn the thing on/off, turn the volume up, and make all sorts of noises with it.
After some time of this musical hell, I decided to take Mark out of the house just so we could have some peace and quiet. And so Mom, I and Mark went to the Museum of Art. There, Mark especially liked the Classical European Art - he pointed to lots of paintings, especially if they had women and children in them (and most did) or were oversized (and most were). Afterwards, we walked for some time in the sculpture garden. Overwhelmed by so much culture and learning, Mark fell asleep.

We came back home for a quick bite and since the weather was absolutely gorgeous - sunny and hot - we went out again, this time to a far away playground. There Mark played in the sand, walked around a little bit (I held his hands), went on a swing, smelled some flowers, and in general had a good time. And then it was time to come back home for another little nap. And while Mark napped, we finished all the preparations for the birthday dinner - baked, decorated - both the cake and the kitchen, and cleaned up.
Finally, it was time for the dinner. But first we all gathered around Mark to measure how tall was he. It takes 3 adults to measure 1-year old's height and 4 if you want to photograph the event - one to hold the child, one to hold the ruler, one to mark the paper, and one to take a good picture. Then I clipped a lock of Mark's hair which took another 10 minutes - not that he's so hairy, but it's just very difficult to keep him still. And then we ate pizza (Chris baked it) and spinach-ricotta pirogi (Mom baked these). And since Mark is a big boy now, he ate with us as well.

Then it was time for THE CAKE! Chris baked this awesome buttercream white cake and prepared the buttercream frosting, straight out of the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. And I followed the not-so-easy decorating steps from the Wilton brochure and painted the cake and otherwise decorated it with icing and sugar duckies. And then we put a big "1" candle! Of course, Mark got a big piece of cake and at first he didn't know what to do with it. But little by little he figured it out - most of the cake ended up on him and his high-chair.
Since bath was necessary after eating the cake, we decided that it would be a lot of fun to let Mark get all crazy with finger paints. And crazy he did, painting a couple of little works for us and for the grandparents, but mostly concentrating on the bodyart - enthusiastically decorating his legs. Off to the bath tub we carried him right away. And then it was time to end Mark's big first BIRTHDAY!

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