Monday, December 26, 2005

A "new" dress for Christmas

ama linda's house
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She's not usually keen on wearing dresses, but as soon as we put this little number on her for Christmas she was all smiles. She kept squealing happily about her "new" dress. I didn't burst her bubble. It won't be long until she finds out her mama's favorite clothing store is Goodwill.
The truth is, however, that Christmas is not lost on our Annabel. She even saw "Santa Claus" at the airport on her way to "ama Linda's house." While we were waiting for our Duluth flight in Minneapolis, she kept pointing into the crowded waiting room saying BIG GUY.
There were LOTS of BIG guys, so we really didn't understand what she meant, and she was getting frustrated that we weren't understanding her. Then when the crowd parted and we saw the elderly man, dressed in a red shirt, suspenders and an elegant white beard and shoulder length white hair, we knew exactly who she was talking about ... as if to solidify the point, she pointed again and said "HO, HO, HO."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Christmas

now we've gone crazy ...
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
We will be winging our way to Minnesota for Christmas this year, where we will be spending five days in Knife River with Ama Linda. Nothing has been packed yet, but we're nearly ready. Annabel helped prepare the holiday tree for the dogs to enjoy while we're away and their favorite sitter, Mandy, is watching the fort.
Although it seems like a giant undertaking, I think this year might just be the most relaxed holiday endeavor in a long while. We're not overboard on the spending, we're not worried about the usual trappings and we're just happily enjoying the snow.
So here's wishing you a joyous holiday season and much love and happiness in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

How old are you?

little bits
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
"Free," she laughs in answer to the question. She knows she's two. At her two-year check up she held up the two fingers for the first time. The doctor wasn't as amazed as I was. I, of course, assumed the little miss was protesting for peace. By the end of the visit, when the nurse struggled with all 22 pounds 1 ounce of her to get two tiny little vials of blood -- to test for lead and to see if her little blood cells are pumping all the iron they should be pumping -- all Annabel wanted was a little peace. She didn't even care about the stickers the nurse-sticker had promised.
Although she's not even in the 5th percentile for weight, Annabel is quite near the 50th percentile for height, measuring in at a squirmy 33 1/2 inches in that department. Her head measures 47.5 centimeters.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Happy 2 Party!

make a wish

2 party
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She was sure happy to party at her Happy 2 Party. She wasn't exactly sure of the fire heading her way atop the "tupcake," but she was happy with the little purple swirly bit on the top as well as the loot she got for presents. It's going to be impossible to top this birthday. She got three horses (one of them nearly life size from Auntie MEME and papa and ama), a bike from Grandpa John and Gamma Sally, and fridge magnets that she already sings along with (Alphabet song). She also LOVED playing with her friends Maya and Ella. She was sad to see them go after the party.

ride like the wind trike barn clap, ella, this is fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Twelve months with Annabel

a year in the life
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Well it's been another whirlwind year. Last Decemeber found us winging our way to Colorado to welcome Annabel's cousin Elliott into this fair world, just as her auntie and uncle welcomed her the year before. In January we got busy enjoying the northeast and its winter pleasures. Skiing, pub crawling (no pun intended) and other sweet delights added excitement to other indoor activities such as starting to feed herself. Of course February and March brought more complex skills to her attention, such as stacking toys and hide and seek. April was a tough month, as a viral infection sent her to the hospital for several frightful days, but by May she was back to her cute and healthy, playful self. In May she continued to frighten us with new ailments after another, but they mostly involved skin irritations and infections. In June we visited partys and became like social butterflies and by July she was old hat at eating with a spoon and saying two-word phrases. In August we spent two weeks in Maine and really explored the sea. She found out that blueberries are as tasty when they're wild as they are at the farmers' market. In September we traveled to Vermont to see Aunt Denise, and cousins Finn and Emmett, and we had a swinging good time. October brought the spookiest spookables, but we found the we LOVE Pooh, Roo and Heffalumps. In November we had an art show that miss boo found quite exciting. But it is the last snows of December that convinced her to put on her coat, without a peep, and go outside and look up before going to sleep.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's not as easy as it looks

snow angels: a tutorial
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
We found out this weekend that the making of snow angels is not an intuitive endeavor.
Jed tried talking ittybit through the process, performing jumping jacks on the front lawn as she stood there and stared. The look she gave me was definitely, 'Is he for real?'
Realizing he was fighting a losing battle, and also that he had on his man snowsuit, Jed said watch daddy, and got down to work. She was happy to try it after that, although she wasn't sure about the moving part. After she just laid there for a few seconds staring up at us with the look: Funny, this doesn't FEEL as fun as it LOOKED when you did it, daddy; Jed again jumped in to help.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Things are looking up

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
I look at this face and I can't help but smile. She is begging me to tickle her. It's a "come closer-stay away" moment. Laying on her back, wriggling her legs, she points to her stomach. When I start to tickle she giggles and shreiks "STOP." (Sounds like TOP). I back off and she wriggles again, lifting her shirt for better access. I resume tickling. "TOP, MAMA, TOP."

This goes on for another ten minutes, before she rolls over and slides away.

I follow her as she runs at toddler speed toward our bedroom and the farm toy we keep there. She looks back, making sure I'm behind her.

When I arrive at the door of my room, she is seated and looking into the barn for the BAA (sheep). It's gone missing so she settles for the toy with the closest call ... the BOK (chicken). As she put the wee beasts of burden in their designated places, she leaves the horse for last.

"MAY shew tup. May shew tup."

"Yes, yes. Maddy chewed the top."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Million dollar idea?

latest taste sensation
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Probably not. But Annabel loves to top her ice cream with peas. It's strange how food can be such an individual passion. There are folks out there who eat raw onions, mustard on mashed potatoes, mayonaise on toast and, my personal favorite, salad dressing on bread.

Annabel is also famous for liking HOT and SPICY foods, a preference I believe she must have aquired in utero, as I scarfed down Atomic Fire Balls like they were going out of style. (I felt bad about it, thinking it must be a form of child abuse.)

But as she creeps up on her second birthday, I am savoring her passion for good food. She calls out the color of peppers and the amounts of oranges, apples and stalks of broccoli in the produce isle as if she were begging for sweets. I know that someday she will turn her head and twist her mouth into an unmentionable shape with the mere mention of peas ... I plan to pull this picture out and show her what a weird kidlet she was.

Politics and Prose

Politics and Prose
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Annabel got an early birthday gift from her great aunt Maureen in Washington. A bevy of books from our favorite bookstore (Little Skills, Zip, Plop and Brush; Little Yoga; and Penelope in Winter). Annabel loves them all. She especially loves Penelope and all her antics in the snow.


And the shirts are just too cute, and in her favorite ice cream colors. She made me put the pink on on right away.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Let's count the snowflakes. ...

bean baby
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
How much do we love this child? Let me count ... "Wa, too, free, foe, fie, sea, seben, ay, nie, TEN!"

bean baby

After Goodwill hunting in Maine this August we were able to procure two very nice winter coats ... however we didn't find the perfect snowsuit. This morning, with snow piling up outside, I went rummaging through Annabel's closet and happened upon this pretty little aquamarine gem given to us after being gently loved by a friend's twins. What luck, huh? Annabel LOVES it almost as much as she loves the "(S)NO(W)."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The light in me bows to the light in you. ...

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Annabel is LOVING yoga. It's taken nearly two years of Sundays at the yoga studio in Gt. Barrington, but she started asking for yoga this week for the first time.
Yesterday she practiced tree, bridge pose and plank, not to mention saying namaste.
I was so impressed. She has been so reluctant at our yoga class. Wanting to hang out with me, sitting on my lap and pretending as if she weren't there. I was beginning to consider the possibility that yoga just wasn't her bag when she said Yoya and pointed to the mat this weekend.
She was practically a pro.
Perhaps she was just waiting until she perfected the poses.

Yoga toddler

bridge pose

Sunday, December 04, 2005


stop mama
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Well, it may look like she's going to file a restraining order against the paparazzi ... she was merely reaching for the binky I happened to steal. It's called the 'NOPE' game. As I pop the binky out of her mouth I sing NOPE. She usually laughs. But not today.

Annabel was happy to get out into the snow today. We got a dusting this morning, and so we bundled up and played kickball in the parking lot with the big blue ball. It was quite fun. Then we went to Chatham and photographed the show ... so we'd have a record and so we could show all the folks who couldn't make it what it looked like ...

here it is. ...

gallery show

Thursday, December 01, 2005


back view
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Somehow, this moment, more than all the precisely focused moments before it, speaks volumes about our perception of life now that we are fast coming upon our second year with Annabel.

Curls, soft against baby cream skin, are as new to her as she is to us. In this bath, at this moment, she sits and talks to herself, a rambling conversation that barely make sense to me, but her toys understand completely. It's a fluancy of language they easily possess and she can make real.

In a moment, this will be gone. Replaced by an older child with a whole new lexicon. And the language of these toys will fade away.

Monday, November 21, 2005

So big

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Friday was the big 2-3 ... just a month away from her "happy two party." Her latest thing to say is "how about ..." Typically she uses it to see if we're game for TV. When we say no to Elmo, she goes through her list. "How about Wha Pooh? How about Bad Cat (Cinderella) How about big dog (Clifford)." It's a good game for now, she's still laughing when we say "NO." It's anyone's guess how long that will last.
Annabel had a grand time at mom and dad's art opening Saturday. She was particularly happy with the nibbles ... broccoli, grapes, peppers and carrots ... what could be better?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Big and little

the big slide

the little slide
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She's getting so big that she's attempting to do the 'big' slide at the playground all by herself. I have to confide, however, that she got all the way to the top by herself and sat down on the platform but couldn't bring herself to shove off alone. I stood right behind her ready to let her go it alone. She sat there for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time before she asked me to go down the chute with her. Her exact words were "Mama, here" as she pointed to the spot behind her. Away we went.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
That's what she said last night as we started our evening decent into the madness ... the few minutes between wake and sleep where fighting the inevitable is the war at hand.
As soon as I intoned the bedtime song ... the tears in her eyes caught themselves from falling when she realized we'd forgotten an integral component of the nighttime ritual ... Brushing of the teeth. Gaining her another three minutes of awake-time bliss.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Righty? or a Lefty?

righty? lefty?
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
That is the question on minds these days ... will she be a southpaw? My personal opinion is that she leans a little more to the right with respect to writing and coloring. Although the same is not true when it comes to games that require a solid kick; she tends to lead with her left in this arena.
Some other amazing things we've noticed: Annabel can count to fifteen (with some help) and in addition to knowing most of the colors (she's not quite sure about burnt sienna yet ... it's tricky to distinquish it from burnt umber) she recognizes the letter A and knows it stands for Annabel and apple.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sleep-over party

peekabo nana and bear
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Annabel had her two best girls all weekend long! "Nana" (Brianna) and "Teetee" (Tierney) spent the weekend with us while their parents were jetsetting around Marblehead. We played games (like put the baby and the bear in a pillow case and sneak up on mommy) as well as run-around-the-movie theater once the novelty of going to her first movie (Chicken Little) wore off in 1/2 hour.
All-in-all, a good time was had by most ... Jed, who was suffering with a cold and missed the movies, did not have much fun.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Hallowasn't

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Just in case you were wondering how Halloween went ... it didn't. Annabel got to Ama and Papa's house just in time to see a tiny tot of a skeleton come to the door. That was it! A scared and traumatized boo retreated to the furthest corner of the kitchen, shaking and crying and refusing to go anywhere near the livingroom. Suffice it to say it was an early night.
She has been back to Ama and Papa's house, though, and while she insisted the door be closed to make sure no bad people got in, she was happy to play in the livingroom.

Monday, October 31, 2005

On the web ...

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Annabel isn't much of a costume gal ... unless you think of an orange binky and pink suade boots as a costume. But she does love crafts. We went to Olana - home of Hudson River School painter Frederick Church - on Saturday for its Halloween party. They had a scary little maze ... which she couldn't get out of fast enough ... pumpkin rolling and an arts and crafts tent. We thought she might like to get her face painted, but no. ... she wanted Mama to get her face painted instead.
On Sunday, we walked down to the village park for its Halloween party and parade, which was just a small circle around the ballfield. We think she went as an Austrailian cow girl: She wore mom's old cowboy hat, overalls, a suade coat and her pink uggs. She wasn't much impressed with some of the other costumes, though. Darth Vader was an especially scary sight, but she was happy enough with a cider doughnut and a walk to the toddler park with Ama and Papa.

bird chair and chalkboard

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This is why we can't have nice things ...

I love saying that. ... I just can't help myself. Although, I don't get too attached to THINGS anyway, this is Annabel's first toy that has been destroyed by the resident demolition expert. (To tell you the truth, I am amazed Madeline Dog has shown as much restraint has she has up until now.)
I found the evidence upon arriving home from work and showed the topless pony to Annabel. She looked at it and said "Oh No. Boo, boo."
I explained that Maddy had made a mistake and chewed the horse. Annabel looked at Maddy and then lifted her hands, "OH WELL."
So I am happy to know ittybit doesn't get too attached to things, either.

Kitchen gnome

kitchen gnome
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
There are days when you just can't help but smile, even if you don't want to, you just can't help it. Yesterday was one of those days for me. It was a day that just had one sad piece of news after another. But when you come home to a four-course meal of plastic vegetables, dog hair, Jell-O boxes and spilled "jutz" just waiting for YOU ... how can you not just smile?

The nitty-gritty of the cooking closeness is this: Annabel loves to be where the saute action is, and since she's getting a little too heavy to haul around (even for Daddy) for too long, we've introduced an old stepstool for her preparation pleasure.

Of course, I'd be a little more relaxed about the whole thing if she would stand a little more in the center.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Laundry day

laundry day
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She is sooo helpful. I had carefully folded each piece of clothing in this basket before she carefully unfolded them (even shaking them out in by way of imatation). It was so interesting to watch, I didn't bother to try and intervene. After a while, Jed and she carried the clothes to her room, and, while she played, I refolded them and put them away ... Two more times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Now what?

NOW it's time for BED
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Open wide
Annabel turns 22 months old today. Woo Hoo. To celebrate, last night we gave her a baby doll playset. It includes a 12-inch plastic doll (with cloth body. ... her preference) as well as a diaper bag, magic bottle, sippy cup, jars of food, spoon and fork, a diaper, diaper wipes container, a binkie (with a clip) and a teddy bear for the dolly ... Annabel was like a mother hen. She fed the baby, burped the baby, diapered the baby and then decided ... 'Baby BED!'

Monday, October 17, 2005

Feeding time ...

yogurt facial
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Annabel swears by the restorative and regenerative properties of this ancient cosmetic, the yogurt facial. Sure she's feeding Tigger, her bib friend, but she's still managing to get a healthy serving for herself down, too. You go, girl.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Punkin' preparations

seems to work just fine
All eyes on daddy ... OK, not exactly. More like: All eyes on daddy's pumpkin. This weekend Annabel had her very first pumpkin carving lesson. And like all good parents, we handed her the knife and let her do some damage. (It was one of those kid-friendly carvers, and yes, she lost the right to handle it once she started pretending she was Arthur Fidler conducting the Boston Pops. It was actually quite a successful endeavor. She helped make a few strands of hair in the back, which make some interesting sqiggly lines on the wall when the pumpkin is lit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Happy trails

Happy trails to you
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Lori's bathroom rennovation is nearly complete, and so the trips to Elias' house, and the Toy Wonderland that is there, will soon draw to a close. Luckily, I had a chance to document one of her favorite activities there: Horseback riding. I'm hoping that some version of this montage will be Auntie Maureen's Christmas present this year ... Shhhhhh, don't let on you've seen it!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A little too blue ...

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Humor wise, I'm sure this will get me into a little hot water but I just had to write it down for the record. ... Annabel had her first number two in the loo!
We had gone to the farmers' market on this very rainy Saturday and were all frozen to the bone when we got home. So we hustled her off into a warm bath to shake off the cold. After we got her undressed, however, she wanted to sit on the potty. When I asked her if she needed to pee (which she has only done successfully once) she said, "No, poo!" And sure enough, a few minutes later, she was ALL DONE and ready to play in the warm, soapy bubbles.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Good dog, Maggie ... pat head

rank ru, raggy ...
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
It's quite amazing to watch the dogs warm up to the little miss. Annabel is usually very gentle with the animals, however occasionally she can be a little ... shall we say ... trying? Not too long ago, Maggie would never have tolerated being used as a bench, but lately she is willing to let bygones be bygones. Although Madeline still leaves the room at the slightest touch (with big folks, too) I can see the excitement bubble up in my ol' pooch each morning when Annabel starts to stir.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stainless ...

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Well not Annabel, that's fer sure ... but definitely the wedding we attended in Boothbay Harbor, Maine this weekend was sterling. A beautiful wedding, a beautiful setting and beautiful couple; what more could one ask for? ... Oh, apples. That was high on the list. Luckily, they had 'em!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sweet treats

snack time
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Today in the grocery store Annabel demanded a $4-per-pound yellow pepper in the produce bins, which we figure was a worthwhile investment in her education of good eating. As soon as she got home, she fished it out of the bag and demanded to get up into her highchair. ... We were barely able to convice her to wash it before she commensed chomping away as if it were an apple. What a sweet treat!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

She's legal now ... 21 months old!

The big kids' swing
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Annabel turned the big 2-1 today, and to commemorate the auspicious occasion we took a ride on the big kids' swing. All I did was set her on and she did the rest. In short order she was swinging gently to and fro. It was a good turn, although it was shortlived. As soon as she started playing the "look ma, no hands" game we had to move along to the slide.
party animal
Yesterday she spent a few hours at her friend Maya's birthday party. Maya turned two Saturday and had a wonderful birthday party at the Berkshire South Community Center. Annabel took a while warming up to the children and the games ... she directed ME to fingerpaint for her, which was cute. ... "No mommy. BLUE."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Shhh! Dad's working

shhh dad's working
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Let's face it ... She doesn't want us to eat, work or try and get comfortable. It's all about her right now. Trying to sit down with a bowl of ice cream at the end of a rough day is like playing with fire. She immediately hones in on the offending dish and demands it be put "down." Unless, of course, it's a flavor that tickles her fancy. The current flavor fav is vanilla. But she recently found the sour delights of lemon sorbet. After the first scrunch-faced expression of the initial teaspoonful it was 'More, more, more."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fighting clean

fighting clean
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
I couldn't help but share this picture. Annabel is wearing a vintage dress from her Auntie Sarah's collection as she battles the vacuum cleaner. She actually likes to chase it around the room, following the light and the noise. She's a really getting involved in helping. She loves to help wipe up spills and sweep things into the dustbin. I can't believe how fast she's growing. She asked me tonight to tell her the difference between a bee and a ladybug. She was so cute, bringing my finger to the pictures in her book. Back and forth. Giggling with delight when I showed her each bug.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The last straw ...

Sharing strawberries
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
BERRY. Mmmmm, even good enough for sharing with the farmers at the Farmers' Market. Has it ever been a whirlwind morning! Annabel helped pick out produce at the market, and then came home and helped clean the house for when Tierney comes to babysit when dad and I attend a family wedding this evening. It's going to be so exciting and she doesn't even know it. ... "TeeTee" is her all-time FAVORITE person. I suppose we should start the betting now for when Annabel will be going to sleep tonight. My guess is sometime around seconds after Tierney goes home.

Ammended: I was right ... she went to bed about 10 minutes after Tierney left the building.
By the way, the wedding was beautiful ... here's a glimpse.

variation iwedding portrait