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.