November 27, 2009


Alden is very affectionate to all his toys, but it is extra adorable when he says "hey robot". It is also cute that he thinks the robot lives behind the plant in the hallway.


Thanksgiving was small this year. We had it at Karen's house with two of her friends and my Dad. Karen prepared a sumptuous feast of sushi, seared scallops, salmon, smashed potatoes, fresh cranberry relish and green salad made with greens from a local farm. It's amazing that greens are still growing, but since November has been surprisingly warm, there's still local produce to enjoy.
Beth and Kenny brought duck, cajun brussels sprouts, and chestnut stuffing. We brought a butternut squash panade, triple chocolate mousse cake and pumpkin pie.
Alden was not interested in any Thanksgiving fare. We couldn't even get him to try the pumpkin pie. Instead he ate a cereal bar, a whole bunch of bunny-shaped cheddar crackers and a couple of pan seared scallops Karen offered up as an appetizer. I was a little disappointed that he didn't try anything from the table, but I guess that's how it goes with toddlers. After he was done eating, he found a book and walked it around the table, looking for anyone who'd read him a story. This was the first time that my Dad joined us for Thanksgiving. It was an early meal, starting around 2:30 since Kenny and Beth had another Thanksgiving to attend. Our celebration wound down around 6:30 pm.

November 23, 2009

New Games

Even though it's been an unseasonably warm fall, we're gearing up for winter by breaking out the indoor games. Kerstin, being the creative one, comes up with new ones practically every day, which is why Alden has a Pavlovian habit of pressing his face against the window overlooking the front porch around 4:30 in the afternoon while asking when Daddy's coming home. I can't compete.
Take the above game, for example, where you feed your toddler a whole apple on a wooden serving spoon. Goofy fun for the whole family. Even Alden got that it was 'wacky'. A similar game is stuffing all his (soft) toys down the front of his shirt, pulling them out from the bottom and then stuffing them from the top again.
The old standard Guess-which-hand-holds-the-bunny/duck/pig-finger-puppet game is also very popular and is often enough of a distraction to help Alden get through a toothbrushing or diaper changing when he is cranky.

One game we picked up from daycare is called "Hocus Pocus". You line up 3 or 4 objects on the floor and place a cloth napkin over them. Then you wave your hand over the napkin and chant "Hocus, Pocus Jimminy Crocus, which one is missing?". Then you remove the napkin along with an object concealed underneath it. It's a great memory game and very addicting for toddlers. Pictured here are some of the usual players: giraffe, monkey, lion and Tape (we call him Mr. Tape). Alden came up with the name.

Music is also big these days. El Yoyo and Que No, Que No by Tito Puente are much loved as are Hey Ladies and Egg Man from the Beastie Boys. He is also fond of Jonathan Richman's I'm a Little Dinosaur and Government Center.... Of course Frere Jacques, the alphabet song and other more child appropriate melodies are well loved. He loves playing the piano with me and listening to Kerstin murder chords on the electric guitar. The video above shows how Alden likes to get ready for a stroller ride. Kerstin has irrevocably replaced the word 'Slow' with 'Stroller' in our household and this is song is our anthem before every AM stroller ride.

November 16, 2009

Photos of Alden

Some random photos of Alden taken over the last week, most of them while playing in the backyard.

November 15, 2009

Day at Bapu's house

Alden and I spent the day with my Dad at his house on Sunday. Kerstin stayed behind for some much needed quiet time and so he could work on the house without interruption. Alden has demonstrated a remarkable memory over the past couple of months. We saw a train pass through downtown Wiscasset one June evening while we were traveling home and now every time we pass over those train tracks in our daily commute, Alden says "choo choo train". Although it's been over 5 months since Alden was last at my Dad's, he has a remarkable recollection of that experience. When asked about it, he'll predictably fire off "tractor, barn, chickens, doggie". This anthem was our rallying cry as we made our way westward along Rt. 25 to New Hampshire.
The tractor was still the main draw, but chickens came in a close second this time. Alden is giving them an emphatic hello with both hands here. He got to feed the chickens sunflower seeds and pet them, which captivated him for about 2 minutes before he started pleading for more tractor rides. Lucky for him, my Dad had some dirt to move around the yard, and Alden was able to help out. Alden figured out how to pull the lever to tilt the bucket loader all by himself and now has to be watched carefully, least the bucket suddenly release it's contents all over the driveway. Of the many hazards of letting a toddler operate heavy machinery, I suppose this one is relatively mild, but it bodes ill for the future. I'm envisioning a time in the not too distant future when Alden will sneak out of my Dad's house at 3 AM and go for a joyride down to the lake or start tearing random holes in the lawn. Another milestone to look forward to.
It was a really warm day and we had a great time walking through the woods and up and down the new deck stairs.

Some cute little clips from the day.

November 9, 2009

November 8, 2009

Guy Fawkes Celebration II

Just like this time last year, we had a BIG pile of burnable material and thus a Guy Fawkes party was thrown. Darrell brought the Guy who got to sit in a chair facing east this year. A majority of this year's bonfire came from the shed demolition a la Ben. We decided to wait until Saturday to celebrate this time.

I found a gallon can of lighter fluid that came with the house when we bought it and used it to help start the fire.
The fire caught well and the Guy was soon consumed.
The fire was a bit bigger than last year. We had about the same number of guests. Most of them were Ilana's friends from Bigelow. I found an old bag of marshmallows and they were the surprise hit of the party. The fire was so hot however that no one could comfortably stand within 6 feet of it, so I scrounged some old 9' tree branches I'd used as netting posts last year to serve as marshmallow sticks. Ivona demonstrates the proper marshmallow roasting technique here:We provided soup, beer, bread, potatoes and parkin (an English cake that is really dry). People brought desserts, chips, and other welcome contributions.

The stump that didn't burn last year still didn't burn, and the big tree-piece I added this year didn't burn either. There was a pile of mulched leaves on one side of the pile that was too wet to burn as well. All in all, I am very happy with this year's burn, although I am going to try and re-burn what didn't catch in a week or so if it stays dry.

November 5, 2009

First snow of the season

We got the wood stove fired up. This was a sleety-nasty day so we made it nice and cozy.

As you may notice we had pasta and sauce for the evening meal.