Friday, September 30, 2011

Who loves Kipper?


One morning earlier this week, before I could fully open Sophie's door to wake her up, she looked at me sleepily from her crib and said, "Duck play in the playground. Like Kipper." I had to smile- I guess this is what it's like to be a 2-year old, when you go to bed and dream of your favorite orange cartoon beagle :)

We started to let Sophie watch Kipper on our trip to Boston when we knew we had to occupy her with something during the flight and long drives. Our friends Amy and Eric recommended the series glowingly and now I see why. It is exactly what you would hope for in an animated show for toddlers- soft, warm colors; characters who are gentle and loving and who speak slowly; sweet and simple plot narratives; and the greatest trauma any of the characters have had to endure is losing his sippy cup- something any 2-year old can identify with. Kipper and his buddies Tiger, Pig, and Arnold (Sophie's favorite), amble about in a genial, self-amused manner, often chuckling infectiously to themselves about their mildly mischievous adventures. There are occasional moments of slapstick comedy but it's high on cuteness, and like I said, low on angst and violence.

Although speaking of angst, we did have a moment yesterday when Sophie was watching an episode she had already seen before, about Kipper being visited by a baby goose. As the video ended, Sophie suddenly burst into tears. And I mean a full-fledged wail, complete with giant globs of tears streaming down her cheeks. I turned to see what was happening on screen- Kipper's new friend was flying away and Kipper was waving goodbye. Sophie was inconsolable.

Later, as I was putting her to bed, I asked her why she cried earlier. Sophie's answer? "Because goose fly away. I sad." Our sweet, sensitive Sophie... This makes me think to never show her the first 20 minutes of Finding Nemo or the second half of Bambi, for a while at least. Until she is of suitable age, Sophie will believe that Finding Nemo begins with Nemo's first day at school and that Bambi ends with the whole family escaping from that first hunting expedition intact. If a goose flying away reduced her to tears, I don't think Sophie can handle watching someone losing a parent on screen. You can watch the full Kipper episode here, complete with the traumatic farewell...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random daycare daily report #16

Converse Cat in the Hat high-tops
Converse Cat in the Hat high-top sneakers, or what Sophie calls, "my fancy dancing shoes" 
Sophie is sure excited about her new** shoes. She's been showing them off all day :) When we transition from one activity to another, we'll always ask the kids how they want to move (like a bunny, like an airplane, etc...) Today, when we asked Sophie, she said, "With my new shoes!" :)

** Even though Sophie's had these shoes for a while, they've been a little big for her and so she didn't get to wear them very often. And she never wore them to daycare till today, so as far as she's concerned, they're new :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

In case I ever forget

After her bath tonight, Sophie threw herself into my arms and gave me a hug. And as she nuzzled into my neck, she said, "I'm happy, Mama. I'm happy."

I asked her why.

"Because Mama is hugging me."

Sophie and Mama

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An apple a day

Chomp chomp chomp
Eating her weight in apples
It couldn't have been a more beautiful Fall day for the quintessential Michigan apple-picking experience- sunny, crisp, and just chilly enough to make fresh donuts and warm cider the perfect treat after all that walking and foraging. The Cooks, Cooneys, Sophie and I (Jude was doing a bike tour in Detroit) visited Wasem Fruit Farm where the Fall picking season had just begun two weeks ago. MacIntoshes, Cortlands, Jonathans, and Honey Crisps were ripe for the picking and Sophie for one, couldn't wait to sink her teeth in almost each and every apple she managed to either pick from the tree or off the ground.

Chomp chomp chomp
Chomp chomp chomp
She had a wonderful time running about with the big kids, stomping through the apple trees, crawling under the foliage for lower-hanging fruit, and just basically reveling in the experience of being able to pick something off a tree and then putting it straight into your mouth without having Mama take it away from you because it wasn't edible (for instance, a quarter or a bulb syringe...) It didn't matter that her pants were getting wet from the dew-damp grass or that she kept falling over the apples strewn all over the ground- she could RUN and there were apples to be eaten, and that was what mattered :)

There were raspberries too and those were even more fun for Sophie because unlike most of the apples which were too high for her to pick on her own, the raspberry bushes were the perfect height for her to look at, touch, and pick.

Raspberries
Sweet raspberries

Raspberries
Squishing it in her hands
Sophie also had apple cider for the first time. I wish she could experience fully the whole warm-donut-with-hot-cider-after-apple-picking experience, but she didn't seem too bothered that everyone was having donuts except her. I think she was just happy to have done something new, fun, and exciting. And the fresh cider was also probably tasty enough to distract her from the fact that she didn't get to have any fried dough.

More importantly though, she got to spend time with friends (both the kids and grown-ups) and so couple that with being out in the wide open orchard with copious amounts of apple literally within her reach, it was just the most perfect way for a two-year-old to spend a beautiful Fall morning.

Hanging out with the big kids
Julianne and Finn- the best babysitters-in-training ever!
More pictures here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pizza vs. Cereal

And so we made pizza for dinner tonight :) No cheese, of course.

Thanks to pre-made fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe's (vegan, yay!), all we had to do was to prepare a bunch of toppings:

Pizza toppings
Broccoli, thinly sliced potatoes (tossed with olive oil and garlic), sliced ham, sweet peppers, and caramelized onions
Sophie was super-excited about pitching in- every time I told her she was going to help me with making the pizza, she'd add, "And Sophie will eat it!" She's not the most refined of sous-chefs, I have to say and her preferred method of topping the pizza was of the throwing variety...

Ok, it was more like tossing
Sous chef at work
And in the 15 minutes that took us to assemble the pizza, she ate her fair share of toppings- mostly the caramelized onions and sliced ham.

Not really helping...
Sneaking bites in between "helping"
Sneaking a piece of ham
Caught red-handed!
As the pizza was baking, Jude came home and Sophie declared excitedly, "We have pizza! You'll love it, Dada! It's delicious!"

And it was really tasty, although in the end, a little too adventurous for Sophie's palate, I think. I rolled the dough fairly thin and so it wasn't the chewy crust she's used to at school or what she's eaten from a proper pizza place. Plus she got frustrated picking out the broccoli and sweet peppers that after about 10 minutes of fiddling with her plate, she was ready to call it quits. People say you shouldn't prepare anything else for your child if they reject their meal but I just couldn't bear to send her to bed with just four bites of pizza crust and a handful of ham slices. So while Jude and I polished up the rest of the painstakingly assembled and gorgeous looking (if I should say so myself) pizza, Sophie happily scarfed down two portions of cereal with cold milk.

*Sigh*... we will endeavor again...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Herman the Worm

Having a sister who's 17 years younger than you (and therefore spending pretty much most of my late adolescence and early adulthood babysitting her), and teaching Sunday School for six years and preschool for a little more than two, I'd like to think that I have a fairly extensive repertoire of children's songs and rhymes.

Then, moments like this come along to prove otherwise:



Sophie randomly broke out into this song after dinner and I had NO clue what she was singing/saying. I was giggling so hard at her enthusiastic rendition (you don't hear me in the video because literally, this was the fourth time she was at it- I was still grinning from ear to ear though...) plus you have to admit, she looks so darn precious singing it (channeling Debbie Gibson/ Tiffany circa 1988 with that side pony-tail), so I had no choice but to look the song up online:

Herman the Worm

I'm sittin' on the fence post,
Chewin' my bubblegum (
make chewing sound)
Playin' with my yo-yo (do-whap, do-whap)
When along came Herman the Worm
And he was this big
And I said "Herman, what happened?"

According to the various websites, there's more to the song, but it involves Herman eating all manner of things ranging from a ladybug to his own sister (??!!) so maybe Sophie's daycare-- which is the only place she could have learned this- stopped where they did to avoid the macabre aspects of Herman's genocidal tendencies...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random daycare daily report #15

Hard at work next to Wesley
Busy painting with Wesley
Sophie enjoyed large group painting today. She sat down at the table and asked, "May I paint, please?" She's been using such polite words lately! Later, she wanted a toy a friend was using and she said, "May I have that toy, please?" Sadly, her friend didn't appreciate her courtesy enough to give up their toy, but what a pleasant way to ask! :) Then, during clean up time, I heard her on the "phone" saying, "Have to clean up- bye bye!" She's too funny!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Photo booth in your living room


Maybe I’ve watched Amelie one too many times but I really love the look of the black and white prints taken with an old school photo booth. Sadly, the only one I know of near us is at the mall and we rarely make a trip out there. Which is why I love the site Photoboother that turns any of your uploaded photos into that familiar strip we all love. Check out some of the printed results below. They look so genuine!

YourPhotoBootherPhotoYourPhotoBootherPhotoYourPhotoBootherPhoto

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

HomeGrown Ann Arbor

Usually, it takes Sophie about 20 minutes or so to fall asleep. She lies in her crib and me on the futon next to it- I tell her stories, or she rattles on about everything and anything that goes through her precious little mind (last night, she pretended that her teddy bear had a poopy diaper and enacted the entire diaper-changing routine, complete with asking me for wipe wipes, diaper cream, and a clean diaper...). But tonight, her head barely hit the mattress and I think she was out like a light, although not before declaring, "I'm happy, Mama. Are you happy?" :)

And that's because we had just spent the last 2 hours at the HomeGrown Festival in Kerrytown. Basically a celebration of local farmers, growers, food purveyors, and makers of all things local, it was a wonderful event filled with good food, music, dancing, and just a vibrant atmosphere of community and cheer. Whether it's turkey, tomatoes, or tofu, all the ingredients used by the vendors came from local farms (see links to specific farms here) and so there was a definite sense that we were supporting the people who grow our food. Between Jude and I, we shared duck confit and BBQ brisket sandwiches from Tracklements and a chicken/chorizo/okra stew from Grange- astoundingly good. Sophie wasn't as concerned about the food (although she didn't complain about her slice of vegan pizza and chocolate chip cookie) and alternated between riding on my back on the Ergo and running around with Jude. What she enjoyed most- the dancing :) There was a music stage set up and different local bands played throughout the night. Sophie LOVED the music and spent most of the night twirling, spinning, jumping, hopping- basically grooving to everything that was playing. She especially liked Saints of Soul playing James Brown- in the words of Jude, "She's getting her mind blown by Soul..." :) She-- and her parents-- was also enthralled by The Appleseed Collective, an Americana-jazz-folk foursome whom we've actually heard playing at Selma Cafe when my parents were here over Christmas. A little gypsy, a little dixie, they've got a wonderfully eclectic sound that got all three of us quite smitten. This video doesn't do them any justice but Jude felt compelled to record down a little of what we were enjoying (not in video- Sophie kicking her feet and bobbing her head to the music as she sat on my back on the Ergo):



Speaking of all things local, today was our first pick-up from Harvest Kitchen, a prepared foods CSA that we just signed up for. Two years ago, we signed up for a farmshare with Tantré Farms (see here), and while it was a great experience, it also got a little overwhelming during those weeks when we were just overloaded with too much produce (there's only so much sweet peppers I can handle over a 2 week period, or all those tomatoes and basil!...) What Harvest Kitchen does is to get around that by preparing meals for you using the same locally-sourced, organic, and sustainably-grown ingredients you might otherwise have gotten through your CSA. Everything on their menu comes from local farms so you know that you're supporting community agriculture. Every week, you get enough food for about 3 to 4 meals which really helps us since both Jude and I both now have full-time positions and making good, healthy dinners has become tricky business. We're hoping that with Harvest Kitchen, we now need only to plan dinners for a few nights per week, or make something simple (like a carb or salad dish) to augment what we've gotten from them. Best of all, the food tastes like what we would make for ourselves anyway- curries, stews, pasta, soups, etc. We didn't get a full share last week but we did buy a portion of lamb curry which was delicious. You could tell that it was definitely homemade- the flavors were fresh, delicate, not too salty/sweet/aggressive like what you would get at a restaurant, and there was the plus of knowing that everything came from Michigan growers. This week, our full share consists of black bean corn salsa, chicken chili, baked beans with pork, verde rolls, beef and potato stew, and corn griddle cakes.

Our share this week
Our share this week
Every week is inspired by a different cuisine-- 2 weeks ago was Italian, last week was Indian, and this week's Southwestern. We haven't tried anything from this week's share yet, but as I packed the food into the fridge (photos here), I got really excited just reading the labels of what each box contains.

And it's things like this-- and like HomeGrown-- that make us grateful for Ann Arbor :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Yup, that's our Sophie alright...

Feeding Nicky, the guinea pig
Feeding Nicky the guinea pig at Liz's in February

Sophie's daycare was closed for three days last week and our friend, Liz, and her daughters, Hannah and Divya, wonderfully agreed to help us babysit Sophie for a couple of hours while Jude went to school for an important meeting. Hannah had a riding lesson and so Liz brought Sophie along with them. Here's the email we got from Liz that night:

"While Hannah was in the barn caring for her horse, Sophie wanted to roam about. Instead of keeping Sophie on tight reins, I let her go on her own, wondering when far would be too far. I'm afraid I never got to see that. She kept going and going and going. Finally, I had to protect her from falling in a pond, so I kind of tried to redirect her away from the hidden pond and that's when she started in earnest - "I want to see the ginny pig!" She had a couple of moments where she laid on the ground face down, but thankfully I saw that at your place last time we visited and knew that she'd be fine. I would pick her up and tell her that she could cry on Auntie Liz's shoulder - and she would manage the funniest "crying" face but would forget to make the crying sound.

After Hannah was done with her lessons, Divya got a turn riding the horse. When Divya came close to us, Sophie informed the instructor "It's Sophie's turn to ride the horsey." So we put her on the horse, and she demanded for the helmet. I'm glad Sophie cares a lot about protection of her head. She was brave enough to even feed the horse, though she didn't seem too fond of them at first.

On the way to and from lessons, Sophie would join us in many sing-a-long songs. She didn't sing "You Are My Sunshine", but she did lead us in "Head and Shoulders".

At home, she did have the orange and would have eaten two or more if I let her. While she was eating oranges, Divya was sitting on a chair in the playroom eating a peach. In a bit, Sophie managed to tiptoe and reach an apple that was sitting on the kitchen counter. Before I knew it, Sophie was sitting in the same chair Divya was sitting in and had her little teeth marks in her apple. She wanted to eat a fruit just like Divya was eating a fruit.

I didn't realize Sophie was expecting a report of the day, til she got in the car and started reading to Jude her notes from Gretchen's House and said, "I had a great time at Auntie Liz's house"."

And that, ladies, and gentlemen, is totally our daughter in a nutshell :)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Cantaloupe love

Thirteen months ago, Sophie discovered how to use a fork and began her love affair with cantaloupe:



It has turned into an enduring love...



It's so lovely that even though she's grown so much in 13 months, so much of her still remains the same... Oh sweet, sweet child :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Let's just say, we ate well.

Not everything on our Boston trip was for Sophie, of course. Specifically, her parents are too consummate of foodies to let her dictate their meal choices (if she did, we would have spent the week eating various permutations of cold pasta, chicken nuggets, miso soup, rice, bread, green beans, french fries, tofu, corn, hotdog, chicken noodle soup, and cantaloupe). There were several places we knew we wanted to (re)visit and some others that we stumbled on a little more serendipitously. Like a Korean restaurant in Westborough we just decided to go into on our first night because it was next to the grocery store we went to get Sophie's necessities. Imaginatively named Westborough Korean Restaurant, this placed serves hands-down the best Korean food we've ever tasted. Even though we only ordered the soondubu jigae (seafood tofu stew) and pork bulgogi, they were enough to blow our minds. Oh, and did I mention the ELEVEN side-dishes that came with our meal?...

Best Korean food ever!
Count and weep... 
Breakfasts were basically a wash on the trip since 1) we wanted to take our mornings easy and rushing out to get in line for breakfast somewhere just didn't make sense; and 2) we had bought one of those single-serve variety pack cereal for Sophie and she wasn't going to be able to finish a 12-pack all by herself.

We lucked out for lunch our second day when our friend, Jenn, helpfully told us that Flour Bakery, one of the places on our list, is conveniently located next to the Boston Children's Museum. And so after Sophie had all her fun, it was her parents' turn to indulge. Even though the roasted lamb sandwich and chicken burger special we ordered were delicious, it was the sweets that had our hearts a-singing.

Crème brûlée and sticky bun at Flour
Behold the swoon-worthy crème brûlée and sticky bun at Flour
We didn't forget about Sophie- we got her a vegan chocolate muffin as a tea-time snack that I then had to fight her for because it was SOOOO delicious. I nearly took it away from her because I didn't think there was anyway something so moist and rich could be vegan...

Vegan chocolate muffin as a tea time treat
Obliterating her chocolate muffin
That night, dinner was with Jenn at Summer Shack, where we all ordered a lobster roll each (except Sophie, who had chicken noodle soup, a butter-less corn on the cob, and several dinner rolls...). The lobster roll wasn't anything to write home, which only made Jude and I even more determined to have a good lobster roll before we left New England.

Our next good eat after that was not a meal so much as a treat. It was the day of Hurricane Irene and we stayed in most of the day (and ordered room service for lunch). By the evening though, everyone was going a little stir-crazy and we decided to go for a walk/drive around Cambridge. Pretty much every other shop was closed, but thankfully, not Toscanini's, and so in we popped for yummy gelato while Sophie got a strawberry sorbet. The last time we were here, I got a honey lavender gelato, the memory of which still lingers in my mind. They didn't have it this time, so I settled for a combination of burnt caramel and malted vanilla. So different, but still oh so good...

Burnt caramel and malted vanilla
Yummmmm...
Our rather rich room service lunch (fish & chips and a steak sandwich) on top of that gelato meant that we didn't really need a heavy dinner. Jude suggested some kind of soup and as I searched Yelp for recommendations for good soups in the area, I found several good reviews for Le's in the heart of Harvard Square. Jude and I never came across a bowl of pho we didn't like but we were still really full and so we decided, just one large bowl for the three of us. We ordered it to go, together with a couple of desserts from Finale, which we knew we wanted to return to after our last trip. The verdict? If our daughter had her way, she would have finished that bowl of pho all by herself. It was flavorful, hearty, and thoroughly satisfying- perfect for a stormy, rainy day. And the desserts, I think they speak for themselves:

Crème brûlée
Crème brûlée
Ultimate Chocolate Cake
Ultimate chocolate cake

And testimony to how good they were? We bought the EXACT same ones again the next night!

We satisfied our lobster roll craving the next day when we finally made it to Alive and Kicking for their lobster sandwich. Nestled in a tiny neighborhood, this fishmonger is located on the same street as where our friend, Terence used to live when he was at Harvard and when we visited him in 2007, I trudged 2 long city blocks to get to it. But they turned me away because it was too early in the morning. Let's just say it was worth the 4-year wait... It doesn't look like a lot of lobster nor does it appear to be as impressive as the stereotypical New England lobster roll but this is the REAL DEAL, folks. Fresh, succulent, and nothing added to it but just a tinge of mayo- no fillers or celery. Jude and I chomped our sandwiches down in complete silence. It was OUTSTANDING.

Lobster sandwich from Alive and Kicking...
So worth the wait...
One thing we knew for sure we wanted to go back to was Sapporo Ramen in Porter Square. Oh ramen- how you have a hold on our hearts- the one noodle dish we love more than pho... Thankfully, they had onigiri on the menu for Sophie- I don't think we would have given up eating there just because Sophie can't have egg noodles (we would have just bought her something from one of the other Japanese food vendors). I was enjoying my Tan Tan ramen so much I didn't remember to take a photo until I was more than half-way through.

Tan Tan Ramen
*slurp*

That was our last dinner in Boston. Our flight was at noon the next day and I figured we probably won't have time for any foodie excursions in the morning. But a combination of efficient packing the night before and an early rise for everyone meant we managed to squeeze in one last excursion to Flour on the way to the airport :) We got Sophie a vegan cinnamon-cranberry muffin and we bought a sticky bun and sticky bun bread pudding for the flight. But what got a resounding, "Holy cow!" from Jude at 9.00 in the morning was this ingenious creation:

flour's idea of a breakfast pizza
Flour's idea of a breakfast pizza
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a breakfast pizza with smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, roasted peppers, capers, and get this,... a half-baked whole egg. Yes, you read that right. And it tasted as amazing as it sounds and looks. Crazy good, that's what it was.

Crazy good...

Friday, September 02, 2011

"It's a nice day!"

Which is what Sophie said as we strapped her into the car seat after Stan and Susan's wedding. The girl had a blast of a time during our vacation and everyday was a special one for her in one way or another. Jude and I have done the whole tourist/history thing around Boston (see here and here), and so this trip, apart for celebrating Susan and Stan's wedding, was pretty much for Sophie.

We've been really lucky in terms of air-travel with her. Thanks to our CARES harness, we don't haul Sophie's car seat with us but she still gets to sit safely and comfortably in her own seat. She was so excited, she announced to everyone within earshot of us, "I going on holiday! I go to Boston!"

All strapped into her CARES harness and ready for take-off!
All strapped in and ready to go!
We make sure to time our flights to coincide with her nap time (between 1.00 and 2.00) so every time we've flown in the past year, she almost always falls asleep within 30 minutes of take-off. I think something about the vibrations of the plane lulls her.

We didn't get to do much that first day since by the time we got our baggage, picked up our rental car, navigate through peak-hour traffic and the MANY toll-stops along the Massachusetts freeways, and stopped by a grocery store Sophie's necessities, it was basically dinner time (subject for another post...). Sophie was just a little trooper through it all. She gladly rode on my back on the Ergo carrier through the airport so I could have my hands free in case Jude needed help with the luggage and was happy to let Kipper and her many apps entertain her on the iPad while we drove an hour to the hotel.

Fast asleep
Fast asleep after a long day on the road
The next day was totally Sophie Day. Not only did she get to spend an entire morning exploring the Boston Children's Museum, she woke up from her hour-long nap in the car (as Dada took Mama on a scenic drive around Boston) to find herself at the Boston Public Garden where she saw for herself the ducks of "Make Way for Ducklings".

@ the Boston Children's Museum
Fun at the Boston Children's Museum
"Make Way for Ducklings" statue at the Boston Public Garden
She ran to sit on the ducklings all by herself

Sitting on Mrs. Mallard
Sitting on Mrs. Mallard
Honestly, I think if we had gone home right there and then, Sophie would still have been one happy child. But we changed her into a t-shirt and let her splash in the tadpole pool in the Commons (with our friend Julie), and it was like the Special Day that Would Not End for her :)

Splashing in the Tadpole pool
Wading in the Tadpole Pool
Saturday was an exciting day for our friends, Stan and Susan. But it was one exciting day for Sophie too. She's been to a couple of weddings with us, but not one recently where we could talk to her about what was going on. She knew it was a big deal coz she got to put on a nice dress and her "fancy dancing boots", as she calls them. More importantly though, she got to dance. Sophie LOVES to dance. Nothing coordinated, of course, but she loves to spin and twirl, flail her hands in the air (it comes across more like flapping, really...), and just groove to the beat. It didn't matter if the DJ was playing the Stones' "I Can Get No Satisfaction" or The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling", Sophie wanted to get in on the action on the dance floor any way she could.

Glee on the dance floor
Glee on the dance floor, even without the music playing!
Converse Cat in the Hat high-tops
Converse Cat in the Hat high-tops, just for dancing
Slow-dancing with Mama to Jack Johnson
Slow-dancing with Mama to Jack Johnson
That night, we braced ourselves for what the weather reports told us would be the beginning of Hurricane Irene's onslaught of the East Coast, and we knew that Sunday would be spent mostly indoors. Sophie didn't care where she was; as long as she had her parents with her, her books, puzzles, and PBS ;) Conditions actually got significantly better in the evening and we managed to take a walk/drive around Cambridge. Most shops were closed because of the weather but people were out and about so the places that were open were actually quite crowded. Like Toscanini's, where Sophie enjoyed a strawberry sorbet and Jude and I split a salted caramel/ malted vanilla gelato (like I said, for another post...)

Strawberry sorbet
Strawberry sorbet
To work off the cabin fever from being cooped up all day, we found a public playground next to an elementary school where we let Sophie just run about. A bunch of other parents and their children were out too and no one seemed to mind the fact that everything was wet and there were bits of fallen branches here and there. I think they were just as relieved as us to have found a place to let their stir-crazy offsprings unwind after a day of being house-bound thanks to Irene.

When Monday rolled round, you wouldn't have been able to guess that just 24-hours ago, this city had just been caught in the bands of a hurricane. The sun was shining, it was all clear blue skies, with a crisp morning breeze. Sophie's going through a whale craze right now (well, a Shamu craze, specifically), and so we thought she might enjoy the New England Aquarium. And she was enthralled. Even though the whale-watching boat tours were cancelled, there was still plenty of sea creatures for her to gawk at. She learned all about shallow water habitats, was mesmerized by the large penguin exhibit, saw a jellyfish properly for the first time ("It's like an umbrella- open, shut them, open, shut them..."), and got to touch a beach crab, sting ray ("It so slimey!"), and starfish. Yup, she was a happy child :)

New England Aquarium
So much to see
Touching sea creatures
Touching a beach crab
Giving the baby sea lion a high-five
Giving the baby sea lion a high-five
If you asked me what my earliest memory of a family vacation is, I'm not sure if I can tell you (Kuantan, Malaysia, maybe?...) and even though I know Sophie might not remember this trip beyond the next few months, I have a feeling it's actually the first holiday of which she will have any recollection. She truly had a wonderful, wonderful time, and at the end of the day, hurricane or not, that's what truly matters...

Bye bye, Boston!
Bye bye, Boston!