Just Call Me G

Our long-time readers will understand the importance of ‘G,’ a.k.a. Claire’s Curious George doll. And you thought it was merely the 7th letter of the alphabet — silly, silly! :)

G made his first appearance in the blogosphere in September of 2011, when he and Claire volunteered to assist struggling patrons with the Automated Postal Center (otherwise known as the post office self-service machine that no one seems to be able to operate). Come on, people — read the instructions!

haha … but USPS crabbiness aside, we’re long overdue for a post devoted to G. In fact, we just added a new G decoration to Claire’s room, so now’s the perfect time.
new letters

yup. that's my name

The letters were a gift from our super talented Aunt Mimi, and the Bear was totally jazzed when they arrived (as seen here, with her “I’m freaking out!” look). :)
i'm freaking out!

Here’s a close-up:
letter C

Now before you go asking about getting some of your own Aunt Mimi letters; sadly, I must tell you that this lady is a lawyer-in-training and does not have an Etsy shop. Lo siento. Too bad there’s no pro bono work involving Curious George artistry! Missed opportunity, if you ask me.

Hooray for Aunt Mimi, and hooray for G! And while we’re at it, here’s a bit more about your favorite meddlesome monkey.


Hans Augusto Rey

Curious George’s “parents” (creators Hans Augusto ‘H.A.’ and Margret Rey) were Germans from Hamburg who met briefly as kids and reunited in Rio de Janiero, where Hans was selling bathtubs and Margret was escaping the political climate in Germany. They were married in Brazil in 1935 and moved to Paris after falling in love with the city during their European honeymoon.


Margret Rey

It was there that Hans published his first children’s book, Raffy and the Nine Monkeys (Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys in the British and American editions). This marked the debut of a mischievous monkey named Curious George. The Reys decided that George deserved a book of his own, but before the new manuscript could be published, the authors—both German Jews—found themselves needing to escape Paris before the Nazis took power.

Fleeing on bicycles made of spare parts, the pair brought only warm coats, a bit of food, and five manuscripts, one of which was Curious George. The Nazis entered Paris just hours later, but the Reys were already gone. They rode to the French-Spanish border and eventually made their way to NYC, beginning a new life as children’s book authors.

g bananaCurious George was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941, and all the George books, including the seven original stories by Margret and Hans, have sold more than twenty-five million copies. George’s adventures have been translated into many languages, including Japanese, French, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Swedish, German, Chinese, Danish, and Norwegian.

Although both of the Reys have passed away — Hans in 1977 and Margret in 1996—George lives on in the Curious George Foundation. For even more about G, check out this page — Curious About George? Oh, Houghton Mifflin, your titles are so clever. :)

And now we present … G: A photo retrospective. Enjoy.

not i said the claire

may i chew on your face

ahh...fresh laundry

mischievous pair

bear and animal friends

all the single ladies

G in Molly pants

glory days

claire & G

fire lady

which brings us to … 2015

present day bear and G

Here’s to many more exciting adventures with G! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.



Molly’s Menagerie

Can you identify all four animals in this picture?
turtle, kangaroo, giant rodent

Turtle? Check. Kangaroo in man-made pouch? Check. Baby donkey? Check. I was doing pretty well with the animal identification quiz — that is, until I tried to guess the name of the big guy in the cage (sorta looks like a cross between a rabbit and a deer …). Umm … Dabbit? Reer?

Betcha didn’t say Patagonian Cavy! And if you did, you receive an A+ for knowledge of giant rodents. A distant relative of the guinea pig, he’s a herbivorous rodent commonly found in Argentina.

On this particular day last month, our Argentinian friend and his camel BFF visited the neighborhood with the rest of their mobile petting zoo pals. Yep, no big deal. Just a giant camel down the street. :)
neighborhood camel

We’re fortunate to live in a neighborhood that does a lot of cool stuff, particularly kid-friendly activities. After all, when was the last time you got to pet a de-skunkified skunk? (Part of me wonders if this encourages children to pet real skunks … haha … hmmm … )
de-skunkified skunk

All the kids — and adults! — loved seeing the exotic array of pets. And while we’re not going to run out and buy a chinchilla (rather high-strung with a tendency to bite, in case you were wondering), it was really fun to see everything. This lady especially enjoyed petting her new buddies.
look! a bunny!

(Oh, and Claire and Julia were in attendance too, but they were with me, and I didn’t have a camera – whoops!) Next time a turtle ambles by, you can bet we’ll be ready. :)

Ghoulish Good Times

Just when you thought the Halloween scares were over, it’s (gasp!) …

An intimidating duck …

J duck

accompanied by a pretty pink princess and a ravishing “red princess.”
pink and red princesses

Yep. That’s what Molly Moo calls her costume. Did you know that it also comes with a red princess tail, “ears” (horns) and a “wand” (pitchfork)? Essential items for every red princess, obviously.
red princess and her wand

They were the perfect Halloween trio. :)
halloween trio

And to think, the pink princess was almost a hot dog! Close call.

Just kidding. Actually, a hot dog would have been amazing, but  — as you can probably tell from the picture — it was too big, as was the pizza costume for Molly. Alas. There’s always next year!
what could have been

In other Halloween happenings, Molly the devil red princess and Julia the leopard (duck’s alter ego) went on a reverse trick-or-treat adventure with friends and handed out candy at a nearby retirement home. (The pink princess was in school.) It was a blast! You could tell that the residents got a kick out of seeing all the kids in costume.
reverse trick or treat

Prior to trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, the girls enjoyed carving their pumpkin with Dad.
pumpkin trio

pumpkin ladies

And of course the pumpkin wanted a ride on the swing. Look at that toothy grin … he’s having a smashing good time! (Get it?? Smashing. Pumpkins. Sorry — couldn’t resist.)
pumpkin ride

While the princesses were out collecting treasures, Julia and I greeted trick-or-treaters at the door. Hope you like that candy with extra slobber, kids! haha!
candy helper

Good times had by all — hope your Halloween was a spooktacular one!

Top Five

Whelp. Mets just beat the Royals in Game 3. Boooo. Mom says she hasn’t watched this much baseball since that summer in college when she worked at a Chicago nonprofit and lived with a bunch of nuns. Man, did those ladies love their Cubbies. (That, and Wheel of Fortune. Pat Sajak is sooo dreamy! haha)

But I digress … did you know that I’m five months old already?? Yowsa! To mark this milestone, I’ll tell you five things I’m up to lately. Get ready … it’s an exciting world. :)

Chillin’ in the Bumbo
Like Molly and Claire before me, I’m rockin’ the Bumbo seat. It gives one a nice vantage point that isn’t offered by the bouncy chair. You should try it sometime!
bumbo lady J

sweet bumbo J

bumbo trio

Making fun noises
As you’d expect, my range of sounds (and volume) is ever-increasing. Who doesn’t love making raspberries? (Answer: No one.) Take a listen …

Grabbing. Everything. In. Sight.
If you have long hair, a necklace, a shirt or a face (so, everyone, basically) … watch out … these grabbers are on the loose! Oh, sure, they look friendly in this picture. That’s what I want you to think. :)
grabby mcgrabberstein

Being a good sport
Fortunately, I love my sisters and find them entertaining, because I have to go along with a fair amount of shenanigans, e.g., Claire’s “make Julia into a bunny” game, seen below.
bunny J

Interacting with Claire and Molly
Speaking of sister entertainment, have I told you that these girls are hilarious? One of our favorite pastimes is swapping noises back and forth.

Bonus material: In addition to listening in on the “conversation,” you’ll learn how we feel about dropping peas on the floor.

You’ll also hear Mom’s goofy talking-to-babies voice. She apologies if she’s ever accidentally used this voice in adult conversation with you. She knows you’re not a small baby. Sometimes she forgets to make the switch back to her ‘real’ voice. :)

But anywho … on to month six! And Happy almost-Halloween! We’ll look forward to sharing our spooky recap soon.
5 month lady

The Art of the Sandwich?

Sandwich-ApproachYou may already be familiar with the “sandwich approach.” Basically, it’s when you ‘sandwich’ a piece of constructive criticism with two (or more) positive pieces of information.

For example, in a resume review: “I like where you’re going with this information about your current job. You picked some great verbs to describe your accomplishments. To make room for more of this sort of thing, we’ll need to trim the 800 less-than relevant activities from high school. That will allow us to fit these nice computer skills on the first page.”

Yum — a delicious sandwich that helps Jane Q. Student feel better about deleting her experience with the high school bingo club.

So anyhow, I found myself thinking about this today when, on the way home from Claire’s preschool, a certain M. Moo modified the approach for her benefit …

“Mama, you have pretty hair. Mama, I like your boots. We go to donut store, Mama? Mama, I pat your arm. Do gentle pats. Pat, pat.”

smooth operator

The face of a smooth operator.

cool customer

haha … I have no doubt that this will be the first of many ‘sandwiches’ served up by this lady.

A nice chuckle for my Wednesday, needless to say. :)

Bonus material: If you’re like me and enjoy reading about communication strategies (a super cool hobby, I know), here’s an interesting article about how the sandwich approach often undermines feedback. As you can imagine, there are plenty of times when it isn’t effective and/or appropriate, e.g., giving time-sensitive, critical feedback to a direct report. The gist of the article is that, among other things, your positive comments may come across as insincere (cough – Molly – cough) or actually create more anxiety by delaying the inevitable.

4th and Goal

Oh, man … heartbreaker for the Irish tonight. Bah.

But on a happier note, who is excited to be four months old?? Yep, it’s ME!
month 4 - woohoo!

We have lots to report, so here goes …

First off, I’m now an official roller — no more swaddling while I sleep! I started September with a few rolls, and by the end of the month, there was no stoppin’ me.

littlest sis

Little, but mighty!

I’m also doing a good job with my head control, and I enjoy spending time with my undersea mat buddies.
j undersea time

Before you know it, I’ll be trying the ol’ rice cereal (a.k.a. baby sawdust). It’s something Mom and Dad remember fondly, having experienced the fun of first foods with M. Moo and C. Bear.
biggest sisters-1

In the meantime, I’ll be chompin’ on Sophie. That’s right — our squeaky giraffe friend is back and better than ever! We welcomed Sophie on the blog nearly four years ago, and she’s received numerous mentions since then. So of course I had to see what all the fuss was about.
giraffe feet. yum.

The rumors are true: she’s delicious.
sophie round 3

So anyway, shortly before I passed the four month mark, Mom went to Notre Dame for the annual meeting of the ND Women Connect Board (Irish women – woohoo!). She also had the pleasure of watching ND beat UMass, accompanied by Granny Sue, Grandpa Bill and Aunt Mimi. Month four and football — excellent combo, don’t you agree?
granny sue thumbs up

football fun with mimi

wrong team

Mary snapped this one of two UMass players who are clearly playing for the wrong team …

It was a fun and productive trip for Mom, and we’re super grateful that Grandma Barb was able to hang out with me and my sisters while Mom was away. Yay for Grandma! Here are some of those highlights (plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, per usual).

puzzles with gma

Big sisters practicing spelling

j and dad swing

Me + Dad on the swings

J swinging with gma

Grandma’s turn!

mulch cafe

Preparing mulch “meals” at the playground drive-thru

molly loves snacks

Whew — real food — thank goodness

bear racer

Sunny car rides on the front walk


Our first time fishing at the children’s farm

Yep, plenty of good times to wrap up the month. And now that we’re into October, we’re looking forward to all things fall — cooler temps, pumpkins, Halloween … it’s the best!

But before the frost sets in, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. (Molly recommends smashing them into your face.)

A Week in the Life

What is it about September? We blink and it’s almost over! Well, anywho … it has been a crazy month of back-to-schoolin’ and computer troubleshootin’. (I’ll spare you the details on the latter, but needless to say, I’ve referred to these past few weeks as “the computer apocalypse of 2015” … yeaaaah.)

Today we thought we’d share a typical week in the life of the Bear, M. Moo and sweet Julia. We’re guessing these are your weekly staples as well … haha.

We go to school. Here’s a pic from Claire’s first day. (I had to laugh when I realized she’s wearing the exact same shirt as last year … haha. Umm … it was planned?)
C first day of school

We take naps. This lady is such a good sport, especially with all the coming and going that can interrupt her nap time. Girl’s gotta sleep, y’all!
sleepy chubs

On Wednesday, we wear pigtails. A nice pick-me-up for the middle week slump, don’t you agree?*
*I’m kidding about the whole Wednesday thing, but it sounds like a good idea, right? :)

We read. Anything and everything, but current favorites include The Berenstain Bears and the Little Critter books.
book time

We wear stickers. Speaking of famous ursine friends, when was the last time you covered your face in Berenstain Bear stickers? Not recently? Better hop to it!
sticker face

We do tummy time. Julia continues to strengthen those neck muscles. After all, it take a lot of energy to lift the ol’ melon head off the ground! More to come re: the latest milestones in her 4-month post.
tummy time J

We spend time with friends. Whether it’s the human or stuffed variety (shout-out to Gus, below), we’re always glad to see friends at school, in playgroups and on the weekends. Yay for buddies!
c and gus

Oh, and another thing we do during a typical fall week? Watcha the football! I’ll have to get a good pic of the girls in their ND attire. Go Irish! Beat Yellow Jackets! (Had to google the Georgia Tech mascot …)

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