Christmas at Chewie’s House

Nothing says Christmas like a trip to Chewie’s! Granny Sue and Grandpa Bill’s place, you mean? Nope, according to Molly, it’s Chewie’s house … haha. (Glad we cleared that up.) Claire, Molly (a.k.a. Chewie’s shadow) and Julia — accompanied by Mom and Dad — were excited to visit Columbus from Christmas Eve through New Year’s.
chewie's shadow

Also in attendance at Chewie’s Christmas bonanza? Our cousin Maya, Julia’s baptism buddy — hooray!
baptism buddies reunited!

In addition, we were thrilled to see Uncle Patrick, Aunt Monica, Uncle Dan, Aunt Mimi and Chewie’s human housemates — Grandpa Bill and Granny Sue.

On Christmas morning we enjoyed tree gazing, present opening, and most importantly, quality time together! The girls received lots of wonderful gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles (too many to mention!). Among their favorites: these superhero capes from Aunt Monica and Uncle Patrick. :)
Christmas caped crusaders

It was hard to get a clear shot! Fancy capes = fast superheroes = blurry pictures, obviously.
superhero capes!

And here’s Minnie … err … Molly … modeling a new winter hat …
super minnie

and the Bear with a butterfly umbrella (both from Granny Sue and Grandpa Bill).
umbrella lady

Yep, Santa and friends were very good to us this year. Books, blocks, boots — and plenty more beginning with letters other than ‘B.’ Thanks, everyone!

Above all, we loved having an opportunity to hang out with so many of our favorite people. Yay!

christmas brothers

Jolly brothers

stripe buddies

Stripe buddies

When they weren’t following poor Chewie throughout the house (haha), Claire and Molly played trains …
Claire the conductor

decorated Granny Sue’s kiddie table (with Uncle Dan’s assistance) …
table decorating

and had a blast watching Maya (seen here, showing Julia how big girls use the play mat).
maya mat

Of course, it wouldn’t be family togetherness time without the good eats (tasty Turkish dinner for Aunt Mimi’s birthday and homemade turnovers from Patrick and Monica to name a few). Post-dinner crumbs on your table? Fear not! Admiral Chewington to the rescue!
doggie clean-up service

tasty thumb

Julia recommends Aunt Mimi’s thumb as an appetizer

you can't hide, uncle dan!

You can’t hide that food from me, Uncle Dan!

After Christmas, C. Bear and M. Moo showed Maya & co. the pool at the local community center. Who doesn’t love a lazy river? (Umm … no one.)
pool pals

maya the swim monkey

Granny Sue & Grandpa Bill’s neighbors said we could use their (leafy) trampoline anytime — perfect for superhero flying practice!
trampoline fun

trampoline hero

And in other outdoor news, the girls had fun visiting a number of local parks and trying out playground equipment.

swinging in the neighborhood

climbing with g-pa bill

Chewie insisted on testing it, too. She takes these things quite seriously.
chewie at the playground

Back inside, the older two read lots of books with Granny Sue …
red room reading

and created “movies” (a.k.a. JibJab videos) with Grandpa Bill.
more movies, grandpa!

They also had the chance to practice their gaming skills (Some of us — like yours truly — stick to The Oregon Trail and Tetris, so this was out of my league.)

serious gamers

Molly demonstrates how I would hold my controller (backwards)

When New Year’s rolled around, Claire and Molly went to a Noon Year’s Eve puppet show at the library. They were pumped to hear two stories: The Gingerbread Man and The Stinky Cheese Man. Best New Year ever! haha (By the way, when did Noon Year’s Eve become a thing? Seems like a brilliant idea for those of us who go to bed at 10 … haha.)
noonyear's eve at the library

The following day, we watched the Irish take on the Buckeyes, and Molly was excited to share Grandpa’s chips (we were less than excited about the outcome of the game, however … boooo).
chip stealers

But on a happier note, we had a great visit with the whole gang, and we can’t wait until our next opportunity to be together. Thanks, everyone, and a special thanks to Granny Sue & Grandpa Bill for hosting.
grandpa bill with C & J

christmas maya & co.

Whelp, that’s it for now. Given that she passed the 6-month mark in Phoenix and hit 7 months in Columbus, this lady probably wonders which exotic location awaits her at month 8! haha … more on that milestone next time.
baby and flowers

Merry Thanksgiving!

Nothing says “it’s Christmastime/New Year’s” like a Thanksgiving recap! haha … actually, a month-ish lag time doesn’t feel too bad right about now. We’ll give ourselves an ‘A’ for effort.

In our last post we mentioned that we had the pleasure of traveling to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, a.k.a. home of Uncle Bobby, Aunt Jenn and cousin Wilson. Together with Aunt Jenn’s fabulous family (shout-out to Steve, Joyce and Eric!), they did a wonderful job of planning for our visit and organizing all sorts of activities. Thanks, amazing AZ crew!

This trip had the distinction of being the first time we met our dashing nephews Wilson (left) and Luke (right), seen here with Julia — who is a wee bit envious of their expert sitting skills.
youngest three

We were also grateful for the opportunity to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Jim, Aunt Cara, Kelly and Caroline, plus several bonus family members who joined us throughout the week. The gang was all there!

Here’s a look at some of our favorite photo memories, grouped by theme for your viewing satisfaction. :)

Grub chompin’
Between Thanksgiving dinner, a delicious post-Thanksgiving lunch buffet, game watch pizza, s’mores and more, it was a week full of tasty treats.

chowin' down

Keeping food on your face for later is always a good idea

luke dinnertime

Luke agrees

more pie, please!

More pie, Grandpa!

fancy dancers

After the dessert comes the dancing!

Thanksgiving crew

Post-Thanksgiving gathering with even more fun family

C and C

Pizza at our ND/Stanford game watch (less than happy outcome for the Irish)

s'mores with g-pa

Backyard s’mores

s'more fun!

Molly and Uncle Bobby want s’MORE! (haha … sorry, bad pun)

Butterfly gazing
A special highlight of our Phoenix adventure was the Butterfly Wonderland, otherwise known as America’s largest butterfly conservatory. It was amazing! Butterflies of every color were fluttering everywhere and landing on lucky visitors.

3D film crew

Totally ready for the 3D butterfly movie


One of my favorites … eeek — get off the ground, little guy!

curly J

Julia demonstrates what happens to one’s hair in the hot & humid habitat (look closely and you’ll see a brown stowaway on her head)

butterfly pals

butterfly snacks

butterfly girls and g-pa

landing spot

A friend for Grandma’s shoulder

beautiful butterfly lady

Caroline, butterfly whisperer

molly and the bees

Capping off the butterfly trip with bees …

interesting creatures

… and stingrays!

Santa visiting
Fortunately, Aunt Jenn knew all the best Santa hangouts, so several from the group took pics with the big guy one morning.

santa group

Outdoor adventuring
While it was chillier than normal in Arizona, we Kansans were excited for lots of time outside. In addition to visiting the local parks, we took advantage of the great outdoor space provided by our rental house, which included a big backyard, patio with lots of seating, fire pit and pool.

soccer with aunt susan

Playing baby soccer upon our arrival. Wilson: “Umm … this lady is totally nuts.” haha

sliding ladies

grandpa horsey ride

park pals

pond ladies

Kelly, Molly, Caroline and Claire with their duck entourage

K and M

ring around the rosy

good times at the park

excellent form

Claire practices her putting on Thanksgiving

get 'er in there!

hole in one!

testing the waters

Molly tests the waters

chilly swimmers

happy swimmers

hat buddies

Hat buddies pose in the backyard

bean bag bear

Outdoor story time with a bean bag dance — yay!

Epic selfie-taking
Julia enjoyed her near-daily selfies with Uncle Bobby. A necessity for any vacation, obviously. :)



General merry-making
Whether playing, coloring, reading or hanging with family and watching our cousins in action, each day was packed with fun and laughs. For a holiday celebrating all things gratitude, we couldn’t have been more thankful for good food, new experiences and quality time with wonderful people.
fun times!

coloring ladies

steve, eric & julia

pretty butterfly J

PJ kids

PJ gang

And speaking of wonderful people, we’ll look forward to telling you all about our Christmas travels to Columbus. In the meantime, here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

Six Month Spectacular

Oh hey there, friends! Yes, it’s been a while since you’ve seen my sweet face on the blog, so here it is. :)oh hey there

I passed the six-month mark while we were in Arizona for Thanksgiving. Woohoo! (We’ll look forward to telling you about the trip soon … spoiler alert: it was GREAT.) In the meantime, here’s a bit about what I’ve been doing over the past month.

Of all the sisters, I’m the most interested in food at this age. I advanced quickly through the baby sawdust rice cereal phase to get to various mushy goodies. When I’m not gnawing on a toy (or nearby finger), I’m trying delectable treats like squash, bananas, carrots, pears, mangoes and more. I know you’re jealous of this assortment.
julia says yum.

laughing chomper

sawdust time!

One of my favorite activities (besides eating, of course) is watching my sisters as they take on the challenge of the day, be it leaf pile jumping …
leafy sisters

or outsmarting a giant bear at the Scheels sporting goods store. Yikes!
bear and, um, BEAR.

Given the above average temps this fall/winter, Claire and Molly have had plenty of time to show me the ropes at the park. I love feeling the wind in my voluminous hair when I swing. :)
swingin' J

is this winter

In other month six news, I went to the pediatrician for my check-up today, and I’m measuring in at 26.5 in. long (75th percentile) and 16 lbs. 10 oz. (65th percentile). Yep — Growing and growing! But who needs a doctor’s visit when you have these two medical, umm … professionals? … living under the same roof:

Need a doc? Call us (if you dare)! haha

And hey, can you believe Christmas is next week? Nope, neither can we! For those who need a little more time to savor the holiday season, our Thanksgiving recap is up next.
sweet sisters

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

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