Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cecilia Really Loves the Beach

Cecilia really loves the beach. This picture was from North Beach in Miami in October.

Here are the beaches and lakes we went to this year: Wingaersheek (2x), Crane Beach, Plum Island, York, Virgina Beach, North Beach, Walden Pond, Arlington Reservoir, North Jersey Lake (Shire's), Spring Brook Park, Oleta River State Park, Harbor Islands (asleep), Van Damme, Little River, Russian Gulch, Mendocino Highlands, Rancho Seco.

Those are on top of the swim classes she has been taking at the Cambridge Rec Center most of the year. Any way it just seemed like a good idea to write all of those down.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


This fall we've been taking Cecilia to gymnastics class, followed by swimming class, nearly every Saturday morning. She has really grown to love gymnastics class, and other than teaching her to jump around, it has taught her how to behave with a leader (the teacher) and to learn as part of a group.

Here are a few random videos of some of the classes. The classes always start with some warm-up exercises. The teacher you see (the big guy) is Marco. You may have to look hard to find Cecilia since she's the smallest one in a crowd of kids and parents.



Kicking your feet and walking:

Doing the bear crawl. This one is sort of funny because in the background, you see Cecilia's friend Bronwyn, who loved gymnastics last year, but apparently this year is on strike:

Balancing a bean bag on her head and walking (very hard to do for a 2 year old!).

Here you are supposed to throw the bean bag, then run over to it and jump over it:

These exercises are always then followed by some stretching on the mats:

After the stretching, Marco and his assistant (usually Erika) set up all the mats and blocks in the correct sequence and he goes over what you're supposed to do at each station.

Here you are supposed to climb up the block of mats, jump down, and raise up your arms when you land and go "ta da!"

Here, she is supposed to be crawling up a wall with her feet until she is "standing" on her hands. Although she wasn't that cooperative this particular day, now she can do this entirely on her own.

Doing tuck jumps on the big red bouncy mat (one of her favorites):

Here she is swinging on the uneven bars. They have now progressed to the kids jumping up and holding their arms stiff on top of the bar so that their bellies are pressed into it (Cecilia can't do this yet):

Walking on the high balance beam. There is also a low balance beam. The very first day of class, Cecilia walked across it fast, with no problems. However, now she has developed a healthy fear of it, and needs us to hold her body or her hands the whole way.

This 45-minute gymnastics class is followed by swim class. Needless to say, usually we rush home for some lunch and then all settle in for a family nap.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rainy Day

Miami Vacation

In early October, we took a family vacation with city Grandma down to Miami for a week. We rented a gorgeous house with Nils (one of my co-residents), his wife Lisa, 3.5-year old daughter Carolina, 4 month old son William, and his parents. The house had 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a large open kitchen/dining/living area, a grill outside, and, most importantly, a beautiful pool.

This is the view at night from the big back windows of our house:

The pool was fantastic, with lights at night if you wanted to have an evening dip. Here is a video of Cecilia with Grandma, and Carolina with her grandma all playing in the pool:

Cecilia and Carolina had a ton of fun together.

Of course, we were also in the pool almost every day. For the first time, Cecilia learned to "swim" by herself... with the help of either a foam tube or inflatable ring.

We played a lot of hide and seek, read a LOT of Dora books, and colored and painted during the down times in the house.

Although we did not have beach front property, it was very very close. We went to the beach almost every day. Here are some videos of Cecilia and Carolina getting buried in the sand together!

Here's the whole progression in picture form:

Here's a video of Cecilia playing in the sand with Daddy:

The last day we were there, we happened to find Oleta River State Park, which had a small inlet/pool of water from the ocean. It was perfect for Cecilia - shallow, large, and no waves - with a nice changing room and picnic tables. Although we really only had 20 minutes or so to spare, Mommy and Daddy had to join the fun in the water. Here are a few videos from Grandma:

Here's a funny video where she is "trying to float" on her back, but is really just having fun sticking her legs up in the air out of the water:

The full set of pictures (which city Grandma contributed to) can be found here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Cecilia is growing up so fast. Here she's eating soup like a big girl - using a bowl and a spoon just like Mommy and Daddy:


For the past 6 months or so, Cecilia has really been into building certain things with her Legos. Specifically, she likes to build big playgrounds with all the Lego people standing on it:

A few more pics of the Lego playground:

She has also really been into building a "funny ice cream truck," which usually consists of a flat Lego board on wheels, high walls and windows built around the side, and all the people thrown in the middle along with some plastic ice cream cones. This particular ice cream truck looks more like a funny playground with all the people standing on top. Notice that she had me wheel it all the way from her bedroom into the hallway.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Here is Cecilia riding her scooter down the driveway.


Cecilia has been really into riding her tricycle lately and has gotten good at steering. This is not actually hers, but it's a nice video we took in Ben's driveway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mendocino Album

The beaches in Mendocino were so incredible I went through the pictures from August and created this album

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beautiful Lady

This is a gorgeous dress given to us by Sara, and which looks great on Cecilia:

Belkin Family Lookout Farm

One Sunday in late September, we had several hours to ourselves while Daddy played a couple ultimate frisbee games. So we went to Belkin Family Lookout Farm, which is known for its apple picking, but also has a large children's play area. I'll have to be honest, we spent the entire time in the children's play area and picked only one apple.

Cecilia had a ton of fun! First thing we did was get her face painted - she chose a pumpkin:

Then she wanted to go on the caterpillar ride, but since the driver was on his lunch break, we took a break too and ate a hot dog for lunch. :) Afterward, she was one of the first kids in line for the caterpillar ride after the lunch break.

We went through the burlap sack maze, and she like peeping out through the cut-out holes in various wooden picture stands:

We played in the little playground, with a lot of bouncy animals and slides and such:

We climbed to the top of a hay stack and sang "Yodel yodel yodel lay-ee-oh!!"

And she was even brave enough to do a pony ride, while Mommy walked next her (most of the time). To be honest though, I don't think this was her favorite part of the day.

We finally got back in the car to go back to the fields to pick Daddy up. After almost completely devouring the one apple we picked, she fell asleep still holding the apple core. :)

Preview of Halloween

Well, we asked and asked Cecilia what she wanted to be, and she kept wavering between Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. I think the Winnie the Pooh answers were a little more frequent, so we ordered a costume for her, which fit perfectly. Here she is a couple weeks ago parading around in her new Winnie the Pooh costume. She is SO excited for Halloween.

A couple more blurry pics from my phone:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Treated like Royalty

Queen Cecilia and her loyal knights, Sir Aaron and Sir Jacob:

The royal procession:

Boston Arts (Ahts) Festival

In September, we met up with Ben, Jen, Aaron and Jacob at the Boston Arts Festival in Christopher Columbus Park. They had many vendors selling their art, as well as quite a few fun activities for kids. Here is Cecilia painting on a big wall:

We walked over the Faneuil Hall area later, and here's a nice picture of Aaron and Jacob:

I couldn't resist and bought a palette knife painting of some sunflowers by Alison Vernon. I bought a really small one because the large one she had wouldn't fit onto our living room wall, but I may have to go to her studio to take a look at more her stuff. :)

Reading the News

As Pete posted earlier, Cecilia has been doing the funny thing the last couple of months... she'll get Daddy's glasses, put them on, and say "Can you bring me the news so I can read it?" Super super cute. Here are a few pics from last month of her reading the news with Daddy's glasses:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boston Harbor Islands

In early September, we went with three other families - Ben, Jen, Aaron, and Jacob AND Sara, Mike, Olivia and Abby AND Lisa, Chris, Parker and Reid - to two of the Boston Harbor Islands.

First we went to Georges Island to see the fort. Cecilia really enjoyed the ferry ride, probably mostly because it was super windy and sprayed water over her.

The first thing we did there was eat lunch, of course. There was also a tiny little playground area with one slide that all the kids ran around on. Here is Cecilia chasing the birds while waiting for us to finish lunch:

Everyone had fun walking into the fort underground and above ground. There were lots of small buildings to go into and explore.

On top of the fort, there was a big hilly area where you could see the Boston skyline. The kids enjoyed sitting on top of the hill, hiking up the hill and running down the hill.

Cecilia spent a lot of time with Olivia, and on top of the fort, they walked over all the stone half-moon circles implanted on the ground where the cannons used to be:

After walking around a little more, we ended the visit at Georges Island by playing around on the big grassy area in the middle of the fort:

Although I don't have any pictures of this, the kids threw a frisbee around a bit - Aaron has a really good throw!

Then we went to Spectacle Island, which is actually built on an old trash dumping ground. Now it has a little beach area for kids to play at. Cecilia was sleeping during this whole part of the visit so I don't have any videos or pictures of the kids at this point.

It was a perfect late summer day, and we've learned that you can even camp on the Harbor Islands! Maybe next summer.... :)

Sacramento Children's Museum in the Summer

One of the last things we did in Sacramento before we had to go back to Boston was go to the Sacramento Children's Museum. It's pretty small, but Cecilia definitely had a ton of fun, starting with the light pegs:

And moving on to painting on the windows:

There was a whole section of ramps and golf balls, which Cecilia spent a ton of time doing with Grandma:

There was a little water area:

And finally a large play area with groceries for kids to go shopping, dolls to play with, a house to go in, and cushions to jump around on:

Here Cecilia helped build stepping blocks out of the cushions for kids to jump off:

It was a pretty good end to our California vacation. :)

Mendocino and Fort Bragg in the Summer

After we got back from Dylan and Christina's wedding, we had more adventures in Sacramento! The first night, we celebrated Grandpa's 70th birthday with the close family. And by celebrated, we mean that he cooked himself a prime rib, we made a few side dishes, and we ate our hearts out. Pete got him an old map of China, which Cecilia helped him open. It was a pretty cool map, and Grandpa spent a couple hours looking at it that night. This picture is a little dark, but it is of Grandpa holding the gift-wrapped map, and Cecilia about to help him unwrap it:

The next day, we left for Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Although a few people didn't feel so well on the curvy roads that took us there (Auntie Karen, Grandma), it was well worth the drive! The very first day, we went to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, which was super fun.

It was maybe a half mile walk to the lighthouse, and we played the entire way, partly to keep Cecilia walking on her own so that we didn't have to carry her up and down the hills. She did a great job walking. :) Here she is running to Grandma:

Here she is spinning around and around with Daddy:

And one of the winners of the day - walking like an old lady (po-po in Cantonese), which brings back a lot of memories as I used to do it when I was her age:

If you look closely, you'll notice that the proper way to do it is to walk a little hunched over (like a little ol' lady) and have your hands clasped behind your back:

And here she is blowing dandelions with Auntie Karen:

Before we got to the lighthouse itself, on the way was a tiny aquatic museum, which Cecilia really enjoyed:

We finally made it to the lighthouse:

Although they wouldn't let us upstairs (tours were only once a week), inside there was a little gift shop, where Cecilia spent a lot of time reading some kids books. She especially liked Dr. Seuss' "Clam-I-Am". Of course, Grandma was all too happy to buy her the book and some stickers:

We walked around on a few paths outside of the lighthouse, which were next to sheer cliffs that dropped off into the sea below. It was only separated from the path by a flimsy low rope, so we made sure to hold on tight to Cecilia.

We were looking around, and then Daddy spotted a couple sea lions frolicking in this protected cove area!

Cecilia was pretty excited about them, although I think she may have had a hard time spotting them consistently since they were so far beneath us in the water. They kept going underwater and playing, and surfacing only occasionally.

As a bonus, we got a great picture of Grandma and Grandpa together.

And pictures of the amazing view we had:

For those interested, here is a video of Cecilia taking a bath that night (a little long and repetitive).

And what would a trip to Mendocino be without going to Auntie Karen's favorite ice cream shop in Fort Bragg:

The next couple days were spent exploring Mendocino, Fort Bragg, and making stops at any one of the millions of small beaches the line the California coast. The first beach we went to was awesome - at low tide, it was actually pretty wide and had a couple different sections. A small stream also fed into it, and there was a shallow pool where the stream hit the ocean. It was perfect for Cecilia to walk around in:

Of course, she also enjoyed running in and out of the waves. We would stand on the beach, and wait, and if the waves came high enough and crashed over our legs, we would run away screaming. I think she could have done this for hours...

At some point, Grandma went a little nuts and started collecting tons (I mean TONS) of seaweed, with the idea of drying it into something like those tasty snacks we eat from Trader Joe's.

She managed to get everyone involved. Auntie Karen...


Even Cecilia!

Grandma washed all the seaweed in the stream and put it all in a bag with Grandpa. It stunk up the whole car. Funny thing is, when we eventually got home, we were so busy she didn't get to do anything with it for a couple days, and it got so rancid, she eventually threw the whole thing out.

We ventured onto a different section of that same beach which was much more sandy and less rocky. Here are Daddy and Cecilia in a sword fight with a long ocean reed

And climbing on some logs:

Cecilia went into a little stick teepee someone else had made:

We stayed so long that I think everyone got a little tired at some point! A few of us took a little rest:

And this is just a nice picture of Grandpa and Auntie Karen:

The next day, we went to a completely different beach. The previous one had actually been nearly submerged because it was high tide! It was much windier and cooler that day, so we got a kite up in the air, which Cecilia managed to hold for a little bit.

It was pretty funny because she's so light, the kite was almost dragging her around, so we had to keep an eye on her.

We ventured out onto this little island of sand. It's difficult to see, but on the other side of this horizon of sand, there were waves crashing angrily onto the beach.

We didn't realize it, but the tide must have been rising. We had crossed a tiny rivulet of ocean water to get to this island, but with the water and waves crashing in, that tiny rivulet became a pretty strong-flowing stream! It was a little hairy getting back to the main beach. I carried Cecilia across a pretty strong current, and Grandma struggled to get back with the kite in tow.

Here's the breaking news story as covered by Mommy:

Finally it was time to go home. We drove through a redwood forest on the way their and back, so we stopped along the way for a few pictures:

For those interested, the full set of pictures from the 2nd half of our California vacation can be found here.