Category Archives: nonna jen

Summer is Here!

Let’s not think about why I am up this early in the morning listening to the birds chirping outside my window and instead go to Knoebel’s.  We are so lucky to live so close to such an amazing place.  Every time we go it is just a little bit cooler.  The kids are getting older and more and more able to go on rides which makes it that much better.  This whole past week Nona Jen and baby Harry were visiting.  Since they had never been there before and Thursday was about the most perfect weather day you could imagine, it seemed like a great thing to do.
It was.
Eric was out of town for work so he unfortunately missed the first trip of the year, but that just means we will have to go more with him later in the summer.
Otto definitely remembered it all from last year, but I am not sure Mette did.  She hung back in the stroller with Harry when we first got there while Otto ran ahead eager to check everything out.  

When we made it to the Kiddie rides section Otto found one with planes with blasters.  He of course wanted to go on that.  Mette, still hesitant at this point, chose to watch from the stroller.  Despite my warnings, Otto chose to ride backwards.  I don’t think he was too down with that and wanted to get off early.  The beautiful thing about going to the big K before school lets out, you have the place to yourself.  The kids didn’t wait in a single line and often had the ride to themselves.  Getting off early is not a problem.

Next up, the cars.  Mette was swayed to ride after spotting a pink car.  She was buckled in to the pink car while Otto picked out a shiny red sports car.  Then he saw Mette and wanted to ride with her but to get to her he had to pass a tank.  Just after buckling him on the tank he said he really did want to ride with Mette,

So off they went.

And that was it.  From then on they only wanted to go on rides together.  They did everything together for the rest of the day.  It was adorable.  Picking rides, taking turns, sharing.  It was one of the days when you are so happy they have each other and you get to watch them grow up together.

Of course, a Merry-Go-Round needed to be found for Mette.  And of course, upon seeing it up close she was a bit hesitant.  Then she spotted the bench where she could ride with “her big brother” as she insisted.  Works for me.

I squeezed in and around we went.

It was a huge hit with everyone.

It was so empty, they even got the bouncy house all to themselves.  I was a little jealous over this.  That looks like a LOT of fun!!

These helicopters are really cool.  They have an arm that you pull back and it makes the helicopter go up into the air.  Otto totally remembered how to do it and was pulling the arm back before the ride even started.  I took a million pictures of this, but couldn’t get any good ones.  It is really a cool ride and they both had a great time with squeals of delight.

That is them heading up to the trees!

They didn’t even want Jen or I to go on the antique cars with them.  Together again.

 Seriously, how cute is this?


This water spray gun thing is a hit every year.  At some point they will figure out how it works, but for now they love it just the same.  Otto was getting the hang of it by the end.
 Working hard.

I am a huge Dippin’ Dots fan and have to get some every time we go to Knoebel’s.  Mette picked out Rainbow, no surprise and Otto chose Cookies and Cream.  I chose Mint Chocolate Chip, because we all now that is the best flavor.

When you are only 12 weeks old there aren’t a lot of rides for you to go on, but you do get to watch which is sometimes pretty cool.

And then your mom takes a picture of your chunk in front of the Fudge Kitchen!!

I wasn’t sure if the big Carousel was going to be too big or loud for the kids so we went to check it out and decide for ourselves.

A girl bonding with her favorite kind of ponies.  “The kind that play music and go up and down.”

We had to ride it.

Seated together of course, this time ON the ponies.

Heading back to get a little tank action.  Where does Mette sit when Otto picks the tank?  In the back seat.

Someone needs to know where we are going.
We spent about four hours at the park which was enough to exhaust us all.  Mette fell asleep in the stroller on the way to the car and I was able to transfer her to her car seat and buckle her in without her waking up.  She was a little on the tired side!  Otto even snoozed on the way home.  
The whole week was great and I will get more pictures and stories up soon, but I wanted to start with these.  It was such a great trip.
The kids should be waking up any minute now.  We have a big day ahead of us, the new bunk beds are arriving this morning!!!!

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Filed under baby harry, knoebels, mette and otto sharing, nonna jen, sharing

Frame of reference

Every time someone says “you made that!?” or “you fixed that?!” in disbelief, part of me rolls my eyes.  Yes, I make some clothes and curtains (and small children), I have been known to take apart toilets and tile bathrooms, if I need something my first thought is “how can I make that?” – really this is nothing.

Truth of the matter is, yes, I am somewhat handy but my real secret is I have good people to learn from, who will help me when I get in over my head.  I spent many an afternoon and evening as a child holding tools, flashlights, mortar buckets, finding hammers, remembering where the box of nails was last, but mainly watching.  You can learn a lot from watching.  Most importantly you learn that things CAN be made and fixed at home.  Creating things at home, and by things I mean walls, stairs, bathrooms, kitchens, floors, paintings, sculptures, clothing, musical instruments, silicone molds, tiles, furniture, whole buildings, worlds if you really get down to it, is possible and wonderful.  Sure you can call a plumber to fix a leak, but it feels so much better when you do it yourself and have the dirty hands to show for it.  I have a lot to learn but I look forward to each project and every chance I have to watch, help and learn.

The concept of actually being able to make things is disappearing.  So many people can’t make things anymore.  We live in a culture where people buy everything.  I try hard to make or fix as many things as I can.  I take great pride in stocking a freezer and pantry with homemade foods from local sources.  More and more of our clothes are being made in my sewing room each day.  There are some house projects I am just not physically capable of doing, but everything else I tackle myself.  It seems totally normal to me that way.  I can’t imagine NOT doing that.  I hope that Otto and Mette grow up with that same attitude.  They see me working and enjoying what I am doing and visiting my grandpa Chris and nona Jen where walls are plastered and the furniture made by grandpa Chris, then at the cabin where the building was built by grandma and grandpa and is decorated with grandma and uncle racer’s paintings, I can only hope it will sink in to them as well.

To debut some of insane talents my family sports I am sharing a few links to their brand new websites:

My mom’s new painting can be found here.  There are a few new directions shown.  I am working on scoring a few for our dining room!!  You may want some too…..

Grandpa’s out of this world custom banjos deserve some of your time.  While you are there, be sure to click on the videos page.  Speaking of being able to make things, Eric shot and edited the two videos for the website, you can see some of his non-kid home movie work.

Then if you are interested in the family business you can check that out here

I think you will quickly see I am not nearly as talented as many of the other folks I hang out with.  Still I am very nice and who knows, maybe if I keep watching and learning I will get there.

Oh, while you are checking out their coolness, give a looksie to my brother’s page.  His stuff is wonderful as well.

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Filed under cabin, grandmom, grandpa, grandpa chris, nonna jen, websites

Introducing Baby Harry

This weekend we made it down to Philly to meet my new baby brother, Harry. He was born two weeks ago, just a few hours past my birthday actually so he is still pretty new and tiny. We choose this weekend partly because a good friend of Grandpa Chris and Nonna Jen who happens to live less than two blocks away from them was going to be out of town and very kindly offered her house as a place to stay for us. Not one to pass up a private guest house, we took her up on her offer. It worked out well because we were able to visit and see everyone a lot, but having our own space to retreat to for bedtime and naps allowed us not to be in the way as much. We sill managed to cover the dining room table with legos and the living room with books, but I like to think it could have been much worse.
Before we get to baby pictures I have to share this photo. We tried a new sleeping arrangement this weekend with the kids and it worked great. Both kids slept together on the air mattress. Normally eric and I split up, he sleeps with Otto and I sleep with Mette. This time the kids shared the air mattress and eric and I got to sleep on a bed in the spare room. It was awesome. The kids really loved it and were super excited at the idea. Even better, they both slept through the night each night. I was worried they would wake each other up, but they didn’t. It was really kind of like camping out. I climbed in bed with them and read stories and stayed until they were asleep and then snuck out while they slumbered. Knowing that they can share a bed while traveling is awesome!
I brought them each their pillow and comforter from home. Otto with STAR WARS, and Mette with Hello Kitty.

So, here is the one you really want to see. Somehow eric managed to have clean hands faster than anyone when we got there and got first shot at holding him. He talks a big game about being glad we are over the baby phase, but he sure likes snuggling the little ones!!

In an attempt to not have the kids destroy all of Baby Harry’s things and house we took them on a trip to the Lego Store and the Hello Kitty store on Saturday morning. Mette scored an amazing pair of sunglasses which she loves to wear.

When we got back Jen’s parents were visiting. Mette got to play some great games with Jen’s mom. They were all sung in Italian and Mette loved them.
I got a chance to snuggle the burrito baby while Jen napped a bit in the afternoon.

Mette was very interested in all the stuff he had. Every time she saw Harry she would say “Hi Cutie”. Otto was totally not interested in Mette when she was born but Mette is very interested in Harry. She is the same age now that Otto was when she was born. That is a scary thought!!

He may not have been into babies two years ago, but he is now. Otto was clamoring to hold Harry the whole time. He got a few chances. He does very well. He sits really still and is very calm. He really seems to like him.

Big Sister…

There are a lot more pictures on other people’s cameras which once I get I will post as well. I have more to say about the weekend but I am running out of steam. It was an action packed weekend and I am whooped. This morning alone we went to Whole Foods, Men’s Warehouse and IKEA.

more to follow soon….

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Filed under baby harry, grandpa chris, hello kitty hat, legos, nonna jen, philadelphia


Check it out!! I am a big sister again! Monday night, just past my birthday by three hours, so really tuesday morning, little baby boy Storb was born. Today Grandpa Chris and Nona Jen as they are known around this house, are taking home their new little bundle of joy. I can not wait to meet and kiss this little package of cuteness. Sounds like we are making our way down there at the end of the month. Otto and Mette need to meet their new uncle and teach him the ways of the world!


Filed under grandpa chris, harrison, nonna jen

Peer Pressure

Is it really peer pressure when I am the peer? I guess not. Still, I said I would have more to offer you tonight, so here I am, computer in hand.

To start, all the photos are uploaded and edited on the iPad which has run out of battery. Yes, I could run it off an USB cable from the laptop but that require getting up, and to be honest, I don’t feel like doing that. So there will be pictures tomorrow.
How about a recap to start the new year?
First, Grandma Bah came and stayed with us for the weekend of New Year’s Eve. It was a cold weekend for her, but a winter heat wave for us with temps in the 40’s. There is precisely nothing open in the burg for the holiday weekend so we did a lot of playing in the house and enjoyed some home cooked meals. I made Choucroute Garne for New Years day and it was amazing. It is a tradition in our family to eat this Alsatian version of pork and sauerkraut for good luck but this was the first time I had made it without my mom. It was delicious. Even the cats ate it!! Nurkel was climbing up on the table for leftovers the next day. Grandma Bah seemed to have a nice time visiting with the kids and they got to open even more presents which is always popular.
Later that week eric, the kids and I headed up to the cabin to visit with Uncle Racer who was home for a week. It was great to see him. It is always too long between his visits. I am really hoping we get a chance to hang out with him in Chicago this summer when we are there. Otto got to see the great giver of Star Wars toys and Uncle Racer even showed Otto how the X-Wing makes noise. Otto had an amazing time playing in the snow with Grandpa and had to be lured in with the promise of hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was a short and action packed visit filled with good food and lounging by the wood stove. Pretty much what every winter cabin visit should be!
We had a quick overnight at home where I madly cleaned the house before we headed out again, this time to Philly. We decided that a good way for the kids to run off some steam before heading to Grandpa Chris and Nona Jen’s house would be to go to the ever popular Please Touch Museum. It worked out great. The kids had a great time and really ran off some steam. The only part that was hard was getting Otto to stop playing long enough to eat. He insisted he WAS NOT hungry and then proceeded to inhale a hot dog. Ah, three year olds…. While visiting we took advantage of the food offerings of the city and feasted on Vietnamese food the first night and real Philly Cheesesteaks the second. I have been craving a cheesesteak for so long, it was amazingly good. There are many places here that serve them, but no one makes them right. This was perfect. On Sunday while visiting we went to the baby shower for Jen and soon to be here baby Harrison. It was a big fun introduction to Jen’s extended family. There were mimosas and bloody marys for mommies and french toast and chocolate covered oreos for kids. Everyone was happy. Mette also managed to score a chance to play with a small pretend laptop that belonged to one of the little girls at the party. She has since then told me every day that she wants a computer for her birthday. Amazon is taking care of that and sending one our way.
Eric also asked her who she would like to have come to her birthday and she replied “santa”. Smart little girl that one!!
Before heading back to the burg we made a stop at the LEGO store to see what goodies could be found for Otto. They had tv’s playing LEGO movies and he was really scared they were going to start showing Star Wars things that he would be scared of so we didn’t stay in the store for long. It worked out well though because I took him and Mette two doors down (we were in a mall) to the Hello Kitty store and eric went in and stocked up with guys for his birthday. Otto was so cute in the Hello Kitty store. He kept picking things up and showing them to Mette saying, “oh, Mette, look this has Hello Kitty on it!!!”. Seriously, I don’t think there was a single thing in the store that didn’t have Hello Kitty on it, but he was going to help her find it all. We did score a really cute backpack that is just Mette’s size so she can go to school just like Otto.
We managed to get the kids fed and in the car just after noon which meant that Mette took her first nap in three days on the ride home!!! She was starting to get a bit manic in the evenings with the thrown off sleep schedule and this was key. Every day we were in Philly the kids were so excited they got up at 5:30. Since we were all sleeping in one room with Mette and I on one bed and the boys on the other, when they are up, we are all up. That combined with no naps was making us all tired. It was worth leaving a little early to have her sleep on the way home.
All of this excitement combined with some quality time needed to play with the new toys from Christmas has kept us more than busy. There have also been stomach flus and sinus infections circling our group of friends so spending a few days just us in the house has worked out to be just fine.
I have been cleaning and reorganizing like a crazy person. The kitchen and third floor have been tackled and closets and dressing rooms are next. Watch out!
I will be back with more pictures and funny stories soon.
***note*** eric just looked over my shoulder at this post and said “shit, baby, that is epic. Throw the readers a bone and put a picture in.” I had to explain that the laptop doesn’t have any pictures and the iPad is dead. Sorry again.

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Filed under cabin, grandma bah, grandpa chris, new years, nonna jen, philadelphia, phoebe rant, please touch museum, uncle racer

Hello Again

Hi, it’s me, phoebe, mom, writer of the blog.

Did you forget about me? Sorry about that.
Things are going full speed around here. We have had a few visits from Nonna Jen on her way to and from Corning to do research work which have been a lot of fun. Do you think I managed to get any cute pictures of the kids with her? No, that would have been too much. There are some great photos of when she and Grandpa Chris were here, but we are waiting on him to post and or send them along to us. I have also been going a bit crazy on the rearranging furniture moving/painting everything in the house mode and that seriously cuts into my blogging time. The living room is all moved around and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. (said in true Eloise fashion) I am also still chipping away at painting the kids room. Man is it ever hard to paint the room they sleep in!! When they sleep is usually my time to get stuff like that done and with them sleeping IN their room, well, it just doesn’t work to paint while they are sleeping in the room.
In addition to all of this craziness eric was out of town for two big conferences which meant he was both gone and getting behind on regular work at the same time. Which means that when he was finally home he had massive amounts of work to catch up on and wasn’t around much. That is fine, we miss him of course but we get by. What it really means is I am the only one cleaning, cooking, doing dishes, taking out trash etc… I do most of the house work as is, but eric cleaning up after dinner and taking out trash and watching the kids while I tend to eight million loads of laundry and make dinner is a huge help. When he is gone by the time the kids are in bed I am spent! This past weekend was fall break for him and to celebrate finally having a break from work, he spent it in bed working while recovering from a vasectomy. So it’s official, our family will stop at four. That was always the plan, but we sealed the deal last week. He is still not up to full speed from that but should be soon.
I am thinking I better get going on the posting soon though because sometime soon my friend Rachel is going to pop out another baby (just like that, POP, wouldn’t that be great if that’s how it worked??) and I am going to want to spend a TON of time oogling and cooing over the new bundle of goodness.
So here is some news from our land:
After seeing kids get tickets to ride ponies at a fair a few weeks ago Mette now declares at random times “I ride pony my tickets!!!” It is said in a crescendo and repeated again and again.
She is also eating us out of house and home and appears by the looks of her clothes to be growing. I am going to try and measure her to see how much soon. So far today she has had:
one and a half bowls of cereal for breakfast
two cups of milk
a granola bar
5 big bites of my noodles
a kiwi
another bowl of cereal
a bowl of yogurt and granola
a fruit bar
and it is only 2 p.m. All this from the girl we never thought would eat. No worries there now.
Otto continues to love school. He has started singing the songs from school at home and it is wonderful. Eric is really going to try and bring the camera home one of these days so we can get some good footage of them. Mette is talking up a blue streak and Otto with his songs, it must be captured.
Really overall we are having a great time. Preschool and playdates are keeping us very busy and I am bursting through a series of projects around the house. I am taking a break to do somewhat boring winterizing projects and the garden needs to be “shut down” for the winter but all in all it is coming along.
I will upload some pictures soon. But for now I will leave you with this. Mette saw eric’s phone which she knows is also a camera and said, “take a picture me, I say CHEESE” and this is what he got. Gold

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Filed under dude quotes, grandpa chris, mette, mette quotes, nonna jen

I know, I know, I know

I have been remiss on posting lately, sorry. It isn’t that I haven’t been thinking about it, in fact I think of funny things to add all day long, I just haven’t had the computer, the camera, the camera to computer cable and time all in the same space together. I am making up for it a bit with a bunch of pictures tonight. Before we get to those a brief recap:
things are going well. Mette is still adorable and we have decided to keep her. This after receiving her birth certificate, ss card and health insurance cards. Her black market value is quite high now. She is quite the little chow hound and is making new necks every day as well as loosing her chin. She also has some adorable thigh rolls now. All of these new developments make for fun places to clean. She has quite the set of lungs on her which she has been working a lot the past 24 hours. While we aren’t totally sure, it is looking like no garlic for me again for the next year. She was NOT pleased with what I had for dinner. I am putting myself on a bland diet for the next week and then will go back to adding in fun stuff. Otto hated it when I ate garlic so it wouldn’t surprise me if she did as well. Oh well, as my mom always says, this is just a moment in time, true true.
One thing in posting these pictures that I have noticed is that we really need to take more pictures. I vow to start with more of that tomorrow. I had lots of funny stories to share with you, but my brain is not thinking of any so here are some pictures and I will come up with more interesting facts soon!

Eric came into the living room the other day and saw Otto reading AutoWeek, this was not a posed shot!!

My mom and her brilliant idea to paint with water on paper. Otto thought it was great fun that he got to use grandmom’s big brush!

Eric pretty much made himself at home in the window seat in the newly finished library at the cabin. Good thing there was room for Otto or no one would have seen him all weekend.

Mette and Eric taken by Otto

Grandpa Chris and Nonna Jen came to visit and gave Otto a great bike for his birthday. Grandpa Chris assembling and testing…

Nonna Jen snuggling with Mette

Classic fencing pose, in ferrari outfit that was eric’s!!

My fam.

The next in the line of kids who have worn this outfit


Pickle and Otto “washing hands”. I took about 20 pictures of them doing this, it was adorable. They are really starting to move into playing with each other and not just parallel play. There is a water table in our summer future!

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Filed under cabin, ferrari outfit mette, ferrari outfit otto, grandpa chris, nonna jen, pickle