Category Archives: otto


To Otto and Mette,

Today Steve Jobs passed away.  While that does not affect you now, this video made me think not of him, but of you.  And who I hope you feel you are free to be.  May there be no walls to contain you….

may you see things differently

may you have no respect for the status quo

change things

push the human race forward

some may see you as the crazy ones,

but we see genius.

because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,

are the ones who do.

No matter where life takes you, may you take this mindset with you.

love, mom.


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Filed under mette, otto, otto and mette, phoebe rant

Reaping what we did not sow

Quoting grandpa, who was quoting Euell Gibbons, “reaping what you did now sow”.   This past weekend we took his example and went off into the woods to gather wild apples from the trees around the cabin.  It is clear that someone generations ago has a small orchard near the cabin.  Apple and pear trees abound, some you can even see are planted in what must have been clear rows.   These trees are as organic as it gets.  The apples they produce are amazing.  Well, some of them are.  Some, not so much.  That is the fun thing with apple trees.  You have to taste them to see what you are going to get.  In the wild, no two are the same.  Good applesauce, cider and really all things in life, are better with a nice variety.  Keeping that in mind, Otto, Grandpa and I climbed in the truck (boy did Otto love that!) and picked a TON of apples.  Otto, self named official taste tester had no less than four apples in his hands at all times.


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We brought the apples home with us on Sunday and proceded to make a very large batch of applesauce.  Otto has really been enjoying learning about cooking recently, a skill I obviously want to encourage!, so he was keen to help.  I cut the apples in half, and he quartered them.  He thinks using one of my big chef knives is the coolest thing ever.  He understands it is a dangerous tool and takes it very seriously.  Mette, shows great concern with this development, and I can’t say I totally blame her.  We made a big batch and allowed it to cool off during the evening.  Today Otto took a large container to school to share with his friends for snack time.  He thought that was really cool and hopefully the kids enjoyed the yummy snack.  This morning I put a sizable dent in the remaining apples and canned 4 quarts and 6 pints.  I would say I have about 6 quarts to go.  I may need to find some homes for some of this applesauce!  I think some applesauce muffins are in order.  And, ooohh do I love buckwheat pancakes with applesauce on top.  May have to make some of those tomorrow for brunch!



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Filed under cabin, food, handmade, otto

The end of summer (ssh, don’t tell Belinda)

Everyone has their own ideas about seasons and lifestyles, as they well should, but really, everyone should agree that fall is the best season.  I know some of you will disagree, it’s ok, but for me, the cool crisp air, smells of cider and leaves rotting, it’s bliss.  I am not a hot weather person so the coming of cooler days is heaven to me.  Sorry Belinda, I know you are holding on to each warm day we have.  But you also think it should be hot at Christmas and we should all eat mangos with our stockings and go swimming after presents, so clearly we take this whole “season” thing differently.  It’s ok, you are still awesome and maybe someday I will experience an Oz Christmas and I will be a changed woman.

Along with the smell of cider and leaves, for most the years I can remember fall aslo brought with it the new school supplies, pencils, pens and of course clothes and shoes.  Let’s not forget the shoes shall we.  It has been a few years since I was gearing up for school and even with a professor husband where our lives revolve around the school year and school days, I have been left out of that circle for quite some time.  That however is about to change.  Otto starts pre-K this week and next year, duh duh duh, Kindergarden.  He has a new backpack, new sneakers, long sleeve shirts and pants that fit his ever growing limbs, he is ready.  On Tuesday we have a meet the teacher day and on Wednesday he is off.  He seems super excited to go every afternoon to see his friends and do school work, Mette and I are a bit hesitant.  What are we going to do without him?  Mette is convinced she is going to school as well which will be a whole other issue to deal with I am sure.  Really, it is only 2.5 hours in the afternoon, but we are such a team the three of us, it is going to be tough.  Mette is starting gymnastics to help ease the pain.  We will see how that works.   Don’t even get me started about next year when he will be gone all day, every day.  I am not ready for that.  Then Mette will also be going to school in the morning.  It will be so lonely.

It’s is just like everyone said.  When they are tiny and literally touching you ALL DAY LONG you long for time away from them.  Just and hour here or there.  “Can I run that errand by myself” you find yourself asking your partner.  Suddenly the most boring of tasks are lovely peaceful excursions if you get to do them by yourself.  And then, in the blink of an eye, they are heading off to school.  Little bits at first, but soon gone for the whole day, every day.

Where did the time go?  How is he this big?  How can the boy who was so unsure last year, be so ready this year?  Will he been even bigger next year?  Why don’t I seem to grow as well to adjust?

I love them growing up.  I love independence.  Even when it means that it takes Mette 5 minutes to climb into the car because she “does not need help!”.  Or that twice as many drinks are spilled during dinner while they maneuver non-sippy cups.

I love it when they can do things for themselves without me, but I hate it when they don’t need me to do things.

This is what being a parent is all about.  Getting pushed to your limit so you crave the next break though to the next level all with selective memory due to sleep loss and anxiety that makes you crave the past.  It’s a beautiful, blissful world filled with fear, anger, frustration and extreme joy.

And to help make it all seem worthwhile I share this great story Mette told eric this weekend:

Daddy, I want to tell you a story about a bug.  There was a hawk that ate a pig.  The End.

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Filed under otto, otto school


Today we took a giant leap forward in this house. As every post for the past many months now have had some reference to STAR WARS you know how important a topic it is in our house. Otto lives and breathes it. He spends all day playing Lego STAR WARS, reading STAR WARS books or acting out scenes he makes up with his action figures. Up until now he has not actually seen any of the movies. He knows every character and plot twist, but only from books and what we have told him.

That all changed today. Well it started yesterday afternoon. Otto has been on a streak of being so nice and kind it makes you wonder who the other child we had here last year was. Yesterday afternoon we were both a little bored from being stuck in the house so much with yucky weather I asked him if he would be interested in finding some Ewok speeder bike clips on YouTube. He has seen the Ewok song and thought it was very cute so I thought this would be a good transition. From there we slowly felt our way around more clips. A few seemed a bit scary to him so I would turn off the sound. A trick I learned from Papou and Uncle Matt. That eased his fears. 30 minutes after we sat down he was watching the battle scene over Endor followed by the Hoth battle scene. When eric got home he watched the light saber duel between Darth Vador and Obi Wan where Obi Wan dies. Because he knows the stories so well he can ask to see scenes he knows about.

Today eric brought home the first three movies. Once you are on a roll you might as well go for it. Plus, today is one of the first nice days we have had in a while (by nice I mean in the 40’s cloudy and windy, it’s all relative) and poor Otto has almost lost his voice and has a fever of 101.6. He needed to lay low and movies seemed like the perfect way to do it. He watched half of the first movie before wanting to go and play and a lot of Return of the Jedi. I am sure there will be more. The best part, he isn’t scared at all, in fact he loves them! He gets so excited to see all the characters he has read about. He points out all the obscure droids in the background and knows all of their names.
This is a huge breakthrough for Otto. Not just because he loves STAR WARS and now he can say he has seen the movies, but because he can be very fearful of things and the movies were something he was really scared of. Even though he plays with Legos all day long and dreams of going to the Lego store, the first time we took him he went screaming out of the store and refused to go back in, not even to pick out a toy, because they have small tv’s playing bits of Lego STAR WARS movies. He was TERRIFIED. This past time when we went to the store he talked a lot about the tv’s before we got there, but was fine with them once we were there.
I can’t begin to explain how much he has been changing over the past few months, but something is happening. Eric and I were saying that just in the past two weeks he has grown by leaps and bounds. I am sure there will be many more difficult hurdles to leap over further down the road, but right now we are in such an amazing place. For so long everything seemed like a battle with him. He was struggling to go against the grain with everything that everyday felt like a battle. The frustration was mounting between the two of us where I know I felt like I needed a break and I am sure he did to. Right now he is an absolute joy to be around. We are all having so much fun together.
I can see a real sense of pride in himself for finally conquering something he was really scared of. He did it all on his own. We weren’t pushing him to watch the movies, he is the one who asked to see everything he watched. It has been pretty amazing to watch the transformation in him. Almost makes you feel like your hard work is paying off in some small way.


Filed under otto, otto milestones, phoebe rant, star wars

Boba Fett…

…Has landed in our house. Otto is super in to all things dress up, he has been for a long time. What i love best about his dress up games is how he takes regular toys, or objects and turns them into costumes. Hooded towels become Jedi robes, too small winter vest, Han Solo outfits (even better when you add the snow boots). For his birthday i have been toying with the idea of making him a Jedi cape, but I don’t want to undermine his creativity. I had settled in the idea of making him some rocket boosters for when he is Bobo Fett and then he declared the backpack I made for him to take to school to be rocket boosters. I wasn’t quick enough. While the backpack does make good rocket boosters i felt it could use a little more. With his permission I added flames. $2 worth of tulle later….

Making his best serious bounty hunter face.

– posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Sometimes ignoring them is the best thing you can do

Otto stopped napping a few months ago. I have mentioned before how we are working on “quiet time” while Mette naps. It doesn’t always go like planned, but more and more it is working. I have found that a few sweet nods of “if you can play for a while by yourself, I will work with you on something when I am done with my work” does wonders. After a little he is so busy with his own imagination he stops asking me for input. Today he is making the round off all his new toys while singing Christmas carols. A little coloring with Mette’s new markers, a little rescuing Hello Kitty from the stormtroopers and some LEGO building have kept him pretty busy.

He just needs a little time to enter into his own world. Watching him play and listening to the stories he tells is such a wonderful background for my own time to get things done.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and safe holiday.

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Filed under otto, phoebe rant

Treks and Trains and Trees, oh my

A few weeks ago I mentioned that if it worked out I would really like to take the kids to NYC to see the big tree, lights and hustle and bustle of Christmas time excitement. As I am sure you all know, NY can be really cold in the winter and the idea of freezing little children and an insane amount of gloves, mittens and hats to loose did not really appeal to me. So, we decided to watch the weather and if a good weekend came up, great, if not, it will all be there next year. Well this past Saturday the high was predicted at 40 degrees which sounded balmy considering the snow we had all week leading up to it. A quick check with Ben and Shannon confirmed they would be home that weekend so we could visit with them for a little pre-Christmas festivities and we were packing bags. I love a last minute get away, almost more than one you plan for months for. Eric had meetings until mid-afternoon on Friday but once he walked in the door we loaded up and hit the road.

Despite driving to Hoboken at dinner time we made it there in good time, perfectly timed in fact for the kids to run around like crazy banchies for an hour, open presents and then go to bed exhausted only an hour late. Works for me.
We weren’t quite sure where everyone would sleep at Ben and Shannon’s but neither of us felt like carrying a pack-n-play up three flights of stairs so we decided to wing it once we got there. It was decided that Mette and I would sleep in the spare room upstairs and Otto and eric would sleep on the couch downstairs that converts to a bed. That was great except Otto needed to go to bed before the adults were ready. No worries, we put Mette to bed first, then once she was settled we took up Otto who was by then pretty sleepy. When we were ready to go to bed we carried Otto down to the bed downstairs where he slept with eric. Both our kids now can be transferred with fairly high success rates once they are sleeping which is possibly the greatest thing in the world and something I was sure would never happen!!!
When we went up to get Otto I snuck a quick picture of them because it possibly the cutest thing you have ever seen. This is how they were sleeping after being in the bed for a few hours by themselves.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the extreme level of cuteness you just witnessed!!
On Saturday the plan was to bum around the apartment, eat and hang out for the morning then take the train into the city for the afternoon. Aunt Shannon watched Christmas videos with the kids which were a big hit. Gotta love YouTube.
There was much tickling involved for Otto and Uncle Ben over the course of the whole weekend.
Being as it was a warm and lovely December day in NYC we were not the only ones who had the idea to go downtown. It was PACKED!!! But since we don’t usually have to deal with crowds (or ever) here is the ‘burg, it was a nice change of pace. For a little bit at least. Thanks to our kind hosts we even managed to get some pictures with all four of us. I think this one is even cute!
The tree was a big hit. We managed to get right up to the base.
Which was no small feat let me tell you.
Uncle Ben and Aunt Shannon braved the crowds and took Otto to see the skaters.
See the LEGO display in the background, yeah, so did Otto. We worked hard on convincing him that store was not open right now.

Our kind hosts!

I love this picture that Shannon took!

Both Mette and Otto took turns falling asleep in the stroller. Otto slept through stairs, crowds and lunch. Don’t you wish you could do that?

Again, adorable.

The Faden Boys.

Back at the ranch that evening, Mette decided to make herself at home. We have been telling Ben and Shannon funny stories of Mette and her undressing skills but nothing beats the real deal. Mid sentence she stopped and started this….
What comes next?? Why running around in circles of course.

On Sunday we said goodbye to Uncle Ben and Shannon and drove into the city in pouring rain. Our goal, the Natural History Museum and it’s underground parking facility. The museum was a HUGE hit with both kids. How could it not be? That has to be one of the greatest museums ever. The gift shop was also a winner. Otto who is really into space right now found this and I had to get a picture.
I saw many a potential birthday present there.

We did a tour of the dinosaurs and then headed down to the African Animals. Mette went crazy here. She was running from one diorama to the next. It was very exciting.

Taking kids to museums like this is so much fun. Everywhere you go there are amazing things to see and for weeks there are new topics to explore at home. We bought a membership and plan on many more trips.
They had a live butterfly exhibit which was really cool. There was a nice hot and humid room full of plants and amazingly beautiful butterflies everywhere you looked. Some even were landing on people’s clothes.
Otto holding out his finger in the hopes that a butterfly thinks it is a good resting spot.

“there’s one”

It was a great weekend. It was wonderful to have a mini-Christmas with Ben and Shannon and it was refreshing to just pick up and go somewhere without having to bring our entire house with us. If we didn’t need a million jackets and sweaters we really would have been packing light. There is hope, we will be able to go and do more and more stuff. They go to sleep at other people’s houses and they can hack long days of exciting adventures.

The holiday excitement continues to grow here. There are fewer and fewer doors to open on the advent calendar and I think Otto really understands how exciting is. I can be a bit of a scrooge over Christmas I realize, but this year is going to be awesome. Let’s just hope we don’t get a stomach bug like last year!!!


Filed under aunt shannon, christmas, mette, natural history museum, new york, otto, uncle ben