Tag Archives: Andrew Day

Turning Three Years Old

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Jeremiah and Isaiahmy lovable little twin nephews — are back on the blog, and this time they are turning three years old. With age comes added wisdom, like saying “thank you” as a good will gesture, or like understanding the value of sharing (they’re getting there, they’re getting there). Helping them get a grasp of the fun little world they live in is older brother Andrew, who continues to amaze everyone with his vocabulary, his creative and perfectly symmetrical engineering of Lego Empires, and his deductive reasoning. Andrew has always been wicked smart, but after a year in Montesorri School, Andrew is super wicked smart.

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Here’s Isaiah, negotiating a counter-proposal on a house in Briargate (Ben’s hands were covered in cake icing and he was in no position to handle the phone). In reality, it was my mom, calling before leaving the house for the party to wish the boys a happy birthday. Isaiah was great on the phone, right up until the point when he lost interest, set the phone down and walked away while Mom kept talking to him.

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By the way, Ben was baking a birthday cake. Two birthday cakes. The recipe? “Death by Chocolate.” Jeremiah’s got a few more years before he can grow a goatee like Daddy, but he’s well on his way here.

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Isaiah and Jeremiah’s third birthday party had a definite theme going: Cars, the film by Pixar. Nothing makes the boys happier than Lightning McQueen, especially Isaiah. “Ka-chow!”

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“Death by Chocolate” is finally unveiled at the birthday party.

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Happy birthday guys.

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Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitchers

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Vacation days are for the taking, especially this time of year when the paycheck arrives in your mailbox with more PTO hours than you know what to do with (and a memo from HR saying “use ‘em or lose ‘em”). Now, of course, I try to stash my PTO like a squirrel stashing nuts (three weeks in Italy, anyone?), but I must say, Wednesday’s day off was one of the best days of the year.

We went and baked Christmas cookies with our nephews: Andrew, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

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Hosting the festivities was my mom, who the kids affectionately call “Oma” (German for grandmother). Joining Hailey and I — and meeting the twins for the very first time — was Hailey’s mom, Diana. The kids took to calling her “Nana King.” Things got off to a rip-roaring start when Hailey and Nana King turned the mixer on and sprayed powdered sugar all over Hailey (above left). The kids, undeterred, snitched sprinkles off the kitchen table.

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I started off by helping the boys with icing the gingerbread cookies. Those metal canisters aren’t easy to operate for 5-year-old fingers (let alone 3-year-old hands). As I showed him how to push the tip down to dispense the icing, Isaiah had a great idea: “in my mouth?” He tilted his head back and opened wide.

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Pretty soon, the boys were in the mood to leave the kitchen and go play, and that pretty much ended up being the rest of my day. Isaiah dumped a deck of animal flash cards on the floor, and Jeremiah promptly showed me which animals were what (above left).  St. Nick had also recently visited, and delivered some cool kitchen-tool figurines for the boys. A man with a spoon head. A man with a spatula head. A man with a whisk head. Andrew quickly noted their “bungus”  and I only encouraged him to say “bungus” some more by taking pictures of Mr. Spoonhead’s “bungus.”

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Is that Colonel Klink hiding in the pantry (below)?

Each one of these boys is a natural comedian. Andrew and Isaiah can be absolutely rubber faced sometimes, coming up with these hilarious expressions out of nowhere. And Jer’ — Jer’ just knows how to make up a good time with any toy.

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The boys and I went downstairs to the living room and played dodgeball for an hour, but to make sure we didn’t break any of Oma and Funpa’s stuff, we rolled the balls at each other. Isaiah — always the independent, self-entertaining type — decided he’d rather play pretend and be a doggie. So as I rolled balls with great velocity at Andrew and Jeremiah’s feet, Isaiah would crawl over with a ball in his mouth, drop it and pant. So we played fetch, too. His idea. Honestly.

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After about two or three hours of cookie crazed mayhem in the kitchen, Oma took a break to carry on the renewed tradition of reading “The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher.” I just looked this out-of-print book up on Amazon and its paperback is selling for $200! It’s a great book, one from my childhood, and for the past five years, Mom has dusted it off and read it to Andrew, and now, the twins.

It’s a cute story about a goofy fur-covered villian with feathers and wings who steals an entire town’s Christmas sprinkles. The whole village cries, and a determined little boy sets off to make things right again by retrieving the stash of sprinkles.

Below you can really see each boy’s personality: Andrew, rapt with attention; Jer leaning forward into the story and scanning the illustrations, Isaiah hanging back and listening from afar.

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I was charmed by Jer during the reading. He’s very sensitive — a kid with a lot of heart. During the part of the story where the villagers cry about losing their sprinkles, Jer wore this concerned look on his face:

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After the reading, it was time to suit up and sled before the sun slid behind Carpenter Peak (which happens at 2:30pm this time of year). Andrew, Amy and I went down to a slope below the house which Funpa had recommended. Shortly after we arrived, Oma showed up, towing the twins. Jer — as it turns out — is a little daredevil and loves sledding. I mean, check out that smile…

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Amy and Andrew went down the steeper part of the hill. Despite Andrew’s reservations, he joined Am’, only to roll off the back ten feet down the hill (below). Then I took Jer down the steep part. I somehow managed to spin us and go down backwards…whoops.

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Back at the house, Hailey and Diana were busy putting on the finishing touches on the brandy balls. Isaiah parked himself at the table next to Nana King and told her about the cookies (and pretended to be a doggie again). A few more snitches, a few more sprinkles, and then it was time for the kids to pack up and head back home to Colorado Springs with Amy.

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Below are just two of the seven types of cookies made. On the left, Amy’s hazelnut chocolate chip cookies, and on the right, Mom’s German linzer cookies. Speaking of which, maybe I’ll go have one here.

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VOTE: Photo of the Year – Category 3 (People in Places)

This is one of the tougher categories to choose from: People in Places. The criteria is simple: spontaneous moments where a person and their emotions are also an expression of their setting. Picking my top 6…not so simple. These are probably my most visible images…ones on prominent rotation on my home page and on PhotoShelter. What can I say: a lot of rich moments from the year.

I highly recommend clicking on each photo to see them larger, especially the first one. As always, your feedback in the comments box about your selection would be much appreciated.

#1. Italian funeral and oblivious British tourists with gelato, Locorotondo (Puglia), Italy.

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#2. Tim Lamberton celebrating autumn in his own special way, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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#3. Vendor at Campo dei Fiori Market, Rome, Italy.

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#4. Hailey enjoying the wildflowers south of Crested Butte, Colorado.

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#5. Andrew and a pair of rainbow snails at Brewster Flats, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

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#6. Sergio the butcher, Assisi (Umbria), Italy.

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Thanks for voting. And don’t forget to vote for my Travel Photo of the Year and my Nature & Landscape Photo of the Year. I’ve received 17 and 11 votes in those categories so far, including a tie in the Nature & Landscape category.

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