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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All I Got for Christmas ...

Though you can't tell from any photographic evidence, Lucas' bottom
pair of teeth was joined by a top pair on Christmas day!

But he kept tight-lipped about the whole situation

Well, it wasn't all he got but Lucas' two front (top) teeth made their ironic and well-timed appearance on Christmas day! No wonder he was being such a Grinch!

Ha, no I'm just kidding, like a good big brother should. He was actually in a pretty good mood for a person experiencing sharp enamel piercing through his tender skin. How could he not be in a good mood? It was Christmas after all! And despite the last-minute rush to get a meal on the table and the gift-giving of pink eye (mommy was the recipient of my present), we had a fantastic time. Dede and Nene (Grandpa and Grandma) came over for a nice dinner and a fun time was had by all.

And, hark! We also graced mommy and abba with a Christmas gift that rivaled the original miracle of the day: We slept through the night from Christmas Eve till Christmas morning! Then after a 6:30 a.m. break in the sleep marathon for a bottle, we returned to sleep for more than three hours!

The second miracle of the day involved what mommy and abba were able to accomplish while we took a two-hour nap: They cooked up an amazing meal involving all sorts of historic family recipes such as caponata (from Nanni's archives) and patate ripiene (from Grandma Schiavi's archives). And I ate an entire slice of steak to boot!

So now we'll see what the Greek and Armenian Christmases hold in store, although mommy and abba aren't planning a repeat performance - unless perhaps we repeat our sleep performance!

Who needed a meal? We had tons of
wrapping paper to feast on.

And we had toys to (not) share!

And really (not) share

And share we did

Me as the Little Drummer Boy

Trying to get one decent family shot

Trying again... 

Me teaching Dede about Veggie Tales

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas (?)

Gearing up for Christmas, baby style!

In keeping with true baby tradition, it matters not that Christmas is tomorrow. In Babyland, the only tradition is not annual, but is the same 24-hour cycle that occurs every day: Wake (early); insist on eating (immediately), run in circles around the apartment for about three hours; destroy or attempt to destroy ornaments on Christmas tree; nap; repeat cycle until bedtime.

Despite having a new family to indoctrinate into the Christmas tradition the truth is, our parents have come to terms with the fact that we are babies and babies have a schedule to keep, Christmas notwithstanding. Mommy and abba are under no illusions that Christmas morning is going to be special at this point in our young lives. It is going to be pretty much the same as every other morning of the year except for the part where they will try to cajole us into taking the festive paper off of certain boxes. Try as they might to conjure up Christmas spirit, Lucas and I will still dictate the events of the day. Sure, mommy baked some cookies and yes, we over compensated for the entire country by decorating the house for Christmas.

In addition to the normality of our day, I am nursing an eye infection that is causing me to have a pink Christmas. It wouldn't be white anyway, with 60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures here in Jerusalem anyway, but pink is not typically associated with Christmas. Mommy has insisted that I not give this little gift to anyone else int he family despite the spirit of giving and all. Some things are best not shared. Like pink eye. And my favorite holiday musical book.

Nevertheless, we will pour ourselves into the holiday spirit as we realize that our days with trying to strip the tree of ornaments are numbered. The tree has heretofore been barricaded by empty boxes that once held the ornaments. While I would rather those be boxes full of presents, they serve a purpose to keep us away from the tempting ornaments. Up till now, a few ornaments have fallen victim to Lucas' prying hands, and the bottom third of the tree is barren. But beyond that the tree is still standing.

Now that Lucas' birthday is over (it was on Christmas Eve Eve), I am pleased that we can focus on the holiday where I too get a few presents.

So on that note, Merry Christmas everyone! And to all a good night - albeit perhaps not a silent one.

Grandma came over to help us Deck the Halls

All the babies got in on the Christmas action!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Lucas!

Lucas scaled new heights in his first year!

In keeping with the way Lucas has lived his life so far, we may as well preempt his actual birthday and start the celebrations early. Thanks to having me as an older brother, Lucas learned a lot this year and took some major strides, both literally and figuratively.

While I am proud of teaching him how to walk and the sign language for important things like "food" and "more" (food), I am particularly pleased at how he has become the amazing quarterback that he is today. At dawn, our room magically transforms into a minefield with all of our tossed items strewn across the carpet. It looks like a regular battlefield strafed with cheechungs (pacifiers), bottles and stuffed animals that were thrown overboard from our respective cribs.

Mommy always says that you don't know a baby's true personality until after they turn one. We carefully shield our true selves while we keep our parents guessing and jumping. If we had to guess based on my first 12 months, some might say I was going to be a shy child.

Remember this face?
Silent night?? There haven't been many since.
So we are still awaiting the fullness of Lucas' personality to unfold. Most people still know him by his smile and easy-going facade. Those who know him better see his crafty side a bit more - the side that indicates Lucas may pursue a career in engineering or science where he can dismantle or experiment all he wants and get paid to do it! Nevertheless, his naughtiness is always laced with cuteness and Lucas' own winning smile.

In his first year, Lucas has also developed some interests: drawers that can close dangerously on his fingers, wires, cords, iPads, cell phones, remote controls, tissues, Christmas tree ornaments, etc. While this is hardly unique to Lucas as a baby, what is unique is his choice of response when he is prevented from touching or doing any of the above items. This is where Lucas has developed his own form of drama to rival my Hollywood leanings: Lucas is on his way to becoming an Italian soccer player with all the makings of his good Armani looks and his flair for the dramatic.

Sure enough, prevented from doing something he really really wants to do, Lucas will let loose a blood curdling scream, throw himself to the ground in mock agony and flail his limbs. Mommy and abba have taken to rating his tantrums as either a yellow or red card.

To me, I know Lucas as my shadow and my practice punching bag. We are partners in crime and in cuteness.

Here is a series of videos of Lucas' tricks that he learned a few months ago (taken in November 2012):

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Have a Happy(ier) Hanukkah this Year :)

This year I learned to make my own sufganiyot!

We were all trying to remember what we did last year for Hanukkah and why it was we remember eating zillions of sufganiyot (Hanukkah donuts) but we don't remember encountering the traffic from the crowds all over the city and getting early days off from Shalva.

Oh yea - because we were in the hospital! Just a year ago we were escorted with flashing lights and sirens via ambulance to a place in the lovely rolling hill surrounding Jerusalem. We spent both Hanukkah and Christmas in the hospital and even Lucas' birthday!

See, in the hospital, happy volunteers came through the pediatric department every day with copious amounts of free donuts, which kept us distracted, occupied and sugared up. They lit candles every night at the central nurses station. I was visited on a daily basis by expert doctors, athletes, clowns and other entertainers. Of course Grandma and Grandpa (or Nene and Dede, my Armenian grandparents) kept us fed and happy, visiting several times from the other side of the city. And very importantly, Mimi and GongGong made a special visit all the way from New York!

Despite having RSV, invasive blood tests, an oxygen mask, a noisy O2 saturation monitor and awkward hospital pajamas, we actually had a great time! Well at least I did. I joined my friend Ephraim on the very same ward. And I was there (in the same building) to welcome Lucas, which would not have been allowed otherwise. I planned it perfectly.

But this being the one-year anniversary of all that, it means all sorts of holidays are converging upon us: We are at the tail end of Hanukkah, we are trying to conjure up some Christmas spirit and we have a most auspicious event right in between those two - Lucas' first birthday!

So this year we haven't had any such health concerns and we also got to experience Hanukkah at school. I learned how to make donuts and also put on a play for our mommies at Shalva. Here in the pictures you can see me leading the role of the Sabbath ritual. And in the videos which follow you can see me both in rehearsal where I dominated the choreography, and then in the real play where I was content to watch everyone else.

Sharing cookies with Ephraim

I read in Hebrew and English

(That was me executing my own personal rehearsal a few days before)

(There are many more videos where the videographer, mommy, waited in vain for me to perform. This was the closest I came to putting on a show for the assembled audience of mothers and siblings.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Places to Go, People to See! Part I

How is this for a blast from the past? Time is timeless on the web, right? Therefore I am going to wax poetic about our time in New York even though most of this occurred more than a month ago. Believe me, photos like this should never go to waste!

Despite being stymied by "inclement" weather conditions in the Big Apple, we managed to have a few visits both before and after the storms with some friends. Our first was a birthday party for Grace, Lucas' potential girlfriend who just turned 1 ( I also managed to hit on her while there). Grace graciously hosted her birthday party at the Queens Farm so Lucas and I were exposed to all sorts of new and exciting animals!

Lucas meets a little lamb

Me making the moves on Grace. 

Grace adeptly playing "hard to get"
Later, in true country fashion not to be heard of in the Holy Land, we went on a hayride! There are a few photos from the beginning of the ride before we started moving. But mommy, abba and Zia Em needed all six of their hands to hold onto Lucas and I during the actual ride as I was jumping with the bumps - perhaps the most exhilarating ride of my life!

Grace with mommy Margo in the distance

We had a small taste of autumn before the
hurricane knocked off any remaining leaves

Later, in the other Queens zoo - otherwise known as Aunt Beanie's house - we hung out with another friend, Brendan. Lucas and I tried to engage him in all of our tricks and baby moves, but Brendan is a cautious baby and he spent most of the time checking us out rather than engaging in our antics.

Brendan watched me as I admired myself and my reflection

Lucas munched on cucumbers

Cousin Cris tortured me with tickles