Daddy-Max Trip: West Point

Over spring break, while Julie & Brittney headed to Germany to visit family (those pics coming later), Max & daddy had their first all-boys sight-seeing trip. Max is very interested in history lately, especially wars and armies. He likes to play Risk, have battles with his miniature army guys and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack with Brittney. So Mark took him to West Point, about an 1.5 drive North. Max read calmly in the car both ways and handled a yucky traffic jam better than his dad.

Max is a very curious boy; he was attentive on the tour and kept up with the group on a long walk.

They ended the day with ice cream at a local shop.

PS Max got glasses; we found out he is very near-sighted. The lens go dark in the sun so he looks cool.


Julie has been talking about her plans for a snowy day since September. One Saturday in January, they all came true.

Snowball fight!

The girls made a snowman. Julie named him ‘the Abominable Snowman’ (she saw Rudolph at a neighbor’s last month). Hanukkah gelt for the eyes. We were worried the squirrels would eat the chocolate but they stayed away.

The girls also went sledding by Julie’s school. Julie was very brave and liked going on long, fast runs, especially if it meant running into a fence. Both girls suffer a little from the ‘one-more-time’ condition so we were there until sundown

Meanwhile, the boys played Risk and Max worked on his Snap Circuit rovers, one of his favorite Christmas/Hanukkah gifts. He puts electric circuits together to make different actions and sounds, pretty cool. He says he wants to be an engineer when he grows up; we’ll take it.

9 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow and school is cancelled, so more snowball fight pictures coming soon…

Halloween 2016

Happy Halloween!
Holidays often start at our house with themed pancakes.
Max wanted to be Darth Vader and talked about it for weeks, telling anyone who did or didn’t ask (after first asking them, ‘Do you know Star Wars?’). Halloween was on a Friday, so I picked him up at lunchtime to come home and get ready for the school’s parade. As he was putting his Darth costume on, he saw his Robo-knight costume he wore for Julie’s princess birthday party in May in his closet and decide he definitely wanted to be that. Not sure what it is exactly, he just liked it when we searched on Amazon for knight costumes. I think it’s a Power Ranger?



After picking up Julie from school, we threw on her costume and went to a party at a senior center. Both kids were very friendly. When the activities director asked if any kids wanted to introduce themselves and explain their costumes, Max and Julie were eager and articulate on the microphone.
There was a guitar player that played Halloween songs on a stage (including ‘Five Little Pumpkins’ which made Max very excited because he had acted it out aat school as he let everyone know). When the music was over Julie claimed the stage for an impromptu dance performance.

Time for trick or treating! They had been practicing for days. Max decided to use the light saber from his Darth costume, further confusing onlookers.


Our block is on a hill and each house requires many stairs to access, but they still got lots of candy. Many houses gave out two pieces or more, and we had to have a talk about not asking for more if they only got one piece of candy.

Max was most excited about handing out candy (he would only go trick or treating when we assured him Mark’s friend Dave would hand out in our absence) so after about two blocks he and Mark headed home while Julie and I hit a few more houses. She loved all the decorations.

Her princess thank you curtsy. Love her hairdo, a collaboration between the two of us.


We finally made it home and she passed out on the ground.
Cinderella chillin. Halloween is hard work!
We convinced them to just have two pieces of candy that night. Max’s favorites are Butterfingers and Milky Way. Julie is into fruity chewy candy like Dots and Starburst. The next morning Julie woke up late and grouchy and screamed for a while that she wanted three pieces of candy before breakfast, but after losing that battle she and Max have been ok with one or two a day. Already talk about next years costumes…

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Around Westchester

You might have noticed that Brittney still likes to go on adventures in Manhattan frequently. But we’re also trying to explore Westchester more. On one of the last days of winter break, we checked out the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. We saw the Sesame Street planetarium show and some cool exhibits.

Admiring photos of dancers at the Hudson River Museum

Admiring photos of dancers at the Hudson River Museum.

Listening to the sounds of the Hudson River

Listening to the sounds of the Hudson River.

We also saw an elaborate doll house in a Victorian mansion

An elaborate doll house in a Victorian mansion.

We also made stamp art by painting fish (rubber, not real).



They added to a collaborative collage

They added to a collaborative collage

Another day we went to the Lego discovery center, also in nearby Yonkers. We made earthquake proof buildings.


Played wrecking ball.


then knocking it over with a wrecking ball


And (sort-of) did karaoke. They didn’t know any of the song selections; we’re still mostly listening to (cool) kid CDs, classical and show tunes.

This photo is a good example of the kids’ differing artistic sensibilities. With the same program, Julie used every color available, Max stuck to a minimalist palette.


We are exploring further afield with our first family trip to Disney World tomorrow…photos coming soon.

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On a Saturday at the end of January we finally got snow – a whole lot of it. Max had a birthday party that got moved from a gym (everything was closed) to a neighbor’s house. It took a long time to walk those 3 blocks.



Playing in his friend’s yard.

Playing in his friend's yard.

Catching snowflakes on his tongue on the way home.

Catching snowflakes on his tongue on the way home.

All day Saturday Julie wanted to play in the snow, but it didn’t stop snowing until Sunday. They were so excited to help shovel (if only they were better at it).
All day Saturday Julie wanted to play in the snow, but it didn't stop snowing until Sunday.

Excited to help shovel (if only they were better at it.

Mark and Max cleaning up the driveway. It is big. And a long walkway to our front door. This year I finally convinced Mark to hire somebody to do most of it.

Julie has been wanting to build a snowman all winter. It was too cold in Utah and our previous snow had melted right away. The snow was a little powdery so we dug a small alien snowman with one eye out of the corner of our snow-covered back lawn.
Julie and I built an alien snowman with one eye.

Lots of snow angels in our backyard.
Lots of snow angels in our backyard.

Over 2 feet of snow! (we thought the squirrel tracks by the tree were cool)
Over 2 feet of snow!


She didn’t want to stop playing, even when it got dark. We drew lots of pictures in the snow including a night sky.
She didn't want to stop playing, even when it got dark. We drew lots of pictures in the snow including a night sky.

Walks to school the next few days took a long time because the kids kept playing with the snow.
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