1. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 4/1/15

    April 1, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    We are pleased to offer an afternoon chamber music series in the dining room.


  2. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 3/25/15

    March 25, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    The best seat in the house.


  3. At the Phlebotomist’s

    March 23, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    Our family is very lucky, knock on wood, to be a pretty healthy bunch. The one chronic thing we’re dealing with is a very minor condition on my part that requires semi-regular blood draws.

    This means that my standard “out with the kids” rotation of activities includes not only the food store, the library, and the YMCA, but also the phlebotomist. I would arrange things differently except for the fact that they really seem to enjoy it:

    – They get to ride in an elevator – even the short trip to the third floor is a novelty for my small-town offspring.

    – They get to visit the medical park where Daddy had a slightly weird-looking mole removed a few months back, a tale that has become firmly woven into the fabric of our family lore. “That’s where Daddy got his shoulder dug out!” both kids announce as we drive by.

    – They get heartily fussed over by the lab staff (“That’s a really cute stuffed kitty you’ve got there,” one older woman cooed at Nicholas, “but nowhere near as cute as you. Look at those eyes!”).

    – They come away with fabulous swag, including stickers and squeezy balls (which Nicholas mistakenly thought were filled with blood until I put him straight).

    – They get to introduce themselves to receptive strangers like the born extroverts they are (Nicholas, tapping each of us in turn: “I Nicholas, and this Lorelei, and this Mommy.” When we got to the age portion of the getting-to-know-you chat, Lorelei corrected Nicholas’s confident assertion that Mommy is 10 years old. “She’s very older, Nicholas.”)

    – They get to act as enthusiastic cheerleaders for people who perform a largely thankless job day in and day out. Today, when the phlebotomist announced she was all done, both kids literally jumped up and down and cheered, much to her delight.

    They’d probably be all over a trip to the ob/gyn’s, too, but I don’t think I’m ready to have their particular brand of companionship along for those annual pap smears.

  4. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 3/18/15

    March 18, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    Lorelei getting into the swing of St. Patrick’s Day with a custom headdress.


  5. Dining With the Indecisive

    March 12, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    Scene: The Carsen/Foster family kitchen, Thursday, 6:03 am

    Nicholas: “Mommy, I want egg!”

    Mommy: “What do you say, Nicholas?”

    Nicholas: “Pleeeese…”

    [Mommy takes out the frying pan and starts cooking the egg.]

    Nicholas [impatiently]: “I want egg! I want egg!”

    Mommy: “It’s cooking, buddy.”

    [Mommy sets the egg in front of Nicholas.]

    Nicholas: “I no want egg. Want Life.”

    Mommy: “What do you say, Nicholas?”

    Nicholas: “Pleeeese…”

    [Mommy removes the untouched egg and pours Nicholas a bowl of Life cereal.]

    Nicholas: “No want Life. Want Chex.”

    Mommy [increasingly exasperated]: “What do you say, Nicholas?”

    Nicholas: “Pleeeese…”

    [Mommy pours the rejected Life back in the box and re-fills the bowl with Chex.]

    Nicholas: “I all done eating.”

    Mommy: “What do you say, Nicholas?”

    Nicholas: “Please can I be all done eating?” [Note that Nicholas, to paraphrase John Paul Jones, has not yet begun to eat.]

    [Mommy frees Nicholas from his seat.]

    Nicholas [indignant]: “I wanna eat beckfast!”

    [Mommy reinstalls Nicholas in his seat and slides the bowl of Chex back to him.]

    Nicholas: “I all done.”

    Mommy: “You want to be all done, buddy?”

    Nicholas: “Yah.”

    Mommy: “You sure?”

    Nicholas: “Yah.”

    Mommy [making meaningful eye contact with Nicholas]: “You understand that you are really all done this time, and we’re not going to eat after this?”

    Nicholas [with conviction]: “Yah. I all done.”

    [Mommy removes Nicholas from his seat and redeposits him on the floor.]

    Nicholas [before his feet even hit the ground]: “I wanna eat!”

    Mommy: “No, you’re all done. Go see Daddy.”

    [Nicholas trots into the living room.]

    Nicholas: “Daddy, I wanna eat but Mommy say I all done eating.”

    Daddy: “Did she say why, buddy?”

    Nicholas [genuinely bewildered]: “No, I dunno.”

    Nicholas, snacking on his own terms.

    Nicholas, snacking on his own terms.

  6. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 3/11/15

    March 11, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    Have kitty, will travel.


  7. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 3/4/15

    March 4, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    The queen and her court.


  8. Traveling with Small Children: A Visit To Florida

    March 2, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    traveling with small children

    We have just returned from a successful trip to Florida – our first official family vacation.

    The four of us have technically flown together before, but that was back when Lorelei was 21 months old and Nicholas was in utero, so it was a very different experience on all fronts. This time around, we had a 4.5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old.

    I have come to the conclusion that traveling with small children is a lot like being a cruise director in that you are tasked with coming up with an endless array of creative amusements for entitled, largely unappreciative vacationers. Parents, however, are not allowed to lock the cabin door at night; we also lack the consolation of midnight buffets and endless tropical drinks poured with a heavy hand by Isaac the bartender.

    Nonetheless, while there is never an easy time (or perfect age) to travel with small children, I’m so glad we did. Some of the notable highlights of the trip:

    – Lorelei, turning to Eric in wonder amidst collecting shells on a pristine, sandy beach: “Daddy, this is a great vacation.”

    – Nicholas, studiously packing sand into his ears on that same beach as if he were trying to turn himself into a DIY pearl factory.

    – The friendly gecko who kept reappearing at the same spot by my dad’s pool, despite (or perhaps because of) the kids’ enthusiastic response to him; they named him Noah.

    – Nicholas amusing himself during a dinner out with several caps – from, respectively, a bottle of Poland Spring, a bottle of Stoli, and a spice jar (the last of which he deftly flipped open, held up to his ear like a practiced veteran of the Razr years, and pretended to call a friend on).

    – Eric pointing out something questionable in the water off the dock and Lorelei exhorting him to “pull yourself together, Daddy!”

    – A two-part al fresco lunch consisting entirely of convenience store snacks and massive ice cream cones.

    – Nicholas nonchalantly yet completely devouring the corner of a manatee postcard before we even had a chance to pay for it at Publix.

    – The mellow hippie wearing dark sunglasses and a bandanna headscarf, chilling out on a boat across the way. The kids waved and dubbed him “the friendly pirate.”

    – Lorelei fishing off the dock with my dad, squealing as he threaded live bait shrimp onto the hook, while Nicholas sat and watched the proceedings from my mom’s lap, clutching his stuffed kitty.

    – Nicholas’s puzzled look when we told him we’d be flying back home the next day. “Home?” he asked, his brow furrowed, as if the entire concept were both unfamiliar and somewhat disturbing.

    – Lorelei setting up shop on her airplane tray table with the essentials she packed in her Strawberry Shortcake backpack: A kaleidoscope, a small rubber duck, and a plastic saucer, cup, and spoon from her tea set.

    – Nicholas loudly reminiscing about a daycare friend on the plane home and alarming parents and flight attendants alike: “I LOVE ISIS! I LOVE ISIS!”

    – The same 2.5-year-old Lothario shamelessly flirting with a cute tween girl he spotted across the aisle. “I love her!” he repeated over and over. “What her name?”

    The best and worst thing about having kids is that nothing ever stays static. If we make the same trip next year, and I hope we do, it will be a whole new set of adventures and memories. I can’t wait.

  9. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 2/25/15

    February 25, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    We all celebrate the Patriots’ victory in our own special way.



  10. Crazy Baby Wednesday: 2/18/15

    February 18, 2015 by Jennifer Carsen

    Who doesn’t love a good cocktail meatball?