Potty Update

Little miss is in the midst of toilet training (as we were instructed to call it by her Montessori teachers). While she has used her potty twice so far–much to our joy and surprise–most of our visits are much less eventful. Of course, she does have a certain flair for things, so one visit she chose to wear her high heels, a purse, and some bracelets. By the end of the visit the bracelets were in the potty. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Today we bought her some big girl underpants and while our first forays into no diapers weren’t too successful or too long-lived, she is quite excited by the potty. She has books that she reads while visiting, as well as some stuffed animals that circle her potty. In fact, today her stuffed Elmo doll also tried the potty. Even though she doesn’t always use her potty, she is quite involved in the diapering process. Thanks to Montessori and their stand-up diapering technique, she helps us pull down her pants and then she takes off her diaper. When finished she wipes herself, places her diaper on (though one of us has to secure it), pulls up her pants, throws away the diaper, and knows to go to the sink to wash hands. If I haven’t said it before–sending her to school was hands-down one of the best parenting decisions we have made. She loves it, we love it and by the looks of things, we might be diaper free is the relatively near future. Hurray!


Mari at School

This fall Marisol is attending Alegria Montessori School.

She is in the one year old’s class and needless to say, she LOVES it. In fact, most mornings she barely has time to kiss and hug us goodbye before she off and playing! We weren’t going to send her to school so early, but during our tour of the campus last spring, Mari more or less jumped out of our arms to explore the classroom and engage with the other children. Then, when we heard they were starting a program for one year old children we knew that Mari needed to be part of that group.

Here she is exploring the classroom the week before school started:






She attends school from 8:30-12:00 Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Monday and Wednesday a Spanish teacher comes in. They also have music time, snack time, and lots of lots of exploration time. For example, last week Mari spent time window washing, dancing with scarves, and playing with musical instruments. She also likes the purse, the one-to-one game where they do some basic matching, and the broom. She also enjoys playing in the sink in the room.


checking out the sand area




Taking time out to read

IMG_5284    IMG_5270



Although I was a bit choked up when we dropped her off for school that first day, Mari didn’t look back. While she can’t tell us that she loves school, there are some obvious signs:

We can’t put away her backpack–she likes it out so she can touch it, wear it, and zipper it.

In the morning she usually asks us “skoo?” (school).

Her daily reports describe her as “curious, happy, content, and active.”

Other parents remark to us how happy Marisol always looks at school.


IMG_5302We are so happy that our little girl is as enchanted with school as we are!


all smiles at the end of day one!


she is saying “don’t worry, I’m good.”


And for the next installment of Mari selfies:


Summer Vacation 2013, Part II





Before heading home to Florida we took a four day detour over to Cape Cod.


Our time there was spent walking through quaint downtowns, shopping at fun boutiques, biking riding through Martha’s Vineyard, and seal watching. We stayed in Chatham, a town that looks just like what you imagine Cape Cod towns look like. Interestingly, Chatham (pronounced Chae-tum) is a major fishing hub. Each day fishing boats come to the docks to unload their wares. Of course, all that fresh seafood attracts seals. We went to visit the dock on our first day in town and it quickly turned into the spot. One day we even went twice. Mari was enthralled by the seals. She waved to them, called out to them, mimicked their honking call, and, when not at the dock, looked at their pictures on our phones and camera. I am not sure why she was so attracted to them since they just look like wet dogs, but she couldn’t get enough. She would ask us “seal?” and then make a seal sound.





ImageOne evening we enjoyed a picnic dinner on the beach. Mari loved the giant seagulls (seriously, they were the biggest birds I have ever seen) and all the shells on the beach. The water was a bit too cold to play in, but it was perfect for throwing shells and making big splashes.Image












We also spent one afternoon sitting on the veranda of the Chatham Bars Inn watching the water, sipping cool cocktails, and letting Mari explore the gardens. The veranda overlooked the coast and it was a perfect stopping point to soak in the scenery and just revel in our relaxation.







Another key site in Chatham is the old lighthouse and the beach. We didn’t venture onto this beach, but Mari loved people watching and posing for pics.Image





As noted, one day we took the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. We didn’t bring the stroller instead deciding to bike it. We ended up biking over 12 miles that day: from the Ferry landing to Edgartown and back again. The ride was lovely—a paved bike path with the coast on one side and huge, huge mansions on the other—but it was hot, long, and we were certainly not in bike riding shape (let’s just say there were some sore buns the next day). Frank pulled Mari in a burley behind his bike. We were unsure if she would sit in it, but the little princess quickly spread out across both seats, took off her shoes, and enjoyed the ride. Needless to say, I think some bikes are in our future.










Edgartown, like Chatham, is what you imagine a Martha’s Vineyard town looks like—hilly streets, clapboard siding, quaint shops. Frank managed to find some new clothes at Vineyard Vines, an iconic MV shop and all of us enjoyed shopping at the Black Dog. Mari liked it because all the clothing had black dogs on it. At one point, little miss got so excited that she crawled into the front display window. We joked that they should hire her for promotions, but alas, no job for Mari. Our best buy their was a green water bottle for Mari. It is her go-to drinking vessel.






After enjoying the perfect 75 degree days and the slow pace of life on vacation, we returned to Florida to prepare for the start of school. This year all three of us are heading to the classroom…

A random aside: Mari figured out how to take photos and “selfies” during the trip. Here is a collage of some of her shots:


Summer Vacation 2013, Part I

In July we took a two-part vacation. First Mommy and Mari traveled up to Michigan to visit Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle’s Noel and Jeff, and Cousin Ethan. Then, we flew over to Boston to pick up Daddy from Andover where he was teaching. The three of us then drove to Cape Cod for a family vacation.



The weather up in north was so unseasonably cool, but we loved the escape from the Florida heat and humidity. We spent all our days outside!

Too cool for you!

We spent a lot of afternoons over at the “Tot Lot.” This was the playground where I learned to swing and where I spent a lot of time, so I loved being able to bring Mari. Plus, all the equipment is perfect for small people.



We also did a couple of playdates with Kelly and her sons. Although Mari and the boys didn’t quite play together, it was fun to watch the kids explore and, of course, I loved catching up with one of my oldest friends!



In Michigan, Mari developed a nice morning routine with Grandpa and Ruby Red Dog. Each morning as we walked downstairs Mari would call out “Grandpa…Grandpa.” Then, the four of us would head outside to feed the birds and feed Ruby. Of course, some times it was one piece of bread for the birds, two pieces for Mari. Once the birds were full, Ruby would get her treats. Mari loved giving Ruby her dog bones. Watching Mari feed Ruby bone-by-bone was adorable. Ruby is a gentle dog and would take the bones from Mari, even though Mari was a bit aggressive at times with the feeding and was a bit in-your-face.

Calling to the birds. She didn’t quite understand that they wouldn’t eat the bread if she was standing in the middle of the bread pile.



One afternoon when we were playing in the backyard Mom called for my Dad singing out “Bob, Bob”? Of course, our little mimic heard and thereafter every time she went into the yard she called out “Bob, Bob” (even if she had just seen him in the family room or out front).

My parent’s beautiful garden. Frank and I were married here in 2010.

Of course, Mari was more than happy to help with the yard work:




In addition to lots and lots of outdoor time (walks with Mom through GP, trips to the Park, exploring the paths at Grandma and Grandpa’s house), we also had lots of family time. Aunt Gabrielle came in for a long weekend and soaked up lots of Mari cuddles. We also lunched with Uncle Noel and Aunt Cathy at the Detroit Institute of Arts. And we had a few family dinners over at Noel and Jeff’s.

jumping on the neighbor’s trampolin






After leaving our mark on Grandma and Grandpa’s (with some crayons, some wayward blueberries and peas, some misplaced toys) Mari and I hopped on a plane and flew to pick up Frank from his summer teaching position at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. The airport reunion was so wonderful. When Mari saw her Daddy after being separated for a month she just lit up—huge smile, laughing, and reaching out for a hug and kiss. Frank was likewise overcome (though he would never admit that fact). In fact, for the next few weeks Mari was very concerned about her Daddy and she didn’t like him out of her sight.

Easter 2013

One advantage of living in Florida in the spring is the near-perfect weather we experience in March and April. Easter, therefore, falls during one of the most glorious times of year here in Florida. We took full advantage of Easter this year attending two Easter egg hunts (which we then reenacted numerous times at home) and enjoying a waterside brunch on Easter Sunday.

My college’s alumni association held an Easter egg hunt the Saturday before Easter on campus. The activities included a kid-friendly lunch of chicken nuggets, fruit, and grilled cheese sandwiches, child sidewalk art, a visit from the Easter bunny and culminated in the egg hunt. Mari was both terrified of and intrigued by the Easter bunny. She kept staring at him and waving at him. She even walked toward him; however, once near him she broke down into sobs. Although Frank was able to get a picture of the three of them, my attempt at a picture was not nearly so successful. Alas.

Mari was able to rebound however and ROCK the egg hunt. We were unsure if she would get the concept of grabbing the eggs and then putting them in her basket, but our worries were unfounded. Our smart girl figured it out right away. She also quickly realized that the eggs held super yum yums! I am not sure what she liked more–gathering the eggs or sampling the candy! She enjoyed the hunt so much that when we came home that afternoon we spent quite a bit of time “hiding” the eggs for her to find.



Egg-gathering can be done either sitting or standing:


Mari, post-hunt, re-enacting the adventure!


My favorite pictures from the day are below. We were walking to our car, but eggs kept falling from her basket. She was both determined to keep them in and frustrated that they were falling out. I love her expressions and that she is carrying her basket.











The following week our church also held an egg hunt. Sadly, this hunt was a bit more chaotic than the EC hunt. At EC they had separate areas for different age groups. The church did not. Thus, the church egg hunt consisted of half an hour of build up and about two minutes of egg gathering/navigating hoards of running children. Thankfully, we were able to gather a few more eggs and thus a few more goodies.


egg gathering/checking for candy


all done. eggs conquered.


hydrating before the hunt


with an egg craft made by Momma. Alas, the egg did not make it very long.

On Easter Sunday, the family, including Tio Mitch enjoyed a brunch buffet at Jackson’s. We sat outside overlooking Tampa Bay. The day was perfect!


giving Daddy a kiss


all smiles


our beautiful baby girl!


running around post-brunch


not sure why the face



semi smile


hanging out with Tio Mitch


mr. handsome


Mommy and Mari!


well at least one of us is happy


photo attempt.


everyone refused to smile with teeth, and Mari downright refused to smile!

Once everyone woke from their nap, Mari got to experience not one, not two, but THREE Easter baskets:


bunny ears from Aunt Gaby. She insisted I put them on her head.


playing with new sidewalk chalk and being attacked by bubbles (She got a new bubble blower for Easter)


still life: cat, baby, flowers, maraca!


chasing after bubbles


artist in training


reading her new book. notice the puffs around her.


examining a basket


carrying baskets is almost as much fun as opening them!

(videos of Easter festivities, including basket openings, coming soon!)

16 months

Dear Sweet Baby Girl,

This month we explored new places: the beach, the Farmer’s Market, and Daddy’s campus. The weather was kind of strange–some days were hot, some days were down right cold, so we also explored new toys around the house.

At first you weren’t too sure about the beach. We put you down in the sand and you quickly walked to the blanket, sat down, and wiped your feet. Thankfully, the allure of shoveling, grabbing, throwing, and frolicking in the sand won. Collages


giving momma a kiss




Daddy modeling on the beach!







I love this image. What is she thinking about?




By the end of the morning you were even practicing yoga in the sand: 20130401-1021182The kitchen also received a visit from the que pasa:





We went to story time and a sing-along at the Saturday morning market downtown. Not surprisingly, you were more interested in getting your yum-yums than you were in the actual story. You did dance a little bit, though.









You started to showcase some toy-hoarding tendencies. Now, rather than just carrying around one baby, you prefer to carry around 2, 3, or even 4 at once.





You, along with the cats, also shared a box. Each of you spent time in the box at one point while it was here. You even moved it to various places around the living room I guess looking for the best box-sitting spot. IMG_4148


Mommy also left for four days to attend a conference. It was the first time I was away from you for such an extended time. I wish that I could have packed you in my suitcase!



We are also trying to teach you that flowers are for enjoying, not for picking in preparation for our visit to Michigan and to Grandpa’s garden. As the photos below demonstrate, we still have a bit of a ways to go with that lesson:



Why stay on the sidewalk when tramping through the garden is so much more fun?








Alas, geraniums have fun flowers to pick. Sorry Grandpa!



bike rack or mini Mari door?



Checking out the fountain with Daddy.

You also added another word to your lexicon:   you say “moo” when you see a picture of a cow.

We also introduced utensils during your feeding time. You are quite good at holding on to the spoon or fork and you have the general idea of what to do (you are quite good at stabbing at food). Likewise, you are able to guide the utensil to your mouth. Now we are working on bringing all these parts together!





Playing hide-and-seek!

Everyday you learn and do new things and keep Daddy and Mommy on their toes!

We love you!

Mommy and Daddy

15 months!

Dear Sweet Marisol,

You are such a perfect and amazing little person and you are just growing up so fast! This month you started coloring, starting saying your first words, started feeding yourself with utensils, and learned to climb on the couch!  Slow down, baby girl!


Daddy and I bought you some bathtub crayons that quickly have become the highlight of bath time. In fact, you try to sneak into the bathroom to get the crayons and just color whatever you can—the floor, the rug, the wall. You know exactly how to hold them and love decorating the tub and the tiles. You are particularly drawn to the color red. We also bought you some regular crayons and you love to take them all out and hold onto as many as possible. You have created a couple pieces of art, but generally you just like to hold these crayons. Grandma, Grandpas and Abuelita will just have to wait for your masterpieces!


You can now say book (bu), Lewis (ssss), yumyumyumyum (when you want food), and meowmeowmeow (for cat). You also say mama and papa. In fact, last week the three of us were in the kitchen and you spied Daddy’s office door open full of enticing papers and books.  This room is normally off-limits. You wandered in calling “papa? Papa?” all the while edging closer to the forbidden books and papers and knowing full well Daddy was right behind you in the kitchen! You are so smart.

Now that you are 15 months you can eat pretty much everything that Mommy and Daddy eat and you are working on learning how to use your spork (a gift from cousin Ethan). You have the general idea of using utensils-stabbing at your food and bringing it to your mouth, however, the whole process is rather messy. If you don’t feel like holding your own fork, you help Mommy or Daddy feed you by grabbing our hand and guiding the fork to your mouth. You are also learning to drink from a big girl cup. You hold onto the cup with both hands and slurp, slurp, slurp. Just like Mommy you love lemonade, though apple juice is a close second.

Since you are such a tall girl (31 inches, 22+ pounds) you have no trouble climbing onto the couch. Indeed, you consider the couch your personal trampoline. You run along it and then flop down so Mommy or Daddy will tickle/scratch your back. We are working on teaching you to “sit on your bottom,” which you do on occasion. You also love your little reading chair and will settle in there to watch cartoons or to read books. Below are some of the various poses you adopt while relaxing in your chair.






Unfortunately, this month you also developed your first real boo-boo. Your thumb got a little rash on it (a mixture of you sucking it at night and the dry winter weather). We put some lasinoh on it to help create a barrier; however, you like the taste of the lotion and just suck it all off. Your thumb got really raw, swollen, with a couple minor sores. As a result you got an infection. You are on antibiotics and we are trying Vaseline. Your thumb is improving, thankfully. In this process, though, you learned to milk our sympathy. You stick out your hand and whine a little bit. Mommy and Daddy are then supposed to lean over and kiss your hand. Of course, now you will extend either hand for our kisses. You also give us your hands when you are in trouble (like playing with the blinds or throwing off all the pillows on the couch). Smart girl.


You also love to go for walks. Although we bring along the stroller you prefer to just walk along and inspect the world. We usually walk along the waterfront downtown where there are a lot of people for you to meet and watch—bikers, runners, other walkers. And, of course, lots of puppies for you to meet. You also like to sit on the breakwall to watch the water, call for duckies, or wait for dolphins to swim past. When we walk you often put your hands out behind you (like a reverse Superman), put your head down, and start to run—I guess it is aerodynamic. Sometimes, you will put your hands behind your back like a little detective.

Of course, you still love parks and slides! Your favorite slides are the twisty kind.







You remain our fearless little girl. Lately you love feeding the birds at Crescent Lake park. You are not at all scared when the birds flock around you. Indeed, you will even let the birds grab bread from your hand!


This month you also discovered tummies. You love to rub your tummy, particularly when it is big and full. You also examine Mommy and Daddy’s tummy, and Abuelita’s, too. You continue to love Daddy’s feet and are quite the little tickle monster.

You are also learning to be very gentle with the kitties.  You like to get kisses from Lewis and you like to try and pick up Solomon. Jack remains afraid of you and gives you a wide berth.

Daddy and I are having so much fun with you sweet girl! We love to explore the world with you!

All our love forever and ever,

Mommy and Daddy!

Puppy Puppet

Little miss loves animals, that is no secret. This Christmas Grandpa Ramsey got Marisol an adorable puppy puppet that Marisol thinks is hilarious. I think she likes that the puppy’s tongue sticks out so it can give her kisses. Sometimes she insists on wearing him around and giving him kisses back:




These aren’t the greatest photos, but they show her enjoyment of her puppy friend!