MORE from Katie's Modern Nest

Friday, September 28, 2012

Little yellow creature

So, my hotel in Tokyo is in shiodome tower which is part if a large "mall." There are all kinds of eateries, stores, a train station, and even Nippon television center. The last few nights as I leave the hotel I am confronted with bright lights and crowds of parents herding young children towards this camera crew. What do you think that yellow creature is all about? The tiny kids seem to love him, and he must be important because, look, he has a masked guard!

I get the impression that I am stumbling into the outdoor set of the NBC morning show, here in Tokyo. It is fun experiencing bits of Japanese culture and having no idea what they mean.

This morning we plan to visit the fabled tuna market. Hopefully I'll get some fun fish pics.

PS. Upon closer inspection, I'm thinking maybe he's an angry bird?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


After 20 hours of traveling, I am safely in Tokyo and am enjoying this sweeping view while at breakfast. I'm in Japan for the next few days on business. It's not my first trip here, but it is still a very different place than the US and getting around is a little more work than in a European or us city.

Leif is amazing and is taking care of the kiddos on his own this week. It sounds like its going well so far, but I think Hana didn't make it easy on him last night. This was the first night I was away from Hana ( not bad to make it to seven + months). Max is a great help and he is a little more used to my traveling. The difference this time is that he can talk really well so he communicates his concerns.

The day before I left, I explained that mama was going on a trip, and that I was headed to Japan, and I would be gone 5 nights (1-2-3-4-5) and then I would be home. Max thought about it a minute and then asked "Hana go the-pan too?" I smiled. It kind of blows my mind that he remembers Hana went with me on my last trip, which was about a month ago. I think he missed Hana more than even mama. Luckily my kiddos will have each other to play with while I am in "the pan."

Friday, September 21, 2012

We love Elmo

If you recall, Max has always had a thing for Elmo.  He chose his own Halloween costume last year and was Elmo.

His most favorite Christmas present was Elmo, and even his potty videos are Elmo.

Is it any wonder that Hana has become enamored with the furry red guy?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hanalei is Seven Months!

She's Crawling!
Little Miss Hanalei is now seven months, and she is just as wonderful as ever. She continues to be a cheerful little baby and normally has a smile and a coo for everyone.

At seven months, Hana is:
  • Crawling
  • Excellent at waving.  When she sees you for the first time, she smiles and then very intentionally raises her hand and gives you a big wave.  Sometimes she even waves both hands and both feet at the same time. 
  • Eating all kinds of foods including: peaches, pears, bananas, avocados, oatmeal, rice, wheat pasta, cheerios, eggs, broccoli, and green beans.
  • Waking up at 5am (too early for my taste!)
  • Becoming difficult to put to sleep (sometimes it takes 30-40 minutes to get her down).
  • Cheerful most of the time, and pretty mild-mannered 

We did learn the hard way that a little sleep deprivation messes with her sunny disposition. The night before I took these seven month photos, Hana was up until 10pm with the baby sitter and didn’t nap well in the morning. As you can see from the pictures, her smiles were MIA all day and she was a little fussy to boot.

At seven months we are noticing that Hana seems to have some allergies. For some time now, we’ve suspected that Hana is allergic to Sam. Now, we are pretty sure that eggs and avocados are a problem too. Yesterday she tried a few bites of scrambled eggs and almost immediately her eyes puffed up, she got hives on her throat and she started sneezing. It seems that anyplace that the egg touched her skin she got a violent red rash. We’re going to have to sort this one out with the doctor.

Finally, there's our smiley girl ;-)


It is such a joy watching our kids grow together, play together and simply enjoy each other.  Max dotes on his sister and always has a hug or a kiss (or a full-body slam) to share with her.  He is very aware of where Hana is at all times, and is even starting to tell me when "Hana hungry" or "Hana no want milk." 

When Max walks over to her, Hana's eyes light up and she often giggles or squeals. Even at this young age, they play Mr. Potato head together.  Max throws the potatoes and Hana eats the ears! 

Leif and I have always felt it is important for kids to have siblings.  I am so thankful that these kids will grow up with each other.  I am sure that there will be lots of fights, but there will also be lots of sweet times. 

The bonus is that they already play together and give us adults a few extra minutes to attend to adult things once in a while (you know, the fun stuff like doing the dishes).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sea World...Front Row Seats

A few weeks ago we braved the summer heat for another fun trip to Sea World.  Since it was nice and roasty-toasty the boys wanted to get WET at the Shamu stadium.  Can you see the seats they chose? 

Mama and Hana stayed high and dry up in the glass tunnel.  It gave us a great view of the whales and an amazing view of the boys getting absolutely soaking wet when the whale splashed right by the glass.

Max got pretty scared when all of the people around him screamed when they were drenched with water.  He didn't seem to mind the water too was just those scary people.   Hana stayed cool in the shade, and sported her typical smiley girl expression.

If you haven't been able to tell, we make good use of those season passes to sea world.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun with Friends

Remember what I said about hanging in the back yard all summer?  Often we shared those lazy afternoons with our friends. 

Silas and Hanalei
The Leotaud's bring a crazy energy when they visit. Griffin, Avery and Max are all laughing, screaming, running little banshees for a few hours.  Up the slide, around the jungle gym, in the pool, jumping off of the couch, drinking milk together, sharing food....whew! 

Griffin and Leif team up against Max in the tickle fight
  The dads alternate between quietly catch up with each other and wrestling with the kids.  Becca and I juggle the babies while making dinner.

Jackson and Riley are also favorite friends.  
Max and Jackson re-fuel after a long afternoon in the pool

 Max is a little in awe of Jackson who is older and wiser.  The sure do enjoy jumping and running and playing in the water too!  The little girls are just 9 days apart in age, and already seem to enjoy their girl time together. 

Good sharing Riley and Hana!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Don't Pop the Whale!"

This summer we have had lots of fun playing in the backyard on the jungle gym, with the water table or in the new kiddie pool that is shaped like a whale. 

Water table... check!  Whale pool...check!  Gold fish toy...check!

Max uses the "water slide" and lands in the whale pool
The first time we played with the whale pool, Max became worried when Leif moved the pool across the lawn.  "DON'T POP THE WHALE, PAPA!!"  he yelled.  Ever since, Max has taken to chanting "Don't pop the whale...don't pop the whale"  its actually pretty zen.  It is amazing how often that phrase makes it into our conversations.  Papa asks "Max, where are your shoes?"  "Don't pop the whale, Papa!" Max replies. 

Anyway, here are a few shots from some lazy summer afternoons.  Typically Max is soaked, Hana is chilling in the shade with Samson, Leif tries to keep up with the yard work and Mama takes pictures of everyone.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Nights

Yes, I realize it is back-to-school season, but we Keller's are trying to embrace summer for as long as possible (that is what we tell ourselves when we run the AC all night because it is stink'n HOT outside even though its September). 

So I thought I'd share one of our summer evening experiences from a few weeks ago.  I picked the kids up early one Thursday afternoon, and we all went to the botanical gardens in Encinitas.  We met up with friends around 4pm to play a bit and then caught a kiddy concert on the lawn while enjoying our picnic. 

If you are in So Cal, and have never been to the botanical gardens you need to check it out.  Normally I am no fan of visiting flowers and gardens and such, but this place is completely different.  They have a huge play area devoted to kids including a huge tree-house, music area, crafts area, stream & boats and even a big pit for digging.  Max loves running wild through the different areas, where he can use his big "outside voice" and can get wet and dirty to his heart's content. 

Once the music started, Max popped up and started dancing and wiggling along.  Then he went upfront to the kids mosh pit where he sang and danced for about an hour with the other kids.  Hana enjoyed all of the excitement too.  It was just delicious watching all of the kids squirm with excitement to the happy kid songs.  

Truly EXPERIENCING my children is one of the best feelings.  There is nothing more joyful than seeing them have all-out, uninhibited kid-fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hanalei Turned Six months (3 weeks ago)

Ok, so I am a little late in posting Hanalei's Six month photos (she turns 7 months on Friday) but better late than never!

I have said it before, and I'll say it again...Hana is such a happy baby.  She has a smile for everyone, and if there is a camera anywhere in the vicinity she's got a huge grin on her face.  She is such a ham!  She still rarely cries, and only if there is a really good reason. 

Baby Work

First food!  Hana likes to be in control of her spoon

At her 6 month check up Hana is 90% for length and 60% for weight

Here are a few of Hana's new activities:
  • Now that she is 6 months old, we've started her on solids.  She loves to grab the spoon, and some of her favorites are oatmeal and avocado (just like her brother). 
  • Hana is a professional sitter-uper.  She can even scoot all over, while maintaining her seated position in order to pick up toys or to tackle the dog.
  • She has mastered the army crawl.  Hana can roll and scoot and army crawl anywhere she wants to go. 
  • We think she might be allergic to the dog.  All of that rolling on the ground leaves her covered with dog fur and often little red welts.  We're increasing the vacuuming and try to keep Sam out of the romper room.  Hopefully this works.
  • Hana has started waking up at 5am, and even after a good nursing she won't really go back to bed. That makes for some early mornings, thankfully Leif helps out and gets up early with her while I catch a few more minutes of sleep.
  • She is a very social eater. During the day she wants bottles or solid food.  She has no patience for nursing because that would mean she'd have to look at only mama for about 15 minutes...who has time for that when you are a busy girl on the move? 

"I play iPad"

Max is growing up in the age of technology and, as expected, loves mama's phone, camera, computer and of course the remote control.  But far-and-away his favorite is the iPad.  It starts around 5:30 when we get home from school and work:

Max: "i play ipad...i play ipad...iplay ipad...MAMA!...i PLAY ipad." 

Mama: "hmm?" (while unpacking the lunches, putting milk in the fridge and reaching to turn on the oven)

Max: "i play IPAD!...  I.... PLAY..... IPAD! "

Mama: "Here Max, try some of these carrots.  You can dip them.." (while plunking something frozen into the oven)

Max: "I PLAY IPAD!!"  (while climbing up on a stool, opening the ipad, and pointing for me to put in the password)

Usually this is followed by a compromise as Max gets to play iPad while smearing ranch dressing on the screen, but at least he is dipping his carrots and dinner will be ready in 30 minutes.

I researched top toddler apps this week and found a new one that Max loves.  He gets to design monsters, and then they play with Elmo.  Today I went to my iPad to download a picture for work, and this is what I found:

Max knows how to save pictures on my iPad?  I don't even know how to do that!  By the way, there were about 50 images of monsters with no faces.  What does that mean?

Have you heard of any good toddler apps?  We are always looking for educational ways to entertain these kids.