Thursday, June 11, 2015

Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.

We are one week into summer vacation and it's already off to a glorious start. We visited the zoo in the rain. We jumped off the diving board in triple digit heat. We have read stories in bed and ate dinner outside. Violet learned to clap and we all have sung nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme. We've read fairy tales and acted out our favorite books with stuffed animals. We've painted pictures and cut up the junk mail. We made bubble solution and had swimming lessons. We've listened to audiobooks while laying on top of the AC vents. We went to the market in our PJs and ate donuts for breakfast. We checked out a massive stack of books from the library and ran barefoot in the (totally dead and brown) grass. We've eaten big leafy green salads, made beet hummus with produce from our CSA and baked Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with blueberry buttercream frosting. We've ridden bikes to the park and had impromptu afternoon playdates.
And we've made approximately a hundred dandelion wishes that summer would never ever end.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The kindness of strangers

J has been traveling for work a bit more these days. It's usually for a couple of nights, two or three, long enough for us to notice, short enough to not be a big deal. Our days are usually fine - with ballet and preschool, errands and park playdates. It's the nights that can seem a bit hard. Dinner and clean-up. Stories and nursing. The transition from afternoon to evening to bed. So, I thought maybe we'd try to go out to dinner. I've never taken all three girls out alone to a sit-down restaurant, but I thought I should try.

The hostess welcomed us in and told us to choose a seat, I found a table in a somewhat empty corner of the restuaruant, near a sweet elderly couple. I smiled as we all sat down and they commented on how beautiful my girls were. I thanked them and Daisy launched into her entire life history, informing of the fact that Daddy's out of town, her favorite color is now red, and she wished she could wear her long skirts every day. They sat and listened to Violet's adorable baby babble. They laughed at Daisy's (terrible) knock-knock jokes. They told me a sweet story about their eighteen month old great-granddaughter, and we all laughed as Violet kept squawking for more bread.  They smiled at me when Lily announced (to the entire restaurant) that she needed to poop (the minute my food arrived).

When we eventually sat back down we took our time eating, Violet shoveled fistfuls of pasta into her tiny mouth. Lily dipping her bread into her mustard bowl and Daisy telling me how delicious the apple slices were. "Momma, you should get the recipe for these apples, she said, They are the best apples I've ever had." The couple soon left, waving goodbye to us as they walked away. The girls told them good bye and wished them goodnight.

After we finished our meal (and I ordered a delicious slice of lemon pie with a bluberry sauce in a to-go box) our server infomed me that our billed had already been paid, complements of the couple sitting next to us.

This incrediably thoughtful, wonderful, kind gift arrived after a a long couple of days. Violet is cutting another tooth, making her a bit more fussy. Lily always struggles more than her sisters when Daddy is gone, throwing several monster temper trantrums over the past few days. I was humbled and blown away by their generousity. To be given such an amazing gift by someone whom I've never met, at a time when I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, made the universe seem to right itself again.

So, to the couple sitting next to us at Chow last night. Thank you. Thank you for loving on us. Thank you for humoring my children by laughing at their jokes and stories. Thank you for not complaining to the server about the noisy kids and the three-year-old who wouldn't sit still. But, mostly, thank you for reminding me that kindness in strangers is indeed alive and well.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Letter to my lucky penny: 9 months

You are a very pensive, observant baby, but you are a very happy baby. Sometimes you talk to me in long strings of babble "ra dada da dada mmmm ga ba da", and then you pause and bust out a huge belly laugh, like you just finished telling me a joke. It is one of my favorite sounds. 

Dear Violet, 

You are nine months old and you are a whirlwind of learning and doing right now. You crawl and and scoot and roll and chomp and giggle and laugh and explore. Your three greatest milestones of late are these: you army crawl everywhere, you have perfected the wave, and you love food.

This latter interest has really taken off in the past month or two. You gum down whole chunks of food and wave your arms and pound your tray expecting more. You lunge at food, mouth agape like a starving animal and you frequently smack your mouth and make contented sounds as you suck and gum your food down. If I am eating ANYTHING in your presence, you expect a bite too, thank you very much. While you love just about anything, your absolute favorite foods include cheerios, pasta, toast, avocado and bananas.  What an enthusiastic little eater you are, my little penguin. I love it!
Sharing (or stealing) your sister's green smoothie.  

Additionally, your army crawling has completely taken off in the past three months. You have not quite mastered the traditional crawl just yet, but you can move and scoot wicked fast exploring all manner of things: towers that your sisters have built for you to knock down, balls you for you to roll and throw, and any piece of dirt or flint that you can find to shove in your mouth.

However, my favorite love is your newfound ability to wave on command and say "bye-bye." You turn your wrist just so and wave to anybody and everyone. The mailman coming to deliver the mail, a friend stopping by for a visit, or people you see walking past us on the street. It's so cute and endearing that most everyone stops and waves back.
Don't worry, your father is ducking behind the fence holding on to you. But, you want to be included in EVERYTHING your big sisters are doing. Including sitting up on the fence. 

To see you now, I have a hard time believing that you are the same baby I brought home from the hospital. You are so active, so playful, so LIVELY and its hard to understand how that helpless little newborn could have possibly grown so much in so little time. It feels like somebody flipped a switch in your brain. Every day you seem to learn something new.

One of the things I love about having a third baby, is that I finally realize just how fast time is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was writing a nine month letter to your older sisters. Your babyhood is so fleeting. So, when we have days where you just want to be held and cuddled and nursed and time seems to stand still, I sit and I memorize the way your brow get furrowed when you sleep, or the weight of your hand when you give me a high-five or your perfect baby smell. I feel so lucky that I get to mother you my sweet little Violet; that I get to teach you and love you and watch you grow.

Happy nine months my love. I look forward to seeing where the next nine take us!
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.

Love,
Momma

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Momma Mia

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, and she's here with us this week. And there is nothing better than having your mom visiting you. Something about having your own momma at your house, smiling and smelling of your childhood, helping and loving on her grandchildren. So, in honor of her birthday I thought I would make a list of all the reasons why we love having her visit: 
1. I can workout between the hours of 7am and 6pm. I love that I can go for a run during quiet time or steal away for a barre3 class after I drop of Daisy at preschool. 
2. All the laundry (including the stinky cloth diapers!) gets magically washed, dried, folded and set on my bed to be put away. 
3. My kitchen and all the dinnertime dishes get cleaned while I'm putting down Violet for the night.

4. Her favorite place to visit is the local bookstore (which is our favorite place as well!) and she buys us new books (always a favorite around here!)
5. Witnessing moments like this: Grandma and her grandgirls playing dress-up, reading stories and snuggling together.

6. She reads endlessly to my girls. And if you know my girls this is not an easy task as they could sit and listen to stories for hours upon hours. Upon hours. I am not kidding. They can read forever.

7. Date night with J.

8. Listening to her stories of her childhood, early marriage and motherhood. There is something wonderful in listening to my mom's stories of her childhood. These stories give me a different picture of my mom, all woven together with different memories that put into action the sequence of events that led to my life as I know it.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blue Jeans and Clean Socks

I feel like I should probably knock on some wood or cross myself twice and throw a teaspoon of salt over my left shoulder before saying what I'm about to say next, but I think we're pretty much done with the laundry room / mud room renovation.

I haven't talked much about the laundry room renovation, right? I love this house - it has great bones, but it's in need of some serious aesthetic updates. For our first style update, we decided on creating a functional mud /laundry room. This is our entry and exit point to the house, and we were needing a place to hang purses and book bags and hats. Plus, I wanted a pretty place to fold laundry. Something cheerful and simple. So, we smashed up the linoleum and ripped up the carpet, tore out cabinets and I endured what I have since come to think of as My Dark Period, during which we had, at one point neither a floor nor a working washing machine (and for many that might not be a big deal, but with two young children who attract mud like flies to honey and a exclusively cloth diapered baby, missing a day of laundry can send me into a mild panic attack.)

Here is what the laundry room looked like when we bought the house:
Hello, the 80s called, with its muted beige paint, fluorescent light and brown lineolum, thank you very much.

So what did we do? Well, we:
We like to put our little slave laborers, munchkins to work painting. They usually make an epic mess. 

  • Took out the old cabinets, retextured the walls
  • Ripped up the linoleum laundry room and the hallway carpet and put down a sub-floor, then tiled over the sub-floor with a porcelain tile that is meant to look like a neutral sand. I cannot tell you the conversations we had about this floor: it must be the most-discussed floor in the history of the world. We talked and talked and talked about this floor: which tile should we choose? Should we choose ceramic or porcelain tile or a different version of updated laminate? Should we make a pattern with the tile? Were we choosing the right tile? Should we go back to The Home Depot for the sixty-eighth time and look at it again just to be sure? Should we also go to Lowe's and Osh and three other flooring stores and see what they have as well, you know, just in case? Should we go with a gray floor instead of a brown floor? In the end, we randomly stopped by Home Depot one Sunday afternoon to look at lighting and saw tile on sale, BAM! It was done and bought. We can never resist a good sale. 
  • Painted the walls a bright turquoise 
  • Changed out the electrical switches 
  • Installed new open cabinets
  • Replaced the light fixtures and hung hooks 
  • Painted and installed new baseboards 
I should clarify, by the way, that when I say "we" - particularly the items above that start with "ripped out or installed or painted" - that I really mean J did it. I helped, of course, mostly by keeping the girls out of his hair, providing cold beer at the end of the day and most importantly, moral support. 
Anyways, I'd say we're pretty much finished - I want to hang something on the walls, and we want to install a rod to hang clothes from and we're debating if we want to build a countertop on top of the washer and dryer. This project wasn't the piece of cake that we originally envisioned and required plenty of cold beer on hand and a handful of new power tools, but man I sure do love walking into my brightly lit, pretty colored laundry room each morning. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

our weekend.

yard work. cuddling. nursing. tree climbing. clean sheets. breezy days and plenty of sunshine. rope swings. a long morning run. a late afternoon family walk. good friends and fun neighbors. 
moscow mules. nespresso brown sugar cinnamon latte. long naps. sunday school. cherub choir in church. finishing a book on the back deck. family dance parties. kisses. hugs. planting watermelon seeds and red pepper plants. watering the herb garden. playing potions. belly laughs.
 reading stories as a family. Giants baseball. laundry (always laundry). bagel breakfast. grocery store shopping and weekly meal planning. smoked artic char. sunshine. grumpy mornings. bubbles.
dress up. mommy's costume jewlry. legos. freshly mowed lawn. scooter riding. roasted asparagus. family dance party. sunhats and fleece pjs. digging in dirt. composted soil. dresses. knocking over block towers. 
sometimes life can be demanding and hectic and crazy and intense. but, sometimes it can be pretty amazing too.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

You make me happy too

You thought I was asleep. You reached over and grabbed my hand and whispered happy ten years. You reached through over one of our sleeping daughters and whispered that you loved creating a family with me, that you loved sharing your life with me. You whispered that I make you happy. 

As you started getting ready for work, another of our daughters climbed up in the bed for a quick snuggle as the littlest Rossini squawk from her crib. You shook my shoulders, "sweetheart, it's time to get up." I opened my eyes, I smiled and kissed you and we started our day.  

Happy ten year anniversary my love. I love you with a thousand beating hearts.