Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I will miss about LA: A photo essay

When I first got the idea to post pictures of things I’d miss when I left Los Angeles – I thought I would struggle coming up with something substantial, and instead be limited to posting photos of the traffic:

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The fact that it took me two hours to drive 20 miles over “the hill” on Sepulveda Blvd in order to get to work on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Or, the fact that it can often take over an hour to go to Trader Joe’s if you go anytime other than 10am on Wednesday morning. But, when I started actually compiling a list in my head I found that there was so many things that I will actually, really truly, genuinely miss about the last seven years in The San Fernando Valley.

First of all, I will miss Sweet Butter Cafe:

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Actually, I will miss Sweet Butter’s Chai Tea Latte. The best part of this place that it was a mere two miles from my house, AND since it was brand new, the place was never actually crowded (although, this has recently changed). (I guess the word got out).

Then, I will miss Maggie’s playgroup. Actually, I call them my playgroup, but that’s beside the point. More specifically I will miss the fact that we have wine on Thursday evenings while the toddlers play. It really is a perfect way to have playgroup.

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Sadly, this is the only picture I have of all of them…taken when they were still babies (around April).

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More recent, but missing two.

I will also miss my hardwood floors and my rockstar kitchen:

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I love the quietness of my Bosch dishwasher, and the sheer awesomeness of my Viking stove and prettiness of my Viking oven. I love the unique color of the vintage style of the kitchen tile. And, most importantly, I love that J and I designed it all ourselves. Since my kitchen makeover we have successfully hosted two Thanksgiving dinners for 10 people or more, countless loaves of bread, multiple cakes and a failed cooking experiment or two.

As for my hardwood floors, just look at them. They are a beautiful White Oak, perfect and lovely, and we spent all our wedding money gift to refinish them. (And then later, insurance money, when the mold kicked in!) (And the adorable sleeping baby doesn’t hurt the picture. Cooking with Momma is hard work!)

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I will also miss the local park for Casey, and her friends. Most weekdays, we loaded up the stroller, and walked the mile to the nearby park for everyone to run around with a bit of fresh air. The neighbors are wonderful, and I will truly miss all our four-legged furry friends. This is where I caught up on the neighborhood gossip, chased Daisy, and let Casey loose on a squirrel hunt. This being said, I will not miss the tribe of local high schoolers which like to make the park their hotspot spot to smoke weed… 

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Finally, I will miss my over-producing lemon tree. The amount of lemons that this tree garnered was amazing: Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Lemon bread, Lemoncello, Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon pasta, salad dressing, the list goes on and on.

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I can come up with countless others – Daisy’s Happy Feet dance class, or the local hot dog stand, but I need to cut this off sometime. As it stands, I’ll just keep crossing off the days – only 10 days now! – until we move from Southern California and start a new adventure. Thanks for the memories. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

On sleeping babies

Daisy & I (and our dog, Casey) are staying with my parents for a few weeks while we transition the move up to Northern California. While J needed to move up north immediately to start his new job, I needed to stay back and finish the semester and help finalize the last of the move.

Daisy has always slept in her crib. From night one. In fact, I can only remember a handful of times she slept with us in our bed. Occasionally for an hour or two in the early morning hours when she was still nursing, but never for a whole night. When we traveled to a hotel or grandparents houses, she always slept in a pack n’ play or portable crib. Until recently. Recently, she has decided that pack ‘n plays are a thing of pure evil. So, during this period of transition she has started sleeping with me. Lately, she has been so thoroughly exhausted from the day that when she falls asleep for the night, nothing can rouse her. After she falls asleep, I transfer her from my dad’s arms to the bed in my childhood room, and I spent an hour or two catching up on emails, grading papers, and talking to J before I tiptoe softly into the bedroom.

I use the flashlight to root around for my pajamas, smother my lips in chapstick, and pull out my book before snuggling up next to my girl. And, last night I snapped a picture to remember this time by.

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While Daisy will sleep in her own space, and in her own room once we officially move up north, I have developed a new appreciation for co-sleeping. After taking this snapshot, I crawled in bed with her, tousled her hair, kissed her head and whispered sweet nothings.

I love to smell her freshly washed hair in the middle of the night. I love hearing her wake up and say “hi mamma” – even if its before dawn breaks. I love seeing her little hands clenched around the silk lining of her green blanket. There is, of course, a part of me that very much looks forward to reclaiming a full half bed to myself, and sleeping next to my husband again. But there is an even greater part of me that will miss falling asleep without a baby pressed against my back or nestled into my neck.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Day post

I have a million posts that I need to write: how today is the last day in the house in which we’ve spent the last seven years. The home we came to after our honeymoon, the house where we brought Daisy home from the hospital, the house where our sweat, blood and a few tears reside in the kitchen title and the backyard flagstone, except that today is Thanksgiving. So, in order to keep my compulsive triple-A organized self sane during a crazy, chaotic period in my life, I thought a list of the ten (plus, a bonus or two) things I’m currently thankful for would be appropriate.

1. My marvelous husband who has almost single-handedly packed up a three-bedroom, two bathroom house with a smile on his face, a pain in his back and the Beatles blaring in the background.

2. My cheerio loving little girl who dances in earnest to elevator music, repetitively shouts the neighborhood dog names upon waking from her afternoon nap, and delights in fake sneezes (both hearing them and making them!)

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3. My now-famous reality star brother who came over to help move the heavy furniture without complaining with the only promise of food.

4. The three-pound baby girl still growing, kicking and hiccupping that promises an sleep-deprived, but exciting new year. 

5. Clean pajamas, a good book and a roaring fire.

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6. My squirrel chasing adorable mutt who makes packing and moving with a toddler seem easy.

7. My father-in-law and all his newly working body parts.

8. My dad who flew 3,000 miles to feed Daisy ice cream and lull her to sleep with the history of World War II while I tortured myself for six hours walking a marathon.

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8.5. My mom and mother-in-law who are both excellent examples of devoted wives and loving mothers. 

9. My brother-in-laws who always challenge me to think of my top-five favorite movies; even if they scold me for only seeing one or two movies in each category.

9.5 My brother-in-laws who have stepped up in the responsibility department by becoming full-time gardeners, pool boys, and food delivers for the Rossini’s. 

10. A chance for new beginnings and new adventures for my little family, even if it means closing a previous chapter in our lives.      

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All about Washington: A photo essay

It's been a while since we got back from the nation’s capital and I haven't even told you anything about it. Because of the insane week which followed the trip, it seems like an eternity ago that J and I ran a marathon. But, the trip was---as you would imagine a vacation with a toddler while completing a marathon and starting your third trimester to be, ---rather exhausting.

However, I haven’t been to D.C. since I was in high school, and I was anxious to get away from the heat of Southern California in the fall, and have a taste of cooler weather.

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We spent the first day doing the typical touristy things. First, a trip through the White House and the Capitol:

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I took approximately one million pictures of the Washington Monument, apparently I have a love for it as evident from reviewing my camera flashcard. 

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We had dinner with an old family friend (hi Jeanne & Eric!) out in Virginia and dined on goat cheese lasagna, salad and a delicious bottle of red wine (or maybe two bottles…) What is not pictured here is my inability to buy a metro pass for the subway system. Between J and I we have five degrees, and it still took us nearly 20 minutes to buy a pass to go six stops on the blue line.

With 26.2 miles looming the next morning, we tried to keep our walking to a bare minimum on Saturday, which was encouraged by the rain/sleet/hail deluge nearly the entire day. We did in fact make it to the marathon expo:

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Clearly, this picture illustrates that we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. After a failed naptime attempt, we hit up the International Spy Museum in true James Bond fashion. That night we carbo-loaded, remembered the loved ones we were running for, and tried to sleep.

Sunday, the dreaded day. This was J’s first marathon, and the first marathon I have run in which I did not throw up. I have an unfortunate habit of losing the contents of my stomach on marathon and half-marathon courses across California, this is unpleasant enough without having to do it after running for multiple hours in front of perfect strangers – so of course this was something of a concern. While the marathon started at 8am, and promised to be a beautiful sunny 60 degrees, the 5:30am wake-up call and two mile walk in 27 degree darkness to the start very nearly killed us.

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In fact, the beanies that we are wearing were picked up off the side of the road, that’s how desperately cold we were. The fact that we don’t currently have head lice is something I’m grateful for this upcoming thanksgiving.

Six hours eighteen minutes and twenty-six point two miles later we crossed over the finish line. Well, I finished seven seconds before J – a fact that he reminds me of daily. I think he just let me win, it was good for my pregnant ego.

I’m sure there is much more that I want to tell you about our trip to Washington, including the 14-inches of snow at Shenandoah National Park, and the fact the our little family was one of eighteen staying at the lodge due to the freak fall nor’easter, but I can’t remember much of it now, probably because 90% of what we did was eat, endlessly analyze our marathon performance and discuss which body parts were currently sore.

I didn’t even take too many pictures, well besides the Washington Monument and my little angel, who started experimenting with the “terrible two” stage three months early:

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So, instead of boring you with more pictures, I will end with this one, which his kind of the best one anyway:

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Running a marathon! A surefire way to look really unattractive!

I know, right? Screw all those adorable baby pictures and wedding photos, this one’s the framer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why I run…

I think I briefly mentioned a few months ago that J and I are training for a marathon next month. Did you read that correctly? NEXT MONTH. This means that our conversations around our house these days revolve around what type of Gu packet we’ll try for this week’s training run, our latest strategy for staying on pace, and chafing issues (ahh, so romantic.)

Also, I might not have mentioned around this little corner of the internet, but I’m also pregnant. So, I’ll be running said marathon well into my second trimester. And, when people find out I’m running this marathon I get shocked looks and aghast faces, so I’ve begin to tell them that in addition to running a marathon, I’m raising money to fight lung cancer, and these are the reasons why….

  • I run because I am tired of seeing parents lose children; spouses lose their partners, and children losing their parents earlier than they should.
  • I run because I continue to feel the pain of losing Andy, and cannot even comprehend how Jen feels about losing her husband, my Aunt & Uncle feel at losing their youngest son, and my cousin feels about losing his only brother.
  • I run to teach Daisy that one person can make a difference.
  • I run to spend my Saturday mornings with the love of my life, endlessly discussing our hydration levels, books we hope to read, and counting our lucky stars that we have each other.
  • I run so that my daughters do not know the sadness that cancer brings.
  • I run because Andy will never have an opportunity to teach Nicholas all the Red Sox stats he memorized.
  • I run because friends of friends will email me about their recent battle with lung cancer.
  • I run because through Andy’s 53-week battle with cancer, he inspired me with his courage, tenacity and passion.
  • I run because lung cancer CAN strike the young, healthy and strong; in other words, those who have done absolutely nothing to bring it on themselves. It’s a lottery nobody should win.
  • I run because with all the technology and intelligence available, we need to focus fund resources to crush this disease.
  • I run because people are generous. If running 26.2 miles through our nation’s capital inspires people to give, then it is my obligation to do that.
  • I run because I believe private funding will make a difference.
  • I run because the money I raise will directly contribute to the effort to save lives.
  • I run because I am inspired by the others who run to support lung cancer.

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If you feel called to contribute to the cause, follow this link:

http://teamlunglovedc.kintera.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=468096&u=468096-324106361 
Every dollar counts. Thank you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

To you, from me

It's September 11th, ten years ago, and we had just had our first date the weekend before, a date to play tennis at nearby courts, in which you were over an hour late to pick me up. Oh, we are so far then from where we are now – married, a mortgage, a daughter, and another on the way. It’s late summer in the Sacramento valley, and I’m just a restless senior in college who is not quite ready to graduate, not quite ready to grow up, not quite ready to settle down, and then you ask me out for dinner, and then another date, and finally it’s like everything clicks.

After that, there’s a line straight down the middle of my life: a before and an after. Part A and part B. Without you, without you, without you – then with you.

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Dinner was burned, and then it got cold. The baby is crying; I’m grumpy, exhausted and hungry. I curse under my breath, grumbling and complaining about how inconsiderate he is. Mad that he is late, mad that I don’t know when he will be home. Mad that I ruined dinner, mad that the baby will be in bed late again.

In this moment I hear myself, and I sound like an angry sitcom woman berating her hapless husband and I think how did I get like this? How did I get so old and obvious? I take a deep breath and think back to you on our tennis date, the way you made me laugh, the way your hazel-brown eyes glistening in the sun, the hope and the promise. I think of a time when you weren’t the idiot who forgot to tell me you were going to work late, but to when you were still the future, all unknown, shiny and new.

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I have never been able to describe, accurately, how it felt to meet you. I vaguely remember our first meetings, the BBQ, Sunday football at the apartment, sitting next to you in our marketing class. This is frustrating for me; I make a living working with words. But here is the thing: I just knew. I didn’t want to commit, I swore to myself up and down that I didn’t want to get involved. And yet, I found myself saying yes to every single date.

My roommate asked why I kept going out with you, why I kept saying yes. Why did I curl my hair before every date? Why did I wear a skirt to my Tuesday/Thursday classes, if I didn’t care to impress you? “I don’t know”, I replied, “but something about him captures me. Something about him keeps me coming back.”

Not love at first sight, a feeling at first sight.

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Twelve days after that first tennis date, two passenger planes crashed into the Twin towers in New York City. The world stopped. Chaos ensued. Classes were cancelled, track practice was abandoned, my roommates and I glued to the TV. He called, nervously, to see if I was alright. Awkward silence crackled along the phone line. There was nothing to say, the world was shocked.

While I could never forget about this national tragedy, we will never forget; it was swallowed up by the memory of meeting you.

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This is just a quiet observation about the passage of time. The media, NYC, and the world remembers today, we reflect on all that was lost, we remember all the heroes who responded to those attacks that day. A decade has passed since our nation has gained new strength and new hope. For me, this is a date: September 11th that I carry with me in the compartment that contains all of our other dates, all those other notches marking the steady accumulation of time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The 18-month love letter

Dear Daisy,

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On Sunday you turned eighteen months old. At your 18-month doctor’s appointment you measured 32”, but are still a tiny 21 pounds. This puts you in the solidly in the 60th percentile for height, and the 10th percentile for weight. The past six months have been a whirlwind of activity: cross-country airplane rides, weddings, the stomach bug, summer colds, morning sickness, summer school, Momma/Daughter Adventure days, and the list just keeps on going. I feel almost a little silly saying that because I’m pretty certain that it is common knowledge that the word BUSY is actually the definition of TODDLER, and you my sweet little monkey have taken it all in stride. In fact, you are an extremely mellow toddler. You follow directions, you listen to my commands, you never stray too far from my sight, and my favorite of all, you still take a solid 2 ½ to 3 hour nap – Every. Single. Day.

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When I started to reflect back on all that has happened in your life in the past six months, I realized there is simply not enough space in my little corner of the blogosphere to write it all down. And because I am a veritable prodigy in the field of list-making, I thought a list of eighteen things I love about you might be appropriate to celebrate this toddler milestone:

1. You constantly teach me how to find the beauty in the ordinary. One of the greatest gifts you have given me is to remind me to slow down and enjoy life’s simple treasures – whether a pebble from our morning walk or the taste of a perfectly ripe strawberry from the Farmer’s Market.

2. When you are eating a food that you are particularly enjoying or especially love, you do this little wiggle and squirm as soon as the flavor hits your mouth and let out a giant “MMMMMM…”

3. You have the most incredible belly laugh. I spend my entire day figuring out the many ways I can get you to laugh out loud.

4. You adore the sunshine. Being outside in the sun and fresh air always brightens your mood.

5. Oh, how you love your father. It warms may heart to see you hugging him, chasing him around the yard, giving him kisses or saying “HI!” to him when he steps through the door after a long day at work.

6. Sometimes when I ask for hugs, you will run at me from wherever you are and squeeze me tight and not let go for several minutes before patting me on the back. Sometimes you just shake your head and say “NO”, and that’s okay too because it’s always with a smile. And sometimes, you just run at me unprompted to cuddle, hug, and kiss. It is the very best part of my day.

7. You swim like a fish in the bathtub.

8. You have completely changed the way that your father and I view the world. You inspire us to be better, challenge us to be stronger, and remind us to fall more in love every day.

9. Your favorite color is red. However, you love all bright colors, slides, Fancy Nancy, puzzles, jewelry, swings and above all…swimming. There is something unspeakably brilliant about watching your personality grow.

10. You absolutely LOVE the beach and the ocean. You laugh and squeal and wriggle with delight at the crashing of the waves, running fearlessly right towards them causing me heart palpitations.

11. Every week you learn a few new words: “”Uh-oh,” “Thank you” and “Hot” being your current favorites. Mom and Dad’s favorite: “WOW”

12. There are no words to adequately describe your love of music. Children’s music, Bearnaked Ladies, The Beatles or P!nk – you love it all. And, listening to music with you, turning on the tunes on our walks, or having a boogie-fest in the living room, is quickly becoming one of my very favorite parts of every day.

13. You are growing into a very independent little girl. You feed yourself at nearly every meal, and although you make a beautiful mess, it’s nothing compared with some of the masterpiece of the past.

14. Playing ball in the afternoon is one of your favorite things to do.

15. You love to wave hello and say “HI” and “BYE-BYE” and lean in for a kiss when people leave. Even the sweet nurse who gave you your 18-month vaccinations.

16. When you roll a truck on the ground you say “vroom-vroom” really fast. When you play with your little musical table, you always turn it to the Spanish ABC’s.

17. You say “Good girl, Momma” after I give you your milk in the morning. Like you are so proud of all that I accomplished.

18. Upon lifting you from your crib each morning, you insist I give your stuffed elephant a kiss and a hug and a kiss for your green blanket before you climb into my arms for a morning snuggle.

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I cannot imagine life without you. I cannot imagine missing our morning story time. I cannot imagine taking our walks without conducting a thorough examination of every sprinkler head in the greater Los Angeles area. I cannot imagine going a single day without you turning to me, arms outstretched, lips pursed, to give me big hugs and kisses. Above all, I cannot imagine going through life the way I once did, without you there to brighten the days. I love you more than the moon, the sun, and all the water in the oceans.

Happy eighteen months my love.

Love, Momma.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A quiet day

Today is a much-needed quiet and lazy day in the Chez Stars home. Every since my summer break started we’ve been running around with errands, and appointments, cleaning, and lots of play dates. Breakfast today was Greek yogurt mixed with peaches, fresh from the farmers market and homemade oatmeal bread slathered with leftover raspberry honey butter. After a bit of futzing around the house, watering the plants, folding a light load of laundry, wiping down the kitchen counters, starting the bread machine, I took Daisy and Casey on a long walk through the neighborhood while we listened to our mix of Italian kids music coupled with a bit Butterfly Fish Band and Justin Roberts. We ended at the nearby park where the girls spent time running around while we munched on our morning snack of pineapple spears. At the park, Daisy pushed her stroller while Casey’s engaged in a serious squirrel hunt. Tired and worn and the sun starting to break through the haze, we headed home, and while we drank ice water we played with puzzles and looked at a few books.

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Lunch today was leftover soup: creamy roasted chicken noodle soup which was painstakingly made yesterday afternoon after the pediatrician said that Daisy’s immune system is run-down. After we got cleaned up, we read a couple of stories before naptime. Daisy picked Blueberries for Sal and three readings of How to Throw a Pig a Party. Now, it’s naptime! NAPTIME IS MY FAVORITE. (I love naptime). (Naptime is amazing). I might try to finish my book with a cup of tea, or maybe try my hand at making blueberry hand pies with the crate of blueberries sitting in my fridge. Really, the choices are endless, but whatever I do, it will be quiet and relaxing. When Daisy wakes, we’ll head outside to play catch and chase with the ball. We’ll bring out a few books, probably about the ocean. Lately, Daisy has been on a kick about anything involving the oceans and sea life. We’ll read shaded by the palm tree and eat our afternoon snack of Trader Joe’s Honey Gouda cheese, snap peas and cherry tomatoes.

When the afternoon heat gets to be too much we’ll come inside and build tall towers with the wooden blocks, probably have a make-believe tea party, and will burn off some late afternoon energy with a dance party in our office. Then, I’ll slip her into the sling and she’ll “help” me make the tomato sauce for dinner tonight. While we work we’ll drink water with orange slices.

Dinner tonight is homemade pepperoni pizza with tomato sauce made from the tomatoes and basil in our small garden, nitrate-free pepperoni and buffalo mozzarella balls. We have a sweet-smelling cantaloupe we’ll eat on the side. Daisy will probably have bits of pizza along with some yogurt and a few bites of applesauce, and melon. After dinner, she’ll wave “bye-bye” to me while she and her Daddy go and splash in the tub, singing silly songs in funny voices or telling made-up stores about her bath time friends. Then she’ll crawl into her father’s lap, nice and clean, and read a few more books before reaching for her crib, clutching her blanket; ready to fall asleep dreaming beautiful dreams.

Tomorrow, we’ll do something more exciting and more productive: laundry, errands, a 14-mile walk, syllabus planning. But, today, it’s just me and my girl – no play dates, no classes, no driving – walking and lounging and having fun: Together.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Scenes of Summer

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pool parties. bernstein bear books. cherry tomatoes. finger paint. sunscreen. shaded parks. zucchini. summer squash. eggplant. early morning long walks. the beach. waves. Minnesota. lesson planning. heirloom tomato caprese sandwiches. a birthday. grading papers. oven baked ratatouille. Monterey. pilates. fresh basil. afternoon naps. Giant’s baseball. air-conditioning. warm sand. dance parties. Saturday morning marathon training workouts. cabin camping. running through sprinklers. ice cubes. line dried laundry. fancy nancy books. bridal showers. grilled pizza. homegrown produce. sunglasses. orange julius. water slides. picnics. hot pavement. Italian ice. sundresses. old friends and new babies. The Golden Gate Bridge. flip-flops. sloppy kisses. smiles. San Diego. road trips. cheese burgers. cherries. ballet classes. strawberries. swimming. corn on the cob. bachelorette parties. family visits. white peaches.   

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Just a snapshot of my favorite season.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Life….lately

How lame is it when people go “sorry, I haven’t posed, I’ve been busy?” Yeah, that’s pretty lame, right? The thing is, I have been busy; I’ve been so insanely busy that yesterday I didn’t even make the bed, and if you know me at all, you know I’m the kind of person who, even if the bed has been unmade all day, MAKES IT IN THE EVENING BEFORE SHE GETS BACK INTO IT TO SLEEP. Yep, that’s the kind of crazy, uptight, AAA personality I am. And, yesterday, I didn’t make the bed at all.

Besides gallivanting around the country for various family members’ weddings, I’ve been spending my time lately attending bridal showers, birthday parties, baby showers and a baptism. Additionally, we’ve had numerous visits with old friends, new friends and family, a birthday celebration, and trying to fit in marathon training. I forgot how time consuming training can be. But, completing a long run on Saturday morning really eats up your day - especially since it takes me the rest of the day to recover. Oh, and a little thing called grading papers. Internet, I can’t tell you how excited I’m going to be to finish reading papers about Our Town and illegal immigration.

In other news, this weekend is the big Carmageddon weekend, the planned closure of the 405 between the 101 and the 10. If you haven’t heard about this, you must be living under a rock or something – but, this means that a) I finally have a weekend at home, thank you Mayor Villaraigosa. I don’t take your advice often, but this weekend I’m all ears. And b) since I have nothing better to do, I might get around to starting my 2010 photo album. Now, I just have seven thousand pictures to organize, Photoshop and create in Blurb book, so I’m thinking I should be finished sometime in 2013. photo (5)

A view of the valley. I took this near the end of a recent 10-mile run, in which I nearly died. And then I remembered must do twice this, PLUS six point two more miles to complete the marathon ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Holy smokes. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Friday: Southern Coast of Maine

I’ve always had this little love affair with Maine. It may be the remoteness of the state, the harsh climate, or perhaps it’s through my dad’s happy childhood memories relayed to me. However, it very well may be that this love affair has manifested through my obsession with blueberries as 90% of the nations blueberry crops come from Maine. Regardless of the origins, in my mind, Maine is filled with lobster shacks, dense forest, scenic lakes, seaside enclaves, and lots of Adirondack chairs – a romantic picture indeed.

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A couple of weeks ago, my little family plus my parents flew to Boston, and made the short trek up to York, Maine to watch my cousin tie the knot. Since the wedding wasn’t until Saturday evening, we decided that morning to explore the southern Maine coast.

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Our first stop was beautiful Kennebunkport, best known as the summer residence of former presidents George Bush and George W. Bush. And being Daisy’s first time to the Atlantic ocean, I couldn’t resist a trip to the beach.

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This classic New England resort town maybe filled with bluebloods, but it has also been blessed with fantastic beaches.

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Of course, being born in the Zodiac sign of Pisces and her symbol is a fish; Daisy is in her element in the water…at any temperature. She splashed her hands and feet in the water, and played in the sand. Although, she wasn’t too sure of the waves.

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We drove around and around and around trying to spot the Bush complex, known locally at “41.” While we did eventually track it down, the heavy fog and high security made it nearly impossible to see anything (not that they are in residence until August), but still.

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Further north, the coast becomes more varied and prone to peninsulas, harbors, inlets and islands. We drove up through to Biddeford pool, a tiny (read: tiny) seacoast village about 3 miles north of Kennebunkport, and is the site of Maine’s first recorded settlement, Winter Harbor.

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The fog stayed with us all morning and coupled with the abandoned seaside towns created a bit of an haunting feeling - like being in a Stephen King novel - as most of the tourists and summer visitors don’t take up residence until after Memorial Day.

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Of course, I refused to leave the coast of Maine until I got my hands on a lobster roll - fresh lobster meat mixed with a bit of mayonnaise and lemon and served on a grilled white bun (every bit delicious as it sounds).

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The sun finally made an appearance for our outdoor lunch, and stayed with us until minutes before the wedding (read: during Daisy’s naptime). 

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The next morning we hit up The Stolen Menu Cafe with their amazingly huge melt-in-your-mouth blueberry pancakes and fantastic omelets, to which J declared, “the best hangover food.” I am trying to describe how delicious the food was, but I can only come up with the classic clich├ęs, so instead I will say that the food was so good that after I tasted my first bite I forgot how agonizingly long the wait was. 

Overall, this was a fantastic trip, albeit very quick. Maine, you didn’t disappoint, and I will be back. However, I long to visit in late September when apple-picking and leaf-peeping are on the agenda, along with a stay in a quaint B&B with a roaring fireplace.

*All photos taken with my iPhone 4 and processed with the Camera+ app because when traveling with a toddler you need to have the least amount of stuff around.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The steps of a toddler

Have you ever had one of those weeks that never seems to end? I do not mean that in a bad way, really. Sometimes it just happens, you know? It’s only Wednesday, and yet I’m ready for Friday. I am blaming Memorial Day Weekend. Having a nice relaxing three-day weekend usually causes ruckus during the following four-day work week. Also, I blame end-of-semester fever, as this is the last week of classes: i.e.: the last week of lectures and the grading is finally coming to an end. Well, until summer school starts in two short weeks.

walk1 walk3

In other news, Daisy started walking over the long weekend. She just stood up on her own, without using anything to pull herself up, and took six steps away from me, pivoted, and returned to me for a hug and a kiss. I felt like learning to walk was such a never-ending process. Crawling, cruising, more cruising, falling, wobbling, falling, and then, bam! she’s walking. And now, I feel like it really wasn’t so long, just a matter of weeks, a blink of an eye, a heartbeat really. 

 walk2walk4

Of course now, anywhere we go, Daisy insists that she WALK. For heaven’s sake mother, put me down, I can walk BY MY SELF her toddler-speak cries and wriggling squirms tell me. Which means that my morning run to the post office, which should have taken 10 minutes, instead took 45. Welcome to Toddler-hood.