Wednesday, August 16, 2017

LIFE THESE DAYS




My favorite thing these days is to watch the girls play together. They are at this really sweet spot where they are discovering how to play with one another. Sloane is generous with her things and eager to help Lola do simple things and make her laugh. Lola wants to do most everything Sloane does and is so happy to be included and tries to make Sloane laugh too. They still have moments, especially when they are cranky, when they will argue over toys or poke each other, but for the vast majority they are developing this really amazing friendship and it is such a joy to watch them really enjoy each other. 

Sunday night was one of those moments where, after a few nights of rough bedtimes, it was the sweetest of evenings. This evening felt especially special because I was in the moment and was in absolutely no rush (this is key!) but afterwards immediately wrote it down:

The girls played with bubbles in the bath tub for a good 45 minutes, just delighting in the bubbles and each other and occasionally tickling my toes that were hanging over the tub, and asking me to pet them when they turned into a cat (Lola) and a cheetah (Sloane). After their baths I had promised them cucumbers, so they got into their pajamas (Lola "all by myself") and then clambered up onto the dining table. Sloane was working on some thank you cards and Lola wanted to join in so they sat there, side by side, munching on cucumbers and peeking over at each other's work and giggling. They also got some carrots and milk (because they asked so nicely) and then as they finished up, Sloane went and got her bear mask. It usually scares Lola, but this time Sloane brought it out and kept saying, "it's just me lola it's just me! Don't be scared I'm a nice bear." And Lola relaxed and petted the bear and she even let Sloane put the bear mask on her ("Lola, don't worry, it will only be dark for a quick moment") and then Lola was crawling around as a bear, meowing, and Sloane was squealing with glee ("mom she's not afraid anymore!" ) As they were playing, Sloane would burst into a fit of giggles and roll around on the floor squealing, "She's just so cute! Why is she so cute?!" Talking about Lola of course. Yes, my five year old was overwhelmed by the cuteness of her two year old sister. After they brushed their teeth, and I read them a book, Lola climbed into bed with Sloane so that Sloane could read her some more books in bed together. We recently took the bars off Lola's crib and pushed Sloane's bed right up against Lola's, so that their beds are next to each other.  The first few nights Lola kept getting out of bed - she was gleeful about her freedom - but after a few days, she is getting used to the idea and it helps that her older sister reads to her, soothes her, hands her water when she needs and shows her how to go to bed. It's a new era! 



The first photo and a few of these photos here are from a Sunday afternoon when we drove over to a vineyard about an hour away near Charlottesville to have a picnic. There was plenty of wine and there was plenty of space for the kids to roam free. It was such a beautiful day; one of those days that makes me pledge allegiance to summer all over again.







My parents sent me this photo from the airport on the way back to their airport. I miss them.


I love smoothie bowls with all my heart, and I keep wanting to back to North End Juice Company to get some more. They also have coffee, green juice, tasty empanadas, and avocado toast! This past time I went they even had free basil to give away.





I love exploring with these girls and taking them with me everywhere. It's harder at times, but so much more fun. 



Our friends stopped by on their way through Richmond and that meant Sloane and Lola got to play with their friend, Faye! These three are so cute together.



We went to go see the Potterfield Memorial Bridge. It was a warm and breezy day. It felt good to be near the water.




There was a King of Pops cart on the way to the bridge, so the girls all got a peach popsicle...which was SO good. There was none left, and none of it got dropped!


Sloane even shared the last of her popsicle with Lola. 



There is this very sweet 3 year old we know who had a birthday this past weekend. Isaac is passionate about John Denver, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and singing and playing on stage. All he wanted was for all his friends to wear overalls and attend a performance by Isaac and the Sippy's. You guys. This was the cutest thing ever. I loved seeing that little boy in his element!


And here we all are, in our overalls. Well, technically, Ken and I are in Mignon's overalls. That is one of the benefits of living with an overall aficionado! 


More evidence of Yesterday Sloane fed Lola every last bite of her salad, and Lola let her.  The night before Sloane helped Lola brush her teeth and Lola was so happy about it.


They are the best. 





Sunday, August 13, 2017

WHAT I'M READING V. 27



Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson

This is another fantasy book by Brandon Sanderson, also recommended to me by my co-worker, which I didn't read in its original form: I listened to the graphic audio version! I didn't even realize that was a thing until this one. The tag line is "a movie for your mind", which sounds sort of silly, but it really does remind me of those old radio shows with sound effects! It was fun and transporting.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erick Larson

The book is set in Chicago in 1893, telling the true tales of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect behind the 1893 World's Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, the serial killer. This one was hard to get through at first. It read more like history textbook and I wasn't expecting that (I thought it was going to be historical fiction, but it's strictly non-fiction) and I had to trudge through the first half of the book trying to get used to it. Once I got to the part when the World Fair opens, it started getting more interesting, and the story of Dr. Holmes started getting more creepy.  I finished the book in awe of the effort that was the World Fair and also thoroughly creeped out and depressed by the story of the serial killer. 

Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, by Jessica N. Turner

This is a term I have found myself using now and then to refer to those hours in between or at the beginning and end of my day that are exclusively for myself. It would probably be more accurate to call them fringe minutes, rather than hours, but I have come to really value this time, so when I saw someone had written a book about it I was intrigued. There is nothing new here so far but there are really great reminders like taking time to recognize what really matters and not worrying about doing it all, and practical suggestions like tracking your time and finding pockets throughout the day and making those minutes count.

Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout 

I just finished this one and loved it! It follows her other book (which I also loved), "My Name is Lucy Barton". It's not a sequel per se; it's a collection of stories of people who are connected to Lucy from the first story. I was instantly captivated here and it made my heart ache, how she captured both the smallness and vastness of what we all have in common, no matter where we come from. It also made my heart ache because I want to write beautiful things like this, and will I ever? I appreciated this one so much.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SLOANE TURNS FIVE




My once-upon-a-time baby turned five last week. My oh my. I'm barely able to take it in.  I think I'm more emotional about this birthday than I have been at any other of her birthdays. Part of it probably has to do with the upcoming transition to Kindergarten. Another part of it might be how she all of a sudden seems so much more like her own person with new hopes and capabilities. I'm excited and nervous for her these days in a way that feels new.

I'm just baffled and amazed...that she goes from this puff of sweetness to now being this tremendous five-year old person. That I go from being this brand new mom, overwhelmed and madly in love, to this sight lu more experienced and heart-aching mom of two. We have both come so far.

To celebrate her birthday, we designated one of the pool afternoon Fridays as birthday pool day. Sloane said let's have a rainbow theme, so I got her colorful balloons to make a rainbow wall, she wore her rainbow swimsuit and we shared colorful snacks. Sloane felt wholly loved and elated in anticipation and all throughout her party. 

The next day, we had another (smaller) birthday gathering for Sloane with a few kids from her "class" at daycare. Sloane was very happy to have her friends come over and it ended up being a sweet and peaceful gathering where the kids played and the parents got to know each other better. 





(Logan looks distressed here, but she's not....just really hot. She was very excited Sloane's birthday all that morning.)


While everyone was singing 'Happy Birthday' to her, Sloane started whispering something to Logan and gave her a kiss. 




This year there was A LOT of talk about the cake. And she said she wanted a fruit "cake" again and we eventually decided we would just make something that looked like a big cake, but all out of fruit. Sloane was a happy camper and believe it or not, every single piece of that thing was eaten. 



After Sloane blew out her candle, we handed out cups of fruit salad (I had made additional bowls of fruit salad) topped with whipped cream. I also had cups of rainbow goldfish ready to go. 










As people left, Sloane handed out these freezer pops to each of her friends and thanked them for coming.  I had told Sloane she could choose where we went for dinner, and she chose....pho! It's her favorite right now. 


After dinner, we came back home for another (dare I say, proper) cake. Mignon had bought Sloane a lovely chocolate cake withs salted caramel from Shindigz, with sprinkles! 




I miss her even as I'm writing this even though I just dropped her off a few hours ago! I'm so proud of who she is and I'm the luckiest mom alive to be alongside her to see who she is becoming.  Sloane, I loved all of year four....I'm excited for year five with you! 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

CAROLINE & CHRIS!


I had so much fun taking photos of my friends Caroline and Chris the other day in their Church Hill home with their sweet baby Samantha (who seems to just get more adorable each time I see her!) Caroline is one of my best friends since high school and it will never be amazing that we are still in Richmond together, growing up and being grown ups through all of our life changes.