Beach Weekend

We went to Virginia Beach last weekend while Travis was away…I need a professional to take a decent picture of these three…Clearly, Addie is used to posing for more skilled photographers, and Olivia’s life is just hard.Part of your World…..Olivia and Addie rockin’ the passies…Things were a bit crowded at my parents house so we had the littlest ones sleep on the floor with the dog…We’re trying to raise low-maintenence people here.Don’t worry. My cashier at the grocery store the other day told me Olivia was too old for a passy. I am so glad she let me know.And we got some much-needed haircuts!Olivia does not readily enjoy the salon experience. But with the right combination of lollipops and animal crackers she can be slowly convinced…

This one takes after her mother. I’d get my hair cut once a week if I’d have any left…the pampering, the attention, the oohs and ahhs afterwards…what’s not to love?

Hope you enjoyed some blue skies and relaxation this weekend!

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Ever Wondered Why Your Blender Was Pink?

I actually read this a few months ago but when a friend recently asked for a recommendation that “wasn’t dark” – this is what I gushed about. I read a lot this year. A lot of it was no doubt what you read…and a lot of it left me feeling moved by language and captivated by characters – and a little bit discouraged about life. Amazingly,  the history of breast cancer, its treatments, and the personal background behind the Pink Phenomenon was the most hope-filled work I read all year.

Nancy Brinker’s sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36. Brinker promised her prior to her death that she would find a cure – if it took her whole life. At the time of the promise she thought it would take 10 years. It has been 31 years and Brinker is still on the warpath. Read this book. It will teach you and encourage you and even comfort you. I promise.

House of Dreams

No, we’re not moving -though this piece of real estate is warmer than our house and so much more whimsical.For Christmas, my father, commissioned by my mother, built this playhouse in his backyard for the grandchildren.  It’s heated, furnished, and when we visited this weekend, we saw the newly-finished loft, making it officially two stories. Packed with tea sets and dress up clothes, it’s every little girls paradise – and since its now wired with a video monitor, the grown ups can enjoy their own solace while watching some captivating footage…

Ritual to Remember

Every night that he is home,Travis reads the girls Frog and Toad. The tradition began a couple of years ago, when, with each visit to the bookstore, he and Sophia would come back with a new book from the series.  After a few months of reading they quickly exhausted this complex anthology. But the ritual lives on and it grows and evolves, morphing into a multi-dimensional, multi-lingual, complete liberal arts experience. And to this tired mother – it seems to take about two hours.  But even in my weariness, I treasure this shared experience. Whenever Olivia sees Travis she shouts “Frog and Toad!” (this is immediately followed by “The Arcade” an obsession I hope she will soon lose…) “Frog and Toad” really means “Daddy’s here!”

About two months ago, they were reading three different stories each night. Until Sophia got the idea of reading one story twice, but calling it two different names. Travis had explained to her the meaning of “irony” and she wanted to try it out. So they read “The Hill” followed by “The Sled” and then they started reading “The Hill” again. The same story – three times. At a point in the story, they each branch off into their own metaphors -describing what a scene “is like,” and then two nights ago I overheard them referring to “Pierre” and “Jose” as the main characters. Frog and Toad had gone global. It is complete craziness but I try not to interrupt a.)because its precious quality Daddy time and b.) I secretly hope and believe that  AP English prep is occurring on a subconscious level.

Travis had to work late tonight. Foo was in bed before seven after confessing, “My pieces are falling apart.” Sophia meticulously put all of her princesses and Dora and Boots and her Barbie Head of Hair to bed on her bedroom floor. Then she proceeded to read them Frog and Toad – word for word, with perfect voice inflections and expanding on all areas that required greater description. Then she sang to them, tucked them in, and turned off the light. And they haven’t made a sound yet. When we find something that works around here, we stick with it…

Dressing the Part…

We have been doing some serious cycling lately – which demands some serious gear. I have strict rules. Only short tutus allowed – long ones can get caught in the spokes. No tiaras under the helment, it just can’t be done. We’ve tried. And no plastic princess fancy shoes while riding. That one still brings the most devastated response. I just have to draw the line for safety sake.

Today Sophia wore her Minnie Mouse costume to the library, last week her Sleeping Beauty outfit to church, and the other day her Flamenco Dancing Tooth Fairy Ensemble (an original creation) to the store. I must appear like the mother who has no control. This is only partially the truth. I do intentionally choose my few battles very carefully. But beyond that, deep down, I love this part of her. I am secretly inspired by her complete lack of inhibition. She won’t always be this way. We all know what’s coming: she will no doubtedly go through valleys of self-consciousness – perhaps briefly or maybe like some of us, camping out for years at a time. Right now, her dress up is my strongest reminder of her childhood innocence. So I resist the temptation to push it away. It is really quite annoying, trying to  strap a carseat’s 3-point harness over layers and layers of polka dot tulle. But I won’t be doing it for long.  And more importantly, I want to her to know I celebrate who she is. I do now, and I will then – when the dress up box is gone, and the world seems so much less friendly.

Quality Cousin Time

We road tripped it to the Shenandoah Valley on Saturday for a friend’s birthday and spent the afternoon with Cousins Addie and Carter!

 Addie actually started calling Olivia “Baby Sophia.” One can only imagine the issues this will one day breed…

Love and suffocation…there has always been a fine line between the two…

Monday Monday

Happy Monday! I am writing from my bed because Travis has the girls and honestly, I spend such little time here, when possible I like to take in the view. A couple of nights ago about 1:30 am Sophia started yelling for me on the monitor. I staggered into her room half awake and she asked for a cup of water. I brought her the water and went back to bed. I had just started dreaming when she calls me again. More water. This time, in between sips, she cocks her head, looks at me quizzically and asks, “What are you doing out there?”.  It took my exhausted mind a moment to understand her question but then I answered. “I’m sleeping.” And in that moment I realized it: They don’t know. They don’t know that I’m human. This explains so much. They don’t think I need to eat or sleep or sit because I am not one of them. I am Beyond the Tiger. I am Bionic.

For those of you interested in the Tiger Mother Dialogue (my neighbor and I were discussing it across our yards yesterday afternoon – lots of passion and hand gestures), read this NY Times editorial.  My Dad sent me the clipping  which I choose to believe was his quiet way of saying that he thinks I’m brilliant though my piano skills never quite reached those of Rachmaninoff. (Forrest Gump Feather Suite anyone?)

 Leila at In the Tweeds is doing another great giveaway! Head over there and tell her what you would pick out for your house if you won the CSN gift certificate.

Also… remember Morgan’s wedding? Morgan had found a necklace she wanted to wear for her reception at Anthropologie. We all know the inner conflict of Anthro – awe at the beauty, horror at the prices. Jess looked at the piece and decided she could replicate it for Morgan. She created an amazing necklace as well as bracelets for the bridesmaids. And now she is making and selling custom jewelry. Check out her site here.

More to come…pictures of bike riding, cousin time, and THE PLAYHOUSE!