thursday | one week

dear littles,

yes, i know. it’s friday. i didn’t post yesterday. total fail.

you know what i/we did instead?

we started the day by making cinnamon roll muffins, which turned out to be quite tasty. you called them “snails” and loved helping to make them (but not as much as you loved helping to eat them).

we had your b.f.f. ruby over for a play date in the a.m. (and, she brought her baby sister june and her mom too). having them over was delightful. because ruby goes to school on tuesday and thursday and you go to school on monday, wednesday and friday, you guys rarely get to play together during the week anymore. sadface. you were excited to play together yesterday. the two of you have finally started to play together. you have your own conversations and your own thing going on. yesterday, you took turns being sick and being doctors to one another. very cute. you read books to one another. you introduced ruby to your fish (siloh) and your snail (mobo). you took turns on the potty. (we even found you trying to take turns shaving your faces with daddy’s razor (parenting fail)).

after they left, we had lunch. the day then took a turn for the worse. we have finally started bathroom demolition/remodel. i am as thankful for this as i possibly could be. the upstairs bathroom was in bad need of a face lift. unfortunately, bathroom demolition/remodel is not a quiet thing. and, the bathroom of which i write is next to your room. so . . . no nap yesterday. i tried my best to get you to sleep in mommy and daddy’s bedroom, but that did not go over well with you yesterday. i finally gave up on the nap. needless to say, we were both tired, grumpy, and a little bit fed up with one another by the time your daddy came home (early – thank god).

i had plans to go out last night with liz and pam – something i very much needed at the end of a somewhat trying afternoon. so, i left you with daddy and went on my merry way. and, i didn’t come back for a long long time. by the time i got home, i didn’t feel like blogging. so, there. sometimes, mommy’s need a break.

pretend today is thursday. scratch that. you should never pretend a friday – one of the best of all days – is a day other than friday. i should just say forgive me for posting thursday a day late.

thursday, march 15 | just hanging out 

this is you in a nutshell geezer. you run around the house without appropriate amounts of clothing on most of the time. you always have. here you are in your thomas “big boy” panties. they are on backwards – no surprise there. your crack is always showing. daddy says you get that from me. whatev.

we got you your balance bike for christmas. you show no fear on the bike (completely in character). you love to ride it around the house, which i let you do even though i probably shouldn’t. you are getting very very good on the bike.

yesterday, we took a long walk to meet daddy on his walk home from the metro. you rode your bike. you can go so fast now! and, you have learned to stay on the sidewalk, to watch for cars, and to give others the right of way. when we saw your daddy coming towards us on the sidewalk, you squealed so loudly – such excitement and love! you were eager to show him your biking skills. on the way home, he commented that we needed to raise your seat up a bit. this means you have grown since christmas. you are getting tall.

that’s it for now littles. i plan on posting friday’s pic today also (which would be appropriate – seeing as how it’s friday) – so, more to come!

wednesday | one week

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.” – henry david thoreau

dear littles,

last week, i moved your art easel out to the back porch so that you could paint while we both enjoyed the sunshine. i instructed, “keep it on the paper,” because you are notorious for painting everything but the paper. it took less than two minutes for you to cover your hands in paint.

i found myself upset with you for totally disregarding my instructions. and, then i found myself upset with myself for giving you the instructions in the first place.

you prefer to paint the other – your hands, your face, the caps to markers, loose cheerios discovered here and there. you aren’t doing it to be defiant. you are doing it because it feels right. because it suits you. i like that about you.

wednesday, march 11 | keep it on the paper 

forgive me for the times i try to correct your march dear littles. sometimes it is necessary. and, as your mother, i must do it. but, many times, it is not. it is just my way of trying to order my own world (and to feel like i have some amount of control – as if).

some other examples of your uniqueness:

you still insist on putting any stickers (or tape) you get all over your face, including your eyes. you’ve been doing this since you knew what stickers were. strange, but cute.

you wear boy’s underwear – backwards. this makes sense to you. why would they put the big pictures of thomas and percy on the back? that wouldn’t make any sense.

as noted yesterday, you sleep on top of doggy dd and monster rubber ducky more often then not. you find this comfortable. how? i have no idea.

you put your toy trains in people’s pockets. just this week, we had someone come and remove a radiator from the upstairs bathroom. you didn’t know him from adam, but you felt like he needed a train. so, you put one in his pocket. wonderful.

you make sweeping negative generalizations about things regularly. they go something like this: “i’ll never see my daddy again.” “my doggy dd is lost forever.” “i don’t have any friends.” i can’t even begin to describe the pathetic voice you use when saying this stuff. such negativity! and, from such a happy girl.

(worry not, dear reader. she snaps out of this negativity so fast you wonder if it actually happened in the first place.)

you tell us, “my poopy is sleeping,” after failed nighttime potty attempts.

at the moment, the highest compliment you can give someone is “you are a good marcher!” “you’re stinky” is also a phrase of endearment you bestow on people (thanks aunt val!).

of course, this isn’t everything. there is no possible way that i could memorialize all of your quirks. but, trust me when i say that i love each and every one. they make me so proud.

you march to the beat of your own drum. you always have. it is my hope that you always will.

tuesday | one week

dear littles,

your sleep as of late has been a source of stress for me and your daddy.

for a while, you had us scared that you had given up your afternoon naps. you used to sleep about four hours in the afternoon – sheer bliss for me. it’s not that i don’t like having you around. it’s just that i need time to work and decompress and, if i’m being honest, to take my own nap. so, when you stopped napping, it was upsetting.

but, alas, you have started napping again. this is good.

what is not good? putting you to bed at night can be a two-hour ordeal – complete with tears, and threats, and shouts, and stress for all of us. why? why must you do this? why can you not read quietly and then fall into a peaceful slumber? why do you have to stand at the gate and scream for a drink? why do you have to tell us you have to “potty” three or four times never meaning it once? why do you insist on chucking your doggy dd over the gate and then cry like a stuck pig? why????????

i know that we conditioned you a little bit to put up a bedtime fight. we love you so. and, because of this, we (meaning me) has a difficult time listening to you wail. i always have. (there is a reason you didn’t sleep through the night until you were one). when we first moved, i blamed these nighttime theatrics on the transition to the new place. then, you got sick. and, i had something else to blame. then, we moved you into your big girl room (something else . . .). you get the idea.

but, now, lillian, we are all moved in. no one is sick. your new room is a comfortable place that you know and love. you just don’t want to go to sleep at night. and, that is annoying to put it mildly. (recently, aunt ashley and uncle ryan gave us a book called “go the f*** to sleep,” it is genius and speaks to me on a level that nothing else can – but, i digress). so, now i am working to train myself to do better at night. i will not cater to your every whim anymore, my dear sweet lillian. trust me, this is for the best.

on a more positive note, you are so very cute when you sleep. you still sleep with doggy dd. he is necessary. you sometimes sleep with monster rubber ducky (which is weird, but you love him). sometimes, you put doggy dd on top of monster rubber ducky (in a very particular fashion that i haven’t quite figured out) and lie down on top of both. funny stuff. very quirky. looks very uncomfortable.

you still sleep with your bum up in the air most of the time. your feet are often crossed. sometimes, you put both hands under your cheek, which melts my heart.

when you wake up in the morning, you go to your gate and call out, “daddy. the sun is awake,” or “daddy. come get me. i am awake,” or “guys. can you hear me? the sun is awake!” we have a monitor in our room so that we can hear you. but, it is really unnecessary seeing as how you belt these statements out in the loudest possible way.

sometimes you have bad dreams. most often, these involve a “scary man” (which is a little disconcerting – i have no idea where it came from), but the other night you told us there were worms in your bed. your sleeping mind is creative. we always come comfort you in the night if you need us.

because this is turning into a long post, let me just get to the photo of the day (that’s what people want to see after all).

tuesday, march 13 | this is how i found you

i never know what i will find when i come to get you from your nap. sometimes, you have undressed and redressed yourself in really crazy attire (most recently, a pair of pajamas sized 6-12 months – skin tight! – and, on another occasion, enough clothes to survive a night in the frozen tundra – which left you sweating and unable to sleep – imagine that).

on this afternoon, i found you curled up with doggy dd on the floor of your big girl room (which looked like a hurricane had hit it). this was one of our rougher nap days.

monday | one week

dear littles,

today is monday, march 19, 2012. today i turned 30 years old. 30! trust me when i say this – time flies. this is, of course, the natural way of things. but, it is also sad. and scary. life can be so rich and so full and so beautiful- it can take your breath away. i think most people think about how much they have less than they should because it can be frightening and overwhelming. when you realize how much you have, your instinct is to cling on to it for dear life – to not only taste every sweetness your life offers but to relish in it. moments pass by so quickly. and, they are all unique and tender and fleeting. i did not truly realize how much individual memories meant until the day you were born. on that day, i suddenly wanted to remember everything! – every tiny detail of your life and our life together. and, it saddens me to think that i can’t (and won’t). because, i love you so very much my sweet girl. you will never know how much. it is the happiest love and the richest love i could know. and, it’s all in the details.

last week, i decided to take one photo of you a day for one week. this photo would not only record a memory, but would provide a launching point for me to record in writing even more small memories of our every day lives. i wish that i could keep this up forever. but, i know i can’t (and won’t). this week though – this week i will focus on the details.

 monday, march 12 | the ride home

i pick you up from preschool three days a week around noon. a few months ago, i would come to pick you up, and, although you would be happy to see me, you wouldn’t want to leave your class. so, one of those times, i told you i had a “surprise” for you in the car. i don’t remember what that first “prize” (as you came to call them) was, but, ever since and more often that not, you ask, “do you have a prize for me” when i come into your class. i always try to have something for you. a “squirt,” a “cow’s milk,” a small candy, a cookie, or – your favorite – a chocolate.

(the prize is also sometimes a visitor – like grammie or juju – which you enjoy almost as much as the chocolate).

when we exit the preschool, you always want to walk on the small patch of grass beside the door. i let you – unless its wet. and, you always want to check for bees in the “bee tree.” i have no idea what kind of tree this is or why it attracts so many bees, but you don’t care.

on the way to the car, you try to guess what the prize is. “is it a chocolate?” “is it a squirt?” “is it daddy?” sometimes, you hold my hand on the way to the car. sometimes (rarely), you let me carry you. most times, you walk on your own beside me – you are so independent. if you get too far away, i say “car’s coming lillian.” then, you usually say something about the cars ability to squash you like a bug.

you are always so happy to make it to the car to get your prize. and, it makes me so happy to make you happy. it doesn’t matter that this ritual started as a bribe to get you happily out of the classroom and into the car. nope. it also doesn’t matter that some might call this indulgent parenting. what matters now is that we have this tradition we call “the prize.” i love it.

on the drive home, i ask you about your day. sometimes i get a little bit of information, sometimes i get a lot. all the while, you are enjoying your prize. we usually call daddy and tell him about your day too.

(recently, we have been checking out books on cd from the library. we keep them in the car. you are completely and 100% addicted. so, instead of wanting to tell me about your day or to call daddy, you demand (yes – demand) that i turn on “the cow song” or “the book about the witch” or etc etc immediately. i try to stall for a bit but it rarely works).

you might not be able to tell, but in the photo above you have chocolate kiss all over your face. this is one of your favorite prizes. it was a good drive home.

36 weeks pregnant | in photos

now, i know that each one of you religiously checks in over at the lily B photography blog, but, just in case you missed it, i recently posted some maternity photos of yours truly (and some photos of Lillian and Bradford too of course). feel free to check them out!

and, believe it or not, my plan is to post on this blog every day this week. stay tuned.

recipe share | cause cooking is good and eating is better

lately, i have been branching out a bit in the kitchen, and i thought i would share a few recipes that have turned out to be delish.

as most of you know, only recently did i become the family cook. bradford used to hold this title, but then he started working at the firm. i thought it a reasonable expectation that i should step up. so, i did.

but, to be honest, i only recently started to enjoy cooking (thanks “julie and julia” for the inspiration). and, i am far from being in a love affair with the kitchen. i would say that we enjoy each other’s company on occasion, but that, more often than not, we tolerate each other and look on the bright side of things.

i don’t mind fixing a meal. what i don’t like is planning a menu. there are too many obstacles to overcome. first, we don’t eat meat. that’s a limitation when planning a menu. second, littles is allergic to eggs. unfortunate. another limitation. finally, i insist on shopping at whole foods where a bag of grapes can set you back $13 (yes, i have had a $13 bag of grapes “incident” at the whole foods). whole foods – i love you and i hate you. the end.

see some of the problem?

let me just move on to the recipe share.

pasta caprese.

simple. classic. delicious. (hints – cherry tomatoes substitute well for heirloom tomatoes if you, like me, insist on making this out of season. use fresh mozzarella – makes all the difference.)

brussels sprout and caramelized shallot gratin

could be eaten as a side dish or as a meal (add a piece of thick bread for this purpose?)

i love brussels sprout. but, even if you think you don’t, you should try this – yum!

coconut red lentil soup

we are almost done with soup weather, but, what the heck. this is tasty!

baked rigatoni with kale

seriously yummy. seriously. don’t like kale, substitute any leafy green (although, the kale in this tastes magical).

and, if that’s not enough leafy greens for you, try

garlic-roasted garbanzos & chard over polenta

my friend liz (who is a hair’s width short of being a master chef in my opinion) cooked this for us one night. the explosion of flavor in this dish is surprising. super duper tasty. i had to make it myself the very next week. and, it was even delicious when i made it! try it.

finally, i couldn’t recipe share without tossing in a pioneer woman recipe. although i don’t worship at her alter as frequently as i used to, i am still in love.

vegetarian lettuce wraps

simple. quick. cheap. delicious.

make sure to use extra firm tofu. (don’t be scared, tofu won’t bite!)

that’s it for now (i have to go start dinner!). enjoy!

guest stars | the past few weeks

over the past few weeks, we have entertained several visitors (yay!).

ashley and ryan came to visit shortly after lillian and i recovered from our respective illnesses. (lucky for us, ryan frequently works out of arlington (and ashley’s job provides the flexibility of working remotely). even luckier still, his digs while he stays in arlington are literally two blocks away. two blocks!! hooray for our new home!)

anyway, we had a large time with the two of them. (i haven’t laughed so much in quite a long time.) seriously, their visit couldn’t have come at a better time. (my extended sickness had really gotten me down in the dumps.)

lillian almost exploded with excitement several times during their visit. it helps that she might have one (or both) of them wrapped around her finger.

(watching lillian command a “march” around the house with ashley and ryan following obediently behind – seriously a sight.)

thanks to ashley and ryan for visiting and for tolerating our sometimes rather mundane life with a two year old crazy person. your visit meant so much to us. come back soon!

(or, even better, move here . . . )

julie (aka “juju”) also came to visit. lillian couldn’t have been happier to see her. (below image serves as exhibit a: she almost climbed out the window to get to her when the cab pulled up!)

during julie’s visit, we headed to glen echo park to see a puppet show, which turned out to be amazing. the show – peter and the wolf – featured marionettes, and a sole puppeteer narrated and handled all of the puppets. lillian couldn’t get enough. we plan to go back soon for showings of rapunzel and pinnocchio. (if you live in the area, you should seriously consider attending a show. fun was had by all.)

needless to say, we enjoyed having julie visit (her first visit to our new home!). it is always good to see family (and friends) and to have them in our home.

more family visits are scheduled for april (when baby number 2 arrives). to all of you who haven’t officially rsvp’d to the “come to the hardin family home in april and meet our newest offspring” party, you are still welcome. come. visit us. seriously…

until next time. xo.

and we’re back in business | knock on wood

you guys. january is gone. and, half of february is now gone as well. instead of dwelling on the fact that i have, thus far, spent 2012 in a complete fog (seriously, where did january go?), i plan on forging ahead with joy, determination, and hope that the rest of february and march will be filled with productivity and a little bit of fun.

we finally feel better around here. thanks be to god. just when i thought i couldn’t take another day of it, the clouds lifted. yes! thanks to everyone who kept checking in with us. and, an apology to everyone i have neglected. if you are still out there friends, be in touch! let’s reconnect.

another post will follow pretty close behind this one, but, for now, that’s it. there is a box of georgetown cupcakes sitting on my counter and at least three of them are calling to me. (yes, three…judge me if you will. it will not change how much i enjoy them ;)). i can ignore them no longer.

happy monday.