spring has sprung | our new old house

we spent the weekend in our yard. the city of arlington delivered a huge (seriously, huge!) pile of mulch to us a few weeks ago (which resulted in my making a “mulch madness” joke that bradford found pitiful at best), and we figured it was now or never on getting the yard work done.

you see, we have a gorgeous yard. we do. or, at least, it used to be gorgeous. no less than three independent sets of neighbors have commented that it is/once was the best garden in the hood. talk about pressure.

i know little to nothing about gardening. bradford is no better off. but, we are determined to pay homage to our new old house’s previous owners by lovingly tending the yard just as they did (or trying to at least).

i felt a little like mary lennox tending this yard, except that i lack a dickon.

on a side note – lillian seems to have recovered. thanks to all for the concern! exhibit a:

we have so many amazing plants and flowers in our yard. it seems something will be in bloom all spring/summer, which is just fantastic. i look forward to seeing what our yard truly holds once everything has a chance to bloom. (i must admit, i had many “is this a weed or is this supposed to be here” moments today while weeding. when in doubt i left it alone.) here are some things currently abloom.

and, our yard bunny. i see him once or twice every other day or so. i think he lives under our porch. littles has named him “rabbit.”

burfing sucks | poor littles

hello all.

poor littles is sickly. in the wee hours of wednesday morning, she had her first big girl vomit (which i did not collect and save for the baby book by the way – i do have my limits). poor thing. she cried out for me. when i got upstairs, she said, “mommy, i burped.” well, burp means vomit apparently, because there was vomit everywhere. in her hair, on the bed, on the wall – etc. disgusting.

she continued “burping” throughout the day on wednesday and couldn’t hold down any food. bradford and i felt just horrible for her. she didn’t understand what was going on. and, we all know how nasty it feels to have a stomach bug.

yesterday, she seemed better. no burping. a little bit of eating and drinking. she did seem tired and under the weather, but we thought we were on the road to recovery.

well, this morning she seemed much better, so i took her to preschool (she hadn’t burped since tuesday afternoon and didn’t have a fever). unfortunately, during passover observation, she burped all over the floor -twice. her completely wonderful teacher immediately called us to let us know and took good care of her until i arrived.

apparently, littles heard ms. candace (her teacher) say that she had “barfed.” when i got to school, littles reported that she had “burfed” twice on the floor and on her shoes. funny. but, sad.

anyway, keep poor littles in your thoughts and prayers. thankfully, she has been good about taking liquids and seems to be able to tolerate them so i don’t think we are at risk for dehydration. but, she is feeling poorly. hopefully, this will pass soon.

friday | one week

dear littles,

okay okay . . . i should have posted this yesterday, but i didn’t. sorry! i would ask you to cut me some slack, but in this department at least i don’t think you care that i am late posting again.

we have come to the end of my photo a day for a week project. i am glad i did it. posting every day was a bit difficult (as evidenced by a lack thereof), but the camera has been out almost every day since i started (even once i had all of my one week photos). this is good. as you know, i am often too hard on myself – especially when it comes to photography. i know the value of capturing the every day, but i also recognize faults in my images. and, i have been letting the latter keep me from reaping the benefits of the former. (does that make sense?) but, not anymore. i resolve to point my camera at more every day moments without concern for the technical correctness of the end product. these photos are for us, after all – not anybody else.

let me just move on to friday’s photo.

friday, march 16 | lockdown

kenneling up with the dogs is not something you do every day. but this sort of thing – it’s totally you. you are always putting yourself in interesting (and sometimes perilous) situations. you keep us on our toes and make us laugh – constantly.

i don’t know what petri thought about having you in the kennel with her. she didn’t seem to mind, which is odd. as you know, petri is a total curmudgeon. i would blame it on her age, but she has always been that way. i worried when we brought you home that petri would pull her butterfly knife on you (that’s a joke/story for a different time), but, over time, she has come to love you. you constantly give the dogs food, which helps. in fact, the other day, i found you filling their water bowl with cheerios. when i asked you what you were doing, you said, “just given the dogs some breakfast.” makes total sense. (have i mentioned that you are very generous?).

a few other interesting (and hilarious) things to note about your relationship with the dogs:

lately, you have been extremely interested in the fact that they do their “business” outside. why? i don’t know. but, whenever i let them out, you always ask, “are they going to poop?” when we take walks with fabiola and have to stop for her you ask, “does fabby need to go pee pee (or poop)?” and then you follow-up with “she does it in the grass.” and, even better, the other day you followed that with “i think i need to poop in the grass too.” oh my.

you are constantly telling the dogs to “quit that barking,” “hush up,” and “be quiet.” wonder where you got that from? they are loud barky mcbarkersons. annoying.

you tell the dogs to “kennel up” when you are tired of them. and, you always let them out of their kennel when i purposefully put them there because i am tired of them (or because we are trying to leave the house). frustrating.

overall, you are very kind to the dogs and treat them as friends. you love animals – just like me – and that makes me very happy indeed.

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.