Currently

Listening to:

The lull of two sound machines. Synchronized naps, be mine forever!!

Eating:

All the glorious snacks that Costco provides: mango peach salsa, sweet and salty trek mix, Food Should Taste Good brown rice crackers, etc.

Tonight we’ll be feasting on Ziti al Forno in honor of St. Catherine.

Watching:

Anne of Green Gables, in 30 or 45 minute intervals after the girls are asleep. It’s only fitting to commemorate Jonathan Crombie’s death. It is SO GOOD, and Tom has never seen it! (Thankfully, he rectified his sad situation of never having heard of/read the series shortly before we started dating. Otherwise, I would’ve gotten him on that train post-haste. AOGG is probably one of my very favorite childhoold/adolescent/adulthood series ever). Seriously, though, the acting in this mini-series is top-notch and just so enjoyable. We’ve been researching our future PEI road trip.

Who can resist Gilbert Blythe’s impish smirk?

Mostly, though, we cannot WAIT until Gran Hotel’s next season is finally released in the US! We thoroughly enjoyed the first seasons on Netflix back in February/March, and keep our eye on Netflix for the moment it arrives. C’mon, Netflix, ándale!!

Reading:

Finally finished The Betrothed last week. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood to get into a longer book with a fascinating plot and historical setting.

I just got this book, which is proving to be super interesting, and will get its own review when I finish (which, given my motherhood-induced track record, could be months).

And, since I’m on an Anne kick, I’m listening to the series, starting with the very first book, on Librivox (this is the version you want). Lucy Maud Montgomery is laugh out loud funny, and just such a darned good writer. I was captivated by her stories as a kid, but I really appreciate her humor and subtlety as an adult. I put it on while I’m getting meals prepped or cleaning, or anytime I think I’ll be able to hear the recording over the clamor and hubbub around here.

Planning:

May will be busy! A blogging conference this weekend in rural Maryland, my sister’s graduation and our second big road trip with the girls, Tom’s birthday, lots of end-of-the-year school trips/stuff for Tom, my high school’s 40th anniversary Gala, and probably more that I’m forgetting!

Playing:

Outside, as much as possible. It’s classic spring: rainy one day, up in the 80s the next. Lucy has discovered digging in the dirt, and her life is now complete.

 

 

Sweet little girl (most of the time...)

Sweet little girl (most of the time…)

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Glorious crabapple tree outside our window.

Clicking:

Some good perspective on dealing with sibling rivalry (not that we have ANY of that round here…):

“Remember that in an infant’s or toddler’s eyes, older siblings are akin to movie stars.  And to think, for one moment a celebrity actually looked at me while taking that object from my hand. In was in my hand, and now it’s in her hand. Wow! She noticed me!”

Hilarious lessons to be learned from Kristin Lavransdatter!

This may make you tear up (or maybe that’s just me + hormones).

I intend to make these soon and very soon!

Just in time for swimsuit season!

Well, I hear some stirring upstairs, so free time is up!

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Playground Busybodies and Openness to Life

Playground Busybodies and Openness to Life

I never would have imagined that casual playground conversations with total strangers, neighbors I’ve known for 5 minutes, could quickly turn to personal, and may I say, intimate, topics. There we are one second, discussing teething woes and sleep habits, and the next I’m asked to divulge the innermost workings of my sex life. In a casual way, though, because apparently that’s not taboo. This particular case was a stay-at-home dad, who of course was in shock when I told him that my two girls are 15 months apart in age.

“Wow! So, you just got at it right away, huh?!”

(…Yes, sir. We… did). “Um, yeah…! They’re a lot of fun!”

“You figured  you’d just get all the hard stuff over with at once?”

(I’m envisioning that many more years of fertility will mean many more years of this “hard stuff”). “I guess so…?”

At this point, I figured he was done with the inquisition of my very personal family planning history and possible future, but nay.

“So, two girls? And Dad’s ok with that??”

(Well, you know, I really tried to make it a boy, but, wouldn’t ya know? Didn’t work!) “Yeah, he loves them! We definitely want some boys, but for now we’re just good at girls, it seems!”

And then, thankfully, my oldest decided it was time to head home for lunch.

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Flash-back to 11 month old Lucy on one of her first playground excursions

I shouldn’t really be surprised by this variation on a theme that plays out in multiple conversations I have with other parents, all total strangers. No one ever has any qualms jumping right to these intimate questions, about family size, when we’ll be “done”, why we had children so close, so soon, and now apparently, even our children’s gender, as if that’s something we can control, too. But in a culture where children are seen by most people as an accessory, the next “thing” you do as a responsible, debt-free, home-owning, dog-owning, two-income couple, why shouldn’t we talk about them as things? When couples can turn off the woman’s fertility at will, and then assume they have the power to turn it back on, why shouldn’t we talk openly about when, how, and why we want to space our possible children? With total strangers.

Never was I intending to open fire on his lifestyle choices: why does your wife work instead of you? Was your career not lucrative enough? Are you wife? No. Because that is his life, and I literally have no say or stake in it, nor do I want to pry into his personal business. I don’t have that right. It never fails to amaze me that people have so utterly lost the art of polite conversation, and have no problem letting themselves into the privacy of your marriage unasked.

I know that living in an upper-middle class, mostly white neighborhood, I will continue to have this conversation on repeat. Except it will probably get weirder as I have more and more children. What’s “cute” or “fringe” right now to people will probably look downright ridiculous a few kids later. It’s a small price to pay to witness to the inherent goodness of life, but it is a price. It requires getting over what people think, smiling and gritting your teeth at the approximately 1,000th rendition of, “You’ve got your hands full!”, and calmly and happily admitting that YES, you will have more, NO, you’re not done, YES, it’s a lot of work, and definitely, YES, better you than they. If people are going to ask ridiculous, intrusive questions, they are going to get the truth. But they are going to get it with a smile, because I want them to know that I chose this willingly, and believe it or not, I like it. And then I will kindly point them to this article, so they know that my 2 small fry are a drop in the bucket compared to this awesome family, who are also, against all odds, enjoying life too.

Life is crazy and we love it!

Life is crazy and we love it!

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Spring!

Pretty

This photo is a few weeks old, but I had forgotten about it. Our once-a-year fancy date, to Tom’s school’s Gala. Hooray for dresses that DON’T need to be nursing-accessible (thanks to parents who babysat both girls successfully!)!!

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Happy

 Using our new-to-us gas grill to make dinner outside, blowing bubbles…IMG_0703

Funny

She loves being in the car (or “wagon” as Lucy has dubbed it). But when I walked away to take the photo, she wasn’t so thrilled!

IMG_0702Real

Things often get real when babies are cutting the top front teeth. Empty beer bottles help.

IMG_1678.2015-03-27_173015Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter! 

Two.

Permit me to utter a cliche, because … where has the time gone?

This little, ALL EYES thing…

zero

 

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is now TWO?!

two

I’d also like to give major props to her massive hair-growing in the last 12 months.

Current obsessions include: jumping on Mom and Dad’s bed, identifying whether a clothing article or diaper is “Lena-sized” or “Lucy-sized,” taking eons to fall asleep for naps/bedtime (while talking incessantly the whole time), riding her new trike outside/being outside in general/running down “her hill” on the side of our yard, taking toys from Lena, running around the house naked before her bath, and more…

She had a very fun Winnie-the-Pooh birthday party with my family, and I got zero pictures, as I was too occupied with hostessing and whatnot.

We did get to take her to the National Zoo for the first time the day before her birthday. It was a bit cloudy and chilly, but I’d say we all enjoyed it!

We got Corner Bakery on our way into the city

We got Corner Bakery on our way into the city and some selfies were attempted.

We watched the elephant train and perform tricks! It was so fun!

We watched the elephant train and perform tricks! It was so fun! 

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Wanting to stand, always

Wanting to stand, always

Happy, happy, 2nd birthday to our little lady! We love you!

 Birth Story

First Birthday