Magdalena is Two!

Well, over a week ago, but who’s counting? This girl was all about birthday time, and has been asking about it for oh, about a month.

ZeroTWOTWO (1)All her wishes came true, though, in the form of cupcakes (her ONLY answer to “What do you want for your birthday?”), a helium balloon, and lots of people singing to her.

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At two, Lena loves:

Food, sleep, her beloved and very dilapidated stuffed cat, Snowflake (who was actually my sister’s originally, so she’s about 20 years old), and being held by Mom, only Mom, and Mom all the time.

Favorite activities include singing all day long (she has excellent pitch, and will match if I jump up or down an octave)…favorites include Wheels on the Bus, Oo-De-Lally from Robin Hood, Twinkle Twinkle, and more; cooking up all sorts of tasty things in her play kitchen; smothering Maeve with “love;”and generally whatever Lucy’s doing.

Her favorite foods are sausage, mac n cheese, and basically anything carb-y or sugary. But, still, she eats all sorts of fish, chicken, and most vegetables, and generally eats a pretty big plate (a lot more than Lucy most nights).

Says:

“You happy, Mommy? [or Daddy, Lucy, whoever she is worried may be even slightly irritated with her or life]”

“Thas eh-SITING!” –about so many things

“You’re my best fwend, [insert name of person of that 5 minute period of glory]!”

And so, so many other things varying from hilarious to not-so-cute and rather screamy. She is ultra-sanguine, going from monster-level tantrums to happy smiles and joy in about .5 seconds. It’s a little exhausting for my choleric-melancholic self, but Tom definitely “gets” her. We are so excited to see what this year brings her, and we are so grateful for our super affectionate, (mostly) happy and cheerful little firecracker! Happy birthday, Lena!

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Weekend Links/SQT

Well, happy weekend! I need to express that it’s been absurdly hot and humid and at this moment a really intense cloudburst is dumping sheets of rain, while the sky just a few houses over is bright and blue. Summer weather at its weirdest. However, 3 out of the 5 family members are napping (two of whom are Lucy! and Maeve!) so Lena is staring at the rain/trying to catch a dying fly on the window, so it’s a good time to do a really quick Quick Takes post.

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You watch the Great British Bake Off (or Great British Baking Show for us Americans), right?! WHO KNEW that a show about amateur bakers could be so fascinating? But between the pastel baking stations, the British flag bunting adorning the white competition tent, and the little black lambs bleating in the scene transitions, it’s beautiful. Then, there are the contestants, whom you grow to know and root for (or against) as the season goes on,  the quirky hosts, and the wonderfully British judges who provide the most quotable food critiques imaginable. It’s just pure fun. Plus, of course, the “bakes” all look amazing. This article at The Kitchn is helpful to understand some of the baking terms that are just so foreign to us, though it doesn’t explain the obscure British  cultural references that we have to look up throughout watching (like “Tatty byes!“). Tom and I love to watch this at the end of stressful, busy days when drama/anything heavy is just too much.

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I was inspired by Deirdre to actually address my rather persistent diastasis recti since the whole doing-nothing-about-it approach was proving futile. I bought the Mutu System this week on the day it was 45% off, which makes it cheaper than a pair of new running shoes or high-end yoga pants (so definitely worth it, for the ease of having it totally guided). I’m looking forward to actually starting it…probably next week? We’ll see. The nice thing is that I now have permanent access to the program and can start it when Tom’s schedule is a little lighter.

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My parents saved my childhood dollhouse, and we’ve talked about sprucing it up in time to give it to the girls at Christmas. I may be slightly optimistic, but how fun and beautiful is this dollhouse remodel?!

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One of the (ongoing) travails of my daily life is Maeve+sleeping. As in, there’s not much of it and it’s hard-won. Por ejemplo, last night, she woke at 9:30 for what I thought would be a typical “first wake” of the night from which she’d nurse quickly back to sleep (as she usually does). But this time, she did not. She did not want to nurse, at all, ever, no, no, no. Didn’t want to be rocked. Didn’t want to cry herself to sleep. I’m still not sure what it was she needed/wanted, other than to be UP and AWAKE and SOCIAL! So finally, when the crying herself to sleep was also a bust and keeping us from sleep too, she acquiesced to nursing in a rocking chair and passed out. At 12:30 AM. Yeah.

Now I’m thinking we’ll have to really buckle down and help her learn to fall asleep on her own, especially for naps, because I just won’t have another Lucy-type sleeper!! Hannah mentioned this site and I’m really finding it helpful since she takes all the baby sleep research and books and distills it into short, practical, helpful posts. So we’ve dug up the infant swing and trying to get her to fall asleep in it, since the other day she ended up finally falling asleep at my mom’s in the outdoor baby swing (granted it was 103º out and crazy humid) when nothing else had worked. So far, she has fallen asleep for two naps today in her swing with just minor struggle, but it’s a little battery-operated one so she wakes up as soon as it stops swinging. Ha, well, it’s a start.

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I’ve been really into gazing at Carl Larsson’s paintings lately. He and his wife Karin, were both artists and raised 8 children together in this totally idyllic and beautiful Norwegian country cottage. I want all their textiles, art, furniture, etc!! Here are paintings of his lovely, cozy bedrooms.

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And some photos from Tom’s phone, from the last few weeks months! (He often forgets to open his Amazon Prime Photo app, and thus I never see the treasure trove of snaps from his perspective).

Such as...this one from Mother's Day!

Such as…this one from Mother’s Day!

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Girls in Rompers

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

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Father-Daughter Selfie time at the winery

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Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over.Tears.

Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over. Tears.

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Lucy's baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Lucy’s baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Morning, sunshine!

Morning, sunshine!

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That’s all I got. Go see Kelly for more Quick Takes!

 

It’s July?!

Do you know what’s so funny– I thought that since Tom is going to be gone late into the night so much this summer because of grad school, I’d have so.much. time to blog! And here we are, almost halfway through the program and … yep. Hardly a peep. I will leave it to your capable imaginations to figure out why that may be.

But still, we are alive and mostly well, if exhausted and run a little ragged most days. Lucy’s currently fighting a fever/summer cold which has her parked on the couch (SO unlike her normal self) and even taking naps (REALLY unlike her normal self) but I’m hoping a couple more days of rest and more naps will do the trick.

We’ve also had some pretty jam-packed weekends to take advantage of Tom being around during the daylight hours…a (long) trip to the beautiful Shenandoah area to visit a very dear friend, go to a winery, and drive up a mountain to dine in her parents’ magazine-worthy home…

 

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I was having so much fun that I literally only got this picture while changing Maeve…oops!

 

Father’s Day BBQ…

 

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Maeve contemplates the greatness of her dad on Father’s Day

 

…and then my 10-year high school reunion last weekend! Maeve came with us to the evening events, and my parents very kindly watched the girls (and hosted us overnight during the weekend too). It was really, really fun to see old faces and friends and meet new spouses and kids.

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Then this weekend it was the library, catching up on tons of cleaning and chores, after-dinner ice cream and walk around town, some pre-4th of July festivities with family, and then cancelled day-of plans, due to Sick Lucy. But whew. The multiple nights of keeping the girls up past bedtimes have been taking their toll, mostly in deteriorating behavior and screaming sessions from the adults toddlers.

I’m hoping July will be a little calmer, a little less jam-packed and give us a little more time to rest and enjoy each other. I have to make a real, conscious effort throughout the days to enjoy the girls rather than merely see all their needs (and there are MANY), get fed up with their whining and crying and screaming, and lose my patience with their willfulness and lack of anything resembling cooperation or obedience.

This is why, even though it ends up being a lot of work and prep and cleanup, I tell myself to just do it: set up the pool for them, let them dig in the sandbox or make mud pies, “help” me bake or cook in the kitchen, eat popsicles, schlep all of us and our lunches to a park or play date.

It’s a hard summer, this one, and we need all the smiles and good memories we can get! I think things have gone pretty well when we make it to the end of another day and we are mostly in one piece and have had something substantial for dinner (thankful for a bunch of frozen slow cooker meals, batch cooking, and yes, plenty of frozen pizza/nuggets and mac n cheese. Survival!).

And when they’re all finally asleep, I can begin to sort through the tornado of sorts they’ve left in their wake before I collapse with a good show (just finished Home Fires and really enjoyed it! And now am going through Rebellion, which is maybe a bit too intense, but compelling, and when Tom’s home we absolutely love watching The Great British Baking Show. Who knew that could be so addicting?!) or sometimes a good book, if I have the mental capacity (almost finished with Room With a View, which we’re discussing at book club tomorrow night, and am supposedly still reading/listening to Brothers K, but let’s be real– my real life is crazy enough without reading about the Karamazovs every day too).

Here’s to a few more weeks of craziness before a vacation and having Daddy back at home!