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.

lenacheflena presesntlena-mommylena2ndbday

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).


“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!


Cute and Not-So-Cute Toddler Antics {p,h,f,r}

My mom pretty much supplies any of the matching clothing the girls wear and it’s always fun to dress them in those outfits. But it’s pretty difficult to actually get a decent shot of them together with Lucy not screaming, “CHEESE!!!” and causing Lena to look in her direction…so here’s what we got:



Lucy loves saying, “We need to take a picher of this!” whenever she is doing something she thinks is cute. Holding her baby dolls was one such occasion.


Well, I’m stealing this from Instagram, but I mean, it’s too good. This is what happens when you’re nursing the baby and the toddlers are on the other side of the car, where they know you can’t see them, and where the ever-tempting garden beds lie. “We’re pouring dirt on each other’s heads!!!” they called with glee. Let’s just say the showers we had to give them afterward were not well-received.


Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter! 

Pulse Check (we are alive!)

Wow, it’s been a long blog silence this time around. Thank goodness I finally got a minute to do my book review for the Kalpakgians’ book, which gave me a little kick in the pants to get back on here. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything about which to write, it’s just that my brain has melted into an incoherent puddle of mush every night, and every afternoon that the girls are simultaneously napping, leaving only enough energy to lie on the couch and scroll through Facebook feeds filled with all the depressing news. If only my housework were less neglected than the blog, but alas…

Anyway, some of the reasons for this recent lethargy are starting to lift, like the fact that Lena now sleeps through the night. Her definition of night, however, is of the non-conformist variety (7:30 PM- 5:15/20 AM. No one else here has the desire to get up any earlier than say, 7). She’s the hangriest person I think I have ever met…her new nickname is Low-Blood-Sugar Lena. I mean seriously, she wakes up screaming, and won’t stop till she has downed a small bowl of blueberries, two sausage patties, and either a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal. And that’s just First Breakfast for our little hobbit.

Here I had to bring her booster chair into the kitchen with me and feed her part of the dinner while I finished the rest. She's reaching for more, of course.

Here I had to bring her booster chair into the kitchen with me and feed her part of the dinner while I finished the rest. She’s reaching for more, of course.

Eating bean burritos is serious business.

Eating bean burritos is serious business.


At dinner, she often out-eats even Tom and I (and always Lucy). The girl is crazy. But you know what, at least she’s sleeping all night. Only took a few screaming episodes (and honestly, she would scream even if we were holding/rocking/nursing her, so it was just the way she needed to learn to fall asleep. In case any attachment parenting police stumble upon this blog and felt a little queasy reading that sentence). And the upside to her early as heck rising? She now takes her morning nap and a good afternoon one too. Cue angels singing.


Oh, right, we have another kid too. I better include a picture of her!

Oh, right, we have another kid too. I better include a picture of her!

Tom is also now finally, finally on vacation, as of the last week of July. It’s been so spoiling to have an extra adult in the house all the time, because I can take NAPS, and he’s getting tons of house projects done that he never has time for during the school year. We’re scheduling the re-painting of our dining room and our master BR at long last, and we finally, finally got NEW CURTAINS for both rooms. Do you remember the paint colors and the “custom” curtains, both hideous and heinous? Here:


This is my only “before” picture, which is actually a “during”…see Tom’s elbow right there……….^ He was hanging our new curtains. Anyway. Those who-knows-what-color curtains, with a papyrus-y texture are finally gone. Their counter parts in our bedroom will be shortly, and I will post the official after pictures here after we’ve got the new paint. But here are the colors we chose, just to give you a little taste:

Not our dining room…but the same paint– Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore.

And one more. We kind of love it and can’t wait to have it up.

The bedroom will be Pale Smoke by Benjamin Moore. (Our room will have a lot more color than this one and so things won’t look quite so washed-out)

So, a great improvement, no?
We also celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a really nice afternoon and evening out. We ended it by stopping by for a quick visit to the church where we got married, and it turned out they had Mass starting in 5 minutes, so that was a serendipitous moment.
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How beautiful is this church?!! We do miss being parishioners so.
Hopefully, I will be back soon with more of our recent pictures, news, stories, links to share, etc. Now I need to go make more coffee (by the by, we got an Aeropress after some intense debate on Facebook re: the best method for brewing single-cup coffee. I’m reallllllly loving the Aeropress, and it also means we’re steaming our milk every time. We’re so fancy).

Birthdays, sick days

If you’re wondering why Lena got the shaft that is no birthday blog post, it’s because her 2 week cold was immediately followed by a week of fevers, cling-to-mom-for-dear-life, (more) terrible sleeping, super crankiness, and then an all-body rash that explained it all (roseola. No idea where she contracted it). She spent her bday with a trip to the doctor’s and an impromptu family celebration that night with hummingbird cupcakes (a 2 for 2 first birthday tradition, so far). Poor thing.

Little one year old sickie

Little one year old sickie, pointing as always


Sweet face/body pre-rash, which popped out the next day.


She ate a little frosting, smashed up the cupcake, and then cried to be put to sleep. What a birthday! Better luck next year, little one.

(And now that you seem to finally be mending, I promise we will get back to the regularly scheduled sleep-training and night-weaning activities. I know you love those. Probably almost as much as I love all the sleep loss and your demonic screaming in the middle of the night.).

Rome reminiscing, Stitch Fix success, and partial unplugging (SQT)

Another long week is over. Commence lame, sleep-deprived recap…


Right after I published all about Lena’s sleep craziness/general craziness, she took it up a notch by coming down with a weird, random, nasty-sounding cough and runny nose. Commence even worse sleeping. Poor babe, I think she’s on the mend, and I’m hoping that means she’ll stop waking up every 1-2 hours at night. Hoping hard.


I got my third Stitch Fix last Friday and loved everything so much that I actually kept the whole box (locking in the hefty discount for doing so). The second box was an utter failure, which resulted in me angrily emailing customer service, since my stylist had put in not a single item that I had specifically asked for, nothing was weather-appropriate, and every single item was hand-wash or dry clean only, agh! Thankfully, customer service was outstanding and addressed my concerns right away, waiving the stylist fee. And then the next Fix was awesome, including a couple casual/dress-up-able shirts, shorts, the comfiest cropped pants, and a maxi skirt. If you want other people to do all your shopping and have it show up at your door, you should try it out!


Two years ago this week, we flew to Rome with baby Lucy for a month!!



And started this blog to document it all! I can’t believe that was two years ago. Here are some of my favorite posts from our time there:

Churches, churches, everywhere, yet not a Mass to find…

Not just a fail-blog

The cucina’s open!

Getting to Know Her

Weekend Trek

2013-07-03 11.11.54

A table for three

A table for three

Sigh. What a good time. I’m also really glad we got the chance to do that with just one, very portable, baby.


This is not a new link, but this mash-up video of famous dance scenes from movies is super fun!


If you are an Arrested Development fan, you will die checking this site out! 


Tom and I are trying something new in an attempt to enforce some order into our lives. We tend to, uh, linger in the evenings instead of getting to bed when we should, and the number one distraction is, of course, the world wide web. There’s just always one more article, one more blog, one more cute picture on Facebook, ya know? So here’s the genius and complicated plan Tom thought up to solve our problem:

Flip the switch at 9 PM. Literally. Our router’s plugged into a socket connected to a light switch, so at 9 the plan is to just turn it off. And then I turn it back on in the morning when Tom leaves for work, so he’s not tempted to check school email before he even gets to school.

It’s pretty freeing actually, and shows how pathetically plugged-in we are. Hopefully this means we’ll also read more and watch less.


Happy Fourth of July!

Cutest fan

Lucy circa July 2014 (Lena now wears this outfit!)

Linking up at Kelly’s!


State of the Lena

We’ve been fighting some sleep battles with the second-born, who decided over a month ago to start giving up her morning nap. (As an aside, I find the term “giving up” to be a complete misnomer, as if the sweet, self-sacrificing child is offering up her cherished sleep time for the poor souls in Purgatory in an act of voluntary self-immolation. Wrong. The poor, sleep-deprived child is waging a stubborn war of screaming and sweating until the parents realize there will be no nap where there previously was one, and if anyone is getting time off of Purgatory, it’s surely the parents. So let’s go with “throwing the nap violently away.”) Anyway, this caught me way off guard since Lucy didn’t violently throw her morning nap away at all, but rather slowly just stopped falling asleep in the mornings around the time when I was expecting her to, based on regular baby development and her changing Circadian rhythms, around 16 months. I think it’s safe to say that Lena may be a full-blown sanguine, though, and so she’s much less aware of her own inner rhythm and routine and what her body is telling her (i.e. get some sleep, crazy baby! You woke up at 6:30!).

Thus, our days have been a little off-kilter to say the least, as we deal with sometimes, a few mornings per week, getting a late morning nap from Lena, from which I must wake her lest she go too long and then sabotage her afternoon nap; and other times, when it’s clear she will NOT nap and we go out somewhere in the mid-morning, she ends up falling asleep immediately in the car and then…voila! No afternoon nap for her. And not much sanity for me. And don’t even ask about her night-time sleep. Good thing she is so darn cute. Despite all these erratic sleep behaviors, I really do love this age, at the cusp of one year. It’s clear that Lena understands a great deal of what we say to her, and she takes delight in responding in whatever way she can. Most of the time it’s a loud, “YAH!” straight from her diaphragm (girl is going to be a good singer) or a very deliberate pointing of one or both index fingers. She loves pointing at things on the ceiling or up high on the walls, or throwing her hands up in the air as a response to “How big is Lena??”

IMG_1778.2015-06-24_224214She’s also started making this little face, scrunching her nose and half-shutting her eyes, when she knows she’s doing something a little naughty and I’ve said (or am about to say), “Nooo, Lena!” Cutest thing ever. Also the boldest baby, as evidenced by:

-climbing (onto stools, benches, chairs, the trampoline, Lucy’s toddler bed, into the bathtub, into the kiddie pool)

Climbed up onto the wrong side of the trampoline...

-stairs, trying to climb up them and down as well

-taking off her diaper


Note the turned-around bench. That’s our current gate for the bottom of the stairs, which we just had to turn around as she kept climbing on TOP of the bench. Also, she’s figuring out that she can shimmy through that crack on the side…


-eating the most inedible of objects. I will spare you descriptions but let’s just say she has a very unrefined palate at this point.

I can’t believe she’s about to turn one. What a crazy, loud, adventurous little firecracker.

Always keeping up with her big sis

Always keeping up with her big sis

Favorite Kids’ Stuff for Summer

We try to keep a minimalistic approach to most things in life, including our kids’ toys and other accoutrements. That’s not to say that they are living in a Dickens novel, though, and of course there are some products that we have found particularly fun for the kids or life-saving for the parents (or is that one in the same??). Here’s our summer round-up of favorite things!

Favorite Kids' Stufffor Summer! (3)

1. Outshine Popsicles

These are all-natural and made with fruit juice, so there are no nasty dyes or HFCS to worry about. Everyone in our family loves these, and we are looking forward to trying the many flavors throughout the summer!

2. Badger Sun Screen/Bug Spray products

I really love Badger for their zinc oxide sunscreens. I feel totally safe using them even on the littlest of babies (Lucy used it all during Rome at 2-3 months) and they are very effective. You do have to rub a lot to get the white to blend in, but I feel like that’s a good thing, as it gives me an obvious visual as to what areas haven’t been covered yet. The bonus is that all the sunscreens actually smell nice, not chemical-y. The bug spray is ok too, though it seems not to be a match for the Great Swampy Mosquito Land that our yard becomes here in the summers. We’re looking into some natural yard spray options because we can’t go out for more than a minute or two without getting devoured. But this spray does help a bit (maybe 2-3 bites as opposed to 10 without) and doesn’t have DEET so I feel safe spraying it on Lena.

3. Manito Sun Shade

Don’t know where we’d be without this thing, seriously. This is an ALL THE TIME favorite, but obviously even more so in the summer. If your car happens not to have tinted windows, you find out very quickly that a toddler carseat + sun streaming in windows + toddler= terrible combination. This shade has helped a lot and is pretty flexible so you can adjust it as you need to. We highly recommend this if you have scream-fests in your car anytime the sun so rudely shines through the windows.

4.  $0.50 Paint Brush

I’m serious. Best $.50 you ever spent on a toddler. Give this to them with a bucket or basin of water, and set them to work on your brick patio or wood deck slats. They will paint the tiles/slats for a loooooong period of time. It’s wonderful.

5.  iPlay Reusable Swim Diapers

Disposable swim diapers are absurdly expensive. The invention of these washable/reusable swim diapers is genius. They are basically the cloth diaper equivalent to a swim diaper, and are officially approved for use in public pools/any place where there’s a sign saying, “Swim diapers required.” I use these whenever the girls are going to be swimming or playing at a public pool or splash pad, but when it’s just at home with family they go commando! 🙂 You can find them at Target for about $10, which is well worth it with the number of uses! My only complaint is that they can’t be put in the dryer and take a LONG time to air dry, so if you use the pool daily, you may want to have two in rotation.

What are your favorite summer kid (or adult!) essentials??

Linking up with Five Favorites!