...you rose early, as you always do at the beach. You had a pretty rotten cold and as daddy was walking out the door to get your birthday donut, you yelled in your scratchiest eighty-year-old voice, "Don't forget my coooofffffeeeee." (It's hot chocolate but we don't tell you that).
...we spent the morning at the Salisbury Zoo. It was small, uncrowded, and manageable. Perfect.
...Charlie continued his study of zoo maps.
...After Charlie's fifth birthday extravaganza, I swore I would never have a birthday at our house. Again. So, for Clara's party we hosted a small group at our town's Arts Council for a Hello Kitty Dance Party. The children (and a lot of the moms) did zumbini for 45 minutes, the kids ate pizza and cupcakes, and an hour and forty-five minutes later, it was over. Perfect.
Today you are three. Which is just crazy because I can still remember laying in bed the day you were born pretty distinctly, the pain of your heel in my side, realizing it was one of the last few moments I would feel you from the inside.
You have just become potty-trained and have no shame. Yesterday at the pool, you screamed to me, “Mommy, I peed in the pool,” and then swished your hand around in the water. Keep it classy, Clara.
You love to eat. You will eat almost anything. And if you are the tiniest bit skeptical, I just add some sour cream or barbeque sauce and you are good to go. You dipped your flounder in A1 the other day. You have a massive sweet tooth. It’s genetic.
You are constantly moving. Dancing, running, jumping, wiggling. You are tall and look like you are going to inherit mommy’s long legs and clumsiness with the bruises that often line your shins. You are starting to sing along to songs in the car (your repertoire ranges from, “Fancy” to the “Doc McStuffins” theme song. Your genres vary).
You talk. A lot. I didn’t know what it was like to have a toddler who communicated with words. You are confident when no one is watching, but hide quickly behind mommy’s knees when noticed.
You have the biggest, brightest blue eyes that often garner comments from complete strangers. On many occasions, we have been out and I hear someone whisper to someone, “Did you see that little girl with the blue eyes and curls?” The ultimate compliment is one a stranger doesn’t know you can hear.
You love the beach and the pool, your dog. Your most favorite thing to play, in the whole wide world, is office. You will jam file folders and “found” (stolen) paperwork into every bag you own (or have stolen). Tonight, I heard you ask no one in particular, “Did you have a good day at work?” You will come over and ask me to sign pieces of your paperwork. I just hope you aren’t already signing yourself up for credit cards.
You love your brother. Your relationship has truly exploded over the last six months and I hope it is always this way. He loves you, Clara Kayyouarezee. We all do.
...here's the truth: I miss organized scrapbooking. I miss deadlines. So when I was approached about teaching a class at Studio Calico, I jumped at the opportunity.
Introducing Pen & Paper.
(Honestly, I'd just like to print out the logo and wallpaper a room in my house with it).
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote in a journal (oh, painful to read now) for ten years growing up. I wrote my mom a note every night before bed. I majored in journalism at Lehigh University and received my master's in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. And I've been memory keeping almost as long. I'm thrilled to join the two together in this class.
As an added deal, Studio Calico is bundling Pen & Paper with April Foster's, "Snapshots" class for only $30. You can find the link for the bundle deal here.
...And we're off! Hope you can join us.
"I felt two things immediately when I got the news last night: first that the light had dimmed and, on its heels, a sense that this was inevitable; that Robin had lived for a long time with a darkness at the periphery of his vision.
What must it have been like to be present when he improvised the genie in "Aladdin" or Lovelace in "Happy Feet?" His Texan, his gay stylist, his Soviet comedian, Mrs. Doubtfire…He was a one-man menagerie.
Perhaps, just as we were swept away, so was he.
I remember the small, uncontrollable chuckle that often accompanied his flights of fancy; as if he were as amazed as we were by what was happening to him.
Who can pretend to understand a gift like Robin Williams'? Meteoric, volcanic, fast and furious…Perhaps there is a price for such brilliance.
I'm so sad he's gone and so grateful he left us so much." James Taylor
...so I got a fitbit.
And you know what? It turns out that chasing/walking to check the mail/unbuckling/buckling/walking up the stairs 8,209 times a day makes 10,000 steps add up really, really fast.
The whole mileage thing is incredible to me...I mean, it almost makes me feel like I could run a marathon. Or walk it. In a 48-hour period. OK, let's be honest, maybe a 60-hour period.
The part I love most is where it says, "No exercise today," and I'm so exhausted at the end of the day I find it hard to walk up the stairs for the 8,210th time.
...We had a neighbor in Baltimore whose golden retriever was named DOG (pronounced deeogee).
Lately, when you ask Clara what her last name is, her answer is, "Clara Kayyouarezee." Think she's heard me spell it out on the phone a few times?
These kids...they can be tough...but then they say something like that and you are like, "Man, you are awesome."
...I'd like to say that some of my absence over the last few months can be accounted for by me reading some great novels, working on my own writing, curing cancer, solving world hunger, catching up on five years of sleep deprivation.
But the truth is, I've just been busy.
On June 7 (the exact date), an old friend said, "Oh, you liked House of Cards? You should watch Dexter next." So, since June 7 that's pretty much all I've done. Watched eight seasons of a television show. It's not something I'm proud of. I watched the last episode last night and I'm left with this feeling of, "Now what?" And kind of feeling like my best friend (Michael Hall) broke up with me. And googling, "Will Dexter come back?" But I am looking forward to sleeping tonight.
...in 47 days he starts kindergarten. Whenever we have had an activity planned this summer, I'll say to him, "Charlie guess what we are doing tomorrow?" And his answer is always a question. "Kindergarten?"
He started Lego Camp yesterday and came home with pockets full of contraband Legos, which were promptly returned today. I picked him up when a bunch of other kids were getting picked up today and as he ran into my arms, "Bye, Charlie," rang out in chorus from the other kids. And then my heart burst into 18 million pieces.
Tomorrow he starts occupational therapy to work on improving his strength (low tone) and motor processing. He's pretty cool with visiting a new friend who has a swing in her house.
It seems like he is learning new things every day, saying new things every day. "Oh my gosh," is probably our current favorite. Or, "But I love it," when referring to something he can't have (candy, contraband Legos, etc.) I still hear every word as a present to us.
He is starting to read sight words. Which, in a word, is thrilling.
He can play with Legos for hours, and makes these incredible little creations and stories about spaceships or monsters or superheroes to go with them. He dreams of Legoland and talks about going there with a longing in his voice that's similar to when I talk about how I used to sleep until noon on Saturdays.
He is gradually learning to swim, getting more confident every time he's in the pool. He prefers the noodle though and his demeanor often reminds me of a 90 year-old Ethel or Dolores in her aqua aerobics class.
He has finally learned to pump. And isn't a bit proud of himself.
...having a date night here
...enjoying my new nail polish from Carron. (Don't worry, stopped at a stop sign on a country road. Even if it looks like I was in the middle of the road)
...Eating Rita's on a cold night
...taking pictures at Target for our Christmas list. (Only five months, people!)
...Happily playing with our friends at the park
...reading to each other...playing...fighting...repeat...
...going to birthday parties
...eating ice cream in the middle of the day after our pre-tubes appointment
...a trip to the beach
...going to the park at the beach
...and the fountains at the beach
...and the pool at the beach
...spelling our name using everything and anything
...time at the boardwalk
...learning to order sushi
...being thankful that at least one of us has good hair in this weather
...and lastly, rolling with my homies
...Will be back more. Trying to make a plan for ye ol' blog. xo
...the kids had their first sleepover with each other this weekend at the beach. We pushed Clara's bed all the way up against the wall and Charlie's bed right next to her's.
Their conversation ranged from the beach to potty talk. Literally, Clara talking about going potty.
Then, Charlie showed Clara how to tuck herself in.
...Then she fell off the bed at 2:00 a.m. and the sleepover was over.
It was a great weekend.
...The one that you look at on your phone after walking back into your office and it makes your heart skip a beat, takes your breath away, really.
I caught her. I finally caught her. The her that runs toward me when she sees me at any point during the school day. The her that runs ankles touching butt. The her that has enough hair for a Pantene commercial. The her that smiles with her whole face, her whole body really.
We were together. I forget the rest. -Walt Whitman
...clara and mommy will play.
Charlie is spending the week at Ammy and Poppy's. (And let me tell you, we could all use a week at Ammy and Poppy's...trips to the beach...pizza...ice cream...the Lego Movie delivered to your bedside at 6 a.m. the morning it came out).
Clara and I don't get a lot of one-on-one time. And dear lord, is one child so much easier than two. It's like a vacation all on its own.
We started our day by sending mail to our favorite camper.
After a latte, we were back to our traditional hiding-from-the-ENT-ness.
Then it was on to Trader Joe's. Ahhh, one child, no fighting over who gets to push the miniature shopping cart (or calf weapon, in my children's case).
She purchased Jojos, squeeze fruits, and pasta. That covers all the food groups.
Pit stop for some tomato soup.
Then home for a tea party, shower, pedicure, and some Sophia watching.
Then it was Clara's turn. She grabbed one of our old point and shoot cameras and went to town.
She captured an afternoon FaceTime session with Charlie.
Gracie's crazy eyes.
...and mommy and daddy.
Then there was a little catalog-shopping for her big-girl bed.
Wrapped up the night with some fajita-eating and then off to bed.
She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure. - Steve Maraboli
...I have a guest lister this week. Midshipman 4/C Kenneth Kurz at the United States Naval Academy. Or, Ken, my husband, almost 20 years ago.
(Yes, he ate all that food. And at the time, I'm guessing he weighed close to 120 pounds).
Ken wrote this list to Midshipman 2/C John Collins. And yesterday, a little shy of 19 years to the day, we watched Commander John Collins take command of his very own squadron.
That's one of my dearest friends in the whole world, Laura, up there with John. We are also the god parents to their son, Jack. I bet when 4/C Midshipman Kurz wrote that list to 2/C Midshipman Collins, he never imagined we would be sitting there yesterday, watching this. Well, he was probably too busy with a stomach ache.
...I know some people say there's nothing better than a baby's laughter. Charlie's Zyrtec video is proof of that. But I've found something even better. A brother and a sister, laughing together, hysterically.
They had just finished a beautiful rendition of I've Been Working on the Railroad. The cackle belongs to Clara. The messy house belongs to me.
...I love Ali's Weekend Lens. Tried to think of a better name but couldn't come up with anything besides, "Pictures from Saturday and Sunday."
This was our first beach weekend of 2014. Bring it.
It wasn't really warm enough to spend an extended period of time on the beach, so we did all the other activities that make our kids ask, "When we go to da beach again?"
Reading their books to each other on the bandstand:
Funland. Only fun in late May when no one else is there.
...Pretty lucky to have a professional photographer (my dad) with us at all times.
Here's to Beach Season 2014.
...My birthday gift to Ken (back in February) was tickets to the Orioles versus Indians game last weekend (Ken grew up in Cleveland, and since we are all gluttons for punishment, we've all become Ohio sports fans. They never fail to amaze disappoint us).
Before the sweat baths:
Our seats were 15 rows up from the Indians dugout (not as good as the last time we went).
The kids were remarkably into it, considering it was about 120 degrees in the sun. At least the Orioles fans behaved themselves and no one threw a hot dog at us. Charlie particularly enjoyed all the clapping. Clara particularly enjoyed all the food.
At the bottom of the sixth, we were all done (including the Indians).
In all honesty, the train ride to and from the game was probably the highlight of both kiddos days.