Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Month Comes to an End

Enjoying her Valentine's Day donut from Jim

February has flown by with lots going on and very few blog posts, so here's the last few weeks in a nutshell.

Yesterday, I taught the ninth of ten SAT classes (not that I'm counting), and while I love teaching them, I can't wait to have my Sundays back again. The one thing I will miss, however, is coming home after teaching and tutoring and hearing about Lilly and Jim's day together. There's always a adventure of some kind...and a ridiculously long nap so that Lilly can recover from her morning. Over the last few Sundays, Lilly and Jim have:
  • played hide and seek in Bed, Bath and Beyond for 45 minutes. I thought this was a joke when I first heard it but it's true. And, according to Jim, Lilly loved every second of hiding behind curtains or under beds. I'm sure the sales people loved it too!
  • gone to Target in their pajamas (which is a cute Dad thing to do), while Lilly stands up and rides around in the shopping cart (which I'm not as big a fan of).
  • ordered pizza. This is Lilly's new favorite expression. She asks multiple times a day if we can order pizza. I think I'm the culprit here, as I seem to have an unnatural obsession with the various pizza places in our area. But yesterday, we had leftover pizza in the fridge, so Jim pretended to order pizza for lunch, waited 20 minutes, delivered it to the door and explained to Lilly that they had to heat it up this time. She loved every second of the experience!
  • watched a "moonie" or two
  • gone grocery shopping together. I don't ask too much about what goes on in the grocery store although I can only imagine. I'm thrilled that they're getting the groceries!
I have to say that while I give Jim a hard time about some of the things he and Lilly do together, he's an amazing dad. In fact, I think that Lilly needs do to things with Jim, like the ones mentioned above, because I am inclined to focus more on "behaving properly"...which is such a mum thing to do, I know. Don't get me wrong--Jim is a stickler for rules too. He makes Lilly clean up after herself when they're playing and won't let her get away with asking for something without saying please. But he's able to mix just the right "dad amount" of fun in there. When Lilly was being a little bit stubborn yesterday (I know it's hard to imagine a child of Jim and mine being stubborn, but it's true), and she decided that she didn't want to throw something in the trash that Jim had asked her to throw away, Jim made her come back, he put the trash in her hand and said, "I think that's an even trade...I make your life possible, you throw away a little piece of trash." Jim won--Lilly threw away the trash and we had a good laugh. And I'm sure she learned her lesson.

This past week, I also got to catch up with good friends that I haven't seen for ages. On Thursday morning, Lilly and I met Kelly half way between here and Boston, at a mall in northern CT. Kelly found the mall and it was perfectly smack in the middle. It took each of us about an hour and 20 minutes to get there so we met up, wandered around, did lots of chatting and laughing, had lunch and then made our ways back home. It was so much fun and we agreed to do this more often! There's nothing like an old friend to make you smile, and seeing Kelly just made me a happier person.

Then, on Saturday morning, Jim, Lil and I drove into the city to visit my friend Jenny, from high school, and her husband Nils. They're moving to Sweden in a month so we decided to get together for brunch before they left. They had us over to their apartment and we had a fantastic time. Lilly loved every second of it as Jenny and Nils have 2 cats (who will probably never be the same after this little toddler invaded their apartment and proceeded to follow them around for the better part of 2 hours). She loved them! She'd put her face right up to theirs; she "booped" their noses; she tried to touch their eyes; she patted them (albeit a bit too vigorously for their liking); she chased them around in circles; she even got them to hiss at her, which she loved and which Jenny took as a sign that it might be time to put the cats away in her bedroom for a little rest (aka, break from Lilly). Seeing Kelly and Jenny this week reminded me of the importance of keeping in touch with good friends; something that I'm going to try to be better at.

Lilly's becoming such a little girl, it's unbelievable. She talks more and more every day and is trying so hard to put together sentences. She gets really frustrated when we don't understand what she's saying. For example:

Lilly: "Didi huck, Daddy"

Jim: "Oh no, is Daisy stuck?"

Lilly: "No Daddy" (with this expression on her face that says, That's not at all what I was saying. Why would you think that?)

Jim: "What's wrong with Daisy?"

Lilly: "Didi huck, Daddy...come" followed by a quick sprint into her room, waiting for Jim, pointing to a little sock on the ground that she wants Jim to put on Daisy.

Jim: "Oooooh, Daisy's sock. Do you want me to put it on?"

Lilly: "Yes peese Daddy..."

Just so you understand the difficulties experienced when communicating with a toddler, "huck" in Lilly's vocabulary can mean, "stuck", "sock" and it's also how she says our neighbor's name, "Scott". So you can see where the confusion lies.

Lilly also loves saying, "apple juice". She enjoys drinking it, but really she prefers inserting the expression, "apple juice" into as many conversations as she can. She'll say it when she has nothing else to say. When you put her in her crib for a nap or at bed time, and say goodnight to her, she'll respond with, "good night juice?" She'll say it when she's in the bath or playing with Mr. Potato Head. It comes out at many different times during the day, and we have no idea why. Maybe it's just fun to say. She's a little sponge and soaks up everything she hears. And have I mentioned that she never stops talking?

Although I hate the fact that the months are flying by, I'm not really sad to see February go. I'm ready for spring and some warmer weather. March is going to be an exciting month! Mum and Dad are coming up to visit at the end of this week. We're going back to the City Winery in NYC to see Citizen Cope next week. Jim turns 30 next Friday!! (which he's thrilled about...) and we've planned a trip to London, where Jim's sister, Sarah, is currently living so we're going over to visit. Lilly's heading down to DC to stay with Gigi and Papa, which will be a vacation for her too. Lots of fun things to look forward to. And it's Lilly's last month as a one year old, so I'm going to try and enjoy every second of it.

Here's a few February pictures:

Some of the icicles from the ice storm on February 2nd.

How Lilly entertained herself during this storm! Lilly Lamb is wearing Mrs. Potato Head's earrings and Lilly spent much of her day playing in the tent that Jim made her.

Trying out my bike, while Dad was visiting, and making sure that everything was working the way it should.

These are from Owen's 1st birthday party, where Natasha, Lilly, Parker and Owen's music teacher, came and sang with the kids. Just like in music class, Lilly took everything very seriously and spent her time dancing in the middle of the circle.

"All done shoes"

Eating a ridiculous amount of cookie dough before getting in the car and driving up to the Lake for the weekend. I think we have the cookie dough to thank for Lilly's stream of chatter between the hours of 11pm and midnight in the car.

Showing us the cut on her nose. We have no idea where it came from but Lilly points it out to us hourly.

Playing with her friend, Adriana, who is 3 days younger than Lil. Adriana's parents were in our childbirth class, so we've kept in touch :)

Still little enough to fit in a duplo container.

Meeting her newest cousin, Paul, yesterday. She's shaking his hand and saying, "peace" here. Lilly's godparents must be so proud.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What A Day...and Weekend

I didn't know it was possible to love Greg Laswell more than I already did. Then, we went to see him play in the city last Thursday night and I have to say that I think he's even more amazing. The timing was perfect. Mum and Dad came up to visit for the weekend so they looked after Lilly on Thursday night, and we went into NYC with Jerry, Mel, Abby and Tim. Greg Laswell was playing at the City Winery, which in and of itself was a fantastic restaurant. We reserved a table for six and were about five tables away from the stage. The food and wine were delicious and came out at various intervals throughout the show. And did I mention that Greg Laswell was incredible? Here...don't take my word for it. You can see for yourself. These are not the best videos as they were taken with Jim and my phones, and the waitresses are often walking back and forth, but you can still hear how amazing he was. This is a little montage of some of his songs. I had to include a clip of "What a Day"'s my absolute favorite Greg Laswell song so please, ignore the people who keep walking in front of my phone :)

We had a fun night out and got to catch up with good friends at an incredible venue. We tried to get tickets to see Citizen Cope play here in a few weeks but it's already sold out. We'll definitely be going back to this place.

Then, we got to spend the rest of the weekend with Mum and Dad! They took the train up on Thursday to visit (and to retrieve Mum's car which I drove up after Christmas). We had a great few days hanging out and doing what we always do. We went out multiple times for bagels and coffee. Dad went to the gym. Mum was knitting up a storm. And Lilly took part in everything! I came into the living room at one point and Dad was using these bands to stretch his legs, which immediately sparked Lilly's interest. It didn't take long for Lilly to start stretching too. She got this really serious look on her face. It's a look we're starting to see often, when she's following directions. I see it when we go to her music class every week; she'll be standing in the middle of the circle, dancing to "Pop Goes the Weasel" with a dead serious face, following whatever instructions Natasha (the music teacher) is giving. If I tell her we should be sitting down, she says, "No Mummy, Tasha," and the second Natasha says it's time to sit down, Lilly is 2 inches away from Natasha, sitting on the ground. She takes these things seriously! So, she took stretching with Mum and Dad seriously too. As you can see, we spent the majority of our time together in pajamas, drinking tea.

Lilly spent the weekend saying "Gigi and Papa" as many times as humanly possible. She even woke up in the morning calling for them, which we encouraged. Jim texted Mum from our bedroom one morning to let her know that since Lilly was calling her, she should feel welcome to go and get Lilly out of her crib. Lilly showed Papa, "Daddy's huge bike," and kept bringing Gigi her knitting needles. Any time Dad tried to read an email or check something on his phone, Lilly walked up to him and said, "Papa, yook" (Papa, look). She does not like sharing attention! It was a wonderful weekend with no special plans, endless cups of tea and lots of chats. Mum and Dad enjoyed taking the train up so much that they're coming again in March. I love having weekends with family visiting to look forward to.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentine's Day

I have a post about Mum and Dad's visit and seeing Greg Laswell last week, but I still need to upload the video to it so I'll put it up within the next day or two.

Lilly is still asleep this morning so Jim and I enjoyed a nice quiet morning together before he went to work. We took turns going to the gym and then were able to have coffee and heart shaped donuts (which I've been dying to try from Dunkin Donuts and were waiting for me upon my arrival home from the gym)! We're not big Valentine's Day people but every girl loves a little something, and donuts and coffee this morning were a wonderful start to the day. Lilly and I made Jim a card and Jim retaliated with such a Jim card, it's unbelievable! You get the idea from the front...Jim posing by the water with the caption, "Dreams Do Come True". The inside is more of the same, and then on the back, there's a tiny picture of Jim with the caption, "I'm all yours." The perfect Valentine's Day card :)

We were chatting about, among other things, how much of a little person Lilly is. She's starting to put together sentences and is able to verbalize her opinions. She tells us what she wants to eat (and lets us know when she doesn't want to eat something as well). On any given day, you can ask her what she wants for lunch or dinner, or even breakfast, and she'll tell you "Pata," which is pasta in Lilly language. The girl loves her pasta, just like I do. I could have pasta for dinner every night and be a happy camper! And, like I said, she'll tell you if she doesn't like something. My dad got to witness this first hand when he made salmon for dinner and Lilly wanted a bite. It went into her mouth and then came straight out, to the tune of, "Yucky Mummy...yucky..." complete with her wiping off her tongue, and with an expression of disgust on her face. We learned that she's not a fan of salmon. She thinks every meal is called dinner so when she's hungry in the morning, she'll ask for "dinna". She also lets you know it's her dinner ("my dinna"), as if Jim and I would prefer to eat pizza cut up into tiny little pieces, using miniature utensils, off a plate with Lilly written all over it.

If you try to put away a toy that she's still playing with, even if it's been sitting there untouched for the good part of an hour, I hear, "No mummy, no yet". It's funny to hear expressions like that come out of such a tiny person. She must have heard us say, "not yet," hundreds of times, and has learned how to apply it in her life. Lilly loves smoothies, or as she says, "hoomies." She'll go under the sink and try to take out the blender when she wants one. She'll even cover Daisy's ears when I'm making it so it's not too loud for her. Lilly and I tend to make "hoomies" on a daily basis. She's also really aware of the temperature of food. I think she's put one too many hot things in her mouth so the other day at dinner, she touched some sweet potato that was apparently too hot for her liking, and started saying, "mitt, mummy...mitt daddy" over and over again. Jim looked at me like, "why is she asking for a mitt and what does that even mean?" and I realized that she wanted an oven mitt. She sees me take hot things out of the oven wearing one and determined that this what she needs when dealing with hot things! She's such a little personality.

Here are a few cute pictures from the weekend. On Saturday morning, I walked into the bathroom to see Jim shaving and Lilly pretending to shave too. She had spots of shaving cream all over her face and kept asking Jim for his razor, which she knows as "shap, daddy," meaning "sharp".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading, Knitting & Cooking

As my youngest brother so nicely pointed out yesterday, it's February and my blog hasn't been updated since January...I better get on that. So, here I am, sitting at the computer at 6 o'clock in the morning, after a nice swim. I could go back to bed for a few hours, or read, or knit...but I have Edward's voice taunting me in the back of my head so I'm writing a blog instead.

So far, 2011 has been an enjoyable year for me. Mostly for simple reasons, but they have all added up. I have been reading more this year and so far, have read three books, all of which I would recommend. Unbroken was an amazing story of an olympian runner and World War 2. The Emperor's Tomb was a good Dan Brown like mystery that takes place in China, and The Glass Castle, which Joseph gave me for Christmas, was a book that I found hard to put down. As Joseph wrote in the front cover, "because 'Family' doesn't have a singular definition." I've never read a book like it and I still see the family from that book in my daily thoughts. I'm keeping a list on the homepage of my blog; I hope to look back on the year and call it one in which I was well read. At the moment, however, I'm taking a little reading break to do some knitting. Mum and Dad were up visiting this weekend and being around Mum always gets my creative juices flowing. Watching Mum knit is one of the most amazing things--she does it without looking most of the time, in the same way that many people touch type. She can watch movies while knitting; she can carry on conversations; she can even entertain Lilly. And her fingers just fly. While she was here, Mum knit the cutest little sweater for Lil. The finished product is always amazing and inspires me to go back to making something. So, I'm trying my hand at a sweater for Lilly. I've got half of one sleeve to go, so am almost there! Up until now, I've sewn lots of different things but I've only knitted hats so the sweater is fun for a change. I'll post pictures of our sweaters when they're finished. I wonder if you'll be able to tell who made which sweater ;-)

I also decided that this year, dinners were going to be better. I was going through a food slump at the end of 2010. I was sick of all the meals I make and was having a hard time figuring out what to have for dinner every night. So, since we returned from Florida, I have been planning out our meals for the week on Sunday, going to the grocery store on Monday...and that's it. Instead of running out to the store every day, I have everything I need for the week. It's amazing! And it makes our lives so much easier. I've tried some new recipes and am proud to say that my plan is working. I'm happier because I don't have to plan a meal and go to the store every day, Jim is happier because dinner's ready when he gets home from work (and because I'm happier) and Lil is enjoying trying new things. She also loves helping in the kitchen. She drags a chair in while I'm cooking and stands next to me, touching everything within reach, telling me what is hot and what I shouldn't be touching, emptying out whatever drawers she can get her hands on and sampling all the food. In the middle of the day, she'll come up to me and say, "Mummy, I cook." She considers herself a chef already.

Lilly becomes more of a little person every day. Yesterday afternoon, she woke up from her nap and was chatting away in her crib. I heard her reading, Go Away Big Green Monster, to Daisy. I heard her saying, "no Didi...mine." I have no idea what Daisy was trying to take away from Lilly but this doll didn't know who she was dealing with. In the last few days, Lilly has taken ownership of everything in our house. She took Jim's fork the other night at dinner and claimed it as her own. She'll pick up a coaster from the table when no one's around and say, "no, mine." When she tried to claim Jim's cereal yesterday morning, Jim politely explained to her that actually, nothing in this house is hers. It's all ours and on loan to her, so she should stop calling everything, "mine." Lilly looked intently at Jim, and then took Jim's spoon and said, "no, mine." Clearly, she got the message.

After her nap, when she had finished putting Daisy in her place, Lilly heard me in the hallway. So she started yelling, "Muuummmmmy" a few times over and over again. Then, when that didn't work, I heard, "Muuuuummmm....morning!" She started saying her version of "good morning", as if that let me know she was ready to get up. So, I laughed and went into her room at 4:00 in the afternoon, saying, "good morning." I wasn't going to argue with her. Plus, it's pretty cute.

Lilly got a cut on her finger helping me unpack the dishwasher yesterday, but luckily the Sesame Street bandaids magically made the cut go away. Here's Lilly showing me Abby on her bandaid. In the second one, she's asking me to take a picture of Abby.

She walked around with her finger pointing straight up in the air for the rest of the day and wouldn't use her right hand unless absolutely necessary. She forgot all about her cut until dinner, when she was taking some salad out of the bowl and must have got some vinegar on her cut. She started crying and asking for a new Abby, which solved our problem again. I will now make sure we have Sesame Street bandaids on hand at all times.

I want to write about our weekend with Mum and Dad and my obsession that I have with Greg Laswell after going to see him in NYC on Thursday evening, but those will have to wait until next time because I have to be presentable by 8am today for the plumber's arrival. We're having plumbing issues, which are always fun. Lil loves watching workmen when they come to the house. We had a plumber here yesterday and Lilly watched him the entire time, although she doesn't like to get too close (see picture below). She's going to be thrilled to see that another plumber will be here when she gets up this morning! Oh, the joys of being little.