Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still Going Strong!

Day 4 of potty training came to an end, and Lilly made it through the whole day accident free...until right after dinner. So things are going well. We've even ventured out of the house yesterday and today. We've been to the mall and then her music class yesterday, where she ran into the room and proudly showed Natasha (the music teacher who she adores), her new undies! And then today, we had breakfast with Liz and Claire in Greenwich and were out and about doing a few things this afternoon...and Lilly is doing great. I'm still asking her if she has to go the bathroom a ridiculous number of times a day, but it's working so I'm going to keep doing it. We've discovered bathrooms in places that I didn't even know had bathrooms, but in the long run, I think that ends up being beneficial for both of us. Lilly also seems to be potty training all of her stuffed animals and dolls. They've each taken a turn sitting on the toilet, which I am continuously scrubbing as I'm aware how much time is being spent there at the moment.

Lilly keeps talking about Friday (or, "hiday," as she says) and how "Daddy go home." So I was saying the days of the week to her when we were having lunch yesterday and she seems to have really caught on. At dinner tonight, she was saying, "Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, Friday...yaaaaaaay!" Jim is going to be so impressed.

It's been a fun and rewarding week--one that I'm going to remember as one of my favorite weeks of being a mum so far, although it would have been even better if Jim were here. Potty training seems to be going well, I've been able to ride on my bike during Lilly's naps, watch dumb girly movies at night and my days start off like this:

Just lounging in her bed, chatting and singing away at the top of her lungs, with no intention of getting out. She just wanted some company! I continue to be impressed daily by how well Lilly is doing, and just when I think she's a little angel, she goes and does something like this:

Now at a first glance, this doesn't look to impressive, although she looks pretty impressed with herself. But, what if I tell you that I left her in her room playing with some toys in the corner, and when I came back to check on her, I found this scene in front of me. Impressive and cheeky at the same time. I couldn't believe that she'd climbed up there by herself...and taken Daisy with her. So I put her back on the ground, knowing that she'd climb right back up and show me how she did it, which she did. She had moved a basket of toys so that she could climb up the shelves on one of the sides of her changing table. Clever and ridiculously dangerous at the same time. So I had a little chat with her and she seemed to understand that she's not allowed to do this again. This happened yesterday, and after those two times, she hasn't done it again. Hopefully that's the last we'll see of that.

March has lived up to its expectations. It's been a great month, and although I'm sad to see it go, I adore April, and this April look pretty promising. The weather should be better (except that it's supposed to snow here tomorrow), Lilly is going to turn two, Carolyn and Jeremy are getting married, we're going down to DC for Easter to see most of my family (although it won't be the same without Ells), Jim and I have our 4th wedding anniversary, and, I turn 30! It's going to be a big month.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 2

I'm back from tutoring (thank you Jamie, for coming over and looking after Lilly) and want to write a quick update on day 2 of potty training. I have to say that I'm so proud of Lilly! When I looked at her today, I kept seeing a little girl. Our little baby is gone, and in her place, we have an almost 2-year-old who can communicate her thoughts and ideas--actually, she communicates pretty much every thought that comes into her head...
all day long--but that's beside the point. I started off yesterday morning with no idea how this whole potty training thing would work out, and at the end of the day today, I can confidently say that it's working! Lilly had one accident all morning, and then NONE this afternoon. We even ventured out of the house this afternoon and went for a walk to the grocery store and to return a few things, and she made it--accident free. Granted, it's a little bit more unrelaxing to go out at the moment. Poor Lilly is probably so sick of me asking her whether she has to go to the bathroom...but it's working so I'll keep doing it. We made two bathroom stops while we were out, and luckily for Lilly, as an avid bathroom goer myself, I know where the bathrooms are in pretty much every place we enter. Even though I was dying to take pictures of Lilly in these bathrooms, I've decided that I have to draw the line somewhere, so the bathroom pictures have stopped. They were just a first day thing. But I can tell you that she was extremely proud of herself for using these bathrooms that weren't her own.

I'm so proud of Lilly. I'm thrilled. And sad. All at once. I can't believe she's old enough to be out of diapers. Every day, in a frame on a shelf above her toys, I see one of my favorite pictures--the picture of Lilly and Jim asleep at the hospital on the day she was born, with more spiky hair than I even remember her having--and I can't believe she's the same little girl. Our little girl. She's a little girl who is old enough to realize that her dad is away for the week, and old enough to be a little bit sad about it. When I took her out of the bath tonight, she said, "Daddy, window? Not yet. Friday." She usually gets out of the bath, into her pajamas, and waits at her bedroom window for Jim to come home so we can all have dinner, but when she went to the window last night and tonight, I had to tell her that Jim's away until Friday. She has no idea when Friday is, but she knows that is when she gets to see her dad again. We've talked to Jim a few times, and each time, she says, "Daddy, go home? Window?" That's Lilly's way of telling Jim to come home. It's hard for me to hear, and I know it's even harder for Jim. I can't wait to see their little reunion on Friday. They definitely have a special relationship. So, Jim, if you're reading this, "go home peese."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Potty Training, Day 1

That's right. The title says it all! Lilly will probably look back one day and be less than thrilled that I'm writing about (and putting up pictures) of her potty training, but that's what parents are for. Today was the first day, of an undetermined number of days, that we started potty training. Definitely an exciting day in our house, and one that I will not easily forget. Jim left this morning for Chicago for the week, so Lilly and I are having a girls' week. What better girls' week activity is there than potty training?! And so far, so good...I think. I don't really know much about potty training. I do know there are so many different methods out there today; one day potty training; 3 day potty training; stress free potty training; toilet training in less than a day; you name it, they have it. I thought about buying a potty training book, but honestly, I started looking on amazon and the sheer number of books was so out of control that I didn't even know where to begin, and most of them sounded like either common sense or nonsense. So I did what I usually do and talked to Mum, a few friends, and am relying on instinct. The one thing I do know is that I don't want to go back and forth between diapers and underwear, so this morning, Lilly started wearing underwear, and she loved every second of it. She kept saying, "undies, like mummy. Undies, mummy?" (meaning, she wants to see my undies too...) I guess it's only natural since she's walking around in her underwear all day! I turned up the heat and decided to forego any pants (for Lilly...I decided that it was better if I keep all my clothes on), and in doing so, saved myself a few loads of washing. I honestly had, and still really don't have, any idea of what to expect. I think she's ready...people keep telling me she's ready...but she's still so little! So I don't have any huge expectations for the week other than to see how it goes. The timing is perfect. It's still cold outside so we'd be inside for most of the day anyway. We don't have a lot going on the next few weeks, but come mid-April, we start to go away quite a bit, so I'd love to see what happens before then.

So far, she goes to the bathroom (almost) every time I sit her on the toilet! The problem is, even if I put her on the toilet every 20-30 min, she still finds time to sneak little accidents in there. When I was telling Jim this today, he said he didn't realize that anyone could go to the bathroom more than me, and until today, I didn't know it was possible either. But Lilly definitely can, hence the 7 or 8 pairs of underwear we went through before nap time. I put a diaper on her for her nap, and then we went back to her undies for the afternoon, and it was a whole different story. She made it until bedtime in ONE pair of undies...from 3:15 until 6:30, when I put her in the bath! Boy did we celebrate. Every time she went to the bathroom, we'd have a huge celebration and she's definitely proud of herself. So now she's asleep for the night, in a diaper, until we start again tomorrow.

Where we spent most of our day, hence the snack...

Lilly and I had a fantastic day. It was one of those days that reminds me how much I love being a mum. It was a strange day to love, given that I spent an inordinate amount of day sitting in our tiny little bathroom talking about undies and using the toilet, so I can't really explain why I loved it, but I did. We played, Lilly sang and was dancing around in her undies all day (see the pictures below), we both had amazing naps (because potty training is exhausting for both parties involved), and then we made pita bread pizzas for dinner and had a picnic dinner (which was Mum's idea, and an ingenious one, because I happen to have a waterproof picnic blanket)! I think we'll be having a lot of picnics this week. Wish us luck! Tomorrow begins DAY 2...

Our picnic dinner!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Catching Up, Part 2

Jim, Lilly and I have spent this week getting back into the swing of things. It's amazing how after only a few days away from Lilly, she's a different little person. I could tell that she spent a week with Mum and Dad. On our first morning back in DC, we got to witness a "typical breakfast," which included raisin toast and the fruit platter that she and Mum shared for breakfast (notice the huge amount of fruit on the plate, along with homemade flowers for Lilly's little table and the sunglasses, because it was a sunny morning):

Then, there were the things that Lilly brought back to Connecticut with her. For example, when she dropped something on the ground the other day, I heard a little, "oh dear" come out of her mouth! She's uttered that same exclamation on multiple occasions this week, causing me to turn around and laugh. When you ask her who says, "oh dear," she says, "Gigi!" Other expressions that she picked up while staying there include, "no, darling," and "yes, darling," both of which are extremely cute coming out of the mouth of such a little person. Only after a week with Mum would Lilly go for a walk and stop and point to some flowers saying, "wook (look) mummy, pansies!" I certainly didn't teach her that. After hearing all these expressions that she picked up, I've found myself being thankful that she spent most of her awake time with Mum rather than Dad. While Dad is an exceptional "Papa," the expressions that come out of his mouth are not always so exceptional. On one occasion last weekend, Dad and I took Lil for a walk while Mum was at a yoga workshop for the day and Jim was watching some of the NCAA tournament. When Lilly turned to us and asked where Jim was, I told her that he was home watching basketball and that we'd see him soon. Dad wanted (but restrained himself) from teaching Lilly to say, "Daddy is sitting on his a$$ watching basketball." So, you can see that I have cause for concern.

On the "exceptional Papa" side of things, Dad created a little Lilly sized broom for her to use outside. While we were there, she'd follow Tess outside and spend endless amounts of time out there sweeping with "Wiwwy's bwoom" (Lilly's broom). She kept calling us and telling us to "wook at me." Even sweeping requires constant chatter.

Our trip to London was just what Jim and I needed. We got to visit Jim's sister, Sarah, and stayed with her in her apartment right by London Bridge. On our first day there, Sarah introduced us to this place that had amazing Fish and Chips...definitely one of the highlights of the trip for us. Our trip highlights always seem to have something to do with food. Anyway, we went back there on the last day, even though it was completely out of the way, because we hadn't stopped thinking about them and knew we needed to have them again before we left. We spent some of our days in London doing touristy things and then other days we went out exploring neighborhoods in the hopes that we have the opportunity to live there (or somewhere else exciting) in the not too distant future. We loved what we saw and realized that we're definitely ready to move on and try something new. It doesn't have to be forever but we would love to live somewhere different and now is a perfect time. We'll see what happens, but our minds are open and ready for change. We had afternoon tea at The Dorchester, and we went and saw Billy Elliott, which was amazing. On our last night there, we went and had dinner with my cousin Sally, and her husband, Mango, who live in Notting Hill. We got to meet their two little ones who are absolutely adorable and we had a fantastic evening chatting and catching up. I don't even know when the last time I saw Sally was, but it was at least 10 years ago. It was a wonderful evening and great end to our trip. We hope to be back soon! We don't really have any pictures from the trip. We decided not to take our big camera and found ourselves walking and chatting instead of taking pictures. Although we did get a really good picture of duck that we thought Lilly might like. Ridiculous, I know. We don't have one of the two of us together but have one of a duck from St. James Park. Sarah took a few of us while we were out so I'll have to get them from her.

It is a really great picture of a duck.

Buckingham Palace

Jim forcing me to be in a picture!

Now back to life in CT. It was a pretty cold week here, but Lil and I managed to get out for a few walks. Since staying with Mum, Lilly wants to walk everywhere. The stroller is simply an accessory. While she was in DC, she and Mum would walk down to center of Columbia Heights every afternoon and go to the grocery store while catching a glimpse of the never-ending sights there. Lilly became obsessed with sirens and helicopters--just a few of the common sights and sounds present in Columbia Heights. Whenever a car drove by blaring loud music, Lilly would stop walking and start dancing on the sidewalk, usually to some kind of rap music. And the tough guys driving those cars or walking by with their pants around their knees, who had faces that didn't look like they were capable of smiling, would always stop and smile and wave at her. Mum and Dad were telling us about it and then Jim and I got to witness it. It's really amazing. As Dad says, Lilly seems to bring out such a hopeful side of people. She's so innocent and loves chatting to everyone...dogs included. So how can you not stop and smile at her?

Here are a few pictures from our walks this week. Lilly always wants to find a stick to break to just her size (something else that Papa would do for her), and then she uses it as a walking stick. I've been so impressed with how far she walks! Granted, it takes us close to 30 minutes instead of 10 to walk to the grocery store, but she loves it and we both enjoy the fresh air.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching Up

Where do I even begin? Jim's 30th birthday...Citizen Cope...London...time in back in CT...things have been busy, hence the lack of blog. I've also been really bad about taking pictures (all the pictures from this and the past few blogs have been taken with my phone), but hopefully as the weather improves, I'll start taking more again. I feel like there are only so many pictures I can take inside our little condo, and it feels like we've been inside forever! The snow (yes, that's right, snow) that continued all day Monday and then again today, doesn't help. It's supposed to be spring, and it's still snowing (see the picture from Monday...snowing but not really sticking because it wasn't even was slush, which is even more gross).

I've done my fair share of complaining about the weather (just ask Jim), but putting that aside, we've had a fantastic few weeks. We went back to the City Winery in NYC to see Citizen Cope. He was definitely a strange guy who loved his glass of scotch as much as he loved singing, but his music is amazing and to hear him in such a small venue was perfect. We had a great time with Jerry, Mel and Brien, but I think we realized after another late night out in the middle of the week, that we are old...and that going to bed at 1:30 in the morning takes its toll on us for the rest of the week. Edward would have a field day with this; he always makes fun of our early bedtimes and "crazy" weekends, but it's true. I think we just have different ideas of what is fun now, and they're very different than what was fun for us in college. Early bedtimes are fun. So are weekends where we have no plans but to spend time at home, enjoying our little family. Nights where I don't tutor are fun; when we put Lilly to bed at 6:30 and then are sitting on the couch watching a movie together only to realize that it's not even 7:00. I love mornings when we get up early, go to the gym, and then get back into bed and sleep for another hour before Lilly wakes up. Aaaaah....the life of a 30 and 29-year old (I love reminding Jim that he's 30 and I'm still 29...for another whole month! He loves it when I talk about still being in my twenties...)

We celebrated Jim's 30th birthday by driving down to DC, which was great because Jim took the day off work so we got to spend the day together! Lilly was thrilled when she realized that she could keep singing, "Happy Birthday to Daddy" over and over again to Jim all day. It was really special to hear such a little person wishing her dad a happy birthday and even Jim, who tends to not be too thrilled at the prospect of his birthday, couldn't help but smile. A little bit of the specialness wore off when Lilly started singing, "Happy Birthday" to Spot, Daisy, Winnie the Pooh...all her little friends. I don't think she quite understands the concept of a birthday yet, although when you ask her how old she's going to be soon, she proudly says, "TWO" and tries to hold up two fingers but really holds up four or five. She can't quite work out how to just hold up two fingers yet. Apparently, that's an acquired skill. So we all spent the day together and ended up in DC, where Mum made an amazing dinner which included an asian pasta, a birthday pavlova (which is Jim's favorite Australian dessert--is there even another one?!) and Jim ended the day lying on the couch having caught a stomach bug from Lilly. There's a great 30th birthday present for you. (This bug passed to Mum and Dad while we were in London, so each of them felt terrible for a good 48 hours. Exactly how you want to feel when you've got an almost-two-year-old-who-won't-stop-talking staying with you).

When we arrived in DC, Dad gave Lilly a present that he'd been so excited about since his visit up to us in CT. While Mum and Dad were here, Jim built Lilly a tent one morning, and Dad said it reminded him of Lilly's Lebanese heritage (well, really Mum's Lebanese ancestry which he likes to bring up all the time, reminding Mum how lucky she is that he rescued her from being a rug trader for the rest of her life...a very worldly view, I know, but one that resurfaces frequently). Anyway, Dad said that Lilly was missing a little rug and a camel from her tent. The rug is still in the works. The camel was purchased instantly, named Latoof, and was waiting for Lilly in DC. So, the brainwashing began and Latoof, or as Lilly says, "Watoof" quickly became an integral part of Lilly's life. Upon our arrival back in CT, we can't go anywhere without taking Lilly's
one, Spot and Latoof. Lilly shows Latoof to everyone and says, "Watoof, Papa give," which I interpret to mean that this is Latoof, who Papa gave her. She loves this camel! She loves him so much that when she brought him home, she dressed him (and Spot and her koala, Kira) up in Mrs. Potato Head's glasses.

Jim and I had an amazing time in London (which I will write about) and it was made even better knowing that Lilly was in such great hands. We returned on Thursday evening to see Lilly sitting at her little table (complete with flowers that she'd decorated with Gigi) having dinner. She was so excited to see us this time, unlike last year when we came back from Italy and she didn't want to let go of Mum. She kept saying, "Mummy and Daddy" over and over again and followed us around everywhere. It was really sweet and we were just as excited to see her as she was to see us. One of the great things about going on vacation and leaving our little one at home is that it makes come back from a trip exciting. Once we left London, we couldn't wait to walk in the door and see our little Lilly. Everyone asks us what it's like leaving Lilly for a week and as much as we absolutely adore her, Jim and I decided last year after Italy that we need a week to ourselves each year. Leaving her the first time was the hardest, but we knew that she was having a fantastic time with her grandparents and so we enjoyed the time as just the two of us again. As Mum and Dad remind us, our relationship has to always come first. We will love Lilly to death and we couldn't imagine our life without her, but our little family started 10 years ago (yes...really 10 years!) when Jim and I started dating in college, and it will continue in 16 or so years when Lilly goes off to college and it will be just the two of us again. The only way for us to raise a happy family is to continue to have a strong relationship; one in which we love being together as much today as we did when we first started dating. And this takes work, especially with a little one around. So when things get really busy, we remind each other that we need to find time for ourselves. Sometimes it's just a quiet night or weekend. And once a year, it's an amazing trip. London was just that, as was Italy last year. Next time, we're going to go to a beach...and do absolutely nothing! And there will definitely be a next time. I'm already looking forward to it.

Here are a few pictures taken after we came back. This is the park where Mum took Lilly to play. Lilly's favorite toy to play on was the fire truck, which apparently was Jim's favorite toy too.

Mum is bigger, but not by much!

The side view was great...knee and head sticking out...but Jim sat and played here for a good half hour.

I love the little girl looking at Jim.
Her expression says, "who is this giant person and why is he playing in toy meant for little people??"

That's all for tonight. But I have lots more to write about from London and DC. It's just time for this 29-year old to head to bed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Walk, Joseph and Elephants

I love March already! It was sunny and warm(er) today, so Lilly and I spent the morning outside. We went for a walk and wandered in and out of a few stores, then ended up downtown for lunch. We were almost home, just in time for Lilly's nap, when I realized that I couldn't find my phone so we turned around and walked all the way back, retracing our steps. After not having much luck, I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to get a new phone. I tried CVS, the last place we went, and they had my phone at the pharmacy. A man had found it in an aisle and given it to them. Amazing! I knew this was going to be a good month! They apologized profusely, as they texted the last person I had texted, which just so happened to be Joseph (alarm bells went off in my head when they told me this. Joseph has been known to enjoy...what's the word...
annoying people). Luckily, when I re-read the texts, he had been helpful in this case. I thanked them for trying to find me and we walked home, only to find this email waiting for me:


Your iPhone is apparently lost. I received this text:

"Hi this is cvs pharmacy the owner of this phone dropped it and we'd like to return it..pls let her know it's at cvs on 11 forest st in Stamford..thanks"

I let Jim know as well. They'll be holding it for you! I expect a finder's assistance fee.


Yep, that's more like Joseph. Help with a catch :)

Joseph was the last person I had texted because of a great message I received from him this morning. He sent me a video of himself, on his way to work, when the "Elephants Balancing" song, from Playschool, came on in his car.

There was something so priceless about seeing Joseph in his suit and tie, on his way to work, listening to a song about elephants balancing on a piece of string. This song was on his iPod from our Christmas playlist--it was one of Lilly's songs. So now, he has the pleasure of it randomly coming on when he listens to his iPod. Lilly watched the video over and over and over again and kept saying, "Joef, eyefants" (Joseph, elephants) and we both laughed every time. Watching this video was a great way to start the day.

Our morning out was followed by looooong naps. Lilly slept for three hours and I slept for two, which made for a short afternoon! She didn't get up until 4:30. Parker and Jamie came over for a little while, which is always fun, and then it was time to make dinner. Jim, Lil and I had dinner, Jim put Lilly to bed, and now Jim and I have a night at home, with NO tutoring! I'm pretty excited about that. Thank you, March, for starting off with a day like today. I'm looking forward to the weeks ahead.