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.