Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...Who is the Most Stubborn One of All?

Stubborn. Opinionated. Strong willed. Determined. I'm not sure which of these I'd pick to best describe Lilly at the moment. At any moment of any day over the past few weeks, one of these words has been applicable. Not like there was any doubt she was going to be stubborn. After all, look at her dad. And I guess, occasionally, her Mum. We are both stubborn, strong-willed, determined and opinionated, so it's no surprise that Lilly is as well. Lately, it just seems to be magnified. It might have something to do with the fact that she's so little with such strong opinions. Or the fact that she doesn't yet know how to keep any opinion to herself, so anything she thinks come straight out of her mouth. Whatever the reason, Lilly is making her opinions known. See exhibit A.

And exhibit B.

Since we came back from DC a few weeks ago, Lilly has decided that she doesn't want to lie down in her bed. So, she goes to sleep sitting up. Sometimes, she gives in before she falls asleep and lies down, but just as often, Jim or I have to go in and lie her down before we go to bed. Why the sudden urge to sit up in bed? I think it is just a way to assert her independence. If only she could see the irony in the situation. Lilly thinks that she wins because she goes to sleep sitting up. In reality, Jim and I win because a) she goes to sleep and b) she stays in her bed...just sitting up in her bed. Then, when she wakes up, she does the same thing she used to do in her crib--she lounges and asks us to lie on her bed with her. She rolls around with her stuffed animals and plays under her sheets. It's the going to bed part that has become more of a production than it used to be with her crib. The adjustment to a bed is taking some time, and since we're traveling so much at the moment, she hasn't had more than a few days in a row to get used to it before we're off to somewhere else and she's sleeping in the pack 'n play again. But after we get back from the lake next week, we have a couple of weeks at home. I'm glad we moved Lilly to her bed plenty of time before this baby is born because I think it is a big adjustment for her. Adjustment or no adjustment, the stubbornness is undeniable. Which leads me to...

A donkey. The only living creature who is more stubborn than Lilly. Well, maybe my Mum (who as Dad points out, has her Lebanese heritage to thank for her strong will).

Stubbornness aside, I'm beginning to realize more and more that condo living is just not for us. We need our own space. We don't need a lot of space, but it just has to be our own. Lilly adores being outside and would spend every waking moment playing in her water table or drawing with chalk or blowing bubbles. Unfortunately, the neighbors' girls' (who are 4 and 7) adore Lilly and every time they see her walk outside, they come running over and want to play. While I love the fact that Lil is so happy to play with them, I think it's really important that Lilly play by herself sometimes. And those times are few and far between at the moment, as the girls are out of school but not yet in summer camp. They even came over last night when Lilly was helping Jim grill outside, and as you can imagine, Jim doesn't think too fondly of the whole situation. When he comes home at night, it's our family time. If this continues every time we walk outside, I'm going to have to say something to their mom. I'm not one for confrontations so the whole thought of it makes me cringe, but it's starting to get out of hand. And they're not the nicest girls; the way they speak to each other is horrible; the way they speak to their parents is even worse. I know how much and how quickly Lilly absorbs things, and I do not want her picking up these girls' behaviors. It makes me nervous for the years ahead when Lilly will be off at school with children who I know I'd rather her not be around. But it also makes me thankful. Thankful that I have these years, when she is so little, to control who she's around on a daily basis, thereby allowing her own little personality to flourish.

Alright. That's enough for today! I'm enjoying my new lounge chair outside while Lilly is asleep, and I'm going to finally finish reading
Chesapeake, by James Michener. It's an amazing historical fiction saga that takes place in, you guessed it, the Chesapeake region, that I've been reading for ages now. I took a couple of months off when tutoring was especially busy, but am coming into the home stretch. So I'm going to take advantage of the sun, the quiet, my iced coffee and my lounge chair on this last day of June. Another month has flown by, which means it's time to head up to the Lake this weekend to celebrate the 4th of July! Have I mentioned that I love summer?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Wells" is Home!

I love summer. I never get sick of the heat and wish for it to start snowing again. I could do without the humidity (and so could my hair), but that hasn't been too bad so far this year. I've decided that I even like being pregnant better in the summer. When I was really pregnant with Lilly, it was the middle of winter and I had to wear all these big, bulky maternity clothes that just made me feel huge. Not that I don't feel huge this time, but it's easier to feel cute and pregnant when you're wearing sun dresses and skirts and tank tops. I might change my mind come August, but for now, I'll take a summer pregnancy. After all, what choice do I have?

After our first wedding of the summer, we spent a week in DC while Ellie was home from Guatemala. She was back in the country for the first time in six months so we jumped at the opportunity to see her. She heads back tomorrow for an undetermined amount of time. If it's another six months, then we won't see her again until Christmas, but there has been talk of a return visit mid-October after this baby is born, which we're rooting for. While we were down in DC, we celebrated Dad's last day of work at the World Bank, and his "retirement." It doesn't seem appropriate to say that Dad is retiring. In fact, I think his Ironman training coach put it perfectly. On Dad's training calendar for his last week, his coach put his regular workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Thursday, Dad's first day without work, he wrote, "First day as a Pro Triathlete." Most people retire when they want to relax and spend more time doing
nothing. Dad is retiring so he can spend 30 hours a week on his bike. Cue day one of Dad's retirement--working on his bike with a little helper.

From the basement, we overheard this conversation:

Lilly: "What's this Papa?"
Dad: "It's a very important bike tool. You use it to put on tires."
Lilly: "Oooh. I need this screwdriver, Papa, like Daddy's."
Dad: "You can play with the screwdrivers. Just be careful."

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

Dad: "Sorry, Lilly. We don't bang on my spokes with a screw driver. I think it's time to put them away."

All of us upstairs heard the stomping of a little toddlers footsteps, and Lilly emerged from the basement a few minutes later, clearly unhappy to learn that screwdrivers and spokes do not mix. Dad and Lilly had a few good bike cleaning/fixing sessions. Lilly helped Dad clean his chain and helped him put new tires on the wheels that Dad himself made a few weekends ago. I wonder when she'll do her first Ironman...

Lilly had a great time in DC, as always. She has her little routines there. She helps Papa or Gigi feed Tess breakfast and dinner; she follow Tess around telling her how cute she is and giving her scratches, or Judy, or her
one; she's always up for watering the garden or picking lettuce with Gigi; she knows the walk to downtown Columbia Heights. The walk was made even more exciting this time by the discovery that one of the houses along the way is home to a bunny, Geronimo, who roams in and out of the house at his discretion. We saw Geronimo, and his owners (who seemed to be sitting outside drinking beer constantly), quite often.

Fitting right into the neighborhood. Just helping Gigi water the garden wearing her pajamas and tutu.

Carrying her granola bar above her head so Tess can't reach it. This was fantastic entertainment for both of them for a good half hour!

Lilly covered Tess with her one, while Tess was asleep. Tess is so old that she doesn't even flinch when Lilly does things like this anymore. I bet if she could, she would roll her eyes.

I walked into the kitchen to find this; two of Lilly's favorite things, Tess and Judy spending time together.

As I mentioned, this trip to DC was planned knowing that Ellie would be home. Ells, or "Wells" as Lilly called her, quickly became Lilly's best friend. Lilly kept walking up to Ellie, taking her hand, and saying things like, "come on, Wells, let's go outside and _________." (Insert any word you want here: dig, play, go for a walk, water the plants, draw with chalk, play with play-doh... You name it, Wells and Lilly did it).

"Watching" 101 Dalmations on Ellie's first morning in DC. Ellie got in at 4am. Lilly was up at 7. What a perfect way to spend the morning!

Ellie's drawing of Elmo is pretty amazing!

I love seeing Ellie and Lilly together. In my mind, Lilly is a smaller version of Ellie, but as an oldest child instead of a third child. They think alike, have extremely strong opinions, and you don't want to get on either of their bad sides. Ellie is the perfect Godmother for Lilly (aside from the whole religious aspect...) The two of them colored and played with play-doh together for hours. The watched "moomies" together. They read "Princess Baby" together--the book that Ellie gave Lilly when she was only weeks old, not knowing how appropriate it was going to be or how much Lilly was going to adore it. I'm not sure who likes the book more...Ellie or Lilly! Ellie made Lilly squeal with laughter like I have never heard. Dad called it the Fakhry squeal--apparently it runs in Mum's side of the family and I have to say that it was seriously ear piercing. How did I know that Ellie would bring that squeal out of Lilly? Ellie also knew exactly how to press Lilly's buttons. One afternoon when I was making smoothies, I asked Lilly if she wanted one and for some reason, she really didn't, and she felt pretty strongly about it. Ellie picked up on this and started asking Lilly over and over again if she wanted a "hoomie" (Lilly's word for smoothie), and every time, Lilly got so worked up over it. Ellie was in hysterics. It was just like when Edward was little. And of course, Ellie gave Lilly another haircut. Her last one was when we last saw Ells in Florida so she was well overdue. Lilly was a bit less patient this time but amazingly, her hair came out looking so cute. As Ellie was cutting her hair, I told Lilly that her hair was getting so blond from the sun, and she said, "no, my hair's beautiful, not blond." Yes, definitely a little Ellie. I can see that Ellie and Lilly are going to have a special relationship as Lilly grows up. The whole drive home, Lilly kept asking where Ells was and has since said hundreds of times that she wants to play with Ells again.

Playing with the spray bottle to keep her entertained

And now the scissors?! This definitely does not look safe.

We celebrated Father's Day down in DC, and Lilly was very excited to give Jim his present and to open it with him. Amidst the confusion of yet another celebration, Lilly began the day by wishing Jim a Happy Birthday. Once she learned that it was "Happy Father's Day" instead, that became her slogan for the day.

Helping with the iPod

A Father's Day hug

"I'm not quite so sure what this funny looking helmet is, but it has a buckle and I loooove buckles!"

A little Father's Day dance

Now, whenever Lilly sees Jim's aero helmet, whether he's at home or at work, Lilly points to it and says, "Happy Father's Day, Dad!"

And the rest of our stay in DC went something like this:

Lilly adored Ellie's infamous head, created in a pottery class in Singapore that has traveled around the world with Mum and Dad. Lilly and Ells gave the head a bath multiple times.

Dancing to "Forget You" with Papa. Still her all-time favorite song!

She's got pretty good moves!

Driving back to Connecticut, with Judy on her shoulders.

One's in her mouth, which means it must be nap time.

It was a great week in DC; one that went by too quickly. We hope that Ells comes back before Christmas as six months is an awfully long time to go without seeing someone that you love. I love spending time with my sister; Jim with his third-child-partner-in-crime; and Lilly, with her Godmother.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Start of Summer

This time three years ago, Jim and I were in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, settling in and getting ready to race our first Ironman. We had spent six months training and were ready for race day. It's quite a different picture three years later, in 2011. Instead of being in the best shape of my life, I'm six months pregnant. Even though I'm one of those crazy people who loves being pregnant, it's certainly as far away from "Ironman Shape" as you can get. Well, actually, check in with me in 3 months--that's about as far away as I'll get. While I'm steadily gaining weight, Jim is in full Ironman training mode and is returning to his peak level of fitness. Come Ironman Wisconsin, Jim will be in as good a shape as he was for his first Ironman, if not better. While I certainly miss parts of our Ironman training together, I know what's in store for us in the next few months and am filled with more excitement than nostalgia.

Asking Jim about his rainy Saturday morning "bike moomie" (a less than exciting 3 hour ride over the Ironman Wisconsin course)

We have weddings of good friends, and trips to Boston, the Lake, DC, and Wisconsin. We have summer weather which means lots of time running around outside at parks, the pool and the beach.

And so far, even though June is flying by, it's been filled with fun. Mum came up for a weekend and looked after Lilly while Jim and I went to a wedding in NYC. I had not envisioned being quite so pregnant at my first black tie wedding but it ended up being a lot of fun.

24 weeks pregnant!

While Mum was here, Lilly was very excited to take her to a music class, where they sang "Hello to Gigi," and then "so long, farewell to Gigi" causing Mum and Lilly to giggle both times. Mum's visit also included a trip to the Big Apple Circus. This was the circus that produced the picture I've referred to a million times; the one where Lilly was amazed by a poodle walking on his hind legs:

This is as close as we got to that this year. Still amazed by the dogs, just a little bit older.

Lilly was laughing and clapping at the clown, the horses, the dogs and the goats. She's told just about everyone she sees that she went to the circus and saw "one clown, dogs, baby horses and goats, and a swing." Just like last year, she was most in awe at the animals, which put on an even better show this time. The goats and dogs rode around on the horses and the dogs seemed to be a step up from the poodles of last year.

Mum looking after Lilly and Stella during intermission

Stella enjoying her first swedish fish!

Lilly really wanted to pat the horses

She was not impressed with the acrobat below, and kept covering her eyes. Or maybe she just couldn't look in case he fell! Either way, it was the only act that caused this reaction!

We finished off the evening with pizza and playing at our place.

When I uploaded all the pictures so far from June, I decided it was too much to write about in one blog, so I'm saving our trip down to DC for next time. But I'll end with this picture from yesterday. It was storming outside so it was the perfect day for arts and crafts, while we skyped with Ells and Dad. Lilly made Jim a card using stamps, markers, stickers--Ariel stickers in particular, as we watched The Little Mermaid while we were in DC and Lilly currently adores Ariel. Lilly also had her first experience with glitter glue, hence the reason she's a "nuny nuny." Let's just say it was interesting...and there was glitter everywhere!