Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mobile Moments, 5/19-5/25

It's late. It's late. It's late, it's late, it's late! No time to say hello, goodbye. It's late! It's late!

Well, not so late. I've started later. But it's been a long (and beautiful) day, and I've a comfy bed and faithful husband waiting for me upstairs. So, once again, I'll forgo fancy intros to the past week's posts (of which there is only one, anyway), and any further ado.

Eager to see Nana and Papa again (and to have his picture taken).

Not terribly impressed with Delaware this time around.

Varied stages of Car Trip: excited, tired, and bored. (Not pictured: carsick, whining, and crying.)

Miss Yogurtface makes her NJ debut.

Who are these toddlers, and what have they done with my babies?

Abby gets her daily exercise.

Coordinated coloring.

My tiny gentleman offers a hand and escorts his lovely second cousin up the stairs.

Abby gives her newest cousin some loving while he takes his dinnertime bottle.

Overheard this week:

So many things. If only I had the energy to recall them right now. Perhaps I'll do a special post next week to make up for this week's lapse. Vacation... you know how it goes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vacation from Vacation

I often joke about needing a vacation from my vacation on the random occasions that we actually take one. To some degree, I'm always hesitant to take one at all given the amount of planning and packing that are required in preparation, and the mess that always ensues upon our return. Suitcases are hastily dragged inside, usually right around bedtime, and take up residence in their haphazard spots for weeks following as I try to drudge up the energy to empty them of their varied contents and put them away.

Or current, vacation, however, is one that I have been counting the days to. Any chance for a break from the suffocation of the last two weeks was worth whatever it might take to acquire it. A couple of days into it, here we are, blessedly (though all-too-temporarily) free from the discomfort and stress that's been plaguing our leaking home-but-not-so-sweet-home for so long.

I've been determined to appreciate every moment this time around, and have been loathe to even get into old routines, like blogging. However, I thought I'd put in the effort tonight to record a truly memorable day: our first family trip to the American Museum of Natural History.

Abby finally got to see those dinosaur bones we've been talking about for ages (which will sadly now be unavailable for viewing in DC for the next couple of years) and Michael had a grand time taking in all of the sights, from life-sized blue whale replicas to colorful masks lining exhibit walls. As for Mia, this outing marked her very first trip into The City.

We started off our adventure at a Pizzeria Uno in walking distance of the museum. Tom and I learned a few valuable lessons there, one of which was that we should not bother to order any pizza for the kids next time. They hardly ate anything at all, but what they did eat consisted largely of the fries that came with our burgers.

Michael, at least, chugged down his whole glass of milk.

Mia had no interest in being trapped in the very first spot we decided to check into. Certainly, she wasn't about to do it from a booster seat, which I had to take her out of just minutes after snapping the below shot. It was quite the bob-and-weave I had to accomplish, taking bites over a plate pushed just out of her reach as I tried to inhale my burger with minimal dripping on either her or me. In the meantime, she was singularly fixated on the glob of ketchup just at her fingertips, which simply begged to have a tiny finger dipped within.

The museum trip, itself, went far more smoothly. Though Mia was a bit restless on my back, she didn't complain overly much, and Abby and Michael were instantly transfixed by their surroundings. Our first stop, at Abby's request, was to the Ocean exhibit to see the whale. She was not disappointed.

Next up were the dinosaurs, which brought about a pleasing amount of awe and wonder, as well. When we reached him, we stopped to take pictures of the older two with the family favorite: Triceratops.

I made sure to get a picture of this guy, (our second-favorite) as well.

Mia missed out on photo opportunities, as I found myself having to front-carry and nurse her for a time to keep her happy.

Of course, just as she was starting to get with the program again, the other two were reaching the end of their limits. Tom and I decided that we'd start wrapping things up as soon as we got a little leg-stretching out of the way.

Being the appointed guardian of Abby, Mia, and the bags and strollers, I couldn't let Abby wander far, but she managed to get some exploring done all the same.

Michael, on the other hand, got a private tour with Daddy of the entire Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

It was a sad moment when Michael realized he'd have to go back in the stroller to head towards home.

It was an even sadder one when we all realized we'd be spending more time in the car trying to get back to New Jersey than we had in the big city.

Still, worth it. If I ever need reminding, I'll be sure to ask Abby just how big that blue whale was. With her short arms and pint-sized hands she'll stretch as far as she can to show me: "This big!"  Not a moment she'll soon forget. Nor I, for that matter.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mobile Moments, 5/12-5/18

I'm not much in the mood to revisit this past week, and feeling too lazy to actually work in a clever way to include a link to the one post I managed to write. It's been more of the same: long and stifling. I will say that it's been a relief to see all the carpet come out and get dumped to the curb, and has been motivating to come up with a game plan for better waterproofing our basement, but the progress we've made has also served as a reminder for all that we have yet to do. At this point, we're pretty much set to wait out the next few storms and see if Tom's work on the gutters, the driveway, and the soil around the foundation has proved helpful or not. In the meantime, we'll just have to continue to endure the musty smell and unfinished current look of our icky cement-floor basement, and continue to tough it out in the attic bedroom for most of each day.

Thankfully, the weekend brought with it all the joy and fun of a family friend's wedding, and next week promises time away with loved ones in New Jersey. I made a promise to myself that I would leave my camera behind for once and be present for the wedding, curbing that insistent "but" voice with the acknowledgement that there was always my phone available to take a shot or two with. As luck poor planning would have it, my phone died almost as soon as I arrived at the venue, but I did have a chance to capture a few poses granted by my beautiful flower girl before it did so.

Though it was a lovely occasion, it was not without the high stress that lugging three small children around always promises. My realization five minutes into a thirty-minute drive that I had forgotten to sit Abby on the potty after she woke up in the morning (completely dry) and put her in the car without a bathroom break since the night before made for the longest 25 minutes I've experienced in a long while. Though I heard no complaint or even request from the back seat, I had visions of a pretty dress and car seat soaked in urine just minutes before her big debut as Flower Girl.

No such catastrophe occurred, thankfully. Our surprise issues were provided by Michael, instead, who got carsick on the way when he came behind Abby and me with Tom and Mia. Though I'd had the foresight to pack another nice shirt, I did not include another pair of pants, so he ran around looking dashing and dapper in a polo shirt, sport jacket, battered and stained fedora, and striped onesie and socks (with brand-new adorable black loafers).

Though I'm looking forward to our upcoming trip, I've got to say that I'll be doubly paranoid about car puke now that both Abby and Michael have christened their seats with the stuff...

He's been ready for a "big-boy" bed for awhile. But when will Mommy be?

Once Abby has a book memorized, she can take over story time once in awhile.

Mia makes a new friend.

Good times at the wedding rehearsal lunch.

Abby learns the art of spearing penne pasta with a grown-up fork.

All dressed up and feeling a little shy at first, which gives me a perfect view of her pretty hair.

More than ready for the flower girl gig.

Who needs pants when you're this handsome?

Overheard this week:

Between Tom and Abby

(Right after dinner, many incidents after being warned not to touch others' clothing with dirty hands)
T: "Can I have a little hug, too?"
A: "Get ready for a stain on your shirt..."
T: "Why is that?"
A: "Because my hand is dirty."
T: "Ah, was that the plan?"
A: "Yeah, that was the plan."


(Upon hearing Pharrell's "Happy" on the radio): "That's the song that Mei Mei likes to sing all the time."

(To her brother, as he pushes a toy car along the wooden tracks he built): "Cars don't really go on train tracks, Michael... but sometimes they do."

Between Tom and Michael

T: "Michael, did you make a poop?"
M: "Nooo..."
T: "Is there a poop in your diaper?"
M: "Yeah!"


"Please (pease), thank you (tah-oo), one, two, three (thee), four, five (figh), six (sih), seven (se-en), eight (aay), nine (nigh), ten (teh), red, nose, eye, ear, chin"


(In response to Tom's "one," initiating a warning count for Abby): "Two"

"Please (pease), tail, nap (nah), track (taah), pants (paah), nose, eye"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Life in Pictures

I don't pick up my camera as much as I'd like to nowadays. When I do, I'm generally in no mood to take artistic risks; I want my pictures clear and crisp and my shutter speed fast. I keep the settings firmly on auto and rely a little too heavily on my beloved hot flash. So, this weekend, when I pulled the camera back out of hiding and brushed off the dust, I looked at the wealth of light provided by the overcast sky and decided to leave the flash behind. I maxed out the ISO and set the shutter speed as low as I dared for all the activity I was determined to capture.

I'm not sure how I feel about the results. Especially in contrast to the few indoor pictures that I took, flash, auto, and all, most of the shots look grainy and dark to me. At the same time, they seem a bit more "real," somehow, for their flaws. The realness is a boon, easily as it draws me back to those same moments that each photograph captured, rare highlights in a week chock-full of anxiety, mess, and chaos.

The chaos goes on. The once-flooded basement remains unusable, and progress to make it functional once again has been slow. Days spent primarily enclosed in the small upstairs bedroom feel stifling and unendurable. Upcoming major changes to our family weigh heavily on my mind, related worries darkening my thoughts.

But then there are the pictures. Oh, to live in those pictures. All else is forgotten for a time.