Thursday, May 29, 2014

Part II and Randomness

I'm finishing up the "Last Saturday's Adventure" post.  In case I'm making this confusing (I know I am), this particular adventure occurred Saturday, May 17th.  I still need to catch you up on what we did Memorial Day weekend.  I'll get there!

Anyway, here are the pictures from Chet's phone that I wanted to include.  First we visited the "Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence" and fed the ducks and geese.  (Click here if you want to read a little bit more about this memorial.)  The girls had a blast feeding the ducks and baby geese (goslings?).  The babies were especially eager to eat white bread from 7-Eleven, and nipped the girls' fingers a few times.

Bubby slept.

After the ducks were full we walked The Ellipse to see the south lawn of the White House, which gave us the chance to try to explain "The President" to Sydney (not easy).

Chet and I took a selfie:
This past Tuesday two exciting things happened: 1) Chet's and my newest nephew was born and 2) a neighbor (who I had never met) asked if I was another neighbor's new Au pair.  I'm going to go ahead and assume she asked because I look so darling and young, and not perhaps because she was upwards of 70-years old and possibly didn't have the best eyesight.
Yesterday a disturbing thing happened: a bird flew into our house via the porch, and found its way down into the basement.  I called Chet, then a pest control company, then was waiting for someone at 1-800-CRITTER to pick up the phone, when the bird found its way out of the basement and flew out kitchen window.  Lorelei and I were both freaked out (it was in the house for about 15 minutes); thankfully Syd was at school and Bubby was napping.  And as if the sheer trauma of it all wasn't enough, I had to hunt for and clean up the bird droppings it left us to remember him by.  Turd (literally).
Remember back in this blog post when I said I couldn't for the life of me remember where the first two pictures were taken?  Well, Papa Greg did some research and has the answer:
The building is the National Archive Building and houses the U.S. Constitution. The statue in front of the same building has the inscription “The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.” A fitting theme for this great family day of learning about America.
Thank you, Papa Greg!  Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

I'm so thankful for a day dedicated to the remembrance of the men and women who gave their lives in service to this great country. Their sacrifices mean that today, in 2014, we enjoy a day off work and barbecue. As long as we remember the reason for and meaning behind Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day, and established after the Civil War in order to honor the lives of the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers), days off work and barbeques are fine and dandy!

Chet actually had Friday off work, as well as today, so we've enjoyed our 4-day weekend. We started the day off early (thank you, Ford); Chet and the girls picked up a breakfast treat from Dunkin Donuts and were home by 8 a.m. After Ford woke up from his morning nap (which started at 7 a.m...lawdy, boy), we all packed up and headed to Home Depot. Our goal was to buy lumber and hardware for Chet to build a small swing set in the backyard, but they didn't carry any such hardware in the store (just online). So we bought a rake, after I swooned over the washers and dryers. It was 10:30 a.m. by the time we were getting back into the car to head back home (I can't believe I'm still awake now to type this).

We ate lunch and played outside until it was time for Lorelei and Ford to take a nap. Chet and Syd went back to Home Depot, where Chet bought plywood to build the girls a play house (something he had been thinking of doing, just not necessarily this weekend). That took up the rest of the day, and we grilled chicken and ate dinner on the porch. The girls had chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and blueberries for dessert (Chet and I may have had more than one Lofthouse sugar cookie from the grocery store bakery for dessert...and I could totally go for another...).

We're a little behind schedule tonight, getting the kids settled and in bed. I'm going to be confused all week since we had Monday off, but that's okay.

I don't have a picture of the playhouse; I'll take one tomorrow. Here are a couple of other pictures though.

Lorelei enjoying a free donut hole at Dunkin Donuts while they waited for our to-go order. The girls had sugar, and only sugar, for breakfast. Yum.

Red, white, and blue:

They love him (not sure why the girls decided to wear bracelets around their ankles today):

Bubby, asleep in the car after Home Depot. He looks like he's only pretending:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Last Saturday's Adventure

need to catch up on my "adventure" posts! I will probably post twice about this particular adventure, because there are pictures of it from my phone and Chet's--and I do things the difficult way by e-mailing the pictures to myself, saving them to the computer, then posting them on the blog (and I just don't feel like going through all of that right now--right now I'm taking the sort of easy way out by posting directly from my phone). I prefer not to plug my phone into the computer to upload the pictures, because then all of Chet's apps that I don't have show up on my phone, and I just don't need three different apps that tell me the current wind speed in Bermuda.

Anyway, last Saturday we took a short, sweet adventure into DC, where we visited the "Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence" and fed the ducks and geese, then walked about half of The Ellipse to see the White House South Lawn (President Obama's backyard, if you will).

Instead of taking the Metro, we drove to an area where there is usually available parking on weekends (because people who usually park there are not at work on a weekend). We parked near the Department of the Interior building, changed Bubby's diaper, and set off.

Syd is a ham, and Lorelei was cold:

It seems I accidentally put a filter on my phone's camera, but I think it made the pictures kind of snazzy:
Chet said, "Nice diaper in the background," of this picture, but I wanted to document the actual diaper change. I mean, who wouldn't?!?!

The girls had a blast feeding the ducks and geese. I think Syd ate half the loaf of 7-Eleven white bread herself though.

I'm going to have to stop here, because Chet has the rest of the pictures, and I want to include a couple of links for you (something I haven't figured out how to do on my phone yet).

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Syd, according to my iPhone

I have so many random picture on my phone, none of which deserve a blog post their own. So I'll do a post for each of the kids "according to my iPhone."

Syd LOVES to hold Ford. It's actually quite helpful.

She was pooped after school and gymnastics one day. She had also received her 4-year old shots the day before, so that probably had something to do with it.

Wingnut. That is all. (She'll probably fit into the Bumbo the longest of all my children, skinny-wise. No matter that she is the oldest. I had better learn to sew, because I think she's going to need very skinny and very long jeans when she is older. Hopefully short jeans will still be in style then.)

The carnation in the cup was from Sydney to me for Mother's Day, which she gave me at her school's Mother's Day Tea (it was really sweet). Besides that, I liked how this silhouette turned out. That is our backyard, looking out our kitchen window.

Yesterday Lorelei, Ford, and I attended an end-of-year singalong and picnic at Syd's school (next week is the last week). Here is her class singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." 

Here she is at the picnic. Her lunch consisted of potato chips, that juice pouch, and a Popsicle.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bubby Joe (4-Months Old)

Let me explain the title of this post before I go any further.

A few weeks ago I took Syd to the doctor to get a school/camp physical.  Since we are new here, and her pediatrician hadn't officially "seen" her yet, his greeting to us when he walked into the room was, "Sydney Jo!  I've never had a Sydney Jo before!  Where did you get that name?"  (His comments/question were totally good-natured -- I love this new pediatrician.  He loves children, and makes you feel as if your kids are his favorite patients.)  Sydney wasn't sure how to answer that, other than grinning like a fool (I mean that in the kindest, most loving way), so I told him that she was named after her grandma, Dixie Jo.  He asked where Dixie Jo lived, and I didn't let him down with my answer: Texas.  Because a lady named Dixie Jo belongs in Texas, not somewhere squirrely, like Maine.  (Maine is not squirrely.  I love Maine.  But Dixie Jo fits in better in Texas.)

Then, Dr. P asked Sydney what her brother's name was.  Her answer: Bubby.  (I'm a little afraid that this nickname is going to permanently stick.  Ford will be writing "Bubby W." on his papers at school, and "Bubby" on the line where it asks if you prefer to go by anything other than your given name.)  Anyway, Dr. P immediately retorted, "Bubby Joe?!"  We all had a good laugh about that, and Chet laughed too when I relayed the story to him later that evening.

Anyway, here is Bubby's, er, Ford's, 4-month picture:
4-Months Old
Here's the 3-month picture for comparison:

Not a drastic difference (other than losing the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look), but he's definitely older and wiser one month later.
And here are a few more for your enjoyment:
Sticker Application

Sticker Inspection

Flapping (sticker approval?)

Looking at the Camera

Looking at Chet (wondering why Daddy is snapping his fingers in the direction of the camera)
Finally, a captured smile!

Ford's well-baby appointment went fine.  It was scheduled for May 5th, the day he turned 4-months old.  He weighed 14 lbs 7 oz and measured 25.4 inches.  He had a bit of a dip in weight (he didn't actually lose weight, he was just a little below his own growth curve), and a spike in length.  He's in the 45th percentile for weight, and the 73rd percentile in length.  His head circumference is also in the 73rd percentile, up from the 68th percentile (I told you he was wiser).

I waited until Sydney and Lorelei were 6-months old to start feeding them "solid" food (although we all know that baby food is anything but solid).  However, my mother's intuition was telling me Ford needed to start earlier (as in, immediately).  Dr. P gave me the go-ahead, and Ford had rice cereal that very night.  He did so well; it was as if he'd been eating from a baby spoon for years.  He's since added bananas, apples, peas, sweet potatoes, prunes, and pears to his diet.  And a little bit of watered down apple juice, because all that rice cereal and bananas stopped things up for a while (too much information?).

Here are some more Ford facts, in no particular order:
--He sleeps in his crib, on his back in the sleep suit.  I ordered him a blue one (in addition to the pink), so now he has two.
--Lately he wakes up three times a night, which feels like a lot to a tired mama.  However, he goes right back to sleep after nursing.  However, if he wakes up soon after I put him back down, I transfer him to the swing (he has a small baby swing -- one that sits low to the floor, and doesn't take up much more room than a bouncy seat -- in his room).  I think he will be a belly sleeper once he figures out how to roll over, because he just doesn't seem entirely comfortable flat on his back.
--Speaking of rolling over, he doesn't.  He can scoot around on his back, but I need to work with him a little more on rolling.  I don't give him tons of time on the floor, so not knowing how to roll is partly my fault.  As long as he walks into his kindergarten class on his own accord, I'm not worried.
--He takes several naps a day, but not at specific times (it's hard to have a strict schedule when you have two other children hanging around).  My rule of thumb is to put him down two hours after he last woke up.  Sometimes it feels like there is always someone sleeping around here (except for Chet and me).  A car nap also suffices as a nap, so sometimes I plan to run an errand right as he's getting tired.
--I think he's been teething for two months.  My children tend to get teeth early, and I would be pretty happy if all of his drooling and hand gnawing would result in a tooth or two.
--He LOVES books.  He flaps his arms like a crazy man when we read to him.  He's so smart.  I'm calling Harvard right now.
--He's easy going, not that he has a choice.
--He's also a little high maintenance, if it's possible to be both easy going and high maintenance.  He's high maintenance in that he loves to be held.  Which is fine, because he's fun to hold (albeit a little heavy).

I think that's it for now.  We love you Ford Bubby Alan (which is what Sydney truly thinks is his full name)!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Weeks Ago...

Has it already been three weeks since I wrote this post, telling you we were headed into DC for an adventure?  Time flies...

I'll go ahead and tell you about it then!  With pictures!

But first, let me say that we had another DC adventure just this morning.  I will not post pictures now, because that will send me over the edge, what with all the pictures from three weeks ago that I am about to post, but I will say that this morning's adventure was short and sweet.  Chet got some advice yesterday from our next-door-neighbor regarding a good place to park (rather than taking the Metro), so we parked in front of the Department of the Interior building, and headed to a park with a pond and fed ducks and geese.  Then we walked to the area where you can view the back "yard" of the White House.  And that was it!  We were gone a little over two hours, and it was a perfect Saturday morning outing.

Okay, so back to three weeks ago...

We loaded up my diaper bag and Chet's backpack, brought two strollers and two baby carriers, and caught a Metro bus a block from our house just before 10 a.m.  We rode the bus to a Metro rail station, then took the rail into DC.  Obviously, riding the bus and the rail was half the adventure.

Ford (Bubby) fell asleep before we even got to the rail station:

Chet and I were scared to death one of the girls was going to take a flying leap onto the tracks:

Our mission was to visit the Museum of Natural History.  I love that all of the museums are free.  This two-year DC tour is such an amazing opportunity to (semi-cheaply) immerse ourselves in culture and history.  It was a short walk to the museum from the rail station, and I cannot remember any details about this building or statue, but I think the pictures are pretty:

The museum was crowded, but not unbearable.  We started out by eating lunch in one of the museum's several cafes, which served amazing, and amazingly expensive, food.  It was worth it though.
With a four- and two-year old, you don't get to spend much time reading about the exhibits.  Instead, it's like a parenting challenge, where your mission is to protect the exhibits from your climbing children and to prevent Lorelei from photobombing other family's photos (which she did).  (In case you aren't familiar with the term "photobomb" click here.)

The Hope Diamond
 There was a hands-on children's area in the museum that Chet and the girls spent quite a while in.  Bubby and I hung out just outside this area, guarding the strollers, making friends with foreigners who were drawn to Bubby like moths to a flame, and looking at the nearby African American History and Culture exhibit.  At one point I looked through the window into the children's area and saw Chet filling out something on a clipboard.  His text a few minutes later told me, "Syd is doing a touch screen study with GW [George Washington University] researchers."  Well.

Not so sure anymore after a minute...
The trip home was a little more eventful than the trip into the city, because we had to wait longer between rail stations and at the bus stop.  Lorelei was wired on the rail, because apparently NOT napping is some sort of stimuli for her:

Syd was pooped though (as was Bubby, who was napping in the baby carrier strapped to my chest):

Despite the long wait at the bus station for the final leg of our trip, the girls were well behaved and kept themselves entertained: 

The moment we walked through our front door that late afternoon, Chet and I turned on the TV for the girls and had a beer.  It was a good day, but quite exhausting.  I think letting three weeks pass between adventures into the city was a smart move on our part.
Happy Saturday!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I started this post Tuesday, and will hopefully finish it today (Thursday).  I'll blame another blogging slump on my desire to read library books (What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty is especially good right now).

Pollen is making its mark (literally, you can see it everywhere) here in northern Virginia.  I am SO thankful we are not a family that suffers from seasonal allergies, because otherwise we would all be miserable.

On another allergy note, Sydney went to see an allergist (?) Monday.  Back in early December, she had an allergic reaction to Children's Advil.  Long story short, I gave her a dose in the middle of the night because she felt warm to me (and Lorelei had been running a fever, so I figured she caught it too), and she woke up with swollen lips.  Not a good thing.  We promptly left for the emergency room (it was a Sunday morning), and they gave her a shot of epinephrine.  Thankfully, she seemed completely fine through all of this, but doctors don't mess around when facial swelling is involved.  We were instructed to stay away from ibuprofen (even though she'd had it plenty of times before and had never had a reaction), and her pediatrician put in a referral for us to see an allergist in Gulfport.

Unfortunately, that was right in the middle of February (the pediatrician referral part), and we ran out of time to make an appointment before we moved.

So at a regular check up a couple of weeks ago, her new pediatrician put in a referral for an allergy appointment, and she went to that appointment with Chet this past Monday.

I know you're on the edge of your seat, but I'm going to disappoint you because we still don't know for sure if she's allergic to anything.  The doctor examined her, stated his opinion that he doubts she's allergic to anything in the Advil, but welcomed us to schedule a 3-hour test to find out for sure.  (They'll give her small amounts of the Advil, up to the full dosage for her age/size, and wait to see if she reacts.)

Chet and I decided we might as well do the test.  I mean, it's free, so why not?  (Free in return for our family's service to this country, but why split hairs?)

Speaking of serving your country, the allergy appointment was at Walter Reed in Bethesda, MD.  Chet and Sydney arrived about an hour early for the appointment, so they bought orange juice and a blueberry muffin to share, and people-watched until the appointment time.  Do you see where this is going?  Chet said they saw tons of people with artificial limbs.  One young man was wheeling around the medical center in his wheelchair, holding his artificial leg in his lap.  Sydney was especially fascinated by this, and wanted to know what it was all about.  Chet took the opportunity to explain that the people she was seeing got hurt while protecting us from the "bad guys."  That was their job, and they got hurt while doing it, but they are thankfully still alive, and otherwise just like the rest of us.  (And, Syd, please tap Daddy and whisper your question to him rather than pointing and yelling.  Mkay?)

Military life is not easy, not for the service member, the military spouse, or for their children.  There are the obvious challenges, but on the flip side, there are humongous benefits and opportunities that so many non-military families will never have the chance to experience.  There are hard-learned lessons, but they are lessons that will undoubtedly make our children strong, resilient, thankful, and aware of what an amazing country we live in, and that it's our duty as Americans (not just service members) to protect and preserve it.  I love that our children are "Navy brats," and that they know the term "uniform" and that Daddy has worked for long stretches of time in Afghanistan and Africa, and that they know to stand still and be quiet, hands over hearts, while the National Anthem (or Taps) plays over a loudspeaker.

Wow, I'm way off of the subject of "Allergies."  Here's a random, unrelated picture of the front of our house with all of the azaleas in bloom (they're gone now):

TGIF tomorrow!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day! 

We did, but it was a little different than past Mother's Days.  Earlier last week, my friend Kami and I decided to take a trip to Richmond, VA for Homearama 2014.  We tried to plan the trip for Saturday, but Sunday worked better for both of us.  I spent Mother's Day morning at home with Chet, Ford, and the girls, then Ford and I headed to Richmond just after 11 a.m.

The drive to Richmond was pure bliss: Ford napped, I got to listen to something (anything) other than the "Frozen" soundtrack, and no one was whining or demanding anything from me.  Happy Mother's Day to me!

Side note: I was excited about visiting Richmond, our state's capitol, but Chet (jokingly) scoffed at my excitement over a measly state capitol when we live three miles from our nation's capitol.  Harumph.

Anyway, Kami also lives in Virginia, but in a town about 2 hours west of Richmond; we both arrived in Richmond around 1:15 p.m.  We parked in the designated area and were shuttled over to the neighborhood where the seven show houses were located.  Kami and I were especially excited about Homearama because one of the houses was decorated by John and Sherry Petersik, authors of the blog Young House Love.  (The house was just as stunning in person as it was in preview pictures I saw on their blog.)

Ford was a trooper at Homearama; happy as a clam as long as he was being carried, his back against my chest facing forward, like a little king.  I think his goal in life is to make sure my biceps are constantly receiving a work out.

It took us about three hours to walk through all of the houses, and we were quite tired by the time we had been shuttled back to our cars.  Ford was ready for a nap, and I was ready to sit behind the wheel.  While the drive from Alexandria to Richmond was enjoyable, the ride back home was less pleasant: Ford was awake (and crying) most of the drive, we hit quite a bit of traffic heading north on I-95, and I missed Chet and the girls.  It took us about 3.5 hours to get home, when it should have taken two.  We arrived home just before 8:30 p.m., and I had asked Chet to keep the girls up so that I could (lovingly) squeeze them before they went to bed.

However, I am so glad Kami and I planned and followed through on taking such a spontaneous trip.  It wasn't exactly convenient, but it was worth it.  It was worth seeing my friend, it was worth getting to walk through a show house decorated by some of my favorite bloggers (there are SO many fun opportunities in this part of the country!), it was worth spending time alone in the car with my thoughts, and it was worth having the chance to miss my babies.  I think when you are the mother of young children (especially when you and your husband are outnumbered), Mother's Day has the potential to be a bit of a disappointment, because there's really no such thing as a "day off." 

I read this on a blog this morning and loved it:

So, on this day after Mother’s Day remember this:
  1. You are loved, even when they don’t say it.
  2. You are appreciated, even when they don’t show it.
  3. You are not forgotten, even when they seem to forget you the day after.
  4. You are important, even when you don’t feel it.
  5. You are shaping and molding and influencing your children for eternity, even when you mess up. Especially then, because they are watching the way you serve and love them anyway.
  6. You are what your kids want—more than anything you can give them, they just want you.
I hope everyone has a fantastic day-after-Mother's-Day day, and that reality (work, school, laundry, meals, whiny children) isn't too harsh -- don't ever forget that you are invaluable and appreciated!

Here are the few and kind of terrible pictures I took with the kids right before Ford and I left yesterday morning:
Our house looks a fright in the background.


I don't like this picture of myself, but it makes the girls laugh hysterically, so I thought I'd share:

Lor was not happy I was leaving: