Thursday, 25 September 2014

recent little things

Okay! I actually wrote this about two weeks ago, went to hit publish and my computer started freezing and went all 'not responding' on me, so I responded to that by clicking the publish button about 72 times in the next 30 seconds (take that computer!), then gave up and here I finally am again. In other words, not so recent little things? But still things that make me happy.

hammock's up! The second we signed on the house I bought two things: 1) a wooden tree swing and 2) a hammock. I had wanted to string it up between two trees but after living here awhile I know we wouldn't use it as much that way. Not in this season of life, anyway. So I researched non-ugly hammock stands...newsflash, there are some, they're just wildly expensive. So I'm planning my first ever yarn-bombing project. It'll likely take years but I'm nothing if not persistent.

We went grape picking with Marmousch, it was the best! There below an angry sky on the verge of downpouring we picked 11 pounds of muscadine grapes. The next night I attempted a spiced grape jam (just dipping my toes into jam making over here, let's just say I was a inspired last summer). I got distracted and burned it. That happened around midnight. I stomped around and pouted for a good while (girls were in bed so just poor Steve was forced to witness it, he's no stranger to this type of wifely crap). I forged ahead and angrily shoved it into a jar, then tasted it about an hour later before I went to bed. Guys. It was incredible. And I had burned it! This book's a keeper.

Bathtime with papa means the water is deeper, the bubbles are frothier, and I finally have him trained to put a couple drops of lavender essential oil during their bath before bed (or eucalyptus oil if they're congested/coughing). Check out their bubble hats.

Our Friday High Tea was substituted just for this week apple cider bar! Huge hit. These were the toppings: mini marshmallows, vanilla ice cream (ice cream and apple cider for the win, how have we never tried this...said Steve and I), Reese's, candy corn, cinnamon and cinnamon sticks for stirring. Mila dumped too much cinnamon in hers and asked for a do-over and we even ran out and apple juice had to sub.  But the girls were thrilled, that's all I cared about.

Mila's first show and tell last Friday! We practiced at home Thursday evening, her standing up in front of her classmates, introducing herself and telling everyone about her shark teeth that she found with Steve in Virginia's Tappahannock River "while Dani was sleeping in the car" (crucial detail there). In the dry run Mila called it Sarginia which I can only assume is a brain blending of Sardinia and Virginia. Yep. Never a dull moment with these hams.

Dani and I found ourselves a new-to-us library with a great storytime, cozy reading room complete with a Brontosaurus, a park next door with birds upon birds--this girl adores birds. All animals really, but maybe it's the fact that birds are always flitting about so it keeps Dani excited. Very excited. I love, love, love my mornings with Dani so much.

Mila began ballet last week. She's the one who initiated the request for "ballerina classes" and even though I wasn't planning on enrolling her until the winter semester I thought I'd jump where there was a spark of interest. She loved it.
Absolutely was tickled pink by the whole thing and can't wait to go back.

I think Dani could and would try on shoes all day long if I let her. Lately her favorites are a pair of Minnie flops and these wooden heeled ones (both Mila's). And of course what Dani is doing, Mila must do--not the other way around!

Sunday, 7 September 2014


With school here, three weeks in now, we're past that huge event that was The Beginning of School and The End of Everything I Knew...that's how I was playing it in my mind, anyway (dramatic much)...more on that later, hopefully, school starting for Mila is going to be a wordier post and not something I scribble down while the girls are napping and I'm typing furiously, knowing they'll come toddling in all delicious like any second. Which is what this is, of course. Ha!

Maybe it's this sudden shift of lazy mornings with the day stretched out before us to this new concept of waking up to alarms and quick, sleepy breakfasts, school clothes laid out, scrambling to get everyone out the door by 8. With my time now more...incremental? limited? It's more limited with Mila at any rate...I can find myself becoming more intentional with our days. Planning things more. I thought we were pretty good about this before but lately I've been thinking a lot about the importance of familiarity, of routines, of traditions routed in those familiar routines. It all comes back to starting in the home. It might seem silly to some. It's huge to me. Daily family dinners but beyond family dinners. Devotionals at breakfast. Pizza night, sometimes homemade sometimes not depending on the craziness of the day. Taco Tuesday? Why not?  And not just food! Of course there's bedtime traditions, most of these invented by our crazy mini crazies (walk backwards as you exit the room in exactly nine minutes and hop over the cradle! It hasn't gotten to this point with M but I figure it's only a matter of time. Some of their bedtime demands, man.) Raising your feet whenever you go over train tracks (that's my sister-in-law who does that, and now we do too. Thanks Robin!).  Screaming the entire length of tunnels on car rides--Steve and I have been doing that for eons, Megan I know you remember this as you've witnessed Steve's whiny tunnel yelling! Pictures on the front step for the first day of school. Front step pictures for Halloween. For Mother's Day and Father's Day too. Sidenote I need to spruce up our front step. Potted flowers and plants! If I think about it this has all been brewing since the moment my first came into this world (and likely before, while I was pregnant with her, but honestly everything pre-Mila is a blur). Then this past summer we were lucky enough to spend quality time in the homes of some very amazing families--mine in Italy, of course, they're incredible. I'm talking about friends and family and friends-like-family whom we spent time with on our roadtrip too, though. It got me thinking. And planning. In Italy I sat down one afternoon while both girls napped (like yesterday. a unicorn kind of  afternoon!) and mapped out September. Loosely of course--everyone knows that you can't overplan or overthink life, especially when you're in the thick of raising your family! And the best moments are the unplanned ones. I know this. I'm just talking about a gentle nudge. Carve out some time to finally go to that special place you know your kids would delight over? And why not another camping weekend since fall camping is the motherlode?! Why not make pasta every Sunday (sometimes even from scratch??! maybe?) since you know your kids go bonkers for pasta and it's pretty much a sure thing so to speak? Why not give them that reassuring constant before they start another week of being brave out there in the world? And so we begin putting up our little guideposts. 

So here's a few pics of one such guidepost below, our first-ever Friday afternoon tea. Let's kick off the weekend right, yes? All girls (sorry Steve). Our best china teacups and saucers--which honestly are total thrifted/flea market finds, every last one. An amazing dessert: this week's was apple caramel cupcakes. Mila and Dani pretty much only ate the tops. I dig it. And somehow it made me feel less guilty that I was loading them up on sugar. We burned it off in the pool.

cream cheese frosting sandwiched somewhere in there. it was on point.

with her dinosaur crown on.

hey. hay!

banner making for grandparents day.

Last night (they woke up, fast forward!) Steve came home from work expecting to find everyone tucked in and instead he walked in to PAPA!!! shrieks, us sitting at the girls' little table in the thick of game night. It was Sleeping Queens, a card game a smidge too advanced yet for Wugs and one of her birthday presents. She was loving a simplified version though and by the time Steve walked in the game had taken on a silly tangent of "Kiss all the queens!" --Dani invented that part. The Lu was running around shrieking, oh there was hay on the floor, have I mentioned the hay? I bought a bale in the spirit of fall and it's already driving me crazy. Back to the chaos, though--this is the good stuff. The cream you skim off the top. I like these fattening times. 

and speaking of fattening, Italy pictures hopefully soon!

making applesauce together. this was about the point where M began skewering apple chunks with chopsticks ;)

not sure why it looks as though it's snowing out. i heaert houseplants.

maybe my newest favorite picture of our girl posse. thanks Steve.

apple cider pancakes all weekend long. I no longer take for granted relaxed breakfasts.