Monday, June 29, 2009

Thrilling

Last week, Hadley started a summer preschool program in our neighborhood. The above picture is one of the girls holding hands on our walk home from Hadley's school.


I suppose it would be surprising if I wrote that Hadley hated preschool, or that she didn't want us to leave when we dropped her off. And I'm relieved to write that this was not the case, however, for me it is always a surprise to watch Hadley do so well in new and unknown situations.


So Hadley had a great week at preschool. Everyday I get a little report telling me what they did, what Hadley's mood was like (always happy), and how much Hadley ate. I also get a packet at the beginning of each month telling me what they are learning that month (June was the concept of zero, and the country Brazil. I imagine July will have something to do with Independence Day). The newsletter brings me nostalgically back to my days at Covenant Christian School when each Sunday I wrote my newsletter letting parents know what I hoped we'd be doing that week. As someone experiencing the other side of school, I can say I appreciate knowing what's going on.


Which probably has been the most difficult thing for me as Hadley begins her schooling. It's not that I want to control what she's doing every minute of the day, but I want to see and experience what she's doing. On Thursday they had "water play" and I have an idea of what that is all about, but I missed out on Hadley playing with the water. Did she like it? Did she talk about what she was doing? Did she ask questions? What was her favorite part? Again, it's not that I hope she's doing these things, I'm just curious as to what this is experience is like for her.

I was driving home from Trader Joe's on Thursday listening to the radio when the DJ broke in on the song to say that Micheal Jackson had died. The rest of my trip home just about every radio station played one of his songs, and they brought back a lot of memories, but one of the clearest ones was the day my mom bought the Thriller album for me. I was in second grade, and my class was going on a field trip to the Oak Park Conservatory. I don't know how my mom knew where I was, but as we were crossing the bridge of the Eisenhower, she was driving my way. She'd propped the album in the window for me to see she'd bought it. I remember seeing Michael Jackson in his white suit against the black background and the words Thriller across the top. I think the letters were in some kind of electric pink. Very 80s. I think I remember seeing Geoff's head peeking over the top of the album cover as they drove by.

I'm sure my mom wasn't super excited about my interest in Micheal Jackson. But she knew I liked him, and if I'm learning anything about being a mother it's that you naturally get excited about the things your kids love. (If I could, I'd decorate our whole place in Dora or Diego but I don't because just as they've replaced Elmo, I know that next year at this time it'll be someone else.)
It's sad that Michael Jackson died, but I'm glad to have thought about that memory because it came at a time when I was feeling sad about missing out on part of Hadley's day when she's in preschool. And remembering it, I see the model my mom left for me. I want to be a part of the world Hadley's creating for herself, but it won't always be first hand like it has for the past 2 1/2 years.

The song "Thriller" came on over the radio just as I was turning into our complex that afternoon, so I decided to make one more loop around the block so I could do what I believe is pretty good car dancing that Hadley no longer allows me to do (she used to find it amusing). I thought about the days Geoff and I would dance to the songs on the album (sorry to bring that up Geoff, but really, you can thank me for teaching you everything you know - except for maybe the backspin - you did a pretty mean one), or the times my dad would do the moonwalk for us, or the time my friends and I did some kind of terrible dance routine to "Billie Jean" in elementary school. My mom was probably shaking her head in embarrassment, but I don't remember her telling me it was terrible.

I hope I can pull these things up when Hadley and Harper have an interest in something as they grow older. It might not be dancing, or flip flops, or pens and college-ruled paper. It could be math, and science, and bees. But I have confidence I'll be interested in whatever it is they love because they are my girls, and seeing them excited is one of the best parts about being their mom.

I don't have pictures of the preschool because I'm not sure what the protocol is for taking pictures and posting them on a blog. I need to ask about that, but I'm terribly afraid of being the kind of parent that I dreaded when I was a teacher ("I see that you're in the middle of teaching, but can you please pull up my kid's grade and all his missing work right now?" "I left an animal in your room for you to take care of for the week - hope that's OK!" "Can I have your cell phone number? It's just not enough for me to have your email AND your home phone number."), so here are some ones of the past week.
Here's Harper on her way to pick up Hadley:




And here's a picture of Hadley at Starbucks blowing pieces of paper with her straw. I taught her this game and it proved to be a great time consumer while waiting for Jesse to meet us so we could go to Gordon Biersch for dinner.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

The festivities started on Thursday afternoon when Hadley and I made my special coconut cupcakes for Jesse. (They are actually Ina Garten's special coconut cupcakes, but she wasn't in the kitchen with a toddler baking them. She just gave me the recipe.) Here's Hadley helping me frost one batch:
And this picture is of Hadley just before she took a bite of the frosting. Needless to say, we had to use several knives to spread the frosting because Hadley kept eating it. She would've eaten the entire bowl if I let her. The frosting has a half a pound of cream cheese in it, and almost a pound of butter, plus powdered sugar. But don't be fooled. Your butt actually gets smaller when eating the cupcakes.



On Friday, Jesse and I went out for sushi and left the girls with our babysitter. Harper was already sleeping and Hadley went down shortly after the babysitter came over. But it was a success, and we had a great time.

Saturday we went out for breakfast at a place that has "Mosaic" in the title, but I can't remember the name of the place. It's in Rockville, and it was pretty tasty. Everybody got the waffles except for Harper who was content to eat her oatmeal a fruit.

Here are a couple of Hadley and her Daddy:

Hadley was quite impressed by her waffle. I cut some small pieces up for her, but she kept asking me if she could "take a bite of the big guy," meaning the large part of the waffle.



She was also very happy to have syrup. She asked a lot of questions about syrup the rest of the day. "Do we drink syrup?" "What else do we put syrup on?" "Do we put syrup on bread?" "Do we put syrup on cheese?" You get the idea. At dinner that evening, Hadley asked me if she could put syrup on her vegetables. I said no because she's not Walter Cunningham.

Sunday we went to church and then over to a filafel shop that Jesse had his eye on for awhile. We ate lunch there, and then both the girls took very long naps which I'm sure was an appreciated Father's Day bonus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Harper at Seven months

When I was pregnant with Harper, we had to have several sonograms (or maybe they were ultrasounds, I can't remember. I seem to have forgotten all the vocabulary that comes along with being pregnant) to make sure she was doing OK. At one of them the doctor told us that we have an "extremely active" little baby. I remember that one well because she was moving so much it was hard to take pictures of the things they were looking for. And this was well before 20 weeks.

Harper's legs have not stopped moving since then. And at seven months she is doing all sorts of fun tricks. She is rolling over, she can sit by herself for a few seconds, and she's perfected her little spitting trick as you will see in one of the videos.

Harper loves this bouncy swing. Hadley didn't seem to care too much for it when she was this age, but Harper loves jumping in it.

video

I tried to get a video of Harper rolling over, but it didn't work out. You can see the potential, however.

video

And this one is so funny I can hardly stand it. Harper tends to do this when she is tired and wants to go to sleep. It gets all of us laughing so hard that it's hard to put her to bed.

video

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Weekend

We took the girls on their first bike ride on Saturday. Well, Hadley had been on a bike ride pre-Harper, but this was the first time we put them in the jogging stroller together.



It was pretty successful. I was more concerned about Jesse pulling the girls then I was about Harper and Hadley. He's going to have thighs of steel after a few bike rides.

We went out to eat at a tapas restaurant in Rockville on Saturday.
We sat outside which was great because the weather was beautiful this weekend. Harper was quite excited to be out and about:

And Hadley loves eating out at restaurants as well:

Hadley was more interested in coloring her little page here then she was in eating.

And any time Harper can get at her foot/feet she is good to go.


On Sunday afternoon Hadley and I went grocery shopping together. Just as we pulled into a parking spot a song that I like came on the radio so I said, "Hadley let's dance!" I started doing my best car dance moves but Hadley would have none of it. She said, "No Mama. We have to grocery shop. You need to be put me in the cart right now." Usually she is all about dancing with me, so I was surprised at her reaction. But then I saw that there was another family next to us and realized that Hadley was embarrassed of me! What?!?! You mean I have to stop dancing now that I'm a mom? I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Hadley got me back at the end of our trip when she asked me, rather loudly, what gender the person was who was bagging our groceries. He had rather long hair and I guess Hadley was confused because she probably only sees girls with long hair. She pointed to him and said, "Mama, is that a girl?" I pretended not to hear her but she said it again (while continuing to point) louder, "MAMA, IS THAT A GIRL?" I told her that no, it was a boy and smiled an apologetic smile to the kid.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Times With My Girls

I was going to title this post "Evolution of the pigtails" but I didn't take photos of Hadley as she slowly transformed into Don King after a day of playing. I did manage to take a picture of her first pigtails after I first did her hair.


And here is a picture of Harper:


My friend gave me this dress and hat for Hadley, but the hat was always a little too small for Hadley's head. It stayed on Harper a little better so I'm glad it could be put to use.


The girls and I went to Starbucks after their afternoon nap and then to the library for a bit. During our outing, here were some of the conversations Hadley and I had:


While we were in the car, I was singing along to "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack and Hadley asked, "What's this song about, Mama?" She asks this question to every song I start singing and I suppose it's time to put in her music so I can avoid answering this question for a little longer. It's much easier to talk about the theme of "ABCs" and "Old McDonald Had a Farm."


When we were in Starbucks, Hadley was talking about the different members of her family (since everyone was here a couple of weekends ago, and we went to Chicago for a visit as well). She said, "I have two Grandpas and two Grandmas." And after a little pause she said, "But I don't have two mommies."


And finally I was telling her that I was going to my Book Club group last night and Hadley said, "What book are reading?" I said we were going to talk about Loving Frank.


"What book are you going to read next, Mama?" Hadley asked. I told her I wasn't sure and she said, "Maybe your Book Club friends will help you choose a book." I told her that I thought that was a great idea.


Here is a picture of Harper asleep in her crib. I think she heard that her mom used to be on Drill Team and wanted to mimic some kind of stunt she used to do in high school:




Thursday, June 11, 2009

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

On May 31, Harper was baptised and we were happy to have both our families present for the occasion. It was a beautiful day and both girls did quite well when they were at the pulpit. Here's a picture of the four of us before we went into the church. Harper is wearing the dress that her Aunt Mallory, my sister-in-law, wore at her baptism. I was happy Harper could wear it (Hadley didn't fit into the dress because she was 11 months old when she was baptised).

After the service, the church had cake outside and Hadley was thrilled to have a piece.


Here's another picture of Hadley in her dress. I think she is doing ballet in this picture (well, what she would call ballet). She is really into doing ballet because Zoe on Sesame Street does ballet and wears a tutu.



Harper was pretty tired out after the events. While we were outside talking with everyone, she fell asleep while I was holding her which she never does.

Here she is trying to make the best of the situation.

And here she is conked out.


I believe there were a couple of pictures taken of the entire crew, but I didn't take the camera along so I apologize for not recognizing in a picture that both of our families were here. We were very appreciative they made the trip out to DC for Harper.

Our pastor asked us which hymn we would like sung after the baptism, and we chose "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" for a couple of reasons. It is one of our favorites (only second to "Peace Like a River" but I didn't think that would be an appropriate one to sing at a baptism), and it was the hymn that we sang at Hadley's baptism and our wedding. I like that that this hymn bonds the three events together.

I'm not one to take advice easily on how to manage or take care of my children. I think I like to figure it out for myself, or with Jesse. However, it was hard not to feel thankful that the members of our church as well as our families were present during the prayer our pastor prayed:

"Gracious God and heavenly Father, we thank you that you make us new persons in Jesus Christ through grace alone. We pray for Harper. Bless and strengthen her daily with the gift of your Holy Spirit. Unfold to her the riches of your love. Deepen Harper's faith. Keep her from the power of evil. Enable her to live a holy and blameless life until your kingdom comes. Look with kindness on Jesse and Callie. Let them always rejoice in the gift you have given them. Grant Jesse and Callie the presence of your Holy Spirit, that they may bring up Harper to know you, love you, and serve you and her neighbor, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."