Sunday, March 23, 2014

Love Letter to Old Friends

We have been living in Williamsburg for just over a year now.  Our anniversary of moving into our house is coming up the first week in April.  So we have been very focused on making a new life here - meeting other parents, forging new friendships, and frankly just trying to keep our heads above water.  But this weekend was a chance for us to connect with some old friends that we haven't seen in a while. We traveled to Lynchburg to see my oldest friend Laura and to attend my friend Jamie's daughter's third birthday party.  I've known these women since childhood.  I started playing with Laura when I was still in diapers, and I met Jamie in high school, when we thought that we were adults, but in hindsight, were very much still children.  How sweet it is to see them raise their own children, and even better to watch our children play together.  I loved looking out Jamie's window to see Sophie and Jamie's daughter sitting together in a cluster of daffodils, plucking flowers to add to the brilliant yellow bouquets in their little fists.  I loved watching Sophie chase Laura's middle two girls around the house, giggling.  I only wish that our families could spend more time together, so that Sophie could feel the immediate ease with the other children that I feel with their mothers.  

There is never much time to talk uninterrupted. Children bustle around, calling on one mom's attention, then the other's, so the conversation stays superficial.  But the comfort and understanding that's been built over decades of friendship envelops us the whole time we're together.  There's nothing like that feeling of not needing to explain yourself, of knowing that you have both been put together from so many of the same memories and experiences.  Well, maybe there is something like it - the feeling of belonging to a family.  As an only child, I am truly lucky to have been able to expand my wonderful family to include these women.  I love you two!  Let's have another superficial, fragmented, and absolutely perfect conversation soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Married to a Marathoner

"Please stop photographing me and let me lie down."
Keegan finished his first marathon today!  His time was 4:43.  He would have liked to run faster, but he wasn't able to finish his whole training program in the weeks before the race, so on the whole he's pretty happy to have made it to the finish line.  I am seriously impressed.

Keegan, Sophie, and I headed down to Virginia Beach before dawn this morning.  (My mom stayed here with Annabelle.)  We dropped Keegan off well before the start and hoped he would find a warm place to wait out of the persistent chilling wind.  Sophie and I went out for breakfast and enjoyed all kinds of breakfast treats.  I had Eggs Benedict, and Sophie had a pancake shaped like Mickey Mouse, which she found absolutely delightful.

After breakfast, we headed to the beach at Lynnhaven.  The only other people enjoying the beach in the frigid wind were dog owners with no choice, but we made the best of it.   Sophie was thrilled to be at the beach and immediately ran to the waves.  She was eager to collect seashells, and she indiscriminately scooped up as many as she could and tossed them into her bucket.  She chased a poor, unsuspecting seagull, and tried unsuccessfully to build a sand castle with too-dry sand.  I can't wait to spend more time at the beach once the weather is nicer.

The poor seagull is trying to just mind his own business.

Sorry, gull, you're going to have to fly to escape this one.
By this time Sophie was eager to say "Go, Daddy, go!" and see Keegan run by, so we drove to the marathon course and watched Keegan go by at around the 15-mile point.  We enjoyed seeing all the zany St. Patrick's Day costumes while we looked for Daddy.  He came by ahead of 4-hour pace, looking tired but strong.

Sophie napped in the car for a while, and finally it was time to go to the finish line and wait for Keegan.  The wind was whipping out on the boardwalk, and Sophie needed to be held so that she could see, and Keegan had slowed considerably, so it was a long wait.  I was proud of Sophie for being so patient and determined to wait to see her dad.  Finally, Keegan shuffled by, looking like a zombie, and totally ignoring our fervent cheering in his single-minded focus on the finish line.  We were all happy to see each other and get back to the warm car.

I'm so proud of Keegan for finishing!  So far, he seems to be feeling ok.  Sore, tired, and suffering from some serious chafing on his sides, but surprisingly cheerful and awake.  Now we are all wondering whether he will be able to get out of bed tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fabulous Weekend

Hooray for spring weather!  Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to a birthday party for two friends from Sophie's preschool class. After a few indoor activities and cake, everyone went out into the glorious weather to play on the playground, and it was wonderful.  Sophie climbed and ran and played to her heart's content, and Annabelle tried out her sunglasses for the first time.  In the evening, we invited my mom and dad over for Polish sausage on the grill and Mom's amazing potato salad.

Today we were completely knocked for a loop by the time change.  Wouldn't you know that after months of sleeping through the night, Annabelle picked the night that we lost an hour to wake up and need attention.  So we all slept late and were way off-schedule all day.  Still, we had the chance to meet our friends Blanca and Portia for a picnic lunch and a visit to the Second Sunday Art and Music festival in Colonial Williamsburg.  I put Keegan in charge of prepping picnic food, which was a good idea, since we got grilled mushroom sandwiches, veggies and hummus, fruit salad, and an amazing peanut butter/honey/Nutella pretzel dip.  I would have made peanut butter and jelly and thrown in a couple oranges and pretzels.  Add Blanca's delicious cole slaw and sandwiches, and we had a true feast.  Portia and Sophie were bursting with joy to run and play together unfettered in the beautiful weather, and Annabelle seemed to get over her initial fussiness about the chilly breeze.  She even took a nap in her stroller for a little while!  When we looked up to notice the older girls crouching over a pile of horse manure, we decided it was time to wash hands and go check out some live music and craft sales.  We didn't have a lot of time to spend looking around, so we have already made plans to go back again next month!

Annabelle is finally back outside after being cooped up for most of the winter.  When we were in the NICU I felt so sad that she was spending her first weeks without ever being able to enjoy the beautiful May outside.  All summer, she clearly enjoyed being out in the sunshine and fresh air.  But as the weather cooled, she started to get a lot more fussy when we were out, especially in the stroller.  I think the cold air in her face and stinging her eyes was disagreeable.  So she has been inside a lot this winter. I am so happy to see her back out enjoying the sun and the grass and the trees.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Both girls have been managing to have fun despite winter dragging on and on. Annabelle has developed a love for an orange plastic Slinky that her physical therapist brought her. 

Sophie has enjoyed playing in the snow, especially making snow angels, painting on the snow with watercolors, and making a snow pile which she pretends is dog food. Who knew that licking a snow pile and pretending it's dog food could be so entertaining?  I love her imagination!  She has been more independent lately, too. Tonight while I attempted to feed Annabelle some applesauce and Keegan cleaned the kitchen, Sophie produced this picture of our family and her best friend's family.

She drew all the faces and hair and the tree ("It's winter, so it doesn't have any leaves."), and I drew the clothes for her to color in.  I am guessing that she will surpass my artistic ability in about....two weeks. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Annabelle's Ten-month Update

Annabelle continues to grow like crazy.  She is so happy and smiley these days, and she loves to giggle at funny sounds.  Here's a list of sounds that have gotten giggles lately:
  • zippers on her jacket and sleep sack zipping
  • velcro on her winter coat unfastening
  • a pen clicking in and out
  • Sophie drinking fruit juice through a straw
  • a slinky slapping together after being stretched out
The giggles cannot be stopped.
Sitting was put on hold after the most recent surgery.  Annabelle continues to heal well, though, so we are going to start putting her through her paces again soon.

We're making big strides with vision and hand skills.  She's doing great with passing toys from one hand to the other.  Although she is still slow to follow things with her eyes, she is improving noticeably week to week.  More and more often she is using her eyes and hands together, although still with imperfect results.

We've started feeding Annabelle tiny amounts of sweet potatoes, applesauce, avocado, carrots, and yogurt on a tiny spoon.  She is much more receptive to tasting things, although we haven't had much success getting them much past her lips, and the amount that's being swallowed has got to be negligible.  The amount smeared all over her face, hands, bib, clothes, and seat, however is not to be scoffed at!

Annabelle continues to be a chatty kid.  She is showing signs of being interested in the sounds we make and of trying to imitate sounds, although so far without success.  She shouts when she doesn't want to eat anymore and chirps excitedly almost any time I pick her up.  I hope that I will be able to hear what she has to say some day!

Still no rolling, although she is basically 99% of the way there.  She is so reluctant to be on her tummy that she hasn't had a lot of chance to practice.  We will keep working on it.

Annabelle and Sophie are getting closer and closer as Annabelle gets more interactive.  Annabelle always smiles when Sophie comes near, and Sophie doesn't waste an opportunity to hug and kiss her baby sister, much to Annabelle's delight.  Sophie likes to give Annabelle toys and to help with her bath.

Annabelle suffering her usual fate these days.
Annabelle's revenge.  She is cool as a cucumber, isn't she?

True love
She has been loving the chance to be outside more on the few nice, warm days we've had lately.  I couldn't be more disappointed that they are calling for snow and ice tomorrow.  Come on, Spring!