When I was thinking about writing this post, I couldn’t decide whether to look at our quick, homemade, cardboard (yes, as in paper) sled as super duper uber crafty or just joke fodder for all the kids who grew up with winters where it snowed, not where they celebrated Christmas wearing shorts and maybe a sweatshirt.  Side note:  you know that used to look cool.  Now it just looks really yuppie.

But it finally snowed in New Jersey, like we blindly promised Hazel it would for Christmas (it didn’t), and she wanted to sled, dammit.  She has been asking for a sled, ice skates, and skis ever since we started reading the Berenstain Bears’ Christmas back in October, and she even started fussing about how Santa didn’t bring “anything on my list, not one little thing.”  I reminded her that nope, Santa didn’t bring giant dangerous snow equipment to a three-year-old, while Amos fashioned a sled out of some rope and a cardboard box.  The result, whether it’s a poor facsimile or super crafty, was totally popular with the preschool audience.

Paper sled! Not from a snake oil salesman!

For y'all voyeurs: that's our NJ house.

Speaking of preschool, Hazel’s first day of preschool is tomorrow!  Amos and I are SO excited for her; Hazel floats back and forth between excitement and flat out refusal to go.  All this emotional drama has led to crying jags that usually begin with something small, like “Why is the snow melting?” and end with “But the snow – sob – is my best -SOB- FRIIIIIIIIIEND and I don’t know why I am cryyyyyyyyyyinggggggg!”  I’m sure she will actually be fine, and one day she’ll join us in laughing about her dear attachment to the snow.

My Big Kid

Yesterday we went to an art fair at the Kansas City Plaza.  It’s this fancy area, with all these expensive shops, fancy restaurants, and ornate architecture.  All Hazel wanted to do, though, was walk down by the river to see the ducks and “walk on those cool rocks,” and all Amos and I wanted to do was walk with her.

 

Catching Up

playingJuice Face

 

 

 

 

We’ve Arrived

We have been in Kansas City for a week now.  I should be able to tell you something about the place, but so far it’s been a seriously uncommon moving experience.  After major hassles with all FOUR moving companies who surveyed our stuff, we ended up having to drive the goods ourselves.  Actually, here’s what happened:

  1. Major electrical storm knocks down three trees onto (yes, ONto) the power lines in our backyard.
  2. Power is out at the house for three days, which means we move into my mom’s house.  Amos and I pack at night, when the girls are sleeping and the inside temps of the house are not in the triple digits.
  3. We get it all packed, Amos and some friends load up, and he takes off.
  4. The girls and I spend the next four days at Mama’s, making a total of nine days at her house.
  5. Aunt Laura (Amos’s sister) flies to Huntsville to make the drive to St. Louis with us, which was immensely helpful.
  6. We spend 2 days in St. Louis, then I drive to Kansas City with the girls (Tuesday).
  7. We arrive, get groceries, get Amos from the airport, get settled down for the night, and Amos starts throwing up.
  8. He’s sick all night with a fever, chills, and of course dry heaving.  He still goes to work the next day (Wednesday).
  9. Thursday I start throwing up, have a fever and chills all day, and watch the girls all day.  Did I mention we had just arrived and had barely unpacked?
  10. I get mostly better and am starving, so we get Vietnamese (Friday night).  We make it home just in time for me to be sick again; Hazel wakes us up at 1:30 AM, noodles in her hair, because she’s thrown up for the first time in her short little life.  Amos hits Wal-Mart at 2 AM for Motrin and Pedialyte while I keep Hazel awake, reading stories, so I can rush her to the bathroom when necessary.  They fall asleep around 4 AM, and I do around 5:30 AM.
We had such a crazy, crazy, insane, weird time moving here, and as you can see family involvement was integral to the process (thanks again, people)!  So, do we like Kansas City?  Um, yep!  Although Saturday we spent mostly around the house, since people were still kind of pukey, on Sunday we managed to have a right lovely time.  We drove up to Loose Park, which is this gorgeous 75-acre gleaming hamlet smack in the middle of the city.  Hazel, Amos, and I pushed Julia through the trees and over bridges while we talked about the things we saw, and we just enjoyed being outside together.  Plus, it was Julia’s first time riding in an umbrella stroller, and I was majorly excited about it!  It was VITAL to my baby time with Hazel; she and I walked all over Clinton, so much so that I actually wore out the first umbrella stroller we had.  We had to rig up a little scarf under Julia’s armpits, though, in case she tried to lunge out.  When Hazel was this age it was the freezing beginning of winter in upstate NY, and she was so wedged in by blankets, snowsuits, and knit sweaters that she couldn’t have leapt out if she’d tried!
Following the park we treated ourselves to small cups at Glace, the best ice creamery I’ve ever visited.  Each small cup has space for two flavors, which I just love.  I got Fleur de Sel Caramel and Basil Lemon Sorbet.  Amos tried Lemon Verbena and Pineapple Cilantro Sorbet (those two were my favorites!), and Hazel chose Blueberry Cream Cheese and Blackberry Chocolate Chip based on their colors.  We all had a grand time trying each other’s.

On the Road Again…Again.

I haven’t posted about this yet here, mainly because we were waiting to get a final contract all signed, but we are moving to Kansas City!  Amos was headhunted by Samsung and has decided to take a position with them as a staff engineer, so we are moving to KC in early August.  For many reasons we are excited about this move, and we have committed to living there long enough to buy a house, which is kind of high up on the list for me.  So, these days I am packing, cleaning, organizing, and packing some more in between doing regular parenting stuff.  It doesn’t look like I’ll get to start back work on my master’s degree until January, where I’ll most likely go to the University of Missouri KC, but I’m trying not to think about the 78 years it’s going to take me to finish this degree, because I really am happy about this move.  I’ll post lots about the city once we arrive, I’m sure.  In the interim, you’ll have to content yourself with lots of posts that are just one or two pictures 😉

Daily Julia

Julia looks like a bodybuilder, right?  Amos always comes up with the craziest photo positions.

Happy Father’s Day

There are some holidays that I don’t get too worked up about; stuff like Labor Day just doesn’t really get me going.  Amos, though, takes holiday apathy to a-WHOLE-nother level.  That guy, if he had his way, would not celebrate anything from President’s Day to Christmas.  It particularly bothers him, he says, when presents are expected.  He’d rather give and receive gifts on the fly, not dictated by the day on the calendar.  I get it, I truly do, but now that we have kids, and especially one old enough to realize what all this stuff means, we’ve made sure to celebrate every birthday and holiday in some way.  With the small, notable exception of Mother’s Day.  He didn’t acknowledge that at all beyond saying, “Happy Mother’s Day” in the morning.  I get that’s his thing, but I was totally let down.  Plus, it turned out to be one of those awful parenting days where everyone is crying, running away in public, not napping, and just being irritable.

Neither girl could sit still!

Because Father’s Day comes after Mother’s Day, I thought briefly (ok, maybe for longer than I’d like to admit) about wreaking some kind of karmic vengeance for the screamy holiday I had.  But really, I thought I would use this as an opportunity to show Amos how we can exploit these kinds of holidays to do the fun stuff that we really like but don’t do that often.  Soooooo, I planned a fancy antipasto dinner for Amos (really for all of us).  As a gift, I bought him a natural foods cookbook (used, $5 with shipping, and totally rocking) and helped Hazel make him a shirt that reads, “Hazel Loves Daddy.”  She also made a tank top for herself and a onesie for Julia.

We had SUCH a lovely time!  This antipasto was one of the funnest meals we have ever had.  Because it was for our dinner rather than an appetizer, I made sure to have a couple choices for each of the basic antipasto elements.  Here’s a rundown of the menu –

Fruit:  heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupe, and cherries (all served at room temp, thankyouverymuch)

Meat:  speck, an aged soppressata, and anchovy fillets

Veg:  roasted cauliflower, asparagus, a roasted pepper salad, and artichoke hearts tossed with sundried tomatoes and fresh thyme

Cheese:  Shropshire blue, a young manchego, and a 2-year-old aged gouda

It was just lovely.  Nothing was really difficult to put together, either.  In fact, most of the food just needed to be basic prepped, like slicing the melon.  The veg I just roasted in the broiler with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and the roasted pepper salad that actually required a recipe was just mincing a bunch of delicious stuff up together.  We toasted with prosecco, which I thought was an excellent palate cleanser for this type of meal.  Hazel went nuts (check out this hilarious video of her, plus my first attempt at subtitles for her!), probably because she got to stay up a whole hour and a half past her normal bedtime.  It was one of the best nights we’ve had together as a family, and I just love that I got to be a part of it with those lovely people that make up my family.

Encouraging the Messy

Hold on to your seats, kids, but I have a confession:  I don’t like to be messy.  SHOCKING, right?  Um, yes, I do know that I have an unhealthy obsession with being neat.  It’s actually kind of a blessing, really; my house stays clean without my being all obsessive compulsive about it should it get dirty.  That’s how I try to see it, anyway!  But lately I’ve noticed that streak in Hazel, too.  I don’t know if I’m unconsciously training her to be this way or if it’s passed on in my genetic material, but I have started to worry just a smidge about it.  I want her to feel creative without restraint at times; we can always clean it up later, right?  So yesterday I pulled out the fingerpaints for the first time at our house, both in the spirit of being messy and to make Daddy a painting for Father’s Day.

But then he showed up, so we abandoned the Father’s Day bit and just focused on the messy!  Hazel had kind of a hard time with getting her hands dirty – at first.  She got more into it when Amos and I participated as well.  After one painting she was done, though I think it had more to do with wanting to get into the sprinkler than it did being worried about messiness.  I’m looking forward to trying out more projects with Hazel that foster development of right brain activities; I’m definitely a creative person, but I know I’m held back by wanting to be neat, in control, and logical.  I don’t want to put that on Hazel (or Julia), but really want to provide an environment where she can try out all kinds of different things to see what suits her best.  Maybe, though her experimentation, I can loosen up a bit myself!!!

The Beginning of the Summer

This was the best picture I could get in the blazing sun

With the temperature steadily in the 90s, I feel like summer has truly begun down here.  The fruit and veg I’m seeing at the market is starting to get truly exciting again, the sprinkler has been out several times already, and I have herbs exploding all over my back patio.  I might sweat like a trucker, but I do love what the crazy summer heat does to our little herbs out there.  Plus I LOVE how summer smells…mint, citrus, grass, coconut, suntan lotion, mojitos, BBQ, yeeeeeeeesssss.

Daddy and Julia

To kickstart our summer, we visited Nana and Papaw’s pool twice in one weekend!  Even Julia joined in on the fun.  Though she’s making a kind of old lady sourpuss in this picture, she really enjoyed the water, not complaining at all about the relative coolness of the water.  It’s so fun to go through all these firsts again!  Hazel’s only 2 1/2, but it feels like her first experiences are slowing down.  The absolute wonder and discovery of a child’s life is one of the coolest things about being a parent; you not only get to watch them find out all these things about life, but you get to introduce them to it!  And they think you’re some kind of magician!!  So fun.

Now that I feel like I’m coming out of the pregnancy/newborn haze, I’m hoping that Hazel, Julia, and I can have some fun adventures this summer.  There are all kinds of crafts I want to do with Hazel, and I think she may be old enough and have enough cognizance to do more than just color and do simple play.  Father’s Day is approaching, and while Amos may not be too interested in celebrating any holiday, I hope to make something with Hazel for him that he will enjoy.  Oh, and we are TOTALLY doing an antipasto dinner that night!  Any excuse to buy fancy cheese, anchovies, and wine is an excuse I’m taking!

Lovely Weekend

We just had the most amazing meal.  Seriously – it was fantastic.  Amos and I invited our friend Katrina and her fun kids over for dinner, and we all had such a great time tonight!  Even before the meal actually happened, though, Amos and I had the best weekend getting ready for it.  What can I say – we go to grocery stores for fun.  On the menu tonight was an antipasto platter as a first course, which had salted almonds, water crackers, roasted red peppers, anchovies, chevre, a tomato and lupini bean salad, a drunken (merlot) goat cheese, and a porter cheddar.  As a main course we had Amos’s signature bacon anchovy sauce over spaghetti rigatti with shaved pecorino romano and a caponata with Amos’s homemade bread.  Served with all this loveliness was my favorite sauvignon blanc and a new chianti, which was awesome and velvety and just wonderful with this dish.  It was massive amounts of fun, and I can’t wait until we get to do this again.

I’ll leave you with one more picture of Julia.  Our baby girl is growing so quickly and beautifully that I can hardly believe it.  But that’s the way with babies, isn’t it?

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