Looking

I have been thinking lately about the act of looking, and specifically all the things we do that interfere with that gaze.  TV, the phone, even books – all the things we do that disrupt that looking and focus our attention elsewhere.  I confess, I have been reading and loving Woolf, and I can tell the impact her writing has had on me.

At any rate, today I took Julia out in the yard to enjoy the beautiful weather, and I took my camera, and I just watched her watching the cars, investigating the grass, following the sounds of birds and rustling leaves.  It was a lovely time; very little babies are refreshingly unaware of being watched, especially with a camera.

And then Hazel and Amos came home from preschool and work, respectively…

And that changed things quite a bit!

 

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Little Girls

First Snow

In Kansas City, we promised Hazel every day that there would be snow in New Jersey.  We checked out books about snow from the library.  We read books about Christmas and Hannakuh Hanukkah (thanks Jenn!  😛 ) and pointed out the snow.  “See?  There’s snow on the ground at Christmas, just like there will be in New Jersey,” we exclaimed to her.  Soon she was in on it too, talking about the snow and how at Christmas we would see the snow falling and make a snowman after we opened presents.  Then, when Christmas actually came in on its 40 degree heels, she told us that it wasn’t really Christmas at all because it didn’t snow.  Sad face.  Nope, it didn’t snow at all here, even as Kansas City has seen snow several times since we’ve moved.  Yesterday, though, it snowed a little bit here, just a teaser snow that barely stuck to our clothes, but holy moly was that enough to fire old Hazel up!

“Run out here and catch the snowflakes with your mouth LIKE ME!!!”  My baby girl could not have been more excited.  Julia played it cooler, just pointing at a couple of flakes and proclaiming them, “bat!”  We all ran around, looking like fools from the South who are freaking out over 5 snowflakes falling from the sky – which, you know, we pretty much are.

Double Blegh

We are moving in five days.  We found out about that date two days ago.

I am sick.  AGAIN.

Those two things in combination have been sucking up all my time.  Luckily, I don’t have to pack us; Samsung’s movers are taking care of the packing & moving & some of the bigger unpacking (like putting beds together, that kind of thing – and that’s no little thing for those bunk beds).  It’s all very corporate (and maybe a little creepy, if I think about it too long, but I’m not).  This weekend will be spent doing the things we like here for the last time, cleaning out the fridge, and packing our unmentionables.

My mom came to visit us last weekend, which was a fun time amidst all this moving blah blah.  I got a couple of nice pictures of her and the girls (mainly Hazel, since she’s the more not-sleeping-in-the-stroller type).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me & the Girls

I’ve been feeling nostalgic about the girls’ babyhood lately.  It slips by so quickly.

Where Do We Play?

I know our time is limited in Kansas City, and I like to look at it like we’ll never be here again.  I’m totally taking advantage of our relatively cheap living expenses, nice location, and obligation-free lifestyle to act like we’re on this massive vacation.  Otherwise I might go insane, if I started thinking about preschools and grad schools and houses and…vacation.  We’re on vacation, baby!  SPRING BREAK!

So, as part of that, today I took the girls to their first play!  At Union Station, which is a real working train station, there are also lots of other attractions for families, including Science City, art exhibits, a theater, and a kids’ theater.  We joined a crowd full of other kids to see “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” a play based on the popular children’s book.  We got in just barely in time, thanks to my rather poor downtown navigation skills, and managed to score the absolute LAST two tickets, right down on the front row.  As we sat in the theater, practically onstage, Hazel kept asking things like, “Why is it dark in here?  Why are all these kids being so crazy?  Where do WE play?  Can I go touch that stuff?”  I found it tricky to explain what a play was, since my “it’s like a real-life movie!  With really real people!” didn’t seem to make sense to her, so I just told her to be patient.  When the lights completely dimmed, then a spotlight hit on first the boy, then the mouse, and then a cookie, Hazel was completely enthralled.  Julia even popped off from nursing to watch the action (and she didn’t look away for the rest of the show, either!).  Both girls were entranced with the play, which was so exciting and even had some music.  We had just the BEST time, and I was so proud and happy, watching them watch it.

All Hallow’s Eve

Or whatever!

In the middle of all this goofy are we moving, okay when, okay we still don’t really know exactly, we don’t have a house there yet business, the holiday season began.  And yeah, I think Halloween marks the beginning of three super fun holidays (Thanksgiving gets points for being smooshed in between two cooler holidays), culminating in CHRISTMAS!  I love Christmas, people.  Anyway, I would have just skipped this holiday except I have a three-year-old and a new baby in need of a 1st Halloween costume, and so we did it up, Confer style.

Typical family portrait, and typical Confer costumes.  Hazel’s was particularly fun this year, I think.  Since she’s old enough to really express herself, I thought it would be fun to let her design her costume.  She came up with this idea, which is a pink monster with white polka dots and two sets of ears (one big girl, one mouse).  The bow, though, is because we’re growing her bangs out.

Julia was a muscle man!!  She kept eating and eating on that belt.  I thought she might find her little chest hairs, but nope – just the belt.  I took the girls trick or treating at the shops yesterday, then we picked up Amos from work.  Instead of going door-to-door after that, we opted to take Hazel to Glace for an ice cream treat and next door to the Apple store for a treat (a keychain) and to play on the ipad (her favorite thing).  I was hoping Hazel would choose flavors that are seasonal and kind of Halloweeny, but I don’t know why.  Sometimes I have these really domestic thoughts, like I’m going to switch out all our bathroom and bedroom decor for all matchy seasonal ones and everyone will take Christmas photos wearing matching red and white sweaters with deer knitted into them.  I don’t know where they come from – leftover HCGC reserves? – but I was having one MAJOR last night.  I was all, “what flavors do you want?  Roasted pumpkin, banana, maybe squash, even rum raisin?”  And she looked right at the server and said “I want that blue cheese one and the spicy chocolate.”  When she says stuff like that, it snaps me right out of those weird SkyMall fantasies and back into our real world, the one where she orders blue cheese and spicy chocolate and eats them together.

Laughing

Does it get any cuter?

(Not So) Happily Ever After

With two little girls wearing a variety of sizes, I’m constantly doing a weird clothing dance that involves a closet, a trundle under Julia’s crib, and three under-the-bed storage units.  I rotate out summer and winter, sizes from 6 months to 2T to 3T and even a couple of 4T things.  Shoes, hats, socks, underwear – all that stuff needs to be switched out, stored, possibly donated, and sometimes even thrown out.  I also like to buy ahead of season, so I have one storage thing that’s exclusively 4T summer and winter clothes for Hazel’s next year.  Sometimes Hazel likes to “help” with this rotation by pretending to do laundry, a game in which she flings stuff all over creation and hides it under our pillows.  A couple of days ago, as she was playing, she pulls out a very lacy, frilly dress and demands that I put it on her.  The dress, which was one my mom had made for me when I was four or five, is one of those things that I don’t want Hazel to wear, per say, but I will not give away.  Somewhat bemused, I slipped the dress on her.  Halfway up she tells me to stop, she doesn’t like it, what am I still pulling it up for, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!   What would any mother with my extremely high propensity for sarcasm have done?  Take pictures, of course!!

I could not be more thrilled with her hating this dress (sorry, Mama – no offense!).  So many little girls would FREAK OUT at a frilly dress all their own, a white one – like a bride!  I hate the princess culture, and I’ve worked hard on keeping Hazel away from it.  In the store, she frequently points out pictures of princesses on anything (books, toothbrushes, cereal, you name it) and says, “Look, Mama, there’s that girl you don’t like!”  I thought it was very interesting to see her reaction to this dress, since she wants to wear skirts and dresses pretty often.  I was just so damn happy that she wasn’t prancing around, but instead sulking at me, that I just had to document it.

City Farm

Oh, hello!

 

In this lovely city there are TONS of things for kids to do, so now that we are basically settled in I thought it high time we ventured out!  Amos and I do so much with the family on the weekends, but our weekdays have been limited to walkable things – story times at the library and bookstore, playground visits off the Tomahawk Trail that I love so much, that kind of thing.  Oh, and grocery shopping.  Taking one kid in a buggy and one strapped to you into Whole Foods in this yuppy neighborhood is something very close to running full tilt into the heat of battle.  Don’t let the $400 sunglasses fool you – these people will cut you for their free sample of 2-year-old cheddar.

Mining for gemstones

For our first big field trip, I chose Deanna Rose, a farmstead in the middle of Overland Park.  There’s all kinds of stuff there for kids – all kinds of animals, playgrounds, an old schoolhouse, gemstone mining, fishing pond, and so much other stuff we didn’t even get to.  During the week it’s free for everyone, and on the weekends it’s only $2 for

Windmill

adults and $1 for kids.  The best part for Hazel was feeding the goats.  I never would’ve thought my daughter, the same one who gets excited about washing her hands 88 times a day, would be into letting goats slurp crumbly pellets out of her hand, but she was so feeling it.  Jules and I were happy to watch her experiencing the world, interacting with kids and animals, and playing pretend in this huge botanical garden geared towards kids.

I took advantage of the free admission and did not plan a huge day; I brought no lunch, no snacks, and no expectations.  We stayed until it wasn’t fun for one of the girls, which was about 2 1/2 hours.  Then Jules demanded sleep, Hazel demanded food, and I was just happy we didn’t have to have a bathroom break there.  It was a totally fun day, one that I hope Hazel will remember.  Next week I think we’ll hit either the Botanical Gardens & Arboretum or the Children’s Museum.

funny girls

 

silly face ❤

 

 

"stop taking my pictuuuuuuuuure"

 

 

 

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