I’ve been gone for a while, but all that hard work has paid off in the form of not very ripped-up papers and some hard-earned grades.  Now I’m feeling the 80 degree heat here in Jersey, and I’m looking forward to the summer.  These three monkeys are too!

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!

 

Julia’s first, my 28th, and we’re both over it.  Hazel’s just now getting into the fun of things like this; she came bouncing home with a bag full of Valentine’s junk candy and counted out to me all the Valentine’s that had princesses, which you don’t like Mama, on them.  Looks like we were the only family that handmade cards…I think I should get used to that.

By the way, that steady, deafening roar is the traffic in front of our house.  It’s making me want to live the hermit life, just a little bit.

Right now I’m eating dinner, editing photos, watching the girls take a bath, and writing this post.  Busy isn’t even the right word; it carries no sense of imminent doom or driving impetus to finish work that more closely resembles the four horsemen of the apocalypse than it does motivation.  But look at this girl; I just had to share.

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.

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.

Impromptu Picnic

Poor old Julia had to eat sunglasses 😉

It’s still very warm here, about 85 degrees and very breezy.  While I am getting very excited about feeling those first true fall frosty days, it was a pleasure to eat outside, surrounded by the beauty of fall leaves, without worrying about the girls being too chilly.

Hummus, pita, salad, and tomatoes

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.

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!!!

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