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Heat Wave

7 Aug

When a “Heat Advisory” for 80 degree weather is issued on a coast that rarely sees 70 you throw your to do list out of the window.  We did just that this weekend.  Living by the ocean really can be the best thing in the world and it’s even better when you wake up and have a day or two that feels like a vacation.

Our little beach town is so much different from the beaches I visited growing up.  The coastline is cut by dramatic cliffs, made only more so when the fog rolls in to wrap them up in a cloud of mystery.  But this weekend the wind slowed, the sun warmed, and the “bathing soup” came out for a glorious juxtaposition of the two kinds of beaches I love.

We pulled off 101 and made the short trek down to Moolack Beach eschewing the touristy crowds at our usual spots.  At this point allow me to make one strong recommendation for your bucket list.

Experience a beach that feels as if it’s all yours.

It’s paradise no matter the weather.

The one constant out here?  The Pacific waters where we are hover in the very crisp range of 50 and 55 degrees.  It’s wet suit mandatory kind of cold.  For me that means no water will be touching my toes.  Abigail, however, splashed until her little lips were quivering.

There was even more splashing when Olivia, Ollie, and Bella the beach dog showed up.

Thankfully this Coast Guard Helicopter was not going to rescue us or our potentially hypothermic daughter.

Thank you Coast Guard!

If that wasn’t enough of a treat, we took our weekend to hot fudge sundae proportions when a trip to the valley resulted in a get together with friends we are missing and new running shoes for me!

Wagon Rides, of course!

Guard dog, Ella.

Oh and we did some of this, too.

Is it Friday yet?

Abigail Do It!

5 Aug

My dad sent me an email last week after I wrote the Puzzling blog.  I had a few days of feeling off kilter.  My expectations were not matching up with what was going to realistically happen.  I shifted gears after reading what he wrote.  He was reminding me that it isn’t always about constantly entertaining your kids or shuttling them around to a million things.  It’s also good to just include them in that hum drum stuff that has to get done.

Trust me, Abigail will get just as much from following you as you will give her “following her”..  

We spent a lot of time doing regular stuff this week and as the days went on, “Abigail do it!” became our enthusiastic mantra.

It’s quicker and easier to just do it myself, but this week I opened up that reserve of patience that I forgot I had hanging around.  There were a few deep breath and jaw clenching moments but we made it through — and in the end?

I learned a lot about Abigail.

1.  When asked what she wants to wear?  It’ll be a toss up between something pink and a OSU “beebers” shirt.

2.  A pretty good fix for missing Nanny is making her blueberry scones.

3.  She takes her time writing thank you notes and decorating the envelopes.

4.  Abigail makes a mean PB&J dino toast.  After a few days of practice we served it up to a special breakfast guest who didn’t seem to mind pre-licked jelly.

“Oh you know I got some in the end.  I don’t practice my pathetic eyes for nothing!” – Hank

4.  If you thought she was good at vacuuming you should see her sweep.  (Don’t mind the mess.  We are spending most of our time making toast and sweeping a 1×1 square of carpet.)

5.  Even though she prefers her “gymnastics hair” I’m wondering if she’s destined to be my tiny dancer.

Mary Poppins wasn’t lying when she talked about the sugar making the medicine go down.  You bet we found some fun in the jobs to be done.

We’d like to thank our friend the step stool for making this week possible.

“Abigail doooooo it!” You sure can!  Go girl.



Olympic Gold

30 Jul

London Mug – a la TJ Maxx

We are crazy over the Olympics around here.  Our usually quiet TV has been kicked up a notch making an exception for the summer games.  I love the back stories of athletes overcoming financial, physical, and mental road blocks to become an elite few in their respective sports.  It’s fun learning about the host city 2-5 minutes at a time.  And the events, oh the events, we cheer, we cringe, we I even cry a little. Shocker!  Ryan and I have a tradition of staying up way too late watching the prime time coverage and this year is no different.  It was a fun, lazy weekend.  We let the athletes do most of the work but we managed to sneak in a few medal worthy moments ourselves.

Double Decker wind up bus — a la London

Hank took US gold in table begging, eye boogers, and drool.  We’re so proud.

We secured a team medal for reading but not before Abigail was questioned about possible foul play over jeans suddenly didn’t need rolling up any more.

Ryan shocked us all with his soft butter catch, landing himself on the podium despite slacking off during training.

Over at Playground Stadium Abigail captured the All Around Toddler Gold for near perfect scores on the see saw, monkey hang, and twisty slide.

Check out that focus before a second attempt at the twisty slide.

And me, well, I was just beyond ecstatic when I did my 3 mile trail run at a sub 10:00 mile pace.  It’s as strong as I’ve been since injuring my IT band last summer.  Sweet, sweet victory!

And did I mention Abigail wants to train for a spot on the 2016 vacuuming team in Rio?  Far be it from me to stand in the way of my kid’s dreams.

Penchant for Pink

20 Jul

Hank’s dog collar was on the verge of breaking. We had to run out this morning to get milk from the store so we stopped by the pet store first.

“We need to get a collar for Hanky. Should we get blue, orange, or green?” I asked holding out the three choices.


“Well, I don’t know if Hank wants a pink collar. How about red?”

“No pink.”

We perused the collars for the next few minutes, Abigail clutching a pink collar suited for a chihuahua.

“What about this one with blue AND green?”

“No! Pink pink!”

“Skull and crossbones?”


“Here’s a spikey one!”

Abigail begins to do the toddler knee bend cueing up the onset of a tantrum…

“NOOOOOOOO!” And higher pitched, “PIIIIIINK Hank pink one!”

So a whopping $8 later we were headed home with a hot pink collar in tow.

Parenting lesson #6,289: If you care about what kind of collar your dog is going to wear, don’t take a 2 year old with a penchant for pink.

Me? I didn’t really care. Learning to take turns? Sitting at the table for a family meal? Brushing your teeth before bed? Buckling up in the car? Those are battles worth the fight.

“Here Hank! Here’s your college!” she ran in proud as can be to show him.

All that mattered to Hank was that he got a new nylabone. Newfoundland “colleges” don’t really make much of a statement anyway as they are covered up with floofy hair.

“Real men wear pink…or so they tell me.” Hank

It’s Complicated

15 Jul

A toddler is complex, wanting security and independence sometimes simultaneously. It can be exhausting. It can be exasperating. It can be exciting. And just as I find my daughter to fit the “complex” description of a toddler I know that my feelings lately are just as complicated. There are times when I look at her and get wistful because she is not a baby anymore. But there are other times that I see a new relationship growing, and it is so exciting I find myself looking forward to the changes I know are coming.

I’ve mentioned a few times (or an excruciating amount to a select few) how hard it has been to get Abigail to go to sleep at night — even with a calm and predictable bedtime routine and consistent timing and all that jazz. So we lay down with her a lot. “Mama stay. Daddy cuddle.” Some people would say maybe that is our problem. We should just leave her up there to go to sleep on her own, but I just can’t. For Abigail it means adventuring around her room or standing at the top of the stairs bawling her eyes out. So we lay. It’s not a perfect solution, but it makes the happiest home for us.

There are many nights that I lay up there and think, “Please. Just. Go. To. Sleep…” There are other nights that I’m asleep well before she is, and when I wake up an hour has passed and my contacts are dry, blurry, and suctioned to my eyes. Many nights it’s Ryan who stays up there and falls victim to the unintended bedtime. Sometimes we get lucky and she’s asleep in a couple of minutes. At this point it’s a crapshoot.

She’s sick tonight with coughing and congestion. I sang her our special song and when I finished she was so still I wondered if she had drifted off at last. A few minutes went by and she sat up and started talking:

Play trains at E’s house. E’s clock octagon. Lolo’s clock broken. BB’s hat and orange tractor. Watch swimming races. Kids swimming fun! Kids put on black bathing suits and hats. Fun LoLo’s house. Pop’s garden pick cucumber. Bridge. Walk bridge. Pet Molly. Shh! Molly’s sleeping. Nanny and Gramps come, fun. Drive red car. Play outside. LoLo’s red car. Pop’s be right back – pizza party! Fun Emmy. Emmy watch BB tractor. Put sunscreen on. Guy door, play ball again. Walk stroller in rain…Go back E’s tomorrow.  Play trains. Go back LoLo, Pops.

It was a running monologue of our trip to Virginia in unbelievable detail. For once I didn’t care that it was 8:37 and she wasn’t asleep. I wanted to keep whispering with her about the sweet memories we shared. My heart leapt as I realized how much she remembered, how vivid it still was to her. She said she wanted to go back and we talked about how we would — but not tomorrow or even very soon. And that’s okay, the missing something.

I don’t claim to have all of the parenting answers. I don’t.  Exhibit A:  Our bedtime situation. Every day we face new challenges. We evolve to meet the needs of Abigail and each other and our family. I could tell you what worked for me today and low and behold tomorrow it would be proven ineffective against the resolve of our determined two year old.

But I do know this. If I had not been laying with Abigail tonight I may have never known what was on her mind. So I’m glad I stayed. Maybe one day the staying will mean I get to learn a funny thing that happened at school or something she’s worried about or a problem she’s having. Maybe I’ll get to hear about her wishes or what she wants her future to be like.

I’m happy we’ve turned the corner into toddlerhood — into this world of give and take, big battles, and little conversations. There is a lot left to be celebrated. I am still very much in awe of this unique soul that belongs with us. I feel like I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of all she is becoming and all she is destined to be.

Happy Together

13 May

Sometimes it is enough to just be together.  Appreciation is about more than just what is wrapped up and delivered.  It is about recognizing delicious moments and savoring every bite.  We had that kind of day today.  The kind of day where you sit back at the end and feel so very satisfied.

I live a pretty ordinary existence as a stay at home mom.

I wash a lot of dishes, do a lot of laundry, and still change a good number of diapers.  I wipe sticky hands and eat pretend confections.  Sometimes the most exciting outing we have is to the grocery store or the post office.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a good time.

In fact, being together often makes me remember how special it is to be at the helm of your own little family.  And this weekend I realized how perfect mine is…for me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful mothers I know.  Blessings to all of you as you celebrate your “perfect for you” family today and always.

And to Scott and Reisha, thanks for clinking glasses and asking us to celebrate with you.  You throw one heck of a BBQ!


Bolivian Llama

26 Mar

Two weeks ago Abigail and I fell in love with a book called, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. If you haven’t read it, it’s perfect for the toddler set with colorful, fun illustrations and minimal text that still tells a complete and relevant story.

In it Little Llama has trouble falling asleep, we’ve been there.  We could relate.  It was one of those books she wanted to read over and over and over and over and over and…you get the idea.  It was also one of those books that I didn’t mind reading over and over.  I just loved looking at it and reading it.

We returned it to the library.  We’ll get it again, but I loved it so much I kind of wanted another kid to find it and love it, too.  Besides, we picked another llama book to read a bazillion times.

The other day Ryan pointed out to Abigail that a llama llama lives with us.  It’s a picture he took and it’s one of my favorites.  After his trip to Bolivia in 2009 he had lots of beautiful photographs. He had a couple of different ones in mind to hang up, but I wanted the llama.  He’s a good man.  I got my way.

I’ve looked at this llama a lot.  It’s hanging in our dining area and we just happen to spend a lot of time dining because Abigail takes FOR-EV-ER to eat.  (I just know she’s going to be one of those kids that comes home from her first day of Kindergarten with her entire lunch uneaten because she didn’t understand the concept of 25 minutes.)  ANYWAY.  Back to the llamas at hand.  Cue the segue.

Today, I had what I like to call a moment of creative genius.  I think you know where I am going with this.

Oh yes.

I totally did.

May I present my personal interpretation of: Llama Llama Red Pajama.

I thought it was just hilarious.  So incredibly funny.  A “BAHAHA” moment.

“It’s really not that funny, Mom.”

“Seriously.  You are so embarrassing.”

My kids didn’t appreciate me.  “Abigail!  It’s llama llama red pajama!  Look!”


Still nothing.

At this point I am laughing so hard I can’t even stand it.

I mean, look at that thing.

FINALLY, Abigail notices me doubled over with laughter and turns around to see what’s so funny.

And it totally made her smile.

Wow.  I need to get out more.