Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pink Eye / Silver Lining

Visiting Amanda's kittens on Friday evening. Girls: thrilled; kittens: not so much.

After my workout with Courtney on Saturday morning I had text from Luke: Josie has conjunctivitis. But we have three parties to go to! Luckily my mom was free and she picked up Josie for a weekend of convalescence... and girl time and movies. I had lamented to Luke that I want to spend more one on one time with C and this weekend afforded me that opportunity - pink eye/silver lining.

I redeemed a hot stone massage Groupon and C and I went to the library and the grocery store. I checked out National Geographic's 50 States 5000 Ideas and re-checked out A Really Big Lunch.

Little feet hanging off the chair - so cute. She picked out a book with CD that we've been listening to nonstop this week -- and she holds the book so Josie can see the pages from her car seat vantage point. So sweet.

Pool party at our friends' house! C swam and swam and swam and used the "shotty thing - it makes shots" [the water gun] and ate pizza and then more pizza in the car on the drive home -- her best day ever?

The next morning we went to a brunch at our friends' house as they prepare to leave their condo with this spectacular view and move to historic home a few blocks away.

Clementine, looking at the basilica: Who lives in that castle?!

Another pool party! C swam with her friends and we had lots of time to visit in the shade poolside.

She fell asleep on the ride home and I carried her inside. She napped on me for a bit and I loved it.

When she woke up she wanted apple slices - and tomatoes! - and raspberries! and I made dinner for us and the Band Uncles (aka the Ba-duncles): an air chilled roast chicken a la Dinner, roasted green beans, caprese salad (C picked the basil from the plant on the porch), steamed corn on the cob. For dessert I sliced up my farm share peaches and made whipped cream. It was a delicious day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chicago Visit

A quick Chicago trip before my sister has her first baby! 

My flight was delayed but on the upside I flipped through the many months of magazines I'd lugged along. Brett and Elise picked me up from the airport and we got Thai takeout on the way home.

In the morning Elise and I worked out and then the three of us went to Burger Brunch at Au Cheval.

This is a terrible photo but a great idea: a huge muffin split in two and griddled. Brilliant! I will steal this idea for my next Taste of Costco brunch. Bottom frame: cheeseburger with an egg and very thick bacon.

Was enjoying brunch when I received this text from Luke:

Luke freed himself and the girls!  Whew! Elise and I took advantage of the glorious weather and walked to Michigan Avenue because, hello, Anniversary sale. Then we Ubered back to their neighborhood to see Baby Driver which isn't my sort of movie at all, but I loved it! And the recliner movie seats were fantastic.

To Elgin for Eric's birthday party! Great company and great food poolside.

Sitting by a cat in cat pajamas is the cat's pajamas.

Workout, biannual mani/pedi, and hanging out in Lincoln Park. Sandwiches at Chicago Bagel Authority...

all sold out but I enjoy the name very much.

I love this catalog and didn't even know they had brick and mortar stores. Ikat wishes and batik dreams...

Another delayed flight, more magazines, meanwhile Luke held down the fort.

The next Chicago visit is already planned: a fancy dinner out, a wedding, a new baby to visit!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Can See A Lot of World From Here

First time off the diving board. Her instructor was in the water and she needed a little coaxing the first time...

And couldn't wait for her second.

Dinner after swimming.

"I can see a lot of world from here." - Clementine, taking in this view from the corner booth at Qdoba.

"Hey Josie, smile!"

"Hey Josie, look mad!" Same face.

Bedtime. We read St George and the Dragon which has so many great vocabulary words including Josie's favorite fled  ("it means you wun away fast!") and Clem's favorite glared ("like Lulu in Ladybug Girl! [who glares at her brother]) Bedtime reading, always important, always prioritized, suddenly has become gratifying and wondrous.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Gruffalo

We have watched The Gruffalo a few times on Netflix every now and then and when C saw the book at Novel Neighbor we purchased it. It has become a bedtime favorite -  I love that part! when she hears her favorite couplet "A gruffalo? What's a gruffalo? / A gruffalo? Why, didn't you know?"

I bought the audiobook for 95 cents and they adore listening to it in the car (and The Gruffalo's Child). AGAIN! they shout. We listen to this 7 minute recording a few times in a row during each trip. It delights me how the repetition makes it richer for them, more enjoyable with each listen. I love that snake voice! Clementine says when the narrator adds a hiss: Where are you going, little brown moussssssssse...

I bought the audiobook less than two weeks ago and now they both recite it!

Amazing! said the gruffalo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Birthday Week

πŸŽ‚ My birthday was a work day and a great, simple meal at home: Luke grilled chicken drumsticks, marking the second time the grill has ever been used (it was my birthday present in 2011 or 2012 - but too hot to grill on the driveway, in Texas, in July), and I made a caprese salad, steamed corn on the cob, and sliced strawberries. Summer food is glorious.

πŸŽ‰ Saturday: three parties!

πŸ’† Knowing it was going to be very hot and that I would be outside at least some of the day, I got my hair braided that morning. (Living by a salon that opens at 7 am on weekdays and 8 am on Saturday is so great!)

πŸ’ Curious George breakfast at the Butterfly House. Buffet catered by First Watch, crafts, a reading of a science-oriented Curious George book, photos with the primate himself. The girls had fun but it was HOT already.

🎠 Carousel rides.

🎨 With time to kill we drove to Chesterfield Commons to go to Michael's -- lately I've been wanting the girls to do more creative activities at home like painting, Play-Doh, etc... $150 later WE HAVE CRAFT SUPPLIES.

🍹 My mom came over to watch the girls while we went to a pool party, visited with friends, met some nice new people, enjoyed some kid-free time.

🌺 That evening--> Cream Cheese & Caftans Party!

So many of my favorite people, all together. It was grand.

Baby P, two weeks old!

I was just too hot to change clothes and couldn't change into my caftan! The gang really brought it.

Mom loves little bitty babies.

The theme from the party emerged from a couple of conversations with Jenny 1) cream cheese is the world's most versatile ingredient (solo - sweet - savory - what can't it improve?) and 2) this article referencing caftan parties that circulated on Facebook a few years ago.

The meal was rounded out by Sugarfire brisket and pulled pork and, naturally, a selection of amazing cream cheese desserts (redundant phrase, I know).

A day of new friends, old friends, family, fun - it was perfect. Sunday morning C woke up early and I hustled her out of the house so Josie and Luke could sleep. We went to Walgreens because I needed Zyrtec stat and she said, take my picture!

🍳 And then we went, bedhead and all, to Olive Street Cafe for a pancake and an omelet. I drank a cup of coffee and read part of the New York Times Magazine (bliss) while C colored the booklet in this $1 packet from Michael's - a booklet, crayons, and stickers. I'm buying 50 and putting them in my purse(s), car, gym bag...

🏑Then we looked at our first house! Unfortunately we had to bring the girls (who ran amok, of course) but it was a fun beginning to what will probably be a long process. This house had so many great ideas and a perfect location but too many 'that's not going to work' aspects to consider it. A relief of sorts because we're not moving for at least a year and I was worried about finding The Perfect House and being crestfallen about the timeline.

"I see a spider - he's so tiny!" There was no spider.

πŸ”₯ In the late afternoon Luke played an outdoor gig (so hot outside) and I made up for my lack of attendance (venturing to a new place in one thousand degree heat <<< girls placidly watching a movie at home) by making him vanilla ice cream. To everything, churn churn churn  / there is a season, churn churn churn...

Third Birthday

... and other fun!

Friday night: dinner with new friends at Katie's Pizza & Pasta in Kirkwood. We were early so we walked around Lucky's (a grocery store) sipping a cider and a iced coffee before our reservation. We party real hard, folks. My mom watched the girls and Brett and Elise arrived from Chicago -- everybody stayed over in the studio so they were ready for -> 

Saturday - Josie's third birthday! I put off planning a party and then I received an email in mid-June from the library detailing July events. July 1 - the big day - was a joint author event between the library and Novel Neighbor featuring Amy Young, the author of a book C was given for her birthday, A Unicorn Named Sparkle. This event promised dress-up and cupcakes. Thank you for throwing me a  free birthday party, St Louis County Public Library System!

Anticipating a lot of photos, I made appointments for the girls to have their hair braided the morning of the event. This is Ellie: she's a braid ninja, she's from Togo, and her blush is perfection.

As billed, the event had cupcakes, unicorn horns, and crafts. Here the girls are laughing with the author/illustrator, in town to read her new book A New Friend for Sparkle.

The real highlight for Josie was being carried by Uncle Brett, who she adores.

"Best day ever."

Lunch across the street at Bricktops. Melissa brought her kids and even though there were presents for each girl, Clementine was undone at Josie's receiving even a smidge more attention and she cried and pouted and sulked for the entirety of the lunch.

Home for cake! And a new lovey, Pua.

Clementine perked up after she and Luke picked up the cake at LaBonne Bouchee and "cookies wif the round fings wif the letters!" [M&M cookies, also pictured]

The inspiration for this cake, you ask? Josie always selects My Little Pony books from the library and in the weeks leading up to her birthday would exclaim I want a cake yike dat! when we reached this page in Pinkie Pie's Special Day.

Without thinking I didn't take a photo and returned the book. As her birthday drew near, I became fixated on her having a similar cake (not tiered) for her birthday. I requested the book again from the library but was working at a distant campus that week; Luke, at my request, picked up the book from the library and took it to the bakery to order the cake. (He's the greatest).

Once again, C was enraged with Josie's birthday attention: first the presents (she received one also but deemed it inferior instantly) and during Happy Birthday crouched by the newly-gifted dollhouse, sticking her tongue out. I felt terrible that I had not prepared her better for the day and angry/dismayed that her negativity was draining the fun from the activities ... then my mom took the girls to her house for the night and all was well. #byefelicia

On to Jenny's parents' house for their annual Fourth of July party where we saw Melissa and her crew again -

Ladyfriends - 

Meanwhile, at Grandma's house/city park:

That night we went to the Duck Room to see a band. A very full day! The next morning I went to my parents' house for a baby shower for my sister (all pics on real camera... still at mom's house) and brought the girls home.

Both girls like the new dollhouse which I thought included a family - wrong. While waiting for a doll family and doll pets they made do with only "animate" object in the house, the rubber duck that goes in the bathtub. Here Josie has put the duck to sleep on a blanket and pillow:

Monday was a work day and then a Fourth of July potluck that evening at Melissa's:

Gracie, Most Gravid.

The actual Fourth was a much-needed slow day around the house. Whew.