Last Sunday, it was so beautiful outside that us and a bunch of our neighbors randomly decided to fire up our grills, turn on some music and pull out all of our food, chairs, and toys into the back alley and have an impromptu bbq with the kids. It was awesome.
It was an absolutely gorgeous spring weekend. Highs in the 70’s and 80’s meant we spent the entire weekend outside, which was great.
We also spent it with our neighbors. The entire thing. Which made it even better.
Saturday morning, we ran the annual Generation Run to benefits Students Run Philly Style. It’s used to be an 8k, but this year they cut it down to a 5k. It was still a great time and fun to race for a change. I can’t remember the last time I ran a 5k and had fun running with Jeremy. I surprised myself with a decent time, which was nice. Especially since I ran it pregnant last year. And a bunch of our neighbors and friends came out to run and cheer us on, including our friend Scott, who ran it as his first 5k! He did great!
The rest of weekend was filled with lots of playground time, a trip to a small, local zoo with Jackson, beers on the deck with Mike and Scott, a great 8.5 mile run with Carolyn and an impromptu neighborhood bbq in our back alley with tons of food and toys for the kids.
As the days gradually grow longer and warmer, our weekends become busier and more fun. It happens every year. After spending months indoors, at the first sign of spring, everyone rushes outside and starts making plans for weekends months in advance. It’s one of the things I love about this time of the year.
This weekend was one of those weekends. We didn’t have much planned, but we spent the entire two days outside with friends. Ruby spent time in the sun for the first time since she was two months old and Quinn ran around so much she was completely exhausted by Sunday night.
On Saturday, we had dance class, a library visit, and a long walk in the woods with Jackson and some serious imaginative play. It’s crazy to see what kids come up with when all they have are rocks and sticks.
We got to have dinner with Grandma and Grandpa in Center City without the girls to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday. It was nice to sit back and catch up with them without having to talk over someone crying or screaming “Let It Go” at the top of her lungs.
On Sunday,we spent three hours in the garden cleaning it out and remulching it while Quinn helped and Ruby napped and then happily bounced in the exersaucer outside with us. Later, we had a delicious dinner with our good friends Lori, Emi, Mia and Seth, who we haven’t seen in forever.
Both days, I got in decent runs. One was alone where I made myself do multiple hill repeats. The other was with Carolyn around Kelly Drive as we watched a 5K race on the other side of the river and dodged a high school regatta on ours. Both runs felt wonderful outside in the sunshine.
Both days we had hours of playtime with scooters, chalk, basketballs and baseballs on the sidewalk in front of our rowhomes with Evie, Johnny and Jackson while the squealing kids terrorized the block and all the exhausted parents sat back on the stoop, drank beer at an impromptu happy-hour, and talked about how we were going to plan a night out together without kids. (We really mean it this time!)
The sun was out but it was still cool and comfortable. The the daffodils were blooming, the Phillies were always on in the background and there were friends and family around us at all times. We were (are) exhausted as usual, but it’s a good kind of exhausted.
This weekend, we took a relaxing day trip to Rehoboth Beach, with our good friends Mike and Scott. They graciously invite us to join them a few times a year for a fun weekend, and every time, we have a blast.
Even though we were only there one night and it was cold, rainy and foggy, we made the most of it. We drank, ate, walked the foggy beach (beautiful), drank more, let the kids stay up late, and laughed the whole weekend. Mike and Scott even taught Quinn how to play cards (which she loved) and indulged us (me) by joining me at the outlet stores on Sunday morning.
Ruby got to see the beach for the first time. I think she was impressed. And both girls were so good on the long car ride.
Even though it wasn’t a true vacation, it felt so good to get out of the city with my little family and friends for a day. Thank you again, Mike and Scott!
I keep meaning to update here with things that are going on, but I never seem to have the time these days. We’re busy, but yet, not doing much, if that makes sense. So, here is a little update on us.
It seems everyone has it these days. Quinn had a three-day fever-stomach mess this past weekend (Ruby had it the week before). And while she handled it ok, I know it was hard on her. We did have a really nice day together when I stayed home with her on Tuesday. Jeremy went to work and Ruby went to daycare, so it was just us two girls. She helped me organize baby clothes, we played games, decorated headbands, and of course, watched Frozen. She was just really, really good. It’s amazing how much different she is now that she’s four. I mean, we still have our issues, but man, she is so, soooo much better. So, all you parents of three-year-olds, just hang in there. Your sweet kid will come back to you.
And Ruby has been up at nights coughing, sneezing and basically drowning in her own snot. We thought she was sick, but I think her two bottom teeth are coming in and that’s the culprit. She is generally happy, but wow. Where does all the snot come from?
Speaking of snot…
Someone bought us a NoseFrida as a gift when I was pregnant, but when I pulled it out of the box, I was intimidated and shoved it back in and hid it in the back of the closet. In a fit of desperation this week, I pulled it out and actually took the 2 seconds it takes to read the instructions and guess what? It’s the easiest thing ever (of course). And it works! Waaaay better than a nasal aspirator. And it’s not gross, I swear. If you have a snotty kid (and if you have a kid, you have a snotty kid), run, don’t walk, to get one of these.
It’s still winter.
This is a photo of Ruby taking a bath with the snow falling outside the kitchen window. This was taken 3 days ago. At the end of March. I don’t even know what to say.
Speaking of Ruby taking a bath…
It’s simply one of my favorite times of the day.
Speaking of Ruby Speaking…
She says “Dada” all the time now. I know that’s not really a word but more of an easy sound all babies make, but she only says it when she sees Jeremy. This morning, he walked into the room, she looked at him and she just started saying it over and over again. It was so sweet and Jeremy looked like someone just stabbed him in the heart with a happy arrow.
This week, without much fanfare, I nursed Ruby for the last time. I thought I was going to be more upset about it, but honestly, I’m not. I’ve been supplementing with formula for a few months, and as time went on after I returned to work, even with pumping 4 times a day, and exclusive nursing at home, my supply slowly dwindled. Towards the end, she basically refused to nurse and I would get a half an ounce of milk from both sides after pumping for 20 minutes. I could have rearranged my life to try to get back my supply, but it’s harder this time around and she is perfectly happy and healthy with formula and food. So, that’s it.
I nursed Quinn for 11 months, and while I would have liked to have reached that with Ruby, 7 months is fine with me. We still have a few bags of milk in the freezer, but after those are gone, that’s it. My nursing days are officially over forever. It sounds much sadder than I feel. Really, the only thing I’m sad about is that it means my last baby is growing up. But I’m not sad about having my body back, wearing normal bras again and throwing my pump over a cliff.
I chopped off a lot of hair this week.
I loved having long hair, but it’s nice to have something different again.
We went out with a bunch of friends last weekend.
Jeremy helped throw a good friend of ours a surprise birthday bash last weekend. Grandma and Grandpa had a sleepover with the kids and we were able to go out in Center City with friends, not wake up in the middle of the night to feed a baby, and then go to breakfast and Target alone the next morning. It was pretty great.
I realized the other day that I have not left the city of Philadelphia since June. Seriously. I need a vacation. Our good friends Mike and Scott (see photo above) have graciously invited us to Rehoboth this weekend with them. While it’s too cold to go to the beach, and really, it’s going to rain all weekend, it will still be nice to get out of Dodge for a couple of days and spend time in another home, cooking, chatting, drinking wine and watching the kids play.
Also, after much whining, Jeremy bought us tickets to go to Florida to see my family in July. We usually go at Christmas, but didn’t this year. Then, we were going to go a few weeks ago, but cancelled that one too. It’s been way too long and I can’t wait to get back down to FL to see all my friends and family. It’s going to be miserably hot, but we’ll have lots of beach/pool time, so that will be fun.
Even though it’s been a long, cold winter, I’ve been meeting friends a couple of days a week for short runs before work. I am still pretty out of shape, and no where near as “fast” as I was two years ago, it has been good to get out there and catch up with friends on the dark, bitter winter mornings.
But, spring is coming and that means training is just around the corner. After taking last year off while pregnant, I can’t wait to get into the swing of things again. First up: The Broad Street Run 10 Miler in May. Then, hopefully, we can sneak in a couple of half marathons over the summer/fall. I would like to run the Philadelphia Marathon and maybe the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in December. But, it’s harder these days to commit to training with a baby. We’ll see. For now, every run is a good run, as long as I can find time to get out.
Lately, it’s been so much fun to watch these two together. Ruby is at that perfect baby age, where she is interactive, happy, trying new things but not yet mobile. Quinn is also at a perfect age where she has all the innocence and hilarity of a three-year old, but is able to control her emotions and impulses a little better. They both just love to be around one another and it makes my heart swell every time I watch them interact. Of course, Quinn has started screaming at Ruby when she hits her in the head or grabs at her toys. Which makes Ruby do it more and with a smile on her face. I foresee a lot of screaming and hair-pulling in our future. But, for now, it’s sweet.
That’s what’s going on here. Now we will return to our irregularly scheduled instagram posts.
It’s been a good month, Ruby Tuesday. I feel like things have gotten a little easier since your sister turned 4 years old and you are becoming a bit more independent. I don’t feel quite as overwhelmed as I did a few months ago, and that’s a relief.
This month, you’re trying out some new things, like sitting up, waving and growing teeth. The sitting up thing is getting easier for you as the days go by. You can sit for a long while on the bed without toppling over. Quinn likes to sit behind you and “help” you sit up. And by “help” I mean, push you over when I’m not looking.
The past week you have learned how to wave…kind of. It’s really just an odd, stiff-jointed, shaky salute, but it’s pretty cute. And every now and then, when I, your dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Quinn all hysterically wave at you and smile like idiots, you will even give us a little wave back and smile.
And the past few days, all of your drooling and coughing have finally revealed the familiar white bumps on your bottom gums. I give it two weeks before we definitely have a breakthrough. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful for you. You seem to be taking it all in stride.
Speaking of teeth, we still try to feed you solid food, but you’re pretty picky. Right now, you’ll only eat sweet potatoes and sometimes bananas. And some days, you won’t eat anything. The pediatrician told us to just keep trying, but not worry too much about it. So, we don’t. But it’s weird to see a baby refuse so much food when our previous baby would eat anything and everything we put in front of her from day one.
You are enjoying daycare and are so tired on the days you come home from there that you sleep great at night. You love going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and get a giant smile every time you see them.
You enjoy walking outside in the ergo or bjorn (when it’s not snowing…in MARCH), you love bouncing in your gigantic exersaucer while Quinn plays next to you. You like being held and snuggling with me in bed in the mornings. You HATE being left alone.
You love, love, love taking baths and would sit in the tub all day if I let you. You love watching Daddy and Quinny act out “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from Frozen in the dining room after dinner. Actually, you love watching Quinny do anything.
You are growing cuter and more charming by the day. You grunt and laugh all the time and love to chat and screech. Your wide eyes, (and ears), button nose, gummy smile, and laid-back personality make people instantly fall love with you. Most of all, me.
While I have flashes of retained images from very early on in my life, the first concrete memories I have started at age 4.
I remember playing games with my two older brothers. I remember meeting my best friend of the past 34 years, for the very first time, on the sidewalk in front of my childhood home after she moved into the house next door. I remember her older sister Tracy, teaching me how to ride her old, blue bicycle. I remember my parents redecorating my bedroom in a Sesame Street theme – with white curtains and comforter that were covered in letters and drawings of Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Bert and Ernie. (Elmo wasn’t around back then.)
I remember my Grandma Kisel teaching me how to draw houses at her kitchen table – the table that always had bowl of plastic fruit sitting in the middle of it. I remember being very confused by plastic fruit at age four. She used to watch me during the day while my parents worked and I would play in her gravel driveway alone. (It was the 70’s.) Mostly, we would sit on the couch together and watch the Price is Right. I remember standing in my Aunt Sandy’s bright, red, teen-decorated bedroom and shooting pretend arrows at her poster of Andy Gibb while she laughed and told me how silly I was.
I remember visiting my Grandma Harrish’s house in Cleveland. How my Grandmother would do my hair and take endless photos of me (sounds familiar). I would play Cherry Ho with a neighbor girl my age on her back patio. The girl’s name I can’t recall, but she had a dark, Dorothy Hamill haircut.
I remember splitting my eyebrow open after sleepwalking, waking up on the bathroom counter with blood on my pink pajamas while my poor, frantic mother tried to calm down my cries. I remember how my dad used to carry me up three flights of stairs in our split-level home to bed when I fell asleep in the family room. I always woke up on the way up, but would pretend I was asleep because I loved being in his arms.
I was lucky. I had a pretty wonderful childhood. We didn’t have a lot of money and our family had issues like any other, but my childhood was filled with love, laughter and many memorable moments.
And the memorable moments all started at aged four.
This is it. Your life, as you know it, is about to begin.
You’re not my toddling baby anymore, tearing through my house as you destroy everything in sight. You’re a girl - a brave, wonderful, funny, endearing, beautiful, stinky girl. You walk, run, climb and dance with thought and purpose. You speak in a way that always leaves me wondering where you could have possibly learned to use such words and phrases.
You are going to remember the places we take you, words we say to you, the moments we share. From this moment on, when we talk about “creating memories”, I don’t just mean for your dad and me. These are going to be your memories as well.
I feel like I need to up the ante on my parenting game a little.
Four is a special age. It’s that magical moment a person transforms from a toddler to a child. But in all honesty, the most magical thing about four, is that it’s no longer three.
Seriously…three. WHY did no one warn me about three?
The past year was a good one, but it was definitely our most challenging one so far. There were many moments we definitely questioned our parenting. Moments when I was pregnant that we wondered, out loud, how we could have possibly thought bringing another child into the world was a good idea when we couldn’t even handle one. There were many, many days at work when I dreaded coming home because I knew how difficult the evenings would be. There were constant issues with bedtime, dawdling, defiance, talking back, ignoring us, aggressive behavior – you know, normal three-year-old behavior that no one tells you about so when it happens, you feel like you’re the only one who has ever gone through it. It was rough.
But, that’s the charm of three. Because it was also silly, loving, beautiful and wild. Your personality really began to shine. We can now see, for the first time, who you really are – not as a cute baby or growing toddler – but as a person. And as we approach four, all the tyrannical three stuff is gradually fading with every day that clicks by. And you’re back.
You’re a sweet girl. When you talk about the things that you love, you always stretch out your arms as wide as they can go and end with, “I love the whoooooole word.” My little hippy.
You have all the typical favorites of a four-year-old girl: rainbows, sparkles, unicorns, princesses, tutus, shoes, and all things purple and pink. You won’t leave the house without putting on a skirt or dress. You change your clothes at least four times a day. I have given up picking out your outfit and have embraced your contrasting yet flavorful sense of style. You’re a total girl, but with the sense of humor of a college frat boy. Potty humor seems to make you laugh the loudest.
You love to laugh. And more than that, you love to make other people laugh. You goof around and act like a fool, all with the sole purpose of making one of us crack up with you. You’re a total clown and I love it.
You are a little shy initially in a new social setting, but as soon as you warm up, you are leading the charge. Your teachers tell us that the other kids flock to you and you are very helpful and kind to them all. They also say you are reliable to help out in the classroom and of course, to make people laugh.
You talk incessantly. You ask a ton of questions and if you are still confused by the answer, you dig deeper until you understand.
You say please and thank you. You give big hugs and sloppy kisses.
While it takes a while to calm you down for bed at night, you’ve been doing better. And once you fall asleep, you are a great sleeper. But, you are not a morning person. We have to drag you out of bed every morning. You are worse than a teenaged boy. It makes our morning routine a little challenging, but I can’t really blame you. The only person who hates getting up in the morning more than you is me.
You thrive off of activity. You’re constantly running, skipping, jumping and tumbling. You like to go sledding and ride your scooter or balance bike, which you were getting better at before all this dreaded snow.
And you dance. Forever, you dance.
You’re really into ballet but you will shake it to any style. You put on a dance show for us almost every night. It’s amazing to me that someone who has never seen an episode of Seinfeld, could dance so much like Elaine Benes.
You have an active imagination. You constantly play pretend with your dolls and stuffed animals. You make up these long, elaborate stories and when we ask you to explain them deeper, you always have to clarify, “No Mommy and Daddy, I’m just playing pretend.”
You love to play Candyland and tell knock-knock jokes. You love to draw pictures and have gotten really good at drawing people. You have mastered writing your first name and can recognize almost all of the letters and numbers. Your favorite song is “Roar” by Katy Perry, but you make me sing, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder every night 3-4 times before bed. Your favorite movie is Frozen and you would watch Doc McStuffins, Tinkerbell and Sofia the First all day long if we let you.
You love macaroni and cheese, pasta, yogurt, apples, red peppers, baby carrots and Dum Dums – not necessarily together. You love water and you think it’s funny to say you drink beer, because it makes us laugh.
More than anything, you love Ruby. You will do anything to make her smile. And when she does, you laugh as loud as you can. It fills my heart to see you enjoying bringing joy to your baby sister. The way you two interact with one another, we already know you will be conspiring against us in no time.
You’ve endured so many changes this year – getting rid of your pacifier, starting your Pre-K classes, getting a baby sister – I’m actually surprised we didn’t have a harder time. But, as always, you surprise us with how easily you adjust to it all. You are strong, kind, funny and a joy. Even when you’re not a joy – you are.
Happy birthday Quinn. You fill our lives with so much love and you make us proud every day.
Quinn’s fourth birthday has come and gone and this year, her party was a smashing success.
This is the first year we have had a birthday party outside of the home. We normally just invite a few friends over with kids and have cake and food at the house. It’s always been a lot of fun, and honestly, I prefer to have it there. I’m not into huge birthday parties at obnoxious venues that cost a fortune. It’s annoying to me that that’s what birthday parties have come to now.
But, after last year, when our tiny rowhome was taken over by rambunctious three-year-olds with nowhere to run (we don’t have a a yard and the weather wasn’t good enough to go outside anyway), we knew we would have to find somewhere indoors and away from home if we wanted to have a party. Poor Quinn and her winter birthday.
Lucky for us, there is Smith Playhouse. Smith is a wonderful, free playground and playhouse in Fairmount park that we frequent a lot in the summer. Their playground is really one of the best I have ever seen. It’s closed in the winter, but their giant play house stays open all year. And while most birthday parties are held on one of the two outdoor porches overlooking the playground, they do have one small party room they rent out for a small fee.
So, that’s what we did. We had the room for food and the kids had the run of the playhouse, which was also open to the public. Of course, not many people come to Smith in the winter, so it wasn’t very busy.
I had a slight moment of panic in the am, when I realized how small the room was and how many people were actually going to show up (almost 50!) But, it was perfect. We had them eat cake about halfway through and just let them go wild in the playroom. It was great. All of Quinn’s favorite buddies showed up and she was so excited on the way there. She could barely contain herself. She really felt so special all day, thanks to her wonderful friends and family who came to celebrate with us.
One day, when we move into a bigger house, we will definitely go back to fun house parties. The kids can go crazy in a family room or finished basement, while the parents eat food, have a cocktail and catch up on different level of the house. But, for now, our first venture into an off-site birthday party was a success. The birthday girl had a smile on her face the entire day. Of course, that’s the most important thing.
Happy half-birthday, Ruby. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole six months since you came into this lifetime of yours. I thought I knew with Quinn what they meant when they told me “they grow up so fast”. But, that’s nothing compared to life with two kids.
Other than a few sleeping issues, it’s been a wonderful 6 months. And this month has been especially fun. You have been doing so much lately it’s no wonder it all seems to be a blur.
You started school two days a week, which you seem to love. The teachers love you too since all you do is smile at them all day. They compare you to your big sister a lot, who also took to daycare very easily, and I’m glad you’re adjusting so well. One of the best things about school is that it totally wears you out. You are so exhausted by the end of the day, that you conk out and sleep almost all night. Woo-hoo, sleep!
Of course, in the two weeks you’ve been there, you’ve gotten a non-stop runny nose and a stomach bug – which means we all have a stomach bug. It’s no fun to have to deal with the petri dish that is the infant room. But, we’ll survive. Just don’t come home with lice.
You still get to spend 2-3 days a week with your Grandma and Grandpa. They love it and so do you. We are so lucky to have them here with us now. And I’m so happy you will have the chance to spend so much quality time with them as you grow up.
You started eating rice cereal this month. We waited a little longer than we did with your sister because you’re still learning to sit up and always tend to spit medications out of your mouth. And honestly, you really didn’t seem that interested. But so far, you seem ok with rice cereal. You still wear most of it, but we’ll work on it.
And then there is your sleep. I haven’t wanted to mention it in fear of jinxing it. But for now, we seem to have solved the sleep issues by going back to full-on, super-tight, newborn swaddling. And with the exception of a few random fussy nights, you are only waking up 1-2 times a night now – down from once every hour.
Of course, sleep habits are so random. Every night, there is an element of “will tonight be the night she starts waking up again every hour?” We’ve had a couple since we started swaddling you that scared us, but luckily, you went back to a decent routine. You still haven’t slept through the night (not once your entire life, come ON kid!), but at least you have a definite bedtime/wake-up time routine and are giving us more than 45 minute stretches of sleep. So, thank you.
And I guess you will have to stay swaddled until middle school.
Otherwise, you have all the typical quirks of a 6 month old. You love to be held and hate being left alone. You are curious about everything and reach for every object you find in hopes of exploring it more with your mouth. You chatter a lot more and have recently started clearing your throat and laughing if we do it back to you. It’s like our own little way of communicating.
You are sitting up assisted but still tumble over a lot. You don’t mind tummy-time anymore. Your legs are getting stronger and you can now stand up pretty well if I hold on to you.
You still love your bouncy seat and are falling in love with the exersaucer. The swing you once loved so much is now simply a giant bucket that holds all of your toys in the corner of our dining room. We can probably take that down to the basement.
But, who has time?
And you love your sister. Like, LOVE her so much. It’s the best thing in the world to see the two of you together. Quinn is so good to you and just wants to hold you, kiss you and play with you all the time. And you are just in awe of her. She can do no wrong in your eyes. Any time I am feeling sorry for myself about how hard our life is now and how busy we are and blah, blah…I see you both and realize how lucky I am. And it shuts all the negative stuff down.
I do feel like we’ve turned a bit of a corner this month – with you turning 6 months and Quinn turning 4, I am finally seeing a glimpse through the newborn/tyrannical three’s fog and the view is pretty great. Every month with you in our lives gets better and better. Thank you for making our family complete.