Seventeen. A Wedding and a Check In

20161001_172843_1475606292200familykurtweddinglibbykurtweddingjacobjeanwedding

 

Hi, there!

Just a little check in to say hi!  We’re still here!  And we survived our first wedding as parents!

We’ve been to Virginia and back for my cousin’s wedding to her now-husband, David.  The rain stopped juuuust in time for the wedding, which was at a vineyard, to be outside, and it was quite lovely.  I mean, I think it was a lovely wedding.  We retired to the reception building just after Ashley walked down the isle, as the wedding was on a small island in a lake, and my kids wanted to both run up to the front with the bride and groom and run into the water.

Really, though, the kids were both amazing!  We figured that we’d stay as long as we could, until they started having meltdowns from being exhausted and overwhelmed.  But that never happened!  Even when they were hungry because dinner was later than they were used to, they did great.  We even got to dance for two songs!  What ultimately caused us to leave?  Jacob actually fell asleep in my arms on the dance floor in the middle of Uptown Funk.

We took exactly one photo the entire time, a family selfie with Ashley and David’s inflatable moose head named Steve DaMoose.  We’re sort of kicking ourselves, because we looked good!  We were all dressed up!  This has never happened!  Fortunately, some cousins (thanks, Kurt and Jean!) got some better pictures, but still.  I’m hoping a half decent one of all four of us (where I’m not wearing a diaper bag backpack) surfaces, but sadly, I don’t think that one was ever taken.  Ah well, such is life with toddlers.

Ashley and David, congratulations!  We love you two!

(and yes, Jacob has dirt on his chin.  Because he was eating the vineyard’s dirt, as one does when one is 17 months old…)

Fifteen. Pseudo-homesickness

Have you ever felt homesickness for a place that you’ve never actually lived?

img_1453img_1499

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_6377img_6319img_6154img_6069img_5921img_5859img_5800img_5799img_1502
Chris and I spent two weeks in Iceland for our honeymoon in 2014. Two weeks in late July and early August, that’s all, a nice time for a honeymoon but a really insignificant length of time in reality.

And yet, every time I see a photo of Iceland or a reference to the country, I feel a pull, a longing, a desire, a homesickness for the country. It’s a feeling I’d imagine one would have for a place one has actually lived.

There is something, of course, about the sheer majestic beauty of the country. It’s undeniable.  But the urban landscape is also amazing. We loved the bright and colorful homes and buildings throughout the country and much prefer this to the monotonous colors and styles of homes found so often in the States. We were also won over by the people; everyone that we encountered was friendly, open, and helpful, and we loved Iceland really welcomes and embraces children.

Actually, I also feel this way a little about Amsterdam, which is a place I’ve never been. There is something about it that draws me; when I see other people’s photos of Amsterdam, I feel drawn to them for some reason, and I know I have to get there some day to find out why, just as I know that we’ll get back to Iceland one day, hopefully relatively soon.

Thirteen. Fall Bucket List.

11-101-3chrisjessengagement-911

Given that we’re thisclose to Fall, I thought I might share a few things that I’d like to do this time of year, season specific or otherwise.

*(the ubiquitous) Apple picking: because it’s been a few years since Chris and I have gone, and because we’ve never taken Jacob and Libby.

* Dancing: because we’ll be celebrating my cousin and her soon-to-be husband at their wedding very soon!

*The zoo in the fall: because it’s so. darn. hot. in the summer.  I’m thinking it will be downright pleasant in the fall.  Maybe we’ll hit up Boo at the Zoo.  We’d love to go to Ottertoberfest, too, but we have other plans that day.

IMG_0558.jpg

*Waking up before Jacob and Libby: not really a bucket list item per se, but it’s a habit that I’d really like to start cultivating.  I am not not NOT a morning person, but I’m also ready to actually finish a cup of coffee in the morning without microwaving it 987348 times.

img_5110
This is basically me every morning.  Nope.

*Finishing this little kangaroo project: because I started it foreverrrrrr ago.  Seriously.  It’s nearly embarrassing how long she’s been half-formed.

*Moving the office downstairs: our radon problem should be handled once and for all next week.  Then, bring it, basement.

*Thinking like a child: because once the office is moved, the current office space is becoming a mudroom/playroom for the kiddos, and we’re starting from scratch.  I’m pretty excited to design an empty room.

*Using the library more: because even though we have a lot of books, we keep reading the same ones over and over and over and chicka chicka boom boom, goodnight moon and llama llama….

It’s a list that’s small and that doesn’t seem like much, but, well, in our house, getting those things done before we hit winter would be a miracle!

Hope you’re planning on finding some time this fall to share with the ones you love.

11-101-3chrisjessengagement-849

 

(first and last photos by the lovely and talented Alex)

Save

Seven. Llama Llama Red Pajama….

….feels alone without his mama.

llama

On Saturday, children’s author and illustrator Anna Dewdney passed away in her Vermont home after battling with brain cancer for more than a year.  She was only 50 years old.

Jacob and Libby are only 16-months old.  As such, we are still relatively new to the children’s literature section of bookstores and of the library.  But Baby Llama we know well; after I read the book in our local bookshop, it both made me smile and cry a little, the sign of a very good book, indeed.

Dewdney “. . . emphasized that ’empathy is as important as literacy’ when it comes to educating children. ‘When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language . . .We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human.  When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.'”

Thank you, Anna Dewdney, for creating a book that my children love so much that we have to hide it.  There is no higher praise I could give you than that.

Four. Changes.

Detritus

I can feel the burned-out end of summer days settling on me. The grass is brittle, dry, browning, and when the humidity lifts, I get a sense that, well, yes, the Earth is turning again, creaking on towards Fall and Winter in its never ending waltz with the sun.

People are posting: children’s first-day of school photos, teachers’ first day of school musings. We are getting ready to move up a half-grade, if you will, at day care, from the younger side of the 1-to-2-year-old room to the elder side. I find myself wondering if Spring’s pants and long-sleeved shirts will still fit them, and then I hold one up and think, well no, most likely not.

And yet. It’s still regularly 90. I still feel torn between jeans because of air conditioning or shorts because of heat. The back patio is still littered with summer detritus: pool floaties, swimsuits and towels towels drying, bottles of bubbles. It’s still very firmly summer.

But the world is turning again, and I feel it in my bones.