Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from your friendly neighborhood Rainbow and Ariel. The girls have been waiting for this day to come since November 1st, 2011. They actually thank God in prayers some days "That it will be Halloween soon!" .. I have stifled a giggle hearing them pray this over their peanut butter and honey sandwiches.. in April. This year they were certain about their costume choices. Ada wanted to be Ariel and Margot wanted to be, and I quote, a rainbow. We talked with her and figured out that this could be successfully accomplished with a blue shirt as the sky, a rainbow (of course) and a rain cloud tutu. Et Voila! Stephen made her this costume and she has been in love with it from day one. Halloween is a fun Daddy holiday don't you think?

 Ada got lucky when one of our new teacher friends at school offered to give us her daughters Ariel costume that they didn't use any more. She was over the moon.

We did not tell them how to pose. These girls are just naturals.

Margot, the less affectionate of my twins, actually kissed Ada this afternoon because she was so excited that it was almost time to get dressed up. This might be the sweetest shot of them hugging ever taken. 

We got to party with two sets of friends tonight. The Reds came for dinner and the pre-game action and then Stephen and the girls actually went trick-or-treating with another precious family we are get to be friends with. Missed getting a picture of them which is a damn shame since the parents were dressed up too and they were the best looking zombie and David Bowie (yup! you heard it here first!) I have ever had the pleasure to meet. We are overly blessed and we know it.

Frankie stayed home with me to hand out candy and I am sorry to say that in all the excitement the girls and I did not dress her up this year. The girls wanted to put her in a tutu and a hat but it just didn't happen. She had a great time grinning at all those kids who knocked on our door and waving hello and goodbye. She will get more into the fun next year. It was kind of nice to focus on the big girls this year. After all I am pretty sure Halloween is a 4 year olds Christmas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I have been getting into a file of old family photos that I scanned in several years ago while working on a project for my brothers birthday. They are just so beautiful to me. Beautiful and preciously nostalgic of course. 

This is a note to say farewell to the life we have been living since school started back. Swim season is upon us and tonight was the first evening practice. Tomorrow will be the first "morning" practice, if you call 5:30am morning. I call it dark. Dark and cold and, frankly, lonely. I have been spoiled these last 2 months. I wake up to Stephen getting the girls ready for school and fixing me breakfast every morning. I get to take a shower and come down and face the day prepared. That has been our rhythm. Now I have to figure out a new rhythm as twice a week I will wake up alone when the girls come in our room at 6am and try to figure out how to shower and dress and feed and pack backpacks and get to school on time solo. There was a time that I just got up when he left at 4:45 or whatever. Maybe that's what the future holds. Not sure yet. I do know that it means that I am up way past my bedtime right now. Boo. I like being up at night. It's just about the only free time a wife and mother gets. To see that limited to two hours (maybe three if I am feeling dangerous) makes me a little sad. But I digress. The afternoon practice today went well and since they start at 5:45pm he was able to come home and eat dinner with us before heading back out. The girls and I had a pleasant evening and he came home just in time to read Frankie one last story and help get the girls out of the bath tub. I will figure out a new normal. I have just been dreading this season a little for some reason. Not sure why. It always feels like the beginning of a marathon. Once those practices start they don't stop for four months and standing at the starting line that's a long ass way off in the distance. Sigh. My way out of my dreary heart is gratitude. So! Here I go! I am grateful that coaching gives Stephen a little more $$ each month. Super grateful that the school divides it out over the entire 12 months they he is paid. I am excited to plan something fun on the evening practice days that Daddy doesn't come home for dinner. I see dessert playdates in our future and lots of story time. I am excited to have such a regulated sleep schedule. Thankful in advance for the wonders it will do for my migraine management. Thankful for the inevitable organizational systems that I will create while figuring out how to get it all done in the mornings. Here's hoping that thankful thing lasts when all 3 girls wake up tomorrow missing their Daddy : /

Monday, October 29, 2012


Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in New York and all along the East Coast tonight. The images coming from Facebook and Instagram are truly freaking me out. 

This is a picture of my Nanny climbing Kitty Hawk with John in the Outer Banks many years ago. Not even sure this hill is still around after so many storms have battered the area in the recent years.

Thinking of you guys up there in Manhattan and in Queens and in Brooklyn, the Bronx.. Jersey. 
Stay safe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Well we have our closing date set and the due diligence runs out in 3 days so I am going to risk it and go ahead and post this picture of, dare I say it, our new house. This is it! What do you think? We think it is incredible and one of the largest (physically at least) blessings in our family to date. I mean.. it's even our style you know? It is unique in a neighborhood that was built in the 60s and has many lovely split levels and brick ranches. To be honest the first time we saw it on the site we were sure it was too good to be true. Turns out, it wasn't. 

I haven't written much about this process because it has been so new and different which, inevitably, sends me on a roller coaster ride of emotions that no one wants to be a part of.. seriously! Stephen is a saint. In a nutshell once we were under contract and had the home inspection done, there were things that needed to be fixed. Big things like the roof. Oh me of little faith lost hope right away and figured we would need to move on. Our financing is structured in such a way that the only way we could purchase the home, was if the sellers were willing to do all the repairs. All of them. Most minor things but the list was twenty some items in length. It would take a miracle and as it turns out the sellers were(are) that miracle. They agreed to make all the repairs. We have the re-inspect on Tuesday and I can't wait to see the results. The appraisal came in where it needed to be so we are well on our way to the new closing date on November 30th. We are so excited. 

Last week was apparently the week of furniture. We will have a living room and a den (with a fireplace!) in the new place and we were hoping to have a least a few things to move in with. Another couch, possibly two end tables and a credenza of some kind for the TV. A wish list since none of it was essential to life but each of which would have been a nice addition to the comfort of home. I have been looking for weeks in Craigslist - casual browsing of all things vintage (since we are so picky about appearances). Suddenly I found a vintage sleeper sofa, a credenza, a fabulous vintage lamp, and 2 end tables (one of which is Lane and worth about 5 times what I paid for it) in the space of 48 hours! For a total cost of a little over $200 since we need every penny we have for expenses related to this process. See how good God is? Not only has taken care of our every need but suddenly even our wants have come to fruition! Not just stuff we can live with.. stuff we are psyched to find! Stuff we would have paid more for but... didn't have too :)

The last thing I will say about this process is that it is taking a tremendous amount of trust. Something I am quite the novice at. This home buying thing kind of came as surprise for us. Didn't know we were even good candidates, had no idea it was even a possibility.. thus we were unprepared financially. We had our emergency fund. That was it. We were blessed with an incredibly generous check from a beloved family member and though I thought it might be extra, it has turned out to be just what we needed to make this happen. We are going to coast into this closing on grace. But His grace is sufficient and I am clinging to that promise.

Anyway, just wanted to give everyone an update from the home front. I am having trouble with all of this info backing up in my brain so I am challenging myself to write something every day from now until the closing. Hold me too it you guys! Please! I really need this outlet right now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eighteen months of Frankie

Our mighty toddler turned 18 months I we took no notice. In fact I have been telling people she is 16 months for several weeks now. Shameful but true. Frankie won't mind though, she is very forgiving. A few other things about our favorite baby sister... she loves that Rody Horse thing she is riding here. She carries it from room to room and then goes to town bouncing on the poor creature. But if Toy Story is any indication of how the real world of toys works (and I think it is I mean come on!) "Strawberry" is having the time of her life. Here they are playing war steed and warrior princess with the Nerf Hatchets the girls use to attack their Dad with. Admit it.. you are a little nervous. You should be. 

Our girl is also wicked smart (read "smaaaaht" to those who know their film quotes and I don't have time for the rest of ya').  You can tell her to put something in the trash and she does it. Here she is when I discovered that she had mistakenly put the girls trash in the colander by mistake.

Now you see it..

Now you don't. 

Having a job makes a girl feel good inside.
She puts her shoes on the shoe rack at the back door when we come home. She will also bring them to you when she is ready to get some fresh air. 
She loves to put her dirty clothes in the hamper in the morning and before bath at night. Woe to the man or child who puts these items in the hamper without her help for her wrath is swift and often extremely loud. 
She also says "Peese" and "Tankooo". For reals. I said "What do you say?" when the pediatrician handed her a sticker last week and she smiled and offer her thanks. That is unheard of in this house of children who scowl at "strangers". This kid is friendly. Never fusses at being left.. anywhere! Waves hello and goodbye to anyone and everyone. Says hello and goodbye to anyone and everyone. Blows kisses to passing cars. She is our little socialite.

 She hasn't mastered crayons yet but man, she is trying her hardest.

Still naps twice a day and sleeps hard when she does.  She like to sleep shoved up against the left end of the crib. With her quilt tucked in around her. She likes to put her hand in between the crib and the mattress and stroke the sheet with her fingers. Her strawberry lovey has a fuzzy side and a soft fabric side and she likes the fabric. Not the fuzzy or the silky edge like her sisters, the fabric. When you read her stories before nap and bed you have to spread the lovey over her lap with the strawberries facing up so she can touch the fabric with her right hand and suck her left thumb. She is very particular but we are used to that personality trait.

Only kid in the house who sleeps hard enough for me to be able to take a picture without waking them. Look at that little face.. doncha just wanna kiss it?!

When I go get her out of her crib in the morning, she likes to give me kisses through the bars and hang onto the rail and bouncy up and down for awhile while I try to mirror her bounces. She giggles and grins with those baby teeth of hers. She thinks everyone in her family is hilarious, particularly her sisters. Her sisters continue to adore her even though she is getting to the age she can get in their way and mess things up.. and does. She is fearless and will go up a ladder and down a slide (no matter how tall or curly) all on her own. In all honesty if you look away you might miss it and she doesn't care. She is in it to enjoy every moment and she is not gonna wait for you to catch her if she falls. When she does fall sometimes she cries a little more than her sisters did, but love on her a minute and she is back in the game. 

Favorite moment of the week. I was watching the girls play on a jungle gym and I heard Margot call out "Hey!! Don't push my baby sister!!!" Another kid waiting their turn at the slide had given Frankie a friendly nudge to get her to go ahead down the slide instead of pointing at all the birds in the trees. My heart swelled listening to Margot come to her sister's defense. Later she asked another child to stop climbing up the slide "My baby sister wants to come down right now!" I remember how it felt when my little brother would defend me to other kids. It felt so good. Like we were a team and in it together even when it didn't look like we were even playing within earshot. These girls are tight and I like that. I didn't have to teach them how to care for each other.. they are just doing it on their own. You don't wanna cross Margot either. She is one tough cookie. 

Frankie, we love you. You brighten our days with your smiles and your laughter. Your eagerness to learn reminds me of just how short these years will be. Watching you sit on the couch with Margot and read books melts my heart and causes me to do silly things like stand in the middle of the living room staring at the two of you. You are so precious to us. Our family just wouldn't be our family without you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's hard not to be happy these days. Somehow I manage it though. Then I look back at pictures from the last few days and the stress fades from my mind and I am just, happy. How could you not be? 

A red wagon from the city, made much happier by a smiley baby in the mountains next to her Papa in his hammock. 

Twin darlings happy to be wading in frigid water with their Grammy and Grampapa.  The contagious excitement of little girls convinced they can build a dam with their Daddy large enough to stop the entire river. And they can. And they did.

Water and rocks and sunshine and family. My family. 

You could stay forever in a place like that. I think I will. 

Or here. At the North Carolina State Fair on the busiest day. Despite Ada's forlorn look, so much happiness that day. So much wading through people and eating good (not fried.. honest!) food. So many smiles and baby screeches. Sunshine and that honest tired feeling you get after that long walk to the free lot. And it was worth it. 

No excuses. Just me. Happy.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

If one of your kids is driving you to drink..

.. take them on a date.  

Margot is a carbon copy of me, emotionally. That means when I am struggling, putting the two of us together for any stretch of time will result in a load of bad attitudes, time outs, deep sighs and gritted teeth. Today was the worst so far this week. So when Stephen came home I asked him if he would mind if I took Margot out for awhile. He agreed and I packed a bag and we headed out to the art museum to go for a walk around the sculpture park. So getting one away from the pack normally results in a much calmer child who listens better and may even hug you numerous times and tell you that you are best mommy in the whole world. Other times having one girl on her own is just having that girl on her own. The attitude that was so trying at home will be just as trying in the car on the way to "someplace special". Believe it or not this was exactly what I was hoping for today. And I got it. She was the same Margot while we walked around the sculpture park at the art museum that she was fussing at Ada in the living room. Being in the fresh air meant that I had more patience with my girl and being on our own meant that I could hold her without interruption while I explained what it means to have a grateful heart. I told myself I wouldn't even bring it up unless she started whining .. I just wanted to take her out for some one on one time with no expectations and no hidden motives. No lectures or bribes. We hiked across the grass instead of staying on the trail. We walked to the top of the highest grassy hill and laughed about how far we had come. We played tag. I carried her piggyback all the way back to the car, and I enjoyed every step.. didn't even feel tired when we got there (is she just tiny or am I actually in pretty good shape right now?) After our walk we went to "Chickalay" for dinner and I didn't hound her about getting up from the table 400 times or not eating her chicken fast enough. She was waving at everyone from our table on the balcony, keeping track of how many people said hello back to her. God, that kid is cute. Then we went to the Y and went swimming together. The struggles we had today were some of the same struggles we had on our evening out. It was just so nice to be able to struggle together as mother and daughter and not as hen and brood. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


I recently went to a consignment sale and was lucky enough to find rain gear for all three girls. I didn't even know they made rain boots this small. Funny thing about Frankie .. she likes pretty much anything you put on her body. At this age the twins were already screaming in the floor about footie pajamas and forget about shoes. Shoes.. oh my god shoes. Yet, our tiny Frances just prances around the house with a giant grin. She hasn't even started trying to take them off. Personality differences never cease to amaze me. 

This consignment sale that I attended was the same sale that I posted on FB about a week or so ago. If you are not my friend there I can give you a rundown of the events that transpired. It was pretty crowded since I was a seller and got to shop early with the rest of the sellers - which is not for the faint of heart I might add... these women are beasts and by beasts I mean rabid wolves desperate to grab every incredible outfit off the racks before you can say "Is that a CrewCuts dress?". It's a bloodbath. Moving on.. I survived and made it to the checkout line just as it was wrapping around the rear of the basketball gym. Awesome. One credit card machine in use up there.. stellar. Can't complain too much since I love this sale and it's quality name brand clothing that I would never be able to afford otherwise. Waited in line for an agonizing 4 and a half days.. or 45 minutes if that seems more realistic. Got to the front, was chatted up by the check out guy (which seemed odd since he was older than my father).. got no eye contact from the rest of the female staff (poor exhausted buggers).. made my way out the door (turning down 2 offers to help me to my car). Home stretch. Oh wait I just dropped my receipt! Let me just put these bags down and readjust my OHMYGOD!!!! My shirt!! and more importantly my BRA!!! That's right dear readers.. my shirt was unbuttoned TO MY BELLY BUTTON. Black lace bra just out there for the world to see. And see they did. I was so flabbergasted that I just buttoned up and stormed to the car crying "Are you KIDDING ME?!?!" about 59 times to the parking lot at large. The take away from this experience is this.. if you see a woman.. a modestly dressed woman .. a mother perhaps at a childrens clothing consignment sale.. dressed in a plaid shirt and comfortable jeans.. if you see that HER SHIRT IS UNBUTTONED and her undergarments are on display.. say something. Say ANYTHING. If I can save one woman the embarrassment of seeing her little chrome VS heart twinkling in the lights of the parking lot I will count this one a win. Thank you.