Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Ending: Tale of the Broken Ornament

On this day after Christmas, it seems very appropriate to tell how the tale of the broken ball ornament came to such a happy conclusion this holiday season.

You may remember that about a month ago I wrote how Atticus accidentally broke an inexpensive but meaningful Christmas ornament.

I searched online for a replacement without luck, and even posted in a couple of local Facebook "for sale" sites without much hope.

However, the first week of December -- on our way to Baltimore to board our cruise, in fact -- I got a surprise message in my Facebook inbox. A woman in my neighborhood had found the same ornament and wanted to give it to me.

When I went to pick it up about a week later, she refused payment. Instead, she told me how she came to find a replacement. From what I understand, she saw a listing on eBay, but it was taken down. She reached out to that person and was told that there were some chips or whatnot on the ornaments and they had been discarded. But the seller found one more and sent it her way.

A Christmas miracle! And this miracle, I have decided, will stay far from Atticus's fingers for a long, long time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Visit with Santa

We finally squeezed in a visit to Santa this past weekend at Oakland Park Nurseries, and I think for the first time ever there were no tears! Edith got comfortable with Santa just about the time Atticus was born, so then it was his turn to make a fuss. Although he was looking forward to meeting the man from the North Pole, it was still hard to coax a smile. I did the best I could.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cruise 2017: Baltimore to the Bahamas

Freeport, Bahamas

Booking a December cruise to the Bahamas is a great idea. Leaving from Baltimore may be a bit unconventional. Yet that's exactly what we did all last week.

Our Carnival cruise left cold Baltimore on a Sunday, traveled south to Port Canaveral, Fla., for a day and then to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas before arriving in a snowy Maryland the following Sunday. This was our second cruise but the first with Carnival. It was an easy choice -- unlike most cruise lines, its kids' club (aka free babysitting) starts at age two instead of age three.

It wasn't the most exciting vacation we've ever taken, but it was relaxing and enjoyable and just what we needed. Edith and Atticus loved the kid area -- along with the unlimited soft serve ice cream. Paul and I not only got kid-free time, but lots of it. We actually got to eat several meals without cutting up a small human's entree. And the molten chocolate cake was superb.

Although we left from the Northeast, the weather was warm enough to use our balcony by the first morning. The last full day on the ship was cold and rocky, but that's the chance you take when you don't leave from Florida or Texas. And spending the day holed up reading a book really isn't so bad. Not sure I would choose a winter cruise again from a cold-weather port, but I don't regret booking it.

Of course I was sad on Sunday as we made the 6+ hour drive home, but I was ready to be back. Just not ready for life to be anything but all-inclusive.

Here are some photo highlights, but I'll focus on a couple of our destinations in future posts.


View from balcony, first morning

Face painting!

Kennedy Space Center

More face painting - pirates!

Atticus loves syrup.

Nassau, Bahamas

The ship in Nassau.

Surprised by a birthday cake!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Longest Birthday Ever

Edith's fifth birthday was two weeks ago today, and it lasted nearly as long. Due to the long Thanksgiving break and the sickness of a teacher who was to bring in baking supplies to her class, Edith just made birthday brownies and was sung to by her classmates last Friday! But no complaints -- I like having special events strung out, and I think Edith does to.

We had a birthday party with family a couple of weekends ago, but this year we did something special. We invited her friends to our house on her birthday for an extended play date after school. I called it her "birthday un-party." I requested no gifts, but instead provided temporary tattoos, cookies to decorate and paper crowns for the kids to color and sticker.

Around 15 or so kids showed up, and it was a blast. And low-stress. It was great to make her fifth birthday so memorable, and in such an easy way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tale of the Broken Ball Ornament

The tree wasn't even up for a full day before the first ornament of the season was broken.

I thought I was careful about only hanging the ornaments that could withstand a 2-year-old and 5-year-old. Nevertheless, Atticus found a red Ohio State bulb ornament that I bought the first quarter of my freshman year in college.

I gathered the broken pieces on the ground, had a bit of a cry and set them aside. I wasn't ready to throw them away.

Ebay and other Google searches for the same ornament didn't yield much. The next morning I decided to give fixing it a try. What did I have to loose.

The 13 pieces came together like a puzzle. With Elmer's Glue, a toothpick and lots of patience, it started to look like a remnant of its former self. When I noticed a tiny14th piece was missing, I even found it too under the tree.

It's still fragile, and I still have one tiny piece to add on. But I salvaged it. Never to be hung on the tree again!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Edith Turns 5

Aug. 29, 2017

How is it that my little baby girl, born the day before Thanksgiving in 2012, turns 5 years old today? Even I have to admit, however, that Edith is no longer a baby.

She's a preschooler who loves to learn, please her teachers and play with friends. She's easy to make laugh and eager to smile. She's an expert at pretending, puzzles (100 pieces by herself and 300 with help) and even passing the time with her 2-year-old brother, Atticus.

Who is Edith today? I asked her the same questions as last year, and added a couple more at the end.

5-year old Edith's favorite ...
In her own words / [what I guessed]

  • Food: macaroni / [macaroni and cheese and pasta]
  • Toy: dress-up stuff / [kitchen]
  • Book: Fancy Nancy / [anything Fancy Nancy or Pinkalicious]
  • TV Show: Doc McStuffins / [Doc McStuffins]
  • Movie: Frozen / [Frozen]
  • Playground activity: swinging / [slide]
  • Color: purple / [purple and pink]
  • Animal: giraffes / [dog]
  • Nursery Rhyme: Are You Sleeping? / [no guess]
  • Song: Let It Go / [The Schuyler Sisters from Hamilton]
  • Game: Super Why / [Simon Says or matching games]
  • Fruit: watermelon / [apples]
  • Vegetable: corn and carrots / [corn]
  • Breakfast: oatmeal / [Life cereal]
  • Restaurant: Spaghetti Warehouse / [Spaghetti Warehouse]
  • Thing about school: going outside / [playing outside, art class]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Atticus Goes to "School"

When I drop off Edith at school, Atticus is ready to stay, too. During one drop-off, he sat down at a table in Edith's classroom and didn't want to budge. Now I usually keep him in my arms.

Needless to say, Atticus is excited to have his own "school." It's really the preschool co-op I started more than a year ago for Edith and a few other local kiddos. But those kids have now graduated to "real" preschool, so it was time to start the next iteration -- Atticus and three other 2- and 3-year-old boys.

This will mark the new co-op's third week, and so far it is going great. He knows and likes the other boys. He enjoys learning more about the ABCs. But the co-op's goal is far from academic. What I really want is for Atticus to be able to take directions from other adults and to be comfortable away from family.

The three other moms and I take turns hosting at our homes, providing activities and maybe a craft that focuses on a letter of the day, lots of playtime and, of course, a snack. Nearly as important is the 90 minutes of free time the co-op provides the moms that aren't hosting!

I haven't hosted yet, but I'm excited to see how this new class operates and to watch them grow throughout the school year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Halloween 2017

Sorry so late today - busy week! In may be November already, but we're still eating Halloween candy. Here's our little fairy princess and elephant, dressed for a cold evening of trick-or-treating last Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Photos: September & October Highlights

Photos that never made their way to the blog.

New chandelier and Edith, Sept. 2, 2017

September 3

September 26

October 17

Mud! October 20

October 21

October 23

October 27

October 28

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Learning Spanish

Edith and Atticus aren't quite bilingual, but they are on their way toward learning language No. 2.

The recreation centers throughout the city of Columbus offer a wide range of classes for kids and adults, and we've signed up for a few -- a couple of gymnastics classes and a clay class in particular. This fall I saw a class that excited me: Spanish for preschoolers. Atticus was too young to formally enroll, but he came along for the ride during Edith's classes. And to sweeten the deal, the classes were free.

They ended up being the only ones there. After less than two months of classes (half an hour apiece, generally twice a week), Edith knows Spanish colors, numbers, shapes, body parts, greetings, a handful of animals and is working on days of the week. Even Atticus has picked up most of the colors!

It's fun to hear them use it when I least expect it. ("Look at that naranja car!") And the class is refreshing the Spanish basics that I haven't used much since my last Spanish class in high school. We're starting a new session of classes in November.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Double Trouble

When Atticus crawled into this tight fit at COSI last week, I snapped a photo as soon as I could. I just knew I had one of Edith around the same age, and sure enough I do!

Oct. 13, 2017: Atticus, 2 years, 6 months old

July 13, 2017, 2017: Edith, 2 years, 8 months old

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten Years Ago, New York

Not long after a friend on Facebook this weekend asked for tips on maneuvering around New York City with a toddler, Facebook alerted me that it was 10 years ago that day that Paul and I moved to Brooklyn.

Ten years. Wow. It seems like yesterday. And so much has happened in the last decade. A daughter, a return to Columbus, a son. A switch from a journalism job to one in marketing, and now a thriving freelance career. New friends, a new house and new ways to spend a Saturday night.

A lot of people say that high school or college were their happiest years. I have no real complaints about either, but they weren't the years that I would relive. Those six years in New York were some of the best, and certainly the most carefree. I remember very specifically thinking -- feeling -- knowing how lucky I was. I was living in a city people dream of visiting, take time out of their busy lives to play the tourist in. I loved it.

Of course, I'm content now. I have a happy marriage and two wonderful kids. Really, things couldn't get much better. But I still miss New York every day.

Except the Laundromats. I'll never miss those.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Atticus at 2.5

Atticus turned exactly 2.5 years old yesterday -- not really a milestone in the scheme of things, but something to think about nonetheless. When Edith was 2.5, she had a 6-week-old brother!

So what is Atticus like nowadays? Nonstop. The alone time while Edith is at school has been good for him and for me -- we can sit down like two normal people and read books or play calmly. But as soon as another kid is in the room, sister or not, he's constantly on the move. He's a handful.

We constantly get comments about his red hair. "He lives up to it" is my go-to response.

But of course he's also loving and kind and likes to snuggle whenever there's a book in your hands (especially if it's one about trucks). I like how daring he is -- when he's not trying to give me a heart attack anyway.

He's talking more and more every day, and he already has quite the imagination. I have no idea what the coming months and years will bring, but they won't be boring.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Heat Wave

Autumn has begun. It's been 90+ degrees.

I had replaced the shorts in Atticus's drawer with pants; the shorts came back out again. Edith brought her swimsuit to school on Friday for a water day, then wore her second swimsuit the next day when she begged Paul to get out the plastic pool. And yesterday I took the kids to a local splash pad for three hours.

It's hot.

We haven't turned on our air conditioning. I make sure to let in the cool outdoor air first thing in the morning and then again at night. Some of the schools in the large Columbus district don't have air conditioning (and I hear that some classrooms don't even have windows). They let out early yesterday and are scheduled to again today in order to get kids home before the worst of the heat. Students who live closer than 2 miles from their schools aren't eligible to ride the bus, so I guess it's easier to walk home earlier in the afternoon rather than later.

Still, I'm not complaining. I don't mind fall except for the fact that it means winter is that much closer. Bring on the sunny weather for a few days more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

18 Years Away from Home

I'm usually obsessed with dates and anniversaries of all kinds, but Facebook reminded me of one this week that wasn't on my radar. I left Defiance to move to Columbus 18 years ago, as an entering freshman at Ohio State.

I turned 36 this summer, so that means fully half of my life has been away from my hometown. To be fair, I would say that I didn't really move to Columbus until two years later, in 2001, when I rented my first apartment. (There's something about signing on the dotted line of a lease that makes your residence waaaaaay more permanent than a dorm room could ever be.) But still, 1999 marks the beginning of my getting to know Columbus as more than the abstract "Ohio's capital."

I had been to Columbus many times growing up, particularly as a 4-Her visiting the Ohio State Fair. But I certainly didn't know the suburbs, the parks or what the city is really like when the Buckeyes play at home in the fall. Now I have long been able to find my way around Franklin County better than I ever could Defiance County, and I'm confidently able to navigate the interstate system to boot!

Of course, six of those 18 years away from Defiance were spent living in New York, but even then we never fully left Ohio. In addition to owning (and renting out) or first home on Columbus's west side, we visited often and kept up with the changes within the city. (Oh, the surprise when we came back and saw the renovated Kroger that sits between campus and downtown!)

We're in Columbus now for the foreseeable future, maybe forever. Who knows? But even 18 years later, Defiance is still home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

9/11, 16 Years Later

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who spent a few minutes yesterday ruminating on 9/11. Sixteen years already? I was only 20 years old when it happened.

I've written before about where I was when I first heard about the terrorist attacks. What I thought a lot about yesterday, however, were the anniversaries that have occurred since then and the many reminders I've had about the attack.

When we lived in Brooklyn, Paul and I walked to the shore in Bay Ridge on the anniversary once or twice, watching the beams of light shoot forth where the twin towers used to stand. I worked just a couple of blocks from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan and almost daily watched the progress at the World Trade Center site from 2007 until 2012. I visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was pregnant with Edith more than five years ago.

But now 9/11 seems almost like just another day. It'll never truly be that -- I remember the feelings and the images of that day all too well. But the TV specials, the memorials, the remembrances: they just aren't as all-consuming as they once were. We remember, though, and maybe that's enough.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Edith Starts Preschool

Edith started school last week and absolutely loves it. Even on her first day, she barely looked my way when I dropped her off and said goodbye, and she didn't much care to leave when I picked her up.

She has made a friend already (play date information exchanged), and playing in the giant sandbox outside seems to be her favorite activity.

Meanwhile, Atticus is adjusting to all of his new one-on-one time. Books! Stores! All of Mommy's attention! It's a whole new world for everyone.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Photos: July & August Highlights

Summer photos that hadn't made it on the blog:

July 24, 2017

Columbus Zoo, July 30

August 3

On the new porch swing that Paul made! August 8

"Roasting marshmallows." August 18

So proud of finishing a 100-piece puzzle by herself! August 20

August 24

August 24


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