Monday, January 30, 2012


This weekend we were lucky enough to have Eileen and Rosie descend upon the madness that is our house for two straight nights – and it was wonderful!

Rosie, Eileen (we missed you, Sara!!), Frances, George and Marshall

Not surprisingly Frances and George loved them.  “Eee-line” (as George calls Eileen) and Rosie are exceptionally sweet and good with the kids, particularly since neither of them have rugrats of their own.  Yet.

Admittedly, the best part of the weekend for me was two girls’ nights out IN A ROW!  Of course, when you are in your 30s a girls’ night out consists of a 6 o’clock dinner at Chili’s, a 10 o’clock bedtime, and lots of gabbing in between.  And doesn’t that sound just about perfect?

Will was kind enough to roll out the red carpet for our guests.
Typical Hampden-Sydney graduate.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good Day Sunshine

We had another gorgeous day yesterday and since the next two days promise cold rain I decided to bundle the kids up and head for one of our favorite outdoor hangouts – the botanical gardens.  We hadn’t been there since the Christmas light tour and it had been at least a month before that, so Frances and George were excited to return:

We rarely go anywhere these days without one of the princess costumes tagging along.

Did I mention it was a sunny day?

And here is where I interject a subject not talked about in, oh, maybe 2 posts – George’s potty training.  As an update, George is doing remarkably well with the notion of no diapers (and I mean it – no diapers, no pull-ups.  Cold turkey.  Except for naptime and bedtime of course; I have not completely lost all sensibilities).  I could not be more proud of my 2-year-old who went from throwing and kicking his little green porta-potty across the floor (empty, thankfully) to embracing all things potty related in less than 3 weeks.

However, here is also where I add to my previous list of “things learned during potty training a boy”:

There are exactly two states of being in a boy’s life – 1) I don’t need to go potty; and 2) I need to go potty NOW!

If an authority figure (for example, the boy’s mother) asks that the boy use the bathroom before leaving the house during the above-mentioned #1, he cannot and will not go.

Upon reaching your intended destination during said outing, the same boy will reach the above-mentioned #2 in less than 3 seconds or at the furthest possible point from a bathroom, whichever is less convenient.

So, probably needless to say, we experienced all three tidbits above during our trip to the gardens.  At the same moment we reached the children’s sandbox (Frances’s favorite part of the entire tour), George did his bladder dance and I heard those dreaded words, “Mommy!  Potty!”  I stuffed George in the stroller and Frances and I dashed up the hill to the main building, which housed the closest bathroom.  I felt so bad taking Frances away from the sandbox that as soon as George was done we ventured back down the hill to play.

As we drove home later that morning, the kids happily exhausted and reading to each other in the back, I had a rare moment with my own thoughts which naturally drifted to our big outing (or at least big since potty training boot camp began).  Had I known we would have had that near-accident, I may not have even tried to go; but I’m so glad I had no idea how the morning would unfold.  Hindsight can be a wonderful tool, but sometimes it is best to take a chance and learn as you go.

And secretly?  I am hoping that through these adventurous activities George learns it is much better for all involved if he would just go the bathroom before we leave the house.  Because who needs a bumpy 200 yard dash straight uphill sitting on a full bladder?

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

81 degrees in January

That’s right - our kitchen thermometer read 81 degrees outside today!  I have no doubt that such a phenomenon was a result of direct sunlight casting upon a flawed but well-intended 10-year-old mechanical device because it was most definitely not 81 degrees outside; but it was a beautiful, sunny January day nonetheless and the kids and I spent as much of it as we could outside.

Even the yellow pansies in our shed window box seemed happier:

Once the kids were safely in their beds for naptime, I snuck outside to take this picture and sat down on our white patio chairs to just take it all in - the sun, the fresh air, the birds singing.  One of the perks of this job is the ability to slow down midday and enjoy the moment.  I don’t do it nearly enough but I did this afternoon and it was worth every wasted minute. 
And on that note, I am signing off and heading to bed earlier than normal tonight.  I promise a more exciting post next time around – these mild winter days are fantastic for family bonding but make for some lackluster blog updates.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Service, Interrupted

Will and I are switching cable (including internet and phone) providers today from one mega-company to another.  We decided that spending approximately $1 million dollars a year for the four channels we watch was just slightly exorbitant, so we are making the switch to the company that will charge us about 1% less.  But during these days of George’s appetite for food and Frances’s appetite for princess dresses, every penny counts.

That is a very long-winded way of saying that we will be without internet (and blog-less) for at least the next day.  But I hope to be back online soon enough complete with a post about how Frances, George and I survived the predicted 6-8 hour installation process of this new and improved cable service.  I’m not sure the service technician knows what he’s getting himself into.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


That’s George’s way of asking, “What are you doing?”  Except he just says, “Mommy doing.”  And now that I think about it, it’s not really question as much as a statement.  So, here’s a little of what we’ve all been “doing” recently.

Play date with the Homiller cousins:

Trey and Justin spent the recent long weekend with Grandma and Grandpa and came over for a visit that Saturday.  Frances and George were in heaven.

Beauty and the Beast:

I have no pictures to prove it, but Frances and I recently ventured out for our second movie date to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 3D.  She ate it up along with her own life-sized popcorn, only to come home and inhale all of her dinner.  There is no doubt she and her brother have inherited Daddy’s wooden leg.  I have no idea where they put it all.

Colonial Williamsburg:

Every January, the Virginia Bar Association has their annual meeting in Colonial Williamsburg and Will and I have attended since 2005, my first January as an attorney.  Even during the dreariest of January days (and some of them are downright dreary), Colonial Williamsburg is enchanting.  Frances and George are still a little young to appreciate the history, but they love to run around its grounds and talk with the ‘locals.’ 

This was my first conference as a non-participant and I loved it.  There was no pressure to mingle, take CLEs or sign up for the latest committee project.  Maybe for the first time since leaving work almost a year ago I didn’t feel ashamed of my choice – rather, I felt like the lucky one in the room.  A new year indeed.

Private lesson:

Gram-E and Mr. Pyles took Frances to another cooking class where she had the place to herself.  It’s too bad she didn’t enjoy herself.

And I can’t close this post without wishing my youngest godson a happy, happy 1st birthday!

We were able to escape Williamsburg just in time to help him celebrate today.  Happy Birthday Justin!

And Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm famous!

Yes, that’s right.  You can now all refer to me as “Lucy, as mentioned on ‘Sunny Side Up.’”

I know I have previously talked about Erin (the author of one of my favorite blogs).  She is married to one of Will’s best friends from law school and although they live on the other side of the country (in one of the sunniest cities – San Diego.  Let’s all take a moment to be jealous … Okay, I feel better now) Will and I have been able to keep up with their family on her blog.  And this isn’t just some trivial, rinky-dink Homiller type of blog.  She is HUGE in the blogging world – or at least what I know of the blogging world.

And she is the unofficial queen of organizing, one of my favorite hobbies.

So, when I saw her post the above picture on one of her Christmas summaries the same week I was knee deep in toy organizing/Goodwilling (is that a word?  It should be in this house), I wrote her a desperate email asking how in the world she organizes the extra ‘friends’ in her house (particularly with three, yes three, children).

And she was kind enough to respond here.

It was such a great idea I had to share, which I had meant to do much earlier than this but potty training and all its necessary casualties removed most of my mental facilities until very recently.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forty in forty

I may be the last person on the planet to know about this Lent phenomenon – 40 bags in 40 days.  I love everything about it.  Everything.
The idea is that during the forty days of Lent (which begins February 22nd this year)you remove forty bags of stuff from your house.  What is my definition of stuff?  Trash, junk, useless items, broken things, those projects that you know you will never get to (and only depress you to look at or think about), old newspapers and magazines that are all available on the internet, hand-me-down furniture or trinkets that you’ve never really loved, clothes you haven’t worn in 2 or more years, toys and clothes that the children have outgrown or over-loved, etc., etc., etc. – I could go on.  My preference is that it is removed responsibly; not all of it should be trashed and most of it can probably be sent to Goodwill or at least recycled.  But just ridding your home of years’ worth of things can help you appreciate and really use those items that remain (the true treasures) and realize that your family doesn’t really need all of that other stuff to be happy.  Ahhhhh, can’t you just feel the de-cluttering now?!

I read about the 40 bags in 40 days on one of my favorite blogs (Clover Lane) around Eastertime last year; 30-something days too late to participate in it then, but I have been giddy with excitement to get started this year.  I know.  I need to get a hobby.

In all honesty, I knew my only roadblock to complete and utter 40-bag-euphoria would be Will, Mr. Sentimentality.  Will would prefer that we hold on to things and I would prefer to see them out the door as soon as possible.  So when I found out about the Lent project, I also knew my negotiation skills, debate tactics and likely some good old fashioned groveling would come into play if I was ever going to see 40 bags of anything leave this house.  When I ever-so-gently explained the idea to Will, the conversation went something like this:

Me:                 See, there is this Lent thing-y that a lot of people are doing …
Will:               Hmmm … (with a look that said, ‘great, whose blog have you been reading now?’)
Me:                 Whatever, hush up, but I mean, it’s a great idea.  During Lent you remove forty bags of things from your house.  Trash, junk, things you aren’t using, toys, clothes, etc.
Will:               Oh, well that doesn’t sound so bad.  I think we could do fourteen bags of things during Lent.
Me:                 Um, no.  It’s actually forty.  Four.  Zero.
Will:               FORTY?!!!

Ultimately, Will convinced me that we probably don’t have forty bags of stuff to remove mainly because I have been on a de-cluttering mission since stopping my law practice almost a year ago.  He’s probably right but I wasn’t going to let rational thinking get in the way of a good Lent idea (and yes, I am well aware that I need to work on my groveling skills – I still can’t believe Will won this debate.  Shoot.).

So, I’ve tweaked the 40 bags in 40 days to meet my own household – I have decided to clean 40 rooms in 40 days.  Obviously we don’t live in a castle (don’t tell Frances though; she’d be crushed) so I’m cleaning 40 areas of the house in 40 days.

I realize this schedule is highly ambitious and will likely be adjusted during the 40 days.  But I think even if I complete only a small portion of the entire list, it will feel so good to have scrubbed some of the areas in the house that I seldom get to focus on (and probably de-bag some of the rooms in the process - yipee!).  I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that we rarely need new things to make us happy (or things at all); we just need to take care of and appreciate what we already have.  If you just spend a day (or even an hour) cleaning, organizing, restructuring or rearranging a room you would be surprised at how satisfied, happy and peaceful you feel once it’s done.

So, I will now come down off my soap box before I get a nose bleed and start practicing what I preach.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My vacation

The travel books in my parents' house of just some of the places they have been throughout the years. 
One of my guilty pleasures is to read these and dream of those places I need to go.  France, Florence, Ireland (need, need, need).

I’m back from my much needed, much appreciated night away from the house.  Staying with my parents was exactly what the doctor ordered – there is nothing quite like resuming the role of the child for 24 hours after spending many, many more of those days immediately preceding as the parent.

So, what did I do during my reprieve?  Pretty much nothing and it was HEAVEN.

I ate a leisurely lunch with my parents, walked Marshall and Max (they joined me on my vacation – I figured they could use a night with my parents, aka “endless suppliers of doggie treats”), took a long run in the afternoon, enjoyed an uninterrupted hot shower, had actual conversations that lasted more than thirty seconds at a time, fell asleep to the sounds of British accents as my parents watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS, slept in the next morning until an unheard of 7:30am, and headed home the next day.

I wasn’t the only one completely relaxed:

Can you find both dogs in this picture?

I returned to three eager sets of arms all hugging me at once and this sign:

Will had a great time with the kids and, not surprisingly, they all did well without me; but I was admittedly a bit relieved to hear that it was exhausting for Will, too.  I sometimes wonder if this whole ‘parenting F&G is hard’ is all in my head.  It’s good to know that their father feels it as much as I do.

As I was leaving Richmond for my vacation, listening to the radio and lost in my own thoughts, I wondered if I wasn’t being silly for leaving for the night.  Maybe I really didn’t need the time in Lynchburg; maybe I should have just pushed through and enjoyed the extra day with Will and the kids; was it really worth going away for just one night?

Now that I’ve been there, come home, and stepped right back in to the old routine I can safely say it was completely and totally worth it – I have been more patient, energetic and appreciative of this time than if I had just plodded through another weekend (because I also must admit that I missed those little munchkins and their daddy like crazy the entire time I was gone).

And having a good night’s sleep under my belt is never a bad thing in this house:

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fly on the wall

The following conversation took place earlier this week when Will was saying goodnight to Frances:

Frances:        Daddy, I wish you didn’t have to work.  I wish you could stay at home every day like Mommy.
Will:               I know, sweetheart.  But I have to work. 
Frances:        Why?
Will:               Because I have to earn money.  We use money to pay for things—our house, food, things for Marshall and Max, books, new toys, clothes.
Frances:        (without missing a beat)  Daddy, I wish you worked every day, even Saturdays and Sundays, because I need new princess dresses.
Will:               *Gulp*





And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Break(down) time

So, I did it.  I did what I never thought I would do or at least what I promised myself I would never do.  I sent Will one of those “I need” emails.  Do you know the kind I am referring to?  The ones that go something like this:

I need a break.

I need a full day away from the house (sans children).

I need to NOT put the kids to bed one night.  Just one night.

I need to feel appreciated for what I do on a daily basis.

I need, I need, I need, blah, blah, blah, poor pitiful me, sniff, sniff, sooooobbbbbbbb!!!!

And in case you’re thinking that my “needs” aren’t so bad (please tell me you all were thinking that?), there are certainly some I omitted because of my colorful language or biting subject matter.  I was blunt; I was rude; I was downright mean.  And you know how Will replied (after calling me to let me vent even more, of course)?

Please, please feel free to escape this weekend.  Go to Charlottesville.  Get a hotel room.  Read your kindle.  Take a walk.  Sleep until after the sun rises.  Run through the law school campus.  Go to Starbucks.  Go to Bodos.  The day is yours.

Wow.  Okay.  Obviously my number four “need” does not apply and has never applied.  

So why do I feel inadequate, particularly when I am married to the most appreciating man on Earth?  I realize now that my issues aren’t with how much Will expresses his recognition for my days, but that no amount of appreciation would be sufficient during certain weeks – particularly this month (January; post-Christmas blues anyone?) and during George’s potty training boot camp.  It’s not helping that I am sick, George’s bladder is on strike, and we’ve got another cold, wet day in the forecast.  I don’t know how to fix my frustrations except to escape for a day and focus on something (someone) other than Frances and George.

I also need to stop with the endless comparisons to other mothers.  The danger of blogging (and of reading other blogs) is that you find yourself looking at others’ homes, children, vacations, friends, and abilities (to name a few) with envy.  How the heck does she have three children under the age of 5 and find time to refinish her hardwood floors?  How can she be so fit, tan and happy and still manage to cook chicken n’ dumplings for her adorable brood who apparently play endlessly on the swing set in the backyard while she vacuums with her new Dyson?  Why can’t I have a local group of friends who go on once-a-week girls’ nights out (or the much coveted girls’ weekends) and children who watch movies for the better part of the next morning so I can sleep in?  Admittedly, these selfish thoughts have all crossed my mind.  And I find myself feeling inadequate for not having what appears to come so easily to others.

There is a great speech from “The Golden Girls,” one of my all-time favorite shows (I have seen every episode at least 10 times – a modest estimate).  Blanche, the self-described harlot of the group, becomes jealous of Dorothy, the smart divorcee, and her new-found boyfriend.  I call this the “Magenta” speech:

“Magenta…that’s what I call it when I get that way. All kinds of feelings tumbling all over themselves. Well you know, you’re not quite blue, because you’re not really sad. And although you’re a little bit jealous you wouldn’t say you’re green with envy. And every now and then you realize you’re kind of scared but you’d hardly call yourself yellow…I hate that feeling. Just hate it. And I hate the color magenta. That’s why I named it that. Magenta.”

And that’s exactly how I feel today.  Magenta.

I will not likely take Will up on his generous offer to travel to Charlottesville this weekend; but just knowing that it is an option is overwhelming (in a good way, don’t worry).  Instead, I think I’ll go to my parents’ house for the night—drink good wine, sit by their gas fireplace, talk about everything and nothing all at the same time. 

If that can’t help me I may just be a lost cause.  But it will help; I am certain.  Today is magenta but tomorrow will be seaside blue, candy apple red, or (if I'm really lucky) moss green.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

This and that

Frances tried out her new bike this incredibly beautiful weekend:

George was not to be outdone:

I suppose it’s never a good thing to get spring fever in January.  We definitely got a taste of good things to come in mid-March.

Garlic cheddar drop biscuits:

Daddy is much more patient with helping hands than I am:

Nothing melts my heart faster than seeing Will cook with the kids.  They love their father and they love their food – what more could they want?

And because I know you’re all dying for a potty training update, George is doing remarkably well.  It’s hard to imagine that a week ago today I was sick to my stomach with anticipation over how this process would go.  He certainly has his ups and downs but we are all doing 1,000% better today than last Monday—Frances, George and my frayed nerves.

Happy Monday everyone!