Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The world lost a great man today.

Will's grandfather, William, passed overnight.  Thankfully, Will was able to say goodbye to him this week, but there is still a great sadness in our house today.  When you lose a grandparent, your childhood memories come flooding back, and in that moment you feel like a part of your childhood passed away with them.  But I like to think that our good memories of loved ones are Mother Nature's way of allowing us to continue to relive those special moments time and time again.  We may get older, have more responsibilities, more worries and even grow to look more like our beloved grandparents; but we will never forget certain times with them--the smells, the sounds, the unconditional love.

Grandpa Homiller joins a noble group of great and loved men.  As Frances said with a smile this morning, "now they can all be friends."

Grandpa Lee


And that thought alone makes me smile, too.  

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  If you are so blessed, hug your grandparents today. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012





Frances, George and I are very excited to welcome back March, the month it all started for us last year.

March 15, 2011 - my last day as an attorney

In honor of the new month and my approaching year anniversary of staying at home, I’ve updated the banner (let’s hear it for SPRING!) and added a few self-serving additions to the right side panel, including my most “popular posts.”  This is almost laughable because my writing is by no way popular (except maybe to my wonderful mother and copy-editor husband), but there have been a few excerpts that seem to be read more than others.  And because I am always curious myself when I visit other blogs which posts have spoken to readers, I thought I would have the same list.

I am still learning the ins and outs of Blogger and would really love to include a list of my favorite posts (birthday tributes, ‘my husband is a saint for putting up with me’ musings, etc.), but as expected most of my computer time is relegated to naptime and I just haven’t had enough time to write (my favorite part) and update the layout (ugh).

Maybe sometime in year two.

Happy Leap Day everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The last pea on the vine

This week I started my last Ann Patchett book and I am admittedly a little sad:

I love Ms. Patchett’s writing so much that I am tempted to write her to ask, “Hey lady, when is the next book coming out because I am almost done with The Magician’s Assistant and then I’ll have no choice but to finish the Hunger Games series and we both know that just can’t happen.”  But somehow I’m afraid she may not receive that well.

In the meantime, I do have a few highly recommended books waiting in the wings; but if anyone has anything to suggest I am all ears.

One of my recent good reads has been:

Alexander McCall Smith’s series is fantastic.  I’ve just finished number 7 and I noticed he has just released number 13, so I am comfortably reading on without that ‘last pea on the vine’ fear.  The characters and Mr. Smith’s writing are contented, easy, and familiar and seem more like old friends than fiction at this point.  I love picking up the next book in the series anytime I need a ‘sure thing’ to enjoy; which may be sooner rather than later at this rate.

Happy Sunday, everyone!  My apologies for the short post, but my brain and body are both fried and hope for an easier day tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Here and there

Frances took her last “bunny pictures” the other week.  Her preschool has taken them every year since she was 4 months old.

That is a mere 4 years difference, my friends.  The only thing that goes through my head when I look at these two pictures is that often-quoted phrase – “the days are long, but the years are short.”  I can’t believe my girl will start Kindergarten next year when I can still feel her tiny, pink body in my arms as she nursed those early morning hours away.  I am really going to miss her next year when she leaves us every day. 


I can still hear it now - "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!"

And speaking of missing Frances, George is the only person who just might miss her more than me when she starts school.  He just recently went from calling her “ish,” his name for her for at least the last year, to calling her “Francie.”  Although I love his new call, I have to say miss the “ish.”


Sugar, how I miss you.

I decided several weeks ago to greatly curb my sugar intake (or at least as much as this self-diagnosed sugar-holic can curb).  And while I would love for a few stubborn pounds to melt away, my most recent deprivation isn’t weight-related.  I realized that my sugar chow-downs during the day (most often M&Ms while emailing or blogging) were making me feel miserable in the afternoon.  I was snippy, easily irritated and tired. 

A part of me wishes I could cut sugar out altogether, but I love Will too much to put him through that craziness.  So for now I am cutting out my main offender—desserts.  So far, so good; although I am now realizing that some of my late afternoon snippiness is just a part of my personality (and very likely a casualty of this job description) and can’t be blamed on sugar.  Shoot. 


Part of our neighbors’ tree fell into our yard during the last snow storm and the kids went right to work creating an entire tree house, complete with a doorbell and a donation bucket (I’m thinking that last idea was Frances’s, but who knows.  George is starting to understand the value of a dollar, too.  The more dinero, the more Thomas the trains.  Enough said).

They have been out there nearly every afternoon since the snow and particularly since it has been ridiculously warm this week.  The environmentalist in me is concerned with the hotter forecast, but the mother in me is jumping up and down with joy as we head to the park for the fifth day in a row.

And as this weekend promises more glorious weather (at least in Virginia), I wish everyone a happy, happy Friday!  I order you to spend as much time as you can outside—I promise, you will not regret it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snow day!

There is something …

magical about a snow day, isn’t there?  Particularly when you’re four-years-old and have an entire backyard to explore anew.

George wasn’t quite as thrilled.

He preferred the view from the inside.

But Frances played until her hands were numb and her nose was red.

It was a perfect snowfall – about five inches overnight that easily melted on the roadways by midday.  And the blue sky background made for an incredibly beautiful day.

As the day wore on, Frances mourned the sound of melting snow and I had to smile.  I remember that same sadness when I was little—sunshine and snow were enemies and I rooted for snow every time. 

A (maybe) 8-year-old me.
Yes, that's Henry in the background, likely looking for sympathy after a gruesome sledding crash.

Undoubtedly, that is one of the many litmus tests for growing older – the season that snow crosses over from happiness to a pain in the neck.  Thankfully, Mother Nature allows us every so often to take a peek to the other side of the fence when she reminds us, through a child’s pure enjoyment, how snow is supposed to be experienced.  

On your back, making a snow angel:

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nifty, nifty, look who's ...

…celebrating a birthday today!

A very, very happy birthday to my wonderful sister, Katherine!  I miss her every day and don’t get to visit with her nearly enough – but I know her devoted family will celebrate her big day in a very big way and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Katherine!

We love you, Katherine!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


During this (almost!) first year of staying at home with Frances and George, I’ve had several of my working mother friends ask me in various forms, “So, what do you do with them all day?”  One in particular followed that question with, “I would love to stay at home with my two girls, but I am waiting until they are both in school.  I can’t imagine having them with me all of the time.”

I knew exactly what these women were asking.  When Will and I first discussed this possible new career move several months before I made the final decision to stay at home, I asked the same thing (except I am fairly certain tears were streaming down my face):

“But what will I DOOOOOOOOOO with them all day long???”

And truthfully, those first few months at home were challenging.  I felt the constant need to entertain Frances and George almost as much as they needed to be entertained.  F&G had come from a daycare (an excellent daycare, I must quantify) where there was very little downtime—9am circle time was followed by 9:30 am snack followed by 10:00 am exploration leading into 10:30 am freeze dance, etc., etc.  They were never bored and always learning—and I loved it.  Isn’t that why we paid them the big bucks - to stimulate our child’s mind and learning potential?  But transferring that schedule—and its constant stimulation—to our home life was not working for any of us; particularly Frances and George.  And I was exhausted, constantly guilt-ridden for not ‘teaching’ them something every 15-30 minutes, and unable to do anything else but try to child-rear the best I could.

Fast forward to six months ago and I started noticing something about our ordinary days at home—the three of us were relaxing into our new lifestyle.  Frances and George were able to play--sometimes together, sometimes separately--for hours and often all morning long.  Yes, squabbles arose over toys and sometimes they would come to me with a, “Mommy, I don’t know what to do?”  But for some reason (very likely necessity) I started answering the grumbles with, “I’m sorry sweetie, but it’s not up to me to entertain you.  You can play outside or play in here; but you must play on your own so I can finish dinner/laundry/cleaning (or whatever the task at hand was at that moment).”  And guess what?  They figured it out.  I started noticing them really playing with their toys; inventing games that I never would have thought of; giggling, running, playing with the dogs, digging in the dirt, watching the birds, sitting on the grass—all things I remember from my childhood.

About a week ago, I finished an excellent book called Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids.

I highly recommend it to parents of children of all ages, but particularly the youngest sect—babies through grade school.  I tried to write a quick summary of what I took away from the book, but I didn’t like the way it sounded – stilted, stiff and preachy (pretty much the antithesis of the author's message).  I will say that since reading the book, I’ve made some more changes and have noticed an even more relaxing environment for all of us.  Fewer toys and books in the house, more downtime, less fear (on my part) when Frances and George are “bored,” and much more unscheduled, unrestricted playtime have made for a more simple and happy household.

One of my favorite commentaries on childhood is the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes (sadly retired almost twenty years ago now).  As an older child/young adult reading it, I identified almost exclusively with Calvin (the little boy) and Hobbes (his stuffed tiger who is most definitely real in Calvin’s eyes).  I looked back through those old strips just today and discovered something new in them—Calvin’s parents.  Calvin is notoriously rambunctious, but undeniably inventive, active, happy and imaginative; and his parents are simple and hardworking but rarely ever entertaining him.  They guide him, rein him in at times, and most definitely punish him when necessary; but they let him be a boy.

And while I could do without some of Calvin’s most egregious “boy moments” (flooding the bathtub comes to mind), I realized that the feel of his childhood—carefree moments, learning through exploration, an active imagination, independence, self-care—is exactly what I loved most of my young days.  And exactly how I want Frances and George to evolve.  Not through toys, not through computers or television, not through more, more, and more things; but through experiences, boredom, imagination, independence, and carefreeness. 

And isn’t that the way childhood is supposed to feel?

Happy, happy Sunday everyone!  And if you’re reading this in Virginia, enjoy the snow!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All in the family

During these past few warm, winter days, Frances and George have been spending hours in the backyard—running, picnicking, playing soccer and basketball, digging in the dirt (admittedly, my least favorite thing they do) and just generally soaking up the sun.  Frances in particular has a new obsession—climbing trees.  We don’t have many good climbing trees in our yard (at least not for your average four-year-old), but there are two on the far side of the fence line that suit her needs perfectly for now:

She told me the other day she wanted to climb high enough to see Lynchburg and Nana and Pop’s house.  A girl can always dream.

When I told Will about Frances’s latest tree-climbing passion, his eyes became pensive and he said in a distant voice, “I used to love to do that.”

Will, circa 1984
He still has that same smile. 
And can we all just marvel at those long legs - the dancer in me is green with envy.

George and I also share some similar traits.

Circa 1977
No hint of dancer in this photo.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ten years with my Valentine

Feb. 2003 - after 11 months of dating


Feb. 2004 - engaged (and eventually married)!

My mother set this to print in the papers on Valentine's Day 2004.  Clever, that one.

Feb. 2005
This is quite literally the only picture we took from February 2005. 
Will made this sign to cheer me on for a race (The Va Beach marathon maybe?). 

Feb. 2006
No pictures of us, just one from the snow on Valentine's weekend.

Feb. 2007
Billy Blanks.  Need I say more?

Feb. 2008 – the year our world turned upside down (for the better)

Guess who is the spitting image of her father?
Our first bout with the flu - all three of us.

Feb. 2009
George's first picture moment, two days after Valentine's Day

Guess who still looks just like her father?

Feb. 2010 – the year we realized how easy we had it 2007 through 2009

Feb. 2011

Feb. 2012 – the best one yet!
Making Daddy's Valentine's card

Wearing Nana's prom queen crown

Valentine's kisses

Thank you, Will, for letting me be crazy, compulsive, obsessive, regressive, unpredictable, irrational, passionate, and most of all, for letting me love you. 

And a Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!