Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We're still here!

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone and our area of Virginia was by far one of the luckier ones—few power outages, little flooding, and no major storm damage.  The stories from the coast and north of us are terrifying and I do not take lightly the fact that I can comfortably rest in my own bed each night, with Frances and George in their own rooms, knowing that the heat is on, we have plenty of food in our working refrigerator, and transportation around town.

With the uncertainty of the storm’s impact, area schools closed Monday and Tuesday so F, G and I had a lot of inside time together.  They colored:

One of my personal favorites from the week--All Things Christmas by Frances.
Can you find Santa, Rudolph and Frosty?  Baby Jesus also makes an appearance (in green).

Played with Marshall (a lot!):

Somewhere under that pile of blanket lies a very patient (and warm) dog.

Watched movies:

Yep, apparently in natural disasters I break my own rules of no movies during the week.  When you’re unsure of whether the power will go out at a moment’s notice, a movie during the day doesn’t sound so bad.

And even enjoyed a trip to Monkey Joes, the perfect place to alleviate cabin fever:

Frances wanted to test run her Halloween costume at MJs.  All systems a-go.  If it can survive an hour at moon bounce heaven, it can survive anywhere.

In between enjoying all of these activities with the kids, I became a domestic madwoman.  Without knowing whether we’d lose power for a day (or more), I washed every inch of clothing in the house, cooked those “rainy day” frozen foods stored deep in our freezer (because in a pinch cold cooked food is better than frozen raw food any day of the week), vacuumed the entire house, mopped the downstairs, cleaned the bathrooms, and even polished the silver. 

I know, the last one was a stretch; but I was getting desperate towards the end.

I have no idea why I reacted this way.  Obviously I was nervous about losing power and not being able to cook and wash clothes.  But I think I was feeling helpless and realized that there was so little I could do to help the family that I did everything I knew how to do; it was my own way of protecting our little nest.  Not to mention the fact that I had about 5 days’ worth of nervous energy pent up inside to release and no other way to dispense of it.  Don’t worry though; once I realized the storm had come and gone with little effect I promptly took a nap.  I can only be but so productive before my body starts to rebel.

And with that, I am off to do some last minute preparations for Halloween (test-eating the candy is a job that should not be taken lightly).  Have a great trick-or-treating night, everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


If you haven’t heard (or haven’t been glued to your local weather station for the past 48 hours like me), we have a major hurricane heading in our direction from the south, a cold front headed our way from the west, and both are forecast to collide somewhere overhead of our small Dutch Colonial.  It’s still up in the air how destructive the system will be, but as you may imagine I’m not one to take uncertainty well so I’ve been pacing back and forth in the house and sending Will on various “emergency supplies” errands once an hour.  Fingers crossed the weather folks are exaggerating, but being that there is a good chance we will lose power I thought I would write a quick post before I hunker down and bug Will for some more bottled water and ice.

In our final “calm before the storm” family outing today, the kids participated in the Marathon Jr., a race designed for kids that is associated with the Richmond Marathon (in two weeks) but with a much shorter course.  We signed both kids up (although we had to fudge George’s age so he could participate.  Children technically have to be 4-years-old; but considering my 3-year-old wears 5T clothing, I knew we’d be safe) and headed out to Byrd Park.  Will ran with them so I could take pictures.

It all started so well.

But halfway through George panicked because he realized he wasn’t winning the race (not by a long shot, kid), so Will had to drag him through the final laps.

Frances, as usual, was all smiles.

Nutzy gave George a much-needed pat on the head for a race well run.

My favorite part of the day was our walk back to the car through Byrd Park.  The leaves are prettier this year than I ever remember.

After lunch, George crashed for a three-hour nap while Frances and Daddy attended a Halloween birthday party.

Same party, same costumes from 2009.

I know, it’s killing me, too.  Where did my baby girl go?

And with that I am signing off for the foreseeable future.  I hope to be back sooner rather than later, but until then happy weekend and stay dry and safe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The final Spain post (I think)

It’s done!  It’s done!  Will finally finished his self-described Ben-Hur of all movie projects to date—the Spain video.

At almost 14 minutes, it’s long but well worth it when you have a block of time and internet access, which I know are not always possible.

Enjoy!  I know I have … about 5 times in a row already.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Parades and parties

This past Saturday, Frances’s school participated in a very local (and slightly unorganized, but no less fun) parade in the heart of Midlothian and her Kindergarten class was asked to ride on one of the floats.  Considering both Frances and George go ga-ga over parades, I’m fairly certain the entire day was a big blur of candy collecting, fire trucks, and dancers.  But can you really blame them?

“Princesses” (or what at least one member of this household calls any female wearing a tiara and/or purple)

Lots of sirens

Our own princess (in the pink sweatshirt), so serious about her candy-throwing job she didn’t even glance our way.

George’s favorite – the Shriner cars

My favorite float – the giant tap shoe

Throughout most of the parade (with the limited exception of Shriner racecars when he was completely mute), George kept asking when Santa would be coming.  I brushed him off saying, “No sweetheart, this is a fall parade.  Santa is in the Christmas parade.”

And then, wouldn’t you know it?!  I’m actually quite pleased the Jolly Old Man himself showed up.  I’ve already started reminding the children when they’re behaving less than angelic that Mr. Claus is watching them.

Once Frances’s float passed through the parade, she could join the rest of the crowd, including cousins Trey and Justin.

And if the day had ended right there, it would have probably landed in F&Gs top 10 favorite fall mornings of all time.  But no, no, no, we had to top it off with Frances’s best friend’s 5th birthday party at, where else, the POOL.

Frances and Carissa as close as ever
(especially considering they aren't in the same school anymore.  Boo.)

I know.  My children live in an alternate reality of non-stop fun, don’t they?


Crowning the birthday girl


Pink pirate decorations

What else could a five-year-old girl want in life?

Or a thirty-five-year-old girl, for that matter.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  And a happy, happy birthday to Carissa from all of us!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holding hands

It has been a killer weekend—two birthday parties, one local parade featuring Frances and her school, errands, cleaning, cooking, playing, and just generally spending as much time outdoors as humanly possible (this weather is incredible, no?).  And while it was all fun (and I plan to share very soon), my poor brain has nearly nothing left to offer tonight.

On our way home this afternoon from our second birthday party of the weekend, Frances and I stopped at a local elementary school.  It was ridiculously gorgeous outside and I selfishly wanted to spend a little extra time with my favorite Kindergartener.  She climbed the jungle gym, slid down the slides, maneuvered the monkey bars, and finished by running the baseball field many times over.  After her final homerun celebration, we both sat down, sweaty and panting, on the dugout’s old wooden benches and curled up together.  She began to get chilly in her sleeveless party dress, so I wrapped my arms around her and held her tiny hands.  Then, Frances started to do what she does a lot—sing. 

Frances doesn’t just sing songs she knows, she makes up lyrics and melodies.  She’s no Carly Simon and the lyrics are often just stream of conscious thoughts, but to hear her soft falsetto drift through the sunny, cool fall afternoon was simply magic.  I smiled, kissed her sweet head, and glanced down at our hands interlaced together.

I realized then that my hands looked so much like the way I remember my own mother’s looking when I was a young girl.  Strong, lined with life stories, uneven fingernails, proud, and safe.  I loved my mother’s hands.  I loved touching them, holding them, knowing that when they were around me, all was right with the world.  I know I asked her questions about her hands that annoyed her—why were they so rough?  Why did her knuckles wrinkle when she straightened out her fingers?  Why did she have those funny spots on the back?  But to me, these ‘imperfections’ were what made them perfect and I wanted to know everything about them—not to embarrass her, but to emulate her.  To me, I wanted my hands to look just like hers.  I wanted those beautiful veins sticking out near her wrist bone.  I wanted those faded white scars near the fingertips from years of hard work and child rearing.  And as I looked at my aging hands grasping Frances’s baby soft palms, I realized that was exactly what had happened.

Sometimes Frances will ask me similar questions about my appearance—why do I have so many moles on my legs.  What are those funny flesh-colored bumps on my arms?  How many lines across my forehead can she count?  I take most of these in stride, but never thought much about them until today.  And now I wonder if she is studying all of these features for the same reason I studied my mother—because I couldn’t imagine having a more beautiful, perfect, lovely woman to comfort and care for me at the end of the day than my mother and I wanted nothing more than to ensure one day I could become the same.  I wanted those wrinkles; I wanted those bumps; I wanted those curves.  Because to me, they symbolized strength, smarts and most of all love.

Someday, I hope to become the person my daughter thinks I am.

Happy Sunday, everyone!