Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A pain in the neck

I've been an absentee blogger lately, but I do have a good excuse:

I took this picture yesterday while I was trying to rest my sore neck.  Marshall spends the better part of his day silently wishing that someone would sit or (even better) lie down on the sofa so he can snuggle up.  Unfortunately, Marshall snuggles a lot like a three-year-old does--very actively.  He licks his paws, stretches his legs, does that bizarre sneeze/cough variation about 5 times in a row, and eventually starts staring you down around noon for his 3pm dinner.  Needless to say, I didn't get much rest.

Of course, all of that leads to the fact that I pulled a muscle in my neck yesterday and it is all I can think about.  I now understand how and why the expression "pain in my neck" came around.  When you can't move your neck comfortably your whole body changes.

Today my neck is a little better than yesterday and hopefully tomorrow it will continue to improve.  But until then, my sore neck and I have to limit our computer time and sadly my blogging time.  Don't worry ...

...I'll be back with plenty of untold Frances and George stories.  As you can imagine, they are adding up by the hour.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Circus

Frances, George and Will are off to see the circus this morning.

I’d say they’re fairly excited about it.  Of course, all I can think when I see this picture is, “George is a giant.”  Seriously, friends—the kid is two years younger than Frances who is also big for her age.  We may have our own circus exhibit (Tall Man George) in a few years’ time.

The last time Will took the kids to the circus it was just with a then three-year-old Frances.

April 2011

I feel like I took these pictures yesterday.  How can that have been two years ago??

Although, some things never change.

 Frances still has her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

George's Special Day

Last week was George’s “Special Day” at preschool.

Instead of focusing on birthdays (which don’t always fall during the school year), George’s clever school celebrates each child with one special day—parents and relatives can come in for the last 45 minutes of school, read a story, do an activity, sings songs, or do whatever that child loves most.  And for George, that’s pretty much all of the above.

This is what awaited us when we entered his classroom—I thought my heart would melt at the sight of George in his crown.  Cuteness overload.

Will was able to join me, which was a good thing since earlier that morning I had scheduled my tooth to be pulled for my upcoming implants (super fun) and couldn’t talk.  But Will handled those preschoolers like a pro:

Will looking very lawyer-like

We read Will’s favorite childhood story “A Special Trade,” which outlines the relationship between a little girl and an elderly neighbor.  When the girl is young, her neighbor pushes her in a stroller.  And then when he becomes older, she helps cheer him up by pushing him in his wheelchair. 

The children liked the story, but they really loved the activity:

Actually pushing each other in a wheelchair and a stroller.  I have never seen anything hold the attention of 9 three-year-olds better than rolling each other up and down the classroom (with a little damage control from the adults).

A special day indeed.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Austin City Limits

I know I’ve mentioned it several hundred times on this blog, but I may just have the most amazing husband ever.  While I spent the three-day President’s Day weekend in sunny Austin:

He spent the same amount of time taking care of our lovely but spirited children in the snow, sleet and rain:

Will’s weekend was filled with various “adventures” (both good and bad, as you can imagine) and I almost wish he would write his own blog post describing in detail some of the stories that had me gasping for air after laughing hysterically.  My weekend was completely uneventful in every wonderful way a girls’ weekend should be.  Although there were plenty of gasping for air laughing episodes.

Eileen, Rosie and me (the only picture we got of the three of us)

Eileen, Rosie and I met up in Austin, Texas, a city we had no connection to, but proved to be a great central meeting ground with Eileen living in Mexico, Rosie living in Pennsylvania and me in Richmond.  We could not have asked for nicer weather—blue skies, not a cloud for miles and sunny, sunny, sunny (each of us came away with a little more pink in our faces).

The yellow rose of Texas - I couldn't resist.

 We had zero plans for the weekend and spent the entire two days walking around Austin getting to know its quirky areas and beautiful surroundings. 

You can thank Austin for that little grocery store called Whole Foods.
This is their flagship location (and in-credible)

University of Texas is a short walk from downtown and was one of our many stops on our unofficial walking tour.

We window shopped in local stores, drank beer on rooftop terraces, ate surprisingly cheap food at some of the nicer restaurants around, and crashed in bed by 7pm each night.  We are, after all, not twenty anymore.

Just a small snack.
At our favorite roof-top deck, The Hangar restaurant.

 And thank goodness for that!

I returned home to find happy children, a clean house, kitchen cabinets full of groceries, and a chipper husband.  Will completely put me to shame this weekend with his boundless energy for all-things Frances and George related (they did the zoo and the roller rink in the same day.  I get tired just thinking about that).

I missed everyone back home when I was gone and now I miss my girls.  Like any good vacation, you leave it wanting more.  Thank you so much Rosie and Eileen for taking the time to visit.  Let’s do it again soon (with Sara this time, you little punk : ))!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

And a very special wish to my one and only true Valentine, Will.

Circa 2003 - so young, so grey hair- and wrinkle-free.
And somehow more in love today than when this picture was taken .  Someone call the schmaltz police.

Without Will, I wouldn't have the two most precious things in my life, Frances and George.  And maybe even more important, without Will I wouldn't be able to take a break from my precious munchkins and visit my college best friends for the three-day weekend!!  I can hardly believe that this time tomorrow I will be on an airplane (gulp) and on my way to seeing Eileen and Rosie (yipee!).

And as if that isn't the most wonderful gift Will could have given me, I wake up this morning to find this:

Does Ma Honey know me or what?

Happy Thursday, everyone!  See you on the other side of the weekend : )

**And because I feel so very guilty for leaving my Valentine this weekend and for not writing a long post like I did last year, click here to see my Valentine’s 2012 post.  I love you even more, Will!  I promise!!**

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's goodies

Frances and George have their school Valentine’s parties this week, as does every child across America I presume.

This year, I seem to have less time than last year (although I don’t remember feeling like I had a lot of time last year either??) and kept their Valentine’s pretty simple.

Hello Kitty for the girls; Lightning McQueen for the boys:

And candy hearts on the back of each one:

Not quite as personal as the magnets from last year, but probably more enjoyable for the recipients (who really just want to consume as many candy hearts as possible, right?).

And perhaps in a subconscious attempt to counterbalance the excessive candy count throughout our house these days, I planted my first herbs of the season this morning.

Basil seeds, cilantro seeds, rosemary, parsley and thyme.  They’ll stay indoors until the temperatures warm up a bit outside and then out they’ll go to (hopefully) grow to their hearts' content.

I’m calling my new herbs “Lucy’s Valentine’s goodies” in a veiled attempt to keep my potting soiled hands away from the candy bowl.

It's pretty much impossible these days.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Race you!

Monday comes in with a bang around the Homiller house (as in most houses, I imagine).  This Monday has seemed a little crazier than normal and I am a little more exhausted than normal, so I thought I would share one of Will's recent video creations (the first one using just his iPhone - what we ever did without these ingenious phones I have no idea):

That may give you some inkling as to why I may be just a tad tired.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As it turns out, maybe Punxsutawney Phil was right

Yesterday morning I smelled spring.

It was faint and scarcely detected in a breeze or two, but it was there.  That chilly, wet, earthy smell that you forget each winter only to joyfully remember when it hits you at just the perfect moment--when the shortest month is already feeling like the longest month and even the heartiest of squirrels are in hiding.

That smell of spring is healing.  Somewhere deep in our DNA as a member of the living earth, our bones and our brains are stirred more than we know.  I can fully understand why spring sets forth a happy busyness all around us--the flower buds pop up overnight, the birds dart from limb to limb gathering nesting material (and quite possibly zipping around just for the fun of it.  I know I would.), and neighbors who you haven't seen since October emerge from their dark homes to soak up some much-needed vitamin D as the sound of lawnmowers becomes the symphony of the season.

I am no less susceptible to this spring energy; in fact, I gladly succumb to the call of the outside and that almost desperate need to clean out the dust from the indoors.  Even with just the early hint of warmer weather yesterday, I've started my spring wish list for 2013:

- plant several herbs that I almost always use on a weekly basis (basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, and rosemary; any others that I'm missing?);

- revamp my urns with colorful flowers;

- try new recipes using fresh, local produce, thanks to Dominion Harvest that is set to make its first delivery next week (I am unnaturally giddy about this one);

- start composting with the unused parts of that local produce and other household waste (this might be a pipe dream, but I have always wanted to do this.  *Cough, cough*  Will?  *Ahem*);

- complete the 40 bags in 40 days from last year (so very, very therapeutic for me); 

- tackle as many projects as possible on Will's "Household To-Do" list. He's actually making the list for himself, but I've seen several items I could easily do myself (except for the compost pile, obviously), especially since I am the one staying at home (sheesh!); and

- spend as much time as humanly possible (and that I can legitimately justify) outside with the family.

Spring can't come soon enough (particularly for those in Storm Nemo's way - please be safe this weekend!).

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hard days

Yesterday I visited with one of my former attorney colleagues.  She just had her second baby and I took full advantage of her maternity leave and George’s morning at school to go and snuggle with her precious little girl.

As much as I loved the morning, it left me a little sad.  No matter how many times I think I’m over having another baby, there seems to be a wistful longing for one each and every time I see, hold, or even think about those little peanuts.  I can’t help it, I guess.  In another life I must have been a pioneer woman who had fourteen children surrounding her at all times up until she undoubtedly expired in her mid-forties from what must have been sheer exhaustion.  But, at the very least, she had those babies that I will always crave.

And crave, I do.  I dream about it at night.  I think about it during the day—maybe we could do it?  Maybe it wouldn’t be that hard?  Maybe three children aren’t that much more expensive than two?  (Even I have to laugh at that last ‘maybe’).  And just a few minutes ago as George and I were finishing lunch, my mind wandered to these same thoughts.  As if on cue, George took my hand and startled me out of my glazed-over gaze.  “Mommy, can I kiss you?”  And when I leaned over for the sweetest peck on the cheek this side of the Mississippi he said, “That’s because I love you, Mommy.”

Seriously friends, I can’t make this up.  Nor do I want to.  Frances and George are far from perfect and are no longer small enough to fit in the crook of their father’s arms.  But in an instant and without even knowing it, they can give me such perspective.  Because there will come a day, much too soon for my taste, when I will look back achingly at these very days that I am living right now.  When I will miss seeing George’s messy hair in the rearview mirror of my car as I cart him around on various boring errands.  When Frances will stop playing house with all of her fifteen doll friends and won’t leave her backpack on the floor of the mudroom.  When we will turn the playroom back into a dining room and finally be able to recover the den sofa and I will die a little inside.

Today has been hard, but tomorrow will be better.  Because tomorrow Frances is still five, George is still three, and I am the luckiest mother I know.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Catching up

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We’ve had a busy, but wonderful couple of days on our side of the screen and I’ve done a terrible job of keeping up with things.  But in my signature style of multi-tasking, here are our last few days in a nutshell:

Our law school friends, the Larsens, came to Richmond for a visit and to hit up the local children’s museum.

Ever since our last get-together, Frances has talked about another play date with Anna.  And after seeing the two of them play together, I can completely understand why.  They are so much alike—big sisters with nurturing instincts and a passion for being good.  Anna’s baby sister, Mae, is seriously adorable—a heartbreaker in the making.  George was surrounded by a lot of good women all day long.

Nothing wrong with that.  Time will tell if some of it rubbed off on him.

 So far the prospects are dim.


I took my first advanced Bikram yoga class today.

This was taken before class.  And I know that because after class I could barely cross my legs anymore, much less my fingers.

I haven’t written much about yoga since I started it in late August, but I’ve been happily going three or four days a week since.  It is the hardest exercise I’ve done since dancing, but it suits my personality completely—serious (enough), lots of sweat, lots of cardio, and you never really get the postures perfect (there is always something to work on).  I was invited to join to advanced class a week or so ago and made my first attempt today.  It was an intense 2.5 hours of realizing that I should have started yoga at least ten years ago.  And truthfully, I wasn’t hooked immediately.  I’m wondering if at 36-years-old my body is as flexible as it’s going to get.  But I’ll give it more than just one class before I retreat back to lovely Beginnerville.  Hopefully after my next advanced class, I’ll be able to do more than lie on the sofa and watch the Law & Order marathon for two hours.


George and his puzzles.

I am genuinely impressed by his abilities (and yes, I am definitely bragging here!).  This is the same three-year-old boy who can throw himself on the floor in an instant if you don’t get the Lightening McQueen figurine down from the bookshelf immediately upon asking, and yet he will spend hours doing puzzles.  I’m just glad Will has a puzzle partner because I have been doing my best to fill in as sous puzzler for the last almost 9 years and I need a break.


Frances’s latest Ariel rendition.

They just get more adorable each time.  And I’m fairly certain this is the first drawing where the seashell brassier makes an appearance.

We had an unusually warm and sunny day last week, so George and I went to our one of our favorite places, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

Thrilled to be getting his picture taken.

A mere two days later, it was blustery and frigid.  We did our best to get outside (I am a sucker for sunny days), but we called it a morning after 25 minutes of shivering.


School was closed last Monday for a teacher workday, so Frances, George and I did a lot of what we used to do pre-Kindergarten:

Car wash

George is always a little wary of the big scrubbers.

Outdoor mall window shopping

Reading and puzzles (of course!)

School had also been closed the previous Monday for MLK day and the Friday before that for snow.  Momma is very ready for the normal school week we have coming up tomorrow.

And on that note, have a happy Super Bowl Sunday!