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Peanut is TWO!

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Woo-hoo!  Guess who’s TWO!?!?!?!

We celebrated Peanut’s second birthday yesterday and wow, how time flies.  In some ways I’m amazed that it’s already been two whole years since we welcomed our tiny preemie princess into the world (two months early).  But in other ways, it feels like she’s been with us forever.

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Peanut at two is packing a ton of personality into a tiny package.  She’s incredibly verbal (well, what do you expect with two lawyers for parents?) and can tell you exactly what she’s thinking and what she wants.  Oh, and she does.  It makes for some pretty hilarious conversations, because she can carry on a conversation now and she’s quite the chatterbox.  And if she tells you what she wants and doesn’t get it… well, we hear about that, too.  Such is life with a two-year-old.

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Really, though, Peanut is an incredibly good kid.  She’s full of energy and fun and sweetness and silliness.  She’s starting to develop a sense of humor, and it’s pretty juvenile… even for a toddler.  Recently, at Stroller Strides, one of the moms was sharing a story about potty-training her little guy.  He was asking to go inside and use the bathroom, but she had her hands full with his little sister, so she told little dude to “pee in the grass.”  Well, Peanut got a huge kick out of the idea of peeing in the grass.  She started laughing hysterically and repeating, “I pee in the grass!  I pee in the grass!”  Twenty minutes into the workout she was still spontaneously bursting into laughter and shouting “I pee in the grass!”  That was weeks ago and she still cracks up every now and again at the idea.  It completely shocked Aunt Grace and Grandma while they were feeding her lunch one day.  (Aunt Grace, sorry we didn’t warn you ahead of time.  And sorry that Grandma blamed you for Peanut’s crude sense of humor.)

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Peanut is very much an outdoor girl and loves her time spent playing in the fresh air.  Most evenings when I come home from work, Nana and Peanut are outside enjoying some water play or tossing a beach ball around in the driveway.  (Another reason I’m so excited to move.  Peanut needs a real backyard!)

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She’s also still Mommy’s Little Bookworm.  She’ll now hand us books and say “Read book, please!”  Melts my heart every time.  And of course she knows that Mommy will always be happy to read a book to her.  Always, little girl.

 

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As far as looks are concerned, we still hear most frequently that she looks just like me.  I take that as a compliment, because I think Peanut is the most beautiful kid on the planet!  I’m honored to resemble her even a little bit.  In reality, Daddy is definitely in there too, as are Auntie Em and Aunt Grace.  I can actually see her aunts come out more and more every day.  But more than anyone else, she looks like herself.

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I still can’t believe she’s a bona fide two-year-old.  She seems so big – walking and talking and having opinions – yet she’s still such a baby.  I’ll always see my tiny little baby girl in her, never more so than when she’s sleeping on her tummy with her thumb in her mouth.  Pure sweetness.  I could watch her snuggle like this for hours.

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Peanut at TWO!

Likes: BOOKS, of course!  Especially Fancy Nancy and anything by Dr. Seuss.  Also enjoys the playground; running around in the park; wearing her bathing suit (“Ballerina!  Dance like ballerina!”); splashing in the bathtub; eating fruit, cheese and olives; watching “Winnie Pooh” videos on YouTube; going to the aquarium to visit the sea lions; seeing her friends at Stroller Strides; bathroom humor; pushing stuffed animals around in her play stroller; singing along with the Sound of Music soundtrack (she can do the entire “Do Re Mi” song – not kidding – even “So Do La Fa Mi Do Re”) and Broadway show tunes (favorites include “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Defying Gravity”); anything to do with Disney’s “Frozen” but especially “Let it Go” and the scenes with Olaf the snowman; when Mommy and Daddy come home from work; and so much more… she’s just such a happy, spirited kid.

Dislikes: Men, with the exception of Daddy and her grandfathers, and our realtor, funnily enough – but all other guys are persona non grata until she gets used to them; sitting in her high chair and eating when she’d rather be running around; going out to eat (same issue); and Mo Willems books, oddly.

Milestones:  So much has happened this year, I don’t know that I can begin to recap all of Peanut’s milestones.  She said her first word at twelve months and is now talking up a storm, in full sentences.  (At her eighteen-month well child visit, the pediatrician said he’d like her to be able to say five or six words.  We pulled out our list of Peanut’s words, which – at the time – was in the seventies and included several sentences.)  She walked a little late but is now running all over the place and climbing on the furniture.  Other fun milestones this year included a move to Buffalo, her first trip to Canada, her first two Adirondack high peaks, and her first time visiting our family’s lake house.

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Quirks:  As I said above, she’s got a pretty crude sense of humor, even for a toddler.  She also loves other people’s cell phones.  I got her a cell phone of her own, but it’s not a real phone – it’s a V-tech toy phone.  So, obviously, she prefers anyone else’s phone to hers… although she will use her phone to take selfies.  That’s right.  She takes selfies.

Mommy and Daddy have NAMES?  When Peanut talks on the phone, more often than not she starts out her “conversation” by announcing, “Hello!  Jaclyn and Steve!”  We think she picked this up during a stretch of a few weeks in which we conducted a lot of speaker-phone conversations with our realtor.  But she doesn’t actually know who “Jaclyn and Steve” are, or even necessarily that they are people.  If we ask her to point to Mommy or Daddy, she points right to the correct parent.  If we ask her to point to Jaclyn or Steve, she stares at us blankly.  We’re pretty sure she thinks “Jaclyn and Steve!” is some kind of telephone greeting.

The Night-Night Posse:  We finally caved in and started letting her take a toy to bed.  It’s a suffocation risk for babies, but when she turned about eighteen months we decided she was old enough and she started taking Pup to bed.  Orange Kitty joined them soon, and was soon followed by Peter Rabbit.  Now the Night-Night Posse, as we call them, has grown to include – in addition to the original three – Diamond the Sea Lion, Zoey the Harbor Seal, Izzie Lizzie Alligator, Goodnight Moon Bunny, Winnie the Pooh, and a bunny lovie that doesn’t have a formal name yet but seems to answer to both “Easter Bunny” and “Steve.”

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Not to sound like a broken record, and I know I’m her mom and all so I’m biased, but this kid. is. amazing.  She’s smart and funny, affectionate, curious, sweet, and so very loving.  Recently she started giving kisses, as if she wasn’t melting our hearts enough just by existing.  Oh, she has her moments – all toddlers do.  We’ve had the occasional tantrum episode (who teaches kids to lay down on the floor and kick? it seems to be some sort of innate toddler instinct) but most of the time she’s pure sunshine.  I think I got pretty much the greatest kid in the world.  And now I’ll stop gushing (even though Nana is probably the only person who made it to the end of this long post, hi Nana!).

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Happy second birthday, little Peanut.  Mommy and Daddy love you more than words can say.

Erie County Fair 2014

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I’m getting behind on these summer family fun activities.  Here’s one from a couple of weeks ago: the Erie County Fair!

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We got to the fair early and spent most of our time with the animals.  We headed first to see the cows, and in a corner of the cow barn was an incubator with a dozen or so adorable chicks.  They were standing in their food and proving that chicks and toddlers are not so different.

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Peanut desperately wanted to pet the cows, but she couldn’t reach from her perch in the kid carrier.  Poor Peanut.

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At one point, the family – including the in-laws, who joined us for the fair – wandered into the rabbit barn.  I couldn’t stand the smell so I made a hasty exit, and stumbled upon the Shetland Ponies!  I may or may not have immediately Instagrammed them and then wandered around humming “bye bye L’il Sebastian…” #5000candlesinthewind.

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Then we found our way to the llama show!  We saw one llama win a blue ribbon for… llama-ing, or whatever llamas do.  I wanted to hang around and find out if it was a competitive thing or if all the llamas got blue ribbons for participation like in kindergarten, but the rest of the family was moving on.

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Oh.  Hello there.

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Peanut has a book called The Littlest Llama, which has been a favorite of hers since forever, so of course we walked around the llama barn trying to find the littlest one.  I thought this guy might be, but hubby and Peanut spotted a couple who were even smaller.

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Of course, the fair wouldn’t be the fair without fair food.  I was starving and had a dish of curly fries and some smoked turkey with bbq sauce.  (It was supposed to be a sandwich, but I didn’t want the bread so I ordered it without.  The guy in the bbq truck said, incredulously, “just a dish of meat?”  I’m pretty sure he would have asked me out had I not had a ring on my finger.)  We also hit up the tiger show and the kettle corn stand, but sadly I’m out of pictures.

Until next year, Erie County Fair!

Have you ever been to the county fair where you live?  This is the second time I’ve been to the Erie County Fair, but I’ve never been to any other.

The Color Run Buffalo 2014

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Well, that was a different kind of experience!

This year, I finally got the chance to participate in The Color Run.  I’ve been wanting to do one of these 5K events – either The Color Run or Color Me Rad – for what felt like ages, and was so excited to see The Color Run come to Buffalo.  For those not acquainted with the concept, it’s basically an untimed 5K that you run while volunteers throw colored corn starch at you.  I realize that sounds nuts, but there are plenty of us out there who think it seems like a rocking good time.

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The starting line was a whiteout.  Everyone wears white to the run, the better to show off their colors at the finish line.  I briefly considered wearing one of my white workout shirts but decided to wear the race shirt instead.  Normally I would never wear the race shirt to the race – I think it’s nerdy, bad luck, and you haven’t really earned the shirt until you cross the finish line – but this time I broke my usual rule because the white race shirt seemed intended as a color palette.  I wasn’t the only one – it seemed that at least 80% of the participants had the race tee on.  I was in good company.

We started out in waves every few minutes.  I left my watch at home, so I don’t know what time I finally crossed the start line, but the first part of the race took us along Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront area.  I enjoyed checking out the harbor and the boats, and at one point they had a giant bubble machine going, which was pretty hilarious.

At some point after a mile or so, I heard people start wondering aloud when the color would come up.  There was no color at the start line and we hadn’t hit a color station yet, so we were all still immaculate.  I had seen two of the color stations on my way to the start line, but didn’t know how much longer the course would wind around before it took us there.

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We did finally make it into the color!  Blue was the first color station, and it was also where my spectators – hubby, Peanut and Nana – were waiting to see me run through.  I was so excited to be getting color that I ran through shouting “Woo-hooooooooo!” and ended up with blue teeth.  Live and learn.

After blue, we had a quick water stop and then made our way through yellow, purple, and pink.  For a little while, I ran with a sweet woman and her daughter-in-law.  The daughter-in-law was pregnant with her first baby, so we chatted about all things pregnancy and parenting.  I rarely talk to people during races, but this wasn’t really a race, I wasn’t looking to set any records, and it was impossible to run fast anyway – there were legions of walkers.

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I lost my running buddies somewhere after the pink color and decided to head for the finish line instead of hanging around on the course any longer.  I spotted hubby and Peanut at the finish line before they saw me; hubby later told me they weren’t expecting me for another ten minutes or so.  I guess I was ready for the finish line party!

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I’ve been attacked by a rainbow!

The Color Run was a fantastic experience.  I had so much fun taking my time around the course, chatting with other runners, and dancing through the color stations while the volunteers sprayed color at us all.  (There were a few “serious” runners who were complaining about all the walkers but I say, who cares?  There were no timing chips and this isn’t exactly the Olympic trials.  What does it matter if the walkers don’t stay to the right?  We’re all just out to have fun with this silly run.)

Peanut was adorably concerned about me after the run.  She couldn’t understand why Regular Mommy had turned into Rainbow Mommy and thought there must be something wrong with me.  As we walked back to the car she stared at me with a worried expression and kept reassuring me, “It’s okay, Mommy.  It’s okay.”  Even later that day, when I went to get her from her nap, she told me “It’s okay, Mommy got colorful.”  So cute.  I have a feeling she’s going to remember The Color Run… but maybe not quite as fondly as I do.

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Final time: AWESOME.  Two blue thumbs up.

Have you ever done a color run?  Did you also forget to close your mouth and end up with blue teeth?

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This post has been a long time in the works, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am to share the news that I am going home.  No, not to Old Dominion.  To a new home!  After months of searching, countless houses visited, four rejected offers, and umpteen sleepless nights, we’ve finally bought a house.  We closed on Wednesday, we’re having some work done this week and next, and we plan to move in by the end of the month.

The house is outside the city, which makes us very happy.  Our experiment in urban living over the past year has taught us that we are not city people.  True, I loved living in Foggy Bottom for my first two years of law school, and we lived in some fairly urban parts of Arlington (although, as a hilarious rule, Arlington thinks it’s more urban than it actually is) but for where we are in our lives now, the city just doesn’t work.  We hoped that our walkable urban Buffalo neighborhood would be kid-friendly, but it hasn’t been – even with the playground just a few blocks away, the constant noise and the confined spaces have been tough on little Peanut.  As they have on all of us.  I’ve been getting progressively more down on our house, our neighborhood, and our urban environment in general, and I’m ready for wide-open spaces and friendly neighbors.

So we’re moving to the country.  I won’t say exactly where, but I will say that we lucked into finding a house in a lovely rural area that somehow also manages a decent commute.  We won’t have to spend much more time in the car than we do now, fighting city traffic.  And we’ll have several acres for Peanut to explore, a pool where she can learn to swim, a fabulous kitchen where I can enjoy baking again, and a big, rambling house with great bones that’s just waiting for our updates and personal touches.

I can’t wait.  I can’t wait to wake up to birdsong instead of sirens.  To run down country roads and stargaze in our backyard under velvety skies unmarred by city lights.  To float in the pool in our private backyard all summer, and snowshoe around the nearby town park all winter.  To plant an herb garden and grow tomatoes in the abundant light.  To drink my tea in the mornings on the cozy back porch (maybe we’ll get a swing!).  To experience “years of painterly skies at dawn,” a line from The Cloister Walk – a book I recently finished – that perfectly sums up the gifts I hope country life will give our family.

I’ve never lived in a rural area before.  I grew up a suburban kid and have bounced back and forth from suburb to city to suburb to city.  This is a new departure for us and we think it’s going to be great.

I can’t wait to go home!

Happy new week, all!  Just a quick little post to get you over any Monday morning slump you may be feeling.  This video is everything.

See you Wednesday!

I Won’t Apologize

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There’s been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about owning your reading choices.  It started with the infamous Slate article (not linking, because the article doesn’t deserve a link) stating that adults who read young adult novels should be ashamed of themselves.  There was plenty of well-deserved backlash (including my #BKR03 quarterly box, which included a tote bag and pin proudly declaring “I Read YA”) and plenty of bloggers declaring that they read YA and were proud of it.  And it extended to a campaign for all readers to proudly own their reading and never be ashamed for liking what they like.  I’m totally on board with that, so here’s my list of reading choices I refuse to apologize for.

I won’t apologize for reading YA.  Since things started with YA, I’ll start with YA.  My world would be much less fun without the likes of Harry Potter and friends, for example.  Not to mention my favorite childhood classics.  For goodness’ sake, my daughter is named after an L.M. Montgomery heroine.

I won’t apologize, in fact, for reading cozy mysteries either.  Or anything else I darn well please.  I like what I like and I don’t care who knows it.

I won’t apologize for buying pretty books.  Yes, even if I already own a copy.  The story is the thing and all that, but books can do double duty as beautiful objects.

I won’t apologize for using the library to test-drive books before committing to buying them.  Yes, I love supporting my favorite authors, but I prefer to know I love the book before granting it some of my limited shelf space.

I won’t apologize for liking the convenience of my e-reader.  It’s real reading, people.  For that matter, so are audiobooks.

I won’t apologize for having no interest in comics or John Green.  Sure, they’re both trendy in the book world, but neither reading option interests me even a little bit.  I have enough on my TBR without worrying that there’s something wrong with me because I don’t care to read The Fault in our Stars (much less abbreviate it to “TFIOS”) or take out a Marvel Unlimited subscription.

I won’t apologize for rarely (or never) reading genres that don’t interest me.  I’m never going to be a sci-fi fan.  I’ve come around to more fantasy novels, but I have no interest in most of the horror genre.  Again, I have enough on my TBR – I don’t need to put myself through a genre that I know I don’t enjoy.

I won’t apologize for crafting with books, or for buying upcycled book page jewelry or art on Etsy.  What’s wrong with giving an otherwise unwanted book new life?  It’s not sacrilege, it’s rescuing a book from the garbage heap and turning it into something useful and beautiful.

I won’t apologize for being a serial book-finisher, except in the most extreme of cases.  This is another thing the internet is into lately: abandoning books that don’t please.  Well, I will ditch a book if by page 50 it’s given me nothing to recommend it.  But in about 98% of cases, I find a reason to push through.  It may not end up on a favorites shelf, but someone slaved over it (probably) and I’m going to give it my time.  I’ve ended up loving a book that I wasn’t wild about for many of its pages.  If you’re one who can abandon a book that’s not meeting expectations – good on ya.  But I generally can’t, and I won’t be made to feel a less discerning reader for it.

I won’t apologize for occasionally begging off a lunch invitation to read by myself.  I have a long TBR and very little time to read in.  I do try to be social, but sometimes I only want to socialize with book characters.  That’s my nature and I won’t apologize for it.

I won’t apologize for liking all my books in a series to be in the same edition.  It’s a weird little tic that has nothing to do with the stories and everything to do with how they look on my shelves, but, well, we’ve already established that I like my shelves to look nice (see above).  My home is my home and I want it to be beautiful, and organized, well-curated bookshelves are part of that.

I won’t apologize for needing time to read every. single. day.  Reading keeps me sane.  I feel as weird if I go a day without reading as I would if I went a day without brushing my teeth (ew!).

Did you read the Slate article?  Were you outraged too?  What readerly traits do you refuse to apologize for or recant?

The Summer List: Update

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I’ve been busy, busy re-learning a lesson that I’m just now starting to remember from my childhood.  Summers in the northeast are short, and you have to make the most of them while they last.  We’ve been packing every weekend with fun – special family outings, one half marathon (so far), one trip, and plenty of the usual (Stroller Strides, neighborhood walks, cold drinks at the pub a block from our house, playground fun, you name it).  And of course, I’ve been making progress on my summer list.

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Done!  Here’s my race recap from the Fifty Yard Finish.  Complete with flashy new PR – 2:24:30, 13 minutes faster than my last half!

Wedding

  • Attend the wedding of one of hubby’s oldest friends on July 4th.

Done, and what fun to celebrate with the bride and groom, who are in for a lifetime of happiness together.

Lake 2

  • At least one day at my parents’ lake house.

It was marvelous and blissful.  The only downer to the day was that it was so windy it was actually too breezy to take Peanut out on the boat.  Next time.

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Done!  Climbing Cascade and Porter was an incredible experience.  Everyone should have the chance to see the world from atop one of the ADK 46.

I didn’t blog about this, but we went and we enjoyed it immensely.  Supporting local artists is one of my favorite ways to anchor myself to a place, and we bought a few things – some gifts for family members for various occasions, and a couple of odds and ends for our house.

Working on this.  We have been trying to arrange a hike with our friends Zan and Paul, but we keep getting rained out.  One of these days, we’ll make it there.

Yummmmmmmmmm.  I now need to visit Joe’s Crab Shack, like, immediately.

Planning is underway.  We’ve got a date, time and location, and invitations should go out soon.

On a sort-of-indefinite hiatus.  I haven’t been able to run – it’s been a perfect storm keeping me off the roads.  Although it will be disappointing, I’m almost 100% sure I’ll be deferring to the 2015 race.

Went back last weekend and explored some of the trails we hadn’t gotten to see last time – such a lovely, relaxing way to spend a morning.

It has been a busy summer so far, for sure.  But we’ve enjoyed every moment, and we’ll keep enjoying every moment that we have it.  August is looking like a very busy month, but we’ll be sure to make plenty of time for family fun as long as the nice weather lasts.  How about you – how are you enjoying your summer?

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