June 25, 2014

Quick Trip

A couple of weekends ago, Peter and I made a quick trip to South Carolina to attend the wedding of our college friends, Caroline and Brandon. Saturday, before the main event, I  palled around Columbia with my girls friends while the guys watched soccer. The wedding was lovely! What a dearly loved couple Caroline and Brandon are! I have never been to a wedding where the church was so full.
While we were away, the girls stayed with Scottie and Bigs, my mom and step-dad. Despite efforts to make this as easy for my mom as possible, I dropped off a potty-training two year old and bottle-refusing, night-waking nine month old. Somehow, she managed! I don't believe they left the house at all but no one seemed to mind. Cole was ready to go back as soon as we pulled out of the driveway.
*Every single one of these pictures is borrowed. Either from Facebook or my mom. 

June 23, 2014

Potty Trained

Two weeks ago today, potty training chose us. And now, Cole is wake-time potty trained.

Around 17 months old, Cole was showing many of the textbook potty training readiness signs. But I wasn't ready. I was very pregnant with Ibbie. I had come to peace with the idea of two in diapers.  I wasn't ready to have a newborn and newly potty trained toddler. So we waited. I got Cole a little potty seat and let her use it whenever she felt inclined, which was fairly often, actually. Peter and I agreed that we'd potty train Cole once she was asking for it. And I've always heard to wait until the child is ready. So we waited.

After 10 months of sporadic potty use and requests for diaper changes, we realized that the time had come. Driving home from a furniture pickup, Cole let us know she needed to use her diaper and immediately requested to be changed. Peter looked at me and said, "So, it's time."

We prepped for three day potty training (which in our case would be 3 days with 10 months of practice). I made a little sticker chart and let Cole determine her own rewards. We explained to Cole that she would need to use the potty when she felt the urge to go. Then we took the diapers away. 

She took to it right away! For the first two days, for whatever reason, after nap time she begged to be put back in her diaper. I obliged for two days but on the third day her request was denied. There was an epic meltdown, followed promptly by a trip to the potty and then to the store to pick out panties. 

We boldly left the house on the second full day in panties and she went 80 minutes between potty breaks! I was impressed. Apparently we waited to potty train until she was more than ready. Now we have a potty trained two-year on our hands, which means we have a potty in the car and stop all the time when we are out to make potty breaks. (I line the bowl of the car potty with dog waste bags and keep wipes and hand-sanitizer at the ready. It makes on-the-go clean up a breeze.)
Note: We're going to hold off on sleep-time potty training until she is a bit older. 

June 20, 2014

A Little Zoo

After years of living in a major city and taking full advantage of urban life, living in Newark has been quite a shift. Newark, which is home to University of Delaware, is a pretty typical college town. There are plenty of things to do, but you have to look. I found a little zoo about twenty minutes away in Rising Sun, Maryland. It is cute as can be.

At the ticket office, you can buy a cup of feed to give to some of the animals. Cole was delighted to feed the goats, sheep, donkeys and alpacas. She was disappointed she couldn't feed the bears but after I explained they may bite she applied that reasoning to every animal she couldn't feed: Camels may bite. Tigers may bite. Peacocks may bite. It worked out just fine. 
Since we were already in Rising Sun, we made a quick trip to Kilby Cream for ice cream. We were pleasantly surprised to find they had a playground and little animal display for the kids.  Not that Cole could could focus on anything but her pink ice cream with jimmies.

June 18, 2014

Ibbie :: 9 months

It's summertime in Delaware! I've been taking the girls to the pool and Ibbie loves to play in the water, just like her sister. She and Cole splash in the bath tub but the swimming pool takes the splashing to a whole new level. We've also been to a few parks and zoos. Ibbie happily strolls along! Our goose is nothing if not a happy girl.

This month she survived the arrival of her two top, front teeth, her first night/weekend away from us, and sleeping through the night (10:30pm-6:10am). She's still pulling up and cruising but gets around much more quickly when she crawls.
month onetwofourfivesixseven, eight
Cole at nine months 

June 12, 2014

Nook Beautification

Since moving, I've become a regular Craigslist peruser.  I have a laundry list of things I'm looking for to outfit the new house. At the top of the list were table and chairs for the kitchen. After having little success finding a table, we took a trip to the Habitat ReStore where we found a pedestal table crying out for some TLC. A few days later, I found some chairs on Craigslist that fit perfectly with the table.

For the last month, we've lived with them as is with the plan to do something eventually.  When I finally got around to figuring out that the something meant adding a pop of color and painting the table blue, my mom had the perfect color suggestion: Aubusson Blue. Well a can of Aubusson Blue paint sat on the shelf for a couple of weeks. When my step-dad offered to paint the table one evening we jumped at the opportunity.
When my mom brought the table back to us, it was as good as new! The peonies from her garden in the vase she found at Goodwill were just icing on the cake. My mom is so skilled at creating beautiful things! I added a rug from Overstock, with a smaller one by the sink. It's worth pointing out that with little ones in the house, the only kind of rug I'll buy for the kitchen or dining room are indoor-outdoor rugs. They are normally less expensive and can be washed off with a hose.
There's also a paint sample on the wall. I went ahead last week and put up paint samples in every room. It may take us a year (or more) to get everything painted, but we've got a vision.

June 10, 2014


Jack King's recent post Why Scruffy Hospitality Creates Space for Friendship really struck a cord with me. Every single word of it. Especially as we settle into this new house, I'm so grateful for his perspective. Hospitality means own arms and open doors. Nothing else. 
"Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together. 
Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.’"
In this spirit, we hosted a small cookout on Friday. Our guests came, with toddlers in tow. We ate Costco-made food on paper plates in an 'as is' house and the kids played in an un-mowed yard. It was wonderful! Nothing makes a place feel more like home than being able to invite friends in.

June 6, 2014

Family of Four

Looking at the pictures around our house, you'd never know we're a family of four. When I saw Katie Hall Creative was offering spring mini sessions, I scheduled one as quickly as I could! I opted for the latest session she was offering (I'm a sucker for good evening light) but that meant keeping Ibbie up a little late. With a little prodding and tossing, Ib warmed up to the camera and we got some lovely images. Cole loves the camera and she loves fruit snacks, which Katie was kind enough to reward her with.
All images by Katie Hall Creative

June 4, 2014

The Starting Place

We've been in the house for just over a month. There are no longer boxes that need to be unpacked with any urgency. In fact, the boxes that remain packed up will stay that way until we get some more storage. We'll get around to making improvements but it's always nice to note where you're coming from. Without further ado, here is a quick, unedited, unstaged, glimpse-of-real-life house tour of our Starting Place. 

The living room serves as our laundry room. Don't hate. I'm planning on moving this activity to the basement. Sometime. 
My step-dad is refinishing our dining room table (Merry Christmas to me!). 
From the kitchen, I can see into the playroom. But, I would like to be able to see more of the playroom. So in a couple of weeks, we're going to open the doorway by at least four more feet. Peter and I both thought it would be a good idea then our neighbor, who has a home identical to ours, told us it was the one thing they wish they had done right when they moved in. That was all the nudging we needed. 
Here, in her natural habitat, you can see my diaper-clad first born enjoying an enriching episode of Curious George while sister naps and I snap a few pictures of the house. We love having a playroom!
This is the office. Yes, that is wallpaper designed to look like a cork board collage. No, we will not be keeping it.
Cole likes her new room. She also like "the friends" that adorn the border. I haven't had the heart to tell her that "the friends" are coming down.
Ibbie's room is always the most presentable! Maybe because she barely has anything. 
Our guest room is a holding pen. 
Now the master bedroom room is half awesome and half pit. And since the girls have been sick the top of the dresser is serving as a medicine cabinet. 

June 2, 2014

Together Again!

We have met some wonderful people in Delaware, but man, do I miss our friends from Memphis! When we realized Erin and Will would be with her folks in South Carolina on the very day we were planning to drive home from Georgia, we made stopping a top priority.  
We took two-hour playdate/lunch/pit stop so that we could visit with Erin, Will and Kristen, another friend who once lived in Memphis. Before we moved, Will gave Cole a little picture book of their times together. It is one of Cole's favorite books! She "reads" its nearly every day. She has asked for Will and Erin to come over on multiple occasions which is so sweet but also heart wrenching. Since moving the kids have seen one another on FaceTime, but nothing is the same as being with a friend. They picked up right where they left off! The rest of us chatted and ate and chatted some more.