five fact friday

one.  Something tragic happened to my sweet baby girl this week.  Her favorites words are now "No, no, no, no, no" and "Dop Gi-wee!" (stop Jilly.)  On the flip side, she has started folding her arms for prayers and saying "cheese!" while giving the goofiest toothy grin.  

two.  We celebrated the advent of Fall this week by making an inaugural pumpkin treat (delicious) and all getting colds.  Bryan got sick first and said he survived two days of work by sipping on a Monster energy drink so that's my attack plan today, along with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat, which may very well kill me if this cold doesn't.

three.  Jilly has opened a stuffed animal/doll babysitting service that takes place on my bed every morning.  So, if you need a break from your inanimate animals and babies, she's your girl.  And, in other news, we've been practicing our Elsa braid in eager anticipation of Oct 31st.

four.  This week I had a Girl's Night (complete with cheesecake from The Factory) and I stayed out til 1am on a Tuesday which, in my best guess, hasn't happened since 2006.  So, kind of a big deal.  I'm so lucky to have found some great girls out here to con into being my friends.

five.  We went to the library this week (duh) and my girls were really into the puppet theater.  It was one of those shiny happy moments that I cling to when we return to real life.


soccer mom

For my 20th birthday my amazing roommates through me a surprise party.  Bryan and I were not an item yet but during the party he and his roommates burst through the door with a birthday song they wrote just for me (I was not unique- they wrote birthday songs for many of the girls in our complex, but this fact did not stifle my excitement one tiny bit.)  The song was set to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song and the chorus was "She drives around in a pink minivan, moving 'round town looking for a man, Rachel Anderson, yeah she's the bomb, You know you want to squeeze this soccer mom."  Looking back, it's a little embarrassing that my 20th birthday song was about being a soccer mom, but, hey, I knew what I wanted.

Last week I got to live out my dream as a soccer mom.  My mom took my sister back to school in Idaho and asked me to come stay with my dad, Bethany, and Tyler for the week.  I had a great time staying with my family, and glimpsed a tiny bit of what my life will be like in a few years when I'm busy doing school drop-off, soccer carpool, and keeping on top of teenagers (let's just hope I don't have a one-year-old then!)  We had fun and were busybusybusy.

The girls were thrilled about exploring a new library- Mattie grabbed Jilly's hands and they serpentined through all the shelves.  No doubt all the other patrons loved us.

My girls love their Aunt Beth and Uncle Ty

A huge perk of staying at my parents' is close proximity to Luna.  My girls ADORE this girl.  Mattie went around calling for "Nuna, Nuna" all week.

My first favorite book- and I love that my parents have saved it all these years so I can read it to Jill.

My dad and I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the Cougars win.

My parents have a landline which was fascinating to Mattie, who'd never seen one before (coincidentally, I read Landline that week also.)

There is an abundance of old dance costumes (some even mine!) for Jilly to try on.  Three-year-old heaven!

 The girls took on Ty at foosball and since Jilly gave herself a point no matter which goal the ball went into,  I think the girls won

 My dad and Ty got right to work honing Jilly's catch

Not pictured: Mattie freaking out when I made her stay in the Child Care at the Y (mother of the year)

We spent one afternoon visiting the Schertz's, some of our great BYU friends.   Sweet Jenna was willing to let Jilly wear her Aurora dress so they were instant friends for life.

At the end of the week we were so happy to return home to Bryan and the beautiful flowers he had waiting for us.


Sunday Scenes

We get home from church around 1:30 on Sundays and have the rest of the afternoon to take naps, play, talk to our families, eat, and relax.  It's the best time of the week and today was no exception.

I'm not certain whose idea it was but I followed the sound of giggles to find Bryan putting every single bow we own in Jilly's hair.  Girl's got style.

Always the copycat, Mattie wanted her picture taken too (but not the bows- smart girl.)

hopscotching while Bryan grilled our delicious dinner

Cromwell Valley Park

kisses for dada 

And, our forecast for the week- doesn't get any better than that!


Sweaty, hot, and happy

Saturday was hot and muggy but we were committed to our "explore Baltimore" agenda.  
So we went to Cylburn Arboretum  
The park includes a mansion built in 1888, beautiful gardens, and a nature center
The mansion and nature center were both closed, so we just walked around the grounds
We'll have to go back in the spring- I'm sure it will be magnificent.

Jilly found her very special jack-o-lantern necklace and assigned me to wear it all day 
(just in case you were wondering...)

Jilly rang this (very loud) bell about 20 times before we had to drag her away

hello humidity

I can count on one hand the number of pictures of just Bryan and me since Jilly was born.  I asked Jilly to snap a picture of us and what do you know- girl's got skillz.  

We were all slick and sweaty by the time we made it back to the car
Both girls were happily soothed to sleep by the blasting A/C
The rest of our day included yard work, Five Guys, and a sweet BYU victory.
Not a bad day at all.


It's Friiiiiiiday!

1. This week I have been acutely aware that this stage in our lives is fleeting.  We won't always have all the time in the world to read books, dress-up, play at the park, go to story time, play Uno, and wander Target.  Sometimes an empty schedule drives me batty, but this week I was so, so grateful for this time when these girls are all mine every day all day.  

2.  For a multitude of reasons (some lbs and some not) we decided to join a gym.  The girls and I went "gym shopping" one day and when we left the YMCA they were both in tears because they wanted to stay and play.  So, it wasn't exactly a difficult decision.  On Monday we went to sign up and the guy told us we came on the very best day.  Not only were they doing a special where they waived the $100 registration fee, but they were also offering a free month.  The only thing that could have made it better was free ice cream sundaes in the parking lot (which there were not.)  Getting a break from my (always delightful and never whiny or fighting) girls is my very best motivation to exercise, so I think this is going to work well for all of us.  

3.  This was the first week since moving here that the temperature reached 90 degrees (and we moved in early July!)  This has been an unusually mild summer and you will never ever ever hear me complain.  Despite our September heat we checked out a brand new park nearby.  Swinging is my girls' love language and no temperature can deter their passion.

4.  Oh Miss Mattie.  Her love of clothes -more specifically other peoples' clothes- is as strong as ever.  Exhibit A: She found my sock drawer and loves to find my brightest pairs, Exhibit B: Jilly's nightgown, which she actually slept in.  I think it makes her look like Cindy Lou Whoo and I love it and will let her wear this nightgown any and every night Jilly allows.  

5.  Yesterday during Mattie's nap I turned on the audiobook of Frog and Toad Are Friends for Jilly.  She curled up next to me and fell right to sleep (I remember loving Frog and Toad, but apparently they've lost their appeal in the past 20 years.)  Suddenly I found myself with free time.  It had been so long since this occurred I honestly had no clue what to do.  I sat around just basking in the quiet for a few minutes then instead of cleaning the bathroom (like I really should have done) I watched Gilmore Girls and worked on a Christmas project (yes Christmas! I have to start early if I ever want to finish anything.)  It was delightful.


library love

I was a very loyal and happy patron of the Sacramento Library, but the Baltimore Library system has blown me away.  I've been to 4 library branches so far and they've all been awesome- plenty of books (obviously) but also so! many! toys!  Every library has little activity drawers for the kids to play with, but a few branches also have a play kitchen, train table, slide, castle turret, and an art table.  One library is called Storyville and it's basically a free mini-version of a Children's Museum.  My girls loooove it there, and it's just about my favorite place ever as well.  

Another perk is a book limit of 100.  Coming from a limit of 30, it's like Christmas every time we visit the library.  (When Bryan heard this all he thought was $$$ - more late fees - but I choose to think more positively.)  It's thrilling to fill up our library bag each week with no fear that we'll be rejected at check-out 

Baltimore libraries are very well-stocked.  I've never had to wait more than 3 days to get a book I've requested, no matter how new or popular it is.  It's kind of ridiculous how happy this makes me.  Actually, it's kind of ridiculous how happy the whole library system makes me.  But, since we no longer live in a place where we can play outside 360 days of the year I'm sure we'll be the frequentest of library visitors.

(All these are library pictures, and nary a book in sight.  We also read, I promise!)


seven on sunday

ONE- I am scared to death of downtown Baltimore.  I'm not the most confident driver- especially when it comes to skinny lanes, traffic, surprise one-way roads, and the possibility of losing service and being completely lost without my phone.  But I put on my brave pants and took the girls down to the harbor for a pirate story time on a real pirate ship (or at least that's what I told Jilly.)  After story time we walked around Fell's Point, which is a charming old neighborhood.  It turned out to be a lot of fun and not difficult at all- Baltimore, you're all mine.

TWO- We have a new Tuesday tradition.  Free kids meals + entertainment for Jilly in Smaland + stuffed animal heaven + I can always find something I NEED to buy.  Ikea has won us over.

THREE- Mattie had her first ultrasound this week.  When we went to her new pediatrician she noticed Mattie had a heart murmur.  This is pretty normal in little kids but since we were new patients she wanted to check it out so she sent us for an echo (basically an ultrasound of her heart.)  It was one of the most unpleasant hours I've spent in my life.  Mattie was not at all interested in sitting still for over an hour and not thrilled to have the goo and wand all over her chest.  I had to use every trick in my book (by the end I was feeding her smarties I dug out from the depths of my bag that were who-knows-how-old.)  But we survived and stopped at McDs on the way home to celebrate.  Mattie was way more interested in my DP than the ice cream I got for her (turns out she's my daughter.)  Happily the results came back totally clear for our sweet kissy-faced girl.

FOUR- Last Saturday Bryan's office had a family picnic at his co-worker's house which is right on the bay.  Even though it rained most of the time we had fun playing games, eating, fishing, and playing with their toys.

FIVE- We had to run some errands one day and Jilly insisted on bringing her Book of Mormon around with us- my little missionary.  Also, her word of the week is "totally" which is kind of killing me.  "That is totally cute," "Mattie is totally awake," "We are totally going to have fun at the library"

SIX- We went to our first Orioles game on Friday.  My parents, Tyler, Beth, and Katie and Neal came up to go with us and we had a great time, we even got to see a grand slam! (by the O's of course)

SEVEN- On Saturday we went to Sandy Point State Park, which is a beach on the Chesapeake bay.  We had a great day relaxing and soaking just a bit more sun and sand out of summer.  

There are few things sweeter than a Sunday night before a Monday holiday.  Happy Labor Day!