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!


home sweet home

We signed a year lease for our townhome. Sometimes I'm terribly sad that we'll have to leave this house in a year and sometimes I am counting down those 365 (now about 300) days.  Here are a few reasons why:

+ Basement/Playroom- it took a little getting used to but we love having all the toys downstairs.  The door to the basement is right next to the kitchen so the girls can play down there while I'm cooking dinner (theoretically- they have yet to figure this out and leave me alone for a few minutes to get an actual meal on the table.)  The basement is also the coolest (temperature-wise, and possibly in the figurative sense too) place in the house so Bryan escapes down there quite often as well.

+ China Cabinet- we never saw the house in person before moving, but we did see lots of pictures and when I saw this built-in China Cabinet I knew it had to be ours.

+ Wood floors, crown molding, tile, granite counters, ceiling fans in every bedroom- I love the beautiful features in this home.  Granted, the floors come at a price.  They are old and crrrreaky.  There's absolutely no sneaking around at night, you can hear every single step.  (Consequently we are planning on moving back here when the girls are between the ages of 14 and 18.)

+ Only one bathroom (well, there is a second bathroom, but it doesn't have a shower, is in the basement, and is kind of scary- I personally choose to avoid it though Jilly thinks it's awesome.)  For the most part this isn't a huge deal, but when we have visitors (and we better have lots because Baltimore is a cool place!) it will be pretty tight.  On the bright side, that's only one bathroom I have to clean.

(this is the normal bathroom; and yes, that's a black toilet...not odd at all)

+ Each door has a different trick to get it to close completely.  And, even with knowing the trick, you are not assured success.  Mattie's door is the worst, and there's nothing more frustrating than getting her peacefully in bed then having to try 15 times to get the stinking door closed.

+ We have a park at the end of our street.  Let me repeat: at the end of our street.  This is HUGE for us.  I can't even describe how wonderful it is to be able to walk down for a few minutes of swinging and sliding any time we want.


five fact friday

It's been a doozy of a week.  First, Mattie got pink eye.  By some miracle the rest of us remained unharmed but poor Mattie struggled for a couple days.  When she woke up in the morning her right eye was completely swollen shut.  Next was laryngitis.  My voice was completely gone for a day and I felt miserable.  Jilly kept saying "Mom, why are you being so quiet?" and I whisper-explained to her that I wasn't being quiet but that this was as loud as I could talk.  She wasn't buying it.  The terrible mom in me wondered why don't kids ever lose their voices??

Mattie went to her first movie this week.  Rio 2 was the dollar movie, and I figured Mattie couldn't infect anyone while sitting on my lap in a dark theater so we went for it.  Jilly liked it (and the $7 popcorn I bought because I'm a sucker) and Mattie liked the first half then spent the second half walking the aisle.  Whether or not this outing was a success is up for debate.

Mattie threw her first throw-herself-on-the-floor tantrum this week- because I wouldn't take the batteries out of the remote for her to play with.  Mean mom.  But, she also started giving kisses to the animals in her books, so all is forgiven.

Jilly was invited to a birthday party this weekend and it is the most exciting event in her life thus far.  Her outfit is picked out and sitting by the stairs, we chose a gift, wrapping paper, and bow at Target, wrapped the gift, then Jilly made a card for her friend.  It is so exciting that Jilly had to jump on the phone to tell my mom about it and Jilly is a first rate phone-hater.

I've been knee-deep in rug/accent chair/where to hang pictures decisions this week.  It's a tough life I live.  Also, boyfriend v-neck t-shirts were only $5 at Target so I got one and if I can sneak back this weekend I'll be buying 15 more (don't tell Bryan.)

Happy Friday!


A dissertation on preschool

I have spent the past month agonizing over preschool.  I hadn't planned on sending Jilly this year since she has two more years before kindergarten.  Then we moved and everyone was abuzz about preschool.  Enter panic mode.  Initially I went crazy thinking "We're never going to make any friends if we don't do preschool!!!!!"  And then I researched and worried and  researched and worried and didn't sleep until Bryan finally told me, "I don't want to hear about preschool ever again."  I found a school that was close, got good reviews, was affordable, and registered Jillian- up to the last minute I was wavering, but I did it.  And I started to feel pretty good about a few hours away from Jilly each week.

Then we got a letter.  Unexpectedly, the teacher quit, and they were looking for another teacher but hadn't found one yet.  The preschool would still be there, but it would start a few weeks later and the teacher was TBD.  They offered to let us withdraw and get all our money back.  Which got me doubting.  Lisa was having a similar dilemma so we face-timed one morning at 7am my time, 4am her time (logical time to talk preschool, right?)  And thus began the researching and worrying cycle all over again.  It boiled down to a few facts:

- I did not think preschool was necessary.  I think she can learn anything she needs at home and she gets classroom experience at church.
- I was doing preschool solely for social reasons, which was not terrible, but still if I put in a little effort I could find plenty of ways for her to socialize with kids her age.
- This preschool was affordable, but still, not money we had planned on spending this year.  And the money could be used for other things like the zoo, the aquarium, gymnastics, etc.

So, we withdrew from preschool.  And I've already regretted it (mostly on the days when Jilly is a frequent time-out visitor and I wish so much that we could have a little time apart) but overall I feel really good about it and I'm excited.  I'm going to use some of Mattie's nap time to do preschool activities with Jilly, and I've found some fun resources and already started a little bit and it's gone great.  The day after I made my decision I found these two articles and they made me feel even better: here and here.  Not that I think preschool is a bad choice at all, and we will consider sending her to a school next year; I'm just thrilled to finally feel like I made the best decision for us this year.  My biggest regret is that we don't get to pick out a first day of school outfit.


Super Saturday

Baltimore is such an exciting place to live.  There are so many fun things to do close by, and then a million amazing places to visit just a few hours away.  (NYC, we're coming for you!)  And we have suddenly found ourselves not spending every Saturday wandering Home Depot/ doing house projects (the joy of renting!)  So we've made an effort to use our Saturdays well.  Last Saturday I had a baby shower to go to so we didn't have a ton of time but we found a little hike to Kilgore Falls about 45 minutes away.  The weather was perfect, the hike was nice and easy, and we all had a great time.

^We read that Kilgore Falls is the second tallest waterfall in the state to which Bryan said, "So Maryland isn't exactly known for its waterfalls."

^ mini camelback for the win 

^ at first Mattie was content eating trail mix with me, but then she decided she wanted in on the fun (Bryan and Jilly were playing in the freeeeezing water.) 

^ no chance of losing Rainbow Bright out in the wilderness 

^View at the top of the falls, I was hyperventilating just a bit that one or all of us were going to fall down it


five on friday

one- Sunday evening popcorn has become a weekly tradition around here, and having a backyard only makes it sweeter.

two-  Does every Target have this dancing princess display? It has princess barbies and when you choose a princess it spins around to show that princess, plays her song and shows scenes from her movie.  It is a HUGE HIT with the Martinez girls. 

three- The girls and I headed down to Richmond to see my family for a few days this week.  We shopped, went to a Splash Pad, swam at the pool, watched Lost, went to the Richmond Zoo, played in the backyard, and took the chance to tickle the ivories.  

four- While at the pool Jilly discovered she could stand in the 3ft area.  An exciting development for sure.

five- We had the greatest time at the zoo.  The animals were all so close and easy to see; Mattie especially would get so excited.  We also got to feed the giraffes which was kind of slimy and cool.


I love you Baltimore

Will the Hairspray references ever get old?  I would say no, but Bryan most likely would disagree.  I even caught Jilly singing "Good Morning Baltimore!" this morning so I'd say my work here is done.

On Saturday we headed to Baltimore's Inner Harbor for the afternoon.  Bryan and I went about 6 years ago with my family, and it was so fun to take our girls this time to explore our new city.

 First stop: Carousel.  We think Mattie liked it, but her expression remained stoic the whole ride.

We walked pretty much the entire harbor from one end to the other.  There were lots of shops, boats, and great people-watching; there was an anime convention that weekend so tons of people were dressed up- some fun, some scary, and some that forced us to cover the girls' eyes.  We checked out the lighthouse, which was quite small but neat to see (and free!)  

After walking and walking and walking we took a break at Barnes & Noble and let the girls play while we enjoyed the A/C.  Then we got a ginormous and delicious waffle bowl of ice cream to share.

Lastly we let the girls play in the Splash Pad.  We hadn't brought swimsuits and at first Jilly was very hesitant to get her dress wet but eventually she just went for it and loved it.  Mattie wasn't quite as crazy and brave, but she definitely got splashed.

We stripped off their soaking dresses and took our happy, wet girls home.  We have many more Baltimore adventures to come I'm sure.