RVA Weekend

A few months ago my friend Kelsey emailed saying that she and her husband were planning a trip to Richmond and she wanted to get together with us and our other friend Lindsay.  I was so, so, so excited.  Kelsey, Lindsay, and I were best friends in high school and we have not seen nearly enough of each other in the years since then. Kelsey's parents moved to ID while we were in college and Lindsay and I just haven't had a lot of luck with overlapping our visits home.  I figured it had been a full 9 years since the three of us were together.

We drove down to Richmond Friday night and were able to drop our kids off with my parents and get ice cream with Kelsey and Simon.  It was so fun to catch up (and be out sans kids!)  After ice cream I mentioned to Bryan that it was National Cheeseburger Day so we were off to Cook-Out at 11:30pm (a decision I surprisingly didn't regret.)

On Saturday we watched my brother's soccer game then met up with Kelsey and Lindsay and their families for lunch and a Fun Center.  We had a great time driving go-karts and playing in the arcade.

That night we left the kids home again and went out to dinner and had dessert at Lindsay's parents' house.  It was so, so fun to be back with these great friends.  I was surprised at how easy it was to be together and how much we'd stayed the same even though we're 10 years older.

I came home to this sweet sight- best babysitter ever!

We had to be home for church the next day so we left at 10:30pm and listened to the BYU vs. UCLA game on the way.  We got home a little after 1 and tossed the girls in bed then watched the sad ending of the game.  Sunday was quite a day for us- we both had a few church responsibilities and were running on very little sleep but we made it and ALL took a glorious 2 hour nap that afternoon.  Such a fun weekend.


Six on Saturday

ONE | This week has been extra busy to the tune of "Primary Program Prep" and "Rachel decided to empty out and paint the playroom" but we've still managed to squeeze in some fun.  

TWO |  I've noticed that Jilly is seeming extra tired ever since preschool started (we're in huge trouble for full day kindergarten next year.)  I've been trying to slow down our mornings before preschool so she's not running around all day.  We've had lots of morning playdates, which is a fun distraction for Mattie but not too exhausting for Jilly.

THREE | Sunday evening cookie delivery, dress code: as much pink as possible

FOUR | Bryan wanted to watch all the original Star Wars so we requested them from the library.  They all came together in a case so we have one week til they're all due back.  We're 2 down, 1 to go and I'm kind of reeling that Darth Vader doesn't actually say "Luke, I am your father."  

FIVE | Halloween is here!  It's never been my favorite holiday, but I must admit that I'm liking it a little more every year.  My girls have to see and try on all the costumes at all the stores.  They're still debating costume options and I'm reallyreallyreally hoping I can convince them to choose something from our extensive collection of dress-up.

SIX | Mattie caught a nasty cold this week so we mostly stayed home Tuesday and Wednesday, but it was the first day of Fall and we desperately needed some holiday cheer so we ran out to get some mums.  Mattie told me the whole way "I just so tired mommy" so I kind of felt like the worst mom ever but once we came home and she got a nice long nap Mattie was doing much better and our porch now makes me so happy.


friday five

My five favorite moments from this week 

1. On Saturday I went to back-to-back baby showers so Bryan and the girls got to hang together for the morning.  At Home Depot Bryan and Jilly noticed that Mattie was grabbing her diaper but they couldn't figure out why til whoops! her diaper fell right off and landed in the middle of the aisle while Mattie cried out "my bum bum, my bum bum!"  I think this story is terribly funny, especially when told by Jilly.  I'm always a little jealous of the adventures they have while I'm gone.

2. Mattie is notoriously unfriendly and sometimes quite grouchy to other people.  Her nursery teachers are an adorable older Filipino couple who are the nicest people on this planet.  It's taken her a looooong time to love nursery, but she has finally reached the point where she begs to go to "primary" (as she calls it) as soon as we walk through the doors.  Last Sunday we were walking into church and her teacher was coming from the other direction.  Mattie saw him, then shocked me by running to give him a big hug.  He picked her up and carried her right into church as my heart melted.  Oh, how I love sweet people who take such good care of my girls. 


3. It's a great time to be a BYU fan.  Last Saturday's game started at 10:30pm and I was doubtful that I'd be able to stay up for the whole thing.  I did sleep for most of the second quarter (which conveniently was the worst part of the game) but I woke up by half time and was so thrilled not to miss another exciting Cougar win.  

4.  September in Maryland can't be beat (except maybe by October.)  The weather has been absolutely perfect this week and we've taken full advantage.  Our neighbors gave us a playhouse their kids outgrew so we've spent lots of happy hours in the backyard playing "family" (Jilly's favorite game.)  And one day when we had Elsie and Bennett over all four of them ate lunch in the very crowded playhouse.  

5.  After a cancellation for heat last week and a day off Monday for Rosh Hashanah Jilly finally had her first day at school by herself on Wednesday.  She excitedly ran right in the door without looking back while Mattie bawled her eyes out, not because she missed her sister, but because "I want to go in there!"  After picking Jilly up I asked her how it was and she said, "We had teddy grahams for snack!"  So I'd say preschool is a success.


Little girls, little girls

Night and day I eat, sleep, and breathe them

Jilly: What are we doing tomorrow?
Rachel: Going on a hike
Jilly: So... what am I going to wear tomorrow?
Bryan: Oh brother

The girls were playing house underneath the dining room table and both bonked their heads within a few seconds of each other.
Mattie, through hysterical tears: we both crying, we both crying
Rachel: what else is new?

Nearly 90% of our conversations are about birthdays- birthday party plans and birthday cakes and birthday wish lists.  The other day Jilly realized something
J: Mom, you're going to have to remember what I want for my birthday because I won't be able to remind you, okay?
R: Okay, I got it
Clearly she didn't trust me because now she quizzes me on her wish list.

Their favorite game of late is to yell "Crocadile!!!" and run away from an imaginary predator.  Happily I've convinced them that our couch is a boat that will keep us safe so I can stay on my lazy perch.  Both girls have nightmares about crocodiles, and they've finally gotten to me; I had a crocodile dream of my own the other night.

After nearly 2 months in this house we finally bought Mattie a new dresser (her clothes had been in a box in her room.)  We loaded the dresser in the car then started buckling the girls in their seats when Mattie burst into tears.
Mattie: Where's my dresser?  Where's my dresser?
And that's when I realized she thought dresser meant a new dress.

We finally have a good system in the mornings.  Jilly wakes up who-knows-how-early but she's good about making a little bed for herself in my room or quietly looking at books for a while (one morning I had Design Mom: How to live with Kids on my nightstand and she looked through the whole book before I woke up and was excited to show me her favorite pages.)  Bryan and Mattie take turns waking up first, usually sometime between 6:30 and 7.  Mattie will often call to me from her crib and the other day I woke up to a little voice calling "Rachel, Rachel, I'm awake Rachel!"



After much anticipation, Jilly finally started preschool this week.  There was supposed to be a parents' meeting Tuesday night but all schools were closed early because of the high heat and humidity (some schools don't have A/C.)  So, no parents meeting.  On Wednesday we were supposed to have a modified class that was only an hour and parents were invited, but again, schools were closed early and since Jilly's class is in the afternoon that meant it was canceled again.  I was anticipating this since it was just as hot and humid on Wednesday as Tuesday, but we still had gotten ready and taken pictures just in case she did get to go to preschool.  Jilly was bummed, but took it well.  

So today (Friday) we finally got to go to preschool!  Parents were invited and I loved getting to see Jilly's amazing teachers, classroom, and all the cute kids in her class.  The classroom has quite an impressive collection of dress-up and of course that's all Jilly can talk about.  I'm really excited for this year and all the great things it will bring.  

Mattie played at a friend's house and when we picked her up she ran to me for a hug while Jilly was running to Mattie for a hug so of course they collided and both ended up in confusion and tears.  I was laughing so hard.  We stopped for a celebratory treat from Sonic and everyone ended up happy.  Happy first day of preschool sweet Jilly!

^ Yesterday at JoAnns we found this cute fabric and Jilly convinced me to make a little skirt and bow for her.  I wish my clothes were as cute and easy to make! 


Labor Day Weekend

I love Labor Day weekend because we often don't plan a whole lot and just see what happens and usually some great things happen.  This past Labor Day was no exception.  On Saturday morning Bryan and I took turns going for runs and did some projects around the house then in the afternoon we met up with my family at Katie and Neal's house.  We had dinner and watched the BYU game together.  It was so, so, so exciting; I'm really glad we were all together.  And my favorite part of all was when the BYU player hugged the ref who called the final touchdown.  

Sunday was busy with church, naps, and having a friend over for dinner.  Then on Monday morning we went on a little hike to Kilgore Falls.  And when I say little I mean Mattie walked pretty much the whole thing, albeit at a v e r y s l o w pace.  But we made it, and enjoyed playing in the cold water and eating our snacks.

During Mattie's nap I took Jilly to Old Navy.  I got her some cute new dresses for school (which she later said was the best part of the whole day.)  All clearance items were an additional 30% off so we came home with a few steals. 

On our way back from shopping some friends called to invite us to play on their slip n slide.  We picked up Bryan and Mattie and went to play.  It's always so much more fun when dads are around.

To finish off the night we had a little back to school feast.  I had lots of plans and decorating ideas that didn't all happen, but we did have flowers and use our fancy china and, because we're so original, we reminded the girls to "have courage and be kind."  Bryan gave Jilly a father's blessing and it was off to bed to start our first ever week of (pre)school.


Seven picture books we loved this summer

This summer Jilly and I took on Janssen's list of 100 Picture Books to Read.  I turned the list into a chart with boxes we could color as we read each book and it was a huge summer success.  And since there's nothing like a basket full of library books to make a new house feel like home we made sure to stock up on loads of other books all summer long.

Some of these are from Janssen's list and some are books we found on our own, but they are all new favorites of ours.  

Chalk by Bill Thomson - This is a fun wordless picture book about an adventurous afternoon when some kids find a bag of chalk.  My girls asked to read this over and over and over, especially when Bryan was reading because he did the best sound effects.

The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale - As one of her summer reading prizes Jilly could get a free book at Barnes and Noble and this is what she chose.  I hadn't heard anything about The Princess in Black but I've loved Shannon Hale's other books so I knew we were in good hands.  This book blew me away.  It's a cute little story about a princess who's pretty in pink but also not afraid to fight monsters.  It's clever and sweet and the perfect length for Jilly's age- it's technically a chapter book but the chapters are super short.  We read the whole book in one afternoon and have re-read it many times since.  Don't tell Jilly, but I've already pre-ordered the next in the series for her birthday.

Moo! by David La Rochelle and Mike Wohnoutka - This book had my girls in stitches, and I thought it was pretty funny too.

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel - This is a classic that I don't remember at all from my childhood and I had never read to my girls, but it quickly became a favorite around here.  And I got pretty good at saying Tikki Tikki Tembo's long name.

Waddle! A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder - The scanimation is cool, but that's not even my girls' favorite part.  They love to follow along and do each animal's action, and there is nothing cuter than little Mattie waddling all around the house.  This book also is the source of Mattie's recent obsession with "cocadiles."

Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox - I'm pretty sure I liked this one better than Jilly the first time we read it.  But she's a sucker for princesses and on the second read she really picked up on the funny rhymes and was giggling along with me.

Polar Bear's Underwear by Tupera Tupera - I was wary of a book about underwear but it turned out to be really, really cute.  This is one of the few of the maaaaany books we checked out this summer that we actually kept for the entire 9 weeks allowed by the library.


friday five

one | We are becoming Friday night regulars at Prigel Creamery.  The ice cream is delicious and the scenery doesn't get much better than this.  

two | Last year we were Baltimore rookies and went apple picking in late September.  It was fun to go when it felt a little more fall-ish, but the real time to go is right now when the Honey Crisp apples are in season.  Jilly made sure to wear a red dress to match the apples, Mattie didn't stop munching the whole morning, and we've all been enjoying the big bag of tasty apples in our fridge.

three | On Saturday evening we went to our first Baltimore Crab Feast.  Each family brought $10 and a side and we all feasted on crabs.  At one point Jilly came to get my phone and brought it back to me full of cute little pictures that she and her friends had taken.  I'm lame and didn't get any pictures of the actual crabs, but I did take a picture of the crabby cookies, of which Mattie ate 3.  It was a perfect night of good friends and good food.  

four | We took our friend Myles with us to the Baltimore Zoo on Tuesday.  He was so excited to see the polar bear, he talked nonstop about it.  It was a super duper hot day and I've been told it's hard to find the polar bear even on a nice day so I was really worried the whole trip would be a bust.  But as we walked up to the polar bear exhibit he was right there.  It was a little Myles miracle.  Also, the map was second only to the polar bear in excitement.  

five | We're s l o w l y getting all set up in our house.  After waiting nearly 6 weeks our couch finally arrived (we ordered online instead of buying in store and saved about $500, so it was worth the wait) and it's the best purchase we've ever made.  A few days later our rug arrived and it's so nice to finally have a comfortable room to relax in.


the story of our house

This is ancient history by now but I wanted to write it all down so I'd remember.  At the end of May we decided to start looking for a house in Maryland.  Previously we had been browsing houses in NC and it was quite depressing to go from looking at houses you can afford in Raleigh to houses you can afford in Baltimore.  But, we were excited to be staying and Bryan's job was going great and we knew we'd find a great home.

May turned into June and we were not finding anything we liked.  We had to be out of our other house by June 30 so we were in a bit of a time crunch and I was getting more stressed by the minute.  On a Friday afternoon I got a call from our realtor Lynn.  She said there was a house that had just come on the market that day and we needed to see it ASAP.  In 15 minutes time I had texted Bryan to meet me there after work and found a friend to watch the girls.  

We walked through the house and I loved it.  It was old and not perfect, but it was closer to Bryan's office, zoned for great schools, was near some of our friends, had a beautiful backyard and a newly renovated kitchen, and we met the darling girls that lived next door.  Lynn told us to think about it and get back to her soon if we wanted to make an offer.  

We were going down to Richmond that weekend so we spent the whole drive discussing the house and studying the listing on my phone.  By the time we got there we had decided to make an offer.  I texted Lynn and she said we'd chat in the morning.  

Saturday was full of fun activities with my family, all along texting and chatting with Lynn, who was amazing and spending her Saturday writing our offer.  I'll never forget sitting in the pavilion at Canterbury Pool while my family watched the girls and going through the offer on my phone to docusign every page.  I spent a lot of time that day feeling grateful to live in 2015 where we can make an offer on a house from a cell phone!

We were excited, but tried to forget about the house because we knew there was an Open House on Sunday and they weren't looking at offers til Sunday night.  Late Sunday afternoon Lynn called and said there were two other offers (boo!)  It was the moment of truth and we had to give it our best offer.  We did, and she said we'd hear back later that night.  I held on tight to my phone the whole drive home and finally when we were about 20 minutes from home we got the call.  They'd accepted another offer. 

I was really really sad.  After all the worrying and wondering about our future these past few weeks I had finally felt good about this house and then it had slipped away.  I texted my family and a couple friends to tell them we didn't get it and went to bed confused and disappointed.

I spent Monday worrying about our future and feeling sad.  I kept flipping through listings and thinking that none of them compared to "our house."  That night we went to a goodbye party for some friends.  I hadn't even realized that Bryan had left to take a phone call, but I was standing in line to get food and Bryan grabbed me and said "we got it!!"  There was a glitch with the other offer so they defaulted to ours.  We were so, so, so excited.  I told my friend Jenni but I could tell there was something funny about her smile.  She tried to hide it but then admitted that she had run into Bryan right after he hung up with Lynn and asked if we'd gotten the house.  He was excited and couldn't lie to her so she found out before me!  I'll also never forget my friend Alli jumping up and down and screaming "you got your house!!"  It was fun to celebrate with our friends.

And now that house is home and we are grateful and happy to be here.