Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Here is just a little peek at what we have been up to this summer!

One of our favorite activities is hosting dinner parties for our closest friends:

Relaxing at our backyard pool is another way to kick back and relax:

Finally, meeting up with some friends for a little female bonding is an essential summer pastime:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guys Bikes

When we decided to start a family, Tony and I had many discussions about how we were going to parent; what we valued and thought was important to us. One of those decisions was to turn off the television. Not forever...we are realists, but for a while.
While she is young, we want to expose Molly to the world; to learn to do things in a more hands-on way. We want to help her find interactive ways to occupy time. I guess our theory is that we laying the groundwork for good habits later on down the line.

At first, turning off the TV wasn't an easy thing. But once we got past the first few weeks we discovered new things to do instead of hitting the power button on the remote. I am proud to say that for Molly, The Wiggles are something she gets when she has been in a car seat for too long. Elmo is just a red, furry guy pictured on her diapers. And Dora? She is just an obnoxious toy that Mom tries to hide as much as possible. (Side note: Is it just me or does Dora shout everything she says? Does the girl ever speak in a normal tone of voice? I must confess that Molly likes the Dora toy quite a bit, but I can’t take all of that yelling!)

I must confess that I recently made an exception for the No TV rule. What for, you ask? Guys Bikes, as Molly refers to it. Le Tour de France for the rest of the world. Le Tour, the only good to come out of a country that offers very little else that is redeemable (okay, I guess some say they make good wine, but I am not a wine drinker).

For 21 glorious days in July, Le Tour de France winds its way through the French countryside. And for several of those days Molly enjoyed her breakfast while watching Guys Bikes. She would point out their “hats” to me and ooh and ahh over their bicycles. She got to witness the beauty of the peloton moving as if it were one living, breathing organism as it sped through villages and hamlets. She cheered breakaways, gasped at crashes and held her breath during sprints. I taught her strategies for climbs, descents and attacks. I explained the responsibly of each team member.

Molly was hooked. Every morning she would wake up and ask, “More guys bikes?” How could I resist. It was such a pleasure sharing one of my passions with my daughter. Will she ever love bicycles as much as I do? Who knows? But it was certainly fun watching her enthusiasm over the event.

Now that the Le Tour is over, we’ll go back to our old routines and turn off the TV once again. Quite honestly I don’t think Molly will miss it. She’d much rather be climbing at the playground or cooking all sorts of wonderful meals with her play food or pushing her babies around in the stroller. Ahhh, when you are two years old, life is good!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Frigid Fourth of July

Okay, it wasn't frigid, but it was pretty darn cold. And rainy. And un-fourth-of-july-like.Yuck.
These photos were taken before the weather changed. T-shirts and shorts...what were we thinking?
In my pre-child life, going to a Fourth of July Parade never entered my mind. Not that I am not patriotic. Hey, I love this country! I am just not a parade person. So what prompted me to watch a parade out in a cold, steady rain? Molly. There was no discussion, no debating, no hemming and hawing. Alright, alright there was a small degree of whining. But I sucked it up, we loaded in the card and set off. It was the Fourth of July and my kid was going to see a parade, gosh darn it!

When it came to the actual parade, I don't remember much of anything except the long line at the only vendor who was selling hot coffee. But that is beside the point. My entire goal was to ensure that Molly was having a good time (that and trying to regain feeling in my fingertips). I think she did.
How does that happen? I live for over forty years focusing mostly on what makes me happy, and then along comes this little person and that all goes out the window. Whatever makes her happy is now the center of my life. Weird.
After starting out on such a soggy note, the rest of the day definitely got better. We were lucky enough to have Tony's family join us for the holiday. Molly's grandmom traveled down to spend the weekend with us. This delighted Molly to no end. She loves having company over, especially when that company makes her the center of attention. Grandmom did not disappoint!
Tony's sister, niece and nephew joined us for the parade and again in the evening for a cookout. The weather broke long enough to throw some shish kabobs and burgers on the grill, and although we still had to eat inside, the weather did start to improve.
Late in the evening, we headed out to see the fireworks, an event that Molly loved. She was fascinated by all of the colors and didn't mind the noise at all. However, she did feel that they were not being polite by being so loud. After each boom, she put her index finger to her lips and gave them a gentle "shhh." Quite adorable in my book!
Although the weather didn't fell summer like, and the rain and cold altered our plans a bit, we managed to make lemonade out of lemons, and I guess that's what it's all about.
Happy Independence Day everyone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One of the Lucky Ones

I am one of the lucky ones. My sister is not only my sister, she's my best friend. We were always close growing up, but as I headed off to college, we forged a deeper friendship. The summer before my freshman year, Michelle and I shared a bedroom. Not because we had to--we each had our own room-but because that's what we wanted. Almost nightly we would stay up and I would grill her about college life. She shared story after story with me and let me in on so much of her life.
As I grew up, I proudly followed in my sister's footsteps. I attended the same college, lived in the same dorm, and joined the same sorority. Once again it was not because I had to--I never felt like I was living in her shadow--but because that is what I wanted. Those college years cemented our friendship and we have been close ever since. I even gave my daughter her name as a middle name.
Now we now live a thousand miles apart and don't get to spend near enough time together. When she called me and said that she wanted to attend a photographer's workshop in my town, I was elated!
My sister has a thriving new business, three kids and about a billion friends. She is one of those burn the candle at both ends kind of people. So when she actually took a week off all alone, I wanted to make sure that the time was all about her (and of course Molly, too).
The three of us went out for lunches, shopped, visited the zoo and explored the local botanic garden. Since Tony was out of town, we even had slumber parties each night in my big king sized bed! Unfortunately we didn't have the endurance to stay up until the wee hours like we did in our younger days, but we did give it our best effort.

Molly loved having Aunt Shel here and would wake up each morning asking for her. Michelle loved spending time with her niece. I enjoyed the fact that Michelle put Molly in her car seat each time we went out. Hey, it's the little things in life matter. That small act was better than gold. Thanks, sis!

My sister is a professional photographer. Not only did she give me a few tips on how to take better pictures but she had a complete photoshoot with Molly. We went back to the botanic gardens and Michelle took tons of pictures. She is quite talented and they all turned out beautifully. She really captured the essence of Molly's spirit. I can't wait to place an order and get them hung in our house. What a special treasure.
Molly and I truly enjoyed every minute of Michelle's visit. And despite having to witness a couple of Miss Molly's tantrums (yes, that cute little face pictured below can scream like nobodies business), I think Michelle had a good time as well.

I love you, Shelfy and can't wait until I can see you again. That goes double for Molly!