Wednesday, September 19, 2012

our sarah

everyone, meet sarah.


i've blogged about sarah before.  in terms of family, sarah is my second cousin once removed, and harper and crosby's third cousin.  her grandma and my mom are cousins.  i knew of sarah long ago, hearing stories and tidbits from my mom about that side of the family, but didn't actually meet her until her great-grandma's funeral in 2008.  at that time, sarah was looking forward to starting at u of m nursing school that coming fall, and i was oh-so-very pregnant with harper.  her mom raved about her babysitting skills and sarah shared just how much she loved kids and babies, and so i took note of her phone number and agreed to call her when she moved to our area for school.  sarah first came over when harper was 3 months old, having asked if i would be willing to let her be a subject for a developmental profile test she had to practice administer for a class.  i agreed, and following that visit, sarah started babysitting for us lots.

fast forward to august 2011, and sarah had to go and get a real grown-up job working in a pediatric hospital in ohio on the oncology unit.  this was her dream job.  this girl is an absolute saint.  i hear stories of her days caring for children who have cancer, and i can't imagine how i would handle it.  but as always, sarah is positive, graceful and excited to get to spend time with these kiddos.  she'll be the first to admit that it's difficult at times, but then she'll push that feeling aside to go and toilet paper one of her patient's rooms just for fun.


since sarah moved away, we've kept in touch via e-mails and texts and through our blogs and instagram.  she's visited us a few times when she's come home to see her family, and she also joined us last year at auntie jen and uncle pat's wedding to help us with the girls.  we'd talked many times about us going to visit her in ohio, and decided to make a go of it one of our last weekends of summer after finally coordinating a couple days.

we arrived on a saturday morning to her apartment and to some big news.  the night before, sarah's boyfriend, andrew, had proposed, and she said yes!  he was also waiting for us to arrive, and he so enthusiastically shared the engagement story with me (and the fact that he thought long and hard about not proposing that night because he didn't want it to take over our weekend with sweet).  we'd met andrew before, and we knew they were smitten with each other.  andrew is in med school, also in ohio, and the two have known each other for several years and compliment each other so well.  needless to say, we were ecstatic about the news, and excited to celebrate her engagement with a couple fun days.


harper really only wanted to hang out in sarah's apartment (mainly because of the promise that she and sarah would get a family room campout on the blow up bed), but we convinced her to go to the pool.  we spent the afternoon at an aquatic center, complete with a lazy river and sprinkler park.  afterwards, we went for frozen yogurt and back home to make pizzas.  the girls played with (and secretly fed) sarah's dog, nari, and played with sarah's box-o-toys.  sarah will fully disclose that she still enjoys being a kid, and it's not uncommon for andrew to send her crayons and a canvas to make a craft, or bring over a container of playdoh.  we pajama'd up pretty early, settled in for a movie, and by 9 o'clock, we were all zonked out.


the next morning, andrew came over and we decided to head to the zoo.  it was a scorcher, but we thought we could handle it.  the best part was the new sting ray exhibit, where we were able to touch the rays and feed them.  harper asked to do it, but when the fish were shown to her, she chickened out, leaving the task to andrew and me.  i do not like fish or sea creatures, but i somehow found my brave-girl pants and did it.  heebie jeebies, let me tell you.  we moved along to see a variety of animals until lunch, when the girls were getting restless, so we packed up and headed back to the apartment.

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after crosby's nap, we headed to the park and then for more ice cream.  we played tag, climbed the jungle gyms, and tasted some really unique frozen dessert.
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i'm a sucker for decor, and i swear i could have held this place hostage, taking pictures of my girls in every cute little corner.  it was, as the name tells, splendid.  as was our entire 2 days with sarah.

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this picture is so typical of me lately.  addicted to the dslr camera and the iphone camera, both usually in my hands all the time, taking pictures of everything.  it's a problem, i know it, and michael always reminds me of it.  :)

so, here's a cute little story.  sarah isn't just sarah, she's our sarah.  last year, harper and i were talking about how kids sometimes get sick and have to go to the hospital to get better, i don't even recall why we were talking about it.  but i said to her, "you know, sarah has a job where she gets to take care of sick kids who are in the hospital."  harper looked at me, and i'll never forget it, said, "our sarah?"  and it stuck.  since then, sarah is called "our sarah."

to our sarah,

thank you for hosting a crazy mama and her energetic kiddos the weekend of your engagement.  thank you for sharing your town with us, and allowing the 3 of us and our many bags to invade your home.  thank you for everything fabulous that you are.  we count our lucky stars that we have you in our life.

love, us


Friday, September 14, 2012

slim pickins'

as harper and i wrote out our fall to-do list several weeks ago preparing for the cooler, crisper weather, apple picking and baking a from-scratch apple pie topped our list.  we do this every year, and each year, i accept that summer is ending because i have autumn activities to look forward to.  little did we know that the mild winter we had, with its warmer temperatures and very little rain and snow, would affect the apple crop, leaving very little to be picked on the trees of the farm we have frequented the past couple years.  in fact, very little crop was left on several of the farms around us, so much that they all had to forgo their u-pick this year, and instead ship in apples from a different state so customers could still buy them.

needless to say, i was extremely disappointed.  i just didn't want to erase those items from our fall board.  it's not autumn without apple picking, apple pie and apple cider.  and the apple picking photos are some of my absolute favorite ones of my girls.  i sadly told harper we may not get to pick apples this year.

and then, nana suggested one more place to call, a small farm located just over 30 miles south of us.  their website looked like they still were holding their fall festival, with u-pick apples.  so i called and asked if their crop was affected.  and hallelujah, because of the lake erie winds that continued to water their crop, they.  had.  apples.


(i did a little dance, but maybe just in my head.)


we picked a perfect sunday afternoon to head out and wrangle up some, along with cider and donuts, of course.

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the girls both took turns picking good ones from the trees, with harper filling most of our bushel, and they both chose a perfect one to eat.  crosby was content to sit in the wagon, slowly chomping on hers, refusing to let it go until the bitter end when not much was left but a stem and core.

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i think this year's apple picking adventure was by far my favorite.  from thinking we might not be able to do it, to finding a farm, to getting weather that couldn't have been any better if you requested it.  climbing ladders, climbing trees, reaching for those perfect apples, jumping from tree to tree to pick a few here and a few there, collecting several different varieties all mixed in the bags with each other, taking our sweet ole' time, just enjoying family.


the very best part was the fact that this trip was completely unplanned until 30 minutes before we hopped in the car.  and that has been the best thing about michael finishing his mba.  normally, he would have had to run off to the library or coffee shop to study, and we would have had to squeeze in an apple trip somewhere in the middle of statistics reading and a paper for organizational behavior.  we likely would have all been a bit on edge, trying to enjoy the moment while thinking of everything else we had to juggle.


but not this day.  this day we took our time, soaking up this moment, hard-wiring this memory into long-term storage.  we had nowhere else to be, nothing else we had to do, and no one else we wanted to be with.  and we thoroughly enjoyed it.


cheers to apple pie and applesauce and apple cider.  cheers to fall.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

first day of school

today we went back to school.  i returned for the 4th year to my office and students and a job i truly enjoy.  harper started her second year of preschool, and crosby her second year in the infant/toddler room.  last year in preschool, there were many tears and lots of hand holding and not wanting to let mama go.  this year, just a kiss and a hug and a wave good-bye, and then giggling off to play with her friends.  last year, crosby was just under 6 months, one of the many babes that filled the room.  this year, she toddled in on 2 feet, talking away with the other littles, and getting called harper more times that not.  (i get it.  i was called heather by my middle school language arts teacher so often that she started giving me a piece of candy each time she made the mistake.  i ate a lot of candy those 2 years.)

i love back to school.  new pencils.  new crayons.  a fresh start.  reading, writing, arithmetic.

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thanks to pinterest, i think lots of mamas started off this school year with pictures of their babies standing next to an easel, or holding a chalkboard, or a printed off sign with their grade, the date, their handwritten name, their future dreams.

i am one of those mamas.  and yes, she wants to be a mermaid.  and she can write her name fantastically well at 4 years old.


i see lots of changes in harper from this year to last.  i see pride in her work.  i see more trying.  i see more independence.  i see love and happy.


in crosby, i see love and happy.  i see determination.  i see wonder, and that is my absolute favorite thing in a child.  i continue to strive for it in my own life even now.


i am so thankful and lucky that my girls go to school in the same building that i work in.  i get to peek in on their daily activities, most times without them knowing i'm watching.  they grow and learn, and i get to see it happen.

wishing all of you a happy and healthy school year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

stream of consciousness

i have come to learn, and accept, recently that i have self-diagnosed ADD.  it's hard not to when you're a mom in this fast-paced society.  when catching up with friends, i jump from topic to topic, question to question, and then kick myself when i can't remember what we were just talking about before being interrupted by something one of our kids' needs.  (it is also common practice for me to write down questions or items i know i need or want to talk about with a friend who i am going to see just so nothing gets forgotten.)  when writing out my to-do list, i have to have another list on the side for other thoughts that pop into my head.  when trying to clean up one room, i jump into another and start doing something there.  while trying to make dinner, i'll hop on my phone to read the e-mail that just came in (of which i know because i have a million different sounds for everything on my phone- text, facebook, e-mail, call, voicemail, instagram) and forget momentarily about the noodles boiling on the stove.  it drives michael nuts.  he always tells me to just finish what i'm doing, but it's just so difficult.

so trying to come up with the title of this post, or what to write about, was next to impossible.  me time. weekend update.  a long rambling post.  i decided to just stick with stream of consciousness, because sitting down, i had no idea what would come out in the end.

michael's family fantasy football draft is today, an annual event that he enjoys, and one we've gone to as a couple pre-kids, as a family or him solo.  he was planning to take harper, to play with her cousin mallory who'd be there.  he offered also to take crosby, and mommy guilt kicked in.  part of me wanted to just say it was ok to leave her home.  then my selfish side, which doesn't get tapped into often, spoke up and i agreed to let him take both girls.  i can't tell you the last time i was home alone, completely by myself, just my thoughts and the million things running through my head about what i would and should do with my time.

i probably should be napping, because that is most likely what my body needs, but it also needs to relish this alone time, so unless my eyes start to close on themselves, i'm pushing through the tiredness.  on the eve of the start of a busy school year, i am craving this quiet solitude.  tomorrow will launch a whirlwind of comings and goings.  harper will continue with swimming thursday nights, because our little fish has recently moved up to her 4th level in one year and we cannot bear to lose that momentum, or to give up favorite swim teacher, maggie.  she also just loves swimming.  harper has also said she wants to try dance class, so i signed her up for pre-ballet and jazz combo class monday nights.  we purchased her leotard and shoes last week, we've been practicing her required hair bun, and girl is anxious to let it loose.  and not wanting to focus too much on activities for the older sister, crosby will be in music class with nana thursday mornings, a tradition that started when harper was just 6 months old and went with nana.  i love the benefits that harper seemed to get from weekly music for 3 years, from her confidence in singing, making up her own words to songs, and playing anything as an instrument.  and i look forward to crosby benefiting in some of those ways as well.  besides those activities, the girls will also be in preschool and daycare 4 days a week, and home with nana one day.  i'm back to work full time after a fantastically hot and fun summer off.  michael is working like crazy, but thankfully home every evening, and not spending time studying or being in class.  this is harper's last preschool year before she begins kindergarten next fall.  and that?  well, i'm not talking about that just yet.

so what will i be doing?  i likely won't be answering texts or picking up phone calls, unless it screams emergency.  i have forbidden myself from throwing in a load of laundry, with the exception of harper's bed sheets from her accident at 4:30 in the morning that woke everyone in the house up and then kept us lying awake for the next hour.  i won't be running to the grocery store, even though i am in need of a few ingredients for the cake pops i'm making this week for auntie kelly's wedding shower saturday.  (but i probably will check instagram occasionally, because that is my one true addiction right now.)

i am sitting outside with coffee, freeing my brain from these words and thoughts that are muddling it up.  i hear only birds chirping, a few cars, the hum of the air conditioner, some new favorite tunes on my phone, and my fingers pecking at the keyboard.  i will likely make my way inside soon, to a haven that was cleaned yesterday (michael helped with that, too) and smells of my favorite pumpkin candle scent.  I will likely relish a long, hot shower.  

i'll be thinking of my girls.

my husband doesn't know, but he has given me an amazing gift the last 2 days.  he gave me the most precious me time.  2 spin classes between this and yesterday morning, a huge chunk of time to just be with myself today, and girlfriend time away last night to be with kellie, who as a now mama of 2 with a 4-year-old and an almost 6-week-old, was in major need of girl time.  that included margaritas on the rocks with a salted rim, licorice, cookie dough and chocolate chips, popcorn with lots of salt, the viewing of breaking dawn part 1 with lots of swooning during the edward scenes.  and i am so truly thankful and blessed.

and with that whole mess of randomness, i bid you adieu.  posts to come this week about our first day back to school, and our weekend with our sarah.


want a house update?  we had an accepted offer, made it through inspection and then the buyers backed out.  we were set to close september 10th.  right now, we are in the midst of countering another offer, which we think will likely not go through.  we debate and go back and forth between keeping it up or taking it down and trying again in the spring.  we're fine where we are if that's what is supposed to happen, but we're also itching to get into a new, bigger space.  whatever will be, will be, and i've learned to let go and let whatever happens, happens.  it's tough.  let's hope no one wants a showing today, because i am alone and i may just politely decline.