Hip Hop April

I will admit that I love Spring.  And the buzz.  And the prep for Easter. Warning: sleep deprivation will occur as a result.

Because regardless if your child is 2 or 47, you know that they swell on your wave of love when they receive an extra special gift.  And that appreciation outweighs every minute of lost sleep.  

Hey, if you can survive a newborn, a few hours of lost sleep is nothing! 
Ah, sewing for Baby Naia late into the night.
April seemed like such a wonderful long month.  Maybe because Easter was so late or because Spring temperatures refused to appear. Regardless, it gave us extra time to play.  April Showers bring May Flowers and the most enormous puddles.

Maddie and Jude are growing leaps and bounds.  They are such a team.

And just look at this mug.

I love the return of extended evenings filled with delayed dinners, moon bouncing (thanks Missy and Pete!), and warm light.

And the sound of one little girl running away with Daddy chasing close behind.

She cracks me up.
I am amazed that Alex can be terrified of the Easter Bunny in the mall-based setting (she prefers to admire him from 30' away). But when she gets to the church event, Alex's defenses dissolve and she conversing with her new BFF.  Yes, she was asked to move along so that others could sit on BR's lap.
Anyone notice the recurring Dorothy outfit?

I appreciate how she can take a moment of washing her hands at the sink and turn it into an adventure. The progression is entertaining, seeing that my child is currently opposed to bath time.

One afternoon I caught her asleep on the couch, appearing to be reading Peter Pan.

But from the other side, she looked more like this.

And Buddy also likes to nap, but sometimes that's dangerous with an alert child.
Don't the potty stickers look nice?

Finally Easter arrived. It was a stunning (dry & sunny) day spent with family and close friends.

The girl loves the dog.  And the dog loves the girl.  And the girl was and is happy. 

On Monday morning, Ben found Buddy belly up with Alex draped across his entire body, giving him an enormous bear hug.  I think Buddy finally trusts her.

After an amazing meal at Mark & Shannon's, Shannon was thoughtful enough to give the children one last egg hunt.

For Nate, it was a virgin experience and ultimately less about the thrill of the hunt.

He's darn cute. But then again, so is she.


True to Myself

life has come a long way since yesterday I say
and its not the same old thing over again I say
just do what you feel and don't you fool yourself I say
cause I can't make you happy unless I am I say I say I

got to be true to myself got to be true to myself...

day in day out I've asked many questions I say
only to find the truth it never changes I say
if you don't deal with it it keeps killing you a little by little I say
call me selfish if you will my life I alone can live I say I say I

got to be true to myself got to be true to myself…

-"True to Myself" by Ziggy Marley

Don't ask me why, but I've spend a lot of time lately reflecting on those quirky items about myself that truly make me Jen.  Maybe it's a long cold spring that leaves me idle from digging in the dirt.  But random thoughts keep popping into my consciousness telling me "that's something that you love to do" or questioning "why do I enjoy that?"  And finally I'm taking the space and the time to acknowledge at least a handful.

1) I love bounding upstairs 2 steps at a time.  Always have done it. I will be extremely sad when arthritis or age prevent me from doing so.
2) I love sitting on the floor instead of the couch; a trait that drove my mother bananas.
3) I am growing up by growing out of perfectionism.  I like the mellow(er) Jen.  Ultimately I think grad school and surviving the Willis merger beat the old me to the next hemisphere.
4) I finally admitted to myself that I'm artistic.  I knew that I was when I was a dancer, but I'm talking about using some medium to create something beautiful.  
5) I believe in the comment that you cannot love someone else until you love yourself. It's hard, but completely worth the journey.
6) I have a constant need to learn. I live for the challenge of stretching my skills and stretching the definition of who I am.  I bet that you'll see me in culinary school some day. I can just feel it.
7) I love my friends.  They are precious, supportive, loving, funny, deep, creative, & unique.
8) I love my family.  And I am so grateful that my in-laws are amazing, caring people.
9) I underestimated the love that you have for your children.  It's amazing.  A tsunami that reshapes your heart and soul.
10) I am a coffee snob. 
11) I believe in the power of smiling.
12) Getting muddy, jumping in puddles, and making snow angels never gets old.
13) I believe that you're a Christian regardless if you attend church every Sunday or at all. I wish the older people at our church would "get" that concept.
14) I am more than blessed to have a man that loves me for all the good and the bad and the feisty.
15) I deeply enjoy crafting for my friends.  Making unique gifts (and losing sleep as a result) is an outpouring of my love and appreciation.
16) I love to dance like nobody is in the room.
17) I hate my feet, but I am forever grateful to them.  I apologize to them daily for enduring 10 years of point shoes, but they have never failed me in any physical endeavor.  Ever.
18) I love gardening.  It's my cocktail.  I find my center,my zen while designing and installing beds, moving perennials, and pruning. 
19) I AM thanks to an amazing mother who gave me a healthy dose of love, structure, & creative freedom.  She is responsible for shaping the core of me. 
20) Tomorrow is always a new day. And another opportunity to love, forgive, share, care, and learn.

So have you ever thought of what unique traits and beliefs that makes you YOU?  Put pen to paper for a real challenge.  If you want, give me at least 5 thoughts about yourself. And remember, be true to yourself.


Springing Forward

It's (almost) Easter.  I'm on the verge of going nuts decorating. Gardening. Crafting. Sewing. Eating mini eggs. Mmmmm…mini eggs.

Peeps.  Gotta love them.  Especially the felt variety.
And the melange of felt eggs hanging from the kitchen window makes me yearn to break open the Paas dye kit every single morning.  

Of course, Alex believes that the Bunny has been stopping by our house to leave those little ditties. 

And these little ditties too.  

The rabbit left a few eggs, new pajamas, a cup, gardening tools, and a special little note just for her.

I realize this is the age (~3) when she will remember snippets of life.  Memories etching daily.  I want to make seasons extra special, grooving moments deep in her mind. 
And satisfying my other baby is not that hard.  Insert one beautiful afternoon with one tennis ball.

My favorite shot.  This boy knows that white man can't jump, but stumpy dogs can.

My raised bed arrived this week and I successfully relocated plants and set up the bed between a napping toddler and waves of strong thunderstorms.  
I was a complete mud-puddle, but loved every moment. Tomorrow: dirt, manure, peat moss, compost, & seeds.  Hopefully the potato bags and potato starts will arrive this week. I am venturing on my virgin harvest with my girl in tow.

Last week, we went with friends to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  It was cold and windy, but stunning. I'm so grateful to have this resource right around the corner.

And Alex and Enzo enjoyed making impressions on t-shirts.  

She chose a turtle.  Enzo, a Rockfish (local stripped bass).

The result? One lovely loved pink turtle.

And I adore their friendship.  It's so simple.

Lastly, Cindy and I attempted to make flower bombs to give this holiday.  It's equal parts worm castings (aka worm pooh) and clay mixed with seeds and a touch of water.  Messy.  Very messy.  But I was in my element - part gardening, part (almost) cooking.

Lollipop, anyone?

And now it's time to get back to springing forward.  Smell ya later.