Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prom pics on a rainy day

I don't know how you guys like to spend your prematurely rainy/snowy/slushy/craptastic days, but around these parts, we play dress-up in old prom dresses and then catwalk up and down the hallway. That's just how we roll.

This one is from 10th grade. It's always been my favorite

This one is from 11th grade. Hannah likes that it looks like Belle's from Beauty and the Beast.  Unfortunately, all of the pics in this dress are blurry...but I had to include at least one anyway.

I got rid of my 12th grade dress pretty quickly because it was super, duper small.  My friends and I had a pension for spending hours and hours each night drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at West Winds, a diner in the west end of Hagerstown.  We migrated there when our shifts at Bob Evans ended each night...that's right. Bob Evans. Totally gross.  Anyway, I don't think I was eating much back then because I was an absurdly small size 3 when prom rolled around.  I knew I'd never fit into that dress again so I sold it in a yard sale a year later. Not that I intended to ever again wear the ones I could fit into...

Anyway, I don't know why I held on to the others at first, but a few years ago Amy told me she was saving all her party dresses so her future kids could play dress up in them because she used to love dressing up in her aunt's old dresses. That's the best reason I ever heard of to keep old, dated, ridiculous dresses, so now that's why I'm holding on to them.  And today, to celebrate the premature winter weather, we had a premature prom dress, dress-up party. Take that crappy weather!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hannah's first trip to an art museum

I've been meaning to take Hannah to one of the various kid-specific activities offered at the various art museums in Baltimore and finally got around to doing so on Saturday morning.  We took Hannah to the Walters Art Museum to participate in the Free Family Festival of Discovery.  I didn't realize that they have a whole floor devoted to kids with a play house, loads of blocks and puzzles, puppets, a reading area, and two studios.  Hannah loved all the toys, especially the house and would have been content to just sit and play with the toys for the entire time, but we pulled her into the studios to try out the projects.

The spiro-string art was totally lost on her, even after I got the whole thing started and left her with the fun part. She exited that studio almost as quickly as she entered.  She liked the geodesic domes project much better. It involved packing peanuts, glue dots, crinkly green stuff, and little wooden sticks. The idea is to build a dome, but Hannah had a great time just sticking stuff together.  I didn't bring the camera with us, but I took a phone pic:

At 11:00 we found seats in the theater to listen to Rhythm and Rhymes for Wise Young Minds by Jali-D, a drummer.  Personally, I loved it. I think he's fantastic and would have like to have seen the whole show, but Hannah grew bored after about 20 minutes and said "leave now." So we left.  It's just as well since I still wanted to see what was happening in the rest of the museum and we were creeping up on lunch time by this time.  We skipped most of the other art projects choosing instead to just look at all the sculptures (Hannah's favorite), but we did end up doing a hide-and-seek activity because that was the only way to get this really cool brain hat that Hannah wanted.  She's wearing it in the pic below, but you can't see it very well because of the glare...And that's a big brain we're standing in front of.  Hannah colored on a sticky note and then stuck it to the brain. I'm not sure what the point of that activity was...Probably would have been lost on a 2-year-old anyway.

I now know that the Walters has drop-in art activities for families every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00-3:00 so hopefully we'll make it there on a more regular basis.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday to Clay!

Meal times take no less than an hour at our house, mostly because Hannah isn't much interested in eating and does so only while distracted with her doll house or some other toy. I indulge her, not so much because I worry about her starving, but because I know that if she doesn't eat well at meal times, she insists on eating at less opportune times, like when she's supposed to be sleeping.

Anyway, we were scheduled to spend Friday, the day after Clay's 2nd birthday, with Clay and Uncle Chip and Grammy in Hagerstown, so I did my best to speed up the typical hour-long breakfast process.  I was thwarted from the get go though because Hannah insisted I take pics of her posing with Lila before she eat anything.

We made it out of the house eventually and got to Chip's shortly after 10 armed with birthday presents.  We spent the better part of the previous morning at our local toy store, me looking for just the right gift while Hannah tried on tutus, snuggled all the babies and stuffed animals, and pushed the giant wooden train around it's giant wooden train track. We emerged with some maracas and this Kidoozie microphone because Chip said that Clay loves microphones and the one attached to his kiddie keyboard is broken.  This one is cool because you can plug an iPod into it and sing along to your favorite songs, but I'm cringing now because I just searched for it on Amazon so I could link it, and the reviews are terrible....Well, he had fun with it that day, and with any luck, his microphone will last longer than those owned by the reviewers.

We spied cows out the back window then and got the kiddies bundled up for some outside play. 

Hannah climbed up on Clay's bike while my bike was turned and fortunately didn't topple it in the time it took me to turn around and resume protective mom duties.

Then she found a chair and pulled it up to the fence to watch the cows.  Better than TV!!

We went to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market for lunch and let the kiddos chow down on fried chicken and potato wedges (and Hannah, an avid broccoli lover, gobbled up the broccoli I had packed for her).

After lunch we headed back to Chip's and spent the rest of the afternoon looking through my grandmother's salt and pepper collection which she left to me in her will.  There were four boxes of shakers, some of which were reeeeaallly cool!  Grandma died when I was still in college, but the shakers were MIA for a while and just turned up again recently so that's why we are just now getting to look at them. Everyone in the family picked out a set to keep, even Hannah.  She picked out a kangaroo set: a mama kangaroo pepper shaker with a baby kangaroo salt shaker that popped in and out of the pouch.  Super cute.

Happy birthday Clay!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eric's first marathon!

After16 weeks of serious training, Eric ran his very first marathon on Saturday morning.  His only goal was finishing, but somewhere in the back of his head, he was also hoping to do it in less than 4 hours, and he did! he made it in 3 hours and 53 minutes.  I snapped this pic of him right before he left at 6:30 a.m. with the intent of posting it to Facebook with a good luck mantra of sorts, but my morning as a marathon runner's groupie ended up being way crazier than I expected. There's a learning curve there....I'll do better next year.

After seeing Eric off, Hannah and I got started on our morning routine.  The race started at 8:00 a.m. and mile 3 was the zoo so the goal was to head there first to cheer, then try to make it to a few other locations.  My dad and Sondra showed up by 7:30 and helped me get Hannah ready and out the door by 8:00. We made it to the entrance of the park by about 8:20.  Eric runs about an 8 minute mile so we were cutting it close, but we should have still made it...We never saw him though.

When the crowd of runners thinned out to walkers, we booked it back to the house to print out the map and plan our next stop. I'd have done all this sooner, but it was a busy week and we had to drive to Annapolis on Friday night to buy a new car (a different post altogether) so there was no time for me to plan.

The thing with the marathon is that it's 26 miles up and down and all around the city so if you want to get anywhere during the marathon, you have to drive all the way around the route.  Luckily, we're at the northern border of it so we can at least get out and get around.

We decided to drive all the way to the southeast corner of the race to cheer him on from Patterson Park and then try to make it back to 33rd Street for one final cheer, but on the way to Patterson Park, we drove by the Lake Montebello aid station and decided that was a better place to be since we weren't sure we'd make it to Patterson Park in time anyway, and I didn't want to miss him again.  Lake Montebello was mile 20 so if we missed him there, there'd have been no room for redemption.

We had close to an hour before we saw him so we took a few pics while we were waiting. A note on these pics: I was fiddling with the white balance that morning and then never changed it back to automatic and also never used the playback feature to look at the pics as I was taking them so they are all turned out very blue. Every last one of them.  There's no editing out that much blue so I just made them black and white.

A lot of runners passed while we were waiting, and I was starting to worry that we'd missed him again, but in a crowd of 22,000 people, we finally found him!

After waving him off, we hightailed it down to Camden Yards in the hopes of watching him cross the finish line. Nope, that didn't happen. No clue where the finish line even is.  It was pure madness down there.  Luckily Eric borrowed random people's phones to call me and find me in the crowd. He had to do this twice because I was so frazzled, that I wasn't clear on where we were meeting after the first call in spite of the fact that I was the one who said where to go.

Anyway, we finally found him and got to congratulate him!! Woohooo! Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to bring his drink and the marathon cookies I made him...I was not a good groupie, but I'll be ready for next year!
Yay Eric!!!! Congratulations on your first marathon!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kids Fitness Fusion

I enrolled Hannah in a new class called Kids Fitness Fusion.  It's a drop-off class (her first drop-off!) for kids ages 2-4 at my gym and is held at pretty much the same time as my favorite pilates/barre class on Wednesdays (so we're always at the gym then anyway).  I don't know exactly what happens in that class since it's drop-off, but the first time I dropped her off I saw a room full of balls, a sliding board, and a basketball net...After her class, they took her to the kids room to wait for me to finish my class.  Here's how I found her:

I don't think I've ever seen her so crashed out. I asked her if she had fun but she ignored me, and when I asked if she was ready to go, she shook her head and said, "no, stay here."

When I went to get her this week she was sitting at the little table eagerly shoving the kids room-provided Goldfish into her mouth.

She still isn't telling me what she does in class, but she at least answers "yes" when I ask if she had fun.  I think the fun has something to do with a little boy named Ian who I met on Friday at the pool. His mom swims when I do, and on Friday, she brought Ian to the kids pool after her workout just like I do with Hannah.  As soon as he showed up, Hannah started yelling, "there's Ian! there's Ian!"  I swam her over and asked the mom if her kid's name was Ian. Yup. It's so weird to think that Hannah has friends I don't know...but I guess that's what the kids room is good for! There were a few occasions last winter where women in the locker room approached me to ask if I was Hannah's mom and tell me that Hannah plays with their kid. One mom told me that her daughter was having a hard time adjusting to the kids room and would cry when the mom tried to leave, then Hannah would bring her over a baby doll to try to comfort her. Of course I love hearing stories like that! But it catches me off guard because I don't really hang around the kids room much before or after dropping her off so I don't see her playing with the other kids and have no idea who they are.  Anyway, Ian seems sweet, and I'm glad Hannah is socializing and making friends and having fun in the kids room and in her new class.

P.S. Sorry for the poor picture quality; I'm not in the habit of carrying my camera to the gym so I was left at the mercy of my phone.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mama's first night away and Hannah's first stroller nap

Whoever said there's a first time for everything might have been right. Hannah fell asleep in her stroller yesterday in broad daylight, in public, at a bustling event in DC.  For the first time ever, I was one of those privileged moms pushing around a sleeping child while enjoying an afternoon out of the house.  I never thought the day would come!

How we all ended up back in DC again for the second weekend in a row is kind of a funny story. I took the train in alone on Saturday morning for a much-needed girl weekend and my first ever night away from Hannah! Amy and I trekked around DC on Saturday, got facials, and then went out to dinner in her neighborhood at this awesome Greek tapas-style restaurant. I enjoyed my first dirty gin martini in about 3 years and loved every drop of then I made the unfortunate decision to have two more.

Being the lightweight that I am, I had quite the hangover come 5:00 a.m. and remembered why I never returned to drinking after Hannah's birth....It was a fun night, but I don't see me doing that again for a looooonnnnng time.

The worst part is that in my silly stupor, Amy found out that the next day was Taste of DC weekend and that Shannon, Demetrios, and Atticus were planning to attend, so I thought it would be a fun idea to invite my family to partake in the second day of my girl weekend.  I drunk dialed Eric, and he said he'd start gathering up stuff immediately.  When I woke up with a debilitating headache at 5:00 a.m. I texted him to call it off so I could spend the day in bed and then return home after I'd recovered.  When he still hadn't texted back by 8:00, I called his phone and it went straight to voicemail.  His phone battery died.  I called the house phone and caught him as he was walking out the door.  Too late to call it off.

Consequences people.  Three martinis is too many, and drunk dialing is never a good idea.

The day was mostly painful but there were a few moments of bearability that coincided with the Taste event, and Hannah sleeping in the stroller was just plain awesome given my state.

All things considered, it was a great first weekend away in spite of the fact that I didn't get anywhere near as much sleep and rest as I'd planned on getting so I guess that means I'll just have to do it again really soon, right Eric????

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hannah takes the train to DC to visit Amy and go to the Smithsonian

We made it to DC to visit Amy on what might have been the last nice day of the year.  Friday started out sunny and low 70s--perfect!! By the end of the day, clouds had commandeered the sky, and the wind was picking up. It's been cold and cloudy and depressingly fall-ish ever since, and as a result, we have spent the entire weekend on the couch or in bed. I don't think DC was that exhausting, but having it coincide with the changing of the seasons really did a number on us, particularly me.

We managed to make it to Penn Station in time to catch the 9:05 commuter train to Union Station where we found Amy sipping a smoothie and staring blankly at a wall of mugs from outside a tourist store.  For some reason she sensed people, but instead of thinking it was us, she assumed it was some strange family so she kept her gaze fixed on the mugs until Hannah was close enough to grab her legs, and she finally had to look at us.  She jumped a few feet up and then smiled in relief.

After hugs and a pit stop, we hopped on the metro and rode it to the National Mall.  Of course, we couldn't walk through without snapping some touristy pics of Hannah and Amy in front of the Washington Monument...

...and another in front of the Capital Building.

Then we set off in the direction of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Amy had been wanting to take Hannah to a Smithsonian for a long time and decided on the History one because Hannah has been very in to dinosaurs lately.  All week we'd been telling Hannah the plan so that when she woke up on Friday morning, she kept saying, "See Amy. See dinosaurs.  So excited!"

An elephant in the main lobby started the visit off right for Hannah.

Amy was worried that Hannah would either be overwhelmed at the sheer size of the dinosaurs, or underwhelmed because they're just skeletons. I think she fell somewhere in the middle, not quite grasping the concept of the skeletons, but intrigued regardless. That said, the dinosaurs didn't end up being the highlight of the day, but we'll get to the highlights later.

After lunch Amy took Hannah to the museum gift shop and let her pick out a belated birthday present.  Hannah picked out a soft, blue triceratops, and then her and Amy put on these dinosaur headdresses, and I went all mamarazzi on them.

After the gift shop, Amy remembered that there's a kid's discovery room so we headed there to inspect sea shells, beetles, toys from around the world, and this alligator (crocodile??).  Hannah kept pushing down its nose and saying "Close mouth!"

Then came the first highlight of the trip: the Butterfly Pavilion. They've got this pavilion set up on the second floor in the insect hall that's full of all kinds of beautiful butterflies that fly around freely. For $6, you can hang out with the butterflies for as long as you want.  Hannah held on to her own ticket, and after letting the person at the door rip the stub, she sought out a butterfly and offered it her ticket.

Shortly after we entered, a lady walked in with the two mesh baskets you see in the pic above each with a few newly emerged butterflies that they released while we were there.  The attendant used a kitchen brush to pick up a butterfly and then handed it to us for closer inspection.

Hannah really wanted to hold a butterfly so I sat her down on the wall and told her that if she sat very still, maybe one would land on her, and one almost did, but it was aiming for her forehead so she flinched and it flew off.

Then this beautiful emerald butterfly landed on my leg, which was not exactly what Hannah was hoping for, but was close enough.

After the butterflies, we took Hannah to see her first movie on the big screen! It was an IMAX 3D movie called Born to be Wild, and it was awesome!!!  When the opening credits started coming at her, Hannah threw her head back against the seat and sat there, mouth agape for a few minutes until she adjusted.  Later, when leaves and trees looked really close to us, Hannah tried to grab them and then held up her stuffed dinosaur to let it munch on the leaves.  Watching Hannah watch the movie was as much fun as watching the movie!

After the movie we hailed a cab and headed back to Amy's apartment to rest.  I'm bummed that I forgot to take pics there....I guess we'll just have to go back!!

Amy lives in a beautiful part of the city right near a giant park with a really fun playground.  After a quick rest, we walked to the playground and after played for about half an hour, before heading back to Union Station to hop aboard the 4:20 train.  The clouds had rolled over while we were at Amy's, and the wind had picked up.  Hannah put on her jacket, and I wished for mine.  Fall snuck up on us, but lucky for us it had waited until the end of our visit.

There were a lot of firsts for Hannah on that trip: first train ride (as a means of transportation and not just as a ride at a museum), first metro ride, first visit to DC, first visit to a Smithsonian, first movie--not to mention it being an IMAX 3D movie--first cab ride.....Big day for the little Banana.