Monday, June 17, 2013
It was a sweltering hot day. I asked Rosemary if she wanted to go swimming and she responded with enthusiasm. So after Poppy woke up from her nap, I told them, "Let's go get a pool!"
I loaded the kids in the car and we drove a short way to a local hardware store that had the molded foam pools displayed in the window; I was done with the cheap blow-up pools that deflated after one use. I told the cashier we were interested in buying a pool and asked if the larger size would fold to fit in my small car. She didn't personally know, but the sales assistant she called to the front was very clear: No, it would break. "Okay, we'll take the small one!"
Rosemary, Poppy, and I waited outside for the sales assistant to bring our pool to the car. I buckled the kids into their carseats and then required some assistance taking the headrests off the rear seat. The pool took up the entire trunk and went over the back seat as well, but it fit. I closed the trunk and drove home with no rear visibility whatsoever.
When we got home, I turned the hose on to fill the pool while I got the girls into their swimsuits. I had bought Rosemary's suit when it was on sale last season and it's still a bit too big for her, so she has at least one perpetually dropped shoulder strap. Poppy, of course, gets a hand-me-down.
I loaded them up with sunscreen, took them outside, and enjoyed seeing Rosemary's face light up when she jumped in the pool. Poppy took one look at it and her eyes said, "Oh, h*** no."
I tried to lead her to it, "C'mon, baby, it's alright. Look, Rosemary is having fun!"
Instead of playing in the pool, Poppy decided she wanted to climb on everything.
Especially up here.
Okay, Poppy, you're done!!
We tried again the next day.
I started off slowly, first standing myself in the pool while holding Poppy, and then lowering her down into the water.
She liked it!
I didn't bother putting a suit on her because I wasn't sure if she'd even go in the water. When it was apparent that she would be playing the pool, I slapped the swim diaper on her and slathered on the sunscreen.
How do you cool off in the summer heat?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
This doesn't happen often (not often enough, at least), but here I am at Barnes & Noble.... alone.
I am here often enough with the girls for Storytime. We arrive early to make time for potty breaks and play in the toy section. Then we head to the children's book area and listen to the story, sing songs, and color. After that, if both girls are in good spirits and behaving, we go back to play with the trains and blocks again before we drive home for lunch. Not once do I browse at books. My eyes are glued to the girls while we're here. I talk and am social with the other mothers. I am in a bookstore, and I don't look at a single book.
I have had a lifelong affair with books. My parents read to my brother and I when we were young. There was a shelf of books in my room from as early as I can remember. I spent summer vacations with my nose in books, even going so far as to finish the pages in the vocabulary workbooks that my class didn't get to complete during the school year. I loved reading. My Mom always had to tell me to close my book when we were eating dinner together as a family. I didn't understand why I couldn't keep reading when we weren't much of a conversational family in the first place.
While sitting around the stage for Storytime, I do peek at the titles of the books lined up on the shelves surrounding us. Youth Fiction. My favorite store to visit whenever we went to the mall when I was a kid was called "Young Editions." It was a store filled to the brim with youth fiction. My favorite book series still to this day is the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander that I picked up at Young Editions. It was a sad day when the store closed.
I spent most of my high school career in a library. Two different high schools, three different libraries (you have to include the county library, of course). College wasn't too terribly different, come to think of it now: add two more schools and three more libraries to the list. It's no wonder that my first job post college was as a file clerk, never minding the fact that my degree was in graphic design.
Here, in this town, I haven't found a library that I like yet. The one closest to us is small and old, and I haven't spent the time to explore others. It's no wonder that Barnes & Noble is my current refuge for books. Before we had kids, Senpai and I would come here to grab a coffee drink and sit together on a bench by the window to browse through the magazines. I would inevitably leave Senpai on the bench while I explored the stacks, looking for a new Haruki Murakami masterpiece or something similar. Later, when Rosemary was growing in my belly, I would pick up parenting books.
It's a shame now that I don't even look at the books most times I'm here. Sometimes Senpai joins us, and he and I will trade off watching the girls while the other finds reading material. He'll go off to the magazine racks, and when he comes back, I make a quick trip to the parenting books. I can peek through those quick enough to see if there's anything that calls to me. But here I am tonight, alone with my thoughts and all of the time in the world to explore. So if you'll excuse me... I've got some new fiction to discover.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Sometimes, a mom's just gotta drink.
Once upon a time (2009, actually), Senpai and I went on our honeymoon in Waikiki, Hawaii. We had been married for two years already and thought we should get the honeymoon out of the way before, you know, having kids.
On our last night in paradise, we walked along the beach until we stumbled into Duke's Waikiki bar. We sat outside on the patio and listened to a Jack Johnson lookalike while we sipped delicious cocktails, one of which was called "Second Captain." We fell in love.
When we returned to the Midwest, I scoured the internet in search of the recipe but couldn't find it. I made a few failed attempts based on the description I remembered from the menu and then gave up.
Fast forward to this Memorial Day weekend. Senpai and I had a romantic evening to celebrate our 6 year anniversary... and then the rest of the weekend fell to pieces. By Monday night I was running out to the liquor store, determined to enjoy a refreshing drink that might turn our frazzled moods around. I found this "I'm Bananas Over You" cream liquor and knew it was the missing ingredient to our elusive drink. I raced home, got the blender going, and then sat down to taste paradise once again. When I gave Senpai a sip, he said it was the closest he's been to Hawaii in a long time.
I know exactly how long.
Banana Cream Liquor
1. Blend raspberries. You may need to add a little water to process them. Pour into a separate container and set aside.
2. In a clean blender, combine 1 banana, 1 shot banana cream liquor, 1 shot Captain Morgan, a splash of passion juice (Dole Paradise Blend works well), and 1 cup of ice. Blend thoroughly.
3. Line the bottom of a hurricane glass with the raspberry puree (you won't use all of the puree... save the rest for another glass). Fill the remainder of the glass with the banana mixture. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge.
Makes 1 drink.
Sadly enough, "Second Captain" is no longer on Duke's menu. All the more reason to enjoy it at home.
Just close your eyes, put your feet up, and imagine that gentle Hawaiian breeze.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
The girls are starting to play together.
Poppy is always interested in whatever Rosemary is doing. Rosemary tries not to be annoyed about it, but you just know she so totally is.
They do well playing side by side until Poppy knocks over Rosemary's block tower.
R is all about her block towers.
They both love the swings.
And here they are providing some after-dinner entertainment. (warning: turn down your volume)
Looking forward to seeing their relationship continue to develop.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Poppy's birthday was on a Friday. In lieu of a party, we pretty much celebrated the entire weekend.
On Friday, we visited the hospital where she was born to deliver gifts to the NICU.
On Saturday, we ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and Poppy tasted her first cupcake.
On Sunday, we did gifts and another round of cupcakes.
Monday capped the weekend off with Poppy's one-year well visit checkup.
She's one year old now, but she's still my baby.
I love both of my babies to pieces.
Friday, May 10, 2013
In celebration of Poppy's first birthday, we went back to the NICU today to deliver gifts. We had done it before. I bought some preemie outfits and put them in a gift bag with this photo montage:
I dropped Rosemary off at daycare this morning and then Poppy and I took the long drive to St. Louis to meet Daddy up for lunch. After lunch, Daddy had to go back to work, but Poppy and I continued further into the city until we reached the hospital where both she and Rosemary were born.
The sense of deja vu that accompanies these visits always gives me the chills. Memories just washed over me: finding a spot in the parking garage ("I made it back to my car in the parking garage, sent Senpai a text asking him to take care of dinner, and then.... I dropped my chair back and took a nap."), using the elevator ("We laughed it off when the elevator took us to the basement, and then the sub-basement, but no one laughed when it stopped and the doors didn't open."), waiting in front of the NICU doors. Those memories seem like a lifetime ago... until I'm back there and it all comes rushing back. There were some changes, too. The bridge from the garage to the hospital that was under construction last year is completed. The roundabout to the back entrance is completed. With these projects done, the garage is metered again and no longer free (boo....). A new project that I hadn't seen started before is a beautiful waterscape descending from the front entrance to the back. I hope I get a chance to see that when it's done.
Inside the building, the hallways were blocked off by new nurse stations and locked doors. I told the lady at the first station that I had gifts for the NICU, and she pushed the button to open the automatic doors. I walked a bit and avoided the next station by turning right to arrive at the NICU doors. I picked up the phone and told the receptionist that I had gifts to deliver. The doors swung open.
This part lasted for only a moment. The receptionist was new, not someone who recognized us, so there were no happy greetings and no calling of free nurses to the front for a visit. I just told the guy, "It's this baby's birthday today. She was born here and stayed in the NICU, so we're celebrating her birthday by bringing preemie outfits for you." I handed him the bag and then walked out.
It was all rather anti-climactic.
I decided to go to the cafeteria to see if they had any chocolate pudding for me to indulge in (it was my favorite lunch treat; I made quite a few facebook posts about it). I was happy to see plenty of dark pudding cups lined up in the cold case, but then I realized I couldn't afford one, haha. I had always eaten with a nursing mother voucher before! I was full from our lunch out with Senpai anyway, so it was probably for the best that I didn't further stuff myself with unnecessary treats.
Not sure what to do next, I thought Poppy and I might go to the picnic tables outside where I used to eat. As we worked our way out of the cafeteria, I was thrilled to run into the lactation consultant who-- out of a group of three-- was the one who worked with us the most. It was a very serendipitous encounter.
The LC, Becki, was so thrilled to see us. She remembered Poppy's name and even recalled some details of her NICU stay, "She was one of those babies who did so well and then just conked out. Do you remember that? Around 36 weeks." Yes, I remember now. Becki loved hearing that Poppy breastfeeds so well, and further delighted in the fact that Poppy refuses to take bottles, "It's because you worked so hard at it. You did that." I did what I had to do. Everything that went wrong with Rosemary, I did the opposite for Poppy. I wish I had known better when it was Rosemary's turn, but there is nothing to be done about that now. It still makes me sad, though.
Becki took our picture to show to the other LC's and then we said our goodbyes. Poppy and I continued out to the courtyard.
We didn't stay outside for too long as the weather was cold and dreary. Making our way back through the cafeteria, we had another chance encounter with one of Poppy's NICU nurses, Kim.
After that, I let Poppy wander wherever she wanted to go.
The seats in front of the elevators...
and the stairs.
Poppy received many complements from passersby: She looks like Strawberry Shortcake! She's such a doll. Does she know how cute she is? They're all true.
We ended our visit with a walk through the gift shop. I bought Poppy a stuffed animal for a birthday gift, and I bought myself a bottled frappuccino. I didn't get my chocolate pudding, but no day at the hospital would have been complete without a vanilla frappuccino. I bought the place out back in the day! Overall, it was a lovely visit. I'm very glad we did this.