That Silly Virtue

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A blurry and completely unrelated shot of me and Chicken. 

I’m really bad at waiting. Dreadful at it, really. Patience is not a virtue I was born with nor one that I have managed to acquire in my first twenty four years on this planet.

I want to go places right awayI want to know what happens at the end of the book immediately, I want the metro train to arrive the second I step onto the platform. And most of all, I want a complete script of the rest of my life written out in front of me–with a table of contents, numbered pages, and highlighted sections–for the really good and the really bad parts. And you guessed it, I want that right now.

But hey, guess what?! That’s not how the world works. Oh, you already knew that? Hmm, well, I guess I did too, but sometimes I refuse to believe it. Sometimes, I forget that His plan is greater than any plan I come up with. I forget that things will happen as they happen, all I can do is trust what I believe in and keep on living my best life.

Somedays, I wake up in my little studio-ish apartment and think it’s lonely in this bed. I wonder what it’s like to wake up to someone you love and have little babies pitter patter into bed to wake you up.

Occasionally, I think I’m not busy enough. My to do list is short and I have too much free time on my hands. I wonder what it’s like to feel satisfied that not only is your list long, but you accomplished it all.

From time to time, I beat myself up about not exercising enough or being able to run very far. I think it is just pathetic that I can’t consistently run 3 miles–I’m young, this should be easy. 

It is really, unbelievably simple to get caught up in my impatience, my what ifs, my but whens. And so lately, when it happens, I just take a step back and give myself a pep talk.

One day, I will wake up next to someone I love with little babies pitter pattering in to wake us. And I will miss having a huge queen sized bed to myself and the luxury of sleeping in on a Saturday. So I snuggle in deeper and put my favorite movie on Netflix and enjoy my ‘me’ time while I have it.

Far too soon, my to-do list will be twelve miles long again and I’ll miss these hot, long, slow summer days that feel lazy right now–but will sound relaxing in a few weeks.

Eventually, I’ll be back to running 3 miles (and hopefully more) with no trouble at all. And it wasn’t too long ago that the thought of running one lap at the track sent me into tears, so I’m doing pretty darn well.

Patience, you are definitely a virtue, and I’m going to keep working towards you–but I just don’t know if we will ever truly see eye-to-eye.

The Stroller Diaries // 31

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I’ve been with the babies for over a year now, just around 55 weeks. And we have certainly had our fair share of good and bad days. We’ve had days that were just so much fun that I could barely handle it, that I left work smiling and looking forward to going back. And we’ve had days that were so terrible that all three of us cried, I basically ran out the door at 5:45, and I had to have a beer when I got home to relax (I don’t like beer……). But I’m lucky enough to say that recently, the good days have dramatically outnumbered the bad days. In fact, when sitting down to write this post I had to think pretty hard to come up with a bad day to write about. Don’t worry, I remembered one. It’s so funny how our brains work. We had a really hard week two weeks ago. Chicken was getting his molars and they were just wrecking havoc on us. The entire week was bad but Friday, oh man that Friday was the worst. We all cried.

My day looked something like this: running back and forth between one happy baby and one grumpy baby, trying desperately to make sure they were both being taken care of. Giving them a gazillion options at lunch and having to then pick up a gazillion crumbs off the floor. Reading seven thousand books, at least a thousand times each. Walking to the park to find that there was already a huge preschool class there. Attempting to cuddle Chicken while Chickadee just wanted me to play blocks with her. Hard fought naps because we were out of medicine that involved me going shush shush shush over and over again for at least thirty minutes before Chicken’s eyes finally closed. An insane amount of screaming and crying and fighting over everything, all day. It was hard day.

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But you know, that was just what my day looked like. It was their day too, you know. And when I step back and look at the hard days from their perspective, they weren’t that bad. Both Chicken and Chickadee got lots of attention from each other and from me. They got to try a lot of new things at lunch and had the luxury of picking their favorites to eat. Both of them got to hear their favorite books over and over again, learning new words and sounds each time around. They got to feel the fresh air on their faces, touch the leaves with their hands, and laugh and point out all the buses and trucks on the way to the park. They watched in wonder as the big kids played on the playground and weren’t upset at all that we got to take another long walk home. They learned to share, or at least worked on it more, as they played with their toys. They were both cuddle over and over again and Chickadee finally got time to herself during naps while Chicken got to listen to my lovely shushing to help lull him to sleep.

They had a good day. A hard day for sure, teething is no joke, but when I look at it from their end. It was good.

And so I’m trying desperately to remember to shift my perspective more often. To remember that yes, I’ve seen a dump truck a thousand times. But they haven’t. They’ve literally seen and understood what a dump truck was a handful of times. So when the house across the street is under construction, we can absolutely take the time to stand in our stroller seats and watch them unload dirt for five minutes. We’ve got plenty of time, and it just might be the highlight of their day.

This post was inspired by the post on Coffee + Crumbs yesterday morning — one of my favorite new sites! 

DC Adventuring: Eastern Market

Well, as I’ve mentioned over and over again–I’m now an official resident of D.C. proper. Ok, wait, not totally true. But hopefully after a trip to the DMV on Saturday I will actually be official. However, I call D.C. proper home now and I love it.

With my new found access to the area (as long as I don’t mind walking 20 minutes to the metro) I’ve decided I need to explore more areas of the city. Since my move to Arlington last year I’ve explored Arlington throughly, done a nice job taking in Old Town Alexandria, been to Georgetown quite a few times, been out in Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, and as we all know I’m quite familiar with the monuments. But, that’s barely scratching the surface of this city. So, I’m on a mission to explore more of it each weekend or weeknight.

I started my adventures a few weeks ago in Eastern Market! Eastern Market is in Southeast DC, near the Capitol. It has really adorable shops and restaurants as well as an open air market that I went to check out!

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I spent most of my morning there just perusing the shops, actually, I basically stalked this one with paintings of the monuments and tried to justify spending $50 on one of Lincoln. I eventually resisted but I will be buying one before the end of the year. I neeeeeeeed it. I did splurge on some of the best lemonade I’ve ever had and a pack of five cards from Grey Moggie. I was introduced to this shop through the Elise Gets Crafty! podcast and loved getting to see and purchase some of their cards!

I also treated myself to some beautiful flowers from the sweetest older gentlemen, he even wrapped them up in pretty paper for me to carry them home on the metro.

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It was a most excellent way to spend a Saturday morning and it only motivated me further to explore more of DC during the day time hours.

To get myself started, let’s list some more of the places I want to explore (and then share with you!):

U Street Corridor

H Street Corridor (I’ve been to church in this area but never explored around it)

Dupont Circle (during the day)

AdMo (during the day)

Union Market

And more places I can’t think of but will add to this list and I go!

Lets be adventurers!

Things I Love: Instagram

I love Instagram, that is certainly no secret. If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time you’ve heard me mention it before. And if you know me in real life, you know I tend to post almost everyday (and sometimes twice a day). Sometimes, I feel self conscious for “overgramming” and wonder if I’m getting on peoples’ nerves. And then I remember…..I don’t really care. I think people Instagram for all different reasons.

There are the people who want as many likes as possible (see: high schoolers, celebs, serious bloggers). They hashtag #everything #you #can #think #of and post 134971034 times a day and do that whole #followforlike thing that I still don’t really get. And those people, they are annoying. I guess not to one another, but they certainly annoy me.

I Instagram because I like to tell my story. I Instagram to help remember moments. Not whole days, not birthdays or weddings (although those are fun to gram too), no I Instagram so I can remember that one time I took the babies to the zoo and fed them Dippin Dots. Or the time I thought I had a cavity at Christmas and was relieved to find that not only was I cavity free but could eat all the candy canes I wanted.

When I look at a shot of my feed like this, my most recent pictures, I can’t help but to cheese pretty hard. In those twelve shots I’ve got six regular everyday moments with the babies, an ice bucket challenge, two delicious breakfasts, a stunning sunrise, a shout out to friends, and a tribute to my snuggly bed. Twelve things that if I hadn’t documented them, I probably won’t remember in five years, or even in one year.

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I started Instagramming over 132 weeks ago. These are my first twelve pictures. Four selfies, shoe shopping, outfit picking for a first real interview, essay procrastination, and a few other things. And you know what, I remember those days and moments vividly. Not because the day I took Alex to buy Sperry’s was some landmark, groundbreaking day. But because I remember thinking–holy cow, my brother is almost an adult, he needs huge shoes, I should document this. And I’m glad I did.

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I like to think that my “gramming” has improved over time. This shot:

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from right before we moved is immensely better than this shot:

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from right before undergrad graduation. In fact, that second shot makes me cringe a little. The coloring. And the out of focus-ness. And the caption. Oh geeze. Thanks for liking that one, Kate, out of pity I’m sure. But still, I can look at that flower and remember the run that I was on, trying to release some nerves about an important meeting someone I knew was in. And so I’m glad I took it. Would I compose and edit it differently today–oh my goodness you have no idea. But I would never delete it.

In the same vein, I don’t pay much attention to the number of likes I get. Yes, Kate and I get excited when a particularly good picture gets a larger number of likes (for us that means 25+…..unless Bear is in the shot, he ups the like-value). But really, some of my favorites didn’t even get 11 likes.

This shot:

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from playgroup with Kate, her babes, and my babes is one of my favorites. Simply because those days were some of my favorites and now that we don’t get to see them anymore I love love love having that to look back and remember those days by. (Full disclosure: if I could do it again I would shift the camera down to cut out that toy in the top and put all of Kate’s arm into the shot–hindsight, huh?)

I love how Instagram forces me to think creatively. I take a lot of self timer shots nowadays, when I’m with the babes and I want to be in a shot with them, like this:

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Or when I’m by myself like here:

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I like to look around, figure out where the light is, which angle will look best, what can I use to get the shot. I’m not a pro–not even close, some of my recent pictures still suck. But I love seeing the progression and knowing that my pictures are getting better over time.

All this to say, I love Instagram. I love to look back on my pictures and remember where I was this time last year. I have all my pictures printed into Chatbooks so that when Instagram dies (because everything on the Internet eventually dies….right?) I will have hard copies of everything. I have no plans of stopping my overgramming, so, if you’re one of my less than 200 followers and I’m annoying, I promise, I won’t miss you if you decide to leave.

These memories, they are everything.

When the World Makes You Sad — On Not Running

The world has made me really sad lately. From the tragedy and subsequent violence in Ferguson; to the violence in Iraq, Gaza, and Ukraine; to Robin Williams’ death. There are just down right terrible, awful, gut wrenching things happening left and right. If it isn’t a plane crash, it’s a natural disaster. If it isn’t a murder, it’s a rapidly spreading disease. It just feels like there is no safe place, no where to turn for good news. And because of that, I see hoards of people turning away from the news.

I don’t keep up with current events, it is too sad. I never read the paper, nothing good ever happens.

And that makes me even more sad! It makes me want to scream and yell and shout HEY. HEY YOU. HOW DO YOU EVER EXPECT THINGS TO CHANGE?!?! 

How do we drop the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness if we refuse to talk about and acknowledge it? Welcoming it’s victims with open arms?

How do we end the unjust, despicable, and just damn wrong killings of our country’s innocent black men if we claim that we are ‘color blind’ and ‘above race?’ How do we deny that there isn’t a hugely massive issue with parts of our law enforcement?!

How do we empathize with and show compassion towards those in other countries who are suffering at the hands of their own leaders, terrorists, or other countries if we refuse to even acknowledge their struggle? Thousands of miles and vastly different cultures may separate us but the refugees in the mountains of Iraq and the camps in Syria are just as human as we are.

How do we find cures for diseases that threaten entire nations if we aren’t willing to help the ill and learn from their treatments? Why do we condemn good, caring, selfless people who put their lives on the line and were unlucky themselves?

I don’t know. I really don’t know anything when it comes to all of this. But I know that I refuse to bury my head in the sand. I won’t stop reading the articles, watching the news stories, researching as much as I can to wrap my head around all these big massive problems in this enormous world. I’m not running from it.

And I’m begging you not to either, we need each other. We need to support and care about and pray at the very least acknowledge one another’s existence. Please.

………

If you want more info but don’t know where to turn:

Here is the link to the Huffington Post’s Daily Email–super informative, funny, and easy to understand.

Here is a beautifully written piece on the violence in Ferguson.

Here is an article written by one of the nurses helping the American Ebola patients.

Here are pictures and accounts of real people living in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria (and more to come as Brandon takes his UN World Tour).

Here is a woman who writes beautifully about the monster that is depression (her last five or so posts are amazing).

And there are a million more places you can look for information. Just please, take in some information.

 

The Stroller Diaries // 30

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Right now:

Age: 17 months (him), 16 months (her)

Favorite food: ravioli (him), plain pasta noodles (her)

Favorite book: Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (him), Moo, Baa, La La La (her)

Most loved activity: dancing (him), swinging (her)

Tickle spot: inner thighs, belly, underarms, chin (him), collarbone, inner thighs (her)

Preferred snack: goldfish (him), graham crackers (her)

Favorite song: Partition (him), Happy (her)

Can say: Up-ty, ball, Emmmmm-ee, meow, go go (him), nose, daddy, mommy, baaaa (her)

Loves: wheels, books, eating (him), babies, books, dancing (her)

Hates: having his face wiped (him), sharing toys (her)

Cutest thing about them both: everything.

 

Marvelous, Wonderful, Stupendous

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Hello, Monday. How’re you doing? I had an idea for a post today and was planning to schedule it last night but a surprise trip to NC, a drinks date with a handsome stranger, and a serious need for sleep delayed that. So, it’s Monday morning (almost afternoon), the babes are napping (about to wake up), and I’m writing a little hello to you. The above picture is a little selfie I took a couple of weekends ago. You know those days when you have a good, dirty hair day? And those days when you don’t really feel like you need make up except some lipstick for extra sass? And those days when the barista at Starbucks says “Hey! I like your shirt! And lipstick! And headband!” You know, those days when you just feel like yeah, today I rock. That was one of those days.

This morning started out not so hot, Monday was trying to drag us down. But the babies and I said Hey! No way, Monday! You’re not in charge here! And we are kicking it in the butt from here on out.

So, I’ve got cute babies to go shower with kisses, which is the best way to be awoken from a nap, if you ask me. And you’ve got stuff to go do, stop reading this blog and go do some stuff!! And if you’re Mom and you’re reading this–GO WATCH THAT VIDEO I TOLD YOU ABOUT. And wait, the rest of you should watch it too–click here, ladies and gents.

Here’s hoping you have an excellent, stupendous, marvelous Monday!

Fried Brain a.k.a. Was This Week a Joke?!

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A run down of my day yesterday (unedited, too tired to proof read):

Woke up at 7AM, clearly my alarm did not go off. Jump out of bed (not true, look at my phone—STOP PLUGGING YOUR PHONE UP IN YOUR ROOM, EM) and make said bed (duh) before hurrying to get dressed. Pat myself on the back for having made my lunch the night before, make a smoothie and eat some yogurt real quick. Check the Today Show for the weather. Blue skies! Low humidity! No rain! Cooooool deal, still have time to walk to work. Grab my bag and my smoothie, plug in my headphones to listen to my favorite radio show on the way to work, step outside, andddddd it starts raining. COOL WEATHERMAN, COOL. Walk to work in the rain. Arrive to two babies that have been up since before 6AM and are grumpy. Announce that we WILL be taking morning naps. Manage to entertain them until 9:30AM at which point we go straight to our napping corner. Solid hour and a half naps during which I eat my entire lunch because I was starving. Awesome. Great. What am I going to eat later. Cool. COOL. HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SAY COOL. Once the babes awake I decide to do early lunches and hit up the National Building Museum that has some sort of kids playroom. Try to feed them, Stink refuses all food. COOL. Pack up and head to the metro. First half of the metro ride is successful and thankfully uneventful. Arrive at Gallery Place/Chinatown. Take elevator up to mezzanine level, swipe card to get out……..no elevator to the street level. I’m pushing the world’s widest double stroller. Yeah, you guessed it, COOL. Ask the attendant where to go. Down the elevator, across the platform, up the other elevator, out the handicap exit. Truck over there, card doesn’t work, spend 15 minutes trying to get help, finally escape after breaking into a flop sweat at the thought of being trapped underground. Walk to museum…..we missed the 12:15-1:00 play window by five minutes. We now have to kill time until 1:15……….we can do this. Decide to look for Starbucks. Find a fro-yo place instead. I’ll be the cool nanny and this will cool us all off! Spend too much on yogurt only to find out it is tart yogurt. Babies and I all spit it out. Decide to go to the Starbucks after all. OH WAIT. They are only taking cash. No, no, I have no cash. Find a McDonalds and eat a large fry. Go back to the museum to play. Finish playing, take metro home, have to jostle the babes every few minutes to keep them awake. Get home.

NO ONE WANTS TO NAP. WHAT NO IT IS NAP TIME GO TO SLEEP.

5:45 finally arrives, I run out the door to come home and eat Oreos and chips. Feel like poop after eating junk food. Go for a long walk and ran some laps at the park.

All that to say TGIF.

Cool.

Happy Birthday, Granny!!

Today, my lovely grandmother, is turning another year older!

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Above is my grandmother (Rosemary, what a great name is that?!) with her four children. From left to right with have my Aunt Julie (who calls me Emma Lou the most), Aunt Terri, then Granny, my mom, and my Uncle Jeff.

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And here is Granny and Grandpa with some of their grandchildren! From left to right, Cary, Erica, Grace, Grandpa, Grandma, me, and Alex! These pictures were taken four years ago–too long ago! We need more updated family pictures–got it guys?!

My favorite memories with my grandma are from holidays and sleepovers. We have spent every Thanksgiving and every Christmas (with the exception of a handful) at Grandma and Grandpa house. There has been talks of moving holidays before and we always protest greatly. I cherish holidays with my entire family, and they are made all the more special by having them at our grandparents’ house.

We also used to sleepover at our grandparents’ when we were younger and I have very specific memories of Grandma letting Grace and I use the typewriter in the guest bedroom to write wonderful (or so I thought) stories. There are so many memories with Grandma and my brother and cousins that I can’t even pick more to talk about. I have been very blessed to have a tight knit family and we all love having Grandma at the head of it!

Happiest of birthdays, Granny! I’m so blessed to call you mine and I appreciate you more than you know. Thank you for everything you have done for me, I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I’m so sorry I can’t be there this weekend, I promise I’ll give you an extra big hug at Thanksgiving!!!

P.S. Do you like how I didn’t advertise your age? You’re welcome. Love you forever and ever!

 

The Stroller Diaries // 29

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The air is thick, my quick 15 minute walk to work feels more like wadding through a swamp. It certainly doesn’t help that I can’t walk at a normal pace, every walk is like a competition in Olympic Speed Walking (yes, that is real thing). I arrive on Chicken’s steps, dripping with sweat, and let myself in to the sounds of two dogs yapping and a little boy yelping upstairs. Emmy! Emmy! Emmy! is the newest sound I hear when I walk in the door, and by far one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard. He hides bashfully in his mama’s arms as she brings him down the stairs and once he warms up to me, I’m smothering him in kisses and telling him how much I missed him the night before. By the time I leave at the end of each day I feel like all I want is silence, but by the time I arrive back barely 12 hours later I am aching to squeeze my little babies.

Shortly after, Chickadee arrives in her carseat, clutching a bottle of milk in one hand, a shoe in the other. Her face is angry, her brow furrowed, as she is surrounded by Chicken and the dogs. She’s trapped in her seat and shouts No! No! as she frantically waves them off. Once unstrapped, she toddles to me to show me her shoe and begin to ask if we can Go? Go? Go! Go! Chicken chimes in and bangs on the door for extra emphasis.

After their parents leave for the day, I read There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! for the seven hundredth time before asking Where are your shoes?! They both run to the shoe pile, pull out their own, and each bring me one of my sneakers as well. Then one by one they plop into my lap to patiently wait for me to velcro their sandals on. I grab my purse, phone, headphones, keys, water bottle, two snack cups, two sippy cups, crackers, diapers, and wipes and head to the door. It appears as if we have packed enough to last three days, it will barely last an hour.

GO! GO! They shout in unison as I open the door. Chicken steps out confidently, Chickadee, still getting her footing, decides to slide out, face first. A much more dangerous option than simply stepping down would have been. But hey, whatever works. I load up our stroller, carry it down ten steps, all the while repeating Wait for me! Chicken, wait for Emmy. Chickadee! No! Wait for Emmy! And then sprinting back up the steps to grab them both before they attempt them on their own.

Once strapped into their stroller seats, each with a water cup and a snack cup in their hands, I start my favorite podcast and our walk to the park begins. Sometimes there is a Starbucks or a grocery detour, but we always end at our favorite park. Arriving just after 8, we have the place to ourselves. Two swings, a mini play set, a musical game, and a gate surround the entire thing, putting my mind at ease.

We run, swing, dance, slide, and climb for an hour. Sometimes more, sometimes less. These mornings at the park are some of my favorite. I sit on the ground for a solid five minutes and just watch them explore. Soon, someone is trying to eat a rock, someone else is climbing the trash can, and I’m summoned from my seat. But every few minutes I get to sit on my own and just watch them grow.

Before long we’re back in the stroller, heading home. Chicken grunts and twists in his seat until a binky is popped in his mouth. Plug it up! I say. The humidity is swallowing me up again and we’ve got an incredible hill to walk up. More like, crawl up. With a few breaks to pick up binkies that have been tossed out we make it home.

Shoes are taken off, diapers are changed, binkies are reinserted. I take Chickadee downstairs to lay her down for her nap Goodnight, bug. I love you forever, have good sleeps. I sneak upstairs, hoping her cries die down quickly.

Chicken is waiting for me at the top of the stairs, arms in the air. Up tee! translates into up please! I carry him upstairs, lay on the bed, his head on my chest. I begin to hum Hush Little Baby until I feel his breath slow, his little body gets heavier, and his eyes fall shut.

And just like that, it’s quiet. As always I am grateful for the silence and lack of little arms tugging at me while simultaneously missing their giggles and wishing I could squeeze their cheeks.

It’s a funny back and forth world we exist in, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.