Saturday, October 31, 2015

Edith's 1st birthday party

We had Edith's party last Saturday and it was the most perfect day. The weather was in the low 60s and sunny, both kids took well timed naps so they weren't grouch monsters, and it was just a lovely / relatively low key party.

We didn't really have a theme except the colors were pink and gold. We decided to do a chicken nacho bar since that permitted our friends with food allergies / vegetarians options without us having to go all out on alternatives. We bought rotisserie chickens from Costco and shredded them, Jon's mom made rice and beans, and we had tortilla chips, Mexican cheese, lettuce, onions, salsa, black beans, jalapeños, and sour cream. We also got a veggie tray from Costco and my mom brought fruit skewers. It was a pretty easy thing to prep and everyone raved about it!
My mom also made Edith's smash cake. However, being the lady that she is, Edith was completely unwilling to do any actual smashing.
The main cake was from our favorite little bakery and was so cute:
As of now, this is the only picture I have of Edith in her party dress, but I'm hoping to steal some pictures from my dad when he posts them:
It was the perfect day and I am so grateful for everyone who came to celebrate our precious girl.

happy halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

edith: 1 year old

age: 1 year old
stats: 21 lb. 2 oz. (71%), 29.72" tall (71%) and currently has 8 teeth
firsts: birthday, wedding, hotel stay
milestones: working on running and jumping
goings-on: Edith has been really into raw carrots, celery and snap peas, along with any other food item she can get her hands on lately. She has preferred time with me and gets quite upset when I have to leave for work (unless she is distracted by breakfast). Edith is also obsessed with my childhood cabbage patch doll and now enthusiastically says "doll!" if she can't find it. She is usually a really happy and opinionated girl and I can't believe she isn't technically a baby anymore...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

a weekend with Sally

About two weeks ago I got a text message from one of my dearest and oldest friends, Sally.

She lives in Atlanta and got a cheap fare alert for flights to Akron this past weekend and wanted to know if we were free.

Sally hadn't met Edith yet and we always miss her so we said absolutely come! It was perfect because the first time she met Elden was a week before his first birthday when we drove to D.C. and stayed with her family (aka my second family) for a weekend (she and her awesome boyfriend, Sharm, flew back for the visit). 

I took the day off Friday and Elden and I picked her up at the airport in the morning. The visit itself was pretty low key--we mostly hung around the house, took her to a few restaurants and did some shopping. Sally helped so much with Edith's party and the kids loved having her--Elden even asked me if she could lay with him before bed the one night instead of me 😭. On Saturday night once the kids were in bed I took her to the "fancy" grocery store (it has childcare, a cafe with a pizza oven, etc.) and picked up a pizza, wine and appetizers so we could continue to watch The Goldbergs on Hulu and stuff our faces.

This visit did my soul so much good. Sally and I had met at camp the summer of 1999 and instantly hit it off. Since she lived in Virginia we would take turns flying to each other's house during the rest of the year, so usually we would get to see each other three times during the year (camp being one of them). When I was in high school I got to go with her family to Emerald Isle a few summers and those are some petty fond memories. Sally and Jon were conspiring ways to convince me to move to Atlanta (Jon would love to do grad school at Emory's School of Theology) but for now I think we will just have to visit.
Sally, thank you so much for coming, loving our babies so well, and being such a big help for the party! I am so glad I got to spend some time with you and we miss you like crazy! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

edith jane: one year old

To our sweet baby girl,

On this day one year ago, you joined our family on the outside and have brought us such joy ever since. You are so sweet--especially when your beloved big brother is crying--but also so strong and independent. You know what you want and you are not afraid to demonstrate your displeasure if things do not go your way.

You have 8 teeth, your favorite foods are cuties and yogurt, and you are basically able to run. 

You make the funniest snorting/smiling face when you are excited and you are now developing the same love for books Elden has. Whenever you wake up before Elden you are so happy to go with us to get him when he wakes up. You are curious, brave, friendly, but at times reserved. You try to figure out how everything around you works, and I daresay we may have an engineer on our hands.

Your daddy and I are so beyond thrilled to call you our daughter. We love you always and forever.

love flash mob

One year ago today, I had the privilege of laboring and delivering my baby in a well stocked hospital with highly trained and respectful staff, preceded by nine months of prenatal care and proceeded by several weeks of postnatal care.

We entered a gate [to the Haitian hospital] flanked by armed guards, parked our ambulance, and entered a hospital that felt like a prison. We walked over slippery concrete floors and through suffocating heat, but no warmth. We went into the maternity rooms to see lines of sheet-less mattresses on metal frames. Women were laid on the beds in various stages of labor. One was in active labor, two had babies laid out next to them on the dirty mattresses, one was silently crying because she had just lost her baby. I saw no doctors while we were there, no nurses. There was no one to explain to these women what was happening to their bodies or to their babies. And there was no one to serve them. If a patient needs food, the family has to bring it. If a woman needs water, her family has to bring it. If an IV or medication of any kind is needed—the families already living in unimaginable poverty must find a pharmacy, buy an IV or medicine, and bring it to the hospital. So the women just go without. They go without food, water, and medicine. So many hurting women, so many new babies—and it was so quiet. We heard no moaning, no crying from the mamas or even from the babies. It turns out there is no reason to cry if there is no hope of help.

My privilege is not a privilege that Haitian women experience.

Haiti has the highest rate of maternal and infant mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Two out of 3 childbirths in Haiti occur without a skilled birth attendant. One in 83 Haitian women will die as a result of childbirth.

Heartline is a ministry with skilled midwives and early childhood education classes that is working desperately to keep babies with their mamas, thereby reducing number of orphans and empowering Haitian women.

Glennon has started a love flash mob to support the expansion of respectful and loving care for our Haitian sisters. Would you consider joining with me to support this amazing organization? 

Monday, October 19, 2015

the paint fairies

While we were at the wedding, we had the great fortune of being paid a visit by the painting fairies.
Oh my gosh, I am obsessed. Jon and I talked at length about the floors last night. We know there is almost no way we can get them in by Edith's party so we opted to focus on other parts of the room in the meantime. Our goal is to paint/put up the crown molding and replace all of the outlets/light switches the rest of the week. We are also redoing all the trim--including around the garage and pantry doors--but that obviously needs to wait until the floors are in too. The good news is we are finally in the home stretch and we are so thrilled by the results. Huge thanks to Jon's parents and brother for painting in our absence!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015


This weekend we went to the wedding of two of Jon's college friends. It was about 2.5 hours away so we elected to stay at a hotel Saturday night. We were curious how the kids would do since they were both running without naps and and had never been to a wedding before.

They were tired, grouchy and uncooperative.

Until the music came on.

They started playing music while Elden and I were in the bathroom--pre entree and post salad--and homeboy darted to the dance floor as soon as we came back in.

Our normally shy kid danced for seriously an hour. It was a battle to get him to return to the table to eat. Soon his little sister joined him and also danced like a maniac. We finally called it on their behalf and took them up to the room, but not before Elden and I hit up the photo booth.
We got a king suite so Elden was on a pull out couch in the living area and Edith had her pack n play in our room. We are all sick so it was a rough night if for no other reason than that but it still wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Elden loved the pool and Edith and I had some serious hotel room cuddles.
It was a good weekend and I know Jon was really happy to see his friends.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

lessons in skim coating

Lesson 1: it's horrible and avoid it at all costs.

Just kidding. Except I'm not. Thursday night Jon and I stayed up reallllly late sanding the walls in the living room in a mad dash to get this room as ready as possible for Edith's party. We have learned quite a few lessons from this experience that I figured I would share in case you ever find yourselves in a similarly unfortunate circumstance.

First, prime the walls to help avoid bubbling when you add the wet drywall compound.

Second, I highly recommend buying premixed drywall compound, diluting it with water to the consistency of mayonnaise and rolling it on with a 1/2" nap roller. This is best done in teams of 2 so you can have one person rolling it and one person coming behind to smooth it. This is particularly important in second and third coats as the compound dries FAST. I had read somewhere to use a squeegee trowel but we couldn't find any in stores anywhere and didn't want to wait for one to be shipped to us so a regular drywall trowel worked just fine. 

I should add that you probably want to spackle any holes and sand down the spackling before you do your first drywall coat. 

Third, edge last and just use the premixed (i.e. undiluted) drywall compound for that. 

Fourth, when it comes time to sand your top coat, you should wet sand! To do so, basically take a damp car washing sponge and rub it vertically or horizontally to smooth the walls. This is less physically demanding and I cannot emphasize the time you save in cleanup. Dust doesn't get everywhere and the walls still look smooth. 

Fifth, curse at this project and swear you will never ever undertake such a task again.

We had gotten two different estimates to have the walls professionally skim coated. The first was around $550 and the second $850. Even though this was tedious and a definite learning curve, we found a rhythm after about two days and it went much quicker than we feared it would take when day 1 was abysmal. Now all that's left to do in our living room is paint the walls, fireplace and patio door trim; rip out / replace the remaining trim; rip out the carpet; add crown molding; install the laminate floors.

We should be done in a week, right!? 😖

Friday, October 16, 2015

edith: 50 and 51 weeks old

Even though the perfectionist in me is screaming at my lack of continuing Edith's typical weekly update style, lack of time must prevail. Edith is a week shy of 1 and is quickly developing the tenperament of a toddler. She throws tantrums and quite a display of theatrics if she perceives you have wronged her. Edith basically runs after her brother now and LOVES shoes. Her favorite foods are apples, salami and cheese. Edith is in 12M and 18M clothes, rocks size 5 shoes and size 4 diapers. She sleeps from about 7 pm - 6 am every day and seems to be cutting out her morning nap.  Edith has almost entirely weaned herself and would much rather eat "real" food. She loves waving "hi" frantically at just about anyone who crosses her path, dancing to Elvis, and wagging her finger at you/smiling if you tell her no. This past year has been such a joy for us!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

fireplace project

One of the cool features of our house is the fireplace. It takes up the full width of the wall and adds a lot of character. The only thing we really hated about it was the brick is incredibly 80s, covered in fake marks:
 Jon wanted to cover it with stone he hated it so much, but 1) I love brick and 2) no $$$ so I decided to try my hand at filling in those marks. I have been using spackling to fill them in and it's going well!
We are both so happy with how it's turning out. 

Jon and I also tore out all the wallpaper in the living room and have begun the skim coating process ourselves which is incredibly slow going. Suffice to say, there is no way this room will be done before Edith's party...

Friday, October 2, 2015

edith: 49 weeks old

age: 49 weeks
stats: 12-18M clothes
firsts: Mitchell's ice cream 
milestones: getting better at walking each day
goings-on: getting this weekly photo is one of the most challenging obstacles I have ever faced as a parent since Edith wants to be everywhere and do everything except sit still. She has been deeply concerned by the living room project and spent the majority of the morning pointing to the torn-up walls and grunting "mm!?" - as if to ask us if we could also see the monstrosity she was witnessing. Edith eats more than Elden most meals. She loves that boy fiercely--when he takes his long afternoon nap and I ask her if she wants to go with me to get Elden she starts bouncing up and down and shrieking. She gets grouchy around dinner time but is otherwise usually quite happy during the day.