Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Boy

This adorable 32 pounds of awesomeness simply hasn't gotten enough spotlight on my blog. And so I'm here today to tell you about how fantastic he is. Nathaniel is the light of our lives. We all adore him. Even his big brother whom he frustrates to no end and idolizes like no other.

This boy spent two years barely letting a mumble escape his lips. And we're convinced that during that time he was sucking in every bit of knowledge possible about the world around him.

Because this kid? He's a genius.

And now that he is talking, he is sharing every want, desire, demand, question and thought you can imagine. And we can't get enough of knowing what our boy is thinking and wanting.

A daddy's boy through and through, Abel claims that he asks for me when I'm at work, but all I know is that all he wants is his Dada. Even at bedtime. Especially at bedtime. Even at 2am. Especially at 2am.

I do it, Mama.

Darling Nathaniel/Naffy/Fanny/Fafafa/Faffy/Nafaffer, you are amazing. Your smile and laugh light up our days.

We all love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dream Building

LEGO heaven!

When was it that the Mega Millions was up so ridiculously high? I have no idea. But I do remember that I bought a ticket. Two, actually. Because when your chances are infinitesimal you might as well make them infinitesimal times two, right? Anyway, like most, I got my full $2 worth by day dreaming about what I'd do with the millions.

#1 was take a long vacation (perhaps rent out a cruise ship?) with everyone I know and love. Also high on the list was a new home. We live in a very modestly-sized (read: small!) 1940s colonial. Oh what I wouldn't give for a master bath! A bigger kitchen! Heck, even an entry way and coat closet!

But we adore our neighborhood so much, I could never leave it. I don't even think I would want to leave our block. So, I decided, as a multi-hundred-millionaire lotto winner, I'd just buy out one set of neighbors and build our dream house on the new double lot!

Of course I promptly forgot about that dream after I was, indeed, not the winner. But I remembered it again on Sunday when we were invited to a special event held by the Gulick Group at the National Building Museum.

OMG. Their houses are stunning! (And let me tell you, they know how to throw a family-friendly event!!).

We arrived and were treated to breakfast, including many kid-friendly options AND some adorable LEGO-inspired krispie treats.

Donut + Stick = 2yo heaven!
It's an 8 block! No! a six block!

Then we had the opportunity to explore the LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition exhibit. I've really been wanting to take the boys to the exhibit and the LEGO playroom but just hadn't done it yet. Folks: this is a MUST DO!! We had so much fun!

Plus, you can check out one of the Gulick Group's signature homes built in LEGOs! (Seriously, if I owned one of their stunning Winthrop homes and was indeed that multi-hundred-millionaire lotto winner, I'd totally commission my home in LEGO, too!)

Nathaniel, newly obsessed with Bob the Builder, was in love with his new yellow "hard" hat. He was completely engaged with the LEGOs and kept saying that he was "building like Bob da Builder" -- it was so adorable.

Even with a blurry photo have you ever seen a more adorable builder?

Meanwhile, Abel and Lucas went to town on a dragon/tunnel/pagoda and kept requesting that I get them more bricks!! more bricks!!! more bricks!!!!

Please won't you click over to the Gulick Group's FB page and give this awesome creation a "Like"? Lucas is super-proud of it!! And, you know, I do have that competitive streak! :)

Just a quick break after so much work! (Union rules, after all!)

Disclosure: We were offered free admission to the National Building Museum and exhibits as well as a delish breakfast but were not required to blog about it. All stories, opinions and comments are my own.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Boy + Muddy Pond Bank =

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Sand Box

At some point over the past 12 or so years, I mentioned to Abel that when I was growing up my family had a big tractor tire as a sandbox.

I have very fond memories of that sandbox -- losing and rediscovering Star Wars characters in its depths, no matter how grubby the middle sand was, still being able to dig into pure white sand inside the rim -- and Abel got completely hooked on the concept.

You'd be surprised, though, how hard it is to find a big, used tractor tire.

A few months ago, Abel was out at a sod farm buying some sod for our backyard hilltop sanctuary (more on that later!) and he noticed they had a handful of old tractor tires stacked in a barn. How much for one of those? he asked. Take one! they replied.

So a few days later Abel bribed a friend and his pick-up with some beer (consumed post-drive!) and brought the tire home. These are two strong guys and it was an effort for them to get it off the truck and rolled into the yard. It's one big, heavy tire!

Abel dug out a donut for the tire to sit in, put some weed cover fabric down, and filled it up with sand.

He even built this handy cover out of wood from another project:

And this little guy fell in love. The first weekend I found him laying--face down!!--in the sand. He can't get enough.

Many toys have already been lost and re-found in its depths. I wonder if, come September, there will still be clean sand to be found around the edges....

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


At the pool on Wednesday--a mid-week holiday-turned-to-survival-mode--Lucas was climbing on me, over me, nearly into me, it felt. His hands grabbing at my shoulders, my neck, my head. His legs climbing on my legs, attempting my shoulders. Climbing. Pulling. Grabbing. Slapping. Soothing.

This very tactile child was even more tactile than usual. His clamoring was needy; desperate, nearly. He and his brother had been up since 5am when we woke them, dressed them and carried them to the car. His father and I had been up until 2:30am making the emergency arrangements and woke at 4:30am to get dressed ourselves before waking our babes. Then driving Abel to the airport airport for a  6:40am flight, him running to the gate because a closed road necessitated a detour, and of course we were cutting it close anyway. No traffic at 5:30am on a holiday, right?

And so while Nathaniel and I napped at home, the six-year-old did whatever six-year-olds do when they are doing anything to avoid the long-given-up nap: TV, Legos, aimless wanderings through the house.

So that afternoon, with his dad gone to be with his sick grandfather and a group of friends telling him he wasn't in their "club" and couldn't play their pool game, and his mom's attention focused on the suddenly-too-daring-for-his-own-safety 2yo brother, Lucas took the attention he needed by force.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 6, 2012


One of the most amazing and miraculous sounds I've ever heard was when my babies called me by name for the first time, Mama. And not the gurgle-babble of stringing two or four Ms and As together, but Mama as directed toward me.

Just before my sister, Sarah, and nephew, Sawyer, visited, Sarah mentioned to me that Sawyer calls me Mimi when they play with the photo puzzle. And so my hopes were up that he'd have a name for me in person, too.

And he did! What a feeling it is to be named, known, recognized by a baby. Mimi! he'd say as I left the room. Mimi! he'd say when he saw me in the morning. Mimi!

The funniest thing is that Nathaniel learned the word and understood it referenced me as well. And so he tried it out on a few occasions -- all with a bit of a smirk, I do believe. And then, home again after our visit, Nathaniel tried out Aimee as he stood in his crib fighting off sleep. AIMEE!! AIMEE!!

Sorry, Nathaniel, I'm thrilled to be Mimi to Sawyer and Aimee to the world, but to you I will only be Mama.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!


There's a lot going on right now and there's much I need to blog about, but for now, please go over to The DC Moms and check out my latest post, I Joined a Cancer Study. It's hard to explain how I feel about it, but it's very good. I feel like I've taken a bit of control against this terrible disease, that I'm doing something about it, fighting back in a small but hopefully meaningful way.

Because we need more research.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!