Kensington has discovered coloring. She calls it "dudders." That means "colors." To the rest of us it means "cutest kid you ever did see."
Raleigh and Madeline dress up Kensington in the "whites" they are supposed to be folding. We've got white shirt, white bloomies, and white oversized socks over purple pajama pants. Of course she loves all the extra attention. For so long, anyway.
Raleigh and Kensington share a pizza-smeared-smile down at the pool.
Wow, we've had a great weekend. Here's a wholotta pictures from the best weekend since we've moved here.
Sunday we all had some much needed Dallas-time. He is so wonderful.
It is becoming a Sunday tradition for us to hold Daddy-Daughter Time. Dallas spends about a half hour with each girl one-on-one to have father's interviews. They say a little prayer together, talk about what is going well for them, what is not going well, and they set some goals together. Dallas and Raleigh set a goal together to smile the whole day. So far Day #1 has gone well for them both!
Today we ventured down to Sandbridge Beach. It is about a half hour away. This beach is supposed to be less of a tourist trap than the closer one. We got there late in the afternoon, so we missed all of the traffic; most everyone else was going home! Here's our awesome parking spot:
I love all of the tourist-y shops though. Here's one.
Madeline tries out her new beach pail.
Right when we were leaving, Madeline fell face-first into our sand-creation. This is how she felt:
This is how Raleigh felt at the end of our day: She's always been good at striking a pose. Funny girl!
Since I am not decorating our temporary-living-space, I am going a little nut-so without the creative outlet. Hence, the blog remodel.
While I am posting, here is a thought from Miss Middle-ine:
"When I grow up, I want the boy I marry to give me a toe-ring."
In other bits of housekeeping, I would like to thank this fine institution for making its debut two weeks ago:
Good thing you are close enough but far enough. And I would like Dallas to know that I REALLY REALLY like the potted hydrangeas. A lot.
And while I am taking pictures of grocery bags, I must also include our other latest favorite:
Maple Syrup for Madeline. Original for no one (until we HAVE to). Apples and Cinnamon for Dionne. Mixed Berry for Dallas. Oats and Flax for Raleigh. And whatever nobody finishes for Kensington. Thank you, Costco. (And Costco, if you were not here, we would've moved somewhere else.)
Don't let the title fool you. He was one gas-guzzling geezer. But don't let me get ahead of myself. Just because I like that word and haven't said it in YEEEEAARS. Geezer. Geezer-geezer.
A few weeks ago I was dying to go running. It's a good kind of addiction, running is. It had been several days since my last run, so I found a place here to go on my first outdoor run in Virginia Beach: Mount Trashmore. I'm not kidding; it is a real place. And a real pile of trash. More like a mountain, thus the "Mt." part. It is covered with grass and things and has a nice little lake-ish area with ducks and seagulls and a jogging trail. (But "don't eat the fish from the lake," my dad reminds me.) So I decided to test out the trail.
I pulled up to the parking lot and parked right by the trail in the old van, Miss Nancy. (She makes a great companion for stretching.) Just past my parking stall pulled up an old man who looked ready to run, too. Not one for social exercise with strangers, I started on my way so I wouldn't have to talk to him. (Terrible, I know!)
Just as I broke into a run, the old guy went ZOOMING past me. Now I know that certain ways of life age people so that they look older than they really are, but this guy looked like he was in his LATE SEVENTIES. My grandpa Van seems MUCH younger than him and he is 75, I think. So when Mr. Wrinkly cruised past me, I was like, "What the?" And then I saw his RIPPED legs and army t-shirt and thought, "He must be like some kind of retired military officer or something." And he was faster than me.
But I enjoyed my run; breathing in the honeysuckle on the South side of the park and the smelly trash-smell on the East. It wasn't too bad if I tried to breathe just through my mouth. And the sun was shining through the thick, humid air, which made it really nice. I love a good, sweaty run. I decided to take the short loop since it was my first time back running in a week.
But wait. Who was that coming near the fork in the trail from the LONG route? Was it the GEEZER GUY? Are you kidding me?? Was he about to pass me AGAIN?? I seriously started sprinting the minute I saw him (fight or flight, baby), and the minute I stopped at the van, he went sprinting past, just a hair behind me.
And THAT is how I won the impromptu race at Mt. Trashmore before the geezer ran out of gas.
We love having family within 3 hours of our place!! Jess and Dannii are so much fun.
We ate a FILLING brunch and played a little drawing game before they were on their way through to Georgia. Luckies.
Dannii hadn't seen the girls since Rikki's wedding, but it seems like MUCH longer than that.
Dallas and Jess showed us their best LEAPS (yes, leaps), so everyone joined in the craziness. We must have lots of pent-up craziness because it all comes out here on the eleventh floor. Especially when Jess is around.
Choobers made a new friend and wanted Dannii to hold her for awhile. She would NOT smile for this picture, though! We tried and tried and tried until she finally started laughing, but the picture was too dark - darn it!
Today Raleigh and Madeline got to play with a friend. Her name is Lily and she lives on the 12th floor. We met her and her mom out on the 4th floor parking garage to ride scooters and play with sidewalk chalk. We chose the 4th floor because part of it is open to the sky and no one ever parks there. A great place for scootering and drawing. Lily doesn't have a scooter, so the girls all took turns. Choobers pushed her baby in a stroller. (And she can say "baby" now! Pretty timely, now that she's almost two!! She says it like: Buh-BAE, as if it were a question.)
We had a fun time, but it's hard not to compare it to playing with our boys in Utah. We miss those boys. They're pretty much irreplaceable.
I don't know how she knew it, but all of a sudden, Lily's mom got up and took cover, warning everyone to get under the parking garage. Except for the black clouds rolling in, there was no sign of rain. (hee hee.) She had some 6th sense because the sky just EXPLODED after that! No sprinkling. No nothing.
Since the kids were already DISGUSTINGLY dirty from kneeling down on the parking garage floor and playing with sidewalk chalk, I told them to run back out in it and have themselves a "wet and dirty adventure." They did!
I think it was pure childhood bliss. They took laps around and around on the scooters, laughing and dancing forever. Then the water pooled up in certain places and they got on their hands and knees, acting (and smelling) like wet dogs. It was so fun! And gross! And the rain was COLD! Kensington was a little confused at first, but after a few minutes she was stomping around, screaming and laughing with the rest of them!
When it was time to go inside, I was hoping that the elevator would be empty and we could go upstairs unnoticed. Unfortunately, the adult-to-kid ratio in our building is like 100/1, and we kind of stand out as it is. Murphy prevailed. The doors opened, and all of us wet dogs tromped onto the elevator with this beautiful black woman, dressed elegantly for a night on the town. Her eyes were probably as wide as ours as we tried to stay on our side of the elevator. To make things worse, someone had pressed every single button on the elevator before we got on, so it had to stop at every floor. A couple of times the doors opened with someone ready to get on, but then they decided not to!
President Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of our church, tells a story that I love about a group of women in ancient Rome who "were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, 'And where are your jewels?' to which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, 'These are my jewels.' Under her tutelage, and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus--the Gracchi, as they were called--two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history. For as long as they are remembered and spoken of, the mother who reared them after the manner of her own life will be remembered and spoken of with praise also."
These are my jewels:
And let's just throw in these two from this past week:
Last month when my mom was visiting Utah, we had some much-needed girl time at Dear Lizzie, our favorite Alpine boutique. As we were wandering through girly-land, our conversation turned inevitably to family - and the little kiddos from which we were taking a break.
That's how it goes. We are mothers.
While I admired a tiny wire birdcage placed atop a high shelf, I remembered an idea I'd had a few years back when our family's youngest sibling, Rikki, graduated and left for college. It never came into fruition, and I thought of it again a couple of years later when she got married.
I wanted to buy my mom a birdcage, a little wire one like I saw in the store. And I wanted to put a little nest in the bottom - empty, of course. And I wanted to prop the door open and hang a little sign on it that said, "You taught us how to fly," or something tender about her empty nest. (Of course, the sentiments would be for both of my parents, but more especially to my mother.)
I told my mom about my idea, and she started crying right there in the store! I got teary, too, so we cruised around acting like we were shopping for a few minutes so we could collect ourselves.
But from a mother to a mother, I think I can say with all my heart, "Thank you for what you've done for me. Thank you for loving me and teaching me and praying for me. Thank you for your sacrifice and your compassion. Thank you for being the kind of woman I want to emulate. I love you, Mom!"