Spring.

 

Let me first say that when I started this post I was writing from the inside of a fort that we constructed from miscellaneous blankets and sheets, and then stuffed with pillows and more blankets. The kids were napping on either side of me. We’ve been on a fort kick recently, usually in the morning, right after breakfast, and sometimes in the evenings before bed. It’s absolutely amazing.

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Of course, I wasn’t able to finish before they woke up, so I am writing the rest of this from the outdoor tables at the Yardley Starbucks.

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Not a bad alternative 😉

There isn’t much to say in the way of new and exciting news, so I thought I’d share with you just a general overview of the types of activities we’ve been enjoying over the past week or so. A little of this…

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Helpers! I fins that I care very little about how much laundry actually gets folded, and mostly I just enjoy watching them feel good about “helping” me. It’s magic.

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Possibly the greatest food ever created.

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We made train-shaped sugar cookie sandwiches with vegan oreo creme filling. Jack just about lost his mind.

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Green smoothie, green tea….green life?

…and a little of that…

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This is one of my favorite onesies- Beatrix Potter for GAP 🙂

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random lunch: hemp bagels with hummus, power greens, and Field Roast vegan sausage with snap peas!

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I ordered a few choice items for the kids for their spring wardrobe, and these sweatpants have been a favorite. They are so, so soft, and have buttons and flaps so you can roll them up or down. I have thought about getting him a second pair on a number of occasions, because they are so cozy and versatile.

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Favorite hemp bagels! We actually made a Wegman’s detour on our way home from TJ’s JUST to buy these, because they are amazing.

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Carolyn got fancy sandals from Old Navy- mostly because they were on sale at a great price. They are totally not sturdy enough for the playground or general everyday wear, but I thought it would be nice for her to have a cute pair of sandals for special days 🙂

 

 

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TOMS and a pink Lulu devotion tee. This is probably my fanciest outfit as of late. Don’t judge.

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Our favorite TJ’s licorice. Ally introduced me to it- delicious, naturally flavored, and vegan. Also, 99 cents. Unbeatable.

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Jack is becoming an incredibly kind and patient brother, even when Carolyn’s strong will gets the best of her 🙂 Also, JACK’S SWEATER! Another great find on the GAP clearance rack ($9, I think?)!

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GAH, groceries, the true story of my life. This is about ten days’ worth of nosh O.o

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BOO! Those wooden stacking/nesting blocks were an Easter gift to Carolyn. They’re very popular.

 

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Hist Whist!

We made a rockin’ three “cheese” vegan pizza one night, which was a hit:

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Homemade sauce and roasted veggies!

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Tofu ricotta, Daiya cheddar shreds, and sesame parmesan over six-herb dough, homemade basil sauce, spinach, and roasted peppers, onion, and broccoli.

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Obviously, there were no leftovers.

We made  trip into New York, and the kids got to see Eli and Abi while I met Patty. It was pretty incredible, because I was having a really challenging day, but somehow seeing Patty melted everything away and left me feeling refreshed and centered. We had a wonderful time, doing what we usually do (eating), and just being together. We got dinner at Thai Market (spring rolls, fried tofu, and pad thai), tea and macaroons at Peace Food Cafe, and then cupcakes and brownies at Babycakes. We watched the sunset from the Lower East Side, and then took the long way uptown, driving up Park Ave. through Grand Central. It was incredible, and I left feeling quite the opposite of when I had arrived.  That is the true power of a great friendship.

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Back at home, the weather has been so lovely, so the kids and I have been spending a lot of time outside.

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I can’t even. JOY of joys 🙂

The turtle sandbox has been the highlight of their day so far.

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We’ve also been hitting up the playground almost daily, making new friends (both kids AND Mommy!)

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This is the first time that Carolyn has been able to fully enjoy the playground. She learned to walk over the winter, and it was just too cold to have them outside for extended periods of time. She is loving it, and to be honest, it’s really nice to be able to put her down and let her run around. It gives my arms a much-needed break, and she gets to explore the world! The playground we usually go to is fenced in and geared especially for toddlers, so it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever for all of us.

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Carolyn has discovered the slide. New favorite thing!

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Her flowery bubble onesie was part of their spring order. It’s really soft, and it’ll keep her cool during the later summer months, but it’s totally layer-able and comfy, so it works for spring weather too.

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Baby’s first Keens! Jack got his first pair last year, but he’s outgrown them so we’re scoping out a pair for him this week. They will probably each get a pair every spring- they’re so versatile, and great for play.

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These green shorts were another great find from the GAP. They’re really well-structured and the material is very sturdy, plus the color is so fun 🙂

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Jack is officially one of the big kids, now- he climbs the slides. It is an ongoing battle, though I know at some point the matter will be out of my hands and I’ll have to surrender to his boyish impulses. I’m not quite there yet.

Speaking of big kid activities…..

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There was a carnival at one of the local farms, and my Mum and I decided it would be a good idea to take the kids. It was a blast, Jack was ALL ABOUT IT, but in excess- he just wanted to go on ride after ride, and this monster obstacle course was the clear favorite. My legs were FEELING IT by the time we left, and so was my heart, because I swear I almost went into cardiac arrest going over the swinging bridges at the top. Jack, of course, was absolutely fearless and loved every minute of it.

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This is my new favorite shirt for Jack- chambray from GAP, it has convertible sleeves that roll up and down and button while rolled up, perfect for a busy toddler!

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Carolyn’s safari shorts, another great find at Old Navy- super durable, comfy, and cute!

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It was some of the most fun I’ve had with them, and I am really looking forward to the Grange Fair this year. I can’t even imagine what Carolyn is going to think about all of the animals- she’s a big animal lover, and I think the cows are going to blow her away.

That about sums it up on the kids’ end- food, laundry, fun. What more could you want? We’re all approaching this summer with a new attitude. This fall marks some big changes for us. I’ll be commuting into Philly for school, and the kids will both be starting day programs at Rainbow Academy (Jack for PRE-SCHOOL, WHAT IS HAPPENING?!). I know that we’ll embrace these new changes as we do everything else- with a sense of adventure and excitement. But I’m also making sure that we pump this summer full of fun activities and lots of quality time together. I’m doing a bit of volunteering, and taking a solo trip out to L.A., but other than that I plan on spending the next three months soaking Jack and Carolyn up and having extraordinary adventures together.

This summer is special because I have a huge break from school. I plan on using the time to write and spend plenty of quality time with the people that matter most to me, but also to focus on myself a bit more. I really enjoy getting up before the kids in the morning and going for a run, or hitting the yoga studio at night after they’re in bed. I haven’t been as diligent about those things  because with homework keeping me up until midnight or later, it’s hard to find the time/energy.

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I am especially looking forward to getting back into a regular running routine. I’ve been running, but only a few miles because I just don’t have time. This summer is going to be all about the long weekend runs and bike rides!

Finally, a bit of news before I sign off. This semester I was the recipient of two awards for literature at my school!

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I gave one reading two Wednesdays ago, to a room of 50 or so people. It was horrifying, very scary, and I thought I was going to collapse- but I had an incredible group of people there to support me. I am very, very fortunate, and I feel that more with each passing day.

It all feels very surreal, like it’s some kind of mistake or joke. I’m trying to let it just be validating, like what I’m doing is right, and I have enough of whatever it takes to be my version of successful in this wild and crazy world. I feel hopeful- these past two years have been a huge growing experience, and I suddenly feel as if I have potential. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that before- my future always seemed this distant, foggy thing that was just floating out there somewhere. Now, it feels like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing what I am meant to do. I feel like a real person, a happy person.

I’ll leave you with one final thought- and it may be the most important one of all:

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…fiddleheads. Life is so good.

Saturday.

7:45- I can hear Jack’s door creak open downstairs and a little voice calling, “Mama?” Grammy responds, and I can hear Luis moving around, so I roll over and stay under the covers for a minute longer.

7:53- Carolyn is awake and ripping pages out of one of my books, so it’s time to get up. Throw on leggings and a yoga pullover, slip on my TOMS, and go downstairs. Jack and Carolyn get dressed, and we all go to the kitchen to start on breakfast (and the dishes from last night).

8:15- Smoothie time! We seriously have a smoothie almost every morning. It’s just so easy.

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Also, Great Harvest flax bread with sun butter, and mango and banana chunks.

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We haven’t even made a significant dent in the case of champagne mangoes we bought last week! I’ve been storing them in the crisper bin of the fridge and pulling two or three out at a time to let them ripen, but we still have twelve or thirteen in there!

8:55- Leave to drop Luis off at work.

9:05- Home! We clean up a bit (i.e., stack the dishes in the sink), and Jack wanders around the house picking up small pieces of dirt and throwing them away. We show Grammy our order of spring gear. Mommy is way too excited.

9:25- Upstairs to change diapers and put on long-sleeved shirts and long pants, since it’s a little chilly today. The kids go over to my friend’s mother’s house for a few hours every Saturday, and she often takes them to feed ducks by a local pond. They love it.

9:40- Outside to keep Grammy company while she hangs laundry. Jack pulls Carolyn around the yard in their wagon.

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9:50- Mom throws together extra clothes and diapers for the kids while they’re out. We pack a lunch of brown rice and black beans that they are unlikely to eat.

10:10- Drop the kids off with Ally’s mum! They’re excited- she has crackers and hummus, and it’s the best.

10:40- I head over to Starbucks to respond to emails, check Facebook, read a few articles on NPR, start my Modern Art core assessment paper, research our scientist for the Integration of Knowledge project (Ellen Swalow Richards), and try to put together a reading list for Wednesday night.

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I’m feeling totally lost, not sure what to read or how to order them. Everything feels too heavy-handed and awkward. I think I’m going to have a panic attack in the middle of the Yardley Starbucks, so a desperate email goes out to Chris asking for help. My phone dies 😡

1:30- Back to the house to pick up the kids. They are messy and wonderful, and had a great time (as usual)!

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1:45- Home to try to negotiate naps, since they both fell asleep in the car on the way home. This doesn’t usually work out the way I want it to, but I still try every time. We change diapers and shirts (again), and I leave Jack in his room to fall asleep. This is a huge mistake.

2:15- Try to hang laundry one-handed while Carolyn screams in my arms. Every time I put her down, she runs away, throws a basket, or rips down my mother’s laundry. After a few minutes I give up and toss the diapers into the dryer.

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2:22- Try to toss together some kind of lunch for myself. The kids ate at Ally’s Mum’s, but I haven’t had anything but tea since my smoothie this morning. Broccoli and beans go into a pan to sear, arugula into a bowl, and shredded carrot, avocado, and leftover beans and rice on top. Apple cider vinaigrette on top, and a noodle bowl on the side (that Carolyn eventually rips off the counter and spills everywhere).

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3:10- Carolyn is still crying and squirming around. When I put her down, she bolts for the stairs. It’s around this time that I give up hope of getting anything done this afternoon (dishes, folding the dry diapers, keeping my head from exploding…)

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I can hear Jack moving around in his room and decide to go up and check.

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3:11- Jack has gotten into the Baby Bee lotion. He has also emptied a to-go bag and a storage bin full of clothes that don’t fit yet. His diaper is a mess. Carolyn is still crying. I dig deep for patience and some sense of humor.

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3:20- Jack is cleaned up and receives stern orders not to open the storage bin again. The lotion is stashed in the closet. Carolyn and I head downstairs to try to chill her out. I read up on the aurora that might be visible over our area tonight and call to make dinner reservations with Ally.

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3:55- Carolyn finally falls asleep on my shoulder after screaming it out. My arms feel like jell-o. I can still hear Jack moving around.

4:02- Go up to check on Jack and find him…..asleep in his bed.

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Ordinarily I wouldn’t let them fall asleep this late because it would compromise their bedtime later tonight, but….I’m meeting Ally for dinner. Luis is on bedtime duty again, because I blocked out tonight to spend out of the house, and I really need a minute right now to sit with a mug of tea and breathe. So they sleep, and I try to have a minute to myself.

4:27- Carolyn is up. Even though we’re weaning, I try to nurse her back to sleep to edge a little more quiet time out of the afternoon. I have NO CLUE what we’re having for dinner, and am totally wiped out. Veganomicon to the rescue!

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I manage to throw together a quinoa and kidney bean soup, which actually turned out to be super delicious. Also, everything could be done with one hand. Bonus! We set the soup on the stove and head outside to take in my Mum’s laundry. Jack is still asleep.

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5:05- Carolyn decides she wants to visit Jack, so while I’m digging for more dish soap she climbs the stairs. By the time I go after her, she’s already in his room and his eyes are open. He is not happy, but seems better when he’s laying on me, so we do that for a few minutes. Diaper changes and pants, and back downstairs.

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5:20- Soup is done! I somehow manage to get the dishes done in a small window of time while the kids play. Hurray! Dinner is served!

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At this point, I’m pretty tired and looking forward to some relief tonight. The kids start flinging their beans at each other, so dinner is quickly over. Carolyn is not happy.

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5:50- I convince them to play in the sun room long enough for me to fold the diapers. They’re thrilled to help.

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6:30- Grammy’s home! There is a lot of jumping around and yelling.

6:50- My Mum offers to pick up Luis from work. Carolyn and I go upstairs so I can get changed into clothes that don’t have bean smushed into them.

7:10- Luis gets home, and I pass off Carolyn. They’re both way overstimulated and are off the chain. I’m ready for a break.

7:20- I switch bags, get my bike out of the garage, give the kids big hugs and kisses, and text Ally to let her know I’m on my way.

7:35- Arrive at Oishi. Ally and I talk, laugh, drink wine, and eat pad thai and veggie sushi. Yummmm!

10:00- Over to Ally’s house to lay out the pieces I’m thinking of reading on Wednesday. I really needed some insight into what I should read and how to order everything, so this was totally necessary. She rocks my world with fresh bread from their bread machine. Amazing!

12:35- Home! Tomorrow is great because Luis has off from work, so there is an extra set of hands to help out. Also, both of us being home means that we can take the kids out to the playground and for a walk, and I don’t feel panicked, like I’m trapped if they lose their cool.

12:47- Go down to check Jack. He’s ripped his pajama bottoms off, so I replace them and tuck him back in.

1:01- Tuck myself in to bed. Gooooodnight!