Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Willa's First Easter Break

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Willa is officially done with all her "firsts" holiday wise. She was born the day after Easter Sunday last year, so this was her first Easter earth-side.

We were off for Good Friday, so we had a pretty leisurely morning. I let Brendan sleep in a bit, and once he was up, we all got ready for the noon church service. Willa and Brendan ended up spending the whole time in the nursery since there was no childcare, but at least I got to attend. We went straight from there to the grocery store and stocked up (it seemed like we were out of everything) before heading home to let Willa nap. After Willa's nap, we went to the other nursery (the plant one!) and got a few things for our never-ending hobby: the backyard and side yard. I owe you guys photos  of our progress. It was a BEAUTIFUL day (highs in the 70s), and Willa loved being outside and seeing all the plants.

After we got Willa down for bed, we still had plenty of daylight to use for working in the yard. Brendan planted stuff, and I pulled weeds. I filled a big bucket to the brim with weeds, and there are still a lot of them out there. We are committed to not using chemicals in our yard because doing so threatens the health of our trees and all the plants we love, so weeding is the price we pay. We've also lowered our standards, realizing that perfection is unattainable. More info on ditching chemicals and embracing the weeds in this NYT op-ed. I wrote tons of thank-you notes, and we watched the movie Crazy Rich Asians before heading to bed (cute).  

On Saturday morning, I got up with Willa and let Brendan sleep in, then we all got out the door and headed to the Y, so I could make a 9:15AM barre class. Willa went to childcare and Brendan worked out as well. My barre teacher on Thursday evening was a sub that normally teaches the Saturday morning class, and I found her class on Thursday so challenging. Saturday was really similar, and I was proud of myself for going. We had nice but hot weather (almost 90). Brendan weeded the front yard, I did some grading, and we all went for a family walk (note: this afternoon was so exciting that I literally couldn't remember any of it and had to ask Brendan for help recalling our day). We also facetimed with Gigi and Buddy. 

On Sunday morning, the Easter bunny left something special for Willa: 

She's really into touch and feel books, so If I Were a Rabbit was a big hit. Thanks Lelie for the bunny PJs! 

We all got dressed up for Easter. I have about as much time to "dress up" as you would think: 

Brendan pruned our roses to bring for flowering the cross at church. Willa stayed in the nursery while we enjoyed a lovely service. 

The church organized an egg hunt for the kiddos after the service. Willa LOVED shaking the eggs that she "found" and was all smiles. We got home and put on comfy clothes (thanks for the "my first Easter" onesie Gigi and Buddy!) 

Brendan made us an egg-cellent Easter dinner of fried halloumi cheese, herbed rice, and green beans. 

I wrote for a bit, and we watched the new episode of Game of Thrones before calling it a night. 

We are lucky to have Monday off, so our Easter break continued. Brendan let me sleep in, but I didn't wake up until 8AM, and I wanted to make it to 9AM barre class. Cue downing coffee and granola and throwing on workout clothes. Willa and Brendan came along too. After Willa's nap, I took Willa to the library, so Brendan could get some work done. Our local library is an awesome place for kids, but I normally avoid it because it's packed on the weekends. But on a Monday afternoon? Pretty much had the place to ourselves (minus a few other kids). Willa wasn't totally content to stay in the HUGE perfectly age appropriate play area...instead, she crawled all over the library, pulling up on shelves and getting mad whenever I deemed it necessary to move her. She was way interested in a big kids play table that she had to stand on her tip-toes to reach. Our girl is officially a toddler. 

I checked out a couple of books and spent the hours after Willa's bedtime reading the non-fictional book Bringing up Bebe (I'm almost 200 pages in). 

It was a lovely break, despite Willa resisting using a bottle or cup at all. I've been adding liquid to everything she eats, and we've ordered a fourth brand of sippy cup. I'm down to only nursing 2X a day, so we really need her to take milk from either a bottle or cup! Suggestions? 

The break was definitely over this morning when Willa woke up with a 101.7 fever. Brendan taught, then we switched off baby care, so I could make my one-on-one afternoon conferences. If you're thinking we've been sick a lot this semester, you're right. I think every other Monday or Tuesday one of the three of us is sick. It's been an extremely tough semester (not just for us, but for everyone in the division). Brendan facetimed me at work to tell me Willa's fever had gone up to 103.5. I was able to make her a late afternoon doctor's appointment and take her, so Brendan could get some work done. On the way home to get her, I frantically called my mom and basically begged her to "get in the car right now and come. Please." Brendan is organizing a huge poetry awards celebration on Thursday, and we are just swamped with end of the semester grading and needing to meet with students (finals are less than two weeks away). My mom packed up and left Austin immediately and made decent time (6 hours) despite stopping in Garden City (38 miles away) for a "Tornado watch" that she said was the scariest thirty seconds of driving she has ever done in her life! It turns out, Willa simply has a cold, which is good news, but she'll be out of school at least tomorrow. Over here, we had mothball sized hail, and I was so worried about my mom all evening. But she made it safe (and I'm up so late because I'm trying to wind down). 

Wish us sleep and wellness! 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Living Room Updates

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Hello from my most unproductive day ever. Sometimes, all your plans for what you're going to accomplish go straight out the window, and that's my story today.

This week, we got an exciting delivery: our new living room furniture. You guys probably couldn't tell in my last home tour post because the photos were from so far away, but our living room chairs were extremely worn. How worn? Well, let's just say I basically had to convince the Habitat for Humanity worker we were trying to donate them to (they have a resale shop where 100% of the proceeds go to buying housing materials) to take them off our hands (he called his boss and she was like "Take them! Someone out there will want to reupholster them"), and thus, we now have our garage back.

So yes, the old chairs, while extremely cute, were also extremely worn. I've wanted to replace them for years. I've had them for over 10 years! And what, you ask, stood in my way faithful blog readers?


You see, Brendan had EXTREMELY HIGH standards for the replacement chairs (comfort, quality, color, price, material, size). Any suggestion I made or chair I dragged him to see he was not excited about. It's Brendan who actually sits in the chairs the most, so I had to get something he was going to be happy with.

Enter the Gigi swivel chair at Haverty's. Not only did it swivel "just the right" amount, it was the right size, we could customize the fabric, and it was super comfortable. Plus, it's the Gigi (Brendan's mom's grandparent name), so how could it not be right? While I was in Haverty's, I also looked at options for replacing the coffee table, since Willa kept nearly bumping her head on the old one. I quickly fell in love with the Beckett Storage Ottoman since we could use it as a giant toy chest and also customize it to match the chairs. 

I love our new furniture, and it's so kid friendly and comfy. We took a risk ordering one patterned chair, since it's in a fabric the cats typically scratch. So far, Lola has scratched it a little, so please comment if you have any tips for getting your cats to leave furniture alone.

The ottoman is great, and it makes sitting on the couch comfy in a whole new way. 

Plus, what parent doesn't want a giant toy chest that doesn't look like a toy chest?

So there you have it, our new and improved living room. I kind of want to change the rug and curtains now, but I'll wait until this summer and see what I think.

Hope your week is finishing up nicely (and that you are more productive than me today!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Willa's Birthday and Baptism

Greetings faithful blog readers,

As of today, we are parents of a one year old, and we can hardly believe it. Our first year with Willa was magical. This morning, she slept on my chest for over an hour, which was a perfect way to start the day because it reminded me of when they put her on my chest after she was born. Feeling her warm little body close to mine, existing in that not asleep but not awake state, was the perfect way to reflect this morning on how grateful I am for this little being that we desperately longed for. She is our dream come true, and we adore her.

This weekend, we were so lucky to have our family gather to celebrate Willa's first birthday and baptism. It was an incredible weekend.

We did Willa's party on Saturday. Her theme was Chica Chica Boom Boom (her favorite book), and we had so much fun decorating:

I was so proud of myself for thinking of this idea: we bought a palm tree shaped cooler on Amazon and some alphabet magnet letters. I taped them to the palm tree, and we had a cute "on theme" way to give guests fast access to all their drinks. As their party favor, we had the kiddos find the letters from their names on the tree and take them home for their fridge.

My other favorite part was Willa's cake! I had dreams of baking it myself, but wanted time to enjoy visiting with family. I ordered a cake with plain white icing and Buddy drew the amazing palm tree. Gigi thought of using peanut M&Ms as "coconuts," and I bought the alphabet letters and stuck them all on the side of the cake. It came out fantastic!

Decor and balloons from Party City transformed the dining room. Excited about potential reuse possibilities, I told my dad the theme for his 70th birthday this year is luau.

Speaking of pops, he provided us all with BBQ from Up in Smoke. We learned that BBQ for 20 can actually feed more like 40! Lesson learned! Brendan made the salad and the tomato, basil, mozzarella skewers.

The birthday girl herself had a fantastic time. Her sweet party outfit is from RuffleButts and was a gift from her Gigi. Buddy, Gigi, and Auntie Annie came all the way from Connecticut to celebrate!

I picked up a smash cake at the store, but Willa didn't care much for it! 

We were grateful to have my aunt Elaine and uncle John in from Georgetown and Elda (Willa's Godmother) in from Austin too (Lelie in this pic too!) 

Pops and Buddy:

Gigi and aunt Elaine:

We ended up with four of our friends and three kiddos between the ages of 1-4 at the party, and it worked out perfectly. The kids played so well together and seemed to have fun with Willa's toys (big surprise to me, since I'd assumed her baby toys would be boring, but I guess other kid's toys are fascinating). 

We had a fabulous day! After the party, I put Willa to bed and baked two grapefruit olive oil pound cakes (the same pound cakes I made when I was in labor with Willa) for church, and then we played cards with our families. It was such a fun evening.

We were all up early on Sunday for Willa's baptism. Willa's godmother, Elda, gave her her beautiful handmade silk dress, headband, sweater, and shoes, and a beautiful cross necklace. We are so excited to have Elda be Willa's godmother because she truly has such an inspiring faith. She really is someone that exudes Christian qualities: she is a patient, generous, loving, forgiving, and open person. I have seen how her faith has been a source of healing, comfort, and transformation, and I hope Willa and I both can learn from her. I've known Elda since I was about 8 years old, and she has known Brendan since our relationship began 8.5 years ago.

During the service, all our family members got to gather around the baptismal font. Willa did really well with the whole thing. Brendan and I both felt emotional. Everyone at St. Nick's has been so welcoming to us. It means a lot to have this whole new community and also for them to be able to meet our families.

Today was the grand finale for the first birthday. We went to Willa's school with blue bell ice cream cups for all her teachers and classmates. This was her reaction upon seeing us:

We took her to her favorite park after work, and let's just say she was a bit tired: 

I hope our sweet girl sleeps well tonight. Thank you to everyone that has reached out with love for our girl. My wish for her on this birthday is that she has love and support in abundance. I guess this will be my last post to tag with "baby;" toddler years, here we come! 


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