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Gone Fishing . . .

 

I am taking a break from the blog for the remainder of the summer to soak up our days together; rejuvenate; and continue working on completing the final step of my photography project!  I plan to be back, to the blog, sometime in September.  Thank you all, so very much, for reading the blog.  Whether you are a recent reader or have been following the blog for awhile, I am honored you take time to read the blog.  I am truly grateful.  Finally, as I take this break for rest and rejuvenation, I hope you find periods of rest for yourself as well.  Stay safe.

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Alex Related posts

Happy Summer!

 

Twenty Three Month and Twenty Fourth Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s twenty third month and twenty fourth month!  Alex is two, already!  We cannot believe it!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here; Alex’s nineteenth and twentieth months here; and Alex’s twenty first and twenty second months here).

“You will never have this day with your children again.  Tomorrow, they will be a little bigger than they are today.  This day is a gift.  Breathe and notice.  Smell and touch them.  Study their faces and little feet and pay attention.  Relish the charms of the present.  Enjoy today.  It will be over before you know it.” — Jen Hatmaker

This above quote is so true.  Our time with Alex is flying by.  Babies do not keep — Alex is turning into a little girl before our eyes.  This year has been really fun with Alex, and we have done our best to keep things as normal as possible for her during this time, as the last third of her second year has been impacted by COVID.  However, COVID has not stopped Alex.  She loves her books, and she goes to sleep with them and she wakes up with them in her crib.  She is still very curious about everything!  I think her favorite phrases are, “Help please,” and “What’s that?”  She has a big personality and is so strong in every way!  This spring we got rid of Alex’s paci, for good, cold turkey, after making it through quarantine/lock down!  For the first week, she would say, to us, “Where’s ‘pat pat!’  We told her that ‘pat pat’ went to help another child.  Then, she seemed to have forgotten about it, thankfully!  She also got her first hair trim this spring, and I kept a few locks of her hair for her Promptly Journal, which I do my best to keep up with.  Alex also loves to pick out her clothes, socks, and shoes each morning!  Alex’s car seats are now forward facing, and she seems to enjoy her car rides more, as a result, along with having more space for her legs and feet!  We also are transitioning her to the Stokke chair, as she is getting too big for her high chair.  She is also, currently, cutting her two-year molars, which is no fun.  We were able to get her into the dentist this month, as her spring appointment was rescheduled due to COVID.  She did fairly well, and her teeth are looking good, thank goodness, and I hope she got Doug’s teeth and not mine!  Before we know it, she will have all 20 of her baby teeth!  We have her two-year doctor’s appointment coming up — I am sure she will be off the charts, again, with her measurements!  We are already transitioning into size seven Pampers!

This spring, we got a small pool as our pool was not open, and Alex loves to play in it!  However, our pool did open late, with many restrictions and limitations, due to COVID.  Alex loves going to the pool — she has absolutely no fear of the water!  She is a little fish!  (A few videos of her in the pool are shown below!)  So, we get Alex to the pool several times a week, to take advantage of this time, so she can do some swimming, and we recently even got her to wear her goggles for a period of time.  She is learning to tread water a bit, currently, and she loves to jump in the pool!  Alex also really loves music, and she especially loves to dance to music, which she asks us to put on for her everyday!  This is still her favorite song, which we listen to daily!  She also loves art, especially painting!  She also loves to build with her Legos and Magna-Tiles with her Dada!  But her favorite thing to do is to look at books and spot objects, letters, numbers, and colors, etc.  She is recognizing more colors, letters, and objects everyday it seems!

Additionally, we celebrated Father’s Day at the end of June at home!  Doug set up Alex’s pool that day, and we all had fun!  Alex loved opening Doug’s Father’s Day gift we picked out for him, of course!  We also celebrated the Fourth of July at home.  Doug got Alex some sparklers, but they were not a big hit with Alex this year.  During this time, on these hot summer days, we have enjoyed taking the girls to get ice cream at Vaccaro’s and Rita’s, which they both truly love (and we eat our ice cream together in the car)!

Importantly, during this time, we celebrated Alex’s second birthday!  We cannot believe she is two-years-old, already!  It was quite a journey to parenthood, so we will always celebrate Alex’s birthday, as it is a very special day for us!  This year, due to COVID, we had Alex’s birthday celebration at home with the four of us followed by a trip to the pool, and take out for dinner!  Alex had a great day and we all had a nice time together!  She loved her rose cupcake we got her, as she ate it all up!  We had Alex’s second birthday cake, a butterfly cake, made at the same place as last year, on a smaller scale.  And, we also got Victory an unfrosted vanilla cupcake, which she loved, too!  (We were supposed to be on vacation this past week, over Alex’s birthday; perhaps, we can try again next year.)  And, we just finished putting all of the magnets on our fridge capturing Alex’s second year!

Alex is her own little person, and the time is going by so quickly, especially this second year.  Even though this pandemic is awful, it has been nice to have this period of time together that we would not have otherwise.  Alex is changing all of the time.  My favorite time of the day is putting her to bed at night after she is done playing.  We sit together in the glider and read books, and she spots letters, colors, and objects.  Then, she will cuddle before I put her in her crib.  I know this time will pass, but it is simply the best holding her in my arms, with her head pressed against my chest and I can feel her smooth, soft skin along with her damp curly hair.  I know one day, she will be too big for this, so I savor our present.

We are so grateful for this journey.  We are incredibly fortunate that we get to be Alex’s parents — it is the best job ever!  She is a bright, beautiful, amazing little girl!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty third month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex watering our plants!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex swinging!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty third month — Alex and Doug talking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some iphone images from Alex’s second birthday celebration!

 

 

 

 

There has been so much change in a year’s time!

 

 

 

Here we all are at age two!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex on her birthday surprised with her gifts!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex and Victory together on Alex’s birthday — Alex feeding Victory treats!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month, her second birthday — Alex having her cupcake on her birthday (she was not a fan of the candles lit!)

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty fourth month!

 

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex swinging on a bar with all of her strength!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex swimming with no fear!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty fourth month — Alex jumping into the deep end of the pool!

Dogs: Foster Child Development

 

In a recent article, a study finds that a family dog has the benefits of helping young children learn social and emotional skills.  Specifically, owning, walking, and playing with a family dog could encourage a small child’s social and emotional development.  The study found that toddlers from families who owned a dog, who participated in the study, were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems in comparison to preschoolers from families who did not own dogs, the researches found.  Even at this young age, toddlers can benefit from interacting with a pet while supervised.  Dog ownership has also been linked to responsibility, positive identity, and trust.

According to data, toddlers from dog-owning families were more likely to exhibit higher levels of prosocial behaviors, and they had lower overall difficulties.  Children who walked a pet dog with their families at least one day weekly and played with their dogs at least three times a week had higher prosocial scores than those who did so less often.  “These results highlight that even a small to moderate commitment to involving preschoolers in time spent walking with the family dog may provide important social and emotional benefits for young children,” the study said.  One current worry about children’s development and loneliness in the absence of friends and activities during the pandemic “fits nicely with the positive effects of dog ownership for young kids,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Center for Human Growth & Development at the University of Michigan, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Additionally, as separately studied in adults, children might have experienced “vicarious pleasure” and happiness when playing with the dogs, which can also lead to better prosocial behavior.  Animals are sentient beings with feelings and thoughts, but they can’t talk with us, Radesky said.  “You have to work to read what your dog is thinking and respond to their behavior.  That gets kids out of their headspace and more thinking about what another being is thinking,” Radesky said.  “That’s [the magical factor] of empathy and social reciprocity, meaning the back and forth of relationships that helps us heal during times of stress.”

Outside of children, there are so many benefits that adults derive from having a dog, which we have experienced.  We will always have a rescue dog in our family.  Biscuit and Victory have added so much to each of our lives, and we cannot imagine life without a furry family member.  We literally refer to Victory as our ‘older daughter,’ our regal princess!  Alex loves having a fur sister, and their bond is unique; and Alex understands more and more about Victory (and other dogs) as she grows older.  Alex affectionately spots and refers to every dog as a “baby” or “puppy!”  She loves dogs, and I hope that she always will, as a result of growing up with Victory!  Simply put, dogs make life so joyful!

Loving: Summer 2020

Happy summer!  Summer is here, despite the ongoing pandemic.  Below are a few things I have been recently loving this summer!

 

 

1. Podcast: The Way We Live Now — I love this podcast!  The episodes on this podcast are relatively short, and the content is really interesting and timely, providing insights into others’ lives during this time.  I highly recommend!  And, Episode 31, is one of my favorites!

2. Money Heist  — Doug had heard that Money Heist was really good!  We do not get to watch too much television, but we have been watching this show, in the evenings, and it is really good and quite addictive!  (It takes us much longer to get through a series — gone are our days of binge watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu!)

3. Dog I.D. Tag — We recently had to replace Victory’s I.D. tag, and we really love this one.  It is small and simple, while containing the necessary information.

4. GLDN Necklace — For Mother’s Day Alex (and Victory) got me this necklace with her name engraved on it.  I love it.  It is simple and lovely!

5. Chesapeake Bay Candle  — I love this line of candles!  A good friend gave me one for Mother’s Day this year!  They come in a variety of scents, and they smell really great!  I have given them to friends who have also loved them, too!  We have been lighting candles a lot more in the evenings during this time, and they are a nice way to end the day.

6. The Conscious Parent —  This book by Shefali Tsabary is very good.  I am part way though, and I have learned so much helpful information that I was not aware of prior to reading.  There is always so much to learn, each day, raising a little person!

You can view other things I love here!

What’s Bringing You Joy Right Now?

 

Due to COVID, this summer looks a bit different than past summers.  Presently, we are enjoying the pool that Doug set up for Alex, on Father’s Day, as our neighborhood pool has been closed, including the pool where Alex took her swimming lessons prior to COVID.  So, we are making due with this pool, for now; and, fortunately, Alex really loves it!  She especially loves getting in and out of the pool, while playing with her toys!  It entertains her for hours, which is so great!  And, it is even big enough for her to lay down on her tummy and move around the little pool!  So, we are enjoying the small things together.  Due to COVID, we have all been home, together, and we have all bonded even more.  Alex really loves her Dada, who is her favorite person right now, who she wakes up asking for, who plays with Alex for hours and reads all of Alex’s book requests on demand!  During these challenging times, these little things matter more than ever.

What have your silver linings been these days?  What has brought you moments of joy?

Elisabeth Eagan: Life Advice for My College-Bound Daughter

 

Elisabeth Egan is a novelist and essayist, and she writes about parenting.  Below is a brilliant letter she wrote to her daughter, when she headed off to college…

The time is fleeting with our little people, and I am sure many women have felt similarly, as described below.


I was 14 when my family moved my sister into her freshman dorm at the school where our parents met.  I don’t remember the official goodbye, but I do remember what happened when we got back into our mauve Mercury Sable with its suddenly huge backseat and opera blaring from the speakers.  My mom turned to my dad and said, “If she doesn’t wave one more time, I think I’m going to die.”

Despite her passion for ear-splitting arias, my mom doesn’t do emotional outbursts in real life.  Her response to any injury, from a paper cut to a fractured pelvis, is “You’ll live”; she tosses heartfelt cards in the garbage without a second thought (“What? I read it already”); and, on the morning of my dad’s funeral, she actually said, “No blubbering, girls.  We’re channeling our inner Jackie Kennedy.”

The day we dropped my sister off at college was the one time I’ve ever witnessed the faltering of my mom’s stiff upper lip.  I can still see her profile — hand clasped over mouth, eyes filled with tears — as she watched her firstborn walk across a courtyard to the high rise she’d call home for the next nine months.  Thankfully, at the last possible moment, my sister turned and shot us a dazzling smile.  Then she lifted both arms overhead, gave us a double wave and stepped through a door held open by someone else’s sweaty dad.

She was gone.  We drove away.

My mom cried for the next four hours, then sporadically for about a week.  I didn’t have much sympathy.  I was deep in the sneer and loathing phase of adolescence, and my sister had been so ready to go, she’d taken her shower caddy for a summer-long test run, leaving me without shampoo or saline solution in the bathroom we shared.  Plus, there were the clothing leftovers for me to feast on in her closet!  And the cassette tapes to steal!

Now that my oldest kid is graduating from high school and getting ready to leave for college, I see my sister’s leave-taking in a new light — the light of parenthood, which is one of the brightest bulbs there is.  In a funny, happy twist, our daughter is going to the school where my husband and I met 25 years ago.  She is as ready for the next phase as her aunt was, and as likely to make a beeline into it with arms open wide.  She may toss us a bonus wave at the last minute, but will not permit a love- and advice-fest in the parking lot.  And, unlike my mom, I’ll definitely want to host one.  So here, in no particular order, are the important things I’d say to my daughter if only she’d hang around long enough to listen.  The most important one is at the very end.

  1. I love you.  I’ll miss you.  Thank you.
  2. Ignore the New Jersey jokes.  Not everyone can be from a state as great as ours.
  3. I hope you’ll consider a hiatus from social media for the first ten days.  Scrolling through other people’s pictures may give you the false impression that your friends have settled effortlessly into their new schools.  This is just a filter.  If things are so great, why are they on Snapchat?
  4. Give orientation activities a chance even if they’re weird, boring, too early, too late or too far away.  I met one of my best friends on the bus back to campus after a canoe-jousting competition.  Have you ever known me to canoe-joust? No.  But I gave it a whirl that day, and we all love the wise, sparkly woman I met as a result.
  5. Along those lines: you’ve grown up among my college friends, but that doesn’t mean it was love at first sight with all of them.  Some are people I discovered after graduation; others I never would have stuck with if I hadn’t peeled away a few layers.  My point is, give people a chance.  Give them five chances.  However:
  6. Trust your instincts.  If someone seems like a creep, they probably are.
  7. Take your work to the library even if you have everything you need to get it done in your room.  There’s no place cozier than a college library at night.
  8. If you’re lucky, you will have long, late-night, soul-searching conversations with new friends.  You’ll trade stories about your high school, your town and your family.  Please go easy on us; we did our best!  And I’m definitely not the only mom who gossips, uses foul language, gets tons of parking tickets, drinks Diet Coke and steals her kids’ Halloween candy.
  9. Do not, under any circumstances, drink from a cup you haven’t filled yourself.  You never know what someone has slipped in there.  And definitely avoid punch, which is a recipe for trouble.
  10. I’m sorry I complained so much about picking you up from swim practice.  I’ll miss your red cheeks, your chlorine perfume and the gravity-defying bun on top of your head.
  11. I’ll miss your half-finished friendship bracelets taped to the dining room table.
  12. I’ll miss your trail of Cheez-Its on the kitchen counter.
  13. I’ll miss the thud of your backpack in the hallway and the particular rhythm of your feet on the stairs.
  14. Thank you for loving the books I love, with the glaring exception of Anne of Green Gables.
  15. Thank you for being the best big sister.  I can’t say anymore on this topic without crying so, moving on…
  16. Your room is an appalling disaster.  Still, I understand why the pets flock to your bed.
  17. When someone invites you to do something you don’t want to do, you don’t owe an explanation for why you’re declining.  You might say, “Sorry, I’m not going to be able to make it,” or “I have other plans, but thank you for thinking of me!”  Or just plain, “No, thanks.”  Don’t wait until your forties to learn how to say these words.
  18. You’ve already had the experience of not being invited to do something you wanted to do.  Watching you make other plans reminds me why I picked Grace for your middle name.
  19. Complicated relationships aren’t more meaningful than easy ones, they’re just more work.  The best people are the ones who make you laugh.  This applies to friends and lovers. (Yes, I said lovers. I couldn’t think of a better word!)
  20. Have fun!  Ride a cafeteria tray down a snowy hill, jump in a pile of leaves, make mug cakes at midnight.  You’re there to learn, but your brain needs a break.  And I’m not talking about back-to-back Grey’s episodes on your laptop.
  21. Listen carefully — to classmates, professors and the sound of the wind.
  22. Ask questions, ask for directions, ask for help.  Even if you think you can find what you need on Google, ask a human being.  We still know more than our phones.
  23. You’ve come to me with problems I didn’t have solutions for.  This is a strange feeling for a parent, like being upside down on a rollercoaster.  The upside is, I’ve watched you make good decisions on your own — which is not to say all your decisions will be good, or have to be good.  Just that you have the tools to make a smart call.  I admire that.
  24. You don’t need an earth-shattering reason to go to your professors’ office hours.  Just show up; they’re waiting for you and sometimes they have snacks.
  25. There are free condoms in the health center.
  26. Get a job, and please don’t waste all your money on chai lattes.
  27. I’d aim to do laundry once a week, which is roughly three times more than you do it at home.
  28. Be brave.  Go rock-climbing (on actual rocks); take an engineering class; join a singing group; be the hallmate who organizes a trip to see a lecture you saw advertised on a flier in the student center.  (Do they still have fliers?)
  29. Failure is an option, although I prefer to call it redirection.  You are the daughter of a writer, so you know what it means to start a story that doesn’t go anywhere.  The point is to start something, have the guts to admit when it isn’t working, and the gumption to begin again.  The world has an infinite supply of stories, but courage is a diminishing resource as you get older.  Dive in now.
  30. Try to resist the urge to “brand” yourself, which is so much less rewarding than establishing a meaningful, nuanced identity.  For instance, Daddy went for Deep Philosopher during our first semester of college; I went for Cheerful Girl (I’m sure this is hard for you to imagine).  Twenty years into our marriage, we still bump up against these boxes, which are empty and take up more room than they deserve.  Worth noting: we didn’t find each other until we’d stepped out of them.
  31. You know how I told you I’m your mother, not your friend? I lied.  I’m both.
  32. When you were in fourth grade, going through normal friend gymnastics — high bar, low bar, balance beam, backbend — I gave you a locket that my mom gave me for my tenth birthday.  Inside, I slipped a little piece of paper that said, “Be you.”  The locket is long lost to the sands of Maine, but the message remains the same.  Be yourself, no contortions required.  And know, with each step you take away from our house, that you are the living, breathing, blue-eyed, big-hearted embodiment of the word engraved inside your parents’ wedding rings: Beloved.

Elisabeth Egan is the author of A Window Opens and the author of @100postcards.

How Have You Been?

How have you been?  So much is really happening in our world right now.  It is really unbelievable.

I cannot believe summer is already officially upon us.  It is going to be a really different summer for us as we continue to navigate our way through this unchartered time we all find ourselves in presently.  This time is much different than our ‘normal.’  This summer there will likely be no trips, trips to the pool, play dates, or regular outings and activities.  Despite this, there have been gifts during this time as well.  Time has taken on a whole new meaning.  We no longer rush around; and we have all had time together that ordinarily would have never happened, given the circumstances.  I have also been able to finish my project and proposal during this time, which has felt like an enormous feat.  A lot of growth has occurred, even on days where we feel so exhausted juggling everything.  We have had the opportunity to witness Alex’s growth — she is growing like a weed and changing daily.  (We have also had the opportunity to work on listening, with Alex!  She loves to do everything on her terms with Mama and Dada!)  She is turning into a little girl, and I cannot believe she is turning two so soon!  She is so strong in every sense of the word.  Her name suits her well, we have found!

We did, however, have our first dinner out recently, while trying to figure out how to be as normal as we can, while being safe.  We did a picnic in the parking lot at Victory’s favorite BBQ place!  Victory was in great need of a morale boost!  It definitely has been a change for her as well!  We packed up the car, along with Alex’s high chair, and chairs for us, and we all had a great time together!  We have done lots of ice cream trips with the girls as well, which Victory really loves!  We are making the best of things, even though we do miss the ordinary spring/summer days we had prior to this virus.  Each day really is a gift.  I will never forget this time; and we will continue to persevere.

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.” — Maya Angelou

 

Some Happy News…

I have some happy news . . . I finally finished my long-term dog photography project after seven years of work, including a year of revisions!  I am very elated to have finished this body of work inspired by our sweet dear Biscuit, who changed my life forever.  It is just a feat to finish.  It was one of the hardest endeavors I have ever undertaken.  There were so many times I thought I would never finish; many times where I encountered problems that I had to figure out and resolve; many times I experienced intense fear; many times I felt like my revisions would never end; and there were many times where the path felt uncertain.  However, my desire to finish this body of work outweighed everything else, and I really learned to trust the process and journey.  I, ultimately, learned to have blind faith through this process.  I am ecstatic to be on the other side, which, often times, felt like I would never reach this point, during this process.  I learned so much about myself during this process, while seeing this project though to the end, through think and thin, which is the only way to make dreams happen.  (I previously wrote a blog post about what I learned during this creative endeavor, here.)  I am really proud of this body of work, and I hope that it will positively impact others; and, importantly, helps other dogs like Biscuit and Victory.  My blad and proposal are nearly complete, and I am excited to move onto the next steps of shepherding this work out into the world.

So, if there is something you really want to accomplish, it is possible, and I encourage you to try.  The Universe will always support you.  I am so sincerely grateful to my mentor, Deborah Samuel, who has helped shape my path and provides countless advice, feedback, encouragement, and support.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.  The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.  The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.  The often surprising result of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”  — Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

(Image credit: Morgan Harper Nichols).

Twenty One Month and Twenty Second Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s twenty first month and twenty second month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth months here; Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth months here; Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth months here; and Alex’s nineteenth and twentieth months here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she continues to grow like a weed and she has the loveliest hair curls — I think we might be getting close to her first hair trim in the near future!

Joan Didion said, “Life changes fast.  Life changes in the instant.”  This is so true, especially now.  Life as we know it has changed, greatly.  Things are very different due to COVID-19.  This post is different than Alex’s other blog posts, as during this period of time, we were in quarantine, which continues.   We have no idea when Alex will return to school; however, she is doing daily Zoom sessions with her class, which she enjoys.  I know that I will miss this time together, whenever this period ends.  We fell into a daily rhythm, early on, and we spend as much time as we can outside together, while embracing the nice weather, which has vacillated between warm and cold weather this spring.  Alex loves to run outside and burn her energy, always.  Alex loves spotting puppies and other animals, while on our walks.  Our Governor left one State Park open, which we frequent.  Alex absolutely loves throwing rocks with her Daddy into the river!  We have found new trails and places that we have never been during this time, as everything is closed.  During our walks and hikes together, Alex loves collecting sticks and she is in love with storm drains and water run off reservoirs — she finds them fascinating!  She also absolutely loves to do bubbles, too.  (We made sure we stocked up on bubble solution during this time, which has been hard to come by, along with other items, which we take for granted!)

Alex continues to change all of the time.  Her favorite song, currently, is “Skip to My Lou” — she absolutely loves it, and she dances to it as well!  She does not watch television, but she does like watching a few clips, at a time, of the Super Simple Songs.  Alex loves to FaceTime as well!  One of Alex’s favorite things to do is doing the Highlights “Find It” pages.  She is captivated with finding the items in the pictures; and she also enjoys greatly looking at her books asking us and telling us what is contained in the pictures.  Alex also loves looking and learning about animals in her Ranger Rick Cub magazine.  She is learning to count and she recognizes some letters, already!  She is talking more each day, too!

We celebrated Easter at home with Alex and Victory!  They seemed to have a great time with their Easter baskets!  We also spent Mother’s Day at home filled with beautiful weather and a fun walks together, along with take out for dinner!  I am so grateful.  I still cannot believe Alex is almost two-years-old!  The time is flying too fast and we are doing our best to savor it.  Due to the COVID-19, we cancelled her birthday plans, this summer, and we will celebrate at home together instead.  And, we will also likely cancel our vacation plans as well.  I will always remember this time for many reasons.  We will have many stories to share with Alex, someday, when she is older, from this time together!  I do my best to capture our time together via photographs.

Alex still cuddles with me before bed and she sits with me in the glider where she loves to spot items in her Highlights and her books with me before bed.  She is sleeping and napping really well these days, thankfully, and she is eating well, too!  Everything is always changing and it is all so fleeting.  What I will remember from these months is how she wakes up talking to herself in her crib, while looking at her books, which she loves.  She is entertaining herself more in the mornings, which is great, especially during this time of great juggling between everything!  Victory and Alex are closer than ever.  Alex’s new hobby is feeding Alex from her high chair!  Victory, I believe, has no complaints!  Alex and Victory are always up for an outing and adventure!   We took the girls to get ice cream on more than on occasion, and we all ate our ice cream in the car together!  Alex is becoming her own little person right before our very eyes, and she is looking more, and more like a little girl!  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty first month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex riding her Roadster!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex trying the Peloton for the first time!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty first month — Alex and Doug throwing rocks into the river together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few iphone images from Alex’s twenty second month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex dancing on her hands to Redbone!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex feeding Victory some food!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex and Doug flying a kite together!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twenty second month — Alex running over a bridge!

What Does this Make Possible?

We are already into the eighth week of being in quarantine.  This is a scary and uncertain time, and the whole world feels crazy and bizarre.  I understand how uncertain this time can feel, and I hope you are able to transform this storm into a season of growth. 

I know this pandemic is causing pain across the globe.

People are sick and scared; they are hungry and desperate.

Many small business owners scramble and wrestle with some big questions.

Those that work in the retail or the service industry jobs are feeling another layer of pain and fear through all of this.

Brave medical personnel and other front-line personnel around the world are literally putting themselves at risk for each of us.

I am also watching a shift occur.

We are home.

We are spending time with loved ones.

We have the space to try new things.

We have the space to explore nature.

We have the space for introspection.

So many of us are falling in love with a new kind of simplicity.

People around us are longing for clarity, peace, and hope.

Through this experience, thus far, I have learned that a simpler life is not a limited life.  When this quarantine is over, I have no idea how things will look; but, I know that I will likely treasure my days together with our little family, even with the difficult days, the uncertainty, and the juggle of it all.  It is a time I will never forget for so many reasons, and we all get a choice how we choose to show up during this time.

What does this time at home make possible?  How can you grow and evolve intentionally during this strange season?

Wishing you peace, health, and safety.