29 January 2014

. dear eileen .

Dear Eileen -

You are now 18 [and a half] months old! I can hardly believe what a little PERSON you've become. It's quite fascinating to watch you develop and meet the personality inside you!

  • your 18 month clothes are getting too tight (mostly around your belly, if we're being honest)
I just ordered you some "big kid" clothes for this Spring/ Summer...
how is it that I have a "big kid" now?!
Eileen's 18 month Doctor appointment

  • you've exceeded all the 18 month "expectations" which is pretty cool!
Your teachers report that you know your colors, many shapes,
letters, animals & sounds, and some numbers

  • you know many words, most of which we cannot understand. but at least YOU know what you're saying.
  • you know any sign language having to do with food....
  • you carry all your weight in a giant belly
  • you love being outside! whether it's hot or cold, you're excited to be there
Eileen enjoying some snow and a frozen nose!

  • your teachers bet that you will be a singer and/or dancer. you really do sing all day (and night).
we hear reports that upon waking from your nap, you immediately start dancing.
apparently the shoulder bounce is your signature move.
  • you love lights! so much so, that we hung a string of stars on a wall in your room just to make you smile!
  • you have 12 teeth! 
  • you love stickers (so far, we successfully distract you with non-stick decals!)
Eileen doing what she does with stickers (decals!)

You are ALWAYS playing, reading, or running. You are never still! 

We love watching you grow!


14 October 2013

. to jax .

Eileen and I embarked on a "Grandparent Trip" last weekend. Sans David.
Girls' weekend! What what!!

We spent a long and relaxing 3 full days at my parents' home in Jacksonville, Florida, where I grew up.

Travel was pretty decent, considering she is a 15-month old child. Eileen has flown several times now, however it is harder to keep her occupied and comfortable the older she gets.

Highlighting our trip down was Eileen's colorful puking incident on the taxi ride to the airport. She hurls like a lady, I'll give'r that. It didn't even smell bad. Since our driver did not understand a lick of English, he didn't know what I said when I politely and calmly told him, "Excuse me, my daughter just threw up on your back seat." ::silence:: .... Begin mission: clean-up.

Considering that any time spent pulling over to tidy ourselves would have delayed our arrival to the airport (getting to JFK on a Friday afternoon is not exactly quick), I calmly began  cleaning  wiping down Eileen and myself, as well as the leather seats, using our one and only travel blankie. [ R.I.P. pretty Aden + Anais blanket ]

I can proudly say I made it to the airport with a calm baby and didn't smell too too bad. We were good on time and made our way to the nearest Delta lounge to change, and hopped on the flight.

Also, score for me bringing only a carry-on. I can't remember the last time that happened, and with Eileen comfy-cozy in her Ergo, it was easy-peasy. Two thumbs up.

I *love* spending time with my parents and was so excited to see them waiting for us in the airport rocking chairs. My brother (Eileen's Godfather) came to Jacksonville to see us, too. We visited some friends, and then some came over to my parents' on Saturday night for food and fun.
[ No pics! What?! Bad Sarah. ]

My girlfriends didn't tease me too badly about the diet that prevented me from eating their delicious food. Instead of going out for tapas & 'tinis with the girls, we did hair and laughed a lot. No, seriously-- Check out this bodacious hair wand that has me totally geeking out.
And if you think that sounds like a middle school sleepover, you're right; it was very similar. Not complaining :)

My parents were ecstatic to see and hang out with Eileen. It's always amazing to see how much kids grow in a few short months!

This trip, Eileen showed off several new[-to-her-grandparents] skills, including:

- Running and playing with big kids

- Eating "real" food in big pieces

- Pointing to her facial features, especially showing her teeth (still holding at 5)

- Flashing everyone when asked where her belly is

- Flashing everyone when not asked where her belly is

- Completing puzzles like a boss

- Exclaiming "mo-mo!" when Sesame Street is on (a.k.a. Elmo)

- Stacking blocks

- Coloring  pretty pictures  lots of scribble

- Serenading us with her rendition of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

On Sunday evening, my mom made me go through all my boxes of  crap  beautiful childhood memories. I think her end-goal was to reduce the number of boxes and/or have me take some/all of it home... I accomplished both and found some pretty awesome pictures and totally useless plaques & trophies along the way.

Here's one of my best friends, Sonja, and I ... circa 1998. Crazy that we've known each other for 20 years now, that's most of our lives! Apparently we love each other:

Jacksonville never disappoints, and I'm glad that we'll be back soon for a friend's wedding.

Fortunately, our return trip was less eventful than arrival. All except for the non-existent storm that canceled flights arriving into the NYC airports, forcing us to hang out one extra night. That didn't cramp our style too badly, and we had dinner with parents and friends again!

Lots of fun traveling with my wee one :)

01 October 2013

. the cleanse .

Today is the first day of our super fun new diet.

I always joked that I wanted a sign in our kitchen that says "The diet starts tomorrow." Not just because it's funny (come on, it's pretty funny), but because we enjoy cooking and trying new foods so much that we found ourselves saying these words whenever we merely broached the subject of dieting...

Today the new diet actually did start.

Our main goal is to feel better-- not be tired during the day, sleep better at night, and maybe we'll shed a few lbs along the way as an added bonus.

I'm typically VERY skeptical of diets because they remind me of get-rich-quick schemes. David and I are not nutrition junkies or super athletes over here. We are moderately active, and our clothes fit well. I have always assumed that as long as we stay away from junk foods and watch our portions, we'll be fine. But why do we still feel gross all the time?

I believe a big part of the answer is there is a lot of crap (sorry, I just don't know what else to call it) we eat & drink on a daily basis, and this happens even though we try to eat moderately healthy. [Why does the 'bad' food have to be so yummy and convenient?!]

We have lately looked into various cleanses and other "clean eating" diets, and finally settled on a 30 day Paleo challenge called Whole30. It is a cleansing diet, so I guess we ended up with a hybrid of what we sought out.

Before we started I went to the library to research the human body.
Just kidding.
Side note: 
Do kids these days still do research at the library?

Forrealsies: I did my research across a number of different websites, and heard some pretty amazing testimonies of how the Paleo diet works to improve people's lives: physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

And maybe this sounds sappy, but I want that.

And maybe this is naive, but I think that eating "real" food can help get me there.

In [a very brief] summary, the Paleo diet preaches getting away from processed, refined, artificial foods, and instead eating only "real" food. (Isn't this what we've been hearing the last decade or so?) It can be easily broken down into 2 lists: "Yes" foods and "No" foods
  • YES = meat & fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds
  • NO = sugar, grains, legumes, dairy ... and anything else processed or otherwise created
So our new and improved food pyramid looks much like this:
Photo Credit: www.uplifers.com

In case you have not put all this together, it means I can eat eggs and bacon for breakfast every day forever and ever amen.
At least that's my understanding of it.

So David and I are going to eat "real" food for 30 days, cleanse our bodies of 'crap,' and see where that takes us.

This 30 days is pretty strict, but hear me out -- it's JUST 30 days! ..... I can suck it up.

Sure I'll miss a few happy hours with girl friends and my mom's amazing chili and chocolate croissants and ...
Wait... Why am I doing this again?

Here's to re-calibrating our bodies!! ::Cheers::

Stay tuned.... :)

My description above just barely touches the tip of the iceberg on this diet. If you're interested in more about the the Why's behind it or want to poke around some websites, I leave you with some super helpful Paleo links we'll be utilizing (among others):
PaleOMG . 

25 September 2013

. art spree .

We got art! Actually, we got a lot of art!
[Yes, "a lot" is two words. Shout out to my 6th grade English teacher. Thanks, Ms. Sordian!]

We have been wanting to add to our semi-empty walls, but cannot garner much enthusiasm for much of the generic artwork seen in stores. I much prefer seeing something awesome, loving it [for whatEVER reason], and getting it! Isn't that what makes art exciting? I think it's called "speaking to you," not to get cliche on you or anything ;)

There is an artist in our area who did an entire series of pieces from in and around Hoboken, our cute little town, called "Mile Square." This series of Ricardo Roig's pieces are ALL originals because they are individually screen printed. That said, once they're sold out, they actually *are* sold out!

Since some art has a tendency to hurt my wallet, we've been going one by one with these amazing Ricardo Roig pieces. Picking one out is half the battle, because they are all uniquely wonderful! Just last weekend we adorned our living room wall with this piece called "Washington Street," which is the main street in Hoboken.

"Washington Street"
I love that it is an original perspective of our neighborhood AND that we will have this with us for years to come, along with many memories!
*Mind you, these are photographs of the actual pieces, so lighting may be off!

It is a pretty interesting process Ricardo goes thru to create these one-of-a-kind pieces, which I won't bore you with here, but you can absolutely learn all about it in this video. In short, it is several layers of screen prints on one background colored paper, and the final product is something like I've never seen before.

Man, I'm not even being paid for this endorsement. He's so lucky.

When we went to pick up our framed Washington piece, we could hardly resist this one of Yankee Stadium!
"Yankee Stadium"
The coolest part of this piece is the detail in the shadow at the bottom, where you can see the silhouette of the stadium. 
This one is currently being framed and will eventually go in our office among other Yankee/ baseball memorabilia... With my husband's combined love of baseball and keen interior design sense, I imagine in five years or so, our office will look like Yankee Stadium threw up on the walls. It's a sickness, I tell you.

Moving on...

And THEN, I saw that Ricardo's work is on sale for Hoboken's Music & Arts Festival this weekend, so I went ahead and reserved one of my favorite pieces, a great view from one of Eileen's favorite play spots, Elysian Park.
"Elysian Park"
I never tire of this view... It's beautiful in the morning with the sun rising thru the buildings, and it's gorgeous in the afternoon when the setting sun reflects off of it. It's win-win, really.

While I enjoy collecting art when traveling, there is something about these pieces inspired from our neighborhood that we can really connect with. I never thought I'd collect so many from the same artist, but again, I just really love his work!

I'm so glad our friends Ben & Bri introduced us to his work. They purchased a piece recently just before they moved away from Hoboken, and it will always remind them of the wonderful time they spent living in Hoboken, friendships, and memories.

I'm so excited about all these new pieces and that I'll see them every day at home, and more importantly that we'll always have them to revisit these days. Looking forward to seeing Ricardo Roig's future work in and around NYC!

Check out Ricardo's shout out to us on his blog! We're practically famous!

15 September 2013

. typical saturday .

Fall came today!

We woke up with cool breezes coming thru the windows and a BRIGHT blue sky. We just *had* to get outside.

Unfortunately, getting outside right.this.second is not so easy with a 14 month old toddler.

. First we cuddled in "the big bed" [Eileen loves when she gets to play in our bed!]

. Next we  flew thru the pages of board books, throwing them in the air with a celebratory "Aaaaaaay!"  read some books .

. Then I prepared breakfast while Eileen  whined for me to play with her  watched Sesame Street.

Lately Eileen has done an excellent job of NOT throwing food on the floor and NOT tossing her plate in the air to exclaim "Done!" which I'm very happy about. I was worried we'd have to teach her how to use the hand-vac pretty early and get into trouble with child labor laws. But lucky for Eileen, our home is not under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Labor, and her fine motor skills are less than noteworthy. I guess we'll wait a couple years.

Eileen ate breakfast while I perused the new Vanity Fair over coffee (my *only* magazine vice!), and it was after this that I decided to dress her since it is always after a meal and bottle that she is  most vulnerable  happiest! Eileen recently got a buttload of clothes (yes, I said buttload. I'm also a 5th grader.) from OshKosh [Eileen is to OshKosh as Sarah is to J.Crew] that she loves to wear. So it was only after I ooh'ed and aah'ed at her adorable and perfectly Fall outfit that we were able to finally walk out the door.

Despite it taking longer than I'd like for us to get ready, we really do *love* that Eileen is ALWAYS excited to go outside. Her weird goofy excitement noises begin as soon as we ask her to get her shoes, and continue with her singing along [what musical is playing in her head? I wonder] while she rides in the stroller to whatever adventure she's headed to. Whether it's the supermarket or a party, she's ready to rock.

There is a Saturday morning Farmer's Market that always has entertainment for the kiddos. Today Eileen manned (toddlered?) the fruit stand, and dabbled in her artistic side with spud stamps [which would be super easy and economical to do at home too! view the Pin]

You guys watch the stand,
I gotta see these here spuds...

Check me out with spuds!

Clearly, Ei wanted the above photos to be candid in order to capture the moments, and that is the reason she isn't looking at the camera.

After the  gusts of wind  soft breezes tousled our hair, we mosey'd on over to the park. Eileen loooooooves the park. She is a jungle gym frequenter and quickly mastered the ascent to the slide after learning to walk [this was on her list of August goals, I'm sure].

She is a social toddler and loves playing alongside other kids. I try to observe from a safe distance to refrain from intruding on her play time, because she really has a good time on her own. I feel strongly that she deserves 'Eileen time' sans parent interference to explore and discover and interact!* This is hard at times because we simply adore playing with this kid!

That's why after the park we decided to  take selfies  take a scenic walk on our regular stroll by the river :)

Eileen: Yes, Mom. Super fun.
Me: Eileen, aren't we having FUN?!

Look at me,
taller than all those silly sky scrapers people fawn over.

The rest of the day went pretty quickly, but no less enjoyable. We walked home, walked back to the park for the cardigan I lost, walked home again, ate lunch, napped (who me? not me, silly!), met friends at another park, experienced mild claustrophobia as more people came to the park, walked around Hoboken with said friends to go to baby boutiques and mommy boutiques and get slurpies, and finally went home for family dinner.

My perfect Saturday was spent happily watching Eileen's sheer joy of being a toddler. Life hasn't changed too drastically in the past couple years, but my priorities sure are different. I am absolutely blessed and thankful that Eileen is safe, happy, and healthy.

Hopefully when she speaks, she'll have jokes; then it will be a truly awesome deal.