Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Day of Pre-K

Annie loves feeling like a big kid -- actually, she loves pretending to be a grown up the most, but feeling older is a theme with her and clearly something she can get behind.  So on Monday, when she officially started Pre-K, she was pretty excited.  We met her new teacher, Ms. Jo, last week and we already knew a couple of friends in her new room.  All of that, plus the sheer knowledge that she was in Pre-K instead of Preschool this year, seemed to alleviate any first day jitters.

Daddy got a nice first day of school hug from our big Pre-K-er.
Before we left for school, I told Annie I wanted to take her picture with a First Day of School sign.  In the category of "things I let bother me that are really insignificant," I completely forgot the whole first day sign thing last year and ended up making one after the fact and I have never really let that go (I told you it was insignificant), so I was sure to print off a sign this year.  And Annie was completely on board with the at home photo session.  She was suggesting locations in the house and yard to take the pictures, and giving me suggestions for how to get the best shots.  "Take one by this tree, Mommy." "I'm going to hold the sign over here, so it doesn't cover up my dress."  "Was that a good one, Momma?"  She really has photography production down.  Not that she ever has her picture taken or anything.
This might have been the moment I realized we had taken enough pictures. :)
Before her first day, I conducted a little interview with Annie, asking her some questions I found online that I thought we might like to remember the answers to.  Here's what four year-old Annie had to say.

Annie's Pre-K Interview

I am ___4 Years Old _________________________
My teacher is ____Ms. Jo______________________
My favorite food is ___oranges_________________
My favorite animal is ___a giraffe_______________
My favorite thing to do is ____play______________
The coolest person I know is ____Mommy and Daddy_____
I am good at ____coloring_____________________
When I grow up I want to be a ___mommy, nurse, and doctor__
My favorite toy is ___my baby and my princess phone_______
My favorite movie/show is ___Daniel Tiger, Tinkerbell, and Ariel_____
My favorite snack is ___gummies_______________
My favorite colors are ___purple, pink, and red____
My favorite place to go is ___the Farmer's Market (for popcorn)______
I am excited about school because ___of my new teacher____________

So there you have it - Annie's deepest thoughts and hopes as a four year-old.  I am already looking forward to looking back at this list of questions some day and remembering how she is right now, excited that her school day no longer requires a nap and eager to see what her new school year holds in store.
Mommy got a first day of school hug too, as it turns out.

And she's off...
And finally, a comparison photo - first day of school 2015 and first day of school 2014.  *sniff *

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Re-Introduction...Maybe

I used to blog fairly often.  If you ever followed me then, you know I would write about Annie’s development, my feelings about being a new mom, and baby-related things like that.  As Annie grew and I got more comfortable in my new Mommy title, I wrote less frequently.  Not because things weren’t happening, but probably because they were.  I got caught up in the actual act of being a momma and lost the time and, to be honest, desire to write about it.  I didn’t need the emotional outlet quite as much because our family sort of settled into itself and I gained a little confidence in my ability to actually keep my child alive and (reasonably) happy.

But I find myself missing having this blog as a resource, as a reference of the road we have traveled so far as a family.  Every once in a while, I will return here to see what was happening in our lives two or three years ago.  So I’m wondering if I maybe should put a little time into starting this back up.  Just maybe.

The reality is that Annie provides me with countless amounts of material for a blog, now that she is a spirited, chatty, opinionated little four year-old person.  She is like a tiny adult now, and the things she says and does and the way we interact should certainly be preserved somewhere for posterity.  It is almost impossible for me to imagine that there may come a day when I don’t remember all that she is right this second, but I am reasonable enough to know that that time will likely come.  Not even the 4,000 (and that is not an exaggeration) pictures on my phone will be all the reminder I will need of what she is like as a preschooler.  So maybe I should capture some moments in writing once again.  Just maybe.

I guess I am only writing this as an introduction – a preface to the blog I am thinking about once again writing.  Because maybe if I write one entry, I will be more compelled to write another.  And another.  And another.  Just maybe.

Until then, I will leave you with some pictures of Annie these days.  I won’t try to catch up on more than a year and a half of missed moments, but here are a few of the summer of 2015 so far.

She went and turned four years old on us a few weeks ago.  And graduated to a pedal bike with training wheels - which was a very big deal for her.

She's so proud.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful, Part 2 - The Attitude Adjustment

When I was a kid and behaving a little, um, badly, my mom would tell me to straighten up or she would give me an "attitude adjustment."  As in, I had a bad attitude and that needed to be fixed.  As it turns out, even though I am now an adult, I still need an attitude adjustment every now and then, and this last week or so has really exposed that truth.

Fact #1: I am not a very flexible person.  It always surprises me when people tell me that I am laid back.  I guess in some situations I must come off that way, but let me tell you, that is not my true personality.  Instead of being go-with-the-flow, I am one of those people who has in mind exactly what the boat I'm sailing is supposed to look like, knows exactly which way the current is supposed to be going, and is not at all good at adjusting to changing water flow.  This leads to some issues with stress and contentment and patience - when I have in my mind how a scenario is supposed to play out and it doesn't, I'm not so good at repositioning my expectations.  At least not immediately.  I get there, but it takes some time.

Fact #2: The type of person I described in the preceding paragraph is not the type of person who handles major life disturbances very well.  What do I mean by "major life disturbances?"  Oh, you know, something like remodeling a large part of your home.  You know, like a kitchen remodel or something.

Did I mention that we are currently remodeling our kitchen?

So here's the thing, I knew going into the Great Kitchen Renovation of 2013 that it was going to be hard for me to be okay with the upheaval a big project like that brings to the home.  I knew I wasn't going to approach such circumstances as a refrigerator in the living room or doing dishes in the basement with a breezy, "oh whatever" attitude.  I knew that.  David knew that, bless his heart.  And there have actually been moments when I have surprised myself with my ability to say "oh well" when the toaster and the coffee pot going at the same time in our makeshift "triage" kitchen (as David calls it) cause the fuse to blow.  Every morning.  (We won't talk about why I always forget that and keep trying to work everything at the same time)  However, I have also been rather astonished by the emotional reaction I have had to things like the toilet seat lid breaking amidst the chaos, the piano being housed in the middle of the living room (right next to the refrigerator), and the sink ending up in Annie's bedroom.   Like, silent tears in the car kind of emotional reaction - or unreasonable lashing out at my husband who is working his tail off creating a masterpiece in our own home.

And that, my friends, is where the attitude adjustment comes in.  This season of physical clutter in our home has really given me a reality check.  One I think I desparately needed.  There is nothing like finding yourself standing in the corner of your basement, muttering to yourself, because at least it feels normal to have a mess there, to make you realize how out of whack your idea of a "problem" is.

You see, I am a tremendously lucky woman.  I have a talented, hard-working husband who is dedicating hours, days, weeks, and months to giving me the kitchen I have always wanted.  A husband who is so skillful at what he does that he is truly an artist of his craft.  I live in a sweet little home that is warm and safe and inviting, in a neighborhood that offers us everything we could ever want.  And I share that home with the previously mentioned amazing husband and the sweetest, funniest, smartest, most beautiful little girl I could have ever dreamed of having.  We have family who love us and support us at every turn - who pitch in with the work and clean up the mess and take care of yard work we don't have the time or energy for and take us in when this momma can't take the disorder another day.  And we have amazing friends who share their homes and their dinners and their encouraging words with us when the projects seem overwhelming. 

And when I think of it all that way, I am honestly ashamed of how inflexible I can be.  How ungrateful I am to get so tied up in the process and how it might inconvenience me a little that I completely lose sight of what a real problem is.  Although we didn't plan in the beginning to be in the middle of a construction project during Thanksgiving, the time of year certainly is helping me change my attitude to see the gift that this renovation is, instead of the stress it may bring.

The early days of the project...

Of course, I will still have my inflexible moments - my freak outs and fits of selfish whining.  That's really why I am writing this post...as a reminder to myself that eating dinner at your coffee table off of paper plates with the refrigerator literally an arm's length away really isn't the end of the world.  Writing this helps me see that.

And you know what else helps?  Pictures like these, that enable me see the beautiful room that will very soon be ours.  And the people I will share it with.

The results so far...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful - Part 1 (Back in Action)

Well, I've given blog neglect a whole new meaning in recent weeks/months, haven't I?  I'll spare you the explanation of how busy we have been, blah blah blah, and cut right to a new blog post.  You don't want to hear excuses anyway, I'm sure.  But for anyone reading this, thanks for sticking with me.

November ranks right up there as one of my all time favorite months.  I'm going to go on record right now and admit that I am one of those people who can't get enough holiday spirit.  I don't put up a tree in September or anything, but I get a kick out of the local 24/7 Christmas radio station and I wander around aimlessly in Target, staring at trees and lights and wreaths and ornaments.  Annie has already picked out her first Christmas tree ornament for this year - a very classy white knitted owl (girl has good taste), and even in the cluttered midst of our kitchen renovation project (more on that below) I have managed to find a few of the Christmas scented candles I bought on sale last year and have them ready for lighting at a moment's notice.

But the biggest reason November ranks so high in my list of favorite months is the spirit it naturally inspires to think about blessings instead of wants, to focus on what I have instead of what I think I need.  And so in the spirit of November and Thanksgiving, I am going to try (and try really hard) to have a few blog posts about the little things I am thankful for.   Here's my first batch...

I am thankful for fall holidays spent with my sweet little family and enjoyed with our friends.  Here are a few pictures from Halloween 2013, with Annie sporting her "baa baa" costume.

I am thankful for a husband who has the skill - and the patience! - to do a complete kitchen renovation essentially on his own.  I now know what gutting a kitchen looks, and feels, like.

I am thankful for Annie's bathtime selfies.
You know, cause they're cute.

And her recently found love of smiling for the camera. (I may not be so thankful for this later on, but for now it sure does make taking her picture easier).

And that's just a start.  We have lots to be thankful for in this house of ours.  I plan to do my best to remind myself of those things.  Daily.  So here's to being thankful...and to blogging again!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


It's been a little while since I have written anything for this little blog - well, since I've written anything I felt compelled to actually post (I have a folder of unpublished posts just sitting there, waiting for inspiration to finish them or for the right moment to share them).  And in this entry, I'm likely to go a little stream of consciousness, but I'll try to make it all connect.  So I hope you'll stick with me.

A couple of nights ago, Annie, David, and I were at one of our favorite local establishments.  It is a great place to take a toddler because she can run around when she gets tired of sitting at one of the picnic-style tables, without anyone really caring or looking at us like we are negligent parents.  At one particular point in the evening, David was outside with Annie, entertaining her, and I was alone at our table, left with my thoughts and my observations of those around us.  At a nearby table, there was a group of four young adults - early to mid-twenties, I'm guessing.  I watched them for a moment, as they talked about something other than daycare and how to get a kid to eat vegetables. Although I couldn't really hear what they were saying, I imagined they were talking about politics and religion and the controversial issues of the day.  They may have been talking about what some girl they didn't care for was wearing at a party, but in my head they were concerned about their world and working to solve its problems.

And I found myself mentally telling them, "Enjoy these days.  It won't be this way forever."  Before too long, at least a couple of them are likely to get married, and probably one of those, if not more, will have children.  Life won't always be about having the time to sit at a table, drink a beer, and just talk about thoughts and dreams and ideas.  Someday they will have someone else to be responsible to - and maybe even someone else to be responsible for.

As I sat there, watching them, I very distinctly remembered being one of them.  Sitting at a table with my friends, talking about life as I knew it then.  And you know what I remember most?  I remember how I used to sit at that table, eyeing the young couple with the cute little two-year-old daughter, wishing that was me.  I remember longing to find the one person I was supposed to walk through the rest of my life with - and wondering how that would ever happen.  I remember hoping for a child, wanting to be someone's mom.  And in my late twenties, especially, I remember sitting in restaurants and bars with friends and wondering when my life was going to change - change into that young family, running after their toddler.

And as I sat there and thought about those young people, I realized, in a couple years time, give or take, I will look back at the days I'm living right now - I will see someone mirroring the walk David and I take each day - and I will hope they are cherishing it for what it is.  I will hope they aren't getting caught up in the challenge and denying themselves the joy of just living the moment.  I will do to that future young couple what I was doing the other night to the group of singles.  I will wish them to know what I know now - I will hope they aren't wishing away their days, waiting for the next stage to hit.

Of course, I realize the implication for me for today.  I need to stop wondering what our next phase will be like - stop thinking about how things might be different when Annie is five or ten or (gasp) sixteen.  I need to just enjoy being that young couple I always wanted to be.  The couple with the cute little two-year-old daughter that they chase after and tease and who's laughter is, undeniably, the best sound in the whole world.

And now, a few pictures of this current stage of life:

Break time at the Farmer's Market.
Seriously, best thing ever.

Rocking a look.

She loves playing with Daddy.
It's breathtaking to watch your heart walk a few steps ahead of you.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

24 Months!

There are moments when I look at her...

And I honestly can't believe David and I are lucky enough for her to be ours.

When she is smiling her coy little smile, or intentionally trying to make us laugh, and then saying, "Annie silly."  Or when she sees me walk back in her bedroom after one of her not-as-effective-as-I-would-like time outs, and she smiles at me, seeming delighted to tell me the required, "I'm sorry" before she can get back up and play.  Or when I see her flirt with her daddy, pretending to run from him so that he will chase her, catch her, and tickle her, before the series starts all over again.

Two years ago, in the very first moment I saw her, I felt like she had always been with me.  And I knew that I loved her with every single thing I have in me.  But wow, I had no idea how it would feel to do just that every day from that precious moment forward.  Oh, the privilege.  Nothing in my life has ever been so monumental.  And I don't say that lightly, because finding David was a pretty life-changing experience! 

At 24 months old, Annie is sweet and sensitive and funny and empathetic.  She is smart and clever and, well, beautiful.  She gets girlier every day, as she develops a love of bracelets and purses and swirly dresses.  But she gets a little tougher every day too, crying less when she falls, and getting up a little faster every time.  She loves dirt and puddles and getting messy...she just asks to be cleaned up right away when that happens.

Having fun playing dress up at her friend, Audrey's, party.
She sings and she looks at books and she mothers her baby dolls and makes us all meals in her play kitchen.  She uses our phones or the remote control to have telephone conversations with Gaga or Nana and Papa  or with her friends that are always some version of: "Hello, Gaga! (pause) Talk to you later. (pause) Bye!"  She loves to paint and do art projects, occupying herself for a long time with a creative burst of color.  She remains just as busy as she ever has been, running from one project to the next, always eager to find something new to do.  And the bubbles, oh her love affair with bubbles right now.  She's obsessed.

At her 2-year doctor's appointment, she weighed in at 29.4 pounds (76%) and was 35 inches tall (also 76%).  So she continues to be a tall girl, which I suspected by the rate at which she is outgrowing her clothes...not that I mind the excuse to buy her more.

Simply put, she continues to make me feel so incredibly blessed.  Even on the days when she is grumpy or whiney (and yes, there are those days...I don't want to paint a picture that denies that), she still makes me one lucky momma.  And I adore her even more today than I did on the afternoon of June 29, 2011, when I met her for the first time.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


On Saturday, we celebrated two special years with our little girl.  I've given a lot of thought over the last few days as to the best way to commemorate that day on this blog.  And I'm not quite sure I have reached a decision.  But every time I think about what to write about what having Annie in our family has meant to me and to David, the words of Annie's current favorite song come to mind.  I think because in their simplicity, these words capture the very essence of what she brings to our lives.  I know it sounds sappy.  I know it sounds cheesy.  I know it sounds very rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust.  But it's true.  Annie is our sunshine...and there's no better time to say it out loud then on a special occasion like a birthday. 

"You Are My Sunshine"

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.

You make me happy
When skies are gray.

You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.

Please don't take
My sunshine away.

We love you, sunshine...our sweet Annie Cakes.  We can't wait to continue this family journey with you.

All photos courtesy of my very talented husband and father-in-law.  A huge thanks to them for capturing the spirit of our little girl.