Friday, December 03, 2010


Sometimes I forget to record some of Des' cuteness....
  • This morning he ran around asking to listen to "Alejandro." When it played on the radio, Peter and Des had their own dance party. Score one for you, Lady Gaga.

  • Des stared intently at the Christmas tree we just put up. When asked what he was doing he replied, "Practicing my sneer." We must be reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas too much.

  • Trying to distract Des from a tearful fit I said, "Desmond, look there are tears coming out of your tear ducts." He stopped crying, seriously looked at me and said "Do they say 'quack, quack?' "

  • He has discovered lollipops. Today Des said, "This is the most beautiful lollipop Des has ever licked."

And by far the funniest (to me, at least):
  • At the library's used book sale I bought The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System. Des really loves it and talks about the planets a lot. As I sat on the toilet one day, he wanders in and asks, "Mom, what color is Uranus?" After a moment of shock I answered, "Blue-green."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Ultimate Weekends

Our fall Ultimate Frisbee season ended this weekend with our team finishings 3rd out of 17 teams. Each spring and fall for two months Peter and I sound like broken records when people ask about our weekend plans. "We've got a Frisbee game."

There are few things we enjoy doing together more than playing Ultimate. So we've kept playing since Des was born; he accompanies us to most games. While it's stressful at times to bring him with us, I like the fact that it's a family event and that we all spend several hours outside together. It is tremendously helpful that our teammates are kind and generous in helping us watch Desmond while we play.

I don't usually take photos at the games because it's too difficult to watch two precious items at once - Des and the camera. But we got a sitter for one day of our tournament last weekend, so I was able to snap a few shots.
Aw yeah, my man has some moves.

And he can play D too.

I like the runners' legs.

Frisbee love.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halloween 2010

We drove back from the beach on Halloween. While I had a hand-me-down ninja/karate costume on stand-by, I wasn't sure we'd trick-or-treat after just arriving home. But at the 11th hour we changed our minds and decided to take Des out.

In a span of 30 minutes, we went from unpacking the car to hyping up being a ninja, practicing "Trick or treat please," and doing "the moves" as Des calls them (ninja moves, that is). The world must be so fun and strange to toddlers.

Practicing "the moves."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beach Week

At the end of October we spent almost a week with Grandpa and Gran at the Outer Banks near Cape Hatteras. It was Peter's dream vacation - laid back and restful. I enjoyed hanging out with family (Aunt Meg and Ryan came too) and seeing Desmond enjoy the beach. I also learned that 30 minutes of running barefoot in the sand is like 1 hour of running + lower body weight lifting. Amazing.

There wasn't a part of the beach Desmond didn't like. The sand, lighthouses, crabs, kites, family to adore him, a wagon - the list goes on and on. A day hasn't gone by that he hasn't either asked to go back or talked about seeing Cape Hatteras lighthouse.

Katharine putting on a brave front in the face of an angry ghost crab.

Aunt Meg helps Des reflect.

The boys "cheesing" it up for the camera.

Celebrating Gran's birthday.

I've now learned that Desmond truly loves playing in sand. Sand play is so darn good (but sooo messy!) for kids, I guess I'll break down and indulge it more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple Love

Sometimes love comes from the simplest places.

Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I told Desmond, "Mommy is a little sad right now." He gave me a hug, found a framed photo of Peter and handed it to me saying, "Des will make Mommy happy."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Something Beautiful

As Desmond and I were talking a walk through the forest near our house, he said, "Des want to scare some beautiful things." While I don't think these words mean what he thinks they mean, I'm still excited he's only two and already almost-quoting Fight Club. ("I felt like destroying something beautiful.")

He could improve on his selection. I'd prefer....

"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything. "

"I am Jack's inflamed sense of rejection."

"The things you own end up owning you."

"Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!"

But there's time still.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Previously I mentioned September had its moments of sadness. To be more specific, I had my second consecutive miscarriage two weeks ago. I was 7 weeks pregnant.

Originally I wasn't going to blog about this. It's so personal. The blog is so....well, public. I was swayed as I reflected on how often miscarriages happen versus how frequently we talk about it. The stats vary dramatically, but conservative estimates say 1 out of every 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. While I don't want to be a fear-monger, it's a stat worth knowing.

Once you've had one, fellow miscarriers pour out of the woodworks with sympathy, stories of hope and of grief. Now I'm part of those numbers. I wouldn't want someone to feel alone in their own miscarriage.

The other reason I wasn't intending to blog about this is because of the question I dread. "How are you doing?" I have no clue how to answer this. I had a miscarriage. It was pretty miserable. I was quite surprised (despite the numbers I just quoted). I was sad. I'm still sad at times. But I'm not overwhelmed by grief. I'm not on the verge of least not right now. I'm moving on.

I'm realizing I don't know how to grieve very well. I can intellectually tell you a lot of reasons why, in the big picture, life is good. I'm a big picture person. These reasons are very compelling to me. Reconciling the immediate with the long term view of life is difficult for me. It leaves me awkwardly speechless at, "How are you doing?"

So know it's not you, it's me. And as I plough through what grief looks like, I'm gratefully giving Desmond extra hugs and kisses. Thank goodness he's not too cool for them....yet.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Fall Festival

It is so. much. fun. to enjoy the changing of seasons with a child. I enjoyed them quite a bit on my own, but sharing it with a kid is even better.

So happy.

I knew was fortunate for perfect weather during strawberry picking. Fireworks for the Fourth of July took on a whole new fun with Des around. As fall approaches, I'm gearing up for a whole new season of autumn pleasures. Fall festivals, apple picking, leaf collecting, raking (the leaves that will be picked up by the ground crew anyway...).

This week we went to Cox Farm's Fall Festival. Desmond isn't the most adventuresome kid, but he surprised me by going down HUGE slides by himself, excitedly running off on his own (not ideal), and not getting scared by stuff that normally freaks him out. I'm really enjoying watching him grow up.

That isn't the wind; I just need to get better about combing his hair.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Sophia

We took a family road trip to Long Island to see Sophia Pirrozi, Peter's cousin's daughter, be baptized. (That makes Sophia is our...second cousin? Something-removed? Help anyone?)

It was fantastically fun as this half-Polish, half-Italian family entertained over 80 people to celebrate. Imagine lots of kielbasa, sauerkraut, eggplant parmesan, chicken marsala, pasta salad, etc.....for about 160 people. People never go hungry in Long Island.

Pete and Stephi have two dogs, which Desmond adored playing with all weekend. He also had a cute Capri-Sun incident during the party. He kept on going up to a tall oak tree and "watering" it with his Capri-Sun, then going inside to get a paper towel to dry the tree off. A cute mixture of processing different ideas (how trees drink, how to clean up a mess, etc.)

Baby Sophia is the namesake of Peter's late grandmother, known to us as Babci.

The fam + godparents, minus Donnie/Jill/Ella.

Steering Uncle Donald's boat.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Terrific Two Year Old

September has been a month of mostly fun times with some sadness woven in. We'll play catch-up on the months events over the next few days.

Desmond turned TWO on September 8th. Each week you can see he is more of a little kid and less of a baby. He runs better, is more adventuresome, more expressive and opinionated. He's starting to try some new foods (thank goodness!!) like carrot sticks, red bell pepper and oatmeal cookies. Des is also throwing more tantrums as he learns how to express his (strong!) emotions. While he usually doesn't care what he wears, lately Des has enjoyed putting on combinations of Des/dad/mom's clothes.

Proudly self-dressed.

For his birthday we had a small "party" with the three of us, then had a playgroup/party that morning. Desmond still doesn't eat cake, so his friends chowed down on carrot cake while he ate some fruit. I tried giving him cake without icing in the shape of a muffin, "birthday muffin," but he was too sly for that. (In fact, that morning he quickly told me, "Des will say 'No thanks' to birthday cake.") Des actually enjoyed opening his presents and having us sing to him. Predictable, yet still amazing, what a difference a year makes. Days later he was still talking about his birthday banner. It's inspiring to see how the small things are so special to kids.

He's still young enough to enjoy unwrapping presents that he saw
in the guest bedroom the day before. Surprise not necessary.

Peter refinished the table that I found at a thrift store.
Grandparents contributed the chairs and other presents.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

NC Roadtrip

Desmond and I took our first road trip together (without Peter) this month to visit some of the grandparents in North Carolina for two weeks.

In Asheville, Grandpa and Gran gave Des a taste of the mountains with a visit to the Nature Center, playing in a creek, visiting a kids' arcade, baking cookies, etc. I also got to see one of my best friends Molly and her family. We even got to have a "grown-up" lunch at Barleys with some downtown shopping! Some of my favorite things from the trip were listening to Des call Gran his "cutie-patootie" and watching Desmond enjoy Grandpa's oatmeal cookies. (Previously, Desmond wouldn't eat cookies!)

After visiting Asheville, we went to Sanford to visit Grandma. Desmond spent time watering Grandma's yard, playing basketball with his new basketball goal, playing on a Sanford train and looking at Grandma's science collection (ex. snake skin, sea shells, crab pinchers, etc.) We also got to visit Aunt Meg's house. I loved watching Grandma realize that she may be retired now, but she'll always have someone to teach science stuff.

Bubble baths in Grandma's jacuzzi tub are unparalleled.

Even I was excited about exploring this decommissioned train.

Playing before having tasty lentil soup at Aunt Meg's house.

Grant (Molly and Furman's son) and Desmond enjoy sprinklers, sand and bubbles.

Gran takes Des to Animal Haven to visit the new lamb.

Oatmeal cookies - Grandpa style!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jedi Mind Tricks

Desmond has taken to answering his own questions. He'll make a request, look you right in the eye, then with a serious yet impish look, he will emphatically prompt you with the answer he wants. For instance,

- More blueberries, please? Yes, you may.
- Do you want to listen to Silly Songs? Yes, you want to.
- Should we play with the phone? Yes, sounds good.

I think the Force is strong with this one.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Secret Pleasures

I've been fighting the greener grass syndrome lately. I actually do enjoy being a stay-at-home mom. As a reminder, did you know that as a stay-at-home mom, you can...

- Eat corn on the cob for lunch. When's the last time you did that on a weekday?
- Watch World Cup soccer games while "on the clock"
- Get a farmer's tan without actually doing the work of a farmer
- Bake pretty much anything you want anytime you want and call it a "teaching experience"

Not a bad life, neh? And that's not even thinking about stuff that's actually significant. :-)

Friday, August 06, 2010

New Wheels

For those of you who care about my car saga, Charlie, the beloved '92 Subaru Loyale, has kicked the bucket. He's been replaced with an Outback. There's no name yet, but she is a girl.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Zoo

It's amazing that elephants live within three miles from the White House.

Aunt Katie, Desmond and I visited the National Zoo this week. Admission is free and we found free 2 hour street parking. Two hours is as much zoo as Des could handle. Pretty cheap and a lot of fun.

As much as I dislike the concept of zoos, I had a good time. It was fun watching Desmond excitedly race around and laugh with glee at the animals. There are some truly fascinating animals on this planet. I felt fortunate to see some of them in person.

Desmond and Tian Tian.

A better view of Tian Tian. Washingtonians are particularly fond of their pandas.
Tia Shan was returned to China, it headlined the local news.

My favorite moment was at the elephant pen. A particularly playful elephant stopped to pee. Boy did this guy pee; think fire hose strength. Anyway, you could hear a quiet chorus of mothers talking to their toddlers saying things like, "Yes, the elephant is going to the potty. Yes he is doing a good job. Yes, he should get a sticker." We are approaching potty training; I could sympathize.

Thanks for the teaching moment, Mr. Elephant.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

In a Pickle

Last year our neighborhood started a community garden. I enthusiastically signed up for a plot, only to fantastically fail. This year, I set the bar low with two goals - to not kill everything and to harvest at least one item.

It's gone better than I would have asked for. Out of three cucumber plants, I canned 30 jars of pickles! I watched my Memaw and mom can for years. I've never had a big interest in it because I'd have to buy the produce at the store. Having home-grown produce to can has been really exciting.

In addition to cucumbers, we've harvested a few beans and peppers. The tomatoes are arriving. I'll continue dreaming of amazing gardens that some of my friends are impressively growing. But for now I'm satisfied with my modest progress.
Now that the tomatoes are going nuts, I'm making salsa, tomato soup and am going to try slow roasted cherry tomatoes.

Do I dare try growing a fall crop?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chemicals and the Pits

Warning - this post might be a little TMI for some. Read on only if you're comfortable with talking about sweating and deodorant.

I've talked before about my pseudo-crunchiness. I think I just got a little crunchier. I'm making (and using!) my own deodorant.

Background: A couple of blogs I read (like Simple Organic and Sorta Crunchy) wrote about it and got me thinking. In general I think it's better to avoid regularly putting chemicals into your body if possible. I sweat a lot (I warned you about the TMI...) and antiperspirants don't really help. So I figured why not give it a shot.

The Plan: I decided to give it a try for a month. I had a couple of faithful, honest friends to give me feedback if I stunk or not. There are a lot of "recipes" out there (like here and here). I chose this one using baking soda, cornstarch mixed with coconut oil. In the future, I might add essential oils in the future for a nice smell. The coconut oil smells pleasantly tropical though.
Execution: Of course, I chose the hottest month of the year to try this. (Just like I chose the coldest winter on record to shave my head.) Adventuresome? Yes. Good sense of timing? No.
I made my mixture and put it into an empty store-bought deodorant container. That way I could apply it just like "normal" deodorant. I wore it everyday for a month, excluding a handful of days (i.e. all day canoe trip, delicate shirt).

Results: Overall, I'm pleased. For normal daily activity with regular showers I didn't smell. The exceptions were days I played sports, but I probably would have stunk anyway. Also, going for more than a day without showering (not unreasonable in an air-conditioned world) didn't work so well.

So I think I'm going to stick with it. I still have my store-bought stuff if it's going to be a particularly stinky, long day. But I'm excited to eliminate one more chemical from my daily routine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Technology and Memories

I have a lot of vivid memories from childhood. As a kid I often pestered my mom to tell me stories about her childhood and my own childhood. I believe those frequent reminders helped me retain so many memories.

Fast forward to today. We have a computer in our kitchen. The screensaver rotates through our photo archives. Desmond loves looking at the photos, asking questions about them and then describing them.

Many of his memories are already being reinforced verbally and visually. I can't help but wonder if he - and other children of his generation - will have memories of earlier ages than I would have ever imagined.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Fourth in Photos

We celebrated the Fourth of July on the 3rd by picnicking at Fairfax High School, enjoying the music and watching the fireworks. Des stayed up for the whole thing and hasn't stopped talking about "Merica's birthday party."

Mom relaxes while Grandma and everyone else play with Des.

"Please people, I've got some serious business to take care of."

You are never a stranger to Des if you have a phone.

Post fireworks exhaustion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rain Commentary

Tonight we had an amazing thunderstorm. Peter and Desmond watched it together while I ran errands. Desmond's comments went something like this:

  • lightning/thunder
  • Des: Again please.
  • lightning/thunder
  • Des: Good job fireworks.
  • long pause between lightning/thunder
  • Des: Page loading

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Desmond has me stumped this week. We've repeated this conversation more times than I can count.

Des: Guess what?
Me: What?
Des: Trash truck was GREEN! *his laughter*

I have no clue what he's talking about. The trash trucks in our neighborhood aren't even green. Could this be his first joke?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Daddy's Boy

It's so much fun to hang out with toddlers and watch/listen to them process the world. Des is really into everything that is related to Daddy lately.

Most mornings Des and I sit on the front steps and watch Peter drive off to work. Today Des said, "Daddy to work. Push buttons on computer." I only tell him that daddy programs computers. Somehow he must have figured out lots of button pushing is involved.

Desmond walks into our bedroom and everything is Daddy's bed or Daddy's toothbrush or Daddy's chair.

It's just me and Des in the middle of the grocery store he yells, "I love you Daddy!"

Yesterday Desmond was attentively watching Peter shave his cheeks. (Yes, that does happen from time to time!) Des noticed me watching and decisively shut the bathroom door. I guess it's my first of many, "Boys rule, girls drool."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Go Brazil!!

Even though Brazil is guaranteed to advance, we'll be cheering our hearts out. Who doesn't want to see the colony beat the colonizer? Plus, practically all the Portuguese players look like they have their eyebrows done.

I've met several Brasilians at playgrounds since we've started dressing Desmond in his Brasilian garb on game days.

Desmond loves all the soccer-watching that's been going on since the World Cup started. He never fails to put a smile on our face when he yells, "Goooooooooooooal do Brazil!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Farm

We went to Frying Pan Park with Leah and Kimberly today. They have a small farm with animals for the kids to see. I'm always excited when Desmond can actually experience stuff like this instead of just reading about it.

My favorite part of the day was when Desmond noticed the water buckets for the animals. He kept asking the animals, "Hello goat. Would you like to play in water?" Or "Hello pig. Would you like to play in water?" I guess he can't imagine why a bucket of water would exist for anything other than play.

Leah practicing her tractor driving.

Des shares the wheel for a bit.

I don't know if we'll ever get a true non-"cheese" smile out of this kid. He loves saying "cheeeeese" for every photo. Reminds of myself as a kid...

I'm glad we braved the heat wave for an early morning trip. We even returned home in time to watch the US WIN their World Cup game! Woohoo!!!