Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Tree & First Snow, 2009

This is our first tree ever! After eight years of marriage (during which we spent most holidays in New England), we decided that 2009 was the year to buy a tree. The girls are old enough not to decimate it TOO much, and as for the four cats... well, we shall see! The tree is currently ensconced on the deck (being snowed on as we speak), and we will put it up sometime next week. We won't decorate it for a few days, to get furry (and non-furry) children accustomed to its presence, and then we will go wild. BTW, we bought our tree at the Herndon "Elvis" lot. The tree seller has been there, with that same sign, for like 22 years, and the sign cracks me up every year, sad to say.

As for the snow, well, this was our first of the year (early for VA!), and it is a pile of wet, sticky wonderment. Perfect for snowballs and snowmen! And perfect for two little girls. =)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Gate Comes Down

Big progress to report in the Mayhew household! This afternoon, Craig removed the baby gate at the top of the main stairs (the stairs leading onto the main level of the townhouse). The wooden structure, hand-designed/built by a neighbor to keep their child from tumbling down into the basement, has been a mainstay until quite recently.

Rory is almost 4.5, and Fiona is coming up on 3, and the gate started seeming superfluous. Moreover, it started becoming annoying - just another thing to thwart me from easily bringing groceries up to the kitchen.

The cats - and the girls - barely know what to do with the extra space.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The New Subaru

Here we have the newest Mayhew family member (I am talking about the car, in case that wasn't clear). It is a 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium, charcoal gray, 6-speed manual. It has a sunroof and a 6-disc CD changer (so the girls and I can both have music queued up and ready to go). I am in heaven. I love it. I love driving a stick again (as crazy as that sounds), and the car has plenty of room for the family and all our accoutrement.

Fiona was with me throughout the entire buying process (much of which is quite boring). I took this picture so in seven years - when she is almost ten years old - we can look back and enjoy the fact that I have had the same car ALL that time.

I am just so tickled with how well the car drives. I think its name is going to be Nigel, but I will formally decide after driving to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bye Bye Minivan

This morning, I sold my Honda minivan to Carmax. It served me very well during the early years of the girls' lives... when the sliding doors were crucial to actually *getting* them into the car; when the back space held two strollers (one single, one double); when car storage was critical in terms of holding the various stuff that mothers schlep (pack and plays, diapers, you name it).

But those days are behind us, and I never really loved the car. I felt very conspicuous in it... like a MINIVAN driver. Plus, it was my first automatic, and I found it very confusing not to reach for the clutch. Plus, it weighed 4500 lbs and was difficult (for me) to stop. Plus, we only have two kids AND much less stuff to drag around now that they're older. Plus...well, let's just say I never really loved the car.

Wait - there IS another plus. I needed to lower my car payment. Dramatically. And how.

So today I returned to land of Subaru. I bought a 2010 Subaru Outback, 6-speed manual. My car lives in South Carolina at the moment, and is being driven to Virginia early next week. In the meantime, I have a loaner (same breed, but an automatic) to get me by.

I am thrilled to have lowered my payments, and I feel less horrible to the environment at the same time. This car has better mileage, and weighs more than a thousand pounds less. Nice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Happy Halloween 2009! The girls picked out their costumes months ago - Captain Hook for Rory and the ever-stalking crocodile for Fiona - and they were VERY ready for trick or treating. It was raining here in Herndon, but a little precipitation wasn't going to stop us! Umbrella-free and determined, we went through our entire neighborhood and had a blast. The girls' candy bags got a bit heavy toward the end, and I was left carrying the loot - and what a pile of loot they got. Considering they don't eat candy all that often, I figure it will take them almost until *next* Halloween to finish it off.

Two girls hugging a wacky pumpkin

Captain Hook & the Fearsome Crocodile (tick tock, tick tock!!)

Dadbot & his girls

Chowing down on pirate booty in the back of the car

Happy sugar-laden beasts!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stayin' alive...

Yes, I am still alive - but I have morphed into a lame blogger! It's just that I have been crazy busy since mid-August: taking mini trips, studying for three hideous exams that might help me gain entrance into George Mason University, pestering friends to write recommendations for said program, hanging with the family, working as a contractor for Craig's company, being a stay-at-home mom with Fiona on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and so on.

I know I have been a lame blogger, and I promise to be better. As such, I will now post some pictures from our recent trip to Saratoga Springs, NY! I will backdate the post, so that this lame apology stays at the top of the flow. =>

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fun in Saratoga, Springs, NY!

On Columbus Day weekend, the girls and I drove to Saratoga to visit one of my Hartwick roommates, Karey Hall Trimmings, and her wonderful family. She and her husband, John (also a Wick alum) have three kids: Emma is 10, Jack is 7 (almost 8), and Sarah is 5. We had a wonderful, fun-filled weekend full of pumpkins, laughter, and apples. A perfect Fall weekend in New York State!

Karey is an accomplished singer and music teacher, for those who don't know her. She was accepted into Julliard for undergrad, but she had to turn them down. They didn't give her any monetary assistance,
and as the oldest child of five, the family couldn't swing the costs involved. Hartwick, on the contrary, gave Karey a free ride. She has since received a Master's in music performance & education from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. She uses music in her work every day. Karey is a voice teacher with many private students. She has children's music classes for her business, For the Love of Music, and we were lucky enough to attend one while there. She sings with her chuch's youth band (she is the Paul Shaffer of the band). She sings at numerous weddings (and some funerals). She is quite well known in the Saratoga arts community, and she is worth every red cent.

And now for some pictures!

Karey's wonderful music class for children

Crazy roommates!

Karey's son, Jack (7)

Girls at the pumpkin farm! (Sarah, 5.5; Fiona, 2.5; Emma,10; Rory, 4)

Girls in an apple tree! (Emma, Sarah, Rory, Fiona - descending)

Monday, August 31, 2009

My little throwers

While entertaining a neighbor for ten minutes, LOOK at what the girls did. They threw everything they could find - and then went up to their rooms to gather more - and flung it over the living room railing to the entryway a story below. Oh my. They were in hog heaven, squealing with laughter the entire time. I should have known they were up to no good. =>

Then, buzzkill that I am, I made them drag it all back upstairs, bit by bit.

Last day @ the pool

Yesterday was the last pool day of the summer - sigh. Some of us are freckled (Laura), some of us are as white as ever (Rory), and some of us have gained a slight tan (Fiona). We spent nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning there from June through August, and it made the summer extra fun. Friends often joined us, and sometimes we even went twice in one day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Girl screaming!

Brace yourselves!

Humidity Sucks

I acknowledge that by D.C. standards, 2009 has been a relatively humidity-free summer. Slightly cold and rainy in June, meek and mild in July - both very rare for these parts. And I have been so happy. In mid-July, I proclaimed this my favorite D.C. summer ever.

But these past few days have been horribly sticky. And to top it off, we have lost power in our house three times during this stretch - last night's episode lasted for 12 hours. The third level of our townhouse was super steamy, and the girls were both sweating like pigs by bedtime.

We tend to make the most of such power outages. We read books by flashlight, wear glow stick bracelets, and make fun shapes on the walls. But the high moisture level inside the house last night sucked the fun out of everything. I was so hot that I could only stand to read one book to the girls - mostly because I couldn't bear having them sit on my body.

By 9:00 pm, the power had been our for seven hours and the house was damp and lifeless. The power roared on with a jolt at 2:00 am (finally). Because we had set our fans to "low" before hitting the (sweaty) hay, the powering up was actually quite startling. But it was also immediately relieving, trust me.

Fiona cried much of the night, sweaty as a hog and unable to rest comfortably, so I kept her home from daycare with me. We had a lovely day, and she took a nice, long, 3-hour nap. =)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brother Pat & Gordie Roberts

Gordie, way back in the day, played defense for the New England/Hartford Whalers. The Whale drafted him when he was 17, and my dad became friends with him soon thereafter (my dad was friends with most guys on the team back then, which was downright magical to my sister and me). Their friendship has continued through Gordie's career: being traded away, retiring, coaching, and now, scouting for Montreal. His playing career was long, and he won the Stanley Cup while a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins back in the early 1990s.

Gordie was in Connecticut this past week, and spent the night with my dad and Patrick. The three of them had a blast. Gordie made my dad make him spaghetti & meatballs, begged him to play the guitar so they could sing together, and the next day, Pat & Gordie shot 9 holes of golf. They tied, 37 each. A great time was has by all!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fiona @ 2.5

My little baby is growing up! Donna H. took this picture at a friend's birthday party, and Fiona looks so grown-up in it! I love it.

She is in the midst of temper tantrum twos (TTTs) right now, so while I love her at this squishy, still-baby phase of her life, I am eager to bid her random acts of Two-ness goodbye! => Hah!

Do all parents think these things?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

And now we have a 4-year old!

It is an amazing thing, but we are now the proud owners of a four year old daughter. Zowie! Rory is thrilled to be four, and she woke up saying so. We had french toast for breakfast and opened some presents. She received fun mosiac art projects from Nana/Granddad, a Fraggle Rock DVD from Gramps & Liz R. & Uncle Pat, a giant stuffed dragon from Aunt Lizzie, and some live pet frogs from Grandma. We gave her a hippo Swatch, a book, and two DVDs. Fiona gave her some dinosaur Lego, which contains a T-Rex, Rory's favorite. The girls played T-Rex ("Mama!" "Baby!") all morning, running from end to end of the townhouse.

While Fiona napped and Grandma guarded her, Craig and I took Rory to see Up. Such a fantastic movie! The theater had a photo booth, so after the movie we jammed ourselves in and took some goofy birthday photos. Then the five of us went to Generous George's for pizza and dinosaur chicken. All this was followed by a hippo cake Grandma and I made. The girls delighted in dismantling the cake the *second* it was laid on the table. Hilarious! They even fed each other chunks of fondant.

What a girl Rory has grown into. She is funny, mostly fearless, hates loud noises (especially those emitted by her sister), loves pretend play, adores dragons and T-Rexes, could eat noodles until they came out of her ears, is addicted to books, loves it when I tell her bedtime stories, is a great (and mostly tolerant) big sister, and is very sweet and affectionate. Her current favorite movies include Peter Pan, The Land Before Time, Wall-E, and The Little Mermaid. Favorite books are whatever we're reading at that moment in time.

She is bringing gummy caterpillars into her class to share tomorrow. =)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Last picture as a 3-year old!

Miss Rory, on her last night as a 3-year old! We were watching Peter Pan (the animated one from the 50s) at the time of this photo - both girls are in love with the crocodile, and his special "I love to eat Captain Hook" song. Doo do do do do, doo do do do do... and his bouncy eyeballs! We have several toy crocs, and Grandma bought them each a small stuffed one, and thet are figuring into a lot of our playtime nowadays.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Inaugural Stitches!

On Tuesday morning, July 7, at about 8:15 am, Rory was horsing around and slid off the top of a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe, popping open the back of her head. She fell smack dab onto a 1960s-era Fisher-Price barn, bought to commemorate her one-year birthday. It's the barn with the doors that "moo" when you open them. Apparently there are rough corners on its gambrel roof, because Rory wound up with a 3/4" cut that required stitches.

So off we went to the local urgent care clinic for our first-ever kid stitches! She received four, one for each year of her life, and the doctor and nurses were wonderful with her. The nurse asked her how the accident had happened, and Rory said, "I fell off the top of the car." Then was when I intervened and said, "a toy car in the living room" (as opposed to the top of my car in the driveway... someone call CPS!).

Right before we arrived at the clinic, a woman had given birth right outside their doors... how exciting! The staff couldn't stop talking about it. As for Rory, she was great during the entire medical process, and only cried when they gave her some shots of novacaine in/around the cut. What a toughie!

When we were done, Rory, Craig, and I went to Panera, where Ror ingested her very first chocolate croissant. She inhaled it. Apparently getting stitches makes one very hungry. Then we bought her a huge SpongeBob balloon, and Auntie Liz said Rory could open her birthday present a bit early. It was a giant, colorful, stuffed dragon that we named Mu Shu. He helped make the day great!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Becoming another statistic (?)

Yesterday morning, after a fever-filled weekend with her hightest temp reaching 104, I took Rory to the doctor where she was diagnosed with influenza type A, which includes swine flu. As such, as are all now being treated as though we *have* swine flu. Rory is home all week - even if she is fever-free for 48 hours - because the thing about SF is that they don't know how long it is contagious. Good thing I became a different kind of statistic last week and got laid off, eh?

We are all currently slaves to Tamiflu, which ain't cheap, in case you're wondering. $200 to medicate the four of us, thank you for playing. And that's WITH the co-pay.

So Rory and I are hanging out at home, playing a lot of Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Candyland, and Chutes & Ladders, in between bouts of television, reading, and other toys. Her super-high fevers seem to be in the past, which is thankful. I hate watching my kids suffer through high fevers.

She is much more like her normal self today, and I would imagine tomorrow will be even better. Even still, we will be banned from entering the public sector. I am sure this makes me a very bad person, but I have to admit that we cheated this am. We went to Target to buy a few games, but don't worry - I didn't let her touch anything and I hosed off the cart once we were done.

Cabin fever!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On becoming a statistic

It actually feels quite peaceful thus far!

Yesterday, I was laid off. It wasn't traumatic (except for the one-week severance "package"), and it wasn't even sad. It was more along the lines of, "Oh. OK. See ya!" As the HR woman gave me her schpeil, I started envisioning being with the girls next to the pool we just joined - sunning and playing and frolicking. Summer is NOT a bad time to be laid off, methinks.

I spent the morning sponging free WiFi from my local Panera, sipping their dark roast and updating my LinkedIn page, submitting my info to Booz-Allen, and updating my resume. I was supposed to have a call with a local IT recruiter at 2:30, but I got her voicemail. In the meantime, my now-former company is likely to bring me back as a consultant to finish two short-term projects I was overseeing, so that would be helpful.

I have already learned something critical - if I expect to get work done and be productive, I need to go back to Panera. Being at home means one of two things: cats demanding love, or things demanding to be cleaned up.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Craig's birthday pics

Happy 43rd birthday to Craig! We had a lovely dinner, some deliscious cake (decorated by small people, and no, I don't mean "little people), and then my husband played around with his party hats. He may hate me for posting these, but what can you do. =>

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nana hits the road

Craig's mom (aka, Nana) visited for two weeks, and the girls were in hog heaven. Rory nicknamed her BOB (after one of the characters in Monsters vs. Aliens, with which she is currently obsessed), Fiona tottered around after her like she was the queen of England, and a great time was had by all! We like to encourage our relatives to visit as often as they like, and to stay as long as they like. Everyone wins! Until we live in New England, this will be the standing arrangement. So if you're reading this, feel free to come down!

With Nana in tow we went to an animal park, too many playgrounds to mention, and the girls spent many a spare moment blowing bubbles all over her and spraying her with squirt guns. What a sport! Craig and I even snuck out to see Star Trek (two thumbs up!).

We'll see you soon, Nana! We'll miss you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walk through the Whale - the door to the Whalers Gift Shop!

MANY thanks to Hartford Whalers information guru (and lifelong fan, despite their defection), Steve G. As always, he came through in a pinch, and sent me this classic photo of the door that used to give me chills. I was always, ALWAYS thrilled to go to the Whalers Gift Shop (before and after games, to which my patient father can attest). I typically left with some small trinket in tow, and it was always the pinnacle of the night. =) Sigh!

For years, I longed for a green satin Whalers jacket. Never did get one. Maybe that's for the best!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Funny Rory comment

Recently, a spider appeared on Fiona's side of the car, scaring her to pieces. She absolutely freaked out about it, which is very unlike her. The entire way home, Rory kept trying to comfort her by saying, "Don't worry, Fiona. I'll kill it when we get there."

How sweet. Maybe not too kind (to said spider), but I thought it was lovely of Rory to want to defend Fiona that way. Even by committing spidericide!

Note: the day after this incident, I saw said spider in the car. It was the size of a nickel, was hairy, and appeared quite menacing. Turns out it was also a jumper. I tried to capture it (capture being the first choice over murder), and it jumped away to hide. Sneaky little bugger. Later, my friend, Kevin, tried to crush it to death against my windshield using an Alex Ovechkin plastic hockey stick. Two minutes for roughing!!! We haven't seen it since.

Monday, May 18, 2009

TWO Rorys!!

This weekend, we attended a kid's birthday party at one of those new-fangled bouncy houses, a place where kids bounce and jump around on any number of potentially hazardous (and certainly disease encrusted) apparatii. I was watching Rory hurtle headfirst down a huge slide when I heard a woman summoning her daughter, saying what I heard as "Rory, come on, let's go over here."

Rory is such an uncommon name, let alone on a girl. I had to know if I had been aurally hallucinating. Later, I sidled up to the woman and inquired as to the name of her younger daughter (certainly she thought I was a freakshow stalker). Bingo! Two Rorys at the same party!

And the same age, even! My Rory is barely three weeks older than the other Rory. Even weirder is that they both have Elizabeth as a middle name. That little tidbit guaranteed that the other mother and I would take pictures of the two Rorys, who kept happily greeting each other with, "Hi Rory!" "Hi Rory!" "Hi Rory!" "Hi Rory!" It was very amusing. They hugged a bunch, too. =)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

This past weekend, the girls and I drove south to visit Hartwick friend Julie Gaden Lechner, her husband Paul, and their enchanting son, Jerry. Fun was had by all! Jerry and Rory had a sleepover party in his room, and even shared the air mattress on Saturday night. We had the monitor on in their room, and we could hear all of their adorable chit chat. So sweet! Their first slumber party, and it was co-ed! Way to go!

It was a lovely and relaxing visit. On Saturday morning, we packed up the kids and took them to the local butterfly museum (Oprah was there on Sunday - glad we chose Saturday!). Rory was desperate - and I am not overstating this - to have a butterfly land on her. We have a book called "Velma Gratch & The Way Cool Butterfly," and Rory really wanted to share the experience. I am sad to report that the hundreds of butterflies flitting to and fro voted not to alight on her outstretched arms. Next time, hopefully!

Many thanks to Paul and Julie for hosting us (and the excessive volume that accompanies us). They're wonderful, and we can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pics from Cinco de Mayhew

Last night, we went to Picante, a delicious local Mexican joint, to celebrate our 7th anniversary. It was, as always, simply divine and we had a great time. They had live Mariachi players, to boot! On Cinco de Mayo, they also hand out free, homemade tamales, and we also got free t-shirts that say "I am Picante" on the back. Cool!

The children were hamming it up in these photos (how shocking), and get more precocious every day. Tonight, while putting her to bed, Rory asked me, "Why does Daddy's beard keep growing?" I guess he scratches her a bit - hah! I told her man beards grow all the time - nonstop. She seemed amazed. I should have told her he was growing a playoff beard!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayhew!

On this day in 2002, we got married at the Barns of Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA. Seven years! I will post some pics later. =) I feel very lucky to have such a great family!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Worst picture of my dad ever

This weekend, the girls and I visited my dad and brother in Gettysburg, PA, where Pat was visiting Gettysburg College. While investigating the free hotel toiletries, I came upon a shower cap, which I put on my dad's head. I then took what HAS to be the worst photograph of my father EVER. Looks like a coma patient just coming out of it.

To compensate, I added in good photo of Gramps from the trip, so you can see that he *can* look civilized... and usually does!

Enjoy (if you can!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rory quote of the day

"I wish my butt had more skin so I could fight with it."

She uttered this pronouncement to me after using the bathroom and streaking back to her bedroom, where I waited with her day's clothes in hand. And please don't ask me what the above means; all I replied was, "That would be great!" =)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pics from Lizzie's visit

Aunt Lizzie visited us from Phoenix last weekend, and we had a blast! Two Caps hockey games, lots of crazy girl time, and loads of fun all the way around. I haven't yet downloaded all the pics, but here are a few. We can't wait to see her again!