Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Most Eventful Day Ever

I had the busiest day of my life yesterday.  Well, not really, but for someone that has one (generally short) field trip a day, we did a lot yesterday.

First, Chris went for an early run and we clean clean cleaned the wholeee house.  And did a load of laundry.  Our house sparkles (for now) and is orderly and smells great.  Then around 11:30 am, we headed over to Chris's uncle's house to play with--I mean, feed--the cats.  While they're out of town, Eliot was more than happy to take care of the kitties.  I think he loves cats more than any animal, even more than dogs.

After we got home, we had lunch.  Not too long afterward, I kissed Eliot-babe good-bye and went to take one-month pictures and family portraits for Stephanie and their Azriel.  I'm dyinggg to post some of them because Azriel is just so adorable, but Stephanie and Bernard are keeping Azriel photos private and only for family and friends (which I understand completely).  You know, I took Stephanie and Bernard's engagement photos, their wedding pictures, and now their little boy.  There's something really sweet about seeing that progression.

When I came home, Eliot was napping.  Good thing because we had even more fun in store!  And he would not have made it without a nap.  When he woke up, we headed over to Becca's house for Levi and Jordan's first birthday party.  Becca and I worked together, and she is the one who invited me to join the play group that Elliot and I attend every week.

At the party, the kids splashed in a kiddie pool and Eliot tried to get their dog, Pepper, to chase him.  Then we took the babies in the basement to play.  Imagine three boys all wanting to play in one of those red and yellow cars....  Levi (one year), Eliot (18 months), and Braxton (21 months) all took turns (by force) and we ultimately came to some level of peace.  When Eliot first got in the car, Levi opened the door and sat right on Eliot's lap.  It was hilarious.

After Jordan and Levi opened presents, we headed out because Eliot was getting grumbly and we needed to pick up food for our cat and then also feed the cats we were catsitting again.  First, though, Chris wanted to run by Barnes and Noble to get a new book since he finished his.  Eliot and I played with the "choo-choo" table while Chris got the third A Game of Thrones book.  As Eliot started melting down (not bad, but I could see it coming), we decided we really couldn't take him into Petsmart, so Chris ran in by himself.  And then we fed Chris's uncle's cats (which made Eliot very happy again).

We made it home and, man, Eliot was tired.  He was running around screaming and trying to play rough with the dogs.  Definitely meant it was bedtime.  I pushed him until about 8:40 pm.  And that was the end of our four-fold eventful day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Safari Park

Since I posted about your daily routine, we had been trying to find some ways to get out the door before 3:30 pm.  Our main issue is Chris's workout time comes after breakfast (before it is too hot), and then it is lunch and naptime, so we're not ready until late afternoon.  Yesterday, Chris decided to try something different.  He planned to go for a long run (nine miles) at 7:00 am.  Then Eliot would be waking up around 8:30 am when he got back.  Problem solved, right?  Instead, Eliot woke up at 6:30 am that day!  Whaaat?  I know that isn't super early, but it was so different than his usual time--it seems like he just had to disrupt our plans.  Of course, he was super whiny, grumpy, and clingy the whole morning until he got his nap since he woke up too early.  Geez.

Today, though, Chris decided to exercise in the evening so we could head out to Natural Bridge for the Safari Park!  We got out the door at 10:00 am and arrived at the park just in time to buy the last two tickets for the park's 11:30 am wagon ride to feed the animals.

I had been looking forward to taking Eliot to the Safari Park for so, so, so long.  My parents discovered it when I was 15 and we were on vacation.  In the past 11 years, I have been five times.  Ha.  Anyway, I was a little worried, though, because we recently took Eliot to a roadside petting zoo and he was acting afraid of all of the animals.  I think part of the problem was that he needed time to warm up.  Eliot is super shy for the first ten or fifteen minutes whenever he gets someplace new.

Before we knew it, Eliot was throwing feed for the animals.
And saying new words, like deer.
He was so excited about the buffalo eating with his tongue out that he gave it a try.
When we went through the petting zoo area, he was not shy at all about petting the goats.
We also learned that Eliot is a snake enthusiast.  Chris has just asked if we were going to show Eliot the snakes and I said I didn't really feel like it (they're at the end and I was hottt and hungry) when Eliot saw this 113 pound python in the distance.  He ran up to it sooo excited.  We had to hold him back!

One of the awesome things about having a little babe around is showing him the fun things I enjoyed while growing up.

Sometimes zoos make me sad.  I worry about whether the animals are happy or feel confined.  At the Safari Park, though, the animals can roam all over the place.  And they get fed a lot.  You really get the sense that the people who work there love their jobs and the animals.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Routine

When I first brought Eliot home from the hospital, our day-to-day routine was in shambles.  There was no guessing when this kid was going to eat, sleep, or need something.  I remember growing panicky when I thought about how eventually he'd need a bath almost every day.  How in the world would I work that in when it was hard enough just to feed myself?

Fortunately, since I work from home, my schedule is flexible.  I have deadlines and did a lot of work with Eliot sleeping on me or nursing (the physics of it escape me, but it happened and it worked), but I didn't have to be anywhere by a certain time.

By the time he was about seven or eight months old, Eliot set up his own routine and nap schedule.  After a year and a half (and obviously out of the baby stage and into the toddler stage), here is what our day-to-day looks like.  Some days are different to accommodate various plans, meetings, and such, but this is generally it.

Morning routine:
Around 6:30 am or 7:00 am, I wake up and start doing work.  Grading, answering e-mails, checking up on my faculty members...
About 8:00 am or 9:00 am, Eliot wakes up.  We giggle in bed together until he decides to climb down.  I take him into the bathroom, sit him on the counter, and we brush our teeth.
We go downstairs and I make him oatmeal for breakfast.  While Eliot eats, I put away the dry dishes from the night before and Chris makes Eliot and himself a green smoothie.
I make myself a smoothie and maybe a bagel or something else.  We watch tv and play with Eliot (as he drinks his smoothie).

Afternoon routine:
Around 10:30 am or 11:00 am, Chris gets ready for his work out.  On some days, he runs for about an hour while I pull Eliot along on the bike.  Other days, he goes to the gym.  Some days, he goes on longer runs by himself since Eliot eventually gets bored in his "chariot," as we call it.
Around noon or 1:00 pm, we either have lunch or Eliot goes down for his nap.  If Eliot naps, I do work.
Around 2:00 pm, depending on if Eliot napped at noon or not, Eliot either wakes up from his nap and we make lunch or Eliot goes down for his nap.
Finally, about 3:30 pm, we can leave the house.

Evening routine:
Depending how things went earlier in the day and the weather, sometimes we go out or sometimes we just play in the yard.  We might grocery shop at Target, go to dinner (once a week or less), run errands, go for a walk, go to a park, or go to the lake.
Around 5:30 pm, we cook dinner.  We somehow find the motivation to clean up.
We play with Eliot in the house, often with trains, blocks, or his zoo.
Around 9:00 pm, Eliot starts acting really hyper and tries to wrestle the dogs.  This is how we know it is bedtime.  I take him up and he usually falls asleep within 10 minutes.
After Eliot is in a deep sleep (this takes up to an hour sometimes), I do work.  Depending on how much I need to do, I can sometimes just go to sleep at 10:00 pm or stay up as late as 2:00 am.

Somewhere in there, I clean the house, Chris keeps up the yard, we change a lot of diapers, the three of us bathe, do work when Eliot is distracted enough, and all those other little things.

What does your routine look like?  Any tips for getting out of the house before 3:30 pm?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What I Did on My Birthday, or Take Heed and Take Care

I didn't have much special planned for my birthday.  I wasn't expecting anything; I didn't really want anything either.  Chris's parents were in town for his grandma, so we had lunch with them downtown and saw them off to Woodbridge.  It is really nice to be around family on birthdays.  Somehow, I always end up seeing his parents or mine on my birthday.  Chris also bought me two bunches of flowers and a card.

We spent the day a little on edge.  My grandma has been in the hospital again due to a minor physical issue, but this time around (thank God), they finally noticed that something wasn't right mentally.  My family has been trying to have her evaluated for a long time without much success.  They even got her in a doctor's office once, but it blew up in their faces and she ended up not talking to anyone in the family for a few months.  We were all noticing extreme paranoia, overly-excessive forgetfulness, mood swings, and so on.  With her recent hospital stay, though, they finally had the chance to alert someone about the issues we've all been worrying about--the fact that she called the police from her hospital bed to say her nurses were trying to kill her didn't help her case for being OK.  So, she has been evaluated and will be re-evaluated at another place with a specialist.

Over the past five years, my grandma would go from living with my parents, to then living with my aunt, to then getting angry with everyone and moving home with her boyfriend.  She has said very hurtful things about all of us at different times as well as the nicest things at other times.  I jokingly attributed it to too many Lifetime movies, boredom, a hate for men, and a love for the dramatic.  I think we all felt very hurt, but maybe some of it she couldn't help.  Maybe deep down, she loved us, but she was confused and scared.  All of us loved her too and just wanted to take care of her, yet she wouldn't have it.

If I wasn't already thoughtful about life on my birthday, this event threw me over the top.  I feel bad for my mom (and aunt).  I feel bad for my grandma.  Watching this all unfold, it seems to me that people should go into a retirement home when they still can make rational decisions.  Clearly, this isn't an easy decision, and it is hard to leave home.  Either that or trust your children, give them power of attorney, and tell them what you want to happen.  Not everyone has trustworthy kids; however, you have to set everything up for yourself while you still can before it is too late.

My mom puts everyone before herself--even people who spit in her face.  I know she will continue to do everything she can to take care of my grandmother.  I know my grandmother isn't going to be left alone and the doctors are just trying to get her the right care.  So, please say a prayer for my mom, aunt, and grandmother if you think about them.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Today, I turn 26.  This means that I am in the latter half of my twenties.  Or maybe that is what my last birthday meant....  Either way, I wasn't stoked to turn 25 and 26 isn't much better.  I think a lot of people drag their feet into their thirties as they realize that they are indeed growing "old," but perhaps it is due to feeling that they haven't accomplished enough yet.  Maybe they realize that the numbers say "adult" in full, yet their lives don't measure up to their childhood expectations.

As I study the lines at the creases of my eyes (they are there), I have indeed accomplished a lot in the first half of my twenties.

At 20, I finished up my senior year of college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing.  A few weeks later, I married Christopher.  We moved to Lynchburg to start our M.A.s in the fall.

At 21, I started my Master of Arts in English and began working as a Grad Assistant.

At 22, I started my Master's thesis.  I read a lot.  I wrote a lot.  I defended my thesis and graduated with my Master of Arts in English.  A few weeks before my 23rd birthday, we bought our first house.

At 23, I started my Doctorate in Education.  I took a ton of doctorate courses, worked as a Grad Assistant for the School of Ed, and started teaching adjunct for Liberty.  In the spring, I got pregnant with Eliot.  Christopher and I bought our first car together.

At 24, I continued to take about 36 credits of doctorate classes a year--if you didn't know, full-time is 6 credits a semester.  I had Eliot.  A couple of months after stepping down from my Grad Assistant position, I was offered (and accepted) a full-time contract to teach English for Liberty.

At 25, I became an official doctorate candidate after I passed my Comprehensive Exam (and on my birthday, mind you).  I began working on my dissertation.  I began working as an Instructional Mentor for Liberty.  I got pregnant with our second baby, but lost him or her.  I celebrated five years of marriage with Christopher.

And here is 26.  This year, I hope to finish my dissertation (finger crossed).  I hope to have another successful pregnancy and healthy baby.  I hope to keep working as an English Instructor and Instructional Mentor.

I'm not listing these events to pat my own back.  Certainly, all of this is by the grace of God.  And I am truly thankful to have had so many great experiences in the first half of my twenties.  Let's hope the second half will be just as exciting. 

Chris and I talk about growing older frequently.  Maybe it is because we are parents now.  Maybe it is because death crosses our minds with the loss of his grandfather a year and a half ago as well as both of our grandmothers standing in awkward places as far as care goes.  Or maybe it is because both Chris and his dad became parents at the exact same age, so (in some ways) Chris finds himself in a position that his dad once was.  Either way, growing older is frightening at times, especially knowing that much depends on you.

Maybe people don't like growing older because they mourn the loss of youthful spontaneity due to responsibility.  It's not that either of us feel more "tied down" now that we are older (or parents).  Realistically, we could never just "get up and go" out of town or on some crazy adventure.  We've always had school, work, little money, and then a dog.  Seriously, the dogs hold us back from random travels more than a baby.  I mean, with a toddler, it's not like we're going to run out to the store or go hiking at midnight anymore--we have to plan more--but I have always gotten tired at 9:00 pm anyway.  And when I get tired, you probably don't want to be around me.  Now I do sound old.  Ha.

Looking back, I don't envy my younger years.  If I became unstuck in time, I wouldn't want to go back into the past.  I love today, where I am in life, and enjoying our little family.  So, why be bothered by growing older?  It just keeps getting better.  Also, next year I will be 27, and I have been promised that I will know the secrets of the universe at 27.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Up the Mountain

It has been a while since I posted.  We've kept a little busy with final grades being due earlier in the week.

Last weekend, Chris's family came in town to get Elizabeth set up for the fall.  She has an awesome apartment on Rivermont and is preparing to start the nursing program here at Lynchburg's community college.  She will be just about a half a mile from us!

We took this family portrait up by the Wingate on Candler's Mountain.

I think the last time we took a family photo was 2008 in Nags Head!

Chris had fun teaching Eliot the joys of mountain climbing.  That boy loves to climb....  And he remembered because he tried to go down the mountain again the next day.

Since his parents left, we haven't done too much exciting.  Grading...  Grocery shopping...  Playing with trains...  I had hoped to go to a farm today to point at the animals with Eliot, but it is just raining.  Maybe things will clear up this afternoon.  And his parents will be back in town on Sunday for some doctors appointments with Chris's grandma.  It's always good to see them!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eliot's Favorite Place: Our Backyard

Chris and I lived in an apartment for our first two years of marriage.  It was cozy, close to everything, and safe.  I am thankful for that apartment in that stage of our lives together, but I can't imagine not having a yard with kids.

Our front and back yards are Eliot's favorite toys.  The backyard had been off-limits for a little while due to the mess from the storm and the roofers.  Now that we're back out there, we're all enjoying it.

Whether exploring bugs,

Eating grapes off the vine with Dada,

Drawing with chalk,

Or playing sports,

Eliot is happiest when he is outside.  Fortunately, our yard satisfies that need when we don't have time to go to a park--though I'm sure as he grows older, he will want a larger yard.

He reminds me to take in the details and all of the little miracles that can be found amongst the grass.  Rocks, flower petals, grasshoppers, and grapes.

I suddenly have had a large influx of more photos lately.  I realized that I had been taking a lot of instagram pictures and not too many "real photos," which is something I didn't want to fall into.  I didn't even have an album set up for flickr for the month yet.  Then I remembered that so much of the past month has been spent on the road and at other people's houses, so I was busy chasing a toddler and not taking pictures.  And my memory card was mostly full....  So, I snapped back into the picture-taking routine and got a bunch of shots of Chris and his boy playing over the past few days.  I don't want to have any regrets and photos are so important to me!

Now if I could get my act together and take a video of Eliot playing with his trains.  He amazes me!  He sets up his track, says "train," and makes different noises for different carts (according to Eliot, the one with the hippo goes "chomp chomp" and the one with the lion roars while the rest go "choo choo").  He's so smart.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dear Eliot: 18 Months

Dear Eliot,

You are already a year and a half old!  I know I wrote this last month, but this second year is going by even faster than your first.  For a long while, I was thinking that you were just a year and a couple of months old, but now you are just as close to TWO years as one!

I know everyone talks about the joyful pains of watching your children grow older, but it is really hitting me today.  Everything about you is boy boy boy and not too much baby.

Your language is developing very well.  You communicate well what you want and are saying about 30 words (or more).  Here are the words that you say without coaching (I'm not including words that you repeat back to us every now and then).  And I know I'm forgetting some!

Animals:  dog, cat, kitty, bird, duck, bug, fish, bear, gr (tiger).  People:  mama, dada, buh-buh (baby).  Food:  juice, chips, nana (banana), baba (bottle), nom-a-nom (when you want to eat, drink, or have your paci).  Objects:  ball, book, boat, stick, tris (train), tree, keys, gar (guitar) car, phone, rock (sometimes rocks are balls, though).  Directions:  this, that, these, hello (into a phone), uh-uh (no).  Sounds:  "oo-ah-ah" for monkey, hiss for a snake, "vroom" for cars, "choo choo" for trains, "bah-ooo" for elephants, "moo" for cows, siren sounds for police cars, "roar" for lions, tigers, bears, and dinosaurs.

You're eating pretty OK!  You aren't what I would call "picky," but more like "moody," which I guess we all feel like certain foods at different times.  Sometimes you won't eat Cheerios, but you will eat plain beans by the handful.  And you will always eat raspberries--in fact, we picked some up at the grocery store and before we could get them in the cart, you had thrown your paci out, all prepped to chow down.  Every morning for breakfast, you have a whole bowl of apple oatmeal and a green smoothie that your dad makes you.  For lunch and dinner, you generally have what we're eating.  It is easy getting fruits in you (you love tart!), and veggies are more difficult.  If we put them in whole grains, though, you eat them all up.  You love whole grains, especially brown rice, barley, couscous, and quinoa!  You have 16 teeth--four in the front on top and bottom as well as one set of molars.  Your canines are a little late and then there will be your two-year molars, but you always seem to get your teeth a little late.  Know what?  You are (for the most part) a baby vegetarian.  We don't eat much meat (maybe once a week) and when we offer it to you, you generally don't want it.  I think that is pretty hip of you, Eliot.  Way to make ethical decisions about your food and health!

Eating grapes off the vine in the backyard with Dada.
Yes, that is vegetarian spaghetti

It is really funny how much you like "boy" things.  From basketball to trucks to digging in the dirt, you love to play like a boy.  Whenever the trash truck comes, you crawl up on the couch real fast so you can see it.  There are so many times that we are in the car and you see a train before I do.  You excitedly point out the window and shout, "Tris!  Tris!"  It sounds little like "this," so I get confused for a second and then I realize what you are telling me.  You even remember where train tracks are around town and look for them when we drive by.  You're doing great with your toy trains too; you can put the tracks together all by yourself, which I think is pretty amazing. 

You love to create.  In addition to making train tracks, you build with blocks.  You get so angry if a pen is around and I don't let you have it.  You love to draw and color.  Sometimes when you draw something, you jump up and shout for us to look at what you made.  Even if they're just lines and squiggles right now, I think your drawings are awesome.

You understand so much more than I realize.  The other day, you brought me the TV remote, pointed to the TV, and said "cars" over and over.  We had just watched the movie Cars the night before, so I was pretty sure you wanted to watch the movie.  I put it on for you and we snuggled up to watch it together.  Then when I was baking bread in the kitchen, you kept trying to plug the bread machine in the outlet for me.  You understand how so many things work!  You unlock our cell phones to play games.  You're always turning my computer off.  And I can't tell you how much we fight over the DVD player....  You have learned that if you press eject, then the TV switches over to the DVD player.  You think this is hilarious.  Quite often, there is a movie in there for you (today it was Cars again) and you end up playing it for yourself.

I love sitting back and watching you.  You play so well by yourself and love to explore the backyard, and I love to watch you wander and then chase the dogs with a stick as they run around and wrestle.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about your age is watching your budding social skills.  When we meet new people (or even come around familiar people), you are shy at first.  Within ten minutes, you get comfortable and socialize great.  When we go to play groups, you always seem to find the hostess's dishwasher--we don't have one.  You love following older kids around and chasing younger babies.  When you see a newborn or infant, you often take them toys and try to place them in their hands.  And when a big kid is around, you want to do everything they are.  You love your cousins, but seem to especially look up to your cousin Matthew.  During a recent visit, Matthew went off to the bathroom to wash his hands.  On the way, he was singing some little song he made up.  I joked that it was a matter of time before you copied him.  Sure enough, you went running down the hall, trying to sing the same song.  You will probably always be Matthew's biggest fan.

Eliot, your napping schedule was all to bits!  It took some arguing, but you and I have got you down to one nap a day (opposed to two) in a way that makes us all happy.
This past month, we traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a little vacation and to visit your great grandpa Myers.  We really enjoyed splashing in the pools, floating in the lazy rivers, digging in the sand, and tap dancing in the ocean's waves.  You were really scared of the waves at first and it took a lot of convincing just to get you to play in the water as it came up on shore.  Eventually, though, we had you laughing and sticking your tongue out as waves crashed on you.  I'm so proud of how far you come so quickly!  We also took you on a large ferris wheel called SkyWheel.  It was super high up and kind of scary!  You weren't afraid at all.  You casually looked out the window and then wanted to climb all around in our cart.
Eliot, everything with you is new, fun, exciting, and eventful.  You make our lives more full every minute.  I might not be a globetrodder.  My life might appear simple, but it is our life.  To me, an up-close view of your laughing face is more beautiful and awakening than all of the mountaintops I have ever climbed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Always Tugging

When Eliot isn't pulling at me as he asks to be held, he is tugging at my skirts to invite me on another adventure around the side of the house to (usually) act afraid of our neighbor pig (again. even though he really isn't scared of the pig at all).  Eliot is so sweet and loving.  I wish I could always say yes to all of his wants, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I simply have to grade for work or read and write for my dissertation.

Eliot is my world.  He is growing so, so fast and I try to take it in every day.  The other day, we realized that it was indeed time to pack up those tee-shirts from the beginning of spring that I've been holding on to.  And all of his shoes are too tight again (except for one pair of SEVENS we bought him at an outlet in South Carolina).  Last time he jumped up shoes sizes (beginning of May), my parents and in-laws both gifted us with a few pairs of shoes for Easter, so I didn't have to buy him any.  I went ahead and ordered him a new pair of Vans yesterday in size seven....  I have learned that slip-on sneakers are the most convenient for this little guy.

As he grows older, I try to always affirm his self-confidence, but I also have to do work.  One day, I will finish this doctorate and maybe I can take a break before moving on to the next degree (I still dream of working toward an M.F.A. someday).

In the meantime, though, I'm glad that he has his dad to entertain him and play with him one-on-one when I need that time to work on non-baby-friendly projects.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Roof Debris

There is more involved in getting life back to "normal" than I thought.  I had left the house very clean, but the yard is another story.  I had mostly picked up the front yard the morning after the storm.  Chris did some cleaning in the back, but we planned to really tackle it when we returned.

While we were away, some work was done to our roof.  Our roof is slate, which is beautiful and long-lasting, but pricy to maintain.  In fact, this summer, we put $4,000 into our 74-year-old roof.  That is half-way to a new asphalt roof, but keeping up this little piece of history is important to us.  I know that sounds silly.  Anyway, the pop-out of the roof in the back needed to be re-done.  We didn't anticipate getting on the roofers' schedule for some time due to all of the emergencies from the storm, but I guess they did it while we were away.  And left the outside water on and a ton of a mess out back (black scraps--tar and paper, I guess).

Here is the view from the street behind us.  See, we also had new copper flashing and a cap put on.  Copper is expensive stuff!  Looks pretty nice, I think.

So, I knew we'd need to clean up the backyard when we got home, but I didn't expect clogged gutters and black mystery roof scraps everywhere.  I think we are going to need a very long ladder (which I think Chris's uncle has).  Because of this, Eliot isn't really allowed to play in the backyard.  Instead, we've been playing out front, which really is fine because the front is more shaded anyway.

Yesterday evening, my friend Stephanie came over with her newborn son, Azriel.  Their power came back, but their AC did not.  Roof scraps in the yard are no big deal at all compared to lacking AC with a newborn!  I was happy to share our AC units and homemade pizza.  Eliot kept trying to give Azriel his paci and share raspberries.  He calls babies "buh-buh," which is pretty good, I think, for not seeing that many babies.  I always think it is funny when a baby recognizes that someone else is smaller.  And maybe it is a little reminder that our baby isn't actually a baby anymore.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Refugees No More

We're back in Lynchburg!  Our power came back on a few days ago, but we decided to stay out of town while everything settled down some.  I had heard that Lynchburg was "chaotic," similar to Lord of the Flies, and perhaps even felt a little post-apocalyptic.  I didn't want to have to fight with anyone over a carton of milk for Eliot.  There are still about 5,000 people in Lynchburg without power.

While we were away, Eliot played with his cousins in Chesapeake.  He had to do everything that the big kids were doing.

Then we headed up to Woodbridge to see Chris's parents.  We originally wanted to go up there at the beginning of all of this, but there was a lot of damage in northern Virginia, so we went to Chesapeake instead for a few days.

While in Woodbridge, Eliot played with his Robinson grandparents while Chris, my sister-in-law, and I went to see the new Spider Man.

We left around 8:00 pm last night to come home, so we got back late (11:00 pm).  Eliot fortunately slept most of the way, but Neko was not happy.  I think she must get motion sickness because she cries the whole way.  She took it easy today.
I really have nothing to complain about through this storm.  We were blessed to have very minor, minimal damage.  Also, we are so lucky to be able to leave town when we need to and also have places to go.  It did feel like we have been on the road constantly, so I felt relieved to come home and get back in our normal routine (complete with super green smoothies for all).  Between our vacation and this trip, we had only been home for three full days over three weeks.

Today came the time to clean up.  In the morning, I cleaned out the fridge and freezer the best that I could.  We only have room for one more bag of trash, so some items (that are probably spoiled but are sealed up) had to stay.  We headed to Target for some supplies and groceries.  Our backyard needs some attention as well--lots of sticks and things to be picked up--but it is so hot out.  A break from the heat will be coming in a few days, so I think it is fine to just wait until then.

Eliot is growing so much with amazing new skills and development.  I want to write about it all, but I'll just save it for his 18 month letter.  I have to say, though, sometimes I just sit back and feel so lucky to have a beautiful, sweet, smart boy and such an amazing husband (one that draws tulips with sidewalk chalk because he knows they're my favorite) to share him with.