Thursday, May 29, 2014

Our Girl Ellie

Some people are amazed when they find out that Ellie still goes to bed in the seven o'clock hour AND that she still takes a daily two-to-three hour nap.  These are usually people who have not spent much time with her.  :-)

Here's a snippet of Ellie just before eight in the morning.

And here we have her again around seven in the evening.  She's pretty much like this all day.

So that's why she sleeps early and she sleeps hard.  When she's awake she is full throttle.  And we love it!!  (mostly - see previous caffeine post) :-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Drinks.

Summer is always about bevos on ice.  And life these days is often a precarious balance of when to switch from a caffeinated beverage to an alcoholic one.  Kidding.  Kidding!!  I only drink alcohol on the weekends, and even then occasionally.  But caffeine, I have to have that stuff every day.  Have you ever tried to potty train a two-and-a-half year old while nursing/rocking/changing a one-month-old?  Or general daily living with a quick-witted and very loud three-year-old while hoisting around a twenty-one pound eight-month old?!?  On less than eight hours of sleep?!? You probably have - or are about to - so you know:  Caffeine is necessary.  And often times, more than once a day.  I am always on the search for the perfect iced coffee recipe.  I try to limit my Starbucks intake to $25/month, which is about one/week - so I get that on Wednesdays after yoga.  But what to do the rest of the week?  I finally found a drink that I like that isn't a bazillion steps.  Yes, it has a fair amount of sugar, but less than what I get at Starbucks.

Iced Coffee
-Brew 4 cups of coffee at double strength.  In our maker this means water to the 6 line, because a coffee cup is 5oz.  I used ~1.5 cups ground coffee.
-Pour coffee over 4 cups ice.  I used Sonic ice, because our machine is still.broken. (read: never worked)  This is your concentrate for the week (or two-day period, no judgement here!!)
-When you're ready to make the coffee, fill a cup with ice (I have a plastic iced grande beverage cup from Starbucks that I use), add coffee until almost full, and drizzle in 1-1.5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk.  Then stir stir stir and enjoy!  Yummmmm.

So if you stop by this week, I've got the coffee in a 2-qt jug, and the condensed milk in a mason jar, all ready to go!  (but my bag of ice is running low, so you might have to bring your own.)

I know you are also dying to know what I was sipping while Rome was burning.  Here's that recipe.  Originally from food and wine, adapted by me to have less alcohol.  I didn't want to have to buy Grand Marnier.  My mom always had that stuff hanging around.  Me, notsomuch.

White Sangria
2 peaches, thinly sliced
1 mango, chopped
1/4 cup mint
1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup OJ, 2/3 cup fizzy water (this was instead of 1cup grand marnier)
1 bottle fruity white wine (that someone gifted us when Caroline was born or something)
-Melt sugar and water in saucepan over low heat, transfer to pitcher, refrigerate until chilled
-Stir in everything else, serve over ice. Play with cutest little redhead ever. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Wow.  We had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Spent some really good family time together.  Tried to fit in all the requirements:  hot dogs, pool, playground, parade, hamburgers, corn on the cob, picnic blankets, neighbor's house on fire.... SQUEEEEER (that's a record scratching).  Neighbor's house on fire?!?!?!  Check-a-WHAT??!!!

Saturday was a pretty typical day.  We did some yard work in the morning, then Ellie and I read in the shady front yard while Pete finished up the trimming.

Don't remember what we did the rest of the day, Pete's phone pics tell me we swung into Old Navy, and I know we grilled hot dogs in the backyard for dinner.

After the girls were in bed, I was reading Southern Living in the living room whilst sipping on a glass of sangria.  Pete came in the room to tell me he was going on his run, and I mentioned that it sounded like someone was calling for shooting targets outside.  ("Pull!")  Pete said he thought it was probably Jack (teenage neighbor) playing basketball with his friends.  He goes outside, and suddenly comes back in the front door - "Josh's house is on fire!!!"  WHAT?!?!  I ran outside, and, sure enough, a huge cloud of black smoke was rising up behind his house.  Pete asked Josh if they'd called 911 - they had - and I ran back inside to get our fire extinguisher.  They had already used one neighbor's, but another would certainly help.  As I got over to their house with the extinguisher, I heard the fire trucks start to roll in, so I gave it to the cause and headed back to our house, not wanting to be in the way of the firefighters.  Long story short:  everything is okay, Josh's grill caught fire and started to burn their wooden deck and warp some of the siding on their second story, but all was contained and outside, and everything is fine.  But it made for quite a show!  Standard response to a 'grill fire, house not-on-fire' is 4 trucks and 20 firefighters.  I took pictures afterwards because Ellie loves firetrucks - especially the hook-and-ladder truck. 


I had Pete take a picture of me (on what is clearly my shower night) in front of the hook-and-ladder as the truck was pulling away.  One of the firefighters leaned his head out and said, "you're going to take a picture of the truck without us?!?" and I said, "you want to be in the picture?"  So that's why there is a random photo of me with three of Lexington's finest in my front yard.  Quite a start to the weekend.

Sunday wasn't a big day photo-wise.  But we did make it out to the pool for about forty-five minutes in the evening, and ate dinner at the club.  No pictures of Caroline's first-ever dip in a pool, but she enjoyed it.  Hopefully I'll be able to snap a shot of her second trip.   Juggling two kids and their floaties, and hats, and cover-ups, and sunscreen will surely get easier as the summer progresses.

We really lived it up on Monday.  We were at the park before nine.  Caroline slept and Ellie ran all around the playground.  Can you find her in the picture? 

We also fed the ducks before going to one of Ellie's new favorite places:  Home Depot.  Land of the Car Cart (!!)  Ellie gets so excited about sitting in one of these with Caroline.  We have gone at least once in each of the last three weeks.  Usually we really do need something, though.  This trip, for example, was for a new fire extinguisher :-)

I don't recall exactly how the next bit of our morning came to be, but it started on the way home from Home Depot when we realized there was not a parade for Memorial Day.  We were looking for the kazoos - they used to live in my glove box (you never know when you'll need a kazoo or two).  So I had Pete look in our party box instead, and he didn't find the kazoos, but brought out a slide whistle.  Next thing I know, Pete is bounding down to the basement, and comes back up playing his trombone (he would probably like me to add for the first time in about six years).  The two of them end up in our front yard, having their very own 'parade'.

Parade marching can really wear you out. 

THEN Josh came by with Caitlyn in her new bike trailer, and Ellie joined Caitlyn in the trailer for two rides around the block, then Pete took them around once more to see how it felt pulling two kiddos.  (We're hoping to get a bike trailer for the girls very soon.)

All of that before lunch!!  The rest of the day was standard - after Ellie woke up from an uber-long nap, we ate burgers and corn on the cob for dinner, and the Douglas family came over afterwards for beer and dessert.

So that was our weekend!  Lots of family, and friends, and food.  Hope yours was great, too!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ellie's Third Birthday Party

The day after Ellie's birthday we had the neighborhood girls over (and Owen!) to celebrate our girl.  Ellie has been OBSESSED with 'dancing girls' lately- she loves her ballerina shirt, and her new ballerina shoes.  She likes to dance and twirl around the house whenever we play music in the house.  So the theme for her party was pretty easy to decide.

I tried to stay pretty low-key with the decorations and activities this year, just had ballerina dress-up, a craft table, and a short ballet lesson.  We moved all of the furniture out of our living room to make Ellie's Dance Studio.  The food was simple:  cupcakes, cookies, and fruit.


Ellie was so excited for her friends to arrive, she could hardly contain herself.  


Unfortunately, our ballet teacher had to cancel at the last minute.  So there are no pictures of seven girls and a boy lined up in our living room in their tutus practicing tondus.  (whump-wah)  Luckily, the children couldn't have cared less!  Pete opened up the back door, and after cake and singing, everyone ended up in the backyard going down the slide.  Typical.

The kitchen is always a favorite.

I don't know when I'll be able to sing "Happy Birthday" to my girls without crying, but suffice to say, three isn't old enough.
Ellie wasn't that into the cake, but little Audrey Eason was
Caroline liked the [wooden] cookies.
Herrington is quite the ladies' man.
His signature move.  Hello there.

I think everyone really did have a good time.  It was unfortunate that there was no dance class, especially since I had removed all the seating for the adults.  But the kids probably didn't even notice that there was an element missing from the party.  They had their friends, dessert, and a sunny morning of play.  What more could a group of two and three-year-olds want?
All partied out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eleanor Wrenn is three years old.

Trying on her first pair of ballet slippers.
Ellie is three.  I have a three-year-old.  Wow - that is so weird.  But nothing is weird about Ellie.  She is your typical thirty-six month old (with all of the highs and VERY low lows).  She is smart and energetic.  She is decisive and loving.  She runs and rides and sings and dances all the day long.  Her preschool teacher agreed last week that she has two speeds:  fast and faster.


At her three-year-old well-check, Ellie weighed 32 pounds (70%) and was 40 inches tall (95%).  Our pediatrician couldn't believe how tall she is!  We assured him that there are at least two other girls her age that are taller than she is - but that she pretty much towers over every else.  He was also floored that she can count to thirty and write her name.  As my Aunt Susie told me, it's a good thing he didn't ask about her song repertoire! :-)

The afternoon I realized we needed to raise her seat - again.
Waking up is hard to do. (After a nap.  She's up and dressed before 7am every morning!)
Birthday morning - before school.
Ellie's birthday was on a Friday, so we sent her to school as usual.  (She has told me that she likes school days more than home days.)  Audrey and Andrew drove in for dinner/cake/presents, and had arrived by the time Ellie and I walked back from school.  We went for pizza dinner at Puccini's and brought the cake with us.

Everyone on our section of the restaurant sang along with us.
She blew them all out - first try!

We opened presents in the back yard before bedtime.   

leotard and tights to go with her new slippers - perfect for a ballet party!
Ellie's big gift should be a really fun one -- her very own camera!  I'm hoping to start some regular entries, from Ellie's point of view.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Keeneland Morning Workout

We did not make it out to the Spring Meet this year - we had plans every Saturday that the horses were running, and we weren't that enthusiastic about navigating Keeneland with a fast toddler and a chunky baby.  We DID however, take Ellie (and Caroline) out the Thursday before her birthday to watch the morning workouts.  It's a really good time to actually see the horses, and talk to their trainers, etc.  On Saturday mornings they have breakfast and children's activities, but we were just as happy to be there with coffee and doughnuts from North Lime, and not have to deal with any crowds.

We snagged a parking spot right by the stables, and watched this lovely horse eating HIS breakfast.

Ellie was so happy to be with her Daddy on a weekday morning!

Caroline seemed to enjoy her first trip to the racetrack, and liked it when the trainers slowed down so that the girls could get a good look at the horses.


Didn't take too many pics - had coffee and a stroller to juggle as well - but we had a really good time!!  Maybe in the fall we will get to see an actual race, but the practices are pretty entertaining.