Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take your Daughter to Work Day! (or BuzzFeed beat me to it...)

With the pace of life last week, Phil and I chose to wait and not tell Eloise about our plans for Thursday until that morning.  We wanted to make sure she was ready for her absolute favorite day of the year - Take your Daughter to Work Day!  She was excited, picked out her outfit and loaded her backpack with snacks, water and a pack of crayons - all prepared for a long day of patent examining with Dad.  She was not impressed about catching a ride with Mom, though.  She insisted that next year she'll bike in with Dad like a big girl.

Little did we know, but the kid we needed to worry about was Isabel, who apparently never got over missing out last year. After a bit of toddler style negotiation, Isabel grabbed her backpack, I parked the car and we decided that Isabel and I would hit the health fair that the USPTO hosts in the atrium in order to keep life in the Cotey household equitable.

After settling in at the office, Phil and Eloise met up with us before we headed to Whole Foods for our weekly grocery shop.

Phil and Eloise headed back up to their office where Eloise enjoyed test driving the different chairs and coloring.  Little did I know that while I was picking up more bananas Eloise was working on something totally new.

While this year didn't include a personal massage or cake, Eloise could not stop talking about how awesome it was to meet some of Phil's coworkers. She really loves seeing Phil's office mate Marrit and she made sure to remind me that we used to see her a lot more when we lived in the Carlyle neighborhood.

While last year was all about the massage and cake, this year was all about meeting women in the workplace and Eloise was not going to leave until she got to see Lisa, Phil's boss!  Last year they missed each other and every time she talks about her first Take your Daughter to work day Eloise always adds the caveat "but I didn't meet Lisa...".  After introducing Eloise to the deliciousness that is St. Katherine's Festival and being an all around fantastic boss, she's a hero around here!  (I just wish I got to hang out with her :) that awesome.  Maybe I can convince Phil that I should RunDisney and convince her to show me the ropes!)


This was the USPTO's 22nd year participating in Take your Daughter to Work Day and I love how inclusive their programming is for even the littlest kids and toddlers.  Eloise is pretty sure that Dad has an awesome job and is already lobbying for a full day in 2016.  Alas, after Mom and Isabel finished the grocery shop, we swung back by to pick up Eloise.  Little did we know that the below picture would make Buzzfeed's Top 31 List for Take your Child to Work Day. So fun!

I had my own surprise after Eloise was home, changed, and unpacked her backpack.  Spurred on by all of the hard work going on at Dad's office, she decided that it would be the day that she would write her name for the first time.  I'm considering sending her to work more often.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Supporting Arts on the Horizon during #SPRING2ACTion

On Wednesday the girls and I had a busy agenda.  First we had an awesome circuits workout with my Moms Run This Town group in Del Ray.  We've been twice and I think we'll be making this a regular Wednesday morning activity!  It is so nice to show up and do a cross training circuit with a crew of other moms and kids.  I love the fact that the girls come around with me and try their hands at the exercises.

After we wrapped up our workout, we headed across the park to M.E. Swing Coffee Company to show our support for Alexandria's grassroots fundraising day for local non-profits called #SPRING2ACTion.
(photo credit: Arts on the Horizon)

It was my first trip to Swing's but it certainly won't be my last! The girls enjoyed delicious chocolate milk and a raspberry scone while I thoroughly enjoyed my latte.  The staff was kind enough to let the girls test out the antique industrial scale - and while toddlers are not their target audience, they made the girls feel quite special!

We truly love all of the programming that comes out of Arts on the Horizon and it was such fun to come out and support them as they fund-raised.  In addition to reading books and getting a mini-workshop with Melissa, it was awesome to catch up with our cousin, and AOTH board member, Susan and her husband Joe!  (How did we not document this Suz?)

After an action packed morning, we decided to forgo playground plans and a #SPRING2ACTion lunch and head home. One of us crashed out on the way home and could not be roused...

We stayed pretty close to home for the afternoon, but then headed back to Del Ray for an early dinner at Holy Cow.  If there is one thing that my girls can agree on, its that a dinner that includes french fries is a dinner that is worthy of Coteys.

We sat right next to one of the famous Del Ray Yarn Bombers' chairs.  Eloise was excited to sit in it and now we are on the hunt for the other 4!

Overall it was an awesome Wednesday, exercise, two opportunities to visit with Susan, lots of delicious food all for our favorite cause - theater for the very young!  Arts on the Horizon had a fabulous fundraising day - they topped the #SPRING4art leaderboard with over $12,000.00 raised!  We can't wait for the next show!

National Parks Week!

Did y'all know that it's National Parks Week this week?  I had grand plans to visit a different National Park with the girls every day this week as a part of the #findyourpark initiative. (Seriously, how lucky are we that we live in a place where that kind of ambition is even possible?)
 As in all things, I grossly overestimated my get up and go, so we have made it to one, our favorite Story Time and standing every 3rd Monday date at 9:30am - Oxon Hill Farm for Story Time with Ranger Steph.

I really love taking the girls to Oxon Hill - Ranger Steph thoughtfully chooses a small library of books on a theme, reads a few and sings songs.  Next she has a puppet show and craft for the kids.

Isabel has become a great fan of the farm's cat and she spends most of the visit chasing the cat, petting the cat, or plotting to find and pet the cat some more.

This week she also enjoyed finding the goat and sheep.  If the weather is nice, Ranger Steph usually has a snack for the kids to feed to the animals.  This morning the cow was milked during storytime, so instead we all just wandered around and visited the different animals.

We had gotten quite a thunderstorm late Sunday evening and so the puddles were awesome. The girls wore their rain boots. Isabel was rather frustrated that her emphatic puddle stomping relegated her to Mama's shoulders. Mama's very wet shoulders. Eloise thoroughly enjoyed her extended puddle jumping!

A little life lately!

Life has been full steam ahead at our headquarters lately!  With the gorgeous weather, two really active little girls, and a chronically behind Mama, I have been rather horrible at updating our blog!  If you haven't found us on Instagram yet, please take a minute and friend us there (@MamaCotey)!  I do a much better job of sharing moments of our daily life.

This week has been one full of activities and excitement and lacking in sleep for us all.  On Monday we headed to Oxon Hill Farm for Story Time with Ranger Steph. Tuesday we got to catch up with friends that we hadn't seen since December and have a play date of epic proportions. On Wednesday was SPRING2ACTion, a huge fundraising campaign for Alexandria based non-profits and the girls and I enjoyed hooking up with our cousin Suz and supporting our favorite arts organization! Yesterday was Take Your Daughter to Work Day and today we had Science Friday, our new homegrown toddler STEM Co-op!  When we're not busy shuttling to and fro, the girls are generally wrestling in Eloise's bed or riding bikes!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Family Snow Day!

We have had quite a few snow events in the last two months, but the last one that the girls and I were able to enjoy was at the beginning of January.  (And poor Phil had to go to work!)  All of our snow days in February were spent watching the winter wonderland and staying warm and cozy.

I was excited when the forecast for today predicted and all day snow.  The weather men were predicting a Federal Government closure based upon the way that the weather models were working.  When we woke up at 5:30 this morning I was surprised to see that the warnings were heeded and the entire DMV was basically locked down on a snow emergency.  It was 45 and raining.  It was so warm that when a girlfriend suggested a run, I assumed she meant outside (our gym had closed due to the forecast).

But sure enough right at 7 this morning it transitioned from rain to sleet, and sleet to snow by 7:30.  We opted to run the stairs and do a strength training workout.

With the late start to the snow, it took a while for it to accumulate.  We spent the morning and early afternoon watching it fall, eating, and snoozing.  Once everyone was awake, it was nearly 4 in the afternoon.  We all bundled up and headed out for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood.

The girls enjoyed building their first snowman.  We completely forgot all of the accessories.  I feel as if it was my first snowman, too.

Isabel was fairly certain the goal was to eat the snowman.  I was excited to be all together and get to enjoy the weather as a family!  (Fear not, Hot Chocolate and PLENTY of marshmallows were consumed after this jaunt!)

Welcoming March with Open Arms!

February was a bit of a bust around these parts and we spent most of the month at home, or at the doctors.  Good news is that we are all well again and are welcoming March with arms open!  

We were so fortunate to have had one more Artsplay Class at George Mason Library.  The girls loved meeting up with friends and spending an hour with Kofi Dennis through the Wolf Trap Education Institute.

(These pictures were from our first class!)

We loved dancing and singing and making music.  Eloise loves nothing more than learning new songs and it was amazing to watch how Isabel's interest evolved over the course of the class.  Her language has been exploding these last few weeks and listening to her sing along during our last class was amazing!

Heading to class was always a good excuse to get some more reading material.  I love the way that the girls love a new book!

In celebration, we decided to have a brunch at IHOP after class.  I had seen that it was National Pancake Day and IHOP was giving away short stacks of pancakes as an advocacy and fundrasing event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Combining two of our favorite things - Pancakes and LLS? Well, how could we not?