Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Brunch

I am totally late on sharing this, but Eloise is such a cutie - I couldn't resist.  Better late than never!

Our building hosted a St. Patrick's Day brunch & Eloise made the building's blog.  She loved getting a balloon and necklace and also loved eating cookies, brownies, orange soda and doughnuts for breakfast. Here is a link to the blog.  Her photo is all the way at the bottom.

If you aren't able to see that picture, I snagged a quick photo when we made it back to our apartment.


All are Well Once More

Life in Alexandria took a slight downturn two weeks ago with the return of cold, wet weather and a sick Eloise.  Thankfully neither the weather nor the illness lasted and by Good Friday we were back in action.
Isabel, tired of being stuck inside, decided to go on a walk.
Eloise had her 2.5 year well child visit Friday evening.  She is certainly petite, but well proportioned and she succeeded in charming a few Hershey's kisses from her doctor.  We arrived home to the most eagerly anticipated package of the year - our double jogging stroller.

Eloise was so excited to see the stroller.  She started explaining to Isabel all about being runner girls.
Philip spent his post-bedtime evening on Friday assembling the stroller.  When Eloise woke up she hopped right into the stroller and yelled "Okay Mommy! LET'S GOOOO!!!"

Two of the three all ready to go.
After failing to convince the girls to get out of the stroller - I bundled them up and headed out on inaugural run early Saturday morning.  I was a bit nervous - it was my first over 10 minute run since February, and Isabel's first experience jogging.

At our turn around.
 Wow! It was awesome.  I had run out a mile and a half before I realized it!  Isabel fell asleep & Eloise and I chatted the whole way.  I turned it around, since I figured that 5k was plenty for our first trip out.

A picture of the three of us at the turn around.
 Last week we ran 20 miles together.  Both girls really love to be outside and it feels excellent to be back able to add distance and get back to really running.  I train with a HR monitor and use my heart rate to set my pace, which works beautifully for running with a stroller.  I base my pace not off of time, but exertion & so I don't really mind how fast or slow I go on any given day.

The coolest part of MAF training through the last 15 months is that my endurance has maintained (dare I say, improved) through my pregnancy with Isabel and post-surgical recovery.  After Isabel was born I began running in November (3-4 times a week for no more than 10-15 minutes) to help repair my core, but I couldn't really add distance/training time because I need to be able to run with the kids.  I am so glad that it is Spring and that we all love running together!

Phil informed me that he was glad I was running again. He is giving me a month to jump start my training so that I can keep his pace while I push the double jogger & he runs with us!  He makes me laugh...but the gauntlet has been thrown & I accept the challenge!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A week of laying low.

Cuddles with Isabel on Sunday. She is always on the move these days - I grab snuggles when I can!
After enjoying the unseasonably warm weather last week the Cotey girls have been laying low this week.  We did walk to Bittersweet on Monday afternoon.  We wanted to catch the warm weather before the cold snap and we needed to pick up some cupcakes. (I promise I feed my children things besides cake, ice cream and cupcakes.)

Isabel enjoying her first Bittersweet cinnamon stick.
Eloise before devouring her cupcake.
On the way home we stopped so Eloise could collect some of the cherry petals to show her Dad.
The rest of this week has been spent indoors thanks to fevers.  Eloise went to the doctor on Tuesday and apparently has a viral throat thing.  She is doing well, but we struggle with getting her to slow down when she is sick.  The doctor was shocked by her energy level and how well she looked considering how high her fever measured.
Day 4. Ready to be out and about again.
Isabel has been a bit fussy and had a low grade fever, while I am not certain they have the same thing going on, we are spending the days indoors in our PJs.  Trying to separate a 7 month old and a 2 year old is impossible.  Especially when they play so well together.  Eloise had closed the doors to the office to play with her puzzle while Isabel was playing in the girl's bedroom.  I heard a knocking on the glass and went to go check and this is what I found...

We have a puzzle eating monster in our house.
Hope you all are well! Much love from all of us!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Free Cone Day!

We are a family that has a fine appreciation of treats and special occasions.  I have noticed since having children that life is full of opportunities for free cookies, cake, and ice cream.  While we don't really buy many snacks or deserts to fill our cupboards, we do enjoy baking about once a week or going to the bakery and picking out something from the case to share.  (We cannot walk past a Starbucks without Eloise looking at me and asking so sweetly "Mommy, may I have madeleines, please?")  I think Phil and I actually got into this habit when we were in Japan - a cultural lesson learned, loved and adopted.  Eloise and now Isabel are both really enjoying the joys of little treats.

In addition to Shakespeare's birthday cake, April 8th was Ben & Jerry's free cone day.  Eloise, Isabel and I walked down to Old Town after naps and stood in line.  (I am fairly certain Eloise was quite concerned by all of the options in this picture...)

Philip ended up being in a meeting when the girls woke, so he decided to send us along and stay at work, but one of the things that we are all enjoying about being so close is that he would normally be able to join in the fun.  All donations on the day went to support Carpenter's Shelter which is the largest shelter in Northern Virginia.  The woman managing the donations box was kind enough to keep an eye on our stroller while the girls and I got their ice cream.

 Eloise chose the pink ice cream (I got her strawberry, though she would have been pleased with Cotton Candy, too) without a cone.  Isabel decided to try Americone Dream - it is vanilla/caramel swirl with chocolate covered waffle cone bites.  Isabel has a bit of a crush on Steven Colbert, so I am fairly certain that is why she chose it.  She specifically requested the cone.  Isabel was the happiest baby.  I can't resist babies and ice cream.  I know our approach to feeding is not quite APA recommended, but we do what works for us.  Listening to Isabel coo with each taste made me smile and feel like my Mum (my grandmother on my Dad's side) was with us.  When Phil and I were dating we used to bring strawberry ice cream to my Mum & PopPop.  Not many people rival Phil & Mum in their love of ice cream, but these two sweet girls come close!

Both girls were kind enough to share, but I assure you...they both HAPPILY at the majority of their ice cream.

What a wonderful end to a very busy Tuesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tarheel Finisher rightfully claims her medal.

About a month ago I noticed that my youngest was beginning to catch the accessories bug.  I came out of the bedroom and noticed that she was wearing our Tar Heel 10 Miler medal.  I say "our" because Isabel ran the four mile race with me last year!  (I stepped down from the 10 after discovering Isabel was on the way and Eloise and I went the rounds with a nasty norovirus for my entire first trimester.  So both of my children have prevented me from completing two different Tarheel 10 Milers...I WILL FINISH!)  I had hoped to run the full 10 this year, but I had some post operative complications and I haven't been able to add much distance to my runs yet.  (Nothing serious, just that my abdominal wall has taken extra time to heal after the emergency delivery.  It continues to improve and I am expecting no long term impact!)

The promised bunny hopping video

I think I will be able to make the bunny hop video work!  Fingers crossed! **Update -this version of the video is not quite what I am trying to show...still trying to make this work**

And one more picture of my biggest bunny.  When we arrived home she colored her ears and is quite proud!  These girls fill our days with joy.

Peak Season

We have officially hit peak blossom season in Alexandria.  Here is a quick photo of the girls with the most beautiful tree in Old Town.

Happy Spring!

As we venture out on our strolls Eloise has begun to search for hints of Spring.  She looks to see if there are new shoots sprouting in the planters, to see if there are blossoms or baby leaves on the trees.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Isabel discovers grass...

It truly has been a LONG winter.  When Isabel was a newborn I spent quite a bit of time with both girls outside.  We all needed the sun after Isabel's sudden arrival, but until last week I don't think my youngest had ever really spent much time on the ground.  Thank you freezing cold winter of 2013/2014.

These photos are from the first mid-60s sunny day of this Spring!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bunny Hopping at the Library

Today at the Library Miss Lisa had quite a crowd of bunnies.  Usually Tuesday is pretty quiet, but the place was hopping today!  In preparation for Easter and the true arrival of Spring storytime had a bunny theme.

The girls were enraptured by Miss Lisa's version of Little Bunny Foo Foo!

Eloise loves all of the songs and activities that Miss Lisa does with the kids in between stories.  Isabel is really starting to get involved in the fun too!  I have a short little video of the girls hopping along to the music - just have to figure out how to upload it!  (Spoiler alert: you get a peek at just HOW active miss Isabel is.  She is crawling and pulling up...but often too fast for me to really capture.)

Isabel barely made it to the car before she fell asleep. Eloise had one helping of lunch, but when I brought the bowl back to the table she was down for the count.  Nearly two hours later and they are both still asleep in their room.

Celebrating Shakespeare's Birthday at the Folger Theatre

On Sunday we visited the Folger Theatre to join in the celebration of Shakespeare's birthday.  I took some time to talk to Eloise about Shakespeare.  Talk about a poorly thought out conversation on my part.  I was underwater the second I opened my mouth.  One of my favorite things about parenting a two year old is the development of true conversation, but I am still getting used to no longer simply telling her, but talking together.  Eloise was really interested and excited to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday.  She had a few burning questions:
-Is he little, or big?
-Does he have children?
-Will we play with his children?
-Are they our friends?
-Can Shakespeare swim?

and finally

-Why are we going to eat birthday cake if he is dead?

At this point I sent her over to her Dad who proceeded to begin to read Richard II to her.  The interest waned quickly and we moved on to the rest of the pre-celebration day.

Isabel was really simply concerned with one thing. Will there be cake?

After a bit of a late start we braved the cross town Cherry Blossom festival traffic.  (They are blooming, but the weather has been a bit cool/windy/wet.  I am hoping to head to the Tidal Basin midweek with the girls.)

The weather was gorgeous.  Phil & Isabel spread out a blanket and enjoyed the sun.

Aunt Annie and Eloise jumped right into the craft fun.  They made a shield and an Elizabethan ruff.  Eloise was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds in the craft area, but she loved the work and was quite serious during the making.  We then headed outside to show Dad and Isabel.  Isabel was busy with the grass.

We then went inside and toured the library.  Eloise was a bit awestruck by the size of the fireplaces.

We then joined the crowds for the cake cutting.  Both girls were concerned that there wasn't going to be enough cake.  My kids.  They love their cake.

I was a bit preoccupied by a very hungry Isabel, so the only picture we have of the cake was captured by Aunt Annie!  Thank you!  Isabel ate two entire pieces of cake in the time that Eloise shared one with her Aunt.  Such a goof.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My two monkeys.

We have been busy lately! Yesterday we spent most of the day out and about.  We headed to the zoo in the morning. Eloise loved seeing the pandas, elephants and big cats.  We spent a good bit of time in the Bird House too.

At the moment the girls are napping in the back seat of the car.  We are heading to pick up a few household supplies.

I tossed them into our Wagon and Isabel decided it was the perfect platform to stand up for the first time!