our triumphant holy day

While Christmas hymns are lovely and jolly and nostalgic, it's the Easter hymns that really get me. They're such a stirring mixture of solemn and joyful - as befits such a holy day. They make me get swept up in belting out every note (even the ones that are a bit of a stretch) with abandon. Plus, there are usually trumpets. Good golly do I love trumpets.

I also love how packed church is on Easter. Sure, it makes parking and finding a seat tricky (we did have to stand along the side, but at least we got there earlier enough to not have to stand outside like we did the last two years!). And yes, a lot of the attendees are probably those who just come on the few mandatory days a year. But at least they're there, and adding to the number of people praying together and praising our risen Lord and singing those fantastic hymns. Ad maiorem dei gloriam!

We followed up mass with a long, delicious brunch with friends, and we're so full and happy that if any of us stays awake past 9:00 it'll be shocking. (p.s. Make this recipe pronto.)

Oh yes, and Mollie with her best Churchill pose, and a bunny:

...which she quickly decided to eat:

Happy Easter!


well done, Annapolis.

For Chelsea's last full day we thought some good food, good shopping, and good sightseeing was in order. We had all three! It was hard to say if Mollie or Chelsea were bringing the good luck we had yesterday, so they agreed to share the credit. Thanks, guys!

After yesterday's perfect weather (sunny and cool and quintessentially spring), it seems kind of crazy that we usually only go to Annapolis during the blazing hot summer. This was so much better:

I have an almost comical track record for never once getting to the Naval Academy chapel before it closes. But like I said, yesterday we had Chelsea/Mollie luck on our side, and I finally got to see it! 

Like the rest of the Academy, the chapel is filled with artifacts from the Navy's history. I especially loved all of the maritime-themed stained glass.

And when we left the chapel we caught all of the midshipmen doing drill, complete with the band playing the Navy Hymn right as they passed us. Like I said, it was a job well done!


rite of Spring

Cherry blossom season is so fickle. We had planned to go with Chelsea and Will's friends yesterday, thinking that we would dodge the weekend throngs by going on a Monday afternoon. That part of the plan worked out wonderfully, but Sunday night brought serious winds that divested most of the trees of their flowers before we could get to them. (At least we went before today...I'm sure the rain we just got finished the rest.) Anyway, our trip required a little more hunting than usual to find the "poster trees," but we did it.

I'm not sure what's more of a tradition for DCers: trekking to see the cherry blossoms, or griping about the crowds of tourists. 

Not having to deal with the increased commuting traffic anymore makes it much easier to be benevolent about the crowds this year, and I was only thinking about the great company, agreeable babies, perfect weather, and lovely trees. I sure do love living here.


Friday favorites

I don't really like to buy things too often (the actual act of purchasing stresses me out), but I love looking at, dreaming about, plotting for things to buy. And while that's safer for my bank account, it can have the same effect on my level of contentment as if I actually just bought whatever I'm drooling over. Having things and liking things isn't inherently bad (duh), but when you get caught up in the need for moremoremore, you can get in trouble.

And that's as preachy as I'm going to get. It's a Friday for crying out loud.

That said, I thought it could be fun (and maybe even a good exercise) to take the time each week to acknowledge some things that I already have that have made my week nicer. And since this first week broke down into something for the house, something for me, and something for Mollie, I might stick with that...or I might not. We'll see!

Gracie drew that picture of the Capitol in an art class, and I teased/begged/cajoled her to give it to me for a good two years before she gave it to me as a wedding gift. It was proudly displayed in my office, but I like it even more in this spot. [Sidenote: I'm a bully. Thanks, Gracie!]

This nail polish is still hanging on from Florida, and could not be more perfect for vacation and the first week of true spring weather. (It's Essie "Find Me An Oasis," for inquiring minds.)

Mollie thinks this play gym is the bee's knees. I think I lucked out finding a simple wooden one that actually entertains her. Will thinks the flashing lights on other ones would give him a stroke....so I guess he's happy with this one too? It seems Mollie would be happy with just the green disc in the picture - it has a mirror on the underside and she's fascinated with herself. We may have to address the issue of vanity soon.

What are some of your favorites around the house? I promise not to use answers as a shopping list...


3 months

It's getting very hard to get not-blurry pictures of this girl:

Notice the right hand and foot.

Her arms and legs are constantly windmilling - especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. She finds it hilarious, so it's also the time she's most likely to laugh her incredibly dopey laugh. [I can't get enough of her laugh...it seriously is so goofy. Instead of the normal high-pitched baby giggle it's this low, lazy thing...just the best.]

I'm also jealous of her eyelashes:

She's changing so quickly. I noticed it most on our flights to and from Florida: on the way there, she was this little baby who got easily overwhelmed and was totally insular. On the way back she was standing up in my lap and making friends with everyone around us. I don't know how to describe the mental change, except by the end of it she was looking at me like we were buddies, and it was awesome.

This one's blurry, but I still love it. Will's long work hours are done for awhile, and we're so happy to have more time with him!


fun in the sun

Like I said, this trip was pretty perfect. I keep looking back at Instagram to try to relive little bits of the goodness: early (well, earlier than they used to be) mornings with the babies, walks to the ocean via Starbucks, laughing babies, crawling babies, meals outside, amazing weather, time to read a full book (!), and SUN. Glorious sun. There's something magic about the way the sun feels on your skin and hair after a long winter...the way it gets inside you throughout the day, and keeps warming you when the ocean breeze turns the rest of the evening cool. It's too good.

More than all of that, it was the goodness of bringing my own daughter to the exact place that's been an oasis for my entire life. I got to sit in the grass studying her eyelashes and chubby arms, laughing at my hilarious nieces in the same crab grass that made us wrinkle our noses as babies. I got to introduce her to her great-grandma, who has a picture on her dresser of her holding a baby who looks a lot like Mollie, taken 26 years ago.

Quite frankly, I didn't want to leave. Thank goodness we had Darcy and Will on the other end of our return flight! They're the only two who could tempt us back :).


we did it!

More about Florida later, but Mollie and I got home this afternoon and I just want to revel in the fact/encourage other moms that we did it. And it was actually kind of awesome.

Reasons it was awesome:
1. We had really good advice.
2. We had really good luck.

You end up juggling a bit when you're traveling solo with a baby, but everyone who said that people will come out of the woodwork to help was right. I think the pilot folded up the stroller for me on the way there? We ended up with pretty empty flights in both directions, which meant at the last second the kindly stewardesses worked their magic and gave us an entire row to ourselves, which meant I could have an extra seat for the car seat for free. Such a berry! Mollie ate on some take-offs/landings, used pacifiers on others, fussed a little, slept a little, chatted a lot, and generally won fans. It feels so good to have a successful trip under our belts!

And of course, once we got to our destination it was almost too good to be true, because we had four days of this:

Ach du lieber.


quick hits

So excited for Mollie's first trip to Ft. Lauderdale!

Making: some art for Mollie's room.
Drinking: hard cider - I missed it in the fall, but it's been rainy and chilly so it still feels seasonally appropriate.
Eating: breakfast for dinner.
Reading: Planet Narnia still! It's way better than my pace implies, and I'm on the last chapter so there's still hope for me reaching my reading pledge.
Wanting: Will to be able to come to Florida with us...this guy deserves a vacation.
Looking: at Mollie getting fatter by the minute. She had a growth spurt (is having one?) that went unnoticed until I realized nothing was fitting her anymore.
Playing: with a single rattle for 45 minutes. Babies have crazy attention spans.
Wasting: daylight because it's so hard not to fall back asleep for an extra hour in the morning.
Enjoying: Mollie when she first wakes up - she smiles the goofiest smiles and just makes you feel like it's going to be a great day (after the aforementioned extra hour). 
Waiting: for spring to really be here - I can't wait to not have to bundle up for walks.
Liking: that I'm a little sore from finally working out again.
Wondering: how to get my family to all live in one place - or at least one quadrant of the country.
Loving: weekends.
Marveling: at the patience of our insanely devoted Darcy.
Needing: Vitamin D - two more days till Florida!
Smelling: Burts Bees baby lotion...because I like it enough that I admit to using it myself sometimes.
Buying: flowers every week or so. It makes such a difference!
Wearing: a top knot 24/7. My postpartum hair needs help.
Thinking: that it was about time to update the blog a bit.
Bookmarking: slow-cooker recipes - a clingy baby has helped me finally see the appeal.
Opening: my Magnificat app on my phone several times a day. It's been the best part of Lent.
Feeling: content.


I'm leaving on a jet plane...

...except it's not just me leaving. I'm bringing a baby. And I'm getting kind of nervous.

Next Tuesday Mollie and I are flying to Florida to see my family and meet my most adorable, chunky, smiley twin nieces for the first time! I seriously can't wait - until I start having visions of a Mollie meltdown 20 minutes into the two and a half hour flight.

So this is a plea to all mothers: share your wisdom! How old were your babies when you flew with them? What should I bring in the diaper bag? What helped distract them? When should I board? Were your stroller/car seat banged up? Do I need something more heavy-duty than trash bags for them? Is changing a diaper in those bathrooms practically impossible? Just how awkward is it to nurse in such close proximity to your seat mate? Are people really as nasty to moms of crying babies as I've heard they are? Does you crying yourself help win sympathy?

Ok, so I obviously have some idea about all of these questions, but you get the picture. I'm all ears :)


happy weekend

Mollie met her Grandma and Grandpa Dunham this weekend! It was a wonderful trip...complete with yummy meals, the first trip of the year to the farmers' market, a guitar concert from Grandpa, some smiles and cuddle time, and one inexplicably cranky day (just so that she didn't seem too perfect :). 

It's one thing to know that a new generation has been introduced, but somehow being in the same room, introducing your parents as grandparents, looking around and realizing that you're the middle link now is completely different. Different, and awesome. We can't wait for the next visit!