Jun 14, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Litchfield County

Ever since I can remember, we would spend a few weeks in August plus winter break in northwestern Connecticut at my grandparents' house in Litchfield County. Nana and Pappy drove Mom and Uncle Mark out from Manhattan for weekends and summers, too, when they were children, and stories from their childhood there are intertwined with my memories of ours. (Did they unearth buried garnets or was that us? Was it Penny, my mom's childhood dog, or Snickers, ours, who we'd always find lying in the middle of the cool dirt road on hot sunny days?) I always thought there was a poetic symmetry in our history with 42 Couch Road, the house that figures so prominently in these recollections; they bought it when my mother was 12 and sold it, downsizing to a smaller and more modern property, when I was 12.

After that, we went up to Connecticut less frequently, mostly due to increasing demands on our holiday time - singing for me and sports for Sarah - as we became teenagers, but Litchfield County still holds a special place in my heart. In fact, I insisted that we spend a weekend at the house with Nana and Pappy on Jon's very first visit to the States in 2009.

May 17, 2019

Master Bedroom Dreams and Plans

Well, we've officially been in our new house for a year! As I wrote in a post a few months ago about 2019 projects, we're sort of triaging updates to our home into these three categories:

1. necessary safety updates
2. ongoing upgrades and maintenance
3. eventual significant renovation

I've actually been more restrained during phase two than I'd expected because of budgetary constraints - this Instagram caption gives you an idea of how we're prioritizing (or not) potential changes - but I'm currently faced with the prospect of an exciting unplanned project: upgrading the master bedroom.

May 10, 2019

The Legend(s) of the Old Apartment(s)

When I was born, my parents brought me back from the hospital to their apartment on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest DC. We lived in that building for another three years until moving to the house in the suburbs where they still live, and that first address, over time, has gained mythical status in our family lore. I still point it out to Jon and now to Robbie every time we drive past it:

Look, there's The Old Apartment!

Apr 16, 2019

Spring Blooms Around DC (Or, How Robbie and I Played Tourist and the Whole Family Ventured Out)

Washington, DC is one of the most magical cities in the world at springtime. We boast trees and flowers from both the American north and south because of our mid-point location along the coast, which means our allergies are twice as bad but the blooms are twice as beautiful!

The best-known place to enjoy DC's famous spring blossoms is the Tidal Basin, where hordes of tourists swarm during the Cherry Blossom Festival, though there are tons of other more intimate spots of equal beauty in and around town. I can't help but make an annual pilgrimage to the Mall - this year, Robbie and ventured out for the kite festival at the base of the Washington Monument - but you'll be overwhelmed by blooms even just passing through residential neighborhoods. They're everywhere!

Okay, yes, this post is really an excuse to share lots of photos from our day out. Indulge me! But, in the spirit of sharing, let me first pass on some of the best less crowded options for cherry blossom enjoyment:

Mar 3, 2019

Three Ways We Ruined Our Baby

When I was pregnant and I asked a new mom friend for advice, she told me that the only parenting experts are people who don't actually have children of their own. Before we have kids, we know exactly what kind of parents we're going to be and how exactly we're going to raise our children, and we smile pityingly as our friends with kids break one rule after another, secure in the knowledge that we would never be so weak.

Yeah, right.

Jon and I actually didn't set ourselves a lot of absolutes while I was pregnant, so we didn't have too many "rules" to "break" in the first place, which made Robbie's first year easier. My approach to breastfeeding was pretty representative of my thoughts on parenting in general; recommendations are just that, not mandates, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if we had to make adjustments to our goals. I've been told by more than one friend that they were surprised by what a chill mom I turned out to be, but of course it helped that Robbie was a relatively easy baby.

That said, there are three rules we set for ourselves that we fully intended to follow through on... but then didn't. Obviously, we've ruined our baby! Here's how: