Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sawing Baby Logs

When Julia took her nap this afternoon, she was sleeping so hard that she was snoring! I've never heard her snore before, so I grabbed the camera to take a quick video. You might need to turn up the volume to hear Julia sawing logs . . . but it's worth it!

Monday, September 29, 2008


The weather finally allowed us to resume our after dinner walks through the neighborhood tonight. Along the way, we met a lady walking a dog. I knew the dog's name, but I couldn't remember the owner's name. Thankfully, Evelyn came to our rescue. Being the straight-forward four-year-old she is, Evelyn asked, "What's your name?" After learning the neighbor's name, Evelyn introduced Troy as Troy. Then she added, "But his real name is Daddy." Next she introduced me as Valerie . . . "But her first name is Mommy." Too cute!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The weather has kept us inside the past several days. The forecast has been right-on when it says 40% chance of rain. It has been raining off and on since Thursday night. Much to Evelyn's dismay, this means no playing outside or at the park with her little friends. It looks like today is the last day of the rain, and then we should be able to get back outside to play.

Evelyn thoroughly enjoys preschool. Each morning when she enters the classroom, there are various stations set up for the kids with activities such as Play Doh, drawing, writing letters and numbers, making a craft, building with blocks, etc. I can tell by the work she brings home that Evelyn visits every station, but she starts at her favorite: drawing. After checking in, Evelyn's first question is, "Where can I draw?" As expected, she has made several new friends over the past three weeks. Each time I pick up Evelyn from preschool, there's usually about four or five little girls peering over the edge of the stroller, gently touching Julia. I can tell Evelyn is proud to be a big sister.

Julia has discovered that her hands and her feet provide endless entertainment. Always a good thing when Evelyn isn't around to provide entertainment. Julia seems to be falling into a few routines, such as eating every three or four hours, taking two small naps and one long nap every day, and going to bed around 9:30. She only slept through the night once during the month of September - we attribute that to the fact that she is a growing girl (over 18 pounds, now!) who needs constant sustenance. When awake, she enjoys the usual five-month-old activities of putting everything in her mouth, grabbing at toys around and above her, and laughing at her sister.

Lastly, we just got new carpet in our townhouse - just in time for Julia to start roaming around the place.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Giggles

Evelyn continues to provide endless entertainment for Julia. In the following video, Julia is hanging out in her new baby playnest. Evelyn says, "Jerky!" while tossing a soft block at Julia. Julia just thinks this is the funniest thing! She gave even better belly-laughs before I grabbed the camera, but this is still a good clip.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Hike

The weather was so perfect today that we just had to go to Sugarloaf Mountain for a picnic lunch followed by a hike to the summit. With this being our third trip here, we have it all figured out now. We ate our picnic at the East View area, but we started our hike at the West View area.

Evelyn had no problem climbing to the top, and Julia liked being bounced around as I climbed up the mountain. We hung around the top for a little while before heading back down the trail. As you can see from the picture below, Julia got plumb tuckered out and fell fast asleep during the descent.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

DC Sight-Seeing

Ever since we moved here at the beginning of the year, Evelyn has wanted to go up to the top of the Washington Monument. Her dream came to fruition today. Weeks ago, we reserved our tickets for 11:00 this morning, so we were all set for today's vertical journey. After a minute-long ride to the top, we took our time looking out each of the eight viewing windows. Since Evelyn has seen some of the other monuments and memorials on the Washington, D. C. mall before, it was fun for her to see them from 500 feet high.

After visiting the Washingtom Monument, we walked through the World War II Memorial on our way to the Lincoln Memorial. We have never made the trek all the way to see President Lincoln, so this was new to Evelyn. I think she enjoyed walking up and down the marble steps more than actually observing Lincoln's statue.

That was enough sight-seeing for us. We headed back to a Metro stop in order to head home, which was a pretty long walk for a tired group.

I'm forgetting to mention how Julia handled our busy day. She slept on the train ride into Washington, she fussed most of the time we were in the Washington Monument, she fell asleep while walking through the World War II Memorial, then she read a "Spot" book on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (she'll see the President another day), and she slept on the train ride home. Not bad for nearly five hours of wandering around the D. C. mall!

Troy and Evelyn looking south from one of the Washington Monument viewing windows. Notice the Jefferson Memorial on the left.
Evelyn in front of President Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial.
The whole family in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This and That

Since I haven't written for a week, you could assume that we have either been very busy, or we haven't been doing anything out of the ordinary. It's both - we've been busy doing normal activities.

Let's start with Julia. She went to her first story time at the Germantown Library last Friday. The story time was for babies 0-12 months, and I think Julia was the youngest one there. Even though she's too little to understand what's going on, she had fun laying on her back participating with the songs and finger plays. After staying home all weekend, Julia hit the road Monday and Tuesday, following her big sister to preschool and gymnastics. And sleeping through the night? Not so much. Julia is back to waking up once or twice each night to eat. Her goal: to get into those 12-18 month clothes stashed in her closet!

Speaking of which, Evelyn thoroughly enjoys preschool. Besides being a social butterfly and making new friends, Evelyn loves playing with the dinosaurs. Evelyn and I made some wonderful chocolate ganache cupcakes. They're not too rich or sweet, and the recipe makes about 14 cupcakes, which is just the right amount for our family. After a sweltering weekend filled with indoor play and baking (we made more monkey muffins!), the weather cooled down so Evelyn could head over to the park. Yesterday, all of the neighborhood kids were over there, but today Evelyn had the park all to herself. In addition to Evelyn doing tricks on the equipment, we girls played hide and seek.

Troy's parents come to visit tomorrow, and we'll be doing fun sight-seeing activities with them this weekend. The highlight is going to the top of the Washington Monument. Evelyn has wanted to do that since we moved here last January. I also think the ever-requested Sugarloaf Mountain is on the docket.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Playing at the Park

Julia's schedule allowed us to head over to the neighborhood park late in the afternoon. Even though Evelyn couldn't round up any of her friends to join us, she still had fun. Shortly after we got there, a chipmunk came over to check us out. It didn't take long before he scampered away. Evelyn also saw a huge orange spider hanging out on its web. Every time Evelyn climbed the playground equipment where the spider web was, she called out, "Hello spider!" But she kept her distance. Evelyn did basket hangs on the monkey bars, slid down the slides (but avoided the puddles from this morning's rain!), and pulled roots from the mulch. Julia was content to kick back and play with her toes, so I didn't need to take out any of the toys I brought along for her.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dinosaurs at the Museum

Since Evelyn is still crazy about dinosaurs, we headed into Washington, D. C. this afternoon to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. As with any of the Smithsonian museums, there is just so much to see in one building. But today we only focused on dinosaurs.

Our first stop was the dinosaur exhibit, complete with land dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and swimming prehistoric creatures. Her favorite dinosaur is the T-rex, and the museum has one on display. She also checked out a triceratops, a diplodocus, an allosaurus, a stegosaurus, and a quetzalcoatlus. There were many other dinosaurs on display, but these six impressed Evelyn the most.

After browsing through the prehistoric section of the museum, we headed over to the IMAX theater for the "Dinosaurs 3D" movie. If you haven't seen an IMAX 3D movie yet, you must. Throughout the 40-minute show, Evelyn kept reaching out to touch things like a dinosaur nest of eggs that seemingly floated out of the screen, and she jumped back in her chair as a quetzalcoatlus flew right at us. Being the sensitive girl she is, Evelyn cried at the end of the movie when they talked about the dinosaurs dying.

All in all, it was a fabulous dinosaur-filled day for us. We completely wore Evelyn out - she slept during the entire Metro train ride home.

Evelyn checking out a triceratops.
A scary T-rex head with long, sharp teeth.
At the tail-end of a diplodocus skeleton.
We're ready for the 3D movie . . . well, except for Julia.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tropical Storm Hanna

As predicted, tropical storm Hanna came barrelling through our area. It started raining last night around 11:00, and it kept raining until about 5:00 this evening. We didn't get any strong winds, though.

Today's rainy weather didn't keep Troy and me from going to the gym. Evelyn went with me this morning, and we got dumped on. Evelyn was excited because she got to wear her pink rain boots - what better weather to wear rain boots than during a tropical storm? Troy ventured out in the afternoon, and he didn't get near as wet as we girls did. Julia took the day off. She stayed inside, where it was nice and dry.

Even though we didn't get any gusty wind, we still lost power. (Huh?) About five minutes after I had heated up our lunch, the electricity went out. At the time, it was only raining, and there wasn't any wind at all. Thankfully, the power came back on two hours later.

The rain from the storm cleared out so quickly that Troy and Evelyn walked over to the grocery store after supper to buy some ice cream. Yesterday, Evelyn and I made peanut swirl brownies, and they definitely needed ice cream to go with them.

Tomorrow's weather will be back to normal, and we have an outing to Washington, D.C. planned.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Evelyn's First Day of . . .

This week marks several first for Evelyn. Yesterday she started gymnastics at the Little Gym. Lucky for her, Evelyn has the same teacher she had last spring. And one of her best buddies, Frank, is in her class. On her own, Evelyn is cautious when it comes to trying new activities. But with Frank by her side, Evelyn is willing to take risks and try new tricks on the gymnastics equipment.

Today Evelyn went to her first day of preschool. Last spring, before the arrival of Julia, Evelyn toured several preschools in Germantown with me. I narrowed it down to two places that I equally liked, and then I let Evelyn choose from those two. Evelyn picked Germantown Children's Center without hesitation. She attends the morning enrichment program, which goes from 9:00 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon. She had a good first day: she made a raccoon puppet to go along with the book The Kissing Hand, traced letters of the alphabet, and had waffles and sausage for lunch. However, during outside play time, she bumped heads with another boy in her class. The bruise below her right eyebrow could turn into a black eye . . . we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesdays will be Evelyn's busy day as she also has her first day of dance this evening. When the Little Gym offered half off a second class that Evelyn takes, the dance studio dilemma was solved. Her combination class will start off with 30 minutes of tumbling, followed by 15 minutes each of ballet and tap. Considering the quality programs the Little Gym offers and how much Evelyn loves to dance, she's guaranteed to have a blast.

Labor's Day is over, so we're back in the swing of things!

Julia's 4-Month Checkup

Just as we suspected, Julia is big for her age. At her 4-month checkup this morning, she weighed 17 pounds, 5 ounces. That puts her in the 95th percentile for babies her age. (For those of you in need of a refresher course in percentiles, that means only 5% of 4-month-old babies weigh more than Julia.) Her length was even more impressive - at 26 3/4 inches long, she is above the 97th percentile. I think that might be doctor-speak for "off the charts." At least she's above-average in both areas, which makes her well-proportioned.

To compare, here are the measurements from Evelyn's 4-month checkup: 12 pounds, 10 ounces; 24 1/4 inches long. No wonder her nickname was Peanut. And no wonder Julia fits into the outfit below - that's Evelyn at 14 months.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sugarloaf Mountain

With the weather so beautiful this morning, we headed over to Sugarloaf Mountain. It's only a 25-minute drive from our house, and there's no entry fee. You just drive part-way up the mountain, find a place to park, and start hiking on one of the trails.

First we had to have a picnic lunch. Evelyn was so excited about climbing on the rocks around the picnic area that she only ate half of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, half her Cheetos, and half her juice box. While rock climbing, she found a spider, which Troy announced was a daddy long-legs. A few moments later, Evelyn found another similar-looking spider, but she proclaimed this spider was a mommy long-legs.

Since we've been here before, we knew exactly which trail to take. We parked at the West View parking lot, which is where the green trail starts. The green trail has stairs that lead to the peak. When we were here in May, we took a different trail (orange) to the peak, and it was a little more than I could handle. With Julia being bigger and heavier this time around, I didn't want any vertical climbs.

Once we reached the peak, Evelyn looked out over the trees and river spread out before us and asked, "Is that Nebraska?" This question got quite a few chuckles from other people around us. Even after we clarified that we were looking at Maryland and Virginia, Evelyn asked where Nebraska was.

After the descent, we snacked on monkey muffins (yes, we have made that recipe again!) before heading home. It's nice to be so close to a beautiful place to picnic and hike. We can't wait to come back when the leaves change colors in the fall!