slice of life

CAGA: Walking Along the River

slice-of-life_individual
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I needed to get my daily workout in this morning since Ari had a well-baby checkup (and immunizations!) this afternoon. I figured I’d walk around my neighborhood, as I usually do, when I want to take a walk. However, we have family in town this week so I suggested the four of us go for a walk along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. It’s been years since I’ve walked along the River. (Like y-e-a-r-s. I think the last time I walked along the River was when Isabelle was Ari’s age!)

Ari and I broke away from the fam soon after we started walking since I was walking to burn a lot of calories (and therefore had a faster pace). With him asleep in his stroller, I was left to walk with my own thoughts. I could’ve listened to music on my iPhone, but I wanted to be aware of my surroundings. Therefore, I pushed the stroller and took in the scenery.

I drive down Front Street in Harrisburg regularly. However, I rarely slow down enough to notice the historic homes, much less the fact there are poignant quotations on plaques affixed to rocks all along the River’s toe path. But today was different. Today I walked — albeit at a quick place — and took in the sculptures and memorials that dot the walking path along the River. I even found a sunken garden!

Once I walked for a half-hour, I turned back and retraced my steps. At this point, one of my family members and I found each other on the path and walked back to our cars together. Both of us marveled that this part of the Capital Area Greenbelt is a treasure! As we walked, I made a silent promise to myself not to allow another six years to go by before walking along the River again.

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I’ve always seen this sculpture from the road, but I’ve never seen this sculpture from the perspective.

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Sleeping Baby & Sculpture

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I’ve always heard about the Holocaust Memorial in Harrisburg, but hadn’t seen it up close until today.

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We made it to the M. Harvey Taylor Memorial Bridge!

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I discovered a sunken garden.

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I noticed gargoyles atop this building as I was walking. Gargoyles!

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Look how much I walked before noon!

accomplishments

 My Title-Writing Weaknesses

For the past few years I’ve started slicing on the final day of February. I’m always a day ahead since I don’t want to miss a day. Therefore, I don’t have to write today. After all, I won’t even be linking this “slice” to the challenge since I’ll be linking yesterday’s blog post on today’s call for slice of life stories.

BUT, here I am. 

“I’m not a title person!” It’s something I regularly declare to the TWT co-author team (and anyone else who comes to me in search of clever wordsmithing). But somehow, I managed to craft titles for my blog posts for the past 31 days. Looking back at them helps me remember the month that was. Here’s a peek at every title I wrote for the 10th Annual SOLSC. 

Can I Play Too?

Pink Tails

Read Across America Day

The BIG Cut

The Human Body in Art

Sunday Mornings

Bloodwork

When the End Isn’t in Sight

We have an eater!

Things I’m Pretty Sure of Today

Parental Visit

Nine Months to Take It Off

Oh Today We’ll Merry-Merry Be

I Wish You More

Picture Books to Weather the Storm

Big Sister Saves the Day

Me: By the Numbers

The Vulnerable Among Us

When the Ride Stops

In Praise of the Snotsucker

Questioning Myself (as the Parent of an Emerging Reader)

Magical Morning Moments

I Think I Need a Mommy Bracelet

Mutual Admiration Society

Ice Cream Friday Fund

Let Me Count the Reasons

Baking by Myself

At least someone appreciates my food!

Toy Day

My face is my child’s favorite toy.

Just a few more minutes…
Not too shabby, eh?

However, I’m still not a title person. Titles matter. Therefore, I still defer to the people in my life who are more capable at title-writing than I am! (It’s good to know and admit to your weaknesses, right?!!?)

slice of life

Just a few more minutes…

Something in my gut told me Isabelle was not ready to go to school (even though she already picked out her Toy Day toy and had her shoes on). I looked at the time on my phone. 7:30 a.m. We had a few minutes to spare.

“Do you want to hold Ari for a few minutes?” I asked.

“Yeah!” she said.

She folded her legs like a pretzel, stuck her arms out at ninety-degree angles, and declared, “I’m ready for him.”

I passed Ari to Isabelle, cautioning her to “hold his head.”

“It’s so heavy!” she moaned.

“I know!” I said. “But you still have to support it. Strong arms.” I reminded.

“I can’t hold his head! It’s too heavy,” she whined

“What if I let him sit with you in a different way?”

“Puh-lease!” Isabelle said.

I removed Ari from her lap. Isabelle let out a sigh of relief. “Sit back with your legs out,” I said.

Isabelle complied. Then, I set Ari on her lap so she could wrap her arms around him like a teddy bear.

Ari fell into Isabelle’s body, which forced her to lean against his car seat that was on the floor behind her.

“I love you, Ari,” she declared. “But you’re getting really heavy.”

“He’s a growing boy!” I said.

“You’re a heavy, growing boy, Ari. But I still love you.” She planted a kiss on his head.

“Want me to take your picture?” I asked Isabelle.

“Sure,” she said. And then, in a high-pitched voice, we both said, “Smile, Ari!” at the same time.

Perfect.

Isabelle snuggled her baby brother for a few minutes. After they got their morning snuggles in, I determined it was time for us to hit the road. This time, she seemed ready.

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slice of life

My face is my child’s favorite toy. 

With a nod to Wordless Wednesday, this is my slice of life story (in ten photos).
slice of life

Toy Day

We leave for Isabelle’s school later than I’d like nearly every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Why? Because Tuesdays and Thursdays are toy day in Kindergarten! However, Isabelle typically remembers this fact once her shoes and coat are on and we’re almost out the door. So then I have to wait (Sometimes I manage to do it patiently.) while Isabelle finds the perfect toy to bring to school.

This morning, I was determined to leave on-time. Therefore, I encouraged Isabelle to put on her socks and sneakers ten minutes earlier than usual. Then I reminded her to pick her toy in advance of donning her coat.

Can you guess what happened?

Fortunately, Isabelle did what was asked. As I came downstairs, I heard Isabelle searching for a toy from her play room. She selected a doll my in-laws bought her a few years ago.

“I’m bringing Little Isabelle to school,” she declared.

Penelope, I thought. That doll’s name used to be Penelope. Instead, I said, “I’m glad you made a choice quickly this morning.”

Since we had time to spare, Isabelle sat down in front of Ari and attempted to play with him. (She’s desperate to play with him. However, his way of playing is putting everything into his mouth, which Isabelle doesn’t always appreciate!) He smiled when she showed him her Little Isabelle doll. I glanced at my watch. We are ready early! Therefore, I let them “play” together for a couple of minutes.

Finally, it was time to go. We rolled away from the house at 7:38 a.m., which amazed me. After all, today is Toy Day, which means we never early. But today, we did.

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food · slice of life

At Least Someone Appreciates My Food!

This is the third day in a row I’m writing about food. (Click here or here for my previous food-related posts.) I’m promising myself it will be my last food-related slice for awhile. However, I felt compelled to share something that happened today when I invited a friend and her daughter over for lunch.

As a full-time mom, part-time literacy consultant, part-time writer, and adjunct professor, I usually eat lunch at home by myself. (Often, I wolf it down while Ari plays.) I do this so as to maximize the time I have to get my work done since Ari will often fall asleep on car rides, which means he won’t nap for long stretches once we’re at home. (Nap Time = Work Time!) Every now and then I’ll meet a friend out for lunch or will get together for lunch. Today was one of those days. I hosted my friend Lara and her almost-four-year-old daughter for lunch. (Our older kids are in the same Kindergarten class.)

A day or two before we made plans, I encountered a Spiralized Sweet Potato Breafkast Tostada recipe that sounded scrumptious. Once she accepted my lunch invitation, I asked her if she’d be up for trying it and if her daughter would eat it. The answer was yes (to both)!  Isabelle would never eat this, I thought. But good for her kid if she will! I decided to make breakfast for lunch on the day they’d be over.

This afternoon, I prepared the recipe as Lara and I chatted in the kitchen. With each layer I added to the plate — sweet potato tostada, fried egg, baby spinach, refried beans, avocado, salsa, and cotija cheese — I thought there’s no way her three-year-old will eat this!

“I’m going to take a picture of this,” I told Lara as I finished plating our food. “If G. eats this, then I’m going to tell Isabelle about it when she gets home from school.”

And do you know what happened? Her daughter ate what I made. In fact, she said it was good!

At least there’s one child out there who appreciates my cooking.

(Click here for the Spiralized Sweet Potato Tostada recipe.)

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food · slice of life

Baking by Myself

Last week, I realized it had been a long time since I had baked with Isabelle. So when I saw Bob’s Red Mill was running a sale, I decided to order some gluten-free baking staples. Despite earning free shipping, the products arrived in two days. Therefore, I knew we’d be able to bake this weekend.

Isabelle and I used to bake with each other constantly. However, once Ari came along, we’ve only baked together twice. (I can’t blame it all on Ari. We have time to bake. The real problem is my lack of self-control. I’m trying to take off the baby weight I gained and the less sweets that are in the house, the better it is for my waistline!)

I announced to Isabelle that we were going to make bread from scratch. I was beyond excited. After all, bread was something I could eat without feeling the guilt, of say, a piece of pie or chocolate chip cookies. However, not long after I told Isabelle about my plan, she told me she didn’t want to bake bread with me.

Once I told her my feelings were hurt, she agreed to bake with me, but said, “I’m not going to eat it.”

This morning, once the yeast came home from the grocery store, I got to work making my own gluten-free flour and measuring the ingredients into the mixing bowl — by myself. That’s right. In the end, Isabelle decided she didn’t want to bake with me. The closest thing I got to a baking partner was Ari staring at me in the kitchen from his jumperoo.

The bread smelled good so, fortunately, Isabelle changed her tune. She asked to try a slice at dinnertime.

If you read yesterday’s slice of life story, then I have a feeling that you won’t be shocked when I tell you she didn’t like it. Her loss. I’m the only one in the house who cannot eat gluten, which means there’s more for me.

Sticky-sticky dough
I sprayed the ball of dough with water, which gave it a great crust.
The dough ball looked more like a matzoh ball to me than bread.
Just out of the oven.
Nicely browned bottom.
Digging into the loaf.
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food · slice of life

Let Me Count the Reasons

At least she drank her apple juice.

The four of us tried a new restaurant for dinner tonight. Isabelle had the choice of cheese pizza, grilled cheese, or bowtie pasta. She picked the pizza.

Her personal pizza arrived before our entrees. Marc cut a section into small bites while Isabelle and I finished playing Hangman. After two bites of pizza, Isabelle decided she didn’t like the pizza. Why? “There’s something on it,” she said. (It was an extra glob of cheese.) After a few stern looks from us, she ate the “globby piece” of pizza.

But then, we heard every excuse Isabelle could think of not to eat the pizza on her plate.

  • “The pieces are so big.” (I asked her to open her mouth wide. I speared a piece and held it near her mouth to show her it would fit inside with no problem.)
  • “It looks like meatballs.” (We reminded her there was no meat on the pizza.)
  • It doesn’t taste right. (Marc acknowledged the sauce was different than other pieces of pizza she likes, but it tasted fine.)
  • “I don’t like it.” (We reminded her this is what was for dinner.)
  • “It doesn’t taste good.” (Marc told her the pizza was perfectly fine since he sampled it.)

In the end, Isabelle dug in her heels and didn’t eat more than three bites of pizza. When we returned home, Marc gave her a PediaSure to drink so she’d get some nourishment. That was it. There was no alternate food provided for her to eat.

Next Saturday night, we won’t be going out with the kids. We’re going to go out — just the two of us. I’m looking forward to a meal with no complaints!

slice of life

Ice Cream Friday Fund

Holding a Check for Ice Cream (She went downstairs immediately and put it in the school-to-home folder in her backpack!)

“My teacher said I only have one dollar left for ice cream,” Isabelle told me about 15 minutes before we needed to leave for school.

“Do you have money for today?” I asked.
“Yes, but that’s it.”
“I can write you a check to replenish your ice cream account,” I tell her. “Let’s brush your teeth first. Then I’ll look at the calendar to see how many Fridays are left in the school year so I will know how much money to send.”
“Okay,” she replied.
“Please put your chocolate milk cup in the sink before we brush your teeth,” I reminded her.
As she walked across the kitchen to place her cup in the sink, I realized Isabelle has a selective memory. She remembered something of importance to her — the fact there was only a dollar left in her ice cream account at school — but neglected to remember to put her cup in the sink. We ask her to bring her dirty dishes to the sink after every meal. Nearly every day she needs to be reminded of this. But the ice cream money running low? THAT she remembers!
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slice of life

Mutual Admiration Society

This morning, I witnessed another magical morning moment.

I was bleary-eyed when I woke up. Ari fell asleep close to midnight and Isabelle woke up before her six o’clock alarm. This means I got less sleep than I needed. I’m going to need coffee, I thought when the alarm went off at 7 a.m., which is the latest possible time I could get up and get Isabelle to school on time. That whole notion of “nap when the baby sleeps” is nice, but I’m back to teaching graduate school, so when Ari is napping, I’m working.

Ari woke up a moment after my alarm went off, which was unexpected. My husband came into our bedroom and asked if I heard Ari crying. (He was downstairs giving Isabelle breakfast so he couldn’t pick Ari up.) I hadn’t. I hadn’t registered anything more than the fact it was 7 a.m. and I was exhausted.

Once I got out of bed and dressed Ari for the day, Isabelle joined us in his bedroom.

“Would you like to stay with him in here or in my room while I get ready?” I asked her.

“In here,” she replied.

I unbuckled Ari from his Nap Nanny and placed him on the floor beside Isabelle.

“I’ll be back shortly,” I said.

I scurried down the hall to put in my contacts, brush my teeth, and wash my face as quickly as possible. Before I got dressed I walked down the hall to check on them.

I peered into Ari’s room and noticed the two of them laying prone, nose-to-nose. Isabelle was whispering to Ari and he was staring right back at her.

“Looks like you two are okay in here,” I said smiling.

Isabelle rolled to her side. “We are.” Then she rolled back and looked at Ari.

“I hope, Ari, that you’re making your sister feel as loved as she’s making you feel,” I said.

Isabelle rolled over towards me again. “He is. He’s smiling at me a lot.”

I walked back down the hall and got dressed. I even put on some makeup. When I returned to Ari’s room, they had shifted, but her hand was resting gently on Ari’s head. Hours later, I don’t remember what she was saying to him, but I snapped a photo (above) of the moment just before I said, “Okay, time to head downstairs to get ready for school.”

These moments. The love I am witnessing. It melts my heart and makes the fatigue fade away. Well, almost. (Strong coffee is what really helps with the fatigue.)

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