J: Nineteen Months

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I like nineteen months. Well, I mean, I like every month with my kids, letsbehonest. But, right around eighteen months, my kids start getting really fun. Maybe because I feel like their distinct personalities really start coming through and manifesting themselves or maybe it's because I can finally stick some lunch in front of them and I know they'll be quiet content.

Anyway. This boy is really something lately. He is entering what I would lovingly call "the whiny phase." (So much love.) He is 110% certain of what he wants, and he can't comprehend anyone disagreeing with him. Have I ever talked about my kids' obsession with the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular around here?* Well, he asks for "Santa" every single morning. I so wish from the deepest part of my heart that I wasn't exaggerating, but I promise I'm telling the truth. He is very persuasive, and often gets his way.

He eats like a man child. Gone are the days where he lets others feed him, and truth be told, I cringe every time I put yogurt in front of him. I've found that stuff in his nose the next day. Sigh.

He is picking up so many words, which gets me so excited! He STILL loves "Wheels on the Bus" and he'll often start singing it on his own. He knows "round and round" so basically, that's pretty much the whole song, right?

Pato can be so silly! Right around this age was when S would pretend to be asleep and start snoring. Now he's doing it, too. I'll find him and S sprawled on the ground snoring, and it cracks me up. He also likes to sit on my lap a lot and say, "Wake up! Wake up!"

Little man definitely has things that he prefers, and he won't hesitate to ask you to read the same books to him sixteen times in a row. Okay, that's an exaggeration. I  mean five times in a row.

One last thing I'll mention is that J is becoming such a mama's boy. He says "mama" in such a sweet way sometimes, and so many times a day he will randomly run up to me and just bury his head in my neck. He loves having me close by, and I can't say I mind it one bit.

*One fateful day back in early November, I came across a recording of RCMHCS on Netflix. I didn't think my kids would make it passed the first ten minutes. (Insert head-banging motions here.) During that time, S was going through a major Tchaikovsky kick, and I thought this might be up her alley. Holy freaking cow this went way past the alley and all the way to the top floor of the Empire State. I think we've seen it at the very least a hundred times since then. There have been days where we've watched it more than once, and my kids are just as excited about every single time! I mean, yes, the Rockettes are reallllly neat and super talented, but come on! On a positive note, my two have their favorite parts and it gets them dancing around the room in the most adorable way. And, it's about one gazillion times better than SpongeBob. So, ya know, that's good.

A few from Oxford...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm posting a few pictures from Oxford because I worry if I don't get posting these it will never happen. Anyway...

Oxford. Where do I begin? I know I just finished gushing about Cambridge, and here I am going on about Oxford. C and I have asked each other so many times which one we like best: Cambridge or Oxford? And I'm still having a hard time deciding! It is so close! If you get the chance to see one, you should also really see the other.

I think if it came down to it, Oxford may win over Cambridge. Mayyyybe??? I don't know! Ask me tomorrow! Ask me in half an hour. It's always changing. 

We took a tour of the Divinity School and the Bodleian Library, which are part of Oxford University. The Divinity School was originally built in 1488, and doctoral candidates used to defend their theses in this room. I think that would both be really really neat, and really really terrifying. Mostly terrifying. 

Any Harry Potter fans out there? No? Just me? Okay. Well, then I totally recognized this room as the infirmary in movies. I could totally imagine Ron in here. 

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside Duke Humfrey's medieval library, but that, too, was so fun to do and I'm glad we did it. To think of all the amazing scholars and writers that had studied there. Now, I know C is the history pro in this family, but I truly loved learning the history of the all the places we visited. One interesting thing we saw in the library was that there is a special chair that sort of looks like a throne, that belongs to the head librarian. I don't remember how many librarians there have been through the years, but I'd imagine it would be pretty amazing to get to sit in that seat. Now I'm thinking I need a special chair, too. Preferably cushiony and with a cooke dispenser. (And, yeah, the library was also in the HP movies. That's important, too.)

Again, the architecture! I mean, come on! We spent a long time just staring up.

There's so much more I want to share! But, here's my start.

Dreaming about bagels

Sunday, April 27, 2014

S has been doing this super awesome thing lately where she wakes up around two in the morning calling out for us. We go in, and we talk about how the sun is still asleep and that it's not time to wake up. Last night, instead of calling out for us, she woke up crying, and talking in her sleep. I quickly ran into her room to hear her saying, "But (sob) I want to go get bagels (sob) with my Daddy and my Pato!" I wanted to laugh because she clearly was dreaming about bagels, and she clearly is my daughter. It took her a while to get back to sleep, and in the process, woke little brother up. (Double whammy...he did not go back to sleep.) Turns out that waking up for the day at 4:30 kind of takes the life out of me. Anyway...breakfast rolled around and she asked for bagels. Now, as I've mentioned countless times before, we don't buy bagels outside of New Jersey, and I'm not about to start. We had English muffins on hand though, and we just told her they were "English bagels." They seemed to do the trick because after finishing it she said, "I love English bagels!"

My dreams of having a daughter that dreams about food like her mama came true.

Awesome Blossom

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Around this time every year, the stars align and Williamsburg decides to bloom up and make me almost forget about the horribly hot summer months coming our way. We make it a point to visit CW every week, and every week it seems new again. Today we explored some gardens, and the kids were in heaven just running around, picking dandelions, and tossing pebbles. 

S really has been on a flower kick lately, and especially loves tulips, daffodils, and dandelions. (Okay, yeah, I know dandelions aren't a flower, but I'm not about to burst her bubble, okay?) I really need to start learning the names of other flowers because, "Hmm...pretty flower..." is not going to cut it for much longer.

I was telling C tonight that the kids have reached a stage where they don't always need me because they have each other. They'll start doing things together and ignore me for the most part. I really don't mind because I thoroughly enjoy watching them.

So, again, as usual, I got asked at least five times if they were twins. Maybe I'll just start saying yes because most of the time I say they're not, people look at me like I'm lying. It's funny.

Ever since seeing Pato wearing a bow tie last Sunday, S has been asking to wear a bow tie every morning. We've had her wear one before, but we haven't in a while. I was happy to oblige because come on, she looks so darn cute in it.

As I was walking with my big honkin double stroller this morning, I passed by an older man who was grinning at us from ear to ear. I smiled back, and he said, "Great job, mom!" You just need that sometimes, you know? You just need a complete stranger to think you've got it all together. Not because you want to hide the truth, but as a boost of confidence. I don't know about you, but I'm often giving myself pep talks. "Yeah!! Great job, mom! Work it." 

Work it.

#jonesescrossthepond ii

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Okay. So this is the part I hate about blogging. The feeling like I always have to keep up. I've only just started to sit down and edit our Euro pictures, and I'm already feeling light years behind. So, seeing as this is my blog (and I will cry if I want to) I've decided I'll just pace myself and edit and post as I wish. Meaning, I may be blogging about our trip till the kids are in college. But, better super late than never, amiright?! 

The pictures that I've included in this post were all taken in Cambridge. Wow. Wow. Anddddd, wow some more. We hadn't originally planned to visit, but I'm so glad that we were able to work it out because it's one of those places where you just have to pinch yourself and want to soak in every single second. We loved learning about this place! So, cool fact. Cambridge has some of the most amazingly beautiful lawns I've ever seen. The tradition here is that no one is allowed to walk on the grass unless you have been given special privileges to do so. If you ever saw someone walk on the lawn (we never did) it was sort of a big deal. 

So, before I went, I really didn't have an idea of what Cambridge would be like. I imagined a small city with one large main campus. But, it's not like that at all. Cambridge is made up of thirty-two colleges, and each is unique and beautiful! As we visited the different colleges, I kept thinking, "This one's my favorite. No, this one!" We learned that each college is required to have four things: a chapel, a dormitory, a library, and a dining hall. The architecture was so fantastic but the best moment was walking into the King's College chapel. A choir was singing when we walked in, and the combination of that and the breathtaking interior made our jaws drop. Mouths gaped wide open. So yes, it was not the Sistine Chapel, but it was truly exquisite. You know when you hear or see something so beautiful it almost makes you cry. This was one of those moments. 

Besides walking all over Cambridge, we had the opportunity to go "punting" on the River Cam. That was easily one of the most memorable experiences of our trip. The best way I could describe it is like riding in a gondola, but maybe a bit wider? It's been awhile since I've been in a gondola. Our friends who live in Cambridge took us on our first punting ride, and I'll never forget it. I tried my hand at steering, and I looked like an idiot. In my defense, I'm just over five feet and the pole that's used to push the boat forward felt like it was at least twice my size. But, I tried it and I can check if off my list. When I wasn't busy getting us absolutely nowhere, we went down the river and got the best views of Cambridge. If you're ever in the area, don't skip the punting! 

Here you can see an example of people punting. I'm still not sure how I didn't fall off the boat when I tried steering. My legs were shaking the entire time.

Cambridge's answer to Venice's Bridge of Sighs. Sigh.

And now, since the trip is over, and I can really talk about the aaaaamazing weather we had! Our ENTIRE trip it rained a total of five minutes! And, it was actually just a drizzle as we were on our way to the metro in Paris. We saw the sun almost every single day, the temperatures were ideal, and it never even got close to cold enough for a coat. Good thing because we didn't even bring coats. (We packed super light. Like, super. It was amazing. I get such a rush from being efficient on trips. So weird.) Thank you for being so good to us, Mother Nature!

An Easter for the Books

Monday, April 21, 2014

This time last year, we were in our small one-bedroom apartment in West Kensington, London. The day before Easter, C had run out to every little grocery store in our area looking for Easter baskets for the kids, to no avail. We had hopes of an exciting Easter for the kids, but you know when things just don't turn out like how you planned? Well, S used a pot to collect little chocolate eggs we had hid, and we were able to scrounge up a decent Easter meal. We did our best, but this year we wanted it to be a little more memorable. 

So, this year, we had a meal planned, and we were going to make it good. C was our master chef and made a delicious meal. Dr.Pepper ham anyone? Try it! You won't regret it. And, I'm still dreaming about those brussels sprouts!

The kids went out and hunted for Easter eggs in our yard after their naps. You would have thought it was Christmas! S kept saying, "Oh, gracias for surprising me!" Pato also knew exactly what to do, and verrry quickly learned that there were special treats inside each egg.

As I look back and think about how different this year was than last year, it makes me stop and think, "Well, what was the really important part?" And, it brings it all back to the real reason for Easter. To celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The knowledge that He is risen. I am grateful for my knowledge of the gospel and for this family of mine that I get to enjoy forever. I hope I can teach them to love to learn about Jesus and appreciate all the good in this world.

#jonesescrossthepond I

Friday, April 4, 2014

I know it will take me absolutely forever to blog about our trip when we get back, so I'm trying to get a little bit in so it's not one overwhelming job. We are currently in Oxford, and I could stay here forever. Here are pictures from our first day in London. Don't worry. There will be more. (You were worried, right?)

So, I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I gave up desserts for lent. I was rocking it. But, I knew that when we were on our trip, I wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted. So, I'm taking a little fast-break. That's allowed, right? And what better way to break my dessert fast than with macarons from Ladurée? Anything else really is not doing macarons justice. It's like eating a bagel that's not from NJ. A non-NJ bagel is just circle bread. I don't eat circle bread. Ever. Anyway, my very favorite flavors are the rose petal and the Marie Antoinette. So good!

The London Underground. Ah, we missed you. On our trip last year, we got pretty comfortable with the tube system, and this time around it was a cinch. Feels like we never left. Wish we had never left. Never want to leave.

One of my favorite places to visit was the National Portrait Gallery. It was so nice to be able to go through and take our time without having to worry about chasing a toddler and pushing a stroller (at the SAME time.) You're not allowed to take any pictures inside, but I had to sneak this one. We loved seeing the wide variety of portraits, but the contemporary ones were my favorite. Anna Wintour's is simply fantastic. And, C and I agree that we liked Duchess Kate's portrait a lot better this time around.

Trafalgar Square. It was packed with people! I don't blame them because the weather was gorgeous! In our entire time in England last year, we saw the sun only a handful of times. So far, this trip the sun has come out every single day! And, no rain! So glad I decided to not bring a heavy coat to lug around.

Because we were only in London for the day (we head back again next week) we decided to just walk around and explore places that we never got to last year with the kids. These mews are in South Kensington, near Hyde Park. Absolutely gorgeous. I loved how each was a different color and I was hoping one of the owners would come out and ask us to move in. A girl could wish, right?

Oh, look. Who's that handsome guy?

So terribly cliche. Like taking a picture in the middle of Times Square. But, a must nonetheless.

We walked all over the places that day. Seriously, not having a stroller does wonders.

Sigh. And, I have so many more pictures. Feel free to stop reading my blog now.

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