Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

a little life lately!

We are exactly 24 hours away from having 3/3 Engel babies on summer vacation! 
They. are. pumped. 
Pumped for rotating from pool day to beach day and back.
For playing in the lake all the way to sunset. 
For long bike rides and games of baseball with the neighbors. 
For bonfires, too many popsicles and eating meals picnic-style as often as possible.
They have "the life" in the summer if you know what I mean.

Life lately has included Saturday morning adventures at Findlay Market. Dan had been counting down the weekends for the outage to be over so we could get back in our Findlay groove, just in time for all the fresh fruits and veggies. I love that place and I love that our family has a story there that goes way back, to when Dan's Grandpa Charlie would wake at 3:00 in the morning to load up fresh produce and truck it to Findlay to sell in his stand beside Bob Castellini and all their Italian buddies working hard to support their families and chasing after The American Dream. 

So. Awesome. 
May our babies see that same work ethic and passion in us. 

After hitting up Findlay this past Saturday we swung by the Zoo. Jonah is the perfect zoo age... ooh'ing and aah'ing over every animal and exclaiming, "I rode da'' choo-choo! I rode da' choo-choo!" Goodness, can I just tell you how unbelievably happy it makes me to have all five of us back together after two long, long months of not having Dan around!? 

Ironically, that was the second trip to the zoo in a week for Jackson and I. In true Kindergarten tradition we hit up the zoo for his class field trip the week before. I loved getting to spend time with him and all his little buddies. And I especially liked not losing any of the kids I was chaperoning... is that not every parents' nightmare scenario!?

Other adventures while Dan was still "away" included introducing a few firsts for Jonah- his first time going to see a movie (he LOVED it) and first time bowling. We did a "family first" and took a ride on the Anderson Ferry after running errands and watching planes land at CVG followed by planting a mini garden for Jackson and Audrey to tend to on their own this summer. And ice cream dates, of course... there's always time for ice cream in their world!

Warm weather always means park-hopping... trying out new parks and hitting up all our favorites. If it's nice outside, 9 out of 10 times the kids hit up the park multiple times each day: during the day with Nanna or Amy, then again when Dan gets home from work before dinner and oftentimes we all go either back outside to the dock or in the cul-de-sac with our neighbors or to the park or beach until bedtime. Did I mention they have "the life?"

In between adventures our sweet Peanut celebrated the end to her first year of preschool, we celebrated Mother's Day with hosting brunch, piano lessons have continued and there is always, always coffee happenings going on. 

(...this is Jackson doing his Mother's Day shopping for me. He so sweetly without my knowing counted out all of his "give" money and brought it with us when we went grocery shopping. He then asked me to "not look" at what he was picking out and proceeded to pay/check-out on his own. He's the sweetest!)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

playing (wedding) dress-up.

This week Dan and I will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. 
Umm, yeah. No idea how that happened already. 
My sweet peanut has been asking to wear my wedding dress for awhile now, so we finally pulled it out of storage and played a little dress-up to mark the occasion. 
I may be biased, but I don't think that dress could look any more beautiful than it does with her in it. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

life lately.

Life lately hasn't included a lot of Dan. 
He's been working pretty much 24/7 since late March. 
This outage is draggging on, if ya know what I mean. 
We're all over it.
But, we're also making the best of it...

We are learning to get creative with using extra calls, face time and picture messages to keep us feeling as close as ever. 

This applies not only for Dan but also for me, like this past week when I had to make a last-minute trip to NYC. I was technically only gone for one night, but with early morning flights on Monday and then delayed late flights home on Tuesday it really felt more like 3 days away. Thank you, face time, for making parenting from afar possible ... although "short people problems" often mean they disappear off the screen and I have to ask them to get back up on their knees so mommy can see their cute faces :). 

Being creative also means learning to juggle things in new ways. Like planning unfortunately late flights home so that this tired mama can make it home in time for "Muffins with Mom" at preschool. Or so that Daddy can enlist extra help on the jobsite so he can get home for "dads night at the firehouse." We may be crazy busy, but if we're successful these little people of our's don't need to know the extent of that. 

*And also, mini soapbox for a sec: why is it that Dad's night is conveniently scheduled for 7pm so that they have a chance to get home from work while muffins with mom is at 9:00am? Probably not intentional, but that's what makes it so frustrating. It's assumed that we're home. Gah!

There are of course perks to being a working mama, like taking this little man out for date night to the P&G suite at the Reds game. Thanks to Nanna for stepping in so I could leave for the evening. 

Life lately has included a lot of mini adventures with mama + her three sweet monsters. 

Exploring new parks...

Time with friends. Extra awesome when it's on their boat :) 

Cuddles. Most always because I take them when I can get them, but lately out of necessity... I just need to lay down ;)

Piano! Jackson and Audrey both started lessons a few weeks ago at a studio that just opened up the street. 

Of course flying solo means missing out on adventures sometimes too, but thankfully I have a lot of great back-up like Nanna, Mamaw and others who step up when I just can't be in multiple places at once. 

This happened last week- we had a "girl's day" planned for months to go and see Beauty and The Beast at the theater with all the girls in Dan's mom's family. But, without a daddy to leave the boys with I sent Jackson in my place and was grateful for Mamaw and Aunt Cherie for taking them along so they didn't miss out on the fun. Thankfully, our spirits were perked up when our neighbors invited Jonah and I for a little boating while they were gone :) 

But being creative has also meant finding pockets of time with him. Sometimes it's way past the babies' normal bed time or sometimes he comes home for a few hours before being called back into work, but we go full throttle during those moments, making the most of them and packing in as much adventure as possible. 

Last weekend we hit up the antique market after church. I have wanted to try it for awhile, but everyone else was skeptical. But, who couldn't I pull away as it was closing?! Yep, the two biggest skeptics: Jackson and Dan. 

(All is forgiven, though, since Dan snuck back in at the last minute to buy me an early mother's day gift, this vintage necklace pictured! Most certainly my most valuable- and treasured- piece of jewelry outside my wedding and engagement rings.)

During his brief breaks, Dan was also determined to teach the peanut to ride her bike without training wheels. She was less enthused at first and I was questioning why he was so adamant when she wasn't even asking to take them off... but then I was reminded why it's good to push them outside of their comfort zones sometimes when her pride- absolute pride- was shining all over her face when she could do it all on her own. 

It only took a couple of days of practicing before we packed up and hit up the bike trails. Our sweet Audrey went five miles on her big girl bike, pumping those legs hard! What. a. champ.