Emma: Don't be curious ever again, Mama.
Emma: Don't be curious ever again, Mama.
LIFE... Our September birthday extravaganza kicked off this weekend with a party at Adventure Park. We have 5 birthday parties between now and the end of the month, but we've been training all year for this and we're ready. Who am I kidding... this is going to be an insane mix of fun and exhaustion and we're all going to look like dust bowl migrants by the time October rolls around.
ALLIE... Football season has started. Boooooooo.
JARED... Football season has started. Yesssssss!
EMMA... Does not like roller coasters. Not one single bit. My girl is officially the kid who forces the operator to stop the ride after 30 seconds because she wants off. But she super duper loves the carousel. So, you know, small thrills.
JONAH... Has pretty much stopped napping on the weekends. I'm not sure how to feel about this development.
Emma: Mom, Jonah almost gave me a bloody nose when he kicked me in the nose hole, but he said he was sorry.
Allie: Jonah, why is there half a banana on the floor?
Jonah: I was trying not to eat it.
Emma: What's a ghost's favorite breakfast?
Emma: Ghoster Strudel!
Jared: I don't know how to put it back together.
Emma: Well, you can try your best.
LIFE... It's taken me 10 years, but I FINALLY got Jared to a Renaissance Festival. And I'm happy to say he enjoyed it much more than he thought he would. The kids loved it, of course, because Ren Fests are fantastic and anyone who says otherwise either hasn't been, or takes life way too seriously. Steak on a stake, my friends. Steak. On. A. Stake.
ALLIE... I finally had cheesecake on a stick, and now all is right with the world.
JARED... Perfected his caprese salad, and I for one am very very thankful. It's all about that balsamic reduction. Mmm, mmm, mmm,
EMMA... The 3-day weekend was just what she needed and we're seeing lots of positive progress on the meltdown front. We're not expecting perfection, but a little less crazy goes a long way.
JONAH... In a pretty awesome phase right now, and we're trying to appreciate every single second of it.
Emma: We're lost!
Allie: We're not lost.
Emma: But how will we ever get back to our sweet home sweet?
Allie: Jonah, were you chewing on your shoe?
Allie: Then why is it wet?
Jonah: I chewed it.
LIFE... We celebrated the first week back at school with a little end of summer neighborhood block party on Saturday. The kids had a blast and we were reminded, once again, how awesome our little slice of suburbia is.
ALLIE... This transition to Kindergarten is kicking my butt. Ordered 3 parenting books once I realized that everything that's worked in the past is no longer working. Send wine.
JARED... The end of summer means football is starting. Jared is happy.
EMMA... So proud of this kid for kicking butt during her first week of Kindergarten. She's riding the bus, making new friends, and learning the ins and outs of her new classroom and school. Home time is a slightly different story - lots and lots of big feelings. For example, she threw her fork across the kitchen so I took away the piece of cake she was eating. She cried for 2 hours, repeatedly opened the trash to say goodbye to her cake, and drew the cake a picture that said "I love you to the moon forever." She may or may not have called the cake her "precious." Send wine.
JONAH... Big man on campus! Well, one of the older kids in Pre-Primary and flying solo without his big sis at school this year. Also, an astoundingly impressive blackberry picker. We figured he'd pick all the red ones but he honed in on the ripe ones and ended up with the best berries of the bunch. The kid doesn't mess around when it comes to food!
Jared: If Emma Stone is 27 that means I'm like REALLY old.
Allie: There sure is a lot of smooching going on. What is this show??
Jared: Let's see... Masters of Sex.
Allie: That would explain it.
Allie: Did you get something to eat, buddy?
Allie: What'd you have?
LIFE... Spent a week at Bethany Beach with my parents, sister, and her family, and while "vacation" is really just parenting in an unfamiliar place, we all had a great time. Best memory was letting the kids stay up late and heading to the boardwalk after dinner. We saw a gorgeous pink moonrise, got cold treats, and spotted Mars and Saturn on our walk home. It was the kind of night you want to hold on to forever as parents.
ALLIE... Drank rosè, read a book for pleasure, became one of those people who works out on vacation (ew), got my Kohr Brothers fix, and applied sunscreen to small children 8,376 times.
JARED... Drove. A lot. Got Mirror Pond thanks to my sister, cooked killer lasagna for the fam, read a book for pleasure, watched lots of track & field, rescued our beach gear in the middle of a thunderstorm. All around hero dad stuff.
EMMA... Danced through the waves, built sand castle masterpieces, managed to drop an ice cream cone, shave ice, and snow cone on 3 consecutive days, and probably still has sand in her hair.
JONAH... Loved having a bigger audience to ham it up with, wasn't crazy about the ocean, became completely obsessed with his cousin's Magna-Tiles, and will now be getting copious amounts of Magna-Tiles for his birthday. Shhh, don't tell.
Jared: It's not a stereotype if it's something good.
Jared: Ugh, I'm so sick of seeing her stupid grin. I mean, who's that happy singing about insurance? Come on.
Emma: This is how you can make me feel better. You can give me a video. That will make me happy.
Allie: I'm sorry sweetie. Would you like some snack?
Allie: Okay, we have applesauce, fruit-
Emma: I don't want a snack, I want a video!!!
Jared: You can't have a dreamcatcher on your rear view mirror and not let me in. I'm not going to allow that.
Jared: I would never want to be the only person in a butcher shop in the middle of nowhere.
Jared: Let's not unpack. We can just leave everything in the car and buy them new clothes.
LIFE... We kicked off the kids' annual 2 week Summer Break with a visit to see some dear family friends in central Virginia. A day spent splashing in the pool and feeding farm animals makes for some happy, tired kiddos.
Allie: I guess a jungle is different from a rainforest.
Jared: Yeah, I guess.
Allie: What's the difference?
Jared: Probably rains a lot more in the rainforest.
Emma: Did you know a long long time ago people had poop trucks to poop in?
LIFE... Keeping it short and sweet again this week because life is about to get crazy and I'm trying to give myself a little calm before the storm. It was another great summer weekend, made even better by a visit from Jared's parents. The kids had a blast playing with their Grandma and Pop-Pop, and I got to sneak off to a bridal shower for the fiance of a dear friend from high school.
Jared: Okay... I guess I'll only have two pancakes.
Allie: Thank you for your sacrifice.
Emma: Mom, will you play that Barry Sanders music again?
Allie: Barry Sanders? Do you mean Bernie Sanders?
Emma: Yeah, Bernie Sanders.
Allie: He doesn't sing songs. You mean like a speech? You want to watch a Bernie Sanders speech when we get home?
Emma: Nooo. Music! You played something the other day by Bernie Sanders.
Allie: Do you mean Laurie Berkner???
Emma: Oh, yeah!!!
Jonah: Can I bring a toy up from downstairs when we get home?
Allie: I don't think so, buddy. You already have a lot of toys in your playroom to choose from.
Jonah: But I want something!!!
Allie: What is it that you want?
Jonah: Something! Something that's on something!
Allie: (intense, toddler-induced eye rolling)
Jared: Jonah, quit it with the monkey feet already.
Jonah: Monkey feet? What are monkey feet??
Jared: Ask your mother.
LIFE... Another great summer weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon celebrating my rockstar mama's birthday, and later that night Jared and I continued our July 'o Music with a triple header at Merriweather: Dawes, Old Crow, and Brandi Carlile. It was so flippin' good.
Allie: Oh, you and your bleeding heart.
Jared: This coming from you?
Emma: Mom, I'm back! Did my popsicle melt?
Allie: No, I kept it cold with my ice powers.
Emma: You don't have ice powers!
Jared: You haven't slept next to her in winter.
LIFE... Finally - a rare summer weekend when we had absolutely nothing going on! Well, except for a birthday party. But, after two consecutive weekends away, and two consecutive weekends sleeping in a tent, to be able to spend the majority of the weekend doing whatever we want felt pretty darn glorious.
ALLIE... 6 weeks into my new workout routine, I decided it was finally time to add the whole eating healthier portion into my life. It's not substantially depressing so far and now I get to feel really self righteous when I see other people eating like crap. Newly healthy people are kind of the worst.
JARED... Our garden is growing like crazy right now, so Jared decided it was time to turn our surplus of veggies into some delicious pickles. SEVEN jars of them. Anyone want some pickles?
EMMA... After going to at least a gazillion birthday parties to which her little brother wasn't invited, she naturally thought it was insanely unfair that he got to go to his very first birthday party to which she wasn't invited. He's now been disinvited to her 6th birthday party, though something tells me she'll change her mind.
JONAH... Had a blast had his friend's birthday party, bouncing all over like a maniac. He somehow still had enough energy to swim when he got home. Oh to have the energy of a toddler.
Emma: Maybe when you're a grandma you'll frame the photos you took as a mama.
Allie: What happened, JoJo?
Jonah: I fell.
Allie: You jumped and fell on your tushy?
Emma: That wasn't a very good choice.
Jonah: It wasn't.
LIFE... Jared and I spent the weekend at the Red Wing Roots music festival and it was faaaaaaantastic. Seriously, best festival we've ever been to. And while we were away, the kids stayed with my mom and stepdad and had an equally awesome time. Easily the best weekend of the summer so far!
ALLIE & JARED... We hadn't had a weekend away just the two of us since our babymoon to Pickathon with Jonah back in 2013, so we were a wee bit overdue. And despite our fairly high expectations for Red Wing based on everything we'd heard, we completely blown away by how awesome the festival was. Every single aspect - the people, the bands, the food, the location, the staff - left us feeling like we couldn't have asked for more. Highlights were: South Street beer and Oak Hill cider, the Dawes performance Friday night, talking to Taylor after the show, sleeping in until 7:30 (seriously glorious for us), Drew Holcomb covering The Band, chatting with insanely nice strangers, running into Sean (aka Langhorne Slim), and the Steel Wheels closing the festival with one last chorus of Red Wing. See you in 2017, Natural Chimneys Park!
EMMA... Got to take her Lea doll to the American Girl store and of course picked up a few new things.
JONAH... Wore his Puddle Jumper vest in the pool for the first time and had a blast. He was a little uncertain at first, but once he knew he was safe he turned into a water loving maniac.
Toddler in the tent next to us after his dad stunk up their tent: It stinks!
His Dad: Just ignore it, buddy.
Kid: But I can't! It smells like pepperoni farted!!
LIFE... Since I'm a bit behind on these posts I'll keep it short. We had a fantastic 4th of July at the cabin... great friends, good fishing, a pirate treasure hunt for the kids, and some very much needed time off the grid in rural PA. Can't ask for much more than that!
LIFE... A trip to the zoo + a lazy Sunday made for a perfect weekend.
ALLIE... I have a list of tasks I call my "someday To Do list." As in, someday I'll get to it but not any time soon. Well miracle of all miracles, I finally crossed something off that list - making 9 pairs of shorts from 9 pairs of Emma's hole-y leggings. Gotta say, it feels pretty good to get the last laugh on those dang leggings. It's the little things, my friends.
JARED... Was so desperate for a haircut on Sunday that he let me cut it. It turned out way better than either of us expected (thanks YouTube!) and looks almost professional. That being said, I have a sneaky feeling he'll be going back to the salon next time.
EMMA... Had a blast at the zoo and even got to ride a camel for the first time. She had a huge grin on her face the entire ride and immediately wanted to go again.
JONAH... Finally got new shirts and shoes and you'd think he won the lottery. Has also developed the most amazing maniacal laugh that I'm desperate to capture on video.
Jonah: You hush it, Cookie Monster!
Allie: Whatcha doing, sweetie?
Emma: Having a festival on the beach.
Allie: Nice. What bands are playing at the festival?
Emma: Langhorne, Sturgill, and Peter, Paul, & Mary
LIFE... And just like that, our baby girl is 5. It was a great weekend celebrating our Emma, and giving Jared a great Father's Day, and we're all thoroughly exhausted.
ALLIE... Threw a Princess Tea Party for Emma and a dozen of her girlfriends, complete with face painting, games, and personalized princess throw pillows for each girl. It was girly girl heaven. For someone who didn't want a speck of pink in her daughter's nursery, I've come a long way.
JARED... My hero for letting me do my party thing and supporting all my crazy ideas. For Father's Day he got to enjoy silence as I took the kids to swimming and then a birthday party. He also had a steak for lunch and ribs for dinner, so a pretty solid little Father's Day for my deserving hubby.
EMMA... Still on cloud 9 from her birthday. She had so much fun at her party, and her Nana made her little dreams come true when she opened her very own American Girl doll. I had no idea how Emma would react, but as soon as she realized what it was, she lept into my arms and started crying tears of joy. She was so genuinely overwhelmed with happiness. It was such a sweet moment.
JONAH... A full face of Spiderman face paint + half a watermelon, and Jonah was a complete and utter mess by the time Emma's party was over, which meant he was also blissfully happy.
"Emma, your mother has turned into her mother." - my Mother
Jared: That face painter was seriously awesome. I've seen some crappy face painters in my day. Did you see that one with the sunset and palm trees? I'd buy a painting of that.
Allie: Jonah, you're going to turn into a watermelon if you keep eating like that.
Jonah: Hmm... yep. I am!
Emma: Daddy, you're the best daddy in the whole world. I'm really glad Mama married you.
LIFE... It was a big week for the littlest Shellaways! Emma graduated preschool on Wednesday, Thursday was the last day of school, and Saturday we went to Nationals Park for Jonah's first Phillies game and Emma's second. Sunday brought some much needed relaxation before summer camp starts on Monday. Let the Summer craziness begin!
ALLIE & JARED... Mutually, equally sore after completing the first week of our new workout program. The couple that sweats together stays together, right? Right!
EMMA... Our little graduate! Despite how grown up she looked at her graduation ceremony, I still can't believe she'll be starting Kindergarten in a couple of months.
JONAH... Going to a baseball game in 94 degree heat smack dab in the middle of his nap time wasn't the best idea we've ever had. But he thanked us for taking him and said he had a great time. So we'll just stick with that version.
Emma (while I was performing the apparently agonizing task of painting her nails, like she asked me to): I just wanna be free, Mama. Let me be free.
Emma: Dad, you should buy me a surfboard.
Jared (during breakfast): Jonah, what are you eating?
Jonah: Chicken from my dinner.
Allie: Where did you find this chicken?
Jonah: My napkin. It's in my tummy now. You can't get it out.
LIFE... You know those weekends when you can't remember what you did because it felt like one big blur of whining and frustration? Yeah, that was last weekend for us. But looking at these images was a much needed reminder that even when parenting gets sucky, it's still really amazing and beautiful and that the good will always always always outweigh the bad. Like, by a landslide.
ALLIE... Got a much needed moms night out with a dear friend on Friday. She's the one friend I've made since we moved here that I feel like I can be completely comfortable with and she's moving away at the end of the month. Boooooo.
JARED... Sanded the outdoor table we're building for approximately 6 hours. Is now very much anti-sanding.
EMMA... By this time next week she'll have graduated preschool. That's all I can say about that.
JONAH... Had his end of year performance and celebration at school last week and it was so dang cute. He's not even moving up to Primary yet and I still got all choked up. My mama heart can't handle this whole big boy business.
Emma: You never paint anything pink!!! I feel like you hate me!!!!
Jonah: I'm not "sweetie," Mama. Call me "buddy."
Jared: Jonah, stop playing with your privates.
Jonah: But my eye itches!
LIFE... Well, we did it. We survived May. Our "holiday" weekend brought a cancelled trip to the cabin (thanks, rain), about 357 trips to Home Depot, some much needed time with family, and a 1 hour trip to Ikea that took 3 hours. Oh, and a stomach bug. Because, May. I'm not sure I've been this happy to see June since I was super pregnant with Emma.
ALLIE... In the past week I've installed two ceiling fans, built a frame from scratch, started building our outdoor table, and repaired our car (saving us a whopping $1100). Like, I scooched under the car and fixed something called a heat shield that prior to that I had no idea even existed. My plan for this week is to relax. A lot.
JARED... Drove a lot this weekend. That's all he remembers. A. Lot. Of. Driving.
EMMA... A week and a half shy of having perfect attendance at school this year and she finally missed a day for being sick. So close! But compared to her first couple years of daycare, only missing a single day of school this year is kind of miraculous.
JONAH... Spent 3 hours in the blow up pool on Saturday and loved every minute of it. Slept like a rock that night. Thank you, summer.
Jared: Emma, I'm really impressed with your puzzle solving skills.
Emma: You should be.
Allie: I'm really sorry I have to work, sweetheart. I'd much rather be able to play with you but I have to get this done.
Emma: I don't want to work when I get older. I just want to be rich.
LIFE... It's pretty fitting that it's rained nearly every day in May because this month has been a doozy. At this point, if a piano fell on our house I'd be like, "Yeah. That seems about right." One more week, guys. We can do this. Clear eyes, full hearts...
ALLIE... Rosé + Salt & Straw + the Buddhify app = Allie's May survival kit
JARED... Got to watch an action movie for the first time in ages when I agreed to watch Deadpool, which almost made up for me dragging him to Tysons mall with me on a rainy Saturday.
EMMA... New library books on Friday, followed by quality time and yummy food at her Nana's on Saturday made our Emma a very happy girl.
JONAH... Got the worst haircut of his little life on Saturday. It was so bad that 45 minutes in I decided we needed to cut our losses and leave before the guy cut off so much that it couldn't be fixed. Thankfully, the awesome ladies at the place we usually take him to were able to get him fixed up in no time. And Jonah was pretty stoked to get not one but TWO lollipops in the span of an hour.
Emma: Jonah, pretend to be Francois.
Jared's thoughts on Paw Patrol: What's wrong with you as an adult if you're constantly asking a 10 year old boy and his dogs for help. It's at the point where I'm rooting for Mayor Humdinger to ruin the day. And what's this kid's backstory? Why does he live with his grandfather? Looks like the pups couldn't save everybody.
Emma: But wait! Pink Rosa (her stuffed dolphin) hasn't had her breakfast yet!!
Jared: Well hurry up. Your pancakes are going to get cold.
Emma: Ugghhh! I feel like you don't even care about Pink Rosa!
LIFE... Jared and I got a non grandparent date night! It was the first in over a year so it was a pretty big deal. The kids did great with their babysitter while we enjoyed an evening of record shopping, dinner at Hooch & Banter, and a late night stroll along Carroll Creek. Perfection.
ALLIE... Decided to cut bangs after swearing I'd never cut bangs again, all because the wrinkle on my forehead was starting to give me a complex. So now instead of fixating on how my wrinkle looks I'm fixating on how my bangs look. Brilliant plan.
JARED... Very upset that The Grinder got cancelled, but very pleased that the first of our two raised beds is fully planted AND that he finally got to use the compost he's been building up for the past year and a half.
EMMA... Picked up one of Jonah's books and read it cover to cover on Sunday. A book that she'd never read before and never heard us read before. A book with 3 syllable words. To watch this kid who has been in love with books since infancy reading independently before she even starts Kindergarten is pretty darn cool. Thanks, Montessori!
JONAH... I will be shocked if this kid doesn't grow up to be a musician. He's been obsessed with drumming since he was a baby and now he loves putting on shows for us and playing Jared's guitar. Let's just hope he's not tone deaf like his mama.
Allie: Shouting "excuse me" while I'm talking is still interrupting.
Emma: But you keep saying things over and over and over and I never get to talk!
Allie: (suppressing laughter) Well if you'd listen the first time I wouldn't have to say things over and over and over.
Emma: But I don't want to listen the first time!
Jared: If you ever needed proof that I will do anything for you, it's that I took a brush and scrubbed dirt off the outside of a box that holds dirt. That's how much I love you.
Jonah: Can we do yoga tonight?
Allie: No, we're not doing yoga tonight. We're doing quickest path to mama getting a glass of wine tonight.
Jared: Oh yeah, this is like a suuuuper girly drink.
Allie: But is it good?
Jared: Yes. Yes it is.
LIFE... After one of the hardest weeks of our lives, we tried our best to keep busy this weekend with lots of yard work, good food, and streaming comedy specials. Because when all else fails, Louis C.K. always makes it better.
ALLIE... Got 5 pints of Salt & Straw for Mother's Day. What more could a girl ask for?
JARED... Finally got to start on the garden boxes he's been wanting to build ever since we left Portland.
EMMA... Only a month and a half left of age 4, guys. So close. Soooo close. Age 5 is when the listening ears finally get turned on and she's her amazing sweet self the vast majority of the time, right? Just let me dream for a little while longer. ;)
JONAH... Took both naps in his OWN bed this weekend. It's a miracle!
Jared: C'mon Emma. It's Mother's Day.
Emma: Yeah, but it's also Children's Day.
Jared: No. Children's Day is EVERY other day of the year. Today is just for mama.
Emma: I wish it was my birthday.
Allie: What does mama do better than daddy?
Jared: You're supposed to feel better after working out, but I'm just filled with regret for not laying in bed for another 20 minutes.
LIFE... Well, it was a pretty good weekend before it turned into a pretty darn awful weekend. We spent most of Saturday at the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival, which was fantastic. Great bands, great setup, and the rain held off. Then Sunday came, and with it the unexpected and heartbreaking decision to put down our beloved Rocco. Despite our shock, we tried our best to give him a great final day on Monday. Jared and I took off of work, and after the kids said goodbye to him, we hung out just the 3 of us - like it was in the beginning. We gave him eggs for breakfast, took him on a really long walk, played fetch, and loved on him something fierce. He died in our arms as we told him how much we loved him. Needless to say, Jared and I aren't doing so well but we're trying our best to focus on the good times we had with our crazy pup over the past 9+ years. As much as this hurts, we know we are infinitely better for having had the honor of loving our sweet Rocco.
EMMA... The heart on this kid is something else. She's been amazing through this whole thing, drawing a bunch of pictures of Rocco for the scrapbook she decided we should make for him, and being impossibly brave as she said goodbye to him. This is her first real experience with death, and she's handled it remarkably well.
JONAH... It's so funny how differently kids rise to the occasion during times like this. Jared and I were such a mess Sunday night that we were struggling to get through the bedtime routine. Jonah was basically like, "uhhhh... so I guess I'm getting myself ready for bed?" Without even asking, he went potty, brushed his teeth, picked out his PJs, and was trying to put his nighttime diaper on when we finally came to. He may not really understand what's going on, but he apparently knew we needed a break that night. And on a far less depressing note, he has taken to removing his pants and underwear whenever he feels like it and running through the house naked. So there's that.
Jared: Only people wearing pants get piggybacks.
Emma: Books give you knowledge-y.
Emma: Yeah. Knowledge-y. It's short for TECHnology.
Allie: Great work this week, guys!
Emma: Thank you!... I'm saying thank you to myself.
Emma (after watching Animaniacs for the first time): I like when they say, "Helloooooooo, nurse!"