Saturday, August 17, 2013

Brownie Cupcakes

Our little girl turned two a few weeks ago. I don't know how two years have happened. I mean, I KNOW how two years happened but how can time move like a snail and those weird zippy water bugs at the same time?

I made brownie cupcakes for her little BBQ party. And I also made them for her class at daycare--the only difference being the frosting--I had run out so the daycare cupcakes didn't have frosting. And little-miss-two-year-old refused to eat it without frosting, I heard. Apparently our two year old is a tad stubborn and a pinch picky.

Last week was the first big adventure of Grace's third year. I took some precious time off (to have a proper summer vacation) at the last minute, and made several mini-vacations out of it. We started with a trip to Connecticut to see the Knotts--Vivian, Q, Lydia, Abby, and Kurt. 

(In photo: Abby, Me, Q and Lydia (under hats), Vivian and Grace. The sun was in our eyes, and this was the best one we got!)
We had FUN. There was a lot of being silly, wearing bathing suits all day, tumbling in the grass, melting down, playing with trains, group baths (toddlers only), and wine for the mommies and daddies. We also got caught in a rainstorm, watched a giant excavator next door, scootered down a secret path, and swam in the 89 degree pool. This video is a great example of our crazy weekend:

Oh, and Grace learned that a giant orange mesh gate at the end of the driveway means stop. Well, after running into it like three times. I'm trying not to take that as some sort of cognitive development sign and chalking it up to her stubbornness, instead.

And then we had to leave, which is getting harder every single time we go. The kids are really loving each other now and seeing them play together feels like watching a sweet sappy movie. I love it. I love watching what a remarkable woman my sister is. I love being proud of her and learning from her at the same time. I love that we put our babies to bed and then do each other's hair like when we were little. I really love it. And then when we have to leave, we both cry and then laugh because we're crying but we really do cry and our husbands roll their eyes and our kids get all concerned and ask why we're crying. But how do you explain? You just can't. So we cry and we laugh and then we wave and drive away and can't wait to do it all again.

Q and Grace having fun

Then Grace and I headed to the Berkshires together--just the two of us! It was our first mommy daughter overnight, and I was so, so proud of her. She spent a loooong time in the car, she had late naps, early naps, and shorter naps, she slept perfectly in her travel crib hotel room, she behaved in a restaurant with no crayons, toys, or food from home, and she picked two pounds of blueberries (well, I picked 95% but she probably ate as many as she put in the bucket)!

We visited Grandpa Don's house in North Chester and stayed on Smith Road as long as we could before the mosquitos ran us down to the river. We sat at the river for a long time, ate our yogurts, and threw lots of rocks into the water. Grace didn't want to get in, but I let my feet soak for a long time, thinking of Grandpa Don, and John and Betty Tucker, and my Uncle John jumping off the rocks. I put a few rocks on the dam, marveling that there was a time when I could actually walk across the rocks that now are the size of two of my hands. 

We waved goodbye to the river and waved to the minnows and then went to the 200 year old farm where we've always picked blueberries.

 Grace has never been there so I was really excited to bring her. She loved picking her "bluebooberries". She kept walking up and down the rows, saying "lots, lots bluebooberries, mommy!"   It took a while to learn about the green berries, though. Not sure how many of those she ate.

The next day we went to the Eric Carle museum, on the campus of Hampshire college. I was ridiculously excited to see it, since I've never been and it's a museum about and for children's books and children's book art, and um, that entire concept makes me giddy. AND there's a Mo Willems exhibit (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, etc), which is like frosting on my brownie cupcake. Truth be told it was hard to keep Grace from destroying things and also enjoy the exhibits--BUT there was a giant Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a beautiful art studio, where we drew with colored pencils for at least 10 minutes until Grace saw something shiny in the corner and ran off.

And then it was back home, to have more relax time, and lots and lots of ice cream. I had a real vacation with a real kid--a kid with a ton of personality, a lot of laughs, a lot to say, a kid who is growing up faster than I have time to think about, but has a lot left to learn. Watching her learn it is an adventure in itself. We'll start this fall learning how any brownie is worth eating--even without frosting.

Grace vs. Strawbaberry ice cream. Grace won.