Friday, June 25, 2010


We've heard it more than a few times.

"You're going to Disney World - again?!"

Yes, again. I guess a lot of people wait until their kids are older to take their kids to meet Cinderella and Mickey Mouse - so they will remember it. I think those people plan on just taking their child once or twice in their life, so in their case maybe it is better to wait.

But for us, seeing Lilly's expressions and reactions is just completely totally priceless, even if she won't remember this when she grows up. Because Jon and I will totally look back at her complete and total inhibition to just be a child, to appreciate the magic and the characters and each little surprise along the way.

I used to think the Bippity Boppity Boutique was ridiculous. And then I started raising a princess, and it grew on me a little, but I still wasn't sure about it. Basically they have a little salon at Cinderella's Castle where little girls can get their hair and makeup and nails done so that they look like a princess. And then Lilly had an incident a few months ago when she got baby aspirin off the counter & opened it and swallowed about 10 pills. Scared us to death, although poison control said she would be fine. The next morning when she woke up ok, I called Jon and said "I'm booking Bippity Boppity Boutique." Because when your child has a health scare, you immediately think that you want to make sure she can look like an official Disney princess to make it up to her. Right?

For those of you who are skeptics - about our need to bring Lilly to Disney year after year, or about bringing a newly four year old to Bippity Boppity Boutique, or about our spoiling our little girl, let me just say: I just experienced the most perfect day with my family.

I woke up at 6:30. We're staying at the Polynesian, and I ran along the Seven Seas Lagoon beach, with views of Cinderella's Castle, the Contemporary, the monorail, and the Grand Floridian in the distance. Beautiful. Then went to get coffee, milk, fruit, and a bagel for Lilly just as she was getting up at 7:30.

We all got dressed and got on the Monorail, and two stops later we were walking into Magic Kingdom. Her appointment at the BBB was at 8:30, so we got into the park a half hour before it opened - Main Street was deserted.

When we arrived at the BBB, they asked Lilly to pick our her princess dress. She picked Cinderella, although she almost went with Tiana. A few minutes later a fairy godmother in training got Lilly to walk to the back to a dressing room. She explained to Lilly that her Fairy Godmother left her a present behind the curtain. She then asked Lilly who her favorite princess was. Lilly said "Mommy!" and I melted. Then she asked who Lilly's next favorite princess is and Lilly said "Yella" (Cinderella) and the FGIT opened the curtain and there was Lilly's beautiful Cinderella dress! She was so excited. We put it on her, and it was time for hair and makeup and nails.

Lilly is a pro with nails and makeup, so she patiently let one FGIT paint her nails and apply the makeup, taking extra care to blow on her nails, and pout and pucker her lips. She also appropriately smiled while the blush was applied so you could see her cheeks. The hair was fast and efficient, and used a ton of gel and hairspray but Lilly looked perfect at the end of it. As she was getting her hair done, the stylist asked Lilly who her daddy's favorite princess is. Lilly said: "Me!" Which of course is true, Lilly is definitely Jon's favorite princess.

The best was the reveal, when they turned Lilly's chair around to face the mirror - she was so excited!!! She grinned at herself for 10 minutes, so happy that she was so gorgeous.

Next we went next door to take a few more pictures; Lilly was a pro at posing. When she was all done, we walked out the door and - Lilly was so excited to see the carousel right in front of her! It is her favorite ride, I think. She rode it once with me while Jon got fast passes to Peter Pan. Then we got off and immediately saw Mary Poppins and Bert! Lilly was thrilled, it is her favorite movie. No one else was around, and she had a few minutes to chat with them.

Next we went on Winnie the Pooh, Teacups, and Astro Orbiters, more of Lilly's favorite. Then we went to Toon Town where Lilly went on Barnstormer twice, then met and took pictures with three princesses: Cinderella, Jasmine, and Aurora.

We went back to Fantasyland and Lilly rode It's a Small World and Peter Pan. Then Jon took her to Philharmagic while I got fass passes to Space Mountain. Finally we were ready to head back to the hotel - it was about 11:30 - a busy morning!

We took the boat back to the Polynesian, and the marina is right next to the building that we're staying in. We ate snacks for lunch, and all three of us took a nice nap.

When we woke up around 3, we decided to go to the pool for a little while. Then we got dressed for dinner. We went to the Luau at the Polynesian for dinner. During the middle of the show, they asked all kids to get up on stage to dance. Lilly went up all by herself, surprising us (as we were ready to go up with her). She danced and was a ham. Then all the kids came back down and as she got back to her seat they called up everyone who has a birthday in June. Lilly jumped right back on the stage by herself and danced yet again.

We all enjoyed the luau, and when it was over we walked to the Grand Floridian and caught the Monorail to Magic Kingdom. We went to the Tiki Room, and then Jon went on Space Mountain while I took Lilly on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority - surprisingly always one of her favorite rides. Then we happened upon a dance party with Pluto, Goofy, and Stitch - Lilly danced hard for awhile and then we called it a day with being at the parks.

We took the boat back to the Poly and Lilly fell asleep as we walked to the room. Jon and I watched the fireworks before going back to our room, and Lilly woke up as I got her ready for bed. I made her take a bath to get all the hair stuff out from BBB (it was adorable but I thought it would be uncomfortable all night long). She was so cute and sweet and tired as she took a bath and got ready for bed. She had a long and busy day, but I think she had the time of her life - I know Jon and I did.

Our lives are busy, and we don't always get to appreciate each other as much as we should. It is so wonderful to spend a few days with the most important people to me as we all watch each other having a great time, and enjoy each other's company.

I watch Lilly fast asleep on her pillow. She had a perfect day, a busy day. She'll sleep sound tonite.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Super Busy

Someone observed a few years ago that Jon and I always seem to have a lot to do at once; and if we weren't super-busy, we'd be bored.

The context for that particular statement was around our wedding. Jon was working tons of hours as an intern, and I was finishing my second year of law school. And we were planning our wedding - including writing the entire interfaith ceremony ourselves to incorporate much of our Jewish and Catholic traditions. Oh and did I mention at the same time we bought & moved into our house?

I was ready for the multi-tasking, of course - during college I always worked at least two jobs - waiting tables at two different restaurants, working in insurance, and tutoring for second grade. And I graduated a year early. Yes, I was prepared to take on too much and do it successfully.

So when I got my first job, I think I felt too comfortable, too bored. So we had Lilly to liven things up a little. And once she was born, all of a sudden our social calendar was filled. Play dates, birthday parties, music & gymnastic classes, all while working full time and fitting it all in somehow.

And then we moved to New Zealand which was just a completely crazy time - figuring out how to live in a foreign country with a two year old and a super busy husband, which still working a demanding job. But somehow we managed.

And then we moved home, and I feel like this whole year has flown by - we unpacked from being away for the year, settled back into our Charlottesville routines, worked too much, went through the process of putting our house up for sale & selling it, and now we're getting ready in 9 hours to leave it behind.

Yes, the movers come in 9 hours. And I'm blogging. Silly me. But it would make sense if you knew what the last few days looked like to us. We both worked all week. Last weekend we had Jon's parents and brother staying with us for Jon's graduation while we started to pack up. Then Sunday we had a Tequila tasting party with some of our friends. Tuesday night Lilly had a play date with her best friend at our house. Wednesday Lilly had horsebackriding in the afternoon and then I had a mom's night out with a good friend. Friday night Lilly had her school picnic. Saturday we packed and then Lilly had her super sweet 4th birthday party at Little Gym. I spent a couple hours poking holes in fruit for her party fruit kebobs, which apparently is very important two days before you move. Priorities, people. The party was so much fun, by the way. And today was Lilly's birthday and Father's Day, so of course Lilly had a 6 hour play date with her best friend, including pizza, playing at the house, and Toy Story 3. Then we opened her presents and we went to dinner. And then we've been packing ever since.

I don't know why I need to throw a party the weekend we're leaving, except that Lilly loves her friends and they love her, and I feel guilty that we're moving. I don't know why I scheduled a long play date except that Lilly loves her friend, and it's her birthday after all! I am a willing participant to the move, and yet I want Lilly to feel like life goes on, and not feel shortchanged because of our life decisions.

Most people would pack up, then move to the next location. Not us. Apparently my guilt feels better if we go to Disney World for a few days along the way. And somehow work is nuts for me this week so I'm trying to work a day or two in the midst of leaving Charlottesville. And then we get to NYC a week from tomorrow, move into our apartment that Tuesday, and Jon starts work on that Wednesday. I plan on working that Friday, and that's when Lilly starts school. It is a crazy hectic schedule.

Oh and I forgot to mention... Jon's leg is injured from playing basketball last week - he's wearing a boot thing and limping around. So when I say "we" have been packing, it's been 90% me. I absolutely sympathize with him (and he should be back to 100% in another couple weeks), it is definitely bad timing.

So let me get back to packing. Which by itself is complicated: most of our stuff to storage for a year (I'm already dreading unpacking it then); some things shipped to NYC; and some things packed for Disney World. Now, I'm going to unhook my computer so that we can move the desk out tomorrow. Wish me luck on getting it all done!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Little Light of Mine

She will be 4 years old this weekend. Where has the time gone?

My darling little Lilly was born 4 years ago this Saturday. I know it's been 4 years because Jon was watching World Cup Soccer while I was in labor, and he's watching it again now.

What an amazing, wild, funny ride with my amazing, wild, funny daughter. Words seem inadequate to describe our past 4 years and to describe my Lilly. I am so incredibly grateful for this journey.

When she was born we knew nothing. Nothing about Down syndrome. Nothing about babies. Nothing about parenthood. But we loved that girl so much since before she was dancing in my belly. We were in for the ride, 100%. And she has given us back so much more in return.

Lilly was meant to be here on this earth and she is a miracle and she has a purpose. Watching her grow for the past 4 years has been a tremendous honor. Loving her, and having her say "Love you too!" right back to me, has been the biggest blessing of my life.

Lilly participated in graduation last week at her preschool. As always, my words are inadequate at describing what Lilly so eloquently expresses here. Lilly, please know that your mommy and daddy are so proud of you. We will always be there to let your light shine bright.

And here is one more of graduation...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love my daughter.

(Ps - Congrats to Lindsay and Chris on their wedding - will try to get more pics up soon.)

Monday, June 14, 2010


This weekend we celebrated Jon's graduation from residency. Graduations are accomplishments, for sure; but residency graduation is really something to celebrate.

Seven years ago Jon entered this program right out of 4 years of medical school, which had followed 4 1/2 years of college (engineering degree). He was smart and a hard worker, but residency is a task that pushes a person to the limit even more.

Intern year was insane. Converting your body and mind to working crazy hours, staying up past the normal limits, and being the lowest man on the totem pole is difficult. And then two "junior" residency years of working crazy hours with the stress of learning to operate and learning appropriate patient care. When those three years are over there is light at the end of the tunnel: two lab years - except that those years are spent operating and juggling research and lab time, so they are only slightly less busy. And then a year overseas to learn even more in a new environment: shifting from everything that's been learned over the past 5 years to accommodate a new system, new attendings, and added responsibilities. And then another move back to the US to become chief resident - being at the top of the residents should in theory have advantages but then you're also responsible for everything that happens below you. The hours are crazier than ever, and it is just as mentally draining as the beginning.

But something incredible has happened over the past 7 years as I've watched my husband go through his residency. All the hard work and efforts serve a greater purpose than just mere torture: he has become a true surgeon and a great doctor. I am just so proud of him.

Charlottesville is a small community. And recently someone that we see in our daily lives needed brain surgery. And Jon was the resident in charge of her case. I saw her family member a few days ago and she said that Jon was an amazing doctor. They were so impressed by his patient care - going to her workplace to speak with her personally about the procedure, the way he discussed everything with her family before and after the surgery in the hospital. She called him amazing and an angel. And most importantly, her complicated surgery went well, thank goodness.

It puts things in perspective that this is not just a job or a career: this is Jon showing up every day to help someone like this woman. I'm impressed.

Congratulations, Jon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good Parenting

Countdown to move date is 3 weeks. Lilly's life is going to be once again turned upside down by a big move to a completely different culture. So what, as her parents, do we do to make everything ok?

We did it 3 years ago before her tonsil surgery, and a month before her heart surgery this year. And we did it on the way to New Zealand two years ago, and on the way home from New Zealand last year. It's what we do, to make everything ok.

We're taking our daughter to Disney World (yes, again). She will survive leaving the house she grew up in and her lifestyle in Charlottesville by having the time of her life (yet again) with the princesses and the mouse. In my mind it will make her better prepared to move to NYC.

Last night, Jon & Lilly were watching Hannah Montana in our bed after her bath. Which is typical in our house: first bath, then Hannah Montana, then we go to her room and tuck her in and sing the Barney "I love you, you love me song" and she goes to bed. Usually around 8:30.

But last night, Jon was exhausted and fell asleep in our bed while Lilly was watching Hannah Montana. So she stayed up a little later. I walked in around 9:15 and saw that she was still awake.

Most of the time, I'd scoop her up and put her in bed. But sometimes there are rules and sometimes there are exceptions to the rules. She was in a great little mood, and I said "Lilly do you want to go to bed? Or do you want to stay up and watch Glee and have mommy paint your nails hot pink?"

Of course you know what she chose. She stayed up until 10 pm, so excited for her impromptu pedicure - she kept blowing on her little feet to make the polish dry, and her face lit up to each song in Glee.

We're not always traditional. But it's even more wonderful that way.