Friday, July 26, 2013

Charlotte's Baby Best Friend (The Aquilios in Atlanta)

LOVE this picture of Charlotte and Emma Vance!

Emma Vance loves--and I mean LOVES--kids, and so when she heard her four Aquilio cousins were coming in town she was ecstatic. Okay, so maybe she just smiled and said, "Wow!" when I told her, which is what she says to just about everything these days, but if she had known, she would have been ecstatic (and I probably wouldn't have heard the end of it).

Jacob, Charlotte, Lilli and Nathan (and my sister-in-law, Jill) have been hopping around Atlanta all week, and we were lucky enough to catch the crew three separate times! E.V. was increasingly excited each time as she began to recognize her cousins, which I loved to see.

The first time we hung out, the Aquilios came to Amityville for pizza and playtime. E.V. was still napping when they arrived, and so you can imagine the baby excitement that followed when she awoke. Really this is what I've always wanted for her tiny corner in our living room--kids crowded around, digging through bins and playing freely. Emma Vance was pumped to show them around her toys (and to share), and especially enjoyed playing tea party, her latest obsession, with the girls.

E.V. LOVES having lunch company (other than me, of course!).

Charlotte "unlocking" Uncle Ryan...with a set of measuring spoons.

Seriously, Nathan cracks me up.

Where's Lilli?

Oh, there she is. :)

A few days later we met up at Monkey Joe's, an indoor play area for kids. E.V. and I were a little early, but even though she didn't recognize anyone, she was in instant social-baby-heaven. She's been walking here and there for the past month, but as soon as I set her down, she walked the length of the room (maybe a hundred yards), checking out all the kids, baby toys and bouncy houses. There were a lot of "oooos" and "wows" said along the way. When the Aquilios joined us, they seemed just as excited to play as they were to hang out with Emma Vance. I was so impressed with how good of a big brother Jacob was to E.V., caring for her, taking her to the mini bouncy house, and watching out for her with such grown up responsibility. As soon as he can drive, I'm hiring him for our manny. :) E.V. was the belle of the ball, being passed around from kid to kid, held by the big kids as they slid down the bouncy slide and pushed around in the toddler car. It was a dream come true for her, and I'm pretty sure she didn't want to ever leave. However, the second we did, she passed out without a peep and slept harder that night than she has in a long time. Well worth the $5 admission, I'd say!

"I love this place, Mom!"

Jacob being sweet and patient in the little kid bouncy house.

Sorry, kid! Mommy didn't bring her quarters. :/

Mutual obsession.

Charlotte getting some quality crawling time in with "Baby E.V."

The next day my mom was taking the girl cousins out for lunch and to shop for school outfits, so we joined the group since it would be our last opportunity to see them. We had pizza at a local shop, which Charlotte was SO excited about (although she admitted she'd happily had pizza at least three times that week already). Emma Vance got a kick out of chewing on a piece of crust, which made her happy for the meal, and as for Lilli, she ate like a little bird. :) After lunch Charlotte insisted on riding with E.V. and me, and as we drove, she gushed over the baby. "Baby E.V.'s my best friend," she confided in me--and then paused. "Well, she's my baby best friend. My real best friend is Jillian, but not my mom 'Jillien,' another one." There were a lot of subsequent questions about if Emma Vance could come back to Florida with the Aquilio clan. How do you say no to that kind of love??? Thankfully we arrived at Gap Kids to shop, where Charlotte got distracted before I had to answer her and where the cousins' true colors showed. Charlotte was all over the place with grandma close behind, her arms piling up with Charlotte's "options" (which I'm pretty sure my mom ended up buying all of), while Lilli was happy to play with Baby E.V. and not worry about clothes. I tried to take her to her section and point out pretty things, but she just wanted to pick out dresses for Emma Vance. (So sweet.) I managed to get her to say "yes" to two dresses, but her heart was really with finding E.V. an outfit, so she and Charlotte (under the heavy influence of my mom's opinion) picked out one little dress for their cousin. Seriously? How cute is that?

"I want that one, Grandma!"

Lilli helping E.V. with her walking skills.

(There was some hullabaloo about shoe choice going on here...)

All Lilli really wanted were these two tiny, overpriced hair bows... :)

We were all sad to say goodbye to family, but E.V. was even sadder to say goodbye to her playmates for the week. Somehow I don't think her buddies at the gym daycare will compare in the coming days. I mean, after all, how can you replace someone with whom you're baby best friends? ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

the winner

Why are all baby walking shoes so, well, babyish? It drives me crazy. In fact, although Emma Vance has been zipping around the house upright since her birthday a few weeks ago, I've been avoiding the topic of walking shoes like the plague. My mother has been badgering me to pick out a pair of Stride Rite shoes for E.V., that she NEEDED them, that they'd make her walking abilities tenfold. Really, Mom? I'm pretty sure that people have logged millions of years successfully walking without thick-soled shoes for infants. :)

At my mother's behest, I've looked online and perused walking shoes in stores, but I've never been able to fully convince myself that form outweighs function enough to buy a pair. Why can't manufacturers come up with an attractive pair of walking shoes? Why do they all have flowers and glitter and pink suede and TV characters all over them? Really, can't we just take her adorable, adult-style soft-soled crib shoes (that have sufficed nicely until now) and add a hard sole? I'd buy them...if they existed. So my attitude has been that she's been fine walking barefoot and that since in public she rips her shoes off immediately, what's the use?

But finally I've caved. The straw that broke this camel's stubborn back was this: THE AIRPORT. We're headed to D.C. soon, and with the date quickly approaching, I've been having nightmares of my barefoot child toddling around Hartsfield-Jackson, picking up ecoli and God knows what else. Resolved that it doesn't matter what they look like, Emma Vance and I ventured to Stride Rite today--and actually bought a pair of walking shoes! Yay!

They measured her feet (and apparently I've been buying shoes that are way to small for her...oops); we picked out a couple of pairs based on my hemming and hawing about the lack of grown-up-looking, pretty options (and my drooling over the cool boys' styles!); and E.V. tried a few on to see if she "liked" them. :) We came out with a pair of rainbow chevron, mary-jane-styled sneakers, and I'm resolved that if I can't find cute shoes to match her outfits, then we'll go the opposite direction and make sure they purposely don't match anything. (Success.) Come travel day when I'm chasing a toddler around the grimy-floored airport, I'm sure that I'll appreciate her new shoes--wild colors and all. Pray for me. ;)

Size 4.5 it is!

"Mom, how about these?"

"I like the pretty colors, Mama..."

"I can walk! I can walk!"