Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Sweet Moment

Today held some unexpected moments. Today was supposed to be a big day for Chris at school, he was getting his 'white coat' and there was a ceremony for all the first year students. Early in the morning it was apparent that Sophia was not feeling well, she hadn't been feeling her best the past couple of days, and today it was clear that she was sick. By 930 this morning, I had her back in bed and asleep. Poor thing slept for 4 hours! So, during the time that Sophia was recuperating, Ellie and I made this:

Yummy Sour Cream Coffee Cake courtesy of the The Sono Baking Company Cookbook. Ellie was darling, she read the recipe to me and the ingredients and helped me stir, break eggs it was so fun! It was great just the two of us, having time to bake together. She loves to help me, and today it was so unique, her reading to me and helping me, today was another one of those moments where I can't believe how grown up she is, how sweet she is, just how blessed I feel to have such a wonderful girl. After we made our yummy cake, we colored and had some reading time. Sophia woke up feeling so much better, and the rest of the afternoon we enjoyed getting things accomplished around the house and just being together. It was a pretty good day. I feel bad that we missed Chris' white coat ceremony, but I am sure there will be more moments to share with him as he continues his journey through med school.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cupcakes in Baltimore

I have been really feeling like I needed to escape my house. Luckily, Jeri and Rileigh were excited about doing something fun too. We decided to hit the Science Center in Baltimore, and Rileigh also suggested  that we take a trip to Caroline's Cupcakes in Baltimore. It was such a fun place. It had recently changed hands of ownership, and the place was so fun and whimsical. The walls were painted in browns and pink fuschia pink, they had fresh flowers on the table, and everything was just so playful and inviting. The women who own the bakery had several types of cupcakes that morning, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, peanut butter cupcake with chocolate frosting, strawberry drizzle, a funfetti cupcake, and of course the classic vanilla and chocolate. We took our tasty treats to the park where we all indulged. When the temperature got too warm, we headed to the Science Center for two relaxed fun filled hours of the kiddie room. My girls love the Science Center. I am so glad we have a membership there, we still haven't seen everything there! Its a great place to explore. It was a great day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Girl

Is 5 1/2, and today she lost her first tooth! Holy cow! When did my baby get so big??? She was SO excited to show me when it fell out. I was standing at the top of the stairs and she was at the bottom, she shouted, 'mama, I lost my tooth!'  It has been loose now for about a week. We discovered it at church, I noticed that her teeth weren't as straight as I was used to seeing them, and with a closer look, saw that her adult tooth is pushing her baby tooth out of the way. I was in utter disbelief! How could my little five year old be ready to lose a tooth?? How could this little baby, this little girl be big enough to lose a tooth?

Everyday she gets bigger, and the little milestones tug at my heart. I am so proud of my little girl, so amazed at her growth. I just want to hold onto her being small a little longer.

An afternoon at Elioak's Farm

On Friday a friend from the gym invited me and the girls to go to Elioak's farm in Ellicott City. I had driven past this fun little place several times, and thought: "hmm, would that be fun for my kids?" We had a GREAT time.  Elioak's has a small petting area with chickens, geese and rabbits, as well as horses, ponies, a cute calf, pigs and a donkey. They also have a hayride and pony rides and a play area inspired by different nursery rhyme stories. The girls had a blast with their buddies from the gym. They all ran around in a pack looking at everything and exploring. It was so fun to hear Ellie say things like: Mama, thanks for making this day so special, and Mama, I love it here! We finished our visit off by enjoying an ice cream treat. We had to run home and get cleaned up before Ellie's last rehearsal for her ballet recital. I am so glad we tried something new last week, it was good for all of us.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Today I am feeling so grateful for my family. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the great blessings of my life. Amazing husband, sweet darling kids, the gospel, comfortable home. Sometimes the simplest things are the things we should be focusing our energies. When the world and life begin to weigh down on my mind, these are the things that bring me up out of sadness. I know there will always be more to do, more to become, more to aspire to. Today however, I am just grateful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Is terrible. This time it is truly bittersweet. Especially when it's people that you love so much. We will miss you guys. Sophia and Ellie are REALLY going to miss Penn. Best of luck in San Diego! We are so excited for you and proud of your accomplishment. Congratulations Dr. Cochran!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Graduation week continued with a trip to historic Gettysburg. We were fortunate to have Chris' brother Andy along with us, he has been to Gettysburg before, and was able to guide us to some optimal sites. Grandmother and Grandad Cochran, Evan Cochran, Flynn and Jamie Cochran and their son Niko, and Andy, Chris' oldest brother all made the trip out with the girls, Chris and I. It was a hot, humid day, but we had a great time visiting Little Round Top, High Water, and other famous sites. Gettysburg is a huge historical park, so it was nice to know what we should see and what we could pass up for another visit. The Gettysburg battles were the largest of the Civil War, and lasted three days, July 1-3rd 1863. General Lee met defeat here and was forced to retreat and escape to Virginia. The battles here counted the greatest casualties of the war, between 46-51,000. It is said that Gettysburg was the turning point in the war in favor of the Union army. In November of 1863 President Abraham Lincoln would give his famous and poignant Gettysburg address at the nearby National Cemetary during the dedicatory ceremonies.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday

To the most wonderful man I know, my husband. I love you and I am so grateful for you and our life together. My wishes for you this year are continued successes in all that you do and happiness and satisfaction in your new career path. I am so proud of all you have accomplished, and amazed at your strength and intelligence. I admire you for believing in your dreams, and pursuing them with your whole heart. Thank you for always believing in me, for loving our girls, and for helping me laugh and enjoy life everyday. You are my heart and soul. Looking forward to another great year with my best friend. Happy Birthday honey!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

National Aquarium and Lexington Market

We have family in town this week, its been a lot of fun. We are celebrating Chris' brother Grant's graduation from medical school. The ceremony is this weekend, but we are enjoying spending time together before the big weekend. Its a really fun thing for us to be able to share this time with him, its an event we will be looking forward to in a few years. We are amazed at how fast this first year has gone, so hopefully the next few will be similar. Anyway, our week with the in-laws started out well. Our first outing was to the Lexington Market and National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The Lexington Market wasn't what I expected. It thought it would be similar to Pike Place Market, one of my favorite places on earth! =) Lexington Market is a huge food court essentially, with every kind of food you can imagine. They also sell some fresh fish and some produce there. Ellie enjoyed looking at the fish with Grandad. It's an interesting place, lots people, lots of locals, who probably eat there several times a week. I tried some fried fish cakes and fries, and the girls enjoyed some shrimp.
After the market, we drove to the Aquarium. I decided to buy a membership for our family, so that we could go back again. I was not disappointed. The exhibits were excellent! I really enjoyed the rainforest section. We took the kids to the dolphin show and it was a fun way to end the day. We hope to go back and hit more of the exhibits, we didn't have time to hit the jellyfish so I look forward to getting back soon. I really love the inner harbor. Its such a wonderful place with lots to explore.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Had the most wonderful mother's day. Pink and red roses from my girls, breakfast in bed courtesy of Honey and the girls, a new baking cookbook and photoshop 8! Fantastic dinner with family an hour long talk with my mom. It was a nice day.
As I have gotten older and my experiences have changed, my perspective on Mother's Day has changed. I have tried to do something nice for my mom and grandmothers (when they were alive) something feminine, something thoughtful. But in recent years I have found that not only am I worried about the gift I give, but my expressions of appreciation on days other than just mother's day. I have become much more sentimental and more appreciative. I want my mom and so many women who have guided me and loved me as their own to know just HOW MUCH I admire them and appreciate their love, wisdom and generosity. I guess the best way to do this is to 'pay it forward' be the kind of woman these women have been to me to share, love, nurture, laugh and bring joy whenever possible.
 With all of that being said, I have to say, my mother  my rock. She is such an amazing woman. She taught me some wonderful lessons. A few of my favorites:

                use it up, wear it out, make it work or do without
               a clean bathroom will always make you smile
never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes
always wear a slip and hose to church
music is vital to the soul
do it once and do it right
Jesus Christ loves you no matter what
flowers are perfect anytime
live your life without regrets
cherish family

I love my mother. I admire her so much. I can hopefully be like her someday. She is a great lady. 

Friday, May 7, 2010


Otherwise known as the African Violet is one of my favorite flowers. My Nana Ruby used to grow them, had several varieties growing in her house when I was a child. She had quite the green thumb, she could grow anything. She had a garden full of camelias, dahlias, gardenias, irises, roses, as well as various trees and plants. When I was younger, I remember going to her house and finding her puttering in the garden, planting, weeding, etc. As she aged, she was not able to get out as often, yet her yard still thrived and was lovely and inviting. I can still smell her gardenias, and remember the shade of each camelia bush. She loved to show me what was in bloom and we would talk about all kinds of things. She came from a staunch German family and life wasn't easy. She grew up during the depression. She saved all kinds of things, glass jars, plastic wear, etc. She was thrifty and could make the best home made candy. Her fudge, toffee and divinity were famous. She also made amazing rolls and pomegrante jelly. She died in 2001 shortly after Chris and I were married. Chris and I lived in her home for about 3 years before we moved to the desert. I could always feel her closeby when I worked and puttered outside and tried to plant and maintain flowers. Once we moved out, my Dad sold the house and so far, luckily, the owners have maintained the camelias and gardenias. I am glad. I think Nana would be glad too. I miss her.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Year Ago...

We were on a cruise, floating in the Mediterranean. We were waiting for news. We were anxiously awaiting word from med school and we were nearing the end of our two years abroad. This cruise would be our last big trip together as a family, and it was FANTASTIC. Both girls still talk about it, mostly they talk about the pool and the food, but Ellie talks about Santorini, Greece, where we bought her favorite stuffed pink dolphin. We visited Athens, Olympia, Corfu, and Santorini Greece, Ephesus Turkey, Sicily, Croatia. It was a fantastic opportunity. On May 15th, while in port in Sicily, we got word that Chris had been accepted to medical school, it was one day before his birthday. It was a good day.

I have been feeling 'europe sick' this week. I have been missing my friends, missing life abroad, missing so many things. I even had a dream the other night that I was back in Naples, living in our Villa, with Vesuvius in our backyard. Of course I am really happy to be home, life here in Columbia is wonderful. We have a lovely home, the girls are thriving, Chris is excelling in med school, I am *slowly* finding my niche. We are living near family which has been nice, and Chris is happy to be able to spend time with two of his brothers.

Today though I have been wistful, hopeful that we would be able to go back to Italy someday and enjoy so many things that made our tour memorable. I miss the sound of the sea, the din of the traffic, the movement of the trees by my house in the evening. I miss mornings shopping at the markets, followed by a freshly made pizza in the afternoon. I miss excursions with the girls, and shopping trips. I miss planning trips and driving down the SS7. I miss the hospitality and warmth of the Italian people, who would welcome you into their home and lives without question. I want to go back and see the site where the Rome temple will be built, and hopefully attend a session there with the faithful members we know will live the rest of their lives in Italy. I miss cobblestone streets and cathedral bells. I miss Tuscan landscapes. Its amazing how much a place and time can stay with you and become a part of who you are. Someday. Someday we will go back.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

National Harbor

I was determined to find something fun this week to do either with the kids, or as a family. About a month ago I heard that the National Harbor was a great family place to walk around, enjoy the water, shop and eat. There is always so much going on in the areas that we live: Baltimore, DC, the East Coast in general is jam packed with history, culture, and wonderful activities to do with family. If you want to do something fun, on any given day, you can find it! This is fantastic for me. I love exploring and learning about where I live. This weekend at the National Harbor was the Fine Arts Festival. A wonderful outdoor exhibit of the visual arts. The kids loved walking by the water, playing in the fountains, and viewing the different kinds of artwork. I loved all the photography exhibits. We enjoyed gelato by the water and we were so impressed with the atmosphere and planning of the Harbor. Their inspiration for the walking neighborhood of the Harbor is Las Ramblas of Barcelona, a place we have visited, and LOVED. Of course, this walking area is not as long or as big as Las Ramblas, but it has a lovely family friendly feel, all they need is a little more *bohemia* a little more spice, and this area of the harbor will be fantastic. It is a very new place, so I am sure as people discover it and enjoy it, it will take on a nice flavor all its own. They are going to have a Farmer's Market every weekend starting soon, for the next few months, so I hope to get back there some Saturday before the baby is born and before it gets too hot.