Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dear Daughter 2012

Dear Daughter,

           Today, you turned three and your daddy and I couldn’t be more proud of you.  Your personality has really shone through this year, though you’ve never been a shrinking violet.  You will often squinch up one, if not both, eyes when asking a particularly philosophical question.  You will run your fingers through your long flowing locks (ahem) when you are flustered and stand with a hand on your hip when taking a stand.  

You’ve been known to stomp when you really want to make your point but with the gift of an ever growing vocabulary, you are able to fluently and clearly communicate your every wish and desire.  I’ve been known to explain that you don’t always get what you want, but still, you do let us know what you want and for that I admire you.  In your third year, you continue to be petrified of Santa Claus as well as ANY other large costumed character.  You seem (wisely) mistrustful of them, skeptical and wanting to keep your distance.  Unfortunately for you, I am your mother, and I still feel that the BEST Santa pictures are ones where the child (you) are screaming.  And you always deliver.  One day, this fear will fade, but until then I will document that moment in time. 

            You went through a strong skirt/dress phase this year and have shown your preference for all shoes high heeled.  Again, unfortunately for you, I am your mother, and your selection of high heeled dress up shoes is rather limited, but you found and wore every pair.  I would often come home from work to find all my shoes splayed out on the closet/bedroom floor with a trail leading into the living room. 
            One of the phrases I’ve now heard you utter often made my heart soar.  “That happens sometimes.”  I’m sure daddy and I both said it often, cementing it in your brain for when something unfortunate would happen.  And it did.  At a Phillies game in the late spring, you insisted on sitting on your own seat and at one point tried to get down from your seat.  Picture the scene.  We are literally in the last/highest row of the stadium with our backs to the chain link fence.  It has just begun to pour heavily.  You caught one foot on the seat and tipped forward and caught your mouth on the seat in front of you.  My heart in my throat, I scooped you up as you screamed bloody murder and, for that matter, spat blood.  I couldn’t breathe.  Being the determined, independent, and all the same at that moment, embarrassed young woman that you are, you refused to let me look in your mouth and my thoughts raced through all of the worst case scenarios (something I don’t often do with you): broken teeth or biting your tongue or some other eventuality that happens to people who don’t stop often enough to count their blessings.  As it was, you had a bump inside your lip and that was it, but I had to wait until you were asleep at home in your bed to check.  The next morning, when you described to daddy that you had fallen (you saw a scrape on your knee, also a result of the fall) you said, “That happens sometimes.”  I was so proud of your resilience.  Mostly because one year old Cece used to wail and faint away at the sight of a cut on her knee, each and every time she spied it.  You used to ask us to put pants or dresses on long enough to cover any scrapes.  But this time, “That happens sometimes.”  That was a big step in growing up.  But you can stop now…with all this growing up.  Sometimes I want to freeze you right where you are, but I’m also curious to know who you will grow up to be.  As you would say, “Cecelia Ann Zschunke.”
            Though your vocabulary is growing every day, you still sometimes say things grammatically wrong.  Some people correct you.  I do not.  I like it.  It won’t last forever, these nuances in speech.  I mean to document them with a sound or video recorder and then another day is over.  Well spent, running through the sprinkler, playing at the pool, conducting epic tea parties, playing with friends, making new friends, going to the playground/park/store/library, visiting with family and friends and going to “another” place.  In those moments, daddy says you are my daughter.  Always trying to squeeze in just one more place into the day.
            You’re very independent, wanting to do it yourself.  There are whole shows dedicated to DIY-ers like yourself.  This is when having us as parents comes in handy.  Because whenever possible, we DO let you do it yourself.  You break eggs into the bowl (sometimes with some hand over hand help), stir ingredients, mix batter, load and unload the dishwasher, put clothes into and take them out of (with the help of a stepstool) the washer and dryer, put on clothes, take off clothes, go to the potty by yourself, spread cream cheese/peanut butter/butter yourself, cut your hot dog into pieces (by yourself).  Are you getting the idea here?

            For as much as you like to do things by yourself, you still like mommy and daddy to carry you, to be close to us and snuggle.  One of your phrases that I don’t correct is “Cally (sounds like carry) me” with arms outstretched up.  One thing you don’t like to do by yourself lately is go to bed.  You’ve been through a tricky transition to a new house and we can chalk it up to that, but you love some mommy time at bedtime and at any point throughout the night that you deem company necessary.  I know that all these moments will be fleeting and I’ll look back unable to remember all the details.  So I try to treasure our night time rendezvous, but sometimes that can be hard.
            At the tail end of your third year, we semi-successfully sold our home, a 2 bedroom condo where you came home to from the hospital.  We have so many happy memories in that home and loved it, but it was time to move on to our next adventure.  Which is in mom-mom’s house!  You have loved having more time with mom-mom and I think mom-mom has liked it a little too.  You often have tea parties and snuggle up to enjoy a movie with mom-mom.  She taught you all about Goldilocks and loves to walk you out to the mailbox.  We are lucky to have such a generous mom-mom who has welcomed us to share her roof.
            Big girl, today you are three.  Which you will tell anyone who will listen as you hold up three fingers, though not the traditional three.  You extend your pinkie, ring finger, and middle finger while you hold your pointer finger and thumb together.  You will also break into the Happy Birthday song on command.  Today, we celebrate with friends.  You’ve recently expressed a real love for art or “aaatt” and thoroughly enjoy crafting.  Today, you have an “arty party”.  But the party for you is every day.  You wake up with excitement for what is to come whether it is your birthday or…a Tuesday.  It’s all the same to you. 

          You have become such a caring and thoughtful friend to others.  I love to see you hug, kiss, and hold hands with friends.  You are gentle with babies and you share with peers...for the most part.  You get SO excited to see friends and spend time doing just about anything with them - swimming, going to the park, playing in a box, it doesn't matter.

          This year, you start preschool and you have been excited to begin for many months now.  We registered in February and you were ready to take the bus (which you won’t be doing) with your backpack (which you’re not allowed to take to preschool) the very next day.  We’re happy that you’re happy and I hope that in your fourth year as you enter preschool in September that every day is one filled with wonder.

We love you, Cece!
Love, Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, May 5, 2012


How fitting that I read this in the month of May. This one line is from a poem called "May" and found in the book "White Pine". It is one line from a longer poem about a snake and fear and the letting go of fear.

I hope to see everything in this world before I die.

~Mary Oliver


#11 from "In Backwater Woods" as found in the book: "White Pine"

Each moment has been so slow and so full
and so drenched in sweetness and my life
has gone by so fast

~Mary Oliver

National Poetry Month

WAS in April but I've been inspired in May to read some poetry. After reading Kelle Hampton's book, "Bloom", she makes reference to discovering the work of poet, Mary Oliver, through a blogging friend and the quote that begins the books is from a poem by Mary Oliver. So, I requested some of Oliver's books of poetry from the library. And did some discovering of my own. I will share some of my favorite bits and pieces as I come across them.

"Bloom" where you're planted

I recently finished reading Kelle Hampton's book, "Bloom." And it was/is beautiful. I read it upon a friend's recommendation without any idea what it was about. And so, I'm not planning to tell you either. I will tell you a little about how I got it. It was not available from the public library, my first line of book reading defense. Yet. If they are smart, they will invest in a copy. I looked it up on a website designed to purchase books online but also benefit an independent bookstore. My favorite indie bookstore is Doylestown Bookstore. But, I also get a monthly coupon there and couldn't use it if I purchased online. So, I called the store, they ordered the book and called me when it was in and I had an excuse to go to Doylestown that evening too. I've been trying to do a lot more local shopping. I already try to eat local through my CSA, but like so many people, I've fallen into the convenience over the years of going to Target, or the mall to purchase items. Likewise, I am a fan of a consignment sale that is held in nearby Bryn Athyn twice a year. I like the opportunity to re-use and recycle items that might have otherwise been thrown away and to make those purchases at a fraction of the normal cost. So, more recently when I'm on the hunt for an item, I'll check a thrift store or a consignment store first. You might not always find what you're looking for, but there are hidden treasures as well. For example, Second Fiddle, a kids consignment store on York Road in Hatboro has brand new, still packaged "Melissa and Doug" items at a lower cost than you would find them in other stores. As well as tons of super cute stuff. Replay Toys on Street Road in Warminster is packed with great stuff. So, I've realized instead of waiting for a twice a year consignment sale, I can do this year round on an a needed basis. I'm also trying to make local choices when eating out and supporting locally owned small restaurants like (my #1 all time favorite) Bryn and Dane's on Horsham Road in Horsham, Basically Burgers and (brand new) Sweet Spot on Main Street in Doylestown. So, while the title of this post refers to a book with an incredible an affirming journey, I would venture to encourage others to do a little new blooming by staying put. Shop close to home. Invest in your local economy by purchasing from a neighbor instead of a huge corporation. You'll save some gas too!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Joy Diet Step 1: Do Nothing

I began to listen to the book, "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck on audiobook as it was recommended by a friend. I don't consider myself an un-joyful person. Much the opposite, but I'd like to maintain my joyfulness and this seemed like as good a time as any to reflect. Now, I am normally able to buzz through audiobooks pretty well during my commute, but this one threw me for a loop. I am supposed to take one week to practice each step before attempting to incorporate the next one. My memory's not what it used to be, so after step one was completed in the book, I popped it out, recorded what track I was on and got set to return in to the library. I have the print book out as well and that is not due back yet so that will likely be my course for this book.

Back to step one.

Do nothing.

Hmmm, I get the concept, and I get that this can be incredibly difficult. I've been wanting to make meditation a more regular practice so this affords me the opportunity to do so. This morning, before I was finished the chapter, I took five minutes at the end of my time at the gym to find a spot in the yoga room and meditate. I patted myself on the back. Check. I did "nothing" today. For a solid five minutes.

Then I got back in the car and Martha Beck told me I was supposed to do nothing for at least 15-20 minutes. Sheesh.

So, tonight I did just that. 15 minutes. Only, after 5 minutes I had to peek at a clock to check the time because I was sure it must have been close to 15 minutes. Then I did the same after another 5 minutes, then another 4. Then I stared down the clock for a full minute. Longest minute ever. At different points I thought about how I would write this blog, then reminded myself to push all "thoughts" out to make room for...nothing. So, it's not a perfect start, but that's why I will make this part of my daily "practice."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Open House Tomorrow!

We are hosting an open house tomorrow from 2-4. Check out our home's website at: and take a virtual tour through the awesome photos our realtor, Mandy Helwig, took.

Friday, April 13, 2012


The other day, I received the following message from my husband: "If you were wondering if we were having a bathing suit dance party...WE ARE!!". As if I wasn't already jealous. When I got home, I was demanding pictures of said dance party. Yesterday I received the following messages and picture.
"If you were wondering if we were having a Gnarls Barkley dance party. The answer is "oh yeah baby"
I feel so lucky to get updates such a's these on my lunch break. I couldn't resist sharing this picture with all of you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

A friend recently reminded me of a story I'd nearly forgotten and since I have this handy dandy blog to document stories that might otherwise slip through cracks in my brain, I figure I should get it down. The first time Cece saw a play tea pot in a tea set, she held it up to her nose as a neti pot. I was able to capture this visual for you all of Cece with a real neti pot (empty, though she did ask or water).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Philosophical Toaster Pastry

This quote was found on the bottom of a box of toaster pastries (fancy name for organic pop tarts) in our house:

"A tree is known by its fruit;
a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost;
he who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love."
~St. Basil (329-379)

Now, I realize that in St. Basil's time there was awfully little gender equality, so I'll let that issue go. Besides that, I LOVE this quote and the wisdom of its words. I also love finding nuggets of inspiration around my home in hidden corners, like the pantry. April is National Poetry Month. And National School Library Month as well. Celebrate both. Visit your library and find inspiration all around you.

Cross posted at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Madness Indeed

Along the lines of March...and madness, thank goodness that month is over. What a roller coaster of emotions and health issues and loss and exhaustion. April has to be better, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

March Madness, Baby

Since watching March Madness Basketball with her daddy, Cece has taken to yelling the phrase, "Oh yeah, Baby!" at awesome times. It is adorable. She'll typically say it twice in a row. Love.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In Her Easter Bonnet

Oh wait, Cece wouldn't keep her "Easter Bonnet" on...or her sweater. But we did hunt eggs at Deep Meadow Park in Horsham on the day before Easter. Unlike past years when Cece didn't really "get" egg hunts, this year she was chomping at the bit to get started.

Happy Birthday Jeff

Today is my husband, Jeff's, birthday. I just like, every now and then, to publicly acknowledge how awesome he is and how lucky Cece and I are to have him. Life decisions, like my marriage and vows to stick with him...forever...are validated on a daily basis by all the little things he does that add up to love. Most recently, Jeff has demonstrated and modeled for our daughter how to "be there" for others in a time of need and how to be strong when times are tough. I am so incredibly proud of him. Jeff, I love you more than words, or anecdotes, can express. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pool Dance

While visiting the pool at Nana's gym, Cece started to do a wiggly, hands on hips, booty shaking dance. The next day at gym class, Cece did the dance again. Her teacher asked her what she was doing and Cece explained that she was doing her "pool" dance and when the teacher asked who taught her that dance, Cece responded, "Mommy". To clarify, I did no such thing. And I'd like you to think about what "pool" dance sounds like out of the mouth of a 2.5 year old. Classic.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Photos and Videos

I lied. Now I see easy buttons. If photo/video is on the phone. Still - I can do that!

Testing Blogger App

You may see a resurgence of blogging if this works. Blogger has an app for that! And that is news to me! For those of you who have followed, I have tried (sometimes valiantly) to blog from my phone but often had to jump through strange hoops. Media will likely be sacrificed a's I don't see (at least right now) an easy option to embed photos or videos, but something is better than nothing. So, here goes. Publish.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christmas Morning 2011

Only a little late...


Don't worry, she's not really AWOL.  Or armed and dangerous...but she is cute.  Here's what I did this morning...