So this is obviously a website about all things Lana, but I have to leave a note in her journal about our wonderful week without her! We know it's so important for her to have parents who are head over heels for each other, and spending time together alone always brings us closer.
This week was no exception - we talked and laughed more in the past few days than we've had time to in months. I am such a lucky girl to have Dan for a husband. He is my very best friend, and I'm so glad that we are blessed enough to have family members who will take care of Allana while we invest time in each other.
We arrived in D.C. Tuesday night, after stopping at a Japanese hibachi grill for dinner (honoring the first time we ate hibachi together...on our honeymoon!). Our hotel was amazing - we stayed at the Doubletree in Dupont Circle, regularly $250/night. We got it for less than $100/night through priceline - hooray!
*Whenever people post pics of a bed they slept in, I always think of MTV cribs..."And this is where the magic happens..."
Wednesday was gorgeous in the capitol city...the cherry blossoms were gorgeous, the weather was in the 70's, sunny and breezy.
We spent the entire day outside, looking at all the monuments and some of the smithsonians. It was our favorite day by far. We had dinner at Gordon Bierche, a yummy brewery/restaurant. We abstained from the brewery part but indulged in the restaurant part with a delicious tuna steak.
Thursday was not so pretty, but we had planned indoor activities. We hit the spy museum first (which was amazing!), and then had a Capitol tour, which was also very cool. It's tourist season in D.C., so we had to wait for 2 hours in line at the Capitol...and that was the line for people who had scheduled guided tours!! It was well worth it, though.
Our feet were so tired by the end of Thursday....we picked up a pizza and an amazing salad at Chop't and headed back to the hotel.
Friday we leisurely made our way back home, stopping along the way at IKEA, where we found a gift for Allana - the coolest easel ever for only $20! It's wooden and has a roll of paper that she can use to color on, and a chalkboard and a whiteboard. We can't wait for her to get home and use it! I'm sure you'll see it in pictures soon.
Our heart's desire is to model a Godly marriage for our daughter....we want her to grow up seeing us love each other and the Lord so well that she chooses her future mate based on what she saw our marriage look like. Time like this together is an excellent step in that endeavor.
Thank you, grandparents and aunts and uncles, for allowing us this bit of time. We are more grateful than you know.
I know that security has to be tight at the airports now, but I absolutely hate dropping people off at the curb. What I would have given to have gone inside with Dan & Allana today, to have waited with them at their gate until the last possible minute, to sneak in another hour's worth of hugs and kisses.
I did good, though. You would have been proud of me. I knew that my attitude about them leaving would determine how Lana felt about it. If she senses that I am even the least little bit upset about something, she falls apart, so that meant no tears for me this morning. Yesterday, I made up silly songs about she and Daddy going to Alabama, and Mommy coming later. Last night, we prayed about their trip. And this morning was very exciting...I kept it fun and upbeat all the way to the airport. And so she was fine. And Dan was okay, just a little teary. And I was fine, until they walked away, and I could hear her little voice saying, "Mommy?" as in, "Mommy, I can't see you?" I was wise enough to not put on my mascara this morning, so I cried all the way to school (those deep sobs that make your chest hurt), and then I got it together in the parking lot and went inside for the day.
Backing up a bit, though....as I drove to school this morning and prayed travelling mercies over my husband and daughter, prayed for this time to be an investment into their relationship apart from me, the Lord impressed two things on me.
The first thing the Lord shared with me is how hard it must be for our parents to let us live here, so far away from them. To say nothing of our plans to go overseas at some point. No matter how old Allana gets, she will always be my little girl, and this morning, God reminded me that even though living apart from our parents is His will for us right now, I should be very gentle with our parents, very understanding about the loss they experience when we leave. We are still their babies, still the ones they gave birth to and raised and cherished and kissed and spanked and tickled and loved for over two decades, before we decided we were grown up enough to leave their nest.
The second thing the Lord impressed upon me was to not run past the realization that my attitude about things directly correlates to my child's attitude about things. She learns whether or not something is going to be fun or miserable based on my facial expressions and emotion. She decides whether something is good or bad based on my reponse to that thing. I don't want to forget this lesson the Lord is teaching me. When the time comes that she exhibits a behavior or attitude that is not pleasing to me or to the Lord, I want to remember to search myself, my own life. Is she simply reflecting me and my attitudes?
So do you have a child who is disrespectful to their teacher or other authority figure? One who shouts or kicks? One who will not obey until threatened or forced? One who makes ugly facial expressions? One who does not treat their other parent with respect and honor? One who does not complete their work, or who does not complete it well? One who does not clean up after himself? On and on the list could go of sinful behaviors children exhibit. I challenge you to ask yourself...is it a learned behavior? It's not always; children are sinful from birth and sometimes they do not learn those behaviors from us. But sometimes they do, and before we begin working in our children's behaviour, we should carefully examine our own.
Tonight I came back into the house from returning a dvd to a neighbor, and Allana was laying on her belly on the kitchen floor. I said, "Whatcha doing, Lana?" She grinned up at me and wiggled her little body and said, "I caterpillar! I crawlin!" She kept on pretending to be a caterpillar for a few more minutes before getting up and running off. It's the first animal she's ever pretended to be.
It seems she's developed a fascination with caterpillars....she asks her teachers to draw them all the time and loves her books with caterpillars in them. And now she's pretending to crawl like a caterpillar!
One of the wonderful things about living here in Wake Forest is all the fun things for kids! Here are a few of our favorite places to visit in the Raleigh area. (Many thanks to our friend Emily for searching out some of the best of these!) Some, like Marbles, we visit regularly. Some we have not visited yet, but plan to in the near future and want to share them with you. If you know of some other places you think we might enjoy, please post them for us!
Here are a few of the things Allana has done lately to make us smile:
We were coming up the stairs and Dan said, "Hey, Allana Davis!" and she looked up at me and said, "Mommy Davis!"
She has started asking for a blanket at night, and it's amazing how she settles down when we put that blanket on her. As soon as she's asleep, she throws it off, but she just keeps asking for it.
We'll get her little hiney sometimes and say, "Booty!" so now she's started talking about our booties. She'll say, "Mommy booty? See it?" or "Booty? Touch it?" She does it deliberately to make us laugh.
At night when we say our prayers before we go to bed, we have started asking her who we need to pray for, and she always tells us right away. Some nights it's one or two people, some nights it's the whole family, some nights it's her teachers, some nights it's our neighbors and friends here, some nights it's her friends, it's always Daddy on the nights he is at work...it is so precious to us to know who she has on her little heart.
Today at preschool, I was trying to get my class cleaned up for lunch when Allana's teacher stuck her head in the door, and said, "Come look, quick!"
I popped out the door to see my sweet daughter walking down the hall with a big springtime bonnet on her head that they made in class that day. They were taking a little parade down the hall....it was absolutely adorable to see nearly a dozen toddlers strolling down the hall with these huge, flowered hats on their heads.
But the very best part was when she saw me standing outside my door. Her little chunky legs ran down the hall as fast as they would carry her, and the whole time, she's shrieking, "Mommy! Hat!! Hat!! Show mommy!" I met her halfway and she flung herself into my arms. "Pretty hat!" she told me.
I could have melted into a puddle on the floor. Her friend Tess was saying, "Dat's her mommy," and tears filled my eyes. Somehow, I am her mommy. For some amazing reason, God chose me to give this precious child to. A springtime hat parade made my day today.
Our schedule is very unusual this semester, in that we don't have one day at home as a family. Seven days of the week, one or all of us have school or work at sometime during the day or night. Therefore, we're learning to be creative in finding time to have fun together as a family!
Wednesday mornings sometimes offer us a little block of time to be together. Allana & I don't have preschool, and Dan doesn't have class until 11:30. Today, we slept until around 8, had breakfast together and got ready, and then we headed out for a couple of hours of fun together.
We went to the fountain to throw pennies (an old favorite for the Davis'), then to Jumping Beans, which is a coffee shop that has ginormous inflatables inside. Wednesday mornings are reserved for kids under 2, so it was perfect for us! Parents are welcome inside the jump house, too, so can you imagine the fun we had?
After wearing ourselves out at Jumping Beans, we all had lunch together at Moe's. Dan left to go to class, and Allana and I stuck around to see Cotton, the plain-clothed clown. She comes to Moe's the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month and plays music - Allana loves it!
After Cotton left, we headed home, took a short walk to feed the geese, and then came back home for a nap.
Sometimes when we are riding in the car, or rocking before bed, or just taking a walk, I'll remind Allana of everyone who loves her. "Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, Nana loves you, PawPaw loves you, Sue Sue loves you, Baloo loves you...." and on we go, naming all the aunts and uncles and cousins, too, until we get to the end, and I always tell her, "Jesus loves you most of all!" She always smiles when I'm going through the roll call of who loves her, and often she'll repeat names back to me.
Tonight I was rocking her before bed and she asked for her daddy (he's at work). I said, "Daddy loves you, Allana. Who else loves you?" And to my surprise, she responded with, "Kenzie loves you." "Who else?" I prompted. And on she went, naming everyone who loves her. Halfway through she got very sleepy, so I finished for her. After I told her, "Jesus loves you," she said, "Best of all! Night night?"