Monday, March 30, 2009

Not Bad for a Monday


I could easily be jinxing myself by declaring today a good day, since it's only 2 p.m. But Danny and I had a lovely morning, so I'll be optimistic. Besides, he already proclaimed, "It's a wonderful day!" early this morning while we were driving carpool, so surely it will remain so.

After we dropped off the kids at school, I ambitiously decided we would head to the Chattahoochee River trail for a quick run before music class. The stretch of river where we run, and the valley surrounding it, were lightly blanketed in mist, and it was just cool. I like to think it was this breathtaking natural beauty, and not the promise of a donut, that prompted Danny's peaceful ride in the stroller, but it doesn't really matter, does it?

All of our Chattahoochee runs end with a quick visit to a little deck, from which Danny likes to throw pebbles into the water and watch for geese. Today there was this beautiful spiderweb coated in dew - just the icing on the cake, as far as we were concerned.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The pARTy


It took Clare a long time to decide where to have her birthday party this year. I think the combination of so many options and the knowledge that she only gets a party every other year led to this careful deliberation. But once she settled on The Vinings School of Art, there was no looking back. And I am happy to report that not only do I think it was the perfect choice for her, but evidently for everyone else, because the teachers remarked that this group (comprised of 16 five- and six-year-old girls!) was the best-behaved group they had ever had.


I was really proud of Clare as a hostess, too. We mentioned to her how important it would be to talk to each of her guests and make them all feel welcome, and she took this responsibility very seriously. Since the group was so large, they were divided into two rooms right across from each other. Clare was able to float back and forth between the two, and I saw her make an effort to go up to each girl and chat with her. I heard her ask a few, "What's your favorite stuffed animal at home?" and other similar questions, which I thought was really cute. She had clearly planned some conversation points ahead of time.


The whole party was relaxed and cute, but I do wish I had this one moment on video: They gathered the girls into one room when it was time for cupcakes. While they were waiting for the goodies, they girls started chanting, "Clare is the best! Clare is the best!" Clare's reaction was priceless, because she was both beaming with pride and happiness and also totally embarrassed.


A large part of me is happy to have the party over for another two years, but I will admit that it was actually a fun afternoon. Of course, it helps that Tim and I just got to hang out and observe (well, and pay the bill, plus a babysitter to stay home with Danny - totally worth it, by the way). But it's nice to know that Clare has a knack for making lovely friends - and ones that I might just be willing to hang out with more often.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Six Years of Clare Birthdays (and Counting...)

Before the years fly by any faster, I've decided some catching up is in order as far as posting about Clare's birthdays. I purposely left out her very first birthday, primarily because there wasn't any cake!

We celebrated Clare's first birthday in our tiny condo in the heart of Chicago. Both sets of grandparents flew in for the occasion, and we all waited around for Clare to wake up from her nap so that we could eat cake...I mean, celebrate! (Sadly, I don't have any terrific shots of Clare from the day.)


The occasion of Clare's first birthday was also the beginning of the homemade-by-Liz cakes. I chose a tiger for this one, pretty much because I like them, but also inspired by the giant stuffed tiger she received from Uncle Dan for her first Christmas (and which resides in her room to this day):


We spent Clare's second birthday at Legoland, as we were in Southern California for a spring/Easter visit:


She was a fan of Care Bears at the time, which explains the cake:


By the time her third birthday came around, we were in Atlanta and Danny was well on his way. I had been prepared to throw her a party, but she vehemently resisted. So instead we had a nice at-home celebration with Grandma and Grandpa, in town just for the occasion. She was just getting into princess mode at this age:


Since Clare had already proclaimed that she would be a butterfly for Halloween (she explained that this was because "butterflies are the prettiest of the bugs"), I thought it would also make a cute cake:


I wasn't able to escape parties permanently, so for Clare's fourth birthday we threw a Kangazoom bash:


Since we were feeding an army, and the party was on her actual birthdate, I let Publix do the cake honors - which had to correspond with her Sleeping Beauty obsession:


While I didn't avoid parties altogether, I did implement the every-other-year rule, so Clare chose to spend her fifth birthday with her friend Nya on an art playdate, followed by lunch and cake:


Cinderella cake, by request:


That brings us to today, her sixth birthday. It was a busy one, between school, followed by a classmate's birthday party, followed by her family party at home with presents and cake. The hat at school evidently made quite an impression, because when she sat down to her birthday dinner of frozen pizza, she asked me if I had any sort of special hat? Of course not, for which I immediately felt absolutely horrible. So I scrounged around and found this red hat in my coat closet, never thinking it would actually be accepted. But it was, for the entirety of the evening!


For this birthday, she requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and Aristocats decorations. I can only imagine how she'll challenge my cake skills next year. But when it comes to my baby girl, I'm willing to try just about anything.

Clare's Birthday, CKS Edition


Between her birthday itself (today) and her upcoming party, Clare's birthday is turning into a drawn-out affair - much to her delight. So, we'll spread the posts out accordingly. First up is the cupcake celebration with her classmates at school, delivered by myself, Grammy, Grampy, and Danny. It was pretty cute to see her march in at the head of the class, sporting the "Birthday Princess" hat to boot. We immediately got down to the business of passing out the cupcakes, and spent the remainder of the time watching the kids eat. Since there are more than 500 kids at Christ the King, and just one lunchroom, lunch is not a lingering affair. But, it was long enough for some chatting about the day so far, which seems to be going well. Stay tuned for tonight's family celebration of presents and cake!




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Just Wonder What Her Classmates Think...


I received the following email from Clare's teacher this afternoon:
"Liz, Clare is cracking me up right now. I let her read the books about space she brought in… she is stopping to ask questions and calling on kids. It is so cute! I just wanted to share. Clare is a little teacher. =)"
I got a pretty big laugh out of it...but I'm thinking her bid for "Most Popular" just took a hit.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Larry Will Be So Proud


Clare's class recently began studying geography. They started by drawing maps of their classrooms, and then their neighborhoods, etc. She came home yesterday and requested that when the paper arrived today, we let her have the weather portion, because she wanted to study the map. I sort of snickered, to which she looked fairly offended and said, "I think it's interesting!" Sure enough, the paper arrived this morning and she pounced on the weather page. She proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes reading out the temperatures and forecasts for just about every city in the U.S.

The apple doesn't fall far from the Larry Seymour tree, evidently.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's the Lesson, Exactly?


I can't quite identify the sounds Danny is making right now. It's part race car, part ambulance, with a dash of superhero sound effect thrown in. He is sitting at the dining room table, happily coloring while wearing newly-acquired-from-the-hand-me-down box Spider Man jammies, having recently taken a shower (his new favorite activity). And he's in the best damn mood, something he has managed to sustain for the majority of the past six days (of course, I just jinxed it). I am able to accurately count how long this mood has lasted, because that's how long he has been without any of his beloved TV shows.

I thought I was so smart when I took away his TV privileges. Surely this would turn the tide, and he would finally poop on the potty. Something the enticement of shark gummies didn't manage, nor the allure of his beautiful new bunk beds. After all, Danny loves to lounge on the couch and watch Diego, or Little Einsteins, or Charlie & Lola.

Apparently that love affair wasn't as deep as I imagined it to be. Lest you think watching shows has been replaced by lots of games and playroom time with Mommy, think again. I have kept myself busy with laundry, school paperwork, cleaning, and cooking. And Danny has joyfully joined in each of these tasks, but most especially the cooking. He is cheerful, makes great conversation, and is using his imagination more than ever. I always recognized the perils of television in causing lazy bodies and minds. But it never occurred to me what it might be doing to his mood.

So, what do I take away from this? No, he hasn't pooped where I want him to. He knows that this frustrates me, too, which I suspect is part of the motive behind his pleasantries. But you know what? I'll take them! I've spent more enjoyable time with him during the last week than I have in a shamefully long time. So when he does get those TV privileges back, I'm going to be a lot more stingy with them. Because it turns out that the privilege of each other's company is a lot more coveted.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Plenty of Blarney Around Here!


The green is out in full force for the Seymours today. Both kids had festivities to enjoy today at school, so they needed to look the part. Here Danny and Lulu share one of their more tender moments. Unlike Max and Clare, there's not a lot of love lost between these two. Danny saves the majority of his love for me, and frankly I like it that way!


Clare had an exciting day, both yesterday and today, with leprechauns leaving chaos in her classroom, and notes leading them to pots of gold-covered chocolate. I tell you, I'd love to go back and do kindergarten all over again. I don't remember it being quite this fun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The One Year Blogiversary

As you can see in "See More Seymour Friends," I like to keep tabs on my friends' blogs - even when they live only a few doors down. Just as each of these friends is an individual, so, too, is her blog. Many of these friends have recently been blessed with additions to their families, subjects which are certainly great fodder for posts. I have found myself envious of these opportunities (though not the sleepless nights), and frequently wish I had started See More Seymours a lot earlier. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Given that in one year I have managed to create 154 posts and counting, I'm doing (more than?) my share of blogging as it is.

With Clare's birthday quickly approaching, and Danny's not long thereafter, I'll have plenty of chances to post comparison, "my how they've grown" shots. In the meantime, I offer a simple picture of something even better than the sweet sights of a newborn baby: siblings happily at play together. May the next year of SMS document many more such blissful moments.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tim!


Birthdays are a big deal around the Seymour household, for one reason and one reason only: cake. Fortunately, all four of us equally revere cake. So today I decided to indoctrinate Danny one step further by allowing him to help me bake Tim's cake. And he LOVED it. Of late, he has been very interested in helping in the kitchen - his non-vegetable consuming self even cheerfully helped me prepare broccoli slaw today. But nothing compared to the mixing of the cake. The only problem was that we made it at 8 a.m., leaving him approximately 11 hours to then ask me repeatedly, "Is it time for cake?"


Impatience notwithstanding, we had a very sweet family celebration for Tim's birthday. It has been a busy week for him at work, so he appreciated having this evening set aside to spend with the kids in our traditional Friday mode of make-your-own pizza and movie (except we watched American Idol instead, which was pretty hilarious in that it prompted a lot of dancing from the kids). While waiting for pizzas to cool, Tim opened his gifts, among which were a "My Dad and Me" painting by Clare, a new t-shirt from Danny, and non-drugstore procured sunglasses from me. What more can a now-35(gasp)-year-old ask for?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Four Years in the Blink of an Eye


This past Saturday, we found ourselves enjoying dinner at the Holbrooks (right)...and quickly realized that exactly four years ago, we were doing the same thing (sans Clare). The difference being that four years ago, we were visiting on a house-hunting trip in preparation for our move from Chicago to Atlanta. So much has happened in those four years that it seems silly to say that I can't believe it's been that long, but...I really can't believe it!


Jack, Clare and Danny got along famously while we adults caught up, which of course is how you always picture these evenings going when you schedule them, but don't always actually achieve. The musical performances were particularly riveting. Fortunately the musicians left frequently to go practice, which left us plenty of time to reminisce and plan our retirement to Charlottesville. One can dream, anyway...though for right now, the ATL is treating us pretty well. It's easy to imagine many more years flying by as quickly as these have.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Whoa.


Neither of us saw this one coming. This afternoon, when Clare emerged from quiet time and found me reading on my bed, she elected to grab her book and join me. The time passed pleasantly, although she was a wee bit chatty for my taste. Anyway, at one point she turned to me and asked, "Can I put myself to bed tonight?" WHAT?! Of course, she already puts her pajamas on and brushes her own teeth (and her latest dentist visit confirmed that she's doing an admirable job of this). Which means that all she was really cutting out was our story time. The one we implemented when she was eight weeks old (at the time, she screamed her head off during the story, but within a week she was enjoying that part tremendously). But she asked so very pleasantly, and hopefully, and was just so excited about the prospects that we had to give in. I made her promise that she would stop after two chapters. Being the rule-abiding child that she is, I'm not worried about that. No, I'm just wondering if it's always going to feel like someone sucker punched us every time she decides she can do something on her own?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Multidimensional?

Just today, Danny pronounced the word "bell" in this way: "ba-yull." He regularly calls for his sister, "Cla-yer." He was born in the South, after all (though he's not getting his pronunciations from the homefront).

And yet his California roots also reveal themselves from time to time, as they did today when, out of the clear, blue sky, he began to play "surfing."


Then, later, while I was cooking dinner, he pulled up a chair and began playing with corks (never you mind why we have so many corks lying around). Perhaps he will grow up to be like the son from the movie "Bottle Shock," the one who surfs by day and also happens to manage Chateau Montelena. Dude, that would be awesome.

Excuse me: y'all, that would be awesome.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snowday


As we drove on a rainy, gloomy morning to church, Clare remarked that the sun should be out, because today is Sunday. They might need to rename it, at least for now. Earlier in the week the weather forecast predicted snow for today, but Tim was not convinced. Seeing is now believing.

He and Danny had a grand time making a mini-snowman (above), and even engaging in a mild snowball fight, as the video below illustrates:

video

Clare deigned to come outside for approximately 60 seconds, and then fled for cover.


After enough photo ops, I wasn't far behind. But the views are just as spectacular from the inside, too.


Quincy is a bit flummoxed by the snow, but I imagine he'll soon discover the excellent napping conditions such weather provides. He probably won't be the only one, either.




EPILOGUE:
I am compelled to clear Clare's good name. After quiet time/naps, she was eager to head outside and play in the snow (once properly attired). She got in there with the best of them, making snow angels, throwing snow balls, and generally reveling in the icy fun. Looks like her Buffalonian grandparents don't have to disown her any time soon after all.