Monday, August 23, 2010

Earning His Chops

Today Danny realized a long-standing dream: karate class (a.k.a. "Chopsticks")! With Mr. John! Better still, Parker is in class with him, with the added bonus of Wyatt (from school) and Ethan (from soccer). When you're four, and a boy, it just doesn't get any better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Ultimate Tiebreaker

The speculation is over! We have one happy sister, and one less enthusiastic brother. In other words, it's a girl!

As you can imagine, we've all been looking forward to this big reveal. Clare made me promise multiple times, both last night and this morning, that I would tell her as soon as she got home today. Her big smile and ecstatic whoop "Yesss!" was so fun to watch. It more than made up for Danny's "Ohhhh..." For his part, he's coming around and has offered name suggestions along the lines of Rosie, Spring Flower Garden, etc. I hope he's not devastated if we don't go that route. (And no, we won't be revealing names any times soon.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tim's New Toy

It's out with the old and in with the new around here, at least as far as vehicles are concerned. After 36 years of relatively modest living, Tim has finally treated himself to his first brand-new car. So long, 1999 Jeep Cherokee. Welcome, 2010 Nissan Murano! (Larry, you can now breathe easy about that road trip to Pinehurst next month.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 1, Grade 2

Second grade. This is where I really start remembering my own school years. Possibly because that was the year I started at St. Mary's, wearing a plaid uniform similar to Clare's, and sporting some rather splayed-ended-pigtails. Anyway, now it's Clare's turn to be a second grader, and she is delighted. Early this morning, after she emerged from her room dressed for school, Tim observed to her that she looks so old. Danny found this hilarious and said, "No, YOU look old." Et tu, Brute?

When I asked her what she thought would be the very first thing they would do today, figuring she'd say something along the lines of introductions, she said, "Learn cursive!" She is dying to learn cursive, despite the fact that she has already taught herself the rudimentary elements of it. Ah, so quaint. Doesn't she realize that the world is now a typing machine and no one hand-writes anything anymore?? When I told her that they probably wouldn't get to that first thing, and maybe not even today, it being just a half day, she optimistically said that they would get to it tomorrow, then. Right. Good luck, Mrs. Talley!

Having gotten the report on the first day, Clare has informed me that they won't tackle cursive until after Christmas. Fortunately, the teacher and the day in general seemed to outweigh this particular disappointment. She has told me at least twice, "You would LOVE Mrs. Talley." She's still adjusting to the fact that several of her friends and classmates from first grade are in a different class, but there are other friendly faces she's happy to have with her in second grade.

I figure that it must have been a pretty good day, since she proceeded straight for the playroom to play school. This was much to Danny's chagrin. For the past few weeks, the two of them have been self-proclaimed "best friends," and really have played together more than ever before. Tim and I predicted that this would slow down once she returned to school and her big kid ways. However, just the other day she observed to me, "I'm glad I'm not an only child. If I was, I wouldn't have anyone to play with." So there's hope for Danny, even if it's pared down a bit from their summertime antics.

I also take great cheer in the fact that when Mrs. Talley asked them today to share one exciting thing from their summer/lives, Clare opted to tell her about the baby we're expecting (though she quickly told me that she's eager to tell her about the historic village we visited, and her sunbonnet). I also learned that she already shared this information with Mrs. Roux, her first grade teacher. Sometimes, despite her chattiness, it's hard to know just what Clare is thinking. It makes me very happy to know that a new sibling - and playmate - is so newsworthy. And hey, just when the reality of a newborn starts to wear off, we have cursive to look forward to. Phew!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Berry Hunters

Although our visit to Buffalo has nearly wound to an end, we worked in yet another new adventure today: picking blueberries! It was an absolutely perfect day, and the blueberries were definitely the sweetest I've ever tasted. The kids delighted in harvesting the loaded bushes that Grandma would scout for them. We picked quite a few, and Clare (appropriately clad in her sunbonnet) sampled a large number of them along the way (as did I). Now Grandma is busy in the kitchen, putting them to great use with her fabulous baking skills!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bay Beach Bums

With the exception of one summer, we have been so fortunate to visit the Wards' beach house at Bay Beach, Ontario every year since Clare was one. Last summer and this, we even got to go twice. It's a beautiful setting, never too hot, and shallow enough that even the most timid of swimmers can go out a fair distance independently. Bliss.

Yesterday we made our second visit of the summer, and this time Tim and Larry joined us, too. The kids were especially happy, because Daddy tends to do a lot more fun stuff in the water with them than I do. This year Clare, after looking longingly at the floating dock for two years, Clare finally screwed up her courage to swim out and jump off of it. Then, with Daddy as her companion, she got to go to the farther dock at the end of the boat house and spend some time jumping. Though the beach remains constant, the ever-evolving nature of kids makes each visit a new experience.

Overall, we are reveling in some glorious Buffalo-style summer weather. As there is a raging heat wave going on at home, we're soaking up as much outdoors time as possible (certain members are doing this on the golf course). In fact, I think I'll grab my book and step outside...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Genesee Country Village & Museum

Props to Donna (and Larry) for keeping us busy with a bevy of excursions we've never tried before. There have been more outings than I have been able to keep up with on the blog, such as Danny's aforementioned "bug camp" at the Tifft Nature Preserve with Grandma; visit to Fort Erie; a miniature golf outing with Grandpa; and yesterday's visit to the Buffalo Science Museum (the robotic dinosaurs on exhibit were a big hit with both kids, though Danny gave the T.Rex a wide berth).

Today we trekked to the Genesee Country Village & Museum. I had high hopes for this one, particularly as Clare has been so interested in history and the American Girls. It didn't disappoint, either! I knew we were in for a good experience when we heard pipes and drums as we walked from the parking lot - it was a sound right out of the "Felicity" movie.

The village is reconstructed with genuine buildings from three eras, ranging from Pioneer to Antebellum to Turn-of-the-Century. Predictably, the schoolhouse was one of Clare's favorite spots. Danny favored this one, too, although he was also on the lookout for "fighting" spots the entire day (the gunsmith satisfied this concern).

While some of the buildings only allow a peek from the doorway, several are active, staffed with costumed, knowledgeable personnel who provided the context and purpose of each specific spot. This house, along with the schoolroom, was one that the kids insisted on visiting a second time before departure. They enjoyed making cornmeal, but there was also a two-month-old kitten who was quite the draw.

Among the hands-on activities were trying their hands at tinsmithing, which produced lovely silver ornaments (after some elbow grease from myself and Donna). Clare enjoyed the print shop, and the brewery was a pretty interesting spot as well. These people all worked really hard!

At the end of the day, Clare walked away with a fetching sunbonnet that she had admired throughout the day. The plan is for it to be part of her Halloween costume. Who knows if that'll stick, but it's pretty cute. (Not to be outdone in the souvenir department, Danny opted for a completely anachronistic plastic knight's sword. It was on clearance as it no longer lights up or makes sounds, which means it was perfect.)