Friday, November 26, 2010


Before I delve into the subject matter this post's title refers to, may I first mention that we had a most lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving yesterday. It was definitely more sedate than last year's festivities featuring the Needhams' visit, but for this uber-pregnant lady, that was probably for the best. We had some very pleasant weather that allowed a nature walk along the Chattahoochee trail, as well as outdoor playtime for the kids. We viewed the Macy's parade, cooked (I use the term "we" loosely, considering my mom definitely did the lion's share), and generally spent quality time with each other. Pretty much the perfect recipe for a day rightfully devoted to loved ones.

Clare very much looked forward to Thanksgiving this year. She also really looked forward to Black Friday, as she had been granted permission to participate with the Morlan women this year. For a couple of weeks now, Clare had occasionally asked me questions about Black Friday, including wondering whether or not it is considered a legitimate holiday. I told her no, but it really has become a tradition for my mom, my sister and me (and my Aunt Ann and cousin Kathryn, counting those years back). Now, we are not the "doorbuster" variety of Black Friday shoppers. We are wise enough to leave the house relatively early, but we also respect the need for some sleep and a decent breakfast!

Knowing that Sara would not be with us this year, that I was going to be ahead of the game on my shopping list, and that my pregnant status would prohibit the usual marathon of shopping, it seemed the perfect year to permit Clare to join us. Also because she is a true shopper at heart. She is very content to roam the racks and just look. You will note by the photo above that Clare was definitely looking for a plan to our day, which brought back memories of our time at Disney. She didn't so much care what the plan was, she simply wanted to be aware. I think writing the phrase "We'll just wait and see" was very difficult for her, but she took it in stride.

It was a successful day, complete with great parking spots and our traditional holiday music for the car. We secured nearly everything on our list (not to mention a couple of extras), introduced Grammy to the wonders of the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, and were home in time to take an afternoon rest before wrapping a few presents. Please note that we did not eat in the food court, but rather the Nordstrom Cafe (also tradition), to which Clare gave two thumbs up. Also, Target should have been first on the list of shops (and remained Clare's favorite destination). All in all, I think the day lived up to Clare's expectations. As usual, she lived up to ours. Welcome to the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping world, baby girl!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grandparents Day 2010

Once again, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving rolled around, which also meant Grandparents Day at CKS. Clare was very excited about performing in their program, which was very cute and an impressive 40 minutes, considering the entire school (more than 500 students) performed). Danny still thought it was too long, which makes it all the more difficult to believe that he'll be participating next year as a kindergartener!

The program was followed by the traditional visit to the classroom. Clare was an extremely thorough tour guide: my dad is certain that they saw every single item in the room. This included everything in her desk. At one point her teacher saw her showing these things to Grammy, and laughed to me that she was pretty sure no one else got as thorough a tour, "but if anyone was going to do this, it would be Clare!"

Meanwhile, this was Danny's attitude:

Fortunately we have a year to work on his level of enthusiasm. In the meantime, we were all thankful to head to Panera for lunch. Now we're enjoying some days off and time with family. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This time of year always brings with it a flurry of activity, from cleaning closets and switching out wardrobes to maximizing our time in the fresh air and enjoying the glories of fall. We've been in hyper-drive as far as the cleaning out and organizing goes this year, considering we had to switch four rooms around. All in preparation for baby girl.

The highlight of this room roulette, at least as far as Clare is concerned, is her new room. Most especially the maps! And the desk! How she loves them both. At any given time of day she'll mention some place she recently located on one of her maps. She spends hours each week playing school in her room, which I think she truly views as her sanctuary. Mission accomplished.

With the house now restored to post-painters order, I have thrown myself into preparing for the holidays ahead of time. I'm not really a procrastinator by nature anyway, but with a January 4 due date I really don't want to get caught by surprise at Christmas. After all, the kids are very excited for the baby's arrival, but I'm pretty sure their excitement would be clouded if she preempted their also eagerly awaited Christmas.

Nevertheless, while I keep myself busy with the many tasks that attend the holidays, I think we are all increasingly aware of how soon our family is going to grow. My extremely prominent belly alone is a stark reminder. It's nice to have so many distractions to keep me from growing too impatient these last few weeks. But we are most definitely waiting. (An appropriate mode to be in as we enter Advent.) I think we're ready, too...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Preschool Classic

The preschool curriculum of today doesn't much resemble what I remember from my youth. At age 4, Danny is learning French, Spanish, full-fledged phonics...stuff I didn't even touch in Kindergarten (shoot, I didn't learn a language until high school). As a matter of fact, these photos were taken while Danny was working on his penmanship homework. So yeah, pretty different.

However, there is at least one constant: The feather headdress made around Thanksgiving time. With the politically correct update that if you say "Indian," Danny is quick to correct you to "Native American." This is undermined a bit by the fact that he follows this with the "ha-wah-wah-wah" sound made with his mouth and hand. He claims to have picked this up from the movie "Peter Pan," which is admittedly one of the least politically correct films out there as concerns aforementioned natives. Anyway, Danny is so enamored of his "headband" that he has worn it to soccer practice, to pick up Clare, and plans to wear it again to school. I don't know if this is part of his Halloween hangover, or if he's just embracing the next holiday. It's pretty cute (particularly when paired with footy jammies), so it works for me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


What I am about to reveal may shock many of you. This past Saturday was the first time Clare, at 7.5, painted her nails.

I justified this primarily because of her finger habit. Truly, though, this was a convenient excuse to avoid one of my (totally irrational) pet-peeves: chipped nail polish, especially on little girls. I can't abide it. Even as a kid I hated seeing it on other kids. I think it makes their hands look dirty. And tacky. Blech. (I'm honestly not that fond of not-chipped nail polish on kids, either, but I know it's a harmless pleasure.)

However, I had been scouring my brain to think of some way to show Clare how proud I am for her kicking her habit not only immediately, but entirely without complaint. For one, Annie Bear has been returned to her, but I felt the occasion deserved more. So when Elise's mom asked out of the blue if we'd be interested in going to get our nails done together, I realized that was the great idea I sought.

Little did I know just how perfect a suggestion it would be. Clare, who has never once asked to paint her nails after being informed years ago that we wouldn't do it until she stopped sucking her finger, completely lit up when I asked if she'd like to get her nails done. For the days leading up to the event she would sporadically mention how much she was looking forward to it. I believe it even made her "morning news" announcement to her class at school one day.

I'm pretty sure just painting her nails at home would have been enough for Clare, yet I will admit it was really fun to go to the salon with her for this. She and Elise sat together and were just darling as they picked out their colors, waited patiently for their turns, and chit-chatted as we ladies all do. They were proud as peacocks of the results, too!

Clare couldn't wait to get home to show her nails to Danny and Daddy. We found them in the backyard playing baseball. Hilariously, moments after she went outside to show off her mani/pedi, Clare suddenly decided she wanted to play baseball and then kickball. Yes, the girl who has zero interest in organized sports. There's a lot to be said for being well-rounded, right?

This entire episode of kicking the habit and indulging in painting her nails has been enlightening to me regarding Clare's character. How often has she looked at her cousins', friends', and even my nails longingly yet never uttered a word? Baby Girl-To-Be has a lot to live up to.

Oh, and as for the inevitable chipped nail polish? Thanks to the CKS dress code, we had to remove it Sunday night :-) Hey, Clare's terrific and all, but Mommy's peace of mind, rational or not, is valuable, too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

All day yesterday, Danny would tell anyone he came across, "I know what today is! Halloween!!" His enthusiasm for this particular holiday has been impressive and long-lasting. He got to wear his costume to Sunday school, and thus pretty much all day. He even obliged us by falling asleep during quiet time, so he was well-rested for the main event.

The Francos joined us again, and once again we were a merry bunch. The weather was beautiful, too, so the trick-or-treating took place under pretty much ideal circumstances. Since it was a school night, everything started a bit earlier than usual, but free candy is just as tasty in the daylight.

We didn't outdo ourselves taking photographs, partially since we already had photos of them in costume from Disney. We also don't have any pictures of one of the spontaneous highlights of the night. The Francos brought glow sticks for the kids, which they didn't get to use until after dinner, when it was finally dark. As we adults sat enjoying pizza and wine, the kids went outside with the glow sticks and proceeded to run around for the better part of an hour. It was so fun to look out the front window and see the glowing sticks and shadowy kids holding them.

Not surprisingly, Danny has been a bit loathe to let Halloween go. Today being trash day, I decided we needed to go ahead and toss the carved pumpkins. I naively hoped Danny wouldn't really notice, or care. Pretty silly, since he harassed me for 48+ hours to carve them in the first place (his is the smallest jack-o-lantern, and the face was designed by him). He did notice their absence this morning, and immediately began sobbing. At one point he even looked at me, still crying, and said, "You ruined my whole life!" Happily, within an hour he had moved on. Knowing him, though, I haven't heard the last of it. I should start working on his Drama King costume.