Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Waterproof Lining

So, today's visit to the orthopedist wasn't quite the outcome we had hoped for. Turns out Clare has an almost invisible radial neck fracture around her elbow. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor injury, but a cast is the only treatment. Fortunately, it's just for three weeks. Even better, we were directed to a waterproof cover for it that should enable her to swim and take part in all the planned activities on our vacation. Phew.

I can't resist the opportunity to post a picture of Danny sporting his own cast (at 17 months). Tim has gone 36 years, and I 35, with nary a broken bone. Furthermore, it's not like our children rival Evel Knievel for crazy stunts. Go figure!

To wrap up the medical updates: Danny was diagnosed with strep throat on Monday. By the miracle of antibiotics, he is already back to his old self. And so we head out on our summer adventures perfectly happy, if not quite perfectly healthy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Mushrooms aside, I consider myself an open-minded and well-rounded eater. And though I sometimes fail (occasionally even spectacularly), I really try to provide my family with a nutritious diet. But there are times when only comfort food will do. With an alarming amount of medical mayhem, at least for us (and I know we're very spoiled in this regard), this was definitely one of those weeks.

To each his or her own when it comes to comfort food. For me, it is and always has been Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. (No doubt my parents are simultaneously nodding and rolling their eyes.) Whether soothing the soul or illness, this particular dish makes me better. Jennifer even provided it for me at my bachelorette party, a testament to just how much I love it. Once I had Clare, I figured I had free license to prepare, and therefore eat, Kraft mac 'n' cheese more frequently than an adult perhaps normally would. As a baby and young toddler, she obliged. But then she got all picky on me and has turned up her nose at it ever since.

Fortunately, the second time, or kid, is the charm. It's taken a while, but Danny is now a fan. So today, while he has been under the weather with some sort of chesty ailment (he greeted me this morning by despairing, "I can't use my regular voice!"), and his appetite has been poor, I offered to make him some macaroni for lunch. Ahhh, sweet bliss. Not only did he get something in his belly, but I swear there was more of a spring in his step after lunch. The ensuing three-hour nap also might have helped.

To recap what I alluded to earlier in the post, it's been quite a week that has included two visits to the pediatrician plus a stop at the orthopedist. Clare kicked off the week by obtaining a mysterious but vicious bug bite on her ankle. It swelled, reddened and blistered, such that she found herself on a 10-day course of antibiotics. (Be glad that I spared you photos.) We were also forbidden from the pool for a few days, and she had to miss the first three days of gymnastics camp.

Finally, on Thursday, her bite was much improved and she returned to camp...where she attempted a new trick and hurt her arm. By the next morning it was still painful and she wasn't using it, so we trotted back to the doctor, who referred us to the orthopedist. The X-ray didn't show anything definitive, so she's currently sporting a splint and we are hoping and praying that she does not have to get a cast when we go back on Wednesday. That would really cramp our Kansas- and California-bound style - and she wouldn't even want any macaroni to boost her spirits.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Sports Spectacular

Okay, that might be overstating it just a tad. But we've had quite a whirlwind of sports-related summer camps this week. Danny participated in soccer camp from 9-12 every day this week, while Clare was at gymnastics camp from 9-1. Clare benefited from indoor air conditioning, while Danny endured the hottest week yet this year. I wasn't sure he would make it all five days, until I discovered the motivation of sugar. First of all, he wanted Gatorade, and secondly he wanted to be able to buy candy from the snack shack like the majority of other campers. Since this bought me three hours of freedom each morning, I conceded.

His progress report at the end of the week was less than glowing, but to that I tell myself, "He's four." (Though why is it so hard to hear criticism about your child from someone else? Even mild criticism?)

I have been able to witness Clare's progress first-hand, as the campers present a gymnastics show on the final day of their camp. She was originally signed up for just one week of this camp, a couple of weeks ago. As her best friend Elise was signed up for five weeks of it, Clare decided she wanted to do more. Our travel schedule doesn't permit all five, but we did add this week and have added next week as well. Clare has so many talents, but athletics are not something that come naturally to her, so I'm happy that she's found something she enjoys. And that one perfect, straight-leg cartwheel I saw her turn in today's show was an excellent sign!

Next week we add swimming lessons to the mix, so if nothing else we're planning a well-rounded summer. Perhaps the best part of all of this is that the kids get so physically worn out (particularly when we spend the afternoon at the pool) and have both been in bed well before 8 p.m. the last few nights. What better measure of success?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summertime, and the Living's Easy

For a person who craves structure and routine as much as I do, I am really enjoying these laid-back, school-free days. Probably because we get to fill them with things like trips to the lake. The kids and I spent the first half of this week back at Lake Martin, and I think this was my favorite visit so far. It was the best blend of relaxation and happiness, and not just for Jen and me. The kids played beautifully together from the moment we arrived...and they weren't even all that loud!

While our visits to the lake are always filled, by request, with rides on the boat, swimming among various islands, and plenty of time on the dock, we also managed to do something new this time around. Jen boated us to a newly finished complex that features stunning horse stables, a high-end restaurant, and the gourmet Catherine's Market. There are also lovely bike paths, and they are slowly restoring small storefronts such as the blacksmith's shop, which the kids definitely enjoyed. The market was my favorite (the bakery! the butcher!), but I think it's safe the say the horses were the big winners with the kids. In fact, Danny and Clare are still talking about Dan, the positively enormous Percheron horse. It was the icing on the cake when Danny learned that this is the type of horse that was used for jousting.

One evening we also enjoyed a sunset cruise, which culminated in finding the "green monster," which is a light that some of the homes put in the water near their docks. It tends to either draw or simply illuminate an interesting array of fish, turtles and the like, not to mention the ethereal glow it casts for a fair distance. Clare also observed the beautiful "periwinkle" color that the lake assumed as the sun was setting, and the rosy sky was a fitting end to what had been a very happy day.

We have a lot of traveling to look forward to later this summer, but we may have to squeeze in one more trip to the lake, too...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trail Tales

This morning marked the second of what I hope will be a regular activity for Clare and me: walks on the Silver Comet Trail. Last Saturday, on a whim, I asked her if she'd be interested in joining me for a walk. To my surprise and delight, she said, "Yeah!" And so we walked 3.5 miles, with her telling me stories the whole way. She was very pleased with herself for walking that distance, and decided that next time, we'd walk 4. Which we did, today! Again, she told me a number of stories, and also initiated lively conversations about a variety of topics. This has proven to be a great venue for the two of us, because I am finally able to truly focus on what she's saying and having an engaged conversation, rather than trying to multitask and only partially paying attention. This is in addition to the physical benefits, too. We're not winning any awards for speed, but I have to remind myself that her legs are significantly shorter than mine. (It's an exercise in patience for me if nothing else.)

Clare says that when she's 10, we're going to walk 8 miles. My ambitions for us aren't quite so lofty, but I like that fact that she's looking to make this a long-term habit.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sliding into Summer

The swimming season is in full force around here when the "slide pool" is open. It's also an indicator to me that we are officially among the families with "big kids," as that's how I always used to think of this pool. The smaller, non-slide-possessing pool used to be just fine for Clare and Danny when they were tots. But now they can easily pass three hours going down the slide (and back up the stairs). It's a great way to wear them out, so it's another win-win situation!