Saturday, July 30, 2011

Idle Ideals

While we are fortunate to visit with each other multiple times throughout the year, I definitely look to the annual summer trips to the grandparents' homes as important sources for memories. I imagine my children recalling their summer excursions with the same fondness that I do my own childhood trips. Similarly, I hope that the grandparents form happy memories of their charming grandchildren.

Of course, not every moment goes smoothly, and one of the many reasons I am so game for these extensive travels is because I know that both sets of grandparents truly understand that kids are not always perfect. Logically, I also recognize that the good memories outlast the bad.

That being said, my inner perfectionist still squirms over each misstep, and my notorious lack of patience is clearly not the right equipment for coping with repeated days of whining and moping. Which, sadly, is what I feel that I have had from Danny this summer. As I lamented previously regarding Laura, it's a bit of a guessing game when it comes to Danny's emotional state. Is it his age, and the impending move to kindergarten? Is it he overtired? Does he miss his dad? Is it the dreaded Middle Child Syndrome? Have I ruined him with too much exposure to electronics?

If I'm being honest, I suspect the answer is yes to all of these. When I'm being hopeful, I suspect that I might be overreacting a bit, too. After all, we're having a great time. We've made a lot of wonderful memories, with more to come. As a parent, I know there are always ways in which I can improve. And there are also always going to be days, even weeks, when kids are not perfect. With any luck, I'll have this concept truly cemented in my mind by the time I'm a grandparent.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Family Resemblance

Guess which one is Danny's grandfather? Pretty uncanny resemblance between his paternal grandfather, Lawrence, and Dan the Man!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Grimsby Rd W,Buffalo,United States

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Babies: The Original Agony & Ecstasy

My feelings towards Laura's age these days are best described as vacillating, or perhaps more along the lines of whiplash-inducing. Just a few days ago I waxed poetic about how this is the ideal age, because she's still such a great size to hold, stays put, and is just so deliciously babyish. 'If she could only stay this way!' I lamented to myself.

But then comes a spell such as the last couple of days, when we are constantly wondering if it's teething (that ever-present threat), or her shots, or just plain boredom that's behind her fussiness. The guessing game is my biggest frustration in parenting babies, and why in the end it's okay that they grow up.

I don't know if it's her age, or our traveling and lack of schedule, or just her individual nature, but it seems that Laura's days are more inconsistent than were Clare's or Danny's. I suppose I am partially recalling their infancies through rose-colored glasses. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it I distinctly remember Danny's afternoon nap being repeatedly interrupted by his, er, bio breaks. The uncertainty of a day's progression is difficult to accept, given how much I really, really like routine. Why does she nap beautifully one day and horrifically the next? And why is she sometimes still cranky after a good nap, and other days Miss Peppy Sunshine despite virtually no naps at all? I guess it's just the nature of the beast. Or baby.

Above all is the pure joy derived from one of her sweet, sincerely delighted smiles - which more than makes up for the agonizing moments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laura's Resemblance

Ever since she was born, friends and family alike have been playing the "who does she look like?" game. A lot of people comment that they can see Danny in her, but there also seems to be some of my mom, a.k.a. Grammy, in her. Ultimately, of course, time will tell!

Monday, July 18, 2011

La Jolla

Translated from Spanish, La Jolla (spelled properly: La Joya) means "the jewel," and a more aptly named spot is hard to imagine. Ever since his first visit to San Diego, Tim and I have been especially fond of La Jolla, not least because that's where he proposed. We also had a marvelous time when celebrating a good friend's wedding there a couple of years ago. This was the first time we took the kids, though, and it proved to be a terrific way for Tim to spend his first day on vacation in California. The weather was glorious, the views spectacular, and the company delightful, even if they didn't really appreciate the romance or significance of the location. Though she doesn't appear in any of these pictures, Laura was along for the ride and seemed very content here - as were we all.

While I strolled Laura around and eventually found a convenient place to nurse her, Tim, Clare and Danny walked down to Shell Beach and enjoyed the waves, rocks, and sea lions nearby:

This was the view I enjoyed while giving Laura a snack:

Sea lions:

Clare and Danny with one of the many beautiful backdrops:

A sign of a great day:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Everything Old is New Again

As I've mentioned before, Jennifer (Lyons) and I go way back. Since we became inseparable in second grade, when I was seven, we experienced a lot of life together. Including my first sleepover, which was at her house. So it was extra special for me when Jen, Kelsey and Colleen invited Clare for a sleepover - the perfect antidote to Katy and Nicki's departure, too.

Clare had a marvelous time. She won't be able to see Kelsey and Colleen nearly as frequently as Jen and I did as kids, but I'm nevertheless confident that their friendship will be a lasting one, too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cousins Club

It's a little bit mournful around here, as Katy and Nicki are on an airplane home and the 2011 Summer Cousins Encounter has come to an end. As always, it was magical, full of moments that are tricky to describe but definitely memorable. The addition of Laura, and her dependence on me, meant we had to cut back on any major outings this year. Fortunately, the cousins really just need each other to have a good time. We're hoping for a holiday visit, the prospect of which made parting just a wee bit easier. There was still some last-minute plotting to squeeze Clare and Danny into some suitcases, but that's just another indication that a good time was had by all!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby Boogie

A couple of weeks ago when I put Laura on the floor to stretch out, I noticed she would do this little wiggly dance move. She grew increasingly exuberant about it, so we decided we better capture it on video before she outgrows this phase and is - gasp! - crawling.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Horsing Around

After years of looking longingly at the many horses that live near my parents' house, Sara and I decided this was the summer to indulge the kids in horseback riding lessons. Deputy Dan was not the only one excited about this, either! (He was, however, the one who enjoyed his helmet the most, as it made him look like "an army man!")

Clare and Danny were assigned to PJ, a medium pony with a very laid-back disposition. They learned how to curry, brush, and clean out his hooves before going for a ride. While on their individual rides, they were each treated to a few moments of trotting, and both found it to be thrilling. We head back for another lesson on Monday. Perhaps by then Danny will have made a decision on his future: cowboy or jockey?

Friday, July 8, 2011


While we have chosen to center our annual pilgrimage to Topeka around the Fourth of July, the real reason we go is to visit with my grandparents. Grandma Eddie couldn't wait to get her hands on Laura, who I am pleased to say did not disappoint. Every interaction between Grandma Eddie, Grandpa Bob and their great-grandchildren is a treasure, and I'm so happy we made so many memories to add to those from years past. We are so blessed.

An All-American Fourth

It's become an annual ritual for the kids and I (and occasionally Tim) to spend the Fourth of July in Topeka, Kansas with my dad's side of the family. For me this is coming full circle, as I spent many fourths visiting Kansas when I was a kid. Clare and Danny love it every bit as much as I did, especially because it provides the perfect reunion with Katy and Nicki. My dad said he has already burned in his mind the wonderful memory of Danny, pulling his suitcase across the street and then throwing it down and racing into Nicki's arms the moment he saw her come out of the house.

In addition to do-it-yourself fireworks, swimming, and barbecuing, we added to the festivities this year by heading over to Jon and Brittney's neighborhood for a charming Fourth of July parade. We didn't know what to expect but figured any sort of outing would be fun. It turned out to be perfect. Different groups would drive or even walk by, frequently tossing candy to the children waiting along the street. Lots of dogs were in attendance, not to mention funny or cute vehicles. It was exactly the Americana-esque image you would expect from a Midwest neighborhood parade, and we're already planning how we can participate next year!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Six Months

Dear Laura,

You are six months old today, proof that time is truly flying by. You have changed in so many ways, and each one of us is wrapped around your sweet little finger. Most recently you have mastered the art of rolling over both ways. You are developing a sense of humor that is especially triggered by your siblings. You fit right in to our family with your growing love of solids, and so far you've tasted rice cereal, oatmeal, squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. You are unbelievably stubborn and refuse to take a bottle. You've only officially slept through the night three times, so feel free to work on that. Your blue eyes garner comments from almost every person who sees you, and just looking at them now makes me forgive the sleeping thing. You are sweet, if not overly cuddly (Miss Jennifer calls your favorite position the "your breath stinks" pose). We are crazy about you, and so grateful for these past six months.