Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby of Steel

I think Laura may have secured herself a future tenure in boarding school this week. Most of you are aware that I attempted to wean her to prepare for my upcoming hernia repair. For three days, I withheld nursing as an evening, once-a-day event. I fed her solids, and offered her bottles of formula. For three days, she refused to take a single sip from a bottle. Even if that meant she slept for 12-13 hours and then went another four before she ate solids. She could give Ghandi a run for his money in the hunger strike department.

So I caved. Thanks to the extremely helpful advice and coaching Allyson gave me all along the way, we've got ways to get around the nursing hiatus. In the meantime, it's Laura 1, Mommy and Daddy 0. As just about everyone commented to me this week, I shudder to think what this steel will of hers will imply during her teenage years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Because I Like to Tempt Fate

Now that school has begun, I feel like I need a follow-up to my last post about Danny. Partially because I think I was over-reacting at the time, and partially because he's doing so well right now.

Sure, he's only attended school now for two weeks. For lots of kids, though, those first few days of kindergarten are the toughest. Fortunately, Danny seems to have found his groove. No, he doesn't really like being awoken so early on school days. But by the time he is dressed and downstairs for breakfast, he's a chipper chicken. Many times Clare has stopped him en route to breakfast in order to help adjust his uniform, an act that speaks volumes about their relationship and its effect on his time at school. I think much of the reason he's so comfortable is because his big sister is there, and happy to engage with him. This is on top of him loving his teachers and making new friends. Not to mention that he really is an outgoing little chap.

In fact, he was even comfortable enough to make a bit of a splash in the first school mass. I had not alerted Danny to the fact that mass was going to take place last Monday, because frankly I didn't feel like listening to him gripe about it. Imagine my surprise when I picked the kids up from school later that day, and Danny strutted into the car, waving a dollar bill at me while saying, "Guess who answered one of Fr. Frank's questions in mass?" (Fr. Frank is known for asking questions during his homily and rewarding correct answers with $$.) Proud as a peacock he was! I still love picturing my little guy raising his hand and then answering a question in the big cathedral, in front of 560 students and dozens of teachers and parents. May he always be so confident. (For inquiring minds, the question was, "Who will you meet in heaven?" Danny said that he answered, "God!" and then Fr. Frank asked him if he thought that was worth a dollar, to which Danny said, "YES!")

I take his comment to me this morning as a sign of continued success. "Mommy, I have to say..." (there was a long pause here, so I really didn't know where this was going) "I'm not that interested in vacation anymore. I mean, I still like vacation and stuff, but it's just that school is more interesting to me right now." Perhaps he and Clare aren't so different after all.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feline Fascination

Among the many things distinguishing Laura's babyhood from Clare's and Danny's is the presence of the cats. Quincy and Duncan didn't join us until Danny was two. While the cats were aware of Laura from the moment she arrived, she didn't really take notice of them until very recently, post-summer travels. But now she's making up for lost time. When they are in the vicinity, she is mesmerized, and definitely looking for ways to get closer and get her hands on them. Woe to them when she starts crawling! (And I suspect they just might be her motivation to get moving.)

Note that Duncan (white and black cat) is willing to get close to Laura. This will infuriate Clare if she catches wind of it, because after three years she has still barely touched him. We always suspected him to be the smarter of the two cats, but now I'm not so sure. Yes, Laura is cute, but she has potential to inflict some serious damange, kitty!

P.S. I had to add this photo my mom sent of two-year-old me with our cat at the time, Peaches. Looks like it's genetic.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Braced for the Future

When Clare emerged into the waiting room today with her braces on, I did a double-take. I expected the metal, of course, but what caught me by surprise is how much older they make her look! Ack! She did us all proud, too, by being perfectly poised throughout the appointment. Not that this surprised me.

Meanwhile, Laura passed the time the way any self-respecting person would do in a doctor's waiting room:

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Just You and Me, Kid

It has been a blissful morning. Clare and Danny headed off to school, picked up by our new carpool from our very front door. The weather was cool enough for me to do some yardwork and then take Laura for a walk. Now she's down for her nap, and I am free to shower, putz around on the computer, and enjoy the peace and quiet. Ahhhh!

While every day won't be this calm, I look forward to many more walks, time for Laura to practice sitting, and other such simple pleasures that I previously took for granted. Back-to-school season suits me well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Day: The Sequel

Show me a mom who isn't nostalgic on her child's first day of kindergarten! I don't claim to be the most sentimental of women, but this is a big one. I couldn't help reflecting back to Clare's first day, and as I reviewed the picture I noticed two-year-old Danny in the background in his ubiquitous green Crocs. Just look at him now!

He didn't jump out of bed as Clare did at his age. In fact, he moaned that he was tired, and then got a little weepy about being nervous. But as he got dressed, he snapped out of it. And while I thought he'd be totally irritated regarding the belt, he seemed to think that was the coolest part.

At school itself he went back and forth between confidence and nervousness. He was happy to see Luke, kept tabs on Clare's whereabouts, and in the end marched off to his class with nary a backward glance.

(cue music) Sunrise, sunset...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Circle of (G.I. Joe's) Life

Among the many appealing elements of Grandma and Grandpa's house in Buffalo is the fact that they hung on to Tim's and Karen's old toys. Sure, Star Wars figures, Playmobil, Strawberry Shortcake and the like are still available in stores, but there's something pretty darn cool about playing with the originals. Especially knowing that your daddy played with those very same toys in his near-mythical childhood.

This summer, Danny was particularly smitten with the bin of Tim's old G.I. Joe action figures and attack vehicles. And when the man himself arrived in town, Danny couldn't wait to lure him into the basement for an extended playdate. It looked something like the above, though the photo doesn't completely capture the happiness radiating from the two of them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fort Niagara State Park

I always used to wonder why Niagara Falls was the cliched honeymoon spot of old. It seemed sort of random, and limited. That was before I was introduced to the area, and to how expansive it really is.

We opted to have a family outing today and returned to Fort Niagara, inside Fort Niagara State Park. Of course Danny was smitten as soon as he heard the word 'fort,' and Clare was thrilled at the thought of an 'old-fashioned' destination. I remembered spectacular views if Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. None of us was disappointed.

After exploring the fort, we took a picnic lunch over to a beautiful waterside spot. As always, I marveled at how much the Great Lakes can be mistaken for the ocean.

After some eating and plenty of fresh air, we decided to make one more stop on our way home: Whirlpool State Park. We got a great look at the Whirlpool Rapids, described as "a dangerously turbulent stretch of the Niagara River downstream from Niagara Falls."

I was the only member of the family interested in the cable car that floats over and above the rapids, and the only one who thought the jet boat tour looked fun. Still, I'd say this is a part of the world we were all quite taken with. I could definitely envision a romantic getaway in these parts...or another family excursion.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seven Months

Still crazy about her after all these months.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Halfway Highlights

With one week down (already?) and one to go here in Buffalo, we've already got a lot to report on. Such as a pirate cruise for Danny and Larry, which was followed by a tour of the Navy ships:

Tea for Clare, Donna and Kathy V.:

the TR Site's Teddy Bear Picnic:

We've also gone to the zoo, swimming and dinner at Park Club, and Donna and Larry took Clare and Danny to a nearby wildlife park, Hidden Valley Animal Adventure. Lucky us!

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