Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reel Life


A little over a year ago, Clare decided to try Irish dancing. Not one for sports, this seemed like a good activity for her. She liked it well enough, but wasn't exactly smitten and welcomed the summer break. When fall came around and it was time to resume school and extracurriculars, it looked as though she was going to opt to continue gymnastics. At the last minute, though, her experience breaking her arm scared her off, so back to Irish dancing it was.

Fast-forward to the week before Christmas, when Clare informs me that she will be dancing at school. She didn't seem too enthused about it, but had gotten the impression that she was required to do so. This didn't seem right to me, so I emailed her teacher to inquire further. I learned that a professional Irish dancing group was going to perform for the school, and they had requested any students familiar with the dancing to join them. No, it was not required. I passed this along to Clare, who declared she would think about it. She came home that last day before the holiday break and informed me that she had danced. By herself. In front of about 200 kids. And loved it! It seems performing ignited her enthusiasm for Irish dancing big time. So when it came time for her dance instructor's annual Feis (dancing competition), which Clare had zero interest in participating in last year, she couldn't sign up soon enough.


After counting the days and several "I can't waits!," the Feis day finally arrived. Since I am sidelined at home with a newborn, Tim was forced to get up bright and early this Saturday morning to take her all the way to Stone Mountain, where the event occurred. As a beginner, Clare was among the first (of 500+ dancers!) to compete, which meant a 7:45 a.m. call time. Thank heavens for Starbucks.


None of us had any idea what to expect from the event, though I did fear that Clare would be underwhelmed. I simply hoped she'd come away from the day having enjoyed herself. When I got the "holy cow, this is confusing!" email from Tim early on, and then didn't hear anything for a while, I was nervous. Lo and behold, a couple of hours later they called me and Clare informed me that she had earned a third place, bronze medal in the light reel and a second place, silver medal in the light jig! Below is her award winning light jig:

video

I truly didn't expect her to come away with any awards and was just really proud of her for having the courage to get up and compete. She's been dancing her way around the house ever since, so it's obvious that she's pretty pleased with herself, too. What else can you ask for?


P.S.: She's already signed up for another Feis next month!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Family Resemblance?

Most people who have seen Laura for the first time like to speculate as to who she looks like. It's been an even split so far between Clare and Danny. So I pulled up pictures of the two of them from their first months of life, to discover that they don't really look anything like they did as infants. So, probably way too soon to tell about little Laura!

Here's Clare:


And Danny:



Finally, Laura:


I might try this again with one-year photos...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scholarly Dan


As I've indicated in the past, Danny's preschool is fairly intensive academically for this final year before kindergarten. Especially now, in the second half of the year. All of that hard work on their penmanship is now put to use in weekly spelling tests, the first of which Danny took last week. I was relieved to find that our studying was not laborious, and that he knew the words from the first time we sat down to take a practice test. Nevertheless, I was eager for the report of how the test went. He was fairly enthusiastic, and much taken with the concept of the "privacy folders" his teacher gave them. As he explained it, the folders provided each of them with a sort of office space, "like Daddy has at work." I had been wondering how the teacher would avoid the wandering eyes that would surely afflict these youngsters, so this makes perfect sense.

My favorite moment was when I pulled the test out of his bag and saw his grade. I exclaimed over it, and it became clear that he didn't know what his score was. So when I explained it to him, he was pretty pumped. So much so that a moment later, I heard him in the bathroom talking to himself: "100! How about that?! A+, baby!" Pretty cute. You'll also notice the improvement in his handwriting from just a month ago when working on his Christmas list!

In addition to spelling tests, Danny's class was assigned a project to support their upcoming field trip to the aquarium. Each student was asked to pick a sea animal that can be found at the aquarium and to do a poster about it. This project had to include the name of the animal in the student's own handwriting, a picture of the animal drawn by the student, and three facts about the animal. Danny chose the hammerhead shark, and he and Tim worked hard this weekend to produce what I think was an excellent, age-appropriate poster. Danny truly seemed proud of his work, and was never reluctant to practice presenting it, either.

It's a relief to know that our little Star Wars fan can still focus well on other topics!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

3 Weeks Old


Three weeks has felt like forever, and also like a flash. While she still spends the majority of her time swaddled, I find I'm pretty lazy about what Laura wears. But knowing that I needed to feed the blog for fear of rabid grandmothers attacking me, I decided that today was a great day for her to sport the cute monogrammed onesie that my cousin Laura and her parents sent.


At three weeks (or almost, anyway), Laura is still pretty sleepy but starting to spend a bit more time with her eyes open. This was around the time that Danny developed a mean fussy streak, so I'm holding my breath, waiting to see what Laura does once she really wakes up. Here's hoping that she remains the sweet, relatively calm baby we've so far enjoyed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This Is Your Life, Laura


Today Clare, Danny and I ventured out of the house to take Laura to her first check-up at the pediatrician (rescheduled from last week due to the Snowpocalypse). She was pronounced in perfect condition, despite the angry red mark on her face that resulted from a rogue fingernail.

On the way home, after a quick detour to Target for cat food and other necessities, the kids were in the back, each with one earbud listening to "The Lonely Goatherd" on Clare's iPod. Out of the blue, Danny shouted, "Mommy!" "Yes, Danny?" "Laura is just like Anakin!" "How so?" "She has a line on her face, which looks just like his scar!" I swear, Danny has never been more in love with his baby sister.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowbound Bonding


It's day 4 of the Snowpocalypse, as we locals have taken to calling it. In truth it's really an Icepocalypse, as the ice on the roads has wrought mayhem throughout the city. Tim returned to work yesterday, so my perception of our time at home was a little less rosy, but overall it's still been nice. It's only a "weather event" like this that would force us to slow down this much and really spend time together.


It has provided plenty of photo ops, too. Not that Laura's days are any different than they would be in balmy weather, but the kids' exposure to her has been much more extensive than it would normally be. As you can see, they're still smitten.

I've always found the changing table a good place for pictures. I emailed these shots of Laura to a few family members earlier in the week, and a couple of people commented that she looks to be full of personality already. Which just makes me laugh, because so far she just sleeps. And sleeps. And sleeps some more. Which is about the most endearing quality one can find in an infant, but doesn't quite scream "personality!"


Below is a picture of Laura and her friend, Abby, a.k.a. Clare's doll. The doll she received when she was 21 months old and never played with much until Laura's arrival. Clare has embraced these days off as opportunities to continue to take care of her doll!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sledding



It's day two of our snowcation (snowconfinement, depending on the hour), and Tim had a stroke of genius while outside with the kids: using the long plastic container lids from the basement as sleds. I was inside nursing Laura, but I could hear the shouts of delight and "That was awesome!" from my cozy spot on the couch. Clare, ever the more intrepid snow player, outlasted Danny and earned some video footage:

video


Meanwhile, we had two of the Atlanta Hawks skid to a stop in our driveway this morning, so it's been an exciting day! Turns out one of them lives at the top of the monster hill, and another was trying to give him a ride to practice. Never a dull moment these days!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cocooned


Winter is proving to be an ideal time to have a newborn. The weather is so conducive to just staying nestled at home, relatively idle (a state that admittedly does not come naturally to me). I was a bit apprehensive going into this week, now that my parents (a.k.a. babysitters/personal chefs/grocery shoppers/laundry masters) are gone. Mother Nature evidently took pity on me and decided to douse Atlanta with a blizzard, effectively shutting down the city today. Not only are the schools closed, but Home Depot HQ is, too! So I was treated to yet another morning of not rushing around to get kids ready for school, another glorious afternoon nap, and one more day of the van remaining in the garage.


Of course, the prospects for getting anywhere tomorrow aren't much better, and at some point this is going to become a problem. But today it's all good. One of the positive things having an infant around will remind you is how to take life one day at a time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And I Thought Photographing Two Kids Was Challenging


In honor of her (almost) one-week birthday, plus the brief visit by Grandpa, I decided that yesterday was a good time to dress the kids in those cute sibling shirts. Particularly since Laura's is a newborn size, and I give her days (or even hours) before she has outgrown it. It took some cajoling to get Danny out of his pajamas, and he also insisted on including his LEGO knight in the picture. Let's just say the overall effect isn't quite what I had in mind when I bought the shirts...just more justification for people like Crystal to be in business!

Nevertheless, these are our three (!) blessings. May they always be so willing to proclaim their place in the family.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Siblings


When we first told Clare and Danny that we were expecting another baby, we expected surprise, caution, and even a negative attitude. Which was why we planned to tell them about our (then-upcoming) trip to Disney World at the same time. From the get-go, though, they surprised us by being happily excited.


Now that their baby sister has arrived, their excitement hasn't diminished, either...at least, not yet. Danny is most definitely uncomfortable when she cries, but always eager to take his turn to hold her. When Sebe and his mom, Sherry, arrived this morning to take him on an excursion, he was bursting with pride and couldn't wait to show her off. He frequently proclaims his love for Laura, and pointedly asked one of the nurses at the hospital, "Do you love her?" As if, how could anyone not?


Clare, meanwhile, relishes every moment of holding Laura and is eager for opportunities to help give her a bath, read her a story, and put her to bed (which, don't get me wrong, isn't really happening yet). She has also repeatedly commented, "It's so exciting to have a real baby in the house!"


Considering this relationship is only five days old, I know we have some major ups and downs ahead of us. For right now, we're looking forward to the ride.

Now We Are Five


Laura Brooke Seymour joined our happy family on Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 11:15 a.m. She was a robust 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 21 inches, which explains the vast amount of comments my pregnant belly elicited throughout my pregnancy. She is, as you would imagine us to say, perfect.