Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We loaded up in the van and headed for the sunny shores of Sarasota for Thanksgiving, taking a full week to spend with the Seymour side of the family. While the weather wasn't always perfect, we did manage to sneak in some fun in the sand and sun:

We did a lot of other things besides the beach, yet that is all I managed to photograph! Suffice to say we had a lot of quality time with Donna, Larry, Karen & Brian; the boys golfed, we all played Bingo (with two family members winning!), took a family photo on the beach, visited the terrific Tampa zoo, and most importantly ate and laughed. Lots of thanks to give!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So Big

We're plowing through major toddler milestones these days. Laura continues to be a potty-training rock star, even conquering #2 (more or less, anyway). And now she's in a big girl bed. She has slept in it for about five days now, and so far remains as firmly entrenched in it as Clare and Danny were - no aimless wanderings or midnight escapes. Yesssss.

Meanwhile, today I had my first parent-teacher conference for Laura, which I approached both with our "Meh, third child" attitude paired with a bit of "Oh dear, I wonder what they're going to tell me?" Last week the teachers had us fill out a prep sheet for the conference, asking us to detail Laura's strengths, weaknesses, and any concerns we have. After staring at it blankly for quite some time (I mean, she's two), I finally scribbled down something and moved on to the next task. I happened to mention her temper as a concern of mine, which evidently was laughable to her teachers who describe her as "quiet, timid, and sweet." HA! But hey, if she has learned early on how to work her teachers, kudos to her, am I right?

In all seriousness, though, her teachers report that while she is somewhat shy, she is also social and interacts well, is good at sharing (can't wait to tell THAT to Clare and Danny), uses her manners, and has strong verbal skills. She is still "emerging" in the "separates well from mommy" category, which doesn't surprise me - we spend a lot of time together. Evidently she has also told her teachers that her brother and sister are very nice to her (see above photo for evidence of how often Clare plays with her). Since she is not great about expressing her appreciation directly to them, this was nice to hear!

She has her moments, both good and bad. She's growing like a weed, but she's still my baby.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Control Herself

"May I have this dance?" she sweetly asked...but wouldn't have taken "No" for an answer.

Laura is officially a panties-wearing gal. We haven't quite jumped the #2 hurdle yet, but this not being my first rodeo, I know that will probably take a while but ultimately will happen. And since she attended school today wearing panties and returned home wearing the same clothes, I am ready to declare success.

From her conception, I have dreaded potty training. It ranks up there with getting an infant to sleep as my least favorite elements of parenthood thus far. Upon some reflection, I have recognized that it really is a battle for control. Sure, I knew Laura was trying to assert her desire to be in control. But it's possible that perhaps I, too, am a bit of a control freak. And maybe I don't quite give my baby girl enough credit. Turns out she's fairly capable of telling us when she needs to go to the bathroom. So the 50-minute stand-off we had in the bathroom this morning, which caused her to be late to school and me to miss my window to run before my haircut, was not necessary. Live and learn, right?

Toddlerhood is summed up with the phrase "power struggle." Laura aims to be quite powerful, too, dictating music choices in the car, the up or down status of the window, which sibling will play with her and what game they will play, and most especially her footwear (to name a scant few).  She is atrocious at taking "No" for an answer, although her fits are becoming increasingly shorter in duration. She is, I suppose, on the cusp of turning three, with all the triumphs and terrors that accompany the age.

Yesterday, as we spent more quality time together while mastering the potty routine, I was struck by the song "When Will My Life Begin?" from Tangled (she LOVES to listen to princess music). I spend a lot of time wishing Laura would get older, get past certain irritating behaviors.  But I also find myself really enjoying her company, the many times when she makes me laugh, or comments "that was a great story!" after a book. And I really love listening to her sing. Life doesn't begin when you hit a certain age or milestone, it's happening every day. Time: a reminder that none of us, really, is in control.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

For the fifth year in a row, we spent Halloween with the Francos. But this year we ventured to their house, checking out their new neighborhood's offerings for the holiday. Suffice to say, Starlight Hills did not disappoint. All the kids had a blast - perhaps Laura most of all!

It took her a while to be ready to put on her costume, but once dressed she was ready!
Tim took her trick-or-treating, and reports that her favorite phrases were, "Let's go get some more candy!" and "My basket is so full!" While it was still light out, she was also fond of telling him, "You stay there" while she ventured up to the doorsteps. However, once the sun set she was more than happy to have him accompany her.
Another CKS family lives up the street from the Francos, so we had a good crew for trick-or-treating.

The big kids enjoyed the sorting and trading of candy, while Laura looked on and mostly admired her acquisitions. This was followed by the traditional use of glow sticks, which Laura was delighted to partake in. Party girl giddily stayed up well past her bedtime!
I was happy to see Clare and Danny happily coordinate costumes for the third year in a row. Danny pestered me for weeks to dress up, too, so I finally caved and tossed together a Medusa costume - his Greek warrior really did need a nemesis.

All in all, a fun night with great friends!