Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Things We Love About Our 10-Year-Old

With Isabella and Abby, ready for a birthday sleepover.

Proudly holding Josefina, the newest AG doll of her collection.

Getting to work on some of her new Legos.

Sweet girls.

She has marvelous taste in friends.

She still loves American Girl dolls and Legos.

She's so sweet and so thoughtful.

She takes her role as big sister seriously, yet also enjoys it tremendously.

She has a great attitude about everything.

She is well-loved by everyone who knows her.

She's so smart, but so fun.

She loves to plan ahead (and just plan in general).

The girls lined up, awaiting the arrival of their new friend.
She still thinks it's fun to hang out with her mom.

She has made the last 10 years so much richer, happier, and full of love and light.

We love you, our double-digit Clare Bear!

Monday, March 18, 2013


This past week I was treated to this blog post and this one. I enjoyed both so much that I made sure to share them, one via email and one on Facebook. The first, in particular, garnered a lot of responses, mostly along the lines of, "This was exactly what I needed to hear!" In case you haven't read them, they both were inspired by the countless times we parents of young children are told, "Oh, enjoy every moment - it goes so fast!"

I won't go into that particular topic, as the above writers did a great job. Other than to say that chances are, we know - but it still doesn't make the tantrums/rejected meals/whining any more enjoyable. I am blessed with both a mother and mother-in-law who fortunately remember that not every single moment is one to be enjoyed, but I've still heard this phrase often enough from others.

Anyway, these thoughts swirled around the back of my head this weekend, which was fortunately filled with a lot of wonderful moments. (And I don't just mean the ones that involved the babysitter holding the fort while we had dinner with friends and attended a party filled with more friends.) Yes, Laura had about half a dozen time-outs. But she also cuddled with Danny, finally deigned to try watermelon with Clare, played a game with them in the basement that involved lots of imagination and naming herself "Cuckoo" (you can't make that stuff up). We went out to lunch, and for a terrific nature walk where Clare and Danny raced off and enjoyed each other's company as part of yet another imaginative game. We had the windows open, a tasty Sunday night dinner, and plenty of relaxation.

In order to appreciate - and occasionally survive - parenting, I have found important refuges: running, fellow parents, wine, prayer. Ultimately, each of these escapes renews my love for and appreciation of my family and (almost) all of our moments.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lucky Us

Between care packages from Grandma, a bona fide Irishman as parish (and school) pastor, and a house full of Irish fans, we make sure to thoroughly embrace St. Patrick's Day/Green Day at school. Danny is particularly enthusiastic about this event, working hard on a "Top o' the mornin' to you!" spoken with a respectable brogue.
Laura had absolutely no idea why I was dressing her with such care today, but she was more than willing to go along with it. Of late she has taken an interest in pony tails, which is helpful since her hair is at a truly chaotic stage these days. (Just waiting for the bangs to grow out.) Since she had music class this morning, it was all the excuse I needed to extend the Green Day festivities to her wardrobe as well.
Setting a trap full of shiny items for a leprechaun.
St. Patrick appears to be smiling on all of us, as he has given us a weekend filled with lovely, warm weather unlike anything we've seen in a loooong while.  So as usual, we are lucky, blessed, and happy!
Is that a leprechaun in the bushes?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Deja Vu

As a stay-at-home mom (is there a more inaccurate label, by the way??), sometimes the hours are long and the days endless. Particularly when trying to enforce limitations on snacking, and TV, and issuing time-outs for numerous infractions. Those are not the golden moments. But sometimes I am struck by how happy I am to sit across from a sweet little face in the middle of the day and share small but special times.

Today's lunch with Laura made me pause and silently express gratitude, and also brought to mind a very similar moment with Danny. Both happened to involve Chick-fil-A ice cream (Laura's procured by an employee who was overcome by her adorable face, Danny's by a mommy who was sometimes overcome by his adorable face). When I went back to look for this photo of Danny, I was shocked both by how young he looks in it, and how much time has flown since I took it (two days before his fourth birthday). I absolutely remember taking that snapshot, can picture the very table where we sat.

 The days may be long, but I am realizing just how swiftly the years pass.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Is Near

It's been a very soggy and chilly latter portion of winter around here. When the forecast for the weekend looked promising, we decided to seize the moment and spend some time together and get some fresh air while doing it. Having acquired annual passes at Gibbs Gardens when we made our first visit in the late fall, we knew exactly where to go.
Laura with daffodils, defying my attempt for a photo with the other two.

We happened upon the gardens in the midst of their daffodil festival, and we were certainly not the only ones taking advantage of the nice weather. Still, there are plenty of paths to roam and space for all. The five of us happily (for the most part) wound our way around, led by either Danny or Laura the entire time.

Danny and Laura crossing the Spirits Bridge, supposedly a way to ward off evil spirits. Judging by later behavior, this had the opposite effect on Laura.

Good thing she's cute.

The Danimal loved all the animal statues.

So grown-up!

Our time in the gardens came to a close right about the same time Laura started to lose her mind. She didn't get a nap due to the excursion, but instead of falling right asleep she proceeded to cry for at least the first 25 minutes of our drive home, without stopping. Danny fell asleep anyway, but poor Clare was sitting right next to her. Nor was Laura any happier when we got home, so we all breathed a sigh of relief when we tossed her in bed at 6:15 (yes, despite the time change - and she proceeded to sleep for 13 hours, so apparently she was really, really tired). From there we enjoyed a very peaceful evening that involved the boys grilling (and what appears to have been some man-to-man conversation on the deck) our revered Sunday night dinner. Even with a two-year-old, life is pretty good.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Laura the Shopper


A few weeks ago, the Kings' lovely nanny watched Laura for me while I volunteered at CKS. At one point, it was time to pick up Olivia from preschool, so Lauren was loading Laura into the car. Laura's response to this was to ask, "Target?"

In fairness, Laura makes a lot more trips to CKS than Target. But I will concede that we run a lot of errands, most of them on purpose. Both she and I really prefer to get out of the house. So you will not find me making uber-efficient trips to Publix that will last us all week. Yes, you will find us at Target. And Trader Joe's!

Today's trip to TJ's marked a new milestone for Laura: I decided she was ready to try pushing one of the little carts. She loved it, and did not lose interest halfway through, as I feared. She also didn't run anyone over, so what more could I have wanted? Actually, she even put it away herself while I finished paying.

Thinking back to when Clare and Danny were her age, I'm realizing we used to do a lot more fun, kid-focused outings. Once again, Laura is living the life of the third child. So we'll find something to do tomorrow (besides a run in the stroller). Then again, shopping's really not so bad.