Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Day of Thanks

Today felt charmed, and was the epitome of a simple, homey Thanksgiving - the perfect first holiday in our no-longer-so-new home. We are so grateful that Donna and Larry drove up to share the holiday with us (not least because Larry slaved over painting our entire basement!). It made the holiday complete.

It was the simple things that stood out to me the most today. The kids playing dress-up in the basement. My awesome run in the chilly, seasonal weather. Laura coloring with Donna. Cooking and chatting with my mother-in-law. Clare eagerly helping to cook. And a general sense of harmony that sits at the center of gratitude. We are blessed, and we are thankful.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Tell-Tale Leaf

From the moment we brought infant Laura home from the hospital, Danny was visibly upset when she cried. Almost four years later, not much has changed, although while I believe he feared that as a baby, she cried because she was hurt, now he knows there is a 99% chance she is fine - she is simply waging emotional terrorism on us.

So last night, when she both ended the day on a pleasant note AND headed to bed extra early, Danny was moved to write the thankful leaf pictured above. (It reads: "I am thankful for the times when Laura is happy.") Amen, brother.

The family has written several leaves that have proven to be a nice way to celebrate this season of thanksgiving. (Credit goes to one of my Circle friends.) We are blessed, even when Laura is not happy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

T Days

This year, Laura is in school three mornings a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At three, I believe this to be the appropriate amount of time in school for her (and it's what I did for Clare and Danny - parity is paramount). There are times, though, when I sure wish she was there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too. Those T days can either be looooong, or lead me to do extraneous shopping and errand-running in order to have something for us to do.

Fortunately, however, we have some partners in crime that have helped make the T days more bearable, and sometimes downright terrific. In the beginning, they were the perfect time to catch up with our former neighbors and continued friends, Susana and Emma. The Botanic Gardens, lunch, pedicures, the zoo!

Lately, we have a new duo who is as eager to get out of the house as we are. Meghan joined Laura's class just a couple of weeks ago, and they hit it off immediately. When I found out they live just a few minutes away, and that Meghan is also the youngest in her family, I had a good feeling about this friendship. As I write, the two of them are playing merrily in Laura's room. I admit that I am not overly fond of hosting playdates, because so much can go wrong and I don't relish the role of cruise director. When things are going well, though, there are few sounds sweeter to my ears than little ones playing contentedly together.

I know the time will come soon enough when Laura is gone all day, all week, so I try to appreciate these days. It sure helps when we have help!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Laura's First Family Portrait

A few weeks ago, Amy B. shared a self-portrait that James had drawn of himself. I was impressed, as the only thing I had ever seen Laura draw (or paint) were lines to represent a rainbow...or random scribbles. So she caught me by surprise when she drew the above portrait of our family - complete with Quincy! (Clockwise from the top you will see Laura, me, Clare, Quincy, Danny and Tim. Obviously.)

True to her mercurial form, less than 10 minutes after she so lovingly created this, she was crying and screaming at me that she "[didn't] want to be part of this family anymore! This family is yucky!" Maybe that explains why Quincy is the only one smiling?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Narcissism Meets Arrested Development

Laura is not always the easiest to be around. (Am I repeating myself?) While she is not always a picnic with me solo, I do think she ups the ante when other family members are around. I chalk this up to sibling rivalry, and competing for my attention. Paired with my patient personality (ha), this rarely feels like a winning combination. Thus, despite warnings from people who are well past this preschool age and apparently miss it, I do frequently fantasize about life with an older Laura.

Too bad she wants none of it. You would think that with siblings who are significantly older, she would chafe against her youth and long to join them in their advanced pursuits. Instead, for the better part of a year, she has informed me that she does not want to grow up. Just yesterday she said, "I want to stay with my tiny feets." In fact, she continues to ask about when she will be a baby again, and was genuinely devastated to learn that this would never come to pass.

So, she consoles herself by perusing photo albums from when she was a baby. I know most of us enjoy viewing photos of our younger selves, but I do think it's a tad hilarious that a three-year-old enjoys such nostalgia. Hopefully she will not make it her life's work to find the Fountain of Youth.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Halloween with Smoked Meat

One of the essential elements of our friendship with the Francos is our shared love of good food. When Luis decided he would stay home from work on Halloween in order to smoke pork for 20 hours, we were all in. After last year's great time, the kids had already requested that we return to the Francos' neighborhood, and the stellar menu simply sealed the deal.
It was our sixth year in a row for sharing Halloween with these special friends, and every year really outdoes the last. (Not even just because of the menu, but oh man, it was good.) Laura has had a rather mercurial week, perhaps because she had several festivities this week, so I wasn't sure what to expect from her, but she both hung in for the long haul AND opted to hang with the big kids for the vast majority of the time. This is a humongous win in my book.
Clare was very proud that we pulled this costume together at home, instead of ordering it from a catalog. She makes a lovely fortune teller, in my humble opinion.
 It was a brisk evening, and some rain took the trick-or-treaters by surprise, but a respectable amount of candy was acquired - enough for the traditional sorting, trading, and organizing, certainly. Phew.

This is Laura with "Elsa braids" on our way to the gymnastics Halloween class. These braids made her cry and declare she would never wear her hair like this again. Bummer.

The perfect rock for singing "Let it Go!"
Since we were not going to be home, we left a bowl of candy for our neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Laura generously offered to guard it until it was time for us to leave. She's a giver, that one.
Hard to believe that yet another Halloween is on the books, but glad to know that we are still adding wonderful memories.