Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Clare's 9th Grade Homecoming

Turns out going to Homecoming in 9th grade is a bigger deal than I originally thought. Whether or not you have a date, you go! Which, upon reflection, is exactly as it should be. Clare joined forces with several other girls and had an absolutely marvelous time!

Starting early in the afternoon, several of them gathered at a friend's house to get ready, do each other's hair, etc. - so fun! Later more joined them for dinner and a picture party.

After the dance itself, Abby's sister Maggie (home for the weekend from college) picked them up and took them to dessert at The Cheesecake Factory, where they happily debriefed each other on their evenings. 

A glowing success from start to finish!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mountain Weekend VII

Our seventh escape to the mountains with the Francos has come and gone in a flash! It feels as though each get-away goes by even more quickly, which I suppose is a measure of how much we enjoy it. 

This year found us back at Trout Trap, as last year's house was already booked. While we prefer last year's house, and its amazing vistas, it was fun to be back directly on the river. Danny, in particular, relished this - and managed to catch an actual trout!

We crammed in quite a bit of outdoors time on Saturday, from hiking (both on and off the trails) to fishing and lunch in downtown Ellijay.

We did this by design, knowing that Tropical Storm Nate was bringing quite a bit of rain our way on Sunday. As in, Danny and Laura were the only ones to venture outdoors that day! Fortunately we had books, board games, a satellite dish and wifi to pass the day pleasantly.
Until next year!

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's All About Laura

Over the near-decade that we have been at Christ the King School, a LOT of things have changed. But one constant in the First Grade curriculum is to start the year off with the "It's All About Me Tee" poster. This glimpse of Clare's is a bit poignant on this, her first full day of high school - but it also shows me that at 14, she's really not so different from her 6-year-old self, which is truly heart-warming. This look at Danny's (and an updated look at fifth-grade Clare) made me chuckle, both because Danny is also pretty consistent but mostly because of my comment about wondering what Laura's project would look like. In the blink of an eye, we found out.

Favorite subjects:
(In other words, not a ton of overlap with her siblings.)

Places I like to go:
(Note the recurrence of places that involve action.)

Things I like to do:
At home: Playdates (preferably with Meghan)
At school: Be with friends
In the community: Play soccer

This is my favorite:
Food: CAKE!
Song: Ways to be Wicked (from Descendants 2; biting my tongue from making comments here...)
Movie: Descendants 2
Book: Isle of the Lost (Which is the first Descendants novel. Herein lies the one flaw with this project - these types of answers easily vary from month to month or even week to week. Oh well!)

In summary, Laura is very much her own person, and her own Seymour - and we like that just fine!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Day of 5th and 1st Grades

Incredibly, yet another new school year has rolled around! Laura is off to First Grade with Ms. Bradshaw, while Danny heads into Fifth Grade with Mrs. Nagle. Should be a good one for both!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Laura the Pianist

Laura has been asking about piano lessons for a while. I'm guessing it's a combination of having seen her older siblings attend lessons, as well as her continued attraction to music. Based on our neighbor's glowing recommendation, and the wonderful convenience of the teacher's location (five minutes from the house!), I made an inquiry and secured her a slot for this year. She was thrilled. I would say the first lesson was a great success, too, and hope it's the beginning of a long career!

Monday, August 7, 2017

California Dreamin', Summer 2017

I suspect the days of our lengthy summer travels to visit grandparents are numbered, but for now I happily report on our 14th summertime tour to Fallbrook/San Diego. As usual, it did not disappoint! In fact, if there is any trade-off for managing some teenagers, it's outweighed by the adults' ability to relax and steer the agenda.

Over the course of our 12 days, we did a LOT. This included 5 trips to the beach; a day at Disneyland; a day at the Del Mar horse races; a day in San Diego with Parlin where we visited Old Town and USD; shopping; eating, and time at the Morlan compound. 

I also spent a blissful day with my Uni girls, learning to surf with Terri and then hanging at the spa with everyone.

Quality time with so many quality people. I don't necessarily love summer, but I do relish times and trips like these!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Buffalo Summer Shuffle 2017

I've been putting off these vacation posts for a while, because it's really hard to decide which photos to post! We did a LOT. In some ways I could just be happy with this photo of all 7 of us on July 4th - we had such a great time at PCC, from golf and swimming to games, food and fireworks. Incredibly, that was just day one of our visit!

We also visited Niagara Falls, which Laura refused to go near. Fortunately all was forgiven at our lunch destination: Rainforest Cafe, which all three kids loved!

We were fortunate enough to return to the Canoe Club for a day at the beach with the Wards. Once again, the kayaks were a big hit!

The girls, including Laura this year, enjoyed their annual afternoon tea while the boys opted for more manly pursuits, including a baseball game. We all enjoyed a tour of the Lockport Caves, which was a fascinating stroll through a piece of Buffalo's history!

Because we are spoiled rotten, Donna and Larry treated us to dinner at PCC for our final evening. It was the perfect way to end a marvelous visit!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Danny and Grandpa Join the Navy

Thanks to his ardent support of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Larry was given the opportunity of a lifetime: To spend the day cruising the USS Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier, off the shores of San Diego. He invited Danny to join him for the excursion, and the result was the creation of lifelong memories.

The timing was excellent, as Danny has recently become very interested in the military, and even speaks of joining the Navy. I'll admit I can imagine him as being an excellent officer.
Learning to stand at attention.
Living large.
I don't know that we'll ever fully know which one of them had the better time, but I do know the smiles were VERY big when I greeted them at the airport. In addition to the incredible Naval experience, Larry spent six hours at the San Diego Zoo with our wildlife-loving boy - and even finished off the day with dinner at a hibachi restaurant. He came home a VERY happy boy, and I think even understands just how lucky he is!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Laura's Coveted Loss

For several months, Laura has bemoaned the fact that she will NEVER lose a tooth. About a year ago, the dentist mentioned that she had a loose tooth. Well, that loose state must have only been detectable by a dental professional, because we certainly couldn't tell, and Laura couldn't even figure out which one to wiggle.

Last month, at her semi-annual cleaning, the dentist mentioned that it was quite loose, and since the permanent tooth was already present behind it, we really needed to get it out of there. She told us to give it a couple more weeks, and if it didn't come out then we should come back in and get some help. I was dreading this, and encouraged Laura to wiggle away, because Laura's very crowded mouth has led to several cavity fillings - translation: far too many visits to the dentist already. Unfortunately, the tooth didn't budge, so this morning we had to brave the office once again. That said, it was a pretty smooth experience (complete with laughing gas and numbing cream), with the added benefit of loosing TWO teeth. Double the Tooth Fairy loot!

Things got a bit more complicated later in the day, when she somehow lost the two tiny teeth out of the necklace she proudly wore all morning. Clare happened to be on duty when it happened, and she thankfully remembered that she had swallowed the first tooth she lost, and the Tooth Fairy still stopped by. After I reassured her the same once I got home, she made her peace with the loss. Nevertheless, right before bedtime she decided to write this note to cover her bases, and make sure the TF knew she lost TWO! (I particularly love the drawing of the fairy.)

As a stroll down memory lane, here's Danny's first tooth loss:

And here's Clare's first tooth loss:

So once again, Laura is blazing an entirely different trail...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Swimmers

This summer marked our second season of having three swimmers on the Byrnwyck Blue Dolphins - and the first with one of them as a junior coach! (It was also the second summer of my managing the team, and that is all I care to say about that aspect.)

Clare genuinely enjoyed coaching, and I think she is a natural. Danny started the season frustrated by how much work it was for him to swim, but by mid-season was enjoying the process and cared enough to put in some extra time with Clare. His efforts paid off, too, earning him a Swimmer of the Week honor. For her part, Laura was one of the more confident swimmers in her age group, showing that her winter training at the Y paid off.
Feeling awesome after their first-place performance in a relay.
Each of them also really enjoyed the camaraderie of the team. Laura loved her time with Meghan but also got to know some of the other girls in her age group, which was nice when we saw them at the pool outside of swim team. Danny loved having a "squad" for shooting hoops. And Clare was delighted to have more time with Hayden, who we recruited to the coaching staff.

Go Blue Dolphins!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Party of Five on Vacation

As I've mentioned before, the five of us don't really get a lot of leisure time together. Between that and the fact that we skipped Florida last summer in favor of the Outer Banks, we were all really looking forward to our June vacation - and it did not disappoint!

Almost everything about the week was terrific, but the fact that all three kids really took to the beach this year was most likely the highlight. Presented with an iffy forecast, we just took it day by day and opted to take advantage of good weather pockets - of which there were far more than we originally feared. On our first trip to the beach, I introduced the three boogie boards I had optimistically picked up at Costco. I had envisioned Tim using the third, but it turns out Laura was a huge fan and perhaps the most proficient at it.
Water park fun
Throughout the week, we did all of our favorite things (in addition to several beach visits). We hit the Tampa water park on Monday, as the weather looked the most promising. This was Laura's first visit, and only my second, and all five of us had a grand time. Clare, Danny and Tim braved a couple of the more "intense" looking slides, but for the most part we all enjoyed a variety of rides.
In addition to the usual draws, Clare and I finally satisfied our yen to try parasailing. It was way more calm and relaxing than we anticipated. The views were gorgeous, and it was surprising how quiet it was so high up. Ultimately we decided that we were very glad we tried it, but probably don't need to do it again.

One other new (to us) outing was to head to St. Armand's Key for dinner, and then a stroll along Lido Beach at sunset. We had a gorgeous evening, had a stranger quickly take the "pyramid scheme" family photo at the top, and felt very, very blessed. We are family.