Friday, August 29, 2008

Confessions of a not-so-crafty mom

School starts in 5 days for E. I looked at her the other day, and felt a deep sense of regret that I hadn't done more with her this summer. I squandered the time away that we had -- on books, the computer, naps (meaning, I spent "my" time doing these things).

Her favorite thing to do is crafts, and I realized I had hardly done any crafts with her. This would have been unthinkable in my early days as a mom, as I had the finger paints out as soon as she could rub her hands in it. Now she is 7, and wants to spend time with me doing crafts, and I end up putting her off with,"Another time", "Later", "Not right now". If anything, those blogs I wrote about earlier made me realize that I don't what the future holds, and even if, Lord willing, we have many more years, I will never have
this time back.

So it was with no small amount of mommy-guilt that I took out some sculpy and we spent the whole morning making beads. It was so nice sitting there, just the two of us, chatting, enjoying the quiet, creating together. I rediscovered the joy of doing something creative with my very crafty daughter. Of course the boys wanted to join in, and we let them make one bead each, but other than that it was just a special time with each other. I still feel like I failed her in some way, but maybe some redemption can be found in this handful of beads.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary's Right

I knew there was a reason I changed parties to vote for her!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Boat Boy

Last summer N was thrilled with the boat on vacation, and was so happy to go with his dad on excursions into town. This summer we started out with our first boat experience on Tom's River. Jim (Ed's bro.) and his family were going out on the river for a ride and some skiing. We sent N, thinking that he would have a blast. Unfortunately, the river is very rough and the ride was really bumpy. N got really scared and was pretty unhappy the whole time. When he got off, he said he didn't want to go on the boat again, which didn't bode well for our NH vacation. Sure enough, when we got up there and loaded up the boat at the dock, he refused to get in. We told him he didn't have a choice- we had to go on the boat, no matter what. Ed dragged him in, screaming, and he was wedged in between E and some luggage for that first trip to the island. The day was nice and calm, so N gradually relaxed on the ride and even began to enjoy it. The rest of the vacation he was happy enough to go into and out of town, but he never regained his former confidence of the summer before when he would go on solo trips with Ed, sitting in the bow by himself. This was a little sad for me because I felt like part of his joy had been taken with that first boat ride of the summer.

Not to worry though, he still loves boats--

Actually, he is obsessed. Specifically, with "our" green boat- the island boat. He asks about it almost everyday, as well as related questions:

"Does our boat go fast?" Usually asked while driving in the car, maybe thinking in comparison of the speed of the car and of the boat.

"Is my life jacket at home?" I guess he wants to be prepared for any impromptu boat outing. He actually mimicked putting on a life jacket and snapping it, instead of using the words, as in "Is [putting something on, zipping and snapping it] at home?" It took me a couple of times to figure out what the heck he was talking about, although I suspected it had to be boat-related.

"Does our boat go like this?"
This question is asked by indicating the plane of the boat with a tilted spoon or finger.

"When are we going on the boat again?"
This is asked several times a week. Usually I say, "Not for a long time" or "Next summer" or "Next year" but finally yesterday, in frustration, I said, "Never! We are never going on the boat again!" He didn't dissolve into tears at that point, as he well might have, but instead looked at me and said,"A long, long time?" at which point E (always a stickler for correctness) said, "But Mommy, we'll go on again next year, right?" And I had to admit, that yes, we would go on it again, "When you are five. We aren't going on the boat anymore when you are four, but when you are five we will go on it again."

It's going to be a loooong year.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I was lamenting to Ed how my current camera does not do these flowers justice. I would looooove a really good camera, but since that is so far off the radar, as to be a dream, I must find contentment with my little point and shoot. At any rate, no matter what camera I use, the beauty of creation still shines through in these little flowers.


After reading Josh's coments, I realized that I had failed to notice the little setting on my camera that let me take close up shots!! LOL is right! So here are a couple that I took once I realized my mistake. ..

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I had fallen extremely behind on the Weekly N and E blogs. I updated them yesterday, finally catching up!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daddy's Girl

E was always a mommy's girl, tightly stuck to my side and preferring my arms above all others.

N was pretty much the same, although slightly less clingy, and definitely more social.

K is a different story.

loves her daddy, and even prefers him to me at times, which is a new experience for me. Dada was one of the first words she said, although she did abandon it for "mama" for about 6 months, before saying it again. She runs to Ed when he comes home, stretching her arms out for him to pick her up, and then immediately going into a snuggle, head on his shoulder and thumb in her mouth. I wonder if this attachment was forged back when she was an infant and he used to spend hours holding her so that she would sleep, and so I could sleep.

This morning her attachment reached a new level. We were eating breakfast, and she only wanted to be held by him. When he put her down so that he could cut his french toast, she went into a full-on tantrum, lying on the floor, legs kicking, arms flailing, crying hysterically. I tried holding her to comfort her, and I could do nothing. If anything, her tantrum intensified as her screams became shrill with anger. Ed finally took her back and it took her several minutes to calm down, but she eventually stopped crying. Unfortunately he had to work which meant that I needed to take her. He was working from home today, so she didn't see him leave the house. All she knew was that he was around somewhere, but not holding her. She started crying and wouldn't stop, so we had to stage his departure. We went downstairs and watched Ed as he grabbed his keys. We then said, "Daddy is going to work now!! Say good-bye to Daddy!" We waved, and she cried, and he walked out. The ruse worked though, because she soon resigned herself to Ed being gone, and calmed down to the regular routine of the day. Meanwhile Ed sneaked back into the house, crept upstairs, and closed the door. Seriously, the lengths we go to!

Right after Ed put her down:

Sad, sad faceFeeling better, after waving bye-bye

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bikes, again

When Ed and I were first married we bought some bikes, and did a fair amount of biking those first couple of years we lived in western PA. After we moved here, and before Ellie, we used the bikes occasionally (there was that infamous trip when we rode home from center city- a post in itself). Anyway, after we had E we didn't do much riding until she was about 3. We got our bikes tuned up, purchased a baby seat and ...went on exactly one bike ride and then put them away. I don't know exactly what happened-- I think it was a combination of lots of hills in our old neighborhood, it was hot, I became pregnant the next summer, had a new baby the year after that, then we had no place to put 2 kids if we rode, etc., etc. Now that E and N can both ride their bikes, we decided to go for our first family bike ride. Ed's and my bikes had to be hauled out of the basement, dusted off, and tires pumped up. We washed off the baby seat, strapped K in, and we were set to go! OK, we didn't exactly go far on this first little trip-- just around the block a few times. But all the kids had a lot of fun, even K after she resigned herself to the helmet. It will be some time before we tackle any major trails, but it is a first step.
(Notice K still trying to get that helmet off. Also, I was just struck by how much E and N look alike! I don't usually notice it, but it must be something about their faces under the helmets)

Monday, August 11, 2008


At New Year's we were talking with E about making a New Year's Resolution. She didn't know what she wanted to accomplish this year, so I suggested learning to ride a bike. She was a little hesitant about committing to this, but cautiously agreed that she would try. It wasn't until June that Ed took off the training wheels, but it only took two times running around the block holding onto her seat before she was able to balance and ride on her own. However, she did not know how to stop and start successfully, so wasn't exactly independent yet. This past weekend Jim (Ed's brother) had the brilliant idea to bring bikes down to the river, and the kids could ride around the track there. It took a few times around, but E learned how to stop and start. She had one spill, but got right back on. When it was time to go home, she was tired, but happy, and so proud of herself! We told her that for every time that she rode around the track 4x, that it was a mile, so we guessed that she probably rode between two and three miles that evening. She was determined to beat that the next day, and excitedly set out after breakfast with her brother and cousins. K was taking a nap, so I didn't go, but Ed reported that she rode continuously for 1 1/2 hours, completing 17 laps!! She was so into biking that she didn't want to stop, but we promised we would be back again.
Meanwhile, N has been begging for a bike for the past year, and we have put off buying him one because we didn't get E's until her 5th birthday. When Jim heard that N was bikeless, he offered him Peter's little Batman bike and N was
thrilled. He too, was excited to go ride his new bike, and after adjusting the training wheels, he rode around the track happily with the others. It was really cute to watch him and Erika as they rode around together, in tandem, chatting and just kind of taking their time and enjoying the ride.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I love fun number dates- I still remember sitting in school on 6/7/89 and writing that at the top of my paper. So it is fitting that I write a short post today, just so I can write the date!

I am also excited that the Olympics start today! My favorite is women's gymnastics, but I am also interested in swimming this time with the possibility of Michael Phelps winning 8 golds and becoming the most decorated Olympian athlete. I can't imagine the years of training that have gone into the making of an athlete of his caliber. I have never been athletic, and never felt that drive to train, nor possessed the self discipline to push myself past the pain. As a result, I have nothing but respect for all those athletes from all those countries who have made it to the Olympics. In that vein, I will also be rooting for those small countries who only have a few athletes in the games. These athletes, even if they don't win any medals, have already achieved an amazing accomplishment of qualifying to be in the Olympics. Another thing that I love about the Olympics is how the world comes together for two weeks as we are all caught up in the games and patriotism. In fact, my favorite part is the Opening Ceremonies, and I regret that I will not be able to watch them "live" this year-- we will be on the road tonight to go to Tom's River for the weekend (where there is no cable), so I will have to wait until Sunday night.

Monday, August 4, 2008

16 months

I am genuinely amazed at how fast our little one is growing up. I know, I have done this twice before, but it seems like she is daily changing before my eyes. In this past month, especially, she has seemed to change from a baby to a toddler. Partly this is because she started walking exclusively a month ago, so her new vertical status has made her seem older. She is also communicating with us more. Notice I did not say "talking" because her vocabulary is still pretty limited to the "ma" sound, in various intonation and volume to mean different things. "Meh, meh?", asked in increasingly higher pitches and insistency while patting her chest means, "I want that" (food or cup, usually). "Ma! Ma!" usually means she is talking to me, and wants me to hold her. The singular "Ma!" has meant she wants Ed to pick her up and hold her, although she is saying "Da-da" now, but not neccesarily in association with him. And she would say ,"Hi" as well. Surprisingly, she came out with, "Ewoh Goggy!" (Hello Doggy!) a few weeks ago when she was excited about a bunch of dogs. And she just learned to make the "Woof" sound for dogs. That is the extent of her verbal skills right now, but like I said, she is communicating more through pointing (a new thing), and various "eh, eh" noises to let us know she wants to us to do something- open the door, pick her up, give her a toy. She is also following directions better. I can tell her what I want to do, and she will go do it (get a toy, stand somewhere, smile for a picture, etc.). It is exciting to watch her understanding of the world grow, as well as her desire to let us know what she is thinking.

One of her favorite things to do right now is to go for walks outside. Given the chance, she will go out the front door, and immediately make her way down the front walk and driveway. She is pretty fast, so I have to send E after her to make sure she doesn't go out into the street while I am locking up and grabbing her stroller.

She is also intent on doing everything that she sees her older siblings do. When I am making peanut butter sandwiches E and N will stick out their fingers for "A lick" of peanut butter. K was watching them do this last week and came over, looked up at me, and stuck out her little finger for "a lick" as well. She is determined not to be left out of any fun or treats. Also, now that she has mastered going down steps backwards, she tries to walk down the steps like everyone else, holding onto the railing and stepping down. This makes me a little nervous because it is hard for a little person to balance on one foot while taking a big step down, and I don't want her to fall down a flight of stairs when I am not there to steady her. She has already taken a couple of tumbles, and fortunately hasn't been too hurt in them.

As I watch all this my heart both swells with pride at how my little one is growing and learning, and then constricts as I think wistfully about how quickly I will no longer have a baby.