I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Friendliest Birthday Boy in the World

I cannot explain how it happened... but Elliot is turning 2 years old tomorrow. He is running at almost Olympic-like speeds, playing jokes on us and expanding his vocabulary every day. His favorite phrase is an emphatic, "Hey... that's mine."

And this boy loves being outside and riding in the car. Today, he was happier just sitting in his carseat for twenty minutes before we were ready to leave.

Happy Birthday Elliot! I have never known a more social baby... his cute little face makes friends everywhere we go!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Libraries are for Reading?

When we first moved to Buffalo, I visited all of the nearby libraries searching for our best fit. It was difficult to find a suitable substitute for Sewickley... with their fun storytime and separate upstairs children's wing (less shushing by all involved!).

The Clarence library has fun kids programs, a beautiful building, Lego club, Quaker religious meetings (kind of cool, right?) and a nice corner set aside for raucous "readers".

Obviously I should have put all my focus into finding acrobatic equipment! At least Ayla was enjoying the books! One reader down... two to go.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Flavors of Summer

 It's hot and I am THIRSTY! Good thing I live in New York and have plentiful supplies of soda water everywhere I turn.

 This is my official nerd post featuring Polar Seltzer's summer flavors. The only one missing from this photo is Ginger Lemonade (really... it's as if they are reading my mind). Mint Mojito is absolutely divine and I am seriously considering my own soda water stockpile in the basement.

 I'm not saying this stuff is better than a beer on a sweltering hot day... but it's pretty close!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mother of the Year

 When I have a less than stellar moment of parenting, I always hear the lyrics to "Little Girls" from Annie circling in my head. Miss Hannigan sings, "...I'm an ordinary woman, with feelings...So how come I'm mother of the year?" (Serious Annie fans, I hope you are also singing along right now!) I might as well be wearing silk pajamas, ten dangly necklaces and letting my frizzed out bedhead hair catch the string hanging from a solitary lightbulb. Because sometimes I feel no better than dear Miss Hannigan.

 If you are super-judgey and living under the pretense that you are an awesome parent 110% of the time, feel free to read no further and continue on with your amazing life. 

 Whilst on our vacation in Minnesota - we were in the early preparations of bedtime, a process that can sometimes last for hours. I was down in the basement with Ayla and Jackson. Teeth were brushed, nails were clipped and general messiness was being wiped away. We came back upstairs and I asked, "Where is Elliot?"

 Then: DING DONG, the doorbell rang.

 Where was Elliot, indeed?

 Only walking across the street, pushing an empty stroller, sporting a bloody toe. And a poopy diaper. Not to mention he was the happiest toddler in the world.

 A kind neighbor saw him strolling along and thought we might want him back.

 Elliot managed to slip past three older cousins, two aunts and one uncle. He let himself out the back kitchen door, down the deck stairs, around the house and was apparently ready to explore the neighborhood. Cue music: "... Someday I'll land in the nuthouse, with all the nuts and the squirrels!"

 Luckily, it wasn't dark yet and Elliot hadn't made it further away from the house. Luckily, I still have custody for God's sake! I am lucky for a thousand and one reasons and don't think for a second that I don't realize this could have been a much scarier situation.

This is where I would like to keep this guy all day long!

 I share this story to hopefully lower the bar of expectations for parents of young children. They are insanely curious and always two steps ahead of us! Don't beat yourself up if you sometimes look at your life and wonder if you would be better suited as an evil ward of an orphanage, stirring gin in your bathtub.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cousins, Friends and Countrymen

 Blog? What blog? With the warm weather, sewing projects, summer vacation, gardening and subsequent large quantities of zucchini to cook - my writing has taken a literal 50th seat behind all of my other priorities. It's not that I don't want to write, it's just that I seem to run out of time (and energy) every day. (Case in point: during the course of writing this first paragraph, my kids fought and bit over Legos, fell and scraped a forehead and screamed bloody murder instead of taking a nap.)

 And after a month of internet silence: where does one begin again? I can't just write about an ordinary day of weeding. Although, when I think about it, I have devoted posts to that very thing in the past.

 So I shall begin with our recent road trip to and from Minnesota, with stops in Chicago to visit friends from college. I was first inspired to take this trip out to Rosemount, MN to party with my brother in celebration of his 40th birthday! Before last month, Ayla and Jackson had not seen their cousins for almost three years. Then.... knowing that I would be driving through Chicago, I was graciously hosted by Sara and Shane on our way out, and then Amy and Phil on our way back. In one trip, I managed to catch up with three different families (and meet their newest additions).

 What makes me totally insane is that Gregory was not able to take this trip with us. Four days of driving with three little kids in the car? No amount of highway bingo, library books, snacks or movies can keep roadtrip insanity away while logging 32 hours in the car. Thankfully, my sister was with us for 3 days of driving: my only solo stint was from Buffalo to Chicago on the first day.

 We celebrated my brother's 40th in frat-party style - beer pong, quarters, the "ice luge" and some fake mustaches. Needless to say, the kids had their own party downstairs with pizza and movies. Not only was it fun for me to spend time catching up with my family and friends - my kids really loved playing with "new" friends at every stop.


When one mustache isn't good enough...

 Adding three kids to any household is always a literal madhouse, but they managed well (enough). Sure, Jackson spent some time being kicked out of girl-time and crying his eyes out - but it's no different than at home! It was absolutely adorable to watch Ayla, Jackson and Elliot bond with their cousins and friends.
In the stunning botanical room at Chicago's Navy Pier - with Evie, one of our gracious hosts!

The minivan at nearly full capacity with five kids!

Cute cousins.

 The most quotable moment was at my brother's house, while all of the kids were swinging together and hanging out in the backyard. Ayla and Troy (who are only 2 months apart in age) seemed to be connecting. They were swinging side by side, and then Troy started pushing Ayla in her swing. Then we all heard in his cute, little voice, "Does your bike have twaining (training) wheels?". This is what six year olds would talk about at dinner parties!

 Now we have returned safely to Buffalo and are surviving every day of intense heat. I hope to keep you updated with posts about the garden, summer festivals, blueberry picking and trips to the wading pool.