Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bits and Pieces: August

Summer may be unofficially over tomorrow, but we certainly made the most of it. Our August was filled with many trips to the park and pool, get-togethers with friends, and our first ever camping trip as a family. Oh, and the Fair. We can't forget the Fair.

In early August we packed up the kids and headed to Jay Cooke State Park. I have to say, the trip went a lot better than I expected. Sure, the baby woke up screaming at 3 a.m. because he had peed through his sleeper. And yes, he attempted to eat fistful after fistful of pine needles. Overall, though it was a success. Clare had a blast. She was thrilled about everything, especially eating in s'mores and sleeping in her sleeping bag. We hiked and sat around the campfire. The weather was perfect and the bugs were nonexistent. What more could we ask for?

More pine needles, please!
My happy little guy.
Having fun?
Family nap time. I managed to fall asleep in one of the camp chairs while re-reading Harry Potter.
Looking at the St. Louis River from the swinging bridge.
The beautiful St. Louis River.
Of course, we went to the Fair. I am not a "Fair person" myself, but I don't mind going for a few hours as long as it is not too hot. So naturally we picked the hottest day of the summer to go. It wasn't bad in the morning, but by the time we left it was pretty warm. We looked at animals. Clare absolutely hates chickens, but she was okay with the goats and the rabbits. She even got to pet a rabbit. She closed her eyes and covered her ears when we walked past the chickens. We did the ride thing - Clare could have gone on rides all day. We ate cheese curds, malts, cookies, deep fried olives, mini donuts, and the adults drank beer. Somehow we didn't get stomach aches.

Driving. This ride was incredibly loud and annoying, but Clare loved it.
Merry-go-round selfie.
My sister tried to get a family shot. Clare and Christopher weren't having it.
This is how he spent most of the fair. 
My parents are visiting this weekend, and we went to Minnehaha Falls this afternoon. It is so close to my house, I don't know why I don't get over there more. It was fun, especially driving around in the Surrey. Clare wasn't sure she liked it. She kept yelling directions at my dad, who was driving. "Slow down Baba Ralph!!" She is her mother's daughter.
At the Falls.
Ready to ride.
Now, on to preschool. I think we are ready. I hope. In the meantime, we're headed to the beach on Tuesday. I am going to enjoy every last gasp of summer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Water Worries

When I was young, one of my favorite things to do was go to the library. The smell of the books, the thrill I felt as I ran over to the new books section, the anticipation of the stack of unread books I selected to take home. I loved the library. I still remember getting my first library card. I was so proud. Clare, Christopher and I frequent our local library now, and I am so happy that Clare shares my love for books. She always comes home with a pile to read (and maybe a Hello Kitty DVD or two). She adores story time. She'll sit and read by herself in her room. She sets up her own story time with her stuffed animals and dolls. I am so excited to share this with her, and can't wait to introduce her to some of my favorite books when she is a bit older. (The Little House on the Prairie and Harry Potter series are on the top of the list.)

When I was a kid, I also loved the pool. Swimming lessons, open swim, jumping off the high dive - you name it, I was game. Maybe that's why I am having trouble understanding Clare's total fear of going in the big pool now. She screams and cries. She'll put her feet in, but that's it. And when her teacher dunked her underwater during class last week? Well, I'd rather not think about it.

Clare loves the water, as long as she can keep her feet firmly planted on the bottom of the pool. She will play happily for hours in the shallow end. I want her to actually learn how to swim, though, you know? It is hard watching every other kid in the class happily do what the teacher asks while Clare sits on the edge of the pool, scared and crying. She told me she wants to wait until she is eight to get in the big pool. I don't want her to miss out.

I am not forcing her. I am trying to be patient. I feel so frustrated, though, because I don't understand. I don't know how to handle this, other than to let her find her way into the pool in her own time.

We went to lessons yesterday, in the rain. Clare sat outside the pool, freezing. Finally, I wrapped her up in her towel and took her to the library. Eight books and three DVDs later, we came home for lunch. She was happy. I just hope she decides to swim, too. When she is ready.

For better or worse, she has no fear on the playground.

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 months

Christopher is most definitely on the move. He finally got the hang of the whole crawling thing. He also figured out how to climb up the step out of the playroom, but he seems reluctant to do it regularly. This is fine with me.

He is starting to communicate with actual signs. They are not  accurate signs, but he consistently makes the same gestures for hungry, milk and all done. He also smacks his tongue when I ask him if he's hungry and shouts "maa maa maa" when he wants more. And he always wants more. He has mastered the pincer grip, and now hates being spoon fed. He wants to do it all himself, thank you very much. He is a big fan of Cheerios.

He loves cars and trucks and balls. Such a stereotypical boy. Clare loved music from the womb, but Christopher has just started reacting to it, shaking his whole body to a song. He especially loves the theme song to "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood."

Everything still goes in his mouth.

He is content to be carried in my Ergo when we are at the park. I am enjoying this while it lasts, because I know next summer I will have to chase him all over the place to make sure he doesn't fall head first off the big slide.

He is still big - only about 7 pounds lighter than Clare. He is not off the charts or anything, but he is in the 80th percentiles for height and weight, and still in the 100th for head. Both kids had to have their fingers pricked for a blood draw at the doctor's office last week. Christopher handled it so much better than Clare. He barely cried. I guess after going through heart surgery a little finger prick is no big deal.

His hair is getting longer and wavy. His smile is toothy. Sometimes when I am nursing him, I realize he's stopped eating (I am looking at Twitter), and I look down. There he is, grinning up at me. I just love that smile.

He still adores Clare, even when she yells at him. They have started "playing" together, and Clare tells him about her day. I can't wait to watch their relationship develop even more.

So, 10 months. Last summer I didn't know if he was a boy or a girl, or what he would be like. Now I can't remember not having him around. And time can go ahead and slow down now.