Saturday, September 21, 2013

July

A quick, very belated summary of July:

We spent the Fourth like we normally do -- taking in some of our rich local history!  This year we watched the Constitution turn around and spent some time at the ship's museum in the Navy Yard. 

We managed to catch her sailing out into the harbor and back in!  Love the 13-star flag and the fireboats.  And the girls are covering their ears in the bottom left shot because the 21 gun/cannon salute was too loud!  :)

Caulking boards for the deck of a ship, getting tattooed, and posing by the model of ol' Ironsides

Some friends with a roofdeck invited us over to watch the fireworks, and so we headed over there are it began to get dark.  We had a great time: beer, cupcakes, a great view, and wonderful company (for us and the girls). 

Best shots I could manage of the fireworks

Kiddos watching the fireworks!
 
Want a project that is relatively cheap and keeps your kids (and cats) entertained for HOURS on end?  Order some butterflies!  We did this last year, and it was such a hit that we tried it again this summer.  They arrive as caterpillars in jars, which our girls can sit and watch for unbelievable lengths of time.  After about a week, they spin themselves into chrysalises, which an adult must then pin into a mesh cage.  After about another week, they emerge as butterflies and are good for about another week of entertainment before they have to be set free.  Really a pretty neat science experiment for kids. 

Butterfly release!

I didn't catch the butterfly in this shot, but you can tell I just missed it from Amelia's body language and Chad's face...

In mid-July, Amelia and Ramona went on vacation with my mom -- but without the rest of us!  They spent about 10 days in Lyons, visiting with my extended family, swimming, crafting, and basically having a great time.  And Chad and I spent a week and a half parenting only one of our girls -- and wondering how on earth we ever thought that life was complicated with one!  The house was entirely too quiet. 

On the second Friday after my mom took the girls, Chad and Louisa picked me up and work and we drove over to Lyons ourselves for a long weekend of catching up with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

No summer weekend in Lyons is complete without some fried dough at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning!

Amish buggy

We spent Saturday at my grandparents' house with my dad's side of the family, swimming and eating and relaxing and basically reliving many a summer afternoon from my childhood.  Two of my cousins have kids of their own -- Mason is two and a half and Coleton is two and a quarter -- and the girls are old enough to remember them now, if not quite old enough to be interested in playing with them... Maybe next time.  :)

Kiddos each doing their own thing at Great Gram and Great Pa's house

Pool time!

We had to take advantage of the opportunity to get a photo of all five of the second cousins by the corn, so reminiscent of photos of my cousins, my brother, and me 25+ years ago... But getting a decent shot of five kids under age five (in the afternoon when no one has really napped)?  Good luck to us!    
Outtakes.

Best photo we could get!  Coleton, Mason, Louisa, Ramona, and Amelia


This was my favorite, even though Louisa chose not to appear.


We spent most of Sunday at my aunt and uncle's house with my mom's side of the family.  Kid activities for the day included bug catching, golf cart rides, sidewalk chalk, playing with toys retrieved from storage, and even a bounce house!  Adult activities included drinking beer, eating, playing basketball, shooting pool, and lounging in the hammock.  
 
Not bad, right?
 
Weekends like that make me glad that we live close enough to Lyons that we can drive over for a long weekend, but also make me wish that we could make the trip more often.
 
Who doesn't love a bounce house?

Just a summer Sunday...
 
Drawing dresses (with long skirts and poufy sleeves) and writing her name

14 months old at the end of July

Fascinated by the katydid
 
On Monday, we took the girls out to lunch with my mom and Grandma Anne, and then to the movies (Despicable Me 2 -- hilarious).  All three girls fell asleep on the way back to Grandma Anne's and since they hadn't taken naps all weekend, we decided to take a drive... Perfect excuse to take some photos of upstate NY barns.  And to detour past the farm where Grandma Anne used to live, where my mom and her siblings grew up, where we spent countless hours catching frogs and running around the yard as kids.  (I still miss it.)
 
Barns, silos, clouds, corn, and Queen Anne's Lace
 
Love it.

The farm

On Tuesday, we headed back to Boston...  So long, Lyons!

 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Take Five

As I begin to type this, it's 9:57 PM, on August 23rd.

Amelia was born at this very minute, exactly five years ago.  Her arrival into this world was not what one would call "smooth"...

After nearly 30 hours of labor, I was exhausted, had a fever and a high white blood cell count, and was stuck at 8 cm, despite having my Pitocin cranked way up.  As a result, around 9:30, I was wheeled back into the OR for a C-section. 

I'm pretty fuzzy on the events immediately preceding Amelia's birth.  I don't really remember getting back to the OR or all of the prep work that, after two subsequent C-sections, I know took place.  Like I said, I was tired and sick.  I do remember the odd sensation of her being pulled out, though -- lots of pressure and tugging but no pain.  And I remember throwing up afterwards...  I definitely remember Chad bringing my baby girl over for me to see (FINALLY) while I was being stitched up, and marveling at her tiny fingers and perfect nose while we (okay, I) named her -- Amelia Anne.  And I will never forget holding her for the first time, her solid warmth and her sweet baby smell, after getting back to my labor and delivery room. 

Just two days old...
 Has it really been five years?

Amelia assures me that, yes, she really IS five years old.  In some ways, it's hard to believe that it's been that long.  And yet, it's often hard to remember what our life was like before our oldest arrived! 

...And about two weeks before her fifth birthday!

So happy FIFTH birthday to Amelia, our independent, helpful, talkative, very tall, skinny, brave, clever, sometimes shy, giggly, occasionally sassy, (almost) always sweet, big/little girl. 

Here's hoping that this year brings fewer surprise challenges than last year... like, maybe no surgeries?  :) 

No matter what, we love you so much, Amelia!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

One, two... THREE!

I promise to get back to our summer soon, but before I backtrack through July, allow me to jump ahead to the present momentarily... Because tomorrow (which actually arrives in half an hour) Ramona will be three years old!  That's right, my middle child, my mini me, is turning THREE.

Ramona at three DAYS old...

Having been through age three with one kiddo already, I am somewhat wary of what this year will bring... Terrible twos?  Nah, three is so much worse!  Precocious child that she is, Ramona seems to have hit this difficult phase a couple of months early: more fit-throwing, more defiance, more just plain disagreeable-ness (if that's a word).  On the other hand, age three is also bringing more independence, more reasoning, and more active imagining.

And Ramona really is such a fun little girl.  She's goofy and generous and loving and creative, and I can't wait to see how she grows and changes over the next year.

...and at about a week shy of three YEARS old.  How time flies!
 
Happy birthday, Ramona Florence!  We love you oh so very much.  (Even when you're sobbing that you don't want to go to bed because you're just NOT tired...) 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

How Did It Get So Late So Soon? (The Rest of June)


The above poem by the good doctor captures exactly how I feel about this summer so far.  I can't believe that it's already August!  That means birthdays are around the corner, the days are getting shorter, and Amelia and Ramona will be back in school in just over a month...  I really wish time would slow down just a little bit.  I also wish that I could catch this poor blog back up to the present!  In order to do so, I am going to have to include a couple of miscellany posts.

So here's the rest of our June!

A couple of weeks after school let out for the summer, the girls' swim classes ended, as well.  (The Y actually runs a summer session now, which it didn't in previous years, but we find it better not to commit to -- and pay for -- things like that on summer weekends.)  I got quite a few pictures of our little fish during one of the last classes.

Loving swim class at the Y!

Amelia hit a major milestone during this session: She can REALLY swim!  All on her own, without any flotation devices.  SO proud of her. 

Louisa's first session of swim lessons started out a little on the shaky side, but ended in success! 

Another fun thing we did in June was spend a day at Six Flags New England, courtesy of my office.  You'd think that we would have been theme-parked-out after four days at Disney and one at Universal just a week earlier, but we were game for one more day of long lines and kiddie rides.  Turns out, we didn't really have to contend with the former!  Lines were extremely short to non-existent, which was a welcome change.  The girls had a blast.

Amelia and Ramona rode on the skyway, in a "hot air balloon," in cars, in teacups, in a boat... and Louisa rode in the stroller!

In addition to the rides, we also got to meet a few characters.  That part was a little anti-climactic for the girls, especially compared to Disney, since they had NO idea who the Looney Tunes characters were.  But they wanted to see them, anyway!  No fear of people in mascot-type costumes for our kids.

Meeting Tweety, Sylvester, and Bugs (after I explained who they were... )

The middle of the month brought one of my favorite days of the year: Bunker Hill Day.

Not every town gets to celebrate its own personal holiday, but Charlestown does!  To commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill (which, yes, actually took place on Breed's Hill), the town runs a road race in the morning of the Sunday following June 17 (which is actual Bunker Hill Day), and then holds a parade in afternoon. 

We typically watch the parade down on Bunker Hill Street, and then walk a block up and watch the whole thing again as it turns onto Bartlett.  When you live a stone's throw away, why not, right?  My favorites are always the fife and drum corps and the bagpipers.  So very Boston/Charlestown!

Does YOUR hometown have its own holiday and parade?  So grateful that ours does!

June also included a couple of birthday parties for Amelia's buddies: One at a local park with a soccer class and another at Jump On In, a nearby "inflatable playground."  The girls had a great time at both!

Birthday party fun was had by all!

Chad took the girls strawberry-picking at the end of the month.  I was sad to miss it this year, but we just couldn't squeeze it in on the weekend, so it was either have Chad and the girls go without me or skip strawberry season altogether!  I still got to enjoy multiple servings of strawberry shortcake, so I'd say it was the right decision.  

Did they eat more than they brought home?  Maybe...

 Throw in a rainbow and a bathtub photo shoot, and that was our June!

Gorgeous rainbow over the Monument and a cute little belly

Next up: July!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Preschool Graduation!

At the beginning of June, Amelia "graduated" from preschool. 

Is it really necessary to have a ceremony to celebrate moving from preschool to kindergarten, complete with caps and gowns?  Probably not...  But it certainly was darn cute!  Each of the four classes at the girls' school performed a song (which they had been practicing for months), and the kids were all so proud of themselves.  Really, super cute. 

See for yourself!

Amelia's class getting ready

Ramona and the rest of the Manatee Class

Ramona's class sang "This is the Day."  She's a bit difficult to find in the video, as she was standing a little bit behind a friend of hers.  She's the one holding Mandy, the (stuffed) class mascot! 


video


There!  She finally saw us!  :)

Our little neighbor wasn't terribly impressed with one of the songs... I won't tell you which one.

After the other classes were finished with their songs, Amelia's got to "march" up to their seats on the stage.  Just a little pomp and circumstance

video


We have NO idea what possessed Amelia to cross her legs in such a ladylike manner!  Very uncharacteristic of her...

Amelia's class singing

Seriously, how cute are they?!

Amelia's class sang "Seasons of Love."  (Because what Catholic preschool doesn't want to include a song from the musical Rent in its graduation ceremony?)  Seriously, though, they did a great job.  I was very impressed that they learned multiple verses of a song with a lot of words, and just about died when they put their arms around each other toward the end... So sweet!

video


The Sea Turtle class with Miss Sarah and Miss Jessica

Our little preschool graduate!

Just a few of Amelia's buddies.  Preschoolers are so funny!

After the ceremony, the school threw a celebratory lunch party for all of the kiddos.  One last chance to run around with their friends and thank their teachers before the beginning of summer vacation! 

Hugs for Miss Nicole and Miss Jessica

From Amelia's classroom.  The best answers to the favorite part of school question are definitely Emma's and Colin's.
 
Amelia just loved Miss Sarah and Miss Jessica, and will miss them so much next year when she's in KINDERGARTEN!
 
We're so glad that Ramona will be back at Good Shepherd for preschool again next year, and hope that we're in the neighborhood long enough for Louisa to attend this wonderful school, too!

Friday, July 19, 2013

ONE.

Now that she's approaching fourteen months old, here are a few of the twelve-month/one-year photos that I took of our baby girl when we got back from Florida, along with some commentary on what our one-year-old has been up to of late.

You want to take my picture?  Too bad!

About two weeks after her first birthday, Louisa took her first intentional steps.  (She had taken a couple of "accidental" steps here and there before that, in the course of letting go of whatever she was holding onto and falling down.)  She's now walking all over the place, if not quite all the time.  And she is SOOOOO proud of her newfound form of mobility!

Big, goofy grin

Louisa has been adding words to her vocabulary lately, too.  Or at least sounds, if not quite words.  New favorites include "ouch" and "wow".  She also will spontaneously say "thanks" if you give her something, and something that sounds like "I love you," occasionally!

Here you go, now you can see how big she's gotten!

She is the SWEETEST baby, and still loves to give hugs and kisses, often unprompted, to us, to her sisters, to the cats, to inanimate objects...  When she wants a kiss, she'll press her lips together, lean toward you, and say "mmmm." 

Silly girl, the bow goes in your hair, not your mouth!

On the other hand, she definitely has a temper when she doesn't get her way, and will squeal and pinch at you when she's mad.  (Seriously!  And I'll give you one guess where she learned that...)  One of the things that makes her angry?  When Amelia or Ramona sits in my lap!  She thinks that she's the only one who gets to do that.

Bear got knocked out of the basket... Louisa barely fits in it anymore!

Nevertheless, Louisa loves her big sisters and wants to be just like them.  For example, she's not happy eating her food with her fingers like a normal baby.  Instead, she wants to use a fork like Amelia and Ramona do.  (Most of the time we have to get the food on the fork for her, but sometimes she actually gets it herself.) 

Chatting with Mr. Bear

And we've given away more than half of our baby toy collection at this point, because Louisa would much rather play with whatever toys Amelia and Ramona have than her own.  (This means that we're often fishing doll shoes and other small items out of Louisa's mouth.  The hazards of being the third child!)

Captured the two seconds she had the bow in her hair on camera!

I really can't believe that it has been a year (and six odd weeks) since we brought our littlest home...

Escaping

To illustrate just how much of a difference a year makes, here are a couple of collages of Louisa's monthly photo shoots:

12 months in the basket with the bear...

...and 12 months on her quilt with her monkey!

It's been a great year, and we're looking forward to so many more with you, Louisa!