Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mmmm, good!

This is my first time trying to share video. Let me know if it works!

This is from April of this year. Claire grabbed a nearly empty bottle that I'd left on the endtable when I walked into the kitchen. I heard her, and saw what she was doing, and grabbed the camera. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Six months

Long overdue, I know.


I can't believe that you've already been with us for half a year. It seems like such a short time, and yet our family would not be complete without you.

At the start of this month I had to spend an entire week away from you every day. It was hard for me to leave you each morning, but you seemed to flourish, and it allowed me to see that when I wasn't dragging you all over town to run errands everyday that you had a schedule for eating and napping that suited you just fine. Unfortunately it means that you want to nap everytime Claire is awake, and be awake when she naps. Not so helpful for me getting anything done that requires leaving the house.

We celebrated the fourth of July surrounded by family. Papa, Grandma Laurel, Uncle Dave, Uncle Calvin, and Uncle Nigel all came up to visit, and we had a really fun weekend spending time with them. You were very popular, as usual. We spent one day down at the lake relaxing and swimming, and on the fourth enjoyed a cookout at Kathy and Karl's and all of the illegal fireworks that Papa had brought north with him. Claire loved the fireworks, wasn't scared a bit, and the whole ride home kept asking for "more stars!"

We had a big party the next weekend to celebrate all of the July birthdays - Cousin Ryan, Aunt Cindy, Grandpa, and Uncle Adam. We went to the Reston Petting Zoo first, and then had everyone back to the house for yummy food and a really cool Bob the Builder cake.

Mommy and Daddy celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary, and managed to go out to dinner at the Melting Pot, as usual. Grandma came up to babysit which is always fun for you and Claire.

We had another visit from family at the end of this month. Papa Jim and Grandma Norma flew all the way from Texas to come and see us. They loved holding you and talking to Claire. It was a nice few days for us, and I know it was a special time for them.

While they were here you tried your very first solid food - baby oatmeal. It was quite an event because Claire decided she needed to help and grabbed a spoon that she would stick in your mouth whenever she had the chance. Despite that you seemed to enjoy the oatmeal, and you managed to swallow quite a bit of it.

This month you discovered your tongue, and you love to stick it out of your mouth and smile at us. It makes us smile everytime you do that. We're having so much fun with you, Ben, and we love you very very much.

Our daughter, the thief

So last month we were doing some grocery shopping one weekend. The whole family went, and we got one of the cool shopping carts with the truck part up front for Claire to ride in while Ben rode in the seat up by the handle. This trip actually didn't require any bribery on our parts to get Claire to stay in the truck, she seemed to be pretty happy. We made it all the way to checkout without any problems, paid for our groceries, and headed out to the parking lot. As Brian pushed the cart across the lot I peeked in at Claire to ensure she still had both of her shoes on. And then I saw it. The thief had struck. While we were busy putting the groceries on the belt and paying for them, she had grabbed a package of Rolos and was happily eating them. No wonder she'd been so cooperative.

The evidence? If you look closely you can even see the sugar-induced glazed look in her eyes.

The verdict? GUILTY!

The accomplice? I blame Brian for introducing her to Rolos and their yummy caramelly goodness.

PS - For any of you wondering about the mouse? He may be gone, but his spirit stench lives on.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


We had a mouse. Apparently. In the garage. Perhaps a distant cousin of Ralph S. Mouse, since he seemed to like cars. He crawled up inside the MDX at some point.

Thursday morning Ben and I took Claire to school. Dropped her off, and got back in the car to go to Trader Joe's. Did my shopping while Ben dropped socks in the aisles leading to the staff tracking me all over the store handing back little grey socks. We got in the car and headed home. Not far into the drive aI suddenly heard a ticking noise in the car. It quickly got louder. It seemed to be coming from the dash in front of the passenger seat. I pulled into a parking lot, and called Brian who was less than helpful. I don't know why he couldn't diagnose the car problem from miles away. Yeesh. The noise stopped when I turned the car off, and then immediately started again when the car was turned on. So I headed home. On the way I called the Acura dealer, and set up a service appointment. Then I had a brilliant idea. I turned off the climate control, and the noise stopped. OK, I could survive without A/C. It wasn't that hot and humid. We changed the appointment to Tuesday (today) when we could get a loaner car.

Friday on the way to pick Claire up from school I thought maybe I'd turn the A/C on for just a few minutes to cool off the car. And I noticed the smell. It was bad. Disgusting. Turns out the mouse crawled up into the car, and then got sucked into the blower motor. Died a gruesome death. And then proceeded to stink the place up.

I feel bad for whomever was the one to look in there and find bits of mouse. It will hopefully be fixed tomorrow sometime - they need to order a new blower motor. In the meantime - I think maybe I should look into purchasing a car air-freshener. Just in case.

Monday, September 11, 2006

where were you?

I was teaching class when a guidance counselor came in and handed me a small slip of paper. I don't remember exactly what it said. Something about not saying anything to the students about what was happening until there was more information. I had no idea what it was referring to. During the break between classes there was a buzz in the hallways. Some people were saying the WTC had blown up. I told my next class that we wouldn't talk about it until we really knew what had happened. I periodically tried to check and other websites for information, but it wasn't until lunchtime when I got to the teacher's lounge and saw a TV that I knew what had taken place.

Immediately I started to worry. The planes that had crashed had flown out of Logan airport, and this was a time when my father still traveled frequently for work. I had no idea what his travel plans were - whether he was home, or away, or on his way somewhere. Brian worked very close to the Pentagon. I found out afterwards that his whole building shook when the plane hit, and everyone grabbed their stuff and ran. Fortunately one of the guidance counselors gave me a code to call long-distance, and I was eventually able to get ahold of my mom and ensure that Dad was not on a plane. She said that Sarah had heard from Brian on IM and he was home.

Being so close to DC we had a number of students whose parents worked at the Pentagon which was one of the reasons that teachers were asked not to share information with students. They didn't want any students to start to panic. Parents started driving up and checking their kids out of school - all afternoon the classes shrank. Everyone was quieter than usual.

The worst part for me, I think was the next day. Lying on the couch at home, watching CNN show the same footage over and over and over again. But it wasn't that as much as watching the names of passengers on the airplanes scrolling across the screen. I would see three or four people all with the same last name, and just be devastated at the thought of a whole family traveling together - and now gone. The loss of life was staggering.

Sometimes I wish the memories would fade. That I could dull some of the sheer helplessness that I felt. But it's still fresh. Friday night at dinner the topic came up, and we all shared some of what had happened to each of us that day. All weekend, and much of today it has been mentioned over and over on TV. Even the halftime show for Monday Night Football brought tears to my eyes. Tonight I watched Claire and Ben splashing happily in the bathtub. How I wish for their innocence to last - for them not to ever have to feel the way I felt five years ago.

I have read a number of the memorials to victims of 9/11 written by bloggers for the 2,996 project. (It appears that the website is unable to handle today's traffic - I was able to view it earlier, hopefully it will come back so you can get an idea of what it was about.) I wish I had known about that when it was started so I could have also contributed. What a beautiful way to remember those who died.

We will never forget.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

First Day of School

Tuesday was Claire's first day of preschool. She is going to one of the Boyd School campuses, five days a week for just under three hours a day. So far she is doing well. In the morning when we tell her it is time for school she usually responds, "School - YAY, school!" She usually gets a little upset when she hugs me goodbye, but has been able to be distracted easily at the prospect of washing her hands or playing with ducks. Here are some pictures from her first day.

Standing in front of her "cubbie"

Posing with Ben after we got home

And a self-portrait with Mommy

*I know that I am woefully behind in my updates on here. I have been extremely busy with work, but have a little hiatus right now, and I hope to try to catch up and stay caught up for a while. Stay tuned!