Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Claire loves to help. I hope that this lasts for another...16 or so years.

Last night when I finished feeding Ben I stacked his empty plastic babyfood containers, put the spoon in the top one, and got up to clear some other things off of the table. Claire hopped up into my chair so that she could "help feed Ben, Mommy". She stuck some puffs in his mouth, and then came running into the kitchen carrying the empty plastic containers. Brian was blocking the trash can, so she loudly said, "Scuse me, Daddy. Scuse me! SCUSE ME!" until he moved out of the way. She went back to the dining room, fetched Ben's cup which had fallen on the floor "oh no, Ben!" Then she came trotting back in with Ben's spoon. She stood in front of the dishwasher and started chanting, "help, help, HELP" until Brian opened the dishwasher so that she could put the spoon in the silverware basket. Then she hopped back up on the chair to feed Ben more puffs, and keep picking his cup up ("oh, no, BEN!") off the floor where he threw it everytime she handed it to him. (I like to call him Sir Isaac Newton, as he appears to be doing an in-depth study of the effects of gravity on food and drink.)

It is amazing to watch her grow. She brings us so much joy.

Eight Months

(I am determined to get caught up on these, so expect several in the next week.)

Dear Ben,

You are getting so big! But of course I think that every month. You love spending time in your exersaucer, as it gives you the freedom to move around, and explore whatever you like. You want so badly to be independent, and you will be, soon enough (or too soon if you ask me).

You enjoy watching Claire play outside. You happily hang out in the swing - content with an occasional push when Claire isn't demanding our attention. And when she's feeling really generous she allows you to take a turn in her special pink chair. You are an easy-going little guy, and it makes my life so much easier that watching Claire run, jump, and slide seems to be an endless source of amusement to you. We've also discovered that when you are upset and crying you can frequently be soothed by my singing "Five Little Spotted Frogs". Claire likes to chime in with the "yum, yum" and "ribbit, ribbit" portions of the song. Sometimes I am so busy trying to do something while I sing that I lose count of how many frogs are left on the log - fortunately for me you can't count yet!

You don't often fall asleep in my arms anymore, but the sight of you sleeping warms my heart. On the occasions that you do fall asleep while nursing I tend to hold you close, and resist carrying you upstairs to your crib. I don't want to give up those moments of closeness any sooner than I must.

In the last month you have had the opportunity to watch a lot of football with Daddy (which should be no surprise to anyone). You've even been to a Hokie football game, and seemed to enjoy it. When things got loud you just burrowed closer to Mommy and closed your eyes. What a trooper!

As usual we've spent lots of time with family. Labor day weekend, after the football game we headed to Nonno and Nonni's house on the lake, and the next day Aunt Cindy, Uncle Don, and Ryan came down to hang out with us. It was nice to spend some time relaxing with them.

Grandma and Grandpa came up to babysit one night so that Mommy and Daddy could go out and feel like grown-ups. You enjoyed hanging out with Grandpa while Claire got her first haircut!
I love that now, when I pick you up, you sometimes wrap your little arms around my neck. Those innocent hugs are the sweetest. Your smile, and your dimples, are just irresistible. Almost anyone who greets you gets a big grin, and they like to comment on what a friendly baby you are. I love the way that your eyes light up when you look at me. Even though you can't say it with words, your eyes tell me how much you love me.

Happy eight months, baby boy. I love you so much!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We have much to be thankful for - our family, friends, and health would be at the top of the list. Our family is very blessed.

Wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The cutest little pirates you ever did see...

Thanks for the t-shirts, Uncle David!!

Overheard today during Claire's "rest" time:

Mommy, where are you? Where are you? I'm stuck. I'm stuck. Where's my Mommy? Mommy, open the door? MOMMY? Where are you?

Lately Claire seems to be having some trouble discerning between me and Brian. When both of us are in the same room she will sometimes call him "Moddy", or me "Dommy".

Look, Aunt Jen - Claire wouldn't wear it, but I look pretty darn cute!

He crawls! Ben has really and truly mastered forward motion - look out world!

And the expression on Claire's face in this picture or our holiday photo shoot is just priceless.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I have a lot of posts floating around in my head waiting for me to have the time to type them up, and put them here.

But right now I can't. I spent much of this morning trying to keep myself busy, so that I wouldn't have time to think. You know how sometimes when you are hurting (in mind or body) if you keep busy enough the pain doesn't overwhelm you? This morning when I checked Atomic Tumor's website the news was grim. So I kept busy, and I could keep the hurt at bay. Now it is worse. And that empty feeling inside is taking over. And my heart hurts for him and his two little boys, and for their families and their friends. From everything that I've read, our world is losing a wonderful woman, friend, and mother.

I am so lucky. I look around and Claire is watching Wonder Pets and waiting for her pizza to finish cooking for lunch. Ben is busy on the floor emptying one of the toy bins - carefully examining each thing he pulls out. I am blessed. Please, take time today to celebrate the people that you love, and to appreciate what you have. We never know how much longer we'll have to enjoy it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And we're off...

We are headed to Asheville, NC for the weekend to spend time with family. Claire is so excited she could hardly wait for it to be tomorrow already.

"Wanna see Papa NOW, no momorrow!"

The horses are also a big draw. She can't wait to see the horses. I am looking forward to visiting a new part of North Carolina, and having time to just relax and enjoy our time together.

Pictures and fun stories will follow I'm sure!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Tonight I was directed to Atomic Tumor. I do not know these people, and never read their site before tonight. But please, take a moment to say a prayer for this family. The 29 year old mother is fighting for her life, and they don't know why. She has a husband whose incredible love is evident in his words, and two little boys. Please say a prayer for GAC and her family.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

for those keeping score at home

This morning? 3 AM and 6 AM.

But right now? Both kids napping. Bliss.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Ben is going to have a tough couple of months ahead from what we've seen so far. When he gets a cold it seems to last two to three times as long as it takes Claire to get over it. We have been fighting the current cold/cough since last Saturday morning (and when I say morning I mean about 1 AM - so really morning). Claire got it Sunday, and was over it by Wednesday.

The biggest problem is that these colds wreak havoc on Ben's sleeping habits. In a nice, healthy world he will go to sleep around 8:30 and sleep until 5 or 6 AM, wake up to eat, and then sleep for another two hours or so. When he's sick it's anyone's guess. Friday night I stayed up late to spend time with Brian in front of the fire. Ben woke up at midnight. Just enough awake to moan dismally every 45 seconds or so, not enough for me to go get him, but enough to keep me awake. Thanks. Then he was up at 3:30, and again at 5:45, and that was it for sleep for me. We were up for the day. Saturday night was 1:30, then 4:30, then 6. So I was not anticipating good things last night. And of course I stayed up too late to watch the Patriots/Colts game. Of course the outcome wasn't what I wanted, but it was a good game to watch. (Obviously Vinatieri was cursed - haha, serves him right!) So I was pleasantly surprised when Ben slept until 5 AM. Yes, you read that right. Though he is still all congested, he somehow managed to sleep peacefully for eight hours. Woke up and ate, and then back to sleep until just past 7. Hallelujah!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Day We Thought Would Never Come

Claire's first pigtails! Isn't she adorable?

I've actually been meaning to write a post with an update on Claire, and today was the perfect opportunity. She was just so adorable with her little pigtails before we got ready for school this morning. She kept asking, or rather demanding, "more mirror, Mommy!" so she could look at her hair over and over. Then she insisted that I take more pictures.

Claire absolutely loves preschool. When we pull onto the road that her school is on she almost always says, "yay, school!" She seems to have made a pretty close friend of a new student in her class. The teachers tell me that they spend a lot of time together, and one morning last week her friend ran up and gave her a kiss on the cheek when she came into the classroom. It was very sweet.

One thing that Montessori schools try to do is to help the kids become independent. Which is all well and good, but it is leading to me hearing a lot of, "No mommy do it, Claire do it!" She has successfully learned to put on her own pants (sometimes backwards), shoes (frequently on the wrong feet), and socks. She insists on holding the book and turning the pages when we read stories. She gets very upset if she is not allowed to press the start button when we are microwaving something, or if I try to close the freezer door by myself. When leaving school she will refuse to go through the door if someone is holding it open for her. She must push the door open by herself. She even tries to fasten her carseat on her own.

I can totally climb this tree!

Playing with Ben

Claire is a good big sister. Whenever she hears Ben crying she will tell me, "Ben sad, Mommy." Though that does not translate to wanting to leave whatever she is doing so we can comfort him. She will sometimes decide to bring him every toy from his basket one at a time. Each time she sets a toy in his lap she will say in a cute little voice, "here you go, Ben" and give him a big smile. Her antics can always illicit a laugh from him. In fact he laughs more while watching Claire run around and be silly than at any other time.

At the pumpkin patch with playgroup

Although Claire's playgroup generally meets in the mornings about once a month we try to gather people in the afternoon so that Claire can see her old friends. She gets excited whenever we talk about who will be there, and always has a good time playing with her friends. They are all pretty used to each other now, and we see a lot less fighting over the same toys. They chase each other around, and delight in being silly with one another.

Sitting at the "kids" table, eating cake.

Claire and her cousin, (well, really my cousin, so her first cousin once removed, but that's a little much for a two year old to understand) Lily get along really well. Lily is four, and loves that Claire is now old enough to play with. When she found out that she would see Claire again (for the third time since July!) in October she told her parents that Claire was her "bestest buddy". From what I understand that title is typically reserved for the family dog, so Claire is very honored. At Aunt Renita's party they were inseperable. They ran around together, collected acorns, ate and drank, and then when it was bedtime, both crawled into Claire's inflatable Dora bed to read and do puzzles together. It was not easy to get them separated long enough for them to fall asleep.

Claire is a delight. She certainly tries our patience as she is learning to assert herself. And it can be wearying to have to repeat the same response over and over, "yes, Claire, the door is open" "door open, Mommy". But her high energy and bright smile, can make that all melt away. And when she gives a tackle hug? "I got you, Mommy!" It's all worth it. Watching her grow up has been so rewarding. It is hard to reconcile this active little girl with the baby that she was not so long ago. Our lives have changed so much in the last 29 months, and for that we are very, very thankful!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Pictures

Fall Festival on Saturday at Claire's Nursery School:

Ben happily examines his "treat" as he waits for Claire to finish decorating her goodie bag.

Super Claire shows off her cape.

Claire balances the head on the spoon to earn a prize. Or maybe she just holds it in place. Either way, she got a treat!

All in all, a very successful day!

Pumpkin Carving!

Claire supervises Daddy's efforts.

Hooray, it's Halloween!

Two little cuties, after their trick-or-treating!

Up, up, and AWAY!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Sneak-Peek

There are apparently too many other people with cute Halloween photos to share, so blogger is having some difficulties letting me upload the pictures I have. I managed to sneak this one in before the technical problems, so enjoy a little look at Ben. He has a cold, and this was the biggest smile we were able to muster last night, but he's still adorable!

More photos forthcoming, as blogger allows.