Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Daily Ritual
"Did you have a beau dodo my sweet?"
These are the first words out of my mouth when I see Clara's sleepy eyes looking my way in the morning. On occasion I change things up a bit and say "Did you have a beau dodo my girl?" but that is about as far I dare stray from our usual morning salutation. After our hellos we get down to business. I am instructed every morning just in case I have forgotten that she wants "two kinds of cereal" and "don't forget the raisins mama". Breakfast is served at the "petit table" and cartoons are turned on for the morning zone out.

After this ritual is complete who knows what the rest of the day will bring. There are only a few things that I can count on as a mother of two young kids and mornings with Clara is something I count on and just couldn't do without.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Marc and I had some retail therapy yesterday while Clara and Leo enjoyed some quality time with Papa T and Cathy. We needed the time off and thankfully Dad and Cathy were to the rescue. Clara and Leo had a fine time, in fact Clara had so much fun that she fell asleep on the living room floor after having been out for a walk. Apparently on the walk she was able to point out a very important neighborhood landmark - the ice cream store!

Hanging out at Indigo with Marc was fun, it almost felt like the old days when we'd browse for hours. Marc picked up a book about stock trading and we bought Olivia, Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? for the kids. Clara's eye positively lit up this morning when I showed her the stack of books but she was most excited to have her own copy of Cat in the Hat that we would not be taking back to the library. I've got to say, it thrills me that she loves books this much.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Our trip to La Domaine de la Voliere was a grand success. We enjoyed lots of friends, fun, laughter and a few tears (mostly kids, unless they were adult tears of laugher).

Of course, anytime you attempt to put 9 children under the same roof you are taking a risk but I am pleased with the outcome we had. Clara really enjoyed herself and, despite the meltdown at the end of Saturday she did very well with the busy, noisy atmosphere we created. When we got home yesterday she just played and played quietly by herself with her toys - it was as if she really needed to use her imagination after having experienced such a physical play weekend. Leo, on the other hand thrived on the action and noise. He barely napped and was in fine spirits from the moment he woke with a smile in the morning until I rocked him to sleep at night. I was thrilled at how laid back he could be with everything going on around him. I noticed several times his big grin while he watched kids playing around him from the safety of his high chair.

Clara's swimming has improved even more after spending much of the day on Saturday in the lake and swimming in the pool on Sunday. She's letting go of her fears and is way braver than I ever would have expected. So brave in fact that she went down the slide into the pool twice! This means going underwater without the usual countdown to holding your breath which I think is a huge deal. She also swam around wearing a life jacket completely on her own and mastered the art of steering with her legs. What a water baby!!

Leo spent a long time sitting at the edge of the lake playing with the wet sand. I don't think he ate too much of it, but he certainly tried.

All in all, a weekend out of the city was just what I needed. Marc and I even managed to slip away for about an hour to swim in the lake alone!! I know, what a crazy thing to do :) I so enjoyed spending time with our friends and getting to know everyone just a little bit better. In fact, I may even suggest we repeat the trip next Summer.

Natasha put together a great slide show, you should check it out. Mariella is such a cutie and I think Natasha's pics are a great representation of the fun we had.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Clara looked at this electrical cord when she got up this morning and proclaimed it was a polar bear! She's also been commenting on shapes in the clouds these days, the last one I remember her noticing was a dinosaur.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Must post, big news... Clara has been diaper free for two whole days with no accidents! I don't know what happened but she just started using the toilet yesterday and has "listened to her body" with great attention ever since. I am beside myself with excitement, can it be true, only one bum to change? It is funny that it happened now because just the day before yesterday Clara told me "I'm fustated with my bum", I think she wanted to use the toilet but kept forgetting when it was time to go.

I am not the only proud one, Clara is pretty darned pleased with herself too. So far we've called Papa at work, Papa T and Auntie Patricia to report the great news. She's such a big girl!

And, on the heels of Clara's big accomplishment, Leo is not to be out done. He's spending as much time as he can standing. He can pull himself up at the coffee table, on the dining room chairs, on the ottoman, and on Clara's bed. Without question, Leo's favorite thing to do right now is stand at the coffee table and eat Cherrios one by one, or when he's lucky Clara feeds them to him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Self portrait

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Clara's response to my statement "you won" after she kicked Papa's butt at her new game of Chutes and Ladders was "no, I'm three!"

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Clara's 3rd birthday party was huge success despite some of our plans being foiled by the weather. Chloe, Zachary, Anissa, Mariella, Eamon, Kate, Rory, and baby Liam all came to celebrate with us. Noah was nowhere to be found - methinks he must have a baby brother by now! Although she was the guest of honor, Clara was also the brains behind the operation. She decided who was to be invited, what they'd do, what they'd eat and most importantly, the flavor of birthday cake they'd scarf down (although, it appears toddlers are more into the icing than the cake itself). The first order of the morning was face painting or "paint facing" as the birthday girl puts it. Everyone had a chance to get decorated; we had kitties, butterflies, rainbows, mice, hearts and some sort of war paint going on. Everyone looked great, even Margaret with a tasteful heart on her cheek at the request of Kate :)

Clara getting a red heart on her cheek while Chloe waits her turn.

Here we are, a happy family with Clara's best friend Chloe looking on. Before the cake came out we feasted on hotdogs, carrots and hummus - a three year olds fantasy lunch apparently!

Clara even decorated the cake this year, she really enjoyed her new artistic medium and I have to say the result was super! In case you're wondering, she choose chocolate cake... the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

By the time we got to gifts things were getting pretty crazy - in a good way of course! As you may be able to see, the toys we ALL out and kids and adults alike were parked on the floor wherever they could find space. Mariella and Daniel entertained us with some acrobatics and the day was over before we knew it.

Thanks to everyone for making our day so special, I know Clara will be talking about it for weeks, probably even months knowing her memory.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Yes, we are still alive and relatively well. This week has been tough. Leo has been sick with the same high fever as Clara had last week but he seems to be suffering from something else now too. I won't go into gory details but lets just say this Mom is tired, dirty, and losing patience pretty easily these days. Things are looking up though. Tomorrow morning is Clara's birthday party and if the stars align Marc and I will be at Trina's tomorrow night celebrating Natasha and my 30th birthdays!

I've got lots of pictures to add and a few funny stories I want to record but that will have to wait. There is still lots to do before our 9 little guests and their families arrive!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Whew, where to begin? I guess with the most obvious special event....Clara is 3 today!! I can hardly believe my baby is three years old; since when do babies have meaningful conversations, active imaginations, and the ability to run, jump, sing and dance??? I can't deny it much longer, Clara is more kid than she is toddler. The big girl is napping right now as a result of all the crazy-fun we had over the Canada day long weekend. Auntie Dorothy has gone back to Toronto and I'm getting ready to take Clara and Leo out for dinner and then over to the park to watch Marc play volleyball. Should be a fun evening! Much, much more to come including photos of strawberry picking, swimming, eating and general playing - stay tuned :)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On Saturday a convoy headed out from Montreal to Bromont. One stop at Tim Horton's later Ashley, Patricia, Dorothy, Marc, myself, Clara and Leo arrived with 59 Timbits for Papa T's birthday celebration. We celebrated by putting him to work - picking strawberries!
The rules according to Rachel were simple; if the strawberry was too big, too small, to weird, to boring or too red it had to be EATEN! Clara eagerly followed the rules. The rest of us went ahead and picked 6 boxes of delicious berries with the exception of Leo, who napped in the stroller while Auntie Dorothy pushed him up and down the dirt road beside the strawberry patch.

Papa T's birthday desert was delicious, strawberry shortcake and chocolate ice cream.

On Sunday we went to visit Grandmaman and Fred for the afternoon. We all went swimming is their beautiful pool, Clara had a great time floating around in the high tech air mattress but she really had fun jumping in the pool and going underwater holding onto Papa's hands! She was pretty much fearless and had no problem holding her breath until her head popped back out of the water. I was and am amazed. Leo was dunked under water several times by Papa (yes, on purpose) and he loved it as well. I guess my babies are part fish?!? Of course, Leo's absolute favorite part about swimming was all the water he was able to suck off his hands :)

We did some practice face painting in preparation for Clara's birthday party and Clara had a mini birthday cake all to herself.