Thursday, June 27, 2013

Water Play Baby

Last week, Dagny and I went to one her buddy's birthday party.  Okay, the birthday boy and Dagny are probably going to be buddies when they are old enough to understand the concept--meanwhile, his mom and I have become fast friends since we moved out here.  She and I were both pregnant with summer babies, living in Acton, elementary teachers by trade, and both named Allison - it was kismet! Fast forward a year later and I was excited to take Dagny to celebrate Liam's birthday :) One of Liam's gifts was a new water table and Dagny spent 80% of her time standing at it and having a grand old time. I took way too many pictures and really enjoyed watching her have a blast.
 The birthday boy there on the left with our girl.
I forced her to take a lunch break where we dined on delicious grilled chicken, guacamole, a squeezy vegetable pouch, and some cheesy poofs.
She was rather perplexed by this piece of grass stuck to her cheesy poof.
Then, she crawled back to the water table for more wet fun. While she managed to stay fairly dry during her first visit, this next trip left her quite damp but on such a warm day--I bet it felt really good!
Well played, Dagny, well played.
 We finished up by watching Liam enjoy his birthday cake and then I took my soaked, exhausted, and incredibly happy baby girl home :)

The T!

Last week, Aunt Caitlin made a last minute trip up here and after gymnastics we made the trek to Alewife to pick her up.  We sat in some nasty traffic, but Caitlin sat in worse traffic and our grand plan to eat all together at Bertucci's looked to be in jeopardy.  With Caitlin significantly delayed, Dagny, Finley and I went ahead and ate dinner at the Bertucci's at the station.  They were great dates and we had one of the nicest waiters that I have had in years :) Caitlin kept updating us and when she was close, we ordered her dinner to go.  Finley ate all his bites and got a hoodsie cup for dessert that he was diving into when Caitlin arrived.  Phew! She was happy to have made it and Finley was excited that he sort of got to have dinner with his aunt as planned.  We headed out and Caitlin asked Finley if he wanted to sit inside the giant T, which of course he did!
Then, Dagny and I joined him while Caitlin snapped some photos.
Brief as her visit was, we're always happy to see Aunt Caitlin whenever she appears!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dagny Walks!

Just a week shy of her first birthday, Dagny is officially walking!! She's been working much harder at it since about Sunday afternoon and is really reaping the benefits.  Being such an efficient (i.e. speedracer) crawler and cruiser, she didn't seem to want to walk on her own before now. Yesterday, she wanted to walk around the house holding one of my hands, which was new so I suspected the walking must be around the corner and I was right! Tonight after dinner, she was showing a lot of eagerness to walk and I figured it was time to get the video camera.  Take a look!
Way to go, Dagny, you are amazing!!  She walked a few times back and forth between Dan and I and then Finley crawled into Dan's lap and offered to catch her, which turned out to be adorable.  He seemed to be just as proud of her as we were.
She walked a bit more and even went about seven or eight steps to the toy shelf all on her own, but alas it was soon time for bed.   As with most major baby milestones, this new stage will probably cause some unpleasant sleep disruptions, but figuring both kids already have odd summer "colds" that are waking them up ungodly early - I'm glad all this is happening at one time!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Something Beautiful

On my way out of school with the kids this afternoon, one of the assistant directors waved me over and said she really wanted to show me something.  She said that at the end of each semester, the high school students who do their field work at the preschool each write a few paragraphs about "Something Beautiful" that they saw in their time with the children.  She went on to say that one of the students (Max) had written his story about Finley and she thought it captured him wonderfully.  I was eager to see it and so she read it to me and then gave me a copy.  My heart melted and I was surely beaming with pride.  Read for yourself, I transcribed it below:

"My something beautiful was the act of kindness when Doru fell during a game of tag.  He had butchered his knee (not literally) and he was screaming for help.  Doru’s best friend, Finley, came over and picked Doru up.  This was a beautiful moment, getting to see how 3 year olds are not just walking destroyers, but living, empathetic beings.  I was also horrified when the teachers didn’t see.  Character is what you do when nobody is there to see…

I guess that this is not a super three year old.  Any three year old could have done that, but here’s the thing.  Finley was in a game of tag.  And he was about to make someone else “it.”  I know preschoolers take tag VERY seriously.  And what I say very, I mean VERY.  So, for Finley to sacrifice his “tag” win, I know what Finley did, was something beautiful…"

This paper will surely go into Finley's keepsake file!

Monday, June 24, 2013

NY Visitors Bring the Fun!

Aunt Ellie, Uncle Donny, GG and Grandpa came up this past weekend.  We had a great visit and despite the really warm, humid temperatures--we managed to have fun indoors and out.

Dagny and I had a birthday party to attend on Saturday, so the rest of the crew headed to Kimball Farms for some mini-golf, fried seafood, and ice cream.
 Dan reported that Finley was a champion golfer, lasting through all 18 holes without stopping!
 Then, they dined under the big tent and everyone reported a delicious meal that was followed by ice cream.
Dagny and I returned home after the party and she needed a change of clothes since she soaked herself at the water table.  She loves playing with Finley's stuff when he's away!
After her nap, Dagny was happy to pal around with Grandpa despite Dan and I being in the same room.  Unheard of behavior (well, in baby Finley's case) that really flattered Grandpa :)
  We released our butterflies later that afternoon (see previous post).
On Sunday morning, Grandpa read more than his fair share of books.
Donny and Ellie entertained Finley at the frisbee fields while Dan played and after her morning nap, Dagny arrived in time for some Uncle-bonding time.  Love this shot (photo credit: Ellie).
It was sad to say goodbye to everyone but we were so thrilled how much attention both kids gave to their visitors - Dagny jumped into Grandpa's arms repeatedly and Finley invited GG to put him to sleep one night! Ellie and Donny brought Finley a great rocket launcher (nerf-type rocket that flies off when you stomp the air pedal) and Finley loved showing them how he mastered the technique.

We'll see them all again in August when we head their way for a week, bring it on!

Sibling Music Fun

Finley certainly has a musical gene and Dagny seems to have it, too, plus she's a great permanent audience for her big brother!

Dagny Says Ball!

Since "Hi" and "Uh-oh" appeared around ten months, for the past month or so Dagny's vocabulary hasn't been expanding.  Lots of different sounds and lots of verbal enthusiasm, but no "mama" on Mother's Day or "dada" on Father's day. Sigh.  But last week, she added a new word that may not have been the word I was hoping for -- but a word very applicable in her daily life.

She's very proud of this accomplishment and so were we.  She's been using the word all around since then - pointing out the enclosure of giant play balls at Target, reaching for her beloved golf ball out in the garage while yelling "ball ball ball," and whenever anything round rolls by :)

Yesterday, while playing with some of her toys, she latched onto a stuffed duck with a Tufts shirt and he kept saying, "duck duck duck" to her and she got it, repeating, "du du du."  Good job, D!

Finley the Entomologist

After a successful caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis in my kindergarten class this spring, I figured Finley would enjoy the same experience at home.  I ordered some caterpillars online and the fun began!
Our little caterpillars arrived and started eating and getting bigger and bigger each day.
 One morning, after checking in on the little guys, Finley says to me, "I hope my caterpillars never turn into butterflies.  I like them they way they are." Gulp.  But as each one slowly crawled to the top of the canister and hung in a J-shape before turning into a chrysalis, he seemed excited that butterflies would soon emerge.  Phew.
 As you can see from the photo above, there was one straggler who ate less, grew slower, and I wasn't sure it would ever make it to the butterfly phase...but Dan kept pulling for the lovable runt.  The first three went into their chrysalises and we transferred them into the butterfly net-habitat and not long after the fourth one went in, too.
Then, we waited.  And waited.  Seven to ten days for chrysalis to butterfly is what the instructions said, and in the end, I think ours fell right into that window because on Monday morning we awoke to our first butterfly!  Finley was thrilled and totally amazed.
 And then another by that afternoon.
 The third hatched on Tuesday and by Friday, we were ready to release the three butterflies and give Dan's runt as long as it needed in the habitat.  The butterflies were getting stir crazy and so we planned to let them go when our family visitors from NY were here on Saturday.  So, we headed outside after nap time on Saturday and Finley grabbed his bug net to catch his butterfly friends. We had tried to tell him that they will fly off quickly, but he wanted to that commitment.
 I unzipped the habitat and off they flew!!
 For better or worse, the little guys took right off up towards the free air and Finley wasn't able to catch them in his net.  Later that day, Dan's runt emerged from its chrysalis and we put the beautiful butterfly out on some flowers in the front yard.  Dan's paternal instincts extend to insects, too, it seems :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dagny Gets Her Name

A few Fridays ago, Grandpa Murray and Aunt Caitlin drove up from NY to help us celebrate Dagny getting her Hebrew name at temple.  Dagny couldn't wait to get her hands on her Grandpa!  
They played ball together, too.
Caitlin was entertaining Finley elsewhere in the basement.  We shared a delicious pizza dinner and Caitlin's friend Maggie arrived, too.  Dagny took a later afternoon catnap and then it was time to get changed and ready for the big event.

We arrived and were thrilled to see our dearest friends, Davey, Gabi, Joey, and Charlotte.  Dagny was still a little groggy from her nap, but I think she was pretty excited :)
Charlotte complimented Dagny's dress and shoes (maybe I'm getting a hang of this dressing-a-girl thing!).
The Shabbat service began and we tried to keep all the kids calm and collected.  Thank you to Aunt Caitlin, one of the two gentiles in attendance, who snapped some secret footage.  We were called up to the bimah about halfway through the service and gave Dagny her hebrew name, Dafna.  She was welcomed into the Jewish community and blessed to do good for her family and her faith.
Finley was a great big brother and got a lift from Dan near the end of the ceremony.  Dagny and the Rabbi really "had a moment" during his blessing to her and it's something I will always remember as she grows through other milestones there at the temple.
Near the end of the service, the Rabbi invited up any children who would like to sing.  Finley jumped at the chance and soon Charlotte joined them.
Then, the future prom dates had their first dance much to the joy of all those watching (lots of awwws and laughs).  I'm sure both Gabi and I will be showing this video at our kids bar and bat mitzvahs in the future. So adorable.
Everyone proceeded into the room next door and Dagny's beautiful cake was there just waiting to be cut!
We all ate challah and dessert and got lots of congratulatory compliments from other temple members.  It was certainly a proud parent moment - proud to welcome Dagny into the fold and proud of Finley for being such a great big brother.  Thank you Caitlin, Maggie, and Murray for coming on such short notice to share this special day for our family.  We love you, Dafna!