Monday, April 30, 2012

A light and serious post

It was bedtime the other night but Becky had to show us this HUGE strawberry.

 Its the size of an actual human heart!

 Ally has a strawberry beard.

Seriously it was so big!

It is fun to have light moments like silly pictures with Aunt Beth, marveling at a gigantic strawberry or just being goofy. Lately we've been doing Gruncle's bumble bee buzzy and finger poke. Ally erupts into such a fit of giggles its hilarious.
There are some heavy moments too.
Like the other night when Ally cried in my arms because she had felt left out at school her "favorite friends" had buddied up in gym class and it made her sad. She cried and wailed "what can we do about it?" My final words of advice were that she have fun - that she be as happy and as playful as she could be. That everyone likes to play with the fun happy friend. And that if she was having fun with other friends I was sure her "favorite friends" would want to come play with her.
It seemed to help.
Of course I was upset for her and feeling pretty awful for a long time after our conversation.
Things seem better the past few days, and she had gym class today and had a good time.

Tonight she got her haircut and is anxious about it. It is very short compared to how long it had gotten. When it was done she was so happy - all smiles and that prancy walk when you know you look good. But at bedtime in the dark the anxiety set in. We talked about it but finally being silly and goofy and laughing distracted her, and an extra book and it seems she is finally asleeep.

I am reminded that growing up is hard.
It is fun and exciting and thrilling but it can be challenging.
Parenting is the same way.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ally earned her Daisy Petals

Aunt Beth came for a quick stay - she was attending a conference in Boston and so she stayed with us while in town. Ally was so excited to see Aunt Beth, and even asked that Aunt Beth sleep in her room with her!
We are excited that Aunt Beth would be able to attend the last Girl Scout meeting of the year. Ally has earned her Daisy Petals and so there was a very brief ceremony for parents to attend, and Beth joined us.

Here Ally is writing thank-you notes for the 2 volunteers who led her group this year.

After her work was done they posed for pictures - silly faces above and happy faces below.

At the meeting the first thing they did was make a thank-you card for the facility that hosted the meetings. All of the girls were so focused on the activity. It was neat to watch.

 They sat in a circle and handed out the badges - yes that is Stella's little sister Violet in yellow, she is not an actual Daisy GS - still too young but she participated nonetheless.


Ally was pretty excited to get her flower petals. They will go right in the middle of her pinafore. She will be a Daisy again next year. We hope to maybe do a few family activities with Girl Scouts this summer.

When we got home we had ice cream sundaes to celebrate!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Lauren is our babysitter. She is really so much more than that. Thanks to Lauren Becky and I get to work on time, Ally gets to school on time and with super consistency. For almost 2 years now Lauren comes to our house every weekday morning during the school year at 7:00 AM. I am usually gone, either to the office or the gym. As soon as she arrives our cat Bryce comes over to her for attention. Lauren sits on the couch and watches Dinosaur Train with Ally. She always has a smile on her face, and love in her heart for Ally.
Rain or shine, snow or ice, sick or not (she has NEVER called in sick) Lauren is there.
I often wonder how different out life would be without her. It certainly would not be as easy or calm.
In addition to the weekday gig Lauren usually babysits a few other times in a month.
Above are she and Ally on a Saturday afternoon. They were playing ball in the front yard and I asked them for a picture. I am hardly around when Lauren is, so I never get pictures of her - I think this is the second or third one I have of her.

We feel so fortunate to have someone who cares so strongly for and about Ally take care of her.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Birthday Party #11

Our 11th birthday party of the year was for the youngest member of our Guatemala Girls Group - Gabi. Gabi turned 5.

 The party was princess themed and the party activity was to color your own tote bag. Ally literally colored hers for an hour. And after that she and Roxie colored pictures.
Above Ally and Rosa.

Left to Right; Alice, Gabi and Roxie

 There were 2 special chairs - one for the birthday girl and one for the person who gave her each gift. It was so sweet to see everyone sit next to her while Gabi opened the gift from them. Can you see how much fun Ally had?

 The obligatory group shot: Alice, Roxie, Rosa, Ally & Gabi

 Ally's hair had been getting so long she let me style it in a flip for the party.

Mommy and Ally.
Becky stayed home and sewed and got ready for school to start up again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Break at the Beach

Spring break was last week, and one beautiful afternoon I left a little early and Becky and Ally picked me up from work and we headed to the beach.
Ally was so excited. She was thrilled to be there.

We found some giant snails. Ally as you know loves creepy crawly slimy things. Above she is holding one, and below you can see 3 of them in our bucket with some of the other shells we collected.

Ally and I went for a walk and when we got back Becky had made a really cool sand castle using some special tools / kit we got from Charlie, Anne and Gwei.
Ally was really thrilled to see it.

It was a wonderful afternoon at the beach!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New leotard

We bought Ally a new leotard recently - she tends to get bruises and marks on her hips from her bar work so we thought a unitard like this might help.
Can you tell she likes it?
She told us "I feel all gymnastics inside!"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Day

Saturday April 14, 2012 was a great day. It was such a great day that I called my mom at 530PM to tell her what a great day it had been, and I had already talked with her in the morning before the day even started.
Why was it a great day?
Ally is why it was a great day.
We started at her usual Saturday morning gymnastics. This week both Becky and I were there, because we were having brunch and a play date with another family after gymnastics.
Gymnastics was AMAZING
Ally has her gymnastics mojo back, her excitement, her spark and it is just so wonderful to watch and witness it. This week she finally mastered her fear of the front pull over. Its a skill on the bar that starts as a pull up, and then she pulls her entire body over the bar. She did it over and over all by herself. At the end of class she came running calling Mommy Mommy come so I went I followed her into the gym (parents are never allowed in during class) and lead me over to the bar with her coach to show me up close what she could do. She was so proud of herself.
I think one of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my daughter gain confidence and pride in her accomplishment.
After gymnastics we had brunch with a friend of Ally's from school and her mom and then over to their house for a play date.
On the way home from the play date Ally asked for oatmeal to eat and then to go to the Museum with mama. So we came home, I made the oatmeal while Becky took a break. Ally ate almost an entire serving of oatmeal. Then she and Becky left for the museum. The pictures below are from their Museum of Science trip.

Ally "so excited" waiting for the IMAX to begin - it was her first IMAX experience. They saw one about dolphins. Ally told me it was like being in the water.

Here is Ally next to a dinosaur bone.
They were gone for a long time. I had a restful time by myself at home, this is when I called my mom to tell her about our day.
Just after I hung up the phone Becky called.
Ally had a bloody nose and could I come to the museum right away?
I just happened to have a work car for the weekend so I grabbed a change of clothes for Ally, some washcloths and ran out the door.
With no traffic I made it to the MOS in record time. I ran inside and asked for the first aid station. The nice security guard showed me the way. I opened the door and there was blood all over the floor, big splotches on Ally, the chair they were sitting on and an over flowing trashcan of bloody tissues, paper towels and toilet paper. It was pretty gross.
The blood had just stopped flowing. I held Ally and got her changed. I think by the time I got there Becky was more upset than Ally.
Ally's bloody noses are awful - so much blood - and they go on and on. Thankfully Ally no longer screams in terror during them.
I brought Ally home and put her to bed while Becky got us dinner and herself a well deserved beer.
The day was amazing, even with the bloody nose, and in a weird way the grown up kid way Ally dealt with it added to the amazing-ness of the day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Doll house creations

Ally is so crafty. Recently she decided to make things for her dollhouse. Of course she asked mama to do it with her. She knows which parent is crafty.
Here they are hard at work.

They each made a 3 dimensional piano out of paper for the dollhouse. Incredible if you ask me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marathon Monday 2012

It was Patriot's Day, also known as Marathon Monday. This year was the hottest in years. It was awful for the runners in the mid-high 80s. It was also the first year we had a friend running. Thora's dad Sean was running this year on an MGH team to raise money for childhood cancer research. I took the day off work, and Becky and Ally had the week off, as it's their Spring Break. We texted with Sarah (Thora's mom and Sean's wife) the night before so we could predict when Sean would reach our spot. If we go to watch the race it's always about mile 24. Keep in mind that watching the marathon in person always makes me cry. It's something about the triumph of the human spririt and mind over body and the fact that I hate running so very much I have the utmost respect for people who run such a long distance.
With the record heat forecasted Sarah was not sure when Sean would make it. She was watching from mile 20 and would let us know when he reached her so we could better guess when to look for him.
We headed over and hung out with some friends at their store, The Tiny Hanger, it's a children's boutique right on the race route. Olive, pictured win Ally above and below go to school together and we've known her family for several years now.
Becky and I brought the girls to a park to play while we waited for Sean.

After a while we headed back to the air conditioned store to cool off. Here are the girls posing with their picture from the store opening about 6 months ago. My has Ally grown up since then. It was kind of bizarre to have a life sized picture of her on the wall right next to her. Such a comparison.
Finally it was time to wait for Sean and cheer him on. Ally and I had made signs "Go Sean" and "U can do it" to hold and by the then crowd had thinned considerably. We waited and waited. Ally at one point screamed in her stroller "I am too's too hot for me" I just looked at her and told her to drink more water and calm down. Becky turned the stroller around so Ally's back was to the sun. I think it's obvious from the picture above how Ally was feeling. We were not leaving until Sean came. I figured if he could run for what was now over 4 hours in this scorching heat we could wait. We knew what he was wearing and he is very tall but we waited and waited. Finally Olive's dad Drew texted her mom Lucia that Sean was close. (each runner has a microchip tracker in his shoe so you can follow them online as they progress thru the race. Drew was manning the store while Olive and Lucia watched with us.) Finally I spotted him and Ally quickly ran and got on my shoulders so she could see. Becky and I held our signs and we all yelled for him and cheered him on. He actually smiled when he saw us and ran to give us high fives!
It was truly amazing to see. Even now the memory gives me chills. He was trying so hard and was so determined to finish. This race this year was not about time it was about the battle and the finish.

In my excitement I did not get a picture of Sean running towards us. But there he is in the yellow tank top and grey shorts running away, down the hill towards the finish. Less than 2 miles more to run.

I saw Sean this morning for the first time since those few seconds he was running. I told him I thought he did great...amazing running, completing the race, doing it in the heat. He thanked me to cheering him on and said it meant a lot. It meant a lot to us too. Thank you Sean for the memory and the example of setting a goal, doing it under less than ideal conditions and for having a smile for friends. I know Ally and Becky and I will always remember the year Sean ran the marathon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Super Sunday (and Birthday Party #10)

It has been a SUPER Sunday.

After breakfast we painted Ally's fingernails and my toe nails and then we started cleaning and sorting in Ally's bedroom.
We sorted thru 8 bins, threw a lot of stuff out, put things away in different spots so its easier for Ally to find things and keep her things organized.
I was still working when Becky came across our dinosaur flashcards. She and Ally started playing card games that Ally made up with the flashcards.
There was a card in the middle and they each had to sort thru their cards and see if they had a match with the card in the middle.
For example if the dinosaur in the middle was an herbivore, a styrachosaurus, and you had a herbivore a triceratops in your hand then you made a match.
Quite neat to witness.
Game 2 was kind of like go-fish with dinosaur cards.
Then it was time to get ready to go to Birthday Party #10 - Ally's teacher from last year, Jill, invited us to her birthday party.
Ally drew a picture on the card for Jill.
Ally says "I like my my new baby doll."
Here she is - I think Ally decided to name her Dolly.
Yes - I bought her a new doll. Ally never asks for things but when we went to the mall she asked if we could buy an A.merican G.irl doll. She was so polite and sincere and patient. I agreed.
Becky and I had talked in advance about it and agreed if Ally asked of her own volition I would get her one. Its a bitty baby doll.
Ally and I talked about how her other doll, Baby would feel and she said she thought Baby would be happy to get a sister.
So sweet.

After the mall it was on to the party. Here is Ally walking Jill's dog Fenway. Several people commented on how responsible Ally was with the dog walking. I was impressed that Ally was not glued to me for the whole party. We only knew about 6 people out of 30.
Ally ate her first cone-cake.
Actually she only ate a few bites of frosting and then gave me the rest.
Here is Ally (with her Dolly) and Jill.
Its pretty neat how Jill has morphed from a teacher to a friend to our family.
I was so happy when as we left the party and walked to the car Ally said "that was a really fun party".
Thanks Jill for a great afternoon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Form of Transportation

Ally has gotten big enough that Becky is uncomfortable having her in the bike seat on the back of her bike. So after a lot of research we settled on a hybrid bike seat/trailer. Ally and Becky tested it out this week on the way to swimming lessons.

Ally is all strapped in and ready to go. She can pedal along if she wants, or not.
Check this thing out!
away they go

Becky said it worked really well. Ally said it was lots of fun.

Becky also said she got a lot of stairs from people in cars and walking. Its a new type of child bike seat so I think people have just not seen anything like it before.

Both Ally and Becky are looking forward to summer when they'll ride it to summer camp every day.