"So throw away those Lamentations,
We both know them all too well.
If there's a Book of Jubilations,
We'll have to write it for ourselves.."

-Josh Ritter

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas! (episode 2)

We were on our own for Christmas day this year. Our work schedules didn't allow for travel to see either side of the family. Unfortunately, we've had a rough couple of days since MJ and Thunder Dan left town. A lost set of keys opened the week for Kat, then a fuelcell failure for the Prius left her and Nora stranded at home Tuesday morning. Thankfully, it's all covered by the warranty, but was still a huge pain to deal with. On my end, one of my attendings made yet another attempt at tormenting me into quiting. Psycholgical torture at the hands of this particular physician has become a way of life over the last 3 years, but it just doesn't get any easier to deal with as time goes by.

Needless to say, Kat and I were ready for some hard-core relaxation on this Christmas holiday. Going nowhere is exactly what we needed.

After breakfast, it was time for presents! And now Nora is now a seasoned pro. We asked her if she wanted to open gifts and she darted down the stairs and was pulling them out from under the tree by the time we got to her. She opened them all. The hits of the day today were her Lilly Book and "The Muppet Show, season 1" DVD from Aunt Kristin,. She also got some hair products, and a new outfit for her "groovy girls" doll, which she has appropriately named "Bella" after absconding with it from... Bella.

After all the presents were opened, we all laid around in front of the tree, next to the fireplace, dazed and happy. It was pretty much just two hours of this.

When Nora started to tire out, we popped in the Muppets video, and she and Mommy had a good long, semi-comatose cuddle on the couch.

And so went our day. Gifts, playtime, TV, napping in front of the fire, more playtime, more TV, more napping. This is what Christmas is all about, no?

In other big news, our friend Heidi needed a dog-sitter while she went away for the holiday, so Acacia stayed with us today. Now, Acacia has had a special place in our hearts since the first time we looked afer her. This is due in no small part to the fact that she looks like what would happen if Suma and Lazlo had been allowed to breed (yikes). More importantly, however, she's an incredibly sweet, patient dog. As evidenced by this:

So, Heidi, if you were waiting to get married and have kids until someone had "field-tested" your dog on their own children, I'd say you're good to go. Also, for the record, there's really only 3 dogs in this world that we would allow our daughter to do this to. Acacia is one of them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas! (episode I)

Nonna and Thunder Dan were in town for the weekend, to celebrate Christmas, and my birthday, and to bail us out of another jam. Kat and I both had to work on Sunday (boo!), and it turns out daycare is in short supply over the holidays, so they came to our rescue.

It wasn't all work, though. They came in on Thursday and stayed through Monday morning, which meant that they spent the first two nights witnessing first-hand just what a bunch of old geezers Kat and I are. (Seriously, we each had a half a bottle of wine Thursday night and were out by 8:45. And I struggled through surgery with a hangover on Friday. This is generally considered poor form.) More importantly, Nora got a chance to wrap Thunder Dan around her little finger. On Saturday we did presents. Nora, at age 22 months, continues to amaze me. You'd think a kid that age would wig out after 1 or 2 presents and a full blown melt-down would ensue before we could get to number 3. Instead, she patiently handed out everyone's gifts (at least 60% of them accurately), then helped us open each and every one of them. There were dozens. It was a slow process. She had to run across the room for each piece of paper she tore off so she could hand it to Mom, who was then expected to properly dispose of it in the "Tash." By the time all was said and done, though, the kid made a major haul.

Highlights of the day included a set of wooden blocks in little Nora-sized a wood wagon, all skillfully hand-crafted crafted by Thunder Dan, a quilted play mat from Nonna featuring a construction scene (complete with porto-potty) and a dirt road, and her own little trucks and tractors to drive around the mat, a little play-tent from Aunt Elena and the World's Softest Stuffed Puppy (with matching puppy slippers and an embroidered fuzzy blanket) from great-grandma Tina.

Nora loves her new toys. And she's going to flip when she finds out we get to do it again, next week, in Minnesota.

To cap off an already kickin' day, Kat decided to do one of her patented pan-Mediterranean super-meals, with a carrot-cake chaser. How ridiculous is this?

She may be a sassy little tart, but the woman can COOK like nobody's business. The featured entree is called Makhlubbi, which apparently translates to "upside down." We only make it once a year, but it's worth the wait. Meals like this make me realize just how incredibly fortunate I am.

One more thing... an update on Poppa. He's home from the hospital, starting on new medicines to replace all the hormones he's going to need now that he's sans-pituitary, and feeling pretty good. And his tumor was, in fact, benign. Just one more blessing to celebrate over the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Poppa (by Eric)

We've been worried about Poppa for a while now. It all started a few years ago when he had some trouble with his heart that was never really explained very well. After that we started noticing a lot of little things that just didn't seem right. Like when his body hair all fell out. The man was like the missing link his entire life, and all of the sudden he had no hair on his chest, back or arms. Then he started losing muscle tone, and developed a bit of a slouch, despite the fact that he was working out religiously 5 days a week. It just seemed like he was aging too fast. The puzzle started coming together when his urologist sent a testosterone level a couple months ago, and found that it was zero.

Zero. That just doesn't happen.

A trip to the endocrinologist, some blood test and an MRI, and we had our answer. Poppa has a pituitary tumor.

Now, in a way, this was good news, and we both knew it. If you're going to have a brain tumor, this is the one you want. It's almost never malignant, and it's curable. But we also knew this; Poppa needs surgery, or else he's going to lose his vision. For a man as fiercely independant and important to this family as Poppa, that was a scary proposition. I knew that the surgery he needed was a routine operation, one that his neurosurgeon wasn't going to lose a lot of sleep over. But, as a surgeon, I also know that sometimes even in the most routine operations, terrible, devastating things can and sometimes do happen. And I've lost a lot of sleep thinking about those things this week.

Poppa had his surgery today, and I've been trying to stay busy and not think about it too much. Tonight the call came from Mom that he's out of surgery, and it went well. He's awake, he's alert, he's perfectly stable, he can see, and his pain is under control. Other than a swollen nose, which for him is only a slight exacerbation of a lifelong affliction, he looks perfectly fine.

And I can breathe again.

Poppa, I'm sorry we can't be there with you. You're in our prayers. And we are all just so incredibly relieved that you're alright. We love you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pretty hair

Nora requested "pretty hair" tonight. Alas, she has me for a mother, so this is what she got.

Let's look at that from another angle, shall we?

Once she was beautified, Nora went to work on me. But, alas, she has me for a mother, so there are not, nor ever will be pictures of that moment. Sorry, kid.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I'm actually referring to me with that title. I've had a long, rough weekend of working, then coming home and doing all the work I didn't have time to finish during my shift. So, I'm tired and crotchety and need a hug.
But on the upside, Nora told me the other day, "Mommy pretty. Mommy nice flower." That has to be good, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008


Nora had a lot to say tonight. I often wonder how much of the jabber is her processing her day by way of telling Mom about it. I have a healthy measure of Momguilt (yes, it's all one word) about leaving her at daycare every day, so it helps me to think that she's learning something while she's there.

This has been especially noticeable since she's been spending a little time in the two-year-old room. Suddenly, there is talk about potties and a sometimes-not-so-desirable ability to remove articles of clothing. While nothing like cousin Lydia's nudity phase, she has managed a couple of surprise attacks. Tonight, Eric found a poopy diaper on the floor and a soiled naked bum hot-footing it away from him. I was called in from kitchen duty as reinforcements. I would like it to be widely known that I managed to keep a straight face.

She also has a newly expanded vocabulary since being exposed to the two-year-olds. I can tell you for a fact that those kids really like the word "butt." Some other phrases that have induced shock and awe just this evening:
"That mine. This yours."
"Need more orange. Booool [bowl] is empty."
"Is Nora nice?" This was thrown out immediately after a time out.
"No Mommy. More Daddy. Daddy play with Nora." Please note the period, not question mark, at the end of this one.

We ended the evening with stories, as usual. Tonight, she wanted to read "Corduroy," "Noisy Nora" and a new one, "Where the Wild Things Are." That was the first reading for "Wild Things" and a repeat performance was immediately requested. I'm a touch anxious that there may be nightmares to come from that one. She already has night terrors between once and three times a night. I'm not entirely sure how I would distinguish shrieks induced by the teeth-gnashing and eye-rolling of "Wild Things" from the shrieks induced by whatever it is that induces them now. Besides, Nora looked at the first monster in the book and matter-of-factly declared it, "Lazlo."

So far, so good. She gave her hugs and kisses, settled down in her crib with bum in the air and went to bed without a peep. Then, about ten minutes later, I heard from her room, "Duck!" Then, silence. And much quieter, a minute later, "Kack, kack."

Saturday, December 6, 2008


After we spent the morning attempting to accomplish weekly shopping while everyone and their housecat is trying to buy gifts, Nora crashed for a long nap. Eric and I took that opportunity to decorate for Christmas at break-neck speed. Literally. We got going too fast and the tree fell over and we both almost broke our necks. Unfortunately, the base was already full of water, so in spite of the wet-dry vac and dehumidifier, I suspect that the pine scent pervading our home this holiday season will be competing strongly with the odor of mildew.

When Nora woke up, there was new snow on the ground and a house (OK, family room) looking festive. Her reaction made the back spasm much more tolerable. She is either having a really hard time with the word "tree" or else she thinks that her parents are sub-par intellectually. She insists that the big, colorul thing in the corner is a "pretty flower." To be fair, few trees have multi-colored shatterproof fruit. To be honest, she thinks all plant life is flowers. This is a significant cognitive step up from thinking that everything (including furniture) is either Daddy or a cow.

As a side note, check out this t-shirt that Jenni, Lilly's mom, made for Nora. With the Rock Band guitar in the background, it almost makes us look hip. Or so I am deluding myself. A least Nora looks funky, right?

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Talking

It has begun.

People warned me about this. Granted, it was usually in the supremely annoying, "Just you wait, little missy, " tone that irritating people you just met in the grocery store and only know their name because it's pinned to their chest use when they sanctimoniously inform you that it's all downhill from here. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Anyone who has ever held a child that may or may not be theirs in their arms has had this complete stranger approach them and say, "Enjoy this while it lasts- it goes so fast. This is the easy part. It actually gets hard when they start talking/walking/rolling over." Right. Is it the vomit on my shirt or the mismatched shoes that give you the impression that things are going so swimmingly?

To be fair, I generally write these people off as clinically depressed and in denial about it.

Now, suddenly, with little warning, Nora has done it. She has skipped happily over that line into the territory of which we had been warned. She is voicing desires and opinions. Strong opinions. Some of which result in time out. This morning, after receiving a time out prior to leaving the house (which, of course, put us 15 minutes behind schedule- how does a 90 second time out do that?), she stopped in the middle of a mostly unintelligible soliloquy about cars and blocks to inform me clearly: "I want my blankie and I want my Baby and I wanna go night-night."

Now, I'm sure that in a few days, weeks or months, I will look back at this moment as a sweet milestone. I'm positive that very soon, I will be naysaying those naysayers that would look at this as the beginning of the end of Nora's cuteness. Just like with walking and rolling over and every other accomplishment, I believe that this will result in me loving my daughter infinitely more every single day.

But for tonight, if you need me, I'll be the one in the corner, in the fetal position, rocking and clutching this picture:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mostly Harmless

I am so glad that Nora had such a terrific weekend with the family.

And I'm so glad that she is such a good girl so much of the time.

Because I'm about to throttle her adorable little neck.
I'm reasonably sure that children evolved cute so that their parents wouldn't feed them to the nearest mastadon when they behaved Just Like This.
Nora just shrieked at me for the better part of her bath. She screamed about washing her hair. She yelled about brushing her teeth. She flipped out when I turned off the water.
I read the back of the Aveeno bottle. Twice. Then, Eric helped me force her kicking, thrashing, flailing little body into pajamas and dropped her into bed without stories.
At which point, she promptly began talking to herself in darling, fragmentary sentences designed to make me feel like a horrible, abusive parent.
"Daddy...Where Daddy? Where Nana? Lilly? Go see Lilly? Night-night, Lilly..."
"Uh-oh... I need more water...Water... More water, please...More...Water...Soap...Soap, please."
"Baby...Oh, no! Baby, please? Monkey..baby...please?"
I need a beer.
Practice that sentence, you little pest.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nanna and Poppa Weekend

Take a look at how much fun Nora had wrapping her grandparents around her little, chubby finger.

It was great having family in town this weekend. And of course, sad to see them go this morning.
We warned Nora last night before bed that Nanna and Poppa would be gone today and Mommy would be waking her up and taking her to daycare. That did not stop the immediate explosion of tears that occured when I was the one who woke her up this morning.
After about 12 minutes of heartfelt, heart-rending sobs ("Paaaaaaaaapaaaaaaaaaaa.... Naaaaaaaaaaaannaaaaaaaaaaaa... Daaaaaaaaaaaaaddyyyyyyyy..." Basically, anyone but Mommy.), I finally was able to get Nora's emotions under control by asking her if she wanted to go see Lilly.

[sniff, sniff] "Lillilly? See Lillilly?"
And that was the end of that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You know what I'm thankful for?

Having this kind of joy in my life:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Raised by wolves

I took out my camera tonight, because Nora was snuggling so nice with her grandpa. Of course, as soon as I was ready, she bolted. Instead, she made herself comfortable on The Most Tolerant Dog on the Planet. Should I be concerned that my tiny, soft, defenseless child is being sniffed by a 200-pound carnivore?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Toddler Logic

When Daddy is reading you Curious George, what do you need?
1. Monkey- of course.
2. Sleeper advertising a microbrewery
3. Mittens

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snowy days

It's getting chilly here in central PA. We had our first snow that stuck yesterday. In fact, it has at least flurried everyday this week and the snow that stuck has stuck around and was joined by another inch today.

Nora thinks that this is the coolest invention ever. (And by corollary, probably invented by Daddy.) I have been continually serenaded with a repeating chorus of "Mo' 'now? Mo' 'now? Mo' 'now peassssse? Moooo!" That last bit is usually only when we're passing the farm down the road, but it's still funny to me.

Nora was not always entranced with snow, however. I chronicled her first reactions to the white stuff. She did warm up, but her initial take on it is priceless. I feel like I should do a dramatic, single-person, slow-motion standing ovation for her dramatic performance of "Abused Waif in the Cold." Seriously, kid. Replace that pink synthetic jacket for a torn shawl and a woolen babushka and you should be wandering the streets of 1930s Glasgow.

See? She did start enjoying herself eventually. And has discovered that snow means hats. And mittens. Just more reasons to love snow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I didn't realize...

...That complementary entertainment came with this breakfast.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Third- and Fourth-guessing

Do you ever second-guess your parenting skills? Because I do. All the time. I'm incapable of deciding whether it was appropriate to let Nora play in the rain, or if that time-out was called for, or if it was too long, or if I should have put a heavier coat on her. And are people judging me as a mother for not putting a hat on my baby? (Answer: Almost certainly. But those people are generally the ones that I am secretly picturing taking a long stroll off a short pier.)

Here's a good example. In my last post, I talked about taking Nora to her well child check up. Things went fine. The post itself is a study in parental anxiety and doubt, but things went fine. After I posted that, something was nagging at me and I couldn't quite shake it off.

Nora is a normal normal normal kid. She is developing well and is a good size . Fiftieth percentile for height and seventy-fifth for weight- in other words, pretty average for a twenty-one month old. I was still dressing her in 18 month clothes. And not just one brand or style. We've barely bought any 24 month clothes. Why bother when these are fitting just fine?

But were these clothes fitting fine? What if some weird hang up in my own mind had me squeezing my child into jeans that were uncomfortably tight and she simply hadn't developed the language skills to say, "Excuse me, Mother, but I feel that these dungarees are a tad close in the waist. In fact, I have trouble breathing and playing at the same time after lunch most days."

Nora's crabby? It's obviously because her diapers were too tight and her mother was too self-absorbed to notice. Not eating dinner? It's due to her shirt dangerously constricting her jejunum. Pants hard to deal with during a diaper change? Pajamas amok in the morning? Socks fell off?

So I informed Eric that if we didn't want Children and Youth Services after us, we were going to have to make a trip to the outlets. To his everlasting credit, he only rolled his eyes once and barely sniggered at all. And he chased Nora around Carter's while I grabbed jeans in a size that was obviously more age-appropriate, flattering and ergonomically correct.

I felt so much better. I put those jeans on Nora this morning knowing that I am a good mother who bought those pants for all the right reasons. They were easy to pull on. They didn't strain to button. Nora talked excitedly about the flowers embroidered so fetchingly on the waistband. I set her down to run off and play, knowing that she would be comfortable and happy.

And the jeans fell off.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The story of our day

So, today was the beginning of my four-day weekend that comes after a ten day work week. As usual, I worked for a good chunk of the morning, then ran errands. Then, we had an appointment for Nora's [cough] 18-month well child check at one o'clock. Yes, Nora is in fact 21 months old. You may put this in my permanent record.

So, when I scheduled this, I thought that 1:00 would be a great time to do a doctor's appointment. Knowing intimately how a doctor's office operates, I figured that we would wait for less time if we had the first appointment of the afternoon. Always a good thing with a toddler, right? Last night, I realized my miscalculation. Nora's typical afternoon involves a delicious and nutritious lunch, then a 45 minute blatant refusal to nap before finally crashing on her mat at approximately...12:45.

I was taking a ticking time bomb into a public place.

Where strangers were going to interact with her.

Then, give her shots.

Oh, God.

In a panic, I packed, well, everything in the diaper bag. I had three different snacks, milk, four books, the monkey, crayons, paper, diapers. I got a bad case of torticollis carrying that bag, but we could have survived nuclear winter if you had thrown in some gas masks and a lead suit.

So, of course, because I was prepared, Nora fell right to sleep and had gotten a solid hour nap when I arrived. I woke up a sweet, agreeable child who was more than happy to go meet some delightful new folks over at the clinic. We waited just long enough in the waiting room for Nora to charm the pants off an elderly man in a wheelchair. (To be fair, he was pre-charmed. He was demented and his first wife's name had been Nora.)

Nora thought the scale was new fun kind of ride, but that having her height or temperature taken was somewhat suspect. The nurse kindly checked Baby's temperature first. Sheer genius. By the time we hit the exam room, Nora was measuring Baby's head circumference and demanding that Dr. Dan look in his ears and listen to his heart.

She demonstrated, nay flaunted, her knowledge of animal sounds and body parts and was deemed Perfectly Normal by Dr. Dan. Hooray!

We barely waited at all, rendering my survival pack useless, except as a talisman. And since Nora only got a flu shot, she wasn't even crotchety when we got home.

Nora decided after an hour or so of books that it was time for another nap. While she was sacked out, I sacrificed the pumpkins from our fall display for tasty, tasty soup. And toasted pumpkin seeds.

So the following picture is Nora in her trashed room where we've been playing all afternoon, cheeks stuffed with pumpkin seeds and apple cider checking out the box that the Motrin I gave her before her shots came in. Boxes rule. What can I say?

PS- Height 32.5 inches (50%ile)
Weight 27.9 lbs (75%ile)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Professional (ie, paid for) Pictures

In some ways, I like the pictures that we take more than these. But after months of trying and trying to get one single solitary photo of my little family that we could use as a Christmas card, I caved and we went to a studio.

These were some of the shots that we didn't get prints of, but did get on a CD. Remember, you are solemnly swearing to not download these and print them off. Faustian bargain and stuff.

Weekend of Nanna

Nora was delighted this weekend to have her Nanna Lauer in town to hang out with her. they went to the children's museum, the park, Chocolateworld and hung out around home. I'd be hard-pressed to say who had the better time. No pictures, since we were at work (Booo!) most of the time. But we do have one very happy, very tired toddler right now. Thanks, Nanna!

Here's an oldie-but-goodie of the pals:

Saturday, November 1, 2008


As you all know, tonight we set back the clocks. Which means an hour extra of sleep, right? Sure. Unless, of course you happen to be a parent. In which case, you are in a dilemma. Do you go about your normal routine and anticipate getting up before roosters and surgical residents? Or do you stretch the limits of what a tired toddler can take?

We opted for #2. So, after dinner, bath and pajamas, we just let Nora play. Things got awfully quiet in her room, so I went to check out the damage. And I found that Nora had taken matters into her own hands.

It's good to know that even if her parents are too irresponsible to know that it's bedtime, Nora's going to carry on with the routine anyway. It's time for stories. She's reading stories, daggumit!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Apparently a trick, because my Halloween post published below my "Coming out of the closet" post. So Scroll down for all the arrrrrrr-ction.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coming out of the closet

Look who can reach the doorknob! I keep getting ridiculously sad about how fast Nora is growing up. Reaching the doorknob? Seriously? Get a grip, woman.

In other, marginally related news, this door represents the completion of this house. The room Nora is standing was the last one. Every wall is painted. Every door is hung. Every floor covering has been replaced. Every appliance has been updated. Quick! Sell the money trap before anything else can fall off!

Happy Halloween! Yar!


Anyone who has spent time with me or my brother (or God helps you, us together) had to know that this costume was inevitable. I just had to do it when my child, now renamed the Bonny Cap'n Morgan, was too young to fight back. In my defense, she loves the hat.

'Tis better to not ask about the antacids. Just a warning. Avast! On to the lame pirate jokes, me hearties.

Yar! If anyone comes in the front door, they'll be checkin' out me booty!

Did that grog give anyone else hearrrrrrrtburn? (or GERRRRRRD?) Back to the galley, Mom- you scurvy bilge rat!

This be me first mate, Argyles McScruffybeard. His arch-nemesis, Moby Decter, once caught him sleeping and he now has the scars to prove it. Yarrrrrr...ouch.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nora discovers the iPod

So, after we got home from daycare tonight, Nora found Eric's iPod and started pushing buttons. I have many videos of her dancing to "Mana Mana." Unfortunately, the files are enormous. Instead, please enjoy this video of Nora dancing to the next best thing. Which apparently is always Vampire Weekend. Ah, my little hipster....

Notice the coordination she received in spades from her mother. And the actual, real, not sarcastic rhythm that she received from, ummmm, someone. I honestly can't say if Eric can dance. I suspect not.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bye! See ya!

There are some excellent videos of Nora and Lilly impersonating Ewoks, as Jenni says (I think they look more like Jawas, but I have seen those movies far, far too many times). Check them out here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lilly comes to play!

Lilly came over to play for a while this weekend! Hooray! Wee went to the Landis Vally Museum's Harvest Days, which the girls weren't too sure about. Especially when Lilly got licked by an ox. Licked. By. An. Ox. That's right. Poor child- I wouldn't be too sure about that either. But they liked the chicks and the horses and the straw bales. And they definitely liked it when we went to the children's museum next door, The Hands-On House.

We have some great videos of the girls talking and dancing and giggling in the car, but the first one was loading all day today at work and after nine hours, it still had not uploaded. [sigh] I'll keep you posted on whether you will ever get to see Nora and Lilly's free-form interpretive dance to Vampire Weekend's "A Punk."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fashion Plate

Nora's penchant for picking out her own clothes strikes again. What is it with the hats? Of course, this one goes right along with her new phrase, "Aw, jeez." And in my head, that's followed by, "Come on over for dinner- it's lutefisk with lots of butter, doncha know!"

And in related news, Nora only had red eye in one eye in this picture. My motherly inclination is to get her honky butt to the eye doctor. Then, my doctorly side kicks in and tells me to get a freaking life. Anyone care to comment on her light reflex, symmetric or otherwise?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Apple Picking

I just haven't been feeling it for the little stinker the last couple of days. Sure, I love her, but she's wearing me out with the four-tantrums-before-eight-o'clock routine. Seriously, tantrums about shoes? Really?

So, let's look at some cute things. We went apple picking when we were on vacation. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time. Since then, Nora has been totally in love with apples. We picked a whole mess of these tiny little tart pie apples and she just loves to have one of those to gnaw on after I pick her up from daycare int he afternoon. The added bonus is that she's cut three new teeth (including two molars) on those apples.

Here are the afore-mentioned cute things:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Nora fell asleep last nigt crying for her Baby, and woke up this morning the same way. I set my alarm early and got us out the door so that we could scour our route from yesterday again, looking for her lost Monkey.

We showed up at daycare with her other acceptable Monkey (as opposed to No Da Baby) to find Baby waiting for us in the lobby! Apparently, some other parent found Baby, recognized him (!!!!) and returned him to Kindercare. Nora snuggled those monkeys so hard that I thought she would suffocate, the whole time making a noise that was either hysterical laughter or hysterical tears. Maybe both.

She then flatly refused to give up either monkey all day long. It must have been such a relief to have everything right with her world again. I love that kid so much.

Monday, September 29, 2008

R.I.P. Mr. Monkey

Tireless companion, beloved stuffed animal, machine-washable primate- you will be missed.

In a tragic turn of events this afternoon, Mr. Irwin R. Monkey (or "Baby" to his longtime companion, Nora Lee Lauer) is missing in action and presumed dead. He was safely in her arms when her stroller left Kindercare for the daily trek across campus. However, somewhere in the midst of waving to many people and having a delicious snack, Mr. Monkey was lost. The tragedy was realized when she was getting into her carseat.

An exhaustive, but ultimately fruitless search ensued, on foot, in the car and involving the Hershey Medical Center Lost and Found and multiple confused passers-by. Nora Lee had this to say about the events of the day: "Baaaaaaaaa-beeeeeeeeeeee...Mama, Baby, peese? Baby, peese? Baaaaaaaaaaaaa-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...."

Fortunately, Nora's mother had a secret "spare Baby" (in addition to the two known and beloved Babies) in her glove compartment for this exact inevitable occurance. Thinking that she was "the bomb," Mrs. Lauer whipped out the new Baby and delivered it to the grieving child. Who took it, attempted a quick cuddle and pronounced definitively, "Mama, no da Baby." She then proceeded to suspiciously attempt to feed "No Da Baby" pretzels all the way home.

Irwin R. Monkey- He was filthy and smelly, had a drooping embroidered mouth and "Nora" written in permanent marker on his tag. Anyone having information on the current whereabouts of a monkey matching this description should call his family. One distraught little girl misses him very much.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In case you read more than one post, Watkins Glen was definitely not the hike that was a bust that I referred to previously. Sampson State Park was. We drove about 50 miles to find a state park. This one was on the shore of Seneca Lake, so how could we lose?

Big time, that's how we lost. It turns out that Sampson State Park used to be Sampson Air Force base. It was closed in the 1960s and they've been following the "let Nature take it's course" philosophy of reforestation. Which apparently involves paving and mowing. I asked the ranger if she could recommend a hike to us and she said, "Well, you're more than welcome to walk on any of our roads...." Totally straight-faced.

This was the best hike that we found. Please note the rustic asphalt and scenic power lines.

Aaaaaahhhh...I feel closer to Mother Earth already. What's that you say? Wildlife abounds in Sampson State Park? What kind of wildlife would that be, Mr. Informative Sign?

Squirrels! Racoons! Wrens! Turkeys! Skunks! Fox! Things that I certainly could never see in, say, my freakin' backyard. In. Any. Suburban. Wasteland.

When all was said and done, the "hike" did accomplish this...

All together now, "awwwwwwww..."

Hiker Chick

One of our days of vacation, we visited a state park called Watkins Glen. It was one of the most amazing places I've ever been. But even more incredible than the views was Nora's reaction. You could hear her halfway up the canyon yelling, "Whoa! Water!" at every one of the waterfalls. And there were 19 of them. (And for accuracy's sake, I should disclose that "water," is actually "wah-yo." Or it was. Now, it is "water." And Mommy is sad every time she pronounces it like a big girl.)
We started out with Nora in the backpack, which was OK for a while.

Then, she decided that she wanted to try this hiking thing. She walked up the majority of the canyon. Which was over 800 steps. For those medical personnel out there looking at this next picture, the answer is yes, I was concerned about yanking her elbow out of socket. But I did it anyway. I am an awesome mother.

And this is Nora, running to Nana. Over wet, uneven ground. While carrying a pointy, pointy hiking stick. Did I mention that I am an awesome mother?

And this is just cute.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The Lauers are on vacation in the Finger Lakes, where we have been having a great time with Nana, Thunder Dan, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Neil. The bad news is that this has made for a paucity of postings. The good news is that I have a lot to talk about.

Let's start with a study in comparisons. Last year at this time, we took Nora to Maine, stuck her in a backpack and went hiking. This year, we took her to New York, stuck her in that same backpack and went hiking...sort of. The hike was kind of a bust, but we got this picture, for old times' sake.