"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, July 31, 2008

Who is this Big Girl?

And the corollary, where's my baby?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunset at Lauer Ranch

Hey! Sooooo, ummmmm, I've been really busy? Is that a good enough excuse? No? OK, well, then you'll just have to accept that Nora has done nothing cute. Not a thing. Except this.

Also, we finally had some time together tonight and just lounged in the backyard for about twenty minutes. It felt alarmingly decadent to just do...nothing. The pictures are below. Please observe- Nora is now running:

For those of you who notice such things, Monkey is being played tonight by a tannish, floppy leonine creature named Lion. There was an Incident with Monkey of which the less said the better- he's in the wash. Bizarro Monkey (the one with the moustache) is at daycare. Hence, the unthinkable that we tried to avoid at all costs has occured. And it was totally not that bad. Nora barely noticed.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot Times in Redneck Town

It was hot here yesterday. Hot, hot, hot. And shade trees are strictly forbidden in our neighborhood- or at least it feels that way when you live on land that was a cornfield not all that long ago. So our options were to hide in our basement, go to the mall, or get creative.

That's right, folks! It's time to fill the wading pool and let the baby splash around nekkid. Unfortunately, we have well water. I neglected to plan for "the water is 50 degrees because it just came out of the freakin' ground" contingency. So no one was submerging so much.
(Nice picures, Eric! I call the second one "Pygmy Pool-cleaners of the Susquehanna.")

However, being a 17 month old and playing in the pool is hungry work. When snack time rolls around, there better be something cool and delicious waiting poolside. And someone to smear it on.

Notice the navel puddle of melting ice cream here:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Jig is Up

There are a few absolute truths about Nora Lee. The first is that she loves Monkey.

The second is that she has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger.

I had hoped to keep her innocent of a few of the harsher facts of life and these truths for a while yet. Namely, that there are two Monkeys. And that Daddy will do ANYTHING to make Nora giggle like she does here. Be warned- the following video is not for the faint of heart.

And yes, that is Eric reuscitating a stuffed primate.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Lehigh Valley Gorge

Today, we did the Best Thing Ever. We got up early, drove to Jim Thorpe, PA and rode our bikes 24-some-odd miles down the Lehigh Valley Gorge. Jim Thorpe, terrible name aside, is a lovely little town that has avoided the depressing fate of the surrounding area by playing up its natural beauty. And by driving tourists to the top of the gorge.

Nora took the whole thing very seriously. She refused to relinquish her helmet to get on the shuttle. Notice that she is clinging to it for dear life and is glaring at the fellow tourist taking our picture as if he has intricate plans to abscond with her tiny, pink helmet. And probably Monkey, too.

She also cried, nay, sobbed when Daddy's bike, with her seat on the back was placed on the trailer. How dare they?

Then, finally, it was time to ride. Again, this is serious stuff.

The ride was amazing, all along the river, past cliffs and waterfalls. We even passed a couple of people. (Not many- don't get excited. Lots more people passed us....) We stopped a couple of times, for lunch and to enjoy the scenery. I wish that the pictures we took could capture the landscape, but like so many times, it just doesn't translate.

One stop that we made, towards the end of the ride, was particularly nice. We hiked down a short trail and Nora learned all about walking on sand. Then, we killed a half hour or so splashing in the water and skipping stones.

Nora got filthy....

She loved the whole thing. We tried to do some shopping afterward and get some dinner, which was...um, challenging with a kid who had a lot to process and had missed a nap. Silly parents. So we drove home. And she slept like a rock (do rocks clutch stuffed Monkeys?) the whole way home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh, that kid...

Just about the time that my head is about to explode, leaving me a shrieking banshee of a mother, Nora does something to remind me why I wanted to do this in the first place.

The other night, as I was trying to get dinner on the table, Nora was whining and clinging to my legs. Nothing would make her happy. She threw her milk cup, then got mad when it rolled so far away. She threw Monkey at Suma, then screamed when Suma picked him up. She finally just collapsed in a little, pitiful heap at my feet and sobbed. It was one of those moments when I just wanted to set her on the curb- free to a good home. And we have good traffic on our road. Nothing stays there long.

As I was dragging her little clinging form over to the pantry to get some ingredient, she fixated on the Swiffer. In a matter of moments, she was delightedly sweeping the floor. And walls. And patient, patient dogs. The Mary Lauer genes are strong in this one.

When that got boring, she started helping me unload the dishwasher.

Then, I handed her three forks and asked her to put them on the table. She ran out of the room with them and I made a mental note to go searching for them after she went to bed. Things got awfully, terrifyingly quiet though, so I went looking for my daughter and her forks. I found her in the living room. She was trying her earnest best to set the table. Granted, it was the coffee table....But she's 17 months old.

Crisis averted, we had a nice dinner and Nora helped us load the dishwasher afterward. She carried all her own dishes from the table (having to climb over a mountain of mastiff on the way) and put them in the rack. Then, she pushed the rack into the dishwasher, closed the door and started pushing the buttons on the front. We have a lot more work to do- she forgot to load the soap.

It constantly amazes me what Nora will do if you ask. I never realized how much a kid her age understands and is able to act on. Sure, everything we do with her takes three times as long and usually has to be redone once or twice. But, I'm so proud of her when she furrows her brow and goes all intense trying to figure out what we're doing and how she can do it, too. And that look on her face when she accomplishes her goal...Well, it might as well be the sun breaking through the clouds after a month of rain.

And also, an intense, goal-oriented child who likes to have things just so? Cancel the paternity test!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things that rock

Nana rocks. (Be sure to note Grandpa Dan's delightful fashion sense. I call Nora's outfit here "Whimsy in Orange. And Purple. And Turquiose." And no, he's not color blind.)

Whoa! Giant chickens rock!

Oatmeal totally kicks it!

Hanging with Dad? Really alright.
Not Pictured Things That Rocked Today:
Headbanging and shimmying in circles to Wilco
Couscous and zucchini and ranch dressing and watermelon and...Wow. She ate a lot today.
Getting tickled
Learning that the sign and word for "please" gets you things much faster than shrieking

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fun with Nana and Thunder Dan

Mom and Dad may have had to work today, but Nora somehow talked Nana and Grandpa Dan into taking her to the gardens. As usual, it was awesome.

She learned to play the xylophone with her feet....

She thought about climbing a big tree. (Not until you're two.)

And she and Monkey had some nice quiet time. It looks to me like Monkey's been having a great time in those wood chips. You show 'em, Monkey!

After they got home, Nora got a popsicle. Monkey deferred his, but he's not teething.

And then, she fell down the stairs. I feel like a failure of a mother, but let's not talk about that. Here's another adorable picture of the kid to get everyone's mind off it.

There! Isn't that better?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Random cuteness

Here are some pictures of Nora Lee playing in the yard. If you are confused as to what she is doing, the answer is one of the following:
1. Playing under the deck next to the trellis
2. Decapitating flowers, which is serious business
3. Attempting to blow bubbles in a tiny puddle on a rock
4. Eating grass

I'll let you decide which is which.