"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

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.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Shift Change

No, unfortunately, I'm still on second shift, which means that I saw Nora for about 20 minutes today and Eric for a completely separate 30 minutes.

Aunt Tammy and Cousin Bella had to go back to Minnesota, but now Nana Thomas is here! No new pictures today (Just wait, though- Nana has a camera and knows how to use it.), so here are a few more from the wading pool with Bella.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pool party!

Aunt Tammy and Cousin Bella came to visit and help out since I'm on evening shift this week and Eric's on call this weekend. It was hot as blazes (really, it's September!), so they got out the ol' wading pool. And I got some cute pics before I had to sequester myself in a concrete building for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quintessential Nora

This is it- the most Nora picture of all Nora pictures. She is delightedly playing by herself, while leaning casually on a 200 lb carnivore. Notice the ring stacker with the rings in ascending order by size and a dog toy on top, also sorted by size.

Monday, September 1, 2008

How I talked Eric out of actually laboring on Labor Day

Yeah. Seriously. Eric had planned to work his tail off to get our basement finished today. I appreciate his desire to have a completed abode without tools and such cluttering it. Just the other day, Nora was running through the garage, tripped over a nail gun and went sailing through the air. She skidded across the floor before screeching to a stop against the circular saw. I so wish I were kidding.

But after losing much of our precious three day weekend to this project, I had had enough. I wheedled and whined until Eric agreed to do something fun with our day. It took approximately 43 seconds of pouting. We decided to take the bikes out the the local rail trail.

For those of you who know the area, we took the Conewago Trail from Elizabethtown to Mount Gretna. For those of you who don't know the area, it's a lovely, wooded, relatively flat trail along a creek that we followed for 11.8 of the total 19 miles. In Mount Gretna, we ate lunch and ice cream at The Jigger Shop, played on the playground and took some nice pictures of a very happy child. I wonder who she belongs to.

Nora slept the whole ride back, which was both awesome and awful. We got home and she was fresh and rested from her nap, whereas I wanted nothing more than to collapse on the floor. I tried to do that, but a certain toddler kept poking me. Thus, she learned about a maneuver called "The Superman," which is very entertaining, but may be performed with the adult in the recumbent position.

Meanwhile, Eric mustered up a ridiculous amount of reserve energy and finished the basement anyway. The tools have now returned to their home in the shop. Thus, the Lauers spent one Labor Day.