Sunday, July 27, 2008

My little guppy

I have been worried for some time now that Emma could not or would not learn to swim. She loves going to the pool and splashing around, but has steadfastly refused to put her head under water. We took swimming lessons last summer and they were a near-disaster, and Emma has gotten hysterical when I've even broached the idea of taking more lessons. Truthfully speaking, a little bit of my concern is that all of her friends know how to swim and it's a little embarrassing when you see all these two-year-olds fearlessly leaping in the pool, while your six-year-old can barely dog paddle. But I was more freaked out about the safety aspect. Your kid needs to know how to swim so they don't drown - HELLO!

Anyway, I had pretty much given up - at least for this summer. So on this beautiful and very hot weekend, we headed to the pool yesterday. Imagine my shock when Emma told me she was ready to try to put her head under water...and she just did it. Even more amazing was that after dunking her head under a few times, she starting swimming all over the pool. I had to stop her from going into the deep end by herself! We were both so excited! Sorry I don't have any photos, but I'm not inclined to take my expensive camera to the public pool...too risky, I'm afraid.

It probably would have served me well to remember that children do things when they're ready to and not one minute before. That goes for walking, talking, potty-training and now swimming.

The other big excitement today was that our caterpillar cocoons hatched and we have these four beautiful butterflies in our butterfly house. Emma was so excited and I have to admit, it was really cool. One other member of our household has taken a keen interest in the new butterflies as well...

I had to hang the butterfly house on a hook from the ceiling so Sami, Queen of the Jungle, wouldn't maul them. We are going to free the butterflies tomorrow so they can enjoy the remainder of their 3-week life span in the great outdoors.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Words of wisdom...

Generally speaking, Emma is a fairly quiet child. But for some reason, she turns into a little chatterbox on our evening walks after dinner. She keeps a running stream-of-consciousness commentary on life going the entire 20-25 minutes that we walk. Here are some of Emma's observations from tonight's amble:

"The reason I use so many band-aids is that I need my blood to survive."

"I don't think I would like to wear a straw hat because I'm worried a bird might think it's a nest."

"If A-Rock (Barack) Obama becomes President, the first thing he should do is get rid of all the mosquitos."

"We need smoke detectors because our noses don't work at night."

"Cars don't get bigger like other living things."

"Don't worry, Mommy, I can hold it til we get home." (uh-oh!)

I could go on and on...she says the most hilarious things while walking. I need to start bringing a tape recorder or something.

Anyway, here's a pic of Emma on our walk a rare moment of silence!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


During the long wait for Emma, I used to play the song "Waitin' for a Sunny Day" by Bruce Springsteen over and over and over again (I'm a major Boss fan.) I probably played that song at least 20 times a week during that long 13 months. It just made me feel better to know that better days were coming.

I hadn't heard the track for years and I was in the car this morning when it unexpectedly came on the radio. Tears immediately came to my eyes and I just starting bawling. It just brought back all the memories of that wait and made me think about how it had all been worth it because I now have this amazing little girl.

Anyway, Bruce, thanks for getting me through the rough spots...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Holy cow...

...for the first time in two years, my daughter is taking a nap! She went to friends house for a sleepover and apparently they stayed up late and then got up at 6 am (WAAAYYYY earlier than my sleeping beauty usually gets up on the weekend!) I was making her some lunch and when I went in the living room to get her, this is what I saw!

She's been snoozing for more than an hour now. Aahhh, this brings back fond memories of the afternoon nap, when I got so much done. I know it's a one-time thing, but it's sure sweet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coolest toy ever...

We've had a pretty quiet week. The big excitement is that I got Emma this really cool toy.

Well, it's not really a's a Live Butterfly Garden.

We had seen a commercial for it on tv a little while ago and it looked so neat. Well, it totally is! It was on sale at Amazon so we ordered it. It comes with this expandable butterfly house and a certificate which we mailed back in. Two days later, we got a plastic jar with five little teeny tiny caterpillars in it. The jar already has the food in it and everything.

Every morning when we get up and every afternoon after school, we rush in to see how much our caterpillars have grown. They've gotten like 10 times bigger in just five days. They're already attaching themselves to the top of the jar to build their chrysalis (sic?) When they become cocoons, you transfer them to the butterfly house and wait for them to turn into butterflies. It's really a lot more fun than playing with Polly Pockets, let me tell you, and more educational!

Emma had a sleepover at her friend Emme's house last night and she had to call me before she went to sleep to see how the caterpillars were doing (me, she didn't care so much about!)

Anyway, here's a photo of Emma watching over her caterpillars, which she has named Fluffy, Muffy, Buffy, Scruffy and Tuffy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My little barn rat

Emma continues to improve her equestrian skills every week. I'm so proud of her and so happy she has found something she loves so much (even if it is bankrupting me!)

Emma's lesson is from 3-4 pm every Sunday. But lately, we've been spending a lot more time at the stables. She wants to go early to watch whoever's lesson is going on and then she wants to stay after to help tack up the next horse and to tag along with the girls doing barn chores (watering and feeding the horses, cooling the horses down, etc.) So far, no mucking out the stalls, but I have a feeling she might not even mind that!

So we are spending more like 2.5 hours at the stables instead of just the one hour for her lesson. She just wants to hang out there all the time. The stable is too far out in the country for me to go anywhere else, so I've just been bringing a book and sitting in the lounge reading while she helps out. I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Anyway, here's a (sort of blurry) photo of Emma riding this afternoon...she is so totally comfortable on her horse, it amazes me!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vacation completion

We just got back from the family vacation...exhausted and poorer...but we had a great time.

First of all, a belated happy 4th of July from us!

We spent the 4th with my parents, who live south of Chicago. My sister and her family were there as well and we had a really good time swimming, shopping and eating. Emma loves hanging with her cousins!

Emma and I then headed to St. Louis for several days, where the temperature rocketed from the low 80s to high 90s on the day we arrived (naturally!) Fortunately, our first day there was spent at a water park, so we stayed fairly cool...

Here's Emma, post-water park, rockin' in her ultra cool mode...

The following day, we headed to the world-famous St. Louis Zoo. Now I love the St. Louis Zoo, but I have to say, I have never been there when the temperature hasn't been at least 95 degrees. It's a huge zoo and the trudging around in the heat can be pretty brutal. That said, we lasted about 3 hours and had a nice - and very sweaty - time.

Here's Emma at the zoo entrance, just a few moments before I noticed the huge "DO NOT CLIMB ON THE SCULPTURE" sign!

Here she is on the carousel...

And last but not least, an almost perfect photo of my girl, if a man hadn't wandered into the frame at the last second (sigh!)

We also hit a couple of museums in St. Louis, some of which were hits with Emma (City Museum) and some of which were not (Art Museum).

Anyway, back to reality. I have ton of things waiting for me at work and a broken toilet to deal with at home (trust me, you don't want to put that off!) Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

And we're off!

Emma and I are leaving today for our summer vacation. We're not going to Disney World or the Grand Canyon or anything fancy...just heading back east to visit family and maybe hitting a couple theme parks or zoos. The important thing is getting away for awhile (yes!) and spending time together.

Have a happy 4th and we'll be back soon!