Friday, April 27, 2007

Neighbor triplets born on 4/26!

Our next door neighbors, the Skarkas, had their triplets boys yesterday (4/26/2007) at 12:30 pm. Jeannie and the babies are all doing great, as reported by the couple.

Baby Stats:

Baby A
Mason Keith Skarka - born at 12:29 pm, weighing in at 3 lbs 15 oz

Baby B
Tyler John Skarka - born at 12:30 pm, weighing in at 5 lbs 6 oz

Baby C
Ryan Patrick Skarka - born at 12:31 pm, weighing in at 4 lbs 3 oz

The babies are in the NICU and are all doing very well breathing on their own.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rory - 21 months old today!

21 months old already! Where has the time gone? Our precocious little 21-monther (she is now a legal toddler) is full of energy and enthusiasm, and runs everywhere in a flurry.

These days Rory likes to shout, "Wee Fi stop, okay!" if Fiona is crying. She calls Fiona "Wee Fi," and actually yells this whether or not Fiona happens to be crying. Rory always shouts this statement, making for the perfect irony. But toddlers don't comprehend irony, which is why I write this stuff down for later.

Rory's favorite activities are playing outside, assaulting whatever jungle gym/playscape she is on at any given moment, yelling "see see!" whenever either of us in working in the kitchen, and closing herself in and out of rooms (as in the above picture). She loves books and music, and sings all day long. She isn't into TV at this point, but we let her watch sports, SpongeBob, and Catscratch. None keep her attention for long - back to the books she goes.

Some of her words include the following: kitty cat, googly eyes, click, bike, my ______ (fill it in - she thinks everything is hers), Pat (her uncle is so proud), outside, airplane, Digit and Henry (they're proud, too), beep, all major body parts, her teacher's names, neat, and so on. She is quite the chatty thing, and we have fun teaching her new words.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Visiting family in Connecticut

(Pictures from this trip are available here.)

On Wednesday, 17 April, we piled the girls (and their vast amounts of stuff) into a rented minivan and hit the road north, heading to Connecticut to introduce Fiona to more of the family. The drive was a breeze, and the girls were super easy. We hit virtually no traffic, which is nothing short of a miracle. The added bonus - Fiona pooped before we left and Rory pooped during our lunch stop. Woo hoo!

We stayed with Gramps (Laura's dad) and Uncle Pat (Laura's brother), and we appreciate their hospitality. Rory loves her Uncle, in particular, because he crawls around on the floor with her.

On Thursday, 18 April, Rory got to meet her Nantucket cousins - Jenny and Delly Garneau. Jenny is Laura's first cousin, and is a fantastic person. Funny, smart, pretty, and then some. The poor thing broke her leg later in the weekend, but more on that later. Delly is 14, in 8th grade, and is a pip. She is very into music, and loves introducing people to new bands. Rory loved the women, and Fiona seemed impressed, too, as far as we can tell.

While they were visiting, Gramps' house lost power and we played a highly competitive game of "Apples to Apples" by the light of battery-operated lanterns. Delly eventually overtook us old people, kicking our butts with such cards as "Awkward," "Fragrant," "Desperate," and "Offensive." It was a scream!

On Friday afternoon, Fiona met Laura's other first cousin Delphine Cyr (sister of Jenny), and her husband, Don. They live in Glastonbury, and we set Rory loose to run around on their property with the boys (Craig, Pat, and Don), while the girls (the rest of us) kept Fiona out of the sunshine (no sunscreen allowed on babies). Del is a professional potter, and Laura bought two gorgeous ceramic vases with candles inside.

On Friday night, Laura's half-sister, Denise, and her beautiful daughter, Aryana, came over to Gramps' for a visit. We feasted on Chinese food, and introduced them to Apples to Apples (the game is highly addictive, trust me). Denise gave Fiona a gorgeous, crocheted blanked she made; we know Fi will love luxuriating on the blanket's softness.

On Saturday morning, we drove the girls to see Laura's grandmother, Grandma Del, who is 93 and lives in Chester, CT. Gram was very excited to see everyone, and Rory had a ball with her. She also had a ball climbing all over Gram's walker - hah! Fiona warmed up to Gram right away, and they had a smiling contest. I am not sure who won; they were pretty sweet on each other. Gram gave Rory a new winter hat, which Rory pulled on and off her head about 40 times during the trip back to Glastonbury.

On Saturday night, we had dinner at Mary Gallagher/Pat's house. Mary's fiancee, Dave, made a delicious dinner, and we were joined by some family friends, Inge and Harry Packman. It was a fun night, despite us having to leave by 7:45 to get Rory to bed. Pat has a giant frog at the house, and Rory went through the roof when she saw it, dragging it all over the house. It was big enough for her ride on, mind you, and ride it she did. She loves frogs!

On Sunday morning, it was time for us to make the drive back to Virginia. We hope to be living in New England soon, so maybe there won't be too many more of these endless trips in our future! For the record, the girls were great all the way home, too - for all seven hours of the drive. Talk about lucky!

JENNY'S LEG: On Friday night, Jenny and Delly went out dancing. Jenny went over to say something to one of the bend members, and when she turned around to leave, she tripped over a piece of his equipment. She fell on her knee, and broke her tibia (the shin bone) in three places, all up near the knee. She had surgery on Sunday, and now has plates and pins in her reconstructed leg bone. We wish her a speedy recovery, and good pain meds. =)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Meeting New Friends!

A new baby is an alluring thing, especially to old friends. Fiona had the privilege of meeting two of her mother's oldest friends this week - Ted Milligan and Stefanie (Morrissey) Salazar.

Laura and Ted met way back in 1983, when Laura was a sophomore at Glastonbury (CT) High School. Her dad had recently purchased a house in an area of Glastonbury known as "Rattlesnake Mountain," and she and Ted became bus friends (and best friends!). We never would have met if it wasn't for the bus. We owe our lifelong relationship to a bus, and to gum. Ted hit me up for a piece of gum one day, and we have never looked back.

Fiona was very pleased to finally meet her Uncle Ted, and he spent a large portion of the visit kissing her squishy cheeks. Big Sister Rory (BSR) is a HUGE fan of Ted's - anyone who gets down on the floor to play is golden in her eyes - and we know Fiona will adore him as well. Ted moved to D.C. a few years ago, and we love having him close by.

Steff and her four sons - Benjamin (13), Alex (12, but almost 13), Thomas (10), and Steven (7) - drove up from Chesapeake, VA, where they are stationed with Steff's husband, Ben (a Navy pilot). Laura and Steff met during orientation at Hartwick College (Steff's assigned weekend roommate was a bore, and so me and my assigned roommate dragged her mattress down the hall to stay with us), and we lived together our senior year. Fiona loved meeting Steff and the boys, especially Thomas. He was wonderful with her, and enjoyed holding her - except, maybe, when she pooped. He found that quite amusing. I think he should have found it frightening! => Her poops can be... explosive, shall we say. But he got lucky- this one was contained.

We are traveling to Connecticut next week to meet more of the family. More posts (and photos) to come.

P.S. Kurt (Mr. Exploding Appendix) and Donna returned from Arizona yesterday. Welcome home!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kurt discharged from the hospital

Just a quick aside to note that our good friend, Kurt Baumann, was released from the hospital in Tucson, AZ today. Kurt and Donna were visiting his sister and her new son in Tucson last week when Kurt's appendix decided it was a high time to explode. He had emergency surgery, and spent days and days in the hospital, doped to the gills. Donna reports that he is now requesting a venti, sugar free, 2% vanilla latte from Starbucks, so he MUST be on the road to recovery!

Now we just need to get him back to this coast. This was a harrowing experience for the family, who was simultaneously dealing with the death of their sweet black Newfie, Indiana. Indy was a truly wonderful giant of a dog, and he will be missed.

Easter 2007, part 2

And now for the Easter follow-up, a few days late. We had a crazy stock-related tax debacle occur on Monday, so my post was delayed. Fret not about the tax issue; our intrepid tax preparer, Ray, figured everything out and we are well on our way to paying our 2006 taxes. Phew! There is almost nothing as valuable as a fearless and tenacious tax man! We bow at the altar of Ray (as do many of our VA-based friends!).

Back to Easter! I dressed Rory in an adorable pink plaid dress I had purchased earlier in the week, and because we had woken her up from her nap to hasten to our destination, she was less than pleased. Let's just say that I have some pictures of her sobbing in her dress, trying to pull it off. Can you tell we typically dress her in jeans and shirts? The poor thing isn't used to looking like a girl; I will have to make more of an effort in that regard this summer!

We spent the afternoon at the Miller's house - Mike, Ruth, and Amanda - and had a fun time and a wonderful meal. Ruth's macaroni and cheese can't be beat (though it can't be good for you!), and the asparagus and ham were a fabulous treat. Rory and Amanda ran around the house for what seemed like hours. Molly, the corgi mix, was very sweet, kissing Rory whenever she was able. She is just the right height to sneak kisses during Rory run-bys. Once Rory got used to her, she was found to be giggling whenever kissed. It was cute.

The we came home and crashed. Thanks for the Millers for a lovely meal and a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter 2007, part 1

As I am writing this, Digit is trying to slap her giant paw onto the keyboard to type. Can you tell both kids are asleep right now? Otherwise, she'd be snoozing behind the couch, out of sight. She's no dummy, this one!

Happy Easter to all! Fiona's first Easter started off with both girls waking up around 7:30 am. Rory woke up singing in her crib, per her usual sunny self, and Fiona was actually woken up by us so we could start the day. She stretched a lot in her crib, and smiled up at me (once a shot her a few silly faces). The girls' Easter baskets were filled with all sorts of fun loot - books, stuffed creatures, a few toys for each, and an old-fashioned, candy-filled egg from See's. Rory doesn't care about candy - and Fiona is on a milk/formula only diet - so the egg's contents will be consumed by Mom and Dad. Nice perk!

The biggest hit in Rory's basket was the Easter-themed Mr. Potato Head. It comes with bunny ears, and everything. Enjoy the pictures of her creation; it is very Frankenstein-esque. FrankenPotato?

This afternoon, we are going to eat Easter dinner with our friends, the Millers - Mike, Ruth, and Amanda. Ruth's mom, Frances, will also be with us. Rory and Fiona both have cute outfits to wear, and I hope to snap a few good photos of them enjoying themselves in their holiday finery.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Visits from Family + Friends

The weekend before Easter, we were lucky enough to have visitors come to meet Fiona. Laura's dad (Gramps), brother (Uncle Pat), and Douglas' wonderful girlfriend, Liz, flew down from Connecticut to spend a brief weekend meeting the latest addition - and to play with Rory, of course. Driving down from Michigan was Laura's college roommate from Hartwick, Laura (Stiefvater) Camarota, her husband, Mike, and their two charming daughters - Sophia (7) and Isabella (3.5).

Laura, Mike, and the girls arrived at lunchtime on Friday, 30 March, and after eating some lunch and waiting for Rory to wake up from naptime, the gang piled into two cars and drove off to see the animals at the Reston Zoo. It was a gorgeous, sunny, Spring day, and the zoo provided the optimal place for the kids to be "free range." We took a wagon ride, during which we were accosted by llamas and a long-horned cow - and I am talking LONG horned. They were enormous, and though she seemed quite gentle and was letting all the kids pet her, one wild swipe and she could have poked a large hole in someone. Luckily, we escaped without damage.

Patrick and company arrived at BWI late Friday night, and Craig drove to our cousin's house - the Carrigan's - in Arlington to steal Pat away and bring him back to our place. Rory loves it when her Uncle Pat comes to visit! She was SO excited to see him the next morning. The Camatoras spent the day in D.C., viewing the perfectly in-peak cherry blossoms (alongside the rest of the people in the world). On Saturday afternoon, the family went to a local farm to see a wide variety of animals - some of which had babies alongside them. There was a Western-style horseshow going on there, too.

One highlight of the trip HAS to be having Gramps sing to Rory, who became a dancing fool and couldn't stop flirting with him. It was fabulous to watch them interact, and I think Gramps has a new best friend. =>

That night, everyone came back to our place for tacos. The Camarotas drove back to Michigan on Sunday morning, after the girls took a dip in their hotel pool. Douglas, Liz, and Pat flew back to Hartford mid-day, after a nice brunch at a local diner. All in all, both visits were way too short. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon!