Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Stopping Her

One sunny day a couple of weeks ago I was watching Chica ride her bicycle in front of the house. I knew she could ride without the the training wheels off. She has really good balance.....and really strong determination. I asked her whether she wanted to try riding on two wheels. She looked at me with a nervous smile and said yes.

I took off the training wheels and ran back and forth in front of the house a couple dozen times. She had it pretty much right from the start but she was nervously excited. A few more times jogging behind her bike, holding lightly onto the back of her seat.....and she was off.

She was so proud of herself...and so happy to show off for our neighbors, for her brothers when they got off the bus, and for her Daddy when he got home from work.

My four-year old bike rider.

She did take one little fall, but didn't cry until I pointed out to her that she had a little boo-boo.

And ever since that day....








This is a very exciting accomplishment for my baby girl.

And I'd probably cry about how fast her little self is growing.....but instead she makes me smile and laugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Firsts...and Things that Define Her

Over the last 6-8 months there sure hasn't been that much blogging by me. I have taken SO many pictures, but have been struggling to fit in the time to edit, upload, post and write. (Not to mention how annoying it is that you can't move photos around within a blog post on Blogger. Arghhhh!).

Over the last eight months my Chica has had some important things happen in her life....some 'firsts' that were never documented. And in the last year I have learned a lot about who she is and who she may become.

Becoming a Hostess

About 8 months ago she had her first play date at the house with her friend, Rose. Both were only three at the time and both are the youngest in a family of four kids. So both know what they want and what they don't want. And although Rose is all about dressing up and princesses and Chica might rather play with some of her brothers' boy stuff, they always agree on snack time and arts and crafts. Here, Chica is showing Rose her ABC book.

Fearless Water Lover

I know she gets this from me. I loved water as a child from a very early age. And Chica clearly has loved water since birth. I signed her up for some semi-private lessons with her buddies Rose and Norah and the three of them completely blossomed in the water together. They went from from a little nervous to get their faces wet to jumping in and swimming across the little warm pool without any swimmies. It was amazing.

So I knew this was going to be a big summer for Chica in the pool. She took her first jumps off of Li's diving board in June. From that point on she was all about jumping in. And at home in our pool, she would beg for me to let her take her vest off to swim to "Jackie". I would allow this if I was out there watching or in the pool myself.

Arts and Crafts with Accompanying Messes

I've learned this is very much a girl thing. Girls can sit, color, paint and draw for hours. Chica has a little box which holds her painting stuff. She helps herself to taking it out and setting up right in the middle of the kitchen floor, with her body lying in the living room. Her artsy-fartsy time is helpful to me in getting things done around the house...and it's not TV or computer....so I embrace it (and its mess). Now clean up, that's another story. She moans that "she can't do it all by herself!". But we are working on that....

Miss Sporty

The odds of this girl not being interested in sports is slim. Sports is big around our house. And I, as her roll model, also love sports. She wants to be included in the excitement and achievements. She will ask, "Will you hit to me?". This brings me back to the countless hours Jack would have me pitch balls to him in the basement as a toddler.

She seems to have pretty good hand-eye coordination. Chris was pitching balls to her in the front and I had my camera out. Here is her proud smirk after she has hit a wiffle ball and I've made a big deal of it. So proud. So determined. She has incredible confidence....something I didn't have a lot of as a child. Must be Daddy's genes.

Dog Freak and Potential Future Handler

This girl loves dogs. I am completely guilty of passing along this passion. I will go out of my way to meet a dog. This probably explains why when she sees one of our neighborhood dogs being walked by the house, she will yell their name, burst open the door and run to the end of the driveway to say hello.....barefoot and in pajamas.

Chica LOVES to have a dog on leash. She has figured out how to work the leashes and also how to get the dogs' electric fence collars off. She loves to pull Chewie around the yard but he can't stand it and runs the other way when he sees her coming. Buddy is the ultimate trooper. She will bribe him into a walk around the house. Around and around they go until either Chica gets bored Buddy plops himself down and refuses to get back up. I think she may have a future at Westminster.


I don't know if it's just that I don't recall when the boys passed certain milestones but I feel like Chica is doing things quicker than her boys. Of course I'm sure that being the fourth child has a big part in all of this. She started snapping her fingers around two. I thought that was pretty early. And this summer she learned how to blow bubbles with gum. Luke's and our friend, Aidan, taught her right after he learned himself. One day when I had my camera out she insisted I snap some pictures of her showing off her bubbles.

There is another exciting milestone that she passed which deserves a whole post of its own. But for now at least I feel like I have caught up on documenting who my baby girl has become the last several months. Because I know I'll forget these things in a couple of years!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Keeping Traditions Alive

By some grace of God, we were able to sneak away from baseball this past July and head to the Cape for a couple of days and nights to see some of our favorite people in the whole world. God also blessed us with amazing weather for our quick trip so that we were able maximize our fun!

Our first day we headed for Nauset Beach where we could find waves to ride and swim in all day. Unfortunately, high tide hit right smack at high noon. Also, the surf was super strong and had even prevented people from swimming the day before. The big kids didn't waste any time heading in to ride the waves. Only minutes later Jack got completely pummeled when he jumped with his back facing a big wave. The wave sent him spiraling chest forward onto a bed of little rocks. He had abrasions across his chest even though he was wearing a swim shirt.

That almost put a quick end to our first beach day. But somehow we managed to stick it out and even Jack went back in at the end of the day to ride some waves when the tide had gone out. Little did we know until the next day's news that that day was one of the first days that sharks were spotted off of Cape Cod. Kind of scary when I think of that gigantic seal swimming along shore that came within a few feet of some swimmers. Wonder if the sharks were near by?!?

I learned my lesson not to bring my nice camera to the beach last year. Here are only a couple of shots at Nauset Beach taken with my pocket camera.

Our second day we headed to our favorite spot where the kids search for critters all day. This is the famous spot for our annual picture with our friends.

Here, we were still dealing with swimmy diapers and naps. Jack and Ben both chose the Hulk pop this year.

Ah, welcome Luke to the madness a couple years later. We are really starting to get outnumbered in the parent-to-child ratio. Jack and Ben choose the two-ball screwball and Luke gets that push-up ice cream thing.

The group pic snuck in at the play scape in Chatham center. Welcome Chica! "Poor" Ben got tagged out in pickle.

We're back to Schoolhouse Pond and ice cream! I'm guessing nobody is having problems distinguishing my Irish/Welsh/Scottish/hint of Italian kids?

And the 2010 picture... we got a teenager, some pre-teens, some other cuties and a whole bunch of snow cones! I feel so old! Look at how they've grown!!

Schoolhouse Pond is so relaxing. The kids are busy filling buckets with fish, snails, crabs and anything else they can find. The adults can actually sit and chat. There are headcounts, as always, but the worry factor has gone way down.

Chica busily working the shovel....

Jack showing off his wounds from the pummeling on Nauset Beach....

Luke showing off his catch....

Ben, always happy to pose for me....

And here is one of the critters that I think Chris spotted and caught for the kids.
I guess I can see why this is called a Blue Crab...

And here are Jack and my godson, Tom. Most of us have to do a double-take with these two. With their similar builds and crew cuts you could easily mistake one for the other at a quick glance!

Here is a candid from a game of Marco Polo. (Hello, did anyone see that big crab??)

Chewie came along again this year. He enjoyed the Cape air and his friend, Ellie. And Ben was thrilled to have his pal with him.

And as usual we made our way down to see the Chatham A's play. We loaded up the wagon and walked on down to the center for some baseball!

A rare pic with my two youngest....

And here are the kids humoring me with a quick pic before we left.

We refer to this crew as "Team Dunkoni".

We had a great time! I tried fresh sea bass for the first time. And the one beautiful teenager in the group babysat for the crew so that the adults could go out together alone for dinner one night. Times they are a changin'.....

The only thing that might have been better is if Harry Connick Jr. invited us all to stay at his place overlooking Schoolhouse Pond.

Surely I jest. It doesn't matter where we are as long as we are with our friends!

Monday, September 6, 2010

All in the Family

I can't believe it is September and I never blogged anything about baseball. I guess the problem is that baseball...and my children...took up so much time and energy that I couldn't make time to fiddle with pictures and blog about it.

Jack and Ben played their third season together as part of the Falcons. They played in a very competitive U-11 A Division. The season started out with an awesome pre-season tournament championship. For the regular season the boys finished first in their Division with a record of 16-4. They then went on to be the runner-up for the State title. And then they played in a local tournament, went undefeated until the finals, but then lost to a tough team.

All in all, I couldn't be more proud of my boys. They are not perfect. They make errors, miss catches, strike out looking on occasion. But they are team players, have good attitudes, are respectful, try their hardest and support each other as brothers and teammates.

I eventually went through a season of pictures to see what I had. I was so pleased to see that I have this series of photos of my boys....as teammates. My favorite picture (and likely my favorite moment of the season) is the first below.

Ben had a great hitting year. Early in the season he hit a bomb to the outfield. He ran around the bases for his first ever home run.....to his brother, best friend and remaining teammates there to congratulate him. It was a proud moment in so many ways. Seeing Jack's expression afterwards in the photos just warmed my heart. This photo will go down as one of my all-time favorites.

Here are the other photos:

I believe this one was just luck. But the same knee up, same positioning of the glove.....

No doubt Jack watching a runner on second and contemplating the pick-off with Ben getting ready to move to the base.

Chatting on the bench.

Bench profiles.

Playing infield together.

Posing with their first place trophies.

Even Luke and Chica showed their support during our final tournament by wearing the prior year jerseys and hats.

Seeing these photos puts me in my happy place.