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July 2011

June 2011 entries

The Bucket List Continues!

Yesterday, we checked off "Hiawatha" as we went on the Family Night Cruise on the famous Williamsport paddleboat.


This one was taken right after Liam grabbed my sundae because I wasn't giving him ice cream fast enough!  Ah, to be a spoiled 9-month-old!  :)


Summer 2011 Bucket List

As our favorite cartoon, Phineas and Ferb, says, "There's a hundred and four days of summer vacation 'til school comes along just to end it."  And it's true that "the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it."  We decided to create a Bucket List -- a list of must-do activities for the summer.


We started by moving Liam to Aidan's room, which I already blogged about.  Then, it was time for Vacation Bible School (VBS).  This year's theme was "Hometown Nazareth" and the kids learned about what life was like for Jesus as a kid.  At the end of the week, on Father's Day, the kids sang at Mass:

And then, of course, our little ballerina performed in her recital:


And we went to Knoebels with our good friends, the Folmars:


It was a big day for Liam, too:

And tonight, we're off to the Hiawatha with the Folmars as well . . . just checking items off this bucket list left and right! And it's a good thing, too, since it's almost July already!!

Unexpected . . . haircut!

On Saturday morning, Gabrielle was in our bed when I brought Liam over from the boys' room.  It wasn't long before I noticed a tuft of hair on the pillow by Gabrielle's head.  Thinking that Liam may have ripped it out of her head (it's happened before to me), I asked her if she was OK.  She responded with a guilty look, and I examined the piece of hair -- it was clearly cut.  I asked Gabrielle what was going on, and she would not reply . . . I looked at her hair closer and discovered that an entire patch had been cut out of the left side of her head!  I went to her room, and like a detective, was able to put the pieces together. 

Under her pillow, I found the child-sized scissors and paper dolls that she was recently given by her grandmother; the rest of her blonde hair mixed with pieces from her pillow pet and toy lion on top of the pillow.  Needless to say, I needed to fix this.  Who says my going to beauty school before college was a waste of time?  This is what I came up with (picture from our "camping" excursion . . .in the backyard):

Sigh.  Never a dull moment at the Connor house!

Let Your Heart Sing

Tomorrow is Gabrielle's third dance recital -- and her first without big brother Aidan.  And while I know it's hokey to admit it, I find her song to be a bit of a tear-jerker.  This schlocky Disney song from the TinkerBell Fairies movie really does capture some of what I hope for Gabrielle's beautiful life:

"If you follow, follow the voice in your heart
Always know that's how to find who you are
So hold on never let go of your dreams
You'll see the magic
Believing is where it begins
Love is a beautiful thing
Let your heart sing."


Before I decided to write this post, and before my computer froze just as I was saving the finished product, forcing me to start from scratch, I was distracted by the cover of a magazine that I get mainly for dissection purposes in my Gender Studies class.  The headlines make outrageous claims to "burn 100 calories in 10 minutes" in order to "melt off inches" and promote "tempting recipes" that "fight fat" while offering a "weight loss playlist" that is "scientifically proven to slim you down faster."  Take a moment and look at the word choice in those quoted snippets alone.  Do you notice the combative, violent language?  Burn, melt off, fight fat -- should we desire such a dischordant relationship with our own bodies?  And what about that constant reminder that we women dare not take up too much space? 

Ironically, in the midst of these self-deprecating headlines, the magazine encourages us to "feel calm and happy, even on stressful days" and to "bring out your natural beauty."  Wow.  Talk about mixed messages.  How can we be calm and happy if we have to worry about melting off inches, fighting fat, waging war with food and ourselves?  Oh, and that "natural beauty"?  The magazine offers "makeup tips for your best features."  So even your natural beauty, even your "best" features need to be dressed up with makeup. 

Sadly, in our sheltered, non-real-TV household, Gabrielle has started to pick up on some of these cultural messages.  When I got her ready today and kept my promise to let her wear some of Mommy's makeup for the dance recital, she told me, "I can't wait to wear your makeup so I can be beautiful."  Of course, I told her that she already IS beautiful, that we just wear makeup for fun.  Will she always believe that? 

When she becomes bombarded with the messages I've tried to filter out of her life, I pray that she will always "follow, follow the voice in [her] heart" and she tries to "find who [she is]."  That she will never "let go of [her] dreams" -- which right now include "being a Mommy like you, a teacher like you and Daddy, and an animal doctor."  Because no matter what our media-drenched, self-loathing culture will try to tell her, pure "love is a beautiful thing." 

So, tomorrow and every day, Gabrielle Rebekah, "let your heart sing."  I love you!



Recently, we moved Liam into Aidan's room.  Aidan takes the responsibility of being the Big Brother in the room very seriously.  He  sleeps with binkies under his pilow, just in case Liam needs one; he sleeps now at the foot of his bed instead of the head so that he can be closer to Liam's crib.  Last night, Liam started to cry "at 9:30 p.m.," Aidan reported.  So he "gave Liam his bink and covered him up with a blanket.  He went right back to sleep!" 

One morning, Aidan came over to our room and wasn't in the boys' room when Liam awoke.  Michael was in the hall and caught that magical moment of a child realizing a new day has dawned.  Mike told Aidan, "The first thing Liam did was look for you, buddy."  Poor Michael had no idea he would get the reaction he did:  Aidan started to cry.  He said, "I have a big responsibility in that room, and I just let my little brother down.  I wasn't there when he needed me." 

I sincerely hope that the three of my children keep each other in mind like this forever.

Gabrielle, on the other hand, is not so happy about this room arrangement, and no amount of persuasion will convince her otherwise.  Her logic is this:  Mike and I share a room; Liam and Aidan share a room.  She's all alone.  Therefore, it's not fair that she doesn't get to share a room.  When she's 15, I suspect she'll feel differently about it, but for now, it's a grand injustice.


180 Days Later . . .

Good-bye, Kindergarten.


An older, wiser Aidan says good-bye to kindergarten with sadness (he woke up in tears, when he remembered today was his last day!) but I think that summer will cast her magical spell around him and he will be just fine until September comes around again.  First grade, here we come!