Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swimtastic

Raina was thrilled when we rejoined the YMCA because she could jump back in the pool. Almost every day she asks "go swim?" and then she rejoices when we say yes. She has new swimsuits, which she loves to model, and she has warmed up and loosened up in the pool. She used to inch slowly into the water and would clutch to a parent the whole time. Now she leaps from the side into a parent's arms, she kicks her little legs while holding onto a noodle, and she splashes around with the other kids. We enrolled her in a swimming class for the summer, and I cannot wait to see her become even more comfortable in the water.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cute responses

Emily and Jerry are expecting a child in November. We told Raina, "Emily and Jerry are having a baby!" Her response: "I'm having a cousin!"

Eric sang the "Her name is Raina; she's kinda poopy" song from Raina's babyhood. Raina's response: a maniacal laugh, and a semi-convincing declaration that she wasn't poopy. And then many requests to hear the song some more :)

Eric asked Raina "Would you like to have more train pieces for your train set?" Raina's response: "All right, but I want to sing the ABC song first."

Lauren and John introduced themselves and tried to talk with Raina. Her response: "RARHHH!" which is her leap-frog monster growl. They didn't get it.

We took Raina to the dentist to watch Eric's teeth cleaning, so she could figure out the system and not freak out when we took her to the dentist for her own cleaning. Midway through, we asked her "Raina, do you want to come to the dentist?" Her response: "I'm already here!"

We asked Raina to go check on Roxanne. Her response: "Roxxxxx-ANNE! You don't have to put on the red light!" sung/shouted down the stairs.

Each time she spins her Hi-ho Cherry Oh! wheel, she raises her arms in a victory salute and celebrates. She also looks appropriately disappointed when she has to empty her bucket.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Chicago

In part to celebrate both Krystal's and Raina's birthdays we went on a trip to Chicago this past weekend. Raina was very excited as she has been looking forward to this trip for months, mostly because she has been wanting to go to the beach, but that's another story entirely, let's talk about Chicago. First of all, we didn't stay in Chicago, the Kearneys were kind enough to let us stay in their house in Naperville which is about 25 miles outside of Chicago - thank you again Mr and Mrs Kearney. On Friday we chose not to brave rush hour traffic and took the train into town. Raina was very excited and enjoyed the ride while munching on animal crackers. Eric was mostly horrified to find that there was no place to put the stroller on board. After awkwardly folding it into his lap and almost knocking out the lady sitting in front of him we finally got settled and watched the Chicago suburbs zoom by through the odd greenish hue of the windows on the train. After an efficient non-stop trip to union station we were finally in downtown Chicago where most of the sites were a mere 3-4 miles' walk away . . . in the rain. We had ponchos (left over from wash u graduation - thanks again to the Kearneys) and rain jackets, but we eventually broke down and purchased a couple of umbrellas. Raina was shielded with one of the ponchos drapped over her lap, but all in all was somewhat irritated that it was raining. Fortunately we made it inside the aquarium before it REALLY started to rain. Unfortunately the aquarium only had automatic flushers. Long story short, Raina REFUSES to pee in a potty with an automatic flusher. We have always found a way around it before, but having just paid our admission and having plans to be at the aquarium for numerous hours, it was time to get her over her fears. After 30 minutes of screaming, trying multiple different bathrooms, attempts at pee by force, and most certainly freaking out whoever was in the stall in the mens bathroom that Raina tried to crawl into (as she desperately searched for a potty without an automatic flusher) we finally came to a compromise that a parent must cover the automatic flusher with their hand so that it won't flush on her. Finally our trip could begin. Raina really enjoyed exploring the aquarium and the field museum later that day. Both were excellent if not stunning at times and the whole family enjoyed it. The reef section was an additional $10 tacked onto the admission, but it was REMARKABLE! Watching 15 tanks full of salt water fish and sharks zoom around was simply awesome, in that we were simply in awe of the experience. We used the pithy phrases "Wow!" and "Oh my gosh, come look at this!" too many times to count. We actually have a number of videos of the fish in the tanks, because it was so incredible. The Field Museum is also an amazing place, and it had a great explanation of natural selection and the evolutionary process of our planet. The dinos were tres cool. The following day we went to the Zoo and the Childrens museum on Navy Pier. The zoo was incredible and the St. Louis Zoo will forever be a let down now. The gorilla house, the Polar bear exhibit, and the Lion house were truly remarkable. It did rain on us some but Raina didn't seem to mind too much as we let her hold her own umbrella! Constructing our own foam airplane and then launching it from 100 feet in the air was the highlight of the Children's museum. We managed to return to Naperville at a much more reasonable hour that night, which left us time to check out an IKEA store. As ridiculous as it sounds that this was a planned outing on our trip, its not half as ridiculous as the fact that we canceled the rest of our activities for Sunday morning so that we could go back!! The only real problem is that we had no way to bring anything of significant size back or else we probably would have required a second mortgage. But we did buy Raina one more birthday gift - a wooden train set. It is the coolest thing, its got bridges and tunnels and magnetic trains, and it has been played with constantly since its unveiling last night . . . oh and uh Raina has played with it too and seems to like it. We are already strategizing how to expand our set by importing more pieces from the IKEA in Chicago.