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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black

8/24/06 (Thursday)

Today was a work day, but I took off because Evie had various appointments for which it was much easier to be Cara-less. The day started like a weekend, with Cara waking at around 8 AM. She was happy to be up and I was happy that Evie didn't have to leave for a little while yet, because I've discovered I feel pretty lost when it comes to getting Cara up in the morning solo. Of course, this will all change once I start taking her to daycare in the mornings: I'll have to learn. After some breakfast Mommy pretty much had to take off, so I chose an outfit for Cara to wear. I knew I'd be taking her to a park, so I put pants on her so that she wouldn't skin her knees too much, and a little tanktop I found. It turned out it may be a bit too little. It is kind of small and it has elastic at the bottom. I guess the elastic was to keep it from riding up, but instead it had the effect of keeping the shirt halfway up her tummy for most of the day. This combined with her always falling pants made for an interesting sight. (Evie adds encouragingly that she thought Cara's outfit was adorable.)

Our first stop on our morning outing was the bank, where the nice lady at the desk asked if Cara would like a lollipop. I said, "Why not?" already weighing in my head the very answers to that question. Sure enough, by the time we were back in the car the lollipop was broken in half and both her hands were sticky. Fortunately, Cara did not like the lollipop (which was an odd shade of blue), so it very quickly ended up on the floor of the back seat. Our second stop was Walmart, where Cara did not go into her stroller but into a nice shopping cart, for all the time it took me to walk in, pick up photos and walk out. Cara politely waved goodbye to the photo lady as soon as she wasn't looking. Cara still has this issue with waving, but she's getting uncannily good at realizing when we are about to say goodbye to somebody, and will start waving at appropriate moments.

Then it was back into the car for a trip to Johnson Park (we have a choice for parks, but I decided I wanted to see some animals, and Johnson is the place with a small zoo). Cara I think was getting a tad tired of going in and out of the car at this point, and may also have been getting a bit hungry. But soon we were there. I put Cara down and turned around to set up her stroller--when I turned back, she was off in the grass, showing me why the stroller is becoming useless in these situations (except as a moveable cupholder). Actually Cara was not too energetic and wanted to be picked up a lot, but she also found some pigeons to chase, and was very excited about chasing geese as well (though I tried to dissuade her from this, since I wasn't sure whether the geese would take it in the spirit in which it was intended). At this time of day (around 11 am), they were hosing out the animal cages. Cara did not seem all that curious about the animals in the zoo, but did become interested in a coyote that was running around its pen. I think though that she was more interested in the two children who came by and got excited by the coyote.

We also went on the playground equipment a bit--we did the swing, which is still a hit, and went down one swirly slide together. Daddy also tried to swing on a big kid swing with Cara in his lap, but he has not yet perfected this. Maybe I should have stayed longer with her, but I noticed she was really, really into the snack food I had brought with us (these pineapple-banana freeze-dried things--PJ and Cara loved them last night, but Em and Ron tried them and were horrified), and I decided it was probably time for lunch.

We arrived back home just before Mommy! Then we all went out again for lunch, to the Mexican place. Evie tried a disposable place mat thing that kind of sticks to the table. The principle is very sound, but Cara just wanted to peel it up. She progressed from doing this to actually lifting the whole table cloth, and we ended up playing some peekaboo and Cara was putting the Playmobil horsie toy we'd brought with us under the cloth. I still think the place mat can have its uses in the right time and place.

After a nice lunch we went back home and Cara went in for her nap. I heard her babbling up there for a while, but eventually she did go to sleep. Mommy and Daddy got various chores done, including a lot of yard work, and Evie took the kitties out to the vet. After this Mommy and Cara went off to the gym, where I assume the child was a little angel at the Kids Club. For dinner Cara had a pile of lo mein noodles and pieces of watermelon--she kept taking forks from us to eat the food, and I think by the end she had three forks. Also by the end she was an utter mess. We went out for a walk and met Julianna walking a neighbors' dog. There was a joyous meeting, although the dog was a bit too friendly for Cara's taste. The owners of the dog had their sprinkler going in their yard, and Cara wanted very much to run in it, but she had to settle for a nice puddle in Julianna's driveway, which she splashed in nicely with her feet.

One of the good play things Cara can really do now is use the small plastic slide thing we have for her out back. She demonstrated this for us repeatedly today. She gets in the back, climbs up, settles herself on the slide, and ever so gently slides down the few inches of slide. Then she claps and does it again. Also at Julianna's tonight we all tried to show Cara how to jump. She thought it was very funny but couldn't figure out how to make it work: she just bends at the knees and stands up again.

Don't worry, we still did a lot of Curious George reading today. But Cara I think is getting impatient with it. I have a theory that every time we open a Curious George book, she wants George to go through a new and different adventure, and is disappointed to find the same old story inside. Halfway through the books she starts pointing to a different book. It may soon be time for us to put them away for a while.

In the evening we still had some time to kill, so we jumped in the car one more time and took Cara back to Rita's Water Ice, which we'd visited with her a few weeks back. Cara still liked running up and down the ramps they have there--I realized it was very similar to the ramps in the spiral fish tanks at the Baltimore Aquarium. Evie and I took turns giving Cara spoonfuls of our stuff, but we had not thought to get an extra spoon for Cara. The end result of this was that at one point I was feeding Cara custard with my spoon while Evelyn was feeding me custard with her spoon. It was very funny.

Finally it was time for Cara's bath, and then we did our new and improved night time routine with the family teeth brushing followed by reading time, then bed for Cara. Cara nicely got a book and handed it to Mommy. She is getting really good about reading. Today I was at the computer for a while and Cara sat nearby and looked at a book by herself. Evie also gives Cara board books in the car, and she really looks at them. It's very cool. Also today Cara was quite affectionate and Evie and I both got some nice knee hugs from her (and some normal hugs if we were sitting down).

Really this was just a pretty normal day, so I don't know why I spent so much time going on about it. But it was nice. Cara is a good little girl!

8/25/06 (Friday)

Cara's morning was fairly normal; wake up, read books, get doodled, eat something. I gave her meat sticks, as a special treat. Then I hauled her off to the supermarket. You know how supermarkets often have big bins of books sitting out for sale? I've always wondered who would buy books at a supermarket. Today, I found out. It's me. We got five nice kiddie books. Two are Golden books. One is a Richard Scarry word book, which has a lot of pictures of items and their names. It's cute. The other is Sleeping Beauty, based on the movie. It's not exactly a novelization, I guess it's a storybookation. I got a book about what animals eat, which is interactive in some way. I haven't seen it myself, because I've been letting Cara read it in the car. I don't even know how it works. I got a normal storybook about a crab who doesn't like his claws. I thought it would be nice for Cara to have a sea creatures book. The best one is a Muppet dictionary. It's a nice little dictionary for tiny kids, and it features pictures and sample sentences about the Muppet babies. Cara recognizes the characters.

When we got home Cara helped me carry the bananas upstairs, and she opened one. Then I had to let her eat it. We had a lunch date with PJ, so I hadn't planned on letting her snack. She was crabby, and she kept putting her hand in her mouth. I decided that Ccara was teething, and so I gave her some Tylenol, which I hadn't done in weeks!

PJ went to his 18-month doctor's appointment today. Em and I had both been told, by our different doctors, that the 15-month appointment is the worst. PJ was not aware of that, and his 18-month appointment was much louder than his previous experiences were. He was fine, though, when we got over to his house. I went to pick up lunch, and the kids stayed and played. Cara and PJ had quesadillas, and Cara ate some of hers. She also had some rice. Soon, though, she decided she'd really rather not be in the chair. PJ tried some yelling, too, but his heart was clearly not in it. Cara kept it up even after she was released, so I hauled her home. (This all made Em very happy; it's always nice to see that other people's kids have meltdowns.) She kept yelling. I changed her. She kept yelling. I read her a book. She was perfectly happy. I put her in her crib. She kept yelling. Eventually she took a nap, though.

After the nap we read some books, and then Cara got me her shoes. I put them on her. She got me my shoes. I put them on. We went outside. After a few minutes Cara was cranky, so I put her in the car. We had a job to do. We're going to a birthday party for the twins tomorrow, and we had to head to Kohl's to get a gift. A sale was on! Things were so cheap and so cute that I bought Cara's Fall/Winter wardrobe, basically. I got her five pairs of pants and eight or nine tops. One top is a sweatshirt, and the rest, except two, are long-sleeved. Mainly they are cute. Some are very cute, some are functional. We got the twins some very cute things, I think. I wish a couple of them had come in our size! I'm buying Cara 2T. I'm pretty sure it'll all fit, come December or January, at least.

My Grandma Anne and Aunt Nancy from Florida are here! We were meeting them at Grandma Emily's house this evening for dinner, and I was concerned about Cara keeping occupied and not destroying things. I knew she wouldn't sit still to play with any toy she had, so I saw that as a good reason to buy a new toy. It just so happens that Kohl's is right near a KB Toys! We went in and I put Cara down, She went and sat on a little kids' chair, and I had to pick her up again so we could shop. I walked through an aisle of good stuff, then I put her down. She went right over and sat on a little ride-on bike. It was a little bigger than the ride-ons she has; maybe Steve's right that they're too small. She messed around there for a while, and then she found a treasure: a doll stroller. It's just a little umbrella stroller, but it's perfect for Cara to push! That's how I got her to go back to the aisle with the toys I wanted to look at. I elected to buy a Weeble treehouse that had caught my eye first thing, and I decided to get her the stroller, too.

The ride down was long for Cara, who really didn't want to be in the car. When we got there, I got the stroller out. Cara pushed it all the way to Great-grandma's front door! There we found only my grandma, my dad, and my sister. We did a little baby-proofing, and we hung out. Cara was good. When the rest arrived, we went outside to meet them. Nancy was walking to the house, which takes a while. Cara was overjoyed to see her grandma, and I was overjoyed to see mine, though I didn't scream at her or jump on her. Cara had a ball pushing her stroller all over and playing with grandma.

Aunt Claire and I unpackaged the Weeble treehouse. It was a challenge, but my sister is very good at these things. The treehouse is great! It has a slide and a swing and a little Ferris wheel, among other things. Cara loves it, and it did occupy her for some time. We all got to play with her. She was friendly and wonderful. For dinner Cara enjoyed finger noodles, potatoes, salmon, and broccoli. She may have also consumed a small piece of asparagus. We played for a while after dinner, but Cara was getting tired. She had a little dessert, but she was clearly done. I took her home.

Cara stayed awake in the car the whole way, to my joy. She was really happy to see her daddy, who hadn't been able to make it because of work. He gave her a nice bath, we all brushed our teeth, and Cara was read to bed.

8/26/06 (Saturday)

Cara had a long and busy day today. She woke up babbling. She was happy in her crib, probably reading a book, when we came in to get her. She seemed to be really trying to talk. In the morning her daddy and I read her a lot of books, and then Daddy made Cara some very good eggs. It's interesting how eggs turn out different, depending on who makes them. Anyway, Daddy is practicing so that he'll be ready to get Cara up in the mornings for daycare. It'll be a big change for her; she'll have to eat breakfast in a more efficient manner, without reading for 45 minutes first, if she wants to get out the door on time! We'd better start getting her up earlier in the mornings on a regular basis.

Daddy went out, and Cara and I went to play outside. We took a walk, but then I realized what we'd missed: we went back for our stroller. Cara pushed her stroller right up the walk and up the driveway. She made a sharp left on the sidewalk and headed straight for Julianna's front door! Julianna came out and of course admired the stroller and Cara's driving. She had a surprise; she gave Cara a little baby for her stroller. It is a tiny baby in a pink bunny suit. It got a nice ride.

While we were getting our new baby, Grandpa Jim pulled up! Cara was thrilled to see him; she went right over and gave him her new baby. He came in and saw our new toys (the Weebles are still a hit) and read Cara a book or two, but then he had to go out and cut down a branch that was touching the house. Cara was very upset that he left. We had to go out and follow him. It took her a little while to find him, because he was on the really unused side of the house, among the ivy. Cara couldn't walk down to him, but she stood and watched. At one point she turned and went back to her stroller and I thought she had given up, but instead she confidently pushed it to the edge of the hill. I brought her around to the back yard, but everything was wet from the rain and Cara wanted to, for instance, slide down her slide. I had to haul her inside, against her will.

It got late, and I gave Cara lunch and put her down. She went to sleep around noon, and I woke her at two. She was sound asleep on her tummy, and it took me a little while to wake her. We had to go, though, because the twins' birthday party was starting! Cara said good-bye to her grandpa and her daddy, and off we went.

At first, Cara was shy. She sat in my lap and watched everyone else at the party. There were a lot of strangers! Besides Cara and the twins, there were two other little girls, both older. After a little while, Cara got up and started exploring. She found some toy animals, and she was thrilled. She carried around a tiger, which she repeatedly put to my mouth. I'm not sure what my reaction was supposed to be. A nice lady helped Cara collect some other animals, though she really could never carry as many as she would like. She was able to bring me a lion, a tiger, a hippo, and an elephant. The twins also have a newer version of the Noah's Ark than we do, and Cara carried around the pair of birds for a while.

We went into the kitchen for cake. Cara sat at the table next to Lina, and when we turned out the lights and everyone sang, Cara cried! She was okay when the lights were back on. She got to sit at the table again and have some cake with a fork shaped like a giraffe, but she wasn't really in a mood to eat. She did get some juice in a cup that looked like a monkey, and she liked that. At this point, Cara felt very comfortable and considered herself to have the run of the house. She visited the twins' bedroom and climbed on some of the furniture, and she pointed and laughed at two large Eeyore dolls. She traipsed in and out of the kitchen as if she owned the place. She didn't really care where I was. She was very friendly and offered the twins' toys to everyone in the most generous of spirits.

All too soon, we had to go. We got a really nice goodie bag! Cara got a monkey sun visor, bubbles, a balloon, a cute beach ball with an elephant in it, and a punch balloon. That is a big, round, heavy balloon with a rubber band on it, and you hold the rubber band and punch the balloon. I always wanted one. Cara likes to eat the rubber band. She also got a cute foam thing to hang on her doorknob. It has her name on it! Cara has already eaten one of the stars off of it. (No, she didn't swallow it.) My favorite thing, besides the punch balloon, was the washcloth. It was a flower-shaped thing that we tossed into Cara's bathtub. It expanded in the water and unfolded as a washcloth. It has a picture of a giraffe, a horse, and a sheep, I think. It was fun. Cara liked sucking on it.

We went home, and though Grandpa Jim had left, Aunt Claire was there! She's fun, too. We went out to dinner, and Grandmama, Grandpapa, Great-grandma Anne, and Great-aunt Nancy were there! At this point, I think Cara was probably overstimulated. She has been teething, too, which doesn't help. She just didn't want to sit at that table. Part of her logic may have been that there was her grandma, therefore things were supposed to be really fun! Steve took Cara outside for a while, and then my mom and I took over. Outside On the Border there are plenty of sidewalks to run on, and there are lots of rocks along the building, behind the shrubbery. They must be some sort of drainage system, but one of Cara's hobbies is walking on uneven surfaces, so there we went.

Once food got there, things got better. Cara ate her meal, another cheese quesadilla. She also had fries, some of which she apparently tried to store in the high chair beside her. I'm not sure how well that went. She also had a little guacamole and some refried beans. Then, Cara was done. She made it very clear that she was finished. We took her out and took her home.

One fun part of the restaurant experience was that there was a man making balloon animals! Cara got a nice red flower. She watched the man make it for her, and she was fascinated. She had a wonderful time sticking it in her mouth, and I had fun driving home, seeing it bobbing in the rearview mirror. Sure enough, soon upon our arrival at the old homestead, she burst the stem in her mouth. She was not at all perturbed, I believe. Parts of the flower are still in fine shape.

In a few minutes, the rest of the family got here! We went outside to meet them, and Cara hitched a ride down the driveway and into the house on Nancy's lap! We'll have to try it again tomorrow and get pictures. Grandma Anne and I went outside for a tour of the grounds, even though it was dusk, and Cara came, too. We showed Grandma all of our outdoor toys. Cara went down her slide three times, and then she and Grandma chased each other around and around the little house!

We went back inside to look at pictures and talk, and Cara ate a lot of grapes. At least, she grabbed a lot. She ate many, I think. She shared her toys with everyone and occupied herself admirably, I thought. When bedtime rolled around, everyone left and we went into our normal routine. The day ended very well. Cara didn't brush her teeth particularly well this evening, but she did stare very hard into my mouth as I did. I can only suppose that that was educational. She brought us her fairy book, which it turns out Daddy doesn't like very much. I admit that Cara's fascination with it is a little strange, but I like it even though we just kind of look at pictures. Anyway, it was a very good, very long day, and now that good girl is off in her bed.

8/27006 (Sunday)

Though Cara and restaurants seemed not to be getting along yesterday, both Steve and I for some reason found ourselves thinking about Le Peep, where we went out for breakfast a couple of months ago. Optimists, we went into Cara's room at about quarter after eight, woke her, dressed her, and took her out. We got a table right away, and Cara got a nice plastic high chair. The waitress told us that it took Cara slightly longer than many children to reach the throw-everything-on-the-floor phase of her visit. Actually, Cara was very good. She ate lots of her pancake and some of her egg, and we didn't have to ask for extra forks. She didn't want to try a piece of sausage when I offered it to her, but later she grabbed two big sausages to wave and tried eating one of them. It was pretty funny, but Steve thinks that the sound of sausage hitting the floor is something that will stay with him for a long, long time.

We went home and read some books, and then I took Cara out with me for some errands. I parked by the A&P, but first we needed to hit the pharmacy. I carried Cara there, walking along the buildings. It was raining! There were some uncovered patches for us to get through, so I ran with Cara just like Grandma does! It was a big hit. We accidentally walked through the toy aisle in the pharmacy, and I had to tell Cara to close her eyes. In the grocery store Cara worked on strapping herself in, though eventually I helped her out with that. She played nicely with her big bug toy, which Daddy had picked out for us to bring. Refreshingly, we hadn't played with it in so long that it's fun again!

After some at-home playtime and some lunch, Cara went down for her nap. Eventually I woke her up again, because we had to go to Grandma's house! There were lots of people there; nine of us, total. Cara had two great-grandmas, a great-aunt, an aunt, two grandparents, and her parents. She liked running around, but she found most of her toys passé and she wanted to go outside. Unfortunately, it was kind of rainy. Being crazy, we took her out anyway. It wasn't really raining, the ground was just all wet. Cara had a good time. She went up lots of driveways, but then her grandma started dancing and Cara thought that this was terribly funny. Feeling like the Pied Piper, my mom danced down the street, with the child laughing and following her! While Grandpa cooked dinner on the grill, we played in the back yard. Schmutz the cat is, of course, a big attraction, and I got cute pictures of Cara with her aunt and her daddy, watching the cat climb on a big tree limb. That is, it was cute, and I tried to get pictures.

In vocal news, Cara definitely said "kitty" while chasing the Schmutz. She also says, "There he is" when she finds things, but she can't articulate yet, quite. It's unclear, but it's definitely consistent.

Cara ate a good dinner, mainly of hot dogs. She does seem to possibly like asparagus, though, which is very good because I cook it a lot. After dinner she watched her Baby Einstein animals DVD with Grandma, who showed that she can correctly identify most of the animals. Soon, Cara got her second wind and became less cranky. She ran around happily while we had dessert. Now, Cara's grandma indulges her, which is fine. I am proud of the contribution to all of our well-being which I made tonight: after Cara dropped the chocolate that she had been running around with and my mother picked it up and got rid of it, I suggested that she check Cara's hand. Sure enough, there would soon have been tiny brown handprints all over Grandma's beautiful house. I may not have actually done anything, but I did help to prevent some mess. That is what I call parenting at its best.

Sure enough, after company left, Cara became her cutest ever. Aunt Claire, Grandpapa, Daddy, and I sat around with her upstairs, and she was as happy as a clam running around. I played chase and wrassled with her, and soon Grandma came back and we all played and had fun, fun, fun. It was wonderful, but it had to end. We stuffed Cara in the car, and somehow she stayed awake the whole way home. She read her book and made noises, and then she just kind of sat there and laughed for a long time.

When we got home, Cara sat down with Daddy in her playroom. I think they played Weebles, and I know Cara wanted to see her book about little Nipper the Crab, who hates his claws. I dragged her upstairs for her bath, though. With our new toothbrushing schedule, Steve and I have managed to make her bedtime routine at least ten minutes longer, but we aren't starting any earlier! We have to try to start at eight from now on, I think. It'll be tough, but we'll have to be more strict. Cara is very funny, running around with her toothbrush!

8/28/06 (Monday)

Cara was up at seven today, which I think is a good thing. She'll have to get up earlier, so she might as well change her routine. Daddy and I gave her breakfast together, though she didn't eat an awful lot. She'll have to change her breakfast habits, too! When Daddy left, Cara and I read some books until it was time for us to go to the gym.

When I picked Cara up from the Kids Klub, she had just started fussing. I guessed that she was hungry, so I went over to the pharmacy and purchased a bag of goldfish crackers. We got back to the car and had a little picnic. I left Cara in the back seat with two handfuls of crackers and started my errands. I went over to the pediatrician and picked up a copy of Cara's immunization records. I went to the paint store to get red paint for the basement. I went to BJ's to get diapers to leave at Susan's. Cara ate a lot of crackers and generally was vaguely helpful. When we got home, I made Cara a grilled cheese sandwich and put her down for her nap.

I thought I'd do something fun with Cara in the afternoon, so I decided to take her to the mall and let her run. We got all ready and headed out, but Cara of course walked right past the car and headed for PJ's house. When she got there, Em and Casey came out, and we all went inside to play. Ron went and picked up PJ, and we had an impromptu playdate. I got to hold Casey and put her to sleep for about ten minutes. The kids got to run around and wreak havoc. They were given a bowl of goldfish crackers, which they enjoyed very much. Cara scattered them on the floor, and PJ helped me pick them up. Later, of course, he joined in the scattering. He fed his daddy a cracker, and Cara went over to offer him one, too. Then she ate it herself. Each child was given a sippy cup of juice. Cara demonstrated that she probably really doesn't understand the tipping action yet. PJ tried to make Ron drink, and Cara tried to make me drink. She really worked to insert that spout into my mouth! Then PJ came over to make me drink, too. I really didn't want any juice. The toddlers and Ron played with some giant Legos, and all three of them demonstrated the ability to put them together. Then Ron and PJ started playing destructo with the Legos, and we girls all kind of looked at them funny. Eventually Cara got cranky, and I took her home. I put the Curious Buddies on and made dinner.

This evening, Cara was cranky some of the time. I think she's really teething. Steve took her upstairs, and we read to her. I brought her to the bedroom to play on the bed, and she went through her drawers first and brought a woolly sleep sack with her. I put it on her arms and zipped it a little bit, and I undoodled her hair. She went running around like that, sort of like some insane superhero. I took some cute pictures. I particularly enjoyed her chasing the cats in that state.

We started her bedtime routine at eight tonight, and now I'm finishing the journal at quarter to nine rather than quarter to ten! We'll actually have some time to relax tonight, and I hope that that makes up for the earlier mornings.

8/29/06 (Tuesday)

Today was a day I had been waiting for: Cara started daycare! She didn't go for the whole day, but I had about five hours off in the middle of the day, and it was wonderful!

We woke a sound-asleep little girl at seven, and we tried giving her breakfast. We didn't hurry. She didn't really eat much of her egg, though. I had Steve try messing with Cara's hair so that he could see what it's like to doodlebop her, but he couldn't get far. Doodlebopping is tough, and at least I have experience doing things with hair. He has nothing to build on at all! That'll be a challenge.

After Steve left, Cara and I read a lot of books. She was kind of crabby. At nine, I gave her some Tylenol. She seemed to be teething, and I think she wanted to play outside, but it was raining. Anyway, she was crabby. I suppose that the changes we're making in her sleep schedule don't help, either. A little bit after nine, the phone rang. It was Ron. The family vacation was beginning this morning, I knew, and he wanted to know whether I could watch PJ for twenty minutes so that they could get themselves together without him tearing the house apart. He was a little wild. Since Cara was also a little wild, I figured they'd be good company.

The kids always seem to be better away from home. PJ calmly played with our ball chute, while Cara continued to be somewhat insane. PJ played with lots of things, and Cara got better and did, too. She did sometimes try to take things from him. I ended up cranking the Weeble Ferris wheel a lot, because they both liked to watch the little guys go around. There were some squabbles over who got to hold which Weeble and whose Weeble got to ride in the crow's nest. PJ had the great idea of putting the ball popper balls into the Weeble treehouse; they're exactly the right size. They can sit wherever Weebles sit, and they can roll wherever Weebles roll. I gave both kids some goldfish crackers, which they ate politely but not ravenously. Cara's stroller was out, and PJ got to push it a little. We got through our twenty minutes, and PJ's family pulled up outside, stuffed him into the car, and headed off for adventure. Before they pulled away, Cara and I were out the door and loading our car!

When we pulled up at Susan's the kids were playing outside. Cara was happy to join them and decided to ride on a bike that was much too big for her. We talked her down. I gave Susan the paperwork, a set of Cara's clothes, a box of diapers, some wipes, her vaccination records, and her precious crib blanket and cat-rag. That will all stay there. After a few minutes, I left. I didn't call while I was gone, but I did look at my cell phone frequently to see whether I'd missed a call from Susan. I hadn't.

When I came into Susan's kitchen at 3:30, Cara was in a booster seat. She reached out to me and whined until I picked her up. It was the first whining she'd done all day, except a little bit of fussiness around lunchtime. She ate a good lunch of chicken nuggets and orange, and she took a good nap, too! The nap was the part I was worried about, but I hear that Cara cried for a whopping 45 seconds before falling asleep in a strange place. Susan said Cara was wonderful! I'm so proud of her! I knew she'd be okay, but I still worried.

I brought Cara home, and she was once again somewhat fussy. She really loves to be outside, and it's just not that nice out. We did wind up spending about ten minutes out in the rain. It was light rain. Cara had fun walking around with a plastic bottle cap she found, trying to stick it on the bolts of the fire hydrant across the street.

After dinner, I had to run out to the supermarket. Cara wanted to come out, too. Here's how it works. We walk out the door. Cara runs ahead. "We're going in the car!" I call. Cara runs past the car. I pause to put my bag into the car. Cara smiles at me from the top of the driveway. I walk after her. She runs off down the sidewalk towards PJ's house, grinning and excited about being chased. Walking, I don't catch up to her until we're about past the next house. When I decide to, I pick her up and haul her home. I stick her in the car, and away we go. This is how we always leave the house.

Since I wasn't getting much, I decided to let Cara loose in the supermarket. This was interesting. I'd never done it before. In the floral department, which we walked through, there are shelves of teddy bears. Cara was delighted! She picked up two at once in a big hug. She walked a few steps and put them down. She went back for another. She put it on the pile. When she went back for another, I finally asked her to put them back. She put hers back, and I put the rest. She picked up just one for the road. I removed it and carried her a little way. When I put her down I was afraid she'd head right back, but there was a lot more to see. We had a serious discussion about not fondling meat. It's in plastic, but it's just not right. She kept reaching into the cases. Another exciting thing was the colored tiles on the floor. She walked funny on them and may have tried to jump. There were some scuffs on the floor, which Cara tried to pick up. With Cara alternately walking and being carried (against her will!), we made our way through the store and got our shopping done. Thinking about dinner tomorrow, I went to pick up some frozen spinach. I also thought that the frozen aisle would be a good place for Cara, because she couldn't reach anything in the cases. I had not realized that that was the aisle that had a big beanie baby display at the other end. Cara quickly figured this out. She grabbed one and ran, giggling. She did offer to share it with people, but we got halfway across the store before I could pick her up again. I did the self check-out and handed the pink bear to the cashier before we left.

We came home and Cara was hyped up. She had a good time running around and did some roughhousing before bed. She tried jumping while brushing her teeth, which is no better than jumping while not brushing her teeth. She is still absolutely wild about books, and she had plenty of reading before bed.

8/30/06 (Wednesday)

Today I heard noises around seven and went in to Cara, who had gone back to sleep but woke right up when I entered. She had a nice half a bagel for breakfast, and then we were off on our busy day. The first thing we did was to head over to Linwood. I brought a snack and Cara's stroller to push. We got into my room pretty easily, and Cara spent about an hour running around while I hung posters and organized books. She wasn't entirely happy about being there, but she did have a good time, mainly.

I have a Tupperware container of chess pieces, and I let Cara play with it. She of course dumped them all out behind my desk and scattered them around. I expect to be finding them all year. She sat down with them and I heard her muttering, "hat, hat, hat." One was stuck on another's head. Cara was delighted by the magnets I have on my board, and I let her run around with them. They're somewhere. I couldn't really clean up at the end. I have a set of paper butterflies to hang as classroom decoration, and I gave Cara one. She was happy and walked around with it, and she watched me hang the rest. She went to the wall and tried to put hers up, too. I put tape on it for her and she managed, after some maneuvering, to get it stuck to the wall. I gave her another and we tried it again, but she ended up taking off the tape and walking around with it, so I had to chase her and remove her newest toy. We took a walk to the office to say hi, pushing Cara's stroller the whole way. She just loves that thing, and, once I get her going in the direction we need to go, we can really get places!

From Linwood, we went over to play with the twins. Cara had fun with some new toys from their birthday. We got to play in their room, and all the kids had fun bouncing on the toddler beds. They also fought over the little chairs they have at their play table. Cara got to hold a baby doll. It had a bottle in its hand that it could stick in its mouth; she loved it. She stuck her finger in its mouth, too. I guess I really ought to get her a baby doll. For lunch, the kids had chicken nuggets. Cara had ketchup for what may be the first time. It was certainly the first time under her own power; she saw me dipping mine in ketchup, so she dipped hers. Then she wanted to go walk around with it. She did get some on her shirt (she was wearing one of her new ones, naturally), which is why I'm doing laundry right now. I'm not sure how she felt about the ketchup itself; she wasn't particularly excited by it, and she didn't try it again. By the time we were done eating, it was a quarter to one; Cara was exhausted! I took her home, read her a book, and put her down.

Cara slept until almost four; we had to go to the gym. I read her a book, gave her a snack trap full of goldfish crackers, and put her in the car. The poor kid was still sleepy when we got there, I think. She clung to my knees as I left. When I picked her up, though, I heard some gossip. When I dropped her, I noticed a little boy, younger than Cara, who looked awfully friendly. Well, he was. There was a little Kids Klub romance going on. They smiled at each other. They waved. There was a little bit of hand-holding, and I hear that they blew kisses, though I don't believe that Cara knows what kisses are. At one point she was on the floor and he was on top of a slide, and they performed a balcony scene. It just goes to show you how fast things can happen when parents are away!

We did a couple of errands, including hitting Babies-R-Us. I got Cara a couple of new straw cups, since I left one of hers with Susan. I also wanted to try to replace her cat rag, who now lives at Susan's. I found things that are similar, and all but one were clearly for boys. The other was green, and I decided that the animal on it was a giraffe. Perfect! Well, Cara loved it, but when she got impatient and threw it on the floor I found out it rattled. Why would I want her to sleep with something that rattles? Well, we didn't get it. She slept fine without her cat last night and this afternoon. I think I'll just keep my eyes open.

When we got home, I decided we'd run outside with our stroller until Daddy got home. He got home, though before we were out of the car. We let Cara loose anyway, and we spent half an hour running around. It was very hard to tear her away from PJ's house; fortunately, Julianna came out. Cara ran over. She gave Cara a box of new old books, which is great! We need variety.

For dinner, we had pasta. Cara got it cut up in little pieces, and after dinner I picked at least a dozen out of her hair. It was not particularly enjoyable, but it was mildly amusing. We let her loose after dinner and she went right downstairs, where I found her at the door with her stroller, waiting. I had to take her out. We went back to PJ's, then I hauled her back here. Then some neighbors came out, and Cara really wanted to go be their friend. I brought her to the back steps. I had parked her stroller, but she brought it to the steps. I brought it down, and she was thrilled. Out back, Cara learned what so many new mothers have learned. She strolled her stroller up to her house, went in, and the stroller was outside. She went out and strolled over. The door was closed. This went on for a few minutes, and then she gave up. We had a good time playing, though it was getting dark. There were little moths in the grass, and Cara thought they were awfully funny. She'd love fireflies, but I don't know whether we'll see any more this year. We had a good time playing outside until almost eight, and then Cara played with her daddy and went to bed.

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