Saturday, May 19, 2012

35 Moments From March 2012

This past March saw the passing of my maternal grandma, Patricia Loy. Her passing was done in her own home, surrounded by her whole family. It was a very sad occasion. Auric and I were able to make our way to Murphysboro during her final week. I had a few short visits with her and she even spent a quick moment with Auric. She was kind woman and very sweet and loving grandmother to me. This month had much of our usual silliness and frenetic pace; however, our lives were saddened by her passing. Below contains the happier moments from this month. (Click here to see the whole album.)

March was an unseasonably warm month; however, we did have occasion to spend some time at the indoor playground. Here is Auric playing on another piece of faux-exercise equipment.

Here is Etta being a mom to the two freakishly large baby dolls. Mommy Etta is living the nightmare of caring for twins that are 3/4 your own size.

We had sun and warmth and so the early spring flowers bloomed. And then Mother Nature remembered that it was March, and snowed all over our fantasy of Spring.

Auric did this completely on his own. He emptied out the lower compartment of food-related toys, took the "sink" out, and then crawled in.

The two Pocock men, eating breakfast. (Yes, one of the men is wearing one of Thora's headbands.)

Here is a very cute moment of Auric painting a picture. Enjoy.

This one is entitled, "Ruining Dinner."

While in Murphysboro, Auric and I stayed at my Dad's cousin, Lea Ann's, house. Auric was very lucky, since the place is decked out in toys for Lea Ann's grandson, Gibson. Here is Auric discovering the jackpot of Gibson's outside toys.

Our time in Murphysboro was sad. Here is a photo of how I'd like to remember my grandma, with Thora in the fall of 2008. I traveled to Chicago for a visit and my grandparents drove up from Murphysboro to see us.

While in Murphysboro, I was struck by the blooming magnolia tree outside my grandma's window. I couldn't help but think about the cosmic cycles of death and rebirth, the connectedness of all things, and how my memories of her will continue to connect me to her over the rest of my lifetime.

My kids don't allow me to dwell on sad things for too long. Our divided family was happy to be reunited. After picking Thora up from school, Thora and Auric enjoyed a game Auric calls, "Run and Tickle." Enjoy.

Thora posing in a Wonder Woman-inspired pose, while wearing her Wonder Woman t-shirt.

Zach, Auric, and Thora appreciate the symmetry of the moment.

I ran a St. Patrick's Day 5K while pushing Auric in a stroller.

I heard one guy say, "Show off," as I passed him. (As I passed him.)

During March, Ally's family hosted the cooking class. Here the kids are lined up in an assembly line of sous chefs.

I need to start a collection of photos that detail all the times I take Auric out of the house in his pajamas as if they are regular clothes. This would go in there.

I also need another album just of photos in which Auric has "assumed the position."

I include this one because he looks like such a big kid boy. (I emailed it to my dad with the subject line "This looks like something out of your boyhood.") But it's also the same day as the above two photos, so I'd like it documented that I eventually did get him out of his jammies that day.

Again, spring sprung very early this year. This was captured during a stop at a playground in the middle of our run along the Charles River, on the Esplanade.

We pass under this magnolia tree on the way to Thora's school.

Auric "assuming the position."

The result of laying in fresh mulch.

Auric assumes the position again.

Thora continues to progress in her tae kwon do studies. The school adjusted the curriculum so that they could have a more formal belt ceremony every three months when the kids graduate to the next higher belt color. This March saw Thora move from the blue stripe belt to the red stripe belt. (The next one is a black stripe belt.) Here is a video showing the highlights of that ceremony, in which Thora and her fellow Advanced Tigers showcase some of the skills they mastered in order to graduate to the next belt. Enjoy!

We did have a day or two of typical Boston March weather.

Obligatory messy face picture (to frame and display at his wedding).

Auric and friends appreciate the symmetry of the moment. "Ice Cream For Sale!"

We made another tape road.

And we celebrated Thora's friend, River's, birthday! Here is Auric and River's sister, Lila.

Thora and Mia

The gang

I'll end this month with a few videos of Auric. This first is one called, "A Brief Conversation with Auric." I have to preface this video by saying that it was recorded right before a nap. He's usually more articulate than this, but like everyone, he isn't firing on all cylinders while sleepy. (Side note: spaciness is kind of cute in 2 year-olds.) Any conversation with him will likely involve discussion of his current favorite movie, Kung Fu Panda or Kung Fu Panda 2, or a scene from another movie that he's trying to understand, in this case a scene from the movie, Cars. He will often employ unexpected shifts in topics to keep you guessing. And finally, you'll have to talk about trucks if you want to talk to Auric. Enjoy.

Auric went through a phase when he would observe everything (everything!) as he sat in the stroller, riding down the street. This video captures a brief moment of that and also one of my favorite Auric-ism: The Vroom Car. I still don't quite know how he determines which are vroom cars and which are not. At first I thought he was referring to cars that looked like race cars, or ones that he saw going fast. You'll see in this clip that the car he designates as a vroom car is neither of these things.

And finally, Auric puts a lot of things that aren't food in his mouth. Not quite as much as his sister did (still does!). However, this habit of theirs is part of my explanation for their robust immune systems. Here, I capture Auric just as he's come from playing house with his friends at a playground. (I think there was a "kitchen" in that "house.")

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

40 Great Moments from Tucson--February 2012

In mid-February, we traveled to Tucson. It was the first time Sean had been back since we moved away in 2003. I'd only been back one other time, a long weekend, 5 1/2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Thora. We were excited to get to see the places and people who shaped us during our decade in the Old Pueblo. For the whole album, click here.

We had a long day of travel to get to Tucson from Boston, thanks to our almost 3 hour layover in Dallas/Ft. Worth. So we rode the inter-airport monorail around a few times.

Here we are, cozied up in our room for the week. Our friends, Stefan and Angela (Stefan married us), and their great kids, Haley and Foxx, were kind and generous in their hospitality. Foxx gave up his room and bunked with his sister for our 5 days. In this shot, can I tell you how relieved we were at having made the journey?

Oh, did I mention that I accidentally charged and packed the portable dvd player that was BROKEN?!? The one that we realized was broken when we pulled it out and fired it up at the beginning of the 6-hour flights to England back in September? Yep. That same one that we, for some reason, decided to keep out on the shelf where we keep such things, I guess in the hope that we'd find some way to have it fixed. And the irony is that we have two (TWO!) completely functional portable dvd players in our living room? So of the 3 portable dvd players that are in our possession, in the chaos of packing up for the trip and getting the kids ready for bed on a night when Sean was on the labor floor (yes, I'm playing the "wife to an Ob/Gyn" card), I managed to pick the one that didn't work?!? So anyway, we'd just endured two long flights and a long lay over with the not the greatest of airplane toys (I'd been assuming that we'd have a working dvd player!). So, when I ask the rhetorical question of how relieved we felt to have this day of travel behind us, the answer is: Tremendous. (I know you don't need to answer rhetorical questions but I'm going to, in order to be even more persuasive.)

Okay, with that little moment of exasperation behind me, let's now move on to the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. We started our first full day in Tucson at the always-wonderful Sonoran Desert Museum.

The kids love to run. I chose to include this otherwise average picture because it captures Auric's endearing and hilarious determination to catch his sister. I hope he will always bring laughter to my heart.

Look closely and you can see the green hummingbird on the crook of the hanging-down arm of that saguaro cactus.

There's a coyote camouflaged in that picture.

Just an inch of glass separated those mountain lions and our frequently feral-seeming children.

We caught to awesome bird show. If you're at the Desert Museum during a showing, it's not to be missed. They had us gathered on a path. Meanwhile, trainers surreptitiously wandered around among the grounds, placing bird treats on branches. The next thing you knew, the great horned owl or raptor was swooping directly over your head (they wouldn't let us carry the kids on our shoulders) to a cactus on the other side of the path. It was very dramatic!

This was actually my attempt to capture a photo of a cardinal on a branch of that plant behind the barrel cacti, (you really have to squint to see the cardinal) but I actually like the mountains in the distance. So I kept it as is.

Look at them, both taking in the face of their beloved: swirl ice cream.

And a few minutes later, we have this: a video entitled, "This is What it Looks Like When My Kids Are Drunk on Ice Cream." Enjoy.

The Aviary is not to be missed. Here's another one of those cardinals. (I wasn't aware that cardinals called the desert home.)

The Hummingbird House was spectacular, with lots of moments of beautiful spectacle.

From the Aviary.

In a lot of ways, I'm good at capturing so much of our lives. In other ways, I'm dumbfounded at my flaws as the family documentarian (I don't know if that's a word). This is a great moment of the kids playing in the fountain in the courtyard of the Walz's home. But I'm appalled that this is the only photo from the beautiful Walz home. We had wonderful moments with them, over meals, in the down time between school and bedtime. However, I was so completely at ease and enjoying their great company that I forgot all about my camera.

It was Friday night in Tucson, and where else should we find ourselves but catching up with our great friends, Leta, Chris, and Brogan! Brogan and Thora have known each other since they were babies, but just at our yearly summer visits at Chris's parents' lake house in upstate New York. This past visit seemed to be much more cemented in their minds, since they reconnected as friends who already knew each other. Here, Brogan is giving Thora a bracelet, a treasure he found on a walk in the wash (a dry river bed) made of some bolts and washers threaded through a large ring.

Of course, Auric found a drum.

I know it looks like I'm crying, but there are a lot of tears of laughter when Leta and I get together. And a need for ear plugs for the uninitiated. Even for the initiated, really. It was a great reunion!

Of course, Thora found some dress up clothes.

Actually, they both did some pretty awesome dress up.

What can you say?

This one is too perfect!

Okay, now on to Saturday! We biked from the Walz home (why did I not get a picture of Stefan riding with Thora, Auric, and Foxx in the cargo bike--that's like 150 lbs. of kids!--and Sean and I on a tandem bike?!? A TANDEM BIKE?!!) to the rugby field where a Magpies Under-19 game was happening. A bunch of Sean's old rugby pals came out to see the game and catch up with Sean. It was great to see old friends at the field where Sean (and I) have so many memories.

Auric was in heaven because about every 10 minutes, a long freight train would roar passed, about 20 feet from the fence near the back of the grounds. And once, one faster freight train over took a slower one on the second set of tracks. That kind of blew Auric's mind.

Here's Thora and Stefan. He's teaching her the intricacies of the game.

Saturday afternoon found us back at Leta, Chris, and Brogan's, this time to celebrate Chris's birthday. The trampoline was the best!

And can you blame me for getting some footage of them bouncing, using my super slow-mo setting on my camera? Sit back, relax, and take in a couple minutes of this. (Seriously, in the few times that I've watched this as I've edited it together, I'm practically in a good-vibe-induced stupor.) I know, you're thinking, "She expects me to watch 2 and a half minutes of her kids jumping on a trampoline?" I defy you to watch it and have your day not be brightened (I happen to know for a fact that my kids brighten days) by Auric's hilarious attempts at control and stability or his more hilarious baggy shorts, (you're now realizing how pedestrian my sense of humor is), or Brogan's serious attempts at height and spins with airplane wings, or the pure joy that radiates from Thora's face. Enjoy!

Again! How did I not get a picture of the birthday boy?!? Happy Birthday, Chris, wherever you are!

Now on to Sunday. I started the day with a run from my past, 5 times around the mile loop on the UofA mall. The nostalgia was acute.

Then our great friends, Jason and Heidi, threw a bbq for the occasion of our visit. Their place was lousy with Magpies! It was awesome! But bittersweet, too, since we shared with our friends, most of whom we hadn't seen in almost 10 years, that we are off to New Zealand come September. But we managed to finagle some promises from some of them of visits to our new side of the planet! Fingers crossed!

In this photo, as we say, "Auric has assumed the position."

Some Rugby Wives. Shouldn't we have our own reality show? Heidi, Angela, me, and in front, Sandy.

Stef, Sean, and Timmy.

Jason, Sean, and Micole.

Heidi, Lisa, Adam, and Sarah.

Ian, Heidi, Sandy, Adam, and me.

A stunning sunset. Tucson did not disappoint.

Now on to Monday, our final full day in Tucson. We spent much of the day in Sabino Canyon. We rode the tram up to the top of the canyon. Thora and I walked up a dirt path for a ways and then some nice hiker offered to take our picture.

Why weren't Sean and Auric with us, you ask?

Because this happened on the way up. Yes. Auric was sacked out within 15 minutes of the the tram ride. (It's like a 20 minute tram ride to the top.) So Sean sat with him for a while, letting him rest up before we all hiked down the canyon.

Who knows?

Happy Family.

And we'll end with my favorite shot of the trip.