It's a lazy start today. The alarm goes off at 8:30, we get out of bed at 9:30 and head to the mall across the street at 10:30. It's the most miserable day we've seen weather-wise: cold and rainy and blow-your-umbrella-inside-out windy. We're in search of note paper & envelopes, and we find they sell note paper and note books and greeting cards - but none with envelopes. We buy Dana a notepad, as the one she had been using when we go out to dinner was full several days ago and she has not replaced it. After the mall, Alli opts not to go to the pastry shop and instead returns to the hotel. I brave the tempest for naught: The pickings are quite slim and I arrive home empty- handed.
We bus to the baby home. Even the short walk from the bus on in is unpleasant, and there is much consterna- tion among the care-givers when they see Alli in open-toed sandals and no socks! As previously discussed, these folks take their inclement weather wardrobe seriously....
I join Bob & Beth to get the boys: They are fed and dressed and standing in the playpen ready to go. Alli goes for Molly, who is finishing her lunch. She sees Alli and smiles and kicks her legs. The care-giver makes quick work of the after-lunch wash and delivers her to "Mama" to be diapered and dressed. A great deal of wiggling & squirming ensues and spare diapers go flying. Molly believes diapering and dressing are interactive, participatory activities planned as much for her amusement, apparently, as good hygiene.
Downstairs it's all hands on deck as Cate and Daniel join out merry band. Daniel is still a bit clingy & not too adventurous when playing in numbers. Molly & Aidan and Nicholas roll and crawl around and litter the floor with toys. Molly gets her hands on a toy bowling pin, and Nicholas narrowly escapes a beating about the head and neck. The squeaky toy pig is not so lucky: Unable to move out of her reach, the little porker is defenseless and our sweet darling beats the squeak out of him.
Aidan scurries here and there, stopping as he goes to examine whatever he finds. Both he and Nicholas enjoy crawling over outstretched adult legs, though they tend to get stuck if the legs are crossed. Molly and Aidan meet in the middle of the room where a toy drum has captured their mutual interest. Aidan is leaning with two hands on the drum, his feet under him, his butt in the air; Molly is leaning forward from a sitting position, her hands on the drum, her head resting against his. They appear to be supporting each other's precarious balance with their noggins! We videotape and wait anxiously for this house of cards to fall in upon itself, but they break apart without incident or injury.
Aidan starts to fuss a bit - time to walk the halls with Daddy for a few minutes. While we're gone, Alli gets GREAT video of Molly laughing as Olesya tickles her. When Aidan and I get back, the odor of a dirty diaper fills the room, and the winner is: Nicholas! First time we've seen the kid poop in more than a month of visits! Beth does the honors as Bob cowers in a chair across the room, sweating and mumbling something about gag reflex. So much for the hardened, trained-killer Marine.... Molly is put off by the whole shameful affair and demands a walk in the halls of her own. She and I return right at 2:30.
The weather is still miserable as we leave. Olesya joins us for the bus ride home: We get off a block from the hotel and she continues to her apartment. (When we arrived, she was living with her boyfriend's mother in the mother's apartment while Olesya's apt. was undergoing renovation for three months. She returned to her own apt. last weekend. We asked her once if living with her boyfriend's mother was OK and whether they got along. With her usual dead-pan, she replied, "Of course, yes." Then with a twinkle, she continued, "She loves me," and finally, with a devil- ish grin, she said, "I LIKE her" and giggled madly.)
Alli and I go to the Internet Cafe: Alli Blogs (7/13) while I read and reply to e-mail. Cate arrives and Alli shows her how to e-mail pictures home. We leave just before 5 so we can be back to the hotel before Dana arrives at 5:30. We're still determined to give Baron Munchausen's one more try, and we're pleased to find the tables are already set (you might remember our last attempt)and they are open. Dinner takes more than two hours and we are the only patrons. We enjoy salads: Alli, Bob and Dana get one with cheese, apples, almonds & cucumbers in yogurt; Beth has one w/chicken, carrots & garlic in olive oil; and I have chicken, ham, apples and oranges in mayonnaise served in hollowed-out orange rinds. Bob and Alli have soup - chicken noodle and German sausage - and the entrees include chicken and pork "on a stick." Bob and the girls top off the meal with very fancy ice cream desserts complete with "French syrup" for the girls and paper parasols for everyone. Munchausen was worth the wait and effort for the return trip!
We walk Dana to the bus stop - still raining - then we head back to the hotel for movie night: "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray & Andie McDowell. The premise of the movie: A weatherman is reliving Groundhog Day in Puxatawney, PA over and over. As we've reached a point in our process for which treading water could be an apt description, we can relate to his predica- ment. After the movie, I fall asleep to Manchester United v Liverpool while Alli reads in bed. Bob and I are heading to the gym at 8 AM, so it's lights out at 12:30.