Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thanks, Unca 'Nette!!

Thanks, Unca 'Nette!!
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Okay, so I just HAD to call your attention to this wonderful picture (and the others recently added to flickr) of Collin Claycomb in one of his many "dancing dresses." This is actually the top of a tunic/pants set that Paul and Nanette sent him from their trip to Vietnam last winter, but he has no interest at all in the pants (they restrict movement, which impedes his choreography.)

The interest in dancing is a recent development, but one that Collin takes quite seriously. He prefers jazz music or old standards to pop or rock, and, as he explained the other day, "I like to dance because I a boy."

Posted by claycomb at June 24, 2006 1:09 PM


Question of the Day: Will Collin and Lilah
inherit the mantles of Fred and Adele? Surely
the lad has dancing feet. To what tune was he
doing his thing? And do the cats sit idly by?
Posted by: Gramps & Lee Ann at June 25, 2006 5:51 PM

Has Collin been secretly watching Baryshnikov again?
Maybe he also likes the fact that the blue in the tunic brings out the blue in his eyes ;)
Posted by: Leslie at June 26, 2006 8:25 AM

I LOVE it! And somehow...I knew Collin would love it too. No worries...we'll find more and send them expecting some shoes to go with, someday soon!
Posted by: Unca 'Nette at June 27, 2006 7:03 PM

Dear "Unca 'Nette" Keep those "dancin' duds"coming.
And Please, Somebody introduce that kid to Elvis -The world will never be the same!!!!
Posted by: Mom-Mom at July 9, 2006 10:23 AM

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mom-Mom & Lilah

Mom-Mom & Lilah
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Okay, so we've clearly got a glut of blog entries right now, but what can I say? I've just spent a week in my children's company non-stop, so I find that I have more things to say about them. And of course, it was a landmark vacation on many fronts: longest trip we've EVER taken in a car (and may it stay that way, please God), first trip to the ocean, . . . and the reunion of four people who are each other's biggest fans.

This trip to visit Don and Donna (Mom-Mom and Pappy) was the first time I've really gotten a chance to observe the (I'm borrowing a friend's word here) "transcendent" bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Not to get too personal (!!!), but I never knew any of my grandparents well at all, and so I guess I just didn't quite "get it."

Well. I get it now. The moment when the kids first saw Don, while they were still strapped in their car seats, they both literally tried to break the straps to get to him, while he was grinning ear to ear and enveloping them in the huge hugs only he can give. Then at the house, Lilah heard Donna's voice in the dark and wriggled straight out of my arms shouting: "I need to see her!"

What I wish we'd gotten some pictures of was the church service we attended on Sunday, during which Don played his trumpet and French horn and Donna sang with the praise team on the altar. Lilah and Collin stood quietly (well, sort of quietly) in the aisle and danced to the music, one in lavender velvet and the other in his polo shirt and khakis, and the look in their eyes as they watched their grandparents was pure worship, appropriate enough for the place, though perhaps not directed at the intended party.

I thought briefly, with a little sense of loss, of some other people who were missing out on this experience: of getting this over-the-top unconditional love when really, you haven't done a single thing to really DESERVE it. But I also thought about what makes the bond between Mom-Mom and Pappy and Collin and Lilah even more special. Don and Donna appreciate every moment of their relationship with their grandkids, and they are giving crazy, over-the-top unconditional love that Lilah and Collin don't really DESERVE right back. Everybody should have a relationship that works that way in their lives, and I'm really glad our kids do.

Posted by claycomb at June 15, 2006 9:17 PM


Wow...that is an indredibly sweet post. I'm so glad the kids have that and will hope for just a sliver of that, should I ever be lucky enough to have some of my own.
Posted by: Nanette at June 16, 2006 12:36 PM


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
So. This is not the clearest picture of the batch we took at Don and Donna's house. For more, and many better ones, go to our flickr page.

I'm blogging this one because it perfectly captures Lilah and Collin's first experience at the beach. It was an absolutely beautiful day, about 75 or 80, clear and sunny, and crowded enough to feel like summer without being overwhelming. We set up camp with an umbrella, a blanket, coolers, sand toys, towels, sun screen . . . and Pappy took the kids down to the water.

They were both very excited at first, but after the second time that a wavelet dumped him on his butt, Collin had had enough. He stuck close to Mommy for a couple hours after that and refused to go back in the water. The only things that really got him excited about future trips to the beach were watching the teenage guys playing football and sampling his very first Thrasher's french fries. And yes, he likes them with vinegar. That's my boy.

Lilah, on the other hand, . . . well, let's say that she took to the water, if by "taking to the water" I mean that she stood in the surf for something like three hours over the course of the day, blue with cold, shivering so hard that she couldn't stand up straight, and shrieking at the top of her lungs with pure, unadulterated joy every single time another wave rushed up to meet her. If we'd been indoors every single person within ear shot would have gone deaf. As it was, I wish I'd gotten it on video.

Here's what we've got, though: Collin, pointing to some football players up on the beach and Lilah running full-tilt back to the water. As Donna observed, if we'd let her, she would have kept on going all the way to Europe. Maybe next time.

Posted by claycomb at June 15, 2006 9:01 PM

Purple Baby Takes a Break

Purple Baby Takes a Break
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
The drive from West Virginia to Milford Delaware should take about 5.5 to 6 hours with no stops. I budgeted 7 to 8 hours to drive the kids there by myself (Ryan was at a dear friend's wedding).

I was wrong. It took 12 hours.

That's right. Twelve. We left the house at 9:45 a.m. The first delay was that I packed everything under the sun, including three different kinds of sunscreen, but forgot my wallet. So 30 minutes out we turned around. Us leaving: take two, at 10:45 a.m. An hour or so later, we changed diapers on the side of the highway. We made it to our lunch spot at 1:30 (an hour and a half behind schedule) and had a lovely meal.

Then we hit the beltway at 4 p.m. And rush hour. At 4:30 Lilah threw up. At 4:45 we got back on the road. At 4:55 Lilah threw up again.

In certain Victorian novels, readers are spared some scenes by the author's drawing of a metaphorical curtain over it. So shall I spare you the details of the hours from 5 to 7, which included much clean-up, even more crying, some running around, MANY bathroom trips and/or diaper changes, and a very bad open-mike night at the New Deal Cafe. There was also the immortal moment when Lilah turned to me and said, "Mommy, I not get sick again, I promise."

"No, no, sweetie," I said, "I know you won't. But it wasn't your fault you got sick."

She thought about that. "I think it your fault, Mommy."

We pulled into the Claycombs' house at 9:45 p.m., not a one of us having napped a wink all day. (Well, it's good that I didn't, but you get the idea.) As the children flung themselves joyfully into Mom-Mom and Pappy's arms, I sat in the driver's seat of the car and thought--for a moment, just a moment--"Hey! I could just peel out right now and no one could catch me!"

But I stayed. And eventually I, like Purple Baby (Lilah's dearest friend, pictured here), got to sit on a lawn chair in the sun and watch my children happily eat sand. So it was all worth it.

Posted by claycomb at June 15, 2006 8:52 PM


Ann, I just nominated you for mother of the year.
Posted by: Leslie at June 17, 2006 1:53 PM