Monday, March 31, 2008

Rack 'em

Chris has been promising Clara for a couple weeks now that he'd send her a picture of where he sleeps on the ship while he's gone. A few days ago he finally sent this picture. (I assume the top bunk is his because I recognize the red sleeping bag and yellow laundry bag.)

I showed the picture to Clara when we got the email and explained to her that was where daddy sleeps - his 'rack'. (By the way, Daddy, Clara wants to know the names of your friends who sleep in the beds below.) Tonight, as I was tucking her into bed, Clara suggested we took a picture to show Daddy where she sleeps...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Healthy Eating

Every time Chris goes out of town I have big plans to keep the kids and I eating healthy while he's gone. Some time in the first couple weeks, however, I become disenchanted as I sit one more home cooked meal on the table only to have them turn their noses up at it (or in Jonathan's case, spit it out!) -- and in the end, they eat yet another PB&J sandwich.

Well, tonight healthy eating wasn't even on the menu (Sorry Chris) -- I got off the phone and realized it was 7:30pm and I had no plans for dinner, so McDonald's sounded great right about then. I never thought I'd be bragging about giving the kids McD's for dinner, but tonight's dinner brought about a new milestone for Jonathan -- his 1st Quarter Pounder.

No, I didn't buy him one of his own, but as I got about halfway through mine, he put down his mcnugget, held his hand out towards me and said "ba?" (bite). I gave him a bite and when he finished that one he extended his hand once more "ba!", so I handed him the last half of my quarter pounder.

And then watched as he finished off my burger , looking at me between bites and saying, "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm." (His Aunt Sandi taught him that!)

As you can see, he really enjoyed it.

Clemson, on the other hand was a little upset that he didn't get any...

though he laid vigilantly at Jonathan's feet -- just in case a crumb should fall.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Children's Garden

Today the community center here on base did an event called the Children's Garden. All the yards here on base are professionally landscaped and cared for by the base. We are not allowed to plant things in our own yard, but then we don't have to mow either so it's a trade-off. For those who have a green thumb and wish to foster it, the base has supplied a small garden area in which you can reserve a small plot of land to plant and tend to flowers or vegetables. For those of us who don't have a green thumb but are always looking for ways to keep the kids busy, they do a Children's Garden. We reserved a spot and went to plant seeds for flowers and vegetables which they supplied. There was even a horticulturist on hand for those of us who need help :)

The kids got to color signs to mark their seeds.

and plant some seeds in small pots to take home and watch grow.

They supplied plastic shovels so the kids could dig a hole for their seeds

Here we are after we planted all of our spinach seeds!

And finally, they had nice healthy snacks of fruits and vegetables!

It was beautiful weather this morning and the kids had fun. Apparently we get to go back and harvest in a few months. We don't have to worry about it until then -- the base landscapers will tend to it (which is probably for the best if they've ever seen my gardening skills). They're not leaving anything to chance, I noticed as we were leaving the community center that they were planting some mature plants in with all the seeds we planted. Clara's so excited about gardening now, so I may have to get a plot in the regular garden so she can actually get the full experience of caring for the plants and then getting to eat fresh fruits/vegetables. Jonathan would love it if we did strawberries! Maybe I could even learn to make my own jam like my mom used to! Yum!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chris' Post

I guess Chris is feeling a little left out of the whole blogging thing because he sent me some pics today from the boat :) Actually he's been promising to send some pics to Clara to help her understand what he does and where he goes when he's gone. There are many specifics about his job that I'm sure my husband and the Navy wouldn't appreciate me posting online for all the world to see, as far as where they go and when, but these pics are pretty cool and I thought I'd share. For those who don't know, Chris flies in the F-18 Super Hornets stationed here in Lemoore, CA. He really loves what he does. Here are a couple of the pics he sent:

This is Chris in his plane, in the air. Don't worry, he's a back seat guy, taking this pic was perfectly safe!

Picture of another plane in air with them.

Picture of the boat they are out to sea on from the airplane.

These pics are the reason you won't see a lot of pics of my husband on this blog. He has to go away often and we certainly miss him when he's gone, but this blog has turned out to be an awesome way for him to feel like he's not missing out on too much back here at home. Not to mention giving me something to do in the evening when the kids have gone off to bed :)

Going to the Doctor

So I'm a little addicted to this blogging thing -- today was Clara's 4 year well child doctor's appointment and I took the camera. We found a really nice doctor here...and punctual too. We had a 9am appt. Clara got her check up and 4 shots and I was on my way by 10am (that's got to be some kind of record!) This is Clara and Jonathan reading books in the waiting room.

They checked her weight and height. She's 33.5 lbs (I'm sure Jonathan is about 30lbs at this point). I was too busy getting pictures, as you can see, to get her height info from the nurse.

They checked her BP and pulse. Clara took this opportunity to tell Jonathan to pay attention to how brave she was being.

Finally, they checked her eyesight and hearing. She did great for everything.

The doctor tested her general knowledge of colors, shapes, letters and animals by asking her a few questions and then tested some developmental stuff by asking her to draw some shapes and write her name. His conclusion was that she was a "very smart 4 year old", to which Clara replied, "I know." He said that were it not for her age, she would be ready for kindergarten this year.

She got 4 shots today (They went ahead and gave her the vaccinations she would need before kindergarten, even though she's got a year to go still). She was ready and prepared to be brave. She didn't cry a couple months back when she got her Hep A booster, so she was sure she could handle it this time as well, showing Jonathan how to be brave at the doctor. (He kind of freaks out when it's his turn to go). I told her over and over that it was OK to cry. Still, she maintained that she'd be brave and not cry. She was good for the first 2. The third one got her crying and she was still crying from that one when they gave her the 4th -- but she did great. I told her she was still very brave and I was very proud of her. She told me, "I still don't think I like shots." She left the doctor's office with 4 Snoopy band-aids, 2 stickers, a lollipop, and a toy - a great visit for all!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fresno Zoo

We went to the zoo today and the kids wore matching outfits. Clara gets so excited when they can match, which is a little difficult sometimes since they're not the same sex - so I take advantage when I can. Thanks to Chris' Aunt Mary we are zoo members and so we go often since it's free. It's a nice little zoo. You can get up pretty close to the animals and it's never busy on the weekdays. It makes for a good day, especially when Chris is gone and I am looking for something to keep the kids busy (thereby giving me a bit of a break!) They have an new stringray/shark exhibit that will be open until mid-September, which Clara thought was the absolute coolest. The stingrays are a little slimy, it almost feels like a tongue. Jonathan enjoyed splashing in their water but wasn't sure what to think of the stingrays. We saw all the animals, Clara taught Jonathan how to be a flamingo, had some lunch and then headed to the petting zoo to pet some goats and sheep. That is Jonathan's favorite part of the day. They give the kids scrub brushes, which they can use to brush the animals. Usually Jonathan just runs up to the goats and sheep fearlessly yelling "Ahhh!" in their faces or gives them hugs and kisses. Other parents will use him as an example for their more timid children to convince them that everything is OK, as I hold my breath praying that no goat is going to head butt him or kick him. Clara's a little more cautious and listens to my pleas not to approach the animals from behind. Today was a little more nerve-racking because we got to the petting zoo at feeding time. All the animals were climbing over each other to get to the food, butting their way into the center with no regard to anything or anyone else. We made it out unscathed and arrived back home too late for naptime, which ended up being a bonus when I got to send the kids to bed early! All in all, a great day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Clara's 4 Today!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Clara! My baby girl is 4. Last night as the kids were getting ready for bed, I started to get sad knowing the next time I saw my baby, she would be 4! I know it wasn't as if she would morph into some unrecognizable thing overnight, and I should be proud of the young lady I am raising -- but all I could think was, "What happened to my baby?" I asked Clara to snuggle with me a few minutes before bed. "Why?" she said, sensing that something was up with me. I explained that it was the last time I would get to snuggle with 3 year old Clara, because in the morning she would be 4 already. She told me it was OK. "It is?" I asked. To which she replied, "Yeah, 'cause it happens to everybody!" (Was this supposed to help?)

Either way, we had a fun-filled day today -- Clara got many surprises, including flowers from Daddy since he wasn't able to be home. She put them in her bathroom next to her sink so she could see them whenever she misses him. Jonathan followed behind her trying to get a sniff of the flowers. They were beautiful. I was worried that her birthday wouldn't measure up to ones in the past with no one here to help us celebrate, but we did good and she said she had a good birthday. I took something like 87 pics just today -- I've shared the best ones here, but broken up into several posts so they'd all fit. We wish you all could've been here to help us celebrate the beautiful young lady she's growing up to be, but this is the next best thing.

Mr. Fish

Clara woke me up excited that this was the day that we got to take her birthday money from her Grandma Yonka and Grandpa Michael to the petstore and pick out a fish. We got ready to go and then I had to stall, knowing that Chris had sent Clara flowers. I couldn't explain why we weren't heading to the petstore even though we were ready without ruining Clara's surprise flowers, so the morning was kinda rough, but eventually we headed out and Clara picked out a blue betta fish and blue gravel rocks to match. She looked carefully in each tank for the fish that would look back at her through the glass (signaling that it wanted to come home and live with her), but then decided on the betta because it was pretty. We brought it home and set up the new tank on the kitchen counter. Clara fed the fish after her nap. She's so excited to have this new responsibility, though I had to explain that fish don't like to be petted. She seemed pretty bummed about that part (I see a hamster in our future). I kept finding her throughout the day, just standing next to the tank peering in at the fish (she gets that from her Daddy). I asked Clara all day what she planned to name her fish. She said that 'we should go back to the store and ask the paylady what's a good name for her fish'. I finally convinced her that it was her job to name him, and so, just before dinner tonight she decided his name was to be Mr. Fish. I told her that Daddy was better at making the fish tank pretty. She said she'd ask him to when he gets home. Mr. Fish doesn't seem to mind his current living arrangements though :)

Birthday Balloons

We always get balloons for Clara's birthday. For past birthdays, it has simply been for decoration for her party. On her first birthday, as the party was dying down I looked around at all the balloons and asked what was I going to do with them all. My mother suggested we let them go -- and so, a tradition was born. We have let balloons go each year since then, and even on Jonathan's birthday last year. This year, being so far away from family and friends and with Chris being gone, I was upset that our usual get-together was not going to happen -- and with no party, there was no reason to decorate. Still, I didn't want to let go of this tradition. We went to the Hallmark store and somehow I managed to ask for the balloons without Clara guessing why we were there. They went in the back to blow them up, so it wasn't until I told Clara to get them that she realized the balloons were for her. She was so excited to have balloons afterall, and she remembered on her own that we would let them go. Though, I had to convince her to wait until we got home. Jonathan, however, was not as excited about letting the balloons fly away.

New Bike

Clara got a new bike for her birthday today. I couldn't figure out how to give it to her since we weren't really having a party today. I tied her balloons to the handlebars during her nap and left it by the front door. When I woke her up from her nap I told her I needed help bringing her balloons in and then ran outside so I could get a picture of her when she saw it. The look on her face was not at all what I expected, she wanted to know who's bike it was and why were her balloons tied to it. After some explanation, she asked where her 'helmick' was. I explained once again that she would have to pick out her own helmet so we could be sure it would fit. I finally got her on the bike and then it didn't take long for her to discover that there was a water bottle that came with it, which we needed to fill immediately. After a brief snack break for her and her new fish, we went back outside with Jonathan to ride bikes. She took joy in explaining to Jonathan that he could have her old trike and then timidly hopped on hers. She's still learning how to pedal on this bike. The whole deal with the brakes when you pedal backwards is a bit confusing to her and she can't always keep it going forward, but she plans on working on it so she can ride bikes with Daddy when he comes home. As we practiced, she got to the middle of the street and then decided she was thirsty. I explained that the middle of the street was not the proper place to take a drink break. She told me if a car came she could just say,"Could you please go around? I'm just getting a drink here a second." ...Maybe I should've gotten that helmick!

Birthday Presents

Some pics of Clara opening her presents and a card from Grandma Ginia and the Fat Man. At the end of the day when I asked her what her favorite present was, she said her bike.

Clara's Birthday Dinner

Uncle Larry and Aunt Sandi wanted to help us celebrate Clara's birthday today so we met them at Black Bear Diner for dinner. Their friends Chuck and Midge came along to celebrate with us. I took the cake that Clara helped me make, everyone could see that it was supposed to be Alladin's magic carpet, so we must've done a decent job decorating it. Clara was excited that the cake was going to make her mouth blue, though it wasn't as bad as expected. The waiters sang 'Happy Birthday' to Clara and she blew out all the candles with one blow. They also gave Clara 2 more balloons, which she wanted to let go too. She asked if Jonathan could help this time. Jonathan let his balloon go when she let hers go and this time didn't cry. Clara explained that he must've just cried the first time because he wanted to help. Daddy and Grandma Ginia and the Fat Man called Clara while we were there -- it made for a nice party. I can't believe my baby's 4!


I'm not sure he actually ate any of this little chocolate bunny -- you know the ones that are only about an inch tall...