Monday, September 29, 2008

The Best Big Sister EVER!!!!

Last night I got the kids out of the bath and went in search of PJs for Jonathan, only to find that his only clean ones were in that load I've been tossing around in the dryer for the past 2 days anytime I needed something out of there -- you know, to get the wrinkles out. As Jonathan ran around the house in only his towel, I decided that time was as good as any to fold/hang all those clothes (mostly because it wasn't until I was about 75% done before I found the top to his PJs).

As I was getting the laundry in order, I heard Clara telling Jonathan to lay down for his diaper. Not wanting to miss this, I threw down the laundry, grabbed up the camera, and went running into the living room to capture just one more reason Clara is the Best Big Sister (and Little Helper) Ever!!!!!

Jonathan was equally as excited and actually listened to her diaper changing instructions better than he does for me.

You can see, even Clemson had to see how this was going to play out!

Ta Da!!!!! One diapered Jonathan!

It was a little loose -- but not a bad job at all! (BTW, I think Jonathan may have a future as an underwear model!)

I was telling Clara today that it won't be much longer until her Grandma Ginia and Grandpa Vic come to visit us, and when they do, they will watch Clara and Jonathan 2 separate times so that I can get a haircut and get my teeth cleaned (I know, I'm going WILD since I'll have a babysitter!!!) I told Clara she couldn't come with me on those excursions because Grandma and Grandpa might need her help with Jonathan. She told me that she would tell Grandma and Grandpa that she changed Jonathan's diaper..."All by myself". I said, "Oh good, then if Jonathan goes poo poo while I'm gone, Grandma and Grandpa will probably just have you take care of it." To which she replied, "...Except you did have to help me a little. Remember that? So they should probably still do it" -- Did I mention she's a smart kid?

Hope you're ready Momok and Popok!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daddy's Little Girl

OK -- I had to do this. I was looking at Clara in the pics from last night and I can't get past how much she favors her Daddy. Many years ago Chris' Aunt Mary put together a book for him that chronicles his childhood as well as his father's and grandfather's lives. I found this picture of Chris in there and scanned it in.

The pictures speak for themselves. Clara, age 4 1/2 and Chris, about 6 years old. This picture of him is his 1st grade class picture. I can't imagine how odd it must be for Chris' family sometimes - to look at Clara and see/remember Chris at that age.

For all those who still insist Clara favors me...look again!

Playhouse Disney Live

Last night the kids and I had tickets to Playhouse Disney Live. I told Clara she could be my date, and boy, was she excited. She's been pretty enthralled in 'date nights' lately (you would think Chris and I did them often). She was pretending just last week that she and Jonathan were going on a date, and she had to get dressed up fancy first. So when I told her last night that she and Jonathan and I were going on a date, her eyes lit up so brightly with excitement.

Jonathan, on the other hand, woke up from his nap EXTRA grumpy, refused dinner, and then cried the full 35 min trip to the show, by which time I was grumpy as well.

He was captivated by the show and soon my 'grumpies' wore off as well. Clara and I decided that must be why he gave me his that I could get rid of them for him and we could all have a good time!

Here's a pic Clara took of us two grumpy people!

Here's Mickey and the gang. We were sitting far enough away that my flash didn't do much to light up the darkness, so I didn't get many decent pics at all. Instead, I spent a lot of time trying to capture the expressions on the kids' faces as they watched the show.

Here's a pic I tried to get of all 3 of us. My hand was in front of the flash, so the lighting is off, but it's still cute!

After intermission, Jonathan decided he didn't want to wear his Mickey ears any more and he wanted to sit in his own seat instead of my lap. Look how handsome and grown up he looks!

Clara was just as taken with the show.

The finale with the Little Einsteins, Mickey and Friends, Tigger and Pooh, and Handy Manny.

I was actually a little disappointed with the show. It wasn't near as good as I thought it would be. Not as good as the Sesame Street Live shows or even the Disney on Ice. The kids enjoyed it and that's all that's important, but even towards the end of this one Clara was over it -- and the souvenirs were OUTRAGEOUSLY priced.

Clara and Jonathan watching the finale.

I love these guys!

When the show was over, I asked Clara what was her favorite part, to which she replied, "All of it."

My favorite part was sometime in the first half of the show when Jonathan looked down and noticed Clara's hand on the armrest. He wanted to hold onto the armrest just like his big sister, so he stuck his hand up there next to hers. When his hand touched hers, she put her hand over his and they held hands for most of the rest of the first half...I almost cried!

Clara told me on the way home I was 'the Bestest Mom ever'. When I asked her why she said that (expecting some direct link to my taking her to the show). She said, "Because you're always nice." I know it was still our attendance at the show that prompted her comment, but it was awesome to hear the appreciation nonetheless. I decided Chris and I should make 1 on 1 parent/child date nights a priority when he gets home. I know Clara felt extra special last night and she was so appreciative of this special time. It definitely made the lackluster show worth while for me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guess What I had for Lunch!!!!!

I didn't even have to go out of town :)
That's right, Fresno, CA is now another proud location of a Chick-fil-A! Lucky for my waistline and pocketbook, it's still 50min away from my house, but you can believe anytime I go into Fresno I will be visiting Chick-fil-A...Now, keep me posted on the freebies Katy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clara's Prayer

So Clara said she was ready...ready to take the training wheels off her bike. We took them off Monday evening and in their place we put a handle that allows me to hold on to her without bending over until she figures out what balance is all about. It's been amazing watching her determination and confidence grow through this process, so I want to ask that everyone says a prayer for her so that she keeps it up.
In the past, Clara has met most challenges with frustration which leads her to give up early. It is precisely for that reason that she's just now really showing an interest in her bike even though we've had it since March. She gave up before when it got hard to pedal and the fear of falling was too great. I didn't push it, figuring she'd try again when she was ready. Boy, did she ever!
She's doing great! She's listening to my critiques, being patient, and practicing hard. I really think this is more than just a lesson on bike riding for her. It's also a lesson in how to face challenges with confidence and perseverance, and so far she's excelling! Our only obstacle has been figuring out how I can help her and tend to Jonathan as well, but we're making it work.
She's determined to figure it out so she can show Chris' parents when they come visit in a month, show Chris when he gets home, and show her friends that she's not a 'little kid' (the bike riding can be a bit of a dividing factor around here lately). What she doesn't realize is that more than anything, she needs to show herself what she can accomplish with a little patience, confidence, and hard work. So say a prayer, not that this comes easy for her, but that when she does catch on, she'll take more with her than just a lesson in bike riding.
Go Clara!!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Day at the Zoo

As much as it seems that title can be referring to any day around the house with these two little ones, the truth is we did actually spend the day at the zoo again yesterday. There was a base-wide power outage scheduled yesterday from 7am-2pm so everyone was finding things to do out in town, we opted for the zoo. Though the power was actually only out from 7-9am and we didn't even make it out of bed until 9am. Still, I figured Clara would enjoy going to say goodbye to the stingrays since they'll be closing that exhibit for the winter at the end of this month.

Here's the kids as we started our trek into the zoo with hats and matching shirts. Clara was excited to have her camera along for the trip!

Most of the animals were sleeping during our visit -- in some far off hidden corner of their cage, but we caught the prairie dogs eating lunch....

...and the camel taking a bath. Clara found it interesting to note, "He sure does splash a lot in HIS bath."

The anteater has a baby again, and was carrying it around on her back.

Here's the kids checking out the anteater.

This orangutan was kind enough to teach the kids the art of nose picking, complete with eating the tasty snack!

I even let the kids feed the giraffes. I had to hold Jonathan up, so I didn't get a picture of him feeding the giraffe, but here's Clara feeding Holly.

At some point in the afternoon, the kids decided to trade hats. Oh, and you can see I also finally found some cowboy boots for Jonathan - just $20! They've only been somewhat successful in stopping the fights over getting shoes on and his love for his sister's shoes. Most days they work, but there's still days (like this morning) when only Clara's shoes will do.

My two gorillas!

Jonathan was making his 'mean gorilla face'

We did stop by to see the stingrays, but I didn't take any pics there. Clara was so happy to get the chance to say goodbye to them for the winter. Jonathan started getting REALLY cranky soon after that, so we skipped the petting zoo and headed home. Jonathan fell asleep after 5min in the car -- even Clara was asleep before we got home. All in all not a bad day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What a Day!

What a Day!!!! Jonathan is not feeling well today. It's been a replay of that day a few months ago where he spent the whole day curled up in the fetal position sleeping. His fever broke late this evening and I was finally able to get him to eat a little bit, so hopefully he'll be back to himself tomorrow. Since he wasn't feeling well we took a full day off from potty training, but I got this video of him the other night and it's too cute not to share!

Clara is also a little congested, but other than that she's doing great. Her big goal right now is to learn to ride her bike without training wheels before Chris gets home in November. The part about this that's most impressive is that while we've had her bike since her birthday in March, she has really only recently started riding it in the last 2 weeks. Before now she's really had no interest in it, but she's determined -- and I really think there's a good chance that she'll get it in just another couple weeks. It all depends on how she'll handle it that first time she falls. Say a prayer that she stays tough and determined!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jonathan Poops!!!!

Just wanted to share the good news!!! Jonathan pooped in the potty!!!! It was a traumatic thing for him, but he did GREAT!!!! He told me he had to go poo so I stripped him down and sat him on the little potty in front of the TV knowing that it would take a while. He fought it. When it finally happened, he cried and jumped up. Clara and I cheered for him. He continued to cry, but was clapping his hands for himself. I don't think he knew what to think, but it's one giant step. I don't know that he's totally ready for potty training, but my main objective right now is to just get him comfortable with the whole process. We're doing good so far!!!!!
I'm off to clean the carpet now :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Potty Time

Guess who peed in the potty!!!!!!!!

You can see I loaded him with some juice so he'd be sure to go. He went one time kinda by accident (he was standing and I moved the potty to catch some) and then rewarded him for the peepee in the potty with a snack. Then I gave him a juice box in the hopes of getting him to pee in the potty intentionally and without him freaking out.

It worked!!!!!! He peed and was REALLY excited about it. I know this is just the beginning, but it's definitely a great start!!!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Shoes

I took the kids to get new shoes today. They've both been wearing Crocs all summer and I thought Clara could use some tennis shoes, and was hoping to find some cowboy boots for Jonathan to take the place of the rain boots. I wasn't so successful with Jonathan's boots, thanks to his 'extra wide' feet, but we found the perfect shoes for Clara.

Clara decided that now that she knows how to tie, she needed tie shoes. I was skeptical, knowing that her ability to tie was still a little on the hit or miss side. We found some that she liked and I told her to put them on and tie them, because if she couldn't tie them in the store we weren't going to get them. I didn't care if it took her 5 minutes to do it, I just wanted to know she really could tie a real shoe, not just a lacing card with extra long laces. Much to my surprise, she tied it right -- the first time, and it didn't take 5 min. either. So then we began to explore all the options of shoes she could pick from, which prompted us to have her foot measured, to be sure we were looking for the correct size. The second big shocker of the day...Clara's feet have grown a size and a half just over the summer. That's right! She was in a 9 at the beginning of the summer and she is now in a 10.5!!! The down side to that is she had 6 pairs of brand new Stride Rite shoes in her closet just waiting for her to grow into, sizes 9.5 and 10. I buy ahead when I catch good deals at the Stride Rite outlet or at Marshalls/Ross. I hadn't paid more than $15 for any of them -- but we still can't use them regardless, so I passed them off regretfully to a neighbor :( The boots that I gave away were super cute too. That'll teach me to buy ahead!

Here's Clara tying her new shoes.

When I was making dinner today she just sat in her chair tying and untying her shoes to practice -- all on her own. She's so excited and has even told me she's going to teach all her friends that don't know how to they can get new shoes too! (I did have to explain to her that last part was up to their parents though.)

She got pretty good and even fast with all her practice. This girl amazes me every day.

The proud princess with her new shoes!

Momok and Popok's House through Clara's Eyes

I mentioned after our trip to Phoenix that I had given Clara a disposable camera while we were at Momok's and Popok's so that she could take a picture of all of her favorite things there. This is a handful of her pics.

Here's Popok

and Momok

One night we cooked dinner for Momok and Popok. Clara picked what we should have and the kids helped me cook.

Here's Jonathan helping me out.

Momok and I looking at pics in the camera.

Jonathan splashing his feet in the pool

More pics of her favorite things -- here's the pool!

This is a pic of the little dog that Momok has. It's one of those ones that looks like it's breathing as it sleeps. The kids both thought it was pretty cool.

Here's a pic of the golf clubs along with the toys we brought along.

Clara LOVES taking pics. We got her one of those Fisher Price digital cameras last year for Christmas, but she seems to aim better when she's forced to look through the view finder vs. looking at the LCD screen. The only problem with the disposable camera, aside from pic quality, is that she will take ALL the pics in about 30min. At least she's having fun!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Penelope Feathers

For those of you who don't know, we have a cat named Penelope. We have had her for as long as we've been married, which is 10 years now. She's a wonderful cat very sweet and lovable -- and yes, BIG!

As you can see in the picture she is a grey cat with a white belly.

Today as we walked in the house from Preschool, Clara saw a white feather on the floor. I assume it had fallen out of one of the throw pillows on the couch, but Clara had a different idea...

She saw the feather when I was barely 2 steps in the house and exclaimed, "Penelope feathers!!!!!" She picked it up and brought to me to show me, "Look Momma, Penelope feathers!!!!" I tried really hard to stifle my laugh so I could get a picture, after which she took it back to Penelope to find out where it came from. I never had the heart to tell her Penelope doesn't have feathers.


Speaking of Jonathan's choice of accessories...This is how he chose to go pick up Clara from school today...

Look closely at the feet!

Notice -- I had dressed him in nice BOYS' clothes today, but there's no stopping him. It gets even better, these particular princess shoes have heels that light up bright blue when you walk. When we arrived to Clara's preschool there was a man in the lobby who was the grandfather to one of Clara's classmates. The sight of the Cinderella shoes on Jonathan made him snicker, but then when he noticed them light up as well, the poor man couldn't stop laughing. Finally, when he regained composure, he looked at me with the most serious face he could muster and said, "I'm available for counsel this afternoon." Apparently he was indeed a counselor. I simply laughed and said, "It's just not a battle I choose to fight right now."

And for the record, Jonathan lost his slipper 2 times as he was running on the way home!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where's Jonathan?!

I was getting the kids ready for their baths tonight and walked out of the bathroom for a minute while the tub was filling up.

When I came back in, I couldn't find Jonathan. "Where's Jonathan?" I asked Clara.

"There he is!" she said, laughing at me.

Look at that face and tell me they weren't working together on this one!


Clara started her new dance class today. This time she's going to a real dance school out in town instead of just the base community center. After just one class today, I know it's the right choice. The dance school is more structured and I think that in just today's class, she learned more ballet and tap steps than she did in the full 6 weeks this summer. She loves that they dance in front of the mirrors too -- she spent the whole time looking at herself! I only snapped one pic today, because for the class the parents sat outside the room and watched through a viewing window. It was fantastic, I could watch without either Jonathan or I being a distraction -- no more chasing after him throughout the whole class as he tries to be with his sister!!!!

Clara was adorable today! I got this pic when they let the mom's in the room at the beginning of class to run through some rules and protocol. I wish I could've gotten more pics, but there was too much glare on the window from the reflection of the outside door. I know Chris would've loved to see it all! I told Clara that he may be able to come watch one of her classes when he gets home (she takes a morning class, so he'd have to have a late flight). She got SOOOOO excited. She said, " I'll still be in that class when he comes home?" She can't wait to show him what she's doing. Clara will have just one recital this year, the first weekend of June - though I heard a nasty rumor yesterday that Chris will be back out to sea at that time :( Time will tell.

Clara has been reading her Fancy Nancy book a lot lately, and she is quite certain that ballet IS fancy. All she talked about this morning was how fancy she looked, so of course sticking her in a room where she was surrounded by mirrors was just icing on the cake!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Clara's 1st Day of Preschool

Clara started Preschool today!!!! She was sooo excited. Both kids were still sound asleep when I went in to wake them up at 7:10am this morning. Jonathan, for one, was not at all excited to see me 2 hours earlier than normal, but we pushed through it. By the time we had breakfast and Clara was dressed, she was so excited she could hardly stand it. She has a new backpack with her name embroidered on it -- purple, of course. I'm not sure which part she was more excited about -- her new school or her new backpack!

Here's the preschooler all dressed and ready to head to school. The Child Development Center (CDC) is only about a 10 min walk from our house, so I gave Clara a jacket since it was a little chilly so early in the morning.

We found her cubby and put her backpack on the hook underneath.

We put on her name tag, and then Clara found a place on the rug with her friends and teacher, Mrs. Lorraine.

I guess every year they go with a theme - this year is a barnyard theme.

When I came back to pick Clara up, I got her to stand with her teachers, Mrs. Tiffany and Mrs Lorraine, so I could get a picture. Mrs. Lorraine told me, "Clara did great in school today. She's really bright." I explained that was exactly why she was there, she's too bored with me at home. She needs the stimulation.

Clara was particularly excited because today was one of the other kids' birthday, so she got a cookie to bring home. How much better does it get? She even offered to share it with Jonathan "since he's not big enough to go to school and get his own". That girl makes me sooo proud!

This pic is particularly for Chris. He filed a formal complaint with me after my trip to Phoenix because I'm not in any pics, so I got a friend to snap this one of me and the kids on the way out of preschool this morning. Jonathan still insists on wearing those boots -- what are you gonna do?! People are always commenting on Jonathan's appearance, whether it's the boots, sunglasses or the beaded necklaces and bracelets he gets out of Clara's room. Today as 2 of the other kids' fathers passed us by, I heard Jonathan's outfit had sparked a conversation, "I wish I could dress like that...."