One other milestone today - Clara read her first chapter book, cover to cover - Junie B Jones and that Meanie Jim's Birthday by Barbara Park. It has 9 chapters and 85 pages, and she read it all this afternoon/evening!!!!! Afterwards, she took a quiz on it through her Accelerated Reader Program to test her comprehension and she scored 100%
Tonight Matthew tried cereal for the first time. After many battles with Clara as a baby over rice cereal, I never bought the stuff again. Instead, both Jonathan and now Matthew, have started with oatmeal. No one seems to take an issue with oatmeal!
Matthew's been the first one awake the past few mornings and in the afternoons he seems esp. prone to spitting up, so I figured it was time for cereal. He did really well with it!
This pic's a little blurry, but it's the only one Chris took of me actually feeding Matthew the cereal.
I was feeding him in his bouncy seat and he was doing fine until I had to reposition him. I must have bonked his head a little on the top of it (where the metal is at the top of the seat), or he simply didn't want to be repositioned, because at that point he started crying and from then on he was touch and go with the crying.
All in all he did much better than I expected. He actually opened his mouth each time I raised the spoon to it. He still hasn't quite figured out how to keep it in his mouth, but I was impressed with his first try. He ate about half of what I made before he decided he was done, then nursed and went off to bed. Hopefully, he'll sleep in a little in the morning!
Yesterday Chris took the two older kids with him to get a haircut and so I decided to try Matthew in the exersaucer. Technically this is his second time in the exersaucer, but the first time he wasn't strong enough to hold himself up, and then Clara and Jonathan played with the exersaucer around him so excitedly that it scared him a little. Yesterday was the perfect chance to give him a chance to get comfortable with it in his own time, and did he ever!
I took a lot of really cute pics -get ready for 'cuteness overload':
Just feelin' it out
"Hey there Mr. Butterfly!"
Talkin' on the phone
"What'd you say?"
He had a great time, as you can see! He likes this new perspective and even held his own in it today with Clara and Jonathan 'showing him how to play with it'. It's so fun to see him grasping things and to watch him become intrigued by the lights and sounds. He's growing so big, so fast!
Clara woke up bright and early Christmas morning claiming she heard Santa's bell jingle in the night. She checked under the tree and said he had left presents, blue ones with little snowmen on them. She even claimed she could still see some real snow on them. Jonathan was not so quick out of bed which bought me a few extra minutes in bed as well!
By the time I got up, Clara had already sorted the gifts into 2 piles (Matthew didn't get anything from Santa - being the youngest of 3 Santa couldn't possibly think of anything that wouldn't be a complete waste of money, especially since he's not even old enough for the 'pure joy' argument.)
Jonathan got a robe.
A Cinderella from Great Grandma Phyllis
A lasso...don't ask me, she really wanted one!
We get to grow a frog from a tadpole, thanks to Aunt Mary!
Santa was sneaky and wrapped all the Wii components together in this diaper box. It was the last thing Clara unwrapped. When she got a glimpse of the box, she said, "This had my name on it, but I think Santa made a mistake. I think it's supposed to be for Matthew." So I encouraged her to open it all the way to show Matthew what he got. Who knew Santa was so tricky?!
Only one Hungry Hippos game :)
Santa even remembered Clemson this year!
Jonathan had to try them out right away!
Good thing he got that robe to keep him warm!
Skating is not as easy as it looks!
Matthew's 1st Christmas
We went to Chris' cousin's house in Fresno for Christmas dinner. We spent Christmas with his cousins Josh and Preston, Uncle Larry and Aunt Sandi and Aunt Mary, as well as, with Josh's girlfriend's family. It was a busy and somewhat hectic week leading up to Christmas, but the important thing is that we got to spend the season with so much family in both AZ and CA. We are fortunate to have so many in Chris' family live near us and to be able to share the holidays with them. After all, that's what Christmas is about - family.
I had to get a picture of a Joshua Tree this trip. I have seen them on our other trips between CA and AZ, but never bothered Chris to pull off the road so I could get a picture. After trying to snap a few shots from a moving car, only to have them turn out blurry, he finally pulled off onto the shoulder so I could snap this picture:
Which satisfied me, until I saw the next tree:
A massive Joshua Tree. They are so cool looking. Only in order to get a good shot of this one, Chris had to get out of the car and run across to the other side of the highway, and take the picture fromt he opposite side of the street (my shoes were off). All I kept thinking was, "Please God, don't let him get hit by a car!" Could you imagine, if that was his fate? To get hit by a car while taking a picture of a Joshua Tree for me? It's the little things that tell me he loves me :)
At some point we had thought about skipping Phoenix this year for Christmas. After last year when the morning sickness hit me, just as we were leaving to come home, the prospect of doing it all again didn't seem like a good one. Yes, I realize I'm not pregnant this time around, however the idea of squeezing the 5 of us into Vic and Virginia's house didn't seem like a ton of fun. However, Chris seemed a little homesick after his time at sea and so we compromised and went to Phoenix for just a few days after our trip to Flagstaff. So glad we did -- just look at all the fun we would've missed out on otherwise!
Good thing for Jonathan, Grandpa Vic loves donuts just as much as he does! SO we can count on donuts whenever Grandpa's around!
Grandma and Grandpa have a big tub in their master bath - the kids had fun 'swimming' in there!
Kisses for Matthew
Chris' Aunt Lynn and Uncle Dale got Matthew this little Tigger and a matching Pooh Bear for Christmas. Matthew took and immediate liking to Tigger!
He loved to hold onto Tigger...
...and bite him on the nose. (I told you, the kid's teething!)
Part of the appeal of heading to Grandma's and Grandpa's was that Clara and Jonathan would get to see their cousins again. We used to live close to them when we were in VA, but we haven't seen them since we moved to CA. They're all staying in AZ for a while, so it was great to see them all play together again.
Aleah, Clara, Jasmine, Brandon and Dustin
So the story here is that Jonathan said we needed a cake - a Costco cake (with cheesecake filling - yum!) Truthfully, he saw the cakes when we went to Costco to pick up the fruit and veggie trays. He got excited and said he wanted some, just as any kid would upon seeing any old cake and since I happen to like Costco's cakes, but never have a good reason to buy such a big cake, I thought why not - After all, we were celebrating Jesus' birthday and Grandma was having half of Phoenix over for dinner :)
But Jonathan helped my story that it was ALL his idea, by sitting in front of the cake drooling until someone finally cut it for him!
He even got to help Grandma cut it!
Sooo worth it!
A ballerina princess book with a real charm bracelet inside!
Cousin Gabrielle and Matthew
Brandon, Aleah and Clara
Grandma and Grandpa got the boys some remote control trucks - which lasted about 30 minutes. Then Uncle Roger and Grandpa spent the next 2 hours trying to fix them! I suggested an erector set for them next year :)
Aleah giving Jonathan an piggy back ride
We got the cousins a couple games for Christmas - Operation was a big hit with everyone!
They played Operation for at least 90 minutes straight!
For some reason, Clemson doesn't like to go for his walk with Chris. Usually he seeks solace with me, but this time he went with the Fat Man!
While we were packing up the van to leave, the kids found some peacock feathers Grandma had laying around and decided to be peacocks!
Foolishly, when asked what peacocks sound like, Grandpa told the kids that peacocks were actually noisy birds!...I bet they were glad to see us go!
My name is Torie Stein. I am happily married to Chris Stein, and the mother of 3 beautiful children, Clara, Jonathan and Matthew. We live in Lemoore, CA, but hope to make it back to the East Coast in about a year. We hope this blog will help us keep in touch with our family and friends. We hope you'll enjoy reading it.