September 29, 2013

Claire's first birthday

Sadly, Claire is closer to 2 years old than she is to her first birthday, and I'm just now posting photos from her party.

I didn't post much about Christmas last year, but, well . . . it wasn't great thanks to a nasty little stomach bug.  Claire's original party was postponed, and by the time we celebrated, most of the treats I had ready were stale or too old to serve.  It was still cute on the 30th when we made up for it, and let's face it . . . she didn't really know the difference. 

Here are the two photos from her REAL birthday that we celebrated at home.  She was the only one who didn't get sick, so I think she's probably the only one that really enjoyed her birthday cake.

And here are a few from her belated birthday party:


September 11, 2013

Claire, at 20 months

At 20 months, Claire . . .

. . . likes to wear shoes.  Not HER shoes.  Other people's shoes.  If you take off your shoes at my house, she will likely be wearing them in 10 - 15 minutes.

. . . will stand still for photos, only when her mouth is full of animal crackers (see above).

. . . has an ATTITUDE.  She's learned to defend herself from her brothers and has mastered saying "STOP THAT", "I DON'T WANT TO", "I DON'T WANT THAT", "LEAVE ME ALONE" and many other things with enough edge to hold her own.  It's 1 part cute and 2 parts frustrating.

. . . is smart as a whip.  Honestly.  I can't even believe what she can understand.

. . . still loves her Mama. If I'm in the room, her arms are stretched out, asking "hold, please."  Sometimes it's inconvenient, but knowing this is the last one I'll have doing that, I usually give in.  I still use my sling to carry her in.

. . . if she wants my attention, and I'm talking to someone else, she takes it upon herself to grab me by the jaw and direct my head toward her.  This will only be cute for another year or so.  After that, it gets obnoxious.

. . . will stand at the top of the stairs or at the door and kyle, "KYYYLE!"  I don't know where she got that from.

. . . will yell, "BOOOYS!  STOP THAT!" when she hears her brothers getting rough or making lots of noise.

. . . has constipation problems.  TMI?  Perhaps.  But it's a pretty big issue for her right now.

. . . Is in 2T/3T clothing, depending on the brand.  I recently retired all of her 18 - 24 month clothing.  She grew A LOT in August.

. . . loves to put necklaces or bracelets on and proclaim herself, "PRETTY!" Something with which we all can agree.

. . . still has very little hair.  It's coming in, slowly, but surely.  I just look forward to the day that I don't have to say, "No, she's a girl" every time she isn't wearing all pink.  And sometimes even when she is.

. . . has been a little grumpy for about a month.  Which is how long she's had 2 teeth trying to push their way through.  My fingers are crossed that when they finally emerge fully, her temperament will become more pleasant.

September 3, 2013

Top 10 of this summer

In no particular order . . .

10.  I had a visit from my friend, Heather, at the beginning of June.  I hadn't seen her in a couple of years.  I knew that I missed her, but I really remembered why in that 24 hours that I got to spend with her.  We laughed and talked and just had a great time.  I'm grateful for her friendship.

9. Both boys learned to ride two-wheel bikes without training wheels.  In the spring, we could tell that Ben was ready.  We had started him on a balance bike, and we still kick ourselves for not doing that with Jack.  We thought there might be problems if Ben started riding before his big brother, so we worked with Jack for over a month before he finally got it.  How?  Kyle put him at the top of the hill, and just let him go down it until he learned to balance.  After that, the pedaling came easily.  About a week after Jack learned, we put Ben on one and he took off with very little assistance. 

Both boys have some bumps, scrapes and bruises, but for the most part, they've done really well.  We became very thankful and aware of how important their helmets are after jack took a scary fall back in June.  I can't even talk about it any more than that.  But if your kids don't wear bike helmets, this is me pleading with you to have them do so.

8.  Aunt Karina got Jack a set of OgoSport OgoDisks for his birthday and we almost immediately became addicted.  We bought a couple more sets so that we could all play together.  While Ben's still learning, and Claire just runs around with hers, it's become one of the first family things that we can all do together.  I know it seems silly that this is one of our top 10 of the summer, but that little glimpse into the future of all of us enjoying time together, rather than Kyle and I just wrangling kids and trying to keep them entertained was awesome.

7.  We went strawberry picking for the first time!  The kids loved it.  Well, Jack and Ben did.  Claire just ran around trying to step on them.  I made 24 jars of strawberry jam.  Well, if I'm being honest . . . strawberry syrup.  It didn't set well.  Still, it tastes great on toast.

6.  I grew a tomato.  The plant is huge, but produced nothing but one small tomato.  And then picked it when it was about an inch in diameter.  That was the end of that.  But still . . . I GREW A TOMATO!

 5.  We went camping at the end of August. It was a rough trip.  Camping with three kids is WORK.  We had difficulty finding a good camp site (the first three didn't work) and had to get set up in the dark.  I was so thankful for my inlaw's trailer, because if we had been in a tent, our trip would have been half as long.  Kyle's cousin also left his boat up there, so we got to take that out on Lake Charlevoix . . . it was one of the highlights of our trip.  All 3 kids sleeping in the same trailer, within feet of each other meant rough bedtimes, difficult naptimes and early mornings for everyone, but we survived.  The trip home was twice as long as it should have been.  Even so, I realized on that trip how important family time is.  We need to have more time away with just the five of us.  We've planned another (non-camping) trip in October.

4.  Jack turned 6.  I still have trouble wrapping my head around this.  We didn't do a big party.  I decided to end those at 5 and allow them to do a "friends" birthday party.  However, Jack chose to forgo the friends party for a Tigers' game with his dad.  We were all very happy with that decision.

3.  I hit 20,000 etsy sales in August. 

2.  My parents and sister took ALL THREE kids for a few nights in July.  Kyle and I ended up having to stay home to do some home repairs required by our home owners insurance, so that was a bummer.  But it was nice to just stay home, relax and not have to worry about bedtimes or feeding little mouths.  It was just the break that we needed, and the kids had a great time with grandma, grandpa and auntie.

1.  Jack gave his heart to Jesus this summer.  Again.  I usually resist that phrase because it's become so trite, but it's the only way to describe it.  In late July, we were talking about what it meant to have "Jesus in your heart."

Jack said,"Oh yeah, I did that during Family Camp.  I mean, I know I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart when I was four, but I understood what it meant more this time." 

My prayer for all three of my kids is, as they grow in intellect and discernment, they'll have countless moments of "I understand more" so that they can surrender their lives to Jesus continually and deepen their understanding of His grace.