Thursday, July 31, 2008

Claira is 9 months old!

This month, Claira has definitely gained in the mobility department. Instead of rolling over to get where she's going, she's army crawling all over the place now. She can get up on her hands and knees, but she's not there long before she just slinks back down to the floor and takes off scooting. Just this morning, she decided to try her luck at venturing out of the living room into the hallway and toward the kitchen or bedrooms. It's an adventure she's repeated several times today, which only seals our fate for the weekend. We HAVE to put up a baby gate at the top of the stairs.

Claira's mobility made it much more interesting to try and get pictures of her today. She does not want to sit still.

I just think she looks sweet in this one.

I need to find the photo, but I got Elsie's 9 month pictures taken in these same overalls. She's standing up and leaning on a pink stool. We have the same stool from Ikea so I'm going to try and recreate the photo with Claira on Saturday. I'll need Jason's help for it, and the lighting is best in the morning. Here she is today though.

I love all of her funny expressions. She did sit still for these, but I don't think she liked the paper beneath her at all.

Claira is still smitten with her big sister. Right now, she loves music and is drawn to the source of it whenever she hears some. She's started "dancing" by waving her arms up and down. She also learned to wave this month, which is so cute to see. We're working on clapping. She likes all the baby food she's tried, though we noted a particular fondness for bananas. We're still working on table foods. She's been happy to try things like mashed potatoes, and she's sucked the juice out of cantelope. She doesn't eat them, but Gerber Puffs have helped her perfect her pincer grasp.

My sweet Claira.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

In Heaven, all children are surely potty-trained. Subsequently, our home has been quite heavenly the past two days. Elsie did really great yesterday. She peed in the potty 4 times all on her own. She just tells me when she's done, "Mommy! I went potty!" and we celebrate with two m&m's. Last night, she was rewarded with a new Barbie Doll from Big Lots. (For those of you who don't know, Big Lots has barbie dolls for $5, and they're actually wearing clothes. The $5 barbies at WalMart and Target are just wearing bikinis.) Anyway, she did have one accident at about 9:30 last night when she pooped her pants, but I'm still quite thrilled with her progress. She doesn't usually wake up dry so we're still putting a diaper on her at night and will continue to do so until she starts waking up dry most of the time. This morning, we put panties on her as soon as she woke up, and she's gone potty twice today already with no accidents. I'm in love with this child. It took her forever to get ready, but it sure has been easy now that she is ready. Hooray!

Monday, July 28, 2008

To Potty We Will Go!

Today, Elsie finally went potty in the big girl potty! And, I do mean FINALLY. We've been trying to potty train her off and on for over a year and a half now. She would always gladly sit on the potty, but she wouldn't go. You could tell she needed to, and she'd fidget like crazy, but she wouldn't go until she was off the potty. Lately, anytime we talk about potty training she tells us that she doesn't want to go in the big girl potty, and she just wants to wear diapers. Well, last week I decided that we were going to stop wearing diapers during the day. I spent all last week telling her that on Monday, no more diapers. She's going to wear big girl panties and go potty in the big girl potty. We'd put her in panties before, but never for extended periods of time because I always feared for the carpet. Last week, I bought a steam cleaner so I wouldn't worry so much about it. When she woke up today, we got her dressed and put on big girl panties. We brought up her little Fisher Price toilet from the basement and sat it in the living room for her...she was so funny all morning long. She'd sit on the potty, get up and get a book, then sit back on the potty. She'd get up and get a Barbie, then sit back on the potty. She spent most of the morning sitting on the potty of her own free will. No potty, but no accidents either. After lunch, she sat back on the potty and was telling me that she just wanted to wear diapers. So, I told her I'd make a deal with her. When she gets ready for bed and puts her p.j's on, we'll let her wear a diaper to bed, but when she wakes up in the morning, she has to wear big girl panties and go potty in the big girl potty. She didn't really respond, but she had gone potty by herself within 5 minutes! YAY! I'm so excited!

Just getting her to go on the potty has been a huge hurdle for us, and I'm sooooooo happy that we finally leaped over it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Park Day

We met Stefanie and her girls as well as Miss Lisa and the two girls she's a nanny for at the park today. It was very hot so we didn't stay too long, but the girls all had a blast together. It's an adjustment to get more than two 3 year old's together at a time though. It gives us Mommies a good opportunity to teach our children to gather and take turns. I have a feeling Elsie's going to need a lot of practice before she really understands this lesson.

Here's Elsie, Payton, Mya, and Lydia on the teeter totter.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We've had several busy, hectic days, but we're home at last. We headed to Missouri Wednesday afternoon and arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's house that evening. Elsie immediately dove into the toys and Claira got reaquainted with Papa and Grandma Rose too.

Thursday morning, I woke up feeling pretty terrible and was sure I'd developed a case of Mastitis overnight so I played phone tag with my doctor's office in Illinois and the pharmacy in Missouri trying to get a prescription. I had mastitis several times while pumping for Elsie and this is my second time while nursing Claira. If you've never had it, you don't want it! You basically feel like you've got the flu, you're exhausted, in pain, and you're either sweating or freezing...there's not a happy place. There's not much that makes me feel more awful than it does so coming down with it the day before my brother-in-law gets married wasn't exactly my idea of fun. Anyway, Thursday was not a lot of fun.

The best fun of the day was Claira taking her first bath in the big tub. She enjoyed it.

Friday was fun. Well, for the most part. The wedding was at the church we used to attend when we lived in Missouri so we were looking forward to seeing old friends, but the church is an hour's drive from Grandma and Papa's house. On our way there, the car started acting up, and we weren't sure if we were going to make it or not. Jason was a groomsmen in the wedding and had to be there at 2 p.m. for pictures, and the wedding didn't start until 5. That left me with 3 lovely hours to keep Claira happy and chase Elsie around. The time passed quickly though and before I knew it, the sanctuary was starting to fill up for the wedding. Moments before it started, Claira began to fuss, and I picked her up to change her position when the scent of her diaper hit my nose. I lifted the back of her dress up to reveal a mess. Great timing she's got. So, I scooped her up, took Elsie's hand, and found Jason in the hallway, already lining up. Great. By the time I had Claira cleaned up, most of the wedding party had already gone in, and we watched the bride enter from behind. Then, we had to wait until she was on stage before we could enter the sanctuary. When we finally made it to our seats, Claira found herself content to start squealing so we made our way back out to the foyer where applause let us know that Uncle Eric was now married rather than an exchange of "I Do's." We missed most of it. What we did manage to see was lovely. Randi was a beautiful bride. After the ceremony, everyone made their way through the receiving line and then outside to blow bubbles at the newlyweds. We got to have more pictures taken and then headed to the country club for the reception. Elsie had the most fun there as she danced the night away.

Here's Claira before the big diaper blowout:

Eric and Randi after the wedding:

Bubbles, bubbles!

On Saturday, we spent some time at the farm and then us girls visited Grandma Teresa while Jason went to a tractor pull with Papa Walt. We had a picnic dinner in the living room, Elsie tried on Papa's boots, and her and Grandma Teresa took a nice nap together.

On Sunday, our only plan was to pack up the car and head home, so that's what we did. Or, that's at least what we started to do. We got up, had breakfast, got dressed, packed the car, and started on our way. Jason had changed the fuel filter on Saturday and the car had been running fine since then. We got about an hour from the farm when the car started stalling again. So, we decided to turn around and head back to the farm. It took much longer to make it back as the car had trouble maintaining speed and kept losing power. We ended up calling Jason's parents to come rescue us, and we spent the rest of the day back at the farm...Jason and his dad changed the fuel pump and strainer, and we were finally on our way home shortly before 8 p.m. The car did fine the entire way home, and I haven't driven it since then, but I'm praying everything is A-okay with it.

One good thing about the day is that Uncle Brian dropped by the farm while we were there with Jackson and Chase so the girls got some play time with their cousins.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Which is older...your body or your brain?

Try this to find out!

Read the rules here first because they're in Japanese.

1. Click on "Start."
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.
3. Memorize the positions of the numbers on the screen, and then click on the blank circles in order from the smallest to the biggest number.
4. You'll do this ten times, and then it'll calculate the age of your brain.

I've played twice, and I'm happy to report that my brain is 6 years younger than I am.

Try it yourself and see how old your brain is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


A couple of nights ago, Elsie dragged out the box of blocks to do some building with Jason. She kept saying, "You build a tower Daddy. I can't do it cause you're better." So, I told her that she should keep building and practice so she'd get better like Daddy, maybe even better than Daddy." It worked like a charm, and she did improve her tower building abilities. Since then, everytime I ask her to stop doing something, she responds, "I can't stop now. I have to practice and get better."

Waiting for her waffle to be toasted, Elsie chanted, "Puff up, waffle! Puff up!"

We're leaving tomorrow to head to Missouri for Eric and Randi's wedding. When I wrapped their wedding gift, Elsie asked, "Is that a present for ME?" I told her that it was a wedding present for Uncle Eric. She said, "It is a present for me and Uncle Eric's wedding!" She's going to get her first broken heart very soon. I'm praying that it's not accompanied by a total meltdown in the middle of the ceremony, especially since Jason is in the wedding so I'll have both girls all to myself.

Today, she keeps telling me that she's bored (probably because Mommy has been sick and not playful for several days now). Anyway, I keep giving her things to do: pick up toys, color, read stories, do a puzzle, take her doll for a walk, make funny faces at Claira....the list goes on, but she keeps saying, "That's not in-ter-ustin uhnough." She can say interesting so I'm not sure why she's stressing the syllables in such a funny way, but it keeps making me laugh at her.

Elsie has been driving me crazy by changing her clothes five times a day for weeks now. This morning, when she was on her third outfit, I asked her why she needed different clothes, and she said, "Because that's how they do it." So, I asked, "Who does what?" and she told me, "The kids on t.v. Watch them, and their clothes change." Then she turned the t.v. on and said, "Watch Jon and Kate Plus 8 for a little bit of while, and you'll see." The show wasn't on, but I do understand what she means. Their clothes do change in a single episode sometimes. I don't think she understands the concept of time changing in I'm amazed that she was so observant about it and felt the need to apply it to her own life. Silly girl.

Google Tag

Emily did this recently so I'm taking a turn at it. If it looks enjoyable to you, do your own google tag on your blog, and leave me a comment about it so I can check it out.

The Rules:
For each question, look up the answer in a Google image search. Then choose your favorite from the first page of results only.

Here's mine:

My Age:

A place I'd like to travel to:

My Favorite Place:

My Favorite Object:

My Favorite Food:

My Favorite Animal:

My Favorite Color:

The Town Where I Was Born:

The Town Where I Grew Up:

The Town Where I Live:

A Past Pet:

A Past Love:

My Best Friend's Nickname:

My Screen Name:

My First Name:

My Middle Name:

My Last Name:

One Of My Bad Habits:

My First Job:

My Grandmother's Name:

What I Am Doing Right Now:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Favorites (and other very important stuff): An Elsie interview by Mommy

Mommy: What's your favorite color?
Elsie: Purple!
Mommy: What's your favorite t.v. show?
Elsie: Well, I think maybe Arthur.
Mommy: What's your favorite food?
Elsie: Fish sticks.
Mommy: What's your favorite book?
Elsie: Um...Bob and Larry
Mommy: What's your favorite toy?
Elsie: Daddy!
Mommy: (still laughing) What's your favorite day?
Elsie: Wednesday.
Mommy: Where's your favorite place to go?
Elsie: Um. Um. What?
Mommy: Where's your favorite place to go?
Elsie: Um. Missouri. I mean...Um. I don't know!
Mommy: Who's your best friend?
Elsie: Lydia.
Mommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Elsie: A firefighter.
Mommy: (puzzled) Why?
Elsie: I want to be a firefighter because they have to have a hose to get water.
Mommy: Ooookay. (laughing) Thank you for the interview.
Elsie: Thank YOU for the interview!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Greatest Testimony

Our family has been under the weather for a few days with cold/sinus yuck. The girls and I stayed home from church today, but Jason was his turn on the sound board, and there was a Baptism service today so he was helping in the Baptismal. This meant he took swimming trunks to church with him and he ran back home because he had forgotten his towel. Later, Elsie asked him why he needed a towel at church. Jason told her that there were some little boys and girls that got baptized today. Of course, she asked, "what does baptized mean?" He explained that people get baptized when they want to tell everyone that they believe in God, that they love Him with all of their heart, and they want to follow Him everyday. "Well, I'm a little girl, and I can do that," she responded. She's spent the past 6 hours talking about being baptized and repeating over and over: "I believe God. I love Jesus with all my heart, and I'm going to follow Him all the days." "I want to get baptized now." We've told her we'll talk to the Pastors about it, but she keeps pressing, "Can you ask them now?"

It's just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. Yes. I've teared up over it, and my eyes are starting to water as I type this. I didn't grow up in church, and I didn't get saved until I was 19. I know that I have an awesome testimony about the power of God, but I've often heard my Pastors say that the greatest testimony they've ever heard is, "I've walked with God my entire life. I know no other way to live." How awesome is that? That's what we want for our children. Seeing that come to pass before our eyes is unfolding promise. At 3, Elsie's faith is already blossoming into something well beyond her years. I'm looking forward to her future!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Parenthood is a great excuse to...

eat sugary cereals.
go to the park.
watch Saturday morning cartoons.
chase down the ice cream truck.
lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll by.
go to the library for storytime.
catch fireflies.
buy sidewalk chalk.
bake cookies.
cut sandwiches into fun shapes.
sit in a kiddie pool on a hot summer day.
visit the children's museum.
watch all of those Disney movies you love.
have a picnic.
make something out of popsicle sticks.
laugh out loud for no reason at all.
take a walk.
run through sprinklers.
visit the zoo.
get down on all fours and act like a cow.
play dress-up.
build a giant block tower.

I've been thinking about the simple joys that parenting brings to our everyday lives. Feel free to add your own!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Lifecycle of a Nickname

Claira was born on October 31st. Being a fall baby, she got a sweet little pumpkin hat at the hospital. Elsie was Elsie Pie before she was born and is still Elsie Pie or just "Pie" 3 1/2 years later. While pregnant with Claira, she became Claira Belle, and that has really stuck. But, this little pumpkin hat inspired me and she quickly also became "pumpkin pie" which turned into "punkin pie" which then became "punka pie" which turned into "punkers" and has now evolved into "punk." How awful is that? In defense, I'm completely thinking about that little pumpkin hat whenever I call her "punk." And, she doesn't get called that too often, maybe once a day...I still use "punkers" more often than punk, but Jason doesn't like it at all. He calls her "Peanut." I also call her "Sissy" which is sweet to me because that's a name I know well. It does pose a slight problem though. I grew up in a house full of boys so I was the only "Sissy." Around here, we've technically got two. Do we call them both "Sissy." Elsie has been known to say, "Call me Sissy!" or "I'm Punkers too!" Regardless of the many nicknames my daughters endure, none are as bad as the one my mother bestowed upon me. That name is unmentionable.

Elsieisms (with special appearance by Claira)

We call each other turkeys around the house all the time. Really, we say it with love and everyone is a turkey eventually. Last night, Elsie told me that Daddy had called me a turkey so I told her that she should say, "Hey there, Brusselsprouts!" when he came into the room--mostly because I thought it would sound funny coming out of her mouth. Much to my dismay, she said it perfectly so it didn't sound funny at all. So, I told her to call him rheubarb. Then, she chased him down and I hear her say, "Hey, Barbecue!"

If you squint your eyes and scrunch up your nose at Claira, she'll give you some of her best smiles and giggles. Then, she'll squint and scrunch right back at ya.

Last night, Jason was on a search for the Book of You & Me. It's a book that Elsie really loves and would probably love to pieces if she was left with it for long. I had put it up on top of the fridge about a month ago so I was surprised when she went to Jason and asked him to "read the book Mommy and me made you for a gift." How sweet is that? What's really great is that she had such a part in making it that she can pretty much read it herself.

Claira enjoys playing with her feet while she's nursing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Claira is 8 months old

and has been for like a week...but, here I am, finally writing about all of her latest accomplishments. She's definitely got the hang of solids down and just tried bananas for the first time last night. Jason couldn't feed them to her fast enough and she'd fuss each time he got too slow. From what I hear, Jason was that same way as a baby so she gets it honest.

She's not up on her hands and knees or crawling yet (not that I'm trying to rush it...she can take her time) but she can get to where she wants to go by rolling and scooting. She's all over the place. If she's sitting up on the floor playing and wants something, she'll just lean forward to lay herself down and she'll find a way. Trust me. She's not pulling up yet, but she can stand holding onto something.

Separation anxiety is in full swing. If she's left alone in a room, you'll hear about it immediately.

Her favorite things to say are Da-da and bubbabubububba. She can say others as well, but those are what I listen to allllll day long. She loves books, mostly eating them. I'm pretty sure Elsie learned to turn pages at 8 months old, but Claira is only interested in how the books taste. She still loves music so she likes to be sang to and at times, I'll find her "singing" herself. She likes to be held but not necessarily cuddled so when she snuggles into my shoulder, it makes it that much more sweet.

She loves to be outside and is pretty content whenever we're outdoors. She's much more serious than Elsie ever was or is for that matter. I can already tell that she's thoughtful.

Without further ado, here's the lady of the hour.

I acquired some paper earlier this month so I had to redo the teacup pictures. Here's a cute one.

After this, her smiles all but disappeared, and she became fascinated with the light streaming through the windows so it was hard to get her attention, but she's still as cute as can be.

A couple with big sister:

Monday, July 7, 2008

In like a lion...

So far, July is definitely roaring, and I'm not talking about weather either. We've just been super busy, and I find myself with an extreme shortage of time these days. I'm going to try and catch up with what we've been up to though.

Thursday marked 5 years since Jason and I met. Yes, you read that right...since we've MET. In less than 6 months, we'll be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. You could argue I'm biased, but I think each year gets a little sweeter.

This past Thursday, the girls and I met Stefanie and her girls at the park. We picked up McDonald's on the way and let the girls run around from the teeter totter, to the slides, to the swings, and back again. It amazes me how much Elsie grows and changes from one summer to the next. Last summer, I was under her feet the entire time we were at the playground, helping her climb, waiting for her to slide down, pushing her on the swing, etc. This year, she's pretty self-sufficient. She and Lydia will climb up into a swing on their own and the other will push leaving Stef and I to visit. We're not complaining! Anyway, Lydia and Elsie played together incredibly well on Thursday. So you can imagine our pleasant surprise when they played just as well together all day on Friday.

Our church always has a Fourth of July picnic we go to. It doesn't hurt that our city's fireworks display is literally across the street from the church property. We've got a GREAT view. Anyway, there's food, of COURSE, slip-n-slides, an inflatable water slide and pool for the kids, volleyball, bean bag toss, and a lot of fellowship. We gather together to eat in the early afternoon and stay all day, ending the evening with the fireworks. Elsie spent the majority of her day in the water, and could hardly stand still for a picture...but I did capture one of her playing with Lydia and a couple more after she tasted cotton candy for the first time. (She loved it.)

Since we're so close to the fireworks display, a LOT of non-church members gather on the property in the evening, and we hand out balloons and glow bracelets and necklaces to the kids. Both are always a hit, and I remember Elsie wailing last year when her balloon slipped out of her hands and sailed toward the Heavens. This year, she eagerly let go of the string and waved her balloon good-bye. Lydia followed suit and they promptly errupted into a fit of giggles.

Claira was in a good mood Friday as well as she loves to be outside. She's one content clam outdoors, at least until she gets hungry. Elsie's first summer, I remember skipping fireworks to go home and pump (boring, I know). So, it was nice to see them this year despite having a baby in tow. I just had no idea what to expect out of Claira. Shortly before the show started, she got fussy so I came in the house to feed her. She fell asleep, and I figured I'd be watching fireworks out the window, but she woke as soon as they started so we went back outside to join Jason and Elsie. At first, her eyes were as big as baseballs, then she got fussy, and I thought I was going to end up inside after all. But, Elsie came over to join us at that time, and Claira was so incredibly excited to see her. She must've missed her sister that day because her excitement was obvious.

Saturday, we took Elsie (and Claira) to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time. Naturally, it was a hit. I hadn't been there in several years and was happy that the pizza wasn't as bad as I remember. Plus, we got to play skee ball, and if that isn't a recipe for a good day, I have no idea what is. Elsie enjoyed climbing around in all of the tunnels, riding the cars and roller coaster simulators, and playing games. She cashed in her tickets for a piece of taffy, some stickers, a hair bow, and we saved the rest for another day. The girl at the prize counter was incredibly sweet to give her a Hello Kitty change purse that was more tickets than we had total so that was a blessing.

That evening, we stationed ourselves in the living room for a marathon folding session. We must've had about EIGHT loads of laundry to fold. Our living room looked like a laundromat exploded. Elsie likes to hang shirts on hangers, and she's getting better at it.

Mommy's Little Helper:

Claira's pretreating Daddy's clean's going to be drooled on sooner or later, right?

Today, we had church this morning and came home for lunch. This afternoon, Eli and Janette dropped Brianna off to play while they had a meeting. Her and Elsie usually play really well together and today was no exception.

Brianna styling Elsie's hair:

A brief pause:

Snuggled up watching the Newest New Bears (Berenstein Bears)

They ended their playdate by marching through the living room and kitchen in a circle with princess wands and chanting, "Goo-ber! Goo-ber! Goo-ber!" I have no idea what that was all about, but Brianna was sad to stop when it was time to go.

Shortly after Brianna left, Jason's brother, Eric arrived. He graduated college recently and is staying with us this week while he does some job training nearby. It's also been five years since I've met him, and it's hard to believe that he'll be married in less than two weeks. Anyway, Elsie didn't take long to warm up to "Uncle E" at all. We're looking forward to spending some time with him.

In other exciting news, Claira turned 8 months old this week! I'll have to dedicate a post to her sometime tomorrow. I'm afraid that I'm in need of toothpicks to hold my eyelids open so I'm opting for bed instead. Good night!