Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Too Cute Not To Share

I said, "Claire, we're going for a walk. Go get your socks."

She said, "OK!" and ran upstairs as fast as she could. 20 seconds later she ran back out, then climbed down two stairs, stopped and put her hands on her hips and stuck her right foot out with pointed toes and said, "I'm ready!"

I tried to get her to recreate her look with her beautiful accessories she chose all herself:
Not a great picture, I know, but trying to get a picture of Claire is like trying to ride a hippopotamus- pretty impossible. Hopefully, however, you get the gist! 


We went to the Littleton Museum again, and it was HOT but a lot of fun. And, of course, there were great photo-ops!

They went into the old school house, and there was somebody there role playing as the teacher. It was really neat. She had the students pretend to be real students from 1865. She even made the gentlemen (boys) take off their hats. But the girls got to keep theirs on. Of course, I had to put the pictures in black and white.

 Here they are with their good friend Ava. We sure love her!!! She's about the only girl Claire's age. Notice that huge smile on Claire's face?!? I finally captured it!
 But then, not 30 seconds later, this is what she was doing:
Poor Ava didn't know what to do while Claire tantrumed. Claire has been doing SO MUCH better, but today she wanted me to carry her the entire time. I knew I had to nip that in the bud and she needed to learn that she has her own two feet and she can walk on her own. So she tantrumed. And tantrumed. But, eventually she would walk while I held her two hands above her head- you know, where she kind of drags her feet while I half carry her? Then she would put all her weight on her feet, but still insisted I hold her hands. I don't know if she learned her lesson, but at least my arms didn't get too terribly worn out.

Afterwards we had a picnic lunch at the park nearby. A homeless man came up to us and said, "I don't know if I should tell you this or not, but right here is where I buried my wife." My friend Kathy calmly said, "I hope legally." I thought it was the perfect response.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The North Pole

I have been wanting to do some fun vacation things this summer. Originally, I wanted to go to Utah and Idaho to visit family. Ben refused- he hates that drive, so we decided against it. Instead, we decided to do some day trips and go and do some fun things as a family.
So, instead of UT we went to the North Pole! North Pole, CO that is. It is a really fun amusement park geared just for little kids. We had a great time. We spent 5 1/2 hours at the park, and Claire was literally falling asleep on my shoulder as we left, but the girls still wanted to stay and have even more fun. It was a great day!

They were a little scared of Santa and Snow White. Oh, well.

 Audra loved driving the car. I remember a ride like this at Lagoon in UT- I used to love that as well!
 Love this picture!
 Claire did not want to go on any rides at first. Eventually we figured out she didn't want to be buckled. She finally went on this ride, but only for about 13 seconds. The operator had to turn off the ride and let her off.

On the train.
 Is that a smile?!?
 For much of the time, especially at the beginning, Claire just wanted me to hold her. 
Eventually she started to warm up and walk on her own. My arms were grateful.
 Attempted family picture.
 This was just before the magic show, which the girls loved. 
Claire really wanted to be on stage, so she went down and then started screaming. Nice.
 The biggest hit of the day by far was the Merry-Go-Round. We went on that at least 5 times, maybe more.

 They got to feed reindeer.
 Not sure how I feel about this ride...you aim at your friends to shoot them. 
This ride was definitely built in the 50's.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smartest Pop I Know

Yesterday in primary the kids drew pictures and attached them to a bag of popcorn and a cute saying. Here is Audra's drawing:

Audra drew a picture of the family, it is very cute. But does anybody else think the quotes are on the wrong word?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hugs, Not Hits!

I have been wanting to do a post on Claire for awhile, but it has been difficult for me to get the energy to do so. I wanted this to be a positive, happy post, and I wasn't sure how to do that when things have been difficult with her. We love her dearly, but she is not that happy, wonderful 2-year-old that everybody dreams of having. It's been rough, I'm not going to lie.

However, the last couple of weeks have been MUCH better- and hopefully it will continue to be so.

Claire is a hitter. She has been for a long time. Awhile back we instituted a "hugs, not hits!" campaign and it has actually seemed to help. Luckily, she winds up before she hits you- you can see her going to hit you a mile away. That makes it easy to tell her to give hugs, and almost without fail she will. So now it's actually really cute because you get a hug out of it, and now she almost never hits- even Audra knows to tell her to give hugs. We have hopefully solved that issue.

Then, she cries a lot. A lot a lot. And she's whiny. BUT...

In the last couple of weeks her language skills have exploded (don't be jealous, D, because remember all the crying and whiny we have to deal with!). Now she can really talk and tell us what she wants. And, her little personality is coming out and it is a lot of fun. She is not happy and smily, but she is quite the jokester. She likes playing chase. She likes hiding under the table while we cry out, "where's Claire?" She likes to come up and "tickle" us while saying "tickle" over and over again. She and Audra love to wrestle. She likes to take Audra's things just to see Audra get annoyed and than give it right back. She likes to take things and hide them behind her back while we say, "Where'd Barbie go?" She LOVES to tease us when we ask her to go somewhere. For example, we'll say "Please go to the changing pad" and she'll say, "right there?" and point to it. We'll say yes, and she'll take 2 steps forward and say, "right there?". Two steps more, "right there?"

Today Ben put a bib on her and she said clear as day, "I don't want to wear a bib." Woah!

This morning I noticed she was imitating Audra while she prayed, so tonight we had Claire say the dinner prayer which was super cute. She would repeat after me, which means she basically said, "mama" "daddy" "Audra" "food" "Amen." So cute!!!

She loves the circus. We checked a book out of the library about the circus and she wants to read it 100 times a day (did I mention she loves books? She does!). There's a part with drums and she opened up and was reading the book to herself and said, "boom, boom, boom, boom" which is what the book says.

She hasn't been nearly as whiny for the last couple of weeks, and her tantrums have really calmed down. It's been really pleasant, actually. Of course, she has been sick the last couple of days (yesterday she had a 102.9 temp) so that might be helping that.

She LOVES coloring- that is one activity she will do for an hour. That and playing in the sand. Or water. She loves dumping sand and water.

She is definitely a dare-devil. She loves climbing and getting into trouble. This wouldn't be so incredibly horrible, except she is also incredibly clumsy. She is a huge klutz. This means, about 12 times a day we hear her fall and start crying. She cries for 9 seconds, then promptly gets up to do the same thing again.

Giving her choices has also proved immensely helpful. We have always given her choices, but you guys reminded us we needed to give her lots of little silly choices. But, it has led to her always needing two spoons. We offer her two different colors, and she always chooses both of them. Oh, well.

Hopefully, we have turned a corner with her. I am hopeful- the last couple of weeks have truly been awesome with her. I love seeing her fun, joking personality come out. I'm crossing my fingers that she just gets better and better!

To end on a super high note, I will re-tell the story of when we saw her for the first time. It was an act of faith to have a second child after Audra. We were really scared, because Audra was such a difficult baby. But the second Ben and I saw Claire after she was born, we literally both fell absolutely in love and KNEW she was supposed to be in our family. And that hasn't changed- we absolutely LOVE her, even though we have had some rough days. We are so grateful to have her in our family- she's a spitfire, but she's our spitfire!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Two Years In The Making

After TWO YEARS, I finally finished this:

I want my kiddos to have an heirloom from me, but WHEW!!! This was a lot of work- especially as I was trying to be a mom as well! It is all cross-stitched by yours truly.It was much easier to get Audra's done, which if I remember correctly I finished before she was born. Now I can maybe get started on mine- after taking a few months break! Actually, my next project is to finish Claire's baby scrapbook- I make one for their first year of life, after that- they are on their own!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Operation Get Through Church

For those of you who don't know, our sacrament meeting at church is 70 minutes. For adults, that is fine. Unless, of course, you have children. If, however, you are blessed with squirmy children who enjoy running around and being a kid, sacrament meeting can quickly turn into a NIGHTMARE. Especially when church does not start until 11:00- during lunch time and after they have been running around all morning. Something about trying to get kids to sit still after having a long morning does not seem to work well. (As a side, I would be OK if we decided to have a special kids sacrament meeting separate from the adults, but don't start yelling at me- I know it won't ever happen. I'm just saying I would support the idea if it ever came out)

Anyway, sacrament had become completely unbearable. Like, truly, the most dreaded and horrible hour of the week. It's not that our kids are bad, it's that they are KIDS- they would much rather be playing than sitting nicely. We knew it was really getting bad when we were sitting down, then discovered Claire was missing. In about 15 seconds Claire had climbed underneath 2 pews (what family didn't see a little girl crawling under their feet?) and had run back half-way through the back gym. Nice.

I decided I needed to come up with a plan- and fast. I researched. I photocopied. I prayed. Here is what I came up with:

I made four different file folder games. These are a pain, but also a surprising amount of fun to make. This one I designed myself based from an idea I got from a file folder game an autistic child I used to tutor used:

 White boards!!! I actually bought 2 cheap white boards from Target, but then I was invited to an Expo House Party at a friends house. This was the best party ever! Basically it's a party where you are given tons of free stuff. We got white boards and markers and an eraser for FREE!!!! Three words: WASHABLE Expo markers!
 This idea was brilliant: Take workbook pages and put them in a binder in sheet protectors so they can be used over and over again! The Expo markers work perfect on these pages! I found a million free printable pre-school worksheets on-line, and Audra just LOVES them! Every day she wants to do them. I will need to keep printing more copies.
 This idea was another super smart one: give each girl their own blank notebook and just let them draw. Colored pencils work well because they don't break like crayons.

Then, some new coloring books and some fresh books from the library, and we were ready to go.

How did it turn out? AWESOME! It has been two weeks, and sacrament has actually been bearable! This week, in fact, they didn't even ask for snacks! Now I think I am going to make two more church bags so we rotate them so they don't get bored.

Admittedly, this was a lot of work. But if it allows Ben and I to enjoy at least a little bit of sacrament, it is worth it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Suggestions Please!!!

I am going to a church meeting on Sunday where we will be asked for ideas on service projects our entire ward family can do- probably 50-60 people will actually attend, all varying ages from newborn to 70's. I am REALLY REALLY REALLY hoping that we come up with something besides just donating socks- which seems to be our theme for EVERY SERVICE PROJECT WE HAVE. I am hoping to come up with something where we are actually DOING SOMETHING for and with people rather than just going shopping.

Please share any ideas you have used at your church that has worked, or that you have heard about that worked so I can take these ideas to this meeting and help to come up with a meaningful project for everyone.

Thank you!!!!

UPDATE: I had the meeting this morning. I took the ideas you guys have and brought several I also had, including working at a center which collects toys for Christmas and needs help sorting the toys, landscaping at a long-term facility that houses families whose children are in long-term cancer treatment programs, and throwing parties at the Ronald McDonald House. They seemed to like the ideas, but are going to think them over and decide later. One idea was to break into groups and do several projects. We'll see what happens, but I am excited.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Fun!

The summer is here in full force, and we are taking full advantage. Perhaps too much of an advantage. Everyday we are doing something- the beach, the park, visiting friends. It has been quite busy around here, but in a good way. I think next week will slow down a little bit. Whew!

Today we went to a fantastic spray park, one of my absolute favorite parks.