Monthly Archive for March, 2008

There was a tiger by our mailbox

Claire:  “There was a tiger by our mailbox!”

Momma:  “Really?  What was he doing?”

Claire:  “He was yelling!”

Momma:  “He was yelling?  What was he yelling about?”

Claire:  “He wanted us to take him to the airport.”

Momma:  “Why did he want to go to the airport?”

Claire:  “Him wanted to go to the airport so he could take a nap.”

Momma:  “What did you say to him?”

Claire:  “I yelled at him!”

Momma:  “You did?  What did you say?”

Claire:  “I said, ‘ROAR!!!’”

Momma:  “And, what did he do?”

Claire:  “Him started crying.  He wanted to take his nap, but he was hungry.”

Momma:  “What did he want to eat?”

Claire:  “Yogurt.”

Momma:  “So, did you give him some?”

Claire:  “No!”

Momma:  “Why not?”

Claire:  “Because he was pickin’ his nose, and it was bleeding.”

Momma:  “Uh oh.  Did he stop picking his nose?  Did his nose stop bleeding?”

Claire:  “Yeah, and then I gived him yogurt.”

Momma:  “Did he like it?”

Claire:  “Yeah, and then him had to go nighty-night.”

Momma:  “At the airport?”

Claire:  “Yes…duh.”

28-months old today!

It’s hard to believe that Claire is 28-months old!! On one hand, that sounds like a lot. But, in the grand scheme of things, 28-months is just a drop in the bucket.

We went swimming yesterday with some friends, and today it snowed. Edited to add: And, now, this afternoon it’s sunny and almost 50! Welcome to March! 😉

Here are some pictures I took of Claire this morning.

Click on each photo to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will make it even bigger.

28-months old

I said, “Say cheese!” and she did. And, then she said, “See my cheese?” Even with the new camera, I’m too slow for a toddler. So…we get to see the cheese. Sorry. 🙂

28-months old

And, you can see the snow outside. Too bad Daddy was leaving his skiing gear out overnight to “air out.” Oops. Now, it’s all inside “drying out.”

28-months old

She’s such a diva…even in her jammies.

28-months old

“Hey, Momma! Take a picture of me waving to Daddy!”

So, I did. 😉

Soon, she’ll be catching flies with Mr. Miyagi*

Last night, we went out for sushi.

I love sushi. It’s one of my absolute favorite foods. I prefer to go sans little ones, but we’ve taken Claire to the various sushi restaurants we frequent many times, and we’ve never had a problem. Either way works for us. (No, she doesn’t eat the raw fish, but there are lots of cooked options.)

Last night, we had planned on a nice, quiet evening with one of our friends. The three of us were going to meet him at the sushi place, and it was going to be great. Somehow, between the time we made our plans and 6pm yesterday, it turned into a whole dinner party.

There were 10 of us.
There were 3 kids.

Somehow, the table got situated so that all the guys were at one end, and one of my friends and I were at the other. She was with her three year old, and I was with Claire. But, if you’ve ever been around two small children, the attention they require grows exponentially.

It’s like one of my friends told me when they had a second child. She said the math just doesn’t work. You’d think that one child plus one child would equal two children, but somehow, in reality, it equals three. It defies logic.

Anyway, both girls were extremely good, and so was the five year old boy. But, it was hectic. It was not the quiet evening I’d envisioned.

At one point in the evening, I looked at my friend and said, “Wow, I’m so glad you and I could go out tonight.” And she said, “Yeah, alone…with our children,” as we both looked at the far end of the table at our husbands, who were totally oblivious to anything around them.

But, something happened that made the evening worth it…something I wasn’t even expecting. When the server came to take our orders, the father of the five year old asked for a chopstick helper for his son. My friend and I took his lead and asked for two more for the girls.

Because I don’t remember the word he used for it, and because it could vary by region, here’s what the server brought to us:

Click to enlarge photo.

Chopsticks

This (the orange plastic clip) is a guide of sorts that keeps the chopsticks together, so all you have to do to make them work is squeeze them together.

I was raised on a farm in the Midwest on good ol’ Midwestern Cuisine. We didn’t have Chinese Food. We didn’t go for sushi. In fact, I was trying to remember the first time I ever used chopsticks, and I think I was either in college or had already graduated!

(Obviously I’ve made up for lost time. I’m really good with chopsticks, and like I said, sushi is my favorite food.)

Claire picked up her chopsticks. Took one look at how I was eating with them, and started putting her rice in her mouth…with the chopsticks…with perfect form. The little chopstick holders worked like a charm.

She’s two years old, and she’s using chopsticks! She ate her whole bowl of rice this way! I was amazed.

She’s never going to know what it’s like to not know how to use chopsticks. When she’s in college, someone will ask her if she knows how, and she will. They’ll ask when she learned to use chopsticks, and she won’t remember. It will be something she’s always known how to do. How awesome is that?

*Note: This used to be one of my favorite movies of all time. Wax on. Wax off.

Plan C

Hordes.
Swarms.
Oodles.
Many, many, many children are on Spring Break in our area.

This is good in that Claire and I could spend time with one of my friends and her two girls, and it’s bad in that the plans we had were disrupted by the shear numbers of people on Spring Break. It’s a Catch-22 of sorts.

One of my friends and her two girls (a six year old and a three year old) had invited us to the Zoo. Because the girls were on Spring Break, my friend had taken a week of vacation from work as well. We planned on meeting at the Zoo on Wednesday. She was leaving her house at Noon, and we were leaving our house at Noon, and we should both reach the Zoo by 12:30, with plenty of time to spare.

Claire was SO EXCITED. She could hardly contain herself. Polar Bears! Seals! Tigers! She’d clap every time she thought of it.

So, after confirming our plan of attack by phone that morning, my friend and I set off to the Zoo from different directions. I’ve never driven there by myself, but it was so simple, and I made it with no problems at all! I can see it! All we have to do is park. I see the sign that says “Buses” and because we’re not a bus, I keep driving. But, what’s this? Why are there orange pylons blocking the entrance? Why is there a flagger directing people to keep moving? What’s going on?

My phone rings.

Normally, I don’t answer my phone in the car, but I know it’s my friend, and this is one of those exceptions that is hard to avoid. I answer.

“Where are you?” she asks.

“Uh, I’m here…but they won’t let me in! All the entrances are blocked! So, I’m just following this long line of cars…” I said.

“Me too. I’m actually stopped. I’m going to ask what’s going on,” she said.

I could hear her talking to the crossing guard. No one is being let in. It’s full. Once a car leaves, one will be let in. That’s the best they can do.

Great.

She comes back on the line, and we discuss our options. By this time, I’ve turned left in hopes of getting back to where I came from…hoping for a place to turn around. There is none. I’m trapped in a stream of cars ahead and behind me. All the streets are jam-packed full of cars. There are no parking spots left. This is madness.

I think I’m in a park now? It’s full, too. There are no parking spots here either. And, the ones left are being snapped up left and right, and everyone is making their way to the Zoo on foot. That just doesn’t seem like a good plan. I mean, if there is no parking, do ya think it may be a little crowded? That sounds like a fabulous idea. Not.

We both decide to get off the phone. We’ll do Plan B. A park by your house or mine? She chooses mine. There is a cool park by our house, and we can both go to our house and walk there. She’s already on the main road and will head there now.

I hang up and try to figure out where I am and how to get back to where I need to be. None of this area is familiar. After making a few decisive turns, I realize I’m back behind the Zoo. I work my way out to the main road. As I’m waiting at the light, I’m thinking about the best way back to our house.

Then, I remember that of the three major exits to get to my house, all three streets are under construction…at least from this highway system.

I call my friend again.

“You’re taking this Interstate, right? Whatever you do, don’t take The Second Street,” I warn her. “Northbound was at a total standstill on the way here, which was 20-minutes ago. I doubt it’s cleared up. There’s construction and they have a flagger! And! Don’t take The First Option. I can’t vouch for it. Up until last week, it was all jacked, due to construction, so I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. But, The Third Way has construction, but it’s totally doable. I’m taking it. I would have taken that this morning, but I didn’t know about the construction on The Second Street.”

She thanked me for the warning. The light changed, and I ended my call.

As soon as we got back on the Interstate, Claire realized we were headed the wrong way. “I don’t wanna go home, Momma! I WANNA SEE POLAR BEARS!”

Poor thing. I explained that the Zoo was full and that we’d have to go another time. It was hard to curse Spring Break, because that was the reason we even had the option to see the Zoo today with my friend. *sigh*

The closer we got to the house, the more fervent her pleas became. She did NOT want to go home! I tried to explain to her that we weren’t really going home; we were just meeting our friends there, and then we were going to the park! The park by the lake! You like the park by the lake!

We see my friend waiting in front of our house, so Claire starts to realize that I’m not just tellin’ stories. I pull into the garage, and we get our things unloaded. The five of us head down the hill to the lake.

The sight that awaited us was unbelievable, and I’ve never seen so many kids at this park in my life. The times Claire and I go, there are maybe four or five kids there. There were TEN TIMES that amount!!

Spring Break…you’re really starting to chap my hide.

But, I remind myself that without Spring Break, we probably wouldn’t be able to see my friend and her girls…

But still! This is madness.

We leave the park before two of our little ones were trampled in the melee. The six year old was doing a good job holding her own against all the “big kids,” but it was getting to be ridiculous. Time for Plan C. We decide to go back to our place and play with Claire’s Toy Store and then play with the bubbles outside in the backyard. Afterwards, we watched three little exhausted girls eating ice cream and realized that although it was a Plan C, it was an Awesome Plan C.

And, we couldn’t have planned it any better. 🙂

Funny Quotes from our Trip

We had such a great time on our mini-vacation. We were invited to a mountain house and spent the long weekend with one of our friends and his family. We were up there from Sunday until arriving back home Tuesday evening.

Food.
Fun.
Friends.
Fabulous.

My hubby got to ski to his little heart’s content, and I got to lounge around the house with Claire and do nothing. It was awesome!

Well, we didn’t do nothing. We played and read books and played and read some more books. We could have gone to play out in the snow, but we opted to stay in where it was warm. From a skiing standpoint, it was warm, but from a would you want to lounge around and do nothing or get bundled up and play in the snow for 15-minutes standpoint, it was a bit chilly. 😉

In fact, one of the funniest quotes by one of the skiers one of the mornings was, “It’s already 25 (degrees, Fahrenheit). It’s going to be warm today!”

The house where we stayed is really nice and used as a second home/vacation retreat. It’s just a few minutes from a major ski resort. It sleeps a ton of people, has three levels, and the three of us were there with four other adults and another child, so we weren’t cramped at all. Because we brought food and drinks to share for the weekend (and because we know the owners), the monetary cost to us was zero, which made the fabulous weekend we had even better!

It is set back in the woods, and the scenery is just gorgeous.

Mountain Getaway Mountain Getaway Mountain Getaway

Mountain Getaway Mountain Getaway

Clicking on each photo will make it bigger. Clicking a second time will enlarge it even more.

I could sit for hours and just watch the wildlife playing in the serene surroundings and not get bored at all. But, who could do that for hours when there was so much playing to do! 😉 Claire got a chance to play with the 8-year old girl (when the 8-yr old wasn’t off skiing with the others), and she was completely smitten. They both played so well together! It was great.

We had a really nice, big room on the main level. We even had a bathroom en suite. Sweet! We had our privacy but were close enough to the action that it was perfect.

Where did Claire sleep? Well, we’ve made it over 2-years without owning a pack-n-play of our own. Every trip we’ve taken in the past has worked out so that we hadn’t needed our own. (And, when she was really little, we used the PeaPod, which is awesome, and we highly recommend it.)

This trip was going to be different in that there wasn’t a pack-n-play available, so we improvised. Claire has a little foam Pooh Couch that unfolds into a little bed, and we brought that. It’s kinda bulky, but really light, and actually packed very nicely in the car.

Sweet Dreams

It worked like a charm.
(And, no, the flash didn’t even wake her up!)

She did great! She only woke up once that first night (around 4am) and asked for Puppy, because he’d tried to escape in the middle of the night and she couldn’t find him. I found him and gave him back to her. She said, “Momma, I wanna go nighty-night in my crib.” I told her that the crib was at home. It wasn’t here. So, she was going to have to sleep there. She said, “Oh, okay. Nighty-night,” and rolled over. Yes!

I must say the funniest quote from our trip was sleep related but dealt with the skiers of the bunch, my hubby included. We’re all snuggled on the big couch and the movie has just ended. I look over at all the sleeping skiers and said…

“Wake up. It’s time for bed.”

Back to reality

I have:
134 GoogleReader Items to review at my leisure
39 Personal Emails to answer
37 Possible Spam Comments to moderate

Because of:
3-days and 2-nights at a mountain get-away

But we are:
1 happy Momma
1 happy Daddy
1 happy Claire

It was:
Awesome relaxation and the perfect prescription for what was ailing us

And, now we’re back and fully recharged!  Claire and I have a busy day today, full of gallivanting around the city.  I’ll be posting more from our trip when we’re done playing!  😉

Revisited: Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 4 of 4

As I mentioned Saturday, we’ve gone to play in the mountains! Please enjoy this re-run (with new pictures!) of the trip we took to the Midwest in July of 2007.

Click on each photo to enlarge. Clicking a second time will make them bigger.

Little Miss Independent

Little Miss Independent is pushing her stroller.

Headed home…

Headed home…

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 4 of 4

Originally, we weren’t sure if we’d drive back home on Friday or wait until Saturday. On one hand, we didn’t want to deal with the weekend traffic, but during the summer, it’s always weekend traffic. On the other, my hubby’s brother has Fridays off, so we decided to stay the extra day and spend some quality time with Uncle Wah.

What follows is absolutely hilarious. It’s really hard to explain without some back-story, but let me boil it down to this. Uncle Wah was 7 when my hubby was born, and he’s never quite gotten over having a baby brother swoop in and steal all the attention, and not to mention, break all his toys. He is now 41, and I really think he’s a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body. It doesn’t make any logical sense, but he’s extremely jealous of Claire. He often refers to himself as a “second class citizen,” and actually pouts about things. If you were to see him in real life, you’d think I was lying. He’s a big man. He’s a welder-dude. He’s 41. He is single and doesn’t have any kids of his own, so he adores Claire, but he’s really jealous of the relationship Granny and PaPa have with her.

Anyway…Uncle Wah called the house Friday morning to see what the plan for the day was. My hubby told him to come over. He hemmed and hawed and said he was going to be working on his yard. (What? This is the last day we’re here, and we stayed an extra day so we could hang out with you…and you won’t see us for months…and you want to work on your yard??) So, my hubby says, “Uh, okay…but we were going to go take Claire to see the trains.” You see, there is an intricate train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, and Granny and PaPa thought it would be a fun outing for all of us.

So, what does Uncle Wah say? Picture the most whiney, sing-songy voice possible, “But I want to see the trains!” Ha! So, my hubby told him to get a move on and get over here, and we’d all go see the trains.

Needless to say, Uncle Wah thoroughly enjoyed himself at the train exhibit. Claire thought they were cool, but she’s not a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body.

After the trains, PaPa took us on another spontaneous tour of the city. Oh! Speaking of this, I have to interject with another funny thing that happened. As we’re driving around, Claire begged to see my purse. So, I handed her my purse and then focused on what the Tour Leader was saying from the driver’s seat. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I notice Claire is chewing on something. She’s making a funny face. She’s sitting in the car seat, which is between Granny and me, but neither of us saw what she put in her mouth. So, I said, “Claire! What’s in your mouth?! Give it to me!” So, she politely took it out of her mouth and handed it to me. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was a lump of something. Was it glue? Was it plastic? Did she get it off my purse? Did she get it off of something in my purse? She didn’t have my purse open, and I couldn’t tell what it was. As I was rolling the sticky mess around on my finger, I said, “Claire? Where did you get this?”

“Outta my nose,” she said, matter-of-factly.

Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Anyway…as the tour went on, Claire finally fell asleep. I’ve never been able to transport her from the car to the house without waking her up in the process. She hadn’t been asleep long, and she was in desperate need of a nap, so I carefully unbuckled her and hoped for the best. This time, I was successful! I was able to get her downstairs and into the pack-n-play without waking her! Uncle Wah, Daddy and I had planned on going out on Friday night to dinner and a movie, so I quietly and quickly went upstairs and told them we had to go! Right now! As much as I hate to ditch my child and run, we’d better go while the gettin’s good!

So, we left Claire with Granny and PaPa and we escaped.

The three of us went to a really nice BBQ place and then we went to see Transformers. We actually loved the movie. It was action-packed and not too cheesy and the effects were awesome. Both my hubby and I grew up around the Transformers, and I think they did a good job of telling the story.

So, we get back to the house around 10:30, almost 11pm (Central Time, which is an hour off from our normal time…). I had told Granny not to even bother trying to put her to bed, because of the time-difference and not being able to see me when waking up from her nap. I see Claire through the window, and she’s fresh out of her bath. She’s all happy and waving and greets us at the door. So, I ask Granny how it went. “Oh, when she woke up, she just cried her little heart out. She was so upset and kept asking where you were,” Granny said with a completely straight face. My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. “What??” I gasped, actually clutching my chest.

“NO!” she said, beaming, having pulled off the joke. “She was totally fine, and she slept for THREE HOURS. I had to wake her up for dinner! And, she was all cheery and happy when she woke up, like she normally is. She asked about you a couple of times, but I told her, ‘Momma and Daddy went bye-bye, but they’ll be back later.’ And she would just say, ‘Okay!’ and keep playing. She’s such a good girl. And, then, we played in the bath until her little toes turned into prunes.”

Granny thought it was pretty funny that she’d nearly given Momma a heart attack. My mother-in-law is a sneaky one. Ya gotta watch her like a hawk. 😉

So, that’s pretty much it. The only thing missing from our saga is a re-cap of Saturday, and that day was a complete blur. We spent another 8 hours in the car, every hour getting us closer and closer to our own beds. This time, we went directly out to eat, because we knew the fridge was practically empty and the thought of unloading the car on an empty stomach was daunting. So, we had a leisurely meal and then drove home from the restaurant. The house was still standing. The kitties were happy to see us. The trip was a success. A good time was had by all.

Revisited: Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 3 of 4

As I mentioned Saturday, we’ve gone to play in the mountains! Please enjoy this re-run (with new pictures!) of the trip we took to the Midwest in July of 2007.

Click on each photo to enlarge. Clicking a second time will make them bigger.

Claire at the Nursing Home

Claire playing at the Nursing Home

Claire had a lot of fun playing at the Nursing Home!

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 3 of 4

Wednesday morning, I decided I wanted to take Claire swimming since the boys had a chance to do so earlier in the week. That morning, before getting ready and checked out of the hotel, Claire and Momma put on their swimming suits and headed down to the pool. I don’t swim with my glasses on, and I’m near sighted, so I have to squint to see some of the signs. After discovering the pool to be freezing cold, I saw on the sign where the pool doesn’t even open until 10am! I guess they don’t have to put up a big sign asking people to stay out…they just make it so cold that no one would want to stay long anyway!

So, we headed back down to the room, packed everything up and checked out earlier than anticipated. This gave us the added boost to actually stop at a really nice, piggy place for breakfast on our way back west, out of town, and out of the state. (piggy = a place so good you gorge yourself and eat like pigs. Oink.)

We arrived back at Granny and PaPa’s place and had a really light, late lunch. We’d all eaten so much that we didn’t even have a real lunch. Claire had a couple of snacks, and then we grilled hamburgers. Daddy and PaPa went to a car-show, so the girls had fun playing at the house. Claire had fun telling Daey about all her adventures on the farm.

Thursday was the day we’d devoted to visiting the third state in our tour. My hubby’s grandmother is in an assisted living facility in a state farther south, and she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s such a terrible disease. Thankfully, she’s happy in the moment, and that’s all we can ask at this point. We all piled in the car and took the 1.5 hour drive. Luckily, this doubled as Claire’s nap, since she hadn’t really been taking her naps, and she’d actually been in a really good mood despite this. Even then, any nap was a welcomed nap, and she slept all the way there.

We’d planned on stopping to get a “picnic lunch” to take to Great-Grandma, and the only game in town is McD’s. And, this brings us to another First on Claire’s List. No, she’d never had McD’s up to this point. I’ve just never seen the need. Well, when you’re hungry, and the only place that’s serving lunch is McD’s, it’s a nice little treat. As we discovered, she loves chicken nuggets and fries. Go figure. That’s a big shock. I think moderation is the key, and so far, she hasn’t snuck out to eat it since. 😉

The visit with Great-Grandma went very well. Like I said, she lives totally in the moment, so she didn’t really remember the three of us. After Granny (her daughter – thankfully, she still remembers her…) explained who we were, she seemed to remember and her face lit up. Sadly, my hubby’s Grandfather passed away last year, and Great-Grandma doesn’t remember this. (Luckily, Great-Grandpa got to meet Claire before he died.) Great-Grandma knew he would have loved playing with Claire, and she was so afraid he was missing our visit, so she kept asking where he was and saying he needed to get down here right now! Granny had to explain that he wasn’t there, and why, and there would be momentary sadness, and then it would be replaced with the joy of seeing Claire…all to be repeated a few times throughout our visit. I’m glad we were able to end our visit on a happy note, and Claire loved playing with her and giving her hugs.

After making the trek back to Granny and PaPa’s house, we went to a fun Mexican place for dinner. Claire had a great time, because she would be happy eating her entire body weight in rice. Throw in a quesadilla, and you’d think that girl was in heaven! After dinner, PaPa took us for a drive around the airbase, and it was neat seeing all the sights. (PaPa is retired Air Force, and he gets a kick out of giving spontaneous tours. I’ve visited that city countless times and have never been on the base.) Claire had a nice after-dinner snooze, and the day was a success.

Tune in tomorrow for a re-run of Part 4 of 4…

Revisited: Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 2 of 4

As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve gone to play in the mountains! Please enjoy this re-run (with new pictures!) of the trip we took to the Midwest in July of 2007.

Click on the photo to enlarge. Clicking a second time will make it bigger.

Where did Claire get the Band-Aid in all these pictures?  Click here to find out

Bubbles!

Claire loved playing with her cousins. The bubbles were a big hit!

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 2 of 4

Every day with my nephews is a new adventure…especially if you’re a fun-loving *this close to Eagle Scout* boy-at-heart like my hubby. As much as he grumbled about having to drive to the middle of nowhere, in the heat and humidity, I could tell he was looking forward to playing with my nephews. They always give him a run for his money, and this trip would be no exception. They have been impatiently waiting for our arrival for months.

We arrived out at the farm just after breakfast. (My parents live in a house that is a quarter-mile away from what used to be my grandmother’s house. It’s all on the same farmstead. After my grandmother’s death, my sister and her husband purchased the house, and they live there now with their four boys.) It was so good to finally meet my newest nephew! He was just 6-weeks old and still really tiny. Actually, he was a pretty big baby, but compared to the almost-30-lb. sack of potatoes I lug around, he still seemed pretty tiny. You could tell the other three brothers had taken his arrival in stride. I was amazed at how they have all grown! They are Three, Five, and Seven, or as I was reminded, “Almost Four,” “Almost Six,” and “Almost Eight.” Where does the time go??

Claire loved seeing the baby and kept saying, “Oh, HI, BABY! HI, BABY!” She was really gentle with him and held him a couple of times (with our assistance, of course). The other boys were very good with Claire and really tried to include her in a lot of things. They needed to be reminded to be a little gentle, but thankfully Grandma (my mom) was there to referee. I’m so glad that Claire warmed up right away to my mom. I know it’s hard for my mom to live so far from her only grand-daughter.

My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. Claire was scared to death of him. No amount of coaxing could keep her from bursting into tears whenever he came near. I actually put her in his arms for a moment, and she cried so hard that she stopped breathing. In her defense, he’s a big ol’ farmer dude, and she’s just not used to people like that. I really think if she spent more time with him, she’d warm up. Maybe. But, I’d adopted my Zen Mentality, and decided that it was what it was, and we just adjusted. She’ll either come around, or she won’t.

It made him feel a little better that she was also afraid of my brother. She would actually sit on his lap for seven-seconds before trying to escape, but still. It’s not like there were many Hallmark moments to capture. Later that day, an aunt and uncle of mine stopped by for a visit. There was no way Claire would remember either of them. She looked at my uncle sideways, and he said, “I’m not even going to try! Don’t be so alarmed!” Then, she took one look at my aunt and extended her arms and asked to be picked up. My dad said, “Oh great. A perfect stranger can pick her up, but I don’t have a chance.” Poor Grandpa.

Oddly enough, Claire pretends to talk to my dad on her play phone, all the time. She begs to talk to him on the real phone. In real life, though, it’s another story. Quirky, that child o’ mine.

So, what was in store for my hubby? After lunch, he and my brother-in-law took Three, Five, and Seven to the hotel for the pool party. Claire and I stayed at the farm to visit with everyone else. After the pool party, my hubby stayed at the hotel to get ready; Claire and I drove by ourselves back to town to the hotel, and then the three of us picked up some take-out from our favorite Chinese restaurant and took it over to our friends’ house.

Of course, the “pool party” wasn’t just a pool party. It was a pool-party playground-hopping Dairy-Queen-visit and-who-knows-what-else boys-do-when they’re-by-themselves extravaganza. That night, I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and by the time I came out, Claire and Daddy were fast asleep… And, looking back, that wasn’t even the busy day! 😉

Tuesday, July 17th was the day Claire’s great-grandmother (my mom’s mother) got to spend some time with us. That day was also devoted to playing with my nephews, and when accompanied with the swimming of the day before, completed the triathlon my hubby ran with the boys. Yesterday they swam, and today they ran races and rode bikes. They also did much more than that, but I lost count eventually.

Claire got to experience some First-Time Things while at my sister’s (on the farm). She got to play with play-doh (Note to self! Make that recipe and play with that here, too! I keep forgetting!). She got to swing in a swing and ride in a wagon (she wasn’t sure about those two things…so we’ll have to try that again.) She got to attempt to ride a tricycle. (Another note to self! She could totally do this with a little practice! She almost had it mastered!) On her many adventurous walks with Grandma, she got to see real live cows! My side of the family takes this for granted, because they live on the farm…but we don’t see many real live cows here in the suburbs (thankfully!). And? Claire got to eat pizza for the first time. No, I have not given my child pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I figure she’ll have years to grow an appreciation for it. That will not be needed. She loves it. I think she would have eaten the whole thing, had she been given the chance.

Gee, after looking at that list, you would be led to believe my child is pretty sheltered. No, she’s not…these were just a few things that we haven’t had a chance to do yet. Needless to say, Claire had a blast.

Again, that evening in the hotel, both Daddy and Claire were fast to sleep within minutes. We’d already done so much, and our trip had only reached the half-way mark.

Tune in tomorrow for a re-run of Part 3 of 4…

Revisited: Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 1 of 4

We’ve been invited to spend a long weekend in the mountains! This will be a nice break for the three of us, filled with friends, food and fun! I’m sure we’ll have all kinds of adventures to share upon our return. In the meantime, I’ve decided to re-run some posts that some of you may have missed.

Since this weekend’s fun is trip-related, I’m re-posting a re-cap of our trip to the Midwest. The three of us traveled through the Midwestern Trifecta and were able to see lots of friends and family. We traveled in July 2007, and at the time, my blog was still being written offline. I’ve since posted all the content, right after creating this blog upon my return from that trip.

I don’t know that I’ll have Internet access for the next few days, but due to the marvels of modern technology, it will be business as usual here at The Casual Perfectionist. Assuming all goes smoothly, you’ll be able to read a new re-run daily. (Please ignore the oxymoron.) 😉

Will you see anything new in these re-runs? Yes! I’ve found some pictures to post along with the re-run! When I originally posted these stories on the blog, I didn’t include any pictures. So, enjoy!

So, without further ado…here is the first installment:

Click on the photo to enlarge. Clicking a second time will make it bigger.

This picture was taken at Daey & PaPa’s…

Getting ready for bed

“What do you mean I have too many? You can never have too many.”

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 1 of 4

We’ve been referring to our most recent adventure as the Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, because we visited not one, not two, but three states in the Midwest. We were on a mission to visit my newest nephew and see other friends and relatives at the same time. As always, our trip was practically planned to the minute, and we didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to see. We knew going in that we couldn’t see everyone, and we’re thankful to have understanding friends.

We set out early on Saturday, July 14th and headed east. Of course, you have to realize that “early” means, leave the house by 8:30, and hopefully be out of town by 9am. 🙂 The first leg of our trip was an 8-hour journey which wasn’t too bad. It’s weird to think that we spent a typical working day in the car, but it is what it is. As predicted, Claire handled the road trip extraordinarily well, and she actually seemed to travel better than we did! 😉

We had awesome driving weather, and other than a little wind and road construction, it was perfect. Somehow, we planned the swapping of the drivers perfectly so that the only road construction encountered was when I was behind the wheel. Funny how that works…

We overnighted at my hubby’s parents’ house. That evening, his mother (Granny – a. k. a. Daey) and father (Grandpa – a. k. a. PaPa) had prepared a feast. We were joined by my hubby’s brother, Uncle Wah, and one of the cousins, Auntie M. Claire loves talking to Uncle Wah (her name for him) on the phone, but she is terrified of him in real life. It took a while, and she eventually played near him, but not with him. Every time he got too close, she’d run to the safety of Momma-Momma-Momma!

Auntie M. is a grandma at heart, and Claire took to her right away. It’s been seven months since she’d seen her, but Auntie M. is female and came bearing gifts. Claire is definitely more hesitant around men, gifts or not. 😉 Even Uncle Wah had brought some gifts for Claire, but it wasn’t enough to calm her fears. Poor Uncle Wah.

All of us had fun watching Claire explore a new environment and new toys. It wasn’t until after Claire’s bedtime that we realized how entertaining the evening had been. Amazingly, not one electrical device had contributed to it! Who needs TV when you have live entertainment? Dinner and a show, so to speak. 🙂

The next morning, after an early lunch, we continued heading east and into another state on our tour. The next leg of our trip was about 3 hours. We stopped for the night in a town about 45-minutes away from the farm where I grew up. We’d reserved a hotel with a pool so that my hubby could take my three nephews swimming on one of the days of our vacation. It was a basic hotel with a pretty nice pool, and I’d negotiated a good price. (My experience as a Front Desk Clerk comes in handy every once in a while. That was one of the most fun jobs I ever had while in college…but I digress.) It wasn’t extravagant, but we just needed a place to sleep (and a pool), so it worked out fine.

After checking into the hotel, we went over to spend some time with one of my hubby’s best friends from college, his wife and their two girls. My hubby and I used to live in this town, and we partied with these people (pre-kids, obviously) for years after college and before moving away. Times have changed, and our families have grown, but it was good to see them and catch up.

We retired to the hotel relatively early, and got a good night’s sleep in preparation for the adventure that awaited us…

Tune in tomorrow for a re-run of Part 2 of 4…