Monthly Archive for September, 2008

Ten. Twenty-two. Thirty-four.

…months, that is.

These photos of Claire were all taken on September 30th…of 2006, 2007 and 2008:

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Ten

Twenty-two

Thirty-four

Pardon me while I sit here a moment and catch my breath.  😉

Make ya laugh Monday

We had a great weekend!  As always, I truly believe that if you haven’t laughed lately in your life, you haven’t been paying attention.  😉

Here are some things that had us rollin’ this weekend.  Maybe you had to be there?  Who knows.  Just writing about them makes me laugh all over again, so I thought I’d share!

~*~

We went to a wedding this weekend.  It was the first wedding that Claire has attended!  She did so well, and we all had a great time.

After the service has concluded, and the bride and groom walked back down the aisle, everyone is waiting to go back into the building.  (The wedding was a gorgeous event, held on a patio on the mountainside, overlooking the city.)

Claire looks at me and says in her overly-cheery (i.e. loud) voice, “Now, it’s time to eat!  Right, Momma!?”

The people behind us couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

“Well, at least she has her priorities straight,” I told them.  They agreed.

~*~

The wedding venue had lit candles everywhere.  Every time Claire saw candles, she tried to blow them out.

“Sweetie, we don’t blow out the candles.  We just look at them,” I said, hoping no one was watching her.

“But, it’s a birthday, Momma!  I’m supposed to blow out the candles!”

“No, sweetie, this is a wedding…not a birthday.”

“Oh…it’s a wedding…not a birthday?  And we can’t blow out the candles at a wedding?”

“No…it’s not that kind of party.”

So, if you were behind us in the buffet line, my apologies.  The little tea-lights by the mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes were lit when we got there…but a couple birthday wishes were made before I could intervene.

~*~

Claire did a great job of sitting still during the dinner.  But, she started to get antsy when that portion of the festivities started to wear down, and they hadn’t opened the floor to dancing yet.

The three of us were sitting at a table with a group of our friends.  One of the husbands decided to play hide-and-seek with Claire while we waited for the bride and groom to make the rounds.

Now, keep in mind, Claire doesn’t really know how to play hide-and-seek.  In her version, whomever is the seeker counts to ten, says, “Ready or not, here I come!” and then pretends to look for her — or just says, “Where’s Claire?  Where is she?”  The seeker doesn’t even usually have to walk around.  (And, keep in mind, Claire has not only announced where she will be hiding, it’s usually a very obvious place.)

So, my friend’s husband starts to walk toward the steps leading down to the dance floor, which is in the opposite direction of where Claire is hiding behind my chair, and he’s pretending to look for Claire.  She gets really excited and runs over to stand at the top of the stairs.

Just as she gets here, he whips around and yells, “BOO!”

She shrieks and runs back toward our table…which wouldn’t be that funny, except that he had totally startled the entire table of senior citizens that were sitting at the table by the stairs.  Every single one of them jumped and gasped out loud.  My friend’s husband felt horrible and profusely apologized for sneaking up on all of them and letting out such a startling yell.  One elderly gentleman (who had happened to be admiring Claire and her antics throughout the evening) literally grasped his chest and said, “I’m not sure my heart can take all this excitement.”

~*~

This is the same gentleman who turned to me as I was standing behind him holding Claire so that she could see the bride and groom dancing their first dance and said, “My, you sure are a cutie!” and then his wife playfully swatted him on the arm, turned around and said, “Oh, you’re lucky there’s a baby there too, this time.”  HA!  😉

~*~

On Sunday night, the three of us went out to dinner.  As the meal is winding down, Daddy and I are discussing Claire’s birthday gift options.  I’m spelling everything of any importance, so as to remain secretive in front of Claire.

All of a sudden, Claire starts saying random letters out loud.

“Tee!  Oh!  Eye!  Eye!  Ell!  Pee!  Pee!  Tee!”

We start to laugh.  Claire was spelling right along with us!

“Claire, what are you doing?”

“I’m spelling words, Momma!  Just like you!”  Claire said.  “Enn!  Ess!  Tee!  Eye!  Eye!”

It won’t be long before she figures out what we’re doing.  Something tells me that our days of keeping secrets like this are numbered…  🙂

Because it was their idea

Claire still takes a nap in the afternoon, some days more willingly than others.  On the days that we’re really active, her nap is not only necessary, but usually comes easily.  Yesterday was no exception.  We’d had a really busy morning, which involved an hour-long-session at the local gymnastics place.  For an hour, the kids can run around with parental supervision, playing on the bouncy floor, climbing all over these really cool foam-like shapes, walking on the balance beams, swinging from a rope, and hanging like monkeys on the uneven bars.  It’s awesome.  It’s $2 for the hour.  (Every time I see the price, that quote from one of my favorite movies pops into my head.  “I want  my two dollars!”  Bonus points to the people who actually get that reference.)  🙂

Then, we got to go to the Emissions Testing place to get Momma’s car tested!  It’s hard to believe that my car has reached that milestone.   (Out here, new cars are exempt until their fifth year, and then you have to do it every two years…my car is a 2004, so it’s time!)  Thankfully, it passed with flying colors, and Claire was really good during the entire process. They have it set up so that those waiting can watch the corresponding graphs for each car being tested on the computer monitors, which, I have to say, is really cool.

After lunch,  I had to do some things in my office.  Claire and Merlin were playing in her room.  Now, keep in mind, her naptime was coming up, but I wanted to wrap up one last thing before going to battle.  Then, I realized that it was very quiet in her room.  That usually is cause for alarm.  (You would think that loud and rowdy would be cause for alarm, but quiet is often worse.  Plots thicken in the quietness.  Covert operations are conducted in the quietness.  Schemes thrive in the quietness.)  So, I peeked in her room.

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Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Merlin and Claire Napping

Dastardly plans weren’t being enacted.  In fact, both Claire and Merlin were napping!  Had I requested she take a nap, and had I wanted Merlin to sit still with her, I’m sure I would have been met with resistance.  But, if it’s their idea?  We all win.


Merlin and Claire Napping

And for the record, as you can see, only one of them is really napping…  😉

Early Warning System

When we moved Claire from her crib to her big girl bed, we gated her room at night.  We didn’t want her running around the house at night, and we weren’t quite ready to give up the benefits of having her caged. 😉 She was still able to get to the gate and call for me if she needed something, and it got to where she insisted that the gate be in the doorway whenever she went to bed.

Then, one morning, she almost didn’t make it to the bathroom in time…and it was my fault.  She’d called for me, but I dilly-dallied.  Disaster was narrowly averted, but it was enough of a warning to tell us that it was time to take the gate out of the doorway.  Claire took some prompting, but finally she agreed to sleep in her room without the gate, and we told her to get up to go potty if she needed to, and she has!  We shut the gate at the top of the stairs in the living/dining room, just in case she wanders around at night, and I put the gate in the door to my office so that she won’t get online and chat with her buddies late into the night.  😉

That, and her door squeaks.  It’s a loud spooky creeking noise.

And, we’re not going to fix it.

Yes, the noise is annoying, but it also serves as a neat little early warning device.  After hearing the sound, we have about 15 to 20 seconds to get our act together and prepare for the cheery little face peeking at us from the side of the bed.  Most of the time, she chirps, “Guess what!  It’s  morning!  Did you know that!?  It’s light outside, Momma!”  Sometimes, she’s not as chipper.  Sometimes, she’s been scared by a dream and runs to our room, begging for Daddy to protect her.

Either way, it’s good to know that she’s on her way…because there’s nothing quite as startling as to wake up and find someone’s little eyes inches from your face.

I’m sure that day will come…but for now, we have a squeaky door to warn us.  🙂

And we don’t even have a dog

One of our favorite shows on television right now is The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.

I think I surprised some people one day when I put on my Facebook status that I was feeling calm and assertive and how much Cesar would approve.  We have two cats.  We don’t have a dog.  Well, that doesn’t mean I’m not the pack leader!  😉

It’s true…we’re madly in love with Cesar’s show!

We have them queue’d up on TiVO (and it appears to be working…), and Claire loves watching them with us.  It’s a good, clean, family show.  What’s not to love about balance, calm assertiveness and confidence?

There is just something so empowering about his show.  Everything he says just makes so much sense, and it’s hard to remember sometimes that he’s talking about dogs and not toddlers.  (He “rehabilitates dogs and trains people” after all…)  😉

So, if you’re feeling unbalanced or stressed, take some time out of your evening to watch Cesar in action.  It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel.  And, if you have a toddler (or a spouse), your biggest challenge will be not using Cesar’s signature “chhht” on them.  😉

Until the leaves fall…

Autumn is officially here!  Fall is in the air!  This is my absolute favorite season of the year.  Because we’re on the cusp, the temps have been rallying, and the leaves haven’t started falling yet.

But, they will.
The cool crispness will prevail.
The colors will explode.
I can’t wait.

It’s times like these when I have the urge to change my header, but Mother Nature hasn’t cooperated yet.  There are no crunchy leaves on the ground to capture our Shadow Portrait!

Never fear!  Last year’s photo to the rescue!

 

Shadow Portrait in the leaves

The header is the Autumn Shadow Portrait we took last year.  I love it.  It shows Daddy, Momma and Claire, and you can read about it, and all the other Shadow Portraits, here. And, until we can make a new one for this year, it adorns my blog.

If you’re reading this via a Feed Reader, feel free to pop on over and check it out!

Getting our feet wet

Today is a milestone for Momma and Claire, and I just have to share!

Claire’s birthday is November 30th.  She will be three this year.  The cut-off date for school out here is October 1st.  She’ll miss it and will not be able to go to Kindergarten until she is almost 6-yrs old.  My husband and I have decided to wait on sending her to preschool…we’ll send her in a couple years to a Pre-K offered by a preschool in our neighborhood that has come highly recommended to us.

In the meantime, I’m already following her lead on things, and she is like a little sponge!  Her thirst for understanding the world around her is insatiable at times.  She knows her colors, numbers, letters, address, etc.  I’m not forcing this stuff on her…I answer her questions and ask her questions throughout the day, and it works for us.

As it turns out, one of the moms in the Moms’ Club sends her little girl to the preschool we’re going to send Claire to in a couple of years.  This year, they are offering a special class for “young preschoolers” who are or will be 2.5 by October 1st.  It meets one day a week for an hour and a half.  It’s just structured enough to count as “school” and yet meets for such a short time that it’s not really a full-on “preschool.”

I called them, and they have space!  (They keep the class size really small.)  Claire and I decided to give it a go.

Last night, we were talking about the “school” and Claire got very upset.  She started crying when she realized that I wouldn’t be in the class with her.  My heart broke into a million pieces, and a pit formed in my stomach.  Was this too soon?  This was my own fault, after all.  I wasn’t going to send her to any form of preschool yet, but I’d changed my mind. I’d justified it all in my head.  An hour-and-a-half a week wasn’t really school.  It’s just enough to get her used to being independent from me.  If she cries, that’s okay…right?  That’s why we’re doing this, right?

We got her calmed down last night, and I really wondered how today would go.

As soon as she woke up, she was begging to go to school.  Today’s class didn’t start until Noon, so she had a few hours to wait.  All morning, she begged to go to school.  Maybe this will go okay?  (Plus, we’ve left her with a sitter before, and she’s been fine…but this would be a little different.)  Already being excited to go has to be a good sign…right?

We went to the school and met the Director and then met Claire’s teacher, “Sandy.” (may or may not be her real name…)  Claire was a little clingy at first, which was to be expected.  She can be a little clingy even with people she knows, depending on her mood…so this wasn’t surprising.

Sandy said I could stay for a while if I wanted to get Claire more used to her surroundings, and I said, “Oh…no…that’s okay.  I have a lot of paperwork to fill out in the main office.  So, I think I’ll go do that while Claire gets to know you and her new friends.  Right, Claire?”

I was hoping that she would be able to get into her element faster if I wasn’t there.  I was hoping that she wouldn’t cry or be too upset.

“Okay, Momma!  See ya later!” she said as she took off across the room to check out the toys.

I took that as my cue and slipped out the door.

I *did* have a ton of paperwork to fill out, so I did that.  The Director and her assistant chatted with me as I filled out the paperwork, and I got a really good feeling from all of this, the program, them.  Claire hadn’t burst into tears (yet, that I knew of), and even if she did…that’s why we’re doing this now.  I want her to be able to learn to spread her wings and be independent from me…on a certain level.  But, not too much, because she’s still little.  But, enough that she’ll be an old pro at doing this when we do other classes in the future.  Her future dance-classmates will thank me for this.

Plus, Claire has been talking about school so much lately, that this would be the perfect “teachable moment” to introduce something of this caliber.

The Director peeked into the room to see how she was doing and reported back.  Claire was singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and having a grand ol’ time.  I peeked out the window when she was playing outside, and she was running around like a crazy person and having a blast.

At 1:30, I went to pick her up, and Sandy said she did a wonderful job.  There were no problems.  No tears.  No gnashing of teeth.

And, Claire didn’t want to leave.
And, she can’t wait until next Monday.
And, she talked non-stop all the way home about everything she did and everyone she met.

Daddy will be happy to hear that there were no tears, and that Claire didn’t cry either!  😉

I know that we may have some obstacles in the future, but so far, so good.  And, if we do, I’ll just remind myself that this is why we’re doing this now.  It’s not time for her to swim across the deep end by herself, but there’s nothing wrong with getting her feet wet.  😉

How she didn’t get a kink in her neck, I’ll never know.

Wednesday was a napless day.  Claire slept for a brief moment in the car on the way back from a fun Moms’ Club adventure that we had at a local ‘pick your own produce’ farm, but it wasn’t enough to constitute a nap.

She relaxed on her bed and read books to her stuffed animals for half-an-hour or so that afternoon (after blatantly refusing, at the top of her lungs, to nap), but it wasn’t enough to constitute a nap.

I know that naps at this stage in the game are pure luxury, so I wasn’t too shocked that one didn’t happen.

I really wanted it to happen, but like I tell Claire all the time, Mick Jagger is right:  we don’t always get what we want.  😉

So, it’s almost Claire’s bedtime.  We’re downstairs in the entertainment room trying to unwind.  Project Runway is on, which is one of her favorites.  I’m sitting with the laptop on the couch, and I’m chatting with one of my friends online.  Life is good…nap or not.  All of that drama of the day is starting to fade with the sunset.

I’m typing away in the chat window and listening to the judges critique the designers when I realize that Claire is being really quiet.  I can hear her breathing calmly and steadily.  It’s the breathing of someone who has just fallen asleep.  It wasn’t quite her bedtime yet, but close enough…especially with no nap.

She’d been playing on the floor at the foot of the couch.  I scooted up toward the end of the couch and peeked over the side.

Click photos to enlarge.

konked out

Somehow, she’d figured out a way to spread every toy in the basement out around her, and then she’d collapsed from pure exhaustion…

exhausted

…while managing to wedge herself into the most awkward position.

the flash didn’t even wake her up

I’m not sure why the little Pooh couch isn’t flipped completely out into the bed position, but it doesn’t seem to bother her.

So, like any good Internet Junky mother, I finished chatting online before taking pictures and transporting the little limp noodle upstairs to her bed.

😉

And, just so you know that at least one of us was a good little girl and tidied up, here is what I did as soon as I put her to bed.  (Normally, Claire helps me tidy up before she goes to bed…but she’d conveniently konked out before she got a chance.)

would you expect anything less from a perfectionst…casual or not?

Everything packs away so nicely that I’m always amazed at the apparent volume of things when she gets them all strewn about.

So, not only is she a contortionist, but she appears to bend the laws of physics to her will.  Just imagine what she could accomplish if she was fully-rested.  🙂

Kinda like a Concert in the Park…only better

Click on photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Yesterday I was able to enjoy a free concert…in my home office.  Claire decided to showcase her piano-playing and song-singing abilities.

Singing

She’s a new artist on the music scene.  She’s got a very soulful sound.

 

Singing

 

She sings with a lot of energy.

 

Singing

 

She puts all her heart into every song.

 

Singing

 

She’s not afraid of those high notes.

 

Singing

 

And she always asks the crowd if they have any requests.

 

Singing

Naughty, Naughty, TiVO

What is wrong?  Why are you acting this way?  That’s it!  You get into that time-out corner right now.

[sets timer]

[timer goes off]

Okay, now come here.

Tell me what you did wrong and why you’re in time-out.

Yes, you decided to just disregard all of the Season Passes I had loaded.

That was not very nice of you.

Do you know how long it took me to get everything just the way we wanted it on that list!?  No!?  Well, I’ll tell you!  A LONG TIME.  Years.  Yes, years.

Yes, you decided to just stop recording shows, and you’ve decided that any shows added by the “searching by title” method are not really valid.  And, just to be sneaky, you pretended like everything was okay, but then you didn’t really put them in the To Do List.  Did you?  No, you did not.

And, just to make me a little crazier, you would recognize shows I added directly from The Guide, but then you’d double the listing in the Season Pass Manager…one of which was right and one of which was wrong.  Oh goody!  Do you know how cumbersome and aggravating that is!?  You’re just lucky I figured out how to get the shows added again.

*sigh*

Look at me.

I am so disappointed in you.
I’ve done nothing but praise you to all my friends.  All my family.  All the time.

Because of you, my life has been so much easier.  Well, until the last few days, that is.  In fact, I’ve forgotten what time and day shows are actually on, because I haven’t had to care about that for so long.  For years, you were so reliable.  I’d come downstairs and see what was waiting for me in my Now Playing List.

You made life so simple…until you made it so complicated.

I’m just not sure what I’m going to do with you.

You’re lucky that I’m just OCD-enough to re-enter all the Season Passes without going completely crazy.

Will you do it again?

You’re sorry?

Yes, I still love you.
Yes, I’ll always love you.

Now, come here and give me a kiss.

[smooch]

Now, go play.

But, I’m watching you…so don’t let it happen again.

Or, it’s straight to the time-out corner again, and this time, I’ll be taking away your favorite toy, too.