Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Standing for the first time

She's cruising now. Claxton was taking his afternoon nap when this occurred. My guess is that he will not be very happy when he catches Julia at his new train table. She crawled right up to the table and pulled herself up as if she had been doing it all her life.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Preparing for Christmas

Over the past couple of weeks we've been trying to do an activity every day in preparation for Christmas. It's part of our participation in Advent. Some days we've gone somewhere or attended an event. But typically we take 10-15 minutes right after dinner every night and do something together as a family. That's the time we are all awake and together but it's not yet bed time and part of that routine. Our activities are simple, but enough to keep the attention of a 2 1/2 year old for a few minutes. There's always a one to two minute lesson pertinent to what Christmas means. This is our first year giving it a try and we've missed a few days, but all in all I think we've done a decent job. The best part is that every day around dinner time Claxton starts asking "when are we going to advent?"

Here's some of the things we've done:
  • made an angel ornament
  • made a sheep ornament
  • made cookies and decorated them
  • shopped for a Christmas tree
  • decorated our Christmas tree
  • made a star ornament
  • gave the birds in our yard a special feast
  • donated toys for some other kids to have presents under the tree
  • donated some food for other families
  • talked about the things we treasure
  • talked about who Mary & Joseph are
  • talked about Jesus and his birth
  • talked about good things God has given us
  • attended a Christmas program
  • rode around to look at Christmas lights and decorations
I have to say that this short time each night has been very special for our family and we all look forward to it every night. Hopefully next year I'll get a head start on planning our activities. We definitely want to do it again.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Essentials for great baking

1. Getting flour on your face in the process...

2. Waiting patiently for it to bake

3. Getting to taste what you've just baked as soon as it out of the oven and cool enough to eat

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On to bigger and better toys

Julia has been crawling very well for almost a month now. So we've had to start being more careful with what toys we have available on the floor when she's on the move. And having to share on a regular basis is something new for Claxton. Something that he is not always pleased about. She's very proud of herself here where she has been able to get her hands on his airplane for a little while.

As soon as he is aware that she has something that belongs to him, it usually spurs on a conversation something like this:

Claxton (observing Julia with one of his toys): "Julia don't want that. She don't want it"
Me: "Well she must because she is playing with it."
Claxton (as he is heading towards Julia to politely take it away from her: "No, Mommy, she don't want it."
Me: "Claxton, it's important that we share. Julia is not hurting anything. It's okay for her to play with some of your toys too."
Claxton: "But I don't want her to play with it."
Me: "Life's hard. Get over it."
Claxton: "Oh."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Story time with a surprise guest

The Reading Tree hosted a special Christmas story time with a reading of the Polar Express. At the end of the story, the children were greeted by a surprise guest who gave each child their very own silver bell. Bet you can't guess who it was! It was interesting watching Claxton. He wasn't quite sure what to do when Santa entered the room. He just stood and stared. Our child who is usually very vocal and animated was still, quiet, and watched with his hands behind his back. Once he realized he would get his own bell he came to life again. So Santa handed out the bells, then we talked to Santa for a few minutes and of course I captured a photo of the kids on his lap.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm probably a little biased

But isn't she just adorable. She has gotten into the habit of crawling under the table and looking out the window. Often times she gets herself in a bit of jam and needs help getting out. Who could refuse that sweet smile?

This is just a comfortable position for her. I have no idea how she does it, but she can sit in this position and play for twenty minutes or so. I love watching her play especially when she does not realize it. Every morning I pull out the baskets with her toys and she's usually good to go for 20-30 minutes. More often than not this is the position she likes best. It's rare to find her on her sitting on her bottom playing.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A streak of creativity

Claxton had a couple of days where he was just coming up with all kinds of new ways to use different items. These two I captured and thought I would share:

"Look Mom, this is a camera. You have to press the button to take the picture."

"I'm going to take a picture of you, smile!"

(Note: The power strip was not plugged in. It was out in the middle of the room on the floor because we were in the process of decorating for Christmas.)

"Hey Mom, watch me! I'm iceskating."

I gotta give it to him, he's got a great imagination.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In search for the perfect tree

Every year we go to a local tree farm to search for that perfect Christmas tree. This year Claxton enjoyed running between the trees and of course informing us that he liked each and every one of them. It didn't take very long for us to settle on one. Julia was curious about the tree and kept trying to touch them as we walked around, but mostly I think she just liked watching Claxton run all over the place.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Time to lower the crib

When I went in to get Julia up from her nap today she was on her knees holding on to the rail trying to pull herself up. It can't be time to lower her crib already. It's just too soon. Wasn't it just a few days ago that we moved her from the bassinet into her crib? Seems like it anyway. Daddy and Claxton will have to take care of this right away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Last week

Even though Claxton didn't really get to play in the snow, he at least got to see some before it was all gone. But more importantly, Claxton and Julia got to spend time with Grandma D, Grammy, Grandpa, Aunt Bobbie, and Meghan. Then on Thanksgiving Day Uncle Brad, Aunt Anne, and Kyle arrived. The boys always have fun together and this trip was no different.

Julia hanging out with Grandma D

Julia, Claxton, and Kyle watching the snowmen

Claxton enjoying being read to by Grandma D

Daddy and Julia

Claxton and Kyle pausing for a moment for a quick picture

Claxton and Julia with Grandma D

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Travel update

Thankfully we had an uneventful trip yesterday. There was no squealing at all. Both kids were extremely well behaved and Julia even slept for over half of the airplane ride. They both crashed in the car before we arrived at Grandma D's house though. It was a long day since we got up much earlier than we are used to in order to catch our flight.

And to top it off, Claxton's prayers were answered. It snowed on Monday afternoon and evening just in time for the ground to be covered and awaiting his arrival. He was very excited. We even saw a few snowmen along the ride from the airport to the house. It's mostly gone this morning, but there's a possibility of a snow again on Friday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We've been reading books about Thanksgiving this week and Claxton doesn't really understand it, but loves reading the books about it. The one thing he knows for certain is that the pilgrims arrived on a boat called The Mayflower. The cutest thing is that when you ask him about it, he's just so serious.

Anyway, we are off to visit Grandma D (Brian's grandmother) for Thanksgiving and we are all looking forward to it. We are especially excited because it will be her first time meeting Julia. Every day Claxton goes through the drill of all the family members that will be there. He is so excited he can hardly contain himself. It's a rare occasion that we get to have Grammy, Grandpa, Kyle, Uncle Brad, Aunt Anne, and Grandma D all together for several days.

On another note, Claxton has been praying for weeks that it will snow at Grandma D's. Forecast is not really predicting any right now, but I suppose things could change. I'm hoping for him that we will see a little bit because he's not likely to see any at home. Of course it's been over a decade since we've gotten much snow so it's about time for a blizzard in these parts.

It's our first trip on an airplane with Julia. Have I mentioned that she's a squealer? Well, I'm hopeful she will not squeal to the top of her lungs on the airplane for two hours. I've stocked the backpack with all the Gerber star puffs I can fit in it. We should be adequately prepared to keep her quiet. I'll let you know how it goes.

Amongst all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holiday, don't forget what it's really all about. Take a few minutes to think about all of God's blessings in your life. I'm planning on doing it, and I know I've been blessed beyond belief in my life and have more than I could possibly ever deserve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My stars are all gone

Smiling and squealing at the same time. This is where she uses that manipulative shrill along with that sweet smile to get what she wants. Works every time.

Look closely

She's finally getting her first tooth. Look closely and you can see it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our brown-eyed angel is eight months old

She's happy, wiggly, smiley, and very squealy. She's as curious as her brother ever was at this age. Her smiles are contagious, even after one of her high-pitched squeals when you think your eardrum might just burst, she's still able to solicit a smile in return from almost anyone. Her dad especially likes her squeals these days!! And Claxton just stares at her sometimes I think in disbelief that such a little person can be so incredibly loud.

None the less, it's a fun and exciting time as we watch her grow and observe her personality developing. She has already discovered the art of manipulation. She loves the Gerber puffed star snacks. When she's in her highchair and has eaten all that's on the tray, the squealing starts. When we try to feed the real meal to her, she shuts her mouth tight. A crowbar couldn't get it open. But put a star back in front of her and she's as pleased as pie. Not a good sign of things to come. But I admit that for now anything to stop the shrilling works for us.

Have I mentioned what a fantastic roller she is? Quicker than you can even imagine especially when it's time for a diaper change. If she's not doing any of the aforementioned things, then she may be trying to put either her hands or feet in her mouth, playing with her toys, watching Claxton, and sometimes even playing with him these days. Of course we've now reached the stage that when Julia touches something of his even though he's not playing with it, he immediately becomes interested in it again.

We've been blessed with her for eight months already and it's going just too fast. I already miss the tiny baby stage, yet am enjoying this stage equally as much. She's our sweet brown-eyed angel.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's raining!!!!

It's raining at our house tonight. Can't even remember the last time that happened. Not sure how much we'll actually get, but thank God it's raining. We certainly need it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

There she goes...

It's official, she's crawling! No stopping her now.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The adventures of "Finding Nemo"

We are having pajama day today. Both kids have colds so we are staying in to try to get healthy again. The kids are getting way more video time than is ever allowed in a given day, maybe even in a given week. It's just not an every day occurrence around here. After an educational video that only lasted 30 minutes, I realized that maybe a movie that's a little longer might be a good thing and just maybe I could get a few of the projects that are on my to do list checked off. So I asked Claxton if he wanted to watch "Finding Nemo". Of course he did. Well, I went to get it and could not find it. I took all of the videos out of the cabinet three times. It was not there. After a few more searches I told him we would have to watch something else. At this point his mind was set on watching it. So I went to one other place to look for it. In the mean time, the following conversation occured:

Claxton (yelling from family room): "Nemo is in here. It's in here, Mommy!"
Me (yelling from another room): "No, Claxton. I looked in the video cabinet three times. It's not there."
Claxton (still yelling): "Mommy, I got it. I found Nemo."
Me (still yelling): "No, Claxton. It's not there. Get out of the cabinet. I've looked three times. Trust me. It's not in there."
Claxton (rounding the corner): "Here it is, Mommy. I got it. I found Nemo!!"
Me (stunned): "You do have it...Take me to where you found it."
Claxton: "It was right here in the cabinet."

For the record, it was in a different cabinet, not the one I had looked in three times!! None the less, he knew where it was and I honestly don't know how he remembered. It was not in with all of our other DVD's and we haven't watched that movie since sometime in the summer. But he knew. Now I'm hoping he can help me get my hands on a few other missing items!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Monkey & A Clown

We really weren't super original with costumes for the kids. The monkey naturally is appropriate for our family, and the clown, well let's just say I'll probably hear about this in about ten years or so. Something like "why did Claxton get to be the cute monkey and I had to dress in some silly clown outfit on my first Halloween?"

We went to about five or six of our neighbor's houses and Claxton did very well with the routine - ring the door bell, say trick-or-treat, then say thank you. Sometimes he would forget the trick-or-treat part and just say thank you. I'd rather have it that way than the other way around.

He was intrigued about us walking around the neighborhood in the dark. And kept saying "this is fun walking in the dark."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Halloween

Kids are napping and dinner is being prepared. We are getting ready to experience trick-or-treating with a 2-year old tonight. The jack-o-lanterns are in place and the costumes are ready to be put on. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Salesman in the Making

In sales, they always teach you to use questions to lead your customer to answer yes when it comes time to close the deal.

For a while, Claxton would state what he wanted immediately followed by a very positive "OK!". It was always funny, but we never thought much of it.

Recently, we have really started to teach Claxton how to properly ask for things. "May I please..." and "Would you please...". Claxton has really taken to it, maybe even to much. "May I please have sharks (they're fruit snacks)?" And without breaking stride he simple states "Yes, you may!"

He's almost two and a half. A salesman in the making. I'm just a little scared!

Monday, October 29, 2007

We've got pumpkins

Four of them to be exact. They've been sitting on our deck for a week. And a certain somebody informs us every morning during breakfast that we have four pumpkins out on our deck. Well, yesterday two of them became jack-o-lanterns. Here's a look at the fun time we had.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just trust us

Last night we had an early dinner and dressed the kids in their pajamas immediately after we were done. Of course Claxton's initial reaction was, well, let's just say not very positive as naturally he thought it meant bed time. It was still daylight outside and he knows we don't go to bed until it gets dark. So after convincing him to trust us on this one, we loaded everyone in the car and headed into town. We arrived at what has become one of his favorite places to go - The Reading Tree. They were having a special event which included pajama story time. He kept saying how silly it was to be riding in the car in his pajamas, but was very excited when he realized where we were going. Miss Linda had on her pj's too. She sings songs with the kids, generally reads one or two books and makes a craft. Claxton loves to sing. Best way I can describe it is that he likes to sing as if no one is listening. Unfortunately no one has a choice but to listen!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mr. Fix It

Today a hinge on one of the doors on the cabinets where we keep the toys broke. Claxton informed me that the door was broken and he had to fix it. He wanted to get Brian's tools out of the garage, but I convinced him he could use his own tools. So he ran to his tool bench and came back with a drill, a hammer, and a screwdriver exclaiming "I fix it, Mommy, I fix it"! And interestingly enough he actually went about it the proper way, (except for the hammering part, I'm not sure why that was necessary, but I kept quiet on that one), and even tested it to see if it worked as it should. After several good hearted attempts, I suggested he wait and ask Dad to assist him. He was good with that. But I learned that he is quite a determined little fellow today. And yes you can tell I've became a blogger because I ran for the camera to capture the whole thing.

This is where he is testing it to see if it works properly

In this one, he turned around and said, "Mom, take my picture!" (Ummm, I wonder if we take enough pictures around here?!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's about to get hectic

Julia is quite the mover these days. If there's something she wants she gets to it by rolling and scooting, and rather quickly too. This trick has been going on for a while now. Tonight however, she figured out how to get on all fours and sway back and forth. So I'm sure it's just another few weeks before she puts it all together and is crawling. We've enjoyed having the gates down for a while now, but I suppose those days are about to end again for a while. Here she is:

These are her cheerleaders

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Squealing like a pig

A couple of days ago Julia was playing in the exersaucer and appeared to be having a really good time. She was "expressing" herself about something and in doing so the volume continued to increase at a rather high level. After two or three minutes Claxton yelled, to the top of his lungs I might add, "Sweet Girl, Sweet Girl, please quit squealing like a pig, quit squealing like a pig!!".

Friday, October 12, 2007

Seven months old

Julia is seven months old today. She's been quite a busy bee this past month or so. While she has been rolling over for several months, her newest trick is to keep rolling until she gets to where she wants to go. Just about anything she gets her hands on goes in her mouth. She's been eating baby food and cereal and is quick to let you know which ones she does not like. She's learning to drink from a sippy cup. One of her favorite past times is to watch her brother at whatever he is doing. We are really enjoying watching Claxton and Julia interact. I think he is really looking forward to having a playmate around all of the time. She is also starting to sit up on her own. And much to our surprise she does not like to be left alone, not even for a minute. Lastly, her newest thing which we are all having to adjust to is that she is a squealer!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fall is here

Finally! The leaves are falling and the temperature is too. I hope this means the last of those blood-sucking mosquitoes for a while.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

THD Kid's Project

Yesterday we went to The Home Depot to participate in one of their kid's projects. Bet you can't guess what the project was. Would it help if I told you it just happened to be one of Claxton's favorite things? Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, they brought two of them in for the day from the local fire departments for the kids to see. Think we had a happy little guy or what!?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Will fall ever come?

It's October but some days it still feels like July. We are over the heat around here and ready for some cool crisp mornings. And more than that I'm ready for all mosquitoes to die a quick death.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What we've been doing this week

My mom was here with us for a few days this week. Of course Claxton loves it when there's someone else other than just Mom, Dad, and Julia around. The weather was absolutely beautiful, rather warm, but beautiful the whole week so they a lot of time outside. Mom is very disciplined at walking three or four times a week and made no exception of that while she was here. Only she had company who I think may have slowed her down but was a good sport none the less. She and Claxton walked almost a mile everyday and Mom would have gone farther but didn't want to take the risk of having to carry him home. When they weren't walking they were either swinging, sliding, playing ball or reading books. The remaining free time she had was spent holding and playing with Julia. She also joined us this week at swim class, story time at a new local children's bookstore, and for a family fun day at a corn maze and pumpkin patch. We all enjoyed her being here and wish we could see her more often. Mom desperately wanted Julia to start crawling while she was here, but it didn't happen. And frankly I'm glad, she will learn soon enough for me!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In a jam

We were working in Claxton's room and had put Julia on the floor to play with some of her toys. I knew she was able to scoot around, but today I learned just how fast she really is. It was only a minute or two before she managed to get herself in a little jam and she let us know very quickly that she needed help.

New tricks

"Claxton, this isn't as hard as you said it was."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fire Engine Update # 5

While we carefully laid out the outline of the fire engine in the room, we failed to consider one dimension...


Friday, September 28, 2007

Sink or swim

Swim lessons are going very well. I'm amazed at how well he has progressed in just the past month. He goes under water without hesitation, likes to jump off of Harry the Hippo and touch the bottom of the pool and is swimming four to five feet under water. He will be swimming like a fish before too much longer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fire Engine Update # 4

The bed was disassembled to transport it upstairs. And it remained so for the painting to begin. It has been fun watching Claxton as he peeks into the room everyday and sees the different stages of the fire engine. What started out as a stack of wood in the garage is quickly becoming a real red fire engine.

Sleeping beauty

There's just nothing any more precious than this...