Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lost all my momentum . . .

Well, I was on a roll there with those pre-Christmas pictures, but then the great sickness of 2010 (I can hope, right) started in our house. JM's had the yuck and now Clara. Last night was the first full night of sleep in almost a week. But amazingly, I was more tired this morning. Is that the way it is supposed to work? Oh, well.

The kiddos are, of course, up to new tricks, even the sick ones. Gracie's big accomplishments involve reading, reading, reading! She got almost all the way through Hop on Pop (five pages from the end) by herself with help needed only on "they." (Aren't you sorry to have missed that Dr. Seuss read aloud, Pap??) I think she finally realized, too, just how far she has come. It's amazing to hear her reading and nice to know that it is starting to "click." She also spends lots of time helping JM & teaching him. She worked with him on his bathtub shape sorter ship tonight - and he got it right after she had showed him! I think they were both excited.

Clara is still busy conquering new games on Webkinz. The latest are Battleship and Dicekinz. I don't even really understand Dicekinz, so I was watching her play and got some insight into how she figures out all these games. Trial and error, trial and error. She's not really interested even if you offer to read her the directions. She is definitely a "hands-on" learner. Clara has also been working on "reading" although I think she's lost some of the drive to compete with Gracie on that front. She is more interested in finding the words that you are reading on the page - I don't think she will be a learn the sounds, sound it out, kind of reader.

JM is busy, busy - even when he is sick. Watch out for your electronics if he's loose in your house - he seems to reprogram Mike's alarm clock every day (although I never seem to catch him back there) and he's been working on the laptop and regular computer (but hopefully, hasn't made too much progress on those, although he does know how to turn the monitor on and off).

JM's also very fond of his "baby" now. It's a small baby doll that he carries around some but mainly wants (along with his blankie) when he goes to sleep. But he loves it if you give the baby doll a kiss when you are giving him a kiss. I think maybe he is working up to kisses or hugs. He still doesn't like to give those out! He also loves to carry around a purse. I guess all kids must love to carry bags - poor guy, with two older sisters, I guess he is going to get stuck with purses for now.

That's all on the kiddos. Here's the funny from my husband. And a reminder that we still do get to talk and laugh together sometimes, even if it does happen during a household chore. So we were making the bed the other night (yes, I don't always get those clean sheets back on the bed before bedtime! and yes, Mike doesn't complain, he just helps! Yay Mikey!), and I was saying that I could never tell which direction the fitted sheet goes on (we have a king and the sheet is almost square). So Mike helpfully pointed out "the stripes go vertically." Aha! I thought. Then I looked at the sheet and noticed it had a plaid pattern.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I guess this is one of our traditions - this is the third year we've made it to Whistle Stop Park to enjoy the lights.

And of course, since JM's favorite thing to say at the time was "ights, ights!" this was a blast for him! Even though it was super cold (for us!), the kids had fun and ran around for about an hour.

The big tree is one of my favorites, second only to the arches of lights that are throughout the park:

We like to race through them for some reason. And after a few times the girls got really goofy (and tired, I think!):

This is the two of them collapsed/wrestling/snuggling under the arch.

The girls (and JM this year) love the gazebo. It has a ramp for running up and down or steps for climbing if you get bored. And lots of room to run around and dance underneath all the lights.

Lots of fun to be had and all for free!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old Pictures, New Stuff

The pictures are mostly self-explanatory, and I didn't think it would be right to post without any chit chat from me (don't I always have something to say??). So, it's probably about time for an update on new happenings at our house.

First, JM. There is so much that I don't know if I can cover it all. Lots of words lately, some that we can even understand (baby, duck, choo-choo). He's also a great jumper now, on or off a bed. It's a little scary to see him jump up just from standing, but he can do it. And when we were over at Mimi & Pap's over the holidays, he watched his big sister (guess which one?) and thought about trying to jump up the stairs. But we headed that one off. His latest attachment is to his hooded bath towels. Beware to the person that tries to take it off of him. Here's how he likes to wear it mostly:

When he's not carrying around snacks or toys in his hands, he holds the towel around himself. He hasn't had to go to bed with it yet, and we haven't left the house with it (I don't plan on ever doing that!). What a funny thing to be attached to - the girls never did this.

On to Clara. She's growing like a weed - some of Gracie's size 6 outfits don't fit her! Her latest passion is Webkinz. She's gotten to play on their with less supervision than Gracie had (since I figured she would just do the stuff that Gracie usually does). Well, bad assumption to make. She's found all sorts of new things to do. Her absolute favorite is "Checker Champion." That's checkers to you and me, but she really is the checker champion. After she got the hang of the game online, she's been getting out the board here and begging us to play games with her. I don't think Mike has played her yet, but she's beaten the pants of me and Gracie. And I tried pretty hard when I was playing her, usually only giving her one hint per game and trying to make strategic moves myself. So put your thinking cap on if she wants to play checkers with you!

And Gracie. She's been having to practice reading more & I think she could really take off with it if she wouldn't get so frustrated when she has to sound out a word. But she's doing really well and her new motivation is working toward earning a ticket to Six Flags. Hmmm, I guess that means we'll have to take her to Six Flags. And she's loving her 2-wheel scooter that she got for Christmas.

Here are the pictures - first set from the rest stop on the way home from Amarillo and second set from Christmas picture taking night.

Check out the height of this slide! I couldn't watch.

Ta Da!

Good smiles from both girls - too bad JM wasn't in this one!

One example of what lots of the pictures looked like ... not bad, but trying to get everyone coordinated - tough!

And the winner, in terms of comedy value:

(check out the shoes!)

Just two more posts before I get to Christmas pictures!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Over the river & through the woods ...

to Grandmother's house we go!"

Two weekends before Christmas, we headed up to Amarillo to visit with Mike's parents. Gracie and I might not have made the best company because we were both bringing along a cold with us. I think we managed not to get anyone sick, though & we had a good time in spite of feeling icky.

See, here we are:

We really wanted to be able to go up to Amarillo that weekend because all of Mike's siblings would be in town at the same time which is a rare thing these days.

There was lots to do, even when we weren't visiting with Mike's siblings. The girls love to play with the toys at Grandma's and Grandpa's, especially the ones that come from the basement (and yes, I mean basement, I'm not just confused and using that word for the garage!) That's usually Clara's first question within 10 minutes of arriving at their house - "Can we go to the basement and get a toy?" Mike takes the girls down (and I think JM might even have gotten carried down there a few times this trip) several times over the course of a visit and they get to each pick a toy to take up each time (meanwhile returning the one they had previously chosen). Of course, Grandma and Grandpa also have a closet full of toys in the living room, so there is no shortage of things to do.

Apparently, being silly was one of the things to do:

Another was to play with Grandma's cats at the window:

as you can see, even JM got to enjoy this!

And to continue a Christmas tradition, Mike (and the girls) worked on those gingerbread men that he makes every year:

We went visiting to Susie & Dave's house, where Sarah and the little guy entertained us with piano concerts and Gracie and Clara got to play Webkinz with Katie (they were so excited about that!)

And here's a good picture of MaryJo and Dick who were staying with Susie and Dave (and who get early Happy 10th Anniversary wishes!)

The girls live in "fear" of Uncle Dick. They always talk about how he likes to eat toes (which he tells them all the time). Hmmmm... there might be some proof here:

On our last night in Amarillo, Scott made it home from San Antonio and we had an early birthday celebration for Virginia.

The girls were so excited to see Scott, but not excited when they found it we were leaving in the morning and wouldn't get to spend more time with him. They really enjoyed their trip to San Antonio earlier this year.


Katie loves to hold a baby (or toddler). JM was so content with her - who knows how long he would have sat with her if Clara hadn't gotten mad and wanted a turn!

Happy Birthday, Ma/Grandma/Virginia!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Way behind - trying to catch up

Well, I knew I was a little behind in my posts, but I didn't realize just a few posts back was Gracie's Thanksgiving program. Hmmm... I'm definitely behind.

But I'm on the path to catch up. Soon, maybe even tonight. But for now, here's the latest.

We have a new member of the family. She (yes, we're trying to make sure the boys remain in the minority!) is super sweet and pretty darn cute. She came with the name of Coco and since everyone (including JM) can pronounce it, and we didn't have any other names handy, and she had been hearing it for the last 30 days or so, we decided to keep it.

So here she is, shortly after arriving home yesterday:

She's done really well since she came home with us yesterday afternoon. She likes to jump up sometimes and that has scared Gracie and Clara a little, but they are learning what to do to handle that. She is mostly very sweet and gentle. The girls just took a trip to PetSmart with her (and Elvis) to get a new supply of dog toys and treats. We are talking about taking her to a training class and Gracie is very excited about that.

She is Mike's (early) birthday present and we didn't really have plans to adopt a dog yesterday afternoon, but fate intervened. We decided to go the shelter and look at the animals there & then wait until we found one that met all of our criteria (around 2 years old, calm, good with children, good with Elvis). We liked Coco after we saw her, but we still might have waited until later to come back and adopt. But then the officer at the shelter told us that Coco only had until Tuesday and the shelter is closed on Sunday and Monday. They are limited by space and Coco had been there for over a month and they had six dogs waiting for spaces. Once we heard that, we knew we better get serious quickly! We got Elvis and brought her back to meet Coco and all seemed well, so we brought her home. I only hope that there will be five more adoptions before Tuesday.

So hopefully for Coco, the story ends with "and she lived happily ever after." We certainly hope so!

Here she is enjoying her new monkey toy: