Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Over the weekend, Claire's dad went on a 4 day trail running adventure. I'm all for adventures, so I encouraged him to go. Plus it was part of a program for veterans and since the original red (the big red sounded too gum-ish) is a veteran, and it was Veteran's Day weekend, it was pretty much were he was supposed to be. I've done more than my share of time away from Kyle but we've only had a handful of nights away from him since Claire has been born. It wasn't a walk in the park (our kiddo is somewhat of a live-wire and parenting her is best done in a tag-team approach) but I had the help of solid backup (aka grandparents) and overall, it was a good weekend...maybe just a little more tiring.

I by no means need a reminder to realize how lucky we are to have Kyle for a husband and for a dad ( spending years away from him basically makes it impossible to take him for granted). He works his butt off every day for us and although he is pretty focused and determined when it comes to his work, I have no doubt that he wishes that he could spend his days with us instead (can you blame him? we're pretty awesome).  So being sans co-parent and seeing everyone's "grateful for veterans" posts on facebook, made it pretty clear that thankful doesn't quite explain how I feel when it comes to the little family we have and the time that we have together. We'll always be wishing we had more. It's part of being the growing family stage of life...never enough time. But the time we do have together, isn't wasted.

On our last day without Kyle, we had some time to kill, so we went to the park and swung through Starbucks on the way. Although Claire is a milk-hater, I decided to see if the novelty of having her own mini-"coffee" would be enough for her to enjoy a steamed milk (with cinnamon of course). It totally worked. She was in love with her "coffee" and packed it around the park with her asking me to cheers with her.

In case you're wondering, yes, I did bring my big camera to the park with me just to photograph my toddler with her babycinno. It's worth it as long as I don't drop it in a puddle.

Judging by her face, I'm pretty sure she initially thought she was getting away with something. 

Getting away with something tasty...

Really tasty...

 Finding different spots around the park to sit and drink her "coffee" was half the fun.

When you photograph your child as much as I do, you catch some funny expressions. This picture cracks me up. The one handed coffee-hold has something to do with it.

 Then there is my favorite one. I'm obssesed with the vintage feel of this edit. I basically have to force myself not to use it on every picture.

Then, since this is reality, the sweet little posed pictures of my darling child sipping from a holiday Starbucks cup was soon followed by this.

But that 's a different story.

Now for the long-awaited Halloween post. Okay, so maybe it hasn't actually been "awaited" by anyone but Claire's grandmas but I think that still counts. Kyle and I look forward to Halloween every year, (even pre-kiddo) but as with most things, Halloween with a child that is old enough to hit the trick-or-treat circuit, made this the best Halloween yet.
I love the spooky decorations, the candy, the pumpkin carving but let's get one thing straight, for me, Halloween is all about the costume. For both of the Halloween's that our little pumpkin has experienced, I have spent a ridiculous amount of brain power trying to come up with the perfect costume idea. I have a specific criteria. It must be: somewhat unique, homemade (I get this from my own mother), and for now, it has to fit into a redhead theme (until she turns blonde!). Last year, we did this:

I'm biased but I'm pretty sure this is the cutest vegetable in the history of vegetables.

This year, fate intervened and I didn't have to stew (no carrot pun intended) over this years' costume. One of Claire's sweet little cousins is nicknamed "Bam" and the combination of this and my little red-head, made Pebbles and Bam Bam costumes a no-brainer.

It was oddly warm on Halloween, so although it looks a bit neglectful to have my kiddo half naked outside, it was only half as bad as it looks :) I desparately wanted get some pictures of her in her costume before it got dark and luckily, Aunt Jin was visiting and helped me wrangle Pebbles.

First, she danced.

 Then she "sang".

Then she cheesed.

Then everyone came over and Claire literally ran around the house and randomly yelled/screamed at the top of her lungs. She loves to throw a party. It's a family trait. Since it was a beautiful evening, the three little girls got their trick-or-treat on in our neighborhood. Although all three girls had a blast, Alabama (aka Bam) was basically a professional trick-or-treater after the first house. She literally walked up to the house, said "hi" in her sweetest voice, collected her candy, then would turn around and head for the next house. It was pretty funny to watch.

 By the time her cousins came over, it was too dark for outdoor pictures (my big fancy camera has no flash and I'm sort of anti-flash anyway). So the weekend after Halloween, we got Pebbles and Bam Bam together. They were NOT feeling the photoshoot (Halloween was over, after all!) but we eek-ed out one good one.

Here's hoping that Claire is still young enough for me to pick out her costume next year! I'm predicting that we have many years of  princess variations in our future once she's heading up costume think-tank.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm dying to do a Halloween post. It's one of my favorite days of the year and this year did not disappoint. But, since I've yet to document our trip to the pumpkin patch, I decided I need to knock that one out before I tackle the big day. Otherwise it would totally be out of chronological order. I imagine people reading my blog and think "it's really strange that they went to the pumpkin patch after Halloween." So here we go.

My little pumpkin has been battling with her last set of molars lately and therefore spent the majority our visit to the pumpkin patch either chewing on her fingers or on her vest. Made for awesome pictures...not. On the plus side, since every moment wasn't a crazy picture perfect photo op, I actually took less pictures than normal (but still more than most people take in a month), and got to enjoy the festivities without looking through a viewfinder the whole time. It's the burden of having a ridiculously cute kid with an infectious zest for life...I feel compelled to constantly capture her every move. Total burden. Poor me.

We started out our excursion in this insanely pretty barn. Seriously, why so fancy pumpkin patch? I struggled photographing my squirrely subjects in low light but managed to get some good ones still. I'm going to start practicing for next years pictures ASAP.

Not only was the barn beautiful, it was also chalk full of fun. There was a mini hay bail maze and a "pool" of hay for the kids to play in.

Since Claire is known for being a great judge of her physical capabilities, it shouldn't come as a surprise that she felt that she was ready to dive off the edge into the hay...both assisted and unassisted. She literally bent her knees and counted to three and jumped. This activity has made it's way to our living room and has resulted in a nice little rug burn on her nose. Her Uncle Kevin has it right when he lovingly calls her the "Little Savage".

 The next portion of our trip included a lot of running, tripping, pumpkin sitting and wheelbarrow riding...

Oh yes, and we can't forget this little man...

Lastly, evidence that I do feed my child.

After we gathered our pumpkins, we went out for dinner. Claire immediately told the waitress "I hungry" which simultaneously cracked me up and guilt tripped me for only feeding her every hour instead of every five minutes, which is clearly what she requires. Then she proceeded to eat an enormous baked potato. That's my girl. We come from potato lovers...and she's a red-head...enough said.