Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meet Claire. She enjoys long walks in the playground, snuggling up on the couch with a good pop-up book, and getting sick at the most inconvenient times. Like Christmas. That's right, sick on Christmas...the classic toddler-hood irony.

Although down the road, mommy-amnesia will allow me to cherry pick only the heartwarming, fuzzy moments for my memory bank, the reality was that Christmas this year was about as miserable as it could be, without just calling it quits. On my side of the family, Christmas is all about Claire. In years past, we went all-out in the gifting department. Since Claire was born, we've literally scrapped buying presents for each other and opted exchange homemade gifts instead (aren't we so hip?). The reason being (aside from the fact that we're ultra trendy), that it kind of seemed pointless to spend a ton of money and time on presents for adult family members when everyone really just cared about Claire's Christmas. In case you're wondering, I'm fully aware of the fact that if Claire doesn't get a sibling down the road, that we might be creating a monster....or a future child actor.

That being said, with Christmas revolving around my little elf, having her come down with a fever and barky cough on the 23rd, was on the list of top 10 things that could make Christmas a bust. While she's on the mend now, we had a rough few days (including 4 sleepless nights...not the fun kind where you're waiting for Santa). Such is life.

On the merry and bright side of things, Claire loves a party and she quickly caught on to the whole Christmas Spirit thing this year (something to do with us dragging her to every Christmas event possible this month, while singing Christmas songs, may have had a role in this). So although she felt crummy, she was able to rally enough to mildly enjoy herself during the festivities and reserved her miserable state for non-party times (like the middle of the night). She quietly visited with family, happily opened her gifts, and even semi-cooperated for Christmas dress pictures. Not a total loss, just not the joy filled version that we're so used to.
First up, Christmas dress pics. Please don't judge me for fake fur addition to her adorable dress...tacky or not, I just couldn't stop myself.

I'm not sure if it was because she was sick or if she was just tickled to have him home for a few extra days, but her Daddy was not allowed to get out of her sight this week. He loved it.

 Her Grandma's fave:

A few shots of the twins:

My grandma (aka Nanny) requested this shot. There is a whole lot of ornery in one picture.

Then Christmas morning. Kyle and I debated on whether or not to tame Claire's hair for pictures before we started opening gifts. I said yes, he said no. He took this shot before he lost the debate. I love it.

Uncle Kevin's gift was a giant universal remote. Clearly it was a hit.


Claire watched her Dad put this kitchen together a few days before Christmas. She "helped" him while he worked. Once she re-opened this one, she immediately went and grabbed her dad's drill bit set and started "working" on her kitchen again instead of pretend cooking. Since then, she's made several delicious meals while saying "I'm making mama" the whole time she "cooks".

 Gift opening was quickly followed by this:

Later in the day, we went to Kyle's side of the fam. Usually these gatherings are all-out wild toddler parties since there are so many little ones but Claire mostly tried to sneak treats and snuggle on her Grandma's lap (Grandma didn't mind, she was tired and a cuddly sick baby is the perfect excuse to sit and relax).
Here are few shots from the evening festivities.

Claire loves her cousin Emilee. I don't blame her since Emilee is amazing with all of the toddlers. The crazy part is that Emilee has a baby sister that she gets to hang out with all of the time. You'd think the toddler novelty would wear off for a teenager but she is still super loving and enthusiastic about all of her baby cousins (and her sister alike).

 This was Claire's favorite spot for the evening, Grandma Susie's lap.


Merry Merry!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last weekend we went to get the Christmas tree for Grandma's house. We had already gotten our tree in an "every weekend is raining and Kyle works way too late to go to a tree farm and cut our own on a weeknight" sort of a way.  Meaning, we got our tree out of a parking lot of a grocery store. So, we (me) were excited to go with Grandma for the full arboreal experience.

And a few of our sweet little tree...

In the past few days, Claire has sprung a few funny things on us that I want to remember down the road. The first one, was when her Grandma was visiting and Claire was playing in her playroom, where we couldn't see her. I called for her saying "Claire, come in here so I can get you dressed." Her reply: "Okkaaaayyyyy. I'm coming!"
Then last night she was trying to put on her Aunt Tara's shoes. For obvious reasons. While she was doing this, I tried to get her attention by saying her same 2 or 10 times and she turned around and sweetly replied, "I'm busy." Awesome.

Did I mention she's 1.5?

Mug shot. Please disregard the remnants of blueberries on her mouth.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Over Thanksgiving, Claire's Aunt Tara (aka my sister) came home for an all-too-short visit. Aunt Tara went away for grad school when Claire was about 4 months old. Is it just called grad school still when you're getting a PhD? I feel like I should know this. We are extremely lucky to have the majority of our family close to us. But we love our aunt/sister/daughter, so her absence has been a big one in our collective family's life.
Tara has come home to visit several times in the past year. Each time, we've figured that it had been too long for Claire to remember her but each time, we've been proven wrong. Even when she was sub-one year old, Claire took to her Aunt Tara like she completely remembered her. My theory is that Aunt Tara reminds her of her mommy (and her mommy is awesome) so Claire knows she can be trusted. Plus although I know it takes all of her will power to not immediately scoop her up, Tara is excellent about giving Claire her space...and Claire hates space so her solution is to jump into her Auntie's arms :)

We did a quick photoshoot that resulted in one keeper since my little peach is at THE worse age for cooperating for pictures. In my experience, THE worse age last for about a year, so I imagine I'll have lots of "single keeper" shoots in my future. I'm okay with it though since the keeper is so worth it.

Tara brought her boyfriend Phil home to meet the family. He must also look like me because Claire took a quick liking to him as well.

Needless to say, we can't wait for Aunt Tara to come home for Christmas.
I've written about my friendship with first ever "mom friend" Kalissa and the subsequent friendship between our two little lambs. Well, the summer after our kiddos were born, we both decided that we were ready to get serious about getting into shape and starting looking for mom-friendly workout options. After we nixed the mom/baby open skate at the roller-rink (no joke!), we found a "Stroller Fitness" class at a nearby gym and decided to go together to try it out. The workout ended up being insane. Insane in that daily achy muscle/sense of accomplishment way. I could write an entire post on how amazing this class has been for me from a fitness standpoint but that sounds like the single most boring blog post in the short history of blog posts.
So basically, Kalissa and I got what we were looking for and a little more. What we didn't realize going into the class was that we were hitting the "mom friend" jackpot. We were suddenly surrounded by active, go get 'em, stay-at-home moms who were also in the market for "mom friends". A little over a year later, this class has basically ushered me into a group of moms who I consider to be some of my best friends. We see each other several days a week and our kiddos love each other. Claire is particularly smitten with a few of the older (older meaning, 4 year old) girls who are wonderful examples for her to follow. Craft nights aside, (that part is a joke, mostly) I consider myself extremely lucky to have found these women. Our days are brighter because of it. Sap, sap, sap.
One of the ways that we are particularly compatible with these women and their families, is that they are the activity type. Races, events, bbq's, there is always something going on with this group. A few weeks ago, we went a tree lighting in our city. The tree itself was a little underwhelming but there was hot chocolate, music, and Santa.

The evening started out with a bang when Claire tripped on the sidewalk and hit her mouth on the concrete. It was pretty sad but she managed to shake it off in time to enjoy the festivities. This explains why she's licking her lips in the majority of the photos (and the pacifier!). 

I'm crazy about this photo. Kyle recently bought this jacket and it's super warm and fuzzy inside. Claire discovered this and every time he wears it outside with her, she snuggles inside of it. Her daddy loves this. It's his new favorite jacket. Daddy/baby photos melt my heart.

I love that my girl will get her dance on where ever there is music. Look at that little arm chugging.