Thursday, January 31, 2013

Claire has no shortage of badass Aunts (is it inappropriate to swear in a blog about your toddler?). Our family on both sides are a huge part of her life and Claire is fortunate to have a bevy of wonderful aunties who love her to death. Lucky. Blessed.

In addition to her genetic/by marriage aunties, Claire has an equally amazing honorary auntie in my childhood bestie Jin. When I found out I was pregnant with my little red, I called Kyle, then I called Jin. I remember standing in my laundry room, heart racing, and hearing Jin answer the phone from Korea. It was late morning stateside but in the wee hours in Korea so I got a groggy, confused "hello" which was followed by a signature scream of delight once the news was delivered.
Since then, Jin's enthusiasm and excitement for the little red has only grown. Jin moved back home just weeks before Claire was born and she is a huge part of Claire's support system. Here is what I love about Jin being in the little red's life:

She doesn't have to endure toddler playtimes, stroller fitness class, and birthday parties...but she does it because she loves Claire. She doesn't have to dedicate her Tuesday and Thursday evenings to watching swimming lessons....but she does it because she loves Claire. She doesn't have to dowload toddler iphone apps or instagram dozens of pictures of Claire...but she does it because she loves Claire. She doesn't have to answer her phone every time we call to tell her that Claire "peed on the potty"...but she does it because she loves Claire.

This morning, we had to take Claire in for a blood test (everything is fine) but Kyle couldn't leave work and I was stressing out about tackling it solo. I mentioned it to Jin and without hesitation, she offered to help. Claire is easy to love and being a part of her life is a joy but nobody wants to see their sweet little toddler get blood drawn (plus Aunt Jin has a particularly strong fear of having her blood drawn). This kid isn't her responsibility (although Claire did call her mama today). She doesn't have to be there for the tough parts...but she does it because she loves Claire.

We love our Aunt Jin.

One from the archives. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Earlier this week, a little elf left an extremely exciting present on my doorstep...the new lens I had my eye on. I've been dying to give it a go outdoors but it had been so crazy cold that all baby model could muster was a few quick shots before I felt like someone might call CPS on me.
Today though, was a different story. It was a balmy 50 degrees. We were practically not cold.
We started by taking some pre-naptime shots outside with the dogs. Everything ends up being "with the dogs" when Claire has a snack in hand. Suddenly our pups become loyal and dedicated companions to their kid. I just had the realization that Scout is almost never in any of these shots. I bet he's afraid of the camera (along with flyswatters, balloons, the flag, clapping...the list goes on). Anyway, it was a lovely afternoon so we went on an adventure in the dead and weedy herb garden.

Oh wait, Scout's in this one (with a Valentines Day bandana of course). Maybe he just shies away from close ups.

Piper lives for a close up.

 Our neighbor got her these shoes for Christmas. Claire saw them and insisted that she wear them all day. She's girly.

Then we made a quick trip over to Aunt Lauren's house for a visit with Grandma Susie and a short walk.

Grandma Susie got a workout since both of the girls insisted that she jump with them the whole way.

Then Claire decided to test out this pocket thing that her cousin Vera was showing her.

Yep, pockets work for this kid. Mind you, they were full of rocks that the girls scavenged from someones landscaping (Grandma Susie gave them permission).

Lens success.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We've been doing this for over a year now. The level of excitement it garners has not faded one bit. My little "Shrimp" recently graduated to "Kipper" but all that doesn't really seem to make a difference to her. She's in it for the songs, the bubbles, and her daddy.

One thing that I think I'm pretty good at is soaking up the moments of mommyhood. Since my little Kipper was an infant, I've made a conscious effort to remember and appreciate my perfect little baby for exactly who she was at that exact moment. The soft little hum she would make in her sleep as a newborn, the feeling of her weight against me during couch naps as a three month old, the contrast of her dark little eyelashes against her light completion while she sleep. Ugh. Mommy-baby loves runs deep my friends.
 Point being, my head and heart are full of these moments and this is what that moment looks like at 21 months. Spindly little legs, floppy wet pigtails with flyaways pasted to her neck, post dinner pot-belly, an shakable confidence that goes beyond her years (and sometimes gets her into trouble), and a joy for life that can't be matched.

In case you're wondering, yes, Kyle is doing her hair in the pool. Makes me smile.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Claire's a redhead. Red hair stands out. You know when you are in the grocery store and nice people stop you to admire your child and they always have some specific thing that they point out like, "oh wow, he sure is a big boy" or "that's quite the smile she has". Well, Claire's "thing" is her red hair. It's attention getting, which is great since Claire likes getting attention. While Claire was exceptionally bald as an infant, in the last six months or so, she's started to develop quite the head of hair. A red, curly, head of hair, to be exact. For the most part, I've been able to let her locks do their own things and run free. Generally, all I have to do is get her hair wet, brush through it and it magically transforms from shoulder length hair, into dozens of little corkscrew curls tights against her head. Voila. No fuss.

In the last few weeks though, I've noticed that her curls have gotten a little wilder. Since we are nowhere near her first haircut, I followed the advice of my good friend (and almost neighbor) Heidi and took a stab at pigtails. In my, again, biased opinion. They were/are beyond cute. Since the hair on the top of her head hasn't quite caught up to her party in the back, a little headband action completed the look.

I could stare at this next one forever. She might not cooperate for photos lately but if this is what non-cooperation looks like...I'm all for it.

Let me acknowledge how insanely grown up having her hair pulled back makes my sweet baby look. So big. So bright. I'm a lucky mama.


Not for one second can I muster up enough humility to pretend that I don't realize that my child has gigantic, piercing, brown eyes. These were the eyes that danced through my dreams when I was pregnant.

No. I'm not psychic. I didn't have an eye premonition. But, these two women are her great-grandmothers. As Claire gets older, more and more friends and relatives have been drawing parallels between Claire and her great-grandmothers and their striking eyes. It's genetic.

Claire's daddy is a simple man. The things he loves are simple (aside from me of course). He loves fireworks, zombie shows, America, and bacon... but most of all, he loves the snow. When even the slightest dusting hits our area, Kyle's eyes light up and he literally sings "it's snowing, it's snowing" and runs around the house in a gleeful celebration. Whether it's nurture or nature, my child shares his exuberant joy for life (pretty fantastic quality to pass along to your child if you ask me) so we've been excited to see what she would think of the snow now that she's old enough to enjoy it.

I thought about holding off on a snow post, in case we actually get some full-blown, snowman-building, angel-making snow but then I remembered that we live in Washington, and counting on that happening isn't exactly a safe bet. So here it is:

I see the beginnings of a snow super's genetic.