Friday, March 2, 2012

Claire at 18 months

This past week our amazing little one turned 18 months old. For many reasons, I almost missed it. However, thanks to the countdown timeline on this blog, I was reminded of the milestone. So to commemorate this moment (and because I am doing a terrible job of keeping track of her milestones), I wanted to post a bit about our youngest (for now).

I know many people make this statement, but it is proving to be true for us as well. It is amazing how different two children in the same family can be. Claire is one busy girl. She is the type that if you don't hear her or see her, she has probably A) opened the front door and walked out, B) thrown all the shampoo bottles in the toilet, C) pulled all the DVD's out of their cases, or D) all of the above. She is very interested in exploring everything, such as every cabinet and drawer that she can reach, tasting most anything that will fit in her mouth (and some things that won't), and not missing out on what everyone else is doing. Her level of observation and then mimicking that action is absolutely uncanny. Even conversational gestures or inflections that you don't realize you are making, she repeats impressively.

She is definitely a foodie. We have recently discovered that she likes feta cheese, raspberries, sourdough bread, and coconut-almond milk, but her favorite foods are bananas and cheddar cheese. We rarely have to worry that she is not eating enough, she regularly finishes her food and then visits most everyone else at the table and samples off their plates. On that note, she knows the signs for and regularly uses the signs for "more" and "all done". Her language abilities are progressing quickly. She does not have a lot of recognizable words, but a few are becoming common around the house. "Balalalala" - banana "mama" "dada" "bahbah" - bottle "cheez" - cheese "wa-wa" - water "shhhh" "shoos" - shoes "bye-bye" "night-night"

Despite these minimal verbal cues, Claire's ability to communicate and understand are incredible. There is no doubt what she is trying to say when she is wanting you to get off the couch and dance with her, or she wants her shoes on, or she does not want to have her teeth brushed. On the other hand, she understands a great deal. If you ask her to take something to the trash or to put her toy in her room, she is able to do it.

She is just now developing recognition of animals, body parts, and songs.  She has started to realize that everything has a name and spends time everyday pointing to items and having us name them. Books are becoming more interesting to her because of this. She is starting to identify animals by their sounds, especially elephants, lions, horses, ducks, and dogs. She can point to many parts of her body correctly, eyes, mouth, face, hair, feet, toes, hands, ears, top, bottom, inside, and today she showed me her elbow. She likes music and she loves toys that make noise. Whether they talk or sing to her, or she can push buttons that produce a sound or she can beat out a sound, she enjoys them all. She loves to come across the songs "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Hakuna Matata", and "If You're Happy and You Know It" and stops everything to participate. When she is not listening to sounds, she is making sounds. She pushes around cars saying, "brum brum" or she asks for her toothbrush with a "shs shs", complete with brushing action.

Her physical abilities seem to be far advanced as well. She is a climber, she needs no help getting from floor to dining chair, to dining table. She balances precariously on chairs and couches just fine most of the time (much to the frayed nerves of those around her). Her fine motor skills are well developed too. She can open ziplock bags unaided, use silverware fairly accurately, grip a writing utensil correctly, and get into a box of crackers with no help at all.

She is just about fearless. She walks right into the crowd of older children to participate in whatever is going on, she will try to pet most animals, and as I mentioned before she will climb onto anything she can.
She loves people. Whether it is hugging a grandparent, requiring attention from a favorite aunt, or being held by the nearest tall person, she loves all of it. What is even more amazing is that she loves to make people laugh and she is good at it. Usually through mimicking someone or having an amazing sense of timing with a well placed "yucky" or "shhh", she often can lighten the intensity of a situation (especially if she is the one getting in trouble).

As you can see, this precious girl keeps us on our toes. She is growing so fast and learning so quickly I wanted to make sure to capture this unique moment in her life before it becomes a distant memory. I love you Claire and we are so blessed to have you in our family.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

San Francisco!

Wow! Has it been this long since the last post?? I guess we missed Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the other daily life events in the past several months. But here I am blogging about another traveling adventure.

On February 9-12, Kevin had a conference in San Francisco that he attended. Lucky for me, his Saturday was free, so he invited me out to spend the day with him. After arranging some "budget-friendly" travel with Amber, and some child care with the Dodd Grandparents, the trip was on! 1 day in San Francisco to do and see as much as we could. And wow, did we take advantage of it!

Friday night I flew in to San Francisco to this beautiful sight.

And when my fantastic husband picked me up he presented me with a beautiful bouquet of roses.

 Thanks to the time change (California is 2 hours earlier than Texas), we were out and about early on Saturday morning and still felt like we had slept in. Before we began the walking portion of our day, we first enjoyed the unique driving experience that is San Francisco. We drove the ridiculously steep hills and marveled at the people who were parking on these streets. Then we drove down the worlds 2 most crooked streets. A pretty incredible experience. Our first stop was the famous Fisherman's Wharf.

There on Fisherman's Wharf is the end of the rainbow for sourdough bread lovers such as myself. All those lovely golden treats are loaves of Boudin Sourdough bread. Yum!!

There are so many lovely views of the Bay, it's hard to choose just one.

After much walking (much, much, much walking), we decided to get off our feet and ride the world famous cable cars. A really neat experience.

A view of Alcatraz island from the cable car.

After the cable car ride, we enjoyed another unique experience. We took a tour of the bay on a boat. As we left the dock we saw the community of sea lions that have taken residence there on the wharf.

 The tour also took us under the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

And up close and around Alcatraz island.

And before our day was finished, we had to pay homage to another San Francisco landmark. The Ghirardelli cafe! Home of the best...

hot fudge sundae...

in the world...Really.

When we got home, we shared our treasures with the family. Sourdough turtles for the girls,

and a sourdough crab for the rest of the family.

When Kevin returned from the trip, he had bought fun socks for each of us.

In a nutshell, that was our 1 day San Francisco vacation. And it truly was a vacation. Kevin and I had an amazing time getting to visit and share time together that had nothing to do with the stresses that we have been dealing with for the past year. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this trip happen. I know that the memory of it will keep me going for several months.