Thursday, July 31, 2008

My silly girl

I was looking through our pictures from July and realized there are so many funny ones that I wanted to post them! She cracks me up.... (sometimes with the help of Daddy)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random things to remember....

Claire is at such a cute age right now... almost 2 and 5 months! There are so many sweet things I want to remember about her right now so here are a few random things:

1). For some reason, Claire doesn't like the number 8! She is counting to 12 now but ALWAYS skips 8 - it's been going on for about 2 months now and no matter how many times we go over it, she just goes straight from 7 to 9. One day it will click....

2). For the longest time, Claire has been reversing her usage of "off" and "on" which can be a little confusing at times! This too will click one day and Neil and I will have a silent party to celebrate her triumph!

3). The way she moves her jaw up and down while she nods her head "yes" - it's super cute

4). She loves her goggles but for some reason Claire doesn't want to wear them in the water! She just wants to hold onto them while swimming (tonight we're trying to wear them in the bathtub)

5). "gain" when she wants something again =)

6). Putting her toys in time-out which she does very well and goes through the whole routine. She even watches them from the chair like Daddy does!

7). Claire is so sweet with Rollo

8). Sometimes Claire like to be funny and tell us that something is the wrong color on purpose. That little scrunched up, tilted face when she does it is priceless and we can't help but play along. She thinks she's hilarious!

8). Every night before bed we ask Claire what she wants to thank God for today and it's such a sincere and innocent list that makes my heart melt every time. She lists all our family and her friends by name but sometimes she likes to throw in random things like her toys, all the dogs in her life by name, the mall, going swimming, girls, boys, mosquitoes, Beaux bite me, etc. But the best part is when she thanks God for Jesus - I get goosebumps when she does that on her own and I pray that she continues to thank God for everything - good and not so good. Tonight was the first time she prayed before dinner on her own!

9). Funny and sweet phrases: "Kiss-a my hands", "Awww...what happened?", "Mmmm...mommy!", "That way?", "Come with-is" (come with you or some with me!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drum roll please.....

Claire's going to have a little sister!! YEAH!! We are so excited! Our appointment was at 2 and 2:30 and we didn't even see the doctor till about 3:35! Everything checked out A-OK and the due date is still 12/29 which they thought very unlikely because it stayed the same. Claire had the same date from start to finish so guess my babies are just right on the mark. The baby was moving a TON - even more than usual for baby girl #2 because she's been so active the past 2 sonograms. Her heart beat was 142 bpm which is a nice strong heart rate. Oh it feels great to say SHE instead of it... can't wait to put bows on her head and dress her and Claire alike for special occasions... yes, I'll be that mom! At least Neil and I won't have to argue over a boy name because we seem to be more like minded with the girl names. We probably won't decide for a little longer because that's just how we are. We like Julie/Julia and.... well, that's pretty much it right now. Praise God for a healthy baby girl and a forever sister for Claire Bear. Can't wait to see them grow up together!

Thank you to Stef and Joe David and little Jed for keeping Claire entertained while we were at the doctor's office FOREVER! Claire had the best time "helping" Jed that she didn't even respond when we told her she was having a sister. She didn't care either way so I didn't expect a big response!

Here are a few pics we took when we got home! I love the ones of Claire!

17 weeks 1 day - me and my baby girl!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Too excited!

Well, I'm 17 weeks pregnant today and I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by! Just today in the car I thought about how much I love being pregnant (I've been very blessed!) and how I should take in every moment because this might be my last time! For those who have asked, I'm feeling well - I'm not as tired and I'm not feeling as sick. I'm still having some weird eating issues that I didn't have with Claire - nothing sounds good to me (especially veggies) except my cravings I had with Claire - potatoes anyway and every way and cheese! Sonic is loving me right now because I love their cheese fries and they are Oh so healthy for me too! I've already started having severe heartburn which I had terribly with Claire. I'd drink water and get it so I'm prepared with my Pepcid! I'm also having to adjust my sleeping more the past week with my growing tummy. I love to sleep on my tummy so I haven't been sleeping very well. Other than that everything is going beautifully and I'll take it all considering it could be a lot worse!

We find out tomorrow if we are having a girl or a boy and most importantly the health of the baby. We are praying for a strong healthy baby who is right on target with everything but we know it is all in God's hands no matter what they tell us! We were told that Claire had a heart calcification at this sonogram and even though it was something very common and went away , it's not something you want to hear and it makes me a little nervous. Anyway, my initial feeling was that we are having a boy and the Chinese Gender Calendar seems to think so as well but I've had 3 weird dreams this past week that the baby is a girl! We'll see! I'm just too excited I hope I can sleep tonight! I'll post some pics tomorrow of my growing belly along with a special pic of Claire telling everyone if she will have a baby brother or sister! Please keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guess who's in her late 20's?

Well, at least I'm not 30 yet! My 28th birthday was this past week so now I'm officially in my late 20's. It makes me feel really old especially because my 10 year high school reunion is right around the corner! I had a wonderful day with my wonderful family - Neil and I took Claire to her swim lessons in the morning and then got breakfast tacos. Neil went to work while I napped during Claire's nap time and then it was off to the pool! Neil's dad came over that evening so Neil and I could go to my FAVORITE restaurant in the world - The Melting Pot. If you haven't been, it's fabulous but go for a special occasion so you can go all out and have the full experience! My mom had us over along with Neil's parents the night before for a nice dinner and a yummy carrot cake. Here are a few pics from my birthday dinners:

Our night out to the Melting Pot

Our sweet family with the yummy carrot cake

My wonderful parents!

My baby looking so grown up - I loved this picture!
My brother Billy with his favorite little one (and me!)

My birthday has been so different the past 3 years. I used to really look forward to my birthday. Now I really look forward to Claire's birthday and soon to be 2nd baby's birthday because I actually can remember it and I labored that day! It just has so much more meaning to me and birthdays definitely have a whole new perspective since I've become a mommy. With that I want to thank my mom for working so hard on July 15th, 1980. I respect you more and more everyday and love you so much knowing what you went through for me!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The best feeling in the whole world....

is when you feel your baby moving inside you for the very first time!! I've been anticipating the movement for about a week now and I felt the baby last night a number of times. It was late and I was laying in bed so I tried to be as still as I could. It just amazes me... it's a feeling like no other and it is my favorite part of being pregnant. I didn't feel Claire till about 20 weeks but they say everything's earlier with the second and I'm SO glad =) 16 weeks and 3 days... God is so good

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Potty update

For those who don't like potty talk, you don't want to read this but for everyone else...

YEAH! Claire went poop this morning in the potty! She woke up saying "Mama, poop" and when I walked into her room she said "Change it" so I thought she had gone. Well, she hadn't yet so I convinced her she needed to go try on the potty (with treats as the motivator) and she did it while I read her a book =) I did get some advice from a friend that I will keep in my back pocket in case this was a fluke!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Potty Talk

As promised here is the update on potty training! She's doing a great job! We've been training for about a week now and she's in panties at home and pull-ups out and about... just in case =) So she was more than ready to be potty trained and I'm hoping this is going to stick for good. She even went on the yucky potty at Taco Cabana and at the pool yesterday which is pretty awesome. She's telling me when she needs to go even though I'm still asking her a lot. It's so funny.... it's just like her to only have to go when SHE tells me and not when I suggest it. I think I'm going to have a very independent girl on my hands! Here are some pics of her potty
training week:

Playing with her Play-Doh while being house bound!

Showing Abbey how to use the potty!

Loving her M&M's and panties!

So for those who have asked me how I did it, here's how!!

A few days before I wanted to start, I started telling her she was going to be able to go to the store and pick out her own panties so she could go on the potty. I also started telling her that she was going to get a treat every time she went in her potty. I was WAY OVER excited so she would get excited too!

Tuesday came and I once again made a big deal about the trip to pick everything up - she picked out her own panties, we got M&M's and we got a clear container to keep them in that she was able to open herself (once again the independence!). Oh and I picked up some carpet spot cleaner too! When we got home for lunch, I gave her a few M&M's so she new what to look forward to. I told her she would get more as soon as she started using her potty. After nap, I kept her in a diaper and waited to see if she would initiate any potty talk. She did! She went twice that afternoon!

The next day, Wed., we put panties on right away. We had a couple accidents but just as many successes. When she would pee in her panties she told me right away because she hated the feeling. She'd walk with her legs spread apart! That afternoon I called her pull-ups special panties but she treated them just like a diaper and didn't tell me when she had gone so it was back to panties the next day (Thursday).

Each day she started having less and less accidents and more successes. We stayed home Tuesday afternoon and didn't go out till Saturday which I think was helpful to be at home and her wear panties all the time. By the time we went out on Saturday, I tried the pull-ups again so we wouldn't make messes on anyone's floor. She is now treating them just like panties! I also used some training pants I found at Babies R Us that are just like panties but are a little thicker in the middle so it will catch small accidents. These are great! On Thursday I tried using the vinyl diaper covers that cover plain panties (or cloth diapers) but she went a few times in there without telling me so I haven't used them since.

OK a few other details that I think helped! I've made it VERY methodical for her so she does the same thing every time. She goes, wipes, I put water in her potty, she pours it in the big potty, she flushes and puts the seat down, washes her hands, dries her hands and then counts out her own M&M's from the container she can open herself. Of course it's out of reach but she can see it on the counter and I bring it to her each time. I don't want to make her compulsive but I've learned that Claire likes things to be very predictable! It certainly works for her!

Now... I started giving Claire 3 M&M's each time she went (not when she just tried) and she was eating a TON a day! I never realized how many times she went to the bathroom in one day! After 2 days, I cut it back to 2 thinking she wouldn't have it (since she was counting her own) but she didn't mind at all. I'll probably cut it back to 1 next week and wean her off the treats.

Well, I haven't talked about her going poop yet but it's been our most difficult part. She went on Thursday and it seemed to be a VERY traumatic experience for her. I think she was a little constipated so it might have hurt a little and it took her a long time. We read books while she tried to keep her mind off of it. She cried and I felt so bad for her but I just kept encouraging her and she eventually did it. I gave her 4 M&M's for that one! We had a BIG celebration and even took pictures to make a bigger deal of it - don't worry! I won't post that one! Well, she hasn't gone poop on the potty since. We've tried and I've caught her trying to go hide to do her business. When I see her do that I just smile and get her to the potty with little hesitation but she still just sits there. The only times she's gone since is during nap or bedtime when she's wearing a diaper. She never did that before so I really think she's holding it till she gets a diaper on. I'd love any suggestions if anyone else has gone through the same thing!

OK enough potty talk but I know a lot of people who are on the brink of potty training and have asked what I did with Claire. I can't believe how easy it has been even though it's been very time consuming. You certainly need a lot of patience because you have to stay positive all the time. Even through accidents and trying every 5 minutes because they want that treat so bad! It's worth it in the end. I wanted her potty trained before we get her in a big girl bed in September and I think we may have done it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I love M&M's

... and so does Claire!! Potty Training update coming soon! It is going REALLY well!

Finally... our trip!!

Well, I'm finally rested enough not to lay down during Claire's nap time so here it goes!

We flew into Chicago on Wed, June 25th and I had been pumping up flying to Claire for about 2 months so she was SO excited! In fact, she was too excited to nap that day so I was a little nervous because I knew she wouldn't sleep on the plane. Well, she did a WONDERFUL job especially after waiting for an hour delay and an additional 30 minutes sitting on the runway. We had a lot of surprises for her including a stuffed Daddy frog holding a baby frog and her favorite PBS shows with a DVD player that "Aunt" Heather let us borrow. Thank you so much Heather! It really came in handy! By the time we actually got to Chicago it was about 6 p.m. As soon as we took the shuttle and got the rental car, she was exhausted and was out after 5 minutes on the road.

My Aunt Marge let us stay with her in Grayslake, Illinois which was about a 45 minute drive. We had the whole basement to ourselves so it was a great setup for our family. Marge lives in an adult community and it's a gorgeous area. Her back yard is full of wildlife - coyotes, deer, birds of all kind and tons of bunnies! We got to see bunnies while eating dinner and breakfast the next day. They would come right up to her patio! I think this was Claire's favorite part of Marge's house and aside from seeing family, it was mine as well =)

On Thursday, Marge arranged a wonderful day for family to visit so my Aunt Faye and Aunt Evelyn also came into town. My cousins Richard and Mary also came over for dinner that evening with their spouses and it was good eatin'! We had a great time catching up and they loved seeing Claire run around giving them all hugs before bedtime. They were amazed at how social she was and how comfortable she was with them after only meeting them hours before!

Friday morning it was off to Byron, Illinois to get to our Bed and Breakfast, BlackHawk's Inn which was right on a beautiful river. It was a wonderful place to stay. The rooms were a little small and the shower water was temperamental but we would definitely stay there again. We stopped in Rockford on the way to eat lunch and just happened to be so near Eric and Erin that they met us and we got a chance to catch up before the rehearsal that evening. Unfortunately, we got really lost on our way to the rehearsal so we pretty much missed it all! We were so confused and Claire was tired of being driven around. Thank God we finally caught up with everyone and were sure to follow everyone to the park area where the rehearsal dinner was supposed to be. I got to eat my brat and it was SOOOO good! Well worth the trip =) Claire had a great time running around the open grass areas and once again surprised us with how well she did with such little sleep and a later night than usual!

Saturday morning we were at the wedding site by 8:30 to get pictures done beforehand. It was such a beautiful area called White Pines Inn - Wedding Canyon and if I got married again, I'd consider the long trip back! Eric and Erin looked wonderful and there was a big crowd to witness such a blessing. I read scripture and Claire came up with me. She was so wonderful standing up in front of all those people. She just held my hand and stood there quietly. Here are a couple pics I took and one from the photographer that I turned black and white with color:

The reception was nice with a good lunch and we sat with Eric's parents, Alaina Weynard (the photographer) and the Ingrams who had all traveled from San Antonio. They had all the traditional things with the toast delivered by my man (it was really good too!), first dances, cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss and a rose petal send off inside the building since it was raining. We had a great time! We were off to Milwaukee by 3:00 p.m to stay the night with my Aunt Linda and Uncle Jim. We had a relaxing evening home with them along with my 11 year old cousin, Kaitlin and Aunt Barbara.

Sunday was the day Claire found her new obsession: Kaitlin! Anytime Kaitlin was around she had to be holding her hand or sitting right next to her. These two pictures say it all:

That day we went to the Children's Museum in Milwaukee with Linda, Kaitlin and Barbara and had a great time! Claire loved it! It had all kinds of hand on activities for her. We then went to Barbara's place in Shorewood for Claire's nap and a yummy lasagna dinner. My Aunt Judy and cousin Bethany also came by for a little while to see Claire. It was a nice relaxing evening in and we had a great time to really visit and share a meal together.

Monday we drove up to Sheboygan, WI to see my Grandma and found another one of Claire's obsessions: the beach!! She is still talking about it! She had a wonderful time playing in the sand but the water was freezing so no bathing suits for us! It was a perfect day to be out and we had a fun time. That night we stayed at my grandma's and had to watch the Bachelorette and The Mole together! I love that my grandma likes those shows - it's pretty funny to hear her talk about them!

Tuesday was a wonderful day for me... growing up visiting Wisconsin, I have vivid memories of many places in Cedar Grove and Oostburg which are right outside of Sheboygan. Neil has never been up there so this was the day I got to show him all the things I loved to do as a kid. The first and foremost was going to the Walvoord Berry Farm to pick fresh strawberries. I've done it every summer I visited since I can remember and to take Claire there was so special for me. She did a wonderful job but we only picked for about 25 minutes because she liked to pick all the strawberries including the green ones! She helped quite a bit and in that little time we got about 4 pounds to give to my grandma. Oh it was wonderful!!

Then it was off to show Neil where my dad grew up and where I remember the days with my Grandma Walvoord. She was such a sweet woman! I have fond memories of running around on the farm, going fishing down at the river, watching the birds from the kitchen table and I can even remember that musty smell in the basement. My dad owns some of the land so we were able to get out and walk around. The mosquitoes were so bad that we didn't get very far! The woman who lives there now came out and we talked to her for a little bit. They're refurnishing the house and she said one of my cousins had just been by not too long ago. A lot of grand kids grew up in that house so they probably get that a lot!

After that we visited the Gibbsville cheese factory and Oostburg bakery - two of my favorite treats! On the way back to my Grandma's place in Sheboygan I drove by the church my parents got married in and showed Neil the land where my mom's family's farm used to be. Now there's a huge chemical factory out there. All in all, it was a wonderful time reminiscing and being proud of where my parents grew up. That area is so different than living in the city and Neil had never really seen anything like that before! We had a great spaghetti dinner with my Grandma that night and took a drive down by Lake Michigan. It really is beautiful there!

Wednesday we were off to Chicago to catch our plan but before we left we stopped in to see my Aunt Carol and Uncle George who live right next to the Berry Farm. Carol is probably the most talkative person I've ever met but we managed to leave timely to get to Chicago on time. The flight home was just as good as our flight there and Claire was wonderful =) Couldn't ask for a better 2 year old to travel with (even though we all needed a little break!)

All in all, it was a great vacation with cool weather and wonderful memories. I'm so glad Eric and Erin's wedding could get us up there to visit family. It was a positive travel experience but we were all exhausted. Claire was waking up between 5-5:30 a.m. the last four days and going to bed late. The sun comes up early there so she was up when the room would get lighter. We're not used to sleeping in the same room so I was always just a little awake through the night... sleeping on edge! Thank God she stayed with my parents when we had to leave for Galveston on Friday. I don't know if we all would've made it back on Sunday in one piece!

Well, this was pretty lengthy but again, it's really for me to go back and read years from now and remember all those little details!