Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clay's Countdown to Christmas

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Last month when Mike's mom and I were out shopping we found the cutest little Advent calendar that looks like a house. We brought it home and it was sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for the first of December. Clay could hardly wait to "play with the house".

Every day he talks about the house all day and says, "I have to wait till I have my jamas on.I have to wait until it's time to go to bed." We have discovered him several times lately dragging a chair across the floor so he can reach the house on the kitchen bar. He LOVES the house.

It's important to me that the Advent and countdown to Christmas is tied to the story of Jesus so every night we sit down and read a story about Baby Jesus. Sometimes we read from his toddler Bible and sometimes from a sweet book Aunt Rebecca got us about the Nativity. We talk about the story of Jesus in the manger and Clay listens intently.

Before he's allowed to open a drawer on the house, I ask him a little question about the story of Jesus. I usually ask him something like who Jesus's mother is or who his father is or what the baby's name is. It always surprises me when he gets it right (and he always does). I guess he's really listening but I love his answers.

Who's Jesus' mother? "May-ray".
Who's Jesus' daddy? "Juice-seph"
Who's the baby in the manger? "Jay-sus"

After we read our story and answer a question, we look on the house and find the right day. Then he gets to pull out a drawer and there's a little chocolate in each drawer. Most of the days the chocolates are wrapped in shiny paper and look like little presents. The other ones are just round balls in shiny foil. He'll open a drawer with one of the balls and say, "Um, I don't wike this one. I wan't a diffwent one." The boy knows what he wants for sure (but no switching)!

It is such a fun tradition already and such a sweet time to spend with our little boy. We all look forward to it at night.

The only question is -- how do we explain to Clay that we don't do this every night after Christmas?? Yikes!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a happy Thanksgiving at our house today filled with food, fun and projects. Mike had to work so it was just the kids and I at home doing turkey stuff. Mike had done some of the cooking ahead (hallelujah!) and that left a few dishes for Clay and I to work on.

Clay was my big helper for making a pumpkin pie and dressing (he left me on my own for the rest). A couple of weeks ago we made a "pumpkin pie" with "whipped cream" and pumpkin spices on top. Clay was so impressed when the real pumpkin pie smelled just like his project. So cute.

We've been working on Thanksgiving projects for the last couple of weeks and today we wrapped it all up with our Indian headdresses and "I Am Thankful for..." books. It was Carolina's first time with a paintbrush when she painted her headdress feathers (and she was NOT happy when I took it away).

The book covers came out so cute with the kids' handprints for turkeys. Clay is thankful for police cars, playgrounds and drawing & scissors. Carolina is thankful for her favorite songs, being able to walk a couple of steps and her lovies (her kitty, Clay's monkey and her doll).

All in all it was a quiet (or as quiet as it gets in this house...) Thanksgiving but we feel blessed to have spent it with our sweet little family.

So... as Clay told Lilly (our cat) tonight--"Happy Thanksgiving!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Conversations with Clay

I was holding Carolina the other day and Clay kept coming up and ramming his head into my stomach. I put out my hand and blocked his head and this is how it went:

C: Di' you hit me??!
M: (trying to think of how to explain this)
C: Di' you HIT me??
M: Um, I didn't hit you. You were trying to hit Mommy with your head and I stopped you.
C: That not nice. You need a go to timeout.
M: (I don't think so.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Carolina's 1st Birthday Celebrations: Part II

Carolina's birthday was such a special day for all of us. We loved making her feel special and singing to her all day (and all week). She ate it up when we sang to her and she loved all the attention.

We started the day with singing to her in her bed. She was all smiles (and a little shy).

She wasn't too sure about getting the birthday bucket and how to get all of the stuff out (but that's what big brothers are for, right?).

We made sure she blew out the candles and had a song every meal which she and Clay both enjoyed.

For lunch, we went to eat at a family favorite, Posado's. Carolina got her first ice cream cone and she was a huge fan!

After lunch we went to the Children's Museum and did whatever the birthday girl wanted.

After playing for a while at the museum and taking an official birthday nap, we got our evening festivities going. Since we had already had one cake during the week, we decided on a cookie cake from JD's Chippery (we also had one from there the day Carolina came home from the hospital!).

Aunt Rebecca came over to help celebrate and Carolina had LOTS of fun packages to open (and some that were already assembled). Clay couldn't wait to be the helper on this one.

Some of Carolina's birthday presents this year were a Fisher-Price Happy Sounds Home, a new doll, new pajamas, snap-lock beads, lots of girly books, a play table, a Little People van, a tea set, some very cute shoes and more money to start her bank account. She got so much fun stuff from sweet friends and family.

We had a great day playing with our one-year-old and celebrating her big day. Such a big blessing in a little girl!

Carolina's 1st Birthday Celebrations: Part I

Carolina had some sweet first birthday parties this year (and I'm just now getting around to blogging about them!). She had her first party in San Antonio the week before her birthday. We were blessed to have family and friends there to celebrate with us.

I chose EZ's Restaurant and it turned out to be a great choice. They gave us our own party room and it was so nice to be able to visit with everyone without worrying about bothering those around us or hanging around too long.

I wanted to keep her party simple and sweet so I just brought flowers, a cake and sweet plates and napkins. It was so much less pressure than trying to haul a bunch of decorations on a trip with us and it didn't seem to matter to Miss Carolina one bit.

We were able to eat with everyone and then open gifts and eat cake. Carolina got so many cute things (tutus, clothes, a bow maker, money and some Little People sets). She was so good the whole night even though she had totally skipped her nap and screamed the whole way to the party.

I loved the way she listened as everyone sang to her. Her face just lit up when everyone said her name in the song as if she had just realized it was all about her. So cute.

When I put the cake in front of her to blow out the candle (which Mama forgot and Stacy had to bring!) she just reached out and pulled her whole hand through the cake. She must have known that the birthday girl gets the first piece!

She wasted no time digging into that cake and getting dirty. She had cake everywhere by the time she was done!

We were so happy to be able to share Carolina's birthday with some special people in her life. Thanks to everyone who came!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clay's Crown

I have a few things to say about this crown--

1) If a kid is little enough to be wearing a crown from Burger King, aren't they a little young to be reading Twilight?? What happened to the plain gold crowns?

2) Clay told us he had Mommy and Daddy on his hat. Do you like our new hairdos and awesome airbrushing?

3) Isn't this kid adorable?

While Clay gets Minty Fresh

What is Mommy doing? Getting Carolina up from her morning nap and getting her dressed
What does Mommy hear? "Mommy, I need sa help! I need to bwush my teef!"
What does Mommy see? This...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Out and About

We went to a program on Monday which Clay really loved. It's made Mike and I consider some kind of class for him a lot more seriously. He was very hesitant at first and then all of a sudden...I have never seen him get so excited about a song or dancing with the other kids.

We took some pics (which came out awful b/c I used our old camera so I won't post them) and some video. Every time I watch the video, I crack up because Clay is obviously the kid most into it. All the other kids are just standing around and he's jumping up and down like it's his own private concert. So cute.

Today's adventure was to a children's museum. They had a story/craft time and I love that kind of thing. Since we don't have Clay in any kind of preschool program, I'm trying to take him more places where he can practice following directions, sitting still and listening to a story or singing songs with other kids.

After the craft/storytime, we played in the rest of the museum. The kids had such a great time. I love how the pictures capture Carolina's constant happiness and I REALLY love the new trick I figured out with Clay. If I say, "show me your teeth", he does (along with his great smile). I love it! So here are some pics from today:

Lots of pictures, lots of smiles! We're so blessed to have happy children.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We went to a local Halloween Festival on the lake tonight and the kids had so much fun! Clay caught on to the trick-or-treating thing in no time. We went around from booth to booth trick-or-treating and he was so polite. He would say "tricktreat" and then "thank you". He even said "thank you" loud enough for them to hear him. Yeah!

After the second booth Mike realized that we were walking the opposite direction of the trail so we turned to go the right way. Clay started saying, "I no want to go to the car!". He was so worried that we were already leaving. I guess he's a trick-or-treat fan!

They had some carnival style games that were right on his level and there were no lines for anything. He had a good time and loved getting the candy as a reward.

Carolina just sat in the stroller and ate a corn dog. She has been under the weather all week and was happy just to sit and eat. She got a little fussy toward the end and we knew our little zebra needed to stretch her legs a bit!

We had such a great time with our little zebra and penguin. It was a sweet time to celebrate and get to experience the fun of trick-or-treating for the first time as a family. I think Clay's ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Happy Halloween! Love, Carolina the Zebra and Clay the Penguin

Halloween Celebrations

We have been having some fun this month getting ready for the big day- Halloween! We have been to several pumpkin patches, painted and carved pumpkins, done our fair share of arts and crafts, made some Halloween decor for Clay's room and even played some Halloween-inspired games.

I love doing projects with Clay and we have focused this month on Halloween. Mike and I want to stick with fun, happy stuff (not scary) for Halloween activities so our projects were all smiling pumpkins, candy, happy spiders, etc. Clay and I have so much fun creating these toddler works of art (I tell him what to do but all of the actual work is Clay's) and he is SO proud to show everyone his work.

One of our favorite things this year was making "Jack". Jack is the pumpkin Clay and I carved and he sat on our bar for about a week. Clay talked about Jack a lot and he was very sad when Jack got yucky and had to go to the trash. Clay keeps saying, "Mama make another one 'morrow."

Clay loved watching me carve out the eyes and face for the pumpkin. I had seen some ideas about turning pumpkin carving into a lesson so we talked about how God made our eyes, nose and our bodies just like Mommy was making Jack's face. I know he'll have a much better understanding when he's older but it's a good start.

It's funny because Clay has NO idea what Halloween is. He talks about his costume sometimes but he doesn't even know what a costume is. I think he hears it them talking about sending in pictures of you in your costume on Sprout and sees all the Halloween ads so he thinks a costume is just something to do with Halloween.

Several times when we made projects and I would show him the finished product he would say, "It's my costume!". Today when he opened up one of his Halloween cards, he said it again. Bless his heart- he's going to be so excited to find out what a costume really is (and what you get when you wear it!). He's had his costume on several times but tonight will be the first time he's worn it for more than a couple of minutes-- we can't wait!

We are really blessed to have some aunts who always send them cards and treats for the holidays. Especially now that Clay is getting a little older, he gets so excited to open something (cards and presents). Auntie Jamie and Uncle Garrett sent sweet cards with glittery pictures on them. Clay loved rubbing his fingers over the letters and showing them to his baby sister.

Aunt Rebecca gave the kids a Mickey and Minnie card, some hilarious pumpkin glasses and some fun Halloween books.

We were all cracking up at the glasses. I was so surprised at how long Carolina kept hers on when she and Clay were playing. She finally took them off and kept trying to put them on top of her head. Monkey see, monkey do. Ha!

We are headed to a Halloween Carnival tonight so it should be tons of fun. Pictures of cute trick-or-treaters to come...