Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Fun 2010

Christmas was a dream come true this year...I do agree that kids make the day SO much more fun and memorable. We'd been working on this day for weeks getting ready, and it definitely did not disappoint. In honor of our special day, this blog post is full of pics and tells the story of our day.

On Christmas Eve, we got all dressed up and went to the service at 5pm. The girls did a great job of sitting through the service as well as they could for eleven month olds. We tried to get some dinner on the way home, but the pouring rain just made it really hard, so we ended up just ordering pizza. I could eat pizza every day, so it was fine with me!

Christmas morning - look what Santa brought!

Opening our stocking gifts...
Claire isn't sure about all these socks that Daddy got from Mrs. Claus...

Caroline is excited about the UT Christmas gnome ornament that Daddy got!

We're ready for Christmas! Taking in the wonder of it all...

Maybe Jack can help me open this gift from Ross and Jenny!

Oooh! It's an ornament with my name engraved on it!

This bag is bigger than I am! I wonder what's inside...

Thank you, Aunt Nancy! It's a fun musical zoo toy!

Claire got a tractor from Aunt Nancy!

I'm not too sure if I should touch this one...

I just like the ribbon!

It's a See 'n Say!!

Look at me on my new ride toy! Might be a few months before I can use it, but I still like it!

The big gift that Santa brought - a Radio Flyer rocking horse!

Getting ready to enjoy our Christmas dinner with Cassie and John!

A nice dinner for Christmas...

More presents! Aunt Cassie and Uncle John got us the cozy coupe! Can't wait to use it! Notice Caroline is still sitting on her pony. She pretty much sat there all afternoon. She's a little Christmas cowgirl!
Opening presents with Cassie and John...

Grammy came for dessert and bought a learning kitchen for the girls!

Our whole family - Christmas 2010! What a blessed day!

Playing with our new kitchen!
Our big gift from Grammy - a new Radio Flyer red wagon! Mommy can't wait for hours of fun with this one! was a chilly day, but a perfect way to end our first Christmas! We had a great day and can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 More Days!

Only four more days 'til Christmas! I'm so excited for the girls to celebrate their first Christmas, and they have been getting into the spirit and searching everywhere for signs of Santa and his reindeer.

Is he under here?
I'll just show Santa that I've been a very good girl this year!

Don't forget me too! I've been such a good girl for Mommy this year. It makes me grin just thinking about it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Candy Cane Lane 2010

Today, our church held the annual "Candy Cane Lane" for kids at the main campus. The weather turned out to be gorgeous, and we enjoyed walking around with the stroller and seeing friends and meeting some new kiddos and their parents. Basically, Candy Cand Lane is just a fun-filled zone of moonwalks, rock walls, train rides, pony rides, indoor crafts, and all things kids. About the only thing the girls could really enjoy at their age was the petting zoo. Being an animal lover, I was pretty pumped about showing the girls their first real up-close look at some animals.

It was a challenge to take pictures because we each had one of the girls in our arms while trying to take a picture with the other hand. But, we managed to capture a few fun moments in spite of the juggling. Caroline was pretty unsure about all those goats roaming around, but I do think it helped that they have been around Jack (our dog) so much and are at least used to animals in general. She wasn't too eager to reach out and touch them at first, but warmed up after being there for a little while.
Claire, on the other hand, reached out and wanted to touch the goats, the deer, the sheep, and especially the llama. It was pretty tall, but just her size when I held her.
It really made a difference that they could stand and see the animals at eye level. Claire couldn't believe all the goats!
Last but not least, my FAVORITE part of the day was the tiny piglet. For years I have had a love affair with little piglets, and even wanted to own one for a long time. Even our dog looks kind of like a pig, and this one was just pint-size and the cutest thing you've ever seen (well, next to the girls). I did get a little reprimand for picking it up (apparently I wasn't supposed to), but it was worth it! It did quite a bit of oinking when I picked it up, but it was so cute and just made the trip up there completely worth it. If anyone needs a Christmas gift idea for me, now you know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Special Holiday Visitor

Before heading out to Atlanta to spend Christmas with family, my aunt Nancy (my dad's sister), came over and spent the day with us yesterday. She lives on the other side of town, so it was quite a drive for her, but I appreciated her taking the time to come out and see our house and visit with the girls.
Nancy decided to help Claire to play the maracas - Claire is obsessed with these and is quite the master. After lunch at home, we walked to the park and played on the swings and enjoyed the warm weather. Thanks for coming to visit us, Aunt Nancy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Playing outside

In between the humid or windy weather, we have been enjoying the cool, crisp snaps that have been staying for a day or two this December. I'm so thankful to have a backyard where the girls can sit and play, and look forward to many more hours outside as they get older.

I usually just bring a big beach towel outside and let them sit on it and play with their toys. Lately, I have been trying to sneak in a few minutes of reading time while the girls are playing. Claire loves her set of keys; she always shakes them and smiles.

Her other favorite activity is banging two blocks together. She can do that for a very long time and not get bored!
Caroline loves to give me cheesy smiles; she has started squinting her eyes when she smiles now and it makes me laugh so hard. She's a little ham!

She, too, loves the blocks!
Even Jack jumps in and enjoys the fun. The girls love to watch him and they all three just sit and play so well together. Jack never bothers the girls, and the girls really just turn around occasionally to check that he's still there, and give him a little pat. They are all very gentle with each other (so far).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

From the beginning, Claire has really turned out to be "Daddy's little girl." It's not that she doesn't want me to hold her or smile with me, but when her Daddy comes through that door, her face lights up in a way that I can't duplicate. At night, when I'm busy getting dinner ready or cleaning up, she loves to snuggle with her Daddy and they have fun little games they play that I've never played with her - it's like their little secret. I can just see them having a very special bond as Claire gets older.
Paul started this game where he'll lay Claire back on the blanket and covers her face and she just laughs and laughs.Never happier than when she's with her Daddy.

At night, especially when she's sleepy, Claire will turn towards Paul and lay her head on his chest over and over. She never does that with me!

She loves laying her head on Daddy. Again, never does that with me! It's so funny to me how she develops separate little habits with both of us.

I'm so thankful for the bond I had with my Dad...he always made me laugh and feel loved, so I'm just so happy to see that same bond forming between both my girls and Paul. Some guys are just made to be dads of little girls, and I knew even before I was ever pregnant that Paul was one of those guys. The girls just light up when they see Paul, but Claire especially loves to be her Daddy's little girl.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Toy Box - Celebrating 11 Months Old!

When it comes to finding great buys, I'm pretty much a craigslist addict. I love finding used items for less than half the price, and frankly, the items are basically in brand new condition, so why pay full price? It's like an online garage sale, and I've discovered that I'm kind of a closet garage sale addict. So I love finding great buys online and selling items that we really don't use anymore. It's just like a bartering system in my mind.

So, the latest "need" I was looking for was a toy box for the girls. Now that we have a playroom, it made sense to me to have one central place where I could dump all of their toys and where they can find them when they are old enough to lift the lid. Little did I know when I brought this toy box home last weekend, it would end up serving as a practice bar for my new little standers! I knew that Claire could stand up pretty well on her own:

But I was excited to find that Caroline, too, has really gained strength just in the last few weeks and could also stand on her own! They have been mesmerized by the toys and love just standing and peering into the box. They cry when I take them away from the edge - I don't know if it's the toys or the standing, but it's proven to provide hours of entertainment in the last few days.

They love looking at each other as if to say, "Look what we can do now!" They love to stand on their tiptoes and try to reach into the box, but as you can see, it's a little deep for them. Funny thing is, they still aren't crawling, but I guess they figured that's for babies and they just want to skip ahead to standing and walking. Happy Eleven Months, my big girls!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Cuties

After another busy day preparing for the holidays, the girls and I had some downtime at home just before dinner and Paul got home. Since I'm usually the one taking the pictures, I decided I would do a little picture-taking of my own while holding my Christmas cuties. Caroline is much more of a snuggler than Claire; she loves to be hugged tightly, but Claire usually pushes me away and seems to need her "personal space" a little more. Caroline is all smiles when she sits on Mommy's lap:

My little sweetheart...wonder where she got those big brown eyes!
Claire's expression pretty much sums it all up: "It's you again? Seriously, not another picture!"

Okay, I guess I'll let you take one picture with me, but I'm still not too happy about it.

Little sweetheart #2...she loves scratching at my freckles; I guess she thinks they will come off if she works at it long enough.

This week has been a busy, but fun one! We're ready to begin a great weekend full of Christmas cheer!