Saturday, March 31, 2018

To Claire on her 2nd Birthday

:: Happy birthday, Baby-Girl!
I need to stop calling you baby (apparently I do it so much that you refer to yourself as that in pictures) because any day now, Emmett will take over the title and you will be promoted to big sister.
You are a light, Claire. You brighten everything and everyone you come in contact with. I see it in our home and when we come in contact with random strangers. You smile and wave and suddenly their faces light up, reflecting that same glow inside of you.
You love to help and to share. We got you a set of cleaning gloves for your birthday because you're always sneaking a sponge away to help me clean the bathrooms and you're not happy when I take it back (same goes for unloading glass dishes in the morning and your little hands are always helping mine to push the vacuum or bake). You love to keep us all hydrated by collecting and passing out our water bottles. And every week at Alice's ballet practice I find a group of small kids around you as you pass out your goldfish crackers from your snack cup. I love your generous nature--how you are willing give things up to bring happiness to others.
You have a radar for identifying sadness. You tell me when people are sad in books, when your siblings are upset, or when you hear disappointment from someone walking by. I think it's because at the tender age of two you've decided your mission on earth is to "lift the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees" (D&C 81:5). And you do. You understand the power of hugs and smiles and how simple gestures (like bringing Alice her blanket or Colby his monkey) can go a long way toward making someone feel better.
You are so loved, little girl. We love your awesome dance moves and your dinosaur chases (where you pretend to be scary and munch on our legs). We love how delightfully girly you are--how you love to dress up and steal my shoes. We love your frequent hugs and kisses. We love your petiteness (Daddy likes to call you "bite-sized"), your strawberry golden hair, and your hazel eyes. We love how much you love books (although I think we'd love it more if you figured out how to put them away as well).

I am so grateful you are mine.

I love you, Claire Bear!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Little Things

Robb and I went to our ward's 2nd Annual Valentine's Dance (aka the youth fundraiser). With dinner, dancing, and free babysitting, we look forward to this event all year. We came away from the silent auction with several nights worth of babysitting and a beautiful ink drawing of the Tucson Temple. There was a live auction for the bigger ticket items and Robb did an amazing job as auctioneer (he even looked up how-to videos on YouTube and practiced for a week in preparation). 
Alice missed her preschool field trip to Amy's Donuts because she was sick that day, and I promised her we'd make it up to her. So on the Friday of Rodeo Days (it's a Tucson thing, we don't get President's Day off, we get two Rodeo Days) we drove up.
It was a difficult decision

But we all walked away supremely happy with our choices (except for Robb, his maple bacon doughnut had too much chewie fat on the bacon...but my horchata doughnut was amazing). 
Then we took the kids to the Compassion Experience, where we got to see what life was like for a little girl who grew up in the Dominican Republic. It sparked a small discussion on the way home about how there are many people struggling in the world (and around us) and how we need to do our best to help them and share the blessings we've been given. I think most of the presentation went over their heads, but we'll keep trying to teach that point in other ways.
We have two birds nests in our yard: a humming bird's and a pigeon's. Neither are particularly protective of their eggs. Every time I point them out to the kids, the birds fly away.
:: Colby

At Colby's last appointment, the dentist asked if he'd experienced any blunt force trauma to his two front teeth. I couldn't remember any, but the x-rays showed they were coming out soon and his adult teeth will take awhile to fill their places. He lost his first one this month and the second is already getting loose. Luckily, I love his little gap tooth smile.
My little Arizona boy is telling me how cold it is :)
Colby's first soccer game

    • Colby had a hard time when his team did a practice scrimmage earlier (he couldn't quite understand why it was suddenly okay to take the ball away from someone and vice versa and that he should get the ball more. So we were a little nervous this game would be difficult for him, but he did great. For the most part he kept up with the group. He also:
      • Kicked a corner kick to someone that made a goal
      • Had one shot on goal
      • Stole the ball a few times
    • He had a great attitude for most of the game, even when he got smush-pushed (his word for when two other people run into you from opposite directions and knock you over). He cried a little, but he pulled himself back up and got right back in the game. We lost 0-1, but we're really proud of how well Colby-boy did. 
      • Another highlight was when the ball was passed to one of our team members who was wide open, but he didn't see it because he was running as fast as he could--backwards. 
    • "Remember when Claire was cuter..."
    • "Healthy eating on the road? That's a joke!"
Colby also had a speaking part in SPS's Kindergarten performance of "Come to Arizona!" His line is: "And when the day is done, I'll get my homework done then run and jump in my pool."  He rocked it.

:: Alice
  • Why? She is on a kick where she asks why all the time (usually with follow-up whys to my explanations). 
  • "You need to dream about petting a baby cat and a baby dog and a baby ostrich and a baby bird all at the same this dream you're going to need to be an octopus."
Alice and her chip beard
  • "Una, una...that's what you say when it's safe to cross the road."
I taught Alice's preschool for the last time this school year (S is for stars and solar system, T is for teeth, and a Valentine's day party). They're such a fun group of kids and I'm hoping most of them will stick with this co-op for another year.

:: Claire
  • Claire had a language explosion this month and my favorite thing she's started saying, "I want to dance" whenever she hears music. Then she grabs your hands and starts spinning around and around.
  • She calls Alice, "Aleece," Colby, "Boy," and this morning she patted my stomach and said "Emmett."
Now that Fall is here in Arizona, the girls helped me with the leaves, but we needed to play a bit first

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Road Trip to Utah

Robb's granda had his 90th birthday and for months the whole family planned on visiting to celebrate this wonderful man and his life. Then Robb's Uncle Mark died suddenly the week before from cancer (they only discovered it a couple months ago, but by that point it was so wide spread there wasn't anything they could do). His funeral was scheduled for the same weekend, as well as a wedding reception for a good childhood friend, and there was a new niece to visit. So with mixed emotions, we left Tucson and started our drive to Utah. We left right after Robb got home from work and stayed the night in Flagstaff. We never realized that Claire likes to sing herself to sleep (which we got to experience multiple times that night :) ).

We left by 8:00 and stopped for lunch at the Kanab Creek Bakery, a favorite place for hipsters and granolas (they tend to have excellent taste in food). We waited for our sandwiches in the art gallery/dining area next door which was completely empty except for a table of grungy 20-somethings sharing their poetry and art inspirations. Our kids running around the room probably didn't add to their vibe, but Robb and I had a lot of fun evesdropping and the food was amazing. 

We arrived at our friends' home at around 4:00. The Laskos gave us the grand tour of their new home, fed us pizza, and won Colby over by playing a couple rounds of Mario Kart. We tucked the kids in bed and stayed just long enough to throw on some dressier clothes before we rushed off to the wedding reception. 
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, wedding and outdoor
I did a terrible job at taking pictures on this trip (I blame pregnancy and a much higher altitude). Anyway, I snagged this picture from Spencer's Facebook account. 
Spencer and Maddie looked wonderful and adorably happy together. The Eberts are my people, friends that have pushed past into the place in your heart saved for family, and it was the perfect end to a crazy day to be there with them. 

Saturday morning we attended Uncle Mark's funeral. I think my favorite tribute to this wonderful man came from my father in law, "if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Mark, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." He suffered from many set backs and health problems throughout his life, but he never let them sway his testimony. 

The family had a luncheon afterwards, but Claire and I needed a nap. We drove back to the Lasko's and Robb and the older two kids went and played with the cousins. 
Then we watched BYU lose to San Diego in basketball before going to BYU to meet the family for bowling. Apparently you have to reserve the bowling alley in advance to have any hope of getting in (which we didn't). We compromised with dinner at the Cougar Eat and ice cream at the Creamery on 9th instead. 
Sunday we packed everything up and went to sacrament meeting with Grandpa Hays. Then we went to Aunt Brooke and Uncle Gary's house to celebrate 90 years of Grandpa Hays. After we ate some amazing food, Grandpa gathered his whole family around him and bore his testimony to us. I'm so glad Robb recorded it so all our children will have his words to guide them. Then we went downstairs and played a trivia game about our family members...and Team Saguaro won (despite the fact our kids kept blurting out the answers to questions about us). I love the Hays family. 
Saying goodbye to the Laskos
All weekend they had warnings posted about a big snow storm coming Sunday night and lasting until Monday, so when the first snowflakes started coming, we left. One of my favorite memories from the trip was watching Alice frolic in the snow, She was so excited! And we managed to miss the worst of it and made it to St. George before stopping for the night.
Conversation overheard before drifting off to sleep:
A: "I think Mommy and Daddy are leaving to go on an airplane...and they aren't taking us with them. We're going to be all alone...Why aren't you crying?...Oh, because you know I'm just kidding. Claire, say kidding!"
C: "Keeing."
A: "Claire, say...
Robb: "Alice, go to sleep!"

A free continental breakfast, 8 hours, a brief sandstorm, and many interventions on Colby's behalf (poor boy gets so much abuse from Claire) later and we were home!

Towards the end of the trip we realized Claire would be "nice" if Colby held her hand, You can tell Colby was really excited about it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Little Things

:: Visited the Children's Museum on $3 admission day during the last week of Christmas break:
I think this was their favorite exhibit. You jump as high as you can and the camera takes a picture at the peak. Alice may have been more interested in modeling than jumping (and I make jumping while pregnant look really difficult :) ).
:: Alice went on a preschool field trip to Jump and Claire tagged along
:: Colby
Colby started soccer on the 10th. Robb goes to practices and helps out and tells me how quickly Colby is catching on to the basics of the game.
Colby's 100 thing shirt (Minecraft stickers) in honor of the 100th day of school (he's been telling us about this day for months...I think mainly because he thought after 100 days he would move up to 1st grade). He almost missed it because of the flu, but he made a miraculous recovery just in time.
At school in his 100th day crown
I volunteered to read a book in Colby's classroom for the school's literacy day. He was so excited to see us there and to show off his little sister.
  • "I'm going to poke you because you're being a bummer."
:: Alice
Alice threw me a surprise picnic/tea party while Claire napped. She loves making things for Robb and I. We find little love notes, pictures, or "presents" as she calls them all over the house. She has such a giving heart.
One of my presents
How Alice does housework
She also caught the flu
Alice found an old bird's nest that fell out of a tree and brought it home for our yard. "Now we can have pet birdies!" For someone who is afraid of all animals, she desperately wants a pet.
Alice's "pirate crab." She likes to talk to her sculptures before eating them and tell them how much she'll miss them, but how fun it will be to swim around in her stomach.
I love her sense of style
  • "When you grow up you can be lonely in the house."
  • "Don't step on the line (in the sidewalk). There are scorpions and snails under there. 
  • Alice likes to tell me what to dream about before I take a nap. Here are some examples:
    • Living in a castle and wearing princess dresses 
    • Being little and putting fire on these (the red numbers on my alarm clock). 
    • Kissing all the babies with all your lips
    • Knocking over big towers that are stuck in the ground
    • Being a mermaid
:: Claire
Is it sad that my little girl walks around in heels better than I do?
We moved Claire to Alice's bed for naps to prep her for sleeping there full time. The transition from crib to bed is a process, but she's still napping even when she's on the floor, so I count it as a win.
  • At Costco Claire waved at everyone, even people in their cars, and they would slow their carts or cars and wave back at our sweet girl.
These two are the best of friends and it melts my heart watching them play together.