June brought summer fun for the Grapevine Rheas!
Brian ended the school year, got a new teaching job, painted half of the house, and then got a new career!
Laura did Summer Spectacular (VBS), hosted a big lunch for the Adventure Zone volunteers and decorated the upstairs.
Clara had her first swim lessons, began eating solids, and learned a few new tricks.
What a month!
The first weekend we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. It was quite a celebration! Words can not begin to describe how much I look up to my mom. She is the most giving, compassionate, thoughtful, kind, loving, Godly, considerate, selfless, generous person I have ever known. If we all had just a thimbleful of the love that she has for God and for others, this world would be a drastically different place–harmonious and beautiful. It is hard to believe she is 60 years old! She is definitely one spunky and energetic 60 year old! (the woman gets less sleep than me each night…I seriously don’t know how she does it) It was an honor to get to honor her, and we did it by getting together at the lake and remembering her years and all of the things we love about her. It was sweet time together!
Here is the clan on the deck…see if you can find everyone….
the birthday girl! (we posted around 60 of our favorite memories with her)
The first Saturday of June is always Brian’s family reunion of his mom’s side of the familly (the Tallants). We went into Paris for this. Here are the three cousins “playing together”. The first of many great times together! Aidan was really sweet to Clara and kept sharing toys with her and bringing her things to play with. He calls her “Baby Care-la” and it is precious! Clara and Sophie (just 10 months apart) more play next to each other, with a slight tendancy to want to crawl on each other, pat each other, poke each other, pinch each other (I think Clara was even sucking on her arm at one point!) as they “discover” this other being that looks a lot like themselves. It is the start of a tremendous friendship, I’m sure!
Trying to get three kids this age to look at the camera and smile all at the same time is like asking a cloud to rain. You can make funny faces, claps, even dance; but ultimately there’s just nothing we can do to influence barometric pressure… But look at Aidan trying so hard – isn’t that precious?!
Mamaw and Papaw took care of the kids and we went on a double-date with Larr and Christi!
Here is the actual reunion, with all of the extended family.
Clara wants to play with her cousin Sophie! Clara just couldn’t understand why hair yanking just wasn’t as fun for Sophie as it was for her.
the brothers and their girls…
Here is Brian’s family – the “Duane Tallant” (his Pepa) branch at the reunion…his grandmother, aunts, uncles and first cousins. Quite the group!
That weekend Clara went swimming in my parents’ pool — her first time in a “big pool”. She loved it! This is a shot of her first reaction…
She likes floating….
and licking the water…
and splashing Mombly!
Clara started her very first swim lessons soon after that. One of Grapevine’s city pools is literally less than half a mile down our street, so it works out great! but the lesson…It was the biggest joke in the world! I get that she is only 7 months old, but the only “instruction” in the class was, “All right, just walk around with your babies and let them feel the water.” seriously?!?!!! I think I can do that on my own time and without paying you $25 to do it, thank you very much! the kid has had a bath before, so I think we’re good on the “getting used to water” front. Needless to say, we withdrew from the class and got our money back. Wow. I just realized that means that Clara dropped out of the first class she was ever in. I hope I have not set her up for a lifetime of truancy and school drop outs! Here are pictures from the short excursion into the world of “Mommy and Me” swim lessons.
Clara’s new tricks this month include shaking her head back and forth. I realize I will dread the sight of this in about a year and a half when accompanied by a loud, resolute, “NOOOOO,” but right now, it is really cute! She just sits there, shaking and shaking. We do have a lot of fun with it…like, I will ask “Clara, is there any better daddy in the whole wide world?” (long head shake “no”) or, “Clara, are you going to date before you are 30 years old?” (long head shake “no”) Of course, she isn’t really responding to our questions, but I like to pretend she is 😉
She also started eating solids this month, as I’m sure you saw in a previous post! Still just eating rice cereal, but we’ll probably be moving on to green beans and squash here pretty soon…yum yum
Clara Jane has the sweetest disposition. People are always asking me if she is always this happy, and the truthful answer is, yes, she is! We’ve been incredibly blessed. (and believe me, after throwing up everyday for 7.5 months and not missing out on a SINGLE “possible pregnancy-related symptoms”, I will TAKE IT!) Several people have said that this is the best age – between 3 and 9 months or so, before they have a will of their own and are in general pretty content and happy, and I can see why. We’re trying to savor all of it!
Brian enjoyed his first Father’s Day. What an amazing Daddy! I am so grateful for him and the way he loves and cares for our family. It was a whole baseball weekend in celebration – we bought new gloves, watched “The Sandlot” and “The Natural,” and on Sunday, went to a special event at The Ballpark in Arlington. We got to run the bases, see the locker room, play catch in the outfield, see the media room and indoor batting cages, and meet Nolan Ryan. It was quite a day!! amazingly, despite missing two naps and being in 98 degree heat, Clara Jane never cried or complained once – it was like she knew what a special day it was for her Dad and wanted to help make it happen!
She was EXHAUSTED when we left! She had worked so hard to be good…you can see she was just wiped out!
Brian posted a lot more pictures here if you would like to see them!
I don’t have any pictures of it, but it was a good month at work – we had “Summer Spectacular” (our VBS) and it was a great week – I got really re-energized spiritually and in ministry, seeing all of those precious kids and remembering what we’re doing can mean in the life of a child. We hold SS off-campus at a middle school down in this community that we’re really trying to reach out to and love on, so that a lot of the kids that live around there can walk over to Summer Spectacular. It was neat to see so many new and different faces (as well as “old” and beloved ones!). The following week I had a big appreciation lunch for a lot of adventure zone volunteers and their families – about 150 people – I was ecstatic that that many were able to come! Having lunch and saying “thanks” seems so pitiful in comparison to what these amazing people do, but my hope was that it in some way encouraged them and helped them “get” what a huge difference they’ve made this year in the lives of kids. The commitment they make is incredible- almost every week to show up and pour into preschoolers, and the love, generosity and selflessness they do it with is completely unmatched. There is seriously not a group of people I have more respect for, and it is humbling, refreshing and inspiring to get to serve with them.
Brian also had a big month for work, as I’m sure you’ve seen. All told, the boy had six new job offers this year…and the wild thing is he took three of them! But the last was the best and he is going to be there awhile!
We went to the wedding of one of my previous interns, who was marrying one of the adventure zone volunteers. They are a PRECIOUS couple and I love them so much – I am so excited for them and know they have years and years of bliss ahead! A special privilege (that also made me soooooooooooo nervous) was that they asked me to be the “announcer” at the reception, like the person that says, “And now please turn your attention to the dancefloor for the Father/Daughter Dance” :O I think they thought storytelling and talking to a puppet for 2 and 3 year olds during Sunday large group translated into skills for DJing a wedding reception, but I think June brought another discovery of another “possible career” that I am NOT cut out for!
It was a beautiful ceremony and wonderful reception. Andrew surprised us all by playing guitar and singing a song to Christen during the wedding! A gift he was apparantly keeping secret from everyone on staff!
Well, musical gifting runs in Andrew’s family because another wonderful part of the ceremony came at the end when Andrew’s three sisters sang, “From This Moment”. It’s a gorgeous song with touching lyrics, perfect for a wedding and his sisters sang it beautifully. The song got stuck in both of our heads pretty good for the next 24 hours. We’d just be walking around the house and start randomly singing…you know how that goes. And just when I thought I had moved on, Brian would belt it out from the other room. Fast forward a day and Brian would think he’d forgotten, and then he’d get a text message from me, “Frooooooom … Thiiiiiiis … Mooooment!” So, our latest game is to see who can come up with the most creative way to put the song back in the other’s head. Notes in random places, a disguised link to the youtube video of shania twain’s version, getting his grandmother to sing it to him (that one was VERY unexpected – the key to a good “from this moment” play), etc. Now we’re trying to top each other for the best “get”.
We worked some on home improvments – I’ll take some pictures of that later. Mainly, we painted the whole house except for the game room and kitchen, and got new bedding, some amazing new-to-us furniture from our friends the O’Reilly’s (they have incredible taste, and it includes a coffee table that Kyndra and her sister actually made…we’ve been admiring it for years, and now it is in our living room! what a sweet reminder of our now far-away friends…), and are working on updating the bathrooms with new fixtures, towels, shower curtains, etc. What I desperately want to do is replace our living room couches and dining room table, but that will have to come in time after we can save up!
Here are some “just hanging out” pics….
Clara had a great month as well! She became one laughing little bumbo. She has been laughing for a long time now, but it was a lot easier and more predictable to make her laugh by tickling her or playing “peek a boo”. one of my most favorite things in the world is to look over at her across the room, lock eyes and smile really big at her. She takes a second, taking you in, and then her whole face breaks out in a huge grin of pure joy. this is usually followed by her whole body getting in on the happiness-expression, flapping her arms, bouncing and kicking her legs, she just can’t contain all of the joy she is feeling! She continues to love sticking her tongue out, and rolling it, and curling it. She is fascinated by cats and dogs and other kids – she will watch them very intently as they move about a room.
We have many, many nicknames for her. These include, but are not limited to: bean (usually in reference to her, like, “Have you changed The Bean’s diaper recently?” or “I’m going to Bean-Feed.” and it’s variations “beanie, Clair-bean, little bean,” Bumbo (and it’s variations: Bum, Bumbina (from Aunt Chris), Bumby, bumbo-bean), chee-chee, little koompie, Bommie (this is what we called her in the womb), Baby, babygirl, angelbaby. We call her Clara Jane and Clara interchangably, but never ever Claire. not that I have anything against it, I just realized we never use it!
We have made up many songs to go along with these names, as well. J-Lo has a song called “my humps” (yeah…yuck.) and I changed it when I was pregnant to “My bump, my bump, my precious baby bump” or “…big ol’ baby bump,” depending on how I was feeling. I would sing it to Brian to make him laugh. But now I sing it as “My bean, my bean, my precious baby bean”! I also alway sing a song to her I made up with her name to the tune of “frere jaques” and “you’re my favorite person” that my mom sang to me when I was little. Brian has one he made up to the tune of “I am a C” (an old sunday school song where you spell out CHRISTIAN…if you were a southern baptist or knew a southern baptist during the mid-80’s, you know exactly what I’m talking about). It goes, “You are my bean, baby bumbo bean, the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen; and I will love you all my days, no matter what you do or say, there’s nothing you could do to make me ever stop loving you”
If you wonder why in the world I am writing all of this because, seriously, is this really interesting to anyone else?!?!!, then I will tell you I have done one really awful job at keeping up any kind of baby book for Clara. I’m pretty sure the one and only time I’ve written anything in it was when she was 5 weeks old. hey – I’m just trying to not make the 2nd and 3rd kids feel bad! soooooo my plan is to keep a good blog and then make it into a book, like the ones here. isn’t that awesome?!! so, I want to be able to tell Clara what she was like at each age, and this is how I hope to do it!
plus, there are about 50 unique visitors to our blog each day, even if you never comment, you lurkers!!! 😉
Almost time for July!