well, it's about time, huh?!!
August was SO BUSY and I'm just now catching up. But it was a great month!
Unfortunately, our camera messed up when we transferred the pictures, and so we lost photos from about a 3 week period
I am SO VERY SAD!!! Three weeks of Clara's life, just gone. I am, however, EXTREMELY grateful that it was just three weeks worth – I realize it could have been a lot worse.
We began the month by going to the Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees game with the Parks. They were given some amazing tickets down on the first base side, just 16 rows up (we could see our "regular" seats like little dots way up high) and very generously shared them with us. Those of you who know us well, know Brian LOVES the Rangers and has been following them very loyally since he was a little boy. And of all sports, I enjoy baseball most of all (primarily because I can understand it, and it is laid back, and family friendly). So this was quite a treat for us, to see them playing the Yankees! On top of that, it was THE MOST EXCITING GAME I HAD EVER SEEN! Brian even said it was the most exciting game HE had ever seen (and that is actually saying a lot more) and we got to be there! There were several lead changes, AMAZING plays, ron washington got thrown out, Brian had a few funny exchanges on behalf of our whole section with a drunk, loud Yankee fan behind us, and then, with the game tied, it ended with a walk-off Grand Slam in the bottom of the 9th! it was such a fun night! and for us Rangers fans, those are few and far between, so we must relish them 😉
Brian was HAPPY at the end! Everyone was going crazy and giving high fives!
Clara continued to work on her standing and walking skills. That girl can MOVE! She loves to get around and explore – she always wants to check out something new and has NO FEAR. thank you so much, Paige, for her awesome walker and music table – she looooooves playing with them! what a blessing they have been!
She LOVES climbing up the stairs! and she can go up them pretty fast. of course, she has no idea that standing up and flinging herself down them would be a bad idea, so the stairs are definitely not mom and dad's favorite toy. We have taught her, however, that she can only go up the stairs if one of us is with her. It is so cute – she will go over to the bottom of the stairs in the living room and turn around and wave, begging for us to come over. It was exciting because it was the first thing we "taught" (saying No and sometimes a little swat, then redirection) her that she was not allowed to do, and she really got it! (though she does NOT like being told "no" – her little face screws up and she wails, sometimes flinging her little body on the floor in utter despair. but even though she doesn't like it, she still obeys!)
being told "No."
sad…must throw body on floor…
Clara loves playing with her daddly!
She started "getting us," too when we would "get her" with tickles or tummy zerberts. It is the cutest thing – she crawls over and flings her body on you, and then nuzzles her head into your neck, just like we do to her. It is so sweet that she is trying to play back!
We went to the Botanical Gardens in Grapevine and took 9 month pictures of Clara. Here are our faves!
My hair looks funny here because it was still wet! But I like this one because Clara and I are sitting in the same place Brian and I had sat a little less than a year earlier when she was still in my tummy.
this one just cracks me up, because Clara was cracking up so much…
Clara "getting" me
Here is Brian at work. We got to go and check out his new office! Here he is at his desk…
and in the center of the main room (it is an open-office space),he is standing where they have "lightbulb meetings" to brainstorm ideas…
and here he is where they have "fireside meetings"….
He is LOVING his job and so glad and grateful for making the change from teaching.
We also went to a Rangers game with Children's Ministry. It was fun to be there with church friends and hang out with our good friends the Harrells and other sweet families. we sat in the home run porch area and realized that if we sat in the area below the scoreboard behind left field, we would have sat in every area of the park. So on our way out, that is where we sat! Our pics from home run porch were some of the ones lost, but here we are in our last area of the park. We made a HUGE comeback and tied it up 8-8. Clara enjoyed wearing Brian's cap as a rally hat (inside out) but sadly, we still lost.
Clara's friend Rebekah (5 years old) decided she wanted to spend her allowance money to buy Clara an outfit. How sweet is that?!! Her parents chipped in a little extra and she bought her this cute little outfit!
We celebrated my parent's 37th (WOW!!!) wedding anniversary with Dad taking everyone to the Melting Pot. The Melting Pot is a really nice fondue restaurant and we had so much fun! There are four courses and I think the cheese one is my favorite (even more than the chocolate desert one…I know, can you believe it?!!). the "traditional" gift for 37 is "alabaster" (I'm so glad it wasn't 38, because you are supposed to give "beryl or tourmaline" and I have no idea what the heck those are… I guess I have a year to figure it out) and so we gave them a whole bag full of "white" items in place of the alabaster…frame, candles, vase, refrigerator magnets, measuring cups (I was kinda grabbing anything all white), etc. It was a fun experience with only a little use of the fondue sticks as weapons (you have to expect a little of that when it comes to Swasko's and possible stealing of food).
More swimming! We checked out the other pool in Grapevine with some friends and it has a great kiddie pool, but decided we like Dove Pool because it is right down the street!
Here are the "village" babies playing on a Thursday night (we get together with 3 other couples each Thursday for home group/accountability/Bible Study). Clara and Helen Kate…
CJ and Drew boy
August also brought the end to our "Pantry Challenge" that we started back in June. We were seeing how long we could go just by eating the things already in our house, with no eating out and no trips to the grocery store. The answer was, about TWO months! of course, that doesn't count about two weeks when we went on vacation and obviously had to buy groceries and eat out, or "special occasions" like eating out (thanks Mom and Dad!! :D) or a meal was being provided elsewhere (like volunteer training at church, etc.). But, we made it! I made things from scratch I had never made from scratch (like calzones) and got kind of creative with some recipes (hmmm…what kind of soup would it make if we just put all of these cans into a pot and cooked it???). We probably could have gotten even more creative there at the end, but we were SO ready that we finally gave in and restocked! It was good to use things that had been sitting there for a long time and now hopefully we won't let ourselves get back in that place!
I was cleaning out and packing up some kitchen drawers one day – taking out things Clara used as a baby but doesn't anymore (small bibs, small bottles, etc.) and making room for sippy cups and toddler dishes – and Clara discovered a bag of pacifiers. I tried desperately for awhile to get her to "take" a pacifier, but she never would. I'm glad now that she never got attached to it, but in the moment, would have gladly accepted future attachment-issues for in-the-moment self comfort! what was funny is that, because she never really used one, she didn't know what to do with these. She liked playing with them, but she kept putting them in her mouth wrong. It was so funny!
upside down and carrying another one…she drug these ALL OVER the house for several days:
We also went to a Rangers game with Larr and Christi (wow, was this the month for baseball games or what?!). the game itself wasn't very good, but we loved getting to be there with them! what would have been a major bummer turned into a great memory! all of the pics, however, lost
August was crazy time because I was doing two jobs – my new one as the Early Childhood Director and my "old" one as the Adventure Zone Director, while also interviewing candidates and hiring a new AZ Director, and preparing for "Promotion Sunday" – the day all of the kids move up to their new rooms and lots of new volunteers are (hopefully) recruited, trained and in place. It made for a few 70-80 hour work weeks and so it was a little nuts. Brian was amazing through out (especially considering he was also starting a new job) and my three best friends even came up to the church several times each, lugging their kiddos with (CJ had a playmate – it worked out great, since she also spent a LOT of time at the church in August) to volunteer their time and help me get rooms ready, open house stuff made, resources sorted and organized, etc. I was so grateful for them! It was tempting to just hire someone so the position would be filled, but I was trying to be very prayerful through the process and wait on the right person. We did hire someone and she is AWESOME!! It has been very weird to turn over the Adventure Zone. It was definitely time – as much as I love it and am so passionate about it, I had kind of gotten in a rut, doing the same thing for 4+ years, and knew that ministry needed fresh eyes. But it was still "my baby" for those years and a ministry I care very, very deeply about. It is hard to "trust" it and those volunteers I love so much to someone else. But I can't think of a better person to hand it over to than Melissa, and I'm so grateful for her heart and her willingness to serve God in this way. And, of course, I'm still very much connected to the AZ in my new job (though I do want the new director to feel like she has ownership over the AZ so I'm finding that balance). Then Promotion Sunday happened and we transitioned for a few weeks and by the end of August, I was fully the Early Childhood Shepherd and no longer the AZ person. It has been fun, and a HUGE growing and stretching experience – and I'm sure it will continue to be, in a wonderful way. I've been rejuvenated and re-energized, and it is very exciting – there are so many things I think we can be doing to be an even more effective tool for God in the lives of these precious little ones and their families, and look forward to seeing some of those things happen.
In the middle of it all, Clara Jane had her 9 month check-up! It went Great! She checked out healthy and well, and Dr. Rutherford was pleased with her growth. I can't remember how much she weighed (22 or 23 lbs?) or how long she was; I will have to ask at her next appointment. I do know she was still off the charts percentile-wise, so the nickname "Tubs" sticks for a while longer! ;) She got a few vaccinations and had her blood tested for iron. We got those results a few days later and it showed that she is slightly anemic. :( so we are supposed to start giving her an iron supplement and retest in a month. Having her blood taken is awful!! :( they pricked her little foot and kept squeezing and squeezing – she didn't like it to say the least.
Here she is playing in the pantry!
Here she is playing in her exersaucer!
Have a great month!