September was a great month!
It began with Labor Day. That weekend we got some things done around the house, which felt GREAT. (believe me, Brian lovesit when I get on one of my "kicks," as he likes to call it. and if you believe that, you don't know Brian.) We also went to the lakehouse after church through monday and my parents and eric and kristi were all there.
Kristi and I didn't have the smoothest transition swapping the Jet Ski…
Clara looooves playing with the dishwasher and with Mimi!
this was her favorite face to make in September…lips "kissing" and nose scrunched up like a little pig.
Laid back in the hammock…waving "hi"!
That week brought the annual Fall Kick-Off and Appreciation event for volunteers in Children's Ministry. We got to honor some of our amazing volunteers and the night was such a blessing and encouragement – definitely for me, and hopefully for them. There isn't a group who deserve it more. They are a constant inspiration to me and I am so grateful to God that I get to serve with them. This is David and Cheryl Hume, who were honored as the Adventure Zone recipients. They are an amazing, generous, giving couple who have been teaching 2 year olds (and ministering to their whole families) for over 7 years.
We also honored a couple with a "Lifetime Achievement" Award and we gave it to Frances and Keith Clark, who all the kids (and us!) call Mamie and Umpa. They have taught for almost 15 years and just pour their heart and soul into loving on three year olds. What has been neat to see is that kids that they taught as 3 year olds return as "classroom helpers" that they disciple and train, and then go on to lead their own classes! They really have made such a humongous impact and it is really cool to see the difference that it makes.
Next Saturday, we had fun taking care of Rebekah and Brendan so their sweet parents could go to Six Flags and ride the "big kid" rides – a cause we are passionate about ;) We walked down to the playground near our house – it was CJ's first time at a playground!
This is all we saw of Brendan at the playground…
I think this was the first of many trips to the playground!
Here is another shot of the pig face…
Here is a good shot of the bottom teeth coming in. They showed up during August, and then one on the top started coming in during September. I'll show two pics for comparison
Here is a photo from August 29th…notice the bottom teeth barely coming in:
and here is a photo taken on September 10th…look at the difference already!
I've already talked about her walking in another post, but just after her 10 month birthday, she REALLY started walking! By the end of the month, she could get around pretty well. Craziness. She is SO CUTE walking…it has a definite dinosaur feel to it – I can't explain it. I think it is the way she totters and holds her arms up and has her little potbelly sticking out.
I had a very yummy lunch with my dear friend Kristi and her two precious girls…I was trying to remember if it happened in August or September so I went to her blog only to discover that it was at the end of JULY. :P It feels like it was just a few weeks ago…sigh…this year is going SO FAST! wayyyyyyy too fast! it was sweet because her girls fed CJ her bottle. Paige is just over a year and a half older than her, but thinks she is SO MUCH older than the little baby. It was so cute!
Dad turned 60 (YAY!!!) back in June, but we just (FINALLY) celebrated his birthday this week. It was the first time we were all able to be together (and realized it). It was a surprise party and he sure was surprised!! (he had been giving us a hard time about how bleated his birthday was getting…it was turning into a running joke). We had it in Grapevine one of the nights he and mom were in town. It started at our house with 60 things posted around the walls of things we love about him.
an easy list to make! :D He is one of the most caring, hilarious, giving, generous, strong, sensitive (to others) people I've ever known. He can make anything fun, and is always concerned with helping others. He can make anyone (and goes out of his way to) feel special and cared about.
Then he started getting presents. He got 10 gift bags, each witha box of caramel corn each. He was really excited about all of the presents, until he started opening bag after bag of popcorn…! He loves caramel corn, though, so we knew he'd be happy in the end. ;)
the last thing he opened was the first clue in a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt took us all over Grapevine. Each clue had to do with some memories with him or about him.
He found the clue!
Clara Jane was REAL excited about the scavenger hunt.
The last clue took us to a restaurant where we had dinner and opened another present – 60 of our favorite memories with him. Those were fun to read and reminisce and laugh over.
Then we went to Speed Zone and rode go-karts. Dad is CRAZY GOOD at go-karts. I am still not sure how he passed me coming from so far back…?!?! I say I let him do it because he was the birthday boy, but really…I never let up on the gas.
And THEN, because he was 60 and we just HAD to continue the celebration, we went to see Batman: Dark Knight on the IMAX screen (ok, mom, CJ and I went home)…amazing. He opened more presents in the parking lot while we waited. It got out at 12:30! What a night!
The very next day was Kristi's 27th birthday. Brian also left for San Antonio that day for work. The rest of us went to a new vegetarian restaurant (woohooo!) to celebrate.
And when I say "new" I mean, "they didn't know what they heck they were doing yet". We waited for our food FOREVER. I think this picture of Clara sums up how we all felt…
She was so sweet, though! Even though we were there for two hours and WAY past her sleeptime, she just sat there, eating her multi-grain puffs. she wanted Aunt Krissy to have a great birthday!
Clara and I went to the Ft. Worth Zoo with Jill and Nathan, Julie and Drew. I was SO EXCITED. isn't that just one of those things you dream of? to take you kid to the zoo?! I can't say that she really noticed the animals, but she did seem to like being there and I think maybe she was in to it…maybe??? see if you can find the orangutan in this picture…
Clara checking out the gorillas…
We went into a bird atrium that had birds flying all around. We got a seed stick and the bird would land right on our sticks and eat! Clara was really fascinated by the birds and kept trying to grab them!
Clara loved the penguins! (and ooooo did it feel nice in their house!)
Brian was gone all weekend, too, with work and I hated it – I just missed him so much! But I was so happy for him – he was loving everything he was learning and enjoying San Antonio. Saturday night sounded really cool eating really good food on the roof of a hotel overlooking the Alamo. The best part of being apart is coming back together – it always makes me so grateful for him and remember even more how much I love and appreciate him.
Brian went to the Monday Night Cowboys Football game against the Eagles. The final score was 41 (Cowboys) – 37. It was a CRAZY awesome game!! ok, I'm taking his word on it, because, while I had it on, I couldn't really get into it. I know, what is wrong with me?! and why can't I like teams that are actually good?! but I even heard the sportscasters saying that it was the "perfect" football game because it had everything you could want in a game. So, he had fun and I was glad :)
We had a date-day and went to the Impressionist Exhibit at the Kimball that included a lot of works from the Art Institute of Chicago…breath-taking!
My favorite (that I hadn't already seen in Chicago) was probably Renoir's "Two Sisters" . I've never been a big Renoir fan, and seen this a dozen times before on posters, placemats and the like and not thought much of it, but in person it was absolutely staggering. The color was gorgeous and mesmerizing.
Brian's favorite (of things he hadn't seen already – Van Gogh's "The Bedroom" and "Self-Portrait" would have been up there but we saw those in Chicago a few years ago) was Paris Street Rainy Day, by Gusatve Caillebotte. It was HUGE (83 1/2 x 108 3/4in)! He loved the color scheme and the scale- it was a lot to take in. He used this painting to teach perspective so many times, so it was really cool to get to see it in real life.
Afterwards, we walked around Sundance Square in downtown FW.
and enjoyed happy hour at the Flying Saucer…
…before checking out the movie "Burn After Reading". funny! thanks Mimi and Papi for taking care of Clara!
They had lots of fun playing…here is Clara playing on her favorite new toy – a plastic storage box. Mom said she spent ALL DAY climbing up and down it. Doesn't that sound like fun?!
My 29th birthday was the next week, and it was a good one! It was the first one Clara was here for, so how could it not be awesome?! Brian was actually out of town – he left on Monday and got back about 9 on Wednesday night (my bday). He was in Chicago for work and had another few good days of learning lots. On Tuesday night, he went to the Sears tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. He called me from the top and sounded like a little kid! It was apparently a very cool experience.
He also went to Millennium Park and enjoyed checking out the urban art, including "Cloud Gate" (aka "the bean"). He was really moved by this sculpture. I asked him to write up a summary of his experience and this is what he shares:
We've been really fortunate to see a lot of great art on our trips and at various exhibitions that have come through Dallas, but there have been only a handful of times where it felt less like viewing a piece of art and more like an encounter with something transcendent. Seeing a Van Gogh in person for the first time (Daubigny's Garden), Pollock's "Number 31, 1950", the Modigliani's at the Kimbell's Montemarte exhibit, and now I can add Cloud Gate at Chicago's Millennium Park to the list.
As with any artwork that someone claims to be transcendent, pictures cannot do it any kind of justice. This is especially true of this sculpture because it is physically interactive. As you approach it, the curved reflection creates a slight illusion that you're almost walking in place. You aren't getting any closer and the all of a sudden you're upon it. And even as you reach out to touch the surface, you feel like you might lose your balance. I was at the Park on a perfect night and the reflection of the skyline on Cloud Gate took an already incredible city to a new height. It's probably an overstatement to call it flawless, but my encounter with it was. I stopped to take it in, walked away and found myself returning, not ready to really leave.
When we were hiking through the Grand Canyon several years ago, we took turns listening to Sigur Ros' "Takk". If you don't own it, buy it, but it don't listen until you can press play as you're watching the sunrise. That music will make everything more beautiful. So, for the same reason that we would want to stand on a ledge looking in to the Canyon while those songs were in our ears, I found myself scrolling through my iPod to find "Takk", approaching the sculpture and being changed.
AND, thanks to the twitter and facebook, Brian hooked up with an old friend, Josh. Susan, Josh's wife, saw Brian's twitter as a facebook status update that mentioned Chicago, and texted him to say that Josh was ALSO in Chicago for work at the same time (they live in Atlanta). So they connected and got to catch up, all thanks to technology.
Before he left, he set up a scavenger hunt for me, with sweet, rhyming clues that led to presents along the way. He designed it so that one clue led to something at the church, that led to something at home, then back again and so on. this forced me to keep waiting and thus spread it out over the three days he was gone – very clever, and I'm not good at being patient! but it was worth it. Picking him up at the airport was the best part of my birthday though!!
At work, my friend JenJen had plastered little hearts that she got lots of people to write sweet notes on all over my cube and had the song "Amazing Love" playing on REPEAT and hidden in the office when I came in. I HATE this song! which she knows…which is why she very cleverly hid the CD player so I couldn't find it. It is a great song but it gets stuck in your head and I've just heard it WAY too many times…it is one of the kid songs we do and they LOVE it so I can't cut it. Or I SO would. It was funny, and sweet, and overwhelming, and I really appreciated her thoughtfulness. There were cards and gifts there, which was surprising and fun.
the next week my family went to Anamia's (yum mexican) to celebrate – Clara even wore her little Mexican dress for the occasion. It was a great time together!
it doesn't take much to make me happy – new big cups – I am SO EXCITED!! I LOVE drinking out of big cups!!
isn't she the cutest thing ever?
September was ALSO the month for Drew's 1st Birthday! (wow…few birthdays this month?!)
I remember very vividly the day he was born. What a joyous day!! I went to the hospital in the morning, and got to be with Julie for a while as she went through labor, and then waited in the waiting room until he was born. Getting that news was indescribable! and then seeing that precious little baby we had been praying for for so long was unbelievable! I just remember that he had so much hair, and he was so tiny, and my heart just sang! It is hard to believe he is a year old. It has gone so fast!
awaiting his cake!
Look at my handy man! ahhhh…the best kind of Saturdays…pancakes, College Gameday, and getting stuff done around the house…
Clara loves tofu. Can't you tell??
I took this picture to show how dirty she gets in one day. This picture does it absolutely no justice at all. She has all sorts of food, dirt and dust on her – I've already taken off her pants they were so dirty! (I'm sure Paige never got them this dirty when they were hers! ;)) Just call her PigPen.
Clara walking meant I saw a lot more of this in September…
She loves checking out the whole house…
One day she was playing in our bedroom and she decided to get in the laundry basket… yes, she spends most of her time at home naked. ironic that she is on a pile of clothes, huh?!
We got to hang out with the Harrell's – eating good pizza and playing Rock Band. Brian was, of course, all over this. If we were all 15 years younger, Brian and Bret would have an AMAZING garage band. ;) I, however, don't need to be given another mic anytime soon. It was fun to see the girls almost playing together… so sweet!
We went to the lakehouse the last weekend, and it was just our little family this time. The weather was PERFECT and we just relaxed!
We had an EPIC Bocce tournament. I won the first game, Brian won the second, and the third game came down to the very last pitch. I'll let you figure out who won (you can see the balls and the white target ball just a few feet in front of Brian).
Our #1 Fan!
going for a walk…
Our little 10 month-old…
another one of her favorite toys this month ended up being…her umbrella stroller! She LOVED to push that thing around and play with the straps!
Do not be fooled by this…she does not like to read. she is only holding this book because she likes to gnaw on them. Brian and I still have our fingers crossed, but our hope for a book-lover is fading fast…
this is what CJ does while I'm working from home…
She also started "clapping" at the beginning of September – quite a fun trick! She continues to have such a sweet, happy spirit. We are having so much fun with her and just can't imagine our life without her. I just never dreamed it would be like that! We've been giving her more solids, like cheerios, tofu, banana, and avocados that she can feed herself. That will entertain her for hours, and she loves it! oh, but what a mess. :) She eats 4 -5 times a day (solids 2 -3 times a day) and naps 2 -3 times a day (for 2 – 3 hours). She goes to bed between 9 and 11 and sleeps until 8 a.m. She is getting a little more sad when we leave her somewhere, but she will still go to just about anybody, and always has a smile for anyone that wants one. Her favorite things to do are walk outside, get tickled by Dad, and play with anything new. She plays peek-a-boo by pulling things over her face and then ripping them off – how that makes her laugh! She loves it when you play peek-a-boo, too. Her hands are getting great at manipulating objects and passing them back and forth from hand to hand. One of her favorite games is to take an object and put it in your mouth (like a small plastic ducky). She loves to put that in my mouth and then pull it out. We even had a family ring going one night, where Clara would take it out of Brian's mouth and put it in mine, and I would put it in hers and then Brian would take it and put it in his. I'm sure this sounds VERY weird, but it was making her giggle a lot, and it felt like we were playing our first game together! It is fun to see her get more and more interactive.
We're looking forward to a great October!