October is both mine and Brian's favorite month of the year…I love the changing weather and perfect temps, the leaves changing colors and the crispness in the air, the baseball world series and college football, halloween and festivals…ahhhhh what a great month! and I think it is the first month I'm actually going to get this post up before the month is over….wow!
I think Clara liked her first October, too!
Here she is, dressed and ready to go…can you guess who dressed her? the contrast was actually a lot more pronounced (and UGLY) in real life. Brian's defense? "But it's all pink!"
Here is Clara enjoying some avocados. She loves anything she can feed herself! I can't say I feel the same… 😛
Brian and I had our ten-year high school reunion. We graduated from North Lamar High School in 1998…so hard to believe it has been 10 years since we graduated. I was very apprehensive, considering it had been a decade since I had seen most of the people there. But there is something about having shared such formative years with people, to have known them for 12 years of your life and shared so many things literally growing up together, that just made me want to be there. It was SO MUCH FUN!! We had such a great time catching up and reconnecting with people. It was great to see so many old friends and hear what they're up to…everyone seems like they are doing well and it made me so happy! I did, however, neglect to take many photos. As in, I only took one picture the whole night, plus a picture of Brian and I that didn't come out very well. I stole someone else's group shot. In this picture are Christi (my best best friend in HS, now the greatest sister-in-law imaginable) and Nathan, a good friend who got me into a lot of trouble in HS. ok, "lot of trouble" for me…which really isn't saying much 😉
Go 98 Panthers! ha ha
I'm standing next to Rachael, who was my best friend in 5th grade and then good friend throughout…our paths have continued to cross several times after HS…she worked this last year for Family Legacy, the mission organization we went to Zambia with 3 years ago. I love how God does that! We actually talked to 4 or 5 people that had been or are currently at IBC, which is just crazy. there were some great, unexpected life stories…so cool to hear what God can do in and through a person, and the places He will take them (both literally and figuratively) that we can never imagine. We had wanted to go on a "reunion diet," but that didn't happen. and so we were going to do a "reunion crash diet," and that didn't happen either. :D so everyone got to meet 15 new lbs. of me, which actually didn't bother me as much as I thought it would :) I recognized all but two people, including the one person who said, "Hey! Do you remember my name?!" me: "ummmm..Melanie?" and I was WRONG! boy did I feel like a jerk!! but why would you do that to someone?!?!! my favorite quote of the night, however, has got to be something someone said to Brian: "why Brian Rhea! look at you! why, you are a sophisticated grown up man, and you were such a little sh**!" Brian didn't know quite how to respond to that, but I thought it was hilarious. There was only one person we talked to that didn't know he and I had gotten married and was VERY surprised – that was fun. (while we were very good friends, we were both very different from each other in HS) Someone else made the comment, "you know, when I thought about it, it just made a whole, whole lot of sense." that was neat to hear, because on the surface, it didn't make any sense at all, especially to those that knew us then. But if you looked beyond the surface, even then, it made a WHOLE lot of sense :) poor Brian, you can't even see him in this pic – he was off to the right of us.
While we were there, Clara got showered in love by her Mamaw and Papaw and great-grandmas. It was so sweet – when we got there, they were all waiting for her! I'm sure she had a great time playing with all of them!
That next week, Brian and I went on a date night while Clara played with Mimi and Papi. We went to Maggiano's – my FAVORITE! yum yum!
One evening we went to Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens – it was beautiful and the weather was perfect! (again with the favorite month thing)
do you like the fountain coming out of Brian's head?
a future nature lover right here…
Daddy and daughter…
Then we ate at Joe T. Garcia's….mmmmm….best Mexican food in DFW! and best patio….but we were REALLY hungry, so we went for immediate seating, which was inside. and then we enjoyed our tostadas. and tacos. and enchiladas. and burritos. I told you I love it!
CJ and HK (doesn't HK have the best smile?!)
Clara Jane falls asleep sometimes on the drive home from work/school. She always looks so sweet – I hate to wake her! You can see her nose is a little runny :( I got sick in the beginning of October (sore throat, heavy head, fever…that fabulous number), and just a week later, Clara got it. this was the first time she has been sick. I felt so bad for the poor baby! She was crying and pretty inconsolable. It broke my heart! A little tylenol and rest helped her feel better. She got over the sickness pretty fast, but has kept the runny nose. I finally took her to the doctor when I suspected it might have turned into an ear infection (rather, I was scared she had an ear infection and I just didn't realize it), but she was all clear! I think the runny nose might be from teething. but who knows?! until she can talk, it's all one big guessing game!
Helen Kate, the cutest little cowgirl, turned 1!
nothing like a big swig to wash down some good cake…
this was her favorite thing to do with her tongue in October… I swear, I've never known a child who likes to stick out and curl and twist their tongue so much!
I REALLY wanted their picture together, but 50 pictures later, admitted it just wasn't meant to be…
believe me when I say this was the best pic of all 4 babies…
Aunt Kristi always calls Clara "Little Applecheeks" and this week she really lived up to her name! She wanted to play with an apple, which I let her have, and she started taking little chips out of it with her new teeth. So I peeled the apple for her and gave it back. She LOVED that apple! She played with it for HOURS. She took it with her wherever she went. A good part of the time she was working on it, taking out little chips here and there, and part of the time she was just carrying it around like her prized possession. The funniest part was when she would try to stand up but still hold onto the apple – not an easy feat!
Here is another date night…you can't tell but we're at the Contemporary Theater of Dallas where we just saw On Golden Pond. Clara is the one who had the most fun that night, though, because she got to be with the Herring's!
Kristi, my first-call-mom and dear friend, and hubby and three kids all took care of Clara. What a blessing! Kristi is also Clara's teacher on Sundays at church, which means the world to me to have someone like her building into Clara from the youngest age (and I'm not just saying that because I know she'll read this blog ;) I've already asked if she will move up with Clara the next 18 years – ha!) Her kids are older than CJ, but there is only about a year and a half difference between her and and Paige, their youngest. all three kids are awesome, and I'm really hoping Paige and Clara will be great friends one day! She is so stinkin' cute, as you can clearly see from this pic:
You can read more about their fun night here.
Brian got a new sport/hobby! He and Gene bought passes for a local climbing gym, got some harnesses and went for it (following a 4-minute "lesson" from the most laid back instructor ever)! I only have one pic because my camera battery was dead, but you can see Brian making it up the wall. Clara and I were there cheering him on (I was so impressed…I have NO upper body strength) (oh who am I kidding? I have no anywhere-body strength!). I think she got his genes for it, though, because she was trying to climb all over the place!
We got to have dinner with the Harrell's and the kids got to play together. Dylan would make a funny sound (like a loud laugh) and Clara and Makenna would imitate him – it was so cute!
We went to Hall's Pumpkin Farm here in Grapevine for some Fall Fun…
the place was one giant photo opportunity 😀
I love this one of Clara and Helen Kate…crazy woman and miss sweetie pie
Nathan really did pull the girls around – how cute!
See if you notice anything new in this fam pic…
After almost 29 years…Brian needs glasses!! He has LONG wanted glasses so he was extremely excited when things long distance started getting a little blurry (I've worn glasses since the first grade – my eyes are TERRIBLE – and that just makes me sick! :P). They look good on him and he is already used to them – and seeing much better!
This picture is for Mamaw and Papi…both people who actually love mowing the grass!
Jill and I…
We went through a Corn Maze…something I have ALWAYS wanted to do! It was way fun, and just a little creepy. clara loved walking through it…of course, she loves walking anywhere we made it out – WHEW!
We went to Devon's 1st birthday party. He was born on Clara's due date (Halloween). they get to play together at church during the week and on Sundays and love each other (as much as they actually notice each other at this age…ha!). and I love his mom and grandma (they are adopting him) – they're amazing! Clara was the youngest there but she ran around with the big kids. She has NO FEAR, and she is so friendly with everyone. I can see this being both a good thing and a bad thing!
Pin the nose on the elmo!
The birthday boy…what a cutie!
I didn't get a good pic of them together :(
we enjoyed getting to visit with sweet co-workers — Ramona the comfort zone (nursery) director and Alyssa one of our incredible interns.
The next day we had a "Preschoolers N' Pumpkins Picnic" with early childhood families from the church. We brought a bunch of paint and families brought pumpkins and picnics. I loved seeing the "creations" that the kids were able to come up with on their pumpkins! Let's just say there were way less traditional faces and way more huge globs of gray paint (what you get when you mix ALL the colors together) completely covering (and dripping off) the pumpkins. Clara again played with all of the older kids and tried her hardest to keep up! The older girls (4-6 year olds) enjoyed playing with her and took care of her!
That evening we went to Dylan's "Spiderman" birthday party where…Brian was Spiderman! He was a great sport about it, much to the enjoyment of adults and kids alike! ;) The best part was when all of the kids turned on him shooting him with their silly string "webs," chasing him through the yard, and even punching him. No one quite knew what to do…so there spidey sat, mobbed by a bunch of 5 year old boys! I felt so bad for him, but I must admit…I was laughing pretty hard. It was a great party – incredibly creative and lots of fun. I'm sure Dylan felt very special, and it was special for us to get to be there!
We really feel like Clara started "loving" us back in September and October. She will run over, pull our hands or fingers, asking us to stop doing whatever we're up to and play with her. She began cuddling us and nuzzling her head into us which is SO precious. She lays her little head on mine or Brian's chest and it melts my heart like nothing else! When she wants to be held, she gets a little whiney, and she definitely cries hysterically if you put her down when she wants to be held. She also loves trying to tickle us and will literally chase you down and then belly flop onto you if you are laying on the floor and then laugh as she scrambles all over you. we play back, chasing her, tickling her, picking her up. She holds her arms up when she wants to go "up" in your arms and loves being held. Clara "points" with her finger now – usually at nothing in particular! When you hold your face up close to hers, she will lean in and touch her nose on yours and giggle. Her walking has improved – she is getting a lot less wobbly, able to bend over and pick things up and keep going. She is so funny when she wants to get somewhere fast but her body can't quite keep up. She runs kinda spastically for a few steps and then falls. She will stand up and keep going, then fall again, and over and over. I am amazed at her perseverance, in walking and in everything else. She will keep trying and trying and trying long after I would have given up.
She is eating lots of "table food" now, including tomatoes (LOVES), strawberries (half a carton at a time…no kidding), toast with veggie spread, black beans, whole wheat pasta, and plums. if only we ate as healthy as her… *sigh* She babble talks a lot but still doesn't have any distinct words, or associations with her babble. The other night she seemed to be shaking her head "yes" and "no" appropriately, but I'm thinking it was just coincidence. Brian is convinced he heard her say "hello" when he handed her a phone, but she hasn't repeated that…
We continue to monitor her anemia. She is on some additional iron medicine now. They did a more thorough blood test that required a tiny little needle and syringe to draw blood. We had to pin her down but she didn't seem to mind it near as much as she minds getting her nose wiped (now THAT will make her howl!). The anemia doesn't seem to be affecting her but we want to prevent any long term "physical or mental impairment" (as the brochure said ;))!
One of her favorite "stances" that we haven't caught on camera yet is standing with both of her hands on the back of her hips. She'll walk around like that or just stand there, chillin' like a teenager with attitude.
This is one of her favorite moves…sticking an arm straight up in the air for no apparent reason.