Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday frogs


This Friday post brought to you by the I Really Need to Download Photos/Videos More Often archives. However, I must note that the photos were taken in September. Which is still technically this month. So that's something.


Anyway, about the pictures. While we were at the zoo earlier this month, Mary Clare insisted on sampling all of the frogs in the Children's Zoo. And, despite the fact that she's only looking at the camera in one of the three photos, I feel the need to tell you that she's the one who insisted I take her photo on each, lest you think I'm some sort of crazy camera lady.

While hopping on the frogs was fun, the highlight of the Children's Zoo was definitely the time she spent with the baby goats.

Apparently brushing baby goats -- all the baby goats, mind you -- is a two year old's idea of heaven. And you get to wash your hands after you leave the petting zoo? Well damn, what two year old can resist that?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You handsome

Mary Clare loves Charlie. Right now, she is so loving and sweet to him that my heart melts on an hourly basis. It's sickening, I know, but I have to document it now so in six weeks, six months and six years from now, I can remember that yes, indeed, she did at one time dote on her little brother.

The most recent bout of cuteness came after Mary Clare opened a thoughtful gift from our family friends, the Bodinets. It was a three-piece outfit with a shirt that simply stated, "handsome." After asking me what it said, Mary Clare brought the shirt over to Charlie, stuck it in his face and said, "You see that, Charlie Lindh? You see that? You handsome, Charlie Lindh. You handsome."

And Charlie just smiled away, basking in his sister's attention. And because he knew the shirt doesn't lie.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alexandra Jones, 1 year

Happy first birthday to our beautiful niece Alexandra! 

It honestly feels like just yesterday that I was driving to Kansas City in the hopes of being there for Baby Jones' birth, only to get a call after being on the road for one hour that "It went fast! And it's a girl!"

And little Alexandra hasn't slowed down since. From early on she would crane her neck out of her swing so as not to miss anything, and once she started crawling, well, nothing was safe. Not Brennan's toys, not the dogs' food and not even a full can of paint. Yes, paint. She's not walking on her own just yet, but she'll be there soon enough.

We celebrated the big day this past weekend at Brian's parents' home in Springfield. Alexandra was so-so on opening the presents, but she thoroughly enjoyed chewing on her bunny and rocking in her new chair for all she was worth.

Of course, we were all waiting for the feature presentation -- the cake -- because let's just say that Miss A doesn't miss too many meals. And she didn't disappoint.

She went after the cake like she was auditioning for the role of Randy in "A Christmas Story". And once she knew we were all cracking up, she really put on a show.

Oh, Alex, you are a funny little thing. Best wishes to our happy niece for a happy birthday!

And happy birthday to my wonderful dad, who received the best present ever last year when Alexandra was born on his birthday. Of course, this now means that he plays second fiddle on September 28, but I think he's okay with that. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday funny

This phone video clip of Mary Clare is a few months old, but it remains one of my favorites. I still crack up every time I watch it. Then again, I am her mom, so you may not find it as funny as I do. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering where she found the duck decoy, it's something Chip picked up while we were in Sam's. He was attempting to keep her occupied while I ordered flowers for Charlie's baptism, and a duck decoy was the obvious choice. Decoys and hydrangeas. What's not to love about Sam's?

And to answer another question, no, the decoy didn't go home with us. But you better believe I thought about it. Especially since it would make a lovely addition to the Jones' lakefront estate. Come to think of it, I might have to go back and see if Sam's still has them in stock. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Charlie, three months

Our bouncing baby boy is three months old today! The last month has been a flurry of activity -- lots of St. Louis sightseeing, the St. Paul Kirchenfest, a Kansas City road trip, mom back to work, starting daycare -- and Charlie has handled it all with great aplomb.

The kid is good. Like really good. So much so that I am hesitant to tell people what a good sleeper, eater and relaxer he is for fear of jinxing ourselves. While Charlie definitely didn't inherit his laidback demeanor from his parents, we do so greatly appreciate it. Now that I think about it, he most likely inherited this cool, calm and collected thing from my dad. So thanks, Papa Thole. We owe you one.

Charlie doesn't go back to the doctor until next month, so no official stats, but I would estimate he's weighing in at about 12 pounds, and growing every day, as attested to by his ability to pound a 6 oz. bottle in mere minutes. Charlie gets that from his dad, for sure. Okay, maybe both of his parents. At least back in the day.

As far as milestones go, our bubble-blowing boy loves to gurgle and coo 'til he can gurgle and coo no more, and just this week he's really started holding his head up on his own. For some reason, I wasn't putting two and two together, and every time he would rear his head back, I would put his head back on my shoulder, only to have him snap it back a second later. It took a few times, but I finally got it. Sorry, buster. He is quite the ticklish little guy, and it doesn't take much to get him laughing. I might even go so far as to say he chortles. And the person who can get the most laughs and smiles out of him is his sister. All Mary Clare has to do is stick her face right in front of his and ask some silly question, and he breaks into a gigantic, two-dimple grin. It's fantastic and utterly heart melting.

Click here for the full August photo set, and here for the utterly pathetic September set. This work thing is really putting a cramp in my quest to document every moment of these kids' lives.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blessings, indeed

Every night after we say our dinner prayer, we take a moment to say thanks for our family, ask for special blessings for those who need it and mention anything else positive that happened that day. 

Mary Clare is a more than willing participant in this little ritual. While she may fluctuate between bungling the sign of the cross and chanting it like an aggressive cheerleader ("Father! Son! Holy! Spirit! AMEN!), when it comes to saying thanks, Mary Clare handily rattles off a list of the people important in her life. We always give thanks for Nana and Papa, Gram and Gramps, Ben, Brennan and Alexandra. And don't try to get away with a blanket "thank you for our family," as it only leads to her randomly shouting "Nana!" or "Baby Alex!" as we're trying to wrap things up. On occasion we also pray for Darlene and Jackie, her teachers, as well as our "Apple friends," i.e., the other two-year-old classroom at her school. And our neighbor's chickens. You know, everyone we hold precious and dear.

This week Mary Clare decided there is a heck of a lot more to be thankful for than just family and friends. After Saturday evening's prayer she said "TV" and then followed that up with an enthusiastic "boys!" Nothing like two simple words to make you feel like a deadbeat parent and fearful for the future, all in one fell swoop. However, last night's item was something I could handle: stickers. Granted, they were princess stickers, but what they lack in style, they make up for in simplicity. And stickers haven't been known to stunt intellectual development or want to play doctor, so there's that. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Yes, I know

Yes, it was only a four-day work week. Yes, I worked two of those days from my home office. Yes, I know I have it good. But darn it if I'm not glad that today is Friday. I don't know what we're doing, but I plan to enjoy the weekend. Baby cuddling will ensue and cocktails will be had. That's for damn sure. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We survived

Chip, the kids and I all survived my first day back at work. Bless my vice president and my counterpart Tracy for letting me do my first day back from the comfort of my home office. Not only did it keep my Tuesday/Thursday work from home schedule in tact, but it was a great way to ease back into work life. And bless Chip for doing the first drop off and pick up, as it staved off the waterworks.

While it was heartbreaking to see Charlie drive off with Chip and Mary Clare in the morning, and it was certainly weird not having him by my side, it went better than I had hoped. The day flew by, and before I knew it, Mary Clare was marching up the front steps with Charlie's empty bottles in hand, and the little man was smiling at me from his car seat. Granted, both kids came home in their spare outfits due to may-jah blowouts, but blowouts I can handle. Bawling -- my bawling -- I cannot.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Go fig-ure

Knock on wood, Mary Clare is a good eater. She continues to consume heaping amounts of fruits and vegetables, and even when she tells us "I don't like that" in the snottiest voice imaginable, we can usually get her to eat it for us. The promise of more bread or more potatoes works wonders.

Last night after dinner Mary Clare had a bowl of strawberries and I had the last of some figs. While she passed on the figs last week, I decided to give it another go since a friend had just told me (Hi, Amanda!) that you have to offer a child something like 15 times before you can officially say they won't eat it. So I casually put half of a fig in her bowl and just told her how much I like them. After some careful inspection, a few questions and some tentative nibbles, she gobbled it up. And then asked for another. And another. And another. Until I decided it was just easier to switch bowls.

Given that she isn't overly picky, I don't necessarily know why this delights me so much. I mean, I hate fig newtons and always have. I didn't actually eat a raw fig until last year. So maybe that's it. Maybe it's that my two-year-old daughter is a more adventurous diner than me. Even if she doesn't eat another fig until she's 35, I'll take it. Now we just have to work on her dad.

Monday, September 5, 2011

End of summer highlights

I have to say, we made the most out of the last few weeks of summer. It was a combination of things -- the St. Louis weather finally became bearable, Brennan visited for a week and I went into severe "I go back to work in X days and we'll never have fun again!" mode. Oh, who am I kidding? It wasn't a combination of things, it was totally the panicking on my part. 

Not every outing or adventure warranted a post, but I thought a summer summary of photos might be nice. You know, for those who were wondering if we actually left the house this summer. 

Feed or be the feed! Mary Clare takes on the Grant's Farm goats with an assist from Papa Thole.
Chatting it up with the camel at Grant's Farm.
The scooter love/hate relationship begins.
Brennan, Mary Clare and Charlie riding the tram at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
Mary Clare makes some music at the Suson Park playground.
Ben and Mary Clare riding the miniature train at the Museum of Transportation.
Go Army! Ben and Mary Clare stopped long enough to take a picture for the military members of the family, Uncle Beef and cousin Alex.
Putting for prizes with dad at the Kirchenfest.
Mary Clare and Papa test their frog fishing skills.
Chip and Charlie in front of Mizzou's beloved columns. (We have a similar picture of Mary Clare at about the same age.)

We wrapped up our summer with a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City with the Jones family and Nana and Papa Thole. Was it relaxing? No. Did the kids have a blast? Yes. So it was well worth it. And family time is always fun, especially when the toddler stays for an extra day with the grandparents, enabling mom and dad to enjoy a leisurely lunch at Flat Branch and a photo op on campus.

And so it's farewell maternity leave (and summer), and hello, work. This should be interesting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Test run

Today was Charlie's visit day at Childgarden. He spent two hours in the Shooting Stars room, one with us and one without us while we completed the piles of paperwork.

I was not quite as jazzed about the visit as Mr. Dimples here. I love our Childgarden teachers, but this means I am one step closer to leaving my little buddy and going back to work.

Sigh. The extreme cuteness is certainly not making it any easier on me.