Monday, June 30, 2008

Can You Dig it??

Of course one of the other highlights from our Beachy vacation was playing in the sand. This time last year the kiddos really didn't care for the stuff. Lilly would tolerate it, but didn't want to walk in it or sit in it unless she had to and Clara was barely sitting up yet...I guess she didn't really mind it one way or another. This year was different though...they all loved digging and digging and digging. Their favorite thing was to fill our small wagon with water and play in it while they dug. They also really enjoyed when Steve would dig a trench near the water and it would fill up. Then they would sit in it all laid back...very cute. As for building anything...they weren't really into that yet. But they did enjoy knocking down and stepping on anything that Steve tried to build. Maybe next year!

Roller Coaster Baby

As we were driving to dinner one of the evenings that we went out (most nights we cooked and ate in), my mom noticed a Fun Park with go-carts, bumper cars, bungee jumping, and other things of that sort. They also had an arcade though, and a small area of 'kiddie rides' and she really wanted to take the kids and let them ride one or two. Steve and I felt like Lilly would probably enjoy this, but it would be a long shot to get Carson on much and the only thing I felt Clara was big enough for was the carousel (she would have never stayed sitting in the other rides without one of us next to her, and we weren't allowed on them.). We all decided we'd go and try it nonetheless. Mom and Dad bought enough tickets for each of the kids to ride two things, so we tried the train first. We pretty much hit the nail on the head with our predictions. For a moment, we thought Carson might ride the train, but he was still a little intimidated by it. Lilly really made out with this deal though. Since Carson and Clara only rode the carousel, Lilly got to use all the other tickets and got on the train, carousel, swings and small ferris wheel. She LOVED it! We really thought she might lose her dinner on the swings going round and round, but luckily she didn't. Steve was especially excited that she enjoyed them all so much with his love for amusement parks. He is having visions of taking trips back to his old stomping ground at Kings Dominion to share it with her I'm sure. Though we were hesitant at first to go, I'm so glad we did and that she had such a great time!

Locked in!

So this wasn't funny in the moment, but after the fact it was hilarious. I realized pretty quickly that the double doors to our bedroom at the condo locked very easily if they were played with, so I made a habit of NOT latching the left door. Then if the kids were playing with them and the right door locked, they wouldn't get locked in our room because we could simply be push the doors open. The problem with this was that Lilly and Carson found great humor in pushing the doors open every time I was in there changing clothes. One morning I got fed up with that game and did latch the door, but I forgot to unlatch it when I was finished. A bit later we were gathering everyone together and getting shoes on the kids so we could head to the pool, and we couldn't find Carson. Yep...he had locked himself in our room. The only one really panicking about this was Gamma. Amanda and Carson both were actually very calm, but my mom went running to the master bathroom (where my dad was taking care of business) and yelled for Papa to 'Hurry, hurry...we needed his help!' It didn't take long for us to figure out all we had to do was slip something between the large gap between the doors and unlatch the left door. Then we were able to push the doors open and both girls ran in to hug their 'lost' cousin. Carson grinned from ear to ear at all of us standing there to greet him. Then Papa showed up to see what in the world was going on! Fun times!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Water Bugs

I had no idea when we left for our trip how much our girls would love the water. And I mean LOVE the water. I had expected that Lilly would like the pool, and warm up to the ocean eventually, and thought that Clara would be scared of both but maybe by the end of the week tolerate it. Boy was I wrong! From the very beginning both of them wanted to be in the ocean and the pool almost constantly. I have to say that they were really good and didn't argue too much when we told them that for whatever reason we were taking a break from one or the other, but man did they love swimming.
They got a huge kick out of us taking them into the surf and letting the waves splash over us...they even didn't mind the saltwater in their faces...they actually wanted to splash in it. They also enjoyed just sitting in the sand and letting the water wash up to them at the edge of the ocean. Steve dug them some ditches a couple of times and they got a kick out of it filling up with water as the surf came in.

The pool at the condo was really nice, too and they couldn't get enough of it. The first day I held Lilly in the pool and Steve held Clara as we played and splashed around. The next time we went, I'd gotten Lilly some 'water wings' (at least that's what we called them) and once she realized she could kick her feet and swim on her own, she was all for it. If you tried to help her, she'd say 'No Mommy...I swim myself!' Alrighty then...don't let me interfere too much with your independence, darling! We did get Clara some water wings as well, and though she didn't take to them as much, she liked wearing them (to be like her sister) and she really enjoyed sitting on the steps and playing with her toys in the water. Really, Clara's favorite game involved jumping off the wall to Steve in the pool. (Thanks for teaching that one to us, Carson!) There is a little rhyme that we would sing and at the end of it the kiddos would 'jump' off the wall to us in the water. They really weren't jumping...more stepping, or leaning in...but it was fun nonetheless.

Carson had some water wings, too but he wasn't feeling them very much...he didn't want them at all! Papa tried to convince him that it was 'cool' to wear water wings by putting them on himself (very funny...see photo below), but Carson was not convinced. The next day, when given the choice of wearing the water wings, or staying in the condo while the girls swam, he reluctantly opted for the wings. Good choice, Buddy! After a bit I think he forgot he even had them on he was having such a good time playing with his boats and balls in the water.

We're Marching... the BEACH! It was so adorable each time we left the condo to go anywhere. The kids were thrilled by each and every thing and when we left the condo, they knew that another adventure was about to begin. By the end of the week they had the routine down and when we said it was time to go, they'd line up at the door and start chanting 'MARCH, MARCH, MARCH.' We would eventually open the door, and they would begin the march to the destination we were off to next as they sung 'We're the beach!' or the pool or the car or whatever location we told them we headed for. Since Clara was such a new walker, it was especially exciting for her to get in on the action. She loved being one of the 'big kids' and marching with her sister and cousin. Lilly and Clara still enjoy marching around and around when we head out someplace. Sometimes that is how I've gotten them out the door as we're leaving is somehow more fun than simply walking out the door. :-)

We Sell Seashells!

If you ask the girls what their favorite part of our vacation was, the most common answer is 'collecting seashells on the beach.' This was not the answer I expected to get from them, and it surprised me that this small adventure (which mainly only happened one day...maybe two) was so exciting for them. Clara was the first one to take to it, really. Steve picked up a shell and handed it to her. She treated it like a rare treasure that she was so proud of. She carried it around and showed it to all of us, and grasped onto it, so careful not to drop it in the sand. It was very precious. Shortly after that, Lilly and Carson got in on the fun, too and before you knew it we had a small collection of shells in one of our buckets. Steve really enjoyed finding them for the kids, but Amanda was the best collector I must say. She found some that were a really nice size and different colors. A couple were almost big enough to make a seashell bra out of. ;-) Maybe she'll make one and wear it on our next vacation! We did bring home a small collection of shells that we found on the beach. The intention has been to do something crafty with them. We'll see how long they sit on my kitchen counter before that happens! Hopefully they will be made in to something memorable and worthy of the memory sooner than later.

Vacation Marathon!

So it has taken me longer than I meant to get our photos/stories from vacation posted here...but the month isn't over (yet!) so I think it's okay. ;-) The next several posts will be little snippets of our trip...but here are some of my favorite photos that don't really fit into any of those categories. After enjoying them, read on for more of our adventures from that week.

This is the girls and me on our first afternoon there. We were all really excited to get out on the sand and look at the ocean so we took a short stroll on the beach before calling out for dinner that night.

Carson and Lilly on the elevator at the condo...they were so cute holding hands whenever we went someplace. They liked to make a game of guessing which of the four elevators in the lobby would open first too. Its the little things that make them excited! the girls look a little awkward in this photo, but isn't it the perfect backdrop for a great family picture!? Maybe next time!

I can't get over this photo of Lilly and Clara...I mean...when did they get so BIG??

This did end up being our best family photo from the trip....not too bad, and it totally captured the essence of the week...laid back, fun on the beach and in the ocean.

I think this is a great photo of Amanda and Carson from the week.

This photo really might be my favorite from the whole vacation. I love the girls sitting with their Daddy watching the waves crash at their feet and just enjoying the moment. It is priceless.

Lilly and Clara enjoying some downtime while we waited for a table at Cracker Barrel on our way back home. They were very excited to be in the 'big' chairs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Calling All Super Heroes!

I don't know how many of you reading this have small children, or are familiar with any of the programing on PBS, but it is pretty much our lives these days. While we do try not to let them watch too much TV...there are certain shows that I allow, and in many ways I think are good for them in moderation. The girls have always been #1 fans of 'Sesame Street' and have taken to 'Between the Lions' (a fantastic reading based program!) and 'A Big Big World' as well. In the last months though, a new favorite has become 'Super Why'. In this program a group of children turn in to super heroes with different reading 'powers' (spelling, decoding, alphabet sounds, etc.) and come together to read a story and solve a problem. Super Lilly and Super Clara! Not much more of a story here than that, but when Lilly announced the other day at the dinner table that she was 'Super with the Power to Help!' we cracked up. She had been trying to get one of my blankets around her as a cape, but it was quite big as you can imagine. So both the girls were thrilled when I pulled out a couple of the baby blankets and they could dawn their 'Super-Reading' apparel. I LOVE the fact that the girls enjoy books and letters and reading so much, and I will do anything I can to continue to foster that passion for them...even if it means putting on my own cape and flying around the living room with them!

Princess of the Potty

A month or so ago, I would have never thought Lilly would be potty trained by now. She was more than resistant and defiant at even the mention of being a big girl and sitting on the potty. If I said to her, " can be a big girl and use the potty instead of wearing diapers" her reply would sound something like this, "No Mommy! I NOT use the potty!" as she stomped away. After talking to lots of other moms and the pediatrician, and observing Lilly more closely (she was waking up with a bone-dry diaper everyday, told me when she had a dirty diaper, and even used the toilet at the church nursery), I decided it was time to toss out the diapers for her, and potty training boot camp began! It was not fun. There were lots of tears the first few days...both hers and mine. And I'll admit that there was some yelling on both our ends, as well bribery involved (M&Ms as rewards and the threat of turning off Sesame Street when she yelled at me). But, on about day three, she got it...WHEW! What a relief that the hardest part of that was over! She still has a few accidents and I put a pull-up on her when we're out of the house (mostly for my convenience). But for the most part, she is potty trained. She does great here at the house and when we're out (though I did have to purchase a portable, collapsible potty seat with Sesame Street characters on it to get her to use the bathroom in public...a small price to pay!). The only place she usually has accidents now is in the car...I can deal with that. When we were visiting Louisville a few weeks ago we were at my parents house and the girls were playing dress-up when Lilly announced that she had to go potty. We rushed to the bathroom and as she succeeded she broke out in this big grin. So me, being the great mom I am, thought 'This would be a fantastic photo for a senior slide show when she graduates from high school someday!' And I grabbed the nearest camera. Aren't the girls lucky to have me as their mom! ;-)

Attack of the Pudding Monster!

Lookout folks...the Pudding Monster has struck in GA! She is a sneaky sucker and attacks when you least expect it. She may get you at the your sleep...or even in the car. She disguises herself as vanilla, butterscotch, and sometimes chocolate. And if your not on the lookout...she just might get your daughter, too!

This happened so was hilarious. We had finished dinner one night and Steve offered the girls pudding cups. They NEVER turn down that trait passed down from their Great Granny Randol! I had cleaned Lilly up and gone to the office area to check on something and Steve had turned around for literally half a minute to get a washcloth to clean the table. When he turned back, this is what he saw, and he lost it. We all cracked up! As we can best put the pieces together, Clara must have put the pudding cup to her face to lick it. And maybe use it as a telescope??? She likes to peek through things that are transparent on one end, so maybe she noticed this about the plastic cup and decided to try it...who knows. It was a good laugh though and might make for a nice blackmail photo in the future.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We're baaaack...

Now for the grand return! We got home from our beachy vacation on Saturday night and I have unpacked pretty much everything. The house still needs to be cleaned, but I decided it can wait while I begin to catch up on here. Get ready for the Chicken Family Blogger Marathon! Rather than post all our recent adventures in one really long blog, I've decided to break it up into lots of smaller ones...although those who know me, know that I am rarely a woman of few words, so we'll see how 'small' they really are! I'm gonna start with our trip to Louisville for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate my cousin's goes!

We started on our seven hour trip when Steve got off work on the Friday before the long weekend...unfortunately, the seven hour trip turned into ten when we hit Atlanta right in the middle of rush hour AND a downpour. Can I just say that the folks around here don't know how to drive in precipitation at all??!! We did make it safe and sound...although the girls didn't sleep in the car much at all, which could have made things really interesting...they were great though.

Saturday we got to visit with my longest and dearest friend, Amy and her beautiful little girl (sorry we didn't get to see you, Tim!) and that evening we went to Nick and Lindsey's wedding...the real reason for the trip. It was a beautiful evening and a lot of fun. They really are made for each other and make a gorgeous couple...the kind of pair that you see and know that they will have a beautiful life together doubts at all about that.

On Sunday, we were able to get together with most of my mom's family for dinner at Mike Lining's...if you are from around Louisville and have never been there, you are totally missing out. It is the BEST place to go in spring/summer/fall for great food and a really relaxed atmosphere. Most of the seating is outdoors at picnic tables and there are several swing sets/playgrounds for the kids. You can walk just over the flood wall and see the Ohio River. I have very fond memories of going there as a child with family friends and loved taking the girls there. It was really fantastic to get to visit with everyone and to have all the little kids together finally! And we actually got a good photo of my grandparents with all the great-grand kids--a minor miracle!

Before heading out of town on Monday, we stopped by to see my Granny for a bit. It is always a treat to see her and to share the girls with her. We also had lots of time to hang out with my parents and my brother and his family throughout the is always a blast to have the kiddos is all about them now isn't it!? Enjoy these photos from the weekend!

Grandma and Grandpa Clark with the Great Grand kids...we got them to sit there and look at us by tossing them cookies...whatever works!

Some of the family getting ready for dinner at Mike Linings.

Grandpa Clark playing with Lilly and Carson on the slides.

Grandpa and Lilly at the slides.

Clara on the 'big girl' swings!

Sweet summer kisses...Lilly and Gabby.

Playing Tee Ball with Papa in the backyard.

Mom, me and the girls visiting with Granny Randol.

It's dark...but I like this photos of us.

Lilly and Clara hanging out with Joleigh...three little princesses!