Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Bugs

Halloween night and it's rainy and blustery here in Nashville, so most neighborhoods have postponed trick-or-treating until tomorrow night. So, we "celebrated" by creeping our way home from day care on slow-rolling wet roads while the kids explored the candy in their treat bags from school. Once home, we made orange-tinted pancakes in the shape of pumpkins, witches' hats, arched-back cats, and also a lady bug and butterfly.

Why those last two? Because those are my girls' costumes, which they've enjoyed wearing a few times already and will don once again tomorrow night for the official trick-or-treating. Tomorrow also happens to be Claire's birthday, so we'll celebrate that a bit too, while I continue prepping for her farm-harvest party on Saturday!

Here are some pics of my little bugs enjoying the Halloween event at the Louisville Zoo a few weeks ago. BGC stayed behind in respite care for the weekend, but I will brag on her that she was a finalist in our neighborhood Halloween party's costume contest! She's a sweet pea in a little bunting. So cute!

There were no zombies or vampires at this kid-friendly event, but bears are what really scare my girls!
As in, a guy in a bear suit. The actual polar bears didn't bother them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sesame Street Mini-Party

Given how much I love throwing kid parties with a cute theme woven throughout, the thought crossed my mind earlier this year how it might work if one of our guest kids had a birthday during his or her time with us. I imagined meeting up with the child's family at a park or somewhere convenient for them (if unsupervised visits were approved, of course).

As it turned out, BGC's birthday was a few weeks ago, about six weeks after she came to us, but her family would not be able to join us for a party. I certainly wanted to celebrate her (and her mom made a point at our first supervised visit of asking me to send pictures of BGC on her birthday, party or not) but wondered what we should do. Invite a bunch of our friends and family over, like we would for Kate or Claire's birthday? Just sing to her at dinnertime, the five of us around the kitchen table? She's only one, and doesn't eat table food yet, so she wouldn't remember it or even get to enjoy a bite of cake. What to do?

As it turned out, I thought about the people who have seen and helped us care for BGC in her time with us, and I thought of our church family. Like the rest of our PKs, she has been at church at least three times a week (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening) and everyone has welcomed and doted on her as they would any new child in our community. Since our Sunday evening service, The Road, is a smaller and more casual gathering that always includes dessert afterward, I had the idea to have a little mini-party in that time when everyone is milling around after the service, enjoying cookies or cupcakes and starting to break down the tables, sound equipment, etc.

My chosen theme was Sesame Street, mainly because I wanted to make these cute cupcakes I'd seen online! Since I was working with just a tabletop instead of a whole house (our downstairs, at least) the other thematic elements were just napkins, balloons in an Elmo basket, a little card I designed (since invites weren't necessary), and Elmo himself!

Claire thought the cupcakes were pretty tasty (even if she just licks the frosting off and leaves the cake!) I wish I could show you how cute BGC looked in her red dress and rainbow party bow, but here's a glimpse along with a very handsome shot of our dear pater familias.

To update/clarify on a few things: It is looking like BGC will be with us until at least April or so, and that is just fine. She fits into our family so well, being toted along to gymnastics and church and being doted on by two big sisters. We enjoy our visits with her parents and feel confident they'll work their plan and be reunited with her in the spring. She has some developmental delays, so we've started several therapies to help her catch up. (I'm so grateful to my premie-mama friend Nancy for helping me know even where to start!)

And if you don't know what "BGC" is all about, it's short for her blog alias, "Baby Girl Chandler," which itself is a reference to my favorite, most quotable show, Friends, which Matt likes to remind me began almost twenty years ago and went off the air almost ten years ago. Eeek!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Fun on the Farm

You know I can't resist fun fall family excursions. On the first weekend of October (my favorite month, and it's almost over already!) we took the kids out to Lucky Ladd Farm about 30 miles away to enjoy the festivities. There were animals, mazes, slides and rides, and of course pumpkins!
 Kate fed the goats, and while Claire was interested, she was too afraid to let the goat near her hand. She walked around nonchalantly instead, hands in pockets! Somehow that seems "so Claire" to me, but I remember Kate doing that too at that age. Pockets are fun when you're almost two!

I love this pic. Cute kiddo with a pumpkin. She'll be two the day after Halloween, so she gets asked two questions a lot these days, occasionally mixing up the answers:

What are you going to be for Halloween, Claire?
How old will you be on your birthday, Claire?
"e-bug!" (ladybug)

The big girls enjoyed riding the barrel train (pulled by a tractor) and getting really dirty. Baby Girl Chandler mostly rode in the stroller, but enjoyed examining a pumpkin up close, too.

The corn box (like a sandbox, but with corn kernels!) provided some good sensory therapy for BGC. I don't talk about her case on here, of course, or personal details, but I'll say she does have some developmental delays and is getting various therapies. I was so glad to have my friend Nancy to advise me on where to even start getting BGC the help she needs!
Less than a week until Halloween! Thank goodness we can keep the pumpkin-themed fun going until Thanksgiving, or I'd be pretty sad.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Claire's 23rd Month

Claire turned 23 months yesterday, which means the big TWO is now less than a month away! I have to say, though, Claire's 23rd month might be more significant than that actual birthday milestone. She grew up so much in the last month (i.e. at the age of 22 months), due in large part to her big sister-ish status having Baby Girl Chandler in our house. BGC came to us about six weeks ago and it looks like she'll be with us another six months, at least!

Claire being attached to me as she is, I thought she would have a hard time with a smaller baby in the house, but the moment BGC came in, Claire became one of the big girls. She and Kate want to help feed the baby, dress the baby, change the baby's diapers. . . and Claire sure thinks she is big!

She loves to put the bottle to BGC's lips, let her take one suck, then pull it out and declare, "I did it!"

She now likes to pick out her own clothes (from a choice of two), buckle her own top buckle on her car seat (or any other buckle on any car seat or infant apparatus she finds), and drink from a open cup. She has strong preferences about which sippy cup she gets, when she uses them, and is quick to request one of her two favorite foods, even for breakfast: peanut butter and baked beans. And she gives a polite and perky "tan tou!" (thank you) whenever you hand her something. She's also very good at finding things. I can offhandedly wonder where my phone is, and she will find it and bring it to me.

I keep telling her that when she turns two, she'll need to use the potty and stop nursing. Those will be tough. I thought she would be easy to potty train because she wants to do everything Kate does, but for months, whenever I ask her "do you want to sit on the potty?" she says cheerfully, "No!" Then, suddenly a few weeks ago, when I opened the box of 2T clothes for fall and showed Claire the panties she gets to wear when she learns to go on the potty, she immediately wanted to sit on the potty! "Potty!" she'll exclaim, and it sounds remarkably like "Daddy!" So, she's been sitting on the potty some now, though she's only done anything in it once.

As for the nursing, she won't go easy. I thought our trip to Charleston in August would help wean her, but she was right back in the game when we returned. At 22 months, I started limiting her to bedtime only (and during the night, because YES, she still wakes up!!) and while she has had a few fits when realizing in the morning that this shop is closed, she's dealing okay. Cutting her off completely is going to be tough, though.

buckle buckle!
feed the baby!

So sad!!


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