Monday, December 28, 2009

An Unexpected Christmas










So I will admit my blogs are usually pretty cheery and centered around our beautiful little girl. And as much as I wanted to skip blogging about Christmas all together, it was an event I dont think I will ever forget. So, grab a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for a Christmas story you won't believe...seriously.

We planned on heading to Michigan for Christmas for one week from Sunday to Sunday. The first half of our trip was spent at LD's parents house and the second half at my parents house. The first half of our trip was uneventful (which is a good thing!). We spent time with family, had lunch with LD's high school friends and their families, opened Christmas presents and Clare saw a ghost (yes I'm serious, but that is another story).

On Wednesday we headed to my parents house and stopped halfway in Chelsea to meet all my college roomies and their families at a childrens play place called The Treehouse (I personally think is where the curse began). After a fun time we headed to my parents, which is an hour away. Two blocks from my parents LD hit a patch of ice and we slid into a tree. Poor LD was so upset, but we were all unharmed, just my car suffered some damage. We went to my parents a little annoyed, but it was not going to ruin our day. That night we went to sleep and I was sick all night, blaming it on food posioning. I didn't feel sick, but I was up all night. The next morning I realized Clare had also been sick and figured we must have eaten something because she also did not have a fever....ready, here is where it gets crazy. From there 12 of my family members and friends (including Vanessa and LD) ended up with this "little bug" that was later identified H1N1. My poor sister who flew from Vegas never left her bedroom and never opened 1 present. By Christmas night LD was sick as well as my dad. When my dad got sick his blood pressure dropped and he passed out, which of course was a HUGE scare for us and we called 911. So my mom and I got Vanessa and LD situated on couches to take care of each other, Clare to my aunts house and spent Christmas night at the hospital, with only one other very big scare with my dad. They admitted him and my mom and I sat at the hospital laughing so hard we cried in between the actual crying. How does this stuff happen???? By the next day the "bug" had gotten to my older sisters family and the ambulance made a stop at their house that night.
My mom somehow skated by without ever getting sick. While she was getting my dad from the hospital I tied a scarf around my face, found some gardening gloves, a bottle of Lysol and went on a mission to kill this dumb bug that had ruined our Christmas. During my cleaning episode I had a few "ah-ha" moments. One is that God's mercies are new EVERY morning. It was very scary when my dad had passed out, and I am still thanking Jesus that He had the outcome he did in store for us and him. But I also was reminded that no matter what the outcome ever is in any situation, His mercies are still new every morning. I was also reminded that simplicity is so important. It's not about how far you drive, how many family members you see, how many presents you have or how many parties you attend...its about the simplicity of celebrating Christ's birth and spending time with those God has blessed me with.

Clare did great in the car, great through the sickness, and was a trooper. I continue to be very proud of her. Some of her favorite presents this year were a shopping cart, a puppy named Violet and her first doll house. We are blessed to have my sister with us this week and will spend this week celebrating our time together.

Though I pray we never relive this Christmas, God has taught me a few things along the way. I pray that your Christmas was spent SIMPLY celebrating the birth of our Savior with those you love.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My favorite things....about my little girl!







Here are some pictures of our trip to see the singing bears uptown...
Looking back over the past year its really hard to think about what has changed because it seems everything has changed. A year ago Clare was three months old and we were still struggling with sleep or lack of it, and caring for a newborn. Fast forward a year and it is amazing how our life has changed. Life with one toddler is simple compared to a year ago! Clare and I are in a great routine, our days are predictable with added adventure when necessary. We were at the park today and I told a mom that right now life is just good with Clare.

I have learned that Clare will quickly become my favorite person to talk to as her language develops. We have so much fun together and she already cracks me up! Clare has developed a fun and quirky personality...here are some of our favorites.

- Clare loves waving to the bell ringers and as soon as we get out of the car she is looking for them and waves as big as she can until we are inside of the store.

- At about 11 months Clare started winking, and she's really good at it. She winks at people in the grocery store, at church, walking down the street...to her its just as good as a wave, only cuter!
- Clares favorite word is "please" and it sounds like a squeak when she says it so most people don't really understand it. She also thinks that if she says please she should get whatever she requests. Just this week at the mall she said "please mama" about 1500 times until the lady behind me was laughing so hard.

-Clare LOVES the show "Yo Gabba Gabba." We never introduced her to shows but this one is truly her favorite. She is allowed one 30 min show a day and if you even mention the words "Yo Gabba Gabba" she sits in front of the tv immediately.
-Clare LOVES her lammie....a LOT. I dont know how she learned this, but she never never sucks her thumb until she sees her lamb. At this age it is not allowed out of her bedroom, but if she gets her feelings hurt or falls down she asks to go night night so she can have her lamb.

-Clare loves to skype. If she sees a computer she tries and tries to talk to it from all of her conversations with her grandparents. In this same category she also loves to talk on the phone and talk in general. When she talks she doesn't say one word, she tells a whole story and has more hand movements you ever thought possible. Yes, she takes after her mom in this way.

-Clare loves men....any men! When we go to the park she seeks out the first daddy she can find and books it to him with her arms up winking the whole time. Yes, its a problem! ;)

-Clare loves music and loves to dance in the kitchen. As soon as the ipod goes on she wants someone to dance with her and if you shut it off, she sits (or lays) in the middle of the kitchen floor and cries until someone turns the music back on (its sad, but LD and I have turned it off for entertainment purposes in the past...her reaction is so funny!)
I just can't get enough of this sweet little girl! I have already decided she is going to be a mover and a shaker. She is busy and knows what she wants! Every day I get to spend with her I am in awe of the love and joy she brings into our home!





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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Michigan


















Clare is a true traveler and has been seriously inducted! We left last Tuesday at 2pm and drove til 12:45am, making great time and only stopping twice. We did with only watching 40 minutes of our favorite show "Yo Gabba Gabba", which I thought was pretty incredible. The last few times we have traveled Clare has struggled sleeping in a new place, which has made our trip tiring for everyone..but not this time..she is a big girl!

We went straight to Reading, MI, LD's parents house and I was so excited there was no snow. I think it is the first time since we moved that there was no snow during Thanksgiving and I was thrilled. We did get a little on the ground, but not even enough to count by my standards. LD's parents set up a crib and high chair so we were ready to camp out. Everyone came to see us so we literally did not leave the house in two days which was wonderful! Clare's favorite toy at her grandparents house was glass bells that Grandma let her walk around the house with. Every time they knocked together we all closed our eyes, but they stayed in one piece throughout our little stay.

Then we headed over to my parents house and made a pit stop along the way to visit some friends who just had a new baby. They have a cat named Grady and Clare, though a little timid, really loved the cat. She would just watch him until he pounced at her and then turn around and run. At my parents house Auntie V was also in from Vegas so the whole family was together. Friday night my mom decided to have a photog come and take pics of the entire family (ALL 25 of us). They moved all the furniture, set up a backdrop and lights..it was insanity. Clare decided she was not going to participate and we now have pictures with her finger up her nose, pulling Auntie V's hair, screaming and sucking her thumb. I was not happy about any of it, but we all survived, even though I am quite red faced in the pictures I'm sure from man handling my daughter while LD told me to just relax. Needless to say it was not the highlight of my trip...I'm just glad Grammie got her pictures!

The rest of the weekend was very fun and my mom pulled out our old kitchen set and Clare had so much fun, practicing saying "hello" into the phone over and over. My nephew Jayden turned 1 and we were able to go to his first birthday, a few of my high school friends came over to visit and my sister and I had a date night!
















It seemed way to fast to pack up and come home, but it is so hard to believe we will be headed back on that ridiculous 12 hour drive in 3 short weeks. Clare did well on the way home and as soon as we got out of the car she had jello legs and fell on the driveway, landing a big raspberry on her chin....we will not be doing Christmas pics!
















Hope your Thanksgiving was fun and filled with family and memories!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the mend....









Whew what a rough few weeks we have had. Clare's little body has been fighting something fierce and after an allergic reaction to an antibiotic (see lovely pics of our spotted girl below), ridiculous amounts of testing, lots of crying (on both mommy and Clare's part), I think we are coming out of the funk! We have spent two very long weeks mostly at home (which is why we have been doing activities like folding laundry together!), had 4 trips to the doctor, one trip to the hospital for chest xrays, a major "Food strike" on Clare's part, and a few sleepless nights. I have learned that both getting a urine sample from a baby and giving a baby a chest xray are two things I never want to be a part of again in my life, and I'm pretty sure Clare would agree.

I have also been reminded very clearly that my role as Clare's mother is to surround her in prayer, lay my requests for her life at Christ's feet and walk away allowing Him control, which is incredibly hard. As I look back at my life I know I have felt the power of prayer surrounding me in a lot of situations and I know my parents were always praying for me. I desire that same protection over Clare and it is mine and LD's responsibilities to ensure that happens. We are still waiting on some test results to come back, but I am confident that her elevated white blood count is nothing to worry about...its in God's hands.

I'm so thankful today that Clare played happily today without asking to go "night night" and actually ate a half a piece of bread and a small helping of mac and cheese...more than she has eaten in 4 days. So as always God is seeing us through the small things which at the time seem like mountains! Thank you so much to those of you who have surrounded us and our sweet baby girl in prayers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A night in the Mountains











We were invited at the beginning of the week by one of our pastors and great friends at church to go along with them and two other staff families to a "cabin" in Boone, NC. We were so excited for the chance to get away as a family, have some fun with friends and see the mountains in the fall....all very exciting things. It's always a challenge to pack for a baby/toddler because even if you are only going one night you need all the things you would need if you were going for 10 nights. But we did it and we left at about 3pm on Friday afternoon. The drive is about 2 1/2 hours and as I have said before Clare doesn't LOVE car rides...she's not bad, she just doesn't sleep or relax. We had a pretty good trip and when we got there it was just getting dark. I was the last one to get out of the car, I got Clare and she looked at me and threw up everywhere...didn't we just do this last week?!?!?! I have no doubt it was a mixture of the long car ride, the altitude and the winding road that created this little problem.

Another couple that was with us has a little boy and it was so fun to watch Clare and Caleb play together. He's about 10 months older than her and they had some very funny conversations. The cabin was absolutely beautiful and of course so was the view. We had dinner together sat by the fire played games and just had a great time. I am so proud to announce for the first time since she was a newborn we slept in the same room as Clare and all was well. She slept til about 7:15 the next morning and we were feeling like the trip was a great success! The weather was beautiful and we are so thankful that God provides us these great little blessings in the middle of life!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Haloween fun..and not so fun!











Halloween weekend started out great, but didn't end so well. Friday Clare and I went to the pumpkin patch and had a very fun time! There were animals and a hay ride and not many people, so Clare just got to roam and get muddy - two things she loves. We all had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Mac's BBQ and then headed home. Around midnight Clare woke up vomiting and it was her very first little "bug" other than a cold. The funniest part was me asking LD if he wanted the vomit covered bed or his vomit covered daughter and after inspecting both very carefully decided to take the bed.

Luckily Clare didn't have any more stomach sickness, but she had a bad cough, runny nose and has been on food strike. Her cough she has had on and off all fall and even after being at the doctors many times, it hasn't seemed to go away. So Saturday we put on her costume for pictures, even though she was not thrilled with any part of it. Then of course the rain came right at 6:30 and we decided to scratch the whole thing. We watched a Halloween episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, passed out candy to our two trick or treaters and called it a night!

Sunday was much the same way, with a fussy and unhappy little girl. Today the doctor diagnosed her with an ear infection and treated her for pneumonia more for prevention since her cough has lingered so long. After two very sleepless nights we are calling Halloween a wash for this year and are hoping for a healthy little girl in 24 hours!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Friends







Our poor sweet Bella was definetely our first "baby." And though she has adjusted well to being knocked down a rung I still feel bad for her often, especially when we forget to feed her or she runs to the door when I say we are going 'bye bye'. Even despite the neglect of mom and dad, Bella still gets more than enough attention from Clare. Clare loves to find Bella's ball and tell her "UT!" which means "up." Thankfully they have gotten along extremely well and Bella has been a trooper as Clare has learned not to pull her ears and such.

But yesterday Clare just could not get enough of her best buddy!!! Here are some pictures of their play date at home!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trip to the Apple Orchard











Today we went on a day trip to the apple orchard for a couple of reasons. Reason number 1 is that I am quite obsessive about celebrating seasons. I love putting up new decorations, having appropriate seasonal food and drinks and doing seasonal activities. LD does not understand much of this, but it has gotten even more obsessive since Clare has been born. I love celebrations and can find a reason to celebrate just about anything. So LD had planned to take us to an apple orchard mostly because I had been complaining that in Michigan there are tons of Cider Mills and none in NC. The other reason is because next month we will be making a very long hike to Michigan, which is a 12 hour drive and right now we don't venture too far from home. I'm a little worried about Clare in the car for that long, so it was a good practice drive, since the apple orchard is two hours away.

We planned to leave after Clare's morning nap so she would be well rested, brought the dvd player to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and lots of books and snacks. We also brought "Lammie" which is her naptime lovey that we usually only leave in her bed, so that was a treat. She did great on the drive there and we watched two little videos. I event got to read and LD listened to music, so everyone was happy! We went to Skytop Orchards in Flat Rock, NC and when we got there it was much busier than we expected, and much much colder. It was about 40 degrees with 20 mile winds. We were dressed somewhat well, but not to be outside in that kind of weather. Since leaving Michigan neither of us can handle cold for very long. So we walked down to see the orchards and then whimped out and came back and bought a bag of apples instead of picking our own!

We decided to stop for lunch and just found a little hole in the wall sandwhich shop in the middle of downtown Hendersonville. We were one of 2 tables being served in the restaurant and our waitress was incredibly sweet, but probably close to 70. The first thing she did was give us a bowl of popcorn as our appetizer!! I have never been in a restaurant of any king where they give you popcorn until you order!! We had a quick lunch and it was decent, but more a good memory than anything else.

Clare took a little snooze on the way home and we deemed the trip a success. Now just praying that 12 hours in the car in one day is as easy as 4.......we will be praying all day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fighting allergies







I have not been the greatest at blogging all of Clare's little moments lately, so I'm going to try and get better for our family far away. We have had a very busy two weeks as one set of grandparents left and another set came! I don't know how or why but we have no pictures of Grandma and Grandpa Jackson's visit. I know Grandma took a lot, but I think after the whole birthday celebration I must have been ready to put the camera up! We had a great visit with them and Grandma even got some time alone with Clare as I was running around town. LD and Larry headed to Atlanta for the U2 concert and had general admission seats. They ended up on the rail with the stage in front of them and were thrilled. It was Larry's 60th birthday present and the main highlight of the trip.

Last week was really time to get the house cleaned and back into the swing of things. Last Friday night we had friends over and Clare just decided it was time to walk. No more steps and no more teetering, she just was off!! And she's been going ever since. All of a sudden she can play for much longer times by herself and its so cute to see her following me, coming around a corner like a big girl! She's also learned all of a sudden to communicate much more than she was. She said "mmm" when she would like her milk, whenever she hears a noise she whispers "what's that?" which sounds more like "whassat?". She can hold up her finger when you ask how old she is and can do the animal sounds for a cow, dog, and monkey and make faces for a fish and a bunny. It's so cute. I love when she learns a new trick. Our favorite is still her wink. She winks at everyone and anyone who will look at her long enough!

I thought we had been fighting the on-set of a cold for a few weeks now, but after visiting the doctor a few times I'm pretty sure its seasonal allergies. The last time we were in Michigan Clare had some allergies and I think it is just going to be a seasonal thing. She is now on Zyrteck nightly and has a humidifier in her room. It's helping a little but every morning she just coughs and coughs in her bed. She's such a trooper but you can't help but feel so sad for her!

We are heading to the apple orchard this week if there is no rain..prayerfully!!!! So hopefully I'll have pics of that soon! Until then, here are a few of her one year old pics. We can't wait to see the rest of them!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Walking

video

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clare is ONE!!!!















Ahhh, there are so many things to blog about when your first child turns one. How we've celebrated, who came to visit, the milestones she's accomplished, and the joy she brings to our lives, and still none of them seem adequte!! I think the biggest thing I have realized now that Clare is 1 is that she is her own little person. On her first birthday she started making this silly face to make us laugh, she is making "words" to get our attention and understanding human emotion. It is incredible to think that only a year ago LD and I were heading home from the hospital wondering what kind of personality this sweet little baby would have. And she most definetley has a show stopping little personality.
We have had such a big weekend I don't even know where to start except to say it was like Christmas around here!! My parents drove down on Wednesday night and we were able to spend Thursday with them doing a little relaxing and playing. Then Thursday night my best friend Jessie from childhood flew in from Maryland to spend the weekend with us. It was such a special treat to have her here!!! Friday, Clare's actual birthday was spent opening presents that came from family in Michigan and playing in Clare's new wagon that Grammie and Papa brought for her. She loves her wagon, but is slowly becoming more comfortable with it and so we have to watch that she doesn't try to jump out!

For months now I have been trying to teach Clare to hold up her index finger when someone asks how old she is. She does it...every now and then, if she feels like it, but its really cute when she does. Well Friday night we went out to dinner and I told the waiter that it was her first birthday and she looked right at him and held up her finger. I was so excited she did it when it counted most!

Saturday was the big celebration and we had 13 dear friends over that have really been a huge part of Clare's first year of life. Everyone who was over has baby-sat her at some point, brought us meals when she was born, been so supportive and loved and doted over our sweet girl. It made it such a great celebration!! Clare was a perfect hostess, opening all her presents. She was very into it, which made me so proud. Then she was offered her cake and ate enough to get a little messy, but not too much, then decided she was done and did not want one more bite. She stayed up quite late on her sugar induced high playing with her new toys.

All of our company has gone home, our home is rearranged to allow room for new toys and clothes and we are ready for another year...hopefully this one won't go quite as quickly. Next weekend is round two...or six....of birthday clebrations as the Jackson grandparents head to town!