Monday, March 17, 2014

Claire's First Christmas

Claire had a very special first Christmas. It was a wonderful Christmas for our little family. As with many things, having a child opens you up to seeing everything through different, new eyes. 

We did lots of fun things leading up to the big day...

We dedicated Claire at church on December 8th. It was a great day with family, and having it at Christmastime made it even more memorable. We didn't know if at the time but our wonderful pastor, Brother Gary, would be retiring in a couple months. Brother Gary baptized me and married me and Cam, and we're so thankful he was there for Claire's dedication. My mom found this beautiful smocked nativity dress while visiting Charleston and it was so perfect for the day. 
 
We got the house all set up to celebrate the season and decorated our Christmas tree. And what do you know...the tree didn't fall over or die 3 weeks before Christmas like it did last year!!!! A Christmas miracle!
Claire and Grace visited Santa together. Their nerves got the best of them-ha! Poor Grace had a pretty hilarious meltdown and then it was Claire's turn. She took turns staring at Santa in wonder and crying. Poor baby! But Santa was very sweet and Claire looked precious in her adorable candycane smocked dress that Gigi gave her before she was even born.

We baked lots of Christmas cookies. I sang lots of Christmas songs to my sweet girl when I rocked her to sleep. These were some of my most favorite moments. I may have even started way back in October! :)

On Christmas Eve we got to have lunch with my Uncle Steve, Aunt Doris, and cousin Audrey. They were in town from California and it was so great to see them! Claire enjoyed getting to meet them for the first time. 
From there, we went to my parents' house and I helped my mom cook Christmas dinner. My brother-in-law's parents were in town from Washington and we went to a beautiful Christmas Eve service together and came home to eat an amazing dinner and open presents. We all got lots of nice things. Claire loved her Little People barn and her babydoll. We spent the night at my parents' house. Cam and I stayed up late with my mom and dad getting everything set up for Christmas morning! So much fun!
The next morning we got our little elf up and took her downstairs to see what Santa had brought. Claire got a rocking bunny and a princess riding toy, among lots of other fun things! It was awesome to see our sleepy little ragamuffin crawl across the floor in excitement to see her gifts. We ate a big breakfast, played a bit, and got cleaned up and on the road to head to Sugar Land for round 2! 
We got to Cam's parents' house just in time for a delicious meal. Then we headed over to Cam's grandparents' house for the big Todd Christmas extravaganza! Cam has a huge family and when everyone gets together it is chaotic and so much fun! We visited and opened lots of nice gifts. Later we headed back to Gigi and Poppy's to open presents with Cam's immediate family and his other grandmother, Mimi. We all got lots of awesome gifts! Claire especially loved her zoo train and popcorn walker toy. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying being together with family. It was a wonderful day!
Are you exhausted yet? Cam and I treat Christmas like a marathon. I'll admit I was very apprehensive about traveling on Christmas with a baby. Even when it was just the two of us, there were times when it left us feeling stretched very thin. We're really close with both sides of our family and we just can't bear having to "choose" one place to be and not getting to see both sides of our family on Christmas Day, so we've made the mid-day trip each year since we got married. It requires a lot of planning and some serious packing, but it's always worth it! We are so lucky that our families help us pull this off by arranging meals so we can be there, etc. Since it was Claire's first Christmas and she was young enough to go with the flow about the whole thing, we made it happen and I'm so glad we did! It was seriously the smoothest Christmas we've had since we started doing this! It was so wonderful to get to celebrate with all the people we love!

Christmas 2013 will definitely go down as our best yet! Our little girl is so blessed to have so many loving people in her life to help make her first Christmas so special. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Claire - 12 Months

Claire, you are 1 year old! What a fun and special year it has been! It's amazing how much you have changed, and yet you're still that sweet, pouty-lipped little angel we brought home from the hospital a year ago.
 
Here are all your particulars:
Weight: 23 lbs, 6 oz - 90th percentile
Height: 30 in - 77th percentile
Head: 19 in - 99th percentile 
You're in mostly 12-18 month clothes, with some 18-24 months. You wear size 4 diapers. You have the most amazingly adorable chunky thighs...I consider them my greatest work of art! 
Here's what else you're up to these days:

- You're walking more and more everyday. You're taking your time and being very cautious about the whole thing. You concentrate very hard when you're walking - it's so cute! 
- You talk and babble constantly! Today I'm pretty sure you repeated "good girl" back to me. The latest craze for you is saying "Dada" constantly...you whisper it to a lot, which makes your Daddy turn into a giant pile of goo! You've also started calling him "Dado"...you are so funny!
- We found out at your 1 year appointment that you have 1.5 molars! That means 9.5 teeth total (probably a full 10 by now!). 

- You're putting those chompers to good use! You're a great eater. We started trying out whole milk on your birthday. I'm writing this post a couple weeks after your birthday, and you're now completely weaned from breastmilk. You like whole milk and I'm very glad that it's been a very smooth transition overall! 
- You came down with a respiratory virus in early January. The cough and the endless snotty nose lingered for awhile, but you're all better. Our little family and our extended family have had so much sickness this winter...I have never seen anything like it! Thankfully it's all been fairly minor, but spring cannot come soon enough! 
- You wave, clap, and laugh a lot. You keep us laughing all the time - you are such a funny girl! You have a very sweet disposition and you're also very determined about what you want, which is a pretty perfect combination, if you ask me! 
 
- You are starting to use your imagination when you play! You're really into sorting and moving things in and out of containers. You've recently started pretending to take imaginary things out of something and hand them to us. It blows us away that you can already conceptualize that!  
- And drumroll please....you are sleeping through the night! Your Daddy and I are afraid to even talk about it for fear of jinxing the whole thing! It seemed to coincide with transitioning away from breastmilk to whole milk...not sure what that means, although I guess it could be just a coincidence. I'm not altogether convinced that this is permanent, as your sleep patterns seem to change constantly, but it sure is nice for all of us to be getting such good rest! You also usually take one long nap in the middle of the day.
 
- Your birthday was a very special day! "Dado" took off from work and we got to spend the day together. We had donuts for breakfast, Chick-fil-A for lunch, and steak for dinner! What can I say...you only turn 1 once!!! We also took a trip to the new Austin Aquarium, which was really neat! On the way home from there, it started sleeting/snowing! It was magical and I will never forget it, just like the wonderful day you were born. 

- A couple days later we celebrated with a big birthday party at our house. It was so much fun! So many sweet friends and family came to celebrate your big day, many of them from out of town. We are so blessed to have such lovely people in our lives!
Current nicknames: Clarabelle, Tootie, Tooters

Favorite toys: talking makeup mirror, Little People toy sets, books, and your new wagon. Your little Octonauts bath toy figurines are your constant companions.
Claire, the day your were born was the best day of our lives. You've brought so much joy into this home! It's hard to imagine what life was like before you came into the world. You are so smart and just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. You're a special little girl and you make each day so much fun. Having you was the best thing your Daddy and I ever did. You are a precious gift and we will never stop thanking God for you! Happy Birthday, baby!

Love,
Mama