Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day this year consisted of a ward pancake breakfast like no other I have ever experienced.  There were whole wheat banana pancakes, bacon, and huge bowlfuls of strawberries and blueberries with whipped cream for topping the pancakes.  It was seriously wonderful and I was glad that Paul and I had decided to walk to the church with Clara in the stroller for the breakfast so that we could waddle our way home again. 

The rest of the day mainly consisted of us trying to put our house back together by moving things out of the garage and into the kitchen during Clara's naptimes and Paul started putting on trim and baseboard, which he says is one of his favorite remodeling projects because it looks finished and clean and it goes up fairly quickly. 

We spent a few hours at the park in the late afternoon having a barbeque with church friends.  Paul brought a frisbee and would float it right down in front of Clara's lap, which amazed her and she would gaze up with a wide-mouth smile at her dad like he had just done the most astonishing thing ever.  I tried throwing the frisbee but it always went completely off target - I never have figured out the technique for proper frisbee tossing so that it floats and mine usually go far afield and roll off in a completely unexpected direction. 

My favorite part of the afternoon though was probably when I convinced my friend Melanie to do cartwheels, somersaults, handstands, and backbends with me.  Because if I am the only one doing that kind of thing I usually end up looking weird and being pitied by others for being such a nerd.  Turns out the only gymnastic skill that I can sort of still do with a modicum of grace is a backbend.  My cartwheels are less vertical than I thought - at least by the accounts of others even though I thought my form was impressive.  My handstands are pathetic - I chicken out and can't make it all the way up.  And my somersaults are ... well, when was the last time YOU tried a somersault?  Go ahead, sneak into the backyard sometime today and try one.  I dare you. 

I wish I had brought the camera.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Clarabelle's First Birthday

Disclaimer - there are tons of photos in this post - more than normal.  I just couldn't decide which ones I liked best.  Sorry, but my blog, my rules, right?

We wanted to throw a little birthday party for Clara on her first birthday (May 19), which just happened to fall conveniently on a Saturday.  Obviously she won't remember the event, but it was still important to us to celebrate the day of her birth.  Paul's parents just happened to get into town the day before so they were able to join in the festivities (and helped with the decorations too!). 

Paul found a "cozy coupe" car for Clara and she loves going for rides around the patio and backyard.

Clara made quite the birthday haul.  In addition to the little car, she got a musical push-toy, a splash table, blocks, books, sand toys, a stroller, and a felt grocery bag with courdoroy fruit and vegetables.

I am including this picture of her leaping out of my arms because it is typical of her these days - always wanting to be down running around. 

This was the spread.  We just did hamburgers, baked beans, and lots of fruit along with birthday cake and ice cream.  Nothing fancy.

Clara had a purple pansy party, complete with purple, silver, and white balloons, and a devil's food birthday cake frosted with almond coconut cream cheese frosting and decorated with pansies (which are edible, even though we didn't eat them). I had been thinking about the pansy cake idea for well over a month and had scouted out Lowe's selection of pansy plants a couple weeks in advance but decided not to purchase them because I would definitely have killed off the little flowers before Clara's birthday arrived. Then the day before her birthday, there were no more pansy plants to be purchased anywhere! I went to Lowe's, Home Depot, and a local nursery but all of them said that the growers were no longer shipping pansies because it is past their time in the season.

I told Paul that night around midnight that I was thinking about sneaking around our neighborhood and plucking pansies from the front yards of houses since I had seen them all over on walks with Clara but he disapproved. So instead, Saturday morning I went to the Farmer's market and bought a beautiful bouquet of white roses so that Clara would have some kind of flowers. On the way home, I stopped at one last nursery and explained the whole situation to a nice lady who worked there only to find out that they were also out of pansies. As I was getting into my car to head home feeling pouty, I noticed that there were cement planters decorating the parking lot with lots of the exact kinds of pansies I had wanted. So I ran back in and asked the lady who had been helping me if it would be okay for me to just pluck blossoms from their planters and she said that I could. It seems like such a small thing, but I was so happy to have pansies to make Clara's first birthday cake extra special.

We invited a few friends from church including our new neighbors who just moved in around the block from us.  Each of the three couples who came over have kids close in age to Clara and we usually all end up sitting in the foyer together for at least some portion of our three hour block of meetings while the kids stretch their legs.

Paul manned the grill and did a great job on the burgers.

Clara enjoyed her burger with cut up strawberries (her favorite food). 

Clara opened her presents in between dinner and dessert.  She actually did a pretty good job of tearing the paper off each gift.

I made a big mistake lighting Clara's candle in front of her and not being fast enough to catch her little hands before she reached for the flame.  It was windy and the candle had blown out on its own once already and I just let my guard down.  Fortunately, the flame went out immediately when she tried to touch it (I think the wind actually blew it out again but the wick was still hot) but it did singe her little finger and she cried for a bit until I was able to stick her hand under cold water.  I couldn't find any blisters or red spots anywhere though and she was fine a few minutes later, but I still felt bad about that one.  

Paul actually got a picture right before Clara touched the flame.

Clara seemed to like the cake.  It was just a Duncan Hines Devil's Food cake mix, but the frosting was homemade at least.  She didn't seem interested in smashing it though - she just would take little fingerfuls and suck on them with big round eyes.

Toward the end of the party (and after having ingested more sugar than she has ever had in her entire life combined) Clara got a little bit crazy.  So we said goodbye to guests, gave the birthday a bath, opened a few more presents, and then put her to bed.

The picture of Clara with her purple stroller includes a sneak peek at our new kitchen cabinets, which had just been installed the day before the party. 

My aunts and grandparents sent Clara a cute little outfit that came with this handkerchief headband thing that makes her look like such a big girl. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Miss May

We tried to take her "Miss May" photos at a vineyard near to where we used to go to church, but it turned out that it was fenced off and I couldn't get in.  So there are a couple of photos of her in the carseat (brand new to accomodate our growing girl) in a different outfit.  The orange outfit she is wearing in most of these photos makes her look like such a toddler that I can hardly stand it.  Where did my baby go?!