Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Budding Gymnast

We are officially obsessed with gymnastics around here.  I mentioned that we had tried four different gyms in a previous blog post but we ended up registering for a "Tumble With Tots" class with West Valley Gymnastics Studio, which is one of the two large, traditional gyms we tried.  I love it.  But more importantly, Clara loves it.  We practice gymnastics every day, usually at her initiation when she starts showing me her "donkey kicks", cartwheels, and "tables".  We've been going for about a month now and she is doing great.  Here is a super short (7 second) video of her on the bar at class today where she was able to lift her legs up to the bar entirely on her own for the first time and hold in pike position.  I about cried it was so exciting.

When we started at WVGS, Clara was afraid of this giant foam pit but she loves it now and will jump in on her own and not want to get out.

One thing I love about this gym is that every time we go there are new stations set up using different equipment or balance obstacles.  Clara's favorite thing though have to be the bars - she loves hanging and swinging from them. 

I am just in awe of how strong she is.  Look at those muscles! 

And she is SO happy at gymnastics.  Clara has always been a little bit clingy, which is totally fine by me, but she pretty much does whatever is asked of her with a big grin when it comes to trying new things at gymnastics.  Sure, sometimes she wants a hand to hold, like when she is walking on the balance beam, but she basically just wants to try all the new things that are being offered.  I mean, just look at this happy smile.  I love it.

Practing "open, close" jumps today.  She loves jumping and has yet to truly figure out that the "freeze" command means she has to stop.  We may have to practice on our friends' trampolines to figure that one out.

I also really love the coaches at WVGS.  They are so fun and nice and really know what they are about.  And there are only 5 kids in Clara's class (including Clara) so the coverage is really good.  Clara's flexibility and strength is just so awesome.  I love this picture of her holding a pike position on the bar. 

Her handstands are getting really good too.  She can hold this position for three full seconds while I count for her before she comes down.  I have tried doing this myself just to see what it is like and it isn't the easiest thing in the world.  When we first started about four or five weeks ago, she had a hard time keeping her arms straight because she hadn't developed those muscles enough but she is already keeping them locked like a pro.

At the end of class, each of the kids gets a page to color and stamps on their feet.  The little girl on the far right is named Chloe and Clara likes her and waves to her with a little "hi Chloe!" when we get to the gym.  Chloe turns three in a couple of weeks though and will move up to the next level. 

I apologize in advance for this new obsession but I foresee many gymnastics related posts in the future.  And if you find yourself trapped in a conversation with me where I am gushing about how much I love the sport, please forgive, m'kay?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Paul's Birthday

Paul had a fun but low-key birthday weekend.  We really did most of the celebrating on Saturday, which was actually the day before his birthday, but he didn't seem to mind.  He got to sleep in on Saturday until Clara just couldn't wait any longer to play with him and I let her get up on the bed to wake him up by chirping "happy birthday daddy" (I got her saying it on Instagram video but that isn't uploading to my computer very well so I might have to try again). 
We went to Stacks for breakfast and got our favorite banana pecan waffles (divine), then we headed to Happy Hollow since Paul has never been there with me and Clara.  It was fun seeing all the dads there since normally during the week it is just moms and little kids.

I think Clara had fun showing daddy her favorite places to play.  He took her all over the giant play structure and followed her down the slides and across the cargo nets. 

Clara especially liked watching for daddy to come out of the slides at the bottom.

We went to the petting zoo and fed the goats and looked at the sheep and miniature horses, then we went to the regular zoo area to see the capybaras and lemurs and jaguar.

There are stiff bristle brushes for brushing the goats, which is what Clara likes to do.  This tiny black and white goat was just her size.  There are a couple of bigger ones that are more pushy and won't stand still for a little girl.

Then it was home for naps for both Clara and Paul.  We spent Saturday afternoon back at the pool so that Paul could see firsthand how well Clara is swimming.  That was fun except Clara must not have taken a long enough nap because she was throwing quite a little tantrum for a bit because we were apparently helping her too much. 

For dinner, Paul requested Outback so we went and had delicious ribs and salmon.  Clara must have been famished (it has got to be the swimming that is making her so hungry these days) because she ate half a chicken breast (we ordered her a separate meal since her appetite has been much larger lately), a full serving of broccoli, a loaf of the outback brown bread, half of an adult portion of salmon, a bite or two of bbq baby back ribs, about 1/4 of my dinner salad, and part of the brownie sundae that we got for free since our order got lost by the kitchen and we ended up waiting for a really long time to get our meals. 

After Clara went to bed Paul and I watched a really cool movie that his co-worker had recommended called "Searching for Sugar Man".  It is really a documentary, not so much movie, about a guy from Detroit who in 1970 made a record album that totally flopped in the U.S. but somehow a copy made it to South Africa and got bootlegged and basically he became hugely famous there (like more famous than Elvis or the Beatles, at least for South Africans).  But nobody in South Africa knew anything about him and somehow a rumor started that he had committed suicide on stage, etc.  Anyway, in the late 90's some reporter tried to track down the true story of what happened to him and lo and behold eventually found out that he was alive and living in Detroit working construction.  It was a cool movie with good music and we totally recommend it.  You can still find it at Redbox.  

Sunday was more laid back - I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast for Paul, we had stake conference, we went for a walk and played with Clara, he opened birthday cards, and I made grilled chicken for dinner followed by raspberry dessert (Paul's traditional birthday dessert that I make for him every year). 

Clara and I sure love our handsome fella!  Happy birthday, Paul!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Little Mermaid

Clara hasn't started swim lessons yet (we are planning on starting on Monday of this week), but we did a lot of swimming in the pool at Huntington Lake last weekend, and then our friend Lisa invited us over for pool time this past Thursday and Friday since her neighbors are out of town for the summer and they told Lisa she could use their pool any time she wanted as long as she uncovered it for the pool maintenance guy every week.  On Friday, Clara just started pushing off from me and trying to reach the stairs on her "own!  own!".  Sure enough, with the help of her waterwings and some intense kicking, she can now swim on her own.  At age 2 and one month.  We are very proud.  Incidentally, you can hear her in the video declaring herself to be a "mermaid".  We had seen a preview of the movie "The Little Mermaid" earlier in the day and apparently that was her inspiration because I didn't feed the word to her in the pool.

Clara Swims On Her Own For The First Time - June 21, 2013 from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

Life lately, according to my iPhone...

Clara got new pajamas for summer time since all her others were long sleeved.  She does this funny thing where she tells me her mood - this is "happy now".

We have had the most glorious weather so one afternoon we took a quilt out back and did reading time on the lawn after playing some soccer together with the ball she got for her birthday. 

I have been piecing a quilt for Clara and finally finished the top.  I still need to prepare the backing, then have it quilted and bound, but I love how it looks.  Even though I know how to do meandering quilting, I want this to be more of an heirloom quilt for her so I am going to pay to have it professionally quilted by a local quilt shop that does beautiful work.  I'm probably going to save this for a Christmas present for her.  The pattern was in four issues of Quiltmakers magazine (different blocks were given each issue until the whole thing was completed) and it is called "Meet Me At The Manor".

Clara loves the "Danny the Dragon" ride at Happy Hollow.  It is actually super boring and lame but we do it every time because she always asks for it.  Her favorite part is a tunnel with blacklights and glitter on fluorescent painted walls - she calls them "sparkly jewels" (because that is what I told her they are).

Checking out the meerkats with Dad at Happy Hollow.

I think I have mentioned this on the blog before but I love those Bertolli dinners that you can buy in the freezer aisle at the grocery store.  We don't eat them very often but sometimes when I am just not in the mood to cook they come in handy.  I usually supplement with a salad and bread because the meals are only for 2 servings and I usually just share mine with Clara, but the other night Paul wasn't home yet (he was working later than normal) and Clara devoured her own dinner, then proceeded to eat ALL of Paul's.  The evidence is all over her face.  I called Paul on his way home and told him he might want to pick something up for dinner - haha.

This picture is pretty bad - the resolution is just awful - but a local theater is doing dollar movies for the kiddie crowd on Fridays for the summer and they were playing "Horton Hears A Who" so Clara and I went with our friends Lisa and Blake.  Clara did awesome, although the last 20 minutes she started asking me "almost done?"  But she clapped and laughed along with the rest of the toddler-aged audience. 

Our neighbor across the street brings us the most incredible plums from his tree every summer.  We have been gorging on the delicious beauties all week and may have to go replenish our supply for next week since he has offered as many as we can eat.

Speaking of eating, Clara still isn't huge on sweets but we have recently discovered that she LOVES mint ice cream like this Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie (one of my favorites).  She also ate almost all of Grandma Nash's peppermint ice cream from Marianne's the other week and she was pretty enthusiastic about rainbow sherbet from Thrifty's, too.

This past week I took Clara for her second haircut.  The first one was a little over a year ago and she had a spot in the middle on the back of her head that was just a little too short for everything to be trimmed, so she has been a little bit straggly as her length has grown out.  I just asked the stylist to take a little off to even it all up.  Clara cried (fake cry though, not a real one) at first for about 15 seconds until she noticed there was a movie on the television.  After that she was content to sit and watch "Cars 2". 

While Paul's parents were visiting we went out to a local chinese restaurant called Taiwan.  It is a big favorite for Paul's family from when they were living here.  Clara seemed to really enjoy the sweet & sour chicken, but this picture is of Paul feeding her a fruit snack with his chopsticks. 

We are big fans of Dr. Seuss around these parts and this is my favorite Dr. Seuss book - Green Eggs and Ham.

I made a little "bed" for Clara on the floor in the living room with some quilts and the pillow off her bed.  We were really just playing, but she actually fell asleep!  It was the first time she has fallen asleep and taken her nap in a sort of not normal spot and I thought it was just so cute.

If you haven't tried Pluots before, they are yummy.  They are in season at the farmer's markets right now and are a cross between a plum and an apricot. 

Snack time at Happy Hollow.

Back around Clara's birthday we got to Skype with Kayli and her family one night.  It was so much fun and Clara was having fits of giggles when Kayli's youngest brother started pulling funny faces for Clara.

Grandma Cece gave Clara this little backpack while we were in Utah last time and she loves it.  On our way home I packed it full of books and it was legitimately heavy for someone who is only a couple feet tall and weighs only 26 pounds but she proudly wore that thing all around the airport.

Huntington Lake 2013

Last weekend we did a quick trip to Huntington Lake in the Sierras with Paul's parents and his brother Bobby and his family.  Huntington Lake is a little lake that is off the beaten path and not a place that many people go to.  We went there almost exactly two years ago when Clara was only about five weeks old.  We had a much smaller group this time, but we still had fun. 

We got in a little bit of tennis...

And on Saturday morning we did a nice little hike along a small river slash big stream.  There were absolutely loads of wildflowers everywhere and Paul kept picking them for Clara.

Paul's dad, Bob, wore a swimming suit just so he could jump into any deep pools we found.  We all stood off to the side, dry and warm, and egged cheered him on.

The water must have been frigid but Grandpa said it was refreshing.

Bobby, Paul's older brother, just earned his PhD in archaeology from U.C. Davis and was out here with his family for graduation.  They recently moved from St. George to Alpine to be closer to Paul's parents. 

I had to share this picture of wildflowers growing out of the rocks.  I have never seen so many flowers blooming everywhere I looked.

Easily the highlight of the trip for Clara was the moment that Grandpa dove into a deep pool.  She thought it was hilarious and totally awesome and has repeated over and over and over "Dive! Bamp-pa! Dive!" since then.  She makes up diving games on the bed or on the couch or even just on the living room flower and tells me "dive like bamp-pa!".  And we have been swimming at the pool a lot this week too and she likes to jump off the edge of the pool to me while shouting "Clara dive!!"  Incidentally, Paul's dad has pretty good form, don't you think? 

Paul carried Clara in the carrier for the first half of the hike, but when we were ready to turn around and head back down, we let her get out and finish the hike mostly on her own.  She was really pretty good about keeping up and holding hands over the more difficult portions and I only had to carry her in my arms a few times.  We're hoping she will become a good little hiker and enjoy it as much as we do.

We spent a lot of time at the pool, too, which was so much fun.  We bought a little inflatable car for Clara to sit in but mostly she liked jumping in to be caught by one of us or having daddy toss her high out of the water and catching her.  She is still a petite little thing, but she weighs a good 26 pounds and this has gotten to be a bit of a workout for mommy.

Little Robert (our nephew) and Clara got horsey rides around the pool from Grandpa and Grandma.

In the late afternoon on Saturday I made chimichangas for dinner while Paul built towers for Clara with some blocks that they found at the condo, then Clara would knock them down.

I also figured that since we had at least some of Paul's family there with us we might as well celebrate Paul's birthday even though it was a week early, so I made him a marble cake with fudge frosting and we scrounged up THIRTY-TWO candles for him to blow out.  Clara made sure to get in our the candle blowing action and was positively giddy about the whole thing.  She clearly remembered doing this just a month ago for her own birthday and thought it was great fun that now it was daddy's birthday.  All week we've been practicing saying "happy birthday daddy!" and she has it down perfectly now.  I'll try to get a video of it.

Paul's family left the next morning at 4:00 a.m. I woke up as they were leaving but we waited until a decent hour to pack up and head out.  Although I didn't sleep much because I got a text from my sister-in-law, Deborah (Paul's brother Dave's wife) at 4:19 that she was at the hospital having their baby (little Graham is such a cutie and we are excited to have a new nephew).  Paul's family had a 16 hour drive to get home (crazy, right?!) and ours was only about 5.  It was a quick get-away since we only got there Friday morning around 11:00 and left Sunday morning around 7:30 but we had fun visiting with family, eating good food, and trying to pack a lot in.