Sunday, January 18, 2015

First Family Vacation!!

We finally went on family vacation, just us, no grandparents to help, not staying with family, staying at a hotel (fortunately they put us in a condo instead which was a major help to us to have all that extra space).  We are so proud of all our children.  They stayed up late, waited patiently for their turn, didn't slide down on top of other kids, only pushed people out of the way when ice skating and they were blocking the wall (but still said 'excuse me'), didn't complain, listened well, and not one meltdown, even from Jake.

First we went ice skating.  Dave isn't a big fan so he and Jake hung out while the girls had fun.  I expected that they would pull me down multiple times and was worried one of them would get frustrated.  But they were great!  Half way around they didn't even want me to hold their hand anymore, except when we had to cross the opening, and even then Catherine kept trying to go by herself.  Sam only wanted to hold my hand to go faster.  They fell, a lot, and kept smiling and laughing.  It was Catherine's favorite part of the trip.

Then on to the water park.  Not a lot of pictures here because, well, there was water. They went down the 'big kid' slides and Jake hung out in the baby bouncer in the kiddy pool.  We splashed in the lazy river and Dave went down the tubes, which he said were cool and scary in the dark because we went at night and the tubes go outside.  It was Sam's favorite part, once we got them excited about the slides and found the family hot springs to get warm in between trips down the slide.

Poor Jake. No ice skating and no tubing so this is what he did a lot.  But he was very good about it, and if he keeps growing at this rate he'll be tall enough to go tubing next winter!

This is the view from the top.  Two big moguls and then when you stop you have to get up the hill at the end quickly so the next set of people can go.  At first it wasn't sunny and the run was fast, so only 2 tubes could go down at once.  The girls had to go by themselves and we were worried they would get to the top and not want to go.  But they were brave and when they got to the bottom they told me it was 'really fast' and 'I love it! Again!' They were so tired at the end from going up that hill back to the start but they were troopers and had a great time.

I zoomed in as much as I could.

Jake and I still managed to have some fun and even took a few selflies! (P.S. He says 'mama' now!!!!!  I'm so excited because the girls both said 'dada' first.)

The girls with Dave, all 3 tubes together.

Some fun while waiting at the top.

I always seem to go into these kind of things with apprehension, expecting the worst.  That they won't sleep or won't like the activities or any number of things my mind can imagine. But, it turned out it was the other side of that coin, it was better than I hoped it was going to be and we can't wait to do it again. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: an incredible year

Dave's nutcracker collection

 It has truly been an amazing year for us Clarks.  We have a wonderful new home that the girls love and even the dog has had a renewed vim, a delightful little boy who makes us smile all the time, good things going on at our jobs, and life is full of joy!  Call it lucky, blessed, whatever, 2014 has been incredibly good to us and we pray that 2015 is just as good.

In early December we went to the Santa Train at the science museum to visit Santa.  We all got Rudolph noses, the girls got their hands painted with snowmen and snowflakes, and Sam finally didn't cry on the train.  They also got to go 'ice skating' for the first time and it was complete with lots of giggles and falls.

We decorated a HUGE Christmas tree this year and the girls had a lot of fun doing it, though I had to move a lot of ornaments around when they weren't looking.

A Jake update: holy cow have things been moving fast!  He's crawling for real now, not just doing the inchworm thing, he's pulling himself up and starting to creep along holding things and walk using his new shopping cart walker (complete with popcorn popper).  He loves food.  All food.  Even food that makes him have a silly face he still wants more.  His favorite things are breadsticks (which make a terrible mess but he keeps gnawing on them and it makes him happy) and anything sweet, which includes all fruits and squash.  He loves to talk and smile and make raspberries at people, which is something Catherine taught him to do.  He wants to do anything that will make her laugh at him, they seem to have a special bond.  She will always try to make him smile if he gets upset, which still is rare.  Samantha recently has been taking a liking to him, too, and is always excited to see him when he wakes up.

The girls have been doing great.  As you can see, they still love helping in the kitchen.  Catherine recently has been working on her writing and is getting much better, and she really is getting involved in her reading, Busytown books seem to be her new interest.  Samantha has been loving everything it seems.  Everything is her favorite and she gets so excited about what is going on.  Her new thing seems to be making up stories to go with what she's playing with.

It snowed!  It wasn't a white Christmas, it was gone in less than an hour, but it was still wonderful to see.

Here is Samantha singing into her Frozen karaoke machine and Catherine taking a picture of it with her new camera.  Guess these were the right presents, great job Aunt Mary Anne!

Jake got to meet Penny and play with his cousin Lily.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We cannot express how blessed we feel to have had a year like this one, and pray that it continues into the next for us and for all of our friends and family.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Last bit of fall fun

The girls are adjusting to life with a little brother on the move.  Catherine loves to try to make him happy if he is upset, which usually happens if he is left alone.  He definitely likes to be where the action is.  Catherine is pretty good at getting him to smile, she's a good big sister.  They all love to read together.

We had a ton of fun raking the leaves.  The girls even helped out after they had their fill of jumping and hiding in the leaves.

And here is our photogenic, smily little man who drools a LOT.  Can you see it dripping off his chin?  I have to wipe it off between takes and even that doesn't always work.  Yet still only 1 tooth to show for it all.

 Isn't he dapper in his fancy outfit and sweater vest? He's crawling and pulling himself up and is ready to do whatever the girls are doing!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

6 months old and school progress reports

I am so proud of my girls!  Their progress reports came home from school, just socio-emotional development and peer interactions so far as they adjust to preschool, but they are doing great!  The best part was the little notes from the teachers.

Catherine is apparently a little bouncy ball of happy energy with great self-help skills who is always eager to learn.

Samantha is the group positive person, always so excited about the next activity and a leader for positive behavior.  Both are polite and kind to their peers and adults and we're so proud to be their parents!

Jake is going to be 6 months old on Monday, can you believe it?!  He's crawling like an inchworm, moving from all 4s to his tummy, then pulling his feet back in and doing it all over again.  It is slow, but it works.  He also is eating baby food and he's pretty good at it.  He's not that big on cheerios yet, but he likes carrots, pears, bananas, squash, and apples.  Sweet potatoes are next.  He loves anything he can stick in his mouth and he will try to put anything in his mouth. We can't believe he doesn't have teeth yet because they have to be right there with all the chewing and drool.  Jake's favorite 'new toy' (because all his toys are the girls old toys) is the remote control.  We had to stop him from trying to eat the real one.

It's been a while since this has been updated and we've done so much.  We took one last trip to the beach while the weather was warm enough to sit in our bathing suits and build sand castles.  We also went to the inter coastal and checked out the hoards of fiddler crabs.  Jake and Grandpa had a serious conversation, too.

Then the weather got cooler and we got ready for Halloween.  The girls wore their costumes to trick or treat (which was kind of sad in our neighborhood), my school's Halloween carnival, their school's trunk or treat, and the Renaissance festival.  The fairy gave them a special stone and some pixie dust.

Uncle Bob, Aunt Marlene, and Paige came to visit and the girls insisted he play baseball with them.

Catherine has been my big helper when it comes to meal time.  She LOVES to help me measure and get out ingredients and stir, especially if it involves pancakes.  

This is the face Jake makes when he gets upset.  It makes me laugh, especially because Dave makes fun of him and makes a sad face too, and it is EXACTLY the same face. I've got to take a picture of both of them doing it.

So we've been busy and happy and loving life here at the Clark house!