March

The last week of February, first week of March, was literacy week at school. They borrowed my awesome corgi knee high socks and wore matching, mismatched socks for Fox in Socks Day. For Cat in the Hat Day, Clara donned this dragon hat, proving without a doubt the unwavering self-confidence she possesses. :) They also had their storybook parade, but I didn’t get pictures. Clara wore her Athena costume and I cut up a t-shirt and added some red fabric paint to the edges so he could be a boy from “I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1917”. He pulled his arm inside his shirt for the parade so it looked like it had been bitten off. It may have been a tad inappropriate for school. Ha!

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We tried out a hibachi grill nearby for the first time for my birthday. I don’t think Robert had ever been to one. He loved it and said it’s his favorite now.

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I was so excited about getting the wallpaper off the powder room walls that I jumped head first into the kitchen. I just love having loads of unfinished projects piling up!

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Around this time, our roofer sent someone out a few times to repair a couple of leaks in the ceiling. We then had to wait for a hard rain to make sure the repair worked. And then one of the repairs near the chimney again started leaking, so they came out again. They hadn’t replaced a rotted piece of wood against the chimney, so they did that and then caulked all of the siding around the chimney. Waited for another storm….. Then they sent someone out to make the ceiling repair. While he was here, I got quotes for texturing my walls and painting in the living room/entry since the walls are too high for me.

The painter had another long job already lined up, so it wasn’t until the beginning of May when he was able to come back out. He patched the spots on the ceiling and thankfully the roofer decided to repaint the entire ceiling for us! So they did that as well. They started on the kitchen and powder room walls as well. He had another job lined up after that and was supposed to call back a couple of weeks ago, but I still haven’t heard from him. I wasn’t too worried about it though since I’ve been so busy with end of school stuff. Anyway, that’s why these rooms are still works in progress.

We usually go camping during spring break, but we decided to stay home this year. Chris was leaving for Rio at the end of spring break and since someone always gets sick because of the allergies at that time of year, we thought we shouldn’t risk it. We hung out with the Couringtons at their new house one night, celebrated Chris’s birthday, went and saw the Lego Batman movie and Chris worked half days and worked on extending our fence that whole week. Our neighbor has been asking if we would mind extending it and we were good with that because that would put our pool equipment in the backyard. Plus, a storm in February had left that portion leaning and the gate would hardly close, so we needed to repair it anyway. Robert was a good helper.

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I don’t think I took on any projects while he was in Rio. Maybe because he was only gone a few days, but also, I might have been in trouble if I had added another unfinished project to the pile. :) Chris’ trips were pretty short, but he managed to miss math/science night, the glow run and Clara’s last school choir performance, which was at the end of March.

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Once Chris got back, we got the pool cleaned up and the kids had their inaugural swim.

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That last week was STAAR testing for Clara. Robert ended up getting sick that week. After her first test on Tuesday, they swam after school. Robert was complaining a little and acting a little sick and I wondered if he was coming down with something. He woke Wednesday morning and said he didn’t feel very good, but he was showing no symptoms. He was running around laughing and playing so I thought he just didn’t want to go since it’s pretty miserable during STAAR for the entire school. Felt pretty awful when he got off the bus and looked miserable. Took his temperature and he was running a fever. This boy has been to the nurses office too many times to count but when he’s justifiably sick? Nope. Just suffered through the day without telling anyone. :( I emailed his teacher and she felt bad too. She said he was more quiet than usual but didn’t suspect that he was sick either.

He really didn’t have many symptoms except for the fever. It wasn’t even that high and he wasn’t miserable, so I didn’t even treat it. He eventually developed a cough, so he did get some meds for that at night when he had coughing fits. I finally took him in to the CVS clinic on Friday morning. Mind you, this was less than 48 hours after taking his temp after school on Wednesday. The pa gave me a really hard time and couldn’t believe I didn’t treat the fever that went that long. I told her I only treat them when they’re feeling miserable and can’t rest. Otherwise, I let them do their job. She eased up a bit when I said I had given him cough meds. I guess she thought I was a crunchy mama who refused to medicate? I don’t know. Turns out he had an ear infection in one ear. He hadn’t had any pain, but he winced when she shoved it so deep in his ear and she just kept moving it around, pulling on his ear. I just about stopped her because it was obviously hurting him. I haven’t seen anyone be so rough with an ear check. She said it was ruptured and I’m pretty sure she did it. She asked him if it hurt and he said yes. I asked him later and he said it didn’t start hurting until she shoved the otoscope in his ear. :( I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t done to teach me a parenting lesson.

Eleven!

Well, almost. Officially on Thursday, but Clara had some friends over for her birthday this past weekend. She had an owl party, of course :) I found a cute little pinecone snowy owl craft online for the girls to make, but  I sorely underestimated the amount of time it would take a group of giggly tweens to complete their owls.  Everyone chatted and snacked while they made their owls. Some chatted a bit much. Clara’s looked a lot like a penguin by the time she was through with it.

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A couple of friends got there really late, so I had to rush them and the other slow pokes a bit. As they were starting to finish up, they played Beanboozled, the game where you spin and take a Jelly Belly jellybean and you don’t know if you got the good one or the nasty tasting one until you bite into it. Most of the girls had played it before. Robert went first. He thought he had lime at first but then ate it up and said, “nope, it was lawn clippings.” Later that night I noticed all the lime green ones were gone. Turns out Robert likes lawn clipping flavored jelly beans :)

They moved on to the photo booth and STILL there were a couple of girls who weren’t done with their owls. I had Clara take individual pictures with each of her friends and she insisted on switching out props each time.

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By this time there was less than 30 minutes left and we hadn’t done cake or presents. Chris had taken Robert to get a late lunch so I was scrambling to clean the glue, pinecone droppings and feathers off the table before I could bring out the cake. I cut myself some slack and decided not to make her cake this year. I love making their cakes and there are some really cute owl ones out there, but I had such a busy week last week that I just couldn’t add it to my to-do list. Instead, I took her to HEB and let her choose her cake. She chose chocolate with cookies and cream icing. And the girls got to build their own sundaes too.

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Clara had three church friends and three school friends plus Abby who is a year older at her party. All of the girls are so sweet and polite and are lovely friends. Junior high will be here before we know it, and I pray she continues to surround herself with kind, positive girls that can help each other stand strong rather than tear each other down.

I decided we needed to take a few pictures of us and our owl creations before I took all the decorations down.

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Two parties down, which means no party planning for me for another 2-3 years. Woohoo!

Robert’s 7th Birthday

Robert had a race car birthday party here at the house this afternoon to ring in his seventh year. He invited a few of his classmates and one boy who rides his bus, so four of the six boys at his party I met for the first time today. Two of the moms I met a few weeks ago and they stayed for the party, so I was able to get to know them better. Elijah was in Robert’s class last year and is in a different school now and Ethan is in Kinder and rides the bus with the kids.

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Lauren and Emily are Ethan’s big sisters, so they brought him over and hung out with Clara and helped out a bit with the party.

 

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The party was very informal and my plan was to just let them race with all of Robert’s different tracks. We pulled the Mario Kart slot car track out of the closet earlier in the week and one of the controllers was broken. Chris worked all week cutting and soldering and was finally able to get it fixed.

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Um, yeah, lots of sugared up 6 and 7 year old boys running around my house in a blur.

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Looks like the kindergartners didn’t make it into many pictures. Ali was very shy and enjoyed playing upstairs away from these crazies. Thankfully he and Ethan are in the same class, so I think that probably helped. All of the boys were very polite and they all got along very well. Elijah found Chris’ Skipper hat and wore it around for a while.

 

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Ali had to leave a few minutes early, so I didn’t get him in the group shot. And Javier doesn’t like smiling for pictures, it seems :)

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I forgot to get a picture of the whole dining room decorated before the party so I snapped a quick one before clean up.

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As the party was ending and guests were starting to leave, we got a special delivery at the door. Chris snuck it to the garage and put it together. It’s a little big for him, but I think he likes it.

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Some Stuff Happened in March

The first couple of weeks in March were really busy. The Glow Run, which is the fundraiser for Read Deed Run, was on the 1st. The kids in RDR helped set everything up, register participants and clean up; Clara enjoyed every minute of it. I know I took pictures but I can’t find them.

The next day was my birthday and we enjoyed dinner at Salt Grass to mark the occasion.

After that was helping out with Field Days on Thursday and Friday.

The kids received beads for each station they completed. Here Robert is giving me thumbs up after completing all 12 stations.

The choir sang The Star Spangled Banner before each session.

The next week was a full one too. Our anniversary was on Monday and we actually got a sitter and went out to eat at Perry’s Steakhouse. It was my first time there and I got the massive pork chop. And proceeded to eat not even a quarter of it.

Then there was the book fair, Muffins with Mom and picture day. I had planned on volunteering for the first two, the latter I kinda got roped into the day before as I was leaving school. Oh boy, picture day was chaotic! I ran myself ragged that day.

It was the week after Dr. Seuss’ birthday, but the kids still had themed days during book fair week. Thursday was the storybook character parade. Clara was Dorothy but her dress was an epic failure, so I had to convert it to a skirt. I probably could’ve done some alterations, but my last minute volunteering for picture day kinda threw a kink in my last minute sewing project. Oh well, she loved it anyway. Robert was  a Lego Ninjago character.

Here he is proudly sporting his Cat in the Hat hat he made at school.

I was trying to keep the volunteering to a minimum that week (easier said than done) because the next week was Spring Break and we were leaving to go camping on Saturday.

Clara’s Birthday

Clara’s in double digits! Somehow I blinked and ten years have passed. This year Clara chose to have her birthday dinner at Rainforest Cafe again. Grandma and Grandpa arrived while they was at school and we got the show on the road with opening gifts as soon as the kids got home. Chris had to leave on a late flight to Corpus for an overnight trip for work so we had to do our celebrating early.

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Clara has gained an affinity for owls as of late, so this huge owl Beanie Boo from G&G was a the tip top of her Christmas/Birthday list. My kids have one combined master wishlist :) The turquoise watch she’s sporting in these pictures was her gift from us. Plus the owl shirt she’s wearing and some owl pjs. It’s the year of the owl around here.

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She chose to ride these mechanical ride on animals at the mall for her birthday. Chris gave me a really hard time for not riding one :) I was perfectly happy riding with someone but did not want to ride solo. Chris on the other hand, proudly strutted through the entire mall, caring not what other, rational adults thought. I tried to ride with Robert for a while, but I slowed him down, so he kept reaching back hitting me, instructing me to get off whatever the heck it was he was riding. Koala maybe?

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Chris took some flowers and a balloon to the restaurant before we arrived. A long time ago, he bought Clara flowers from the grocery store (which was very much appreciated). Unfortunately, when we went to put them in water, all the stems were completely covered in mold and we had to throw them out. This made for a very sad girl. Chris told her he would get her some more and then just forgot. And kept forgetting. Occasionally I’d hear her reminisce about the moldy flowers that her daddy gave her and that alas, someday he would get her some un-moldy ones. So finally that day came and she received her mold-free flowers.

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Clara got these cute corgi pjs from Bia and Pawpaw.

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One last surprise for Clara was the shelves I mounted above her window to display her Beanie Boos. The top of her blinds had a seam of ugly, yellowed glue that wouldn’t come off and since I don’t want dusty curtains right by where she’s sleeping, I just added a strip of owl duct tape to the top of her blinds. I’m thinking the shelves need a coat of bright paint to liven them up a bit.

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Robert’s Birthday

Sorry I’m late in posting pictures from Robert’s birthday last Monday. It’s been a long week. He got to pick dinner and an activity and decided on Main Event for dinner and video games. I brought cupcakes and the few gifts he had to open and Kelly joined in on the fun. He wore his birthday crown that he got at school all night.

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At 6, all the boy still wants is cars. Clara got him a couple of color change ones and we got him the Moscow racers series, so they’re covered in snow.

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He had a wonderful time and was really good at a lot of the games. He especially loved beating me at the tank game. He kept his eyes pealed for my tank to destroy and did a pretty good job I must say.

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It was late and they had school the next morning, but we let him go spend his Toys R Us gift card he got from Bia and Pawpaw anyway. I figured if we waited we would officially be in holiday season and I didn’t want to pass through those doors come December. He chose a car playmat (that we thought would fit under his bed, but did not), a carbon Lightning McQueen and a Ninjago guy that spins in the air. We told him he had to carry all of his stuff himself :) That was pretty cute. He only almost knocked over a couple of displays as he headed for the checkout.

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It was a great, low-key birthday and by the look on his face in these pictures, I’d say he was pleased. I was a little worried when he woke up two days earlier and informed me that he would like a Minecraft birthday party. Thing is, he’s not real social and doesn’t have many friends so he wasn’t at all interested in a party when I asked him a couple of months ago. I reminded him that he and Clara chose to ride the Polar Express instead of having birthday parties this year and he was completely devastated. It took quite a while to convince him that this wasn’t going to be the worst birthday ever. He was also sad because his birthday was “short” this year. Meaning he had school that day :) I kept asking him why he wanted a party so bad and he couldn’t seem to tell me. Eventually I asked if it was because he wanted lots of friends to bring him presents. With the biggest sad face and through tears he just nodded his head ‘yes’.

I’m afraid I have to put the blame on myself for that one. I had no idea what he wanted since he still only likes cars so I took him to Target to look at the toys the night before. I was going to use his giftcard  beforehand to buy what he liked so he would have several gifts to open. I guess that got him thinking about all the toys he would be missing out on by not having a big party. I’ve already told him, “Next year you are having a birthday party, whether you like it or not!”

A Bed Fit for a 6 Year Old

A few weeks ago Chris and I decided to get Robert a bed for his birthday. Clara got her bunk beds for her 6th birthday, so I  thought now would be a good time for Robert to get one too. As I was searching for the perfect bed, I came across a video for an IKEA hack for their kids loft bed. We made some changes to what that guy did (his had a slide), but we did keep the hidden door to the secret hideout element.

We were a little late in figuring out what all we needed to complete the project and I figured we wouldn’t get around to it because Chris had a trip to Rio scheduled for last week. He was set on building it though, so I picked up all the IKEA parts about a week ago. Chris got back from Rio at 6 a.m. this Saturday and then he and Kelly spent all day yesterday building it to surprise Robert. A friend from church was supposed to keep the kids after church but they ended up getting sick so we didn’t have the whole afternoon uninterrupted as we had hoped. I took the kids to lunch and the used book store after church and then to see The Peanuts Movie and then I really didn’t want to figure out something else to do with them, so we came home before it was completed. It was far enough along for Robert to see it and decide that he loved it.

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I covered the plain white panels in checkered flag contact paper. The toy storage doubles as his stairs up to his bed and the book that’s sitting on the shelf will eventually be rigged to unlock the door when you pull on it. But shhhhh, that’s a secret.

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There’s still a few details Chris has to complete but in the meantime, these two are already putting the hideout to good use.

 

Busy Week

The week before Spring Break was a busy one for us. I turned another year older and we celebrated with Italian food and I was given a complementary birthday canoli for the occasion. My birthday gift from Chris was the maroon leather jacket I’m wearing in the picture. I love it. I don’t feel fashionable enough for it, but I do love it.

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That week was literacy week at Clara’s school in celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday. They had Muffins with Mom, which no one knew about until the day before (including us volunteers) and I helped with that Tuesday morning. It was complete chaos and we ran out of everything despite the less than 24 hour notice that everyone received. Their bookfair was all week, which I volunteered at during Robert’s school days and on Thursday they had a storybook character parade. I made Clara a Laura Ingalls dress. It was a fairly ambitious project to undertake since I haven’t sewn anything this complicated in a very long time, but I was successful! I free handed the apron because she didn’t like the petticoat pattern that came with the dress. She loved it.

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She came to shop at the book fair while I was working, so I had the librarian snap a quick picture of us.

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That night was Literacy Night at school. Clara wanted a picture with one of the third grade teachers who was dressed at Laura also. She was talking about biographies and had a video of Little House on the Prairie showing.

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Chris had gone out of town that night for work and was coming home Friday morning. Friday was also the closing date on our new house. We had several complications leading up to closing and we still didn’t have a firm closing time come Friday morning. I was so stressed out that day and drove Chris bonkers. They eventually just told us to be ready to come as soon as they called us.

The call finally came about 4:30 p.m. so we got to the title company as soon as we could. When we got to the table, they still didn’t have our HUD approval and were waiting for it to be faxed over. So we went over everything else and near the end, it finally came through. Sheeesh.

We got out of there around 6:00 and headed into Houston where Chris had made anniversary dinner reservations at a Brazilian steakhouse called Chama Gaucha. It was my first Brazilian steakhouse experience and was very enjoyable. This particular restaurant is supposed to be more authentic and the place that Chris’ Brazilian friends prefer. After such a chaotic, stressful day, we just decided to come on home after dinner. I was feeling mentally drained and just wanted to go to bed.

On the way to the restaurant, I made the decision to leave for Pecos on Sunday. I had put off making the decision until I knew if we would be closing. I couldn’t leave until we had closed. I called my mom to tell her we had closed and since that was out of the way, Chris offered to take off the week of Spring Break so I could go to Pecos and help out however I could since Linsey was on bedrest and they were pretty sure they would be inducing on Monday due to her elevated protein levels. To be continued…….

Turning 9- Part 2

Clara wanted to go back to our old church and see friends for her birthday. We did that last year since her birthday was on Sunday. This year her birthday was on Monday, but she was bound and determined to take full advantage of the extended birthday celebration thing we had going on.

We got to church a little early. I may have misjudged the amount of time it would take to get there. So we stopped into our old Kolache Factory hoping our friends would be there. Rosie and Mimi were both working and recognized us right away. They were so happy to see us. And then Mimi surprised us when she asked, “Your usual?” I asked her if she was serious and sure enough, she rattled off our whole order! After more than a year and a half. Impressive. We told Clara no cinnamon roll because we had actually already eaten dessert and were just going to get something small. Well, right as she was finishing up her kolache, Rosie came over with a gooey cinnamon roll for the birthday girl. She looked over at us with a desperate face and we of course told her it was ok to eat.

After church, we had lunch with the DeCarlos. The kids are all getting so big.

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Clara was on a roll with getting everything she was asking for because birthday, so she asked to go to Tutti Frutti next door.

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Ok, I thought Robert doing tae kwon do was just about the cutest thing ever, but I was wrong. That would be a two year old showing me all her moves and “hi-yas”

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Monday finally arrived and we had some surprises in store for the birthday girl. We let her open her gifts before school. Bia and Pawpaw sent her Samantha’s holiday dress and some new choose your own adventure American Girl books that were recently released. Samantha has been retired for several years and was just reintroduced a few months ago, so Clara was happy to get a new dress for her.

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Then Chris said he was going to drive her to school. She was really confused when he parked and got out of the car with her. We had arranged for him to be a Watch D.O.G. on her birthday. They had their picture taken and posted on a bulletin board, were on the morning video announcements and Chris spent some time in her class, including lunch and recess. She also got to share cupcakes with her classmates.

 

The other big surprise was a visit from Grandma and Grandpa. This was the first birthday they’ve been able to come celebrate with her, so it was an extra special treat. She wanted to go to Rainforest Cafe because she’s wanted their volcano dessert from the first time she spied one when she was a preschooler. I didn’t realize Robert had gotten his greasy chip paws all over the lens of my camera, so a few of these pictures are blurry until I figured out there was a problem.

But first, one last gift before dinner. A salon chair. Notice a theme here :) I’ve tried to hold off on doll accessories the last few years, but I finally decided she would love some fun accessories since dolls are about the only thing she still plays with. It’s sad to think that we’ve only got this year and maybe next to to give her toys :( It won’t be long until all she wants is clothes, electronics and other big kid stuff. It’s going by way too fast; she’s now halfway to adulthood.

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Robert was not fond of the thunderstorms, so Clara, being the awesome big sister that she is, kept coming over to help cover his ears until it passed.

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The waiters come out of the kitchen yelling, “Volcano! Volcano!” over and over as they parade the dessert to your table and then sing their rendition of “Happy Birthday” with lots of clapping. Clara joined in on the clapping, mesmerized by the sparkling dessert she’s waited basically her whole life to dive into :)

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I think the volcano made up for the campfire cake mix cupcakes I threw together the week before. It didn’t disappoint.

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Turning 9- Part 1

Clara had a fun-filled birthday celebration this year that spanned several days. Since we weren’t doing big parties this year, I suggested a sleepover with Leah followed by lunch at the American Girl bistro. She was all for that plan. She hadn’t had Leah spend the night since the first sleepover three years ago and has been wanting another one ever since. Since Leah is homeschooled, I was able to pick her up around noon on Friday so she got to come up to school to pick Clara up. They were giddy with excitement and ready to get the party started.

Clara received a horse from Leah, and Leah brought her horse, so we decided to let Clara open her gift from us early, a Jeep for her dolls.

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They did a little horseback riding for a while and then they got started on scrapbooks. I got them matching books and printed out two sets of 50 pictures of the two of them together. The earliest picture was of an 18 month old Leah holding 2 month old Clara on the couch. So cute. I decided to give them space to do it how they wanted because I tend to take over when I “help”. A couple of hours in I realized I should have given a little more direction. Ahem. They painstakingly cropped their siblings out of some pictures, and cropped out everything but their heads in Halloween pictures. Clara even cropped out the kites in a picture of them running with kites behind them. Now there’s just arms raised in the air with strings to nowhere :) Oh well. They’re not exactly as I had envisioned, but they did have fun and it was cute to listen in on them reminiscing over the years and talking about how cute they were. And they’ll get to laugh about their crafting abilities here in a few years.

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They had pizza and made some little bitty, teeny-tiny Easy Bake oven treats before watching a Christmas movie in Clara’s bed on the portable dvd player.

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I saw this the next day and died laughing. I was telling Chris about later and it turns out, he put it there while she was sleeping so she would wake up with it on her pillow. Ha!

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We took the girls for some cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa at Panera Bread Saturday morning and then the girls and their dolls got all gussied up and we headed to American Girl for lunch. We invited Becky and Kate to join us.

 

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Buckle up for safety, Julie and Kit.

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There were a bunch of large parties and they were hosting a Nutcracker ice-skating thing that took away staff, so we didn’t have the best service, but it wasn’t too terrible. The girls were just getting really antsy waiting to look through the store. When we finally got done, each girl got to pick out one small thing. Well two for Clara, because Julie “needed” glasses so she would look just like Clara :)

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Sad faces as we got back to the cars and it was time to say goodbye.

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Clara had a wonderful day and it was a great start to her birthday extravaganza.