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.

 

Thanksgiving at Mother Neff State Park

We had our annual Thanksgiving camping trip at Mother Neff State Park this year. Mother Neff is the oldest state park in Texas. It’s also only a few minutes away from Dan, Linda and now Margaret, so it was a perfect spot for us. Jason and his dad also joined us this year. This was Robert sitting by the campfire on the first night. We got there mid-afternoon on Wednesday and the kids got right down to business making friends with the neighbors and playing until they crashed.

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When we finally got settled into the camper and turned on the heat for the night, Clara decided that teeth brushing by the heater felt pretty nice.

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The next day, we headed into town for a lovely Thanksgiving meal prepared entirely by Linda. Who just got staples in her head four days earlier. And who insisted that we keep to the plan instead of cooking up something or other over the fire. Dan came and got me and Clara a little early so we could help with preparations, but we weren’t much help since Linda had it all under control. We went and picked up Nanny from her apartment and then got back to the house a little before the boys showed up. We chatted and ate and were all quite thankful for all of Linda’s hard work.

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The mornings were in the 30’s, so Zef got a nice warm spot to sit and wait for the sun to warm everything up.

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We hiked one of the trails on Friday. It led to this cave that was used as shelter by the Native Americans. These trails were probably some of my favorite so far. There were plenty of trees and lots of elevation changes and things to go see to make things interesting.

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We kept on the trail and went to the top of the rock tower.

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The hike was a bit much for Max, so Jason and I took turns carrying him most of the way back to the car. He was very appreciative.

After lunch, Dan and Linda came out to the campsite and we had a party for the birthday boys and girl. As I handed JDog a Birthday Boy hat, he tried to turn it away thinking it was just a party hat. I informed him that all the birthday boys and girls had one. He was quite surprised to learn that he was also a guest of honor at the celebration. Hehehe, we got him good. That’s the second surprise party we’ve pulled off for him. The other one was easy though; it was four months early :) The kids both knew and I can’t believe they were able to keep it a secret from him.

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I made a little scavenger hunt for the three of them and JDog got into the spirit and joined in the search for clues.

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Here he is getting stuck on the last clue. Get it. Ha!

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Then we played a little pin the tail on the donkey and opened presents. The kids got gifts from Grandma and Grandpa and JDog got a little something too. You like my centerpiece? The wind picked up so we took care of that with a little duct tape :)

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I brought cupcake mix and had JDog bake them in the dutch oven. I forgot candles though, so they had to blow out pretend candles when we sung “Happy Birthday” to them.

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Saturday was another pretty big day because we took off this mangled, rapidly disintegrating training wheel (and it’s partner).

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And now we have a (mostly) official bike rider. He was doing pretty well out at the campsite, but he won’t ride on our street since it’s slanted. We’re going to have to take him to practice in a parking lot so we can get back to riding with Clara to school. I don’t want him riding to school until he’s comfortable starting and stopping.

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I took the kids on another hike on Saturday, this time to the Wash Pond and then they played on the playground. Chris tripped over Max’s leash the first night and fell hard on his knee, so it was hurting him most of the weekend. The scar where his stitches were broke open and started bleeding :( It’s doing better now thank goodness.

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Chris and JDog got busy with their cornbread war. Chris loves sweet cornbread and likes to combine one box of Jiffy cornbread mix and one box of Jiffy white cake mix. Well, they were out of Jiffy cake mix, so he picked up a regular brand and just eyeballed it when deciding how much to use. Yeah, we basically had corn flavored cake with our dinner :)


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This park had a Junior Ranger program that the kids could participate in. They gave the kids a worksheet with all kinds of questions about the park, the nature within the park and it’s history. We had to go around and read all of the plaques and signs in the park to answer them. She had to sketch an animal, so she drew this caterpillar that Jason’s dad found and then picked up trash to help keep the park clean. As we checked out, we took the paper to park headquarters and they printed out a certificate for her (and Robert since he joined us everywhere but can’t write and really I just lost his paper) and had them raise their right hands and recite a pledge stating they would take care of nature and the park and would encourage their friends and family to do the same. Then they got a little Jr. Ranger pin. It was all very official. And very cute. And I didn’t have my camera on me. I figured they were just going to hand them a pin and say, “Good job.”

We got back home around 3:00 on Sunday. The kids wanted to put up the Christmas tree, so I’m a sucker and set it up and pulled out the boxes of decorations. Camping and Christmas collided in a perfect storm in my house that evening. It’s a week and a half later and I still don’t think the house has completely recovered.

Five!!

Robert turned five yesterday. We’re not having birthday parties with friends for the kids this year so Robert was supposed to have a family fun day. Well, his birthday didn’t quite go as planned. His big day seems to get derailed a lot. But no worries. We made the best of it.

The plan was to go to the donut shop, then to early service, a movie right after church, slot car racing, and then dinner at the mongolian restaurant he likes. He wanted to see his friend (the owner) and I think he was hoping to hit the gong. Robert and I have both been fighting colds the last few days and he woke coughing pretty bad yesterday. He felt fine, but we didn’t want to take him to church with as bad as his cough was.

Chris went to the donut shop and got donuts and we watched the last F1 race of the season and Robert opened his presents.

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We got a call from Dan around 8:00 and we handed the phone straight to Robert because we assumed they were calling to wish him a Happy Birthday. Turns out Linda had fallen and hit her head. There was lots of blood and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. There was some confusion on our end as to what was going on, so Chris decided to make the drive. Dan was sick and wasn’t able to go up to the hospital to be with her. Linda is fine; she got seven staples in her head and some tests run and Chris got there just in time to drive her home and get her all set up with what she needed before heading back home.

So while Chris was making his little trip, I decided to go ahead and take the kids to see Big Hero 6. I gave Robert something for his cough before we left, but unfortunately it didn’t help him much. I felt so bad for our fellow movie-goers. He coughed the entire time. He had several coughing fits and they seemed to always come during a quiet scene. At one point he even coughed until he threw up. Thankfully I had been ready for it and I had napkins to catch it. Didn’t even make a mess.

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After that public cough-fest, I decided we probably should forgo slot car racing. When I suggested we go another time when Daddy could come, the birthday boy agreed. He even agreed that he needed a nap. You know he wasn’t feeling good if he agreed to that. I told him we’d go get him a little something at Toys R Us since his birthday wasn’t going according to plan and he was being so good about it. His sister, on the other hand, was very upset by the change in plans and had to have a little talking to. We didn’t get him, but look at this ninja turtle! That’s just crazy!

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By the time we got into the (very long) line to checkout, I ended up holding Robert and he was still coughing. When they opened a new line, the nice older gentleman behind me made sure to jump in that line in front of the mom holding a coughing child wearing a birthday boy crown. Sigh. I really wish people could look beyond themselves sometimes.

After placing all of Robert’s new toys on his headboard shelf, I had him lay down for a nap. A few minutes in, Clara came to tell me he had another coughing fit and had thrown up on his bed. I got him all set up on the couch with a puke bowl and a waterproof mat to protect the couch and then let him watch Cars 2. My sweet boy told me all day long through coughs and sniffles, even after puking in bed, that this was the “Best Birthday Ever!” I felt so bad for him :( I guess there’s just something magical about your special day and it takes a lot to ruin it. That’s obviously the case for this sweet boy. He can be such a little stinker sometimes, but I gotta say, I was really proud of how he handled his disappointment yesterday.

When Daddy got home mid-afternoon, we sang Happy Birthday and had cupcakes. These pictures are terrible; the sun was shining in though a high window. I should have just had him switch places to a less sunny spot, but my birthday gusto was all fizzled out by now, so I didn’t make a fuss.

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It wasn’t a picture perfect affair by any stretch of the imagination, but a happy day to celebrate our special guy nonetheless.

More Celebrating

Chris and I went on a belated anniversary dinner date on Sunday night while Linda stayed with the kids. We went to Taste of Texas which is a very nice restaurant nearby. We splurged and both ate way too much. Our waitress asked if we were there to celebrate something and we told her it was our anniversary. Then she asked how many years. When I said 16, her eyes about bugged out of her head. She thought we looked way to young to have been married that long and asked if we got married right out of high school :) Not quite, but almost.

We received a free dessert and chose this trio of creme brulee, key lime pie and raspberry cheesecake. Yum! And since I didn’t take any pictures, enjoy this picture of a picture that our waitress took :)

Wednesday was Chris’ birthday. I have no pictures from then either. We taped some Happy Birthday crepe paper and balloons across the front door so he would have to come through it to get inside. He rang the doorbell instead. So we came to the door while he just stood there, unable to figure out how he was going to get through the door. Chris doesn’t do “silly” very often, but he was a good sport and walked back to the grass and then ran full speed to crash through the barrier, much to the delight of his eager offspring.

For his birthday, I gave Chris a groupon to take some friends to an indoor karting place. It’s not normal go-karts. This is like go-karts on steroids apparently. They also have blacklight mini golf and lasertag and my plan was for the four of us to play mini golf on his birthday. He was really tired though and I called the place asking if they were super busy with Spring Break and they said they were. It was about an hour long wait in the evenings. I was bummed we didn’t do anything, but we did go grab something to eat. We went to a little sports bar/grill and again ate way too much and then next door to a frozen yogurt place to add more to our already full bellies.

Another Year Older

Sunday was my birthday and we were bad and slept in, missing church. We had a late breakfast at IHOP and then went to see The Lego Movie in 3d. And that was about it. Super exciting birthday :) I think this is the first year I’ve woken up on my birthday and it just felt like another day. Not an ounce of excitement. I’ve always at least gotten a little excited when I woke up on my birthday even if I knew there wouldn’t be any fanfare. Sigh. It’s no fun being an adult.

As we sat down for dinner on Saturday night, Chris asked the kids, “Do you know who’s having a birthday tomorrow?” Clara exclaimed, “Mommy!” and then her face got serious and she said slowly, “Ummmmm, can someone take me to the store?” It was so funny. The next morning she scribbled out a card real fast and handed it to me with a big smile.

When we got out of the movie, we walked to the other end of the mall to the outdoor store to look at camping stuff. They have lots of taxidermy throughout the store and a huge fish tank surrounded by faux rock. The kids waited to take a peek in the little bubble of glass that juts out into the water so you have a better view. It feels a bit like you’re entering a little tunnel.

As they both got in close to the glass to peer in, Chris grabbed a pillow that was in the shape of a big colorful fish. It was about 3 feet long. He slowly eased it between their two heads. Oh my goodness, I’m laughing as I type this. We both knew we’d get a reaction, but we were not expecting Clara to scream at the top of her lungs, for like 5 seconds straight. Robert turned and I think he would have just been startled had it not been for Clara’s reaction. He joined in just as loud and long. My ears were ringing and I was in tears laughing as I grabbed Robert to console him. Clara grabbed hold of me. Both kids were crying, tears running down their faces and Chris and I could not contain ourselves.

A lady just happened to be sitting on a boat trailer right behind us and caught the whole thing. She had tears streaming too. She couldn’t stop laughing either and felt really bad and kept saying “I’m terrible” and “I’m so sorry; I shouldn’t be laughing.” We let Robert sit in some of the boats to distract him and after about 10 minutes of that, we passed back by the lady and her husband had just shown up and we could see her gesturing to the fish pillows and the tank and knew she was relaying the story. Chris passed by and said, “Yep, that was me.” and she started laughing all over again. Man I wish I had that on video.

Earrings!!

Clara FINALLY got her ears pierced tonight. Oh my goodness, it was like a comedy of errors trying to get a couple of holes in those things! So here’s what happened. I called a piercer a couple of weeks back, he didn’t seem just real keen on piercing minors but said that he would. So on Clara’s birthday, the 8th, I went to take her only to find out they were closed on Sunday. Not to fear though because I called another place that had really good online reviews and talked to the guy there and he seemed really nice and they were open. But wait, he was out of the right size earrings for her ears but had some ordered and they should be in on Saturday. Chris was out of town this weekend and I didn’t want to take Robert with us, so I told Clara we would do them this past Sunday night. We ended up being at Pancakes and Pajamas a little too late and it was a school night so I told her we would go the next night. Monday came around and I went to call them to make sure he would be there and wouldn’t you know it, this shop is closed on Mondays.

Now Clara’s really starting to get disappointed and I didn’t blame her. I asked her if she wanted to go to the other place, but she liked the idea of the man that I said seemed really nice and more willing to pierce kids. So yesterday I called early in the day to make sure he would be there, but nope, it was his day off. He would be there tonight at 5:00. Sweet! So we met Daddy at Smashburger for dinner at 5:30 because Clara’s school was having spirit night there. I had planned on leaving straight from the restaurant and Chris would take Robert home. Of course I forgot her birth certificate at home and would need it at the piercing studio, so we had to swing back by the house before going.

Traffic was pretty bad, so we got there around 7:00 and it turns out the shipment hadn’t come in, so he only had larger guage earrings and said he could call us if they came in in the next couple of days. Clara was just about in tears at this point. He saw how disappointed she was, so he said that I could go to Wal-Mart and buy the earrings and bring them back if I wanted. He said just to make sure and get surgical steel and not stainless. Ok, we decided to give it a shot. Drove all the way to Wal-Mart and they didn’t have surgical, only stainless. I wanted to call him to see if 14k gold or titanium was ok, but I had left my phone in the car. Went back out to the car and asked and he said either would work. Went back inside and of course they are out of all of the ones we would have wanted. I didn’t want to get anything with big ‘ol fake diamonds. Sigh. As we walked out, Clara finally started crying. She’s been anticipating this for soooo long. She’s told her friends at school, “I’m getting my ears pierced today” about five times now and some of them don’t believe her now.

So we went to the other Wal-Mart. We had to wait a while while the employee kind of ran around looking lost trying to help an angry customer, but she had some titanium ones that would work for us. Yay! So she went to check us out and she has been logged out (I’m guessing because she went over in hours), so she had to take us up to the self checkout employee and had us cut in front of everyone so he could check me out. Woohoo, we finally got a break!

So we took them back to Matt and it was 8:05 at this point. He needed to pull them out of the cartridges they came in and sterilize them and that takes about 30 minutes, so he said come back at 8:45. We got gas and then I drove a bit to find a Starbucks. I could not find a Starbucks! I finally turned around and headed the other direction and eventually found one to sit at for 10 minutes.

We got back to the shop at 8:45 on the dot. He made copies of all of our ids and then got the room ready. Clara was about to bust she was so excited. She said if she could do flips she would be doing one right then. First one went in no problem. There were no tears but she looked a little shocked and was really quiet. The second one bled quite a bit. He said that she got worked up after the first one and her adrenaline was pumping, which is why it bled. He got her all cleaned up and she was still being really quiet, so we had to ask her if she was ok and remind her to breathe. Ha! She was on cloud nine once she finally got to see herself in the mirror. I’m proud of her. I really thought there would be lots of tears and I had prepared my pep talk when it came time to do the second one. The piercer told her she did better than some adults.

So without further adieu, the long-awaited earrings. She’s all grown up now. The first one was taken in the studio and that’s the ear that bled.

 

I’m really hoping I don’t have to clean up nasty, crusty gunk tomorrow morning.

Christmasy Birthday Party

We had a Christmas themed birthday party for Clara today. The kids did Christmas crafts and decorated a gingerbread train and train station. Chris and I worked together this year on Clara’s Christmas tree cake. Attendees included one friend from school along with his sister, a 3rd grade girl that also rides her bike to school and the neighbor’s 1st grade grand-daughter that Clara plays with a lot. And three old friends from Spring who were so sweet to come all the way out here for Clara’s big day. So it was an eclectic group with lots of shyness at first :) I think they eventually all had fun. At least I hope so.

I might have used a gingerbread house that we had left after our party got canceled last year which would account for the no-so-great icing. It wouldn’t go on well at all. That didn’t stop them though. I think the gingerbread decorating was a hit. Ellie went to town with this red decorating gel. I need to take a picture of the finished product. It’s something alright.

 

Say “cheese” Alaina. The one kid who cooperated for the camera.

 

It was Chris’ idea to have the multi-layered cake. I was just going to free-hand it again and have it lying flat. When he started coming up with all these grand plans including the mention of a Dr. Suess-like creation, I let him take over. He thought we needed to have a contest to see who had the better cake. I told him I would help him instead. I couldn’t handle the thought of two cakes! I got little boxes of candy and wrapped them up so we would have presents under the tree. At the end of the party, the kids drew names and got to pick a present to take home. I made them wait until they got home to open them because some were better than others and I didn’t want any fighting :)

After the party and naps, I told Clara we could go get her Julie doll if she wanted. She wanted. She received a giftcard and a little money that put her right at the amount she needed to afford her and she was over the moon excited. She was so proud of herself as she stood in line with that big box and her pouch of money that she’s counted and re-counted each time she’s added another dollar to it.

We stopped next door at Panera Bread and got a little something to eat since we hadn’t had dinner and Julie couldn’t breathe in that box. This girl is in heaven. She giggled and said how much she loves her and how much she looks like her and how she wishes Julie was missing her front teeth too and “thank you for taking me to get Julie, Mommy”, and on and on the whole way home. She’s had a pretty fantastic birthday and it’s not even her big day yet! Tomorrow she (hopefully) gets her gift from us. Pierced ears! Chris and I want to use a professional piercer (for lots of reasons), but did you know that Texas law requires that minors have a government issued i.d. to be pierced? I’m not sure how the mall places get around it, but the guy I talked to at the piercing place said they’re not exempt from the law. Maybe because they only do earlobes? Anyway, he said a school i.d. would work (which her school can’t or won’t do, not sure which), or one of the pictures with their names on it that you can get to identify them if they go missing. I have one that came with her school pictures last year, so I’m hoping that along with a birth certificate and my i.d. will work. We’re crossing our fingers.

We got home just as Chris had put Robert down. This is the sight that met me when I went in to say goodnight.