Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthday Season

February is a big birthday month in Spencer's family.  In fact, all of the men in the family were born in February!  This was a big year for Spencer's dad -- he turned 80!  All of the kids and grandkids are still in disbelief, because he does not act like your typical 80 year old.  He's reinvented the age and is still super active, involved, always serving, loving, helping and so generous.  We love our dad/grandpa/father-in-law!

To celebrate, we went out to dinner at Little America and then came back to our house for a Backer's cake.  
The cake was beautiful (and delicious to boot) and we so enjoyed our evening together as a family. I didn't grow up near cousins, grandparents, or aunts and uncles so I never realized that I was missing out! We are so thankful to have family nearby and for all of the love and support they constantly and selflessly offer.

Bob impressed us all by putting out the candles with his fingers.
Clara was impressed!
 Carol sliced the cake for everyone.
 And Clara offered our gift - a box of Cummings chocolates. Mmmmm.  I don't know if she was too excited to give them away, but eventually we pried her fingers off the box. :)
Happy Birthday, Bob!

Friday, February 24, 2012

14 Months

I know it's not the greatest photo, but it so captures what life is right now: a blur and a smile.

Sweet Clara is 14 months old today!  She is getting more and more difficult to photograph - she's been [speed] walking since February 2nd!  She loves to explore and is pretty fearless; she still takes some tumbles but rarely makes a fuss and usually just gets back up and keeps going wherever she is going.  Here's what else she is up to:

-Every morning when she wakes up she wants to give her owls a hug (they are vinyl on her wall, so she just leans her head gently against them to show her love)

-She's getting more observant by the second and picks things up so quickly.  Her signing is really taking off, and she does things more precisely.  She signs more, all done, please, eat/food, milk, water, and some others I can't think of right now.  But those are the ones she uses the most.

 -Her vocab is growing too!  Newish words are cracker and good girl.

-Finally her hair is starting to really fill in.  She has a cute little rat's tail in the back. I can't bring myself to cut it.
-She LOVES to swing and begs for "weeeee" every day.  Unless it's snowing, we usually make it out at least once a day and sometimes she'll just chill in her swing for 30 minutes or more.  She doesn't get sick of it.

-She no longer keeps mittens on.  She'll pull them off with her teeth.  Thankfully it has been a mild winter, so we haven't really needed them.

-We finally installed her new carseat and I think she loves it because she falls asleep in it almost every day.  She *rarely* slept in her old carseat.
-Still a great sleeper and once-a-day napper.  We're so thankful for this.

-When we are getting ready for bed and I ask her if she wants to brush her teeth, she chatters her teeth.  She's been doing this for a few months, but I don't think I've written it down.  And it's so cute.  She loves having her teeth brushed.  And she still just has 8 -- she's had 8 for 6 months now.
-She's got her second cold ever right now and she is a little more fussy, but overall handles illness really well.  She's a little trooper.

-When we pray, she folds her arms!  It's darling.  She just started doing it spontaneously one day.  She'll also close her eyes, but only for a second.  It's more like an extended blink.  But she definitely knows we fold our arms and close our eyes to pray.
-She still loves to dance and swing her hips.

-When we are out running errands and she's in the cart somewhere, she LOVES when I kind of jiggle the cart side to side.  It started innocently one day at Ikea because their carts are so loose and hard to steer, and it made her laugh so hard!  Now I know she wants to do it because she'll sit in the cart leaning side to side and laughing.  It's pretty hard to resist.  Everyone in the stores must think I'm a crazy mom, but I also think those little giggles must make them understand - it must be done.

-Even though she's an awesome sleeper, she's a pretty light sleeper.  Every night we go in quietly to put a blanket on her and check on her, and she wakes up 95% of the time.  But she'll just look up at us and smile and lay back down to sleep.  It's really sweet.
-She loves oranges and clementines, but we've discovered that we need to eat them in moderation.  Citrus can be hard on little tummies.

-She loves to open and close doors, turn on and off light switches, zip and unzip things, and empty baskets of things (laundry, books, toys, etc).
-Bathtime is still a favorite, but she is starting to stand in the tub and has fallen a few times.  Not hard, but enough to startle her. She will sit when I tell her to, but then she'll usually stand back up in 10 seconds or so.

-Has learned most of her body parts: can show you her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head, tummy and hands.

-Says "baaaa" whenever she sees a sheep. (We don't see many sheep, but stuffed animals and pictures count too)

-Loves to sing ABCs, Wheels on the Bus, Five Little Monkeys and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

-Still loves to watch the I Am a Child of God video on Mormon Messages.  I'm pretty sure our family is responsible for half of the views that video has gotten on youtube.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Beginnings

New Beginnings was our first "big" activity as a new Young Women organization.  I consider any activity a 'big' one when there are invitations, decorations and a parting gift. :)  I was lucky to have my dear friend Kendra to inspire me with an idea for the program that the rest of the presidency liked.  We assigned each of the girls one of the YW values and they were to chose a woman who exemplified that value and prepare a short talk about her.  The girls did a great job - the women they chose were everyone from family members to Sister Hinckley.  We also have a lot of musical talent in our group, so we had a violin solo and a saxophone solo.

The worldwide mutual theme this year is "arise and shine forth" and there have been lots of great ideas on pinterest to take inspiration from.  We decided to go with a theme of light, so our colors for the evening were sunshiny yellows and oranges.  I think everything turned out really cute!


Thursday, February 16, 2012


Clara loves to swing.  Every time she sees her swing out the window or if I ask her if she wants to go swing, she says, "weeeeee," which I take as a yes.  At least once a day we bundle up and go for a swing outside.  It is so nice to put our beautiful ash trees to good use.

There's no soft pushing for this girl.  She'll let you pull her as high as you can reach before sending her soaring with head thrown back, eyes cast skyward and the soft chant that makes you do it again and again, "weeeeeeee!"

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