29 March 2009

Birthday weekend!

This video is of Claire "poofing" me with her wand, and then putting on her fancy shoes. I just thought it was funny how she was having a hard time balancing and putting them on, but remained determined to get them on.

Of course, I don't have any actual pictures of this weekend, because I'm lame like that. But I figure all you people really want is some quality footage of Claire, no matter when it took place. So, here you are, Claire-hogs. (This is also what Mom, Amanda, Kyle, and Tyler used to call each other when they fought over holding Claire. Those days are long gone.)

Anyway, this past weekend was Jay's big yearly fishing tournament. No, it wasn't Bassmasters or anything--Tyler saw Bassmasters on TV at our house this weekend, and asked, "Is Jay going to be on this?"--but it has been a very big deal in his group of eight friends for the past eight years. This year, the weather was awful--it was in the 60s and 70s all last week until Friday, when BAM, this arctic front came through and those poor guys were layered up in their Gore-Tex and long johns and getting rained on, but they soldiered through as a sacrifice to their love of fishing and competition. Jay came in second this year, alas. He and his partner's top five fish weighed about 26 lbs, and they caught about 20 fish on tournament day, so the fishing wasn't terrible. The man who lives on the lake came in dead last, so that shows you the weather made this a tough gig, with luck having a lot do with it! (Gotta stick up for my hub!)

I had a couple friends and fellow Twihards over Friday night to watch Twilight on DVD for the first time. Fun times! The movie can never be as good as the book; you can hardly compare the two, but it was a decent translation, and it's always fun to watch a film with people who are so familiar with the characters and complete arc of the story.

Saturday, Mom, Tyler, Claire and I went out to eat and shopping for my birthday. We were going to watch Monsters versus Aliens, but it was almost sold out, with the line to get in stretching all across the lobby, so we said forget it. Instead, Ty brought Bolt over to our house that night while Mom and Grant went to his sister's to eat dinner.

And today, we had a lovely birthday lunch at Paul and Diane's. The weather was great today (of course), so Ty and Claire got to do some four-wheeling and Jay and Seth got to hit some golf balls.

Claire's new thing is to pick up a purse or put on some shoes (mine or hers) and say, "Bye-bye, Mama!" And I say, "Where are you going?" And she always either says, "MamawPapaws" (It's all one word) or "Wal-Mart." And then, "Later!"

Here's some pics of Claire playing outside. I just realized that the last pictures I posted of her also included a mud-puddle pic. I guess we usually end up doing this on bright, sunny days, which is the only time my camera works, and is only a few steps away!

21 March 2009

About DWTS posts

To my DWTS readers: I have to submit my posts on Blogcritics for approval before they're actually posted, so I'm sorry I can't post a direct link to my post the night of the show.

But what you can do is go to Blogcritics on Tuesday after the show, scroll down the list of contributors on the right side of the page below the highlights box at the top, and click on my name. Then you can click on the most recent DWTS post. I know my DWTS readers like to read the post the night of the show or the next morning, and sadly, that night is probably not going to be possible anymore, since I usually don't watch the show until I after I put Claire down, and so by the time I get done writing my post, it's usually midnight, and then it doesn't actually get approved and posted until even later that night or in the morning.

And I love responses and comments! I read all of them, and your comments will encourage others to comment as well, so please do! You don't have to register or anything.

Great spring break!

So Spring Break is almost over! Luckily, school resuming doesn't change our routine that drastically. But Claire and I did use this time to hang out with our school-bound friends. On Tuesday, we traveled with Mom and Ty to Robbers Cave State Park , about two hours north and east of Mom's house in Coleman, in the San Bois Mountains north of Wilburton. I'll have pics when Mom gives me hers, but we had a great time. It's a small park perfect for families with young kids. Claire is really a little too young to fully enjoy it, but we still had fun.

The park has two small lakes, so small there's not even any motorboats allowed on them. The main one has a big rocky bluff on one side and is lined with pine trees. Beautiful! We rode a paddleboat around and then fed the catfish and geese back on the dock. On this lake, there's also a playground and nearby, the nature center. We walked the outdoor classroom trail after we left the lake, which was easy walking and pretty, but really not very educational. Claire enjoyed going over the bridge and shouting the word all the way (which she pronounces like a bad word!), picking up pine cones (we didn't keep them!), and riding a bent-over tree like a horse.

Then we went back to our room in the Belle Starr Lodge and had a picnic behind the lodge. The back of the lodge overlooks a huge valley, but that means you're kind of on the edge of a rocky bluff! A little nerve-wracking with Claire! We had to keep a close eye on her and give her a couple talking-to's about getting on the rocks by herself. After we ate, we were all four in our respective hog heavens, relaxing outside in the perfect weather, Mom and I reading on a blanket, Ty playing his DS, and Claire alternately wandering around and watching Clifford on her tough DVD player.

The next day, we woke up around 8 a.m. and got ready to head to the main attraction in the park, the Robbers Cave trail. According to legend, outlaws Belle Starr, Jesse James, and Cole Younger and their respective posses all used these mountains as hideouts. It was great hiking! There were trails marked with red that were steep-grade, which Ty and I had a great time scrambling up, and trails marked with yellow that were moderate-grade, which Claire could usually handle holding one or two hands. Mom and I switched off on holding her some, too. Supposedly, the robbers used this huge slab of steeply tilted rock, now called Devil's Slide, as a quick getaway. We didn't actually slide for fear of tearing up our pants, but the CCC actually built some subtle steps in the side so we could climb up and down pretty well. The Robbers Cave was not a huge cavern you actually go inside, but just a slanting, Willy Wonka-style hallway in the side of the mountain big enough to hold 15 or so people. Claire, Ty, and I did find an actual cave you could hunker down in and be completely in the dark, which was neat. We saw a couple groups of rock climbers scaling some sheer rock faces while we were hiking around.

All that only took about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then we headed back over to the lake for another picnic. After we ate, we went into the nature center, which was small, but really neat! There was a big fish tank full of fish found in Oklahoma lakes and a lone swimming turtle, there were five or six snakes, a tank of turtles (Did you know there's a turtle nicknamed the Stinkpot that emits a foul odor when startled? Or a turtle with a serrated shell? Cool!), and some insects and lizards. There was also a low shelf that Claire could reach filled with stuff from the woods that kids were encouraged to touch and hold, like snakeskins, turtleshells, deer antlers, pinecones, neat rocks, etc. Then, for the coolest part: on the rat snake's tank, the information card said it was gentle enough to be held, and to ask if you wanted to hold it. So we did! Tyler got to hold the rat snake (oddly named Cornflake), and a bright orange corn snake (I don't think I heard its name).

Great trip, very affordable! Lots of Oklahomans have fond memories of visiting Robbers Cave, but I'd never been for some reason. I'm sure we'll go back as a family again.

Then yesterday, Claire and I went to Ardmore to pick up Dani Rose and Molly and visit Arbuckle Wilderness (again!). It was much more crowded than when Jay, Claire and I visited in January, but it was still great fun! This time, we got to see the giraffes, monkeys, and lemurs, which were all put up because of the cold weather when we were last there. These spider monkeys were not so friendly! Claire was so excited to see them; toward the end of our drive through the park, we started hollering, "Bye Geese! Monkeys! Bye Donkeys! Monkeys!" and so on. She was ready to see the monkeys! But the pair of spider monkeys wore these funny little snooty expressions, just casually scratching themselves and hanging by their tails like they were quietly showing off. One even bared his teeth at us a couple times! I think Claire was a bit taken aback. She expected to see like Curious George wandering around grinning and getting into trouble.

Claire and I made a quick stop by Hastings in Ardmore to spend a Christmas gift card--bliss!--and then headed home and got ready to go over to Matt and Kim's house for dinner! Whew! Claire and Katelyn turn into screaming monkeys when they're together! Hyper, crazy girls! But so fun.

10 March 2009

DWTS post migration

For both of my loyal DWTS post readers, I have started writing for Blogcritics.org, which is where my DWTS reviews will be posted from now on. Here's my review of last night's show.

03 March 2009

Good times with Jay's college buds

Hey everyone! Just wanted to post about our fun weekend in Edmond. This spring marks the ten-year-anniversary of Oklahoma Christian's men's basketball team being ranked Number 1 in the country, which happened to be Jay's junior year. So his coach, Dan Hayes (who's still the coach) organized a reunion for Jay's team, last Saturday. Jay, Claire, and I went up Friday afternoon and ate dinner at Chileno's with Jay's old college buddy and current fishing buddy, Eric and his fam, which includes two adorable boys and another on the way.

We spent the night with another of Jay's old college buddies and current fishing buddy, Nate, along with his wife Ashley and their kids, a two-year-old boy and a baby girl. Fun times playing some golf (card game) and in the morning, seeing Claire play with the kids. She loves babies!

We had been planning on going to the Oklahoma City Zoo on Saturday, but we woke up to temps in the 30s with 20 mph wind! I would have pushed on had it not been for that wind--we'd been telling Claire about it all week, and even checked several zoo picture books out of the library. But alas, the zoo will have to wait. I feel fairly sure it will still be there in a few months when the weather is reliably stifling.

So, guess where we went with Jay's two fishing buddies and their three sons? That's right folks, Bass Pro! At least Claire got to see a tankful of catfish, bass, and alligator gar, and a bunch of stuffed animals, including raccoons, chipmunks, coyote, buffalo, a bear, and of course, a bunch of deer. We had a fun time, anyway! I can't complain either, because after lunch, Jay dropped me off at Gordman's while he, Claire, and the buddies went to yet another sportsman's store! Color me contented though, because shopping solo in a discount store we don't have in Sherman equals bliss! I got some decorative stuff for the top of our new entertainment center and some Easter decor. Then it was back to Nate and Ashley's house for naptime. Before heading over to the Eagles' Nest that evening, we even squeezed in an hour at Super Target!

At the gym, we went up to their little event room, where we found seven of Jay's former teammates and (some of) their families! It was so neat to meet them and to see Jay get to reconnect with them. We all went down to the gym at the end of the girls' game and sat together until right before the boys' game, when Jay and his teammates went down to the OC bench and the announcer announced that tonight was a special night in history and told the whole spiel. Then they killed the lights, played some music, shined a spotlight around, and announced the team individually like they were about to play! They even put their player pic and stats on the big screen! It was kind of silly, but also exciting, because for me, it was a little glimpse of what it would have been like to actually see Jay play. (We met after his playing days were over.) The current students even knew Jay, because when they announced him, the student section let out a big cheer! After that, they played a clip of the last two minutes of the game that made Jay's team Number 1! It was so cool to see Jay playing on a big screen! I kept telling Claire daddy was on TV, but she just kept saying "Daddy," and pointing to him down on the floor.

Then they annouced a big surprise for Jay and I--he's going to be inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in November! Yay Jay! So we'll be heading back up to the Eagles Nest this fall.

We got back about midnight Saturday night. Then it was church in the morning (barely!) and my cousin James' wedding shower that afternoon in Coleman! Whew! No wonder Claire and I got home and slept until 6 p.m. that night!