24 May 2010

23 May 2010

Claire's Thursday School graduation

This was actually a couple weeks ago, but better late than never! Claire had a great first year at Thursday School. It's held at the other church of Christ in town, and it's a great introductory school experience: it's three hours long, with a two-year-old, three-year-old, and four-year-old class, with only six to eight kids and two teachers in each one. The whole day is divided into 15-minute blocks, with time for a Bible story, arts and crafts, library, snacks, and lunch. The teachers are awesome, and they're all volunteers! This year, she had her first field trip (to the fire station), her first school Christmas party, and first school program. They also had a Halloween carnival, Easter egg hunt, Valentine's card exchange, and Thanksgiving dinner and program.She also bought her first lunch box, as they eat box lunches everyday. Claire's usual lunch was ham and cheese rolls (a slice of ham wrapped around a cheese stick and cut into small pieces), carrots and Ranch (without me prodding her, she would usually only eat one or two of these), whatever fruit we have on hand, and some sort of treat, like marshmallows or mini cookies.

I usually ask Claire what Bible story she learned every time I pick her up, and at the beginning of the year, her answer was always "I don't know..." because I suspect, from what my cousin Kim told me, that she spent most of Bible story time sharing a mat with Kim's daughter Katelyn and being silly. Toward the middle of the year, a Bible story finally registered, and she started to answer, "About Jesus crossing on the river." I'm not sure if this was Jesus walking on water, or Moses crossing the Red Sea, because she would respond positively to details from both stories. She used this confusing answer for several weeks, and toward the end of the year, she finally started to respond with an actual Bible story! She would say "Daniel in the lions' den" or "Jesus making a man feel better." It's so exciting to see my daughter learning the Bible, both at home and in school with other kids.

At the program, all the kids sang a couple songs of course, and they also did a slide show of pictures from the year. Mom, Grant, and Ty got to be there, and they haven't ever seen where Claire goes to school, so it was really neat for them to see what a great program it is and how much Claire enjoys her friends and all the things they do.

Anyway, a tradition they have at the Thursday School graduation is to give each child a chance to say something into the microphone. They tell the kids and parents on the day of the graduation that they will all have a the chance to sing a song or say hi to their parents, or whatever. Some kids clam up, get red, and shake their heads no, some kids grab the mic, jump up and sing a song, and some kids say, "Hi Mommy and Daddy, I love you!" This is where the program gets very unpredictable and amusing, as you can imagine. Case in point with Claire. I had talked to her about what she would say into the microphone that afternoon, and I'd said, "You can sing a song, or say hi to mommy and daddy--what would you like to do?" The first time, she answered "Sing the ABC's," but then every other time I asked her, she said she would say hi to mommy and daddy. So I had her practice, Jay had her practice, and we practiced on the way over in the car. What does she do when Miss Amy hands her the microphone? Starts singing the ABCs, and turning slowly around so that by the time she's on G, she's got her back to the audience, but is still singing, at a level just above a whisper. She sang the whole thing, but I could barely hear her for trying to smother my laughter.

12 May 2010

Tornado Scare

I know my non-Oklahoman relatives will enjoy hearing about our tornado adventures, even though my Oklahoma friends and family have experienced things very similar to this, and find this to be the same old song, so to speak.

The night before last, we had a tornado scare, and Jay was in Ardmore! I was a bit nervous, although looking back, I wasn’t really in freakout mode. We were supposed to go out to the lake to eat steaks and let Claire stay the night with Paul and Diane in their new camper. Diane texted me at about 6 p.m. and said not to come, that the weather was getting bad. It was windy and warm, with heavy gray clouds, but I wasn’t scared, just annoyed that I would have to cook dinner on a night when I thought I was going to get off the hook!

So I started cooking dinner and turned on the local news, which was in straight-weather mode, no commercials, no shows. I could hear things about tornadoes being sighted in the Ardmore area, but I wasn’t paying too close attention. Then I started seeing that it was coming through Madill heading straight east, and I started wondering if I should figure out where to take the girls. I called the neighbors who have a cellar, but they said it was too wet and they weren’t going to go in there. I kept trying to call Paul’s and Diane’s cell phones throughout this, trying to get their opinion, but couldn’t get them. I was talking to Jay on and off, and he was at a home that had a big cellar, thankfully. Then the sirens went off! Mom called and said she, Ty, and Manda were coming back from a school field trip, and Grandad had told them not to come to Coleman, the storm was coming toward them. Mom said she may come to our house instead of going home. Just as the storms passed through Madill and were heading into Kingston, Jay and I decided I should go to his parents’, even though I still hadn’t gotten ahold of them to make sure they were there instead of at the lake. I got Anna into her carseat, and then Mom, Manda, and Ty knocked on our door!

I let them in, and waffled around some more about whether or not to go, if they should come with us, or what. Then the sirens went off again! We all watched the weather for a second, and determined that I should go to Paul and Diane’s, and they would go to Coleman. By now it was about 7:30, and I pulled dinner out of the oven, but no time to eat! I had to take cover! It was time for us to eat and time for Anna to nurse, but we had to go! So with Anna screaming, rain pelting, and wind blowing, I set off on the 12-minute drive to Paul and Diane’s. It was raining really hard, but I was driving on a little back road, so I had to go slow enough that I didn’t feel like it was dangerous driving. The rain suddenly slowed down to just a few splattering drops, and the wind died down. I heard a dull whining roar. I thought I must be hearing the sirens again, but I rolled down the window, and it wasn’t the sirens. I think it was the storm going over, and I was still 10 minutes from shelter! I knew that at the time, but I didn’t really let myself believe it, so I didn’t freak out. After only a minute or so, the rain picked back up and that sound went away. Anna was still screaming though.

Claire finished her chocolate milk and tried to get me to take her cup, like she usually does, but I said, “Not right now Claire, I’ve got to focus on driving.” I explained to her that it was really stormy, and we had to get to Mamaw and Papaw’s house fast so we could get in the cellar in case a tornado came. She enjoys going in Mamaw and Papaw’s new cellar whether it’s stormy or not, and I explained to her that a tornado is really strong winds that come down from the sky and can pick up cows! I don’t know if this really impressed her as much as I thought it should.

Anyway, we finally made it to Mamaw and Papaw’s driveway. Anna was still screaming in case you’re wondering. As I drove up, I saw two extra vehicles and three people I didn’t immediately recognize staring up at the sky. The people who had been camping with Paul and Diane had come back to their house with them; they were three couples from our church. Paul helped me get the girls in the house, and I immediately sat down with Anna and started nursing her under her tent. Things were so crazy with most people coming in to check the TV, or out to check the sky, that I figured nobody would mind if I nursed Anna in the middle of it all. Then I heard the news lady say that people of Durant should take cover. We were in Calera, so we didn’t think this applied to us. Then the Calera storm sirens went off, and Diane heard another channel say that a tornado had just been seen by a Love’s gas station that was only a couple miles from us. So Diane leaped into motion, shouting toward the back porch where a couple more people were sitting, “We better go to the cellar!” I heard Ruth from our church trill, “Steeeee-ven!!”, one of the people who was standing in the yard with his head tilted back at a 90 degree angle. Anna, Claire, Diane, Ruth, Dee Davis, her dog Bonnie, and I were all in the cellar, and it felt pretty cozy, but there were still five people above, watching the sky! I finished feeding Anna in one of the camping chairs, and we sat down there with the door open, waiting. It still wasn't raining hard--just hard, spattering drops, and the wind had died down again. We chatted about nothing in particular for about 15 minutes, until a couple of the sky-watchers came over and told us the danger had passed; the storm had moved over to the east. We were all starving, and dinner was pretty much ready in the house, so we climbed out and the ladies set about pulling baked potatoes from the oven, cutting up a prime rib, pulling out paper plates and plastic silverware, etc.

We ate dinner at about 8:15, and then went back to watching the storm coverage. I got word from my sister that they had made it back to Coleman, thank goodness. Then we heard on the news that a tornado had touched down three miles south of Coleman! I got a text from the other Kim that she had seen on the news that the Sundowner arena, which she knew was owned by my uncle, had been hit! (They later amended that title, saying that Kyle from their Facebook page had said that the arena is no longer the Sundowner arena. Yup, that was my brother, on fb during the storm!) When Amanda and the rest of my Coleman family emerged from the cellar a little later, we texted back and forth about what we knew about the arena, while I talked and texted with Jay, who was driving back from Ardmore--he’d been meeting with a family in their home about building a house for their parents, and thankfully, that home had a big cellar. They’d been down to the cellar two different times, and the storms had finally subsided enough between here and there for him to head back.

The arena was wrecked, but all my family made it back home safe and sound, thank the Lord!

07 May 2010

Claire at 3

What can I say? This girl lights up my life! Here's a snapshot of my first daughter at age three (minus the negatives, because, hey, it's her birthday!):

  • She loves to "help" mommy. If I'm not in the same room, she has to come see what I'm doing and usually says, "I wanna help you."
  • She still loves to read. Favorites right now are Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Hiccup the Hero (I Can Read adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon), Pinkalicious and Purplelicious, and her toddler Bibles. She's off Fancy Nancy and Berenstein Bears for now, but she's had some intense phases of both.
  • She loves baby sister. She uses this funny baby talk that's this really silly, exaggerated voice, where she basically repeats, "Hi Anna boo-boo! Hi Anna jee-jee!" and other variations of that. Anytime I bring Anna in from a nap, she has to talk to her and "pet" her. She likes to hold her hand while we're driving, but also has a great talent for tuning Anna out when she's screaming in her carseat.
  • She loves Disney princess anything. It's becoming very predictable. Anything Disney princess we see, we have to stop and look at it.
  • She loves for me to tell her stories. Often when we're driving, at bedtime, and at naptime, I tell her a made-up story. She supplies the names of the people involved (always herself, and usually her cousins Katelyn and Kerrigan, but sometimes other friends and relatives she's lately played with), and a little about the premise, and I launch into something. I have a couple standbys that are combinations of fairy tales and movies she likes.
  • She plays really well with all kids that I've seen. The toughest thing is usually trying to get her to leave.
  • She only takes naps two or three times a week now. We've moved her bedtime up by 30 minutes or so (I try for earlier, but she rarely goes to sleep before 9 p.m.).
  • She can be bossy to people she's very comfortable with (often me, Mamaw, and my sister Amanda). But if older kids boss her around, she is totally fine with it.
  • She says she enjoys the scary parts in movies (like Harry Potter, the witch parts in princess movies), and she likes to play pretend, but there's a certain deep voice I use for giants, monsters, etc., that genuinely scares her, and she immediately changes my role, or asks "Are you a giant?" like she suspects I've changed.
  • She loves her outside-time in the evenings with Daddy: working in the shop, mowing the yard, and hitting golf balls are their favorites.
  • She enjoys playing Wal-Mart. She says, "You be the lady," and then she asks me questions about where things are in the store, or how much something costs. Then she brings me stuff, and I have to "peep it" and then tell her how much she owes.
  • She plays in her kitchen almost every night while I cook dinner.
  • She enjoys Bible class on Wednesday nights and Thursday School very much, although often when I ask her what she learned in Bible class, she tells me "About Jesus crossing on the river." Recently, though, she has actually remembered the Bible story a couple times, and told me a little about it.
Well, I could go on, but I guess I'll stop! I love watching her grow and learn, and I pray Jay and I can help her become the woman God wants her to be.

05 May 2010

Claire quotes

Jay drew a bow and arrow on the Magna Doodle tonight, and Claire said, "I'd like to get a bow and arrow someday!" I said, "What would you do with it?" Claire "Go like this and shoot things." Jay: "You going to shoot a deer?" Claire: "I'm going to shoot a deer. And eat it for dinner."

Me (bemoaning my fourth trimester): "None of my clothes FIT me!" Claire: "You'll just have to wear Daddy's clothes!"

Me: "How about this shirt, Claire?"
Claire: "No, it doesn't match my panties!"

Mother's Day is coming up, so I explained to Claire that we got presents for Mamaw, because she is Daddy's mommy. Claire's response: "No, he's our daddy, we get to keep him!"