27 May 2011

First two weeks of summer vacation = Pure Awesomeness

Summer haircut!

Swimming in Grandmom's pool!
Claire started off not even wanting to jump in from the side, but got braver and braver, until she was jumping in from the diving board (wearing the baby floatie that Anna didn't care for)!

Redoing the girls' room so it's finally ready for two girls! Claire is doing great in her new bed, but we're still "transitioning" Anna. I'll probably post more pics of this major reorganization project when I'm done.

Having an Oreo. What a stinker! This isn't really specific to summer, but I thought it was a funny pic.
Enjoying riding together!

Reading some books--again, not a summer-specific pic, just cute! That blankie on her lap is her fave. Today, she took it to the hair salon with us--that was a mistake! Afghans are like velcro so it's got sister's hair stuck all over it.

08 May 2011

Happy Birthday, Claire!

I'm sure all parents have this feeling of wondering how in the world your child is at this age. It's so hard to quantify how Claire has changed this year, but here is a snapshot of who she is at age FOUR!

  • Activities: drawing and coloring (loves to draw stick people, color in coloring books, and paint on her art easel), packing up purses/backpacks for trips (mostly make-believe!), riding bikes (again, she's always telling me where we're going and what we're doing as we ride/walk from place to place), dancing to music on her CD player, work or fish with Daddy
  • Books: Magic Treehouse series! She got the first one from Mamaw a while back and the next three for her birthday, and we've read two and a half in about a week.
  • Foods: fried potatoes, waffles, strawberries, fried squash, mac and cheese...this sounds like she just mostly loves junk food, but she eats almost everything we put in front of her, at home, other people's houses, or at restaurants.
ABCs/123s: Can write her own name and probably half of the alphabet, can count to 12
Big Sis: Very affectionate and helpful with Anna (little sis is usually not a fan of this)

Claire is a good girl most of the time, with a tendency to be bossy and ask LOTS of questions. She's becoming more assertive with what she wants to wear--usually dresses or skirts whenever possible! (Mom says this is exactly how I was in my early elementary years!) She plays really well with other kids and is always up for going and doing. At least once a day, she asks, "Where are we going to-morning?" (This can mean this afternoon or or tomorrow--just "next.") She's very excited to start pre-K in the fall--when I was telling her I might come get her after lunch until she's ready to stay the whole day, she said, "Or I think you could just let me stay for recess and snacks." What happened to my baby? Oh yeah, her name is Anna now. Thank you, Lord!

We had Claire's party yesterday, and I think it was a lot of fun, although it was kind of a blur! It was a Candyland party, so we had a giant game of Candyland, with the kids drawing cards and moving around the board we taped to the floor with colored cardstock. I traced and painted cardboard standups of all NINE Candyland characters, with a corresponding candy/treat to go with each one. The kids each got a personalized candy bag they decorated as they arrived, and then we lined up to play Candyland. They drew cards, went around the board, and gathered candy as they passed each character.

Katelyn, Claire, and Dawson on the board. You can see Lolly in the background.

Going along the board...

Izzy walks by Princess Frostine.

Claire made it to King Kandy first!

It was very disorganized, with eight kids playing at once, ranging in age from 2 1/2 (Isabel knew most of the colors, but had trouble staying on her square until her turn!) to nine (Rylee wanted us to know that she was only playing for the candy). But I think they must have liked it, because a bunch of them went back to the beginning to play again, or just ran around the board for fun when they were done. Claire had an appropriate birthday girl game, drawing her favorite character of Princess Frostine and finishing first. (And NO Jay, I did NOT rig it!)

Then we made candy necklaces, ate pizza, and cut into the Candyland cake that Claire and I made together.
Candy necklaces

Birthday Girl! (Self-selected outfit!)

Claire and my joint masterpiece!

I was so thankful for my sister and her boyfriend James' help with setup, and with all the moms and guests who helped pick up afterward.

24 April 2011

Easter Fun!

We had our first egg hunt last Wednesday evening at church (resurrection eggs, egg hunt, and hot dogs before Bible class). As I've said before, the girls and I have been having for-fun hunts in our yard for a few weeks, so even little Anna knew what to do.

Our next stop on the Easter fun train was the Thursday School Easter egg hunt (straight from Anna's dr. appt). Pictured above are Claire's cousin Katelyn and her friend (sometimes boyfriend), Zeek before the hunt. I also mentioned on fb that it POURED during the 10 minutes the kids were hunting. I had my camera and Anna, so I scurried under a tree while Claire kept on hunting.

Then Friday Claire got to go watch Hop with Grandmom and Tyler while I worked on a writing assignment. Got 'er done!

And Saturday was the big Pannell get-together at my mom's house. Almost all the kids, from Claire to Kyle, even went swimming, despite the 65-degree temps! We hid a ton of eggs, with an area for the six toddlers and preschoolers, and a huge area for the six big kids. It was perfect; everyone got a bunch of eggs. But that night storms started rolling in, so after we ate pizza, everyone gathered around the TV to watch the radar.

Yum! Anna opened this egg and handed the candy to daddy, so of course he had to give it to her! She had so much candy yesterday!

We ended up staying the night at Mom's to avoid driving in bad weather or worrying about tornados when we got home. But that meant that when we woke up Sunday we had to drive down to Durant, do baths and Easter finery, and even a visit from the Easter bunny, and then drive back to Coleman for church. Only 10 minutes late--that was doing pretty good I think! I'm glad we got to come; it was an excellent service and we got to see some great people we don't get to very often, and then enjoy some more family time at lunch at Nana's.

....and now it's back to the grind!

But first, a pic of Anna's funny face! She loves to entertain people with this...when she feels like it. We can rarely get her to do it on demand, and this is the first time I've captured it on camera. She was doing it over and over at Nana's during lunch today.

21 April 2011

Anna at 15 months

Weight: 18.1 lbs
Height: 28 1/2 inches
Relative size: Fifth percentile (!)

Personality: Determined messmaker--not easily distracted, and loves to climb, crawl or squeeze into small and strange places, does not like to sit still, very affectionate, but usually not to sister.
Words: mama, dada, mmm for cow, da-da for dog, and bye! (not too verbal, but she definitely lets us know what she wants--has a very adamant head nod and a good pointer finger)
Favorite toys: cell phones (toy or real), lift-the-flap books, play computer. (Not too big on toys, really)
Favorite activities: pulling everything out of a toy box, bookshelf, Claire's play kitchen, or my cabinets (a few of the baby latches don't work too well, and/or I give up and open one for her), hauling items around the house. Also likes to pretend to cook in Claire's play kitchen (throws items in a bowl, stirs them), draw (prefers markers), and play outside
Favorite times of day: morning after breakfast, afternoon after naptime, when daddy gets home
Nicknames: Little Anne, Anne Banan. We call her Anna Jae a lot--but for me, it usually ends up being when I'm telling her no.
Little Sister personality
: Claire loves to try to pick Anna up, hold her, and love on her, but Anna has very little patience for this. Although Anna loves to watch and play with Claire, the only times she really touches her are to do this soft head-bump Claire sometimes initiates, or to "get sister," when she kind of grins and smacks Claire repeatedly. They usually play really well together in Claire's room, although this pretty much consists of Anna making her favorite messes while Claire does other things.

04 April 2011

Feeling like summer!

Yay for warm temps! All of my pics of the girls for the past couple months have been like, them in pajamas, making messes in the house--finally some sunny outdoor shots!

This past weekend, we played in the sprinkler and went to Fort Washita. Weekends are so sweet when you turn in a ton of work on Friday and then say forget it! for the weekend. That's what I did, and oh, did it feel good. I'm reading a really good Christian novel right now called The Shape of Mercy, so I got in a couple hours of paperback couch time after our exhausting morning at Fort Washita--delish!

I got a thrilling assignment from The Christian Chronicle a few weeks ago--a roundup feature on fiction authors in the Church of Christ. It has been so inspiring to talk with a bunch of authors of all different kinds of books about how they write and how their life experiences have shaped their fiction, and how God has guided their career and strengthened their faith through writing. Anyway, writing this article led me to some really good books, which naturally, led me to a few more (Thank you, Amazon recommendations!), so those book orders were part of my birthday gifts!

....and here's one of my aforementioned pajama shots, because Anna was not a huge fan of the sprinkler! This little girl, like my almost-four-year-old, loves to write! There's this basket of scrap paper, notebooks, and pens behind Claire's little armchair that Anna loves to dig in, find a pen and paper, and take some notes! It is so sweet for this writer-mama to see!

I did have an ultrasound today, but the results were not official, so I will not announce them yet. However, you can probably guess that there was lack of evidence for a boy, so the doc said it was probably a girl. But the official ultrasound is in a month, so I will not plan anything until then!

21 March 2011

Boy or Girl?

Cravings: Potatoes! And meat! And I must have something between 10 and 11 p.m. every night. Like I am literally HUNGRY at that time.
Sick: Well, I spoke a little too soon in my first trimester, because now that I'm into my second, I've now had a couple bouts with something that was too short-lived to be a stomach bug. This is all new to me, people; I never had any kind of sickness with my first two pregnancies.
Belly: Same as before, straight out and freakishly large. I don't think it's carrying particularly higher or lower than previous pregnancies.
Fatigue: doing pretty good on this level, actually. I think it's because I pretty much don't have the option to take naps or lay around at this point in my life--two kids, one part-time job, and a stream of writing assignments keep me pretty busy, in addition to all the cooking/cleaning stuff
Claire: Says "We don't need another girl; we already have three!" (She counts me and Jay.) I keep trying to tell her we'll be thankful for whatever God gives us. :)

But I bet we find out in two weeks at my next appt. My doc has this new ultrasound machine that he's crazy about playing with, and it does have a really good picture, so I bet if the baby cooperates, we'll find out!

06 February 2011

Blizzard 2011

Oh, were you thinking I would have pictures of this? Nope, just thoughts. The girls and I were stuck inside for four days last week, which seemed like FOREVER! Friday (or was it Thursday? It's all a blur now) we finally got a nice, soft snow and the temperatures weren't so frigid, so we ventured outside for the first time. Jay was out everyday for at least a few hours except for Tuesday, since he has four-wheel drive. So here's what us girls did:
  1. Cleaned house (well, that was just me)
  2. Watched movies: Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses, Prince Caspian, and Despicable Me, and Jay and I watched 50 First Dates and Shallow Hal.
  3. Made a huge breakfast everyday (Jay participated in these too, of course): pumpkin pancakes and biscuits and gravy were the best ones.
  4. Made too many sweets: peanut butter cookies, peach cobbler, and quite a bit of hot cocoa.
  5. Made paper snowflakes (had to watch a youtube video to refresh myself)
  6. Graded papers (also just me)
  7. Played Hi-Ho Cherry-O and Cranium Cariboo with Claire
  8. Dragged Anna around in the wagon in the snow; made a snow fort with Claire (well, she just kind of approved of each bucketful of packed snow).
Basically, we tried not to go crazy living inside the same 1500 square feet for about 100 hours. Thank goodness we had power and plenty of food the whole time.

31 January 2011

Monday things

Mom's 50th B-day party!! It was a driving force of my week last week, but I couldn't mention it, because of course it was a SURPRISE! All of her siblings made it, plus her church friends, in-laws, and even an old friend from high school she hasn't seen in quite a while. Amanda did a GREAT job with decorations, including a timeline banner of Mom's life. And the memory book I put together with pics and memories from family, children, and friends made her tear up and laugh out loud and just smile in pleasant reflection so mission accomplished.

But then Anna got sick Saturday night! :( So I stayed home from church Sunday with her. I guess it was just a quick little stomach bug though, b/c she only threw up twice Saturday night and then was just sluggish on Sunday.

I have a bunch of papers to grade (And guess what, students? Asking me about them doesn't make me go any faster!).

Jay and I are supposed to stay a night at the Choctaw Resort Hotel this week for an Oklahoma Today article, but I'm really worried about how Anna will do since she's not weaned yet! I'm afraid if she woke up in the early morning, no one but me could get her back to sleep! Oh well, Papaw gets up early with their new puppy every morning anyway! ;)

Claire quotes:
Me: "Where could the remote be?" Claire: "It's a mystery!"
Me: "You have to pick up your Pollys first." Claire: "Okay, but it'll be a long journey!"
Claire: "Here, drink this potion." (I shrink and start meowing.) Claire: "No, it didn't turn you into a cat; it turned you into a giraffe!"
We were playing "Name that Tune" for the first time, where I would hum a song and she would guess what it was. She kept calling it "Huma" instead of humming for some reason. I think she was thinking about the High School Musical 2 song "Huma Huma." Obscure reference, I know. But she would say, "Okay your turn to huma!"

24 January 2011

Anna at ONE YEAR!

Holy cow, I think time starts going doubly fast when you have two kids! Here's a snapshot of our baby girl right now (I'll add her current weight and height after we go to her one-year doc appt Thursday):

Weight: 17.13 lbs (wearing mostly 12 month clothes)
Height: 27 1/4 inches
Percentile: Fifth for height and weight!! Yikes! She hasn't gained any weight in the past two months! BUT the doctor said not to worry about it, b/c she's developing fine in all other respects. I don't get it; the girl eats ALL THE TIME! But Claire dipped in her weight when I weaned her, so once Anna warms up to milk from a cup, we're hoping she starts fattening up a little.
Clothing size: 12 months
Shoe size: 3
Diaper size: 3 (guess we'll be in this one until potty-training--Claire was)
Sleeps: 12-13 hours at night, but I think she is cutting out her morning nap! Yikes! Afternoon nap is about 2hrs.
Eats: EVERYTHING! I'm weaning her, so she's nursing just two times in a 24-hour period. She loves any table food. Some plain ol' baby foods, she'll throw on the floor in protest, but give her anything that we're eating, and she will eat it up! (recently, we've tried beans and rice at a Mexican restaurant, chili and cornbread, baked beans, cinnamon rolls, turkey bacon, the list goes on!)
Mobility: favors walking, and has for the past month or so. She only crawls if she's super-frustrated with her shoes. LOVES to climb: stepstools, stairs, in the empty dishwasher, and on top of Claire's little chairs. When she gets up high, she stands and does her little knee-bouncing dance.
Talking: she mostly still just says "dada!" She also sort of says "dog," but it seems like she calls Claire and I both "da" and Jay "dada."
Other skills: clapping, washing her hands (rubs her hands together when I tell Claire to wash her hands or when we put on lotion or hand sanitizer), aforementioned knee-bouncy dance when she's excited or hears music
Likes: Seeing daddy come in the door, her bunny-lovey, watching Sister dance or run or act silly, taking baths with Sister, looking at lift-the-flap or touch-and-feel books, making MESSES!