Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Conversation

Kate (while watching Avery stir cupcake batter): "Why, Eggie?"
Avery: "So we can make cupcakes for Jesus' birthday."
Kate: "Why, Eggie?"
Avery: "Because Christmas is when Jesus was born."
Kate: "Why, Eggie?"
Avery: "Because He came to save the world."
Kate: "Why, Eggie?"
Avery: "Well, because He didn't want the world to break in half."


Monday, December 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Families...

One of our favorite family traditions is enjoying a character breakfast and then the Kid's Crazy Christmas Show at Second Baptist Church. This year, we ended up with two extra tickets to the breakfast and so Avery and Kate got to invite their BFFs Hannah and Abigail. It was such a fun morning of vast differences...

When we first arrived, Hannah, Avery, and Abigail sprinted through the parking lot to hug Avery's Nana. Abby went immediately to DD and let him hold her while we waited in line. When the characters began to appear, Hannah and Abby pressed their noses to the glass, trying to get a better view. Kate grabbed Daddy tightly and yelled, "Go 'way, 'noman!"

During the breakfast, Kate and Avery chose to avert eye contact and cover their faces with napkins when the characters came around. They were persuaded to take one picture with the Snowman, as long as Nana and DD were holding them. Hannah and Abigail, on the other hand, walked around the room, finding more and more characters to pose with. They even went up on the stage and took a picture with Santa! (To be fair to Kate, she warmed up some and waved at the characters as long as she was safe in Nana's arms.)

During the puppet show, Avery chose to sit down with the rest of the children for the first time ever. I was concerned that she might get scared, but Hannah put her loving, protective arms around Avery and all was well!

It was so much fun to have Hannah and Abby along for the trip - Avery and Kate loved their company, and I got to experience the breakfast in a whole new way from years past with my two children, Timid and Shy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Sickness and In Health...

This week, Avery was sick, sick, sick! For two days straight, she laid on the couch, moaned, complained of a stomach, tooth, and headache, and generally was absolutely miserable. Poor Avery even felt so bad that she fell asleep on the examining room table at the doctor's office! I didn't understand why she wasn't playing with me and why Mommy would tell me no when I tried to sing to her and kiss her on the couch.

Luckily, Daddy was home this week and Mommy was still able to take me to Little Gym and other fun Kate time things. I got to help shop for Christmas and had lots of quality time with whichever parent wasn't in the sick room (usually Mommy... I gather that Daddy is the nurturing one when we're sick).

Avery didn't really feel well for most of the week, but luckily she perked right up in time for us to go to school Friday and in time for weekend fun. On Friday, I had my Panda Class Christmas party that both Mommy and Daddy got to come to. Then, to give tired parents a break after a long week of sick, Nana and DD hosted us for a sleepover. To end the healthy weekend, we went to our annual Rowdy Rebel Christmas party at Clay's. They had leftover snow from their Snow Day, and even though Avery told Daddy, "It's not snow, Daddy. It's dirty ice," in the end, she came around and we had a blast.


Love,
Kate "The Picture of Health" McClinton

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mommy's Birthday!

This week we celebrated Mommy's birthday. I decided a few weeks ago that I really wanted to make Mommy a fondant cake and it had to have flowers. We were pressed for time on Saturday, so Mommy baked the cake while we shopped for the ingredients for the fondant. When I found out Mommy was making her own cake, I was deeply bothered. "But she can't make her own cake! It's her birthday!" Mommy assured me it was okay, Daddy helped me decorate the cake, and in the end, it turned out faaaaaan-cy.

I also told Mommy that I thought we should go ice-skating for her birthday. One time around the rink and I was done with the heavy shoes, but Katie had a blast going around with Daddy (especially when he picked her up and skated super fast).

On Sunday, we got to eat the cake and celebrate with Mommy some more. Kate caught Nana singing, "Happy Birthday, Jesus... I'm so glad it's Christmas..." and had a stern word for her: "No no, Nana! Mommy 'Irh-day!"

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES OF THE WEEK (including Daddy's trip to Vegas)

Love,
Avery Professional Birthday Celebrator McClinton

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

We're thankful for...

*An Aggie win! Whoop!













*Chalk:



















*Family:















*Pecans!
















*Gingerbread houses and traditions:














*Aunt Erin and her amazing photography:




















*God's amazing blessings. He continues to be more gracious and more gentle to our family than we could ever hope or expect. And Thank You, Jesus, for the most important... and amazing... gift of all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Changes!

It's been a big week of changes in our house:

*On Friday, I came home from school with one pigtail in tact. The other pigtail... well, I had used Free Play time at school to give myself some striking layers. I cut my hair into four different lengths! Mom and Dad gave me a haircut to even it out, and now I have a cute little bob.

*On Sunday, Nana and DD took us shopping for a new bed for Kate. She's getting big enough to not stay in her crib anymore, and I thought it would be super cool to pick out bunk beds so we could sleep in the same room together. Kate found her favorite bed right away - a crib - and kept climbing into it. Despite her wishes, we all found and agreed on a bed that is just right for sharing sisters. It's not ready to come to my home yet, but soon, I will get to sleep with Kit every night if I want.

*Yesterday we went to go pick out a new car. Our 11-year-old Pathfinder has been amazing to us, but with a road trip coming up and with Daddy about to leave town for more travelling, Daddy said he'd feel safer if we just went ahead and made the trade. Four hours later (with everyone being patient and happy except one very tired Momma), we have a new car with a special sunroof just for me! I told Mom, "I like this car, but I wish we would have gotten the mini-van." Mom told me she'd be more than happy to buy me a mini-van if it's what I want when I turn 16. She better be careful - I may hold her to it!


Love,
Avery Big Change McClinton

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fancy Nancy!

Guess who I got to meet? The illustrator from Fancy Nancy!!

Mommy says she's met authors before, but never anyone as fancy as Robin Preiss Glasser! Miss Robin showed up in the fanciest dress I've ever seen, and she had special stickers and glitter for all of our faces. She showed us how to curtsey and let us practice walking with a banana on our heads... you know, because that's how you practice walking like a model.

Mommy let me pick my outfit, and I looked exactly like Fancy Nancy would've if she was a real live girl. Mommy picked Katie's outfit, and she looked more like a picturesque Fancy Nancy. Nana and DD came, and just like in the book, they got fancy too! We got to eat at a posh restaurant afterwards and I made comments all night like, "This cake is delectable."


Love,
Fancy Avery

Monday, November 8, 2010

San Antonio with These Two


This weekend, we had a family reunion with the Wales side of the family. Every single one of the 23 member family was in attendance. A few favorite moments from the weekend, as it pertained to the girls:

Avery:

*Avery was so excited to see her "Disney" family and requested that she get to ride with Mimi and Gran on the way up. Mimi and Avery read, told stories, and snacked all the way to San Antonio. She loves her great-grandparents!

*As we were leaving San Antonio, Mimi gave Avery some money. Jordan caught her just as she was about to rip the bill in half. Turns out, she was trying to half it so she could share the money with Katie Beth.

*On the way to San Antonio, we stopped through to pick up Mimi and Gran and drop off the dogs with Nanny. On the way home, we did not. Avery kept asking me how long until we got to Nanny's house. I figured she meant Nana... When we got all of our misunderstandings cleared up and Avery realized we would not be stopping at Nanny's on the way home, she cried big sobs. She wanted to see Nanny's face and hold it - the computer and the phone won't let her do that! Such a sweet heart. Luckily, we'll be back in a few short weeks and a phone call eased the pain after all.

Kate:

*We left Kate's newest froggy stuffed animal in Houston and thought it was okay until it came time to ride the boat. It was the highlight of Kate's trip and she looked at me as we were getting ready and whimpered, "Froggy. Boat. Home!" Sure enough, Froggy wasn't going to get to ride the boat because he was at home. Luckily, Nana purchased a ceramic frog for Kate and he made the trip (in a protective bag), which forgave Mommy for the blunder of leaving Froggy behind.

*After the reunion, we took the girls to the zoo with Trey and Erin before heading home. Kate hid her head from the monkeys and cried when we tried to get her to look at them. For some inexplicable reason, she was terrified of them. However, at our next stop, the Reptile Room, Kate climbed out of her stroller and pushed her face as close to the glass as she could to see the snakes, frog, and lizards. The enormous Reticulated Python was bigger around than Kate, but she thought he was fascinating and loved it when the Komodo Dragon climbed the wall to try to get out of its cage.

*On the way home from the zoo, an exchange:
Kate: "Mommy, ow!"
Me: "Kate, do you have an ow?"
Kate: "Yeah, feeng."
Me: "Your finger hurts?"
Kate: "Bain."
Me: "Why do you need a band-aid?"
Kate: "Aah-gay bit me."
Me: "Kate, I don't buy it. No way an alligator bit you."

She's been finding 'ant bites' all week that need 'bains', and so I guess she thought that it was just as likely that I'd believe an alligator bit her at the zoo.


Monday, November 1, 2010

So Much!

There was so much this week:

Avery's Costume Parade at School


Kate's Playgroup Halloween Party (complete with Pumpkin Painting)


Avery's Class Fall Party (which Mommy got to be a part of)


Our Rowdy Rebel Halloween Party


Miss Shannon's 30th Birthday, including a Spa Day for Mommy and Shannon and a Surprise Party


Daddy's 31st Birthday, including breakfast in bed, lunch with the fam, a new(ish) Kindle, and Key Lime Pie


Trick or Treating with Nana and DD


And these extra goodies for you:

*Where's Kate?


*All week we talked about helping Daddy carve the pumpkin, but when the time came, apparently the smell was too much and two little girls had to "hide" from the smell behind the wall while Daddy worked... can you find them?


*For about two months, our camera has had really bad resolution in pictures, and we could not figure it out. As it turns out, someone (maybe Avery... maybe Katie...) had turned our camera's preferences to the smallest picture size possible. So, two months' worth of memories will never be able to be printed without a grainy look. So much for assuming that if a camera is water- and shock-proof that it is also child-proof.


*Kate changed costumes 4 times this week (one of which never made it to pictures because she suddenly deemed it too tight). On the night of the Rowdy Rebel party, we were struggling with a weather-appropriate costume for her. Daddy found a random bear/dog costume and as soon as Kate saw it, she lit up: "Kate! Pooh!" She was wholly convinced that she was dressed as Winnie the Pooh. Maybe that is exactly what it was meant to be...?


*We passed a group of people passing out Taquitos to all the adults who were trick-or-treating. Kate, just doing what she had been doing all night, reached up and took one, and started eating it. We thought she had dropped it on the ground after she realized it wasn't candy. In fact, she stuck it in her bucket, and we didn't think much of it until we were digging for candy. Can you find it hiding in the candy basket?

And, because there is always more, click here for more pictures of the week

Monday, October 25, 2010

They Get Me!

This weekend, I celebrated two years of life. I'm happy to report that after expressing my desires for two years, my family has figured out what I love.

The attention and main stage is best saved for Avery. I prefer lots of fun, some affection, a little bit of an acknowledgement, and a lot of action.

Things my family realized I love and provided for me on my birthday weekend:
*FROGGIES!
*The Aquarium... with a train ride, carousel, my first trip in the ferris wheel, and a horse-drawn carriage ride in "Rella's" carriage
*The Little Gym!
*A handful of precious friends
*Presents and the chance to yell, "Mine! Mine!" every time Sister looks at them.

It was a wonderful, froggyful weekend. Today when I went in for my Little Gym class, I asked Mommy, "Goggy? Poh-eee?" Mommy promised we could do it all again next year... but for now, it's time to guard - I mean enjoy - my presents.


Love,

Katie Beth "Goggy 'Day" McClinton

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Expressing Ourselves

This week, we've been busy making sure we're understood...

Kate (to Avery, on repeat): "Daah Doo, A!" ("I love you, Avery.")

Avery: "Mommy! Daddy! Hurry! Kate is masterly stuck!" (Sure enough, she was.)

Avery (in prayer): "Thank you for everything, thank you for Daddy, and thank you for this blessing I'm praying." (This girl gets that even the capacity to pray is from the Lord.) ;)

It was a super week, with Daddy travelling (and making his return trip a day early!), time with Nana and DD to break up the long, lonely week, a pumpkin pie for Daddy's welcome home present, our Pumpkin Patch visit, Cinco Ranch Homecoming, birthday parties, and butterfly cupcakes!


Love,

Avery and Kate "Masterly Expressive" McClinton

Monday, October 11, 2010

Best (Ordinary) Week Ever!

This week was just another ordinary week, except that a few special things made it the best ordinary week of them all.

For one, Daddy was in town! I got a double dose of Daddy this week because he and I had a date to Dad's Night at my school. He got to see what I do all day at class and we painted a frame together.

Then, we got to spend the night at Nana and DD's house this weekend. I was busy having a silly tea party with DD (he makes slurping noises when he sips his tea... I've been counting and can think of 9 reasons that "that DD is crazy"!), but Kate was busy doing her own thing. She has taken after her Daddy and loves all things slimy. She spent a good part of the morning examining a half-salamander that she found.

We also had our Fall Festival at school this week. Amelia and Nana joined us, and we had so much fun! Trains, games, horses, snow cones, a cake walk (that Amelia won!)... what a blast!

We finished up the weekend with a party for Uncle David's birthday and one for Chase's 2nd birthday.


It was a super-special plain-old week and I am so thankful for the time with Daddy and all the family fun.

Love,
Avery "Fall Festival Queen" McClinton

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Obsession (No Surprises Here)

Mommy and Avery keep talking about my Froggy Party that I'm going to have later this month. Avery loves parties and Mommy is glad to have a sidekick who will obsess over ribbon colors with her. Since they talk so much about it, I've figured this thing out.

Every time I hear the words, "birthday", "party", or "froggy", I yell, "Goggy Poh-ee!" For example, when Mommy was telling Avery about Miss Steph's going-away party, it was sort of hard for them to hear each other because I wouldn't stop shouting, "Goggy Poh-ee!" When we called Chase to wish him a Happy Birthday this week, I got so excited and couldn't stop yelling... you guessed it! - "Goggy Poh-ee!"

This week, my outfit for the Goggy Poh-ee came in the mail. Mommy let me try it on, but then she tried to take it back off of me! I was forced to yell and scream and cover the froggy on my shirt gingerly to protect him from Mom. I'd hover in a corner and stroke the froggy on my shirt... it was a valiant battle but I finally lost and Mom separated the Goggy and his Kit.

Sometimes I get shy around people, but lately Mommy and Daddy have found my magic button. If I don't want to talk to someone, all they do is say, "Kate, are you having a party?" No matter how shy I am, it is impossible to resist the chance to yell. "Goggy Poh-ee!"


Love,
Kate Goggy-Pohee McClinton

PS - Daddy has taken up my cause and is trying to talk Mommy into letting us get a real, live Goggy. He says if it makes me the happiest kid on earth, how could Mommy say no? That Daddy's got my back!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Things I Love

Things I Love by Kitty Bit

1. Shoes! Always have. Won't go anywhere without my Princess heels or boots.

2. Gunkey, Ooh Ooh, and Baby. All three are mandatory for a good night's sleep.

3. Pacis! Yes, I gave mine up a year ago, but I found a stray at Nana's house and suck on it the entire time I'm there.

4. Frogs. Either I love them, or I hate them. But they reduce me to loud squeals, arm flaps, and spinning circles of joy. Or fear.

5. Sometimes snakes. But Mommy says that's an unmentionable. So I guess they aren't officially on my list.

6. Books. Not so much to read, but pulling off the shelves in loud, satisfying thuds and then looking at the pictures. Awesomeness.

7. Babies. Not real ones, they freak me out. But pretend ones. I love those kind.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Daddy Traveling

Daddy started a new job a few months back and, in addition to being exciting and challenging, this new job requires some travel.

A few sure signs that Daddy's traveling has begun:

Avery: "Mommy, last night my dream was about Daddy coming home."
Avery (to Kate): "After tonight is school, and then.... DADDY!"
Avery (to Mommy): "I think it's time to leave Daddy a message on his phone. Again."

Every night, we wrote letters to Daddy to keep him informed of our day's events.

Monday's letter:
Dear Daddy,

The worst part of today was getting shots.

The best part of today was playing with Cole and school. The best part was playing Rapunzel outside. And Cole did something special! He brought the Play-Doh outside and we had it on the bridge part. And we made pizzas. And Rapunzel's was the biggest of all.

I love you! Night night.
Avery

Tuesday's letter:
Dear Daddy,

The worst part of my day was when Miss Steph's dog, Sam, terrorized me while I was trying to eat. Also the worst part of my day was when Miss Ella took pictures of me instead of helping me when I was crying. So what if I'm cute? Help a sister out.

The best part of my day was when Mommy told me I was going to go see Nana and DD. "DD!" "Yes, baby, and who else will we see?" "Nana!"

I love you Daddy!
Katie Beth



Wednesday's letter:
Dear "Daddy",

The worst part of today was when the mean geese cornered me and my tiny Kitty for our bread. Luckily, a Hail Mary pass of the bread to Ella saved the day.

The best part of today was when Luke took out the trash and Adam and Ben cleaned the house and did the dishes while the women took their turn discussing the book. Is it possible that at 30 years of age, I still have yet to take out the trash? Yes, it is. :)

Love,
"Mommy"



Thursday's letter:
Dear Daddy,

The worst part of my week was being trapped on Nana's couch late one night. Nana thought I was with Mommy, Mommy thought I was with Nana, and white kitty thought guarding me as a captive was a good night's work. - Dottie

The best part of my week was commandeering the entire expanse of the bed. With you out of the picture, I am finally free to implement my plan of total bed domination. -Oscar












We missed you, Daddy, and are so glad you're home!
Love,
Your gals

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Playing with Babies

Amelia spent the night at Nana and DD's house this weekend and Katie and I went to play with her some.

We tried playing Play-Doh. It wasn't working! Kate stayed at the Play-Doh table with me, but that Amelia - she wasn't staying put! It made me sort of frust-er-ated (which, by the way, is one of my favorite words) so Nana told me that Amelia isn't really old enough to play with Play-Doh like I like to play. She told me that if I wanted us to all play together, I might have to change how I played.

Then Nana told me that it was developmentally appropriate for Amelia to stack things and knock them down. So, I stacked the Play-Doh containers and Amelia knocked them down. Kate played happily at the table with her Play-Doh. At last! We were all playing together and all having a wonderful time.

I guess when you play with babies, you can't just tell them what to do. I guess they aren't like Kate.


Love,
Avery "Developmentally Appropriate Play" McClinton

Monday, September 6, 2010

Avery's Prayer

At bedtime last week:

Avery: "God bless Mimi and Gran and Nanny. And God, please let me go to Lockhart again soon, because it's been so long."

Nana: "Well, Avery, I think we could work something..."

Avery (cutting Nana off): "Nana, I was talking to God, not to you."

Well, God used Nana and DD to answer Avery's prayer. This weekend, Kate and Avery had the chance to spend the weekend with Nana, DD, Nanny, Mimi and Gran in Lockhart. From what I heard, the weekend was full of great interaction, lots of spoiling, and some serious swimming.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kitty Goes to School

On Thursday, we drove to Sister's school. Only, weird thing, we didn't go to a classroom for Sister. We went to a classroom where the lady kept talking to me and the other boys and girls looked like me, not like Sister.

Midway through our time there, Miss Debbie talked about how we were going to come back here. And Mommy must have realized she hadn't informed me that I'd be going to school because she bent down and began telling me about how I was going to school. What? (I heard later that when Avery started back to school, they spent a month talking about it and reading books about it...)

The next day, we dropped Avery off in her car rider line and then Mommy and Daddy walked me in. Mommy says I did better than she thought I would (I whimpered some and cried when they left, but only until Miss Georgianna cuddled with me). Miss Debbie said I really liked classroom time, but when it was time to transition to the playground or music class, I cried a lot. The room is the safest place I know. Don't make me leave here!

Sister saw me on the playground and gave me a good hug. I felt better when I saw her.

And then, after lunch and rest, Mommy, Daddy, and Sister all came to get me! I was thrilled. The rest of the day, I acted the silliest I've ever been. It was just pure relief. You can never be sure - it crossed my mind more than once that maybe, just maybe, my family dropped me off with this colony of crying toddlers and two crazy women who sing everything they say and I was to start a new life there.

No matter who asks me, it always goes like this:
"Katie, did you have fun at school?"
"Yeah."
"Do you want to go back to school?"
"No!"

Mom says not to worry, I'm more resilient than I've ever had to prove before. School will be a blast in no time at all. Right?


Love,
Katie Beth School Girl McClinton

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Avery!

(This week is far too big to post about only once - A's birthday, Kitty goes to school, and the normal excitement. So, today - Avery Girl, it's all about you.)

Four years ago this week, Jordan and I became parents. That night, our lives changed in all of the traditional ways: parenting is amazing and indescribable. But Avery came into our world and changed it in other ways, too. That tiny baby wasted no time in opening our eyes to joys in life we'd previously missed. She, as a baby, toddler, and now as a very big pre-schooler, shows us how to take life on full-force, with excitement, resolve, and a good bit of haste.

It's hard to feel nostalgic with Avery; she takes life full steam ahead and we love throwing ourselves wholly into every moment with her. It doesn't leave much time for reflection or missing what used to be - who can slow down and remember Avery as a baby when Avery as a four year old is so much fun?!?

Avery is the life of our never-ending party. She is comfortable in the spotlight and has an advanced sense of humor and the personality to pull off some serious attitude. We love that she is so emotive; her delight is contagious and rewarding. It comes with the other end of the spectrum, too - stubbornness, tears of rage or disappointment at the drop of a hat - but we wouldn't change it if we could. Mold it into a more socially appropriate and respectful way of being presented... yes. But change it... never!

For Avery's birthday, she gathered with her family at Rainforest Cafe. The evening would have been overstimulating for some children - noises everywhere, lots of adult interaction, the limelight, and numerous gifts to open and respond to appropriately... but for our first-born (and the first grandchild on both sides), it was her perfect way to spend a birthday.

Avery Girl,

You have so much of your Daddy's adventurous spirit and so much of your Mommy's zest for life. We're so blessed to take on life with you. You make this ride so much more fun and so much more fulfilling. Here's to many more years of nurturing the best in you!

We love you!
Mommy

Monday, August 30, 2010

Birthday Bliss

This week is my birthday! I'm not sure which day it really is, because I sort of get to celebrate non-stop for several days, but sometime this week, I turn 4!

On Thursday, Mommy took me to Toys R Us. There was a whole section just for birthdays! I asked Mommy, "Mom, how did they know it was MY birthday???" And then, things got better. When we checked out, they knew my name and gave me a crown and a balloon! They even announced my name over the intercom. Wow.

Then, on Friday, we had the best time celebrating with a pool party... to the theme of flowers. Mom and Dad let me swim longer than I've ever gotten to swim before (counting a little pre-party swim), I had a pinata, I ate "Frankie Doodle Dandies" and cake and ice cream... it was perfection. The best party I've ever had!


Love,
Avery Birthday Girl McClinton

Avery's Birthday: Behind the Scenes

This week had so many mishaps that it is laughable.

First, Kate ended up sick and threw up three times: once I even got to wear it for a few hours. (Praise the Lord, she was healthy by Thursday morning - just in time for partying.)

Next, I got sick (different kind of sickness - praise God!) and pulled a muscle in my neck (I'm fine... it just added to the tired feeling).

Then, Ella always makes the cakes for Avery's party and somehow needed to re-bake the cake 5 times (she's a great sport and laughed her way through 3 boxes of cake mix).

And, to finish off the week, Jordan and I spent 2 hours filling water balloons on Friday... only to have them pop within the first 10 minutes of the party. (We knew it was going to happen that way. It was worth it.)

And, during the party, Katie had a near-drowning experience. No kidding. I was standing over her, chatting with someone, and then stepped over about 4 feet to take a picture. In literally seconds, she somehow managed to get into the pool and onto the bottom of the pool, several steps away from the edge. My mom was watching Avery like a hawk (the kid thinks she's invincible!), and praise the Lord noticed a towel floating in the pool. She said it took a second for it to trigger that that wasn't a towel, but rather our Katie Beth. I've never seen my mom move so fast, nor have I seen her so scared. In full clothing, my mom was in the pool and back out again with a crying but very much alive Katie Beth. Once we calmed down a bit, we realized it couldn't have been more than 90 seconds that one of us had our eyes off of Kate. But it doesn't take much more than that. God protected my baby girl, and He used my mom as our guardian angel. Needless to say, the very first thing Jordan and I did when we got home that night was fall before the Lord, thanking Him for giving us another day with our little girls. The pool is such a fun place, but it was a powerful reminder that even with 4 pairs of eyes on 2 little girls, we can never be too careful.

In the end, the party was a blast for Avery girl and her guests, and she was never fazed by the week's comedy of errors, or the one truly scary moment. To a 4-year-old, the week was a blast. Oh, the joy of ignorant bliss! :)

Angela

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Going Private

We have considered taking the blog private before but kept putting it off. However, of late, a close friend dealt with a startling incident on a blog recently, and that was the catalyst we needed to spur us on toward the final decision.

Starting next Sunday, we will be going private with our blog posts. In order to read the blog, you will need to sign in using an approved email. If you want to be included in the email invitation I will send out later this week so that you can have access to the blog, please either comment or send me an email. We absolutely love that our blog is read by friends and family from past and present and would love to include you in our private blog.

For those of you who find the whole thing to be a bit confusing, I also send the blog out via email to a group of family members and would be glad to send the blog to you as an email as well.

Let me know when you email me if you'd rather me just send the text and pictures via email or if you would prefer access to the private blog (or both).

Anyone who is dependent on Google Reader or any other RSS feed for their daily blog scoop (like I am), please add http://averyandkatepublic.blogspot.com/ to your RSS feed. When I post a blog on the private blog, I will alert you via the public blog. Then you will know to hop on over and check out what we've been up to.

We're looking forward to continued laughs from the girls and can't wait to share them with you!
Angela

Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday Season!

I love this time of year. Lots and lots of my friends celebrate their birthdays right now, and I am getting ready to celebrate mine soon, too!

I love parties. I love the cake and the ice cream and the balloons. I love being with my friends and telling them how special they are to me. I love picking out the presents for each of my friends!

This week, we got to celebrate four birthdays to kick off the season. And I've been busy helping Mommy plan my party (with ideas like, "Mommy, it's ok if we change the party to be a princess party if you want to", or "I think we should have pizza, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and flower sandwiches to eat.") Mommy hardly knows what to do with herself for all of my help!


Love,
Avery "Birthdays Rule!" McClinton

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Katie Quirks

Our little Katie Beth is such a quirky little thing. We think she could act in a wordless comedy and everyone would buy it. Her tiny little frame and silly faces and movements make for constant entertainment.

Over the last several weeks, I've thought to myself, "I hope I never forget that...", so this is my attempt at cataloging the Katie Quirks that I haven't already lost to a bad memory:

*Moments before she wakes up, she uses her pointer finger to stroke the silky part of her lovey. It's a sure sign she's about to wake up.

*When Katie Beth knows she is disobeying or is embarrassed, she shuffle steps. She takes tiny, exaggerated steps while she disobeys. If it is a strategy, it's a brilliant one. It is very hard to discipline such a silly shuffle stepper!

*Katie Beth is still shy and unassuming. She just started using words at the beginning of July and finally, last week, realized she could express her wants and needs using words.

*She is the cutest when she says the princesses' names! Cinderella is our favorite because she sort of loses the name in all of her funky tongue maneuvering: "Reh-lalalalala."

*She is still obsessed with Froggy. It's been weeks since he was at our house, but Kate plays the Froggy Game often: she brings me an empty container and we have to pretend Froggy is in there. When she sings her princess book, she often replaces the words with "Froggy". She tells us she wants to have a Froggy party and wants to be Froggy for Halloween. Let's not forget that when Froggy actually stayed with us, she was terrified of the thing...

*She is understated. If you watch Katie Beth, you'll notice she's always joyful, always attacking life with abandon, and always wholly in the moment. But she's so quiet and understated about it that it is often easy to overlook. It's really comical to watch a child her size quietly but aggressively attack a bowl full of food.

*Her favorite playtime activities: putting baby to bed, reading, playing with her doll house, and playing with Big Sister (who currently plays "Walk the Dog" in which Kate willingly gets on all 4s and acts like Avery has her on a leash all over the house).

*Kit sings herself to sleep by humming a monotone sound before sleeping. Still one of my favorite noises ever!

*Kate decided about a month ago that she was done wearing diapers and will not leave them on. We played at potty training until this week, when she started using the restroom on her own and calling, "Mommy! Poh-ee!" I'd verify that she had, in fact, stopped her play and gone to the bathroom, and then would give her a treat. The child seems to be training herself. We're still at about 2 accidents a day, but Kate loves her big girl panties and will not wear a diaper or Pull Up if we're at home.

Jordan and I - several times a week - watch Kate doing something and look at each other in wonder. How did we end up with this kid? We feel like the luckiest family ever!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Annual Tri-Family Get-Away

Oh, the joy of having awesome friends that happen to be the kids of Mommy and Daddy's close friends.

We went on our annual tri-family get-away this weekend with my friends Campbell, Summer, Alyssa and Drew. We stayed at the beach and only had two jobs the whole weekend: play at the beach and play at the beach house. No problem!

There's nothing like having older friends to show you the ropes. At the beach house, Summer and Alyssa swept me away with their big girl games (beauty shop, hide and seek with princess toys, and more) and I hardly saw Mommy or Daddy except for meals and bedtime. Occasionally Kate and the littler kids would join in our fun.

Katie Beth and I both LOVED the ocean and the beach. Mr. Russ dug holes for us to play in and Daddy and Mr. Dustin (affectionately called, "Dude") took us out into the waves. Once, when I was ready to head back to shore, Mommy turned to walk in with Daddy and I. Kate yelled at Mommy: "No! Nan! Ooowww!" Katie Beth got her way and spent more special time with Nan (Shannon) in the deep waves.

Mommy, Shannon, and KK had a singular goal: to get Kate to talk. Katie Beth felt very safe with Miss Shannon and KK, and by the end of the trip, she was calling them by name!

KK was a special friend to Kate because she understands her on a deeper level. One time, Daddy had to fuss at Katie for running into the street, and it really hurt Katie's feelings (all discipline does). Daddy and Mommy tried to comfort her, but Katie was having none of it. As soon as Mommy put her down, she ran over to KK and hugged her and cuddled up on her shoulder until she felt much better. Looks like Katie and KK are kindred spirits.


Love,
Avery "Big Girl Beach Bum" McClinton


Monday, August 2, 2010

Another Birthday, Bangs, the Beach, and a Bug

On Monday, we got to eat dinner with Nonnie and Great-Nonnie in celebration of Great-Nonnie's birthday. Great-Nonnie taught Avery a special rhyme and I've been the beneficiary of her new knowledge all week. (She says, "Katie, do you want to play 'All Around the Garden?'" and I run over, arm out, ready for the fun.)

Then, on Wednesday, Mommy and Avery got their hair done at a fancy place. Miss Sara gave Sister bangs! From what I can tell from Mommy and Daddy talking, it was something of an accident, but we all agree that Avery is still stunning. And, as a bonus, she got a bunch of pretty new hair clips to hold the bangs back while they grow out!

And then, we got to go to the beach with Nana and DD! We stayed on the 15th floor of the San Luis in Galveston. It was so high that we could see almost all of the island from our hotel room! We had fun on the beach (but no water for me... it made me cry and squeal), in the special pool with a fast slide, and in the room.

Unfortunately, the fever I had been sporting early this week was NOT teething after all and Sister caught my bug while she was in Galveston. Nurse Nana and Doctor DD took great care of Avery Girl, though, and she was still able to enjoy some of the fun. While Avery slept and recovered, I thoroughly enjoyed awake time with Nana and DD. I watched The Princess and the Frog (only the frog parts, of course), ran around the hotel yelling and laughing, and played like a monkey instead of falling asleep.

As a side note, Mommy says that now that she knows how sick this bug made Avery feel, she thinks I'm such a trooper for letting her drag me all around this week while I didn't feel good. Although, she also says if I'd learn to express myself with words, my illness wouldn't have had to be a mystery to everyone. I'm working on it, Mom.

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES OF THE WEEK

Love,
Katie Beth "Beach or Bust" McClinton

Monday, July 26, 2010

Birthdays and Doctors

This was a special sort of week. First, we had a non-stop baking party at our house all week. We made cupcakes, a cake, sugar cookies, and muffins. We were going to make a cake for Nana's birthday, too, but Nana said for her birthday she'd rather us be happy than tired... even if it meant her cake would have to wait a week or so.

We did lots of baking because we did lots of celebrating this week. I got to have all of my playgroup friends over for a pool party at Nana's house this week. Me and my pals spent most of the time in the deep end on floaties. We were pretty proud of ourselves for being so grown up.

Then, it was time to celebrate Amelia's first birthday! Mommy let me pick out the presents (a fish book and fish keys... "Because Amelia likes fish," I told Mommy), the balloons, and the cake decorations. Then I decorated the cake (It read: "Day Happy Birth"). Amelia got another special cake when she celebrated on Sunday, so we thought it was okay that this cake had Avery touches.

Nana's birthday is just two days after Amelia's, and so we got to celebrate her special day too! (Trey and Erin were even in town for it, and I told Nana, "Aunt Erin is my favorite girl in the whole wide world.")

Mommy and I were talking about what to get Nana for her birthday and I remembered that Nana likes books best of all. So, I picked out 5 of my favorite books from my bookshelf and wrapped them up for Nana. (Nana's other special gift was a ride-on roller coaster. Somehow a present for Nana that looks like a toy for us still brought joy to her on her birthday. Our Nana sure is selfless and loving!)

We also got to spend a lot of time at doctors' offices last week. I went to the doctor to talk about my "trigger finger", but the doc told Mommy it is fine unless it starts to hurt me (it doesn't). Then, it was Kate's turn to visit a doctor. She didn't have any immediate need for a doctor's visit, so I helped create one. In a wrestling match, I yanked her arm a little too hard and it popped out. Since it was late at night, we got to go to the ER. Katie Beth was easily fixed and even got a Popsicle for her trouble. Mommy and Daddy marvel at how for 3 years of parenting, no one visited the ER. Now, in a year's time, we've had 4 trips to the ER. What happened? :)

Luckily, the doctors trips did not spoil the fun of having everyone together for birthdays and fun. Happy Birthday, Amelia and Nana!


Love,
Avery "Party Girl" McClinton

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Avery-isms

More Avery-isms from our precocious almost-four-year-old:

1. Mommy: Who loves Avery?!?
Avery: Myself does!!!!
Amen, girl

2. Avery: I was sick. I had a milk-ache. But it wasn't like when I was really sick, with a rice-and-beans-ache. (Speaking of the last two stomach bugs we've weathered.)

3. Avery, with 2 naked male and 3 naked female Barbies:
"It's a dancing freestyle!"
Mommy: Avery, why don't they have clothes on?
Avery: Well, it's a freestyle for the boys!
Mommy: But Avery, I've never seen anyone dance naked. Don't you think the girls want to wear their fancy clothes?
Avery: No, Mommy, this is the boys' freestyle. They want to be naked.

4. Avery: What is taking Amelia so long?
Amanda: Amelia had to have a bottle and now she is getting her diaper changed. It's just stuff babies have to do.
Avery: Amelia, hurry up and be a toddler!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Disney: Extravagant Love and Heartfelt Thanks

Our Disney trip was such an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. This was the kind of vacation that only comes once every decade or so, and we ate up every single second of it. We feel so much gratitude to Mimi and Gran and Nana and DD for not only making this trip possible, but for also joyfully embracing two little girls' dreams as their own.

I tried to condense the pictures and stories to one post, but I ended up robbing the trip of the magic by taking too much out. Instead, I’m going to post in five installments, each regarding a different aspect of our vacation.

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES FROM THE TRIP (Go easy on me with the number of pics, I edited them down from 1,200+)

Scroll down or click on the links to experience the entire trip.

Disney: Experiments in Child Sleep Deprivation Post

Disney: For the Over-Four Crowd? (AKA Nana and DD Save our Sanity) Post

Disney: Kate's Time to Shine Post

Disney: Where a Little Girl's Every Dream Can Come True Post


Disney: Experiments in Child Sleep Deprivation

Because of a few incidents prior to leaving, we started our trip with the girls being about 2-3 hours low on sleep. All but one day, we skipped a traditional nap and let Kate sleep on someone’s shoulder, and gave Avery a get-out-of-jail-free pass on naps altogether. Add to that the desire to make the most of each day AND the excitement that oozed out of every pore of the girls’ bodies, and night times also became very late ordeals as well. Sleeping in was unheard of – and miss the fun?!? – so we ended up with two very sleep deprived princesses on our hands.

Despite being exhausted, the girls behaved amazingly well. Avery’s caring heart was so evident as she latched on to new relatives, as she found Kate’s lovey to comfort her when she cried, and as she chose – even when it was unbearable – to obey. She is so much happier and easier when she’s slept, but even when she hasn’t slept, she has such an obedient heart.

Outbursts abound while tired – a crying fit over Avery's muffin being cold or the water running out in her squirt bottle – but it is clear it is because she really is so tired that she isn’t able to cope with her disappointment.

Both girls weathered the sleep deprivation well, and neither one of them seemed to mind it, really. A small price to pay when we’re talking living your dreams!

CLICK HERE FOR A COLLECTION OF SLEEP CHILDREN

Disney: For the Over-Four Crowd? (AKA Nana and DD Save Our Sanity)

We heard a rumor that Disney had activities for the Over-Four crowd, and on a few nights Jordan and I were able to venture out with our cousins and family and check it out for ourselves.

Even when we were around, my mom and dad were amazing at helping to manage the over-stimulated, over-tired princesses. I marveled most days at how my parents must have backs of steel. There was rarely a minute when Nana and DD weren’t each carrying a child, pushing a stroller, or actively engaged in some sort of child care. Their patience and selflessness made the trip so much more enjoyable. Avery chose Nana to read to her every night, and despite not having a voice on the trip, my mom would oblige. Then Avery would stop her mid-book and tell her, “Nana, stop talking so your voice will come back.” But not until the book is over. Priorities.

More Over-Four fun was had when Jordan headed to The Wizarding World Harry Potter at Universal Studios one day with some Over-Fours while Nana and I took the girls to Epcot. He said the experience was amazing – it was all done so well – and the roller coaster there was more intense than any he’d ridden at Disney.

Some nights, I didn’t have the energy to go out (if I’m being honest, it is more about fear of roller coasters than exhaustion), and so Jordan joined the fearless crew for a few rides. One of those nights was sadly cut short when I had to call in backup as Avery felt sick (from tiredness, see Experiments in Child Sleep Deprivation) and Kate was jumping off the walls.

Most notable was the mountain top experience Jordan and I shared. We were NOT on Mount Everest when it happened, but the roller coaster got stuck at the very top of the highest peak and the riders had to sit in the cart for 30 minutes waiting. Finally, they were escorted off of the cart and had to walk on the roller coaster track uphill until they reached the nearest stairs. I was obsessed as the story unfolded, and couldn’t stop talking about it: what would it be like to be up there? Panic attack much?!?

So, the next day, Nana and DD offered to take the girls while Jordan and I did a ride together. I mustered up just enough bravery to board Thunder Mountain Railroad (a mild coaster at worst), climbed aboard, and – no lie – it stopped on the top of the highest hill. I almost panicked, but decided that this was not that high and I could see the nearest stairs well within reach. After roughly a minute, the ride started again… no dramatic ending for me, praise God!

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES FROM THE OVER FOUR CROWD'S DISNEY EXPERIENCE

Disney: Kate's Time to Shine

This trip had Kate written all over it. She was the perfect age for this sort of trip. She is still young enough to fall asleep just about anywhere (and of the right personality… Sister never did sleep on the go, regardless of age). She has enough understanding to be excited and enthralled, but not so much that she is scared or considers any of it real yet. At the end of a Nemo ride, she let out a deep breath, and with all the inflection a girl her size can muster, uttered a simple, “whhhhoooaaa!”

Coming into this trip, Kate had a vocabulary of maybe 10 words, and only 3 she said often. On the ride home, just from what we can remember, we were able to count roughly 20 brand new words that she began using during the week!

Kate loved everything about Disney. She loved the shows, the rides, the stroller, the fireworks (a total surprise!), the characters, and especially the non-traditional attractions, like the boat that ferries from resort to park. Every time she’d hear it’s honk, Kate would drop everything and run to the window, yelling, “Boat!”

Kate was so worked up at nights and during rest times from all of the excitement. One day, Nana had to hold her legs still so that she would quit kicking and moving. Once she had a gentle arm across her legs, she went limp and was able to fall asleep. The next night, Kate yelled, “AAEEEEEEEE! Aaaaaaa! Eeeee!” nonstop until she fell asleep. There was no change in volume or frequency before she fell asleep. She went straight from full volume to passed out cold.

Kate’s biggest moment to shine was at the Princess breakfast. Sister was tired (see Experiments in Child Sleep Deprivation) and was intimidated, but not Katie Beth. She loved the attention, loved meeting all 6 princesses, and especially loved being oohed and ahhed over by her twin, Snow White. She watched the princesses circulating around the tables for a while, and then climbed out of her chair and began visiting tables herself. She truly believed she was Princess enough to sign autographs and take pictures with the tourists. And we think she was, too.

Disney: Where a Little Girl's Every Dream Can Come True

Avery’s Disney experience vacillated between exhaustion and exhilaration. She absolutely loved It’s a Small World and rode it three times (which, in her opinion, was just shy of enough). She is at the stage where she believes that things that seem real must be real, and so many of the rides were “too scary” to even attempt. On the first day, during a momentary lapse of judgment, I marched my overly tired 4-year-old onto Journey Into Imagination, the Figment ride. She survived it with amazing gumption, but told me about 30 seconds into the ride, “I will not ride this ride again. Never. Not ever!” And it took a good bit to earn her trust back on our ride-approval scale.

Avery was so timid of rides after that, in fact, that when it came time to ride the Mexico ride in Epcot, she was only coerced into going when the ride attendant offered up her flashlight. Avery proudly shone that flashlight all through the ride, and sure enough, it wasn’t scary after all!

Later, when it came time to ride Nemo, Avery was again timid. Uncle David was along that day, and so we talked her into riding as long as David would come along and protect us. Later, when Daddy wanted a chance to ride Nemo with Avery, she told him, “You can ride with Kate and Mommy. That ride is me and Uncle David’s ride.”

She was such a delight with her relatives – she interacted and attached herself lovingly to each of them. She specifically requested Mimi and Gran to ride on either side of her for It’s A Small World, chose Aunt Erin to eat dinner next to and ride with on the bus, lavished love (and demands) upon Nana and DD, and was quite taken with “that white girl” (second cousin Kathryn, who happened to wear an all-white dress one night).

What was remarkable about this trip for our Avery Girl is that she really did have all of her dreams come true. Anything she could have imagined being true of her Disney vacation happened. She ate breakfast with the princesses (she later told Trey, “it was the best breakfast I ever ate, ever.”), she rode rides, she sat on DD’s shoulders through the Electric Light Parade, she had Nana and DD in the same room as her, she got ice cream and Sprite and toys and trinkets, and she got to experience the Bippity Boppity Boutique.

This is a special experience for princesses in Cinderella’s castle. One of the Fairy Godmother’s helpers do their hair and make-up. The entire event is something to behold, and Avery played the part of pouty princess very well. Then, clad in a sash, a princess dress, and new hair and make-up, she was set free to enjoy the Magic Kingdom and have tourists of all ages ooh and ahh about her. She loved every second of it! It was as if the experience was created with her in mind.

Avery turned to DD the other night and told him, “Disney World is better than Disneyland!” Whether the statement is debatable or not, for Avery Girl, the combination of family and experiences made it true for her!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pet Sitter Extraordinaire

While Nana and DD were in Germany, I took super care of Mitzi, Rascal, and their two cats. Word must have gotten around that I am practically an expert at pet sitting, because this week, I got to pet sit for a frog and two dogs!

Froggy came to us on Wednesday. Katie and I love to stand and stare at him. Sometimes, Kate will suddenly yell out "Froggy!" and we will both drop everything to run to his cage and stare.

Katie Beth and the frog seem to have a love-hate relationship.
She loves him. She shrieks about him and spends all of her time watching him.
She hates him. She refuses to touch him and has to yell at him all the time about once when he accidentally jumped at her.
She doesn't know quite what to make of him, but Froggy sure is an important guest at our house this week.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Love,
Avery Pet Sitter Extraordinaire McClinton

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guess Who is a Big Girl Now?

Me!

A few weeks ago, I climbed out of my crib. It wasn't so fun and I haven't done it since, but it got Mommy and Daddy thinking.

We're going on vacation next month and Mommy says she doesn't want to mess with a Pack & Play. Daddy remembered that Sister was about my age when she moved to a big girl bed... and voila! I'm in a big girl bed now, too!

Yesterday, Baby Amelia needed the crib at Nana and DD's house at naptime. No problem, Baby Amelia. I'm a big girl, and I can sleep in a big bed with my Daddy.

And when we got home, Daddy took the front off of my crib and all that was left is a big girl bed. I had so much fun climbing in and out of it and collecting babies and laying them in bed. But once the lights were turned out, I stayed in my bed (except for one small bump in the night when I rolled out and onto the pillows below). This morning, Mommy and Daddy knew I was awake, but it wasn't until they came up to get me that I got out of my bed.

I love being a big girl!

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES OF THE WEEK (including an almost-spend-the-night at Miss Ella's, Nana and DD's return from vacation, and DD's Father's Day cake, decorated entirely by Chef Avery.)

Love,
Katie Beth "My Own Big Bed" McClinton