Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Return of Date Night

When I was a baby, my Mom and Dad used to take Eggie on date nights and let me stay at Nana's. Mommy always said that when I turned two, I'd get to go on dates also. But a while back, Avery started asking Mommy and Daddy if I could go with her on her dates - it was more fun for us to be together than for her to get one-on-two time.

Lately, though, Avery has been asking things like, "How come I don't get any attention?" and "Why did you tell Kate 'Good Job' and not me?" She also said she's ready to start date nights again. They were happy to oblige.

Mommy and Daddy took Avery to Chuck E. Cheese for her return to date nights. I wasn't upset; Nana and DD picked one of my favorite restaurants to take me to while Avery was with Mom and Dad, and then Avery got to spend the night at Nana and DD's with me after her date.

Then, as it happened, I got invited to a birthday party at Monkey Joe's for a classmate. Since Avery didn't know the birthday boy, Nana and DD played with her and I got a date of my very own with Mommy and Daddy. It was so much fun! I got to be the center of their attentions, and when it was all done, I ended date night the same way Eggie did: a sleepover at Nana and DD's house with Eggie.

Mommy says that once Reese is here, we'll probably have to have one date night each month... Eggie's turn and then my turn. But it was pretty special to get to work two date nights into the same month this time. And, with the special attention, the fun plans, and the bonus sleepover... I think I love date nights!

Kate Gal on the Town McClinton

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goodbye, St. Peter's...

It happens every day. Some days I am more aware of it than others, but every day, nonetheless, my babies grow up more and more and get closer and closer to the day they will spread their wings and fly away.

It may sound melodramatic, but I'll beg for grace: I'm pregnant, and my biggest baby just graduated from pre-school.

I've been emoting about this event all year - I vacillate between pride, fear, excitement, worry, sadness, determined readiness... but it really hit home last Friday. We were picking Kate up from her last day of pre-school. No biggie, right? She'll be back for 3 more years. But Jordan looked down at Avery as we were walking to Kate's room and asked her, "Avery, are you going to miss this school next year when you don't come here anymore?"

And it hit me. Avery will no longer consider those hallways familiar. She is not a pre-schooler any more. She is my grade-school child. And it is so, so bittersweet.

I am so thankful for Avery's pre-school experience. And Avery is going to rock Kindergarten with eagerness, intelligence, and a pocketful of attitude. I know she's ready. It's just that I sent a little girl to pre-school every day for the last 3 years. When did she grow up? Isn't the cliche of time flying prevalent enough to encourage me to stop and soak it all up? But even when I did... she kept growing.

And I am so proud that she did.

One thing I did, somewhat flippantly and for no real reason, is sign Avery up for half-days on Fridays and Kate up for full days. I couldn't have guessed that this would turn out to be such a precious, precious time for Avery and I (and, as often as possible, Daddy too). This past Friday, as we shared our final Friday lunch date, I praised God for the extra hours we got to spend every week. Next year, she'll be a big kid in 5 full days at school. But this year, I got to have those extra hours, once a week, to know my big girl.

St. Peter's gifted us with such a special parting gift - both girls received photo albums from the year, chronicalling their days. I'm so glad they did, because this Momma has looked over those pictures 100 times in the last week, reveling in each moment that my girls have been blessed to experience. And there are two pictures in particular of the girls meeting up at the playground that may go down in McClinton family history as my favorite photos of them of all time. It is so sweet to get a glimpse of their love for each other outside of our familiar environment.

Avery girl, I've loved watching you take St. Peter's by storm. In just a few months, I'll get to watch you embrace your new school, "the Stanley Horses". There's no doubt, you were born to fly.

Monday, May 16, 2011


This weekend, my gymnastics class got to show off some of our skills to our families. For about a month, we've been working on a dance to warm up with. Sometimes I paid really close attention and sometimes... sometimes I was more interested in the new decorations going up. But on performance day, Nana and DD said they were really impressed with my dance and with my skills. Just like in anything in life, some of the skills are really fun and easy for me (jumps into the pit and the 'high bars' included) and some are mostly just fun for now... I'm sure I'll get better and better at them if I keep practicing (trampoline and 'squat ons' are in that group).

Of the whole year of gymnastics and our Mayfest this weekend, I told Mom that the thing I remember most is the Purple People Eater dance and my favorite thing of gymnastics was getting flowers from Nana and DD and a shiny trophy from my coaches. Never mind all of the skills... flowers, a trophy, and a funny song will win me over every time.

Watch out, Shawn Johnson! Here I come!

Avery Gymnast McClinton

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mommy's Garden

This year for Mother's Day, I decided Mommy needed a flower garden. Daddy thought it might make more sense for us to get her a vegetable garden instead. So, for about a month, I've been making big plans for the garden. I've tried to blow the secret to Mommy so many ways: telling her it'll take a while to really get her present because it will have to grow, whispering about it to Hannah in carpool... and finally blowing it completely the day before Mother's Day.

I had so much fun with Daddy at Home Depot picking out the plants and getting the garden all ready. Daddy let me pick, and I chose: an orange tree, zucchini seeds, bell pepper seeds, sugar snap pea seeds, 3 kinds of tomatoes, a watermelon vine, a jalapeƱo plant, and three herbs. Mommy has quite the garden now, and Daddy says he'll help keep it alive since that's not something Mommy has ever done well before.

We celebrated Mother's Day also with our first swim of the season and breakfast and presents with Nana. It was such a special weekend. I think I love Mother's Day as much as Mommy does!

Avery Green Thumb McClinton

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ready for Reese?

Mommy is getting bigger and bigger! In about 10 weeks, Reese will be here. It seems like a long time still, but Mommy is quick to point out it's third trimester. Who knows what that means, but I do know we're all busy getting ready.

Avery and I are processing what this baby really means for our family. Some days are good days (I say, "I love Baby Reese soooo much!") and some days are not ("Daddy love Reese? Daddy love Kate? But Daddy love Reese?").

The story's the same for Eggie. Sometimes she likes to tell her friends about the baby and invite them over to hold her. Sometimes she's not so sure. After leaving a friend's first birthday this weekend, Mommy asked Avery what sort of party we should have for Reese next year when she has her first party. Eggie said, "An at-home party. She can't invite anyone and she will have to take a nap the whole time." She stood firm on the theme until she realized she might also have to take a nap at a stay-home-no-friends-nap party.

Mommy and Daddy are busy getting ready too. We've been redoing our bedroom and painting Reese's room. Mommy's been on a list-checking-off kick (she called it nesting but I don't get it). Daddy is even doing his own special thing for baby Reese... he's home brewing beer to pass out at her birth rather than cigars. The process is a long one, but it's going well and as soon as we're more certain of her birth date, he's even custom ordering her labels. Avery and I didn't get our own beers, so I guess being the last baby isn't all about being ignored and shuffled into the mix after all!

Kate "Too Cute to Be a Middle Child" McClinton