Three.7

I’ve both heard and discovered personally that while complete, unconditional parent love is always there, parent “like” can go in phases. And I have to say, Marc and I are head over heels in like with Clementine lately.
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More and more, she’s been trading tantrums for one-liners (which is not to say that she isn’t unreasonable on a regular basis) and cracking us up all the time! She has also been super-snuggly lately, and has picked up on things Annabelle doesn’t excel at (e.g. doing stuff right when we tell her to) as an area where she can get praise piled on in heaps. In other words, the kid has finally discovered that screaming in a puddle on the floor is not the only way to get all eyes on her in this house!
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Another area where Clementine has been getting a lot of our attention lately is reading, as we recently discovered it “clicking” (who knows how long it was before we noticed). She is really getting the hang of sounding out words (at least, for limited amounts of time till she loses interest) and enjoys reading really simple (early reader) books to us (with help) before bed. She is also just now starting to be able to handle chapter books (us reading a chapter to her each night) which is opening up a whole new world that we loved exploring with Annabelle.
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Clem is also as sweet/manipulative as ever, coming up with ways to be bad-without-getting-in-trouble like getting up from her seat at dinner (which we constantly gripe at her for) in order to give us hugs and kisses (awwwwww). She is starting to be a little less “blamey,” too, no longer complaining at her parents, sister or inanimate objects for making her hurt herself, do something wrong, etc.
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Outside in the world, Clementine’s popularity is a given. You should have heard her camp counselors, upset to hear she wasn’t coming back (“We tell all the parents and kids that will miss them, but we’ll REALLY miss Clementine – she’s the most fun ever! Can we babysit?”). Oh and did we mention the other kids decided to name the class guinea pig Clementine? From the dentist to the shoe store, adults regularly call over other adults to meet her, thanks to the conversations she strikes up.  Marc and I aren’t especially sure what to do with this because neither of us was “the popular kid” but it’s kind of amazing to sit back and watch!
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We are about to head up east for our big family visit. When we come back, Clementine will be starting at a completely new school with absolutely nobody she knows. This is the type of thing that used to terrify us and Annabelle – we’d set up playdates, visit ahead of time, etc. But with Clem? No biggie. With that personality… not to mention this face…
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We are lucky, lucky parents!

With the Band

Our final full week in Austin was anything but standard – mainly because it was only Marc and the girls in Austin! I was off launching my band client, The Mrs. in San Jose at the annual BlogHer conference.

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The band launch was pretty amazing – not only because the band killed it in front of ~2000 prominent bloggers (thanks to Rob’s amazing training and producing), but because the video we created for them – and a rendition of the mirror that we brought to the conference, was a HUGE hit. You can check it out here:

We spent 3 days bringing women in front of our “magic mirror” and their reaction was amazing – tons of tears, laughter, and many appreciative hugs from ladies who told us that it “changed their life” or “made the whole conference worth it” or “made them feel beautiful for the first time.” It’s hard to describe, but was really amazing. So now, we just have to cross our fingers that these connections and experiences will lead to an “overnight sensation” of a band! We got our first article less than 24 hours after the conference, so we are optimistic.

Meanwhile, Marc was holding down the fort the best way he knew how… which is to say, giving the girls what they wanted:

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I never love being away from the family (especially when I’m working my butt off, vs. away for a fun weekend), but it made it much nicer to know that I’d be coming home to nonstop kid time for the foreseeable future – just a few more days before we take these girls on the road!

IMG_3248Faithful blog readers (all 3 of you), we’ll be seeing you VERY soon and we can’t wait!

 

Time Flies…

This weekend, Marc and I saw the movie Boyhood, which was an absolutely beautiful masterpiece that shows the passing of time – 12 years – before your eyes. We were especially excited to see it because our beloved Marco was in it, and he was great (although, it’s hard to watch your daughters’ FAVORITE person on earth playing an alcoholic asshole). But even aside from that, it was so poignant to watch what we are experiencing for ourselves – that life is ZOOMING, and before we know it these little chickens are going to be BIG:

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For now, though, it’s just the summer that is flying by. This weekend was our last “regular” one together as a family in Austin before I go to California for business next weekend, and then we head east for our big trip. The next weekend we’ll all be together in Austin will be August 23 – right before Annabelle starts first grade and Clem heads to her new Montessori preschool.

All that said, we managed to have a lovely low-key weekend – playdates, sleepovers, real dates (and babysitters), swimming, good meals, and surprisingly restful mornings (we may or may not be paying Annabelle $0.50 for every weekend morning she feeds herself and Clem breakfast without requiring our presence till ~9). We’ve hit a pretty nice groove over here… though we are VERY excited to shake it all up in the name of impending COUSIN AND GRANDPARENT INFILTRATION!

<apologies for the lack of photos – my phone photos don’t seem to be importing to our home computer, but I promise I’ll get them all in working order in time for our monthly album>

Austin Summer

With temperatures inching near 100 degrees, it definitely felt like summer in Austin this weekend. But the heat didn’t deter us much! Annabelle was unwilling to go for another long (~5 mile) bike ride and Clementine decided she didn’t like the fountains anymore (“they shoot directly into my eye”), but we managed plenty of other simple summer adventures… like the girls’ first time min-golfing!

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Clem barely hung in for all 18 holes but Annabelle was reasonably interested. They both agreed they’d like to try it again – in Autumn:

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We also explored Deep Eddy pool for the first time as a family, which was great not only because it has a huge shallow and “medium” end (Clem’s favorite word is medium), but also because we ran into about a dozen neighbor friends. And because it was walking distance to Juiceland (although we still haven’t found a juice or smoothie on the menu that Clementine is willing to drink… whereas Annabelle LOVES drinking “the Clementine”).

We also managed to fit in swim lessons, a lot of craft projects (you should see how elaborate the girls’ fairy houses, fairy clothing, fairy amenities, etc. have gotten), family movie night (“Up”), and other minor adventures, generally having a very nice, relaxing weekend for a change! And we can hardly wait for a few weeks, when “family time” expands to our MUCH bigger family on the east coast! Are you all ready for these sweet little sprites?!

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Friendship Fireworks

For the first 4th in a very long time, we didn’t see fireworks this year. Austin moved their big display out to the F1 track, which left our rooftop view of downtown… lacking. That said, I’m sure Ab&C would say it was one of their favorite 4ths in a while, because their old friends the Althuises and Bassers came to visit! You may remember Sam and Shane from a couple years back (and since they were babies) – Sam (left) now lives in Miami and Shane (right) is in Ft. Worth…

IMG_0802This year, they swapped houses with the Thornburghs for the week – so not only did they get to reunite, they got to be next door! Which means they were running around the yard and both houses from dawn till WAY past their bedtimes since they arrived on Friday. And it was SO much fun to watch them fall back into bestie-land:

P1250831It was also pretty great to see the little sibs (Clem, Lana and Milo) playing – they seemed to love each other just as much:

IMG_1100With so many great friends nearby (great parent friends too – it was SO great to catch up with Cara & Robert, Johanna & Clay!), we didn’t need to do much to have a great holiday weekend. But we still managed to watch Annabelle’s first ever “horse show” (last day of horse camp celebration), enjoy an awesome pool party, and go for a fabulous bike ride on the new Ladybird Lake boardwalk, along with general “clubhouse” activities:

IMG_2858All in all, it was a low key but magical weekend – one that reminded us that it’s the simple things that make the world – or at least our world – go round. Happy Independence Day!

Six and a Half

Is it me, or is this 6-and-a-half year old suddenly looking VERY mature?

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She is growing up so fast these days! I mean, her favorite color isn’t even pink anymore (it’s turquoise). And she is loving horse camp so much this week that she even told us she’d consider doing horse sleep away camp next year when she’s 7. And… just look at this little body – not much little kid left in her!
P1250298We are learning that 6-7 is an interesting age for kids. They are pretty concerned with what they can get away with (one night she put an old tooth under her pillow and wrote a note, seeing if she could fool the tooth fairy into leaving her more money), and what the “cool kids” are doing, and that has led to some NOT SO ANNABELLE behavior… for example, we’ve twice caught her “sneaking” something to camp and then lying about it – hair chalk one day (did she think we wouldn’t notice her pink streak?) and clip-on-earrings another.  We’ve definitely nipped this in the bud, not only with consequences (no dessert for a week – we hit her where it hurts) but also with serious discussions that have somehow transitioned from disappointed principals to cops to juvie to her permanent record, which colleges look at. Yup, we went there.

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Luckily, it is obvious that Annabelle is still Annabelle – “bad” for her is pretty darn good for anyone else. For example, she was succumbing to peer pressure at the end of the school year (goofing with her friends and therefore getting the “good” green stars instead of her standard, the best-in-class purple ones). When we had a talk with her about it, she made sure that she did everything in her power to get purple for the whole rest of the year:

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Lest I spend too much time talking about behavior issues, I should also mention that Annabelle has been absolutely wonderful at home most of the time – she plays incredibly well with Clementine and puts up with Clem’s outbursts and demands. She dutifully practices piano daily (helps that she’s learning songs from Frozen now!) and does her Dreambox to keep up on math, all without complaint. And thanks to two weeks of Summer Wonders and a week of Horse Camp, she is filling us with ALL kinds of knowledge, all the time (“If you become a wood cutter and need to use a horse to haul your wood, I would recommend a Clydesdale or a Shire horse. My #1 would be a Shire, but it would be okay if you HAD to get a Clydesdale.”)

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She’s also become more mature in her make believe worlds. The other morning after watching the old 1950’s Alice in Wonderland, I came downstairs in the morning to a crazy looking (food coloring-included) drink that said “Drink Me” and a special breakfast bar that said “Eat Me.” Annabelle acted just as surprised as I did, and when she drank her bright green drink, she pretended to magically shrink behind the counter! She played off the whole thing as a total surprise until about 20 minutes later, she admitted to setting it all up herself. Her imagination, mixed with the ton of fantasy-style books she has been reading (current one: The Hobbit) have made for so much fun for the whole family.

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In general, Annabelle is so much fun these days. Having a conversation with her is as enjoyable as having one with a friend, yet she still loves to snuggle after bathtime and appreciates my impressive hair braiding skills and Marc’s projects. I know that this perfect in-between age won’t last forever, so we are trying to enjoy every minute of it.

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