Three.10

Guess who’s rounding the corner toward 4?

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This kid! You should hear what her teachers have to say about her – we have two pages of very specific details thanks to a recent teacher conference, but the long and the short of it is:

  • She’s extremely well behaved and joyful
  • She gets along with everyone and has tons of friends
  • She’s very bright, not just with reading but also fabulous at math
  • She’s super comfortable with herself and the world around her
How’s that for a way to be? And that doesn’t even mention the extreme cuteness:
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In other words, Clementine is doing great. She still can be a little bit of a pill at home as she competes with Annabelle for attention, would rather sing songs and talk to herself than eat dinner, and generally questions authority… but they are skills that will serve her well in the future.
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Clementine’s favorite things to do are any form of art (including her school favorite – the very tedious work of perforating shapes with a little poker), setting up elaborate picnics and parties for her animals, building with duplos, and eating snacks – she can do each of these activities on her own for at least an hour.
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With us, Clem’s favorite activities are reading books (sometimes her sounding out the words), playing “you be the baby squirrel and I’ll be the mama squirrel and this is your school and you want me to come start my day” or some variation, playing doctor (she’s the doc, you are the patient), and proclaiming various owwies that lead to various band-aids all over her body.
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I can’t believe our baby is already nearing age 4. I’ll admit that I’m sneaking every snuggle I can get these days as I see her baby-ness fade away before my eyes. If only I could freeze time right now…
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Lobsterfest 2014

What a weekend! We just survived our 9th Lobsterfest in 11 years, and it was fantastic!

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This year we broke past records – ended up having about 180 people in all (110 adults, 70 kids) and ordering more than 100 lobsters – but thanks to the best unpaid staff ever (Elliot & Kiyoko, Space & Ann, Pat & Venky flew in, and we got plenty of neighbor help too), we pulled it off without a glitch:

P1290664And this was even more challenging than usual, because Annabelle and I spent 5 hours in the AM at the Children’s Business Fair – where she won her age group for the second year in a row with her friend Phoebe (this year they took home “Most original idea”). These girls… watch out, world:

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It was a crazy few days… peppered with Halloween parties, school carnival, and about 100,000 calories… but man, was it fun.

P1290477Until next year, Lobsterfesters!!  (plenty more photos coming up in the next album)

 

When Dad’s Away

The girls will play! Of course, Marc was playing too – in Fayetteville Arkansas with Old Blue, many other old trucks, and several very good friends… but so were these fairies:

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There was soccer:

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Swimming:

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Spiderman:

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And just about anything else you can fit into a full weekend – which for us was playdates with Phoebe, Hazel, Charlie and Vic, birthday parties for Jade and other Annabelle/Clementine, a sleepover, some serious legos, a rock crystal growing experiment, and the very boring homework, cleaning, grocery shopping, piano practicing, and house straightening requirements.

All in all it was a little exhausting but a pretty great weekend. I must admit, as much as I can get a little sentimental when I’m snuggling with Clem at night, it’s pretty nice to have made it past the “baby” phase where busy weekends are more about making sure we don’t miss anything, vs. making sure we don’t go insane reading the same book over and over and over and over again. These girls may keep me on my toes, but they are anything but boring!

ACL Take 2

Since Marc got to experience the Saturday & Sunday of ACL sans-kids last weekend, I got to have my turn this weekend. And it was fabulous as expected:

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… with the exception of this:

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Clearly Marc chose the better weekend. But at least he had gotten me (a few Christmases ago) the perfect footwear, so with a slight chill and nice breeze, it really wasn’t too bad! Meanwhile, Marc entertained the girls with a much overdue (and therefore much overspent) trip to the lego store (we barely own any “big kid” legos, and Annabelle was desperate for enough to make her own creations instead of following box directions), followed by hours of entertainment afterward:

IMG_4066Between that, swim lessons, grocery trips, bike rides, and several playdates (including one unexpected daytime “sleepover”):

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ACL 2014

Beck, Pearl Jam, The Replacements, Eminem, Foster the People, Trombone Shorty, Capitol Cities, Sam Smith, Bleachers, Interpol, Phantogram…. a good time was had by all. And when we say ALL, we mean it:

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It felt busier this year – at least earlier in the day – than past years. But we had a strategy and it worked out great. Friday we went sans-kids, riding our bikes along the boardwalk and trail the whole way from our house to the festival – it was perfect! Diane and Marco picked up the girls from school and had their own ACL – dancing to Marco’s band at the Broken Spoke.

Saturday I took on soccer and swim lessons and shoe shopping and the like while Marc enjoyed the festival (I’ll go next Saturday for the couple of bands I missed/was hoping to see), and then Sunday we brought the girls for some good old fashioned Austin Kiddie Limits fun – from tattoos and punk hair:

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To drum circles and “zen tents” (aromatherapy foot rub, anyone?):

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To rock guitar and hip hop lessons:

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To music crafts and graffiti art:

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The girls had an absolute blast, and the kids’ music actually rocked in its own right! My favorite was a great band of musicians (guitarist from Porno for Pyros, the “School of Rock Allstars” etc.) giving the kids a lesson in music history – Stones, Beatles, etc:

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We stayed for 3 hours and I think the girls could have stayed longer, but we had regular Sunday stuff (groceries, laundry, and BATHING these punk disasters) – so we left Marc for a final evening of music (I’ll get to see the Sunday evening bands next weekends) and got back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Just one of those weekends that remind us how incredibly awesome it is to live in downtown Austin. I hope one day the girls realize how lucky they were growing up – I know we do!

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Six.8

Pretty cute piano-playing, mermaid-swimming and bike-riding math nerd girl scout who loves reading, making money and designing chicken clothing, don’t you think?

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This kid. She’s so amazing in so many ways.  She is also SO SIX. There is really nothing more important to her than her best friends (Phoebe, Niamh, Evey, Jade & Sybilla), and they get SO CRAZY when they are together! They have their own languages, nicknames (Several. Two of hers are “Wannabelle” and “Chocolate Sprinkle 34”), and secret plans (Create magic potions. Put on a play.) that can start to drive you crazy until you remember doing pretty much the same thing as a kid.
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Thankfully, when those girls aren’t around, Clementine is a decent second-place confidante:
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Annabelle’s new teacher is starting to appreciate who she is and how different she is, I think. She asked us to bring in an iPad so Annabelle could start working on independent study projects when the in-class work gets too easy for her. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s a promising start! And outside of school, there’s been plenty of “independent study,” mainly around projects like the business fair, which she has just mastered her pitch for. And learning how to draw things that “other kids will pay me to draw for them” (a lion, because the boys don’t like the horses and cats as much):
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One funny thing is that Annabelle has suddenly become HUNGRY! Her breakfasts, which used to be a small smoothie and maybe a breakfast bar, are now double-smoothies (over a cup of blueberries, 1.5 bananas & big handful of kale), 2 eggs and some toast. Growth spurt, maybe? As if she isn’t already a head taller than the rest of her class! It could also be attributed to her new sport (soccer practice/games twice/week) as well as her growing demands for more bike rides – I guess we’ll know more at her 7 year checkup in a few months.
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In the meantime, she can continue to grow, but could we please slow down the actual growing up? 6.5 is a magical age, and it is flying by!
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Three.8

Another month, another thousand people in love with Clementine. I’m sure I’ll get mine for saying this, but she has hit such an easy age. The other day I had an early meeting and she didn’t have school so I brought her along. The meeting was in a house with a playroom, but there were no other kids around and she played by herself for 3 hours without needing me once! She’s also been playing incredibly well (daily) with her soulmate Charlie next door, which is making life easier for both sets of parents. He literally wakes up in the morning and tries to head out the door (sometimes at 7AM, sometimes setting off their alarm) because he’s afraid he’s going to miss her:

IMG_3861We joke that when Charlie is older, he’s going to be confused by the fact that he always falls for tall, bossy brunettes. Clementine is opinionated, stubborn, and doesn’t think a conversation is worth having without some negotiation. We’ve been talking about this — about the fact that she is SOMETIMES allowed to “aggotiate,” but there are some instances where she cannot, and we are in charge. She takes it all in stride, but often thinks wistfully about the day she’ll get to be a grown-up.

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Clementine is so engaged with everyone around her, to the point of making other kids (many of whom are shy) comfortable in her presence. She looks right at them, gives them big smiles, and giggles like there’s a shared secret. It’s genius, really – a social skill I still don’t think I have. And she is very free with her compliments, often claiming “I LOVE…” whatever they happen to be doing/wearing/saying, and calling any artwork, outfit, piece of nature “BEAUTIFUL!” It’s an outlook that would make anybody want to connect.

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Clementine continues to flourish at school. Because it’s Montessori, we are learning a whole new language with her, and love hearing about her “community jobs” (washing the table, rolling the rugs) and how much pride she has in doing them right. We’ve also had fun doing projects at home, like making boats, more fairy houses, and her awesome robot costume, which is really starting to come together in a homegrown sort of way:

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Of course, above all else, Clementine loves Annabelle. And thankfully, Annabelle is *almost* always okay with including her in “Annabelle’s World,” – as long as the world’s namesake is in charge. We know we’ll go through phases with their relationship, but right now we’re pleased to say we’re at roughly a 75/25 Love/Hate split. Because, even if she can be annoying and get in your stuff, how do you say no to this?

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