FOUR

Four years ago, Clementine came into this world – totally relaxed. From her hairy little head to her twirly little toes, she was a different being. Her eyes twinkled with a spark we’d grow to know over time – comfortable in her own skin, observant of the world around her, never willing to miss a thing (the non-napper!), and with a sense of humor we’d get to know from almost her first words.

Today, she is just as comfortable, observant, and funny… along with impulsive, demanding, bossy and presumptuous. She is also empathetic, affectionate, thoughtful, silly, humble, and a favorite among just about anyone who has ever crossed her path.P1310963With an almost-7-year-old in the mix, we are realizing how hard it is to remember these stages. So instead of just photos, I tried to capture a little bit of the Mighty Clem in her element, on a lazy vacation morning right after she woke up for the day. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but I have a feeling we’re going to have a fun time looking back at it when she’s no longer quite so “Tiny” anymore:

Huge Birthday Wishes to our sweet, sweet Clementine Jane!

Cousin Christmas!

This has to go down as one of the most fun Christmases in the books – both Annabelle and Clementine are fully bought into the magic of Santa, and were beside themselves with excitement for the big day, which we led up to with countless holiday activities (this week’s additions – The Nutcracker and a traditional Noche Buena Cuban pig roast!). But the BEST part of this Christmas was when these guys showed up on Christmas Eve:

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It was SO much fun to share Christmas with the York Arbittiers. Our girls were absolutely in heaven, and I think their cousins must have been pretty happy too, as I heard them pressure their parents to “just move to Austin” a few times 🙂  We tried to prepare them, supplying them each with a sheriff badge and tiny cowboy hat on Christmas morning:

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Of course, Santa left much more than that, setting the mood with this Christmas train full of chocolate for Clementine, whose only requests were a stuffed platypus and chocolate:

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Aside from a wonderful Christmas day full of present opening, eating, long walks through the neighborhood and, well, more present opening:

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We passed our time shopping and eating on South Congress, playing kickball, going on some bike rides along Ladybird Lake with the nieces and runs with nephews, shopping some more (at antique shops and stained glass boutiques to appease the older generation, too), checking out the flagship Whole Foods, watching holiday movies (Elf and Dumb and Dumber, of course), spending Santa’s Target cash, and eating some more (especially cookies. Oh the cookies):

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As suspected, the girls had absolutely none of the “post Christmas letdown” that happens so often with kids. But when Aunt Liz, Uncle Doug and the cousins were gone this morning… talk about a meltdown. From Annabelle we got a sniffly “It’s no fair that all the rest of the cousins live near each other and we don’t live near any of them” while Clementine gave the pitiful, “but I thought they said they’d come to my birthday?” It’s always hard saying goodbye, but we know we won’t wait nearly as long as we did to get back to York or to have these guys back in Austin. There’s absolutely nothing like family, and it was pure bliss having this much of us with us the past several days.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

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Pre-Christmas-Palooza

What a week! We have been celebrating nonstop in the Davis house – between Chanukah, school holiday parties, neighborhood holiday parties, old neighborhood holiday parties, and everything in between, there hasn’t been a 24 period without extreme fun and sugar! To give you a taste:

Monday: Annabelle’s Daisy Girls Holiday Party, Marc’s Holiday Party (I was not in attendance for either, thus the lack of photos!)

Tuesday: First night of Chanukah

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Wednesday: Annabelle’s School Holiday Party, Lauren & girls went to see Annie (the play, which our friend starred in!)

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Thursday: Pajama Day for Clementine and the last day of school for both girls, and then Lauren & Marc surprise them by taking them to the Trail of Lights in the evening.

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Friday: A surprise cooking class for Annabelle (her Chanukah present), and a big holiday party with our old neighbors (kids and grown-ups)

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Saturday: Surprise gingerbread house decorating before Marc and I took a night “off” – attending a neighborhood party and then staying in a hotel for the night!

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Sunday: Back to reality, plus a really awesome Chanukah/Latke party in our old neighborhood (the girls got concerningly good at dreidel… for money).

As the girls’ Trader Joe’s advent calendars count down, it’s hard to believe we’re going to sustain this level of fun all the way through, but so far we are all loving it all (though, having a hard time buttoning our pants!).

Merry Almost-Done-Chanukah-Almost-At-Christmas-A-Week-From-Birthdays!

38 shows up with a spa day, Santa, and stardom

What a birthday weekend! I started it off right on Friday when I treated my (local) team to a spa day as our annual holiday celebration for Alkali. I couldn’t do it without these girls – they are talented, great to work with, and luckily also tons of fun to be around!

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There’s nothing like loving what you do, and who you do it with… not to mention who you come home to – which in Friday’s case was Marc and the girls, just in time to tell them to bundle up because we were going on a carriage ride to the capitol! I can’t seem to find those pics, but rest assured it was a great time with Du Monde, a santa-hat wearing white horse with jingle bells and sparkly-painted hooves.

Saturday was a work day, but a treat of a work day because I got to have my kids star in a video I was creating for my client, Kinsa! Clementine stole every scene, which is leading us to believe maybe it’s time for her to get an agent and start pulling her weight around here!
IMG_4857Saturday night we got a sitter and went out for a grown up dinner with the Thornburghs to my absolute favorite restaurant in Austin, Uchi, and then Sunday morning we were running around again – first to “Teddy Bear Tea” at the Four Seasons with our awesome neighbor Brooks and a special guest who confirmed that the girls were indeed “nice”:

P1310064and then to Diane and Marco’s house for our annual holiday celebration with them and all of the kids (and parents) they’ve ever nannied for – namely this sweet group:

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All that, plus we finally got the house fairly decorated, knocked some significant (mostly online) shopping off our holiday lists, and still made it to swim lessons, workouts, grocery shopping, and all that other regular weekend stuff.

In the end I really didn’t have all that much time to think about turning 38, but it was fun to receive so many well wishes, birthday songs on my voicemail, and general good juju. I am a lucky, lucky human to be surrounded by all of these perfectly wonderful people and all I wish for is many, many more years of the same!

 

Getting into the Spirit

After such a big trip east and then a week of work and social evening commitments for either Marc or me (there was not a single regular family night all week!), it took all weekend to get back into the swing of things – and just barely. Until Sunday there were still full suitcases, piles of laundry, untouched homework, unpracticed piano and seriously empty cupboards. But we finally gained a basic level of control… just in time to bring in the Christmas cheer!

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We kicked off our holiday Friday night by getting our holiday cards out while Annabelle was at a sleepover and Clem was fast asleep. Then we commenced celebrating at the Capitol on Saturday, where we attended the sweet holiday sing-along and tree lighting ceremony, sipping hot cocoa and holding hands through the Austin-festive crowds.

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Then on Sunday, we decided to try our hand at chopping down our own Christmas tree at one of the rare Christmas Tree farms nearby in Elgin, Texas. While the experience was fun(climbing on hay bales, picking out little holiday goodies, checking out the farm animals, etc.) the trees themselves were a little odd — and Marc and Annabelle were vehement about the fact that they didn’t feel or smell like Christmas. So after an hour of up-and-back driving and enjoying small-town Texas, we went back to our standard little local nursery to get our tree just before closing.

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Of course, by 5PM on Sunday 12/7, the pickin’s were a little slim, but we found a REALLY fat, fluffy tree that we think will do the job just fine. Stay tuned – hopefully by NEXT weekend, we’ll have the house decorated and ready to go!

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We kind of can’t get over how grown-up Annabelle is. Have we really been parents for nearly 7 years?

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Annabelle has had another wonderful month, which was spent reading (new series: The Mysterious Benedict Society), writing (diary entries, big plans with diagrams), and doing ‘rithmetic (I just put that in there for fun, but she has been advancing – nearing completion of 3rd grade math and significantly into 4th). She has also been blowing away her piano teacher’s expectations, and got pretty good at soccer as she closed out the season this month. Her teachers love her, because how could you not?

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Of course, her buddies love her even more – we’ve been told by several parents that their children consider her one of their best friends, and she’d do just about anything for those kids. I’m actually surprised she decided that her birthday party will be a sleepover because it means she had to narrow it down to 5 kids (Annie theme – seeing the new movie and presenting her buddies with their own heart lockets). I’m sure she’s doing it because sleepovers are SO grown up.

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While in a hurry to get big enough to do such important things like get her ears pierced and take care of a pet, Annabelle definitely still has that snuggly, giggly girl inside of her. She won’t let Marc or me leave without several hugs and kisses, which of course we don’t mind:

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But most of the time, as long as she knows we’re behind her, she is all about forging forward, coming up with projects, experiments, ideas, and big plans — for herself and anyone who wants to join in for the ride…

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Thanksgiving Week Up North!

Because we only go north for EITHER Thanksgiving or Christmas now (just too hard/expensive traveling with kids for both holidays), it’s very important that we make it count… and BOY DID WE. For example, this:

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and this:

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Not to mention plenty of this:

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We ice skated, sledded, threw snowballs and built an awesome snowman in the snow (we asked for a “White Thanksgiving” and got one!), had not one but THREE Thanksgiving meals (Gramma/Grampa Charlie: Meal 1; My immediate family: Meal 2; My aunts and uncles and cousins: Meal 3). We had tons of family time which the girls LOVED – Annabelle and Clementine especially can’t get enough of Charlotte and Cole, and Marc and I loved meeting new baby cousin Samantha, who was named for my dad. We got to sit and visit with Great Gram, and were extremely thankful when Mamom made it out of the hospital in time to spend Thanksgiving and the days after with us. And then, when Marc and the girls headed back to Austin, I got plenty of THIS:

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I had a blast seeing most of my closest, oldest friends at my 20 year high school reunion! Everyone seemed to be doing well and even the people I wasn’t SO sure I wanted to see had generally mellowed out a lot since high school, and we got to catch up not only at the event but before, after, the next day, and more – all before I headed to New York for a meeting Monday morning.

It was a truly wonderful trip, despite a few illnesses, injuries, and unforeseen snowstorms. I  think we were all a little thankful to get back to our own beds, but could not be more grateful to have such an incredible family and friend group up North!

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