Thursday, July 28, 2011

County Fairs 1-5

So far this summer we have hit up 5 County Fairs (Paul has been to 7, good for him). I have been good about getting at least 1 picture at each fair to prove that we were there… although except for the fact that her outfits change, these pics really could have all been taken on the same day.

But they weren’t.

I promise.

And I have the mini doughnut pudge to prove it.

One would think we would go broke hitting up all these fairs, but we actually do pretty good. Our entrance and parking are always free, thanks to our Fair Exchange Pass Paul gets for serving on our local fairboard. Sure there’s gas, and food, but we usually bring water, and we spread out our absolute fair-food musts over the course of the summer. We usually have mini-donuts at every fair though – it’s tradition!

Last night Clara had her first cheese curd. She thought it was great and reached for more! She settled for the strawberry off my smoothie though instead.

Fair #1 - Cannon Valley. We took a break under the shelter and listened to polka music - Clara thought it was great!

Fair #2 - Winona County. Checking out the pigs.

Fair #3 - Wabasha County. No pic for this one, I was clerking the Beef Show when Clara came to visit.

Fair #4 - Fillmore County.

Fair #5 - Olmsted County. At the petting zoo - the Highlander calf got a little too close for comfort!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Year Pics

I wanted to have some professional pics of Clara taken for her first birthday, since we hadn’t had any taken since she was a newborn. I went back and forth between a few photographers, then settled on Fresh Honey Photography. She was able to fit us into her busy schedule and her price couldn’t be beat. I should have known better than to schedule Clara’s pictures for 5:30pm, since post-daycare is definitely NOT her prime time of the day… but it was what was available, so I said a prayer and hoped it would all work out.

Clara was in fine form that evening – very clingy, disinterested, and hoarding her smiles. A few tears, clothing changes, and cherrio breaks later – this was our result:

Overall a success I think! :)

13 Months

Clara turned 13 months old yesterday – and I realized I never did an update on her stats from her 12-month check-up!

Here they are:

Weight – 21 lbs 7oz - 50%
Height – 30.5” - 55%

She is eating pretty much whatever we are, but her current favorites are grapes, bread, graham crackers, and ice cream. She will eat off of a real fork if you offer her something, but will snub the baby spoon every time.

She is all out walking these days, but still drops to her knees to crawl if she wants to get somewhere in a hurry. I’m not sure why we bother to buy any toys – she can spend an hour playing with a pile of clean socks. She is good at taking things out of a container and then putting them back in. She continues to love water and bath time but HATES getting her head wet. We had a complete meltdown last night when it was time to wash out the shampoo.

Sleeping has been going great the last few weeks. She goes down around 8:30pm and usually sleeps until 7:15am or so when I get her up for daycare. She is getting much better at comforting herself when she wakes during the night – which makes mommy VERY happy!

I have heard from others that toddlers change A LOT between 12 months and 18 months. While I am excited to see her do new things and see more and more of her personality, it also makes me sad that my little baby is growing up!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Y3W: County Fair Time!

It’s that time of year once again in Minnesota! Time for fried food, livestock shows, demo derbies, and carnivals – County Fair Season!

I use this as my 3 words today because the past month has been busy for me with preparation for our county fair, which starts next week. Obviously with my position as a 4-H Program Coordinator I have a little involvement with the fair. This past week has really been crunch time as we pulled together the final details and started filling boxes with all the stuff that needs to be moved out to the fairgrounds.

As a 14-year 4-Her, the fair was one of my favorite times of the year. I loved showing my animals, but most of all I loved being at the fair with all my friends.

Now, I dread the fair.

It’s a week of stress, heat, no sleep, and being yelled at. Mix families and competition and you’re bound to have lots of stress and tension. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the fair because it’s a week out of the office, an opportunity to see 4-H families and really see 4-Hers working in their element. But it’s a long week.

We also enjoy attending county fairs as a family. Last year, we hit 10. We attended our first 2011 fair this past weekend when we headed to the Cannon Valley Fair in Cannon Falls. We walked through the barns, looked at the 4-H exhibits, and stuffed ourselves to the gills with fried food! Clara even enjoyed a chocolate malt. The pic below was taken at the fair that night when we stopped for some shade and listened to a polka band, which Clara LOVED! Great-Grandpa Henderson was smiling from above - I'm sure of it!

So even with a love/hate relationship with county fairs, next week I will head to ours for 7 days of fun and stress!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sorry… (Birthday Post!)

for the lack of posts! One of the biggest milestones of the year and I am more than a week late telling you about it… epic blogging FAIL. So if you're still around and are giving me another chance… thanks! J
The timing of Clara's birth was awesome – I had the whole summer off and didn't have to participate in some of the more stressful parts of my job. Unfortunately, that also means that this year (and from here on out) Clara's birthday fell during the most busy and stressful time of the year for me. By the Thursday before her birthday I just had a bad attitude about it… her party was just one more thing I had to plan and make lists for. Granted, my family helped me out a ton – my parents hosted the shin-dig, so I didn't have to clean my house, and my mom made Clara's outfit, and picked up the cake. There were plenty of things on the "nice to have, but not necessary" list that just didn't happen. Overall, I was satisfied with how it all turned out. Most importantly, we have a healthy, happy, and thriving 1-year-old and couldn't feel more blessed!

We had her party on June 25th (her actual birthday). The morning started out early as she apparently didn't want to waste a minute of her birthday on sleeping! We had oatmeal for breakfast, which she loved. I was more than a little annoyed with Paul, who insisted on doing everything other than the one task I had given him that morning (loading the car). Every time I turned around he was picking strawberries, or weeding the garden, or playing on facebook.

Once we got to my parents', we unloaded the car, got the food going, and decorated. I didn't go overboard by any means, just a banner and a few balloons – it was enough to give a festive flare without going crazy. We had an owl theme, with brown, green, and pink accents. For lunch, we served pulled pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, lettuce salad, fruit salad, and of course… cake!

Clara's Cake

Guests at the party!

Playing with balloons

Clara had no interest in opening gifts. She was completely distracted after opening one, so her cousins helped her out. She got lots of fun gifts! We used to share some gift ideas with the guests.

The cake went well – Clara dug right in with little prompting. It was fun to see her being able to smoosh it around and try to eat it. I had gone with white cake to minimize the staining potential J

The party was said and done by about 4:30pm and then we headed home to crash! With no nap – Clara was cranky and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the carseat. She slept for a good 3 hours before waking up around 7:30pm ravenous! With some supper in her belly and a little more playtime, she fell back asleep for the night.

I still can't believe we have a 1-year-old. A year has never passed so quickly. I'll admit I was sentimental all weekend, thinking about what we were doing a year ago at that time… I also spent time looking at pictures of sweet baby Clara – how much she has grown and changed and how much Paul and I have grown and changed over the past year. It's pretty amazing.