December 29, 2014

Claire Olivia Week by Week: 49 Weeks

Claire turned 49 weeks old yesterday.  I put Claire in her new Christmas dress and tried to get a few pictures of her walking, but I only managed to get these blurry ones.  I have to stand her up and then quickly back away and try to snap a picture before she reaches me.  She is getting pretty fast so it was a little difficult to accomplish by myself.  Next time I'll make sure Bryce is home so he can help me.
Claire is getting braver with walking every day.  I took these pictures after she had walked from her dresser to her crib.  She gets so excited and proud of herself every time she walks.  It is so cute!
The second time I tried to stand Claire up by her dresser to see if I could get better pictures of her walking she walked straight over to her castle, plopped down, and started playing.  I couldn't help but smile.  I decided to call it good with pictures for the day.  I put my camera away and we spent the afternoon playing princesses.  I dreamed about these days as a mama, and I have to say they are even better than I imagined they would be.

December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Claire woke up on Christmas morning at 7:00 to nurse.  I went and got her from her crib and then we peeked out the window and saw that my wish had come true!  After a long December without a single snowflake we finally got a white christmas after all.  After I nursed Claire she fell right back asleep.  I thought about trying to keep her awake but decided against it since she went to bed so late the night before.  I couldn't go back to sleep at this point so I got up and started making cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  I let Bryce sleep in for another hour and then woke him up to have him help me get everything ready.  He cut up fruit to go with our breakfast and helped me set up all our stockings.  After everything was all set up we had to try to patiently wait for Claire to wake up.  She slept in until almost 10, of all mornings to sleep in!  I almost went crazy trying to wait for her.
After Claire woke up we ate our breakfast first and then opened presents.  I set up my tripod in the corner and used my remote to take pictures throughout our morning.  We put all of Claire's gifts around her and showed her the ones that weren't wrapped.  
We do the tradition of 4 gifts: something you want, something to wear, something you need, and something to read.  Claire's need was a new convertible carseat.  Her read was the book If I could Keep you Little.  It is such a darling book, I maybe cried the first time I read it.  Claire's wear was the cute little blue, pink & red floral corduroy dress you can see draped on the carseat in some of the pictures.  Claire's want was a Fisher Price Little People castle & the set of disney princesses that go with it.  Those were all her big gifts and we decided to have her get one more small gift from Rory.  I thought this would be a tradition that would be silly & fun for our kids.  So Rory gave her the wooden bead abacus to help her when she starts learning her colors and how to count.  When we have more kids we will probably have them get one gift collectively from Rory, but since Claire is the first baby she gets lucky for a few Christmases.  
Claire was so in love with her castle & little princesses.  She kept squealing and bouncing up and down excitedly while she played with them.  I couldn't get any pictures of her that weren't blurry at first.  It was so much fun watching her excitement!
Claire playing with her princesses and waiting for dad to finish putting together her castle.
While Bryce was putting together Claire's castle we had her start opening her stocking.  I had almost as much fun picking out stocking stuffers for Claire as I did picking out her big gifts.  She got a classic Winnie the Pooh Teddy Bear & a Winnie the Pooh board book, a fox sippy cup, hair bows, a few bath toys, fruit snacks, and gerber puffs. 
After Claire finished opening her gifts and Bryce finished putting together her castle we had Rory go next.  She got a huge femur bone, a bag of tennis balls & a muffin tin.  We found this idea online and thought it was really cool.  You put treats in some of the holes of the muffin tin and then put a tennis ball in each hole and then your dog has to try and find which holes the treats are in.  Rory really liked it, but she especially loved her gigantic bone.  
Bryce opened his gifts next.  We just decided to do stocking stuffers for each other this year since we did such a big Christmas last year (Bryce got a pistol & I got a new macbook last year).  We did still stick with our 4 gift tradition though.  Bryce's want was a knife sharpener, his wear was a new beanie, his need was a scarf, and his read was Volume 1 of Sherlock Holmes.  He also got some treats & gum.
And finally I opened my gifts last.  My want was a set of Christmas cookie cutters so we could make Christmas cookies from now on during the holidays, my wear was a new beanie, my need was a few undershirts, and my read was a clothbound version of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen to add to my collection. 
While we opened our stockings Claire played with her castle.  It was so adorable!  I thought my heart would burst seeing how much she loved the gifts we picked out for her.  It is definitely a favorite mama memory of mine now.
Claire with all of her gifts under the tree.  We got her to stop playing and look at the camera just long enough for one picture :).  Our Christmas morning was so much fun and incredibly special.  Being a parent on Christmas is 100 times more fun then being a kid on Christmas I think.  It is just so special getting to see the joy and excitement in your child's eyes.  We spent the rest of the morning playing with Claire and her new toys and then we went to Bryce's parents in the afternoon.
At Bryce's parents we ate dinner, played a white elephant gift game with his siblings, and then had all of our exhausted kids and babies take naps.  While the babies napped we all got to relax, eat treats, and visit together.  Then we skyped with Bryce's siblings and their families who live out of state.  After all of our kids woke up we opened gifts.  Bryce's parents gave us a really nice camp chef stove, a nativity set, & some nice wool socks (I think they knew that's all I wear on my cold feet all winter long).  They gave Claire the cutest wooden butterfly walking toy and a xylophone.
The best part of my Christmas was getting to see this cute smile all day long!
This has by far been my most favorite Christmas!  My heart is so full.  I loved celebrating the birth of Christ, and the matchless gift that he is with our wonderful families.  I loved getting to see the joy in my daughter's eyes and receive more joy from giving then I ever have from receiving.  I am truly blessed and can never express my gratitude enough.  We hope you all had a Merry Christmas & in a few more days wish you a Happy New Year!      

Christmas Eve 2014

On Christmas Eve every year we go to my parents to have our Christmas party with my side of the family.  We got there in the early afternoon.  The men all left to go shooting and the girls all stayed at my parent's house to hang out with the babies.  After the men got back we ate dinner, watched a beautiful film about the nativity, and then finally got to open presents!
My mom's parents, my Grandma & Grandpa Richins, come to our party too so we finally took the opportunity to take a 4 generation picture.
It was so cute watching Claire open presents.  She was a little confused having permission to freely rip as much paper as she wanted.  She also just wanted to tear off little pieces to a time, which would have taken all night long haha, so I had to give her a little help.
My mom & dad give their grandkids 3 gifts since Christ was given three gifts after his birth.  Claire got a set of Jan Brett board books, a darling dress, and a big bag of Legos (that she loves!).
Bryce and I each got new shirts and a food dehydrator from my parents.  I didn't get any pictures of our gifts but I took this picture of Claire modeling the scarf that came with my new shirt.
Claire and her cousin/BFF Lydia playing with their new Legos.
Claire also got to open her gifts from her Great-Grandma & Grandpa Mecham on Christmas Eve.  They gave her a new book and the cutest little Raggedy Anne doll.  She also got a little train from her Great-Grandma & Grandpa Richins that I haven't got a picture of her with yet since we had our party with them the Sunday before Christmas.
Claire with all of her new gifts.  Clearly she's a big fan of Christmas :).
After we got home from my parents we had Claire open her new Christmas jammies from us.
We didn't want Rory to be left out so instead of jammies she got Reindeer antlers :).
Claire was so tired, she fell asleep about two seconds after this picture was taken.  Bryce and I went to bed not too long after as well, although I had a really difficult time falling asleep because I was so excited for Christmas morning!  We had such a great night with my family.  This time of year just fills me with so much happiness.