Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, Isaac!

Today my Isaac is three years old. I can no longer in any possible stretch of the imagination think of him as a baby anymore. He's growing by leaps and bounds...and we are loving it!

Over the past year, there have been fewer outward changes than in the previous two. He's a little taller, a little leaner, a little stronger, a little more coordinated, a little faster...but few big outward changes. When I think over the past year of his life, I mostly see the huge changes that have taken place in his behavior. This third year of his life has been somewhat tumultous, emotionally speaking. We've had to fight for obedience--"obeying right away, all the way, the cheerful way"--and although we still have our struggles, I see so many amazing changes in his life! He really has become a more obedient and responsive boy, and I see the benefits in his demeanor. He's more cheerful, more in control of his emotions, more able to see the big picture and be aware of others around him.

He's also increasingly aware of God and the existence of a spiritual world. He doesn't get all the details right, as I've posted before, but it's so fun to hear him thinking thoughts about God. He knows that his Grandma is in heaven, and that she's so happy there...He knows that Jesus died for his sins (although what that really means is still a little way off)...He knows that God is strong, and that we can talk to him at any time and ask for his help...He knows that God is the beginning of everything, and the creator of all. Slowly but surely, he's beginning to develop a conception of the world around him. I have been in awe of his little mind at work this year, and I expect that joyful experience to continue.

He has become my eminently quotable person, and I'm sure I bore everyone with my daily, "Today Isaac said...." tirade. He loves to read, and will wear me out with endless requests for Curious George, Jack and the Beanstalk, the Three Little Bears, and on and on... He has most of his books memorized, and throughout the day I hear him quoting little snippets from his books. He's also started singing along with the Psalms album that he constantly requests, and he prefers that I not sing so that he can have the floor.

This year he requested an airplane cake, although he himself does not like to actually eat the cake. Vance, as usual, was the architect, and although I was thinking of a more 3D assembly, Vance was in favor of the "clean lines of a two-dimensional airplane. It's very appropriate for the three year old mind." Anyway, he did a great job! (Note: I do not reccommend frosting a chocolate cake with white icing...what a pain :)

Unfortunately we were not able to use the playroom this year..our community room being recarpeted and repainted. So we squished in our little house. Isaac loved having friends over, eating pizza, destroying the house, and blowing out his candles. He even got a Chia pet...a first for any one in the Whitaker family :)

And this is just a small portion of the chaos produced by 6 children, 3 years old and under, within a 700 sq ft house. It was great. They had a blast.

So did Claire!

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. I love you, and can't wait to see what this next year holds for you!

Friday, January 23, 2009

NC Trip, Part 3

After Claire's big party, we had a couple more days to hang out with my family. Papa and Noni enjoyed having the kids around (although the craziness we bring in the house is quite a change of pace!). I realized I hadn't gotten a picture of Dad and Deonni with our kids.
We enjoyed all the glorious warm weather with nature walks and trips to the park

I showed Isaac how to collect sugar gumballs...I was planning on teaching him how to make a wreath out of them (80s craft night, anyone?!), but we ran out of time.
We spent the last few days of our trip in Oak Ridge with the Whitakers, which meant more trips to the park... of the more glorious sights of the trip: Dad snuggling under the protective warmth of Mr. Wuff....
...and of course, more tractor rides. Claire wasn't scared at all of the big noisy machine, although she likewise failed to exude the same level of ebullient ecstasy exhibited by her brother.

Dad even pulled out all the stops for Isaac...they plowed the garden together. Isaac was beside himself with the thrill of it all.
And Claire got to enjoy Carolina blue skies with Daddy while Isaac was plowing! We have been singing about tractors, plows, gardens, horses, and everything else from Nana & Papa's house since we came back home. It was a great trip!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Claire's First Birthday

I suppose I ought to share the pictures from Claire's birthday before we get to Isaac's birthday next week :). Sorry for the hiatus: we had the stomach flu, and then I was engrossed in a 1200 page novel that left me little inclination for other activities. Books do that to me.
But I do have pictures from Claire's birthday. We had a great time. It was the first birthday that we've been able to celebrate with the extended family, so it was different than both of Isaac's birthday parties, but a lot of fun. It was a challenge to fit everyone around the table, but we squeezed in.
I wondered how Claire would do with all the attention, especially since she hadn't napped well that day. I shouldn't have worried! As soon as everyone started singing, "Happy Birthday," she knew the spotlight was on her, and she basked in it. Just look at the smile on her face. It says, "I am the star of this show. Let's keep it that way, okay?"

She loved her little ladybug cake, but it's large size gave her the opportunity to only eat the icing. Why go for lesser sweets when there is so much icing left to eat?

The larger ladybug cake that the rest of us got to eat. It was going to be pink and white, but I forgot to bring the red food coloring from my mother-in-law's house, and there was none to be had at the Stolldorf's. No big was just a little artistic license, right?

The boys getting a little distraction from Ellen and David. It's hard not to be the center of all the attention (and to watch someone littler get all the gifts), but they did pretty well, considering.

She was still revelling in the glory bestowed on her with all the gift-giving. It was amazing to me that she knew how to ham it up for all the adoring crowds. Scary...
And the aftermath of the cake

We didn't do much other than dinner and gifts, although Vance and I did make up a Claire Quiz that everyone had to take. I think she's going to hate us for it when she gets older. But it was fun :). Ellen won, and Allie got second, for those keeping score. Way to go, aunts!
I know everyone says this, but I have a hard time believing that Claire is one. It has gone by unbelievably fast. She took 6 steps on Christmas morning, but since than has proved resistant to manipulation (uh, oh, that gene comes from my side of the family, I think). She has all the mechanics, though, and I think she'll be walking in another month or two. She has taken to climbing on things, and she loves to sit in Isaac's little rocking chair. Today she started saying "Isaac," although it sounds more like "I-dee". I'm impressed, but just a little irritated that she's volunteered his name before mine :)
She is doing beautifully in the health and development departments. At her 12m checkup she clocked in at 21 lbs, 13 oz. and 30 inches long (60% and 70%, respectively). I was glad to see she was having a growth spurt, because I couldn't understand how a Stolldorf/Whitaker child could be short. She seems to be moving past that stage, however. She is the same length Isaac was at a year, and one pound lighter. That surprised me, but looking back, Isaac was a chunkamunk at this stage, too.
We still have more NC pictures, so I'll try to hurry up and get those out before next month :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas Recap

Well, we're back from our trip to sweet home Carolina. It was a wonderful trip, and with 11 days at home, we felt like we really got to soak up some relaxation and good family time. I wouldn't say that the plane trip was my favorite part of our experience (I think I was a little too conservative on the Benadryl on the way there :/ ), but thank God for direct flights and frequent flier miles! We didn't get to see as many friends this trip (my apologies to all my friends in Raleigh that we didn't see), but it was nice to have a more relaxed time with family.

We started our visit in Oak Ridge, which was an instant adrenaline rush for Isaac. Albert the Dog, the Big Tractor, the John Deere Mower, and The Skipper the Horse all in one location? Plus Nana and Papa? He was in heaven. We got to visit with Mamie one evening, and she enjoyed seeing the great-grandkids. Do you see the stranglehold Isaac has on Claire? He frequently does that to her, always accompanied with a loving, "Claire's a family! Claire's a family!" I think he has good intentions....
It was actually a little chilly a few days (as in high of 35 or so :), so Isaac had to borrow a hat. Not that he cared...he got to ride on the tractor!

Claire was initially a little skeptical of Albert, but she warmed up to him pretty quickly.

The two domestic goddesses, both barefoot, one pregnant (Ellen, in case you were wondering!), each bearing samples of our food gifts for the extended family. Chocolate chip cookies and oreo truffles....mmmm.

My sweet nephew, who is growing so big. He's unfortunately a little skeptical of me, but he's slowly warming up, I think. I must not be slipping him enough chocolate when his parents aren't looking :)

Celebrating Christmas Even wtih Vance's extended family...Good food, good southern hospitality, good southern people. Too bad we had to cut out a little early to get the kids to bed in Raleigh and the sticky buns started for the morning.

Reading the Christmas story together after breakfast.

Granny with my adorable niece, Melia. She's growing fast, but still looks so little to me compared to Claire.

Isaac was totally enthralled with his sliceable vegetables.

Claire was enthralled with her Papa.

This scene warmed my heart...Merle is nearly deaf from testing the first jet engines after WWII, so it can be hard for him to get involved in the chaos. But Isaac snuggled right up and got him to read. Merle is so gracious.

Noni and the cutest little firegirl ever.
There's still a lot more...stay tuned for Claire's birthday bash!