22 December 2010

Favorite sounds of the season

I'm usually anxious to start listening to Christmas music on the day after Thanksgiving. But somehow this year Christmas snuck up on me, so I've really been relying on my Christmas CDs to get me in the holiday spirit. Thank goodness they're doing their job! Here are just a few of my favorite Christmas carols, in no particular order: A Twist on the Traditional God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by MercyMe I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns Carol of the Bells by Mannheim Steamroller Emmanuel by Michael W. Smith Little Drummer Boy by Audio Adrenaline Mary, Did You Know? by Kathy Mattea We Three Kings by Mannheim Steamroller New Favorites Our God Is with Us by Steven Curtis Chapman Merry Christmas by Third Day Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) by Amy Grant All I Really Want for Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman Joseph's Lullaby by MercyMe While You Were Sleeping (Original Christmas Version) by Casting Crowns Chris' Favorites - Chris isn't with me right now, but I can tell you a few of his seasonal favorites: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by John Mellencamp Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano I Saw Three Ships by Sting Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen I hope all of these songs help you prepare to celebrate the birth of our promised Savior this week!

21 December 2010

22 facts at 22 months

In honor of Avery's 22-month birthday today, here are 22 facts about Avery right now: 1. Hair color: Light brown. 2. Eye color: Brown. 3. Eating: Three square meals a day (breakfast at 7 or 8 a.m., lunch at noon and dinner at 6:30 p.m.) with a small snack after nap around 3 p.m. 3. Sleeping: Nap from about 1 to 3 p.m. and overnight from about 7:30 p.m. to 7 or 8 a.m. 4. Words: My goodness, the girl won't stop talking! It seems that she picks up at least one new word a week. And she's starting to talk in two- and three-word sentences. 5. Favorite toy: Babies! She always carries a baby, and we can hardly leave the house without taking two or three babies with us. 6. Favorite babies: Pinky, a small doll that perfectly fits in her arms. And Ellen, my preemie Cabbage Patch doll from several decades ago. 7. Shoe size: 5. 8. Shirt size: 2T. 9. Pant size: 18 months but quickly moving to 24 months. 10. Teeth: It's hard to tell, but it looks like she has six on top and six on bottom. 11. Favorite food: Cookies! She always asks for a cookie after every meal, including breakfast. 12. Favorite snack food: Goldfish crackers. 13. Favorite drinks: Water and milk. 14. Favorite book: Her Beginner's Bible and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. 15. Favorite TV "shows:" Our cable provider has a Barbie on-demand station as well as an information station with videos of fish and turtles in the background. She demands to watch both of these channels by bringing us the remote control and asking for "Bardie" or "turtle." 16. Favorite games: Ring Around the Rosie, the Hokey Pokey and Duck, Duck, Goose (but her version really is just Tag). 17. Favorite Christmas decorations: Her Fisher Price manger scene and the five or six musical stuffed animals and snowmen at Grandma and Grandpa Hromada's house. She loves to play them all at the same time. I don't know how my parents stay sane listening to that all day! 18. Favorite winter accessories: Her "hat" and "goves" ("gloves"). 19. Favorite animals: "Doggies," "tats" ("cats") and "peep" ("sheep"). 20. Favorite activity: She loves to "carl" ("color") with crayons or just a pen. 21. Newest act of independence: Climbing onto the couch by herself. 22. Newest trick: Dancing. I'll post a video of this cuteness later! I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Avery! (I stole this idea and many of the list items from my blogging friend Megan.)

A Santa story

On Saturday while Chris was reffing a basketball game, his parents treated Avery and me to dinner out. As we sat down at our table, we saw Santa dining a few tables behind us. (Actually, it was a friendly-looking gentleman who was wearing a red flannel shirt and a Santa hat and was sporting a full white beard. Santa is much too busy this time of year to be eating at Texas Roadhouse in Greenwood.) Several children in the restaurant came up to him, and he obviously was happy to oblige and talk to them. Avery joined in the festivities by waving to Santa, blowing kisses and saying, "Tanta! Tanta! Ho, ho, ho!" As Santa and Mrs. Claus left the restaurant, they stopped at our table to say hello to Avery. But when he bent down to see Avery in her high chair, she started wailing and crying! She obviously preferred Santa from across the room instead of right next to her. She cried for awhile and produced a lot of tears as the other restaurant patrons around us felt sorry for her. But after she calmed down, she was back to her usual happy, smiling, friendly self. On Sunday morning, I told Avery to tell Daddy what happened. She said, "Tanta! Ho, ho, ho! Avery cry." Yep, that's pretty much what happened!

09 December 2010

Excuses, excuses

If anyone out there is still following our blog, you're probably wondering why we've dropped off the face of the earth. I could give several excuses why you haven't seen blog posts lately, but it really comes down to the fact that life has been busy and blogging has taken a back seat to all of the other activities that fill our time in November and December. So just be patient and hang in there. We'll share the latest news, photos and videos when we have a chance!

24 November 2010

01 November 2010

The world's least scary scarecrow

We ended our Halloween day on a much happier note than how it started. Mommaw and Poppaw Clark, Grandma and Grandpa Hromada and Aunt Karen came to our house to see Avery in her costume and enjoy a chili dinner with plenty of Halloween sweets. As Halloween was approaching this year, I couldn't decide on a costume for Avery. So I asked my mom if she would make one. And of course she agreed. We looked at patterns together and found a set with four characters from The Wizard of Oz. We decided that Avery would be the scarecrow this year. In the future she probably will choose the other three characters on her own. And the scarecrow would be much cuter on a younger Avery. We didn't think that Avery would be gung ho about trick-or-treating this year. We'll put that on hold till next year. So we all just hung out at home and enjoyed each other's company. We let Avery come to the door when the trick-or-treaters arrived, but she couldn't figure out what was going on and just stared at the "boys" and "gurls." By the way, she enjoyed wearing her costume more than what appears in these pictures!

Up in flames

Did you ever have one of those days that would have been better if you had just stayed in bed? That was yesterday for us in the Clark house. It started while we were getting ready for church. As I was drying my hair, I heard a loud POP! Then I smelled smoke. My hair dryer had died on me. When I couldn't salvage my hairdo, I sent Chris and Avery to church, went out to buy a new hair dryer and then joined them later at church. (I ended up hating the new hair dryer, so I returned it after church and bought another one. Who knew it would be so difficult to find a good hair dryer.) We thought that would be our only fire of the day and the end of the excitement. After church, Chris mowed the yard and our bazillion leaves. Since he'd been busy the last few weeks with school and soccer, the yard desperately needed some attention. As he began to mow, he suggested that we write a blog post with before and after pictures of his compost pile. He knew he'd add a lot of leaves to the pile. So, for the record, here's the before picture:

Since we've had such a dry summer, Chris was very careful to clear the leaves off the mower and also make sure he didn't get the mower too close to the compost pile as he emptied new leaves on top. As he neared the end of his mowing and emptied another load of leaves, he suddenly saw a flame in the pile of leaves. He ran into the house and asked me to help fill some buckets with water. But on his next trip inside, he told me to call 911. The flames were growing too quickly for us to extinguish. And there probably was gasoline in the flames.

So a few minutes later, White River Township's finest firemen arrived to help put out the fire. We even had a few sheriff's deputies visit, too.

The flames got pretty high, maybe six or seven feet. But the firemen quickly had them under control.

Everyone was very understanding when Chris explained what happened. He was as cautious as he could have been, but accidents do happen.

In the end, everything turned out fine. The fire was contained to the very back portion of the backyard and didn't hop over the fence to our neighbors' yards. Avery and I were safe in the house. And Chris handled everything with such a calm demeanor.

Unfortunately, the mower, Chris' pride and joy, will need some heavy repair work and may have to be replaced altogether. The front was completely melted!

So here are the after pictures Chris wasn't expecting for this blog post:

30 October 2010

The last hurrah

It was a beautiful day for Chris' final soccer game! Avery, my parents and Chris' parents all made the trek to watch Chris do a sideline of one of the boys' games. Four of Chris' crewmates were on the same girls' game at 10 a.m. The fifth was on a different girls' game also at 10 a.m. So Chris got to watch all of them. Then they stayed to root for Chris at his game. Here are Chris and his fellow officials checking out the field before the game.
Everyone stood at midfield following the team introductions.
Just before the game started, Chris had to look for Avery in the stands.
Then he gave her lots of big smiles and a few waves.
Look at Chris in action!
And here is Chris' final moment on the field.

Avery was the most excited as Chris walked out on the field at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, I was taking "real" pictures and didn't have the video camera ready. But she'll tell you who's on the field.

And here she is enjoying the action of the game while eating some snacks.

27 October 2010

History repeats itself

At the beginning of this soccer season, Chris committed to "retiring" when the season was over. He's really enjoyed these nine years of officiating and has made some great friends, too. His crew of nine officials has really grown together, and I can tell that they love doing games together.
Several of the other members of the crew are retiring this year as well. But Chris is the youngest one by far.
So Chris went through the season and enjoyed every game, knowing he was approaching the end of his career. He had hoped to get a sectional assignment (the first round of the post-season tournament) and was excited when he found out that he was appointed head referee at his sectional. He was pleased to move on to regionals, the next round, but was a little frustrated with his fellow officials there. But in the end he was happy with his own performance. Then he was pleasantly surprised to receive a semi-state assignment for last weekend. After those exciting games there, Chris said he would be happy to end his career that way.
But then he received a state assignment!
This marks his third state appearance in four years. What a way to end his soccer career! And an extra bonus -- out of the 24 officials assigned to state, six of them are from Chris' crew! Everyone is thrilled about the crew's success. What a great group of guys!
So now we wait to hear if Chris will have a morning game or an evening game. Then when he arrives on Saturday, he'll find out which game he will officiate.
The only thing different about this year's state games compared to the previous two is that Avery will be sitting next to me in the stands! She's even been practicing her cheer -- "Go go, Daddy!"

19 October 2010

17 October 2010

The pumpkin patch

When the weather started to turn cool (finally...after such a miserably hot summer), I was debating whether it was worth taking Avery to a pumpkin patch. So when my mom said she wanted to take Avery to Waterman's Farm Market and invited me to tag along, I figured it would be fun to go out as just us girls. The admission fee included several activities and a hayride to the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, most of the activities were for older kids, and there were plenty of kids around that day on school field trips. So we just walked around to check out everything before our hayride.

Avery was ready for her first hayride. She even knew enough to grab a handful of hay and throw it at me!

The pumpkin patch had a lot of great-looking pumpkins.
But we found two perfectly round Avery-sized pumpkins. We took one home, and Grandma kept one at her house for Avery.
This is her new grin for the camera. Yes, it's cute, but I just want a regular smile for her pictures!
Ahhh, that's better.
Before we left, we had to let Avery experience her first pony ride.
She looks so tiny on that pony!
She was a little nervous at first, but she didn't freak out at all. It probably helped that Grandma walked with her.
She's got quite a death grip on that saddle. And an intense look on her face.
In the coming years, I hope Avery doesn't ask us for equestrian lessons. Those could be very pricey! After the pumpkin patch, we enjoyed lunch at Grandma's house. Then we headed home for Avery's daily nap. But she couldn't wait till we got home to go to sleep.
This was what I saw in the rear view mirror all the way home.

11 October 2010

A day off with Daddy - Part 2

This day deserved two posts! Our afternoon was filled with more outdoor play. It was such a beautiful day here! First up was golf:
Then basketball, of course:
Finally, we just played in the leaves:
We hope everyone else also had a great start to the week!