22 January 2011

A fresh look

I was getting bored with the same old blog layout, so tonight I decided to spice things up a bit. I'm going to try to update the look a lot more frequently now. And I thought that choosing a pretty winter-themed layout would help me embrace this awful weather we've had all season. Four inches of snow on the ground now and another one to three inches coming on Monday. Is it April yet? :o)

14 January 2011

The book of a lifetime

Each of us received some wonderful Christmas gifts this year. Some were practical; some were fun. Some were expected; some were surprises. But by far the best gift I received was a family heritage scrapbook album made by my mom. It includes not only photos, dates and names of many of my ancestors but also photos of people and milestone moments from my own life. My mom made a similar album for my sister. The first half is the same as mine, but the second half was just about Karen's life. When I first opened the scrapbook, I was in tears thinking about the time and love my mom put into this gift. As I slowly moved through the book, I thought about the special people and special moments in my life. And then I started to see Avery's face and personality in so many of the pictures. Now I can't wait to show Avery her own heritage in this amazing scrapbook. Since I can't show you the entire book, I want to share some of my favorite pages with you: (I apologize for the poor photographs and even poorer cropping. My scanner isn't large enough to accommodate the 12x12 pages.) This was such an amazing gift because it was an unexpected one and because it was handmade with love by my mom. My mom would never call herself a scrapbooker, but she really has a lot of talent. Plus, the pictures, notes and handmade touches are more important than the scrapbook techniques Mom used. Each time I look at this book, I'll think about how much my mom cared for me that she made me this book. And I'll also remember all of the special people who made me the person I am today.

13 January 2011

Baby Jesus and Casey

Avery's speech has improved dramatically lately. She's speaking more clearly and in more sentences. She's also starting to learn people's names, including her own:

She also can say "Avery Clark." (And I'm "Mama Clark," and Chris is "Daddy Clark.") We're also working on "Avery Joy Clark." But she likes to say "Joy Clark" instead of her full name. And here are some more important names in her life:

12 January 2011

She's bowling us over

Avery has watched us play Wii for a long time, but recently she started pretending to play it herself. It's adorable to watch. But it will be a long time before we give her a controller. I can see it going through the TV thanks to her strong throwing motion!

11 January 2011

Dancing queen

Avery started dancing about this same time last year. But her talent has really started to take off this year.

It all began with the videos on our Barbie on-demand channel. Shake those hips, Avery!

And now it's progressed to dancing with the Christmas decorations at Grandma and Grandpa Hromada's house.

Grandma thinks Avery is going to need a hip replacement sooner rather than later!

10 January 2011

Christmas in review: The extended families

In addition to the other Christmas celebrations, we also spent time with each of our extended families. We didn't take many pictures or videos, but here are a few for you to enjoy. Here's Avery playing with Great Aunt Linda and Great Uncle Dave's dog, Sophie. Avery can't say "Sophie" yet, so instead she says "Fophie."

Cousin Joel has this adorable chair with an attached table. Since he's too small for it right now, Avery enjoyed it for him. This is where she sat while we watched the Colts game and she cheered, "Go, go, Colts!"

09 January 2011

Christmas in review: The Clarks

Christmas Day was spent at our house with Chris' parents. We enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and blueberry muffins, along with the beep of a smoke detector. Chris did a fabulous job making the breakfast, which he does nearly every year. But the vent over our stove isn't so great. So the bacon and sausage caused a lot of smoke. Avery kept running around the house saying, "Beep!" every time the smoke detector went off. After breakfast, we opened our gifts.

Avery got another baby. This one we named Betsy. She also came with a little cat in a little bag.

Again, Avery waited patiently to hold Betsy for the first time.
Hurry up, Daddy!
More clothes! This girl is going to be a fashion diva one day.
We already showed you the video of the rocking horse. But here are some pictures, too.

08 January 2011

Christmas in review: Christmas morning

For us, Christmas morning officially began when we got home from church after the Christmas Eve service. After we put Avery to bed, Chris had to help Santa assemble one final gift.
It's a grill, just like Daddy's!
Don't forget the hot dog and hamburger.
Luckily, it didn't take Chris too long to put together the grill. We were in bed by 1:15 a.m., knowing we'd need some good sleep before waking up around 8:30 a.m.
We woke up Avery on Christmas morning. We had to make sure we had enough time to read the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke, open our presents and start cooking breakfast before Mommaw and Poppaw Clark arrived. Later, we said this probably was the last year that we could have slept in on Christmas morning. From now on, Avery will be anxious to start the day and won't let us sleep very late!
First up, Avery got a new pair of Nikes from Daddy. I have a feeling this will become an annual gift.
Since she loves fish and turtles so much, we bought her "Finding Nemo." We watched it later in the day, and it kept her attention pretty well. I'm sure she'll enjoy it more in a few years.
That wasn't the end of the fish gifts. We also got her a fish book.
After opening our gifts, Avery and Daddy played with the grill.
I don't know which one of them had more fun!

07 January 2011

Christmas in review: The Hromadas

Christmas Eve is the designated day to spend with my parents and sister. This year, we spent the day at my parents' house, playing games, eating a lot of food and enjoying each other's company. We opened our gifts pretty early in the day. Avery is usually at her best in the mornings, and we wanted to be sure that she still got her normal nap time after lunch. First up, Avery opened her gifts from Great Aunt Ann and Great Uncle Ron in Boise. She got this adorable owl puppet...
...which she loves...
...plus some books.
Some of her other favorite gifts were a dog Pillow Pet...
...a duck towel and washcloth...
(which she started using right away)
...and a baby! She is so into babies right now. She carries them everywhere we go and is starting to pretend play with them. She was so excited when she opened this gift.
She waited very patiently as Daddy carefully performed surgery to get the baby out of the box. We decided to name this baby Holly since she was "born" on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, when Avery says "Holly," it sounds like "Ollie," which is the nickname for Aunt Karen's cat, Oliver.
Babies require lots of equipment and accessories. So Avery also received this high chair. This is a special high chair because it belonged to me and Karen when we were younger. It was in great shape, but my parents recently painted it to freshen it up.
Avery loves putting her babies in the chair and feeding them meals. Sometimes, they even sit with us at the table during meals.
Grandma and Grandpa Hromada also gave Avery this princess tent. She likes to climb inside with her babies and either read books or play with her toys. She also likes to peak her head in the windows and say "Hi!"
She can say "tent" very clearly and sometimes will ask Mommy or Daddy to get inside with her. Chris laughs when he finds himself curled up inside a pink princess tent. But secretly, I know how much he loves having a little girl!
Her final big gift from my parents was this table with two matching chairs.
She likes to use her new tea set and food to feed all of her babies and animals. She goes around the table saying, "OK?" like she's making sure no one needs anything else. Following the festivities at my parents' house, we went to the 11 p.m. service at church. While Avery slept in the car on the way there, she woke up as we walked into church. She was pretty quiet for the first half of the service, then she got a little more talkative and pointed out "Baby Jesus" in the videos on the big screen. I just hope she didn't disturb the people around us! And thank goodness she fell asleep pretty quickly when we got home.

06 January 2011

Christmas in review: The videos

After a very busy holiday, I'm finally ready to catch you up on our Christmas festivities.

Let's start with the fun stuff: The videos!

Avery has become quite the cook. Not only does she love to play with Mommy's cookware and utensils, she also has her own kitchen at Mommaw Clark's house. But she needed some of her own dishes at our house. So Mommaw and Poppaw Clark got her a pretty tea set. She was very excited to get it! She's saying, "Cook" in the video below as she opened the package:

She also got some pots, pans and food from Great Aunt Pauline and Great Uncle Jim. She loves using all of this to serve food and drinks to her babies...and Mommy and Daddy!

Most kids aren't very pleased to get clothes for Christmas. But that wasn't Avery this year. Every time she opened a gift of clothing, she threw her hands to her mouth in excitement and said, "Ooooh!" Then she pulled the items out of the box and tried to put them on. Let's hope she keeps this up because she'll always get some clothes for Christmas.

One of her big gifts this year was a rocking horse. Neither Daddy nor I knew this gift was coming, so it was a nice surprise for all of us. She can't climb on or off by herself, but she definitely loves to ride him. Now he just needs a name!