Thursday, December 26, 2013

Belnap Baby #3

We had our 20 week ultrasound on the 18th, and here are some shots of our little one!




We're keeping the gender of this one a surprise, so we have no news to share on that front - we'll all have to wait until the first week of May to find that out!  But everything looks good, and we're excited to meet this baby!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Claire is 5!

We can't believe that our Claire is already 5!  It's been so fun to see the beautiful girl that she has become.  Though she was battling a nasty cold, we had a great time on her birthday.  

We headed to Out Of This World Pizza for some food and some fun playing time on arcade games, inflatable obstacle courses, and climbing structures.  We were even treated to a table-side magic show.  Claire was clearly impressed.  She had this great look of wonder and amazement on her face.  She declared it the "best birthday EVER!"


After playing for about 3 hours, we headed home for some cake and presents.  This year she asked for chocolate cake and mint frosting (which is interesting, since she says she doesn't like mint).  She added the star sprinkles on top and stuck in the candles herself. 



Then it was time for presents!  She was so spoiled with toys this year.  


Especially Barbie stuff.  




Last year I asked her a series of questions about herself.  Here is this year's version:

What makes you happy?  Having a good birthday and having a fun time with my family.
What is your favorite animal?  Dolphins 
What is your favorite thing to eat?  Salmon and rice and broccoli
What is your least favorite thing to eat?  Bacon  (she cannot be our daughter!)
What is your favorite thing to do?  Play games with my family
What is your favorite TV show?  My Little Pony
What are you really good at?  Playing catch
What is your favorite movie?  Frozen
What is your favorite color?  Purple
What is your favorite thing to wear?  Dresses  
What is your favorite song?  Child's Prayer
Who is your best friend?  Becca
What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?  Go on mommy-daughter dates 
What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?  Go on train rides
What is your favorite sport?  Red Sox
Where is your favorite place to go?  To Auntie Beth's house because then I can have fun with my cousins
What is your favorite book?  Barbie and the Pink Shoes
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A missionary

Monday, December 23, 2013

Claire's New Class II

On the 12th, Claire had her last gymnastics class.  Parents were able to sit in on this one, and Adam was able to join us.  Claire was only too happy to show off her skills.

They started out with a circuit that showed their balance and tumbling skills.  


Those cartwheels were still really tricky for Claire, but she tried so hard.  



Claire was a pro at the front and back somersaults though.  She liked to practice them at home.


Pretty good on her wall stand.


Then on to the bars.  Claire got a lot better at her spins over the bars during the course of the class.





She is also way more confident in her balance.  



She was so proud to get her certificate of completion at the end.  Good job Claire Bear!


Excited for Christmas

Claire is at that really fun age where she has a few Christmases under her belt, so she knows what to expect, and she's really excited for what she knows will be coming.  As soon as Thanksgiving was over, she knew that it was the month for Christmas.  We did some things similar to last year to get into the Christmas spirit.  

First stop:  the Festival of Nativities that the Vancouver stake puts on every year.  Last year we visited for the first time, and we were only too happy to go again (though, it must be said that now that Henry can walk it was a LOT less fun.  He wanted to touch EVERYTHING.  Not so cool when there are breakable nativities from around the world).  We had had a small amount of snow that weekend, and there was still some hanging around the parking lot in Vancouver.  Which meant that Claire wanted to have a snowball fight.  She just loves the snow.


And this precious girl was excited to dress up as Mary again.  I was hoping to get Henry in on the action this year, but he wasn't having it.  Claire was just fine role playing by herself however.  Isn't she lovely?


Later on that night was our ward Christmas party.  I thought the decorations that were set up were just great.  Claire was so excited to see Santa.  She knew exactly what she was going to ask him for.


Henry didn't like it quite as much.  Claire was happy to stay for another pose.


At least this got Claire excited for Christmas!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Mess in the Back Yard

Well, it's that time of year.  It's a wonder that more people don't go house hunting in the late fall so that they know what's in store for them.  Looking out at this mess, it's hard to believe that most of these leaves are from only one of the trees in our back yard.  Which means that this is only round 1 of the raking.


As soon as Claire saw it, she wanted to make a leaf angel.  


And this tree is the culprit for most of the leaves.  It was completely bare.  The kids couldn't resist some play time as I began raking at the other side of the yard.


Claire was all about throwing the leaves.  She started out pretty reasonably.


But she quickly got more ambitious in her leaf attack.



Henry was happy to sit, for the most part.


He would drop a few leaves here and there.


Then he began digging like a dog.  That was pretty cute.


And both kids were more than anxious to help me "sweep the leaves" (as Claire put it).  


I soon had neat piles across the back yard.  And almost as quickly, those piles became one long, continuous pile as Claire and Henry ran and shuffled through them.  But I was happy to have my helpers alongside me as I tackled this daunting job!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Halloween

Halloween kind of snuck up on me.  In the I-know-you're-coming-but-I'm-not-ready-to-deal-with-you-yet kind of way.  We only bought our pumpkins the weekend (like 5 days) before the big scare, but we never actually took the time to carve them.  Luckily, Adam got home a little early that night, and while I was working on dinner, he took the initiative - and Claire - outside to get in some last-minute carving.  And it was truly a kindness that he thought to do it outside so we wouldn't have to deal with the mess at the kitchen table.


Claire said she wanted a cat, and Adam paid tribute to his beloved World Series Champion Red Sox.


For the past couple of years, I had made a mummy meatloaf and other spooky-themed side dishes.  I wanted to do that again, but really needed to change up the menu.  So I made mummy dogs for an appetizer...


and a pumpkin-shaped pizza for dinner.  I SWEAR it looked a lot prettier than this at first.  You know, like when I took it out of the oven initially.  Then I looked at the time, realized that trick-or-treaters were already out, and figured we better get a move on, or else we would be going out too late.  Since the kids had already been trick-or-treating twice (at the ward trunk-or-treat and at the Halloween event at Intel), Adam and I had agreed that we would only go around the cul de sac and maybe to the end of the street.  Well, the night was so nice, that we decided to walk a little longer.  So what I thought would take 20 minutes took an hour.  And though I had turned the oven off, it was still pretty warm in there.  Needless to say, the pizza came out a little worse for wear.


My kitty cat, Claire.


Henry the turtle.  This little tortuga was extremely unhappy about putting on the costume.  He cried until we took it off (and there was NO way we were getting on the turtle hat).  We were resigned to the fact that we would have to take Henry out for his first real trick-or-treating experience sans-costume.  But then we got outside and he saw all the other kids in their costumes, and then he decided he wanted to go back in the house and get dressed.  




It's funny - everyone asks if the kids had a good time on Halloween, and though that is the driving force in all that people do on this holiday, the adults get left out of that question.  I had a great time.  The past few years, I've had to work on Halloween, so I was really happy to have the chance to go out with the kids this year.  We had a beautiful night, the kids had fun, and it was great to just walk around the neighborhood as a family.  


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

We were late in going this year (the week before Halloween), but better late than never, right?  We'd tried a different pumpkin patch last year but didn't care for it much, so we tried out Lakeview Farms, which is the first pumpkin patch that I'd ever taken Claire to (but we hadn't been back since).  Turned out to be the perfect fit.  A train to take you out to the patch, and a boat ride back, not too commercial and fair-like, and a beautiful view made for a great pumpkin patch experience.



We really do live in a beautiful place.


I love Henry's "cheese!" face!


Me and my girl.


Henry, checking out the "pung-kins".


He was dead-set on getting on still on the vine.


Claire, holding on to her choice.


This was the closest I could get of my kids together.  Both looking at me.  And smiling.  At the same time.


There's that "cheese!" face again.  He is so cute.


Henry loved running through the small hay maze.


This girl was proud to figure it out herself.


And of course, the ride in the wheel barrow was about as fun as anything.


Adam was a good sport for pushing them around.


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