Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Formans!

It's been a busy year for the Formans, but in less international ways than in the past few years. Our big big change was that we moved from Costa Rica to Denver in January – quite a difference in weather! We do miss the tropical weather on occasion, and definitely the people, but we're also really enjoying living in Denver.

Saying goodbye to some of our friends in Costa Rica

In March we bought a house in the Stapleton neighborhood (Northeast Denver) – if you flew into Denver prior to 1999, you may have landed about where our house is now. We're about a block and a half from the old air tower, which is the only thing still standing. The rest of the airport has been turned into a fantastic, family friendly community with lots of parks, pools, shops and restaurants within walking distance, and diverse families with lots of young children. Come visit and we'll show you around!

Our bunnies in front of our new house

Our big trip this year was to Southern Idaho in the summer. Mindee turned 40 on July 4th, so we spent a week with her family, then drove home by way of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The kids loved spending time with family, and then seeing the mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife, and throwing rocks into the lakes.

In front of Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho, where Mindee's mom went to high school 

Throwing rocks into Jackson Lake at Grand Teton National Park 

Checking out the thermal activity at Yellowstone National Park

Sean and Mindee also made a quick trip to Northern Idaho in October to attend the memorial service for Mindee’s brother-in-law, Donnie Goecke. His passing has left a big hole in the lives of his family – please keep them in your prayers.

Graham and Donnie in Costa Rica, Thanksgiving 2012

Claire graduated kindergarten in May and is now a busy seven-year-old first-grader. Her week at the moment consists of a ballet/tap/tumbling class, swimming lessons, a "try it" music program where she gets to sample different instruments, and a theatre class where they’re working with the characters and story from "Frozen." Her absolute favorite thing this year is "Frozen," so the last one makes her very happy. There will be a performance on February 27 if anyone would like to come. She recently started reading chapter books and can’t seem to get enough, which makes her parents very happy.

When did she get so grown-up?

At two and a half years old, Sean is a non-stop boy of action. He loves airplanes, music, playing with his friends and Claire, and anything electronic with a button or switch. He has been at a Montessori school for almost a year now in a toddler program, but may switch to a Spanish-immersion preschool early next year to re-expose him to Spanish. He’s always open to new experiences, usually responding with, "Ooh, that’d be fun!"

Mister busy-britches

They've grown so much since last year:

 2013

Mid-2014 

Fall 2014

Graham continues to work with Netchemia as their VP of Business Development, and continues to grow his new company, Edovate Capital. He hopes to spend lots of time in the mountains skiing this winter and also hopes the kids will want to join him.

The Forman men in action

Mindee still works with the Kauffman Foundation, but is also increasingly doing more freelance editing work. She also does writing, formatting, social media, and web consulting if you know of anyone in need of such services. She also now sings with the Colorado Choir as a second alto and enjoys being artistic again.

With my babies on my birthday - I sure don't feel 40!

Bailey, our 13.5-year-old cat, has failing kidneys, but we now give her subcutaneous fluids at home every night, which helps a great deal. She's eating again, gaining back the weight she lost, and her energy level is coming back up. We're not ready to let her go just yet so are glad she's feeling better.

Feeling better every day

We wish you a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah  and hope 2015 brings you joy and peace.

Love,

Mindee, Graham, Claire, and Sean Forman

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sean at 2.5

On the 6th of this month Sean turned 2.5. He’s such a busy boy! He will even tell you so himself these days. If there’s something he doesn't want to do, it’s "No, I busy!"

 Happy, busy boy

He’s really verbal these days and has a big big personality. Some of our favorite Sean-sayings: "Oh, that'd be yummy!" "Ooh, that'd be fun!" (usually accompanied by a hand to the side of his face for emphasis), "Look! Out my window!". A less-favorite saying is, "Put it BACK!," which we get when he doesn’t like something we've done. For example, if I wipe his face, he says, "Put it back!," so then I have to re-wipe it to put whatever it was back. Usually the actual cleaning happens on the second wipe, but he hasn't figured that out yet, thankfully.

Our big boy at school

At one point I chastised Claire about something and Sean repeated it. I said, "No, thank you, Sean - I'm the Mommy." To which he replied, "No, Mama - I'm the Seanny!" He also told us a story back in July that cracked us up – he had seen a boy at the pool who screamed and it really made an impression, because he told us about it over and over. See for yourselves here. He's a funny kid...

Some other favorite Sean-isms:
  • Cup-cup (ketchup)
  • Gocks (socks)
  • Bay-ders (Bailey, whom we call Bailers)
  • Gee gack (sleep sack)
Sean just up and decided one day shortly after he turned two that he was potty trained, at least at school. It took us a bit longer at home, but that was only maybe a week or two. Now he’s completely diaper-free except when he sleeps. We put him in pull-ups for the longer trips (both plane and car) recently, but he didn't need them. Go Sean!

Way too cool for diapers

He still adores music of all kinds. He loves to sing and to play anything he can get his hands on. I now sing with the Colorado Choir, and he came to our Christmas concert and stayed awake for the whole thing. Music lessons are definitely in his future. When we went to Coeur d'Alene, he entertained his Nana, Auntie, and Mom with a mini concert (it was that or go to sleep, and that's no fun). This is a must watch - it will make your day.

Playing his "guitar" - he also has a glockenspiel (a.k.a. his "pahno") and a recorder

Saxophone boy at Grandma and Grandpa's house - he even does fingerings for it

He also loves puzzles and is quite good at putting them together, even the 3+ ones. Airplanes are also still a huge favorite – that’s what he asked Santa to bring him this year.

Putting puzzles together with Daddy

Speaking of Santa, Sean’s legs are just now long enough to reach the pedals of the tricycle he got for Christmas last year. There may be a strider bike in his future…

The helmet makes it even more fun (he stopped for the picture, hence no feet on pedals)

We've tried moving him to his big boy bed a couple of times (at his request), but he always ends up back in his crib. Perhaps that's a project for the holidays. Any tips on how to get a two-year-old to stay in bed?

Snuggling with Bailey and his teddy bear in his big-boy bed

His favorite color has been green for quite some time - he's very consistent about one. He even says his favorite flavor of ice cream is "green" (thus far mint chocolate chip and pistachio - he doesn't care as long as it's green). He also loves balls, so much so that he likes to take them to bed with him. When he becomes a big basketball star, this will be part of his human-interest story:

As you can see, he's still very attached to his sleep sack and doesn't like to go to sleep without it

Sean also loves to climb on anything, and buttons and switches are still a big hit. The Christmas timers aren't safe from our mischievous boy.

Climber boy in action (thankfully, he doesn't go any higher)

Sean is a very loving boy and loves to play, especially with Claire, Daddy, and Mommy. He tells us every day when he comes home from school, "I have good day...play my friends...Miss Jaira, Miss Susan, uh-huh." We're glad he's happy and delighted that he's a part of our lives! 

I love my big sister!

Rough-housing with Daddy is the best!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

4th Quarter 2014

This may be the longest I've gone without a post since the blog's inception… I have no excuse, but hope to be more on top of things in the future. This is almost four months of news, so I’ll keep it brief.

As promised in the last post about Claire, here is the latest edition of the Forman Babies at age 7:

Mindee

Claire

Graham

She also came home with this fantastic self-portrait from school – they were studying Frida Kahlo, so you may see the influence:

Claire in first grade

Here are some of the big events from the past three+ months:

We visited the Denver Botanic Gardens for the first time in September – the kids loved all the plants, but they were captivated by the glass in the Chihuly exhibit. Months later, Claire still talks about the "crystals" we saw.

The glass was impressive, the kids were cute - hard to go wrong! 

Our bunnies in the garden 

Sharing a moment by the sunflowers... 

 ...and giving a hug to Aunt Diana

The big blue spiky one was their favorite 

The glass was even cooler at night when all the lights came on

The kids and I went berry picking with friends in September. It was a bit late in the season, so we didn’t get many berries, but we had a fun time. Sean wandered through the fields yelling, "Stawbeyyies, wheh yoo?!?" "Red ones, wheh yoo?!?" (He knew we could only pick the really red ones.)

Claire practicing her tractor driving 

That's about all the berries we got, but Sean was very proud and they were yummy 

The highlight of the day:  watching a long long train go by 

I'm sad to relate that my brother-in-law, Donnie Goecke, died in October at the age of 43. Sean and I were able to fly out for his memorial service at the last minute, and I was glad we could be there for my sister, Lauri, and her boys. We last saw him in 2012 when he and Lauri came to visit us in Costa Rica for Thanksgiving. Donnie is and will continue to be greatly missed. Please keep his family in your prayers.

Graham and Donnie in 2012

My beautiful sisters snuggling my boy 

My stalwart travel companion - he insisted on carrying his own bag, which was a big hit at the airport 

All four Clem-kids with Dad - it's been a long time since that happened

Surrounded by lots of family and love

Halloween this year was all about "Frozen" (what isn't, these days?), with Claire dressing as Queen Elsa and Sean as Olaf, the snowman. This was Sean's first U.S. Halloween, and once he figured out how trick-or-treating worked, he was hooked. He wore his Olaf costume today (part of "spirit week" at his school before the winter break), and was hoping he could collect some candy in his bag like he did last time.

Too much cuteness!

Claire lost another tooth this fall – a bottom incisor. Love that gap-toothed smile!

Spinning at the park

We drove to Lawrence, Kansas, for Thanksgiving to spend the week with Graham's family. It was wonderful to see everyone, as always! Here are a few pics from the trip (I didn't take many – falling down on the job, sorry):

 An on-the-road selfie

 Claire helping Aunt Jane plant daffodil bulbs

 Playing basketball with Uncle Craig, Uncle Bart, and Daddy

Sarah teaching Sean how to make faces for selfies

Claire's in love with Aunt Andrea's aptly named dog, Romeo

Bailey, our 13.5-year-old cat, has been very sick lately. Her kidneys are failing and are probably 80 percent gone, which can't be repaired. She spent a week in the hospital on IV fluids, came home, and then had to go back for a couple of days for more. She needs to maintain an increased level of fluids, so we're now giving them to her every night subcutaneously at home, and the change has been dramatic. She's eating again, gaining back the weight she lost, and her energy level is coming back up. We're not ready to let her go just yet so are glad she's feeling better.

Feeling well enough to hang out under the tree - always a favorite spot 

Claire started reading chapter books in late November and has already devoured five of them. So far she loves the "Nancy Clancy" books ("Fancy Nancy" is older now), the "Magic Tree House" series, and the "Judy Moody" books. She has her own Goodreads account if anyone has other suggestions for her. I’m hoping she'll give "Harry Potter" a try – at least the first one.

The start of something marvelous

Sean just turned 2.5, but I'll give him his own post about that. More soon!