Thursday, October 2, 2014

Claire turns seven!

Huge apologies for the delay in this post (Claire's birthday was a month ago) - things have been crazy-busy lately.

That said, I wanted to make sure to say happy happy birthday to our precious Claire-bear and tell you a few things about our girl at seven:

How our little girl has grown! (Still silly, though - always silly.)

Claire LOVES to dress up - this is her as a pirate princess

It's even more fun when Sean gets into the act - he loves it, too.

We had her birthday party at a neighborhood pool with a classmate of hers who shares the exact same birthday, and much of the class came. It was a good way to say goodbye to summer and kick off the school year. She's quite the little fish now - check out a video of her swimming here.

For the actual day of her birthday she wanted to go to the Children's Museum of Denver, so we spent the morning there and then went out to lunch (this is the favorite outfit that she mentions in the questions below).

Claire's really into building toys lately - this is her Goldie Blox parade float (built completely by herself)... 

...and this is the LEGO Cinderella castle she got for her birthday (thanks, Uncle Bart!). She spent three hours straight putting it together - I served as her sous chef (finding pieces and helping with questions), but she built it on her own. Way to go, Claire!

This is one of Claire's favorite outfits - she designed it herself. If things are fancy, she approves... 

Speaking of... Her absolute favorite thing at the moment is "Frozen" (movie, music, books, toys, clothes - you name it). To her delight, Sean is a willing convert - he loves it as much as she does. (Yes, she designed that outfit herself...)

Claire tried a bunch of different activities in summer camps this year, and enjoyed all of them: tennis (pictured), yoga, gymnastics, multi-sport, art, VBS, and... I was excited about the theatre one, which sounded good but was a poor execution on the director's part. I hope she gives it another shot. It seems a natural fit...

We took the kids to see The Tempest by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival at Theatre on the Green near our house. Both kids were completely captivated and we stayed for the whole show. I filled Claire in on the plot and she asked a lot of questions - yeah!

Now that school has started we're back into after-school activities - Claire has ballet/tap/tumbling (pictured, which she LOVES), swimming lessons, gardening, and cooking. All were her choices except swimming. We ended up in the combined dance/gymnastics because the local gymnastics places had big waiting lists. Maybe next year. Choir is on my radar, too. She now sings with the children's choir at church and really enjoys it.

Claire's first day of first grade - she's so glad to be one of the "big kids" instead of in kindergarten.

She's really grown as a reader and writer this year and is very smooth in both English and Spanish. We're really impressed...

I wanted to share this piece of homework, because I was really floored at her vocabulary usage. She was supposed to use the listed three- and four-letter words to describe the picture in sentences, but she, on her own, used the much larger gracioso (funny) and contenta (happy) and punctuation that they're just now studying this week. Plus, check out that awesome handwriting...! I sure don't remember mine being that good in first grade. Very proud.

She and Sean are good buddies and love to play together.

More buddy pictures:

We've been to the mountains all of twice since we moved here (in Colorado, that is), but both kids love it.

At Sean's school - Claire likes to play with Sean and the other kids, especially since her classroom no longer has toys and his still does.

Watching "Justin Time" or "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" together - their current favorites.

Some more pictures of our big seven-year-old girl:

Serious, sleepy Claire (with make-up from her cousins)

 More dress up...

 ...and still more dress up...

...and not only dressing up, but flying. What could be better?

25 Age 7 Favorites

(answers supplied by her – commentary by Mommy)
  1. Color: Blue (like Elsa from "Frozen," followed by purple, green, and pink)
  2. Fruit: Watermelon
  3. Vegetable: Avocado (she knows it's a fruit, but insisted)
  4. Breakfast food: Pancakes
  5. Lunch food: Noodles with butter and cheese
  6. Snack: Popcorn
  7. Dinner food: Chicken nuggets and fries
  8. Drink: Sweet Iced Tea
  9. Dessert: Cake – vanilla with cherry frosting
  10. Candy: Lollipop
  11. Ice cream flavor: Cherry
  12. Animal: Cat
  13. Song/music: "Let It Go" from "Frozen" (her favorites are collected in an ever-morphing Spotify playlist if you want a window into the mind of Claire)
  14. Book: Frozen: A Tale of Two Sisters
  15. TV show: “Justin Time”
  16. Movie: "Frozen"
  17. Outfit: Long-sleeved blue and white dress with purple butterflies
  18. Toy: Frozen Complete Story Set
  19. Thing to take to bed at night: Duckie Lovey
  20. Game: Puzzles
  21. Thing to do outside: Play tennis
  22. School subject: Math (news to us...)
  23. Sport: Ballet
  24. Backpack/lunchbox theme: Monster High (leftover from last year - if she had her choice it would be "Frozen")
  25. Best friend: Sloan
And, like last year, Claire's self-portrait:

No wings this year, but a dress, a butterfly, birds, and flowers (I sense Disney Princess influence, here) - the M.D. stands for Mommy Daddy for some reason. She's quite the artist and loves to draw and create. Art camp was her favorite this summer, she said.

I won't do "The Forman Babies" comparing her to Graham and me at seven until we get her school pictures back, so that's coming soon.

No Spanish version this time - lo siento. I need to return to doing those, but at the moment it feels like quite an accomplishment just to get this written in English. Happy Fall!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Yes, I did promise a follow-up in my last post about our trip home through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Apologies for my tardiness - it's been a full summer.

We drove from Boise to Idaho Falls, spent the night, then drove into Grand Teton National Park the next morning. We spent the day, then drove to Grant Village in Yellowstone for a couple of nights (beware the clouds of mosquitoes!!) before driving back out through Grand Teton and heading to Denver. We saw some beautiful, beautiful country.

The full photo album is here, which many of you have already seen (those on Facebook, that is). For those who haven't yet seen it, you can check out the link above, and here are some favorites:

Entering the Grand Tetons - spectacular, just spectacular 

Swim Beach at Colter Bay on Jackson Lake - the kids loved throwing rocks from the beach into the water 

Proper gear must be worn for the most effective rock throwing, you know 

 Our little nap basecamp at Jackson Lake

At Lewis Falls in Yellowstone National Park

Sean does a good natural "Home Alone" impersonation when something impresses him (accompanied by a "WOW!), which Old Faithful certainly did 

Tired girl taking a break outside the General Store near Old Faithful 

Taking the thermal tour around the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone 

The thermal pools and springs were just magnificent... 

...not to mention the super-cool bacteria 

Road trip, part 2: Next time, the kids drive! 

We drove around after the thermal tour so the kids could nap, and 3...2...1... 


A close encounter with a bison (not a buffalo, for the record - those only live in Africa)...

...and an elk 

 More rock throwing at Jackson Lake before we said goodbye to the Grand Tetons

Claire doing her "homework" to earn her junior ranger badge on the ride home

We had a wonderful trip, but it's great to be home. School starts in a week, so it's almost back to normal!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Family time in Idaho for the 4th

[ Versión en español abajo ]

We spent a wonderful week in Idaho with my family to celebrate my 40th birthday and Independence Day. It's been roughly 20 years since I've spent my birthday in Boise, so it was great to be there with lots of family. For my big day I was treated to lunch, bought an outfit and new makeup, and had pedicures with my Mom, Claire, my sister, and my niece, then there were TWO parties - an open house on the 3rd to see other family and friends, then a 4th of July party at my sister's house. All-in-all I felt very pampered and loved.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Nana had a pair of toy glasses that Sean adored and wore for hours on end - we couldn't decide if he was more Seanny Potter or Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," but it was way cute 

He also discovered a new love for the piano - especially playing with cousin McKenna - check out this video of his first piano concert here 

La familia Forman

Cousin McKenna brought along a couple of friends from her dance team, and the bigger girls promised the little girls they would put dance make up on them, which Claire loved 

The almost finished product (oh dear...)

Sean wanted in on the action, too, and gave himself a good stage 5-o'clock shadow

Then, of course, both kids returned the favor on a very tolerant McKenna 

Sean painted cousin Kendall's face, too, so she wouldn't be left out 

On the morning of the 4th we went to Boise's Independence Day Parade, which I haven't been to since 1988. We all had a blast! 

This was Sean's first parade and he was fascinated - he and McKenna were checking out a high-unicycle rider/juggler at this moment 

Claire hasn't been to many parades, either... Her favorite part was watching one of her cousins march, followed by the mass quantities of free candy thrown by parade participants 

Nana and all her grandbabies - this was the first trip they had all been together (Sean wasn't born last time we saw them) 

Lots of cute cousin love 

Mom and daughters - it was so wonderful to spend time with them! 

What's the 4th of July without watermelon?! This was Sean's first 4th in the U.S. and he thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Two of my loves 

"Happy birthday to me..." (Blowing assistance by Claire) 

My angel babies 

Graham and the kids made me a "40 Reasons Why We Love You" print to hang in our new house. I love it! Here are the 40 Reasons (composed by both Graham and the kids):
  1. You let us play on the iPad.
  2. You make us smile.
  3. You make us feel good about ourselves.
  4. Your beauty and loving personality.
  5. You give us hugs.
  6. You are warm.
  7. You are kind.
  8. You are sensitive.
  9. You are generous.
  10. You are thoughtful, usually.
  11. You are patient, mostly.
  12. You are loving, always.
  13. We love how understanding you are.
  14. You teach us new things.
  15. We love spending time with you.
  16. We miss you when you’re not with us.
  17. You forgive us when we make mistakes.
  18. We love to travel with you.
  19. You like adventure.
  20. You like trying new things with us.
  21. You do nice things for us.
  22. You give us dessert.
  23. We love that you care for us even if you’re not feeling well.
  24. You tell us you love us multiple times a day and it never gets old.
  25. We love your big heart.
  26. You are faithful and honest.
  27. You encourage us.
  28. You try hard for us.
  29. You are always available no matter how busy or tired you are.
  30. You are an expert on the computer.
  31. You comfort us when we are scared.
  32. You are loyal to us and everyone and everything that matters to you.
  33. We love the way you try to help others.
  34. We love the sweet gifts you give to us.
  35. You are really good at making eggs and pancakes.
  36. You are willing to do the work it takes for a successful marriage and family.
  37. You can multi-task with the best of them.
  38. You teach us to be better people.
  39. Whenever we need a hand, you’re always willing to lend yours.
  40. We need a wife and mommy and you’re a perfect fit!  
Sean giving Nana some love (with more makeup on) 

The kids loved their first Pop-Its 

Sean was captivated by the fireworks, although when they were too loud he would take my hands and put them over his ears. "Fi-works, BOOM! Up in the sky..." 

Helping Nana vacuum the trailer (note the Costa Rican soccer jersey - we enjoyed watching two of the CR World Cup games while on the road and are very proud of the team) 

Beautiful cousins at the park 

Graham and his mini-me 

Our kids love playing on bike racks for some reason... 

Bye-bye Boise - thanks for the great visit! I love that Claire is now a road trip reader... (And has been eating up my old Family Circus books.) 

On the way back home we stopped by Shosone Falls (near Twin Falls, ID, where Nana went to high school) and took in the "Niagra of the West" - they're really spectacular!

We were even above a rainbow... Apparently this is NOT the falls at their peak capacity, but they were still impressive.

"Look! Wadder!" 

We also visited nearby Dierkes Lake, which looked like a fantastic place to swim and spend the afternoon. We'll have to spend some time there next time we pass through.

We took an extra couple of days on our way home and visited a couple of national parks, coming soon in a separate blog post...

En español:

Pasamos un tiempo buenísimo en Idaho con mi familia para celebrar mi 40º cumpleaños y el Día de la Independencia de los EEUU. Ha sido más o menos 20 años desde pasé mi cumpleaños en Boise, entonces estaba muy bien estar allá con mucha familia. Para mi día grande mi mama, Claire, mi hermana, y mi sobrina me regalaban un almuerzo, maquillaje y ropa nuevos, y teníamos pedicuras, luego estaban DOS fiestas – una casa abierta en el 3º para visitar con otra familia y amigos, y luego una fiesta del 4º de julio en la casa de mi hermana. En todo, me sentí mimado y amado.

Cuando salimos a Boise, visitamos Shoshone Falls (cerca de Twin Falls, Idaho, donde mi mama asistió colegio) y vimos la “Niagra de la oeste” - ¡están espectaculares! Tomamos unos pocos días más en el viaje a nuestro hogar para visitar dos parques nacionales (va a ser otro poste del blog)…