Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas

Sorry that I'm posting on Tuesday this week, but we were traveling home from Christmas yesterday.....

First of all, we have been doing a lot of this lately:The first day brought lots of accidents, but unlike the other times I've tried to potty train her, she was so excited to wear underwear and had a great attitude. So I kept at it. There are still lots of accidents, but we have made vast improvements this week. So hopefully in a few more weeks we'll be diaper free!

As we were packing for our trip, I packed all our gifts up that had been placed under our Christmas tree. Clara was so sad. Even after explaining to her that we were taking them with us and would open them at Grandma's house, she insisted they stayed under our tree. She finally gave the OK on packing up the gifts when I told her we would put them under Grandma's tree when we got there!

Thursday morning, we left to Idaho to have Christmas with my Mom, littlest sister, another sister, her husband, and her 5 kids. Clara LOVED baby Kaycee. Every time Clara saw Kaycee, she would ask to hold her. Clara always said, "Baby Kaycee likes me," whenever Kaycee smiled. It was pretty cute.Christmas was so exciting for me this year. Clara is at an age where Christmas is so magical to her. She loves everything about the Christmas season - lights, presents, Santa, stockings, the whole bit. So I couldn't wait for Christmas morning this year. I was not disappointed. Clara loved all her gifts and wanted each one opened immediately. She would play with her latest gift until the next one came along. But her favorite gift was a backpack that we got her. As soon as she saw it she started screaming, "A backpack, a backpack." She kept jumping up and down so much that we couldn't get a decent picture of that excitement. If you look closely, she has the biggest smile behind that new backpack.As much fun as Christmas is, it's great to be back home too. Hopefully everyone had a great Holiday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Haircut

I decided to give Clara her first haircut this week. It's been a struggle to comb through it in the mornings due to lots of knots. I've been trying to cut Clara's hair for weeks, but she just cries and says, "Don't cut my hair!" So I got her excited by telling her she got to wear a "Batman" cape. She hopped right up into the chair then. I also put on a movie in our portable DVD player to distract her and help keep her still.

Half way through the hair cut, Clara realized what I was doing. She started crying and said, "Don't cut my hair Mommy." After explaining that since I've already started I would now have to finish, she said, "You are not supposed to cut hair, just paper!" I then had to explain that it was OK for Mommies to cut hair, but not little girls.

When the hair cut was over, I let her run around in her "Batman" cape.Here are the before and after pictures as well. I ended up cutting off about 6 inches.I teach 3-4 year olds at church on Sundays. They always say the funniest things. But last Sunday was one of the funniest things I've ever heard from them. I had one of them start pulling at his underwear as if he had a wedgie. He then kept saying (over and over again,) "I have a candy cane in my bottom." My teaching partner finally took him out of the room to find his mom. Whether or not he actually had one, I'm not sure, but his mom did mention that he likes to sneak candy canes. Thus he must have thought his underwear would be a great hiding place - until it wiggled into a wrong spot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lights at Temple Square

Jeremy and I decided to take Clara to see the lights at Temple Square this week. Clara's favorite thing to do this time of year is look at Christmas lights, so we wanted her to see so many all at once. She was in heaven. We didn't get very many pictures of her because she kept running from one thing to the next. That turned out to be quite scary since there were a ton of people at Temple Square doing the same thing we were. But here are our favorites:Some cute sayings of Clara:
1) Yesterday, we walked out side and Clara saw dark clouds. She said, "Where's the rain?" After explaining that it had already rained, she said, "Rain needs to come out of those clouds right now!"
2) While visiting Temple Square, Clara saw some lighted Christmas Trees inside a building that wasn't open. She said, "Let's go in that building." I told her we couldn't because it was locked. "Should we find the key?"
3) We drove past Chuck E. Cheeses on our way home from something else. When Clara saw it she said, "Let's go to Chuck E. Cheeses." I told her that we couldn't do it that day because we needed to get home. "Should we go to Chuck E. Cheeses first and then go home?"
4) One of the things Clara said in her prayer last night: "Thank-you that Daddy can be so silly."
5) Clara came up to me and said, "I want to go to the math store."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ward Christmas Party

This last Saturday was our ward Christmas party. My expectations of Clara being excited to sit on Santa's lap were not accurate. She's been talking about Santa and gets so excited to see one that I thought for sure she'd be more than happy to sit on his lap. However, she didn't want to do it. There was so much wiggling that the pictures are blurry, but oh well.Clara does love the candy cane she got from Santa though. She doesn't want to eat it, but holds it everywhere she goes. When we ask her where she got it, she tell us the name of the person who last handed it to her. When we remind her that Santa gave it to her she says, "No he didn't!" It makes us laugh. Why do I get such pleasure out of torturing my child this way?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving (finally)

Even though I brought our camera, I failed to get it out and actually take pictures on Thanksgiving. We has such a fun time that I didn't want to interrupt to take a bunch of pictures. We spent Thanksgiving weekend with Jeremy's family. It was great to see Mike and Genevieve from out of town. We spent every day of Thanksgiving break with the Becks. We played several games, saw the movie Tangled (I highly recommend it,) and of course, we ate and ate.

A couple of days before Black Friday, Jeremy and I decided to use some money he got as a bonus on Wii Fit Plus. As we were looking through Black Friday Ads (another Beck Thanksgiving tradition,) we found Wii Fit Plus for a great deal at Target. So I had my first Black Friday experience this weekend. I hate shopping and crowds, so the thought of both at once has me in a panic. But I put my fears aside for saving a few bucks and woke up at 2:45 am to be at Target by 3:05 am to wait in line until 4 am (which is when the store opened.) It was 10 degree weather and I thought my toes would freeze before the store finally opened. I was shocked to see a man try and rip a big screen TV out of a woman's hands. I was even more shocked to see the woman able to defend herself. It was crazy enough that store security had to come break up the fight. Crazy! But I did get our Wii Fit. I came home and went straight to bed. The first thing Jeremy did that morning was get it set up. He LOVES it. Clara loves to "play exercise" with us too. She'll march and run with us. Jeremy loves it so much that we took it everywhere with us this weekend. All his family got a chance to play it. I do have pictures of it being played, but I have a feeling that no one would be happy if I posted those pictures. :)

Another thing I did this week was finish all my Christmas shopping! Everything is wrapped (except for one last gift I'm waiting to come in the mail) and under the tree. I love having Christmas shopping out of the way!

Clara has discovered how much fun playing in the snow can be. She wore her snow pants for the first time today and LOVED not getting as cold. This girl will just walk around in snow. She tried so hard to make snowmen, but so far our snow is powder and I can't get a ball of snow to save my life. She gets disappointed, but quickly moves on to something else. I think Clara would spend the entire winter outside if I let her!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving?

When I picked Clara up from preschool this week, she looked like this:I wished I had brought my camera so that I could have gotten pictures of both the boys and the girls. They were all adorable in their construction paper costumes.

That's about all we've done so far to celebrate Thanksgiving. Christmas time comes so fast. We've already started the Christmas season in our house. On Saturday, we went to a Christmas Expo with some friends. Clara had so much fun looking at the Christmas trees. She truly loves Christmas and I have very high hopes for her actually wanting to sit on Santa's lap this year.

At the Christmas Expo, Clara got to meet Cinderella. This booth was advertising a company that sells princess dresses. This company also puts on birthday parties. Clara had so much fun looking at all the pretty dresses, shoes, and other princess accessories.

Clara also got to go fishing at the Christmas Expo. She was disappointed in the candy she got both the times she fished, but at least she loved getting to hold her little stick.

We ended our Christmas Expo experience by letting the kids play in this play house. The adults would take turns watching the kids while the other adults wandered about the shops. It was perfect. Clara had a very hard time saying good-bye to that play house.

I had such a fun time at the Expo, that I couldn't stop thinking about Christmas. I decided early Sunday morning (I had woken up at 5 am and couldn't fall back to sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about Christmas,) that I would put up our Christmas tree a little early this year. Clara got to help, so most of our ornaments are at the bottom of our tree, but she had a blast. She would open box after box trying to find everything there was to find to decorate our house for Christmas.

Here's a picture of our finished product. Clara played with that Nativity the whole rest of the day. I would also find Clara just staring at our Christmas tree. I love seeing Clara's eyes sparkle as she talks about Christmas.

I have a Christmas bell that I put out every year as part of our Christmas decorations. Clara found it and hasn't stopped ringing that bell. Every time she rings it, she shouts (as loud as she can) "It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time!" I love it! (Luckily I haven't gotten sick of it yet, but I'm sure that will come.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fire Safety and a New Job

Jeremy started a new job today. He was offered a position working for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He interviewed for a different position with the church about 6 or 7 months ago, but didn't get that job. However, they kept his resume on file and when this job opening came up, they offered the job without him ever having to go in for an interview. We are very excited about this opportunity. It's a full time position, but it will only last for 6 months. So we'll probably be looking for a job again in 6 months, but we think these next 6 months will be great for our little family. This is a graphic design job, so any connections we can make will help us for when we need to job search again. This position will also look great on a resume, which is a great bonus as well. So wish Jeremy luck!

Clara's preschool class visited a fire station this week. (Sorry that most of the pictures are blurry - it's hard to take pictures of constantly moving kids.) The kids started their tour by watching a fire safety video. Clara thought that was so cool - getting to watch TV on a wall (the video was projected onto a wall from a computer.) They then got to go look at all the different kinds of vehicles at the fire station. They talked about the ambulance, red fire truck, and yellow fire truck and what each is used for. Clara kept running from one thing to the next. I was also very impressed with our "tour guide." This fireman was so great at talking on both the kids' level to keep their attention and to all the adults. It was a great little field trip. After seeing all the trucks, they all got to practice their fire safety. The fireman had all the kids doing stop, drop, and roll with him as well as crawling beneath the smoke to the door, and all the other fire safety things little kids should know. At the end, all the kids got their own fireman's hats. Clara thinks hers is too big and tries to get Mom and Dad to wear it all the time, but refuses to wear it herself. Clara LOVES puzzles. She always has. I think it's because she sees Grandma and Mom doing puzzles together quite a bit. That is also what they do as a gathering activity in her class at church. So when Clara got some birthday money in the mail a few weeks ago, we took her to the dollar store to spend it. We weren't too surprised when she picked out a puzzle. At first she tried to get a 100 piece puzzle, but I was able to talk her into a 24 piece one instead. It only took her a few times and she can now put that puzzle together all by herself. I was shocked. I really thought it would take her longer. But when I was helping her the first few times, I would talk about matching colors and things. She now even teases me by showing me two non matching pieces and asking, "Do these pieces match?" Clara asked me if she could wear my pink coat. Her pink coat is now too small for her, and she has been sad about that since the weather began to turn cold. So when she really wants to wear a pink coat, she'll ask for mine. I love how silly she gets when she wears Mommy's really big coat.One day, I was doing some cleaning while Clara was happily entertaining herself. I overheard her say, "Oh, I don't fit," in a very disappointed voice. So I decided to try and help her. When I walked into the room, this is how I found her:How did she ever think (or even want to) try to fit under the couch?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trials - literally

I just got back from a trial where one of my former students was a defendant. A few months ago, I was watching the news and was surprised to see a former student's mugshot. Especially when this student came in to my classroom to visit me almost every day. High School was really hard for her, and apparently so was the rest of her life. I couldn't stop thinking about her and the situation she is currently in. I know she doesn't have a lot of support, so I started doing some research. I was looking for where she was exactly and how to send her a letter. I finally found all the information I needed and wrote her a letter. I wasn't sure what would happen from there. Since I wasn't married at the time she knew me, I wasn't even sure she would open a letter from some one whose name she didn't recognize. But she did. She also wrote me back. We have exchanged a few letters and I decided to attend a hearing of hers. It was quite the experience. But I am so glad that I went. I know that my role of a teacher will never be over. Even though I only taught for 7 years (and it's been almost 4 years since I quit,) I know that my role as a high school math teacher will never really be over. For those curious about the case, click here. (Ashley is my former student.)

A humbling thing happened this week: Jeremy has been called to serve on our Stake's High Council. With that call came Jeremy's ordination as a High Priest. Those events have consumed most of our waking thoughts this week. We are very excited that Jeremy will be released from his current calling (Elders Quorum President,) but are feeling some sense of inadequacy and a little fear of the unknown. For those who are not of our faith, this means that Jeremy has been given some extra responsibility that usually doesn't happen to someone his age. However, we see our lives being blessed by our willingness to serve the Lord and we feel a strong sense to not disappoint Him.With Jeremy's new calling, we decided that we needed to get him a new suit. He hasn't had a suit for over a year. So we headed to Burlington Coat factory to hopefully find a suit in our price range. We were successful! We were also able to find Clara a coat for the winter for a great price. Clara loves her new coat. I had her try it on in the store to make sure it fit. She wouldn't take it off. She wore it all the way home (in near 70 degree weather.) She also wouldn't let me take it off for her nap. So when she woke up from her nap, she was pretty sweaty. But at least she likes it right? The coat came with matching snow pants, so we're almost all ready for winter. We just have to find her some boots. We looked at some boots while we were at Burlington, but didn't find any at the right price for us. Clara was so sad that she cried as we left the store. Several hours later she came up to be complaining that her feet were cold. I went to put socks on her, but she said, "No socks, how about boots?" She cried again when I told her we didn't have any boots for her to wear.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

Halloween lasted all week in this house. The only day we didn't celebrate Halloween was on the actual holiday! In our family, dressing up as ghosts and goblins doesn't fit into our appropriate Sabbath day activities. :)

On Monday, we decided to color our pumpkin. Maybe I'll be adventurous next year and have Clara carve a pumpkin, but I think she's still a little young for that big of a mess. Daddy drew in the eyes, nose, and mouth and Clara got to color them. When she was done, she said, "Let's put it outside because everyone wants to see my pumpkin. I decorate it so pretty!" So outside the pumpkin went.On Tuesday, we celebrated a friend's birthday. On the way home, which was way past Clara's bed time, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few needed items. While we were there, it started snowing. It wasn't very much, but it was snowing. Since Clara was not in the best of moods, the store clerk tried to help by asking Clara if she liked the snow. Clara responded with a forceful, "No!" The clerk then started to talk about why she liked the snow and mentioned getting to build a snowman in her list of reasons. When Clara heard that, she immediately got a smile on her face and said, "I want to build a snowman!" The whole way home I kept trying to explain to her how there needs to be a lot of snow to build a snowman. I told her the grass needed to be completely covered, etc. However, she would not let up. So when we got home, we built a mini snowman with the snow we did have and she couldn't have been more proud.After Halloween was over last year, I bought Clara's Halloween costume for this year on clearance. She was obsessed with witches, so I figured I was safe in purchasing a witch costume. About a month ago, I started talking up witches so that she would want to wear her costume. However, the more I talked about it, the more she wanted nothing to do with witches. So one morning, I decided to get out the witch costume and let her try it on. It worked. Clara fell in love with the costume. She then wanted to wear it every day. It was then difficult trying to explain to her we had to save it special for Halloween. So here is Clara as happy as can be after she tried her witch costume on for the first time.On Thursday, Clara celebrated Halloween at preschool. She was taught how to knock on a door rather than just open doors. She was taught to say trick or treat, and then say thank-you. That is when Clara really got into the spirit of Halloween. She loved getting candy. (She doesn't like eating the candy, but she loves getting it.) She also got to decorate a mini pumpkin. She has carried that pumpkin around everywhere. It has gone to to the bank. It's gone outside to play. It's even been the recipient of many hugs and kisses. It makes me laugh how much Clara adores that pumpkin she got at preschool. Here is a picture of Clara with her preschool class.On Friday, we went to Central Utah Gardens to look at the entries of a pumpkin carving contest. We went with our friends Taylor and Jared and their families. I loved getting to visit with the moms and Clara loved getting to run around with her friends. They have speakers throughout the garden that were dressed up as ghosts for Halloween. Clara loved getting to see all the little ghosts as much as she loved looking at all the "happy" pumpkins. For some reason, Clara calls jack-o-lanterns happy pumpkins. It makes me laugh. Clara is obsessed with happy pumpkins and loved getting to look at all of them. Here are the pictures of the winning pumpkins. The pictures below the pumpkins shows what it looks like lit up. The pumpkin on the right is Jack Sparrow, if you zoom in on the night picture, you can really see it better. I was very impressed.Saturday brought lots more trick or treating for Clara. We started the morning with trick or treating at a local grocery store. Clara was so excited that she gave me a great pose before we left. I LOVE the foot!In the afternoon, we headed to our ward trunk or treat. Since it was pouring rain, it was no longer a trunk or treat, but became an inside table or treat. Clara still had a blast and loved looking at all the other costumes. I think she ended up enjoying that more than getting candy!We finished the night by trick or treating at Grandma and Grandpa Beck's. Aunt Melissa and Uncle Eric were there as well. They couldn't get enough of their little witch. Clara even demonstrated how to fly on her broom, which I finally got a picture of! I love how she flies with her broom backwards!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Long Week

It was a very long week without Clara. I was able to get some major cleaning done though, which makes me feel so happy. I LOVE a super clean house.

On my way to work one morning, I missed a turn. So I pulled into a parking lot to turn around. Just as I pulled into the parking lot, I heard some very strange noises coming from the car. So I pulled into a parking space and left the car there for the day. I was able to get a ride to work with someone who drives the same way I do. Jeremy used his lunch break to pick me up from work and drop me off at the car. I waited for a tow truck, and got a lift to our mechanic. Turns out we just needed a few belts and a new battery. Our mechanic also lent us a car for the 2 days we had to leave our car in the shop! I was so grateful that our car died in a parking lot so it wouldn't be on the side of a road, or that I would have to push it anywhere. I was also very grateful that it broke down on the way to work so that I would have the necessary rides and not be stranded with a car. I was also extremely blessed that our mechanic lent us a car for free so that I wouldn't have to figure out rides and things for the next couple of days either.

We bought the new Beauty and the Beast DVD a couple of weeks ago. Clara had been watching it non stop, but she didn't watch it for the whole week she was at my Mom's. So on Saturday (just after she got home) I was a little puzzled when she crunched her cheeks up, smiled and said, "I'm speechless." It took me quite a while to figure out what she actually said. When I did figure it out, Clara said, "Just like Belle." I then understood the strange facial expression. I couldn't stop laughing. I wanted to share that cute moment with all of you. So here is the quote from the movie:
video
And here is Clara's interpretation:
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So just like everyone, I had to take quite a few videos before I got a decent one. So this next video is my favorite, but it's sideways! I was disappointed when I realized that you can't turn videos like you can photos. However, it's so cute that I couldn't pass up posting it.
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Sunday was our ward Primary Program. For those not of our faith, it's where all the kids in the ward do the "sermon" for our church. In our ward, they have the oldest nursery kids be a part of our program since we have TONS of toddlers, but not very many older kids. So the littlest kids are asked to memorize one word. This year, the kids in Clara's class were asked to memorize a word to complete the sentence: "I can be like Jesus by being......." Clara's word was thoughtful. Well, she can't make a "th" sound yet, so she got up and said, "oughtful." That would have been fine if it didn't sound so much like "awful." So our whole congregation thinks Clara can be like Jesus by being awful. But at least she said her part and wasn't scared at all! Here is what she looked like, all excited to go say her word into the microphone at church.Later that night, Clara wanted to get a picture of her. She asks for this quite a bit. So Jeremy got out the camera and took her picture. When Jeremy showed her the picture on our camera after he took it, she noticed that I was in the picture with her. She then wanted a picture of Mommy, Daddy, and Clara. I personally think it turned out great.I finished substitute teaching on Friday! The teacher I've been going in for was cleared to go back to work today. I'm so excited to get to be a stay at home mom again. The extra money was nice, but it's even nicer to stay home. I did some figuring. School has been in session for 40 days now. The real teacher has been there for 16 of those days, I've been there for 20, and other random subs have been there for the other 4. I think it's crazy that her students know me far better than they know her. But it was nice to be able to do so much math! :)

Those of you still reading this post are the ones who really care how our family is doing. This is a very long story, but here's a short version. Jeremy was talked to by his bosses last week. They feel like Jeremy isn't as creative as what his portfolio lead them to believe. They gave him a week to improve. Jeremy has been frustrated with this company since day one. So when Jeremy went in to work today and was told that he wouldn't get paid for the entire day's work, Jeremy talked to his bosses and told them he was done. His bosses were surprised and said that he had improved a lot and would like him to stay. But Jeremy mentioned that he still wanted to go. So keep us in your prayers that it won't take us 7 months to find another job. Jeremy did keep his part time job and will be able to continue working at that. So with him working 20 hours a week, my tutoring and the small amount of money we were able to save this last month, we should be OK for a little while.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Living Planet Aquarium

On Saturday, we decided to use some free passes to our local aquarium. It's not a very big aquarium, but Clara loved it and isn't that what is most important?

Clara's favorite thing there was a boat. They have it set up in the Utah area and it's used to tell about Utah's marshlands. I know, Utah's a desert, but apparently some marshlands exist here too. It took us a lot of coaxing to get Clara on this frog. When she first saw it, she was scared to death of it, even though there were lots of kids climbing all over it. It was right by the boat, and since we spent A LOT of time on the boat, by the time we were ready to leave the area, Clara had warmed up to it. I also think it helped that she saw every little kid walking by stop to sit on the frog to get a picture. She would still only get on it if Dad was there too.Some of the coolest things there were penguins, a big sea turtle, and the petable (is that even a word?) sting rays. Unfortunately, the penguins and sea turtle moved too much to get a non blurry picture. So if you want to see those, you'll just have to go to the aquarium yourself. Jeremy was the only one brave enough to pet the sting rays. Clara loved watching them, but would not put her hand in that water. I blamed my fears on gross slimy water.Jeremy was in charge of the camera, and whenever he is, we get LOTS of pictures. So 80 plus pictures later, I've narrowed it down to 6 for the blog. I think these ended up being the neatest things with the best pictures. I've never seen a red and white star fish before. I thought it was beautiful.As far as the rest of the week goes, I'm still subbing. A week ago today was supposed to be my last day, but the teacher I'm subbing for had surgery. Her Dr told her that her knees weren't healing like they were supposed to, so it could be Nov 1 before I get to stay home again. I cried a lot this week because of that. I hate leaving Clara at a babysitter. We have to wake her up 1 - 2 hours earlier than what she's used to. She would cry every morning we would drop her off. It made me so sad. I thought I was all done having to do that, but I'm not. Best case scenario now is I just have to teach every day this week, and then I'll be done. Worst case is me having to work this week and next.

When I called my mom in tears, she offered to help out. So last night, Jeremy and I drove as far as Tremonton, UT and put Clara into my mom's care for a week. Clara was so excited to go to grandma's house all by herself. I've talked to my mom a few times today already and Clara really is having the time of her life. I miss her terribly though. I guess I'll just have to use this week to get caught up on house cleaning and things since I don't have a 3 year old to take care of when I get home.