Monday, June 25, 2012

Clara is 11 Months Old!

I am delinquent in my monthly write-ups.  Keeping up with Clara is exhausting and doesn't leave time for much else. I started a 9-month write-up but obviously never posted it.  Anyway, the biggest news for Clara's months 9 and 10 is that she started walking.  Just after her 9-month birthday.  And she has not stopped since.  Just last week she started running.  Clara continues to be quite a talker. It's really adorable and I am always wondering what in the world she's talking about.  One thing is for sure ~ this baby has a lot to say.  Late last week she finally started to say "Uh Oh" of my favorite baby things.  She has also learned to blow kisses.  Yes, by still my beating heart.  So, here is my usual list but combining the last two months.....

Likes: Mozzarella Cheese (her favorite food without a close second), balloons, feeding Mommy, hearing the fire truck drive by the house with sirens blaring, crawling through and playing in the play tunnel, making sounds by banging toys together, going through all of the cabinets in the house (and sitting inside them!), walks in the wagon, eating with her hands (as opposed to being fed), other children, dancing, music, books, eating, being chased by Daddy, animal sounds, sneezing (she copies sneezes when she hears them), birds, dogs, clapping her hands, drinking water (she can hardly contain her excitement!), socializing with other people (she often calls out to strangers from her seat in the shopping cart when we're shopping), playing with Big Sissy, Hubbell, waving (she waves at everything), baby cookies, climbing. 

Dislikes: playing in the pool (at least when the water is remotely cool), having her diapers changed, getting dressed, being confined ~ she still doesn't like it in the car, the stroller or the high chair, sudden loud noises, when Mom leaves the room. 

Words I'd Use to Describe Clara: Interesting, talkative, smart, (a real) foodie, determined, feisty, independent, adventurous, free-spirited, social, outgoing, adorable, HIGH energy.

My Green Girls and a Wedding

My cousin's wedding was on Saturday and we attended as an entire family.  A first for us.  Clara makes going anywhere rather difficult.  Alain ended up standing  in the church lobby for the entire service and he also left the reception early to take Clara home.  The D.J. at the reception was not a friend of ours after Clara knocked over and broke his fan.  Like I said.  Having said that, we still had a very nice time.  I bought matching dresses for the girls after Sophie suggested that she might like for Clara to have a dress just like hers.  I never thought I was a fan of matching siblings.  I get it now.  These are the only decent shots I got while we were hanging out outside after the service.

My favorite part of the entire day was Sophie's dancing at the reception. She started dancing right when we least a full hour or two before anyone else started dancing.  Watching her just tickles my soul.  And she continued to dance until I dragged her out of there at around 10:00 PM.  That girl is a dancing fool. I tried to get some action shots!

There were actually some really nice party details that I liked at the reception and I took a few photos to remember them by.  I may just use them myself sometime....

I'm so happy for my cousin and thrilled that we were able to attend his wedding.  We're back home now after a week away and trying to settle back into a routine....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Central VA Highlight: Homestead Creamery

Ever since I found out that the Homestead Creamery farm is close to Lynchburg, I added the tour to my Lynchburg Bucket List.  That entry has now been checked from said bucket list.  Are you familiar with Homestead Creamery?  Their products are the highlight of the dairy aisle for me.  I love, love, love the old-fashioned glass bottles.  I adore the little vintage milk truck on the label.  Even more so, any dairy product that lacks artificial hormones is high up on my list.  Okay, so here are a few photos from our factory & farm tour....

Every single person who enters the plant has to wear a net cap.  Clara was unsure how she felt about her cap.

Sophie and I felt silly but modeled our caps all the same.

A crate of freshly bottled milk ready to go.

Okay, it was too, too cute ~ I had to take a second photo.

The bottles whiz by on the conveyor line.

A full bottle of chocolate milk.....wait, come back....

A tank full of milk in the loading dock.

Fresh mounds of butter.

Sophie and I watched up close as the guy made the little butter mounds. Each one is hand-crafted.

Our tour guide, Mr. Cecil, models a butter package.

A peek inside the ice cream freezer.  Uh, hello, can I move in?  On a day when the temp reached 95 degrees, the twenty below zero freezer was AWESOME.

Mr. Cecil models some Blueberry Pomegranate Ice Cream.

Sophie licked her lips as she tried to decide which flavor of milk was her favorite.

I tried the orange cream milk for the first time.  It tasted EXACTLY like a creamsicle.  Brought back childhood memories!

Sophie found an ice cream cone just her size!

Out at the farm, a sweet cow poked her head around the corner as we approached the barn.

As did her friend.

As you'd expect, there were cows everywhere!

We learned that the cows are free to go out to pasture at any time.  Mr. Cecil said that once the temperature reaches one degree over eighty they all head back to the shade of the barn.  Hmmmm.  I don't know about you but I might prefer a shade tree!

We got to meet this divine little baby calf who is about a week old. Sophie said that petting her was the highlight of the entire day.

A juvenile calf poking her head out to get closer to us.  I'd just asked the question what happens to the cows once they are no longer lactating.  Ugh.  I knew the answer.  They get sold at auction for their meat.  To stare into the eyes of the calves after learning that....well, you all know me, it hurt my heart a little.

Despite that sad tidbit, the tour was fantastic. I think Sophie really enjoyed it.  Clara seems to be teething so she drove me crazy throughout the entire tour.  The staff at the Creamery were so gracious and welcoming.....even with my nightmare child. I learned quite a bit and was pleasantly surprised at how small-scale the whole operation was.  And super clean.  If I weren't already a fan, I sure would be now!

Happy First Day of Summer

It's hard to believe that summer is already here. The girls and I are spending this week up in Virginia with my family.  We were slightly disappointed to find out that the temperatures will be very high the whole week.

How are we staying cool in this ridiculously hot weather?  

Any way we can, of course!

Clara dips her hand in the sprinkler and then licks it off.

Kenzie licks some water off the pavement.

Even I had to pull up a chair and dip my feet in the small kiddie pool and run a few times through the sprinkler ring.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clara & Her Friend

Clara and my parents' dog, Jada, spent several minutes looking out of the window together this morning. Of course I had to steal a few shots of that.  Too adorable.  I believe it's a true gift to be raised with the friendship of dogs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

For My Dad

You are truly one of the best.  Glad you're mine!

Capturing Motherhood in a Photo

Sophie had some friends over to play one day last week. After the girls were in bed I went outside to make sure all of the toys were cleaned up. This little sidewalk drawing was there to greet me. Could it be a solar system?  The rings around some of the dots make me believe they're planets.  The large yellow dot in the forefront seems like a sun. Or they could just be random colorful circles. Whatever it is, it's colorful, whimsical and happy.

One day, when the kids are too big to want to make sidewalk drawings, I will miss their sidewalk art. No question. It always makes me so happy!!!

Past Capturing Motherhood posts can be found here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

State of the Garden Address

Maybe it's just me.....but it feels like the veggies are taking a long time this year to come to harvest.  My only thriving plant is the zucchini (no shocker there!).  That plant is a BEAST and we get at least one zucchini each day.  The cucumbers started out great but have slowed.  I keep seeing a new insect (photo below) and, even after pouring over hundreds of insect photos online, I can't identify it.  I don't want to kill them in case they're beneficial insects but what if they're not?  The peppers are amazingly large although it feels like they'll never turn color (I don't particularly like green peppers).  The watermelons are still tiny, tiny, tiny.  Am I just being impatient or is anyone else feeling this way?  I wonder.  

One of our few cucumbers

One of our massive zucchini blooms.  They are HUGE!

While taking the last photo, I noticed some movement. A closeup found this honey bee. Love it!

A peek under the zucchini leaves.

A baby watermelon.

We have lots of these right now, just waiting for them to turn.

What lovely green peppers.  They're just supposed to be yellow.

Big beef tomatoes.  Turn, baby, turn!

Red salvia. So that this post has more than just green & yellow.

The ugly bugs.  Flat backs, light horizontal stripe, brownish in color.  Please help ID!

UPDATE: Jennifer from Little Blog in the Big Woods identified the insect. It's an Eastern Leaf-Footed Bug. They are NOT beneficial and I had to head out and hand pick the small population that was hanging out in our garden. They're easy to catch as they're quite slow and they give off a faint foul smell when they are threatened and/or squished.  (frown)  Thank you SO MUCH, Jennifer!
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