we just returned from our annual labor day weekend to the beach with some of our bestest friends and their families. it always goes too fast! this year we had both ups and downs on our brief vacation. claire did great sleeping for us (which is hard for any kid away from home!) and had very few temper tantrums. she got to interact with her friends some and had a great time hanging out on the sand. she loved the feeling of the sand between her little toes. she got a minor sunburn on her cheeks which i felt HORRIBLE about! at least it should turn into a nice tan since she inherited her daddy’s good tanning genes. and as always it is a blast to spend time with our good friends, these families are like our family and we love them beyond words.
the hardest thing was claire started having more spasms the day we left. she has done such a big girl job of switching off formula and eating lots of solid foods. unfortunately, it seems her brain isn’t too keen on these changes and is letting the ugly spasm monster emerge with greater force. starting tonight we went back on the formula to see if it helps get things under better control. all those spasms meant i was a big ball of emotion for much of the trip, which always makes things not quite as peaceful and fun. but i really tried to keep calm and remember that this is not permanent and enjoy the time we had at our beach house. (this mantra also came in handy when our car almost broke down in el centro, california. a super hot, super small town in the middle of nowhere. one hour and a big answered prayer later, it thankfully started back up!)
one of the best parts was a visit from adrian’s brother, eric, who lives in san diego. we already miss him and can’t wait until christmastime to see him again! of course i did not get many pictures, big surprise huh? it’s always so hard for me to remember that with everything else going on! i did manage to snap a few though so here they are:
our little sunkissed girl playing one morning.
the dad’s getting buried in the sand.
all covered up!
mommy and claire enjoying the nice weather.
you can’t tell but adrian is somewhere under that wave. it smashed him!
claire had the cutest bikini on. but she wouldn’t lay still and model for me. she was too busy rolling and trying to get in the sand!
fun football games in the FREEZING ocean! they didn’t seem to mind too much though. they stayed out there until they were shaking and bright red from being knocked around! i already wish i was sitting there watching them again. if only we could move to san diego full time! i wish!
we celebrated claire’s second birthday saturday morning with an extra special brunch for our extra special girl. we were lucky enough to have our close friend, mike, capture the day for us (he is amazing!!). i think claire enjoyed the party, she really loves being around people. however, i made the mistake of adjusting her special diet a few days prior, which always makes her sleepy as she adjusts. needless to say, she wasn’t as active as usual that day. but it was still a beautiful celebration of her. she also collected about $300 to donate to blood:water mission at her lemon:aid stand. i think she would be so happy that her day was used to help others. so many people have prayed, served, loved on and aided us since claire was born. it is only fitting that we do what little we can to forward that love on and honor our daughter’s life in the process.
below is the brunch buffet table. it included mini quiche, lemon whoopie pies, pineapple bars, banana bread pops and fruit cups. the banners are from the fabulous tomkat studio.
we also set up a lemon:aid area with information on blood:water mission and lemonade favors for the guests. (and a hunky guy is posing by it for you.)
here’s the birthday girl.
and her beautiful hands.
here’s our other little baby enjoying the party.
here’s some pictures featuring my pom madness. believe me, this is only half of it.
we also made little jingle bells to ring after we sang the happy birthday song. if you know claire, she LOVES bells!
and just a couple more pictures our claire bear.
we love her so.
claire, today your daddy and i celebrate the day God brought you into our world. two years ago, you were the tiny four pound baby that was placed in our arms and changed our lives forever. now, you are a beautiful little girl who has already taught us more than we could imagine and amazed us with your bravery, your spirit and your love. we are very proud of all you have accomplished this year and we will never stop fighting for you. we may never understand why so much was taken from you, and in some way we will always mourn that, but we want you to know that you are loved exactly as you are. you were fearfully and wonderfully made. and we are beyond thankful to call you ours.
claire at two:
about 32 inches, 22 lbs 4 ounces.
this year claire has learned to roll over front and back, multiple rolls. she pushes herself up on her arms during tummy time and is trying to scoot herself around. she has learned to put her hands and arms in her mouth, grasp objects with a prompt, kicks and pushes with her legs like crazy and loves to rock herself. she loves watching yo gabba gabba on tv. she loves music, bells, clickers, maracas and lights. her favorite places to go are liberty market, IKEA and anywhere outside. she also likes car rides. claire has learned to love the water and likes swimming. she loves to smile, laugh and babble. she loves when people clap and cheer for her. she is very affectionate and loves being snuggled and kissed. last but certainly not least, claire adores her pacifier.
we are asking our family and friends to donate in honor of claire (and in lieu of birthday gifts) to a charity we support, blood:water mission. they are an amazing organization that builds wells in africa. you can read more about them on their website and also donate by clicking on the donate link on the site.
we’ll have lots of pictures to share soon of claire’s lemon:aid party! and lastly, thank you for supporting our family and for loving our little girl.
little miss claire is sick with her first big virus. crazy that she made it almost two years with nothing more than a day of minor sniffles! but this week has been full of sneezing, mucous and finally learning how to cough. in some ways, i think this respiratory infection is a blessing, claire is becoming more comfortable with her gag reflex because of it and understanding that coughing isn’t such a scary thing. way to go claire! even while being under the weather, she is still her charming little self.
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claire may not be able to talk or see like a typical little kid but she sure has a lot to say. i love observing her facial expressions in photos, i feel like i can tell exactly what she is thinking at that moment. she sure has a ton of cute, silly and sassy looks. (in case you are wondering, she was getting ready for naptime by the end of these photos which is why she didn’t want to open her eyes as wide. also morning was fading into a hot desert day, hence the rosy cheeks.)
(claire has recently learned to suck on her hands. she loves it.)
(she also loves to stick her tongue out. but just a little bit. she is a lady after all.)
(she is snuggling me here. or trying to tell me i am squeezing her too much. i’m not sure.)
(i love this picture. she is drooling down my arm, enjoying it and i am like “eek!” haha!)
(she thinks her dad is so funny!)
(i think right here she is telling us how hot it is getting and she wants to leave.)
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i had a few over ripe bananas waiting to be used and everyone knows that i am always in the mood for baking. i usually make my mom’s delicious banana bread but this time i wanted to try something new. of course i turned to my domestic hero, martha. i used her recipe for banana cupcakes and followed it, except i added 1/4 cup pecan chips per adrian’s request. then i topped them with a dollop of her honey cinnamon frosting. they are light, flavorful and would be perfect for breakfast! who says you can’t have cupcakes for breakfast, right?! here’s the recipe:
banana cupcakes (makes 12-14 regular size cupcakes)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Stir in pecan chips until just incorporated. Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
honey cinnamon frosting
- 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.
Top each cupcake with a dollop of frosting and enjoy!
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this is claire during feeding time.
seems innocent enough right?
she’s become a little sassy pants.
and only wants to play. not eat.
if you were here, you would hear her little laughs right now.
she’s thinks this is all a joke.
and she is so cute and silly it is hard to be mad.
i gave up. and now she is saying “what? who? me? i am an angel. i promise.”
if you haven’t heard yet, our good friend, mike, has uncovered one of his natural talents just in the last year. it seems like it was only yesterday he was coveting our mutual friend’s camera (on our labor day weekend trip to san diego) and now he is selling his prints to the masses and getting tons of requests for photo shoots. he is THAT crazy good! isn’t it so neat to think that as a 30-something adult you could have this genius ability that even you aren’t aware of until it is discovered? i love that. so check out mike’s work, order prints and contact him for your own photo shoot!
and here are some photos mike took spontaneously of claire recently:
i love everyday pictures like this. just capturing a moment of fun while out with friends. i’ll treasure these shots forever, mikey.
hi everyone! quick note to let you know about the new site where i am a contributor. it’s called Hey Little Birdie– check it out! my friends, jina, josie, and i have teamed up to find awesome products, people and shops to inspire you. i hope you love it as much as i do and become a regular reader! there are posts everyday and today my first feature post is up! it is all about some ideas i have for claire’s upcoming second birthday shindig. enjoy!
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i first discovered this recipe on the savory sweet life blog and i wish i could give blogger alice a big hug because these little brownie bites are THAT good. i’ve made them a handful of times since and have even adapted the basic brownie batter recipe with other mix-ins like nuts and cacao nibs. i’m thinking of trying another small candy bar center the next time i make them like rollos or mini snickers…yummmm. they are the perfect little size and so tasty that it is difficult to stop yourself at just one. or two. or a handful! here is the super simple recipe. promise me that after you make these you will never use a brownie box mix again. and that you’ll save one for me.
PB Brownie Bites
Makes approx. 40 brownie bites
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
40 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray mini cupcake pan with non stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually add flour, cocoa, and salt and mix until combined. Fill each cupcake slot slightly more than halfway but not more than 2/3 full. Place a peanut butter cup in each slot pressing it down until it is almost level with the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until done. Allow the brownie bites to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the cupcake tin. Enjoy!
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