Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daily High Points

Today has been a pretty good day! Jordan finished his first round of tests, (one in each class), and he came home from school at 10am! That was wonderful! We took care of some things around the house, and we hung out with Claire. I enjoyed making Claire laugh with a duck washcloth, a butterfly with a pretty bell in it, and a ghost towel.

Life is good!

Laura's Wedding - More Pregame

Two days before Laura and Matt's wedding, we had quite a fun time getting all sorts of things ready! We baked chocolate chip cookies for the favors, and it was a team effort!

The ingredients were measured.
The batter was made.

The cookies were baked.

The cellophane was cut.

And the cookies were wrapped, and the wrapped cookies were boxed! - Like I said, it was definitely a team effort!

Along with the cookie project, the rose petal project was also in full gear. These roses had to be de-petaled!

So Matt, Marshall, and Jennifer worked and worked.

Isn't Matt sweet? :-)

Yeah for happy, smiling faces from these great helpers!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Plain Sweet

For a few days now, Claire has been much more "huggy." I don't really think that she knows she's giving hugs, but I like them anyway!

Along with hugs, she found a way to give herself kisses! I think this is so sweet!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 5

Top 5 Reasons NOT to eat at Casa Maria in Baton Rouge

5. If you order water, you only get one thin layer of ice in your glass, and the water is still warm when you drink it. And after you do drink a little bit of water, realize it's warm, and ask for more ice, you only get as much ice as will fit in your glass now that a little bit of water is gone.

4. When you order queso, which is not found under appetizers, but under dips, you are asked if you'd like yellow or white queso. Because you are curious (and slightly concerned), you ask what the difference (besides the color) is between the two types. Your waitress tells you that yellow is cheddar and that she's not sure what the white is. - And she says people ask her this all the time. - Then she takes a guess: "Mozzarella?" You act surprised and don't really try to hide your disbelief. She assures you that the white queso is better, and the people at the table next to you agree with her. (After all, they have a bowl of white queso on their table). Your waitress then spots a colleague, calls him to your table, and asks him if he knows the origin of the cheese in the white queso. He's not sure, either, but he thinks it's American cheese. When asked which one he likes better, he wholeheartedly supports the white queso. So you order the white queso because now it has been recommended by three different people. (But you secretly feel certain it's made with queso blanco or some type of cheese like that!)

3. After asking in the back, your waitress tells you that the white queso is, in fact, made with American cheese. American cheese? For queso? Do they realize that "queso" is not an English word? We don't go around America saying, "I'd like a slice of queso with some crackers, please." No! We eat a slice of cheese with crackers. And here in America, or at least in Texas, "queso," which is a Spanish word, refers to the cheesy dip served at Mexican restaurants.

2. There's an On the Border across the freeway. (Thank goodness!!!!!)

1. You and your husband decide to order fajitas for two, and you'd like a combination of beef and chicken. When it comes time to order, you happen to have food in your mouth, so you try to get your husband to order for you. But he is staring at the menu and won't look up. After the failed attempts, and after swallowing your food, you order "fajitas for two, combo." But you kind of lose it in the process of ordering. You start laughing and can't regain control of yourself. In an attempt to explain yourself, you indicate that you're from Texas, and this is the first time you've eaten Mexican food in Louisiana. In an understanding sort of way, your waitress asks if the menus are different in Texas. Your husband, still staring at the menu, just raises his eyebrows, you laugh some more, and you have no idea what to say to that!! About the fajitas, your waitress then asks, "beef and chicken?" Yes. Combo, please. Then, in an effort to continue the friendliness, (and hoping your waitress doesn't think you've been making fun of her), you ask what her favorite meal is at this restaurant. And she says fajitas. For one. Hmmm. Do they really cook fajitas for one and fajitas for two in a different way? I guess it's something to think about!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

6 Months

Claire is six months old today!!! And, as always, I just can't believe it! She has certainly changed a lot during that time. I enjoy watching her grow and develop.

These are some things Claire is doing these days:
  • She rolls around A LOT. There is carpet in her bedroom and our bedroom, but the rest of the house has hard floors. So we have blankets spread over about half of the living room, and I still have to move her back onto her blankets sometimes.
  • When she's on her tummy, she often pulls her legs underneath her. She also pushes her body up with her arms, but she never does both at the same time.
  • If she sees something she wants, she works her way towards it until she gets it.
  • She knows what she wants when it comes to eating. She STARES at her bottle when I'm getting her set up to eat and when she takes a burp break. And she grabs for her bottle and can hold it by herself sometimes. There's no fooling around with eating for her!
  • She has been waking up in the night a few times a week during the past few weeks. But the other nights she still sleeps until 7-9am.
  • She is having a hard time going to sleep for naps and sometimes for bedtime. It's getting frustrating. In fact, I think I've had enough. I think I'm going to break her of that habit before I start feeding her solid foods. (I don't want to introduce too many changes at once).
  • Jordan says, "She starts hyperventilating when she sees Mom." - Sometimes that's a good thing because it's sweet. I know she knows me, she loves me, she wants me. Sometimes it's a bad thing because she can be just fine playing, but then she sees me and she turns completely fussy.
  • Her hair is growing a little bit. I don't think many other people would notice that, but Jordan and I can tell she is getting a little bit more hair. It's cute when it stands up a tiny bit.
  • She is always trying to sit up, but she ends up doing baby crunches instead.
  • She is very observant and curious about what she sees around her. I love watching her look at things.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Toes Exposed!

Claire loves to play with her toes any chance she can. She does on the changing table, in the bathtub, while she's playing on the floor, in the car seat, and now she's managed to unsnap her pajamas so she can in her crib! When Jordan went in Claire's room this morning, he found her toes exposed! And it looks like she's working on the other foot now, too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

A few weeks ago, I ordered a bookshelf online. It was delivered and has remained in the box ever since.

After a week full of Jordan studying late, I was ready to have more interaction with people during the day! So I had Dana and Kelly over for lunch. - Our husbands are all in the same class. We had a good time with lunch, and then Kelly was nice enough to suggest that we could put the bookshelf together! What a great idea!!! So all three of us began the project.

Soon, however, Claire became needy, so Dana was kind enough to take care of her for a little while. - So Kelly and I continued on the bookshelf. Then Claire needed to go to sleep, which is a task even I don't look forward to these days, so I took Claire from Dana. Soon after that, Dana had to leave, so Kelly was the lone ranger who stuck with the bookshelf!

After numerous failed attempts to help Claire get to sleep, she ended up crying herself to sleep in her swing, and I was able to help Kelly again at the end. I was trying to set up the camera to take a picture of both of us with the timer, but Claire woke up again, so I just took one of Kelly and the bookshelf. Thanks for your help, Dana and Kelly! I'm glad we have our bookshelf set up now, and I'm excited to unpack my music and put it on the shelves!!!!

P.S. As a continuation of the phone line post, I got another call this morning. It was a recording from the district attorney, who, in conjunction with the superintendent, is working to stop truancy. So the call informed me that my child was marked absent from school today. It's a good thing they called; I had no idea!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

We have a home phone line. I know, they are becoming obsolete to many families in this country. But I think it's important to have one. A few years ago, I was at a teacher in-service meeting, and a friend of mine said that her two children were at home alone, and they couldn't even call her if they had a problem because there was no phone in the house. She and her husband each had a cell phone, but they didn't have a home phone line. Right then and there I thought, wow! Who cares if they can't call mom with a question, but what if they need to call 911?

And so we have a home phone line. But in some ways it seems like it's not really ours. I guess that's because we get so many calls for so many different people. Here's what I mean. We've gotten the following calls:

  • "Donna?" You have the wrong number. "You mean this isn't Donna Jones?" No, it's not.
  • A recording from a furniture store saying our rental payment is overdue. We got this call twice.
  • A recording from UPS saying a package would be delivered and I would need to sign for it. Sounds exciting, right? No one ever came. No one left a note on the door saying I could pick it up somewhere. There obviously was no package for me. We got this call twice, too.
  • A call from a doctor office for Quentin Jordan.
  • A recording from a different doctor office for a name I couldn't even understand.
  • A recording with a message for someone. (The name escapes me at this moment; we'll call her Libby). "If this is Libby, press one. If you know a different number for Libby, press 5. If you do not know Libby, press nine." I pressed nine.
  • And my favorite: A recording from an orthodontist office called and sang happy birthday to Ashley.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Simple is Better

Lately, Claire has gotten bored with her toys, and she prefers the simple things of life. Like a door. She'll roll over to her door and kick it and hit it. And she loves it!

Also, she has discovered her dresser. Her dresser is even better than the door because she can play with the handles on the drawers and make noise with them!

She also likes the laundry basket. Who knew that we already had some great toys in her room?!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Her Latest Thing

Claire's latest thing makes us all laugh. She is really exploring what her nose and mouth are able to do these days. It's fun to see her new discoveries!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Month in Baton Rouge

It's been one month since we moved here, and we are settled in quite well. I'm learning my way around, I'm meeting new people and making new friends, Jordan already knows his way around, and he took his first two tests this week. Claire is growing and growing, and we are happy!

We've also learned and noticed some things about Baton Rouge and South Louisiana:
  • Groceries are much more expensive here than they are in Houston. The first time I went to Walmart, the cheapest milk I could find was $4.18. $4.18 for a gallon of milk????!!! You've got to be kidding me!! I LOVE milk! But $4.18? Since then, I have found it at Walmart for $3.98, and I have found it at Sam's for $2.89 (for skim). I'll be going to Sam's for milk from now on!!!
  • There is a large selection of Cajun food at the grocery store. In fact, "Cajun food" is an aisle heading, similar to "baking" or "dairy." I don't think there's much of a Cajun section at all where I shopped in Houston. I bet I need to spend some time on that aisle just to learn what they have and eat here!
  • Unfortunately, there is a not a large variety of tortillas to choose from at the grocery store. One time I went to Albertson's and needed to buy some tortillas. I saw some on the end of an aisle, but I decided to wait for the tortilla section on the bread aisle to make sure I was getting the best deal. There were no tortillas on the bread aisle!!! Later, Jordan went by the same Albertson's for a few things, including tortillas, and he texted me to ask me where they were. Also, we really miss the freshly made HEB tortillas. Those are so good. Any of you out there reading this, if you have access to HEB freshly made tortillas, please eat one for me.
  • Advertising is different here. In Texas, you have Texas Edition trucks. In Louisiana, you have the Bayou Edition. (I'm definitely partial to Texas!) And I saw a billboard advertising Zatarain's Fish Fry that said, "Friends don't let friends use flour." It's just a bit different from what I'm used to.
  • Baton Rouge is not nearly as big as Houston, but there sure is a lot of traffic still. My story the other day about it taking me 10 minutes to get on the freeway when it's only 2 minutes away from me. - And I went the back way! I guess traffic is always relative because even a one-traffic light town can have traffic at rush hour.
  • People here LOVE LSU!!! At Albertson's, if you wear your LSU jersey on game day, you get 10% off your purchase. I saw a mom and 2 kids at Michael's today, and they were all decked out in LSU gear. (And the little girl asked if I was going with them to Disney World next week. She was super cute!) Our neighbor said Claire needs some purple and gold to wear on game days. And we have heard from everyone that we should NOT go out on days when LSU plays at home. We'll see how it is tomorrow - it's their first home game this season.
  • People from around here say "bro" at the end of their sentences. Except it's not an "oh" sound, and it's not an "ah" sound, but it's somewhere in between. Jordan's friend came over this week, and I heard it! I had heard about it before then, but I actually heard it!
  • A friend of mine in Houston who used to live here told me that I probably wouldn't be Mrs. Cooper here - I would probably be Miss Julia. Sure enough, I am. Our neighbor has a little girl, so in front of her daughter she calls us Miss Julia and Mister Jordan. Also, Jordan's friend who came over this week kept calling me Miss Julia.
  • People here also LOVE the Saints. I went to a church activity for women last Thursday, and the Saints were playing that night. I saw at least 3 ladies wearing Saints shirts. Also, Jordan said the library was pretty empty that day because most people were watching the game and not studying. Jordan opted to watch the Cowboy's on Sunday instead.
So we are learning the culture here, and, as you can see, we are happy!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Glimpse

Today I had a glimpse ... a glimpse of what life can be like with 3 kids. I got to watch my friend Dana's kids today. Here's a little bit of what happened.

Dana brought Nate over, I got Claire down for a nap, and Nate and I played. I had to wake up Claire and feed her so we could go pick up Nora from school. I got both kids in the car and turned it on only to find 2 bars of gasoline left. (I REALLY don't like letting the gasoline get that low, but I had to switch cars with Jordan today so that there would be room for 3 car seats in the back). So I was a bit nervous about the low amount of gasoline in the car.

I had tried to leave in plenty of time to get to Nora's school on time, but it took me 10 minutes to get on the freeway, which is only about 2 minutes from my house. I wasn't expecting that. Also, at some point the gasoline went down to 1 bar. Now I'm really getting worried and just hoping and praying that we don't run out of gas. But Claire really enjoyed having company in the backseat! She laughed a lot on the way, and I don't even think Nate was trying to get her to laugh.

I was able to find the school and get Nora without a problem. But getting her buckled in was a problem. The seat belt was stuck in the seat of the car. I tried and tried to get it, but then I gave up and told her to stay in her seat. (I know - that's not a good idea! And the whole time the car is running and using gasoline). Then I tried to get home the same way I came, but I couldn't get on the freeway. So I went some convoluted, out-of-the-way home - all when I'm trying to go the shortest distance possible because of the gasoline situation.

At some point I saw a gas station, so I put $5 worth of gas in. Then I was able to breathe a little bit easier, but I'm still praying that the other drivers and I will all be safe and that Nora will be safe! So we finally get going in the right direction, and then I notice that both Nate and Nora are asleep. I would have loved to continue driving around to let them take a good nap and to get Claire to go to sleep, but I didn't have enough gas to do that! So I just went home. I got Claire out of the car first, but before I even picked her up, I could smell her. She had a MAJOR poopy diaper, and I would have given her a bath, but I had two other kids in the car to take care of! So I woke them up so they didn't stay in the hot garage.

When we all got inside, and after Claire was in a clean diaper and clean clothes, Claire was completely entertained by Nora and Nate. She laughed and laughed and laughed at them, and they were just being their normal selves! They were very sweet to Claire, and it was fun to see how much she enjoyed the interaction from them.

Later, I got Claire down for another nap, I helped Nora with her homework, I made hot dogs for Nora and Nate, and I helped to keep them entertained, relieved (Nate has recently potty-trained himself), and happy.

So all in all, we had a really good day! It was fun to see Claire with Nora and Nate, and I felt like I had a small glimpse of what it would be like to be a mom of 3. I'm glad I was able to do this today!

Disclaimer: Claire's facial expressions in this photo
do NOT reflect her mood or enjoyment with Nora and Nate today!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Real Life

I feel like my real life has now begun. Don't get me wrong - I certainly had a real life, (and a really busy one, at that), while I was teaching choir. And I absolutely loved it! I love teaching choir! I enjoyed going to work, working with the kids, making music with them, and watching and listening as they came to understand concepts and perform music in beautiful ways. I loved it when I could tell that my students were becoming smarter musicians, and I hope they continue enjoying music in whatever facets they find in their lives. But I've never wanted to teach forever and then retire with the school system. I've always known I wanted to have a family and stay home with my own kids.

During the month after Claire was born, I was adjusting to being a new mom and to taking care of a newborn. I had entered a new phase of life, but it was all so new that I didn't have a routine yet. Then we moved in with Jordan's parents for the summer. So life was different yet again. If I was making dinner and Claire needed something, there was often another person who could take care of her. And I didn't have to cook dinner every day because there were other people in the house with whom I shared that responsibility. During those months, I did get used to Claire's schedules, habits, and needs.

And then we moved again. - This time to another state! And we don't have any family nearby. And, even though school has started, I am not working. Sometimes I am asked if it's weird not to be teaching choir. But it's not weird to me. It's not that I'm sitting at home doing nothing. I simply have a different job now. I'm a mom! And because I get to stay at home and take care of Claire, I have other responsibilities - mom responsibilities - responsibilities that come with the territory of staying at home. And that is why I feel like my real life has begun. I've always wanted to be a mom and stay home with my kids, so now that I am doing that, I get to fulfill these mom responsibilities:
  • Making Dinner - When Jordan and I were both working, usually I would come home and then figure out what to have for dinner. Or Jordan would make dinner, and I wouldn't even have to worry about it. Now, I am trying to plan a menu a week at a time, buy groceries based on those meals, and make dinner. Jordan is at school so much that he doesn't really have time to make dinner.
  • Cleaning - In our married life, Jordan has cleaned the bathroom more frequently than I have. (Isn't he awesome?!!!) But now it's different. I need to clean the bathroom and clean the rest of the house, too. I've already been doing some of that these past few weeks.
  • Taking care of Claire - When Jordan gets to be with Claire, he is really, really good about taking care of her. Just this morning we went to the bank, and, while Jordan was holding and playing with Claire, someone commented that he loves her so much. - It's just that obvious! But his job right now is to go to school and study, and that requires him to be gone a lot. So I get to take care of Claire more.

Going from working outside the home (and getting a financial paycheck) to working in the home (and getting paid by Claire's smiles, laughs, and love) is definitely a transition. But I am so happy that I get to fulfill my role as a mother. So, to the real life that comes with motherhood and staying home, I'm ready and excited! Let's roll!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peeking Over

Last night Jordan and I were in the kitchen, and Claire was in the living room in this little thing, (which I love! She really enjoys it!) I looked down the hall, and I was greeted by this cute sight! She was peeking over the side to see what was going on!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Then and Now

My, how quickly babies change!

Remember Claire going home from the hospital? I do! She looks so small in the car seat.

Just look at her now! She's such a big girl now!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wedding Pictures!!!

Click here to see some awesome pictures of Laura and Matt's wedding! And please comment on that site because they can earn extra print credits!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caught in the Act

This looks innocent enough, right?

But beware. One thing leads to another.

What began as simple play and smiles soon leads to this!

Caught ya!Yes, you! You're the culprit!

It's a good thing you're so cute! I'll let you go this time with just a warning.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Play Group

Claire and I went to our first play group today. It was more for me than for her. I got to meet some new people and have lunch, too. I enjoyed myself. But Claire enjoyed it so much that she wouldn't take a nap. I went upstairs, away from everyone else, and tried to get her to sleep, but she just wouldn't. So we went back downstairs, and it seemed that Claire was so happy to be back around all the happenings. She was so excited to see everyone. What a funny girl.

Later, after a nap at home, this is how I found Claire - as happy as can be! It's amazing to me how delighted and refreshed she can be after a nap.