Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Our 4 Year Old Princess

Since we were traveling home on Claire's birthday, we didn't get to celebrate it until that Saturday evening... 5 days later. All week long I would ask her how old she was, and while we tried to tell her she was already 4, she refused to accept the fact. She told us she wasn't 4 until she ate her cake. So Saturday morning we finally made her cake and we let her have complete creative control of it. She wanted pink (strawberry) cake with purple frosting and pink icing and the little princess candies. She also told me exactly what to write on her cake.

That evening we got together with family. Claire's cousins were so nice and decorated their place with a bunch of princess decorations. The kids had fun blowing bubbles and jumping on the trampoline. Then we opened presents and Claire finally ate her cake. We played more games and spent time with family. Claire was happy and finally willing to admit to everyone that she was now 4. :)

Now some fun facts about Claire...

1. Claire's favorite colors are pink and purple. She will occasionally change her favorite color when we ask, but if she has a choice she will usually pick pink, so I'm pretty sure that is her absolute favorite. Her favorite stuffed animal is also her pink elephant that she's named "Rainbow".

2. Like her mom and dad, Claire has a sweet tooth and loves chocolate. She also loves peanut butter & honey sandwiches. Breakfast is her favorite meal of the day (probably cuz that's when the sweetest food options are available to her). She's a pretty picky eater and I have a hard time getting her to try new things, but she does love pasta, apples, string cheese, fruit snacks, breadsticks and bananas.

3. Claire loves to dance and put on shows for us. She loves to wear her princess dress-ups and dance with her daddy (or Everett if he'll let her). She always wants to dance with the boys or else she doesn't want to dance. :)

4. Speaking of Everett, she has a pretty good relationship with him. Being the oldest, I think it comes naturally, but she tends to be a little bossy with him. She always wants to tell him what to do exactly when they are playing. Sometimes she tries to be the mom and tells him what he needs to do (like during prayers she'll tell him to be quiet and fold his arms). They also like to wrestle a bit (especially when they're supposed to be sleeping) and they are constantly making each other laugh or being silly.
5. I'm pretty sure Claire has a little OCDness from her daddy, or maybe it's just a natural kid thing. She's very picky about who helps her and where she sits in Primary. Little things, if not done the right way, seem to bother her a lot.  She's thrown some of her biggest fits because of small silly things like daddy unbuckled her car seat and she wanted mommy to do it. :p

6. Claire loves to draw pictures. I don't know when it happened, but all of a sudden it seems like her pictures really tell stories and aren't just scribbles. I love seeing them and she'll tell us all about them. After we flew on the airplane, she drew pictures of us doing that and I think she's really good, but then I might be a little biased. ;)

7. She got a bike for her birthday and (I think) she's enjoying it. She's still getting the hang of pedaling and steering, and she was starting to get faster until she fell off the other day. She got right back on, but seems to be taking it slower since then.

8. We aren't putting her in any preschool classes this school year, but I'm going to try and teach her at home a little and we'll maybe try another little dance class or other little recreation classes occasionally. She's smart though. She knows her numbers really well and she can write her name. She recognizes many letters, we'll be working on them all this year though. :)

9. She loves swimming and really enjoyed her swimming class. She's always had such a bad gag reflex and so when she got a little water in her mouth during her first swim lesson I was afraid she would keep gagging, but she's learning. We got those puddle jumper floaties and took the kids to Seven Peaks a few times this summer and she loved it. She was pretty independent and liked to swim all by herself if she could.

10. And last, but one of the biggest things (I think) that makes her so fun is her huge imagination. She loves to play pretend and play house. She loves to be the mommy and take care of her babies. She always wants us to play with her, but I still catch her late at night, sometimes after Everett's fallen asleep, still talking to herself, make believing something in her head. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

nauvoo, part deux

welcome back! last we saw our heroes they were heading to bed after a wonderful nauvoo pageant. the next day was sunday so we were off to church in the morning. after sacrament meeting the entire family of 45 headed over to the temple for pictures. it's a good-looking group. :)

after pictures, we let claire and everett take a quick tour of the outside of the temple. claire was a little upset that she couldn't go inside, but all the pretty flowers on the temple grounds kept her satisfied. we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the campground socializing and playing games.

that evening we circled the tables around the campfire and had a big family talent show. there was some wonderful music, brilliant kids were put on display, cool things were made, and many other fantastic talents. the video may be a bit long, but there was just too many fun talents to leave out. after the talent show, we all enjoyed some yummy smores.

the next morning the kids all got their last chance to play together for a long while while the adults broke camp. we said our sad goodbyes as group after group left. right after lunch we said our final goodbyes and hit the road back to st. louis. we made it to denver for our stopover before finding out our last flight was delayed two hours. it made for a fun experience as we all sat around talking and playing in the airport. we finally got to salt lake at 2 am, my awesome brother picked us all up again, and we were finally back in our own beds at 3 am.

it's sad to think that it'll be so long before all of amber's family is together again. this was a big one. family came from all over the world for this one. it really was special. and while amber and i have come to the conclusion that camping is not for us (we hate bugs! - see amber's poor leg in the last picture), it was worth it to make some great memories with those whom we love so dearly. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

nauvoo, part one

nearly a year and a half ago, amber's parents were called to serve a mission to the nauvoo temple. as mom and dad's mission draws to a close, the entire mcclellan clan decided to gather together with our parents for a family reunion. and when i say entire clan, i do mean nearly everyone. which is a lot. all eleven kids (including amber's brother all the way from taiwan) were able to make it, so this was a big moment. back in my younger years, i was lucky enough to do the whole church historical tour thing and had been to nauvoo. i unfortunately can't recall too much of it as the years have pillaged my mind (and sadly blessed my gut with far too much bounty - stupid years!) 

our trip began very early thursday morning (3 a.m. - good gravy it was early). 12 of us utahns decided that driving just wasn't going to work for us, so we would be flying. my brother (at stinking 3 in the morning) was kind enough to use his big ole van and drop off most of us at the airport. bless that good man. now this trip marked a lot of firsts. this was claire and everett's first time flying, which claire was pretty excited about. she had talked about it for months leading up to the trip. this also marked amber and i's first time flying together. we learned a lot about each other. :) we had a quick stopover in denver, before flying to st louis. in st louis, we rented a 12-passenger van and drove the remaining 3 hours to nauvoo. it was a fun experience.

we pulled into nauvoo and headed straight to our campground to find most of the family already gathered. it's always so great to see family, especially when it's been so long. we set up camp, explored the campgrounds a bit, and got comfy.

the next morning we headed into town and caught a fun, children-friendly play. the kids loved it. it was especially fun seeing one of our nephews get pulled up on stage as part of the show. we then headed over to this area where they had lots of pioneer games to play. this was probably claire and everett's favorite part of the whole week. :)

we spent most of the afternoon playing around at the campsite. the kids loved the little towel swing their uncle set up!

in the evening we headed to the little festival they had back in town. we danced, colored, made dolls, raced in gunny sacks, rode in a pushcart, and watched a puppet show. it was a very fun evening. we then headed back to camp to get some sleep.

saturday morning we got the full nauvoo tour on a horse-drawn wagon. while fun, it was a little bit long for our liking. after our wagon tour, we headed down to the lake to play for a bit. that afternoon, all the adults went and did a session in the nauvoo temple. it was wonderful seeing nearly everyone in the temple. that evening we went and watched the beautiful nauvoo pageant. it was a late night so both our young ones fell asleep at the pageant (everett took a little bit more work than claire, but they both were out by the end). our week continued, but because of the length of this blog, we'll pause here and continue with part two after a word from our sponsors. :)