Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas! We had a very eventful Christmas. We went up to Kevin's parents house in Lemoore. Claire had a great time with her Grandparents and Aunts and Uncle. But then the flu struck! It started on the 24th with Claire vomiting all over herself in our new car. (It's officially a mommy-mobile now!) By the way, we bought a new car! A 2006 Honda Pilot. We love it! Anyhow, the flu didn't stop at Claire. I was the next victim and it had me requesting we pull over on the side of the 99 and then trying to sanitarily vomit in a MacDonalds bathroom. Last night it hit Kevin and his sister Mikkele (who is staying with us until she moves to Amsterdam on the 29th) And I just heard via Facebook that Kevin's dad and brother are also sick! So, that was fun.

The day we left for Lemoore we also had to deal with the sad realization that I was miscarrying. All in all Christmas 2009 was a little rough for the Bringards. But we're healing, and looking ahead to where the Lord is taking us next year. The hope of Christ is powerful. "The Lord stands with me and gives me strength."

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Life and Times of Us... well, mostly Claire

Oh my gosh! I can't believe I haven't posted since Halloween! Terrible! I have been working part time, going to school at night, and trying to be wife and mommy all at the same time, so it has left little room for blogging. But now that Christmas break is here, I can reacquaint myself with the computer!

In Claire news: She is talking nonstop! She has right around 45-50 words at last count (wow!), and she is putting 2 words together like Nightnight Dada, Blessyou Mamma, Milk please. She's hilarious: she will look at you very earnestly and bust out with paragraph level commentary that only she can understand. She nods her head, raises her eyebrows, and gestures just like she's telling a really great story. The she'll wait expectantly for your response when she's finished. Cracks us up! I've got some new pictures, and when I'm not feeling so sleepy, I'll get them from my phone and uploaded.

In other news: We're expecting Squiddy II! Our next little one will be born sometime around August 20th, right before Claire's 2nd birthday. Fun times! More to come later on that!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

For Halloween Claire was r2d2. Very cute, very dorky costume! I was princess Leah, and Kevin was supposed to be Han Solo but we were too last minute on that one, so he ended up wearing an old pirate costume. We had a party at our place. It was a good time. I only took phone pictures, so they're not too good. Hopefully I'll get someone elses and post them here soon. For now, here's our little robot:







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Misadventures of Claire Bringard

Driving:



Sliding:



Studying:



Breakdancing:



It's been a busy week :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More evidence of hair





Also, Claire is crazy!!




Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Autumn!

It's been a long time since I did a proper post... so here we go! Claire talks all the time now! Most of the time it's intelligible only to her, but she does love to talk. New words she now has:
  • bye bye (finally! after 6 months of constant "hi!" she now has a different conversation closer!)
  • no (sad times!)
  • book
  • belly button
  • elbow
  • apart (although it sounds exactly like open, so who knows)
  • nose (I may have already reported this one because she's been doing it for quite a while, but she LOVES to point out where your nose is. She's kind of obsessed.)
  • pretty
  • she goes "shhh" with her finger to her lips when she sees a baby, in addition to signing and saying baby.

I don't think that's all...I just can't remember any more new ones right now. She still stops traffic anytime we're in public. She really knows how to work a crowd...just like her father! Being expressive does have it's downsides, though. As in, she is very determined to exert her will. She can be very intense. Mellow is one thing she has never been! We're just lucky that most of the time she channels all her energy and expression into enthusiastic "hi!"s and not "no!"s. She has really been growing a lot lately! I'm hoping she'll hit the 20 pound mark (finally!) when I take her to the Dr. next so I can turn her car seat around. She gets bored staring backward all the time.

Yesterday we went out to apple orchard country and had a picnic with some friends. We went on a hay ride, which Claire enjoyed. Especially the part where she kept throwing the hay/dust into the wind and choking the other people in the wagon! Yikes! Too bad it was almost 90 degrees! Not exactly fall weather here in Southern California! I had planned to get some great shots of her in the pumpkin patch, but they were charging way too much to get in, so I tossed that idea! Here's a picture of her relaxing in a beach chair:




Saturday we took her to a shopping mall for her crowd fix, and we also took her into the pet shop. She went wild for the dogs!



Now this is what fall is supposed to look like! This was the first rain of the season a few weeks ago. I was so excited!


She DOES have hair!


Here she is enjoying the tricycle we got her. All smiles, as always!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Such a sweetie!

Ok, is she not the prettiest thing you have ever seen!!



Friday, September 25, 2009

Claire's the Main Attraction

Oh my goodness! Claire is just getting more and more awesome! haha! She is so social. Any time we go out in public it's "hi hi hi" to EVERYONE! If she's set free to walk around, she walks up to complete strangers and askes them to pick her up, and then she tries to give them all kisses! Seriously, my errands take 3X as long these days because literally everyone who walks past her stops and goes wild over her for, like, five minutes. And I am honestly not exaggerating. She is also starting to talk a lot more. Here's what she says now in addition to all the signs I have already catalogued:
  • hi (of course)
  • hola (no kidding, it's so cute!)
  • mama
  • dada
  • up
  • down
  • open
  • close
  • ball
  • bath
  • whazat (what's that)
  • all done
  • uh oh
  • help
  • animal noises: monkey, elephant, chicken, bird, dog, cow, pig
  • plus and endless string of nonsense that makes sense only to her
I have some video of her jabbering away, but I'm having trouble importing it right now... I'll consult IT (A.K.A Kevin) and try later. For now, here's some of the latest pictures:

These are a pair of size 2 shoes that STILL FIT, but I don't think they were designed for walking, let alone running! Because Claire is so small, it's hard to find shoes that can handle what she puts them through.



She loves to eat by herself... she probably gets about 70% of it in her stomach.


Doing some hard time


She was charming a family who was sitting behind us.


She is so happy most of the time! Such a fun kiddo.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've been slacking!

So sorry for the lack of posts! The academic year has started and I've been working in the morning, baby-wrangling in the afternoon, and going to class at night. Also, my camera is still on the fritz. I have gotten tired of the routine I have to go through to get it to take a picture, so I've given up on it! Now I just use my phone, but unless it's full sunlight, the pictures aren't very great. But here's a few videos to make up for it! This is a hilarious face Claire made out of nowhere:
video



And this is her playing in the pool/sprinkler a few weeks ago. She was trying to drink the water as it shot up at her!

video

Monday, August 31, 2009

Update

I took Claire in for her 1 year check-up this afternoon. The Dr. said she was a delight, and she qualified that by saying she does not tell everyone that, she really means it! Claire is doing very well. I was right when I guessed she was about 18 lbs., she weighed in at 18 exactly. The Dr. wants me to increase her calories with things like more cheese, avocado, and peanut butter to try to compensate for her higher activity level now that she's walking since she's on the lighter side (10%ile.) After talking with the Dr. we decided to hold off on the MMR, Hep A, and Chickenpox vaccines for this check-up and just give Claire the flu shot. (Can you believe they were prepared to give them all to her today!!)

The nurse didn't want to give Claire her shot because she was so happy and smiley and she didn't want to be the one to make her cry! But Claire only shed one tear, and then blew the nurse a kiss, which she said made her day! So, we had quite a pleasant appointment. The worst part was leaving work in Orange (which is down the street from the Dr.'s office) and driving to Newport to pick Claire up from the baby sitter, and then driving back to Orange for her apt. Unfortunately there was no way to avoid the extra back and forth.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday!

I am so amazed that this time last year I was sitting in a hospital room meeting Claire for the first time. Throughout these last 12 months our lives have been filled with friends and family. Claire's life has been rich with love from so many wonderful people caring for our family. During Claire's party we had an opportunity to allow others to pray for her. The prayers offered up for her future life, her friends, her decisions, and the ways she would change the world for the Lord touched me deeply. The world is spread out before you my love, and you will never walk through it alone.


Friday, August 21, 2009

One Year Portraits

Here's some of the good ones!





Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Claire's First Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated Claire's first birthday. We had such a great time! We decided to have the party at home, which lead to some creative maneuvering to hold all 50 people (give or take) that were in attendance! Claire wore a special shirt made for her by her (fake) Auntie Tammi. All the amazing decorations were also handmade by Tammi. When I told her I was not going to do a theme or any real decorating due to a total and absolute lack of talent and motivation, she was appalled! So, she saved the day with her mad skillz! The cake and cupcakes were made by Claire's (fake) Auntie Whitney and they were wonderful, of course! We had food from El Toro Bravo, a little hole in the wall tortilliaria in Costa Mesa. The food was sooo good! Carnitas, carne asada, fresh tortillas, etc.! Claire's wonderful (fake) Uncle Andrew and Auntie Kristin made my favorite sangria recipe ever. Delicious! My parents and Claire's (real) Auntie Vanessa and cousin Lucy came all the way down from Northern California, and Kevin's parents and Claire's (real) Uncle Kristian and Auntie Taylor made the drive from the central valley. And of course, (real) Auntie Mikkele made the slog in from 16th st. (a few miles away) to help get the party off its feet and keep Claire entertained. All in all it was a huge family effort (both real and fake, haha!)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR HELP!

We all had a great time visiting, eating, praying for Claire, watching her demolish her cake, and opening presents. Of course, she was most fixated on a little box that one of her gifts came in, but she attended long enough to open every gift, say "ohhhh!' and sign "thank you." Overall it was a total success! Here's some pictures:

The happy birthday girl sporting her special shirt. The theme was birds because "bird" was one of Claire's first words and first loves.







Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

video

That's right, ladies and gentleman, Claire is officially walking as of this afternoon!  These are her actual first steps. We saw the look in her eyes and knew she was finally going to go for it! (thank you iphone!) And she's already an expert. She has been walking laps around the house for over an hour now!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Privileged

The other night I heard a distressed scream coming from Claire's room. I went in to find that she had gotten her leg stuck between the slats in her crib in her sleep and she was screaming while trying to free herself. I pulled out her leg and picked her up and hugged her tight. She nestled into my shoulder, took two deep calming breaths, and fell fast asleep. Right then I was overcome with so much joy. Here I was holding this fragile little creature. She had been scared until I came. Then she felt so secure she was able to dismiss all her fear and go right back to sleep. 

I sat down and rocked my sleeping daughter. I looked down at her face and had such a powerful image. I saw, not a little baby, but the wise, strong woman she would become. In that instant it was like I knew that woman and I was so proud of her. She no longer seemed like the fragile little creature I had rescued. I saw the depth of her inmost being, already fully formed, fearfully and wonderfully knitted together in my womb, her days already written out and known by God.  I was honored to be the one to be there when she was small, to protect her and guide her. I am privileged to be Claire's mother.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Claire's Birthday Wish List

Alternate title: Everything I Would Get Her if I Could

#1: This adorable play mat to put inside or out! I could put it under wish list item #2:


#3: One of these diaper covers  size large.

#4: A dozen of these cloth diapers.


#6: Some wooden or plastic blocks

#7: Books books books! 

#8: A wagon


#10: A spa day for Mommy... oh wait...! haha!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Exciting New Things!

Claire has opened up a whole new world of exploration. She loves to walk everywhere! (Well, she's not doing it completely on her own yet, but we're soooo close!)





Here's a run down of all the things she does, there are sooo many every day!
  • Signs she now does consistently: please (all the time for everything), thank you, more, flower, all done, eat, doggie, bird, airplane, mom/dad (they look the same still)
  • She says hi all the time to everyone and everything
  • She says mama and dada for the correct person
  • If you ask her what sound a monkey makes, she says "oh oh oh"
  • When she sees something interesting (which is everything) she points and says "ooooohh"
  • She talks on the phone, or anything shaped remotely like a phone
  • She requests items and actions by pointing and signing please
  • She dances to anything musical, whether it's Kevin whistling or a car alarm
  • She imitates any noise you make. She loves to roar like a lion and mimic people laughing
  • She blows kisses
  • She gives kisses to anyone without facial hair, most of the time closed mouth puckers now
  • She likes to kiss her baby and stuffed animals
  • She jargons like crazy
There is so much more I'm sure, but I need to feed her breakfast while Kevin cleans up a poopy diaper. Love you all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Much better picture of her standing! She is such a big girl!

Monday, June 29, 2009


I just love my little girl! I was looking through pictures while I wait for Kevin to finish up, and this one was too sweet to not post!

Spinning!

video

Sunday, June 28, 2009

10 Months and Standing!


Tonight Claire mastered standing up completely on her own without anything to pull herself up. She will crawl a little, then stop and stand up. We cheer for her every time, and it makes her laugh and do it again! She can stand for quite a length of time, and even hold things or clap for herself while she stands! I think she'll be taking steps within the next few days... if not tonight! She must have just needed to officially pass the 10 month mark to find her confidence! haha! 

Also, here is the picasa album with all of our Hawaii pictures.

Friday, June 26, 2009

So close to walking

Claire is almost there. She can stand unsupported now for brief periods of time, and I'm sure she could manage a few accidental steps if she would try. But she still insists on holding on to at least one of our fingers before attempting anything walking-related. I'd give her a few more weeks before she's toddling around precariously!

Also: My hope is to get more Hawaii pictures up during her nap this morning. That could be soon, as she is starting to put on her grumpy pants! 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hello from Hawaii!

We are on day 8 of our Hawaii excursion and loving life! Claire has been an angel. The plane ride was much smoother than I anticipated. We only had to break out the baby crack--I mean baby einstein for the last 45 minutes. She didn't sleep, but she also didn't cry, so it was ok!

Everyone we're staying with here has said repeatedly that Claire is the best baby they have ever met. The first night it was a bit rough for Claire to adjust to the time difference and the unfamiliar sleeping arrangements, and she cried a lot. But since then she has been back to her amazing self, smiling and laughing all day, taking 2 2-hour naps and sleeping 10-12 hours at night! I love this kid! Here are a few pictures:

Claire loved going hiking. She didn't fuss for the entire 3 hours spent strapped to Kevin's back!


She is going to be adventurous when she grows up if this sort of stuff continues!


Jungle hiking with the Bringards!


The view from the patio where we are staying. AMAZING!


Now this is the life!




Thursday, June 11, 2009

A few Pictures

In no particular order, here are some of the most recent pictures of Claire from the last few weeks:

Her balance is getting very good. She stood completely unsupported yesterday for about 10 seconds before falling back on her rear. Here, she is leaning on the edge of the box while making a phone call.

Claire's Great Uncle Ray came by for a visit on Tuesday. She was quite taken with him. The fact that he's got to be around 6'5'' with a beard the likes of which she has never seen before didn't daunt her for a second!

Here you can see her teeth (well, 1/2 of 1 and 1/4 of the other... so does that make 3/4 of her two bottom teeth? haha)

What a face!

This is Claire and her daddy the day of her dedication ceremony. I love this picture!


Very proud grandparents

That's a very nice hat, Claire.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sorry for the delay... Claire is 9 1/2 months old!

So, it has been forever since my last post. Sorry about that. Things have been a little busy, and lots has happened!

1. We dedicated Claire at church. Dedication is essentially a public declaration of our intention to raise her to know the Lord and to ask the church body to pray for her journey and ours. We chose a life verse for her and during the ceremony were able to pray it over her along with the church elders as a blessing. This is our prayer of blessing for Claire taken from the Living Translation of Philippians 1:9-11:

"Our prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. We want you to always see clearly the difference between right and wrong, and to be pure of heart until our Lord returns. May you always do those good, kind things which show that you are a child of God to his praise and glory. Amen."

It was a powerful experience to release control of Claire's life into the care of the Lord. I think that the journey as a parent will require us to remember this experience many times. I have some very sweet pictures from the day, but my computer is broken right now (dropped one too many times), so I'll have to wait until I can retrieve the data. 

Claire has grown up quite a bit in the last few weeks. 
  • She has her two bottom teeth, and from the state of her attitude lately, may be working on the tops ones! 
  • She loves to walk while you hold her hands now, and cruises around the furniture. 
  • She says "haaai! (hi) to everyone we meet during our walks.
  • She loves to spontaneously give kisses, especially to Daddy. They are always open-mouth!
  • She dances any time she hears music
  • She signs all done, more, milk, doggie, and bird (although a lot of these look the same!)
  • She loves to swim, and struggles to get out of my hold and do it herself. She can propel herself under water with a very strong frog kick if I let go, but can't hold her breath for any length of time, and has no idea how to come up for air (so I almost never let her go because the result is lungs full of water. But even that doesn't slow her down!)
  • If you let her go while she is standing up, she can balance enough to squat down to the ground before falling back to her butt.
  • She can now climb down the living room step without falling on her head.
  • She knows there are places she is not suppose to play--like the fireplace-- and sometimes climbs on it and says "ah ah ah" mimicking my warning. It's nice to have a baby that tells on herself, makes it much easier to keep tabs on her!
  • She likes to eat the dirt out of the house plant. Terrible!
  • She has quite the little attitude these days! She has this angry scream that she does when she is irritated... drives me crazy!
We leave for Hawaii on Saturday. It will be our first plane ride since Claire has become so active. I'm very afraid of what she has in store for us! I am already making lists of what I will need, and asking for advice on how to keep her happy for the very long 6 hours! She screams if her movement is restricted for 6 seconds... Pray for us! Despite the plane ride, I am looking forward to Hawaii (of course!). I know Claire will have a great time. She is such a happy little one most of the time, she has fun wherever she goes. And I am ready to soak in the tropical sun!
I'll post next time with photos of our trip!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Zany Morning

We had Claire's 9 month checkup this morning. It was quite a fiasco just getting there. She slept later than I was anticipating, so we were running behind right from the start. Then, I couldn't find my keys, so I had to grab the valet key for the car. But I wasn't thinking and I locked the front door to the house on my way out, by habit. So, I had to go by Kevin's office after the appointment to get his house key. It proved to be a long outing between the dr. in Orange and the extra trip to Irvine to get the key, then back home to Costa Mesa/Santa Ana. Oh, and I also got all the way to the second floor of the parking garage from the Dr.'s office before I realized I forgot to validate the parking and had to turn around, trek back across the street and back up the the 5th floor to get my ticket stamped!

The actual appointment went well. The Dr. said Claire is doing great. She is still a shrimp: she weighs in at 16.4 lbs and is 26.5 inches long. In three months she only gained 1 pound and one inch. She is in the 10-13th ish percentile. (I had guessed that she was about 18 pounds... obviously she's not as heavy as she seems.) She got one shot and screamed like the world was ending until snot was EVERYWHERE! She is quite the drama queen these days. Then I had to take her to the lab to get her blood drawn. Poor baby! I was really nervous because I have horrible veins and it is always such a painful process when they try and draw my blood. I just held her tight and sang to her the whole time, trying not to cry (now who's the drama queen!) She did very well. They had no problem drawing the blood, and it went very quickly. She didn't try to pull away or anything, but did let out the most pitiful cry ever! Very traumatic for both of us! Now she's sleeping the experience away, thank goodness! 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Update

Claire is learning things so fast these days! Every day I watcher he do something new. It's so much fun! Some of the highlights:
  • She has 2 signs! She says "all done" when she is finished eating and yesterday she heard a bird outside and signed "bird!" The "all done" I'm pretty sure is intentional. I have only seen her do "bird" a few times but I was so excited, I decided to count it anyhow!
  • She points now. It's not super consistent, but she does do it. She mostly points to photos, and to dogs she sees in the street. By the way, she LOVES dogs! She gets so excited any time she sees one, and will start shouting and pointing and scrambling to get to it. She's so intense, she actually scares off many of her doggie play partners.
  • She plays games. She will crawl over to the step and look back at Kevin, smile and wait. When he runs over the chase her, she starts to scramble up the step as fast as she can, then when he catches her, she squeals and laughs.
  • When she crawls over to a place she knows she's not supposed to play, like the fireplace, she looks back at us and says "ah ah ah" and waits for us to come get her.
  • She can make clicking noises with her tongue.
  • She will imitate your vocal noises. She matches pitch and intonation too. If I say dah DAH dah, she will say it back exactly the same. She will also mimic gestures.
These are pretty much all language gains, which is why I think she has not really progressed much further with her motor skills. It's like all she wanted to do was learn to crawl and stand up, and she was good to go. While she can now crawl very well, she has no interest in walking. If we try and walk with her by holding her hands, she will only take a step or two and then sit down. She also doesn't cruise yet. She loves to stand up, but if she wants to move to a different location, she will sit down, crawl over, and then stand back up. Although, one new move she has learned is a very amusing booty dance!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Escape Artist

Claire can now wriggle out of her swing even when she's strapped into it! I'm sad to say it may have to be retired now. The only thing we use it for these days is to wrangle her when we need to do something in the other room. We're quickly running out of ways to strap her down! Kevin suggested getting an exersaucer. While I know she would love it, I'm not sure how long we would be able to use it. She's already about 9 months old and going to be walking soon. I know some babies love those things forever after they start to walk, but somehow I see Claire as resenting anything that ties her down when she could be up, getting into things she shouldn't! 

Claire had her first swimming lesson yesterday. I t was fun, but I feel slightly ripped off. The "instructor" basically said, "get her comfortable with the water." and then I was on my own. I had to go to her to ask for advice on how to best dunk Claire without her swallowing tons of water. Her advice, "well, some kids just will always swallow water at first." So, I guess this instructor was just a sub, and there will be someone different for the rest of the class. And supposedly we learn a new skill each day. So, perhaps after this first introductory session, we will actually get to some real swimming-type stuff. With all that said, Claire did tons better than on her first pool experience. I dunked her 4-5 times and she didn't drown once! Haha! I will leave you with a few fun pictures taken over the last week. 9 months is approaching fast!


Whip it! Whip it good!



Her new favorite place to play:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walk

On Saturday we went to Angel's Stadium to do the annual AIDS walk with Rockharbor Church. It was a beautiful sunny day and Claire enjoyed the festivities. 


Here she and Wylan are discussing their game plan for the morning.

Sporting an Angels cap (borrowed from Wylan) to keep the sun at bay


Trying out the wagon. She loved it!