- I finished out spring break with spring break by spending time with friends Alana and Brendan & Natalie.
- Birthday parties are fun, especially when it entails learning karate! I was thrilled to join my friend Gunnar for this 4th birthday.
- William’s Nursery hosted an Easter egg hunt the day before Easter, and I scooped up a few eggs and had lots of fun doing so!
- On Easter morning, I was very excited to find eggs hidden in my house, as well as a new scooter and baseball glove.
- I survived my first ever bought of the flu. I’m not sure how I made it to three and a half years old without having it, but I sure hope I don’t have it again for a long, long time.
- One morning during our walk home from town, I salvaged a water table from the side of our street. The weather was nice enough that day to strip down to my underwear and splash away.
- Sunshine and a 26 degree day beckoned us to Turtle Back Zoo. It was so fun to see the animals and ride the carousel again.
- Imagine That!!! children’s museum is a very fun place to spend a Saturday morning. I especially loved climbing on the old fire engine and the airplane.
- Dad and I camped out in our back yard! I was eager to help put the tent up, and had no issues spending the whole night outside. The following day we all enjoyed hot dogs and marshmallows on the camp fire.
- My school hosted a block party where members of the community (police, mail carriers, paramedics) come with their vehicles. Dad was challenged to keep up with me while I ran from the police car to the fire engine, the mail truck to the ambulance, and the motor cycle to the boat.
- A theater group from Kean University came to my school to share a very fun and interactive performance.
- One sunny Saturday, we took the train to Westfield to spend the morning. We checked out a toy store, a new playground and had burritos for lunch. Pretty much my perfect day.
- Little Scoops hosted a Lego Extravaganza, which I attended with Dad. I had so much fun making robotic Legos.
- Calina and I went to see our favourite dentist, Dr. Gonzales again. My teeth received their first polishing and were cavity free!
- Mom and Dad love to play a reverse psychology game with me, that I always delight in playing along. For example: They’ll say, “Gus, don’t you dare eat that broccoli!” to which I quickly eat my broccoli.
- When Mom is frustrated with me, I give her a cute look and tell her to “smile”. It gets her every time, and she can’t stay mad at me for long.
- I draw pictures of my family.
- Dad always calls on his way home from work. I keep him company by chatting away to him on the phone until he pulls in the driveway. He’s my “buddy”!
- When I grow up, “I want to be a construction worker.”
Quotes of the Month:
- “It’s a great day to be naked!”
- “I want to wear a panda bear suit when I grow up.”
This is way past due, but, better late than never!
I like to do, and have things done, my way and on my schedule. That’s the reason I refused and fought when I had to get into my car seat, stroller or high chair, get dressed, put on a bib, or have my diaper changed. That’s the reason my favourite sayings are “No! No! No!” or “Noooo!” That’s the reason I can dish out a nasty stink eye, and that’s the reason I added “[Nina] do it!” and “[Nina] do that!” to my regular vocabulary. I’m fiercely independent, and someday it’s going to pay off! Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I’m an absolute delight – smiling, giggling and happily playing the day away. Some of the things that made me smile this month were: airplanes – I loved to watch them high in the sky as they made their approach to Newark International; swings – I could have sat on a swing all day long, and I even tried using the big-kid ones; ketchup – some days it was the only vegetable I ate, and I loved it on everything; playing “boo-gaga” (peak-a-boo) and “puppy”. Did you know that pairing words helps to convey more complex thoughts? Some recent favourites were: “Sleep. Ooder (soother). Get it! Milk.” and “Daddy. Work. Yes.”. I also practiced my opposites – up/down, in/out, on/off. For fear that my initial dislike of swimming might resurface, I started my third secession of swimming lessons. Kick, scoop. Kick, scoop. To sharpen my Easter egg hunting skills, I participated in the Jaycee’s community Easter egg hunt the weekend before Easter, where I successfully collected one egg! Come Easter morning, with less competition, I happily hunted for eggs and collected a bucket full. Did you know that people can sleep in tents? I really wanted to, and tried to, but all the night sounds made it too difficult for me to fall asleep. My adventures this month included a visit to the Imagine That!!! children’s museum; a sunny, 26 degree day at the Turtle Back Zoo; watching a theater performance at Gus’ school; and a train ride to Westfield so we could visit a new playground and have lunch out. I also joined Gus at his school’s block party, where I got to climb in a fire truck, a mail truck, an ambulance and a police car, motorcycle and boat. To my great delight, we salvaged an abandoned water table from the side of the street. I’ve scooped water and bathed my various animal in it daily since hauling it home. I also did my part to keep our community clean by constantly looking for “darbage” (garbage) that need to be picked up.
- At school’s spring church service, my schoolmates and I sang “Jesus Loves Me”, “I’ve got the Joy” and “He’s got the Whole World”. From the crowds response, we did an excellent job.
- Finally, I do #2 on the potty! All on my own – without coaxing, encouragement or bribes.
- I had an amazing lunch/afternoon play date at my friend Layla’s. We made pizzas for lunch, ate fun snacks, and her silly Daddy, Monte, kept us busy all afternoon.
- For Read Across America, I attended Uncle John’s Puppet show at my school. Uncle John kept my attention with magic tricks and his funny puppets.
- I attended my classmate Thalia’s birthday party at The Little Gym. It was so much fun to climb and run the afternoon away with my friends.
- To celebrate St. Patrick’s day, we feasted on Irish food all weekend – homemade corned beef with potatoes, cabbage and Irish soda bread one day, and Guinness Lamb stew the next. We also dressed in green all weekend long.
- I had a play date at my classmate Luke’s house. Seeing school friends outside of school is fun – and so is playing with someone else’s toys.
- I also have frequent play dates with my friend, Brendan, and his sister, Natalie. Brendan’s in Ms. Autumn’s class, so I don’t see him at school anymore, but I really enjoy the times we do get together.
- Gunnar & Kaj came to my house for a dinner play date! I love to see these two guys! We played splendidly together, and let the grownups have some time talk among themselves.
- One cool, sunny Saturday I participated in the Jaycee’s (a community men’s group) annual Easter egg hunt. It was like hunting through a mob of people, but I managed to collect 11 eggs, and was delighted to find candy, small toys, stickers and tattoos inside. The following day I dined at the Jaycee’s annual pancake breakfast. Yum!
- I recently received two Geronimo Stilton chapter books. I enjoyed having these longer books read to me, and although I was mostly patient through the text only pages, I really enjoyed the pages with accompanying illustrations.
- I like to build “snares” with ropes and love trying to catch people in them.
- The weather is finally getting nice enough to venture to the playgrounds again.
- To end off the month, Layla joined me for a half-birthday morning/lunch play date, complete with cake!
-I play this “game” (for lack of a better word), which drives Mom & Dad crazy. It’s kind of like dragging M&D through a very long brainstorming session. For example, a cover of a book has two boys being chased by an alligator – so I’ll ask Mom and/or Dad, what they think is going on in the picture. They give an answer, to which I always say, “I don’t think that’s it. You say another word.” And I continue to ask this until they’ve exhausted all possible and impossible explanations.
Quotes of the Month:
- to Mom… “We kiss and then I give you a ring.”
- “The squirrel did not lose his nut because he is not a loser.”
- “Mom, if you are good, after heaven, you’ll come back as a boy.”
- “When I was growing up, I had a crocodile and kept him in the back yard until he died and went to haven.”
This month’s birthday coincided with the first day of spring, and the weather leading up to it was anything but springy. The cool days allowed me to keep my social schedule full of play dates, which included special dates with adorable Paul, and handsome Dylan. When I was outside, I loved to look for my favourite new obsession, “puppy”! I’m not sure where my passion for dogs came from, since I was still quite fearful of them, but I enjoyed looking at real ones, playing with toy ones and reading books about them. Speaking of books, have you read Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe? If not, I suggest you add it to your must-read list. I read it, and did the actions, every afternoon before nap, every night before bed, and sometime first thing in the morning! Maybe the anticipation of reading my favourite books was the reason I woke up super happy and requested that it was time nap or go to bed! To celebrate Read Across America, I attended Uncle John’s Puppet show at Gus’ school. I took such pleasure as I watched the puppets appear on stage – pointing and squealing as I saw each one. One Sunday morning I went to church, where I made several attempts to run up the aisle, successfully crawled under the pews and launched toys to the people in front of me. I was having a great time, but for some reason Mom abruptly escorted Gus and I out half way through the service. I’m still not sure what that was all about. Ikea, on the other hand, is a place where Mom & Dad condoned my exploring. I tested out many of the toys, decided that I must have an easel and then dined on Swedish meat balls while watching the airplanes make their approach to Newark International airport. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning! Since I love to accessorize, I took a special interest in Mom’s jewellery, and checked every morning to see what “ring” (earrings) she was wearing. I also liked to choose which hat and jacket I wore on my outings. Otherwise, I refused to eat leftovers, I said ‘s’ at the end of words, but not the beginning, and I enjoyed running.
- I love birthdays, so helping Dad celebrate his 37th birthday was very exciting. We had a campfire lunch with hot dogs and s’mores, and then at dinner we also had cake and ice cream. Two treats in one day!
- My Sport Squirts class continued and I learned about and tried playing lacrosse, basketball, hockey and t-ball. At my graduation I received a certificate and a medal!
- With my weekly allowance, I bought books from the thrift shop. I’m allowed to choose whichever books I want, and Mom doesn’t veto my choices.
- I attended a Super Bowl party at the Therien’s home. I didn’t watch any of the game, but I had a lot of fun playing with all the toys, eating pizza and devouring desserts.
- Cranford has not received much snow this winter, so I was delighted to wake up to about 8 inches of snow one Saturday morning. Finally, I had the chance to use my snowshoes. We trekked through Nomahegan Park and enjoyed the winter wonderland for about two hours. I enjoyed my snowshoes, but found the trip home to be too much.
- To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Calina and I made cards for some of our friends, and I made homemade cards for my classmates. We continued our tradition of making cut-out cookies, and I also attended a festive party at the Community Centre.
- I can recite the days of the week, the months of the year and my address.
- I enjoy watching Angelina Ballerina, and from time to time I can be found practicing my own ballet moves.
- Since I have officially given up my afternoon nap, Mom is busy coming up with activities to keep me busy. I now have containers of rice and sand to play with. Sometime I get to play with shaving cream on the fridge and other times I get to play with bowls of water. I’ve been doing puzzles, and I’ve planted some seeds to watch them grow.
- At school I’m learning about healthy and unhealthy foods. To complement this learning, at home we are “Eating the alphabet (Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z” book by Lois Ehlert). We have a letter of the day and talk about and eat some of the fruits and veggies that start with that letter. I also practice the sound the letter makes, writing it, and I try to think of family and friend’s names that start with that letter.
- To help improve my pencil holding and writing abilities, I’ve been doing lots of mazes, which I love, some tracing, and if prompted, I will draw people.
- Mom and Dad put forth a constant effort to encourage me to be independent and responsible – which really means getting me to do the things I’m capable of doing myself. So, as usual, I love to give them a dose of their own medicine. The phrase “It’s your responsibility” has slipped out of my mouth a time or two. And sometimes I encourage Mom or Dad with “I know you can do it…” and follow it up with “…you should try to read me 5 stories before bed.” and then afterwards state, “see, I knew you could do it!”
- Quote of the month: “Oh my goodness gracious!”
The past month was filled with friends and fun activities. I played one morning away at Pump-It-Up and one afternoon at at Little Scoops’ ice cream party. We celebrated Daddy’s 37th birthday appropriately with a backyard bonfire lunch of hot dogs and s’mores. I had several play dates, one of which included meeting newborn baby Oliver. I was quite interested in the delicate baby that slept in Mommy’s arms which I wasn’t allowed to touch. The Therien’s hosted a wonderful Super Bowl party and their projection screen made me feel like I was field side at the game. To keep my interest in swimming, I started my second secession of swim lessons. After an initial few moments of uneasiness, my confidence was back and I was scooping and kicking after floating toys. Snowshoeing is a new activity that I enjoyed from the comfort of the backpack carrier. After receiving about 8 inches of snow, we bundled up and trekked around our near by park to enjoy a beautiful morning. And the time finally came to tame my crazy hair. Since I don’t love to wear pig tails, headbands or bows, my only option was to endure one of Daddy’s home haircuts. All my wiggling resulted in a very short, blunt bob, which suits me well. At my recent doctor appointment, I weighed 19 pounds 14 ounces and measured 31.5 inches tall. Which means I fell off the weight chart and sit nicely at the 25th percentile on the height chart. “Dus” and I have a love-hate relationship. He loves to steal whatever toy I’m playing with, and I hate when he does it! Despite his torturous ways, I adored “Dus” and wanted to do everything he did. I mimicked his activities and behaviour, both good and bad! Repeating words that I heard added to my expanding vocabulary, although I received many reminders to “use my words” rather than fuss when I wanted something. One of my favourite activities was to empty my dresser drawers and carry armfuls of clothes around the house. I took great joy in this, and Mommy didn’t, for some reason. Also, I showed some interest the potty and actually pooped on it once, but Mom & Dad aren’t getting their hopes up just yet.
- After finishing out my Christmas holidays with cousins play dates, I’m back to my routine. I regularly state “I miss my friends in Canada!”
- I was very confused why Santa Clause didn’t come to our house in NJ, but I have been enjoying my new gifts.
- I went ice skating at Roosevelt Park Family Ice Skating Rink in Edison. I required lots of assistance, but had a great time.
- I can now make my own PB & J sandwiches.
- At school, I moved from Ms. Autumn’s 2.5 year old class to Ms. Karen’s 3 year old class. I now attend school three mornings a week and the transition went very well.
- I went bowling at the Garwood Lanes since my school organized family fun night. It was a lot of work to roll the big bowling balls down the lane, but it was fun!
- I’ve been spending a lot of time playing dress up. If Mom or Dad suspect that a dinosaur or the Green Goblin is in the house, I’m quick to show my face and state “it’s only me!”.
- I demand constant attention lately. ”Dad, do you want to play with me?”, “Mom, come and see my ______.”, “Will you read me a story?” etc.
- Mom thought it would be fun to go for a hike at the Fanwood Nature Centre on a cold morning. Since I wasn’t as excited about this adventure as she was, I made her piggy back me for the whole hike.
- I have started receiving an allowance. I have a list of chores and responsibilities to complete each day, and I get paid according to my accomplishments. I divide my allowance between ‘spending’ for whatever I want to buy, ‘saving’ which I will deposit into the bank and ‘giving’ to help those in need.
- I jumped the morning away in my pajamas at Pump-It-Up. I love inflatable bouncy things and this place consisted of two indoor arenas, filled with gigantic inflatable slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and more. As Tigger would say, it was bouce-er-iffic!
- I started Sport Squirts Camp. It’s a once a week, 45 minute class for six weeks, where I’m introduced to a new sport each week. The first week was soccer and coaches Gemma and Hannah made it super fun.
- I went to an ice cream party at Little Scoops. I made my own sundae and played with my friends – the perfect way to spend a cold Friday afternoon.
- I’m showing a greater interest in drawing.
- I love to make Calina laugh with my funny faces.
- Since I have a tremendous desire to share things with Calina, I have her my car seat, but only because I got a really nice new booster seat with double cup holder.
I chatted up a storm this past month. New words entered my vocabulary daily, as well as a few more signs. Sure, most of the general population wouldn’t have understood my forty or so words, especially since all my t’s sound like d’s, but the people who really needed to understand me, did. Finally, after several confusing months of Mom saying ‘monkeys say e-e-e’ it dawned on me that I was to say it back. So now, monkeys say “e-e-e”, cows say “moo”, sheep say “baa”, cats say “mow”, chickens say “buck”, and lions or anything I don’t recognize says “rawrrr”. I identified all birds as “duck”, and most other animals as “puppy”. Cold turkey is the only way to explain how I gave up my beloved “bobby” or “bah-bah”. I cherished every moment with my bottle until one day it was heartlessly replaced with a sippy cup. I patiently entertained the experiment at first, but all my pleading and coaxing on day three did not bring “bobby” back. Since the new year is all about change, I ended my two week food strike and started devouring huge breakfasts and happily eat anything in sight all day long. I traded in my bucket seat for what Mom called a big-girl car seat (it looked a lot like Gus’ old seat) and I enjoyed the extra space and comfort. One thing I did not give up, was my fixation with hats. I am certain I inherited this obsession from Uncle Brandon, who loves and wears hats as much as I do. I wore a hat most of the time, as did my babies and all the Lego dudes! I packed in lots of cool activities this past month. I painted my toe nails pink for the first time! My friend Dylan and I chaperoned our Mom’s on a coffee date at Panera Bread, where we had fun entertaining the other patrons. I was a pizza chef at IL Giardino’s, where I squashed my own dough ball and selected toppings to make a personal pizza. I crashed Gus’ school bowling event, and desperately insisted on rolling balls just like everyone else! The lack of snow this winter meant that we were able to go for a family hike at the 8 acre Fanwood Nature Centre. It’s a great green space tucked into a sub-urban area! Back-pack carrier is the only civilized way to travel, I always say. Gus should certainly invest in one, if you ask me. …Calina
December 15 – 31, 2012
“The best gift around the Christmas tree is the presence of family wrapped in love.” While I received many thoughtful gifts this Christmas, the best gift was having two weeks to spend with my family! I was well spoiled with love from grandparents, cuddles from aunts and uncles and attention from cousins. Upon arrival at Grandma Cathy & Grandpa Mike’s, I discovered I am terrified of dogs! Holly’s exuberance and Sadie’s quiet curiosity brought me to tears and confined me to the safety of chairs and couches. My fear did not stop me from joining Ronin to celebrate his 8th birthday, inviting my Mortimer cousins over for a Sunday morning playdate, or decorating the Christmas tree. All the snow that fell beckoned me outside to play, and to roast marshmallows and hotdogs on the campfire. Despite my unexpected holiday fast, I joined GG for lunch, experienced Wednesday wing night at the Prior and baked cookies with my Muldoon cousins. I also managed to squeeze in visits with Grandma Cathy at work, quiet afternoons with Grandpa Mike, and evenings cuddled up by the fire. After all that, I was off to Gram Berny’s for a few days of quality time with her and Aunt Tina. Celebrations included Christmas Eve dinner with my Muldoon family, opening gifts at Grandma & Grandpa’s on Christmas morning, and a quick visit with Ronin, Edey and Wyatt before returning to Gram’s house for a much needed Christmas nap. Well rested, I was off to the Horton Community Center where 37 members of our growing Clarke family sat down to a beautiful turkey dinner. Exhaustion and a snow storm permitted me to relax and hang out at Gram’s for the days following. The extra play time with Nora gave her a chance to reveal that she expected to be a big sister in July. My only trip into the city was to spend a day with Abby and Isla, and to have lunch with the Nixon’s. On one of my final days in the Valley, I gave sliding a try. I’m not a fan of the snow, and sliding did not help to change my mind. Maybe next Christmas.
Highlights of the past month…
- We finally received a little more snow, and I was able to build a snowman! Afterwards I had my first taste of hot chocolate. Now I want to go outside just so I can come back in and have this delicious hot drink.
- I’m riding my tricycle for longer trips. I enjoy riding to the crocodile playground, and sometimes I tow Calina on her scooter behind me.
- I helped to pick out and decorate our Christmas tree! I also helped make a batch of Christmas sugar cookies. Yum!
- Joy & Todd visited us in early December, and during their visit we sent Mom & Dad into the city with them for a night. Calina and I invited Tanya over to play with us. It was super fun to have a real babysitter.
- I attended my friend Sean’s holiday brunch one Sunday morning. Sean’s mom, Holly, is super creative, which means we did cool activities like – make reindeer food, foam snowmen, and cone Christmas trees. Us six little friends played the morning away, while the adults chatted, and we all enjoyed an impressive brunch.
- Since I love going to the zoo, I went to see The Turtle Back Zoo’s holiday lights display one drizzly Sunday night, in my pajamas. Most of the animals were asleep, but the wolves and the farm animals were not.
- If there was ever any doubt that I’m an angel, my school Christmas service was proof that I am. I was adorned with beautiful wings and sang with an angelic voice.
- On December 15th I drove all the way to Canada. I was really confused why we didn’t go “up” to get to Canada, and after several hours on the road I asked “are we almost at the airport yet?”. In all my years, this was my third driving trip to Canada. I really prefer flying, but I do get to watch far more videos when we drive.
- My holiday in the Valley were wonderful. My days were filled with cousins, camp fires, Christmas trees and lights, visits with family and friends, several feet of snow, meals in restaurants, baking and eating cookies, and best of all GIFTS!
- I was so excited when Christmas morning finally arrived! I pulled out all the gifts from under the tree that said “G-U-S” and opened them eagerly. I was delighted by the surprise in each one, and couldn’t wait to open the next package. After my gifts were unwrapped and inspected, I continued around the room to help Grandma Cathy, Uncle Lyle and Grandpa Mike open their gifts. More gifts awaited me at Uncle Ryan & Aunt Jen’s house and more at Gram Berny’s. I received many thoughtful gifts, and my favourite this year way Lego. Along with the exchange of gifts came the offering of food. Beautiful meals awaited us all day long, and yummy leftovers in the days following.
Quotes of the month…
“The sun sucks up the water and then it falls down as rain or snow.”
“Can I have juice at school? All my friends do.”