Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

It has been busy here around the Newell house. Just like Santa's workshop. The girls are ready for Christmas and can't wait for Santa. Chloe is adamant that Santa is bringing her an elephant - this has been some work on Santa's part but stay tuned for what Santa brings. Cleis has on her list a Baby Alive, Cupcake Maker, hula hoop and the list goes on and on.

Chloe has given us a lot of amusement this Holiday season. She is loving Frosty and can't watch enough of it. I think TV rules have been broken in this case. Chloe loves the Christmas music and does a great job of singing , of course her favorite, Frosty the Snowman and her next is Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Tony has made a couple of videos and I will post them.

Cleis is enjoying her school break although she continues to enjoy school and is doing well. Cleis is very excited for Santa and is doing everything to make sure she is a good girl. Cleis does a really good job at trying to make sure her sister is a good girl too but sometimes that is a challenge, for all of us. :)

We wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday!!!!

Officially at 12:10 p.m. it's Happy Birthday!!! Chloe is eating up the attention she is receiving. She is going around singing Happy Birthday or in her terms Happy DoDo. It's hiliarious. This is going to be a long week of celebrating since she shares the day with her two Mimi's. We have several dinners and birthday cakes planned.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adding to the mix!!!

I can't believe we are starting our 4th week of school. Cleis is going strong and loving school. She comes home excited every day and ready to share a story. It is great to hear those stories and to hear about the friends she is making and the fun she is having. Many have asked about the bus situation...... she IS riding the bus. She wants to ride it and loves it so we have stayed with her taking the bus. After hearing the nightmare stories of afternoon carpool, I'm okay with her taking the bus. I hear that parents are arriving at the school one hour prior to dismissal to make sure they can get a good spot in line. That is crazy and a waste of 5 hours or more of my week.
With the start of this week we are adding to our schedule. Cleis started dance tonight at 360 Dance, she is so excited about dance but I think she is more excited about doing recitals. I'm really hoping she enjoys dance and would like to stay with it.
I started my new job today and it went well. All my little guys & gals did great (except for one). I think we are going to have an exciting year. Chloe also started her preschool program and they tell me she did great. I hope that is the case. My Director and I have placed her in the older room so that she and I could have a break from each other. I'm keeping my fingers crossed she continues to do well and has a smooth adjustment.

Stay tuned for the report of next weeks addition, I'm going to be doing an early morning boot camp three days a week. Chloe will be attending a Mother's Day Out program on Monday's and I will be volunteering in Cleis's classroom and cafeteria during that time. Cleis is going to be participating in a Mad Science program after school - I wish I could be a kid again, I would love this, especially the making of cotton candy day.

I think this will complete our routine and we will settle into our schedule.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Little School Girl

It's official, Cleis is now a school girl. I can't believe how fast the first day of school rolled around. I can't get over how fast time truly does fly. I can't believe it's been 5 years since we brought our little girl home and everyone left and Tony and I looked at each other, 'like okay what do we do now'. We had this beautiful little baby and we were suppose to take care of her. Well if I do say so myself I think we have done a great job thus far.
Cleis started her first day on Tuesday, August 12 and she was so excited. I wasn't sure how I would feel, I had so many mixed feelings but I did just fine. I was so busy and rushing around and trying to make sure I had remembered everything I don't think I had to time to think about what was actually going on. Plus Tony had not made it back in town yet from his trip to Alaska, he was on the road home though, so I was doing it all by myself. I did have some help from my wonderful mother-in-law. She wanted to see Cleis off to school and when she arrived I still needed to finish a few things up so she finished up with Chloe's breakfast and we headed out the door.

We are now into day 3 and Cleis loves it. The first day she got home, her very first comment was I'm hungry. We totally expected this. After I checked her lunch box, no wonder she was hungry. She had only eaten about 3 bites of her sandwich and nothing else. No chips, no yogurt, no fruit, even the snack I packed were still in there.
Not only do we have one in Kindergarten but I think Chloe wants to be in Kindergarten. Cleis is working on colors over the next couple of weeks and we were singing a song about the color red and before we knew it Chloe was spelling red too. I even tested her today to see if she knew how to spell red and sure enough she said R-E-D.
I think I'm going to be very happy at Dunn, we've already found several people there that we know and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with those families.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pee Peeing on the Potty

Now before you get too excited. I don't think we are at regular status yet of using the potty but we are well on our way. A couple of weeks ago we broke out the potty chair, it's been a big hit and exciting time for Chloe. She will now tell you when she has to go and wants you take her clothes off. She insist that we take everything off, I find it to be a little bit of a pain.
We are amazed at how much she wants to use her potty and the fact that she actually knows what she is doing.

keep up the great work, CB!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Time to Break Out The Potty Chair!

Over the past several weeks Chloe has been letting me know when she has peed her diaper or poop her diaper. I think it's time to start, a little early but hey I'm not complaining I will follow her signals.

We brought out the potty chair and she loves to carry it around with her. At this time she has no problem where she sits down to go potty. Chloe loves a good praise after her potty duties. We are giving lots of cheers, happy jumps, and high fives. I know we are still a ways off from being diaper free but for now we'll take these few and far between moments of potty use.

Let the potty training begin. The sooner the better.

Cleis will be a Dolphin!!!!

I'm a little late in following up with everyone where Cleis will be starting school on August 12. We are very happy. Cleis will be attending Dunn Elementary and will be a Dunn Dolphin. Yay!!! Go Dolphins.

Stay tuned for more updates on Cleis starting school after August 12.

Monday, April 28, 2008

San Francisco Visit

Our travels to San Francisco were wonderful. Tony and I both enjoyed the city. We stayed on the go the entire time. From the time we landed we had an agenda. It was off to the hotel to check in our room, drop our bags and off we went to the Pier to make our Alcatraz tour. Once we checked in for our tour we had time to grab a quick lunch. Then we were off to Alcatraz. We both enjoyed the tour of Alcatraz, and we took advantage of the audio tour. That is a must do if you ever go. Other than the weather, it was extremely cold going across the bay on the ferry, our trip to Alcatraz was perfect.

Our journey continued after Alcatraz, it was time to head back to the hotel for Tony's check-in for his conference and cocktail hour. Then after this we headed out to dinner. Wow, it had been a long day.

The next three days we spent travelling around the city. We purchased a 3 day pass that we could ride the cable cars, F-line, BART, MUNI, best money ever spent. We made our journeys to all the great spots: Lombard street, Nob Hill, China town, Castro, Haight Street & Asbury.

Bottom of Lombard Street
On Monday evening we took a ferry over to Sausalito where his conference had arranged for us to have dinner and we spent time walking the shops before dinner. After dinner we were brought back by tour buses over the Golden Gate Bridge. I had been really nervous about this and thought my fear of bridges might prevent me from doing this excursion. I have to say I never felt like I was going across a bridge so all was fine.

Why it was hard to be away from our girls and we missed them dearly it was also a refreshing get away for Tony and I. We had a great time and enjoyed the city.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thunder Over Louisville at the Galt House

It was a gloomy day and we had decided we would skip Thunder this year for a couple of reasons, Chloe was going to be too much to watch and the weather was not the best. About 20 minutes after we had made our final decision, the phone rings, it's Bob & Sue and they have extra tickets for their room at the Galt House. Our plans quickly changed. We studied the TARC bus schedule, we had gone this route before and found it to be an easy way to travel to Thunder. A great time was had by all and Chloe continued with her tradition of falling asleep during the fireworks. Explain that.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Check Up time Eighteen months

Yesterday we took Chloe in for her 18 month check up and once again we received a great report. She is on target or ahead for her milestones. She's doing a wonderful job growing. She is about the same as last time on her growth chart, 90th percentile for height at 33 in., 50th percentile for weight at 24 lbs, 8ozs.

An update on some of the things she is doing and enjoying these days.

Her latest new task is pulling her chair over to the sink or to the cabinet drawers, climbing up into her seat, by herself, and either playing in the water at the sink (turns water on herself) or taking all the silverware (including knives) out of the drawer and playing (I call it making a mess!) She is quite the handful and keeps me busy.

Chloe's vocabulary has really taken off in the last two months. I had told myself I would write down every new word she said but of course I have not done that. So hopefully I can catch up here and have it all documented.

Her words include, Doh-doh (yogurt), shuice (juice), bach (black), baby, toes, happy, Da*dE (Daddy), dog, mama, keese (Cleis), ball, up (up & open), hat, cat, mop, ant, ice I know she has more but of course I'm forgetting them.

She knows her body parts, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair, belly, toes.
She surprises me on her animal sounds, the first one learned was wolf and it was hilarious. I wish we had gotten it on video but we were lazy and missed it. The next one was monkey and I think we did get this on video. She does sheep, dog, and snake for now.

She is using her signs, she does bath which she has always used since she was little. She now does, more, all finished, yes, and bird. We are working on thank you, & eat.

We've been working on ABC's and I have to share because she just amazed the heck out of me. It's day one and we are on about our third go around, Chloe says Ant, she had learned the A card already. On day two, we come to the letter G, before I could get to the H card, Chloe burst out hat. The H card has a hat on it and she knew it came after G. Amazed. Next we come to M, it's mop and she says mop and then bop. Amazed, she made a rhyme.

It has been a worry of mine that I wouldn't be able to give the second one as much time and she would be behind but when I write this it lets me know I'm doing just fine and so is Chloe.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bye Bye Bop

I knew the time would come, I just didn't know who would call it quit first. Turns out it will be me. I'm joining Tony on a business trip to San Francisco and in order for me to do that I need to wean Chloe first. We are into day four of ending our nursing journey or as Chloe calls it 'Bop'. The overall weaning process has been a breeze. On occasion Chloe does ask for Bop but I tell her it has gone bye-bye and she waves bye. For me it's been more of an emotional healing. I hated to give that time up and knowing me I probably would have carried on. So it is probably a good thing I have this opportunity to join Tony, it helps end the break.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Part II Island Hosting

I'm not sure where I should start on this issue. In the house that we rented it included an Island host. My interpretation of an island host is someone that will be there to meet you and greet you upon your arrival, help you with your things, show you around, tell you about the place your visiting. Possibly make some recommendations of things to do, places you should go check out or explore, etc. A person that would be there for you should you need something. Well, we didn't get any of that. I'm not quite sure where it all went wrong, I can only assume it started off wrong when we arrived.
On our arrival day we did have some confusion but nothing that should be held against us to treat us like step-children. Of course it had to be pouring down rain the day we arrived and we were early. Creating mistake number 1 - our island host wasn't ready for us. When we arrived at the docks and the island ferry needed to unload our stuff - there was total chaos. My personal opinion when we told the island ferry who our island host was he wasn't surprised this was happening. But just so happens there was another island host there that was waiting for his wife, who happened to be on the same ferry with us. He and his wife volunteered to help us out and help us get our things out of the pouring rain. In the meantime someone was able to locate our island host and he came over, my personal opinion again in a full tizzy. Instead of being calm, and dealing with the situation that was he was very upset, I felt he took it out on us. He let us know he wasn't happy and basically how horrible this was for him. He let us know of all the things he still had to do to get the house ready and how the ladies were going to be rushed. But here's the kicker - he wanted to make sure he was taken care of and that we took care of the ladies upstairs. So my first feeling of the island was hungry, money grubbing host. Personally I don't think he needed to tell us how to handle our tipping or who to tip. I also think he was to be our host for the week, he would have received our tip at the end.
Mistake #2 - our scheduled charter fishing excursion. I'll actually save this for another post. It's a story all in itself.
Mistake #3 - On the day of our fishing charter we actually talked to him about our hot tub. For starters it was entirely too hot and it needed chlorine. So we made mention of this on our fishing charter. To which he said, I'll come look at it. Well a day went by and nothing. So on the second day my aunt calls him to let him know we need some chlorine. He tells her he will be over with it. About middle of the day a man comes walking up to us from the Safety Harbor Club and gives us a few tablets of chlorine. Bad host!
Mistake #4 - Which this one does me in and I wasn't even there for it. It was departure day and our wonderful host was to help with departure and help get our things back over to the docks for the ferry pick-up. Well he calls my aunt or maybe my aunt called him. Not sure on the story there. Anyway the story was he wasn't going to be able to help because his boat wasn't starting. Um, wait a second here, he has two boats and they were both broke. I'm not buying that story.

Again this is my opinion and how I saw things but I do have to say this was a HUGE negative for me and if I ever went back to Upper Captiva the first thing I would want to know is who will my island host be, because if it's this sorry excuse we had for an island host - I won't be returning.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Back to reality - Paradise is No More

After 10 months or so of planning our extended family vacation the time has come and gone and we are back from paradise. Our chosen destination was Upper (North) Captiva. This is a little island, about 550 acres off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida. The island was actually part of Captiva Island at one time but a hurricane from the early 1900's split the island and that is how the Upper (North) Captiva island name came to be. In order to get to the island you must travel by boat. There are no cars, grocery store, commercial or tourist things to do. The island is very laid back. About 300 acres are reserved for a wildlife, nature park. So wildlife is in abundance and the beaches are full of shells.
Our planning took coordinating schedules for 14 people coming from all directions, planning meals for the week, making a grocery list and hoping we didn't forget anything. We also had 4 little ones under the age of 6 that we wanted to make sure we kept occupied.
Part I - Planes, Cars, Boat, & Golf Carts
The first big action - arriving and catching the ferry. Most of the group met early Saturday morning and we picked up our groceries, shopped for any last minute items we might of forgot and for some it was re-shopping for things confiscated by the TSA at the airport. Gotta love the new guidelines.

We had 72 bags of groceries, not sure how many coolers and 12 cases of water. We were set for the week. Ready to board our ferry, take the 30 minute boat ride across to the island and our "Island Host" would be there to take us the next step. (more on Island Host to follow)

Arrival to the Island - here our mode of transportation is primarily golf carts and at the house we had bikes and there is always the good old fashion way of getting around by foot. There WERE to be two golf carts to meet us, we would load our stuff on the trailers and deliver us to our house. (details to follow)

Monday, March 17, 2008

First Snips of "locks"

It's been known for awhile that Chloe was in much need of a hair trimming and shaping, I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it. There is something about that first innocent hair.
Well when I came home from my scrapbooking weekend, Tony said we are cutting her hair. After a discussion I said I would trim the hair in her eyes, so the poor child can see.
It was not an easy task to have Chloe sit still and in a couple of areas it is a little shorter than I wanted.
So for now her bangs have been trimmed and she still has the loose curls in the back, of her sweet baby hair.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Loads of the WHITE stuff to play

After our skiing adventure and our safe return home with hazardous conditions we continued to watch it snow, snow and snow some more.

On Saturday morning Cleis couldn't wait to get out and play in the white stuff. She helped Tony snow blow the drive way, she took a little adventure around the yard. She played with the dogs down the street, and the neighborhood girl across the street. And after more than two hours playing she was not ready to come in so she could warm up.

Chloe was able to enjoy the snow for a few minutes. I didn't have proper gear to keep her out there for very long. She was out long enough for me to get some pictures and video.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Winter Play Land

Well for three months we have tried to take Cleis snow skiing and the weather has not worked in our favor. This past Friday was our last chance to take advantage of the Retro pricing at Paoli Peaks. We figured take her when the price is right that way if she doesn't like it, no big deal we're not out a bunch of and it's okay if we don't get to ski.
Well once again the weather was not in our favor but Tony was determined we were going. So we made the plans, dropped Chloe off to Mimi Cheri and Papaw Jerry's, got all our gear out and loaded and headed off for a good nights sleep. We woke Friday morning expecting the weather to be here and there was nothing - good but disappointing. Everyone got ready and we started out the door and the snow started. We went on as planned. Once we got onto Hwy 150 things went from fair to worse and the further west we went the worse the roads became. We took it slow and all turned out well.
Once we arrived we suited up and headed to the slopes with our gear. Because we had to purchase rental for Cleis her admission included a group lesson. We arrive at the lesson and learn that she must be 6 years old. We explain the news to Cleis and she's okay with it, she just wants to go down the hill. We step aside and plan to listen to take some pointers from the instructor and the instructor must have felt sorry for us and gave up one of his instructors to give Cleis a private lesson for about 45 minutes. We stayed with Cleis a couple of times down the hill to see how she was doing and to make sure she was comfortable. Once we felt comfortable, Tony and I headed off on our own to take a couple of runs.

After her lesson we took a break and Cleis needed to get warm. So we headed in to the lodge and shared a couple of cups of our Williams-Sonoma hot chocolate (best stuff ever). Then it was back out to the slopes and Cleis said she was ready to do the big hill. So down we went and never looked back. Cleis was ready to cover all the slopes and so that is what we did.

Even with the extra element of the weather, the wind was a bit strong, overall the day was great. Cleis had a great time. Tony and I squeezed in some good runs and we're planning for next year. Oh yeah, while we were there we ran into a family that had a 2 1/2 year old and he was already out on the slopes. We'll be starting earlier with Chloe and who knows we may be back to our annual Snowshoe trip before we know it. I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Busy Valentine's

We have started our Valentine Day off in full swing. A few days ago Cleis said she wanted waffles for breakfast so we started our monring with Cleis making waffles. Then we palyed with our Valentine presents. After some time playing it was off to prepare our strawberries for dipping and make some cupcakes. Cleis did all the mixing, even breaking the eggs, for the cupcakes. We got our cupcakes off to the oven and then it was doll time and reading books. We did this while our cupcakes were cooking. When they were finished and cooling we started dipping our strawberries. Once again, Cleis was "Betty Crocker" and did all the dipping for the strawberries. She did a beautiful job. I can't wait to enjoy them later.

Now we're off to prepare for some "glamour shots". Cleis loves to have photo sessions. I'm going to take some of her by herself while Chloe is down for nap and then I'll take some of both of them together. That is if our second half is cooperative. Stay tuned in to see what we get.

To finish off our Valentine Day we are celebrating with Sushi.

What an action packed fun filled day. Nothing like sharing the day with my girls and showing them how much they are loved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First Winter Wonderland

Last night we had our first significant snowfall that Cleis has been able to enjoy and the first ever for Chloe. During our last snowfall in December of 2004 Cleis was not able to play in that snow due to her unknown illness at the time and the recurring pneumonia.

But last night she made up for it. She couldn't wait to get her snow suit on and go play in the snow. She made snowballs. (the best she could w/the quality of snow) She went on a big walk and she helped her daddy snow blow the driveway.

***pictures to follow - major difficulties lately at the Newell homestead with cameras and memory cards - but I do have some

School Shopping

I can't believe that I'm actually writing about sending my darling Cleis to Kindergarten, she will be enrolling in the 2008-2009 school year. Before Tony and I ever had children this school stuff was not an area we ever agreed on. I am a for private school and my other half doesn't feel it necessary. So off began my research several months ago (actually 4 years ago) on the schools that are offered in our cluster. In our community that is how we are grouped - depending on boundaries you have what is called a cluster of schools and that is what you choose from. And then you also have the option to choose from a Magnet/Traditional program.

After many hours and much research I put together my findings and off we went to interview and tour the schools I felt like were the best choices. It was amazing some of the things I discovered. To name a few, some teachers and rooms extremely organized or neatly organized and then some I'm not sure how they know where to find their students. Most teachers looked like they were there to teach the kids and not just getting a paycheck or looking for a friend. Others looked liked they just crawled out of bed and put on their best jogging suit and stopped at the BP to pick them up a Big Gulp to slurp on all day.

As Tony put it, it's like buying a boat. You find a boat with most of your options but it still has some things you don't like about it. Then there's another boat with most of the same options but has one different option you like too or don't like. So you go with the option that you think will serve you best.

Well I hope that is what Tony and I have done. You are given the choice of two schools and the option to apply for the Traditional program. For our two choices we actually only went with one school. We felt strongly about our first choice and all the other schools we looked at were low on our like list. We also applied for the Traditional program, this is a gamble as the student is chosen by a lottery.

It will be several weeks before we know where Cleis will be going to school next year but we are keeping our fingers crossed she will be chosen for one of our choices or there will be two very upset parents going back to the drawing board.

We'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Developmental Update

Chloe has been to the doctor for her 15 month check-up and also for her first MMR immunization. Chloe did extremely well and was a tough little cookie. She has been great and continues to push on.

She is really slimming down, 90th percentile in height at 32", 50th percentile for weight at 22.12 pounds and 50th percentile for head circumference. Dr. Cowley said if she continues at this rate, she will be what every woman wants to be. She projects, about 5'8" (like her mommy) and around 121 pounds (not like her mommy). Here's hoping she has more of the Newell genetics.

I have been concerned with Chloe's learning and have probably been comparing too much with how Cleis learned and what Cleis was doing by this age. Of course ever since Chloe's ear ordeal I've been worried that she is behind in speech. Turns out her vocabulary is actually ahead of what is consider the norm for a 15 month old. It also appears Chloe has a different learning method at this point. Seems she could be a kinetic learner for now. I'm praying this will change. What amazes me though, is she will sit in our laps and want you to read 4-5 books to her at a time but when I bring out the flashcards, she would rather grab them and throw them. So we'll make some teaching changes and see if they work any better. I guess I'll be moving and hanging from the ceiling to teach Chloe her A, B, C's. So far I've switched to using more blocks on working with shapes and colors and it does seem to make a difference. Now is it because it's something new or is she responding?

All in all we received a great report and Chloe is right where she needs to be.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas Pictues

Chloe and Daddy after the Louisville game. Daddy, Mommy and Big Sis (Cleis) had an afternoon out to the Louisville game.

Cleis opening her doll house.

One of my favorites this year. It has been a tough year getting Chloe to take a good picture put this night she did extremely well.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I never imagined how much fun an Aqua Doodle could bring to your home.

Chloe received the Aqua Doodle for Christmas (thanks Nana) and it has been a favorite for both of the girls. Chloe is learning how to use the pen and for now is doodling. Cleis on the other hand, has taken to the Aqua Doodle and we have been able to incorporate the Aqua Doodle mat into our preschool time and it has been a tremendous help in her writing.

I'm so glad Chloe is happy to share.

I believe this is going to be a great tool to have for teaching and playing with the girls. Who knows we may have the next Picasso.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Welcome 2008!!!!!

It was a very low key, and I mean low key here at the Newells homestead. In past we have gone out to a nice dinner or to a party or over to friends. Then about 3 years ago we started having our own party, a Raclette dinner. This year we decided to keep it just us and not have our party so we continued on with the Raclette celebration. (Bernie would be proud)

We started our evening off watching UK play in the Music City Bowl, preparing and eating our dinner. We finished with clean up just in time to watch the last 2:12 minutes of the game. The most exciting two minutes of the game, watching the fumbles and wondering if we were going to go into overtime or was Kentucky going to pull this game off with a win. Yeah for the win.

We had some quality family time before putting the girls to bed and they were able to stay up longer than usual. Cleis wanted to work on her gymnastics and prepare for the gymnastic camp she starts on Wednesday. She is very excited about her camp and starting back to gymnastics. We have been off during the holidays. Chloe wants to dive right in there with her sister. It's funny to watch her put her hands to the floor and want to flip.

We had a great New Year's Eve and today we will round out our New Year celebrations at the Newells with our annual New Year's Day dinner. Who will end up with the most dimes this year???

Here's to a Happy New Year and wishing All the best for 2008...