Molly the Astronaut

Claire got out her space suit today for fun.  Molly, of course, wanted to give it a shot too, although the costume was way too big for her.  Luckily, we caught the silliness on video.

The best part is near the end, when Molly trips, but she is okay.

Molly’s big bed!

Molly and Dad removing her crib
Molly and Dad removing her crib

After the last weekend’s try at sleeping in a big bed, we decided to go for it today and move Molly out of her crib and into her toddler bed. ¬†Kit decided that it was time to give it a try. ¬†Molly was so excited when we explained this development in the morning, as was Claire. ¬†There was much jumping up and down and cheering from both kids. ¬†I’m not sure why Claire was so excited; she was just in a really good mood, this being a Saturday morning and all.

We had saved Claire’s old toddler bed in the outdoor storage closet. ¬†Before we could bring in the new bed, we had to find it, clean it ¬†off, and re-assemble it. ¬†Then we had to disassemble Molly’s crib to get it out of the girls’ room. ¬†This was my job, and once I unscrewed and pulled off the first major part of the crib, Molly said, “Daddy’s breaking my crib!” ¬†She may have been joking; she did not seem very upset. ¬†Finally, we set up the new crib, and Kit put on the nice sheets and comforter that go with it. ¬†Molly was thrilled.

Molly sleeping in her new big bed
Molly sleeping in her new big bed

One part of this transition, that Kit had set up, was that “we don’t use a pacifier in a big bed.” ¬†This had been repeated to Molly many times, and she was ready to give up her pacifier to get a fancy, big girl bed. ¬†Molly’s nap went fine, even without her pacifier; luckily she naps at school every day without a pacifier. ¬†There were no attempts on Molly’s part even to get out of bed. ¬†She just went right to sleep. ¬†Molly is a real napper!

Bedtime that night even went fine, with only a minor disruption from Claire walking across the room to check on Molly, who was sitting up in bed. ¬†Claire was concerned that Molly was sitting up and was trying to sooth Molly to sleep. ¬†I told Claire that it was okay, and Molly would fall asleep on her own. ¬†I think Claire had been excited about Molly’s new bed partially because she know she would have better access to her sister, and Claire has always been one to look for distractions at bedtime. ¬†This same transition, when we took the side off of Claire’s bed to turn it into sort of a “big bed”, had been pretty tough with Claire a few years ago. ¬†This episode involved Claire coming out of her room repeatedly and us walking her back to bed for several hours straight before she succumbed to sleep. ¬†At the time we were going out of our minds trying to get Claire to sleep and wondered whether this was normal. ¬†Now we see the other side of the coin. ¬†Molly may have her own set of challenges, but going to definitely sleep is definitely not one of them.


Molly's last morning to wake up in a crib, with a pacifier
Molly's last morning to wake up in a crib, with a pacifier

Tryin’ a Big Bed

Molly napping in Claire's bed

Today after lunch, right before nap time, Molly wandered upstairs by herself without a word. ¬†We figured she went up to the girls’ ¬†room to study her¬†books, as she does from time to time. ¬†When I went to get Molly 20 minutes later, she was laying in Claire’s bed with her lovie and pacifier, apparently preparing to take a nap. ¬†Yes, Molly had decided it was nap time and did not want to wait around for her ever-distracted mom and dad to make it happen, so she took matters into her own hands. ¬†Molly just loves her naps (unlike her sister).

As I changed Molly’s diaper and prepared to put her down for her “real” nap, both Molly and Claire lobbied pretty hard to let Moly nap in Claire’s bed for real. ¬†Why not? ¬†Really, why not? ¬†Hmm. ¬†This would be Molly’s first time to sleep in a big bed (i.e., not a crib), but we’ve been thinking of moving her to a big bed for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. ¬†As I read a nap-time story to Molly, Claire carefully arranged blankets and stuffed animals on her bed to maximize Molly’s comfort. ¬†Then Claire and I tucked Molly into bed and headed downstairs. ¬†We mentioned the new arrangement to Kit, who would be inheriting this situation since I was due to head off to work shortly. ¬†On Kit’s suggestion, I went back up to the gils’ room to make sure all those stuffed animals would not smother Molly, and to place some pillows on the floor beside Claire’s bed in case Molly fell off.

The experiment worked out fine. ¬†Molly had a god nap. ¬†As predicted, I am told, Molly requested to sleep in Claire’s bed for night time too, but we had already warned her earlier that was not going to happen. ¬†Kit did promise Molly that we would get her bed-girl set up pretty soon, though, but Molly would have to give up her pacifier in exchange. ¬†Pacifiers are ¬†not allowed in big-girl beds. ¬†It’s like a law, Kit says.

Claire Interview #3

The ongoing series of interviews with Claire has been neglected for a while.  For for first time in months, I finally got back to a real Q&A session with Claire.  We pulled a few random cards from Table Topics, Family Edition

When was it most difficult to persevere when you wanted to quit?

(After some thought…) Monkey bars

What one thing would you like to know about the future?

Will I live to be 100 years old

What do you admire most about your parents?

(Pass.  Too hard.)

What are your favorite kinds of books to read?


(Then I said they question was about kinds of books, not a specific book. ¬†So Claire changed her answer to…)

Books about pink cupcakes. (Pinkalicious is mostly about pink cupcakes)

What’s your favorite ride at an amusement park?

Zilker train

(I was surprised she did not mention the roll coaster at Sea World.)


Budding Vegetarian?

Claire contemplating dinner (this one just happens to be vegetarian)

Claire has been on a bit of a vegetarian kick lately. ¬†It started two days ago, when she was recalling a fun part of Kindergarten. ¬†A couple of months ago, the class had adopted several chicken eggs, which eventually hatched into live chicks in the classroom. ¬†It was a really exciting development for the kids, and the chicks came out super cute. ¬†They were tiny little fuzzy friends, and each of them received a name. ¬†Claire’s favorite was Coco.

After recalling this fond memory about the cute little chicks, Claire concluded, “Then they send the chicks back to the farm. ¬†Then the chicks grow up into chickens. ¬†Then they roast the chickens into chicken.” ¬†A little bit of anger has creeped into Claire’s face, and she proclaims, “Which is why I’ll never eat chicken!”

Claire is also now offended by hunting and trapping. ¬†Yesterday at Claire’s summer camp, apparently some girls were trying to create a squirrel trap on the playground out of blocks. ¬†I asked Claire if they were just making a pretend trap, and she said no, they really wanted to catch a squirrel. ¬†I asked if they would let the squirrel go if they caught it, and she said no, they would keep it and maybe eat it. ¬†This really angered Claire, and she said she did not like those girls, and they should leave squirrels alone.

This immediately reminded Claire of hunters. ¬†She ¬†launched into how much she hates hunters. ¬†They are “dumb and boring and stupid and mean”, she said. ¬†Finally, she said she was not going to eat meat. ¬†She wanted to be “one of those people who only eat lettuce. ¬†And artichokes and stuff.” ¬†¬†Vegetarians, I gather. ¬†I helped her come up with a few other non-meat choices to eat. ¬†Pasta, beans, rice, bread. ¬†We agreed even milk was okay since it didn’t hurt the cow. ¬†She did not seem too excited about the list, and so far Claire’s heart-felt vegetarian stance is only rhetorical. ¬†Last night, Claire ordered pancakes with eggs and bacon at IHOP. ¬†I’m sure she didn’t think about where the bacon and eggs came from. ¬†If she did, she would have had second thoughts. ¬†And before long, she may realize that¬†we are just as bad egg thieves as the pigs in Angry Birds!

The Molly Claire

Grammy and Granddaddy have a new boat in Anacortes, Washington.  They have been sailing there for years and recently got a new boat which is apparently friendlier for kids, etc.

They have now officially christened their boat after their grand girls! ¬†The boat is called the “Molly Claire”. ¬†It turns out that “Molly Claire” just sounds better than “Claire Molly”. ¬†The girls will get a chance to sail on their namesake in July.


Sea World!

Claire Sea World Picture
Claire: "I am going to Sea World and see Shamu. It will be a lot of fun and dolphins ..."

Leading up to the final days of kindergarten, we revealed to Claire our plans for a fun trip to celebrate Claire finishing her first year of elemenrtary school (and Kit’s week off). ¬†We would go to Sea World in San Antonio. ¬†The timing for this trip could not be better, since Claire has shown great interest in dolphins and other sea life lately. ¬†“I am so going to feed the dolphins!”, she said, when we told her about the trip. ¬†We showed her a pamphlet of Sea World, and she kept looking at it and saying, “Awesome!” ¬†Claire was excited enough that she created a picture at school about the upcoming trip. ¬†Claire was also pretty excited about going to San Antonio in general, remembering a fun trip to the zoo there last year.

Not only was the timing perfect for Claire, but it was also perfect for Molly. ¬†There is a “Bay of Play” at Sea World which, we all agreed, Molly would be super excited about, because it was themed on Elmo, and very favorite character, and Sesame Street in general. ¬†But we did not tell her about Elmo and his Bay of Play until we were at Sea World and she could see it. ¬†If we told her earlier, Molly would likely expect to see it right then and there and end up confused or disappointed after repeating “I want Elmo!” a number of times.

Anyways, the trip was indeed “awesome”, as Claire would say many more times. ¬†At this point, I am going to drop into bullet points in an attempt to avoid an overly verbose and time-consuming travel log, or at least to help you skip over bits as appropriate.

  • The Hotel
    • Molly Embassy Suites SA Lobby
      Molly gaping at the hotel lobby

      Perhaps the biggest hit of the trip for Claire and Molly was the hotel, an Embassy Suites about a 20 minute drive from Sea World.

    • Molly spent as much time as possible in the lobby gaping upwards at the eight stories of hotel balconies magically hovering above her. ¬†The hotel even had a “swimming pool” right in the lobby. ¬†Actually, this “swimming pool” was a decorative fountain, but to Molly that is all semantics. ¬†She was thrilled to discover later that there was a real swimming pool in the hotel that we were willing to take her for a swim in.¬†¬†This was a nice chance for Molly to finally get into a swimming pool herself after watching Claire do swim lessons all spring. ¬†Molly loved it, but she did not want to splash around too much. ¬†She just liked to be held, grinning widely, in the water.
    • Claire also liked the fountain and swimming pool. She tossed a quarter in the fountain and also got to swim twice. ¬†Claire said it was the fanciest hotel ever, and it made it seem like we were rock stars.
    • Claire and Molly were also amazed by the free drinks in the lobby for happy hour. ¬†Claire asked, unbelievably, “Are the drinks really free?” ¬†Yes, that includes pink lemonade and popcorn! ¬†And we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast before heading out to Sea World the next morning, except for Molly, who had a little milk and dragged some cheerios through her ketchup.
    • Kit and I took pains to explain that we don’t always stay in a place as nice as Embassy Suites, but in this case it really made sense to have a separate living room due to the sleeping situation (with the girls turning in around 8 pm and Kit and I not wanting to sit around in the dark from then until our bed time).
  • Sea World
    • Molly feeding a dolphin
      Molly feeding a dolphin

      We started out at Dolphin Cove. ¬†We explained to Claire that we weren’t sure if we would be able to feed or touch the dolphins, and she said, “Then what are we supposed to do? ¬†Just stare at them?” ¬†This pessimism gave way to joy when we saw the pool, full of dozens of dolphins, swimming gracefully around, coming up to the sides, and playfully jumping out of the water. ¬†We ended up feeding the dolphins too. ¬†We bought about a dozen sardines (or something similar) to feed them. ¬†Claire ended up skipping the actual dolphin feeding, though, partly because the sardines were gross and slimy, and partly because, I assume, she did not want to get bitten by a dolphin. ¬†Molly did manage to feed a dolphin, though, dropping a sardine right into its eager, wide open mouth. ¬†Molly sat on the side of the pool waving and saying, cheerfully, “Hey buddies! ¬†I’m Molly! ¬†I’m a little lamb!”, identifying her class at school. ¬†The dolphins seemed to appreciate this introduction, or at least the sardines that came with it.

    • We briefly checked out the sharks, which of course, were really cool, although we had to run to catch the Shamu show.
    • The Shamu show was really cool, and wet. ¬†Claire wanted to sit in the “splash zone”. ¬†Kit stayed with Molly out of splash range. ¬†Molly is brave about dolphins but somewhat skittish about getting splashed. ¬†The whales started doing jumps and flips and hopping out of the water to say hi. ¬†It was pretty amazing. ¬†And from our angle, you could see the whales way down under water after a big jump. ¬†Claire worked her way up to the very front row of the splash zone, although I convinced her to pull back to about the fourth row with the warning, “We could get really soaked up here.” ¬†Through most of the show, we did not get wet at all. ¬†Then the show’s announcer said, “These whales sure can make a big splash!”, and right when he said “splash”, the whales went to town on our section. ¬†This was no accidental spill-over from the show. ¬†This was three whales, heads down in the water, fins above, intentionally and repeatedly throwing as much water our way as possible. ¬†Everyone in our section screamed, myself included. ¬†Claire got pretty soaked. ¬†Somehow I escaped the worst of it, apparently fleeing pretty quickly once I noticed the giant wall of water coming my way. ¬†Claire and I were laughing like crazy. ¬†Pretty soon the whales had moved on to other sections, and Claire was yelling loudly down towards the trainers, “Make them do it again!”
    • At the sea lions
      At the sea lions

      We also enjoyed a dramatic performance entitled Cannery Row Caper, performed mostly by sea lions. ¬†Claire got to ask questions to one of the human actors after the show. ¬†Then we grabbed some sardines and fed and admired the playful sea lions for some time. ¬†I would personally have named them “sea dogs” since their faces look like a dog, but that is just me, I guess. ¬†Seriously, though, they don’t look anything like lions.

    • At last came the Bay of Play, where Molly got to meet Sesame Street’s Zoe in person. ¬†Zoe was no Elmo, but she was still pretty cool. ¬†I guess Elmo was on lunch break.
    • Claire had her own fun at Bay of Play, where she rode her very first roller coaster, a small kiddy coaster, but still a coaster. ¬†We thought Claire would be terrified to ride on it, but she was eager to try it. ¬†She ended up really enjoying the quick ride and said it was “not scary, not even a little bit.”

      Claire Roller Coaster
      The roller coaster
    • A very tired and bedraggled dinner out¬†at¬†TGI Friday’s and a quick swim at the hotel finished us for the day. ¬†The girls fell right asleep after their bath, unlike the night before. ¬†Kit and I were not far behind.
  • The Riverwalk
    • Molly running the Riverwalk
      Molly running the Riverwalk

      Saturday morning gave me, Molly, and Claire a chance for another quick swim while Kit kindly packed up in the room. ¬†We managed to save about 45 minutes to visit the Riverwalk on the way back to Austin. ¬†We strolled about a half mile on the less crowded part near Municipal Auditorium. ¬†This was Molly’s first visit to the Riverwalk, and Claire’s second (the first time, she was about Molly’s age). ¬†We took lots of pictures, sat on lots of cool benches and stone overhangs, admired ducks and turtles, waved at passing boats, ran, walked, and finally made it back to the car. ¬†I told Claire that the Riverwalk was one of my very favorite places, and Claire said that it was her favorite place.

    • Somehow we managed to stay on schedule for a lunch at the “real” EZ’s on New Braunfels Ave and get Molly home to Austin in time for her nap.

Well, this blog entry ended out pretty verbose after all.  And this was only a 2-night trip!