Thursday, June 26, 2008

Insomnia strikes

Well, after a 2-month hiatus from the blogging world, I find myself unable to sleep. So here I am, not sleeping, with a great glass of red wine and the computer - ready to update you all on the happenings in the Herring life.

Let's see - I should start from where I left off.

Tom FINALLY got home on April 26 from what seemed like the longest 5 weeks of my life. Clare remembered him right away; I wish you could have seen the smile she gave him when he ran up and said, "Monkey!" He couldn't believe how big she'd gotten, and that she'd cut her first 2 teeth while he was gone (2 lower).

Speaking of cutting teeth, I must tell you that my friend Jessi has this amazing 6th sense...when Clare and I arrived at their house in Olympia to drive - yes, drive - over to Wyoming for Amelia & Bill's wedding, she said, "By the way, Clare is going to get a tooth over this trip." And she did. Apparently the Oaklands haven't taken a road trip yet in their married life in which one of the kids wasn't teething. Makes for a pleasant 15-hour drive. But 40 repeats of Finding Nemo later, we found ourselves in Wyoming for a beautiful wedding. Unfortunately I ended up getting sick while we were there and poor Jessi got stuck with driving 90% of the way back while I sat in the back with Clare to keep her from screaming, eating Pepto Bismol tablets and holding a plastic bag. Now that's what I call fun. In all, it was a GREAT trip; I got to see one of my dearest friends married to an amazing, Godly man who complements her in every way; hang out with Zach, Cheri, & their boys - I truly look up to you, and thank you for your hospitality; and spend 30 hours of quality time in the car with another wonderful friend who always impresses me with her kindness and humor.

In May we went up to Bellingham for what is turning in to an annual tradition of ours - the Genocide Awareness Project at WWU. It was nice to see our friends again, especially Darius & Janet Hardwick and their kids. Their daughter Brielle just loves Clare (hey, the redheads have to stick together!).

June has been a hectic month - it has truly blown past us without me even noticing. The first week of June was relatively evenly paced, but the last 3 weeks have been CRAZY.

On June 13 we had the honor of attending my friend Ann's wedding in Seattle, then headed directly from there to Olympia to stay the night at my mom's house and try to get some sleep before we had to wake up early to get ready for my mom's 10 AM wedding to Tom Grover (yes, another Tom in our life!). The rest of the day was spent with old family and new family at Tom & Mom's house after a small, simply beautiful ceremony in downtown Olympia. No family gathering would be complete without 60 pounds of BBQ ribs and volleyball... We stayed the night in Olympia so that we could go over to my Grandma's house after Mass the next morning and see my Dad for Father's Day. We were there for a couple hours then had to drive back up to Bremerton for the Herring/Snider family graduation party. We had 4 graduates and lots of dads to celebrate with a family picnic at the Elks lodge. Tom had family in town from Kansas as well as Florida, so we tried to spend as much time as we could in Silverdale at the Herrings' while they were here.

Last weekend Clare and I attended a beautiful Pampered Chef bridal shower for Lindsey at Kit's house - always fun - as well as a graduation party for our friend Meghan Gray.

Then Monique came home for a short visit, and Madeline came home from the Pre-Candidacy high school for girls in Rhode Island. They were both happy to see Clare and spend time with their quickly-growing niece.

Chris has been enjoying his time home with the family, although his work commute has him going from Silverdale to either Everett or Tacoma - not fun. But it really is wonderful to have him home. You should see how much Clare adores her Uncle Chris! He stops by often when he's on his way home from work in Tacoma to play with Clare when he can have her undivided attention. He's also gotten really good at putting her to sleep by dancing with her...Chris, would you mind coming over every night just to get Clare to sleep? You can go home to your own bed once she's zonked out...

My sister Kristy is also home from school for the summer. She and our "adopted" sister Mary Beth are staying at Mom's now that she's living out at Black Lake with Tom. I love spending time with my sisters whenever I get the chance. I am so unbelievably blessed to have the relationship I do with my sisters; I couldn't imagine going through life without 2 of my best friends by my side. Kristy is determined to be the "cool aunt," and tries to come up and play with Clare whenever she can so that she can beat Shannon to the punch - although Shannon really does have this amazing gift of putting babies to sleep. Don't know what it is about her...

This weekend we are heading up with Tom & Mary to Bellingham to witness the marriage of 2 good friends of ours - Cory and Athena. We get to meet our godson John Ahmu also! Matt & Jenny drove up from Sacramento to attend the wedding as well, so we're looking forward to it.

An update on Clare before I get to a random smattering of pictures from the last 2 months: She's officially HUGE. She had her 9-month checkup on the 13th and weighs in at 28 lbs. (88%) and 30 in. (her Dr. told me to just put "100% +" in that box). She's wearing 18-month clothes! She's standing up with no support, and taking steps as long as you hold her hand. Her favorite pasttimes: "helping" me with housework, ie: taking out all the folded laundry from the basket and putting it on the floor, opening the drawers where the dish towels are kept and strewing them about the kitchen, unraveling the toilet paper, and taking spoons out of the dishwasher while I'm trying to load or unload it - just to name a few. Clare's also learned how to give kisses (watch out, they're sloppy) and loves to play hide-n-seek; she laughs every time she manages to find you if you've covered your face up with a blanket. She's cutting her top 2 teeth right now, so she's in a bit of a fussy-clingy stage, but I just have to remind myself that it will pass. She's also learned how to blow a whistle (that's fun for mama) and likes to listen to Johnny Cash and Cat Stevens - seriously, she calms down in the car when listening to them!

Here they are, random snapshots of the Herring life:

Kristy, me, Mom, and Shannon at Mom & Tom's wedding


At the family picnic on Father's Day

Cheering for Daddy playing volleyball

Why is it that Chris can get her to wear his hat when he comes over to play with her, but I can't keep one on her when we're out in the sunshine?

First swimming experience with Mama, Uncle Tom, and Aunt Mary

With Aunt Moe the night before she had to leave

Berna leaves on Sunday morning for her year of service to Christ and His Church as a coworker with the Regnum Christi movement. We had to say goodbye to her today since we'll be in Bellingham over the weekend. We love you Berna, we're proud of you, and we'll miss you! Count on our prayers.

That about does it for now, but I will try to be better about updating this blog every now and then.