Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Santa baby!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sister love (a series)

Only one person can make Charlotte grin from ear to ear just like this ...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Going mobile

In between Anna contracting strep throat, Mike and Anna picking up Charlotte's hand foot and mouth disease (in tandem for Anna), and Charlotte coming down with a 24-hour stomach bug, this little girl took (finally) her first steps toward true mobility over the weekend!  She isn't doing laps around the house just yet, but she's definitely loving the new nooks and crannies she's able to explore.  Way to go little girl!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Letter to Anna: Month thirty-one

Dear Anna,

You make me proud every single day that I’m your Mommy with the polite, sweet, and loving girl you have become.  Watching you learn something new, process cause and effect, expand your vocabulary and learning to care, show empathy, and genuine concern for others is priceless.  You make a long day at work melt away with your smile and I have no cares in the world when you come in for a big bear hug. 

You’re not only expanding your vocabulary, but you also understand what to say and when.  You’re great at saying please and thank you without being prompted (thank you more than please, but we’re working on it) and communicate your thoughts and sentences with the clearest and sweetest little voice.  You continue to mimic phrases and sayings and repeat them back to us with the correct cadence and timing, and it’s simply adorable.  This past month you really got into saying “oooohhhh my goodness” and “ooohhh my goodness gracious” when something struck your fancy.   And just today you repeated “holy moly” back to me and I almost died.  You’ve also captured many a heart this Christmas season with “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas”, complete with your little arms spread wide apart.  Watching you process a new phrase allows me to literally see the wheels turn in your head; you often will repeat something several times to yourself before saying it back to us and then before we know it, the words are a regular part of your vocabulary.

You're able to communicate very clearly with little transition most of the time and are able to tell us what you want and when you want it, unfortunately we don’t always agree.  As I write your letter, you are sick with strep throat, but it’s not getting much better.  You were able to tell us that your throat hurt and were the model patient at the doctor’s office, even when they did the horrible throat swab.  It’s killing me to see you grab at your throat and cover your mouth when you eat and we’re letting you try anything and everything that sounds good and might ease the pain.  It breaks my heart to see you sick, but what a relief to finally have an idea about what is hurting you versus the guessing game we play with your sister.  I didn’t think it was possible for you to have a sweeter temperament, but it seems you do, even when you feel your worst. 

You're developing quite the active imagination and are a very creative little girl.  Our evenings consist of dance parties, sing alongs, run and chase games, and you often lead your Daddy and me around your world of make believe.  One of your favorite games is going on a “bee or fly hunt” ... once we find the bee or fly, we then spend at least half an hour pretending to touch it and run away with a squeal of delight.  You are great at truly dramatic play and can squeal, show fear, find a sad face, and even cry on demand.  You love to lead a parade around the house, start a choo-choo train on the floor, cook us dinner, and generally play in your own world of imagination.  You moved up to a new room at school a few weeks ago (no transition issues!) and it’s amazing to see how much you pick up from some of the “older” children in regard to dramatic and imaginary play.  Most of your notes tell us how you and your friends were playing with dolls, or singing songs in a group, or creating your own fun game and it makes me very happy to hear and see how much you are learning in the group setting.  You take a dance class at school one day a week and we love to see what you’ve learned every Wednesday evening with our own special performance. 

It’s been a pure delight to see Christmas through your eyes so far this holiday season and you are loving every minute.  You helped to decorate the Christmas tree by handing us ornaments and were enthralled with the other household decorations, especially the small tree we placed in your room.  The DVR has quite a bit of space dedicated to Christmas specials from your favorite shows (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First) as well as classics your Dad and I grew up enjoying, like Rudolf and Frosty.  Your Dad thrives on holiday tradition and it’s been pretty fun to watch him watch you enjoy his traditions; it’s almost like having a third child in the house.  You alternate between calling Santa by his formal name and Ho Ho, but we’re not sure of the rhyme or reason and you are constantly correcting us. It didn’t surprise us in the least when he came to your school last week and your teachers told us that you observed from afar; you circled him, eventually giving him a high-five, but didn't want anything to do with sitting on his lap.

You are definitely my child and love repetition, order, and aren't a fan of change.  You have a fairly detailed bedtime routine even after the teeth brushing, book reading and prayers.  First you give your Dad a hug and a kiss after a back-and-forth  about who will carry you to your crib (it’s always me), then once we are there, we do big hugs, little hugs, big kisses, little kisses and a high-five.  Once you are under your covers, we account for all of your stuffed animals and it’s finally time to get some shut-eye.  I can’t complain because you sleep through the night, take great naps (asking for them fairly often), and even know when you need to take a rest before a “case of the crankies” set in full force.  You are the number one enforcer of doors being closed in the house, know exactly where the kitchen stool goes, and are getting pretty good at cleaning up your toys and books. 

Life seems pretty crazy these days and during the (many) times that I’m flustered or overwhelmed it’s almost like you have a sixth sense that brings a calm to a situation; a gesture as small as a hug and a smile turn my attitude around completely.  Your gift of love can’t be taught or learned.  As crazy as some of the ideas are that come from your two-year old mind, as many messes as I clean up daily, as many different dinners I make in an attempt to satisfy your crazy food preferences, as much laundry as I do on a weekly basis ... I wouldn’t trade any of it.  Because one hug from your with that million dollar smile makes it totally worthwhile.  Thank you for keeping me grounded, forcing me to take time out of my day to play, and for being one of the brightest stars in my life. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Growin' like a weed (again!): Month nine

Charlotte's nine-month appointment was delayed a week to allow for extra time to recover from her short bout with hand foot and mouth disease over Thanksgiving.  Luckily no rash developed, but she did deal with a pretty sore throat for a few days.  She's still growing consistently and remains in the 5th - 10th percentile for both height (25 1/2 inches) and weight (16lbs 9oz), with a slightly bigger percentile for her noggin'; she remains at 110% for cuteness, sweetness and girliness : )  Still not crawling and still no teeth, but we're not worried about that because she's continuing to develop in other ways ... and Mama is OK with a little immobility for a little longer.

Big sister helped again!
A girl on the move!

Literally moving all around during her shoot!
Charlotte weighs 4 ounces more than Anna at 9 months, but is a good 1 1/2 inches shorter, both still 100% cute!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Letter to Charlotte: Month nine

Dear Charlotte,

This past month you've really started to show us more of your sweet and kind personality, while also letting us know you certainly have a voice of your own.  Living with a toddler, I’m realizing that the voice your finding is just the start of a long line of words and opinions to come.  Luckily right now you’re still in the “sugar and spice and everything nice” phase of your girlhood and your father and I are savoring each minute.      

Your first few months we heard coos and little gurgles, but it wasn’t until this past month, and almost overnight it seems, that you started to really find your voice.  All of the sudden you are talking and squealing and letting us know just how fun it is to be Charlotte.  And it’s the sweetest thing.  You get excited when you see a new toy or walk into a new room, you squeal when you see me, your Dad, Anna or one of the cats.  Especially the cats.  I love going into your room in the morning or after naptime; the smile that is plastered on your face and the squeal you let out simply make my day.  You’ve also started waving, clapping, and reaching up to be held with that big gummy grin. 

Although you are still our petite little girl, you are developmentally growing by leaps and bounds.  You love to jump in your exer-saucer or bouncer and if you aren’t eating, you prefer to be on the move.  You’re not crawling yet, but that will happen any day.  You have all the moves down pa but you just can’t get them coordinated into one movement.  Part of me thinks that there’s a chance you may skip actual crawling go straight from scooting and sliding to walking.  You can do things physically that Anna couldn’t do until after she crawled, such as going from all-fours to sitting to back to the ground.  You can scoot and stretch and wiggle your way to just about anything and anywhere you want.  We know that because you’re not crawling at nine months, it’s doubtful that you’ll walk by a year (we heard this with Anna) and that’s totally fine with us, we’re cherishing these last few weeks of immobility because we know that once you can move, you will do just that, and nonstop. 

You went through a couple of periods this past month where I could have sworn you were getting teeth or going through a growth spurt, but you continue to prove me wrong.  One weekend you refused to nap and one of those evenings went to bed at 5:30pm as a result.  Two other times you were running slight fevers, both after your flu vaccine, one of those times it turned out you had hand, foot, and mouth disease and were dealing with a pretty sore throat.  Through it all, you’re still the sweetest little girl and love nothing more than a hug and a snuggle.  Even when you had a restless night’s sleep, just received a handful of vaccines, or are having an “off” day, you still love to be held and snuggled tight, give us kisses and hugs and emit an aura of love that can be felt all around.  When (or at this point, if, ha) your teeth come in, I’m sure going to miss that gummy grin of yours. 

You've expanded your food palate quite a bit this month and now enjoy Mum Mums, puffs, small bites of our food, yogurt and proteins.  You eat three meals a day and are still nursing five times a day.  You like to be in the middle of the action and love the vantage point your high chair provides.  We brought out your first sippy cup when you had a sore throat to let you explore with ice water; you loved playing with it and have taken a few sips, but aren’t ready to give up nursing or the bottle quite yet.  I love the quieter times in the morning and before bed that we spend together nursing, but if we’re anywhere near a group of people, or if the TV is on, you’re very easily distracted.  And you love the “hot dog dance” at the end of a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode; that little head whips around with no regard to what you were doing the second beforehand.

You’re hair is still a dirty blonde and your eyes are a beautiful ocean blue.  And your lashes, oh, those lashes, they are the envy of any female on the planet.  Your skin is fair like mine and with the cooler temperatures often have rosy cheeks; the combination makes you look like a little cherub.  You are sticking with the 5th to 10th percentiles for both height and weight, but still have some chunk going on in those thighs and the roundest little belly.  I love that you are my (other) petite little girl and I can’t tell you how much joy you bring to our lives by just being you.  You’re beautiful inside and out even at your young age.  You’re at an age where everything is new and exciting and something to be explored and I’m so glad that I have you to remind me of that every day.  I hope you never stop reminding me to stop and appreciate the little things in life, for those are the most important, just like you.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Letter to Anna: Month thirty

Dear Anna,

You’re two and a half years old and I’m in denial that in six short months I’ll have a three year old under my roof!  I’m pretty sure that I’m living with a pre-teen these days as you seem to be two and a half going on twelve with your vocabulary, observations of the world, and general attitude some days.  Luckily you still love to give big hugs, kisses, and need Mommy-snuggles when you’re sad or hurt. 

You are a little bit OCD (gosh, can’t imagine where you got that from) and love to make sure things are “just so” in many situations.  This includes closing doors around the house (pantry, bathroom) on a routine basis, arranging your toys, and you’ve even started to use a wipe, tissue or washcloth to start cleaning around the house.  Unfortunately most of this happens when we’re in a hurry or trying to actually clean-up, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that the actions line up with the need sooner rather than later. 

You’re talking up a storm.  Full sentences, correct tenses, plurals ... the works.  It’s amazing to hear you form your thoughts into words and although we hear a lot of “what happened?” and “why did you do that?” we also hear a lot of declarations and original thoughts.  You are pretty spot on most of the time, with a few mixed up words that result in some pretty funny sentences.  Like the other night when I was putting Charlotte to bed and you closed the door for me (your new thing) and asked “are you going to eat her, Mommy?”  It took me a minute, but (without laughing) I replied “she’s going to eat and I’m going to feed her.”  You just looked at me blankly and said “Ok, Mommy, have fun eating her” and left the room. 

Just because you’re a chatty girl, it doesn't mean we always like what we hear.  You’ve started to throw out the line “because I said so,” and know exactly when to use it.  Such as when I suggested Daisy was our “Halloween cat” given her orange marking and you note that “no she’s not, because I said so.”  I almost fell out of my chair as we ate breakfast and we’ve since heard that reasoning on MANY other occasions.  That steel trap of a mind bites us in the rear sometimes, too, and we have to be careful with consistency among answers to your repeated questions. 

Your leisure time activities include dancing up a storm, leading a family dance party, thinking up new dances, reading, reading and more reading, and dressing up with your 12 purses.  You love to bust a move and routinely do so after pressing the button on any toy that makes music.  You also like to encourage others to dance and regularly ask one of us to join you, or worse, you make us dance by ourselves while the rest of the family watches.  When you’re not dancing, you can be found reading.  You love books and you love to read, something I hope carries you far throughout your life.  You’ll plop down next to one of the bookshelves that hold your MANY books and will entertain yourself for quite a while.  Sometimes, the stars align and I get a few minutes of productive silence when you’re reading or entertaining yourself AND Charlotte is doing the same, OR you’re doing it together. 

You’re very aware of where I am and what I’m doing and understand what each action means.  You know that when I leave for work it means you’re going to school, and you demand a big hug, a little hug, and a kiss.  And then again.  And the same at bedtime; since I’m the only one that is allowed to physically carry you to your crib, I get the honor of the last hugs and kisses of the day.  As independent as you are, if you’re frustrated or scared or just need a hug or affirmation, you certainly know I’m just a holler away, and aren’t afraid to call.  And likewise, there are special instances where only Daddy will do and I’m relegated to being Charlotte’s keeper.  I love the special bond you have with both of us and can’t wait to see it continue to blossom. 

You’re an animal lover and we had a great time taking you to Keeneland to watch the horses workout last month.  I haven’t seen you stand still for as long as you did trackside, ever.  You quickly figured out that the horses were racing and cheered them on as they galloped by.  You love to explore and weren’t afraid as we approached several horses in the stalls on our way out.  You still have a shy and tentative streak about you, but with the right circumstances and encouragement, there’s no stopping your curious mind. 

I could sit and write about your sweet mannerisms, clever comebacks, loveable personality, and kind heart for days, but it all boils down to the fact that you’re just one of the most special people I know on this earth.  Your Dad’s cousin gifted you and Charlotte a very sweet book this past summer and I love the message.  “On the night you were born” tells of how special your arrival into the world was for so many people, and I can’t echo those sentiments to you enough.  Your arrival in my life changed things forever, in the best possible way.  You brighten my days, wear me out, challenge me mentally and physically, but most importantly, you make everything I do worthwhile and important, because it’s all for you.  I hope you always know what a light you are in my life, in everyone’s life you touch in this family and beyond; you are special and wonderful and we will always rejoice that we have an Anna in our lives. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Snot happens

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Case of the missing sock

She's equal opportunity when it comes to sock-chewin' ... seen here going after big sister's...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Growin' like a weed (again!): Month eight

No official stats until next month, but we had to stop in to see the doctor due to a nasty cold and cough a little over a week ago and "clocked" her at 15lbs even.  Miss Charlotte is a little shorter than Anna, but has kept the same weight range, so although we think she's the bigger girl, she's just growin' a little differently.

This month's photo shoot was challenging with the wiggle-factor at 110%, thank goodness I had two great helpers and a back-up photographer on hand!

Being eight months old is the BEST!!

Wiggles, giggles, and repeat ...
My backup photographer, such a big helper!
And, my back-up model!  

Two happy girls!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The big cheese

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Letter to Charlotte: Month eight

Dear Charlotte,

You have turned into a literal mover and shaker this month.  You are scooting around the house, waving your hands like you just don’t care, and are itching to explore every inch of the world around you.  I love your sweet smiles, giggles, and even when you “yell” at me, because I know it means you’re finding your voice in this world.  You are at one of my favorites stages right now; you’re not totally mobile, can somewhat indicate what you want and when you need it, but still love a good snuggle and hug. 

You cannot wait to be totally mobile and I wouldn't be surprised if you’re officially crawling by next month.  You are scooting with reckless abandon, but can’t quite figure out how to coordinate those knees and feet with your hands.  Watching you move around a room is like watching a Cirque du Soleil production; your movements are a combination of rolling, scooting backwards and sideways and using your arms to inch your entire body into a position.  And then you have to stop to chew on your toes or socks for a minute, naturally. You routinely get yourself stuck under a chair, or the TV stand, or between the coffee table and the diaper basket and it’s funny to look over and see those arms and legs doing their best, but going nowhere.  

Outside of rolling around a room, nothing makes you happier than sitting upright with a bin of toys.  We have a small bin or basket of your toys in most rooms in the house and simply pulling them out, a quick stop in your mouth, and then throwing to your side or maybe putting them back in the bin, can keep you entertained for quite a while.  You can pass the toys from hand to hand and even lean quite far if one is too far out of your immediate reach.  And when you’re ready to move to another activity, or if you’re dying to see more of whatever your sister is getting into, you’ll topple yourself over and start the scoot.

Related to that, we had a “buy one, get one” coupon to a local shoe store, so you have your first pair of (soft-soled) shoes.  The reasoning behind getting shoes for a baby that can’t walk was two-fold:  I knew those socks would take  a beating as soon as you were crawling as I remember vividly with your sister, and you have a love affair with your feet and socks.  You wouldn't even need toys if we’d let you chew on your socks all day; and I’m serious when I say that would likely be your preference.

You’re still a very happy baby and have recently started using your arm and hand motions to let us know when something pleases you, or when you’re about to issue a warning cry.  It’s adorable to see those little arms start to wave around and the big smile creep push those chubby cheeks upward.  Your giggle is still one of my favorite sounds in the entire world and I’m pretty sure that the sound of you and your sister laughing at the same time is akin the voice of an angel.  You also get those hands going, clenching and unclenching your fists (aka jazz hands) when you are ready to let us know something is about to upset you.  Most often this happens when we put you in your high chair, but don’t have your dinner immediately ready and on the table.  Or when we’re approaching the last bite of food in your bowl, but you’re still hungry; I don’t know how you can sense that, but you can, and you let us know if “madam requests more.” 

You’re growing physically as well and that belly seems to get rounder, those legs longer, and those cheeks chubbier by the day.  You lost most of your baby hair and it’s being replaced with blonde locks that you love to play with, especially when nursing.  Often times you’ll play with an area of hair in the same place on each side of your hair and when you’re done nursing will have a bit of a mad scientist look about you.  You seem to have either more or darker hair in the front and because of how you play it’s often pushed forward a bit, making you look slightly like you’re rocking the Justin Beiber look from 2-3 years ago.  We had family pictures taken a few weeks ago and you wore a teeny tiny bow for the first time and looked so cute.  It hardly phased you, but with as much moving and shaking as you do, I think we’ll wait before making it a permanent fixture. 

You still utterly adore your sister and the times when you see her for the first time after any sort of absence are amazing to watch.  She runs to you in your room at daycare each afternoon and you gets those arms flailing as soon as you see us; the best part is when you two exchange a big hug.  Although Anna is a little jealous of some of your new / her old toys, you love nothing more than to watch her play and you squeal with delight when she’s around.  It has been nothing short of a pure pleasure to watch you start to find your personality, and I’m thrilled that I have another happy girl on my hands.  You had a little bout of a cold this past month and even through the snot, the coughing and the mild fevers, you still mustered smiles, coos and laughs.  You’ll continue to have good days and bad days, but I hope you’ll always remember to smile, because a positive attitude will take you far in life (ask your Gigi).  And on those bad days, if you can’t smile, I’ll always be here to help you find one.  


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday