Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sister love (a series)

The adoration between these two is completely mutual ...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painted lady

The girls' daycare had a ton of fun summer programs this year and Anna had a blast participating.  From magicians to clowns to petting zoos to face painting to weekly water / splash days they worked hard to make sure everyday was an adventure for the kiddos.  

One day at pick-up I briefly saw Anna through the window to her room and thought she had a black eye at first; obviously I was relieved it was just an elephant in the form of paint.  She was the only child in her class still bearing their temporary tattoo and I couldn't get over how cute, and grown-up, she looked!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Somethings are the same, but one big thing is different ...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letter to Anna: Month twenty-seven

Dear Anna,

You've totally turned into your own little lady over the past few months and I love this stage in your development.  You surprise us, and usually yourself, almost daily with a new skill or word or adventure and it’s amazing to see the world through your eyes.  Some days I feel like you’re 2 going on 12, but then you cuddle up next to me, or want me to kiss a “boo boo” and I remember that you’re still my little girl.

 You have the sweetest little voice and I love hearing what you’ll say from day to day.  I try to takes notes on as much as possible because I don’t want to forget your cute sayings, mispronounced words, or exaggerated mannerisms.  You’ve started to refer to yourself in the third person and it’s incredibly funny to hear.  “Anna” is a busy girl and always seems to have a lot going on if you were to ask her.  You’re not only able to repeat words to us, you’re able to effectively communicate (when you want to), and on the flip side, you’re one adamant little girl.  Last night at dinner you decided you wanted applesauce, and were able to tell us very clearly, and because it’s a healthy snack, we were happy to oblige.  Except that I was nursing Charlotte while eating with one hand, and Daddy had just sat down to the table after getting us all settled when your request came out.  And then we heard it 12 times, each instance increasing in volume, until the applesauce was safely on your place mat.  Just last week you came down with an ear infection and were able to tell us your ear hurt, which was such a blessing because you weren't running a fever, and there was no redness or heat around your ear; otherwise I might have thought you just had a case of the “two year old fussies.” 

You’re very polite, and very usually say “thank you” in the right situations, but we are still working on using “please” more often; lately you prefer a high-pitch whine/squeal to indicate your need or preference.  You say you’re “sorry” in mostly the right situations, and I melt when you apologize for events out of your control, like when the cats are being bad or when you can tell that I’m flustered or upset and come over to me and say “I’m sorry, Mommy.”  Talk about my cares literally melting away. 

You’re very intuitive and are memorizing and remembering so much more than we give you credit for.  You and your Dad have been known to take in a few Pirates games when spending time together and he’s taken it upon himself to make sure you’re equally versed in sports as you are in princesses.  He beamed with pride when the Kellys were in town and I turned the TV to ESPN for your Uncles and Pap Pap during your bath time and upon your return to the family room you saw baseball highlights airing and started to run around the room yelling, with the most enthusiasm I've heard in a long time and your little arms in the air, “HOMERUN, HOMERUN, HOMERUN!!”  On an athletic note, you finished up soccer lessons this past week, and although I’m not sure you’ll earn a scholarship anytime soon, I think you had a fun time, but we still need to work on finding your listening ears.  According to your Dad, you were pretty good at warming up but lost interest after that.  The practice I was able to attend found a family of ducks on the field and you were more than happy to count them out for the rest of your team, unfortunately you were supposed to be practicing a kick-back. Oh well, the point was to get you out of the house and having fun, learning some teamwork and building your social skills ... and it didn't hurt that you usually took a great nap on those days.  You’re a born leader at home, routinely leading a parade around the house, telling (not asking) us to “follow me” around the house or the cul-de-sac.

You put two-and-two together so quickly I can almost see the wheels turning in your head as you think.  You recently saw someone jumping rope on TV and were showing off your jumping the other day when your grandparents arrived in town.  Your Grandma asked you if you were jumping rope and you paused, then ran to the cat’s toy basket, found a shoe string, and proceeded to jump rope in your own special way.  Because you’re so physically active, you seem to get a lot of boo boos that need the special Mommy or Daddy kiss to make them all better.  It can get to be a little much in the midst of trying to unpack from our busy days or in the midst of trying to get out the door, but that’s just one of the many reasons you've taught me to stop and smell the roses; you’ll only be asking me to kiss your boo boos for a little longer, so I try to cherish each of those moments. 

As much as your Dad and I love you and are excited by all of your new milestones, the one person in the world that truly thinks you are the bees knees is your sister.  She laughs and coos and giggles for us, but she belly laughs for you.  She follows your voice around the room and turns giddy when she sees you approach.  You love to console her, greet her in her crib each morning, and are the best at “helping” her play.  The day you were sick this month, your Dad took you to the doctor in the morning while I worked at home and you could not grasp why she wasn't home when you awoke from your nap.

As I see the school buses start to resume their routes in the neighborhood and as you seem to grow by leaps and bounds each day, I’m realizing just how fast time is fleeting.  You've had a case of the “Mommy’s” that started when you were sick a few days ago, you know, where Mommy is the only one that can do things “just right.”  It can be tiring, but I’m honored to be able to fill the role.  I am truly excited to hear your voice each morning, love tucking you in at night, and love, love, love seeing you run to me at the end of the day.  I told your Dad this month that you’re one of my best friends.  Other than my co-workers and your Dad, I probably talk to you the most of anyone on any given day.  I love hearing about the world through the eyes of a child, I love seeing you interpret what we've taught you, and I love hearing that teeny tiny voice express love on so many levels.  I will never tire of hearing you talk, look forward to sharing your secrets, and in the meantime, can’t wait to hear what games you’ll be playing with your stuffed animals in the crib when you wake tomorrow morning. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Family foto

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  And, of that doesn't work, turn off the camera and call it a day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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

I'm thankful that we have no official stats this month because it means we've steered clear of the pediatricians office ... well, for Miss Charlotte anyway.  I don't think there's any question that this little Miss is growin', growin', growin'!  She clearly doesn't miss many meals and this body is still by breastmilk!

This month was a very easy shoot, Miss Charlotte was smiling up a storm! 

Months 4 and 5, for some reason I feel like she's gotten so much more grown-up in just a month!

The sisters, both at 5 months, Charlotte is very much "average" size, which makes me realize what a peanut Anna was as an infant.  Crazy!

Anna took an unusually long nap the day we shot Charlotte's picture, she's actually still napping as I type this post.  We don't mess with naps in this house, but I'm sure next month we'll be up to our usual shenanigans and Anna will join in the show : )

Even the outtakes are adorable!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Gigglin' girls

It doesn't get any cuter than this.  Just a regular old Thursday evening after dinner in the Kelly house ... Daddy morphing into a frog to make his girls giggle, Anna getting in on the action because she loves nothing more than seeing her sister laugh, and Mommy gets to capture it all on video while beaming with pride.  This is what life is all about!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Letter to Charlotte: Month Five

Dear Charlotte,

I can’t believe that we'll be celebrating your “half birthday” next month – time has really flown lately!  You continue to change right before our eyes and are growing right into your sweet, caring and loving personality.  You smile all the time, want nothing more than to be in the center of whatever is going on, and are completely addicted to your big sister.  To say that my life is crazy in the best way during this stage in life is an understatement. 

You've been in daycare for a few weeks now and, no surprise, did great with the transition.  You are an A+ student and all of your teachers tell me each day what a sweet and happy child you are in their care.  You've taken your bottles like a champ, love to interact with the other children in your class, and give huge smiles to everyone that you encounter.  You’re not taking the greatest naps, usually three 30-minute snoozes, but we’re getting there and had a huge victory when you slept for almost two hours this week.  Because you’re a little tired at the end of the day, you’re drinking a bit more and we’re going through my frozen stash of milk, but that’s OK; you’re a growing girl and are great at giving your hunger cues.  Just like with your sister, as soon as we get home and I’m changed, we settle in for a 30-minute nurse and nap session while Anna winds down from her day with a snack.  As hard as it can be to see you go to school each day, it’s the smile I see at pick-up, the fact that you want to be with me as soon as we get home, and those snuggles and slobbery kisses that send you off to bed each night that help me remember that I'm still one of your number ones.

We’re waiting to start you on any solid food until next month, but in the meantime, you love to be a part of the action at any and all mealtimes.  Once content to observe from your bouncy chair, you now sit in my lap when we eat and I’m perfecting the art of eating with one hand.  The one-handed meal isn’t new to me, as that’s our system for breakfast each day; Anna eats at the table, I sit next to her and eat while you nurse, it’s one the of the best parts of my day even though it means I’m usually stuck with a boring old granola bar.  You love to be held or propped up to see the action in general, not just as mealtimes, and many of my daily activities are completed with you on my hip and a little drool running down my arm.  You also enjoy your view from the Baby Bjorn and that’s made outings in the neighborhood with your big sister much more manageable.

You’re starting to work on sitting up and are getting pretty good at the tripod pose.  You look like such a “big girl” when we prop you against something or let you work on sitting in your Bumbo chair or with the Boppy pillow.  You love to see the world around you and your big, beautiful, blue eyes take it all in.  You’re drooling up a storm and have recently been able to single out that thumb for a primo spot in your mouth.  You’re not a routine thumb-sucker just yet, but I've walked in on you snoozing a few times with that appendage in your mouth, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.  We’re working to drop the swaddle and are free of it for the most part, you can still get just a little too worked up / overly tired before naps, so we've kept the option on your sleep sack. 

You are one of the most genuinely happy babies I've ever met.  Your patience means that you only cry when you *really* need something and even then are all smiles when you've been tended to.  Even when you start to fuss a bit and need some attention, we get that big, gummy smile as soon as we're by your side.  You are easily entertained with a silly face or animated movement and I’m certain your belly laughs could be used to encourage world peace.  The one person you love most in the world is your big sister; to say you are each smitten with each other is an understatement.  The minute she walks in your direction your eyes light up and to see you interact with each other is a sight everyone should see.  You follow her around the room, she asks about you first thing in the morning and is the last person she says good-night to as we carry her off to bed; she can make you laugh harder than anyone in the world and it seems you two have a language all your own.  When I watch you “playing” with each other I start to have visions of you two running around the house as young children, heading off to high school, and then moving out to college.  It makes me sad and nostalgic at the same time, but mostly it makes me happy that you are already forging a bond that will last your lifetime.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is nothing short of magical and I can’t thank you enough for the perspective you provide on a daily basis.  You make a bad day at work seem like a distant memory, a sink full of dishes disappear, dirty laundry doesn't matter, and the messy house can certainly wait.  You’re such an easy child to put to bed at night that I admit openly to rocking you much longer than needed most evenings.  I stare at your relaxed face, listen to your slowed breaths, and the worries of my day melt away.  I hope to repay you for these “therapy sessions” later in life when you've had a stressful day and can’t find your own path.  Please know that I don’t have to physically present to provide a shoulder to cry on or to lend an ear.  I feel pain when you feel pain, you’re my baby girl, and I’ll always have time for you.  Most often, although you may not know it, I’ll be helping you to understand what you’re helping me to understand now; there’s always a bigger picture and a grander scheme; take the time to enjoy what you've been given in life.