Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Funnies

I've had issues in the past uploading videos to Vimeo using the files from my phone and was pretty sad I wasn't able to share them with my four readers.  Well, guess what?  They make an app for that!  No file format issues when I upload straight from my phone and it saves a few steps.  I love technology!!  (sometimes)

It's Friday, and if you're like me, you can always use a smile when this day of the week rolls around.  So, here you go, a whole lotta cute in the form of baby giggles.  Be prepared for cute overload in 3, 2, 1 ...

One of the first videos we have of Charlotte cackling at her sister.  The first of many ...

Daddy's sneezes are funny (and loud)!!

Antics at the beach condo, fun memories!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Daddy and his girls ... maybe

In honor of Daddy's birthday (the big 3-5! - he's halfway to 40, Amber), here are a few pictures of Mike and his ladies.  The camera kept rolling after Charlotte's 7-month photo shoot and it was all smiles until Miss Dramatic was asked to participate.  Such is life with a two-year old.  I think this was a preview of what our Holiday pictures on Ho Ho's lap will resemble (click here to see last year's pictures) ... 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A day at the races

We took Anna out to Keeneland's Breakfast with the Works when were in Lexington earlier this month, and to say it was a big hit is an understatement.  Outside of our wedding reception, this was probably my favorite trip to Keeneland.  It was calmer, quieter, more accessible, and seeing all of the young race fans out enjoying the sights and sounds was just too cute.  The breakfast was nothing to write home about, but Anna's donut was free and it allowed us to kill time before the horses took to the track.  

A spot at the track-side railing is a coveted position during the meets, but at this hour, there were plenty of spots available and I haven't seen anything capture her attention for this long, ever.  Anna was in awe the first time a horse came trotting by, and quickly learned how to cheer them onto victory.  Hearing her little voice shout "Go Horsey, Go Horsey" was simply adorable.  

You can see her motioning the horses along, such a helpful fan!

It was a perfect morning all around and several times I stood back and thought about how lucky we are to provide these experiences for our children.  Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is nothing short of amazing!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Letter to Anna: Month twenty-nine

Dear Anna,

Every month I wonder if I should continue to write your monthly letters, but then I look at the running list of thoughts and stories I jot down and know that there’s just too much I want to remember about this precious time in our lives.  I’m pretty sure that having kids kills brain cells and given that my memory is on par with that of a goldfish lately, I don’t want to risk missing a moment.  Each day you seem to learn something new, accurately articulate a new phrase, or surprise us with a new trick.  I look back at pictures of you from just seven months ago when Charlotte was born and it’s night and day.  We thought you were SO big, comparatively, when we brought your sister home, but looking back I’m realizing you were still a baby yourself.

While my memory is waning, yours is like a steel trap and we’re starting to realize just how much you retain.  Just this week we received holiday stickers from a charity in the mail and upon inspection you immediately asked for one with “Ho Ho,” aka your name for Santa Clause.  Who hasn't been mentioned since last Christmas when you were barely a year and a half old.  With your expanded memory and thought process have come some night terrors or nightmares.  You went through a week long period this month where you’d wake up at leave once during the night crying, but couldn't explain to us what had happened.  You were physically fine, but we could tell you were mentally shaken.  Each time we’d rock you and sometimes would let you come into bed with us for a little bit; although good in theory, that arrangement never allowed any of us any additional sleep.  Just like most phases, it was over fairly quickly, but it was heartbreaking to see you scared or in shock.  It was a big reminder to me that there are SO many things I want to protect you from, but I can’t.  All I can provide is comfort, love, hugs and the assurance that I’m always there if you need me.

You’re sharp as a tack and not afraid to show off your knowledge and that memory bank.  Your Gigi was watching you while your Dad and I were out and about last weekend and when she asked you to look at the camera on her phone for a picture, she reported that you quickly, and matter-of-factly, responded “that’s a phone.”  If you knew how to roll your eyes, I’m sure that would have happened next.  You thrive on consistency and we are careful to be mindful of how we explain things or situations to avoid confusion.  The other night you were reading a book with your Dad and he pointed out a dog on one of the pages.  You definitely didn’t agree and made him back track to the page. After several minutes of discussion, you finally agreed it was a dog, but you certainly weren’t afraid to prove your point first.  Just last night I was schooled on plurals as I pointed to a picture of ducks and referred to it as a singular duck.  A heavy sigh, a “no Mommy” and a look of pity later, you explained that they were duckSSSS. 

You’re still a pretty good eater, but have developed a very slow and deliberate process of finishing a meal.  Although your breakfast is ready when you wake up in the morning, it’s usually not until we’re storing what’s left in a baggie for school that you decide you want to eat much of what was on your plate.  Dinner’s getting to be the same way with us often times leaving your plate out and letting you go back for snacks until it’s time to go upstairs for bath or bedtime.  There were a couple of evenings where you decided you were a dog after dinner and we may have used that as a way to feed you the rest of your meal.  “Here doggy doggy, here’s a delicious bite of food.”  I’m not particularly proud of those moments, but it ensured you ate a healthy meal before bed while you thought it was a fun game.  Win-win. And, we mistakenly introduced to fruit snacks this past month.  By we, I mean your father.  And by mistakenly, I mean, he had no idea the can of worms he was opening.  They are now your go-to snack when we get home from school, right alongside a cup of milk AND juice.  You ask for water too, but it’s been time tested that you’ll only drink two of the three, so we make you choose.  Double fisting at a young age, I like your initiative. 

Now that Charlotte is sitting up and rolling all over the place you’re starting to play in tandem.  The first time this happened you weren’t a fan of her mouthing all of your farm animals and gave her several warnings about not “eating my toys.”  A few weeks later we were all playing in the living room after dinner one evening and Charlotte was rolling around the room as usual, and was getting a little too close for comfort to your playset.  You gave her a solid warning about rolling onto your toys and then you swiftly packed up your belongings, said “otay otay, that’s enough Charlotte, I’m going over here to play” and moved yourself into the dining room. 

You may be learning how to share and play with Charlotte, but you’re still her biggest fan and protector.  You look out for her as though she’s your own baby, always by her side, ready to help calm her with a soft touch or sweet words and nothing is more precious than watching you give her a kiss and hug goodnight.  You’re just as gentle and sweet with your baby dolls; kissing their boo boos, rocking them to sleep, taking them on walks in the stroller and instructing us to “shhhh” when they are sleeping.  You're equally as concerned about your Dad and me, asking if we’re OK after a coughing spell, give me a big hug when I’m upset, and knowing when we need a cuddle and snuggling right in.  Maya Angelou is quoted as saying “when our children find it in their hearts to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”  I may be exhausted at the end of most days, you may not have eaten all of your dinner or have had enough “learning with play” time before bed, but when I see that caring nature shining through, I know I’ve done something right. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

(Caption this picture in the comment section, I'd love to hear your thoughts)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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

No official "stats" this month, but if giggles and smiles are any indication, she's off the charts!

Such a BIG (little) girl!
The 7-month itch ... this is when those legs start twitchin', rollin' starts happenin' and thoughts of crawling are swarming during the photo shoot.

Anna continues to be a big helper, you'll notice she was in position before her little sister : )

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Letter to Charlotte: Month seven

Dear Charlotte,

You've really started to come into your own this past month, both with your sweet and funny personality and developmentally.  You seem to do something new each day and you are SO proud of yourself when you realize what you've done.  In addition to wondering what I did with all my “free time” before you were born, I often wonder what our family did for entertainment as you provide that for us most evenings.  

You started solids this month and just like with nursing and your bottles, you love to eat, and you come by this trait naturally.  I can’t quite comprehend how you’re so petite compared to other babies your age when I see how much you love eating and how much you actually eat.  We started with a bowl of rice cereal shortly after you turned six months old and by the third night you were squawking at me when that bowl was finished because you’d like more, please.  And make it snappy.  The best way I can think to describe the noise you make when you want more food is a holler.  You literally holler at us until we bring you more and it’s pretty adorable.  You moved very quickly to fruit and vegetable purees and haven’t found a food you don’t like.  After just a week or so, we added breakfast to your routine and you do just as well with your meals at school as you do at home.  So far you've tried, and loved, bananas, sweet potatoes, acorn and butternut squash, apples, pears, and spinach.  We’ll talk about why there’s no need to add prunes to the mix a little later.  You love sitting at the table while the family eats dinner and once you’re completely full, you’re content to play with your toys and chitter chatter to us about your day.  

You've turned into a big talker this past month, chirping and chatting with us throughout your day.  When I get you up in the morning you usually have a story to tell me and love to engage in conversation even when you’re nursing.  You love when you have our undivided attention and the grin we get in return is simply priceless.  Anna loves to tell you about her day, a new toy, and even says “oh yeah?” at just the right time and in the right tone when you start a babble session.  It won’t be long until you’re both bantering in full sentences back and forth and I’m doing my best to keep up with your slang and lingo. 

You’re physically growing up and we were finally able to get you to sit still, literally, for long enough this month to perfect sitting up.  Until a couple of weeks ago you were content to roll across an entire room and back again, taking a toy with you, or going after one, and just didn't find sitting in one spot very amusing.  Then you realized that with balance came the ability to grab at many toys at once while still being the center of attention.  The first few times you were able to sit upright and not topple over you simply beamed with pride, shaking that head back and forth and back and forth admiring your new view of the world.  We've also introduced you to your jumper and you’re getting the hang of using those legs; it doesn't hurt that Anna’s there to demonstrate and “help” you along the way. 

Speaking of Anna, we’re a little limited in to how we can refer to your development.  We made the mistake of calling you “such a big girl” in front of your sister and were quickly corrected, “No, Mommy, Charlotte is a BABY, I am a BIG GIRL.”  And if she knew how to roll her eyes, that would have followed.  So, we call you our baby in her presence, but each day as you smile bigger, find a new toy or perfect a new skill, it’s obvious you’re growing right before our eyes. 

We started to see a tiny bit of separation anxiety / a case of the Mama’s girl set in this month.  On a couple of occasions you just didn't want anyone else to hold you, especially if I wasn't in your line of sight.  Although I was flattered with the compliment, I also love to share your sweet smiles and hugs and/or eat a meal with both hands.  But, it’s a small price to pay to feel like the center of your universe and I know that feeling won’t last forever.   

I saw a quote this month that really hit home.  It read “you carry them in your arms for a little while, but your heart forever.”  As you start to take tiny steps toward mobility and independence, I’m reminded just how much I need to stop and enjoy the tiny snuggles, the slobbery kisses, the little grasps at my arm, and the sweet smiles as you nuzzle close to me.  You’re still a great sleeper and, for many reasons, bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.  I love nursing you to sleep and rocking you for those extra minutes after I’m sure you’d be fine if transferred to your crib.  I love that the air outside is getting cooler, so you’re wearing heavier pajamas (those cute footies) and because of our closeness you’re often a little sweaty as you lay down to sleep.  I love that last kiss I plant on your forehead before I sneak out, the angelic look about you, and how you snuggle yourself into *that perfect* sleeping position as you settle in.  Someday you won’t want me to hold you in my arms, and you won’t need me to rock you to sleep, but I hope you remember you always have a place there, and, more importantly, in my heart.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Can you spot the difference?

Same shirt, same couch, same pillows, same Boppy cover ... but one big difference : )  Can you tell I love dressing Charlotte up in clothing we've seen before? So many fun memories, and new ones at the same time.  I've got half a bin of clothing that may *gasp* go unworn by Charlotte due to the slight difference in birth months and seasons.  I'm not complaining too loudly because it means we're having a warm Fall and therefore, lots of fun outside!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Silliness and safety