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.