Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane ...

... it's super duper Anna!  We've had a lot of fun with a blanket that gives Anna super powers ... as soon as she gets home from school she asks for her "super duper blanket" and away she goes.  That is, in between morphing into a mermaid for a few minutes at at time : )

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't just take my word for it! (a series)

And now it's Charlotte's turn!  She's won the heart of her teachers in the infant room and has the same primary teacher Anna did at her age (we love Miss Patty!!).  She's even made a few friends ... but, I recently got word that she's turned into a little bit of a hair-puller, hopefully it's a phase she grows out of soon.  And, at least she's not the biter, seeing as how she went from two teeth to five in two weeks!!

7/8/13:  Charlotte had a great first day!  Every time I set my eyes on her, memories of Anna came back!  She is such a sweetheart!

7/9/13:  Charlotte gave Miss Patty a belly laugh today!  I was holding a colorfull ball over her head to see and when I touched her belly with it and made a funny noise at the same time, she laughed for us!  So cute!

7/10/13: Charlotte enjoyed doing tummy time in front of the mirror with her friend today!  They were all smiles at each other!

7/18/13:  Your little Charlotte slept right through the fire drill today!  She even had two friends put in her bed with her and wheeled outside in the sun and didn’t wake up until we got back inside! (AHHHMMAZING because she continues to take very short naps at daycare)

7/23/13:  Charlotte got a glimpse of Miss Patty while doing tummy time in front of the mirror and she was all smiles, but she couldn’t’ figure out how I was in two places at the same time!

7/29/13:  Charlotte had fun wearing stacking rings today!  She was doing tummy time with her toys in reach and she managed to put a ring on each arm! So cute!

7/30/13: I love how Charlotte’s face lights up when she sees me coming to get her.  She’s so sweet!

8/6/13: Charlotte gave us a laugh today!  She was laying on her back when she tried to roll to her stomach, got her right arm pinned under her, her tongue out trying to lick the floor and kicking her legs all at the same time.  She’s a multi-tasker!

8/1/13:  Does Charlotte have a jumperoo at home?  Because today she was in the exersaucer and she was moving her feet with much determination, like she was trying to bounce up and down.  It was so cute!

8/19/13:  If Charlotte’s dress is wet when you pick her up, it’s because she insisted on sucking it all day!  I would put a toy in her hand so that she could chew on that instead, but nope, her dress must have tasted better.  I missed her a lot last week! (Miss Patty was on vacation)

8/22/13:  Charlotte was all about her toes today!  Whenever she was on her back, those little legs were up in the air and she had a hold of those cute little piggies.

8/26/13: Charlotte was in a silly mood today!  A couple of times she would laugh out loud (I don’t know why) but when I approached her to see what was so funny, she just gave me her sweet smile.  Love her!

8/27/13:  Charlotte needs to know where I am at all times!  She was lying on the floor and I was sitting in the chair behind her, she turned herself all the way around so that she could see Miss Patty.  So sweet!

8/28/13: Charlotte discovered the spinning circus tent on the exersaucer today!  I’ve never seen her spin it before, but today she got it spinning pretty fast and was mesmerized.

9/20/13: No note … but I must have saved this report because it was the first time Charlotte napped more than 30 minutes at one time; she went 11:40am – 1:05pm!

10/8/13: I think Charlotte knows how to give kisses!  When we kiss her on the cheek and pull away, she tries to kiss us back on the check.  She is just so sweet!

10/10/13: Charlotte took her very first buggy ride at school today!  She sat up like a big girl and looked around at all the pretty flowers and flashed everyone her pretty smile!

10/14/13: It seems like Charlotte doesn’t want to sit up for very long anymore because she immediately tries to lunge forward and roll all over the place.  She up pretty far today like she’s thinking about crawling.  It won’t be long now! (or so we thought … she took about 2 more months, ha)

10/15/13: Charlotte loves going outside on the playground, but she does not like going inside the treehouse, she made it very clear to us!

10/16/13:  I think Charlotte is trying to clap her hands!  After her nap, she was sitting up and she started feeling her belly, then she started to swing her hands like she was trying to clap.  So cute!

10/23/13:  I looked in on Charlotte at naptime to see her throwing her pacifier and putting her thumb in her mouth.  So cute!

10/24/13: Charlotte was raising her heads above her head all day today!  It almost looked like she was trying to clap her hands too.  She was extra smiley today, too!

11/7/13:  Charlotte had fun playing ball with Miss Patty today!  I would roll it to her and she’d pick up and try to taste it.  Pretty funny!

11/11/13:  Miss Patty can really get Charlotte laughing when she’s changing her diaper.  She kind of expects it, so she gets all giddy while she lying there, just waiting for me to tickle her.  (Which is good, because she gets changed A LOT with that functioning digestive system she has)

11/12/13:  Charlotte was giving everyone a Miss America wave today!  She’s never done it before and she put her little hand in the air and waved it around.  Adorable!

11/14/13: Charlotte was sitting at the table watching her friend in the saucer bounce wildly, so she tried to bounce at the table seat.  It was so cute!

11/18/13: (mid-year report) The one word I can use to describe Charlotte is “sweet.”  She is the most easy-going, gentle-natured little girl we’ve ever met.  She’s very smart and loves watching people.  She’s been trying to get on all fours because she wants to crawl very badly, which will be coming very soon!

12/12/13:  Charlotte loves the hair of one of her friends!  Every time he gets near her, she runs her fingers through it (she never pulls it) and she smiles when she does it, which makes it even cuter!

12/16/13:  Charlotte showed off her crawling skills today!  She was so happy that she could go anywhere she wanted to!

12/19/13: Charlotte and Miss patty had lots and lots of cuddle time today!  She didn’t want to play of move too much, so she got lots of holding and hugs.  Miss Patty didn’t mind that at all.  What a sweetheart! (this was your first day back at school after being out two days with your stomach bug)

1/2/13: Charlotte had lots of fun today!  I think she missed her friends and teachers!  I was trying to cheer-up one of Charlotte’s friends and I stated saying “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands” and your Charlotte joined in and started clapping her hands right on que – it was SO cute!

1/6/13:  Charlotte is starting to come out of her shell a bit!  She was Miss socialable, interacting with her friends and being a silly goose all day!

1/7/13:  Charlotte loves Miss Patty’s shoestrings!  Whenever I’m standing still or sitting still, she’s right there trying to pull them off my shoes!

1/9/13:  Charlotte wanted to make a lot of noise today!  She found out that if she hits the front doors on the changing tables it makes noise, so she spent most of the day exploring that part of the room.

1/16/13: The morning Miss Patty was pretending to talk on the phone and Charlotte did exactly the same thing and she was chatting away.  It was so cute!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't just take my word for it! (a series)

As I looked through the big stack of daily reports that I've saved over the past seven months, I first thought that I'm borderline hoarder and may need to look into a program ... but then, as I started to read through the words that gave me a glimpse into the girls' time while we are away, I was SO happy that I've kept them.  These are Anna's notes from the summer into early winter and you'll see the recurring theme around her love of song and all things singing related.  She sang loud and proud in the Turtle classroom, figuratively and literally starting to find her voice.  She's still a shy child, but will speak up and stand her ground when she needs to, and wins the heart of every single one of her teachers.  I'm constantly stopped in the hall and told how sweet, kind and polite she is to everyone that interacts with her on any level.  My heart beams with pride when I hear that we may just be doing something right as a parent.  I'm also amazed at how far she's come verbally, not necessarily in her vocabulary (although that's grown), but her sentence structures are much more advanced than the 3-4 word descriptors she was using back in June.

6/25/13: Anna enjoyed gym time today as we did our egg experiment.  She clapped and giggled over every egg dropped, whether it cracked or not. 

6/27/13:  Anna enjoyed dancing today.  She would march around to the music and then go the carpet and say “look we’re spinning!” over and over again.

7/3/13:  Anna loved pretending to make food and eat it while outside in the house with her teacher and friends.  She said “here Miss Hanna, yummy food!”

7/8/13:  Anna loved purses today.  Any small toy she found she would do her best to shove it into her overflowing purse.

7/9/13:  Anna had such a great day! She loved watching our homemade volcano erupt.  When it was all done she said “the lava’s in the ‘cano!!”

7/10/13:  Anna was so funny outside during water day.  She and Audrey would run through the sprinkler to get to the house, just screaming and laughing, then hide from the water, trying not to get wet – doing this over and over.

7/12/13:  Anna might be a softball player the way she slides!  Outside Anna loves running with friends and then all of the sudden she will drop to the ground on purpose like a softball slide to home plate!

7/19/13:  Anna really enjoyed the magic show today.  Her eyes lit up and she had a huge smile.  She clapped and tried to inch closer. (A BIG for you given that she generally hates strangers, especially those dressed up)

7/22/13:  Anna is so cute when she wants a turn at something.  She runs up yelling, “Anna’s turn, Anna’s turn, please!” : )

7/23/13: Anna loves playing games with her teachers.  Like pretending she is “gone” when she hides behind her teacher or under a blanket.  She laughs to hard when you say “Where did Anna go?  I don’t see her!!”

7/29/13:  Anna loved running with her friends today.  She would tell them “Hey, let’s go run, run, go!”

7/30/13:  Anna enjoyed playing “follow me” with her teachers and friends.  Anna liked it so much she had to be right in the front by Miss Hannah doing all the moves.  When a friend got close, she said “no, ME!” (Anna LOVED Miss Hannah!)

7/31/13:  Anna said “what’s that, what’s that?” every time she came across bugs outside.  Her eye lit up with excitement and she was determined to get an answer from her teachers.

8/1/13:  Anna was so cute as she put on a bandana and the lady bug outfit.  She said “pretty” as she pointed to herself and she liked it so much she had to keep it on for lunch, nap and outside time.  (She was wearing this on the playground when I arrived to pick her up that day)

8/2/13:  Anna loves singing our “jumping” song.  She will patiently wait until we call her name and then she stands up and says “Anna’s turn!!!”  So funny!

8/8/13:  Anna loved exploring her pockets today.  Anna put flowers in her pockets, then would push her hands as far as she could and started dancing and spinning.  So cute!

8/13/13:  Anna was so cute at snack time today; she started singing “twinkle twinkle” and then clapped for herself when she was done.  (Sounds about right!  We got a nightly performance from Anna during this phase!)

8/14/13: Anna enjoys running outside.  She’d run up to a friend or teacher and say “run run!” then take of chasing of being chased, and laughing so hard.  (Anna’s ALL TIME favorite game of summer 2013)

8/15/13: Anna enjoyed the petting zoo today!  She made sure to pet as many farm animals as she could!

8/19/13:  Anna was a singing machine today!  ¾ of the day she did nothing but sing with her teachers, with her friends, and by herself.  Twinkle twinkle was the song sung the most : )

8/21/13:  Anna was being so funny at naptime today.  She thought it was the funniest thing to close her eyes and pretend she was sleeping then all of the sudden, jump up with wide eyes and say “boo!”  (I love how sweet they are – clearly this was a disruption, ha)

8/22/13:  Anna loved being in the tree house outside and just singing “twinkle twinkle” so loud with her friends.

8/26/13:  During art, Anna got super excited when she heard the ABC song come on the CD.  She said “oh, ABCs!” and then started singing loudly.

8/28/13:  Anna was a little parrot today.  For most of the day she was right next to her teacher, trying to sneak up on her, and then repeating everything Miss Hannah said.

9/25/13:  Anna enjoyed exploring all the pictures on our all today.  Every time we pointed to her picture, she would yell “that’s Anna!” and clap.  (they sent home the cutest pictures of the kids in this class – I loved seeing her day on film!)

10/2/13: Anna loved playing with the babies today.  She was patting two babies at one time and said “Ahhhh, babies are sleeping.  Help me pat Miss Hannah.”

10/3/13: Anna liked exploring the kitchen center today.  “Mac n cheese” is what she made the most.  “Yum yum, eat it!” she kept telling Miss Hannah.

10/10/13:  Anna was glad to see her friend Audrey today!  As soon as Audrey walked in, Anna ran to her and yelled “Audrey, you are back and not sick!”

10/11/13:  Anna liked playing on the slide on the playground.  When Anna got to the top, she’d yell “Audrey come with me!” and they went down right next to each other. 

10/14/13:  Anna had a huge interest in a squished spider outside today.  Anna kept telling all her friends to “come look spider” as she kept stepping on it over and over.

10/15/13:  Anna is a big fan of chasing her teacher around with a dinosaur!  She cracks up as she funs after her teaching saying “I get you!”

10/16/13:  Anna liked taking the bells and shaking them with her friends and singing jingle bells.

10/30/13:  Anna liked exploring the Halloween spiders.  She would take one and say “it’s going to get you!” and then laugh.

10/31/13:  Anna loved dancing with Audrey to Halloween music today.  They were so cute, both dressed as Minnie Mouse!

11/6/13:  Anna was excited when she found a caterpillar outside today.  She picked it right up, laughing, and then went and showed it to all of her friends.  (Thank goodness you didn’t stand around stomping on this one!)

11/7/13:  Anna loves to dance and it’s so cute to watch her bust a move.  As soon as music comes on, Anna is the first to dance and will yell “come on everyone, let’s dance!!”

11/8/13:  Anna was all about doing things herself today.  Every few minutes when her nose would start to run, she’d say “I need a tissue.  I do it myself.  Because I said so!”  Very funny.

11/11/13:  Anna enjoyed showing her friends how to do yoga on the mat today.  “No, like this” or “Do this one” she would tell her friends as they followed.  (Hilarious – a natural leader emerges!)

11/12/13:  Anna did a GREAT job on the balance beam today with no help and used both feet. Super job!!  (She had been working on this for a while and would get nervous if other children were around you – we were very proud!)

11/14/13:  Anna and her friend have cute imaginations!  Anna and Audrey took turns laying on the bean bag and patting each other to sleep.  Very sweet!

11/15/13:  (end of class note) Anna has been a blast to have in the Turtle room and she has grown so much since she moved over.  Anna has many words and she uses them all the time, which is great.  She talks to her friends and her teachers about everything, always asking “what are you doing?” or “why?”  Anna loves to sing!  Singing has to be one her favorite things to do!  Anna makes sure to sing loud and proud, and it’s very cute.  Anna is very smart and will do even better as she moves on up.

11/18/13:  Anna loved the little clementine pieces over the apple slices in science today.  It was a clear winner.  She’s a great addition to our room, welcome!  (First day in the manatee classroom!)

12/6/13:  Anna loved giving high-5s to Santa when he visited today.  (Apparently she circled him for quite a while and then deemed him high-5 worthy, but went nowhere near sitting on his lap)

12/18/13:  Anna was so pleased with herself when she figured out how to make shadow puppets with the battery candles today.

12/19/13:  Anna was a MESS after lunch!  She must have thoroughly enjoyed every bite – Yumm!!  (Mac n cheese day … you better believe she enjoyed it!)

12/20/13:  Anna loved playing outside today.  She was so happy, she started singing “up on the housetop.”

1/6/14:  Anna had some of the cutest sound effects today while playing with play dough.  (This was also your first day in underwear all day!!)

1/8/14:  Anna was very patient waiting for her popcorn treat!  She didn’t want to come get it and waited for Miss Lisa to bring it to her. (She loves Miss Lisa!!  And, LOVED watching the Polar Express at school this day – we heard about it all evening)

1/10/14:  Anna loves to sing the words to “twinkle twinkle” – she’s a little musician!

1/13/14:  Anna loved doing the silly finger play with Miss Liz!  She was so wide-eyed and cute as we all learned it in special enrichment.

1/16/14: Anna loved building with the snap blocks on the carpet today.  She gathered up all the purple ones to use those first : )

1/17/14:  Anna was a food stylist at lunch today.  She rearranged all of the applesauce on her plate to a different slot very tediously.  It was interesting to observe : )

You read the previous installments by clicking here and here.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

She works hard(est) for the money

We start 'em young around here ... already computing whatever babies need to be computing.  Just like her sister ... click here and here.  At least we have a flexible work arrangement and give them the option to work from home : )

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The calm

There's a certain calm in an oncology office.  No one is upset or angry because they've had to wait, they aren't grumbling because it's too hot or too cold or because their needle stick hurt more than normal or because their labs are taking longer to run or because their favorite chair was taken.

If you're a patient in that office, you're just happy to be alive.

I still see my oncologist every 3-4 months for routine bloodwork and a physical examination.  And, almost like clockwork, I start to question my health before these appointments.  A bruise that I've seen lingering a little too long or an enlarged lymph node or just being overly tired.  Self-research is dangerous and I've learned that Dr. Google is the worst form.  There's very little that's been published on CLL in patients of my age, and even less on what happens when (not if) there's a relapse.  I'm not cured, they don't know what caused my disease, and they don't know when it will return nor in what form.

Because my doctor is great at what she does, she's very busy and usually running behind, meaning that I spend quite a bit of time waiting in a quiet room on the days of my appointment.  After the pleasantries are exchanged with the receptionists (they always remember me by name) and the medical assistants, I usually have some time to myself to reflect.  I reflect on what I was doing this time eight years ago ... I'd just met Mike, was going through chemo and thinking about the future.  I reflect on what a blessing the last eight years have been ... engaged, married, two beautiful daughters, a roof over our head and financially stable.  Then my mind wanders into dark places ... when will the cancer return?  How would it look if I was going through chemo?  Who would help with the girls?  What would I miss?  Would they be able to get me to a state of remission again?  Would I be alive at the end of the fight?  The what-ifs usually start to overwhelm me just as my doctor makes her way to my room and then the calm sets in again.  She reviews my labs, performs the physical exam and we talk about any of the random symptoms or concerns that I've noted since my last visit.  We always end up talking about our children and catching up on random happenings in our lives like old friends.

Unless you've been there, I don't think you can understand exactly what it's like to have this constant fear in the back of your mind.  And that's OK.  Everyone has their own battles.  I don't know what it's like to live with depression, or be be an armed forces veteran, or to live with a chronic condition that affects your everyday life, or to want children with a passion only to have reproductive problems; my specialty is an incurable cancer.  What's important is that we all band together for each other in this crazy world ... a kind thought, an encouraging word, a prayer, a hug, showing empathy, or offering support.  Everyone has a struggle and it's easy to judge, but it's a lot easier to support.

I pass the treatment room on my way out of the office and generally linger there for half a second before moving on.  Everyone is hooked up to an IV, some don't have their hair, most look tired and some look weak; but they all have hope in their eyes and a smile on their face.  I wish society were more like the patients at the oncologist's office: happy to be alive, hopeful, patient, and understanding ... and I feel lucky that I'm surrounded by people that share these same beliefs and lift me up on a daily basis.

My next appointment happens to fall on my EIGHT year remission birthday ... I think I'll celebrate by taking cupcakes to the treatment room and spreading a little cheer.  And maybe, even if just for a minute, someone else's "what ifs" will disappear.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sister love (a series)

Blankets and hugsssssssssssss!  Doesn't get much better than that when you're a sister.

Charlotte agrees! And check out those pearly whites!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow much fun!

The first few snows we got were soft snows, not great for packing or snowman-making.  No worries, though, we've had several since then and were able to build our own Frosty a few weeks ago.  Thanks to our neighbor, Ms. Frosty had the perfect finishing touch and was the most festive member of the snowperson community in our neighborhood : )  You're not fully dressed without a sombrero, after all.

And, because Anna is Anna, when I pointed out that Frosty was melting a few days later, she pulled me aside and reassured me, "it's OK Mommy, we'll build another Frosty the next time it snows."  At that point my heart was as melty as our snowman : )

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Letter to Anna: Month thirty-two

Dear Anna,
What a month for our family, and especially you!  You’ve grown by leaps and bounds and amaze me each day; and, yes, I know I say this every month, but it’s always true. 

This month we embarked on potty training and we’re just one day over being two weeks into the process and you are doing phenomenally!  You haven’t had an accident in 5 days and the last few you had were tiny and you caught yourself immediately and let someone know you needed to use the potty.  We started the day after returning from a few days in Pittsburgh to celebrate Christmas and while I still had a few days off for the holidays.  I’d purchased “supplies” a few months ago and gave it a half-hearted try one Saturday in September, but quickly realized that I needed to be more devoted, which is hard when you only have two full days at home each week and those usually consist of endless errands, cleaning and generally catching up on life.  So, we had what we needed and we went straight into underwear, set a timer and sat on the potty the every 30 minutes.  You had three accidents the first day, two the second day and none the third day.  On the fourth day you went back to school and we weren’t sure how you’d do, so we sent you in a Pull-up, but you only wore undies at home and throughout the next weekend.  You had two small accidents at school that next week, and since then you’ve been a potty master.  You wear a Pull-up at naptime and to bed (it’s dry about 75% of the time when you wake up) and otherwise you’re all underwear all the time.  You went all out and wanted to use the big potty, not the potty chair I’d purchased, and that was fine with me.  You were SO proud of yourself the first time you successfully went on the potty, and I cried tears of joy.  The first few days were exhausting; I was home by myself while your Dad was at work and the world literally stopped every half hour, or when you showed any sign of needing to go, or when you had an accident, but it was SO worth it.  Your potty reward was M&Ms, which were slowly forgotten about after the first week and as using the bathroom became second nature.  I can’t reiterate enough how great you've done, even your teachers at school were pleasantly surprised, and it makes me very proud as a parent to know that I've taught you a skill you will literally use all of your life. 

At the same time we started potty training, we converted your crib into a full size bed, all to go along with the “big girl” theme.  You’d shown no signs of trying to climb out of your crib or needing the transition, but we thought you were ready and it was time.  I was also getting tired of lugging 30lbs of toddler over that crib railing each night and every morning.  Just like all of the other transitions, you did great and probably slept a little better and harder in your new bed.  Your big girl bed is adorned with a flowery pink  quilt, a bedskirt that resembles a tutu and girly sheets with patterns including butterflies or ladybugs.  Honestly, I’m a little jealous.  The bed sits fairly high and you have a double rail.  Assembling that thing about nearly caused your Dad and I to get divorced, but you haven’t fallen out, so it was worth the effort.  The first time you saw your “big girl bed” you spent a good 30 minutes rolling around on it and telling us how much you loved it.  It made my heart happy!  And then seeing how well you did with the transition made me beam with pride.  Charlotte gave it her stamp of approval and I can’t wait for the day that you have your first sister sleepover. 

You had a wonderful Christmas season and it was amazing to see the holiday through the eyes of a child.  We recorded and watched all of the traditional Christmas shows, talked about Santa (or Ho Ho), went on Frosty the Snowman marches and hunts, baked cookies for Santa, opened lots of presents, and generally enjoyed the season.  Minus the two weeks we were all sick, but thankfully everyone was healthy for Christmas and New Year.  We talked about Baby Jesus, read his story, and sang to him on Christmas day.  It’s amazing to see you retain and process information and I loved hearing you ask me about the real reason of Christmas during the holidays.  

You continue to be Miss dramatic and it’s so fun to watch your imagination take over.  You’re constantly thinking of a new game to play and love to involve the entire family.  You’re becoming quite the actress and can act sad, start to cry, or squeal with joy on command.  To the point that there have been times when I’ve thought you were really having a hard time and about to cry, only to realize that you were acting.  You’re two!  Boy, are your Dad and I are in for trouble!  You recently learned how to bow at dance class and will demand applause after any performance and immediately go into your bow saying “thank you, thank you."  Outside of your acting chops, you have a very silly sense of humor.  You pick up on jokes and are constantly making us laugh.  The other day you walked over to me with part of an orange peel on your upper lip and asked me if I liked your mustache.  If we go out to eat and you’re given a lemon wedge (your favorite!), you will turn it into a lemon smile, cracking up the entire table. 

You’re very particular and like things a certain way at a certain time.  You’ll fixate on something, whether it be a TV show, snack food, game, anything and we MUST do it that way.  And if not, I’m pretty sure the astronauts in space hear about it.  You usually have a snack when we all get home from our days and for a while you needed it to be fruit snacks, a few chocolate bunny grahams and graham crackers.  No more, no less.  And a glass of milk, please.  Except you usually didn’t ask that nicely.  It took a few weeks and likely a day where our routine was out of whack, but you got over it and moved onto a new set of demands.  At bedtime you like a certain number of hugs and kisses, have to be positioned “just so” in your bed and with the right mix of stuffed animals.  I can’t imagine where you get it from …

You’re a girl in all definitions and have found your sensitive streak early.  You moved to a new class in November and are doing great, but it’s a class with a lot of boys.  A lot of very loud boys.  And because you are a bit shy and timid, I have a feeling you sometimes get lost in the shuffle.  Your teachers told me a few weeks after you moved in there that they have never had a child as sensitive as you and had to quickly adapt the way they correct or encourage you.  The upside is that you are one of the most loveable children and that means lots of hugs for your teachers, for us, and for almost anyone you feel comfortable with.  Our cleaning lady came over last weekend to pick up a coffee table we were selling.  You’ve met her once in your life, but ran right up to her and gave her a big bear hug, it was priceless and I know that she’ll be telling me about that for years.  Before we leave school each day, we have to do the rounds with your friends and your teachers, everyone getting hugs.  And sometimes kisses.  We’re working on “we only kiss friends on the cheek,” but it’s adorable to see you spreading your love. 

You’re changing so quickly and fiercely that I honestly can hardly remember what you were like last month and I wish there was time for me to write about all of the amazing things you do or say, but that would take days.  You simply amaze and astound me on a daily basis.  Some days it’s because you love so hard, others it’s because of your brain, some days it’s because you figured out how to push every single one of my buttons, but mostly it’s because I see you growing into an amazing young woman.  It’s my job as your Mother to teach you how to find your way in this big and crazy world, but you possess so many attributes at such a young age that can’t be taught.  You love so much, you show compassion, you empathize, and you genuinely care about those around you.  Keep on learning, keep on growing, but not too fast … there’s still a lot I need to teach you, and SO MANY hugs I need to get in. 


I was a tad late in getting Anna's letter up last month, and because I date my posts the actual date of the girls' birth (14th and 6th), you may have missed it as it was sandwiched between some other pre-planned posts already scheduled, click here if you'd like to read it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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

Double digits!!  A big milestone for a little girl ... and she decided to celebrate with a couple of teeth, mastering the art of crawling and generally getting into everything.  And, I mean everything!  The little miss had a teeny tiny cold this past month and we saw her pediatrician right around her 10-month birthday, she weighed in at 16lbs 13oz (5th - 10th%); the stomach virus from last month is to blame for a little weight loss and therefore not much gained in the past month, and I can't imagine her new form of cardio hurt. Good thing she didn't drop on the cute scale, still coming in at 110%!

Double digits and getting cuter by the day!!
Sitting still for pictures is NO FUN when you have places to go and toys to put in your mouth!
They may not look much (or anything) alike, but they both have the same sunny personalities : )

Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter to Charlotte: Month Ten

Dear Charlotte,

What a big ninth month you had in so many regards!  First and foremost you started crawling and two teeth popped through!  A collective “finally” was uttered by everyone in our family as both of these events were long awaited and much anticipated.  You’re one step closer to running in circles around the house with your big sister and couldn’t be more proud of yourself.  I don’t know that it’s possible to find a little girl with a sweeter or happier personality; you genuinely brighten all of our days with your sweet smiles, giggles, hugs complete with hair pulls (ok, we could do without the hair pulls) and open-mouth kisses. 

Crawling … finally!  You had the moves, but didn’t put them together until one weekend when half the family was under the weather.  One sunny and cold Sunday when your sister was dealing with strep throat and your Dad and your sister both had hand foot and mouth disease, you put it all together and started strolling through the house on all fours.  Although we cheered like crazy people, you weren’t sure what all the fuss was about, seeing as how you’d been able to get from point A to point B with wiggles, rolling and scooting.  Fast forward a few weeks and you’re all over the place … chasing the cats, following me from the family room to the kitchen, attempting to run with Daddy and Anna in their evening game of “running and chasing,” and always always trying to sneak into the laundry room.  You’re starting to get up on those knees and love the vantage point when we prop you into a standing position … we’re not rushing things, but it’s only a matter of time before those feet start a-movin’! 

And, teeth … finally!  And you went all out, sprouting two this past month.  For several week we’d been on “tooth watch” and would stick our (clean) fingers in your little mouth morning and night, just waiting for it to catch on one of those pearly white buds, but nothing.  Then all of the sudden you had two!  We’ve expanded your palette to include a variety of soft finger foods and you are a lover of all.  You are seriously an infant garbage disposal and I have NO IDEA how you are still in the 5-10th percentile for weight.  Your rarely, and I mean, VERY rarely will turn down food.  You will almost gulp down your serving of purees at a meal and then still eat every bit of finger food put in front of you.  As long as it’s soft enough, and not too spicy, you’ve taken bites of most of what we eat, but still do best with soft breads, fruits and veggies.  You love almost all purees (not too hot on proteins or carrots on their own), yogurt, smoothies, and oatmeal and I’m still making most of your purees.  On the flip side, you are the most digestively sound child I have ever met.  You are still making SEVERAL #2s each day with no sign of slowing down.  You’re very versatile and love a surprise; sometimes we smell them, sometimes they sneak up on us, but the diaper industry can count on you to keep their companies going strong. 

Assuming you read these letters when you’re older … now that you’ve come back from creating a voo doo doll in my image for writing about your bowel movements on the internet, I’ll go ahead and tell you about the time that you had stomach virus and projectile vomited on me for about eight hours straight.  That’s what I like the call the week from H-E-double-hockey-sticks when we two people were sick in our house each day for eight days.  Through it all, you were such a trooper and were SO sweet.  You’d go from dry-heaving to laying your sweet little head on my shoulder with hardly a wimper and never a cry.  The next morning as we all went on three hours of sleep you smiled and coo’ed and grabbed my fingers and squeezed tight as we napped together throughout the day. 

You've started laughing A LOT this month and an outsider would think the rest of us are a bunch of trained monkeys if they were to look into our lives; once we figure out that something makes you laugh, it’s a repeat situation for a good 10 minutes.  Most often it’s something Anna has done that gets you cackling and nothing is sweeter.  You’ve found your voice and are starting to find your non-verbal voice in the form of literally taking what you want.  Unfortunately you have a slight obsession with hair.  You love to grab your own while nursing, often grab mine too, and have started to immediately go after Anna’s these days.  Your teachers let us know via your daily note a few weeks ago that you are mildly obsessed with the hair of a boy in your class, but were gentle and never pulled … until this past week, and now you are known as “the hair puller” in your class.  Luckily your teachers chalk it up to “being a baby” and the good news is that you’ll likely have a new obsession next week. 

You had a great time over the holidays and were blessed with many generous gifts, but of course you loved the boxes, wrapping and tissue paper the best.  Seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child will never get old!  Anna shared all she knew about Christmas with you, including Frosty and Rudolph, Baby Jesus and Ho Ho and even shared in your enthusiasm for presents by testing out many of yours for you.  Sure, I’d love to sleep in a little later most days (especially on the weekends), it would be wonderful to make one dinner that everyone in the family could eat and enjoy, and I’ve love to say goodbye to diapers for good …. but not at the expense of losing the opportunity to see your take on the world and all of the new experiences that lie ahead.  Whether it’s your first dance recital, your first roller coaster ride, or your first sleep over, I don’t want a miss a minute and hope I always have a front row seat … even if it’s the messiest spot. 


Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow Dayzzz

It was the first of what has already been many snow days this winter, and it looks like we're in for several more ... Anna had a blast "helping" Daddy shovel (for a few minutes anyway), loved tasting the snow and falling on her own accord followed by dying with laughter : )

An attempted snowman that turned into a snow mound, the most recent snowfall looks like it'll be perfect for making our own Frosty!

... Charlotte helped me hold down the fort inside with warmer temperatures ...

Maybe next year, little girl!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Out with a bang

2013 went out with a bang for the Kelly family ... we were constantly sick for two months and saw the pediatrician nine times (including flu shots and a well-check) ... hand foot and mouth disease, strep throat, and a stomach virus had everyone in our house down and out for over a week, and then the teething monster reared his ugly head.  But we all finally got healthy for Christmas and the New Year, just in time to make a few resolutions ...

- get more teeth
- turn ONE and smash a (cup)cake
- learn to walk
- turn THREE
- potty training (in process and doing GREAT!)
- hug more
- celebrate five years in Florida
- hit the beach as a family
- ride a (kiddie) "roller coaster"
- laugh often
- run a 5K and a 10K
- love the most we've ever loved.