Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Slip slidin'

Friday, May 16, 2014

The best birthday ever!

It was extra fun celebrating Miss Anna Elizabeth's birthday this year, and if the pictures below are any indication, I think she felt like a princess all day!

We started with a special birthday breakfast, she came downstairs to balloons on her chair and a tiara waiting ...

Then she picked out her own outfit, including her extra-special "party bow"!

Quick stop at school to participate in her weekly dance class, so much fun!  There was dancing, hopping, tumbling and ballet.  

Then a haircut in her favorite green chair!

Followed by the obligatory cookie at Panera, not planned, but she twisted my arm : )

Also not planned, a quick stop by Mommy's nail salon for a princess manicure!  She did great during the service and sat very still for 5 entire minutes under the dryer ... I see many trips in our future!

A special lunch while watching a show in the family room started the afternoon.

Then a trip to see Frozen in the movie theater, her first movie in a theater, and she did great!  We were the only patrons in the theater and were able to sing along, talk, and giggle, so much fun!

Birthday dinner at Red Robin complete with the Happy Birthday song and a huge sundae!

And then back home for family presents ... her favorite is the new scooter!  

I don't know who was more exhausted at the end of the day, her or me, but, boy, was it a great day!  Can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Letter to Anna: Month thirty-six

Dear Anna,

You turned three today and I’m still in shock.  As I walked into your room this morning to start your morning routine, it hit me hard that this time three years ago, I was still very pregnant.  You were born in the evening after a long labor (worth it, but LONG) and needed help with every facet of life right after birth, but today you’re a pre-schooler with very independent ideas about life and how you’re going to live it. 

You’re getting so grown up, figuratively and literally; you’re TALL and tower over most of your classmates and skipped right over 3T summer clothes and went straight into 4T.  You’re also skinny, so although the length is usually spot-on, we’re stuck with leggings and bike shorts, and I’ll be interested to see how your percentiles shake out at your three-year well-check next week.  Speaking of clothing, you’ve developed very specific parameters for what you want to wear, and what you don’t, and you’re not afraid to tell us, namely me as I’m the one that helps you get dressed each day.  What’s different now is that you can tell me why, and although it doesn’t always makes sense to me, you have a plan.  You love anything that makes you feel like a princess and it’s even better if there’s writing about being a princess or a tiara on the shirt.  Except when it’s laundry day and that shirt isn’t clean.  Then there’s a lot of bartering that takes place.

It’s so much fun to have conversations with you and you’re vocabulary and ability to rationalize are growing and changing each day.  Just this past weekend we walked past a dog that had a jacket on; you thought about it for a few minutes, and then proceeded to tell your Dad and I that “dogs don’t need coats, they are dogs, only people need coats, and it’s silly that the dog back there was wearing a coat.”  100% agree, sister.  And, we were all glad we were out of ear shot of that dog and its owner.  You’d told us at dinner before that encounter that you “really like pink cupcakes because they tickle my tummy.”  You’re also in a phase where you are kind of asking permission, but also asking if you “can” do something before you do it, “can I go in the living room and play?”  I love it and know that you’ll be out of it just as soon as I type it out.  You can also reason with that conversation and have learned about red meaning stop and green meaning go when it comes to stoplights.  We have quite the conversation around that each day and I was reprimanded for several minutes when I drove through a yellow light after your birthday party.  Don’t worry, I’ll always remember that “yellow means that you slow down, Mommy!”

Speaking of cupcakes, we’ve been celebrating your birthday since last Saturday when we held your first party with friends.  I reserved a local park shelter and tried to keep it casual and easy, and it was, for the most part, once the 40+ attendees arrived, thunderstorms cleared out, and everyone was running around and playing.  It was the first time you’d seen any of your friends outside of school and everyone was a little shy at first, but it wasn’t long before you were running around and having a ball.  We also had several children from the neighbourhood, some other friends, and all of your family there.  You were so happy that my heart almost burst, it was the perfect party for you.  You’re at an age where you are really interacting with friends when you play and we say that during a playdate you had with your friend Ella a few weeks ago.  I orchestrated several activities including cookie decorating, a picnic lunch, trip to the lake and hopscotch, but you ladies took my lead and ran with it.  Talking to each other, encouraging, hugging, and there was a lot of giggling.

Today is your birthday and I took the day off work so that we could have a special celebration.  We started by heading to dance class at school, went for a haircut (and obligatory cookie afterwards), stopped by the nail salon for your first manicure, ate a special lunch at home, and then went to see Frozen in the movie theater.  I don’t know who was happier, me or you.  We ended the day with dinner at Red Robin, where they sang to you, and then headed home to open presents.  You’re still shy, but are getting braver and love being the center of attention when it involves your birthday or an audience that you know.  You loved being sung to at dinner the night before your party at Schoolhouse Restaurant, at your party, at home afterwards when opening presents, all day on your actual birthday.  And, you really came out of your shell when your Paw Paw gave you a dancing chicken, you’d turn that little guy on and dance your heart out for everyone still at our house, it was hilarious, even if the song he played made you want to pull your hair out after the tenth time. 

I still can’t believe that three years ago I was holding you in my arms, swaddled and comfy, with no idea what my life was going to be like.  In a good way, of course.  You've changed everything about how I live, but you've also given me the biggest reason to live and keep my life in a perspective that I didn't ever know existed.  You’re my daughter, my best friend, one of my greatest loves, and the reason that nothing much else matters in this world if we are happy and healthy as a family.  On a day that’s meant for making you feel special, I hope you know how special I feel each day just to be your Mother.   


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Easter bunnies

A few pictures from Easter Sunday, before a 24-hour virus had me down for the count.  Luckily it didn't nab anyone else in the family and we still had a wonderful Easter weekend that included special time with Gigi, easter egg hunts, dying eggs, and talking about the Easter story.  It was hoppy, hoppy, hoppy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Letter to Charlotte: Month fourteen

Dear Charlotte,

Well, I sure did count those eggs before they hatched … here I was gushing on and on last month about how soon you’d be running through the house with your sister as soon as I finished your letter.  And, well, you’re not.  You took your first few steps, had taken 4-5 steps many other times, but simply prefer to crawl or coast to your destination.  Charlotte, you’re a lesson in patience and the old adage that “when she’s ready, she’ll do it.”  It’s also a reminder that as a parent I have zero control in much related to my own life. 

You've really started to find your voice this month and I’m certain that you’re developing a stubborn streak I’ll be cursing for years to come.  The once easy-going, “I’ll do anything, and always with a smile” little girl that we knew up until last month has started making sure we know when we’re not playing by your rules.  Most adorably (after the fact), you get worked up, start to grunt-yell and wiggle your torso while flailing your arms to show your disdain.  Usually when your sister takes a toy you’ve been eying or we can’t get to a book fast enough for you.  You’re also learning to communicate with some words and sign language, so I’m hopeful those replace some of your emotions.  You can say “book”, “dada”, “ma” and know the signs for “milk” and “all gone”, using both appropriately.

We live with a yin and a yang in the form of children eating in our house; Anna eats like a bird and you gobble your food down like a horse.  You still really love fruit, blueberries specifically, but will eat just about anything outside of meat proteins and we generally can’t shovel it in fast enough.  You’re starting to show interest in using a fork or spoon, but aren’t very coordinated and therefore the cats are getting lots of extra treats.    We’ve always loved reading your daily reports from school and this room is no different, except I had to ask about a month in if you were really eating “all” of your snacks and lunch as indicated each day.  You do eventually get full and we tend to send larger portions in case you don’t like any part of your meals, but low and behold, they confirmed that you’re a star eater.

We've been able to get outside with the warmer spring weather and you love crawling in the grass, “playing” with sidewalk chalk (for a whole minute before you attempt to eat it), and rolling a ball with your sister.  What you love most of all is being pushed around in your little red car, and since Anna loves to help, it’s a win-win for the entire family.  When we’re finally tired of pushing Miss Daisy, we’ll park you in the grass and you can entertain yourself for a good half hour just climbing in and out of the car as it sits there.  You’re at a stage where you have little fear and are even brave enough to wander over to the neighborhood dogs as they walk by and will usually pet them for longer than your sister.

You’re still a great sleeper, but are going through a phase where you get restless in the middle of the night and usually cry out briefly 1-2 times, but usually get yourself back to sleep right away.  We still rock you to sleep and being the Mommy’s girl that you are, it’s no surprise that it’s easier if the person rocking you isn’t me.  You’re hit or miss on a morning nap, and we’d actually prefer to keep you awake and let you take a longer afternoon nap with your sister; because let me tell you, if you don’t get enough beauty rest, we see Miss Feisty make her appearance. 

You love to read.  And I mean love.to.read.  You crawl over to your bookshelf, find your favorites and crawl them over to us one-by-one, then settle in for some fun.  I’m honestly surprise the book-crawling hasn’t tempted you enough to start walking given that you could get them to us so much faster.  You love touchy-feely books and love to read about animals.  What you love more than reading about animals, though, are our animals, the cats.  You love to crawl after those furry things, calling them both Daisy and I must admit that the adoration is mutual.  Daisy (the real one) goes in your room each morning when your Dad gets you up and waits by your crib for that chubby little hand to reach through and pet her.  It’s adorable, just like you.

Because you’re not walking yet, and because I still get to rock you to sleep, but mostly because I’m in denial, I still see you as my little baby.  A helpless little baby that needs me to do everything for her.  But you’re not.  You’re growing and finding your way more each day.  You’re learning to tell us what you want, struggling to express emotions when you can’t communicate or don’t know what you want, and finding your own voice in this world.  And I love it, that’s my job, to help you find independence.  But it also makes me sad and nostalgic, and makes me want to soak up every single minute.  It’s easy to get frustrated when I’m making dinner with one hand because you want me to hold you, or when I miss Anna going to bed because I’m still rocking you, but then I remember that these moments aren’t forever and in the blink of an eye you’ll be grown-up and living your own life.  So, I snap out of it and hug you a little closer, lower my standards when it comes to things that used to matter the most, because those things have been replaced with you.  You matter the most to me, now and forever. 


Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Funny: Tiny Hampsters Eating Tiny Burritos

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Zoo blooms

The girls' daycare was closed on Good Friday, so we took the opportunity to hit the Zoo as a family in the morning and couldn't have asked for a better day!  Now that Charlotte is weaned and we don't have to worry about sneaking off to nurse, we broke out the double stroller and rode around in style (thanks Lisa for the recommendation!).  The Cincinnati Zoo also boasts gorgeous botanical gardens and their spring blooms are breathtaking (hint hint, come see for yourself).  It's an unofficial Cincinnati rite of passage that you have your picture taken in front of the tulips, and since we're Cincinnatians we jumped on the bandwagon.