Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wonderful ONE

Well, I'm a little late in getting this posted. I want to remember all the fun things about you, my sweet Charlotte, at one. I started this post weeks ago, but am just now getting around to finishing it and getting it posted. :)

This year has, by far, been the best of my life. While I have loved each first year spent with all of my babies, this one has been so different. This time around, I've slowed down and enjoyed it more. I haven't worried about you getting to each milestone because experience has taught me that you will get there. I haven't worried as much about each little cough or sniffle, because I've learned from your big sis & brother what I should be worried about and what's not serious. And, I've learned that skipping a nap won't hurt you, and a crazy late bedtime won't hurt me. :)

All that has made me much more relaxed as a mama and made this year such fun! I've spent more time rocking you. After each naptime/bedtime bottle, you'll turn into me and we'll rock and rock and rock. You'll put your head on my shoulder and happily lay there until either you go to sleep or I lay you down in your crib -- then you just roll right over and sleep. You're such a great sleeper, too. You take only 1 nap these days -- about 2-3 hours. And, you have a very firm 6:30 bedtime (if we know what's good for us!). You sleep all night without a peep and wake up happy between 6:30 and 7am. On days when we can sleep in, you're content to play in your crib until about 8am when we get you up. :)

You've started to have some favorite activities. You love to look out the window at the pond or M & H playing in the yard. You're not too happy though if you can't be out there playing, too, and let me know it! You love for me to swing you up and down in my arms. You love for us to read to you -- you'll sit in my lap for as long as I'll keep reading. Your favorite books are touch & feel, Jamberry and The Sleepytime Dance.

But, your most favorite thing to do is wave. WAVE. You wave to everyone! You wave out the car window. You wave in the grocery cart. And, your most favorite person to wave to is Daddy. If you see him sitting at the table reading or studying, you'll immediately start waving to him. And, you don't stop until he waves back. :) You have the cutest wave -- straight arm with only your hand going up and down. Like royalty!

You are busy, busy, busy these days. You aren't afraid to go somewhere alone. I'll find you sitting in the middle of our dark bathroom or in a corner of the kids room looking at one of their books. And, you put everything in your mouth. My vaccum cleaner is getting a workout these days trying to keep the floors clean!
You aren't walking yet, but you're cruising everywhere. And, you can crawl FAST. You get into stuff I didn't even know I had! Your favorite places to play are the tupperware drawer, the pantry, and the open fridge. Forget the hundreds of toys. No, you like our stuff too much! You're opening cabinet doors too. Since Madeleine & Harrison never bothered the cabinets I never had to babyproof them, but I think this time I just might. ;) You're one busy gal to keep up with!

You are such a good eater. Your current favorites are grapes, apples, cheese -- any and all kinds, you haven't met a cheese you didn't like yet! -- puffs, cheerios, and mini cheese-its, peas and corn. You've liked every veggie I've given you & you like most anything that comes from our plate. Since you still eat dinner before the rest of us, I usually save our leftovers and make them your dinner for the next nite. You don't seem to mind! And, you can chew most anything you want thanks to all the teeth you have! You have 4 top front teeth, 3 bottom front teeth and a one top molar! You're about to add a second top molar any day -- I can feel it right under your gum. You've been a great teether, but this last molar has made you cranky the past couple of days. The first one popped in without any fussing & I only found it by accident. Neither your brother or sister got their molars until around 16-18 months, so I wasn't looking for it yet.
You are quite the mama's girl, but your favorite person is your sissy, Madeleine. You love love love her! You get so excited in the afternoon when I say that it's time to go get Madeleine. You'll crawl right to the door and pound on it until we go to the car! And, she feels equally about you. She always has time to play with you or read to you. She'll make silly faces that make you laugh and go and get you when you're somewhere you shouldn't be. Harrison is pretty big stuff in your eyes as well. He's always singing your favorite song, "God Made the Big Round Sun." We sing this at least 100 times a week! Seriously! You can make all the hand motions and when you want us to sing it, you'll put your hands above your head and say "GA GA GA." I think you're trying to say "God." You can say a good many words, too. You can say: mama, dada, byebye, uh-oh, baby, and baba (bottle). You babble all the time & make some funny sound combinations. One of your newest is bu-ga....which your sister & brother thinks sounds like "booger." They think this is hilarious and laugh and laugh at you when you do this!
You're still quite a chunky monkey. We have your doctors appt at the end of the month (we've had to keep rescheduling because of all the snow) and I can't wait to see how much you weigh and how long you are. You're wearing 12-18 month clothes mostly, with a few 6-12 month too. Your shoe size is a 2-3 & you have the littlest feet! You're in size 4 diapers right now.
You still love bathtime and will play until the water gets cold and you get chilly. You like to splash everyone around you at bathtime and can soak the place in minutes. You really prefer to play in the tub and have started to fuss a bit when it's time to wash up. You get a bath daily because you are so dirty! I don't know how you do it, but you are so messy by bedtime!
You are such a content child -- especially if you're being held. As long as you're not hungry or tired, I can take you anywhere and you're happy. I'm often told that you're such an easy going baby. You don't fuss at church when I leave you or when I hand you off at Madeleine's school -- where they love you! You're just starting to get shy around strangers and will lay your head on my shoulder if you don't know someone. I think this is so sweet!
My Charlotte, this year with you has been so very special. Fillled with memories that I'll treasure forever. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next year holds....but I'll take it just one day at a time. I want to freeze this time that seems to be passing all to quickly and hold on to these days. They truely are the best days of my life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fantastic 4

I've been wanting to do a post on my sweet Harrison & all the fun he's up to at 4!

I can't even think about this guy without smiling. Spending my days with him is rarely work now. He's grown into such a sweet little boy, still full of mischief, but his antics are almost always laced with sweetness. He makes me laugh a lot during the day!

Right now Harrison is very big into trains -- specifically Thomas Trains. He knows all of them by name (although several of them look alike to me) and we have many many MANY trains. Like more than 25. He plays trains most days if I'll build him a traintrack that's to his liking. :) I love to listen to his "stories" and I love that he narrates the Thomas stories he's pretending. He even says things like "Thomas was cross at Percy" which comes straight from all the Thomas stories we've read. I can take Harrison anywhere these days as long as he brings some trains along to play with. Just this week I had an early morning meeting at Madeleine's school and Harrison sat happily in the floor by me and played trains while we were there!

He's also gotten very interested in Toy Story lately. Some days he get all his Toy Story stuff out and makes up stories about the characters. I never get tired of seeing what his imagination is capable of making up. I think he's even more imaginative than Madeleine was at that age (maybe because he has a big sis to help him with this??). He and Madeleine will play and act out stories with their toys for hours on end. He always looks forward to her coming home each day so they can play.

I have to limit the amount of TV he can watch because he's a big TV watcher. Some days all he wants to do is sit and veg in front of the TV; but, some days he turns it right off and wants to do his own stories with his toys. He's discovered Tom & Jerry lately & I often hear him giggling at the stuff they're doing.

He's such a sweet little boy. He'll come to me for no reason and give me a hug and just tell me that he loves me. :) He still loves to cuddle and sit in my lap. At night, he wants me to sing him a lullaby and rub his face. He lays there with his eyes closed and a big smile while I do this each night.

He's learning to pray. He still doesn't want to pray on his own, but each night he'll say to Matt at bedtime, "Daddy, you teach me." How precious is that??? He repeats each thing Matt says and then does the closing himself. One night at dinner recently, Matt said "thank you for our food" and Harrison repeated it. Just as soon as the prayer was over, Harrison looked up and said, "heeey this food's not from God, it's from the STORE." That make all of us laugh! :)

He's gotten to be a picky eater lately, but the things he likes are pretty varied. He like broccoli & carrots, but that's it as veggies go. He likes most fruit -- pineapple is his favorite. He like turkey & ham & bacon, but won't each chicken nuggets or hot dogs. Hmmm. He loves cheeseburgers and granola bars. He'll only drink chocolate milk (which I dilute with white milk -- don't tell). He looooves ice cream & calls an ice cream sundae a "cherry on top."

He's a big negotiater now. He'll tell me he's only going to do this if I'll do that. Still not sure how I feel about that, but most of the time it's harmless stuff so I just go along. The good thing is that I can talk him into doing just about anything! He loves to be on the go & is happy to tag along with me to Walmart, Target, Sams etc. He thinks getting out and going to the store is fun!

Some random things I want to remember:
* He calls his action figures "mean guys" and will tell me he wants to play "mean guys."
* He proceeds many of his sentences with "This is good news," or "This is Baaaad news."
* He's the Spongebob police. Anytime he sees anything Spongebob, he tells me "Mommy, I have bad news. SPONGEBOB!!" All the while, pointing to the offending item. :)
* He's also the Vocab police (or vo-po, as matt calls him). He's always pointing out people/shows that use the words stupid, hate, or kill.
*He has the softest heart. The few times he's accidently hurt Charlotte, he just melts into a pile of tears. This past week, she crawled up behind him and he turned and tripped over her. He looked up at me with these huge eyes full of tears and just broke down into sobs. All of this without me even saying anything. It took me a full 10 minutes to calm him and convince him that she's OK...meanwhile, Charlotte has already crawled away & is happily playing. I pray daily that he keeps this sweet, sensitive heart forever. It's one of the things I love the most about that boy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How I Survive The Grocery Store

aka How to Go to Walmart and NOT go Insane.

Sometimes I think it's easy for me to forget that the things that are hard now will not always be this hard. And, I realize "hard" is relative. But, doing things with 2, sometimes 3, in tow is not always easy -- but it won't always be this way. I want to remember that one day, something as simple as going to the grocery store will be just that -- simple. As for today, it takes planning and a lot, A LOT, of patience. So, here's how I do it today so that one day I can look back and appreciate how easy it is.

A trip to the grocery store where I'm buying food for the week (not one of those run-in-and-get-a-few-things trips) actually begins the day before I need to go. I plan out my menu and make a list of all the things I'll need to buy. Then I rewrite that list in the order that I'll shop through the store. This way I won't have to backtrack because I missed something. Then I go through my coupons and put them in coordinating order with the list. Then I write the list on the front of a business sized envelope & tuck the coupons inside so they'll all be handy while I'm shopping.

The time of shopping is usually planned for a time when all kids are well rested & not hungry. :) I pack a bag of snacks and sippy cups and off we go. When we get to the store I unload Harrison first and have him stand on the parking space line while I get out Charlotte. He's learned to do this and I can turn my back for a second and know that he'll be right by me. I hold Charlotte, snack bag/purse & Harrison usually holds onto my pocket, jacket, or purse while we cross the street to go inside. I'm very strict about holding hands across the street especially since our Walmart is the one of choice for the college kids who aren't always watching for little kids. Seriously.

Once inside the fun begins. While Charlotte sits in the cart, Harrison holds onto the side of the cart by me. I spent many MANY hours teaching him to do this the fall before Charlotte was born (just as I'd taught Madeleine before Harrison was born) and he'll hold on through the entire store and not let go. Now, we do usually go check out the toys first -- just to look -- and that makes him very happy. He's great about not wanting a toy since I usually remind him several times in the car that we're going to look but not buy. I think it's important to use this time to teach him that we can't always get a toy.

After the toys the real shopping begins. We start on our list. I let him help me pick out the baby food for Charlotte which he loves to do. Since the jars have pictures on them he can tell what we're getting. I try and let him help me choose different things in hope that he'll maybe try it out -- hasn't worked yet, but I'm not giving up! I also have a deal with him that he can get ONE treat at the checkout line if he does a good job. I remind him of this as we start out shopping. Then I repeat on every. single. aisle. He's happy to hold onto the cart and think about his treat as we shop. And, Charlotte is perfectly content as long as I'm feeding her cheerios along the way. We leave quite a trail through the store. When Madeleine is with us, her job is to read/check off the list which she loves to do and is actually a big help to me.

When we finally finish we head to the checkout where Harrison gets to pickout a treat. :) His treat of choice currently is Skittles -- a change from the Ring Pop phase of last fall. After paying and heading out, he's back to standing on the line while I load Charlotte and then get him in. He sits and eats his Skittles while I load the car & we head home.

At home, I usually get Harrison settled in the playroom and then Charlotte in her bed. Sometimes she's fine with this, sometimes, not -- and she'll let me know if she's not. But, this is necessary because she heads straight for the garage every time the door is opened and #1--I don't want her to get hurt and #2-- I don't want her to get dirty and cold out there.
It's usually about this point that I realize that even with all my planning, I've forgotten something. That's just the way it goes, I guess!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


We've spent most of this week trapped indoors. During the night Monday night we got several inches of snow & that combined with temps well below freezing all week long meant we had NO school from Tues-Friday. When we got up Tuesday morning & opened the door this is what we found:
So, we stayed inside and had such fun. I have to admit, I love days off from snow. I know we'll probably still be going to school well into June, but I don't care! One of the best things is that Matt's always off with us! I realize this isn't the case for most of my friends & I also know what a HUGE blessing this is for us! I think I might have lost my mind if I'd been here, trapped inside alone, with all 3 kiddos for 4 straight days. :)

The first couple of days, Matt worked on Ph.D stuff, prepped for Ramay, & worked on his lesson for class on Sunday. Then the last 2 days we've just had FUN! The kids have been so good & have played so well. I think Madeleine & Harrison are just finally at that age where they can play & imagine stories together & they'll play happily alone for hours sometimes. I love to see them "doing stories" (as they call it) and hear them laughing together.

Obviously we keep the house pretty warm (not looking forward to that heating bill!).
We've also spent a lot of time playing games. Some of our favorites now are Memory, Sorry, Trouble & Guess Who. Harrison can play a couple of those & is learning with the rest. And, Miss Madeleine is amazing at games! It can get pretty competitive & she can talk some smack. :)
Charlotte has loved having everyone home this week and all the extra attention she's been getting. She's going to be pretty spoiled by the time everyone goes back to school.

And, after being indoors too long, things get a big silly around here...

Thankfully, Harrison did change into his Woody costume eventually. Hahaha!
We did venture out to Walmart to get some more staples (i.e. milk, eggs & stuff for chocolate cake!). It took us almost 3 hours to get the 5.5 miles to Walmart -- do our shopping -- and get home. I'm already planning to do some more shopping before we get even MORE snow this week!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Remembering Warmer Times...

It's hard to believe that just one week ago we spent the entire day outside enjoying a gorgeous & warm january day! We played soccer in the yard, rode bikes, played on our playground and wrapped up our day at the local park. Such a fun, fun day! It was such a nice break from being inside so much of the time....especially with this crazy winter weather week in front of us!

I enjoyed my time with the kids & didn't take too many pictures. Charlotte was pretty content to just chill in her stroller and watch all the excitement, until we got to the park. There she discoved the baby swings. She completely wore herself out kicking her legs while swinging & was wiped out by 6pm that evening! I definitely see more swings in our future. :)

It's hard to believe that today our entire house is surrounded by snow! Even the frozen pond is covered! And, there's more to come this week. I think I'm ready for spring!