Tuesday, June 30

What is she up to?

I wanted to capture how much Charlotte has been changing the past couple of months. Everyday she grows up right before our eyes. It is truly amazing to see. I have learned a couple of things now that she is becoming more of a toddler every day:
  • Quiet = Up to no good. Sunday I was working on the computer with my back to Charlotte. She was pretty quiet for a minute, I looked behind me and she had her hands swishing around the dog's water bowl. Something she knows not to do.
  • Finding things in odd places. We have side tables in our living room that have 4 little drawers each. I'm always finding the odd toy in these drawers. Yesterday I couldn't find my keys ANYWHERE - I finally found them last night under the couch cushions.

She is constantly jabbering now. She'll walk up to me and look at me very seriously and say "Shlker lkeroius alksdouw lkj osie oioasiufowef!" I have absolutely no idea what it means, but she does. She has her own little language and I can't wait until I can understand it.

I am getting better at deciphering some of her words and I am actually shocked at how much she is actually saying. "Wawa" may not sound like "Water", but she uses the same sound to talk about "water" each time.

She is also our little sponge - copies everything that we do. She thinks it is so funny when I sneeze, so I'll throw my head back and perform a gigantic fake sneeze to get her to laugh. Then she does the same thing, it's just about the cutest thing. Judd (being the mature father that he is) also taught her to make a fart sound with her hands, so every time she hears something that sounds like a fart, she puts her hands up to her mouth to blow in them to repeat the sound. She even tried to lick the dog yesterday because the dog licked her.

She has the funniest facial expressions. She does this squinty eye thing when she doesn't really like what you are doing or saying - it's her mean face - or as her dad would say "her subway face". She also does it when she points to her "Baboos" (Boo-Boos) on her knees, as if to say "Look, mom, look at what that sidewalk did to me - don't you feel sorry for me?"

But, with all of the good things, come the bad. She can be so whiny now sometimes. She just hangs on me and whines, "Mama, mama, mama". It is really hard to take. I think it is partly frustration on her part because she knows what she wants, but just can't express it. Also, she can throw a tantrum with the best of them now - complete with feet kicking and biting.

I wouldn't change her for the world, though.

Have you heard that Brad Paisley song, "I thought I loved you then?". Each day I'm not sure I can love this child anymore than I do now, but then I do.

Sunday, June 28

To Grandmother's house we went

As a kid my family moved around - from Ohio to Texas to Georgia to Pennsylvania to Arkansas to Georgia to Pennsylvania. Throughout all of these moves, the one house that has remained constant is my Grandma Achuff's house. My grandfather passed away a little over 2 years ago, but she has stayed in the house. It is the house my father and my aunts and uncles grew up in. It is the house I spent a week all by myself in each summer - a week without sisters or parents, a special week spent with my grandparents.

It is a huge house. The kitchen is enormous and the heart of the house. There is a basement full of treasures including a pin ball machine that I played countless hours growing up and my grandfather's trains. There is the living room where my sisters and I watched "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" and various other musicals over and over again. Next to the living room is my grandfather's office which we weren't supposed to be in, but I remember peeking in watching him work. On the second floor there are the bedrooms and blue tile bathroom where my aunt Sue gave me bubble baths. Then the 3rd floor which contains another bedroom, but it is just a little spooky.

Through the kitchen and out of the backdoor is the most amazing backyard. Until recently the backyard contained a fish pond, a garden, and a tire swing. The tire swing was a real tire swing. Not a plastic swing made to look like a tire - but a real tire tied to a huge tree with a rope. I have so many memories of my dad and uncles pushing me higher and higher on the swing. So high that they would actually run under the tire while pushing.

It is one of my favorite places in the world.

So, I was thrilled to share my grandmother's house with Charlotte this past weekend. Judd flew to Tokyo on Thursday, so I decided to fly to PA to visit my parents. My mom told me that she had promised to help my grandmother with a garage sale on Saturday and she was going to drive there on Friday. Thursday we stayed at my parent's house and had dinner with my sister, Sally and her husband, Andrew. Charlotte had her first piece of corn on the cobb - she loved it so much she had a 2nd! Friday afternoon, after visiting with my Grammie, we drove to Grandma's.

Friday evening my sister, Rachel, and her fiancee, Adam, came to spend the night at my Grandmother's and help with the garage sale the next day. Then, my Aunt and Uncle came with their three kids. We got cheese steaks and hoagies, sat, ate and talked. Charlotte ate her first cheese steak and had her first lollipop for dessert. Then she ran around chasing after my cousins the rest of the night. She and my cousin, Todd, took turns sliding down a mattress that was a garage sale item that was propped against the stairs to block Charlotte from going upstairs. However, she would climb up two stairs, squeezing by the mattress, then fling herself down the folded mattress - a huge smile on her face each time she got to the bottom. At bedtime she hugged each person good night, then went to sleep in the same room that I used to sleep in with a jar of fire flies next to my bed fresh from a summer's night of fire fly hunting.

Saturday morning we all got up and helped set up the garage sale. It was pretty successful, Grandma made a few bucks.

Dad took Charlotte and I to the airport that afternoon. It was a whirlwind trip, but Charlotte and I were able to see both of my sisters, brother-in-law, and future brother-in-law as well as both of my grandmothers. As a bonus I got to visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousins.

I don't know how long my grandmother will stay in that house, I know she probably can't imagine not living there. I'm just so happy that I was able to share it with Charlotte. I know she won't remember her first visit there, but I will be able to tell her about it. The visit made me so excited for Charlotte's childhood. Her summers spent visiting her grandparents and making so many beautiful memories of her own. I pray that they are even more beautiful than the ones I hold so close.

Monday, June 22

7 years

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my mother. She said I should marry someone that makes me laugh. I am so grateful that I followed that advice and married a man that has made me laugh every day for the past 7 years.

Sunday, June 21

Happy Father's Day

To one of the best father's I know.

Thursday, June 18


Each evening this week we have gone "Owwwssii" and played in the "Pooouuul". I bought a little pool at Target a couple of months ago for about $5 - and it has provided hours of entertainment. Charlotte loves to hold the hose and fill it up herself. Normally this works out fine, but today she decided to turn and look at me while the hose was on. I was wetter than she was - she thought it was hilarious. (I love the fact that she has a little sense of humor now. I'll hear her, while she's alone, just cracking herself up from time to time.)

Have I mentioned how much I'm loving this summer so far? There is just something about summer time with kids.

We have started to wean Charlotte from the pacifier this week. We are only giving it to her when she's taking a nap or going to bed. We had a couple of rough nights Monday & Tuesday. So rough on Monday that she cried from 6:45-7:20 - straight through her bath. It was awful. Finally we were able to put her to bed and let her have it. I know that doesn't seem like a long time - but each minute that ticks by while your child is screaming feels like 10. Wednesday and today went much better. So maybe there is hope? It just seems so sad - she loves it so much.

See how hard it is to tell this little face "no"? It is really hard.

Monday, June 15

An Ode to Jen

Jennifer is Judd's Dad's first cousin, not sure if that makes her Judd's second cousin or Judd's first cousin once removed. Doesn't matter - either way, she's a Saint in my book. Every couple of weeks I'll see an email arrive in my inbox from Jen asking if Judd and I need a babysitter for the upcoming weekend. I rarely decline the offer.

Charlotte loves Jen. She doesn't even flinch when Jen walks through the door and scoops her up. Jennifer has that touch, that way about her. I believe she could charm any kid.

This past week an email arrived asking if I'd like a babysitter. I told Judd that Jen was going to come over and babysit on Saturday. Charlotte and I went for a jog on Friday morning, and when I came back he had a whole evening planned out for us - reservations already made. It was so thoughtful and sweet. We had a great night that included a movie and dinner - we had not been to a movie theatre in a year! It was a great treat.

Judd and I are so grateful to Jennifer (and Mariel sometimes, too!) for staying with Charlotte on nights like this past Saturday. I truly believe that we are better parents because we have these chances to reconnect to each other. We have a few moments to just relax, talk, and reconnect - most of the talk is about Charlotte of course - but we do talk about the couple we were, and now the couple we are becoming. We plan, dream, and laugh.

Thank you, Jennifer, for giving us these opportunities. We can never repay you for what you are really giving to us - it is much more than just a night out. And, thank you, Mariel, for letting us borrow your mom every once in a while!

Friday, June 12


Fridays are fabulous. I have really enjoyed having Fridays to play with Charlotte. Taking a pay cut and having an extra day at home is living up to be one of the better decisions I've made in a long time. Judd decided to take a vacation day today and hang out with us to see what Fridays are all about. We were so happy to have him with us today. I'm trying to talk him into going part time too!

We went to one of the Decatur city pools this morning, McCoy. Each Friday from 10am-12pm they close the pool to any children over 5, and let all toddlers in. Then they get a bunch of toys out like balls, rubber duckies, and buckets. We had a great time. Charlotte splashed around, stole numerous toys from other kids, and jumped off of the side over and over. She had such a good time that she took a 3 hour nap this afternoon!

Over the past week or so she has learned about the trash can. She knows what "trash" is and knows how to open the trash can, throw the trash in, and close the lid. It's great! We just hand her something and she loves the little job of throwing it away. We are taking full advantage of ths new trick before it gets old to her.

And here's a couple of others from today:

Wednesday, June 10

Mini Moos

For Christmas I received this picture frame:

image from moo.com

It is made for MiniCards from moo.com. The MiniCards come in packs of 100 so, you can create 100 cards at a time with any graphic that you want. I used 100 different pictures of Charlotte throughout the first 15 months. It took a while to choose 100 different pictures, upload them, then crop them to fit the MiniCard size. The cards came in the mail Monday, and it was well worth the effort - I LOVE them.

Here is how the picture frame turned out - I'm still trying to decide where to hang it in the house.

Now...what to do with the 80 cards that didn't make it into the frame?

Monday, June 8

Char-Lo in Austin

Charlotte and I had a great time visiting some friends, Bryan, Kindra, & Lindsay, this past week in Austin.

Kindra and I met through work. She was in Atlanta last year for business. I was still breastfeeding Charlotte and the time, and she was breastfeeding Lindsay (Lindsay is 2 months older than Charlotte). I was returning the key for the lactation room, and Kinda was waiting to check it out. We struck up a conversation and have been in contact ever since.

We use each other as a sounding board for issues like breastfeeding, transitioning to formula then milk, daycare, being a working mom, etc. It is so great to know someone going through the same exact situations that you are. It is even better when that person has a daughter 2 months older than yours and has had to forge the way ahead of you - then I get to pick her brain when I hit the sticky situations.

The weekend was filled with trips to the pool and park, lunch at McDonalds, Texas bar-be-que, and a great Tex Mex dinner. Charlotte and Lindsay got along well - always copying what the other one did. Lindsay is the cutest, smartest little girl that doesn't know how to walk - she RUNS everywhere! I thought Charlotte was a wiggle worm - she has met her match. I was amazed by how many words and songs Lindsay knew. She even said Charlotte, but it always came out "Char-Lo".

Thanks for the great visit, Kindra! Can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, June 4

A mess

This is what it looks like when a 16 month old insists on feeding herself some yogurt:

It's messy.

(Yes, her bib says "Diva" - No, I did not buy it, it was a gift - However, I am realizing that it fits her little personality well)

Charlotte and I are headed to Austin, Tx tomorrow to visit a friend and her daughter for the weekend. We were supposed to go a few weeks ago, but didn't make it onto the plane. This time we have actual confirmed seats -what a luxury!

Tuesday, June 2

Sun Flare

I signed up for People One today at the Showcase School of Photography. I took 2 classes there last summer and loved every minute. I'm very excited to learn some new stuff and get energized again about taking pictures. (I'm also excited because I'm gonna know someone in my class!)

I saw a sun flare tutorial today on Pioneer Woman. I took Charlotte out tonight to try it a little bit. Basically, you set your camera on aperature priority, and then close your aperature down as high as it can go, like f/22. Then, you can capture some sun flare.

I wish I had a beautiful wheat field close by to do photo shoots, but instead my front yard has to do. It is a fun technique that I'm excited to use more. These are by no means very good, the composition in the second one is terrible - but I love her hands. She does this all the time now when she doesn't know something. If you ask her a question and she doesn't know, she throws up her hands - "I don't know, Mommy." - very innocent. However, whenever she strikes this pose, I have flashes into the future, 16 years down the road, when there is something she's denying oh so innocently.

Monday, June 1

Summer is here

We had a fabulous weekend this past weekend. It was the kind of weekend that really lets you know that summer is here. We have had so much rain and cloudiness lately, that we really needed a bright, sunny weekend. We spent as much time outdoors as possible.

It started out slow, Judd had to work late on Friday night, so we just hung out and ate pizza after Charlotte went to bed. Saturday morning we took a trip to Serenbe. Serenbe is a community south of Atlanta, close to Peachtree city that is striving to be a self sustainable community. It is all new development, houses cost around $500K. It sits on 900 acres, has a farm, stable, town, and 100 miles of walking trails. It was beautiful. There was a farmer's market going on that we walked around, then we explored the town a little bit. We started to hike on the trails, but Charlotte was not in the best of moods, so our outing was cut a little short.

Saturday afternoon Judd had to work, which meant cancelling some plans. But, we headed to Decatur square around 6pm for dinner. We had a yummy dinner at Raging Burrito. After dinner we walked out onto the square. It was a "Concerts on the Square" night and everyone had their blankets and chairs spread out on the square listening to the concert. All of the kids were running around like crazy and dancing - Charlotte joined right in and loved it. We left around 8 and headed to Bruster's for some ice cream. A great summer night.

Sunday I used my Spa Sydell gift certificate that I got for Mother's Day and had a great afternoon of pampering. I had a massage and facial. I had never had a facial before, and it was FABULOUS. If you've never had one, treat yourself sometime.

Because no post is truly complete without a picture, here is Charlotte exhibiting some great table manners.