Charlotte got a kitchen from her Grammie and Grandad for Christmas. She also got a Bitty Baby from her Grandmother and Grandaddy. Then, she received a huge package of play food from Aunt Sally and Uncle Andrew today. It is the perfect storm of play. Today, Charlotte hosted and catered a lunch.
Charlotte loves to help. Every morning that I make coffee, she sits on the counter and tells me where to put the filter, coffee grounds, and then where to pour the water. She helps me get her waffles out of the freezer. She helps me make the bed. She helps me dry my hair. Every time I tell her that I'm going to do something she says, "Mama, help you". I'm not sure how I ever got anything done prior to all of this help I get now.
While she was napping I decided to put together the new storage unit Judd and I bought for her Christmas toys at IKEA yesterday. (Even after taking a huge box of gently used baby toys to Goodwill today, we still have tons of stuff) Charlotte has some sort of 6th sense and knows when I do not want her to wake up from her nap - she always wakes up as soon as I start a project - or yesterday, as soon as I pour a cup of hot chocolate.
So, she came down and helped me.
Excuse the blurry picture - the focus was on her kitchen in the background - but I just had to get a shot of the two of us. It is my goal to get in front of the camera more.
I have all week off to spend with Charlotte this week. I am looking forward to every cuddle - and every helping hand.
Over Christmas Charlotte spent a lot of time with her cousins, Katie and Lilly. She watched them closely observing everything they did. She tried to have a few conversations with Lilly, but her brain was thinking a lot faster than her mouth could form the words and she never quite got her point across.
Both Lilly and Katie got Nintendo DSi's for Christmas from Santa. They both had Nintendo DS's already. Lilly had her old DS with her, and Charlotte loved picking it up and "playing" the games just like her bigger cousins. She called it "Charlotte's DS". It was pretty cute to hear her say "DS" like she knew what she was talking about. At one point she was sitting my lap playing Lilly's old DS and Lilly was on the other couch. Lilly was taking pictures of me with her DSi and then distorting them. She'd show me and laugh and laugh at the huge chin she gave me, or really big nose. I think Charlotte was getting a little jealous of the attention I was giving to Lilly, so she shoved the DS she was holding in my face and said, "Look Mommy, Look at Charlotte's DS" She's so funny.
Here's the 3 of them playing with the DS's on Sunday morning. The shot was just too good to pass up.
The day started off with her refusal to put a new diaper on. During her protest, she kicked me numerous times. I was too tired to just ignore this behaviour and wait for her to calm down, so I just left her diaperless in her room closing the door behind me. I was going to give her a few minutes to calm down. Judd went in after 30 seconds or so and found she had peed on the floor and told her she needed to say she was sorry for kicking me. He then proceeded to diaper her, but again she protested and kicked Judd.
We escorted her to timeout and told her she could sit there until she said she was sorry. Numerous times during the next 45 minutes, we would take turns walking in her room and asking her if she was ready to say she was sorry. She would yell "NO!".
Now, some of you might be thinking that she is too little to say that she is sorry. But, we know that she knows what it means and she knows how to say it. She finally did tell us she was sorry and give us hugs, but it was a battle. We are quickly finding out just how stubborn this child is.
The rest of the day was highs and lows. She had at least 2 more 30-45 minute temper tantrums. Complete meltdowns. She didn't eat lunch and took her afternoon nap an hour before the normal time.
It is interesting how my mood and Judd's mood is connected to Charlotte. Do you watch that show, The Middle? Patricia Heaton plays the mother. In one episode she says, "As a parent, you are only as happy and your least happy child". I completely agree.
However, with the bad comes the good and we did have good today. First of all the sun shone. I think the sun has only been out about 10 hours this entire week. We went to the park and took advantage of the sunshine. I took my camera with my new lens attached. Charlotte, Judd, and I played and laughed.
She found her sunglasses in the bottom of the diaper bag this morning. She puts them on and says "Where's Charlotte?"
She is watching a much older kid climb up one of the structures. I can tell she is sizing it up wondering if she can do it too.
Hands down, my new favorite image. I love so many things about it - the light, her goofy sunglasses with her hat, the composition. But, most of all you can see me. You can see me doing what I found I love to do - capturing Charlotte's moments - both good and bad.
Yesterday I decided to stay away from the computer during Charlotte's nap and do some holiday baking. My co-worker and friend gave me an awesome cookbook a few months ago called, Baked. I have been anxiously waiting for a free moment to try out a couple of the recipes in the book, but have been so busy with work, child rearing, being a wife, and photography that I really haven't had much of a chance. But yesterday's nap time was going to be my time.
So, I decided to make peppermint marshmallows and pumpkin whoopie pies. I was able to get through most of the marshmallow recipe before Charlotte cut her nap short after only an hour. She woke up pretty cranky, but was able to pull herself together and help me make the whoopie pies.
I have to say that homemade marshmallows may seem like a lot of work - and you're wondering if it is worth it. Yes, it totally is. I added peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract and added some red food coloring for a peppermint swirl. They are very Christmasy and very yummy. They just melt in your mouth. I've saved a few and can't wait to try them in hot chocolate. The whoopie pies are cakey, pumpkin cookies filled with cream cheese icing. They are fabulous.
I packed them all up and gave them to neighbors. But, I think I'm going to have to make another batch of each recipe because I miss them already.
I look at this picture and all I can think about is what will become of these friends down the road? Will they be standing next to each other at their weddings? Will they be holding each other's babies? Time will tell. Why does it have to change? When does a box stop being the best toy ever? Why can't they just stay innocent clean babies in pajamas?
I was right there, got to watch it happen - even helped break the fall. She cried for a few minutes and was back to laughing and jumping around - no worse for wear. Hopefully it will heal by Christmas.
Judd: "It's cold and going to rain, don't we have a little artificial tree in the attic?"
Carrie: "Yes, we do - but we both need to get a boost of Christmas Spirit, so we're going to the Christmas Tree Farm, we're going to just get a really small tree - like 4 feet."
Charlotte: "waaaahhh, I don't want boots on" (taking her socks off)
10:15 AM (In the car on I-85 N)
Carrie: "We need to at least play some Christmas songs" (turns from 750 AM to 98.5 FM)
Charlotte: "Milk in hands, milk in hands" (as she is spilling milk from her sippy cup into her hands)
10:45 AM (arrived at Thompson Christmas tree farm and put Charlotte into one of their awesome wagons)
Carrie: "Oh, look at this pre-cut one, it is perfect - small, no holes, perfect!"
Judd: "Yeah, it is nice - and 5 bucks off since it's pre-cut!"
Carrie: "OK, let's just get this one and then go let Char feed the goats "
Judd: "Well, let's just take one look over here...."
Carrie: "This one is nice, Charlotte which one do you like?"
Charlotte: "green one!"
Judd: "Well, how about this one?"
Judd: "Or this one?"
Judd: "Well, let's just take a look over this hill"
Carrie: "Really, don't you just want that pre-cut one?"
(Judd pulls Charlotte in the wagon over a little bridge and up a hill to another plot of trees.)
11:15 AM (back down the hill and in the first plot of trees)
Judd: "Ok, let's just get the pre-cut one"
Charlotte: "OUT!" (she wants out of the wagon)
Carrie: "Well, how about this one?"
Judd: "That one has a hole, how about this one?"
Carrie: "That one is nice - but it's kind big"
Judd: "It'll fit in the room, let's get it" (begins cutting it down)
Judd: "It's really big, but I like it a lot"
Carrie: "Yep, it is the nicest tree we've ever had, it looks really nice"
Judd: "I'm glad we went and got a tree"
Carrie: "Me too"
So we ended up with a tree 2x the size of any tree we have purchased before (probably 11ft), even though we went to the Christmas tree farm wanting a very small one - but we love it, and are now fully in the Christmas spirit.
Last night was Charlotte's Christmas program at school. Remember last year's? Where oh where has my baby gone?? This year has flown by with lightening speed.
The program was super cute. We were instructed to dress our toddlers in green shirts and blue jeans. Of course I waited until the last minute and was at Target this week searching for a green shirt. Charlotte knew all of the motions to the song, but really only did the motions for the "turn around" verse. Here were the verses (to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn):
Jingle those bells and turn around Jingle those bells and clap your hands Jingle those bells and stomp your feet
Judd gave me my Christmas present a little early - a new Flip video camera. Just about the easiest video camera ever! - it's awesome. So, here is our first big event covered by our new camera:
She makes me laugh every day. Here's why: 1. In that picture above she is pretending to burp. (Her daddy taught her that)
2. When she passes gas she says, "I pooted!" very proudly.
3. Last week she wanted to pee-pee on the potty. I put her on the potty and started to clean up the counter in the bathroom. A couple of seconds later I heard a splash and she had fallen in the potty! She said, "hiney wet!"
4. When you change her dirty diaper she says, "it's AWFUL!" and "Puuuwweee!"
5. If she hurts herself, she'll say "Poor Charlotte" (the "lotte" is always a lot higher in tone than the "char", like she's asking a question).
6. I love how she says her name, and she says it a lot - she always talks about herself in 3rd person.
7. If you ask her a question, 90% of the time her response is "uh huh". Not yes, but "uh huh". and it too, sounds like question.
8. She has decided going down slides head first on her tummy is a much better way than to go down on her hiney.
9. I could watch her dance all day - it is hilarious and beautiful all at the same time.
10. When she really wants me to understand what she's saying, she'll grab my face and make me look at her. She says what she needs to say so intensely and nods her head while she says it. Makes me smile every time.
I love her expression here - this is sweet Charlotte.
I spoke to Judd on the phone this afternoon. As we were hanging up he said, "You know people kind of expect a blog post today, right?" I said, "No, I wasn't aware that people were hitting refresh every 30 seconds." He replied, "Well, I have been." Funny thing is - he was there for the whole thing - he knows what happened. And, he knows that I didn't have my camera, so there will be very few pictures.
Rachel and Adam's wedding was fabulous - really awesome. This was the third wedding, the last sister to get married. And you could tell that my parents (and Rachel) had been through this before - it was perfect.
The day was really pretty calm - I think I was probably more flustered than Rachel was. (Judd and I learned that trying to handle a toddler during a wedding weekend isn't for the faint of heart)
As the snow started to fall, the girls all headed over to the salon for hair and makeup. We came back to my parent's house and the waiting began - the few hours until the big moment that creep by so slowly. Rachel handled it really well, she didn't seem nervous at all. Finally things started to get going - dresses were stepped into, necklaces clasped, and lip gloss applied. We were ready - and everyone looked fabulous!
We headed to the church in a limo. Once we got there, Judd and I were ready to hand Charlotte off to the babysitter that my mother hand lined up so we could participate in pictures. However, the babysitter decided not to show up until an hour later - only a half hour before the ceremony. To say I was panicked during that hour is an understatement. One thing Charlotte does not do well is sit still - especially for strangers. And Judd and I were both in the wedding.
The ceremony was lovely. The church was decorated for Christmas and the snow was falling outside. Everything a December wedding should have.
Then it was time to party.
We headed over to the Hershey Country Club and partied the night away. The food was great. The service was top notch. The DJ played an awesome mix of music. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood - just one of those magical nights where everything seems to fall in place. Even Hershey Kiss made an appearance. Charlotte wasted no time getting a hug from Hershey Kiss - I think she hugged him about 500 times.
Charlotte was better than I could have hoped during the reception. She went with almost everyone that wanted to hold her - giving Judd and I much needed breaks. She danced and danced and danced and danced. Finally about 10pm she gave up and wanted "green blanket" and "nap". Judd and I said our good-byes and headed out.
Judd and I drove to Baltimore yesterday to get on a plane to come home. About the time we took off, Adam and Rachel were boarding a plane to Rome for their honeymoon. I couldn't help thinking about Judd and I boarding a plane to Miami for our honeymoon 7.5 years ago. I looked at him and Charlotte sitting next to me and said a little prayer that Rachel will feel as lucky as I do 7.5 years from now.
These pictures are some of the only ones I took the day of the wedding.
Here are a couple I grabbed off of one of Rachel's friend's facebook page: (we had fabulous red shoes to wear with our dresses, but I could only stand in them for so long.)