We have been training for the Easter egg hunts. Last weekend at my parent's house, both my sister and my mother set up egg hunts for Charlotte. She was a pro. She knew just what to do - find the eggs, pick them up, then put them in the basket.
All of her training and hard work was put to the test on Saturday morning. We had not one, but two egg hunts to attend. The first was at church. Luckily, there was a pancake breakfast prior to the hunt, so Char was able to carbo load. She took it seriously - not only did she eat her pancake and sausage, but then she started in on mine.
Our group was lined up and sent out to the playground to hunt for eggs. Charlotte waited eagerly for her chance to grab some eggs.
The gate was opened and everyone flooded into the playground. There were eggs everywhere. But, where was Charlotte? I was sure her basket was full already. However, she was over by the swings asking me to put her on so she could swing. I told her to go get some eggs - this was an EGG HUNT. But no, she wanted to swing. Finally I told her there was candy in the eggs. Well, that was all the motivation she needed and off she went.
The very first egg she picked up, she tried to open - she needed to make sure I wasn't pulling her leg.
Hey, Mom was right!! There is candy in these eggs.
Unfortunately, by the time she finished with that Hershey Kiss, there were about 2 eggs left to find. So, we ended up with very few eggs. There were a few older children with 4-5 dozen eggs in their basket that would run by and throw an egg or two in Charlotte's basket. Not that she really cared, she was too busy making a birthday cake out of wood chips in the playhouse tucked away in the corner of the playground.
After I was able to pry her away from the playground, we headed home to rest and mentally prepare for the second egg hunt of the day.
One of my friends from IBM co-hosts an egg hunt every year. My hopes were high that Charlotte would have the hang of it by now.
Their backyard is huge and was filled with eggs. This egg hunt is great because there were only about 3 other kids Charlotte's age that were allowed to hunt eggs a few minutes before the older kids. Also, the eggs aren't all filled with candy - some of them have small toys. Charlotte got the hang of it quickly and her basket was filled in no time. Especially when she found one gigantic egg.
I think we have one more hunt to attend next weekend, I'm sure she'll be a champ by then. (As long as there isn't a playground in sight.)
We were invited to go with a neighbor to the children's museum today. Charlotte and I packed a lunch and headed out for a morning filled with grocery shopping, painting, moon sand sculpting, water splashing, and ball throwing. This wasn't our first time to the museum, but it was the first time I've taken my camera.
For those of you photography people out there reading this - these were all shot at ISO 2500, f/1.8 and various shutter speeds. The lighting was horrible, color casts everywhere. However, as usual, the subject is perfect :)
(She'll kill me one day for showing the butt crack picture, but as soon as I saw it I just had to post it - I couldn't resist.)
My sister, Sally Birmingham, is pregnant with a little baby boy due mid May. Since she and her husband, Andrew, are keeping the name a closely guarded secret, the baby is has earned the nickname of "Baby Birm".
This past Saturday was Sally's baby shower, so Charlotte and I started our travels to Pennsylvania on Thursday morning. Since we fly standby, we try to fly during off times - like Thursday morning. I checked the flights on Wednesday night and everything looked pretty good for the Thursday morning flight to Harrisburg but the flights looked pretty bad for the rest of the day. Judd dropped Charlotte and I off at the airport early Thursday morning so we could make our flight - Charlotte was beyond excited to fly on an "airpane" and see Grammie and Grandad.
We get to the gate and I see on the Gate Information Screen (GIS) that we are 4th on the list and there are only 3 seats left on the plane - awesome. This is just what I want to see when I'm flying with a 2 year old. I decided just to wait it out to see if anything would change last minute. The gate attendant told me that I had a chance if a couple of people didn't show up, but Charlotte would probably have to sit on my lap. I didn't care at that point, just wanted to get on the plane.
We sat there and waited and at the last minute I saw two people come running down the terminal and into our gate area. So, we didn't make it on the plane. This made Charlotte VERY upset and she launched into a temper tantrum. I drug her kicking and screaming over to the departure screens and noticed that there was a flight to Baltimore that was delayed 10 minutes and I had about 15 minutes to try to make that flight. So, I called Delta, had our reservation switched, threw Charlotte into the stroller and when sprinting down the terminal to try to make it from gate C42 to gate B10. Sweaty and out of breath we made it with about 20 seconds to spare. I got on the plane and quickly called Judd to ask him to make me a car reservation so I could drive from Baltimore to Harrisburg when we landed.
The plane ride was fine - Charlotte is actually a pretty good girl on the planes. Biscoff cookies and apple juice in a big plastic grown up cup help a lot! We landed and I turned on my phone to see Judd had made us a car reservation that included a car seat. Before going to pick up the car, I had to make a stop at the baggage office to find out where my checked luggage went. I find out that it is at the Harrisburg airport - it went with the first flight. Then the baggage guy said to me, "Hey, ya know - the noon flight to Harrisburg is about to leave with 7 seats open - you should have waited for that". I let him know that I am not someone that can see into the future and had no way of knowing that. I also let him know that when traveling with a 2 year old, usually the option that keeps you in motion rather than trying to keep them entertained in one place for 2.5 hours is usually the best option. I thought about peppering my response with expletives, but decided to try and keep it together.
Charlotte and I finally got to our car and pulled onto the highway to Harrisburg. She passed out as soon as her head hit the car seat. So, it was a nice relaxing drive to Harrisburg. We got there and had a couple hours to kill before my mom could get home from work. Normally we would have been able to let ourselves into their house using their garage door - however, on this particular day, the garage doors were broken. So, Charlotte and I ate a very late lunch at Cracker Barrel then headed to the park to play and wait for Mom. Mom came to get us, then I headed to the Harrisburg airport to get my bag. And do you know what the first thing the baggage guy there said to me? "You know, that noon flight to Harrisburg had 7 seats open, you should have waited for that." After the very long day I had just had (we left at 7:30 am and it was 5pm at this point), he's very lucky to have all of his teeth.
I have to say that through all of the ordeal on Thursday, Charlotte was so good. She really rolled with the punches (with the exception for losing it when we didn't make it on the first flight). She didn't have an accident the whole day - went for a 3 hour stretch at one point with no potty break. She only had an hour nap and didn't eat lunch until 3pm!
We ended up having an awesome weekend, totally worth the travel drama. The weather was AMAZING - upper 70s and sunny the entire time. Judd flew up on Friday afternoon to join us - he had much better luck than we did.
Sally looks awesome, and seems to feel good. It was a great shower - Rachel did an awesome job planning everything. We got to visit with lots of family. Sally and Andrew were given so many wonderful gifts for Baby Birm. You can just feel how excited they are and are going to be wonderful parents. Such a lucky little baby to come into a loving home and family.
Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me - I didn't take a single picture the entire weekend. But, I'll leave you with this video from last night. Charlotte woke up at 5:30am yesterday so we could make an 8:30am flight out of Baltimore, and only napped for 20 min the entire day. So, she was pretty loopy by dinner time yesterday. If this doesn't make you smile - well, you probably have a heart of stone.
1 AM this morning Charlotte jolted us awake with a loud scream. My heart started to race and I waited for her to yell, "Mommy! Mommy!" like she has every other time this happens. Except this time she yelled, "DAAADDDYYYY, DADDDDYYY!"
I turned to Judd and said, "Did she just say Daddy?" But, he wasn't next to me, he was already out of the bed and going into her room. I'm not sure I've ever seen him move that fast at 1 AM.
A small milestone that neither he or I will forget. Even though it isn't very fun waking up from a deep sleep to screams - it is always an awesome feeling being the one that is needed and can provide comfort to your child. I know that he loved every second of it. And so did I.
So, how have we adjusted to our new lifestyle now that we are one month in?
We are doing great.
We have settled into a routine and even have a few things planned throughout the week. Charlotte and I went to our first music class this morning and we go to story time at the library once a week. We play with paint, play doh, and her kitchen. She "helps" me start dinner in the evenings as we wait for Daddy to get home. We have had a few play dates and love spending time with other kiddos.
During the 8 days that Judd was in Australia I had a few really hard days. Those days I wanted nothing more than to drop her off at day care and head to work. Listening to co-workers whine is a lot easier to take than listening to a toddler whine for hours on end. I think she was just sick and tired of me by the end of that time - luckily Judd's mom came for the night at the end and provided much needed relief.
Charlotte asks about school a couple of times a week and even will ask about specific friends. It's funny that I get this horrible feeling of guilt because I pulled her out of day care. So, rather than feeling guilty about having her there all day, I feel guilty that she's not.
We have been eating better and I feel much more organized around the house. We eat at home 5-6 nights a week, which is a huge accomplishment for us. I'm not running to the grocery store 5 times a week - but actually taking the time to plan meals and shop for them in one trip. I can't say that I've cleaned every blind and baseboard in the house, but I'm keeping it clean. I'm even doing laundry better.
We have noticed a wonderful side effect - the relationship between Judd and Charlotte is getting a lot stronger. It's not that they didn't have a good relationship before - Charlotte has always loved her Daddy - but Charlotte always wanted me to do everything - bath, bed, dinner, etc. Now, she asks Judd to give her a bath and to put her to bed. She goes to him without a fight and they have special routines they do together now - like making his smoothies in the morning. We don't know if she just grew out of a phase, or if she knows I'm around more now and feels comfortable that I'm not leaving all of the time. Whatever it is, it has been wonderful to watch.
So, all in all we are settling in. I knew the transition wasn't going to be easy. I knew there would be days when Charlotte and I would get on each other's nerves. I am also trying to figure out who this new Carrie is. When I filled out her admission form for school starting in the Fall, I had to fill out the line for my occupation - it took me by surprise and I wasn't sure what to put. I wrote in "Stay at home Mom." I have missed some of the mental challenges of work - trying to write the most logical and efficient code. But, those mental challenges have been replaced with new ones - like how to persuade your 2 year old to go potty at home before you leave for music class rather than having to use the music class potty.
I know that with time I will settle into my new role as a stay at home mom and I don't regret my decision one bit. One thing is for sure - I get a lot more hugs and kisses throughout each day than I did at the office. And for that, I (and Judd) am very grateful!
Charlotte is quite the helper in the mornings when we try to shower, shave, put makeup on, etc. She always has to have lotion, deodorant, mascara, powder applied to her. She usually needs her ears cleaned. She wants to sit on the counter in the bathroom and "help" me. The process of getting ready takes twice as long when she is helping.
This morning she helped Judd shave then she helped him with his tie. I don't think she picked the best tie to go with her PJs, but she looked cute anyways.
Charlotte's teachers always commented about how much she loved art. So, I have tried to keep that going now that she's at home. The other day I bought her some paints and I thought we could have some fun with that.
I put about 8 globs of paint in neat little circles on a paper plate and handed her a brush. She was super excited and got right to work. I showed her how to get just a little paint at a time on her brush and make nice neat strokes. She looked so cute dipping her brush and painting that I went to grab the camera.
This is what I found when I came back - literally 30 seconds later.
Notice the plate with the colors all mixed up and no use of a brush - just hands. She decided to get down and dirty.
I think I said something like, "Excuse me! what did you do???"
She said, "I paint with hands!"
"Yes, I see that. Why did you do that?"
"I don no"
"Do NOT touch your head again"
"Charlotte are you listening to me??? DO NOT TOUCH YOUR HEAD!!!"
And yes, of course I would much rather take pictures of her misbehaving than stopping her from doing it.