The littlest gymnast

Hailey is 'the little gymnast' in this house, but technically, Charlotte is the littlest (for now) and she does gymnastics too. I'm not yet sure if she's all that into it at this point. She likes the bars and balance beam, but she isn't fond of warming up with floor exercises (the first 15 minutes of class).
I took the big camera to gymnastics one day, and captured Charlotte at work. This girl is very serious about her sport. She really doesn't like the warm up time and prefers to not participate. She just stands there and watches everyone else. Some days she won't even join the class on the floor until they've moved to the obstacle course. 
As soon as they move to the obstacle course, she is a happy camper and joins right in. 
 And she's really quite good at it all.
 She's really strong.
 And a good listener. 
 And cute to boot!

 She loves the bars and can hang from them for a long time, it's incredible to watch her out there.

We switched coaches recently as her previous coach wasn't connecting with her at all. She is with coach Kristen now - the same coach Hailey had last year! Coach Kristen is awesome with the little ones! We're hoping Charlotte joins in for warm up time soon - it's a good 15 minutes of class she misses out on.

Halloween 2013

I was a bit tired of going to pumpkin patches this year, as both Hailey and Charlotte's preschool classes had field trips to different pumpkin patches in the area. But...Pete and I still needed pumpkins to carve, and Uncle Jason did too. So we headed to Trinity Farm, because it was close to home and they sell pumpkins. That's right...they sell them, they don't grow them (I guess they tried, but birds kept eating all the seeds). So we went just a few days before Halloween, and many of the pumpkins were rotting and they looked quite picked over. I thought that the field where they had set the pumpkins out was sub-par and so after looking around for a while, we decided to pack it up and find pumpkins elsewhere. I had grown 2 small pumpkins in our garden (which produced so many seeds btw), so Pete and I ended up using those and the girls used the big pumpkins when it came time to carving.

 Pumpkins sitting in a random dirt/weed field = not so exciting.

 Charlotte didn't want to be in a pic.

 Walking away empty without a pumpkin.

We almost forgot to carve pumpkins this year. At 7pm a couple nights before Halloween, we thought we should get busy and carve our pumpkins. It was a school/work night, but we were determined! Here we girls are, posing with our pumpkins (Pete's wasn't finished when we took this pic).

And now for the costumes....

Charlotte was a southern belle and Hailey, a princess pirate.

 They got to wear makeup, which they were SO excited about.

We headed over to Jay & Sarah's for a scrumptious dinner and then we went trick or treating in their neighborhood.

We let the girls eat as much as they wanted to after the trick or treating....and Charlotte ate through ALL of her candy that night.

School pictures 2013

I can't believe how awesome the girls class pictures turned out this year! So good!!

The class photos are pretty funny, not near as amazing as last years class photo. I guess they were having quite the time trying to get the Crickets class photo taken. I think Charlotte stole the show in her class photo!

Charlotte + Gluten = BAD

Charlotte went through a rough patch this summer. We didn't really know what was causing her behavioral issues, but after talking to the doctor and monitoring her very closely, we have narrowed her issue down to that silly thing called GLUTEN. We already knew that she was sensitive, but sometimes it's hard to feel convinced that we've found the issue when her reaction to gluten doesn't happen right after she's had it (it's usually a 1-2 day delay).

I truly understand what it means when people say their their kid has a delayed food sensitivity.

This summer we had quite a few gluten incidents happen in our church nursery. Charlotte even had her first goldfish crackers and it was reported that, "She really liked them!!" (as in...she ate a ton). With her gluten allergy, and mine as well, the side effects aren't immediate and they last for about 2 weeks after we've had exposure. 

It's not always easy to figure out the source of Charlotte's tantrums, but as I've been documenting her food intake, and resulting issues, the answer has become quite clear.

We go to a big church (over 2000 people) and there seem to be new helpers in Charlotte's class quite often (we aren't all that consistent with our service times so that doesn't help). I haven't been diligent in taking gluten-free snacks for Charlotte to eat during service (I feed my kids right before church, they don't NEED snacks when they are there - a topic for another day I suppose). Anyway, there were quite a few times this summer and over the past year where Charlotte was given goldfish crackers because someone in her class didn't see her allergy sticker (or I'd forgotten to put one on her).   

In the week following church (aka goldfish), usually 2 days after, Charlotte begins having quite crazy and hair raising screaming fits. Her eyes go blank (as if nobody is home) and she screams the most terrifying scream. There's no consoling her. It's frightening and also very sad, because there doesn't seem to be any way to help her when these fits happen.

When Sarah was watching the girls for us this summer, she experienced one of Charlotte's screaming fits and was a bit shaken up by it. I think these fits were partly a reason I had considered going back to work. Not that I wanted to abandon my sweet little girl, but because I was having a hard time dealing with Charlotte's fits on top of all the other stay-at-home mom things.

I've read quite a bit about food sensitivities in kids and all sorts of things about autism. Quite a few research pieces I read happen to correlate undiagnosed food sensitivities as being a leading cause of children being autistic. When Charlotte was having her episodes, I'm not going to lie, the thought crossed my mind a time or two. We had always blamed her fits on gluten, but after a while, it almost seemed silly to blame a food for her behavior issues - it just didn't seem right. And it was so hard to pin point because her reactions don't happen until a couple days after she's been exposed.  

I just randomly clicked on a previous post about Charlotte at 4.5 months, and this is what it read:
Charlotte appears to still be sensitive to gluten. I ate a couple things (not intentionally) on our recent trip and since then her shrill screaming and constipation have returned. Her scream gets both Pete and me really uptight. It's not pretty or relaxing and all I can do is try to feed her and when that doesn't work (it usually doesn't) we just try to bounce her and when that doesn't work, I leave the room. It's awful. I feel so bad for her because you can just hear the pain in her scream. :( Poor girl.
-----------------------

Reading that reminded me of Charlotte's first couple of months of life. They were pretty miserable. We came up with the term 'scrying' because Charlotte didn't just cry, she screamed. And she scried more often than not when she was an infant. It was miserable and there were many times where I had to leave the room because I just couldn't take it. We would be up all night with her. Pete was my hero. He's so patient and would bounce her and bounce her, trying to make her stop screaming.

When we finally eliminated gluten, all of her screaming went away. We had a happy baby and we were SO relieved!

It's hard to control every single thing our kids are eating, and I feel so lame telling people that Charlotte can't have gluten, but I'm realizing more and more, just how important it is to keep gluten out of her body.

There are a few food ingredients and products that have gluten in them that are really hard to recognize as glutenous. Did you know some mustard is not gluten free?

I read every single ingredient list these days... Here are the weird ingredients that often trip me up:

  • modified food starch - often derived from wheat. "Modified food starch can be found in many processed foods. Always take the time to read the label to ensure any food you eat is free of it in the absence of other gluten-free certification." (link
  • soy sauce, oyster sauce
  • any ingredient with 'malt' in it
  • natural flavors (this is a hard one)

I wish I knew why Charlotte's body doesn't agree with gluten (mine too). But for now, we will continue to monitor everything she eats and we will certainly be more diligent in keeping gluten away from her.

I write this here so that I can look back over time and see that this wasn't just an infant thing. No, it's still an issue and we need to be certain she stays away from gluten - no matter how hard it is to deny her a treat she sees everyone else eating.

It will be interesting to see if she chooses to try gluten down the road and to get to hear her first hand experience. I used to wonder if her tummy hurt and if that's why she screams like she does... but after talking with the doc and experiencing it a few more times, we're pretty sure it's a chemical reaction to gluten happening in her brain that causes her screaming fits. Whatever it is, I hope that living gluten free isn't a challenge for her down the road. We just want her to be a happy and healthy little girl.  

Charlotte + Gluten = BAD

Charlotte went through a rough patch this summer. We didn't really know what was causing her behavioral issues, but after talking to the doctor and monitoring her very closely, we have narrowed her issue down to that silly thing called GLUTEN. We already knew that she was sensitive, but sometimes it's hard to feel convinced that we've found the issue when her reaction to gluten doesn't happen right after she's had it (it's usually a 1-2 day delay).

I truly understand what it means when people say their their kid has a delayed food sensitivity.

This summer we had quite a few gluten incidents happen in our church nursery. Charlotte even had her first goldfish crackers and it was reported that, "She really liked them!!" (as in...she ate a ton). With her gluten allergy, and mine as well, the side effects aren't immediate and they last for about 2 weeks after we've had exposure. 

It's not always easy to figure out the source of Charlotte's tantrums, but as I've been documenting her food intake, and resulting issues, the answer has become quite clear.

We go to a big church (over 2000 people) and there seem to be new helpers in Charlotte's class quite often (we aren't all that consistent with our service times so that doesn't help). I haven't been diligent in taking gluten-free snacks for Charlotte to eat during service (I feed my kids right before church, they don't NEED snacks when they are there - a topic for another day I suppose). Anyway, there were quite a few times this summer and over the past year where Charlotte was given goldfish crackers because someone in her class didn't see her allergy sticker (or I'd forgotten to put one on her).   

In the week following church (aka goldfish), usually 2 days after, Charlotte begins having quite crazy and hair raising screaming fits. Her eyes go blank (as if nobody is home) and she screams the most terrifying scream. There's no consoling her. It's frightening and also very sad, because there doesn't seem to be any way to help her when these fits happen.

When Sarah was watching the girls for us this summer, she experienced one of Charlotte's screaming fits and was a bit shaken up by it. I think these fits were partly a reason I had considered going back to work. Not that I wanted to abandon my sweet little girl, but because I was having a hard time dealing with Charlotte's fits on top of all the other stay-at-home mom things.

I've read quite a bit about food sensitivities in kids and all sorts of things about autism. Quite a few research pieces I read happen to correlate undiagnosed food sensitivities as being a leading cause of children being autistic. When Charlotte was having her episodes, I'm not going to lie, the thought crossed my mind a time or two. We had always blamed her fits on gluten, but after a while, it almost seemed silly to blame a food for her behavior issues - it just didn't seem right. And it was so hard to pin point because her reactions don't happen until a couple days after she's been exposed.  

I just randomly clicked on a previous post about Charlotte at 4.5 months, and this is what it read:
Charlotte appears to still be sensitive to gluten. I ate a couple things (not intentionally) on our recent trip and since then her shrill screaming and constipation have returned. Her scream gets both Pete and me really uptight. It's not pretty or relaxing and all I can do is try to feed her and when that doesn't work (it usually doesn't) we just try to bounce her and when that doesn't work, I leave the room. It's awful. I feel so bad for her because you can just hear the pain in her scream. :( Poor girl.
-----------------------

Reading that reminded me of Charlotte's first couple of months of life. They were pretty miserable. We came up with the term 'scrying' because Charlotte didn't just cry, she screamed. And she scried more often than not when she was an infant. It was miserable and there were many times where I had to leave the room because I just couldn't take it. We would be up all night with her. Pete was my hero. He's so patient and would bounce her and bounce her, trying to make her stop screaming.

When we finally eliminated gluten, all of her screaming went away. We had a happy baby and we were SO relieved!

It's hard to control every single thing our kids are eating, and I feel so lame telling people that Charlotte can't have gluten, but I'm realizing more and more, just how important it is to keep gluten out of her body.

There are a few food ingredients and products that have gluten in them that are really hard to recognize as glutenous. Did you know some mustard is not gluten free?

I read every single ingredient list these days... Here are the weird ingredients that often trip me up:

  • modified food starch - often derived from wheat. "Modified food starch can be found in many processed foods. Always take the time to read the label to ensure any food you eat is free of it in the absence of other gluten-free certification." (link
  • soy sauce, oyster sauce
  • any ingredient with 'malt' in it
  • natural flavors (this is a hard one)

I wish I knew why Charlotte's body doesn't agree with gluten (mine too). But for now, we will continue to monitor everything she eats and we will certainly be more diligent in keeping gluten away from her.

I write this here so that I can look back over time and see that this wasn't just an infant thing. No, it's still an issue and we need to be certain she stays away from gluten - no matter how hard it is to deny her a treat she sees everyone else eating.

It will be interesting to see if she chooses to try gluten down the road and to get to hear her first hand experience. I used to wonder if her tummy hurt and if that's why she screams like she does... but after talking with the doc and experiencing it a few more times, we're pretty sure it's a chemical reaction to gluten happening in her brain that causes her screaming fits. Whatever it is, I hope that living gluten free isn't a challenge for her down the road. We just want her to be a happy and healthy little girl.  

Trips to the bathroom and Ikea

We went to dinner the other night and at the end of our meal, Hailey needed to use the bathroom. I started to walk into the stall with her, and she stopped me (by shoving the door closed) and said, "I don't need any help, I can do it on my own." Um, WHAT?!!?!? When did this happen??????

Just a few days before this, she discovered that she could indeed get up on the toilet without the help of a step. And now she doesn't even need me?? Don't get me wrong, it's a really great spot to be in (her being able to do the whole thing on her own), but it did make me a teeny bit sad that my girl is so quickly growing up.

Little Miss Independent! 

Charlotte has been talking quite a bit lately. She can say just about any word (she repeats stuff) and her favorite word is still "No". She is so cute when she say it. She is also very good at saying "Poop" and "Pee". She has been potty training herself. This was NOT started by me! I guess she just wants to be a big girl. She's still going in her diaper at random, but if she does, she makes sure to tell us. And before bed she's learned the old 'I have to go potty' trick in order to stay up later. Of course we want to help her if she needs to go before bed, so we sit there with her as she plays around on the toilet. Sometimes she goes right away (and then we're glad we listened) and sometimes she doesn't go (and then we get frustrated that she's wasting time trying to stay up later).

She is still very active. Always climbing and jumping off of things. She even hangs from things.

She and Hailey usually get along and they are really good buddies. Hailey watches out for Charlotte and also makes sure to tattle on her if she's doing something wrong. Or when she's not tattling, she tries to blame Charlotte for whatever it is they are doing that isn't quite right (the other day a whole bag of crumbs was dumped on the couch - Hailey quickly blamed Charlotte for turning the bag upside down and pouring it all over the couch - but who was the one that got the snack out in the first place and chose to take the bag downstairs to eat it? Hailey of course).

We've been a little out of sync for naps. Today they are both napping at the same time (as I write this!). One day last weekend Pete commented that we really need to get them on the same schedule. I of course agreed. Some days it works, other days...it just doesn't (and those are the days I find myself pulling my hair out in frustration because mommy just needs a break sometimes!).

Speaking about pulling my hair out... Charlotte has had a few rather crazy (as in embarrassing) tantrums in stores lately.

Now...I took my phone out a little late in this tantrum, so I didn't get the really good stuff captured (laying face down with arms and legs flailing about and screaming at the top of her lungs), but I did at least capture these 2 things: 1. we were at Ikea and 2. Charlotte was NOT happy about being there. She has this really loud shrill scream that she does once in a while and let me tell you, she let it out of its cage for this trip.

This video was taken during the tail end of the whole thing. It's very tame (and I'm not sure why it cut out the sound at the end, but my phone has issues...maybe it was tired of hearing her too). Everyone was looking at us with those eyes. You know the ones - the "why-don't-you-just-pick-your-kid-up-and-make-her-be-quiet" eyes. Well folks, we tried that. And her screaming got SO loud that we set her back down. I was trying to keep Hailey entertained (distracted) while Pete was trying his very best to get Charlotte calmed down. It looked like we didn't belong to her. When Pete picked her up she did that arched back kicking thing (and her scream volume increased).... We eventually just let her have it out in the display kitchen in the corner and tried our best to look like we were trying (for the sake of the people passing by) but also, we tried to ignore her (the good old 'ignore them and they will stop' tactic) while she screamed it out. She eventually calmed down and let me tell you - we grabbed her and went on the fast track to get out of the building!  

 Hope that made you smile. That's all I have for now (I need to be a little productive during this beloved nap time!). :)

Easter, Potty, and Concerts, oh my!

I seriously love my little wee ones. They aren't so little anymore though. Hailey is talking up a storm these days (and not just a storm, it's a funny storm). Earlier today she was asking me "Is it up or down??" I was baking cookies at the time, and was totally and utterly confused by her question.

She kept asking, "Is it up or down, mommy?"

Me - "What do you mean, Hailey? Is *what* up or down???"

H - "Is it up or is it down??"

Me (dumbfounded) - "Uh, I'm not sure."

H - "Oh, it's a silly question, just a silly question. Hee hee. Is it up or down...  in the oven?? Ha ha, it's a silly question, I'm funny. Silly questions."

Oh. My.

She is seriously cracking me up with her random little mind. I never did figure out what she was trying to ask - she just kept giggling about how silly of a question it was and how funny she can be.

Today we played with paper, glue, beans and noodles. It was really fun to see the girls smearing glue all over their paper and then dumping piles of beans and noodles on creating works of art. Pete came home from work and noted that the floor was a bit messy. Oh, I almost hadn't noticed, the table was so full of messy mess everywhere that I just ignored the floor. I was also wearing shoes - mostly because of the mess that was being made (okay, it was actually the only reason I was wearing shoes!).

You know you're a mom of young children when you wear shoes in your kitchen because the floor is too dirty to knowingly go shoeless.

Hailey has been really excited about all of the events in our lives lately. "Do we have swimming tomorrow? How about dance, do we go to dance tomorrow? Hmmm...MOPS? Can we go to MOPS? Are we going for a run today? Can Aunt Kari and Uncle Kyle come over? Are Sylvia and Ella coming over today?? LITA and papa DON!??? I want to go to their house... Can we go to Target?"  (and so on)

In other random news, Charlotte has been going potty on the POTTY! I walked into her room to get her up from a nap a couple days ago and she said, "Poop"....I asked if she had gone and she shook her head no and then again said, "Poop" so I asked her if she wanted to go on her potty, and she said yes. Then I pulled that diaper off and she sat down on her little potty seat and pooped. Uh...what the heck?? AWESOME. So the next day (yesterday) she peed on the potty (after again, she told me, "Poop") and I was like, what the what?? Then my mom watched the girls last night and she reported that Charlotte again peed on the potty. Wow. And then again today...........she peed 1 time on the potty (and one time on the floor) and pooped 2 times on her potty! I didn't have to change a single poopy diaper today! Seriously. I'm hoping she just keeps this up and we get to say bye bye to diapers. I am loving this - even if it is just a short jaunt with the potty for now, I'm happy to have a few days of 'my kid seems to be potty training herself' glee. :) I hope I didn't just jinx myself!

Something that both girls have been doing lately, is rubbing their eyes whenever there is someone new (or someone they haven't seen in a while) around. They get shy and rub their eyes. I think Hailey learned to do this from Charlotte. People always assume they are just really tired, but nope...it's just their way of hiding, I guess.

We had a great Easter. We went up to B-ham for a wonderful time with Kyle and Kari and fam. Kari always makes the best meals and this one didn't disappoint! She always makes it look so easy, too. Seriously, nice work Kari (and thanks for hosting)!

 I failed to get a picture of the girls standing together in their Easter outfits, so I tried my best to get any where they weren't hiding their faces from the cameras (a favorite thing to do lately).

Charlotte figured out the egg hunt thing pretty quickly (after walking right past a few very obvious ones, I wasn't sure she'd catch on). She thought it was pretty cool and really liked the money she found in some of the eggs.

 Saben was the unlucky 'older' kid and had to wait a whole minute before he could start searching for eggs. The girls had a chance to collect before the master egg hunter swept the place clean.

My parents had a cute little moment in the yard. It looked like some good flirting going on, and I tried to capture a pic so I could always remember those cheerful flirting faces we sometimes don't pick up.

The kids started working out some deals with each other. Hailey didn't like some of the candy and made trades with Saben and Annika. It was pretty rad to see her negotiating her candy trades. 

Hailey ate SO much sugar (to give you an idea....there was nothing left to bring home, she ate everything right then and there after the hunt). She stayed awake on the entire drive home and was talking so much gibberish and singing the most random (and awesome) made up songs. We were cracking up. Even when we got home, she laid awake in bed singing these totally sugar fed wacky songs. Wow. Hello, sugar.

Pete and I went on a date last night (thanks for watching the girls, Mom!). We hit up Green Leaf in the international district for dinner, and then went to the Showbox SODO to see Kimbra and Gotye. AWESOME show! We never buy tickets to concerts (unless someone we know is in the band), but whenever we happen upon live music when we're out and about, we find ourselves really enjoying the show and I have often wondered why we don't make an effort to go to some shows of bands we like. So, I bought the tickets and gave them to Pete for Christmas. I am happy to report that we had a blast. I guess we've been to quite a few shows in the past, but, the tickets were usually freebies from vendors we worked with. FYI - concerts are still pretty cool - even when you're in your 30's and pay for your own tickets. ;)

It's time for bed (actually, it's way past time). But before I go, here's a picture of Hailey and Charlotte with my parents. :)

Recent Favorites...

Recent as in....sometime in the last 3 months or so. I haven't looked at pictures much lately and I certainly haven't done anything with them...so here's my attempt at doing something with pictures. :)

 In other news...we went to Vegas on our first ever trip away from both kids. It was epic. Meaning...I got sick (imagine alternating chills/sweats, and all energy completely gone...I was knocked out in bed an entire day - and the stupid thing? It was all for a lame cold, not even like a 'real' sickness) and then Pete got it the following day (just in time for the worst flights ever (never do a connection from Vegas). Imagine being stuck on planes on runways...now imagine having to pee really badly and not being able to get out of your seat for the hour that you're stuck on the runway waiting for take off - yup, that was me. And then getting seated next to a guy who smelled like he hadn't showered in months and though I didn't see anything lit, it seemed that I was smoking a cigarette just by sitting next to the guy. Ugh. But other than that little sickness inconvenience, it was great having some one on one time with my man. I mean, I actually got to talk to him and notice his beautiful eyes. And I got to lay in bed all day - how often does that happen at home with two little ones under foot?? Never.

We did have one full day there before I got sick and we had fun. We went to the Criss Angel show and that was pretty cool. And we even went to a club for some radical people watching. We played a game of pool...and that was quite humorous as we both couldn't seem to hit any balls (embarrassing). We also walked the whole strip and checked stuff out. We didn't make it to the stratosphere though....we were planning on doing some rides, but those plans were set for the following day... and then I got sick and all plans were tossed out the window.

I managed to pull myself together at 10pm the night I fell under the weather and I found my way to a poker table to play some no limit texas hold em. I had SO much fun playing. It's been years, but my mad skills came right back and I more than tripled my money in just under 2 hours. :) Pete was pretty proud of me. Speaking of Pete, I totally posted that picture of him above because well, I thought it was awesome that I got him to pose next to a flower (he wasn't so fond of the idea). Thanks for taking care of the girls M&D Myron and M&D Young - what a blessing! 

 We went to the aquarium for Hailey's birthday. The girls really enjoyed it and so did we. Hailey kept shouting "I found Nemo! There he is daddy, do you see him?"  :) I'm hoping to post up about her birthday in another post...so I'll spare you the details here.

And lastly, I just LOVE these girls and these bedtime pictures are so so sweet. Charlotte always crawls into Hailey's bed and I thought it would be fun to let them sleep in the same bed one night since they looked so cute. Well...it didn't work. I did get these cute pictures though! :)

Kiddos & Ice storm

***Publishing this "draft" because it's been sitting for a month and though I didn't finish it, I want to remember this stuff!!***

Charlotte started walking face first down the stairs the other day without holding onto anything. She thinks she's so grown up. We're still trying to make her get on her belly to slide down, but she's a strong willed little girl...so down she walks.

Her first molar appeared a couple weeks ago. She still only has two bottom teeth, but now has 5 teeth up top. The matching molar is just now coming through. Guess she'll be chomping her gums. She eats everything we eat and does a fine job chewing!

Charlotte now refuses to eat if she's in a highchair. One night, she screamed and squirmed and shoved her plate away. We took her out of the high chair and she immediately climbed up into a chair and ate everything on her plate... Uh. Okay. We thought it was just a one time deal, but it quickly became obvious that it was an every time deal. She thinks she's too grown up for that highchair thing. So the highchair is now in the garage - awaiting a new home.

Hailey and Charlotte have so much fun playing together. We have dance parties in our living room just about every single day. Hailey has taught Charlotte how to Pique.

We had a blast in the snow last week. Absolutely loved having Pete home from work (he worked from home all week - with Thursday & Friday being the exception - no power = no work).

Speaking of power outages, we had one. Thankfully we have a wood burning fireplace. It's not very efficient, but as long as we were in front of it, we were warm. I read a whole book while sitting in front of the fire. It was excellent to relax and just enjoy being together (despite having my kindle glued to my face). The girls had plenty of fun - Hailey kept wanting to take her clothes off because she'd get hot from running around the living room with Charlotte. We had to remind her that it was actually pretty cold in the house and she might be best to keep her shirt on. I mean...we even had to wrap blankets around the fish tank to keep them warm!

We played bed bugs, chutes and ladders, go fish, and other random games with the girls while the power was out. They also did lots of coloring.

A little update with some cute pics

Hailey is in a dance class and LOVING it. She knows some official ballet moves already (this was confirmed by her Aunt Kendra who is also in ballet right now). It's so sweet to see how her face totally lights up when she's dancing. She. Loves. It.

 She likes playing the drums, dancing, singing, praying, picking out her own clothes in the morning, eating cereal, playing with Charlotte and eating snacks.

Charlotte still isn't talking much. She's a pretty serious girl (that's not so say she isn't goofy and happy). She mostly communicates by pointing and shaking her upper body side to side (which oddly enough, means "yes"). I followed Charlotte into the bathroom the other day. I was wondering what she was up to when she walked over to the toilet. I asked, "Do you need to go potty?" and she responded with a full body side-to-side shake...which I took as a yes. "Do you want to sit on the toilet?" shake-shake. Okay....so I was a little bewildered as I took off her diaper and set her there...and then she peed. She. Was. So. Proud! I was like, whoa....did that just happen? Hailey came in to see what had happened...and upon discovering Charlotte's great success, she cheered and cheered for Charlotte, "Yay Charlotte, good potty Charlotte, YAAAAAAAAY!!" We celebrate the small things here.

Charlotte has been zooming all over the house - it's amazing how much she moves. I don't really carry her around anymore (kind of sad). She loves to give hugs, but makes them short and sweet - then she's on the move again. 

Pete and I joined our host team at church. Pete really wasn't excited about it, but I was determined to get us more involved (truth be told, I wasn't that excited about it either). It turned out to be a good thing (other than having to be at church at 8:15 on the mornings we're hosting). Last week we handed out bulletins and greeted everyone - easy-peasy and actually kind of fun! Pete and I agreed that maybe it wasn't all that bad of a thing after all. Well, other than missing most of the worship time because we're still at the doors greeting the latecomers - lots of late people at our church btw (we're usually in that crowd).

Speaking of being involved in church....Pete and I are both in growth groups. Pete meets up with some guys on Monday nights for his group called, God, Games & Guys (no joke). They play xbox together (they've had remote *meetings* a few times already). On Wednesdays I'm in a Beth Moore study called, Believing God. There's homework every day (not that I do it every day). Actually, I have been struggling to keep up. It's been a really good video series though! The homework has been totally frustrating. It's long. I haven't been in many Bible studies, but my table leader did tell me it's the hardest study she's ever been in and not to feel bad if I can't keep up with 2 little ones under foot. At least I've met more people from church by going..

I'm also in MOPS on Wednesdays at East Renton Community Church. I really like it this year (last year was kind of sad as I was pretty much the only person at my table). We have a really good group of girls at our table and I'm thankful that Meme invited me to join (and that I followed through and went)! Last week I was really excited to make myself a Thankful tree and guess what? The same morning I had decided that I would make one, it was the craft at MOPS! I was SO excited! How cool is that?

I'm absolutely LOVING the fall colors! We're so blessed to live in the NW (thanks parents!).

Halloween 2011

Wowsers, Halloween weekend was a wild one!
Hailey and Charlotte had several outfits to choose from and they both seemed to enjoy dressing up. Much to our surprise, Charlotte even kept her hat on most of the night she was a garden gnome! 
Hailey got to go trick or treating with friends and at a party earlier in the weekend, she got to eat lots and lots of kettle corn (somebody stop that girl - she's going to have a tummy ache!).
Charlotte had lots of candy off the floor and has not been feeling well since. Well actually, she's finally better today - no more diarrhea diaper blow-outs! :) Oh sorry, was that TMI??
Fun times had by all. 
Thanks friends!

Lazy Saturday video

We are having a wonderful lazy Saturday morning here! It started off with a deer sighting in our yard. 1 mama and her 2 babies - so cute. They were eating some of the apples from our tree (the few that grew this year). We watched them for quite a while...and then Hailey asked me, "What's a deer say?" - I'm stumped.

Have you ever heard a deer make noise?? What do they sound like?

The Birthday

Charlotte's 1st birthday was Thursday, the 22nd. I made a really yummy breakfast of fancy eggs (scrambled with basil, peppers, and cheese), pancakes, and turkey bacon. Charlotte loved all of it! We enjoyed our time eating together as a family on a weekday morning.

I had been debating skipping Hailey's preschool for the day so we could take Charlotte to the zoo or something (naughty me), but since Charlotte normally naps for about 2 hours during Hailey's class time, I figured it would be wise to stick to our schedule. We were about 20 minutes late due to our big breakfast (or maybe it was 30 minutes...?) but Tessa was glad Hailey showed up (Ella is in Germany visiting her grandparents so it was just Tessa and Hailey this time).
I've never really dressed the girls in matching outfits, but I happened to find these polka dot outfits on the clearance rack at Baby Gap and couldn't pass them up. They looked so cute together! Hailey was super excited that the playdoh was still out, she got right to work...and Charlotte (as always) tried to join in.

When Charlotte and I got home she went right down for a nap and I got started on the crockpot BBQ chicken I had planned to make (I'm loving my menu plans from gfreecuisine.com!). When she woke up we ate lunch and then headed out to get Hailey. The girls and I played in the afternoon (after naps) and then the Myron 5 came over for a birthday dinner.

It was getting late, so we headed downstairs to have Charlotte open her gifts from mommy, daddy and Hailey. She got a "How I Got My Name" book that was customized for her (I thought it would be nice since it took us 3 weeks to figure out her name after she was born) and she got a doll (Hailey also got a doll on her 1st birthday from the same person off Etsy). Charlotte LOVED her doll, she pulled it out of the box and hugged her so tight! She loves dolls.
On Saturday we had a big birthday party for Charlotte. I had hoped the weather would be nice, and thankfully it cooperated (it would have been an uncomfortably packed house otherwise)!

The week prior, Pete had decided that our family would go out to breakfast (I LOVE going to breakfast!) on the morning of the party so we didn't create a big breakfast mess in our kitchen (I'm good at that). It was a really nice way to start the day and Pete had found a buy one get one free coupon for a nearby restaurant in our monthly mailer, so we were excited about that (nice work Pete).


I had ordered a gluten free cake and cupcake from a bakery in Kirkland (call me crazy!). I made a 'healthy' cake and cupcakes for Hailey's 1st birthday and it was a total disaster (let's just say I should have tested the recipes before serving the things at a party!). So...this time, I wanted to make sure that our guests would get to enjoy the cake and also, I'll be honest here...I didn't want to mess around with gluten free baking when I had so much else to do. So anyway, Pete and Hailey headed off to Kirkland to pick up the cake while Charlotte napped and I got the rest of the party prep underway.

I had a silly idea to make a birthday banner for Charlotte, so on the night before her birthday, Pete and I slaved away. It was nice to actually get it hung up and see it in all its glory (I might have almost died falling from the ladder, but hey...I did it all by myself!). I know that some people have awesome machines that cut their paper for them....but us? Well, we stayed up late a couple nights in a row - cutting out letters! I WILL use the banner at more than just this party, so I think it was worth it. ;) I also learned how to make tissue paper pom poms and though my pom poms weren't perfect, I thought they were a fun touch (yes, I'm patting myself on the back!).

So..........back to the day of the party. And the special cupcake. Pete got home with said bakery items, and I was a little annoyed that my "special 1st birthday, birthday girl cupcake" looked like something I whipped up at 1am (the pink frosting wasn't even consistent - like it wasn't mixed well). I mean, I paid $2.90 (plus tax) for the thing!!!

I don't usually call and complain, but I was a little disappointed in the lack luster of the 'special' cupcake...I've had cupcakes from cupcake shops, and this was a lazy attempt. So I called to tell them I wasn't totally satisfied. And then they put the "designer" of our cupcake on the phone. (((Where's my hole? I really wanted to crawl into my hole at this point!))) I got to tell the designer that I wasn't very happy with the results and I actually told her that it looks like something I whipped up at the last minute (eek! but it did!!!) ...she offered to make a new one for us to pick up before the party ( it was about an hour before the party). Um.....yeah, we're NOT close to Kirkland...so that wasn't an option. And well, nothing really came of it. She was supposed to call me back, after talking with the owner, to possibly offer me for a dozen free cupcakes for future use, but I haven't heard back (I guess there's still time). It wasn't really *that* big of a deal, I just felt ripped off since I'd seen what was in their display case for the same price and the cupcake we got was total lack luster in comparison. They even had one of the invitations to 'match' (as they had requested) but still failed to make it coordinate. I mean, they're the designers, right? Do something cool - make it fancy! Oh well. It was just a cupcake.

When it came time for Charlotte to blow out her candle she just stared and stared at it (that's our inquisitive little girl!).

Hailey blew out the candle for her and then after some prodding, Charlotte finally stuck her finger to the frosting and eventually tasted it (it was slow going). She was NOT impressed.

 
As a matter of fact, she didn't want any more and tried to get away from her cupcake! 
 
Pete stuck some in her mouth and she was totally disgusted! She didn't want to have anything to do with it. Maybe she, too, was disappointed in the appearance of her special cupcake?
We tried to get her to eat it, and even Hailey took a bite out of it in an effort to show her that it was okay to eat....but it didn't work. 
I brought out a fork, wondering if that's what she had been waiting for...but she just poked at her cupcake with a look of terror on her face. Her cousin Ella tried to feed her, but it didn't work. She just didn't want it.

The party went on and everyone else enjoyed the cake - some even swiped 2nds (it was a really good gluten free cake - vanilla with raspberry filling).

It was time for gifts and Charlotte found a laughing pill taped to a box and wandered off with it (thanks Bickel family!). She was content to wander around squeezing that thing for the rest of the day (and all day today). She just giggled and giggled with it. :)

She got some awesome books, toys and clothes - and all of the kids enjoyed doing a quality assurance test with the toys. Kid tested, mother approved!

Charlotte was finally ready for a nap so I took her wings off, laid her down...and she was out! The party continued and I think (hope) everyone had fun (why don't we have people over more often??).

What a fun birthday it was (if I do say so myself!).

The Birthday

Charlotte's 1st birthday was Thursday, the 22nd. I made a really yummy breakfast of fancy eggs (scrambled with basil, peppers, and cheese), pancakes, and turkey bacon. Charlotte loved all of it! We enjoyed our time eating together as a family on a weekday morning.

I had been debating skipping Hailey's preschool for the day so we could take Charlotte to the zoo or something (naughty me), but since Charlotte normally naps for about 2 hours during Hailey's class time, I figured it would be wise to stick to our schedule. We were about 20 minutes late due to our big breakfast (or maybe it was 30 minutes...?) but Tessa was glad Hailey showed up (Ella is in Germany visiting her grandparents so it was just Tessa and Hailey this time).
I've never really dressed the girls in matching outfits, but I happened to find these polka dot outfits on the clearance rack at Baby Gap and couldn't pass them up. They looked so cute together! Hailey was super excited that the playdoh was still out, she got right to work...and Charlotte (as always) tried to join in.

When Charlotte and I got home she went right down for a nap and I got started on the crockpot BBQ chicken I had planned to make (I'm loving my menu plans from gfreecuisine.com!). When she woke up we ate lunch and then headed out to get Hailey. The girls and I played in the afternoon (after naps) and then the Myron 5 came over for a birthday dinner.

It was getting late, so we headed downstairs to have Charlotte open her gifts from mommy, daddy and Hailey. She got a "How I Got My Name" book that was customized for her (I thought it would be nice since it took us 3 weeks to figure out her name after she was born) and she got a doll (Hailey also got a doll on her 1st birthday from the same person off Etsy). Charlotte LOVED her doll, she pulled it out of the box and hugged her so tight! She loves dolls.
On Saturday we had a big birthday party for Charlotte. I had hoped the weather would be nice, and thankfully it cooperated (it would have been an uncomfortably packed house otherwise)!

The week prior, Pete had decided that our family would go out to breakfast (I LOVE going to breakfast!) on the morning of the party so we didn't create a big breakfast mess in our kitchen (I'm good at that). It was a really nice way to start the day and Pete had found a buy one get one free coupon for a nearby restaurant in our monthly mailer, so we were excited about that (nice work Pete).


I had ordered a gluten free cake and cupcake from a bakery in Kirkland (call me crazy!). I made a 'healthy' cake and cupcakes for Hailey's 1st birthday and it was a total disaster (let's just say I should have tested the recipes before serving the things at a party!). So...this time, I wanted to make sure that our guests would get to enjoy the cake and also, I'll be honest here...I didn't want to mess around with gluten free baking when I had so much else to do. So anyway, Pete and Hailey headed off to Kirkland to pick up the cake while Charlotte napped and I got the rest of the party prep underway.

I had a silly idea to make a birthday banner for Charlotte, so on the night before her birthday, Pete and I slaved away. It was nice to actually get it hung up and see it in all its glory (I might have almost died falling from the ladder, but hey...I did it all by myself!). I know that some people have awesome machines that cut their paper for them....but us? Well, we stayed up late a couple nights in a row - cutting out letters! I WILL use the banner at more than just this party, so I think it was worth it. ;) I also learned how to make tissue paper pom poms and though my pom poms weren't perfect, I thought they were a fun touch (yes, I'm patting myself on the back!).

So..........back to the day of the party. And the special cupcake. Pete got home with said bakery items, and I was a little annoyed that my "special 1st birthday, birthday girl cupcake" looked like something I whipped up at 1am (the pink frosting wasn't even consistent - like it wasn't mixed well). I mean, I paid $2.90 (plus tax) for the thing!!!

I don't usually call and complain, but I was a little disappointed in the lack luster of the 'special' cupcake...I've had cupcakes from cupcake shops, and this was a lazy attempt. So I called to tell them I wasn't totally satisfied. And then they put the "designer" of our cupcake on the phone. (((Where's my hole? I really wanted to crawl into my hole at this point!))) I got to tell the designer that I wasn't very happy with the results and I actually told her that it looks like something I whipped up at the last minute (eek! but it did!!!) ...she offered to make a new one for us to pick up before the party ( it was about an hour before the party). Um.....yeah, we're NOT close to Kirkland...so that wasn't an option. And well, nothing really came of it. She was supposed to call me back, after talking with the owner, to possibly offer me for a dozen free cupcakes for future use, but I haven't heard back (I guess there's still time). It wasn't really *that* big of a deal, I just felt ripped off since I'd seen what was in their display case for the same price and the cupcake we got was total lack luster in comparison. They even had one of the invitations to 'match' (as they had requested) but still failed to make it coordinate. I mean, they're the designers, right? Do something cool - make it fancy! Oh well. It was just a cupcake.

When it came time for Charlotte to blow out her candle she just stared and stared at it (that's our inquisitive little girl!).

Hailey blew out the candle for her and then after some prodding, Charlotte finally stuck her finger to the frosting and eventually tasted it (it was slow going). She was NOT impressed.

 
As a matter of fact, she didn't want any more and tried to get away from her cupcake! 
 
Pete stuck some in her mouth and she was totally disgusted! She didn't want to have anything to do with it. Maybe she, too, was disappointed in the appearance of her special cupcake?
We tried to get her to eat it, and even Hailey took a bite out of it in an effort to show her that it was okay to eat....but it didn't work. 
I brought out a fork, wondering if that's what she had been waiting for...but she just poked at her cupcake with a look of terror on her face. Her cousin Ella tried to feed her, but it didn't work. She just didn't want it.

The party went on and everyone else enjoyed the cake - some even swiped 2nds (it was a really good gluten free cake - vanilla with raspberry filling).

It was time for gifts and Charlotte found a laughing pill taped to a box and wandered off with it (thanks Bickel family!). She was content to wander around squeezing that thing for the rest of the day (and all day today). She just giggled and giggled with it. :)

She got some awesome books, toys and clothes - and all of the kids enjoyed doing a quality assurance test with the toys. Kid tested, mother approved!

Charlotte was finally ready for a nap so I took her wings off, laid her down...and she was out! The party continued and I think (hope) everyone had fun (why don't we have people over more often??).

What a fun birthday it was (if I do say so myself!).

Happy Birthday to my sweet Charlotte

I can't believe it, but my little Charlotte is a whole year old today.

It's been a while since I've written about her, so here's a list of things I'd like to remember about her at this age:

  • She took her first steps at 10 months and has been practicing her run in an effort to keep up with her sister.
  • She has 6 teeth (4 on top and 2 on the bottom)
  • She slides down the stairs on her belly - but now seems to think she's a big girl and wants to walk down them like her big sister does.
  •  I always call her my sweet Charlotte because she is my little hug monster. She wraps her arms around me and lays her head on my shoulder and just lets me snuggle her.
  • She says mama, dada, that (dat), and cat. I'm pretty sure she has 'words' for other things, but I haven't quite picked up on them all. She seems to call Hailey the same thing every time, but I can't seem to think of the sound she makes (it doesn't sound like a word, but it always sounds the same!)
  • Charlotte can sign "milk" and "more" and it only took about 5 minutes for her to learn. 
  • I am currently weening her and though I miss the morning cuddles, I'm hopeful she'll start sleeping through the night and forgo her 5am morning feed. I know, I'm crazy for still getting up and feeding her, but there was a time not long ago where my milk flow had slowed way down and I was afraid she wasn't getting enough and really needed the milk...so I kept on keeping on. Now I'm loading her up with formula. We're going to the doc tomorrow and will discuss the next steps. 
  • She LOVES playing with Hailey. Hailey includes her in her play and Charlotte is always very interested and even helpful (she hands Hailey puzzle pieces when she's working on a puzzle). 
  • She doesn't wave very often, but she does point a lot and say 'that' (or "dat")
  • She loves clapping and dancing.
  • She's still very interested in things - anything really. She inspects leaves, flowers, toys, hair clips and whatever else she gets her hands on. We call her our little intellect because she seems to study things so well (whereas Hailey is our free-spirited one) .
  • She's happy! Ever since we eliminated gluten she's been a happy girl. We like that.
  • She eats what we eat (only things she hasn't had yet are nuts, strawberries and maybe oranges?)
  • Her hair is getting lighter and still has a little curl to it. Hailey's hair grows nicely to the side but so far Charlotte's bangs are always dangling in her face (and getting food and snot stuck in them). She pulls clips out so she can look at them and I often forget to put them in her hair in the first place.
Happy Birthday my sweet Charlotte - I love you!!