1st School Pictures - Hailey

 Hailey is a ladybug at The Children's Garden preschool. I was a bit worried about school picture day, as it happened to take place in the midst of our eye/ear/nose staph infection chaos. You can see her right (your left) nostril is red in the pic. We could probably photoshop that out, but well, I suppose it's a good reminder of those difficult 5 weeks of illness (and medicine pushing) in our house. I'm so impressed that she smiled for a picture!!!

I think their group shot turned out fantastic! If only Charlotte (the dog) was looking at the camera. Yes, you read that right. Miss Brook has a dog named Charlotte who likes to visit the classroom from time to 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. :)

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.

Dancing Days and Sleepless Nights


My goodness. Our little girls are crazy funny and developing quite the little personalities.

We rearranged our living/family rooms and now we have one toy area (we had two toy areas and it seemed the whole house was always a disaster). The living room is now a dedicated "dancing" room. We moved the TV from our bedroom down into the living room and it's much cozier in there now. Weird to say a TV made a room more cozy, but it did. Anyway...we have dance parties every day now (Pete happened to pull out some good speakers he had stuffed away in the garage - who knew?!?) and the girls absolutely love having family dance parties.

Hailey has been refusing naps lately. It's been really frustrating. She gets so tired and I try to get her to nap, but she makes up every excuse under the sun in order to get up 1,000 times during her nap time. The most frustrating part about it is that she's always tired and cranky when we're trying to do something we'd like her to be happy for, such as Santa pictures.

We met up with Daddy at Redmond Town Center for pics this year. It was Pete's last week working at AT&T, so we figured we'd get one more lunch date in and since the girls wanted to wear their "fancy dresses" that day (and every other day), I figured it would be a great time to do Santa pics.

No. It wasn't. First of all, we got a Groupon for RTC Santa pics and it was $11 for a photo package.
The quality of the photo is pretty bad. And the Santa? Not great. And the chair? blah. The text on the bottom????? NO, not okay. The ads on the outside border? Are you kidding me?

Now, I'm really sorry if you got your pics at RTC and like them. I'm not trying to dog on them all. I was just a little frustrated as we had pretty good pics the last two years. It didn't help that I misheard the lady tell me it would be $6.95 for a 5x7, to which I said we'd like 3....and then after things were printed she told me the total was $56. Um, WHAT?!!?!?!? We cleared that up...the price was actually $16.95 for a 5x7 and multiplied by 3, add the tax.... I thought about ditching the photos.. We ended up just sticking with the $11 deal and letting them ditch the extra photos that were printed (whew).

Doesn't Hailey look so happy in the pic though? :) This is after she had calmed down. Unfortunately (or fortunately? because it makes a good pic) Charlotte had been watching Hailey freaking out and decided it was something to cry about. So awesome.

So anyway, we're still planning on taking the girls to Factoria Mall for Santa pics this year. That's where we've gone the last 2 years, and though they don't allow you to take your own pics, the Santa/decor/picture quality is much better than the one we got.

Yesterday and today we had dance practice for Hailey's show on Friday night. Oh boy....it's going to be interesting!

I should back up... On Tuesday we went to Hailey's normal class. There are 6 girls in her class. In class, Hailey sat on her little circle and wouldn't participate. She kept leaning over and saying something to the teacher (Ms. Barbara). She had been excited to go to dance, so I was a little curious as to why she wasn't doing anything. I know they all have their days...so figured she just wasn't feeling it. The class was working on all sorts of fun dance moves and not yet practicing their snowman routine. Ms. Barbara closed the shades so us peeping mom's would quite distracting the kids through the window and I wasn't sure what happened for the rest of class. When they came out, I asked the teacher if Hailey ever got up to dance and she said, "Yes, she did the WHOLE snowman dance - she kept telling me she didn't want to do any other dancing, just that she was waiting for the snowman dance." Ha! Too funny. That was encouraging.

I don't really have high expectations for the show this next Friday night...after today, I'm actually wondering if they'll even get her to come out on stage. It would be nice to see her (especially since tickets were $10/seat and we have a lot of family coming to see her), but hopefully I will refrain from being a crazy stage mom and be happy for the experience - even if she doesn't show up with the other little snowmen on stage.

So back to this weekend. We've had a really busy weekend (with this being my first down time) and like I mentioned already, Hailey hasn't been napping too well lately. She's also been up late the last few nights. Pete took Hailey to practice yesterday so I could prepare the house for some friends who came over for our annual gingerbread house building/decorating party. The practice was at the studio, with lots and lots of kids there. The idea was to get our little girls used to the crazy that will be backstage on the day of. They each have a teenager assigned to them during the show, so they got to meet them and then they did their practice behind closed doors.

Apparently the snowmen have the most expensive outfits and they are on loan from the studio (thankfully). We do not get to take them home as the kids have to share them (there are 3 different shows with 3 different sets of snowmen and they all share outfits).

Today was the dress rehearsal at the theater. Hailey was already super tired, so I wasn't too excited to take her. The toilet paper party the girls *threw* right before the practice might have been a cause for the tired bit, but hey, that was the best use of toilet paper today! And do you see it? It's a toilet paper heart shaped cloud!

Anyway, getting Hailey into her outfit proved to be a challenge when she started screaming and arching her back and saying she didn't want to dance. By this time, everyone else was dressed and had entered the theater. We were still trying to get dressed in the lobby. I told her that if she got her whole costume on and did the dance on stage she would be able to have a teeny ice cream treat when we got home. I hate bribes. Especially sugary ones. But I was also really tired and at that point, I didn't know what else to do in order to get her in there before it was too late. The bribe worked a little bit. I managed to get her tights and leotard on (it was a crying struggle) and into the theater we went. We were to get their accessories on them in the theater and then they'd be called up to the stage.

First came the tutu. Now, Hailey LOVES tutu's...but she wasn't having it. She hugged me and I managed to tie the thing around her as I was hugging her. Next came the scarf. She didn't want it. I got it around her neck by mentioning the ice cream (man, I can't believe I bribed her like this!), but she didn't want me to put it on her how it was supposed to go. Then she refused the hat, gloves and leg warmers. Totally refused them. I even mentioned the ice cream - it didn't work that time. I went on stage with her and helped her find her spot on stage (she's on an end) and I stepped to the side of the stage. The music came on and the teacher danced with them. They all danced. Well, all but Hailey that is. She stood there. I'm pretty sure she was chanting "ice cream, ice cream, ice cream" in her head the whole time. The group went in their little side stepping circle and she just stood there. Then after some more cute moves, the group exited the stage (to the side she was on) and yup, she just stood there (as in, she didn't exit and the others had to go around her). Then the music stopped. She looked over to me and said, "I get ice cream now!". Wow. That's my girl!

She fell asleep as soon as the truck started moving, but woke up during the transfer and didn't want to go down for a nap (a friend came over after church today and she was excited to see him again). We had another losing battle with nap time. We'll be hitting the internets on how to deal with this new wave of parenting. We've tried what we know and it's just not working. The girl is so tired lately though (maybe over-stimulated?)...

Fun facts about Hailey:

  • The first words Hailey spoke upon waking up this morning were, "I get to wear my fancy dress today!".
  • Hailey wants to wear tutu's every single day (well, actually the "fancy dress" has been winning this whole week). And every single day she wears a tutu is another day to convince her that it is really cold outside and we should wear warm layers with her tutu. She never wants stretch pants on with her tutu... some days I wonder if she's actually warm because she's turned down all offers of warmer clothes and opted for a summer dress with a tutu under it (maybe I should pack away the summer dresses now...). She has even been sleeping in tutu's lately too (over her PJ's). 
  • She also likes headbands. She fell asleep with a headband in her hand tonight...I went in to check on Charlotte and there was Hailey, sleeping with her hand grasping that headband so tightly...I didn't want to risk waking her up by removing the headband. I went in an hour later and she still had it in her hand, but her arm had moved and her grip was looser - I set the headband on the floor next to her bed. Her first words tomorrow morning will probably be, "where's my headband?".
  • I'm amazed at how good her memory is. Quite some time ago my parents watched the girls for us and Hailey had an accident in her underwear (and I apparently forgot to pack extras). My mom put one of Charlotte's diapers on Hailey and we had a good laugh about it. Well, Hailey still randomly brings it up and says, "One time, Grandma put me in Charlotte's diaper! (insert really silly laugh here)". 
  • Hailey can use the toilet all on her own (as in, pants down, sit, go, wipe, pants up, flush, wash hands). We still help wipe if we suspect it would be a good idea (you know what I mean).
  • She gets herself dressed in the mornings (including picking out which tutu she's going to wear, of course).
  • She can carry on a conversation on the phone. Wow, totally weird and awesome. I was so happy to have caught the following phone call with Daddy on camera.

    One last little factoid:

    • We are still very rarely sleeping through the night. If it's not Charlotte, it's Hailey waking us up (more often than not these days). Not sure why Hailey wakes up so much in the middle of the night. Growing? Hungry? Has to pee? ??? One night recently she was up at least 8 times in the night. It's getting old. I want my sleep back.

    And on that note, I was planning on sharing some fun facts about Charlotte too...but it's late now and I'm tired. This pic will have to do. :) 

    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!!

    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!!

    Petuna Marlip's 31st Birthday


    Pete turned the big 3-0 this year. I wanted to spice it up and go hog wild in his honor. The plan was to pick up a Harley, ride to Harvey Field to skydive and then if we survived, to go on a nice ride in the afternoon. It was all going to be a surprise, but I have a really hard time not telling Pete about surprises I have planned (doh!), especially when I'm so freaked out/nervous/excited about the plan! I broke down and told him the plan a couple weeks before our birthday and he was totally game. He was actually excited to find out about it so he could experience the anticipation while waiting for the big day.

    When we woke up on our birthday morning it was all cloudy and our dive was canceled (I'll admit, I was somewhat relieved). I didn't really intend to tell you about our birthday weekend in this post...but I guess since I'm here to document the skydive, I might as well write about our birthday weekend and save the skydiving for another post (since it didn't actually happen on our birthday).

    FRIDAY

    Kyle and Kari came down from Bellingham and took us out to dinner Friday night (our birthday was Saturday). My parents watched the kids and it was so fun to have a night out on the town. I LOVE going downtown and often find myself wishing we went downtown more often. So anyway, we went to Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant. Kyle and Kari went to Vietnam earlier this year, so it was really fun to let them choose all the food and hear about how it compared to the real thing once we were eating it. The food was really good and I highly recommend you try it if you're craving a night out in Seattle.
    When we're with Kyle and Kari we tend to linger over our meals (maybe this just happens any time we don't have kids with us?) and stuff ourselves silly (there was a lot of food to be eaten!). We love spending time with K&K and only wish they lived closer so we could get together more often. It was a wonderful treat!After dinner we decided to walk through Belltown and take in some fresh air. It was quite random, but Pete and I ran into 3 different people we know...all by walking down one street! Actually, Kari and I thought Pete and Kyle were hiding from us as we were walking ahead of them and all of the sudden looked back and didn't see them. So Kari and I ducked around a corner to throw them off...and they didn't show up - finally we realized that the group of people chatting down the block actually included our men. Ha! Pete and I were feeling quite popular by the end of the night with these random people sightings...

    We made our way back to the car and headed back to my parents house.

    SATURDAY

    In the morning, once we found out we wouldn't be skydiving that day, Pete and I slowly gathered up the girls and dropped them off at my parents house. Off to Burien we went...to Eagle Rider - where we were renting a Harley.

    Actually, their website showed that they rent scooters as well...so we were very seriously debating switching it up and getting 2 scooters instead of the Harley...because that might have been more fun. On the way to the place I was reminded of one of Pete's long time bucket list items - to suit up in full leathers and ride around town on a really dorky little scooter. Based on the website, Eagle Rider didn't have dorky little scooters and Pete doesn't have full leathers, but we decided it would still be fun to ride newer faster scooters. Low and behold, just as we'd made up our minds...we arrived and asked about the scooters and were informed that in 3 months no one had rented scooters and so they had just (the week prior) shipped the scooters to their location in California.

    Harley it was.
    We rented a Fat Boy...because you know, that's what Arnold rode in Terminator 2. It's a heavy machine. Yikes. It was our first time on a Harley and poor Pete had to have a passenger on back for his first Harley ride - we were both a little nervous! My big gift to him that day was not only skydiving with him, but riding on the back of a motorcycle with him. That might sound strange, but I rode motorcycles before Pete did...and then when he got into it, we had our own bikes. I never quite felt comfortable riding on back when I myself knew how to ride (control freak? maybe). As a result of my motorcycle independence, Pete never went through that whole 'girlfriend on the back of the bike' phase. Our time riding together consisted of stopping at red lights next to each other and chatting (probably saying all sorts of sweet nothings...). Here we are back in the summer of 2006 when we had the same make and model of motorcycles (the first time)...

    So anyway, we went for a ride to Timbuktu...and ended up in some crazy place we'd never heard of before. I enjoyed looking at the farms we went by...and on every corner I made sure to look to the outside of the turn (control freak I tell you....it's way to nerve wracking to look into the corner when you aren't in control of the bike!). After a few hours of riding, we headed back to my parents house so I could nurse Charlotte before we headed to dinner. 
    Off we went to Seattle. We met up with our friend Brandon for dinner at La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard. We had another great meal, and after, we wandered down to D'ambrosio Gelateria. Oh. My. Word. It was the best gelato we've had since we were in Italy! No wonder there was a long line out the door! It was well worth the wait. 
    We wandered over to a little park where we ate our gelato and talked for quite a long while - until I was getting a bit chilly and realized that we still had to make the trek home on a motorcycle...and then get to my parent's house to pick up the girls so we could get to church in the morning. The girls transferred to their beds quite well and to sleep we all went. 
    SUNDAY
    We managed to get to church somewhat on-time - I took the girls and Pete rode the Harley. After church Pete went to return the bike in Burion while I packed a picnic lunch. When Pete returned we headed out to Boeing field to catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels from our tailgate. We meant to grab ear plugs for the girls, but had forgotten them in our rush to get out the door.
     Hailey thought the Blue Angels were pretty cool and didn't mind that daddy was covering her ears when they passed by. Charlotte on the other hand...was a little wiggle worm and squirmed all over every time I plugged her little ears. 
    The show wasn't nearly as good as it would have been if we had been on the lake performance side, but we didn't have time to waste in trafic - as our family was coming over in the afternoon and we still had some preparations to make at home. We were glad we got to see what we did though. It's pretty incredible to see those Blue Angels land and take off too!
    The family came over and we celebrated Pete's birthday by having a 'wall raising' party. :) You see, Pete built a 10'x20' wall for our new shed and he even sheathed it just like his shed building book suggested! But then when it was time to raise the wall - it was quite heavy for his one man team! So it was sitting for a while just waiting for some strong men to help get it into position. I told the guys that dinner wouldn't be put on the grill until they got the walls up (because the grilling job does belong to the men, right? ...or maybe I just didn't want to be responsible for overcooking our flank steak!). The ladies chatted it up while the guys were working for their food.  

    ...and before long both walls Pete had built were standing! It was really starting to look like a shed!! I was SOOOO super excited to see two walls up! 

    Dinner was on (with Kenny and Jason minding the grill) and the traditional Young family birthday meal was served - marinated flank steak - and it was a big hit!

    The candles on the cake blew out with the breeze as soon as I stepped foot outside. All 30 of them. We sang...and it was beautiful. I just hope that all the neighbors were outside to enjoy our lovely song. My mom made a gluten free chocolate donut cake with dark chocolate frosting and it was delish!

     
    Some Boccie Ball was played (I love that game!), some swinging was had (that's Gigi!) and dancing on our new 'stage' was the cool thing to do (rad).
    ~~*~It was a very full weekend - and I loved every minute of it!!~*~~
    Skydiving post coming soon...I promise!
     ----------------------------------------
    Pete+Shauna=Petuna
    Marie+Philip=Marlip
    30+32=31
    Yes, it DOES make sense...sheeeesh!
    ----------------------------------------

    Petuna Marlip's 31st Birthday


    Pete turned the big 3-0 this year. I wanted to spice it up and go hog wild in his honor. The plan was to pick up a Harley, ride to Harvey Field to skydive and then if we survived, to go on a nice ride in the afternoon. It was all going to be a surprise, but I have a really hard time not telling Pete about surprises I have planned (doh!), especially when I'm so freaked out/nervous/excited about the plan! I broke down and told him the plan a couple weeks before our birthday and he was totally game. He was actually excited to find out about it so he could experience the anticipation while waiting for the big day.

    When we woke up on our birthday morning it was all cloudy and our dive was canceled (I'll admit, I was somewhat relieved). I didn't really intend to tell you about our birthday weekend in this post...but I guess since I'm here to document the skydive, I might as well write about our birthday weekend and save the skydiving for another post (since it didn't actually happen on our birthday).

    FRIDAY

    Kyle and Kari came down from Bellingham and took us out to dinner Friday night (our birthday was Saturday). My parents watched the kids and it was so fun to have a night out on the town. I LOVE going downtown and often find myself wishing we went downtown more often. So anyway, we went to Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant. Kyle and Kari went to Vietnam earlier this year, so it was really fun to let them choose all the food and hear about how it compared to the real thing once we were eating it. The food was really good and I highly recommend you try it if you're craving a night out in Seattle.
    When we're with Kyle and Kari we tend to linger over our meals (maybe this just happens any time we don't have kids with us?) and stuff ourselves silly (there was a lot of food to be eaten!). We love spending time with K&K and only wish they lived closer so we could get together more often. It was a wonderful treat!After dinner we decided to walk through Belltown and take in some fresh air. It was quite random, but Pete and I ran into 3 different people we know...all by walking down one street! Actually, Kari and I thought Pete and Kyle were hiding from us as we were walking ahead of them and all of the sudden looked back and didn't see them. So Kari and I ducked around a corner to throw them off...and they didn't show up - finally we realized that the group of people chatting down the block actually included our men. Ha! Pete and I were feeling quite popular by the end of the night with these random people sightings...

    We made our way back to the car and headed back to my parents house.

    SATURDAY

    In the morning, once we found out we wouldn't be skydiving that day, Pete and I slowly gathered up the girls and dropped them off at my parents house. Off to Burien we went...to Eagle Rider - where we were renting a Harley.

    Actually, their website showed that they rent scooters as well...so we were very seriously debating switching it up and getting 2 scooters instead of the Harley...because that might have been more fun. On the way to the place I was reminded of one of Pete's long time bucket list items - to suit up in full leathers and ride around town on a really dorky little scooter. Based on the website, Eagle Rider didn't have dorky little scooters and Pete doesn't have full leathers, but we decided it would still be fun to ride newer faster scooters. Low and behold, just as we'd made up our minds...we arrived and asked about the scooters and were informed that in 3 months no one had rented scooters and so they had just (the week prior) shipped the scooters to their location in California.

    Harley it was.
    We rented a Fat Boy...because you know, that's what Arnold rode in Terminator 2. It's a heavy machine. Yikes. It was our first time on a Harley and poor Pete had to have a passenger on back for his first Harley ride - we were both a little nervous! My big gift to him that day was not only skydiving with him, but riding on the back of a motorcycle with him. That might sound strange, but I rode motorcycles before Pete did...and then when he got into it, we had our own bikes. I never quite felt comfortable riding on back when I myself knew how to ride (control freak? maybe). As a result of my motorcycle independence, Pete never went through that whole 'girlfriend on the back of the bike' phase. Our time riding together consisted of stopping at red lights next to each other and chatting (probably saying all sorts of sweet nothings...). Here we are back in the summer of 2006 when we had the same make and model of motorcycles (the first time)...

    So anyway, we went for a ride to Timbuktu...and ended up in some crazy place we'd never heard of before. I enjoyed looking at the farms we went by...and on every corner I made sure to look to the outside of the turn (control freak I tell you....it's way to nerve wracking to look into the corner when you aren't in control of the bike!). After a few hours of riding, we headed back to my parents house so I could nurse Charlotte before we headed to dinner. 
    Off we went to Seattle. We met up with our friend Brandon for dinner at La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard. We had another great meal, and after, we wandered down to D'ambrosio Gelateria. Oh. My. Word. It was the best gelato we've had since we were in Italy! No wonder there was a long line out the door! It was well worth the wait. 
    We wandered over to a little park where we ate our gelato and talked for quite a long while - until I was getting a bit chilly and realized that we still had to make the trek home on a motorcycle...and then get to my parent's house to pick up the girls so we could get to church in the morning. The girls transferred to their beds quite well and to sleep we all went. 
    SUNDAY
    We managed to get to church somewhat on-time - I took the girls and Pete rode the Harley. After church Pete went to return the bike in Burion while I packed a picnic lunch. When Pete returned we headed out to Boeing field to catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels from our tailgate. We meant to grab ear plugs for the girls, but had forgotten them in our rush to get out the door.
     Hailey thought the Blue Angels were pretty cool and didn't mind that daddy was covering her ears when they passed by. Charlotte on the other hand...was a little wiggle worm and squirmed all over every time I plugged her little ears. 
    The show wasn't nearly as good as it would have been if we had been on the lake performance side, but we didn't have time to waste in trafic - as our family was coming over in the afternoon and we still had some preparations to make at home. We were glad we got to see what we did though. It's pretty incredible to see those Blue Angels land and take off too!
    The family came over and we celebrated Pete's birthday by having a 'wall raising' party. :) You see, Pete built a 10'x20' wall for our new shed and he even sheathed it just like his shed building book suggested! But then when it was time to raise the wall - it was quite heavy for his one man team! So it was sitting for a while just waiting for some strong men to help get it into position. I told the guys that dinner wouldn't be put on the grill until they got the walls up (because the grilling job does belong to the men, right? ...or maybe I just didn't want to be responsible for overcooking our flank steak!). The ladies chatted it up while the guys were working for their food.  

    ...and before long both walls Pete had built were standing! It was really starting to look like a shed!! I was SOOOO super excited to see two walls up! 

    Dinner was on (with Kenny and Jason minding the grill) and the traditional Young family birthday meal was served - marinated flank steak - and it was a big hit!

    The candles on the cake blew out with the breeze as soon as I stepped foot outside. All 30 of them. We sang...and it was beautiful. I just hope that all the neighbors were outside to enjoy our lovely song. My mom made a gluten free chocolate donut cake with dark chocolate frosting and it was delish!

     
    Some Boccie Ball was played (I love that game!), some swinging was had (that's Gigi!) and dancing on our new 'stage' was the cool thing to do (rad).
    ~~*~It was a very full weekend - and I loved every minute of it!!~*~~
    Skydiving post coming soon...I promise!
     ----------------------------------------
    Pete+Shauna=Petuna
    Marie+Philip=Marlip
    30+32=31
    Yes, it DOES make sense...sheeeesh!
    ----------------------------------------

    Hailey - 2.5 years




    Hailey is two and a half now and so hilarious. But if I had to describe her in one word it would be: SWEET!

    She is always:

    • saying, "I love you mommy/daddy/charlotte, I missed you!"
    • counting things. The other morning she counted all the way to 26 with only a little help on a few numbers (18 and 23 I think). We had no idea she could count that high though!!!
    • singing her abc's. She now knows all the letters and can identify them. She even seems to know a few words (our names) when she sees them. I write one of the following "Hailey, Charlotte, Daddy, Mommy, Pete, puppy, pigeon" and she calls out what it says. Any time she sees a C she excitedly says, "C mommy! C Charlotte!!!!"
    • cutting paper... she's good at cutting itty bitty little pieces of paper. I then get to patrol the area for the little pieces so that Charlotte doesn't end up eating it all.
    • singing and humming. She is currently singing 'like a diamond in the sky..." and humming parts of it.
    • playing with Charlotte. She is so good to her little sis! She brings Charlotte toys if she is crying and gives her lots of hugs and kisses and tells her, "it's okay Charlotte".

    • eating. She asks all day for snacks (which she gets regularly) and I swear she eats more than me. She's a bottomless pit!
    • talking about people she likes. Frequent ones are, Lita, Papa Don, Mama (my mom), Aunt Kari, Uncle Jason, Aunt Kim, Uncle Dave, Cousins Sylvia, Ella, and Gigi and her friends Ella, Sebastian, and Tessa.
    • wearing tutu's. I try to have her wear other things, but she insists on tutu's EVERY day.
    • praying. It's super cute, she prays for her friends randomly...like during the middle of dinner, she'll fold her hands together and bow her head and start spouting off a bunch of stuff. Hilarious and sweet.
    • barefoot. Her shoes can often be found scattered in the yard.
    • will do anything for chocolate!
    • drawing. She's been into drawing faces lately. Here's a video from when she first started drawing faces:

    • picking raspberries and strawberries from our yard. She LOVES going outside to look for ripe fruit!

    Her favorite color is: Green (that's what she's claimed for the last 2 weeks anyway!)

    I'll probably come back and edit this later, but we're running out the door... See ya!

    Little C - 9 months

    Charlotte is 9 months old as of the 22nd and it's just mind boggling to me how 9 months have already gone by since my sweet girl was born. She is super fun these days - and oh so active! This girl figured out how to crawl at 7 months and now at 8 months she started letting go of things while standing. Just the other day she looked at me, let go of the couch and took a step towards me (and promptly fell). Hailey had just learned how to scoot (dragging her body) somewhere in her 9th month and didn't actually get her belly off the floor until 11 months when she was put on a tile floor without clothes on - she didn't want her belly to get cold on the floor and thus learned to actually crawl.
    Anyway, my 'little C' as I like to call her...is maturing so fast! She actually fell asleep on me the other day when we were at Pete's dads house and I cherished the time holding her as I haven't had many of those cuddling sweet sleepy baby moments with Charlotte since she's always on the move. In fact, she's so on the move...and interested in everything else going on in the room, that she has not been nursing very long or often during the day. And speaking of nursing, I am heading into unchartered territory here soon. I only nursed Hailey 10 months because my supply dried up when I got pregnant with Charlotte. Okay, I just realized that I have a month more to go before I reach that point where I'm nursing Charlotte longer than I had nursed Hailey, but what can I say....I totally had to stop typing just now in order to figure out how old Hailey was when I got pregnant with Charlotte! My memory has not been working well with numbers lately...

    So back to my Little C. She's just a doll. She LOVES dancing and will dance to any music she hears. We've played that splish splash duck for her dozens of times per day and she still dances. Hailey gets a kick out of making Charlotte dance by pushing the button over and over (thanks mom! lol). Aside from dancing, Charlotte is also enjoying crawling up the stairs. This is not so fun for me. We have several stairways in our house and not enough baby gates. So she heads to the stairs when we're down playing in the living room (also known as the 'family room' since Pete contends that we don't 'live' in the living room). I've been working with her on sliding down on her belly, but she really gets a kick out of turning sideways to look at me (from the 3rd or 4th stair up) and then smiles really big and suddenly dives toward me with no regard to the fact that there are stairs below. She doesn't care...she knows I'm there to catch her. Naughty Charlotte. She's SO happy when she does this that I have a hard time using my serious voice in telling her, "no, we slide down on our belly". Then Hailey shows her over and over how the pros do it. She has in fact gone down the stairs a few times on her own by straightening her legs and sliding on her belly, but I think it will be a while before this becomes a surefire way for her to get down the stairs.

    Charlotte says mama and dada...and a few other things, but I don't think those other things are actually words. ;) In just the last couple of days she's been chattering a lot. When music is on in the car she makes noise like she's trying to sing. She and Hailey go back and forth with noises...Hailey making a noise and Charlotte copying. I love it, though it gets super loud at times (it's easy to shriek loudly when you're a girl!). :) I believe it was last week that Hailey was using her recorder and then stuck it in Charlotte's mouth and to my shock and awe, she blew into it and made some noise! The other morning the girls were in the bath and Hailey pulled out her bird whistle. Being the nice sister she is, she let Charlotte try - and Charlotte did it (time and again I might add). We are quite proud of her new trick.
    The girl likes to eat....but not when she doesn't like the food! Charlotte makes her point when she doesn't like a new food. So far she really doesn't like cauliflower, avocado and beets. In fact, she didn't like them so much that as soon as they touched her tongue she made a ridiculous face and started gagging herself and eventually, with cauliflower and avocado, she ended up throwing up. We introduced beets last night and she was holding those beets on her tongue and making her crazy disgusted faces and started gagging. Well, Pete got smart and started calling her name and distracted her a bit and it worked! She eventually swallowed and we continued to feed her beets, only we sweetened the deal by adding some sweet potatoes to the bites. Everything is better with sweet potatoes (so we've learned)!

    Charlotte has been waving for about a week...though we weren't sure it was intentional. I'm now sure that she is meaning to wave. She just started waving at everyone in Starbucks (we're on a coffee date while Hailey is with some friends).

    Over and out!

    Bananas for the littlest one...

    Our little girl has been practically begging us for food lately. She grabs at everything I'm trying to eat and watches with such intensity as our forks go to our mouth. We decided she was ready to have her own taste from a spoon. Our doctor had told us that as long as she was able to sit up on her own and didn't immediately shove the food out (because of not knowing what to do with it) that we could start and didn't need to wait for that exact 6 month mark we made sure to hit with Hailey. So with that, we went for it tonight.
    She looked so grown up sitting in the highchair for the first time. She liked the view.
    She was so excited about this magical thing coming at her mouth...she opened her mouth ready to receive her first taste of banana.Her expression of wonderment. I imagine she was thinking something along the lines of, "hmm...what is that explosion of gooey tastiness happening in my mouth??"
    At this point the flash hadn't recharged...and it looked like she was either savoring the banana or like it was a bit tart. Pete asked if I'd tasted the banana before I'd offered it to our daughter. Whoops, no I hadn't. So I did...and it was a good banana so I vote that she was savoring it. Charlotte is very hands on - touching, grabbing, petting...she's always doing something with her hands so it was no surprise that she kept trying to grab the spoon and my hands.

    A+ Charlotte!

    Hailey Madison - 2 years old

    Hailey's vocabulary has completely exploded lately (she says new words every day now). She says things like "got it" after I ask her if she understands something (like why she had to have a time out and that it's not okay to hit). She also says "no way!" and says "excuse me" after she sneezes or if she needs to get around you. She's very polite with her please and thank yous. Pete recently taught her how to use possessive forms "mommy's shoe" and she seems to know when to use the plural versions of words "ducks". She's constantly saying things and we don't understand everything she says, but she certainly thinks we should as she repeats the same thing over and over. The other day in the car she kept saying "I want a teetchee" over and over and I couldn't figure it out - "what do you want Hailey?" "I want a teetchee". We got home and she pointed up to some bunny snacks that she thinks are cookies and she said it again....ah, cookie - that's what she was saying that whole time.

    Hailey is always humming or singing the alphabet song. She quite often replaces that letters with words like, "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" and sings it all to the alphabet tune. I need to work on some other songs with her. I tend to be a bit dead in the song realm...and she never really liked it when I sang to her as a baby (Charlotte on the other hand LOVES it when I sing to her). I mean, I've certainly sang different songs to her, but I'm not all that good at remembering words to songs, so I end up making stuff up half the time. Pete laughs at me and likes to hear me try to sing songs. Hailey has been making up her own songs lately, it's pretty cute.

    She knows almost all the letters by sight. She surprised me a couple months ago when we pulled up to the doctors office and she said "D" and was pointing to the building letter. Wow! She has favorite letters right now... I, N, and O. She also is in love with the number 2. She loves to hold up her two fingers and say "TWO" when you ask her how old she is or is going to be. Yup, she says she's 2 right now (her birthday is on Sunday). She also randomly says "2, 3, 2" and though she can say one, she always skips it when counting.

    Hailey is a great bigger sister. She is helpful and brings Charlotte toys throughout the day. If Charlotte cries, she finds a pacifier and shoves it in Charlotte's mouth and tells her "it's okay baby". Every once in a while Hailey pushes Charlotte out of her way or says "no baby!" as she steals a toy from her - these outbursts are usually when Hailey is nearing nap time and she's overall a bit ornery. If we miss a nap time, she gets a bit hyper and crazy...it's funny, but then she'll have a random outburst and do something wrong, like hit me in the face (that's rare, but it has happened!). Thankfully we usually get her down for a nap, but there are times when it doesn't happen (like on our recent trip to Hawaii) and in those times she acts out.
    Hailey can almost dress herself all the way now. She put on pants and a shirt almost all by herself the other day. She did need help with the top because she started putting her arm through the neck hole, but other than that, she did it all. We got her some crocs while in Hawaii because the sandals I had brought her were too big and she was having a hard time walking in them. Anyway, I think I'm in love with crocs for kids! She can put them on all by herself and she likes wearing them! She is always putting socks on her hands - she loves her sock mittens.
    Hailey is a good eater and is good with a fork and spoon. We don't usually make her special food - she eats what we eat. Sometimes she doesn't eat much of her meal, but that's fine and we make sure she knows that what's on the table is what's for dinner, so if she wants to eat dinner that night, she needs to eat the food prepared. She eventually will pick at it and more often than not she discovers that she likes whatever food it is that she had been refusing. One thing she doesn't care for is turkey meat. She loves chicken and steak though. She eats shrimp sometimes and also enjoys salmon and any white fish she's tried. She loves broccoli and green beans still. She will eat carrots and surprisingly she really likes mushrooms (I hated mushrooms as a kid and refused to eat them). She still likes bananas and apples and pears...those are kind of staples in her diet as far as fruit goes. She is a big fan of cheese too...
    She loves coloring. She draws circles and scribbles all over in her drawing book. She likes to flip the pages to find a blank page to color on. She'll leave a mark on the new page and keep flipping to more blank pages. Thankfully I had found some journals at Ikea for $.25/each and I bought 10 of them...so we just keep one of those books on her little coloring table and she goes to town. She's only really colored on the wall once a few months ago. It was pretty, I should have taken a picture! If I'm remembering right, she used orange and green and scribbled as high as her arm would reach. Thankfully it came off with a magic eraser.
    Hailey LOVES posing for the camera. She will sometimes grab the little point and shoot and hand it too me all while making the most awesome cheesy smiley face. Almost any time there's a camera pointed at her she squints her eyes a little and smiles. Once in a while she gets a bit shy and turns or runs away from the camera. Her newest thing is to make a frowning face for the camera (see above) - she cracks us up!

    Speaking of getting shy, Hailey is usually shy around new people. If someone says hi to her and she's not in the mood for meeting new people she'll make a serious face and either look down or she'll turn her whole body away from that person. Hailey does warm up to new people pretty fast though. Sometimes as we're leaving a store where someone has been trying to talk to her, she'll yell "BYE!" really loudly as we walk away from the person.

    Hailey still sucks her two fingers and has added in a nose picking third finger. IT'S. SO. GROSS. :( We try and try to get her to stop, but as soon as she's tired, her fingers go in her mouth and she starts massaging the inside of her nose with her ring finger. It just happened one day and since then, it stuck and with it, boogers stuck to her face/finger. So gross. She's so cute, but this habit makes me want to throw up. Her teeth are pulled out on the side she sucks her fingers on (she sucks on her left fingers most of the time). I think she'd have a perfect little smile if she hadn't done the finger sucking thing. We wash her hands quite frequently since she touches everything and then puts her fingers in her mouth. She never really took the pacifier when she was little, and we wish we'd forced it on her a bit more than we had as we've learned with Charlotte that taking a pacifier is a habit that can be learned (Charlotte refused at first, but we keep shoving it in there and now she's becoming a little dependent on it rather than her fingers).
    Most days Hailey fusses if I try to do anything with her hair. She has such a nice head of hair...a nice gentle curl (Pete and I both have stick straight hair - so it's a bit odd that both our girls have curls in their hair). Sometimes I get lucky and Hailey agrees to have me put her hair up. I have to be super quick or she'll start screaming and acting like I'm pulling all her hair out. She usually really likes it once her hair is up and she likes having clips holding her bangs back. She often throws a fit when I even try to brush her hair... There are many days that we leave the house without her hair being brushed - thankfully she has such pretty hair that you can't really tell it hasn't been brushed since the day before.

    She loves buckling things. This proved to be very convenient when she had gotten in a habit of standing up in her highchair at the table. We would suggest she buckle the belt around herself and she thought it was so fun, she always does it now. She hasn't quite figured out how to get it unbuckled and we're keeping it a secret for now. ;) She also likes to buckle her shoulder straps in her car seat now and gets upset if I'm in a hurry and do it for her.

    Hailey loves dancing. She can bust a move to just about any kind of music. She gets down and boogies like no other. I think all the Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Backstreet Boys listening she did while my mother in law Cassandra watched her really helped her dancing skills develop. She cracks us up and we love having dance parties just so we can laugh at her silly moves.

    I removed the side of the crib sometime in December and she has done great in her big girl bed. She was SO proud of her big bed - she loves crawling up into bed and being tucked in at night. I bought a crib rail, but it took a couple days to get it and she did so well in her bed that I never put the rail on. She's only fallen out once. It wasn't a big deal, so we just helped her back in bed and reminded her that there's nothing holding her in so to be careful. Hailey usually stays in her bed in the mornings and just sits there calling for us. We yell back, "Hailey, you can get up now" and she crawls down, opens the door and climbs up in bed with the three of us (because by this point in the morning Charlotte is always in bed with us).

    Hailey is a cuddly girl. She loves snuggling up on us, giving us lots of hugs and kisses. Every night before bed she gives us all big hugs and kisses. She very sweetly kisses Charlotte on the head and then crawls in bed.
    I love our little Hailey-bear so much... I just can't believe how quickly she's growing up. How can she be turning 2 already?!?! I wish I could take a bit of her and bottle it up for later (I guess that's what videos are for).

    Baby Charlee - 4.5 months

    I really do want to remember these sweet times with my little Charlotte. She's only this little once and she's growing so fast!

    Speaking of growing, at her 4 month check up she weighed 13 lbs 15oz (50th%) and was 25.25" long (85th%). She's been wearing mostly 6 month clothing since the end of December (she's already too big for some items Hailey wore around 7 months old). Now I see why people say babies go through clothes so fast - Hailey seemed to wear the same size for so long in the beginning, but Charlotte is just so much bigger than Hailey was it's crazy! At this rate, I think Charlotte might be handing down clothes to Hailey in the future.

    She had rolled over from front to back by 4 months (I have the date written somewhere in her baby book). I thought she would have rolled from back to front first because she had gotten on her side quite a few times and was almost turned over but then she would roll back onto her back. Then one day she surprised me and rolled from tummy to back. She is so close to going the other way, I thought it was going to happen last night - but then she rolled back onto her back.
    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.
    Pete reports that she just pooped a big one today while I was in the shower (lucky me, he was home from work!). I hope this is a sign that we're getting cleansed enough to have a mostly happy little girl on our hands for a while. And I will be trying harder to make sure what I'm eating is gluten free.
    Charlotte is usually pretty happy and I love her little smile. She's always smiling under the pacifier...which we've been forcing on her so as to avoid having another finger sucking kid. Any time she doesn't have the pacifier, her hands go right into the mouth...sometimes it's the thumb, and sometimes one or two fingers and yet sometimes her whole fist.
    Charlotte is a very touchy feely little girl. At her 2 month check up it was noted that she had little scratches and scabs on her head from her nails. Two months later, she still had lots of scabs and after having a moment at the doctor of thinking it was dairy related, we confirmed that it indeed was not related to dairy, but rather, that she just likes touching things. What helped me realize this was one night as I laid in bed feeding her around 2am...she had one of her hands on her head and was opening and closing her hand on her hair grabbing and pulling it - she wasn't uncomfortable, she looked like she was in dream land. So knowing this, I've paid more attention to what her hands are doing throughout the days. When I'm nursing her she often reaches up and pets my chin or nose. She likes petting Pete's chin hair when he's holding her too. She's always grabbing for something and opening and closing her little hands around whatever it is. My hair, my shirt, Hailey's hair... that's right, she pulls Hailey's hair. And Hailey has cried about it more than once. Imagine that, a 4 month old tormenting her older sister - muah ah ah.... It's so funny to watch, but I do know, Charlotte has quite a good grip and it doesn't feel good when she pulls on hair.

    Charlotte also likes to be close. We have to bounce her at night to get her to sleep. If she wakes up in the night to eat (usually once, sometimes twice) she refuses to go back to sleep unless she's snuggled up real close to me (otherwise if I try to put her back in her bed she cries and requires being bounced back to sleep...and in the middle of the night, I opt not). So, she ends up sleeping in our bed. It gets kind of annoying as she seems to be a bed hog - I seriously wake up almost falling off the bed. It would be great if we could get her sleeping in her room with Hailey though...what a nice break for mommy and daddy that would be!
    Charlotte, or Charlee as Sylvia calls her, has a few nicknames around here. Hailey can say Charlie, so she calls her either Baby or Charlie. I've called her Charlie a bit lately and still often refer to her as 'The Baby'. CharlaBear is another one that I've overheard Pete using recently. I sometimes call her Charlotte, but pronounce it all wacky on purpose "CHAR lot". All in all, I probably call her Baby most often.
    She never really got much cradle cap and the teeny amount she had seems to be gone now. I saw a few flakes this past week, so I guess I just assumed it was her cradle crap falling out. That's right, we call it cradle crap most of the time.

    She makes all sorts of fun noises now - love it - even though at times it's so loud and high pitched that it hurts our ears. She groans and moans when she's nursing - it must taste good! She also drools and spits all over while making gurgling noises...that's fun if you're in the mood for a drool party.

    I'm loving this fun age with my little Charlotte!

    Never again...

    I got a coupon in the mail for the Sears portrait studio...and since how I've never done portrait studio pictures of the girls, I thought I should try it. It was a major fail. My main goal was to get some pictures of Charlotte and I hoped for some of the girls together.

    First off, Hailey woke up from her afternoon nap horribly grumpy. We've discovered that if she wakes up grumpy, that attitude persists throughout the day (this was confirmed by our outing to Sears - yup, grump). Charlotte started crying as soon as we got there....so they tried to warm Hailey up to the whole situation while I fed Charlotte. Charlotte wasn't interested in eating. Food seemed to be a 'happy' place for Hailey though, so I started giving her snacks. This worked for a minute or two.
    Hailey figured out what we were trying to do and promptly started crying again (you can see the tears in her eyes).
    We decided to try and get some pictures of Charlotte while Hailey threw a fit.
    Charlotte still wasn't feeling great...but she looks remarkably happy in this picture.
    I wasn't planning on being in any pictures, but this actually turned out pretty well (I have a similar shot from when Hailey was 3 months old too).
    We eventually got Hailey to have a dance party with a bear. It was really cute. She was kind of loony at this point...running in circles, falling, and giggling like crazy the whole time.
    The bears were a good idea. She really liked them...
    Then we thought, "Hailey is happy, let's throw Charlotte into the pictures!" Um ya....that didn't work so well.
    This is pretty cute. Wish you could see Hailey's face (she pulled out her pigtails in an earlier crying bout).

    It was near closing time and they didn't have time to edit the photos...so asked us to come back the following day. They also suggested that we try to get additional pictures when we came back. We agreed.

    Soon after we arrived home Charlotte pooped - and it was a big thick yellow log. Yup. I just described my kid's poop on a blog. It was very strange and it was very easy to understand why she had been SO fussy all night. The poor girl was having a heck of a time pushing that out... At nearly 3 months old she should not be having thick poop like this!

    Oh right, back to the photo session story. Right. So....we went back the following day (yesterday). I made sure to leave the house shortly after Hailey's nap...and seeing how both girls were happy upon arrival, I decided we would try for a few more pictures. They weren't busy and were happy to try again.
    Charlotte started crying as soon as we got into the room - she seemed hungry. We decided to get some shots of Hailey while I tried to feed Charlotte. Hailey caught on and started saying "no" in the sweet little whiny voice she has familiarized us with over the last few weeks.
    Ahhh...props. Love the props. Hailey loved them too. Well...okay, love might be a bit of a stretch. She still didn't like the fact that this girl was trying to take pictures of her...props were fun, but when that girl tried to take a picture of her, she was not happy about it and eventually slid off the platform she had been on and proceeded to play with the props on the floor - behind the camera. Charlotte didn't want to eat...she was just fussy because she was trying to pass some gas (and boy did she!). We decided to try to get some pictures of her while Hailey was entertained with the purse and pearls on the floor.
    Here we have the classic baby in a basket photo. This time the camera (or was it the operator?) was messing up and the pictures turned out with this lovely blue tint. I'm hoping Pete can correct it a bit in photoshop - otherwise they will have to be black and white....like this one......
    So by the time we finished with the pictures, I was totally spent. The girl taking the photos seemed to be a bit slow in everything she did....by the time she got everything set up she'd leave the room...right as Hailey and Charlotte seemed to be happy and ready for pictures. It was like she'd get a phone call and abandon us. She would come back eventually and then we had missed the 'happy' window. So frustrating. Oh ya, and I would assume that if you work in a portrait studio you know what to do (how to set up the shots, what background to use, how to prop up a baby, etc)...but this girl didn't seem to know. She asked me what background I wanted and I asked what they had. Her response was, "we have so many options, so many...what do you want?". Um....that's not helpful! How am I supposed to pick something when you haven't shown or told me what you have?

    I was glad I requested the white background for the first day - I should have just stuck with that.. The blue/white background she picked the following day was kind of cheesy, but the whole experience was so stressful/tiring that I just didn't even care anymore. I would be standing there asking, so...where/how should I put Charlotte for pics? And she would hmmm and haw and finally tell me to put her on her belly on a pillow with her elbows under herself to hold her up higher. News flash - this almost 3 month old doesn't like to be posed. She was NOT fond of laying ON her arms and it didn't make for a happy camper. It was so frustrating.

    The photographer (aka person pushing the button on the camera) told me they needed about 15 minutes to edit the photos...so the girls and I headed to Starbucks in the mall (always a good pick-me-up) and Hailey got to enjoy a yogurt parfait while we waited. We went back to view the pictures and I wasn't sure they had edited them at all. No wait, they did make this beautiful collage while we were at Starbucks...
    Hailey and Charlotte were ready to be heading home, as was I.

    I kept asking what my options were for photo packages and the girl was NOT helpful. I still don't understand what my options were as she couldn't seem to tell me what they were. Maybe this is part of a scam so that you just end up buying the disk with all the pictures. Well, they got me. I was so confused trying to figure out why the girl couldn't tell me what my purchasing options were and I was getting more and more frustrated that the girl helping me wasn't actually helping me. She kept getting up to go help other people...which was annoying considering my two girls were on the verge of another meltdown. I was so confused and didn't have more time to sit there trying to drag the details out of her. At that point I had no idea if I even liked any of the pictures - I barely got to review them! I think it was out of sheer exhaustion that I told her I would just buy the CD so I could deal with the details on my own at home.

    ...and that is why I have all these wonderful pictures to post here and tell my story - because I'm the sucker who purchased the disk with all the pictures. I guess at the end of the day, these images will always serve as a reminder to me of why I should never take the girls to a portrait studio ever again.

    At least not any time soon anyway...