Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

We had a lovely Christmas Eve at home this year. Following tradition, Nate helped me make sugar cookies for Santa, though he was a little less enthusiastic this year. We had a pretty awesome turkey dinner (if I do say so myself!), and I harassed my family for pictures. 

My real camera is broken (sad face) and the kids were not interested in making Kodak moments anyway. In the picture above, you'll notice Nate hiding behind his sister. This was moments before her star related meltdown. (I decided that she shouldn't play with it because it was getting glitter everywhere and she strongly disagreed with this decision.) But I think Nate's note to Santa made up for the lack of awesome family portraits.

Also per Field/LoRe tradition, we each opened one present on Christmas "Eve" which was more like 3:00 p.m. Nate passed out the sweet gifts he purchased at his school holiday shop and I received a lovely "#1 Mom" bracelet. Nate choose to open the package from Bubba that he correctly deduced was Legos. Scooby Dooby Doo!!

I'm not normally this crazy, but tonight we'll be ending with a cliffhanger. You'll have to stay tuned to find out if Santa did indeed sign on the provided line...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Letter to 1 1/2 year old Caroline

Dear Sweet Girl,

I have been writing letters to you in my head each month and I have so much I want to tell you. But then each month flies by and I've put nothing down on paper. So let me try to piece together what has been happening since you turned one.

16 months

When I think of you, the first thing that comes to mind is how well you speak and how fast the progress has been. I believe that by 15 months you could say between 50-100 individual words. And by 16 months you were putting them together two at a time. By 17 months you were saying three words together. And then that pretty quickly just turned into speaking in complete sentences! And paragraphs...and full songs. And not only can you say a lot, but you choose to say a lot quite often. You are quite the chatter box.

You have much of the alphabet and numbers 1-16 memorized. You understand what counting is, but don't fully grasp what the numbers or letters mean. I think you just watch too much Sesame. We're working on our colors and you're quick to spot pink and usually guess that everything else is green.

You are also very physically strong (and tall for your age), agile and super duper fast! You love dancing, getting airplane rides from mom and dad (but especially dad), and running with brother.

15 months - 17 months

You are self sufficient and when you want something, like a cracker or my iced coffee, you just help yourself to it. And when you don't want being manhandled at the doctor's office for instance, then you make your feelings quite known. You will scream and cry and shake with rage when faced with a perceived injustice. You are strong willed and determined and I love that about you.

We have been working on sharing and recently made a breakthrough. For months, the idea of sharing and taking turns has literally made you scrunch up your nose and grimace. You've been hyper aware of potential "grabbers" and are quick to call out said grabbers - whether a member of the family or a stranger at the library. Recently, when we were hanging out while Nate was in karate, you discovered how good it felt to hand a playmate a toy and actually let go. So you've been experimenting with this sort of giving behavior more and more lately. You seem quite proud of yourself when you successfully share.

You're quite friendly with little kids we meet at the park, the library or outside of karate. You like to get very close and wave repeatedly, say hi or show them an item you're holding. This has been received with mixed results.

But of course, Nate is your best friend and playmate. You love to hug him and tell him you love him. He usually pats your back and kisses your head. It's quite possibly the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

As far as activities go, you love dancing and singing, as I mentioned. You're fond of drawing "shapes" and coloring with markers. That usually means scribbling for a minute and then tossing half of them on the ground around the room while you stick the tops on your fingers and walk around. Luckily they are the Color Wonder ones that only work on special paper.

17 months
You love playing with the doll house and putting the various family members in their beds or on the potty. We'll thank your brother for that last one. You also enjoy "cooking" food in the kitchen and stirring empty cups and bowls.

You love taking any small bits from one container and transferring them to another. And back and forth, and back and forth. Uncooked pasta is great for this, but you also do this with the food I give you to eat which always means that snacks are a messy event and food is always on the floor. But the upside is that you are usually able to find an old goldfish or cheerio to nibble on when you want one. Yum!

Baths are also a favorite. More transferring of matter from one cup to another. Playing with the foamy soap is super fun for you, especially when you're washing a "pirate guy" of Nate's.

You are still very affectionate and loving, though you are not always so free with your hugs and kisses now. But you're particularly clingy when an unknown man is around. If I choose the wrong line at the grocery store and the clerk is a man, you've been known to turn into an actual koala.

17-18 months
You're funny and love to tickle your family, particularly your brother and crash into your bean bag while yelling "Watch out!" Basically if it gets a laugh once, you will continue to do it again and again. And that's fine, because it makes you laugh too and very little makes me happier than hearing your raspy little chuckle.

I love you so much and can't believe how fast you're growing. I mistakenly told a woman the other day that you were 18 months, when in fact you had just turned 19.  I'm in denial that those chubby hands and soft round little belly won't stay this way forever....or at least just a bit longer.

I love you more than tongue can tell.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Letter to my 6 year old

Dear Nate,

You turned 6 years old last month!  We spent the day at home having "a lazy day" at your request and I didn't even force you to take one my evil 10 minute walks around the block in honor of your special day. Instead, you spent the day very much how I imagine I will spend my 45th birthday:

playing with Star Wars figures in my underwear, baking my own birthday cake, decorating it with skulls, opening presents from our family and making a wish as I blow out the candles.

The weekend after your birthday we celebrated with a bounce party (for the second year in a row). You proclaimed it "your best birthday ever!" which was pretty much the best thing I could hope to hear.

Tomorrow you start first grade and I know that you will have a great year. You're incredibly bright, eager to learn and quick to make friends. At the moment you plan to be an inventor/construction worker when you're older. That would be great, especially having access to the time machine you're excited to create, but I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up being a writer. We've been coming up with some great stories and your ideas are limitless. I love your vivid imagination and off beat sense of humor and can't wait to see where your interests take you.

Speaking of interests, you just started karate and are a very enthusiastic Nate-san. We have to work at practicing kicks away from the direction of your sister's head, but other than that, it seems like a great way to channel all of your energy. 

I'd like to end this little note with a great picture of you and sister, but since you don't like pose much anymore and Caroline is usually just a blur, this will have to do. I think it captures the two of you in your natural element pretty well anyway.

I love you more than tongue can tell. 


No cook edible play dough for babies

We thought we'd try something new and expose CJ to the wonderful world of playing with dough.  But since she likes to put everything in her mouth, that limits our choices a bit. I don't keep tins of fruit puree around, unfortunately, so I adapted this recipe for edible baby play dough and made ours with:

1 cup cornstarch
1.5 cups baby rice cereal
1 packet of kool aid mix (for color and scent and to dispose of them before Nate drank them and turned into a sugar monster)
3 tbs canola oil
Enough water to turn the mess into a dough ball

I put a bit too much water in the first batch so it ended up too sticky. So I'd recommend adding the water slowly and mixing thoroughly before adding more.  CJ was a bit weirded out by the dough, so of course immediately put it in her mouth.

But that was okay, because it was obviously delicious...

The big kid liked it too, so we decided to save it in the fridge to play with it again.  Luckily it didn't really resemble food and trick Dave into eating it, because I didn't mark it. BUT if you did want an unsuspecting family member to eat it, I'd recommend first forming it into cookie shapes and displaying it on a plate.

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