Thursday, July 2, 2015

Anna: Nine Months

Is it just me or are we in some kind of funny-speedy-time-warp here?  Our sweet Anna is already NINE months old, and she's acting every bit her age.  She's sweet and charming and of course stinkin' adorable.  She is the one person in our house who is pretty much guaranteed to be smiling at any giving moment (as long as it's daylight) and lights up the rest of us no matter how blue we're feeling.

Three examples:
* Charlie in the morning: He's still tired and groggy and sometimes a little irritable.  (He is his mother's child.) One look from his little sister and he's all smiles.  He pulls her close to him and murmurs, "Huggy, Sister.  I love you.  I'm gonna hug you so much because I love you sooooo much.  Good morning Baby Sister!" (Someday I'll write a blog post about this sweet morning routine that we've developed.)

* Me during lunchtime:  This is my most dreaded time of day.  Is anyone else with me on this?  I despise figuring out what to make for lunch-- especially since the only thing Charlie wants to eat mid-day involves jelly or granola bars.  And just about the time when I think I'm going to stick the pb&j covered knife in my eye, I glance over at Anna sitting in her high chair. She's focused so hard on picking up her bits of avocado and mashing them into her face/mouth, but then she spots me and laughs and pounds her tray with her tiny little palms.  Avocado splatters to the floor which makes her giggle and do it again--and in my opinion, there's not much cuter than a happy avocado covered baby-- which lessens the pain of preparing lunch just enough to get through that hour.

* Mason after work: He's tired and sometimes stressed and instantly bombarded by Charlie with requests to play catch or basketball or race.  All the poor man wants to do is change his clothes (and probably sprawl out on the couch with a frosty mug and the remote) but instead he dives straight into Daddy-mode.  But as soon as Anna sees (or hears) her dad, it's over.  She smiles a wide, gap-tooth smile and her whole body goes into excited bouncy movements.  She squeals and claps her hands and shrieks "Da Daaaa!" and Mason is done for.  The frost mug is forgotten about and that girl is all his.

But aside from keeping the three of us completely under her spell, this is what she's been up to:

* Can crawl!  She does not like to be left alone in any room and will quickly crawl to wherever we are.  Once there, she'll reach up or try to pull herself up by grabbing our legs or pants.  But of course, the instant that we pick her up, she wants to be put down again-- and the cycle continues.

* Is a great eater.  I think we're phasing out of the totally prepared baby food and I'm wondering how this is possible.  Didn't we make baby food for Charlie for one hundred years?  Anna really loves bits of our food and we're letting her try more and more of our meals.  She loves salmon, toast (with jelly-- per her brother, of course), and tiny pieces of soft fruits.  Her old favorites are still avocado, sweet potato, and raspberries.

*  Has FOUR teeth!  I have been terrible about recording when those little suckers popped through but they all came in about the same time.  One day she had one and then before we knew it she had four.  The top two seem huge (Mason endearingly calls them "Chicklets") and have a big gap between them-- which I think is adorable in that Michael Strahan sort of way.

* Is a great napper and becoming a great sleeper.  She currently prefers to wake up between 4:50-5:00, which is just too damn early.  I've recently implemented a "no milk before 7:00 or maybe 6:50 if you're really starving" policy and while she voices her dissatisfaction about being denied her early morning snack, I think it's helping her overall sleep.  I'll keep you posted.

* Gets into everything.  While Charlie obviously got into things when he was a baby, he never got into things the way this girl does.  Anything with drawers or handles or strings or cords and she's all about it.  Anything that can and does fit into her mouth and it's a goner.  The choking hazards are ridiculous.

* LOVES being outside.  We take several walks and she very rarely falls asleep in the stroller.  She loves to swing and play in the grass-- although most of it ends up in her mouth.  The pool is another favorite outdoor location-- and she happily splashes in the water and plays with her toys.

* Is a pretty good little traveler.  We've needed to spend some overnights away from Spahnville and so far, she's done really well.  (Knock on wood!) Let's hope this continues into the future as we have several little "events" planned in the near future.

She's like, "Seriously Mom?  Every month you need to do this?"

Little Miss Anna,
    We just wouldn't be the same without you. Thank you for brightening up our lives for nine whole months, and counting.  ~Love, Mama Daddy & Charlie

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up: A Tinkerbell Birthday Party

Let's pretend it's June 1st.  Let's pretend the kids are just getting out of school and summer is just on the tip of our tongues.  Let's forget about the fact that I haven't posted anything in, well, a really long time. Let's pretend Miss Nora is just turing FOUR!!  

Hey Anna, do you like to party?! 

I was worried about not getting photos of people so I handed the phone over to my trusty assistant: Charlie, who captured the following pics. 

As evidenced by the photos, the party was great fun for grown-ups and kids.  My cousins (who live just down the highway from Liz) were able to make it with their littles-- and judging by the amount of pixie sticks and goodies they indulged in, I think it's safe to say they enjoyed themselves as well. 

The weather was a little chilly early on, but eventually it warmed up enough to be outside.  The kids ran and played and slid and swung and the grown ups enjoyed a little fresh air.

You may notice Miss Anna is noticeably absent in these pictures-- because she was taking a colossal nap upstairs!!  

Everything was beautifully coordinated and simply stated.  We had plenty of delicious food (complete with Linda's famous egg rolls) and yummy treats and even a few fun games.  I would say the party was a huge success.  And most importantly, this little one seemed to have a fantastic time celebrating!  She's such a sweetie, we can't believe she's already four years old-- but in other ways, it seems she should be turning sixteen years old instead!  I think great things are in her future.

Happy Birthday Miss Nora.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Time I forgot to Post About Mother's Day

It's almost a month later and I realized that I hadn't posted anything about Mother's Day 2015. Honestly, I can't even remember what we did.  I know that Mason and Charlie were out of town until Sunday evening but when they came home, Charlie gave me beautiful flowers and an adorable card. Oh, and Anna's first tooth came in!  But that's it, that's all I know for sure.  Which is exactly why I have this blog-- so that I have some way of remembering all these things that fly by so quickly.

And we captured a quick picture before Anna zonked out.  (I'm not sure why the color is all funky-- it's been edited in Photos but isn't synching or something.  Ah, technology.)   

Some time, I will write more about motherhood and having a mom and being a mom and having 'mothers' who are not actually my mother-- who are just amazing women in my life.  I will write about how I love being a mama to two littles, who are so similar yet already so different.  I will write that I can't believe my heart found room to love Anna as intensely and faithfully as I love Charlie-- but she fits in perfectly and there's plenty o' love to go around.  I will close that post by admitting that these two little lives are my whole heart-- I'm sure of it. Everything else in my life is just icing in the cake (I have a lot of icing!).  Yes, someday I will write about all of those things.  But right now, I'm headed to bed-- After all, I'm a mother and this mama is tired.  Sweet dreams y'all.      

The Circle of Life

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for theater.  Anything involving the lighting and anticipation and energy of live stage shows and I'm all in.   If I had unlimited resources (and that little thing called "time"),  I'd get myself to every possible Broadway show (or off-Broadway show, as is the case when you live in the Midwest) and memorize every possible musical soundtrack.  I'd get chummy with the actors and learn the ins and outs of live production.  I'd volunteer back stage or with ushering or even selling booze at intermission.  But right now I have little kids and so the next best thing is to get them interested, and do it while they're young.

When I heard that The Lion King was going to be in Des Moines, I was on it.  A quick text to Sara (I knew she'd be going too) to coordinate dates, and I bought tickets quicker than you can say "Hakuna Matata".  We ended up going on her son's 5th birthday, which made it an extra special night. Charlie had a fantastic time hanging with his buddy before the show and the two of them were sooooo excited as we drove downtown to the theater.  Their energy was contageous as we posed for pictures before the show and talked about what we were about to see.

As we entered the Civic Center, Charlie and Vincent took in the spacious area and huge sweeping staircase.  They were excited and wound up but managed to stand in line long enough to purchase a stuffed animal and a t-shirt (of course).  And I might have splurged on the most beautiful Christmas ornament ever-- it almost makes me excited for Christmas.  But not quite.  (Too bad Christmastime has to equal wintertime.)  Anyway, we bought our souvenirs and then found our seats in time to take a few selfies before the lights dimmed.

If you've seen the show before, you know that it's action packed with singing and dancing and has quite a bit of off-stage action with the actors walking through the aisles or singing at the end of rows.  But most people know that the costumes definitely steal the show.  Charlie and I took turns looking through the binoculars at the intricate costumes and makeup and while I thought he would be absorbed in the story, he was most concerned with the technicalities of the show.  I love the way his little brain works as he would lean over and ask things like, "How does Mufasa fall so slowly?  How did he land and not get hurt? When do they hook up the cord to his back?  How does the puppet guy move Zazu's mouth? Where does the air come from? Where are they playing the music? How does the guy in the giraffe costume get on the stilts?" and on and on and on.  He was tired by the end of the second act but hung in there and managed to make it home.

We spent the night at Sara's and had time the next morning to relax.  We played outside, enjoying the beautiful spring weather-- and Sara and I fantasized about the day we'd be able to sit and have a conversation that wasn't interrupted every five seconds.

We took a short lunch break before we hit the road (and I experienced Chick Fil A  for the first time, finally!) and lookie who we ran into!  What a small world!

Oh, and someone may have tried ice cream for the first time....I think she liked it.

Then, with our bellies and hearts full, we buckled into the minivan and headed back to Grundy county.

As the kids slept in the backseat, I couldn't help but smile about our little adventure.  Live theater was such an important part of my life; it provided me with so many friends and wonderful memories.  It's something that I enjoy so much and hope to become more involved with in the future.  And it's something that I hope Charlie grows to love as well-- and someday he can share that love with his own children.   Because after all, isn't that what the circle of life is really all about?  Hakuna Matata, my friends.