Sunday, September 27, 2015

Anna: Twelve Months!!!

I'm not gonna lie; I'm still a little very much surprised by how fast this past year has gone.  Of course "they" all say time flies but the last time I had a baby, things really didn't seem to go fast.  And if we're being really honest, that first year with my first baby seemed almost never-ending.  We could go round and round about the reasons why this is-- that weird extended time-warpy period in my life-- but I've come to the conclusion that after Charlie was born, basically our whole existence changed.  Our routine, our schedule, our expectations, our sleep, our hobbies, our time spent together-- all of it was rocked by this tiny 7 pound person.

This time around, our routine and schedule and expectations and sleep and (lack of) hobbies and (lack of) time spent together was already 'in place'.  Anna was born and seemed to seamlessly snuggle into the fabric of our daily lives.  We carted her around and traveled overnight and even ate at restaurants (gasp!  I think the Charlie's first time at a restaurant was when he was 18 months old! --don't worry, I'm exaggerating a little...).  Anna went garage saling at six days old, watched a soccer game at ten days old, and visited a pumpkin patch at 2 weeks.  --And that was just the beginning!

As the year went on, we really did continue to include Anna in all we were doing, and she eagerly participated.  Much like Charlie, she was always a very alert baby-- keeping her eye on her surroundings and not wanting to miss out on much.  She loves new faces and places and, like her momma, seems to be happiest when she's outside with her bare feet in the grass.

So here we are, twelve months into this journey with our baby girl-- our little toddler-- our daughter, Anna Rose.  And what is she up to now?  Let's take a peek-a-boo:

-is SO happy!  Have I mentioned this before?  (note the sarcasm, please) Seriously, this baby is almost always happy--literally rays of sunshine in our day. 
-continues to be a fantastic eater.  So much so that we were going to have her birthday party theme be "Food Glorious Food!" This kid has been known to eat more than her big brother on more than one occasion.  Lately, she's become a bit more picky than before-- even showing skills of separating fruit from veggies (in her mouth) before spitting out  only the veggies.  I must say, I am pretty impressed.
-is totally okay with eating dirt and rocks and sand and anything else if food isn't available.    
-loves games like "Where's Anna?" and "Peek-a-boo!" and especially proud of her "So Big!" party trick. And she also does "toe-thumbs-up"-- look at the above photo to see what I mean.  (Rotherts, you'll understand)
-is a climber.... as in, she climbs out of her high chair, climbs out of her stroller, climbs onto step-stools.... climbs climbs climbs. 
-is saying goodbye to her morning nap. :(  Her daycare provider is convinced she will nap better during the afternoons if she doesn't nap in the morning.  I'm not convinced but whatever-- she seems to sleep at night which really, is the most important sleep-related-thing to me at this exact point in my life.  :)
-has the cutest little wave-- where she opens and closes her fist, keeping her arm steady.  Sometimes, though,  she'll "wave" her whole hand/arm excitedly when waving "bye-bye". 
-LOVES to "walk" around. 
-REFUSES to walk without the assistance of another human.  Lately, she'll crawl over to us, grab our index fingers, raise her arms above her head and start walking-- as if to say, "I have somewhere to go and I need you to help get me there." Oh, and she gets pretty upset if we ignore her requests to do this.  
-adores being outside and is fascinated by all thing nature-related.  She especially loves bees and ants and is cautiously interested in dogs.  (This is so crazy to me because Charlie has been around dogs his whole life-- even after we said goodbye to Maddy, his daycare provider had two dogs that he was crazy about.  But Anna is rarely around dogs so she is much more hesitant about them.  Just more proof that it's time for Spahnville to get another puppy!!)
-is learning that Charlie is where-it's-at.  He's got the fun toys and fun stuffed animals and fun room.  And he is just fun.  She's always by his side and adores playing with him.  Lately, she likes to "run" (with her grown-up firmly attached to her fingers, of course) after Charlie when he's playing his running game.  She'll giggle hysterically as they bump into each other-- and if he's really accommodating she'll give him tummy zurberts after she pushes him over.  (I think they both love this)

Not a day goes by where I don't feel gratitude for Anna and her brother.  (Sometimes, I feel lots of other things about them too-- but always grateful when I go to bed at night.) Anna has made our family feel complete-- I cannot even imagine life without her-- even though we've only known her for one short year.  As this next year begins, I'm excited to watch her learn new things and see her little personality emerge even more.  Happy Birthday sweet baby girl!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Northwoods Summer '15 Part 4: Wrapping Up the Week

Are you tired of these posts yet?  Because I could probably just post pictures of the Northwoods for the next few months.  So I warn you, this is an incredibly pic-heavy post with very little words.  But it's the end of summer and we're too tired to read much anyway, right?  So again, I'll let the photos do the talking...

No trip Up North would be complete without a little ice cream....

Oh, and the ice cream shop was also a candy shop.  Brilliant, I tell you.

We strolled around Eagle River eating ice cream and buying baby moccasins (seriously, Minnetonka! Why do you need to be so dang cute!?) before heading over to do some Go-Kart driving.

Danny was just tall enough to drive alone!  Major 8 year old milestone.

The kids begged to ride the adult bumper boats---but the grown ups didn't want to get soaked so they had to settle for the "babyish" ones instead.  And as much as they complained about them being tiny... they all seemed to enjoy themselves a little bit...

Our final sunset with our visitors.  Picture perfect.

The next morning, we took a few family photos on our deck.  Miss Karen, thank you for the idea and your photography skills!

After that, our friends packed up and headed home and we enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather for another day.

Anna just wanted to walk on the paddleboard...

On Saturday, we made a little stop in Madison and hit the farmer's market-- which is amazing.  I could have spent hours wandering around buying all the flowers... but we only had an hour and the heat was even making me sweat.  So we opted for a lemonade and lunch outside before making the final trek home.

Like all things, amazing vacations must come to an end.  And while I'm always sad to leave this special place, I try to remain thankful and happy for the experience.  This wasn't Disneyworld or a European vacation and in my opinion, it was probably better.  It was simple and relaxed and perfect. We unplugged and slowed down and enjoyed the things and people around us.  In my perfect world, every day would be filled with long nature walks, tubs of toys on the beach, books read in hammocks, and sand tracked into the living room.  The smell of sunscreen would linger on little bodies long after they were tucked into bunk beds and the grown ups settled into Adirondack chairs with vino in hand. In my perfect world everyday would be filled with more interaction and conversation and less internet and television.  (And if I'm being really honest here, my perfect world would include someone playing the guitar and a perfect singing voice for me. And we would sit around a campfire and give each other compliments and contemplate the Universe....)  But we live in the real world, which is pretty amazing too-- and if nothing else, it reminds me how wonderful it is to have getaways like this to keep the main thing the main thing.  Until next time, Wisconsin....

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Northwoods Part 3: The Next Day...

As we drove to Bond Falls, we noticed a sign advertising a local waterski show so we decided to check it out a few nights later.  The show was great but honestly, the kids were most interested in the cotton candy (Charlie), taking photos in the plywood cutouts, and running around in the sand.

He loves me...

The moms...
(I love this lady!)

And the plywood cutouts...

That night, we got back to the cottage just in time for the evening spectacular: The Sunset.  It is, perhaps, my favorite time of the day when we're at the cottage.  We gather the troops shouting, "It's time for the sunset! Head down to the lake!" and we race down to the water's edge to watch the sun slip below the horizon.

Mason made a fire and promised the kids S'mores....

There was music and dancing on the deck....

And a little Spike-Ball on the beach.  (Have you played this!?  If not, go out and buy yourself some Spike Ball!!)

Miss Karen snapped this pic of Miss Baby and me watching the sunset.... it just might be my new favorite picture ever.  

And was time for S'mores.  These boys really hated that part.  :) 

Goodnight, Wisconsin.