Thursday, March 26, 2015

Anna: Six Months

Seriously.  Can time go any faster?  I think not.

Baby Sister is SIX months old!  Augh!

Oh. My. Cuteness.
Baby Anna has one-thousand-percent captured my heart.  And possibly made me into a baby-lover. That smile.  Those toes.  And puh-leeeese, could she get any chunkier/tastier/squeezier thighs?  I want to gobble her up-- and often do.

Okay.  Enough about the thighs.  What's our sweet baby girl up to now?


*  Anna has the best smile.  She smiles biggest for Charlie.  And Daddy.  And sometimes she gives her mama a little smirk-- but I know it's just because I have milk.

*  She's started eating solid foods and is a champ.  So far, she loves bananas and peaches and butternut squash and sweet potatoes.... and wasn't too thrilled with carrots.  We'll try those again soon.

*  She's slept through the night a few times!  Like, really through the night-- not just six hours!  We're still working on not nursing at 4:30 am, but we'll get there.

*  Daycare is going great.  She loves her friends there and is apparently amused by the dogs (crazy dogs) who constantly entertain her.

*  Anna loves her toes.  She's constantly playing with them, pulling on them, sucking them.  She takes her socks off just to get her little paws on those piggies.  Can't say that I blame her....they're pretty darn cute.

*  She loves to sit up-- and does a great job.  She entertains herself with her toys, but lets us know that she'd rather have someone nearby playing with her.

*  We've taken a few bike rids when the weather has been nice enough and she seems to love riding in the trailer.

*  Anna is very ticklish-- especially on her chest and her thighs.  She will squeal with delight when tickled and then we squeal with delight because the whole thing is so cute.

*  Her newest trick is opening and closing her hand--like a little beauty queen wave.  She does this to the carpet, to the furniture, to blankets, and especially to our heads.  (Heads are her favorite.)

* Anna's personality is growing every day.  She's laid back yet determined.  She's patient and tolerant of the constant love she receives from her brother.  She loves being carried and held and rocked... but also seems pretty content in her own space.

Everyday seems to be more good stuff.  Getting to know Anna and watching our family change with her presence has been such a treasure.   Happy month-a-birthday Sweetheart.

Life is a Highway... Spring Break 2015

It's officially that time of year again....spring!  And with spring comes spring break and in typical Spahnville fashion, we headed North instead of South.  (Call us crazy, yes.  I agree.  Someday we'll find ourselves on the sunny beaches of Mexico during March but not this year.)  In fact, we weren't even sure we'd take a spring break trip this year, with Anna being so little (and still nursing) and my parents not feeling quite up to the task of hosting two smalls for five days.  But as we thought more about it (and the possibility of missing our annual trip), Mason piped up, "Why don't we just bring the kids with us?  It'll be fun."

And like sunshine after a rainy day, my world brightened up.  Yes!  That's what we'll do!  We'll be able to have our cake and eat it too.  Visit my happy place and keep my littles with me-- couldn't really ask for much more.

Our goal was to hit the road early-- after all, a seven hour road trip with a 5 month old seemed a little daunting.  And while we were a bit late, we managed to pull out of the driveway and reach our cruising speed by 6:00 am.

Anna slept for a good chunk of the morning ride but Charlie was too excited to even think about sleeping.  We took a quick break in Madison for some breakfast before hitting the road again.

When Mason and I drive to the cottage, we allow ourselves one stop in Madison and that's it.  But we took our time with the kids and made another pit stop near Wausau-- where wandered around a strip mall to kill some time and get a snack.  (Pet shops are great places for potty breaks, by the way.)

And while Anna wasn't crazy about being put back in her carseat, she settled in for the final two hours of the ride quite nicely.

When we arrived at the cottage, we cranked the heat, made a fire, broke into the Doritos, popped open a "Spotted Cow" (perhaps the best beer ever), and made ourselves at home.

The weather was chilly but we managed to enjoy the great outdoors with a few walks in the woods and a lot of animal discovery.

We also made time to check out the children's museum, a toy store, and of course... the ice cream/ chocolate shop.

We also happened to be vacationing over St. Paddy's day so we tried to catch that sneaky leprechaun. Charlie was thrilled to create a little trap with Daddy.  (He thought carrot cake would be a perfect lure for the little guy...)

And though our efforts were valiant, we didn't catch the sneaky little guy.  In fact, he played a few tricks on us-- all of which Charlie thought were hilarious.  

He left little tracks and a note by the trap.....

and he peed in our toilet....

and he turned our milk green!  (Charlie insisted that it was the best milk ever. "Tastes just like Lucky Charms, Mom!")

Anna wasn't very impressed by the leprechaun's tricks.  But she did sport a cute little Irish diaper cover brought back from the Homeland itself.  

On Wednesday, we packed up and headed to Minnesota where we stayed for one night.  Charlie LOVES sleeping in hotels and was thrilled to ride rides at the Mall of America.  We made the mistake of wandering around and eating at the mall on Wednesday (@ the Hard Rock which was actually really good food!) which totally over-stimulated our baby girl.

As we tried to put her down that night, she giggled at us as if to say, "You're crazy if you think I'm anywhere close to sleeping!"  So, we plopped her on the bed and let her squeal and laugh and giggle and entertain us until almost ten o'clock at night.

The next morning, we hit the mall and spent three hours riding rides.  Charlie would have stayed all day if given the chance but it was time to bring this trip to a close.

Before we knew it, we were ten miles out of the cities with one packed minivan, two new stuffed animals (a pheasant named "Fezzy" and a teddy bear with an "A" on her tummy), two sleeping kids, and two happy parents (probably just as sleepy as the kids).  Our hearts are full and we're grateful for this time spent together, turning little life moments into big memories.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anna: Five Months

This post is late, but isn't that what a mom's supposed to do when it comes to the 2nd child?

Let's take a look at my FIVE (almost six) month old!!  

Anna continues to be such a happy baby.  She's growing and changing right before my eyes, and unlike Charlie's baby days, I'm savoring every second of these moments.  I'm not quite sure why things are so much more sentimental this time around, but I have a feeling it has to do with the fact that I fully realize what a miracle this baby is.  And, if I'm being honest with myself (and you), I feel a tiny bit more prepared this time around.  Anyway, back to the subject at hand:  adorable baby Anna. 

Isn't she adorable?  

Someday Big Brother will kill me for including these next ones.  But not today.  Man, they're so cute together.

So what is Anna up to at five months?

* is still Charlie's #1 fan.  Her face lights up when he's in sight.  And he's usually in sight.
* has tried rice cereal and is showing an interest in food.  She often reaches for plates/bowls/forks/spoons/etc when we are eating
* has a bit of a short attention span and likes to be entertained by many different things.
* can roll over front to back, but has only done it a few times.
* puts everything (and I mean everything) in her mouth.  Toys, tags, fingers & toes, are among her favorites.
* "has got to be teething!"--- because she's been a drooling mess for about two months.  So far, no teeth have popped through!
* loves taking a bath with Charlie.  He thinks it's hilarious when she tries to eat his little Smurfs, she thinks it's hilarious when she splashes in the water.
*  still isn't really into sleeping through the night.  Mama wants to care but quite frankly, doesn't.
* enjoys being carried in the ring sling-- especially when Mama is doing things around the house.  We think it's good to keep the local chiropractor in business, after all.
* loves hanging out in her Jump-a-roo.  Watching Charlie and Daddy play soccer or basketball or football is a favorite.
* started going to daycare and is the most popular person there.  She loves all the attention and those crazy dogs at Nicole's house.
* left the state of Iowa for the first time--flew on a plane with Mama to Arizona!  (She was the hit of the party-- every grandma wished they were sitting close enough to hold her for a minute)
* loves looking at books with baby faces, although she mostly tries to eat them.

As mentioned millions of times before, Anna is the perfect addition to our family.  She makes me smile and laugh and I thank the Universe for her every single day.  She completes us-- and I'm convinced none of us will ever be the same after knowing her and her sweet, loving, spirit.  

Monday, March 16, 2015


When I was pregnant with Charlie, I knew I'd want to record his teeny tiny and monumental accomplishments in an old-fashioned-baby book.  I found a cute gender-neutral book with a puffy cover and chubby little babies drawn on the front.  Tucked within the pastel binding, there was room to document every possible accomplishment, memory, and milestone  The early pages of the book left space to write a letter to Baby and write down information about Mom and Dad.  Past the pages of tooth charts and immunization records, there were twelve pages devoted  to each of the first twelve months of life-- leaving room to write what Baby had accomplished and eaten and how many hours he had slept.  There was room to record whom he had met and places he had traveled and sights he had seen.  I diligently recorded each of these things: when he sat up, when he babbled, his first word ("clock"), his first trip to the swimming pool, his first trip across state lines, his first time sitting in a grocery cart (with the little safety strap carefully tightened around his pudgy belly), his first 4th of July/ Halloween/ Thanksgiving/ Christmas, the "friends" he played with, and on and on and on.  My writing fills those pages from top to bottom-- detailing every little thing that my precious Charlie accomplished.  I taped band-aids from his first shots and candles from his first party to those glossy pages, in a desperate attempt to remember these moments that pass in the blink of an eye.

Each month when it came time to record these little milestones, I glanced ahead at the expanse of blank pages.  2nd birthday.  3rd birthday.  4th birthday.  5th birthday.  School photos.  Each of those milestones seemed lifetimes away from the present.  Five years, planning a fifth birthday party, having a five year old, getting ready for kindergarten.... those things seemed impossibly far away from my drooling little man who was just learning how to clap his hands.

But here we are.  How did we end up here?  Charlie is FIVE?!

Yes.  Charlie is five.  The last page in the baby book begs to be filled in, completing these "early years"--at least on paper.  Everyone knows that he'll forever be my baby deep within my heart.

In some ways, it feels like he just arrived here on Earth.  But in many more ways, it seems like he's been here forever.  I feel so connected to him--like I know the way his brain works, his wants and needs, and each little curve and freckle and wrinkle on his body--yet I've only known this little guy for five short years.  In five years, this boy has taken complete control of my heart and changed me in so many ways.  (I'll focus on those another time-- I have a feeling I'm being too sappy already.)  Does every mother feel this way?  Did my own?  Did my grandmothers and their grandmothers gaze at their first-borns and wonder how these tiny souls changed them in such drastic ways?  And did their children continue to amaze them as they grew into big kids/ teenagers/ adults-- each with unique hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes?  My guess is that this wonder is simply, motherhood.

And anyone who has such an effect on us deserves a celebration.  So celebrate we did.

Charlie requested a "sports theme" birthday party.  He opted for a family party when given the choice between friend party or riding rides at the Mall of America during spring break.  (Can't say that I blame him.)  Our families came and showered Charlie with birthday love.  Everyone showed up wearing their favorite team and (hopefully) had a great time.

Party Games:  Pin the football within the uprights

Uncle Ryan missed by the most.  We thought that was just hysterical.

We also played football charades, and everyone did a fantastic job!

Eloise was our cheerleader.  Seriously.  Have you ever met a happier baby?

Then it was time for the long awaited cupcakes.  (Uncle Jeff was probably as excited as Charlie to dig into them)

This new Iowa Hawks hat hasn't left Charlie's head since this photo was taken.  (Thanks Grandma Carol!)

And the Harris family scored with this (super soft and cozy) Seahawks blanket.  He carries it around the house and snuggles with it every-single-night.

We were all pretty partied out by the end...

And then Anna woke up!  Our little cheerleader joined the party in time to swipe a little taste of frosting.  (I know, I know...)

Aunt Sandi gave Charlie his first "real legos" and the kid has played with them non-stop.  I think we may be on the cusp of a new obsession...

After the cleanup crew dismantled the kitchen, the smalls headed outside.  It was perfect snow-playing weather. Sunny and warm with plenty o' snow.

Then the grands helped build a snowman.  (We couldn't get them inside-- I think the old folks had more fun than the littles.)

These lil' panthers hung out inside.  God they're cute.

And at the end of the day, it was just the four of us.  Daddy snapped this pic before we turned in for the night.

That night, I lay in bed and remembered the night I went into labor with Charlie.  I thought of the whole sequence of events, especially the moment we met our son. I remembered holding that little baby for the first time and wondering who he was going to become.  His future stretched out before us like an endless sky and now, here we are, already five years into this journey.  I can't believe the baby book is filled-- I simply cannot.  It's time to officially slow time down-- things are starting to go a bit too fast for this Mama.  But in the meantime, I'll keep documenting and recording and celebrating the life of this incredible kiddo.  Happy Birthday Sweet Charlie.