Sunday, October 14, 2012

rainy sunday play date

Since the start of the school year, NHV has seen less and less of her favorite friends.  It's nearly impossible to align schedules, especially with PM kindergarten as well as music class and dance class for each girl.  I feel like we run from one activity to the next all.week.long.  So much so that I find myself less motivated to make commitments on the weekend.

However, I have also grown weary of pretend play.  I partake in plenty of dress-up and restaurant and store and princess. At this point NHV needs time in fantasy land with someone her own age ... as much as I need to get the heck out of fantasy land!

Which is why a Sunday Play Date was absolutely perfect.  Natalie met her friend Ali when she was just six weeks old at our Newborn and You class.  Their birthdays are just days apart, and they are both tall for their age.  While we don't get to see each other more than a few times a year, the girls have always played well together.  Today was no different.  They bounced from one activity to the next.  They had no less than a dozen outfit changes.  They giggled and shrieked and twirled. 

And they played outside - despite the rainy, soggy conditions.  I keep finding more reasons to love our new property, including the grove of large evergreens and tree house nestled in between.  It all but blocks out the rain giving us access to swings, a slide, and a special place to play.




and a great view of the gorgeous fall foilage in the front of our house!


A big thanks to Ali for coming to play, hanging out with Natalie in fantasy land, and helping us discover our rain day hideaway!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kissing & Falling In Love

A boy on the bus (who also happens to be in Natalie's class) told her, "I want to fall in love with you," and then tried to kiss her! Smooth operator! Ah, young love! {trying not to freak out!}

So we had a conversation about who we should kiss ... like people in our family ... she listed mommy, daddy, Charlotte, Grammy, etc. ... hesitated just a beat and ended her list with "and people who fall in love with you." well, that's true ... but not exactly the answer I was hoping for ...

Monday, October 8, 2012

dirt. i choose dirt.

at an award-winning local festival.
on an insanely beautiful day.
surrounded by face painting, pony rides, bounce houses, ...

where is cjv happiest?


under the shade of a tree
digging in a pile of dirt
with a spoon from the ice cream we all shared

that's my girl!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

make like a tree and leave

The sunshine here in the NW has been unstoppable.  The mornings are chilly but the afternoons are warm and delightful.  The leaves are starting to change colors and make their way to the ground.

With our much larger property and plethora of trees, we are starting to realize there is going to be a lot of raking in our near future!  In fact, I just looked on Craigslist for a leaf blower!

But today I grabbed a rake and treated the girls to a roll down the hill through a leaf pile!

Charlotte is fascinated by the crunchiness. She could've walked through that pile and picked up handfuls of dry leaves all day.

Big sister demonstrating the fine art of rolling down the hill ... and then popping up for a pose-ready photo op.

Charlotte making her way back up the hill through the leaf pile!

As much fun as the brown, crunchy pile of leaves proved to be, I couldn't wait to turn my attention (and camera) back toward the trees where the leaves are vibrant and the sky which is blue and clear.

 This profile.  This thoughtful expression.  I cherish it.

This is Natalie.  Everything about it.  Her out-stretched ballerina arms.  Her gleeful, slightly mischievous expression.

 And this is me ... trying out the macro setting on my camera from afar.  And I kinda like it.

While I was taking pictures of the tree, Charlotte found a rock inside that pink bucket and had to bring it to me, saying, "rock-Y."   {How cute are her little fingers around that rock?} 

And while I was busy taking a picture of Charlotte's rock, Natalie started climbing the tree ...

The rock was quickly abandoned.  I love how Charlotte is reaching up.  Wanting to do whatever her big sister is doing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

a day in the life of cjv

One benefit of having a two year old who doesn't nap  (even though her five year old sister is in afternoon Kindergarten and mommy could really use an hour to get some work done - just sayin') is having the chance to spend a little one-on-one quality time with my baby girl. 

One benefit of living in the Pacific Northwest during this time of year is the amazing weather!  True story, folks, it doesn't always rain in Seattle!  And when the sky is clear, I would wager there isn't a more beautiful place in the USA.

Anyway, when those two benefits combine, there's no place I'd rather be than at the park ... chasing after my Charlotte Jane.


We started at the playground where CJV climbed every imaginable surface - stairs, ladders, slides ... all in about a five minute span.  Then she chased birds into a huge open field.  She soon gave up on the birds and just took off running with reckless abandon - this is her happy place.  A place that gets even happier as she scoops up handfuls of dirt.


Eventually I managed to trick her into racing me back to the playground.  I love that about this age ... my ability to make doing what I want her to do seem fun!


Back at the playground it was time to go underneath everything in her path.  Don't you know "climbing over" was so 30 minutes ago!

Soon enough she made her way to the bench where she promptly explained, "Hun-gee." and requested a  "nack, peas."


I struck a deal with her.  Come give mommy a hug and take one more picture ...

Monday, June 11, 2012

reunited with a childhood nemisis


My parents tell the story of this toy cow. That I hated. I was terrified of its mooooo. The mere sight of it sent me running. My uncle and cousins loved to torture me with it. Everyone got a good laugh at my expense. At least that's how the story goes. I have a vague memory of The Cow from when I was about two years old.

I was recently at my parents' house for a visit, and once again The Cow story was told.  Everyone got a good laugh.  Ha. Ha.

And then yesterday we were visiting with good friends who happen to have a collection of vintage toys from childhood.  So cool! 

Amongst those toys ... The Cow.

I couldn't resist posing with the source of some toddler angst.  And I can't imagine why I was afraid of this cute little cow ... except maybe the horns; those are a bit evil-looking!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Now I Know My ABC's


The past month has been huge for Charlotte's language development.  She is talking and singing and pointing out letters - everywhere!  Pretty exciting stuff considering she was diagnosed with a language delay just a year ago and receives speech services twice a month.

Not only does she sing the Alphabet Song, but she also recognizes all 26 letters.  Charlotte loves her Melissa & Doug puzzle (thanks, Aunt Laura).  And we have been playing with a set of foam letters - I swear those things are responsible for my girls knowing their ABC's at relatively young ages!

We play games with those foam letters.  Her personal favorite is "Find Mommy and the Letter."  I grab a letter from the basket, run and hide behind something, she finds me and names the letter I am holding, and then takes it to the rug.  I run back to the basket, grab another letter, and repeat!  She also loves to pull a letter from the basket, name it, and then throw it across the room.  After she's emptied the basket and there are letters all over the floor, I call out a letter and she tries to find it and puts it back in the basket {it's clean-up disguised as fun}.

While she definitely knows the letters, I really love that she's still figuring it all out ... an I is always an H because she turns it sideways.  M and W continue to confuse her - rightfully so!  E and F trick her, too!  She says "L" with her tongue sticking out.  And X is "ek."  When she says, "U" it's followed by "umbrella" and "Z" is for "zipper" - but those are the only two that get words.

From A-Z, I love this little girl!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy {Early} Birthday, NHV!

Speaking of birthdays, NHV had the chance to celebrate her summer birthday with her preschool class. 

She held a model of the earth and walked around the sun.  Each rotation marked a year, and I was asked to tell something special that happened during that year.  After five trips around the sun, we sang Happy Birthday and she blew out a candle.  Then the real fun began ... I got to read a book to the class, and - if you know me at all - you know I was loving every minute!  Right back in my role as a teacher - it felt so good and so natural!

Natalie and I chose the book Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan - a gift from Chitown Momma - because you can't celebrate a birthday without cake!  Plus that is one FUNNY book, and her classmates laughed at all the right parts :)


Clearly, CJV doesn't appreciate good bunny humor ;)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy Half Birthday, CJV!

I am a big fan of birthdays, and my sweet Charlotte Jane just celebrated two and a half!

Which certainly warrants a stroll down memory lane ... or at least through the image files :)

{December} 
She was and continues to be a good eater and great with a spoon.
{January} 
Water makes her happy, which explains the Mommy & Me swim lessons.
{February} 
Fearless at the playground, she climbs everything 
and zooms down even the highest slide!
{March} 
This girl loves shoes, especially ones that don't belong to her!
{April}  
So easygoing even a long hike makes her cheer!
{May} 
Around crowds she tends to sit back and take it all in.


{June} 
Charlotte is officially looking less like a baby and more like a little girl! 
 And she is constantly on-the-go ... 
even in this photo she's making an escape!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Problem Solving


What are you doing?

Who?  Me?

Just some innocent stretches.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

crib climber - escape artist

She may be 28 months old and just shy of 20 pounds, but Charlotte Jane has been mighty and surprising us since day one!  She started climbing out of her crib a few months ago, so we lowered her mattress to the floor - took the metal springs out and set it right on the floor.  But that trick no longer works to contain our "little monkey" who has figured out how to escape once again!



And here is the last official photo of my "baby" in her crib ... {sob, sob}


She's been sleeping in her toddler bed {the crib without the front rail} for three nights now, and she seems to like it just fine.  In fact, after testing it three or four times the first night, she hasn't gotten out of it until we come to get her ... yet!

LEGO® rockstars

Those colorful building blocks are favorites in this family!  Chad's childhood collection - which sat in the basement of his mom's house for many years - has been given a new lease on life!  And now that we have the Lay-N-Go, I love LEGO even more ... and my feet don't suffer!


Even Charlotte gets in on the fun!  While she appears to be sitting so angelically here; deep in concentration on her latest creation.  Don't be fooled!  Her specialty is throw-and-destroy!

This is my favorite recent build.  A rock stage complete with performers and instruments!  Look closely and you'll see a backstage door and dressing room!  There's even elaborate lighting and sound systems.  And that blur in the front ... stadium seating!

Monday, April 2, 2012

dance recital

NHV is a dancer. Whether there's music playing or not, she's got a song in her heart. She absolutely loves to dance, especially if she's wearing a leotard and tutu!

At her recent recital, she was so bouncing-off-the-walls excited and then she stepped on stage and was cool, calm, and, collected! The smile on her face says it all; she had a blast! {back row, second from left}



While I would like to say her favorite part was being on stage, I think the roses she got as she came off stage trumped the performance and audience!


And we even managed to get a family shot!


Following closely behind in her big sister's foot steps ... 
with complete adoration and love ... 
there's this little future superstar ...

Friday, March 23, 2012

big shoes to fill

my little peanut barely fills a size 4 shoe.

lately she is obsessed with trying on 
shoes that are not her own ... 
especially those belonging to her big sister.

and she is so proud of herself!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

leprechaun traps

I was away over St. Patrick's Day this year.  
Without children.  
Spending time with my besties from college.

Not only did Chad take care of the girls - all by himself for three nights and four days - but he also managed to uphold our St. Patrick's Day traditions ... and added Leprechaun Traps to the mix!
They didn't manage to catch any leprechauns.

But Chad did take "after" photos ... 
to show the evidence of their attempts!
{how cute is that?}

and the leprechauns did cause 
some mischief of their own!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

just a strummin'




This guitar belonged to Chad's father.  

Daddy knows a few chords and fakes the rest.  
He makes up the best silly songs.

The girls love it, and sometimes
they get the chance to "play" too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

sarcasm

is completely wasted on a four year old.

For some reason, Natalie insists that she still needs help wiping after she goes number 2.  And her insistence is rather enthusiastic.  She bends over in a yoga-esque pose and yells {at the top of her lungs}, "Mommy, I'm ready to wipe."

Upon hearing this request and seeing her position, I very sarcastically said, "This is absolutely, positively my most favorite part of the day!" {yeah, right!}

And, so, now ... every afternoon {my girl is hellah regular!} Natalie yells from the bathroom and assumes the position.  As soon as I open the door, she says, "Mommy, this is your favorite part, right?"  Big grin on her face. 

All happy to be giving me the opportunity to wipe her cute little behind!

I must admit ... I am actually starting to enjoy it ... hee, hee!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

flat stanley's sunny day adventure

it started with lunch at our favorite place ... Chipotle!


followed by a trip downtown and a cupcake treat


thanks to a kind stranger, all four of us posed together
there's flat stanley, hanging onto the A

a walk to the train depot


all aboard!
{love the gray and yellow}


heading down the tracks ...


to the playground ...


down the slide ... 

and up into the giant evergreen tree!

We tried knocking on the big blue door, 
but no one is home!


a quick "swim" with the salmon

... and a final view of the mountains.


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