Monday, December 31, 2012

Charlie at 19 months

Updated with a couple pictures...

This is what happens when you turn your back on this boy.  He stacks his toys on the couch and then climbs on them.  Climbing on the couch just isn't exciting anymore but now this added a whole new element of exciting for all of us!

Charlie is so inquisitive and happy these days.  He's learning at a quick rate and while I'm biased, I think he's just so smart and loving.  He's quite a charmer too.  He gives the best hugs and loves to give them after he has warmed up to you.  His favorite game is to go back and forth between Mommy and Daddy to give hugs.  Of course, I think he loves his Mommy's reaction who's heart melts and may or may not make over him.  He gets our full attention these days and would have it no other way.  :-)  Speaking of which, back in Thanksgiving, I held a friend's baby and Charlie started full out crying.  It was so funny and odd that he had such an opinion.  Can you say spoiled?  Maybe so but that's ok.  Daddy and Mommy are loving giving him our full attention. 

He has a little bit of stranger anxiety or a lot of it.  He is very reserved and likes to observe most situations before jumping right in.  He's the quickest to make friends with children and he tends to need a longer period of time to warm up around adults.  He tends to be a little shy and doesn't really talk too much around strangers.  He's started opening up a little more and I can typically at least get him to say "bye" to the nice grocery bagger who gives him a balloon or whatever else nice strangers do for him.

Back in November, I estimated that he could say about 20 words and he's well beyond 50 I think.  He's loving daycare and his teachers.  His teachers tell me that they used to try to get him to talk but now they have to try to get him to be quiet because he tends to like to talk at nap time.  He says the cutest things and has even starting putting two words together.  Some favorites are "It's a ball" or "It's a .... (fill in the blank) or "Taking a bath".   He will repeat just about anything we say and it's amazing how fast he gets it.  He knows about every animal sound there is (duck, dog, cat, sheep, horse, pig, snake, frog, monkey, lion, bear, etc.) and loves it when I go through all of them so he can make the sounds.  (It's a great game for the car when he's getting bored.)  He says Dadda, Momma, Grandpa, not yet saying Grammie but he does try, Kneeknee, Pops, Mim, and I think he said Mer for Meredith but only once.  Meredith is a little disappointed but he absolutely loves her being around so it won't be long.  She just has a hard name for little mouths to say.  He has loved to talk about all the things related to Christmas and has really increased his vocabulary to say most of the words that go along with the season.  Our two least favorite words are "No" and "Me" which can be said defiantly and with the best whine I've ever heard at times.  "Me" is normally only negative these days and while "No" can be helpful, most of the time it's not. 

I have some cute stories I feel are worth documenting below for my own memory sake: 

Charlie is loving his friends and his daycare.  Mommy and Daddy also like it.  There are some excellent staff there that take great care of him.  Charlie proudly walks in instead of me carrying him in the mornings.  He says several of his friends names and his teacher's name.  He particularly loves the director of the daycare, Ms. Jenn and he says often "Jenn Bye-Bye" at home so I think he even misses her when he's not around her.  Most mornings, she greets him and requests a hug.  One morning, she was talking and Charlie didn't want to go to his room without giving a hug so he patiently waited until she was done.  It was so cute!  He love the fish at daycare and is pretty much deemed the feeder in the morning.  He's been bitten a few times at daycare and while it's not fun to experience even as a parent, I'm glad he's not the biter.  I recently learned that he told the kid who bit him "NoNo" for the rest of the day.  He's a jokster at daycare and recently played a good trick on his teacher.  He was bent over in a bucket and not moving.  She happened to notice this while changing a diaper and was very concerned that he has passed out or something.  She kept, saying his name and trying to get him to stand up or move and he wasn't.  She told me that she hurried and grabbed the other child to run over to Charlie who proudly stood up and smiled at her.  :-)  He still loves his teacher from the infant room and I think he goes and visits her for a few minutes every day.  I recently saw the hugs that he gave her and I told her that I was officially jealous and it was an all around bear hug like he hadn't seen her in weeks.  Ms. Belinda loves him just as much though, and I will always hold a special place for her in my heart. 

Charlie loves Wally or as he says "Wall". He says "Bye Wall" pretty often on our way out the door. He's in charge of feeding Wally these days. I used to have to help him but he can do it all on his own without any help these days. 

He's always been obsessed with kitty cats and loves to see them and talk about them.  We don't have a cat and will not have one due to Wally, who is not good at all around cats.  Anyways, the cat that he is around the most is his Aunt Kneeknee's cat, Coco.  She has another cat, Boo, who won't come out so Charlie only knows about Coco.  Anyways, every cat is Coco so any picture or other cat he sees, regardless of their resemblance, he will immediately exclaim "Coco".  My reaction remains the same. I will say "No, this cat's name is ... (fill in the blank).  Coco lives at Aunt Kneeknee's house."  Now, he will say, "Coco at Kneeknees".  I will think he gets it and 2 seconds later the conversation repeats and we go through this over and over and over. 

Charlie loves to point to the Christmas tree and talk about the ornaments.  One day, he was pointing to the sporting ornaments.  So, I asked him what the different balls were.  He said "basketball" and then "football" and then when we got to the baseball, he said "Daddy's ball".  I'm not sure where he came up with that one and now he says "baseball" but it was pretty cute even if this year baseball wasn't always Daddy's favorite sport to watch on tv.

I think that at daycare, Charlie must have been taught to cheer after they sing or maybe he came up with it on his own.  Anyhow, in early December, one Sunday morning we were at church.  I normally go pick Charlie up from the nursery after offering has been taken up so he can come back and enjoy the last couple of songs in church.  Well, this particular morning, immediately after the song, it was quiet and the preacher was ready to start the benediction and Charlie exclaimed "Yay" and clapped.  Everyone in the church laughed.

Every day, when Matt picks him up from daycare, and puts him in his car seat, the first things he says is "nack" which is snack and let me tell you, we do not forget the snack.  It can turn a good night to a bad one quickly.  That boy is hungry in the evenings.  If daycare didn't tell me any differently, I would think they didn't feed him but they say he's a pretty good eater for them.

Charlie eats well most of the time these days.  It's not always so true and he actually had a pretty rough month in November which I was almost worried that he was going through a difficult phase of being picky.  Luckily, as his sickness went away, his appetite came back.  He's hit or miss sometimes and pretty horrible in restaurants most of the time these days.  It's hard to sit still and be so busy.  I don't think others around us mind him as much as I am worry about it.  His favorite foods are meatloaf, meat balls, peas and carrots (canned preferably), and just about anything sweet!  He has no issues with the reflux, thankfully.  Although he does tend to easily throw up, but at least it's centered only around being sick which I have decided it one of the things I passed on to my child and is just payback for all those nights when my stomach was upset or all those times that I got car sick and did the same to my parents.
As for sleep, I'm very proud of my good sleeper.  He was so bad for the first year and I still haven't forgotten how crazy sleep deprived I felt.  I have often said over the last few months that I can look back and remember how tired I was last year and how hard working and taking care of him was.  However, that's not the case these days.  He sleeps about 12 hours every night.  He is ready to go to bed about 7:30 but will push it back to about 8-8:30 if allowed and will sleep until 7:30 or 8 in the morning.  During the work week, he has to be up no later than 7:15 for us to get to work on time.  While he's been up at 6:30, most mornings, he waits until 7ish or later.  He's fallen into a little better routine for nap time at daycare and consistently takes about an hour and a half nap.  Unfortunately, he still fights them at home.  Sometimes, he will go down for about 2 hours and anything beyond that is rare.  However, there are times when the best we get is 45 minutes.  He always goes down for a period of time though right after lunch.

Well, I don't know that I'm much for giving advice to others on parenting as it all just seems to work out and you figure out what works for you which may not be the same for the next.  I will say that what I've learned is surround yourselves with good friends and good family.  Also, I'm lucky enough to have a very loving and involved husband who adores my boy as much as I do.  I certainly have a new found respect for single parents.  I recently was discussing this age with a friend of mine who said she found this to be the most difficult.  I don't know if it was the reflux or lack of sleep or if it's just this boy, but I'm absolutely loving this age and sometimes wish I could freeze time so I could enjoy it just a little longer. 

Pictures from family Christmas coming soon but we are still busy celebrating right now!  Happy New Year's.  I'm so thankful for everything that 2012 brought and look forward to 2013.  My thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on all of those who suffered loss this year and especially those whose children were taken away from them in early December in Newtown, CT. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Happy Birthday Jesus! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Months of November and December...where did you go?

Where do I start?....

November was a great month that went all too quickly.  We made 2 trips to Grundy.  The first was just a trip for Ali and I with children and no husbands for a fast weekend.  We had a good time and it was a tease for our trip at Thanksgiving.  Here are some pictures from the visit.  Charlie enjoyed the big truck that was parked across the road from Mim's house.

He also enjoyed all the toys that they had and chasing Kaiser around.

We took a trip to the fire station so that Charlie and Wyatt could see the fire trucks.  Wyatt's Papa Bill is a fireman so we got to get up close to the trucks and play for a few minutes.

But before Thanksgiving, Charlie turned 18 months and I had another birthday all in the same week. It was a great week and I actually spent the day of my birthday off from work due to Veterans Day. Matt took the day off and we had such a nice day together. We had a very nice dinner over at Dick and Debbie's.  While I think they know this, I can't say how extremely blessed I am to have such wonderful in laws and a 2nd sister who always make me feel so special.  Charlie got a great report all in all for his 18 month check up. His stats were:  26 pounds 11 ounces (85th percentile), 33.75 inches (75th percentile) and head circumference in the 85th percentile.. The doctor was pleased with his developmental skills. He really showed off while he was there making every animal sound he knew and talking up a storm. I guessed at the appointment that he could say about 20 words. His weight was a little off due to a good round of sickness, having lost about 2 pounds in that last week or so. (In one month, he had the stomach virus x 2, RSV, ear infection, and strep.) It was a little bit of a bad month due to that but honestly, it's already a blur. I don't know that I've seen him that sick for so long with the RSV. He really worried me with the not eating and drinking. The other hard part of the month was that since he was sick, Matt and I were really juggling working and staying home with him. We found this excellent place that takes sick children which we had to use because his grandparents who always help out as much as possible were not available. As I write this, I realize some may frown about taking your sick child to a place that they don't know anyone and not staying home with them, but you do what you have to do and I loved this place. The nurses took such good care of him and he loved it too! He was quite spoiled. Ok, moving on, my Mom and Dad offered to keep Charlie for the week of Thanksgiving so we met them on the Saturday prior and joined them late Wednesday night. It was so nice since he still probably wouldn't have been well enough for daycare but he was on the mend. Also, he loved being spoiled by his Mim and Pops. He also got to go to the high school and visit with some of Mim's friends and go to children's hour at the library which I understand he loved. It gave Matt and I time to get the Christmas stuff up and out and I took full advantage of it. :-) Thanksgiving in Grundy was super nice.

It's too bad we didn't get any pictures from the trip and only one picture where we went to the park. Grundy has a huge nice park and I can't wait to go back this summer. We met my friend Anne and her children as well as here sister and her children. It was so cold but it was fun.  Charlie loved the choo choo at the park.

We had a great visit but I'm not so sure that others could recall it the same.  Pops got the stomach virus.  While I can't say for certain, I think Charlie may have been the culprit.  Bless his heart.  It struck Pops Thursday evening and he was very sick.  So sick that for the first time ever, he couldn't work Black Friday!  Matt and I decided to drive home on Saturday night so that Charlie could sleep in the car and within hours of leaving his Aunt Meredith, she became ill as well.  Luckily, Mom, Matt and I were safe from that round.  Sunday after Thanksgiving, we joined Matt's family for another Thanksgiving feast.

December has gone way too fast but I enjoyed every minute of it.  I learned last year that Christmas was a little more work with a baby and so it was last year that  I vowed I was going to stay on top of things so I didn't have to stress out and feel like I was missing family time and I did exactly that.  I was annoyingly (if I do say myself) ahead of schedule most of the month when it came to buying presents, sending out Christmas cards, wrapping presents, making goodies, etc.  But, I'm not a good procrastinator and it meant that I was able to spend more time with Charlie.  I realize I'm sounding a little sentimental and emotional but I don't want to look back on my time and think I wish I had done more with him. It all goes by too quickly and I absolutely love this stage.  He's exhausting and busy but so much fun and is learning something new all the time.  If I had to pick something that has fallen behind, it's the blog, yet again.

Charlie has loved the Christmas tree.  We have a large one in our breakfast nook and a smaller one in the den.  He tells them hi every morning and bye every night before bed.  He quickly wants them turned on as soon as we walk in the room and he loves to point at the ornaments.  He has taken some off the tree but been kind to them.  I think of note, he loved his Daddy's choo choo, a star with a picture of his Daddy on it, other stars or snowflakes which are stars to Charlie, some of the candy canes, and all of the balls.  We did take a few pictures of his first reaction to the tree.  I have always loved the decor but to see Charlie admire the tree and his eyes light up the first time he saw it, my heart melted again and I couldn't have imagined at that moment that tree would ever bring me so much joy.

Ok, so quickly, here's everything that we did for the month aside from another stomach virus that hit our entire family (minus Wally) in 24 hours.  Matt and I took Charlie to a few houses to see the lights one night during the week.  It was super nice and low key.  I think we even managed to take some pictures.

He loved the houses and was especially taken with the trains and cars.  We did pictures at a studio which were absolutely crazy.  He was so awful.  I got one or two good pictures which is fine since the deal was only for one pose.  However, it took us like 30 minutes to an hour to get it.  Ugh!  We celebrate Courtney's birthday with another feast at Dick and Debbie's.  We did another tacky light tour with friends on the weekend.  It started by everyone getting together at our house and the kids had so much fun playing together.  Charlie was slightly overwhelmed with so many kids playing with his toys but did a great job practicing sharing his toys.  We also had Breakfast with Santa.  Wow!  That was so much fun. 

Charlie loved him from a distance, saying "Ho Ho" but was apprehensive the closer he got and was just plain not happy on this lap.  I asked them to snap a photo for memory.  What a different a year makes!  His breakfast that day was pancakes with whip cream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles of course. 

All in all, I think he thought it was a successful morning.  We enjoyed a feast at the Hamrick's which allowed us to get the annual kid photo. 

And as Charlie goes flying off the sofa head first.  Don't worry.  He recovered nicely and even took a few more pictures.  :-)

My goodness.  I can't describe how much joy these children have brought to all of our lives and they are getting cuter playing with one another and excited over partying together.  We had a few activities at church and some wonderful services to attend. 

I think that quickly wraps up the month in just one quick post.  I will post separately about Chirstmas but in case that doesn't get up in time, I hope everyone has a joyous one.  We have sang Happy Birthday to Jesus a lot around here and read the Christmas story (thanks to the book from his Mim and Pops) so many times.  I want him to always know that the true meaning of Christmas and to know about the birth of Jesus who would later die and rise to save us.  Hearing Charlie say Jesus may be one of the sweetest words I hear. 

Merry Christmas.  With much love, Stephanie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Serious thoughts

I realize I am yet again behind on blogging but tonight I am taking a break from posting about sweet Charlie and our crazy fun life to post some serious thoughts. My heart felt a little broken when I learned of the shooting massacre in Newtown, CT as it has with many other school shootings over the last 15ish years.  I can't fathom what would go into anyone's head to harm a child whether it be abuse or killing, but in this case kill 20 children and 6 adults. I will never understand this evil. I know many pastors had their work cut out for them today because many needed their hearts lifted and some reassurance that the Lord does know what he is doing.  Thanks to social media, it seems that many are feeling a little better. I know I couldn't have been happier to hug my little boy Friday night when I saw him and today at church, I found myself emotional. I don't want to use social media or my blog to post my political or social views and while I think we can all do better, I don't think there is one single thing that will fix this evil (i.e. gun control, mental health, christianity is schools, security in schools, etc. which are most popular that I have seen mentioned inthe last couple days). It gives me hope that we can all be a little nicer to one another and love mankind, God's most proud making, a little more.  It seems there are several heroes as the story unfolds that deserve praise as they spared more lives in the wake of the tragic event.  I can't imagine how they had the wisdom and courage but thank God for every one of them.  My prayers are with all of those who can't hug their loved ones a little tighter this weekend, no matter how they were taken, but especially the parents of those 20 children. God bless!