Friday, December 30, 2016

A Letter to Elise at 21 Months

Elise you are so much fun right now. You are the coolest little girl I know and I love spending time with you. You are so darn sweet and cute and you make me laugh all the time. You are just so funny and spunky and daring. I can't get over your adorable curls and I always want to kiss your sweet chubby cheeks. You've hit this point where your comprehension has just taken off. Now instead of throwing temper tantrums when you don't get what you want, you are able to listen to me and understand how to get what you want or why you can't have that. You amaze me with how much you absorb and understand. I remember with Carter at this age I felt like he wasn't really retaining much from learning themes and then a week or more later he'd pull out information we had talked about during one of our themes. You have been the same way. We talked about body parts and I felt like you did pretty well and picked up a lot, but then a few weeks later you were reciting body parts we'd talked about but you didn't seem to have mastered. Your brain amazes me!

I'm loving how much your communication skills have taken off. You say so many different things and are able to follow multi-step commands. I know having Carter around really helps because I notice you mimicking things you've seen him do. When we are out and about and someone strikes up a conversation Carter typically holds up 4 fingers and tells them he just turned 4. I've noticed you now hold up a random number of fingers when someone starts talking to you and then say, "baby." It kills me and is so darn cute! Some things you pick up and I'm not sure how you learned them. I know Carter and I have talked about them but not a whole lot. You've started pointing at planes and saying sky. When you first did it I kept telling you, "Yes, that's the sky!" Then I realized there was a plane flying and that was what you were pointing at, not just the sky. You love to say peek-a-boo and will pop around and yell "eek-a-oo" all the time. It is darling. You love pointing out eyes and toes. You will even lift your foot up and wiggle your toes when you say toe. You like to actually poke animals in the eye when you point out their eyes so we are working on that. You cut your toe earlier in the month and said "toe owie," when you showed it to me. You say rock when you want to sit and rock for a little bit before your nap. You'll say walk either when you are being held and want the person to walk or when you are being held and want down to walk. You yell out coat when we are getting ready to leave the house. You also started pointing at things and saying cute. The first time I heard you do it was when we were shopping with Oma and you saw stuffed animals. You also say Oma, Opa, J for Uncie J, and Taco for Uncie Taco. Often times taco sounds like caco. The first time you said it, I though you were asking for an avocado and then I realized Carter was talking to Uncie Taco on the phone and you recognized his voice. So taco and avocado sound the same. You say wawa for any kind of drink other than juice. We usually just have water or milk so that narrows it down for us but it's pretty funny to hear you ask for water and then scream and throw your sippy on the floor when we get it for you because you want water! You will also say all gone when you are done eating. That is often times followed by you throwing your plate on the floor. You will also say plate when you are hungry and want us to give you food or when you have food and want a plate to set it on. You say apbo for apple, meme for banana, and duece for juice. You've also very clearly started saying Caca for Carter which brings back fond memories of Carter referring to himself in the third person as Caca. My favorites this holiday season have been hearing you say "ho ho ho" and you searching for Marco, our elf. You would walk around the house yelling out "Larco!" When you discovered where Marco was you would point at him and say "Larco up," while pointing at him and hopping up and down.
Trying to escape the photo shoot.

After Carter's birthday you started playing with the wooden birthday cake set a lot. You'll sit and sing "Happy" over and over. You also serve cake to us while saying bite. You love to hand food to people and are very insistent that they eat it. You don't take no for an answer and continue to offer the food saying "bite" in a more and more demanding tone. I have found myself overfull at lunch a few times due to this. You love it so much and laugh so hard after the bite is taken that it's awfully hard to turn you down even if you would allow it. You also yell out bite when you want a bite of someone else's food. Sometimes you yell out mine when you want someone else's food. That goes for anything you want, even Carter's toys. You'll point at what you want and scream out "mine!" You can get pretty forceful when you want something and Carter won't give it to you. Sometimes he is left crying because you can pull things out of his hands and you even push him down. You can definitely hold your own!

You love to eat and love most foods. You have amazed me by liking hot sauce and spicy salsa. Daddy was trying to eat his eggs he made for breakfast and you kept mooching even though you'd already had breakfast. He was trying to work around the edges to give you eggs without hot sauce on them. I told him to go ahead and give you a bite with hot sauce. If you didn't like it, you might stop mooching. You didn't even react when it reached your mouth and continued asking for a bite. We were out and the salsa was labeled mild but I thought it was more like medium. I put some on your breakfast burrito and you opened the burrito up to lick the salsa out, you loved it so much! I'm guessing you are going to be our spicy baby! Most of your temper tantrums have been over food. We got a big box of fruit snacks at Sam's and you loved them. My rule is you only get one fruit snack package a day when we have them. You think the rule should be all you eat is fruit snacks when we have them. You'd go to the pantry and throw yourself down on the floor screaming and crying when I'd remind you that you'd already had your one package for the day. I'd have to walk away and ignore you to get you to stop. Just recently you've started understanding more. When I give you your package I tell you that's the only one you get today and you'll shake your head yes. I'm sure we have plenty more tantrums in our future, but I'm glad the tantrums over that have ended.

You are such a happy girl and are so much fun to be around. Joy just oozes out of you and it's nearly impossible to feel anything but happiness when you are happy. We went to Jake's neighborhood at night because his neighbor had a holiday light show set to music. You loved it so much, laughing and clapping throughout the show. Your daddy isn't big on holidays and doesn't really enjoy stuff like that but he happily sat through the entire show because you were enjoying it so much. This year was the first year I had to worry about a child taking ornaments off the tree. No matter how many times I told you, you just wouldn't stop. You'd wait until no one was in the room with you or our backs were turned and you'd grab one off. If we caught you, you'd panic and throw the ornament down and even broke one that way. Most the time you would put it back on the tree by laying it on a branch or laying it on the floor underneath the tree. Carter's first movie was the old cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas so I thought it would be fun if that was also your first movie. We drank hot chocolate and watched it one night. Your commentary was cracking me up. You yelled out "shoooo," when the Grinch made his Santa shoes. Then you yelled "light," when he made a shadow as he slunk down the road. You yelled it each time he made a shadow after that as well. You yelled out "doggy," every time you saw Max and yelled "ba (ball)," when an ornament fell from the tree. You yelled yellow when a yellow crumb was shown on the ground. You didn't make it very long into the movie and it's only about 25 minutes as is. Then you came back toward the end yelling, "Oh, oh!" over and over when the sleigh was about to go over the cliff. I couldn't stop laughing. It was my favorite viewing of the movie ever!

Christmas was a few days after your month birthday but I'm writing this late so I figure I might as well add it in while it's fresh in my mind. Santa brought you a doll stroller and the first thing you did was start filling it up with stuff and driving it around. You did a great job passing out presents. I'd read the name tag and then tell you who to take the present to and you'd carry it over to him/her. Only a couple times did you start to rip open a package rather than deliver it to the intended recipient. You loved ripping open presents and did a great job unwrapping your presents on your own. Another gift you really enjoyed was a doll crib you got from your Great Aunt Judy and Great Uncle Mike. You put your babies in it, sat in it yourself, and enjoyed playing with the bedding that came with it. Your Oma and Opa got you some sparkly shoes and those were also a hit. You carried them around saying, "shoooos," until I put them on you. Carter got some really awesome magnetic blocks and you loved building with them. You also enjoyed your lacing shapes which surprised me because I didn't think you'd quite be able to do it yet. You were desperate to eat Santa's cookies but Carter was insistent you were not to have a bite of Santa's cookies so you left them alone.  

You are always observing and exploring, figuring out how to do things and how things work. You've figured out how to slide up on my phone so you can take pictures when my phone is locked. I'm constantly finding random pictures of your feet and the floor. You've also taken a few videos and they crack me up. In one you are breathing really heavily and then randomly yell out blue and then wawa (water). You have also figured out how to stack Play Doh containers to make towers and love to pull them out and make towers. One day you pulled a lid off and I'm hoping that was just by luck and you won't be able to do it again. We do not need that kind of a mess occurring around here! You watch Carter do something a few times and then the next thing I know, you are doing it! One of my favorite things you do is hop up and down when you're excited. You'll run up to me and hop up and down when you want me to pick you up. You also hop up and down when I'm getting you food or when I'm getting ready to put your shoes on. Really anything you want to do.

You are pretty darn fearless too. You'll run off without me without a moment's hesitation. The last time we went to the Children's Museum, every time I turned my back for even a second you had taken off in the tape tunnel without me. One time someone helped you up the ladder so by the time I got to you, you were standing by the tape slide hopping up and down in front of a girl who was probably around 8 years old, wanting her to pick you up and take you down the slide. In a situation like that Carter would have gotten to the slide and started crying when he realized I wasn't with him. You also ran off into the room with water and I found you standing on a stool reaching as far as you could over the side into the water. I couldn't believe you went into an entirely different room without me. I couldn't look away from you at all or you were off! Thomas was dog sitting for a friend and ended up going out of town so we took care of the dogs for a few days. One of the dogs was taller than you and you were unphased. You'd just stand and giggle as he sniffed you and licked your face! I know with your intellect, daring nature, and lack of fear, you are going to be one successful woman! I look forward to watching you grow into the amazing girl and then woman you will be. I love you so much Leesey Loo and am so glad I get to be your mommy and spend my days exploring with you!

Now on to Daddy:

Elise you continue to amaze me with how much and how quickly you learn. Here lately you have surprised me daily with something new. Either a word, or an understanding, or just doing something clever. I love how you know what you want and that you are going to make sure that you tell us what you want!

You are for sure a shoes girl! I love hearing you ask to have your shoes put on. A few times now we have needed to go some where and I could not find your shoes. All I had to do was ask you where they were and you could take me right to them!

Watching you play with your brother has been cracking me up. Most times he does not treat you like a baby, but rather like someone his own age. He expects you to keep up and hold your own, and honestly you do a damn good job! You are quick to tell him no or call for back up!

My favorite toy to watch you on this month is the trampoline. You get on there and squeel and laugh and go to town!

Love you baby!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

I knew Christmas this year would be even more fun than in the past since Elise is old enough to open presents on her own and Carter is old enough to really get excited and it did not disappoint. This year was my favorite Christmas to date and I know next year will be even better! On Christmas Eve morning I got up with the kids and we finished up some Christmas crafts and activities before Ty woke up. I wanted to get my long run in on Christmas Eve morning so I could have all day on Christmas to just relax and enjoy time with family. Ty offered to take the kids to pick up some food items we needed at the grocery store that morning so I could get out for my 10 mile run. It worked out perfectly with me arriving home in time to mix some Gatorade powder and eat a hard boiled egg before Ty and the kids walked in the door. They had gone to Sam's and ate lunch there so they brought me back a slice of cheese pizza which I scarfed down before quickly showering and laying in bed with Carter for his nap. My parents arrived a little bit before I laid down with Carter so we told him he could get out of bed to say hi. He was so excited he couldn't sleep after that so we just laid in bed and rested for about an hour before we got back up. We helped Oma and Opa unload their sleigh, I mean car, full of presents! Then Thomas and Jeremy headed over a little while later. I had planned too many things to get done in a short period of time, but we were still able to make sugar cookies and then decorate them with enough time left in the evening so Carter could choose a couple for Santa. We rolled out the dough and pressed out cookies using cookie cutters before dinner. Then I baked them during dinner and we decorated them after dinner once they were cool. My mom made a delicious dinner for us and brought it with them, just reheating most of it and making dressing at our house. Carter was excited to have sparkling blueberry juice and wanted to cheers with everyone. I tried cheersing with Elise and she got confused telling me "duece" which means juice and holding out her cup toward me. Elise helped Carter put out cookies and milk for Santa. She was really upset he wouldn't let her eat one of the cookies but we were able to get a decent picture of them both before they headed off to bed.
Making sugar cookies.
Family picture on Christmas Eve.
The "boys" during Christmas Eve dinner.
Carter decorating cookies after dinner.
Thomas got in on the fun.
Putting out milk and cookies for Santa.
Each year on Christmas Eve I lay in bed so excited, thinking about how excited the kids will be in the morning. This year I fell asleep a little faster than last year but still woke multiple times throughout the night and excitedly checked the time. Finally I woke up at 7:30 and was shocked both the kids were still sleeping. I laid in bed resting and waiting for them to wake up. Both kids slept until almost 8:00! I heard Carter talking a little bit before 8 and jumped out of bed. I was afraid I had missed him wake up and he had already gone into the kitchen and was talking to Oma and Opa. I really didn't want to miss his reaction when he saw what Santa had brought for him. Luckily for me, he was just talking to Harper. He was changing his jammies because he had pottied through his pull-up. I was a little bummed he and Elise wouldn't be wearing matching jammies on Christmas morning. The first thing he said to me was, "Can we go see if Santa's cookies are gone?" We checked and they were, in fact, gone. Then we discovered Santa had left him a few small things under the tree in his room. He had a mug with a hot chocolate packet in it along with a PJ Masks coloring page and some paintbrushes and a paint tray. Elise woke up shortly after Carter and we checked out what she had under her little tree. We decided to head into the kitchen to make hot chocolate and color the PJ Masks pages. Elise was super excited about her hot chocolate and started chugging it down right away. Oma and Opa got up while the kids were coloring and Carter checked out what Santa brought him. He started exclaiming all kinds of adorable things as he looked around at the presents. My favorites were, "Why did Santa bring me things I like?!!!!?" and "Santa brought everyone things. He's a nice guy!" Elise immediately started piling things in her stroller and walking around the house. While I was putting together Carter's car toy, Ty woke up and headed in to make breakfast for everyone. Jeremy and Thomas arrived shortly after that. Once everyone had eaten breakfast we opened Santa presents and then checked out our stockings. Carter played with Santa presents for a while before we moved into the living room to open the rest of the presents.
Drinking the hot chocolate Santa left under her small tree in her room.
The kids' Santa gifts.
Elise looking to see if Santa ate his cookies.
Elise filling her stroller with popcorn.

We sorted all the presents before we started opening them. Even so Elise tried to rip open a few presents before we were done passing them all out. Elise loved opening presents, ripping paper was her favorite! She tried to open all of the presents around her, even ones that weren't hers. Carter did a great job passing out presents by looking at the first letter of the name on the tag. Carter still wanted to stop and play with almost every present he opened. Elise would get distracted after each present she opened. Carter kept getting excited and exclaiming about how each thing he opened was, "What I always wanted!" When the kids were finished opening their presents it was time for lunch. We made the kids lunch and then they went down for naps. Carter again couldn't fall asleep at naptime so we just laid and rested for a while. When we got up, the adults opened presents while Carter played with his new toys. We played our traditional game where you guess what your present is and get points for guessing correctly. Mom ended up winning with 8 points. After Elise woke up from her nap we took Christmas cookies to a couple of our neighbors and then decided to head out for a walk with Carter's big wheel he got as a birthday present and Elise's trike she got for Christmas. We made it about a quarter-mile out on the trail before Carter decided he was done riding his bike and took off running. He fell and slid on his knees, scraping them all up. I decided we should turn back toward the car and around that time it started sprinkling. Then shortly after it was pouring down so hard it felt like hail was hitting us as we headed back to the car. Ty put Carter on his shoulders and carried Carter's bike in one hand with Harper's leash in the other. I was carrying Elise's bike, dad was carrying Elise and had a dog leash while my mom was carrying Benny and Jeremy had both of his dogs. It was quite the circus. We rushed back to the car and tried to get the kids in the car as quickly as possible. As dad was running around from the side of the car where he'd put Elise in to his car, Ty had started shutting our hatchback after loading the bikes, the timing was just perfect that the hatchback slammed into dad and then opened back up again. I know it shouldn't have been, but it was funny! When we got back Carter was being really fussy over being wet and having hurt knees so he and Elise took a bath to warm up and then I made them both hot chocolate. After the kids were in bed we sat down to play a new game we got as a present called Speak Out. It's the one where you put the plastic piece in your mouth that makes it hard to talk. I'd seen videos of people playing it and really wasn't interested in it, but we figured since we had it we would try it. The game was hilarious and we had a blast. At one point I somehow accidentally spit my mouth piece out and Thomas was moving his mouth around to make different faces and had me and my mom both laughing so hard we were crying. I'm looking forward to playing it again on New Year's! Bad weather aside, it was a perfect and beautiful Christmas day! Read about Christmas 2015 here, 2014 here, and 2013 here.

Carter was so excited to watch Elise open the present he bought her.
Elise stopped to play with her lacing shapes.
The kids playing in the ball pit Uncie Taco got for Elise.
Carter giving Harper her dog bone Santa brought her.
Elise playing in her baby crib from Uncle Mike and Aunt Judy.
Elise crying because I told her she couldn't have another fruit roll up.
Dad was so excited he figured out one of his presents was magnetic.
Our Christmas evening bike ride.

Walking back to the car in the rain.
Playing Speak Out after the kids went to bed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

It was so cold outside that their heat wasn't keeping up.
Our favorite, a daddy pile!
Gma got Elise!
Elise keeps getting into my stash of pads.
Ready to go to our play group Christmas party.
Hayden and Addison came to visit since they weren't able to come to Carter's party due to weather.
Some of the moms in the play group. I peeked into the picture from the back.
Carter reached over to hold my hand as we drove to look at Christmas lights.
Elise's shirt had a large neck hole so she kept pulling it off.
Trying out his new headphones and his new radio.
The things Ty will do in order to watch football... haha
Pancakes with their new monkey and cat pancake pans.
I love that they are so at home in the library.
Carter went in to get a ball and didn't come out so I went to check on him and found him here.