Thursday, July 31, 2014

Though Ellie's Eyes - first edition

I keep forgetting to post this! Here is a collage of pictures Ellie took when her camera was brand new.  (I think I took the top middle one.) She's gotten better about having her eyes in the viewfinder when she presses the capture button, but hadn't mastered that yet for these shots.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Caroline - 10 months.



Caroline is ten months old.  We've entered the 'say it ain't so!' phase of her first year.  I cannot believe ten months have gone by.  It seems like she was just born.  My last baby is on her way to being a toddler.  I know she'll be fun in each of her new stages, but will miss my squishy baby as she grows.  At ten months, Caroline weighs 21 pounds, 1 ounce.  This month she started pulling up - first in her crib, now on anything that doesn't move.  She has climbed the bottom two steps, but we've not given her the opportunity to do much more.  On 7/12, after three days of fever and clinginess her top right tooth finally broke through the gum.

Eating/Sleeping:  Not much change in what Caroline is eating.  Mostly just smaller amounts of what we eat.  She still does not like bananas - will pick them out of a mix of fruit and push them to the side of her tray - so funny!  Loves nectarines, clementines, blueberries.  Caroline only takes two naps now, but they're both usually really long (2-3 hours each.)  She sleeps from 7pm to 6/7am with, usually, one feeding during the night.  When she was up with fever last week she was pretty miserable from 10:30-11:30 each night, and got Motrin around 1am two nights in a row, and was then up again at 3am, 5am, etc - but that was pretty atypical and I am attributing it to the tooth.

Likes/Dislikes:   Caroline LOVES water in a straw cup!!  She drinks some, spits some down her chest, shakes some out on the floor, and just has her own little splash park party.  I've finally learned to take her clothes off BEFORE giving her a cup, because otherwise I have to change her immediately afterward.  Caroline enjoys playing with her stacking cups, wooden grasshopper, and constellation turtle (So, pretty much, if it's a gift Pete and Jenni gave to Ellie, she loves it.)  The only thing I can think of that she dislikes is public changing tables.  If she even sees one, she starts screaming.  Changing her diapers on our way to/from Pennsylvania was an adventure, to say the least.

I don't want to forget:  her smell, the softness of her skin, watching her fall in love with her Raffie, my daily surprise at the wonderful color of her hair.

fun in the pool at Caitlyn's house
mastered the snack cup
more active playing with sister (who came home from school with that hair)
first pair of shoes from Daddy (not to be worn for some time)
end of an afternoon at the pool
reading with Ellie
conquering the steps
WV hotel-room crib
day one of fever - not sleeping, just feeling puny
feeling better at the pool Sunday evening
My favorite stage - the Starfish Hands!!  She crawls around the house rapidly, slapping her hands on the floor as she moves.

Oh Caroline, you sweet, sweet girl, we love you so.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Aunt's 90th

The last weekend in June, all the Carters from all the land made the trek to Macungie, Pennsylvania to celebrate our great-aunt Phyllis' 90th birthday.  Known as 'Aunt' to all, my cousin Christy nailed it when she described her as a "bonus third grandma."  Aunt Phyllis still lives in the house she was born in in Tamaqua, PA, and, since she is ninety years old, we wanted her party to be close to where she lives for her convenience.  So the rest of us drove or flew in from Nebraska, Texas, Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky.  Aunt was a chemist for Atlas Powder Co., so the theme of the party was Elements of Aunt.

[UPDATE:  I feel like I sold Aunt short by writing she still lives in the house in which she was born when that's not really at all true.  She moved back into her parents' house after her widowed mother (my Great-Grammy) needed care as she got older.  She had graduated from Albright College, lived in a house she owned in West Chester, and had a successful career (including being the president of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists) before taking an early retirement for Grammy.  Here's a link to one of the patents she holds for making ice cream treats better. (important stuff, y'all!)  I don't know if it would be appropriate to say she was a pioneer in her field, but she definitely fought the early fight of equality for women in the workforce.  At her first job, they tried to get her to make the coffee!  She had to assert herself and her skills when she was not welcome, just because she was female.  Another update - just did some Googling: she won the SCC's Merit Award in 1973, and the Masion G. de Navarre Medal Award, the society's highest honor, in 1981.]

Aunt's eight great-grandnieces and nephews.

We stayed at Bear Creek Mountain Resort and had a great time using the facilities, especially the pool.


Ellie clearly learns by example, as after a day or two of watching Cloudy and Ben swim in the pool, she was able to swim all by herself!!  Such a proud and exciting moment for us.

Saturday evening we had a casual dinner - where we wore the required birthday tees and had the birthday cake.  Jenni found an awesome baker who made this amazing chemistry cake with edible paper printed with a periodic table, atoms, a beaker, etc.

The birthday girl with her niece, Aunt Nancy, and nephew, my dad.
The whole crowd -minus Jenni, our unofficial photographer.
Please ignore my crazy eyes and look at that cute baby!
Don't take me from my mommy!!

All the kiddos love [fast] Uncle Pete!
Sunday was the nice party - with roasts and toasts - and pictures with Aunt!

Clouds - in his custom-made (and monogrammed!) bow tie.  Jenni is a talented super-mom.
Hey look at that - I have siblings!  Sorry for the wonky light, we always forget to take pictures until late in the day.
It was so great to see everyone and catch up, even for a day or two.  We are so lucky to have Aunt in our lives.  She's smart, witty, and never misses a trick!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

That about sums it up.

I read too many blogs.  There, I said it.  Or wrote it.  Whatever.  Feedly on my iphone is an enabler, and I read blogs every day.  During naps when I should be cleaning, or after the girls have gone to bed when I should be doing anything.  Anything.

Several of my friends have been on my mind this week as they have just started the adventure of parenting two children.  So much more than twice as hard!  I thought of Julie (welcome Josie!!) when Caroline would not sleep from 10:30-11:30pm the eve of Pete getting up at four a.m. to go out of town for two days.  It's much easier to let a baby 'cry it out' when there isn't the risk of waking the older sibling.  So I sat with her in the glider and bounced her as I walked around the room.  She refused to nurse, and that's all I really have in my bag of tricks.  I thought - at least I don't have to go work tomorrow, too - not that watching Ellie and Caroline all day and night is not work in itself.  Because it is.  It so is.  I thought of Cassidy (welcome Hayes!!) when Ellie was giggling out of control as Caroline crawled all over her while I tried to put on her overnight diaper.  That was a funny situation, but still made the everyday harder.  Different.  Slightly more difficult.

So I wanted to share this excerpt, from someone much more eloquent than I.  She doesn't post often, but Kate Baer was spot on with her post this morning

Anyone who has parented a human for more than five minutes has felt the coils of the day wrapping around their insides, making the chest tight and the stomach hungry for nachos. By 9pm, I have no words left. I just want to sit in the dark, watch Michael Scott, and not have to think any intelligent thoughts.
Shark tank idea: a service that comes to your house, gives you a glass of wine, ten minutes of uninhibited dancing, then rubs your back until you fall asleep. (That or someone who just shows up to play with your hair while you binge watch Orange Is The New Black).

Monday, July 07, 2014

Fourth of July Weekend. 2014 Edition.

It's so nice when the Fourth of July falls on a Friday because we all get a nice, long, three-day-weekend.  Thursday night we took the girls the girls to the Concert on the Lawn at Transylvania University. 

We've gone at least three of the last four years - Pete thinks we skipped last year because of rain.  It is always on the third of July, and, in the past, featured the Lexington Philharmonic. 

This year the city decided to go with the local National Guard Band instead.  They were okay, but not as good as LexPhil.  We've since spoken with some neighbors who felt the same way.  But it was still fun, and the girls had a good time.  Ellie enjoyed the opening band the most anyway - the Dixieland Jazz Band - whose members' average age is 79.

We ate a picnic dinner and met up with some of our neighborhood friends, and snuggled in for the concert.  It didn't start until 8:00pm and our girls usually go to bed at 7:00pm.  When the group broke at 8:53 for a 15-minute intermission, we made the wise decision to leave then.  We had the girls in bed by 9:30, by which point they were pretty much both begging for it.

Friday morning I got the girls up at seven - they were sleeping in!!  they're usually up closer to six - to walk down to the entrance of our neighborhood to watch Pete run in the Bluegrass 10, 000.  Our neighbors Bob, and the Heathcoats joined me to watch and cheer for Pete.  It was really great not to be watching by myself.  Ellie also loved having a cheering companion in Stella.

Friday afternoon the Wheelers came to visit! We were so busy juggling girls and food and watermelon that I don't have a single picture.  We had a good time watching the girls play in the wading pool together, and think it was a great preview of the fun we will have on vacation this year.
 (update: raided Pete's phone for a picture)

We let Ellie stay up as late as she could while the Wheelers were here, and didn't put her down for nap until she ran inside to get her Cece and tell us she was sleepy.  SO - she didn't wake up from her nap until after five and the Wheelers had left to visit family.  We had a simple dinner of scrambled eggs, went on a bike ride around the neighborhood, and had the girls in bed by 7:30pm.  Around 9:30 the fireworks started at the country club next to our neighborhood so we rigged our baby monitor and walked down to the end of the block for a great view of the show.  It was a cool, clear night - perfect for fireworks.

Saturday morning, after a morning trip to Starbucks and Home Depot, Ellie and I had a mother-daughter date --> Audrey Eason's Third Birthday Tea Party! 

Audrey lives around the corner from us, but her VeeVee hosts her parties, so we drove just outside town to her party.  I think Ellie was pretty pleased to have this opportunity to listen to the Frozen soundtrack.  Again.  Ellie got to wear her bracelets and pearl necklace for this nice party, but was eager to pile on more and more dress up clothes and jewelry.  Here are a few pictures of her in full regalia.  After dress up all the girls sat down for tea and sandwiches and cupcakes.  We all had a great time and the weather could not have been nicer.  


After the party and nap, we loaded up and headed to the pool.  Our neighbors Bob and Julie were there so Ellie had a great time playing in the water with Bob.  We ate dinner at the Grille before heading home.  Ellie was insistent that we find Jack - Bob and Julie's 15-yr-old son - so we could say goodbye to him before we left.  He was sitting with a gaggle of girls and Ellie ran up to give him a hug.  Julie was pretty happy that we embarrassed the crap out of him :-)  It's the little things. 

Sunday we went back to the pool after another neighborhood bike ride, Caroline's morning nap, and some yard work.  After lunch, during afternoon naps, I finished laying mulch over our new shrubs and lilies in the front yard so the facade of our house is finally looking complete.  I've got a before picture somewhere, so maybe that will be another post.  We grilled shish-ka-bobs for dinner and ate vanilla ice cream in the back yard for dessert and called it a weekend!  Whew.  Hope yours was as fun as ours!!