Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Welcoming Winter

We can't believe it is already December.  November went by so fast for us and we had lots going on.  But now that we have finished all the fall festivities, we are ready to welcome in winter.
Here is what we did last month:

Charlize and I went for our last visit to the Playground of Dreams.  It was a little chilly but we needed to get one more last run in before it got too cold.

While we were there, Charlize discovered the fun of crunching leaves under her shoes:

She practiced jumping and crawling through tunnels:

And she enjoyed just being outside playing:

Now that the weather is getting cooler, we have moved the fun indoors.  Charlize has had fun discovering new things to play with inside.

One of her favorite things to do is learn new words and copy what mom and dad are doing.  She loves to  jibber-jabber, especially with a phone in her hand.  I didn't realize that I spent so much time on the phone while also multi-tasking until I saw Charlize copying me.  She loves to walk around with a phone squished between her shoulder and ear waving her hands around.

Charlize is still obsessed with the camera-- as soon as she sees me recording, she wants to see the screen so   here are two really quick clips of her answering the phone:

Besides learning new words and talking on the phone, Charlize LOVES to read books.  She enjoys when we read to her but she can also be found reading to herself.  I tried to sneak up on her and catch her in the act but she saw me, so here is another quick clip of her reading:

Charlize also loves babies.  She loves to wrap them up, pack them around and give them kisses.  We recently inherited a baby station from a friend that includes a crib.  She has had a hard time sharing the crib with her babies because she wants it for herself:

Besides her babies, Charlize has also fallen for her Minnie Mouse stuffed animal.  I wanted to familiarize Charlize with some of the Disney characters before we go on our Disney trip and I thought buying this would help out.  It really has--she packs her Minnie doll around all over the place and has learned to say "Minnie."  Last night I couldn't get her to put it down and she ended up falling asleep with it.  She is so cute and I'm glad she has learned to love Minnie.  I just hope a life-size one won't scare her too bad.

Charlize is such a busy girl and is always discovering new things to do on her own.
Here are a few of those things-
1. She enjoys helping me unload the dishwasher, pull clothes out of the dryer, and dust
2. She loves playing with stickers and scribbling in coloring books
3. If she is sitting on the bathroom counter while I get ready in the morning, she enjoys turning on and off the light--this makes it very interesting for me.
4. She still loves to give kisses, especially to her dolls and Minnie Mouse
5. She loves to cuddle in big piles of blankets and pillows.  She has learned the word "poe" for pillow but she uses that word for blankets and pillows and now I catch myself calling a blanket a pillow.
6.  She really does mimic the adults in her life--especially me (I guess it's a compliment).  The funniest one is her stretching poses.  I have been taking her to work-out class with me and she dances and stretches right along with us and throughout the day I catch her stretching or doing squats. So cute!

And of course, Charlize still loves to dance.  Here is one of our favorite videos-

When life isn't so busy, I try to come up with new exploration activities for her to do at home.  Last month I posted some of those activities.  Here are a few more we stumbled upon that has kept the cute little girl very busy.

Left-over craft supplies and marbles:

I dug through my craft drawers and found pipe-cleaners, popsicle sticks, pom-poms, clothes pins, and marbles, added a few bowls and it became a new favorite activity.
Charlize had lots of fun moving the items from one bowl to the next, stirring them, dumping them out and starting all over again.  This one kept her busy for long periods of time on more than one occasion.

Another fun activity was finger painting with yogurt.  I used yogurt (with a little bit of food coloring) because I wasn't sure if I wanted her to eat the finger paint but I wanted it to be safe just in case she tried to.  She kept bringing the paint brush close to her mouth and looking at me to see if it was okay, so I finally let her taste it.  After that we did more finger eating than finger painting but I know she had fun with this one.

 Trying to get the hang of the brush

 Deciding it is more fun to paint herself than the pan

 Just finishing her first taste of the "paint"

Forgetting about painting and focusing on eating

We came upon one of Charlize's favorite activities by accident.  After Charlize and I got done making cookies (she is very good at helping me mix stuff up), I needed to wash some of the dishes by hand.  Charlize insisted on helping me with this.  So, when all the dishes were done, I filled the sink up with clean water and dish soap and let her have at it.

When we aren't spending time at home, we are usually out with Charlize's grandparents.

One afternoon, we met my parents at Round Table Pizza for lunch and Charlize and Grandpa waited for their pizza in the arcade room.  It looks like they had lots of fun:

Taking turns driving-
I'm not sure who was the better driver!

Charlize showing Grandpa how to bust a move

On another evening, we met Nick's parents at the mall to do a little shopping.  Grandpa Wright thought Charlize might enjoy a little break:

Charlize had fun just sitting in all the toys but I couldn't resist dropping in a few quarters.  Grandpa thought she might be a little unsure when the car started moving . . . and I think he was right:

Even though Charlize had fun on the ride, I think she prefers the rides at Grandma Wright's house a little better.  She enjoys spending time on the rocking horse and the small rocking chair.

Charlize really does enjoy playing on furniture that is fit for little ones, so this makes me very excited about the Christmas present that her Dad and Grandpa Warren have just about finished making.

Here are some pictures of the boys cutting wood for the play kitchens Charlize and Jocelyn will be getting for Christmas:

I took several photos that night and after Nick and I got done looking at them, he said "It looks like I did more watching than helping that night."  Grandpa Warren did do a lot of work and we are very grateful for him but Nick has also done a lot of painting.  I think there is just one thing left to paint and put on and we will be all set for Christmas.

Thanks guys for putting in so much time and work to make this happen!

We had a couple of big events the week of Thanksgiving.

First, Charlize's Aunt Samantha flew in from Maryland for all the festivities.  Charlize hadn't seen Sam for awhile and usually doesn't warm up to people very quickly, but after just a few minutes of Sam playing with her, Charlize had found a new best friend.
Here are some pictures of Sam, Haley and Brenda visiting Charlize at our house:

Charlize had lots of fun pulling out all of her toys from the closet, reading books and especially tossing the ball around:

Our next big event was Thanksgiving brunch at Grandma Wright's followed by the Mathews Family Thanksgiving Dinner at the church.  It was an eventful day and Charlize had so much fun!

Hanging out at Grandma's house:

Sam quickly learned how much Charlize loves the camera--especially the one in the phone.  So, Sam and Charlize took lots of fun pictures that week.  Here are a few:

After eating at Grandma's we headed to the church for a second meal.  The food and company was great but I think Charlize enjoyed the activities at the kiddie table best:

Charlize's cousin, Rachel, was such a good helper all week.  She hung out with Charlize and played with her and helped me keep an eye on her.  I think both girls had so much fun.
Here they are coloring their Thanksgiving pictures.
Thanks Rachel!!

Charlize also had fun hanging out with the boys and playing with cars.

And then, finally, the day after Thanksgiving, the awaited day arrived--Quentin and Rebecca's wedding.

What a cute couple!  We are so happy for them.

Friday morning, we spent some time putting together the food for the luncheon.  Charlize made herself at home in grandma's pantry-

And spent some time hanging out with her cousin Jayden-

Grandma Wright did an amazing job setting up the luncheon.  The food was delicious, the decorations were beautiful and the little ones loved having their own table.  Charlize enjoyed eating lunch with the other little kids, in her own little chair, surrounded by PB+J, animal crackers, crayons and stickers.

After the luncheon, we had some down time so we hung out at the church, took some more pictures and waited for the happy couple.

Here is our cute little girl enjoying the temple grounds:

"I love to see the temple, I'm going there someday" . . .
I don't think she can wait any longer, she wants to go there today!

After the wedding, we had a nice reception at the church.  Charlize and I had to go home early so she could get to bed.  But, dad got to stay and revisit his dancing days-

Now I know where Charlize gets it from.

After all the festivities died down, we decided it was time to put up a Christmas tree and decorations.  Since we are in a small apartment, we couldn't put up our big tree so we downsized to a small, simple one, but Charlize still had fun helping us decorate.

Charlize got a Minnie Mouse ornament from Nick and I this year since we are going to Disneyland.  Now that she knows who Minnie is, she just loves to look at her ornament.

"Yep, I think it looks pretty good."

One last exciting bit of news:
This past week Charlize turned 18 months old and went to her first day of nursery.  I know I had a harder time with this milestone than she did.  I was very glad that she didn't cry when we left her but I wanted to know she was going to miss me a little bit.
Her nursery leaders said that she had so much fun and played well and only stopped a couple of times to call "mommy" and then go right back to playing.  When I went to pick her up at the end of church she seemed torn between running up to me and staying on the floor with the toys.
We are so proud of our little independent girl.

And now that Christmas is in the air we thought we would share a little Christmas treat with you.  Nick was asked to sing a few songs with some other men for a church activity.  Here is one of those songs.  Enjoy!

We are very excited about our trip to Disneyland for Christmas and we hope you'll check back with us to see how it went.  Until then, we hope you and your families are well and that you have a very merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

All About Charlize!!

October has been a very relaxing month for us.  We have moved out of our first house and into our little apartment while we wait to find the next house to flip.  As difficult as it has been to move out of our big house, it has actually been a humbling and good experience for us-- life is simpler, the house is easier to clean, we have spent more time as a family, and it has just been cozy to be in close quarters as the chilly weather begins to creep in.  Even though we are anxious to find the next big project, I don't feel any pressure to pack up again and leave our cozy little space. 

Charlize did go through a little adjustment phase but she has settled in and can now call this place home.  Here is what she has been up to-

Charlize loves to help me around the house, especially in the kitchen.  
So, I made some of the lower cabinets in the apartment baby-friendly.  They are full of plastic mixing bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons and other kitchen tools that are safe for her to play with.  She just loves going into the kitchen, opening up her cupboards, and playing house.  I never get tired of seeing her play in the middle of the kitchen floor:

It looks like she is ready for that play kitchen her Dad and Grandpa are making her for Christmas!

Charlize has also been expanding her vocabulary.
One of her new favorite words is"cook-coo" which really means "cookie."  And wouldn't ya know her favorite cookie is the Oreo.  On more than one occasion I have found her in the pantry working the Oreo box open with her cute little fingers.  I have since moved them from the bottom shelf to the top!

Here she is enjoying every last bite of the Oreo Grandma Warren gave her before she even finished lunch:

Besides the word cookie, Charlize has also learned so many new words. We are actually able to have short conversations with Charlize and we really understand each other.  She is so smart and constantly eager to learn.  Here is a list of most of the words she can say.

WARNING: All of these lists are really long and I have no video evidence to go with them; sorry.  Charlize is so obsessed with the camera that she won't even pose or perform anymore.  As soon as I get it out, she climbs on my lap to watch herself-- even though she hasn't even done anything for me to record!

Mamma, Dadda, and Grandma
She makes a little "zzzzzz" noise when she tries to say Charlize
Hi and Bye-- she is really good and these words
drink, cookie, cheese, banana
baby, ball, book
thank you, tickle, bubble
shoes, jacket-- used especially when she wants to go out somewhere
hot--used when she feels she is hot, when a slide too hot, and around the oven
bow--used when her hair bow falls out
wee-- used when she is sliding off of anything and even sometimes just because

this-- I realized I would point to things and say "Do you want this?" and now if Charlize doesn't know what something is she just says "this"

uh-oh -- Charlize loves to purposely drop things or hide toys under the couch cushions and then say "uh-oh"

no-- Charlize really understands the word no; whenever I tell her "no" about doing something she will stop what she is doing, say "no, no, no" and walk away, then every time she is around something I don't want her to do, she will look at me and say "no."  She has recently started telling me (very nicely) "no" when she no longer wants to eat or do something.

oh man!-- Charlize always says this when she falls down

poo-- I have been trying to teach Charlize the meaning of the word "poo" and now she understands.  Right after she goes poo in her diaper she will come to me and say "poo" to tell me she needs to be changed.
She is so smart!!

Charlize is also learning a lot of animal noises--
monkey- nick's favorite!
and "vvroom" for a car noise

She has also learned where lots of things are on her body--
belly button
piggies (toes)
cheeks- so cute because she pinches them when you ask here where they are

Another fun thing Charlize is really getting into is music and singing. She loves to dance and sing, especially when she knows the actions to the song.  Some of her favorites include:
The wheels on the bus
The itsy-bitsy spider
row, row, row your boat
If you're happy and you know it
The wise man and the foolish man

Charlize understands so many things.  One of the cutest things is when she hears the word prayer.
  As soon as anyone says it she immediately folds her arms.  She usually doesn't
 make it through the end of the prayer but she has good intentions.  She has now started folding her
arms for prayer when she is really hungry--she has learned that we usually eat right after praying so
she thinks all she has to do is say pray and she'll get food!

When we are not learning, singing, or dancing we are busy playing:

Here are some pictures and a video of Charlize and Grandma Wright jumping on the trampoline.  Grandma has trained Charlize to play a simpler version of "crack the egg."  Charlize will sit on her bottom and try not to tip over while Grandma jumps.

Charlize seems to enjoy the trampoline but I think she she really likes just running around on it while you chase her from the edge!

Because we have felt a little trapped in the apartment, we have had to get a little creative and come up with some fun in-door activities.  Here are some of things we have come up with:

Cotton Balls-
I have learned that anything can be a toy and usually the cheaper things seem to be the most fun.

Playing Cards and Chips-
We never get tired of 52+ card and chip pick up!

Play Doh-
This is one of our favorite activities.

JELLO fun-
I decided to make a pan of jello and just let Charlize play in it;
I got out cookie cutters and some silverware to go with it.

She was a little unsure at first but by the end she was covered in jello and had so much fun!!

Charlize still loves to play dress up but now she is really into necklaces and hair bows.  Putting necklaces on and off, over and over again can keep her busy for at least a good hour.

 Can you see all the necklaces around her neck?

One night Charlize kept bringing Nick bows to put on her head and this is what we ended up with. So cute!

When we are not playing, we are spending time relaxing-

Charlize LOVES the ipad and it seems to be a good relaxing activity for Nick and her to do together.

One Sunday we made a big pile of pillows and blankets to play in.  Charlize had lots of fun; Nick fell asleep-

Charlize has also recently learned what jumping is--here is a video of her "jumping":

Spending time with Grandpa-
We have been lucky enough to meet Grandpa Warren twice this month for lunch.

Here is Charlize enjoying her first visit to McDonalds.  I didn't really want her to eat "mystery nuggets" but Grandpa promised she wouldn't get too sick :-)

While we were eating lunch an old man came up to say hi to Charlize.  He told me that he has three daughters and lots of grandchildren.  He said that even though he loves spending time with his grandkids, he sometimes misses the days when his girls were little.  So, his parting words to me were not to let these days slip past me because they grow up too fast.  I was very grateful for that reminder.

Then, when we had lunch at Wendy's a few weeks later, Grandpa taught Charlize a very important life lesson-- how to dunk fries in your frosty.

 She really loved doing this-- it doesn't get better than a fry and a frosty!

Thank you Grandpa!!!

Grandpa also taught Charlize how to do a somersault.  She thought this was so much fun; they did it over and over and over & she laughed the whole time!

In preparation for Halloween, we decided to go to the pumpkin patch. It was a pretty quick trip but it was still fun to see Charlize run from pumpkin to pumpkin trying to pick them up.

While doing a little shopping with Grandma Warren one weekend, Charlize took Grandma over to the toy section and found a little shopping cart.  Charlize pushed that cart all over the store until it was time to go so Grandma decided she needed to buy it for her. Charlize had so much fun with it and she still loves to push it around the house. 

Thank you Grandma!

For Halloween I wanted Charlize to be a Disney Princess (because I'm a little worried she won't want to be so girly when she gets older).  I decided on Snow White and with some help from my mom we whipped up a cute top and a little yellow tutu. I think she looked so cute.

Every chance she got, Charlize would sift through the candy bowl looking for something yummy!

Posing for pictures before we head out for the goods:

Now on to Trick-Or-Treating:

 "Mom, are you sure you want me to take candy from strangers?"

Charlize loved that she was getting lots of free candy but she was a little unsure of the method
we used to collect it.

 After hitting up Grandma and Grandpa Warren's neighborhood, we headed to
Grandma and Grandpa Wright's house.  It was getting late and dark so we just did a few houses there.
 Here is the trick-or-treating gang:

Charlize had lots of candy on Halloween but we found that her most favorite thing is the
 dum-dum sucker. She took so long finishing her first one that she had to take it in the tub with her. 

After celebrating Halloween, we took a day trip up to Moses Lake to celebrate 
Grandma McNeese's birthday.  
We had lots of fun hanging out with cousins and all the aunts.  We enjoyed lunch at the Bistro and then went back to Mel's house for presents and dessert.  I think Charlize's favorite part was hanging out with Rachel, Tyler and Jayden--they are such good cousins!

Our little girl is growing up so fast-- she really is a toddler now and not a little cuddly baby.
But, I love to watch her grow and I am always amazed at how smart she is and how much she just loves to learn.  I am so grateful to be her mom-- she is such a happy little girl and she makes our home a wonderful place to be!

We hope all is well with you and your families.  As always, thanks for keeping up with us.