Friday, December 17, 2010

Movies and shades

Lately Rylan has been asking me in the afternoons if I have to work that night. It kind of hurts my feelings, because I know he wants the answer to be yes. You see, this is what Rylan and Caroline get to do when I am working and Dad is taking care of them: watching moves, snuggling with their blankets, pillows and favorite toys, and eating popcorn. I can't really blame them. What a fun dad they have!The kids have been really into wearing their sunglasses lately. Even in the house.
Caroline literally wears them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and to bed! When she rested her head on the pillow and I covered her with blankets last night, she quickly slipped her sunglasses on!

Why I haven't been blogging much

I have been baking....

White chocolate cranberry bread....

Triple chocolate cookies with Andes mint toppings...

Peanut butter cup cookies....

Hidden mint morsels.... and I forgot to take a picture of the fudge and the delicious cranberry, almond chocolate chip biscotti Bethany and I made . Yummm. I have enjoyed trying out some new recipes this year and most have turned out really well.
Can't wait for the grandparents to arrive to celebrate Christmas and help us eat all this delicious food.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Almost- pictureless visit with Santa

We have never taken our kids to meet Santa, until this year. Mostly because I never went as a little girl, so it wasn't something high on my priority list of all possible Christmas activities. Charlton, who did sit on Santa's lap as a child, remembers being scared when he was very young. This year, Rylan has been asking more questions about Santa, and when I heard about our hospital having a special breakfast with the big guy in red, I thought we could try. Rylan wanted to know all about Santa's reindeer and had a list of presents he was going to ask for. Caroline had been practicing her "Ho,ho,ho, Merry Christmases." I dressed both kids in their cute Christmas outfits and we headed out the door early on a Saturday morning.
The first clue that our morning might not turn out as we had hoped was the breakfast. Thawed out previously frozen fruit and....drumroll please... pancakes wrapped around sausage on a stick. Caroline was the only one excited about her breakfast, and I did catch a cute picture of her with my phone.
The 20-minute line went by faster than I had expected, and it was finally Rylan and Caroline's turn to sit on Santa's lap. Suddenly Rylan melted into a silent puddle of lead on the floor and wouldn't budge. Caroline clung to me like a baby monkey and the closer I walked to Santa, the tighter she held on to me! And it was all over just like that. Now, Caroline, whose previous greatest fear was car washes, says, "Santa scary!"
Well, there's always next year.

Here is the only picture I managed to take that morning. The kids wouldn't even cooperate and look at the camera at this point, so I just caught their backs as they admired this very pretty nativity scene in the hospital.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Caroline was actually willing to cooperate for a picture on Thursday. I thought she looked so cute in her Christmas overalls.

Pure mischief!

Cookie time

We have had another busy and mostly fun (for the kids) week. Birthday parties, Little Gym activities, baking cookies, etc... Rylan ran errands and ate lunch with Dad on Thursday, while Caroline and I met a friend and her baby at Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I really enjoyed having some one-on-one time with my sweet girl and it always seems like a nice break to only have to keep track of one child.
I got a bad GI bug on Tuesday night, so that is why this week was not as much fun for me. I actually had to leave work early because I was so sick, and that hasn't happened to me in all my six years of being a nurse. I am finally feeling better and tackled a lot of holiday baking today. The big accomplishment was that I actually felt like sampling what I made. We are having a cookie exchange at MOPS on Tuesday and I tried out a few new recipes.
My hospital is having a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning, so if we are all feeling up for it, we may try to go. I think Rylan especially is at an age where he would be excited about meeting Santa instead of scared. I'm not sure how Caroline will react, but I will be sure to let you know.

My kitchen helpers.

I was so focused on getting a decent picture, I didn't realize Rylan was licking the sprinkles off his cookie. Nice! Guess we won't be sharing that batch with anyone. Caroline is also busy eating the sprinkles out of the bowl instead of putting them on her cookies.

Rylan loves helping me in the kitchen. He was content for at least an hour just playing with a ball of cookie dough.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kings, croup, and big shoes

In MOPS on Tuesday, the kids learned about King Josiah. His teacher asked one child to volunteer to be the "king" and let the teacher trace his outline so the kids could color it. I was shocked when I picked Rylan up and learned he had volunteered to be the model. As his reward, he got to keep the drawing. This will surely go in his tub of memories.
Since Rylan also isn't known for being particularly craftsy, I wasn't sure how interested he would be in helping me make some paper Christmas chains. I cut out all the paper strips and asked him to help me form the loops and tape them in place (sooo much easier and less messy than glue!) I couldn't believe how much he loved it. He kept giving me hugs and exclaiming, "This is so much fun! This is the best Christmas ever! Thanks for letting me help, and I love you, Mom!" You would have thought I had taken him to Disney, not let him play with paper and tape. It made me almost feel bad, but I know this child is not deprived of fun in his life. This one must have just hit all the right buttons for him. I meant to take a picture of him and our lovely creations, but totally forgot until I had already hung them up.

Poor Caroline is still recovering from the croup. She isn't running a fever anymore, but both kids still have a bad cough. They do pretty well until they get a burst of the crazies and start chasing each other around the house. After a few minutes, they are both coughing like lifetime smokers. It is pretty pitiful. Here Caroline nearly fell asleep in her chair waiting for lunch.

Sweet Caroline, I hope you don't ever grow into size 13 shoes! You did amaze us with actually being able to walk a little bit in Daddy's dress shoes. I think I have a picture of Rylan doing the same thing when he was your age.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday, Caroline

My sweet girl turned 2 on Wednesday and received an unwelcome birthday present... the croup. Rylan had a mild case over the weekend and it hit Caroline hard last night. I am also nursing a sore throat and headache, and Charlton's spasming lower back muscle is giving him fits. We are a pitiful bunch right now. I have to work both Wednesday night and Thanksgiving, so I am really hoping we all start feeling better soon so we can celebrate with our turkey dinner on Saturday.
Caroline is a bubbly, independent, active toddler. She is almost always charming us with her cute mannerisms or new phrases. She loved having her Aunts Anna and Bethany spoil her a few weekends ago and we even sat up late with her one night because she was being so cute and sweet we didn't want to put her to bed! This stage of life with young children can be so exhausting and demanding, but there are many times when I wish I could push the "pause" button because I know I will miss these precious moments with my kids.
We go to the doctor for our check-up next week, but at a recent appointment, Caroline weighed 28 pounds, almost the same as Rylan at this age. She wears size 2T clothes and a 6-7 shoe.
She loves to practice dressing and undressing, especially pants. I try to stick with the zipping sleepers for pajamas because one night Caroline took her pajama pants and her diaper off, went #2, and left a disaster in her crib for Charlton. She is still talking about how she "poop on Elmo, poop on Tad, poop on pillow.... and it was yuck!" She doesn't like having a dirty diaper, but when I put big girl underwear on her, she took it off and wore it on her head instead. I don't think we are quite ready for potty-training yet. Her "big girl bed" is on order and we will be making that transition soon. She is such a climber that I am truly amazed she has stayed in her crib longer than Rylan did. She still takes a good 2 hour nap each afternoon and sleeps from about 8:00 at night to 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. She is a pretty good eater, not terribly picky. Chocolate and pizza are her favorite junk foods and we recently re-introduced her to the wonderful world of ice cream. She is her mother's daughter in that way.
Caroline has a strong will and can throw some pretty impressive "falling-on-the-floor" screaming fits. She has also adopted Rylan's favorite "ugly" phrase: "Go away!" when she is really angry about something. She still hates being contained in a cart or stroller for shopping trips and the other day when she was really worn out, she kept yelling at me, "Turn around, Mommy. Turn around!" Thankfully, her bad moods are usually brief and she is quick to forgive and move on.
Caroline loves to sing and I love to hear her raspy voice belting out snatches of her favorites, one after the other. On one grocery trip, she was loudly singing "Sweet Caroline" from the grocery cart as we traveled up and down the aisles. Now we are singing Christmas songs, but you can tell her father and older brother have influenced her when she shouts, "Jingle bells, batman smells, Robin laid an egg." She talks more and in longer sentences all the time. I can understand most of what she says, but in a pinch, Rylan can usually translate for me.
She still prefers to play with Rylan's toys, but is stealing them less. Both kids will sometimes play games together or at least play contentedly with their own toys in the same room. I love the break from the constant refereeing. She likes to mother her baby dolls, especially Jessie, her new birthday doll. She also enjoys cooking in her play kitchen and taking care of us with her doctor set.
Caroline is terrified of loud noises, like the blender or food processor, and the car wash. Every time we drive by either of our two car wash places, she reminds me "Car wash scary, Mommy." Other than that, she is very brave and not easily shaken. So many times I have watched her fall hard, only to pick herself up and keep on running without shedding a tear. She absolutely loves to climb, the couch, rocks at Garden of the Gods, tables... We are always amazed to see such a little girl so fearless. As tough as she can be, I also delight in seeing Caroline's sensitive side. She often asks, "you okay, Mommy?" if I cough or sneeze, and if she finds anything resembling a boo-boo, she will talk to me in a sweet voice and give me kisses. Lately, she has been asking for hugs and kisses and even for cuddle time. I never turn down those requests.
Caroline, you bring such joy to our family. I love you dearly and can't wait to watch you grow this next year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caroline's 2nd birthday party

We celebrated Caroline's 2nd birthday with a family party on Saturday. It was pretty quiet and low-key, which was really wonderful. Bethany came over and joined us for pizza (Caroline's favorite dinner), presents and cake. Caroline had fun opening her presents, hearing us sing "Happy Birthday", playing with her birthday balloons, and tasting her cake.
I will write more about Caroline at 2 years later in the week, but I wanted to at least post some cute party pictures. Happy birthday to my best girl and little ray of sunshine! You fill our lives with joy, sweet Caroline!

One of my friends from Orlando made this adorable birthday shirt and tutu for Caroline. Check out her store on Etsy; the RoseyChicBoutique to see more cute monogrammed items.

Center of attention. I made her a fleece Tinkerbell blanket, since she has been more interested in Tinkerbell lately. I think she looks so cute with her leg tucked underneath and the tulle fanning around her.

Rylan had an easier time understanding that it was not his party, but still had trouble containing himself at present time. Thankfully, Caroline didn't mind his help too much.

Watching Toy Story is so much more fun with Jessie.

Mesmerized by the candles. She didn't manage to blow them out by herself, but Rylan was more than willing to help with that part also. My aunt Jean gave me a giant cupcake cake pan from Williams-Sonoma and this was my first opportunity to use it. The recipes I used didn't turn out quite as great as I had hoped, but I guess it is good practice for next time. Also, the buttercream frosting kind of made the fun shape of the top of the cake disappear into a big pink mound. I need to use more of a glaze next time so you can still see the outline of the cupcake top. And also I should probably just stick with chocolate. You can't go wrong with chocolate in our family. I think Caroline liked Rylan's chocolate birthday cupcakes way better than her vanilla birthday cake!

Did I mention it was Caroline's 2nd birthday?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caroline eats ice cream

I always tell Caroline she is my sweet girl. I guess she though that eating ice cream off her arm would make it sweeter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sisters weekend

Anna flew out to Colorado for her first visit last weekend. Charlton was in Pittsburgh so we had a weekend just for sister time. It was wonderful to spend three whole days together to talk, laugh, and catch up on each other's lives.

We got a babysitter for Friday night and went out to eat at a fun Mexican restaurant downtown. The food was delicious and of course, I loved being able to just relax and eat a meal without refereeing kids. The fun shops downtown were already closed, so we just window shopped in the freezing cold and then ducked into Starbucks for some hot chocolate.
A trip to Colorado just isn't complete without a trip to Rocky Mtn. National Park. It was a very cold, overcast day, so the breath-taking views were all shrouded in the clouds. Still, the snow covered landcapes were beautiful and we saw an enormous herd of elk up close. We decided even the 0.6 mile hike was probably not safe with kids and a snowstorm getting heavier by the minute, so we stayed in the car most of the time. Maybe we can convince Anna to come back in the summer and do some hiking then.

Granite rocks are cold in the winter! We climbed up to a rocky overlook by the side of the road and snapped some quick pictures.
Thanks for coming, Anna. We made some sweet memories and I can't wait to do it again.
(Mom, don't worry, I will make sure you get copies of these pictures. :-)

Pumpkin muffins

I found a killer recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins on I made my 3rd and 4th batches this week! They are so delicious and as you can see, they are a favorite snack at our house.

Doctor Caroline

Charlton travels for a conference about once a month. He usually gets a little present for the kids when he returns. This time, he found something for each of the kids before he left. Caroline got a doctor kit and her medical skills seemed to come naturally. I loved watching her "examine" her baby doll.

Listening to baby's heart.

Comforting baby after her shots.

"It's okay, baby."
Don't worry, Rylan got a present, too. He and Dad work on their transformers together.

Birthday at Garden of the Gods

My birthday was beautiful, warm and sunny. I was so happy Bethany could join us for a hike and picnic in Garden of the Gods. We had our first snow the next day so I am glad we took advantage of the nice weather while we could.

My rock climbing girl, searching for her next foothold.

I can totally see her being a competitive rock climber some day. Caroline is in her element on these rock formations. She has no fear, unlike her mama watching nervously.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Raking leaves

I really like raking leaves, the exercise, the cool weather, the smell of the dry leaves. It is a bit more challenging with kids helping, er.., jumping in your new piles.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or treat, 2010

I have been trying so hard to get a good picture of Caroline in her cute pumpkin dress, but unfortunately this seems to be the best we can do this year. She was running a fever the next day, so maybe that explains the grumpiness.

Rylan the "War Machine" from Ironman. Charlton made him a weapon out of PVC pipe, painted it gray and attached a flashlight. It turned out very cool and I was glad for the extra light. Our neighborhood gets very dark after sunset. Another reason I didn't get any more pictures, because I didn't think they would turn out well in the dark. We need to start earlier next year. The kids enjoyed trick-or-treating, but, as I expected, we just made it around a few streets before they were cold, tired and ready to head for home. Rylan is already talking about what costume he wants for next year. It may take us a year to eat all this candy.

Some cute pictures of the kids cuddling before church on Sunday. Rylan wore his plaid because we celebrate the Kirkin of the Tartan at our church the last Sunday in October. There were bagpipe players and the musicians wore full Scottish garb. It was really neat and Rylan stayed in "big" church the whole service so he could watch.

Random news from this past week

Thanks to Aunt Martha, Uncle James, cousins JR and Christopher for Rylan's birthday Spider man pajamas. As you can see, they are a big hit!

On Saturday night, we hosted a dessert open house to celebrate Charlton's passing his national counseling licensure exam. We had so many delicious treats and I got a picture of most of the food before our guests arrived. We had apple pie, cheesecake, a brownie trifle (yum!), cookies, fruit, cheese and crackers, some delicious Kentucky wine Bethany brought... The guys hung out with cigars by the firepit in the backyard and us ladies cozied up inside by the fireplace.

I love this girl like crazy, but don't you think Caroline looks kind of scary in this mask? She did look adorable in her new sweater, but I couldn't get her to pose for a picture without the mask. This was a craft she made in MOPS to go along with the story of Daniel in the lion's den.

Love the combo of the lion mask and the two little buck teeth sticking out!

Both kids looking cute before we headed off to MOPS. I decided to buy down vests and fleeces instead of heavy winter coats this year and found some good deals on these gently used jewels on Ebay. Tuesday morning was 17 degrees, the coldest morning of the season so far, so they were glad for the warmth.