Tag Archives: brother&sister

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Dear Charlotte,

It has officially been three years since you were born and I heard your daddy exclaim, “Is it a GIRL? It’s a GIRL!!” as you entered the world. To say we were shocked and thrilled would be an understatement. In three short years you have brought more joy, love and happiness to our lives than we thought possible. IMG_4748

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We used to joke that we hit the jackpot when we had Riley, but with you, we know we are equally lucky and we are equally grateful. You haven proven to be an opinionated, independent little girl. Which means there have been some tantrums this year. They’re almost comical – you stomping your foot with an emphatic “NO!” And then you calmly looking at us to see what our reaction will be.

The one thing I will remind you of over and over when you’re older is what a crappy sleeper you have always been. Seriously. Ever since you outgrew infanthood, you decided that sleep is not something you’re interested in. I still get up with you almost every night. Last night was THREE TIMES! Seriously. You don’t need anything. Other than a hug from your beloved mommy. But you magically nap like a dream for your daddy every day while I’m at work. Figures.

Xmas came and went and now we can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

Few things in life have made me as happy as seeing the relationship between you and your brother. As we imagined, he’s been your protector, your BFF, your irritator and well, your favorite person. No matter what he’s eating or what treat he gets, he automatically asks for a second one for you. He’s got your back. Since birth he has called you “Goo Gee.” Like most good nicknames, none of us remember where that name came from, but it has stuck and we all call you Goo Gee. Another thing to tease you about when you’re older of course. But in reality, we’ll probably still call you Goo Gee on your wedding day.

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You idolize your big brother, that’s for sure. If he’s riding his bike, you want to ride your bike. If he’s playing Thomas trains, you want to play, too. It is rare not to hear you exclaim, “Rah-leeee!” in either happiness, attention-seeking or in anger. A perfect brother-sister duo.

I couldn’t have hand-picked a better daughter. You’re hilarious, independent, opinionated, equal parts girly and tom-boy. You’re perfect. Even when you’re stomping your foot and waking me up at 3 a.m.

Driving the boat.

I love you so, my sweet little girl.

Happy birthday.

Love, Mommy

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The Year in Photos

I’m not Time Magazine but I like the idea of summing up 2014 with one photo I took for each month. Here they are:

January

Riley at skating lessons.

Riley at skating lessons.

February

We spent a February weekend at an indoor waterpark and it did wonders to cure our cabin fever.

We spent a February weekend at an indoor waterpark and it did wonders to cure our cabin fever.

March

Our little man was just a smidge happy during his 5th birthday party - Mario style.

Our little man was just a smidge happy during his 5th birthday party – Mario style.

April

The snow finally started to melt so we headed to Lapham Peak for a hike and to climb the look out tower.

The snow finally started to melt so we headed to Lapham Peak for a hike and to climb the look out tower.

May

Mother's Day - one of my favorite days of the year. Made better by the fact that it was actually warm and sunny. Miracle of miracles.

Mother’s Day – one of my favorite days of the year. Made better by the fact that it was actually warm and sunny. Miracle of miracles.

June

In June we visited one of my new favorite places in Wisconsin - Gov. Dodge State Park. We camped for a few days and discovered the beauty of this park. Seriously, it was like Fern Gully up in here.

In June we visited one of my new favorite places in Wisconsin – Gov. Dodge State Park. We camped for a few days and discovered the beauty of this park. Seriously, it was like Fern Gully up in here.

July

We celebrated Charlotte's 2nd birthday with a "neigh neigh party. One of my favorite times was watching her dive head-first into the horse cake Papa made her.

We celebrated Charlotte’s 2nd birthday with a “neigh neigh” party. One of my favorite times was watching her dive head-first into the horse cake Papa made her.

August

We finished our seemingly never-ending kitchen remodel in August. DIY for the win!

We finished our seemingly never-ending kitchen remodel in August. DIY for the win!

September

Riley started Kindergarten this year. We are in the big times now.

Riley started Kindergarten this year. We are in the big times now.

October

Riley's amazing homemade Emmett from the Lego Movie Halloween costume was the highlight of October.

Riley’s amazing homemade Emmett from the Lego Movie Halloween costume was the highlight of October.

November

Before I knew it, I was turning cough, cough 36 ugh. At least these cuties helped me blow out my candles.

Before I knew it, I was turning cough, cough 36 ugh. At least these cuties helped me blow out my candles.

Xmas came and went and now we can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

Xmas came and went and now we can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

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The Obligatory Christmas 2014 Post

It’s Dec. 26 and I’m just so incredibly on top of things this year that I’m already writing the Christmas recap. Wow! It almost makes me forget that we were up wrapping presents late on Christmas Eve and for the last several weeks, I’ve woken up many times in the middle of the night finally remembering to move Hip, our Elf on the Shelf, to a different spot in the house. I am more than a little thrilled that he has finally flown back to Santa at the North Pole.

Anyway, it’s been a great Christmas for us and we’re all home together until Jan. 5 so that makes me even happier. So without further ado, I present our Christmas season recap. In pictures, of course.

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Who would think that a tacklebox is the perfect gift for a 5 year old boy? Grandpa, that’s who.

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Charlotte’s favorite present was this giant “neigh neigh.” She’s obsessed with horses.

So the big news in our household is that a few months ago we booked a semi-impromptu trip to Disney World. It will be the kids’ first plane ride and the biggest trip we’ve ever taken with them. We knew we had to reveal the trip to them in some big way. No, I don’t need to do some crazy, Pinterest-worthy reveal, but we wanted to make it fun for them. So late on Christmas Eve, we blew up a bunch of balloons and filled a big box with them. In the box we put some fake plane tickets with the kids’ names on them and marked the destination as Disney World.

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As we pretty much figured, Charlotte was waaaay more excited to get a box full of balloons than to hear about some place called Disney World. But Riley understood. Granted, he has only heard about the Happiest Place on Earth and doesn’t fully comprehend what he’s in for. It was not as exciting as I had hoped, but late on Christmas, we watched the Disney World DVD and then both kids got it. Now every time we get in the car Charlotte asks if we’re going to Disney World and Riley randomly says, “I CAN’T WAIT FOR DISNEY WORLD!” Exactly the reaction I was hoping for.

February can’t come soon enough!

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December 26, 2014 · 4:06 pm

Everything is awesome!

Everything is REALLY awesome when your dad is a creative-type who can make you this costume for Halloween:



Halloween 2014Ok, yes, little miss Charlotte is absolutely adorable in her fairy princess costume, but Riley as Emmet from the Lego Movie? Come on!

Derek created this costume using a whole lotta cardboard, colored duct tape, his graphic design skillz, some spray paint and a 5 gallon bucket (for the head). Amazing, right?

The whole time we were trick or treating we were getting comments that it was the best costume they’ve seen this year. Right? Right!

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We adapted the pants for walking around trick or treating because there was NO WAY he could’ve walked the neighborhood in the cardboard ones. I had leftover orange felt from when he was a super hero a few years ago, so I just duct taped it to existing pants, easy peasy.

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And let’s not forget about Char Char, who was all too happy to skip naptime and spend her afternoon with grandma in tow, walking the hood. She walked through every leaf pile, the grosser the better. She took a few breaks on the curb when she needed to and she totally weasled extra candy from people because she was just that cute.

I love Halloween!

 

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Charlotte’s 2nd Birthday – A Horse Party

When it came time to come up with a theme for Char Char’s 2nd birthday, it was a pretty easy decision. This girl is obsessed with horses. Neigh neighs as she insists on calling them.

Thanks to some Pinterest and a little craftiness on my part, I was so happy with the way everything turned out. An outdoor backyard birthday party is exactly what I had in mind when I insisted on giving birth in the summer. You think I’m joking? Nope. I did the math. Ha!

Here’s how the party came together, in pictures.

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My dad of all people, a retired cop, is amazing at cake decorating. As in, he made my wedding cake. Today he makes his grandchildren’s birthday cakes. When I told him it was a neigh neigh party, he and my mom came up with the idea of making a two-tiered carousel cake for Charlotte. IMG_8406

Amazing, right? What a grandpa!

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I googled horse cookies and found these online. They could not have been simpler. As in, I could whip them up on a random Wednesday night. And I would if I were Super Mom.

Nutter Butters, cashew pieces for ears, googly-eyed candies from Michaels and Wilton Cookie Decorator Icing. That’s it!

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For the birthday girl’s birthday outfit, I decided to go completely DIY. In the past, I’ve purchased Etsy-created shirts personalized for the birthday kid, but honestly, the only time the kid wears the shirt is on their birthday. Waste of $25 if you ask me. So, I bought an iron on horse patch and affixed it to a onesie already in Char’s closet. Then I watched this You Tube video of how to easily create a DIY tutu. $35 on Etsy? Nope, I’ll make it myself for about $5 at 9:30 the night before the party. Which I did. IMG_8432

Yes, the food was set up in our cluttered garage, but I did my best to keep it festive. Not bad, eh?

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One of my favorite moments was when my dad and I first showed Charlotte her cake. At first she delicately touched the frosting with her finger. And then? And then she dove in fast first. Literally. See above. I tried to stop her, but my dad smartly told me to just let her go for it. So I did and it was awesome.

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It’s hard to tell in this picture, but while everyone sang happy birthday to her, it seemed to suddenly sink in that this party, and allllllll this, was for her. She just looked around the cluttered garage at the family and friends who love her more than her 2 year-old little mind can even comprehend and just smiled shyly in amazement. This was my favorite part of the day.

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And when she unwrapped the gift from her brother? The stuffed horse that he, unprompted, took off the shelf in his bedroom and proclaimed that he wanted to wrap and gift to her? Well, I would say this picture of her appreciation speaks for itself.

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On Having Two Children

Now that I’ve been a mom of two for almost two years, I feel like I’ve learned a lot. But there are still things that I wish people had told me about parenting two kids. So here they are, in no particular order, things I wish I knew about having two kids:

1. Your heart will grow.

I know a lot of second-time parents worry about this. How can you love your second as much as your first. I remember being pregnant with Charlotte and saying that I will always have a special place in my heart for Riley, my first-born, because he’s the one who made me a mom. But the second one is just as special. There’s NO way to play favorites. Riley made me a mom, but I made him a big brother and seeing how grateful he is for that, there’s no contest on my love for these two. Which leads me to:

2. The love of siblings.

I knew there would be arguments. But I am so pleasantly surprised at how few and far between they are. As in, I could probably count them on one hand. Riley has adored his little sister since she was 12 hours old and he met her in the hospital. I’ll never forget the moment that I said, “Riley, this is your little sister!” to which he replied, “thank you!” As if we had her just for him.

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I know in the future they’ll probably fight more, but these two are best buds. Plain and simple. Last night, while they were trying to drift off to sleep, we could hear them talking to each other from their own bedrooms. “Love you, googs!” Riley would call. “Ra Ra!” Charlotte would reply. The cutest.

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3. Baby #2 will get hurt and/or sick. A lot.

This is a big one for me. I remember the pediatrician warning us at many visits to make sure Riley’s toys with small pieces were nowhere near Charlotte as she got mobile. We’ve always been good with that, but it’s the little accidents for the second child that I really didn’t plan on. I’ve written before about her coffee-spill burn, one of the most traumatic moments of my life. But there have been others. Just last week, the two kids were running to wave out the window to me as I left for work, they collided and Charlotte flew into the wood door frame, creating the largest goose egg on earth. Seriously, it looked like a baseball was protruding out of her forehead. Second children have to be much tougher because they have older siblings that just don’t understand how to be gentle, no matter how much you really try.

4. There will come a time when they WILL entertain each other.

And for us, it’s just started happening recently. Sometimes, after dinner, Derek and I can sit and have a real, albeit brief, conversation together. While the kids are awake. And in the same room. Inconceivable! Now, it doesn’t happen every day, but it’s started happening. Charlotte just wants to be around Riley and he loves her company too. And while we have oodles upon oodles of toys, they usually just like chasing each other in circles around the house, or crawling into empty kitchen cabinets together (yes, the kitchen remodel is underway, btw). This, too, won’t last forever, but for now, we’re savoring every moment of our 5 year-old and 22-month old being together.

5. Parents become more united.

Parenting can be rough on a marriage. Really rough. But at the end of the day, it’s that us-against-the-world feeling that brings husband and wife closer. It’s the time that we sit on the couch after they’re tucked in bed and laugh at the new knock knock jokes Riley messed up, or the sneaky way Charlotte tries to steal my phone because she wants to look at pictures on it. Those are things only the two of you will fully understand. These little humans you two created, while they can push you to the point of insanity (been there, done that), no one can relate to you as a parent better than your spouse. So appreciate them. Even when they forget to use the 20% off coupon at Kohls – the horror!

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Dear Riley and Charlotte

Dear Riley and Charlotte,

There are times throughout the day that you both do things that are either hilarious, adorable, or a little bit of both and I realize that you won’t do these things forever. Riley, you’ll be FIVE in a couple months, and that just blows my mind.


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Gone are the days of you calling our dog Lola, “Wahwhoa,” or saying that maybe some candy would, “feel me better.” I miss that little boy, but I love the little boy you are today. The one who:

  • Tells me on a daily basis that I’m the best mommy ever
  • Thanks me for making dinner and usually says it’s the best dinner ever, even when it’s just spaghetti
  • Asks uncomfortably inappropriate questions like “Mommy, why don’t you have a wiener?”
  • Loves his sister so much it hurts. Sometimes literally. Yesterday you hugged her too tight and too long and she struggled to get away. Apparently you still didn’t let go and she bit you right on the cheek. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I think she made her point.
  • Immediately takes my hand whenever you get out of the car. I don’t need to remind you, you do it automatically and I can tell it makes both of us happy.

And Charlotte, you are now 18 months old and you’re getting bigger and less baby-like every day.

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I love how you:

  • only call animals by the sounds they make, not what they’re called. For example, your favorite, a horse is a “neigh neigh,” a dog is an “arf arf” a cat is a “meow” a rooster is a “cock a doodle doo” – high pitched of course – and a bird is a “tweet tweet.” I should probably be correcting you, but it’s too cute!
  • are so observant. You see your favorite, a squirrel, from across the room, outside the window and up a tree across the street. You don’t miss much.
  • love kissing. You make a cartoon kissy face and come at us with a “mmmmmMMMMMMWAH!” until we let you plant one on us.
  • I love the way you say yes. It sounds like “yesssshhhh”. It’s too cute for words.
  • Whenever I’m holding you, if I sigh out of the sheer exhaustion of raising two kids and working full time, you instantly mimic my sigh. Because maybe your life is hectic, too.
  • At night, you insist on me reading “moooooon!” (Goodnight Moon) as one of your bedtime stories. However, you refuse to let me open it up and read the pages. Luckily, that was one of Riley’s favorite books too, so I’ve had 4 and a half years to memorize the book. I read it to you every night from memory, while you sit on my lap and hug the closed book.

This list really could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. You two are the best things that ever happened to your dad and me. We can’t wait to see the people you become. You will always make us proud.

Love,

Mommy

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