Charlotte: 18 Months

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Charlotte,

Bye, bye, baby. Hello, toddler. Time is flying by more quickly than it did during the first year, but that may have to do with the fact that we’re having so much fun.

While I long for the baby days sometimes, I love this age. You are talking up a storm, make believing when you play and surprising us with your personality. Every day, you say or do something totally new, and we have to ask ourselves as well as each other, “Where did she learn that?”

Since your 15-month post, we’ve gone on Spring Break in Florida, celebrated Easter and moved to a new home. We’ve also spent quite a few days at the Children’s Museum, the Indianapolis Art Museum, friends’ homes and the parks and trails around Indianapolis. Needless to say, we’re having a blast exploring our new hometown.

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One aspect of your personality that has emerged that we find especially endearing is your caring, nurturing side. Your are always taking care of your “babies,” i.e. your stuffed animals, or helping us clean up, “cook” and do yard work. You also love looking at and talking to babies but are equally interested in big kids as well.

Though you have been extremely shy for the past few months, you’ve become very outgoing over night. It shocks us to see you walk up to any kid and strike up a “conversation.” You’re also comfortable hamming it up in front of almost anyone.

I think if you keep getting more awesome, our hearts are going to explode. But we welcome you to test our limits. You give us so many reasons to smile and laugh and enjoy life with you, girlie.

Love always,
Mom and Dad

P.S. For the record, you turned 18 months in May — and not July. Forgive me for the late post!

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Weight: 22 lbs
Height: 31 3/4 in
Clothing size: 18 – 24 months and 2T

Charlotte Likes: FROZEN, playing in the backyard, Kindermusik, parks, digging in the dirt, story time at the library, Children’s Museum, talking, singing, and the song, “Happy.”

Charlotte Dislikes: Not getting her way, which happens quite a bit now that she’s into anything and everything.

Firsts: Merry-go-round ride, HOME, full-length movie love (Frozen) and many other things I’ve forgotten, I’m sure.

Diapers: She was in disposables for quite a while we moved from the apartment to our house. We’re back in cloth diapers while at home but still doing the disposables on-the-go.

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Sleep: Charlotte is sleeping roughly 12 hours a night, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. She also naps about 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day each afternoon.

Feed: She eats everything we eat, including salmon, cream cheese and green beans. We think she has an extensive pallet for a toddler, but she can be picky in a way. For instance, some days she LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; other days, she’ll have nothing to do with it.

Talk: Charlotte is talking up a storm, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her Mom. Every week that we pick her up from the nursery at church, the volunteers comment on how much she talks. Strangers in stores comment on it as well. I’ve lost count of the words she can say, but for the most part, we can understand what she wants and needs.

You’re such a big girl now!

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Photos by LinneaLiz Photography in Indianapolis.

Mother’s & Father’s Days

Let’s just combine these two, shall we?

Mother’s Day weekend was a little hectic this year; however, it was very, very fun. Ryan and I were in Cincinnati celebrating a friend’s birthday while Charlotte was at the Randolph’s lake house. We were fortunate enough to have lunch with Ryan’s parents, his grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousin on Sunday.

Once we were together as a family of three, we had dinner at a local restaurant near our new home. It was a quiet evening, perfect after a crazy weekend. And it was topped off with a Dyson — I must have been a good Mom this year!

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For Father’s Day, we surprised Ryan with donuts in bed, went to church and then shopped for some new professional clothes for the hard-working man in our lives.

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I love, love, love being a Mom to Charlotte, and though transitioning into my role as a stay-at-home-mom last year was a little scary at first, I wouldn’t trade this decision or this life for anything else. It has so richly blessed me beyond anything I deserve, and I’m so happy to have a husband that loves and supports me in this decision.

As for Ryan, I can’t speak highly enough of how he is thriving in his role as a Dad. Charlotte is just 18-months old, but it’s clear that she loves her Daddy. He is so wonderful with her, and it makes my heart swell to hear or see them playing with one another. He’s good about teaching her, especially during their nightly bath time routine. And he’s pretty much wrapped around her finger.

Needless to say, we absolutely love being parents, and we celebrate parenthood not just on these days but every day through the year.

Golden Birthday Adventures

I love celebrating birthdays, and celebrating my own is no different. That’s why for several months before my birthday, I had been hinting that my golden birthday was coming, which naturally warrants a little something special.

Weeks before my birthday, Ryan told me we would be going somewhere, but the final destination would remain a surprise. So on Friday of my birthday weekend, we headed down to Ryan’s parents’ house, where Charlotte would be staying while we were off on our adventure. At this point, our destination was still a surprise…

…until Ryan talked to his boss on the phone and spilled the beans right in front of me.

After dropping Charlotte off, we headed down to Bourbon/Horse Country in Kentucky. We spent the weekend at Maple Hill Manor, which we can’t recommend highly enough. It’s located in Springfield, Kentucky, which is within driving distance to several cute towns like Harrodsburg and Bardstown.

We spent the weekend riding horses, antiquing and bourbon tasting. Though we’ve spent a lot of time in exotic locales all over the world, this weekend was just as fun as any abroad — and it’s all better told through pictures.

Our beautiful Bed & Breakfast, Maple Hill Manor.

Our beautiful Bed & Breakfast, Maple Hill Manor.

...which is also an alpaca farm.

…which is also an alpaca farm.

Horseback riding at Big Red Barn Stables.

Horseback riding at Big Red Barn Stables.

This wasn't your typical horseback riding excursion. Our 60-year-old guide has us running with the horses. It was equally exhilarating and terrifying.

This wasn’t your typical horseback riding excursion. Our 60-year-old guide had us running with the horses. It was equally exhilarating and terrifying.

Lunch and ice cream at the Kentucky Fudge Company on Main Street in Harrodsburg. Formerly a drug store dating back to 1865, its decor is as equally good as the food.

Lunch and ice cream at the Kentucky Fudge Company on Main Street in Harrodsburg. Formerly a drug store dating back to 1865, the decor is charming in its authenticity, and the food is super tasty.

Shaker Village in Harrodsburg.

Shaker Village in Harrodsburg.

Obviously, the little lambs were the highlight of our visit.

Obviously, the little lambs were the highlight of our visit.

Followed closely by getting to try on some Shaker garb.

Followed closely by getting to try on some Shaker garb.

Bourbon tasting at Kentucky Bourbon House. Though we are not big bourbon drinkers, we're definitely heading back here when we're in the area!

Bourbon tasting at Kentucky Bourbon House. Though we are not big bourbon drinkers, we’re definitely heading back here when we’re in the area!

It was a wonderful birthday weekend that will be hard to top! Thanks to my husband for making me feel like a princess.

It was a wonderful birthday weekend that will be hard to top! Thanks to my husband for making me feel like a princess.

Easter Clean Up

When it comes to little children, you’ll find that you do a number of crazy, silly things to trick get them to do what you want. Like marching down the aisles of a grocery store because they will only follow you in that context. Or making up the weirdest songs and noises ever so that they hold still during a diaper change.

In the event of Easter, it requires singing the “Clean Up” song so that you get lots of cute photos of them picking up eggs.

Add to this entire discussion that they never react how you’d like them to either.

For instance, this is totally how you picture your child reacting when opening Easter gifts that you bought…

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…but we began moving in the right direction once “cleaning up” colored eggs became less like a chore and more like fun…

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…and things only got better when Charlotte laid eyes on her cousin Jack’s new golf clubs and Jack finally got his hands on Charlotte’s princess zippy cup. It was a win, win.

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On Sunday, we celebrated the fact that our God isn’t dead; He’s alive. Not only did He willingly die for our complete and continual rebellion, but He defeated death and allowed us to partake in eternal life with Him forever. It’s such Good News, and we don’t just celebrate it on Easter in our house. We praise this fact daily.

But we did get all dolled up…

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I think I say this every time, so just in case you’ve missed it: the holidays grow more fun every year as she gets older. We love celebrating each time and incorporating both new and old traditions into her life!

Chasing Sunshine

Last week, Charlotte and I spent the week with some of my family in Florida. Though we were buying our house last week, this opportunity was much too needed to pass up. So I left Ryan home to buy our first house together — I know, I’m a terrible wife.

But toes in the sand are far better, in my opinion, than signing a bunch of papers.

Charlotte and Jack did mostly well on the car ride down and back. Also, Charlotte picked up quite a few more words on this trip, including ocean, beach, Marmee, Abby and Caroline. She knows who “Granddad” is, but each time she says his name, it comes out different.

Charlotte hates the wind in her hair and the sun in her eyes. She also hates wearing hats.

Charlotte hates the wind in her hair and the sun in her eyes. She also hates wearing hats.

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My whole life she's been copying me.

My whole life she’s been copying me.

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I realize the new house is way more exciting, and I’ll have plenty on that soon!

NYE + Valentine’s Day = Getting Caught Up on Holidays

I’ve been a bad blogger. I know, I know. This confession comes every few blog posts, but this winter has been a bit hectic. In addition to moving and getting used to a new city, we’ve been house hunting, I’ve started working part-time for my old job again and Charlotte has dropped her morning nap. Which means I am out of a lot of time. But all of these distractions from the blog are a very GOOD thing.

However, I do want to keep up with the blog. It’s nice to record these memories in some format for Charlotte, and it’s great for me to reference when someone asks me when Charlotte dropped a bottle or a nap from her schedule. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ll reference this sucker when we have Baby #2 — I’ve already forgotten everything about parenting a little baby.

ANYWAY, New Year’s Eve happened a long time ago, but that’s ok. We made a trip up to Chicago to celebrate with friends, which also included a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see Zoo Lights. (I have to admit, Christmas in Indy was great, but nowhere near Chicago standards. I have a feeling that a weekend trip to Chicago each Christmas will be in the books every year for us from now on.)

Baby Girl is in there somewhere. But she's bundled up tight against the 14 degree temps.

Baby Girl is in there somewhere. But she’s bundled up tight against the 14 degree temps.

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Sorry, Charlotte, Santa's on vacation.

Sorry, Charlotte, Santa’s on vacation.

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Dinner at Chicago q -- one of our favorites -- with some very dear friends to ring in the New Year.

Dinner at Chicago q — one of our favorites — with some very dear friends to ring in the New Year.

A month and a half later, we celebrated Valentine’s Day as a family of three. No romantic dinner for Ryan and me; we kind of love having Charlotte around.

Our funny valentine.

Our funny valentine.

Lunchtime with my girl.

Lunchtime with my girl.

Apparently, this is what "no gifts" looks like for our family.

Apparently, this is what “no gifts” looks like for our family.

Blurry is not blog-worthy, but this is all I have when it comes to opening her present.

Blurry is not blog-worthy, but this is all I have when it comes to opening her present.

Ready for a date with Daddy.

Ready for a date with Daddy.

I <3 her.

I <3 her.

Dinner at Petite Chou, which went above and beyond in making Charlotte's Valentine's Day special!
The loves of my life.

The loves of my life.

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My flowers in bloom from Ryan. I think they're symbolic of his love for me -- they started out slow but on March 3, they're still bloomed and beautiful!

My flowers in bloom from Ryan. I think they’re symbolic of his love for me — they started out slow but as of today (March 3), they’re still bloomed and beautiful!