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!

You Better Belize It

So way back in January, Ryan and I went on our first trip sans Charlotte. For Ryan’s 30th birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Belize in November. However, with the start of his new job, we had to postpone the trip to Belize.

So on MLK weekend this year, we headed down to, what we consider, the best beach vacation we’ve ever been on — despite the fact that it was cloudy the majority of the time we were there and most days were a bit chilly. Not only was there SO much to do, but Belize is a great place to bring the whole family. Yes, we will back…and Charlotte and Co. (if there is a Co. at that point) are more than welcome to come along.

We spent a lot of time reading, snorkeling, fishing and riding bikes around Belize. It was an amazing time together, a beautiful place to see and experience but a bit too long for this Mama to be away from her little girl. We spent much of our down time also perusing photos and videos of Charlotte on our phones. Yes, we are those parents.

We had to fly in a little puddle jumper from Belize City to Placencia -- it's the best way to get to the resorts from the capital city.

We had to fly in a little puddle jumper from Belize City to Placencia — it’s the best way to get to the resorts from the capital city.

Have I mentioned I'm terrified of flying?

Have I mentioned I’m terrified of flying?

But it was actually really amazing.

But it was actually really amazing.

Looking so good on our snorkel trip.

Looking so good on our snorkel trip.

Visiting Placencia, the nearby fishing village.

Visiting Placencia, the nearby fishing village.

Harbor selfie.

Harbor selfie.

Riding bikes around Belize.

Riding bikes around Belize.

Ryan with the Placencia airstrip behind him. We had to fly in a little puddle jumper from Belize City to Placencia -- it's the best way to get to the resorts from the capital city.

Ryan with the Placencia airstrip behind him.

Lounging at our resort, Robert's Grove.

Lounging at our resort, Robert’s Grove.

Gone fishing...

Gone fishing…

We didn't even get a bite.

We didn’t even get a bite.

But we did enjoy a beautiful, cloudy sunset.

But we did enjoy a beautiful, cloudy sunset.

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Snorkeling in the deep blue sea.

Snorkeling in the deep blue sea.

Along with a 60-something-year-old sea turtle.

Along with a 60-something-year-old sea turtle.

Snorkle selfie fail.

Snorkle selfie fail.

Last morning in Belize.

Last morning in Belize.

I REALLY wanted to go to Belize on our honeymoon so this was my "campaign" slogan. Little did I know that it's actually a real phrase.

I REALLY wanted to go to Belize on our honeymoon so this was my “campaign” slogan. Little did I know that it’s actually a real phrase. You also get a really great picture of the facial sunburn I acquired after falling asleep on the beach during a break on the snorkel trip. It was probably the only time the sun was shining, and I got it ALL.

Charlotte: 15 Months

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Charlotte,

We had a checkup this month so I thought it would be fun to include a monthly update as you’ve changed quite a bit in the last few months since your birthday.

You’re definitely more toddler than baby now — talking, walking and only taking one nap a day. At this stage, you’re not only discovering but really starting to learn from your curiosity. You mimic everyone and everything (so please, everyone, watch your mouths around Little Charlotte), from our words to songs we sing to sounds you hear.

You can identify the key components of your body, the color yellow and have a vocabulary of over 30 words at this time. We’re pretty sure you’re a baby genius. (Spoiler alert: we’ll probably always tell you you’re a genius.)

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You’ve taken quite a while to really walk. While you have been able to walk for about a month now, you are very particular about when and where you show off your latest physical development. Just last week, you really became more of a full-time walker. But, hey, in all seriousness, we LOVE that you’ve taken your time embracing this new milestone.

Since your birthday, you’ve celebrated your second Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which you were able to actually partake in this year. We also spent our first time apart for a few days when your Dad and I went to Belize. You could have cared less, but we missed you SO MUCH. We’ve also been traveling quite a bit to Evansville for birthdays and such. You’re still really wonderful (for the most part) at traveling. And finally, we also celebrated our second Valentine’s Day as a family. This time, we actually all got to go out to eat this year. Thanks, big girl!

Charlotte, it is a pleasure meeting all of the pieces of your personality each day. You amaze us with all you accomplish, and we delight in everything you do and say. You’re our treasure.

Love always,
Mom and Dad

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Weight: 21 lbs
Height: 31 1/2 in
Clothing size: 12 – 18 & 18 – 14 month clothing

Charlotte Likes: Walking, reading books, building with blocks, talking to herself, singing, watching Curious George and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, going to bed, eating, Darcy, the Children’s Museum, exploring, shopping and the list goes on and on. Charlotte likes many, many things.

Charlotte Dislikes: Sitting still, having her head touched by strangers and being told “no.”

Firsts: Walking! And taking music and swim classes.

Diapers: We have gone a little lax on the cloth diapering. We still do it the majority of the time we’re home — we’re just not home that often anymore. Not to mention, we were experiencing MAJOR leakage while she slept at night. So we’ve totally nixed cloth diapers while she sleeps at nighttime.

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Sleep: Charlotte is still sleeping about 12 hours each night. Her big sleeping milestone was dropping the morning nap at the end of January (14 1/2 months). She’s still getting used to this as she falls asleep more often than not when we’re out running errands or going from one class to another.

Feed: She eats whatever we’re eating for the most part. Only recently did she become a meat eater, and she’s even enjoyed eating cod. But that’s her only fish-loving experience for now. This girl is also still drinking out of bottles. She hates milk from the sippy cup; however, she loves drinking water from them. We’re down to three bottles of whole milk a day — one when she wakes up, one before nap time and one before going to bed at night.

Talk: As I mentioned earlier, Charlotte LOVES to talk and has a vocabulary of 30+ words. Her most-used words are “HI,” “Oh no!,” and “Wow!” She also says “please” and “thank you.” We’ve noticed lately, too, that she understands a great deal of what we’re saying. We have to spell certain words out a LOT — like B-O-T-T-L-E and B-A-N-A-N-A.

Headband removal.

Headband removal.

...and trying to get it back on herself.

…and trying to get it back on herself.

We love you, sweet girl!

Merry Christmas, Little Bit…

As you may or may not remember, Charlotte had so much Christmas spirit last year that she slept through the entire ordeal (ok, Charlotte, we’ll give you a break — you were just a wee thing then). This year was MUCH different, and I will admit…way more fun.

We had a quiet celebration as a family of three. Dinner consisted of beef tenderloin, rice pilaf, steamed asparagus and crab legs. We also cracked open a bottle of wine that we bought on our trip to Napa this year. If I were a mature adult, I would say that the dinner was gift enough — but let’s be honest, I love presents.

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After dinner, we opened presents. We figured that Charlotte would find her “big gift,” a personalized little person chair a bit boring, so we gave that to her first after opening presents. And boy, were we wrong. She LOVES that thing and refused to leave it for the rest of the evening. So the little princess was having all of her gifts to handed to her while she sat on her polka-dot throne.

Ready to rip apart that wrapping paper!

Ready to rip apart that wrapping paper!

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Queen C

Queen C

As you can see, each present was oohed, ahhed and pored over — so it took quite a while for us to get through presents. But I’ll take that over the chaos that will ensue once she’s four or five. But putting all of the presents and great food aside, we are such a blessed family — I mean, so blessed we don’t even deserve it. It’s not only at Christmas, but all year round that we see God’s hands moving and touching and impacting our lives. To Him be the Glory.

Christmas in Indy

I would say that for new residents, we packed in a fair share of Christmas activities around our new city.

It was our first year of chopping down our own Christmas tree, and we headed over to Stonycreek Farm in Noblesville on a balmy December Tuesday. Yes, chopping down your own Christmas tree is just as romantic as one would think…

The hayride out to the Christmas trees.

The hayride out to the Christmas trees.

A Charlotte-sized Christmas tree.

A Charlotte-sized Christmas tree.

...taking it to the next level.

…taking it to the next level.

…until you don’t take proper care of it the entire time it’s in your home, and then you leave for a week.

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I’m a big fan of fake trees, but Ryan always insists on a real tree. The deal is, if we have a real tree, he takes care of it. Well…as you can guess, next year we’ll be purchasing a fake tree.

But it was pretty while it lasted -- blurry photo and all.

But it was pretty while it lasted — blurry photo and all.

The stockings were hung on the antique radio with care.

The stockings were hung on the antique radio with care.

The Lilly House

The Lilly House

Christmas at the State Capitol with Auntie Marge.

Christmas at the State Capitol with Auntie Marge.

Charlotte very warily greeted Santa Claus.

Charlotte very warily greeted Santa Claus.

We also stopped by the Indianapolis Zoo to see Santa, where Charlotte refused to sit on his lap. Santa then suggested that I sit on his lap — of course.

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Of all the photos we have, there is not one with all three of us looking at the camera. Winning.

Of all the photos we have, there is not one with all three of us looking at the camera. Winning.

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Finally, Charlotte and I went to the Indiana State Museum to ride “Santa’s train to the North Pole.” This was seriously the best — not only because I got to ride on a tiny train but because that museum is awesome. Who would have thought?

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Hopefully, next year, we have better luck with Santa, but regardless, she was at such a fun age this year. Can’t wait for next Christmas with our Little Bit!