Charlotte’s Back to School!

My little social butterfly went off to school again just after Labor Day. She missed school so much over the summer, but I think the summer days spent with Amelia and myself were tolerable.

She is back at Hazel Dell Christian Preschool, and her teacher this year is Miss Becky. Though she was just one of three girls in class last year, her class this year is evenly divided between boys and girls. There is one boy in her class from last year, but knowing Charlotte, she’ll make new friends in no time.

It’s also worth noting that when I asked Charlotte on the first day of school what she wanted to be when she grows up, she answered, “a ghost.”

I hope she always loves school as much as she does right now — go get’em, girl!

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First day of school tradition: cupcakes after school!

Charlotte is Three!

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Dear Charlotte Girl,

You’re three! Though we’ve invested three years’ worth of time into helping you become the person you are today, it has gone by much too quickly! At the same time, we don’t reminisce about Baby Charlotte all that much. We LOVE the Charlotte that you are right now — fun-loving, sweet and almost always happy. How do you manage that for your age?!

Today, you are the most loving little girl I’ve ever met. You are happy to snuggle with your Dad and me at any point during the day. And no matter where we are or who we’re with, you must give a hug and kiss before you — or friends and family — are allowed to part ways. I think it catches people off guard, but I’m glad you don’t realize that yet.

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We also think you’re incredibly smart. You pick up things so quickly — like puzzles — and love to figure out how things work, which you no doubt picked up from your Dad. You also remember EVERYTHING. Your mind is like a steel trap, and I’m glad you’ve inherited that quality from me. It’s a good one to have!

While you have your moments, we haven’t really encountered a terrible-two-year-old. Maybe you’ll be a terrible-three-year-old. Or maybe you’ll maintain your easy-going, laid back attitude. This is what makes you so awesome, in our opinion. You’re up for anything — whether that’s eating out at a nice restaurant or staying up WAY past your bedtime. We know that we can just count on you to behave well.

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You love preschool and socializing with friends. It’s fun to see you interact with other kids your age as well as smaller children. When we see you with another baby, we have no doubt that you’ll make the most excellent big sister.

This upcoming year will bring lots of changes, but we hope that you master them with your usual sweet, go-with-the-flow nature. We can’t wait to see your personality continue to grow and emerge. You are our little ray of sunshine, and we love you to the moon and back!

Always,

Mom & Dad

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Charlotte’s Birthday Party

We celebrated Charlotte’s birthday with family on Ryan’s Baptism weekend but had a quiet party at home for a few of her friends on her birthday weekend. It was Minnie Mouse themed given our recent trip to Disney, and Charlotte loved hosting her friends, eating cake and opening presents. Thanks to everyone for spoiling her; we appreciate you all so much taking a vested interest in our daughter’s life!

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On Charlotte’s actual birthday, she requested a sushi lunch after church. Who is this big girl?!

 

Disney Familymoon!

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There were several times over the course of our five-day trip to Disney that I was overwhelmed with how wonderful and how thankful I was that we took this trip together. I’ll admit, as much as I’m a fan of Disney World, I was a little anxious in preparing for this trip being 30+ weeks pregnant and taking an almost three-year-old.

But IT.WAS.AMAZING.

Charlotte was a champ and loved “playing” the whole time she was there. After every ride, character meet-and-greet or show, she declared, “I want to do something else!” Everything was magical and fun to her — so much so that on our last night, she was plowing full-steam until we MADE her stop at midnight.

It was so fun to indulge her whims and experience the magic of Disney through her eyes. There were so many times Ryan and I looked at each other with glee because of her reaction to characters, fireworks or rides. Given this, it was a little bittersweet. We’re thrilled to become a family of four in a few weeks, but I know we’re both going to miss the abundance of one-on-one time we both get with Charlotte. We’ll just have to remember that everything we experience as a family will be double the fun with two in tow.

Again, I’m so, so, so glad we did this, and Charlotte’s first trip to Disney will undoubtedly go down as one of my favorite family vacations of all time. And now, here is the photo and video overload of our Disney trip — enjoy the magic!

Rapunzel's village.
After landing and getting to our hotel room, we took the bus over to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Ryan and I have gone before, and though it seems crowded, the numbers are actually lower than a typical night at Magic Kingdom — so you’re able to enjoy short lines and trick-or-treat stations around the park!
Rapunzel's Tower!
Rapunzel’s Tower!
First of several rides on Prince Charming's Carousel.
First of several rides on Prince Charming’s Carousel.
This quickly became a trend -- falling asleep on our way out of the park.
This quickly became a trend — falling asleep on our way out of the park.
First impressions of It's a Small World -- creepy.
First impressions of It’s a Small World — creepy.
Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table!
Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Most of the time, she was way more interested in her activity mat. Sorry, princesses.
Most of the time, she was way more interested in her activity mat. Sorry, princesses.
Meeting Ariel in her Grotto.
Meeting Ariel in her Grotto.
Classic Disney moment!
Classic Disney moment!

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Charlotte starred as “Chip” in Enchanted Tales with Belle. You’ll also be able to barely hear her saying, “Belle’s here, Mom!” This was one of the coolest things we did at Disney — highly recommend it!

We brought a photo mat for all of the characters to sign -- thanks, Pinterest, for the great idea!
We brought a photo mat for all of the characters to sign — thanks, Pinterest, for the great idea!
I had to get in on a couple of character photos too!
My Mom shoes and I had to get in on a couple of character photos too!

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Disney does such an amazing job of making every kid feel special. This was one of the best moments of the trip:

Elsa asked her if the cold bothered her. Charlotte’s simple reply was, “No.” Ummm, I don’t think that’s the answer for which Elsa was looking.

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Again...
Again…

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Charlotte's new boyfriend?
Charlotte’s new boyfriend?

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Meeting Belle (again!) at Akershus Royal Hall in Epcot.
Meeting Belle (again!) at Akershus Royal Hall in Epcot.

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Fun fact: this Snow White was SO annoying.
Fun fact: this Snow White was SO annoying.

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Charlotte loved Mickey -- I think the feeling was mutual.
Charlotte loved Mickey — I think the feeling was mutual.

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I'm pretty confident that the Photopass folks take blurry pictures on purpose so you have to buy theirs instead.
I’m pretty confident that the Photopass folks take blurry pictures on purpose so you have to buy theirs instead.

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Charlotte leading the conga line with Mickey at our breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at Ohana. Again, thanks for making my kid feel special, Disney!
Charlotte leading the conga line with Mickey at our breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at Ohana. Again, thanks for making my kid feel special, Disney! Aaand the blurriness of this photo is why I shouldn’t ever take photos. This was, funnily enough, the best in the bunch.
Showing Lilo how she hulas.
Showing Lilo how she hulas.

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Sorry I'm not sorry that there are a bajillion pictures of Mickey.
Sorry I’m not sorry that there are a bajillion pictures of Mickey.

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Watching Festival of the Lion King -- I think this is the exact reaction Disney is hoping to get.
Watching Festival of the Lion King — I think this is the exact reaction Disney is hoping to get.
Trying the Grey Stuff (it's delicious!) at Be Our Guest.
Trying the Grey Stuff (it’s delicious!) at Be Our Guest.
Thanks, Beast, for hosting us for dinner!
Thanks, Beast, for hosting us for dinner!
Last night in Disney :(
Last night in Disney 😦
She came, she saw, she conquered.
She came, she saw, she conquered.

First Day of School! First Day of School!

Amelia/the bump have been getting all of the attention lately, but our sweet Charlotte had a pretty big first today.

The scene at our house this morning was like that in Finding Nemo. Charlotte was running around and chanting, “First day of school!” We’re both glad she was excited, and we were excited for her too. I only started crying once we had officially dropped her off, and she was out of sight — it was a quiet morning for this preschool Mama.

She seemed to enjoy her first day, nonchalantly declaring when she got in the car that a boy bit her. Classic first day problems.

First day of Preschool. 2 year class at Hazel Dell Christian Preschool.
First day of Preschool.
2 year class at Hazel Dell Christian Preschool.

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Charlotte's backpack peg.
Charlotte’s backpack peg.
New first day of school tradition: cupcakes after school!
New first day of school tradition: cupcakes after school!

The Par-tay.

So Charlotte turned two in November, and while I’ve neglected to post about her birthday party, that doesn’t mean we didn’t throw a super, awesome tacos for TWO birthday party. Because we did.

Unfortunately for Charlotte, every year, she will most likely share her birthday with Monon, which means her parents will devote their Saturday to GCBs and catching up with old friends and not at a party meant solely for her. But we made up for that on Sunday night with her family and close friends.

This year, Charlotte seemed to grasp the concept of the birthday party: unlimited food, cupcakes and presents. And needless to say, she can’t wait to turn three.

Presents with Mama and Daddy on Charlotte's actual birthday.
Presents with Mama and Daddy on Charlotte’s actual birthday.

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Small children eating together at a table is the most adorable thing ever.
Small children eating together at a table is the most adorable thing ever.
Make a wish!
Make a wish!

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Naturally, she's very concerned about the other children playing with her new toys.
Naturally, she’s very concerned about the other children playing with her new toys.
The Aunties setting up her dollhouse.
The Aunties setting up her dollhouse.

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With Nana and Poppy.
With Nana and Poppy.
Jack and Charlotte experienced their most epic showdown over the balloons. It was a great way to end the night -- the sounds of murder in our living room.
Jack and Charlotte experienced their most epic showdown over the balloons. It was a great way to end the night — the sounds of murder in our living room.

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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View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/charlotte

Photos by LinneaLiz Photography in Indianapolis.

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!