Monday, April 14, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: 21 Months

Dear Sylvie,

I can't believe two more months have gone by. Soon enough you'll be TWO!

I always marvel at the things you pick up on your own. You'll start to do one thing or another and I'll wonder where you came up with it. You've become more amenable to sitting down to watch a movie and depending on your mood you'll usually watch for 30 minutes or so. We've been starting in on the Disney movies which you seem to really like. One evening we made some popcorn and gathered on the couch to watch Cinderella. You sat there on the couch with Daddy and me and watched the movie while blindly reaching for  popcorn in the bowl. It was like you'd done it a million times! So funny.

Having fun in the photo booth. The dynamics in the last pic kill me. 

At the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum... You loved it!

Your first ice cream cone (which was promptly devoured)
We recently put in a big sandbox for you and you love to sit out there and play with your buckets and shovels. The other day I was playing with you and made a sand castle out of one of your molds. When I lifted the mold off to reveal the sand castle underneath, your eyes went huge with amazement and awe at this "magic" I'd just performed.

Playing in your sandbox
A couple months ago on a rainy day I gave you some dry beans to play with. Since then you play with them almost every day and enjoy putting them in your pots and pans. You pretend to feed them to the kitty or your teddy bear or Mom and Daddy. We give you different reactions each time you feed them to us, one of which is telling you the beans need more salt. You've started to mime adding salt to the beans and it's the cutest thing ever. You also pretend to eat things as well. Which doesn't work out so well when I want you to actually taste your food, not pretend to taste it!

You're getting big enough now that you can play on playgrounds and walk a bit during our walks. Whenever we walk on a path you constantly stop to investigate rocks and sticks (both of which you'll hand to Mommy or Daddy to carry). You do your penguin walk or your little shuffley walk or run as fast as you can. You can actually walk pretty far now without getting tired. When we go to the playground you mainly like the slides. It usually takes you a little while to go up and down the stairs though because you have to brush off all the wood chips or rocks you find there before moving up to the next step. You're not quite big enough to go down the slides yourself so you sit on my lap or I hold your hands. You always get so excited when you see the playground and I think you get a little frustrated when you see bigger kids running around and climbing things that you can't. All in due time.

Playing with giant abacus at the park.

You are getting to be quite the good little helper. You help put away your clothes into their drawers when I do the laundry and you empty your forks and spoons out of the dishwasher and put them in their spot in the drawer when Daddy does the dishes. When he empties the garbage cans you'll go put the bathroom trash can back in its place. You're pretty consistent at putting things away when we ask you to, or fetching one object or another if we need it.

First trip to the zoo. You loved this little otter as well as the giraffes.

Showing off your little top-notches.
You're still not talking too much (at least that we can understand), but you are picking up a few words here and there. You say Mama and Dada (though Mama isn't necessarily directed at me), up and down, this, and right there. You have a lot more signs and actions you make. You will do a fish gulping noise when you see or hear mention of a fish, you'll flap your arms like a chicken, make the little chick "cheap" movement with your hands, point to your ear when you hear a loud noise like an airplane or truck (I've never realized how many planes fly over our house), and raise your hands above your head for something big. You did this when you saw the giraffe at the zoo. You definitely have a way of getting your point across.

You love to smell the flowers in the yard.

 Grandma Denise sharing her potato chips with you at the weenie roast. She knows how to win you over!

Sylvie I am just amazed everyday at what a good little girl you are. You're so smart and sweet and happy, and it's unbelievably fun to watch you grow and learn. You are a bright light in our lives and we're so happy to have you.

Love, Mommy

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: 19 Months

Dear Sylvie,

Over the last couple of months you have really grown up! You can do so many things and are becoming so independent. It seems you pick up on something new everyday. Your coordination is getting remarkably better.

You can eat very well with a spoon or fork now and you can drink out of a straw. The types of foods you can eat are slowly increasing as you've finally sprouted four molars! Yeah for real teeth! As you get more and more used to eating by yourself, you are wanting more independence and don't like as much help. You'll allow us to cut up your daily pancakes for you, but other foods such as quesadillas and sandwiches have to be to left whole. Cutting things up is for babies! Your daddy and I were a little too proud the other day when you ate a small slice of pizza.

Your favorite food is definitely yogurt!
Along the food lines... you are officially and completely weaned. You were technically done just after Christmas. I was determined to stop getting up with you at night so I used the time over the holidays when your dad was home to make the transition. We went to visit your Grandma and Grandpa Hanson up in Idaho around the New Year and I put you to bed at your normal time of 8:00 pm. Two hours later, just as I got into bed, you woke up and started crying. Not wanting to get up out of my warm bed, I spoke into the baby monitor and said, "Sylvie, go to sleep." I was amazed when you immediately stopped crying and went to sleep. This happened a couple more times during the night and every time I told you to go back to sleep you did. I never had to get up with you again after that and you currently sleep for 12 hours solid during the night. Woohoo! I was very glad the process ended up being much easier than anticipated for both of us.

You have so many cute things you do every day. Lately you are loving the teddy bear your Uncle Scott & Aunt Amanda got you for Christmas. You carry it around and hug it and take it to bed with you. It's super adorable. You generally like to carry things around or move them from place to place, even more so if you can sit on said objects. You'll sit on anything that is just your height. Your very favorite thing is the little wood stool your Great Grandpa Warnes made for you. Second in line is your pink potty chair (which you're still just getting used to and not actually using), followed by 12 packs of soda and stairs. You've started to practice walking backwards and sometimes combine this with sitting on things. You'll squat down and slowly back up until your bum hits your selected chair. Cracks me up! You've also figured out how to use your stool to climb up on things. You're not too crazy yet... just climbing up on the couches, but I'm sure you'll figure out how to get into more trouble soon.

You and your teddy bear

Sitting on your "Coke bench"

You are getting very good at mimicking me & Daddy. If we put our coats on, you have to put your coat on. If I don't wear gloves, you don't want gloves. I've been counting your fingers and toes when I get you undressed and you've started to "count" as well. But you don't actually say numbers, you just copy the intonation of my voice and say "eh, eh, eh, eh, EH!" Ha ha, it's a start I guess!

Daddy said you picked out this outfit yourself
For the longest time you didn't like to be snuggled in blankets. Whenever I'd try to put a blanket over you you'd immediately pull it off. Lately though you've completely changed your mind. Whenever you're in your carseat you have to have a blanket tucked over your bottom half otherwise you'll squawk and fuss the entire ride. You also have to have the fuzzy owl blanket Grandma Denise made you for Christmas covering you when we read books in the rocking chair. It's so fun to snuggle you.

Being consoled by snacks after Mommy cut your hair
One more thing I'll mention is your toys and organization. You love to play with your big Lego blocks and the picnic basket you got for Christmas. You are very good at putting the blocks together and building towers or putting the picnic food onto the plates and pretending to eat. I'm not sure how you know, but you are very aware which toys belong where. You never mix the Legos with your picnic basket stuff and you are very good at putting them away where they go. Daddy said yesterday you built a tower with the Legos then when you were finished, you pulled all the blocks apart and put them away in the Lego bag. Everything has a place and you know right where to put it. This comes in very handy when you help me with the laundry. You really are a great little helper!

Your first time coloring
Sylvie, you are always such a joy to be around. I have so much fun playing with you and being around you. You are constantly smiling and laughing and are just the happiest little girl. You are so smart and full of energy and I can't help but be happy when I'm around you. I sure love being your mommy.

Love, Mama

Saturday, February 1, 2014

DIY Crafty Crap: Personalized Roasting Sticks with Carrying Bag

For a long time I've labeled myself as not crafty. But looking back at my blog this year, I don't know that I can claim that title any longer. I've actually made a handful of things that turned out pretty good! And *gasp* most of the time I kind of enjoyed it. I guess maybe I should now say that I enjoy doing a select few crafts. There. Now that we have that cleared up, I can show you what I made as Christmas gifts for my family members this year.

Now I saw this while doing a homemade gift search on the Pinterest and I was immediately drawn to the idea. Just about everyone I can think of loves to roast stuff over a fire, whether it's in the backyard or out camping. But how many people have good quality roasting sticks that are easily portable, safe, and personalized? NO ONE. That's who. Which is what makes this so perfect.

Here's what I did:

First you find some kick-ass roasting sticks. If you can forge your own metal and whittle your own handles, more power to you. If you're not the ambitious type (like moi) you can purchase some very nice roasting sticks such as these ones from Camp Chef.

Now you need to figure out exactly how you would like to mark them. The example I saw just used a monogrammed initial. I liked the idea of using full names (or Mom and Dad) for families. You could also do a simple line drawing of an animal or a pattern of some sort if you want them to be more generic. Once you decide what you want to do, print out the pattern or name and make sure it's the correct size for your sticks. You want to make sure they won't be so small they're difficult to trace but not so big that the largest name won't fit. Then tape the pattern on the stick (I used a small piece on either end).

In the post I followed, they traced the letters directly on the paper with the pointy tip of their wood burner. I thought this allowed too much room for error (seeing as how I'm still new to the wood burning technique), so I used a ball-point pen to trace the outline of the letters to make an indentation on the wood. I found that tracing over the letters a couple times (pressing fairly hard) gave a great template and provided a nice track for the wood burning tip to sit in. After the name is traced in place, remove the paper and tape.

If you're doing block letters you'll want to trace the outline with your pointed tip first, then fill it in with the blunt tip. If you choose a simple font like I have, you'll only need to use the pointed tip or blunt tip. Adjust the heat of the wood burning tool to your liking, then trace your design. Now your sticks are finished!

Now to make the carrying bag:

Find whatever material you like. I'm not sure how much you would need to buy since I just found some square tablecloths I liked and used those. Just use some amount that seems good (hey, I'm not a sewer). I'm pretty sure it wasn't more than 2 yards, probably more like 1 1/2, but you'll want to measure your sticks to see how big it needs to be. I made all different sizes depending on how many sticks I was using for each bag. I also used about 1 yard of handle material (I don't know what it's called... nylon stuff?).

So first measure out your material. I figured enough width to fit the sticks plus 6" to fold over on each side for a pocket and an additional inch on each side for edging. So basically the length of your sticks plus 14". Then for my sticks I made 4" wide slots to hold them. Which means your length will need to be 4" for each stick (or however wide they are) and 2" for edging. Plus I tacked on a couple extra inches just in case I screwed up. Or if you want extra material on the ends.

Once you have your square piece of material measured out, put a half inch rolled edge around the outside (fold over 1/2", iron down, fold over another 1/2" iron down then sew). Then fold down 6" on either side of your fabric for your pockets and sew it down on one side only. You want to be able to stagger your pockets so the weight of the sticks is evenly distributed. The open flap will allow you to easily remove and replace the sticks. Then, starting at each sewn edge, measure every 4" inches (or however much space you allowed for the fattest part of the sticks) and sew a pocket. I believe on the case shown below I had 3 pockets on either end.

Don't mind my feet. I was too lazy to crop.
Now put all your sticks in the bag, alternating their direction, and roll up. You'll want to pin your handle material to the center spot then unroll the bag and take the sticks out again.

Sew the ends of your strap together then sew to the center point of your bag. I used white thread because dammit it took me a long time to get my sewing machine threaded and I wasn't going to risk trying to re-thread it after all that swearing on purpose so you could see where I sewed.

So that's basically it. They are pretty rustic... at least the way I sew, but I figured people usually just use these for outdoorsy stuff so it would fit in with the rough atmosphere. Now I just gotta wait for the weather to warm up so I can test them out! But no matter how crappy I sew, these have to be better than driving hours on end with long pointy hot dog sticks floating around in the car ready to fly out and stab me in the eye. And let's not forget that I can now cross off a successful handmade Christmas gift from my bucket list. It's a win/win.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Letters to Sylvie: From Daddy *Special Edition*

Hey Sylvie! It's Daddy.  Mom has written you a bunch of letters and it's about time I write you one too.

Today is Friday, Jan 3, 2014 and I just put you down for your midday nap.  I hear you fussing a little on the monitor but I know you'll settle down very soon and take a good 2 - 3 hour nap just like you do everyday.  You are a good little napper.  In fact... sounds like you've drifted off to sleep already!

This morning you woke up at 7:30.  I jumped out of bed, got dressed, splashed some water on my face and got ready to go in and get you.  But before I open your door, I paused for a moment as I always do and say to myself, "Be a good Dad today.  Be patient.  Be attentive.  Remember you'll never have this day again with your sweet little daughter so make it count."

I turn the knob and walk into the darkness.  From the hallway light I can see you standing there in your baby blue sleep sack, hands on the crib railing as always.  You always seem happy to see me.  I scoop you up and we go through our waking up rounds.  First we walk around to the living room and open the blinds to see what kind of day it is.  Then we do the same to the small curtains above the sink in the kitchen and the big curtains in front of the sliding glass door.  If it doesn't look too frigid outside, we step out onto the back step and I let you jingle the wind chime.  Lol... you always seem to get a kick out of that and so do I.  Then it's back to your room to get you changed out of your dirty diaper and pj's and into your clean diaper and regular clothes.  Lately you've taken to throwing your hands over your eyes in dramatic fashion when I click on the lamp.  Also, you rarely let me get you fully dressed on your changing pad anymore... too wiggly!  So we usually finish getting dressed in the rocking chair.  You're also starting to show some preferences for what you want to wear.   Yesterday you INSISTED on the white shoes over your usual black shoes with the skulls and crossbones, for example.  

Once fully dressed, I set you on your feet, give you a little pat on the butt and say, "Go play!"  And off you go. Though lately you've been going straight to your book bin and dragging out a volume or two for us to read.  So read we do.  I pull you up on my lap in the big white rocking chair and we power through a few books.  You rarely let me read every word or even every page - though occasionally you do.  Mostly we like to point things out on the pages, especially little birdies.  You are especially good at pointing out the birdies.  Once you tire of that... its breakfast time!

You have finally started sleeping all the way through the night!  No nursing from Mommy or anything.  And so when you wake up, you wake up with a good appetite which always makes me happy.  I love to see you eat with a little gusto!  Every morning I make you either pancakes or waffles from the mixes that your Mom makes from scratch and always keeps on hand.  That is your breakfast staple and you'll always eat them - with maple syrup of course.  You used to also love eggs but lately you turn your nose up at the them and prefer mandarin oranges instead.  You are generally a pretty good eater though and I imagine you'll eventually come around to eggs again.  
After breakfast, I let you go play while I clean up the kitchen.  However, your play frequently consists of helping me with the dishes.  You especially like unloading the dishwasher.  Believe it or not, you are actually becoming a real helper.  I have you focus on taking out your colorful plastic spoons and putting them in the right spot in the silverware drawer.  And you will actually do it. Though you then like to unload those same spoons and carry them off somewhere else.  Today you decided to pile them up under the Christmas tree.  Later, when I pointed to the empty spot in the silverware drawer and said, "Could you go get your spoons and put them here?", you actually did it!  Of course I had to text your mom and tell her about what a genius her daughter was.  She agreed.

We've been going out for walks lately and today you made your desire to go for a walk crystal clear by carrying my shoes over to me.  (Lol... I had been sitting in the chair, sipping my coffee and watching you build with your blocks.)  So we put on our jackets and hats and out we went.  You need no help going down the stairs in the garage and you'll rarely even hold my hand these days.  You can walk pretty darn well on your own and so I let you go.  We usually mill around in the driveway for a bit then walk up to the corner.  Along the way you check out the frost - It's cold! - and you've learned the hard way about being careful on the ice.  (A couple slips and falls were all it took.)  In fact, there's one spot where there's about an inch drop off in the sidewalk but there's also some ice and you've taken to getting down on hands and knees and crawling over that spot.  Lol... I guess it's safe to say you got the cautious gene.  But anyway... we walk up to the corner and even head down the street for a ways.  You like to watch the cars go by and are interested in everything.  Birds flying by, dogs barking, neighbors waving at us.  And even the littlest things like unusual texture on sidewalk or chunks of ice from peoples shoveling efforts.  Eventually we mill back to the house and head into the backyard.  There's too much snow to do much but you walk on the areas I've shoveled off on the porch, go up and down the steps a few times, and then we finally head back into the warm house.

Today I whipped up a batch of suet to feed the neighborhood birds.  You are never satisfied until I lift you up and let you have a look at what's going on up on the counter - usually when some kind of cooking is going on.  I explain about making the suet and feeding the birds and it's almost like you understand.  After that you pretty well entertain yourself.  Your Grandma and Grandpa Hanson frequently comment on how well you entertain yourself - especially for an only child who always has at least one parent pretty much hovering over her at all times.  I keep an ear out for you and check on you every once in a while.  At one point I give you a chunk of bread - actually a half of a 'hush puppy' your Mom made the other night.  You carry it around for a long time, nibbling on it bit by bit until it's gone.  You manage to get into Mom's bathroom cabinet.  I separate you from the various hair products you're proudly grasping and you only put up a mild protest.  Then you get into the recycling. I let you play with the two empty Coke cans you discover there.  You like the crinkling sounds they make and they are fun to stack up and carry around.  I have visions of you cutting yourself and having to explain to your Mom but it never happens.  For better or for worse, I like to give you as much slack as I can and try not to interfere too much with your explorations.  

Another thing you really like is music.  Everyday you point at the radio at some point and indicate that I should turn it on.  We mostly listen to the Classic Rock station.  You like to bob your head and otherwise move to the music.  You like most everything they play but the song that made you light up the very most so far was 'Abacaba' by Genesis.  You completely loved that one!  

You start to show signs of getting hungry again so I feed you spoonfuls of yogurt as you come and go.  You eat about 1/3 of the container.  Then I pull out your favorite food of late - peas!  You get mad when I put the frozen peas in the microwave.  I hand you a clump of frozen peas from the package then point to the microwave and try to explain about the magic of cooking.  Again, you kind of seem to get it.  Then it's into your high chair where you scarf down most of your peas.  The remainder get scarfed up by your Dad. 

You seem ready for your nap but I glance at the clock and it's still a little early so we go build with your large, Lego-style blocks for awhile.  Mostly I feed you pieces while you mash them together into various abstract shapes.  You just got the blocks for Christmas but already you are much better at mashing them together.

Finally, it's nap time.  You protest mildly as I carry you into your room, change your diaper, and get you back into your pj's and sleep sack.  Then I sing/hum you a few rounds of 'Itsy Bitsy Spider', 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', 'Row Row Row Your Boat', and 'Give Said the Little Stream'.  My humble musical efforts always seem to mellow you out - or maybe you just fake like you're sleepy so I'll stop.  Lol... either way works, I guess. In the darkened room with the fan blowing and the humidifier humming, I lay you down for your nap then head out and quietly close the door.  Every morning we spend together is pretty much like this.  :-) 

You and your Mom mean the world to me Sylvie and nothing makes me happier than having us all together as a little family.    

All my love,


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crafty Crap: Giant Ruler Growth Chart

So we made one of these last year for my sister for Christmas and I have been wanting one ever since. It was so easy & cheap to make and turned out so cute! I really like these rulers because they are portable and can be moved from house to house if need be. They are also a very attractive way to decorate those skinny wall spaces you never know what to do with. Anyway, I thought I'd tell you what I did in case you'd like to make one for yourself.

First you'll need to buy a board. The original one we did was 1" x 8" x 6' but Seth got a little bit wider one this time at 12" wide. You can really customize this to whatever size you'd like. First sand the board. We have a small orbit sander that I love and have used for tons of random projects. I highly recommend one if you have room in your budget. Using the sander it was easy to get softened edges that are slightly rounded. You can totally hand sand it though, it'll just take a lot more elbow grease and time.

Next, comes the stain. We used a walnut stain but again, you could do whatever color stain you want. Heck you could even PAINT it if you wanted to. No need to worry about doing the back as nobody will see it (unless you plan on hanging it in the center of your living room like a pendulum... weirdo).

Now we get down to business. Don't worry, it's actually really easy to do and so long as you give yourself a template, you're not going to mess anything up too horribly. Get a straight-edge ruler and make a pencil mark for every inch along the entire 6-foot length of the board.

At this point you'll want to decide how you want your finished project to look. I made my ruler start at 6" so I could hang it on the wall and not have to worry about baseboards getting in the way. If you want to rest yours on the floor, you'll need to start at zero (which technically means you will have a 6 foot ruler so just hope your children aren't really tall). Next you need to make your lines. Do not try to eyeball the lines. I used a rafter square and it made the job really simple. You could also use a t-square but you'd have to be more careful to hold it straight along the edge. For the 8" wide board I made the inch lines 1-inch long and the "quarter" lines 2-inches long. I made them longer for the 12" wide board to make them more proportional, with the inch lines 2-inches long and the "quarter" lines 4-inches long. Again, work your way all the way up the board with your lines, double checking to make sure your marks are the right length.

A close-up of my lines and wall placement.
Next you'll need to get a paint pen to go over your pencil lines. I used a black one like this for the entire project, even the numbers (one pen has made 2 of these so far so you don't need to worry about buying a lot). Use the rafter square to go over your pencil lines with the paint pen. Don't try and free hand it unless you're looking for a "my kindergartner made this" look.

Now onto the numbers. Find a font you like (I used Century) and print out your numbers. For the smaller 8" board I used a 200 point size font. For the larger 12" board I used 300 point. Cut out each number (surrounded by a close-cropped box... don't cut out the exact outline of the number) and tape each one to the appropriate place on the ruler. Verify all placements are correct... you don't want to screw up now! Get a ball-point pen and trace the outline of each number, going over it a couple times to make sure it leaves a nice deep groove in the wood. If you end up tracing over a knot in the wood like I did, the pen won't leave much of a groove. In this case you can scribble on the back of the number with a pencil and then trace over it so a pencil line will be left on the wood. When the outlines are done, remove the paper and trace & fill each number with the paint pen.

At this point you may be done. You can spray your final product with clear coat, but I didn't. I thought it'd be easier to write on it later if it didn't have the coating. Do what you like. As far as hanging goes, we just drilled a couple holes (countersunk) into the board and attached it to the wall in 2 places using dry wall anchors/screws. You could also put a picture hanger on the back, but it won't be quite as secure.

So that's it! Easy huh? Now go and create! (Or if you're a close friend or family member, wait and ask me for one for your birthday or Christmas... that's the cheater way! Ha! Ha!).

Recap of supplies and tools:

1" x 8" x 6' board (or whatever size you like)
Wood Stain (or paint)
Paint Pen
Clear Coat Spray (optional)
Ballpoint Pen
Rafter Square (or T-square)
Sander or Sandpaper
Picture hanger (optional)

Original idea from 517 Creations

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Crafty Crap: Handprint Santa Ornament

So I thought I'd try and do a little Christmas craft with Sylvie this year, even though she's still a little young to be able to do much. I saw this handprint Santa ornament and decided it was a good, easy option.

Here's the salt dough recipe:

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water (give or take)

Combine ingredients in a bowl and knead until a dough forms.

Since Sylvie's hand is pretty small, this amount of dough made enough for probably 3 or 4 handprints. I was kind of dumb and didn't think to press the dough directly onto a parchment lined baking sheet. So, I made mine really fat because otherwise I couldn't peel them off the tray without ruining the print. Don't do this the dumb way. Anyway, I also didn't cut out around the fingers as directed because I didn't think it was necessary. After you've got your hand prints ready to go, poke a small hole in them in where shown (to hang later) and bake at 200 deg. F for 3 hours. Then paint, seal, and hang!

Original Instructions

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Letters to Sylvie: 17 Months

Dear Sylvie,

You've been changing so much this last month I decided I needed to write you another letter. How is it possible for you to have grown SO MUCH? It really is astounding to me how quickly you learn and grow. You're like a big sponge with appendages, toddling around.

Speaking of toddling around, you're a professional walker now. One day you woke up an hour early and just decided that was the day you were going to start walking. And that was it! It's still so weird for me to see you walk because it was such a fast transition! But I love to see you stumbling around the house. You love to wear your shoes now (they help you walk much better than just bare feet) and like to sit in your big chair while I put them on.

Walking like a champ!

Your daddy and I are constantly amazed at the little things you pick up. You were taking a bath one day and I asked you where the clock was and you pointed to the silver clock hanging up on the wall. I praised you and said, "Yeah, that's the clock! Good job!" Then you said "aghsshuck" which I deemed your version of clock. It was a bit of a throaty, complicated version of clock, almost German sounding, but it clearly ended in a "ck" sound. After your bath I took you downstairs and told your dad what you'd done. Your daddy said, "How does she know what a clock is?" I repeated the words from one of your favorite bedtime stories, "Goodnight clocks and goodnight socks." Sure enough you had been paying attention and soaked up little bits of information your dad and I were completely oblivious to. You then repeated your verbalized clock sound of "aghsshuck" and Daddy was floored. You really are learning to talk!

Practicing drinking out of a cup and laughing at Daddy's beautiful singing!

You've never been big on the t.v. and still rarely pay attention it. However, you do enjoy our nightly ritual of sharing a Ding Dong and watching an episode of Spongebob Squarepants before heading off to bed. You like the first part of the show the best where the framed talking pirate picture comes on and gruffly says, "Are you ready kids?!" Then you dance excitedly for the rest of the opening theme and anytime throughout the show when they play music. Other than that you don't pay much attention to it and would rather pull the books off the bookshelf or run away from Mommy squealing and flop around on the couch pillows on the floor. I don't think there has ever been a more adorable child.

Playing under the Christmas tree with the kitty.

You're really getting into music and especially like to listen to Christmas music. Daddy put a radio in the kitchen to listen to his football games, but turns it to Christmas music during the day. As soon as you walk in there you point at the radio so we can turn it on. You are always swaying your head or bobbing up and down to the music. You have also started clapping your hands when I sing "If you're happy and you know it." Sometimes you'll even stomp your feet which is too adorable for words.

With the cold weather in full swing, you've gotten used to putting on your little coat and hat when we go outside. Your favorite warm hat looks like a penguin wearing puffy pink earmuffs. You LOVE to wear it and sometimes ask us to put it on you when you're playing around in the house. You routinely wear it when we go grocery shopping and without fail, several strangers will comment on how cute you are in your hat.

Captain Penguin, ready for bed! This also shows your new skill of stacking your cups into a tower.

I don't know if you really like things to be clean or if you're just interested in the things you find, but you are constantly picking up nearly invisible specs of dirt off the floor. You will then come and hand them to me or Daddy as if you are hinting that we need to step up our cleaning practices. Your favorite toys right now are the pine cones I put out for Christmas decoration. You gather them up and put them in a bowl or place them in different spots to suit your tastes. Because of all the moving and such, the pine cones drop a bit of debris here and there. One evening I was in the kitchen making dinner when you came up and held out a small pine cone scale you'd found on the floor. I told you to put it in the trash can and you immediately lifted the lid and dropped the refuse inside. I'm hoping to get you started on the vacuuming next week.

Playing with pine cones and Mommy's scarf
It's taken you a while to get into climbing on things, but lately you've been loving it! You climb all over the big green couch, you climb onto the rocking chair in your room, you climb into Daddy's Adirondack chair in the office and you always seem thoroughly proud of yourself for your accomplishments. You've also started carrying your little step stool around with you and I'm sure you're going to get into something very soon.

Pointing to your bellybutton!
As usual I could go on and on, but that's what you've been up to lately. You are such a fun, smart, happy little girl. Whenever I see you my heart just fills with the most indescribable joy. I sure enjoy being your mommy.

I love you Huggy Bug,

Love, Mama