Tuesday, August 31, 2010

6 Months

Last Monday, Kelli and I started school. On Tuesday, Charly turned 6 months. One half-year old!

This month Charly has really explored her voice. She's gone from happily yelling to fake coughing to this soft, yet in a way, high-pitched little squeak. She's quite the jabberwocky!

She started eating baby food this month. We started with applesauce (on her Grandma Henning's birthday), and the look on her face was priceless. She was loving her cereal and opening her mouth at the sight of her bowl but the look of disgusted confusion on her face when something other than cereal entered her mouth was hilarious! She's gone on to enjoy oatmeal and pears and she's learned to tolerate apples. She's not the biggest fan of bananas and hates peaches. What can I say, she's her father's girl!

A little less than a month ago we noticed Charly scooting backwards. Soon after, she began sitting up on her own. Her pediatrician was very impressed with how well she sat up on her own for a 6 month old. We tend to think she's somewhat of a prodigy!

She had her first overnights at both Grandma and Grandpa's houses in Allison while we took a weekend away with friends in Chicago. She went on her first mini-vacation to Minnesota and made a new friend named Norman and loved her bathtime in Shawn and Kali's kitchen sink.

She loves to get on all fours and rock back and forth. Sometimes she gets rocking so fiercely, we're sure she's going to take off across the room! Kelli hated going back to school, for many reasons, but also because we knew that crawling was just around the corner and she didn't want to miss it. Well, unless our daycare provider is lying to us (which would be okay in this instance), we didn't miss a thing. The other night while rocking, Charly discovered that moving her knees could move her forward. She was tickled to discover there were more ways to move around the house than backwards! I wouldn't call what she does full-fledged crawling, but it's enough to officially say she has crawled!

She loves watching Elliot and Elliot is getting more and more interested in Charly. We can't wait for the day these two really begin interacting!

Going back to work was hard for both of us, but especially Kelli. She was a blubbery mess. It's not ideal but she does like teaching and seems to like her class this year. I too, think I've been blessed with a good group of kids. That will make it easier. Plus the fact that our daycare provider loves Charly and Charly loves kids! She's easily entertained by kids. She's happy as can be after school and loves spending time with us at night. The only problem is, I don't know how we're going to get any schoolwork done!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My First Vacation

Mommy and Daddy like to take me places. It feels like they're always strapping me in my carseat and driving me somewhere. I'm really curious so I love going to new places. There is always so much to see.

Last week, Mommy and Daddy strapped me in my carseat and drove me somewhere farther than they ever had before. I didn't know how far exactly because I fell asleep after just a few minutes on the road. I woke up along the way and heard Mommy talking about vacations she went on with her family when she was little. I got excited. Maybe I was going on a vacation! Mommy talked about places like Arizona, Washington D.C., and Disneyland. They all sounded cool! Daddy talked about a place called Minnesota and baseball games and zoos.

Before I knew it, we pulled up to a house I had never seen before. It was Kali and Shawn's house, two of Mommy and Daddy's really good friends. We were in Minnesota and we were going to go to a Twins game! I knew this was Daddy's idea. He talks about a place called Target Field all the time!

We took another drive, a short one this time, in Kali and Shawn's car. We drove into the city. I had never seen buildings so big and tall before. There was so much to see in the city; I was excited! So many colors, so many people. I wanted to soak it all in! But Daddy covered my eyes as we walked past a place called Sex World and another place called Deja Vu Gentlemen's Club. I guess Mommy and Daddy didn't want me to see those places, even though Kali thought it was pretty funny.

The weather was awesome! The sky was so blue. The grass was so green. And the people were so LOUD! They all cheered together and it startled me at first, but I got used to it. I had to take a nap halfway through the game but woke up in plenty of time to see the Twins beat the A's. Kevin Slowey, the Twins pitcher, had a no-hitter after the 7th inning but the manager pulled him. The crowd booed really loudly! They didn't like that and neither did Daddy.

The next day, Mommy and Daddy took me to a zoo! A free zoo! There were all kinds of animals there. Lions, tigers, gorillas, polar bears, and my favorite . . . giraffes! A family of three. The baby giraffe was only 5 days old. They looked just like my chew toy Sophie!

Later in the day Kali and Shawn took us into the city again. Mommy and Daddy ate at a weird pizza shop where Daddy got mac n' cheese on his pizza! Gross . . . but he sure liked it. That night, we went to an ice cream shop in St. Paul called Izzy's Ice Cream. They are famous for having some of the best ice cream around. They've even been on the Food Network on TV! It was one of Mommy's favorite parts of our little trip. That, and seeing me giggle on the floor playing with Norman!

Mommy and Daddy stayed up late playing cards with Kali and Shawn but I crashed. I had had too much fun for two days. I can't wait to go on more vacations!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Windy City Weekend, Without Charly

A few months ago, our good friends Kate and Steve asked us to come along with them to Chicago. It sounded like fun but we were a little apprehensive. The thought of leaving Charly for not one night, but two, sounded like a bit too much. Kate and Steve have two little boys of their own, Brett (3 years) and Jace (5 months). Jace is only a day older than Charly! Kate is a school teacher as well and Steve works in Des Moines for Iowa Cubs Sports Turf Management. With two growing families, 90 miles between us, and Steve's rather demanding summer job, opportunities to spend time together are few and far between. With months to prepare for the shock of leaving Charly, our decision (while difficult for Kelli), was actually a no-brainer. Of course we took them up on their offer.

Leaving an almost-6-month-old for two nights and nearly three days, is not as easy as it sounds. I'm sure there will come a day when Charly is older and more independent, where a night or two away from her will be a nice refreshing getaway of sorts. But Charly is nowhere near that age now. She has become very attached to us this summer. She's learning new things everyday and we enjoy witnessing this. She's jabbering up a storm and any day she's going to crawl. We surely don't want to miss that! No matter how excited and eager our families were to lend a helping hand, leaving something that is so dependent on you for three days was not going to be easy.

My grandparents picked up Charly Friday morning, saving us a small trip northwest when we were heading out on a longer drive east. She spent the afternoon with them and stayed with my mom and dad Friday night and Saturday afternoon. She was transferred to Kelli's parents Saturday afternoon (gotta share!) and even Jodi and Blaine and Cooper and Brooks came to Allison to help take care of her. Aunt Jodi is becoming rather obsessed with Charly, but in a great way! Charly was in very capable, loving hands all weekend. Even Uncle Chad and his fun-to-pull-goatee made an appearance! She was constantly entertained and loved. In fact, no one wanted us to return!

All of that support helped us let go and have fun in The Windy City. And as it turns out, we weren't the only ones missing our child. Kate and Steve had two children to miss! Lots of stories were shared, making the kids feel not-so-far-away, which put Kelli and Kate more at ease. Friday night we walked the Magnificent Mile, ate Chicago-style pizza, drank, and visited Navy Pier. On Saturday we took in a Cubs game, went on a boat ride, and attended a late night show (11 pm) at the famed The Second City. On Sunday we got lost downtown, coming out of our hotel on the way home!

Many fun memories with Kate and Steve and other friends like them have helped shape who we are today. I'm glad we visited Chicago. Now we have a new batch of memories to look back on. Spending time in the city with Lady Gaga present; learning how to get hotel rooms for free and staying downtown for next to nothing; seeing the busted up streets as the filming of Transformers 3 took place; admiring the loyalty and enthusiasm of Wrigleyville and it's patrons despite Wrigley Field being somewhat of a dump (sorry Cubs fans!); laughing hysterically throughout our Second City performance and being treated to an extra hour of late-night improv; and lastly, hearing on our boat tour about the dreaded upper and lower levels of Wacker Drive, one of Chicago and the nation's most confusing roadways, only to find ourselves lost underground on Wacker Drive the following day and finally escaping into a flood of headlights and honking horns as we mistakenly pulled onto a one-way!

Having a baby changes your life completely. Things get placed on the back burners that have always been cooked on the front ones. Impromptu getaways, a matinee movie, a few drinks with friends, are all now much more difficult to take part in. Borderline impossible most of the time. Priorities get reshuffled, relationships change and develop, and all for good reason. We chose to make Charly. We chose to have her in our life. It's now our responsibility to give her the best life possible. A brief escape is okay. It doesn't make us bad parents. It does the opposite. It strengthens our relationship even more.

Besides, I'm sure our families would prefer we take getaways like this every weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Backwards . . .

We think Charly is getting ready to crawl. But there's something not quite right with this picture . . .

Starting Position:

Ending Position:

Good to know she has her father's sense of direction!