Monday, December 27, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Despite the title of the post, this blog is not about Christmas. It's about the night before Christmas, December 24th. Because on that night, Charly turned 10 months old!

It's hard to believe that this little girl is almost one year old. She learns new things everyday:

1. She's slowly learning how to walk. She no longer clutches to things with both hands and side steps her way around objects. She holds on with one hand and walks along side things. Any day now, she's going to let go and take off!

2. She's learning how to eat real food. She finally began eating Puffs! Kelli and I were worried that Charly would be the only 7 toothed 10 month old not eating food. We would put 1/4 of a puff in her mouth and she would get this panicked look on her face, as if she didn't know what to do. It was driving us crazy but we didn't want to force it upon her. Finally, about a week ago or so, she began picking up puffs and eating them with ease! She's slowly coming around to potatoes, ice cream, and bread. We were pretty excited.

3. She's learning how to talk. She has a vocabulary of three recognizable words and about 20 unrecognizable words. The three recognizable words are "mommy", "daddy", and "kitty". Pretty fitting if you ask me. We have no clue if these words actually mean what we hope they do, but she speaks them clearly and often. She even waves "bye-bye" now!

4. She's learning how to get her way! Charly loves our laptop and our remotes. We bought her her own toy laptop but of course, it's not as cool as ours. We've shut our laptop off and let her press the buttons, and she becomes bored. She knows the buttons control things and she wants to see what pressing them does. Same with the television remotes. She presses buttons and immediately looks to the TV to see what she's done. I took batteries out of one of the remotes and gave it to her and immediately, she discovered it did nothing. She tossed it aside and quickly found the remote that worked. Whenever we take these things away, she fusses.

She loves seeing her family (especially Great-Grandma Hoodjer and Grandpa Denny!). She played in the snow. She celebrated Christmas (Eve). She's attended her fair share of UNI basketball games, mastered the art of Peek-a-Boo, and is finally getting used to her cousin Cruz being around. Lately she's even returned to sleeping through the night!

She's busy busy busy and it's exciting watching her grow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

It feels like just the other day Kelli and I (with Charly's help of course) began putting up the tree, hanging lights, and wrapping presents. Now this coming weekend, Christmas will be here already! Where did the month of December go?

We were really worried, given their shared tendencies, that Charly would love the Christmas tree like Elliot. While Elliot has been terrible with the tree this year (leaping off presents, climbing up the inside of the tree and shaking it, and pulling ornaments off with her teeth) Charly has been pretty timid. She'll swipe at the lower branches occasionally and grab for an ornament here and there, but her favorite are the presents under the tree. She loves presents. The paper. The bows. The sound they make when she bangs on them. She loves everything about them. Great . . .

Another thing Charly loves about Christmas is Santa! A few weekends ago we had such good luck with Santa in Allison, we thought we'd call it quits. But on Saturday Ashley earned her masters degree at UNI and while waiting for the family for lunch at Bourbon Street on Main Street in Cedar Falls, we noticed that Santa's Workshop at the end of the block looked awfully lonely. We just had to test our luck! A pretty elf greeted us at the door to Santa's shop and Charly lit up as soon as she saw the big guy in red. She didn't get to tell him what she wanted (we've got that covered) but her reaction to him twice now, gave us hope that next year she'll love him just the same!

Saturday night, we celebrated our first official family Christmas of the season, as my Henrichs cousins gathered with Grandma Gail in Allison. Charly had to buy her first Christmas present (for her second cousin Maddie) and she even received her first Christmas present (from her second cousin Jacob). Grandma Gail gave her a book (at 88 years old she still insists on getting her 22 great-grandkids a Christmas gift), which Charly loved, and we learned some amazing things about my Grandma while playing a trivia game about her life. For instance, she was a member of one of the 1st high school cheerleading teams in the state! She's a pretty incredible woman and has lived quite a life so far!

Sunday morning, we decided to skip the Panthers' basketball game and catch up on things around the house. We even took Charly out to play in the snow, although she didn't really know what to think of it. She was pretty indifferent about it actually. She didn't cry. She didn't smile. Her snow suit was something new to her, the snow made it very bright to see for her, and she only liked sitting in the snow if Kelli was with her. She'll learn to love it.

It was nice to relax after such a busy Saturday. Charly helped cheer on Tom Brady later in her New England cheerleading outfit. I reached the championship game of our fantasy football league (much to Taylor and Beau's chagrin). And Kelli enjoyed a carefree winter day with her baby girl before going to work on Monday.

Less than a week from now, on the same night Charly will turn 10 months, Santa will be making his first stop ever at the Henrichs household! We don't have a chimney, so we'll leave the door unlocked and I'll make sure to have the driveway snow-blowed for the big guy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Charly Lou Who

There isn't a busier month of the year than December. This year is no exception, thanks much in part to our new little girl.

I'd love to add up the amount of time it takes to change her diaper, pack her bag, put on her coat and winter gear, strap her in her car seat, and mosey on out the door. Even planning and preparing for a babysitter is time consuming! This is time we didn't have to spend last year. If we needed to shop for gifts, we'd grab our coats and we're out the door. If we had a party to go to, we'd throw on our ugliest sweaters and stay as late as we want! This year though, that overwhelming feeling of busyness is only magnified with her addition to our family.

It's definitely worth it though!

Charly's first ever Holiday experience was helping decorate our house the day before Thanksgiving. She helped Kelli put ornaments on her very own pink Christmas tree, she chewed on lights (along with Elliot) while Kelli and I strung them around our tree, and she pounded on presents and rolls of wrapping paper. She loves presents already and while we didn't go overboard, being her first year, it will be fun watching her tear into what Santa brings her on Christmas morning.

Charly's second Holiday experience came in meeting Santa Claus himself! Last year I helped my mom out by taking pictures of kids in Allison as they came into the library to sit on Santa's lap. This year I was going to do the same and we were going to bring Charly along. We didn't really know how this would go! She's not crazy about strangers and we were bracing for a meltdown.

Instead, she loved him! She sat on his lap and turned the pages of a book he was holding. She grinned from ear to ear and nuzzled her cheek into his beard. She posed for the camera and stole the show! After such a great experience, we think we may pass on the Mall Santa. We don't want to push our luck . . .

Charly's most recent Holiday experience was with babysitters. Last year we "Jingled and Mingled" on Main Street with Ashley and Beau. Beau and I held down the fort at Toads while the girls shopped. We sat and drank with lots of other married men who were occasionally greeted by wives, looking to unload shopping bags. It was a lot of fun. This year, we both have little ones, so Grandma, Great-Grandma, and Great-Grandpa came to babysit for a few hours. (Thursday night is Bowling Night for Grandpa!) Our friend Julie joined the girls while Beau and I, once again, held down the fort in Toads.

Saturday night, our good friends Chris and April had their annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. We rarely need babysitters as we drag Charly along most places we go, but for tonight, we thought a babysitter would make for an easier party. With Cruz getting baptized bright and early the following morning, we didn't want to ask my parents, and Kelli's folks were busy. So we were in need of a real babysitter. Not just family! One we may even have to pay! Along came Haley to the rescue . . .

Mel, our daycare provider, has a junior high daughter who loves Charly. Kelli has to pry Charly out of Haley's arms most days after school when she picks her up. And the feeling is mutual, as it's obvious that Charly loves Haley. Haley offered to watch Charly, with Mel's help, so Saturday night we drove Charly to Mel's before the party. Her face lit up when Mel took her out of her carseat and she was even more excited when Haley took her away from Mel saying "You're not the babysitter mom!" The whole family was excited to have Charly there that night and seeing her all smiles couldn't have made us feel any better. She loves them all and they love her and it's comforting to know she has this "second family" of sorts.

We're looking forward to the rest of the Holiday season and the new traditions we plan on starting with Charly!