Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! We have had a wonderful weekend and before I fully accept that tomorrow is Monday I'm going to post some pictures of what we've been up to lately.

On November 14 we got to babysit Patrick's niece, Molly, while Molly's mom and grandma attended an afternoon tea at the Arboretum. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it can be to feed a baby. This Thanksgiving was Charlotte's first since she began eating and we are very thankful for this. Her favorite dishes this year? Pumpkin pie and cranberries.

The incredibly mild November weather has allowed us more time outside this fall than we had expected. Last weekend it was even warm enough that Charlotte rode her trike down our street. Patrick commented that this past spring her feet barely reached he pedals and now she rides with ease.

She has taught (trained) us that when she rings her bell it means we need to run. Whether she wants to chase us, thinks we're too slow, or just enjoys having some power we're not sure.

And now to the present - Thanksgiving Weekend! If you picked up the Star Tribune for the Black Friday ads (as I did) you may have noticed the cover story, Family Homecoming for Twins after 98 Days in 'Preemie Land'. Much of the article resonated with us, in particular the dad's statement, "People who don't have preemies probably never think about prematurity...and people who do never STOP." Even now that Charlotte is a happy, healthy 3-year old and the trips to the doctor are much fewer it is still something we think about frequently. Differently now though, as we are so grateful to have a 4-day weekend home with our active, happy toddler who breathes, eats, and poops on her own.

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my family. Charlotte played hard all day, here she is dancing with some of her cousins (second, third?) to a dance video game. You may notice that the other three kids are following along to the game movements while Charlotte is rocking out in her own style. She fell asleep in the car on our way home at 5:15 p.m. and slept straight through until 8:20 a.m. Whew! What an exhausting day! Luckily we followed it by a relaxing morning at home before heading out to Aunt Kelly's house for a late lunch. It was great to see so much family this weekend.

Friday night we decided to brave the burst of cold weather by taking in the Holidazzle Parade with Grandma and Grandpa Russell. Grandpa Russell surprised Charlotte with a special Holidazzle wand, and it turned out to be quite helpful in keeping Charlotte entertained while we waited for the parade to start. Below are a couple of pre-parade family photo ops.

And with that, the Christmas holiday season has begun. Saturday we picked out our tree and went with a slightly shorter tree than last year. Last year we learned that trees look smaller on the tree lot than they do in our house. Our tree this year is still larger than what we were anticipating at 7.5 feet, but this time around we had no concerns about whether or not the star would fit on top.

Here is what happens when I tell Charlotte I want to take a picture of her with her Santa hat - she quickly pulls it off to hold it up to the camera for me. I was so, so close to getting a picture with it on her head.

And what a great evening decorating the tree. Charlotte put on one ornament before it was time for her to head to bed and Patrick made a special trip to Menards after I broke our tree topper. Charlotte has needed a couple reminders today that we can look at the ornaments but that they need to stay on the tree. Thank goodness we have many stuffed musical creatures from Grandma Russell that she can play with. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Fall is certainly here and we have been embracing the traditional fall activities.

We carved pumpkins with our friends, the Behlings. Pictured above are Charlotte and Brodan in front of the window clings they hung and beside the pumpkins carved by the adults. Patrick and I carved the pumpkins to the right.

Charlotte has been regularly asking to be held like a baby. Here she is snuggling with Patrick - too cute not to share!

Our Halloween festivities began at the Children's Museum Halloween Party. Charlotte went as a bumble bee and had a great time. She enjoyed all the usual museum activities made even more fun by being in costume plus fun treats and prizes throughout the museum.

Bumblebee or turtle? Who's to say?

This past weekend Charlotte and mom went to Aunt Kelly's for some halloween baking - spider webs and popcorn balls - and Charlotte got to help Aunt Kelly carve her pumpkin. "Help" is a generous description of Charlotte's contribution to this process - she lasted about the length of time it took to take this photo. She was a champ with the baking though - she diligently placed m&ms at the center of the spider webs.

Charlotte played with baby Molly for a bit! 

And then danced the Chicken Dance with Grandma Russell!

Once we got home Charlotte was anxious to try one of the spider webs. She definitely prefers salty to sweet - she ate all the pretzel and then left the middle part made of chocolate.

Charlotte is now old enough to enjoy dressing up in costume and understand kind of what is going on. Here are a few photos from Halloween.

Charlotte donned her bumble bee costume once again for school. Here she is before we left home.

And here is our tiger trudging up to the playground for our neighborhood costume parade followed by trick or treating.

Cutest tiger I know!


This was our first year trick-or-treating and Charlotte loved it. She was pretty excited to follow some of the older kids in our neighborhood around up to home doors and say "trick or treat" - luckily she tuckered out before filling up her bucket with candy. She was relieved when we finally left the group to head home and put on her PJs. Tonight she is cuddling with her tiger costume in bed. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

It seems like just yesterday we were at the Minnesota Zoo with Grandma and Grandpa Distad, but no, that is only in blog land. The lack of blog posts has not been because we've been sitting around doing nothing. Rather, we have been go-go-go busy. Generally we post to our blog after Charlotte is in bed, but since the semester started that time has been used for work-related activities and trying to prevent our home from becoming a complete disaster area. During Charlotte's awake hours we have been having a blast!

Of course, in late August we took our annual trip to the Great Minnesota Get Together (the Minnesota State Fair).

This year was special because Charlotte was able to join in on the eating. She ate most of my favorite fair treat, the corn dog. I will admit, I was a little bummed to share. :)

We were also excited because the day we attended the fair was also the all of Charlotte's Grandparents were there! We saw Grandma and Grandpa Distad for a short while and spent much of the day with Grandma and Grandpa Russell. Above is a photo of Charlotte and Grandma Russell riding the carousel.

Charlotte's favorite part of the fair is the animals. Here she is up close and personal with a sheep. I wish I could remember the sheep's may have been Dolly but more likely I'm confusing her with her famously cloned distant relative.

We spent about 9-10 hours at the fair and we were all exhausted by the end of the day. Biking seemed like a great idea in the morning, but the trip home was a rough one.

The next weekend we went to Como Town with our friends, the Behlings!

Charlotte and I were both very excited about the great weather and a fun day of riding rides!

Charlotte and Broden rode many rides, but this is my favorite photo. They each fit in one of the fire fighter boot molds.

And fall has arrived. We had to break out the warm PJs. We laughed when we realized that all of her footie PJs have holes in the legs where last winter we needed to thread her feeding tube. Oh well, they are still warm.

In September we went to the Renaissance Festival for Grandpa Russell's birthday. It was fun to spend the afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa Russell and Kelly and Tim. Kelly was 9 months pregnant and it may have been slightly less fun for her...

Charlotte rode and elephant! She wasn't interested until we walked away from the elephants and then the tears started flowing. Luckily Grandma and Grandpa Russell were willing to take her back and ride with her.

Welcome Baby Molly! We were very excited to meet Charlotte's first cousin, Molly Morrell on September 30th. Congrats to Kelly and Tim who seem to be loving being parents to this adorable baby girl.

Charlotte was excited to see her, but she was soon ready to go for a walk. In a few months Molly might be more fun to play with, but for now she is very fun to hold and snuggle.

Grandma and Grandpa Russell with baby Molly. They were up all night at the hospital while Kelly was in labor. Pretty dedicated grandparents!

And now we're caught up to October. Last weekend Charlotte once again ran the Toddler Trot at the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend Family Events. It was a windy, chilly day, and Charlotte tried to stay warm by bundling up and staying close to mom and dad. The two photos below are pre-race photos while we waited at the starting line.

And she's off...

She ran all by herself! I followed a few feet behind to make sure she didn't get scared, but she was very confident and ran the entire way by herself.

Here she is running by her fans: Dad, Grandmas and Grandpas Russell and Distad, and Kelly, Tim, and Molly Morrell. She may be destined for distance running - she paced herself rather than sprinted.

Sporting her new medal.

Check it out, Dad!

Here are a few random shots from the past week or so:

Our wonderful neighbors and landlords gave Charlotte some hand-me-downs this week. I love this coat and hat.

Charlotte now likes to brush her own hair. Soon she won't need our help getting ready in the morning at all! That is a little sad, but it is fun seeing her grow into such a self-sufficient little girl.

This past Saturday we spent at Grandma and Grandpa Distad's house. Charlotte loves being around dogs and here she is with Kira Bear.

We picked pumpkins out of Grandma and Grandpa Distad's gardent! Unfortunately it was rainy on Saturday, but Charlotte stayed clean and dry and enjoyed the pumpkins from the back of the truck.

Awwww...Lucy Lou and Charlotte watching the rain fall outside. I know Charlotte was wishing she could be outside playing with Lucy Lou and Kira Bear.

The rain let up in the afternoon and Charlotte finally agreed to take a 4-wheeler ride. She enjoyed the ride, but was ready to get off. Grandpa went very slow with Charlotte, thank goodness, and then drove away recklessly on his own. Someone needs to get that guy a helmet.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 17, 2012

Charlotte's birthday weekend (last weekend) extended into 4 days of fun!

On Saturday Katie and Charlotte went to a baby shower for Katie's cousin Marty and his wife Kelly. Here is a super cute picture of Charlotte with second/third cousins Faith and Beth.

Charlotte has been giving her birthday balloons lots of hugs!

Sunday was our 6th wedding anniversary and we had a great day. In the morning we cleaned (woo fun), then headed off to the Children's Museum for the afternoon (this photo is Charlotte very excited to be arriving at the museum), and the highlight was the evening when Grandma and Grandpa Russell babysat so we could go out for dinner and a movie. Thanks G&G Russell!

More museum photos! Here's Charlotte with Curious George. She is so tight with this famous monkey that she refers to him as just George. 

Here I am passing on my golf skills.

In keeping with 4 days of fun, Grandma and Grandpa Distad took Charlotte (and Katie) to the Minnesota Zoo on Monday. 

Pretty sure we took this picture last summer when we visited the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa Distad. It's a classic.

Real, live dinosaurs! Well, ok, maybe not exactly but pretty close. Charlotte loved the Dinos and "roared" throughout the exhibit. Here she is with Grandpa in front of the Gigantosaurus (pretty sure I could have come up with that name).

Here is Charlotte petting the baby T-Rex.

"Well, if Daddy is allergic to dogs can we get a dinosaur?"

She tamed tigers.

And made friends with penguins.

We were all home on Tuesday! Charlotte and I started the day with some stretching...

...followed by push-ups.

Hydration is important. Tip: make sure your water bottle is as big as you are.

Tuesday we checked out the Minnesota Science Museum. It was fun! On Tuesday mornings they offer "Preschool Playdates" and admission is free with a Children's Museum Membership. Hopefully we'll get to take advantage of this perk again in a few months! Charlotte was near frantic running from exhibit to exhibit and she enjoyed the shows about making sound and monkeys. She soaks in everything and keeps reminding us that she does not have a tail, so she is not a monkey (we learned that Apes do not have tails and they are not monkeys).

In other Charlotte quotes of late: "I have sand in my nose, there is sand in my nose!" - it was a booger.



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