Saturday, July 27, 2013

20 Months

On Thursday, Little J reached 20 months old.  Not a major milestone by most accounts, but it was a really big deal to me.  You see, Little J was born the day Miss A reached that same age.  It is crazy for me to imagine Little J being a big sister right now (which, she is not, just for the record).  I still call her baby far more than I should, but in so many ways she is still my baby.  She still snuggles me (when she's willing to sit still), still loves the Ergo (or baby backpack as we call it), still wants her mommy.  I just remember  Miss A seeming so much older at 20 months.  I know that much of her seeming older was because we were expecting a new baby, but still, it feels crazy.

But, in many more ways Little J really isn't a baby anymore.  She's running (away from me!), and trying to jump. She's climbing. She's talking. She's starting to string together 2 and 3 word phrases.  Her favorites, besides just saying, "No!" are "I do it," followed by "I did it!" She's even starting to show an interest in the toilet.  
My little girl has her own personality. She's very opinionated.  If she doesn't like what we give her to eat, she throws it. If she doesn't like what other kids are doing, she tells them, "NO!"  Especially if it's Miss A.  She can hold her own in  a battle with her big sister.  She can throw a fit.  But she will also smile and stomp her feet in excitement when she does something new.  She gives the sweetest hugs and kisses.    
Happy 20 months Little J! We love having you as our baby :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Week

Our third theme week for the summer was based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.  Our week was full of fruit, picnics and lots of painting, which meant my girls were very, very happy. Picnics and painting are two very favorite things right now.

One of our activities throughout the week was eating along with the book.  Each day with dinner we had the fruit that the caterpillar ate that day.  So on Monday we ate apples.  On Tuesday we ate pears. We skipped his Saturday feast, but probably managed to get a few of those treats in over the weekend.

Besides The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we also read

Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert (this probably would have been a better fit for our garden week, but I happened to see it at the library, and figured it fit well enough)

To start the week, we made caterpillars by painting egg cartons.  After they were dry we added pipe cleaners and googly eyes.  

It was hard to keep Miss A's hands off the finished caterpillars for a picture.  She was very excited about them!

We also painted caterpillars like the one in The Very Hungry Caterpillar using marshmallows (inspiration here). The best part... the girls got to sample a marshmallow when we were done.  They were in heaven.
Miss A's version of painting with marshmallows.
Little J's version of painting with marshmallows.
I also pinned these Very Hungry Caterpillar coloring pages a while back, which came in very handy.
At the end of the week, our caterpillars turned to butterflies.  Miss A and I have done this activity before, but she still had a lot of fun.  I cut butterflies out of construction paper, and we painted half of each butterfly (I folded the butterflies in half so they would only paint one side).  Then we pushed the two sides together, and pulled them apart so our butterflies would be symmetrical.  When they were dry we added little faces and pipe cleaner antennas.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Birthday E!

It's funny to think that the first birthday I celebrated with E was when he turned 23, a decade ago. It's crazy to think of all that has changed in those years. In 10 years we've both moved to the Twin Cities, graduated, started careers, got engaged then married, bought a house and added two baby girls to our family. And each year I love him more.
E makes me happy.  He makes me laugh even with some pretty low percentage jokes.  E is so sweet with Miss A and Little J (well... I mean he's very tough and disciplines them... or that's what he wants me to tell people). He's the best Prince. E makes me better.  He pushes me to try new things, take chances and dream big (even when I'm very skeptical). E is our rock.  He makes us feel safe and taken care of.    

Happy birthday E! We love you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Twosday Three

Making the climb up to Neuschwanstein Castle
We're back!  And had an amazing 10 day journey around Germany.  I will probably post a big photo dump later, but here's a quick recap of the trip...

Big cities visited...
1. Munich
2. Berlin

Favorite sites in Munich...
1. Nymphenburg Palace
2. Marienplatz

Favorite sites in Berlin...
1. Brandenburg Gate
2. Berlin Wall Memorial

Small cities visited...
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
2. Bamberg

Day trips...
1. Dachau Concentration Camp
2. Wurzburg's Residence

Castles toured...
1. Hohenshwangau
2. Neuschwanstein

Major foods eaten...
1. Pretzels
2. Pretzels covered with cheese
(Seriously, I think I ate my body weight in pretzels.)

1. Riesling
2. Beer (mostly E, but I tried a few)

Books read on the trip...
1. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, Erik Larson
2. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, Susan Jane Gilman

Reasons I'm glad the to be home...
1. Miss A
2. Little J

Monday, July 8, 2013

Little J: 19 Month Photos

I know, kind of a strange marker for photos, but 18 months just didn't happen (I tried!), but we finally went out and got a few pictures of Little J this week.  Coincidentally, I also did pictures of Miss A at 19 months.  And, at the time, I thought it was hard to get Miss A to sit still for pictures.  That was nothing compared to trying to keep Little J still (and to think I was already 8 months pregnant when I was chasing after Miss A). My little girl is sweet, but full of energy.  She is always watching and exploring, so when we took her to a new place, she just wanted to run.  There was also a lot of pointing and exclaiming... Puppy!  Water!  We did get a few that capture this crazy little girl at just a little over a year and a half.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Teddy Bear Week

The theme for our second week of summer was Teddy Bears!  This week was busy with other activities (Miss A went to her first little camp, and had a blast!) so we only did a few things, and ate lots and lots of Teddy Grahams!
Our books for this week were
Teddy Bears' Picnic, Jimmy Kennedy
Old Bear, Kevin Henkes
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Roberto Piumini
Goldilocks and Just One Bear, Leigh Hodgkinson
We had a few others too, but I forgot to write them down before we returned them... oops!

Last time I was back in Wisconsin, Papa asked if we wanted the box from Aunt K3's Build-a-Bear.  It looks like a little house, so I brought it home, and Miss A colored in the pictures.  I thought she could use it as a house for all of her princesses, but she hasn't shown much interest yet.
One of Miss A's favorite parts of summer so far has been all of the picnics.  One day after camp, we came home and had a picnic with all of our teddy bears to go along with the book Teddy Bears' Picnic.  She and Little J thought that made it an extra special picnic.  
The highlight of the week was our trip to Teddy Bear Park. Teddy Bear Park is one of my favorite places to play in the summer.  We met up with some of my friends from work plus their little ones to play and go out for dinner.  Miss A declared to her new best friend, "Today is the best day!" (which may have come out right after she found out we were having brownies for dessert).
Yup, this is about as good as pictures of both girls get.