Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas recap

 We had a quiet Christmas at home, just the tree three of us. So much fun to wake up in our own beds and bring a sleepy baby downstairs for her first Christmas.
 Our tree. It's decorated with crocheted snowflakes (very exciting for the cats), some gold shatter-proof balls, and gold ornaments. I thought for sure Charlotte would be into the whole tree thing, but I think its spikiness put her off; she didn't try to play with it at all.

Matt gave me an iPhone for Christmas. He also made one out of cardboard - that was meant to be for me, but Charlotte latched onto it and really seems to love it. And, see that package of rope at her feet? Apparently, when the two of them were shopping, she kept reaching for it. That was her gift to me. Every time I pass it, I smile. So thoughtful, that kid.

The cat got a present, too. What do you think - does that box make his butt look big?

 Matt made eggs and sausage, and I made a cinnamon bun cake. Everyone enjoyed it all.

A white Christmas! That was very exciting to me. I'm trying to remember, but I think we only ever had snow at Christmas once growing up. Happens a lot more up here, and I love it - as does Charlotte! We have a snow bunny on our hands. She really digs looking out the window at it. Fortunately, we have it in spades now.

 We went for a hike with the dog at a county forest nearby. I think this is going to be our Christmas tradition - family hikes. We'll have to get a bigger backpack next year!

Our neighbors invited us over for Christmas lasagna. Charlotte wore her party dress and party shoes and was a doll. I cannot get over how much I love this kid!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas cards

Oh, boy, have I fallen down a wormhole!

We somehow managed to find time in our schedules to have some family photos taken by Cara Olsen. The proofs were so delightful that I was compelled to buy the entire CD of images from the shoot. And then, I meandered my way to PicMonkey.

And that's where I fell down.

PicMonkey has sucked up so.much.time in the past week. I really need to break the bonds, but when I can so easily produce things like:


or how 'bout:

Well, it's easy (to me, at least) to see how I wouldn't want to stop!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Family ties

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Charlotte and I hung out with her Aunt Jess and Grandma, while Uncle Jason and Dada went hunting.

We went to a playground and had so much fun.
We went down the slides...

 Grandma took her and Aunt Jess for a ride...

 And finally, she had fun on the swings.

After dinner, we all piled in the cars to go see Charlotte's Great Great Aunt June.

Uncle Jason was being funny and doing something with his hoodie strings - I think. Let's be honest - I just included this photo because I really enjoy how she's delicately holding her sweater up.

Charlotte shared her book with Aunt June:

Towards the end, she was getting a little cranky. If she could see me, and I didn't immediately pick her up, this is the face she made:
I can just hear the awful whining now. That sound. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me. But at least she's cute when she does it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

It's deer season up in New York, and for as long as I can remember, Matt has spent Thanksgiving week at his parents' so that he can go hunting. In years past, I've spent Thanksgiving with my family in DC, but we thought it'd be nice to spend it all together. So, Thanksgiving morning found me, Charlotte, and Gus in the car driving out to the Finger Lakes. 

She was great in the car - because I am so, so smart! We left at naptime. Genius here, folks. She slept for two hours, and was awake and annoyed for the final thirty minutes. Totally tolerable, though. 

Matt and I spent a few hours in a ground blind. I was so incredibly hopeful I was going to be his good luck charm. No dice. We did eventually see a few deer several hundred yards in the distance (I think. I mean, it's not like I had a measuring tape) but that was after the sun had officially set, signalling the end of the hunting day. We left Charlotte with Grandma, who managed to not only get her to sleep, but got her dressed once she woke up. 

Charlotte doesn't look it here, but she was beyond thrilled to be eating Thanksgiving foods. I swear, she got the stuffing in her mouth as fast as I could get it on the tray! 

And she figured out very quickly how to let us know she was all done. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not my child.

Clearly this is not my child. No child of mine would display such enthusiasm when presented with broccoli.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feelin' Crafty...

Definitely better than feeling crappy!

Thanks to a perfect storm of inspiration, I decided to try my hand at felting sweaters. I'd seen a kid's vest on a blog that I follow, and after felting a whole bunch of sweaters from my grandmother (felted cashmere, ohmygod) I noticed that an old, wool, royal purple sweater (that I had worn for the better part of 10 years) felted down to pretty much the perfect vest size for Charlotte. So I sliced off the arms and cut up the middle, and suddenly, a new vest was born. I do want to put some sort of closure on it, though.

Difficult to get a good picture of it, since she steadfastly refuses to hold still these days. And, I just noticed that she only has on one shoe. Curious.

Felting things and upcycling the result is officially my new fave. I'm 3/4 done with a pillow cover out of some cashmere sweaters, and honey, let me tell ya, I'm obsessed!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Eight months

I know, she's now nine months. What can I say?

To recap:


She likes:
eating food
putting everything in her mouth

She dislikes:
Holding still (still)
Diaper changes
Missing out on anything

She's been so, so busy this month. Crawling and cruising are some of her favorite things to do. She taught herself how to walk with the Winnie-the-Pooh walker on loan from our friend and neighbor, and Winnie is her buddy. Charlotte's got that daycare-kid runny nose and cough all the time now, and we love she hates the NoseFrida.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Late Fall Weekend

My dear friend Lottie came up (from the wilds of Brooklyn!) to visit this past weekend. I picked her up at the train station in Poughkeepsie, and we went to the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum. Even though Charlotte was developing a double ear infection, she seemed to have a great time. The Museum is definitely geared towards bigger kids - at least, kids that are walking - but they had a room for the under-three crowd that was super fun.

I'm not sure who was having more fun here...

They also had this cool water table that was a model of the Hudson River. The concept was well over Charlotte's head, but she had a good time splashing.

After playing for close to two hours, we went to get lunch. Charlotte enjoyed her Cheerios, as always. Lottie and I enjoyed our sandwiches.

The following day, Charlotte's cold was not getting any better, so she slept a lot. After her morning nap, we took a quick trip up to the playground so we could go on the swings - her new favorite thing, truly.
You can tell she really wasn't feeling too great, but me, I was loving up my cuddly baby! Hat tip to Lottie for snagging this photo.

Then, we took a trip to Brewery Ommegang and Fly Creek Cider Mill.

And I finally got a shot of Charlotte with pumpkins.

All she wanted to do was eat the stems. All Lottie and I wanted to do was enjoy the 40+ samples that Fly Creek has in their store.

We had such a good time with Auntie Lottie. She's one of those friends who are really more like family: the family you choose! Charlotte thought she was great.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Week Eight: Year of Less

  • I put three towels in the donate pile, and one in the rag bag.
  • I took out three boxes from the coat closet.
Incidentally, I cleaned off the top shelf of the fridge, too, and cleaned the tub, and vacuumed at least twice. I think that's enough activity for one week. Ha.

Week eight's goal is not so tangible. I'm going to try to
  • not move onto another task before finishing the first. 
The very thought of this rankles me, but it's got to happen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm nothing if not obedient.

(HAHAHA let's all laugh at that one).

Since Kiki was bummed there weren't any pics of Charlotte in the last post, I present you with this:
Charlotte in a bonnet. With her Winnie-the-Pooh-Walker/constant companion.

The bonnet was made by a woman whose blog I read religiously. I did a custom order through her Etsy shop, KnittingMomma (Natural Earth Farm and Fiber Studio). She also knit us a most delightful little vest, which I'm sure will be in a post at some point. And, bonus - for the next week, they will be donating 10% of their sales to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. I may do some Christmas shopping there.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Weeks Six and Seven - Year of Less

So in Week Five, I decided to not assign myself any new goals. I'm so thankful I did, because leaving for three days really messed up my schedule.

It took me a full week to get my head back above water. Houseguests this past weekend helped force the issue of a "clean" house, which was helpful. Charlotte's tendency to put every.single.thing in her mouth, including cat litter, forces me to vacuum more often than normal, which is also helpful.

Additionally, unnecessary prep for Sandy was a blessing in disguise, as I got all the dishes and all the laundry done in advance of the storm. It's still in baskets, though. That's a never-ending struggle.

I have to dial back the number of goals, I think. Three goals a week is not particularly sustainable. A, I'll never actually achieve them all. B, I'll run out before the year is up. So in the spirit of reasonableness:

  • Reduce the number of towels in our towel cupboard to 8. There's only 2.5 of us in the house. Why do we have over twelve towels? 
  • Purge the coat closet. Why are there empty boxes in there? Why are there coats in there with the tags still attached? 
There! That seems manageable.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cheerios blackmail

Charlotte has been learning from the dog, and occasionally bends at the waist to eat. She also has a perpetually runny nose. This time, when she lowered her head into the pile o' Cheerios, she came up with a few extras.

She's going to hate me for this in about 11 years... But for now, let's all laugh at her fondly. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Charlotte and I ventured to DC last weekend so that I could run the Army Ten Miler. This is the first of a few posts chronicling that trip.

(Warning, this is a picture-heavy post)

We flew down. Charlotte was well-behaved, so I did not gate-check her, just the car seat.

As I had not run in at least 3 weeks, I thought a stroll Saturday morning would be good to get the muscles moving the day before the race. So, Dad, Charlotte and I walked to the dry cleaners; joys of living in an urban area! For some reason, she hates being buckled into things. Once she's in them, she's fine, but that sad, sad crocodile tear under her left eye is because I dared to buckle her in.

My friend Rachel and I went for a walk at Great Falls National Park in Maryland, along with half the county. It was a gorgeous fall day, and the place was packed. Charlotte enjoyed playing with my water bottle once we got to the overlook. This was a brief respite from being in the moby wrap (another mode of transportation for her).

We left early Monday morning. My dear mother gave us a ride to the airport. Charlotte decided it was too early, and opted to go back to sleep in the car.

At the airport in her jammy jams. She really enjoyed watching everybody and everything around us. Her mobility is a concern these days. I set her down briefly so I could put on the wrap, and she scooted off towards a Sunglasses Hut.

Unrelated, but I'd like to share my elation that she is finally getting hair.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coats of many colors

I have no words. This flowered fleece coat/bear suit is seriously too cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week Five - Year of Less

My goals:
  • Make a meal plan that uses freezer food.
  • Declutter the bookshelves - there are four five six in our house, plus a few deliberate piles. 
  • Make a hugelkultur bed (this is not related to simplifying, but it's a major goal that will hopefully help me do more  with less money, so it's allowed because: "year with less" is pretty close to "year of less").
  • Finish last week's goals.

Considering the circumstances I found myself in this week, I'm pleased as punch with my progress. I cleaned out my sock drawer (and even took the bag to a drop-off!), my car is mostly emptied out (thank you Matthew), I used up some freezer food, and I started the bed. My bookshelves are still filled up, but I'm ok with that.

Charlotte got some sort of virus last Friday that I also got, and we were a hot mess. Snot all over, fluid in the ears type of virus. That seriously limited my motivation to do much, especially since she reverted to waking up every 3 hours for 6 straight nights. 

But! We have done (AND PUT AWAY, I can't even believe it) several loads of laundry, the sink finally got emptied last night, and Charlotte and I are feeling better. And sleeping better. 

I'm taking this week off from new goals, because Charlotte and I are headed to DC on Friday and I don't want to over-extend myself. I'll just focus on my earlier goals. Seems a good compromise!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Fun!

We borrowed a tractor from a friend to do the grading of our expanded driveway. Charlotte helped:

She was pretty excited to be up there.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Because in my heart, I believe strongly that laziness is pretty much the same as energy efficiency, I haven't done much with childproofing most of the house. The living room is fairly safe, though; thus far we have had great success in using a full laundry basket at one door, and her exersaucer at the other to keep her contained.

She continues to surprise us with her observational skills and ability to, oh, learn from what she sees. For example: the cats like to cut through the exersaucer instead of going the long way around.

And now, so does Charlotte.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week Four: Year of Less

Last week, I wanted to:

  • Weed out too-small Charlotte clothes and put them in a bin.
  • Empty out my car. 
  • Go through my socks and get rid of/rag the threadbare ones.
  • Make breakfast cookies on Sunday and experiment with freezing for the week.

I really need to work on my discipline. Truly, I'm getting much, much better about leaving the kitchen relatively neat every night; I STILL have clean clothes in a basket from Saturday, though. 

It's not all grey clouds and rain puddles, though - I did a few things off-list that helped the house feel more open. Matt even got in on it, and went through his dresser. I dropped several bags of clothes off at a church thrift store, and I'm embarrassed to say that two of those bags had been sitting in our hallway for probably five months. Shameful. Still, they're out of the house, and I'll take any victory I can get.

I don't think I mentioned that I signed up for this Slow Home BootCamp, have I? I haven't actually done any of the tasks, but it's a nice idea and I am feeling compelled to do Task 6 (declutter bookshelves) this weekend. Over the course of the year, I have done pretty well with getting rid of books that don't hold some sort of value to us, be it sentimental or educational or entertainment. But now that Charlotte is moving around and getting curious, I think this is a good time to really be honest with myself/ourselves about what we're keeping and why. 

This week, I want to: 
  • Make a meal plan that uses freezer food.
  • Declutter the bookshelves - there are four five six in our house, plus a few deliberate piles. 
  • Make a hugelkultur bed (this is not related to simplifying, but it's a major goal that will hopefully help me do more  with less money, so it's allowed because: "year with less" is pretty close to "year of less").
  • Finish last week's goals.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seven months

To recap:

And now:
 This was literally the only photo I got of her laying on her back.

She was much more interested in walking the perimeter of the basket. She looks so grown-up here, to me.

And in standing up inside the basket.

Seven month likes:
playing in water

holding still
diaper changes (see above)

Charlotte got her first tooth ten days after she hit seven months. Her second followed 3 days later. She loves eating solids: eggs, meat (particularly steak), veggies, fruits, Cheerios. She is figuring out finger foods, but she takes a chipmunk approach and shoves it all in her mouth at once.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I had to work from home yesterday, because my car lost a steering belt. Charlotte stayed home, too, because I had no way of getting her to daycare.
I barricaded us in the living room. Charlotte mostly played with toys, but she was very curious about what I was doing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Week Three: Year of Less

Last week's goals:
  • Put clean clothes away with 24 36 hours of washing (must. be. realistic.). 
  • Make a donate box and put something in it every day.
  • Gather up things that belong to our friends and return them.
  • Put the pot lid organizer we bought 2 months ago to use.
I am awful at putting laundry away. I don't know why. I hate it. I hate it even more than I hate putting the dishes away. It's boring and stupid, and maybe I just need to recognize this and institute a no-dresser policy so that I can just live out of a laundry basket.


Really, what I need to do is reduce the sheer amount of clothing I have. Especially since I only wear about 2/3 of it. Because MAYBE if I had SPACE for the clothes, putting them away wouldn't be such a chore. 

I kept up really well with the goals from week 1. I think it's safe to call those habits now. 

This week, I'm going to:

  • Weed out too-small Charlotte clothes and put them in a bin.
  • Empty out my car. 
  • Go through my socks and get rid of/rag the threadbare ones.
  • Make breakfast cookies on Sunday and experiment with freezing for the week.
Wish me luck!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Charlotte,

You are something else. You are such a happy kid! I can't get over how much you do. I wish, though, that you'd go back to routinely sleeping through the night.

You're starting to freak out a little when I'm around but not paying attention to you. In order for you to be happy with dada, I have to leave the room. That's how this photo happened:

Yes, he was singing Red Solo Cup. It's not entirely appropriate for your wee little ears, but he changed the lyrics around a little. Red Solo Cup, I build you up, Baby knocks you down. I really should have recorded it!

Love you to the moon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's been one week (since you looked at me)

Because a little Barenaked Ladies never hurt!

It's been one week since I posted about my problem with Stuff and Things. I wanted to accomplish the following:
  • I'm going to leave my office desk tidy every night. 
  • I'm going to pick out clothes for me and C, and pack lunches and diaper bags the night before.
  • I'm going to continue to strive to have a clean sink before bed.
  • I'm going to cook one weekday meal on the weekend.
I have succeeded! Wahoo! I'm creating a new night-time routine that has worked for the last seven nights, and I'm so pleased about it. I'm a little bit surprised by how free I feel, given that I am working with 'more' restrictions. It means that I don't go to bed quite as early, and I may even be a few minutes late leaving the office, but it's less to worry about in the morning. That is always a good thing.

In the next seven days, in addition to continuing to make a habit out of the earlier goals, I'm going to:

  • Put clean clothes away with 24 36 hours of washing (must. be. realistic.). 
  • Make a donate box and put something in it every day.
  • Gather up things that belong to our friends and return them.
  • Put the pot lid organizer we bought 2 months ago to use.

This is going so well that I feel inspired to make this Year of Less thing a weekly feature. So, join me as I try to simplify a little!

PS. This whole thing started because two weeks ago, I cleared the books out of the stereo stand that we use for an entertainment unit. Someone was beginning to pull them out and eat them... So, I boxed up the ones I want to keep:
And in their place is a diaper box that makes a mighty fine toy box (and toy, itself!).