Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A new Charlotte video. Apologies in advance for my singing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coming Soon to a YouTube Near You...

Our video camera has returned home, and Charlotte has been making with the cute quite a bit lately. I'll do my best to post some live Charlotte action...just as soon as I can finish grading these forty student papers!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fifteen Months

Yesterday was Charlotte's fifteen-month birthday. We celebrated with some time outdoors at Ash Cave with Grandpa and Grandma Tig, ending the day with a trip to Dairy Queen. Strangely, Charlotte was more interested in her carrots and bananas at home than the whipped topping and ice cream at the DQ. Is this child related to me? I don't believe it.

More to come, but here, at least, is a new picture to tide you over.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Briefly (no pun intended)

The smell from Charlotte's just-dirtied diaper could strip paint off the walls. Thank goodness Jeff loves diaper-changing time!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today is Jeff's and my seventh wedding anniversary. Here we are seven years ago today:

And here we are (about) seven years after that, getting ready to go out for a date (!) Friday night:

The past seven years have included some of the lowest lows of my life. I lost my Aunt Grace and my Grandpa Deur. I was fired from my very first job. I was rejected from several of the graduate programs to which I applied. Through each of these awful, stressful, mournful times Jeff proved what an amazing guy he was: supportive, thoughtful, listening and loving.

The past seven years have also included some the highest highs of my life. We took trips to the Smoky Mountians, the west coast, Ireland, and New York City, as well as random road trips around the midwest. We bought and sold our first house. We uprooted and moved to a new community and I started and finished my master's program. And, of course, the big one...we made this person:

Having a baby, and especially welcoming an unexpected baby, can, I think, be a real relationship litmus test. Charlotte proved that Jeff and I can work together under remarkable circumstances. After nearly fifteen months of parenting her, we've formed a parental team that makes me really proud. And that's probably the biggest achievement of our marriage.

Happy anniversary, Jeff!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Oma!

Today is my grandma Deur's 89th birthday! Perhaps because Charlotte is named after her, they have taken to each other quite well:

Here they are in August, 2006, when Charlotte was just two months old.

And here they are a year later, reading together.

Oma is also one of the people Charlotte can now reliably pick out in pictures. Any photo with Oma in it warrants an "Amaaah!" Closely followed by "bike," which is what Charlotte thinks Oma's walker is. :)

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's hard to describe the adorableness that Charlotte brings to the table these days. I could tell you how she's become a little parrot, repeating (or trying to repeat) things Jeff and I say. She'll often say "okay!" and "sure!" and "yeah!" with about the same intonation that I say these words. "Charlotte, let's go get ready for your bath, okay?" I'll say. "Okay!" she'll respond. And she tries out other words, too: peaches, cheese, bat, water, Olivia (the book), play, toys, shoes, shirt...the list of new words added to her lexicon grows almost daily. Of course, many of these words only Jeff and I understand. Requests for another reading of Olivia, her current favorite, come out sounding like "Yaya." Water is "wawa" and shirt sounds like a certain four-letter expletive.

That same expletive was also the way Charlotte had decided her first name was pronounced for a while. And since her pronunciation for our last name is still "caca," we were a bit concerned. Fortunately, she's now adopted "Char-char" as her moniker of choice.

And her mobility! It's amazing. She's walking, really walking, with confidence. She only appears a little bit drunk when she's strolling up and down the halls, which is quite an improvement over a few weeks ago. In fact, when I think about it, I can't remember the last time I saw her crawl. Walking is the way to go, Charlotte has decided.

But I think the best, and most indescribable, development is this crazy, kooky sense of humor she's developed. She makes jokes! Like pointing to a picture of a chicken wearing a chef's hat in a magazine and saying "dada." Then looking at me with a wry little grin, waiting for me to laugh. And when she laughs, she really gets into it--head back, eyes squinting, nose wrinkling, "ha ha ha!" I mean, it's not high comedy or anything, but when I think back to where we were a year ago, all diapers and sleep deprivation and spit-up, this kind of interaction is very rewarding.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A new post coming soon about my first week of school and Charlotte's general awesomeness. But for now I give you this: Tig Blob.

Yes, it's another blog. And it's totally boring, just to warn you in advance. I'm trying to get back in shape, and I write about really mind-numbingly dull stuff like what I eat and how far I run. But if you find that interesting and want to check it out, there you go. Or, perhaps you want to place bets on how long until I quit (seriously, people. I'm running! If you know me and my history with running, you'll realize how ludicrous that is).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Noise Toys

Just now, Jeff was getting ready to take out the kitchen trash. As he removed the can from under the sink (that's where the Dutch keep their kitchen garbage, you know), the edge hit the cabinet. Suddenly we both heard the tinny melodic chimes of one of Charlotte's electronic toys.

Upon further examination, it appears Miss C threw her new cell phone toy away. I had noticed her subversively opening the cabinets while I was making her dinner earlier tonight...hmm. I guess it's time to get those child-proof latches up.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Potty Time!

Now, I realize this may totally be a fluke, a one-time thing, but it's exciting nonetheless.

Charlotte's been showing an interest in the toilet and what the adult members of her family do on the toilet. Early on I encouraged her to consider a relationship between herself and said bathroom appliance. "Big girls go pee-pee on the potty!" I would say encouragingly while she watched me do just that, transfixed. Soon she showed an interest in helping me flush, shutting the lid, and washing her hands along with me after the task was completed.

Earlier this week I picked up a training potty on a whim. I thought we'd set it up next to the big toilet and give her some time to get used to it. Perhaps even encourage her to sit on it, if for nothing else but to keep her from hanging all over me while I use the bathroom.

She was nearly ecstatic when she saw what we had gotten for her. "Look, Charlotte's potty!" I said. She caught on immediately: "Pahhh-tay! Pahtay!" We let her sit on it, diaperless and fancy free, a few times.

Then, today, as she sat next to me, poking me in the thigh and giggling, I heard the telltale sound of...pee-pee! In the potty! From Charlotte! She seemed to know what she'd done, too. I heaped praise upon her, clapping and saying "Yay! Potty!" Then we got Jeff to share the joy with dada. That was a moment I think will be captured in my memory forever: the little tableau of our family, crouching on the bathroom floor and pointing at plastic bowl full of my daughter's urine, cheering and clapping.