Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last weekend, Jeff, Charlotte and I joined a group of people from our church in making a series of three short movies to help promote the new Saturday night service our church will be adding in January. Jeff wrote and had a brief cameo in video one. Charlotte and I were among the talent for videos one through three. The films will be posted on the website for your viewing pleasure.

See them here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy 16-month birthday, Charlotte!

I listed some things you could say just a few days ago. I can now add to that list "I yuv you," which you can probably guess just melts my heart entirely. She'll say it to Jeff or I, usually after we say it first. She's a Rules kinda girl, I guess. Also, she's saying a few things that sound like "trick or treat" as we prepare her for the costumed festivities next week. Yesterday I coached her to say "trick or treat" and she responded with "turtle church," which I think is even better.

Some things Charlotte eats: carrots, peas, tomatoes, peaches, bananas (girlfriend ate two entire bananas today), thinly-sliced apple, grapes, cheese, ham (LOVES ham), other meat we call ham (like turkey meatballs and baked salmon, for example), smoothies (when I make my morning smoothie I always prepare extra to share), yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, crackers, mac and cheese (I healthy it up by mixing a puree of green veggies in), eggs.

She's not a huge fan of: pears (considers them fake peaches and throws them to the floor), green beans (unless I trick her by pureeing them and mixing with other things), potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, milk.
She loves to: go for walks, read books, play with her kitties and other stuffed animals, play with mama's necklaces, play in the leaves, listen to music and dance, take things out of "her" drawers in the kitchen, take baths, talk on her fake phone (almost always to "papa"), snuggle with her kitties in "a-bed," hug mama and dada, point out other babies, see and greet people, hear mama and dada sing to her (she's requested "happy birthday" several times today), sit on the potty (although not necessarily using it), see bugs and make bug sounds, take her clothes out of the drawers, play peek-a-boo, say "bye-bye, dada" or "bye-bye, mama" when one of us leaves, be tickled, laugh (often if you say the word "funny" Charlotte will laugh loudly).

She's not a fan of: closing her eyes and going to sleep at night, loud sudden noises, getting too close to unfamiliar people or strangers in giant animal costumes (which, really, who isn't?), naps (sensing a theme here), diaper changes, wardrobe changes.

She's wearing some 18-24 month clothing now, and although we don't have an official weight from the doctor, I'm guessing she's still hovering around 22-23 pounds. She usually goes to bed (not without a fight!) around 8:30 p.m. and wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. She's much better about napping these days, and almost always goes down for at least an hour (sometimes up to 2 hours) between 12-2 p.m. She is still nursing, but only once or twice a day and not for very long.
I look back at Charlotte one year ago--a chubby, floppy baby who still seemed like a relative mystery (what is she thinking? what does she want?)--and compare her to the bright, cheerful little girl (still a baby but glimpses of girlhood are clearer every day) of today. I love babies, but I would often mention that the baby-baby stage wasn't my favorite. I think that this age, right now, is my favorite. At least, so far it's my favorite. I hope to be saying the same thing about two and a half next October.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One year ago today, my cousin Amy and her husband John tied the knot. Happy anniversary, guys! I've been waiting for this day for quite some time, not just so I could wish you well, but so I could have an excuse to link to the video of the wedding dance on you tube:

What I love about this video is not just that it captures the fun we had doing this surprise dance, but that it sums up one of the things I really love about my cousin. Amy is a great planner, and having something so well-coordinated and thought out at her wedding is just par for the course. I like to think of this dance as the culmination of our years of fake music videos and commercials we cousins would put together.

Happy anniversary, John & Amy! Keep on dancin'.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Two years ago yesterday

I had a break between the morning class I taught and my Teaching College English pedagogy course, an hour window during which I walked up Court Street to the CVS pharmacy. It took me awhile to find the aisle I needed ("Eight, next to the contraceptives," the pharmacist replied when I asked, apparently not getting the irony). I bought the two-pack, because even in times of potential crisis I try to be the frugal Nederlander my husband wants me to be. The brand was First Response.

I walked back to Ellis Hall, went straight to the roomy handicapped stall in the ground-floor restroom, opened the package and awkwardly peed on one of the tiny sticks. There were people in the other stalls when I went in, but by the time I had counted to 180-mississippi, I was alone in the bathroom. Or, I thought I was alone. When I picked the test up from the top of the toilet paper dispenser where I had laid it down three minutes previously, I saw that I wasn't alone, and wouldn't be for the next nine months.

My life didn't change when I saw those two pink lines in the window of the pregnancy test. It didn't change when I got the small sheet of paper back from my blood test at Hudson Health just a few hours later, a sheet containing some medical gibberish I didn't understand, but one word, "positive," scrawled on the center of the sheet, that I immediately understood. It didn't change when I told Jeff that night on a bench overlooking the Hocking River that I was pregnant, that he was going to be a father.

The change happened gradually, coming on slowly over the following weeks and months. It's still happening now. I'm becoming someone new with every day I spend in the presence of this amazing little person, every day I get to spend with the man I married who became her father. This new person I'm becoming is like a better version of myself, closer to the me God sees when he looks at me.

Charlotte, thank you for being that little pink line, that unexpected news, that life-changing gift.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Here are some new things Charlotte says:

"shake a butt" -- this is a command statement. She wants to see me dance.

"halloween" and sometimes "happy halloween" -- thanks to Kristen who coached her while reading the Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin book to her.

"yellow yeeves" -- her obsession with autumn continues in her constant quest to play with and in the leaves, which she describes as yellow no matter what color they are.

"pile" -- again thanks to Kristen, who assembled a meager stack of about seven leaves and called it a "pile." Charlotte was impressed...but babies are easily impressed, I guess.

"pumpkin" -- this is usually followed by "hug," as Charlotte expresses her desire to embrace this vine-growing squash.

"hank ooo" -- baby-speak for thank you. Used when prompted, joining "peees" in Charlotte's lexicon of parentally influenced polite words she now employs.

"dada bath" -- Jeff takes a bath with Charlotte one time and now she always wants to bathe with him.

"more..." -- followed by almost any word Charlotte knows. More doggies? More kitties? More cuwull (squirrel)? More wawa? More ham? More cheese?

"bug" -- followed by "bizzzzzzzz" and "zip!"

"flowers" -- it's impossible to replicate the adorable way Charlotte says this word. She loves flowers. She'll sniff every single bud on my mum plant if given enough time, although her sniffs are exhales.

"puzzle" -- when she's playing with her animal puzzle from Nana and Papa Tig; sounds like "puddle"

"almost" -- when she's playing with her shape-sorter toy from Nana and Papa Deur and she almost gets a block through the appropriate hole; sounds like "ah-mohs."

"necklace" and "earrings" -- I don't wear jewelry alot, so when I do, Charlotte finds it worthy of commenting. Necklace sounds like "nekeeece" and earrings is "oi-ings."

According to my handy baby development chart, a fifteen-month-old "may say 5-10 words." Charlotte has a very extensive vocabulary for a child of her age. She learns a few new words almost every day. She repeats a lot of what Jeff and I say, making this the important stage in our parenting career where we start to say things like "gee willikers" and "fiddlesticks" instead of our normal string of expletives*.

I love that she's so verbal. She rarely cries or freaks out and I attribute that to her ability to communicate her desires to us. It is a wonderful gift.

*Just kidding! We never swear. Never, mom and dad.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Autumn in Athens

This past Monday the temperature topped out at 94 degrees. Thursday it didn't make 60. Fall is truly here...truly and suddenly. It happened so quickly that I was caught without a coat, wandering around campus in my three-quarter-sleeve shirt, teeth chattering.

Today was a little bit warmer, but still cool enough to warrant sweatshirts, plus a hat and a blanket for Charlotte, as we walked into town to watch the homecoming parade. To be completely accurate, we sprinted into town as the parade started at 9 a.m., and we all woke up sometime between 8:45 and 9:15 a.m. Fortunately we managed to beat the band (literally! Ha!) and saw the whole parade. We even ran ahead again so we could see the Marching 110 for a second, fabulous time.

Charlotte loves the marching band. She loved the floats (and may I just say that Pella's fabulous volksparade has obviously spoiled me for other parades; the floats are inevitable disappointing to someone who was weaned on Vermeer and Pella Corp.'s amazing offerings). She loved all the people. She especially loved the people who had doggies.

We took the opportunity for a little family photo shoot after the parade on a leaf-covered hillside. Charlotte played in the leaves (yeeves, she calls them) and shrieked "people! people!" as the crowds dispersed. It was a beautiful day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Right now Jeff is on the phone with a customer representative from some energy drink company. He called to let them know about a spelling error in their nutritional facts.

When did my husband become a curmudgeonly old man? "Why don't you kids get your stuff off my lawn!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warning: Poop Post Ahead

Well, the big news around these parts is that Charlotte pooped in the potty last night. Or "hatched a turtle" if you will.

It was a half-hour long ordeal of Charlotte wandering naked around the bathroom and hallway farting and saying "p.u." while I encouraged her to "make a turtle in the potty!" When she'd wander close enough to me I'd nab her and set her on the potty and give her some good pooping grunts of encouragement. She'd imitate me, laugh, and then get up again and wander out into the hallway to toot. At one point she peed on the bathmat.

Then the mood changed and I could tell she was serious about it. Her stomach clenched and she got that middle-distance stare. I plopped her on the potty and held her hand. In just a few seconds she was up again, but this time she left something behind.

When I drew her attention to the lovely deposit she had made, she appeared a little weirded out. But I heaped praise upon her, applauding and saying "yay! Poopy in the potty!" I felt like an idiot, but it worked. She was very excited about her achievement.

Jeff wasn't home, so I took a few pictures to share. I certainly wasn't going to leave the poop in the potty because GOOD GRIEF did it stink. That's what a steady diet of cheese, eggs and ham will do to you. I told Jeff to check out the pictures on the camera this morning, and he apparently shared them with Charlotte, too. Now she demands "more potty" whenever I use the camera, and I have to present to her the slide show of her fecal triumphs while she watches intently.

It's certainly not one of those Kodak moments I envisioned when I was pregnant, but it'll do.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sometimes I worry about having a daughter, a little girl who potentially will have to face all the crap regarding body image and size and weight and beauty standards that I did, but tenfold due to the even greater prevalence of media today. These two short films from Dove made me cry, because they encapsulate that.


A good morning starts off as this one did, with Charlotte sleeping until nearly 9 a.m., and, when she finally woke up, talking to herself cheerfully until I came to get her. The sounds of her sweet little voice over the baby monitor make mornings a treat. This morning, we heard:

"Kitty! Kitty!" followed by laughter. She sleeps with her little stuffed orange tiger kitty in the corner of her crib. She likes to give Kitty hugs in the morning.

"Girl! Hi, girl!" said to the picture of a girl on the little pillow in her crib. It's made from vintage alphabet fabric, and she likes to identify and greet the different objects represented on the pillow. She also said hi to the ball on the pillow this morning.

Then, a sing-song chorus of "Mama, Dada. Mama, Dada. Dada, Dada. Papa! Nana, Papa. Nana, Papa. Papa, Dada," and so forth.

When I went into her room, she stood up, still clutching Kitty, and said, "Mama! Mow-ning!"

I don't hate mornings anymore.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


It felt wrong to be wearing shorts and sweating at the pumpkin patch yesterday, but it was ninety degrees and it would have been wrong to costume ourselves in jeans and sweatshirts simply for the photo opportunities. Despite the steaming, sun-scorching heat, we had fun at the patch. Charlotte hugged the pumpkins, ran amok, and waved at everyone she saw. Even inanimate objects, like corn and balloons, warranted a greeting.

After our time at the patch we continued up to Columbus. Our friends Kurt and Kristen were along for the fall-themed fun, and we were meeting our friend Erin in German Village for eine gute Zeit (a good time). By the time the sun was low in the sky, it was much more comfortable. We hit up Katz's Deli, walked to the park, and had dinner at Schmidt's Sausage Haus. Charlotte enjoyed her genuine Deutsch mac and cheese, but even more so she enjoyed the Bavarian-styled oompah band who did great Donald Duck impressions. Don't ask.

All in all, a fine fall day, despite the Saharan temps.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feeling Better...

"If possible, a woman should nurse exclusively for at least one year, or, ideally, until the baby loses modern hunter-gatherer societies, nursing for three years is typical and four to six years is not unheard of. UNICEF and the World Health Organization advise breast-feeding for 'two years and beyond."

From Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It has been a rough few days for me, time-wise. I've been really busy grading student papers, which means little to no time for posting. I can't tell you, though, how many times throughout the day Charlotte says or does something funny or remarkable and I think "I have to blog about that." I'm exhausted tonight. I finally finished paper grading last night, and accordingly my body has sacked me with a cold. I will go to bed soon. But first a few of Charlotte's funnies, in random bullet-point style.

  • Yesterday she had a dirty diaper. Jeff was changing it. The turd was small, round, slightly flattened, greenish. Charlotte pointed to it and said "turtle?" Now she frequently wants us to check her "dipah" for a "turtle."
  • Not only is she using words to identify things, but she's telling stories now too (albeit in a very abbreviated style). Today Charlotte and I spent a half-hour chasing squirrels around the College Green. She loved to watch them run up the trees. On the walk home, she would occasionally tell me about it: "Cuwull! Up! Twee!" And then, inevitiably: "More! More cuwull!"
  • Jeff, Charlotte and I went to the OU football game on Saturday. Charlotte's favorite part of the game was the giant mascot, Rufus the Bobcat. She called him "big kitty." I have video of her talking about him that I'll try to post soon.
  • Jeff is encouraging flights of fancy and imagination. One of their favorite things to do while I'm at school is lay on the big bed and pretend they're under the night sky. Charlotte now calls the smoke detector "moom" (that's "moon" to the rest of us).

More soon, I hope!