Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lizzie at Two

Dear Lizzie (at two),
Another year older!  I am so, so, so happy to have you in our lives!  I want to tell you what you have been up to this year! 
During this year you learned to talk and talking is something you love to do.  Your first word was “uh – oh.”  You came out and said it while Anna and I were trying to teach you the word.  It was very exciting for us.  You were around 14 months old when you learned how to say it.   You learned to walk and run!  You took your first steps the day before you turned 15 months.   You walked in the most interesting way, I was standing in the kitchen, and you just took 5 or 6 steps and walked into the room.  You seemed very confident. 
You are not naturally fearful, which is such a huge blessing (but it can also lead to problems unless you are careful).  You constantly explore things and places without caring if anyone is right by you.  You have never been afraid of animals at all.  You like to go up to even Labradors even though they are bigger than you.  You like petting sheep and pretty much all animals and are just not afraid.  When you go new places, where I am going to leave you, or with a babysitter, the first time you may cry a bit but you are always able to enjoy the time you have with them.  I took you to Nursery at Church and I think I stayed for a bit the first 2 weeks.  The third week you turned around gave me a kiss and headed on your way.  Basically saying “Hey mom, I’ve got this.”  Your very easy going way about learning new things and exploring will be such an amazing gift if you can hold onto it as you grow older.  You are now fully potty trained and wear pants at night.  You still have accidents every once in a while but most of the time you don’t have any problems.  Even when we went to the seaside a few weeks ago 2 hour car ride each way plus time on the beach and walking around the town, you said you needed a potty but held it for ½ hour!  Way to go!  You love to go and get your own snacks from the fridge.  You are starting to get really great at closing the fridge door too!  You are independent at getting to sleep.  All I do is read you 2 stories and tuck you in and you look at books until you fall asleep.  Well, that is what you have done for a long time.  Truth be told in the past few weeks you have learned how to open your bedroom door, which you are super excited about, so now you look at books sometimes for ½ and hour and I totally think you are asleep then you come out of your room with a big grin on your face showing how proud you are that you can open your door.  Which by the way is Super cute, but also needs to stop.  Your independence is definitely growing.  However, you really scared me the other a few weeks ago by running into the busy road but we are so thankful that you are safe and are thankful to the guardian angels that helped protect you.  To be honest it is just another manifestation of your adventurous personality.
 You are a huge goof ball!  You make the funniest jokes and are so silly.  When we are out and you see birds you want to “tickle birdie” and “let’s get him!”  At night right before bed almost as a ritual you become super goof and start running around and twirling.  You are the only person I have ever seen do ring around the roses all alone.  We like to play the hungry mommy game where I will say I am hungry and that you look like a (this is when you say, um, um, cheese) and then I nibble you.  Sometimes you do something you know you shouldn’t do on purpose and then you say “time out” and you go take a time out.    
You are also very creative.  You love to color and when I ask what you have drawn you will say “sheep” or “butterfly.”  When you are doing a project you are proud of you will hold it up to me and say “like it,  mommy, like  it” so that I will tell you how well you did.  At first I was confused when you said this because the way you pronounces things makes it sound as though you are saying “lick it, mommy, lick it” which I am not okay with because I don’t really like to lick paint or crayons.  When we go on walks in the woods near our houses you often will see a log and say “crocodile, snap (clapping your hands as you say it)!”  You see those crocodiles in a lot of places.  To be honest, I don’t ever remember teaching you about crocodiles.    You love to sing, so , so much!  You learn songs very quickly and don’t always know all the words.  You don’t let that stop you, you just make them up as you go.  For instance “see saw, Macaroni and cheese” as opposed to “see saw Marjory Daw.”
You have a great memory!  Last week when we took daddy to the train station to go to a training class in London, you said “Daddy School.”  When Daddy used to go to America for school we always brought him to the train station and picked him up but that hasn’t happened in several months! 
You love learning.  When we get a chance to read you can do it for an hour, sometimes more.  We read stories every night for bedtime, but when we read during the day, I pretty much get piled in books.  You know how to sing your ABC’s and can recognize them when I sign them.  You love to count although you don’t really understand what it means when you are counting things, it does not stop you from counting.  You love to identify things by their colors.  You like to say “blue truck” “red car” etc.  It doesn’t bother you that you don’t actually understand colors yet – or sometimes even the item you are mentioning, but you say it very authoritatively.  For instance if you point at something and say “blue truck” I may respond and say, “Actually that is a white car,” sometimes you will respond by saying “no.”
Socially you get along pretty well with other people and kids (so long as no one is forcing you to do something you don’t want to, you can definitely stand up for yourself).  I love to listen to you and Anna playing kindly together and it happens quite often, don’t get me wrong you have your moments, more often than not you seem to have a good time.  When you play with Anna you often follow her lead and you do pretend things very well.  When you are around other kids your own age, you usually just run around and chase one another.  For instance, when we pick Anna up at school everyday, there is another little girl about your age.  You guys seem to play the “how fast can we get our mommy’s to run” game.  You take turns trying to open different doors and gates.  You definitely have fun.  At church you have a great time playing with the other children and I have watched you play extremely well together for long periods of time and you are very good at helping them make a mess.  You are also good at helping to clean up, most of the time. 
You are at a fun stage of development when words are not always pronounced so clearly.  On the whole you are very clear and easy to understand for a lot of people, there are some words that are not quite there yet.  Our favorites are “quibop” – clean up, “kepup” – ketchup, “blinkenz” – blanket  and “tlabet” – tablet.  You also don’t  always understand what we mean when we try to get you to repeat things like if we are hiding and say “when you see Anna we are going to say Boo” you will jump out when you see her and whisper “boo” – the right action but kind of missing one element of surprise.  When you say prayers you, which you have started to do, you whisper them super softly and end by loudly saying “AMEN.”
We sure do love you so much.  You definitely add so much to our lives and we are so thankful for you.  We love how you give us cuddles, how you tell us you love us and how you love always being near us.  You are wonderful! 
Mommy and Daddy


Lizzie Today

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Half term holidays fun!

  This past week was Anna's "half term holidays."  Half term is a week children get off from school when you guessed it they are halfway through the term.  School is pretty much year round although they do get "summer Holidays" for the month of August and sometimes the last week of July.  I love half term holidays because they are a great break for Anna and a lot of fun times to spend together.  Drew took Friday off from work and we ventured to Knowsley Safari (nice name).  We saw all kinds of cool things there.  It was about 2 hours from our house and we ended up getting a membership.  We are planning on going back during the Easter holiday break!

                                             A Rhea greeted us on arrival!
No shyness here
Add caption
                                          Anna and Lizzie pictured with their baboon friends!
Our favorite by far were the baboons!  They were all over our car. 
Anna was allowed to help drive for a while
a gift from the baboons!

a friendly camel blocked our way

Elephants were Anna's favorite!

Anna liked the peacock although it did make her nervous

we all rode the carousel

Anna rode on the mini pirate ship it was fun
Bonus we got some hot chocolate because it was SO cold!

Awesome ice cream at Tr afford Center where we stopped for dinner on the way home

Lizzie and I got ice cream as well ours were a bit smaller, here we are doing our daily cheer for treats!

the random singing bears that captured Lizzie's attention in Trafford Center in Manchester

On Saturday we decided to try our hand at making cheese as we went to the cheese museum with Stephanie and the twins.  Here is the process in action!
adding some rennet

getting the thermometer ready

stretching the cheese

putting our mozzarella balls in water to cool

Anna made the caprese salad

our finished product

we made pizza on Sunday night to use the remainder of our mozerrella

Lizzie put all of the dough she helped kneed in her mouth, it was a lot!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures and travels from Christmastime and beyond

We had a lovely trip to America for Christmas.  We went to Maryland and were able to stay with my family and meet my new baby nieces!  We went to the National Children's Museum which only just reopened after 4 years of being closed.  Although it was not what I longed for from days gone by they still had some nice exhibits and my girls and their cousins seemed to enjoy themselves.  Here are some pictures of the fun things we did in Maryland.

Eating an orange on the train to London

arriving in style

our unfortunate zipper breaks before our flight, thanks moby wrap!
waiting for our flight

After an airplane trip straight to the visitor center

wasted but insisted on going to see Tasha, and Pearla, and Grandma perform!

Tasha rocking the piano

a nice bath with the cousins to relax

next day we headed down to visit Grandma Betty
Great Weather for playing outside
our fun car ride to the national harbor

Christmas Eve at the National Children's Museum

a bonus train ride!

a Christmas Eve bell ringing ceremony with a new dress and hair courtesy of Aunt Denise

Stockings hung, cookies out, and bench moved to prepare for Santa

a "few" presents.  To be fair it is for 14 people

Opening gifts

a Christmas trip to the park

a quick stop for Treats Thanks Aunt Steph!

fun at the park

cuddle up and watch Brave

just playing around

Santa's gift cards to Build a bear, Lizzie made Woofy, seen here, who she sleeps with every night. 

Huge tape drive machine at National Cryptologic Museum 

famous computer turned seat

Plane near Museum 
Lunch with former coworker and friend, Robin

Date night to Les Mis and Sushi!

cuddle up to watch Brave again!

Daddy date to King Crab Legs!

A visit with Tasha

All the cousins!

Next adventure was we traveled back to England and brought my sister and my new baby nieces with us.  We took a road trip to Scotland and stayed a night in New Castle.  We went to a great place called Center Parcs which is a only what I can best describe as a cruise on land, in the woods.  Loads of cabins sad a village center with a wonderful water park, a lake, and loads of things to do.  Here are some pictures from our adventures there!

Tea, scones, and beans on toast

Our hotel in Scotland with hair that was blow dried!

Edinburgh Castle

Bus tour around Edinburgh, Kendyl is having a blast!

Light up fountain outside of Alnick Castle 

What happens in a hotel when you bring you  turn around for a second.

Pool in our New Castle Hotel

Drying Off

Vindolanda, Hadrian's Wall
A nice View at Vindolanda

Waiting for Fish and Chips at the Magpie in Whitby

Kendyl showing off her climbing skills at Brimham Rocks

Lizzie showing her skills as well

Fun at the park, if not a bit crowded

Lizzie visiting Grandma Helen's penguin friends at Heartwood house

Lizzie is not so much afraid of animals

Aunt Steph and the babies on the bridge around the late at Harewood house

just holding hand with her cousin

Chinese Lantern!

Another bath time 
a Trip, a VERY VERY COLD trip to Fountains Abbey

Lunch at the Royal Oak in Dacre Banks
Wenesleydate Cheese Museum 
Our cabin at Center parcs

Fun at Center Parcs

Water slides!

more slides!

Happy Girls

Lazy river

Outside in the pool, in the snow!

Anna's Balance bike class

As you can see it was a super busy and amazingly fun adventure, but it is kind of nice to be back to normal everyday quiet life.  We have another adventure coming up in April as we travel back to America for Uncle Tim's wedding!  I wonder what that trip will bring =)