Sunday, December 28, 2008

Awed by The Christmas Tree

Now that Christmas is over Charlotte has started to notice the Christmas Tree, perfect timing baby!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Charlotte's Christmas

Very late tonight we got a chance to have Charlotte open her gifts from Santa, her Auntie Rosie and Uncle Tony and Auntie Elena. After such a long day we really expected her to fall sound asleep but guess what? Apparently the ride home was all the NAP she needed because she was so awake once we got home (maybe 10pm) we decided to let her go ahead an open her gifts. She had a blast and lasted ALMOST until the last gift. We’ll save that one for tomorrow when Wayne gets home from work. She had fun opening her gifts and was just amazed by the soft hippo chair from Tony & Elena. She just wanted to touch the feet and rub her face on its belly. We especially appreciate the Leap Frog Fridge toy from Rosie the music and animal sounds will be a perfect learning distraction while we fix dinner and load the dishwasher. Than you all for your generous gifts! Otherwise she receive a ladybug ride on toy, pop up music toy, Disney DVDs, “real-ish” key set and a few other fun, colorful LOUD toys from Santa – what was he thinking?!?

We so enjoyed Charlotte’s enthusiasm. As excited as she was, I think Wayne and I were more so, watching her amazement when a toy would “talk” back to her or fit into another toy. She is so much fun – Happy First Christmas baby! We love you so much and nothing compares to the gift of you!

Crotty After Christmas Party

Our last Christmas gathering of the year was the annual Christmas with the Crotty’s. They have been throwing an “after” Christmas party for so many years it is hard to remember when Jen started them. Although I do remember attending a few times when it was Jen, Carrie and Sancha at the Delaney house – and I was still in high school – more than twelve years ago…ugh! Back then it was all about what you were drinking and how much more you could get your hands on - oh the good ole' days!

Anyway, these days the parties are a little smaller, include little kiddos and things are just a bit more laid back. Just the way I like it now! For the last few years it’s been hard for Wayne and I to attend with him usually working Christmas overnights. Even as tired as we were tonight, we wanted to at least stop by and see friends we just don’t get to see enough! Tonight was filled with most of us lounging on the couches in Jen and Eric’s great house with wine in hand catching up or reminiscing. Some of the guys were talking MMA training or playing poker, the kids were in an out of their bedrooms playing video games with friends, watching a movie or asking for more toffee. Charlotte was adamant that she needed whoever was neglecting their glass of wine or camera for more than three seconds. She spent much of the time cruising around the coffee table in search of the next unsuspecting adult.

We were lucky enough to visit with Carrie and Jason who were in from California to spend Christmas with family and friends. Wayne and I missed attending their wedding over the summer, just too soon after Charlotte was born to travel. So, it was great to see them and ask all those pesky newlywed questions. Charlotte charmed the heck out of them and I think they were surprised that MY kid was so laid back. I keep having to remind people how laid back her father is and how LUCKY I am that so far she is her father’s daughter!

Anyway, as always time was too short and we too tired after such a long day to stay as long as we would have liked. We love you all – Happy Christmas!

Christmas Dinner

After our naps, sorry to the “boys” (our cats) and “girls” (our dogs), we didn’t have the energy to let you open your stockings; we headed over to my Dad’s house for Christmas Dinner. And, oh my God we were on time for this too – MUST be Christmas!

Anyway because we were on time we were able to visit more with my Kate, Dad and Leigh for a little while – Pat had to go to his Dads house. This was especially nice because when the house fills up for family events it gets really chaotic and you hardly ever get to finish a thought. As the gang piled in we totaled 11 adults and 4 children. Thanks to my Dad and Leigh we had a WONDERFUL dinner especially the roast beast and potatoes casserole. My mom also contributed her famous refrigerator rolls and we decimated the TWO HUGE pans she provided. Wayne says “The rolls were awesome and we should have taken more home with us.” I swear he married me to get constant access to my moms baking. Otherwise it was just a fun, if loud, time to visit with each other and watch the kids try to tear the house down!

I really treasure this time with my family – even if I never finish any of the conversations or ever get to ask that “one” question – we are together and you can’t ever spend enough time in the company of people you love!

Brennan Christmas

This morning (oh my God, we were on time!) Wayne, Charlotte and I joined my family for present opening at my sister’s house. It was a crazy morning because Charlotte woke up with a fever and instead of opening her gifts we spent the time dosing her with meds and trying to get her in a better mood. Once we got to my sisters we had a FULL House - In attendance: My brother in law (recovering from surgery two days before with his shoulder in a sling), sister Sancha, nephews Jacob and Brennan, my mom, dad, step-mom, and step brother and sister…I think that’s it! We enjoyed a yummy breakfast and lots of mimosas before crowding around the tree to dive into the gifts. Everyone was so generous this year and I have to say my favorite gifts are the gift certificate to Jo Ann’s for all things crafty from my sister Kate and a digital photo frame from my Dad and Leigh. Jacob, at almost three, was the life of the party – he actually started opening gifts when the adults were in the other room making mimosas – little rascal! He was so exuberant and just infectious in his excitement.

My Dad, being a jokester, gave me a really neat knitted ear of corn finger puppet – wait for the background! My family always jokes that for big gatherings “Erin will bring the corn” as in all I knows how to do is open a can of corn and so that’s all I can contribute. This is SO not true it makes you wonder how the joke got started – I really can cook – ask Wayne! I submit to you the walnut and pecan pies I made last year or the cauliflower and broccoli casserole, no one got sick that I know of…anyway my Dad gave a really funny and (sorta) nice speech about how I have “moved on” to bigger things and thought I should have the corn as a memento. My Dad IS crazy in case you were wondering and not sure if you could politely ask me about his mental health!

The funny thing about Jake today is that earlier that morning Jake, being super hero crazed, opened Spiderman pajamas from his parents and promptly wanted to put them on – forget Christmas pajamas! Being family we got him a mixture of clothes and toys and every time he opened clothes he started asking his parents, really pleading with them, that he would not have to take off his Spiderman pajamas – it was SO cute. The biggest hits for the boys were the cowboy outfits from Grandma and replica car from Granddad and GranLeigh. All the kids posed in the car and I can tell Jake is going to have his hands full keeping his little brother out of the driver’s seat.

Charlotte was not as involved in the gift opening this morning not sure if it was all the excitement, she tends to be a people watcher, or if it was because she was not feeling well. Either way she did really enjoy herself and came away with so many great books and clothes. Again, this child will be so well dressed. My brother Cameron sent her a neat ride on toy that is a little advanced so we’ll wait for her to start walking before we try that one. My Dad and Leigh gave her an awesome Radio Flyer wagon, it’s an all terrain wooden wagon with metal gates – we can’t wait to pile her in with picnic gear sometime soon. My mom gave Charlotte a fabric The Night Before Christmas that (I look forward to using for years to come as a family tradition every Christmas Eve) and a Bee Band set – all the kids were into that immediately and having so much fun. Grandma Prince and Nonie and Papa also sent adorable things for Charlotte, how kind of them to think of her! We love you all!

I have to say that the morning was great, we’re stuffed, a little tipsy, exhausted and Charlotte - totally spoiled! Now that we are home, everyone needs a nap but Charlotte just wants to play with her stuffed penguin and lamb from Aunt Sancha, Uncle Erik and Grandma! Thanks everybody for a great Christmas!

Here is a video of how excited Charlotte was when opening her gift from uncle Cameron!

Charlotte At 10 Months

Charlotte Morgan Chambers At 10 Months Old

* Nick Name: Charlotte Bunny

* Eye Color: Grayish Hazel

* Words She Can Say:
Really Da-Da is the only real thing she says and although she has been saying that for a few months it’s becoming less and less indiscriminate. She does say Ma-Ma on occasion but generally refers to Wayne or Erin as Da-Da. If you sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat to her and pause most of the time she will sing Row, Row, Row back to you! It’s really neat!

* Favorite Song: She likes any kind of music and shakes her head to “dance”; now we sometimes get a bum shake too! With all of her new music toys she is in seventh heaven and tries to get them all going at once. She loves for anyone to sing to her, especially Grandma who knows a lot of neat songs.

* Favorite Game: “I’m Gonna Get You” which is our version of warning her that the tickle fest is about to begin. She also likes to be the one to “get you” so with help from one of us we say “Charlotte let’s get Daddy” and she gets a big smile and holds her hands out.

* Firsts This Month: Pulling up on things and then letting go for a few seconds before she either grabs a hold again or falls down. Even though she cannot walk yet, she is climbing all over everything especially if it means she can get her hands on a remote of flip flops. She is also (maybe it’s actually been going on for awhile) feeding herself cheerios, yogurt melts, mum mum crackers and puffs. Charlotte has started to make this scrunched up face, with her lips pursed that is really so sour its funny. We can’t figure out what it’s about because she seems to do it all the time – happy or sad. She has also started throwing her hands out when she “talks” like she is gesturing for emphasis. Kinda seems like she is lecturing us (especially when she points her finger).

* Smiles When: You tickle her, she is happy, or on the spot if she sees Mommy, Daddy, Nanny or Grandma.

* Health: Unfortunately, Charlotte has been sick for the last week or so with two ear infections, a cold and what we think was Roseola – all over Christmas! Poor little thing. She is on antibiotics so the whole things should be clearing up for her follow up doctor’s appointment next week. Thanks to the unplanned diagnostic doctors visit we know that she weighs exactly twenty pounds.

* Favorite Activity: Still eating expensive electronics, paper, Wayne’s glasses, and flip flops. She also likes to play with her toys especially the ones that make noise.

* Size Clothing: Charlotte is just moving into the eighteen month size clothes. As per usual with Charlotte we find that the torso length is a better fit in the next size up but the waist is still too small. We spend a lot of time pulling or rolling up the waist in her pants.

* Sleep Schedule: We can tell that Charlotte is in a transitional stage or is it teething? Either way she changes her “schedule” for naps everyday…luckily the overnights are still solid. She is starting to stay up a little later but stays asleep once we put her down. Luckily she wakes up happy – rarely cries right off – and will play in her crib for at least an hour before she decides it’s time to get out of her wet diaper!

* Doesn’t Like: To be “stuck” anywhere that keeps her from exploring. We continue to see more signs of her getting upset when you take a toy away from her or don’t let her go somewhere she wants to be – aka block her from trying to eat our shoes. What DOES she see in flip flops? She starts to whine and will flap her arms – the funny thing is that she doesn’t do this right away. After about the fifth time of taking something away, telling her not or blocking her attempts to escape THEN she gets upset. She is a very determined little girl…wonder who she gets that from!

* Cries When: She is tired, hungry, wants her ducky, or wants whatever you don’t want her to have.

* Must Have Travel Item: Duck lovie blanket

* Eating: Mostly stage three baby foods. She is up to three “solid food” meals a day (usually one and a half jars each meal). She also eats quite a lot of table food that we either mash or run through the Cuisinart. We have tried finger foods too like corn and beans which she likes. However the fruit finger foods are still too slimy and she just throws her hands up and gives you this look like you are trying to poison her. It’s so funny. Charlotte is starting to lose interest in her formula, down to about three eight ounce bottles each day, which we have to encourage her to eat. At least she has mastered holding her bottle and feeding herself! However, if you just give it to her and walk away she will get distracted and “forget” to finish eating.

Happy 10 Month Birthday Charlotte

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chambers Christmas Eve

Tonight was our annual Chambers Christmas with Wayne’s Mom, sister Gwen and Kelvin. We all gathered at Gwen’s house for a VERY yummy dinner and then (finally – the suspense kills you when you have to be all “adult” and eat before gifts) gift opening. The star of the show was Charlotte in her Christmas pajamas, of course. It was funny that when Wayne’s mom got to the house she spent like five minutes visiting with Charlotte before she even acknowledged our greetings – guess we know where we stand! :)

Well, as you can guess, Charlotte’s Nanny and Auntie Gwen spoiled her like crazy. She received so many neat things including a cool push/ride on toy; turtle shape sorter and even her very first purse complete with zipper sound effects! She did a great job opening the gifts and let us pile bows all over her. I think the most we got to stick at one time was five – maybe if she had more hair we’d have had more luck?!? Mostly fun just for me (don’t think Wayne or Charlotte “get” it) were all the adorable outfits she received. I tell you she has got to be the best dressed little girl thanks in large part to their generosity. Wayne and I also received many great things too – I am especially happy with my Vera Bradley make up case and Muppets Season Three DVDs. Wayne was really happy to get some of the (MANY) DVDs he asked for and much needed clothes, particularly a grey polo shirt he received from his sister. Anyway the whole night, Charlotte’s First Christmas, was so memorable. Thank you Sonia, Gwen and Kelvin for such an amazing and generous Christmas and yummy dinner!!!!

Once we got home and got Charlotte to sleep Wayne and I decided to open our stocking and gifts to each other. It was so nice to just spend time together just the two of us, kinda celebrating each other. Wayne seemed most happy with the special edition 007 DVD’s and a photo book I had made from Charlotte to her Daddy. I LOVE my new craft tool, the Sizzix Big Shot, everyone needs to be warned I have a heavy duty die cutter and I am not afraid to use it! Yippee!

Here is a video of Charlotte opening gifts at Auntie Gwen's house. Even with Daddy's help you can see she has skills!

Christmas with “Uncle” Kevin

Tonight Charlotte received a special visit from “Uncle” Kevin who came by the house baring gifts for our little elf. With Kevin’s coaching, she did a really good job of opening her presents and even accidentally opened one that was not even for her!!! She is now the recipient of a cool pink ride on pony – leave it to Kevin – and two warm jackets. How thoughtful of him to think of her and be the one to actually get her a pony, every little girls secret wish! Although the visit was quick, Wayne and I had a great time watching Charlotte and Kevin open gifts and interact, Charlotte is just taken with her “Uncle” Kevin. Can’t say it enough, it was VERY thoughtful for him to think of Charlotte and we feel immensely lucky to have such a great person in our lives. Thanks again Kevin!

TBLF Annual Christmas Eve Breakfast

This morning Charlotte and I went to The Brennan Law Firm’s annual Christmas Eve Past/Present Employee Breakfast. I always have so much fun going to this – not only because I get to hang out with most of my family but because I also get to visit with some of the “old timers” like myself. This year Peggy, my business mentor, was able to come and we had a lot of fun visiting – although there NEVER seems to be enough time! The highlight this year was that my brother in law, Erik, was able to attend after having major shoulder surgery just the night before – that tells you how much fun the breakfast is! After a very yummy breakfast Sancha broke out the annual Christmas quiz. She creates a quiz for the attendees and the winner and looser get great prizes. It’s always fun to do the quiz because everyone takes it very seriously and really tries all month long to get Sancha to slip the “subject” of the test. This year she based the questions on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – awesome, it’s my favorite Christmas cartoon right in front of “The Year Without Santa Claus. This year I tied with my Dad, who graciously let me take home the prize!!! I think the bonus question about the names of the trees in the Whispering Winds …Pete Pine anyone? This kind of useless information is what really helped me out this year! I guess it’s only fair to admit that I watch all sorts of Christmas DVDs starting December 1st each year – it’s kind of a sickness and sometimes gives me an edge on the annual quiz!

Anyway, I have included a picture of the shirt Charlotte wore to the breakfast. It says “Oh Come Let Us Adore Me” and was a gift from my Dad last Christmas, exactly two months before Charlotte was born! I love it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas With The Krafts

Tonight Charlotte was visited by two elves, “Uncle” Justin and “Aunt” Holly came by to deliver Christmas cheer. After sharing a yummy dinner at Tijuana Flats – Wayne and I could eat there every day – the five of us came back to the house to test Charlotte’s present opening skills – she did pretty well. Justin and Holly kindly gave her a Curious George stuffed animal and Baby Leap learning system for Christmas. Charlotte, unlike her parents, has not yet discovered the joys of TV so it may be some time before she gets the “whole picture”, pun intended, with the learning center. In the meantime Wayne and I are excited to see all the cool things it can do, we’ll just consider it our parental duty to do “research” until she is ready to jump in herself. The BIG hit for Charlotte was George who immediately got a BIG kiss, aka she tried to eat his face, and snuggle. Thank you guys SO much for including Charlotte you are so thoughtful and we really appreciate it!
Justin & Holly stayed to hang out with Wayne while I did “one last thing” for my Christmas shopping list. I understand they had a great time while I was out and Justin played a marathon version of “peek-a-boo” with Charlotte to her delight.

Play Date with Gabriella

Today Sonya and I planned to get together with the girls for lunch but I am STILL sick and was just not feeling up “going out” so the girls came by the office for a play date! They also brought the most thoughtful Christmas gift for Charlotte, stationary imprinted with her name! What a great idea – we are so lucky to have such thoughtful friends. Anyway, we had a lot of fun watching the Gabriella and Charlotte tool around the office and share toys. It was a nice, if quick, visit too and thanks again girls for the beautiful and thoughtful gift!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Annual "Nerd Christmas' Dinner

Tonight we hosted the annual Nerd Christmas gathering at our house. This is a long standing tradition (has it been 9 year or more?) where Wayne and his friends get together for a dinner and gift exchange. It’s evolved over the years and many friends have come and gone but it now includes wives and girlfriends and geez one little baby – Charlotte. This year it was WAY past our turn to host and so we invited the gang over to have some ziti, Greek salad, fried ravioli, garlic bread, fresh mozzarella and chocolate pie! I really enjoyed being able to cook for everyone and also use my Fiestaware. I planned to set a red and green table but realized that out of my 200+ pieces I only have maybe three pieces of red Fiestaware. So, instead I set a green, lime green and turquoise table! It was actually very festive in a modern sorta way!

Over dinner and dessert we had a great time visiting with each other and hearing from the guys about the horrors of retail work during the holidays. As a matter of fact Doug, who I missed getting a photo of, had to leave early to work the overnights at his store! Ugh! As usual Charlotte was a huge source of entertainment whether she was “talking” to everyone or arm flailing, making funny faces or laughing her head off – she was the life of the party!

We really enjoyed having everyone over and special thanks go to Wayne to picked up the slack right before the party so that I could take a nap, Marcie for watching Charlotte this afternoon, Doug & Brittany for sharing a great bottle of wine and finally Marcie and Ryan for the adorable outfit and Blues Clues DVD for Charlotte. We hear that “Uncle” Kevin is going to make a special Santa trip to see Charlotte on Christmas – can’t wait for that!

We are really lucky to have such good friends who are great company too!

I Am So Sick...

Fist off I have to say a HUGE thank you to Marcie for coming over this afternoon to sit with Charlotte so that I could go to the walk in clinic. In the last 24 hours I have developed a hugely sore throat and body aches that have just scattered my “plans” to prepare for our dinner tonight. I could tell this was not a run of the mill cold and the nurse confirmed that I have fluid behind my ears (am I typing loud) and a viral infection she initially thought was strep throat. After a VERY nasty test she ruled out strep - the UPSIDE of not having strep - is that there is not a lot they can do to cure a viral infection. Apparently I just have to wait it out and in her words “it will probably get worse before it gets better”. She sent me home with a lot of over the counter meds and advice to rest – sure, I‘ll try!

Anyway, there is no way I would have been able to get checked out without Marcie’s help. How many people would just drop what they were doing to watch a sick child in the middle of the busy holiday season. Thanks again M!

Ps - I decided to spare you and NOT include pictures with this post!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Thanks to everyone for sharing your Christmas cards with us and thus becoming part of our holiday decorations again this year! We got lucky with Charlotte who is not really all that impressed with the tree so, we were able to decorate right down to the bottom branches!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poor Charlotte Is Sick

Poor little Charlotte is sick with a cold and two ear infections. I took her to the pediatrician today because she slept so poorly last night and was acting especially clingy today. Lo and behold the poor thing is very sick. The nurse weighted her and just a few days shy of her ten month birthday she weighs in at twenty pounds even! She is on antibiotic for the next ten days to treat her ear infections and then we will take her back for a check of those ears. I just hope she is feeling better by Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

TBLF Christmas Party

Tonight Charlotte and I attended the annual, Brennan Law Firm Christmas Party. We had a great time visiting with everyone and as it turns out Charlotte was plucked from my arms to make the rounds with another guest. I was able to carry my nephew, Brennan, around and introduce him to the party goers. That was a special treat because most of the time I have had to spend with Brennan I have also had Charlotte to look after, thus divided attention. I always have so much fun at these parties seeing longtime friends and joining in the revelry. The office was decorated so beautifully and really helped get everyone in a festive mood. I was able to snap this picture of my sister, Sancha, and her son Brennan enjoying the company of some of her friends and clients. Can’t wait till next year’s party!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Charlotte's Meets Santa

Here is the picture of Charlotte meeting Santa for the first time!

Girls Afternoon Out & Meeting Santa

After afternoon naps Cyndi, Sonia and I decided to take the girls (Daisy, Gabriella and you know Charlotte) out to the Mall at Millenia to see Santa Claus, do a little shopping and eat dinner. The girls were just adorable as usual. They munched away on snacks, played with toy cars and chatted to everyone and anyone who would listen.

I was interested to see if the Santa line was going to be doable at this time of day (about 4pm). The Millenia mall has a really good Santa and I have had some parents tell me they waited in line for over two hours – if that was going to be the case Charlotte was just going to miss meeting Santa this year. Anyway we WALKED RIGHT IN and Charlotte did great getting her picture taken with him. They actually had one of her where she is looking over her shoulder at him and trying to grab his (real) beard! Very sweet. I will post the final picture as soon as I can find a minute to scan it into the computer. Wish I had thought to put her in a Christmas outfit for the outing. Instead, in typical Florida fashion, she is sporting a SUN DRESS in her winter Santa photo! I guess it’s more authentic this way!

After shopping and Santa we took the kids with us for dinner and a much needed glass of wine. Gasp! I have never been to Brio but am really glad the girls suggested it because my dinner was YUMMY! I have so much fun with Sonia and Cyndi, hope we can do this again soon!

MBC Holiday Party

This morning was Charlotte’s Mom Baby Connection Holiday Party. The leader of our group arranged for each mom to bring a wrapped children’s book with us to the party. We enjoyed piling the books in the middle of the room and watching the kids tear into them. Charlotte picked (with a lot of help from Mommy) an Ole McDonald book that has furry animals in it – she really likes to help turn the pages or chomp on one of the animals.

Sadly this will be the last class for many of the kids as the age limit is one year. Charlotte and I will try to come to the classes until she turns one, in February, because she really likes spending time with all of the other babies (not BABIES for much longer) and I have met some really great friends. Some of the moms with babies Charlotte’s age will also come back after the holidays so we look forward to seeing everyone then if not sooner.

I have attached an adorable video of Charlotte riding a push/ride toy and her friend Amelia pushing her around. I sat Charlotte on this toy because (shhh, don’t tell her) Santa is bringing her a really cute ladybug push/ride toy for Christmas and I wondered if she was going to be up for it. As soon as she sat down Amelia came right over and started pushing Charlotte ALL over the room. They went on like this for the better part of ten minutes. Every one of the moms got a kick out of them and I was surprised how long (with some directional assistance from Amelia’s mom, Monica) they were at it. When they got close to the end of the room we just turned them around at Amelia started right back up! Charlotte was so funny because she was holding her toes up, not her feet, just her toes up to help keep things moving. Thanks to Monica and Amelia for one of the memories not soon to be forgotten. These kids are just so much fun!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Star Ornament from "Aunt" Lauren

Today we got a surprise in the mail, this beautiful glass and metal star ornament from my longtime friend Lauren Nagle.

Wayne and I are are continuing a tradition with Charlotte that I grew up with. She will get special ornaments at Christmas each year and keep a list of who they are from and what year she received them. Each year she will place her own ornaments on the tree (well as soon as she is big enough) and eventually have the collection to take with her when she starts her own family.

I have all of my childhood ornaments as well as some special additions from the recent years. It is amazing to look at the list (started over 31 years ago) and see the origins of my beautiful keepsakes.

This is Charlotte’s first ornament and I know that over the years this memento will hold so many amazing childhood memories for her too.

Thank you again, Lauren, this is I really can’t put into words how much this kindness means to me.