Friday, December 18, 2009

The Big 3-0

While I usually do not like celebrations in my honor, for my 30th birthday this year, Dan planned a gathering of our friends for cupcakes and Karaoke. It was a perfect night - low-key and relaxing, yet quite fun. Not only do I have two beautiful girls to be thankful for, but I have a wonderful husband to share this journey of life with. Thirty wasn't bad at all - in fact, I am quite excited for this next decade!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cookie Decorating Party

I had another small gathering for all of Addie's "friends" on her actual 2nd birthday, December 17th. Nate, Patrick, Kate, and Evie came over to decorate Christmas cookies, and although I think more ended up in their mouths than on the cookies, I believe everyone had a great time.

After the kids left, Dan and I gave Addie her birthday gift - a pink polka-dotted kitchen set. I still remember fondly the kitchen set my sister Elizabeth and I shared growing up, and since we have two girls now, I felt justified in getting them a pink one!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Addie's Second Birthday

Having my birthday 11 days before Christmas, makes me quite sensitive to Addie's December 17th birthday. Because of that, I think this year I went a little overboard in celebrations for her. I guess I don't want her to feel her birthday is overlooked by Christmas, but at the same time, I'm thinking next year one party will suffice - instead of two!
On the Saturday before her birthday, we had Mimi and Papa, Grammy and Grampa, Uncle Sean, Aunt Elizabeth, and Uncle John over. I made Addie a cake in the shape of her favorite monkey, Curious George. While it took her a while to figure out just who was on the cake, I still think it was worth the effort! We had a wonderful time celebrating with everyone - I just can't believe Addie is two already!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Meeting Santa

Despite the fact this was Addie's third Christmas, she had her first encounter with Santa this year. And as the picture illustrates, it did not go well!

I took her to a brunch sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of Chicago, and while her best friend Evie was there, it did not distract Addie from the large man with a big white beard. She wanted nothing to do with Santa! In fact when he first came out, she grabbed my hand and tried to drag me right out of the room: "Mom, let's go home. Let's go find Daddy. Let's go get bagels." She tried everything she could to get out of the room, so needless to say, I did not get her to sit on his lap. We'll try again next year!

Deck the Halls!

With cheerleading back in full swing, it was hard for Dan, Addie and I to find a Saturday night when we could all decorate our house for Christmas. Luckily we squeezed it in the weekend after Thanksgiving.

This year, Addie was more helpful than ever. She took ornaments out of our big storage box and proudly hung them herself. Catherine was alert, sitting in her bouncy seat, enjoying the night as well. Dan and I both said we could not have imagined a better decorating session - something that used to be a chore was truly delightful and heightened our anticipation for Christmas morning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, we had a major health scare with Catherine. She caught a cold from Addie and spiked a fever of 102.9. Our pediatrician sent us straight to the ER at Children's Memorial, and they admitted us for two nights while they ran several tests. Through a spinal tap, blood work, and a catheter, they concluded she did not have a bacterial infection, and that it was most likely a virus that caused the high temperature. Ah, the perils of being a second born!

So needless to say, we almost opted out of the trip home to Kentucky for the Thanksgiving holiday, but Dan knew that would break my heart, and so he insisted we take the risk and just keep Catherine quarantined upstairs at my parents' house when necessary. And so off we were - with a 23-month-old, and a one-month old!

The trip went very well - Addie was able to enjoy so much more of the Holiday traditions, from hiking on Friday to candy houses on Saturday, she fit right in with the other kids. Catherine did very well too - she hung out with Mimi while Dan and I hiked with Addie, and she enjoyed watching the touch football game with me in the Camry as her Dad sprinted around faster than anyone!

All in all, a great trip that nearly erased the trip the hospital a week before. We had a lot to be thankful for!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Addie's Princess Leia costume from 2008 put a lot of pressure on Dan and I to keep up the creativity for years to come - or at least that's what I tell him!

I think we did well this year, making our own Maggie Simpson costume from scratch. We went to Jo Ann fabrics, and bought cloth in various colors. To make the hair piece, we sewed the yellow cloth to a headband and stuffed it with cotton balls. Even Dan spend a few hours the weekend before Halloween sewing the blue pajamas together. As you can see from the pictures, the costume turned out quite well! Now what the heck will we do next year to top that????

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catherine Clare is born!

While I know it has been three months since her birth, I promise now to keep the blog updated in a more timely fashion! At 1:49 pm, right in the heart of downtown Chicago, Dan and I welcomed our second daughter Catherine Clare. She came so quickly that my OB, Dr. Nye, was still driving in from Oak Park when she arrived. But don't worry, the residents and attending physician were wonderful, and she came out beautiful, happy and healthy.

From the moment Catherine arrived, Addie has taken to her little sister. Not once has she shown jealousy or resentment, rather she is quite protective of little Catherine. I feel so blessed to have two wonderful daughters!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Carving Our Pumpkin!

In anticipation of Halloween, Dan, Addie and I carved our pumpkin tonight.

As a family, we discussed possible shapes for the facial features. I asked Dan if the eyes should be upside-down or right-side-up triangles, and as he was about to give his opinion, Addie quickly answered "upside-down, upside-down." So of course we obliged her request! We wanted it to be a happy Jack-O-Lantern, so Dan carved a huge smile.

Addie stood on a chair next to Dan and I as we took turns carving. She was very interested in the entire process, and although she seemed a little scared when we first turned out the lights and lit the candle, after a little getting used to it, she was very proud of her Jack-O-Lantern!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Pumpkin Farm

In anticipation for Halloween this year, I researched local pumpkin farms where Dan and I could take Addie. I found one about an hour outside the city, and with my sister Elizabeth's family, and my cousin Sarah's family, we trekked out to the suburbs in search of a little fall fun.

The farm was amazing! There was a petting zoo with animals ranging from normal goats and sheep, to an exotic camel and zebra. Addie loved feeding the animals carrots and petting them gently. There was a little train that she rode with Dan, Jeff and Nate. We also were able to take a tractor-wagon ride out to a field where we could pick out pumpkins.

It was a perfect fall day - brisk and sunny. I believe Addie's favorite part was running around the pumpkin field from pumpkin to pumpkin, trying to get them to roll.

Before we left the farm, Addie picked out a little pumpkin for the "baby" - hopefully he or she will arrive before Halloween - and we also bought a couple large pumpkins to carve into Jack-O-Lanterns in the coming weeks. It was a great day and we are already planning our trip back next year!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Big Girl Bed

Last Monday, Addie's new bunk beds were delivered. She and I spent many hours over the past week in in her new room. Bringing toys in. Reading stories. Admiring her new blankets. From the start - she loved the beds and the new room. So last night, after tethering the dresser to the wall, filling in all the electric sockets, and baby-proofing the side-railings on the bed, Dan and I decided it was time to let her move in officially and sleep in the new bed.

Perhaps like many transitions we will face over the next 18+ years, I had much more trouble adjusting last night than Addie did. Addie climbed right into bed, took her pacifiers, and fell asleep without a peep. I cried myself to sleep, clinched Dan's hand, and woke up several times thinking about how grown-up Addie has become.

Now don't get me wrong - I feel so blessed that the Little Miss slept from 9 pm to 9 am without even skipping a beat. (And that she is back in the bed now napping.) I know few 21-month-old toddlers can just go from their cribs to their beds without any question. But I just can't believe how independent she has become. Ultimately because we are now less than a month away from number 2's arrival, I know this will help a ton. So hopefully I can take a cue from my daughter, and go with the flow!
I'm incluidng a video of Addie when she woke up this morning. Poor thing was barely rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and I was trying to make her perform. Ah well, she'll thank me someday, right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My grocery helper

With a little over a month left before the new baby arrives, I am trying to think of ways to adjust normal chores so they won't be impossible with two children. One task I know will change is grocery shopping. Up to this point, Addie has rode along in the cart I push, helping count apples and bananas; helping pick out her favorite cereals; and helping to make sure we remember Dan's bagels for his lunch.

The supermarket we go to actually has mini-shopping carts for children to use, so a couple weeks ago, I decided to let Addie give those a try. I figure this way, the new baby can sleep in the car seat in the big cart I push, and Addie can go along side me with her own cart.

As all who know her can imagine, she loves the independence and ability to have her own cart. Of course I hear over and over: "Addie's cart;" "Addie do;" "Follow Mommy." She has run into people a couple times going a little reckless and fast, but all in all, she has done well. Now if I can only control what she puts in "Addie's cart," I will be all set for the end of October!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame...

It is hard to believe Dan and I started dating eight years ago at Notre Dame. Because we met there, we both share a love for Fall and the start of college football season. For the past two years, we have been able to go back to campus with Addie and share this love. While the weekends are hectic and exhausting, they are so much fun. We both have a lot of friends who come back, so each weekend is somewhat of a Homecoming.

Addie has had a lot of fun this year as well. Her best friend Evie was at both games we attended, as were other children of Dan and my college friends. Addie loved tailgating, playing outside, and eating rice krispie treats! She especially loved going to see the band at the second game - you can see from the videos, she did a very good attempt at the Irish jig.

Due to Soldato number 2 arriving in late October, we will not be attending any more games this year - but I can hardly wait to take Big Sister Addie and the new little one next Fall!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

North Carolina 2009

Growing up we took family vacations to many locations throughout the United States: Utah, Arizona and New Mexico; Idaho and Montana; Boston; New York City; Ocean City, NJ; Ocean City, MD; and Washington, DC. You name it, we've been there. However, the past few years, my parents have settled on renting a beach house in Oak Island, North Carolina, and I couldn't be happier.

It truly is beautiful there. The beach is uncrowded. The water is warm. The seafood and vegetables are at their freshest. It is a very relaxing week, and gives us a chance to catch up on each other's lives, that with each year seem to be more and more busy.

Of course this year was a little less relaxing for Dan and I, mainly because we were chasing Miss Addie around. Despite the fact that the ocean waves knocked her down a few times, she still showed no fear, running right out into the sea as if she could swim fully by herself. Needless to say, she also loved digging in the sand. She occupied herself for hours filling buckets, digging holes, and collecting shells. Honestly, it is the perfect vacation for a 19-month-old.

Dan and I both said the week gave us some time to reflect on just how far Addie has come since our last trip to North Carolina. Last year she was crawling and barely pulling herself up on furniture. This year, she ran and jumped with ease. Last year she'd babbled "Da da" every once and a while. This year, as you can see from the video, she can count to ten. Last year, she showed little independence, clinging to and crying for me at times. While this year, she was too busy exploring and hanging out with Uncle Don (John) to know if I was there or not. Honestly, I cannot believe how much she has changed - but it is all good change, and I look forward to seeing just how far she'll go over the next 12 months.