Friday, December 16, 2016

Charley Lately

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Current likes:

Barbies
Monster High
TV (Netflix)
iPad (You Tube)
Stuffed Animals
Shopkins
Scooby Doo

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All of our former clothing struggles have left us. Charley wears jeans! Coats! Pajamas with PANTS! Basically whatever Mama chooses for the day. She still loves dresses also, but variety in her wardrobe has served her well.


Her eating habits have taken a slide backwards. Even go to vegetables like broccoli and green beans have been a struggle sometimes lately. She's often "just not hungry" but once we get her eating, she tends to like what we are having. 


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Bedtime stall tactics include:

Playing a game
Reading a book. No! TWO books!
Needing water
"I'M SO HUNGRY."
Silly little things like not letting go of my hand after hugs and kisses and "pulling me over" on top of her. "JUST TWO MORE PULL OVERS MAMA!"
"One more short show??"
But, the good news is most of these are pretty easy to curb and she goes right to sleep and stays asleep.

At her 5 year old well check, she was 43.5" tall, and 44 pounds. She was also TERRIFIED of her shots. It was BAD BAD BAD. Screaming, flailing, all of it.


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Charley loves our weekends. Stay-at-home days are her favorite. It does give me a bit of Mama guilt that every day isn't a stay-at-home day, but then I remember that if we were always at home, she likely wouldn't love our time at home quite as much. Definitely a grass is greener situation. So, instead I'm grateful she simply loves to be at home with her family so very much.



Charley and Laney are definitely playing independently together these days. Especially now that the basement is getting a lot of use, those two just go downstairs, Charley turns Netflix or music on for them and they just play down there all by themselves. Charley is great with Laney, MOST of the time. 


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Of the two, Charley is our earlier riser. 7:30 or 8:00 is pretty typical on weekends. 


She recognizes and can write all of her letters now. Preschool really helped because she didn't show interest on her own at home. I can see the beginnings of her learning to read though and that's pretty exciting!


She's all about being in the front of the line whether at school or gymnastics or even during swim lessons. I guess that's pretty typical though. 

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Charley LOVES matching what Laney wears. And of course, I love it too.

Speaking of gymnastics, unfortunately Charley has inherited my non-athleticism it seems. However, the difference between her and I is that she WANTS to keep trying to get stuff when I was too embarrassed to keep trying. (Heck, sometimes I'm even embarrassed FOR her when I watch. And yet she doesn't seem fazed at all. Love her innocence.) I actually saw her legs go up instead of just around when attempting a cartwheel last week and I was SO proud of her for just getting to that part. 

She prefers fruity/sour candy over chocolate candy which is WRONG WRONG WRONG but so very RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT regarding her leftover Halloween candy.


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Charley's got a sensitive heart like me. She watched a cartoon on Netflix that was rated for ages 8+ (with our permission of course) and after it was over I realized why it was rated that way. The cartoon had something to do with a family's home catching on fire and they lost everything. (I know, I know. WHAT kind of cartoon even has that!?) Charley was pretty heartbroken though and cried and cried about how sad it was. And that she was afraid we'd lose our house. So we've had so many conversations about how the material things aren't important, as long as we all have each other still. (I think the show was Peabody and Sherman.)

  Charley was Angel Gabriel in her preschool play this week. She did SO good; I was so proud of her. As most parents are of their children, of course. I often see myself in Charley in the way she can be shy, but then I love being surprised by something like this where she is totally NOT like I was. She said she was nervous when she saw all of the people, but I couldn't tell a bit. 

 She is looking so much older to me these days. I don't know if it is just the jeans, or the new favorite hairstyle the "top knot" (messy bun on top of her head), but man. I can see glimpses of teenage Charley and no! It's going too fast!

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 But then other times I look at her, and whew. There's my little girl again.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa Max

So last year I gave you way too many words on which local Santa is our favorite. (Santa Max at Carolina Place mall if you are local.) Basically, I don't want to take my own picture - even if I have to pay way too much for it, and I want a Santa that will smile. This year we went back to our favorite Santa and our experience was SO great I have to tell you about it.

As I predicted last year, I knew this would be Laney's crying year. It's just that stranger-danger part of her development so I was prepared for her to be afraid. What I WASN'T prepared for, was for Charley to put on the brakes about 20 feet away from the jolly ol' fellow. She STOPPED in her tracks and was not moving at all. Of course, this surprised us because besides her stranger-danger year, we've had nothing but smiles and happy Santa visits otherwise and she hadn't mentioned being nervous at all up until that point.

So, we tried to talk her into it, but she really wasn't having it. I definitely wasn't going to force her to visit him. I figured that I would look back at each year's Santa picture and I would say "awww 2016 was the year Charley was afraid!" so I told John just to let it be. I was prepared to just get our crying Laney picture and go home. John at least got Charley to walk into the queue line by telling her she could just watch Laney but that's as far as she would go.

At the same time, I'm holding Laney at the front of the queue line because we were the only guests there. It was around 7:00 on Thursday, December 1st, so early enough that there were no crowds whatsoever. One of the helper elves came over to me to get my girls' names discreetly while John was still trying to convince Charley. I told him I was holding Laney, and that was Charley over there but it didn't look like she was going to visit Santa this year. He nodded and walked on over to Santa.

A minute later, here came Santa out into the queue line! With a jolly ho, ho, ho, he walked over to Charley. "Well hello Charley!" and she loosened her grip on John just a bit. She was still hiding a little bit behind him, so he continued on. "You know Charley, somebody told me you wanted a garbage truck for Christmas. Is that right?" She shook her head no. "I didn't think that was right! I know Charley and I knew that wasn't something she'd like!" She starts to giggle. And it went on and on for a few more minutes. He was so wonderful! But, despite his best efforts, she said she still didn't want to visit with Santa. Again, I'm fine with that so I'm thinking ok - let's just get Laney's over with.

Then Santa said "Well Charley, I'm going to go out and feed the reindeer real quick so I'm going to step out. Feel free to take a seat in my chair if you'd like!" and he walks off. I'm BEYOND confused. I'm like really, Santa? You are taking a break right now!? So I just stood there holding Laney with a look of total confusion on my face as he left.

Mr. Elf comes back over and ushers us to Santa's chair, where we all sit. Ohhhhhh ok, they are just going to let us have a family picture, I think. So they take a TON. Adjusting Laney's legs, having me shift this way, trying to get Ms. Serious to smile (it wasn't successful).

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 And I'm happy with that because family pictures are hard to come by, but, I still wanted Laney to visit with Santa. And then. THEN! I feel a warm hand on my shoulder and realize Santa had been in our family pictures after all!


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I mean, at that point even I didn't know he was back there so I know my kids didn't know!

Maybe I'm a bit slow, but it took me all the way until then to realize what they were doing. These guys were pros at this! They knew just what they were doing! On top of making sure they got a sale either way, they were getting Charley comfortable. 

After our shoot was presumably "over" as far as the kids knew, Santa walked around to the front of us and pretended he had just missed our whole shoot. Charley giggled, but was still apprehensive. Then he asked Charley if she'd like him to read her a book. Sure, she says! So I get up, Santa sits down and he begins reading her a book.

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And before you know it, we have this.

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So, he read to her for another minute, and then came the real test. Laney. I was right in my prediction with that one. 

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She cried, we got a few shots, and I took her right back.

From there, we paid for the whole shoot because it was either $20 for prints of one shot, or $35 for everything they took and some prints. (Turns out if I had made my reservation online I could have saved 20% and I would have gotten another $5 off if I'd printed a coupon for coming so early in the month. Argh! I'll know for next year!) I needed a picture for our Christmas card and I was sure at least one of those family ones would work because they took so many. I of course chose the crying one as my print because I had to.

Aren't great customer service experiences so satisfying?! I think I'm so used to having bad ones or ones that are neither good nor bad that a really great one shocks me. Terrible, right? I came home and found Santa Max on Facebook and will keep up with him all year long. I'm a believer!

And this is what we (er, I) chose for our Christmas card this year. Last year I tried taking my own family picture for the card and there were tears involved on my part, so I wasn't looking forward to trying that again. I shared all of the pictures already from our last session with a photographer (I like to have a new picture to share on a Christmas card) so I knew I wasn't booking another photographer so soon after the last one. So this chance experience really worked out perfectly. Thanks Santa Max!

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Merrrrrrrry Christmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Real Life

Let me take a break from real life to show you some snippets of "Real Life" in our house today.

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Real Life: I've been working on this laundry all day, but keep finding myself sitting in that pretty green chair playing around on my phone.

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Real Life: John and I both do NOT want to go grocery shopping today. But we've got to - the fridge is pretty bare. So, we do as we normally do to settle any disagreement - Paper, Rock, Scissors. Best 2 out of 3 wins. I won, so I was pretty happy about avoiding that chore. But then, I traded him an offer to do the grocery store trip if he would put the lights on our house today. It is currently 41 degrees outside and raining. He REALLY didn't want to go to the grocery store today.

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Real life: This is what my children are doing as I type this. Playing Wii, eating goldfish, and Charley has DESTROYED her room today. We've got a looming "If your room isn't clean by tonight we are taking everything away that remains in your floor" threat hanging over her. I'll keep you posted.


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Real Life: There is a snowman shaped pancake grease spot on my kitchen table. I can't really remember why the pancake was laid directly on the table but for whatever reason it was and it permanently altered the finish of the table. WHY couldn't that have happened with a regular round pancake instead of the rare time I make snowman shaped pancakes??

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Real Life: I LOVE coming home to all the packages this time of year!

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Real Life: There is a cleaning brush on my patio table that the girls used on a warmer day a few months ago where they played car wash with the Cozy Coupe. I see it daily, and yet there it remains.

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Real Life: I packed away all of my fall stuff Friday and realized my fall stuff has an abundance of artificial fall flowers.

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Real Life: This tub of salsa leftover from lunch is sitting on my counter right now without a lid. John cleaned up before I was finished eating and recycled the salsa lid, and went ahead and took out the recycling for good measure.

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Real Life: This is my latest photo booth picture on my fridge. It's from last weekend at Stone Mountain, Georgia. Turns out six people cannot fit into a photo booth.

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Real Life: We are really starting to get good use out of the basement. Have a few things left to do still, but having a separate TV downstairs so I don't have to get the songs from their current Netflix favorite "Hi-5" stuck in my head has proved invaluable.