Sunday, November 21, 2010

days, weeks, years

How did it get to be almost Thanksgiving? Last I turned around it was summer. Or at least Halloween--now it's almost December. Yikes!

I just uploaded the most recent pictures from the camera, and as I'm perusing the newest shots I notice our digital photo frame shuffling through pics from what I think was late July or early to mid-August. And I noticed that Ali is, these days, looking much more like a real toddler and less like a baby (which she truly was in the pics at just under 12 months) every day. How does that happen so quickly? She's almost 15 months now, so of course she isn't a baby-baby anymore, but she's still a baby, at least in my mommy mind.

On the same note, Madison has grown a ton lately, too. Not just physically (although I'm having a hard time keeping that girl in shoes--seems we buy a size and the next thing you know those feet have lengthened even more!) but also developmentally. She is in the "why" stage and asks tons of questions. She also verbalizes things in a more sophisticated manner than even a few months ago. Her descriptions of things--dreams, events, friends--is very detailed and she has a pretty impressive vocabulary. And...she's starting to read, just a little bit. She loves to write her letters and is always asking how to spell words so she can copy them down on paper. I've received several "cards" where she has written "I love you mama." *wub*

Well, I could go on and get all sappy about how time flies with little ones but I won't put you through that. Instead, I'll put up some of the pics I've just uploaded. You can experience Halloween with the Harts (featuring a caterpillar and butterfly) and some fall fun in general that we've been having!

At the Ropp-Rader Farm Roundup (Dad took these pictures)

Pumpkin carving party at my in-laws'...on 10-10-10 (also Kevin's bday!)


I stole this idea from a friend who posted her pics on Facebook...this is a wonderful Thanksgiving project! Traced each girls' hand on colored paper & cut them out. Asked what they (well, I asked Madison to answer for both of them) were thankful for and wrote replies on each handprint. I also did one for Kevin and me. Attached leaves to a hastily drawn tree trunk...this neat display is now gracing our kitchen wall!


And finally, a couple of totally random pictures. Had to add these b/c they're cute!

This was in September...Madison wanted to make Christmas cookies. Why not?

Little drummer girl

Whew, that's a lot of pictures. Thanks for looking if you made it this far, and happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, October 01, 2010

happy bday to Ali!

I know this post is about a month late but hey, better late than never, right? I've been working at night after the girls go to bed so my free time has been pretty limited lately.

It's hard to believe our little Alexandria Leigh has turned one! It's been a wild year. Last year at this time I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. A was born right as school started, so Kevin wasn't around and I had to learn to deal with the challenges of having a newborn and a preschooler pretty much on my own. That's when I learned the true definition of "mommy guilt." I never felt I could be totally fair to both girls as one always needed something, leaving the other shortchanged somehow. However, we persevered and pulled through that always-difficult first year. And now we've got a 4-year-old who has adjusted--somewhat--to the idea that EVERYTHING doesn't revolve around her (heh) and a 13-month-old who is mostly a happy, energetic baby.

I remember documenting Miss M's achievements on this blog so I'll do the same for A. It's a good way to take notes on what happens when, because as much as you think you'll remember their milestones forever, so much happens so quickly that you just...well, don't!

Ali is a walking pro. I mean, she started at 8 months so it's old school for her now. (I do not say this to brag as walking this early was not a cool achievement--it was a pain, actually!) Her balance has gotten better but her feet still move faster than her body sometimes, so she crashes and burns frequently. At least she has quit bonking her head every time she trips! Also, she:

- can say several words (mama, dada, chee (cheese), baby, bye-bye, duck, and, thanks to Madison, poop.

- now feeds herself with a spoon. This is a new development and she's actually pretty good at it.

- has 8 teeth.

- will not drink milk--cow's milk or any soy-type. She eats lots of yogurt and cheese, however, and she's still nursing a bit so I'm not too worried about it. And since I've got a nursing toddler, this might be a good place to share a link I read today and related to (sans the twins part):

- is still kind of a dependent sleeper, but we're working on this slowly.

- is a total bundle of energy. That girl doesn't stop for anything. She's the one we'll have to keep an eye on to make sure she doesn't dash away from us in parking lots, and she's also the one I'm thinking will end up with a broken bone or two during childhood. She's so impulsive. I'm sure this will translate into some good qualities as she grows older, but for now it just makes me tired!

I've written way more than I initially intended, so I'll quiet down and get to the bday pictures.

At the zoo on her birthday (trip with just the four of us)

Birthday party!

Miss M is doing great, too. School has started and this year she really, really loves her 4-year-old preschool class. Many of the same kids are in her class, plus her teacher from last year is with the 4 y/o's this year, so much of it is familiar to her. I can't believe she'll be in kindergarten next year!

It's late and I'm tired (and I've probably typed more than anyone wants to read, anyway) so I'll wrap this up for now. Happy fall, everyone!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

life in the fast lane

That's what life is, once you have kids. Each day seems to speed by faster than the previous one, and the next thing you have an almost-one-year-old on your hands! This time last year I was begging the gods (and I'm not really a religious person) to get this baby OUT of me. I was sooo uncomfortable. Sleeping was anything but. I felt huge. My maternity clothes seemed to be shrinking. And I had to pee like, two hundred times a day. Looking back, I do feel I should be grateful it wasn't a hot summer like this one.

So yes, our baby Ali turns one on August 24th. We'll have a cookout for family as a celebration a week or so later. I haven't decided on a theme yet...but will probably do something simple like animals. Possibly windmills or the American flag as she seems to be fascinated by those items.

Life in general has flown by this summer! We've had a lot of fun, taking some family trips, going to a local lakefront beach, and meeting friends for playgroups. Miss M took a ballet class through the park district and loved it...she wants to do it again in the fall. Kevin has enjoyed his summer and is beginning to lament the end of his free time. All in all we've had a lot of are just a handful of pictures to prove it.

Blueberry picking

My dad took the next two (Iowa City)

Look out! Attack of the scary baby!


Monday, June 07, 2010

keepin' it straight

There are several places now where I post, Facebook, and my beloved mom's forum. So I don't want to copy myself too much and post the same stuff everywhere, all the time, so I will try to be mindful of which pics are showcased in each place.

So let's see, we've been B-U-S-Y! This summer is going to go fast. Between playdates, work (K and I have worked out a schedule where I get to work in the morning and he watches the girls, and in the afternoons we switch--and boy it feel good to actually use my brain again!), and life in general it seems like the days are already speeding by. Hard to believe we're into June!

Let's catch up a little.

Madison finished her first year (well, half year actually) of preschool. The classes had an end-of-the-year program that was fun to watch. M didn't sing (true to form, although as soon as we got home she made us all sit down in the living room and watch her dance. Silly girl.)
Here she is with her bff from class:

This week she starts ballet will be interesting to see how that goes. She's already saying "I don't want to go" but that's a standard Madison line that's uttered whenever she know she's going to try something new. Often when we give her a little push she ends up having a good time, so I hope that's the case with the dance lessons.

Ali, at 9 months, is astounding everyone she meets with her WALKING. Yes, that's right, the girl is a walkin' fool. She took her first timid steps at 7.5 months, was toddling around unsteadily at 8 months, and now only crawls to get to something to pull herself up on to take off again. It looks so funny because she's so small.

There she goes!

Nice shot of the girls together.

These are the only pictures I am posting today because Blogger is being kind of a pain to work with, but if you haven't seen the video Kevin put together, "Maddi's Gardening Show" yet, be sure to check it out! (It's in the previous post.)

Happy summer, everyone!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Maddi's Gardening Show

Here's a great mini-movie by Kevin featuring none other than our very own Miss M!

Four-year-old Maddi kicks off her very own gardening show by demonstrating how to plant tomato plants step by step. Complete with bloopers at the end! May 28, 2010

I have many pics to share but will have to find time to select favorites, so please come back soon
for your Hart Family Fix!

Friday, April 16, 2010

spring has sprung

Lots has happened since I last posted (as usual). Free time is scarce these days, so that's why there's a whole lotta pics following this text. We've got to cover a birthday, Easter, and fun stuff in general!

Madison turned 4 on March 21. She had a whole birthday week, since we just did stuff on her actually bday as a foursome and celebrated with friends and extended family the following weekend. She wanted a My Little Pony party, so I got busy tracking down MLP items. It's not so hard since all things 80's seem to be making a recurrence! It was our first year for a kids party, too, and I just decided to make a day of it and have the kids portion early in the afternoon and the family party afterwards. It was a very noisy, busy day, but I think everyone had fun...especially the birthday girl!

Ali is growing, growing, growing! She's just shy of 8 months and is doing all kinds of things. She started crawling about two weeks ago, as well as pulling herself up to stand, and...oh my word...she's even taking steps between Kevin and I. This girl's on the fast track to walking, I think. Scary! She continues to be a very happy, smiley kiddo. Her sleeping issues are getting better...she's actually taking naps in her crib now, instead of having to be lying next to someone. And she's sleeping for a 3-5 hour stretch at night now, which doesn't sound great but after going through a period where she was waking every half hour, it's actually pure bliss!

Here are a few (ok, actually there are many!) pics of happenings as of late. Enjoy!

The birthday girl...proud to be 4!

The cake. It turned out ok...far from glamorous, but it wasn't anything to be overly embarrassed about.

Daddy and Ali people watching.

Fun at the museum!

Finally, some nice days. We can get out and walk again!

Easter girls.

Takin' a snooze on a walk.

More museum fun.

Thanks for looking. Hope everyone's well!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

c'mon, spring!

We're now at the point where it seems winter will never end. Maybe this year has been particularly bad because we had such a nasty fall--all of October was cold and rainy, and hardly any time was available to enjoy the beauty of the season due to busy schedules and overall icky weather. But as has been proven every year prior to this one (at least in my 35 years), winter does eventually come to a close. March is almost here, and with it comes daylight savings time, a few lucky warm days (often followed by more snow but I'll take what I can get), and the official start of a new, promising season.

We've kept busy this winter, actually, hitting the libraries, the Open Gym, playdates, etc. But I'm itching to get out and walk, and I know Miss M glances wistfully out the car window every time we drive by one of the local parks. Don't worry, child, we'll get there...until then, you have had something else to keep you busy...preschool! That's right, Miss M is officially a preschooler. We got lucky when I visted preschools, thinking of next year, when one had an opening in the 3-year-old class. She started at A Child's View at the beginning of the month and really seems to enjoy it. I like it because it gives her some structure 3 mornings a week and, ok, I admit it, I also enjoy the break! Handling one kid at a time is way easier than trying to balance the needs of 2! The only problem is what to do with the pages artwork she brings home every day? I haven't been able to toss any of it yet, but I also know we can't save everything. Guess we'll see how much has accumulated at the end of the year and go from there.

Ali is, as of today, 6 months old. She's doing great (except for sleeping/napping issues but that's another story)...she's sitting on her own for longer periods of time, loves trying to manipulate her toys, is very alert and responsive in general, and is for the most part a really happy baby. She's starting to whirl herself around when on her belly, so I know creeping and crawling is next to come. Time to baby proof!

I'll post some pics of the girls in a sec but first I have to mention that on Friday (2/26) Kevin and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. Neither of us can believe it's been that long entire decade just seemed to fly by. But it's full of wonderful memories and I look forward to making many more in the next 10 years and beyond!

Posing for the camera...with some of that artwork I mentioned in the background.
Ali grinning at Grandma.

Lovin' the exersaucer! (Hi Mom!)

Maddi wanted me to take a pic of her giving her sister a hug. Ali was clearly like, "Let GO of me, what are you doing?" *choke, gasp*

Trying to add a little bit of spring to the table. They're egg carton tulips.
Recent playdate with friends!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

catching up, again

It's been a while since I've updated! Christmas was crazy and after that school resumed, meaning Kevin is back to teaching and my days are full with the girls, so I haven't had time to post much. And then there have been some nights where I just didn't want to sit in front of the computer at all, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

We do have some news to share...Madison is going to be attending preschool starting in February! I was looking into schools for next year, and one of them had an opening for the 3-year-old class right now. Since I kind of regret not starting her at the beginning of the year, this seemed a good opportunity. We visited the school last week and she had a blast, getting involved right away. (Of course it helped that she was immediately "adopted" by another little girl!) I'm both excited and nervous. When did she become old enough to go to school?

Ali is almost 5 months and doing super. She is the smiliest baby of all time, I swear. All you have to do is look sideways at the girl and she breaks out into a big grin. She's a pretty content baby for the most part--our only real challenge is naptime, as she is perfectly happy to sleep on or next to someone but not by herself, in her crib. Small potatoes, I guess--it could be worse. She's sitting up pretty well on her own, but hasn't completely rolled yet from belly to back. I'm sure that'll come soon enough, though.

We keep getting comments on how much the girls look alike, so I dug up some pics of Madison from when she was around 5 months and wow, baby-wise, there's definitely a resemblence! Check this out:

Obviously 5 months is in the height of the oral stage, as both girls have whatever's nearest in their mouths. Can you tell which kid is which?

And more pics, just for fun.

My alien growth:

Gingerbread house project!

Spongebob visits Eastland Mall. We don't watch the show so I just told M that he was a giant cheese, which of course that's exactly what he looks like.
Mmmm, coffee.