Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas at Daycare

Last week, Natalie went to a Christmas-party at Daycare. It was such a great time:

Natalie made a pretty Christmas wreath.

Then, she got to color - her favorite thing to do! Here, she's making a snowman.

Then she made a Christmas ornament complete with glitter. At first, she was putting the glitter on a little at the time, but she soon found out that it was much easier to just turn the cup upside down...

But of course, the best thing of it all was to decorate the cookie!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The puzzle

Natalie got a new puzzle from Grandma. She really liked it:
And she made it - she put all the pieces back in their spots (allmost) all by herself!

Yay, I did it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cool dude!

Lately, when Natalie see's someone or something (i.e. on TV) that looks kinda fun and cool, she calls them a "cool dude".

A few nights ago, she was helping me fold up the laundry when she decided to try and put a sweater on all by herself. She got it halfway on, then she must have thought she looked funny, because she was running all over the house like this, saying "Natalie cool dude!":

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doll wagon

Natalie got a doll wagon from her Grandma for (you guessed it) her birthday:
The doll came with clothes, but for some reason it is not allowed to wear them.

Natalie put the doll in the wagon, and then she went around all over the house introducing the baby to it's new home. She kept taking small, imaginary objects and putting in the wagon, all the while talking to the "baby". She even took something from the bathroom door. I wonder what that was...

Then, she found out that she could also take real objects, not only the imaginary ones, and cart them around in the wagon:

That sure was a very useful gift!

Soon, she had moved all her toys to a new area, all of them getting a ride in the new wagon:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love you too

A couple of weeks ago, we had a "lazy" morning, where we didn't have to go anywhere right away. Natalie and I were just playing around and being goofy. Natalie was laying on the floor, looking at me, and as she has done often before she was using a sing-song voice to say "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy...". Then, quite unexpected, she added "Love you so much".

I will never be able to describe how wonderful that was! So unexpected, so pure, so simple. I gave her a big hug (so she wouldn't be confused by the tears of joy in my eyes) and told her that I love her very, very much too. We sat for a moment, then we went right back to playing.

Since then, she has started giving us some real big hugs, and she often tells us "Daddy, love you so much" and "Mommy, love you so much too". Does she know what it means? Maybe, maybe not. She probably doesn't get the complexity of love. But in some ways, I think she experiences love in it's purest, most simple form.

It is always precious to hear these words from her. But I think that that moment, that first time, will always be an extra special memory for me.

Natalie, I love you so much too.

Happy Birthday (part three...)

Well, I guess if you follow this blog, you know that it was Natalie's birthday recently... A few weeks ago, she had a birthday party for her and her friend Aubriella. It was a lot of fun. Just had to post a few pictures of the kids eating their cake:

Cake - yum...

Good friends, and good cake - what more could a girl want?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday (part two)

Natalie had a great birthday! We had a small birthday cake - with two candles in it!

Natalie liked the frosting...

She really, REALLY liked the frosting...

(I think it's fun to notice that she never ate any of the actual cake - just the frosting...)

Natalie was so good at telling us how old she is:

And here she's playing with some of her birthday presents:

It was a great day.

Happy Birthday, Natalie!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday, I went to the store to get some treats for Natalie to bring to daycare today for her birthday. I looked at many different cupcakes. There were the Hannah Montana ones - nah, she's too young for that. Then there were the Care Bear ones - cute, but not quite "it". Then, all the way in the back, I found these:

Chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting and Dora the Explorer rings on top! I almost did a little happy-dance right there in the store. I never knew that shopping for cupcakes could be that much fun. And I was smiling all the way thru the checkout.

Because they are just perfect:

Natalie loves chocolate.
Natalie loves pink.
Natalie loves frosting.
And Natalie loves Dora the Explorer.

And in one of her favorite episodes of Dora the Explorer, Dora finds a pirate treasure, complete with gold, and toys, and stickers, and - you guessed it: Chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting! How cool is that.

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree

Why do people put Christmas trees up in their homes? It takes hours of moving the heavy tree up from the basement, assembling it, and "fluffing" up the branches. You get all scratched up. Etc., etc.

Well, now I know why:Natalie saw the tree almost immediately when she came home from daycare. "Christmas tree - inside!", she said. And then she went around and touched each of the bulbs very carefully and gently (they are the "cold", low-energy ones).

The picture is a bit out of focus because I turned the flash off to better capture the warmth of the moment. It was soo worth it!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Christmas Parade

Yesterday, we went to a Christmas Parade! I think Natalie really liked it, even though she reacted much different than the last time we went to a parade. She spent most of the time like this:

She was very focussed on all the things happening in front of her. When there would be a little break in the parade, I would ask her if she wanted to see more, and she would say "yeah" and look down the road and say "more coming". And there sure was a lot to look at. Just look at the flames on this picture:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Silly duck?

The other night, Natalie was being goofy at the dinner table. Here's her conversation with Karsten:

Karsten: Are you being a silly goose?
Natalie: No!
Karsten: Are you being a silly duck?
Natalie: Yeah - quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!

A few days later, Natalie was playing around in the living room...

Karsten: Are you being a silly duck?
Natalie: (Pointing to me) Mommy silly duck too!

Hmm, I think that's a compliment...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At the dentist

Last week, we took Natalie to the dentist! She did soo well! She even let the dentist look at her teeth a little while she was sitting with Karsten:

Yes, that's a cup of crackers in her hand. I know you're not supposed to eat while at the dentist, but I think it's okay to bend the rules a little when you are less than two years old...

Natalie got a new toothbrush - with Elmo on it!

Then, she got to dig in the treasure chest for a prize:

She chose two little monsters (they were friends, so they had to go together...) By the way, in case you were wondering: The dentist said that everything was fine with her teeth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mac and Cheese

The other morning, I was changing Natalie, and she wanted her cup with milk. So Karsten brought it in to the changing table for her. Then, they had the following conversation:

Natalie: Thank you!
Karsten: You're welcome!
Natalie: Thank you!
Karsten: You're welcome!
Natalie: Thank you!
Karsten: You're welcome!

Repeat about 10 more times, until Karsten decided to throw her a curveball:

Natalie: Thank you!
Karsten: Banana split!
Natalie (long, puzzled look, then): Mac-cheese!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Morning exercise

On Sunday morning, Natalie wanted to go back in her crib after breakfast: It turned out she just wanted to get her morning exercise in...:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Halloween

Friday was Halloween! We had such a great time trick-or-treating! Here's Natalie in her bumble-bee outfit:

Yep, that's a sucker in her hand. She was eating suckers the whole time. I know, lots of sugar, but oh, well, she's a kid, and it's only Halloween once a year...

Most of the time she was in her wagon with Karsten or myself pulling her. Here are some short videos from that:

And here's the picture that just says it all:

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Santa who?

The other day, Natalie and I were looking at some Christmas giftwrap. Here's our conversation:

Me (pointing to a penguin): Do you know what that is?
Natalie: Pen-gin!
Me (pointing to a snowman): And what is that?
Natalie: Now-man!
Me (pointing to a drawing of Santa): Do you know who this is?
Natalie: Red Clown!

Hmm, I guess she might be onto something there...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apple picking - apple pie

On the weekend before Halloween, we went applepicking at a local apple orchard. It was great! Natalie really got into it. There were plenty of apples low enough to the ground that she could reach them. She loved running around finding the best apples, then picking them and putting them in her little basket:

At the apple orchard, they also had a walking trail where you could see different animals like llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, and ducks. We bought some food for the animals, and Natalie loved "feeding" them. She didn't want to get too close, so she would take the food and give it to Karsten, so he could feed them! Pretty smart if you ask me...

After we got home, Natalie helped make apple pie from the apples. She made the dough, helped squeeze it in the pie-form, and she sat on the table next to me while I was cutting up the apples and taste-tested them - each one of them, several times! We had so much fun that day.

The two pictures in this post are "book-ending" a really great day - so great that we kinda forgot to take pictures in between!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A real Jack-o-Lantern

Natalie and I made a real Jack-o-lantern last weekend. Look, Mom, that's a big pumpkin!

I was surprised that Natalie didn't really want to help take out all the seeds and fibers from the inside. Normally, she dives right into whichever project we have going on. But the "pumpkin-guts" must have been a little too scary-looking, because she kept a two-step distance thruout the removal process. But only two steps, after all a girl needs to be able to see what's going on! And she loved talking about it and seing the finished result:

Natalie told me all night "Big-one pumpkin light on!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween party at daycare

Last week, we went to a Halloween party at Natalie's daycare. It was so much fun. Each room had new adventures to be discovered, like decorating cupcakes, searching for spiders in a tub of spiderweb, and throwing bean bags thru a setup with pumpkins painted on it:

Natalie quickly got the hang of this one, and she wanted "more":

Another favorite was the room where we decorated cookies.
Orange frosting, and sprinkles, what more could a girl want...

Gotta love that orange grin!

The craft box

The big box behind Natalie in this picture is usually full of her craft supplies... But it's soo much fun to empty it out. Look, Mom, I found some pink sticky-tape!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homemade pumpkins

Earlier this month, Natalie and I decided to make our own pumpkins, using paper plates, red and yellow fingerpaint (and the next day some glue, felt, and googly eyes):

Hmm, if I mix yellow and red, I get orange...

Look Mom, my hands are all orange!

The finished result

Friday, October 17, 2008

Zoo-boo two

Here are some more pictures from the Halloween party at the Zoo. Aubriella and Natalie loved sitting on this zebra-striped "Footsie-Wootsie" (And come on - a ladybug and a bumble-bee, how adorable is that!?!). I'm sure they were discussing all the candy that Natalie had gotten in her Elmo-basket:
Aubriella: What do you have in there?

Natalie: Let's see...

Natalie: It's soo far down! Aubriella: Hmmm... Natalie: I think I can reach it...

Both: Candy! Yay!

Kiss it better

Natalie understands the concept of "kissing it better". If she gets hurt, she'll come to me and say "Mommy kiss it better". And it always works - the "ouwie" may not go away, but it always seems to get better.

She's also very generous with her kisses. In one of her books, there is a picture of a crying pig (a book of nursery rhymes with "this little piggie went wee-wee-wee"). She always says "pig crying" and gives it a kiss.

I find this soo sweet. I love her kindness and sweetness. But sometimes it is also a little bitter-sweet. Because I know there will come a day when I can't kiss it all better. Whether it be a broken fingernail, a broken toy, or a broken heart, there will be "ouwies" that hurt more than a kiss alone can handle. Still, I'm sure I'll always be willing to give it a try. And who knows, maybe it really does make things a little better, even if it can't cure it all...

And I hope that Natalie always will have that sweetness in her - that willingness to show kindness to others to make things better. After all, doesn't kindness always make others feel better, even if that's all you can give them?


Last weekend, we went to a Halloween party at the Zoo. Aubriella, Natalie's friend, also came (and she brought her parents along for good measure, too..). Natalie was wearing her bumble-bee outfit. She had a great time:

Going thru the "haunted" haybale-maze was a treat!

I love the reflection of Natalie and Aubriella in the glass. They were both very fascinated with the lions.

Natalie was her usual, curious self.

And she got her first sucker! Of course, that was a hit.

Look, Daddy, there's a bear in there!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Natalie the Artist

Last week, we were trying on Natalie's Halloween outfit (a bumble-bee). She liked the hat that goes with it, so she kept it on even after the costume came off.

The hat complimented her outfit so well (well, in a weird kinda way)...

Doesn't she look like a painter just waiting to pick up a brush?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Football commentary, Natalie style

This weekend, we had the Packer game on. Here's Natalie's commentary:

Play Ball.
All. Fall. DOWN.

I think she understands the game very well!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The joys of being a Dad - part two

Here's a scenario from a couple of weekends ago...

Natalie thinks it's really funny to run from one end of the room to the other and knock us over (we'll be sitting on the floor waiting to catch her). On this particular Sunday, Karsten was the target. And Natalie's knee hit a certain place - well, let's just say that it would have been perfect for "America's Funnies Home Videos". While Karsten was recovering, she pulled out another trick that she loves:

The video is from another day, but you'll get the idea.

Oh, and by the way, this was during a Packer Game, and while we were listening to Natalie's favorite song on CD for about the 100th time that afternoon...

And the best part: It looked like both Karsten and Natalie had a blast! Can you say "Super-Dad"?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Waiting patiently

One of Natalie's favorite things to do is to bake - cake, bread, cookies, you name it. This picture is from a weekend or two ago. Natalie was curious to see what happened to the cake once it was in the oven:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Portraits on the run

This weekend, I tried to capture a portrait of Natalie. Natalie doesn't stand still for very long, so it was a bit of a challenge. Most of the pictures turned out like this one:
Then, there was this one where she is actually saying "Cheese" - or maybe she's practicing for Halloween...

But finally, with a little cropping, I got this one. It may be a little grainy, and I'm sure the lighting isn't quite the way it should be, but there is something about this picture that is just right.

This is Natalie.