This year's goat


Again this Christmas we donated a goat in your honor. To represent this donation, here is this year's goat ornament.


little of this and that

Charlie, your mommy is a bit of a slacker. . .

So you went to the local pumpkin farm three times. Once with Mommy and Papa, once with Mommy and Daddy, and once with school. You really enjoyed playing in the corn silo every time and driving the train 2 of the 3 times you were there.

November 14th. . . you lost your first tooth. It has been wiggling around for a bit and just kinda fell out while brushing your teeth that morning.

Well. . . In big news, you turned 5. You had been saying you wanted to be 5 for some time and it happened. (Not a fan, personally. . .) That day you then said you wanted to be 8 (really not a fan). So your birthday party. . . didn't happen as planned and that is okay. There happened to be a snow storm so many people from out of town couldn't come and the road to the place was over 50% covered. . . So we invited ourselves to Aunt Marcia's (we needed help eating the cake) and she invited some neighborhood kids over to help. It was fun. (Yes, you had a stormtrooper cake.)

Other big news. . .

You are spelling. You are spelling your first and last name, along with Mommy, Daddy, Joey, elephant, cow, whale, and some other words. You really like to spell.

There has been a lot of growth with talking. You love to talk to people.

Counting, you are continuing to count. You can rote count to 30 and are counting objects to around 17 consistently.

You love Star Wars, especially Darth Vader.

Your smile keeps getting better every day.


Hey, I'm from Ethiopia

Charlie, there is a lot to catch up on. . . Anyway it will be short tonight. Tonight we put up the tree and the Little People Nativity under it. I was talking about Balthazar from Ethiopia. As soon as I said that, "Hey! I'm from Ethiopia!" came from your mouth. I love the growth in what you are picking up on and expressing.


Is this necessary?

Charlie, sorry it has been so long. School started a bit ago, okay the first quarter ends next week. You are enjoying school and loving the days when you ride the school bus home. You attended your first birthday party for a classmate and you seem to have multiple friends at school.

"Is this necessary?" is a question you asked Daddy when he made you go to the bathroom before a speech therapy session a couple of weeks ago (okay, maybe closer to a month ago at this point). For the most part you tell us when you need to go. (Thanks to our toilet training summer with awesome motivators in Thomas the train and his friends. You earned engines when you told us you needed to go. Only happened thanks to your cousin C passing on his trains.)

"I want to watch hockey." This is what you stated just a couple of minutes ago. I think it brought a tear to your Daddy's eye. Earlier tonight Daddy was talking to you about hockey and how you were going to watch the banner go up for the Hawks. You responded to this conversation with, "Hockey makes Daddy happy."

I love your growth in communicating and how we are getting more spontaneous and longer conversations.



So Charlie, you have been into Thomas this summer. (Like really, really into Thomas.) Yesterday after we got home from ESY, you watched the last 15 minutes of it on PBS. I was in the kitchen, when I heard:

Charlie: Mommy help! Make it stop! Help me! Make it stop!!!!!

I thought there was something really wrong and came running, only to find out. . . a quilting show had come on. Apparently, you really did not want to watch a quilting show.

I tried calling Grammie, since it was her favorite quilting show, but she wasn't home. Papa was though and he found it really funny. Grammie did too once she learned about it.


Clean up

Charlie, in the process of cleaning up photos, I found these taken at school. . .

Then I remembered this one of you and L.


first game

Charlie, you are playing baseball this summer.

The ISU basketball team helped out with opening day of the new field for Miracle League.

First time at bat.

 Making it to first and then second. At second, you were greeted by Mrs. H from school.
 Scoring for the first time. Plus, I really like your facial expression in the middle.
I like how you got Paris (your ISU buddy) to hold your glove for you.
Holding Mrs. H's hand during "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." She said you sang the school song instead. . . (same tune, different words)

Sometimes you need two people to get you to first. Mr. H helped this time.
Dancing your way to second, you eventually made it home. . .


Vacation Part 3: the trains

Charlie, so you have really been liking Thomas and Friends lately. Like a lot. It wasn't something I encouraged, but it just happened. (Someday you will be like, "Papa, Mommy says all of the vacations you took when she was growing up had trains in them. Is this true?" It isn't, but sometimes it felt like it.) So we needed a spot to stop on the way home from Florida. We really enjoyed Chattanooga last year, so we decided to go back.

It gets better.

We loved the Creative Discovery Museum last year. So we thought that would be something we needed to go do. They had a Thomas exhibit.

Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of you playing at the awesome train table. (They had over 120 engines to play with at the table. But you can see it behind you talking to Percy.)


Vacation Part 2: The Island

Charlie, after leaving Disney we went to Amelia Island. (Yep, we enjoyed it so much last summer, we went back.)

So our first day on the island, we hit the beach.

We enjoyed sitting on the edge of the water with the waves coming in. You actually picked up and held onto shells this summer. You got upset a couple of times when the waves took your shells. We saw some dolphins out in the distance (about 5 of them) and we pointed them out. You told us, "Not dolphins. Sharks. Those are sharks." You continued to discuss the sharks, so we started pointing out other things. . .

It was hot. Like 106 hot. The sand was burning our feet on the way back to the hotel. We did the pool the rest of the days, since it just got hotter.

So we tried going to a museum after eating Ethiopian in nearby Jacksonville. They had dinosaurs, you didn't like them. So we went to the pool and swam.

We went to Fort Clinch.
And most importantly, we ate at The Salty Pelican.


Vacation Part 1: Disney Day 2


For Father's Day, we spent more time at the Magic Kingdom. We even saw the train come into the station to open the park. (Before you read on Charlie, yes I was that mom who dressed us in the same shirt.)

From there we headed over to Tomorrowland with the Buzz Lighyear ride, the People Mover, Monsters Inc, Carousel of Progress, and meeting Buzz Lightyear.

I think this was on the Buzz Lightyear ride. . .
Meeting Buzz
{Realizing he was going to meet Buzz. The facial expression makes me smile.}

The People Mover, you really liked it.

When we left Tomorrowland, we stumbled on a street dance parade. It gets better. Phineas and Ferb were there.
{seeing it for the first time; dancing on the street; dancing closer to Phineas; and Phineas and Ferb}

You were not as exciting as Mommy at seeing Mary Poppins. (Maybe we should have sung "Feed the Birds" and you would have liked it.)
We rode Dumbo a couple of times. There is also a play area around Dumbo that we might have hit.
{had to prove I rode Dumbo too}

We did It's a Small World again, the train. . .

and the Peter Pan ride (twice).
{Look at the excitement on your face as we wait for the ride.}

I am thinking you really enjoyed part 1 of vacation.


Vacation Part 1: Disney Day 1


So in college I worked with a guy named Cory. Cory had done the Disney internship program and he liked to tell me how "It was all about the mouse." It actually fit many times, but he would then go on to how it would fit. But since we went to Disney World for the first part of our vacation, it made me think about this. . .

So Disney World. We stayed at the Pop Century. We didn't take any pictures at the hotel, except for this one on our way to the bus on Saturday morning to take us to the Magic Kingdom. (The shadow selfie was something another teacher was doing while he was at Disney the week before, thought I would humor him.)

So on Saturday we started off with the Haunted Mansion. Probably not our smartest move for being your first ride. . . But once we got going, you liked it. Kinda.
After a quick juice break, we headed to Adventureland and Aladdin's Flying Carpets. You loved this ride!!! All three of us rode it the first time and you rode it with just Daddy a couple of times.
From the flying carpets, we moved onto the jungle cruise.

Then we made your day. You met Woody and Jessie.

We continued on our meeting of favorite characters after the Under the Sea ride.
So there is a magical place called Neverland. It has almost all of your favorites. The Tick-Toc Crock. Captain Hook. Mr. Smee. Tinker Bell.
You loved it. As soon as we got off the ride, you started screaming how "I can fly!" and wanted to do it again. Yes, screaming. Crying. Lots of Tears. So as we waited to Fast Pass it again, we did the carousel.
This picture looks cute. Loving. You are crying in it. You really wanted to ride the Peter Pan ride again. We did as soon as we could. (Twice wasn't enough. You wanted more. If you could ride it over and over and over without ever getting off, you would have been happy.) We also did It's a Small World (your Daddy protested). You learned the song. Your Daddy groaned, I thought it was awesome. (Really, I did. I joined you in song.)

We met Tinker Bell and Mickey somewhere in there. That's right, Mickey. There might have been tears as we had to wait for Mickey. (Ok, there was a major break down, but cake helped.)

We might have also found you a giant cinnamon roll.

When we asked you how it was, you responded with, "It's magic."

When we were done with Disney for the day, you asked if you were going to school the next day. Yep. I just wanted to be sure I wrote that so it could be used one day. . .