Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy {Belated} Halloween!

Despite the cold weather and unfamiliar surroundings, we were still able to get our act together and take Charlotte out trick-or-treating.  Thanks to Wal-Mart (one of these days, I swear I'll actually make her costume...), Charlotte dressed up as a little bumble bee.

We first took her to Washington Square in historic downtown Newport.  A lot of the local shops were handing candy out to the kiddies.  It only took Charlotte a few try before she understood that these absolute strangers would give her candy...

Afterwards, we drove over to Fort Adams to trick-or-treat around the base housing.  There were SO MANY kids there and everyone (even the parents) were all dressed up for the fun.  Justin and I, however, did not dress up.  But here are some photos of us with our little bumble bee. 

And finally, since we're on the subject of Halloween, I wanted to quickly share the story of Charlotte's first jack-o-lantern.  (We sadly never got around to carving one last Halloween.)

A few days ago, we visited the Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI with our dear family friend, Mrs. Polnasek. 

She used to work on the farm for many years and let me tell you, this place is adorable!  The store sells the most amazing gourmet food and sweets.  The farm grounds itself were also nice (although most of the pumpkins were already picked by the time we got there).  Regardless, Charlotte persevered and found two perfect pumpkins.

Much like what we did with the supermarket mini pumpkins, Charlotte painted the smaller of the two pumpkins. 

Justin carved the larger pumpkin.  Notice how skilled his pumpkin carving skills are.  :)

And after all was said and done, here are all the pumpkins. 

Hope everyone had a fantastic and safe Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Picasso

In an attempt to overcome by fear of getting messy, I let Charlotte play with some paint (washable paint of course).  :)  She went to town painting on paper...

Notice the paint all over her toes and fingers.  :)

This is the final masterpiece (proudly hanging on the refrigerator).

And here is Charlotte painting her mini pumpkin.

And here she is the next morning (after the paint finally dried) holding her painted pumpkin while eating pumpkin pancakes.  :)

Hope everyone is staying warm and has a fabulous Halloween!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Playing with Paper and Glue - {hello friend} card

I haven't played with paper and glue for...over six weeks?!?  It seems like ages.  Our home is slowly getting settled.   There are a lot fewer boxes around and I actually found a place for the computer.  I've found a home for *most* of my crafting supplies.  Here is a card I made the other day based on a fabulous Make a Card Monday #55 Sketch by Kristy Lee over at Scrapbook Steals.

I primarily used paper from the Basic Grey Curio 6x6 paper pad.  The sentiment strip is from American Crafts Amy Tangerine.  I originally wanted to use a stamp on vellum but I couldn't find my stamps.  Thankfully since then, I have located them.  :)

Okay, must run to get Charlotte ready for "school."  We're testing out preschools.  :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Your Heart {a monthly challenge}

Stephanie Howell, an amazing scrapbooker and dedicated blogger, posted a monthly challenge for her readers to "blog your heart."  There are no specifics or guidelines.  She just encourages authenticity and honesty. 

I think Stephanie's challenge really gave me the courage to share all the craziness that is in my head and heart right now.  So, with a bit of hesitation, here is my heart. 

1.  I'm tired.  I'm tired of traveling, of living out of a suitcase and being surrounded by boxes.  I'm tired of our toddler not sleeping at a reasonable hour.  I'm tired of not getting "me" time.  I'm tired of laundry, of dishes, or a never ending to-do list.  I'm sure there is more but I'm too tired to list them.

2.  I'm scared.  I'm scared of not making any friends in this new city.  I'm scared that the Navy won't let us go back home to San Diego.  I'm scared that I'm doing everything wrong for my daughter or not doing enough for her.  I'm scared that I won't ever figure out how to balance my life.  I'm scared that if life ever presents more obstacles before me, I won't be strong enough or smart enough to overcome them.  I'm scared that when I meet those obstacles, my husband will be on deployment.  I'm scared of doing it all on my own.

But despite it all...

3.  I'm excited.  I'm excited to watch my baby grow each and every day.  I'm excited to cook dinner every night and scrapbook our family memories.  I'm excited (albeit scared) to see where the Navy takes us next.  If not San Diego, maybe Hawaii?  :)  I'm excited to be blogging again.  I'm excited about planning a second birthday party - any theme ideas??  My excitement is all over the place!

And finally...

4.  I'm grateful.  I'm grateful for my amazing family and friends.  I'm especially grateful for Justin who has been at my side for...a very long time.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to stay at home with Charlotte, even if it's just for a little bit.  I'm grateful for the $3 rain boots I found for Charlotte on consignment today.  Lady bugs.  Super cute.

So, there is it.  My heart on a blog for the month of October.  Here's hoping that by next month and with a little bit more settling in, my fatigue and fears subside a bit. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Five Years

I still am not sure where the time has gone.  But five years ago, this was me and Justin.

I was in my second year of law school and just finished interviewing for summer law clerk jobs.  Justin was doing his nuclear power training with the Navy.  We got married in Annapolis, Maryland at the US Naval Academy.  A week later, we parted ways.  I went to Berkeley, CA and Justin went to Charleston, SC.

Five years later, this is our family.

I have since left my full-time attorney job and am staying at home with our daughter, Charlotte.  Justin is still in the Navy and started department head school this week.  Our family lives together in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Oh how we have grown and changed over these past few years.  But, for better or for worse, my dear and lovely husband...happy anniversary.  Five years done.  A lifetime to go.  I can't wait!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sensory Boxes - Autumn

Now that I've been at home with Charlotte full time, I've become much more aware and concerned of how she spends her free time.  While driving cross country and sitting in the back seat, Charlotte did spend a bit of time watching Signing Time or Curious George on the portable DVD player.  We pulled it during meltdown moments and it provided us with a little bit of sanity.  However, now that we are finally starting to settle down in Rhode Island, the DVD has gone "missing" and I am trying to make sure Charlotte gets a lot of stimulating and fun play time.  

While roaming through some mommy/ educational/ crafting blogs the other day (my new obsession), I stumbled onto this post about Sensory Boxes by Pink and Green Mama.  They are essentially indoor sand/ play boxes that encourages hand eye coordination, fine motor development, and provides a fantastic sensory processing integration experience.  Plus, being the wanna-be crafter that I am, I theme the boxes as needed.  

For Charlotte's first box, I thought that a fall/ autumn theme would be appropriate.  Most of the items for the box I found around the house.  But I did pick up a few things at Wal-Mart.

I found a plastic tub and filled it with yellow split peas and black beans.  The yellow split peas look pretty orange and, combined with the black, remind me of Halloween.

Then, I just filled the box up with various goodies.  

I put in some orange play doh (which is quickly turning out to be Charlotte's favorite), measuring cups, orange and black pom poms, Fischer Price Little People toys (the cow and farmer), fake pumpkins and gourds, pine cones, silk leaves, and a toy train.  Here's a close up.

I introduced it to Charlotte after her nap and she spent about 15 minutes digging around.  

I placed the box in the kitchen where Charlotte can see it.  Over the past few days, she has actually asked to play with it and discovers something new each time.  It really is fun to watch and play too!  And it goes without saying, definitely supervise your kids with these boxes in case they want to taste a bean or two.  Thankfully, Charlotte has past that stage (or at least I think she has)...

Now I just need to get a mini dust pan and broom to teach her how to clean up.  Those little beans do wander outside of the box more often than not.  :) 

And some other food for thought, the American Academy of Pediatrics on Tuesday again urged parents to limit the amount of television for children under two.  Here is a link to the New York Times article

As always, thanks for stopping by.  And if you leave a comment, know that I do love reading them!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Signing Time

One of the few videos we let Charlotte watch is "Signing Time - Families, Feelings and Fun."  I bought if after reading a post of Hour 23 (written by a very talented childhood friend).  I wanted to continue the signing we started in speech therapy.  Here is a video of Charlotte signing "scared."  This girl is hilarious.  She still doesn't talk very much.  But she does sign to herself in the morning when I'm not watching.  :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Guest Designer at Scrapbook Steals

I was this month's guest designer over at Scrapbook Steals.  It really was quite the honor and surprise to be asked given how relatively new I am to scrapbooking.  In explaining this to Justin, I told him it was like being asked to drive the boat in a race.  He was only slightly impressed.

Using primarily products from the "Hello Sunshine" collection by American Crafts, here are the projects I made. 

And here a close-up:

Here is the second layout I made using the "Hello Sunshine" collection.

And here is a close-up of the lanterns along the top.

And finally, this is a card I also made for the blog post. 

More details on these projects can be found on my post over at Scrapbook Steals.  

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cross Country Chronicles - Part 5

So we now (...finally) at a temporary two-week "layover" in Dahlgren, Virginia before heading up to our final destination - Newport, Rhode Island.

In CCC - Part 4, I left you all in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This is how we drove from Knoxville to Dahlgren.

View Larger Map

Day Ten.  Mile 2170.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its biological diversity.  Over 100 species of native trees.  Over 1,500 other flowering plants.  200 species of birds, 66 types of mammals, 50 native fish species, 39 varieties of reptiles, and 43 species of amphibians.  This vast diversity also won the park international recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

We unfortunately didn't have too much time to enjoy the park.  But here are some photos from our stop at the state line and along the Appalachian Trail. 

The leaves are just starting to turn.

As you can see, it was FREEZING!  I don't think any of us were prepared for this type of weather!

Day Ten (Continued).  Mile 2240.  Asheville, North Carolina.  Seeing the Bilmore mansion for the first time literally made me gasp.  This house is HUGE.  The grounds are stunning.  But I was glad that the estate tour exceeded my expectations because the tickets were so ridiculously expensive!

No photos were allowed inside the mansion.  But this is Charlotte on the back balcony.  She cracks me up.  Here she is peering through the railing.
Justin and Charlotte walking along the Italian gardens.

A close up of Charlotte in the Italian garden.
This photo was from Antler Hill Village.  This is a random Biltmore wagon along the path to the barn.  Charlotte thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Justin and Charlotte in the tractor outside of the barn.

I'm not quite sure why but I found this photo amusing. 
This one is funny for more obvious reasons.  :)

Day Eleven.  Mile 2510.  Natural Bridge, Virginia.  We saw signs for the "Natural Bridge" while driving north on Interstate 81.  Justin remembered seeing paintings of a natural bridge at Monticello years ago and wondered if this was the same bridge.  So we pulled over and took a look.  I'm glad we did.

The Natural Bridge is almost 20 stories high and was formed when a cavern collapsed and left the span that stands today (or so the website says).  George Washington surveyed the site for Lord Fairfax and he allegedly carved his initials into the stone.

Part of the Lee Highway (US-11) even runs across the top of the natural bridge!

A view looking straight up.

George Washington's initials are allegedly inside that white box...

In the background are the Lace Falls, named so because they delicately fall over the rocks.  Justin says that is a euphemism for Lame Falls. 

Charlotte was so exhausted that Justin and I had to carry her back to the car.

Day Thirteen.  Mile 2710.  Falls Church, Virginia. Our final stop before Dahlgren was Falls Church, Virginia to visit some friends who moved back east about two years ago from San Diego.  Wait, that's not true.  We actually drove through Shenandoah National Park en route to Fall Church.  But since Charlotte was having an epic meltdown, there are no photos to share...  But anyways, as I was saying...

They have the most adorable five-month-old baby boy.  We did nothing but eat, drink and talk.  It was the perfect end to our very long road trip.  To Patrick, Sandi and Grant - a million and one thank yous!!

Day Fourteen.  Mile 2770.  Dahlgren, Virginia.  And after fourteen days and over 2770 miles, we finally made it to Dahlgren, Virginia.  Jusitn and Charlotte are clearly relieved...

So in Dahlgren, Virginia we will stay for another two weeks.  And then...Newport, Rhode Island!!  Stay tuned!

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