Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2nd Birthday Recap

It's June 28, and Charlie and Lily's birthday festivities have come to an end. I'm happy to report that they seemed to enjoy every minute of celebrating their birthday! We kicked things off with a big party on Sunday. We held the party at the same park as last year, but scaled back a tad. The theme of the party was Bubble Guppies, which is Charlie and Lily's favorite show.

(Their awesome shirts, along with Lily's tutu and starfish hair tie, were made by my friend Sara at Peanut and Pumpkin Designs.)
We had a lot of busy toddlers in attendance at the party, so I thought it would be a good idea to provide them with some entertainment to keep them occupied. The park has a big playground, which was great, and I also hired Jessie from Little Rockers to come in and do an interactive musical show with the kids. It was a lot of fun!
After a lunch of pizza, panninis and peanut butter and jelly, it was time for cake. I love, love, love the amazing Bubble Guppies cake my friend Lucy made.
And I made some cupcakes to go with it.
We sang happy birthday twice so Charlie and Lily both got their own their own special moment.

"Happy birthday to ME!?!!? Yay!"
Lily's turn!
Thank you so much to all our wonderful friends and family who attended the party and celebrated with us!

The next day, Monday, was Charlie and Lily's actual birthday. Since they are both currently obsessed with Elmo and the Sesame Street gang, we thought that the perfect way to start their special day would be to attend Breakfast with Elmo and Friends at Sesame Place. The breakfast was great! Charlie and Lily got so much one-on-one time with the characters (they must have each visited with Elmo, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and Zoe at least 5 times) and were so happy.

Look at Lily's face! She was shocked when she got a load of Big Bird. And to be fair, that is one freakishly giant bird.
"Lily, look, it's Zoe!!"
After breakfast we hit their favorite part of the park - the water attractions. They had a blast!
After playing in the water and having a snack, Charlie and Lily were exhausted so we decided to head home and let the recuperate from all their birthday fun. But first we hit the gift shop and let them pick out a little birthday treat. They chose some stuffed toys to add to their Sesame Street collection - Ernie, Bert, Super Grover and Oscar.
After a nap and dinner, Pop-Pop, Mom-Mom and Crackers joined us for some ice cream cake (and more presents, of course!). All in all, Charlie and Lily seemed to find turning 2 quite enjoyable :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Dear Charlie and Lily,

How is it possible that you are already 2?!? Time is flying by, but Daddy and I are trying to cherish every single second because it's all been so wonderful. You are the happiest, sweetest, funniest, smartest, most amazing children in the world (at least we think so!) and every day Daddy and I marvel over how we managed to get lucky enough to be your parents. Two years ago we had no idea if you were even going to survive, and yet here you are today totally kicking butt and taking names and we are so amazingly proud of you both. We love you so, so much and wish you another wonderful year of Elmo, Mickey, playgrounds, pools, cupcakes, ice cream cones, Bubble Guppies and everything else that makes you smile - just say the word and it's yours! Happy 2nd birthday, beautiful miracles. We love you so much!

Love always,

Mommy and Daddy
Dear Beautiful Annaleigh,

Even though you are not here with us today, sweet girl, you are always in our hearts. We know that while you are not in our arms, you are in a place that is even better than we can imagine and is all that you deserve. Happy birthday, baby girl. We love always and forever.


Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photo Session Pics

Joe and I were so excited to get back the pictures from our photo session with Tears of Joy Photography a few weeks ago, and we could not have been happier with what we received. These pictures are exactly what we wanted and we love every single one of them! Thank you so much, Mary! And friends in the NJ/NY area, please consider Mary at Tears of Joy for your next photo session - she is truly amazing!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pop Pop Videos: Happy Father's Day, Pop Pop!

Dear Pop Pop,
Thanks for being the best pop pop ever! We tried to make a Pop Pop Video of our own to thank you for all the videos you've made for us. We love you!

Charlie & Lily

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband, the very best daddy I know. There was never any doubt in my mind that Joe would be an amazing father, but after two years of seeing him in daddy action I am still blown away every single day by the amount of love and devotion he showers on Charlie and Lily. They are the luckiest babies in the world to have him as a father, and I am the luckiest woman to be able to call him my husband. Happy Father's Day, baby! We love you!

Father's Day flashback: 2010.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Five Senses: Taste and Smell

This week we focused on the senses of taste and smell. This was a fun week! Charlie and Lily started the week by smelling different spices from the kitchen - cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg and oregano. They took a whiff of each, then I recorded their reactions in a little smell chart. As you can see, Charlie liked all the smells except oregano while Lily only liked the smell of cinnamon.
Our art project was yogurt finger painting. Charlie and Lily really liked this! I put vanilla yogurt into a muffin tin and used food coloring to dye the cups different colors. I spread out a towel, gave Charlie and Lily some paper and let them go to town.
We also baked brownies together. Joe was home early from work on Tuesday so he was able to help us out in the kitchen. Charlie was very excited to see the box of brownie mix.
Tasting the chocolate chips before adding them to the batter. Quality control is very important.
Stir it up!
Is it time for the tasting part yet?!?! This lesson rocks!"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Five Senses: Touch

For the next few weeks we'll be focusing our little lessons on the five senses. I started with touch, because Charlie and Lily have definite aversions to certain textures when it comes to touching and eating and I want to work on that. We read a few of our touch and feel books, like That's Not My Bear and Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Farm Animals and learned the names of the different textures. We also played with a lot of pasta!

We started with dried penne. I gave Charlie and Lily some pasta in a big container, along with some measuring cup scoops and some smaller containers and showed them how to transfer the pasta from one container to the other with both their hands and the scoops. Lily really enjoyed this activity. She was pretty good with the scoops!
Later in the week I boiled the pasta, buried some Mickey and Sesame Street figurines beneath the noodles and showed Charlie and Lily how to dig them out. (Actually, I only buried Goofy, but Lily decided her other figures looked lonely and she added Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo to the pasta.) Charlie HATED this activity. He poked one finger into the pasta, made a terrible face and refused to touch it again. So more work is needed there! Lily touched the pasta enough to rescue her friends, but basically moved the noodles one at a time instead of digging in them.

For art we did ice cube painting. I froze some washable paint and water in a cupcake tin, then gave the colorful cubes to Charlie and Lily to paint with. Charlie really liked this activity and got pretty into it. Lily wasn't too thrilled with the cold - she sort of pushed the cubes, or circles I guess, around with one finger and then got annoyed when she got paint on her hands. Lily has fallen in love with the Cookie Monster and Elmo dolls we bought her and Charlie at Sesame Place. She carries them around, talks to them, hugs them, and plays with them all the time. Here they are joining Charlie and Lily for a tea party, complete with Teddy Grahams.

Elmo and Cookie also join us for meals. When I say, "It's time for breakfast/lunch/dinner" Lily runs and grabs Cookie and Elmo and puts them in "their" seat at the table. At first just Elmo joined us, but now Cookie dines with us as well. This provides a slight problem at dinner, when both Joe and I want to join Charlie and Lily at the table and Elmo and Cookie's seat is actually MY seat...