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Category: Baby and Toddler Years (0-1 Years)

More Fall Fun

We enjoyed another fun fall festival today with friends. It was a bit overcast, but at least cooler weather than our last fall festival experience. The kids had a great time, and I got to meet Erin and Bill’s baby for the first time. Baby Joy is adorable!

The whole group of kids all looking roughly the same direction and sorta smiling?! Unfortunately baby Joy had left before this picture was taken, or I’m sure she would have joined right in…

Elise was very excited to point out all the “punkins!” and also to see the animals. There was a calf, two pigs, and a goat. She happily pet all of them. She even boldly jumped right into the bounce house with Harlan and a bunch of older kids. The bounce house was probably Harlan’s favorite activity. I also have to give him and his friends credit- they led us through the super muddy (and thus slippery) corn maze with what felt like very few wrong turns (although they were running well ahead so they had time to clear a lot of dead ends while the adults caught up). They also enjoyed playing in the corn box, and pedaling the John Deere tricycles. We took a hay ride as well.


Rolling through the pumpkin patch
Yes, I will sit on a pumpkin and pose for you Mommy!
So happy!
Ok, yes, we will both sit on a pumpkin and smile, but then can we please go do something more fun?!
Getting down to business… I definitely think we should get this pumpkin. I can totally lift it up and carry it home.
Digging in the corn box
Taking a corn shower
Somewhere there is a picture of Harlan siting in a big tire like this at about the same age. Time flies.
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Taekwondo at the Fair

Harlan and Rudy waiting for Master Parker to start the demo. The two of them are so cute together. Master Parker tries to separate them, but it’s like they are magnetic, they inevitably just drift back together.

Elite Martial Arts, where Harlan takes Tae Kwon Do, did a demonstration at the county fair on Saturday. It was an awesome show, during which Harlan broke his first board! There were three kids lined up to kick, Harlan, another yellow belt, and Harlan’s friend Rudy who is a green belt. Harlan and Rudy opted to use snap kicks and the other yellow belt opted for an ax kick. The board tried to best Harlan, with him falling backwards onto his butt after one attempt, but he hopped right back up and nailed it, breaking it in half (the first of the three kids to do so). The look on his face was precious. It was a mixture of surprise and total happiness. He was just so proud of himself. And we were super proud of him too!! Here’s the video, not very close and not from a great angle, but you get the idea. Harlan is in the middle.


Elise thought it was a pretty good show too, and also enjoyed the magician who performed afterward. However, she decided she would rather take in the magic show from the top of the bleachers with two of the girls from the dojang. Too independent to sit with mommy!

Alex, Quinn, and Elise enjoy the magic show.

After the demonstration, Harlan and Rudy enjoyed riding some of the rides together.

Harlan and Rudy are in the purple helicopter. Eric and Elise (top of head just visible) are in the blue.
Harlan looked nothing short of terrified after the first rotation, gripping tightly with both hands to the bar in front of him. By the third rotation though he seemed to be having fun.
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Road Trip 2017 – Part Two (Crystal Coast)

I don’t think Amanda wants to talk about the car ride from Charleston to Emerald Isle.  There may have been poop involved. A lot of poop. Not Amanda’s! Elise sure knows how to time the big ones. First on the to do list upon arrival at our rental house – wash the car seat cover!

N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

What trip to the beach would be complete without a trip to the Aquarium?  We took everyone over to the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and explored everything!

Harlan standing in front of a shark tank.
Harlan getting photo bombed by a shark

And then there was the sea turtle:

Eric, Harlan, Brittney (intern), and a sea turtle.
Selfie with a sea turtle (it’s hard to get Harlan to take a photo sometimes…)

The aquarium rehabilitates sea turtles and sends them on their way when they are ready.

Elise enjoyed looking at the otters.  Comparatively, she seems to be about the same size as the North American River Otter:

Elise standing in front of a picture of various otters comparing her height.
What otter are you?

Oh, and did I mention they have an awesome outdoor adventure area? Harlan and Elise both climbed this cargo net and spent time sliding down the slides and generally running around while Amanda and I hiked the nearby loop trail (thanks to Nana and Papa for watching them so we could make this hike and feed at least a hundred mosquitoes along the way).

Harlan and Elise climb a cargo net.

Fort Macon

Elise sitting atop a stack of cannon balls at Fort Macon.Harlan sitting on top of a stack of cannon balls at Fort Macon.Years ago we brought Harlan to Fort Macon and he really enjoyed exploring.  Elise was exactly the same!  This old fort has been through a lot and is now open to the public.  There are great views of Beaufort Inlet and Harlan really enjoyed inspecting all the cannons and guns.

And, of course, there is the obligatory cannon ball photo.  We took a picture of Harlan sitting on the cannon balls when we first brought him and we had to do the same with Elise.

Before leaving, Amanda, Harlan, and I were able to get out and explore the 3.3 mile loop trail that takes you around the state park.  Very cool area and the trail was pretty busy with folks jogging, walking, and exploring.

And then there was the beach

Harlan buried himself in the sand.
Harlan buried himself in the sand.

It’s been years since I had made it back to the beach.  Unfortunately we spent a lot of time on the go so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time just staring at the water but I did get in some sand time.  Harlan decided to bury himself in the sand, Elise chased birds in hopes of befriending one, and I had a disagreement with a ghost crab during an evening walk.

Harlan and Nana in the ocean.

We also went out on Bogue Inlet Pier and watched folks fishing. The observation deck was quite busy but I was able to bring a little piece of solitude back with me:

Next stop, Plymouth!

We bid farewell to the beach and to Nana and Papa and headed inland to Grandma and Grandad’s house to close out our trip.

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Road Trip 2017 – Part One (Charleston)

Our vacation, this year, is a road trip to see the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and to see family down in Charleston.  It’s a long drive down from Maryland but well worth it to see a rare astronomical event (and to visit family).

The long drive took place on Sunday.  Traffic on the interstate was busy but everyone kept moving and there were few problems to cause delays.  Elise decided she was going to do her best to use the potty all the way down, and she did really well!  The kids read and played well in the back seat for basically the entire trip down so no complaints there.  Amanda was getting antsy, though, and was very happy to get to Charleston.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Almost second contact during 2017 total solar eclipse
Almost second contact.

The weather wasn’t great for the eclipse.  Clouds rolled in earlier in the day and some parts of Charleston County saw thunderstorms during second contact.  For us, it was just a light cloud cover that we could see through.  Not as great as a clear sky but certainly better than a completely obscure one.

After polling everyone it seems that this was everyone’s first total solar eclipse (Eric remembers the annular solar eclipse of 1984).  With everyone outfitted with solar glasses, we ventured out in the front yard to view the event.

Elise didn’t seem entirely interested (perhaps she didn’t realize the magnitude of what was getting ready to happen) but Harlan was paying attention and tracking the event in between clouds.  It seemed at the last moment that the clouds thinned just enough to see the Moon completely cover the Sun!

Total solar eclipse with light cloud cover.
Total solar eclipse as seen from Charleston, SC 2017.

Music Lessons

Papa, the musical one in the family, is making sure to pass along his passion to the little ones.  This time Elise got into the fray.

Papa and Elise playing music. Elise playing the drum

Papa Boxing

Up a tree

I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass along Amanda’s ability to find a tree to climb…

Amanda up a tree
Amanda up a tree

Yes, there was a Geocache involved.

And now… Part Two

Our Part One went too quickly but Part Two was guaranteed to be just as much fun!

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Happy 4th of July!

Posing before the parade with the decorated wagon

Our neighborhood has a parade, flag raising, and cookout every fourth of July. We were told that you could decorate anything with wheels and join in the parade, so Harlan and I searched the house for red, white, and blue items and decorated our wagon this morning. Elise contributed a hand-drawn red and blue marker scribble for the back.

Watching everyone line up for the parade

The parade was led by two deputies on motorcycle and a firetruck followed by quite a few golf carts, a couple vehicles, a kid on some kind of low-riding wheeled thing who should probably have been wearing a helmet, some bicycle and tricycles, a couple kids four wheelers/battery powered cars, and a tractor. There was no logical order to it, everyone just lined up in the order they arrived, so the parade ended up pretty far spread out with the human-powered vehicles quickly being left behind by the ones with motors/batteries. Elise, who happily rode in the wagon on the way down, decided she wanted to be carried once the parade started, so we created the first gap as I had no chance of keeping up with the pick-up truck in front of us carrying her in one arm and pulling the wagon containing Harlan with the other. Everybody sort of bunched up again for the second lap, at which point Elise thankfully got back in the wagon with Harlan.

Afterward we enjoyed the cookout and the kids played on the beach for a bit.

Elise enjoying a sno-cone


Before getting coated in sand
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My Little Rascal

Elise was labeled on her first day in her new classroom

Elise had a good first week in the toddler room at daycare. She’s now officially a “little rascal” (her new classroom’s name is The Rascals). She has been enjoying all the new toys in her new classroom and especially getting to explore the big kid playground. As an added bonus sometimes she gets to play with Harlan on the playground or at the end of the day when they combine the classes for parent pick-up. Her teachers say she likes to wander off, but is overall fitting right in. They say she is friendly and curious and apparently loves to climb up on the stool and wash her hands.

She also had her 18-month check-up at the pediatrician Friday. She was, as usual, very well-behaved. She’s on the low side for talking, but she understands so much, I’m not worried. And she demonstrated her sign language for the doctor, signing both that she wanted something to drink and that she wanted lotion on her arm during the appointment. She dropped down a bit on weight, into the 20th percentile at 20 pounds, 9.4 ounces. Her height is still in the 50th percentile at 32.15 inches. And head circumference is in the 10th percentile at 44.5 centimeters. Her BMI is 14.

Elise’s look of surprise at seeing a deer in the yard when we got home Monday
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Recent Cuteness

Summer is here and there is a lot going on. Here are a few photos with captions: 

We stopped by the Science Center after a trip to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where Elise saw a dermatologist to confirm the bump on her eyebrow is a hemangioma. (It is and we are going to just keep watching it for now to see how it changes). Here she’s playing at the water table.

Harlan got himself and Elise dressed in “matching” outfits one morning

Elise loves sliding. Up the stairs, down the slide, up the stairs, down the slide…
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Pre-K (and baby) Graduation

Harlan and Elise recently “graduated,” him from pre-k and her from the baby room. The graduation ceremony was a couple weeks ago. Harlan will be finishing out the summer with his preschool class before starting kindergarten in the Fall. Elise moves up to the toddler room next week!

Harlan’s teachers, Ms. Jeannie, left, and Ms. Joey, right, as Harlan walks through the star at the graduation ceremony.
Elise got a little help across the stage as the robe was a bit long so she had trouble walking without tripping.

They have both gotten so big and grown so much this year. Harlan is very excited to start kindergarten and regularly asks how many more days until school starts.  He informed me the other day, very seriously, that he had outgrown his current class. I agree. He’s ready to go.

Elise I have bittersweet feelings about moving from the baby room to the toddler room. We love the baby room teachers and they genuinely love Elise. The toddler room is going to be a more structured setting with more kids. I’m not sure Elise shares any of my reservations though. She has been spending a couple hours a day with her new class as she transitions and has shown no problems adjusting. Knowing her, she’s thrilled to have new toys and areas to explore (the big kid playground!). She’s very social too, so even though she’s in a room with kids as old as 3 now, I doubt she’s a bit intimidated. She’s not much of a talker so far, but I bet she’ll learn a lot from the older kids quickly. The baby room teacher has no doubt she’ll hold her own. She has apparently learned the phrase “not nice” and shouts it with gusto when crossed (prounounced “not nie” because she leaves out the “c”).

Oh, and I should record their predictions for the future as well. At the graduation program they read a few sentences about what each of the kids said they wanted to be when they grew up. I have to say, I’m not sure the strength of the job market for so many career princesses and ninjas, but hey, a kid can dream. Harlan settled on engineer. Good boy! Since Elise has both limited experience and vocabulary, her teachers offered their own prediction: pediatrician. I would be proud. 🙂

Each class also put on a performance with singing and dancing. Harlan’s class did “Twist and Shout,” which meant we were treated (and still are) to him periodically belting out his somewhat garbled version of the lyrics that involves shaking a baby. All the classes also got together for “Seasons of Love” from Rent, which he also serenades us with, although five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred has proved a difficult number to remember.

Since it is end-of-the-year related I’m going to throw in one more picture too of Harlan’s gymnastics demonstration. He still can’t do a cartwheel, but as far as I can tell the class involved a lot of jumping and tumbling, so Harlan was happy with it. Especially the jumping. Lots of jumping.


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A Fun Visit With Friends

Elise loves to take selfies

We were so happy to have my college friend Katie, her husband Joe, and their daughter Jessie come visit for Memorial Day weekend. In addition to a number of other fun activities we went to the town festival. Harlan was such a good big buddy in helping not-quite-three-year-old Jessie through the bounce house maze. She was quite the brave soul to plunge in there with the other kids (although that final slide turns out is a bit intimidating). Elise really wanted to go in too, but I thought she might get trampled while trying to figure out how to navigate (aka having Harlan drag her over) obstacles bigger than herself. She would have tried though. She’s fearless.

Harlan celebrates upon exiting the bounce house
Elise has spotted something and cannot be bothered with posing for a picture

We also enjoyed a trip to the beach where I was not successful in getting a non-fuzzy picture of all three children’s faces in the same frame. No shock there.









After a number of outtakes I did get a shot of all three of them sitting on the porch though!

Happy Jessie, Bored Elise, Tired of Taking Pictures Harlan
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Family Visit

We took a trip to North Carolina last weekend to visit Eric’s parents, and as an added bonus, we got to spend some time with family who were down from Connecticut visiting. Harlan and Elise loved playing with their cousins! Autumn and Tilly doted on Elise, and Harlan kept busy with his usual antics.

Harlan, Autumn, Tilly, and Elise. Not exactly all smiling, but all looking in roughly the same direction, so I’m calling it a win.
Playing in the sprinkler.
Cousins in a tree

After her very attentive cousins left, my fearless and stubborn little Elise tried to take advantage of having fewer watchful eyes on her and did her best to get into a variety of mischief. Mostly she just really really wanted to hug and pet Cash, the dog, who was not as thrilled with the somewhat heavy handed affection. To his credit though, he was very patient with her.

Elise loved to crawl into the dog’s crate. Harlan even decided to join her in there.
Climbing the attic stairs after Daddy.
Splashing in the dog’s water bowl.
Discovering a cup of jello.

Harlan had a fun time as well, spending most of his time barefoot in the backyard.

Out for a wagon ride. Harlan found a Rambo gun in the attic that used to belong to his dad or Uncle Benjamin and brought it along in case we were attacked.
Relaxing in the swing.
Riding the old metal pedal tractor that was his dad’s.

I also did my best to get a couple pictures with Grandma and Granddad.

Harlan was the one being grumpy about having to take this picture, so I don’t know how he ended up being the one actually smiling here. The outtakes include a lot more pouting and Elise trying to wiggle out of Grandma’s arms.
Sitting in the swing with Grandmama
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