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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Three

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April 26, 2014

Dear Meredith,

Three. Three going on fifteen, if your sassy little attitude is any indication. But, you are undeniably Meredith. You are challenging, but absolutely wouldn’t be the same without that feisty little personality. You have a temper and you are opinionated (like your mother). But, your smile lights up the world and people around you. Passionate is a great word to describe you. You are passionate in everything you do. There is no middle ground with your emotions. It is amazing to see how people are drawn to you. You make friends everywhere you go. We even had a complete stranger give us $100 to put towards your education when he saw you out at dinner one night around Christmas time. You have this way of making people feel special when you give them your attention.

You have a great imagination and can amuse yourself with your Lalaloopsy dolls for quite a while. Your favorite princesses are “Snofia” and “Tapunzel”. Your favorite movie at the moment is Lilo and Stitch, favorite cartoon is Peppa Pig. Your favorite color is yellow. You absolutely love yellow. I am not sure why, but it’s not just a phase… you are certain about how much you love yellow.

You also absolutely love being outside and will climb just about anything. You love riding your trike and throwing the ball for Charlotte in the backyard. We have discovered the Cincinnati Nature Center and it’s one of your favorite places to go. You are fearless. You started gymnastics this past year and you are also proving to be quite the athlete. Your favorite things are flips on the bar, the trampoline and the beams. You are even in the class without me now. We had your birthday party at Jump & Jacks which was perfect for you because you got to climb their giant indoor playground and jump in the bouncy house for four straight hours. It was little 3 year old heaven to you.

You are still a Daddy’s girl. So much so, that lately you have started insisting that you are a boy like your Daddy. You love wearing dresses, pajamas and playing with Play-doh. Your favorite place to eat is Chik Fil-A, but at home you live primarily on fruit. You gave up your naps this year when we made you get rid of your pacifier. I miss your naps. You are also potty trained now. Your sister is actually the one who was your biggest cheerleader in this accomplishment. She was the one who really started encouraging you to go on the big girl potty. But, once you did it, you ran with it… as you have done with most major milestones in your life. I am so proud of you.

I know that this next year is going to bring even more changes in your life… starting preschool in the Fall for example. Each day I watch you growing into such an amazing little person, but I still love when I get those glimpses that mean you are still my baby – for a little while anyway. I treasure every sweet snuggle and Mommy moment I get with you. You are my heart.

I love you,

Mommy

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Our Incredible Backyard

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This was circulating on Facebook today.

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eddf45edgee/no-9-cincinnati-oh/

I was born and raised in Cincinnati and have to admit that I am really enjoying raising my kids here as well.  I think all of us Cincinnatians go through a period of rebellion in our teens when all we want to do is complain about living in Cincinnati and dream about getting out.  I was one of them.  And I did “get out” for a while in college, an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  But, like all good Cincinnatians… I also moved back.  This city, while imperfect, is also pretty amazing.  And such a fantastic place for families.

I often joke that it is unfortunate that Cincinnati is not exactly a vacation destination, because it would actually be an amazing family vacation spot.  I am not going to attempt to list everything Cincinnati has to offer in this one post, but I do want to talk a little about the butterfly exhibit at the Krohn Conservatory.  This is one of my all time favorite activities to do each year with the girls.  Part of this is because Nora has an absolute obsession with these beautiful winged creatures.  But, even without that, it is such a fun and unique experience.

I had been to this event when I was younger, but I don’t remember it being that big of a deal.  Then, I had Nora.  Nora has always had a love for butterflies.  My Mom and I took her to see them for the first time when she was two years old. (Meredith went too, but at her age, she didn’t really care about the event itself.)

The butterflies were super attracted to my Mom this year, so Nora got to see a lot of them up close as they landed on her Nana.

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Meredith enjoyed the benches (look how little she is!).

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Nora refused to leave until she was FINALLY able to hold a butterfly herself.

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The next year, we made it a family event for Meredith’s second birthday.  She was much more interested at the age of two.

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It is definitely still Nora’s thing though.

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I can’t say enough great things about this event.  It’s true that Nora is probably more interested than a lot of kids her age.  I had to drag her out of there today after two hours because Dave and Meredith had left us quite some time before.  But, even for the average kid, (or adult) there is something magical about having a butterfly land on your shoulder and seeing those fragile, but amazing creatures so close.  There is something calming about being in a room, surrounded by them.  Today, we got to see a butterfly actually drinking nectar from the inside of a tiny flower petal… so cool.

The best moment from today was this one.

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This little guy started off on Nora’s hand and then flew to her shirt and proceeded to climb up her neck and into her hair where he camped out for a while.  I kept waiting for her to freak out, but every time I asked her if she wanted me to move him, she said no.  His little legs tickled her, but she stayed so still so he wouldn’t leave her.  I think she is going to remember this experience for a while.  She became determined to “catch” one of every different type of butterfly she could find and even started helping some of the other kids get them onto their little flower papers.  Adorable.

Meredith on the other hand got this little guy and stuck with him.  She named him “Fruits” and talked to him for a long time while sitting on this log.

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She eventually sat him down next to her and wouldn’t let anyone else near him until Dave finally made her give him up.  The differences between my kids make me laugh.

Bottom line: I highly recommend this event.  It’s free for kids 4 and under and you can get $1 off coupons online for the adults and older kids.  It’s a great time, educational and something everyone in Cincinnati should take advantage of.

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Indulging My Inner Artist

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I love arts and crafts.  As a kid I took art classes from a young age.  First, out of someone’s basement and later from an artist in a studio.  I thought I wanted to go to art school and be an animator for Disney.  I ultimately love sketching, especially charcoal and pencils.  It has been years since I have picked up this medium to actually sketch though.  Part of me is afraid that I will no longer have the ability in me to create something out of the nothing of blank paper.  I later also discovered a love for composition and art through photography.  I do the occasional photo shoot for friends and family.  It’s a lot of fun for me.  I also get these ideas for little craft projects in my head and these are a lot of fun for me as well.  (To give credit where credit is due, I stole the idea below from this site: http://sawdustsanity.blogspot.com/2011/03/springeaster.html)

My life currently (as it should) belongs to my kids.  But, everyone needs an outlet and this is mine.  Fortunately, I can also involve my kids in my creative passion when it suits me, but sometimes, it’s just my project in my quiet time once they go to bed.  I love this time.

This past weekend, my niece was in town for a visit and she is very similar to me with regards to her artsy side.  I think Nora is going to be as well, but she is still at that age where it isn’t possible to involve her in some of my more complicated projects.  But, my niece and I had a good time working on this one together after the girls went to bed.

This project was actually pretty simple, mainly because I had most of what I needed for it already… scrap wood, paint brushes, acrylic paint, and scrapbooking stickers.  But, first I had to tackle my fear of this:

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The table saw terrifies me.  But, I did it!

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We used the scrapbooking stickers to spell out the phrase HAPPY EASTER on one side of the wood blocks and WELCOME SPRING on the other.  We then painted over the entire blocks of wood to make them cheerful and bright.  This was one of those great activities that requires very little thought and allows for your mind to wander or for a lot of great conversation to happen.

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After letting the blocks dry overnight, we then peeled off the stickers revealing nice crisp letters.

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Then, it was time to add the finishing touches to the blocks and letters.  I wanted mine to remain fairly simple.  The final step was to coat lightly with Modge Podge to give it a protective shiny layer.

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The finished product is a fun, versatile decoration that cost me well under $10 to make.

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