(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Wrap Up

2012 was quite a year. A crazy, busy, exciting, brilliant, exasperating, joyful and crazy year. We started the year with one independent child and ended the year with an independent diva and a smiley new toddler. And we took an awful lot of pictures along the way.

Wordless/Wordful/Nearly Wordless Wednesday are a staple around these parts. Some weeks these are the only posts I do. Cause I know the pictures of my sweet babies, that’s why you’re here, right?

The hard part? Picking the pictures for this post. I have a bit of an editing problem. Especially because I love every single picture of my girls. Every. Single. One.

So this is one (or maybe two or three) picture(s) for each month of last year from one of my W Wednesday posts. Enjoy!!

JANUARY Bang the Drum. Cedella got a set of drums for her 2nd birthday. This picture captures her personality so completely. Adventurous, silly, joyous and so incredibly noisy. Just the other day my Mom asked “Does she ever shut up?”. And the answer is…nope.

FEBRUARY Social Butterflies. The month of February we were super busy. Showers and playdates. Paczkis and Valentines. I was only a couple weeks away from giving birth and was big as a mobile home. But a pregnant tired Mommy doesn’t really mean much to a busy little Monkey. Here she is, acting a fool, at my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. And bonus…me and Katie. Her daughter is only a month younger than Isora. No, really, I was HUGE.

MARCH In These Quiet Moments was written two days before Isora was born. I will never forget the sweetness of this moment with my Monk. And the before we knew it… She’s Here. Isora Rose was born on an 80 degree St. Patrick’s Day. It was glorious. Wanna read her birth story? HERE you go.

APRIL The New Girl was just sleepy and squishy enough to let me take some really pretty newborn photos. Who needs a photographer when you’ve got Pinterest for inspiration and photography tutorials? I can’t even handle how wrinkly and roll-y she is in these pictures. And the light. Swooning.

MAY We celebrated 50 years of marriage of my amazing Grandparents with a really lovely party. And we struggled with the onslaught of sibling rivalry and Cedella’s inevitable sense of displacement in My Beautiful Monster (I ridiculously love this picture of her).

JUNE For the love of the beach we spent ten days at the cottage on Lake Huron. And it was relaxing, rejuvenating and so much fun. For seven days it was just me, my girls, my sisters and my mom. All us girls. Thrifting and eating and sunbathing and playing board games. Can’t wait to go again this year.

JULY Saw our first trip to the ER and Cedella’s First Battle Scar. It was gut-wrenching and horrible but in the end a rite of passage and a truly eye-opening experience. We learned how incredibly brave and resilient our dear Ella is.

AUGUST The Olympics enraptured us for several weeks in August. Getting to share the triumphs and joys of the Fabulous 5 with my daughter was super cool. And now she’s in gymnastics class where Jordyn Wieber got her start. But it was Usain Bolt that really got us jumping out of our seats.

SEPTEMBER Where the Wild Things Are captured an awesome family trip to the zoo. Cedella became obsessed with maps (thanks Dora) and me and Izzie put on babywearing demos throughout the Detroit zoo. And we celebrated TeTe’s birthday at a super delicious restaurant. Lots of family fun…

OCTOBER This was the second year I participated in the Week in My Life challenge. And boy did we have a busy week. We started out on Monday at the pumpkin patch and by the end of the week we were trick-or-treating (with some baby smiles in between). It was a busy busy month and I barely made it to post every day (never did get Saturday and Sunday published).

NOVEMBER I didn’t publish a single WW post in November. In fact I only published one post in the entire month. Guess we were busy. But I did post our pics from Silver Balls in December even though it happened in November. Though if I was on top of things I would have had a whole post about our Thanksgiving road trip to South Carolina. But no, all I have is us at Silver Balls and the girls through the years (which I LOVE looking at)

DECEMBER We began Teaching Democracy when we protested right-to-work laws at our state Capitol and even got to meet our Mayor. And tis the season for Here Comes Santa Claus as Izzie had her first encounter with the big guy.

Wow. It was quite a year. Looking back on it, it was a really really good one. Hope you enjoyed going through these pics as much as I did.

If you haven’t checked it out yet please take a look at my Life List post from yesterday and check out all the great posts through the linky.

Happy Wordful Wednesday everyone!!

 

Wordful Wednesday: Te Te’s Birthday Brunch

September marks the official beginning of birthday season in our family. My sister, brother and I are all born within two weeks of each other in late September and early October. And we have numerous friends and other extended family that are Libras and Virgos. So even more so than the holidays, this is the time of year for gluttony and excess, gifts and cocktails. This is our Awards season.

Sunday was my sister’s birthday, and sadly, the 10th anniversary of our father’s death. I will never ever forgive myself for not being with her on that day. The first and only birthday we’ve ever spent apart. But we have more than made up for it in the years since, and this year was no exception.

Just the two of us went out for drinks at my friend’s new spot, Imperial. (*If you live in D-town check it out, the tacos and the tequila are to die for.) We had a lot of laughs, a couple good heart to heart moments, caught up with friends and made a few more and tried a few tasty beverages.

It was cool. Just the two of us. We even managed to squeeze in a ‘Walk and Talk’ a la The West Wing. And take a really pretty picture.

We also managed to stay up way too late, talking and telling stories about Dad. WAY too late. Especially since little girls like to wake up early in the morning. The little sneaks.

So while Cedella and I went to the cemetery to pay our respects, Isora and Te Te took a birthday nap.

Then we all headed out for a family brunch at one of our favorite little restaurants, a Cuban place called Cafe Habana.

We’ve never had a bad meal there, and brunch was no exception. But the real reason for being there, spending time together as a family.

These days it’s quite rare for all of us to be together at once. And though Michael wasn’t there, the rest of us, including Tracey’s BFF (and my adopted little sister Kelly) were together.

Ella loved playing on my iPhone with Auntie Ky-la-la.

Izzie got some love from her Uncle Rob,

and Auntie Kelly.

Tracey showed us why she’s called Tracey the Cake Slayer.

My Mom and my brother. Aren’t they sweet?

Almost as sweet as this. Te Te and one of her two most favorite children in the world. (*Though couldn’t someone have done us a favor and switched those candles around. Cause if she’s 23 that makes me almost 25 and I like 25.)

Kel and Trace. BFFs. I love this picture. (*A huge thank you to Dr. Kelly for helping Tracey feel better ::wink wink::)

It was a really nice way to spend a couple hours on what would normally be a kinda sad day. Just being together, making jokes, catching up, eating way too much food, it was like medicine for my aching soul. It seems like my family is always good for just that.

Though I don’t understand why Mom’s afro is covering Ky’s face, nor what Ky is looking at, this is such a lovely family pic. Just look at my girls. Holding hands. Awwww, sisters.

Me and my sister…best friends from birth. Well…maybe not from birth, but pretty soon afterwards to be sure.

My dear sweet Tracey~

There aren’t enough adjectives to describe what you mean to me. Thank you for being born and making sure that I didn’t live my whole life as a spoiled brat and for being my very first friend. You inspire me, you crack me up and you make me cry. I love you so much darling sister. And I will ALWAYS be there on your birthday.

Love,

Your Big Sister

Happy W Wednesday everyone!! Hope this fall is finding you warm and toasty and well!!

Sorry I had to include this one. Cause it’s just too cute.

 

 

 

 

 

Wordful Wednesday: First day of Home Preschool

My sassy independent smart little Monk is now 2 and a half. Ok, she’s 2 years old and 9 months. Which is just so crazy to me.

But being that she’s under 3 she isn’t old enough for any of the preschool programs in our area and we don’t want to put her in daycare just for the sake of having her out of the house for a while (not that we could afford that anyways).

So after hearing from a couple other mamas that were starting homeschooling or had homeschooled before I decided to start a little bit of Montessori-esque schooling with Cedella at home.

First things first was deciding when and how to approach things. Doing some in depth googling facebooking pinteresting research on the subject I came to the understanding that there really isn’t any such thing as a set curriculum for almost three year olds. Which was a relief.

And even more encouraging? After reading a lot of Montessori-based books and sites I realized I’ve been doing most of what is encouraged already.

We read books at least twice a day. I talk to both children constantly and explain what I’m doing. We did sign language with Cedella from 6 months on and I’ve already begun with Izzie. We encourage her to do things on her own and to ask for help when needed. She can go to the bathroom by herself, wash hands and brush teeth alone, picks her own clothes and can dress (the bottom half anyways) and put on shoes by herself. And we try to include her in the kitchen as much as possible. All things touched on in a Montessori program.

And while I always sang the alphabet song and pointed out letters and numbers to her, I owe a serious debt to Super Why and Sesame Street for teaching my kid all of her upper and lower case ABC’s and up to the number 20. She knows all her colors and most of her shapes too, though there are lots of times when she confuses one for another or just forgets all together. So looks like she needs a bit more work in those areas.

More than anything I feel like two things she would really benefit from right now is more of a structured schedule and more socialization. So in conjunction with “school” at home two mornings a week we’d add some at least one outdoor ‘class’ a week and a couple other classes or playgroups.

So last Tuesday we started our first official day of school. And the best part about homeschool? You can go in your pajamas.

Following the Montessori ideal of taking your cues and leads from what the child expresses interest in, I thought cutting and gluing would be a fun way to introduce both scissors (which she is hugely interested in but I haven’t allowed her to work with before) and glue (which she LOVES).

I busted out some old magazines in order to find pictures to cut out and glue and make collages.

She had such a great time doing her first collage that I improvised a second activity adding another level of learning.

We scoured the magazines for pictures of things that were blue. And here’s her blue collage.

Complete with a picture of the First Lady wearing a blue dress (to which Cedella said “Mrs. Bama is so pretty mommy and she’s wearing blue” Yes. Mrs. Bama. There may not have been an O there but I’m proud all the same.

And even Izzie got involved. Though in fairness she really just wanted to know what the magazines tasted like.

Though she hasn’t quite mastered scissors she did really well gluing and finding blue objects. Bottom line though? It was just so neat to watch her learn and try new things.

For our outdoor activity for the week we went on a hike with our local Moms group and BFFs Anna & Leslie.

In fact, Leslie and I had our 2 year anniversary (we met on a moms group hike when the girls were still tiny and in our baby carriers on our chests) and despite the fact that she’s about to have a baby on my birthday (only three short weeks of shopping time left for those that wanted to get me something special) she looked glowing and lovely as ever :) Love you lady!!

And on a whim, after dancing with her Teta and her Aunt Sabah, we signed her up for a pre-ballet class called Tiny Dancers. Sadly we were five minutes late, and the class had started and she was being super shy. Instead of going into the studio she stayed in the doorway of the lobby with me and the other parents for the entire class. And then cried at the end because she “didn’t get to dance”.

This is her all bummed leaving the studio. I call this photo “Sad Ballerina”. But seriously how cute is her leotard/leg warmer/Converse/sock bun combo? Love this kid.

So far I’m super encouraged by the idea that everything we do, every interaction, every outing, every silly drawing or picture, is adding to her education and independence. She really is such a quick learner and a remarkably bright child. Can’t wait to share more about this journey as we go.

Thanks to Mollie, Jen and Diana for the links and information and encouragement!

How do you encourage education in your home, whether it be reading or art or science? Any suggestions for how to add more independent activities she can do on her own?

Happy WW!! Hope the rest of your week is lovely 😉