Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

I thought last year was fun, but this year was AWESOME!  The rain held off, the costumes were darling, and the candy was flowing!  We invited Cici (and her mom and dad) to come trick or treat at our house this year and that was a GOOD MOVE.  Sylvia loved running around the neighborhood with her best buddy, and I loved walking around with MY best buddy, so it all worked out well.  The Dads stayed home to hand out candy and the Moms braved the impending storms to take pictures and oooh and aahhh at all the teeny tiny costumes running around.  I tell ya, there are a TON of babies in this neighborhood!  Here's our night in pictures, although they're not the best.  It's hard to take pics of running kids.

Getting out the door was quite a feat.  But we did it.  And everyone ate supper.  Well, a few bites of supper, but whatever.

The first house - Margot's first official trick or treat!

She caught on really quickly and LOVED this whole idea.

Except she stopped every two feet to take inventory of her stash, so after a few houses, I took her home.

Every neighbor gave our girls handfuls of candy because they were just so darn CUTE!

Practicing our best manners!


Three families at one house!  Score!!

Miss Ann.  Our favorite.
Pounding the pavement...


We ran into Lindsey!!  Hey, girlfriend!!!

We held up the line of trick or treaters to take pictures next to these awesome pumpkins, and apparently it just made this homeowners night!

It started raining after a good 45 minutes, so we trucked it to Gina's house to see KC (and Gina and Nick), then we trucked it back home!
We returned soaking wet and worn out (and Ann is 7 months pregnant, so....she wins!). The girls dumped their candy and wanted to dive in, but we made them change out of their wet costumes and put on their jammies first! For the last hour, the girls played, ate candy, and had a dandy old time while the adults sat DOWN, drank fancy beer, ate pumpkin muffins and chit chatted.  We are doing this EVERY YEAR from now on: inviting everyone to our house so the kids can trick or treat in the greatest neighborhood ever and the adults can "celebrate" together.

One more thing about the awesomeness of tonight - neighbors!  I'm such a humbug about Halloween.  I was a little mad when I realized that the Dads wanted to stay in and hand out candy because that meant that I and the pregnant lady had to hoof it up and down the street.  BUT, there were so many families out and everyone was so happy, and the costumes were SO cute!  I remembered that Halloween is the only time of year when we're expected to ring every doorbell in the neighborhood and actually talk to our neighbors.  Thanksgiving and Christmas bring us together as a family, and our attitude of gratefulness makes us well aware of our outside world, but on Halloween, we actually talk to strangers.  We peek inside each others' houses and learn a tiny bit more about our community. 

Up the street, there was an older couple handing out candy in their driveway, and they had a crockpot full of hot chocolate that they offered to parents.  I stood there and thanked them over and over again, then we started talking.  Just for a few minutes, but we talked.  About the neighborhood and our babies (young and old) and how much fun this night can be.  I was so grateful!  Ann and I continued on our way, watching out tiny girls run up and down every driveway, shouting "TRICK OR TREAT!!!" then shouting "THANK YOU!!" before running away toward the next neighbor.  I'm glad I was forced to go out tonight, because it ended up being pretty darn great!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sixteen Months

Dear Little Miss Margot,

Oh my sweet baby, you have changed!  You are in the middle of a beautiful phase of growth in which you're shedding that baby skin and growing into a busy toddler.  I love this part.  You still do lots of baby things, but you try new toddler things every day.

The biggest toddler task of all is walking!  You are a full-fledged walker and you are FAST!  It seems like you went from crawling to running in about two weeks.  You sort of skipped that part where you cruise along the furniture and instead you just stood up and walked for a few days, then took off in a full sprint.  One minute you'll be sitting on the floor, legs stretched in front of you, just like a baby.  The next minute, you've pulled your legs up underneath you and assumed the "sumo squat" as we like to call it.  You don't use your hands, you just push your way up to standing from a perfect SQUAT and it's quite remarkable to watch!  Once you're up, you wobble for a second, get your balance, and then it's pitter-patter-pitter-patter all over the house!  Now I can just drop you to the ground when you get tired of being held and you stand right up like a real person.  It's amazing, Margot.  Just amazing!

But you're still my snuggle bunny baby, too.  You're learning how to communicate better every day, but you still get very annoyed when we can't interpret your grunts and squeaks.  You have this adorable gut laugh that only Sylvia can coax out of you.  When you're tired or scared or when you meet new people you like to curl your back against me and bury your head in my shoulder, peeking out from the side of your face to make sure everyone is still where they're supposed to be.  You haven't given up your pacifier yet, but we're working on making it just a night time thing.  You are extremely and hopelessly attached to your dou-dou bears and you can't survive a day or night if they are not within arm's length.  You love to clap and yell "Yaayyy!!!!" when you're happy.  You rub your eyes and shake your head when you're tired.  You figured out how to use sidewalk chalk to make pretty pictures, but if I'm not careful, I can still catch you trying to eat it every once in a while.

All of these things give an almost perfect picture of your sweet sixteen month self, but there is one more important obsession I need to mention - animals.  You love anything that has ears or fur or makes noise!  You are obsessed with dogs, cats, goats, and bunnies.  On our nightly strolls through the neighborhood, you point and squeal when we see a dog.  Sylvia usually asks the owners if we can pet it and they always say yes.  Then you walk over to them and pet the dog gently and sweetly, unlike any other sixteen month old child I've ever seen.  You don't grab fistfuls of fur or poke them in the eyes (usually).  You just open your little palm until it's flat and stroke that doggie's fur from top to bottom like it's the greatest gift anyone has ever put in front of you, and you giggle and laugh like a maniac!  Daddy says you should ask Santa for a new kitty for Christmas.  Mommy says he probably doesn't have any in the North Pole.  Besides, there are plenty of cats and dogs in the neighborhood for you to go nuts over!

We love you, sweet Margot, and we're so glad you're ours.  You and Sylvia have become quite a pair and I just can't imagine what our world would be like if God hadn't sent you to us exactly when he did.  I'll tell you the same thing I tell your big sister all the time: If God lined up all the baby sisters in the whole wide world and told us we could have any one we wanted....

we'd still pick you.

Love you forever and ever for a million years forever,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Extravaganza!

The last two days have been filled with more fall traditions and family outings.  Hooray for fall!

On Monday (the last day of my fall break), we met the Reynolds at The Neltner Farm in Camp Springs.  It's free on weekdays, the weather was gorgeous, and there was no one there, so we had a marvelous time!

Margot handing rocks to her Godmother.  She did this for about....20 minutes.

She shrugs her shoulders when she's SO EXCITED!!

Girl loves animals.

And now she's big enough to walk up and KISS them.  Great. 

The wagon was supposed to be for pumpkins, but the girls got a free ride.

My Nugget in the pumpkin patch.  She and Cici walked around and turned every pumpkin up so it was "right."  Cici said, "Sylvia, we have to clean this place UP!"  Hilarious.


Margot loved the pumpkins, too.

Camp Springs, KY.  There's Grandma's church up on the hill and just past it would be Grandma's house.  I love this place.

Andy was there.

Uncle Jordan was there.

Let me rephrase that..."UNCLE JORDAN WAS THERE!!!!"  My girls are in love with him.
It was a rousing day at the pumpkin patch!  We went to visit my Grandma Neltner (who is now lovingly known as G.G. for Great Grandma) and then we came home for naps and dinner out at my Dad's house.

Since fall break was way too much fun to stop, I planned to take today off and go with Sylvia to her very first Preschool Field Trip!!!  To another pumpkin patch!  Hooray!!!  I was super nervous.  I've been on ten years' worth of field trips as a fourth grade teacher, but NEVER as a parent and certainly never with 3 year-olds!  It was spectacular.  The weather was perfect, the kids were delightful, I reconnected with an old friend who has a daughter in Sylvia's class.  I loved every second of it.

Miss Stephanie feeds the cow.

Loading up for the hay ride.

We thought we were going to a secret pumpkin patch.  Turns out we were just going to another pretty field before turning around and heading to the pumpkin patch we already passed!


Found it!  (The kids had to take a small pumpkin, which was fine with me!)

Have you ever seen such tiny goats?!

Class Picture!

This pumpkin patch was at Daniel's Farm and I am seriously considering having Margot's next birthday party there.  It was BEAUTIFUL and the petting zoo animals were in wide open pens with TONS of space.  You could tell these people took really good care of their animals, which I always worry about.  They had a great playground, tons of great photo spots, and an adorable little store where I bought some honey apple salsa and some pumpkin butter.  Yum!!

I think it's safe to say we made the most of this beautiful weekend and fall break.  I can't think of a better way to make memories with tiny ones.  The girls LOVED the pumpkin patches and the petting zoos.  I just keep thinking about last year, and the year before, and picturing how much my girls have changed since then.  That's what fall memories are for, I guess!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oz Obsessed

Sylvia has seen The Wizard of Oz approximately 10 times since Margot was born.  9 of those times were in the first two months of Margot's life.  Sylvia liked the movie, especially the songs and the munchkins.  She usually lost interest around the flying monkeys.  However, a couple weeks ago, we let her watch it again.  We put Margot to bed and curled up on the couch with some popcorn.  This time, she watched it the whole way through and during the part where Dorothy is trapped in the witch's castle, Sylvia CRIED.  She cried real tears.  She saw how sad Dorothy was and her poor little 3 year old self just couldn't take it.  We walked her through it and by the time Dorothy clicked her heels three times, Sylvia was all smiles and giggles.  Needless to say, I decided now would be a good time to start our first chapter book!

I picked up these babies in the dollar bin at Target, thinking I'd stash them away for a few years until the girls were old enough to enjoy them.  I had tried a chapter book with Sylvia around her third birthday (Charlotte's Web) and she was just too little to sit and listen (or maybe I was too apathetic to care about that dumb story, but whatever).  So I decided to try again with a story she already knew, hoping that would make a difference.  I'm happy to report that YES IT DID!  She was infatuated with the story.  Of course, this is an abridged version, but there's a great introduction that encourages young readers to read the full story when they are old enough to enjoy every detail, which I certainly appreciated. 

Admittedly, I have always loved the movie, but have never read the book.  It turns out they are extremely different!  This story has tons of extra characters and some daunting situations in which our four lovable friends must work together.  And this version comes with some adorable illustrations scattered throughout.  Some are half a page, some a full page, and each chapter has at least one two-page illustrated spread.  After we read a chapter or two each night, Sylvia grabs the book and looks ahead at the next chapter's illustrations.  We've been staying up a good 30 minutes past her regular bedtime each night because she keeps begging me to, "Read more, Mommy!" and I can't help it, because I want to read it just as much as she does!

Today, after I had left for work, Sylvia dug her Dorothy dress out of the bottom of her dress up bin.  (I bought it used two years ago and had completely forgotten about it)!  She also climbed into her closet to dig out her red corduroy Toms and emptied her toy bin to find the stuffed doggie that most looked like Toto.  She dumped out her wicker crayon basket and slung it over her arm while she tucked Toto underneath the other arm.  According to Sylvain, she pretended to be Dorothy all day long.  When I came home, I took one look at her and could hardly breathe!  She was lost in a book.  A good one.  I envied her, really.  It has been a long time since I was that interested in something I was reading.

Sylvain had the good sense to grab his phone when he caught her "reading" in her rocking chair this afternoon.  He had just put Margot down for a nap and he saw that she was looking at the pictures and retelling the story.  (You might have to turn the volume all the way up, but hang in's totally worth it!)  Toward the end, she says, "Unfortunately, something terrible happened!"

Sylvain sent me a text explaining the video and the "unfortunately, something terrible happened" sentence and I melted.  This kid is turning into a writer before our very eyes! 

As if that wasn't enough cuteness to fill my entire day, while I was putting Margot to bed, Sylvia came in to sing her a song, like she often does.  But instead of singing "Aurora's Song" for the four hundredth time, she asked me if I would sing "Dorothy's Song" with her, because she couldn't remember the words all by herself.  We had the greatest sing-along moment in Fasciotto history!  My eyes filled with tears as her sweet three-year-old voice sang, "whyyyyy caaaaaan't IIIIIIII?" at the end.  Oh my word, I love this story and this movie and this SONG and THESE GIRLS so much!!  What a blessing.  To think that one piece of literature could bring so much joy to so many people for so many years.  Amazing.

And for the record, the shoes are SILVER in the book!  Can you believe that?  As you can see from the video, Sylvia clearly prefers the "ruby slippers."  Who wouldn't?!