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A lot has certainly happened within the past three months! Natalie has started pre-school, turned 3 years old AND had a baby brother join the family!



Natalie is loving pre-school! She has made friends with everyone in her class and has become best friends with a girl named Sarah who seem to pal around with all the time. In fact, Sara came to Natalie’s birthday party and she went to Sarah’s birthday party just a couple of weeks after knowing each other and they already seem like long-time pals. We have also been to two other birthday parties with kids in her class. She is quite the popular gal as the parents tell me that their kids talk about Natalie all the time. I just hope it’s all good! She is learning so much in her pre-school. From shapes and colors to cutting with scissors and even reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s nice that she can learn these things in a fun setting. If she was with me solely, we would be doing a lot of the things as well, but as an adult, I think you forget that you have to learn a lot of the basics and it’s good she can do it with others. She really likes her teachers and has recently picked up one of her teacher’s words in a British accent – can’t. It’s quite amusing hearing that word through the Queen’s English. Natalie also had her first set of school pictures taken. I told myself that I wasn’t going to buy any, but lo and behold, she was so gosh darn cute, I did buy the collage picture. How can you say “no” to this adorable little gal! They also like to have parties! They’ve had a Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas party!





Natalie turned three in September and we had a Dora-themed party to celebrate. On Thursday prior, I brought little pastries to her Preschool class to celebrate and on Saturday we had over 40 people attend her party at the house. I think from now on we’re going to start making the venues a little smaller, however. The party turned out really great! I made 15 knitted backpacks for all the kids which were a big hit. We also did an obstacle course/scavenger hunt which included a map, glow sticks and an egg race. I also made a piñata that turned out good, but next time, I think I’ll do it a week in advance to allow for longer drying time as it fell apart at the rope when the first strong kid hit it. Aunt Snookie made her delicious cake ball cake for Natalie’s birthday and everyone loved that as well. Another great way that we are able to celebrate her birthday is by attending the Plano Balloon Festival since it occurs around the same time. This year it occurred on her birthday and she loved it! We watched the balloon glow, played musical instruments and also jumped in a few bounce houses.



At the end of September, we went to the square in downtown McKinney to attend Oktoberfest. Natalie was just the perfect size to wear the dirndl that I wore as a little girl which Donna brought home from Austria oh so long ago. She looked so cute in it too and received lots of comments while we were there. A few patrons even wanted to take their picture with her. I guess she’ll have to get used to this kind of stardom.



Natalie was immersed in Tinkerbell this year for Halloween. She wore her costume 4 different times – once at a friend’s Halloween party, once at pre-school, once at Scare on the Square and finally on Halloween night. By the end, she was tired of Tinkerbell and didn’t want to wear it anymore. I can’t say I blame her.



In November, she was a busy gal. We went to the book store to meet Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. I thought she might be a little scared of him because he was so big, but she went right up to him and held his hand.



She also has had two recitals at pre-school. The director was celebrating 25 years working with the church and all the kids sang. The other time was for Christmas and she used a shaker to sing their song. I was so proud of my little gal and there was no sign of stage fright in her eyes. I guess theatre blood runs deep in the family. :)



Natalie also began to work on her carpentry skills by helping daddy build shelves for the office. She hammered some wood and also did a little painting.



Natalie isn’t afraid of Santa anymore! She was so excited to see him and promptly told him what she wanted: A Barbie, a horse and musical instruments. Any time we saw him, whether in person or on TV, she would point him out and shout. I think she realizes that he’s not so scary after all – especially since he brings presents!



Natalie and I received impromptu tickets to the Nutcracker and she really loved it. She only sat in her chair for about 5 minutes, but she watched the dancers and tried to imitate them. She is constantly dancing around the house and I think that means we’ll have to enroll her in dance lessons pretty soon. We can’t keep that girl from twirling.



On December 10th, Natalie welcomed her new baby brother into the world. She is completely smitten with Tyler and loves to give him hugs and kisses all the time. She also loves to read to him and is very attentive when he cries. She has found that when she sings Hickory Dickory Dock, he calms down and she’s very pleased that she has that talent of soothing him. I hope her fondness for Tyler will continue as they both get older, but I’m sure as soon as he’s old enough to take one of her toys, the dynamic in the household may change. Attitude-wise, she’s not jealous of him or hurtful, however, she has lost some of her focus in her normal behaviors and we are constantly having to tell her to do things more than once when we used to not have to. She’s also saying “no” a lot more and being more whiny and emotional to us than she used to. Because of this, she’s gotten a few more spankings which she’s not fond of. Hopefully she will settle down soon with our new routines.



Christmas was good to Natalie. She received a Barbie and a horse from Santa and musical instruments from Nannee. She also received a dress up trunk of Disney princess gowns which we have worn every day since receiving them. Her favorite has been Cinderella but we have also worn Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The shoes are a bit noisy as the clunks around on the linoleum, but for the most part, she does pretty good in high heels. Another exciting toy she received is a Leap Frog Computer. She’s still getting used to how a mouse operates and trying to find the specific letters on the keyboard but she is enjoying playing with it very much.



A Girl Knows When to Dress for Any Occasion



Being Silly



Too Cute



Snow Days!



I’m looking forward to 2010 and seeing what wonderful things Natalie will be doing and how she will be growing!
 
 
 
 
 
 
This evening we went to Natalie's preschool where we got to meet the teachers! This being my first time ever as a parent learning about daycare, preschool, etc., I found that it was a madhouse! Kids and parents were everywhere. It was so noisy and chaotic that Natalie was a bit shy and stayed right by my side for the first half. Towards the end, everyone filtered out and it was a lot more manageable and we were able to talk with the teachers which was nice. We found out that a couple of the kids in her class have some major nut allergies so she's not allowed to bring anything nut-related; even for herself. There goes my idea for packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her first day of school. Oh well. Turkey and cheese it is! Her teachers are Ms. Janelle and Ms. Janey. They seem really nice and it sounds like they're going to be learning a lot: days of the week, of the month, making sure they recognize their name, the alphabet (which she knows) and their sounds, numbers 1-10 (she knows through 20), how to cut straight lines with scissors, tracing, and I'm sure several other things that I am forgetting. When we got to the classroom this evening, they had her name on a table and on a cubby. She decorated a folder with stickers which will be her notes we will get at the end of the week. I think she will have a lot of fun when she gets settled in the routine. There are 15 kids in the class with a lot of girls, so she should be making a lot of new friends. Of course, as a parent, I want her to be able to succeed as well and I’m going to have to remind myself that she doesn’t have to know everything before school starts. After all, if she does know it all prior, what will the teachers teach!



Earlier this week we had some fun getting creative. We made cheerio necklaces. A few days later I got some fruit loops but by that time the novelty had worn off but that’s ok. It tastes good with milk too!



Unbeknownst to us, we are getting ahead of the game with scissors. She wanted to cut the tops of her pop ices off so I figured that she might as well practice on some paper as well. We had a little Christmas in August moment and made snowflakes. Natalie decided to improve on some of the ones I started. What is left of the snowflakes are still hanging up in the front window.



We also managed to get a little car washing in as well. We helped our neighbors wash their car and then helped daddy get his washed too.



Birthday planning is starting to come to the center of our world. We sent out 41 invitations today. I can’t even believe she knows that many people at her age. Many of them I know won’t come as they are out of town and such, but I’m trying to imagine the house full of party-goers. If you’re going to do something, it’s worth doing over-the-top, right? I better get to knitting a few more backpacks!
 
 
 
 
 
 
I must admit I’m horribly behind with Natalie’s journal and all her updates. For her faithful followers I’m sorry about that. One would think I have all the time in the world available to update but every time I get on the computer with Natalie awake, she immediately wants me to play or play on my computer. When nap time comes around, I try to get a little relaxation time for me but my sleep schedule is slightly off.

Natalie is growing by leaps and bounds. “Why” and “What” have become constants in her vocabulary and just last night she woke up because there was a monster under the bed. Daddy had to go in with sword a-blazing and he went through his entire music repertoire before she finally went back to bed. Although she talks about monsters she’s not completely obsessed with them, but she does also like to close any door and lock it to keep the monsters out. She’s even locked me out of the house once. Only once… She can now buckle herself up in her car seat and when we travel together as a family, she wants me to sit in the back with her because she “needs the company”.   One of my favorite times of day is in the morning when Natalie wakes up before Jeff and I do.  She will get out of bed and you can hear her shuffle her feet to our room.  She'll get at the edge of the bed and climb up between us to lay down or snuggle with Jeff if he awakes first.  I can usually hear them whispering and it always makes me smile.

I’m in the process of planning her birthday party which we will be having mid-September. She has told us that she wants to have a snake at her party. When I ask what kind, she says a happy snake. Later on she wants a hippo and then a lion and also a monkey. Maybe I should be looking at a petting zoo option rather than the Dora the Explorer party I’m currently working on. My little baby is going to be three soon!

With our advancement in age, we’re also advancing to other new levels. We’ve graduated the 2-year Sunday school classroom and are moving onto the 3’s. We went to the wrong class today so we’ll get to meet our new Sunday school teacher next week. We did take cookies over to Mr. Wes and Ms. Debbie to thank them for being such wonderful teachers. Preschool will be starting in about three weeks as well. Natalie is excited because she will be getting two teachers. Nannee bought her a sleeping mat as her preschool present. I avoided the Tax-free weekend but I do need to get her a lunch pail. I saw a cute Tinkerbell one that Natalie looked at the other day that I’ll pick up in the next week or two.

We’re fully potty-trained; again. We sorta relapsed a bit with the 4th of July weekend and keeping her in her princess pull-ups for the convenience of not having to worry about being in the lurch of lack of bathrooms, but for the past couple of weeks she’s been straight panties and only has had a couple of accidents during nap time.
 
Natalie loves collecting leaves, sticks and rocks wherever she goes.  I can picture her scrap book now: this is when I went to the Walmart parking lot, and this is the time when I walked across the street, and this is the time when I chased the leaf in the backard at Nannee's house...

One of my favorite achievements we have accomplished this summer was her playroom at the front of the house. It was total chaos, but thanks to Ikea, we have a working playroom that’s functional too.

Before / After


So on to the fun parts; the pictures! Pretty much, this is what we have done the majority of the year from Feb just before my gallbladder surgery through when I have been a stay at home mama up to today. This is what Natalie has been doing:

Playing With Mommy And Daddy


Making Music And Being Artistic


Spending The Night
 

Cooking


Laughing


Lots And Lots Of Easter Egg Huntin’


Visiting Local And Touring Exhibits/Attractions


Watching My Very First Movie In The Theater
 

Being Athletic


Exercising


Sleeping In My Big Girl Bed


Getting My Hair Cut


Swimming


Dressing Up


Going To The Zoo


And Finally, Being So Gosh-Darn Cute!


As you can see, Natalie has been a very busy girl.  I’m glad I get to be at home to give her these opportunities!

Now that we’re up to date, we can start going again!

 
 
 
 
 
 
I was so proud of Natalie yesterday.  We were in a craft store browsing for buttons when Natalie decided that she wanted a basket.  She grabbed one when I was at the end of the aisle in plain sight.  She ended up getting turned around and couldn't find me.  It was a bit amusing because she was yelling "Mommy" and I would reply "Natalie" but she would never look my way.  She immediately went to the counter where she saw an employee and asked "Have you seen my mommy?"  I was immediately there and the employee pointed to me, and as I was watching these few moments, I was so proud of her.  She couldn't find someone so she asked someone who could find me.  She didn't sit in the aisle and cry.  She was extremely level-headed for a 2-year old.  That is exactly what Jeff and I want to teach her.  Now mind you, I hope that she never has to do that again, but I feel a little bit at peace that she understands the concept of what to do when you are lost.

On another note, I got a spanking from her yesterday afternoon as well.  Out of the blue, Natalie came up to me and said "I'm mad at you and you're getting a spanking."  She then proceeded to swat my butt.  I took this in chide and Natalie laughed at my reaction, but I sat her down and asked her why I was getting a spanking.  She trailed off a bit, but I told her that if she is going to give me a spanking, she needs to explain why I received it.  She started out with "because sometimes you..." and then became incoherent after that but I had to explain to her that she needs to justify her actions and can't spank without reason.

We enrolled Natalie in preschool this week.  She is too young to join the elementary preschool so she's going to our church preschool program two days a week during the school year.  I'm excited by it because she'll be able to get out and make new friends and learn new things.  In addition, I'll have a few quiet hours by myself and then later on with Tyler which will help everyone out in the end.  Natalie would go stir crazy being couped up in a house with a newborn and nothing to do.  Thinking about it, I probably would too!  She doesn't start until September so we have another month to go, but we toured the children's building and at the end before saying goodbye, Natalie shook the director's hand and said it was nice to meet you.  She was so surprised becuase she said that Natalie has a great vocabulary and children this age are usually throwing tantrums in the hall not wanting to go.  Naturally, that would make any mother proud to know that her child has the best manners and is a super genius.  They're going to put her in the early 3's program since her b-day is so close to the September 1st cutoff timeframe and she would probably be closer in age to them rather than the later 2's.  I'm glad as I would rather have her challenged a bit rather than be bored, but we'll see how she does.

It's very weird seeing yourself be echoed through your children and watch them turn into little adults.  Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Well, if that gig in physics doesn't pan out, she would be a great appliance spokesmodel.


               
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yesterday I put what medical application I remembered from when I was little to good use yesterday.  Natalie was playing upstairs while I was downstairs straightening up for at least a few minutes.  It is amusing what sounds you hear can predict what the next one will be.  I heard Natalie talking and playing with her dolls and then I heard a thump.  I knew the next sound wouldn't be good and sure enough from up above there came a loud cry.  Natalie was at the top of the stairs when I reached her and thought she hit her nose, but instead there was blood coming from the inside of her lip.  From what she was able to point and talk about through her tears and coughs, I made out that she bumped her lip on the corner of the bed.  She didn't want her princess ice pack nor her boo boo bunny, so I tried to remember what my mom did to me every time I bumped my mouth:  2 ice cubes and a washcloth.  It worked.  Natalie chewed on it until the ice was gone and the bleeding stopped.  Of course, if I was really smart I would have just given her a popscicle.

Father's day weekend turned out to be a bit hellacious for Jeff.  I think it's because she spent the night and day before out and away from her normal routine.  We're going to curtail that a bit and keep it to one or the other.  She seems a bit overwhelmed by the time she comes home and we have to bear the brunt of it.  On Sunday, when Natalie woke up she gave her daddy her hand print encased in cement and then we went to church.  That part turned out fine but after church was when it went downhill.  We stopped by the grocery store and as we were checking out Natalie had to go to the bathroom.  Did I say that we're potty training?  We're 3 weeks into it and she's doing great - woo hoo!!!  By the time we got to the car daddy was pulling out of the parking lot thinking to meet us at the front.  Natalie saw him and freaked out because she thought he was leaving us.  That took a long time to calm her down.  When she woke from her nap, she was better so daddy took her to the mall where they could go to the Leggo store and buy something for them to do together.  They rode the carousel, ate a pretzel, bought a tractor at the store, but on the way out of the mall, she saw a kayak she wanted to play in and daddy wouldn't let her.  She then started screaming "you're not my daddy" and tried to bite his hand so he would let go.  I know he was upset by this and it hurt me too.  I don't know if we're hitting the terrible two's at the end or what, but it was definitely not a happy memory for the day to go down in the books.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm going to apologize first off and say what a horrible blogger I am. So much has happened in 3-4 months time and I haven't documented a moment of it for Natalie to remember. I don't have any pictures for this entry, but going to try my best to remember all the details that have transpired as there have been a lot of significant events!

To begin with, mommy lost her job with EDS back in March. She had been there for almost 14 years. It's turned out to be a mixed blessing because although we have lost half of our income, we think we've worked the numbers where I can stay at home. As an added bonus, we became pregnant and are now expecting baby #2 in December! The baby has their own journal (of course) and you can view it at: http://phbaby2.livejournal.com. Notice a pattern? :) There is a lot of excitement about baby #2 in the family and Natalie is excited about it as well. She loves kissing mommy's belly and has already named her Sally if it's a girl. I just hope she'll feel the same when she actually arrives.

When I last left Natalie's journal, she was saying some pretty cute things like "straw-babies" and "I can't want to". She's still saying a few of those items and she's added so many more words to her vocabulary. She can say a few more Japanese words, can count to 10 in Spanish and is great with reading and telling stories just by looking at the pictures.

Natalie spent the night for the first time back in February. She stayed over at Nannee's house. Since then, she's stayed over there a couple more times and loved it since Nannee has Candy Land and Mr. Potato Head to play with.

Easter was very eventful. The easter bunny came to visit her in over 5 different locations! We also went to the grocery store where they had an egg hunt for the kids and she won a chicken dinner from the deli. Not too shabby for egg-hunting. Her favorite hunt was at the theatre where daddy worked. She went all over the set on the show they were working on at the time to search for eggs.

On Mother's day, Natalie was dedicated at the church. We were a bit delayed with that but I'm glad we were finally able to do it. She received a little bible and also a sealed note from the pastor.

The past couple of weeks have been very eventful as well. On the 5th, Natalie started wearing panties! This has been an exciting moment in the Stover household. We've had a couple of accidents, but they've mainly been just after she's relaxed and awakened from a nap.

To start getting ready for baby #2 and having Natalie used to not sleeping in her crib anymore, she is now sleeping in a big girl bed. I originally had all these elaborate thoughts as to how I wanted her bed and room, but in the end, the simple $60 toddler bed from Walmart won. It's the perfect size for her and although we have had a little difficulty at the beginning of nap time, she does fine when going to bed and will sleep straight through the night. Now I'm waiting for the time when I look over the edge of my bed and find another set of eyes looking back at me.

Natalie went to the movie for the first time on Sunday. She went to see Up with Nannee and aunt Donna. This is somewhat tradition as Donna took me to see my first movie when I was Natalie's age (The Jungle Book) so I'm glad we could continue the tradition. According to reports she did really well and watched the whole movie. She was also quite hungry (since we didn't really eat anything before church.) She had a hot dog, popcorn, pink lemonade, and a sour patch straw. I hope this will be the first of many exciting trips to the movie that she will get to have with the family.

Natalie is getting so tall! She's in size 3-4 toddler clothes now and wears a size 10 for shoes. She is going to be taller than Jeff or myself if she keeps growing at this rate. My side of the family is tall so we'll see.

She is turning into such an independent little lady. She loves helping in the kitchen and can crack eggs, pour batter, make toast and mix most anything. We have enjoyed meeting up with friends and their kids, we love going to the park and playing in the splash pad or on the playground and she can ride her bike there and back without any problems. We also walk to Wal-Mart about once a week to get a little exercise and that's about a mile total. She enjoys the walk and although she wants to be picked up for the last half, I can convince her to walk for most of it. Her favorite show on TV right now is Dora the Explorer. Can you guess what the birthday theme will be this year? :)

I'll be updating soon with pictures but I hope this has given you a little idea of what has been going on with Natalie these past months.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Natalie is no longer shy about approaching people. Her favorite phrase is “What’s your name?” Talk about a great conversation-starter.

Natalie has been all about parties lately! A few weekends ago we went to our neighbor’s Ale and Roel’s b-day party at Peter Piper Pizza. This is the first time Natalie has ever been to a party outside of a house. Needless to say, she absolutely loved it! She had fun playing on the slide, learned how to Whac-a-Mole, ate pizza, sang happy birthday and even won prizes with the tickets from the games she played. Can you believe $20 worth of tokens got her a pair of glasses, a snap bracelet and a squishy purple toy? Looks like mommy is in the wrong business! Natalie loved the party hat. Even days after the party, she wanted to wear it.

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The next weekend we went to Samantha’s birthday who’s daddy is a co-worker of mommy. Natalie enjoyed playing with the other little girls that were there and she did a great job of sharing the toys. She also sang “happy birthday” right along with everyone else!

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Speaking of singing along, Natalie is doing great when it comes to participation. At story time in the library, she is jumping up on her own and doing the sing-along songs. When she is watching TV and the cartoon asks kids where a particular item is on the screen, she will point to it. Last night she was watching Caillou and he was playing with his cat Gilbert. Natalie started laughing two separate times at the game they were playing together. It’s a lot of fun seeing her interact with others. And makes me feel good that I can start to sit back and let her do her own thing.

In late January, we had a bit of an ice storm which causes everyone in Texas to panic. I stayed home for a day and Natalie had so much fun staying home. She even helped me with some of my work…

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Natalie is having fun finding new hiding spots in the house. She has found her own secret place (which I introduced to her) under the pool table. She loves it so much, she brought her doll house and some of her kitchen toys upstairs to play with while she’s there.

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She also loves playing with the pool balls. She is getting quite good rolling the balls across the way and having them land in a pocket. At first she was jumping up and down on her stool because she was so excited, but after falling off the stool a couple of times now, she has learned to step off first and then celebrate.

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A couple of weekends ago was pretty decent weather-wise, so daddy and our neighbor Otis decided to fix a fence post that snapped a while back. Natalie wanted to join in and help.

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One one of mommy’s rare days off, we met up with our friends Heather, Alex and Sara. Natalie had fun paling around and following Alex around the square.
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Musically Inclined

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Yo Yo Yo

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More Fun With Friends

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Saturday was quite an eventful day for Natalie! She went to a hip new bookstore called Legacy Books where she met a award-winning author, Carrie Bebris. I was so proud of Natalie for behaving so well during the talkback. This was a first for both Natalie and myself and we had such a good time! It was also a real treat because after the book signing, we sent a note to Ms. Carrie and she replied back! How many people can say that an author has corresponded with them personally! We also played in the children’s section where Natalie had fun jumping into the cushions. There was another little girl there who was two as well and her mother was so impressed with how far advanced Natalie is! Those comments made me feel good to know that Natalie is doing so well.

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We went to mommy’s office and played by the waterfall. If only she could have her desk outside…

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Later that evening, we decided on an impromptu hair cut for Natalie. This was her first one ever (minus bang-cutting by Bachan). Natalie did great! While we were waiting for a jeep to clear, she had a manicure which she loved and then was very good while she was getting her hair cut. I was a bit worried when the stylist brought out the hairdryer but other than wincing for a bit, it didn’t bother her at all. True, the haircut doesn’t look like much, but it did get a lot of the wild ends tamed down which makes a big difference.

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In the middle of the night, Mommy woke up due to pain in her side so we had to call Nannee to watch Natalie while daddy took me to the ER. Turns out that I have gall stones so it looks like there will be a scheduled appointment with a surgeon in the near future. The grandma’s tagged out and Bachan came over to the house at 7:30 in the morning to take care of Natalie so we could get a little rest. I’m so thankful for family! I don’t know what we’d do without them!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have you been having Natalie withdrawl? Fear not! She's back and busier than ever!

Happy belated New Year! Natalie has had such a busy and wonderful holiday season that she’s been too busy to post. Mommy is finally setting her down for a few minutes to discuss all the fun activities that took place over these past several weeks.

Our first exciting holiday moment was watching daddy walk across the stage to get his diploma for his Master’s degree in Arts and Technology. Natalie was doing great in the cramped quarters until all the graduates came in. Once she saw daddy all she wanted to do was go down and see him and boy did she tell us with her crying and thrashing. Several times we had to go up the stairs and in the back to distract her and calm her down, but I think daddy enjoyed the fact that his little girl was proud of him and wanted to be there right there by his side.

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We also had some sad moments during the holiday. Nana went into the hospital a couple of weeks before Christmas. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She stayed in the hospital for several days and then was treated and sent home. Just a few days later, she had to go back into the hospital due to the flu and was there through Christmas. We did open some of the presents and stockings at Nana’s house on Christmas eve, and then Christmas morning we went to the hospital so Nana could open her stocking and a few gifts.

Christmas Eve, we went over to Nana and Donna’s house to have dinner and open presents.

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The Official Mother-in-Law Underwear Present!
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Christmas morning we was very busy! We had our family Christmas early in the morning so we could go back to Nana & Donna’s for breakfast strata and then over to the hospital to see Nana.

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Christmas afternoon, daddy’s family came over for a potluck Christmas celebration and Natalie was showered with more gifts!

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Speaking of gifts, Natalie made out like a bandit. She received lots of clothes books and novelties, but the big gifts that Natalie has migrated to most of all were her Caillou doll, digital camera (she has taken some pictures so those will be posted in the near future), a new tricycle, a doll house and two kitchens! Some of those items have gone over to Bachan’s house to play with during the day, but if there was any doubt that a little girl was living in our midst there should no longer be any questions now. She loves her kitchen set and after daddy assembled it Christmas eve, that was first item that she flocked to. She could care less what else was under the tree! She loves cutting the food in half with the play knife and puts them in the bowl for all to share. When Nana came home from the hospital after Christmas, she opened her dollhouse and fell in love with it instantly. We need to get some more accessories for the house, but it did come with a potty which she immediately put the baby on it and said “all done? Good job!” She also makes sure that the mommy and daddy doll kiss each other as well as kiss the baby.

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Natalie has learned a lot of new things lately. The biggest is learning her alphabet. She can recite all of the ABC’s, but recently E and Q-V have dropped off the list. Apparently those are optional letters. She can also say her days of the week and she has learned to give the thumbs up. She can stick out her thumb. She loves hiding under the covers and daddy has introduced the flashlight when you’re under the covers and she loves that! She has begun to do a little back-talking and a temper tantrum will soon follow if she doesn’t get her way, but it’s more fun to dwell on the positives so those times will be omitted for now.

We all went to see the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art over the holiday as well. Natalie loved all the statues and would say “that’s my favorite” to each one. We held her for the majority of the time since there were so many people and didn’t want her to get lost in the crowd, but we also saw the Eliasson light exhibit and we told Natalie to put her hands behind her back and not to touch. She did a great job of not touching the art, but there were a few times where she would try to touch it with her nose instead.

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It’s really exciting to converse with Natalie as it does not feel like you are talking to a two-year old. She seems so mature in her phrasing and mannerisms that one can easily forget.

Mommy has been knitting for a while but she finally took the plunge late last year and made a sweater for Nannee’s Christmas present. She was so confident that she decided to make a jacket for Natalie too. Natalie continues to say “thank you for my sweater, mommy.” Melts a mommy’s heart.

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Now that Natalie’s getting a bit older, she’s starting to lose some of her babyness. She’s called us mom and dad a few times rather than mommy and daddy, she can say her name and age, and she tells us to close our eyes when we get ready to say the blessing. Despite some of these evolving changes, she still loves to be rocked in our arms. I hope that never changes.

Natalie Loves her Aunt Snookie and Uncle Ben
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A Lucky Little Girl With Her Nannee and Bachan
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Fun With Friends
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Learning to Ride the Tricycle
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Dinner at Home – Aunt Marcia is in Town!
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What A Mess!
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Adorable
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It’s been a while, hasn’t it! A lot has certainly happened between Thanksgiving and now. We have been to many holiday celebrations to get ready for the holiday cheer.

Natalie has learned, for the most part, to sing all of the A-B-C’s. A few of them are transposed here and there but I would say that’s not too shabby for a 2-year old! She also can recall things that have happened during the day. When I ask her at the end of the day what she did at Bachan’s house, she would say that she played in her room, talked with Mar Mar (family friend), watched Barney… I don’t know at what age they’re supposed to be able to go back into their memory database but I’m going to confirm it again that our daughter is a genius!

With her profound genius, there are also some opposite behaviors that come with the program. For example, “now” has been added to her vocabulary. “I want mommy NOW” and “Come here NOW”. That could be because we have told her to get her rear in gear several times and she’s emulating us but we’re trying to curtail that attitude very quickly.

Natalie has learned how to curl her tongue today! I’ll have to get a picture of it soon.

In the meantime, here are the goodies of the weeks past.

We went to Dickens on the Square for Thanksgiving weekend and kick-off the Christmas Spirit. We are not a fan of Santa this year needless to say…
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She also stole mommy’s popcorn!
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Playing the DS. One can’t stay in the same position for long when you’re popping balloons!
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Becoming one with Nature. We saved a shoe from the mud and there was also a lot of washing when we got home.
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Getting Together With Family and Friends.
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Learning To Use Chopsticks!
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Hanging Decorations.
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Uh Oh. Someone Dropped Their Toothbrush Down the Sink.
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Mommy and Daddy – don’t we make a cute couple being married for 10 years!
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The Grand Finale Of All-Things Natalie!
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