Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer mode.

As always is the case during this time of the year, we are in full-out summer mode at the Zuill house. Days are filled with grass mowing, convertible driving, cucumber picking (and pickle making), popsicle eating, & pool splashing. In spite of all of this, as predicted, I have already started to hear "I'm bored, there's nothing to do!". While we do sometimes (literally) jump in for the sake of child entertainment-

-our favorite is when Henry comes up with his own ideas. And when his sister is entertained in the process, oh happy day!

Sometimes the simplest things will keep them busy just long enough for Mr. Zuill and I to relax on the porch and observe.

Summer nights are just beautiful this time of year. Our backyard (and especially the neighbor's hay field) twinkle with lightning bugs every evening. Henry is fascinated- so he wasn't terribly upset when I put an insect collecting kit in the shopping cart at Target last week. He's been on several excursions to find little subjects to examine inside the jar with the magnifier lens (so cool, by the way!). One night after we got Charlie to sleep, Henry and I went out into the back yard to explore. I loved watching him. He was so careful and gentle. Especially with his favorites-

As far as summer entertainment goes, having great friends nearby to visit with doesn't hurt either!

This morning I was looking at our calendar for the next month, and was so happy to see that there are only a handful of days that have appointments or work obligations. Looks like it's summer mode for a while! Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Endings and beginnings.

The last month has kept us hopping at the Zuill house. Exhausting, but so full of goodness that there's absolutely no room for complaining- Charlie's birthday, Henry's baseball practices & games, school projects, plenty of opportunity for Vitamin D therapy in the garden & yard. Wonderful times that are flying by too quickly. Want to know what else flew by pretty darn quick? Kindergarten, that's what.

Henry and I have talked about the possibility of home school someday, once Charlie is a tiny bit older. We'll see. I think there are things we would love about it, but Kindergarten has been such a sweet experience. Henry has grown to adore Mrs. Walker. And there sure were some sweet kiddos in his class. Charlie has decided that she fits right in with them.

Today was the very last day of Kindergarten and also the very last day of Rockets baseball. Henry had a great ball season. He really has learned so much more about the rules of the game. He's learned to always know where the ball and his runners are. He's excited to move up to the 7-8 year old league next year, because he's dying to try to steal second base. He likes to play catcher, but only for an inning or two because he says all the getting up and down is exhausting, ha! He took a hard ball to the cheek, the kind that leaves a bruise with stitch marks, and after a few minutes went back onto the field with his team. He batted in the winning run during the Rockets' one victorious game. We have been so stinking proud of him. On Sunday he and I were outside practicing some throwing and batting and Henry said "Mommy, I think you'd be a great ball coach.". Melted on the spot.

I think we're all happy to see the slower days of summer arrive. I'm really looking forward to having Henry at home every day. We're already talking about trips to the Discovery Center and the splash pad. I have missed him and I know Charlie has! A month from now, after I've heard "I'm bored!" 7,834 times, I may be singing a different tune and anxiously awaiting shopping for school supplies. But for now I'm looking forward to some downtime and more of this kind of goodness-

I have a feeling, however, that even the laziest of summer days around here are still going to be fairly busy.

The smallest Zuill has morphed into a full fledged toddler. Charlie is a trampoline-jumping, couch climbing, Cozy Coupe riding madwoman. And is she ever chatty. We have been blown away by the number of words coming out of that girl's mouth. We hear "muc!" (milk), "wanu!" (water), bite, and "drinky-drink!" all the time. She tells us if she wants blueberries, banana, or cracker ("crackie!"). Frequent requests are "read! read!", "walk!" and "gin, gin!" (again). I can't say I was shocked when I heard "Wego!" come out of her mouth as she proudly strode into laundry room with a fist full of lego bricks. My favorite is when she plays pat-a-cake ("Pat-caaa, Pat-caaa") or maybe when she's looking for Henry- "Brudda! Brudda!". Or sometimes he's "Heh-heh". She sure loves her brother and he will go out of his way to appease her. But the real trouble is going to be with this one. He is smitten. I love these two.

So, off we go to the lazy days of summer! More on that soon, I'm sure! Thanks for checking in!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Charlie's birthday + Spring things!

Charlie's first birthday party was a success! It was smaller than Henry's first birthday party, no doubt, but almost all of our favorite people were in the heart of our home to celebrate our sweet girl- and we had party food and cake! The epitome of a good time, ha!

I think we had about about 12 adults and 6,783 kids here. Or maybe it just seemed like it. It was total joyful chaos and Charlie wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

She also wasn't sure what to make of her birthday cake. I made the same cake for Charlotte that I made for Henry on his first birthday. Strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. She loved when we brought the cake out. She couldn't take her eyes off that candle and just smiled so big when everybody was singing.

Really, it didn't take much to convince her that her birthday cake was something she didn't want to miss out on.

She came up for air just long enough to share a bite or two.

In the kitchen I hung photos of Charlie throughout her first year. Looking month to month, it's astounding to watch the transformation.

I feel like this little gal with the huge personality gives me a sneak peek into what we may be in store for. Just love her so!!

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by Charlie's enthusiastic cake eating. She's really gotten into her food lately. Literally.

Spring weather has been a little rainy lately but the nice days are truly wonderful. We've spent lots of great time at the baseball park watching Henry get better and better at his sport. We've cleared and tilled our garden and put out tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, potatoes, radishes, lettuce, broccoli & wildflowers. Henry has really gotten into the garden this year, as we planted a lot of seeds, and he is fascinated to watch them spring from the ground. We've had watermelon play dates and have gone to the park to meet friends after school. I think Henry spends half his waking hours on the trampoline playing Harry Potter with Ava & Olivia. We're just all so happy to be OUT!

Thankfully the weather was just about perfect for the annual Easter egg hunt next door! Events like this really remind me of what a wonderful community our little town has. I'm so happy our kids gets to experience all this.

Corinne and I found a little gem just a few miles away in College Grove this week. We heard that Delvin Farms has local organic produce and the sweetest little strawberry patch and so one day after school we headed there to see for ourselves. Eureka.

The big kids loved picking berries. Well, Henry mostly loved holding the basket while I picked berries, ha! The little kids, however, weren't exactly sure this was their idea of a good time.

They'd rather eat sand instead.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, April 17, 2017

charlie, one year.

How strange to type "one year" in the title of this blog entry. Baby Charlie, you are not a baby anymore! You are our spunky, busy, funny, naughty, and sweet toddler!

The last month has been bursting with business and change! You got to see some familiar faces in person for the first time when Uncle Andy & Auntie Cheryl came to visit us in Tennessee. You took your first steps while they were here, from Uncle Andy's to your Daddy's arms! You took your third plane trip to go to Orlando where we spent the last part of our time with them exploring the world of Legos and Harry Potter. And while you got plenty of attention from your doting Aunt & Uncle, you did have to share them with the one who'd been about to burst waiting for their visit to arrive.

The amount of baby tricks you can do these days is staggering. You are saying so many words now! Finally "Mama" is on your list. "Pappy" & "Gaga" are on the list now too. This made for some very happy grandparents! A few other new Charlie words-

-"Blooo-ba" (blueberries)
-"Byyeee-Bye" (in the most southern baby dialect you can possibly imagine)
-"Bipe" (when you're ready for another bite)
-"Bat-bat" (when you've snagged Henry's batman figure)
-"Pep-Pep" (Preston)
-"Guuuuu" (anytime you see Gus)
-"Poo-poo" (yay)

You pretend to take our picture and you pretend to blow your nose. You adore being on the trampoline. You ride your Rhino all over the living room and kitchen. And you've decided that Pappy meant for you to ride the horse he made for you every day, and you do. You point to your hat once you've mounted your steed. Although you rarely keep it on.

You are still a huge pet lover. Gus is still the only one who will tolerate you (no one knows why). You watch every move he makes, especially if he sneaks out the window.

You are a climber! Henry never climbed anything when he was a baby/toddler, so I was caught a little off guard when I saw you climb up onto the couch this weekend! And heaven forbid we leave the dishwasher door open. It is just the right height for naughtiness. We've found one activity that will keep you highly entertained and out of mischief for a minute-

You are still a really good eater. You love just about everything we've put in front of you. Blueberries are a favorite this month, along with watermelon and hummus. You still love eggs, bananas, peas, and oatmeal. You are not a fan of cow's milk or almond milk, but love yogurt and cheese. Yogurt is always a major undertaking because you insist on holding the spoon and your aim is questionable at best. Your party isn't until this weekend, but on the day of your birthday we got you a cupcake to celebrate. I have never seen you eat more precisely in your life. Hopeful dogs were disappointed at the lack of crumb dispensing. The whole time you were eating your cupcake you kept pausing to clap. Ha!

Last week we meandered out to the yard to take a couple of sets of one year old photos. The first set might be my favorite, because you are wearing your big brother's shirt from 5 1/2 years ago.

I also wanted to do some photos with you holding one of the big "1" balloons. I let Henry talked me in a pink one. (It's like I don't even know myself anymore.) But that balloon is your favorite thing in the world! You drag it all over the kitchen and we hear "boon! boon!" on repeat. And even I have to admit that the pink balloon was kind of perfect-

Charlie, we cannot believe you are 1! We can't imagine our lives without you! Your arrival turned Henry into the best big brother we could have imagined for you. Your Daddy is most certainly wrapped around your finger and, I only imagine, is in for more trouble than he knows. You keep us busy, challenged, exhausted, laughing and in love! You are funny and busy, mischievous and sweet. Happy birthday our sweet girl! We love you, Char-Char!