The Connolly Family

The Adventures of Matt, Shannon, Liam & Paige

Author: Shannon (page 2 of 69)

Halloween 2011

I’ll refer you to the last post to explain why I’m posting Halloween pictures in December.  Also?  Baby Girl can’t quite decide if she’s going to give up her morning nap or not but as of this week she’s not napping in the morning.  And this?  This means that there is no time for anything that does not directly involve keeping children alive.  The house is filthy.  The laundry pile is impressive.  The number of times we’ve eaten food that wasn’t prepared at home (and to be clear:  right now I count Trader Joe’s pizzas and giant bowls of cereal for dinner as “prepared at home”) is insane.  I honestly have no idea what happened to the month of November.  With all that said:  here’re the pictures from Halloween.

Monkey boy:

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The dynamic duo:

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Like Daddy, like daughter:

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Getting ready to head out:

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As soon as Paige caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror she started giggling and didn’t stop until we got her out of the car.  It was awesome.

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A banana tree, two bananas, and a monkey:

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Paige’s first bit of Halloween spoils:

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Love.

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We started out at the Koulouris’s house since their street has lots of kids and much less traffic than ours.  Paige and James spent most of the time riding in the wagon together while trading candy with each other (or putting it in Liam’s bag: a major big brother benefit).  They were adorable!

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Heading up a neighbor’s driveway:

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Paige makes sure the goodies are safe:

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Liam cashes in:

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“Look, Dad!  No hands!”

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We let Paige play with a lollipop she found in the treat bag.  Her very high interest level should have been a clue to me but I just thought she’d seen Liam eating one and was mimicking his behavior.  As it turns out?  She managed to chew through the wrapper and was helping herself.  Oy.

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Banana bug:

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“Whoa, Liam.  What a haul!”

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Paige got to try one piece of chocolate:

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She almost took my finger off going back for more!

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We have a “you can eat all you want on Halloween night” rule and Liam took full advantage.  Even still?  The bowl where we poured the remainder isn’t yet empty.  I’m pretty sure this means the statute of limitations hasn’t run out on posting Halloween pictures…

Pumpkin Carving 2011

After last year’s “oops we’re too exhausted to live and it’s already Halloween and we completely forgot to carve our pumpkin…good thing Liam’s not old enough to notice and/or care” debacle we made sure to make time for pumpkin carving.  Liam was *very* excited.

Tools at the ready!

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“Oooooh”

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And we have liftoff:

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Liam’s expressions during the process were killer:

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“Hey, Liam.  How do you feel about pumpkin carving?”

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Checking out the progress:

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My sweet boy:

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Getting to the guts of the matter:

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Checking out Daddy’s handiwork:

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Paige woke up from her nap and came in to check out the happenings:

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“Hey, Liam.  What’s that?”

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“Well, Paigey — that’s a Jack-O-Lantern.  Isn’t it great?!”

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Finished product:

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Liam was very excited to get it outside to its proper place:

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Have I mentioned that Liam *loved* this Jack-O-Lantern?

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“Hey, Liam — show me what that Jack-O-Lantern looks like.”

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All lit up:

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Liam had a fantastic time (and Matt was right there with him) and he’s already asking when Halloween will come around again.  Also?  If Christmas is tomorrow.  And?  If his birthday is next week.

Soccer

A couple of weeks ago I took the camera with me to what was supposed to be one (of two) of Liam’s soccer “games” for the season.  As it turned out, half of the other team had a stomach virus and the other half of the team was instructed to stay home as a precaution.  So basically Liam had a cheering section for his practice.  He loved it.

Liam gets warmed up:

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And here’s where he became aware that I was taking pictures…

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…and started milking it for all it was worth.

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Kickin’ it with Daddy:

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Paige takes Pop on a walk:

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Liam shows me his stuff:

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Paige shows me her stuff:

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These days I find that I get the best pictures of Liam when he’s aware that I’ve just been taking pictures of Paige.  Sometimes sibling jealousy works in my favor.

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Game face:

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“GOAL!!!”

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Love.

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Sun-kissed Paige:

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The official warm-up begins:

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Paige finds this fascinating:

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Paige & Pop:

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Paige & Grammie:

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Huddle:

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“Which way should you shoot the ball?”

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This is what a “scrimmage” of 3 year olds looks like (at least for the first 20 seconds or so until there is a total breakdown and people are running off the field or staring into space…):

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A rare shot of Paige looking at the camera:

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At this point she was still interested in what was happening on the field:

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Liam has a tendency to play with the flag when he’s supposed to play the game:

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(Note that the other children are largely chasing after the ball while my child is mugging hard for my camera)

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Water break!

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More mugging:

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“Go Team Bananas!”

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“Going Bananas!”

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Classic Liam move — running in one direction while looking in another:

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Although the majority of these pictures may tell a different story, the fact that they were in the process of running in the wrong direction, off their field, and onto an adjacent one was not an infrequent occurrence…

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This was the crown jewel of the running-in-the-wrong-direction-off-the-field shots as in this case Liam fully believed that he was scoring a goal.  In the backside of the net.  On another field.

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At some point taking pictures of the scrimmage became harder and harder and I took advantage of the opportunity to snap some of Paige who was having an absolute ball.  Pun intended.

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It should be noted that she wasn’t walking independently at this point and yet her ball handling skills still surpassed those of half the children on the field:

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I would attempt to take some pictures of his last “game” this Wednesday but without the additional cheering section to watch Paige I’m afraid it’s nearly impossible.  That girl is on the move these days!  Fingers crossed that it goes better than last week (at which time we were unaware that Liam was hours away from tossing his cookies and that his physical complaints probably weren’t solely an attempt to get out of playing the game).  At this point I’ll settle for not having to make any trips to the porta potty with both kids in tow…

Pumpkin Pickin’ 2011

Several weeks ago we headed out to Berry Patch Farms to pick out our pumpkin.  Last year I think Paige was around 6 weeks old when we went and I’m so glad that this year we were past the zombie phase of parenting.  At least the initial, interminable, zombie phase…

Our camera died shortly after we arrived and the spare battery had been forgotten at home but luckily Gillian had her camera and we picked up where we left off.

Checking out the animals:

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Paige is not amused.  Something tells me I’m gonna see a lot more of this face in about 11 years or so…

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Checking out the tractor with Aunt G:

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Paige jumps in:

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Could she be any more bershon?

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Hayride!

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Checking out the baby pumpkins:

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Liam’s getting a lot better about making crazy faces when I ask for a smile, but we’re not quite there yet…

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Off to find the big pumpkins:

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Bumpy little guy:

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Paige hasn’t learned how to run away from us yet so we can still get pictures like this…

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And this:

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Brother hug:

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Paige loved the stems…

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…but neither kid loved the idea of sitting still and smiling at the camera.  This is as close as we got (and this time it was Liam with the bershon).

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I’m nothing if not determined…

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Liam checks out the scarecrow:

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Family photo:

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More scarecrow:

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Liam’s not so sure about this guy…

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Handless wonders:

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We tried to recreate our first family picture from last year…

2010:

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2011:

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Oh what a difference a year makes!

Paige Turns One, Part Two

At this point it’s getting a little ridiculous to apologize for the tardiness of these posts…so I’ll just dive right in.

We celebrated Paige’s birthday with a family party the weekend after her birthday.  I ended up catching some horrible virus (from her) the day before and Matt actually had to stay home from work because I was too sick to take care of the kids.  We made it through the party and I collapsed in a heap.  I’m not entirely sure I’ve recovered even 6 weeks later, but I digress…

We had a loose daisy theme (the theme was loose, the daisies weren’t) and the food matched up accordingly.

Daisy finger sandwiches:

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Personalized Daisy Lollipops (also personalized Hershey Kisses, but Matt was in charge of the pictures because I was sick as a dog and he forgot to catch a shot of those):

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Daisy smash cake (courtesy of Gran):

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Daisy non-smash cake (also courtesy of Gran):

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Daisy cupcakes (again, Gran):

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More daisy lollipops:

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Daisy cucumbers (because I am insane):

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The birthday girl wakes up from her nap and gets into her party duds.  [I was in the process of making her a daisy dress when I got sick so we improvised with this dress I’d already made.  There was no diaper cover and I was bummed about not finishing the dress I’d planned (I did finish it eventually — another post for another day) but she was adorable, if I do say so myself.]

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A little Mama Love for the birthday girl:

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Gran takes a turn as Paige begins to fully wake up:

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Paige works on her walking with Gran:

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Making eyes at two of her fans:

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Paige didn’t need anyone to tell her to go for the ribbon first…

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Destructo, Jr.

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Taking a break to hang out with some of her guests.  And to see if she can snatch a camera.  Allegedly.

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Thwarted, she settles for a little walking with Pok:

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Liam supervises the situation as Paige gets back to business:

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She didn’t have to be shown how the present thing works more than once…

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Checking out the goods:

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“Look at that!”

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“Instruments!”

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“Wiggly Giggly!”

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Boy in a box.

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Daisy Girl:

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(You don’t think she’s excited, do you…?)

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“Yesssssssss.”

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“CAKE!”

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“My, oh my!”

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And there’s the inevitable tongue-of-concentration:

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After some deliberation she decides the flowers must be removed before cake consumption may begin.

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Chocolate teeth:

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Careful demolition:

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“Hey, Mama!  Check me out!”

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And here’s where I once again dissolve into a heap of inability to edit.  Picture after picture after picture of Paige covered in cake…

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Paige and Pop:

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Grammie and Pop look on:

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Aunt G checks out the damage:

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Daddy gets ready for Operation Hose Down:

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You know it was a good party when the guest of honor ends up in the tub at the end:

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There have been so many more pictures taken between this and now but I make no promises as to how fast I can get them posted…

Paige Turns One, Part One

Here’s the first batch of Paige’s birthday photos.  Only a month and 3 days late!

For Paige’s initial birthday celebration (on her birthday, as opposed to her bigger celebration which was 4 days later) Liam and I made chocolate chip cookie cupcakes.  He helped measure, mix, stir and decorate.

Getting ready for the icing and sprinkles:

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Sheer concentration:

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Making sure they weren’t poisonous:

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They passed muster!

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The tongue of self satisfaction:

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Finished product(s):

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The birthday girl, her birthday goods, and her brother.  Taking a bite out of her hand.

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Birthday hug!

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It may have taken him a full year…

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…but I think Liam’s starting to get the hang of this whole big brother thing.

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The goods:

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Liam’s handiwork:

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Ta da!

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“You’re gonna let me eat those?!”

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Getting ready to make a wish:

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Blowing out the candle (with a little help from Liam and Daddy):

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“That was it?”

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“Yay!”

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Getting down to business:

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Birthdays are so much fun!

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Testing the waters:

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Getting into the swing of things:

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A little help from Daddy:

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Not so sure…

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“What is this on my tongue?”

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“Oh, I see how this works!”

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The tongue of utter concentration:

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Things really got rolling at this point:

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The key is double-fisting.

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And this is the point in the post where I admit to being incapable of picking out just a few pictures and proceed to post 8,032 almost identical photos in a row.  But I ask you:  With this face how am I supposed to choose?

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The many (chocolatey) faces of Paige:

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“Wow!  Look at that tummy!”

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“But no tummy is ever too full for chocolate, right?”

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“Right.”

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“Oooooooooh”

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Liam enjoyed himself as well:

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You can’t tell, can you?

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“What?”

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Chocolate teeth!

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“Whatcha got there, Mama?”

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Puffs chaser:

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I warned you about the lack of editing, didn’t I?

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And again I ask you: With a face like this?

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How am I supposed to choose?

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Birthday feet:

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Winding down…

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…but never too tired for a silly face.

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Ready to be hosed down:

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“Dirty?  Who?  Me?”

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And after being doused with a giant cup of water…

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…our Sweet Baby Girl’s first birthday came to a close.

Next up?  The party!

Bathtime!

Paige is finally old enough to be bathed with Liam.  They both have a ball when we have the time to do it this way (as opposed to me bathing Paige in the morning while Liam is in school and Liam taking super-fast showers with Matt because we ran out of time…again).  Here are some pictures from a few weeks ago of just such an occasion.

Playing ball:

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Liam shows Paige how to play the bath flute while Paige gets soaped up:

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Liam helps Paige take a turn:

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Jailbreak!  (this isn’t a rarity, unfortunately…)

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Sibling chatter:

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Liam reads to Paige:

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Paige accosts Liam:

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Ahhhhh…

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Liam helps wash Paige.  Paige tries to gouge Liam’s eyes out.

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Oh how I do love baby bums:

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Paige shows off her standing prowess (which was a lot more impressive when this picture was taken — a month ago…):

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Look at those lashes!

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I tried to get a picture of the two of them smiling at me, but we all know how that goes…

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Oh, well…

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Maybe I’ll get birthday pictures up before Paige is 13 months old.  But maybe not…

Pete The Cat Parade

Almost a full month ago (I know, I know…) Matt headed to Decatur for an early morning soccer practice and followed it up by meeting Grammie, Pop, Aunt G., Ean, and Ean’s cousin and dropping by the Decatur Book Festival for the Pete The Cat Parade.  Matt said the parade itself was a bit lackluster but Liam seemed to enjoy himself and the end of the parade featured a tent where James Dean (author/artist) and Mr. Eric (Litwin) were waiting.  Liam wore his ‘blue shoes’ (those in the know will know what that means) and Pete The Cat eyes taped to his shirt.  Here are some pictures from the morning (courtesy of Aunt G.).

Liam and Matt on the parade route:

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Lovin’ it:

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Liam as Pete:

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Pete as Pete:

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Liam does a little dancing to Mr. Eric’s guitar jam:

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He had a great time and I’m glad Matt was able to take him.  Because it’s all good…

Latest Creations

Again — that title isn’t exactly accurate.  I’ve had these finished for a while but I had to get them shipped off and make sure they had reached their destination before I could post pictures.

James Marshall Leonard (my cousin’s FOURTH!) was born in mid-July and although mom and I had decided before he arrived that a handmade blanket was in order it took a good 6 weeks after he arrived to *finally* get it to him.  Working on a major project with two kids (and without a blueprint) apparently takes a bit longer than I had anticipated.  Eventually I finished and was really pleased with the result.

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I used the same faux chenille tutorial that I used for a blanket for Paige several months ago but I added a monogram (which for someone as lacking in the spatial skills department as I am wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done) since I wanted to make it a one-of-a-kind special deal for this little guy.  Here’s a close-up:

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Here’s a shot of the backing:

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Close-up:

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Another close-up, this time of the faux chenille side.  I used a flannel for the top piece and I really like how it helped to beef it up a little bit.  Plus:  the softness can’t be matched.

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I always have a fear when I work on any big project that I’m going to screw it up somehow and that all the hours I put into it will have been wasted.  I always feel a great sense of relief when this turns out not to be the case.

I also sent another little goodie to Sweet Baby James.  I have been working some with old clothes to repurpose and/or improve what I already have on hand.  Just before I began work on the blanket I spent some time going through old t-shirts and came across the USNA Class of 1995 t-shirt I bought during graduation weekend and had worn for years and years (until I had children and ended up wearing a different size t-shirt…but that’s another story for another day).  While poring over the blanket I remembered that it was sitting in the stack and immediately knew I wanted to try making a romper.  I merged a tutorial and a pattern, added navy cotton knit as a trim fabric, and came up with this:

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Because the original shirt had been well loved for 10 years I had to do some tricky cutting to make the front and back straight.  I lost a bit of the wording at the top, but considering that it originally covered my entire shoulders and was downsized into an infant romper I was pretty pleased with the result.

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Serendipitously JJ’s name is near the center of the back, taking a starring role in the outfit.

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I know I could improve upon both designs if I were to do them again anytime soon, but for right now I’ll just leave well enough alone.  We’ll call them couture, how’s that?

I hope Sweet Baby James enjoys the blanket for years to come and that the romper will fit him when it’s warm enough to wear, despite a very strong genetic tendency towards being extremely tall!

Firsts

Last Wednesday Liam had his first soccer practice (and Matt is coaching the team).  Here he is before leaving:

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Liam was *very* excited:

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So was Matt:

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—————————-

This Wednesday was Liam’s first day of preschool for the year.  In sharp contrast to last year he went into the room, saw his friend and said “I’m gonna go play with William, bye Dad!”  He never looked back.  Also?  I’m NOT PREGNANT which means that A: I spent the time while he was gone relaxing and catching up on some creative pursuits (instead of driving around with Matt for the entire time biting my fingernails and intermittently crying that my baby was gone and crying that there would be a new baby within the week that I had to GET OUT OF MY BODY) and B: I wasn’t anxious or sweating.  It was fabulous!

All ready to go:

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He had a great time and was disappointed that he didn’t get to “stay longer so I could eat lunch at school” like he did during summer camp.  Thank sweet goodness for a wonderful preschool experience!

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We rounded out the week of firsts by taking Paige to the park and putting her in the swing that Liam loved so much at her age.  For the first time.  At almost a year old.  Because I’m trying to see how terrible I can possibly be at this whole mothering thing.  Ah well, better late than never, no?  She thoroughly enjoyed herself.  Here are some pictures I snapped with my phone.

You don’t think she’s enjoying herself, do you?

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She looks so LONG here!

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Ahhhhhhh.

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Swinging siblings:

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It’s been a big week!

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