Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fiona - 2.5 Years

Fiona is two-and-a-half years as of January 21. She has developed a lot the last six months and has really grown into her role as big sister. We see her tender heart everyday when she brings Eloise toys or insists that Eloise be brought into our bed in the morning for cuddles. She will tell us, "I really, really love my baby sister, Eloise."

Fiona talks a ton now, often in full sentences. She can sing the ABC song and can identify many letters individually in her ABC puzzle. She can also pull out the letters in her name, although she doesn't always put them in the correct order (sometimes she also adds a "Y" to "F-I-O-N-A"). She knows many of her colors. Fiona can confidently count to 12 but then gets a little mixed up in the teens. She loves to sing and will often start a song and then will stop and ask us, "Know that song?" We say this is her first joke that she sings the song, "Doctor, Doctor, tell me the news. I've got a bad case of loving you" except she changes it to, "Doctor, doctor, tell me the news. I've got a bad quesadilla!" Then she laughs hysterically. (We think it's pretty funny which eggs her on.)

Speaking of which, Fiona has a quirky sense of humor. We drive by a snowman that some neighbor kids built, and she will tell me, "I want to knock that down." Or we were at the museum the other day on the 3rd floor and could look down through an opening to the 1st floor, and she reaches down for her shoe and says, "I want to throw my shoe down there." Or today we were at a tacqueria for lunch, and Fiona reached over and smeared bean on Chris' hand and asked dryly, "Do you like that, Dada?"

Her favorite toys right now are puzzles, a Melissa and Doug school bus she got for Christmas (it has a little wooden bus stop, which she calls a "bus-stopper"), magna-tiles and books. She loves to read books and will sit on the floor and flip through stacks of them. Chris has been taking her to the library once a week to get new books so we don't continue to drop a fortune on new ones. Fiona also loves to look at pictures and point out everyone. Her favorite TV show by far is Dora the Explorer, although she will begrudgingly watch Super Why or Thomas the Train for short stints.

Fiona is very loving and will give us hugs and kisses frequently. Her favorite person is probably Eloise, though. She's also doing better with sharing when her cousins or friends are at our house.

One last tidbit: Today she told me on the way to school that tonight she both Chris and me to pick her up from school. Then she wanted to go to the library and then to the pool. When we get back home, she would eat Mac 'n Cheese and strawberries at the table, and then we would go downstairs in the basement where she would eat cake and watch The Three Little Pigs. I love that little girl and her idea of the perfect day.

A few pictures, including the first in which Fiona is doing something she loves: taking Chris' deodorant out of his gym bag and smearing it on herself.

Good times with Fiona
A little song by Fiona right as we were heading out the door (she insists on putting her hat on backwards).

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Christmas in Prescott

Chris' parents recently purchased a vacation home in Prescott, Arizona, and rather than celebrate Christmas in Indiana this year, the family decided to fly to Prescott instead to kick off the New Year. Matt and Katie were, unfortunately, unable to make the trip due to work obligations; however, Bobbi was able to fly down with Mike and Rhonda. Chris and I flew out of MSP the afternoon of the 31st, and after a harrowing drive through fog and light snow with the girls fussing, we arrived to the new house in Prescott about 10pm. We had a wonderful trip, filled with easy mornings, shopping, hiking and great dinners we took turns making.

The beautiful log home and view of Granite Mountain

The scariest part of the trip occurred the day after we arrived. Fiona had been battling a cold for at least a week, and after we arrived in Prescott, her fever spiked, and she was lethargic with labored respirations and a rapid heart rate. With all of the flu going around, Chris and I decided to take her to the E.R. where the staff monitored her oxygen levels, took a chest x-ray and did a rapid strep test. Everything came back okay. She perked up after a dose of aceteminophen, a gift of a stuffed turtle from an EMT (which she later named "Chris") and a special cherry popsicle. Chris and I bemoaned the fact that the ER visit occurred on January 1, 2015, since we hit our deductible in 2014 for Eloise's birth, but better safe than sorry. 

Sad little girl showing off her new animal

Perking up

Fiona felt better the next day and spent some time hanging out with Grandma Rhonda and her cousins.

The smiliest girl

Chris and I drove across the street one morning and went for a quick hike while Rhonda watched the girls. We lost the trail after about a half hour and wound up trekking to a high rocky point before turning back. The trails were very muddy, and the dirt stuck to our shoes to the extent that we had to frequently shake or scrape them off. However, we had fun getting outdoors on our own for a while.

We drove to downtown Prescott late one afternoon and poked around some shops until the city lit up with Christmas lights.

Our last day in Arizona we drove an hour-and-a-half to Sedona. I didn't take any pictures of the formations surrounding the city but was blown away by the beautiful landscape. We found an easy trail since we had all of the kids along and took off for Bell Rock. About 10 minutes into the hike, Rhonda volunteered to stay back with Eloise since we had not packed a carrier for her. Fiona did a great job walking, although we carried her quite a bit since the trail was muddy. She and Chris found a rock shaped like Minnesota in a creek bed; we left the rock at the house in Prescott to look at next time we visit.

We did a bit of climbing off the trail to an overlook. I think we were all a little nervous how sheer the drop was at the top since the kids were anxious to explore, but the views were great.

We stopped in the small hillside town of Jerome on the way home. I didn't get any pictures, but we had a memorable time at a scenic winery. While the adults had a glass of wine, the kids (Lilly, Evan and Isaac) were entertained by the owner's daughter who was about 7 or 8. She took the kids downstairs to "play" which involved her telling them stories about a child ghost that lives downstairs. The story was complete with a door that mysteriously opened and closed. The boys especially were riled up by the ghost story and talked about it for a long time.

We had a wonderful trip and enjoyed spending so much time with family. Here's a final picture of Fiona and Isaac enjoying a little Dora the Explorer before bedtime.

Christmas in Minnesota

We had a busy few days of Christmas in Minnesota. On Christmas Eve, we took the girls to a service at our church and then settled into a quiet night at home. We let the girls open their gifts from Great-Grandma Bobbi on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, Fiona tore through her gifts relatively quickly, as toddlers are apt to do, and we ate a special breakfast of croissants, proscuitto and cantaloupe. We purchased a few gifts for Eloise that she will grow into (bead maze, doll and a couple other toys). Fiona's big gifts were a basketball hoop, books, puzzles and a couple smaller toys. She especially likes her Melissa and Doug school bus with wooden people. After nap we spent late afternoon/early evening at Sean and Bonny's where the kids exchanged gifts. December 26th, we drove to my parents' house for Christmas with my dad's side of the family. On the 27th, we spent the evening with friends, and on the 28th, we celebrated with Allison and Rob.

After wavering back and forth, Chris and I made the decision to forgo the story of Santa Claus, not due to moral opposition, but rather because we want to focus our time with the girls celebrating the birth of Christ.

I didn't get many pictures this year. Our SLR malfunctions indoors, and I'm always over the limit for storage on my phone since Chris and I somehow have our iPhone accounts linked under the same storage limit. Anyway, here are the few pictures I took.

Presents from Bobbi on Christmas Eve

Sweet girls

Christmas morning chaos

 Wearing matching sweaters made by a co-worker's mother

Christmas with the Taffe cousins