Happy Halloween!

Penelope, the black cat, before our Halloween party.

Penelope, the butterfly, before trick-or-treating.

(The great thing about Halloween with toddlers is that you can steal their Halloween candy when they're not looking and they never know what hit 'em.)


In the Library

"Daddy, will you read with me? Puh-leeeease!"

"I'll go pick out a book for us."

"Wow! You sure have a lot of books Daddy!"

"Hmmm...Here is the one I was looking for."

"Uh, Daddy? A little help here?"

"C'mon Dad! Let's read!"

"Again! Again!"


The Fair to End All Fairs

(as in...this will be the last time we attend the state fair!)

On Saturday we joined a few friends for a trip to the North Carolina State Fair.

Big mistake.

First, the 30 minute car ride turned into an hour and a half car ride. Followed by a 30 minute wait in line for the shuttle bus to the fairgrounds. Followed by a 30 minute crowded bus ride. We were all exhausted by the time we finally arrived at the fair.

(The face of a child who is just annoyed as her parents by the long trip.)

But once we arrived, we tried to make the most of it.

First stop--the animals.

Penelope quickly made friends with this huge mule.

Our attempt at a group photo.
Penelope, Me, Natalie with Chora, Jessie with Benjamin, Mary, Scott

Then Penelope teased the chickens by trying to stick her fingers in the cages.

Scott and Mary entranced by the milking booth.

You know you're at the North Carolina State Fair when you encounter a tobacco curing exhibit.
"Look Penelope! This is how you dry tobacco leaves and make cigarettes. Mmm!"

But steer clear of those drugs!

You can't go to the fair without splurging on a ride or two. We went for the classic carousel ride.

Giddy up!

After a quick bite to eat we hightailed it out of there to catch our shuttle bus.

Along with a thousand other fairgoers.

After over an hour of waiting in line we wondered if we would ever escape the clutches of the state fair.

Penelope you'd better treasure these pictures.

Because they are the last ones that will ever include you at a state fair.


One Point Five

Penelope, look how much you have grown since your first birthday! Happy 18 months Little P!

You are growing faster than a weed! When we were in Germany you were just a little thing compared to your German companions, but here you are towering over your peers. It must be what you're eating, because you are quite the little eater. You love to devour your breakfast bowl of oatmeal or Wheatabix cereal and demand seconds. You're currently in love with avacadoes, corn, beans, tomatoes, and cheese, and even though your parents can't stand the taste of it, you prefer milk over anything else. A few nights ago you devoured a plate full of asparagus and mushrooms for dinner, and when we go to the grocery store you demand sample after sample or oranges, cantelopes, or whatever fruit is on special. You still don't care for meat, which makes your mama secretly happy but upsets your dad.

You are always busy and on the go, but every once in awhile we can catch you for a few moments of cuddling. You love to give wet kisses, blow kisses and give hugs to any stuffed animal, doll or warm body nearby. You love to go to school and play with your friends, but you always light up when it's time to go home. You started calling me "Mah" for some reason, but daddy is still "Daddy."

You love to play outside, whether it be at the park or in the backyard. You often bring us your shoes and beg to be let out right that very moment, rain or shine. Sweeping the back porch and the grass is your current favorite obsession.

We have to be careful what we do around you, because the second we turn our backs you attempt to imitate us. This comes in very handy when it comes to cleaning up messes and wiping your nose, but it become quite dangerous when it comes to plugging in the lamp or wielding sharp objects.

You still love to read books, and your attention span has been much better. We can make it through an entire book at bedtime now, even two on a good night! You have also become quite the budding artist. You try to sneak any pencil, pen or crayon so that you can create your own masterpiece. Unfortunately your artistic aspirations have also included decorating furniture and floors, so we have had to cut it back to using your special washable crayons in the bathtub during bathtime. 

You are learning new words and skills every day. Not only can you identify your body parts, eat with a spoon, build a block tower, and win a dancing competition, you can also use a mouse and navigate your parents' iPhones with ease.

Although you had a slow start, your speaking vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds within the past few weeks. You have a particular fondness for 'c' words like "cup", "car", "come", "avacado", your friend "Chora", "cockadoodledoo" (which is distilled down to "cock" in Penelope lingo), and today's new word "cracker". You are also a pro at making the noises that dogs, snakes, cows and monkeys make. Your one German word that you picked up while in Germany has still persisted--around here all the "no-no's" are "nein!", pronounced with a harsh German accent.

See that smirk on your face? That's your trademark expression when you know that you're up to no good.

And you've convinced yourself that if you dive onto the floor or behind your mother's legs, you are invisible.

You certainly keep us on our toes little girl! You are constantly experimenting with gravity and testing the limits of your little body. Even though we took off the bottom step up to your high chair, you still manage to climb up into your highchair when we're not looking and plop yourself into your seat. Just a few days ago your daddy thought he had lost you in the house, or, worse yet, out the front door. After several minutes of calling your name and frantically searching around the house he discovered you quietly hiding behind the door in the pitch-dark study. Little did your daddy know that you are an expert at the game of hide-and-go-seek.

Inspite of all of your trickeries and tendancies towards disobedience, we love you more dearly than any other little girl could possibly be loved.

After all, you are our little Penelope!

The Sick Bed

Poor Penelope hasn't quite been herself the past couple of days.

It all started Thursday evening when she quickly contracted a high fever and gave us all quite a scare when she had a febrile seizure. After a franctic call to 911, some tests, and a trip to the doctor we all calmed down a bit, but she scared us again with another febrile seizure Friday. It's got to be the worst feeling ever to witness your baby shaking and her lips turning blue while you're standing there helpless. All we could do is stand there and reassure ourselves that they will quickly pass and aren't causing her any longterm harm. But it is terrible nonetheless.

Poor, poor Penelope!


First Taste of Fall

We spent Sunday afternoon at Camp Chestnut Ridge for a church picnic. Before the festivities began we wandered around down by the lake and took in the early fall colors. The scenery prompted a mini photo session.

We discovered this bee hive next to the lake. It was alive with the sounds of busy, buzzing bees. Thankfully they were too busy to notice us.

"Daddy, is that the smell of chili in the air? We'd better hurry back and get in line. My tummy is a rumblin'!"