Summer update

Summer is upon us! Connor has been out of school since May 25, and we have been enjoying our summertime so far.

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Our last day playing on the school playground after school. We spent practically every afternoon here!

First and last days of Kindergarten

Connor “graduated” from Kindergarten and will start first grade at the public school this Fall. He is currently NOT excited about that, and anytime I bring up the subject, he says he wants to “do homeschool.” I think he’s nervous about being in a new place with new people. There are only two friends that he knows from Kindergarten who will attend his new school. On the bright side, when someone at the pool last week asked Connor what school he goes to, he sounded proud and confident when he answered, “Shelton Park!” I suppose it’s a step in the right direction!

In other Connor news, he now wears glasses. We had no idea he had any vision problems until his annual checkup this year. Connor was really excited to wear glasses, but the novelty has worn off and he usually forgets to wear them if we don’t remind him!

Connor completed his spring soccer season a few weeks ago. He liked his coached and teammates and had a lot of fun.

We have been getting into the swing of our summer routine, which includes morning swim lessons, one-on-one time for Connor and me while Morgan naps, afternoon pool or playground time, then two worn out kiddos watching a show while I get dinner ready. It’s rare during the school year for Connor and me to have time with just the two of us, so we have been trying to enjoy our opportunities this summer while Morgan naps. We spent the first week playing Monopoly every day, and lately we have been building Legos in his room.

Connor and Morgan are both turning into little fish! Last summer’s big accomplishment was for Connor to put his head all the way underwater, and this summer he really hit the ground running and has made a lot of progress. He is having a blast “swimming” on his own in the shallow end without floaties. Morgan wears a Puddle Jumper and was pretty hesitant the first time we went to the pool, but now she just jumps right in!

Morgan has grown up so much in the last few months. She is “talking” all the time! She says many, many words – in her own way – but between context clues and her signs we can usually understand what she is saying. She has been saying Mama and Dada for a while, but in April she added “Ah-nah!” for Connor, and finally last month started saying “Ah-nan!” for Morgan. She likes to do a “roll call” and calls out each of our names, waiting for us to say “here!” Morgan loves her brother and Daddy, books, LEGO minifigures, and Paw Patrol toys. (Oh, who am I kidding…she loves the Paw Patrol show, too.)

There were two big changes for Morgan last month. We converted her crib into a toddler bed because she was starting to climb, and I decided to bite the bullet and wean her at the same time. She has always nursed to sleep while rocking in the glider, so being able to actually lay with her in the toddler bed gave me an opportunity to create a new bedtime routine. Weaning her was bittersweet, but she actually transitioned really well. She has gone through phases of various bedtime shenanigans as I attempt to master a new routine, and every week seems to be a new adventure. First it was asking to go potty every five minutes and stuffing her stuffed animals behind the crib bumper. After we got over that hump, she spent several nights screaming for a Paw Patrol bandaid for her week-old boo-boo that had already healed. Her latest shenanigan is needing two pairs of socks – one for her feet and one for her hands. We are also running the gamut of ways to fall asleep: laying next to each other in her bed, laying on top of me in her bed, being held while I stand up, laying across my lap while rocking in the glider…or on Daddy’s lap in front of the TV because she wouldn’t go down for a nap. (Oh, and she sleeps through the night, while her brother still ends up in our bed most nights!)

Grandma Penny and Oma’s visit
My mom and grandma spent a week with us at the end of April/beginning of May. It was such a wonderful week, and we didn’t want to see them go! Many memories were made that will not be forgotten. Morgan was saying “Ah-ma” for Oma and signing “Penny” by the first day they were here, and she still “talks” about them. They got to see Connor’s spring program, and we also attended a performance of the Virginia International Military Tattoo.

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Oma brought the best activity books for Connor!

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Grandma Penny and Connor always read the Knuffle Bunny books when they are together

Reading and puzzles with Grandma Penny

Here are a few pictures before Connor’s spring program: 

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Here are a few more pictures from the last two months:

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Enjoying a lemon slice outside Dockside while we wait for our dinner with Grandma Penny and Oma

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Copying Fozzie Bear’s tongue

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Riding the train at the Zoo on Mother’s Day

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These two really love spending time together. I hope it lasts!

Visiting the farm animals at a library event

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Happy 6th Birthday, Connor!

We just can’t believe the ways you have grown this past year! You are such a clever little boy with so much enthusiasm and zest for life. There is never a dull moment in our house! You still love Legos like crazy, but you also love playing with your little sister. I think you have found your partner in crime!

Kindergarten has been lots of fun for you, and we absolutely love hearing you read. We hope that you will always continue to find as much joy in books as you do now! You have made many friends this year, and I know it will be difficult to start first grade in a new school next year with new faces. Your outgoing and friendly spirit will help you make new friends.

This year, we had a party at the playground near our house. Several friends from school came, as well as two friends from last year’s class, and a few Army friends as well. It was a sunny and hot day. Everyone had a great time!

Lego Ninjago cupcakes, and Lego head marshmallow pop favors

Your birthday was on a Monday this year.  Daddy came downstairs early before work so that you could open your last two gifts, which were Lego sets, of course.  I had to setup for a MOPS meeting before school, and you always help me.  Since it was your birthday, I offered for you to have a Chick-fil-a breakfast while I setup, and you gladly accepted.  (But you still helped me setup anyway!)  Pretty much all of your time outside of school today was spent building your new Lego sets.

We love you to the moon and back! We are so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy!

Here is a look back at Connor’s previous birthday photos:

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2012 (Colorado Springs)

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2013 (Germany)

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2014 (Germany)

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2015 (Germany)

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2016 (Virginia Beach)

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2017 (Virginia Beach)

Spring update

We kicked off spring break by spending Easter weekend with Aunt Michelle, Uncle Brock, and Eric. Thankfully it was warm enough to play outside! We also had an early birthday “celebration” for Connor while we were together. Connor enjoyed eating breakfast on Aunt Michelle’s special birthday plate, followed by cupcakes and opening two new LEGO sets. Connor loved having some LEGO-building time with his cousin Eric. The highlight of the weekend for Morgan was exploring outside and constantly searching for the cat. She “told” me over and over, through a combination of signs and sounds, that the “orange cat was sleeping under the truck.” After a nice Easter lunch, we drove home and the kids found their Easter baskets.

Connor helped Uncle Brock spread mulch.  Morgan “helped” load the wheelbarrow, and couldn’t get enough of the cat!

The kids and I enjoyed a beautiful and peaceful walk around Aunt Michelle’s property on Easter morning.

On Monday of spring break, Connor, Morgan, and I met his friend Willow at Cloud9, an indoor trampoline park. We all had a blast jumping for an hour, and then Connor went with Willow to Chuck E. Cheese to play and have lunch, followed by more playing at her house. Meanwhile, Morgan and I enjoyed some quiet time at home, followed by a much-needed trip to the grocery store. Connor had a blast spending time with Willow all day, and he was exhausted!

The rest of spring break was much more low-key. We played at a few playgrounds, relaxed at home, and went to an opera performance of The Three Billy Goats Gruff at the library.

What’s new with Morgan?

-21 months old

-Canine teeth are cutting through

-Uses the potty sometimes

-Says Mama, Dada, and uh-oh

-Uses many, many signs to communicate with us

-Echoes lots of vocal sounds

-Can’t get enough of her brother, and copies EVERYTHING he does

-Climbs all over the house and playground

-Loves dogs, books, playing outside, coloring, and helping to empty the dishwasher

-Starting to get a stubborn streak and wants to do things herself, like buckling her car seat or high chair, or putting on clothes

Here are a few more pictures from the past two months:

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A young Charlie being held by his older brother, Jeff. I love seeing how much Morgan looks like Charlie!

Top:  Can you tell she put on her own shirt?

Bottom:  Loading up her basket at the Children’s Museum, and feeding her animals as we empty the dishwasher

Lining up her monster trucks, and coloring the Paw Patrol pups

And here are the two sweet siblings who can’t get enough of each other!  I sure hope it lasts!

February 2018

Where has the time gone? It has been about two months since my last update on the kiddos, and it’s unbelievable to look back and see how much they have both grown and developed in that short amount of time! They both keep us busy and there is certainly never a dull moment.

We enjoyed the Christmas holiday in Virginia with Charlie’s parents, sister, and her family. After a few days at his sister’s house, Charlie’s parents spent a week with us as well. That week was stretched out even further after we got slammed with a foot of snow and their flight home was cancelled! Connor loved playing in the snow, but poor Morgan couldn’t even walk in it because it was so deep. It stayed below freezing for several days, which meant nothing melted and we didn’t go to school for almost a week!

Reading with Granddad

Coloring with Grandma

SNOW!!

Connor loves kindergarten and I am blown away by his developing reading and math skills. His teachers are wonderful and we are so happy with his school. It will be bittersweet to attend a different school next year. Connor and his class hosted a sweet Valentine’s Breakfast for families on Friday, and he is looking forward to his class party and card exchange next week.

Connor loved having Morgan in his classroom for his Valentine’s Breakfast!

Our little man is still as active as ever, and can be found creating obstacle courses with the couch cushions or playing tag daily! Thankfully he has a slower mode as well, and loves to read with us. His current favorite book series are Captain Underpants, Dog Man, and Magic Tree House.

Speaking of active…Miss Morgan is 18 months old and full of energy and personality! She is still quite the little climber, and cannot be easily deterred from scaling any obstacles in the house. She officially “runs” now, and Connor loves to try and play tag with her. At the playground, she loves to climb on the equipment and swing on her belly.

Morgan has her own “secret lab,” as Connor likes to call it. There is an end table and chair by the window where she brings all her new and exciting objects to further investigate and play with. I usually lose a cup or Tupperware container every morning as she “helps” empty the dishwasher and I find it later on her table, filled with small animal figures or play food.

Our little lady has been learning and developing like crazy. Her latest trick is peeing on the potty! I decided to get out the small potty just to use before bath time, but her interest took off from there. For about two days I felt like I couldn’t get her OFF the potty because she was so interested. Thankfully the novelty has worn off, so when she asks to go (by using the sign for “pee”), she just sits for a minute and does her business (or doesn’t), and then she’s ready to get down and move on with our day.

My favorite moments these days are hearing Connor constantly talk about his sister to other people when we are out, and hearing Morgan’s shrieks of delight when she sees Connor. I hope these two continue their close bond as they grow!

Here are a few more pictures from the last two months:

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Morgan wearing a dress that my mom smocked for me when I was almost 2 years old!

My little exercise buddy

Enjoying the beautiful weather!

Does she look guilty?  She pulled a bag of bread off the kitchen counter and brought it to her “secret lab.”

Enjoying the beautiful weather!

These kids can’t get enough of their Daddy

I love when I catch her reading on her own!

We enjoyed a family day at the Aquarium

 

Getting ready to head to school for the Valentine’s Breakfast

Happy Holidays from Virginia Beach!

Happy Holidays from Virginia Beach!

What a blessed year it has been in our household. Life is certainly busier these days with two active kiddos in the house, but we wouldn’t change a thing. Watching the relationship blossom between Connor and Morgan has been such a joy! We can hardly go anywhere without Connor announcing, “This is my little sister! Her name is Morgan!” She reciprocates his excitement by shrieking with delight whenever Connor enters the room.

Connor turned 5 in April and is thriving in Kindergarten. I’m so pleased that we decided to keep him at Bayside Presbyterian, where he has been for the past two years. He goes everyday from 9:30-1:00. His teachers are fantastic, and he is learning so much! Connor loves trying to read everything he sees. We stay after school for about an hour each day to play on the playground with friends. (Morgan looks forward to this playtime as much as Connor does!) When we aren’t at school, Connor enjoys reading Captain Underpants with Mommy or Daddy, building/playing with all the couch cushions, pillows, and blankets, and of course he still loves building LEGOs. Connor participated in both a Spring and Fall soccer league this year, which was a fun experience for him.

Morgan is growing too quickly! She is approaching 17 months old and has quite the little personality. Morgan loves to put on shoes and clothes, enjoys looking at books (especially with animals), dances anytime she hears music, mimics many sounds, and uses around 50 signs to communicate. Her new favorite activity (besides climbing on everything) is helping Connor and Mommy empty the dishwasher every morning. She carries handfuls of silverware to the drawer and dumps them in, and hands plates to Connor. To celebrate this holiday season, Morgan enthusiastically sings “La la la!” anytime she hears Deck the Halls.

Charlie enjoys his teaching position at the Army School of Music. He was promoted to Sergeant First Class earlier this year, earned his Senior Instructor badge, and also attended the Army Senior Leadership Course. Charlie was fortunate to have several travel and performance opportunities this past year as well. He traveled to Wisconsin to perform at a national convention with his faculty woodwind quintet, assisted Army band liaisons with recruiting at ClarinetFest in Florida, and also filled in with the TRADOC Band from Fort Eustis for their holiday performances. A highlight of Charlie’s year was spending Homecoming weekend at the University of South Carolina and participating in the alumni band.

I am grateful that I have the privilege of staying home with the kids. When I’m not busy playing tag with Connor or pulling Morgan down from her latest climbing feat, I keep busy with a few other tasks as well. I volunteer as the Family Readiness Group leader for Charlie’s unit, and I am also working a few hours as the childcare coordinator for two different groups that meet at the church where Connor goes to school.  In May, Morgan and I flew to Buffalo to spend a short weekend with four of my friends from college.  It was amazing to catch up after all these years, and introduce our little ones to each other.

We wish you health and happiness during this holiday season. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Love,

Charlie, Ashley, Connor, & Morgan

September

​What happened to summer? It’s hard to believe we are already into October. The weather has cooled off a bit and Connor had a field trip to the pumpkin patch last week…so it must be Fall! The kids have been keeping our hands and minds busy and our hearts full. Here is the latest from the Brokovich household, from September until now:

Connor started Kindergarten on September 6th. He was pretty anxious about starting, but has had fun each and every day. Charlie and I have been blown away by how quickly Connor is learning to read! He has learned many sight words already and is able to put them together into sentences. He is so proud of himself when he can point out words he knows as we read books together. His teachers are wonderful, and he seems to have made new friends easily. We stay after school for about an hour each day to play on the playground with other students and enjoy the nice weather. When Connor is not in school, he loves to build LEGOs, play tag, look at his LEGO catalog, relax with a favorite show, and create crazy contraptions around the living room with blankets, pillows, and ropes.

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Connor is ready for his first day!

More first day of school photos

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Connor is ready for his field trip at Taylor Farm!

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Connor’s Kindergarten class at Taylor Farm

Choosing the perfect pumpkins

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Connor loves all the trucks at the farm

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Connor’s favorite activity at home is still building LEGOs!

Morgan’s two favorite things this month are Daddy and dogs. She shrieks, woofs, and signs “dog” anytime she sees or hears one, and loves to look out the window to catch a glimpse of our neighbors’ dogs. As soon as Morgan hears someone at the door in the late afternoon, she immediately signs “Daddy.” I absolutely love to watch her face light up when Charlie walks in! Morgan also enjoys flipping light switches, climbing on stools and chairs, and looking at pictures of our family.

Our little lady has added many new signs this month: Connor, brush teeth, airplane, book, hat, glasses, music, playground, loud, fan, rain, cold, exercise, sit, open, poop, brush teeth, tomato, avocado, fruit, strawberry, egg, and banana. She mimics a few sounds, such as the frustrated grunt each of us tends to make. She also gets pretty close to a true “Uh-oh!”

Morgan is sleeping pretty well. Her bedtime has crept closer to 8:00pm, and over the last two weeks she’s had a few days where she wouldn’t take her afternoon nap. She still wakes up once or sometimes twice during the night, but she also sleeps straight through every once in a while!

My dad and stepmom came to visit for a few days. They had their 2-year-old foster daughter with them, and we had an interesting time managing the kids’ interactions. Connor was thrilled to show Gram and Grandpa his school, and have them here for his soccer game. We look forward to seeing them again at Thanksgiving!

Here are a few more photos from September:

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Finding ways to entertain ourselves while Connor is at school…

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This silly girl still loves pilfering from the clean laundry basket!

Morgan fell on the sidewalk and scraped her nose and forehead.  Thankfully it healed quickly!

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She thinks she’s a grown-up girl now!

My two little yogis!

August 30, 2017

Where oh where has my baby gone?? I look at 13-month-old Morgan and just can’t believe that we have this precious little lady in our lives. Morgan’s personality is bursting through and we are in awe of how much she learns each day.

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Morgan is generally happy and full of smiles, and Connor is still the master at instigating her true “belly laughs.” She dances anytime she hears music, can lean in for a hug and a (very wet) kiss if asked, and will hold up her hand for a high five. She also still loves to play dress up with the clean laundry!

After reading to her every night, Morgan is finally at the stage where she is interested in books! Her current favorites are Pat the Bunny, Little Lion, and Doggies. It’s so cute to see her bring a book to me, sign the animal that’s in it, and plop down in my lap to read together.

Morgan loves to pull on Connor’s clothes!

Communication
Morgan’s signing has really taken off! I can’t even explain how much fun it is to see. We endured a week or so of madness when she was constantly holding out her arm and shrieking for things, but now she holds her arm out and then signs “please.” How can you say no to that?? The signs we see most often these days are “Daddy” and “water.” Boy does this little girl love those two things! To top it all off, we even witnessed her first 2-sign request recently: “Water, please!” Other signs Morgan uses include dog, lion, dinosaur, outside, diaper, and get dressed. We see “outside” all the time because she loves to beg to go out!

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Signing “Daddy” while watching him mow the grass

Sleeping
Over the past month, Morgan has been waking up usually just once during the night! Her nighttime is generally 7:30pm-6:30/7:00am, and she takes two naps. When she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, I usually snuggle with her in the glider for a few minutes.  Sometimes she is ready to climb right off the glider and walk out the door!  She always stops and grins at me as she’s halfway off the chair because she knows I’m going to laugh, wave, and say, “Bye, Morgan!”

Eating
I used to have a little baby who only needed to breastfeed, and the next thing I know, I have a little girl who eats three square meals a day, plus a snack! She still nurses to sleep, and sometimes asks for milk during the infamous pre-dinner hour (during which all children seem to have a rough time handling life).

Although Morgan often plays well in the living room (with or without Connor), she is frequently a bit clingy while I’m trying to work in the kitchen, and I often end up preparing meals with her on my hip.  I think she’s mostly just curious to see what’s going on, and she wants to make sure she can sample a bite of everything!

Earlier this month, I thought I was going to need to add an eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy brother’s water bottle.” It started in the car, when I would give Connor his CamelBak bottle and Morgan her sippy cup. That crazy girl would throw her cup down and scream for Connor’s bottle! Being the generous brother that he is, he would give it to her once he was done drinking. This madness spread to the cups at the table as well. Deciding to leave nothing to chance, I bought two new CamelBak water bottles with the EXACT SAME design, and new sets of plastic cups with two of each color. This definitely goes on the list of “Problems I never had when I only had one child.” (But let’s be honest…I feel blessed beyond belief to be Mommy to these TWO kiddos.)

Big Brother
I can’t believe summer is almost over! Connor took a second session of swim lessons and further developed his skills. He’s still not swimming on his own, but he has gained a huge amount of comfort and confidence in the water, and is putting his head under like a little fish!

We have kept busy with trips to the playground or various parks, library activities, and of course, lots of LEGO building. Connor starts kindergarten on September 6th! He has been a little nervous, but he’s feeling much better after meeting his teachers and classmates at Open House.

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Enjoying a morning at Mt. Trashmore Park

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Chef Connor preparing “ice cream sundaes” at the library’s Restaurant Play event

Both kids had a blast another library event, Construction Play!

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My two peas in a pod love riding in the wagon together!

Adventures
Charlie’s sister and her family drove down from the Richmond area to spend a Saturday with us!  The guys (minus Connor) had plans to do the high ropes course at the Adventure Park.  The weather forecast was terrible, but they managed to squeeze in most of their reserved time before it stormed, and came home with vouchers to go back another time.  Meanwhile, the kids, Michelle, and I enjoyed a relaxing day playing at home.  Once the guys returned and got cleaned up, we all went to The Leaping Lizard for dinner.  It’s one of my favorite restaurants in town!  It was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Everything is so fresh and made from scratch.  Morgan enjoyed hearing the sound of her shrieks echo around the small restaurant, and we tried to spend as much time as possible walking outside and looking at the chickens before it was time to sit down and eat.

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Connor and Morgan enjoyed lots of playtime with Aunt Michelle

Another Saturday in August was spent in Yorktown with my Aunt Jackie and her family. Jackie is my mom’s sister. She came to visit us after Morgan was born, but I can’t remember the last time I had seen her before then. She has four sons and several grandchildren, and I hadn’t ever met any of them before. Three of her sons were able to come with their wives, and two of the grandkids were there as well. We all enjoyed spending time with everyone, and hopefully we will see them again!

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The Lohr Family!  From the left:  my cousin Greg and his wife Alison; my cousin Tom (very back) and his wife Carolyn (in front of him); my Aunt Jackie; Bryan’s son Kevin, my cousin Bryan, and his wife Suzanne (in front of them); Kathryn (Tom and Carolyn’s daughter), and us!

Charlie took a week of leave at the end of August, and we all enjoyed having Daddy home for a “staycation.”  Connor had lots of fun outings with Charlie, like going to the indoor trampoline park, building Legos, and doing the high ropes course at the Adventure Park!

Connor and Charlie loved their morning at the indoor trampoline park!  Connor’s favorite part is the foam pit and “Ninja Warrior” course.

Connor was so excited to finally tackle the ropes course!

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