Catherine Elise 2009
Catherine Elise's Second Year


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                                   Happy Birthday to Catherine Elise!

                                  One candle for one year old!




Yeah, it's Catherine's birthday!  And her birthday (cup)cake!



          "It's my birthday, la la la la!  Ga-ga-gaaaah!!  Ha!"



And so Catherine gets a birthday walk in the park...


Oh boy, look at these funny toys -- not as colorful as the plastic toys at home,

but these must have much better batteries because they move really fast!



                    "I know what I want for my birthday!  I want a duck!"


                                 The ducks, however, do not agree.



Summer in Maryland


Oh, a scorching hot summer it was, and what does a girl do on a
Maryland summer weekend?  Well, 
go to a crab boil, of course!


Yum!  Piles of tasty crabs seasoned with Old Bay were laid out on tables. 

The adults sure do seem to like them.  Still, Catherine seems skeptical.



               "Hey, don't you drop that big bug on ME!"



BIg Sister for a While


All during the month of August, Anja was visiting us from Germany.

She was Catherine's best friend, and Catherine would just squeal

with delight when Anja would grab her.  Oh boy, a big sister!



Catherine seems to like Anja.  Look how she just hangs on and smiles.

Now when Daddy gets hold of her, that's a different matter.



Catherine Elise was trying to get away in that photo.  Believe it or not, that

was the best photo out of a bunch.  At times, it was almost like trying to

hold onto a greased pig!


And we had more visitors stop over:



This is Aunt Helen, cousin John Milton, and Helen's boyfriend Rob.

It was a full house, and Catherine Elise loved all the attention!


But weekend visitors never stay long, and even Anja had to go back

to Germany eventually, and the next day after she left, Catherine did

a lot of walking around the house wondering where she could have gone.

Summer is almost over, and strangely, een the rain and cool weather

showed up soon afterwards.



Oh well, back to the lonely little sandbox...



In the Streets


Perhaps the term "In the Streets" is not a very encouraging thought for

someone Catherine Elise's age.  Yikes!  Very worrisome.  But actually,

that's the name of a once-a-year festival that the City of Frederick holds

in early autumn, with bands playing, parades, food vendors, and all sorts

of colourful and noisy distractions, pretty perfect for someone like

Catherine Elise.


As it turned out, Daddy's beer was being tapped and sold at Brewer's Alley

on Market Street that day, and as it even better turned out, they had cleared

off their entire patio to make more room for all the drunks who would arrive

later.  This provided an excellent venue from which to watch the parade!



"Oh boy, marching bands.  They need practice, though..."  (It was true!)


The patio was basically a nice 20x20-foot playpen, and so we stayed

there for most of the parade; that way, Catherine Elise could run amok

in near perfect safety.  Though there was also another reason:  In the

great City of Frederick, you are not allowed to do things so recklessly

decadent and immoral as to... drink a beer on the sidewalk!  Ah, imagine! 

Who would dare such an offense to public order?  (For Catherine Elise's

relatives in Louisiana, yes, this law is a real law!  They even enforce it.)


So it wasn't just Catherine Elise who was trapped in there.  So was Daddy!



Partners in crime.  Is that the jailer back there laughing at us?  :-(


But eventually, more people arrived, and the patio/playpen filled up with

lots of people there to drink beer (hopefully Daddy's beer), and so it was

time to move on into the crowd.



And so this is where the rest of the afternoon went.  With all the noise

and activity, Catherine Elise had a great time, but unsurprisingly, when

she got back to the car after a few hours of this, it was "lights out", and

no amount of play or talk could keep her eyes open!  What a fun day,

says Catherine Elise!


her pale skin!  Lots of the time, she's still inside, especially on the 


Last Bit of Summer


Catherine Elise was out making the best of the tail end of summer, and it's been

a long, hot, and dry one.  She gets out on the deck and cleans it real well with

whatever pants she's wearing,


And as you might guess, nothing out there is safe from her exploring hands.



"I hereby claim this potted plant in the name of Queen Catherine!"


And when she's not toddling back and forth on foot, she pushes herself

around on her plastic motorcycle.



"Vroom, vroom!"  Or more precisely, her noise is "Bphbpph Bphphphphp!"


Then there is the occasional trip to the beach, and a couple of weeks ago

Catherine took a trip out to Lake Linganore, where a lot of friends live, just

a short ways east of Frederick.



We're told that today Catherine Elise was far more obsessed with that

empty water bottle than with all the water or the sand.  Yes, a rare find indeed,

such a nice water bottle.  If you're a good girl, maybe we'll give you another one

just like it for Christmas! 


(For those who are new to kids, you'll often find them completely ignoring the

expensive plastic windup toy that you just bought, preferring instead an empty

plastic bottle or a brown cardboard box.  Still, that doesn't mean you're allowed

to bring an empty plastic bottle as a gift at a baby shower.)



A Day at the Office


Slack Daddy Webmaster finished five whole years at the same job,

which is a a new record, he'll have you know!  In celebration, there

were sandwiches and soft drinks and a special visit to the office by

Mommy and Catherine Elise.



"Oh boy, there's toys in this place, too!"  That's thanks to Debbie,

who knows far better what Catherine Elise wants than does boring

old Daddy in his cubicle, where there's nothing to play with but

staple guns and electrical wires -- perhaps a bad combination. 



Well what's this place?  Is this where big people play all day?  Sure is!

The big machine room with tens of millions of dollars of computer gear

is right past that window.  Needless to say, Catherine Elise was not

allowed to roam around in there yanking wires.



Ah yes, she found Daddy!  Boring old cubicle! 

"Daddy, you need more toys!"



Reading Already?


One thing that Catherine Elise is good at is this:  When it gets late

in the evening, if she shows any crankiness, then that might elicit the

dreaded word "Bedtime" from Mommy and Daddy - oh no!   So instead,

she sometimes curls up by the bookshelves and becomes very studious

and reads in peace and quiet. 


And maybe Mommy and Daddy won't notice that it's my bedtime, ha!



Hmmm, let's find another good book in this stack...




Yes, this is a good one, Daddy.  Are you smart enough to read this one?




And there she will sit for sometimes half an hour, paging very

quietly through the books.  We think she's only looking at the

pictures, but who knows, eh?



Autumn in Frederick County


The cool days and chill nights of autumn are here, and what better to do on
a nice autumn day than a trip to the local pumpkin farm!  Here is Catherine Elise
negotiating the maze of hay bales:



Lots of hay, but where are the pumpkins?  Whoops, we forgot to get a photo of those.

But we did get a photo of Catherine Elise and Mommy:



Actually, we got several photos, and this was the best.  We need several dozen
if we want to get one posed just perfectly.  There are way too many distractions

in a pumpkin farm to keep a baby looking at a boring old camera.


The Tunnel


We needed to wash and dry the quilt in Catherine Elise's room (and don't you worry,

Grammie, it was done on cold, gentle cycle, and hung-to-dry, as you can see).

Well, this is lots better than just spreading it over a bed, say Catherine Elise.



Catherine Elise wonders if maybe, just maybe, it's safe to go in here...




And so into the tunnel she goes!



Ha!  Wow!  Hey, this really IS fun!



It's Halloween


Not only is it Halloween time, but it's also time for Catherine Elise's

very first haircut!  So much neater than before, isn't it?



                            Do you like my new haircut?


And with October comes... a pumpkin!  Catherine Elise has, of course,

never seen a pumpkin.  This big orange thing strikes her as a rather strange toy.



Well, well, what shall I do with this thing?



That's it!  I'll teach it to sing!!  La la la!

Sadly, the pumpkin is not responding very well to the music lesson



Ah well, let's just try moving my new buddy around the room...



Almost all set up now...



There, now we'll just sit here and wait for the Trick or Treaters!





Life in a Box


Some of use spend our days in cubicles, cooped up but comfortable,

or at least that's the hope when the company buys those nice cubicles.

Or perhaps it's just that some of us actually aspire to life in a box,

and perhaps Catherine Elise sees a life of corporate work ahead of her,

so she already wants to get used to being in a cubicle:



Now this is nice and comfy, isn't it? 

This is not quite as big as your cubicle, Daddy, but it's pretty close, isn't it?

The only problem might be getting out...



LIke a corporate career, of course, getting out might be as hard as getting in.

Daddy recommends staying in the cubicle.  But maybe he likes his cubicle a lot.


Ugh, this is hard, extricating myself, says Catherine Elise.  Perhaps as with

any corporate cubicle position, just pull a nice balancing act...



Ah yes!  Freedom is in sight.  Careful, careful...



Ha, free!  Heck with being in a cubicle.  It's time for TOYS!!


Winter Arrives


Halloween has come and gone, and the cold fronts march in from the north.

Catherine Elise doesn't remember the last time it was cold, so this is a whole

new thing to her.  Oh my, look at her play yard!



This is looking a bit frosty. 

But she nonetheless wants to be outside, at least out on the deck.

Suitably bundled, then, out she goes!




Oh boy, my new winter suit!  Yippee!


But she soon realises that something is not quite right.



Ouch!  My nose!  My cheeks.  Something is biting me!


Oh no, it's the bitter north wind, invisible to her from inside the house, of course,

but out on the deck, it hits you right in in the face, and Catherine Elise is not

liking this at all.  It might be time to bundle her up and get back inside.



Mommy, this is not fun.  Something is wrong.


And Mommy agrees.  It's actually not even winter yet, and it's a moderte 25 F

(that's -4 C), and so winter is going to get a lot worse than this.  Still...




Poor little Catherine Elise.  Mommy says it is DEFINITELY time to go in.


Fortunately, the front side of the house was sunnier, and so she could get

out there and walk around, just for a while, before the cold got to her again.



It took several more weeks of even colder weather, with Catherine Elise
banging on the glass door to get on the deck, before she realised
that winter
in Maryland is just not so great for playing outside, at least not as great as
it looks 
on a clear, sunny day.

Don't worry, Catherine Elise, only four more months of winter ahead...


Christmas 2005



Yes, it's the Christmas season, and here's Catherine Elise in front of her house

in the snow!  This was on December 11th, and yes, there was snow on the ground. 

Still, it was a balmy 36 F (about +2 C), so that's not too bad, considering how cold

some of the other days were. 


Catherine Elise went on vacation to Louisiana for almost two weeks, though,
and by the time she got back, all the pretty snow had melted.  Then it was rain
with really mild temperatures (for Maryland, anyway).  There was hardly any good
winter weather by early January, really.  At least she saw snow before Christmas,
even if not after.  And she certainly saw no snow in warm, humid New Orleans!

More and More Cousins

Catherine Elise of course went to visit her cousins in Baton Rouge,
and she had a ball opening presents with the older kids, Max and Rex.


Well, that looks a little tame.  I think they were just getting started.



Now that's more like it, with Catherine Elise in the thick of things,

fighting her way through wrapping paper.  She was squealing with

delight in all the mess and commotion!


One of the most interesting games (perhaps surprisingly) was

also one of the simplest:



The point of this game is to stack the blocks in a tower, and then take turns

extracting a block without letting the tower fall.  Captivating -- really!



OK, that's one more taken out...



Oh no this is harder.
Needless to say, it soon fell into a heap, to be rebuilt again and again.
Even Catherine Elise appreciated it just a bit.



But she never got far.  And this tower didn't last long, either.


(Through the miracle of digital technology, even with this photographer's
cat-like reflexes, that machine-made delay in snapping a photo means
there is no way 
to get a still photo of the blocks cascading down in a pile.
Not that we didn't try.)

A Brand New Cousin


Catherine Elise has a new cousin, Lydia Marie.  Whew, now we
where we can send all of Catherine Elise's toys and clothes! 

(Don't tell Catherine Elise that those things are going missing!)

Lydia arrived just in time for Christmas, so she was an early
Christmas present for the family.  And she kept her mom and dad
a little bit busy during the holidays.


Hurricane Aftermath


Cousin Lydia's house was battered by the hurricane, but it stood up OK.
The same can't be said for the forest surrounding it.  The area w
as once
acres of dense, shady forest.  Now, after the howling winds
and the
subsequent drought, it has an all new look.


Catherine and Mommy go out to the swimming hole.  At least the
beach is still there.  All that open space and sky in the background
is new, though.  That was once solid, tall trees. 

The forest might as well have been logged, given the look of it.
It seems that all the tall trees were the ones that got snapped
toppled by the winds, and actually, the pine forest were hit the
worst, with some areas looking from afar like a pile of toothpicks.
The smell of burning wood was ever-present, as people tried to
get rid of mountains of logs and branches, those who had the
energy to clean up their property, that is..


This was solid forest a year ago.  It actually looks a lot better now than
it did after the storm, now that 
the fallen trees and stumps are removed.



And this... er, well, trust us, this was once a lovely, clear creek
running through a thick, shady woodland.

Dinner at the Bait Shack


Another vacation treat is, as always, a trip to the Peavine Bait and Snack Shack
for dinner.  Here we are on the balcony overlooking Lake Ponchartrain.



What's that odd ornament on the top of the tree?  Very interesting.
Here's a close-up:


Oh my, it looks like a Katrina Rescue scene, complete with someone
chopping a hole in the roof to get out.  Ah well, give thanks for the little
blessings, like getting out of the storm in one piece, right?  Surprisingly,
it seems that the Bait Shack here on the southwestern edge of the lake
fared OK, though it probably was flooded the open ground floor, but that's
why it was built with an open ground floor.

Anyway, there was lots and lots of good food to be had.


Now Catherine Elise didn't actually eat all of this plate!  (Oink!)  Oh, what a good

meal she says!  But Catherine, you haven't finished all your sweet potato fries!


And off we went, heading home well past her bedtime -- yet again!



No, Catherine, no more cocktails by the lakefront!   Time for bed!



Hardly a Winter


January was hardly winter:  No snow, not even much ice.  The swimming

pool wasn't even frozen over like it usually is. But it was still too cold to be

outside very much. So it was time for indoor activities.


Well, this looks interesting.  Catherine Elise is not sure that this is the

appropriate position for playing piano, though.  She needs longer arms.



But then she figures it out.  Yes, sitting!  That's the way Mozart plays!



Oh boy, the beautiful sounds coming out of the piano now!


It's a good thing the piano tuner, who was just here, is not here

now, or he's be holding his hands over his ears in dismay!


And too bad for you that Slack Daddy didn't turn this music

into an MP3 file to play for background music on the website.

Oh, the soothing melodies as Catherine Elise slams the keys...


More Snow at Last



Hey!  I think it's snowing outside!  Yippee!  Let's go look!


And it was indeed snowing.  Lots of snow.  Lucky Daddy was

able to shovel snow for hours on Sunday morning.  So lucky.



But it came out to only about 9 inches, so that wasn't too bad.



The trees, fences, driveway, and porches were covered.



And once Catherine Elise was properly bundled up, she could

get out there in the snow, too, right?



OK, Daddy, now what?!?

Notice that she already took her gloves off.  Sigh.



Well, now what indeed.  This snow is up to my knees!  I'm stuck.

And yes, in case you're wondering, she has some nice, warm

snow boots on -- down under that snow somewhere.



Well this isn't working out very well.  Catherine Elise has no intention

of going anywhere while she's in that snow.  She just stands there in

place, feet planted firmly in the snow, until we have to scoop her up

and back inside where it's warm.


And get her out of her snow gear and into something warm and soft...



Uh, Daddy, do I look as ridiculous in this as I feel?

Oh no, Catherine, you look great!  (grin)



Well all right, then!  Now I'm ready for the winter snows!  La la la!

(Daddy says you might need some shoes, Catherine Elise!)



Hey, Daddy!


Do you know I was this little when you last updated my website?





























But at least now we have a few more photos (that you saw above).



Waiting for Springtime



Where's that springtime?  How come it's still cold outside?

Don't worry, Catherine Elise isn't under the weather.
She's just a little bit sleepy here.


Piano Lessons


Catherine Elise is of course nowhere near the age of needing piano lessons.

Or maybe we should say that she's nowhere near the age of anyone wanting

to teach her.  One short listen and you'll agree that she does need lessons,

but when she sees Mommy playing piano, she has to play, too.




Plink, plink, plunk.



Well, that wasn't too bad.  Let's try more...

(Daddy's ears hurt already.)



La la la la! 

(It is like no Rachmaninoff you have ever heard.   His Lost Concertos,
no doubt, so old that they are from before he even knew how to play.)



So, did you like my little concert?

Is that applause for my playing, for for my stopping?



The Pink Hat



This is harder than playing piano.  Putting on hats is hard.

I know it's true because Mommy can play piano real good,

but I hardly ever see her put on a hat.



See, I told you it was hard.



But sooner or later, I can figure it out!  Oh boy!



Riding in my Car


In the big basement play room, Catherine Elise has a bike and a car
and of course lots of other toys, too.



Oh boy, a car!  Let's go!



Hmmm...  This one doesn't make noise and go like Daddy's car when I try to start it....

But then Daddy's car is worth twice as much as this one.



Well, this car is not going anywhere very fast.  This is boring.


(Catherine Elise really does like her car.  She just has to push it
around with her feet.)


But there's always another way to get around:



Yippee!   Giddiyup, Mommy, go go! 


Little Bookworm

Sure, it's springtime outside, but that doesn't mean Catherine Elise
is out there in the sun all the time, or even most of the time.  Not with
her pale skin!  Lots of the time, she's still inside, especially on the
(very few) rainy days.

And believe it or not, one of her favorite pastimes is reading,
like here with her friends before bed.



Oh my, it's Dr. Seuss.  What's this one, "Hop on Pop"?

She loves when Mommy or Daddy read this one to her.

They love it, too, because it's usually a bedtime book,

and that means some quiet time at last!  Unlike this:



Nope, no bookwork here, just a shrieking little maniac, bouncing
around on a bed!


"Play some music Daddy!  I want to be a conductor and show you how to play!"



"OK, I'm almost tired of bouncing.  Are you, Daddy?"

 Daddy says yes.



"Hee hee!  That was great fun!  I can't wait till next time!
 Just wait till I sneak in here while you're sleeping and bounce on you!"



Before Springtime Arrives


Springtime is almost here.  Catherine Elise still needs a jacket,
but she's happy to be out in the yard again.



And what does she find, but daffodils!



Oh, look!  It must be springtime soon!



And she ever so cautiously investigates, close but not too close!



Easter Dress


Here's Catherine Elise in her Easter Dress.  She's actually had it
for months, but Easter  seemed like a good time to wear it out
some pictures.



Perhaps that bonnet needs to be turned around?  Hmmm....



"Hello?  Grammie?  Thank you for this nice dress!"



And this is her new doll house that she got for Easter. 



Oh boy, milk and a doll house!  I'm a lucky girl!



Broccoli Time


Yum, yum, dinner time, and what's for dinner?  Broccoli!
Some people say babies won't eat broccoli, but Catherine Elise
is out to prove them wrong.



Hmmm... let's try more broccoli.  Yum, yum!



This is really tasty!  Thank you, Daddy! 
Who needs cookies
when we can have broccoli?

And by the time she finished, there was almost no broccoli
left for Mommy and Daddy.  A whole head of broccoli, gone!

(Note to parents:  Before you try this at home, make sure
you have lots of extra diapers!)




I've been hiding out, but the photographers finally got me!



It's been a couple of weeks since the last photos.  You see,
Catherine Elise has been hiding out from the prying eyes of
the local paparazzi, but they finally got her in her car on the
way back from a glitzy party in... er, well... in Gaithersburg. 
Oh my,
to be caught in Gaithersburg!  This is not chic!



Ha, photographed!  But she gives a famous European hand gesture
to let you know what she thinks of that attention! 

Uh oh, better get that camera clicking -- she's shy and looks like
she's trying to put
on a disguise!



Let's see, cover half my face with a pacifier, the rest with these
handy sunglasses...



So there!  Ha!  I bet you don't even know it's me, do you?!?



Queen of the Slide


The neighbors on each side are putting up some big tree houses
and slides and swings, and Catherine Elise was offered a nice,
sturdy, plastic slide set.  Hey, better than going to Toyz-N-Broke
to get one, isn't it?  Yeah!  And easy delivery and assembly, too,
so Daddy is happy and appreciative as well.

So one Sunday morning, Scott comes knocking on the door
and pulls his pickup truck in the yard.  Hooray!



Catherine Elise got an early birthday present this summer!


Oh boy, oh boy!



She's done this in the city playgrounds, but this is the first time

on her very own slide set!



Hmmm... OK, I just need to start sliding a little bit...



Yeeeeikes!  This is worrisome!   Eeeek!



Yahah!  That was easy!  Yippee!



I'm a big girl!  I'm Queen of the Slide!



Visiting in her New Dress


Catherine Elise visited her friend Brian recently, and she wore her pretty
new dress.  Actually, this is from last year, a beautiful dress
given to her
by Hania and Jarek from Hörlkofen!  And now she finally fits
into it!



Oh boy, a train set!  Here's what we need, Daddy!




But as it turned out, she couldn't wear the dress too long out
there on t
hat visit!  So cute, but too nice a dress with far
too much for a
little girl to get into!



Uh oh.. or as Catherine Elise says, "Ohhh Nyo!" 

She just grabbed someone's drink and looked into the cup,
thus pouring
it right down her front!  Oh silly Catherine Elise! 
Time for a change of clothes now.


Wandering with a Flower

Now that the weather is warm, and summer is almost here,
Catherine Elise's favorite thing to do is to run around outside.
So much to explore!  So much trouble to find!

She finds a fresh-cut rose to bring around the yard with her.
Actually, Daddy cut the rose for her after she tangled with
the rose bush trying to get the rose off.  Catherine Elise,
those thorns are there for a reason.

But surprisingly, she didn't stick herself, and she loved
her new rose.



So Daddy, which is rosier, this flower, or my cheek?



Well, she looks very serious here with her rose in hand.
But that's only because she's about to take an adventurous
walk down to the barn!  OK, Daddy, time for a walk!



She's still looking very serious and worried.  Perhaps that's because

she knows that it was easy getting down here, but it's a long way

back up to the house, and mean old Daddy is probably going to

make her walk it.


So she puts on her doe eyes...



C'mon Daddy, enough of being lost out here. 
Can you bring me back to my house?


But Daddy still made her walk.



Almost Two


It will soon be Catherine Elise's birthday, and here she is in her crib,
just a typical morning. 
She might look sad here, but she's not. 

For some reason, she likes being in that crib, and she's probably
just tired from bouncing around
and shrieking all night as she played
with her stuffed animals!  In ten seconds, she'll be standing up and
ready to get out; in two minutes, she'll be running back and
across the house screaming happily, "gwa gwa upp, mok mok mok".



Perk up, Catherine Elise!  Almost time for your birthday!



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