Catherine Elise 2009
Catherine Elise's Third Year


A Hot and Sweaty Summer Birthday


It sure was hot on Catherine Elise's birthday, so hot in fact that her

birthday party is postponed, just in case anyone was wondering.

It was well up into the 90's F (mid-30's C) that weekend, and it was

no fun being out on the normally comfortable deck, even in shade.


But she did get a cake.  And two candles!  But she had to enjoy it

inside, not outside in the heat.  And here she is after just a few

minutes outside in the scorching summer sun. 




Oh boy, a cake for me!




She likes the words -- pretty, red, curvy designs!

And then she contemplates the candles.  Hmmm...



Hey, these flashy bright things are neat...


Yeow, yikes!



Hey, those things aren't nice - they bite!  Better just look, not touch.

Then again...  if I can only avoid those biting flashy things...


And with a quick lunge...



Yum, a big bite of cake before anyone can stop me!

Ha!  So there!  Just keep an eye on those evil candles!


In the background right about now, you can bet Mommy is hollering!



Do it Yourself Hair Styling


Now that Catherine Elise is two, she can do her own hair! 

Oh my!



Do you like my hair?  I found these bows in the laundry room!


Actually, Catherine Elise loves bows in her hair, and she even

grabs the nice ones and asks that we put them on for her...




The Apple Harvest


In Catherine Elise's back yard, there's an apple tree, otherwise known

as the Big Squirrel Feeder.  (Not to be confused with the pear trees,

also known as squirrel feeders.) 


This year there were actually apples left over for us.  Thank you,

kind squirrels, for leaving us a few!




Then again, given the state of these wormy apples after what

is called "Organic Gardening" with no spraying, it's no surprise

that these were left.  Even squirrels wouldn't eat them!  This is,

in fact, the entire apple harvest for 2006.


But Catherine Elise enjoys the selected good bits.


Now for the 2006 pear harvest -- Squirrel Thanksgiving Feast!



Augustoberfest in Hagerstown


Every year in August, Hagerstown hold the "Augustoberfest", their version

of a German beer festival.  It's sponsored, at least in part, by the local

(and excellent) German restaurant in town, Schmankerl Stube.  If you

ever find yourself near Hagerstown and want some authentic Bavarian

cooking, that's the place to go. 


And Catherine Elise is indeed ready to go!



Look, Daddy!  I'm studying etiquette, and how to set tables!

Maybe I can get a job at Schmankerl Stube!


(Charlie did mention he needs waitresses, but he might have

to wait just a bit longer before Catherine Elise is ready.)



OK, all ready!  Do you like my new dress?  My friend Anja

brought it to me from Germany!




And so Catherine Elise is at the fest early!  She was almost the

first one there as it opened, but that's part of the plan, to be there

before it gets crowded.




Mach mit, Vati!  It's time to rock this place!  Let's get some music!



And so the band starts to play!



Auf geht's!  Auf, auf!  Come and dance!


Catherine really enjoyed the music, and she even found a friend

out on the dance floor...





And as the music played, more and more people got out there,

and even Mommy got out for a twirl!





But the dance floor was getting crowded, and Catherine Elise

was getting hot and tired.  Time for a break!



Whew, I think I'll just stand back and watch for a while.

Look at those idiots out there doing the Chicken Dance!


And eventually, after a couple of hours there, she settled down

and relaxed, and so did Mommy and Daddy.



Whew, Daddy, that was fun.  But it sure did make me hot and thirsty.

Good thing that German beer is just so smooth!   Mmmmmmmm.....


OK, not really!  Catherine Elise had "Apfelsaft".  By the way, that

teeny tiny mug is just half the size of what you drink out of at the

real beer gardens in Bavaria!





Catherine Elise didn't get up to much trouble at Halloween this year.
She did go to a little celebration at a place called Gymboree, a place

where if you love screaming-shrieking-happy children, you will be in




Yes, she looks a little worried and shaky here, but that was

just trying to hold a camera pose.


She even has other costumes for the occasion!



Look at me, I'm the Court Jester!


So she did have a Jack o' Lantern, and a couple of costumes,

but she didn't go out to make the Trick-or-Treating rounds,

instead waiting at home for other kids to stop in!



Look, I have a chicken costume!  And a new Jack o' Lantern!

Now let's wait for the trick-or-treaters and see what they're dressed as!


Sadly, none came.  None at all.  Was it the growling mongrels

in the side yard?  Or the suspicious neighbor in his rocking chair

with the shotgun on his lap?  Or like Daddy said, when the kids

saw that long driveway leading down the hill into the darkness,

they figured it just wasn't worth the long walk just for... one jellybean. 

Well, for whatever reason, all the little hoodlums this year went to

beg for candy in the rich neighborhoods, best we can guess.




Like most two year olds, Catherine Elise likes to climb.

Mommy and Daddy prefer that she does that someplace where

the floor is padded -- not in the house, on furniture over hardwood

floors, even if there is a throw rug underneath.


Fortunately, Catherine Elise also knows it's not a good idea,

at least not while anyone is looking.



Booming Daddy Voice:  [SIT!]


But Daddy, I am sitting.  Almost.  Kinda.  Really, just about!


But she's really just preparing a lunge for the stereo cabinet.  Sigh.



Now if I can just stand up fast and launch off of here quickly,

before Daddy sees me and makes me sit down!  Hee hee hee!







No, I'm not making a rude gesture!


This is just where it hurts, where I bumped my lip

when I fell off of that chair earlier.  Daddy says to be

careful, ha!  Well, maybe he was right just this one time.



Security Blanket


Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a security blanket,

and Catherine Elise has hers.  Of all the many excellent gifts

that friends and family sent her, who'd have thought that a

fleece blanket from Australia, with a Koala on it, would be

the one thing that she has held near to her for her whole life.



Unlike infamous Linus, she doesn't drag it around all day --

thank God!  But she does like it at night -- no, she demands it! 

And a good sign that she's ready for bed is when she drags that

blanket out of her bed and walks around with it.


As an emergency backup, we even tried buying a very similar

yellow fleece blanket, but she knows!  It's not the same fine

Australian fleece with the koala on it and her name, and Catherine

Elise is not fooled by cheap imitations.  Only real Aussie fleece

for her, thanks!



Thank you, dear Thebridge Family, for my favourite blanket!


And she does indeed love it!  Mommy and Daddy sincerely hope

we never EVER leave it in a hotel room or lose it some other way. 

That would make the next month a living hell for everyone, you can

bet!  Leave our passports, our money, all our luggage --- no matter,

all that is replaceable, just so long as we have that blanket with us!


And then there was Happy Thanksgiving

(maybe not for the turkey)



Daddy!  What are you doing to that turkey!



Bedtime Stories


Almost as important to Catherine Elise as her beloved blanket

are her stories before bedtime.  Is it important to read to kids

before bed?  Perhaps so.  OK, probably so.  She sure does

love bedtime stories, and she especially loves hearing the

same ones over and over.  Mommy gets very bored, though,

with the The Cat in the Hat after the 65th reading.  (Mommy

actually says she did 65 readings in the first month alone.)


Fortunately, for Thanksgiving holiday, Aunt Helen came to visit

Catherine Elise, and so we could draft her in for just a short session! 



And Catherine Elise seems perfectly comfortable with that!



Oh, a fascinating story!  Even Aunt Helen is enjoying it!

OK, we'll admit, maybe she is just pretending to.



Merry Christmas from New Orleans


Catherine Elise made the long journey to "Grammie's House"

in New Orleans, over 1100 miles one way.  In a car seat.  No fun.

But she was excited to get there, and her only worry once she

did arrive was "Where is the dog?"  You see, her toddler books

at home have a trip to grandmother's house, and... there's a dog.

But not here.


Aunt Helen made it here, though!  Catherine Elise really loves

seeing her Aunt Helen, and waiting for Christmas with Aunt Helen

is even more fun!



Aunt Helen, by the way, came all the way from "Pittsgurgle"

where she lives -- so says little Catherine Elise!


First order of business is to visit cousin Lydia's one-year

birthday party.  Catherine Elise likes Lydia's back yard:



OK, it's a bit wet, but that's just FUN! 



Yay!  Let's go play in the swamp!


Unfortunately, Catherine Elise, there might be alligators in there.

(So says Daddy to keep her out of there.)



Uh oh, alligator!  Alligator bite you!


Yes, she said that.  Somewhere in Maryland, she learned that.

This gave her pause in her headlong rush into the flooded swamp.



But not to worry!  Aunt Helen is here to keep the alligators away!

And so Catherine Elise is happy enough to sit on the upturned

canoe and enjoy the view of Uncle John's estate.



Daddy, you need some land like this.

Then you won't spend all your time mowing!



You're right, Catherine Elise.  Not much mowing. 

Just swatting mosquitos and chasing imaginary alligators!


Santa Claus Tracks Her Down


And so, it looks like Santa Claus tracked down Catherine Elise after all.

Not that she worried about it.  She didn't seem to quite figure it out...



...until Christmas morning, that is, when all the presents were

there under Grammie's tree!



Oh boy, what's all THIS!?!



And so Catherine Elise is one happy little girl at Christmas!


Cousin Lydia


There was even more fun ahead on Christmas Day -- cousin Lydia

is coming to visit!



Hi Lydia!  Want to go open some presents while the ladies

are distracted?



Oh boy!  What's all this stuff?!  And this neat yellow box!



Lots of toys!  Lots of fun!

Catherine kept asking for Lydia for a week after Christmas.



And so, with Christmas behind her, Catherine Elise played

inside with her new train set (Made in Bulgaria), while the

adults (and some big kids) had their own fun outside.



Yes, it's kind of like the Christmas Eve bonfires on the levee,

but on a much smaller scale.  And a little bit late.  And a little

bit wet, too, but Brian eventually got it going after a good dosing

of distillate.  (Don't try this at home, kids.) 



Happy New Year!




A Big Girl Bed


Poor little Catherine Elise.  After all that excitement at Christmas,

and all that driving (trapped in a car), and especially after figuring

out at Grammie's house how to escape from the crib, Catherine Elise

has since then been hard to put to bed.  She gets up literally a dozen

or more times before settling in, and then she's up again from 3 AM

to maybe 5 AM banging drums, poking Mommy, pulling down toys...

And then she's exhausted in the morning.  Wherever she is...



Oh no!  7 AM, and where is Catherine Elise?

Seems she had a big night, and fell asleep in a chair.



This has got to stop.


And so it does.  Catherine Elise gets a present, a new bed to replace

the crib she climbs in and out of.  A "Big Girl Bed"!  Same mattress,

same sheets, same stuffed animals, but maybe if she can just fall into

bed instead of having to balance and climb, she'll be calmer once

she does get back in.


However, the present of a bed also brings the present of a gate

on her door in the room.  The good and the bad, Catherine Elise!

No more dangerous wandering around the house in the dark,

so we hope you like your bed enough to stay in it "till the sun

comes up".  She hardly even notices Daddy installing the gate.



Oh boy!  It's a Big Girl Bed!


She even said "Like Santa's Sleigh!".  We didn't think of that when

we bought it, but that was a good point, so close to Christmas.



Thank you!  I love my new bed!


And she really does.  Amazingly, she's sleeping lots better,

though whether that's the bed she loves or the gate trapping

her safe (and bored) in her bedroom, we don't know.  And

we're not about to try any experiments like taking one or

the other away to find out!



Happy Valentine's Day



There's really not that much snow right now, and hardly cold...



Snow? This is snow?  It's almost above freezing at midday here, so

we can hardly even call it winter on such a nice, sunny afternoon.

Or can we?


Just wait... Soon we'll see the real stuff.  But for now, this will do.



Just a little ice and snow, nothing to worry about!  Uh, right?



OK, maybe it's a little scary, but I think I can do this.


And so she does!



Whew, that was tough!  That ice is slippery!


(It's a slide, Catherine Elise.  It's supposed to be slippery!)




OK, let's go back up for more sliding!



Valentine's Cookies



Ah, but there's more to the story than just this fine end result.

The best fun about cookies is in the baking!

But Mommy is not quite all that pleased...



But what's wrong with just a little bit of flour? 



Don't worry, Mommy, the mice will come mop all that up!


Mommy doesn't think so, but Catherine Elise is not disheartened.



Don't worry about the mess!  We have cookies!



Chomp, chomp!



Mid-March is NOT Springtime in Maryland!


Here it is, March 16th, and Daddy and Catherine Elise are out to enjoy the snow!



Actually, Daddy is not going to enjoy the snow.  He has to shovel it.


But Catherine Elise might like it...



Or maybe not.   Daddy, this is COLD!



And it's hard to walk, too, Daddy!


But she manages in the end, and she gets all the way up to the road

where she and the neighbors can play -- for just a few minutes.



Even the camera is getting full of snow.

It's hard to believe spring "starts" in just a week.






Summer Rains


Well, not this summer.  We only had a few, very few, days of rain,

but Catherine Elise is ready for what little we get.



Catherine Elise likes her wet weather outfits, but she doesn't really

like the rain because it means she's stuck inside -- which is why

we can grab some photos of her!



"Daddy, can we go out and see the lightning?"

Sorry Catherine, not today.  Uh, and put that umbrella down.


And some (few) days it just rains and rains.  Then she knows

she's just stuck inside.



She likes summer thunderstorms even less.  That's because whenever

a storm arrives, Mommy and Daddy make her stop her playing right now

and run inside because the lightning is coming!



Oh well, stuck inside while the rain comes down.



Baltimore Vacation


Who says Slack Daddy never brings Catherine Elise on vacation?

Here she is in beautiful... Baltimore!  This is the view from the hotel room.



Yes, that is indeed the world famous Bromo-Seltzer building in the background!

Who needs a harbor view when you can have a nice view of the famed tower and

the parking garage?


The highlight of her trip was probably the children's "museum" called Port Discovery,

and boy was that fun!  Daddy was out in Fells Point during that time, though, so maybe

we'll get some photos another time.


She also really enjoyed Lexington Market in the morning.



Daddy, will you buy me some breakfast?


Of course!  Anything for my little Catherine Elise!

How about this then...



OK, maybe not.  Let's just get some eggs and stuff instead, just for today.


So we all sit down to a really huge breakfast there in the market.



Oh boy, Mommy, this was good!  Even better than smoked pig tails!


Yes indeed, and it's a lot of food for only $2.  There are some good deals there,

and you can't get much more cholesterol than that for your money anywhere else


But she quickly gets tired of eggs, potatoes, and even jelly on toast.



Daddy, I'm finished!  This is too much!  I can't eat all this!

Can we go get some ice cream now???




Springtime Means Work


Springtime can mean only one thing...




No, not flowers!  Springtime means work!  Let's get to work!


As the weather warms up, and the grass starts growing, the yard work

beckons.  One of the projects this spring is replacing the gutter drainpipes

that route the water away from the house.  That means digging, of course.

But Catherine Elise loves digging, and Daddy even bought her a new shovel!



Get after it Catherine Elise!  Lots to dig!



Daddy, this is hard work.


But lucky for her, she doesn't have to do it all by herself.



That's right, Mommy is there to help dig, too!



Keep on digging girls!  You still have more to do!



Now of course, you must be wondering what Daddy is doing

while all this is going on. 


Well, somebody has to supervise and make sure it all gets done

properly and efficiently!



Deeper in that spot!  Keep digging! 




Visiting Friends



Catherine Elise went for a visit Sunday evening to see some friends

who have two little dogs, just right for Catherine's size.  She was

excited, and Catherine Elise played like a cat with the little dogs,

which of course made the dogs yap even more as she hissed at

them and chased them around.


Catherine Elise also found out that no matter what she told those

dogs, they just wouldn't listen!  Obstinate little things!  Why won't

they do what I say?  Hmmmm... the shoe is on the other foot now.



But eventually they all calmed down just a bit as the evening wore on,

and they became friends.



I wonder if the dogs slept as good as she did, all worn out from
running around and squealing for hours.









...and taller...



...and taller she grows!


There are the sunflowers that Catherine Elise planted with Daddy
in the springtime.  You can even see the little cup we first planted

them in, and then we transplanted them to the garden.  Even as

fast as Catherine Elise grows, she's no match for these sunflowers!



The Little Mermaid



Do you like my dress?  Grammie made it for me!  I'm a mermaid!





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