Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve and Christmas Photos

Decorating Cookies for Santa, even Emily got into the action!

Christmas Eve Craft

Dave is suddenly an expert at taking 'selfies' so here's one of us during Twas the Night Before Christmas reading

Nolan's stocking from Santa- superheros and a pogo stick

Fireman Nolan

I'll just bite this open!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Video Friday: What Happens When We Feed Her Mush

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This doesn't happen all the time but sometimes.  She is done eating, I'm not trying to feed her more, just get the video because it's funny, sometimes I get sprayed in whatever mush she's eating.  It's a mess.  It's hysterical.  We just try hard to not allow Nolan to do the same thing.  It's not funny when a 3.5 year old does this.  Or a 35 year old.  :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eight Months (and one day)

Emily is EIGHT months old!  Wow.  She's thriving and while she presents several challenges, she is really amazing.  She's got two teeth, one is a little bigger than the other, as you can see.  She is crawling as of Sunday.  She pulls herself up to standing in her crib and on some of her toys and today showed signs of cruising (except she stepped on her own sock and got stuck).   She gives wide, open-mouthed kisses and forehead 'hugs'.  She eats a wide variety of foods and her meals have quickly moved to finger foods and no purees.  She enjoys most foods that we like.  She does not, however, like tofu, something Nolan gobbled up as a little guy and still does.  She has enjoyed a chicken, potato and carrot dinner and last night she ate 3/4 of a racket ball sized meatball and about 1/2 cup of bowtie pasta with sauce.  She can feed herself if we put food on a fork and she can pick food up and eat it in small pieces. It's comical how much (most nights she eats more dinner than Nolan- but that's not hard) and how hungrily she eats.  She LOVES watching Nolan.  She continues to nurse but has been taking formula in a sippy cup throughout the day and seems to enjoy the cup too.  She is beginning to protest when someone takes a toy away.  She seems to enjoy books (confession we don't read to her as much as we did Nolan) and can screech and squeal pretty loud.  She does a little dance when she hears music and really enjoys toys that make music.   She babbles a lot.

She still struggles with other people holding her and she is very distracted when nursing which often means if she hears the most fascinating person in the world (Nolan) through the door she'll stop nursing and look around- she could not nurse with Nolan in the room or in public at this point without exposing me.  She is not a cuddler or snuggler, we get the same stiff arm from her as we did from Nolan at this age.  (Though Nolan is turning into quite a cuddler and prefers to sit on my lap rather than on the floor- though I think it's just attention getting, I don't care, I love the snuggles) 

She is sleeping quite well, she takes two naps and sleeps through the night from about 745-630.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nolan's Christmas Concert

Nolan had his first Christmas Concert today.  I could tell he was super nervous and embarrassed but also very very excited.  He was bouncing around all morning and was thrilled Dad was going too.  He was the VERY first person to walk into the room which must have been overwhelming but his teacher was right there to help with the songs etc.
 It's a church preschool so the concert started off with a prayer.  Here's Nolan praying- doesn't he look so peaceful?  That's sweet.  
 He sang the songs or at least mouthed the words and did most of the hand motions. At one point he looked like he was going to lose it, start crying.  Another little girl started crying and I could see his sympathy coming out but the teacher distracted him and he held it together.
 Notice his red cheeks?  That's nerves.  I get them too.  He did great, we were so proud of him and it was SO cute to watch.  
I just love this kid!

Monday, December 16, 2013

On The Move

Emily is on the move.  She started crawling yesterday.  She has crawled but it took a lot of encouragement and would move each leg and each arm one pace and then stop and sit down.  Yesterday she started crawling.
So she's on the move.  She's moving to get toys, she's crawling to see where people go, she's on the move.  Look out world! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Video Friday: Peek-A-Boo

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She LOVES this game.  It is so easy and a great way for everyone to entertain her, including Nolan.  Although sometimes he gets a little crazy with this game, screaming boo and scaring her it's so much fun to even poke your head around a corner and lift your eyebrows.   

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gingerbread House

The very first year that I hosted Christmas in 2003 I forced my parents and Grampa into making a gingerbread house.  It was a disaster.  The roof slid off, there was frosting everywhere, my parents whined and complained (all in a joking manner), my grampa was eating the roof but this was my tradition and damn it they were going to partake.  Fast forward to the next year when I actually read the directions so the house could withstand the candy but was nearly inedible (much to my Grampa disapproval). There was a lot of razzing and laughing and a mess but very fun.  I forced people to do something similar for the next several years and then we had Nolan.  The past few years with Nolan we've made gingerbread people to decorate and this was the first year I did a house with him.  It was really an awesome day and a beautiful memory I get to store away for years.  It was nearly perfect.

 Here we are constructing the house... notice Nolan's apron.  He didn't want to wear the chef's hat but did wear it for a brief moment.
And this is the finished product.  Nolan did a great job with very little direction from me.  I was really impressed with how much he seemed to notice/remember from the houses we saw, like the chimney and lining the edges of the roof with candy.  He did a wonderful job, I loved this project with him.  Except for how absolutely NUTS he was because he ate so much candy but otherwise it was a really special day for me.     

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Milestones

So Emily can sit up by herself now.  
What that means is now we had to lower her crib.  It was a family affair.  I love the boys working and Emily supervising.  So cute.  Emily is moving a lot but she's really not crawling.  She crawls a single pace, then sits back again.  I don't remember if Nolan did this but it's funny.  She's moving a bit backwards and forwards a teeny bit. 
And, see photo below, she's doing some yoga moves- downward dog is a frequent one, she also does plank. 
And she also does this below, I'm not sure what it can be called but from sitting she pushes herself to standing on the outsides of her feet, while her feet stay in prayer position.  She is still not crawling around. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

So Much To Report!

Oh my gosh, I just can't keep up, I still have photos from LAST weekend that I didn't post yet!  YIKES!  Well, we got our tree.
It was so fun this year, Nolan was amped up on sugar and we just go to a farm stand nearby but it was awesome.  Except we didn't dress the kids properly so Nolan was freezing and Emily was crying.  Ah, well, what can you do?  Anyway, here's our undressed tree.  And our living room decorated.  I love the way our living room looks at Christmas time- all the cream and red colors.  I love the classic stockings hanging.  I love the gold and silver accents.  Just love it.  
So Nolan was a huge helper, he wanted to do everything, jumping and bouncing around like crazy.  And that little pink lump on the rug was Emily just taking it all in.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Visit With Santa

Nolan was a little nervous and really excited to see Santa this year.
He wouldn't sit on Santa's lap but did tell him in a clear voice what he wanted for Christmas- a pogo stick and superheros.   
 And then we attempted a photo with the two kids.  Not a bad one, I'd say!   
I have to say, it's been really fun gearing up for Christmas this year.  We've declined lots of christmas activities in order to maintain some sense of order and fascination with it.  Wow, there are SO many kid activities for Christmas we could EASILY do something every single day.  It's crazy.  He has a christmas concert for preschool next week that I start to tear up about just thinking about it.  He's been running around the house singing about Baby Jesus which is different but fun.  He's excited.  I can't wait to see what he wears for the concert (he mostly picks his own clothes to wear, that's why he's got on short sleeves in this photo).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Special Morning with Nolan

One of the things that is hardest for me about having two kids is missing out on things.  Nolan and I used to spend our entire week together, just us.  And now we are a threesome during the week and an unbalanced threesome with Emily needing so much still (naps, nursing, eating at different times).  With that comes some really really great times but it also means that I miss one-on-one time with my pal.  I miss our relationship and I miss just focusing on him.  Sometimes Dave and I split up and what that means is that one of us misses out.  Today it was Dave that missed out.  And Nolan and I had a really awesome morning so much it brings tears to my eyes.  
Today he had to get a flu shot so we headed to the doctors office and from there went to the big city (well, it was the wee city of Hartford) to attend Habitat for Humanity's Gingerbread House Decorating Contest to give us inspiration for decorating our gingerbread house.  But we arrived 30 minutes early so we went to a coffee shop and grabbed a hot cocoa.  Look at this kid, in his glory.  
 So we checked out the houses and were given tickets to vote on our favorites (though this concept was lost on him he enjoyed putting tickets into the little boxes on the tables).  Nolan's favorite was obviously the castle.
 While I really liked this red one it was not my favorite.
 This is my favorite (below) notice the necco wafers creating a stone entryway and the stained glass windows on the right side?  The roof is chocolate pieces and the spire is almond slices.  Beautiful.
 As we were leaving we got to decorate (a GIANT) gingerbread man.  We came home and built our house, we'll decorate it tonight.  I can't wait to see how he decorates it.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

He Doesn't Know It Yet

But we are hand delivering this letter to Santa this afternoon.  I'm SO SO excited.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Just Chillin

Not much to report today.  Enjoy these photos
 Isn't this the cutest picture?  She's already doing a silly fake smile!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Big Helper

 Nolan is an excellent helper.  He loves to help which is great and time consuming all at the same time.  Lately he's been very interested in washing dishes and I let him go to town.  Here he is washing is cereal bowl from breakfast.
Please notice the towel he's placed on teh counter between the sink and himself.  He did this so his pjs don't get wet.  While this isn't the best way to conserve water, it's wonderful that he likes to help.  He also loves to help dust and use the swiffer to clean the floors.  He loves brooming (or sweeping as we call it) and is getting more and more comfortable using the vacuum.  All in all he's a great little helper when he's in the mood.   
So we've jumped on this and we've given him a chore.  Every week his job is to collect the garbage from the office and both bathrooms.  He will get a coin to put in his piggy bank.  During his first go at it he negotiated 5 coins.  Smart boy!  Of course, he doesn't know (or care) that they are worth different amounts or even what 'worth' means.

Monday, December 2, 2013

She Crawled!

So on Thanksgiving Emily crawled.  She took one step (with her knee) and one movement of her hands to move her in the forward motion.  She was trying to crawl her way off of the blanket we put her on so she could pull at the carpet and eat it.  Everyone has things that motivate them!  She didn't crawl across the room but she did deliberately crawl.  She has since crawled a few other times but is not really getting around, though she can reach herself quite far.  It's exciting.  We also moved her into the big tub and give her and Nolan a bath together some nights.  Here's a photo of them taking a bath together.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving just our family unit.  It was strange not being surrounded by family but at the same time it was a lot of fun to focus on making this holiday a special one for Nolan since he is starting to understand that holidays are special days.  So we started the day off with some pumpkin waffles that I pre-made the night before.  They were very good, the recipe made just enough, everyone liked them, there was little to clean up after and it felt a little special.
 Next we watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade which was really fun.  Nolan was very interested and Emily was wildly excited about watching the dance numbers.  I was weepy at how special this felt, all of us watching the parade just as I remembered doing when I was little.  I loved the big balloons and shed a tear when they made the big announcement that the balloons WOULD be flying this year.  After the parade I made a scavenger hunt for Nolan to do.  I wanted to get him outside if only for a little bit.  The 'something soft' thing he found was our neighbors dog and the something beautiful he declared was our family (with a little bit of help from me after walking around the yard a few times searching for flowers).  This is the stick he chose and decided it looked like a reindeer's antlers.
 After lunch and naps we made turkey headbands to wear at dinner.  THIS was awesome.  Nolan seemed to love it and even complimented me in the manner that I organized the craft.  We made one for each of us, even Emily.
 And here was our attempt at a family portrait with the headbands on (while balancing the camera on top of a wine glass).
 And the obligatory turkey leg photos...  Emily ate a TON of food but did not eat any of the turkey leg.  She preferred the mashed potatoes with a bit of turkey hidden in there.  And she liked the stuffing too but preferred the mashed potatoes. 
 Nolan did not eat any turkey leg either.  And he had to be bribed to eat any of his dinner except for teeny little forks of mashed potatoes.  Please note the very special drinks in very special glasses for big boy- sparkling cranberry apple juice.  He did not like it, sadly, but was the first to cheers and say Happy Thanksgiving which I totally loved.
 This is how Emily at most of her meal, I'd scoop up the food on a spork and hand it to her.  she'd figure out how to get the food off and eat it, which gave me a few moments to eat my own dinner before she'd start asking (grunting, kicking and flailing her arms) for more.
After dinner we ate the apple pie that Nolan and I made.  It's funny because I don't really like Thanksgiving food/meal.  And growing up I loved to help make the apple pie but I don't actually enjoy eating the apple pie either.  But I love to eat the raw apples coated in cinnamon and sugar.  I asked Dave if he wanted me to make a pie and he said no but Nolan came home from preschool one day declaring he was excited about thanksgiving to eat apple pie.  So Dave and I shrugged and said 'I guess we're making pie'. Nolan helped make it.  It was so special for me to make it with him. Surprisingly (or not really) he did not want to eat the sugar coated apples, but did eat the raw flour off of the counter...  So after our dinner we cut a piece of pie for Nolan and he did not want to eat it.  After encouraging him to try it he did and declared that he did not like it- I get it, little buddy. I get it.  
All in all it was a really super thanksgiving.  A different, small, laid back, wonderfully kid-focused thanksgiving.  It was a really lovely day.

OH!  And Emily crawled!  More on that tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Different Kids/ Different Play

Oh these two are different.  While Emily seems perfectly content munching on whatever she can get her hands and or mouth on (including eating the carpet), Nolan does not.
He prefers to want to play with whatever she is munching on.  Or just sitting begging me to play with him-even when I am sitting waiting for him to play with ANY toy we own except for the one Emily is gumming at that very moment.  It is agonizing that every day he wants less and less to do with his toys, even to the point I've considered removing every toy except a handful from our playroom to see if he is overwhelmed with the options.  But really, I think he just prefers to interact with people over playing with toys.
And then we have a break through.  We find something that occupies his time and it's hard to convince him to do something else.  I got these paint pages where you use water to activate the paints on the top of the page and then paint the page.  HE LOVED IT.  And he did about 10 before he started to wear down his interest.  
So what's the deal?  Is he bored with his toys?  Does he just want attention?  What can we do to get him to play independently?  Ever? Last weekend we pleaded with and begged him to play by himself all morning.  He instead followed us around, moped, jumped around, took toys away from Emily and followed us around some more then when it was time for nap he was playing perfectly happily in a separate room.  It lasted about 20 minutes which was amazing.  Is there something we can do to make him play by himself better?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Playing in the leaves

Finally our tree dropped it's leaves.  So Nolan is free to rake and play for at least a few days before the snow and cold weather arrives.
Emily seemed to like the leaves too, mostly because she wanted to eat them. 
 And Nolan preferred to toss them in the air.