Monday, December 31, 2012

My Little Bear Trapper

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Crafts with Daddy

Jason surprised us and brought home some little craft bags for the kids that SAS put together.  They were really, really cute, and Miles and Vivienne really enjoyed spending the time with Daddy and doing some crafts. 

The gingerbread man (or woman?) door hangers were a big, big hit!  I'm so thankful for a thoughtful husband who spends time like this with our little ones.  The kids were so proud of their work.


New Christmas Traditions

We started a few new Christmas traditions this year, because the kids are old enough to understand some of them.  I think my favorite was this advent activity calendar that I made at a girls' night with my friends, Pam and Kristi.  There is one envelope for each day, and the kids enjoyed taking turns (ok, well, sometimes they didn't exactly enjoy the "taking turns" part) opening the envelopes to see what our activity for the day would be.  It could be anything from "go to the park" to "lunch with Grandma" to "go see Christmas lights" or "wrap a gift."  I'm already looking forward to doing this again next year.

Other traditions that we began this year include the Elf on the Shelf and a wooden Christmas tree advent calendar.  Each day, the kids would take turns opening an ornament to put on the little tree.

Only 350 days until next Christmas... 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Swaddle Weaning

A couple of days ago, I decided that I would try weaning Evelyn off the swaddle.  I guess it wasn't so much of "weaning" as it was just cold turkey.  I stopped swaddling her for her nap one day, and she did fine.  Then that night, she still slept fine without the swaddle.  So I guess you could say we had another relatively uneventful swaddle weaning process.  Miles and Vivienne were both also easy to stop swaddling.  I guess we just lucked out!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas at Grandma and Grandad's House

After Grandma and Grandad got home from Florida, we had our second Christmas at their house. The kids loved opening their gifts and spending time with their grandparents. The big gift for Miles was a train table. It involved a lot of assembly, so we took it home with us and assembled it after the kids went to bed. Then we brought it out the next day while Grandma and Grandad came over to visit. Miles and Vivienne love it. They play with it almost every day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Catching Clouds

The day after Christmas, we took the kids to the Life and Science Museum in Durham.  Even though it takes us a little while to get there (about 30 minutes), it is well worth the drive.  The kids love it, and we love it, too.  It is a great way for the kids to blow off steam (inside or out, depending on the weather), and I love watching them interact with the animals or blocks or physics experiments or model trains.  There is always something new and different, and the kids love it.

Building something with large foam blocks

My handsome blue-eyed boy
Miles loves the track with the balls.

Evie is always along for the ride in the Ergo.

Daddy helps the kids try to catch the "clouds" in the atmospheric exhibit.

Merry Christmas to Me!

I must have been very, very good this year, because I had one heck of a Christmas.  My biggest present from Jason was a treadmill.  Not only did he get me a treadmill, but he also set me up with a TV and a blu-ray player so that I can watch shows while I work out.  I have used it nearly every day since it was delivered.  This allows me to work out while the kids are napping on weekdays or after they go to sleep (because it's already dark in the winter at 7 pm and I don't like running in the dark).  This has absolutely been a game changer for me from a workout standpoint.

Thanks for the incredibly thoughtful gift, Jason.  You are such a great husband and I'm so thankful for your generosity and all the time and energy you put into this gift.  It is well loved, as are you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas this year was incredibly fun.  Even though a 24-hour stomach bug had been working its way through the family (Vivienne, myself and then Jason - never Miles or Evelyn, luckily), we really enjoyed the time together and having Jason at home for 10 straight days.  SAS shuts down from Christmas Eve until after New Year's, so we always enjoy this "free" vacation time with him.

On Christmas Eve, Vivienne and I baked some chocolate chip cookies for Santa.  We try to eat relatively healthy around here, but we really didn't want to disappoint the Big Guy, ya know?  Vivienne gladly licked the batter off of the mixer attachment.

Cookie Dough Face
After the kids went to sleep, Jason and I put out the cookies and milk for Santa and pulled out all the toys to arrange under the tree.  Almost everything we had was a Craigslist buy, so we really didn't spend much money on Christmas.  I found something like 17 old metal Tonka trucks for a really good price, so Miles will receive 2-3 of these for every birthday/Christmas until he is about 5 (the remaining ones are currently parked in my parents' attic).  Vivienne's big gift from us was a 3-story pink dollhouse.  Of course, at this point, both kids play with all the toys.

The kids woke up around their usual time - 7 am.  They were delighted to see all the toys from Mommy and Daddy and Santa.  Luckily, this year we still don't have to really even say much about what is from us and what is from Santa.  We haven't talked up Santa a whole lot around here, so the kids don't really think about him much yet.   Miles and Viv thought it was fun Santa had eaten the chocolate chip cookies and milk that we had left out for him.

Nothing says "Christmas" like eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast.

As the kids played with some of their new toys, I baked a french toast casserole.  It was heavenly.  Miles and I ate it up.  Vivienne was wary of it (she is not the most adventurous eater), and Jason was starting to come down with the stomach bug so he didn't have much appetite.

Evelyn enjoyed the day in her usual, adorable, sweet chubby-cheeked manner.  This was one a few Christmas outfits that she had, but I think it was the only picture that I got of her all day.

The coloring kits from Aunt Mary and Uncle Brian were a huge hit.  Our kids love to color and use stickers, so these entertained them for a while.

We nearly forgot the stockings in all the excitement.

Even though Jason was under the weather for a bit of the morning, it was just a wonderful day together.  My parents were in Florida celebrating with Brian, Mary and Elizabeth, so it was just the four of us.  After all the presents, we played outside with the cozy coupes and tricycles in the sunshine.

After naps, we took a walk to see some Christmas lights.  The kids enjoyed riding on Daddy's shoulders, and we practiced counting as we walked along and swung them up in the air as Evelyn rode along in the Ergo carrier.  It was a wonderful way to cap off my favorite holiday.  This has been such an incredible year and we have so very much to be thankful for.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jessica's Wedding

In early December, my sweet friend, Jessica, got married. We are lucky to have her so close by (just a couple hours to Wilmington), so we were able to attend her wedding despite having a 4-month-old. It was Evelyn's first wedding, of course, and she wore her first fancy dress. We didn't want her to disturb the ceremony, so Jason stayed outside with her.

The wedding was beautiful and whimsical and fit Jessica perfectly.  She looked stunning in her wedding gown (unfortunately, I didn't get any decent photos of her because I was holding a baby most of the time).  The reception was a ton of fun, but we had to cut out a little early to get our sweet girl home to bed.

Thanks for including us in your wedding day, Jessica.  And thanks to Grandma for watching the big kids together without Grandad's help (because he was working in Seattle).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Parade

This past Saturday, Mom and I took the kids to their first parade.  Jason was at the Durham Rescue Mission serving dinner with our old life group, so he couldn't join us.  The parade was a neat little hometown parade - one of the great benefits of living someplace with a "small town" feel.  I loved the Rose Parade in Pasadena, but this was much more manageable and the kids could get a front seat view without having to arrive 24 hours early and camping out all night.  :)

My friend, Mary, brought her husband and children as well.  Luckily, she brought a little mat that they could all sit on, which helped to ensure that they didn't run out into the street.

Miles and Vivienne really enjoyed the show.  Vivienne just clapped and clapped for all the cars and floats.  Miles liked the firetrucks and safety vehicles.  They had the usual sights - dancers and old cars and people in costumes and free candy.  I hear that Santa was on the last float, but we had to leave after about an hour.  Hopefully next year, Daddy can join us, too!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Door Opens

This has been going on for at least a month now, but both kids can easily open door knobs.  For a while, Vivienne was too short and Miles just had not figured it out.  But now, they both can easily open doors.  While this is an interesting development to note, I have to say that it's kind of frustrating that they can open closets and rooms that we would rather they not get into. 

So far they haven't gone into the extra bedroom upstairs that contains their Christmas presents.  Let's just hope it stays that way for another 3 weeks or so!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Mommy Do Dis (This)"

Lately, Vivienne has been frequently heard saying,"Mommy do dis!"  It's usually when Jason is changing her diaper or putting on her shoes or drying her off after a bath.  For some reason, over the past week or so, she has really wanted me to do many of these things.

When my mom is here, Vivienne is frequently heard saying,"Grandma do dis!"  It's hard for me to pass changing a poopy diaper.  But who am I to disappoint her if she really wants Grandma to do it?  =)

I'm also glad to hear her starting to say,"I do dis!"  She is becoming much more eager to try things on her own, like putting on her backpack or shoes or fixing something or putting an ornament on the tree. 

Having the kids develop their sense of independence is sometimes incredibly frustrating, but it's mostly just plain fun.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Last weekend, we put up our tree.  We have an artificial tree, which obviously isn't as fun as a real tree.  But I have to say that I appreciate that it doesn't drop any needles, and we don't have to pay for a tree year after year.  Maybe when the kids are a bit older, we'll go cut down a real tree.  Until then, it's a plastic Christmas for us.

Grandma and Grandad came over to join in the festivities with us.  The kids did a pretty good job focusing on the task at hand.  Vivienne seemed to be the most enthusiastic.

The kids loved counting "One, two, THREE!!!" and having us turn on the tree.  We do that every day (quite a few times a day), and they haven't gotten tired of it yet.

After we finished decorating, Santa read some bedtime stories to the wee ones.  He seems a bit slimmer and more handsome, doesn't he?  

Chubby Cheeked Beauty

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adventures in Unconsciousness

On the night of Thanksgiving, we got home around 7 pm.  The kids had not yet had their baths and we were running a bit behind on our evening routine.  Vivienne climbed up into the learning tower (kind of like a high step stool with a railing), and I was singing a song to her and tickling her.  She doubled over giggling, and she fell through the railing onto the hard tile floor of the kitchen. 

Vivienne immediately did the breath-holding thing that toddlers do right before they let out a loud cry (usually when they're frightened or hurt suddenly).  I immediately picked her up and carried her to the couch.  Meanwhile, her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out.  She was sitting on the couch like a rag doll with her arms and legs splayed.  She was only unconscious for about a second (literally about 1 second), and then she woke up and started screaming.  It scared me to death, and I cried along with her.  She was inconsolable and skipped her bath because she just wanted to snuggle and suck her thumb.  Luckily, before we put them to bed, she had gotten back to her old self and was talking, counting, etc.

During this time, I was debating as to whether or not we needed to take her to the ER.  Of course, we're not particularly cautious parents (well, I guess I'm not?), so we didn't even call the doctor.  The next day, she seemed fine as well.  We had Evelyn's 4-month visit that next day, so I asked the pediatrician whether we should have taken her to the hospital.  She said that because she fell less than 3 feet and she was walking normally and not speaking Mandarin, we were ok.

Here's to hoping she never hits her head and starts speaking another language!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving, we went to Grandma's house.  She pulled out all the stops, including Oreo turkeys (so cute!).

Our centerpieces for the meal were the little pine cone turkeys that the kids made - one for each of them.

Viv's Turkey

Miles' Turkey

But before the meal, we spent some time outside, climbing the fence, picking the holly berries, enjoying the sunshine and throwing the frisbee for Mindy.

Dinner was delicious - turkey, dressing, gravy, fruit salad, sweet potatoes, mac 'n cheese (the kids' favorite), green beans, broccoli and cranberry sauce... not to mention the cheesecake, carrot cake and pumpkin pie.  We left their house feeling very, very full.

After dinner and naps, we decorated Grandma and Grandad's tree.  I think this was the first time that Miles and Vivienne could really participate in the decorating.  They really had a blast.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We're thankful for having such amazing grandparents right down the street!