Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Merry Christmas

We had our big family Christmas gifting extravaganza this evening. I'm having trouble with my laptop cord, so don't have access to photoshop right now. I'll post more photos when I get home, but for now, here are a few, straight from the camera.

But first, we made pie.

And ate tamales. (And foop.)

Did you know my sister could knit hats? Because I just learned that tonight.

Peeper and Grandpa.

2010 Wrap Up, Bloggy-Style

Once again, a review of my first substantial post of each month for the past year.

January - Babies, Babies, Babies!
Today was "Christmas" with my family: two delicious meals - thanks to Frappa, lots of gifts - mostly thanks to the Anonyparents and musical babies - thanks to us, BabyBro and HisLovelyWife.

February - Date Night: The Sequel
I guess I never really reported on our date night a couple of weeks ago, because it segued so quickly into the Night of a Thousand Vomits.

March - Date Night
Peeper visited with Shrike's parents this evening, while we had another date-night-at-home.

April - Easter Egg Hunt
The MOMS Club Easter egg hunt was this morning, and it couldn't have been a more perfect day for it. Peeper didn't totally understand what was going on, but she caught on pretty quickly to the concept of picking up eggs and putting them in her basket.

May - Early to Bed . . . .
This was taken right after I snuck out from putting her down. Note that she went to sleep around 8 pm, which is very early for her.

June - It Takes a Village
A week ago, I opened Facebook and saw, at the top of my newsfeed: "The greatest joy is nursing one's own baby. The second greatest is helping another woman to nurse hers." At the very moment that I read those words, I was pumping milk for our friend MommyA's two-month-old daughter, BabyJ.

July - Bathing Cuties
BabyBro, HisLovelyWife and the twins came into town [we were in Texas] this afternoon and are spending the night. LadyKay, Kiddo1 and Frappa came over as well, for dinner and to exchange gifts for Summer birthdays (Frappa on June 6, BabyBro on June 7, #1 on July 27, Father's Day and the Anonyparents anniversary (53 years on July 6).

August - Little Farmer
On Saturday morning, we did a little yard saling. We made a few stops and bought a couple of CDs, some educational software and a Fisher Price Little People farm, complete with several animals (a couple of which aren't actually Little People animals!) for five dollars.

September - Home at Last!
Peeper (and we) had a great time at the Children's Museum this morning, then we got on the road around 1 pm, and made it home about 5:30 pm. Peeper did wonderfully with the driving, again. She was asleep before we were even onto the highway (and we weren't far from it when we started!) and slept almost two hours. If I'd had the sense to get gas before leaving Richmond, she would've slept longer, because she woke up when I stopped - which I refused to do until I was down to about one "bar" from the point at which the warning light comes on!

October - Lap Top
We visited Anonygrandma's beauty shop ladies this morning, took a nice long nap, and just hung out around the house for the rest of the day. It was a nice break before our big day tomorrow, when we'll be driving a couple of hours to Houston for DaNiece and DaNephew's big first birthday party!

November - Doctor's Report
Peeper had her two-year well baby child check-up today and it went great. The first bit of excitement was that she now stands up on the big kid scale, with her clothes on, to be weighed. Well, except that I insisted on taking of her very, very heavy sweater when the first weight looked way too high to me. Turns out the sweater weighs 12 ounces, which is not insignificant on a child who is (without the sweater) less than 24 pounds.

December - Christmas Countdown Begins

Today is December 1, so we've kicked off our Christmas Countdown activities! A few weeks ago, we bought an unpainted wooden advent calendar at Michael's - a Christmas tree with little drawers in it - and Shrike, well, she's sort of still in the process of painting it, because she doesn't have a lot of Peeper-free time at home, during which she can work on it, but no matter, we can still open the drawers without paint on them!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making Friends

Peeper loooooves "Bamaw's" kitties. Today, she was telling one of them "Pet! Pet! Peeeaase!" and later, after I'd said, "Don't chase the kitty," she was running after him saying "Chase! Chase! Chase!"

This is the more skittish of the two, so I couldn't believe she stuck around while Peeper sat in her grownup chair petting her, and telling us about her booty.

Loving on kitty.

Pointing out kitty's booty.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Made it to Texas

Peeper was a delightful travelling companion on the plane, as usual.

Full disclosure: She only stayed in the CARES harness for a few minutes, and spent most of the flight in my lap, much of that nursing and napping. During lunch, she was in her seat, with just the regular seatbelt. I did tell her that "if the lady says you have to buckle, you have to buckle," because she is not, technically, legal in a lap now that she's two. (Which makes little sense.)

The whole CARES harness and no carseat through the airport thing is made possible by the fact that my parents were kind enough to buy a duplicate of our carseat, to live here.

Which is wonderful.

The only catch is that someone has to remember to put it in the car before driving two hours to pick us up at the airport.

Otherwise, we would have to rent a carseat, and a car, to make the two-hour drive back to the Anonyparents' house.

Just sayin.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cooking in Her Kitchen

Thank You!

This is our Christmas thank you card.

Our strategy in recent years is to send evites for Peeper's birthday party and email Christmas cards to everyone we know (and don't know), and then print just a handful of thank you cards for each occassion, for those who give us actual gifts.

If you gave (or will be giving) us gifts, don't look, because you'll be getting one in the mail (eventually).

Otherwise, enjoy.

Many Memories Tree Holiday Thank You 3x5 folded card
For hundreds of holiday card designs, click here.
View the entire collection of cards.
Disclaimer: In exchange for sharing this card on the blog, Shutterfly is giving us a $25 gift certificate. I'm not special or anything, the same deal is available to anyone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Panda Pics - 26 Months

Twenty-Six Months

Dear Peeper,
You are twenty-six months old today. I had to remind myself of that, because I've found that I just think of you as "two" now, instead of months.

Which makes it much more efficient to answer the "How old is she?" question for random strangers, but much more difficult to remember to take panda photos and write monthly letters!

The biggest thing that's been going on over the past month, of course, has been Christmas - and you have absolutely loved it.

It seems like you are the perfect age for Christmas, because it is all still so new and amazing and magical to you, but you're big enough to get into it, but you don't yet know to anticipate the gifts, or to expect and demand them.

How long do you think we can maintain that wonder of it all without the gimme gimme gimme part?

Mommy and I  are really worried about how you're going to handle the end of the holiday season, because you've loved it all so much.

I think it's good that you and I will be heading to Texas in a couple of days, because for one thing, there will be a bit more Christmas when we get there, but also I think that a change of scenery while Christmas goes away might be a good thing.

We have been talking a lot about how we're going to have to say "bye-bye" to the decoration and, most importantly, your "Humhummuh movie," (The Year Without a Santa Claus) before we leave for Texas, and pack them away until next year, and that Mommy will be putting away the other Christmas things while we're gone. (Right, Mommy?)

I'm hoping that you kind of forget about them while we're away. I'm afraid you're going to ask for the movie as soon as we walk back in the door next week, though. Please don't.

I think we will let you keep out the singing Santas, though. After all, the pumpkins are still around, and even the singing Easter Bunny, so why not?

The movie has to go though, because you've been spending way too much time watching it, and it's been way too easy to let you, and that's just not how we want to do things, long term.

Through December, we've been doing lots of Christmas activities, of all sorts, and when we get home from Texas, I hope to keep up / get back to doing some sort of structured activities with you, not everyday like the Christmas Countdown, but a few things a week, maybe in weekly "themes" like we sort of tried in the fall.

I think you'd enjoy doing more art and craft activities, especially if I can find ones that you can do with a little less guidance from me, so that they really are your projects.

You've really been enjoying coloring, and you've liked the little bit of painting that we've let you do. You got some paints for Christmas, so I guess we'd better let you use them sometime!

You are talking up a storm these days. Still almost exclusively one word at a time, but it's amazing how much you can communicate that way. Every now and then you'll use a two-word phrase, such as "iiiiinnnn tent!" (when you're crawling under your desk) and I expect we'll be hearing more and more of those in the coming weeks.

You have some other two word phrases that I think of more as single words, so I don't really "count" them. Your favorites are "love YOU!" and "uh (other) side!" (when nursing).

And speaking of nursing, yep, you're still going strong with that, and showing no signs of slowing down. You are usually agreeable when I ask you to just "goody to ten" (or twenty) and then finish up later, when it's not really convenient (like when you ask for it just as I'm getting you strapped into your carseat) which I really appreciate.

It's very cute, because sometimes you stop in the middle to say some of the numbers, and you (usually) stop voluntarily when I get to ten (or twenty) and sometimes stop before I get there and say "Ten!" yourself.

Another thing I love about nursing you at this age, and with this level of communication skills, is that if you've slipped a bit and I'm not comfortable, I can just say "Honey, please relatch," and even if you are starting to doze off, you'll let go, open wiiiiide, and start again with a better latch.

And, of course, there's that thing about how you bring me the letter "G" magnet, and know that it stands for "goody."  

Actually, you know lots of your letters. I need to try to go through them with you in some organized fashion and get an idea of which ones you've got down, just so I know. You recognize probably most of them, and for several, you can tell me a word that starts with them. It's usually the same word, so you've probably just memorized it, but that's a start.

(For example, you know that AuntieKay starts with K, but occassionally, you'll get confused and tell me that "Aunt" Frappa (AuntieKay's daughter) starts with K. She doesn't.)

Sometimes we talk about the fact that "Mommy's real name starts with K," but that's kind of confusing. It was even more confusing up until a week or so ago, when you insisted on giving Mommy my real name.

The answer to "What's Mama's real name?" "What's Mommy's real name?" and "What's our last name?" was my real name.

You're getting Mommy's right most of the time, but still struggling with our last name. That's okay, nobody else can pronounce it either.

Once you do learn to pronounce it, I'll be interested to hear how you do it, because I realized a few years ago that Mommy and I say it differently. I say Shrike-Whozat, and Mommy says Shrike-Whozat. That is, we each put the emphasis on our own "maiden" name, which I think is pretty funny.

You are also kind of confused about your "big name." You can't say your full first name, and it either comes out as my name or one of the other diminuatives that's an option for that name. (There are lots and lots of options. You are one, I am another, you usually pronounce it as a third.)

I've not even attempted to teach you your middle name (although it's much easier to say) but I have told you about all three of our full names and explained about how you're named after us. You don't get it.

But, we're working on it. For now, if you were to somehow get separated from us, I'm pretty certain that the best answer you could give to "What's your mommy's name?" would be "Mommy."

So don't go getting separated, okay? Okay!

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, letters. You know your numbers, too. You can identify all 1 - 10 (even 7, although you don't like it), and you can count to all the way to ten, although you more often skip numbers. "None, tooo, free, ate, tehn!"

You're not consistent about it at all, but you sort of seem to sometimes have the idea of one-to-one counting (pointing to items and counting them), although you're also very likely to just say that there are "none, tooo, ate!" of something.

I am so loving watching you play with your new Christmas gifts, and all your toys, really. You are getting so into imitative and imaginative play that it's just fascinating to see what you come up with.

In your new kitchen, you open the microwave, put something in, close the door, push some buttons, putter around doing other things - opening and closing the fridge, moving dishes around, playing with other food - for a minute or two, then go back to the microwave and take the food out!

It is probably not surprising that you do that a whole lot more often than you put food in a pan on the stove.

It's not all sunshine and roses, of course. You are starting to be more and more two, and the answer to pretty much any question these days is "No." Unless, of course, it's "NOOOOOO!"

It requires a lot of creativity on our parts to phrase things as either/or questions and not yes/no. Of course, that doesn't necessarily stop you from answering "no" anyway.

Last weekend, you had a couple of full-on tantrums, which really kind of freaked us out, because you just don't do that. Then, the next day, you woke up with a runny nose, so we're hoping that it had more to do with you being sick than being two.

We just keep trying to remind ourselves that even on your least compliant days, you are still pretty laid-back and agreeable and as frustrating as it can be, it's what you're "supposed to be" doing at this age.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Shut up and get in your carseat, kid, I'm freezing out here.

Oh, but it doesn't take much for you to redeem yourself.

One "loooove YOU!" or one "Bo-bo!" followed by a kiss when I've stubbed my toe, or one big ol' hug - especially when you hug me and mommy at the same time, and say "Bofe!" (both) and my heart just melts.

Again. And again.

I swear, you just get more and more amazing every day.

Sure, two has brought some new challenges, but mostly it's just such a joy, watching you grow and learn and become more and more of your own person (see: challenges) every day.

With all these Christmas activities we've done, I've just been blown away by how much of them you've been able to do yourself, and how much you've enjoyed them.

Even with the things that you're really not quite ready for, you are close enough that I can see just how into them you will be next year (and, really, well before that) and I am so looking forward to doing more and more things like that with you as you get older.

In some ways, of course, you are still very much our baby, but you are also such a big girl, and I can see glimpses every day of the kid you are becoming, and it is just the most amazing thing to watch.

I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, my little Roo, and may the New Year bring wonderful things for us all.

I love you,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pie Time

I took photos of Peeper "helping" me make pie for Thanksgiving dinner the past two years, so now it's a tradition.

I skipped the pie (and dinner) this Thanksgiving, because I was pukey the night before, but she helped me make one for Christmas dinner. We worked fast because I was making it at noon for a 2 pm dinner, and I has to go in the fridge for a while to "set." Amazingly, it was ready to go by the time we served desserts around 4 o'clock!

We were very happy about measuring lemon juice!

Oh yeah - pie recipe.

Christmas With Shrike's Family

Today was our big Christmas dinner and gift extravanganza with Shrike's family. We were there from 2 pm until about 5:30, during which time Peeper's "usual" naptime came and went, but she held up really well, and had a great time.

Sitting at the kiddy table!

Snowman cupcakes. How cute are these?!

Peeper with Shrike's Grandma.

Peeper with Shrike's Pappy.

Little Rudolph

Peeper and Mommy

Pap & Peep

Shrike's Pappy playing harmonica, and later, playing peekaboo with Peeper at our family Christmas celebration today.

Peeper's 2010 Christmas Countdown

Here's a summary of all our Christmas Countdown activities, with links to the posts about each one:

  1. Art Class with Mommy - Gingerbread Man 
  2. (sick) Email from Santa, Paint tree, 2 movies
  3. (sick) Chanukah book/videos
  4. Light Show
  5. Nutcracker Tea w/Mommy & Mama
  6. Buy & decorate tree, watch movie and drink hot chocolate
  7. Christmas carolling at the nursing home with MOMS Club
  8. Art Class with Mommy & Mama – Christmas Gifts
  9. MOMS Club Xmas Craft
  10. Visit Santa / Photo
  11. Build snowman / decorate cookies
  12. Trains / Lights
  13. Read Book - 12 Dogs for Christmas
  14. Bake cookies for MOMS Club exchange
  15. MOMS Club Christmas Party and cookie exchange
  16. Piano sing along with Mama
  17. Decorate wrapping paper / gifts
  18. Live Nativity, visit Santa, buy Toys for Tots
  19. Decorate Santa Cookies from Mommy's Secret Sister
  20. Wrap and decorate more gifts
  21. Cousin's School Christmas Program
  22. Make pretzel treats for Santa
  23. Decorate a gingerbread house
  24. Christmas Eve - Dinner at Aunt J's, Church with family
  25. Christmas Day - Santa Claus! Open gifts from Mommy and Mama

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

We had a very relaxing, laid-back Christmas Day at home, just the threee of us. We started by sleeping in until a little after noon - and yes, we do realize this is probably the last time we'll be able to do that on Christmas for many, many years.

Then we got up and Peeper discovered the gifts that Santa had left out unwrapped. In the living room were a great Elmo chair and a stuff Elmo that's bigger than she is, and of course, there was the kitchen.

The two Elmo things, she totally lucked into. She and I went to the consignment shop on Thursday, trying to find me some jeans (no luck) and she spotted the chair right off. It was $6.99, and the stuffed Elmo was $1.99 and I couldn't resist.

I had a little chat with the cashier, and we left a voicemail for Santa, telling him that IF he had room in his bag, there was a really cool Elmo chair that Peeper wanted, and it was right by our house, so it would be easy to pick up on his way.

(Seriously, I made that call, for her benefit. I don't think she'll be putting two and two together any time soon, but I figured I should cover my "Hey, didn't we just see that at the consignment store?" tracks, just in case.)

When Santa drank his instant hot chocolate, he left some of the goo from the powder in the bottle of his mug. Hours later, Peeper discovered it, and evidently thought it was still yummy.

I made her some hot(ish) chocolate of her own so she'd stop eating that. She called it "coffee."

While she played with Elmo and the kitchen, I worked on making pancakes. With some help.

Apple peanut butter oatmeal pancakes. Almost sounds healthyish, doesn't it?

Every now and then, she'd decide to open another gift, and I'd take a break, and a couple of hours later, they were finally all cooked. By then, we'd all be grazing on them, so we never did sit down together to eat them.

She finally opened her other gifts.

There was a lot of playing, of course.

And some goody.

And more playing.

And eating (sunflower seeds from Mommy's stocking).

And playing.

Did we mention that she got a doctor kit and costume?

And a few other things.