"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." John 15:11

Friday, December 20, 2013

{this moment} Train Garden

{this moment} A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

November News

November came and went in a flash! These baby days are going by way too quickly for my liking! At the beginning of the month, I took the kids to a neat farm. They have a petting zoo, hayrides, play areas, and nursery rhyme themed displays. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time wandering around and enjoying a picnic lunch.

Philip even got brave enough to feed the sheep
Andy had a conference in Baltimore. He invited us to stay at the hotel and I agreed to take the kids up for a night. We enjoyed walking by the harbor, meeting lots of people, having dinner with friends, and going to a beautiful church on Sunday morning.
The kids loved looking at the harbor from our hotel window.
After Andy's stay in Baltimore, we had a belated birthday celebration. His meal request has been the same since he was a kid and I always look forward to it. Dinner nachos - his Mom's recipe and it is really yummy. It is more like a dip then traditional nachos. He always requests chocolate cake for dessert.
Philip decorated the cake
I didn't let Andy know that he did this a few times until after we had eaten
We get lots of leaves at this time of year - in fact, we still need to clean up the backyard. The kids had a great time playing with the leaves and making a mess out of the pile the landscapers left.
Some friends of ours invited us out on a double date and it pushed us to finally get our first real babysitter (not a grandparent or friend, but a real teenager!). We went bowling and out to a movie and had a great time. The kids did well although the sitter said several times that Julia really missed me. Philip was helpful, but did not speak a word for the first three hours. He finally cracked his shell after the three hour mark and had a great time with Miss Natalie. He still talks about her.
A rare photo of both kids smiling  and looking at the camera
For Thanksgiving, we traveled down to my parent's house in Georgia. We had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa! My Dad set up an electric train and that kept Philip entertained for many hours. They pulled out my old dollhouse and some other toys and it brought back so many memories - especially dollhouse furniture that I spent so much time playing with as a little girl.
Julia thought the My Little Pony stable made a nice seat.
Every time we opened the roof she would plop herself down inside.
One evening my parents took us out to a farm where we went on a hayride and got to see a really amazing light display. We all had so much fun and Philip is ready to go back again!
Julia bopping her head to The Wheels on the Bus
Julia is such a cutie - I just love one-year-olds! She learned to shake her head no. Sometimes it is helpful and sometimes I just wish she didn't know how to do it! She got a new tooth and two molars. Overall she is a pretty good teether - she is grumpy a bit, but not overly crazy! She started saying thank you, "dank eeee!" and please "peeeze!" Julia has lots of other words too, we are always amazed at what she picks up. She started making animal noises this month. She can meow, baa, moo, and woof. When she is tired she will wave to anyone in the room and say, "bye-bye." If she gets her hands dirty she will stop whatever she is doing and come toddling over to me or Andy repeating, "oh no" until we wipe her hands off. When she sees something she wants she will reach out her hand, rub her fingers together, and say, "num num num." We went to a couple baby sign language classes this month and I'm really enjoying it. Julia has picked up on a few things and it is fun to learn all the signs.

Ever since we started potty training Philip, I've been thinking that I need to put Julia on the potty, because she was so interested in it. I finally thought about it at the right time one night and put her on. She went on the very first try! Afterwards, we had her wash her hands and that started a new obsession. Julia wants to wash her hands anytime anyone goes into the bathroom. When I ask her if she wants to use the potty she makes a beeline for the bathroom, sits on the potty for 2 seconds, says, "Okay!" in a singsong voice, and then expects to be able to wash her hands for ten minutes. Her other big obsession is brushing her teeth. Perhaps she has a future in a healthcare profession?

Washing hands is so much fun!
Philip is doing great! He is having a good time at his school, though still shy, he is making improvements. He participates in everything, but won't say a word. His school is called an Atrium and he calls it the "Atri." When we get in the car to go to Atrium he always ask where all the other cars are going After I would tell him my thoughts he says, "No, they are going to the Atri." This is the first big thing he is doing on his own and now when I tell him we are going to any activity he always asks, "Are you going to stay with me?" We have dance parties at least one a day at Philip's request. Definitely before bed, and sometimes before naptime or at other points of the day. I never thought this would be the case, but the kids love Andy's guitar music. We have a couple favorites that we dance to each day (if you noticed on their birthday posts that both of their favorite songs were something you've probably never heard of "Tumeni Notes," that is why - it is an electric guitar song).
One week Philip asked me to take his picture every time he sat down for a meal.
This one was a keeper!

His phrases of the month were: "That gonna be dangerous!" "Nice to meet you, nice to meet you" while shaking your hand vigorously, and adding "I said" to the end of anything he tells us. "Go outside, I said!" He also started dictating how we are driving. "Go faster Mommy!" "No, go slower! That's too fast! That's dangerous!" I think he may be taking after his Grandma Susan.

Typical big brother - stuffing leaves down his sister's shirt
We had some family photos taken this month. They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped, but there were some cute ones of the kids. I'll end this post with them!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

October Update

Well, it is December now, so this seems like a good time to write a roundup of October. We had some great times.

We were blessed to have my parents visit for two weekends in October. They went on a trip to New England and stopped to stay with us on the way there and back. On the first weekend we took them to the pumpkin patch. A major heat wave came through (notice Julia's outfit) and we were sweating through it, but had fun!

Apple cider doughnuts - a fall tradition!

On my parent's second visit, we all participated in my friend's Run for the Little Flowers. That evening we celebrated my Dad's birthday. It was so special to be with him on his day.
On Sunday we went to a favorite park for a picnic, merry-go-ride, mini-golfing, train ride, and playground time.

One Saturday we went to the Fire Museum of Maryland.  The kids loved it! It was amazing to see how beautiful and intricate fire engines used to be.

Both kids squabbled over who got to sit in this the entire time

Did I mention my little girl loves French fries? If she sees them she will eat nothing else. This was the day she discovered ketchup!

I took the kids on a field trip to a local farm. We went on a tour, hayride, and took home a baby pumpkin.

After going to Andy's guitar concert last month, I had my day when we got to see my favorite band, Need to Breathe. I always thought they would be really fun to see in concert and I was right! I only wish they had played longer - literally, they only played one hour. Who does that?

We also hosted our sister-in-law and niece for dinner one night. My niece was playing in a soccer tournament in the area and they were kind enough to make a long drive out to our house for dinner. Of course we were so busy talking, we forgot to get a picture!

We don't have Philip in preschool this year, but I thought I should start working with him on some things. He is starting to ask for more directed activities, so the timing is right. We are learning about a letter each week (okay, realistically it is a letter every two weeks or so). We are having fun checking out new stories from the library, eating foods that begin with the letter of that week, and making an alphabet book. I made a Mystery Box that I fill with items that begin with the letter of the week and try to fit in other fun activities as well. It has been fun for me and him, but definitely keeps me busy with preparations (hence the lack of blogging). 

The month ended with Halloween. Philip was super excited the night we carved our pumpkin. He was insistent that we go trick-or-treating as soon as we finished carving it (two days before Halloween).

About an hour before trick-or-treating began, I picked him up from his Montessori program and he declared, "I want to be a dragon for Halloween!" On our way home he also said he wanted to be a truck, a car, a policeman, and a few other things that I can't remember. We stuck with our original plan of being a fireman.

We went to five houses before Philip declared he was ready to go home. We visited a few more neighbors and then headed back. The next day he was ready to go out trick-or-treating again. It is so hard to explain to a stubborn 3-year old that Halloween is only one night per year!
This is the best pic I got of the two kids in their costumes. Nice!
They were so excited to see all the kids coming to the door. My shy little boy even wanted to put candy in the other kid's bags by the end of the night. He's getting braver! Of course he got so brave that a couple days later he opened the door for a complete stranger when I was upstairs putting Julia down for a nap. Child-safety locks got installed on the door that night!

Philip's little boy energy is in full-swing now. He goes into what I call "turbo mode" often. He used to just do it in the evenings if he missed a nap, but now it can start as early as 10:00 am and it is crazy! Luckily Philip and Julia both have good guardian angels because they need it with the way his whips around the house with push (or non-push) toys.

Going turbo

I am starting to hear some of my words coming back to me now.
Philip has told me, "You know better." and "You need to talk more nicely."
I love to hear him tell Julia the things that we would normally tell him. "You need to put that away while we are eating. Okay baby?"

Signature phrases of the month:
"I want a special."
"This is my first time doing this." (not necessarily true)
"It's possible!"
If we are doing something that he doesn't like (like putting clothes on him) he will cry out, "Stop me!"
And we have the TV to thank for this one: "Not on your life!" I'm pretty sure that one came from The Octonauts.

Sweet conversation of the month:
After getting off the phone with a friend who was due with her third baby in 2.5 years:
Me: Miss J is about to have a baby. Can you imagine having another baby right now?
Philip: And you going to have a baby.
Me shocked: It is going to be a long time before I have another baby.
Philip: No, you already have a baby. Baby Julia is my favorite baby.

Bed head

We talked a lot about the change of the seasons. He would tell us, "The squirrels are collecting nuts and then the leaves are going to fall. And after the leaves fall the snow is going to come!"  Hoping that it doesn't take too long for us to have our first snowfall this year!

Now that cooler weather is here, Julia has been getting used to wearing pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts again. She will stare at her arms after I dress her looking very puzzled. She is a sweet kissy baby and will give us a kiss anytime we ask for it. She started saying "Choo choo" when she plays with toy trains. It sounds kind of like, "Shoo shoo." In self-defense news, her biting stage has slowed down (though not completely stopped). She now prefers to pull hair. So far Philip always laughs when she pulls his hair and I try to break it up as soon as possible. I'm waiting for the day that her pull gets stronger and he realizes that she is not playing games!

Okay, that is all I can remember for now and this post is long enough! Thanks for sticking with me!