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

Monday, December 29, 2014

November News

November came and went in a flash!
What happens when Mom takes a shower a couple days after Halloween -
notice all the empty candy wrappers on the floor under the dinner table.

The culprits

Andy had a conference in Baltimore and we went up to stay with him for a couple nights. I recall my words after doing this last year were, "Never again," but what do you know, one year can make a big difference in how easy it is to manage two young kids in a hotel full of people your husband works with/for. I promised Andy we would stay one night, be we stayed for two and would have happily spent another night, if Philip didn't have school. 

While in Baltimore, we enjoyed Mass and lunch out on the Harbor, a fun morning run/breakfast out/visit to the bookstore, and a couple trips to the indoor pool. We discovered a nearby playground and it was hard to tear the kids away from there when it was time to go home. We barely got to see Andy, but the three of us had fun!

When Andy returned home a couple days later, we celebrated his birthday. The kids loved decorating the house and birthday cake for him.

The next week, we departed for Georgia, via Uncle Danny's house in Raleigh. After spending a night there, we went to Milledgeville for our nephew's wedding. We had a great time exploring the town and spending time with family.

From there, we went to my parent's house for a few days. The kids went crazy for a bounce house place that we visited, we caught up with a friend and her boys for lunch and a park day, and we had pizza at the awesome Mellow Mushroom.


A few days later, we were on the road again, heading to Andy's parent's house for Thanksgiving. Uncle Pete was gracious enough to host us all for a big family Thanksgiving dinner. We also got to visit Uncle Matt and all of his animals (dogs, bunnies, chickens, goats) and got to go to one of our nephew's concerts. Lots of fun was packed into our trip, and by the time we returned home it was already December! What a busy, fun month we had!

We had parent-teacher conferences at Philip's school. He is doing well, but is quiet at school which was expected. When we ask him questions, he has started responding with "Of course I did." "Philip, did you wash your hands?" "Of course I did." When we tell him we are doing something he is not fond of he will say slowly and seriously, "Not a good idea." It can be hard to drive at this time of the year because it seems that the sun is always in the kid's eyes. Philip will get really mad at the sun and yell, "Go away sun! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!" hoping that it will magically move when he reaches the end of the countdown.

Wearing every pair of pants he could find.
Just last month, Philip's doctor asked if he was drawing people yet and the answer was no. Suddenly, this month he got really into drawing and is creating all sorts of things - people, houses, cars - anything he can think of. I love seeing the little people he draws with their looong arms sticking out of their heads, no bodies, and a pair of legs.

Dinosaur Truck

 Every turkey he drew this month had this loooong wattle hanging off of it.

The kids started taking dinosaur bites of their food at meals. They will say, "Watch me take a dinosaur bite," and then proceed to take a big bite with sound effects. They take all sorts of bites now - Transformer bites, lion bites, Spider Man bites - it is a good way to get them to eat their meals!

Julia got a new car seat, which she is super proud of. She talks about it daily. She has taken to reading her stories to us and it is pretty much the cutest thing ever!

Happily taking Philip's car seat for a test drive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Introducing...Julia's Jokes


Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Philip: A fire engine.
Andy: Do you mean a fireman?
Philip: No! I want to be a knight!
Me: What about you, Julia?
Julia: A butterfly.

"Mommy, I want to do Arts and Crabs."

Andy walked into the kitchen to find Julia painting.
Andy: Hi! Are you busy?
Julia: No. I Julia! I not Busy!

Holding up her toy necklace: "I want to put on my rosary."

Playing on the computer: "I'm trying to get my e-marrow."

One morning I made stoplight toast. I colored a couple mini marshmallows red, yellow, and green and put them into a piece of toast shaped like a stoplight. Julia's response, "I don't want mushrooms on my toast!"

Me: What is your favorite part of fall?
Philip: Jumping in the leaves!
Me: How about you Julia?
Julia: Me!

Julia: I Julia
Andy: What is your middle name?
Andy: What is your last name?
Julia: nails our looong last name
Andy: What is your middle name?
Julia: I am so big.

While having a meltdown
Philip: Julia is being funny.
Julia: No! I not being funny. I being crazy!

Handing me a pictures she drew:
"This is for you. Don't spit on it."

While finishing up a snack of peanut butter and crackers.
Me: Okay, we need to go pick Philip up from school.
Julia: I'm going to take some peanut butter with me in my mouth.

We stayed at a hotel overlooking the Baltimore Harbor. A week or two later we stayed at a hotel overlooking a parking lot. While looking out the window.
"There is no water. It's all dried up."

While looking at a book about a Mom and baby.
"There's the Mama and there's the baby and I am Julia, and you are Mommy Kristen, and that is Daddy Andy, and that is Philip...What is Philip's name?"

Monday, November 10, 2014

The News from October

October was a super fun month for us!

I started off on the right foot by going on a silent women's retreat! So refreshing...and exhausting! I loved the silence, the beautiful location, the inspirational talks, and the praise and worship.  This was my first time leaving the kids overnight (other than when Julia was born) and they did great with Dad. When I returned home and called down to the kids in the basement, Julia dropped onto the steps laughing with happiness. I also joined a new women's bible study at our church and had a couple nights out with friends. Thanks to Andy for being so supportive of me!

My parents arrived in town the following weekend and we had a great time catching up on their trip to Connecticut. The kids loved having their grandparents around. We visited the Aviation museum in College Park and all brought Philip to his first day of Atrium for the year. Philip loved having his grandparents drop him off and pick him up from school! It was close to my father's birthday, so we gave him a little surprise birthday party one night.

The kids decorated Dad's birthday pie


Philip had a school field trip to a nearby garden center that had fall festival activities and also taught them about pumpkins and let them pot a flower. Julia came down with a fever, so I stayed home with her. Andy was able to rearrange his schedule to bring Philip on the field trip and I was happy for them to have a little father-son outing.

Later in the month, we took part in the Run for the Little Flowers. It was especially meaningful this year because our friends who organize this fundraiser were just one week away from traveling to China to meet their new daughter. We are so happy for them!

Afterwards, we went to a local hospital center that was having a Touch-a-Truck event. This is a great event where kids (and adults) are able to climb into all sorts of vehicles. Philip climbed aboard a fire truck, construction trucks, tow truck, school bus, stretch limo, police car, and even a police boat! Julia was pretty clingy, but near the end she got into a few vehicles herself!

Of course we had to get a pumpkin, so we went to a pumpkin patch and found the perfect one! While we were there, we did a corn maze, visited some animals, and picked out some pretty gourds and yummy fruits and vegetables. Philip could hardly wait to carve that pumpkin!

In health news, it was molar month around here. Philip unexpectedly started cutting his 6-year molars. Julia has all four of her 2-year molars coming in at once. It was rough-going for about a week, but we are through the worst of it. The kids also had their annual doctor's visit and checked out fine!

Waiting for the doctor
Philip started Atrium again and now asks each day, "Am I going to the little school (Atrium) or the big school (preschool) today?" He is doing really great with preschool and just loves it! Each day he ceremoniously shares with us what he has made at school. He is quick to make sure that I don't ruin the surprise for Daddy by telling him what Philip made. One thing he picked up from the kids there is "No fair!" so we are having lots of talks to clarify what is and isn't actually fair.

Philip has started wanting to pick out his own clothes. Ever since watching some retro Godzilla videos, he roars at all his friends when playing with them. He wants to be funny and typically asks if I think he is funny after he does things I am not really happy about. We are starting to see his perfectionist qualities coming out, which he gets from his Daddy. I had long wondered if his slow language development was due to him being one of those kids that doesn't want to do something until they know they can do it well. I'm pretty sure he fits that description!

A girl can never have too many bags!
Julia is now speaking in paragraphs. She seems to get a huge energy burst just before bed and bounces off the walls and chatters nonstop for about an hour as we try to get her to sleep. She loves brightly colored clothes and wants to know the name of each shirt I put on. She still calls me Miss Kristen throughout the day and also calls other people by my name. "Hi Kristen-Daddy." "Hi Kristen-Pill-ip." "Hi Kristen-Herbie." She is such a character!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween Recap

Halloween was a fun event for us this year. This was the first year Philip was really anticipating it and he had a great time!

This was the first year I thought Philip would actually wear a costume for more than 2 minutes, so I planned to take him to pick something special. About a month before Halloween, Philip declared that he wanted to be a knight. He held fast to that, so we were able to recycle his costume from two years ago. I tried to beef it up with a shield and a sword, but here you have our knight and little dancer, getting ready for our MOM's Club Halloween party.

For Halloween storytime, Julia transformed into a butterfly.

The day before Halloween, we decorated cupcakes, because who doesn't need more sweets in the house around Halloween?

SUGAR! This is what Julia looks like after eating lots of sprinkles!

Many more sprinkles go into their mouths than on the cupcakes.

That evening, we carved our pumpkin.

At school on Halloween, Philip had a costume parade and party.

That evening, Julia had a minor wardrobe change and dressed as a princess. She soon ditched the crown, so we had a knight and lady out trick-or-treating.

In past years Philip had never made it more than a few doors down before he wanted to go back home. This year, we went out with the two sets of twins on our street. We got together beforehand for pizza, then headed out into the neighborhood. It was so much fun to watch Philip run from house to house, keeping up with his friends and enjoying the excitement of the evening! Julia wanted to be held the entire time, but kept saying, "I want to do another one" each time we left a house. She clung tightly to a handful of her favorite candy - lollipops - refusing to put them into her bag.

By 8:00, Philip was clearly exhausted and his bag was so heavy he didn't want to carry it anymore. We asked him after each house if he was ready to go home. He would check to see if his best buddies were going home yet. When we replied no, he would sigh and say, "I'll keep going." We finally cut him off and the kids were happy to return home and spread out their loot in the living room.

This year's Halloween was a sweet success!