Our Holidays

sorry about the order these are backwards...
Xmas in Harrisburg: We went to Harrisburg on Saturday to open presents and celebrate. C felt like she needed to open every present. It was a great day!

Xmas Morning: Grandma and Great Grandma came and we opened lots of great toys from Santa! This pic is a toy from Grandma that C and G both love and have to play with everyday!

Xmas Eve: C and G had a ball with their cousins. C was waited on like a princess by her sweet cousins while G took turns being happy and sad over being held by someone other than mommy. Chris and I had such a nice time!


Muffin Tin Monday

So I found out we're supposed to be following themes. Today I tried a holiday theme. The kixx are for ornaments, soybean butter is like snow, pretzels are shaped like trees, bananas are tree toppers. chicken is hmmm...something I need C to eat and the raisins can be reindeer food!

Gavin can sit up

Look: Gavin can sit up!!! Yippppeeeee!!! He falls down after a while but is doing really well. So after naps today we spread out a big comfy quilt and played. We got out some of the toys that C doesn't really play with anymore. Gavin loved it...it was like Xmas came early. He did such a niced job sitting, even C took notice. She sat down with us and played for a bit too. She liked handing him toys and then taking them from him. I can't believe my little baby boy is going to be six months and is already sitting up.

Learn: Rediscovering toys with a new child can be fun. It can also cause some jealousy...but its fun nonetheless. G being able to sit up opens up a whole new bunch of challenges and things to enjoy for him.

Love: Its like the children are growing right in front of my eyes and I love every minute of it.

Being a Librarian

Look: Today we needed to clean up the family room and move some of the toys and books. On Wednesday 3 of my brothers and their families will be here to celebrate. I'm so excited because its G's first Xmas! Anyhow we have books placed all over the house. C is a huge book fanatic and will stop dozens of times a day to check out a book. Well today we had the job of collecting them all and putting them in her armoir. After the holidays we'll redistrubute them and put new ones out. We had a big basket and I'd ask C to get books and put them in. She loved being a helper. Several times she had to stop to read the book and got sidetracked (but I didn't mind). We coralled all the books upstairs for this week.

Learn: I usually play librarian by myself and rotate her books from spot to spot. But it was so much more fun with my little librarian. Santa is bringing her a few books, so I know getting the books back out will be even more fun!

Love: C found some old favorites and was walking all over the second floor (while I changed G's diaper) hugging them. She is so funny!


Early Morning shopping

Look: The holidays are here, they really snuck up on me. Even though I thought I was rather prepared, there were a ton of last minute little things I needed. G woke up around 5 am on Sunday and was definitely ready to party the day away. So I scooped him up and went to Kohls for the 6 am opening. I talked to him the entire way as we walked around the store. He smiled tons at the funny things I was saying. He helped me pick some gifts and even held one of the presents in his car seat (which he promptly started to chew..yuck...so it went in the cart). At the checkout lanes lots of ladies gooed over how cute he is and he just smiled away at them.
Learn: I learned that when things are stressful bring a happy baby along. I dislike trying to tie up all the loose ends, but it was rather fun with Gavin by my side. Also this shopping trip was an example of making lemonade with lemons. Even though I'd rather be sleeping I made the best of it and missed all the crowds!
Love: I love showing of my little boy. People love to look at babies and their faces light up wehn G gives them a smile. It really can melt anyone's heart.


Making decorations

Look: We've been busy, busy, busy getting ready for the holidays. So we took some time to enjoy making some of the decorations. I used contact paper and the red/green pieces we'd ripped up before to make placemats. Chelsea had a ball putting the little pieces on the mats. I think she liked spilling them all over the floor more though. She was very attentive and interested through making 2 placemats. She helped with placing the papers and smoothing out the mats. But once the third placemat started she was off to play. Besides giving me a few pieces of paper and helping pat the contact paper together, she wasn't too interested.
Learn: In the optimal situation, I would have done one placemat at a time with breaks in between. Next time we do big crafts, I'm going to designate a spot and go back to it several time over a day or two so she doesn't get bored.
Love: I am really looking forward to seeing her reaction when we use the placemats. I wonder if she'll remember making them?


Holiday Story Hour

Look: Thursday we went to the library for the holiday story hour. We we early so C played on the rocking horse and looked at books. In the story hour we learned lots of new songs and read some holiday books. C danced and swayed to the music. She has since already learned the guestures to one of the songs and tries to sing it on her own. G. enjoyed every minute of it too and smiled at the librarian who sang in front of us the whole time.

Learn: C can learn songs really quickly, she loves music. G is getting big enough to enjoy the things we go to. Usually I just think of them as for C, but now they are for both of them.

Love: I love story hours, its great to see other moms and kids we see each time. Its also fun to watch both of my kids get into it.


Muffin Tin Monday

Look: Put meat, tomatoes, veggies (wishful thinking), apples, bagels and a mini chocolate muffin.
Learn: Toddlers eat in phases. Just a week ago, C was not eating much at meal times. This week, its like she can't get enough.
Love: What's not to love about putting one tray down for C, and relaxing while she eats!

Outside in Dec?

Look: On Monday it reached about 60 here. Wow, we took advantage of that and played outside most of the day. C played with her sand table for a while. Then she explored the yard. Next I gave her a container of water and a brush and she water painted the patio. Then she mixed the water and sand to make...well a mess! She liked challenging herself to walk around the base of the trees and over the roots. She found lots of rocks (and one petrified Millie poop...ew!) The hill provided almost ten minutes of fun, C ran up and down it! And of course we played ball with Millie. Millie was so tired in the evening that she wasn't even begging for food or following us around. For her this is highly unusual.
Learn: The outdoor day had us all in such good moods. I love winter but I'm looking forward to the spring and summer when C, G and I can be outside on most days. In a book, I read that kids need daily outside time. Once G is big enough I'm getting them full winter and rain gear so nothing can stop us. I learned that given the freedom, C will find her own challenges. I love this and want to promote her to continue this. I also learned to double check every "rock" to make sure it wasn't from our dog. he he
Love: I love warm weather, I'd be tempted to move to get more warm weather with the kids. But we love our life here. I love the adventurous spirit C has, I"m hoping G shares her enthusiasm.


Happy and Sad

Look: I spent some of the weekend experimenting and documenting what makes Chelsea and Gavin happy and sad.
C- Daddy coming home, Elmo's world...especially when Elmo talks to the babies, marshmellows, when I crawl on all fours and chase her, her brother, the lights in the house, learning to do new things, Daddy and Mommy
G-bottles, binkies, exersaucer, his sister, tickling under the chin, kissing his belly, most repetitious gestures, Mommy and Daddy
C- Simply put...when things aren't going her way (typical toddler)
G-dirty diapers, being hungry, losing a binkie, when Mommy leaves
Learn: Making these lists help me realize that these things can change a lot. It would be interesting to make this a monthly thing to see how their likes and dislikes evolve. G's are pretty basic, but C's seem to change quickly.
Love:I love this picture of my smiley little guy. I got it when I was trying to make him smile.


Cheerio Play

Look: My neighbor and her son came to my door last year just before Xmas with a box of toys and books for C (at this point G didn't exist...weird to think about life without my little cutie pie). Some of the books were perfect, some were a bit older. Last week I pulled out one of the holiday books for C to read. It was a cheerio book. On each page tehy show some holiday item adorned with cheerios. Then on the next page they are missing and the child is supposed to fill them in. So today's snack was cheerios and C played with her book. I watched as she put Cheerios in the little holes. Sometime for no reason she'd eat a bunch from her picture, then continue to put new ones in. She did this for every page, the tree page was her favorite though.

Learn: C has a good pincher grasp. She got each little O in between her pointer and her thumb and dropped it in the hole. If it didn't land correctly she'd use her pointer to push it around until she got it. She is a tenacious little girl. She only asked for help a few times. I also learned that time is flying by...way faster than I'd like. Although I wish for her to be big so we can do more things together and I wish for G to sleep through the night and get bigger so he can play more....I think I need to stop wishing and savor every moment.

Love: I love what I learned from playing with Cheerios. Who knew Cheerios could give such a philosophical understanding to a SAHM.


The Grocery Store Game

Look: We hit acme to get some sale items and Acme only supplies. This meant I only needed 3 of my reusable grocery bags and when I packed them they were very light. We got home and I let C carry one bag in the house while I carried the others. Once in the door, I set the bags down and asked C to "help". I showed her what I wanted by handing her a box and then going into the kitchen with it. She got the idea right away. For the next ten minutes or so I stood in the kitchen and waited as she brought me the groceries...one by one. Of course this wouldn't work for raw chicken or anything heavy. Each time she brought me an item I gave her a hug and thanked her.
Learn: Chelsea loves to help. Its that simple. I need to find more ways in my day to have her help, especially if it helps me get stuff done and she can have fun too. I realize I rush way too much. Usually I'd want to get the groceries put away ASAP, but today...slowing down was fun for me too. Although it took more time to get everything done, it was worth it because I did it with my girl!
Love: I love the fact that this blog is making me slow down and look at the good things. In the new year I plan to change the focus of the blog each month so I can be a better mom.

Napping with Gavin

Look: Today i decided to document what I go through to have G take a nap. Chris and I are working on him going to sleep more on his own and staying asleep longer. To put it nicely...it isn't going well. In the mornings I put on the Elmo's world portion on Sesame Street for my princess to watch...15 minutes and counting. Usually after putting him down a few times, soothing him, letting him cry for a bit, I end up bringing him back down...where he ends up falling asleep while I'm holding him (Ug...complete failure). In the afternoons while C is sleeping I usually have time to get a few things done, play with G and relax. Today I decided to scrap the usual and try to get Gavin down for nap. *There will be no pictures today, because I don't dare flash a camera at my son while he sleeps* So we came to his room where I put him down, he fussed, I soothed, he rolled and then seemed content, but awake on his tummy. I sat in a chair to type this up. No sooner had I sat then he threw up (don't worry, its normal)...so I had to lay him on the floor change the bed. By now he's awake and extremely fussy. One diaper change later our dog busts into his room. The dog is a pro at opening doors, weird but true. So we lay on the floor for a bit, complete with hair pulling (G not me!) and everything. Approximately 45 minutes after I started he is sleeping soundly and fell asleep without being in my arms. SUCCESS! And it only cost me C's entire nap time, hope Chris doesn't mind a messy house!
Learn: I learned that I can get G to sleep, but it takes tons of patience and time..neither of which I have these days. Also I learned that Millie loves G, she is happily sleeping right next to the crib right now as he sleeps and I type. Oh ya...sleeping trump chores today.
Love: Not much to say I love about our situation with G's sleeping. We go through this at night, and in the middle of the night (several times mind you). I'm hoping to report within a few weeks that all this effort has worked and he ends up being a good little sleeper like his sister. But for now I feel a bit like a bad mom who spoiled him into being a bad sleeper. Mom guilt stinks!


Coffee Break

Look: Today Cheslsea, Gavin and I went on our first coffee break for the moms club. It ended up being just the host (K. and her kids) and us. The kids played for about an hour while K and I had some time to chat. It was so nice! Although they didn't have my undivided attention I did learn a lot by watching C and G play. G got into playing with new toys and seemed to enjoy the attention from all the older kids. C loved seeing the other kids. She also liked checking out all their toys. But I think she loved getting fed by K's 2 year old the most.
Learn: I learned that when we go out on playdates, C's personality changes a bit. At home she is an enthusiastic, loud, wild child when it comes to playing. But today at K's house she was a bit more quiet and not so exuberant. It was neat to watch both the kids try out new toys and interact with new friends. I was really nervous about trying a large group event with C's allergies, but learned that I should worry less and try new things more!
Love: I love having a chance to visit with friends and let C and G explore a new place. I love that in one hour C and G can experience new people, new toys, new situations...and today it meant just going down the street.


Ripping Paper

Look: We went to Michael's Craft store today. We got a few things we needed for some of our crafts in Dec. Chelsea and Gavin both got a kick out of all the fun things in the aisle...we looked at Xmas trees, wrapping paper, pretty flags...it was a blast. Then this afternoon we looked through magazines for pages with green and red on them. After that we ripped them up into little pieces and put them in a box. This year we're hosting Xmas Eve. We'll be having 20 here for the event. We're going to glue the pieces onto paper, cover with contact paper and make placemats for everyone. It will be a few day process, but I'll post the final product.
Learn: I learned that ripping paper is right up C's aisle! This was a very developmentally appropriate activity for a one year old. One thing I may have to learn is how to not let her rip paper at other times...she is probably going to be wanting to do it again!
Love: I love doing crafts, its fun! C loves being destructive, combine the two and its a successful day!

Muffin Tin Monday

Look: We tried muffin tin Monday today. Saw this on another blog and loved the idea. I used C's little pretend play pan. It was fun to divide all the food up that way. She ate marshmellows, stuffing, bagels, chicken, applesauce and veggies. But she avoided the veggies.
Learn: Its fun to experiment with different presentations. The novelty of it isn't lost on C...she enjoys the change up. I think I"ll try to stick to MTM and try out some other tricks I'm reading about on mommy blogs.
Love: I love how excited C got when she saw her food served in a different way.


PJ Day

Look: C and G were feeling under the weather on Sunday. I was exhausted because my little elf won't sleep for more than a few hours in a row. So we made it PJ day. There wasn't an "activity" per se, but we all stayed comfy and warm while we did our regular fun stuff...snack, books, play time, etc. It reminded me of when I worked and they would have PJ day. All the kids and teachers came dressed in their nightime gear.
Learn: Today I learned that staying in your comfy jammies can make a big difference in how you feel. I think C, G and I all felt a bit better because we were comfy all day.
Love: I loved that when it was time for bed I changed them out of their PJs and into...other PJs!



Look: Today we were supposed to go away, but C wasn't feeling the best so we decided it was a day for playing inside. We had three big Huggies boxes sitting in our office for the past week. Chris helped me tape the sides down to make the boxes open on two sides. C first squished them by sitting and standing on them (I think she was hoping for a little stage to dance on). When we showed her how to crawl through she really liked it. She crawled through all three boxes when they were linked together. But if we made a little seperation in the boxes, she'd stand up after one and not finish...wish I knew what she was thinking. We let G practice sitting up in the little box. He's getting so good at sitting up. Anyhow we then used the boxes as a chute and rolled balls and toys through it. Next I slid in the two biggest boxes and C got on top. When I wiggled she practiced balancing. This made her giggle outloud. I added duck tape suspenders to the smallest box and C wore it around. She liked seeing herself in it and moved a bit differently. I wondered how she would dance in it, so I turned the music on...mistake! She whipped off the box and started dancing...box play time was over.
Learn: We get lots of cardboard boxes that can be toys before they hit the recycle bin. I'm learning how to be creative, more creative than I thought possible. Also, I'll do just about anything to make my kids laugh, even wedge myself into a huggies diaper box. When it comes to activities that C likes, dancing wins every time.
Love: I loved her ambition of crawling through the boxes. She is such a gross motor learner! It was fun trying to think of different things to use the boxes as...I'm sure we'll think of more tomorrow.

Christmas Lights

Look: Our neighborhood is so pretty at the holidays. Everyone puts up lots of decorations and lights. C and G have seen ours and the house you can see from our window. But we decided to drive around to look at lights. G's car seat is rear facing and he was asleep before we hit the end of our block. But Chris, Chelsea and I got to take the grand tour of KOP lights. We drove all around looking at the displays on our neighbors' homes.
Learn: Driving in the car can be fun on any given day. But tonight was really special. It was such fun getting bundled up and going out in the evening. I learned on this trip that Chelsea is very observant. She didn't miss a thing as we drove.
Love: I love this holiday tradition. It was made more special by the fact that it was snowing (lucky us). It was neat to see and hear C's reaction. Chris and I usually enjoy doing this, but it was even more special this year with our babies!



Look: Today we made oatmeal bars to bring with us to a playdate on Friday. While C was napping I gathered ingredients and got things prepared for our activity. C stood in a chair at the table with a big bowl and spatula. I told her we were going to mix. She replied "mix, mix, mix" (she's been saying this whenever she has a kitchen tool since we made pies). First she mixed up shredded apples and mashed bananas. I put in the oats and as she mixed the top layer went flying because it wasn't wet. Luckily we have a little floor cleaner known as Millie. We added the raisins, flax seed, jam, marshmellows and silk. C reached in the batter to get a raisin. I showed her there were some saved for her on her tray of her chair. She was pleased with the raisin situation, so she continued mixing instead of fishing through the oatmeal for treats. Phew! We put the batter in a pan, covered it with wax paper and smoothed it out with our hands. After washing hands, I put it in the bars in the oven. Chelsea ate on while sitting on my lap with Gavin. She loved it. G wanted some and when he reached over C moved her bowl all the way out of his reach. Smart girl!
Learn: I learned to never put dry ingredients on the top of the bowl without mixing them in first...this could have been a mess, I'm so happy we have Millie! Today it is clear to me that these projects are perfect for her. I also came up with a good recipe for oatmeal bars without egg (they are a bit crumbly...but they'll do!)
Love: I love the oatmeal bars too! C loves to cook! G would love to eat real food! Also I think its terrific that I got something done with Chelsea, instead of trying to get it done while she was napping or occupied.


Glow Sticks

Look: Today we opened an entire tube of glow sticks for our special activity. We have about six or seven packs of these glow lights, so I thought why not use them up. We had to wait until night to do this so it would be dark. First we just played with them as sticks. Then we started making bracelets, necklaces and crowns. Chris (aka Daddy) got the idea to start spinning them on his finger. It looked really neat. Then C thought Millie (our dog) needed some glow headbands. We took this picture with the light on so you could see how patient our dog is with the kids. C and Daddy slid the tube rings on the floor with their feet. Finally Chris put on a light show with the glow sticks and his devil sticks. Unbelievably, this occupied our family for about an hour.
Learn: I learned that my husband is great at participating in special time. He thought of things I'd have never done with the glow sticks. It would be good to have a special day set aside just for special time with Mommy and Daddy. G loved watching the glow sticks and grabbing for them. It really had him interested. C thought adding a few glow sticks no to play time was like a party in a tube. I also figured out today (although I already knew this one too) that my dog is awesome!
Love: I love my husband, my daughter, my son and my dog! Plus I love this blog for making me try new things everyday!

Long Holiday Weekend

Look: We had such fun this weekend, I'm just catching up on recording it all. On Thursday (Thanksgiving) C. showed off her custom painted turkey. Grandma brought a shopping cart for C and G with her on the holiday. We spent the evening playing grocery store. This was also the activity for Friday because C loved it so much. We set the food up in sections all over the family room. She would roll her cart up to the food and pile it in her cart. Then she'd bring it to me, where I'd pretend to scan it using her play phone and bag it for her. Over the weekend we went away to the poconos. There was a lot of family time with C and G (but no pictures). The main way she played was by exploring a new place. She crawled under the coffee table, pulled herself up on the chairs, jumped on beds and liked seeing someone yell down from the lofted area at the top of the stairs. G liked all the sites in the house. He practiced sitting up in a chaise lounger that had a deep padded back.
Learn: When on vacation I assume fun comes from going out and site seeing. At these young ages it really comes from just being in a new location. It felt like gymboree the way Chelsea was squeezing, pulling up and hopping on things. I also realized this weekend that Gavin is very close to sitting up on his own. I'll be a bit sad when this happens because to me it seems like the infant days are almost over.
Love: I loved playing grocery store with C. My favorite part was that she didn't discriminate or chose with foods went in the cart....they all did! Going on a weekend vacation to our mountain house was wonderful. C's fascination with testing out her abilities was a neat thing to see. I love that there will be so much family time up there to really enjoy with C and G.