Monday, December 31, 2012

Update on the Kids - part 2 - Theo

Somehow, my little man has been around for 10 months now. It's pretty amazing how much he has grown and how much his personality is starting to develop.
Some highlights:

  • After months of backing into things, he has learned his own "creative" method of crawling forward. He is now fully mobile and getting into everything, including Sophia's toys. Should be a really interesting next 6 months. 
  • He has 1.5 teeth (going on 4!) the bottom left tooth came through earlier this month, with the right one about to break any day now (poor guy). He is handling it like a trooper though. 
  • Food - there isn't anything he won't eat. While he's not great at actually feeding himself (he'll pick things up but generally just flings it) he has yet to refuse anything we've offered - from his packets of food through stuff off our plate. Avocado is one his favorites as well as Grandma's applesauce, yogurt, turkey, cheese, sweet potato, scrambled eggs, tzatki sauce and bread. 
  • Sounds - he makes lots of Dadada & mamamama and lights up when we come into the room. He also has quite a lot to "say" when he's in the mood. So very cute. 
  • Personality - he is coming into such a little personality. He makes eye contact very well and will smile at new people, then duck his head shyly when they start to talk to him. But he just bats those big blue eyes...He also is fully into playing - with his toys or Sophia's. He can sit and play by himself for quite some time. But he makes it known that he's unhappy if we leave him for a few moments to go to another room. At least now, with his mobility, he's able to follow along. 
  • He's pulling up on tables & chairs, though not able to get to standing just yet. 
  • Anything Sophia does is entertaining - the crazier, the better. He'll just laugh his butt off at her shenanigans...I'm in for it! 
Theo is by far the happiest, snuggliest little guy. He's easy going and still a great sleeper & eater. We're so lucky to get to see his smiling face every day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Catching up on the kids - Part 1 - Sophia

I love quiet vacation time - it gives me a chance to write a full catch up on the kids.

First day of pre-school
Sophia is now well-ensconced into pre-school. I managed to miss the first week. When I signed up, I was under the impression it started in January (they run on the city school-schedule). My neighbor came up the Monday night after it started and asked how Sophia liked it. I promptly freaked out and then figured out how we'd get a new routine going starting the next morning. We haven't looked back since (well, maybe for one day, which she missed because of crazy snotty sickness, which she passed on to Theo - collateral damage of pre-school).

I think she likes it - she's making artwork, theoretically making some friends and has been reprimanded for trying to steal the Minnie Mouse doll seven (7) times in one day. (Yup - they check her backpack before she leaves every day...sigh.)

Her vocab is huge and she's big into the question phase now. It's really entertaining and not all that grating, yet. She has a cute way of asking that isn't just incessant why's...I pray the phrasing stays there, because just hearing the "why" will likely drive me batty!
She had her 3 year check up and got a clean bill of health - she's growing tall and gaining weight appropriately. The doctor is thrilled at the variety of foods she eats and that I manage to keep her seated for most of the meal.

We're working on taking the kids out more for meals so we can work on some restaurant etiquette. Little steps.
Here's her helping to feed Theo though - she's such a loving big sister.

 My little Ham:

That's the update for now. More to come again soon. 

The hardest week...

I've always felt like I had a pretty good balance when it came to working, kids, home and personal. And in general, I do. The busier I am, the more productive I feel and that I'm living.
But every now and then, that pace catches up to me and kicks my ass.

There was a week in early December where we were all just flat out - holiday time, work was busy with late nights, friends and family stuff. The usual end of year insanity. Throw in some new germs from pre-school, a teething baby and whatever else for a full dose of breakdown. Sick, in bed, and just down for the count for a full day.

Yup- it caught up to me. I was exhausted, feeling completely at my wits end, and probably all in all, not particularly pleasant to be around. I have always knew it was hard being a full-time working mom, but I felt like I had it easier than some - a phenomenal nanny, super supportive and helpful husband, great neighbors, flexible work time. And I do. But man oh man was I humbled.

There is not really a moral to this story. I will likely run head first into this again next year, as I always do, but hopefully I'll have a little more foresight and not over-schedule myself to the point of exhaustion. Maybe, just maybe I'll learn...

New Christmas Traditions

Christmas has always been a big tradition in my house. My grandmother's birthday is Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve has always been about family, food & traditions.

This was the first year that we decided to stay up in Boston for Christmas proper. But we still did our fair share of traveling...more on that later!

For Christmas, Dave was very involved in planning the traditions. We integrated a few from my family and a few from his with some additions of our own!
We got the tree early in December for maximum enjoyment. Here's Dave lugging it up the stairs.

For decorations, we put on lights (and by we, I mean Dave) and then each night the kids would pick out an ornament and hang it. Mostly, Sophia picked out two and for about 20 minutes we had to convince her they needed to be hung and weren't toys. Theo got to "hang" a few of them. 
The end goal was that Santa finishes all the decorations on Christmas Eve. 

Next, we did our letter writing to Santa. Santa brings 3 gifts to each child. All Sophia wanted from Santa were new bunnies for her barn. The rest are Mom & Dad gifts. Sophia had a lot of fun writing her letter. We hung it on the door for Santa to see (after all, he's knows when you're sleeping...) Next year, I'll probably get my stuff together to actually "mail" it. 

Then came Christmas Eve. With my parents up here, we had the morning to run around doing errands and such. It was weird, because for my entire life, my Dad and I would wait in line at Lucibello's pastry shop in New Haven - we usually got there at 7am for an 8:30am opening. I didn't have that kind of go-to place this year and I was afraid, even if I did frequent one of the local pastry places, the experience would be distorted and not match up to my childhood memories. 
I did, however, go at 3pm with my Dad to Modern Pastry in Medford (after calling/visiting 3-4 other places in search of our beloved Sfogliatelle pastry. Sadly, everyone was sold out. We waited in line for two so-so cannoli's. But it was still good father-daughter bonding time. 

Next came the viewing of the Christmas lights. (Sorry, it's a shot from the Boston Herald and I don't know those people.) The street behind our house has amazing lights, so we took Nana & PopPop up there for the full experience. 

These amazing people at this house actually put up Mickey & Minnie lights just for Sophia, because she got to know them through their Halloween decorations. They're awesome.  
 Now came the most important - the food portion of the evening. Tradition was always to eat the "7 fishes" - My mom was a master at getting them all (or variations of) into the meal. Over the years, it got trimmed down to not quite 7. But this year, I did my best. The menu included:

  • Scallops (wrapped in Bacon - a tribute to my Grams, who let this be the only meat on this evening because she really liked bacon)
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Clams on a half shell
  • Baked Stuffed Lobster (with shrimp stuffing) 
  • Grilled Sesame Tuna
  • Champagne - not a fish, but a great tradition

Not bad. We were too tired for dessert and had too much decorating left.

But first, we had to write our note to Santa and leave cookies & carrots:

After the notes were written, food was eaten and little ones sleeping, the four of us (My parents, Dave & I) finished decorating the tree and then hung a "magical fireplace" (courtesy of Dave printing at work which adhered to the wall for Santa to come out of to leave presents) and put out all the presents (which we had also just finished wrapping) 
Couldn't wait to see Sophia's eyes Christmas morning. We stumbled into bed before midnight. 

Thankfully, they all slept in (as did we) for a late start on Christmas morning. Here's Theo: 

And here's the Christmas morning scene:
 The newspaper is for Santa's boot tracks, complete with fireplace ash. It was even a bit of a white Christmas too!

Sophia was so overwhelmed she could barely comprehend what was going on. I have a video of the whole thing, but sadly, way too big for the site.

Finally, present opening commenced.
We opened, ate a brunch and stayed in our jammies for the rest of the day. Not a bad start for a tradition-ful day at all.

Merry Christmas!! Can't wait to build on the traditions each year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas at Nana & Pop Pop's

The start of the present opening at Nana & Pop Pop's house
Christmas 2012