Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Prep 2011

We love Christmas around here. We love the music. We love the LIGHTS! And we have had our fair share of doing super fun things to get us in the holiday spirit.

Wyeth's birthday was the 3rd. We celebrated well. Then on thte 4th we got the tree. And the lights went on the house! We decorated that weekend. We love our stockings. Our little lit houses and our nativity creche.

We have established some great traditions around here. The first is that the kids get a holiday themed book every night to open starting December 4th. Sam picks these up for about .25 or .50 cents throughout the  year. It is great to read a holiday story each night.  We also have four advent calendars this year! The problem is that we are always behind! I never knew a family that couldn't focus on doing the advent calendars! We have our two 'usual' ones but this year we also recieved two more! Four calendars is a lot! Not surprisingly, the one with chocolate is always opened first!

We did several events this year that were new. They included:

A holiday event that had cupcakes and a horse drawn carriage. Pure fun! The kids loved the clipity clop noise. And the ride was long which was great!   We saw Santa that night and Wyeth didn't flip out. Much. Score!

We also went to Washington Crossing to try to see Washington Cross the Delaware. They do this on Christmas day but they do a 'dress rehersal' earlier in the month. The water was too high and we didn't actually cross the river. But we had fun pretending! Seren insisted on bringing her doll too. In the doll stroller. "Fun" trying to see colonial houses with a doll stroller! OY!

That night we sang Christmas carols and saw Santa.It was great to sing carols in the cold night. That was one of my favorite actitivities.

And some old traditions too.
We went out with my Mom and Dad to see some holiday light show. We also went out to dinner which was a really nice treat!

This past Satruday, we made homemade cookies. Which was really a disaster. Not the mess. The fighting. Ridiculous! At one point, we all 'took five'. We went to our seperate parts of the house and just sat down and did our own thing. That seemed to help a ton. Once refreshed, we started again.

The following day we went to Philly to see the John Wanamaker Light show. Pure nostalgia for me. I went every year as a kid and saw the exact same lights. Awesome. We also tried out the train display at Reading Terminal Market. The kids LOVED pushing the buttons and making the trains  'move'.  We aimed low that day. After the cookie making experience the day before, we wanted to set our sights low. Glad we did. Wyeth picked out a cookie to eat and then promptly decided that was NOT the cookie he wanted. A full on HUGE meltdown ensued!! It was so sad to see him so beside himself. It was one of those public tantrums that builds and builds. We (sam) had to hold him crying his eyes out down the cold city streets of Philly. Horrible.

Enjoying the lights:

After nap, we delievered Christmas cookies to our neighbors. This is an annual tradition as well. And a great one! We have a lot of older neighbors. The kids loved running from door to door and saying Merry Christmas. Seren had a 'list' which was so sweet. After we visited each neighbor, she would cross off the name. (Her mother's daughter!). Wyeth just focused on running. That and asking when he would get to eat MORE cookies.

We have one more holiday fun event which is a live nativity. That is tonight. We shall see!

And now we are coasting! Nearly everything has been wrapped. The cards aren't quite done but mostly done. I hope to 'finish' tonight so that the next three nights can be focused on sitting in front of the tree, relaxing and drinking wine. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bed Transition: WE aren't ready

I remember distinctly fearing what would happen when Seren moved out of her crib and into her big girl bed. I read blogs. I read about locks being locked. Crying. Toys being thrown. Horrible  nights of night waking. We postponed it. But then we had a second one on the way. And we wanted her to have her bed for fear she'd feel "replaced" when we stuck the wee one in her crib. So at 27 ish months we moved her into her bed.

We said goodnight.

And that was that.

No word from her until morning.

If I blogged about it, I'm sure I didn't say much. Less the sleeping gods strike me down and make me eat my words.

Done. In one night. No transition.

Fast forward. Wyeth is now three. He sleeps in his crib every night. But he doesn't like it. Particularly painful for him was the nights he had to sleep in a pack and play over our Thanksgiving break. He was NOT a fan. And why should he be? He barely fit.

Nightly we would hear, "I don't like this poopy bed. This is too small. This poopy bed is way too small."

We all were relieved when he was back in his "big" crib.

Every night for about 18 months, Wyeth takes a long time to 'unwind'. He sings. He talks. He plays. He cries out for me to get him a drink of water, a book and/or a wooden hammer (Don't ask). He usually needs 45 minutes to go to sleep. He passes out around 9:15 pm. Ridiculously late. I imagine when we drop the nap, he'll be out like a light.

But how in the world will he be when he has freedom? Last night he took his wooden hammer and tried to "Get out of these bars".  "I want to play. I want to get out of here. I don't like these poopy bars". Then he started to say, "It is too long! I have been in here sleeping for way too long!"

Really, buddy, you have been SLEEPING too long?

When we finally get up the nerve to put him in a bed, what strategies do you have? Seren slept there until the next morning. She STILL calls us in.

Wyeth, I imagine, will be playing with his trucks. Reading books. Rooting around in his closet. Maybe we do both- drop the nap and transition to the bed at the same time. What about that?

Either way, I predict chaos.

I've been wrong before. So lets hope I'm wrong. But OY.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sense of Self

Yesterday, despite the fact that it literally was pitch dark, I took the kids on a much needed walk around the block. We were bundled up as the winter air has come our way. Wyeth was on his tricycle and Seren couldn't decide what to ride so she rode in a stroller while I pushed.

We have to head up this huge hill to get back home. And Wyeth just kept riding and riding. His little muscles working themselves out! UGH! But he was so dedicated to the pursuit. So diligent is just pushing on.

Seren noted their differences. "Wyeth is super strong, Mom. I can't get up past that second house. But look at him! He is still going! I always stop right there. But he didn't."

We jointly complimented Wyeth and his strong muscles. She was enthusiastic in her praise, "Good job, buddy! That is a big hill!"

We got back home and parked the vehicles in the garage.  Seren said, "Isn't that funny mom? He is littler than I am. But does that hill all by himself. And it is kinda funny too because in my class, I'm taller than lots of kids. But they do stuff that scares me. I don't do those things that they can do. Even though I'm bigger."

I told her we all have our strengths. And that she does other things well.  But there was that sense of being self aware which was new for me to see. That sense of 'hmm, I do things differently'.

Seren has always been cautious. A thinker. Not a do-er. A sense of 'let me just take this in a minute. And then I'll decide if I want to give it a try'. While she has grown in her sense of herself- it is within limits. She knows her limits. She, like her mom, is a scaredy cat through and through.

Oh these beautiful creatures I share my life with. The personalities. The sense of self. The sense of what is within their comfort zone and what is outside of it. Constantly changing. Amazing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Post Two

Once we actually got to Michigan, we had a really good time! Sam's parents bought a new house that was full of amazing adventures! We took walks in the 12 acres that they just bought. It was warm for Michigan.

We also brought along our trusty ice cream scoop. Ya know. Just in case.

The kids also took amazing bubble baths! Wow! Their tub has jets! I put just a tiny bit of soap in there and then this happened!! Holy bubbles, bat man!

The day after Thanksgiving, we did two super exciting things! We helped my in laws find and cut down a Christmas tree! The weather was amazing!

Wyeth liked this little one:

They ended up with this beauty!

We also took the family on a train ride. It is, for me, the 'first' Christmas event of the season. Since Wyeth is Mr. Train, it is a very important part of the trip for him too! And it did not disappoint. Last year we were FREEZING! But this year, it wasn't as cold. And since it was the first night of the season, there were fireworks! Fireworks!! In November! It was just amazing!!

They were a little loud.

The rest of the week was full of small but fun adventures. Coffee and cookies out.

Experiencing the joy of a first canoli!

Playing in thier big house.

Just being together.

All good stuff. All of it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seren's First Christmas List!

In all of its glory!

I'll translate:

To Santa
From Seren

Dear Santa, Thank you for the doll you gave me last year. I named her Rosie. My christmas list this year is:
* A pony that goes in a pony bed
* A baby doll
* A baby doll bunk bed with the name Rosie on the top and the name Juliet on the bottom (these are the names of her two favorite dolls)


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wyeth Turns 3!

Dear Wyeth,
Today, without my permission, you turned three. I can't get my mind around how this happened. But I am thrilled for you!

You have continued to add such joy into our lives. I can't recall our lives without you in it! This past year you have perfected the art of talking. We are so glad to hear it! You can talk a mean streak. Especially if your sister isn't around to interrupt. You have also really enjoyed creative play.  You and Seren both have created worlds  in your imaginations. Just this week you became convinced that there is  a water slide at a local science museum. You have asked us all to go and can't wait to slide down it in your bathing suit!

You are still my cuddlebug. Something I'm so grateful for. I can still hold you in my arms. Rock you while singing you to sleep and hold you in my lap.  Sometimes when meal times are particularly painful for you, you request Dad or Mom's lap. And find comfort there.

You love to sing. Music is something you are very attuned to. You pick up songs quickly. Which doesn't mean that when you and Dad attend the community class you sing aloud. Nope. No public singing. But when you get home, we see your dance moves and hear your show stopping hit singles. 

You have two favorite phrases right now. One is more of a sentence. "I show you something!"  The world, gratefully, seems to be a place of endless wonder and excitement. People coming through our door are always shown the newest and most exciting 'find' in our house. You lead me, holding my hand, several times a day through the house to something fun. A puzzle that has been completed. A new book purchased at the thrift store. A new picture completed.

The other more popular phrase we have heard frequently during the fall is 'poop'. Saying the word poop just about brings you to your knees in giggles. It is especially funny while 'modifying' songs. As in 'twinkle twinkle little poop." This isn't something I will ever understand. But you sweet boy, think it is hysterical!

You are also a helper. If we need 'help', we call on you. To do the dishes. To help us vacuum. To pick up toys. You are very good at lending your services. And we love it!

Unwillingly, I started a habit this year of saying 'thank you' to you while I put you and Seren to sleep. As in, "Thank you for playing with me today. Thanks for helping Daddy and I." And you and Seren both have responded in kind. I love hearing what you are grateful for. It is usually the most basic and simple things. And I love hearing your expressions of gratitude.

We got an insight this week into how you think of yourself. Daddy asked if you needed help doing a task with a book. You responded, "No. I think of myself as a smartie."

Self esteem? Check.

And while you have grown in your sensitivity to others, your creative play and musical gifts, you remain a stubborn non eater. You also have expressed NO interest in potty training. And we still have you in  a crib.  You eat like an 18 month old. Carbs. Dairy. No veggies. Some fruit. Mom and Dad haven't fought you too much on this but am growing increasingly worried. And the potty training is more of a lack of effort on our part than yours.

Perhaps it all is just our own lack of willingness to see you grow up.

But you do anyway.

Your birthdays, like your sisters', are bittersweet for Mom and Dad. A sense of time passing us by. A sense that maybe we haven't been as "present" as we would have liked. And with all of the travel I have done recently, I have a sense of guilt as you are launched into another year.

But I do know that we love you. Fiercely. And we are proud of you. And that you bring us joy. We got you a singing card this year. This is VERY important to you. The one I picked out was "you are the sunshine of my life". How appropriate!

Happy Third Birthday, Wyeth. Thank you for picking us as your parents. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. We love you!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Post 1: A lot of time in the Car

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful! Time with eachother. Time with our family. Time spent sleeping in. A bit. Time spent sick on Sam's part.

And most notable: time in the car!

It is a 12 hour drive to Flushing, MI. And a 12 hour drive back.  The kids did GREAT! Seren self occupied her time VERY well. She read. She played dominoes. She colored. Wrote a story. Fought with her brother.

Wyeth struggled a bit more. "How long I sit here? I don't like sitting here. I like playing."

We broke up the trip. Staying  in "fancy" (cheap) hotels and enjoying the pools. We drove to Ohio the first day- to Youngstown. And then made it to Sam's mom and dad's home the next day. On the way back, we stayed in PA in Monroeville. Seren said, "Wait! They moved the hotel!? You said the hotel was in Ohio!"  As if there was only one hotel and it could be moved. :)

They said a lot of funny things on the trip. Many of which I wrote down.  Here is a scene of us in the car. This is from the beginning of the first day! We were able to take lots of time off this year. I worked from 'home' on Monday and Tuesday but we were with Sam's Mom and Dad from Sunday through Sunday! Very nice!

First hour pics:

And here I am at the end of the first day!

More family pics when I blog next time! We had a blast! The kids really enjoyed the adventures in Michigan and so did we!