Friday, January 25, 2013

Just hanging out

I learned a valuable lesson when it snowed here last week: play in the snow immediately for it will be gone in a few hours. Leo wasn't feeling well that day, and I didn't want to disturb his long nap, so Olivia and I painted while it snowed (see below). By the time Leo woke, it was time for Olivia's nap, so I put her down. When she woke, we played, but the snow was mostly gone. And, mom of the year, I didn't get pictures! I was kind of under the weather, too!




Let the fighting for the toys begin! Olivia and Leo almost always want the same thing now. I have had to take away toys from the tub because they can't share. Then, every now and then, Olivia surprises me and gives him her toys. Here they were actually sharing. My policy is share, take turns, or I am taking it away.



Here is Olivia trying on the clothes from Aunt Stephanie.


And Leo has discovered the spinning chair. We sing the bathtime song and spin in it, and he loves it! He loves sitting with Olivia, too!






Sunday, January 20, 2013

I just can't wait!! Leo's smashcake pictures!


My neighbors, Philip and Jennifer Camp, are budding photographers and Jennifer also decorates cakes. I had seen them post pictures they had taken on Facebook, and seen pictures of the cakes Jennifer decorates, and from that I asked them if they might do Leo's smashcake session. It could not have gone better!! The cake was super cute and the pictures turned out great! Jennifer is going to do Leo's birthday party cake, and I have asked them to do his 12 month session. I am super excited to have found out that they can do this! Thanks, guys! These are gorgeous!!








This was Philip's idea, and I think it turned out cute! (Despite that this was a random Saturday morning and my hair wasn't fixed and Nicholas's and my clothes don't match!)


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Since we've been back

Since we've been back,

Leo
  1. Has really taken off walking. He goes across rooms now by himself!
  2. Has gotten two more teeth -- his seventh and eighth!
  3. Got a double ear infection and pink eye and stayed home from school with me Friday. Poor little guy.
I remember a picture of Craig getting into the bags at Mom's house when he was about this age, and I had to capture this one. Trouble!


Leo's hair is getting some curls!




    Olivia
    1. Has become really clingy to me since we introduced the new babysitter, who is to pick up the kids once a week from MMO and bring them back to the house for naps while I work one long day a week.
    2. Is loving her bike, her books, her sparkly dress, her robe, her horse, and her play dough.
    3. Continues to love to sing and dance and often requests both from me, or alternately that I don't sing so that Leo can hear her. She also requests that I pretend to be her prince so that she can dance with me.
    Olivia continues to be a little princess, and a really good big sister. She reminds me of what I tell her that her job is for Leo and Leo's job is for her, "To love and protect each other." I mean she literally says that.




    Nicholas 
    1. Has started school again. His job never ends because of all the other demands--teaching really is a small part of what he does--but it seems that the semesters are usually busier than breaks, and we miss him when he is working.
    2. Helped me take down Christmas decorations, and I am SO GRATEFUL! I didn't have the ambition, but he gently prodded me, and we got them taken down before I went back to work last Monday.
    3. Put together a book case so that we could corral all the kids books in one place. I am amazed at how many they have, and this is not even all of them. They had been jammed in baskets, ottomans, bed side tables, and shelves all over the house.

    Nicholas put this together one night after I went to bed, and I was thrilled to be able to organize all the kids' books. Of course, we still have two shelves on our huge built-in book case with books from Nicholas's childhood that are too old for the kids right now, but this holds a lot!


    And the kids like to play with the books and other toys around the book case.



    Here was the scene Friday when I kept Leo home because he was sick, and Olivia wanted to stay, too.






    Christine
    1. Is continuing trying to be grateful everyday for the opportunities I am given to spend with my family, the work I get done around the house, and the work I get to do professionally.
    2. Is trying to learn more about the camera.
    3. Has gone to two mornings and one full day of work a week with the help of the new babysitter. That went okay. It's a transition for everyone. Honestly, I was a wreck on the way home because Olivia woke up from her nap really upset, and the babysitter texted me about it. I felt really bad. Then the next day was when Leo was diagnosed with ear infections and pink eye. Mommy guilt!

    The rest of the Christmas trip, 2012: The Stemms


    Bear with me while I finish posting the last of our holiday trip north. After visiting Nicholas's Dad and Tamara, and then Nicholas's Mom, we headed out to stay with my parents on the farm. Mom and Dad have two guest bedrooms upstairs, so it is kind of like a suite! On the first day out there, Steph and the kids came over for dinner. I can't even remember when we supped where, but we had a great time playing with Grandma Dorothy, Grandpop Steve, Aunty Stephy, Uncle Brandon, cousins Craig, Abby, and Luke. And my cousin Justin was in for a part of our stay with his four-year-old daughter Lily, which was awesome since I hadn't visited with him in years! I won't linger on all the details, but just get to some of the pictures of all the cuteness!

    Craig is such a great big brother and a great cousin! I know Leo will always feel included with the boys!



    Little Luke had his two-month birthday while we were there! He is so cute and getting so big! I loved seeing him in some of Leo's old clothes!



    Leo liked "playing" with Luke. Leo is giving Luke his paci. Leo doesn't know what that is. I wish he did! 



    Craig is such a good sport. When I asked to take a picture of him, he just said, "Okay!" and smiled! His Grandma Cindy has him trained!



    Lily asked Grandpop to read a story. All the girls wanted in on it! I thought I got better pictures than these. It was super cute in person!




    The next day over at Steph's house, this was the scene in Abby's room. The girls' were putting on a horse parade. Stephanie took one look at Olivia when she walked in and said, "Let's fix your hair!" And so she got her first french braids!




    Later, Lily shared sparkles with the other girls.




    Another day, we had a little Christmas at Grandma and Grandpop's house. Olivia got several really cool books, including a seek and find book from Aunt Heidi and eight books with a little electronic reader that went with it from my Aunt Vicky. I love books that Olivia can really read by herself--especially when we go on car trips!




    Leo mostly just crawled around and ate Cheerios during the present opening.



    Here are Grandma and Olivia looking at some of those books.



    And Olivia giving Grandpop a hug for the horse and Barbie they got her.



    All the cousins enjoyed the books during the trip.



    Olivia has mentioned repeatedly that she misses her cousins and her Grandma Dorothy. We had to call Grandma the other day. We love Alabama, we just wish it was closer to all of our family!


    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Visiting with Mutti, Charlie, and GG, Christmas 2012

    We had a great time visiting Mutti this trip, too! The first night Uncle Chuck joined us for opening presents. He got the kids the biggest gifts ever: a Giga ball (four feet in diameter--you can get in it and roll around--we haven't blown it up yet) and a princess tent. Mutti bought Olivia the blue sparkly dress in the picture below and she wanted to wear it then and forever! The kids love Mutti and Uncle Chuck!

    Charlie telling Olivia a secret.



    The scene of opening gifts.



    Notice the wardrobe change.



     The following day, Mutti and Olivia fought with swords (golf clubs).


    And laughed a lot!


    Then we visited Nicholas's Grandma who lives with his Aunt Judy.



    Did I mention that Leo clung to me the entire trip? I think he thought I was going to give him away as a gift. This is as good a picture as we could get of GG, Nicholas, and Leo.



    Notice busy Olivia on the phone in her apron. She is talking to me!



    A kiss for Leo!



    Aunt Judy watches Nicholas's cousin's daughter who is two months younger than Olivia, so she has great toys!



    GG and Nicholas



    The whole gang! From left, Jane, Charlie, Grandma, Nicholas, Olivia, Christine, Leo, and Sota



    And here were the sleeping arrangements: Olivia and Leo in the pack-n-plays in one room. They had a good time!



    Look at Olivia trying to bother Leo.



    Leo is so cool!