Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

No traveling for us this year, and honestly, it has been nice to just be at home enjoying our new house and each other. Nicholas worked Monday and Tuesday, but has been home since, and I am SO glad he is. Unlike past years where he has to work even when he is off, this year, Nicholas has been able to play and participate in all the family activities. So, even though we haven't visited family, we've had a really happy Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we played in the street with other neighbors until it was time to come in for dinner. And we ordered Chinese and ate it on china in the dining room, so we felt festive! I think this might become a tradition! In addition, of course, to Nicholas reading "The Night before Christmas" to the kids before bed.

 On Christmas Eve, this is how Olivia left the mantel to welcome Santa.

And this is how Nicholas and I left the tree downstairs before heading to bed for our "long winter's nap." It looks like gluttony to me, but SO many of the packages were from Grandpa Bill and Tamara and Mutti. We made sure the kids knew which present came from whom. Only the ones in princess paper and Cars paper were from Santa, plus the workbench and telescope.

The kids slept until their clocks turned green at seven AM on Christmas morning, and then they woke, they were off and running! Olivia was VERY into opening presents. Leo was more into playing with the ones he could see and had to be coaxed into opening his presents!


We played outside on the scooters twice and later in the afternoon had a turkey dinner that was pretty low key--I roasted the turkey, but we had just green beans and stove top stuffing as sides! Ha! I liked this low-key approach to Christmas! I am going to have to remember that for years to come!

And later that evening while Nicholas was talking to his mom or dad, he broke out the telescope and the picture of the crescent moon was awesome!!

Christmas activities

Leading up to Christmas, we didn't do as much as if I wasn't pregnant, but we did do fun Christmas activities that were fun for us and the kids!

We drove around to see Christmas lights using a map published by a local TV station. There were lots, and I only thought to take a picture at this one house that wasn't super impressive. But the kids LOVED going and got a kick out of the ones that were synchronized to music on a certain radio station. We went two nights in a row and saw some amazing displays!

Both kids had Christmas parties at school near their last day on the 17th, and I was one of the party moms for Leo's, but I have zero pictures from either. They both had a good time, though! Olivia received a little plastic pipette from her science teachers, and thought this was a WONDERFUL gift! Olivia and Leo have been asking to do science almost everyday since! Ha!

I received my major Christmas gift early--these counter stools--and I love them! They make mornings easier, I love the way they look, and I love that they wipe clean! And the kids loved jumping on the packaging material, using it to make a "pond" to jump into, and pretending other silly things, too!

I did lots of baking leading up to Christmas. I attended a cookie exchange with the neighborhood ladies on the 19th, and came home with 4 dozen yummy cookies in exchange for the 4 dozen molasses cookies I made. We also made monster cookies and chocolate covered peanut butter balls for friends and family. Yum! If Baby #3 is ten pounds, I am blaming the holidays! Ha!

On the 23rd, my friend Lisa from graduate school came over for the afternoon to help us make sugar cookies! We had lots of fun and these were the cookies we ended up leaving for Santa...with hot tea in a china cup, of course!

And the fancy is rubbing off! Leo now loves to sip his apple juice from a crystal cup! Ha! Grandma Mae would be so proud!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Leo's progress

Things only parents care about: potty training and sleeping.

Two Sundays ago I forgot to put a new diaper on Leo after I took his wet one off. When I realized my mistake, I tried to put a new diaper on him, but he refused. I told him that he had to go on the potty if he wanted not to wear a diaper, and to my complete surprise, he complied. (It's not that we haven't been trying to potty train him, it's just that he couldn't seem to relax enough on the potty to allow himself to go. He would keep his diaper dry for hours, but when I put him on the potty he would push and grunt and act like he was trying to no avail. Then he would overflow his diaper. I tried all kinds of bribes including, but not limited to Cars underwear, treats, and iPad time.) He was excited to put on "big boy underwear." He kept himself dry all that Sunday afternoon and the next day without an accident! Woo hoo! Now he is even going all night staying dry, although he has wanted to wear a diaper for pooping...but Olivia was like that at first, too. He hasn't mastered the big potty yet, so he hasn't gone at school or while we've been out running errands unless I bring a little potty in the car. He is so close! 

Here he is in his cute dungerees playing his new favorite game: kitchen in the big kitchen. I fill up the sink with water and he pretends to make me something--usually pizza!

And as if that wasn't enough big news, Leo slept through the night by himself in his own room two nights in a row this week! (And then he got sick, but hopefully he will be back to it soon.) About six weeks ago Nicholas took over Leo's night time routine and waking because I was too exhausted to continue getting up with him. (Here is where I admit that I was often sleeping in his bed or bringing him to our bed or getting up with him 3-5 times per night. I was singing or reading or rocking him back to sleep. He hadn't fallen asleep on his own since we moved to NC. I was letting him have milk during the night just to get him to go back to sleep since I was so tired, which made the problem worse because then he would wake when he wet. And, double gulp, even worse, he was still using a bottle because he literally had no other comfort object other than me, and I needed sleep.) I read several books from the library on children's sleep because I could not go on like that anymore. One of the books said that in children 1-3, if dads are in charge of bed time and night wakings, sleep disorders are almost nonexistent. Well, hallelujah! Nicholas was willing and took a "no talk" back to sleep approach. We took about a week to take away his bottle. Nicholas slept in the room with Leo up until last week, but finally, it has worked where Leo still wakes during the night--I hear him through the wall since his wall is next to my side of the bed--but puts himself back to sleep. He has finally found a comfort object, too, which is his Chick blanket that he was given at birth. So, although he doesn't take naps, he is going to bed between 7 and 7:15 and staying in his room until his clock turns green at 7 AM. This is practically a miracle given where we were six weeks ago! A million thanks to Nicholas for taking this on! I could not be more thrilled with this development! 

Christmas is coming....

Olivia was appalled at how "behind" we were on decorating when we came back from our Thanksgiving trip. With Nicholas sick, me being pregnant and having contractions frequently, I was happy to let Olivia take charge of the decorating! Here is where we ended up!

The fifth stocking is Ringo's old one. Still no name for Baby #3!


And some Christmas activities:

Putting together our Gingerbread house (Thursday when I kept the kids home from school because Leo had a cough that sounded like croup and Olivia seemed a bit under the weather, too).


Notice Leo behind the curtains. He was much more interested in taking a piece of candy and running away than in decorating!

Dancing around the Christmas tree! Cheese!

Baking gingerbread cookies...and later icing them before bedtime.

The actual decorating of the tree. I was having A LOT of contractions that day, so really Olivia did most of it!

One sick morning reading the Christmas book from Mutti, GG, and Uncle Chuck from last year. Seriously, why won't my kids take naps! They were exhausted!

And just being cute showing off the scarf from Aunt Josie!