Wednesday, December 31

Christmas photos

We've been busy! We had four Christmases and one birthday in a period of 4 days! We spend Christmas eve with Ryan's family, our own personal family present-openings on Christmas morning, Christmas day with my extended family, and more presents on Dec 27- which also happened to be the day we celebrated Beth's birthday! Beth is very good at opening presents! She's still young enough that we didn't feel bad about giving her birthday presents on Christmas day since we were heading out of town to visit my family, but I think next year will have to make sure to differentiate the days.

Christmas eve present opening- Grandma and Grandpa got Beth her very own kitchen!

A post- mass Christmas snack of cheerios. I thought she was so cute sitting on the floor!

The entire N. family!

An early birthday present from mommy and daddy. She loves it.

Luke had fun opening presents too! He got some clothes and a taggie elephant.

Beth playing with my brother(s). She had so much fun with them!

A new, beautiful apron from MawMaw and PawPaw to go with her new kitchen.

A modest birthday celebration. She's already gotten her big present from us and the monkey slippers I got her weren't as big of a hit as I thought they'd be!

Probably the best birthday gift in Beth's opinion- a cat to chase!

Happy new year! Last night we partied hard with our friends at their house. We tried to put Beth and her friend Grace to sleep in the same bed and it didn't go so well. Ryan had to come home to get the pack n play and she finally fell asleep in there around 10:00! All four kids were asleep so the parents got to stay up late and play. :-) Unfortunately Beth has a very high fever this afternoon and her nose is runny again- it seems to me like she never officially got over her last little cold that she had a few weeks ago. Luke's congestion seems to be a little worse but he doesn't have a fever- please cross your fingers because fevers in the little ones are so bad!

Have a blessed 2009! If I can find time, I'll post new years resolutions later. ;-)

Saturday, December 27

For my girl

Happy birthday to my sweet girl! You are the world to me and I love you so much. I can't believe you are two already, you are growing and changing so much every day. I am determined to look ahead to this year in optimism- I am greatly looking forward to your terrific twos! You challenge me in ways I've never been challanged before, especially by making me think creatively to entertain you and to discipline you. We spend so much time together but I can honestly say I miss your cute smile and sweet face when you go to sleep at night (but don't get me wrong- I love that you've been sleeping perfectly for almost a year!). You are such a pleasure and a joy to me and I love every piece of you!

Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my friends and family! May Christ be born in your hearts today and every day in the new year!

Tuesday, December 23

Sunday, December 21


Friday night we went out with some friends for some yummy Rudy's BBQ. Mmm I could eat that every day! Our friends have a girl and boy the same age distance as Beth and Luke, just a few months ahead of us. Beth and Grace play so well and I'm sure in a few months Luke and Colin will also play (or wrestle, whatever it is boys do). It is so stinkin cute to see Beth and Grace play, hold hands, hug each other or run around the restaurant and wreak havoc!

Beth has also stopped enjoying her baths lately, which really blows my mind. For some reason I thought kids in general love taking baths, and would easily play and entertain themselves for hours if parents would only let them. I must have the one kid on the planet who screams "no bah!" after we brush her teeth (which she actually loves to do). I figured maybe her toys are too boring (what, a plastic lid and and cup aren't interesting toys?) so I went out and bought some letters that stick on the wall. These are a hit, but definitely don't entertain her for hours. She did have a few interesting toys about a year ago (the curious george monkey and boat from Julie!) but those got tossed after a couple of "incidents" that we couldn't recover from. ;-)

Last week was our friend Tam's birthday so Ryan went out to help him celebrate properly at Dave and Busters. Tam was nice enough to win this for Beth:

(The alligator, not the dog or toddler.) Beth loves it and can be frequently seen riding it. Future Steve Irwin? Happy birthday Tam!

And finally two cute pics that have no explanation. Luke just fell asleep and I thought it was cute. I also wanted to take a picture of my two rear-facing babies enjoying their car seats. Well, Beth enjoys hers... Luke, not so much. This is a rare incident of him sitting contently in his seat (worth documentation!).

And in case anyone hasn't looked at my tickers to the side, I will have a two-year-old in 6 days!!! Wow!!!

Saturday, December 20

Beth cooks

Beth cooks and counts

Friday, December 19

random pics from the past few days

luke fell asleep in beth's bed! i put him down just for a minute so i could change her diaper... this was very surprising to me as he usually only sleeps if someone is holding him ;-)

baby brother/big sister (thanks nicole!)

my new beautiful art from fullness of truth bookstore. i think we'll hang it over the fireplace after i find a frame. this picture is huge! and oh my goodness, i LOVE it.

Beth has enough hair for a new pretty holiday jingly hairtie that mawmaw sent

my men

Thursday, December 18

2 years and 2 months

I took Beth and Luke to the pediatrician today for well-baby visits, though as it turns out they're both stuffy-nosed and not quite well! They were both checked out to make sure they're meeting milestones (which they are) and Luke got a bonus RSV test since he sounded very congested (it was negative). Beth's 28 lbs and Luke is 11 lbs 8 oz- both in the 50th percentile. Beth also got one more shot- her fourth and final shot until we decide to give her tetanus which will probably be in a couple of years. Luke didn't get any shots today, though we're still debating giving him rotavirus. That vaccine scares me because it's still so new on the market and long-term effects are still unknown... The appointment couldn't have gone better though because they both did incredibly well, Beth let the ped look in her ears and mouth without any issue and didn't cry/resist her shot. Luke did just about as well as a 2-month-old can do. :-) Overall it was a really great experience- I hope all joint doctor visits go this well!

On another note, I have become a tea addict. :-) I now drink a morning cup and an afternoon cup of plain black Lipton tea. Right after Luke was born I realized why moms get so addicted to coffee in the mornings and claim they "can't function" until they've had at least a cup. Well I decided I'd pick up the coffee addiction, but as it turns out I'm really only a social coffee drinker so that didn't work. I didn't want to get hooked on all the flavored creamers (like I need more calories in my diet) so I just quit before it started. Then one particularly cold morning I craved hot tea. And same the next morning. And it stuck! Also, after an afternoon nap when it's really hard to get out of my warm bed to go get Beth I have another cup while she has a snack. So really it's my new after-sleep beverage of choice! Splenda and a splash of milk- yum. Now I need to get a nice travel mug for my tiny cup-holders in my car!

Wednesday, December 17

Tree decorating

These photos are from Saturday when we decorated our tree. Beth actually had a nice time decorating and hasn't been bad at all about taking ornaments off the tree (much to my surprise). Luke just kind of chilled in his swing.

Saturday, December 13

A parenting breakthrough

On Thursday I had a very wonderful mommy moment.

Beth kept sitting on the dishwasher door while I was loading the dishwasher. She was driving me nuts- no amount of redirection would keep her away from sitting on it and looking at me with her big eyes to see how I'd react! After several rounds of, "No, don't sit on that," I dragged her over to her kid-sized rocking chair and asked her to sit there until she could control herself. She sat there looking at me like, huh? But I needed a second to think it though, trying to think of a natural consequence or a way to get through to her. Then it hit me. I asked her to come into the kitchen and stand by me, I crouched down and we pointed out all the chairs in the room- the table chairs, her high chair, Luke's bouncy chair, a stool she uses to sit on, and the floor. I asked her if the dishwasher was a chair and she said yes, so we pointed out all the chairs in the room again and then I asked her again if the dishwasher was a chair. She said no, we cheered, and she walked away and let me finish doing the dishes without trying to sit on the dishwasher again! I was so happy. I have such a hard time thinking up natural consequences! This wasn't a consequence though- I just forgot how much this little girl loves to learn. So we made it into a learning opportunity and she got it. I feel like this has been a huge breakthrough for me! Since Ryan and I choose not to spank Beth, there are times when I feel at a loss of how to teach her right from wrong actions.

It's a great feeling when parenting starts to make sense!

A picture

Here is a bigger copy of the picture that is my new profile pic.

Shopping advice

Retailmenot offers coupon codes for any store you can imagine. Look here for a code before you buy! I just saved $10 at Crazy 8, I got 5 things for $22 shipped! Wohoo!

I'm almost done with Christmas (and birthday!) shopping... Just need to wrap my items and have one more person to buy for! I've done a lot of shopping online this year- it's been fantastic and easy. I guess I'm a little behind the times but there's just something to be said about trying things on in the store. I think I'll stay old-fashioned and shop for my clothes in stores but buy everything else online in the future!

I also just ordered birth announcements so hopefully those will be going out with the Christmas cards... Technically it's still advent and the Christmas season lasts well after Christmas so that's my excuse for not getting our cards out "on time" this year!

Thursday, December 11

Snow day

a panoramic shot of our backyard

I cannot believe it actually snowed! Beth did not comprehend the magnitude of the situation- she kept calling it rain. When it first started sleeting, I'll be honest and admit that I wasn't sure if it was snow or not so I ran as fast as I could to get Beth bundled up enough to go outside. Then about an hour later it was actually snowing- and it kept snowing until after 11 that night! And it was coming down hard for awhile, at least it was when I was driving through it after a late evening of shopping. (I've never driven while it was snowing before so pardon this next incredibly dorky comment.) I told my friend who was with me in the car (who is from Omaha!) that it was like in Star Wars when they jump into lightspeed- it was these little lines coming at me, lol! I think she thought we were all crazy, getting so excited at this little bit of snow!

our first attempt at tummy time. he decided he'd rather nap.

What makes my heart melt

Wednesday, December 10

It's snowing!

It's snowing here! Holy cow! Pics later!


Monday, December 8

A week in photos

Our first real attempt at potty training took place last Monday and Tuesday. I've decided she's not ready- as much as I would love for her to potty train it's just not going to happen right now! We'll try again after her birthday, when things start slowing down. She really loves her potty though!

Beth is also getting into role playing. She already mimics me in my mothering roles, and of course loves her tea parties, but her imagination is growing in other areas now too. Last Tuesday night she helped me "cook" by stirring around a mixture of carrot peels, onion tops and water. Yummy!

Wednesday we tried pig tails... Not quite there yet!

Thursday we went to Old Navy to buy Beth a hat and mittens since it's been getting chilly!

And Friday I took some photos of Luke to try to get the perfect shot for his birth announcement. A lot of cute pics but not the right one. I need to hurry up so I can get those out!

Saturday we went to the tree farm to pick out and chop down our Christmas tree. It's the same place we've visited the past two years. Beth was pretty interested in everything going on though she seemed really serious, just sort of taking it all in. It was a beautiful day! Luke slept in the sling (of course) and once we found the right tree we headed home.

We had a little time to decorate when we got home, but we only put up the white lights on the tree, some garland around the house and my Willow Tree nativity set on the fireplace (my favorite!). We can't seem to find the outdoor lights for our house so from the outside we look like scrooges! After naps, time sort of got away from us and we had Ryan's parents over to babysit so Ryan and I (and Luke) could get away to a wine and scripture evening at a friend's house!

(the obligatory "torture the dog with reindeer antlers" shot)

Sunday we tried to take family photos in our backyard and house... My cousin took 152 pictures of us and I found 5 that seem decent (though not perfect). I'm sure it's going to be harder and harder every year to try to get the kids to look at the camera!

This morning Beth and I played with her nativity set that was a hand-me-down from my younger brothers. We played through the nativity story and Beth voluntarily stuck baby Jesus up Mary's dress and said "nurse." I think it's pretty funny how she translates these things from her life into her play!

I keep creating blog entries in my head but lack the time to actually sit down and write them out. I have one that I'm working on right now in my drafts folder, we'll see if I ever get to finish thinking it out. In addition to these blog entries I'm not getting written, I'm not keeping up with laundry or other little things around my house. We've now entered the phase where Luke can discriminate between the way I hold him and the way everyone else holds him- and guess who he prefers the most?

This week I have to get started on Christmas shopping too. The good news is that I know what I'm getting for everyone on my list- the bad news is I haven't started shopping at all yet! I'm trying to do quite a bit online this year, hopefully that will help!

Saturday, December 6

6 weeks old!

Luke was 6 weeks old on Thursday. I went to the midwife on Friday for my last checkup (all healed and healthy) but the fun part was they weighed Luke- 11 lbs 13 oz! He's actually already outgrown some of his clothes and some of his cloth diapers!

Today we're decorating so I should have some good pictures up tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 2

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