- So, we had this snowstorm on Sunday. And then there were the sub-zero temperatures that followed. I won’t post pictures, because I assume the fact you’re reading this blog means you don’t live under a rock, and that means you’ve already seen pictures. Anyhoo, we had this nasty weather, which was incredibly pretty from the warmth and comfort of our house, and the kids and I just left the house for the first time today. Since Sunday. When all we did was go outside and shovel for a short while in the morning. We’ve been on the edge of nuts. Aria has been whiny and a bit wild, and I’ve been slowly becoming more cranky. As of today we have plans to leave the house for something four days in a row. Woot!
- I decided on a reading goal of 75 books this year. That’s right around what I read in 2013. Though, I read more last year than I did in the couple of years previous, so I don’t know how realistic it is. I’ve also joined Goodreads, in addition to Shelfari. I still like Shelfari’s interface better for the most part, but Goodreads has won the market, so I decided I would also go where the people are. It’s not difficult to update my reads on two sites rather than one.
- Noah was six months yesterday. Once you have children, you never again catch up to time.
- We had Noah’s six month check-up today. He is healthy, as usual. His height and weight caught up with his head circumference at the top of the charts. He weighs 20 pounds and is 28 inches long. (Here’s the report from his four month check-up.)
- The ladies at our doctor’s office are wonderful. The nurse, Joy, was happy to weigh and measure Aria at my request. Aria took her baby doll to the doctor’s office, and Joy measured her when she did Noah, and then we put “baby” on the scale before Aria was comfortable getting on. Aria was excited to go today. She kept talking about it, and when Joy called for Noah, Aria hopped right up and followed her back with no concern for my presence. That’s very rare. Aria is 30 pounds and 36 inches tall. Y’all. I’m only 64 inches tall.
- We decided not to trade rooms with Aria right now. When I measured for furniture we weren’t thrilled with the fit. For that and a few other reasons we decided to try putting Noah’s crib in with Aria’s first. It’s been there about a week now, but Noah hasn’t slept in it much. Aria really wants him in the room with her. She talks about it and asks for him, and the one time thus far we did her bedtime story while he slept in his crib she whispered the entire time. It was sweet. We haven’t put him in there much yet because he wakes up as soon as we lay him down. He’s not used to that much space, so he rolls right onto his stomach and can’t get back, and then he gets fussed up and nap time is over. We’re easing into it, but it may take a few more weeks, until he has a bit more consistent control of his own body.
- Did I mention my favorite group won The Sing-Off? The finale aired two days before Christmas, so it might have gotten lost in the shuffle. I was in such suspense waiting for the announcement. I get way too involved. My heart was pounding. I backed it up and rewatched their reactions twice. And now I’m excited for them to release an album and go on tour.
Aria turned two on the 24th. In the second year of life we are constantly changing. I can’t recall even a fraction of what Aria has done and been interested in this year, but I thought it would be fun to document what she’s into currently.
Recently she’s begun speaking a lot, and in just the last week or so she has begun speaking in full sentences. She’s very communicative, and I appreciate that. She even uses words sometimes to express her frustration or that she is sad (which is really just another form of frustration, more than it is sadness). It is encouraging to me when she expresses those things, because I am glad she has the ability, and especially that she understands that it is safe to say so.
- Imaginative play. She likes to take care of her babies, make us food in the play kitchen (today she asked me, “Want tea?”, then brought me a “drink”), and clean the house with her toy broom or whatever rag she can get her hands on (dish towel, tissue – she’s not discriminating). She also likes to help with chores. She wants to be involved in bathing Noah, and likes to cook, clean, and do laundry with me. She’s wonderful about picking up toys and pacifiers when Noah drops them, and throwing trash in the garbage.
- Blocks and puzzles. She likes to sort and arrange. The engineering bent of her mind has been obvious since she was tiny, so it’s not surprising that she likes to arrange, ponder, and rearrange. She’s careful to always put things away, and she is driven to do so “correctly”. That’s intrinsic to her, because I have been careful to never correct her when she willingly did something but did it in a haphazard baby sort of way. As she gets older, she gets more and more careful all on her own.
- Drawing on the iPad. She asks to draw multiple times each day. She’ll let me know what types of things she wants to draw, and when she would like a new page. Today I showed her how to clear the picture on one of the drawing apps, and she caught right on and started doing it for herself.
- Her baby brother. Oh, dear, she likes him a lot. She gets right in his face and jabbers to him, tossing her head from side-to-side. He eats it up. She’s also prone to climbing on him and bringing him toys to drop in his face. But, hey, I’ll take it. She loves him.
- Her cousin Emma. Emma is a current obsession of Aria’s. She follows her around calling her name, and when we’re not with her she asks about her. Emma rode in the back of our minivan once in Aria’s memory, and now Aria asks for her and points to the back of the van nearly every time we go somewhere.
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. She is also obsessed with “Kitty Kitty”. She talks about him at least as much as she talks about Emma. Daniel Tiger is an animated spinoff from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which we have also begun watching. She likes it nearly as well (much to my relief, as I prefer it).
- Books, books, books. She loves books. Right now her favorites include several of our Boynton books and Madeline’s Rescue, which her Aunt Jo gave her for Christmas. She takes a board book to bed with her each night. She also loves her Bible, and even asks me to read my books out loud to her.
- Snow. She talks about “no!” all the time. She likes to draw on a specific snowman app on the iPad. She likes to read her book about snow.
- Current favorite foods include eggs, rice cakes, and turkey deli meat. Blueberries are always popular, as are oranges. She likes to drink regular and dark chocolate almond milk, as well as plain iced tea, and water.
- Church. She loves going to church on Sundays. Sometimes she asks for it on random days, and she gets excited when I tell her that’s where we’re going. Yesterday when we got within sight of the building she called out, “Chuch!” (there should really be an umlaut over that “u” for full effect). That thrills me more than most things, because it means she loves being with our people. We have no children’s service – she stays with Mommy (and family) during the service – so she’s not just excited because she’s going to be passively entertained the entire time.
It’s already obvious we are in for more major changes in the next 12 months. I can’t wait to see them! She’s really a fantastic little person, and I enjoy her thoroughly.
Last year I wrote a post about the Christmas traditions we have, or plan to adopt. I tend to be an all-in person, and being a parent is teaching me limits in a whole new way. One of those limits I’ve learned is that I can’t throw myself in and make everything I ever want to see happen start at once. For one, I will make everyone, starting with myself, miserable. And two, some things I want to do eventually the kids just aren’t ready for yet. This is my second Christmas as a parent (well, third, technically, but that first one I had only been a parent 12 hours, so it doesn’t count). Thus far I’ve determined:
- Consistency is key. Kids will remember anything we call a tradition with fondness, as long as we do it consistently and lovingly.
And to that end…
- I would rather do simple things and enjoy them thoroughly with my family, then check all the boxes on the Best Christmas Ever checklist.
This December Aria is turning two, and Noah is 5 months. We’re sticking to these simple and fun things:
- We listen to Christmas music. There are a lot of albums I enjoy, but I try to mostly keep it to a few favorites. Part of the nostalgia the kids will feel when they look back will be over those specific artists they heard over and over. We’re choosy about who they are. (These are our non-negotiables, and here’s another list of good options.)
- We decorate the house only with things we love. That includes a real Christmas tree, and some other simple decorations. I love Christmas decos, but I can’t get too carried away because I purposefully keep very few surfaces in my house. (I hate clutter, and I hate to dust.)
- We read a different Christmas picture book every evening before Aria’s bedtime. She gets to choose the book from a festive box full. She loves it! Actually, it’s made her more receptive to the idea of bedtime, because she looks forward to choosing and hearing a book. On Christmas Day we’ll read Luke 2.
- We attend Christmas music concerts. This year the kids went to the performance of the kids’ choir I direct. We also plan to attend our area orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert.
- We open a Christmas Eve box. This will be our first year to do this. I’m sure it will change over time, but this year it will include new pajamas for each of the kids, a new Christmas book (the last one we’ll read before Christmas), and the new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD. I like the idea of including a snack, as well, but I haven’t decided what that might be, because we’re working on making our diet cleaner.
There are a few other things we’ll work in if they feel doable. I read this great idea to get the kids all ready for bed one night, then before they really go to bed surprise them with hot chocolate, bundle them up, and take them to drive around and see Christmas lights. That’s easy, and so fun, and the kids would love it. Another idea I like is to draw a bubble bath by candlelight for each kid, and then sit with them and read (or not – whatever works). Aria is at the age to love baths, and she’s never had a bubble bath, so I definitely intend to do this one. The original idea I saw was to do it on Christmas Eve, but that’s already a packed day for us, so I think we’ll do it on the 23rd this year.
That’s about it. None of these are big things, really. They’re simple to do, and most don’t take much time. Perfect, eh?
I’m linking up to List It Tuesday over at Many Little Blessings.
- Last weekend was wonderful. We spent most of Saturday cooking and cleaning, and then joined my siblings at the Andrew Luck corn maze at night. The day was just the right mix of productive and fun. Sunday was the kids’ dedication, and it was just as wonderful and meaningful as I had hoped. We had a nice time with our family at lunch. We wore ourselves out so much that both Andy and Aria were asleep before 7pm. Speaking of which, my kids can apparently sleep quite strangely. These pics of Aria sleeping are from Sunday evening.
- Aria has become enamored with rice cakes. She has a couple of them each day with peanut butter and homemade jam. I’m pleased she loves them so much, because they are a better option than bread, which she no longer asks for at all. I’m trying to mostly wean her away from wheat products, so this is perfect. She asks me repeatedly throughout the day for “ceck”.
- I have new Christmas music! I am excited, and already listening. I’ve been dutifully waiting longer this year to start listening to Christmas music, but the new Joshua Bell album released on Tuesday, and I had to hear it. It’s great.
- Speaking of Christmas, I’m getting down to the business of Christmas shopping now. I’ve been keeping my eyes open and picking things up here and there, but now I’ve moved to the serious planning and shopping phase. (Also, psst – I have a Christmas series planned for November and December.)
- We’re having a nice laidback week. We haven’t had a week like this since August. I’ve needed it. I am enjoying just being home with the kids and reestablishing routines.
- Tonight I rather spontaneously took a friend who is too-many-weeks pregnant out and we got pedicures and dinner. It’s the first time I’ve left Noah to do something fun. Actually, it’s the first time I’ve done an evening like this sans children in I don’t know how long. It was lovely. Also, my toes are pretty now.
- You guys. LOOK: