Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful

Looking back on a year that's quickly coming to an end (aaaahhh!) we have much to be thankful for:

A two year old with a million dollar smile and infectious laugh:

A 5 month old with generous grins and coos that melt your heart:

Uncles that are amazing with our kids:

and Amma & Pappa and Mas and Pas who love them like their own:

An amazing husband and father:

And an amazing town in Montana that we'll get to return to.  As much as we love and miss our friends and family in Virginia and as thankful as we are for the ability to spend a few weeks here, there are no regrets about the odd road that lead us to Montana.  We can't wait to get back to our mountains, snow, fresh, non-humid air and small town traffic and crowds.  It's been a crazy year since last Thanksgiving and though we lifted up many prayers and good thoughts for friends and family this holiday season, we also had plenty to be thankful for.

 

In the meantime, we're enjoying every second we're here.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving with James' family where Catherine certainly chowed down.  She started solids earlier last week with some sweet potatoes, green beans and chicken (warning: there's even messier babyfood pictures below!):

On Thanksgiving, she started with an appetizer of sand:

And then dove in to her brother's leftover turkey, cranberry, sweet potatoes, corn casserole and more:

 

She thought it was awesome and is quite the eater.  Matthew enjoyed the company more than the food and hung out with Mas

and his second cousin, Daphne.

In the meantime I'll have pictures from this past weekend in Northern Virginia eventually but right now we're enjoying the slower pace of Bath County with Amma and Papa.  Both kids are (finally) taking long naps at the same time so I'm off to catch up on a little bit of everything, including figuring out the gazillions of photos I've collected over the week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Travel and Trouble

Friday night we arrived safely in Virginia.  First, if anyone at Frontier Airlines is stalking their social media and finds this, feel free to contact me about the million ways you failed to provide adequate customer service for my travel this weekend.  Some of us try very hard to schedule "good" flights for our kids and FYI, direct to DC is very different than direct, with a stop in Omaha where you not only have to deplane but take all your crap off the plane for just long enough to be annoying but not long enough for a toddler to run out of energy.  Also, the extra hour of no potty, no Ipad, take off and landing in the middle and the lack of food service on the first leg didn't help either, in addition to our paying for extra leg room and direct TV and receiving neither.   Luckily, someone's a pretty happy traveler all things considered, and her brother didn't do too badly either and actually took a nap on the plane!:

Anyway, before we left, life got a little crazy.  I had a big work fundraiser, we had to find a new nanny (who is awesome but it's been a transition) and well, Matthew hasn't been on his best behavior.  He doesn't handle change real well (new shoes are probably more stressful than the SATs in our house) so I think everything is just getting to him.  A friend of mine mentioned that she'd read the more difficult times for kids are the first half of each year (0-6mos. etc.)  This has totally been true for Matthew and 2-2.5 has been a dousy so far.    Much of his mis-behavior will be the things we laugh at in a year, but it's driving me crazy as it occurs. 

First, he's discovered the joy of the fridge and helping himself to whatever he wants in the fridge.  Here I believe he had made himself a cup of yogurt.  Ugh.  However, the other day he woke up at 2:30a to potty.  Annoying, but no big deal.  Then, about 3ish James came out to find him sitting on the floor drinking a cup of coffee creamer.  Ugh.   When he gets things out he's very good about putting them back, wiping up his messes and even putting his empties on the trash can but seriously, the surprise half cups of coffee creamer laying around the house are making me crazy and he only does it when I'm busy with Catherine or you know, trying to pee by myself so I rarely catch him in the act. 

Second, though potty training is going well-ish we've had some hiccups. Matthew's starting to insist he take his pants off (oh yeah, and socks and shirt most often) and put them back on himself.  This stubbornness has led to a lot of accidents if he can't make it in time or freak outs when I insist on helping.  He's also been exercising the word "no" about going potty whenever there's anything more interesting going on which is making me crazy as well, but I guess a little regression is to be expected.  It is at least incredibly amusing watching him put on his "trains" by himself since most of the time both legs end up on one side. 

 

Other not so fun 2.5 year old behaviors have been throwing, tackling the cats, pounding/tapping/drumming on everything and don't get me started on the bedtime/nap stalling.  Combined with his excessively loud voice and incessant talking, my sanity is often hanging by a thread.  I found this cute poem on pinterest the other day and I try to remember how quickly time is moving but somedays are harder than others when you've had to say "Matthew, we don't put our underwear on June's head" for what feels like the billionth time.

All those things aside, we're very happy to be in Virginia with family and friends and lots of extra hands to play with the kids.  Even though they got to spend all day with the kids I've taken some heat for my blog slacking from my loving family so I'm taking advantage of the extra hands and no work to catch up.  I've also been having fun with papa's nice camera and enjoying the pics he's been taking. 

Hanging with Uncle Matt:

And playing in the leaves with Papa:

Hanging out with Mas:

And Uncle John:

And just cuteness:

And some kisses and smiles with grandpa:

We had a great evening with friends and weekend with family as well as some more great things planned for the visit, so I'm working on enjoying every second.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 Months

It's hard to believe it's been 5 months since this pile of squishy-ness entered our lives:

And now she's just as adorable as can be:

She's quite the squirmer and flipping and flopping all over the place.  She loves playing with her brother's blocks and other toys, though he's not as big of a fan.  She's got a quiet, subtle laugh (unlike her brother) but a smile that just melts you.  She's definitely a "talker" and likes to babble with you, but also a quiet observer of the world, content to sit or lay down and explore her toes, toys or just watch her brother and the pets.  Though I don't think any baby is really easy, she's by far an easier baby than Matthew was. 

Though Catherine will never have the individual attention in quite the same way Matthew did, I'm sure she benefits from the experience gained the second time around and definitely benefits from the hugs and kisses of an older brother, even when he tries to steal the spotlight during pictures with kisses for mommy.

He also passes along some pretty great clothes that were just as cute on him as they are now on her:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Around the House Cuteness

Attack of the 50 foot baby!! 

Some belated pics of Matthew carving pumpkins (yeah, he spends at least half of his day pantsless.  He's decided he'd rather not have help at the potty.  He does a great job taking clothes off, but not such a great job putting them on.  I'm just happy we're done with diapers so I'll take pantsless pumpkin carving if needed):

Some of my favorite clothes of Matthew's were these woodland animal sets.  However, to the rest of the world brown and woodland animals clearly mean boy.  It doesn't bother Catherine (or me) but I always get the disapproving look of "why don't you dress her like a girl".  Maybe this brown hair bow will help:

How adorable is this girl?

Now that we've hit winter and are inside a lot more, it's so hard to get a picture of Matthew where it's not blurry because he's moving 90 miles an hour (as anyone who Skypes with us witnesses).   So far, everytime we've gotten a balloon he's freaked out about it being tied to his arm and he doesn't want anything do to with it.  He also freaks out over them in the car.  What we then do is generally put it under a jacket in the van, forget about it and let them enjoy a shrivel-ly death. We finally remembered to bring one in and the boy LOVES it. 

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Owls Love Pumpkins



Happy Halloween, or Owl-o-ween as it's become in our owl obsessed house.   As I may have shared earlier, Matthew was even his favorite type of owl, "heavy".   It was a fight to get him to leave the headband on, and an even bigger task to get him to hold Catherine






Hugs.

And more hugs that look like headlocks:


This boy sure does love his sister.  He however, was not a big fan of the mask so that was delegated to mommy:

I convinced him to put it on a little longer for trick-or-treating and once he got super excited about the treats, he managed to wear it most of the evening!

Next year we'll be able to hand out candy from this fabulous porch:

But for this year since someone was still napping during trick-or-treating downtown, we opted for the mall again.  It's warm, well-lit and the perfect distance for a child whose 4 step path from A to Z often requires 22 steps.   We were also early enough that we were willing to wait in line for our free family photo (which I then snapped a photo of because I'm lazy and our house is in disarray, so the coloring on the original is better.  My crazy eyes however - still just as crazy looking in the original):

Speaking of photos, since I'm on the way to one monster post (that will make up for my 2 weeks hiatus), a few weeks ago we had family pictures taken again by Amy, who took Matthew's one year photos.  We just did a mini-session with her this time, but as always she got some great shots.  She's moved to LA but was back for a weekend so we were so glad we could meet up!  Here's a few screenshots of our proofing gallery, and if you want to look at more, you can go to http://www.amyshertzerphotography.com/proofing and create an account.   The access code is: matthew



I'm not sure what else I've skipped over in the past 2 weeks but here's at least what I found lingering around my camera (well, with the exception of the pictures Matthew took of the inside of my nose.  I'll spare you):
The other weekend we took a short hike around the Wildlife Preserve.  We missed spotting a deer in the river due to our very loud toddler and as always, checked out the ducks.  It's bear suit time for Catherine:

And frog hat time for Matthew:

He spent most of the hiking letting us get ahead, counting down and then running full force to give us hugs.  It's quite possibly the best thing ever:

We also did some splashing (shock!) and the colors were just about perfect, even if the skies and winds weren't.



We finally got around to carving our pumpkins.  Out of sheer exhaustion I lost a baking sheet and 2 pumpkins worth of seeds to absentmindedness.  On the bright side, I didn't burn down the apartment :-)   Matthew's first pumpkin face was a series of 4 vertical dots.  As he drew each one he said "eyes, nose, eyes, mouth".  When I "carved" the tiny dots they didn't pack much punch so I carved his second drawing for him.  I'm calling it an abstract ghost . . . unsurprisingly, he's calling it an owl.

Otherwise, I survived another concert weekend, we all survived our first cold/virus/sinus infections and we managed to progress on our house even with this surprising news from James' company.   Our nanny unfortunately found a position in her field for more hours so finding new childcare's added a new level of excitment to our lives - especially since I'm 2 weeks out from putting on a big work event, then we're headed back east for 2.5 weeks (speaking of that, anyone up for a potluck/get-together the weekend of Nov. 19 in NoVA?) then we come back and close on our house!  We'll share more as its official-official, but as we've shared some of its awesome points (aspens, front porch, kitchen bigger than a postage stamp) here's definitely one of its quirks:

There's a HUGE "landscaped" (and that's a very loose definition) area around the hot tub (which will hopefully be gone) that's filled with these weird "rocks".  I think it's some type of volcanic rock, rounded out and then painted.  Anyway, they're lightweight and a toddler's dream to stick in their pockets and throw but they are also sitting on 6-8 inches of sand which is just, well, weird.  I don't get it at all and I have no idea what we'll do with the space - other than maybe just declare it a toddler exploration area/sand box of awesomeness since it fails as reasonably attractive landscaping in my opinion.
(Oh yeah, and it appears that I only own 1 fall sweater, but I infact own 3.  They are just all a very similar style and in the gray/brown/green family.  I might however be wearing the same sweater in all of these pics because thats just the type of life ebb and flow we've had).
That's all the news thats fit to print in Watson-land.

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...