Thursday, February 23, 2012

All About Catherine

 Catherine is pulling herself up like crazy and into everything.
 And pretty darn pleased with herself:
One of her favorite places to practice is in Matthew's book bins before his nap.   She likes to pick out the books and then Matthew insists on reading those exact books so she'll stop touching them.  Oh the joys of siblings. 

Oddly enough, this means she spends even more time in her chair than before since she's much harder to keep track of and out of mischief.  She joined her brother for a little color mixing the other day.  I don't think she was impressed with the colors but loved to chase down the ice cubes.  I could pretend this is some great educational plan with colors and tactile experiences I have for her, but mostly I needed to get dinner made and left to her own devices she heads straight for the pets' water bowl.  I figured this was slightly more socially acceptable, even if she's doing the same thing.
 Too bad we haven't mastered socially acceptable table manners.  She's found her reflection in the door behind her and likes to turn around and take a peek at herself during dinner.   She's back to her varied diet and eager to demolish everything we put down for her.  Too bad her brother's not going through the same phase. 
 Here she is rocking the adorable hat our neighbor made for her!  At age 7 she totally kicks my butt in the arts/crafts/creativity category.  She knits and competes on fiddle!
 And an awesome mohawk and bath after a long day.
I may have mentioned before but unlike Matthew (now or at 8 months) Catherine has a very quite laugh and she doesn't share it as freely as Matthew but it's just as sweet when you can find it:

Which you can compare to this video of Matthew at 5.5 months to see just how different they are. 

My goal for next week is to reassess my "real" camera situation and get (working)cameras, batteries and memory cards back in the rotation.  I love that I (almost) always have my phone on me to snap a picture or video so I catch a lot more little moments (and it makes it crazy easy to upload/share), but the quality of the photos is mediocre indoors and I'd to at least be able to print a decent 4x6 one day. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Family Photo Birthday

 Happy Birthday (with a very late posting) Uncle Matt!   Matthew wanted to wish him a "happy Matt":

I dug up these pictures in your honor.  I'd never seen this one before and I won't lie, it cracks me up.  I think it's the hospital gown that gives dad a crazy jesus type look, but Matt's super tiny and adorable!
And his photo progression from grandma's frames B.G. (before glasses).  I'm pretty certain that's about when both our pictures get real awkward :-)  Maybe I'll make those the tribute next year!

 I absolutely love this expression!
 And when Matthew saw this one he said "Matthew!!"  (though I think this is one picture where he looks least like his nephew/uncle (depending on how you want to interpret all the Matthews in this sentence!)
 And I thought Uncle Matt would appreciate this one because I was so happy to find this picture.  This was the coolest toy EVER!  If I remember correctly John and Don picked up this old boat one visit to grandma's and hauled it into the field and filled it with sand.  It was the coolest sandbox ever.  Uncle Matt already knows helping us replicate this might be expected of him one visit to Montana, because, you know, that's what uncles do in my world (though vehicle type is negotiable) :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bear Suits, Bunnies and Baby Mischief

It's been another crazy week (or two?) in the dead of cold/cough season in our house.  Last Thursday Catherine was diagnosed with her first ear infection and today, Matthew was diagnosed with his umm, seemingly billionth. 

Through it all both kids have been troopers.  Catherine is such a chill kid (check her chillin' as a bear below) her "crankiness" is less of a fuss and more like a "mom, I'm a little uncomfortable":

 We got another good dusting of snow.  Not the right snow for "snowman day" but plenty of snow for romping:
 And chomping:
Speaking of chomping, Catherine's figured out how to pull her self up in the crib:
And on her kitchen:
And while helping Mommy reorganize the linen closet:
She's also been working on clapping and is generally pretty excited about everything.  She's all over the place and into and onto everything.  Thank goodness she's so cute because she's exhausting!
Saturday we headed out to the winter fair.  Matthew asked if we were going to see a farmer about 50 billion times between our house and the fairgrounds.  I don't remember exactly who/what he saw but he was eventually content with having seen a farmer.  We then checked out the petting zoo and he got to hold a rabbit.  This was a huge step as the last few times we've been he had no interest in the animals. 
 Though he still likes the animals that can't surprise him and move too much.
 And he was pretty jazzed to see the model trains again:

And some joint art work.  I drew the triangle and part of an antenna but Matthew did the rest.  He's been doing a lot more independent drawing which is a great relief for me because after a promising start, we went for a long stretch when his only art interests were: 1) Mommy/Daddy draw this for me 2) let me rub paint all over my belly and up my arms and  3) play-doh is tasty.   Oh yeah, and that's a praying mantis below which makes it far more impressive than if it were supposed to be a smiley face :-)

I'm sure Olivia is thinking (a la the cat in Homeward Bound) "Cats Rule and Dogs Drool".  I expect her to upgrade to the big bed anytime and kick both dogs back into the little one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yay Violins!

This about sums it up.  Matthew was pretty jazzed to go to the Symphony this weekend.  Here's the extended discussion we had about the violins:

And Matthew and Catherine afterwards with SuperMaestro!  Apparently a potty break interrupted Matthew's ability to stay for the whole show with daddy but he enjoyed what he saw.  This year's theme was heroes and villians and it was awesome!  Unfortunately Matthew knows that at Mommy's work behind the scenes there are often treats (and a wagon) so once he saw me carrying cookies in a wagon, the violin excitement waned a bit.
Otherwise Sunday was (in Matthew's words) " heavy snowman day".  Matthew's been obsessed with snowmen for a while and we just haven't had enough but thought we'd give it the good old college try on Sunday.  James tried his best to help Matthew build a "heavy" snowman but it just wasn't the right snow so they made a "tiny" snowman (aka snow pile) and Matthew helped scoop instead. 
 And then came in for some cocoa and reading the newspaper:

(The men "working" were actually in an article on joblessness so we're not filling out the Harvard apps yet :-) 
And some just randomness.  First, James has discovered that Catherine likes to lean on my shoulder and say hi!
 And rocking her cute Valentine's outfit from Amma:
 And some yogurt painting:
 Well, eating for Catherine with some color mixing on her face.
And Matthew and I experimented played with some primary color mixing:
And Matthew describing what a train does:

Thursday, February 9, 2012


 We celebrated James' birthday this week.  

So Matthew talked and I talked about how much he loves daddy:

Matthew was super excited because when you're two, birthday = cupcakes and cupcakes are something worth telling every little old lady in Safeway about.  (literally.)  Matthew started by frosting the cupcakes
but couldn't keep from eating the frosting so he was put on sprinkle patrol.
 Catherine was content to just eat the ribbon.

She's still on a starch and yogurt diet, but she is in better spirits than earlier this week and doesn't seem to mind missing out on cupcakes:

 All in all not a bad day.  In other exciting news its musical beds in our house.  It should be a big black dog in a big black bed:
 and a little white dog in a little white bed:
 But some days we end up with both dogs in the little white bed:

 Or sometimes even a baby and cat:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The one where I'm that mom

I had a concert this weekend and conversation around the house has revolved around a certain little one's tummy troubles so there's not much fun to share.  Therefore this post shall contain a brief discussion of baby illness, mommy whining about how they grow up so fast and some toddler bragging.  You have been warned. 

  Long story short, we  thought that the antibiotics I took (that didn't help my cough) caused Catherine some tummy troubles.  Apparently rocking the toast/yogurt diet wasn't enough:

and after I thought things were getting better, they took a turn for the worse last night and it's definitely not just a reaction to the antibiotics.  The only upside to my "up every 90 minutes all night routine" is that my normally independent sleeper is up for a bit more cuddling and I'm taking advantage of our new phones to capture it.  As she's preparing to pull up and cruise around I realize how fleeting her babyhood is:
And just so Matthew's not left out, here's a video of him playing "letters."  It's amazing what he picks up.  The other day as he was babbling on about something in the car and I kept hearing "yellow A" or "red R" and sure enough he was pointing out letters on the stores downtown.  He has a few ABC books (most notably his Star Wars one) and all of a sudden it's just clicked and he's spelling out all the words he sees and "reading" letters all over the place.  The video is stupid long compared to most of my clips and the sound is unbalanced but here's one of Matthew's favorite games: 
As cool as the mom in me thinks this is, the teacher in me knows that learning letter names is barely a blip on the radar of lifelong learning.  What I really hope we're teaching him is to love literature, exploring, observing and questioning, none of which are happening in this silly game.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Family Photo Friday: Portrait Session

When we lived in grandma's house, I'd say it took me about a year to be comfortable rearranging much of anything in the house.  The house had remained the same or had changed so gradually over the years that it just felt wrong.  The pictures on grandma's buffet stopped at our senior years in high school because that was the last formal picture we had taken and (our parents) had printed on a 5x7 and shipped off for grandma's frames.  When I decided to update those pictures (and include James family!) I found a treasured stack of formal shots tucked into each frame, including these ones from my baby/toddlerhood.  Mom must have had an in with the photo studio because boy did we have a lot of portraits taken!    I figure I have one more batch to share while I was kinda cute until we get to my super awkward phase from age 10 through 30+, including the year I cried right before pictures because I got in trouble for leaving my book in my desk on my way to the nerd reading group.   Oh yeah, and I was wearing ridiculously large Hammer pants overalls because I was super stylish :-)

  I won't lie, these pics make me a little nostalgic for the good old portrait photo shoot.  As natural light photography and photojournalistic style shoots are all the rage here, we've opted for outdoor photo shoots (which tend to be pricier so we do them far less often) over the sit and smile portrait studio.    However, there's still something nice about having that one picture where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera, cheesy background or not.   You can mock the portrait studio pictures of the 80s and 90s all you want but it still seems far better than the early 1900s "look at the camera and scowl" era:
(On the back is written: "left to right: my uncle & wife: Frank in Neza Setina: last couple")

Which my dad's family was exceptionally good at:
(My grandma, her brothers and her parents)

*Editor's Notes: In my last post Matthew took a pic of a water buffalo not a wildebeest.  Also, the cute blonde boy in the pictures before was my husband, even though my rambling made that unclear. 

Should I ever again in this lifetime sleep 8 straight hours, I will knock your socks off with a clearly thought out, error free and non-rambling post that is also factually accurate.  Hopefully the internet will still exist when that miraculous moment occurs.

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...