Friday, November 30, 2012

Being Thankful

Last weekend we loaded up the car and headed down to grandma's for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I had debated making this trip two weeks ago by myself but was snowed out - plus its always much more fun when James can join us.  It's a long trip with the kiddos, especially since Catherine isn't the car sleeper that Matthew was and Matthew talks/sings/whines all.the.time.  While I was able/willing to do it with just Matthew, adding Catherine somehow quadruples the distractions and toy handing and soothing and snack management so having help dividing the driving/kid management labor is nice, and gave me the chance to catch this beautiful sunset:
 Besides the weather risks of traveling in fall/winter, it's also tough because it gets dark sooo early and makes the trip feel longer than it was.  We actually made good time but when we stopped for dinner at 6p, it felt closer to midnight for us, though the kids were as wild as ever.
 We got in, tucked the kids in bed and work up the next morning for turkey pumpkin pancakes
 baking pies
 And some short walks
 and chats with Catherine:
 We then headed over to my aunt and uncle's house for a delicious meal.  Catherine was pretty amped up afterward!
 We ended the evening with watching some Charlie Brown goodness:
 While Catherine crawled away for a quick cat, errrr, dog nap.
 The kids were pretty into Charlie Brown and wouldn't look toward the camera for anything:
The rest of the weekend was filled with leftovers, football, stories:
 And a quick trip to the Children's Museum when the kids were about to drive all of us batty:

 Catherine mastered the slide all by herself:
 And Matthew LOVED the phosphorus wall:
 He tried making a buffalo shadow:
 And as we would later discover a chimpanzee (he stood at the wall and giggled and wiggled but we couldn't figure out what he was doing until he explained that night):
The kids took some time to fight wildfires:
And Catherine some time for daddy cuddles:
One last attempt at a picture with both kids before we left:

I wish we'd gotten around to see more family and friends but there's something nice about settling in for the weekend, and the kiddos do better with it.  I'm always so thankful for any time we get with grandma and sure do miss living just down the road where I could pop in and visit more often. Our trip back was thankfully uneventful even as the weather threatened to turn on us.  Now we're enjoying a week to readjust before the "Christmas season" gets into full swing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Snow, art and "snow art"

So, when we were in Alaska I suggested to Matthew that we write some postcards for the grandparents and Uncles.  It was a comical, sad, painful event that followed as I basically tried to explain the postal service while Matthew looked at me like I was crazy and kept asking to call or Skype or email or text or facebook or Instagram or basically do anything else but help me write the postcard because he just didn't get it.  I'm 99% to blame because I'm terrible about writing and sending letters/packages but I'm trying to get better and model more actual writing and writing down more of what Matthew says and sending it to family.  However, all of a sudden drawing and a little bit of fine motor control has clicked out of scribble mode and he's been making drawings for us, like this elephant:
And here is the process.  I think when I assume he's saying ton he's either saying tongue or trunk and I'm the one confused.  It all makes sense when he announces the final result:

And here's his process for his dinosaur Santa Claus:

 I fear Matthew has some of my perfectionist tendencies so there's something great and forgiving about doing things on the Magna Doodle which encourages him to branch out and try new things.   Most of his marker/paint/paper art is still scribbling.  In fact, all three kids at preschool made paintings that pretty much looked exactly like this the other day.  One was a mommy, one a turkey and Matthew's was a bear with a top and a bottom.

We've also been talking about the letter M a lot so we made an "M" mountain and then Matthew cut it out and put snow on it and signed his name.  He's really big on cutting and gluing right now so I'm trying to make the most of it when he's not moving at 90 miles an hour around the house.

Meanwhile Catherine's been toodling along drawing on anything and everything she gets her hands on.  Unfortunately most of the time she prefers drawing on Matthew's stuff instead of her own.  She's also still doing swim lessons on Saturdays.  She's getting better but still isn't in love with it.  I think it's an age and lack of exposure thing so we're hoping more trips to the pool will help.
 We've been enjoying the remnants of our snowstorm.  With temps in the mid 40s and 50s the snow was perfectly slushy to push around and make this guy.  Matthew was super excited to make a snowman, but was pretty much zero help once we got outside because there was an unlimited supply of snow around that needed to be eaten by he and his sister.
 We pulled out the tripod and took a quick picture.  I sent James in for a jacket at least because it just looked wrong for him to be in a t-shirt with a snowman and kiddos in their snowsuits.
 Then it was time for some more pure fun between bites of snow of course!

 And snowballs:
 Catherine stayed out of the snow zone by hanging out on the porch:
 We are busy preparing for some Thanksgiving fun.  We celebrated at preschool today and made turkeys.  As we talked about gratitude, I admit I prompted the kids to put mommy and daddy on their turkeys (after a long discussion of breakfast foods they were thankful for).  No idea where camels came from though, but I guess we should be thankful for them.

 We came home to find a fantastic pre-Thanksgiving surprise of smoked salmon from Teta Sharon and Uncle Stoney.  The kiddos were ecstatic about the packaging and drove me batty tossing around the styrofoam I put them to work on some fine motor practice.  This was an act of a desperate woman and not my smartest move as I basically just added shrapnel to the things they had been previously throwing around.
And of course, then Matthew decided his was an airplane.   He has been doing two crazy yet adorable things lately, "whooshing" and wearing his "scooters".  He made a few laps whooshing and scooting around with his airplane and tonight it shall be retired.  Catherine made this very serious and seriously adorable face as she practiced pushing the nails in:
She's not only taken to taking her clothes off on her own but she rips bibs off all the time so most of the evenings she ends up shirtless, especially because we had pomegranate tonight.   And the kiddos in a box because packaging is the gift that kept on giving in our house tonight:

And last but not least, some adorableness the other day at the oil change shop of all places.  I love these monkeys.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snow, snow and video

We had our first big snowfall last week.  Just under a foot of fluffy stuff the first day and a few inches afterward and some bitter cold.  We spent the weekend cuddled by the fire, working on things around the house, venturing out only for swimming, sledding and snow cream!  
 The kiddos approved!
Catherine found it to be bowl licking good!

On Sunday the sun came out and it was prime weather for sledding.  Last year Matthew wasn't too keen on it, and this year he wasn't either at first.  Catherine was ready to go:
 Poor girl has all of her brother's blue hand-me-down snow gear but sure does rock some pink sunglasses!
 Matthew decided he'd rather play on the playground equipment:
Until he saw a cool older kid he wanted to emulate.  Thankfully it wasn't the high school/college kids who had cobbled together a jump with a long bungee, picnic table, sheet of plywood and cooler/dorm fridge but instead the, oh, probably 3 and 3/4 year old tearing it up down the hill.  Matthew then decided he needed to go all by himself with a big push:

 And one final run while big brother took little sister down the hill:

And because I often forget to upload and manage our videos here's a random collection of the kiddos being goobers, like the kids "helping" me sort and clean out our dressers/closets:
Oh so helpful:
As if just watching Matthew wander around in his costume wasn't funny enough, here he is engaging in a sword fight with his fun party favor:

And Catherine attacking Uncle Matt, both in costume:

and out:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

These boots were made for walking

This is how we roll in November.  Sunglasses, hat, pajama pants and crocs.  All are required by a very picky toddler to prepare for hanging out outside.
 Catherine meanwhile spends most of her time rearranging everyone else's shoes and putting them on.  When she's not rearranging shoes she's also rearranging our furniture.
 Though some of it James and I did as well.  We moved one of our loveseats from downstairs to the master to give us extra cuddle space for reading bedtime stories:
 Catherine's speech is really picking up and she loves to talk on the chicken, errrr, phone.
Some other big news has been her progress toward walking and learning her body parts:

 The nice weather from Halloween extended for a week or two and we tried to take full advantage.  One afternoon I taught the kiddos how to hopscotch:

As you can see, Matthew almost got it :-)
In preparation for the holiday season we got an early visit from Rudolph:
 And headed out for some Bobcat encounters:
 Matthew showed us his giraffe imitation:
 While Catherine was a girl gone wild as she took her shirt off and proceeded to dance:
 "Take my picture mommy!"

Don't worry, everything is all good here.  This kid isn't up to anything at all:

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...