Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Our little "shepherd" giving some loves to the baby Jesus
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given.

I hope you all had as happy a Christmas day as we did.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas week

 It looks like we are going to have a White Christmas here, and I couldn't be happier!
We are having a wonderful time here so far.  Nicholas must be past the stranger anxiety stage, because he has been loving on my family ever since we got here.  
He loves to crawl up in his grandma's lap and give her hugs and kisses, and often, when he needs something, he takes it straight to Grandma instead of me.
It didn't take long for him to figure out that Grandma is more than willing to give him whatever it is he wants.

And of course he is having a blast with his uncles and aunt-following them around the house and laughing at everything they do.  They taught him how to say "ho, ho, ho!" when he sees the santa ornament on the tree, they've been dancing with him, teaching him how to play the Wii, and otherwise entertaining him every minute of the day.

Yesterday at Church, Nicholas saw Grandpa up on the stand (he's in the bishopric) and that was it-Nicholas just had to go up there, and he took off down the aisle.  When I snatched him up and took him back to our row, Nicholas spent the rest of the meeting waving at Grandpa, yelling "Hello!" across the chapel.

Yes, he is just smothered in love here.   
Dipping cinnamon santas in chocolate.
 Now that it is Christmas week I've decided to give myself a little eating-healthy-holiday.  And boy oh boy has it been delicious so far!
Nicholas is joining in on the fun...I'm pretty sure he's been surviving on only "crahkahs" (fruit loops, chips, cookies, chocolate as well as actual crackers) and my Mom's bottled pears.

Nicholas helped decorate gingerbread men last night...or rather, he ate the m&m's while we decorated.
Kent had another encounter with the Andersen Anniversary Traveling Curse while trying to get here on Saturday, (delayed flights, delayed again, another delay, plane having to circle for a while before landing, angry people at the car rental place, snowy roads, etc.) but he finally made it home safe and sound around 1 am Sunday morning, and we are so happy to have him here. Although we didn't get to see each other on our actual anniversary on Saturday, we are going to spend the night tonight at a cute themed bed and breakfast here in Logan...and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have any serious mishaps. 

We aren't transporting a kitchen island, so what could happen, right?

Monday, December 13, 2010

"boots!" and other December happenings

"Helping" me decorate the tree.  He hates wearing shirts and some mornings I just don't want to fight about it again.
Nicholas has a vocabulary of probably 50 to 60 words now.  I lost count a month ago when he was at 35, and he learns a good two or three words every day. 
A few days ago he was in a hungry mood, and he learned 
pizza, biscuit, pear, pasta, and oops,
which he pronounces "boots."
This morning I heard him in the kitchen:  "uh oh, boots!  uh oh, boots!"
Oh goodness I could just squeeze him to death-he's so delicious!

We're still enjoying the winter here-you know, going to the park in the mornings, wearing short sleeves, taking Sunday walks. 
My flowers did freeze, though, so it was time to pull them all out,
and I planted daffodil bulbs, hooray!

This silicone cupcake mold has entertained Nicholas for hours.  He presses the cupcake holes in, then pops them back out again.  It is already packed in my bag for the flight tomorrow.  Anything for a few minutes of peace on the plane, right?
 Our formal Christmas dinner party was on Saturday.  I always love a reason to dress up, set the table all pretty, and have good friends over.  After a few moments of panic while setting the table that ended up in me using the wire cutters to fashion myself two more garland placeholders, everything else fell smoothly into place.  The food was delicious-we had an awesome pork tenderloin roast with pomegranate maple sauce, and everyone had quite a few good laughs around the table. 
See Shannon, I feel your pain.  But isn't my sink so beautifully in focus?
 Nicholas helped us make chocolate cookies last night, and he had a blast measuring, dumping, and stirring.  We filled the cookies with peppermint ice cream, and then took them to our neighbors with a copy of our favorite book-The Book of Mormon.  

Now I'm finishing up packing because Nicholas and I are leaving in the morning to head to Utah (Kent will join us on Saturday)-a white Christmas here we come!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

maybe we get a little carried away...

but Christmas is our favorite holiday
and when it comes to decorating for it, 
we do not lack in enthusiasm.

Kent wanted to decorate the first week of November.
I grew up in a "not until December!" family,
but we compromised and decorated the week before Thanksgiving.

Everything about Christmas is about a billion times more fun with Nicholas.  He loves our decorations, especially the tree.
Every morning when we come downstairs and plug in the lights, 
he responds with just as enthusiastic a "wow!" as he did the morning before.
He has figured out how to switch the power strip, and his favorite thing to do is sit behind the tree and
flip the switch. Lights on, lights off. lights on, lights off.  What fun!

Oh, and you probably noticed how only the top half of our tree is decorated.  
Even with that precaution, this morning I vacuumed up broken ornament number 7.
I can't blame Nicholas too much, though.  The ornaments do look exactly like balls.

I think that much of how a person feels about Christmas is directly related to what Christmas was like for them as a child. We are trying to make sure that Christmas for Nicholas is simply magical.
For me, Christmas was always excitement, sparkling lights, music, freshly-fallen snow, piles and piles of gifts from Santa, sleigh bells outside the windows on Christmas eve, and beloved traditions.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas cheer

Nicholas would rather me play with him than take any more pictures of the Christmas decorations.

Maybe I'll get the rest of the pictures taken tomorrow.  For now, I've got a cotton ball snowstorm to create.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

thanksgiving week

I'm in love with this picture of my boy.
We went to California this year to spend Thanksgiving with our family.
Before the trip I was counting down the hours and minutes. I was really, really ready for a vacation; the day-to-day grind was getting to me, and I wasn't the wife and mother that I want to be.
This trip was exactly what we needed.  Family, food, and rest.  Something about Kent's Mom and Dad's house is so relaxing-I feel like every time I'm there I just take a weight off my shoulders and get to enjoy being with loving family. It's wonderful. 
What's more fun than "new" bath toys?
Nicholas loved his Grammer from the moment we arrived, and he learned to follow her around asking for hugs.

And it didn't take him long to learn that Papa always had treats for him.  He figured out exactly where the fruit snacks were in the pantry, and he was constantly asking Papa for more. I think he ate 7 or 8 bags of fruit snacks every day we were there.
Nicholas and little Audrey.  He would walk up to her swing and say "hi" in this gentle little voice.  He was actually really good with her.  It was so strange for me to see my "baby" holding a baby. He's growing up!

The cousins.  One of the best parts of the week for me was the fact that Nicholas played so well with Carlee and Preston.  It was nice for him to have someone more exciting than me to play with all day.

The potato-launching competition on Thanksgiving day. 

Nicholas wouldn't attempt the launcher himself, but he was sure into giving applause for everyone who did.

The highlights:
Food:Thanksgiving dinner, candied almonds, bacon lasagna, chocolate chip cookies, roasted marshmallows, homemade pies, fabulous soups, fire-barbecued chicken--it was all way too yummy. Oh, and Taco Truck, of course.
Fun:  Watching "The Little Dorrit" every night, riding fire trucks and seeing light parades, decorating the Christmas tree, snuggling sweet little Audrey, crafting up a storm (and I only burned Heidi twice with the glue gun), making our own soda, Ticket to Ride, going on walks with Grammer and Papa.
Humor: Preston asked me at least five times a day "What's your name again?" after which he'd usually tell me he loved me and then compliment me on my shirt or my pants. 
One of the times, though, when I answered him by saying "Becca" (naturally) he said "Why do you always say that?"

Nicholas's nearly non-stop "wow!"  Every time he saw a chandelier, Christmas lights, or really pretty much anything new he'd pucker his lips and "wow" quite sincerely.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, and Sam and Heidi, for the excellent Thanksgiving break! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

home again

We got home very late last night.  Poor Nicholas woke up on the wrong side of the pack and play yesterday morning, 
and the 3 hour drive, 1 and 1/2 hour flight, 2 hour layover, and 2 hour flight
well they were just a little more than our dear son could handle.
Yes, we were those people with that toddler that screams and screams on the plane.

Dear everyone else on the plane,
I'm sorry.
Love, Me

Nicholas finally crashed in the car on the way home from the airport,
and when we got home he didn't wake up, 
we wanted to give him a bath, but he stayed sound asleep, standing up with his head in my lap.
So we changed his diaper and put on his pajamas and laid our sleeping baby
and ourselves
soundly in bed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

missing him still

Sawdust in Grandpa's shop where I loved to play as a little girl.
It has been a month and a half since my grandpa's funeral.  
This is the first time I've been able to get an understanding of what it really means to lose a loved one.
I've been very blessed in my life; up until my grandpa, I had only felt the loss of two: a childhood friend and a dear great-grandma.

But grandparents are different. I feel so close to all of my grandparents (and I still have five grandparents alive! Yes, I'm quite lucky!) 
but the thing about having that level of love and connection--the loss hurts all that much more.

The pain is softened, purified even, by the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.  I know where Grandpa is, and I know that he is finally free from pain and sickness, and I know that he is happy and busy.
But I miss him.  
Most of the time it is a mature-feeling "yes, I know he's gone but it's all right." Every once in a while, though,  I'll see a pretty bird that I wish I could tell him about, 
or I'll suddenly be reminded of the way his soft flannel button-up shirt smelled when he would wrap me in his arms,
or I'll see a scribble of his pencil notations on the underside of a wooden chair he made, 
or I'll just remember again that he won't be watching from my mom's rocking chair as we open Christmas presents this year,  and that's when the mature pain gives way to wishing I could collapse in a heap of tears and just cry and cry.

But I can already see that it is good for me.  I have a softer heart for those who have to deal with much bigger losses than mine.  

And I am grateful, oh so grateful, that I know without a doubt that I will see my grandpa again.
He will still (and always) be my grandpa.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

and how grateful I am

that the November-December-January weather here is seriously incredible (40's at night, 70's in the day),
that we planted this tree right outside the kitchen window,
and that I have legs to stand on, hands to wash my dishes, and eyes to see this tree while I work in my kitchen.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

yes, I cut his hair

Thanks to an episode of Backyardigans, the little table and chair my grandpa made for me before he got sick, and a healthy dose of "can't take it any longer,"
my son no longer dons the orphan-boy hair.

Just don't look too closely at the front and sides there...
let's just say I'm glad he's only 1 and doesn't care about his hair yet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

hidden cache

After Nicholas went down for his nap, I did my
three six-times-daily pickup routine.

In the kitchen I reached down to pick up a fridge magnet,
looked to my right and found this:
 The secret stash.
This tells me three things:
  1. I have a very creative little boy who is hiding things from us for a reason I have not yet determined.
  2. I need to sweep under the island ASAP.  
  3. Maybe we should have purchased the kickboard that goes to the island after all. Although it probably wouldn't have fit in the car.

Friday, November 5, 2010

happy face

There are some things that nearly all toddlers love: bubbles, dum dum suckers, Elmo, balloons, etc., and Nicholas is no exception.   

Our kid is a quirky little guy, though.
Unusual things that make Nicholas happy:
  • Eating with a fork.  For a child only 14 months old, he's surprisingly good with a fork. (And he's not left-handed, even though the picture makes it look that way. He had to switch hands with the fork because he was giving himself a round of applause.)
  • Songs. Nicholas loves to sing, and he will "sing along" to any song whether it's in Church, on the radio, on a show, or anytime I play the piano.  He's an excellent dancer, too, with more moves than both Kent and I combined.
  • Pens. After five or six "artist" episodes, I've learned to remove the ink center before letting him play with the empty pen.
  • Watching videos of himself on the video camera.
  • Closing doors.  Although he doesn't like the fact that he can't then open the door again.  So he knocks on the closed door until we open it, just so he can close it again.
  • "Cleaning." If I ever need to keep him busy for a good 20-30 minutes, all I have to do is give him a clean dishrag and tell him to help me clean.  He wipes down everything he can reach.
  • Sitting right between Mom and Dad. He absolutely MUST be smack dab in the middle at all times, and he gets this adorable little smile as he wiggles his bum down between our laps.
  • Cell phone ringtones.  And the theme music to Angry Birds.
  • Socks. Isn't it ironic that a mother who really, really doesn't like socks (they're gross!) has a son who loves them?  He'll pick it up, carry it around the house behind his head like a scarf, and whisper "hock, hock, hock." He climbs into my lap and sticks out his foot so I can put the sock on it, then he stomps around the room showing it off.
  • Going outside.  Our daily walks to the park are seriously the best parts of our day.  Hooray for cooler weather!
  • His boo game. He made this one up:  if we are sitting on the floor he walks behind us, leans on our backs, and peeks around our shoulders until we say "boo!"
  • Hiding under sheets and curtains.  He flaps his arms and breathes really fast. 
  • Spinning in circles.  A recently acquired skill.  He also enjoys spending time walking very slowly backwards.
I sit and watch him during the day and I seriously wonder what we ever did before we had our sweet little Nicholas.  
We'll keep it all : the grumpy and the good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

grumpy face

My mom wasn't kidding when she told me that trying to get those eye teeth in is the worst.

Other things that make Nicholas grumpy:
  • Anytime Mom leaves.  The house, the room, or sometimes even just the five-foot radius around his person.  He's a mama's boy, that is certain.
  • Anytime a friend leaves our house.  He burst into tears on Sunday when my visiting teachers said goodbye.  He thought they had come to play with him.
  • 5 pm.  We aren't sure what the problem is exactly, but right around 5 pm is what we call the "witching hour" at our house.  Every little thing sets him into uncontrollable tears.  We try to limit his tv viewing at this age, but if you were to stop by at 5 pm on any given day you will most likely find him standing right next to the television watching Backyardigans.  
  • Being told he can't have our knives and forks at dinner. Even when he already has two forks of his own, one in each hand.  He also has a fondness for drinking from our cups instead of his. 
  • Being hungry. We taught him to put his fingers to his mouth when he is hungry, and that has somewhat eased the pre-meal crakiness.  He brings his hand up, points at his mouth, and says "this!" over and over again, like he's telling us "You see this hole in my face?  It needs food!"
  • Not having the exact right blanket at bedtime. Despite all my efforts in preventing him from getting attached to a blanket, he has decided that he needs one of his two thermal blankets in order to sleep.  At least it doesn't matter yet which of the two, right?
  • Diaper changes. He runs away from me, laughing, as soon as he sees me pull out the wipes and changing pad. The sweet laughter ends the moment I catch him.
  • Coming inside. This kid loves to play outside, and his favorite activity is walking down the sidewalk as far as we are willing to follow him.
  • If we don't help him open the candy, fruit snack, camera bag, or anything else that he wants opened. He's quickly perfecting the throw-himself-on-the-floor-and-cry-like-his-heart-is-broken routine.  This also goes for any time we won't let him have something he wants, watch a show on tv, touch throw my glass candlesticks, play the piano, etc.
I am considering making a cute vinyl sign to hang on the big open wall in our living room:
"The toddler rules."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

scenes from a saturday night halloween party

Allison and I decided we were going to throw a Halloween party this year.

Decorations: we went for a "dilapidated mansion" feel at the Foulk's new house.  Pennant banners, black mice silhouettes, antique mirrors, black candles, moth-eaten lace, and a slight mist in the air from Kent's fog machine.

Costumes:  our family of cavemen, a family of bees, chef and his wife with a "bun-in-the-oven," Buddy the elf and Santa, the witch and her baby cowboy with their sufer-dude daddy, Bear Grylls and the rabbit he almost caught for dinner, Willy Wonka and one of his Oompa Loompas, and the costume winners--the birthday party attendee and the pinata.

Food:  lots of fun spooky treats and tasty appetizers and some delicious hot wassail.

Games: we played the tape-a-character-to-your-forehead-to-guess-who-you-are game, the proverbial toilet paper mummy wrap game, donuts on a string, guess whose nose is behind the curtain, and in a blast to our pre-year 2000 lives-- a rousing round of mofia.

I think we pulled off a pretty fun party; there was lots and lots of laughing involved,
and now...
Halloween is OVER.

Which comes the best holidays of the whole year.  Hooray!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday picnic

Sunday was a beautiful day, and now that it is nearing winter, we decided to take advantage of the cooler weather, 
so we took a little picnic of cheese and crackers, a waterbottle, and a sippy cup,
to the park.

We had to take sixteen pictures of me and Nicholas before we got one where he didn't have his mouth full of crackers.  
If you look closely, you can see a cracker in between my fingers...that's why he's laughing, because I swiped his hand away from his mouth quick before he could stuff in another cracker.
He thought it was a game.  Typical.

This take is my favorite.  His little lips are mid-"wow!" as apparently there was something fascinating in that direction.

This park is really neat-with walking trails and picnic areas,
and it kind of sort of almost felt like we were up in a canyon somewhere. 
You know, somewhere that actually has mountains.  

We wanted to take a walk around the park, hoping to see some wildlife (deer, rabbits, lizards, racoons, birds, maybe even a live armadillo) and hoping not to see some other wildlife (skunks, possums, snakes, toads, bugs of unusual size).
But even though it's cooling off here, we only made it around the first bend before we were all sweating,
so we went back home and took a nice Sunday nap instead.
Maybe next month it will be cool enough.