Sunday, December 26, 2010

A very desert Christmas

Playing at the park with the Seiders-Simmons Family
(college friends).

Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Gray.

Opening presents Christmas morning.

Enjoying the sunshine.

Our Christmas family feast.

Happy hour at Great Uncle Brian and Aunt Diane's new house.

Miles with Grandpa (on left), Mike
and Great-Uncles Brian and Bob.
(Brian looks so much like Grandpa that Miles
happily plays with him - just like he's Grandpa #2.)

The 2 youngest grandkids (for now)
Sarah and Miles on the Gray side.

Cuddling with Grandpa Gray.

Thursday night, after a full day of work, we flew to Phoenix, AZ to spend Christmas with Mike's parents and family. The flight went smoothly - Miles was a wonderful baby (why should I expect anything different from this sweet boy?). Christmas Eve started with a visit to our good, college friends' Beth and Shantian's house where the kids played and we spent time enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather at the park. Later in the day Miles was a hit with all of the old ladies at the 4 pm Christmas Eve service at Mike and Mariann's church. He can be quiet the charmer.

This was my and Miles' first non-white Christmas and we spent a lot of time outside playing and visiting with Mike's sister's family (Denise, Greg, Alan and Sarah) and Miles' met his Great Aunt and Uncle Diane and Brian for the first time. Miles was spoiled with many new toys which have quickly spread throughout the house. After gift opening and visiting we ate a huge mid-day meal of turkey and too many delicious fixings to mention here. Miles also had his first piece of pumpkin pie. After devouring his little sliver he was frantically sighing "more please." I think he would have eaten the whole thing if we had put it in front of him.

Today we hung out with relatives and Miles met another Great-Uncle, Bob. With all of the visiting and travels Miles has maintained his laid-back, sweet personality. He loves his grandparents and gives them many smiles and hugs. We all get a kick out of him running around the house with his hands behind his back and giving us a scrunched up, mouth open, goofy face when he doesn't like something but it's not serious enough to cry over. Little man is sound asleep and ready for more Arizona adventures in the coming week.

Not to be overshadowed by Christmas, the little baby in utero, is an "it" no longer. We're having a girl! Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Tis The Season

Our Christmas celebrating officially began this weekend. There's nothing like a few feet of snow on the ground, a house decorated for the holidays and family celebrations to put you in the mood for Christmas. The weekend started out with me and Miles spending quality time together on Friday - eating breakfast together, going to ECFE, out to lunch with Nancy and my mom and an afternoon of sledding and relaxing.

My sweet little baby can eat all by himself.

Having fun with a paper towel tube and Ruby!

Getting ready for the great outdoors.

Braving the cold for a quick sled ride around the neighborhood. It was so cold that after 5 minutes Miles' chubby cheeks were glowing red so I brought him inside much to his dismay. I almost included a picture of the full out toddlerville tantrum (body flopped on the laundry room floor with lots of crying) that happened because he wanted to stay outside and play.

Our first official Christmas celebration of the year was with my immediate family on Saturday - we celebrated our annual "Christmas Eve" party a little early this year. Corey and Miles are such handsome little boys sitting under Grandma and Grandpa Nickolay's tree!

Our whole family together for Christmas.

Our little growing (yes, note the baby belly) family.

Bring on the presents! Miles still isn't too sure about opening presents but he really loved all of the new toys he received. The first gift he opened was a Magna Doodle and after that he wasn't very interested in opening any other gifts.

Our polite boy signing "please" - urging daddy to open the Magda Doodle packaging faster. The babies received so many gifts and had a great but overwhelming time. After they went to bed we adults got to eat and laugh and open gifts too.

On Sunday our two handsome boys were once again dressed to kill as the celebrating continued. Today we all went to church as a family. Miles was so cute and good throughout the whole mass. I felt very proud of my little son. We then went to New Prague to celebrate with my dad's extended family at their annual Christmas party at the KC Hall. We got to see many aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandpa and even 2 of Miles' great-great aunts, Doris and Lucille. But before we went to the Nickolay Christmas party the babies played with their new toys some more.

Once of which was a cozy coupe from Mike and I to Miles. He loves it and knew how to get in and out and pretend to drive without any prompting.

The cozy coupe proved to be a very popular toy and this is what happens when two 1-year olds try to share it.

The Nickolay Christmas party was fun. My grandpa now has 13 great-grandchildren and Miles was very busy running around the hall with all of the big kids. This weekend he really showed us how much he loves to party. While my grandpa took a group photo with all of his grandchildren in attendance and then great-grandchildren we got a shot of just grandpa with Miles and Corey but by this time they were done with pictures and wanted to continue running around. I had such a great holiday weekend with wonderful, loving and generous family that I didn't want it to end so from 7-10:00 tonight I did my holiday "baking." Nut goodies, dipped pretzels, sweet and salty cashew mix and holiday almond bark are all packed away now and ready to give to co-workers tomorrow morning. 'Tis the season!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We have a toddler!

Who, me?

We know we have a toddler when...
  1. The word "yes" becomes part of their vocabulary. Miles has been saying "no" in his sweet little voice for quite awhile but now also vigorously shakes his head up and down to indicate the affirmative. Miles, do you want to go night-night? "No!" Do you want some broccoli? "No!" Did you go poo-poo in your pants? (Vigorous head shake up and down.)

  2. Stalling tactics are applied during bedtime routine. Miles' typical bedtime has been between 6-6:30 pm. We always put his pajamas on, brush teeth, read books, sing a song and lay him in bed. One night this week he wanted nothing to do with this. Mike tried going through the routine but he screamed when placed in the crib. He then indicated through sign language that he wanted "something to drink please." We got him a cup of water and read him another story. As soon as the story was finished he signed "more, please." Five books later he stood up on the couch and started slapping his knees and clapping his hands - doing all of the hand motions to a song we often sing. He sure looked cute and it was hard not to smile but Mike and I realized the bedtime stalling tactics and manipulation of mommy and daddy have truly begun! We've since pushed his bedtime back to 7:00 pm with much success.

  3. We pass toys in a store and he wants them. Today in Target Miles was sitting in the cart watching the world go by when we passed a toy aisle. All of a sudden he started emphatically pointing and grunting indicating he wanted them. This has never happened before and I quickly wheeled the cart in a different direction. Our next stop was Costco where we actually bought an adorable little toy for someone on our Christmas list. Miles had a complete meltdown because he wanted that toy for himself. My first inclination is to give in and buy him a toy but Mike and I held strong and finished our errands without caving into Miles' desire of the moment. We sure do love our toddler though!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beginning of December

Cell phone and laptop - a little businessman?

Happily computing.

Helping to decorate the tree.

Two goofy guys.

The week in haiku:

Christmas tree is up.
Miles loves angel and lights.
Makes us all smile.

Legs swing up to stand.
He's on top of ottoman.
We have a climber.

Small baby inside.
Seventeen weeks and growing.
Heartbeat strong, alls good.

Christmas shopping done.
Vikings party today - win!
Wonderful weekend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Matt & Janelle's Wedding

Aren't they the cutest couple?

Giggles during pictures!
We took the holiday as an opportunity to snap a few family photos.

Miles and cousin Corey

Little buddies watching the puppies outside.

Enjoying breakfast.

Picking out a Christmas tree.

Miles found a good one!

I am so thankful for my wonderful family. I live with the funniest, sweetest most kind 2 men. I'm a lucky girl and what a lovely holiday Thanksgiving is to remind us of these blessings. We had a great and fairly healthy long holiday weekend. The Sievers family moved in on Thursday morning and we celebrated at my mom's house with extended family. The turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry salad and kolachky's were so delicious. My brother and new sister-in-law were also in town so we did a lot of eating and sitting around chatting. Friday was a wonderfully mellow day with lots of playing with the babies and relaxing. Friday night we had our annual 3-course "fundue" dinner and looked at all of Matt and Janelle's wedding pictures - so beautiful!

On Saturday morning everyone went their separate ways and out little family continued to relax, play and start to plan for Christmas. Mike brought up Miles' sled from downstairs and even though we didn't venture out into the cold with it he had a great time sitting in it, pretending to ride and listening to us sing "Jingle Bells." Miles' grandma Nickolay gave him a children's nativity set and he amazed us my quickly remembering who was baby Jesus, the angel, etc. This kid is smart! This morning I made the guys homemade waffles with strawberries and real whip cream (Miles loves real whip cream as much as we do) and he first took part of his waffle and pretended it was a truck. He made the vroom vroom sounds and drove it across his tray. Next he took another piece of waffle and pretended it was a train. This was the first time we noticed that he was displaying imaginative play in an obvious way. I love it! Fun times with family and Miles' giggles were the highlights of our weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Watching the snowplow after the first snowstorm of the year.

Marching around in his first pair of boots!

Daren and Miles.
(Can you tell Daren has 4 older siblings? This is his rock star face!)

Me and my Godson.

Just playing naked in the bathroom.

All the world is his stage.

It seems like a long time since I've written a longer update on the blog. Time flies in life with a one year old. A few special things with Miles I want to note:

  • Just in time for Thanksgiving, when asked what a turkey says, Miles replies "gobble, gobble." His ECFE teacher, Lisa, was impressed by this feat as these are hard consonant sounds to pronounce for a little guy.
  • Last week Miles wore his "I'm going to be a big brother" t-shirt to school and boy was he in for a lot of attention. I think every teacher and parent stopped by to check him out that day. The director of the daycare was so excited and exclaiming loudly that Miles actually got scared and started to cry. Poor guy - he was wondering why everyone was making such a commotion around him. His teacher reported that by the end of the day he was looking down at his own shirt and pointing at it, trying to read it.
  • Another day at daycare the note home said "Miles was very silly today - walking around on his knees and talking on his phone. He also enjoyed reading books about being a big brother." This daily note made me smile.
  • Miles is now officially a climber. Not only can he scale stairs but he also has usurped Ruby from her perch on the ottoman as he launches his little body on top. Once up there he's not satisfied with sitting quietly but excitedly stands up and once up can't help himself but to squeal in delight and pride. It's so cute it's hard to enforce "sitting on your bottom."
  • We may have a future choir boy in our family. Grandma Nickolay taught him to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." He only sings the row, row, row part for now but sings it often in his sweet little voice while swaying his head back and forth.
  • He also does all of the actions to a song that tells him to tap his toes, slap his knees, clap his hands and twist his wrists.

A week in review
What an eventful week - no wonder we're all tired this Sunday night! We made another trip to the doctor's office last Wednesday because Miles had the worst diaper rash he's ever had. His poor little bum was so sore. The doctor prescribed "Magic Butt Cream" (yes, this is the official name on the jar for this concoction ). It's a mixture of hydracortisone cream, zinc oxide and an anti-fungal cream that the pharmacist mixed up for us. We've let Miles run around naked more (he loves it so much I was calling him "Adam") and applying the cream often.

Friday night we had the Lemke family of 7 over to celebrate Daren, my Godson's, 2nd birthday. It was a fun and lively evening and Miles fit right in running around with all of the other kids. Happy 2nd Birthday Daren! Saturday Mike and I volunteered again at the annual Fraser gala at the Hilton downtown. It's fun to get dressed up and do some good for a great cause. Graham was kind enough to babysit and he and Miles had a blast. Thank you Uncle Graham! After our volunteer shift was over Mike and I ate at Vincent, a french restaurant on Nicollet Avenue. Yum, delicious! Today, we had my parents over for a lunch of comfort foods and to watch the Vikings lose (again).

Baby watch
My due date is May 13 so I'm 15 weeks at this point and feeling good. My stomach (and other body parts) are protruding more at this point then in my pregnancy with Miles. Wearing maternity clothes feels pretty comfy at this stage. My next doctor's appointment is December 2 and on the 22nd is our big ultrasound to find out if we're having a boy or girl. We can't wait!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The stomach flu hit our family hard this week. Miles was sent home from daycare with it on Wednesday, Mike got it on Saturday morning and it hit me Saturday night. After so much yucky illness between the 2 men in the family my flu could be completely psychosomatic however the symptoms are real! I'll spare you the details. We're all hopefully on the mend and we'll catch up next week with a great post.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clowns and Puppies and Frogs - Oh My!

A cute clown.

Not so cute once grandma put a scary wig on.

Handsome boy post-haircut.

Carving a pumpkin.


The frog and the puppy meet.

Our sweet little pup!

A bulky costume didn't stop our little puppy from cooking in the kitchen.


Bath time with Cousin Corey.

We celebrated Miles' 2nd Halloween today. Thanks to Grandma Nickolay's bargain shopping we had a couple of costumes to choose from. Friday he dressed up as a clown and today as his favorite animal - a puppy. Although we're not quite at the trick or treating phase yet we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday by carving a pumpkin and having a little party at Rachel, Graham and Corey's where we ate lots of treats! In true celebratory form Mike taught Miles how to toast and clink cups this morning at breakfast. So every few minutes Miles would hold his milk cup out to one of us wanting to cheers.

In other weekend news we played at the park and took as much advantage of 50 degree fall days as we could, completed the deck - final inspection is our last step now, Miles got a haircut and cried in terror and tried to cover his head the entire time, we skyped (or tried to) with friends and family so that they could see Miles in his costume, and Mike and I actually went out to dinner and a movie Saturday night. We saw "The Social Network" which we both liked.

In really big news Mike has accepted a new job as a database administrator at Kroll OnTrack - a software company headquartered in Eden Prairie. The opportunity is a great advance in his career and exactly what he wants to be doing. The job is also only 10 minutes from home. Goodbye long commutes for Mike and goodbye to my carpool buddy. He starts November 15 so wish him luck!