Sunday, December 18, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

It must have been a crazy week because I only took a few pictures! We're on the countdown to Christmas - all of the Christmas cards have been mailed, gifts are wrapped, holiday plans are set and we went to 2 Christmas parties today. The first was the traditional Nickolay family Christmas party at the KC Hall in New Prague. My grandpa hosts the party for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As long as I can remember the party includes: dinner, singing carols, and BINGO. Newer additions to the festivities are a pinata for the kids and a white elephant gift exchange. One constant at the party is that all of the younger kids run around like crazy (must be all of the Christmas cookies and candy) in the front room of the hall. I remember playing in this room as a child and now Miles was running around screaming in delight too. This was Miles first year participating in the pinata fun and he walked away with a mini monster truck and beads.
Thank you great-grandpa for the party!

I really appreciate that my grandpa hosts his whole family each Christmas and has kept up with all of these traditions over the years.

We also enjoyed a neighborhood holiday party tonight where Miles and Hadley both turned on the charm. They can both be the cutest little flirts if they want to be!

I love the holiday season - our Christmas tree lights are on each day and Christmas music is playing on the stereo. I think Hadley may be the performer in our family (no pressure) - when she hears music she bops her head and grooves from side-to-side. She's the tiny dancer I've always wanted! I also think she can sing Deck the Halls because she joins in on the "la, la, la" parts. I'm also happy to report that she actually was opening her mouth a fraction of an inch when I fed her pears this morning. We're on a 2-meal a day schedule now so she's getting breakfast and lunch.

This week Miles impressed us with his yoga moves. He does yoga regularly at school and he's becoming a little zen master. His downward-facing dog is great. He also was walking around on his tiptoes this week - something I didn't know he could do. One night for dinner I roasted a turkey, made mashed potatoes and gravy and baked green beans. Miles ate about a pound of turkey but wouldn't even touch his potatoes. I asked him why he wouldn't eat them and here was our conversation:

-Why don't you like potatoes?

-They're yucky.



-But, why don't you like them?

-Because they were in the dishwasher.

I guess I wouldn't eat potatoes either if I thought they had been in the dishwasher!

From my family to yours we wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eat, Sleep, Play

Eating, sleeping and playing is a full-time job for the kiddos these days. (At times it feels like I could add whining to the list for the toddler but that's another story and just another phase - keeps us on our toes!) Miles favorite foods lately include: pancakes, Cheerios, granola bars, any and all fruit and milk. He will also eat chicken and turkey burger. Least favorite foods include: any veggie (especially the green ones). I know he'll come around to eating more foods eventually. We just keep offering a wide variety to him and sometimes he surprises us. His schedule is still 3 meals and 2 snacks a day.

Hadley is still exclusively nursing and is down to 6 feedings a day. She is now eating rice cereal and a fruit or vegetable around noon each day. This week she had prunes and avocado. We also gave her a puff but she just played with it and didn't even try to put it in her mouth.

Miles is still a champion sleeper. He naps around 2 hours each afternoon and goes to bed at 7:30 pm and will often sleep until 7 am. He sometimes even goes easy on us on the weekends and will sleep until 7:30-8:00 am!

Hadley's non-sleep schedule was starting to get a bit out of control recently - especially when one night she didn't go to sleep until 11:00 pm! This is way too late for her exhausted parents. I've been trying to be more diligent with keeping her on a schedule and things are going well. She is a cat napper during the day - taking 2-3 half hour-hour long naps. She then goes to sleep usually by 8:00 pm and will sleep through the night until 6:30. Our issue now is that she won't go to sleep unless we put her down in her crib completely asleep. If she's awake she'll just cry. We're thinking of sleeping training her after the holidays so that she learns to self-sooth.

Miles had his Christmas program this week. His toddler class rehearsed to sing two songs at the beginning of the show. When we arrived at the rec center Miles wasn't too sure about the crowd and the noise and didn't want to stay with his class. He ended up crying and sat on Mike's lap during the program.
He very much enjoyed watching the show instead of being in the show. So all of the parents were taking photos of their kids performing at the front of the room and I took pictures of Miles watching the kids and having fun from the audience.
The night ended on a high note when Santa made an appearance. There was a moment of hesitation before Miles joined Hadley on Santa's lap but once Santa pulled out a candy cane Miles was a very happy boy.
Hadley is so active these days. The girl does not sit still for very long! She also can be officially considered a crawler. It's mostly the army crawl - but watch out! If you have something she wants she'll scoot over to grab it from you.
Christmas came a little early this week when Sharon Huse came to visit and made the kids beautiful, handmade gifts. Miles got this construction truck quilt which is tailor-made for him. He lives for seeing rollers and skid steers and backhoes. He will flip a laundry basket on the side and it's his bucket loader. He'll also pretend that the vacuum cord is a fire hose as he fights fires.
Hadley also likes trucks (by default), along with knocking down towers of blocks and stacking cups. She also loves books, cuddling with stuffed animals and playing in her exersaucer.
Miles plays pretend a lot and here he is pretending to pump. Saturday morning we joined the Sievers at the Children's Museum. Hadley liked watching the action and playing in the Habitot area.
Miles and Corey drove a city bus, shopped in a grocery store, played in the water and more. They were exhausted after the morning spent doing some hardcore playing.
Break time at the museum enjoying a snack. Check out Hads trying to get in on the snack action with the big boys. Before long she's going to be running around with them. I'm trying to enjoy every second I can to snuggle my fast growing baby.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hanging out

Christmas songs are playing on the stereo, the house is decorated and snow is on the ground. Christmas - we're ready! We spent a lot of family time together this weekend - hence all of the photos of us just hanging out.

Sometimes I get to Sunday night and I know funny, cute things happened during the week but I can't for the life of me think of any so this week I jotted down some notes. Miles makes us laugh all of the time -
  • While eating dinner he broke out into song (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell) "Hi-ho the dairy-oh, butter on my bread."
  • He loves to point out what he sees while riding in the car. He's now involving his sister in his sightings, "Hadley, see puppy?"
  • When I get home from work I always ask Miles questions about his day. I asked him - did you have a good day? He said, "How's my day daddy?" and wanted Mike to answer for him.
  • Mike was tickling Hadley and Miles the ever-protective big brother told me "Mike is hurting Hadley!"
  • Miles woke up one morning yelling "I have strawberries on my hands!" He had a bloody nose during the night so there was blood all over his hands and face. Our sweet, innocent boy thought it was strawberries.

Hadley is changing so much. I think that we can officially log it here that she is firmly in a pre-crawling stage. She rocks on all fours and can army crawl to any toy she wants. I was taking a video of her and Miles playing and realized that every few seconds Hadley had scooted to a different part of the room.

She also claps her hands together when playing and 75% of the time can sooth herself back to sleep on her own. She also loves her family. It doesn't matter who's holding her, when she sees me or Mike she holds out her little hands towards us and starts whimpering.
Eating solids is going much better. We switched her meal time to lunch - so her teachers at school have gotten her to eat 4-8 bites of rice cereal and banana. This weekend we continued this mid-day meal and introduced sweet potatoes. She isn't crying when we're trying to feed her but she also still isn't gobbling up the food. We can usually get her to eat most of what we offer her though.
"Are you talking about me?"
If her feet are bare, these toes are in her mouth. They just taste so good!
Santa's little helper.
I'll attempt over the next couple of weeks to get some good shots of the kids by the tree. It started out pretty well...
...but quickly progressed to these cuties rolling around on the floor.
Saturday night we went to the tree lighting ceremony at City Center Park. It was dark, snowy and cold but we bundled up and braved the elements. Santa rode in on a fire truck (Miles dream come true) and handed out candy canes before flipping the switch to light up the whole park.
Miles enjoyed his candy cane for dinner.
The snow out our window looked so pretty Saturday night.
I love these two!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baby's first Thanksgiving

Ahhh - 4 days off in a row and a fabulous holiday. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I'm most especially grateful for Mike (super dad), Miles and Hadley. One morning Miles was into hats and liked wearing daddy's. He then subjected Sister to his stocking cap. Luckily our girl is a good sport.

On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving at my parent's house. It was an exciting day - Hadley's first Thanksgiving!

While the rest of us enjoyed the most juicy turkey, Hadley sucked on a baby feeder filled with organic banana. After a rocky start with the rice cereal she doesn't seem to mind sucking on a banana out of this little mesh bag. Maybe next year she can gnaw on a turkey leg.

We celebrated the day with a lot of extended family. Don't these two look like trouble?

Corey and Miles are great little buddies these days. There's never a dull (or quiet) moment when these guys are together.

Then there are these two little cuties - celebrating their first Thanksgiving together.

They're the next two in this rowdy bunch. I love their Thanksgiving outfits (I couldn't resist buying Hadley a corduroy dress with a turkey and bows on it). I think Had's was feeling Bradyn's hair here. They were having a moment.

The whole gang.

After a wonderful holiday (I am feeling much better and no one else is sick...for the moment) we enjoyed the rest of the long weekend and prepared for Christmas. Mike and Miles put lights up on an outside tree.

Miles and Hadley actually play together much more now.

We hung out with my family more on Friday. Is there any holiday with better leftovers than Thanksgiving?

After all of the activity I think that most of us didn't even get out of our pajamas on Saturday.

Sunday we started decorating the house. Miles has been hearing about Santa here and there but we haven't really talked about him too much before this weekend. Out of the blue he asked "What's Santa?" I said, "He's a man who lives in the North Pole and brings good boys and girls toys on Christmas." After a pause Miles said, "Nooooooooooooo!" I know - it's almost too good to be true!
While some families venture out into the woods to cut down a fresh evergreen tree we headed to the new Menards and picked a tree out of the lot.

We did a lot of decorating with reminders every few seconds to "look with our eyes, not our hands." I've got to say, this isn't our most attractive Christmas tree this year but 2 broken ornaments later it's still standing and at least we all like the glow of the lights and smell of the pine.

Our big 6 month old experienced many firsts this week. She also visited the doctor for her 6 month check-up. She's still a healthy and growing girl. Here are her stats:

  • Height: 26 inches (55%)

  • Weight: 16 lbs 6.5 oz (70%)

  • Head: 16.8 inches (50%)

This week we are going to try oatmeal and avocado. She's not very keen on eating and usually pretty sleepy during our dinner time so we might have to have her teachers at school feed her. We'll see how this week goes first.Our stockings are all hung - I loved adding Hadley's to the line this year - and everyone in my family is tucked into bed.