Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Sweet One-Year-Old!

A belated happy birthday to my littlest one!  On Monday she turned ONE! 
My sweet girl at her one-year photo shoot!  
For more pictures click here

Aurelia, I have so loved getting to know you this past year, and feel blessed to be your mommy!  You are the sweetest thing, always quick to smile at those you love (though with strangers you still feel the need to withhold that smile until you can figure out if they're "good people").  And that smile will light up a room!  It just makes my day and snaps me out of any funk I may find myself in.  I know daddy and Dashiell feel the same way!
Showing off the new tutu
Your latest antics involve walking (yes, WALKING) over to me when I'm sitting on the floor, throwing your arms up, and with a huge grin flopping yourself into my arms.  It's awesome.  It does mean that I can't fold laundry while you're around, but believe me that can wait!

You definitely have a stubborn streak.  If you want to do something, you will find a way to do it!  Our methods of distraction don't work as well on you as they did with Dashiell!  And that's okay - while it means you may end up being a bit more challenging, this is a trait that will serve you well when you get older.  (And to be fair, so far you're not really that challenging - we've been lucky to have two pretty easy kids!)
What do you mean I shouldn't play with this fan?
You love making us all laugh.  It's been fun seeing that playful side of you emerge.  You make faces and funny noises and pop your head around corners to surprise us.  You and your brother do this funny call-and-response all the time - you say "EH", he says "EH" back, you say it back to him, he says it back to you, etc.  This usually goes on for a good minute.  I can't wait until you start saying actual words!
As mentioned above, you started walking about a week ago - it's amazing!  I didn't think you'd start for another couple of weeks since you're still a bit wobbly when you stand, but you're compensating for that lack of stability by walking with your hands in the air.  You look like a little zombie - it's so cute and so funny!
(The beginning of this video doesn't show much but at the end you get to see the zombie walk plus the gigantic smile.  I like that she's carrying Mr. Bear in her mouth at the beginning, much like a zombie would...)

You've just starting to show preferences in what you eat - up until about a month ago you'd eat pretty much anything we fed you.  Now you have no interest in most vegetables, only like mild or medium cheeses, and LOVE meat.  I'm mentioning this now because some day you'll insist on becoming a vegetarian, and though I will support you if you make that decision I do want record of your carnivore stage.  And while you generally love all baked goods, for some reason you just were not happy with your birthday cake!

 What is this strange new food?

 I'll give it a try.
 Oh my God it's awful!  Why would you feed me this??
One more try the next day...same results.

Here's hoping that the birthday cake at your party this weekend is better received!

Happy first birthday, 'Reelsy-beels!  Thank you for an awesome year - I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Friday, January 4, 2013


This year marked the triumphant return to Christmas in Minnesota!  Last year we had to skip the trip since I was something like 80 weeks pregnant with Aurelia during the holidays.  Turned out the skipped trip was a good thing since D ended up with a nasty stomach bug over Christmas!  But this year we were all relatively healthy and no one was in fear of giving birth at 30,000 feet.  Yay!  So, off we went!

Aurelia and Dash in the play area at the airport, ready for their flight!

Aurelia had been experiencing some issues sleeping prior to the trip, so we were a bit worried about how she'd do, especially the night we stayed at my aunt Diane's house.  Aurelia and Dashiell share a room at her house, but I didn't want either of them waking the other one up.  Turns out we were right to be concerned!  First off, Aurelia didn't want to fall asleep so D ended up staying awake later than he normally does.  Then once we got both of them to sleep, Aurelia woke up at 2 am crying.  And crying.  So we moved her into our room.  And she still cried.  So we moved her into bed with me, and moved Rick to the couch.  She seemed quite comfy the next morning:

We were happy to get to my parents' house the next day, where she and Dashiell could have separate rooms.  From that point on 'Reels did just fine at night, whew! 

Our trips to Minnesota are always fun, but especially at Christmas!  We had a great visit over at my sister Terri's house, and had an awesome walleye dinner (we don't get walleye on the east coast!  Lobster yes, but no walleye).  Dashiell got to ride on a snowmobile with Rick and he loved it, of course.  We had hoped to get into the hot tub but ran out of time before having to bring the kiddos back to their beds.  Hot tubbing outside in cold weather is the best!  Some day we won't have to worry so much about consistent bed times and we'll enjoy a hot tub filled evening once again!

Auntie Lisa and Ami hanging with the girl!

Oooh Mountain Dew?  It's green - it must be good!

I had to include this example of our fine parenting.  Dashiell was drawing pictures of his favorite foods for Grandma and Grandpa.  From left to right, we have scrambled eggs, a pair, an apple, and a peach.  Yes, the square thing is a peach.  D is so used to eating those peach cups instead of fresh peaches that he seems to think all peaches are square.  Strong work, mom and dad...

Christmas eve is our family's big celebration.  That's when everyone gets together to exchange all of the gifts we give to each other.  Normally gift-giving happens right after dinner, but since Aurelia has a pretty early bedtime we decided to feed the kids early, snack prior to and during gifts, then have dinner after the kiddos went to sleep.  This is a sample of our snack spread:
Candy, cookies, chex mix, olive tapanade, baked brie, chips and salsa...we also had a tasty artichoke dip and I'm pretty sure there was something else, too.  Needless to say we were all full by the time dinner happened!

Aurelia really enjoyed her dinner of beans and rice.  Mostly she enjoyed putting it in her hair and all over her face.

She also loved the salsa:

 Lots of gifts were exchanged.

Including this cute headband/ear warmer a friend of mine from high school made:

Mid-gift giving and it looks like Aurelia is ready to call it a night!

But Rick helps her and Dashiell rally for just a little longer!

Christmas morning was pretty chill.  Dashiell got his wind-up robots, Aurelia got her Hello Kitty doll, and Santa gave them a couple of other gifts that he thought they'd enjoy, too.  D was pretty excited that Santa made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

One of the gift Rick and I got for Dashiell was a rock excavation kit.  He loved the dinosaur excavation kit he did a couple of months ago, and he loves collecting rocks, so it was a no-brainer that he'd enjoy this, too.  Except that there were only six very small, kind of disappointing rocks to excavate.  But it did come with a little chart that you could compare your rocks to and figure out what you unearthed!  That made it slightly more exciting.

Excavating - oooh...

Mom and I have a tradition from way back of completing a puzzle on Christmas day.  In the past few years we've had to forgo this tradition since we had made it a habit to fly back to Boston on Christmas.  This year we decided to stay longer, so the puzzle made a comeback!  Mom dug up the puzzle I had made for her for Dashiell's first Christmas, and it was so much harder than it looks!  Only 250 pieces, but it seriously took us over 2 hours to complete.  Who knew it would be so hard??

Completed puzzle - finally!

A few more random pictures from our trip, then I'm done, I promise!
 Grandpa showing off his new hair (convincing, no?)

 Aurelia playing with the trains at the Headwater's Science Center
 Dashiell, Aurelia and Rick enjoying the kinetic sculpture at the Science Center
I think Dashiell would have stayed there all day if we let him!

Auntie Lisa loves her some 'Reels!

 Aurelia loving the attention from Ami and Marlee

The trip home was long, but we made it!  This picture pretty much sums up how we all felt after a long day of travel:

Tired, loopy, and wanting to bust out of the airport!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Pre-Christmas Christmas Blog

Where to begin?  I have so much Christmas-related blogging to do!  The best place to start, I suppose, is with all the pre-Christmas madness!  First, the annual Santa visit!  This happened before Thanksgiving, but I hadn't uploaded the pictures until today.  Dashiell was very excited to talk to Santa.  Aurelia, not so much.  She was curious, but didn't seem impressed.  The official photo we purchased from Santa's helpers was overexposed and weird-looking, so I'm going to skip posting it.  Maybe it will make its way to the blog next year as a comparison photo.

Who the heck is this guy?

This year Dashiell and I made salt dough ornaments to give out as presents.  We tried this a couple of years ago but D was just a little too young to really get it then.  This year it was FUN!  The dough is a lot like sugar cookie dough but without all the perishable ingredients.  You roll it out, cut out shapes or mold it into little mini sculptures, bake it on low heat for about a billion hours, then cool and paint!  The painting was the best part since Dash LOVES to paint.  He especially loves mixing the paints into various colors.

Ready to mix!

Looking particularly impish...

'Reelsy checking out the action

We also made some fun gingerbread houses!  Well, the first couple of houses were fun, at least.  We bought the kit that comes with 4 mini-houses, which to me meant "4 times the fun"!  I was wrong.  The first house was awesome - D loved adding all the candy and making it look pretty.  The second house was still pretty cool - I made it look like there were icicles hanging from the roof, there was still some good candy left for decoration.  By the third house we were starting to run out of good candy and Dashiell ran out of interest.  So did I, but I kept going.  The fourth house was mostly all me - D left to do something else.  I think he came back to put a doorknob on it an the last two gumdrops, but that was it.  Everything was a big sticky mess, and I was so done with this project!  But, we ended up with some cute houses regardless!

I set up the scene with Paul and Babe, the cars, and the lego thieves.  The lego thieves are no fools -they know the best time for a home break-in is Christmas.  And look at those fancy cars!  Obviously these people have nice stuff.

The best part about making gingerbread houses was destroying them!  I let D destroy one house a day until we left for Minnesota.  He was pretty happy about that!

The last thing we did before leaving for Minnesota was write a letter to Santa to make sure he knew where to deliver our gifts!  D had already told Santa what he wanted (wind-up robots) and what Aurelia wanted (a Hello Kitty doll) but he had forgotten to mention where we would be and didn't want Santa to be confused.

I had to transcribe the letter for him and I will admit to shortening it a bit - I couldn't keep up with all he had to say!  But I think I got all the important parts.  Santa must have understood, since he delivered all the presents to the correct location.