Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas

What a wonderful Christmas it was. I could not feel more blessed by life this year. It was truly amazing watching my sweet boys experience the joys of family, friends, gifts, and especially the realization of what God did for them through Jesus.


























Friday, December 23, 2011

Jingle all the Way

Videos of the boys singing Jingle Bells! Graham's first year and he is pretty adorable if I say so myself!

video video

Christmas Train

I just love this train that my grandparents bought for Daniel when he was their only grandchild. They got it in Germany and the instructions are in German so it was apparently a nightmare for my dad to set up that first year! Thirty or so years later, he's pretty good at it and my boys certainly are enjoying it!


Cookie Time!

Every year as Christmas nears, my mom invites the boys over to her house to make cookies and this year was so much fun! Jack was very interested in it for the first time and really did a great job rolling the dough and using the cookie cutters. He also did well and putting on icing and especially excelled at eating cookie dough and the finished cookies! Graham, of course, was not much help with the making of the cookies, but he did his job of eating them and made a big mess. He also entertained us with his singing. Love these little guys. Can't imagine Christmas without children around!!



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Graham at 23 Months!


Graham turned 23 months old today but if I didn't know that and had to guess, I would have said he turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. The reason I say that is because that is when, seemingly out of nowhere, the tantrums began. At first I thought he was overtired. Then I assumed he must be sick. It took several days before I finally broke down and admitted to myself that we may have just embarked upon the terrible twos...again. With Jack, I really don't remember two being a difficult age, at least not at the beginning. He hit a rough patch as he approached his third birthday that lasted until about the time he turned four. This is why I was surprised that people called the twos terrible. To me the they were angelic compared to the threes!! However, different child, different story. Graham seems to be following along with the cliche. Typically his outbursts occur when he is told no, asked to do something he doesn't want to do, or if he is trying to communicate something to me and I don't understand him. Unfortunately, these three scenarios arise often over the course of the day so we have several meltdowns. A meltdown usually encompasses Graham screaming and writhing around on the floor for anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes after which he gets up, smiles, and moves on about his business as if nothing ever happened. It's almost comical but not quite! Fortunately, he is still a sweetheart most of the time and this is a phase that will pass. I just keep repeating to myself, "serenity now!" :)

Another big event from the past month was having his ear tubes replaced. They had fallen out in such a way that they caused quite a bit of bleeding and his ear infections had resumed in full force. Luckily, we got on to see Dr. Richards and had a surgery scheduled for shortly after. Graham did so well and has not had a problem since! While waiting for the surgery to begin, he was singing and dancing with all the nurses. Such a ham and a flirt!

In general, Graham has grown so much this month and is really becoming a big kid! Here are some highlights:

- He has really excelled at using utensils to eat. He is basically feeding himself which makes me really feel like I don't have a baby anymore!
- Speaking of eating, Graham has a curious new habit of wanting to "dip" every food that he eats. This began when we showed him how to dip french fries into ketchup one night at Johnnies. He didn't just want to dip the fried, he wanted to dip the hamburger and the apples we had brought with us. Since then, everything has to be dipped. At lunch the hot dog is dipped in the applesauce. At breakfast the bagel is dipped in yogurt or the toast is dipped in oatmeal. Whatever he can come up with to use as a condiment, he will!
- He is excelling at singing! I really need to capture a video of this, but he is loving singing songs and learns them really quickly. His favorite right now is Jingle Bells.
- We are breaking the binkie habit slowly and he is doing well with it so far. As of a couple of weeks ago, we've limited it to naptime and bedtime. When he gets up, I ask him to put the bink back in the bed and he usually cooperates. Hopefully next month we can lose it completely!
- His favorite places to go lately are Chick-fil-a, the science museum, and Dynamo's playzone. He is so active so I have to be creative in the winter time, but these three places have been staples! It is so nice to have somewhere to run and play when we need to get out of the house and burn some energy.
- He loves "doing box" with Jack, which basically means getting into a rubbermaid tub and tipping it over. This is a big hit!
- He is obsessed with utensils and toothbrushes. Oh, and straws. Usually these things can be found strewn all over our house. I frequently wash my own toothbrush since I can't ever be sure where it's been...
- He still loves lights although he's not so into turning them on and off anymore (thank goodness!) He just enjoys looking at the Christmas lights and having me tell him what color they are.
- He has become very bossy. If I say it's time to go bye-bye, he'll usually turn to Jack and yell, "JACK, COME ON!!!!!" Or if Jack rides down the street to far he'll yell, "Jack, come back here.....NOW!" Hmmm... don't know where he comes up with these phrases. :)
- His vocabulary has grown quite a bit and he's added lots of phrases as well, such as: I don't know (when asked where anything is, you will always get this answer), hold on tight (while swinging on the swing!), be scused (otherwise known as may I be excused?), and probably the one that's the most helpful, I'm poopy! (I'm getting my hopes up that he'll potty train early!)

Overall, Graham is a thriving! He is energetic and is definitely all boy. Can't wait to see him experience his second Christmas in just a couple of days!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa!!

We went to visit Santa this evening at Northpark Mall. Jack was super excited! Even though he knows Santa is pretend, he still loves this aspect of Christmas. Graham, however, was less than thrilled to leave Mommy's familiar arms and be placed on the lap of a stranger in a red suit. Oh well, who can blame him?!



Graham did enjoy throwing pennies in the fountain, though!!

Advent

This year we are starting a new Advent tradition. We really want to make sure to set aside time to celebrate this time and prepare for the coming of Christ so we are meeting with friends each week to pray, eat, tell the kids the story of Christ's birth, sing, and fellowship together. It has been wonderful so far. We are so thankful for sweet friends who are willing to host and lead the lesson. Hopefully our children will be able to appreciate this time each year and be able to escape the chaotic, stressful nature of the American holiday and really focus on God's love for us as demonstrated in sending His Son to be our Savior.

Here are a few pictures from today's gathering. The Fosters are missing because they were sick. :(









Practicing for the Christmas Program

video video

Jack's Bible Storytelling

video

The Real Christmas Story

Once again, Crossings offered a wonderful live nativity for the kids this year. The boys wore their matching pajamas and had a great time watching the program, playing with friends, making a craft, and decorating cookies. We are so thankful for our church!