Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014

Happy Christmas, everyone!

(Seriously, that kid's face??  Forget about it.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Annual Christmas Eve Journal Write 2014

Many years ago my sister initiated a tradition where everyone takes a minute during our sibling sleepover to write in their journal on Christmas Eve.  It was a good way to make sure we wrote at least once a year, and it also helped to pass the time while we were getting ready to (not) fall fast asleep.  Anyway, I don't really have that much to say right now, since I wrote just a little while ago, but I wanted to put something down anyway.

Wow, Christmas really sneaked up on me this year, though I guess it always does seem to suddenly be here after a long year of waiting.  But a lot has happened this year, and it's made the time seem to go by pretty quickly, which is both exciting and not so, because there's a lot of great stuff coming up, but there are also some things that I just can't believe are passing by so quickly.  I am amazed every day at how this little boy of ours is growing up and not being a baby anymore.  I was holding one of my 4-month old twin nephews tonight and I can barely remember when The Boy was that small.  It's good that he's growing and learning, and he's such a joy every day that I can't really say I'm sad about him changing and becoming his own person, but at the same time I already miss him. ANYway, it's Christmas Eve, and it's going to be really fun tomorrow to see him react a little more to Christmas and all that that entails.  Last year was fun but he didn't really get what was going on since he was so little, so it will be fun to see how this year is different.  We've tried to impress upon him, at this young age, the real reason for the season, and he's actually really good at recognizing Jesus in Nativity scenes and paintings, so I think that's pretty good (and it's not that he really gets the other aspect of Christmas anyway, though I'm sure he'll figure something's up tomorrow morning when new playthings appear before his eyes... though we definitely tried not to go overboard, though it's proven harder than we expected).  I've always loved Christmastime, and I've always been really happy to take time now and then to think about what we're actually celebrating, but sitting with my wife and little boy (and of course The Poppy in utero) as I tear up in front of Mickey's Christmas Carol, or watching him (gently) pull the ornaments and (not so gently) the beads off the tree and point out the star on top, or hearing him make the animal sounds and point out the "baby!" as we watch The Nativity makes it mean something fresh and new that I've don't remember ever really having experienced.  Jesus was born and lived on this earth, and The Wife and I have a sacred duty and wonderful opportunity to share that glorious knowledge with this sweet and innocent and darling little boy, so he can grow up with the same sweet assurance and hope for the future that we had as children (not to mention the magic and symbolism of Santa Claus).  So yes, Christmas is new all over again, though I don't have quite as much trouble falling asleep these days as I used to.

I guess that's all for this year.  It's late and we're watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional while I write this (the music is always my favorite part), and then we'll get ready for bed and let Santa Claus do his thing.  Speaking of Santa Claus, I feel like I should mention that we watched this new TV program last night.  I'm a big fan of the musical, so it was really fun to see the music adapted into a new but somehow still classic Christmas special:

It's not perfect, but I really enjoyed it, on an animation level, and of course a musical one.  I've thought for the last few years that they should make a movie of the musical version (based on the movie, of course), but it always seemed so unlikely.  Well, this is just about the next best thing!  Maybe even better.

Okay, that's it! Jesus was born! He still lives! God bless us, every one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 (inc. 18 Months)

Well, The Boy has reached a year and a half.  He's such a big fellow, and he's funny and smart and adorable and a joy to all.

We were glad to spend Thanksgiving in MO with The Wife's family.  We usually go there for Christmas, so it was fun to be there for the November happenings and fun times instead, and it worked out great because we stayed until a few days into December, so we had a little taste of Christmastime there too.  (And can I take a second to say that I can't believe the difference in airline prices from one day to the next?  Come on.)  Our journey there was as perfect as can be, even though, or maybe because, we took a very early flight.  We were in St. Louis by early afternoon, after The Boy had a short nap on the airplane, and then we booked it south before the shenanigans at Ferguson grew to be too out of hand.
I wish I could travel in my jammies (The Wife wants the world to know she wasn't on her phone for longer than a moment here, that's just when the picture happened to be taken).
This boy loves a tiger.  We need one of these bad boys at OUR local library.
He was impressed with my latest batch of BCE.  He had a taste and was not disappointed.
We had a fun race on Thanksgiving morning.  I didn't know if there was one, but Marci looked it up, a few of us coughed up the fee (how did we used to pay for a race every month?), and it was a great time.  It was a cold morning, but once we were on our way we warmed up.  I hadn't done a 10K in a nice long while, so it was good to do another one (hopefully in preparation for some longer races next year?...).  We all three of us beat our personal goals -- I came in at 46:49, 7:33/mile, fourth overall and first in my division.  Not my best 10K, but my first in a few years, and a better pace than I've been running lately, so I'll take it!
Fun Thanksgiving Day race group!  The boys did the 10K, the girl did the 5K, and the kids were part of the cheering section.
We spent a great two weeks eating great food, watching movies, going on outings, enjoying family we don't get to see often enough.  It was so fun for The Boy to have so much attention from such willing and ready cousins and aunts and uncle and grandparents.  Every single thing the cousins did was hilarious to him, which was of course hilarious to them too.
A cool dude on his way to the zoo.  Note the truck and tractor, recent discoveries that he was unwilling to relinquish.  This is also the longest he has allowed those shades to sit on his face!
And then we made our way home, which was always a sad thing after a fun visit, but we had a good solid two weeks of vacation, and we had a lot of Just Dance, a lot of pie, and a lot of family fun time.  The flight back wasn't quite as delicious, mostly because of the four-hour layover and the 40-minute nap, but he was still quite a good little boy almost the entire time.
And now here we are at 18 months!  It seems crazy that he's already halfway to another year old (two??  Stop it).  He's going through some interesting phases at present.  He has close to a dozen teeth, those molars coming in pretty quickly, and his appetite is shifting a little bit too.  He still loves a banana at any moment, and always wants an avocado, even if it's just in his hand while shopping at the grocery store.  He eats mostly what we're eating, though he's a little pickier than he used to be (it also largely depends on his mood).  A few weeks ago he decided he just hated that high chair and refused to be calm or eat unless seated at the table.  So a booster seat was in order, and now he's happy as can be to feed himself at the table like his parents.  He usually folds him arms for prayers, though that's hit-or-miss these days, especially when he sees food on the table.  He's very active, a little tornado like usual, and he loves reading -- we really just need to get our own copy of Marla Frazee's Roller Coaster, we're keeping it from all the local libraries for more than our share.  His vocabulary has basically doubled in the last few weeks, and he's much better at recognizing things in books and in the real world and making connections and associations.  He clearly discerns the difference between cars, trucks and tractors, he's getting much more consistent about mommy, daddy, nana, papa, auntie and uncle, he's still doing his animal sounds, and also starting to say a lot of their names (tiger and duck are popular), and he's really good about things like hot, cold, in, out, up, down, and even saying things like, Uh-oh!  Tada!  I love you!  It was also probably helpful to be around his toddler cousin so much over Thanksgiving, because I think he was able to relate to someone closer to his size a little more and mimic her talking, even to the point of doing a couple of short sentences (Hi, kitty!).  Interestingly he's stopped doing some of his tricks as consistently, but I think that's just because he doesn't want to more than because he dropped the skill.  He'll still wave and blow kisses, often adding bye-bye.

Last Sunday we took him to Nursery for the first time, which has been the plan all along, but which didn't really hit me until that very morning, practically on the way to class.  We were so glad to see that he didn't make a peep of protest when we dropped him off, but I might have shed a tear or two.  He had a glowing report after, so we just hope this continues in the weeks and months to come.  I will also say that it was much more relaxing not to have to entertain him for those two hours, though I'll miss my Elders Quorum buddy.  And now we're heading in full speed ahead to Christmas time, and The Boy is already fascinated with the magical joys it's bringing.  We're determined to teach him who's who in the finger puppet Nativity on the shelf, and he's having a great time exploring the bottommost branches of our Christmas tree.

Picture time!
The Disney Indoctrination continues!
Snuggling with Mommy on a poorly afternoon.
He loved making various animal noises every time he saw the Beast.
This little tog zaum is so versatile!
Introducing him to my longest and truest Disney crush.

There is something so perfect about this picture.  He loved his Costa Vida dinner, that's for sure.  Straight to the tub!
There we go, much tidier.
Shakespeare on the savannah, Zero in hand.
Finally officially meeting his onetime ladylove.
Getting a little exercise while sightseeing in scenic Paris.
Go the distance!
That Toothless hat!  It's the best.
A little change from the usual weekend fare with General Conference.
He likes bananas, coconuts and grapes, that's why they call him Bobo of the Apes.
That crib hair wins.

It looks like he's a little more interested in the dinosaurs in hand than the ones on screen.  (Not that I blame him.)
Lawl, face of toast.
Llama face!  (We sure watched a lot of Disney movies over these three months.)
The littlest Survivor fan.
A fun party at the magical land of trampolines, courtesy of our real estate agent.  This place is definitely something out of one of my favorite and most recurring childhood daydreams.
So what does ohana mean again?...
Lots of machines in a few of these more recent ones.
See what I mean about that versatile stool?
Cows say moo, sheep say baa.
Christmastime is pretty amazing at Costco.  He loved being flopped upon these.
He's over his fear of the rah-rah for sure now.
Meeting the Robinsons.
This boy already likes ribs as much as his daddy (or at least gnawing on the bones).  Lucky thing, I didn't acquire a taste for them until many years into my life.
Just doing a little ironing!  That face!!!
So there's the Insta-rundown.  I feel like I'm in this really weird stage right now because he's SO much fun at this age, learning so much so fast and being so cute and funny, but at the same time I miss him as a tiny baby, and I also can't wait until he's a little older and having even more conversations and learn even more.  I guess the moral of this story is to be grateful for each stage while we're in it, and we definitely have been.