Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happiness is...

Happiness is:
(from a 2 year old's perspective)
- sipping hot cocoa as snow tumbles down outside.
-baking Christmas cookies and sampling each kind as they come from the oven.

-playing (and fighting) with cousins.

-making fun ornaments, with glittery gluey mess and all.

-trying to ride your 11 month old sister as she crawls down the hall (despite Mom's admonishments)

-sitting so still in your room as you watch little birdies munch on seed in the window bird feeder. "Look Mommy, a Black Capped Chickadee!"

-helping your Mommy every chance you can in the kitchen, from baking, to dinner to cleanup... its all FUN!

-seeing the reflection in the mirror after you have successfully dressed yourself.

-learning a new Christmas carol everyday.

-Chik-Fil-A play dates.
-Daddy coming home, then snuggling with him under a blanket and reading a book together.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Sweetness Is Spelled L-I-L-L-Y"

To say that Lilly is a sweet baby is only the beginning. She rarely gives me trouble, she is always ready with a smile. When I am busy making dinner, she plays by herself in Christopher's room. Her schedule is adaptable, her appetite insatiable. I've never heard a better belly laugh than hers. She always imitates others. During grace at the dinner table, she bows her sweet little head and folds her chubby little hands. She doesn't know what it is to have a "good hair day". Her tongue is rarely in her mouth, but when it is she is trying out new sounds and words. To name a few: "hi, eye, duck, da-da, lilly, ma-ma, as well as a full array of animal noises. Today she finally found the courage to walk with the baby walker. This comes as a relief for us, for she loves to lead us around by the forefinger when she walks.

Lilly loves to kiss this duck. All the time. She even makes the little "smack" sound.

Looking outside on a dreary day.

Silly girl didn't even know she had Cheerio cheek.

Crafts and Cookies

Last Wednesday we headed to Aunt Sarah's and Uncle Kevin's to do some Christmas crafts and bake cookies. The kids had a ball and did not want to leave. Christopher has talked about it everyday since. Sarah and I are going to get together again this week to do it all again.
The kids take a break from cookie making to wrestle with Uncle Kevin

Madeline shows Lilly the art of rummaging through a drawer. Come to think of it, everyday since, Lilly has been pulling things out of drawers constantly.

First you decorate the cookie...

Then you EAT IT!

"This ones for you!"


I spent some bonding time with my sweet Goddaughter, Tessa. She slept soundly in the sling for about an hour.

Madeline picks out some buttons for a Christmas craft.

Everyone takes a break for lunch.

Aunt Sarah helps Christopher make his star. When we got home that night, he ran straight downstairs to add the star to the tree. Several times since, he has removed and replaced it, telling me how he and "Sarah" made it. (He often leaves off "Aunt" and "Uncle").

"Watch as I point out Baby Tessa's eye"

(This is exactly what she is saying as the picture was taken. I had to save Tessa's eye.)

"See Mom, I didn't hurt her."

Christopher begins another ornament.

Christmas Time Is Here.... Family Drawing Near...

Last Sunday we braved the cold fierce winds to get our Christmas tree. Since Ryan and I have been married, we have been going to White Marsh Volunteer Fire Dept. to get our tree. It is sad to think this will probably be the last time. (I hope!)

Bundled up family.

Lilly: "Pick a tree, and lets get out of this cold!"

Christopher shares his hot cider with Lilly. He is such a caring big brother.

I can't help but feel that with each passing year, I am enjoying Christmas more than ever. This includes childhood Christmases. When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. But as with many experiences in childhood, the focus was misplaced. Of course, I couldn't wait for the big day and to see what gifts I was getting. As I have gotten older, I have shifted my view to settle down on the true meaning of Christmas; that is that God has given us a great gift. I love spending the final weeks of the year lamenting on what is most important to me: my family, my friends. I am so grateful for my children. I so enjoy sharing Christmas traditions with them. This year we started using a family advent wreath. Christopher loves lighting the candle and hearing me tell the story of Christ's birth. He loves adding a new link to the advent chain (thanks Mom). He is so focused on the true meaning of Christmas, that it is contagious. I find myself being less concerned with the holiday rat race and more at peace as I remember what Christmas truly is. It is funny how kids bring out the best in us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Science Center

Saturday we took advantage of Baltimore's dollar days and spent the morning at the Science Center. It cost our family $2 to get in and $18 to park. Ridiculous

I am about to be rammed by Lilly's head seconds after this shot was taken.

Lilly practices "in" and "out" with some blocks.

Lilly really liked the water table.

Christopher uses a "water gun" to fill funnels and what not.

Perhaps his favorite thing was the ball floating atop of blowing air. I could hear his giggle across a large crowded room.

Christopher playing a "magic" harp.

Controlling a contraption of roller coaster-like balls.

Music Therapy

Sometimes I really have to hand it to my sister Lisa. A little while back she talked me through a rough afternoon with my nap resistant kids. For not yet being a mom (c'mon already!), Lisa has some great insight to parenting. And not in the know-it-all, assuming way like some kidless people I've met. Her ideas on handling a grumpy Christopher often work. She is so patient and quiet with kids. When they are with her she sits quietly an genuinely listens to them as if they were the only people on Earth. And kids notice the difference.

So back to my rough afternoon. I was at my wits end, the kids were in there rooms, screaming and not napping. I vented to Lisa "I don't know how I am going to get through this afternoon". Lisa's advice? Get out some music that I haven't listened to in awhile, play it loud and have a dance party with the kids. BINGO. The kids were happy to be liberated from their rooms and were totally digging some cranked up Bob Marley. The best part was watching Lilly bob to the reggae beat. How could I not be in a better mood after seeing that? Lisa, you are a genius!

Since then I have been digging out some of my old tunes. I have gotten so carried away with entertainment that is geared towards kids, I have lost track of my tunes. I forgot how liberating it is to belt out to the Beatles at the top of my lungs. And Christopher loves it. So now, when a day is not turning out the way I wanted, I turn to music therapy. Thanks Lisa.