Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lilly's 1st Birthday

This picture sums up what I wanted for Lilly's birthday.

The kids enjoy their cup cakes:

"Am I supposed to eat all this? I said just one cup cake, but this is ridiculous!"

I wanted Lilly's first birthday party to be fun, colorful and low key. Mission accomplished. We invited over family only (which still turns out to be such a crowd). I dressed Lilly in a bright ruffled outfit (Ryan said she looked like a pinata). I had her in crazy pigtails to really set off her fun spirit. She was a little off during the party, but I think she still had a great time. She likes being around all her cousins. The kids played well together. I let them each decorate their own cupcake. When we sang to Lilly, every kid had a candle of their own to blow out. It turns out that is quite a big deal to preschoolers.

Cousin love. Sophia nicknamed Lilly "Lilly-bean" soon after she was born. It stuck.

Cup cakes galore!

Lulu's cup cake creation. She did an awesome job, as usual.

I wanted lots of colors! I love it.

Grandma Mil's Birthday

Let me just take this minute to celebrate my Grandma Mil. She is such an amazing person. A few weeks ago we celebrated her 88th birthday. I love her so much. I grew up with her right next door. She played a huge part in my life, and continues to do so. There were the pancake breakfasts, the car rides to school (one time with Dirty Dancing soundtrack blaring) and the warnings to us not to swing so high on the swing set. As I got older, I wondered how long she'd be around. At one point I was scared she'd never meet my children. But time pushed on and eventually my siblings and I started families and Grandma Mil was there for it all. Now, she isn't your typical Granny, sitting in the corner offering parental advice. She gets right in the crazy mix. She gladly holds the fussy baby. She comes up with creative tactics to get toddlers to eat. The kids love running over to her house begging her to set off her cuckoo clock. All her little great grandkids love her, and she love them as she calls them "my little sweetie face". So on her 88th birthday, it was no wonder she was completely surrounded:

Madeline, Christopher and Leif are vying for a front row seat to sing Happy Birthday to Grandma Mil.

This pic is funny to me because Christopher is hugging Leif and Madeline saying "Hap!" which is a word he made up when he group hugs. He was just so overwhelmed with family love! (See baby Tessa in the background?)

We had to make coconut cake because its Dad's (Grandma's boy) favorite. And whatever Mickey wants, Grandma wants. Ahh, mother and sons.

What a commotion! The kids were singing so loudly and not together at all. It was great.

A Caporossi Visit

The week between Christmas and New Years we were blessed with a visit from the Caporossi's. (David is Ryan's second cousin.) They braved snow and ice on their journey up from Louisiana. It was such a great visit. The guys hunted, the kids played and Amy and I; well we talked. And talked and talked. We drank coffee, shared parenting frustrations, laughed and cried. What a great week. I really miss Amy's company. When they left on Monday morning, I felt it. Our house feels so empty after a good Caporossi visit. Till next time, Amy!
These two got along so well. I can't emphasize it enough. I have never seen Christopher give in and play nice with another kid as he does with Brooke. The first two days of the visit, the two walked around the house, hand in hand. (Mostly Brooke was pulling Christopher here and there) I miss Brooke so much. She has amazing energy and some funny facial expressions to go with it.

Brooke gives Christopher a look as they exchange Christmas gifts.

Brooke shows off her computer skills. She amazed me with how computer literate she is.

David holds Lilly. Lilly holds Dora.

Brookes pounding out a beat on the drums at Port Discovery.

Christopher gets his beat going.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This past Christmas was my favorite so far. Mostly because of the weeks leading up to it. I enjoyed seeing Christopher fully understand what Christmas is about. Christmas Eve Ryan's family joined us for a 4pm service at St. Michael's. Afterwards we came home and had Pasta Fragile and dessert. Once a few gifts were opened, we put out Santa's goodies and put the kids to bed. Christmas morning arrived with the usual 7am wake up. Christopher was first down the steps to find a Radio Flyer red wagon filled with presents. We had a buttermilk waffle breakfast first, then returned downstairs to open gifts. Our morning moved on at a leisurely pace, Christopher wanted to play with each thing that he opened. By 11 we were on the road to Bayside. Once there we visited, ate, opened gifts, ate some more and visited more. Laura and my mom put out quite a feast. Uncle Jason built a fire outside. Christopher and Lilly took long naps. It actually it was the most quiet and peaceful day at my parent's since I can remember! Usually the kids are fighting, or someone is crying or being put in time out. But all that took a break on Christmas day. And that was the best gift of all.
Poor quality, but I like this picture. Jason said, "here get an action shot". He makes me laugh.
A look through the window outside. The menfolk warm themselves by the fire.
My parents started the tradition last year of buying live trees for Christmas, then planting them out in the yard after they serve as decoration. This one looks artsy, doesn't it?
My handsome elf.

Ryan and Christopher read "Polar Express"

Lilly loved opening gifts
Christopher can not play his harmonica without jumping up and down nonstop.

Santa left one little crumb with a chocolate chip in it. Guess who found it? What a mess!

Daddy and his lil girl.

Lilly Uses A Spoon

Lilly used a cup from the day I handed her one when she was six months old. Lately she keeps grabbing the spoon from me so she can feed herself. I am so hesitant because, Lordy, does it make a mess! But she is getting better at it, and I really can't hold her back much longer.

Beating The Winter Blues

Bundling the kiddies up in hats, scarves, mittens and coats is not my idea of a fun time. From start to finish its a twenty minute process, and yes, that is my best time. By the time I am ready to walk out the door I am usually aggravated, sweating and snapping at Christopher. But once outside we settle down. Christopher is able to run and burn off energy. Lilly is constantly pointing, her way of initiating a conversation with me ("hey Ma, take to see that thing"). I am happy to get out into some cold crisp air. We play in the yard, usually kicking the ball around. I don't really know what to do with Lilly, she can't crawl or walk very well all bundled up, besides the ground is muddy and cold. So usually she sits in the stroller as I chase Christopher around the yard. By the way, I am actually pushing her in the stroller as I run like a mad woman across the yard. She loves it, but I can't help but wonder how funny this looks. After a bit we walk down the road to Christopher and Lilly's favorite spot: the stream. Christopher will toss in rocks and Lilly plays in the leaves. We play "I Spy" and do balancing tricks on beams. I realize I provide few props for Christopher when it comes to outside play, but he doesn't seem to mind. In fact it seems it helps foster a time for the imagination to grow. He just loves being outside. I have lure him back in with promises of hot cocoa. Getting in the house is just as nerve wracking as leaving it. Coats, hats, mittens are strewn across the floor. Muddy foot prints are tracked everywhere and someone is usually whining. But, it was all worth it.

Christopher prepares to throw a rock in the stream.

Me and my boy.

Nice snug and warm is Lilly.

Christopher really wanted to play in the snow that fell during his nap. I just didn't have it in me to bundle up Lilly and it was time for me to start dinner. So I sent Christopher out by himself and kept an eye on him through the door. Lilly especially liked watching him from inside the house. She kept yelling and banging on the glass.

Getting in from the cold.