Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's 7:15 and we've already been up for an hour...

Cecilia decided to wake up giggling at 6:15.  Andrew was up until the wee hours of the morning singing Midnight Mass, so I took her downstairs, where we turned on the monitor and found that John Paul was awake, too!

So the kids have been happily playing with their Christmas Eve present (a Little People nativity) and their stocking stuffers (so far John Paul's favorite is a set of alphabet wall decals, and Cecilia is loving her nativity-themed rubber duckies).

Cecilia was happy to have it to herself for a few minutes!

But John Paul had to come along and ruin the moment :P

Luckily, a camera is a whole lot more exciting than a toy!

And as you can see, the sun was only just starting to rise...

John Paul's first action upon coming downstairs (after he finished being excited about his new toy):  He came over to the grown-up nativity set and exclaimed, "BABY JESUS IS BORN!!!"

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So we decorated the tree - John Paul's ornaments, surprisingly enough, ended up on the lower third of the tree.

He got to hang a lot of small wooden ornaments all by himself!

But he still needed a little help...

Andrew helped finish the tree and hang the instruments on the tall branches!

And here's the finished product, sans tree topper (which we STILL don't have!).  Notice the almost complete lack ornaments near the bottom?  Despite having hung them himself, John Paul couldn't resist taking them down to try to play with them.  So they all moved their way up to the higher branches.

Surprisingly enough, Cecilia was enchanted!

But not enough so to keep her from trying to get the camera from me...

And they both decided to look at it together.

Until John Paul decided he really needed a hug!

A frequent sight at our house...  The toddler tackle!

And here's the proud decorator!

Done with Advent?

Andrew, lamenting a sports score:  "Oh, come on!"

John Paul:  "O Come O Come Emmanuel?"

We may be done with this Advent thing, and just in time!

Santa loves me...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shh don't tell, I know what I'm getting for Christmas...

And I'm SO excited.  Seriously.  Those boots.  Amazing.  And on a really great sale!  Much like John Paul anxiously awaits his basketball hoop, I'm anxiously awaiting my new boots.  And I'm not even going to cheat and wear them out of the house before Christmas!  I just needed to try them on to make sure they fit.  And went well with my jeans.  At least two pairs.  You know it's necessary...

How are YOU preparing?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Advent kind of snuck up on us this year...  It started earlier than usual (and as early as possible), so it took us a few days to get our things ready, but I'm loving how we're celebrating and preparing for the birth of Jesus!

John Paul gets a new issue of Magnifikid! every Sunday (they send it a month in advance and we got a promotional month for Advent - want to buy him a subscription?), which has a special morning and evening prayer for each week.  So we light the candles morning and evening and pray together as a family (Cecilia whacks herself in the chest repeatedly while we cross ourselves and then babbles along, it's adorable), singing one verse of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" before we blow out the candles.

It took a couple of weeks, but John Paul has stopped insisting on rearranging the Nativity.  He got VERY upset for the first few weeks, asking where Baby Jesus was.  I told him he was in Mary's tummy and he immediately lifted up his shirt and said, "And in John PAUL'S tummy!!!"  Nope...  So now he underestands that Mary is pregnant and Jesus is in her tummy and will be born on Christmas.  Watching him kiss Mary and her tummy good night is pretty amazing.

Sister sent us this Advent calendar last year and John Paul is LOVING it this year.  He gets to read a new little book in the series every day and then we hang it on the fake tree that Andrew and I bought the first year we started dating.  He gets SO excited about what day it is because that means he gets to read the corresponding book!  "TODAY is DECEMBER EIGHTEENTH!  BECAUSE YOU GET TO WEED BOOK NUMBER EIGHTEEN!"

I'm hoping next year we can be organized enough to 1. Start Advent on time! and 2. Have the majority of our Christmas shopping done before Advent even starts.  I'd rather spend this time getting excited about Jesus's birthday than be anxious about what we're supposed to buy various people...

And BOY OH BOY is John Paul excited for Jesus's birthday!  Partially because he knows he's getting a basketball hoop for Christmas (he talks about this at least once a day).  But also because that means we get to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!  And we get to put Baby Jesus in the manger! 

One of his current favorite activities is "Talk about Mawy?"  He takes the angel and Mary from the nativity Sister sent and brings them to me.  Then we tell the story of the Annunciation together:  "And cawwed him...  EMMANUEL!  Which means...  GOD IS WITH US!!!"

This is definitely a more fun time of the year when you have kids to prepare with :)

Those Creative Juices

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I present to you two separate instances of John Paul's creativity at work:

Our first representational drawing - he told me he was drawing a rainbow, and as you can see there are lots of curved lines on the right side of the page.  This particular rainbow is made up of the colors red, pink, brown, more red, some red, and another shade of red.

Then Grandma put it on the fridge and John Paul got excited about all the letters, of course...  "D-I-F-G...  DIFG!!!"

And here's his attempt at a paper airplane.  He actually did a good job folding the corners in, but then he had no idea where to go from there.  Thankfully this totally satisfied his need and I threw it pitifully around the room while Cecilia nursed...

Getting better!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John Paul has been making leaps and bounds in his Mass behavior lately - he's started staying in the pew without any fussing for the majority of the time (sometimes we have slight issues...) and can be quiet for the majority of the time as well.  He tends to read books a little loudly to himself though.  And he likes to speak VERY loudly when he's reading the numbers from the hymnal.

I think my favorite outburst ever occurred today during Mass, though.  I let him have a new book to bring to Mass, and he spent several minutes chanting, "Peek-a-boo shepherds" rather obnoxiously.  Then he decided he REALLY wanted to read the prayers with me (he is always VERY anxious to find "Lord have mercy") for a while. 

He was reading by himself during the consecration when he looked up at the altar and said excitedly, "He's eh-wa-vatin' the host!"  I nodded encouragingly and he said, a little more quietly, "He's eh-wa-vatin' the candles?"  I shook my head and he turned back to his book.  Then I tapped him on the shoulder and he looked up at the altar again.  "He's eh-wa-vatin' the chawice now!  He's not eh-wa-vatin' the host.  This is my body!  This is my bwood!"

I sure hope he's this excited when it comes time for First Communion!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This is me whining...

It has been a rough day!  Cecilia's top two teeth are *this* close to breaking through, so she's been incredibly fussy all day long (and for the past several days).  This tends to set John Paul off too, because he has so much empathy is a big whiner anyway, and only needs the slightest excuse!  So after her nap we headed to Costco, which worked pretty well to make both the kids happy.  Who doesn't like samples, after all?

We came back home for lunch and I got the kids down for their naps.  Cecilia decided to take a rather short nap, and woke up right in the middle of me making meatballs.  Not fun.  Then she refused to go back to sleep (sometimes I can nurse her back down and prolong the nap for another hour) but kept fussing as though she wanted to sleep.

The ONLY thing she wanted to do was read "Mirror Me:  A Mirror Book" over.  And over.  And over again.

Now, I'm really glad that she's getting into books.  I love just sitting on the couch or lying in bed and reading to John Paul, especially now that he'll sit still.  But he has kind of spoiled me - he almost NEVER demands that I read the same book again immediately after we finish.  I usually have the next book lined up to read anyway, so he doesn't have the chance (why yes, we do end up with quite a few books hidden under the couch cushions at the end of the day!).

Cecilia, it seems, is not so easily distracted.  I read the book, with its heinous Baby Einstein illustrations.  She giggles the whole time because she LOVES it.  I put the book down.  SHE WAILS, and picks up the book and toddles over to me, pitifully pushing the book into my lap.

We read it again.  I pick up a whole stack of her other favorite books.  She calmly throws them all to the floor, then cries until I read the mirror book.

Rinse.  Repeat.  For probably an hour.

It could be worse, I know, but she's gotten so good at playing by herself while I cook/clean/do work that when I don't have that hour or so that I normally get in the afternoons to get stuff done, I start going NUTS.  And on top of it all, John Paul didn't nap again.

In a fit of good humor though, she discovered that open-mouth kisses are totally the way to go with John Paul.  They spent a good 5-10 minutes wrestling on his bed before naptime, Cecilia licking John Paul's entire face and sucking on his hair while John Paul giggled and tried to snuggle her in various positions.

This may be why he didn't nap...

Our Favorite Saints

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We've gotten into the routine of praying our own little Litany of the Saints every night before bed.  John Paul has been requesting certain saints for quite a while, but several have slipped in who aren't saints...  Some of my favorites:

"St. George, pway fo us.  Curious George.  Saint Curious George!  Pway fo us!"

"Fish...  Fish...  St. John Fisher..."  "St. John Fisher is not a fish."  "St. John Fisher...  is NOT a fish!  Pway fo us."

Then of course, there was St. Camel.  And he's been making saint jokes.  For instance, "St. Peter.  Pway fo us.  St. Paul Chung.  Pway fo us.  St....  Peter Chung.  NOOOO!  WONG!!!"

And his most recent joke during prayer, "What PWAY should we pwayer?  WONG!"

A quick trip to the bathroom

Friday, December 9, 2011

And I return to this:

I don't know which one of them found the wrapping paper, but I'm betting it was John Paul who decided to take it all out of the plastic.  And then started ripping off tiny pieces and throw them on the floor...

Thankfully, I'm pretty sure little to no wrapping paper got eaten.  And there were no tantrums when it got put away :P

And no, John Paul isn't wearing any clothes.  We're potty training, okay?

How to keep a toddler entertained for an hour...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Check out our homemade water table!  John Paul had a BLAST pouring from various cups and bowls and then wiping up the excess with washcloths.  As a bonus, we had washcloths ready to clean the kids off after dinner, and we had a nice wet towel to throw in with the diapers to help fill the machine with more water.  And he only got a little wet...

Reading already?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No, Cecilia's not reading already...

But she has reached that awesome stage where she finally loves books for more than just the tasty cardboard!

She'll pull her favorites out of the bin and turn the pages.  Current likes?  Peek-a-Baby, Christmas in the Manger, B is for Bear, and Touch and Feel Wild Animals.

And she's even willing to sit in our laps and be read to!  She comes rushing over every time I'm reading to John Paul - poor kid has to take his "big kid books" (non-board books) and run to the nearest high surface so the baby doesn't rip them.

Christmas Card Outtakes

Monday, December 5, 2011

After an exciting morning out (including trips to the Shrine, Target, and Chick Fil A), I decided that the kids were dressed cutely and it was nice out, so BY GOLLY WE WERE TAKING CHRISTMAS CARD PICTURES!

I've been wanting to somehow get nice professional ones done for free, to help build some budding photographer's portfolio.  But it was going to be a lot of work trying to get somewhere and hope that the weather was good and the kids weren't cranky...  And trying to get a good picture of the kids PLUS Andrew and me?  Impossible.  So we decided to focus on the kids.  Let's face it, that's who people want to see anyway!

John Paul, of course, posed in his most adorable fashion for every picture.  Cecilia was a little tougher.  We even gave her a second chance while he was napping and ended up getting some cute ones.  Here are a few we decided not to use:

"WOE is me, all these leaves to eat and NOBODY will let me munch on even one!"

Andrew may or may not have decided to bury her in the leaves after she fell down...

Love that nose crinkle!

Parallel Play

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We're still not so much at the cooperative play stage...

John Paul will get out a bin of toys - number and letter flash cards, in this case (and yes, for HIM those are toys!)

Cecilia thinks, "Hey, this is a GREAT IDEA!!!" and immediately starts taking all the cards out and putting them back in.

Sometimes, however, she just can't resist the urge to munch on one...  Just a little!

Reading too much?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You know your child might be reading too much when he sees half a stick of butter and immediately asks, "MAY I PWEEZ HAVE SOME BUT???"

Our Black Friday

Monday, November 28, 2011

We've been having the most gloriously beautiful fall weather this past week.  What an amazing holiday weekend it was!  We spent Black Friday getting outside as much as possible with a trip to the playground and a picnic in the park.

The fake smile is not quite as cute as a real one...

Cecilia was very excited to be climbing!

We tried to picnic on the grass but it was SUPER wet, so we ended up on the basketball court. 

And John Paul spent most of the time exploring the area...  I heard him saying, "Dorothy, this is how you sit on a bench" while he got up and down from the bench.  Someone might be watching too much Sesame Street...

Cecilia wasn't going to let anything keep her from the sparkling apple cider!

Not even Dad!

Grandma took Cecilia walking while Dad and John Paul played basketball with a soccer ball...

And when they got tired of that, she was ready to play with the ball by herself!

The kids got VERY dirty.  And when we got home, we made sure to do some online shopping so our Black Friday would be complete ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today I am thankful for...

A set of 3 carpeted stairs.

Because Cecilia can climb up and down to her little heart's content.

And even if she falls, it's not a long way down, and it's padded.

And it allows for the perfect ledge to drum on Aunt Sister's head!

I am also thankful for the fact that Cecilia prefers peeing on tiled floors to carpeting.  Much easier to clean up!  Although when she sits on the kitchen stool to pee, it makes for a much larger mess...  Maybe it's time to start trying the potty?

If you give a 2-year-old a camera

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

He's going to want to take some pictures...

Then he won't realize he has already started pressing buttons.

He'll point it up to his face to make sure he's aiming it correctly.

But he'll get it to close to his mouth.

He'll try again, thinking it must not have worked because the picture has already disappeared from the display.

Then he'll bring the camera to his mom, blinking rapidly because of the constant flash, asking for help.

And she'll see that he has already succeeded in taking 7 "self-portraits."
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