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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

December 2015

This month can pretty much be summed up with "Christmas" and "snow."  Yeah, we did a LOT of Christmas-related activities and play in all the (ample) snow we received, a lot.

Snow:

Well, as they say in, "Frosty the Snowman," (which we've watched about 30 times this month) "it all started with the snow..."  Indeed, about half-way through December we got a giant snow storm.  I don't know how many inches/feet we got, but it was a lot.  The picture below was taken the first morning.  The night before, the ground was dry.  And it kept going for at least 24 hours after that.  I tend to find large weather events exciting.


Tom and his dad tried to drive to the TRAX station together, but their car got stuck on the way there.  They had to push it out of the snow and drove home.  Tom worked from home that day and half the next.  

The first thing Harp and I did, was go out and play in the snow, of course!

It always amazes me how much of an ordeal it is to get dressed for the snow, especially when you're getting little people dressed too:

me (plus a few items not pictured)

Harp



Last year, we only got one or two significant snowstorms, and Harp HATED the snow.  Like, she refused to even walk on it.  This year there have been a few bumps, but overall she has really enjoyed it.  Here's a few videos of our first snow outing:


Naturally, her favorite part was eating it:


It was so deep it was difficult for her to walk on:



We made a Harper sized snowman.
Another time, we decided to make a mini snow hill in the backyard (so much work!) and Harp LOVED it.  It took a lot to get her to disengage from eating the pink snow that we made, by spraying it with grape juice though:


When we came inside, she had such cute little pink cheeks:



Then, of course, we had to go sledding.  Again, she loved it:



Christmas:

I was so excited to introduce "Christmas" to Harp, since I felt like she'd "get" it a lot more this year.  Well, now that it's over, I'm not sure she has any clue as to why we celebrate it (except that she does know it's Jesus' birthday), but she really enjoyed all the traditions that go with it!

One of the first Christmas activities we did was to go to Temple Square.  They put a ton of lights up every year and have a bunch of nativities (from different countries) all around:




There's just something so satisfying about seeing the faces of your 3 loves so close together:


Rode the train, just for fun, because Harp kept talking about it and it was the "free zone."
We made a whole bunch of "Christmas crafts," including this necklace made from beads, sent from Grandma:


We went to a Christmas concert, at a Senior Center, that Baba (Tom's mom) played the cello in:




We, of course, saw Santa!  No screaming Santa picture for us.  Our kids LOVED Santa.  They weren't scared at all.  Harper basically told him her life story and Emerson just stared up at him in awe, with this big grin on his face.  It was impossible to get them to both look at the camera since they loved looking at Santa so much.  Social babies!  Santa was joking about keeping them and just putting them in his big ol' coat.





Tom made a gingerbread house with Harper and Ellie.  Here they are trying to wait patiently to put the candies on, while Tom was busy with something else:


It was so hilarious listening to Ellie sing a song to help Harper feel better after she fell off the chair:


And here's Harper falling off the chair because she didn't learn her lesson the first time:


Another Christmas craft.  She LOVED making Christmas trees and gingerbread men out of playdough and jewels (from Grandma):




We rode the "Jingle Bus" downtown:



She also really enjoyed making Christmas trees for Ellie and Lexi's Christmas cards:


Funny story about the Christmas cards.  So, Tom occasionally counts to 10 with Harp, in Chinese.  The first 3 numbers in Chinese sounds like, "Ee, Are, San."  So, I was holding her hand and helping her write, "Merry Christmas Lexie" and was spelling it out as I went.  I said, "M," "E," "R," and she said, "...san."  Haha, get it?  I thought it was pretty clever of her.

And here she is giving them their cards:


Here's our setup on Christmas Eve:



And here's Harper walking in on Christmas morning:


Alright, now before we get to the rest of Christmas day, I have to interject with a story from earlier in the month.  It will tie in.  So, one day we went to McDonalds.  We didn't get a Happy Meal, but one of the workers thought Harp was super cute and asked if she could give her a Happy Meal toy anyway.  It was a cute little purple, polka-dot bear.  Well, Harper LOVED it.  


Also, while we were there, she made friends with a little girl who was probably, like, 6.  It was really really cute watching them play together and the little girl was super sweet.  She got a bear too (white) and they were pushing them down the slide together.



Anyway, Harp was attached to the bear for the next few days and brought him everywhere.  But, one day she left him at a friend's house.  She missed him and kept asking about him the whole rest of the month.  So, when the friend told me she found him I decided to secretly get him back, put him in her stocking and tell her Santa found him.  Here's the (very cute) video of the moment:


As a side note, I think watching her open her stocking was my favorite thing to watch her open.  One of the first things in there (or maybe the first) was an apple.  She was SO EXCITED by this silly little apple!  She kept jumping up and down with it saying, "It's a Christmas apple!" and asking if she really could eat it.  Haha.  Oh, sweet little 2 year olds.

After the stockings, we opened all the other presents.  The one I was most excited to give her was her bookcase.  Basically, I discovered that we had a TON of books for her that I didn't realize we had (from a tub I'd forgotten about that had books in it that used to be in my parents' house).  So, I got the idea of clearing the two bottom shelves from our living room bookcase (usually filled with toys) and filling it with the books.  I also put coloring books, paper, stickers and a little organizer with crayons and such in it.  Then, I just put wrapping paper over the front of the shelves.  You can see it in the pictures above.  There was a little extra space on the top shelf, so I put a couple pieces of candy there so it wouldn't look awkward.  Well, naturally, all she really noticed was the candy!  Even though the unveiling wasn't that exciting, I knew she'd loved all the things that were there.  True enough, she has really loved reading all the books and playing with all the craft stuff.  It was been GREAT.

The rest of the day was just spent hanging out with family.  We opened presents from Tom's family later.  At one point I caught Papa (Tom's dad) and Uncle Matt having a dance party with the little girls with Papa's new speakers:


One of Harper's absolute favorite gifts was a little handmade ABC church book that Em (Tom's sister) made for her.  She held it most of her awake time for like two whole days after receiving it and didn't care much for any other book.  Wanting her to get into her bookcase books, Tom or I would say, "hey Harp, want me to read one of these books to you?"  She'd go, "ok, you read that one (bookcase book) and I'll read this one (ABC book)."  Then, while we read the other one to her she'd sit on our lap and mostly look through the ABC book, with the occasional glance at the other book.  Pictured below:


Also, one day we were watching, "Doc McStuffins."  On the show there's a little book that one of the characters uses to write a description and draw a picture of each injury.  It's called the "Big Book of Booboos."  Well, one day, Harp pretended to draw in her ABC book and called it her, "Book of Mormon Booboos."  Haha, it was fun to imagine what injuries would be in that.

Emerson:

Emerson kind of had a big month!  I was pretty worried about him him all last month, because he was behind on a lot of things.  But, this month I am less worried.  He still has a few issues, but I'm feeling a lot better about it.  Anyway, one day I had totally convinced myself that he had Cerebral Palsy.  You know how it goes when you start looking up symptoms on the internet.  Then, the next day, he rolled for the first time!  It was perfect timing for making me feel better!  I had kind of given up on doing "tummy time" with him because he hated it SO much and always went straight to Superman pose.  I think it was good I gave him a bit of a break because I think it broke the cycle.  So, one morning after I hadn't done it for a while I thought, "I should just put him on his tummy since it's been a while."  He rolled over almost immediately, and I was watching, but I almost didn't realize it!  The thought process was so belabored.  It went like this, "Ok, I put him on his tummy...then he moved...and now he's on his back...wait...does that mean he rolled?  Yes!  He must have rolled!"  It was just such a surprise.  The whole rest of the day I just kept putting him on his tummy and he just kept rolling right over!  It was great!  When rolling was the milestone you were most excited about with your first kid, but your first kid rolled once each way and then never again and your second doesn't roll either way til they're 6 months, rolling is pretty exciting!!!


Same day, here's Harp being a super sister, showing Emerson how her car ramp works:



He is also just more happy on his tummy now and actually plays with toys there sometimes:


The other big development for him this month is that he's starting to get the hang of sitting!  He still doesn't do it super well, but in the last few days he's stayed up a little longer at a time each time I've tried it with him.  When Harper started doing that she got to the point of mastering it in no time, so I'm excited!  It's so nice when they sit and don't otherwise move.  Here he is practicing sitting, while playing with the toy I made for him:


He's still not a big fan of solid foods though.  Doesn't seem to matter what it is or how we feed it to him, he still does his best to not let it in and spit it right out.  He will, however, sit there and smile at us while we're trying to wedge the spoon between his lips:



I have decided that Tom and I make very loud children.  Harp was a loud, happy, squealer from a very young age and Emerson...well...he doesn't so much squeal as...well...this:


We call him our baby Eagle.  He seriously does this ALL THE TIME.  Makes church real fun.  So cute though, right?

One Sunday he fell asleep in Vumelia's arms while I was teaching the lesson.  If he started to stir she'd just strum her fingers on him a little and he'd fall right back asleep.  Fascinating:



Not sure how well you can see, but one day he woke up with his pajama bottoms off of one leg and barely on the other.  He likes to kick!



I thought it was really funny that every time I turned my blow dryer on he'd startle and then get a big grin on his face like he found it funny:





Playing army men and tanks with Papa.

One other note about E.  He's starting to get a little better at playing with toys!  He's still not GREAT at it and still not as interested as most babies, but getting moreso, which is GREAT.  He's also getting better at putting his binky back in his mouth by himself.  His budding sitting skills and increased acumen with toys bodes well for the next little while.  I think we have a particularly good stage coming!  Yay!

The last thing I want to say about E is that as soon as he is proficient at sitting I think I think I would be content to have him stay this age forever ever ever.  He is just such a cute, sweet baby and I want to eat him.  Don't grow up buddy!

Harper

Oh Harp.  If you are reading this some day, I just have to tell you that walking around with you is sometimes like going somewhere with a famous person.  Paparazzi everywhere!  Honestly, if I look at the faces of people passing by, AT LEAT 80% of them get a big smile on their face when you walk by and at least 30% either point you out to their friends or say something to you/us.  Why?  Because you are THAT cute.  The combination of your natural adorableness, your short stature, your glasses, your crazygood talking and your awesome personality means you just slay people right and left.  I field many comments about how adorable you are every single day.  Just thought you should know.  

That said, while you are usually a joy to be around in public, you've said a few things lately that I hope you never say in public!  For instance, one day, E was crying a little, so you said, "Oh!  He's fussy, so he needs some boobs!"  Please don't ever say that in public.

Alright, back to regular speaking.  No more speaking to Harper.  One of her big developments this month has been that she has finally really gotten into coloring.  I have greatly looked forward to this day!  Before, I think she didn't push down hard enough on the crayon, so it didn't make an obvious enough mark and she'd just think, "hmm, this doesn't work."  She has figured it out now though!  It has probably been her favorite activity this month.  Maybe even more than reading!  It means she has one more activity that does not require my attention, that she is content doing for significant periods of time.  Yay!  It was the perfect timing too, because she got all kinds of coloring implements for Christmas.


One of my favorite coloring moments was when she colored this picture and then came over to show it to us (Baba, Em and I).  One of us asked what it was and she said, "it's a bad guy!"  Haha, I think it's the perfect abstract representation of a bad guy.  The funny thing about it too, was that I had no idea she even knew the phrase, "bad guy" til that moment, so it was a total surprise.


She actually figured out another independent activity this month - the ipad!  Again, I've been wishing she'd figure out how to use ipads/phones for a while now.  It seems like many kids her age know how to play ipad games and, while I have no desire to have her play ipad games often, there are certain instances when it would be REALLY nice.  For instance, long car rides, plane rides, doctor's offices, etc.  Once again, this skill is being acquired at the perfect time!  At the end of January we will be driving to California and going to Disneyland (long lines).  It will be so nice to use the ipad to entertain her for some of that time!  I have the library to thank for this new skill.  They have some ipads for kids to use, with kid apps.  I never had her try them before, but one day I did.  It just so happened that the 2 games she used were PERFECT for teaching her to use it (and we've tried quite a few games before, with no success).  In case you're reading this and want to try them with your kid, they were, "Shape Monster" and "Coloring Zoo."

It was pretty cute watching her amongst all the much bigger kids - especially since she kept squealing and exclaiming things like, "he's hungry!" or "he wants to eat the triangle!"

Funny story.  There were a few days when she was really into these blocks.  They have a different picture on each side of them.  She was especially into that one with the pink pig ears.  She called them wings and whenever we'd make a puzzle together we'd have to keep that one on the pig ears side.  If I tried to turn it to a different side, to make it go with the picture she'd freak and go, "I don't wike (like) dat (that) wike dat!!!"  Haha, so funny.
Love this:


Was fascinated by the trash truck one day.

Has also figured out legos!  She really figured out a lot this month.  Hooray!  Man, she's getting so big!  Such a little girl now.  Not a baby anymore!
One day she picked up my camera and started to explore it.

Selfie.




Photo credit: Harper
One day at church someone made hats and blankets for all the Primary kids.  One guy in our class got one too.  When we went to get Harp she was SO proud of her hat and blanket.  It was ADORABLE.  I think she felt like such a big girl.  She really liked that Franck had a hat too, so they were instabuds.


It was even cuter than usual when she fell asleep on the way home.
I tried to video her when I was (pretending to be) sleeping, because she was being super cute.  She caught me.


She just looked really cute so I told her I wanted to take a picture of her apple.  She was pretty happy about that idea.



Stace was babysitting Em's kids one evening and I wanted to take Harp to Jungle Jim's.  We figured out that it would be easier for Stace to watch Lexie and E than Lexie and Ellie and easier for me to take Harp and Ellie than Harp and E.  So, I left E with her and took Harp and Ellie to Jungle Jim's!  They loved it, of course.  The super cute video below shows how much they were loving the roller coaster. It's on slow-mo on my phone and I wish it could be that way on the blog.  Brave girls!


I made Harp a castle:



There's a story behind this photo.  Do you see that little ball on the floor, in front of Harper?  It's a marble.  It's name is Dada. (rhymes with mama).  It is the first thing Harper has ever named whose name wasn't just what they are (like naming her bear Mr. Bear).  She was very attached to Dada for a few days.  Whenever she'd lose it, she'd get very concerned (which was often since...it's a marble...and she's two).  One time she was eating and she dropped it.  The bottom panel on our fridge fell off, so all the innards are visible and very gross and dusty.  Dada bounced into the innards.  Harp freaked out but I said, "it's ok!  We know where it is.  We'll get it when you're done."  When she was done, she walked over and plucked it out.  She saw that it was all dirty and started brushing it off with her hands and stroking it and said, "oh!  Oh no, Dada!  I'm so sorry!  I'm so sorry I dropped you and you went under the fridge and got all yucky!  I'm so sorry Dada!" She said it all like she was SO sad for poor Dada and like she really felt bad.  It was so funny.  Later that she she pulled up her shirt a little and stuck him on her belly and said, (matter-of-factly) "he's eating."  Oh Harp.

holding hands
One day, a friend of ours posted a video on IG of her little girl singing, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Stars" on the swings.  Harp LOVED it and watched it over and over.  She requested to go outside and do the same.  Here's the request:



Nothing cuter than a bundled baby with bear ears.



Here's the re-enactment:


Then we went for a walk:








She thought the flash on my phone camera was HILARIOUS.  E not so much.
A message for a friend of ours:



Christmas tree

Buddies already.

Church selfies.

More hand-holding.
Tandem swinging:



Tea party:


Took some pics for Tom's desk frame:




One more quick update before I wrap up the blog: the Etsy shop I started (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PineStreetKids?ref=hdr_shop_menu) has sold two items!  That may not sound like much, but it is to me.  First off, the items are larger items that take a while to make, so even two is significant.  Second, I thought it would take longer to start selling any, so I'm happy that it's happening easier than I thought it would.  Plus, they both left great reviews!  So, I'm pretty happy all around.  Feels good.

And that's December!