Friday, January 31, 2014

Springfield, MO

A few weekends ago (the only weekend without frigid temps and feet of snow), we took a little road trip down south to visit Mike's Aunt Bev & Uncle Bill (Mima Wade's bro & sis-n-law). We had the added bonus of company with cousins Roger & Jennifer and their son Andrew (11). It's a great set up down in Springfield. Bill & Bev live downstairs while Rog, Jen, & the kids live upstairs. Bill & Bev used to care for the whole house, but I think their knees are appreciating the downsize =)
Within 3 minutes of our arrival, Andrew brought down his cars, many, many cars.

...and a race track. We've got friends for life here!

Millie entertained herself for 30 minutes walking around in O's shoes!

And then she found a very comfy spot in Roger's lap, with a book, of course!

And then she found her way to Aunt Bev....with a book.
She and Uncle Bill just talked shoes. All the while, Owen and Andrew were
playing cars and more cars and more cars.

The Kinney clan is notorious for their good home cookin'. They did not disappoint this weekend. Bev & Bill made brisket, potatoes, corn, home made rolls, home made applesauce, and salad. Jennifer whipped up this beauty after work on Friday. It was a perfectly perfect cheesecake. We left Springfield with home made cinnamon rolls, applesauce, pickles, jelly, and bread. All home made. Our tummies were haaaaappppy!
Our hearts were happy too! We had a great time visiting, and we're so glad we live close enough to see our extended family more often!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

15 months: Laps

Our little 15mo old lovey weighs 21lb 9oz (25-50%) and 31.5 inches tall (75%). Her percentiles are the same as she's been her whole life. She seems to me like she's slowed a bit in the weight department despite the fact that she truly, genuinely eats 3 big meals and 2 snacks a day. The girl loves her food... and I think she's already turned in to a stress eater like her mama. It definitely is a 'calming influence' on her. Now if only I can delay the need for chocolate to be present in order to have the same calming effect....
One day late December I found her in her room, in her chair. Bib on. Blanket on. Paci in. Doll handy. Reading her (current) favorite book. I about melted and was even able to run and grab the camera she was so settled.
Maybe she's looking a little more Cooper these days?

On Dec  28th we got to visit Auntie Kim at her folks house in O'Fallon. Amelia cuddled right up on her lap. And that's this month's theme because she will find a lap, any lap, and back up on to it. I think a 'Beep Beep' should accompany her wherever she goes.

She'll also take some standing up cuddles... especially the daddy cuddles are the best.
Somehow without words she bargained for both bowls of popcorn.. hers and Owen's.

Snow day fun = rides in a laundry basket.

No new words, per say. Still 'GOG, GOG, GOG' (always shouted), Dada, Gock (sock).
She has added 'mmmmmmm' with bites of food she REALLY likes.
She's also signing more, all done, drink, and please. We are working on wait, but that one isn't catching for some reason ;)

Future hubby? This is Auntie Kim's nephew, Rigby (21mo).
It's not a lap, but she's cuddled in. The best part about her lap obsession is that she's
generally asking you to read a book to her, and she's getting better about sitting
through the whole thing. She's very interested in pointing to pictures and
having you tell her the name of the object.
I dressed her up on my birthday.
Love this gorgeous little girl in this gorgeous little dress!
She's increasingly in to imitation, even got a dirty Kleenex out of the trash to wipe her nose. =) Laundry folding is a favorite time for her as she has a plethora of towels to 'wipe' around the house. This week she started to imitate the finger in front of your lips when saying 'ssshhh', and she folds her hands together while we pray before dinner. I really need to get a picture of this act!
She also knows where her nose & hair are, often sticking her finger in or on O's nose (much to his chagrin).
Most activities need to be in her timing or her terms, and Mike and I are ready for the 'next stage' that includes words instead of whining. I know this wont change her desire for things her way, but maybe we'll be able to communicate a bit better! In the mean time, bring on those books, Millie! Let's learn some words ;)

Friday, January 17, 2014

happy #3

Owen's 3rd birthday was a BIG day in a long line of previous BIG days.
It's really hard to be 3 and to have so much fun so many days in a row.
I say that tongue-in-cheek, but it was a lot of stimulation after being a little short on sleep =)
 Poor kid. I would never wish for him to have his birthday 2 days after Christmas, but that's how we roll in this family, and I'd bet a lot of $ he'll have a kid born during this week, too!

We started the day with a family get together. Owen's present from us was a wheelbarrow. He l.o.v.e.s to push his cars around in Amelia's grocery cart and Amelia's baby doll stroller (both pink), so we figured we would get him something with a greater carrying capacity that can also be pushed around (and wasn't pink).

He had his favorite cheerleader to help him open gifts!

Planes Movie! This has come in very handy with all of the snow days we've had!

"If you give a mouse a cookie....."

He'll likely want a glass of milk and more presents to open!

He loaded up on Monster Truck Jam & a car stacking truck & even a LeapPad.
Now I have my iPad back =)
Jackpot. When asked about whether he wanted donuts or presents first, the answer was obviously presents. How could I even assume something different?

So while Owen discovered the wonders of his new loot, we got the girls settled in with donuts and fruit. I don't know that either of them had ever had a donut before, so as you can imagine, they sat still and enjoyed every morsel. Together. Adorbs.

She did a good job of eating her fruit, too =)

The donuts were a hit with these two big kids as well. I highly recommend a donut party. What's the difference between a donut and cake? Nothing. I had already resolved to let him have a big piece of something unhealthy. The difference with a donut party is it's the main course. But it's SO easy. Donuts, fruit salad, juice, coffee. Boom. Easy. I think we have a new tradition!

He finally got around to his donut... this kid really doesn't care about food. (I wish I didn't!). He was thrilled with the candle in his smiley face, cream filled donut.

I think he wished for more sugar.

His wish came true. He ate around the perimeter and was done!
(Note the Hot Wheels plate... as if his 3rd birthday party theme would be any thing else!)

We tried everything we could to get our matching beauties to look at the camera at the same, but to no avail. Millie loves her 'Gog gog gog!!!' outfit =)

Carson cracked us up with his party hat creativity.

And our little itsy found someone to read a book to her.

...and Owen played a little bit more. In this picture you'll notice 'Ralphie', Owen's tiger and very very special friend. Ralphie goes with us everywhere. He eats with us, cooks with us, cuddles with us....
Squirming away from Papa =) Affection has to be on her own terms (as do most things!)

She found another lap to sit in, too! Uncle Steven is usually pretty obliging!

About to party 'poop out'.

Birthday buddy, MiMa, got to put Owen down for his nap. He slept decently for his nap, but he lost any shred of sanity he had left after nap. He woke up just so spent that he couldn't decide to do anything, and he spent a lot of time crying on the floor. We were going to take him to see Frozen, but instead we stayed inside and played with new toys and then got McAllister's Mac N Cheese for dinner. He had a greeeaaaat day all in all = )
Here's what else is up with O:
  • He weighs 33lb & is 38.5 inches tall.
  • He loves to sing. All.of.the.time. Everywhere. He doesn't always have the lyrics down solidly, but he's pretty darn good with the tune.
  • He still loves to help make food more than he likes to eat the food (unless it's cookies). Mike got a popcorn maker for Christmas and O really enjoys watching it pop, but he often leaves his bowl on the counter.
  • He can communicate well. Whole phone conversations on the phone & his vocabulary is hundreds of words I'm sure.
  • Sleep: 7:30pm-6am and 60-90 minutes of nap in the afternoon.
  • He's a total chatterbox in the car, and he points out everything he sees. Colors, cars (including the make & model!), letters, hay, construction or farm vehicles, etc.
  • Red light, Green light is a recent favorite game. Probably because it involves a bit of chase/running (also a favorite!)
  • All of a sudden, his imagination & creation are blossoming. He loves to add 'parts' on to his cars with play doh. Often we add spoilers & blowers. He's getting a bit more in to creating things with legos as well.. turning his Mater lego car in to lots of different characters like dragons, etc. 
  • Temperament is pretty calm still (thanks be to God). I've heard that 3 can be more challenging than 2. We still have some work to do with listening, focus, & being nicer to Millie, but so far so good.
  • He's eating meat. Finally! Still pretty adverse to trying new foods or eating anything with spaghetti sauce, but we're working on it. 
We continue to be thrilled with his growth & development, and we can't believe he's already 3!
I feel like he was just born yesterday!

Monday, January 13, 2014

White Elephant

Christmas was not over yet... we still had one more event! Christmas evening after the kids were in bed, my folks and brothers came over for our annual white elephant gift exchange. I love this gift exchange, and I love having time with my 'immediate' family. Our time all together happens about 1-2 times a year, so I was going to do anything I could to make sure our white elephant game happened this year, too. Christmas Eve wasn't an option because Steven was working. Fortunately, they were willing to come over to our house so the kids could sleep!

Well.... Owen wasn't quite asleep so we let him get up and open moooore presents since
Uncle Steven didn't see him on Christmas Eve. O and uncle Steven
 are kindred car spirits. They both love them!

We got Owen back to bed and broke out the brandy. Mike made home made egg nog with a little spike of brandy. It was de-li-cious. Not light, but delicious. We, of course, drank them out of moose egg nog glasses. This fits our recurring 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' theme.

Note my dad's 'Eddie' hat, too! This is one of my favorite shots.

Here's the loot. Inside these packages are some great gifts and some terrible gifts.
One year some person gets stuck with picking all of the terrible gifts.

This year it was Steven. Let me introduce you to Polly, the world's perfect pet.

.....and the bubble butt. My parents picked this beauty up in Vegas!

Mike did get the Jelly of the Month club, though. He was thrilled =)
We contribute to this game in lieu of getting gifts for each other, and we all love to play! Our classiest contribution was a can of Hormel Chili accompanied by some Gas-X.
Well, I think this post successfully wraps up our wonderful Christmas celebration.
Now on to birthdays!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Magic of Christmas Day

After we finished Christmas morning at our house we did a quick shower/breakfast/clean up and headed to Mima and Papa Wade's for Christmas! Millie had a rough night (seems to be a theme lately), and so in the 15 minute car ride there, she had already fallen asleep. She was exceptionally 'needy' throughout the holidays, so I stayed in the car while she took a little cat nap. It lasted 6 minutes at the most, but the buzz of excitement from all of the older cousins was building and building and building while we were in the car. When I got in the house with Millie, I really thought I could see Owen with a slight tremor caused by the treacherous wait with an abundance of gifts under the tree.

So we got started at once. The sleds were first. These have already come in handy this month!

Our little elf took a little time to wake up on the birthday girl's lap.

And while the 3, 7, and 9 year old were bouncing off the walls, this sweet little 2 year old was just busy stacking toys that she plays with every week. Now Ava isn't always sweet, but I loved catching her innocence in this moment. It's an innocence that is long gone for Owen, I'm afraid.

First gift was a personalized stool. I personally loved this gift!

Carson got ORANGE shoes. Can you tell he likes ORANGE?! Wonder where O gets it? ;)

This is my favorite favorite photo from the holidays. Even though her shirt is a little messy, I love her tights & tutu as much as she loves Tippy. 'Gog, gog, gog'.

She loves the personalized stools, too!

She was more interested in sitting in the sled (in the kitchen)
 than she was interested in opening her gifts.

And then little elf's fever kicked in. You can see the runny nose here... the day started off great but she went steadily downward as it went along. It's hard to have so much fun 2 days in a row!

M got some yummy syrups and gingerbread pancake mix.

Happier with food.

I got this cabbage patch doll for Bitsy. It just looked identical to her.. I couldn't help myself! While I was shopping at Toys R Us, they also had 'vintage' cabbage patch dolls with the yarn hair. Remember those? They DO look vintage and outdated compared to these hip new dolls with pink stripes in their hair!

We got the kids down for naps and could finally play with the big kids. Once Owen woke up, this game was not an option any longer. He kept 'messing' it up. Oh, Owen.

I just like his profile with the tree behind it!

The Os spent some good time coloring. Once again, Owen 'messed' up Livi's drawing,
but she is very gracious with him.

And then Carson helped him build a lego set. Owen LOVES his older cousins, and I love that he can have a relationship with them!

I also love watching the older kids mature. This year Livi was very in to helping set and decorate the table. She did a fantastic job!
Our favorite story of the day came about halfway through dinner. Papa Wade said, 'This is my favorite song.' So, we all quieted down to listen to 'O Holy Night'. In the 3 seconds of silence, Owen popped up with, 'Papa, you don't have a whole lot of hair'. We all lost it.
I should post a pic of my exhausted Millie at the dinner table, but just trust me her afternoon was rough. We had to leave the party before we celebrated Mima Wade's birthday, but we actually made it longer than we did at the Coopers on Christmas Eve. The baby girl is addicted to her schedule, and I won't be changing that any time soon. We went back over to the Wades and had birthday celebrations on the 26th.. and that was much more lovely than listening to an over tired baby whine while we ate cake =)
We had a lovely Christmas Day with the Wades. They are gracious and generous hosts and givers, and it's getting to be so fun to play more mature games with Carson and Livi!