Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We didn't exactly have a white Christmas in Kansas City this year, as most of Thursday's snow already melted, but it was a lovely, crisp winter day. We joined Dave's mom for 4 p.m. Mass yesterday, then went back to their house for Christmas Eve dinner and presents. Dave, Ben, Elizabeth and I celebrated Christmas morning at home, then went back to Herb's & Jerry's in the early afternoon for what we had to keep reminding Ben was a combination of lunch + dinner (he gets confused when meals are not in his standard 3x + afternoon snack structure!) and enjoyed time with Herb, Jerry, Jeff, Grandma Anne, Uncle Kenny & Aunt Lynn.

Here is a quick photo dump from our last few weeks. My grandma is at my parents' house until tomorrow so I wanted to make sure she saw some extra pictures of what we've been up to lately!

Ben enthusiastically shaking his jingle bells & "rapping" the chorus of "Jingle Bells" at his daycare holiday program (As a 3 yr old, "rapping" apparently= "yelling")
Talking to Santa at the daycare program

Kids being goofy & making each other laugh before bedtime. E thought it was really cool to get to sit on the big bed for a few minutes!

The next set is from the traditional cookie baking a few weeks ago.

Elizabeth's first (highly supervised) sprinkling foray

Elizabeth got to test a little bit of a cookie. She loved it. Ben wanted to help finish the rest.

When Ben got tired of helping with the cookies, he watched Opa light the menorah for the eighth day of Hanukkah and they played dreidel. Ben is getting very competitive at dreidel and gets very excited when he spins "gimel," which gets him all the gelt on the table!

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day photos:

Santa brought him a Royals shirt.

"Ben's shoe! Just what I wanted!"

Santa's helpers

Exhausted, belligerent Ben on Christmas Eve. Mad that Santa got a peanut blossom and he didn't, but also just tired from not taking a nap and being up past bedtime.
New Royals shirts

Dave pretending he is surprised and that Ben did not blab about me wrapping up this gift from Tony & Jen the moment that Dave got home yesterday!

Book title: What's Going On In Here? (0-5 year-old brain development!)

Listening to Papa's recording of the Charlie Brown storybook from Great-Grandma.

Hobby horse from Great-grandma Anne

Insisted on taste-testing most presents, whether or not they were hers.

Links also make a nice crown.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Twas The Night Before Christmas...Ben style

The other day I found an free printable abridged mad libs version of "The Night Before Christmas" on  We had to simplify and give some examples of the types of words needed to fill in the blanks, but Ben had a lot of fun with it. I don't think it will be replacing Clement C. Moore any time soon, though!

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the toll-free*
Not a zoo was eating, not even a zebra.
The elephants were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Santa soon would be there.
The children were playing all sung in their beds,
While visions of paper danced in their heads.
When out on the lawn there arose such an oink
I popped from bed to see what was the matter.
When, what to my rough eyes should appear,
But a red sleigh and 10 small reindeer.
With a little shy driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in an instant, it must be Brandy.**
His stomachs, how they twinkled! His dimples, how bumpy!
His cheeks were like spaghetti, his nose like a cheery!
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And read all the stockings, then turned with a jerk
He slid to his sleigh, to his team gave a "Moo! Moo!"
But I heard him exclaim, as he raced out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a quiet night!"

*When we get telemarketer calls and Ben wants to know why we're not answering, we tell him it's a toll-free number. At some point he decided that "Toll-Free" was the actual name of the person calling.
**Brandy is his grandparents' dog. He thought it was hilarious when we read that part!

Merry Christmas!!

Happy birthday, Grandma!


Today is my grandma's 93rd birthday. She is at my parents' house for Christmas so we got to have a video chat with her tonight and the kids got to talk to her (Elizabeth screeched!), which is great. This summer all of her grandkids and great-grandkids got together in Toledo. The photo above is her meeting Elizabeth for the first time and below is a family photo. Happy birthday, Grandma!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Visit to Santa

The kids got to see Santa both Thursday night at their daycare holiday program and at Bass Pro Shops on Friday. Elizabeth did not think highly of him, though she calmed down quickly once she was back in our arms. It was the same Santa both times and he is very sweet and patient. He is also the same Santa of Ben's crying Santa picture from 2010:

Our niece Gwen had a similar reaction to her Bass Pro Shops' Santa this week, so now my parents can have a lovely photo collage of all three grandkids screaming at Santa!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Elizabeth at 10 months (and 9 months ... and 8 months ...)

So, we fell a bit behind in these monthly updates.  That's because we spend most of our time trying to keep up with Elizabeth, who is capable of pulling herself up, climbing stairs and getting into anything she feels requires her attention.  Here's a quick attempt to catch up.

At ten months, Elizabeth's favorite things are:
  • The regular table food that she now gets to eat.  She especially likes Cheerios, pasta shells with tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, and her grandmother's rolls.
  • Drums, or anything that can be used as a drum.
  • Clapping, or watching other people clap.
  • Waving, or watching other people wave.
  • Crawling everywhere and opening cabinet doors.
  • Babbling.
  • Whatever Ben is playing with.
Her least favorite things are:
  • Teething.
  • Medication that would reduce the pain of teething.
  • Having items she is not supposed to have taken away from her.
  • Scheduled naps.

At nine months, she paid a visit to the pediatrician for a well-baby visit.  At that time, she weighed 19 lbs., 10 ozs. (60th percentile) and measured 27.5 inches (41st percentile).  Her head circumference was 17.75 inches (55th percentile). 

At eight  months, Elizabeth's first two teeth appeared (bottom front).  By this point she was also going up stairs regularly, and had to be kept from going down them as well.

And there you have it!  She's barreling towards one year at a frighteningly rapid pace, and seems like she won't be satisfied until she can keep up with her big brother.  Needless to say, we're having a ball watching it all (except for meals involving anything she can smear; that can be nauseating)!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, filled with family, friends and reflections on that for which we should truly be grateful.  As the below demonstrates, Ben has already put a lot of thought into that last item.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Day

Yesterday, Ben's preschool class -- to use his words -- "voted for the United States."  What was anticipated to be a close race turned into a blowout as Cat won a mandate over Dog with a 7-3 popular vote victory (and an even more commanding 412-126 margin in the Electoral College).  Exit polls revealed that voters approved of Cat's pro-nap policy and vocal support of legalizing catnip.  These same polls also indicated that Dog was unable to close the "likeability gap" following the well-publicized "Hydrant-gate" scandal.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trick or Treat

Over the past three years, Ben has shown exactly zero interest in Halloween.  He did not want to wear a costume, he did not want to hand out candy to other kids, and he certainly did not want to go trick or treating.  This year was shaping up to be no different -- other than mild interest in carving a Jack-o-Lantern, he insisted he didn't want to dress up or go trick or treating.  We went ahead and got a pumpkin, and Ben had a good time designing and carving it.

Still, there was no indication that he wanted to do anything beyond that.  However, a few days before Halloween, things changed.  Suddenly, Ben announced, "I want to be a dinosaur and I want to trick or treat at Neighbor Dave's," ("Neighbor Dave's" being the house across the street).  It was too late for him to be dinosaur, but we did give him a choice of two "costumes" at hand -- his chef hat and apron, or his Royals shirt and hat.  Ben chose the Royals.  So, on Halloween night, we dressed Ben up as Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, armed him with a bat and prepared to hit the street.  We rehearsed the proper sequence of events:  Ring a doorbell, say "Trick or Treat", answer any questions about his costume, hold out his bucket, and say, "Thank you."  Of course, we figured it was a fifty-fifty proposition as to whether he'd actually follow this procedure at Neighbor Dave's, much less at any other houses.  If Ben made it three houses before glaring suspiciously at a neighbor and asking to go home, we'd consider the night a success.

So imagine our surprise when Ben not only stayed on script, but wanted to canvas the entire neighborhood.  He liked ringing doorbells, he stuck to his lines, he enjoyed seeing other kids in costume, and he had to be dragged home after about fifteen houses.

 Ben as Billy Butler.  To be honest, the only thing that separates this "costume" from something he might wear on the average Thursday is the eyeblack.

After much indecision, Elizabeth decided to dress as a pumpkin.

Showing off the spoils.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Close, but not quite right...

This morning, Ben was building with his Legos and singing the old folk song "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Well, his version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Here are a few of his modifications:

Actual lyrics: 
"And you can walk right out again as soon as you are in."  

Ben's version:
"And you can walk right out again as soon as you are eight.

Actual lyrics:
"There ain't no short-handled shovels" 

Ben's version:
"There ain't no sharks or shovels"

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Boy in Black

A few weeks ago, we were going through a Bedtime Math problem at the dinner table. It was about volcanoes and was titled "Ring of Fire." Ben asked what "Ring of Fire" meant, so Dave and I started singing the Johnny Cash song. Ben latched onto it and has been asking to hear it on the iPod. He has a crazy good memory for lyrics and likes to sing along. He also likes the Social Distortion version, which is where the "one more time!" in his video comes from.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bedtime Story

Family storytime tonight- enjoying Russell & Lillian Hoban's fabulous Bread and Jam for Frances. Ben thinks Frances' little songs are hilarious. Hoban really captures the spirit and stubbornness of a preschooler perfectly in Frances!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Elizabeth at 7 months

I just realized I had this in drafts and never posted it. Seeing as how Elizabeth turned 8 months old yesterday, I thought I should toss it up before her 8 mo. pictures!

Elizabeth is 17 pounds, 7.5 ounces, so she's gained a pound in the last month. She spiked a fever two weekends ago and was diagnosed with a viral sore throat. All she wanted to do for a few days was be held on someone's chest and it was pretty sad. She perked up mid-week and was in fine social form for our friends Neilam and Jen, who flew in from California to spend Labor Day weekend.

She loves to stand and is a crawling maniac!

Stairs! These are awesome!

Ben "helping" to feed her

Trying to grab my food at Arthur Bryant's (who can blame her?)

Hanging out with Jen

She is doing pretty well with baby food and seems to be catching on to the use of a sippy cup for water. We started giving her some puffs (little cereal-like things that melt in your mouth) and she is still confused about what to do with them.

Her Opa was singing a German clapping song to her on Monday and she started clapping by herself. She is really proud of this and got so excited about it the other day that she nearly tipped herself over backward.

Elizabeth is crawling like crazy and is working on pulling herself up to a standing position. She enjoys standing at her activity table and even slowly cruised around it last night.