December 11, 2007
We have a number of Christmas trees scattered throughout our house of varying shapes and sizes, and Sophia even has a small pencil tree in her room with Curious George ornaments. If you ever ask her what goes on the tree, she'll tell you "George." My mom has also made her an advent tree, and she daily looks forward to getting the box and finding the right ornament to put up for that day. The first day I had a hard time explaining to her why we could only put one ornament on that day, but she's got the routine down by now.
We went to pick out our real tree last weekend, and it was quite the affair. Each year, there is a man who owns a nursery who is an elder at our church (it was for his dad that Tim used to work landscaping) who kindly donates a free tree to the pastoral staff of our church, which is what allows us to be able to afford a tree from his lot. They are very costly, but also very beautiful. Every year, we say that we don't think there is a hint of a bad tree in his lot. We enjoy our outting every year, as it's complete with hay rides, cider and hot chocolate, roasted peanuts and chestnuts (which incidentally, for my family, are WAY better than our London experience of roasted chestnuts- they're actually good), Santa, and several reindeer!! Sophia had a great time riding in the wagon behind the tractor and checking out the reindeer. Noah, who was all bundled up in his carseat as it was cold and snowing, was less thrilled with the experience!
Sophia and I have been out to play in the snow several times, and it never fails to amaze me how she doesn't seem to get cold! I'm always ready to come in long before her. We've made her first snowman this winter (which scared her a ton when it crashed over while I ran into the house to get the decorations for his head), she's been on several sled rides, and today we made her first snow angels. They're so small!!! Usually, we venture out in the morning while Noah is napping, so he usually misses the fun, but we did take both kids for a short sled ride on Sunday after church. Noah was not impressed with the sled, until it started moving. In fact, he definitely wanted out, until Tim started pulling and then it was okay. But the minute we stopped moving, he was ready to be done!
It's been so much fun to experience the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a child. And it's also been a real eye opener for us. Now that Sophia is old enough to begin to understand presents, and decorating and all these things, we are striving so hard to teach her the real meaning of Christmas. Which we've discovered is even harder when it seems that we frequently fail to remember what Christmas is really about. We've debated for years (long before we had kids) what we were going to do about the great Santa debate. And finally, this year, we are feeling more pressure to actually have an answer as Sophia is beginning to recognize Santa everywhere we go. Just days after Thanksgiving, I was thinking through all of this while I was waiting for Sophia to go potty, and I ended up thinking out loud "Maybe we'll make a birthday cake for Jesus this year." I've always thought that was pretty cheesy, but now that I'm wrestling with this for myself and my kids, I thought it might be a semi-tangible way for a 2 year old to comprehend some of the reason for Christmas. Little did I know, Sophia was fully listening to me thinking out loud and would bug me daily about a birthday cake for Jesus!!! So maybe, just maybe, we are on the right track...
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Sitting on Santa's lap. She had NO idea what to say when he asked what she wanted for Christmas. You may wonder where Noah is? Well, I was going to sit him in there after this shot, but then the batteries on the camera died, so this was all we got this year!
November 6, 2007
So you might be asking, "What about the nurse maid elbow?" Let me tell you, because Tim and I are new experts on the subject. Towards the end of the night, Sophia was freaking out about her arm. We had no idea what she was talking abut, but we did see a couple of spots that looked maybe like a little rash starting. She was overly tired, so we didn't know how much that was contributing to the situation, but she was crying about her arm when I took her out of her carseat, she didn't want to put it through her pajamas, and basically just held it into her tummy. The next morning when we were debating what to do about the arm that she still wasn't using, she was telling us that it hurt from holding Daddy's hand. Tim said, "She was trying to pull away from me and I was having to hold on pretty tightly." We got her into the doctor later that morning, and our pediatrician diagnosis was "nurse maid elbow". Basically what happened is that the ligaments across her elbow got shifted out of place. They had mostly moved back into place by the time we got to the doctor, but she said she did feel a little click in one of her last movements, so the doctor figured that was the final "adjustment" to move the ligaments back to where they belong. We were kind of sweating how we were going to explain when Sophia said that her arm hurt from holding Daddy's hand, but before we even got that far, the Dr. told us that this commonly happens when toddlers are holding their parent's hands and try to pull away! So, consider it lesson learned!
Notice the Rockies jersey, which she also loves. She gets so excited to wear her very own 'baseball shirt' (which isn't even actually her own, since it's just on loan for the season).
October 18, 2007
Anyway, the biggest event in Sophia's life, is that she seems to have almost conquered diapers!!! YIPPEE!!! We had been half-heartedly getting Sophia acquainted with the potty for several months, and then a couple of weeks ago, we went to visit friends and Sophia wanted to use the potty just like her friend Taylor. We got home that day, and from that minute on, Sophia started telling us she was done with diapers. Every time we would change her, she would tell us that she needed to go "pee-pee", and she would manage to squeeze something out every time! So that continued for a week until she ran out of diapers, and then we realized we had finally come to a turning point and decided we needed to figure out what we were going to do. Last Friday, we decided to hit the potty hard core. Turns out, it was a good decision, although it took us a little while to be convinced. There were several factors we were unsure of how she would deal with, but she's pretty much shown us that she was more ready than we realized. By the end of the weekend, we weren't sure we had made the right choice, but she woke up on Monday showing us she knew the drill. I was worried about all kinds of things: how would we ween her off treats, would she tell us when she needs to go, would she poop in the potty, what about when we're out of the house? And this week, one by one, she's past all those hurdles! We've only had a few accidents, she hasn't asked for treats, I haven't changed a poopie diaper from her in a week, and she told the ladies in the nursery at church this morning that she needed to poop on the potty!!! And, we weren't even going to address this issue for some time, but on her own, she has stayed clean and dry during all of her sleep times this week! Who knew? Kids sure do surprise ya sometimes! And we are all too grateful!
And what a year for it this has been! The second to the last game we went to was on October 1st- the play-in game against the San Diego Padres. Without a doubt, we are both in agreement that that was bar none the best baseball game we have ever been to! The game itself was absolutely amazing, intense, and nerve racking! 13 innings, a back and forth score, and a must win situation. Does baseball get any better than that? The emotion and intensity of that game were like no other game we've been to. We felt like everyone in the seats around us were family by the time the game was over because we had been through such a bonding experience over the course of nearly five hours!
But then Game 4 of the NLCS was pretty amazing, too. Although the Twins have been to the World Series twice, I had never had the privilege of being at a playoff game prior to this year. The game this week didn't hold the same level of intensity as the play in game (which is to be expected when you're up 3 games to none and have 4 remaining games in which you only need to win one!), but that night was magical in it's own ways. There's something about sitting in nearly freezing weather until almost midnight rooting your team on! Our biggest disappointment of the night was that we took out the brooms to bring them along, and forgot them at home. But there were brooms aplenty that evening, and they were sweeping the city by the time we finally headed out of downtown at nearly 1 am!
So next week begins our attempts to obtain World Series tickets. They are only selling 18,ooo, and they are only available on-line, so our chances of actually obtaining them from the Rockies organization are slim to none. And someone told me today that Slim is walking out the door right now! But that's not going to stop us from trying. If we don't get them when they go on sale at 10am on Monday, you can better believe we'll be living on Craig's list attempting to find some for a "reasonable" price!
With some of our closest friends Kyle and Erika Morris (Kyle's the one who scored us that night's tickets)
October 16, 2007
Anyway, we try to go there as often as we have time for, and we have now made it a tradition to be there for their annual harvest festival. Last year was my first year with Sophia, but this year we convinced Tim and Noah to brave the crowd and come with us. It turned out to be well worth our time. The event itself is free, but then you can buy all sorts of jams and food and of course pumpkins!!! They have cider and wagon rides and all kinds of pioneer games. This year they had a mini-corn maze, which was a HUGE hit with Sophia. She would have wondered through it nearly all day if we would have let her.
And certainly the day wouldn't be complete without some pumpkin pictures! It was so funny to observe other families and moms trying to get their perfect family photos. After watching one particular family, I couldn't help but laugh. There were a couple of kids, but you couldn't help hearing the 5-ish year old girl saying, "Mommy, I don't want to sit there. It hurts. Mommy, it hurts!" To which the mom responded, "Sit down! It doesn't hurt that bad! Let me take the picture!!" I am sure she was a very good mom, but the whole thing was much more comical to watch from the outside, and you just wonder if the Mom realized how irrational she sounded. Sometimes ya just have to ask yourself, "Is the picture really worth the trouble?"
Well, for us, it certainly was! The kids, fortunately, were VERY cooperative, and we got some great shots from the day, so I couldn't resist sharing them with whoever might check for them! Noah, in particular, seemed to think this day was made as his own personal photo shoot! He couldn't stop laughing and smiling! It turned out to be lots of fun for all of us.
My personal bias is that these could definitely be the cutest kids EVER!!! (Incidentally, these were the pumpkins we ended up bringing home.)
October 2, 2007
Sophia has been busy, busy, busy. Who knows what exactly it is that she's doing most of the time, but she's busy doing whatever it is! She talks non-stop and has a continuous running commentary of what is happening from the time she wakes up (even before we go in to get her up in the morning) all the way until we lay her down in bed at night. She is finally beginning to learn some pronouns and prepositions, so that is moving her closer to using actual sentences. She has developed a new found passion for yogurt (we hear her in her bed before she gets up saying "yo-gurt, yo-gurt"), her babies are her hands down favorite toys, and just today we went to pick out some bedding for her "big kid bed." I wasn't sure she would get that concept, but she hasn't stopped talking about it, so I know she's excited.
Noah has changed the most in the last month. He is growing so fast these days! He has added quite a list of foods to his menu (peaches, pears, apples, squash, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas and tomorrow is our first attempt of avocado). Mid-way through September, he bursted out "Da-da!" and just a few days ago, he first said, "Ma-ma." Although we are not foolish enough to believe that he has attached meaning to those words yet, I keep encouraging him to "Say Mama" (in which case, Sophia always does exactly as asked!). He has also accomplished one of his first major feats so far- sitting up all by himself. This happened just yesterday and the minute I let go and he realized he was on his own, he just looked at me with an expression that seemed to say, "I"m such a big boy! I know I'm doing something cool!"
This past month was also a great month for out of the usual activities for Tim and I. We were actually able to get away for a night to a little Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs (just outside of Colorado Springs) for our anniversary. We had a great time, and we have decided that now that we have kids, a one night getaway just isn't enough! Then last night, we were actually able to get two tickets for the Rockies one game playoff against the San Diego Padres. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we are in agreement that it was the most incredible baseball game we have ever been to! Wowsers, 13 innings, a score that went back and forth, so many close calls, and finally, the big W for the Rockies! Whew! Go Rockies!
August 25, 2007
We had her party the Sunday before her actual birthday, and she loved it. How could she not, all her favorite friends were there, we had pizza and cake, we played at the park, we splashed in the pool, and we opened presents. What's not to love?
Unfortunately, we were all recovering from the most contagious flu bug I've ever been in contact with. I thought we were all in the clear, but I was a little unsure about Noah, so I actually had a babysitter come stay with him in the basement so that I didn't have to worry about any of the other kids getting too close. Turns out that was all in vain, since we spread the dreaded illness to several of the families at the party. Oops! I'm just beginning to get over the guilt! And I realized during the course of the party how not back to normal Sophia was when I realized that she didn't eat one single bite of her birthday cake- the same cake that she had been talking about and asking for for weeks!
Sophia's actual birthday was on a Wednesday (Aug. 15), and we had planned to take her to a local water park, but it ended up being fairly cool and rainy that day, so we took her to the mall instead. We looked at puppies and rode the escalators, and I think I was more disappointed with the change in plans than she was. Presents kept arriving in the mail all week long, and let's just say that Sophia has DEFINITELY come to understand the meaning of presents. Every time we bring a box in the house, she gets all excited thinking it's presents. Yesterday, Tim went to the dentist for a routine cleaning, and when she heard him coming back home, she got all excited saying "Daddy presents!" (So he ended up giving her his freebie toothbrush and she was thrilled- I am cherishing the days when she is so easily appeased!)
We ended up going to the water park the following weekend, and it was still lots of fun. Sophia has definitely learned to enjoy the pool this summer and never wants to leave. She probably would have stayed all day if we hadn't been chased out by rain.
Anyway, it was tons of fun and now, I've decided I have mixed emotions about birthdays. It was so much fun, that I wish I could do it more than once a year. But at the same time, I'm pretty sure that I'm not allowing Sophia to have any more birthdays for the rest of her life because I kind of like the way she is right now!
Waiting for the party to start
August 14, 2007
July 24, 2007
Sophia's other new trick is that she has discovered the word "mine." And while we knew it was inevitable, it's still not so fun. I'm not sure entirely where it came from, since the first time she said it, it was entirely out of the blue and unexpected, but I guess maybe that proves that it's just inherent in human nature? Anyway, she's only used it a few times, but I'm sure it won't be long before we're really tired of the word! She does have some much more fun phrases, too. She likes to say "Mama coming" whenever I'm not within arms reach, and she frequently tells me, "Noah miling" (translation: Noah's smiling). She definitely has not figured out pronouns and prepositions yet, but she is beginning to link several words together, and the other night she told me, "Mama, eyes, blue." Which was particularly amusing since Mama's eyes are, in fact, green!
The most exciting news in her world is her upcoming birthday. She recently went to a party for one of her favorite friends, which was held at a local park which happens to be very large. Her friends family also had a small version of a bounce house at the party, and that's the first thing Sophia remembers about the party. She's going to be awfully disappointed to learn that there will be no bounce house at her party, but she is certainly looking forward to the event! I think it's helped that she went to a party so close to hers because she now understands what it's all about and gets so excited every time we talk about her birthday!
She is also very excited to have another cousin this winter. She clearly has no idea of the concept of cousins, but she does know that "Dretcha baby" in her "tummy", so I know she's aware of the whole event. She's been asking to see Gretchen's baby, so I think she might be a little disappointed next week when Eric and Gretchen get here and she can't actually see the baby yet! Soon enough, soon enough!
It was a typical lunch affair at the Nielson's- Sophia in her high chair enjoying pita bread, orange peppers and cottage cheese. Noah was playing somewhat contentedly on the floor. I was scrounging scraps of whatever I was giving to Sophia. Noah, however, was ready for an early nap, seeing as how we had already been to the doctor's office this morning for a vaccine for him. He didn't get much of a morning nap, so by 12:30, he was ready for some sleep.
Every time it happens, I think that I wish there were another way, but I took Noah downstairs for his nap, leaving Sophia in her high chair with her lunch. I came back up to find Sophia with a finger up her nose. Of course we discussed how that was not a good place to put fingers, but then when I looked again, her nose was rather red, and she just couldn't keep her fingers away.
I didn't really figure it out until she started saying, "Pepper, nose!" And can you believe the pepper was so far up her nose, I couldn't even see it? So I started replaying my way too many first aid training courses and wondering if I was really going to have to call our pediatrician and tell them I needed to bring my kid in because she had a piece of pepper stuck in her nose? I got Sophia out of her high chair and tried to investigate if there was anyway I could get the pepper out myself. That's when I realized there was not one piece of pepper stuck up one side of her nose, but multiple pieces in both sides!!! By this time, the kid was totally wheezing around the peppers.
I got the tweezers out of the bathroom, and successfully managed to pull one piece out of the right side, but didn't think there was much of a prayer of me getting the piece out of the left side without pushing it further in. I sat Sophia up and had her blow, and this is when the third piece came out of the right side! Good grief, she almost had a whole garden in there!
At this point, I realized, yes, I was going to have to call the pediatrician's office, and yes, we were going to have to take her in. I called the doctor's office and had to explain to the call center "what was going on with Sophia today" and had to explain that no, it wasn't ground pepper in her nose, it was a piece of orange pepper almost an inch long! After 10-15 minutes on hold, they told me to bring her in. They scheduled an appointment for an hour and fifteen minutes from that time at an office that isn't our usual office b/c no one at our regular office was answering the phone, but if we came right away, they might be able to squeeze us in sooner. Who says we need health care reform in America?
Anyway, Tim ended up coming home from work to take her so that I could stay home with Noah, and they were back in nearly an hour. It ended up costing us $30 for a doctor to pull a piece of orange pepper out of my kid's nose!!! Really, it could have been so much worse, but how pathetically humerous was the whole event?
And Noah's version of the story? Well, he doesn't even know because he slept through the whole thing! So let's hope he didn't get any bad ideas from his sister-yet!
June 19, 2007
Noah meets Opa- and seems to enjoy him quite a bit!
Did I forget to mention we visited the Curious George exhibit at the Children's Museum in St. Paul? Noah wasn't all that thrilled with it, but I don't think Sophia has ever been so excited in her life! Every new display she saw was more exciting than the last. "OOOH, JUGE!!!" She would exclaim over and over.