Saturday, December 18, 2010

December Update

The Christmas Pageant is over, and so I finally have the time to sit down and write a post. (Please forgive the crazy length of this post--I have a lot of catching up to do!)Coordinating the pageant was a lot of work, but the result was worth it. We had 360 people come for the Christmas dinner, and over 200 of them participated in the pageant. Someone forgot to turn on the oven(!) the afternoon of the pageant, so things didn't go entirely according to plan, but everything still came together. Henry was thrilled to get to be a shepherd boy in the pageant with his daddy and seemed impressed that his mommy was up on stage with a microphone telling everyone what to do!

In between meetings and emails, we've managed to have a lot of family Christmas and winter fun. We had our first snow a couple of weeks ago and got Elizabeth outside to enjoy her first snowfall.

The kids and I also went for an afternoon walk at a nearby nature center. Henry thought it was hilarious when he threw rocks in the pond and they skidded across the frozen surface.

Elizabeth was pretty unimpressed.

We've also been enjoying Advent together. It's delightful to watch Henry's anticipation as Christmas gets closer and closer. The Advent wreath and calendar have been a wonderful way for him to have a sense of the passage of time in December.

Making gingerbread cookies and decorating a (pre-made) gingerbread house:

Decorating the tree:

In other Henry news, we've decided to have him start preschool two mornings per week after Christmas. I'll continue to homeschool him the other days, and we still intend to homeschool long term, but Greg and I have decided that he just needs a little more practice at not being the center of the universe. We've chosen a play preschool that a lot of our friends send their kids to (and in fact, our neighbor Quinn will be in his class). For me, it will be nice to have a couple mornings per week to focus on Elizabeth and to do the grocery-shopping with only one kid.

We visited the preschool this past Thursday. Henry was a little tentative at first but eventually joined in the activities and enjoyed himself. He still seems a little anxious about it, but I expect he'll adjust quickly.

Last, a few cute pictures of Elizabeth. She's beginning to roll more and her little laugh is the sweetest sound. We've also started to do a little solid food (gumming a banana and trying some rice cereal) but so far she's pretty skeptical.

Okay, maybe more than a few. There are just too many cute pictures to choose from.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All I want for a dishwasher basket and nail clippers

We're in countdown to Rhode Island mode here, marking off the days on the calendar and strategizing about how to keep Elizabeth from screeching for the entire plane flight. (She's a sweet baby, but very high-pitched when she's tired. Our neighbors on the plane may not like us much.)

Henry can hardly wait to fly on a plane and see everyone. In fact, he was so excited last week that he decided it was time to pack. Here's what he squeezed into his tiny backpack. Note the compass and band-aids. Clearly he is well on his way to following in his father's footsteps as a Boy Scout. My personal favorite is the rattle for Elizabeth.

Official school activities have taken a backseat to my lingering cold this week, but we did manage to make a foam turkey and watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Mayflower specials a few times.

Lastly, there have been a few requests for Christmas lists for the kids. Henry's major playthings this week have been nail clippers and staplers...

(Seriously.) you could apparently just shop for him in the nail care and office supply aisles at Walgreens. However, we do have an amazon wishlist if you're looking for some other ideas:

Not to leave Elizabeth out, but we already have bins of baby toys, so I didn't make a list for her. She'll be moving up to 6-9 months size soon for clothes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Countdown to Thanksgiving!

We're counting down the days to Thanksgiving here--literally. Henry asks multiple time each day how long it is until we go to California, at which point we have to remind him that Grammy and Grandpa Snow live in Rhode Island. But regardless of what state we're going to, we're all excited to see the Snows and introduce Rick and Derek to Elizabeth next week.

As part of our homeschooling, Henry's been learning about the story of Thanksgiving. He loves the books about Thanksgiving that I bought, and he's especially fascinated by the fact that he's related to one of the families that sailed on the Mayflower. (Greg recently confirmed the connection while playing around on Constance Hopkins (direct ancestor and eventual wife of Nicholas Snow) seems to have been singled out by children's book authors as a good Pilgrim protagonist, so strangely enough there are several books in which she is the star.

But besides the history lesson, what's Thanksgiving without hand turkeys? Henry was quite intrigued by the hand turkeys in one of his bedtime books, so he and Greg had a father-son hand turkey time this weekend.

We've also been discussing thankfulness. Henry and I made a special "thankful jar." At dinner, we write things that we're thankful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar. Most of the things are pretty mundane, but it's been sweet to have some time to focus on being thankful together as a family.

In addition to reading about Thanksgiving, we've also been learning about dinosaurs. Thanks to a PBS show on dinosaurs, Henry's become fascinated with them. It's amazing how much he's learned just from watching the show and reading a few books together. This morning he got creative with his two different dinosaur and fairy tale magnet sets, with these results:

He was quite proud of the fact that he'd thought to put the fish-like dinosaurs in the water!

Other than that, we've been plugging along with some phonics and number games. We played some Candy Land this past week...

...and Henry built a "mall" out of his wooden blocks during his rest time. I always love going in at the end of rest time to see what he's created or pretended.

Elizabeth has her four-month check-up this week, so we can't wait to find out how much weight she's gained. She seems to be thriving, and she continues to be an amazing sleeper--nearly 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night! She's finally losing her baby hair. Here's a picture from last week when she still had most of it:

And here's a picture from today. It's a little hard to see, but there's a lot less now! She may be bald as a bean by the time we land in Rhode Island.

And lastly, a great picture from this weekend.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Kids sure make Halloween more fun! Elizabeth had a brief (and grumpy) stint as a sweet pea before crashing for the night, and Henry had great fun trick-or-treating as a builder. Not a construction worker, not Bob the Builder, just "a builder", according to him. It took a little persuading to get him to wear Greg's running safety vest, but it really made the outfit!

Henry only trick-or-treated on our block, but thanks to some generous neighbors, he still had quite a haul. Perhaps even more fun for him was passing out candy. Every time a kid came to the door, he'd sprint to the door and carefully put a piece in each bag, even pressing candy on the adults.

In other news, Elizabeth is continuing to do very well with a combination of nursing and formula. We're starting to get into the rhythm of making formula and washing bottles.

From 2010-10-31

School this week was pretty low-key as we got into our new feeding routine for Elizabeth, although we did do our usual workboxes and activities. Henry's been really enjoying this simple calendar that I made for him that shows our weekly activities. It's a lot of fun for him to be able to anticipate all of his activities during the week and to know what special events are coming up.

From 2010-10-31

One activity that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet is "Jesus Friends," the preschool program that meets at our church on Wednesday night. It seems to be Henry's favorite activity of the week. He loves being part of a group--he's in the orange group, as he reminds us regularly--and adores the puppet show and singing. I'm so glad we decided to have him go. It runs until 8:00, which is well past his bedtime, but his enthusiasm and the quality of the program makes it well worth it. Here he is showing off some of his Jesus friends crafts from this week: a stop sign to remind him to obey God, and a cloth collage based on an Old Testament prophecy where a coat is torn into pieces to symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel.

Lastly, a couple of pictures that are too cute not to share. Have a good week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More fall fun

Things are starting to get back to normal after we discovered last week that Elizabeth didn't gain any weight for a month. So far, it looks like my milk supply isn't sufficient (and isn't improving), so we're now supplementing with formula. Thankfully, our dear little girl is gaining weight well now and is quickly progressing forward with some of the movement milestones that she hadn't reached yet. It's such a relief to see her more active after an anxious week.

She's lifting up her head much more and even propping herself on her arms sometimes.

And she's started to grab at toys and really examine them.

Apparently we didn't get any good pictures of her smiling this past week, but she's been so sweet and smiley (and has much less fussy afternoons, now that her little stomach is full!) It's a joy to have our happy little baby back.

In other news, we've had lots of fall fun here the past couple of weeks.
We had a great visit with Mom and Mike and enjoyed a beautiful weekend with them. We went to the nature center's fall festival (and didn't take enough pictures). Not only did we go for a horse-drawn wagon ride through the forest, we also saw a blacksmith, an owl presentation, made rope and apple cider, and got to eat caramel apples.

Henry had lots of fun having Grandma and Grandpa to play with, especially when he got to play in the fall leaves with Grandpa.

And Elizabeth enjoyed lots of extra cuddles.

Henry loves making applesauce.

And we got crafty and made a fall leaves decoration for the dining room.

We also did a family hike that was supposed to be an easy mile and a half--but Greg's GPS informed us that we actually walked over three miles. Henry was quite a trooper.

And of course we've been doing some more "academic" things--but they're not nearly as fun to photograph! I did get a picture of one our school times just to give you the flavor of it. On this day, Henry's four workboxes contained a sheet on identifying similarities and differences, a workbook where he identified the beginning sound for some words, a speech game for practicing saying the letter "f", and colored rods to practice comparing lengths (although they eventually became a town of skyscrapers and trucks.)