Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Family Christmas

We have a family tradition of staying home on Christmas day. We really like the relaxing, peaceful atmosphere it allows us to have, instead of rushing here and there. (And it really worked out well this year, too, seeing as it started snowing in the afternoon!)

When we woke up on Christmas morning, of course, Russell had no idea what was going on. Since he likes to eat first thing, we let him eat his breakfast before doing presents. And we got to eat my family's traditional Christmas breakfast - strata. {This was way better than the overpriced Denny's we had last year (I had nothing in the house since we were traveling the next day)}:


When Russell sees wrapped packages, he doesn't understand that they're presents, so we really had to coax him to open anything. He was extremely excited about his stocking stuffers, including this monster truck:


Checking out a car from his "big" present (a car spinner musical toy thing) - but more importantly, he climbed in the box as soon as he could:


Jason's parents came over mid-morning, and once Russell opened more presents and went down for his nap, I fixed our Christmas lunch. Portabello pork tenderloin, honey-glazed carrots, and twice-baked sweet potatoes, with key lime pie for dessert - yum!


After Russell woke up and had a snack, we thought it was a good time to play in the snow! He looked too cute all bundled up:


Russell didn't really do anything with the snow, but he is always happy to walk around outside.


What a wonderful Christmas! I wish we could have gone to a church service, but we missed the Christmas Eve service since we were out of town, and the day after services were cancelled due to the snow. So we did tell Russell that we were celebrating Jesus' birthday, and I sang "Away in a Manger" to him, but that was about the extent. Hopefully next year, he will be able to grasp the meaning a little bit.

Luke 2:10-11~ But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

We spent all day on Christmas Eve at Jason's cousin's house, about an hour and a half drive from us. A lot of Jason's family came: cousins, aunt and uncle, parents.

We arrived around 11 and everyone congregated in the kitchen when the ham finished cooking for lunch:

adults Christmas 2010

Russell's Christmas Eve can pretty much be summed up in this picture:


Hunter is Jason's cousin's and his wife's dog. He was so patient as Russell rolled around on top of him, head-butted him (a sure sign of Russell love) and hugged him all day. Russell loves dogs and could not have been more excited to hang out with Hunter.

Later in the day, everyone went to the living room to open presents. (We distracted Russell a little with Cheerios, as he got bored easily.)

Christmas gifts 2010

I have to say, Russell's 2nd cousins Anna (5) and Renee (2) were so cute with Russell. They wanted to include him in everything and gave him lots of their toys to play with. They were constantly saying, "Look at this, baby Russell!" and "play with this toy, baby Russell!"

Side note: Anna was showing me a crown from her birthday party, so I asked her when her birthday was. She said, "I don't know when it was my birthday. I think a couple years ago." Haha!


We all had a great time...although Russell was certainly not a happy car-rider on the way home. He never sleeps in the car - not sure why I thought this time would be different. Oh well, at least our Christmas present this morning was Russell sleeping until 8 am!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

18 months

(Technically, Russell turns 18 months old on Christmas day. But that day will have other things going on, and I doubt a whole lot will happen within the next 3 days!)

My baby boy is one and a half!


Russell is wearing:
~size 4 diapers
~size 18 month or 24 month shirts/onesies
~size 12 or 18 month pants (Mr. short legs - didn't get that from Mommy!)
~size 5 1/2 shoes

~started walking at 15 months...and is now running everywhere and keeping me in shape!
~takes 1 nap a day, from 12:30 to 2:30 or 3
~sleeps from 7:30 pm until about 7 am
~has 12 teeth, including all 4 1-year molars

~foods: blueberries, grapes, goldfish, raisins
~drinks: likes both water and milk (we very rarely give him juice)
~things to do: walk/run around, play peek-a-boo, play chase, read books

Russell has really turned into a sweet boy. Of course, he can still throw quite the tantrum, but overall he is wonderful. He loves to make us laugh, is good at following directions, is a great sleeper, and a good eater.


Russell does have some little quirks that make him who he is. While he's eating, he likes to feed us his food. He loves climbing in and out of our laundry basket or his baby tub. And speaking of the tub, we now can't even say the word "bath" or he will run into the bathroom and throw a tantrum if we don't give him a bath - that's how much he loves them. He is very quiet and shy when he first meets someone and takes about a half hour to warm up to them.

At this stage, he loves figuring out different ways to move. He likes to walk backwards, turn around in circles, dance, fall down on purpose, and crawl. He can sign "more" and "all done" and waves hi and bye. He says "daddy" and "yeah" consistently, and growls if you ask him what a bear says (that's Mimi's doing!). He can point to his ears, nose, mouth, hair, head, belly, and toes (and yours too :)).


I am really enjoying this age! He is so much fun and we love him so much.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Natural Science Center

After church and Russell's nap, we headed over to the Natural Science Center this afternoon for a fun family activity. I really thought it would be more crowded on a weekend day, but we enjoyed not running into crowds.

First, we got to see what Russell would look like as a bug. I think he would be quite cute :)


Russell played a little with Daddy in the kiddie play area - here they are on this teetor-totter-like thing:


Russell and me in front of the stegasaurus:


His favorite thing BY FAR were all the life-sized animal replicas. More specifically, he loved the T Rex. He would run to look at something else, then run back to the T Rex and stare at it in awe and then scream with happiness. So funny.



Second favorite thing: the fish. He kept trying to touch them - I don't know if he thought he could just reach through the glass, or what...


We will definitely be doing this again - Russell enjoyed it so much, and Jason and I did too.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Professional Christmas Photos

As a photographer, I completely understand the value of family photos! And while I LOVE taking photos of my family, I do think it's important to actually be in some, also. So I asked my friend and fellow photographer Becca to do a photo shoot for us. There were some really cute ones - and a couple that I used on our Christmas cards this year.

Baby belly:


Mommy and Russell:


The family photos:

Silly boy!


My two absolute favorites are below:



These were our first professional photos since Russell's newborn photo session. I'm so thankful we got to capture him - and our family - just as it is right now, even if that's wiggly, squirmy, and only bribed to stay still with Cheerios :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Playgroup Christmas Party

This morning, Sara (and Lily) hosted a playgroup Christmas party for all of us, complete with Christmas cookies, a book exchange for the children and an ornament exchange for the moms. We had such a good time!

With 6 squirmy, on-the-go toddlers, I was sure there was no way we would get a picture. But we were all able to get several! We sat them on the couch with their presents (as a distraction), and they all actually stayed there!

L to R: Russell, Eliza, Cole, Lily, Parker, Joshua. (Poor Lily was not happy about the pictures.)


Russell and Eliza:


When we exchanged books, Devon realized that the book I gave Parker was one he already had at home. So we switched presents. That was just fine with Russell; he literally screamed with excitement at every single page in this truck book!


What a nice morning! We love our playgroup!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby Girl Update

This and that about our little girl:

Thanks to our sweet and generous friends Gary and Rebecca, we have gotten lots of hand-me-downs for baby girl that are in great shape! These are a few of her 0-3 month clothes - pink everywhere!:


I had a follow-up ultrasound today to see the one part that they missed at the anatomy ultrasound: her nose. Apparently it's important to see the bones in the nose because few bones means high risk for Downs syndrome. Once again, this child did not want to cooperate. After trying for at least 20 minutes to get her to move, the ultrasound tech had me go out in the lobby and sit for a little while and drink a Coke. That got her moving like a wild woman! :) So we did finally see the nose and it looks perfect.

Here's one of the photos from the ultrasound:


Also: she has a name! But - I know this is a huge tease - I'm not sharing it online yet. We are sharing it in person, however. The reason for this is because sometimes, I feel like you don't even have to talk to your friends anymore, because you've seen everything there is to know about them on Facebook or their blog or by email or whatever. So I want to tell a bunch of people in person first before I put it online. It just feels more special to me that way. I know, I'm weird :)

This little one is definitely feeling more real now. I can't wait until we get her room all set up - but we've got some major cleaning/furniture moving to do before that!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

I really wanted to get our Christmas tree last weekend, but we just couldn't get it together until today. Jason insisted that we needed to have a truck to carry the tree in, so we borrowed a friend's (thanks, Jamie and Heather :))

If I haven't mentioned this, Russell LOVES trucks. He was way more interested in the truck than the Christmas trees.


I made him (and Jason) get a picture with the trees anyway. I'm pretty sure he was looking at the truck the whole time.

We didn't end up getting this tree. Side note: I just think his shirt is adorable. And he will be wearing it several more times before Christmas - so be prepared to see it again :)


Oh, AND it started snowing at the Christmas tree place! How perfect is that? It's like a storybook Christmas tree outing. Well, except toddlers in storybooks probably don't keep trying to run after the cars in the street.

The tree has found its spot in our house, but it's still naked. I plan to post pictures of it once it's decorated!