Oh my goodness, there's so much to write that I hardly know where to begin! We had a really wonderful Christmas and New Year's with our two boys. I didn't work from the 19th until today (which explains all of the unanswered emails - sorry!), and it was such a great break from "normal" and a really special family time home together. We did a little skiing, opened some presents, tackled some projects at home, but mostly we just hung out and enjoyed being home together. I also unfortunately spent a sizable portion of Christmas break really ill, but yesterday was my last day of antibiotics and I'm feeling much better now.
It was nice to have Steve's parents in town for Christmas. We played many games of Settlers of Catan as well as playing in the snow that seemed to never stop falling from Christmas day onward. Sam really enjoyed playing in the snow with his skis on, but I think he enjoyed the sled more. Who can blame him? I'd much rather be pulled by someone else through the snow than moving under my own power.
We went sledding a few days after Christmas, much to the kids' delight. Well, to be perfectly honest, Ben just kind of sat there, but Sam was very enthusiastic about the whole experience. His sled was the "airplane" and Ben's was the "boat" (don't ask me where kids come up with this stuff) and we had lots of fun racing the two. Sam also made his first snow angel, which was absolutely hilarious. After watching Daddy and Mommy make one, he decided that it was his turn. He laid down in the snow and moved his legs appropriately, but he was a little confused about the arms because he kept waving them around like he was clapping. He did eventually get the wings made, but not before we were all in tears from laughing as he flapped his arms around.
Ben would like us to announce that he is starting to crawl forward. Well, crawl is a little overstating his accomplishment. It's actually more like he is falling forward on all fours more than he falls backwards. Still we are very proud of our little 6 month old. He is also taking to solid foods very well. We have gone through all the baby cereals (rice, barley, oatmeal) and are now exploring vegetables and fruits. So far, we won't say no to anything on a spoon. Ben is also moving along linguistically. He makes many raspberries and "elephant noises" as we like to call them. So no real "words" so to speak, but we sure enjoying hearing all the things that he thinks he is saying.
Now that Ben is 6 months old, his eye color is supposed to be pretty set, but Ben's eyes are still oddly bluish (oddly because neither of us have blue eyes, not because there's anything strange about blue eyes). Steve maintains that they're getting greener like his, and I think he's right, but I think that Ben is destined to have light green eyes. Very interesting.
I think that the highlight of Sam's holiday season (besides the shredding of gratuitous amounts of wrapping paper on Christmas morning) was decorating cookies. At first I thought it would be fun if he helped cut out the sugar cookies, but he kept making overlapping shapes, so I transferred him to the decorating department. Fortunately, we had lots of sugar and jimmies because Sam soon deduced that it was much more effective to dump handfuls of decorations on the cookies rather than just sprinkle them. Needless to say, we had some very colorful cookies this year.
We've had a couple of memorable toddler-isms of late. Before Christmas, the four of us were lazing around in bed and Sam was assigning each of us numbers, a la Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is number 1, I was 10, Steve was 12, Sam was 6, and so on. We then explained that Mommy was actually 24 and Daddy was 26 and Sam was 2. To this, Sam replied, "No, I'm not two, I'm trouble!" There was no arguing this point.
We had a constant battle over the chocolate advent calendar where Sam got a chocolate each day. It took him a couple of weeks to get the concept that he only got one candy a day. One morning, he asked for another chocolate and I explained that he only got one a day. He then asked if he could have ten chocolates. Again, a big no from Mom. To this, he responded with complete reasonability "four chocolates?" Oh well, I guess that number awareness has to count for something.
Sam has been such a great big brother to Ben. His favorite game to play with Ben is Squish. If you aren't familiar, Squish is where one person sits or lays on top of another one and yells "Squish" in his or her best monster voice. Needless to say, Ben is nearly always on the floor and Sam is always willing to let his brother be the one on the bottom. We don't suspect any permanent internal injuries yet, but we will be sure to keep you posted. Sam also likes to play with Ben and all his new Christmas toys. Like any good two year old, he assumes that anything that looks marginally fun is his, and Ben hasn't learned to fight back yet. Well, at least they are "sharing."
Speaking of great Christmas presents, I gave Steve a subtle hint that the house needed to be vacuumed more often. He opened, much to his surprise, a Roomba Vacuum. It is a neat little gadget that scoots around the floor on its own and sucks up dirt. Our floors haven't been this clean for a long time, although we have determined that it hasn't saved us any time yet since we just sit around and watch it vacuum. I guess we're pretty hard up for entertainment around here.
My present took the cake for Christmas, though. I got a banjo! I guess that Steve decided that having 3 guitars just wasn't enough, so he got me a banjo and lessons and it's wonderful! I'll start lessons next week, but for now I'm having a lot of fun just hammering out chords for "Rocky Top" and "Home on the Range" and bunches of other songs.
Here are links to our photos from Christmas and random December pictures like skiing and hanging around the house. We had a very sad loss over Thanksgiving - our camera died (rather, it got rather unfortunately closed in a car door and didn't fare well from the experience). On the up-side, though, we had an excuse to get a very cool new camera! It actually fits in an Altoids can! New toys are so fun.
Steve, Jamie, Sam, and Ben
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