Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Card (with out takes)

I'm pretty fond of this years card. I planed it out last year right after Christmas after seeing a similar idea for family portaits on the web. I was so sure this is what I was going to do that I bought the fake snow right after Christmas because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find it early enough in the season to get the photos taken. Apparently I wasn't the only one who saw that idea because it was all over the different Christmas card vendor websites. Admittedly that was a big bummer but all the other cards used a forward facing blowing snow toward the camera design and I went with the photos where they were blowing at each other so at least it wasn't identical!  All in all I was thrilled with how they came out.

Front
Back

The kids had so much fun taking the pictures. If it weren't below freezing when we took them we probably could have gone on for quite some time.  Here are some of the more amusing outtakes from our photo shoot.
The first few pictures the only snow in the shot was from Colin. Meghans technique was less than effective at actually getting the snow to move.
Colin got the occasional piece in his mouth from breathing in too close to the pile.
 Soon Meg began bending from the waist and it became increasingly difficult to keep them both in the shot.
 What she lacked in technique she made up for in enthusiasm! Here shes moving so fast she is just a blur.
In hysterics!

Soon Grandma added in some extra snow to enhance the image. Unfortunately I caught her hand in a few of the shots, and the kids found this new addition very distracting.
 "Whatcha doing over there Grandma?"
 Again with the bending over!
Waiting for the countdown from Daddy.. I had no idea they would focus so much on him or I would have done the countdown myself!
 We did have a little trouble with the sun coming and going in different shots, leaving the kids very washed out when we had full sun and very pale as it went away. It made it more difficult to find photos of each kid alone for the back..no two pictures had the same shading.
Ready to reload! As you can see they were having a pretty good time! If only all photo sessions went over this well!
 Colin found the snow stuck in Meghan's hair quite amusing!
I found it adorable.
 This is her "I"ve got snow under my tongue" face. Finding clear plastic inside your child's mouth is not the easiest thing to do.. particularly when it is under their tongue

Colin reminding me that it was indeed colder than it looked.  Time to wrap this up!









Hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meghan is 2 and 1/4 years old!

Here she is: my "big girl"! We are three months into her being two and it is nothing close to "terrible". In fact, she is mostly sweet and sensitive and definitely knows her own mind.  She loves her family and is quick with a hug and kiss, in fact if you leave her without giving her a hug and kiss she will quickly become distressed. She is quick with a smile and a hello for a passerby and has taken to singing in the stroller as we walk through the neighborhood which always elicits a smile from people.  In the last three months she has been transitioning to part time pre-school. Meghan's schedule is a bit more intense than Colins was at this age to accommodate my work schedule. I honestly thought it would be no problem, boy was I wrong. Likely a solid three months of crying at drop off, but we seem to be through it now. She now walks into school on her own with no tears, she just needs a big hug and kiss from mama before she walks away.


Sleeping: Goes to bed by about 7:30 and generally gets up around 7:00am, on a good day 7:15, on a not good day 6:10.  This seems to be an adjustment to her new napping schedule because of school. On days she has school she generally sleeps a little over an hour, but days she doesn't I try to get her down in time to get a full 2 hrs before we have to pick up Colin. I would say 75% of the time I have to wake her up, and we both hate it. On more than one occasion she has said something to the effect of "put me back mama I'm still sleeping".  On rare occasions she drops the nap, usually if she falls asleep in the car while we are running errands, but I think the nap will stick for the foreseeable future. 

Likes:

  • New friends: Meghan is making some new friends at preschool and we hear about them frequently. Nigh is one of the few other girls in her class and has been much more confident with drop off. I think Meghan eventually started taking cues from Nigh that school was an okay place to be. Meghan recently began asking for "Nigh's hair" in the morning.. which I had no idea how to accomplish until Meghan pointed it out one day at school. It was half up in two antennae like pig tails. Another friend I hear a lot about is Nazereno, which you can imagine I had no idea who she was talking about until I saw then name on the cubby. When she says it it sounds more like ay-ya-YEno.
  • Walking: Meghan could easily walk a mile without getting tired. Which would be great if we could cover that distance in less than an hour and a half! She wants to look at every leaf and rock, inspect every crack in the sidewalk and tight rope walk every tree pit. I feel bad having to squash her joy by putting her in the stroller, but it is very difficult to keep track of two very didn't speed children!
  • Bee-bops. AKA lollipops. Meghan has figured out that the hair dresser and the doctor are suppliers of lollipops and if you bring up either she will immediately say "bee-bop?" In fact at her last hair cut she choose a purple lollipop but after finishing it, decided she didn't like it and wanted orange. I didn't allow this since she finished purple one. Now she will randomly remind me that at her next haircut she doesn't want a purple lollipop she wants an orange one. 
  • Mater. as in Tow-mater. I'm guessing this started in California at cars land but I didn't notice it until a few weeks ago when she popped up at bedtime and started asking for "mayor"..since this meant nothing to me I pulled her out to show me what she was asking for. She walked to the car box and started hunting but still didn't come up with anything. I had to ask her what it looked like and she told me "brown truck". After we found it she slept with it for a week. Such a funny thing to be attached to.
  • "So-sie". AKA Rosie. Still a must have companion, the second place "friend" changes every few weeks. For a while it was Aunt Katie's bitty baby, then it was Minnie Mouse, and now it is Mater. 
  • Eating. This girl can put away food! She loves hot dogs, and grilled chicken and any type of pasta. Sandwiches aren't her favorite but if cut with our new Elmo sandwich cutter she will tolerate cream cheese and jelly. She doesn't like pie, or cake really (frosting yes, but not always the cake), but does love cookies.

Hair tucked behind her ears!
Dislikes:

  • Getting her hair washed. I'm not sure when or why this started but she complains when I wash her hair. I've started doing it every other day because it is a pain to blow it dry every night and she gets very excited when I tell her that there will be no shampoo today. 
  • Changing her clothes. She seems to get attached to whatever she is wearing and doesn't like having to change into pajamas if she is wearing clothes, or clothes if she is wearing pajamas.

Look how big!
New things:
  • Chatty Chatty Chatty. Meghan seems to have gone from one/two word phrases to very complex sentences very quickly. She often negates her sentences by shaking her head while saying "I like this show" which is obviously confusing if you aren't looking right at her. She also will say something like "No mommy do it" which can either mean, "No, I want Mommy do it", or "I don't want mommy to do it." Regardless of if I always understand her she talks a lot! She even will talk out her imaginary play which is my favorite. She talks a lot about Mommy coming back and a worried little child often while she is playing. Another recurring theme is taking turns.. which brings me to..
  • Taking turns. Colin and Meghan often have to alternate choice activities (like going second at bath/shower time) so we often alternate who gets to "choose". This approach also allows me to get "Mommy's choice" when it come to picking outfits or hairstyles for special occasions. Meghan has gotten much better about taking turns since school started and we have implemented alternating the choice. She is starting to really understand. 
  • Teeth. The bottom molars are in, but the top ones aren't yet through. Sometimes it is difficult to know when she is anxious about school or just in pain from her teeth!
  • Counting. This started a while ago, but I never wrote about it. If you count along with her she has no problem counting to fifteen, but if she is just playing and counting it goes something like this. 3,2,5,MM,FF,18, FF, 18.... It cracks me up. It is starting to disappear now and I'm kind of sad about it. 
  • She is about 95% on her letter recognition, both upper and lower case. 100% on her number recognition 0-12.


Hello up there!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013

I haven't gotten to post the vacation blogs yet but since Halloween is more current I figured I would get this up first.  Colin choose our costumes in June of this year, during a less than restfull late night drive up to Syracuse. I guess the kids decided I shouldn't be "alone" on the drive and took turns waking up and it was during one of his awake periods that Colin wanted to talk Halloween costumes. He loves coordinating with his sister so we were tossing around lots of ideas. I suggested a priate and a parrot, which he jumped on immediately...only he wanted to be the parrot... that wasn't what I had had in mind, but I figured what the heck, they could both be parrots and I would be the pirate. So I began my hunt for a parrot costume pattern, wondering if I could do it without feathers... I found a discontinued pattern but then had to track it down on secondary sites and ended up getting one that was already cut (to a size 7) for way less than what other sellers were listing it for ( it was going for upwards of $50 at this point uncut!). Colin immediately wanted to be a yellow and green parrot (similar to one on the pattens jacket) and when I asked Meghan she yelled out BLUE very enthusiastically. This surprised me since her favorite color is purple. I figured I would have to convince her that purple wouldn't work...I actually tried to encourage her to be a red parrot for a while as it is the more traditional color, but she wasn't having any of it..she waviered slighting deciding she wanted to be yellow sometime in August but blue and yellow was acceptable. I bought all the material for Colin's in August and started shortly there after. I was a little nervous Meg would reject the costume as two year olds are pretty unpredictable so I didn't buy her fabric until I had made Colin's and tried it on her with good results. I knew October was going to be a crazy month with our trip to California already in the planning stages and a second wedding in Syracuse the weekend after we got home so I got started pretty early. I was nearly done before we went to California, just needing to finish Colin's snaps and add the feathers to both costumes. I didn't order the feathers until pretty last minute because I was convinced I would find a prehalloween sale but never did. The feathers arrived 4 days before Halloween so as you can imagine, I had a couple of late nights of feather sewing. Again, I did all of Colin's before attempting Meghan's, worried the feathers would scare her off but she was totally into it. I think having Colin jump around the house squalking helped with her enthusiasm. In the end I was really happy with how they came out. Here are some photos!
Front View

Side View

More views of the side

Colin close up.
Megs beak was sparkly in an attempt to not make her look like a boy.

Trying to fly! I really wanted to get feet made for them but I ran out of time.

At the parade! My costume was thrown together at the total last minute. The kids were my priority.

Some of the other kids from the building trick or treating. I just love Meg's face in this one.

I ended up making the kids costumes a size up, Meghan because I had to, 3 was as small as it got, and Colin's because I wanted to be able to layer things under it. In the end this wasn't necessary as it was a pretty warm day and with the feathers over fleece, it was pretty warm. Unfortunately Meghan's hood was just way too big and kept falling off and annoying her. She wore it like a trooper for most of the parade and trick or treating even though it was obviously bothering her. I didn't put feathers under their chins and this turned out to be a really good thing, she never would have kept it on if the feathers were tickling her too. If you notice, I usually take pictures inside first, not this year! The apartment was covered in feathers! Three days later I'm still blowing feathers out of my nose and trying to get the blue dye out of the fingernails! I think it is safe to say I won't be using fur or feathers again anytime soon. I'm not only finding feathers in my apartment still but also in the hallways and outside our building!

Before I let you believe I hand sewed all the feathers on there I will let you all in on my secret, they are feather boas that get sewn on through the spine of the boa. Still difficult, but not nearly as taxing as the alternative! At the time I ordered the boas, I coudn't get a plain green one so I ended up getting one that had gold tinsel in it. I spent a good 45 minutes before the parade trying to pull all the tinsel out of the costume, there was still a few pieces here and there but it wasn't really noticable.

I will admit I was a little dissapointed when we couldn't catch the eye of the newspaper photographer (seeing as I obviously had the best dressed kids in the parade!!) but he just wasn't paying attention at the moment we walked by (and I only saw one this year).  Oh well, the costumes were a big hit, and only a few people called them chickens (I wish I was kidding!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meghan's First day of Preschool!

Ta da! Today was Meghan's very first day of preschool EVER! This little girl could not have been more excited. She has watched her big brother go to school for 2 years and the older she got the more she voiced her opinion that she too wanted to go to school. We gave her a backpack for her birthday and she was absolutely delighted with it and would often put it on and ask if today was the day she would go to school.
She was so excited to have it be her turn for first day of school pictures this morning. She has never been easier to photograph! She kept flashing one great smile after another.
She did have moments of nervousness this week too, which were expected. Every once in a while she would talk about school and say "bye-bye Mommy?" and I would tell her yes, when she goes to school Mommy will say bye-bye but that I will come pick her up at the end of the day. Sometimes she rolled with it, other times she would put her arms around my neck and just need a little extra squeeze time. She just needed a little extra reassurance that everything would be okay.
Showing off her new backpack.
Because of Colin's difficult drop off last week, we decided it would be better for us to split them up this morning so Meghan's day wouldn't be set off in the wrong direction by a nervous Colin. Sean took Colin too school and we intended on him being gone before us, but the inconvienent pooper strikes again and they were delayed so by the time Meg and I got downstairs they hadn't yet driven away on the bike. Meghan was not too pleased that she didn't also get a bike ride, but she quickly got over it.  A few quick outside photos and then off we went.

Our last view of Colin before he went off to school. A big smile for his little sister!

Meghan really wanted me to carry her to school but she accepted that she would have to sit in the stroller since there was no way I was carrying her that far.

I was a bit annoyed when we got to drop off and her teachers were not scheduled to arrive at school until a half hour later. I understand they don't need a full staff that early in the morning, but I fully expected that the first day would be all hands on deck! I stayed with Meg for about 45 minutes to get her settled but I wanted to get out of the way before the rest of the kids came in for drop off. Knowing there would be lots of tears, I thought her transition would go better if I was out the door before she saw other kids crying and clinging to their parents. I gave her a two minute warning that I would be leaving, and then gave her a big hug and kiss and sent her off to play. No tears in sight! Miss Maryanne, Colin's old favorite teacher, was there this morning and took Meghan off to play pushing a big cart full of baby dolls. Here is hoping she has a great day! I fully expect the second and third day to not go quite as well as today did, but we are off to a good start.

Colin's First Day of Kindergarten!

Colin had his first day of kindergarten last week. Afer some long and drawn out drama and decision making we turned out Colin's acceptance to one of NYC's public gifted and talented program in favor of keeping Colin in the same school where he went to preschool. This was a very difficult decision as there were positives and negatives to both schools but in the end it came down to what was the best fit for Colin and the fact that we will have to move in the next few years which means another school change.  Even Colin himself was torn in his own preference. He wanted to stay at his school, but he also liked the idea of taking a school bus.  Here are some photos of his first day!
On the morning of his first day he was very solomn. He never cried or was overly upset, but you could feel that he was battling some nerves about the transition. The day before we attended his orientation so we knew who his teacher was, where his new classroom was, and who would be in his class (many of the students from his PreK classroom were also in his kindergarten class.
The closest I got to a happy expression. Colin is genarlly pretty photogenic but he was really not in the mood to smile for me. In this one I think I was asking him to say something very silly to try to intice a smile.
Nutmeg would have to wait a few more days before her first day but she was all about posing with her backpack on with brubee. Colin is very proud that Meghan will be going to school at his old school and is very excited to be able to come with me to pick her up since she gets done after he does.

One last outdoor backpack shot. Colin really had a hard time saying goodbye to me the first day (which was only a 2 hr day!). In fact, I think it was worse even than his first day of preschool when he didn't know anyone. I failed to anticipate how this clinging and crying nervous tantrum would effect Meghan. She was so upset that we left him crying and acting afraid. I could distract her momentarily but every few minutes she would get upset again. About an hour after dropping him off we went to visit her school in anticipation of her first day and that calmed her down. For his second day, Sean took him so Meghan wouldn't have to see him get upset again right before her first ever drop off at school (more on that later), but he wasn't much better. I anticipate it will take him a week to get back into the swing of things. Poor guy just isn't good at transitions.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meghan meets baby Kenley

On July 10th my best friend from way back when, had her second child and surprised everyone with a little girl! So now we have a matched pair one boy and one girl! These are pictures of the first time Meghan and I  met baby Kenley. I think it was love at first sight for both of us.

It almost looks like Kenley is smiling in this one. Meghan was so excited to see her she went right up to her and shared her lil peanut doll.
As soon as Kenley came out of the carrier Meghan had to hold her. We set her up on the couch and she was just tickeled. It was hard for me to get a good picture because she didn't want to look away from Kenley.

Giving the baby kisses! Kenley went a long way helping Meghan understand that "boppys" were just for babys. It wasn't long after we met Kenley that Meghan gave it up for good, and often said "Boppys for babys!"














Here they are sharing a secret. I really hope they get grow to be close friends and have lots of fun together.
The closest I got to a smile from Meghan. Throughout the day she would mimic with her babydall the behavior of whoever was holding Kenley.. swaying, patting, rocking. It was precious. Not a hint of of jealously!

Here are the bigs outside eating popsicles. Even big brother Carter had a really great day. Colin and Carter are getting along better and better as they get older and are less shy of each other.  So excited for these kids to grow up knowing each other, even if we don't spend as much time together as I would like.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Meghan is 2 years old!

My baby girl is 2 years old. She is a total love bug right now, except when she's not...but mostly she is. I was talking to my mom about her recently discussing her joyfulness. We both acknowledged that Colin was joyful too but for Meghan it seems different. For Colin, we decided, he found joy in the world and refected it, but for Meghan, she seems to create joy and it just beams from her to everyone around. She loves nothing more than to smile and wave at everyone she passes. She is infectious in her joy and she passes it freely to everyone she meets. We went for a bike ride recently, our bike seats draw attention even in a jaded city like NYC, but with her in it it is even more attention grabbing. She waved and sung the "hello everybody" song from Music Together the entire way home and nearly everyone she passed just lit up and couldn't stop from waving back and saying hello. She effects people, even the cranky old men light up in her presence, it's fun to watch.
This year on her birthday we went to Splish Splash with Sean's extended family so the pictures are from the few minutes before we left and then at the park.
(I just noticed that Colin's two year post was a full month late, so by that standard I'm doing pretty well!)


Height: 34" about th 50%ile ( a full 2 inches shorter than her brother at this age)
Weight: 26lbs about the 40th %ile ( and 2 lbs lighter!)



Likes:
  • Her backpack. One of her birthday gifts was a backpack. We gave it to her early at her birthday party at my parents in July. She just loves it and is very excited to use it to go to school. She starts next week, fingers crossed that goes well.
  • Baby dolls. Meghan picked up her Aunt Katie's bitty baby the last time we were at Grammy and Poppy's house and has barely put it down since. The timing on this was excellet as we lost her other baby doll on the walk from the car to the apartment the night before. She calls it her "pink baby" since it is wearing pink pajamas. Her other doll is the "purple baby" for the same reason. She loves them and has to take them with us whenever we leave the house.
  • Anything purple. If there is a choice for color meghan wants purple, second choice is pink and third choice is yellow. I found the purple version of her prefered water bottle and heaven help us if it is dirty! As much as I tried not to flood her world with pink and purple it hasn't seemed to matter, she gravites to it...so far the pincesses havn't made an appearance but I'm sure they aren't too far away. 
  • Chasing balls. Meghan can entertain herself for a good 15-20 minutes throwing a ball and then chaseing it down. Colin often tries to throw a ball and catch it himself a few feet in front of himself so I think that is where she learned this game. It comes in handy when Colin is at baseball and she isn't allowed to go inside the gates the play too. 
  • Sadie (the cat). Meghan is not partial to Sadie in favor of Griffin. Oddly Sadie lets Meghan hold her but will leave the room if Colin enters it. Meghan has picked up on Sadies preference of her and returned it in kind. 
  • Rocks. Again I think this comes from Colin, but she likes to pick up rocks and carry them around. Colin has a "rock collection" in a bucket under the kitchen table so he is always picking up rocks, and now she does it too. Mostly she wants to carry them in the carseat..thankfully she doesn't put them in her mouth anymore.
  • "Happy Days". Instead of Happy Birthday, Meghan just says "Happy Day" its really adorable and now everyone in the family says Happy Day. Who doesn't love birthdays!


Trying to show me "two" she can do it but I snapped too early and then she wouldn't do it again.

Dislikes:
  • The vacuum. This is actually much better than it was a month or so ago, but its still the thing in her enviorment she obviously has a distaste for.
  • Being cold. Particularly after the bath, Colin never seemed to notice that it was chilly to get out of the bathtub but Meghan does. 
  • Water in her face. Speaking of the bath... I almost didn't write this because she is so much better about it than Colin was at this age but she still spits and sputters if water goes in her face. She will ask for a towel but generally isn't too upset about it.


Loving the water slides!

New and Notable:
  • NO MORE PACIFIER! Boppy made his exit the day before her birthday when she didn't ask for it at bedtime. As you know I was cutting it down lower and lower and she was loosing interest. But when she didn't ask for it I knew we were ready to go cold turkey. The next night we were in the car coming home from long island and she asked for it but I pretended it was at home and she wasn't too upset. The third night was a little harder but we "replaced" it with the baby she brought home from grammy and poppy's telling her that I gave her "boo boo and baby" instead of "boo boo and boppy". I am still surprised that we got out of that so easily. It wasn't totally drama free but there was never a full on tantrum or lost nights sleep over it. So happy its gone before school starts. I'm a little nervous about how she will react to one if a class mate has it but she will be without it for nearly a month before that happens so hopefully it won't be a big deal.
  • Phrases: 
    • "S'wrong" (what's wrong?) generally she says this to Sadie because Sadie "yells" at us a lot when she wants attention. I guess I must say that to her because now Meg gets right in her face and says "S'wrong?"
    • "Coming" Meghan prefers walking to riding in the stoller but is rather slow and meandering when she walks to I spend a lot of time saying "Come on... hurry up... stay with me"... etc. so now her response is "coming"
    • "Wa-ah you Mommy?" (where are you mommy?) When she is looking for me in the house she starts yelling this, its pretty cute.
  • Loud talking. Meghan is quite challenging in church, she simply does not understand how to whisper in church, let alone simply NOT talk. She has been like this for a while and we "solved" the problem by simply not bringing her, opting to send Sean and Colin during her nap, but now that her one nap a day is later in the afternoon, it is more typicall that we go as a family. Both gets snack on raisens in church but man, once they are gone the challenge begins. 
  • Potty Training: Not too much to report her but a couple times a week she will ask to go potty and deliver on her request. She goes about 50% of the time before bath and shows interest in Colin's underware. I'm not ready to try that yet since she starts school soon, but she is progressing at her own pace.
  • Teeth: Her lower 2 yr old molars are starting to show through the gums, making her a cranky beast on occasion. Hopefully the uppers will come though so we can move on from this phase. She has her first dentist appointment next month.



Cookies were the only thing I could come up with that wouldn't become a melty disasster in the car, so she had cupcake cookies for her birthday complete with candles!
 Bonus photos.
Making faces at Grammy. All ready to leave the water park.

My happy girl.