Saturday, December 18, 2010

1000 Words

Thanks to a great holiday deal at Whipper Snappers Photography, we finally got our act together and snagged some family photos. Since only one could make the Christmas card, here are a few of the others:


Now that Josh is past the 1 year mark, I don't feel so compelled to post monthly updates, but man! This kid has changed a lot since his birthday. Josh took his first tentative steps just 6 weeks ago, spent a month doing the "Frankenstein" (arms straight out) walk, but he's just... walking... everywhere... quickly. Josh is also climbing EVERYTHING - stairs, stools, boxes, you name it. The stools we have around the house to help Owen reach things are a favorite - Josh gets up with lightening speed, but the bruises on his head are a good indication that getting down still needs some work. Ouch.

At nearly 14 months, we suddenly realized Josh has reached the point where he understands WAY more than we give him credit for. Up until now, it's allowed him to be sneaky and innocent, but lately, he's been slipping up and revealing how much he understands:

- When we say, "time for bed" and he heads for the stairs on his own...

- Yesterday, he was walking around with a "torch" style flashlight from Owen's tool kit. He was holding it up by his face and basically yelling "ahhh, ahhh, ahhh!" as he walked around the house. I thought it was kind of strange until I realized that he was imitating the siren sounds that our toy megaphone makes!

- He's been using boxes and toy bins as stools. He may only be 26 inches all, but I found him on the couch this afternoon. I think Owen was at least 18 months old before he could climb on our couch. This one is much more crafty!

- Last night, he grabbed one of our "real" forks and successfully fed himself rice. This morning, he used a kid fork to feed eggs and potatoes (even dipping potatoes in ketchup).

- He climbs Owen's bathroom stool, grabs a toothbrush, and knows it goes in his mouth.

The gig's over Josh - we're on to you! No more innocent baby - you really are a toddler now.

Josh is still a total tornado. His attention span is about 40 seconds, and we can't get him to sit still to read a book for anything. Just shows how kids are different. Owen always LOVED reading books - it was our "go to" activity when the activity level just got to crazy, but Josh spends our pre-nap reading time tearing apart the room. He's just not a snuggler. I still nurse him before bed, but when he's done, he's reaching for the crib.

And, the best news for last: Josh is sleeping through the night. Something just clicked the night of December 6, and he slept all night for the first time... and has slept 11+ hours a night every night since. Crazy. Yes, about every 4 or 5 nights, he needs help finding his binky around 5 am, but that is a welcome change from having to nurse him twice a night! (and as a funny side note, I'm now waking up with sore shoulders from sleeping soooo soundly for so many hours at a time. Good problem!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Preschool Advent

I wanted to blog about the daily advent activity we've been doing for the month of December. In looking for advent activities that would be appropriate for the preschool age, I was actually kind of frustrated by what I found online - most of it was songs, games, coloring pages or elaborate craft ideas that would need a lot of prep (not gonna happen around here!) and aren't really focused on Jesus or the Christmas Story.

Thankfully, my friend Phyllis always has wonderful advent activities planned for her three kids and she always puts them on her blog. I remember reading about this idea on her blog several years ago and was so excited to start the tradition with my own kids. I don't know if we'll do this every year (but Phyllis has other ideas too!), but I'm really enjoying having a daily count down that reminds us of the reason for the season. At first, I was worried that having a daily activity for the whole month of December would be overwhelming, but it only takes about 5-10 minutes each day and has really just become "what we do" after dinner.

The Concept: I made this easy advent calendar with the 1-25 numbers. On the back of each card is the name of a small gift and then a bible reading that corresponds to the gift. For example: The second day the gift is "grape candy" and the card says, "Grape Candy--Grapes make jelly and juice, raisins and wine. But Jesus didn't need grapes to perform His first miracle. Read: John 2:1-10" Of course, the reading is about Jesus turning the water into wine. Most of the "gifts" are things you can find around the house - a quarter, soap, goldfish crackers, etc.

The set-up: this year, we just did cards hung on ribbon with a gift bag underneath, but I found all sorts of other creative crafty ways to make your own advent calendar using painted toilet paper tubes, Christmas socks, snowflakes cut out - yea google on that one! (Note: Phyllis uses the same "gifts" and readings, but each night she hides a gift bag for the kids to find.)

The Content: The specifics came from this post on (you have to scroll down to the section that starts with the words "A quarter" to see all 25 gifts and the corresponding verses we are reading.)

The Routine: In our house, we grab the card of the ribbon and the gift out of the little bag. then, we all sit under the Christmas tree and read the card and verse while munching on Christmas cookies. You can do whatever routine works for you - light candles, say a prayer, sing a hymn, or go our route and follow the reading with some guitar carols and a dance party.

12 more days until Jesus' Birthday... Happy Advent!

The reading of the list

We helped Owen write a letter to Santa this year (he circled things in the Fred Meyer catalog and then told us what to write) and made our annual visit down to the Old Mill shops. It was kind of a madhouse, but the "elves" helping Santa were doing a great job. They even set up a waiting list with... get this... phone numbers! So we left and browsed through REI for 20 minutes before getting called back for our turn.

I was kind of worried because Owen looked really nervous as we waited the last 5 minutes in line, but when it was our turn, Santa looked up and said, "Owen!" and our little nail biter did a full on sprint and dove into Santa's lap. So cute... though not worth the extra $10 for another photo. Santa patiently read through Owen's list, including the note that we will be at Nana's for Christmas night. Josh, on the other hand, was not so thrilled. But hey, this guy's a professional (not some local celebrity voluteering for chairty... oh wait), so he jingled the bells long enough for us to get a photo.

Now, if we can just convince Owen that giving Santa a list does not mean he is getting everything he wrote... 12 days to Christmas!