Sunday, November 30, 2008

Daddy and His Little Girl

What's there to say...I just love these pictures!





The North Pole Express

Every year at this time the Grapevine Vintage Railroad turns into the North Pole Express (not to be confused with another well-known train that comes out at Christmas, refers to the northern pole, and is also an express train). Today we all took a ride on it with some of our friends from the Early Childhood PTA.

We all started out in a big tent at the train depot just singing some songs. All of the children were invited up to the stage to sing and Nicholas did a great job. Next we walked out of the tent to board the train and guess what! It was snowing! Well, Nicholas was quick to point out to us that it wasn't really snow, just bubbles made to look like snow. They did fall and drift just like snow but alas, snow doesn't fall in 50 degress temperatures so I guess the little guy was right.





On the train, we heard a reading of "Twas The Night Before Christmast" and sang more songs. The lady in the front of the car who was running the show was fine but you could tell that she had been doing a lot of these train rides because her spirit just wasn't into it. Stuart commented that our train car must have gotten the surly elf! It was all fun though. We even got an appearance from Santa Claus! Well, I called it an appearance. It was more like a red blur as he ran down the center aisle of the car. Oh well, so there is some room for improvement in the show for next year. The train ride was fun, especially with our friends along for the ride!



We even made some new friends with another couple who brought their four year old little boy on the train. Afterwards, we headed home and warmed up with some hot chocolate and cookies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dinner and A Carriage Ride with Friends

Tonight we had a wonderful evening out with three other families that we are friends with from church. We spent the evening in the West End area of Dallas. We started off with dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse. Nicholas thought it was cool that we got to eat in an old train car they had in the middle of the dining room.





After dinner, we were picked up outside the restaurant by a horse drawn carriage for a tour of the area. Our driver was our dear friend Jon who is the husband of the lady who organized our fun night out. This was Jon's last night as a carriage driver because they are packing up and moving up north for new opportunities in their lives. Tonight Jon was driving the best carriage of all, the Cinderella carriage. It is the coolest one they have and it was decorated with Christmas garland and beautiful snowflakes lights. It was really beautiful in the dark -although it's hard to fully appreciate it because the bright flash in the pictures kind of loses the effect.









Jon, Tamara, and Aiden - We have enjoyed all the times we've shared together and your friendship is dear to us. We will miss you but we are excited for the great plans that God has for you. We love you and we wish you all the best!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

We hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, and good food. We made our traditional brined turkey along with the required family recipe dressing. We also tried a new recipe for a cranberry, apple, sweet potato dish which I thought was quite yummy.

Nicholas helped prepare the turkey. He gathered some fresh rosemary from the yard to be used as part of the aromatics during roasting. I love the second picture when he was saying "that's the last picture!"





He also helped by brushing the turkey with oil just before we put it in the oven.



I'd like to show you a picture of our beautiful dinner table with the scrumptious looking food elegantly displayed. However, we were so hungry by the time it was all done that we happily just dug right in.

After dinner, Stuart got some sweet pictures of Rachel and me together.







In these pictures Rachel is wearing a little onesie that my mom gave to her. It reads, "My heart belongs to Daddy". But oh how Daddy's heart belongs to her as well. Stuart just loves his little girl! Typically, one of the first things he does when he walks in the door is come over and give me a kiss. The other night he came home and I was sitting on the couch holding Rachel. He came over and said, "Hi Sweetie!" and leaned over to give his kiss. However, it soon became obvious that he was leaning over towards Rachel and not me. He caught himself as he was almost there, stopped, and quickly gave me a kiss then went back to giving Rachel a kiss too. What a stinker! But I've got to love him for being such a wonderful and loving father :)

After a long day of cooking, watching football, and playing games, it was finally bed time for the little ones. Nicholas thought he would hide to avoid it a little longer. We see you!

Thanksgiving Chapel

Last week, parents were invited to attend a special Thanksgiving Chapel service at Nicholas' preschool. Most of these special services involves the children singing or performing so it is really sweet. Stuart had to be at work but Rachel and I were excited to go. I got a seat on the front row so I would be sure to get some good video of Nicholas singing. However, his class ended up sitting on the side of the stage and he was in the back so my video of him during the service wasn't very good.

However, I did get some cute video of him as his class was entering and leaving the chapel. As he was walking in to the chapel, you can see him looking at the parents trying to find me. It made me smile to see his face light up as soon as he found us.

At the end of the service, you can see the real ham in him as he waved casually over his shoulder as if I were just the paparazzi following him!



Here is a Litany of Thanksgiving that was sent home from preschool:

For the good world: for things great and small, beautiful and awesome, for seen and unseen splendor;
Thank you, God.

For human life: for talking and moving and thinking together; for common hopes and hardships shared from birth until our dying;
Thank you, God.

For work to do and strength to work; for the comradeship of labor; for exchanges of good humor and encouragement;
Thank you, God.

For marriage: for the mystery and joy of flesh made one; for mutual forgiveness and burdens shared; for secrets kept in love;
Thank you, God.

For family, for living together and eating together, for family amusements and family pleasures;
Thank you, God.

For children: for their energy and curiosity; for their brave play and their startling frankness; for their sudden sympathies;
Thank you, God.

For the young: for their high hopes, for the irreverence toward worn-out values; their search for freedom; their solemn vows;
Thank you, God.

For growing up and growing old: for wisdom deepened by experience; for rest in leisure; and for time made precious by its passing;
Thank you, God.

For your help in times of doubt and sorrow, for healing our diseases, for preserving us in temptation and danger;
Thank you, God.

For the church into which we have been called: for the good news we receive by word and sacrament; for our life together in the Lord;
We praise you God.

For your Holy Spirit who guides our steps and brings us gifts of faith and love, who prays in us and prompts our grateful worship.
We praise you, God.

Above all, God, for your Son, Jesus Christ, who lived and died and lives again for our salvation, for our hope in him; and for the joy of serving him;
We thank and praise you, God our Father, for all Your Goodness to us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conversation with a Man at Sam's Club

Rachel, Nicholas, and I ventured into Sam's Club yesterday. I kept Rachel in her infant carrier and put the carrier into the shopping cart along with the items we were purchasing. As we were leaving the store, a gentleman started a brief conversation with us:

Man: What a sweet looking baby. What aisle did you find that on? (chuckling) I want to be sure that my wife doesn't go down that aisle. She is a very cute baby.

Me: Thank you. We think she's pretty cute too. She can be a lot of work though.

Man: (Smiling) My children are grown and out of the house and they are still a lot of work for me.

Me: (Laughing) You know, my dad says the same thing about my brother and me!

Man: There is justice though. Your children will grow up and have children of their own someday :) Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sleeping Like A Baby

I just love holding Rachel while she sleeps. Apparently she is quite fond of it too since she can be sleeping peacefully but as soon as I put her down in her crib she starts to cry. I don't mind. So the dishes don't get washed today and perhaps Stuart won't have a clean shirt to wear to work tomorrow. How can that be more important than cherishing moments like these with our little baby?



Isn't it sweet how newborns automatically tuck their feet up under their bottoms when they are snuggled up with someone. So cute!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

POP!

What an awesome picture! Nicholas is popping a water balloon and Stuart captured the shot beautifully. The balloon has popped but the water is still in the shape of the balloon. Cool!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rake It Up Again!

Every fall we have to rake the back yard of all the leaves that have fallen from various trees. Not that we mind the leaves. We really don't care about the leaves in the yard. But if we don't rake up the leaves then some magical force takes over and every single leaf is drawn into the pool and that's no fun to have to clean up.

Today I decided it was time to do a little raking. I got out the rake and Nicholas got out his kid-sized rake to help me. He did help for a little while but then he decided it was more fun to jump into the leaf pile than to rake it up. It didn't help that we just happened to have made a small leaf pile at the base of one of his slides! He enjoyed sliding down into the leaves and then throwing them all around. Of course, then he wanted me to rake them back into a pile so he could do it all over again!

Making "Soup"

Nicholas was washing his hands at the kitchen sink and decided to play with the bubbly water that ended up in a bowl that was in the sink. He added more soap to make it more bubbly. He told Daddy that he was making soup for lunch for him. He used a spoon to stir it up. He especially loved using the spray attachment to add more water to his soup. He found a packet of soy sauce and a packet of duck sauce left over from some Chinese food take out and added them to his soup. I let him finish off a bottle of red food coloring which only had a few drops left in it.

Nicholas just loves mixing up random things like this to make these weird concoctions! I've got to admit, it's a little fun helping him find unusual ingredients to add to it.





Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planting a Little Fall Color

I just love pansies in the fall. They are so pretty and they need very little maintanence to look great all through the winter and into the spring. I found some great pansies on sale at Calloway's last weekend. They are grown in their own biodegradable pot so there is no wasted plastic pots to get thrown away. Nicholas enjoyed telling me all about the roots that were growing out of the little pots. He loves gardening work so he was happy when I asked him to help me plant them. He ended up planting most of the flat all by himself.



Friday, November 21, 2008

Big Brother Teaches

It is so wonderful to watch Nicholas with Rachel. Although he is often a bit too exuberant around her, he does so out of love and excitement for his little sister. Today, I had Rachel in a bouncey seat. Nicholas said that she needed some music to listen to and asked if he could turn it on for her. Then he went and got some of his "Touch and Feel" books from when he was a baby. He made up words as he read them to her and then helped her to touch the parts of the book with different textures like fur, tulle, vinyl, rubber, etc. He even told her that she was doing a great job. He really seemed proud of his little sister and said, "Wow! She's already learning about rough and smooth!" Of course, Rachel had no idea what was going on but she did enjoy staring at Nicholas while he talked to her. What a cute pair they are together!





Ok, take a look at this picture of Nicholas leaning over to give Rachel a kiss on the cheek. You can even click on the picture to make it bigger.



Her hair actually does look a little red here, doesn't it? It's odd because if you move the hair away from her head and just look at the individual strands of hair, they don't look red. At least to me, they look brown. But sometimes, like in this picture, she looks like a little red head. Either way, she's a cutie!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Month

I can't believe Rachel is one month old today. I blinked and the time flew by. And what an exhausting but wonderful month it has been. Rachel is doing great. She sleeps a lot and she is pretty easy going. She is good at holding her head up and just today she really started "cooing" and making lots of cute little sounds. I wanted to run downstairs to get the video camera but I didn't want to miss anything that she had to say. It was so sweet especially since she had a look of surprise in her eyes at the sounds she was making. I decided to just stay with her and soak up all the wonderful joy of one of many of her "firsts". Hopefully I'll get to catch it on video soon and of course I'll share it with you here.



Rachel is such a blessing in our lives and Nicholas is so excited to be a big brother. He is all about Rachel. He talks about her to everyone and he wants to be involved in everything we do with her. Just yesterday he was concerned because she was getting a little fussy so he sang a song to her. He was so proud when she calmed down and quit crying. But it has been hard month on Stuart and I as we adjust to the big changes in our house....getting used to the middle of the night feedings, constant diaper changes, and juggling our time between both children so no one is short changed.

Our health insurance offers a maternity program in which a nurse called me once a month during the pregnancy to check on me, offer suggestions to help me through challenges, and answer any questions I had. She called me about 2 weeks ago to see how Rachel and I were doing. I hardly had time to take her call. I was in the middle of fixing a snack for Nicholas but Rachel was crying and needed a diaper change. The nurse asked about my nutrition to make sure I was eating healthy. I told her that I had missed breakfast that day but had some of Nicholas' leftover food for lunch because I hadn't found time to fix something for myself. She encouraged me to try to find time to make healthy, well balanced meals for myself. Yup, sounds good. Then she asked about exercise. Oh please! I told her that I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight but that was probably just from not eating because it certainly wasn't due to any formal exercise program. I hardly have time to go to the bathroom in peace! When am I suppose to exercise?! Finally, she asked about my GOALS for the next few weeks. What?! Goals? What goals? I seriously laughed out loud. I have a newborn and a four year old. I'm the household maid, grocery shopper, meal planner and chef, entertainer of a four year old, chauffeur, diaper changer, breastmilk feeder, bill payer, family fun planner, runny nose wiper, and kisser of all boo boos....and now I'm doing it all on little sleep - not to mention dealing with my own medical issues of a c-section wound infection and some weird post partum high blood pressure. My goal for the next few weeks is to just keep everyone fed and keep the house from totally falling into shambles.

Stuart has been so great and supportive. He comes home from his hard day at work and takes care of whatever needs to be done whether its changing diapers or getting dinner ready or just spending some time with the children to give me a break. He knows how hard my day is. I told him that I was glad that he is so understanding when the house isn't all nice and clean each day when he gets home. He chuckled and said something to the extent that he's impressed that it just looks about the same as when he left in the morning and not totally fallen apart.

For all of the challenges that this month has brought, I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything. It has been filled with such joy and thankfulness for the love, friends, and blessings that God showers in our lives.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shopping for Girls

Christmas is coming so of course we'll need to get pictures with Santa. I'm not a proponent of spending a ton of money so that my two children can have fancy name brand "matching" outfits that they will wear only one time for Christmas. It's a really cute idea but the only ones I've found out there are just ridiculously expensive. Until I find a less expensive way to match their outfits, I'd rather put that money towards their education. Children outgrow clothing so quickly that it just seems crazy to spend much money on it.

For their Santa picture, I am going to find outfits that kind of coordinate even though they don't match per se. I've done a little shopping and I'm already tired. I didn't realize how easy I had it with a boy. There isn't much to their outfits. It is always easy to just pick out a few pieces that mix and match together and get out of the store rather quickly and cheap. However, girls seem to be a whole different thing. There are tons more outfits to choose from and they all seem to be more expensive than boys outfits. Does it really cost that much more to add a piece of lace or a simple bow on a shirt?

And what's up with the headbands and bows? For baby boys, it's ok to have a cute little bald head but baby girls seem to always need something in their hair - even though they don't have any hair! Where do I even go to get these headbands with a bow on it? And tights?! I've got to find tights for my newborn to wear with her dress. Who sells those? Where do I go?! I'm so out of the loop and clueless about these things. I've got some work to do to get caught up on newborn girl fashion. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Play-Doh Creations

Nicholas and Daddy recently had lot of fun playing with Play-Doh. They were working at the kitchen table for quite a while. When they were finished, Nicholas showed off his hard work. Of course, they are Star Wars themed. The big ball is Darth Vader's Death Star and the ship on top is a Star Destroyer. He is so proud of creations and he is letting them dry so he can keep them forever.



By the way, we went to playgroup this morning and one of them moms commented on Rachel's "red" hair. So funny!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Updates on Rachel

When Nicholas was first born, he had light brown hair. However, several people commented that it had red highlights. I never really saw it. When I'd look closely at the individual strands of his hair they seemed brown but I think the pink of his scalp was reflecting as red highlights in his hair.

I explained this to one friend of mine in particular and she thought I was crazy for not seeing the red hair on my child. I have nothing against red hair. As a matter of fact, I love it. At one time, I even tried to have red highlights put in my hair (Stuart can tell you how successful that was!). What's odd is that the only person I can think of with red hair on either side of the family is Stuart's paternal grandmother.

Rachel was born with this same light brown hair that Nicholas had. Again, I don't see it as red hair. However, Mrs. Carrico looked at her this week and commented on her red hair. Yes, it does look a little red but again I think it's just reflecting her pink scalp.



When Nicholas was a few months old, most of his brown hair fell out. He was a cute little bald guy. When the hair grew back, it was blonde. I wonder if this will happen with Rachel or will she remain a brunette (or a red-head as some call her)?

Also, Nicholas was born with light blue eyes like Stuart's and they have remained the same beautiful blue ever since. However, Rachel's eyes are a darker blue. I wonder if that means they'll eventually turn hazel like mine??

I put Rachel on my postage scale today and it says she weighs 9 pounds 3 ounces. She lost a lot of weight after birth but she seems to be gaining weight just fine now.

Rachel first lifted her head up when she was about a week old. Now she is quite good at lifting her head and shoulders up when she is on her tummy. A few days ago, I had her on her tummy to check out her head control. She decided that she didn't like being on her tummy and started crying. I didn't roll her over yet because I was still trying to see what she would do with her head. Of course she just got madder and madder. Next thing I know she has rolled over on to her back. Ok, 3 weeks seems too early to be rolling over. Surely I missed something. So back to the tummy she went and, boy was she mad by then. She cried and fussed and kicked then...rolled herself right back onto her back.

She's cute when she's mad. She crinkles up her little face and cries, "Geeeeeeee".

Nicholas is still madly in love with his little sister. I would have expected some signs of jealousy by now because she likes being held all the time but I'm really not seeing any. Mrs. Carrico says that she hasn't seen a prouder big brother than Nicholas. She says that he talks about Rachel all the time and always includes her in his prayers. We see that during prayer time at home too. Every day when I pick him up from school, he tries to let any friend that's nearby see "my baby", as he calls her. Today I overheard him whispering to Rachel, "I'll always love you. I'll always be with you."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lighting Test Shots

Stuart is always experimenting with photography lighting. This week, a co-worker of his let him borrow a lightbox and Alien Bee studio light. Stuart has been talking about these for quite a while so I knew he'd want to play with them as soon as he got a chance. And of course, family makes for great guinea pigs. Nicholas was already in bed for the night so Rachel and I were recruited as his models. How can I complain about it when he got such cute shots of Rachel?





Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flattery rules!

Ok, I just have to share something from an email from my new best friend in the whole wide world. This was at the end of an email from L.M. today:

"And by the way, you look just amazing!! I saw your svelte new figure yesterday in car-line and you really look terrific. I can't believe you just had a baby. Are you working out? I never had the energy to exercise, but if you are, good for you. It certainly shows!"

L.M., you are my favorite person in the world! Flattery will get you everywhere :)

No, I haven't even thought of working out. I get enough exercise running up and down the stairs looking for a pacifier or an extra blanket or who knows what. And there is no time to eat. After I've fed the rest of the family breakfast, I'm doing good to get Nicholas to school on time and hopefully have time for a shower and brush my teeth. Having time to eat for myself is a luxury. I often don't get breakfast until around lunch time!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shopping with Two Children in Tow

I've been assuming that with two children I would have to leave all grocery shopping to Stuart or just go in the evenings when he is available to stay home and watch the two children. How in the world would I ever be able to keep two children happy and safe in a grocery store?! However, yesterday my urge to get out of the house took over and I took both children to Kroger with me for a quick shopping trip. Our pediatrian recommends keeping Rachel out of crowded areas for the first 6 weeks until her immune system is stronger but I knew this trip would be quick and I was going stir crazy from staying at home so much.

As I was driving to the store, it started to drizzle a little bit and it was already cold outside so I started praying for a parking spot close to the door. If stores have parking spots reserved for handicapped and for pregnant moms then surely they must have parking spots reserved for moms with two or more children. Maybe I've just never noticed them because I never needed one. Alas, no such reserved parking spot for me. This store happens to have some good parking spots right beside the door so you never even have to cross a parking lot. That would be ideal for a mom with two children in tow but unfortunately, none of the prime spots were available and I ended up parking way out on the end of a row. I struggled with getting the infant seat in the shopping cart but eventually we all made it safely into the store. Luckily for me, Kroger offers samples in their bakery so Nicholas stayed occupied for a while as he nibbled on something sweet. Yes, I'm sure it ruined his appetite for dinner but we all have to make sacrifices sometimes. Somehow we managed to get almost everything on the shopping list and both children made it home, safe and alive. Hooray for me!

I got so inspired by my successful outing with two children yesterday that today I thought I would up the ante a little. I took them both with me to get the car inspected. Yes, such a kid-friendly outing, I know. Nicholas got bored pretty quickly so in desperation I started digging through my purse for something to entertain him with. I had planned to be super mom and bring along his Leapster but somehow my dazed and tired brain forgot. I recently cleaned out my purse so there were slim pickings of things to play with. I pulled out some dollar bills and some change and we talked about money. Then we used the money to practice addition. I was surprised at what a hit the activity turned out to be. Of course, Rachel was great and slept through the whole outing.

Let's count again...one, two. Great, I've kept both children safe and alive after two outings together. Hooray for me again! Guess it isn't so bad taking two children out and about...at least while one of them still isn't able to run away from me.

We'll get to replay this particular outing sometime in the next 15 days since my poor car failed to pass the emissions test and I have to return in 15 days for a re-inspectioin. It was bound to happen. I've said a special little prayer before inspection time for the last several years and I just know each year it will fail. But it hasn't until this year. Fortunately, the inspector guy said it is some EGR valve and it sounds like Stuart can replace it pretty easily. One more "honey do" added to his list. Poor guy!

To reward Nicholas for his good behavior while waiting for the inspection, I took him to a new park behind the inspection place. I chased him around the playground as I pretended to be an alligator trying to eat him up. He loved it.



When it was time to go, Nicholas swung down off a step and ended up hitting a tooth on one of the bars on the playground. He cried a little but the tooth looks ok. However, after we got home he still complained a little about the tooth. I'll check on it again tonight and see how it's doing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do They Have A Laptop?

Nicholas' preschool class is having a canned food drive to feed the hungry. We talked about the importance of reaching out to help others in need. I mentioned that we were blessed that Daddy had a good job and he could go earn money to buy food and clothing for us. Nicholas talked some about the hungry people of the world and then asked, "Mommy, do the hungry people have laptops?" I said no they don't. Nicholas said, "Oh, I was thinking that if they had a laptop then they could go to work where Daddy works and make some money." I love his thought process!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dinosaurs at the Heard!

Nicholas has been asking to go back to the Heard Museum. He mentioned wanting to see the giant dinosaurs. I told him that those are a special exhibit and they are only out at certain times of the year. Well, he lucked out because the "Dinosaurs Alive" exhibit happens to be open now. We decided to make a day trip of it and spend some time in Plano too taking pictures of fall foliage. Nicholas decided to bring along his camera too so he could take pictures of the dinosaurs.

As we were driving around Plano looking for colorful fall leaves, Nicholas shouted, "Stop! Right here! I want to take a picture of that tree right there!" Well, ok then. So we stopped and Nicholas took a few pictures of a particular tree then he collected some colorful leaves from the ground to keep.



After our foliage hunt we headed to McKinney to see some dinosaurs. Last year when we came to the exhibit, Nicholas was a little scared of some of the dinosaurs because they move and roar and grunt. However, this year he was a big boy and as cool as a cucumber. He remembered details about some of the dinosaurs and even remembered where along the trail the T-Rex was located last year.









His favorite dinosaur was the one that spits water out of his mouth. He made sure he got wet! Next was T-Rex. Nicholas pulled his camera out for that one.





Once we finished the dinosaur trail, we had our picnic lunch outside under a tree. It was neat to watch Rachel in her stroller. She was looking up above her and was fascinated with the movement of the red and orange leaves in the wind.

After lunch we toured the conservation exhibit to see some neat animals and we spent some time at the regular indoor exhibits. It was a long day but as always it made for a nice family outing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beautiful Little Rachel

I've been wanting to get some great black and white pictures of Rachel. Fortunately, my husband is photographer-extraordinaire and was glad to work with such a cute model. He went to a craft store and bought some black fabric for a backdrop. It was a little challenging getting a newborn to hold still or pose the way you might want them to or not pee on the new backdrop but Stuart stayed patient and got some great pictures. He's not only a great photographer but he's also good with Photoshop and put together this awesome collage from the photo shoot. Click on the picture to enlarge it for better viewing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Proud Mommy

I just have to say that I love being a Mommy! It's hard work, especially with two children, but my heart is just exploding with love for these two little people that we brought into the world. It is so worth it!

And there is just something special about holding your newborn baby. No matter how fussy she is or how stinky her diaper, she is always just so cute and sweet in my eyes. I'm one proud Mommy!



Of course, all of this pride gets a little muddled at times when I'm half asleep all day long from being woken up several times during the night by said sweet baby. Sometimes I have to find a quiet spot to hide and catch a few zzzz's. This picture caught me in Nicholas' room, passed out on his bed, snuggling with Rachel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Silly Monster Puppet

When I packed my bag for the hospital, I put in two two wrapped gifts for Nicholas. Once Rachel was born, we let him open one gift a day and we told him they were a gift from his little sister. He loved getting to unwrap presents but he questioned whether they were really from Rachel. He said that we must have bought them for her since she is too little. Well, that may not have worked out like I had planned but he was still happy to have gifts to unwrap and it helped him feel special even though Rachel and I were getting a lot of attention.

Once we were back home, Rachel and I were still getting a lot of attention so I had one last gift from Rachel planned. It was such a hit! It is called a Silly Monster Puppet by Melissa and Doug. It is a purple hand puppet with just a mouth. It comes with all sorts of silly eyes, noses, hair, ears, etc that you can velcro on to your puppet anyway that you want. Daddy makes a great "monster puppet" voice and he and Nicholas have had lots of fun playing with the new puppet!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference at Preschool

At Nicholas' preschool, the teachers meet with parents each semester just to give an update on how their child is doing and give the parents some dedicated time to ask questions or discuss concerns. I always go expecting his teacher to express concerns about Nicholas following directions or being too active to sit still in class. However, she always sweetly reassures me that he is doing great and is no different than most of the other four year olds in her class. Although I'm not worried about how he compares with other children, it is a little reassuring to hear from someone who has worked with many, many four year olds that she doesn't have any concerns about how he's doing.

Here are some notes from her progress report this semester:

Areas of Accomplishment:
Charming Nicholas continues to bring a new level of enthusiasm and curiosity to our class! His intelligent mind operates in higher thinking levels leading him to comparisons, contrasting and conclusions. Nicholas is on target in the four areas of early childhood development: cognitive, social, emotional, and physical.

Areas for Growth:
Nicholas is learning to tackle works which seem tedious to him but increase focus, patience and fine muscle control. We'll continue to help him in this area.

Teacher Comments:
Nicholas is blessed with a sunny disposition, pure joy, and a vivid imagination. He is a delightful child who brings out the best in his peers and teachers.

I'm sure that Nicholas's energy, or as Mrs. Carrico describes it "enthusiasm", can be a challenge in the class room at times. I'm sure he would prefer to have more recess time and less time for Montessori works but overall he is happy, enjoys being with his friends at school, and he is learning new things each and every week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rachel's First Bath at Home

When Nicholas was a newborn, Stuart gave him his first bath at the kitchen sink. It is easier for him to do this than for me since he is taller and is better able to grasp the squirming, slippery wet baby. So I didn't argue a few days ago when Stuart volunteered to give Rachel her first bath at home.

Stuart is so in love with his little girl. You can just see it when he's holding her or talking to her. During the bath, he spoke so sweetly to her the whole time he was bathing her. She loved all the attention, soft words, and warm water. After bath time, the two of them snuggled together on the couch.