Bulb Suction

Rachel has a little cold and although she acts fine during the day, she fusses at night because she has trouble breathing through all of the congestion, especially when she tries to suck her thumb to go to sleep. So she's been getting extra cuddling before bedtime. Mommy doesn't mind at all...

...except when the little girl tries to poke out my eyes. What is her fascination with poking my eyes?

Sometimes though Rachel needs something more than just cuddling. Sometimes her nose is really really congested. Since she can't blow her nose yet, we have to help her get that stuff out of there. I say "we" but it's really just Stuart. He gets the job of being the bad guy when it comes to using the bulb suction. Rachel hates getting this but it really helps clear her up. And Stuart is really good at holding her still and getting all that junk out. Of course, Rachel isn't thrilled with Daddy right after a bulb suction session. But she soon warms back up to him and cuddles with him until she goes to sleep.

A Little Christmas Shopping

Last week, Stuart took off some time from work and we did some Christmas shopping. Nicholas was in school but Rachel tagged along. We had fun shopping at the Lego Store. Rachel especially loved the bulk bins of Legos. What fun textures and colors to run your hands through!

She picked out a lot of Lego kits that she thought we needed.

Daddy snuggling Rachel to keep her warm on the way back out to the car.

Rachel is enjoying having her car seat facing forward now. She can see everything going on and interact with others in the car so much better.

After shopping, we had to re-fuel with some lunch at Applebee's. The tired baby with a full belly didn't make it far on the way home before she was out.

The Gingerbread House

We finally finished our gingerbread house! We started a week or so ago with the construction of the house. Daddy had to help with this because last year Mommy did it and the whole house collapsed on itself!

Nicholas helped Daddy make the icing in the mixer.

And of course, Nicholas had to help with clean up!

Rachel saw how much Nicholas was enjoying cleaning and she wanted to help too. Look at her face as she's wondering what she's missing!

She didn't know what to do at first. She just bit down and held on to the beater.

But soon she got the hang of it and the icing didn't stand a chance against her! I love that sweet, and oh so sticky, baby!

We had to let the house sit for a day to let the icing harden before decorating. But weeknights are crazy busy around here so it didn't get finished until this weekend. Nicholas had fun doing all of the decorating himself. I suggested taking a look at the picture on the box to get some ideas but Nicholas wasn't interested. I pointed out that he could cover the roof with icing but he had other plans.

It drove Stuart a little crazy to watch how the decorating was progressing but this was Nicholas' project so he did his best to bite his tongue :)

The house turned out super cute and, most importantly, Nicholas had fun. We build a gingerbread house every year but this was the first year that Nicholas really wanted to take control of the decorating. I love it!

Christmas Party and Marble Slab

Nicholas is pretty excited about Christmas vacation. He has been counting down the days until "no more school"! To celebrate, his class had a big party Friday. They played a game of Christmas bingo and Nicholas won!

There were several different stations around the room for the children to participate in activities. Nicholas started with making a Christmas-themed picture frame.

Then he colored a pre-printed wooden door hanger.

He decorated his own Christmas cookie....lots and lots of icing, sprinkles, and chocolate chips!

After the party, we all went to get our H1N1 vaccines (not a fun follow-up to a party, I know!). This season, Nicholas has become terrified of shots. He's now had three shots this season, one regular flu and two H1N1, and each time we have to plead and struggle and sometimes hold him down to get through it. I was glad to have Stuart with us today to help. Afterwards we all needed a little treat so we stopped at Marble Slab Creamery on the way home.

Nicholas was showing off the gummy bears that he found buried in his ice cream.

Even Rachel got to enjoy some yummy ice cream. Daddy always gets the yummiest so she only wanted to share his. She wouldn't even give mine a try!

Who doesn't love ice cream?!

Kisses and Tantrums

Rachel is such a sweetie. She is a cuddler and a snuggler. She is very nuturing. Here she is feeding a toy bottle to Nicholas' dog Scamps.

The other day, Nicholas got a minor boo boo and was crying. Rachel was sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. She stood up and walked over to Nicholas with her arms open. When she got to him she hugged him and patted him on the back to comfort him. AWWWW!!!

Rachel likes to kiss her blankie and stuffed animals and she lets them kiss her.

She used to kiss Mommy and Daddy but not anymore. Usually when we ask her for a kiss she shakes her head and pushes us away. What's up with that?

Rachel is definitely a sweetie. However...

In the last few weeks, Rachel has become much more opinionated and she doesn't mind speaking up when things don't go her way. She will easily go into full tantrum mode if you take away something she is holding or pick her up and move her when she doesn't want to move.

She got mad right after I took this picture because I had to move her away from the door or else Stuart or Nicholas would have unknowingly pushed her over when they came in the door a few minutes later.

Later, she had another meldown at the kitchen table when Stuart had to take something away from her. Here are the steps documenting said meltdown from the first little grumble to the full-on kicking and screaming.

Ahh, the frustrations of a one year old. I know it's hard for her. There is so much that she is exploring and learning about each day and it is all so exciting for her. Yet she has so little control in her world and it is very frustrating for her when her plans get thwarted and she can't get her way. We try to let her do things for herself when we can but into all babies' lives, a little frustration must fall from time to time.


Nicholas doesn't have a bunch of stuffed animals but the ones he does have are dear to him and he calls them "Friends". He often sleeps with at least one in his bed and sometimes he asks to be surrounded by them in his bed. He plays with them during the day and they have conversations among each other.

In this picture, he has one of his all time favorites, Baby Blue Bear. Baby Blue Bear was given to me as part of a baby shower gift when I was pregnant with Nicholas. He has always loved this bear, maybe because it was one of his very first stuffed animals. Baby Blue Bear is sitting on Mama Bear which Stuart gave me one Valentine's day before Nicholas was ever born. The two of them are snuggling together and they are held together by Stripes the Webkinz snake who is wrapped around them like a seat belt.

I love how Nicholas treasures his Friends. It just seems so sweet and innocent. I wish he would stay this way forever but I know that someday, like in Puff the Magic Dragon, these Friends will make way for other toys and Nicholas will no longer want anything to do with Baby Blue Bear et al. But for now I will treasure these special times...and now I'm all misty eyed and have to go steal a kiss from him while he sleeps...

A Message From Santa

I've been trying to stay on top of all of the "Christmas To Do" items on my list but I'm sad to say that I neglected to get a letter from Santa sent to Nicholas. There are various places that will do it for free and others that charge minimal fees for letters with a special North Pole post mark on them. But now Christmas is about a week away and it's probably too late to get this done.

Fortunately I found a fun site that let Santa send a personalized video message to Nicholas. He saw his message this morning and loved it. He stared at the screen in amazement and when it was done, a simple "WOW" was all he said. Then he watched it over and over again. Check it out HERE.

Super Sweet Cuddler

Rachel had a hard time keeping up with big brother's energy level but she makes a valiant effort. She loves being with him and playing with all of his cool toys. Nicholas has to keep all of his small choking hazard type toys in his room away from Rachel. However, if I'm in his room then I will let her come in with me because I can supervise her. She loves getting to play in big brother's room.

But big brother wears her out (and me too!). Rachel still takes 1-2 naps a day so she needs some quiet down time. You can tell when she is getting tired because she will hold her blankie and start sucking her thumb. She only does that when she's sleepy. She likes to hold her little blankie in the same hand as the thumb she is sucking. Then she leans over as if she is trying to curl up and go to sleep right there.

I love watching her do this. It's such a little thing but it is all hers. Nicholas never sucked his thumb or had a blankie. It's sweet to watch her and I will miss it when she grows out of it.

Of course, there's nothing better than snuggling with Daddy before going to bed. We love this about Rachel. She's a super sweet cuddler.

Christmas In The Square

Last night we went to Christmas in the Square in Frisco. There were bounce houses, carriage rides, pony rides, games, food, and fun things for sale. We were hoping to see the highlight of the event at 5:15 when Santa Claus parachutes down into the square. Unfortunately, it must have been too cloudy because he wasn't able to do it. We were really bummed. But we enjoyed the watching the light shows on the buildings around the square. They showed snowflakes falling down the sides of the buildings. It was really pretty. But it was incredibly cold and windy even though we were all bundled up like Eskimos.

We also enjoyed strolling along the street where we found a store that we had never heard of - Love, Peace, and Popcorn. They sell gourmet popcorn and it's incredible! We have recently developed a new love for popcorn with the beginning of Family Movie Night at home on Friday evenings. Popcorn is always required. It was fun checking out all of the creative flavors of popcorn. Of course, there were the basics like cheese or caramel. But have you ever tried pizza popcorn or dill pickle popcorn? What about eggnog and rum flavored popcorn or s'mores popcorn? They may sound a little weird but give them a try. You can request a sample of any flavor but good luck deciding which ones to buy by the bag to bring home.

The Christmas celebrations in the square continue this coming weekend, December 18 and 19, so we might make it back out there again in hopes for warmer weather and to see Santa and his elves parachute down to the square (and to try some more unusual flavors or popcorn)!