Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holy Weekend

This past weekend was spent in two churches, baptizing our baby...Preston, and my niece...Henley. Saturday afternoon we all met at Brian and Shannon's church to christen Miss Henley Lynn. Steve and I were honored to be chosen to serve as her godparents, so we were apart of her service (and unable to get many photos).

Afterward, they hosted a gathering at their home for everyone. Since the weather has been unseasonably warm, much of the time was spent outdoors. Bennett especially loved playing on Christen's playset.

Sunday, the whole family came to our church to witness John Preston's baptism. It had been a chaotic morning, so his feeding schedule was off, and I knew he would be hungry during the service. Rather than risk him crying before or during the baptism, I had to feed him right when we got to the church. Of course, he didn't want to burp (not good for a child with reflux), so I was worried the entire time that he would spit up on me or one of the ministers. Right when they called us up, he started to fuss some, but he thankfully calmed down with all of the lights, and didn't mind the water blessing. However, the handoff to the other minister for the parade around the church (we sing "Jesus Loves Me" as the babies are walked around the sanctuary and introduced to the congregation) didn't go well and I ended up walking him around. It wasn't part of the tradition, but it will certainly be memorable.

Of course he looked sweet in my grandfather's old christening gown (Papa, my mom's father), but it was a little small. Bennett fit into it perfectly, but Preston's neck was way too big for the button to fasten in the back, so we had to pin it.

Following the service, we invited everyone back to our home for a big brunch and some cocktails. More fun was had with all of the cousins, and more photos were taken...

Sweet kids kissing each other through the glass door.

And the sweetest baby boy of all!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

All I can say is ....whew! Steve and I were looking forward to coming home Christmas Eve and putting together "Santa's toys" for the kids, but the whole process took MUCH longer than we expected. We got Bennett down to sleep without a problem, but as soon as I started putting together her art easel, Preston started crying and wanted to be held. So as I tended to him, Steve started on her outside playhouse. Neither were difficult, just time-consuming. Finally around 1am we crawled into bed, only to be awakened 5 hours later with Bennett crying. She awoke earlier than usual, so she wasn't in a great mood. We were thinking it would be a long, terrible day, but she brightened up in a hurry once she saw all that Santa left her.

It was truly magical seeing her face light up when she first saw her new kitchen, then her playhouse, then her new table and chairs from Nene and Poppy. It was so overwhelming for her that she wasn't even interested in opening up her stocking gifts.

About mid morning Brian, Shannon and the kids came over. As soon as the whole gang was here, the adults started enjoying the mimosas and the kids tore into more presents. Christian played Santa, handing out everyone's gifts (with some assistance from Brian). Bennett has certainly NEVER seen so much at one time, and was definitely over-stimulated. We held back several gifts (some of which still haven't been opened), so she could just enjoy all that she received. The kids played all morning, and then we all feasted on a deep-fried turkey and several sides. Surprisingly we were able to get both of the older kids down for naps, so we could play a game (Cranium).

Overall we had a terrific day. I know our family felt very blessed to spend the day together. And all of the children certainly entertained us! Just watching them play brought smiles to our faces. We also all stated how much they all look alike, and could pass as siblings. Check out some of my favorite photos from the day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

This year we tried to implement a new tradition...going to the family service at our church. They hold two very casual services that are designed especially for families with young children. The kiddos are encouraged to dress as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels or manger animals, and become a part of the Nativity story. We figured Bennett was too young, and wouldn't be interested in going on stage (boy were we wrong). She not only felt left out, but eagerly walked up there without any coaxing. She is drawn to older children, so when she saw them going up on stage, she wanted to go as well. So Steve quickly put an angel costume on her and let her go.

At first she walked up there to get a closer look at everyone. But within a minute or two, she was up there talking to other kids and walking all over the stage with another little girl. It was so cute, and I am glad that Steve ran out to the car to grab the camera so we could capture it. Thankfully my parents were there too to witness it. My mother swears that she will become an actress (like her late great-grandmother, Docky).

After the service we headed to Steve's parents for the Mizerany gift exchange. Though this was Bennett's second Christmas, she was too young to appreciate it last year so everyone went overboard with her gifts. John Michael taught her to open presents and with a little assistance, she successfully opened her gifts. She had a big time, unwrapping a shopping cart loaded with play fruit that can be cut, kitchen utensils, and a new baby doll with accessories. She loved it and could have been happy with that for the rest of the night, but there was more. She loved it all, from the cash that she won't appreciate until she is ready to go to college, to the multiple learning toys and books, to the fancy new pink tricycle from her Mimi and Papa...it was all great!

Preston was pretty happy too....taking in all of the joy of his first Christmas! He too was fortunate to receive some stimulating toys and cash for his college fund. Of course his favorite part was being held by all of the family.

Nene and Poppy and a Sleigh Full of Goodies!

My parents drove down this past Saturday, arriving late afternoon with their car loaded down. They brought both of their dogs, Jake and Winston, a few suitcases for their week long visit, and a mountain of Christmas presents for everyone. Once they got everything in the house, we relaxed on our deck with a couple of cold ones. They left freezing rain and snow for our humid 65 degree weather....not too shabby.

However, I think the happiest to be here was Jake. He is their new Westie that is known for running away every opportunity he gets. So Steve made sure the backyard was secure so we could all relax and let him run some off of a leash. At first he circled every inch of the perimeter twice making sure he couldn't sneak out, but once he realized that he was confined, he started to just take it all in. He loves chasing the squirrels, and barks up a storm (a little too much for my blood, but then he isn't staying forever). Winston and Spence, old friends, had fun playing tug-of-war and just lying side by side. I was a little worried how Jake would be with my kids, but he been pretty tolerant. In return, Bennett has been nice to him, only telling him "no" and "get down" when he begs and jumps on her.

By far, the best part for my folks is spending time with the kids. I know they have enjoyed Bennett's blooming personality and vocabulary, but they were shocked with how much Preston has grown and changed. Though they read the blog religiously, it is hard to really understand how much he weighs and see his little personality through photos and words.

He is so different from Bennett at this age. He can entertain himself in his crib or on his playmat for upwards of 45 minutes! He just loves to kick his legs and "talk," so all of the items that make sounds or play music when he moves keep him happy. We were admiring him kicking in his crib one morning, and Bennett had to get in there too and get a piece of the action.

Pres loves it when we talk to him and is starting to laugh. Since Poppy loves to make silly noises, he just stares at him and tries to figure it all out. When he smiles at you, you can't help not to melt a little. That little guy is so adorable and loving, and I can understand now how little boys can become "mama's boys"...because we spoil them rotten!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Who's Cracking Now?

Okay moms....does anyone out there know of "low rise diapers" for our little girls (ha ha)? It appears that I recently purchased a pair of pants for Bennett that are low riders and everytime she sits or bends over, her diaper shows. Had I tried them on her before ripping the tags off and washing them, I may have returned them. However, since I can't, I just sit back and laugh because it is so funny. I know many of us girls have suffered from the same problem with our own pants, but I didn't think it would start this young for Miss Bennett.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Double Bath Duty

Typically Bennett showers with me every morning since Preston doesn't get a bath everyday. However, today was his bath day and rather than bathing the kids separately I just put them in the tub together. Bennett loves to "help" bath him when I have just him in there, but she can't quite reach over the tub. So today, I let her in the tub too. She brought her baby in with her so she could bath it while I bathed Pres. It worked out quite well.

She only splashed him in the eyes a couple of times, and there were no tears shed by either child (which is always an accomplishment). After the bath, I lathered Preston up with lotion and he was just plain tuckered...

PDO Christmas Party

Yesterday, I attended Bennett's Parent's Day Out Christmas party. It was a fun time, with all of the kiddos dressed in their sweet Christmas outfits. They ate their sandwiches (that were cut out in the shapes of candy canes and xmas trees), grapes, apples, and of course Christmas cookies!

We were missing a couple of kids, but it was still a fun time. I tried to get Bennett to pose with her two teachers, but she wasn't in the mood.
One of Bennett's teachers told me that since she has been talking more, she is becoming quite the assistant...helping enforce all of the rules. I guess her bossiness is present at school too. They are breaking now for a couple of weeks. Then in January they will begin learning letters, focusing on one per week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Changes Keep Coming

Today I did what I said I would never do again...I took both of my healthy children to the pediatrician for vaccinations. Since I use an alternate schedule, I have to go almost monthly for Preston for the first 18 months. Steve and I have been wondering how much weight he has gained since his 2 month visit, so I had to put him on the scale to check. Drumroll please...our little angel is a whopping 15 lbs 1 ounce! Can you believe it? I certainly can't, but after carrying him around in my arms for 30 minutes, my back sure can! He is also 25.5 inches long. These figures put him in the 83rd percentile for weight and 94th percentile for height for a 3 month old.

Bennett went in with us today because she needed to get her mumps vaccination. She has been doing great, in spite of cutting 6 teeth at once...YES SIX!! In fact, four of them are her molars! This poor child has been drooling like a fountain for the past couple of months and sucking on her fingers, but I never could see anything. However, this past week she has been having so many meltdowns, that I noticed her 6 new teeth when she was screaming. Steve and I had been wondering why she was waking up more in the middle of the night (she is usually the best sleeper), but this all makes perfect sense now. The other two teeth are on her bottom. She has been a laggard when it comes to teeth, with her first ones not arriving until her first birthday. And when she got them, several would come at once. Poor child, but thank goodness she handles it fairly well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Night in Bethlehem

Tonight Steve and I joined Preston in his acting debut at our church. Preston was baby Jesus, and we were Joseph and Mary in a live nativity scene. Our church put on a huge event for all of the members. They turned the gym into Bethlehem, with little interactive booths for the children to weave, make pottery, sample various herbs, use fake coins to buy cookies and then visit the manger. That is where we were, in addition to a donkey, a miniature horse and a couple of goats.

Since the event lasted two hours, we only participated in one third of the show. We didn't want to violate child labor laws (ha ha), so we rotated with two other couples and their babies. Steve went on first with another woman and her baby (so I could watch Bennett & Preston), then Steve took over watching Bennett when Pres and I took over with another guy as Joseph.

Preston did wonderfully for his 45 minutes! He just laid in his little cradle and cooed at everyone. I think he enjoyed the singers that sung Christmas carols the whole time. It was so special to see the little kids come up and say "Hi baby Jesus." They were all told that was him, and the littlest ones really believed it. In fact there was one little girl who was probably about three years old that just stared at him for minutes. She didn't want to leave, but her grandmother picked her up and carried her out. About 15 minutes later, she was back...talking to him again. This time when she left she hugged "baby Jesus"....it really was so sweet.

This is going to become an annual event for our church, and being apart of the first one was great. Of course, I thought the cutest Jesus was our little angel.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making Christmas Cookies

This morning I packed up the kids and headed to Shannon's for a playdate. It was a cold rainy morning, so I was happy to get out of the house for a little while so we wouldn't have to be couped up all day long. Shannon played Betty Crocker and made sugar cookies for the kids to decorate. The idea was a cute one, and both kids enjoyed eating and putting (dumping) sprinkles on them. Of course Shannon was mellow and not stressed by the mass of sprinkles everywhere. I, on the other hand, was getting nervous by the minute. So when I moved the bowl of icing away from Bennett (because she was dripping it everywhere and was getting her sleeve in it), she had a meltdown and threw the spoon she had in her hand (which was full of icing). Needless to say, red icing went everywhere....on the chair, rug, me and Bennett. I felt so badly and tried my best to clean it up. We are sorry Aunt Shannon!! After that, I was sweating and decided that it was time to leave...we definitely wore out welcome.

Until the infamous meltdown though, I was able to snap a few cute photos of the kids at work. The little ones slept through the whole playdate, but here are those angels too!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Toddler Talk 101

Tonight Bennett talked and talked and talked to her Mimi on the phone. It was so hysterical! Most of the time when we put it on speaker phone and give her the handset, she gets shy and just stares at the phone, but not tonight. Tonight she walked around the house, just babbling and laughing....telling her Mimi all about her day at school I guess. See if you can decipher what she is talking about...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Parade

Yesterday morning we bundled the kids up and walked a few blocks to watch Homewood's Christmas Parade. As soon as the parade started, Bennett wanted out of the stroller so she could grab the candy that everyone was throwing. She is a master now since Halloween, and I could swear that she got 2-3 times what she collected then!

The only bad thing was the temperature...it was pretty chilly. I have not found mittens to cover those little hands of hers yet, so they were so cold. In addition, she had a hard time seeing and moving gracefully in that big coat of hers (think Christmas Story). In fact, she kept tripping on the curb and falling down. Fortunately she didn't
hurt herself.
The parade had a few floats, but mainly groups walking and promoting their causes (like the Humane Society seen here). Spencer was eager to meet some of the other doggies, but we held him back.

Overall, the whole family had fun! After that morning and finishing the outside Christmas decorations today...I think we are finally in the spirit and anxiously awaiting the big holiday in several weeks. I must admit that this is the first Christmas I have looked forward to in over 15 years! Now that Bennett (and her cousin Christian) are finally at an age where seeing what Santa left them under the tree Christmas morning will be exciting...it changes everything!