Each year we kick off the Christmas season by putting up the Christmas tree just after the Thanksgiving holiday. For the past three years, we've gone to the same tree farm, searched for the perfect Noble Fir, and watched as Eric cut it down like an old-fashioned lumberjack. This year was exceptionally fun since Wyatt is now capable of understanding and participating in all of the holiday festivities. He really embraced all of the Halloween activities, and has become quite the pro at spotting a piece of candy from a mile away. "Trick or Treat" is no longer a seasonal phrase, but a daily plea for the beloved Tootsie Pop or Hershey's Kiss. So, when we told Wyatt that we were going to cut down our Christmas tree, it was of no big surprise that he responded with very bright eyes, "Christmas treat?" You can't blame the guy for trying, I guess.
Here is the big stud hard at work:
Wyatt taking a break from playing in the mud to supervise:
Enjoying hot cocoa as a family with Frosty the Snowman:
Decorating the tree is my favorite part. Each of our ornaments has some type of significance, so it's fun to go through them one by one and relive the story behind it. It is such a perfect start to a very joyous season ahead. Cheers!
What a crazy month it has been! It appears as though our "Skinny Bones Jones" is quickly assuming the new title of "Chunky Monkey". She has been on a feeding frenzy the past few weeks and is quickly outgrowing all of the clothes I thought she'd be wearing for at least 2 more months! Even more perplexing is how her neck has all but disappeared. Ha!
Fortunately for me, she still loves to cuddle. Unfortunately for me, her stranger anxiety seems to be worsening. While she would previously be content in someone else's arms for at least a couple of minutes, she now lets out her terrified cry on the "pass off". She seems to be warming up to Eric a little better, which makes both of us happy, but she seems to be a little fickle about it.
In this photo, she appears to be content in the arms of her daddy.
Of course, that picture was taken just moments before crying out in terror, as seen in the following snapshot, in which she was being held by someone else.
It's no big surprise that Big Brother still wins the award for being most adored by her. She loves him to pieces!
As for milestones, she still has never rolled over, but seeing as how Wyatt maybe rolled a couple of times when he was a baby, I'm not too concerned. She has recently discovered that she is in total control of her hands and feet. I often catch her just staring at her hands in amazement as she moves them across her face. Her core muscles are getting so strong, so I imagine that she will probably be sitting by herself within the next month. She's teething like crazy, and I'm expecting to see two bottom teeth peek through her gums any day now.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: For the first time in Sipping Chardonnay history, the wine rack is empty. It's a good thing we're going to the store tomorrow. :-)
To me, Thanksgiving is such an important holiday because it allows you to actually take some time to reflect upon circumstances or individuals for which you are thankful. It's very easy to say that we are thankful. I know because I say it all of the time. I have found that although it is so much more difficult to actually sit down and examine the reasons behind our thankfulness, it can be so unbelievably insightful. As a result, I have truly realized how much my happiness/contentedness in life has been attributed to circumstances not of my own doing. I am certain that if not for the good deeds of others, as well as the pure spiritual interventions that have occurred in my life, I would be a very different person in a very different place.
At this point in my life, I am most thankful for (in no particular order)...
*being blessed with two healthy and beautiful children--they are my world. *a baby that sleeps at night. *my husband, who is working like a madman and sacrificing precious time with his family so that we can eventually live the life we've envisioned for our family. *my in-laws--without them, we'd be living on the streets! Ohhh...and Wyatt would never receive musical greeting cards in the mail. *a mother who raised me to be a strong, independent woman. *a sister who would "bend over backwards" for me if I needed her to (and trust me, this is no easy task for a person who, in less than a week, will be just five years away from achieving "over the hill" status! Ha! Just kidding! Geez...where's your sense of humor, Sis?!) *old friends--they've been there through the best and worst moments and still love me for me. *new friends--without them, we'd be incredibly lonely.
Last and certainly not least, I am most thankful for the many spiritual interventions that have been bestowed upon me. I have been incredibly amazed by the Lord's continuous presence in my life, even during times in which I have not been the best servant. I am constantly amazed at how some of the best decisions of my life thus far have been those that (at the time) seemed most impulsive, risky, and illogical. I have always felt His hand guiding me towards the path I am on today, even though there were many times (and I mean MANY) I tried to carve my own muddy trail along the way. I am infinitely thankful that He never gave up on me!!!
We'd like you to meet Billy--the very first member of Wyatt's choo-choo family!
We weren't sure if Wyatt was ever really going to get in to the whole choo-choo thing, which is why we haven't started a collection for him. Some friends of mine with boys said that the madness usually starts at about age 2, and they were right on the money. Wyatt's brand new obsession hit us like a freight train (no pun intended) overnight. Suddenly, everything in sight is a "chugga chugga" or a "choo-choo". It's nice to see him using his imagination, but I feel kind of sorry for him sometimes when I see him using the back of the dining room chair as a train track.
He has also been setting up his blocks in straight lines and using those as tracks too.
Don't worry...we've already been talking with Santa, and Wyatt is on right on track (no pun intended...again!) for getting his first train set for Christmas. I tried to hold out until then, but during our Toys R Us outing this morning (which you can read about in my previous post), I had to break down and buy his first choo-choo. Not only did I want him to finally have one, but so did everyone else in the store. Once he caught a glimpse of the isle which should be renamed as "choo- choo heaven", he could shout nothing else at the top of his lungs until I finally placed one in his hands! Call me a sucker, but that's what I get for bringing him into Toys R Us with me!
Just a little background...I despise shopping--which makes it very difficult for me around the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I love to buy gifts for my loved ones--it's just the process that I loathe. These days, if I can't buy it online then I don't buy it. But since the big giraffe (whose name escapes me at the moment) charges an arm and leg for shipping, I had to actually step foot inside the store. With two small children, time efficiency is of the utmost importance. Therefore, traffic jams, crowds, and long lines just can't be tolerated at this stage in my life. There's just nothing that makes my blood boil more than to stand in line for a greater amount of time than it actually took to do all of my shopping (another reason I steer clear of any sign that says Wal-Mart).
It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, mostly because I beat the post-Thanksgiving Day rush (Hallelujah!). But just as I suspected, one of my items (imagine that) could not be found on the shelf--only online. Grrr.....
So, it looks like I'm going to have to pay the shipping for the one item, but unfortunately for the big giraffe, I'm giving up the big $$ to someone else. I know I sound like a big scrooge, but I'm not going to go through the hassle of doing what I dread most PLUS pay the shipping that I wanted to avoid in the first place. That doesn't sound irrational, does it?
Did I mention that I LOVE the holidays? I really do. I just wish I could avoid the shopping part. Besides, isn't Christmas about spending time with your loved ones... which I am SO excited to do this year, by the way. It seems like forever since I've seen my family. This is my absolute favorite time of year (minus the shopping...but you already knew that)!!!
Ahhh....Geoffery is his name! That was going to drive me crazy.
Without fail, just seconds after dressing Avery in a super cute little outfit for the day, she spits up all over it. This seriously seems to occur EVERY single time I put a new outfit on her. Like this morning, I fed her and waited until the last possible minute to change her clothes. She had not spit up one single time during the morning, despite all of my best efforts to burp her, roll her around on the floor, etc. Not that I want her to spit up--it's just an inevitable part of our day! It would just be nice to get it out of her system so that I can somewhat keep my laundry pile under control. Ha! Like that will EVER happen! Anyway, I proceeded to change her out of her jammies, and the second (literally) that I picked her up, we were both drenched. Sigh!!!
Maybe there is something about being clean and smelling nice that makes babies uncomfortable. Hmm...
It's impossible to get frustrated with the little cutie though--it just gives me an excuse to put her in yet another adorable outfit and post a picture on our blog. Lord knows I love our little cuddle bug, but I sure can't wait until the days of spit-up are well behind us!
Avery has recently been demonstrating a very unique (almost manic-like) way of showing her excitement. I was a bit startled the first time she did this, but it happens so regularly these days that I don't even give it a second thought. What a funny gal! By the way, I put the clip to music so you wouldn't be forced to listen to my high-pitched mommy voice that I now realize is incredibly annoying! Hmmm...now that I think about it, maybe Avery is trying to tell me something!
Lesson #1: NEVER let your child take a toy that he is currently obsessed with into a grocery or department store. It will inevitably get lost.
Wyatt's latest obsession has been with Eric's camouflage flashlight. It goes everywhere with him--even to bed. We went to the grocery store yesterday just to pick up a few things for dinner, and to avoid a meltdown, I told Wyatt he could bring the flashlight in with him (I would normally just make him leave it in the car). Besides, we were just going to be a few minutes. Somehow the stinker managed to lose it. I wasn't about to retrace our steps from one end of the store to the other (who has the time?), so we cut our losses and went home. All I heard last night and this morning was "fashLIGHT!" over and over and over again. For some strange reason, my telling him that he left it at the grocery store meant nothing to him. So, while we were at Target this morning, I decided to buy a replacement flashlight.
Lesson #2:NEVER let your child see you place a toy in the shopping cart unless you are prepared to cut it out of the package and install the batteries on the spot. It will almost always result in a tantrum.
We finally broke out the Exersaucer for Avery yesterday. Eric was finally home during the daylight hours, so he was able to retrieve it from the shed in the backyard. I would have done it, but my relationship with spiders is quite rocky, so I thought it was in my best interest to wait until the outdoorsman of the house could do it. Eric is constantly giving me a hard time about my irrational fear of spiders, and is very concerned about me passing it on to our children. I try not to make a big deal when I see a spider, but apparently Wyatt is more intuitive than I gathered because when he saw a spider a few days ago, he shouted, "Oh, no!..."siper"...step on it!"
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of Avery enjoying her new, big girl toy!
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Dragon's Bluff Pinot Noir (wine-tasting trip to Dundee Hills with Michelle)
It's amazing how excited Oregonians get when the Cascade Mountains receive their first dusting of winter snow--a sure sign that ski and snowboarding season will soon be in full effect. While we love to ski (nowhere near "cool enough" to snowboard), opportunities to actually get on the slopes are pretty few and far between when you have two small children. But it doesn't mean we still can't enjoy the beautiful mountain powder in our own special way--and that's what we did today at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
Wyatt and Avery looked like little snow bunnies in their winter gear. Once everyone was suited up and had their potty breaks, we were ready to brave the cold wind. But of course, just as we were about to head out the door, Wyatt became distracted by a very large (yet very friendly) fire-fighting bear who goes by the name of Smokey. Here is Wyatt with his bearded friend, Jeremiah Johnson (also known as Daddy), and their new pal Smokey.
Yeah, every year it seems that my husband (bless his heart) attempts to grow a beard while secretly hoping it might just be the year that the "Tom Selleck" facial hair emerges--not so much! He so desperately wants it, despite my preference for a clean-shaven hubby. But I guess I can tolerate the hair on his face... as long as he can tolerate the hair on my legs!! Ha!
We were definitely lucky to have such great views of the mountain, as we were expecting nothing but cloud cover. Mount Hood is such a spectacular site during the winter months! We found a quiet little area to explore that not only provided great photo opportunities, but it shielded us from the wind--and for that, Avery was very grateful (as was I).
We didn't bring sleds or any other snow gear, but it didn't stop Wyatt from having the time of his life. He and Eric improvised by running down the hill and falling into the snow. While it looked painful to me, the boys didn't seem to mind, and it made for some great action shots.
I know it is so hard to believe, but as you can see, I actually managed to get great smiles from Eric and Wyatt--both are notorious for scowling at a woman with a camera. Geez...they sure do know how to make me work for those smiles, eh? I seriously don't have very many pictures where Eric actually looks happy, and trust me, the ones I do have are framed in gold!
Avery spent most of the time burying her face into my chest--probably trying to keep it warm. But I did get her out of the carrier long enough to get a couple of pictures in her cozy winter suit on the day of her first snow experience.
A good time was had by all, and the best part was that both kiddos slept the entire drive back home, and we made it home in time to watch our Friday Night Fort Flick (a couple of days late). This week's selection was Dumbo. It's hard to tell how much of the movie Wyatt actually retained while he was running around the room and jumping on the furniture, but he must of liked it at least a little bit since he performed his very dramatic fall to the floor in protest as the movie came to an end.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Pepperwood Grove Merlot
with a game that I call UP-UP-UP with a fish! ~Cat in the Hat
Click on photo to enlarge
Dr. Seuss is hands-down the favorite children’s author in our house, which made selecting Wyatt’s Halloween costume a no-brainer. He wasn’t really sure what to think when I told him he was going to be Cat in the Hat for Halloween. He didn’t actually grasp what that meant until we put the costume on him and he looked at himself in the mirror. He was quite enamored with himself—almost as if he truly believed he was indeed Cat in the Hat! As for Avery’s costume, I just couldn’t resist when I saw it--and it just so happened to fit with the theme of Cat in the Hat. This age is so fun because you can dress them in anything you want without much, if any, protest.
Trick-or-treating was very interesting. It took us a good 45 minutes just to get off our our street, as most of our time was spent trying to explain to Wyatt that just because someone answered the door, it didn't give him an invitation to just barge in and stay for tea. He also had a difficult time understanding why he couldn't eat every single piece of candy right away. Therefore, we spent a lot of time lying down in the middle of the street pouting! It's a good thing we started off on our street. It didn't take him long to get the hang of it--although he never actually said "trick-or-treat" or "thank you". It's very strange, but he has a problem using socially appropriate terms such as "please", "thank you", and "sorry". He can definitely say them, but for some reason he feels very awkward having to say them at the appropriate times. Oh well...maybe next year!
He and Eric had a grand time sorting through all of "the goods" when we got back home while I was getting our little fishy to bed. When I came back into the living room, Wyatt was enjoying his tootsie pop and appeared to be experiencing a sugar coma, as we never get the opportunity to see him lying so still and so quiet.
For those of you who don't know, the sugar coma comes just shortly before the sugar high. Luckily, we were able to get some video of him at the peak of his sugar high specifically for your entertainment. It's very short. Enjoy!
My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition
(most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and
kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great
outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match
that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very
characteristic of a merlot.
“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771