Okay, I lied. I didn't think I'd be back before the New Year but I know Grandma and Grandpa L are waiting for picture and videos since they couldn't be with us this year. So here are lots!

Christmas with kids gets better every year! Christmas Eve my dad and brother drove in. They ended up getting here a bit late due to some ice and a telephone pole (luckily the only injury was to my dad's car) and I didn't feel good so Craig took Lucy to church while Jonah and I stayed home to welcome them. I was so out of it I didn't get a picture before they left of her all dressed up in her Christmas dress and sweater but she looked adorable. And she was so excited to come home and find Grandpa and Uncle Ben waiting for her that I never would have gotten her still enough to get one. In fact, it took her quite a while to calm down and and it was after 10pm when she finally passed out - but that meant that we all got to sleep in a bit on Christmas morning!

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We snacked on stolen and opened stockings while waiting for everyone to gather. Stolen is my family's Christmas tradition for breakfast and Craig has been campaigning for a switch to cinnamon rolls since he doesn't really like Stolen but this year Lucy loved her "Christmas bread" so I think he's fighting a loosing battle there.

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 I had so much fun watching Lucy open presents. She actually opened everyone's. I put the first intial of the gift receiver on the package and she helped us figure out to whom it belonged to then ask them if she could help. It worked well except she kept trying to give my presents to her stuffed monkey.

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I'm not gonna lie, she got so much stuff this year. Part of me feels like I should feel guilty about that but as much as the me from 3 years ago would probably scoff at my saying this, I don't. She doesn't have a tons of toys and really loves everything she got. I don't think she will get this much stuff every year but I know I went overboard because I wasn't feeling very Christmas-y and was trying to compensate (and from conversations with my dad, I don't think I was the only one) and she gets to enjoy the benefits of that this year.

She didn't get out of her pajamas until after naptime because she was having so much fun playing. Here she is making some pizzas.

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Jonah slept through the big present opening but once he got up, Lucy was more than happy to open his presents for him too...and read his books....and play with his toys. But eventually he did get to play with them himself. He loves his bee-bo book and his skwish.

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And here are some videos.

Lucy wishing Grandma and Grandpa Merry Christmas

Lucy opening presents
Lucy dancing and singing Hark the Herald Angel Sing
Jonah not rolling over. He can, but refuses to do so for the camera.


Lucy's Christmas Message

Lucy has a special Christmas message for you all. 

In case you need a translation of her message:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. Luke 2:6-11 

Merry Christmas! See you in the New Year!


Jonah @ 3 months!

Dear Jonah,
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I feel like this last month just flew by and I've done a really bad job of taking pictures but I'll try better next month. You're bigger and more alert now. You've become really smiley. All we have to do is smile or blow a raspberry and you just grin.

A few weeks ago you were asleep in our bed and before I moved you into your co-sleeper I gave you a kiss on the cheek. Your daddy laughed and said that was silly because you were asleep and didn't know I was kissing you. I told him he was the silly one because you don't kiss a baby because they like it, you kiss a baby because you like it. But after that, I noticed that you do like it when I kiss you. So now I have another smile tool at my disposal.
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 But your worried face hasn't totally disappeared.

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 You love to "talk" to us.

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You adore Lucy and love tummy time if she is there for you to watch and you're getting pretty good at pushing up.
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If Lucy isn't around, you'd rather be sitting up on our laps (not quite on your own, but close - see top image). You also love to play "airplane" our on legs. Or be anywhere as long as you can see the action.

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Your hair has gotten a bit darker and when we go out in public, you get lots of comments on your adorabl "red hair." It's really more of a strawberry blond but depending on the light it can look anything from pure blond to very red. 
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You are super mellow. I went to MOPS last week and another mom held you so I could paint my project and when I turned back to you 3 minutes later, you had fallen asleep in her arms. You really like to sleep. I'm savoring naps with you while I can but you do just fine on your own most of the time.

You like to chew on your fists. Sometimes you'll accidentally get a finger or thumb in your mouth and start to gag so I don't think you'll become a thumb sucker but who knows.

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You are still in 6 month clothes but I really could take you up to 9 month for sleepers and onesies as some of your 6 months ones take a bit of stretching to make snapping over your long torso possible. The chair picture at the top of this post is in 9 month clothes and it isn't too big at all but I'm not ready for that yet. You're not allowed to wear 9 month clothes when you can't even roll over yet, that just seems silly. You're also in red prefolds/medium covers/Thirsties duo size 2 and have been for several weeks now - some of which are obviously hand me down - but I promise I don't put you in this one in public :-)

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But who told you that you were allowed to grow so fast? Still little my baby boy.


Way of Lights

Driving around to look at the Christmas lights is one of those Christmas to-dos that I've been excited for Lucy to experience. There aren't really a lot in our neighborhood so we drove to the Way of Lights. It was a longer drive than we like to take with a baby who gets cranky in the evenings but it was worth it. It tells the Christmas story in lights, with the corresponding Bible passages written on billboards. And since much of it was what Lucy has been memorizing, she recognized it and got excited that she knew it. 

Then we parked and took Lucy for the part she was really excited about - the camels. She had been told she could ride one and every 5 minutes of the drive asked if it was time to ride them yet. But when we got there and she actually saw them, she decided the ponies looked safer. But then she got up next to the ponies and changed her mind again.   

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But they were really nice and gave us a refund. I wasn't expecting that but I have a feeling that she isn't the first child who thinks pony riding is more fun in theory than in practice. We took our refund and bought some carrots instead. Feeding the animals was something she enjoyed.

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The goats and the nice calm antelope were her favorites.

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I love this picture because I just happen to have a picture of Lucy sleeping in a wrap in front of a camel at about the same age here. I promise we really aren't around camels that much!

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Cleaning out the drafts: She dips

For some reason, I never posted this "draft" even though it is a finished post but I believe it was written back when she just turned two. Sadly, she no longer calls things "dip dips" but instead uses their proper names. But she still really loves ketchup. 

Lucy loves dip. Pretty much any kind of dip. And she loves to say "dip dip." I need to get it on video because she says it oddly, drawn out as well as very emphatically.

 For the most part, I like her dipping as well because the dips she gets are normally pretty healthy and while she is perfectly willing to eat most of these foods without dip as well, she ends up eating more if she gets to dip.

Alas, her favorite is probably ketchup which is not particularly healthy. But she will eat almost anything with ketchup. I saw "almost" because she once tried bread with ketchup and it was, in her words, "eww, yuck yuck"

Things she has eaten and liked with ketchup:
  • chicken
  • hamburger patty pieces
  • french (oven) fries
  • oven sweet potato fries
  • chickpeas
  • celery pieces
  • chunks of tuna
  • carrots (already in a honey butter sauce)
  • steamed broccoli (see below)
  • mushrooms
  • raw green peppers

Her other beloved dips:

Red dip = Salsa - with or without chips. She can eat about 1/4 salsa per chip and if it is chunky salsa, she normally gives up on the chip after a while and just fishes around for the onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Green dip = Guacamole - similar to salsa. She starts out with chips but they are the side show.

White dip = Sour cream - with quesadillas or burritos or any kind of bean by itself or cherry tomatoes (but only if cut in half, she doesn't like it when the squirt and dirty her shirt) 

Noodle dip = Spaghetti sauce - with spaghetti. She doesn't really like noodles very much but will eat them if she gets to dip them herself

Yogurt dip =  with fruit, especially strawberries. She will often refuse plain yogurt in a bowl (but never "baby yogurt" which is yogurt in the little cups) but if I call it yogurt dip, she eats it up.

Maple syrup - the one dip I limit quantities on one, a fact she does not appreciate. 

Funnily enough, two dips she doesn't like are a raspberry fruit dip I made with cream cheese, yogurt and raspberries. She loved the raspberries by themselves and I didn't think I could go wrong mixing them with two other foods she likes but she did not like it at all and even got upset if she saw Craig or I eating it. She also doesn't like hummus. She used to but recently has decided that she doesn't. But she still likes chickpeas by themselves so I guess I don't mind not having to go through the hummus making process.


Joyful Learning in November

This is a bit late but I couldn't find any of the pictures and this isn't the type of post that is really worthwhile without pictures...but I found the folder stuck in another folder and now, here we are!

The first two weeks of November we learned about the 5 senses. This was so much fun and I finally got around to doing several Montessori activities that I had wanted to do for a while.

We started with touch. I'd seen the balloon matching game on several montessori blogs and it was a bit hit (I used salt, flour, popcorn, lentils and something else I can't remember :-). She could tell the difference just by looking so she liked to hide them under a diaper to make it trickier.

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We also made a touch and feel city

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 and did a "paint in a bag" activity. I wanted her to just play around but she wasn't feeling inspired so I got out her sandpaper letters and asked her to copy some. She knows most of her letters by sound and a few by name but this was our first try making them herself and she did really well.

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I stuck to the easy ones like o, t, i and c (c turned out to be hard since she kept completely the circle and then getting frustrated it wasn't right so I would suggest leaving that out at the beginning) but I was impressed by how attentive she was to getting them right. We also made lots of shapes.

For sound we went on a sound hunt. We went to several rooms of the house and found all the sounds we could I had originally planned for her to draw a picture for each sound but she ended up wanting me to. I had a few in mind for each room but she surprised me and found more than I did - my favorite part was when she wanted me to draw Jonah in every room because apparently, he is noisy wherever we go!

We also played stop and go dancing. When the music was on, she would dance,

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when it was off, she would stop.

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This is one activity that Jonah was allowed to participate in, although she told me that it was okay if he kept moving when the music was off because he didn't understand the rules. She's so understanding :-)

For sight, I made a tray with household items.

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Then she would cover her eyes while I'd hide one and then she'd have to remember what I took away. She did pretty well and insisted on playing later with Craig. She also liked to play with being the guesser but she'd always blurt out the answer before I had a chance to guess. Its similar to our attempts to play hide and go seek. She's great at seeking, not so good at hiding. That's probably a good thing at this age though.

I combined taste and smell for our last day. We did some smelly painting (adding a few drops of essential oil to her tempera paint) and then made popcorn.

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The popcorn was a good chance to review all the senses since she felt it before we added it to the pan, she had to listen and tell me when it was done popping, she saw the difference between the popped and unpopped corn then we smelled it and ate it.
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I love this picture because she is sorting out the pieces she can't eat because they look like animals and are therefore her friends!

The next two weeks was Thanksgiving. We didn't do that much since we were all sick but I did print out some Thanksgiving themed tangram sheets. I told her the basic Thanksgiving story while she worked on these. She had done tangram printables before but this was the first time without the colors to help her but she still did fine. Now that I know she can handle that, the options for tangrams sheet freebies are much wider so I'm excited. And once we do one or two, she normally starts making her own patterns and will end up playing with the "copy pieces" all morning. I love them! (And so does she, despite the grumpy face she insisted on putting up for the camera)

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Later one, when we were feeling a bit better, she made a handprint turkey out of beans and corn. I think you can tell she did this one all by herself (for a picture of what it is "supposed" to look like, see here)

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We also made thankful turkeys to decorate our table.

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I would not recommend this activity with younger kids. Maybe it was our glue but even I had trouble getting my feathers in place. Okay, that sounds sad so lets go with the glue theory but it was a good chance to go over things for which we were thankful.  At first, she just named whatever she could see - the lightbulbs, chairs, bananas - but eventually we got to some good ones like friends, family, snuggles and toys.

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One day she asked to do school but I didn't feel good,so I made her a "turkey" sandwich.  But this led to a big of a communication issue the next day when I was really sick and Craig made her lunch. She kept asking for a turkey sandwich and he kept saying they didn't have any turkey. Her attempts to tell him to make a turkey sandwich out of peanut butter and honey didn't make sense to him until a few days later when I made her another. If only he had downloaded the pictures!

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One things I've learned is to not always make everything so theme-y. One of the activity suggestions was to make fall placemats. I loved the idea of placemats but instead of doing a seasonal one, we made these to help Lucy learn to set the table correctly. It doesn't really have anything to do with Thanksgiving but it was fun and useful.

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 I've also lessened the amount of themed books we read since I seemed to be settling for lesser quality because it worked with the theme and that was not my goal. I did get a couple books on the 5 senses and Thanksgiving but just a few which left us time to read The Little House and Tattercoats over and over and over again.