Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This year's Christmas card

So this year's Christmas card marks a major shift for us -- we've decided that our kids are way cuter than we are, so the front of our card features just them.  Plus, it's significantly easier to get a cute portrait of them than it is to do a remote/timer shot of all four of us at once...  ;)  I did manage to eke one out this fall, so the back of our card has a black and white photo of all four of us.  Which is one of literally only two photos I have of all four of us together this year...  Any photographers in central NJ want to do a family photo swap sometime next year?  :)

Joshua and Sophia were actually kind of happy and excited about photos this crisp late fall morning when I dressed them up for Christmas photos.  Joshua thought it was hilarious, sitting on the leaves -- he kept asking Sophia if she saw the leaves, and laughing when she would try to eat some.  :)  And Sophia was just excited to be outside, giggling when the wind blew and content to sit and smile at the world around her.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our 2013 special ornament

So far, we've managed to continue our little family tradition of having a special annual Christmas ornament to commemorate the year... This marks our eighth year of doing this!  Pretty soon, I'll have to find a different way to display these ornaments...  :)

2013 was a big year of change and growth for our family.  Both David and I have had exciting new challenges professionally -- me with my new job ventures, David with his ever-evolving responsibilities in campus ministry.  Sophia continues to grow and change in leaps and bounds every day, adding new words and new motor skills seemingly by the minute.

But perhaps the biggest, most obvious change to our family rhythms this year was the introduction of formal school for Joshua.  Starting preschool has brought so many exciting and wonderful changes in our little guy's life.  He's grown so much in vocabulary and art skills and other immediately obvious "learning" skills.  But it's also been amazing to watch him grow in understanding in so many different ways -- from complex sentence structures, to empathy for other children, to remembering what he's done during the day and being excited to relate extended stories about what he did, it's all been such a joy to watch!

And having Joshua in school three mornings a week has opened up a lot of time for the rest of us.  It *is* a bit of a scramble on school mornings to get Joshua fed, dressed, and out the door by 8:15.  But once he's there, I've had some really sweet one-on-one times with Sophia.  And when she's taking her morning nap, I suddenly have decent stretches of time to catch up on life.  :)

So we thought that it would be fitting to get a little school-themed ornament this year, to remember the beginning of this new season in our family's life.  We're so thankful that Joshua's first experiences of school have been predominantly positive, and we pray that he'll continue to enjoy his time learning and exploring and growing through his entire school career!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some fun kiddo updates

Earlier this fall, Joshua taught Sophia how to play a version of hide and seek.  It starts with all three of us sitting on the floor of the living room.  Joshua then asks me, "can the two children go away from you, Mama?"  Which is my cue to tell him, "yes, let's see if Sophia can find you!"  He then crawls quickly away, over to the kitchen, and calls Sophia's name.  About half the time, Sophia will take her cue and start crawling over to the kitchen to look for Joshua.  Even though he's always, always in exactly the same place, she'll look under the dining table, in the bathroom, and then make her way to the kitchen.  When she comes into view, they both start squealing with glee.  Cutest hide and seek ever!!


Joshua has started learning how to take pictures with my cell phone camera.  He'll hold the phone, compose a shot, tap the shutter button, and then immediately hit the camera roll to see the photo he took.  And then get distracted by scrolling through the other pictures and then ask if he can find Thomas (i.e., watch YouTube videos).  :)  But in that brief moment of focus, he's actually got a pretty good eye!  Here's his first photographic attempt, an image he's titled "Purple Cadillac Needs Help."


Words that Sophia definitely knows how to say now and uses regularly in the right context:

- hi
- please ("peesss")
- thank you ("hmm-ooo" with a glottal stop in the middle)
- no
- no touch (usually said when she's trying to touch something she knows she shouldn't!)
- no hit (usually said indignantly to her big brother)
- bye-bye
- dada
- mama
- yum yum
- cheese
- bless you


We had our first snow last week, and Joshua woke up super excited to see it falling.  He came into our bedroom and glued himself to the window to watch the snow.  Sophia was still asleep at first, so it was just the three of us and the snowfall.  Then Sophia started stirring, which drew Joshua's attention to the video monitor on my nightstand.  He immediately picked up the monitor, and following the principle of "if I can see you, you can see me," he pressed the monitor to the window, saying earnestly, "Sophia! Look at the snow!!"

More snowy fun: when David goes out to clear the car, Joshua insists on getting his boots, coat, and mittens "just like Papa," so he can "wipe the snow" alongside him.  :)


(This was posted verbatim on FB, but it's too good not to share here!)

Sophia: *indeterminate screaming*
Me: *holding her, rocking her, walking her around*
S: *more indeterminate screaming*
Me: Sweetheart, what do you need?
S: *deep breath* Chzzz.
Me: Cheese? OK, we can get you cheese!
S: Peessss ["please"].
Me: *handing her cheese*
S: Hmm-ooh ["thank you"] *happy and quiet snacking*

Communication, y'all. It works wonders!


The kiddos' favorite part of Stone Hill Church?  The food!