Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This year, what with having a newborn and still trying to regain our family equilibrium, we decided not to travel for Thanksgiving.  The thought of wrangling our two kiddos on multiple flights and staying in a new place just long enough for them to get used to it before we had to turn right around and fly back was -- daunting.  So we decided to have a nice, quiet Thanksgiving at home!

We did mention to the PEF staff that we'd be around and willing to host some students for dinner.  As of Tuesday morning, we had one student likely confirmed to come over.  After staff meeting on Tuesday, David came home with a few other names as possibilities, so he emailed them and told them to feel free to come and bring other friends who were on campus for Thanksgiving.  As of Tuesday evening, we had six students confirmed.  By Wednesday evening, we were expecting twelve students.  And on Thursday morning, as David was driving to pick students up, we got two more possible additions to our table.  Ahh, scheduling fun with college students...  :)

We ended up having fourteen adults, including us, around our table for dinner.  (Which is exactly how many chairs we have, and one more than the number of fancy china dinner plates, and two more than the number of fancy water glasses.  So David and I used regular dishes, but at least we had seats!)  And I think we had just enough food for everyone.  :)  I had so much fun planning the dinner and making the dishes -- I relied pretty heavily on make-ahead recipes this year, and the dinner was actually pretty low-stress.  Thanks, in part, I'm sure, to my crazy planning tendencies...

What?  At least I didn't draw up charts and timelines this time!

The students who came over were such a lovely group, all of whom live too far away to make the trip home for just a few days.  They were all enchanted with Joshua and Sophia, and Joshua loved having so many new friends over!  He enlisted them to chase him back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, and one of the guys pulled out his phone and started playing an appropriate orchestral score to accompany the chase.  :)  The kids both went down for their naps just before we sat down to dinner in the early afternoon, and we had lively and entertaining grown-up conversation as we ate.

I was unfortunately too busy prepping and serving the meal to get any photos of the food or even of our guests, but I'm including some iPhone snapshots of the aftermath -- because, you know, pics or it didn't happen.  :)

And two cute Instagram shots of the kiddos -- Joshua enjoying the super-fun obstacle course we created just for him, and Sophia enjoying her favorite Thanksgiving dinner course.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by good friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012


One of the most fun campus traditions is the HYP bonfire -- whenever Princeton football beats both Harvard and Yale, we have a ginormous bonfire on Cannon Green to celebrate.  It, um, doesn't happen as often as we'd like... I don't know the stats off the top of my head, but I can say that it's only happened twice in all my time in Princeton.  Once in 2006:

(Wow, we look so young!  I had to go search my old xanga blog archives for that photo...)

And once this year!

This time around, we're an old married couple with two kids.  :)  We took both Joshua and Sophia to the bonfire -- Sophia was asleep the whole time, but Joshua was fascinated.  So much noise, so many people, and a BIG BIG FIRE!!!  Plus tons of firetrucks standing by to assist with putting out the fire afterward.  Little dude was in heaven.  :)

And a quick snapshot of the intrepid University communications office photogs (including our very own JJ):

They produced this beautiful video of the bonfire, which I highly recommend watching, even if you're not a Princetonian.  :)

It's so fun introducing our kids to school traditions!  Congrats, Princeton football, on a great season!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sophia Watch: Three Months

(Backdating this and trying to at least get it up on the blog before Sophia turns four months old...  It's surprising how being a SAHM to two little ones can eat up all your time!  But at least the photos were taken within a couple days of Sophia's three-month birthday!)

It's hard to believe Sophia is already three months old!  She's grown steadily smilier and more interactive this month.  And she's continued to grow all plump and cute -- while I have no weight/height stats for her (our pediatrician has well baby visits at two months and four months), I can affirm that her rubber band wrists and dimpled legs remain imminently nommable.  ;)

And check out the absolutely wonderful happy photo I got during Sophia's three-month session!

This picture makes my heart smile.  :)

The biggest milestone we reached this month was Sophia sleeping through the night!!  It first happened the night after we got back from the PEF fall retreat (at 12 weeks).  I did her dream-feeding at 11pm as usual, and then woke up with a start at 7 the next morning.  I thought it was likely a fluke resulting from the travel disruption... It happened again the next night, which was our first night in Indianapolis -- again possibly a fluke.  But it continued on through our time in Indy, and has continued on ever since.  Sophia actually sleep trained herself -- she just up and decided she was done with her 3am feeding.  I was flabbergasted at how easy it was.  And I fully recognize that this means I have no standing to complain about parenting to any other new moms.  ;)  I think this is just an extension of Sophia's easygoing nature, and also a reflection of how healthy she is -- she's gained plenty of weight, and doesn't need to eat as often now.  Whatever the reason, I'm just so thankful for the opportunities to get decent sleep!  (If only her brother would stop waking up in the middle of the night for no reason...)

We've fallen into a good rhythm as a family this month.  Sophia is on a regular four-hour schedule during the day, which fits nicely with our meals and Joshua's nap.  She wakes up, eats for about half an hour, and then I get to snuggle and play with her for about another half hour before she's ready to go down for her next nap.  She loves being held upright and walked near our bookcases -- I think she's attracted to the colors and strong lines.  That, or she's a super early reader.  ;)

And Joshua has learned to play gently with Sophia.  He likes rocking her in her little chair, and sharing his toys with her -- and I'm finally having some luck in teaching him the difference between "sharing with" and "throwing at."  :)  I have hopes that the two of them will play nicely with each other as they get older!

Just a few cute shots of Sophia, from our little "session" and from earlier this month!

(She's found her hair and likes twirling her fingers in it...)

(Her eyes are still very bluish-grey!)

Happy three-month birthday, little girl!  We love you so much!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Dress like a fireman??" Halloween 2012

While we've dressed Joshua up for Halloween every year since he was born (2010 tiger, 2011 Clark Kent), this was the first year we actually took him out trick-or-treating.  And thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we got to cheat a little and have two trick-or-treating experiences -- one on Halloween out in Indy, and one on "Christoween," the Governor-mandated delayed Halloween in NJ on November 5.  Hey, it was an executive order -- we HAD to go out for more candy on the 5th!  :)

This year, Joshua was a fireman and Sophia was his Dalmatian puppy.  (I figure I have to do coordinating costumes while the kids are young enough for me to pick out their costumes for them!)  In preparation for Halloween, we've spent time reading about firefighters and fire trucks, and getting Joshua excited about being a fireman for a night.  He does have a bit of a willful streak with regard to what he wears, so I was worried he might not want to wear his costume, but when I asked him if he wanted to dress like a fireman, his face lit up and he got so excited.  It was super cute!  And he continued to ask to dress like a fireman after Halloween was over -- so really, it was a good thing we had a second round of ToTing!

I got a few cute snapshots of each of the kids in their costumes while we were out in Indy:

But this was the very, very best I could get of the both of them together:

Oh well, hopefully we'll have better luck next year...

We had a lot of fun during both nights of trick-or-treating!  The Indy night was a good trial run for us -- it took several houses for Joshua to learn the concept of ringing a doorbell, saying "trick or treat," picking out some candy, and *not* trying to walk into the house.  :)  By the time we went trick-or-treating in Princeton, he was an old pro.  Still a little shy about saying "trick or treat" at first, but he eventually warmed up to each new neighbor and thought it was a ton of fun to put new candies in his little plastic pumpkin bucket.

In Joshua's eyes, the candy he collected was an assortment of fun new toys to play with -- he hasn't yet eaten any candy, so he doesn't know what he's missing.  ;)  And of course, for Joshua, toys = things to sort and organize and collate...  As soon as we brought his haul home, he sorted the candy by shape and color.  His OCD mama was so proud!

It's so fun starting holiday traditions now that Joshua is getting old enough to be a full participant!  We're looking forward to diving into more holiday traditions with him this year!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Escape to Indianapolis

We got back from the PEF retreat on Sunday afternoon, October 28.  We had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast, since we knew we were supposed to get hit at least a little by the storm that was starting to come up the east coast.  We figured we would have to hunker down and deal with rain and wind for a few days.  But as we kept watching the weather and reading the dire prognostications, we started to worry about what it would be like to care for our two little ones during what might be days without power...  So we decided, somewhat spur of the moment, to evacuate.  David had the week off since it was Princeton's fall break, so we called the grandparents and planned a trip out to Indianapolis!

(And as it turns out, this was definitely the right move.  The power went out in our neighborhood on Monday afternoon, and didn't come back until late Friday night.  Major roads were blocked by downed trees and live wires, and Princeton was just a mess for the entire week.  So we were really glad to be enjoying grandparental hospitality out in Indy for the week instead!)

We drove out on Monday morning -- in hard driving rain almost the entire way.  The storms didn't let up until we were well into western Ohio!  Joshua and Sophia did surprisingly well in the car.  We stopped every few hours for Sophia to nurse and Joshua to stretch his legs (i.e., run around like a maniac in the turnpike rest areas), and we only had a few toddler tantrums and infant meltdowns on the 14.5-hour trip.  The biggest tantrum happened in western PA -- Joshua was entranced by the large tunnels through the mountains, and was so excited every time we came up on a new one.  Unfortunately, there are only four tunnels on the PA Turnpike.  After we went through the last one, Joshua kept asking to "see another tunnel??"  And meltdowns ensued when I tried to explain that we were all done with the tunnels.  (Joshua apparently believes that we're omnipotent and just holding out on him in these moments...)  In an attempt to distract, I pointed out a truck hauling a tractor in the lane next to us.  Joshua was fascinated.  And as soon as we passed the truck: "See another tractor??"  It took us a while to live that one down...

But we made it safely to Indianapolis!  It was Sophia's first time meeting her Grandpa Keddie, and she wrapped him right around her little finger.  :)  The kiddos both loved hanging out with their grandparents.  Joshua and Grandma picked up right where they had left off after her last visit -- nice long walks, reading new library books, and playing with all kinds of wheeled toys.

And David and I got to go out on an actual date!  Kid-free!  :)  We recreated the very first kid-free date we went on after Joshua was born, by going out to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and walking around the mall together a bit.  Many, many thanks to Grandma for watching the kids so we could spend some much-needed time together!

We're so thankful we were able to get away for the week -- not only to avoid Hurricane Sandy, but to have such a wonderful time with those we love.  The four of us can't wait until the next time we visit!