Monday, November 26, 2012

Walking in Grandpa's Shoes

On Friday and Saturday, we visited Greg's dad and stepmom in Rockton, Illinois. The boys had a great time, but Henry liked walking in Grandpa's shoes the best.

He also liked cuddling with Grandpa Jay. Henry has been in a very snuggly mood lately. He holds his arms up and begs everyone to pick him up. Then he lays his head on your shoulder.

Henry snuggled a lot this weekend. He also caused plenty of trouble. We went out to dinner at a very nice Italian place, and Henry threw spaghetti. Henry also left and took off running toward another table. If he wasn't so cute, he'd be in big trouble.

Nick was really excited by all the cool toys and grandma and grandpa's house. Both Nick and Henry fought over this neat school bus.

I think my Thanksgiving break was too short. I would've liked another few days with my boys. Ah, well.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving, from Nick's Perspective

As our five-day Thanksgiving holiday comes to a close, I feel a little sad that it passed by so quickly. I also wish I had taken more photographs. We spent Thanksgiving Day at my mom and stepdad's house, and, though I snapped a few pictures, Nicholas ran off with the camera several times.

Here is our photographer right before he "borrowed" the camera. I do believe he had cherry danish smeared around his mouth.

Nick first chose to take a picture of his foot next to the Sesame Street car garage. Interesting angle.

He did snap a picture of his mommy and daddy cuddled up on the couch.

Here you can see the football game on T.V. as well as the puppy hiding under the piano bench.

Nick is big into self-portraits. He adores looking at images of himself.

Here is Henry, as viewed by his big brother. Henry loved chasing the puppy on Thanksgiving. That puppy worked off any treats people snuck to him, that's for sure.

I'm not sure what the background was on this shot. It looks almost as if Greg is dancing. He insists that he was not dancing.

Finally, here are some dog toys, elegantly displayed on the hardwood floor next to some lovely carpeting.

I'll write more about the rest of our weekend later this week, but I sure hope your Thanksgiving was as interesting as mine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Happy Henry Video

I just found this video of Henry from Halloween (which is why he has whiskers drawn on his cheeks with eyeliner). I thought it was pretty cute. You can hear Nick making noise in the background as well. This clip perfectly encapsulates the chaos, noise, and joy that is my life. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nick's 4th Birthday Party

Yesterday was the first time we were able to have Nick's birthday party on his actual birthday.

Nick kept announcing, randomly throughout the day, "I am four today!" He told me, "Don't open the [car] door! I can do it myself. I am four now!" (He couldn't do it, but he sure tried.)

Something else that Nick is now able to do is take pictures. My mom and stepdad bought him his own kid camera. I think he's probably already taken several hundred shots.

In the above picture, Nick is trying on his new hat while I show off one of his new outfits. You can see Henry in the background, watching us while trying to sneak a cupcake.

This year, I let Nick pick out all of the decorations. He choose Cars-themed stuff, including a string-pull pinata. I ordered the cupcakes from a place in Naperville called Cupcake Whimsy.

Parties are always exhausting, but we had a good time. We do, however, have enough leftovers to make grocery shopping unnecessary for quite a few days. My family will be surviving on mostaccioli, chicken, Italian beef, and cupcakes.

The boys had fun pulling the strings on the pinata, and no one got whacked with a stick. (extra bonus, there.)

Henry kept trying to put the candy back into the pinata after we were done.

Nick also scored a really cool bean bag chair, which amused Henry for some time. Auntie Mandy always brings cool presents.

She also has more patience than most for the recorder-playing of her nephew.

Nicholas was sad to see his party end. He asked me if it was still going to be his party tomorrow. I told him he'd have to wait another year. Nick was disappointed, to say the least.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Nicholas!

Today, Nicholas turned four. I will post some more pictures of his party tomorrow.

This post is for Nicholas to read, someday, when he is older. You are welcome to read it as well. This is a little something I'd like to do for my children each year as they grow up.    :)

Dear Nick,

Today was your fourth birthday, and I spent some time thinking about the boy you are becoming. I love your curiosity and energy. I smile when you wash your hands somewhere new. I know that you will climb underneath the sink to listen to the water go down the pipes, and ask questions about the plumbing and drainage. When we went to the store today to get your balloons, you specifically asked for a purple one with a number "4" on it. I am proud that you can recognize so many of your numbers now. You can be sneaky as well--I had to have you show me both of your hands because you tried to sneak some tootsie rolls from a display. 

While you are constantly getting into trouble, in retrospect, your adventures often make me smile. Last week, I got home from work while you were still napping, and when I went into your room to wake you up I was blasted with the smell of diaper cream as soon as I entered the room. The smell was so strong that I followed it to the source, and I was astounded as you showed me your "art." Nicholas, you had flattened a fabric box (one we used to store your socks) and used it as a canvas for a 3D collage. With some purloined scissors, you cut up a straw. Then you used an entire tube of diaper cream to glue at least twenty small toys, papers, and socks to the "canvas." 

We had a family party for you today, and I sometimes envy you your confidence. Unlike your father and me, you are extremely extroverted, and always seem eager to greet any new visitors with a big grin. I admire how you start conversations with waitresses, cashiers, and strangers in line behind us in the grocery store. You also question everything, especially about my driving. "Mommy, why are you turning here? How come you aren't going on the road with the bumps? When you turn to Henry's side, is that right or left? Are we going to go on the expressway?"

It's not so easy to get you to smile on cue anymore, though. At one point today we had to bribe you with a sucker to get you to smile for a family shot. I think you must get your stubbornness from me. Due mostly to your tenacity, you are still only partly potty-trained at age four. I think that you will have a strong personality, and will be able to stand up for what you believe in as you grow. Obstinacy can be a double-edged sword, though, so I hope your father's influence mellows you out a bit. 

You are becoming more independent, and you proudly helped snap your car seat straps in the minivan this morning. We played a rhyming game in the car, and you kept trying to take over the game and have me be the student instead of the teacher. While I don't love the whining that I often hear, I do recognize the creativity inherent in your words as you begged for a treat from Starbucks because your "tummy growls and it is hungry and only a cake pop will make it feel better." I also felt extremely proud of your ability to empathize. When closing the balloons into the minivan, some of them started to float out the door and I fell as I caught them, bumping my knee rather badly. Instead of being worried about the balloons, you wanted to know if I was okay. I want to nurture that empathy and willingness to care for others.

We watched the movie Shrek for the first time today and you got a little scared, especially during the scenes with the fire-breathing dragon. Nick, you are not usually a snuggly kid, but I loved how you sat right next to me so I could protect you. "Mommy, you have to sit right here so I won't be scared of the dragon!" 

I smile every time I think of our nightly storytimes, where you beg for book after book. Lately, one of our favorites is Mo Willem's Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, mostly because you like to wag your finger and tell the pigeon, "No!" as he begs to stay up late. You do not, however, grasp the irony when, not five minutes later, you yourself beg to stay up later. 

I love you Nick, and I am excited to see what the fifth year of your life will bring. Love,  Mommy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Henry Gets a Haircut

For months, Henry's hair has been growing. It is blonde and soft and almost translucent. I finally decided to have it cut.

Henry is only 17 months old. Nick was 22 months old when he had his first haircut, and I had wanted to wait longer for Henry. However, Henry's hair often looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket. I took a hat off of him and decided it was time!

Henry did not agree with my decision, especially once the beautician started squirting his head with water. He cried nearly the whole time, even though Nick tried to cheer him up by making silly faces.

I think his hair looks rather nice now, though it is certainly short. Greg said he looks nearly bald again since his hair is so light and so short. Nick was just jealous that he couldn't get a haircut, too.

I treated both boys to some Chinese food when we were done to celebrate a haircut well done. Henry appreciated the gesture.