Friday, December 13, 2013

Daily December Life

Life is good, and we are happy : ) Both children are growing and changing so fast! I had one of those moments today when I'm startled by how beautiful and perfect and precious Natalie is - she cruised into the kitchen in her stripe-ity pink jammies with bright eyes and an excited expression, holding some toy out for me to inspect and I just couldn't believe this intelligent, joyful little person is my daughter. She is so curious and independent and SMART and lovely.

Stockton loves catching your eye and giving those huge gummy grins - he's different than Natalie was as a baby, as in he's content to just relax in your lap or on the play mat or in the swing; she needed more attention. He is mellow and pleasant where she was observant and feisty. He pretty much has control over his neck and is usually searching for a face to smile upon. We love this little man - every day he evolves into more of an interacting, aware, unique person and it is truly a joy to see.

I LOVE not being a first-time mom anymore. I am so calm and everything seems easier and less stressful. I'm sure a lot of that is related to him sleeping SO much better than Natalie did, but maybe he sleeps better because I'm more relaxed...I guess it's all one big circle. I feel less tired and less emotionally drained, especially since he doesn't have gas issues anymore. It's exciting to watch Stockton grow and develop because this time we know what to look for and how much they really change - looking back we can see where little bits and pieces of Natalie's future self shone through as a baby, so we look for those kinds of things in Stockton and try to foresee his eventual personality.

I really love having them so close in age and I think it will only get better. I hope they are best friends - I hope they love and take care of each other, even in the midst of healthy fighting and memory-making. We don't have plans for more children yet, but this age difference has been a positive experience so far and I can see us maybe having two more close in age again. I can't wait for Stockton to be able to interact with his sister more and have them actually play together...we have some fun times ahead of us!

Natalie L O V E S her blue jacket. First thing in the morning she finds it and brings it to me with her arms outstretched ready to go into the sleeves, "dack-ert, dackert!" ("jacket jacket!") Recently she learned to drink from a straw and her current favorite foods include pizza ("PEEEE-ta!"), bananas, tortellini, and waffles. She got some new books this week and has been reading them nonstop - we've read "My First Dictionary" about a thousand times already haha.

We don't go out as much now that I'm more sane and used to being home with two children, and now that it's gotten so cold outside. It's nice to stay in our cozy home, watching Wreck-it Ralph and Tangled and Boy Meets World over and over again. There's still that magic hour or two in the afternoon when both children are sleeping and I get to read/relax, so I'm grateful for that. (Recently I finished the Legend and Matched trilogies, Looking for Alaska, and The Memory Keeper's Daughter.)

Natsby has made sort of a ritual out of opening the lid of the printer, cramming her body on top of it while ducking under the desk, and then positioning herself so she's looking out and kicking her feet. She also still loves playing peekaboo and going through her toy boxes.

 She adores her Kitty, of course, and is starting to bond with her blankie too. She loves gathering them both up in her arms and giving them huge hugs. She's happy to be front-facing in the car and enjoys the bumbo (so much so that she gets jealous when her brother has a turn and tries to pull him out.)

We're working on only having the bink for sleeping, and so far it's been going better than I thought. She steals Stockton's bink, but then looks over at us with a guilty smile and either tries to jam it back in his face or brings it hurriedly into our outstretched hand. She loves the simple pleasures of licking cookie dough spoons, drinking fountains, and exploring new spaces.

Stockton does a lot of laying and "swimming" and carseat-ing and flopping, but he's happy and makes us happy. It's fun for Austin to have a son and be "men" together.

It's been a great month so far, as you can hopefully tell : )

December Housework and Traditions

We've lived in this apartment for a year and several months now, and this week I cleaned out the pantry for the very first time. It wasn't gross or anything, just chock full. I had no idea we could even fit that many cans in one small space!

I feel like we could run our own grocery store...
thirteen boxes/bags of pasta

the pudding cups you see are hot chocolate flavored, soooo yummy

I should have taken a picture of the actual pantry, but just imagine a slim, four-shelved little closet. It's a miracle that all of this food was stuffed in there. I unknowingly had seven cans of chicken stock, 9 cans of tomato paste, and, wait for it...11 cans of beans! This isn't even supposed to be our food storage, just our day-to-day usage, but it was lost among all the crackers and puddings and pastas so I kept buying more, thinking we were out. I won't have to shop for non-perishables for a while!

In other news, I'm finally a true housewife: I MADE A REAL PIE!! And it was a success! Pumpkin chiffon (a lighter taste and texture than traditional pumpkin pie) recipe from my Grammy Bee with homemade crust (of course) and fresh whipped cream. I am so proud! I don't even like pie, but Austin thinks it is one of the wonders of the world so I was happy to serve him. Also in recent baking history: pumpkin snickerdoodles, eggnog snickerdoodles, and pumpkin bread with butterscotch baking chips, all super delicious.

Our Christmas decorations are scanty this year, partly because we didn't feel like baby proofing them and partly because we're lazy and partly because we don't really have any. We did hang the sort of hilarious stockings and continued these traditions:

 -chocolate covered cherries, omgggg. I can't get enough. My mom cannot STAND them, but she buys them for me every time she seems them in the store this time of year. True love!

-the lesser-known but no less important Christmas song "Percy the Puny Poinsettia" was introduced to me by Austin and it's the best, go YouTube it now! In honor of the song we buy our own Percy, the lamest, weakest, wiltiest plant of the bunch. After some water and love it is much perkier, but not traditionally beautiful. We laugh every time we see it.

-Ahh, yes, the Christmas Fishbowl, back for another year. I'll post a better picture later, but Austin looks forward to the CFB all year, not kidding. He claims we'll never get a traditional tree ever again ( are you supposed to put presents under a fishbowl?!) because the CFB works so well. It does have a sort of charm, I'll admit : )

I also love listening to Christmas music, the tangible cheer in the air, and centering our thoughts on the things that matter most. It's a happy time of year!


Since our son is, after all, named after a basketball player, we figured that at two months old he was ready for his first basketball game. We got great tickets from a coworker and left Natalie asleep at home (thanks for watching her, Aaron!) to head out in the FRIGID cold and watch the Huskers beat Miami in the brand new arena - it's definitely worth a trip there just to see the place, it's awesome! The game was really fun. I love the adrenaline of a big sports event!

FREEZING in the parking garage elevator

Stockton was a little overwhelmed by the noise and colors and atmosphere, but he was a trooper and hardly made a peep.

The halftime show was cool, some street-type drummer/performer from New York. There were four college girls sitting in front of us and randomly one turned around and did a complete double-take as she saw Stockton - she frantically poked and alerted her friends to the presence of a very cute baby. We were treated to a plethora of oohs and admiring ahhs for the rest of the game...he already has cheerleaders!

We even got to be on that huge jumbo screen during a timeout! Stockton impressed the scouts in the crowd...they all wrote his name down as a future recruit, I'm sure.

We hope to catch some more games in the future!