Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas and The Things Julia Says

Before we get to the titular topics... Julia had a holiday-sing-a-long during one of her last days of her semester of preschool. All the kids got to wear their pajamas and bring a pillow. Parents were invited and everyone participated together to sing songs and have snacks. It was a lot of fun and very cool to see some of what Julia does everyday at school. Here's a picture of Julia and me from that morning.

Our first Christmas in our house was pretty exciting. For starters, we actually had a good place to put the tree without feeling like it was in the way or without having to rearrange furniture. We also had a little tree that we had used a few times while still renting and we found a good place for that in the kitchen. This was Finn's first time getting to really help with decorating and he seemed to like it, as did Julia.

People always say that Julia looks a lot like Mandy. One of the ornaments was a picture of Mandy when she was little. I think this is definitive proof that the people are correct.

The end products of the decorating:

We decided to have our gift opening with just our family the weekend before Christmas. We traveled to Wisconsin Rapids for Christmas, so we wanted to have a little holiday fun at our house before things got too hectic.

As expected, the traveling aspect of Christmas this year was busy, stressful, and fun. We had a lot of places to go while in Wisconsin Rapids and so every day we went somewhere to celebrate Christmas or visit relatives and friends.

One gift that Julia got was tickets to go see Stars on Ice in February. She loves dancing and she's talked about how ice skating is like dancing on ice. I'm sure she'll love it. This is a picture of her after someone explained to her what it was inside of the box.

Sometimes Finn would think that Julia's presents looked fun too. That doesn't usually turn out very well for either child or the people in the vicinity who have to hear the yelling. Julia decided to get some bodyguards to help out. Here she is with Mandy's cousins Curt and Zach at her side to help protect her interests - in this case, a new keyboard.

I thought this picture of Julia and her Grandpa Dayton was especially cute.

Beware: Clever segue ahead! (Ok, so using a Christmas present to lead into The Things Julia Says might not be THAT clever...)
You never know which new toys will be a hit and which ones won't be. This year Julia got Honeybee Hop and it was a hit. It's a stick attached to a base and the stick spins around and you jump over it. Julia was having fun jumping over the stick and running away from it when I decided to join her. I must have been getting in her way, but she didn't want to be mean about it so she said, "Dad, you watch me for a little while so you can get better at it." And then later, when I was sitting on floor close to the game doing something with Finn, she turned it back on. It banged against my back as it was trying to spin around. Julia said, "Daddy move! Your butt's too big!" For the record, by butt is adequately sized.

Frequently Julia will inform us of things out of the blue. One such example of this is when she announced that, "Circles are the only shapes without corners."

While driving to one of the our many stops this Christmas Julia piped up from the backseat. "Seven plus seven is..." She was quiet for perhaps 10-15 seconds before revealing the answer to be fourteen. She counted on her fingers (which I thought was impressive enough for a not-yet four and half year old), but since she doesn't have fourteen fingers, she had counted out the first seven and when she maxed out at ten while counting the second seven, she had to start back over with the first hand. We've got a smart one on our hands!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Finncident

If you don't like gross, skip right down to the pictures!

It was the day before Thanksgiving at about 8:30 pm and we were nearly at the end of our three-hour drive to Wisconsin Rapids - about five minutes from Mandy's parent's house. That's when the Finncident occurred. We heard a gurgling noise coming from the back seat, so we turned to look and saw vomit flowing out of Finn's mouth. He paused to sputter a little before releasing the second wave of stinktastic yuck all over himself. We had just passed a gas station so we ended up pulling into a car dealership. As we were coming to a stop, Finn went for the trifecta of puking and let out one last burst of stomach nastiness, this time nearly choking on it. Mandy got out and started wiping the chunks and liquid of off Finn as best she could. At the start of the trip, the empty space below Finn's feet looked like the ideal place to put our jackets - at this point, not so ideal. Mandy was holding Finn outside the car and now he was shivering in the below freezing temperature. Since my coat was already dirtied, she used it to wrap him in it. Julia was still in the car but now she was holding her hands over her face, nearly crying, and her muffled voice saying something about the smell. I let her out. A few moments later she was shivering too, so I let her climb in the passenger seat to be out of the cold and not directly in the stench cloud. At this point an unmarked cop car pulled in and the officer asked if everything was ok. We said something about a vomiting kid and that we were ok (Later, I commented that I should have asked him to arrest Finn - disorderly conduct seems like it would have been justified.). The officer got back in as if to leave, but then a few moments later he came over and gave us a few stickers for the kids. It was nice of him to do and later Julia was pretty excited about it, but at the time I thought, "Ohhhh! Are they puke cleaning stickers?!" We finished throwing out all the chunks and sopping up what we could and then we got back on our way. After we arrived we needed to do a load of laundry and clean the car and Finn's car seat. The car seat was the worst because it's a pain to take in and out and because Finn's foulness was all over the buckle straps, which was hard to get the smell out of. It turns out he was probably just carsick, since prior to and after the Finncident, he seemed fine and we did not have any other nauseating nightmares that weekend. The whole event also made us realize that we need to teach Finn how to chew his food better.

We had a Thanksgiving gathering at out house a few weeks before the real thing. Here is Julia participating in a mutual back rub with a few of our guests.

Both kids really enjoyed building a gingerbread house with Uncle Jason and Aunt Tracie.

Uncle Jon and Ginny took some time to lounge on the couch with Julia.

Jon was trying to show Julia something on his computer when suddenly, out of nowhere, Finn pounced!

At Mandy's parent's house, there was some Christmas cookie making going on.

Julia either contracted a new disease, symptomatic of green and red sugary spots on the face, or a sprinkle bomb went off near her.

Finn's up close picture - him getting up close with a candy cane.

Julia had her third dance recital last week. Here's a short, soundless excerpt of it. She's the dancer in the bright pink leotard with dark tights.
Video link.

Finn is a great helper around the house. It might take him awhile to do certain things, but he's determined.
Video link.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dynamic Duo!

As the kids are getting older, they're interacting more often in meaningful ways. Often, these meaningful ways result in Julia yelling at Finn for wrecking whatever she was trying to do. But there are also a lot of times where Finn studies what Julia is doing and very closely mimics her. It's a pretty amazing thing to see.

Here is one of the times when Julia is mimicking Finn. He likes to drag the little rugs around the kitchen and then put them down someplace, flatten them out carefully, and lay down and pretend to sleep. Yeah, it's as cute as it sounds.

Finn's pumpkin costume ended up a little tighter than we had planned, but I think it looked cute that way.

Here's a good view of what we call Finn's "chuggy cheeks". I don't remember how the word "chuggy" came about, but I'm sure it's a derivative of "chubby".

A few weekends ago we went out to a teppanyaki style restaurant with some friends of ours (four adults and four kids aged 1-4, and yes, we survived). The chef prepares and cooks all the food in front of you. There's a lot of fancy knife spinning, flying raw eggs, and some flames. It was a lot of fun!

On a non-family related note - I was pretty excited to have been able to be a part, in a small way, of the important elections that took place yesterday. I took the day off of work and got to be a poll observer for the Obama campaign. Our purpose was to sit at the polling place and mark off supporters who voted so that those people would not have to be called later in the day to remind them to vote, thus freeing up extra time for phone calls to be made or doors to be knocked on for people who hadn't yet voted.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

We've all been battling a series of colds and Julia seemed to have picked up something particularly unfun the last few days. Yesterday was even worse and so we took her to the doctor last night. The prognosis - An ear infection in each ear. Amanda has off of work today and tomorrow and so she could be at home with Julia...right? Well, because she knew about the day off well in advance, she scheduled several appointments to get some things done because she would be home and child-free. So, being the gentleman and the scholar that I am (C'mon, let me throw in "scholar"!), I said I would stay home and watch Julia so Amanda would not have to cancel her appointments.

Well so far today, Julia is feeling significantly better, as is evidenced by this picture. And she MUST be feeling better, otherwise there's no way in heck I could have justified letting her have a candy necklace for a snack this morning. Afterwards, she explained to me that, "Kids like candy because it's sugary." Truer words were never spoken.

At lunch she said some interesting things. Here's the transcript:

Julia: What's going on?
Me: What do you mean?
Julia: I'm thinking and then the thinking goes into my eyes and then I can see my thinking. WHAT is going on?!
Me: Maybe it's your imagination. If you're thinking about something a lot then it might start to seem like you're seeing it too. What are you thinking and seeing?
Julia: Word World! I can hear it! Now the thinking is going into my ears too!

If she was about ten years older I probably would have needed to ask her if she had been using any substances that she shouldn't be.

Since Finn was left out of the story, here are two videos of him. The first is Finn trying to put on Amanda's heeled shoes (see picture in the last post for another example of Finn's hobby of dressing in clothes that are too big for him).
Video link.

This one is when I caught Finn in the glider, rocking. He likes to rock pretty hard in it and the front part comes off the floor a bit when he does. It's only a matter of time before he tips it over backwards. Maybe if I would have taken him down instead of recording him, it would help him to learn not to do it... The world may never know!
Video link.

About the title - Ask Julia to tell you some jokes sometime.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Really funny story!

Eh, forget it, just make up your own stories...I've got other stuff to do.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Summer's End

Darkness is coming earlier in the evening and sticking around longer in the mornings. The air is cooling and the first hints of leaves changing colors can be seen. Julia is starting pre-school again, Amanda is immersed in her new job, and students are back at the university. Summer is coming to an end and good riddance, I say. Don't get me wrong, I like summer, I like all the seasons, but by the time they've hung around for a few months, I'm ready to see what the next one has to offer up.

Here are some snapshots of some late summertime activities we partook in. From swimming lessons to eating watermelon, opening presents at a summer birthday to relaxing on a hammock, and finally - face painting at an art festival.