Monday, December 31, 2007

Olivia and Elmo Sing Jingle Bells

My mom got this Elmo stocking for Olivia. It plays three different Christmas songs. Olivia went crazy over it. We had to play Jingle Bells over and over so she could sing along. I think we may have a little performer on our hands!

And here is Nate giving his own performance. His new thing is making this buzzing noise with his lips. It's so funny. And check out those dimples! What a ladykiller he's going to be.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Santa Coming Town!

Christmas Eve was pretty exciting. Olivia kept proclaiming, "Santa coming town!!" I guess we've been singing a lot of Santa Clause Is Coming To Town and I think she kind of got the whole concept that Santa was bringing her presents. She would add, "Ho Ho Ho. Presents!" We put out milk and cookies for Santa and then tucked her into bed. Then, this elf got to work putting presents under the tree.

She had a ball tearing into the packages , one after the other. A few presents caused her to pause and play for a few minutes, mainly the Elmo Aquadoodle, the blocks and the farm house.

Nathan even got to open a few things. And he had to check out what else was under the tree.

So, we had a very Merry Christmas, and we hope you did too! We're headed to Livingston for the weekend to celebrate with George's family. I'll post more next week.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Story Moment

Ahh it's that time of year when we huddle around the tv, watching corny christmas movies from our childhood and reminiscing. Fortunately for us, Olivia is such a little performer that she actually re-created one of my favorite christmas movie scenes. Surely you've seen the classic, A Christmas Story. Remember? The little boy, Ralphie, who desperately wanted a Red Ryder BB Gun and his classmate who got his tongue stuck to the light pole on a triple dog dare? Well Ralphie's little brother has eating issues. His mom is always trying to get him to eat. She even resorts to having him imitate a pig. "How do little piggies eat? Show mommy how little piggies eat!" He dives into a mound of mashed potatoes, eating and snorting. The other night at dinner we served that jellied cranberry stuff in a can. Olivia loves the stuff. She wanted to eat ONLY that but eventually George got her to eat the other items by bribing her. If she would take a bite of turkey, she could have cranberry. If she took a bite of potatoes, or stuffing, she could have more cranberries. We actually got her to eat quite a bit that way. At the end of the meal, we cleaned her up and let her out of her chair. George and I were finishing our dinner when I realized she was out in the living room, and had stolen the rest of the cranberry off the table. I didn't get a picture of her in the act, but she was leaning over the dish of cranberries which was sitting on her toddler chair. She had her hands behind her back like she was bobbing for apples and her face was buried in the cranberries. Here is the physical evidence on the cranberries. See, the teeth marks are consistent with those of a sneaky toddler with an insatiable appetite for cranberries. Here is Olivia after her A Christmas Story performance. How do little piggies eat? Show mommy how little piggies eat!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Nate Notes

Poor little guy is teething already. Lots of drooling and crankiness. We let him suck on a small ice cube the other night (in a mesh feeding bag) and he went to town. As you can see, he has no problem handling it on his own. All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth. LOL
I've been putting Nate in the exersaucer that Olivia used. She rarely plays with it anymore except to push the cow button that says, "Mooooo. Cow. Vaca" and then plays Old McDonald. She sings along, "E-I-E-I-OHHHH." Anyways, she's not so sure that Nathan should be in HER toy. Yesterday she tell me, "HAVE ITTTTT!" We are working on the sharing thing and I try to encourage her to show Nathan how it works. She stuck her hand in the dragon hand puppet that's attached and put it in Nathan's face with a fierce, "Roarrrr!" How cute is that? Nathan liked it too, so much that he SNORTED for the first time. Olivia giggled and said, "Mama, Nate funny. Nate pig!" Thank goodness for moments like these that get me through the other times when I want to pull my hair out!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Olivia Funnies

The other day I found Olivia in the kitchen demolishing an art project she did during storytime at the library. It was a picture of a sheep that she glued cotton balls to. No big deal. Then she turns around and this is what I see.
Apparently the glue is still slightly sticky and Olivia has decided to adhere them to her face. I ask her what she is doing and she replies, "Coo coo." For those of you who are familiar with Sesame Street, Bert has a pet pigeon Berniece and Olivia does a pretty darn good pigeon impression. Why she thinks that cotton balls under the eyes necessitates cooing like a pigeon I'll never know. Maybe the cotton balls are her feathers?

This is what happens when she is left to play with what I thought was a dried out marker. I guess she re-hydrated it with her spit?
This morning I had Olivia help me decorate Christmas cookies. I even gave her one cookie and some leftover icing to decorate the cookie all by herself. She did very well at first, spreading the icing very carefully.Then she decided to try some of the icing.
Let's add some sprinkles. She was actually pressing her face to the plate so the sprinkles would stick to the icing.
Cookie Monster!

She even had icing and sprinkles in her hair. Into the tub we go! About an hour later, she asks for a snack. I give her a Shrek gogurt and she heads into the living room to watch something or other. I'm loading the dishwasher when she marches into the kitchen.
"Oh my goodness!" Back to the tub. I should have known something was up when she was so quiet out there! This is her new thing. Rubbing food in her hair so she can get a bath. Pretty sneaky sis!

Sledding Nightmare

This is one of those things that you think could NEVER happen to you. When you hear stories about it happening to other people, you think, "What were they thinking?" All it takes is one critical error to end up in a very scary and potentially dangerous situation.

It all started out on Monday with George's idea to load the kids up and find this local sledding hill we've been hearing about. We waited till Olivia woke up from her nap, dressed her from head to toe in appropriate sledding gear, made a batch of hot cocoa for the thermos, packed up the sleds, and headed down the road. We drove about 15 miles down our road, nearly to the point where the road closes in winter because it eventually becomes a mountain pass. We made a right turn onto Rye Creek Road and drove a couple miles until we found the sledding area. Rye Creek Road had some snow on it but wasn't bad to drive on. We didn't even slide around or lose traction. The short road leading to the sled hill, however, was a different story but we didn't discover that until it was too late. When the car began sliding a bit, George decided he should park back out on Rye Creek. He proceeded to turn the car around in a very nifty 5 point turn, and then, we got stuck. I unloaded Olivia and the sled and we played for a while as George was trying various things to get the car unstuck, like digging it out, putting branches under the tires, etc. Having no luck on his own, I jumped in the car to drive while he pushed. No luck. I don't know how to drive in snow well enough to help the situation. In fact, I made it worse. At one point, we actually did get the car to move, but then it just slid farther off the road into the deeper snow. George would try to drive and I would try to push, but I wasn't any help there either. Nathan is sleeping in his carseat through this whole ordeal, bless his heart! Finally, after about an hour after trying every blinking thing we could think of, I was starting to get worried. We hadn't seen a single car or snowmobile since we were there. This was late afternoon and I knew we didn't have much daylight left so we decided that our best chance of rescue depended on George hiking out to find help. Oh, forgot to mention the cell phone was on the kitchen counter charging. Nice thinking Karen. George says we wouldn't have gotten a signal way out there anyways. He was probably just trying to make me feel better. So, George headed down the road and I locked myself and the kids in the car, with the emergency lights blinking. In case you're wondering, there's no picture of the car stuck in the snow. I just couldn't bring myself to document that. LOL

Thank God for Elmo and portable DVD players. That kept Olivia pretty well entertained until it got dark. I'm talking so dark out there - as George would say, "Darker than the inside of a goat." So, we got the toys out of the backseat. Here is a picture of Olivia with her Groucho Marx glasses on. She thinks the nose looks funny and snorts like a pig.
Every now and then Olivia would stand up, look outside the window and call for Daddy. "Honey, daddy will be back soon. Let's keep playing." Then she got hungry, so we had a fruit cup and some raisins. It's getting colder so I break out the hot chocolate. She likes this a lot and keeps asking, "More hot cocoa mama." We have a full tank of gas but I'm hesitant to turn on the car unless we get really cold because of the carbon monoxide. I do start the car every half hour or so, just to make sure we're not draining the battery with the DVD player. Soon, Olivia becomes really upset. She wants her Elmo binky and her special blankie (neither of which I brought for an innocent sleddding trip.) Her crying wakes up Nathan. I hurry over to his side of the car, unbuckle him from his seat, and rush back to the driver's seat. I begin to nurse him and he is none the wiser to the seriousness of our situation. Olivia is still bawling. Then, I remember I have an extra binky in the way back of the car. As soon as Nathan finishes eating, I make my way to the tailgate and hastily grab the binky, worried the whole time some wild animal has been watching us and is waiting for his chance to attack. Could a bear rip off the door? She's slightly comforted by the binky, but still hysterical. I make her a little bed on the front passenger seat with a travel pillow and Buster's folded up doggie bed. She lays down, I cover her with a blanket, and rub her belly while she watches more Elmo and finally settles down. I start to nurse Nathan again on the other side and he drifts off to sleep. At this point, I start to worry about George walking in the pitch black and what if some wild animal attacks him and he never makes it out for help. I start to pray that God will keep him safe and bring him back to us soon. I decide that if he's not back by sun up, I'll have to load the kids on the sled and hike out with them. We still have snacks and hot cocoa left and if I need water I'll put some snow in my empty water bottle. I just need to stay calm for the kids. It's getting colder now and even though Olivia's hands and nose still feel warm, I'm thinking about turning the car on for a bit just to warm up a bit. Just then, after being in the car for 3 hours, I hear a knock on the passenger side window. It's George! He's back with help. A man named Joe with a big truck has come to drive us home. We'll worry about the car later. I begin to sob. Tears of relief that he made it back to us safe and we'll be home soon. The ordeal is almost over. We get the kids out of the car, and Nathan buckled into his car seat and begin to walk down the road about 100 yards or so to where the truck is parked.

You can see George's footprints in the snow, right down the middle of the snowy road as far as eye can see. Joe mentions that he thinks he saw some Bobcat tracks. It may have been following George. I tell George how worried I was about something like that happening, but he says that the hand of God laid out the perfect walking stick for him on the side of the road so he picked that up and figured that if a pack of wolves came after him, he'd just start swinging. He kept looking behind him while he was walking to make sure he didn't have any company and had to keep telling himself that we were safe and warm in the car to "keep his mind from going bad places. "

George had to hike out 6.9 miles before he came to Joe's house. Joe is a super sweet, but very eccentric little man. He cashed in his retirement (was a landscape architect in Vegas) and bought 166 acres in the middle of nowhere Montana for himself and his 7 dogs. He says it's his shangri la. Joe has a 1-ton dualie truck which has no problems on the snowy road but he's very cautious about driving on it, and talking to the truck as she progresses onward like she's an old steam engine. "Come on baby, that's my girl." All the way down the road, Joe keeps talking about how much "wildlife" there is out there. Gee thanks. In the backseat, George and I hold hands. Olivia just chatters away the whole way home, talks about Santa, and riding on my lap on the sled when we were playing. We finally pull into our driveway. Jungle Joe has to pee really bad he says and asks me if he can use the side of the house. LOL I thought he asked to use the bathroom, so I said "yes, of course!" I hope my neighbors weren't looking. We offer him some gas money, some blackberry jam and syrup. He won't take the money or the syrup, but accepts the jam. I ask him if I can give him a hug too. How do you thank someone who helped save your life, and your childrens' lives? I'm sure without Jungle Joe we would still have survived. He says the park rangers drive those roads every morning around 4 a.m. but it would have made for a long cold night in the car. George interruped JJ's fettucine alfredo dinner, and without a thought, this guy jumps in his truck and comes to our rescue. How do you repay that kindness? He tells us next time we're in the area to stop by with a box of dog biscuits for his babies. Will do.

So, we learned a lot of lessons that day, and we won't be heading back to the sledding hill any time soon. Take some time during this busy holiday season and make sure you have enough gear in your car in case of an emergency. It's one of those things that you think can never happen to you but we are living proof that it can. We are very thankful to have emerged from that nightmare unscathed, but humbled by the knowledge that it could have had a far worse outcome.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Santa

I know you wouldn't expect Olivia to be able to write yet, but, well, you know, she comes from intelligent stock. I found a note lying around the other day that reads:

Dear Santa,

Please bring me some stacking toys. I need some so I don't have to stack my hot dog slices. I've been a good girl all year.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Busy Day

Whew! Thursday we spent most of the day in Missoula getting our Christmas portraits done which was chaotic to say the least. We got some nice pictures though and I would like to think it was worth the hassle. Poor George was so stressed out on his only day off this week that I think he was relieved to go back to work on Friday. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

You probably noticed that both kids have scratches on their face. They look like they've been to battle. Of course, they scratched themselves the day before our appointment and I wasn't rescheduling AGAIN. I had to reschedule several times already due to George's overtime at work. So, we just went with it! Nathan was very cooperative during the photo shoot. He even rolled over from his front to his back for the first time! Olivia, just like our photo shoot at home, was not interested in sitting still in any pretty little poses. It's a miracle we got ANY pictures of her that weren't just flashes of her dashing off this way or that.

That evening, we were invited to our neighbors' church for their Christmas Program. It was a very nice dinner, some performances by the children, a lot of corny jokes told by their bishop, and a visit from a very special red-cheeked, jolly old fellow. Olivia was very excited to get her bag of "Ho Ho treats." She was not at all scared. No surprise there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Photo Shoot

The many attempts to make it up to Missoula for Christmas pictures have failed yet again. I finally accepted the fact that there is no way we are having Christmas portraits in time to use any of the pictures for our Christmas cards. So, I dressed the kids up in their coordinating outfits and attempted a photo shoot in front of the Christmas tree. Nathan was much more cooperative than Olivia. He was stuck in his Bumbo seat. Olivia did not want to sit still. IMAGINE! I like how in this picture, Nathan's got those two fingers up, as if to say, "Peace, bro." He's cool like that.

Finally I laid the kids down next to each other on top of our tree skirt and we had a bit more luck. In the end we got some cute pictures and one I feel was worthy of our Christmas card. You'll have to wait to see that one, but here are a few of my other favorites...

We're supposed to go see Santa on Thursday night. We'll see how that goes, and I'll be sure to post some pictures. HO HO HO!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Look Mama!

I just had to laugh earlier today when Olivia came running into the kitchen. She was speaking very excitedly, saying, "Look Mama! Joo!" (Translation, Look Mama! Juice!) I followed her into the living room and she ran over to the window sill to show me the juice box that had been spilled all over. She was wearing an expression that told me she was just as surprised as I was to see that mess. It must have been some uncontrollable force of nature that dumped out that juice! Lately, I have been asking Olivia to help me clean up when she makes a mess. She really enjoys taking the rag and wiping up the spill. I think she enjoys it so much that she is actually MORE inclined to make a mess because she knows she will be required to help clean up. I will just be thankful she's willing to help in the aftermath of these natural disasters!

Roll With It

We returned from our Thanksgiving trip pleasantly surprised that the snow was still here! I got Olivia all bundled up to go play outside and then...Nathan woke up from his nap. Knowing that Livy really needed to get outside and blow off some steam, I decided that Nathan would just have to come along too. I bundled him up, strapped him into his carseat, and placed him at the back of the sled for our trip down to the mailbox. He feel back asleep during the ride, and Olivia had a nice ride on the sled due to the improved weight distribution.

I am finding out more and more, especially now that I have two little ones, that sometimes you just have to roll with it! After the sled ride, Olivia played in the snow with Moose, feeding him snow and falling on the icy driveway. Nate slept in his carseat on top of our deep freezer while I straightened up the garage. The fresh air was good for all of us!

Friday, December 07, 2007

More Cousin Fun

Just a few more pics of our time in Livingston. Nathan had a very nice bath in the kitchen sink. I can't wait until he's old enough to join his big sister and cousin in the tub! Aiden and Olivia modeling their new jammies from Nanni. Olivia really likes his chair, and Aiden's not so sure that he should surrender his throne.

Thanksgiving Memories

We traveled to Livingston to spend the holiday with George's family. We stayed with Josh, Amanda and Aiden which gave the kids lots of time to play together. Here are a few pictures from Turkey Day:

Nathan hanging out in his swing and enjoying the delicious smells swirling around the house.

We really had a nice day and the food was scrumptious! Olivia's favorite was the cranberry mold, and of course, the pumpkin pie. She was moving amongst all of us asking, "More pie, please?" How could we resist?

After all that eating, the kids needed a bath. This is the first time we've had Olivia and Aiden in the tube together. George did a great job with the bathing beauties, and the kids had lots of fun splashing around together. This will be a great picture to embarrass the kids with when they're older.

We are so thankful to being living in Montana now. Close enough to enjoy the holidays with family and give Olivia and Nate the chance to really know their cousin and build lasting memories. Now, if the rest of my family weren't so far away...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let It Snow!

It started snowing, and kept snowing, and kept snowing. Before we knew it, we had over a foot of snow outside by the Monday before Thanksgiving. I had to drag both kids out in the storm that morning for an emergent doctor's appointment for Olivia. We made it there and back safely, but I got the car stuck in the driveway when I was pulling back in. LOL I was so frustrated, I didn't think to take a picture of that, but it would have been the perfect addition to this batch of pictures of us having fun in the snow. Here's Olivia on Sunday night as the snow was falling... I tried to keep her from eating the snow, but fortunately, it was all freshly fallen so there was no risk of any yellow stuff. The next day, George was off. He and Olivia made a Snow Woman (see in background) and then did a little sledding around the neighborhood. Olivia kept face-planting in the snow when she would forget to hold onto the sled. Other than that, she had lots of fun!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Okay, so I realize I haven't posted in awhile. My apologies. Between snowstorms, a Thanksgiving trip, and George working a lot of overtime, I haven't had much extra time to keep up. Fortunately, we've taken a lot of really cute pictures to document what's been happening while I've been MIA so I'll do my best over the next few days to catch you up on our recent adventures. Keep checking back for new posts!