Friday, December 30, 2011

A Very Somber Christmas To You, To You...

Christmas this year wasn't quite what I expected. I had anticipated paper being torn off gifts with wild abandon, giddy squeals and reasonably hyped up toddlers running from present to present trying to play with everything all at once. 

Basically, I expected pandemonium everyone.

You might recall what happened the last time I was counting down the days to pandemonium, so I really should not have been surprised – but still, I was.

Suffice it to say, there was absolutely zero pandemonium, wild abandon OR giddy squeals in our home this Christmas. Well, at least not when I was expecting it.

All of that came later in bits and pieces, long after the camera had been put away (in true Michigan J. Frog style).

Of course.

And so, without further ado, the OP stoically presents our very somber Christmas... 

The "before" photo:

You know, because I thought I would need it for posterity. 

And now, the "after" photo:

Turns out I didn't really need the "before" photo. 

Nate was completely disinterested in the stockings, but we finally convinced a reluctant Seth to play along:

'Dis better be good.

Oh. A dinosaur.
In the end, Seth ended up passing most of the stocking stuffers to Nate:

Oh. A car.
 I got a little hopeful when Nate latched onto the maracas, but it turned out to be a fleeting thing:

Because gift tags are way more interesting: 

'Dis best present I see all day right here, everyone!
We were forced to bring out the big guns at this point. 

Like this awesome glockenspiel – also referred to as a xylophone where we bought it – but the box says glockenspiel (and really that sounds way more rad): 

Not "rad" enough as it turned out though. Everyone got the hint after Seth closed the cover for the third (and final) time.

We quietly moved on to the book portion of the program: 

You wouldn't know it, but the books actually were a hit.

So was storytime with Daddy: 

Just look at those excited faces everyone.

And even more excited faces: 

I has no idea what going on here, everyone.
'Dis over yet?

Next year, I'm ordering these for our Christmas photos and I'm only halfway kidding.

Merry (somber) Christmas everyone!

– L.

PS. Looking through the multitude of pics I took that day, I did come across one that appears to potentially have a bit of wild abandon to it, but trust me when I say it was the only one. Here it is for posterity:

– I totally faking it.
– Me too. Wheee!

Monday, December 26, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Christmas Day. Supper-time. The table is set and dinner is served.
24 hours later. Boxing Day. Supper-time. The table is set and dinner is served.

Did you spot the big difference? 

Hint: it's not the babies or the table linens.

We've kissed our high-chair trays goodbye and are sitting in our converted big boy chairs for the first time! 

– Well, 'dis is new.
– I wonder what we think of it. 

– Food still taste same.
– Yup. Food still yummy. 

– And we still look adorable.
– Yup. Can still make silly faces too. 

– Being able to reach the serving dishes not something Mommy bargain on I bet.
– No, Mommy not see that one coming. Still, nice feature for the 10 seconds it last.
– We don't even like turkey.
– No, we does not. Is never about the having though. Is always about the getting.

• • • • • • •

Mommy note: As much as I love watching my boys growing up, there will always be a small part of me that feels a little sad when it's time to leave the last phase behind – and a little bewildered at how it all keeps going by so fast. 


A little trip down memory lane can be found here and also here. I have to admit, it's hard to *sniffle* properly when looking at this picture, even for a sentimental Mommy like myself.

- L.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dinosaurs + cars = festive times in case you didn't know.
We had a good one and hope you did too! 

Unwrapping presents was still a bit of a mysterious concept this year which was surprising considering how much the boys love tearing paper in general – like books (*ahem*), and more appropriately MAG-ZINE!

I think my guys were a little put off by all their new loot, except for the new books. There is always room for more books – even if they don't always take the greatest care with them, it's not for lack of love.

The new toys on the other hand were quickly put aside in favor of playing with old favorites, which is how I found myself with plenty of time to set up the scene in the pic above. The new playmat, new Matchbox cars and even the new DINE-SOARS! were in no danger of being played with by anyone other than me.

Good thing I happen to like playing dinosaurs and cars, and if it's at the same time, all the better.

Merry Christmas everyone!

- L.

PS. It may take a day or three to wade through them all, but fear not – there are plenty of Christmas photos of the boys coming up.

Friday, December 23, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering...

Santa is officially stinkeroo. 

This was our one shot before any hope of recovery was lost. The photographer said, "you can't really tell he's crying here".

Oh, ha ha ha. 

Poor Seth. Nate doesn't look too thrilled either.

I'm sure the fat stack of Mommy points I've been working on for the longest time has a pretty big dent in it after this fiasco.

Stinkeroo all around.

- L.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Mistletoe Required

By the time I had a chance to download some of our Christmas pics last year we were already well into January and it seemed a bit silly to be posting them at that point.

However, we are well into the swing of all things Christmas at the OP this year, so there's no time like the present to take a trip down memory lane.

Lots of smooches and hugs by the Christmas tree, back when my babies barely had any hair:

Obviously the hair situation has changed some (here and here), but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there are more smooches by the tree again this year. And unlike last year, my boys definitely know how to smooch back now. 

: )

- L.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Kettle Campaign 2011

– Mommy bring us to mall in our fancy Christmas hats and say we is going to do fun thing, but we stop here for some reason. 
– Can't wait to see fun thing! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...

– ... oh boy, oh... er... uhmmm... what is 'dis?
– Don't know, but there is big ball with money in it staring us in the face. 

– You know, sometimes Mommy blow me away, Seth. Ball of money sounds like super fun time!
– It get even better, Nate! Gamma Rita just pull out stack of fivers. 

– I look around and make sure we not on Candid Camera.
– I *not* look around because Gamma is handing me some cold hard cash right now. 'Dis just keeps getting better and better! 

– Now Gamma lift me right up even closer to big ball of money and I think to myself, "Here my big chance!". Is now or never, everyone!
– Do it. Do it NOW!!! No one looking. QUICK! 

– Oh hi everyone. Is me, Seth. I bet you think we is up to caper*, but it turn out we come to put money IN the big ball of money. Mommy explain it better below, but it turn out to be pretty feel-good experience. Of course, I speaking only for myself. If you is like Nate, you maybe disagree with this. 

– Bye-bye pretty blue paper. *sniffle*

*'Dis typically correct assumption everyone!

• • • • • • •

Mommy note: Last year we had a lot of fun getting our boxes ready for Operation Christmas Child. This year, we decided to help out families and children closer to home via a donation to The Salvation Army's Christmas Kettle Campaign. If you would like to make a donation to help out local families and marginalized people in your area, you can do so in person wherever you see a Christmas kettle or online at

The Kettle Campaign is accepting donations until Christmas Eve.

- L.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Brace Yourselves Everyone!

4:25 PM
Hurricane Rita (AKA Gamma Rita) will be touching down at roughly 5:40 PM EST today. Wet kisses watch is in full effect.

– Hurricanes is no match for us.
– We is tough guys, everyone!

These pics are from Gamma Rita's visit last summer (AKA the "Summer Of Love"). I was trying to get a couple nice shots of my guys in their new dinosaur ("DINE-SOAR!") shirts, but like 95% of the photos I take they ended up looking like this. Nate and Seth really wanted to go for a walk and weren't interested in waiting.

We never did manage to catch them standing still.

- L.

*"RAWR!" is our very favorite new noise to make. Things that "RAWR" include the above mentioned "dine-soars", but also lions and tigers and bears. Also, pigs, cows, cats, dogs, birds, sheep, horses, monkeys, roosters, and goats. In fact, pretty much everything says "RAWR!" lately.

Except for elephants. I guess it's nice to know some things are still sacred.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

... or at least it was. Looks like I'll be re-decorating the tree tomorrow, but it was worth it.

When the tree still had ornaments on it:

Of course, that didn't last long:

Never underestimate "the long arm of the Seth".
 The floor ended up nicely decorated at least:

Dude, I is *so* going to tell Mommy you did it. 
Tallying up the wares:

Lots and lots of wares:

Final check in case we missed anything: 

Taking a well-earned break:

Out-of-focus and everyone is a blur on top of that. Still, I kind of like this photo. It sums up the general level of chaos rather nicely:

– L.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Summer of Love: The Yogurt & Spoons Edition

True confessions: I wasn't brave enough to go it alone with messy foods and spoons, so I waited until Gamma Rita's visit last summer to try it out. The following pics are from some early days with yogurt...

Nate in the throes of perfecting his reverse-spoon technique when I suddenly sensed something was up:

Something not right here, everyone.

Turns out he was sitting next to the Colonel the whole time:


- L.

PS. We haven't moved on much in terms of our spoon technique, although I am able to manage yogurt on my own okay enough now if I remember to take a few deep breaths first. Oatmeal on the other hand might have to wait until the boys are college bound.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

A few posts back I was feeling a bit at the end of my rope over the broken dresser in the nursery – partly because it was a fairly new purchase when we moved this past August, and partly because I'd done some Googling™ and read some not so great reviews regarding IKEA customer service* when it comes to garnering replacement parts – neither of which would have phased me too terribly had it not been for the wake of general destruction here of late.

It's been fairly relentless.

Just when I think I've finally gotten a step ahead of my boys, they let me know every single time that I am in fact two steps behind.

But tonight I am feeling a step ahead again and even though I know it will not last, I am taking advantage of my improved point of view to offer up a retrospective of some of Nate and Seth's most recent hijinks.

This was how the dresser drawer looked after I managed to wrestle it out of the dresser last week:

We have child-safety latches inside all the drawers that were initially installed to prevent pinched fingers, but they have served us well as drawer stops too. Mercifully, my boys haven't actually figured out how to defeat the latches just yet, so springing one must have been a happy accident.

Happy for them, I mean.

It was pretty obvious from surveying the aftermath that the next thing they did was to climb into the lower drawer. And then possibly they jumped around.

I was in the next room tidying up the kitchen and folding some laundry and apart from the typical noises one would expect to hear from the nursery I didn't hear a thing.

Of course, that is typical of most of their shenanigans.

It all started with this a few months back: 

This used to be the box from a box-set of Dr. Seuss books.

OK, that's not entirely true. Technically, it all started with this: 

The infamous play-bucket version of PooBucket™, featured here rather innocently on a lower shelf for easy play access.

Which was used thusly to procure books from the top shelf:

Of course, Seth's first love once again headed for higher ground and just to be on the safe side, I pushed all the books toward the back of the shelf.

I patted myself on the back a little over that one, but my boys sent a message only a few days later.

It looked like this: 

And clearly said, "we might not be able to reach the books, but we can still reach the top shelf quite nicely, silly Mommy". 

Of course, they also left a trail of incriminating evidence, which led to this:

Bye-bye drawers. Your storage capacities have served us well, but you were never intended to be a ladder for my children.

No pats on the back this time though.

This all happened around the time "MAG-ZINES!" appeared on the scene. The magazines appeared to provide a way to satisfy my babies' penchant for tearing paper without damaging their books, which they were suddenly (and unexpectedly) really into.

It worked out great at first.

You know, until it didn't.

I would leave the room with my boys happily tearing up magazines to make lunch or what have you and come back to find them tearing up their books instead.

Things I never thought could be used to stand on were used to stand on, and my boys? Well, they work fast is all I can say.

Now I am the proud owner of a box of torn up books sitting in my living room waiting for repairs which I've had neither the time nor the inclination to repair – although admittedly, it's the inclination that's lagging more than time constraints. In all fairness, fixing things that are only going to get broken again gets discouraging after awhile.

Either way, the top of the dresser is getting pretty cluttered with toys that can only be played with when there is an adult in the room. I have to say, the Fisher Price farm probably surprised me the most (at least at the time). 

All of which brings me to this: 

No one needed a height advantage for our latest shenanigan. And in case you were wondering how much trouble a couple of toddlers get up to with a handful of puzzle pieces... 

... now you know. 


– L.

*IKEA customer service handed over not one, but two new rails without question. I'm not sure if we just got lucky or if no one writes about the easy time they had getting replacement parts at IKEA, but if it's the latter now someone has. No one even asked to see our receipt.