Friday, December 30, 2011

Leaves

I've been meaning to post these pictures for a long time. But it never happened. Instead of letting it fall by the wayside, as I usually do, I decided it was going up. So, without further ado, here is the story of Reed, Asher, and the leaves in Grandma's yard.

We were at Grandma's about a month ago. Reed wanted to play outside. We'd been meaning to jump in her leaves for a long time, so I decided we should finally do it. We started by raking a huge (relative to Reed and Asher's sizes) pile of leaves. It turns out that I really enjoy raking leaves. And Reed doesn't mind it, either. Then we ran...

or crawled somewhat distractedly...

...jumped...

...and landed in a pile of crackly leaf awesomeness.

The leaves were a big hit. Who would imagine that a pile of dead and somewhat soggy leaves could provide so much entertainment?





Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ducks

Reed's friend Tylee introduced us to the joy of feeding ducks a few months ago. And, luckily, it's still warm enough here to feed the ducks. I think there are actually more ducks at the pond now than there were a few months ago--apparently that whole "south for the winter" thing is true.

Our duck-feeding outings generally start with an enthusiatic greeting from Asher. He may look like he's waiting for a high five or for a duck to get close enough for him to hi, but he's actually waving:

When he gets excited enough, he transitions to the double-handed wave. Always a classic:
Reed likes to climb on top of the bench so the ducks don't snatch the bread out of his hand before he has a chance to throw it:

If the specific duck he wants to throw his piece of bread to isn't paying enough attention, he yells, "Hey, duck!" until it does. Then he proceeds to his it in the head with a piece of bread.

There were so many ducks this time, and they were super impatient. They started swarming Asher in his stroller, thinking he had bread, too. When one of the ducks bit Asher's shoe--which, I might add, didn't look like bread in the slightest--I enforced a duck-radius around the stroller.

Sometimes Reed doesn't understand that the smaller he breaks the pieces of bread, the more bread he has to throw. In the picture below, he is asking me if he needs to make his piece smaller. I'll let you be the judge:

Feeding the ducks=happiness.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sledding and Lemonade

Because we had so much fun playing in the snow a few weeks ago, we decided we should definitely play in the snow again. Stat. This time, we planned on being a little more prepared. Ryan and I gathered the snow clothes and looked up the snow conditions in Pine Valley the night before we wanted to go the snow. We're really getting this planning thing down. We had all our snow gear and there was supposed to be approximately ten inches of snow--so we thought we were set.

The next morning, we got the boys prepped and the cars loaded and headed to the hills. We were a little nervous as our drive progressed, because though we were climbing in elevation, there was still no snow. Finally, though, about fifteen minutes before our final destination, patchy snow started showing up. And before we knew it, we had found full-blown snow.

Then we found the guard gate. And it was down. Pine Valley was closed.
What to do now?

After exploring several non-options around Pine Valley (the most promising was a rather icy steep-ish road that a few other kids were sledding on), we decided to drive a little further up the road to see what we could find. At this point, the boys were approaching meltdown mode. We'd been in the car for quite a while, after all.

Finally, in our desperation, we found a "sledding hill" that--while not being what most other people would consider a prime sledding spot--would at least provide enough entertainment to keep Reed happy. Oh, and did I mention our "hill" was actually a semi-downhill sloped unused dirt road covered in approximately two inches of snow?


It turned out that our hill was not actually steep enough just to send the boys down. So Ryan and I took turns pulling the boys to help them gain momentum.


And guess what?

They loved it. Lemonade out of lemons, right there. Asher couldn't stop giggling and clapping. Reed was pumped. They thought our hill was fantastic. And matters only improved when we found a patch of snow big enough to make snow angels and dig snow holes (a la one of Reed's favorite Handy Manny episodes).


At first, Reed didn't really understand the snow angel concept--he kept kicking his legs in the air and waving his arms above his body, instead of in the snow. But once he got it, he got it.


And a plus for me? Ryan's face got cold enough that he decided to use one of my ear-warming headbands to cover his mouth and cheeks. Super cute.

Despite a rocky start,  Asher's first sledding trip was quite a success.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Living on the Edge

I'm pretty sure the instruction manual for our stroller warns specifically against allowing two children to ride in the stroller at once. What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
At least they enjoyed their brief stint in law-breaking.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Live Nativity

{Dec. 1}
Reed is all about "activivies" this year. Oh, you're wondering what activivies are? They are "nativities," in Reed-ese. Reed loves to play with the nativities we have and really loves to play with Grandma's Little People Nativity--it's not glass, so he doesn't have to be nearly so careful with it. Since Reed loves nativities so much, we decided to go see the Live Nativity at Tuacahn, an outdoor amphitheater near us.

Santa was in attendance at the nativity, so we stopped to visit him first:
As you can see, it was a very successful visit. Santa asked Reed what Reed wanted for Christmas and Reed responded, "I don't know," slid off Santa's lap, and ran over to Ryan. Asher just cried. At least I smiled for the picture.

After our really fantastic visit with Santa, Reed and I went on a hayride. It proved to be more exciting for Reed than Santa had been.

He loved the horses pulling the wagon and had a fantastic time looking at the lights. A fellow passenger kindly took this somewhat less than flattering picture of us:

After the hayride, we met back up with Ryan and Asher and with Grandma, Great Auntie Sandi, and Aunt Kayla and her boyfriend Blake, and went to find seats for the Live Nativity. The Nativity itself was fantastic. They use live animals and lead Mary in through the canyon that is the backdrop for the amphitheater. Reed and Asher were both riveted for the entire twenty-minute program.

When the program was over, Reed started crying because he loved the Nativity so much and he wanted to stay and see it again.  Once we calmed Reed down, we went home and had hot chocolate with everyone. Because Reed loved the Nativity so much, Ryan took him out for a Buddy-Daddy date last week to see the Nativity again.

I'm grateful for opportunities to focus on Christ at Christmas and to be able to share those opportunities with our boys. For a beautiful video about the birth of Christ, go here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Monthly Asher: 14

Asher has become super speedy. He is so fast going up and down the stairs and, when he wants to, crawls at turbo speed. It's a little crazy. He has started taking one or two independent steps at a time--with a lot of coaxing--and will often let go of whatever he is holding on to and balances himself standing up. He's also started doing this crazy crawl where his arms and legs are straight--it's really funny:
Locked legs, locked arms--a super comfortable and effective way to move.

Asher has started to get used to his one-nap schedule, but he still gets pretty grumpy pre-nap and pre-bedtime. It's a work in progress. One good thing? He falls asleep super quickly now that he only takes one nap, whereas nap and bedtime used to be an epic battle.

Can we say chocolate chips? 

Every time I open the fridge, Asher is positive that my objective is to get something out of the fridge for him to eat. Even if he already has a full tray of food in front of him. He gets SO mad when I don't give him anything.

Recently, Asher learned to shake his head "no." Now it's his favorite action. It's like he thinks that the more vigorously he shakes his head, the more likely we are to change our minds about whatever it is we are doing that he doesn't approve of. It's kind of funny.

Cuddling with Brother ("buh"), his giraffe ("guy") and his blankie.  

Asher has started to copy a lot more of the sounds we make. When I talk, he babbles back to me. His current words: "Mama," "Da" (dad), "Buh" (brother), "day-day" (Kay-kay...though lately every time you ask him to say Kay-kay, he shakes his head "no" and laughs), "Guy" (guy...aka his stuffed animal), and "bluh" (plug. I know, you think I'm making this one up. But I'm not, truly.). 

Blow-up slide love. 

Asher loves the park. SO much. When he sees the park, he starts yelling his excited yell and waving his arms, wiggling to get free so he can crawl to the slides. He knows how to climb up the stairs, get himself to the top of a slide, and go "piggies first" (on his belly), all by himself. It's really cute. The only downside to his park love is that he flips out every time we leave the park. You win some, you lose some.

Oh, you think he's always happy? Not so. 

I may have mentioned this before, but Asher is really, really loud. If he thinks he's not getting enough attention, he just starts making loud noises until we focus in on him. To balance out his craziness, though, he has basically the cutest laugh I've ever heard. And laughing, generally, is his default mode.

BFFs with his blankie. 

Asher has been teething--again--and he now has (almost) 12 teeth. The twelfth is a molar and is still pushing through. Hopefully he'll catch a break soon. These teeth are working him over.

The only reason he's smiling? I'm making it rain leaves. 

Asher can locate his belly, his hands, and his feet. He can give high fives and fist pounds. He's fantastic at applauding and waving hi and bye. And he's really cute about doing all of it. When you ask him where his belly is, he cracks up and pulls his shirt up, then pats his belly. It's really funny to ask him where his belly is when he's wearing a onesie, because he tries to pull up his shirt and he can't. He still thinks it's funny. When I put long-sleeved shirts on, I ask him where his hands are. He cracks up and wiggles them around until they pop out the sleeves. I never put his shoes on before we drive somewhere, because by the time we get there, he'll have pulled them off. When we do arrive at our destination, he giggles (he's happy to get out of the car), then holds his feet up and flexes his toes so we can put his shoes one.

World's biggest fan of Go-gurts.

Asher loves, loves, loves Go-gurts. One day, we were out of yogurt, but we had Go-gurt--so I decided to give it a try. I starts out by feeding it to him, but by the end he'd taken control. He loved it. Now Go-gurts are one of our staples.

We love you, Smash!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbreadman Houses

 Yes, "gingerbreadman" is one word--at least in Reed's vocabulary. I've tried to tell him they're called "gingerbread houses," but to no avail. Anyway, a few days ago Grandma & Grandpa invited us over to make gingerbreadman houses.

Aunt Mando brought her professional cake decorating gear. Reed didn't bring his shirt:

We had tons of candy:

And, of course, gingerbread.

Kayla came up with the idea to make a snowman out of marshmallow fondant. I stole her idea, and don't even feel bad about it, because look how cute he is:

When our house was nearing completion, I mentioned that it would be uber cute to make a light post out of a candy cane. I didn't want to figure out how to add the "light" portion of the light post, though, so I decided not to worry about it. One minute later, Ryan presented me with this cutie:

I think he loves me.

About this point, Reed asked me if we could just go home and go to bed. Asher was already asleep and we were approaching an hour and a half past bedtime. So, not wanting to leave our house unfinished and being the good mom I am, I laid him on Grandma's couch and turned on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Then we took a picture of him, because he's just that cute.
 Yeah, he looks totally happy. Parenting 101, right there.

Anyway, after Reed was settled, we really got down to business. I decided to try my hand at drop-lines (or whatever it is they are called) a la Buddy Valastro. (Don't be fooled--I don't really enjoy the show Cake Boss. But I am a fan of Next Great Baker.) And guess what? Not hard. Mine aren't amazingly even, but I was trying to finish up quickly so we could appease Reed and take him home.

And finally, the unveiling of the final products. Poor Mandi's gingerbreadman house fell over a total of four times and cracked a total of two times before she finally decided to go with the 2D model. We dubbed it the "Charlie Brown Gingerbread House." Way to make lemons out of lemonade, Mando.


Ryan and I teamed up to make this beauty.

Our original plan was to "glue" the house together with royal frosting. After that didn't work, we cheated and used a hot glue gun. Now it's inedible--but who really eats gingerbreadman houses anyway?

And the prize for the best gingerbreadman house of the night goes to Grandma and Kayla (and honorary team member/official runner Grandpa Jack):

And in case you want to see some really impressive gingerbread, hop on over to my cousin Brooke's craft blog here. Be prepared to be amazed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Christmas Card

I'm not exactly great at mailing things (or even good at mailing them), so here you have it: our Christmas card. Pretend you opened your mailbox and found this little card inside:

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finally.

We've never really made a great attempt at putting Christmas lights. Granted, for our first three Christmases, we both went to school full-time, worked full-time, and went to either my parents or Ryan's for Christmas--so why bother with lights? Our fourth Christmas was spent in a basement apartment--yep, no lights. For our fifth Christmas, we spent two weeks in California, then moved two days after we got home, which was three days after Christmas. So no lights again. But this year? We were going to have lights, darnit.

We had about ten strands of small lights (part of a wedding present--the gift giver gave us two huge tubs of Christmas decorations) and we didn't want to shell out the cash for cool/expensive lights, so we went with it. Ryan borrowed my dad's ladder and up the roof he went:
(Isn't our garbage can lovely?)

I happen to be terribly afraid of heights, so my feet stayed planted securely on the ground. When Ryan finished putting up the lights, we plugged them in and--nothing. We'd even tested them before we put them up and they'd worked. Awesome. By then it was getting dark, so we called it quits for the night.

Luckily, Asher was not disappointed about our unlit lights:
Though that may have had more to do with the pound of apple jacks I let him eat to keep him busy while we were working on the lights than anything.

The next day, Ryan again scaled the ladder, took down the broken lights, and put up new lights. And they worked! Hooray. My favorite part--that I should probably photograph at some point--is that our lights only go up one side of the peak of our roof. The other side of our peak is our neighbor's roof. And our neighbors happen to be three single guys, so I'm guessing they're not going to put up any lights. Ghetto-awesome.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dry-erase Happiness.

Call me crazy, but I have a thing for dry-erase boards. Seriously, there's just something about the way dry-erase markers write that is far and away better than any other writing medium. I'm not joking.

So when Reed got an easel from Grandma for his birthday, I'm pretty sure I was more excited than him. Luckily, every time he colors on his new dry-erase board, he asks me to color with him. And I'm more than likely to stop whatever I'm doing and doodle on his dry-erase board for a while.

It's probably a good thing we keep his easel in his room, otherwise I might be up until all hours of the night, coloring.


Because, really, how could I resist?