Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hallaqueen

(The title is how Niko pronounces Halloween)

This year for Halloween we dressed up as characters from Big Hero 6. From left to right we have Nikolai as Baymax, me as Honey Lemon, Dad as the baddie, and Miriam as our cat (it's a joke, but I'll elaborate below).


There was a good deal of sewing and molding cardboard and painting, and I stayed up late far too often this last week working on them. It was fun though!

In case you're not familiar with the characters, here's our inspiration:




Ok, so the joke with Miriam's cat costume: There's this one part of the movie where Baymax has a low battery and is wandering around being silly. Anyways, at one point he picks up the main character's cat and says "Hairy baby!" So Miriam was our hairy baby for Halloween.


And just because it was cute, here's a picture of some of our friends dressed up as Rosie the Riveter and some characters from Totoro:


We went to a very successful Trunk or Treat at church last night (Niko kept saying "Trick or treating!" instead of just "Trick or treat" and it was sweet and silly) and we're going trick or treating around our neighborhood this evening, which I think will be fun.


Also, this is the face I get all the time now from Niko when I tell him that I'm going to take his picture:


Silly Baymax/Niko!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Silly Niko/Smart Niko

I went in the kids' room to get him out of quiet time the other day and couldn't see him anywhere! Then I noticed him curled up in a cozy spot:


Last week Jesse set up a penny cleaning experiment for Nikolai (ok, it was for us too--I thought it was as cool as Niko did!):


He was pretty intrigued!


It's always awesome to introduce this kid to new things. Another new thing I'm trying hard to introduce him to is the idea of using observational powers.

This is an exchange that we have frequently, in nearly infinite variations:

Niko: Mom, may I have some juice please!*

Me: Thank you for asking so nicely! I would love to get you some juice as soon as I am done feeding Miriam.

Niko, 1 minute later: Mom! Juice!

Me: What did I tell you?

Niko: You said you'd get me juice!

Me: Yes, I said I'd get you juice after I finished feeding Miriam. Am I done feeding Miriam?

Niko: ...Yes?

Me: Use your powers of observation! Am I done feeding Miriam?

Niko: ...No.

Me: Right. So I'll get you juice when I'm done. 

(*Note: the above conversation only happens after a protracted conversation wherein Nikolai demands juice and I encourage him to ask nicely) 

Anyways, I'll let you know if this experiment works ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Miriam: 8 months

Our 8 month old baby is growing by leaps and bounds! 

Sleeping patterns: After several nights in a row of the kids waking each other up in the middle of the night and requiring much parental attention to get back to sleep (meaning we were zombie parents the next day), we've moved Miriam back to the living room at night. Does anyone have any advice about getting a baby and a toddler to share the room AND getting everyone to get some sleep at night? I'm not sure what to do.


Eating patterns: Breastmilk every 3-4 hours and a bottle of formula before bed, and solid foods for lunch and dinner. And by "solid" foods I mean actually solid foods, which leads me to...


New discoveries she made: Miriam decided just this last week that real people food is THE BEST. Just the other day, Jesse was trying to feed her a bottle while he ate a sandwich. When Miriam discovered that he was eating something awesome while she had boring old milk, she threw a fit until Jesse acquiesced and gave her some sandwich.  Her sense of injustice is strong!


Accomplishments: Pulling up to stand! This girl is growing so fast!



Places she went: The zoo, to soccer practice, to Josie's house, to church...basically she's the best tag-a-long baby ever.


Special memories: Smiling at anything and everything. This girl has an indomitably cheery spirit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Exercise

I hardly dare set this down in writing for fear of jinxing it, but I have exercised every week day for the last 3 weeks!  I have been an adult for 8 years now and I have never before done that. Having a consistent schedule because of work helps--before, I always struggled to make myself stick to a routine. Now, I just get up in the morning and put on my exercise clothes before I have time to think about it, and off I go!

Since Jesse leaves right away most mornings for school, I just do youtube pilates workouts that I can do in the living room. This is super convenient, though it also means that I get interrupted by Nikolai and climbed on by Miri:




Other than getting climbed on, I'd say it's going pretty well though!

Also, Nikolai has started doing silly stuff and telling us he's "exercising." 


(Ok, I don't think the above picture was of him "exercising," but he was definitely being silly!)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cider Mill

I just realized today that although we've been to a cider mill every year for 3 years now, I have neglected to properly post about it! 

Nikolai was very excited to sit on the tractor, so much so that he summoned a dimple out of nowhere just for this photo:


For comparison, here he was 2 years ago on the same tractor:


We had a lot of fun this year feeding the animals. The goats were a little excitable for Niko at first but he soon warmed up to them.



They had a brand new kiddie train this year, which we obviously had to ride! Nikolai was very serious and quiet when we rode it but he keeps bringing up how much he liked it so I think it was a success.



Nikolai the ham *ba dum CHA!* put his face in that pig head with absolutely no suggestion from us:


And then some other kids joined him. Click on the picture to embiggen and look at the hilarious face he is making!


Our boy gets bigger all the time! Proof.

This year:

\

Last year:


We finished off the outing with cider and doughnuts. Jesse and I kept trying to take pictures but the kids were very intent on their doughnuts.


We didn't intend to give Miri any, but she has a very strong sense of injustice these days and demanded some. (See her little hand reaching up to Jesse down there!)


I'll leave you with snapshots of their sweet doughnutty faces:




Littles

There are a lot of littles around our place these days. The best of those are ours (obviously) but we're pretty lucky to know some other sweet kids too.

Our littles in and around a rocket ship:


Some neighborhood littles having fun:


Nikolai harassing some baby littles (or if he wasn't harassing them then, he would be soon! We are working on that...):


And some more of the best littles:





Sunday, October 25, 2015

Comings and Goings

GUYS. This month went so fast! I mean, time always flies, but I'm pretty sure I blinked and this month was over. Me working is amazing, but it makes us approximately a million times busier! Anyways, a post about me working is still in the works, so instead here's a post about some of the other things we've been up to.

I took the kids to the Zoo the other day (sans Jesse, which felt really brave, seeing as it was an hour's drive each way!). The kids were amazing though--they both snoozed in the car on the way there and Niko just played on the way back. Nikolai is at a great age for Zoo going--he's inquisitive about the animals but also is happy leaving after 3 hours of wandering. Sure, there was one minor tantrum and an almost-potty-accident, but all in all I called it a success.

Anyways, here's a grainy cell phone picture of our two sweeties in the double stroller that I hauled them around in all afternoon:


Even though I'm working, I haven't given up orchestra! Every week as I go to leave for rehearsal, I think "Oh, maybe I just won't go this week. I'd rather hang out at home tonight!" But then I get to rehearsal and we play the Russian Easter Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov and it's so pretty I'm moved to tears and I think "I'm so glad I came!" So even though it adds to our busyness, I'm still doing it!

Sunset has been happening earlier and earlier every day and the other day it was setting just as I was driving to rehearsal:


(Yes, I took this while driving. No, I don't do that on a regular basis. Yes, it was irresponsible. But LOOK HOW PRETTY IT IS!)

I'm still doing that awesome swap with my friend Nycole (She watches our kids when I work and vice versa). She lives in our neighborhood so three times a week I pack the kids into the running stroller and wheel them over there (though sometimes Niko insists on riding his bike, like a "big boy"). This is my view when I do:


Because we just LOVE being busy, we signed Niko up for a 5 week once-a-week preschool soccer class last month. It just ended, which is probably for the best. He enjoyed it some weeks, but also spent an entire class one week (40 minutes) throwing a fit and refusing to play. The final week, he played about half the time and spent the other half pretending to be an Alien Space Bug (they were having an outer space soccer adventure, so it wasn't out of nowhere). I thought about encouraging him more earnestly to play what the teachers were playing ("Use your soccer ball to explore Venus!" "Push the big red ball and blast off! Run as fast as you can!") but then I was just glad that he was playing imaginatively outdoors, so I let him be.


I have to say, his teachers were really excellent though. They were both goofy Scotsmen who knew just how to make a bunch of 3 year olds laugh. Coach Martin frequently pretended to be strange and silly creatures, including an alien bent on stealing the kids' soccer balls:


Overall, I think we learned that it's good to get Nikolai to try new things, and to allow him space to sometimes not enjoy them.

One final coming and going: the leaves in our neighborhood! The photo from below was taken 2 weeks ago, and all those leaves are now on the ground. 


I do so like fall, but its glory doesn't last long!