Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Surprise Visit!

On Monday morning my mom and dad called and said they'd like to come visit for a few days. Oh, and was it okay if they arrived that night?!?! We said, "Sure!" and decided not to tell Sam so that when they arrived he would be surprised. He had an inkling of what was happening when he walked into the kitchen and saw five chairs around the table. "Those are for Oma and Opa," he announced. Smart kid :)

Rachel waiting for Oma and Opa to arrive.
Sam was still very surprised when he saw them walking up the front walk though! That night Oma put Rachel and Sam to bed and we had baked beans and an awesome salad with romaine, feta cheese, pear and orange. Yum yum yum!

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went shopping. Costco, IKEA, and on the lookout for a holiday outfit for Sam. The last was the hardest to find. We did end up finding something really cute, even if it is a size FOUR! Why are all the size 2T/3T nice clothes not stocked???

Rachel hanging in a high chair at IKEA.
Anyways, in the morning Mom was looking at our over-crowded front entry and said, "Wouldn't it be great to have shelves here? With baskets for things?" Yes! Yes! Double Yes!
So Sam and Opa went to Home Depot and found shelf-building materials and a little measuring, sawing, and screwing-in-boards later and we had shelves! I found great baskets at IKEA and our front entry is now new and improved. Thanks Sam and Opa!

This morning Sam modeled his new holiday clothes. All we need to do is add some pants (which we have) and he is set!

After the modeling, we went for a walk to the library and to Planet Organic and then we came home and had Kraft Dinner with tuna and peas.

Oma then put Rachel down for her nap and Opa put Sam down for his and then they went home. It was a quick but good visit. And we'll see them in a few weeks for Christmas! Yay!

Sam's Swimming

Sam has been taking swimming lessons, mostly with Dave, this Fall. This past week Rachel and I went along to see how things were going. And Sam showed off his "I can swim by myself" ability. I was pretty impressed!

Video taken: November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sam Plays "Knows Everybody" on the Violin

Dave plays our violin once in awhile and Sam likes to "play" too. Here he is playing "Knows Everybody", or you might know it by its more official title, "I'm From the Country." (Or you might not know it at all in which case this video won't really help you learn it!)

Video taken: November 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rachel Laughing With Daddy

Dave took Rachel to "Daddy and Me" time at the library. At first he thought it might be kind of dorky but as he just said, "I'm very glad I went and it was very worthwhile for me and Rachel." He learned a few rhymes which Rachel just LOVES as you can see below!

Video taken: November 2011

Grey Cup Sundays: Past and Present

So today was the Grey Cup. I was thinking this morning about the Grey Cups since we've been out West. In 2007 Saskatchewan beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup. I wrote about it in this post right at the end.

In 2008, Montreal played Calgary and lost. I really don't remember what we did that day but I'm fairly certain we weren't watching the Grey Cup.

In 2009 Saskatchewan played Montreal in the Grey Cup and lost :( It was such a close game and Saskatchewan lost for such a dumb reason. I still have angry feelings about that game! But it was the first Grey Cup Sam ever got to watch. My and my mom's cheering totally freaked him out because he'd never heard us yell before :) And we watched it at Uncle Vic and Auntie Lee's house and I remember it was a lot of fun.

Last year Saskatchewan and Montreal played again. And Saskatchewan lost again but it was a good game nonetheless. And quite honestly all I remember about last year was that I was too morning sick to really care (much!) about the game. I think Sam wasn't too sure either :)

And this year Saskatchewan wasn't in it and we sort of watched it but sort of didn't. Maybe next year we can cheer the Riders on to victory again?!?!?! I hope so because I am a Green-And-White Fan all the way!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sam Singing "You Are My Sunshine"

So we (Dave!) have figured out how to upload videos to Blogger again. Yay! So in the next couple of weeks I am going to upload a bunch of videos of the kids over the past six months (or so!). Videos which I would have uploaded at the time but I didn't know how. There will also be some regular posts scattered in among these video posts. I hope you enjoy!

Here is a video of Sam singing "You Are My Sunshine", complete with a (partial) second verse!

Video taken: October 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Up, Up and Away

After a relaxed morning at home, we headed out for an afternoon of adventure, excitement, and errands. We started off with a stop at McDonalds for lunch, where Sam devoured a Happy Meal, complete with a toy duck (or possibly a goose...?).

Note the unidentified fowl on the left.

Then, it was off to the Alberta Aviation Museum for Sam and I, while Natasha and Rachel headed off to do some errands and a bit of shopping. It was my first time at the museum, and although Sam had been once before, he didn't really offer much in the way of a guided tour.

The museum is a loosely-organized collection of old planes (both military and commercial), helicopters, and other aviation-related items (uniforms, radar equipment, etc.) The following photos give a sense of our wandering through the museum for a couple of hours but, like the museum itself, are in no particular order.

Sam checking out an engine.

An ultra-light plane, which Sam immediately identified as an "alligator plane."

One of the many video stations scattered throughout the museum. This one focused on float planes (the Norseman, I think). Like most of the other exhibits in the museum, Sam was completely fascinated by it... for about 10 seconds!

An exhibit on the instruments used in the cockpit. This photo also captures Sam's complete lack of interest in posing for pictures.

One of the highlights of the museum was a small plane that had been turned into a small "movie theatre". The inside had a handful of seats and a TV showing aerial footage of various sights in and around Edmonton. Sam had a great time going into the plane, checking out the video (for about 10 seconds) and then heading back out again.

Sam exhibiting his independent plane entry and exit skills.

Sam settling in to watch the video. His favourite parts were the footage of the U of A campus, Whyte Avenue (you could almost see our house!) and the West Edmonton Mall.

In addition to the planes, the museum also featured a few helicopters.

The museum is adjacent to the Edmonton City Centre airport, and also has a few planes on exhibit outdoors. We went to check this out, and Sam was particularly excited about riding a small vehicle used to pull planes.

We're still not entirely sure if this was permitted or not...
I drew the line at trying to work the gearshift.

One of the many military planes on display.

Sam trying out a rudimentary flight simulator. Moving the joystick caused the white model plane (in the top-right corner) to tilt up, down, left and right, and moving the foot pedals caused it to rotate back and forth.

Finally, there was a section of the museum where they were actively working on restoring planes, and visitors were welcome to go and wander around (just so long as they didn't touch anything!). We checked this area out a couple of times, and had a chat at the end of our visit with someone from the Ventura Memorial Flight Association, a group working on restoring a WWII-era plane to its original, air-worthy state. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of this area, but you can see some of the Ventura restoration efforts here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kindermusik Farewell :(

So our Kindermusik studio, where I've been taking Sam for the last two years, is closing through no fault of their own.

Sam has been doing Kindermusik with Miss Sulya every Friday morning since he was six months old. This is a very sad day for me.

And this fall Olivia and Saige started in Sam's class as well. Our Friday mornings were sooooo much fun! Elena and I would walk with the kids and it was just a blast!

Skylar, Rachel and Gavin would hang out at the back of the room in their car seats and us moms and toddlers would sing, dance around and have a good time.

I cried so much this morning as the class was ending because I just can't imagine life without Miss Sulya and Kidsnotes. We will miss you more than we can ever explain. Thank you for everything you've done for Sam. And would have done for Rachel.

These are pictures of Sam and Miss Sulya from December 2010.

Yesterday and Today

These past few days have been busy with random happenings. Usually good random happenings but not always as you shall see...

Yesterday Elena and I took our kids to Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn at the Strathcona Library. When we got there, Jenelle was there with Kelsey and Megan too. Sam did really well during the program and got into signing and getting the shaker and he really followed instructions well. I was very pleased to see how much he's changed even since the first program in September.

Afterward Elena and I met Jenelle at Save-On and all the big kids got cookies and then we went to Starbucks. I'd wanted to buy Elena a coffee for her birthday (which was a MONTH ago!) and I had a hot chocolate. We all sat there and it was a lot of fun. We told our engagement stories :)

Then our train (two double strollers and one grocery cart!) walked to Dollarama and to Shoppers and to Bulk Barn. And then Elena and I walked home. It was a fun, random morning/afternoon of unexpectedness. And very enjoyable too!

Today was Passport Day! Yuck, yuck and double yuck :(

I first woke up early and took Rachel to Once Upon a Child to sell some things, to Toys R Us to buy Sam a broom and to Save-On to get salad fixings for tonight. Dave took the morning off work to help with passports so I picked up him and Sam and we headed off.

We got Rachel's passport photo taken on the first try (she looked really cute) and then stood in two lines only to find out we needed Dave's passport info too because he was Rachel's guarantor. So we decided since Dave had to go home anyway to renew Sam's passport as well so we didn't have to go through the whole thing again in four months.

However, it took us about seven or ten tries (or three hundred and twelve as Dave puts it!) to get Sam's photo. The boy cannot close his mouth without sucking in his top lip. sigh. It was actually kind of funny after about the fourth time :)

Then Dave went home with Sam (and my wallet at first -- panic on my part!) for passports and birth certificates and I stayed with Rachel and nursed her and filled out Sam's application. And then Rachel's again for fun. Or because they had newer applications at the Passport office.

So Dave and Sam got back and we stood in two lines again and were finally approved for the third (and final!) line and then we had to wait. And wait. And wait. So Dave took Sam and Rachel to the food court and then came and got me and since they also had the Passport Number Board in the food court we could just hang out down there until it was almost our turn. Having the board in the food court was the BEST. IDEA. EVER!!!

When it was close to our turn we went upstairs again and the woman I sat next to entertained Sam with Thomas videos on her BlackBerry. She was seriously the NICEST. WOMAN. EVER!!! So finally, about three hours after we showed up, it was OUR TURN!!!!!!!!!!!! And it only took about five minutes and we were done. So I dropped Dave off on campus, put Sam and Rachel to bed and crashed.

Tonight Dave and I had date night. We washed dishes, filled out a life insurance form (sort of) and then put Rachel to bed and went downstairs to watch Friends on DVD. And we did a productive parenting e-mail with Rachel. It was kind of fun and a very random date night but it worked out well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good Parenting

Sometimes I feel like a good parent and sometimes I don't. Today a number of things came together which reaffirmed that Dave and I are actually doing a good job of this parenting-thing. I mean, you don't apply for this job -- it just gets handed to you when you think you might be ready and then you discover if you are or aren't!

Miss Rachel had not been sleeping well the past few weeks and the main issue we were having is that she would have a "late evening nap" around 7:30 or 8:30 and then be awake within an hour and then not go down for the night until 11, or midnight, or even 1am a couple of times. So on Saturday night, in desperation, I turned to everyone's friend, Google, and tried to figure out what might be going on.

One of the suggestions was that you do a bedtime routine with stories and pajamas and put the baby down at a reasonable hour, which they suggested was between 7 and 8:30. They said that most babies got fussier and stayed awake because they were overtired when they were awake much later than that. So Dave and I realized that we were probably keeping Rachel up too late. Which you think we should have been able to figure out on our own...

So the past three nights we have put Rachel down to sleep around 8ish and when she wakes up half an hour later we let her cry it out. It's one of the hardest things I've done as a parent, and we did it with Sam too. The first night Rachel cried for 43.5 minutes and then she slept for nine and a half hours with me only feeding her once, right before I went to bed.

Last night she had two periods of crying, one for 4.5 minutes and the other for about 15 minutes. She woke up twice to nurse but at least she got more sleep. Tonight she's woken up once already but only let out a little cry and I gave her her soother and when I checked on her after five minutes she was back asleep. I feel like this bedtime thing is starting to work better for all of us.

My other inspired idea was tonight when I was giving Sam his bath. He has been complaining about being washed so I've made it a race -- "Can we get you washed before I have to turn the water off?" Tonight he did super-great so I said I had a surprise for him. I dumped a bunch of dish soap in the water for him and he played for half an hour in the bubbles. Sam loved it and Dave and I got dishes done. Yay for inspired ideas!

So that's how we've been doing with parenting lately. It's been a good thing!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not Me! Monday

Last time I did this link up, I explained that this was from a blogger known as MckMama. Here's what we didn't do this past weekend.

On Friday it was not me who dressed our daughter in an outfit with a matching beret and then I did not squeal from how cute she looked. My husband and I did not declare "We have the cutest children EVER!" and then grin proudly because obviously there are cuter children out there somewhere. Maybe.

And then of course we did not take 142 pictures of Rachel in her outfit! Not us!

And yesterday I did not abandon my children and husband for a few hours so I could take a really long shower and read magazines. Not me! When my husband is home we always take care of our children together and squeeze out every ounce of family togetherness time we can.

And last night we did not start to do cry-it-out with our five-month-old. Not us! She has been sleeping perfectly wonderfully so why would we do this? She has not been staying up until midnight or 1am leading us to desperate measures. And if we were to do cry-it-out we would not have been staring at the timer willing it to beep so that we could go in and comfort her. We are totally committed to having our daughter sleep well and her 43 1/2 minutes of screaming was a joy and a pleasure to us.

And after doing cry-it-out, our daughter did not fall asleep at 9:30 last night and sleep straight through until 7 this morning. Not our daughter! So we will not be doing cry-it-out again tonight. Not us!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photo of the Day -- Sunday

Sam likes reading to himself before he goes down for nap.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photo of the Day -- Saturday

Rachel's first bath in... too long to mention :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photo of the Day -- Friday

Ready for a restful Shabbat

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five Months!

Rachel -- you are FIVE MONTHS old today!
How did THAT happen???
You are STILL wearing size one disposable diapers although technically you could be moved to size 2s. We'll probably do that in the next month or so. You only wear size 3-6 month clothes. You still don't wear many of your clothes very often because you have so many different outfits :) However I did discover today that we'll have to buy some 9 month sleepers since we only have four of them! You didn't gain a lot of weight this month either although you are now solidly past the 12 pound mark. You weigh 12 pounds, 10 ounces and you are 24 1/2 inches long.

You have stopped sleeping well, sadly. You now wake up three to four times a night to nurse. I think you are getting hungrier and Daddy and I have talked about starting you on solids earlier than six months. You are still a night owl and like to stay up until 11 or midnight but then you wake up between 9:30 and 10 in the morning. This is only a problem because your big brother, Sam, wakes up around 8:30 or 9 so I don't get to sleep much anymore. Oh well. I know this is just a phase. You still have your late evening nap although last night you skipped it but still didn't go to bed earlier. You still want to sleep for a bit about two hours after you wake up, sometimes only for one hour but sometimes for two. You are still pretty good about going to sleep on your own if you don't fall asleep when nursing. And you have outgrown your swaddle blankets so we've been trying to improvise with receiving blankets but they don't work as well.

Your nursing hasn't been as great lately. You get really distracted and I have to go into a quiet room and not talk to anyone for you to nurse well. But when you are done nursing and I hold you up to burp, you suck on my cheek. You are either giving kisses or trying to nurse some more and it is so sweet :)

You only pooped twice this entire month. As of today you haven't had a good sized poop in 21 days. That's a little long my dear! You did have a small amount this past Monday so we know your bowels are working. For some reason you just seem to be using EVERYTHING you take in. Mommy and Daddy keep waiting for "the big one" to hit :)

You are generally a pretty happy baby Rachel. Except when you want something and then you let us know! You like hanging out in your bouncy seat and playing on your play mat. You don't like your swing as much but you still like hanging out on Mommy and Daddy's bed or in your Moses Basket. I think you like being able to move around. And you have really started to play with toys. You get such loud squeaks out of Sophie! And you like playing with a blanket.

You also like to scratch on things -- our blanket, your Moses Basket, your bouncy seat, Mommy and Daddy, EVERYTHING! And you have started to suck on your bottom lip and blow raspberries. You are becoming one noisy baby Miss Rachel! And you still smile and laugh a lot. And you have started to "talk" and "talk!" You approach the world with your mouth wide open and it is so funny! I hardly ever see you with your mouth closed :)

This month you had your first visit to Ontario. This trip included a lot of firsts including your first airplane ride (you did awesome!) and your first visit to Waterloo. You met lots of people and had so much fun. Everyone wanted to hold you and you never complained. I think you are a people person!

This month you started rolling over all the way. You have rolled front-to-back and back-to-front. You rarely stay in one place anymore. This month you have also really enjoyed when Daddy does library rhymes with you especially "Today is the day they give babies away" and "Five bees." You laugh and smile at him. This is especially helpful because you are STILL teething without any visible results. You cry loudly sometimes, drool a lot and are always trying to stick your fist in your mouth. Mommy and Daddy say, "Come on teeth!"
Rachel, Happy Five Month Birthday! We love you so much!