Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three Christmases

Our first Christmas was near Leavenworth at a cabin with Nana, Grandpapa, and Auntie Alli. We played games, worked on a puzzle, had great food and drinks, and opened presents sporadically and spontaneously, which was a refreshing way of doing gifts.

Our second Christmas took place on the actual day. The four of us celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with services at our church. Then we filled up our introvert tanks with a quiet day at home sleeping, reading, and crafting. We're waiting to exchange gifts until Ephipany, but did enjoy stockings brought by St. Nicholas.

Our third Christmas was spent in Canada visiting Brian's sister and her family and staying with Brian's parents. The gift giving was frenzied the first night -- Magnolia definitely understands what a 'peh-peh' is now -- and the hockey was as plentiful as the treats! Brian and I also
got to go on a date (we saw Avatar) courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa's babysitting services! It all added up to a full and memorable holiday! We are now recuperating, getting acquainted with/finding homes for all the gifts that were showered upon us by our generous families, and preparing for Mama to be gone during the day again.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From The Rushes
Brian, Shannon, Magnolia, Kaleia
*Photo taken by Blake Kent. We highly recommend him if you are looking for a photographer!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy 5 Month Birthiversary!

Kaleia Shalom is 5 months old!
This month flew by. We're all pretty tired and ready for Christmas break.

With all the Christmas preparations and wrapping up school, it has taken me a bit longer to write this post. I never made it to the Mother-Baby center to do her height and weight check, so I'll have to update that later. In the meantime, here are some subtle developments that occurred during the hubbub:
  • Kaleia's tongue was chased back into her mouth by her feet. She is happiest with minimal clothing to impede her flexiblity for toe chewing.

  • Her two front teeth have continued to play peek-a-boo. Cue music: "All (Mama) wants for Christmas is her two front teeth"

  • She continues to increase her "vocabulary," mostly making loud noises. (Magnolia does a great impression.) Her strange gruntings combined with her almost daily wearing of a bear suit earned her the nickname of "gremmi-bear" by her Papa. Other nicknames: Kaleia-Leia, Leia, Goofer, Gremmi.

  • Kaleia is less active than her sister was at this age. While she enjoys her jumper, she really only gets going when someone is watching her. She can roll both directions -- tummy to back and back to tummy-- but is usually content to just reach for tangling objects or manipulate a toy with her hands.

  • She definitely is reaching more for things that she wants. Often this is your face, which she wants to eat.

  • Splashing in the bath is lots of fun.

  • Kaleia is super easy to put to bed, but still wakes up during the night (still has her gas problem, but spit up is decreasing, maybe).

  • Unlike her sister, Kaleia is not afraid of the Christmas tree. Next Christmas might be more challenging.

Next Month? Sitting up on her own? Eating solid foods? Sleeping through the night???

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reindeer Poll

These birthiversary cupcakes became a bigger deal than I first imagined. We have a hard time just doing plain ones now. To the point that sometimes the blog gets delayed due to perfecting our masterpieces. Brian gave me the book Hello, Cupcake! for my birthday which has some great designs, but has also taught me some tricks for my own.

Sometimes the delay comes from artistic disagreement over as was the case with this month's reindeer. So we want to hear from you: Which reindeer do you like best?

#1: Small cupcake, big antlers, peanut butter cup snout

#2: Big cupcake, Little Antlers and Hostess Ding-Dong Snout

#3: Big Cupcake, Big Antlers, and Hostess Ding-Dong Snout

Vote in the poll to the right and leave comments!
If you are viewing this through reader or Facebook, click through to give us your opinion.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Maggie Sings *Her* Alphabet

Can you guess her favorite letter?

P.S. For those viewing on facebook you may need to click through to our blog to actually see the video.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Magnolia at 1.75 years!

Otis and Maggie are Buddies

Looking in the mirror, holding Magnolia, I marvel, "We have a huge kid." (Aren't 2T clothes supposed to fit at least until their 2nd birthday?) She's no longer a baby. She's a big girl who goes poop on the potty (she has very few poopy diapers these days, but has also started using potty as a nap stall tactic) and loves to be a helper. She squeals and quivers with excitement when laundry is brought up to be folded. Anytime the dishwasher opens she runs in to unload it. I modified the swiffer to her height so she can sweep to her heart's content. She loves to bring burp rags and soothers for her baby sister and lets us know when baby is "tying." Her favorite daily activity is helping Mama cook.

Cooking Monster Cookies

After mastering her colors (Grandpapa was impressed that she knows what grey is) we moved on to counting, making her yellow jammies with numbers a must-wear. If I ask her if she wants one or two "tails" in her hair she adds "three, four, five!" Now we've moved on and its all about the ABCs. She is noticing letters everywhere. While driving by McDonalds recently, she shouted "Yeh-yo M, you!" ("you" because M's are her letter). Singing the ABCs--or the AIJs--has become part of the bedtime routine.
Our first experience with a Sharpie Marker.

Mr. Potato-head inspired Pumpkin/Squash "carving"

Teeth brushing is a regular feature too. She now has a full set, so no more teething--next stop losing teeth, but hopefully that will wait awhile. As with many activities, she insists on brushing herself, but luckily "Mama's turn first, then Maggie's turn" is still working. On her turn she copies my naming of each part "Front, Top,..."

Enjoying the Family Interactive Gallery at the Whatcom Museum

Magnolia has also become very focused in her play, often sitting sorting and resorting shapes, calling them by name and shape (Do all toddlers know what a pentagon is?). She now "reads" her much requested books on her own. Shyness or at least needing a little time to warm up has set in. But so has performing once she's warm -- jumping, twirling, and singing. One of her recent songs was "Haha you seenen. Mama, Papa you seenen." (Translation: Hockey you singing. Mama Papa you singing. Further translation: There is hockey on the radio but I'm singing. Mama and Papa are in the car and I'm singing) She also is aware of getting her picture taken. Much to Papa's chagrin, who prefers candid images over canned images, sometimes she'll crawl up on the couch and say "mile" (smile) indicating that she would like to have her picture taken.

I wish I could videotape every moment of this stage. There are so many little things I know I'll forget that warm my heart, like her little voice wishing Kaleia a "good morning." This stage is going to be gone before I know it. So for now, I will enjoy that Mama's kisses still have the power to cure "pain."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Toe Men in Calgary

Our niece Jamie (almost 3), who lives in Calgary, saw Maggie's toe man video and insisted that her dad--Brian's brother Kevin-- make some of their own.

Are there any other toemen out there? Send us photos!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Looking at the pear and leaf in the picture book, Brian, tired of the usual questions like "what color is it?" and "how many?," asked Magnolia, "Which one do we eat?" Magnolia furrowed her brow and looked back and forth between the book and Papa's uneaten salad on the table.

Is this a trick question?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy 4 Month Birthiversary!

A Froggy lesson about Kaleia Shalom at 4 months.

Frogs are characterized by their long legs, short bodies, and big eyes.

Kaleia grew 1.75 inches this month, keeping her in the 90th percentile for length at 25.75 inches but dropped to the 50th percentile for weight at 13 lb 12 oz. Her eyes aren’t especially big but they are very expressive now.

Frogs have long tongues.

We seriously considered dressing Kaleia as Gene Simmons from KISS this Halloween. Her long, pointy tongue is very active, probably feeling her incoming bottom front teeth.

Tree Frogs have toe pads to help them grip vertical surfaces.

Kaleia’s froggy-ness was established early. As an infant she loved to sleep on your chest, legs bunched under her, arm flung around yours, hand gripping your sleeve. And the froggy-ness continues. Now her super grippy hands dart out like frog tongues to snatch whatever you’re holding. They are great for shaking the toys her sister gives her, but bad for Mama’s hair.

Neither of our girls are "cuddly" but Kaleia definitely loves to be touched. She prefers to nap in a sling, holding your hand.

Frogs are exceptional jumpers.

Kaleia is busy! Jump in your arms, jump in her jumper. She loves to roll and loves tummy time, only getting frustrated when she wants to get back to her back.

Frogs are loud and do more than “ribbit.”

Kaleia’s repertoire has expanded from the occasional coo to all sorts of vocal aerobics. She is much more vocal than her sister was at this age.

Frogs are indicators of a healthy environment.

If Kaleia is happy and sleeping well, the rest of us are happy. Luckily, Kaleia is the poster-child for “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” Except when she does her monster farts—I don’t know if frogs do that.

Frogs are symbols of fertility, harmony, joy and luck.

A year ago we were very surprised to find ourselves pregnant with Kaleia. Fertility indeed. We wondered how we were going to handle two little ones, have enough time and love for both of them, how Magnolia would handle it. Maybe God knew we couldn’t handle much more or maybe we’re just lucky. She continues to brighten our days and live up to the meaning of her name: joy.

Needless to say, we chose a frog for Kaleia's lovey. Magnolia has Mona, Kaleia has Rana. Look for Rana to make her blog debut soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Little Pioneer in Retro Fashion Hybrids

When Magnolia scampered off to her room in her newly changed diaper, I sat down in the living room thinking she was opting to have some play time by herself. A few minutes later she ran out in this, beaming!

We call this style, with its bright colors and backwards pants and shirt, Kris-Kross meets Blossom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Popcorn: Snack or Entertainment

Standing on a chair, Magnolia (20 months) alternates between a transfixed gaze and ecstatic claps and squeals at the swirling, popping kernels.

Last night, as the popcorn started to build up on one side, I saw out of the corner of my eye, Magnolia gently rotate the bowl. Had she seen me do that? Or did she figure it out by herself?

Unfortunately, her adjustment was out of range for the incoming popcorn for a few seconds. Not wanting to miss any fluffy white treats she carefully moved the bowl back to retrieve the fallen kernels which led to further missed landings.

Popcorn is the preferred after dinner snack and entertainment. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Little Monkeys Strolling through the Night

When we ask her what she is going to say when she knocks on the door, Magnolia says, "Cold milk." Well, actually, she says "Coe-Meh" but we know what she means. And for someone who doesn't know what candy is you might think this is a reasonable request but what it signals to us, the proud parents of this little monkey, is trick-or-treating is not going to last very long. "Coe-meh," besides being Magnolese for cold milk is, at this time of night, code for "nigh-night time."

Maggie starts strong. Despite being tired, the joy of putting small colored objects in a bag sustains her. Putting small objects in containers is pretty much the coolest and she can do it with the best of them. Doing it at night, at strangers doors, in a monkey suit? Even better!!

She never quite figures out "trick-or-treat" but her knocking definitely improves from almost non-existant to kinda audible as the night progresses. She is never scared and not even all that shy. She musters a few thank-yous and gives one enthusiastic "Bye Man!" After which she just stands staring at the door. She does this at every house as if to say, "Aren't you gonna invite me in?"

We only go to about ten houses--half the time with only her entourage of family and friends, and half with a bumblebee, an astronaut, piglet, eeyore and cinderella--before the other monkey--the sleeping one--needs a better bed than a walking banana, and Magnolia needs her coe-meh.

Our cute monkeys were part of a Halloween photoshoot with Evantide Photography...Check it out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kaleia turned into a new baby overnight

A New "Do"

A New Voice

New Skillz

(she does actually make it, just not when the camera is on)

And a New Tooth!

No pictures yet...just lots of drool and a little white nub.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh my. How much does she understand that we DON'T hear about?!

Just as we were about to post our last blog entry I was reading it aloud to Shannon to get her final approval on my edits. Magnolia was engrossed in her shaped blocks behind me in the living room.

Or so we thought. I was barely two sentences into the post, about to read the dialogue from Magnolia and Kaleia's arm grabbing incident, when Magnolia, without even putting her blocks down, yells out: "You! Arm! Baby!"

We were certainly impressed, and it was a harmless conversation this time, but I think we are now entering the phase when you do a lot of S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G.

Inter-child Boundaries

This morning, when Magnolia insisted on sitting next to her sister on the couch, Kaleia's grasping little fingers found her arm.

This was not okay with Magnolia. Though she wanted to sit next to her infant sister, she did not want Kaleia to touch her.

Magnolia (pulling away and giving Kaleia a dirty look): "Arm!"

Me: "Magnolia, it is okay. She is not hurting you."

Magnolia: "Arm...pain!"

Really, Magnolia? Kaleia's tiny little fingers, that are barely touching you, are causing you pain?

Magnolia scooted farther away, only to be followed by her sister's grabby hands.

I saw visions of invisible lines drawn as boundaries on couches and carseats. I heard games of "I'm not touching you" play out. I heard myself saying, "If you don't stop that I'm gonna turn this car right around and we're just gonna go home."

Or maybe that was just a flashback from my childhood...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy 3 Month Birthiversary!

Kaleia Shalom is 3 months old!

Three months ago, I never would have thought we could have a happier baby than Magnolia. We always joked that we were in for trouble with our second because Magnolia was so easy-going. But believe it or not, Kaleia might be easier. Though many of our friends don't believe us, she does cry, but almost always her crying is due to her continued flatulance problem. And though she is happy most of the time, when she does cry she gets aaannnGRY.

Developmentally, Kaleia is on pace with her sister at 3 months: drooling, fists in mouth, playing with rattles on her own, enjoying her playmat, and big smiles for anyone she meets. If the similarities continue teething is right around the corner.

They look pretty different. Most people thought Maggie looked like Brian, but everyone likens Kaleia to her Mama. The girls are also pretty different in size. Kaleia continues to gain and grow slowly and steadily. She is now up to 12 lb 12 oz and 24.25 inches long -- two pounds lighter than Magnolia was.

We are still learning to parent two. Life is full -- wonderful and hard. But that's another post.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Canucks Newest Fan

"Hockey season is here."

"The Canucks have had a rough start."

"Please, please, please can we get a win."