Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas pictures

Here are some pictures from our Christmas in Chicago.
One attempt at a family picture on Christmas Eve. We've got two out of four looking at the camera and no "duh" looks.

Josh opening a present on Christmas morning.

Unlike Josh, who was never really interested in toys, Molly was thrilled with the Christmas toys (and Ethan's toys). This is my favorite weird Christmas Eve picture of Molly showing off Ethan's maraca.

The Snowy North

The super-cold weather in Chicago last week was a shock to our Southern systems, but Josh quickly took to playing in the white stuff. Unfortunately there wasn't enough for sledding, but he did get to build a snowman, throw some snowballs, and play fetch with Uncle Tyler and Sadie in the snow. One of Josh's main concerns upon leaving Chicago was that he was pretty sure it didn't snow in Charlotte. Thankfully, for the most part he's right.

Molly and Ethan

One of the best parts of our Christmas visit to Chicago was watching Molly and her cousin Ethan, who is three months older, play together. Aside from a few baby fights over toys, they had a good time hanging out.

Ethan and Molly enjoyed pushing each other around in the baby cart (with some help from the adults to set everything up). Occasionally one would bail out to grab a toy (see picture below) mid-ride.

No babies were harmed in the making of this picture:
Finally, someone gives Molly the "are you crazy?" look that she often gives Josh.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Halfway There

Today was Josh's last day of school before Christmas break, and I attended the class "tasting party" to celebrate. Because this program can't celebrate any holidays (for reasons too complex for this blog), the teacher had all of the kids' parents bring in a food their family likes to eat. Here's Josh standing with his plate of pancakes.

More importantly, however, are the differences I saw in Josh while I was with him and his class today. It's astounding. He sat with his class and participated when the teacher led them in a song (see the picture below--Josh is off to the right). He also talked to the other kids, did not run around the class crazily and did what he was told. You can see in the picture above that he has written his own name (sort of) on the place card. For many 4-year-olds, all of this would be considered normal, but for Josh this is incredible progress. We are deeply grateful for Josh's teachers and this pre-school program.

And to counteract the scary angel pictures, here are Josh and Molly giving me their best "duh" looks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Only in the South

You can only imagine my surprise when I opened Molly's "gift" to us from nursery school and found this. Apparently the teachers have been having fun dressing up the babies and taking pictures of them. I don't even really know what to say about this.

I wasn't going to add this one because it's blurry, but here's a re-enactment of that rarely mentioned moment at the Nativity where the Christmas fairy pays her respects to baby Jesus. Just like the picture above, it's kind of cute, but mostly scary.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Premature Goodbye

This week's craziness all started with a decision I made late Sunday night to list our washer and dryer on Craigslist. We are unexpectedly getting a new washer and dryer for Christmas, so I decided to do a good deed and sell ours at a very low price.

I posted the listing at midnight. My cell phone rang at 7:19 a.m. on Monday. Joe was calling to tell me that he had read my Craigslist ad at 3 a.m., decided that was too early to call and set his alarm "extra early" so he could be the first in line. To make a long story short, Joe showed up at 9:30 a.m. with a hand truck and a trailer and left with my washer and dryer. Before he arrived, I received eight calls and 12 emails from other people also interested in the set.

The downside of the speed of this transaction was the new washer and dryer weren't scheduled to be delivered until Friday. I had no backup plan for five days without modern cleaning devices.

As life would have it, the one week we are without a washer is when we most need it. Here's what's currently in our wash pile, listed in order of grossness. If you are squeamish, you may want to stop here.

1.) The normal pile of bibs and dishcloths covered with baby food.
2.) Another pile of cloths covered with snot because Molly has a cold.
3.) My tablecloth and more dishcloths covered with green and red icing and who knows what else, casualties of the neighborhood kids' cookie decorating party I hosted on Wednesday.
4.) All of Josh's bedding and a set of his pajamas because we forgot to tell our babysitter last night that Josh needs to stop by the bathroom on the way to bed, and he had an accident in the middle of the night.
5.) A big pile of towels, bathmats and more of Josh's clothes. Apparently the amount of red and green icing he ate at the party activated some explosive diarrhea (thanks to the makers of Olestra for that term), and he didn't quite make it to the potty. Chris now holds the bragging rights to "nastiest mess cleanup."

We will welcome the new washer and dryer with feasting and dancing. No appliances will ever have been more wanted.

On a better note, the crazy kids' party was really fun, and the springlike
weather meant the 20+ kids could play in the backyard. The only party pooper was surprisingly Molly, who was not feeling well. She was not happy during the annual group picture.

We also finally got to enjoy one of the perks of Chris' job last night and sat in the Wachovia box (free food and drinks, seats at mid-court) for the Bobcats basketball game, in which some UNC alumni put on a great show.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

All Hands on Deck, or, Isn't This Why We Have These Kids?

This Wednesday I am hosting the neighborhood kids' Christmas party, and the impending idea of many neighbors seeing our house has put us into high gear to get this place spruced up. On Saturday, we tackled the never-ending leaves, and Josh managed to get about 35 leaves into the bag with a rake. It didn't put a dent in the billions that were left, but I'm thinking that next year he'll be big enough to operate the leaf blower. We could use another hand with this gargantuan annual task.

Molly did her part by cheering Josh on with some happy clapping and arm waving from the front step, and this morning she "helped" by pulling off the painters tape bordering our formerly green wall.

A Bad Hair Day is a Good Day

You may think it's a little weird that I'm posting a picture of Molly with bad hair, but for us this is reason to celebrate. Molly had a banana with her dinner yesterday, and she rubbed her head with her gooey banana hands, and amazingly there was enough hair back there for her to create a big mess. Too bad most of her hair is growing in the back and she still looks bald face on, but some progress is better than no progress.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The School Picture Faces

We were back at it again today trying to take Christmas pictures, and Josh and Molly started off the session with the same lovely looks they gave the school picture photographers. This is entirely not representative of their personalities, so we took another 60 photos and managed to get two decent ones for our Christmas cards. Now, on to other tasks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Good Job, Chris

Chris proved his worthiness as a husband tonight by hanging Christmas lights on the outside of our house, something I've been asking him to do for a long time. Even threatening to climb the ladder and hang the lights myself last year--while eight months pregnant--didn't motivate Chris to hang the lights.

Josh and Molly were a rapt audience for the big event, and Chris' light-hanging prowess even elicited some happy clapping from Molly (pictured above). Josh carried around the 100-foot extension cord the whole time Chris was on the ladder and could not stop yelling and jumping from excitement.

Here's the finished product. We weren't too ambitious this year, but it's better than nothing. The lights are LED icicle lights, which are 80 percent more energy efficient than regular lights. If anyone's wondering, Josh is carrying around an oil funnel in this picture. He thought it was a leaf blower and was trying to figure out how to plug it in.

We had to de-leaf Molly after she made a lap around the yard crawling through the billions of leafs, many of which stuck to her coat. This photo was prior to the crawling spree.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Taking a Licking

Here are some more pictures from Thanksgiving that I just got from my parents. Molly had her first encounter with Flash, my cousin's dog. The jury is still out on dog kisses.

Here's Josh being a good sport at the Thanksgiving buffet in Panama City Beach.

Molly and the twins. I think that's Elizabeth on the left and Abbey on the right. Jon or Amy: I could use some help with twin identification here.
Molly, Elizabeth (?) and Grannie hang out with Elmo.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Living in the City

Charlotte took a huge step toward big cityhood last weekend with the opening of the Lynx light rail line from southwest Charlotte to uptown. Thousands of people turned out Thanksgiving weekend for the opening of the line (and the free rides), and we decided to try it out on Saturday. Josh loves trains, and we thought he would enjoy this step up from Bob the horse.

Needless to say, he was thrilled. We parked at the beginning of the line and took the whole 26 minute ride to Bobcat Arena, where I quickly learned why we had to share our ride with so many Dookies--the Blue Devils were playing Davidson there. The train was full of families like us who were taking their little boys for a train ride, and on the way back Josh soon had many of the kids cheering along with him every time the train started up after a stop. Thankfully we are used to our kids making a public spectacle of themselves.

Molly also enjoyed the ride, especially on the ride back when the hum of the train lulled her to sleep in her stroller.