Monday, December 31, 2012

Big Christmas Update

I think our family is on the upswing now.   Maybe.  We all have some congestion and coughs, so we may not be quite out of the woods yet.  But at least the vomiting, nausea and fevers seem to be gone.

This is going to be one big long post with an update on all our Christmas travels. I always feel the need to put a warning at the beginning of my long posts!

We started on the Saturday before Christmas with a surprise 70th birthday party for Daniel's dad.  Isla was so cute carrying his balloons all over the house.
 This ledge is Isla's favorite spot at Mimi and Papaw's house.
 After church on Sunday:
Mimi and Papaw and all their grandkids:

 Then it was time for our first family Christmas with Daniel's parents and siblings.  Audrey just loves presents.  She loves passing out presents to people.  She loves opening presents.  She loves watching other people open presents.  She just loves the whole process, and did not get tired of it at all over three days and four different gift exchanges.  She gives the best reactions when she opens gifts, "Oh thank you!  I just love it!"  She always seems genuinely excited about her gifts, and she is very good at remembering to thank everyone.  This year, she also added an extra touch by kissing every single one of her presents after opening.  I hope she never loses this joy, because it is so much fun to watch.

I don't think we ever got a good video of Audrey opening a present.  Here is one of her "helping" Isla.

 One of Audrey's favorite gifts of the season was this Cinderella board game.  She wants to play it all the time and has not grown tired of it yet (though Daniel and I definitely have)!  It is the first board game that has really kept her attention and that she has been willing to sit and play and follow the rules from beginning to end.
 Audrey also has been having fun with this dress up kit with earrings and jewelry and shoes and wands and stuff.  Isla is a big fan of the necklaces, as expected!

Later Sunday evening, we went to Daniel's aunt and uncle's house for another Christmas celebration...and more presents!

 On Christmas Eve, we drove five hours to my aunt's house to celebrate Christmas with my dad's side of the family.  Time for more presents!!
 Audrey helping her cousin Josiah open presents.  Audrey was always eager to open presents for others who might need some help.
 With Grandpa John (my dad):
 After my dad's Christmas, we drove another hour to my mom's house and hurried to get there in time to get ready for Christmas Eve service at her church.   We filled up an entire row, and it was a front row.  Sitting in the front row with four small children probably wasn't the best idea, but we made it!
 Here is my niece Braxen wearing the same Christmas dress Isla wore last year!
 They had battery operated lights for the kids, and Isla really liked hers.  She even raised it up high in the air during the final verse of Silent Night; it was pretty cute.
Here are the girls posing with some M&M's at Mom and Marcus' house after church.
 Before bed on Christmas Eve, Audrey, Isla and Josiah had new Christmas PJ's to open and wear to bed.  (Although we couldn't get Isla interested in opening hers, so Audrey gladly opened them for her).
 Then, it was Christmas morning!!  The girls opened their stockings first thing.
 After stockings, we had breakfast and then I read through the whole Advent book with Audrey and Josiah.
 And then, more presents!  We could nickname this the Christmas of never-ending presents!  The girls opened all their presents from us.
By Christmas morning, Isla was starting to get the idea of opening presents.  She was also learning from her sister how to give a good reaction when you see what is inside a present.

 Isla thought her present was the perfect seat.  She loves anything at this height, just right for sitting!

 We took a break and played with those presents, then my mom brought out all her presents for everyone.  Then we had lunch and my grandma and brother and his family came over, so we opened presents yet again.  I wasn't joking about the never-ending presents!

Here is my nephew Josiah riding his cool new bike.
 And my niece Braxen with her new puppy pal.
 All the kids playing with their new toys.  They really stayed occupied most of the day with all these new things around to enjoy!
 Later on Christmas, Poppa helped Audrey and Josiah decorate a Rice Krispie treat train.

And that's all of my pictures.  The day after Christmas Isla got sick and it all went downhill from there.

I am really thankful that we made it through Christmas and most of our travels before the sickness hit.  It was also nice to have my mom around to help take care of us while we were sick!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Be Back Soon!

We are home from our Christmas travels.

I am sick.

Isla is sick.

I'm sure by morning someone else will be sick too.

Our family is getting hit hard this December, and I am SO ready to have everyone well again.  This too shall pass, right??

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21: Update on Isla

We are at Daniel's parents house this evening, getting ready for a weekend of Christmas festivities!

Before we left this morning, Isla had a doctor's appointment.  They were planning to give her 18 month shots and do some blood work to see if they could find a reason for her slow rate of growth.

First, they weighed and measured her again.  She was 30 inches, just like she was two weeks ago.  But today, she was 21.5 pounds, which means she gained a half pound in two weeks.

The doctor was encouraged by this growth and decided to give her a little more time to grow.  She wanted to spare her (and me) the torture of possibly unnecessary blood work.  They skipped the blood work today, and we are going to go back for another height/weight check in three months.  Then we will see where she is at and go from there.

I'm glad that we didn't have to do the blood work today, because that really is torture for both her and me.  But I'm not sure that her weight gain really means too much.  She weighed 21.5 pounds in November, when she saw the doctor for a sinus infection.  Then at her appointment two weeks ago, she had been violently sick for 24 hours prior to the appointment.  And I'm pretty sure she lost at least a half of pound while she was sick, so she weighed only 21 pounds two weeks ago.  She has been eating like crazy lately, and that has helped her to catch back up to that 21.5 pound mark.  She looks super chubby these days, so gaining weight isn't really a concern for me.  I'm more concerned about her lack of height growth.  That is what we are really going to look at in three months.

I also talked to the doctor more about her speech.  We decided to give her another 4-6 weeks to see if she makes any progress before calling for a speech evaluation.  The doctor was very complimentary of Isla's ability to play with toys.  Isla was playing with some little figurines during our appointment, and our doctor repeatedly commented about how nicely and purposely she was playing with them.  She said it was very impressive for 18 months.  Isla does play really well with toys.  I'm always surprised at how well she plays "pretend."  She loves to play with little guys and make them walk and "talk", and she loves to feed and rock and hug her babies.  I don't know if it is really all that advanced for her age though.  I think the doctor was just trying to give me some encouragement about Isla!

So we are just going to continue this "wait and see" game for a few more months.  Fun, fun.  I do feel better about it all though and much less worrisome than I  did two weeks ago.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20: Packing Day

We are leaving tomorrow for a week of Christmas traveling. The girls and I spent the day doing laundry and packing and staying inside in our pajamas.  We are in the midst of a blizzard!  The snow is not too bad (maybe 2 inches), but the wind is just crazy.  I'm so glad that we didn't have a reason to leave the house today.  It is going to be painful to step outside into the cold wind tomorrow morning.

It is also our 9th wedding anniversary today.  Happy anniversary to us!  We didn't do go out to celebrate because we already celebrated in October, we are busy getting ready for our trip, and there is a blizzard outside! 

We did decide to go ahead and give each other our Christmas presents early.  It seemed silly to drag all our presents around in our travels with us.  Daniel is enjoying a cup of coffee from his new Keurig coffee maker right now.  I am excited about my presents too:  some Pampered Chef items (including the can opener and Easy Accent Decorator), Seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey (I still haven't seen season 2 yet!), and this urchin figurine (which I really wanted!).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19: Christmas Movie and Popcorn Party

Tonight, Daniel and I had a church staff Christmas party.  Audrey really wanted her babysitter, Kaylee, to do today's Christmas activity with her while we were gone.

So we went to the movie store today and rented a Christmas movie she could watch with Kaylee.  Audrey decided on the Grinch.  She really likes the Grinch movie, even though she is kind of scared of the Grinch at the same time.
Audrey was carrying a basket, because she wanted to carry something like Isla.  Isla has this little bag that she likes to carry around with her.  When I told her it was time to leave this morning, Isla picked up her bag and put it on her arm like a purse, wanting to bring it with her.  It's so cute!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18: Preschool Christmas Program AND Piano Recital

Tis the season for Christmas programs around here!  Audrey had her Christmas program at preschool tonight.  I also had a Christmas recital with my piano students tonight.  I was not happy when I discovered that both of these events were scheduled for the same night.  But it was too late to change anything when I found out, so we just had to deal with it.

First up, the preschool program!  Audrey was a shepherd.  Audrey was a supposed to be an angel like all the other girls in her class.  But on the first day that they practiced their program at school, she had a major meltdown.  After that, her teachers were worried that being an angel would be too much for her (the angels stand up and sing one special song that the shepherds don't sing), so they demoted her to shepherd instead.  That's a bit wasn't really a demotion.  But it kind of felt like that to me when the teacher first told me.  In the end, Audrey didn't care one bit whether she was a shepherd or an angel.  She made a super cute shepherd, and she did a great job singing all her songs!  No tears, no meltdowns...she was a pro on that stage.

 This was my view throughout the program.  At least I could still see Audrey's face!

After the program, I hurried over to church to get ready for the piano recital.  My students did such a great job!  I don't have many beginner students right now, and all of the students who played tonight have been with me for several years.  They are getting really good!  I cannot say enough good things about how well they performed tonight.  Makes this teacher proud!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16: Christmas Pageant at Church

 Today was the Christmas Pageant at our church.  This year the preschool program was joined together with the elementary pageant, making for a pretty big event!

After Audrey's refusal to sing last year, I was curious to see how she handled being on stage this year.  She did so good!!  She did all the motions, and I could hear her singing above all the other kids (granted, I was sitting directly in front of her in the front row).

Thanks to our friend Lisa, here is a clip from one of their songs.

I am the teacher of one of Audrey's classes, and for our part in the program, I needed to select a kid to open our box and read our Bible words (memory verse).  It was hard to pick someone, because there were very few kids that I thought would be able and/or willing to do it.  I finally convinced Audrey and her friend Anna to be the ones to open the box and read the words.  I wasn't sure if they would be brave enough to talk into the microphone, but they did...and they did a great job!!  (This clip just barely catches them saying "God loved us and sent his Son)

Audrey got this cute dress for her birthday, so of course, I had to go get a matching one for Isla!!

 Here is Audrey with her good friend Anna.

And with her buddy Elliot.  Audrey, Anna and Elliot have been like the Three Musketeers in Sunday School lately.  They are some good kids!!

December 15: Snow Day

The first words out of Audrey's mouth when we opened up the box this morning and read today's activity were, "But Mom, I don't see any snow outside."

She was right; no snow outside.  But I thought it would be fun to have a day filled with snow activities anyway.  I had more ideas in my head than what we actually did, but we still did a few fun things.

Audrey and I made paper snowflakes this morning.  Then Audrey spent a lot of time decorating all the snowflakes with glitter and stickers.

This afternoon, we made peppermint playdough.  We made a snowman out of our playdough, though he is a little sad looking because we didn't give him a nose or a mouth.
Audrey also made all of these things with her playdough.
 For dinner, I was planning to make a snowman shaped pizza.  But we had to go to a practice at church, and we ran out of time to make it from scratch.  Instead, I had some mini bagels that I used to make little pizzas, and then I attempted to make them look like snowmen with the few ingredients I had in the house.  These won't be making an appearance on Pinterest anytime soon, but hey, I tried.  I would also like to note that Audrey (who isn't a big fan of pizza) refused to even touch hers.