Thursday, December 31, 2009

We interrupt the Christmas photos...

...with a link to an article on infant sleep, including a comprehensive list of books and articles regarding sleep, "sleep training," and babies. If you have been following my "Why Do I" series, check it out!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Day at Gramma's

On Christmas Day in the afternoon, we headed to Atlanta to do more celebrating at Gramma's house!

Cecilia, Caroline, and Chris got matching American Papist t-shirts from my brother Tim - now they can all match!

My brother Stephen, my mom, and Cecilia open gifts. We gathered in the living room around the tree and had some snacks - artichoke dip and crackers, and Southern Comfort Sour. My parents, Stephen, and Tim had not opened gifts yet, because Stephen had flown in from Kuwait on Christmas morning, and they decided to wait until we arrived in the afternoon. My other brother, Mike, came with his wife, Crystal, the next day.

My dad seems very happy with his new weighted hammer from Stephen! I don't think he's had a new hammer in all of my life, now that think about it...

Okay, so the first picture above is supposed to come second, but Blogger is acting funky on me and I can't move it for some reason. The girls opened up gifts from Gramma and Grampa - Madame Alexander dolls (basically like American Girl dolls). Each doll matches her new owner in eye and hair color! It took lots of patience and scissors for Uncle Stephen and Daddy to remove the dolls from their boxes!

Tim had found this elementary school diploma from a teacher for his "Good Ideas" a few days before Christmas, and my mom thought it'd be a nice joke to put it in a frame for him. What grade did you get this in, Tim? I thought it'd be funny to get him the fireplace DVD from the Target Dollar Spot (it just shows a fire burning in a fireplace on the screen and loops so you can see if for hours) since he was laughing about it at Thanksgiving - it is an option on my parents' TV (meaning they don't have to put in a DVD from Target! Don't ask me how it works; I don't get the new TV technology at all!), and he was making fun of it then. Would have been another fun gag gift... along with a bike helmet. ;-P

And we do give Tim real gifts as well... here he is opening a new alb.

The girls (and their girls!) with Gramma!

Stephen gave Mom a Kindle! I hadn't seen one up close before - they are very neat!

Caroline gets some help from Grampa with this gift from Uncle Stephen - it was a nice globe, which will be wonderful to have over future years of homeschooling! Of course, when Caroline saw it, she said, "Hey, this is not a toy!!" Gotta love the tact kids have before they hit about age seven, ha ha!

The Second Day of Christmas, the Feast of St. Stephen, Nadolski Christmas Round II (with Mike and Crystal)... here's a wide shot of the merriment. That's Tim behind Caroline, who is sporting her new pink slippers from Gramma along with her red dress. Grampa is helping Cecilia with a puzzle from Mike and Crystal.

Stephen gave Crystal a new chopping knife... last year, he gave her a nice chopping block/cutting board made from bamboo that she said was "too pretty to use." So he told her bought the knife for her so she'd have to use the cutting board! Ironically, she'd finally caved in and cut something on it pretty recently!

Caroline helps Gramma with a gift from Uncle Mike.

Stephen and Dad out on the bridge in the dreary December weather. Hmmm... they have a garden hose, a baking sheet, a beer, and a beach towel... what could they be up to???

Stephen does his thing with the grill... yes, it appears that he is cooking the aforementioned beach towel. If you were not at this gathering, I bet you are somewhat curious now, huh?

He was roasting fresh oysters! We picked them up at Whole Foods earlier that morning.

Christmas Oysters... a new Nadolski Family Tradition??

Mike got in on the action of opening them - did you know there is a special knife made for oyster shell-opening? I like how in this shot, the stockings are visible in the background.

The oysters were very good... even Cecilia agreed! She ate two of them! Crystal and Tim wouldn't try them, of course. Caroline wouldn't try one, either - she usually will try most anything. Chris and Mike just had one or two each... so most were eaten by Stephen, my parents, and me.

Happy Birthday to Jesus!! I made a kahlua cake to take to Atlanta to be baby Jesus's birthday cake so we could share it with everyone. I forgot candles, though. All my mom could find in her kitchen was a "zero" candle - go figure. It was appropriate enough, seeing as when Jesus was born, he was zero years old!

The effects of jet lag... Mike and Crystal have been doggie-sitting for Dutch while Stephen is in Kuwait, and they brought him to visit his master. How loyal he is... what you don't see is Dutch greeting Stephen briefly before chasing a cat and running around the house excitedly. And whining at Mike when he thought he was being left when they were preparing to go back home. Loyal creatures, hmmph!

Cecilia and Gramma before we left on the 27th

And Tim with Caroline and her new doll from Mike and Crystal

And then we were off, back home for a dinner out at Moe's in celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family, and to prepare for Chris's parents to arrive the next day!

Just in time for the Christmas season...

Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus. Perfect for Catholic attachment-parenting mothers at this time of year!

h/t to DrMomma at Peaceful Parenting

And do take the time to read through the comments at the above link... there is some good info regarding, interestingly (as it is a breastfeeding post), infant circumcision in Biblical times.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Morning

Well, first, I found that picture from Christmas Eve that the computer ate... okay, so Chris actually found it in our backed up files. And now on to the Christmas Morning stuff, as advertised in the title of this post!

The presents awaiting discovery by the littles

Cecilia's stocking (I made both stockings last year)

Caroline's stocking

Before we went out to the tree, we went into the den and found baby Jesus lying in the manger, on top of the soft straw bed that we prepared for Him all Advent!

When we went out to the living room after Daddy got the camera ready, Cecilia didn't really know what to do, this only being her second Christmas, and her only being 23 months old. I showed her the little trike that was there for her - a neat little Radio Flyer metal trike I'd picked up cheaply at a consignment sale - but she was less than enthused. So I had her help me put baby Jesus in our nativity scene, which was then promptly returned to the top of the curio cabinet and Cecilia was distracted with a present. She is really very captivated by the breakable nativity scene! if you click on the above photo, you may actually be able to see where the horn tip of the cow is broken off because of her over-eagerness...

Caroline went straight for this castle that was out for her - and then ran off to the den to get some of her wooden saints so they could live in the castle! I suggested she get a few dollhouse furniture items as well, and she was very much ready to just play with this the rest of the morning! We had to encourage her to open her other presents!

I was excited to get her this castle... I had thought we'd get it for her birthday in a few months. But then we received money from great-grandparents who in the past have bought gifts themselves rather than sending money, so we had to shuffle around the gifts we'd already purchased and make more purchases, and we ended up being able to go ahead and get the castle. I almost couldn't find it... they were all sold out on each website I looked at other than the ones selling it at and above retail price ($100 and more!). I got really lucky in finding this one being sold new in its original shrink-wrapping by a private seller, just about a week before Christmas!

It opens up and has lots of rooms in it... I have been keeping an eye on this item for over a year as a great gift idea for the girls. It was a hit with Cecilia, too!

Caroline got some little dollhouse minatures in one of her wrapped gifts... it included appliances and other housekeeping items, like a sewing machine, a vacuum cleaner, and an ironing board. She loves making her saints, fairies, and Calico Critters "keep their castle clean!"

Cecilia got a huge wooden block set - the real, solid wood blocks like Kindergarten classrooms used to have (do any of them still have them, or are they in preschools too?). Yay for Tuesday Morning - I love that store! I got this set there months ago and saved it for Christmas.

The girls have used the blocks so far to build things for their little dolls and saints and such to play on. And Cecilia likes knocking them down, of course.

The girls gave Daddy a digital photo frame for his office. He'd been saying for a couple years how he'd like to have one.

Caroline got a geometric puzzle... more challenging than the other puzzles she has, and I thought it'd be a good homeschooling manipulative.

Cecilia's hit gift was this nursing stuffed cat. It has magnets in it as well as in the kittens, so they really latch on like they are nursing! They also stick to the storm door, Cecilia has figured out. my brother Tim, upon noticing this on Cecilia's wish list (after it'd been on Caroline's list for a few years), said, "Give it up, Erin - nobody's going to buy you that magnetic nipple cat!" Now I can't stop calling it that, and Caroline called it the "nipple cat" the other day - oops.

Cecilia wanted to be fair, so after the kittens had nursed awhile, she nursed the mother cat herself.

The other big gift was this wooden Noah's ark. We found this gently used on eBay for a steal! You would not believe how many hours I had searched online for good-quality Noah's ark toys... I thought I'd seen them all and new all the brands and ones that were under $100... and I was set to settle for one that was smaller than I would have liked, but then Chris suggested checking eBay (which I had in the past, but not recently)... and this one came up. It is one I'd never seen before... but it is huge and durable, and the price was right! That link is to a website that has it listed pretty cheap for a new one (compared to some of the other places listing it!!!), but it's out of stock there. I think we really lucked out finding this one on eBay when we did! We made this be a joint gift for both girls from Papa.

The girls played with this, the castle, and the nursing cat all morning long!

Here are the contents of the stockings... new Color Wonder markers, little notepads, a few chocolate coins, some Annie's fruit snacks, a Five Little Monkeys playset for Cecilia, a dollhouse cat and dog for Caroline (and a Slinky, which she's been asking for for ages, and of course has not even played with it now). Caroline also got a peppermint bark bar from Trader Joe's, and Cecilia got a board book.

Great Grandaddy and Henny sent money for gifts, and I made an impromptu trip to Target to shop for boots. I was excited to find boots that almost matched, along with some cute matching shirts. Caroline loves to match Cecilia (I don't think Cecilia cares one way or the other!), so she was excited to wear these on Christmas Day to go to Gramma's house that afternoon... which will be covered in the next post!

Christmas Eve!

After Mass in their Christmas dresses... I am irritated that my computer seems to have eaten a cute one of Cecilia standing up by the tree, showing her whole dress....

Eggnog and goodies after dinner!

We lit our Christ candle before dinner and kept it lit throughout the evening

The girls opening their gifts... matching pajamas!

Cecilia opening her box

How cute!! All ready for bed!

They also talked to "Santa" on Daddy's ham radio and heard a Christmas book before bed.

Last Week of Advent

During the fourth and final week of Advent, we did a lot more baking... Caroline helped to stir up more peppermint hot cocoa mix!

On the 22nd, we had an earlier dinner and then went out to look at Christmas lights. The girls thought it was fun to go out in the van in their pajamas! We saw lots of lights, but Cecilia wasn't too impressed after a while, I guess because driving around in the dark is pretty unfamiliar to her!

Caroline enjoyed it the whole time!

Making homemade marshmallows in the stand mixer... they were really not all that difficult to make and turned out nice and fluffy!

They cool and set in baking dishes, and then you cut them apart with kitchen scissors and dust them lightly in a powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture.

Look Around the Stable after the fourth week of Advent: this was on Christmas Eve, after we had added the manger and the star, as well as the sandals, swaddling cloth, olive oil, Joseph, and Mary.