Wednesday, December 30, 2009

christmas recap 09

It certainly has taken me long enough to get this written! We had a wonderful but very busy Christmas this year, and though all of the decorations are back in storage, new gifts put away, I'm still a little worn out from everything!

We started things off Christmas Eve with Jimmy's mom and her boyfriend as is tradition, but we hosted them this year. After stuffing ourselves, Noah tore into the gifts:)

He loved it all, but the Little People train was his favorite...go figure with a train being his favorite:)

We ended the evening playing Wii....and I'll keep those pictures to save embarrassment! ha! I'll just say that Jimmy's mom and myself are NOT skilled gamers!


On to Christmas morning...Noah was not happy about a 7:30 wake up call! Remember...Noah usually sleeps to at least 9:00 most days. And please excuse the kitchen mess...Jimmy's mom stayed late.
After some milk, he was a much happier, albeit sleepy boy:)

He took some persuading to get into the living room, and then it still took him a bit to take it all in..

But when he saw his new Elmo's Restaurant, he instantly perked up!

His new tricycle was also a big hit...until he slid off sideways! He still has lots of time to learn:)

After a bit of play time with the kitchen and trike, Noah was ready to rip some paper:)

Of course, after each gift was opened he wanted to play with it for 15 minutes...

The Band in a Box set was probably the favorite toy he actually unwrapped...he has already played with it for hours!

A quick recap of his gifts from us (just for my own record): Elmo's Restaurant, tricycle, playdough, books (new copy of Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Polar Bear Polar Bear), movies (Up, Preschool Prep Meet the Colors, Preschool Prep Meet the Shapes), Melissa & Doug lacing beads, M&D Band in a Box, M&D nesting & stacking blocks, 2 M&D chunky puzzles, MegaBloks fire truck, Thomas trains (Culdee & the Apple Orchard cars, 5 piece set with Toby), new sweatshirt


After finishing things up, we headed to my mom's house for our traditional Christmas morning activities - gifts and breakfast in our jammies:) Noah has lots more things to unwrap!

Probably his favorite thing from this stop was his Christmas Mickey from my brother Shannan. They weren't able to come down from Michigan for Christmas this year:( He is a very high-up business man in the automotive industry and had important business that week to tend to; also my sister-in-law's father isn't doing well, so they opted to stay home. We mailed our gifts to one another though, and Noah LOVED his:)
I won't even try to remember all he got at my mom's...we'll just say that Noah is a little spoiled:)


After breakfast, we headed to Jimmy's step-mom's for another breakfast. We usually do an early Christmas Eve with them, but Jimmy had to work on Christmas Eve. I didn't take many pictures there because 1)we didn't stay long (we were still in our jammies!) and 2)Noah was ready for a nap.

But Noah did enjoy snuggling with his cousin Caleb:)
After a little more food and some more gifts, we finally headed home for showers and a little break!

While Jimmy and I got ready, Noah enjoyed one Daddy's gifts (a new video game rocker) while watching a video:)
From here, Jimmy had to head to the store to check on it (the joys of management!). Luckily, Noah fell asleep on the drive and took a much needed 3 1/2 hour nap! I took a short snooze too while Jimmy played a video game.

We opted out of my Dad's family's celebration this year. We aren't close with them at all, plus there was no way I was interrupting that gloriously long nap Noah enjoyed:)


Once Noah woke up, we headed back to my mom's for her family's big celebration. With a house full, Noah was in all out ham-it-up mode! A new gift from Mimi didn't hurt either:)

He danced and danced and danced with these new Elmo tickle gloves (funny how he's never even seen Sesame Street!).
We stayed late at my mom's so I could help her clean up everything, but amazingly Noah didn't go to sleep that night until late. Must have been the nap!


All in all, Noah's second Christmas was filled with fun, laughter, memories, FOOD, and LOTS of wrapping paper:) I'm already excited for next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

tot school - Christmas has come:)

Tot School
Noah is 15 months old.

Merry Christmas just a little late from our family to yours! We had a wonderful time celebrating, and I will share a recap of all we did for the day, but we took time to do a few fun Tot School activities.


Color Theme: GREEN
In keeping with the season, I chose green for our next focus color. Here are some of the things in Noah's color box for the next couple of weeks...
Noah had lots of fun exploring all of the different goodies in his box. Given the season, there were also lots of opportunities to point out green all around him.

We got Noah two new videos for Christmas from a company I'm not too familiar with. It's called Preschool Prep, and their videos and other learning tools have won lots of awards. Supposedly, the videos can teach your child their colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and even sight words in only a few viewings! I'm super excited to see how these work out. We got Noah the colors and shapes videos to try. So far he has seen the color video twice, and he LOVES it. It's definitely not the most exciting video for parents to watch too, but I can see how the repetition will help.

Anyway, I'm hoping that this will be a great way for Noah to really grasp his colors (and later, shapes and more), then the activities like our color boxes will be good reinforcement. I'll be sure to let you know how the videos help...I'm optimistic!


Theme: Christmas
Noah worked a lot with the Christmas Tot Pack from 1+1+1=1 this week. He has gotten very good and very quick at matching the trees...
I didn't do the matching exactly how Carisa showed, but I knew that if I cut each small tree individually that they would be ripped to shreds in no time. I plan to keep this pack, though, and use it again next year; hopefully by then Noah will be able to play with paper things and not tear them, or I will have a laminator:)

He had fun doing the Color the Presents activity, and worked on the various pages throughout the week.

I also hole-punched the Christmas Alphabet mini book so he could carry it around. He really enjoyed being able to carry the little book around!
I also printed out several of the other components of the Tot Pack (Where is the Present?, Christmas Shapes, making the candy cane, etc), but Noah wasn't too interested in those. I'll just save them for next year. But I was super pleased at Noah's abilities with our first Tot Pack! I hope to try making some into little lapbooks in the near future:)

Noah did a few art projects this week as always. First, he made the nativity scene out of felt stickers.
He loved taking the pieces off of the backing, but didn't care much about putting them on the paper. But, Noah LOVED looking at the picture all week long. I kept it on his train table instead of hanging it on the fridge and pointed out who was who when we read Christmas stories. I think Noah's favorites were the wise men:)

Noah also made a birthday card for my Mimi. Her birthday is December 22 (she turned 87 this year!), and we had a party for her at my aunt's house. He is enjoying fingerpainting more and more, and really enjoyed making these "balloons"!
Reading is still probably Noah's favorite thing to do, and he constantly brings books to me to read to him. Some of his favorites this week were:
The Day the Rain Came by Allia Zobel-Nelson
My First Read and Learn Bible (we focused on the Christmas story)
Moo Baa Lalala by Sandra Boynton
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Dizzy Dragon by Roger Priddy

I realize that is a lot of favorites, but he brought ALL of those to me over and over and over this week. He is such a busy little guy...he really wears me out, but I wouldn't have him any other way:)


Christmas Fun
I'll share just a few shots from Christmas morning/day. I tried to make sure Noah got some really wonderful Tot School toys for Christmas this year:)

By FAR the favorite toy of Christmas is Noah's new Elmo's Restaurant. He has never even seen Sesame Street, but Jimmy found this for cheap and couldn't resist it. Way to go, Daddy....Noah is OBSESSED with this toy:)
It is very cute, and I know Noah will have hours of fun with it, even if he has no idea who Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover are!

Noah also got a tricycle. We know he probably won't be able to ride it until summer, but I know it will be another toy he'll get lots of playtime out of!

I made it a point to get several Melissa & Doug sets for Noah. I think these are such well-made toys, not to mention they are all "learning" centered. Noah's favorite M&D toy of the day is his Band in a Box!

And from my Mimi, Noah got another Elmo toy. haha! But these are right up his alley! These are Elmo Tickle Hands, and they came with a short dvd that teaches a special dance. Noah LOVES the little Elmo gloves!


All right...that's all we've got for this week! I'll do a big Christmas recap soon. See what others are up to at Tot School...hosted by Carisa at 1+1+1=1!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

snow day:)

Snow days are rare in our area, so we get awfully excited when the white stuff falls! (please excuse the wet lens!)

It really added that missing touch to our Christmas decorations...

Even Noah's castle looked festive!

Noah, however, was not such a fan when we went out Friday afternoon for his first *real* snow day...

The cold and wet didn't quite agree with him it seemed..and please pardon his makeshift snow-proof shoes. We don't have snow boots for him, so we put some plastic baggies over his tennis shoes. Laugh, but it worked!

But by Saturday evening, when our yard had a chance to freeze over again, Noah had LOTS of fun being slid around by Daddy!

If only the snow would last until Christmas...much of it has already melted. At least it helped get us a little more in the Christmas mood:)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

tot school - almost Christmas!

Noah is 15 months old.

We've had such a fun week this week! Everyone in our house is really gearing up for Christmas, so this made for some great learning opportunities:)


Color Theme: Red
I didn't do anything specific this week regarding our special color, but Noah played in his color box a lot. He also consistently identified the color red many different times throughout the week when asked, so I feel my color boxes might actually be teaching him something after all:) I'll be changing to the color green next week.


Seasonal Theme: Christmas
Well...I broke down at the last minute and got Noah a tree for his room. After seeing SO many adorable kids' trees, there was no way my decorating-obsessed heart could be at peace without a tree for my Noah. I tried to convince myself to wait for after Christmas sales, but I just couldn't do it. Still, I was very proud of myself...everything I got was on sale, including the tree (it was only $25!) and several of the ornaments we already had. I also used one of his handmade baby blankets for the skirt, so it was special all around!
And after seeing Noah's reaction to it, I am so glad I didn't wait until next year:)
Of course, now he wants to pull everything off and stick it back on in random places. I guess it at least makes for good fine motor work!

Another fun thing we did this week was grow Rudolph. We got one of those "grow-your-own" sets in the dollar section at AC Moore several weeks ago, so I pulled it out for something different for Noah to explore. And "explore" he did! This is Rudolph prebath...
Rudolph postbath was not such a pretty sight. I didn't get a picture before he was tossed, but Rudolph was limbless! Apparently Jimmy thought it would be funny to pull a leg off the poor little reindeer while he gave Noah his bath, so Noah followed suit with the other three legs. What is it with boys and destroying things???

I was SO inspired last week by Susan from Chasing Marcus to let Noah begin working with numbers! We have lots of number books, and I'll count things occasionally to Noah, but nothing too focused. I decided this week to really focus more on introducing numbers. We read lots of number books, including:
Number Munch by Charles Reasoner (couldn't get an Amazon link...we got it in a pack at a book fair)

I also made a very simple number activity using some of the leftover mini Christmas balls from Noah's new tree. Very simple idea...
He did okay with this. Mostly he liked to throw the little balls around his room since they are plastic and will bounce. But he did do it correctly several times without my help, so at least that's a start!

I also pulled out more of the Christmas Tot Pack from Carisa this week, but I only got pictures of one activity. Other than pictured below, Noah worked on matching the trees (he's VERY good at this now), coloring the presents, and looking through the Christmas ABCs which I hole punched and put a ring through to make it easier for him to carry. I'll share all of our work with the tot pack next week once we get through everything.

What I did get pictures of, though, was Noah completing the "Happy Birthday Jesus" dot page. First, we worked with Cheerios after breakfast...

Then that evening, Noah glued pompoms to the dots. He got very good at using glue! This was also a great activity for teaching sequencing...first pick up the pompom, then dip it in the glue, then stick it to the dot. It was also a good opportunity to talk about colors...Noah was able to pick out all of the red pompoms without my help too:) And excuse the random pattern...I'm running low on pompoms!

The other craft we did later this week was make a handprint tree. We did this after the Happy Birthday Jesus picture, so Noah knew exactly what to do with the pompom!
He is also really coming around to finger painting. He really enjoyed making the "ornaments" on his tree:)


Miscellaneous Tot School
Noah did quite a few activities that weren't themed this week too. He played with puzzles, and was finally able to fit them into their places without help! He has known where they go for a long time now, but wasn't able to fit them into their place.

Playing with pompoms in general is always a hit with Noah. He does really well putting them into small spaces, like an old formula container..

He also does well putting them into an ice cube tray. He really wants to be able to do it with the tongs, but his little hands just aren't strong enough yet, so he loses interest quickly.

Noah also played in the kitchen this week. He had fun stacking plastic containers..

He also enjoyed matching the lids..

Snow Fun!
Noah wasn't terribly fond of the snow at first, but he is definitely coming around now!

These pictures were from last night...we ventured out to eat for a while, and Noah had a blast sliding around on the icy-topped snow on our way back inside!
I have LOTS more pictures to share of the snow, so that will be a separate post later on.


But that's all we've got for this week! See what others are up to at Tot School...hosted by Carisa at1+1+1=1!

Friday, December 18, 2009

ahh..sweet snowfall:)

Please don't ridicule me if you are a yankee...which I say with fondness as my sister-in-law is from MI:) But snow doesn't fall too often around here, so when the forecast calls for a few inches, it is an occasion to stock up on milk and bread! Just look at this glorious sight..
The Weather Channel is calling for snow until noon tomorrow, with heavy snow overnight for a total of up to a foot or more! AND looking ahead to Christmas...there is a chance of snow showers?!?! Be still my heart...I may actually have a white Christmas. Thank you, dear God, for small blessings:)

So I'm sitting back and enjoying the sights while Noah naps and Jimmy is at work until 3:00. Hopefully this really will lay so Noah can go out later and enjoy some playtime. And just so you don't worry about us, I DID go stock up last night, so we're throughly prepared to be snowed in:)

Monday, December 14, 2009

my christmas home:)

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Welcome to our Christmas home! This is the first year we have our own house to decorate, so this has been a special time:) So I hope you enjoy yourself!

Come on in..
As you can see, our house is tiny, so we keep it simple. The landscaping is a work in progress...this house used to belong to my great-grandmother, and when we moved in the yard was a jungle! I'm excited to have a fresh yard for spring! But for now, I love our simple little lights:)

My made-from-scratch wreath...I cut up a large pick from a craft store, stuck it all in a grapevine wreath, and added a ribbon. I hate screen doors too...they make wreaths hard to use. But I like mine:)

On to the main event...the tree!
All in greens, reds, and whites/creams, with a few silvers & grays thrown in too. I also this grapevine ribbon stuff wrapped in there, along with some pinecones, and some kind of dried seed pod things on sticks. Whatever works right? :) My tree skirt is a chenille throw I keep out all year. I didn't really follow a theme....I used to have a very themed tree but went a different route this year. Its a good mix of vintage, whimsical, natural, and traditional. So whatever you want to call that! I just know I love it:)

Close up of the top...the same ribbon as my front wreath, red berry stick, plain sticks, and some glittery holly branches..

Here are some of my favorite ornaments...a Bethany Lowe ice skater.

Felt! My son loves this one especially...and unfortunately!

The ice skater's girlfriend...or at least that's what I like to think:)

Now..on to the mantle. Because our house is so tiny, our tree and fireplace are in very close proximity for no other reason than there is no other possible place to put everything. So no big fat Nester-style garland for me...I tried it, and it looked too cluttered. But I still tried to Christmas-up the mantle..

Grapevine trees and pinecones were just the thing for me..
Our fireplace is closed up, so I have a birdcage in there that holds more stuff...grapevine balls and some fabric pinecones. Do you sense an obsession??

I had a Southern Living party when we first moved in and got all of the Christmas stuff you see for free:) I LOVE my stocking..

Here are a few other areas in the living room...on top of the dvd cabinet.

I splurged on that Santa...but I love him:)

An end table...

I love my little snowmen too..even though my hubby thinks they're creepy. They were cheapo at TJ Maxx...probably my favorite place on earth!
(Oh and as an aside...sorry if these pictures are too dark. I got a new camera, one of the really fancy and nice ones, as an early Christmas gift, and I'm still learning how to use it. So I apologize if any of these look weird..)

Over in the favorite Christmas decoration of all! I got this nativity (another SL product) as a wedding shower gift. I love putting it out each year:)

In other areas of our house, I kept it simple too. In the kitchen, there are a few little groupings I did.

On the counter..

On my "funky" table..

other side..

On the stove..

And last, on my desk..

I love Jim Shore pieces...I got this Santa last year.

And this Santa this year!

Still, my favorite things to see in my house stay out all year long:)

I hope you enjoyed our home! Merry Christmas from our family to yours:)