Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Taj got himself a set of spurs from Grandma Lori as a consolation prize for helping her move earlier this month.
Taj is so so proud of his spurs. He even wore them to daycare. I pretended not to notice he still had them on when I dropped him off because I really didn't want to be the bad guy on this one and make him take them off, so I let his teachers be the bad guys. I picked them up from the office when I picked him up later that day. This was actually well thought out because now when he wants to wear his spurs out to church or preschool I simply tell him his teachers will take them away from him and THEY are the bad guys and not ME for once!
Little Miss Haivi a few days before Christmas. She figured out how to crawl up on this chair and was quite proud of herself for such an enormous accomplishment. I was very proud of her too considering how short her legs are compared to the height of the chair. The best part about this chair is that it rocks, which also makes it dangerous. See that marble mantle in the background? I hovered anxiously around her the entire time she demanded to hang out on this tilting, head cutter-opener, chair.

This move especially made me jumpy and I was sure she would somersault off the edge of it and break her collarbone. How could I resist letting her do it though, given how cute she looks with her lopsided piggy tails?
My sister and I set the table for Christmas Eve dinner using odds and ends we could scrounge up around the house. I think it turned out quite well. It was definitely fancy-schmancy enough for the lot of us Griswald's.
Even Taj had a place set for him at his vintage 1950 something table. I don't know where my mom gets this stuff, yard sales I'm sure! I wish I had as much luck as her at yard sales up here! The highchair she has is also vintage 1950 something with a flower pattern and actually now that I think about it, it's probably a 60's design, given the flower pattern.
Taj was like a little leech and glued to my brother's leg for pretty much the entire weekend we were there. Poor Matt...he brought it on himself though because he actually seemed to enjoy having a permanent side kick. Poor Taj, you would think he's been starved for attention!
Another unsuccessful attempt to remove the said "leech" from his leg.
Haivi bug loved anyone that would pick her up, especially since she wasn't feeling good the entire time we were there.
Ignore my lopsided glasses, hair, and face. I had to get proof of Haivi's bed head. It's pretty ridiculous and it always looks like this when she wakes up in the morning and from her naps.
We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve since a few of us had to leave on Christmas Day. My mom made us a turkey dinner with all the fixings, even pie! It was like Thanksgiving all over again, only better because we got to open presents the next day.
Taj enjoying his feast of turkey and macaroni and cheese.
Taj opened his first present with Auntie Marci and Uncle Brian
This was his gift from Santa, a toy chainsaw that is SUPER loud and SUPER annoying, but he loves it, so I tolerate it. The blade moves on it and he spent the rest of the morning trying to cut anything he could. I think at one point he became quite frustrated because it wouldn't actually cut through anything.
I have never seen him so excited about a present before. When he opened the chainsaw, he kept putting his hands on his head and had a permagrin on his face. He told Auntie Marci to "cut da stwings off!" so he could give it a go.

This was Haivi's present from Santa. She is always playing on the piano at our house, so I thought it would be cute for her to have her own. I told Santa what she wanted since she is still working on the whole language thing.
Brannon took this picture and immediately remarks afterwards, "Haw Haw, look at your face!" Thanks love, who doesn't like having their picture taken on Christmas morning? The only reason I put this on here is because I think Haivi looks cute trying to look at the camera through my arm.
See the red polka dot present in the background? That was to Taj and Haiven from Auntie Marci and Uncle Brian. It was a sleepover party that included a movie, popcorn, cookie mix, and candy. Such a cute idea!
Haivi holding her cute little teapot from Grandpa and Grandma.
You may as well call my mom the Diet Dr. Pepper Grandma. She changes back and forth between diet drinks, but you can always count on her having something brown and bubbly in her cup. Haivi caught on real quick that the good stuff is where grandma is.
We opened this present Christmas night when we got home from Monticello. We waited to open it because we knew Taj would want it out of the box and set up immediately and the thought of packing all those pieces  and traveling for nearly six hours with parts floating all over the car was less than appealing, so we waited. He did of course want it set up asap and we've spent all week playing with it. Definitely a great present grandma and grandpa. You can tell how excited he was when he opened it because Taj hates having his picture taken and hardly ever smiles for pictures. This grin is the permagrin I was talking about with the chainsaw.
Some of you have seen this I'm sure, our visit with Santa went very well I thought. Taj loved him, Haivi not so much. I think the beard was weirding her out.

We had such a great Christmas this year spending time with family in good ol' Monticello, UT. We even got to have a white Christmas! It snowed and snowed on Christmas Eve, so really the weather was absolutely perfect for the occasion. Both Taj and Haiven had to be taken to the urgent care clinic while we were there. Both of them were diagnosed with ear infections and Haivi has croup (sp?) as well. She is still not better yet and Taj isn't all the way up to par either, but I'm hoping they will be okay by Jan. 2, because I have to go back to work then! I actually took Haivi to the ENT yesterday and she has won herself a set of tubes in the ears. She's all set to go for Jan. 7th and I'm really hoping that will help her out, poor thing. Despite having sick kids, it was still super nice to be able to spend time with my siblings as we are spread out all over the place and in different states. We don't get to see each other much at all, so of course we all got a little choked up when it was time to say goodbye. I HATE saying goodbye. It is the absolute worst and no fun at all. We left on Christmas Day and I spent the rest of the day feeling melancholy. Anyone else experience acute depression the days following Christmas? I think mine lasts about a week and I'm finally able to overcome it after I bring myself to put Christmas away. 
My parents are so fun and they always have things planned out for us when we come home. We played Catch Phrase, telephone charades (sounds pretty goody goody doesn't it? don't ever underestimate the Nielson family's ability to be overly competitive, loud, and slightly rough around the edges while playing ANY game), and on Christmas Eve we played one of those present games with dice where you fight over random presents. It actually turned out to be really fun except for the part when I thought me and Brannon were going home with a Poopy Potter Putter thing. Marci and Brian gladly took that off our hands, doesn't surprise me in the least! We also watched the always wholesome movie Uncle Buck. If you haven't seen that, highly recommend it, without young children of course. That movie fits our family's sense of humor perfectly--we are quite the bunch of roughians, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so grateful for the holidays that allow us to spend time together!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Enjoying Motherhood

I don't know why, but lately it seems we are just flying through the weeks and my babies just keep getting older. This week we decided that we can no longer consider Taj a toddler and that sadly, he is officially a big boy now. Haivi is fast on her way to approaching toddlerhood and is so close to walking I wouldn't be surprised if she took off on her own this week. I cannot believe that that she will be turning two in less than a year. Now that I teach, I am realizing just how short these years are and how sweet this time really is because  I can never get those chubby cheeks and bum bums back, those little fingers and toes, those infectious baby giggles, and that sweet sweet smell that only babies have. I still have those things with Haivi, except the baby smell, and all I have left of those with Taj are those slightly chubby cheeks and his button nose. Life is definitely moving faster than I thought it would. This post is for naming all the things I love about my kids at this age. This may be boring for some, but this blog is for me and my family and someday when I'm old I want to remember what it was like to have a one year old and a four year old.

Little Miss Haivi:
*She LOVES any kind of stuffed animal, but her favorites are her Minnie baby and her mangy, white stuffed kitty.
*She loves giving kisses to her animals and to her babies. She also loves giving kisses to her momma and her daddy and her big brother Taj. She makes the "mmmmwha" noise when she gives kisses and it always melts my heart.
*She loves her some soul food like her momma and you will regularly hear her exclaiming "mmmm" whenever she's eating. This girl loves food just like her momma AND sweets like her daddy.
*She follows her brother everywhere still and I can just tell that she is itching to run after him. I guarantee these two will be trouble sooner than later. She idolizes him and thinks everything he does is funny except when he takes her beloved kitty from her that is.
*This girl is THE feistiest little thing ever. We still joke that she has A LOT of her Auntie Macee in her. She screeches and squawks at everything and anyone that gets in her way. She is very sassy! We like to call her "squeakers" and "Haivi Hoo."
*She LOVES to dance. I will often look in the back seat to see Haivi's little legs bouncing in time to the song on the radio. She has all kinds of sweet dance moves that include swaying back and forth, flapping her hands, and doing a little shimmy. This girl will definitely be taking some dance classes when she gets older.
*She is super independent and has been since she was about five months old. She likes to try to do everything by herself.
*She is such a sweet little snuggly bug, but she only likes to snuggle for maybe one whole minute tops.
*As of right now she is the queen of tantrums, which has me scared because she's not even two yet. Her tantrums include ALL of the following: slapping, pulling of hair, screeching, kicking, arching of the back, gnashing of teeth, snot, spit, and swaying her upper body back and forth really fast. She really has a flare for the dramatic.
*She is right on cue with her speech, which has us thrilled. She tries to mimic everything we say and can manage a handful of words. She is very curious and wants to know what everything is. She points and we dictate the word and sound, if the object has a sound that is.
*Point is we love having little Haivi Hoo in our house. She has all of us whipped!

*We still call Taj, Taji, but another popular nickname for him is T-Man.
*Taj is doing so well in school right now. His latest accomplishments: counting to 11, writing his name, naming shapes and colors, and trying out all sorts of new words every single day. He feels very proud of himself when he can point to things and name them. I make sure I am his BIGGEST fan every time. He is progressing so quickly that I think we may be able to get him up to speed before Kindergarten. He still has one more year of preschool before he starts Kindergarten, so that will be three years total of preschool for him, which has and will make all the difference.
*Taj is still into riding anything with wheels on it, playing with cars/trains/trucks/, playing with (or teasing) his sister, helping mama cook dinner, getting the mail out of the mailbox, reading books, playing pretend with the holiday decorations, and playing the iPad.
*Taj also started singing in the last few weeks. Every night before bed I lay by Taj and I sing any and every song request he throws at me: Fahmuh Song (Farmer Song: Old MacDonald had a farm), Jesus song (Jesus wants me for a sunbeam), Star song (twinkle, twinkle little star), Santa song (santa clause is coming to town), Wudolph song (Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer), Wainbow song (I like to look for rainbows primary song), row, row, row your boat song, and several others I cannot even remember right now. We always say prayers first and then I sing at least five songs for him. He will also try to sing with the radio and he can pretty much sing every word of every song in that old-school Christmas movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Ask me what one of my favorite things to do is and I will tell you that nothing makes me happier than listening to my little boy sing. I have waited a long time for him to do this.
*Taj's other thing right now is that he loves giving hugs pretty much all the time. I can count on at least five hugs and smooches on the lips before I leave for work in the morning. I will definitely enjoy this phase for as long as it lasts!
*Something else about this boy is that he LOVES his family so much. He is always excited to see me when I pick him up after work and he always runs to the door when his daddy gets home. Don't even get me started on his papas and gwammas! I think he likes them more than us!
*Basically Taj is one sweet little man and you can tell that he has a very tender spirit. He is so very protective of Haiven and his family. He is very watchful over all of us to make sure that we don't get hurt. I've been scolded for clipping my toe nails before.  In his words, "Stop! Don't hut da toes!" We love this little man and what he's becoming so much!

 My sweet baby girl helping me get the Christmas decor out
 She is so proud of herself for this making such a huge mess, can you tell?
 Justin Bieber in the front
 Mullet in the back
 I cut it all off a couple of days after I took this pic. I LOVED his long hair, but it was in his eyes all the time and the back of it looked ridiculous with that mullet, so off it went!
 Taj helping me make the pizza dough
 This is why mommy  needs an apron for Christmas
Taj's picture of course of the mixer he finds fascinating.

You can probably tell that we are pretty darn lucky parents to be able to have Taj and Haivi in our house. Their daddy and I have both agreed they are the best thing that has ever happened to us and that life would be nothing without our babies. We are so thankful for our little family!

Festival of Trees

 So true! One of my favorites!

 Taj's tree. He called it the "cat in da hat twee"
 Brannon's tree, can you tell why?
 Haivi's tree
 The sweet little "Drama Queen" that inspired this tree. I don't know her story, but she looks like she was one sweet little girl while she was here on earth.
 Also Haivi's tree
 Tree made of plastic bottles
 This too is Haivi's tree because she loves her Minnie Mouse so much!
 Is this not the girliest tree you have ever seen?! Total Haivi as well.
 We tried getting a decent picture of the two of them, obviously that was impossible because we only had partial cooperation at any one time.

A few days ago we decided to take the kiddos down to the Festival of Trees. We went on a Thursday thinking it wouldn't be THAT busy, but we were definitely wrong. People were practically pushing each other out of the way to just to get a better look at the Spongebob tree or the tree made out of wood or the one made out of plastic bottles. There were so many trees and so many people that we were lucky to see at least the tree toppers. We finally shed a little humanity as well and ram-rodded people out of the way with Haiven's stroller. She had eaten a messy, crumbly sucker and made a mess all over the side of it and the dried result somewhat resembled puke so people were more than happy to bail out of our way. We covered maybe half of the trees that were there. I have never seen so many trees in one place! The kids liked looking at the trees, but as a family we all agreed that the gingerbread village was by far our favorite to look at.