Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back in the land of Snow....

Luckily it's not too cold right now, otherwise our transition from Phoenix to Minneapolis might have been a little harder. We missed the cold snap that came over the past week, so that's a blessing!

To update you, I'll just post some photos from the past few days. We're planning on heading up to Superior (and Meadowlands) to visit Great-Grandpa, so I'm not sure when the next posting will be. Enjoy the pics!

My favorite Christmas tradition-- painting the cookies with Carrie! Pretty impressive, no?

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Mary enjoyed over-indulging the baby! :-) She stayed up until 8pm this evening in order to play with all the extended family!

Alex instructed Madeline, Mason and Cassidy in the fine art of sign language. She was a bit cautious around the adults, but warmed right up to the 'older kids'.

A group shot-- Al had already retired for the evening by the time we donned Christmas hats and posed by the tree.

Alex was overjoyed to see that Santa had visited and left 'stocking' presents for her (complete with a new train!).
Good morning! Yes-- we are all wearing matching Christmas pajamas.

Don't you wish YOUR family had matching pj's for Christmas morning?? :-) Note how the hippo ALSO made the family photo.

We were invited for a low-key get together at the Bennett's house. It was a fun afternoon/evening where we all got to relax and have fun. Kelly, Barb, Richard and Brett were fantastic hosts, and we enjoyed catching up with Dave, Diane, Jeff, and Jon Loehr as well!
Alex and 'the guys' (she helped a LOT with the Wii tournament that took place)

Kelly brought out a gigantic stuffed puppy for Alex to play with, and she fell in love instantly!


Alex's prized possession was her carry-on for the flight back to Minneapolis. He's actually snuggly enough to make a great pillow/cushion! We did get quite a few stares and giggles in the airport, though.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve Day!

Merry Christmas! We actually opened our family presents a few nights ago, so that Alex could enjoy playing with her new toys before we had to pack up and go home. Her favorites so far are her gigantic stuffed hippo (Yes-- the same one that she obsessed over in Ikea a few months back), her pink 'trike', and her toolbox.
Other than playing with her new toys, she's also been helping Grandma Mary in the kitchen. They made Christmas cookies yesterday!
Alex has also been starting to 'smile' on cue. This is her attempt at smiling when asked to. Scary, no??
Dave and I met his friends Jeff & Jon Loehr, and Kelly & Brett Bennett to go hiking today, but Alex stayed home with Grandma and Auntie Carrie. They were preparing for our massive family Christmas dinner this evening (18 people will be attending!). Unfortunately, Alex will probably be tucked in bed before the party gets started, but maybe next year she'll be able to stay up a bit later!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pasta and Zoo Lights

So, we've been taking it easy for the past few days-- eating reindeer food and riding our new 'trike' (it looks like a pink vespa) around the house. Yesterday, Grandma and Grandpa took us to their favorite Italian restaurant, Vincitorio's, for lunch. Alex had a fantastic lunch of bread, handmade pasta in red sauce, and tiramisu for dessert!
Checking out the menu
That was delicious!
Time for a rest!
Then, after our obligatory afternoon nap, we headed for the Phoenix Zoo Lights display. It felt strange to get Alex all bundled up for such a beautiful night, but it was a bit chilly. She was one of the only babies there with actual winter clothes on, though (we didn't bring any in-between jackets). Besides the thousands and thousands of light displays set up around the entire zoo, we were also able to see a few animals-- namely the Indian elephant, who Alex was amazed with.
Although it was VERY crowded (think Disneyland on a weekend during Spring Break), we had a great time-- and Al got to really cement her use of the sign "light".
Does it LOOK like I'm from Minnesota?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Phoenix!

We got up bright (well- it was still dark outside) and early at 5am in order to get to the airport for our 7:30am flight. Luckily, it hadn't snowed too much, so we didn't have to snowblow or fight our way through inclement weather. Alex was a trooper for the flight (which was extended by an hour and a half for de-iceing and a heavy headwind). She had her own seat, so that made watching Baby Einstein, playing with her latchboard, snacking, and reading books much easier for all three of us. We got in to Phoenix and Grandma Mary picked us up. After picking up some Reynoso's food, we headed back to the house so that Alex could finally take a nap (she'd been up since 5:30am). Auntie Carrie had already arrived, and Al was excited to see her and Grandpa Bob.

She had a great time exploring and 'rediscovering' the house (especially her 'step') and Christmas tree. Grandma Mary had put some "reindeer food" (CinnaBunny cereal) in a tray just for Alex to snack on, and boy did she take advantage of it!

Today we're just hanging out around the house. Alex is systematically dismantling the bottom two feet of the Christmas tree decorations (Grandma thought ahead and just put stuffed animals there), and Auntie Carrie and I might go to the library to stock up on books for the next week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodbye Friends!

Today was the last day of our "Sign & Sing" class, which I can officially say was a complete success! Alex has learned so much, and having a weekly signing 'support' class has been a great resource for us both.
We had a bunch of 'free play' time today, complete with a collapsible tunnel that Alex decided to check out (finally-- it's been in the classroom for about three weeks now, and she finally got brave enough to venture in!)

As Daddy is working late again (third night in a row that he's not gotten home in time to see Alex), we enjoyed a nighttime bath and then an EARLY bedtime (we have to get up extra early tomorrow morning to make it to the airport for our Phoenix vacation). Alex is looking forward to spending some quality time with her Daddy over the next few weeks-- thank goodness for the Holidays!
We will be in transit tomorrow, and hopefully I'll be able to keep the blog updated sporadically, but bear with me if it gets to be too hectic!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Auntie Rorie!

It's Auntie Rorie's birthday today, so Alex helped 'draw' her a picture. If you look closely, you'll see what ELSE Rorie is celebrating today! Congrats, "Nanny Helga"!

We have a bunch of Christmas presents under the tree, but don't know exactly when we'll have our Christmas morning, so Alex got to open one present from Grandma Jones this evening. (I've been dying to see her reaction to it). Here she is, snuggling up with her new doll-- "NaNa", apparently, is the doll's name.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Olivia Pig

Last night I finally finished a project that has been 'in the works' for a year now. Alex's Christmas stocking. After Christmas last year, I picked up a plain red & white stocking from Target, and decided to quilt a winter scene on it. Because we'll be in Phoenix for Christmas Eve this year, Santa won't have a chance to fill this stocking....or maybe he'll come early, one never knows...

When my friend Sarah came over this past Saturday night, she brought Alex the cutest little Olivia pig. Olivia has sat on our coffee table for the past few days-- basically ignored. All of a sudden, Alex developed an instant affinity for the green & white striped piggy, and felt like she needed to drag her around ALL DAY today! (I already orderd green & white striped Hanna long-johns for her so that she'll match!)
Apparently, Olivia needed to eat several times throughout the course of our playtime, so Alex would go to her kitchen and select an appropriate snack for her friend. It does give us a good opportunity to practice the difference between 'fruit' and 'vegetable', though!
Alex has NO problem identifying 'cracker', however :-) Earlier today we went to our monthly MOMS Club meeting. We arrived a bit early today, so we hung out on the coffee-shop's couch and read Alex's favorite book "Goodnight Gorilla". At the meeting, Alex also graciously shared her books with some of the other kids.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Oat- meal"

Another one of Alex's actual words is the much-loved breakfast cereal, 'oatmeal'. I think she just likes the sing-song nature of the word! Of course, when we got the camera out this morning, she only said it once. Before hand she was singing about "Oat-meal" for about three minutes straight.

So excited to have her "Daw-ing" table back, so she can get to work on her portfolio.
It was Alex's friend Isaiah's birthday today, and we got to see him at Kindermusik (above). Here's a partial group photo of Alex and all her Kindermusik buddies!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Meeting Miss Sarah...again

Yes, so we've had a busy weekend full of visitors! Last night Sarah, my friend of 17 years (we counted), came over for dinner. She and her husband are in the process of moving back to Minneapolis, and we're thrilled to have them in the area.
Sarah was a perfect baby-friendly guest. She has nieces and nephews herself, so she completely understood Alex's initial shyness, and even brought some 'bribes' (the cutest Olivia pig toy and book) to win her over. It worked! We had a great time catching up, and Alex was quite entertained as well.
Enjoying a story with Daddy while Mommy and Miss Sarah chatted.
This morning, Alex threw her first "clothing-inspired" temper tantrum. She flat out refused to wear the poncho that went over her outfit. Now, it may be because I broke my own cardinal rule of baby clothes and made her wear leopard print, (but she had a pair of shoes that Grandma Mary bought her that the poncho matched perfectly). There was NO WAY, NO HOW, NO WHERE she was going to wear the sweater, even though I pointed out that she matched her kitties. Sigh.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Meeting" Miss Amelia

We are SO excited that our friends Melissa, Jeff and Graham received their referral yesterday for their beautiful daughter, Amelia. Alex can hardly wait until this sweet little girl gets HOME so she can teach her all about dolls and tea parties (Graham will handle the rest, I'm sure). Congratulations, Olson family!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Meeting Miss Jenny

Melissa and Graham invited us over this morning for a playdate, and we were so excited that Alexandra could finally meet "Miss Jenny", Mommy's college roomate and friend! She kept us Mommies entertained with stories about her travels in India (and the States) while the kiddos played.
Graham was a great driving instructor. Less than 16 more years till these two hit the road!
Giving us a drumming performance.As you can tell by the redness of her cheeks, Alex was completely exhausted after playing all morning!

Earlier this morning, Alex and Huxley 'bonded' in the cat bed. Moments after this video was shot, I found Alex with her hands around Huxley's neck, pinching and pulling at him. The cat did nothing-- not even vocalize! Alex was promptly removed from the situation and Huxley got lots of praise and some tuna flakes for being such a 'good boy'.

One last photo for the day. This one is actually from yesterday, when Miss Alex figured out how to climb up onto the couch in her room (formerly "Copper's couch"). All she wanted to do up there was read her books. We'll see how long Copper can tolerate having a couch buddy before she decides to just stay in the living room from now on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Traumatize your Daughter in 20 minutes or less....

or "Howdy, Santa!"
I could let the photo below just speak for itself.
But I probably owe Child Services an explanation... We ended up meeting Daddy at Burnsville Center for the annual "pet" night, when dogs are invited to come with their families. As Copper is an integral member of the family, it only seems fair that she be included in the annual Santa photo.
When we got to the mall, Alex was ready to run around and have FUN! Dave spent the 20 minutes we waited in line chasing her all over the place, while Copper was transfixed in a "sit-stay" by half a graham cracker.
As it came closer to our turn, I took Alex and we started watching the other kids with Santa. She seemed cautious, but not scared as she observed them sliding on and off of his lap with ease. It came time to get situated, and we wisely positioned Copper first. Then Alexandra realized what it was we meant to do, and clung tighter and tighter to me. We had offered Santa a graham cracker to give to Alex (as a peace offering), but he wanted nothing to do with it, so I gave it to her right before plopping her down on his lap and backing away quickly (the advice of the photographers).
It was a silent scream at first. Her poor little mouth was open so wide that the previously- bitten off graham cracker fell out of it and onto the floor. For a few seconds more, we let the photographer snap away, saying "Smile, Baby!" as if that was going to do an OUNCE of good. Finally, we rescued her from the strange bearded man's lap, and she whimpered as she tried to find her 'happy place'.
I opted for the photo in which Copper looked the best, since Alex was screaming throughout the entire process. Hopefully next year is easier....

Stranger danger

Stay tuned for the 'alex w/ santa' pic. You'll enjoy it more than alex enjoyed santa...

Showing Off!

I was writing up all of Alex's signs this morning, and decided to do a little pop quiz. :-) I was very pleased with the rapid-fire responses! These two videos are pretty good demonstrations of some of her language skills-- she gets a little tired of performing at the end of the first one, and gives us somewhere around 'horse'. According to this morning's totals, she has about 60 signs down (although as you can see, not all are super-clear-- but her coordination is getting better, and she thinks they are all separate signs, so that counts)!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I saw at the zoo today... by Alex Marotz

I'm sad that I couldn't find my camera earlier t0day, because we had a busy one! This morning we attended MOMS Club Book Club at a friend's home, and Alex got to play with all kinds of big-kid toys (she seemed to gravitate towards the John Deere tractors, strangely enough...)

Then, after a 2 1/2 hour nap (yay!), we headed to the zoo. We only had enough time to do the Tropics and Minnesota trails, but she worked hard. First of all, she insisted on walking the entire time on the Tropics trail, and did very well with the inclines and hills. After we exited that area, she "told" me about all the things she saw. I would have killed to get it on tape, but as I asked her about what animals she had seen, she independently signed "monkey", "pig" (for the wild pigs), "fish", "duck" and "birds". Unfortunately, we didn't have a sign for 'lemur', but they are one of her favorites.

After we got home, we took a bath (our new night-time ritual before Daddy gets home), and then Alex worked on her Advent calendar. She absolutely loves taking the little people out of their spots and sticking them on the tree! To make up for the lack of pics from earlier in the day, I took some candid shots of Alex around the house. Enjoy!