Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year! We had a nice time visiting with Grace and her mommy and daddy and friends today. Grace is just a little older than Vanessa, and playing with her makes my mind so boggled to realize all the language and reasoning that Vanessa will acquire in just the next few months.

And we've really enjoyed having Brian and Joanna and their dog Kyra staying with us for a little while. Vanessa will be so sad not to see Kyra tomorrow morning when she wakes up.

I also think Vanessa is sad to learn that today is the first day of 2009, because she just recently learned that the year was 2008! Oh well, she'll adjust soon enough. Time flies, Vanessa, and even more so for your parents!

Here are some pictures from our very busy Christmas. Our families were kind enough to come to us this year, so we didn't need to travel anywhere.

Here are the stockings that James hung by the chimney with care. My grandmother ("Oma")Phyllis made the three on the right, new to us this year, but James's is from when he was a little kid. I'm so excited about our new stockings. Aren't they beautiful?

This is probably the only year that Elizabeth will let me open her stocking!

Vanessa had a great time opening her stocking. I think Santa put just the right number of gifts and snacks inside.

I wasn't sure if Elizabeth would enjoy unwrapping gifts, but she definitely was excited about tissue paper! Noisy and easy to grab! Here she's getting some new bath books from her Grandma Lou, which she has already decided fit her taste in literature (yum!).

We saw a little bit of sibling rivalry this Christmas. I guess it was just a matter of time until Elizabeth got a toy that Vanessa really wanted for herself!

I love that we've needed to use the dining table so much just to accommodate all the family members we've had over! Vanessa is enjoying one of the bagels that Grampa brought for Christmas breakfast.

Vanessa just loved all the Christmas trees on Nana's sweater (it probably helps that Vanessa loves Nana so much!). Oh, that's one more thing that Vanessa will really miss when we have the time to take it down -- the Christmas tree.

Here Vanessa is having a rare moment of sitting still on Christmas. Grampa's lap is a cozy place to take a little rest. Most of the day, Vanessa was running around, opening everyone's presents, and generally pouncing on Kyra!

Elizabeth has been just, well, really pleasant lately! Smiley and cuddly. Here she is having a wonderful time with her Nana.

And Elizabeth just loves to hang out with her buddy Grampa.

Thanks, Kalena, for getting Vanessa some beautiful blue clothes! I think it's helping to have some new clothes (especially blue ones) to encourage Vanessa to get dressed in the morning.

Vanessa loves her new blue blanket from her Nana. She pretty much won't let anyone else cuddle with it.

Exept Kyra, that is. But Kyra holds a very special place in Vanessa's heart! Kyra does, after all, let Vanessa sit on her!

Vanessa also loves to give Kyra big hugs!
I think that Elizabeth likes Kyra too. It's kind of tricky to tell because she squints her eyes when Kyra licks her all over her face, but she doesn't cry, and she looks around to see where Kyra is. I'm not sure, but she might have actually signed "dog." In any case, though, Elizabeth does love Uncle Brian, that's not so hard to figure out!

Uncle Zak is always lots of fun to have around. Vanessa loved playing with him.

Uncle Zak also wrapped Vanessa's present in about 25 feet of brown paper! It was so funny to see Vanessa unrolling and unrolling it to finally find the present.

Aunt Heather and Uncle Terry are always great fun to have over. I can't say enough how spoiled we are to have them so nearby.

Well, so Vanessa would rather run around than pose for a picture with her family, I guess! I suppose it takes a lap like Grampa's to entice her to sit still!

Grandma was a tremendous help to me around Christmas. We had some very mild weather and the girls could swing and play outside. Vanessa LOVES swinging, and I usually cause a tantrum when I tell her that swinging time is over and it's time to go inside, but Grandma negotiated the transition perfectly. I guess Grandma just has a special way about her! Vanessa and Elizabeth love their Grandma so much!

And Grandma spent some time helping Elizabeth play the piano. It wasn't so long ago when Grandma was helping Vanessa have some of her first experiences with the piano.

Elizabeth has made some big strides in development over the past week or so. She is mastering grasping and eating Cheerios and she'll walk all over the house holding onto my hands.

Vanessa is making some developmental strides of her own. I was wondering if Vanessa had a "block" against stacking (pardon the pun), because she never wanted to stack blocks if they didn't match the color of the other blocks in the stack, and we never seemed to have a large number of blocks of all the same color. But, she seems to have overcome that recently and has been doing more stacking.

My good friend Rachael invited Vanessa to be a flower girl in her wedding next summer. When we read about a flower girl in a story recently, I let Vanessa know about those plans. Well, Vanessa wanted to practice! So we dressed up and marched all over the house.

Vanessa's been trying to make letters and even simple words lately. Here she wrote "Hi." She's also been doing a great job reading, and she can read most of the words that she knows how to say.

So, if you were wondering what kind of trouble a two-year-old could get into while her mom was on the phone for ten minutes... (Yes, those are Nerf darts stuck on Elizabeth's fingers, and two pairs of socks on her head.) I'm just surprised Elizabeth slept through this!

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