Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eleven down, one to go.

Yeah. The chair really isn't the best place for pictures of Audra anymore.

The crib seemed a safer choice. Though I think it might be time to lower the mattress.

If you've ever seen a picture of Nate as a child, you're probably gasping right now.
She couldn't look more like her daddy.

He was kissing her hands. These two are the sweetest.
Audra is 11 months old! Plus a few days. (As previously noted, I am behind on the blog.) Our little lady has changed so much in these last few weeks.

We've witnessed her first tantrums (is there anything cuter than watching a baby throw herself on the floor in desperation and begin wailing because you won't let her chew on a dog toy?), and she's grown more confident in her crawling/pulling up/standing skills — most recently attempting to stand independently for a few moments at a time.

Her favorite foods are cheese, chicken, fruit, cottage cheese, pumpkin pancakes, and avocado. She's gotten quite adept at picking out anything that resembles a vegetable, and will quickly toss it over the side of her high chair to Mattie. She's joined Calvin's morning ritual of having dry cereal in a snack trap before school, and loves working her way through the little cup of Cheerios Nate brings her every morning.

She recently discovered the play kitchen, and loves to stand at it while waving pots, pans, and utensils around. Calvin's matchbox cars are her favorite toys, along with the Little People fireman and farmer, whose faces she enjoys eating. She has yet to latch on to a lovey, though she sleeps with a bunny and blanket every night.

Eleven to twelve hours of sleep at night is (finally) the norm. When she wakes up too early in the morning we ignore her, and she either puts herself back to sleep or turns on her musical soother to entertain herself. She loves music, and her little body grooves to every song it hears — whether from a toy, one of Calvin's tv shows, or her mama at bedtime.

She never stops moving. She still doesn't like to cuddle with us, and getting her to bed can feel like an olympic event some nights. But she loves to be held, to be near us. While still shy and reserved around people she doesn't know well, she's smiley and silly at home and at school. Her teachers adore her just as much as we do, and regularly tell us what a delightful baby she is.

There have been a lot of changes in our daughter this month (and year) but that is definitely not one of them. Audra is and always has been a delightful baby.

If only I could bottle it for the teenage years.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Thanksgiving with the Breyers is a little like Christmas with the Griswolds. There aren't any RVs parked in the driveway or wild animals loose in the house (unless you count the dog), but this year we had 30 people, four turkeys, five pies, eight dozen oysters, 14 cans of green beans in the casserole, and a first-class bloody mary bar.

That, my friends, has crazy written all over it.

Thanksgiving is THE holiday in Nate's family, and those of us accustomed to the madness love and look forward to it. But this year was Audra's first Thanksgiving, and she was a tad overwhelmed. Our sweet girl is shy and sensitive on a normal day, so plop her in a house full of chaos and sister is on high alert. She spent the entire day tucked safely in our arms, only venturing out of them long enough to briefly examine the toys and scarf down some turkey and green bean casserole.

Thanksgiving was extra special this year as we got to meet Eloise, our first niece and Calvin and Audra's only cousin.* Calvin, we've discovered, LOVES babies. He's always treated Audra with incredible sweetness, but he was totally enamored of Eloise and kept asking to hold her. I can hardly believe my big boy was once the baby of the family!

Uncle Nate got some snuggle time in, too. 

Eloise with her sweet mama, Shannon.

One of the greatest things to come out of my marriage into the Breyer family is the Hall family. The Hall kids grew up with Nate and his brothers, and they have become some of my dearest friends. I love them like family, and their kids are no exception. It makes my heart happy to know that our children will grow up together just like they did. (You may be surprised to learn the one in the middle isn't mine. Look at that hair!)

And another round of Calvin holding Eloise. This time with the addition of Audra. Oh boy. Sorry, baby E.

This looks suspiciously like a first date. Complete with candlelight. I'm not sure Madelyn's dad realized this at the time...

He's shoveling whipped cream in his mouth. With his hand. We've got some work to do when it comes to dating etiquette.

Uncle Eric is a bad influence. Apparently I gave Calvin a terrifying mom look this weekend and my brother-in-law Kris was in the line of fire. He was a little freaked out before he realized the look wasn't meant for him. I'm pretty sure Eric got around ten of those looks (that were absolutely meant for him) right after this picture was taken. No nap + whipped cream for dinner + being flipped around by your uncle for a solid 10 minutes + already being past your bedtime = your mother's head exploding at the thought of what's to come.

What came was a speedy exit as children and parents alike melted down post-dinner and pre-pie. Which is par for the course at any large family gathering, wouldn't you say?

Luckily, we all survived. Eric (and Kris) survived my maternal death stare, Eloise survived Calvin's embrace, I survived the first of three days where my children had too much sugar and not enough sleep and Audra survived her initiation into Breyer family Thanksgiving.

Can't wait for next year. :)

*To date, that is. Our next niece or nephew is due any day now!

Freeze frame.

Can you tell it was 30 degrees outside, my children were miserable, snot-nosed and near tears, and this shoot only lasted about 20 minutes before we called it off due to bitter wind?

No? Well, that's thanks to our friend Bill, who is the best sport on earth. And a super talented photographer as well. I expected these to look like a hot (ahem, cold) mess given the severity of the weather, but he captured some really cute moments.

Next year we're taking family pictures in June. Maybe Audra will be into smiling by then?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Super Why has it taken me so long to post this?

Halloween. So long ago, yet still cluttering up my kitchen with its piles of candy. You wouldn't believe the self control I've had this year. Every night I walk right by that bucket of candy...and straight to the freezer for ice cream.

Before the parade of candy, there were pumpkins to be carved.

I was so proud of Cal's Super Why costume. Even though Grandma Mary did all the heavy lifting (she made the cape, which is clearly the best part), I somehow managed to turn duct tape and scraps of fabric I found around the house into a somewhat recognizable character costume. The book is my favorite part — I cut the shapes out of felt, used some leftover gold ribbon to give it a 3D orbit, fabric glued it together, then sewed it on his tshirt. Cal's favorite part was the Why Writer, which I made out of a kisses-filled Christmas candy cane. (And I thought I wouldn't be able to find one of those in October. Ha.)
They had a parade at school, which I left work early to attend. Cutest ever. All these parents standing in the middle of the school cafeteria/gym while our bewildered children circled us. After the parade, the kids got to have Oreos. Because there's no better way to ramp up for an evening of gorging yourself on candy than by eating Oreos.
Post Oreo with his friend Ada. She's Donkey from Shrek. Love her.
Super Why being Super Cute.
And also Super Intrigued by Nate's puking pumpkin.
Joined by his Super Sidekick, Black Kitty.
Our kitty was not impressed by her hat. At all. Which makes me glad the only effort I put into her costume was buying a hat and putting it on her head (repeatedly).
Love how it kept working its way up her head. She looks like a cat gnome. 
Nothing cooler than sweatpants and a duct tape belt. But he didn't seem to mind one bit. Pretty sure Super Why was Super High On Sugar at this point in the evening. 

October: Check! Now on to November...
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