Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections

To bring 2008 to an end, I was going to make a list of my favorite things and moments of the past year. However, after reflecting, I realized that we need to not only acknowledge the moments that made us laugh, but also the moments that made us cry, for without dark, there can be no light. Most of the first months of 2008 are a blur due to extreme sleep deprivation. We experienced many firsts as a family with a new baby. First smiles and first (and second and third) bouts of colic. First laughs and first teething pains. First steps and first colds. Curtis asked if I was going to share a picture of me holding Noah in the middle of the night with a blow dryer (one of the only things that would stop the screaming) as that is how a good portion of our first months with him were spent. However, I prefer to let those times fade in my memory and share his bright, shining smile instead. For even when he is moody and whining, Noah has a way of lighting up the room and my heart with his mischievous grin.


In early summer, our quiet family's strength was tested when Curtis became ill, resulting in him spending his first Father's Day in the hospital. During the time that Curtis was hospitalized, we received much love and support from our family for which we were very grateful. We realized that when you have your family and health, you really do have everything, and were so happy when at last, he returned home to us almost 3 weeks later.


Our time with the horses had some ups and downs this year as well. Who knew that you could catch, groom and lunge a horse, all with a baby sleeping on your back? It was bittersweet when we made the decision to sell Solomon. Though we loved him as part of our family, we just did not have the time to give both him and Winston the attention they both deserved. Solomon still lives in the same pasture with Winston, but now has a loving and doting new owner who is able give him the attention that he both craves and deserves.

Through all the ups and downs of the past year, what we will remember most of all is the great joy that new life brings. We view the world differently now, as if seeing it again for the first time through Noah's bright blue eyes. We look forward to the New Year, and hope that it will bring much health and happiness to our family and yours.

Happy New Year!
-Jen

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Quiet Family Christmas

We hope everyone had a very special Christmas! It was a slow couple of days in the birthing world, so Jen was put on call both Christmas Eve and Day! Although we were not able to travel, we did have a quiet Christmas as a family. On Christmas Eve, we opened some presents after dinner. At first, Noah was more interested in climbing on top of the presents than opening them. He got a set of Ostheimer Little Red Riding Hood figures and a cozy wool blanket. Curtis got a Sigg water bottle, some new PJs, and some Spiderman bowls to eat his soup at work. Jen got some pants that were too big, some boots that were too small, and some wooden spoons that were just right.


By Christmas morning, Noah had mastered the ripping of paper. We don't have any Christmas stockings (they are on the knitting list for next year), so Santa used some socks that Aunt Colleen and Jen had knit a couple years ago. Noah got some new wool longies, which he wore Christmas morning while opening Santa gifts. Santa also brought him some bathtub crayons, a Foogo, and a Twilight Turtle.
As we were lying on Noah's bedroom floor playing with the turtle, whom we named Fred, we discovered that silly Santa forgot she had hid some presents under his crib. So, Noah got some new toothbrushes and the whole family got a beautiful door harp (none of the exact ones pictured, but we are guessing that is where Santa got ours) to hang on our front door. In between all the present opening, we ate lots of cookies and fudge and played some Christmas carols on the piano.


We hope everyone enjoys the rest of the holidays, and just for fun, here are some photos from Christmas' past.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Celebrating the Solstice

Although I was scheduled to work all weekend, I ended up with a "snow day" on Saturday. That's what I call it when I am unexpectedly called about half an hour before leaving for work, and asked if I would like to stay home on-call. Silly question! Of course I would rather stay home with my family on the weekend than go to work! Although we had to stay home just in case I got called in and could not join in any of the Winter Solstice activities down town, we had plenty of fun on our own.

Due to recent snowfalls, we have quite the piles of snow in our front yard. Here is a video of me and Noah sledding down our snow bank. I obviously enjoyed it more than he did.

video

Later, we decorated our Christmas tree. Actually, Curtis and I decorated, and Noah un-decorated. Everytime we turned around, he was marching across the living room with an ornament or candy cane that he had plucked off the tree.


Finally, we had dinner by candle-light to celebrate the return of the Light, as the nights get shorter and the days get longer. Noah insisted on feeding himself his spinach...in the dark. Yes, he was a mess.

Back to wrapping presents and finishing up some knitted gifts! I can only hope that I will get another "snow day" on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Otherwise, I will be spending the holiday welcoming new babies into the world...

-Jen

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Look Who's Walking!

With all the holiday preparations going on, we neglectfully forgot to announce that Noah took his very first steps just three days after his first birthday! Over the past couple weeks, he has become much more steady, though he still walks with boths hands held over his head for balance. Here he is taking some of his very first steps!

video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Noah REALLY Wants for Christmas

Cheese and bananas for every meal.
To never wear clothing again (especially socks!).
Three baths every day with lots of cups to drink the bath water with.
His very own working cell phone. Old dead phones don't cut it.
Unlimited cardboard, tissues, toilet paper, and newspaper to rip and eat.
To crawl inside the dishwasher after throwing all the silverware, knives, and plates on the floor.
A full tube of toothpaste to eat, but never to have his teeth brushed again.
Daddy to stay home from work every day.
To crawl on top of the piano.
An endless parade of people walking past our house to watch out the window.
No more cabinet and drawer locks.
Books to chew and eat.
To never have his face washed again.
Merlin's litter pan scoop to lick and play with.
Brand new mittens (knit by Mom, of course!) to rip to shreds with his teeth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kitchen Nook

It is time to share another Corner of Our Home. It is one that we spent a lot of time in; our little kitchen nook. It is actually our entire dining room, but it is rather small and cozy, so it is pretty nook-like. I often feel that I spend the majority of my day here, either preparing meals, eating, or cleaning up after meals.

There are many things I enjoy about his space. I love the large rag rug which so cleverly hides dropped crumbs. I love the way the sunlight streams through the window sheers in the morning and how Noah pushes them aside to watch the children walk by on their way to school. I love the table itself, which was a wedding gift from my parents and is a custom handcrafted Amish table from a local furniture store. I love the rather whimsical chandelier that hangs above the table, with its dangling dew drop crystals and the recently added flying peace doves.
It is common to find seasonal nature tables in many Waldorf-inspired homes. This is usually a special table or window sill displaying seasonal items, often found in nature. For now, instead of a seasonal table, we have a seasonal center piece. This is both due to a lack of space and also to keep the pieces out of a certain little one's mouth. We always have a beeswax candle, which is often light during dinner. The other objects change with the seasons. Right now, there are some crystals, a pine cone, pine boughs, cinnamon sticks, and Mary, Joseph, and Donkey, traveling to the stable (in the living room).

Our center piece also includes a pot of paperwhites. What can I say about them? They are ever so pretty, almost like a bunch of little white stars. When the sun hits the petals, they almost glitter. But why, oh why, must they STINK!?

Another area of this nook that I have come to love is the window sill. For a couple years, it sat empty, but recently I have started adding elements to it. It is a bit of an extension of our seasonal center piece since it is out of the reach of curious little hands.

The window crystal creates lovely little rainbows around the room when the sun shines through it.

The frame is custom from Da Bear's Shop (a.k.a. my Dad) with one of last year's Christmas cards on display (maybe it's yours?). The little Willow Tree angel was gifted to me by a favorite and inspiring nursing instructor when I graduated from nursing school.

The best thing about this corner of our home is the time spent here together as a family. These days, Noah keeps us laughing through most of our dinner with his jabber-talk banter and clowning around. When he is not packing food into his mouth, one fist after another, he likes to tilt is head, cheek to shoulder, and grin at us until we do the same. His newest trick is reaching across his tray and trying to balance bits of food on his toes.

I hope you are taking time to decorate and enjoy all the little corners of your home this holiday season!

-Jen

Monday, December 15, 2008

Congratulations!

A big, gigantic, CONGRATS! to Adrianne, who won The Fifth Annual Cornell Concerto Competition! We are so proud of you. Now you can rest and eat and sleep for a whole month!

I think your Mom should knit you up some of these for all your hard work!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Play

Today was a beautiful and (rare) non-windy day here in our little neighborhood, making it perfect weather to get out and play in the snow.

Noah has a new inflatable snow tube from St. Nicholas, so we took a short walk to the park try it out.
When we got to the park, Noah made a little snow angel.

I found out that it is quite a workout lugging a 25 lb toddler up a hill while carrying a sled! All this while wearing my tall winter riding boots, because I have not yet gotten any real snowboots. Hint, hint, Santa!

And, as it turns out, Noah doesn't think much of sledding. He did not even crack a smile as we swished down that hill.

But, oh, how he loves swinging. Even in his snowsuit with the cold air hitting his chubby red cheeks.

-Jen

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Dinner

It is about time Merlin made an appearance on this blog! Our snuggley white rabbit joined us for dinner tonight, alternately hanging out under our chairs to get pet with our feet and cleaning up Noah's dropped carrots, bits of lettuce from our tacos, and Noah's applesauce dish. Silly rabbit!

Have You Seen This Gnome?

This is Nils, a jultomten or Swedish Gnome. No sooner were his limbs stitched on and his hat on his head than he up and left us. This mischievous fellow obviously has some important business elsewhere. So, if he shows up at your door, please let us know that he is safe and sound!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Noah's Birthday Story

In Waldorf schools around the world, a child's birthday is celebrated by telling the story of the Rainbow Bridge. The story follows the life of the child, beginning in the heavens with the child's journey to earth. Each story is different and unique to the child, and is added to on each subsequent birthday, reflecting the growth and changes the child has undergone. Here is the first chapter of Noah's Birthday Story.

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived with the angels in heaven, and he was very happy there. He went from star to star collecting warmth and light and that was where he belonged. One day the clouds parted in heaven and the boy saw the beautiful earth below with all the people happily playing and working and he suddenly longed to go there. He saw butterflies visiting flowers and birds flying in the air. He saw fish swimming in the sea and all the different plants that covered the earth. He saw children climbing trees, running and jumping in the meadows, and walking through sand and leaves. It was all so beautiful!
The boy said to his angel, “Please, may I go down to earth?” His angel looked at him and said, “No, it is too soon. You must wait a little while yet.” The little boy went forth, exploring his heavenly home, gathering light and love. He was happy and soon forgot about the earth. Then one day again he saw a glimpse of the earth through the clouds. He saw mothers and fathers doing their work, and loving their children. Then he saw a mother and father with love and longing in their heart for a child and he asked his angel, “May I go to them?” The angel said, “You must go through the land of dreams first.”

The next night the little boy had a dream. He dreamt that he met a man and a woman and they stretched out their arms to him and asked him to come be their child. The boy told his angel the dream. The angel said, “It is now time for you to go share all the love and light that you have gathered.” That night, when the boy went to sleep, he went into a dreamland, and while ten moons waxed and waned he rocked in a little boat.

At the end of that time, a beautiful rainbow bridge stretched from heaven to earth and on it went the boy as a tiny baby. On a cold and snowy winter night, he was born in the water and taken up into his mother and father’s waiting arms. They looked in awe at this new life and said, “We shall call him Noah, which means peace, rest and comfort.” In the early morning the snow stopped, and all was quiet as Noah fell asleep in his mother’s arms.
At first, Noah found life on earth rather difficult. It was louder and brighter than the world he was used to and he often cried. His Mom and Dad did their best to comfort and soothe him by rocking him and walking him back and forth. Noah started to grow big and strong and loved to drink his mother’s milk.

When he was one month old, Noah started to smile. He loved to sleep on his Mom or Dad's shoulder and gaze at all the beautiful lights.

When he was two months old, he started to coo. He loved to listen to his Dad sing the Alphabet Song to him.

When Noah was three months old, he started to laugh, roll around on the floor, and reach for toys. He loved to splash in the bathtub.

When he was four months old he got his first tooth. It was spring, and he loved listening to his Mom play the piano.

When he was five months old he played the drum with his Dad for the first time. He loved to go for walks with his Mom and swing at the park.

When Noah was six months old he could sit up on his own and started to taste some fruits and vegetables. He loved spinning around in circles on his tummy.

When he was seven months old, he waved bye-bye. It was summer, and he loved to sit and pull grass.

When he was eight months old he started to crawl and pull up on things. He loved to bang on his pot with a wooden spoon.

When Noah was nine months old he started to dance. It was autumn, and he loved to play the piano and push the cart his Grandpa Ted made for him.


When he was ten months old, he could clap his hands. He loved to say "Uh-oh!" and play hide-and-seek.


When he was eleven months old, he started to jabber-talk. He had his first sled ride and tasted some freshly fallen snow.

Then Noah was one year old. It was winter again, and the days got shorter and darker. But Noah, with his shining blue eyes and bright smile, brought much warmth and light to those around him. His Mom and Dad, and many other people, loved him very much. The family had a special gathering to share their blessings with him. Everyone was happy to see that the tiny baby who had come to them one year ago had grown into a strong little boy who spread smiles wherever he went. Noah's Mom and Dad were a little sad that he was no longer a tiny baby, but they were also very excited to see what new things the next year would bring.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oatmeal is Good

With less than a week to go until he turns the big 1, Noah is using every last minute to impress us with new tricks. Today, he showed Mom a new way to eat his oatmeal. Check it out in the video below.

video