Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Good Nights

Samuel is such a little BOY.  There is nothing delicate about this child.  He's a gassy little guy (especially embarrassing in public) who often has major poop-a-paloozas all. over. everything.  He grunts and growls, throws and rolls, head-butts, and shakes anything in his path of destruction.  Eleanora would to softly pat my face and hair while eating, but Samuel grabs, pulls, and rips anything he can get his hands on.  I'm usually more than a bit disheveled after feeding him, but I wouldn't trade his love taps for the world.  Just look at the angelic sleeping face of our little bruiser.

Snuggled up with the "hand pillow" he got hooked on in the NICU.  A bit strange but he looooves it.

 Patiently waiting for the day to start.

Our boy is a gentle giant.  He almost always wakes up happy and cooing, full of smiles and kicks as soon as I start to sing his good morning song.  At his 9 month check up yesterday, he was 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height unadjusted for his prematurity!  That means he is pretty much caught up growth-wise.  Yay Samuel!

Post-bath time snuggle in bed

Eleanora has completed a major life event - transitioning from crib to "big girl bed" in her new room.  We prepared by reading books about big kid beds, moving her toys and books a few at a time into the new room, and playing in the new room together during the day.  It certainly didn't hurt that her new room was previously inhabited by her favorite big girl, Aunt Na-Na.  After Ben and I tucked her in the first night, kissed her good night and shut the door, I'm the one who started crying.  She looked so little in that big bed, clutching her lambie and being so brave.  Speaking of bedtime, Eleanora has added a new element to her bedtime ritual.  After she brushes her teeth, she asks for "snuggle time!" on the couch with Ben and I.  The three of us curl up for one song before she goes to bed.  The typical conversation goes something like this:

Snuggle time, Mommy!  One song, ok?
Good good night?  Please??? 
She loves the Black Eyed Peas song "I Got a Feelin' (Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night)".  Not my first choice for a wind-down snuggly song, but she loves to sing along.
Close eyes, Daddy.  Close eyes, Mommy! 
We happily oblige.
Wake up, Mommy.  Open eyes!  
(in a whisper) Daddy's sweeeping, no wake him, ok?  
Scwatch (scratch) my back?

 -song ends -

All done song.  Time for night-night.  See you when the sun is orange!

It's one of the best parts of my day, just being still and snuggly together.

I'll sign off with a few pictures from Easter...what a fun day it was!

 Opening Easter basket from "Na-Na-Liam"

 Looking hard for her Easter basket

Baby's first Easter!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Collage Crazy

In an attempt to catch up on the past couple of months, I've gone crazy with the collages!

Eleanora and Samuel love-love-loooooove each other.  Samuel thinks anything Eleanora does is hilarious.  Sometimes they just look at each other and giggle for no apparent reason.  No one can get Samuel doing the full-body, head-thrown-back, can-hardly-breathe laugh like Eleanora.  It's usually the result of repeatedly dropping something, bumping into something, or intentionally falling down (he's a boy, he loves physical comedy!).

They are not always so sweet together.  We are working hard on sharing.  I hear, "No look at me, Baby Sammy!" and "That's MY cry!" at least once a day from Miss Nora.  But more often than not, she is thrilled to have a completely enraptured audience watching her every move.

Sibling Love
Speaking of Miss Nora, she makes us laugh every day.  Below are a few of her more hilarious quotes:

- "I taking care of my baby sister." (a toy giraffe that she fed, changed and put to sleep in a basket)
-  "Carry you!" (Carry me!)
- "I need to smell your neck" (I need to snuggle up with my face in your neck)
- "Nate, I hungry!" (hoping her buddy will do something about it!)
- "I going runnin'" (putting on earphones by the door)
- "Worms?! That's so crazy! Birds eat pancakes!" (when pretending to be a bird in her nest, I asked her if she'd like a snack of worms)
- "I workin' like Daddy on the com'peter'"
- E: Kids at church sing songs about Jesus
  K: Who is Jesus?
  E: I  don't know!
  K: Jesus is God's son
  E: That's right! Great job, Momma!
- "You kidding?!" (when told nap time/quiet time was not over yet)
- "I go on trip with Liam!" (when told Liam took Natalie on a trip after the wedding)
- "Blah, blah, Kara Hoffman, blah blah" (reading my driver's license)

Sweet Samuel is doing great.  He's rolling with purpose, scooting army-style, and eating more everyday.  He loves to grab, pull, and chew on anything he can get ahold of including hair, noses, lips, and hands.  He is the sweetest little Baby Brick (UB's perfect description!) ever!

We loved spending time with all of our family while in PA and only wish it wasn't over so quickly!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nataliam Newlyweds

It's official!  My beautiful sister was a beautiful bride and is now a beautiful wife!  The past two months have been a whirlwind of travel/bridal shower/wedding crazy-wonderfulness.  Now that we are home and settling into our new normal (no Aunt Na-Na at breakfast every morning), it's time to recap the fun...

Natalie bravely traveled with the kids and I to PA for her bridal shower.  Thank goodness, because I don't know how I would have wrangled both kids on my own.  The event was beautiful, and bride-to-be radiant.  The venue was a lovely annex room in the old Theatre where the wedding was held.  In lieu of traditional games, we had several activities.  Each attendee was asked to choose the name of a movie star from a vase and then the starlets of the screen were called throughout the brunch to select an evening bag of their choice from a display.  Another activity was "Quilted Love".  Each person was asked to write their initials on a square of fabric that we are working to embroider and assemble into a quilt for the bride and groom.  I loved all the little details like the monogrammed cookies ("G" for Gibson/Grimes), the gold table linens, the a-mazing food, and the fun had by all. 

On to the big day.  The wedding was breathtaking...

That is just a smattering of the beautiful pictures.  Here is a link to the photographer's website (password  031911natalieliam).  The pictures are so amazing, it's worth a peek!  A few of my favorite moments from the wedding:

- Watching Natalie walk down the staircase (aisle) beaming and looking more beautiful than any bride ever as Liam walked up the stairs to meet her
- The look on Natalie's face when the bridal party surprised her and Liam by joining in to sing "Dona Nobis Pacem" during the ceremony
- The band playing "This Will Be" for the recessional
- The ridiculously good-looking couple's first dance (L-O-V-E) 
- Uncle Bob's moving and sweet welcome toast
- Dad and Natalie dancing to "How Sweet it is (to be loved by you)"
- The sibling dance to "She Drives Me Crazy"
- Our choreographed "Sisters" dance (yes, we used fans!)
- Seeing all of my family out on the dance floor having a ball, and my handsome cousins lining up to dance with our sweet Mena
- Feeling the love of so many dear friends and family in one room

A special thank you to my amazing in-laws who knocked themselves out to babysit Eleanora and Samuel during the pre-wedding festivities so we could totally focus on the bride and groom!

Enjoying some quality time with Grandpa and Gram at their house
Congratulations to the beautiful couple!  May you have a lifetime of joy and happiness, and may the current 30 minute drive to your house be the furthest we ever live from each other!