Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Year's Eve and Day

We spent the holidays at Nate's parents house in Alpine, UT. On New Year's Eve we ate lots of yummy food (as always). Then Nate's mom did a little Japanese cultural lesson on New Year's Traditions. New Year's is THE holiday in Asia, so it would be the equivalent of explaining Christmas traditions non-Westerners. I requested that she do another one when my kids are old enough to pay attention and understand more (instead of bothering their cousins as Harrison is doing below. . .)

Here are three generations listening to Obaachan. Notice the towel around Nate's Dad's neck. That is a very common sight!

She taught us about the Animal Calendar (Year of the Sheep, Monkey, etc.) We all figured out which animal we were and Auntie Becky made a master list of every one's birthdays (all 36 family members).

Obaachan lead the kids in a traditional game that was kind of like pin the tail on the donkey, except it was all of the facial features on the face. Here's Harrison checking out how he did. Not too shabby!The kids love to take bubble baths in the big bath tub. Bubbles help with the modesty issue! Even though I stayed up past midnight every night on this trip, I couldn't make it on New Year's Eve. I fell asleep with 15 minutes to spare and they woke me up for the count down. A quick New Year's kiss and I went right back to sleep. I did get up again for toast later, one sip of bubbly (sparkling pear juice, mind you) and right back to sleep again! On New Year's Day we all (lots of extended family from both Nate's Mom and Dad's sides) went ice skating at the Olympic Oval. I was a little star struck that I was skating where Apollo Ono skated (I became a fan when he was Julianne Hough's partner on Dancing With the Stars).
Skating with Nate reminded me of the first time we went in December of '96 (12 years ago!). That was the first time we held hands. It was VERY exciting! I tell ya, I miss those days of twiderpation and budding romance!

They let you push strollers on the ice (a fabulous idea for baby purposes and people-who-took-an-ice-skating-class-at-BYU-but-still-can't-skate-well purposes!)
Our niece Sydni and her fiance Nych (who were both fine at skating, but just wanted to be nice) took Elizabeth around several times and actually put her to sleep for a decent nap!

Thank goodness they had these walker type thing for the kids. Harrison was a little frustrated at first, but he got better with time.

He spent a lot of time like this, but thankfully kept on smiling!

I love that little guy!

For the record we went to Nate's Uncle Ma-chan's that night for the big annual New Year's Day Feast with all sorts of relatives! Great food and company.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Elizabeth Turns Two!

This darling little girl had her "Golden Birthday" this year as she turned 2 on the 2nd. I was going to do a gold theme, but the holidays plum wore me out (plus she's way too young to care). When she's old enough to know what's going on I'll try to be more enthusiastic (or just celebrate her half b-day in the summer!)
We kept it simple and went to Chick-Fil-A (I have passed my obsession on to my children, she recognizes the logo and can say it too!)
We went with Obaachan and Ojiichan (G-ma and G-pa Watabe), the Lundberg cousins and Auntie Victoria. Cupcakes were enjoyed by all!
Then we opened some presents. I love her classic reaction here!
She got a princess watch. Of course, she knows nothing about time, she just likes accessories -- wonder where she got that from? Plus, it was on clearance at Wally World (there are some advantages to having your child's b-day the week after Christmas!) Sadly, she left the watch in UT and asks about it frequently. She knows it at "Bachan's House."
You can see the watch better in this picture. She's also modeling the Cinderella dress up she got. (Also on clearance, love you Wal-Mart). I absolutely adore this little girl! She is the sweetest, cutest thing on earth!

I am going to take the time to record some things about her before she grows up and I forget it all. It may be boring to others, but I will do it for journaling purposes! She is talking a ton. She asks why all the time while cocking her head to the side and raising her eyebrows. If you ask her why she says, "Suz" (cuz) with the same cocked head and a little shrug. She's even giving reasons beyond "cuz" now. Like when asked why she woke up so early she replied. "Suz, Seson bed." Which made sense, she was on a crib strike and slept in Harrison's bed, which caused her to get up at 5:50 (more than two hours earlier than her usual time -- so I put an end to the crib strike). This morning she brought in a book that was ripped and told me "Seson boke da book." Then she threw it down and growled (a sound she frequently hears her mother make). When I asked why she was so mad she said, "Suz, Seson boke da book." (duh, Mom, didn't I just tell you that?) She doesn't do it as much, but whenever we were in the car she used to ask Mommy over and over and over again and every time I'd say "What?" and she would finally say, "Hi." It was mostly cute, just somewhat irritating! Also in the car whenever Harrison tries to talk to me she interrupts and once she gets my attention she just thinks of a random thing she knows how to say like "Daddy back hurts," or "No Wobbie's house, no beach house." She really just doesn't want Harrison to be able to say his thing and it gets him so worked up.

She adores Elmo and wants to watch him constantly. When I'm on the computer she wants "Elmo Shi-shi (the Elmo Potty Song -- shi-shi is pee pee in Japanese) from U-tube. She loves me to sing Byda (Isty Bitsy Spider) and she does a very exagerated WASH on that part. She also loves me to sing Buhdaytoyou (Happy Birthday to You). At night she loves to "wock" (rock) and always wants me to sing "Sunshine" and then "Sunshine again." (You Are My Sunshine verse one and two.) She used to always remind me to pray right after that, but now we're doing family prayer instead (I should probably do a personal prayer with her too, but it starts to feel very repetitive). At the end of our family prayers we've started doing a tradition that Nate's family did where we all put their hands in the middle and then say "Oyasumina-SAI" (goodnight in Japanese) and we put our hands up on the sai part (like a sports team would at the end of a huddle). Anyway, both kids love it and she's always wanting to do "Sai."

She is very helpful, always bringing me the phone, throwing things away, loving "we-up, we-up" (clean up, clean up everybody, everywhere). She also wants to get "weady" first thing in the morning. She used to demand to "eat" (said while pointing at her nose, her old baby sign for eat) first thing, but now she's more interested in getting ready. She loves pretty things (any and all jewelry, pretty bows, pretty flowers, pretty boots). I love it when I rock her because she often reaches up and plays with my hair says "pretty hair." She has recently started calling me Mama and it is so sweet. "Mo wada, Mama." "Help Mama" I could really go on all night.

She loves treats and knows how to pull chairs and stools over to get on the counter and then get things from off the top of the fridge. She is fairly picky and survives mainly on yogurt and cheese. She also likes mandarin oranges, pineapple, rice, nori (seaweed), pasta, bread, nuggets, pizza, oatmeal, popcorn, crackers, pretzels, ah ah nacks (Curious George fruit snacks -- ah ah from a monkey saying "ooh ooh ah ah") and OJ (she calls it that). She loves "spicy" (soda), but we only have it on special occasions. Harrison tried to talk me into having soda tonight after I called Auntie Wendy, who lives in Virginia, for her birthday, because it was a special occasion. Pretty clever, but it didn't work.

Elizabeth has been an easy child from the start. She slept through the night after a month, she slept almost all day for a lot longer than most babies (for over 4 months - it actually worried me, but the Dr. told me to be grateful). She's still a good napper, goes to bed easily, and sleeps in (Harrison has always been an EARLY riser!) She's always been good natured and happy. I rarely see her do things that are blatantly mean (unlike my other child at that age -- thankfully he grew out of that). She is definitely displaying some of the undesirable characteristics of a two year old, but I know that's an important part of developing her independence. And her cuteness totally outweighs it. I LOVE her smile. She has the most perfectly straight teeth and when she smiles her top and bottom teeth show and her eyes turn into crescent moons.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pre Christmas Festivities

We went to several Christmas parties and Elizabeth wore this outfit to all of them. I bought this shortly after Harrison was born because I knew I wanted a girl next. I really loved it (this picture doesn't do it justice), it was on sale and it was unique enough that I didn't want to pass it up. I loved all of the little girls details like ribbon, flowers and embroidery. Nate couldn't believe I would buy something for a child that wasn't even going to be conceived for a few more years and might not even end up being a girl. But 4 years later I finally got to put it on her and it was just as darling as I had imagined it would be. 3 nights after seeing Santa for the first time, we had another opportunity to see him at the Ward Christmas Party. Elizabeth had not forgotten about her first experience. She spent the whole night saying, "No, No, NO Santa" (actually "Ansa"). So I didn't make her do it. I figured we'll only force her to sit on the strange man's lap once a year! Harrison was happy for another chance to tell Santa that he wanted a Ben Ten Watch. I was in charge of the program for the Ward Party (actually at the last minute the Activities Committee Chairperson's daughter got really sick and she asked me and another girl to run the party - so it was a pretty crazy night. Running a party that I wasn't really in charge of was interesting, but I'm pretty bossy, so it worked out just fine!) Anyway, for the program part we had someone narrate the story from Luke 2 and we stopped every couple of verses for musical numbers that went along with the story. The Primary sang Away in a Manger and Harrison actually sung this time (unlike previous performances)! The last song was a girl in our ward who had just (I mean like the week before) had a baby boy and she sang Mary's Lullaby to the baby. It was really sweet and touching. Harrison kept asking, "Mom, where's Joseph?" He was pretty concerned about it. Very cute.
Nate and I aren't huge Santa people. But I must admit that when your little boy gets excited about Santa Claus, it's contagious and I wasn't going to be one of those moms who kills the dream too early. One of the things Harrison liked to do this Christmas was put on an entirely red outfit so he could look like "Sant Ni" (AKA Saint Nick). Here's little Sant Ni on the sled his friend gave him for Christmas.

Both kids enjoyed wearing my Christmas tree necklace that I start donning on December 1 and don't stop until the big day (providing it looks decent with my outfit each day)!

My visiting teaching companion, Tiffany, who is also a good friend (which makes it easier and more fun!) had the great idea to adapt one of her family's traditions to use for our visiting teaching in December. First we had the kids act out the Nativity and then we decorated gingerbread trees.

I must say this is the sweetest little shepherd girl ever (let's pretend her crazy, undone hair is part of her shepherd look and has nothing to do with the laziness of her mother).

The oldest two boys were the kings. Don't mind the princess tiara, we worked with what we had! Elizabeth really did look after that little lamb!

Harrison had been carrying around that special gift for baby Jesus all morning (I had collected all of my "gold" jewelry and put it in a glass and gold box along with some golden coins. He thought it was very special indeed). Here they are giving the gifts.
And here's the whole bunch. I love how Joseph is picking Baby Jesus' nose! The kids had fun decorating their trees (and eating the candy along the way). And the trees were much more manageable than houses, they stacked the stars up all by themselves to make the trees. (Thanks Tiff for making all the the cookies and frosting!)
Okay, so Elizabeth did have some help from mom.But Harrison did his by himself! This was the part Elizabeth was most interested in.I have a lot more catching up to do, so there should be more holiday posts coming your way!