Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Tis the season...

'Tis the season... to fall behind on blog entries. Fa la la la la la la!

I can't believe that nearly a month has passed since our last entry here, and that last time we checked in, it was only a little after Halloween. Yowza! Anyhow, let's see if I untangle the last couple of weeks and get everyone up to speed!

Late November brought not only Thanksgiving, but also Stella's 2nd Birthday! Since Stella's actual Birthday fell on Thanksgiving Day this year, we decided to throw a party for her on the Sunday morning before Thanksgiving week. While Stella can sometimes be overwhelmed by large groups, this time she really seemed to enjoy being surrounded by her friends, playmates and ...well... cupcakes!

It is basically impossible to take a picture of a room full of 2 year old's and their parents, but this off-the-cuff image catches some of the chaos.

Cupcakes from Seattle's Trophy Cupcakes!

Stella's old nanny, Tirza, and her daughter, Natalie, were able to come to the party. It was great seeing the two girls play with each other after several months of not seeing each other, but you could tell it was hard for Stella to say "bye" at the end of the party.

After that, it was on to Thanksgiving proper. And while, sadly, my Grandmother, Aunt and Cousin's were unable to attend our Thanksgiving dinner because my Grandma had surgery just a couple days before (I've been assured everything went smoothly), we did end up with a full table since Sarah's mom, stepfather, bother and sister-in-law came into town to celebrate with us (as well as Ambika), and be there for Stella's actual 2nd Birthday...

Stella blows out the candles on her cake. (Thanks dad, for catching this picture.)

Unfortunately, while I did click several photos during the actual meal itself, they all pretty much turned out dark and/or blurry, so I'll spare you. But, you can be assured that Sarah cooked another wonderful Holiday meal!

Owing largely to the snow (more on that later), most of the rest of that week was spent hanging out and relaxing with Sarah's family. But, we did make one or two trips out to do some sightseeing with them. Including a trip to the aquarium (which, again only yielded one or two photos) and to the Museum of Flight.

A typical scene from that week, curled up on the couch, talking, read and napping.

Sarah, Tim and Jeanne standing in front of Air Force One, which we got to walk through. I'll spare you the pictures I took of the Air Force One bathrooms...

...but I won't spare you the picture I took of the Lockheed Blackbird. AKA: The X-Men's jet. I geeked out a little.

The one cute picture from our aquarium visit. Sarah and I have gotten bad about not taking pictures any more. Need to get back in the habit. Still, this one is cute.

After Tim and Jeanne left, Sarah's mom and step-dad accompanied us on one other family tradition: Buying a Christmas Tree. For the last couple years, we've bought our tree at the Dunshee House, a support group for people living with HIV/AIDS. A great way to combine two Holiday traditions (buying a tree and giving) into one!

The tree strapped to the top of our car!

That evening, after Sarah's mom and Don had left, Sarah and I decorated the tree... with Stella's help of course. Last year, when it came time to decorate the tree, Stella was just a little over one, not yet walking unassisted, and was in bed before we even began unpacking the ornaments. This year, she was more than happy to help out. Surprisingly, she didn't show much interest in breaking or throwing anything, and instead did her best to actual hook the ornaments on to some of the lower branches. Usually these attempts ended with a plaintive "help peas," but still its the thought that counts.

Making sure every ornament is "just right."

Stella checks out a Christmas book with the tree glowing in the background.

The "family by the tree" photo. Something that's become bit of an annual tradition.

As I mentioned above, it also snowed that week. The first flakes started to drift down during Stella's Birthday Party, but it wasn't until Monday that things started to get white. And, unlike most Seattle snows, this snow actually stuck around for most of the week. The whole thing seemed eerily similar to the snow storm right after Stella's birth, but Sarah and I tried to just roll with the punches, making sure things went smoothly with her family and the Holiday plans.

For her part, Stella seemed nonplus about the snow. She took a couple strolls in it, but was otherwise content to stay warm in doors.

Trying to catch snowflakes with mommy.

Taking it all in...

...but then heading back inside to get warm.

Well, when I initially started typing this, I had hoped to get things caught up through Mid-December, but just realizes that it is nearing 4:00pm, and that I need to get ready to head down to Stella's Day Care to take part in some holiday festivities there (cookies and singing). Sarah is, sadly, not feeling well. Both her and Stella have been struggling with another string of colds recently which is another reason we've fallen behind here. But, hopefully, Sarah or I will be able to do a follow up entry in the next couple of days.

That said, I wanted to end by noting how much Stella has changed in the last couple of months. More and more, her single words are being strung into simple sentences. And, more than once, I've been struck by the fact that I almost feel like I'm having actual conversations with her. Her favorite question is still "wo go?" (where go? ...and half the time the challenge is just figuring out what the "wo" is), but she's also big on color and counting (though her version of counting involves repeating "two, three" again and and again). She still loves coloring, but also loves her play dough (which she play cooks with), her toy pots and wooden food, and especially her dolls (which she spends countless hours putting blankets on top of). She loves Elmo, but has a much more complex relationship with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, as seen in this sample conversation:

Stella: Roar!
Me/Sarah: Is the abominable snow monster scary?
Stella: Yeah. (pause) No teeth!
Me/Sarah: Yes. Then they take his teeth out, and he becomes nice.
Stella: Nice! (pause) Wheeeee!
Me/Sarah: Yes, and then the reindeer fly.

Hopefully more, soon.