Monday, December 25, 2006


This will be a long post. You have been warned. (I know. The grandparents will be devastated.)

Sydney is a very good girl. She doesn't go up the stairs by herself. Sometimes she will climb on the first step, but will not go higher than that. And she knows not to get near the stairs at the top. She may creep close if we're with her, but she doesn't even try to go down by herself. Usually, going up or down, she likes to hold our hands and step up and down the stairs by herself. More or less.

Sydney Goes Downstairs

And my hat isn't the only one Sydney likes to take and wear.

Sydney Wears Mommys Hat

Okay. There are some non-Christmas (but just before Christmas) pictures. Now onto the Christmas stuff.

Anne's mom and dad (Grandma and Grandpa M) got here last week. They'll be here for a while before heading back to Las Vegas. The plan is still to finish getting the house ready and try to move sometime in the spring.

We had a great Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we went over to Mark and Jackie's house. We had a potluck buffet there. With the five kids in attendance (including Sydney) there were nineteen people. Sydney had some anxiety issues and stayed close to Mommy and Daddy. She wouldn't let anyone else hold her and most of the time wanted to be held by one of us, but there were times when she would play and wander without a care in the world.

When it was time to open presents over there it was a warm-up for Christmas morning. It was the first time Sydney really received and got to open a present. Last year she was just under nine months old at Christmas. And even at her first birthday she didn't have much (any!) grasp of what was going on. Even now I'm not sure she really got the concept of Christmas yet, but she sure knew that she liked opening presents!

Sydney Opens Her Stocking

After Sydney's (first) breakfast Grandma and Grandpa M had arrived. We went out to the front room and settled in. Though she had been primed the night before at Mark and Jackie's I think she thought things were still off-limits. Then she saw her Elmo chair (a gift from the night before). She went over to it. Her stocking was leaned against it. She went to try and move things off her chair and came across her Elmo book.

She grabbed the book and brought it over to me. I read it to her. She almost had me read it again, but she got distracted and we started checking out what was in her stocking. Then she helped Mommy and me open our stockings. And she helped all four of us open almost all our presents.

Sydney got lots of neat stuff. Some of it distracted her during present opening, some of it didn't. She was running between the four of us as we all took turns opening presents. She would pull tissue paper out of gift bags or help rip wrapping paper off presents.

Sydney Helps Mommy

Toward the end of opening presents Sydney had a little bit of sensory overload, but really handled things well for the most part. Here's a list of what she got for Christmas:

Tickle Me Elmo
Imaginext Dragon
Dragon's Merry Christmas
Stuffed Bear and Toys R Us gift card
Small basket with candy
Elmo chair
Favorite Children's Songs CDs
Shrek DVD
My Very First Mother Goose book
Striped turtleneck (pink colors)
12" Stuffed Cookie Monster
Crayola Color Wonder Finger Paints
The Rooster Crows book
Hair clips
Small mug ornament
Robe - personalized and embroidered
Little People Dump Truck
See 'n Say
Snuggle Time Pals Little Learner
Follow Elmo book
Coloring book
Snuggle Up Little One book
Snoopy's Story Box board books
The Little Mermaid DVD
Wooden puzzle
P.D. Eastman board books (Big Dog... Little Dog; I'll Teach My Dog A Lot Of Words; Go, Dog, Go; Are You My Mother)
Water Wheel Play Table

Sydneys Loot

I did forget to move Sydney's dragon into the picture. She got it the night before from "Aunt" Jackie. So here's a picture of it.

Sydney Gets A Dragon

Anne and I got lots of great presents, too.

Anne's stuff:

Hot Dip Dish
Crystal glass nail file
The Fourth Bear
A cookbook
Snoopy mug with candy and a stuffed Snoopy in it
Cookie cutter set
Daughter Darling CD
The Lake House DVD
Anchors Aweigh DVD
Muse CD
Shrek 2 Soundtrack CD
Revlon Spa Spinning Shower Brush
Conair Ion Shine Instant Heat Hair Setters
Chafing Dish
Emerson 3 CD Stereo System
Flavored hot chocolates tin
See's Candies molasses chips
Lifesavers, Nerds and Hubba Bubba storybooks
Pyrex custard cups
The Da Vinci Code DVD
Two colanders (one plastic and one metal)
Bambu utensils
Small picture magnet

My loot (yes, I get that from Calvin & Hobbes) was:

Redskins mug
Redskins calendar
Robot Chicken DVD
Zombie Survival Guide book
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
World War Z book
Weird Al Yankovic: Live! DVD
Looney Toons Golden Collection Volume 4 DVD
Homer Simpson Talking Clock
Weird Al Yankovic: Ultimate Video Collection DVD
Bart Simpson's Guide to Life book
The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer book
The Simpsons Uncensored Family Album book
Long-sleeved t-shirt
Maroon sweater
The Lord of the Rings: Symphony No. 1 CD
flat flashlight
Work gloves
Trader Joe's Belgian Chocolate bars
Snickers nutcracker candies
Pearls Before Swine desk calendar
Star Wars M&M tin
Simpsons Talking Magic 8-Ball
Homer Simpson t-shirt

We also got some items collectively for the family:

A subscription to Reader's Digest
Movie tickets and Mike & Ikes
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest DVD
Hooter's Hot Wings set
Lots and lots (and lots) of Christmas cookies

There are also a few items we're still waiting on that are on back-order or are pre-ordered and not available until just after the first of the year. There are also a couple gifts coming in the mail (and going out in the mail) because Aunt Marta couldn't come. She was in the middle of a cold plus the mountain passes over from Seattle were expecting lots of snow that would have made the trip both ways difficult.

As I mentioned, Sydney had a little bit of sensory overload toward the end. That's too bad since we saved the Tickle Me Elmo for last. I didn't take any pictures of it in action but I did get it on video. Sydney liked it at first. He started laughing and she thought it was funny. But she didn't quite understand why he kept moving and falling over while she was trying to grab him to hug him. After a few times she got a little frustrated with it. But overall I think Tickle Me Elmo was a positive for her and will be fun in the future.

Sydney likes grabbing the remote control. Despite being told no this is one of those things that she will not listen to us about. At least not for very long. The other day I got a little tired of her whining after I took the remote away from her. So I took the old TV remote that we never use anymore and took the batteries out of it. I gave that to her to play with. I think she's becoming a natural with it.

After all the presents were opened and we had a good egg dish breakfast (a giant omelet-like recipe that Anne made up). Sydney was hungry again and ate a ton of it, too. As we cleaned up and organized things Sydney got to watch Sesame Street.

Sydney In Her Chair

Anne took this picture, but I believe this is at the beginning of the "Elmo's World" portion of Sesame Street. Sydney is seen here dancing while sitting in her chair. She has her play remote raised above her head.

There are several more pictures over at my PictureTrail page. I don't think Grandma's can complain much. (If they wait for the post to be completed all the way, at least.)

We send our love to everyone and hope you had a great Christmas, too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Untitled Update

I figured I would post an update before Christmas. Sydney has been doing a lot of cute things lately and I thought I'd share. In fact, my friend Beth made a blog post the other day about some things two of her children are doing and I laughed because they are so similar to what Sydney is doing. In fact, Beth's daughter is about a month older than Sydney. Her son she wrote about is, I think, five. I'm not sure. (Sorry, Beth.)

Sydney has always been a little apprehensive about the telephone. She never really liked it, probably because of the strange voices coming out of it when it was held up to her ear. But that's just a guess.

She generally has the run of our bedroom and bathroom while I'm getting ready for work. There's not an easy way to keep her contained in a smaller area. And she's only taking one nap per day now and that's usually shortly after I leave for work.

She likes to get into drawers, but she's very good about boundaries. She may cross them sometimes, but not often and more out of curiosity than any malicious intent.

The other day she opened the drawer of my nightstand while I was in the shower. There's not much exciting in there, so there was no harm done. I keep some dress socks in there that I don't wear anymore. (They matched suits that I don't wear and am pretty sure I wouldn't fit in anymore.) She likes playing with socks so she had some of those pulled out and on the floor.

She also found a little massager that was in the drawer. It's about 3-4 inches long and about as big around as a quarter. It's just about big enough to put a AA battery in and have the massage portion at the end. It's for spot massaging a tight muscle. I got a=it as a gift a few years ago.

Anyway, she was carrying that around with her when I got out of the shower. Every once in a while she would hold it up to her ear and babble. Like she was on the phone. When I asked her what she had she said, "call," and reached it out to me. When I asked if the call was for me and reached for it she pulled it back and "talked" on it again.

She did this for a couple days running. Then on Wednesday I got out of the shower and there was no sign she had been in the drawer. I asked her is she had a call and got a "no!" When I finished getting ready for work I asked if she was ready to go downstairs.

Sydney suddenly got a look of realization on her face and said, "call." She hustled over to the nightstand and took her "phone" out. She held it to her ear and babbled for about five seconds. She then put it back, closed the drawer and came over to me, ready to go downstairs.

Sydney also has a drawer in the bathroom she gets to play in. It's the middle drawer and it's just at the right height for her to open and be able to look in and reach in. It's where Mommy keeps her brush and all of her scrunchies, barrettes, and whatnot for her hair. Sydney likes to play with these and usually puts them back when she done.

Sydney's hair is getting long enough now that we can put a clip in the top of it and give her a ponytail off the top of her head. She likes to pull out a particular clip and hand it to us so we can do that. (It's just a long silver clip, but one of the few in the drawer that can hold the wispy, thin hair she has.)

When I'm getting dressed Sydney likes to be put up on our bed. She's obviously mobile enough now that we don't let her up there if we're not available for immediate supervision and help getting down. But she enjoys being there and has a little game she plays with me.

I sit on the end of the bed to put my socks on and to button up my shirt. Sydney will come over to me and reach out. She puts her hand on my shoulder or my stomach/side (sometimes, though rarely, on my cheek) and gives a gentle push. I fall backward with an exclamation. Sydney then gets upright on her knees, makes a similar exclamation and falls over backward. I then reach over and tickle her and sit up. She repeats the same thing again.

Sometimes she doesn't think about it while I'm sitting there. On those days I'll usually say something along the lines of, "I sure do hope I don't get pushed over while I'm trying to button my shirt/put my socks on." She then giggles and commences the game.

Sydney likes to color. She likes to scribble with her crayons on just about any paper we put in front of her.

Sometimes, though, we have to use the computer when Sydney is around. There aren't any crayons in the office and not a whole lot for her to play with. During those times she will walk over to the desk and grab one of the pens we have sitting here. She will then scribble on just about any piece of paper she can get her hands on.

The crayons she is very good about. For the most part they stay at her little table we have set up. She rarely ever tries to take them away from there (anymore). The pens, though, are a different matter. Once she has one she doesn't like to give it up. (Well, she will if she wants to. She'll bring a pen over to the desk and trade it for another one.) She frequently tries to take the pen with her when we're done in the office despite being told they don't leave the office. She will sometimes head into the office when we come upstairs just to grab a pen she can play with while upstairs.

Sydney has at least one of her final two teeth coming in. One of her top back molars is coming through. Anne couldn't get a good look at the other side tonight to see about that one.

It snowed Wednesday night. When Sydney woke up this morning and we walked into the hall she saw the snow out the window above the stairs.

"Snow. Like snow!" Direct quote. (Though I suppose the "like" could have been meant to be a "look.")

Update next week with a report on Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Love You, Aunt Carrie

First things first. Picture!

Sydney Wears Daddys Hat

As I've written before, Sydney likes to take my hat when I wear one. Sometimes she'll put it on. Sometimes she'll put it back on me. Sometimes a combination of those. Sometimes she plays with it and then throws it on the floor.

Last time I took pictures of her with my hat on she didn't have it on backward. I've been meaning to get a picture of that since even before those pictures were taken. She is just so darn cute when she has my hat on backward. (She is all the time, but even more so then.)

I contacted my Aunt Carrie a little over a week ago. I wanted to make sure her Amazon wishlist was up to date for Christmas present buying reasons. Her reply was to politely decline having us buy her a Christmas present. She preferred, instead, that we spend a little extra money on an extra present for Sydney. She said she would be more than happy if I made my next blog post my gift to her.

Aunt Carrie takes care of several elderly rescue animals. Most of her income goes to covering the needs of the animals she cares for so she won't be doing much in the way of buying Christmas presents this year.

That is a wonderful thing and I am more than happy to oblige by making this post for my Aunt Carrie. And all her animals.

Griffin On The Couch

That's one of her animals, Griffin.

Sydney turned 20 months old last week. Anne and I both concur that we now have a two year old on our hands.

Sydney likes to tell us "no" a lot. Not in a bad way, but in a two year old way. If she doesn't want something done she let's us know. Anne used to be able to sing around the house. But now more often than not Sydney let's her know that it is not okay. "No, no, no, no, no."

On Sunday we were washing the quilt we have spread on her bedroom floor to put her on to change her. It was still in the dryer when I took her to bed so I had to grab another blanket to put on the floor. She let me know she didn't like that. "No, no, no, no, no," she said as she came over and tried to grab it out of my hand.

It's not always "no," though. Sometimes she says "yes" (or "kay") just to be contrary. Or sometimes just to answer even if she's not really sure what we're asking.

She still doesn't talk a whole lot. I think she's a little embarrassed about talking. Sometimes she come out with a word and say it a couple times, but will then clam up and not say it again. One day when I was changing her diaper she grabbed her foot. "Toes." I gave her a smile and affirmative and repeated it. She said it again and we repeated it back and forth several times. I'm not sure she's said it since even though we've tried to get her to.

She knows a lot of her body parts but doesn't seem to want to say them.

She is pretty open about animal sounds, though. She knows what a cat, dog, cow and pig say. There might be one or two others that escape me at the moment. And though she will generally say them if we ask her (at least right now - that may be a different matter by tomorrow) she will act embarrassed by putting her hand to her mouth and shying her head to the side.

Sydney's walking is progressing. She will frequently walk around now. I think moving around on her knees is still more natural to her. Sometimes if we're going somewhere (like from the living room to go upstairs) and she's on her knees I'll ask her if she will walk. Usually she'll stop and get to her feet.

She still likes to dance by bouncing around on her knees. She has tried once or twice on her feet, though. That dancing is more a step-and-shuffle to the side and she goes around in a circle (about two feet in diameter).

Sydney knows who Elmo is and loves him. Every time she's him in some form in a store or while we're out she'll point and squeal. She has a little miniature Elmo doll I bought in the airport on our way home from Michigan. He is usually taken in the car. She also has an Elmo cell phone my buddy Vic and his wife Kim bought for her when they met her in Michigan.

So I am happy to report that Sydney will be getting a Tickle Me Elmo this year for Christmas. Laura, a wonderful lady I work with (she's the one who gave us the giant teddy bear), happened to find a TMX (Tickle Me 10 - this is the tenth year of the toy) Elmo at Wal-Mart early one morning while shopping and picked it up for me. That was about a month ago. And, strangely enough, as hard as TMX Elmo is to find, last week Sydney and I went shopping at Target. I just randomly went down the toy aisles (no real reason because we've had Sydney's shopping done for some time) and there were SEVEN! Elmos sitting on the shelf. I grabbed two for ladies I work with who wanted them for their grandkids.

Anyway, TMX Elmo is very interesting. I'm guessing Sydney will like him very much. At least until he starts actually laughing and falling over. At that point all bets are off. But I will have the video camera rolling either way.

I'm now going to close out this post by letting Sydney send her love to Aunt Carrie.

Sydney Loves Aunt Carrie