Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Decorating Cookies

Jan and I decided to decorate cookies with the kids again this year.  The kids always have so much fun, and the moms do too.  I have just a few pictures, but you can check out Jan's blog for more pictures.

John actually decorated cookies this year, instead of just eating them.

This was early on in the decorating process...you can still see the table.

What a mess!
The kids all had a great time and the moms actually got some baking done too.

9 Months Old

I say this every time, but I just can't believe how fast the time has flown bye.  August loves exploring new things and getting into his brother's toys.  For the most part, John handles this very well.  If he doesn't, Gus will scream bloody murder until I come into the room and then John tells me honestly why Gus is crying.  I love that John is still so honest about this.

Gus has been sleeping through the night for a couple of months now and I'm so happy.  I really don't do well with little sleep.  Gus crawls like a madman and is cruising all of the furniture.  He will even let go for a few seconds, so we'll see if he begins to walk in the next month or so.  His favorite past time now is getting into the toilet paper and (skip this next part if you get grossed out easily), trying to put his hand in the path of John's pee stream.  Gross huh?  That's a boy for you.  When you only have one kid it is a lot easier to keep the doors to certain rooms closed.  We are constantly having to remind John to close the door when he goes to the bathroom and when he leaves.  Needless to say, Gus gets his hands washed about 1,000 times a day.

Gus just loves, loves food.  I think the reason I had such a hard time in the beginning is because he hated baby food...who wouldn't?  When I was gathering pictures for the post, I had a hard time finding ones where he wasn't eating.  I can't really say if that is because he is constantly eating, or if that is just the only time he is still enough to photograph.  I will say that when it comes to meat, he eats WAY more than his brother.  But, John is still my better vegetable eater.

We went to the doctor today, and Gus weighs 22 pounds and is 29 inches long.  We just love our happy, growing boy.

I took this picture to show the bruise under his left eye.  In a matter of two days he fell onto the elliptical and then flat on his face as he was cruising from one piece of furniture to the other.  He was just fine, but I think his fair skin just can't hide any kind of discoloration.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hans' Birthday

We have been meaning to have a chocolate fountain party for about a year now and Hans thought his birthday was the perfect excuse.  I wasn't sure how many people would be able to come since most of our friends are other Pastor's families, but we actually had a great turnout.
John had to show everyone his presents.  The adults were in aww as to how many there were.
I love that Isaac was just standing the on the present.  He needed a little lift to see the other ornaments.
Dark chocolate.  You can't go wrong with dark chocolate.

Hans was very excited that the lefse his mom sent us made it in time.  He really couldn't wait to try it dipped in chocolate.

Hans got lots of cool things for his birthday.  His parents bought him a GPS which he has been playing with non-stop.  He also got some GPS accessories, a pull-up bar (yes, he will really use this), a beer pitcher and a griddle.
Hans decided he will never use his griddle to fry bacon again, as he kept getting splashed by the grease.  It's great for pancakes though.

The Tales of John

I'm pretty sure that people who don't believe in guardian angels have never had kids.  Don't ask me why, but shortly after we moved to Denver we bought a coffee table and matching end tables off of craigslist that have glass table tops.  I really thought it would be fine since they were in the living room and we spend the majority of our time in the family room.  But lately John has been leaning, laying and climbing all over the coffee table.  We've told him repeatedly not to mess with the table, but he is three and, as he tells me all the time, he has wax in his ears.  Yesterday, John and Gus were playing under the dining room table and I was folding clothes in another room.  I could hear the boys giggling and laughing and then all of a sudden I heard a loud crash and both the boys screaming.  As I was running to find them, I thought they had pulled the Christmas tree down, but when turned the corner I found John standing through the table with broken glass all around him.  Gus was sitting about 2 feet away with glass around him as well.  Luckily, John and Gus did not move and I managed to get them both out of the room without any bloodshed.  Simply amazing.  The whole ordeal scared John and he was crying hysterically for awhile.  After about 5 minutes I realized he wasn't crying because he was hurt, he was crying because he felt bad that he broke my table...how can you get mad when they feel so bad?  I did sit John down and explain that this was the reason he told him not to sit on the table.  He started to get really upset again and said, "But Mom, I wasn't sitting on the table.  I was jumping on it."  All to soon he will learn to lie or at least polish the truth about things like this.

John came to see the Christmas program at the preschool where I teach and he really seemed to grab onto baby Jesus.  He talks about baby Jesus all the time and loved learning Away in a Manger.  Today, he balled up his blanket and rocked it back and forth in his arms and started singing Rock a Bye Baby.  He disappeared into his room and came out a few minutes later and told me I had to be very quiet because baby Jesus Christ was sleeping.  We went to check on Jesus later and I saw that John had tucked the baby nicely in his bed.  He even put a pillow next to the baby so he wouldn't roll off the bed.  What a sweetie.

Today John was yelling at me from the bathroom that he needed help.  I must not have heard him the first few times he called so he yelled louder.  After I helped him out he said, "Mom, I really don't like yelling at you.  If you would just listen to me I wouldn't have to do that."  This is evidence he actually hears me when I say this to him 300 times a day.  Now, if he would just take his own advice.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Of course we didn't get our Christmas cards out in time.  Every year we have high hopes of getting them completed and mailed and it never happens...maybe next year.

Feel free to print this up if you really want something to hold :)

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Decorating the Tree

We actually got our tree a couple of weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to looking at the pictures.  John was very excited about getting a tree this year and he wanted to pick it out with Hans.  Hans, who is very picky about his Christmas tree, was glad to have John help him out.  But this would be a time when Hans actually tuckered John out.  Our poor boy actually fell asleep in the car after looking at two or three places, so Hans picked the tree out himself...maybe next year we will go in the mountains and cut down our own tree.

This is before any of the real decorating was done.

John loved putting on ornaments.  After he went to bed, I had to move some around as they were all piled on one section of the tree.

We even let John put the star on the tree...but I'm not sure he totally grasped that concept...
because this is how it ended up.

Yep, I have an ornament shaped like Texas.

This is John's favorite ornament.  He kept telling me it was the perfect size to go in his room.  After finding him with it in his room several times, I finally moved it higher up on the tree.


The progression of presents

These were the presents we already had wrapped or were sent by family the day we got the tree.  And, yes, I know I'm crazy for putting them under the tree so early.  The boys are actually doing very well avoiding temptation.

This picture was taken just a week later, when I finished wrapping and grandparents finished sending gifts.  Pretty ridiculous, huh?  What you can't see in the picture is there are actually a good number of presents sitting behind the tree.  Christmas day should be fun.

I said before the boys were good about avoiding the presents.  All but this one.  This present came with a big shiny bronze bow.  It was a really cool looking bow, so cool in fact that Gus couldn't keep his hands off of it.  He managed to tear the bow to shreds and still goes after the tiny piece stuck to the paper.  Your bow was a hit Grandma!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love...these are words I have been thinking about a lot lately.  My life has been richly blessed to be a small part of a sweet little boys life.  I have only known this boy for a short time, but however short the time has been, its been long enough for him to pull at my heart strings.  This boy is in a very sad situation.  I don't have, and don't want to have, all of the details, because what I know already makes me cry.  This little boy and his older sister are in foster care and have been since one of their parents was arrested last Christmas eve.  Since January they have been in four homes.  When I first heard about this boy and the fact that he'd been in 3 other homes, I was a little nervous he would be unmanageable.  Why does a small child get put into 4 foster homes in a year, unless he is unmanageable?  On the contrary, this little boy always has a smile on his face, is sweet, kind and listens just about as much as any other boy his age.  His sister, who had been in the dysfunctional home longer, has a few more issues and is rough around the edges.  I just heard that these two will now be placed in there 5th foster home this year.  Their current foster mother has agreed to keep them until Christmas, but after the 25th they will be placed in another home several hours from here.  To make the story even more heartbreaking, these children will also find out a few days before Christmas that their parent's parental rights have been terminated and they will no longer be allowed to see them.

What brings me to unconditional love is this; these kids need it and have never been shown the love parents should have for their children.  I write the "Tales of John" and I share the good, bad and funny moments of John.  There are days when I feel I've yelled at or spanked John all day.  On those days, I go to bed worried that all he will remember about his childhood is being in trouble.  But, I know he won't remember all of the "bad" times.  John, Gus and any other children we will be blessed to have will  know that, no matter what they do, we will always love them.  What this little boy and his sister have been shown virtually their whole life is that someone will love them and care for them as long as they aren't too much trouble.  I'm told that the older sister also suffers from detachment disorder.  She hasn't always been honest and she's even gotten suspended from school.  She also hasn't connected with any of her foster parents...but can you blame her?  Throughout her life she has been let down by pretty much every adult she's come into contact with.  Her parents were horrible parents, but she loved them, children are wonderful givers of unconditional love.  This is one thing we could all learn how to do properly from children.  She was part of a very dysfunctional family for 7 years or so and then taken from everything she ever knew.  Even though she was being put into a safer and better environment, she didn't welcome it with open arms.  I'm not sure if the first couple of foster families thought she would be grateful for rescuing her from all of the horrible stuff, but that is not how kids, or anyone for that matter, work.  Her little brother has just been dragged with her from place to place.  I'm pretty sure everyone would have kept him, if he didn't come with her.  He has adapted well where ever he's been.  He loves and misses his parents, but he has also grown to love everyone he's come in contact with.

I know there are situations like this everywhere.  I know that there are situations far worse.  But, this is the situation in front of me now.  These are the children whose faces  I see and whose story I know. I'm saddened every time I hear how this little boys sister has misbehaved and how the foster mother just can't handle her.  This little girl's parents have done horrible things and subsequently formed her into what she is now.  I understand that she may be a really hard kid to handle, but someone has to love her.  Someone has to be able to look her in the eye and tell her that no matter what she does they will always love her.  I get teary eyed as I think about the fact that it seems everyone has given up on her and will just continue to transfer her from home to home until she ages out of the system.  I pray for these two children and many others every night that they will some day enter the home of someone who will love them unconditionally.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Disney on Ice

On Friday I was able to take John to Disney on Ice with the Lutheran preschool where I work.  John had seen billboards around town and, for about a month, he has been asking to see Tinker Bell.  He loves Tinker Bell.  He even found a pair of angel wings at church, put them on, and then ran around saying he was Tinker Bell.  Hans isn't too happy about this, so we are trying to get him to say he is Clank, one of the 'dude' fairies.

Back to the show...The first half consisted of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Cars, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.

Waiting for the show to start.

Mickey and Minnie!

Mater.  John even got a Mater hat.

The Cars.  John could probably tell you all of their names.

The second half of the show was all about Tinker Bell.  John had been eating during intermission and when the lights went down and he saw who was on stage he handed me the sandwich and said, "I just can't eat right now, Mommy."  He stayed glued to the stage the whole time.  He even started reciting the dialogue word for word!


We had a wonderful time and on the way home John said he wanted to go back again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Tales of John

-John has an imaginary friend named Oso.  I believe Oso is based off of a cartoon character who is some sort of special agent.  Oso is 3, 9 or 28 depending on when you ask John.  Oso is a rather funny character.  I love listening to John talk to Oso.
The other night we were putting John to bed and I asked where Oso was.  "He's downstairs," John said.  I told him I thought Oso should go to bed too and asked if he wanted to sleep in the same bed as John.  John looked at me like I just asked the stupidest question and said "no".  When I asked why he said, "because Oso is 3 years old and he doesn't want to sleep with me."

A couple of days ago I was putting Gus down for a nap and John was in the bedroom, sitting on the bed, looking intently at a pillow that was leaning against the wall.  I told John he needed to go downstairs because Gus was taking a nap and he said, "But Mommy, Oso and I are watching TV."  I told him he needed to continue playing down stairs and John got off the bed.  As he was walking out of the room he said, "What?  Oso, I don't know why they can't hear you."    Too funny.

-I found this part on the floor by the laundry sink.

I called John over and asked him if he knew where it came from. "Um, yes" he said, then he got on his hands and knees and looked under the sink "ummmmm".  Hans was standing right next to me and said there was no way John was going to remember where it came from.  We weren't even sure he was actually the one that put it there.  Just then John says, "Oh, right here"   pointing to the spot it goes.  "It twists right here with the pointy end up."  Sure enough that was where it went.

-I saw that SpongeBob: The Movie was on, so I quickly clicked on it and told John he could watch it.  I went into the kitchen to do dishes and John came into the kitchen and said, "Mom, I don't really speak Spanish."  I thought he was just talking nonsense, but then he said it again.  I went into the my room and found that I had put on the SpongeBob movie in Spanish.  I'm not sure how he knew it was Spanish, but he was right.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Catching Some ZZZs

I love when John insists he isn't tired and then falls asleep on the floor right next to me.

John and Oso -the imaginary friend- fell asleep in the Thomas tent.

John was originally sleeping on the floor.  When he woke up he saw Gus sleeping on Hans and needed to crawl in Hans' lap too.  They slept like this for over an hour.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crazy Gus

Well, Gus has taken after his dad and inherited lovely eczema.  The poor kid has it all over his head and neck so we are constantly putting on lotion.  He gets wild and crazy hair this way and now you can see how long it is.

Gus loves looking at himself in the mirror.

He also loves kissing himself.

The camera caught his attention for a second, and then he was back to kissing himself.
**Just ignore the dirty mirrors. John and Gus' slimy hands are always touching everything and I can only keep glass and mirrors clean for about 2 seconds.  This picture was not taken in those 2 seconds.**

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I finally got around to uploading my videos from the flip. I thought I'd share a couple.

I love when kids start copying people. John still thinks this is the funniest thing.

I've thought a couple of times that John has messed with the flip, but he has always denied it.  I started watching this video thinking Hans recorded playing some computer game with John and, to my surprise, it was John in action.  John came into the room while I was watching this and said, "I'm sorry Mommy, I won't touch it again."  John took seven videos on this particular day.  I wonder how long it will take him to learn how to delete videos to cover his tracks.

Discovering Edamame

As I've said before, Gus hates baby food.  I tried today to feed him yogurt and he won't even let me do that.  Gus does not want to be fed, he wants to do it himself.  This is evident by the fact that he clenched his lips shut when I tried to give him a spoonful of yogurt, but then he grabbed the spoon and tried to do it himself.  Gus wants to eat anything we eat.  John is learning that he can't leave anything on the floor or low table as Gus will crawl quickly to get his hands on the food.

The other day we were eating edamame.  We love edamame and it was actually one of John's first "big boy" vegetables.  Gus was very interested in these green beans and quickly grabbed up everything we gave him.

The coffee table is no longer safe.  Gus can not only pull himself up, but is also cruising all of the furniture.

When we didn't give him more fast enough, he tried to get them himself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Week

So, I'm a little behind.  I've been posting pretty regularly but those pictures have been on my camera or computer for awhile.  I just got these pictures off of my camera today and thought I'd better post now or Christmas would come and go before I got around to it.  I think Hans took all of these pictures after he fiddled with my camera for a few hours earlier in the day.  He is very particular about settings.  In his defense, we did buy an expensive camera and it should be used to the best of its ability.

We spent Thanksgiving day with the Melius family.  It seems we spend every holiday with the Meliuses.  We are very lucky to be in an area with several other young Lutheran Pastors and their families.  Hans and I don't remember having close relationships with other pastors' kids, so this arrangement is uncommon and very much appreciated.   You can also see some pictures on Jan's blog.

This is Gus enjoying his first feast.  He was getting fussy waiting for all of the food so we sat him down to eat about 15 minutes before the rest of us sat down.  Not to be left out, Gus was still eating when we all sat down and didn't demand to get out of his highchair until we were done.

 The kids all gathering around to look at the pictures Rebecca took.  She also took some movie clips and was making movies for all of the kids...this was a big hit.

Hans says there aren't enough pictures of me.  I think there are more than enough.  But, Jan also mentioned the fact that I wouldn't let her take a picture of me in her blog, so here you go.  I was watching Jan's former next door neighbor cut Jan's hair, trying to get some tips.  But I'm pretty sure Jan stays still for a haircut.  John and Gus don't know the meaning of still.

Yay, dessert.  Gus didn't get any dessert, but he was happy about watching everyone else eat it all up.

The day after Thanksgiving, Erika, Jason and their daughter Maren came to see us.  John wanted to hold Maren and Erika actually let him.  John is an old pro at holding babies since Gus has been born.  But Maren is a lot smaller than Gus was, since Gus was about the size of a toddler at birth, and Erika is a first-time mom.
John just sat there and loved on Maren and when she started to fuss he said, "Don't worry Maren, John's got you."  How sweet.

I love this picture because Maren looked pretty content being held by John, but isn't sure how she feels being held by Hans.