Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

Avery's milestones and highlights in 2009:
  • In August Avery got her first quad cane, and can now walk independently with it on a smooth, familiar surface.
  • Since moving into our new home in June Avery has mastered the skill of standing on a footstool at the sink to wash her hands and brush her teeth.
  • She no longer needs any help brushing her teeth, and stopped swallowing the toothpaste in about June :)
  • Since January Avery has been wearing underwear to bed every night, and she hasn't had an accident since the first week.
  • In April or May Avery started being able to go from kneeling to standing without using any props. Most of the time :)
  • By the beginning of June, Avery was able to stand and balance entirely independently for up to 7 minutes.
  • Also by the beginning of June Avery was able to take up to 8 or 9 completely independent steps!!!
  • Then she had shunt problems and was in the hospital for two weeks, and while she has gained back most of the progress she had made, she still cannot stand independently for more than a minute, and she can't take more than 1 or 2 steps.
  • That being said, she has made huge advances with her quad cane. 2 days ago we went to Walmart, and she walked around the whole store holding the cane in her left hand and the side of the shopping cart in her right hand for probably almost 45 minutes!
  • In June or July Avery started drawing rudimentary faces.
  • Since October Avery has been able to write her own name with absolutely no help. Sometimes it's backwards, and sometimes the E has about 8 prongs, but it's always recognisible :)
  • In addition to heads, eyes, nose and mouth, Avery's drawn people now often have hair, arms, legs, feet, toes, bodies, ears, and sometimes even tongues, cheeks and chins!
  • Yesterday she drew a picture of a cat and then wrote "CAT" with no help, not even with spelling. She can also spell and write "MOM" all by herself.

Brogan's transition from babyhood to toddlerhood:
  • Brogan got his first tooth at the end of April, the exact same age as Avery was when she got her first tooth.
  • Brogan is the slowest teether I have ever known - he's been working on his first molar since August, and it now has 2 spikes out. He has 8 teeth, 4 half teeth (partially exposed molars) and 2 quarter teeth (swollen red gums where his "eye" teeth will come in)!
  • Brogan's been a strong independent sitter since February
  • He's been crawling since the beginning of May.
  • He figured out how to crawl up stairs the day we moved into our new home in May!
  • He started consistently pulling up to stand in June (mostly in bed when he should have been sleeping....)
  • He took his first independent steps a week before his first birthday. 5 or 6 of them. And then he stood up and took 5 or 6 more steps!
  • He has preferred walking to crawling since September.
  • He started jumping some time in November.
  • This week he let me hold his hand while we were walking for the first time!
  • Brogan has yet to experience any kind of separation anxiety! He loves people! The more the merrier, and who cares whether either one of his parents are there as long as there are some boys to play with! Unless of course he's tired :)
  • Brogan has been waving bye bye for a few months, but he's been doing it consistently, and with the same sound "Bah" for about a month or so.
  • He also says "Muh" while waving his cup for "More juice please"
  • Other than that he speaks his own special language. I don't think he realises that no one can understand him :)
  • He's been blowing kisses for about a month.

There are many more things that I should really add to these lists, but it is now past midnight and officially 2010!!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


When I was growing up we had a nativity set which was made by my Grandma. I can't remember ever having a Christmas without it, and I always loved it!
Since we've been married we haven't really had a nativity set.
Well, when my cousins came over to visit in October they brought with them a bag full of wrapped Christmas presents from my Grandma, each one labelled with a date to be opened, the last one to be opened on Christmas Day.
Well, I had a feeling I might know what it was, and I was so excited!!!
So, for the 10 days leading up to Christmas we opened one present each morning, and it was exactly what I was hoping it would be!! On Christmas morning we opened the last present, which was a beautiful little baby Jesus in a manger, and our Nativity set was complete!

I can't tell you how excited I am to have this wonderfully nostalgic Nativity set! It brings back so many memories of the magic of my childhood Christmases, and I'm so happy that my children will grow up with the same set :)
My Grandma is amazing :) I don't know how many long hours she must have spent making this beautiful set, but I know that a few of my cousins also received their own sets this year! Thank you to my Grandma for giving us the perfect gift!
By the way, my cousin's little girl is the one who came up with "Knitivity" as they were opening their set - isn't that cute??
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day

My Christmas day started at about 6:15 when Brogan woke up early. I took a bottle of milk through to him and left, hoping he would go back to sleep for a while because I thought Avery would probably sleep in a little since she went to bed a little late. I went back to bed and couldn't sleep because I was so excited for Avery to wake up!!! Luckily she didn't sleep much later than normal, so by about 7:15 we were all sitting on our bed with our stockings :)

Opening stocking presents :)

Gabe got up to go to the bathroom, and Brogan followed him out into the hall, but then spotted the car down by the tree and was down there like a shot, so by the time Gabe came out of the bathroom Brogan was already in the car :) It was love at first sight :) Then Avery and I came downstairs, and you can see the excitement on her face as she spots the car from the top of the stairs!! Brogan wasn't at all ready to share, so we had some tears when it was Avery's turn :(

Once Avery was in the car she did not want to get out!!! We decided to open all the presents from Santa before breakfast, and Avery opened hers while sitting in the car :)

As much as she loved the car though, she was much more willing and able to let Brogan have his turn without whining or crying :)
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Santa brought us a super cool remote controlled car! It really is very fun - I've been playing with it a lot! Brogan was fascinated!

Avery was excited about it too! Every time it got close to her she would squeal and scream! Partly out of fear I think, but mostly out of excitement :)

Then Avery had a turn... you can see how excited she was!

It's a little tricky to control though, so this is her running away from it as she accidentally drives it towards herself :)
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Then it was time for breakfast! Of course, Santa brought us cereal so that was our breakfast! No time for anything fancy when there are presents to be opened! Hehe! Avery chose Trix, and poured them into her bowl all by herself... she poured about 15 of them into her bowl and that was all she wanted!! I suppose she was ain a rush to get back to the serious business of present opening :)

Once we got back to the tree, we were having such a great time opening presents and playing with new toys that I completely forgot to take any pictures! I don't have a single one! But it was fun. Almost every time we asked Avery if she was ready to open another present, she would sigh and say, "Oh no, I'm still playing with this one", so we'd have to tell her that she could play open a present at the same time and then she'd happily open another one! As she carefully ripped off the paper she would say, "Oh what is it? What is it???!!" She played with all the toys as she opened them, but when it was clothes she would just throw them back to me and get back to the toys, which is why it was funny at the end when I asked her which was her favourite present and she replied, "Umm...the shirts"!! Haha!

Brogan found the whole thing absolutely exhausting! So when we sat down to watch Up (one of Gabe's presents), he climbed up onto the couch and lay on Gabe.

At 4pm we went over to the McConnells' house for a potluck meal and get together. We had delicious ham rolls and dip and chips and cheesy potato stuff, and far too much sweet chocolatey goodness! All the children a lot of fun playing together, but of course with the combination of excitement and sugar, there was crying from one child or another every few minutes too! But nothing that a little bit of chocolate couldn't fix :) Avery wanted to "Run and chase the kids in the house like the other kids", so Gabe and I took it in turns to hold her hands and help her run around chasing :) Brogan again loved having big boys and girls to play with and follow around!

A daddy-daughter bonding moment over transformers.... :)

Avery hugging my leg. I thought it was a cute picture :)
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A split second before this photo was taken Andy was sitting on Gabe's lap...!
Gabe and Andy have both recently got new phones, and every time they see each other they both have some fun new application to show the other one, and Andy had just found one that he was so excited about that he just had to show Gabe, and since I was sitting next to him the only option he had was Gabe's lap!! For some reason he was on his feet quick as lightening the second he saw the camera in my hand...... :D

Sweet little baby Pheobe. So cute! t's been so long since I've had a sleeping baby in my arms! I can count on one hand the number of times Brogan has ever fallen asleep in my arms.... he was even less of a cuddling fan as a baby than he is now!

Two days of excitement really took its toll on this sweet little boy! When Gabe took him to put his shoes on he just collapsed on the couch and couldn't muster up the energy to sit up again for several minutes!

Evidence that my children actually do know how to play nicely together :)
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Avery played with this Elmo for about 10 minutes before we left, and learnt the whole song in that time :) It was pretty cute :)
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All in all, it was one pretty perfect Christmas!! Of course, it would be lovely to have family and cousins nearby so that we could spend some time with extended family over the holidays, but it was still such a fun Christmas, and I just think that it's just going to get more and more fun every year as the children get older. I love it. And it is lovely to have such good friends nearby to stand in place of family a little bit :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve

We spent a lovely relaxed morning together at home, and then had a super fun afternoon and Christmas Eve dinner at our friends the Dubyks' house.

The only thing I had to make for Christmas Eve dinner was the bread! Avery kept me company while I worked in the kitchen. She is definitely technology-savvy - Gabe has a Droid phone and Avery knows how to find and play all her favourite games all by herself. So she sat (crossing her legs beautifully, I might add!) on our lovely new kitchen counter-top and played games while I made the bread rolls :)

Once we were at the Dubyks' house, Brogan had so much fun playing with some bigger boys who could handle a lot more rough-housing than Avery :)

The food was delicious and I don't think I was the only one who ate too much ;)

Avery of course preferred mostly to play by herself...
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...although she did enjoy a little bit of time playing with her friends :)

The little ones made sugar cookies for Santa...some lost interest a little earlier than the others when the Daddies started playing video games, and then we lost all of them once Gabe pulled out the remote controlled helicopter!

All the children got to open their Christmas Eve present...and they all got pajamas! Brogan was more interested in Jack and Alex's presents...they had bows :)

Avery got a whole "Snoofy" pajama set complete with slippers, hairbrush and sleeping mask!
A little surprisingly, she loved the sleeping mask!

I knew she would love the Snoopy PJs - she's been into Charlie Brown since we pulled out the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas DVDs :)
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The party from Avery's perspective :)

Then we tried to get a picture of all the little ones wearing their new pajamas together...
A little unsurprisingly, we discovered it was practically impossible to get 5 children ages 3 and under to all sit together on the couch long enough to get a picture!
Finally we sang a song (Christmas bells are ringing) and I managed to get just one single picture where they were all sitting still :)

Jon read the Christmas story from Luke, and then we all went home :)
Brogan was exhausted after all the excitement of having 3 big boys to play with all day, so he was fast asleep long before we got home, so Avery was the only one to sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn:

Once Avery was in bed, we read her The Night Before Christmas and said goodnight to a very excited little girl :)

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Sunday, December 20, 2009


I don't remember ever seeing enough snow to build an entire igloo! But yesterday that is what Gabe did for Avery :)

She liked it. A lot! :)

Gabe was hoping that he might be able to build it tall enough to have the entire lamppost inside so that there would be light inside :)

But it is still pretty huge!
Avery was especially excited about it because there is an episode of Kipper (which she watches via netflix on our xbox) where Kipper builds an igloo, and she likes to pretend that she's building igloos, so it was so exciting for her to see a real one :)

Brogan wasn't such a big fan. He liked stomping about in it for the first few minutes when we went out in it on Friday afternoon and it was about 5 or 6 inches deep, but then he fell and left a perfect little face print in the snow, and now he hates it!!
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Saturday, December 19, 2009


The night before...

...the morning after!

Avery sitting on top of the mountain of snow shoveled off the driveway by Gabe.

Avery getting to work on cleaning all the snow off the car :)
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