Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Wrap-Up

We had a hectic/crazy/wonderful trip to Long Island. Noelle had a blast and was a hit wherever she went (which was a lot of places!). We're comfortable relaxing at home and getting ready for the return to the norm on Monday. Here is a snapshot of our holiday visit.

 Modeling the latest bath/swim fashion

 Checking out her first set of wheels

 So many presents it's overwhelming!

 The best toy, of course, isn't a toy

 All dressed to go visit the relatives!

 I don't know about these birds

 Though, Grandpa seems to like them

 Dad gets all the 'chicks'

Ready to jump!

Finally, here is a short clip of Noelle playing with her new baby doll and stroller. She has her priorities straight =)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Swim Class

Belt buckles are hysterical, don't you think? 

After yesterday's day of travel, we're safely deposited on Long Island. The trip really couldn't have gone any better. Things were greatly improved when not only were Alex and I both upgraded to first class, but we got the bulk head first class seats. So, Noelle had a ton of room to play on the floor in front of our seats! Her favorite part of the trip, though, wasn't the first class seat, riding the train, or even the fancy food she got; it was the belt buckle on the plane seat! She cracked herself up for 10 minutes straight just opening and closing it!

Finally there - passed out!

Today Noelle had the special treat of meeting one of Alex's oldest friends, Andrew. She soaked up all of the attention she could get =)

Meeting Andrew and Tara

Grandma and Grandpa's house is full of wonderful surprises that have been keeping Noelle entertained and busy. The chair below is a big favorite... as are the signing stuffed-animals.

This chair is just right!

Nothing compares to the best thing of all, though; the pool! Noelle couldn't get enough of splashing around this afternoon. She'll turn into a little fish if we let her! What exciting surprises will Christmas bring?!?

I can swim by myself!

Father/daughter time =)

Swimming Video! (click on video to watch)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let There Be Clean!

The Monday of Thanksgiving weekend our clothes washer broke. Our new washer (and dryer, because, they have to match - yes, we fell victim to classical marketing) finally arrived on Thursday. We survived 18 days without a washer... with two dogs and a baby. Needless to say, a ton (literally) of laundry got done around here over the weekend! Here they, and Alex, are in action:

Alex almost doesn't mind laundry with a machine this high tech!

The silver lining in this temporary inconvenience was that the old washer broke on the last day of the Thanksgiving sales - so we got the new machines for 50% off!

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend. Unfortunately, poor Noelle had the flu. Our weekend was spent napping and cuddling indoors. A lot of Sesame St. was involved too! Here's my poor attempt at taking a picture of Noelle. She wouldn't let me put her down and our camera is big and unwieldy, it's the best I could do =)

Ugh, I do not like the flu!

With Noelle napping so much, Alex and I had time to make some Christmas cookies. Our first attempt at Russian tea cakes was a major fail. Apparently, melting the butter was a BIG mistake. The little balls all melted together in the oven.

Cookie FAIL

While Noelle and I were at Target, Alex re-did the tea cakes all by himself. We came home to beautiful sugary balls of goodness. The candy cane cookies are yummy too!

Mmmm, Christmas cookies!

It may be because she's sick, but, strangely, Noelle didn't want anything to do with the cookies. Really, she didn't want anything to do with food all weekend. I ended up wearing almost everything we got her to eat. Besides being permitted vast quantities of apple juice during her sickness, there was one other bright spot:

Yum, I'll eat this sucker, sure enough!

That's the happiest she was all weekend =)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daddy's Helper

The last 6 months we haven't been the most diligent renters... allowing our lack of watering and the dogs' digging to take a toll on the back yard. Huge dirt patches have developed. Often, this leads to muddy doggy paws which make a mess of the inside of the house as well! So, this past weekend we decided to uproot and reseed the back lawn.

By 'we' I mean 'Alex'. Oh, and Noelle helped. At first, she was more interested in playing with the dog's outdoor beds:

It's a mini-trampoline!

Soon, though, she was doing her part. 'Only' a few hours later, there was a wonderfully re-seeded back lawn. Now, of course, we'll be walking the dogs for the next month or so instead of just letting them out the back. It's worth it, though, to avoid cleaning the carpets over and over!
This shovel is just my size.

Look, I can carry the lid!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Farm

We had another fun-filled weekend around the Hayes' household. Really, every weekend should be four days long! Alex and Noelle had a good time with PlayDoh (yes, I bought it instead of made it). They even made a PlayDoh greyhound!
PlayDoh fun!

On Sunday, we headed over to a wonderful attraction in Tilden Park, Little Farm. Little Farm is exactly what it sounds like, a little farm =) I believe it's largely volunteer run. It's free to walk through and feed the animals (bring your own celery).

Unfortunately, we didn't get many animal pictures because we were busy bolstering Noelle's confidence - she was scared of most of the animals. It makes sense, from her perspective. She's so tiny and had never seen anything close to the size of a cow! So, we played it low-key and did a lot of watching from a distance. There was one animal Noelle did love, a chicken that was just her size. Noelle even reached out to pet it several times.

The not-so-scary chicken

On the way home we stopped by Trader Joe's and, more importantly, See's Candy. Noelle received a piece of chocolate and this is what she looked like when we got home:

More chocolate, please!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy turkey day to everyone! We hope you had wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations. Or, wonderful Thursdays, if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving! =)

We had a wonderful, low-key family Thanksgiving. The day started a little rough. Noelle was up (with Alex, thanks hubby!) at 5:30 am with some teething pain. By 8am, she looked like this:

Who says you can't sleep sitting up?

It was a bit of a rainy morning. We made the best of it, though, with some quality time at the park:

Rocking the track suit.
Can't get too much swinging!

We've already had two big turkey dinners this month. First, when my parents visited and second, at a friends house last Sunday. So, ready for a change of pace, our Thanksgiving this year was lasagna.

It just wouldn't be a holiday, though, without homemade pumpkin pie (thanks, Trader Joe's, for the easy directions!). Noelle looooves pumpkin pie. I think it just may have been her favorite part of the day!

Homemade pie and a silver fork, it doesn't get better then this =)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week with Mommy

Since Alex was out of town this past week, Noelle and I had another hectic/crazy/destructive/wonderful week together. As usual, household destruction was near the top of Noelle's to-do list.

The bathroom officially became Noelle's favorite room...

...though, this Lazy Susan isn't bad either!

Since Noelle's day care provider had a personal day on Thursday, we even had an extra day of mommy/daughter fun. Noelle accompanied me to the weekly Thursday lunch out with my co-workers... because a baby is just what everyone needs with their beer to unwind from the stressful work week =) My colleagues were good sports though, and Noelle dolled out the requisite amount of cuteness to make a mommy proud.

This evening we were graciously invited to an early Thanksgiving celebration at the home of one of Alex's colleagues. We took this opportunity to show off Noelle's new dress. How adorable is she in the dress/hat/shoes combo?!?

I couldn't be much cuter!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coat Weather and Sign Language

Finally enjoying her cool weather clothing!

It has finally gotten a little cooler in the Bay Area. I am not a fan of hot weather and am relishing the relief. Noelle is finally able to enjoy all of the cute little coats she has received! 

She was an especially big hit in her rain coat (left picture above). That picture is from Friday, when it rained all day on my day off with Noelle. We made the best of it, though. I took her to Target and let her walk up and down the aisles to her heart's content. I think she did her own little mini-marathon! We celebrated after with a yogurt (for her) and latte (for me).

Unfortunately, our long weekend was dragged down a bit by Noelle dealing with a double header; cold and teething. To add insult to injury, it was her lower molars giving her trouble (supposedly the worst?). She spent most of the weekend living it up in her jammies... and wrecking the bathroom, as usual.

I may be sick, but I can still have fun!

One wonderful turn of events this weekend, though, was Noelle's increasing use of signaling what she wants. The past few weeks she has gotten very good about asking to be picked up (raising her arms over her head) instead of just yelling at us. I know it's not much, but it's soooo nice to get the baby equivalent of 'please' in place of all that noise.

One of the babies at her daycare uses baby sign language. Clearly, his parents get a gold start... since Alex and I never bothered instilling this practice. Noelle, for her part, though, picked up the sign for "give me more, please". (Okay, I added the 'please'. I like to think I have a polite baby). Anyway, the gesture is bumping her little closed fists together, to signal that she would like something that she sees.

Even this one simple gesture has already made our lives much smoother. Gone, already, is the loud demanding when she wants another bite of what we're giving her, or the bottle she sees on the table. She just bumps her little fists together and, like magic, more of whatever she wants appears. She loves it. Of course, there are some limits to how well this little trick works. Ice cream got a lot of fist bumps; carrots, not so much =)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Early Thanksgiving and Christmas

 Grandma & Grandpa Brock

This year, we're heading to Long Island for the holidays. Of course, that doesn't mean baby girl gets any less celebrating with my side of the family. Instead, she received and early Thanksgiving and Christmas this weekend with her Grandma and Grandpa Brock.

Noelle focused on developing her present-opening ability; a very important childhood skill. Pretty soon she'll be an old pro at it =)

That's a lot of wrapping paper for one baby girl.

 Noelle, modeling some of her loot.

One of my favorite presents was a DVD of "The Snowman". I remember watching this VHS many, many times as a child; at the very least every Christmas. Here is Noelle enjoying her first Snowman experience with Grandpa.

Watching her first DVD, "The Snowman", with Grandpa

Alex and I received many wonderful presents as well; but none so good as free babysitting! We actually got dressed up and made it out for a wonderful dinner together. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!

Ready for our big dinner out sans baby girl.

No holiday weekend would be complete without a heavy emphasis on food. Noelle got to play with pumpkin seeds (from pumpkin pie making). It wasn't quite as fun as play-dough, but still entertaining. What I found funny was the huge change in Noelle since her first pumpkin experience last Halloween, when she was only 6 weeks old.

Halloween 2010 and 2011: She doesn't fit in the pumpkin anymore!

Noelle continued to do her part to keep the dairy industry alive and well by meeting her daily quota for cheese consumption. The rest of us overdid it as well, with our Thanksgiving/Christmas spread. It was a wonderful holiday weekend!


Thanksgiving/Christmas spread

Monday, October 31, 2011

First Halloween; Trick-or-Treat!

Thanks for bib, Grandma!
Noelle's first Halloween started off like any other day - with a hearty breakfast. Unfortunately, I then had to head off on a business trip. Alex was ready to be the designated batter for Halloween, though. Back in September he was already planning when he got Noelle her adorable Halloween costume:

Our Little Fairy
Now, just because Noelle can't eat candy yet don't suppose we would forgo trick-or-treating. Parents, after all, need candy too! Even the dogs got in on the Halloween fun:
Trick-or-Treat; "Family Style"
As usual, Noelle needed no convincing to go for the good stuff. She knows a golden opportunity when she sees it!

Getting an Early Start...
It didn't take long, however, for Noelle to wear out. It's hard work being so darn cute!
I'm Tired
Passed Out; Trick-or-Treating is Hard Work!