We had a little fun finding out the gender of our April baby. Our ultrasound tech coordinated with the local Party City to have a box filled with pink/blue balloons without letting us know which it would be (Alex had dropped the box off there ahead of time). Then Noelle made the big reveal for us!
Baby Sister or Baby Brother?
This was a ton of fun and definitely worth the slight delay in finding out. The best part was Noelle getting to announce it =) Now we're just eagerly awaiting baby's arrival!
The girls and I were flying solo this week until Alex got back from a conference late Saturday night. That didn't stop us from getting a ton of fun packed into the week, though!
Cora is learning to enjoy her full-fledged toddler status. She figured out that she can move her stool around to access previously out-of-reach items. Wonderful =)
I'll just help myself
With the winter temperatures and snow cover food pickings are become scarce and the local wildlife is getting creative. On several occasions the local band of turkeys invaded our yard to eat crab apples off the tree. It was pretty comical watching them hop up and down to snag the fruit =) Fortunately, for the turkeys, I noticed them before I let the dogs outside!
Crab apple buffet
Tuesday morning we hosted a cookie-decorating party. Pictured below are less then half of the participants; we had a very busy, fun-filled house!
Some cold and windy weather kept us inside, but we made the best of it.
Snacks on the couch; special treat =)
Between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon the girls and I went to three holiday parties. It was a whirlwind of sugar, fun, food, and craziness. Fortunately (for me) many people helped me keep track of the girls! Unfortunately, I was so busy with them I didn't get many pictures!
Enjoying the ride-on toys together
Whew, that was tiring!
This morning dad was back to share in the fun. Also, with the temperatures being a little warmer, we were able to make it outside for some snow play!
Ever since moving to Ithaca last December we have been going to the Sciencenter roughly once a week. One exhibit that we often play with is a set of wooden blocks designed to teach kids how arches work.
We must have tried to get this thing to stand on two dozen occasions and never succeeded; until yesterday, that is!
She is soooo proud!
It only stayed up for about 30 seconds but that was long enough to get Noelle's victory picture!
Side story: Explaining to Noelle that we have a new baby coming has lead to some pretty adorable toddler conversations. Here are a few cute examples =)
Talking to Cora last week:
Noelle: "Cora, we're getting a new baby! It's in mama's tummy right now, but it'll come out when it gets bigger!"
In bed this morning:
Me: "Ouch, honey, please don't sit on my stomach."
Noelle: "'Cause there's a baby in there?"
Me: "Yeah, it needs some room."
Noelle: "What name is it?"
Me: "We don't know the baby's name yet since we haven't found out if it's a boy or a girl. The Dr. can tell us soon."
Noelle: "Me no want a baby brother. Me want another sister like Cora!"
Aww, cute. Now she likes her sister. Originally, she thought getting a new baby meant we'd get it "once Cora got broken."! A few minutes later...
Noelle: "Does Daddy have a baby in his tummy, too?"
Back in August the girls and I went peach picking at Indian Creek Farm. We had such a great time there that this afternoon we all headed back for some apple picking with friends!
Heading out to the dwarf orchard
The dwarf orchard (short trees) was the obvious choice for us so the little girls could do most of the picking on their own.
Grabbing those apples
We were surprised by the huge variety of apples available; most of which I couldn't identify on sight. Before we knew it, we had loaded up with 14 lbs of apples! When we got home this evening we made a fantastic apple-medley apple crisp.
Chilling at the farm stand
The girls 'hanging out' together*
* We're very luck to have some friends with girls the same ages as ours; it makes social family outings very fun!
Cora, who has acquired the nickname 'Cora Belle', is at a crazy fun age. It is so great to see her personality starting to come out!Here are some of the wonderful things we have learned about Cora so far.
Happy playing by herself
Unless she is sick, hungry, dirty or tired, chances are Cora is off somewhere happily playing by herself. She crawls around, looks at books, plays with toys and just generally explores to her heart's content. It makes the quiet moments reading or playing with her all the more special because they are rare!
Almost never still
In-line with the happily playing, Cora is always on the move. Don't tell her that most kiddos her age are walking; the crawling isn't slowing her down!
Likes putting things in their place
She likes to play with manipulative toys right now, especially things that she can 'put away'. She'll happily unload/load a box of blocks over and over. The same goes for the ring toy in the video above. It seams she never tires of putting those rings on and taking them off.
Cora loves music
Honestly, I'll be a little surprised if any of our kids are musically inclined. It seems that Cora, though, has the best shot so far! This little girl loves to clap to music, move and 'shake-her-thing' like she's doing in the above video. One of the few times she has pitched a fit in public was when a guitar player we were listening to stopped playing. She can't seem to get enough of it =)
On Saturday we headed over to Iron Kettle Farm in Candor, NY, about 18 miles straight down the road from us, to get the girls some Halloween pumpkins. We had no idea what we were in for! If you're local to Ithaca, this place is definitely worth the drive out there.
Our simple 'pumpkin picking' outing turned into a huge fall-festival extravaganza! We couldn't believe how much there was to do at this place and how crazy crowded it was. I don't think we even did 50% of the activities. There was everything from small animal feeding to hayrides to haunted house.
Farmer at heart
Riding some 'Animals'
Kids for Sale!
After all of these activities, and many more, the kids were too wiped to go to the pumpkin patch part of the farm, ha. So, I'll be heading back there with the girls later this weeks so we can actually get our pumpkins =)
On Monday Noelle & Cora were sick and it was pouring rain; what to do? Brilliant mommy moment - I told Noelle we could make bread. Yay!
She was very excited. We go to the cupboard and, gah, I only had 1.5 cups of flour. Not-so-brilliant mommy moment! We made do, though, and just made mini-loaves instead =)
Learning that bread dough rises was very exciting!
Mmmm, cinnamon raisin bread
Enjoying it together
On Tuesday, while we were out, Suka ate the rest of the loaves. Darn dog! Noelle was home sick on Wednesday too. So, we repeated the bread making, this time with enough flour, and now have two wonderful loaves in the refrigerator - hidden from the doggie =)
Noelle continues to really enjoy her dance class. She was so excited after class this morning that she wore the outfit all day! She is also still sleeping in her tap shoes 50% of the time =)
It has also turned into a wonderful mommy/daughter Saturday morning activity. I have been taking her to class and then afterwards we go out to lunch and/or run errands together. We're both really enjoying these few hours of alone time together each week.
Every so often we get one of those days where everything goes well, everyone is in a good mood, and we have so much fun together. Today was one of those days =)
The fall weather has been beautiful so the girls and I took advantage! First, we headed to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse this morning. This is more of a children's zoo than a 'full' zoo, but it was perfect for our girls. Noelle walked the whole thing herself (and the grounds were beautiful!). Two and half hours was just enough time for us to see everything, have lunch, and then pack it into the car for naps on the way home =)
Beautiful place, really
Good 'ole Monkey House
Swim, penguins, swim!
Hanging out with the tigers
Who's that cute penguin?
Our little lion
When we got home it was still absolutely beautiful outside, so we headed out to the fire pit in the backyard and hung out for a few hours making/eating s'mores and playing in leaves.
Gotta love the crackers!
Fire Pit Fun
Finally, the girls rounded out the afternoon with some quality sandbox time (while Mom got the bath ready!). I don't know why, but Noelle hates getting her clothes sandy. This is how she always is in the sandbox =)
Bedtime went very smoothly this evening; those girls were tired!
The season of birthdays is almost over in the Hayes household. The last hurrah is a joint birthday party for the girls this Sunday. Tons of 'littles' are coming with their parents and if the weather is nice we'll be roasting marshmallows!
One birthday tradition we're borrowing from my family is for daddy to get the girls roses on their birthday - one for each year (up to a point, we'll see!).
Cora's first birthday rose
Can you tell that Noelle picked these roses?
These little girls are already growing up sooo fast!
Our big girls
Noelle's favorite present this year, I think, is her ballet gear. She started a combination ballet/tap/run around and be silly class last Saturday. Every day since she has been wearing her tap shoes around the house and asking when she can go to dance class again!
Ready for her first class*
*No shoes because the ones I got her were way too small. FYI to other moms out there, ballet and tap shoes run 1.5-2 sizes small. She now has ones that fit!