Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend: eating AND exercise?

We spent Thanksgiving in Vermilion, SD, at my uncle Mike's and aunt Judy's. Here is Sebastian with my cousin Terrah's son, Brooks, who was born just 10 days after Sebastian.

Second-cousins Brooks and Sebastian.

Second cousins Lauren and Misha eating ice cream together

... while Josh entertains them by magically pulling balls out of their ears!

Brothers Misha and Sebby

We took advantage of the nice weather Friday to get outside. A special treat for Misha is to go out on the bike trail with Grandpa. This time, Grandma and I came along pushing Sebastian in a stroller. While we walked along leisurely, Misha made sure that he and Grandpa were the "winners" far ahead. Of course, they had time to do some exploring - they found two wasps nests, a badger hole, and milkweed pods to blow.

Grandpa and Misha take off down the path!

Here comes Misha.

Grandma and Sebastian.

Laundry Basket Escapades

Sebastian has been working hard on sitting up. Recently, I tipped a laundry basket upside-down for him to hold onto. It worked great, for about 10 seconds, when he would fall backwards and start crying.

Brainstorm! I plopped him inside the basket, where he could sit up and play with his toys, and when he wobbled, he would, like a Weeble, push off against one of the edges and remain upright.

What happened next was inevitable. Of course, Misha wanted to be in the basket too. The only problem was that they didn't quite fit without literally stepping on each other's toes.

The solution: two baskets and two boys -- that is, two ships and two pirates. (Misha made the pirate flags.)

Thanks to all the practice in the laundry basket, Sebastian can sit relatively well already! Amazing.

Me and my two goofy boys.

Sebastian found his thumb! Looks like we have another thumb-sucker.

Smiling in his tiger shirt.

Next up: learning to crawl. He can get from his tummy into an all-fours position. He proceeds to rock back and forth and inch forward.

Being able to sit really opens up play possibilities. :) He's starting to grow into the Pooh car that Misha got from Grandma Kate when he was one.

Mom and Misha. No shirt, but his head is warm!

So strong!

Another advantage of sitting: bath-time is easier and more fun. Bring on the tub toys!

A little smirk.

All clean and smelling like shampoo.

Cuddled up on the couch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Talking, writing, drawing, baking, playing, dancing

When Sebastian wakes up in the morning, he usually starts making joyful gurgly sounds to greet the day. Misha likes to climb into the crib to play with him. Recently, Sebastian has started to say "da da da" - something that Misha is very excited about!

Sebastian, our little elf.

Lately, Misha has gotten very into writing. Since starting his preschool, he writes his name on EVERYTHING. Walking around the house, I will find his name written on the top of my checkbook, on several consecutive pages of my notebook, on a syllabus for class, on the back of his plastic chair, on a flowerpot, and on a cake-mix box.

The house is also filled with sticky-note-name-tags that have fallen off their wearers. I see one for “MOM” on the floor, while the one proclaiming “ELFETE” is still stuck to Elephantie the Beanie Baby. There are several more in his room belonging to his other toys, not to mention tags for “DaD” and “SuB” floating around.

Dad and Sebastian, after receiving their name tags.

Misha also loves to make lists. Sometimes he asks me to help him write them, and sometimes he writes them himself. We have a very full piece of scrap paper taped to the door now with 101 things to do when Uncle Bud gets here.

He has a very special notebook. I think this notebook obsession is a result of reading the Magic Tree House books, in which Jack diligently writes down “important information” in his notebook. (However, I myself have filled hundreds of little notebooks in my time.) A few days ago, Misha was asking me what important things he should write in his notebook. My various suggestions of things to do or words to practice were rejected - “Mom, I need IMPORTANT things!” “Oh, OK,” I said, trying again. “How about … elephants?” This was met with a “Yes yes! Elephants! That's important!” He scrambled off to write it down on one of his precious pages. He quickly came back looking for more ideas. All of my animal ideas met with great success. :)

He also draws pictures in his notebook, plays tic tac toe with Grandma, and fills it up with all kinds of other things. When he misplaces it, he is distraught. “What am I going to do without my notebook?” he wails dramatically. If he forgets it at home on a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's, he is equally crushed. It is starting to get quite full, so soon he will probably need another one!

This is his cool artwork that he made at school. Baby Brother is the tiny one on the right, next to Misha. Josh and I are on the left. You can see our big red house with the door. At the top, he has written the names of everyone who is coming for Christmas: Bud, Dad, Baby, Misha, Tanya, Mom, Ashley, Grandma Kate.

It is getting cold fast, but we try to make use of somewhat sunny days to go to the park!

Lego castle!

Misha really enjoys gymnastics. Here he is warming up before the session starts.

Yesterday he helped me make banana muffins. He got to be the banana musher. He also likes to (cringe) crack the eggs and measure the sugar and flour. Even though his help results in a messy kitchen, we have a lot of fun.

I made grilled cheese for Misha a few days ago and it turned out a little dark. He still liked it, but he said: “Grandma Diane makes it a little different.” “What does she do?” I asked. “She makes it … not burnt.”

There are so many great things to suck on! Fingers are just the beginning!

And, yes, you guessed it - this is Misha making that same discovery long ago.

Video Fun:

First, we have a clip of Sebastian experimenting with syllables:

And now, Misha dancing up a storm! His favorite song to dance to at the moment is an upbeat Russian one called "Kak ana dvigit soboi" - "How she moves."

Misha has learned how to jump out of a swing! He is quite proud of this feat. Take a peek:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How do you like to go up in a swing?

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Since the weather warmed up this week, Sebastian got to try out a real outdoor swing. He loved it! He sat contentedly swinging for almost an hour. Misha enjoyed giving him pushes and swinging next to him. :)

Me and Sebastian

Grandma and Grandpa enjoying the day with the kids.

My mom and Sebastian

My dad and Sebastian, and the football game

Misha proudly displays his Halloween spoils. Wow!

We had to say goodbye to Grandma Kate the day after Halloween. We enjoyed a nice meal at a restaurant in Sioux Falls and some time at a park before taking her to the airport.

Grandma Kate talks into the park "telephone."

And Misha answers from the other side of the playground!

Big, Little. High, Low. Misha and Daddy playing tag at the park.

Misha decided to have a birthday party for Koko the Monkey (far right), so I made plenty of party hats. Misha decorated them all with stickers and wrote names on them - for each toy and for each family member as well! (On Sebastian's he wrote, without help, "SBasn." Not bad!) Then he set up his room with games and balloons for the celebration.

Misha and Sebastian in their party hats.

Toe fun.

Sweater shot!

Cuddly in his Pooh pullover.

Playing on the couch.

Saturday morning at the Kulas.

Josh and me.

Me and Sebastian.

Josh and Sebastian, handsome in red.

Misha builds with Legos; Sebastian observes.

Round, smiling faces!

Our cute kids.

Sebastian and his big, blue eyes.

He has realized he was born to communicate - he babbles and sings his high-pitched squeals of "look-what-I-can-do-with-my-voice!" See below: