Wednesday, December 31, 2008

snip, snip

He was getting a little long around the ears. I had tried to ignore it for several weeks, but Mike was persistent in his recommendation that it be done. Then when Grandpa Lloyd came for a visit yesterday, he told Aaron he was ready for a trim. So I gave in. Did I cry? Yes. Did I make Mike photograph the whole thing? Yes. Did I save his trimmed hair in a ziplock, with the date written across it in permanent marker? Yes. Am I glad I did it? No. But, a friend reminded me, the difference between a bad haircut and a good one.... just two weeks. :-)

Here's the before....

And then I got to work...

Finally, all done! Daddy says he looks like a handsome boy now, but I miss those baby curls.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Crazies

It's an interesting time of year, the end of December.

Every year, especially now that I'm a parent, I set some grand expectations on the warm fuzzies that should come my way amid the hot cocoa, Christmas carols, and beautifully wrapped presents. And every year, I end up in an over-committed, gift-wrapping, cookie-making, running-late-for-everything frenzy. This year may have topped the crazy scales, as we dashed from one family gathering to another, trying to manage toddler sleep schedules and mommy's stomache flu all at the same time. Whew! I'm glad it's almost over!!!

I now have twelve months to figure out a strategy for making next Christmas more of what it should be: quiet, reflective, Christ-centered... We may have to skip a few parties. For sure, I won't decide to make all my gifts (or maybe I just need to start about mid-July). The wonderful truth is that Mike and I get to create reality for our own family, and I'm thankful that we're learning some of these lessons early, before Aaron is really too aware of what's going on. By next year, he'll really understand what Christmas is, and I don't want to hand him the idea that it's all about stuffing yourself silly on Christmas cookies and making wish lists from the local toy store. I think I'm going to make creating a calmer Christmas my official goal for 2009.

What are some of the traditions or rituals that your family uses to make Christmas meaningful? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Here are a few pics of our Christmas day. As I uploaded them, I noticed how they're all taken while opening gifts. This is a sure sign that things are out of balance in our Christmas celebration. I'm looking forward to rethinking things for next year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Date night!

Remember the company Christmas party I mentioned a few posts back? Here's the photographic evidence that we do get out once in a while. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sorry, Santa...

...but Aaron's just not that into you.

Our family was invited to participate in a Polar Express event last weekend. A local chiropractic office sponsored the event where families gathered at the office to craft their "ticket" and enjoy some goodies, then headed to the train station and boarded the Polar Express (really just a Metra train, but with Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard, it did feel pretty festive). There ended up being some mix-ups with the train schedule, so there was a lot more standing outside in freezing rain and bitter cold than actual train riding. But the upside was that we had some extra time back at the station to take some priceless portraits with Santa. All told, we had a lot of fun, and made some great Christmas memories.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adventures in Snow

If you live in the midwest, you know how much snow we've been getting in the past few weeks. If you don't live in the Midwest, count your blessings! We bundled Aaron up this past Saturday and ventured out into the cold. He's loved looking out the windows at the white stuff ("Wow," he says, pointing wildly), but he did NOT like being out in it. After a few photos and plenty of tears, we quickly headed back inside. We'll try again soon when it's not as cold or windy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scoop and Eat

We've demonstrated hundreds of times how to get the food from your bowl to your spoon to your mouth ("Scoop and eat," we say). And until now, it just hasn't clicked with the little man. But this morning, I came downstairs and found Aaron feeding himself oatmeal (heavily supervised, of course). And lunch today continued the trend, as he polished off the cottage cheese in record time without any assistance. I can't tell you how happy I am to be relieved of spoon duty at mealtimes!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Little Fish

It was another Saturday swim for the Sharp boys, and Aaron's really getting the hang of it! Mike has taught him to "kick, kick, kick" in the pool, and now he's doing it in the tub, too. If you ask him to "kick, kick, kick," he flops onto his belly and moves his legs up and down as fast as he can. It's too cute!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The love affair with guitars continues...

Poor Mike can't play at all without someone coming by to "help." And if Aaron sees the case out, he'll cry until someone helps him unlatch it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Visit With Santa

Mike and I went to his company Christmas party on Friday night (pics forthcoming, hopefully). Aaron hung out with our friends the T-Reks while we were gone, and Santa paid a visit. Looks like he wasn't entirely sure of this white-bearded fellow, but I bet it won't be long before Aaron and Santa are best buds. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks, St. Nick!

Aaron and Mama got some tasty treats from Nt. Nick. Funny that his handwriting looks a lot like Daddy's. :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Puppies and Playing Guitars...

It's been a while since our last post. Truth be told, I've been so busy taking photos of other people's families, I neglected to take many (any!) of my own. So this morning when we headed to the A's house (friends from church who live very close by), I remembered to grab the camera on the way out the door. I'm sure glad I did! We went visiting with two distinct missions: first, 3/4 of the A family is heading out of town until the new year, so we wanted to squeeze in one last hug before they leave tomorrow morning. Secondly, their next door neighbor has six little puppies living at her house right now. We just had to visit!

The boys do their best to be gentle with the little pup.

James discovers that puppies can tickle!
Little brother Eli.

More popular than the puppy was the kid sized guitar. Mr. A is a professional musician, and there are a lot of kid-friendly instruments around the house. This one was clearly Aaron's favorite! He played for a very long time, and really enjoyed himself.

I've already added this to Aaron's Amazon Wishlist. I think it would be an excellent Christmas gift. ;-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Helpful Boy

While we're posting video, here's one from the vault (aka, last month - just forgot to post it :-). Aaron's already demonstrated that he's quite adept at doing the dishes as well as sweeping the floor, so we thought we'd add laundry to the list. He's such a helpful boy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Raise the Roof

Aaron's interest in music has really taken off. He often hears music playing at times when I am totally oblivious to it's presence - during a radio commercial, playing overhead at the store, or from a toy. How do I know he hears the music? He starts to dance. :-) It's precious. There are several dance styles in Aaron's repertoire, from a Texas two-step (he kind of marches in place, picking one foot up after the other very fast) to a Bop (he bends at the knees over and over). But my favorite is the one Daddy and I taught him: Raise the Roof. Take a look...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from our Little Stinker

Remember this time last year? Can't believe it!

Aaron was the hit of the neighborhood tonight, and it's easy to see why. His little costume is SO cute. :-) True to my bargain queen ways, I bought it back in February for a mere $.99. One of the best dollars I've ever spent! It was so much fun to watch him bring joy to our neighborhood (and a much needed break from some really scary/gross/weird costumes).

Who knew skunks and lions could be such good friends? Jakey looks adorable in his furry getup.

I think the tail is my favorite part of the costume.Run, Run, Run!

Getting goodies from the neighbors. I saw lots of houses put a double portion into his bucket - it must pay to be cute. :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lions, Tigers, and Bears

We took Aaron to the zoo for the first time a few weekends ago. I had almost forgotten about the pics I took, but as I loaded some equipment back into my photo bag tonight, I remembered that they were waiting for me there on the memory card. They're so sweet!

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon - one of those brisk and bright afternoons that make us all love fall. We went downtown Chicago to the Lincoln Park Zoo (it's free, and Mike always loves an excuse to go into the city). There were lot's of fun animals to see, and since we've been working on our farm animal sounds, it was a great opportunity to practice some of our new skills. Ask Aaron what a cow says, and he'll "OOOOOH" for you (hey, it's close, right?). Of course, his favorite animal to watch were the pigeons. :-)

After our fill of zoo animals, we took a few minutes to play in the park just outside the zoo gate. The fall flowers were so pretty, and we all had such fun chasing each other around and playing games. It was one of those afternoons that you could live in forever - one I sure want to remember for a long time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Family Fun!

Our recent weekends have been a flurry of activity! We had 5 weekends in a row of birthday parties, plus weddings, visiting friends, and family portrait sessions (taking advantage of the beautiful fall colors we're seeing right now!). For the first time in a LONG time, we looked at the calendar and realized there was nothing written in the little boxes for Saturday or Sunday. Yipee! We've made the most of it by tackling some chores at home as well as enjoying the quiet time together. My favorite activity from the weekend was yesterday's trip to our health clubs indoor swimming pool. They have a zero-depth area that's perfect for little swimmers, and our little guy loves the water. We had so much fun splashing around together. Now that the weather is cooling off and outdoor time is becoming more and more limited, I hope we'll make this a regular part of our family's weekend plans.