Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas morning and what mom learned

I was sewing felt food right up until about 10:30pm on Christmas Eve, so Santa visited shortly thereafter. We (I) decided that Santa was going to have a minimal appearance at our house. He'll leave 1 present per child, a family game, a family DVD, possibly another family present and stockings.And our stockings were going to be mostly "semi-healthy" things we don't normally have with a little bit of candy. We had freeze dried fruit, fruit leathers, Welch's fruit snacks, Quaker granola bars, peanuts, whoppers and some wrapped chocolate candies. I'm glad I had other stuff besides straight up candy. I feel like our household is already on sugar overload.

This is them first seeing Christmas morning. It's not super exciting, and it's a little long. I don't think we have one video of Walter during present opening from this first moment on without some sort of food in his hand.

Untitled from Celia Brasfield on Vimeo.

Dean didn't really seem to "get" the whole Santa thing until about two weeks before Christmas when kids were talking about what they wanted at preschool.  Once he figured out that he could ask Santa for anything he could possibly want, his list went from a green toy garbage truck to: a garbage truck, a fishing pole, a really big motorcycle (and after I told him he couldn't drive a real motorcycle, he changed it to "a really big toy motorcycle"), a drill like dad's, guns, and anything that caught his fancy while we were at the store.

Since we bought the nice play set this summer and we're changing out basically all of the flooring in our house right now, we were pretty minimal in our Christmas. On the Sunday before Christmas I pulled out all our gifts thinking I was done, only to realize that Walter only had 3 gifts, one we got for free that was going to be his Santa gift, a set of books from a yard sale, and a book from his grandparents. Dean's looked sparse, but a little better. So I set out to find Walter a few more presents.

On Christmas morning Dean didn't want to come out of his room because he was still a little scared he was going to scare Santa away and he'd take the presents.  Once he came out he seemed happy enough with the presents. He got the dump truck from Santa.  Walter got a rocking horse from Santa. There was a Curious George DVD, a mini basketball (for both boys), a game of memory, and stockings.  So far things were going well, though he wasn't crazy excited yet.  Matt pointed out the eaten cookies and milk and carrots. He was curious why Santa left a half eaten cook and was also a little annoyed because we gave Santa the last of our ginger cookies so there weren't any left for him.

He was happy to unwrap presents, though he seemed a little annoyed at  opening clothes. Like, "Seriously? Next present please."  He enjoyed  opening his presents and helping Walt open his. The down hill part of  Christmas came when Walt opened up one of the  last minute presents  from mom and dad, the guitar. When I bought the guitar, I knew that  Dean would want it, but I knew Walt would like it and he had fewer  presents. I should have gotten two. They both had fun playing with it and Dean was pretty decent about waiting till Walter was "done" playing with it before he rushed in to play.  Walt's not too, too possessive about his things yet. At one point Dean tried trading a shirt he got for the guitar. By the time the felt  food were opened, Dean was too distracted by the guitar, though Walt  gave it a token glance.  Dean basically  only played with the guitar all  day, totally rocking out rock star  style. Wait, I take that back. He  did have some rousing games of Hi-ho  Cherry-o and zingo with Matt also.  When I asked Dean if he liked his presents, he said, "no."  When we  asked what his favorite present was he said, "not any any toy."  Then he  asked if Santa was coming back and if we could ask him for a guitar  that looks like the Robot Parade guitar (like Walt's) and a big motorcycle (he got a small toy motorcycle in his stocking). By the end of the day he was claiming the guitar as his own.

  This is the video where Dean tries to trade one of his shirts for the guitar. =)
Trading the shirt for the guitar from Celia Brasfield on Vimeo.

So, what I learned: open "less exciting" presents at the first and give at least one "exciting" present to each child. Dean technically had more gifts, but it didn't seem like it since his were things like puzzles and books and shirts. He didn't have anything big or exciting or flashy. Even the garbage truck we got him was pretty little compared to the 3 presents Walt got. I had actually gotten him a toy drill, but it was the last one at the store and when I got home, Matt realized the trigger was broken, so that didn't make it to Christmas. The one gun he got was from the dollar store, so it didn't have any cool sounds or effects or anything, and I have to help him use it since it's so hard to pull the dart shooting mechanism back.  Ah well. At least he's little enough he probably won't be scarred by the memory, and he has seemed to have fun playing with his toys and books since then. (As a side note, we found out yesterday that Dean has strep throat, so I think that may have affected his excitement and general mood since I'm pretty sure it started bothering him the Wed. before Christmas. He kept saying his tummy hurt, so I thought it was candy, but he told me that every day for a week before I figured I ought to check it out.)

Walter loved everything. He loved eating a pink snowball out of his stocking first thing in the morning. He loved all of his presents. He loved all of Dean's presents. He really loved the toothbrush in the stocking. They have been playing with the little second hand Doug and Melissa stove top and felt food after the initial excitement of the popper and guitar wore off.

I got Matt a new really nice mouse pad, a pull up bar, and a cd. He got me a pedicure certificate to a nice salon/spa downtown and a fuel belt for running.

As for our Christmas breakfast, I made bacon and biscuits, which Dean loved and Walt didn't touch since he was too busy eating half his stocking. I actually had a bowl of large shredded wheat biscuits which was the traditional Christmas breakfast at my house growing up.  For our "big" Christmas dinner we had ham, party potatoes, Martinelli's, and green beans.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve

This was our first Christmas in our own home with only our family. Up until this year we've alternated going to my or Matt's parents' houses. It has been fun, but with 2 kids and long distances to travel, it just wasn't practical this year. That meant we had to come up with our own family traditions. Do we have our big meal on Christmas Eve (like my fam) or Christmas day (like Matt's)? Do we open a present on Christmas Eve? How does Santa work (unwrapped and out like mine? or wrapped like Matt's)? There were more questions we had to ask, but you get the point I'm sure.

We made pizza on Christmas Eve, had a Nativity "pageant" with "costumes" (the boys and I made crowns for the wisemen and I pulled a bathrobe, a sheep puppet, and a hooded towel), and we let the boys open their new pj's. Opening the pj's was very anti-climactic for Dean, poor guy, much like the rest of his Christmas. He was like...what's this? And can you really call it a present?

I don't think we'll keep the pizza as a tradition, though it was fun. I think I'd prefer having some Israeli/Mediterranean food. I love symbolic food. I just need to plan better.

Matt put some righteous fear into Dean when he told him that Santa would get scared and leave with all the Christmas presents if Dean came out when he was leaving presents. Our house is so small it would be practially impossible to have him come out and not see all of Christmas. He usually goes to the bathroom once in the middle of the night. He walks through the living room to our room to have me help, so we put up a gate outside his door and I slept in the computer room so I could help without him seeing Christmas prematurely.  Not necessary since he didn't even want to come out in the morning because he was afraid Santa would take back the presents!

Making the crowns. Note to self: never use puffy paint with an 18 mo. old again! So stressful.

Thought it was hilarious to pull his crown down for pics.

Dean wanted to be Mary.

Mary, Joseph and an unhappy baby Jesus.

A shepherd

Hooray! Let's go see the baby! (love this pic!)

Dean wanted a turn at being baby Jesus, and Walt was happy to let him have it!

Me as the manger?

Here come the Kings...

Giving baby Jesus gold

Three Kings

Love this smile.

Hmmm...what is it? No really, what is is?
The best pic we could get of the new pj's

Monday, December 27, 2010

The beginning of the sugar rush: Graham Cracker houses

Growing up we always made our houses the Monday before Christmas. We'd have a huge load of candy, and we usually watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It was one of my favorite Christmas traditions, though I do remember agonizing over the fact that my houses were never "original" since I wasn't a creative decorator.

The Sunday before Christmas we made our candy houses. The boys were only interested in eating the candy. It took a lot of coaxing to get Dean to decorate, but he caught on after awhile. Walter ended up with 3 pieces of black licorice candy on his house since he pulled off and ate anything Matt put on! He is a sugar fiend. It worries me a little...I don't give the boys much sugar usually, but if feels like we've been gorging this week with all the goodies and Christmas candy, and I can tell the difference! The boys have been worse behaved (Walter threw his biggest fit EVER the day after candy houses when I wouldn't let him eat candy for breakfast. Seriously was a screaming fit that lasted almost an hour and a half and nearly resulted in throwing up a number of times.), have slept worse, and Dean has told me nearly every day since I started letting them have candy that his tummy hurts. I will be so happy when I can cut the sugar intake back again without feeling like a crazy-health-freak-grinch.

Matt built the boys' houses and I built mine. Dean wanted a garage and a tall house. I had to redo mine a couple times. I am not one for details! I let the boys eat their houses the day after and I kept mine up until Christmas even though Walter begged to eat the "how" every day in between! I let them rip it apart on Christmas.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The squeal of delight

Once I ran out and got the proper batteries for this ball popper, their excitement was hard to contain! My absolute favorite part of the video is the first few seconds, so if you only want to watch a smidgen, that would be it! Walt's reaction to it is just priceless.

Walt's ball popper from Celia Brasfield on Vimeo.

Our un-mailed Christmas Letter

Well, the stomach flu hit us hard a couple of weeks ago, so any chance for me getting out a Christmas letter or card or picture in a timely manner went down the toilet with a whole lot of throw up. So, on Christmas Eve's Eve (and now Christmas day) I am here writing a virtual Christmas letter to those who might have missed receiving a card from us.

Walter - 17 mo.

This year has been incredibly eventful for Walter! He learned how to crawl, walk, run, talk, and play on his own.  He is a talker, a babbler, a communicator, and knows what he wants! If he finds something he likes, he'll point at it, nod his head, and say yes or no if I guess correctly or incorrectly.  He'll babble about it and say its name as best as he can. He LOVES balloons (bloon, bloon, bloon!!!), balls, the park, candy, our neighbor's blow up Santa, taking our Christmas tree apart, stickers, and snowmen (he calls them moman) right now.  He has a pretty impressive vocabulary, though most words are only comprehensible to the woman who spends 12 waking hours listening to him babble (yes, that's me!).  He does have 10 or more words that I think anyone would be able to recognize. His most used words right now include: balloon, dada, mama, night night, dark, hello, ball, toolbox, all gone, soft, banana (he's even used it in a simple sentence when he said, "nanna all gone"!), oatmeal, book, shoe, sock, park, thank you, Santa, snowman etc.  He's a very good eater most of the time, and often tries to eat the remainder of Dean's food after meals.  He's quite good at entertaining himself with toys, boxes, or anything he can find in the cupboards. He loves snuggling and rubbing soft things on his face as well as coming up behind us and patting us on the back. He also loves his feet and back rubbed (definitely gets that from my side!). He loves me to sing (hallelujah! It has been hard having Dean hate having me sing to him!) to him and his current favorite song is "Wheels on the bus" with the wheels verse and the "shhhh" verse. He's funny, easy to please, and just seems to really enjoy life.

Dean - 3 years
Dean is an incredibly smart and verbal child! He can express himself and his feelings really well and says some of the funniest things! He love, love, loves the playing games on the computer (he's played pretty much everything on PBS, starfall, the Friend online, and we've gone through all the levels of World of Goo and are half way through the second time), Curious George, Clifford, Veggie Tales, Wii sports and Rockband. His favorite song is probably Robot Parade by They Might be Giants. In September he started going to a mom-run co-op preschool. He loves it and caught on very quickly that we were going through the alphabet in alphabetical order.  He is already sounding out words he sees in print, can count up to 30, and loves books. 

He is very particular about food. Nothing can touch, he needs different forks for "messy foods" and his other foods, and he doesn't like butter because it makes his food dirty. If he can eat it raw, he prefers it over cooked.

Though he started potty training at 18 mo. of his own choosing, once we got to underwear he basically refused to go on with the process and basically stopped trying at all. He had no problem going on the potty, but he really hated having occasional accidents in underwear and having to stop what he was doing to run to the bathroom, so we still have 2 kids in diapers. Matt recently asked why he didn't want to wear underwear or pull ups and he said, "cuz they're disgusting!"

Celia - 29
At the beginning of the year I bought a good double jogger and began jogging 4-6 miles most weekday mornings with my new friend Kirstin (who also was sporting a double stroller when we started).  I was supposed to start teaching piano again in January only to find that I had no students able to return. I took a semester off after having Walt with 12 people on my list to start in January, so it was a bit of a shock for me! The economy, kids moving, and a new teacher who went to their students' homes did me in. It was nice, though, to not have to worry about keeping 2 babies entertained while trying to teach.  Harder on our budget though.
I got to go to my first and second Broadway plays this year (Wicked and Phantom) and they were both amazingly fun. I will not wait another 29 years before I do it again!! It was then that I realized that my wardrobe was horrible. I couldn't find one non-kid-stained shirt or pants in my closet! So about mid year I traded piano lessons for fashion consulting and I went on a mini shopping spree to get some cute basics! I haven't taken to make-up much yet, but it has been nice having some cute clothes to wear.  The funny thing is, though, I ramped up my usage of Isagenix since then and am actually a size or two smaller than the clothes I bought! I've always loved their shakes, but I pretty much have a shake or an Isagenix bar every day now.  After doing their full nutritional cleanse right before Thanksgiving, I am currently the same weight I was in 7th grade and I am in a smaller pant size than I've ever worn in my entire life!

In September I headed up and organized a preschool for Dean.  It has been really challenging for me, but it's also good and fun.  The biggest non-teaching project I took on this year was to paint our living room. It took nearly a month of evenings for me to do 3 coats, but the difference is amazing.  Now I need to get on painting my bedroom, the kitchen, and our computer room!! Ack that's a lot of painting!

Matt - 29

Matt's had a very stressful and challenging year at work. He works on the software for the unmanned drone, the Predator.  He has had to travel a lot more this year to do flight testing in CA, and they've really ramped up the pressure on him at work.  At the end of the year he interviewed with another company and was offered a job, and while we both wanted our answer to be a yes, the answer we both got after praying was "not right now."  We've both felt strongly that we need to get our house cleaned up a bit and ready to go on the market sometime next year regardless of the whole job situation, so who knows what next year will bring?  During Matt's Christmas break he will be ripping out our disgusting vinyl and tiling our bathrooms and kitchen.  Hopefully soon after we finish that we'll rip up our horrible living room carpet and put in a wood floor. In his spare time in the evenings he enjoys online gaming with some good friends from high school.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guh, Guh, Gold

Dean's always been interested in letters and sounds. He could identify and say the letter R by 15 months or so. He's only 3 and 2 months and he's already sounding out words that he sees in print. The other day at lunch, out of the blue he said, "guh, guh, gold. Gold starts with G, and next is D."  I praised him for knowing that it had both G and D and we sounded out the rest of the word. I'd give the sound and he'd give the letter. After we put it up on the fridge in letters we talked about rhyming words and I showed him how if you took the first letter off and left the rest, you have lots of words that sound similar. It was really fun to see him working it all out in his mind. I have done a few lessons in How to teach your child to Read in 100 easy lessons (I think we're on lesson 8 or 9--seriously an awesome book) and he loves it. I don't do it every day because I'm worried he'll get burned out on it. Last time we did it we did 3 lessons and he didn't want to quit after that! He turned to the very end of the book and said, "Let's do THIS page!!!"  He was pretty disappointed when I said we hadn't learned enough yet to read that page. He likes spelling "words" on the fridge and sounding them out.  Every time it reminds me of Rudy from the Cosby show. "What does ZRBT spell?"  Love it.

He's also very interested in numbers.  He can count up to 30 with minimal help. Yesterday morning he had me help him count all the way up to 100. He' understands that there's a pattern, but he'd get mixed up occasionally.  When we'd get to the "9" number, he'd always ask "What's next mom?" and then he'd try and take over the pattern again. He also tries to tell time on both digital and face clocks. He gets a bit mixed up on the hands though. =) Yesterday he really wanted to wake Matt up for some reason and I told him we couldn't until 8 o' clock. He watched the clock until the second hand got to the 8 and said, "It's 8 mom! It's 8! We need to go wake up dad!"  He doesn't believe me about minutes. He can't for the life of him figure out why 1 would mean 5 or 5 would mean 25. We have a little clock puzzle that has the minute numbers written out really small next to the big number, so I think he'll catch on before he's in kindergarten (3 years from now)!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Today  as I read through President Monson's talk Charity Never Faileth from the General Relief Society meeting, this really stuck out at me. It's almost exactly his words, but I cut a few words and formatted it slightly to all fit the same pattern for this.


Is tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions.
Is patient.
Impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful.
Is present during sickness and affliction as well as weakness or error on the part of others.
Gives attention to those who are unnoticed,
Hope to those who are discouraged,
Aid to those who are afflicted.
Is love in action.
Refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or reporting misfortunes.
Resists the impulse to become offended easily
Is accepting of weaknesses and shortcomings.
Is accepting people as they truly are.
Is looking beyond physical appearances
Is resisting the impulse to categorize others

Monday, December 13, 2010

When Dean Grows up to be a Man

Dean says funny things all the time, and one of his favorite phrase starters is, "When Dean grows up to be a man"

Some of the things that have followed are:

  •  Dean will go to work with daddy
  • Dean can sit in the front of the car
  • Dean can drive
  • Dean will be a strong man like daddy
  • Dean can eat lots of ice cream
I did an 11 day Isagenix cleanse a few weeks ago and at the end of it he said, "When Dean grows up to be a man, Dean will go to work with Daddy.  When Dean grows up to be a mommy, Dean will do a cleanse!" Hahahaha. Today he said this again and I told him he could do a cleanse when he grows up to be a man and that not just mommies do cleanses.  He got excited and said, "Yes! Yes. Dean will grow up to be a man and go to a cleanse with you mommy, even if Dean is a man."

Today he was playing with playdough and a plastic strainer. He was swishing the dough ball around inside the strainer and said, "Check this out mom."  And then a few minutes later he said, "Did you check it out?"

When he was playing on the computer he did something he enjoyed and he exclaimed, "Holy moley! Did you see that??" That one had me cracking up since I'd never heard him use the expression before.

Dean has taken to repeating us, especially when we're being stern with him. Dean was moving all around at dinner tonight, not staying in his chair and just kind of making messes by touching everything on the table. Matt said, "Dean, you need to control yourself." And Dean quickly replied (almost under his breath), "No! You need to control yourself." Emphasis and all. Matt put him in a time out for sassing and we were both trying not to laugh hard enough for him to hear us.

He's very interested in the digestive process and will occasionally tell me about what's happening to his food.  "The food goes down, down, down into Dean's tummy and goes squish, squish, squish. Then it goes into the guntestines and comes out Dean's bum as pee and poo."

He occasionally gets out my yoga mat, puts in an old Firm Body Parts Abs VHS, and commences doing sit ups. It is hilarious.  He'll say things like, "Dean's getting exercise in Dean's body!"

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Angry Tummies

Two nights ago Dean woke up just as I was going to bed and was COVERED in throw up. I got him all cleaned up, put him back in bed, and not 5 min. later as I was spraying his sheets out, I heard him throw up again. I'd given him a bowl and when I made it in there, he said, "Dean threw up in the bowl. That was a good idea." haha. I did have to change those sheets also and his clothes. I left again, and he was practically asleep by the time I got to the door, but he threw up again within 5 min. That time he started crying and said, "It was an accinent. Is it okay that Dean have an accinent?" Poor guy. After that time I decided to move him out to the living room. I put towels down next to him and a bowl. I slept on the couch so I could help him.  No lie, he threw up about every 15-30 min. from 11:30 until about 5. Around 1:30 am Dean said, "Mom, did you know if you write a 6 upside down it looks like a 9 and if you draw a 9 upside down it looks like a 6?" haha.
He slept from 5-6 and then threw up. He kept asking to sleep in his room, but there was no way that was happening. At 6 he insisted it was time to get up and I showed him it was still dark outside (thank you winter!) and he slept from 6-7:15 and threw up again. Luckily Wed. was a little better and he only threw up once more. After he threw up at 7 he said, "Mom! Dean's tummy isn't angry anymore!" I thought that was a cute way to describe it. He didn't eat anything all day, but he was able to keep down gatorade.

Last night he slept well, but I slept HORRIBLY. I woke up all achy and nauseous with a sore throat on top of it all. I rarely get sick, so it kind of took me by surprise. My goal was to just survive the day until I was supposed to pick Matt up from the airport. All of us were down for naps by noon. But at 1:40 I heard Walt. I thought he might fall back asleep, so I left him there a little. I felt horrible when I went in about 15 min. later and he and his crib were COVERED in throw up. Poor guy. So I stripped him down and gave him a bath. It's hard taking care of sick kids when you're sick because the smell. Oh the smell. It's bad enough when you're not sick!!

So, Walter threw up about 4-5 more times within the hour and then I started thinking, "How in the world am I going to make a 2 hour round trip drive to the airport with this bunch? I don't even know if I can keep my own food down!"  So I called my home teacher's wife (who happens to be a good friend) and I started bawling of course. I asked if Nick (who is a police officer and works at night) would be able to pick Matt up. It was a bit tricky since Matt didn't have a cell, but in the end it worked out. Poor guy. He didn't expect having to come home to a death trap! He just finished disinfecting the kitchen at 11:20. It was a good thing I didn't attempt it, though. Walt threw up around 7-8 times between when I would have left and gotten home.

Walt just woke up at 10:45 dry heaving. He kept asking for milk and when I told him he couldn't have milk he was very, very angry. I told him daddy would get him juice (pedialite) and he starts nodding his head yes saying, "Na! Na!" (His version of Yeah)  Dad only brought a little and he was ery angry about that. We let him have a second round knowing he'd most likely throw it up. He had a few more burps and close calls, but ended up falling asleep on me without puking. I will probably sleep in the computer room tonight so I can help him if he needs. I'm not looking forward to tonight's sleep, I can tell you that!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had Thanksgiving all by ourselves this year. There are pluses and minuses to that. I personally enjoy having a large gathering for such events, but it's so much lower pressure when it's just us.  We ended up buying a smoked turkey and splitting it in half with a family in our ward. It was cheaper that way. It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped, but it was still really good and made for better leftovers than regular turkey.

Prepping for the feast.

 As I had suspected, the boys basically only wanted the rolls, cranberry sauce, and pie. 
Matt was more adventurous, and had a little bit of everything. And no, he didn't finish this gargantuan plate.

At dinner we had: smoked turkey, homemade overnight rolls, artisan bread dressing, cinnamon craisen cranberry sauce, green bean casserole from scratch, mashed potatoes,  and Matt roasted some chicken thighs we didn't eat so he could make real gravy.

After dinner we played rockband as a family. I don't think we actually made it through one song since we kept failing (it's kind of hard not to when the 3 year old insists on playing the guitar), but that's not the most important thing, now is it? We had fun.

 After our food settled, we went back in for pumpkin and pecan pie and hot apple cider. Walter literally licked his plate clean!! Dean only had a couple of bites, but was sad at bedtime that he hadn't finished his pies. I think the cider is the first "warm" drink Dean's ever had. He said, "Dean LIKES cider. It warms Dean up when Dean is coooold."And boy was it cold on Thanksgiving!! Leading up to Thanksgiving our weather was in the 80's! The day before had a high of 85*. The high on Thanksgiving? Well, I'm not sure, but I'm pretty positive we didn't break 50*. It felt freakishly cold because it was all windy too. It was kind of nice, though, because it felt like it really was the right time of year for this holiday. =)