Emerson, wearing his Christmas sweater, performed the Itsy Bitsy Spider for one whole branch of the family on Christmas and we caught it on video. Somewhere out there is a film (literally) of me at age 2 doing the same in yellow footy pajamas.
(If you liked that and want to see an alternate version, check it out here. We did it twice! Enjoy!)
Christmas is many things to our family. It is Christmas, of course, but it is also Eric's birthday and it is, additionally, a chance to celebrate Ethan's birthday 11 days late with extended family. Here's how we celebrated all of those things this year:
First, we did the old Polish family first-birthday tradition of determining a child's future profession through his choice of one of four objects. (You may remember we put Emerson through this same ordeal on his first birthday.) Ethan's four choices were: priest (necklace with a cross, no one had a rosary handy), business man (silver dollar, which is the "right" way to do it even though Emerson got a hundred dollar bill due to limited silver dollar availability), farmer (clementine, and I would say he doesn't need to be a citrus farmer but let's face it, we live in Florida), and a technologist (mouse). Missing from the line-up was the shot glass because none was available. I think that's for the best, because alcoholic isn't really a profession, is it.
Here Ethan considers his options and seems to consult his brother:
Then he commits: the mouse! Future technologist it is.
Then it was time for double cake. Eric got candles on a cheesecake which Emerson helped him blow out.
Eric and Ethan together blow out the one last remaining candle on top of an igloo-shaped cake with penguins playing on it.
Dan and Amanda hosted a play date for all our favorite Oak Park families while we were in town and speaking for my family I know both kids and parents enjoyed it immensely. Here's most of the moms and kids, I think only missing Timmy who was feeling shy and preferred taking his own photos with his new camera.
We had a fun Christmas celebration with Gma and Gpa in Oak Park, complete with a Christmas saxophone medley from Gerald. Thanks to Gma and Gpa for an extensive and thoughtful collection of gifts for all of us.
We are heading to Chicago tomorrow, so we opened up our Florida Christmas presents today as an early Christmas celebration. The boys opened gifts from their cousins Lauren and Ashley, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Matt and Great Aunt Barbara. The boys also got two gifts from Santa: a wagon and a gross (144) of ping pong balls. What more could two little boys want? Here's us celebrating Christmas today, including a few Christmas portraits Eric took of the boys.*
*Note: Why do we look like we are freezing? Because it was cold (55 degrees) here today and because we just had some interior painting done we needed to have all the windows open. Brrrr!
We had a surprise birthday party for Ethan on Friday. The surprise was not intended for him (though it is possible he was surprised that it was his birthday) but rather it was on the guests: we hosted a happy hour for neighborhood friends and didn't tell them it was a birthday because we didn't want people to bring gifts (or expect birthday decorations, themed food, party favors, cartoon character napkins, etc). We did have a cake which Ethan appreciated more for its texture than its taste, from what we could see.
My favorite moment of the party was when we sang Happy Birthday to him: he suddenly understood that we were singing to him and he got this huge smile on his face.
Let me tell you a little bit about Ethan at age one. He is very engaging and playful, fiercely independent, cuddly and sweet, fast on his feet and into everything.
He loves to do that funny baby dance where they bounce up and down and wave their arms around, especially to the song played by the Nemo riding toy car.
He can play the kazoo. (Seriously.)
He will play roll and throw the ball back and forth with you but if you are not fast enough in sending it back his way he will just come over and take it back from you.
Ethan uses certain sounds with intention - na na means he wants food, ma ma usually means he wants me to pick him up and hold him. He also laughs a lot, just on his own. He will be playing quietly by himself or just walking around the house and I will hear him chuckling to himself, though it is kind of a Beavis laugh: huh huh, huh huh. He also laughs when we read books together - especially Blue Hat Green Hat. That silly chicken just slays him.
Ethan is a climber: turn you back on him for a moment and I guarantee you he will be several feet off the ground on something when you look back. Luckily, he is quite strong and suprisingly coordinated for being so young. (He is also surprisingly resilient, brushing off tumbles and bumps easily as he is quickly on to the next thing.)
Ethan also loves dogs and when he sees one he shrieks with delight and beelines right for it. Our neighborhood dogs are not always as enthusiastic about seeing him but he doesn't seem to take it personally.
Ethan is an absolute joy and we are so happy to have him in our family.
Emerson has moved up to the next older MyGym class and is doing very well with the new requirements like sit and wait your turn for the tricks and listen to directions. Here are a few recent examples of what we get up to at our weekly classes over there.
The photo of him landing on his feet was hopelessly blurry but he did stick the landing and then go sit back down in his spot to wait for another turn.
We got an advent calendar this year to count down the days until Christmas. While I have fond memories of the ones where there's a delicious Christmas shaped chocolate behind each door, I chose this super cool Eric Carle pop-up calendar where behind each door there is an ornament that you hang on the tree. It's a hit! Every morning the first thing Emerson wants to do is open the next door. Well, every morning he wants to open door #25, but we are of course saving that one for Christmas. I will be really happy if we can get to Christmas without a Godzilla incident of mass destruction.
Eric and Emerson "went to be men"* on Saturday morning and discovered what appears to be a weekly toy construction workshop for kids. Emerson came home with an airplane he made himself, his very own apron and safety glasses (which, for some unknown reason, he is not actually wearing in the video), and an iron-on patch for the accomplishment. Here he is hammering diligently, starting with a kid's hammer which he quickly swaps for a bigger hammer.
"I'm a turtle," Emerson informed me, as he grabbed his shell and put it on over his head. "Where's my baby turtle?" I assume he is looking for the smaller version of this same basket. We look around but are unable to locate his baby turtle.
Another major highlight of the visit with Go Joy and Grandpa was their early Christmas present for Emerson a toy he has long coveted from one of his neighbor friends: a baseball batting machine. Check him out here hitting some homeruns:
He is pretty good! And very focused on this. I think I know what we will be doing every day for the next week, at least! Thanks Go Joy and Grandpa!
Eric's parents, know to the kids as Go Joy and Grandpa, came down to celebrate Thanksgiving with us and we all had a fabulous time, but especially Emerson. He caught his first two fish ever in the pond behind our house (with the gator watching - from a safe distance, Eric assured me). Here's our proud young fisherman:
Upon pulling the fish out of the water the first thing Emerson wanted to know was what the fish's name was.
When I asked him about fishing, he told me he caught two bluegill and he gave me the full play by play including sound effects for the swishing noise made while casting and a reenactment of him being still, watching the bobber and then "oh!" seeing the fish flopping in the water and cranking the fish in.
What fun! Thank you to Grandpa for Emerson's first fishing pole.