Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some cute videos

We're training Cora to be a big sister already. She's a pretty thorough diaper changer, she uses wipes and diaper cream too. I think she changed Raggedy Ann, Minnie Mouse and her elephant's diapers for like an hour (this was last week, Sunday night.) The other videos are from this past week, just being silly. She still does the "Mana" dance (that's what Ryan and I call it, not Cora) with the signature Kaimana elbow.

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This one is for you, Grandma Nielson! Cora's started walking around on her tippy toes lately - I think she got some of the Nielson dancing genes for sure.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

Since I posted last we spent a weekend in Boise. Unfortunately we didn't take very many pictures while we were there - too busy having fun I guess! It's always fun to get all the cousins together, especially now that Cora just goes off and plays with them like a big girl and I don't have to worry about her. (Not that there's much to worry about, she has the best, sweetest cousins you could ask for.) She learned to call Eric and Jedd "uncle" like she calls CW, and Elise and Rachelle "auntie," and after we came home she started calling all men "uncle". However, most women are "mommy"s. We celebrated all of the fall birthdays that we had missed- Riggs, Jonah, Madelyn, Cora and Noelani.After we came back from Boise our lives have been fairly uneventful - I've been sewing and babysitting and suddenly getting super round and feeling very pregnant. I'm trying to do something I should probably have been doing since we've been married (or even before) - make a weekly meal plan, an organized shopping list, and just go grocery shopping once a week. So far, it's made my nights so much easier, being able to know what to make, and I've actually made some pretty decent meals again, because I've planned. Ryan has been working hard, as always, and I'm very proud of him. I can't believe we're almost done with this phase of our life, going to classes and studying and taking tests.

The picture below was taken before dinner one night - often Cora likes to pull up her chair and stand up to counter to see what I'm up to. Sometimes she likes to do more than see. I was nervous about letting her take a bite of the raw zucchini, since I'm pretty sure she hasn't really been a fan of broccoli since I let her taste it raw, and I didn't want her to be prejudiced against another veggie, but she really seemed to like the zucchini!Cora has been growing smarter before our eyes. We've been told that language really comes suddenly in an explosion and that is what we have been witnessing lately. It's so fun to watch her learning so much. She still takes a while to warm up to new people but around us, she's become quite a chatter box. It's always, "mommy, what's that?" and meal-times are filled with her labeling everyone's drink, food, and utensils. "mommy poon, daddy poon, Cowa poon!" (Mommy has a spoon, Daddy has a spoon, and Cora has a spoon.) or "mommy notche, cowa notche, daddy water!" (Mommy has milk, Cora has milk, Daddy has water.) My favorite thing is her labeling of herself, it's always "Cowa" this and "Cowa" that. She regularly uses 2 word sentences and sometimes even more. She's also getting so good at letting us know what she wants, whether it's water, more of some food, a certain toy or activity, or one of her favorite words "tweats!" (Treats). This is her being silly outside one night - if we don't lock the bolt she loves to open the door and play on the patio area, even if it's dark out and freezing cold! This is the face we see a lot when she knows she's being silly.Cora is now able to label most of the animals by their names, instead of just the sounds they make. One exception to that is a bunny - while she can say the word, she usually calls them "hop"s. She does like bunnies though, and loves the sleeping bunny song they sing in Nursery at church. Because of this, we decided, kind of last minute, to make her a bunny for Halloween. The fact that I had some perfect fuzzy white material already on hand from a previous project also helped us decide. So Cora was a "hop" for Halloween. I decided to sew her a warm jacket/coat for the costume, with a hood with bunny ears and a tail on the back. I worked on it during her naps on Friday and Saturday and managed to get it ready for the trunk-or-treat ward party on Saturday night. It's still missing a zipper or buttons to close it completely, but it was good enough for her to wear. We completed her outfit with a onesie, tights, pink tutu, her high tops, some make-up, and her bunny purse from Grandma Nielson last year.

I had to turn on the TV to get her to let me put the make-up on.Up-close shot of her make-up.Our decorated pumpkins - Ryan did the cat ("neow" as Cora calls it), and I did the owl and bat. (She can say those words.)At the trunk-or-treat. It was a little chilly, but not bad. The rain held off til after the activity. Cora was too shy to say trick or treat, or thank you, and she was clearly a little baffled by the whole process, but she accepted all the candy. With her good friend Breanna ("benana"). Originally they were going to both be black cats, which would've been super cute, but after looking the fabric I had, I changed Cora to a bunny.Tails shot.With Breanna and Daphne.With Savannah ("nana").We have been so lucky with our friends here - all of the little girls Cora took pictures with are the daughters of Ryan's PT classmates who live right by us and are in our ward. We are going to miss them all so much when we move away!

Monday, October 11, 2010

quilt, Mom leaving, BYU game

The other thing I was pretty busy with the week Mom was here was finishing up this baby quilt for Nicole's little girl (her first girl) coming next month. I realized after the party on Friday that I hadn't taken any pictures of it yet, and Mom had to pack it up to go the next morning. So these pictures are a little dark and the colors look a little different than they do in real life. I'm pretty proud of this quilt, it's the best one I've made yet, and makes me a little ashamed of my past couple of attempts. I took care to do everything I was supposed to - like ironing at every step, (with spray starch, no less!) pinning, etc.
We were sad to see Mom go Saturday morning. It was a great visit but it just flew by. Cora was crying as Mom and CW drove away. We'll have to make sure we Skype a lot to keep that relationship going. Cora can identify "gamma" and "papa" now in photos, so hopefully she still will the next time she sees them. For mom that will be in January when the baby comes.
Christopher and his new girlfriend, Melissa, gave Cora that cute elephant for her birthday. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet Melissa because she was sick.
We decided to also drive down to Utah on Saturday morning right when Mom and CW left, to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa Nielson (Ryan's grandparents, not parents) who were coming up from St. George for the BYU game. We went to lunch and then the game with them. It was great to see Grandma and Grandpa and hang out with them a little with Cora.

Cora had fun at the game - she kept wanting us to stand up, even when everyone else was sitting, so I guess she's already a good Cougar fan. She got a little nervous the first time everyone in the crowd was yelling and stomping and making the stadium shake, but then she enjoyed it and learned to join in the yelling - although she was usually yelling in my face, instead of looking at the field. :) She also spent a lot of time at Ryan's feet, playing with a little coupon book we got and some things from her bag. Luckily one of Ryan's cousins from the Hollingshead side happened to be in front of us, so she didn't get mad when Cora kept elbowing her in the back. We didn't realize when we decided to drive down that it was actually Homecoming this week. It was a really great game, and even though we didn't have high hopes, since the Cougars haven't done very well so far this season, they won!
Good family resemblance there.

Birthday Party!

On Friday night we had Cora's birthday party. Christopher was able to come up from Provo again for the party and helped us get ready. Mom helped a ton throughout the week and especially on Friday - I'm afraid we wore her out just before she went home. Mom helped us get a lot of the decorations for Cora's party and also got the pizzas for us. She was my primary helper in making the Elmo cake pops that were the main event, even though we wound up needing Ryan and CW's help too, to finish.

It's funny, I really do believe that simple parties are best for kids, but somehow I managed to keep getting ideas for this party that made it more work than I meant for it to be. The party theme was Elmo - he's one of Cora's favorite characters and the first one she was able to name.

Here's Cora reading books at her new table before the party, looking like a big 2 year old with that ponytail.
Here's Cora sitting on the pizza table. Behind her you can see the banner that Ryan and I spent an hour making the night before. I googled the pictures, printed them off, and took them to Kinko's to make transparencies (3 sheets @ $0.75/sheet). Then after institute on Thursday night Ryan and I stayed after to use the overhead projector, taped the paper to the white board, and traced the images.
Here are the Elmo cake pops - I was really happy with how they turned out, and they tasted really yummy too! I got the idea from the Bakerella blog, but instead of painstakingly drizzling candy coating to look like fur, Mom came up with the brilliant idea to use chopped dyed coconut flakes. That cut down on the time they took to make, but they were still very labor-intensive little treats. I would never have attempted them on my own but since Mom was such a good sport to help me, we went for it. I made up two cake mixes for them - one strawberry and one cherry chip. Here are some up-close shots - although it's kind of hard to see what they really look like with the wrapping already on.I gave in and let CW make a couple with frowny faces - he said it was a more appropriate emotion for Elmo to have when he's about to be eaten.Elmo fruit platter
Dessert table
Cora enjoying her cupcake. We put her #2 candle in it and had everyone sing to her. You can also see the remains of her pizza - we got it because it's usually her favorite food, but she was too distracted to eat well - she just picked off the pepperonis and ate them. (Also - pretty good shot of my belly in the background there.)
After eating we pulled down the banner and had all the kids color it. It was a fun, low-mess activity for the kids to do. (left to right, David, Tanner, Davey, Dallin, Kyleah, Breanna)
Cora's cute friend Emma enjoying her Elmo pop.
More coloring. Those bubbles on the tables were the favors for the families to take home. (kids left to right, Tanner, Dallin, Kyleah, Breanna, Savannah, David)
Cora got an Elmo pop too - lots of sugar that night.
After the party we realized we didn't have any pictures of the three of us for her birthday, so we had CW snap this in our kitchen. In all I think the party was a success! Thanks so much Mom for all your hard work helping Ryan and I pull it off. We were so happy to have Mom and CW come visit us and spend that time with Cora.

Cora's birthday!

Cora turned two on Wednesday, October 6th. We had a pretty normal morning, running errands and babysitting. She asked for cookies for breakfast, so I gave her some peanut butter crackers, since she still sometimes gets confused and calls crackers cookies, and she was happy. Here she is after her nap, discovering some of her new presents. The little table and chairs are from her Grandma and Grandpa Nielson and Cora loves them. (Cora put her baby next to her - she's her favorite and gets carried around everywhere - sometimes even on errands, even though we leave her in the car when we go into the store.)I made Cora the little floor cushion the presents are sitting on.After Ryan got home from school and I was done babysitting, we decided to take Cora out for an ice cream cone and to a park. We thought the ice cream would be fun for her birthday but even though she liked it, we wound up just chasing her around the playground getting her to take licks since she was so busy exploring the new playground. So Ryan and I wound up eating most of it. Of course, when we were done and got back in the car to go home, Cora was very sad, asking "Mommy iceam go? Uh-oh, iceam?" I made a simple dinner at home of things Cora usually likes: chicken fingers, edamame and quinoa. Then we let her open her presents. She got some great books from Grandma and Grandpa Wei, as well as some new shoes which she really needed. She loves books and reading is probably one of my favorite things to do with her, especially now that her vocabulary is growing so much. The tent was also from Grandma and Grandpa Nielson and she loves it - the picture below is pretty blurry and also not such a good angle of Cora, but that is what she wanted to do as soon as we set up the tent - lay down and play night-night, as well as move all her toys and books into the tent.
For her birthday cake we got a pumpkin pie at Costco and our friends the Blanchards came over to sing happy birthday to Cora. Cora loved the pie and was excited to have her friend "nana" (Breanna) over to share it with.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bear World and pumpkin patch

We had a pretty fun and busy last week. Ryan got to go down to Salt Lake for the priesthood session of General Conference and took Christopher with him. While he was there he was also able to visit with some friends and family. Then Christopher picked up Mom at the airport after the session and came up with her to spend conference Sunday with us. Mom spent a week with us and was here for Cora's birthday. When Christopher left on Sunday night Cora got all set to go with him, packing up her little purse with her turtle finger puppet and putting on her shoes. She was pretty sad when "uncle" drove away.
On Monday Ryan didn't have any classes so we decided to drive up to Rexburg and go to Yellowstone Bear World. It was pretty fun; they had a little petting zoo, several baby bears in pens up front, and then a whole section you drive through with elk, deer, mountain goats, bison, wolves and of course, bears - grizzly and black. One of the black bears decided that the bugs on our car looked pretty tasty and gave us a bonus car wash, which made us a little nervous but was pretty cool.
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While we drove through the park Cora enjoyed her first fluffer-nutter sandwich. Now that she's two we're giving her peanut butter, which is such a convenient option for lunches.
After Bear World we stopped at the BYU-I bookstore, then went to a cute little pumpkin patch in Idaho Falls. Mom bought Cora two little "puntins" that she picked out by herself and carried all around.
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