Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Results

The paper has been ripped and bows stuck on the heads of various animals and children and now the holiday season is drawing to a close.

Nathan and Alex both did very well despite some very late nights, a lot of excitement and in Nathan's case, a bit of stomach upset. There were some very pleasant surprises.

Both of them played with their cousin at Nana's. Traditionally Alex has ignored her or only been interested in a game of tag but this time he was interacting with her as they looked at puzzles, built towers and played various other games. He even came up to her several times and gave her a hug. Nathan got into a tickling game with her where he would touch her stomach or leg and she'd start giggling. He thought it was just the best game ever.

Nathan did very well at eating a lot of unfamiliar food and he actually fed himself for the most part. I think we may have crossed the bridge into independent eating because he's been continuing it at home here over the last few days. He definitely enjoyed the various cookies on offer, although as mentioned earlier, I think he overindulged a bit.

Their aunt earned herself a place in both boys' hearts by being willing to play the Wii at their direction for hours at a time. Alex's favourite game was the laser hockey. Any goal scored was worthy of jumping up and down excitement and giggles. Nathan prefers cow racing but he doesn't get as excited as Alex. Alex did try the cow racing and target shooting and I think he did fairly well.

I think everyone was happy with the gifts they got. The clear favourites thus far are a handmade red felt stop sign pillow (from Nana) and six inch minature school buses (from Avi and Memee). I'm hopeful that the kaleidescope that Santa brought for Alex will become popular over time, but you just can't compete with the stop sign. He's carried it everywhere since getting it.

We've gone through and cleared out some of the toys that the boys don't play with any more so that there's room for the new additions. It was a little nostalgic, going through the bins but I think we were sufficiently ruthless on cutting down the clutter. With luck and a little effort, hopefully we'll be able to keep things only mildly chaotic.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Boys who did good

On the weekend, we attended a Christmas cocktail party at my grandmother's so that she could have a chance to see everyone before she heads down to Florida. The two boys did very well. Alex ran around exploring every room, finding his brother's present in the closet and dragging it out to play with. Nathan was fascinated by the various mirrors. Both boys were interested in their little cousin, who will be turning one year old in a few weeks. She was just learning to walk and Alex offered to help her keep her balance by holding her hands. Unfortunately he lost interest and ran off, leaving her to clutch frantically to the sofa, but then he tried to teach her a clapping game by doing some very gentle hand-over-hand.

Nathan was his usual charming self, patting his cousin on the head and bestowing kisses on the adults. He was not happy with the snacks set out, trying a mini quiche and a breaded cheese stick, but he just politely gave the rejects to me to hold and set merrily about his way.

I'm very proud of how both boys behaved. They were reasonably quiet and calm and certainly fairly happy to be with the extended family. They got some good gifts from their grandmother. Nathan got one of these connector block sets that interlock and he's been very happy playing with it. Alex got a little cat shaped piano with various drumbeats and songs. It's been his constant companion since he got it. He's particularly fond of the samba beat, jumping up and down with a big grin when he plays it.

So good for you, my boys. I'm proud of you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Spirit

We put up our holiday decorations today. Lots of sparkling lights and tinsel and various non-breakable ornaments amid garlands. I like the holidays and it makes a nice change in the decor, even though until now, I've been the only one in the house who cared about it.

No longer! Alex has been very excited all day watching the decorations go up. He's been dancing around and jumping up and down, singing Jingle Bells, which he remembers from last year. He even helped me with hanging some of the ornaments. He can't quite manage a string but he's pretty good at hanging a hook off the branches. We've been working today on hanging ornaments back on the tree after he knocks them off and I've actually caught him doing it without being prompted. It's such a great sign of how well he's been doing at listening to and following instructions.

At bedtime, he asked if he could take some of the ornaments up with him. I told him that they had to stay on the tree. He thought about that for a minute and then asked if he could take the tree upstairs.

I politely declined.

It's so exciting to see him excited and enthusiastic about the holidays. Fingers crossed and knock on wood, maybe this will be the year that he gets it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Growing Up and Playgroup Hijinks

We've crossed yet another barrier towards independence.

Today, Alex moved from being buckled into a five-point harness car seat to being in a booster seat with just a regular seatbelt.

He did pretty well with it, although we've been preparing him by buckling the belt over his harness. He seems quite delighted with having a little more wriggle room. He was reaching over to tap the seat beside him, a gesture that delighted Nathan to no end.

Nathan was quite the charmer in the playgroup today. He was actually the oldest child there. The staff brought out some figurines for him to play with and he made some interesting choices. First, he took the big bed and very carefully laid out the Mommy and Daddy dolls on it and then very gently covered them with a blanket. Then he took the two baby dolls and had them running around the dollhouse. I took the Mommy doll and tried to join in the fun.

He took the doll away from me with a sharp "No!" and then very carefully put her back in bed with the Daddy doll. I tried a few more times and after the third or fourth time, he put her back in the bed and then told me "All done." Then the baby dolls took turns running up and down the stairs.

I decided to try another tack and got a little girl doll out of the bin and set her up at the top of the stairs. Immediately, Nathan took the two baby dolls and began knocking the new doll down, pushing her around the various rooms, all the while shrieking at the top of his lungs. Eventually he used the baby dolls to push the little girl doll into the closet and closed the door. One of the staff members who had been watching commented: "You know, if I didn't know you, I'd be seriously worried about what goes on in your house."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Wish Lists

Since we know everyone likes to get a head start on shopping, here are the Mackintosh family wish lists:

Toy chest
Digital picture frame (preferably one that can be wall mounted)
Membership to Cosmic Adventures

Clothing: 4 year for pants, 5 year for pajamas and tops
Colouring books
Hot Wheels
Lego (Duplo size)
Music: (he likes hip-hop music)
Will Smith Greatest Hits
Sharon, Lois and Bram (he has Great Big Hits 1)
Sesame Street Platinum All Time Favourites
4 Square (it's his new favourite show, we don't know if there is a DVD)
Other ideas:
Alphabet and number books (he's starting to be able to read)
Big print simple story books
Favourite characters: Elmo, Grover

Clothing: 18 month - 2 year (he could use some pants and pajamas)
Hot Wheels or other toy cars
Fisher Price School Bus (ours is broken)
Animal toys (the plastic/rubber realistic ones)

Nickleback: Dark Horse
Celine Dion: My Love
Jordin Sparks (self-titled)
DVDs (widescreen always preferred):
Incredible Hulk
Hell Boy II
Mamma Mia
V for Vendetta
Spider-man: Back to Black
Spider-man: One More Day
Gift certificates: Future Shop, Addition Elle, Chapters
Other ideas: iPod Travel

Senators tickets
Gift certificates: Future Shop, Tip Top Tailors, AMC, Moxie's, Capone's, Chapters
One player strategy/brain-teaser logic games: board games or computer

We'll try to keep this site updated with new ideas and pull stuff if someone tells us they've bought it.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reading Dr. Seuss

Stop! You must NOT hop on Pop!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cake -- I has it

Thanksgiving included a chocolate cake this year.  It was well received.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hallowe'en 2008

Mom put in a huge amount of effort for this year's Hallowe'en costumes.  We continue the theme of super heros, and the idea here was to set the cosumes up so that when we went to Hazeldean, there would be a theme as Nathan chased his brother around.

So, Alex is The Joker:

...and Nathan becomes Batman:

Unfortunately both boys were getting over recent sickness and were not up to running around the mall as in past years.

One thing which was surprising was the enthusiasm Alex had for people coming to the door.  He enjoyed having the door open, and seemed delighted that people were coming up to him.  He wasn't so much for handing out candy to the visitors, but he seemed really into the whole thing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nathan's first hair cut

Jenn gave Nathan his first hair cut at the beginning of September.  No more crazy-haired mad-scientist look -- it is amazing how the change in the hair makes him look more and more like a real little boy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

First Post

Welcome to the new blog.

The purpose of this weblog will be to post family pictures and news and such for people who don't want to dig through the noise at my other sites to find.

Unfortunately the software running the old 'blog was old enough to be hacked; I discovered one day that at least one of my articles had been infested with links to nasty porn pages.  None of my readers would have been able to see them, the links were clearly put in to increase search engine rankings for the listed pages.  But it still means that I can't trust the software, and since I don't have time to keep it up to date, it has to come down.

First real post will be coming soon.