Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Careful What You Teach...

I bet if you have a toddler, or have ever interacted with a toddler, or have even ever seen a toddler, you've wondered how much of what we say gets through to them. For goodness sakes, they barely even speak English, how could they possibly fully comprehend the language?

It's been really interesting to observe little glimpses of understanding over the past few months. Ethan will follow simple commands (i.e. - Get your duck! Take this to Mama! Go find the other sock!) on a daily basis. During our flight to Dallas, we kept Ethan from melting down by recognizing the tantrum warning signs and quickly asking him to "turn on the light" as a preemptive strike. Sure, the constant on and off clicking of the overhead reading light may have bothered other passengers, but probably not more than a screaming baby would have!

We've also focused a lot on stairs safety. We spent a good portion of our holiday vacation trying to keep Ethan from running full steam towards one of the many stairwells at Mima and Poppa's house. The "Backwards Slither" technique wasn't working, so we switched tactics to the "Sit and Scoot" technique. By the end of our vacation, Ethan was automatically dropping to his bottom a few feet before the first stair, and scooting down slowly and safely. Hurrah! However, perhaps we emphasized this a bit too much. What we've seen as a result is a complete over-generalization of his newfound skill. Whenever Ethan encounters two surfaces with even the slightest degree of grade change, he drops to his cute baby bottom and scoots to safety. We're talking carpet to tile, concrete to gravel - you name it, he scoots across it! He eventually does figure out which surfaces are safe to step over/around/onto, but in the learning process he's completely wearing out the seats of all of his pants!

Oh well, better safe than sorry!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Snow Bunny

Whew - is anyone else exhausted from a whirlwind of holiday traveling and events? Ryan, Ethan, and I went to Dallas for Christmas, had a day upon our return to readjust to our time zone/unpack/decompress, celebrated my *first annual* 29th birthday (...because no matter what Father Time says, I will not be turning 30. Ever.) the following day, and then woke up the next morning and drove up to our usual spot in the Sierras for a wintery New Year's celebration. I'm tired all over again just writing about it!

Christmas in Dallas was literally a record-setter this year. For the first time since the National Weather Service began recording snowfall in 1898, the area received a measurable amount of snow on Christmas Eve. Three inches, to be exact. Now, yes, I am from the East Coast, and, yes, I am aware of the Great Blizzard of '09 that wreaked havoc on the Mid-Atlantic, but this was big news for Texas! Winds were gusting upwards of 50 mph, the roads iced over after sundown, and there was nary a snow plow to be found since they are never, EVER needed in that area. It made for quite an exciting trip to our candlelight Christmas Eve church service, that's for sure! Luckily, we were in a car driven by an experienced Michiganite-turned-Coloradan who could more than handle himself behind the wheel in a snowstorm, and did not end up in a ditch like several other drivers we passed.

Poor Ethan had a cold for our entire Texas trip, which turned him into quite the crankypants. As a result, we don't really have any photos postable photos of him or our festivities. However, we do have pictures from our New Year's trip. This has been a Notch Family tradition for the past five years, and we absolutely love it. The town we stay in has a population of less than 100 people, is right outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and has exactly four commercial buildings (used loosely... very loosely) - a lodge that can accomodate about twenty people, a restaurant that seats about the same, a gift and ski shop, and a general store. All of the buildings are owned and operated by one family. It's tiny, quiet, peaceful, idyllic, and relaxing. When we were there last year Ethan was just a wee little thing, making this the first year that he really got to experience playing in the snow. It took him a few minutes to warm up to the cold crunching under his feet, but he was a pro snow-walker in no time and really enjoyed running around.

From our family to yours, here's to a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2010 filled with laughter and love!