Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Soooo...I started this post back on December 20th and had too much else to do to get ready for Christmas and being away from home for a week and I ended up saving it as a draft to finish later and never finished it...until now!  I'm sure the original post would have been full of nostalgia and sentiment but now, in the after Christmas buzzkill, I can't remember what I was going to say.  I kind of get sad about how fast Christmas is just over.  It's not really over.  The twelve days of Christmas are not over yet.  I wish the Christmas movies, music and decorations didn't just disappear so fast. 
Here is a photo of our tree without the cat in it.  The star is crooked from him and Ben messing with it though.  The tree is still up.  I might take it down before the twelve days of Christmas are over since I am sick of disciplining kids and cats to keep them away from it.  We will see. 

Here is a miniature table display with Ben's first Santa picture.  I bought that frame on clearance last year after Christmas. 

Here is a nice picture of Allan basking in the glow of "his" tree.  He looks so civilized! 

Another tree picture, in case you wanted a different view!  I'm sure you did...

I have always wanted to decorate a light fixture for Christmas but we never had a proper chandelier style one until we moved here! 

Here is the nativity scene.  Christmas is not complete without one.  I have always loved my mom's pristine white set and I also love this colorful one that I received as a bridal shower gift.  I had intentions of getting some pine branches for those vases but, of course, never got around to stopping at a tree lot to look.  I saw some bundles for sale at Lowes but I thought they seemed too expensive for a bundle of branches. 
Here is Ben gaining access to the tree with his stool that he drags around the house and uses to cause trouble.  No surface is safe anymore! 

There is my favorite ornament!  I am relieved that it is not breakable!
Tessa had a lovely first Christmas.  She got many nice presents including this little snowman from her great grandma Dorothy.  Ben got one too. 

Ben also received many nice gifts.  He opened this combine from the Ertil "Big Farm" collection of farm toys.  He got to open it on Christmas Eve even though we didn't really have a gift opening that night.  He loved it but we had to leave it behind because our vehicle was too full!  He will get it back in a few weeks. 

Tessa opened her first gift (besides the snowman) on Christmas morning.  Doesn't she look intrigued?  It was clothes from my brother and sister-in-law. 

On Christmas Day it was warm (by December in ND standards) so Ben got to play outside for awhile with his favorite dogs Jake (shown above) and Wal Wal. 

That sled was a Christmas present of my brother's many years ago and I got a purple one and my sister got a pink one!  They are all still stored in the rafters of the garage on the farm!  It is hard to believe that they are more than twenty years old!

Later that weekend Tessa and Ben got to spend time with their cousins.  Ben was a toy stealing pest and Tessa was a big attraction. 

We hope you had a very merry Christmas!  Now it is New Year's Eve.  It is hard to believe.  It was a big year for us since we got a new house and had a new baby.  Also, both of our parents built new houses (still in progress) and several family members have been married and announced pregnancies.  2014 will be a baby filled year! 
In conclusion, here are a few ways I realized that I have become an adult in relation to the holidays:
1.  Instead of Christmas taking an eternity to arrive as I observe the advent calendar or paper chain impatiently every day, now it comes way too fast and it is hard to fit everything in before it arrives.
2.  Opening gifts for my kids is as fun as opening gifts for myself.
3.  It is exciting to receive gifts related to mundane daily activities, such as items used for cleaning and food preparation. 
4.  I can't just swill wine without a worry anymore. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Visit to Santa

Last night we took Ben and Tessa to visit Santa Claus at the mall.  Justin had class, which is held in an annex building very close to the mall, so I met him there.  He got done early because he had a test.  Ah...finals...I remember those weeks.  In college, it as a pretty fun and relaxing week, at least in my very easy academic department.  The campus would become empty as each day of the week passed.  I remember having to stay until Thursday or Friday during my freshman year in the dorm and saying goodbye to all my buddies every day and being very excited for it to by my turn.  Back at home there were basketball games to watch since both my brother and sister were playing and high school classmates to meet up with, usually at the basketball games. An empty dorm is a sad contrast to a full bustling dorm and everyone was anxious to get home.  Blast that Biology 150 and its Friday final!  I still vaguely remember the main subject matter of protein synthesis...very vaguely...In the following years I wanted to stay until Friday.  Whoever was done with tests was celebrating the season!  We didn't have playoff football back then.  I thought we had fun then. I can't imagine what it would be like now!  Thinking about finals reminds me of the very early days of Justin's and my acquaintance.  We both had Statistics 330 and we were allowed to make a cheat sheet where we could write as much as would fit on a sheet of paper and use it during the test.  I was at AGR with my friends screwing around and wasting time like did on a regular basis and he was studying and we ended up comparing cheat sheets and then planned to walk to the final together.  It was a 7:30 a.m. test.  We trudged off to the hall which I can't remember in the dark and I have no idea what we talked about.  Tee hee hee...how cute...

So here we are, ten years later!  Yes, that was in 2003.  Ten years later we brought our two under two to visit Santa at the mall.  I tested out our new double stroller which I think we will have to send back because I couldn't figure out how it was compatible with our car seat and I can't find the instruction book to check the model number of the seat.  It is a MONSTER.  My body is sore from spending a few hours in the mall with that thing last night.  We bought the cheapest photo package of two 4x6 prints.  It also included a code to download a low resolution digital copy for your phone or Facebook or whatever online use you have but we somehow lost the receipt with the code.  I took this photo of the photo with my phone. 
It's a beauty.  Between Ben's residual black eye and Tessa's hands in front of her face it could be a better photo.  Oh well.  The two kids near Ben's age who went before us were screaming so at least he was cooperative. I just wish we didn't have to pay so much for this nonsense.  In the town I grew up in there is an old timey log cabin and every year the town men's club has a Santa and elves day there.  It is free and you can take as many of your own photos as you want.  Many years ago, when I was in middle school, my dad played Santa.  Maybe one of these years we can make it to that event.  It won't happen as long as NDSU is in the playoffs! 
I am trying to get so many things done before we leave for Christmas in a few days.  This afternoon, as soon as Ben crashed, I planned on cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen, including mopping the disgusting floor.  We are going to bake cookies in mass quantity tonight for an office exchange and to bring to our Christmases with our families so it will probably get messed up again but I just hated the idea of a festive baking session in that nasty mess.  So I filled the bucket and mixed up the Pine sol, started sweeping, and of course Tessa woke up and started fussing almost right away.  I have read some advice for parents of two kids under two on the internet and they all say to wear the baby to help you get things accomplished.  I was skeptical of this advice because Ben did not like being in a baby carrier.  I have two different ones.  I have the Moby, which is a huge piece of fabric that you could make a toga out of (hmmm...I might have to try that sometime!) that you wrap and tie around yourself and a more traditional backpack style carrier.  Ben was too much of a stiff, planking little thing who would not accept the snuggly nature of the carriers.  I have been trying again with Tessa and have successfully used the Moby a few times. 

So she helped me clean today!  She falls asleep almost right away if she is in it securely.  I think I am getting better at wrapping and tying the thing.  The bad part is that it makes me really hot.  It is worth it for thirty minutes of accomplishment though. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tessa is 1 Month Old!

Today is the 16th so Tessa is 1 month old as of yesterday!  I tried to start a post about her being 1 month old last night but I didn't get very far.  At this time one month ago she was not yet 24 hours old!  It has been a fast month.  When I look back on it, I am amazed that both Ben and Tessa are still alive and I am maintaining a basic routine, change out of the clothes I slept in every morning and am keeping up with baseline household obligations.  And I mean reaaaally baseline.  For example, I haven't run the real vacuum cleaner since before Tessa was born (I have used the small electric Dirt Devil) and the kitchen floor is an abomination.  But I do keep up with dishes and laundry.  Buuuut...the laundry often sits folded in the basket for many days while another pile accumulates on the floor where the baskets should be.  I haven't seriously cleaned the bathrooms since before she was born but I have wiped the surfaces with Clorox wipes a few times and the trash cans are not overflowing.  It could be better but could be worse.  I'm still waiting for that "full" night of sleep.  It's hard to believe it has been a month since I have slept longer than a few hours at a time.  It has been longer than that if you add the uncomfortable nights of pregnancy. 

In the days after her birth I meant to write many posts about her, including one about how we chose her name.  So I will discuss it now.  As we did with Benjamin, we had a hard time picking a name and nothing really jumped out at us.  There was the usual issues where we liked a name but already knew someone with that name or one of us had a negative association or it didn't work with our last name.  We went to the hospital with two finalists and even after her birth we still wavered on which one to choose. 

I saw Tessa on a name website and thought it was cute and different but not really out there and also not overly popular.  Upon reading the meaning and history I learned that it is a version of the name "Theresa".  I remembered that Justin's German great grandmother was named Therese, pronounced the German way so I thought that was kind of a nice connection.  Theresa and all of the related names, including Tessa, means "to reap, gather and harvest".  I didn't worry about the meaning, but it is kind of fitting for a baby born in the fall around Thanksgiving.  Her middle name, Margaret, comes from my side of the family.  My mom's grandmother was named Margaret.  She died young (but not until she managed to have 14 children) and my mom has Margaret as a middle name as well.  I asked my grandma if there were any other women in the family who were given Margaret as a middle name since I couldn't think of any with it as a first name and she said she couldn't think of any besides my mom.  So her name shall live on.  Not that she needs her name to have her legacy live on since she has approximately fifty grandchildren and eventually will have hundreds of great grandchildren. 

And guess what...I was revisiting my scanned pictures last night because a classmate from high school was asking on Facebook if anyone had a picture of our class in our graduation robes (I had one!) so I know that I have pictures of the original Therese and the original Margaret.  Therese lived a long life, and sadly Margaret didn't.

This is Therese, Justin's mom's grandmother.  I am not sure when she died but I am certain it was before Justin was born.  It looks like it was probably in the 70's.  Any lady who had a bright pink house dress like that must have had some personality. 
The mom in the front row is Margaret.  I think this might be the only picture of her that I have ever seen.  This is also one of the few photos of the whole family of 16 together.  It might be the only one.  My grandma is one of the older daughters in the back to the right of her oldest brother.  Yes, the one with her eyes closed!  She died from a sudden stroke in, I believe, 1954 or 1955. 

A few facts about Tessa at 1 month:

-Not sure about her weight but I would guess between ten and eleven pounds.
-She likes to be held and carried around if she is awake.
-She recently started grabbing handfuls of my hair when I hold her.
-She wears size one diapers and can still squeeze in to some of the roomier newborn clothes but also fits in 0-3 month clothes. 
-She is starting to make more "talkative" sounds besides just newborn grunts and crying.
-She is starting to use her legs more to try to "stand" and lock her knees.
-She has been on a few road trips and is good in the car. 

I took a picture of her on my phone to upload but the Blogger app is acting up and failing to publish.  So you get to see pictures of two long deceased great grandmothers but no new Tessa pictures.  Oh well...I don't have time to figure it out right now...it's Christmas in nine days...eeeeeh!  We might go visit Santa at the all tonight.  That will be fun even though I think they rip you off by making you purchase their overpriced photos. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Goodbye Choo Choo

So, like I admitted when I was in the late days of pregnancy, I have been letting Ben watch more TV than I approve of but sometimes it really is a life saver.  He is currently interested in trains (or, as he says, choo choos.)  Unfortunately, PBS doesn't currently show the standard show about "choo choos" for little kids, Thomas and Friends, every day. 
This program and the accompanying toys have been around for along time.  My brother liked it when he was a child and had the VHS tapes and many toys and a floor mat with train tracks to set it all up.  He will be turning 27 in January so that means it has been around for at least twenty years.  It used to be narrated by Ringo Star and was called "Thomas the Tank Engine" and they lived at "Shining Time Station".  The modern version is computer animated and the trains aren't British but a lot of the terminology still seems British to me.  For example, they call getting to do a fun job or privilege a "special" and they say things like "an idea flew into Thomas's funnel".  Huh?  The trains still have the same names though, and that windbag buzzkill Sir Topham Hatt is still the main train conductor.   Ben first was exposed to it because we got out my brother's toys for him at the farm one weekend.  He had been showing interest in the book "The Little Engine that Could" so I thought he would like them.  I was right.  
Here is a current computer animated still from the show. 
And here is Sir Topham Hatt.  He is always lecturing the engines about being "very useful and helpful" blah blah blah...

Like I said, PBS doesn't show the show every day or even on a regular basis.  If it does show up it is on a weekend.  I caught an episode a few weeks ago and recorded it and it hasn't been on since.  That episode, about the "girl" engine Emily telling a lie so she can be decorated in lights as the "party engine" for a Christmas party, has been my best friend.  Ben loves it and would watch it nonstop all day.  He brings the remote to me and says "Choo choo!" and then he is distracted. 

Well, this morning the remote was acting up.  I think the batteries had been jolted out of place from it falling on the floor.  I meant to hit "don't delete" and I accidentally deleted it!  UHHHHHHGGGGG!  Crap.  Help me.  Bob the Builder is also on the recording list but it isn't as beloved as Thomas.  I looked at the guide and it is on again on Sunday.  That is in four days!  PBS please add it back into your daily scheduled programming!  PLEASE!!  I think we need Netflix. 

Tessa has been doing good for a newborn.  It is hard to believe she is almost a month old.  I have started dressing her in her 3 month outfits even though they have room to grow. 

Here she is in one of her cute outfits. 
Here she is in another one.  She wouldn't stop crying so I didn't get any good pictures.  Another day...
She has gradually been sleeping more at night.  Over the weekend at my sisters she slept for an almost six hour stretch from midnight until 5:40 a.m. and then went back to sleep after eating until 8:00 a.m.  I would almost say she slept through the night!  I felt so invigorated that morning.  Since Ben was in the pack and play we planned on having Tessa sleep in either her bouncy chair or some sort of makeshift bed.  We ended up having her sleep in a laundry basket with a towel for a mattress.  And she had her best night of sleep ever in it!  What the H?  She had a few more standard nights of waking every three hours and last night she once again slept from midnight until 5:30 and then went back to sleep until after 8:00 a.m.  This time it was in the bassinette and not in a laundry basket. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ben's First Black Eye

When I think about it I am surprised this hasn't happened yet since Ben's favorite activity is climbing and jumping off of furniture but he currently has a pretty unsightly black eye.  What sort of parental inattentiveness lead to this accident?  On Sunday night Justin was watching TV downstairs and I was doing the same upstairs.  I was trying to unpack from the weekend so insisted that Justin keep Ben downstairs so I could do something without him undoing it.  He has been my shadow lately so it is hard to get him to stay away from me even for a short time.  It's cute but like many things toddlers do can also be annoying.  I took a few minutes to sit down because Tessa was fussing to be held.  The stairs are open with railings instead of a solid wall so Justin and I could see each other and Ben except for at the bottom of the first flight of stairs.  Whatever happened took place right in the blind spot.  We heard a bump and then the breath holding of a little kid who is about to start wailing.  He had a scrape on the side of his eye and seemed like he was actually hurt and not just whining like he usually does.  We tried to apply ice but he wasn't holding still for that!

From what we can tell he fell while trying to climb the stairs while holding a football.  It wasn't so bad on Sunday night but has gotten worse looking since. 

It doesn't seem to bother him but I am glad it isn't serious and also that I already took pictures for and ordered our Christmas cards!
We went to Fargo over the weekend for the NDSU playoff game.  I didn't go to the game because Tessa is to small.  We went shopping instead.  We didn't set up our tailgating spot since the high temperature was below zero.  Some people in the group "tailgated" indoors at BWW and Chub's.  My sister had an indoor tailgate party at her house. 

I had fun at the mall even though my huge stroller isn't the best piece of equipment to have in a packed store.  A sleepy newborn is an easier shopping companion that a active 20 month old.  There was a TV broadcasting the game in the corridor so I could check in here and there.  Me and about thirty irritated looking men who looked like they wanted to be anywhere else but the mall on a Saturday eighteen days before Christmas.  It is sad not being at the games!  I just can't imagine lugging Tessa up to my seat in row W yet. 
And of course, later that night everyone got a big surprise about the football coach taking a new job.  what followed was an uproar on the Internet as the news spread very fast and rumors circulated.  It turned out to be true. 
Thanks for this fun memory Coach Bohl!  It's from the "Bison Bandwagon Tour" or whatever it was called back in July of 2012.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Al! Al!"

This morning Ben was standing over by the Christmas tree and I thought he was looking at ornaments and soon I realized he was saying "Al!  Al!" so I went over to investigate.  There was Allan, perched in the branches quite close to the top. 

I don't know how he got up there without messing up the ornaments and lights.  I didn't even hear any rustling of branches. 

It was hard to remove him because of the multiple strings of lights and beads on there!  This tree must be bringing out his repressed natural instincts and now he seems to think he is a wild mountain lion or something.  I reminded him that wild cats don't vomit every time they eat anything besides sensitive stomach formula cat food. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Tree Preview

I have looked forward to setting up the Christmas tree and decorating for every year of my life that I can remember.  This year my enthusiasm has not been there the way it has always been but the thought of not having the tree up was just too sad so we made it happen.  Justin dug all the decorations out of the garage and I frantically assembled the tree and added the lights on Monday night after Ben was sleeping.  I did the rest by some miracle yesterday afternoon while Ben and Tessa were both sleeping.  I will take some pictures of the finished product later because the dining room table is still shoved in a corner and the chairs are all over the place.  Here is a preview. 
Allan is in love with the tree.  It happens every year.  As soon as the box opens he is going crazy.  He loves to gnaw on the branches.  I have no idea why.  It is one of the stupidest things he does.  Of course he ends up ingesting some needles and then inevitably throws up.  I am so happy that we have mostly hard surfaces for flooring. 

We let him get his fix on Monday night and he has settled down quite a bit regarding the tree.  The ornaments probably get in his way.  Or maybe he realized that eating artificial pine needles is a really dumb idea. 
Ben has been good with the tree so far.  It has been decorated for 24 hours now and he has mostly left it alone.  He stands by it and looks at the ornaments and comments on the ball shaped ones because he never misses a ball and he threw an ornament down the stairs this morning but it was just one ornament and it was a non-breakable, non-sentimental one that I purposely put in his reach at the bottom.  Hopefully the tree will stay intact this year.  I don't want a repeat of last year. Remember this picture?
He was so cute!  He still is but nine month olds are especially cute!  Also, I really miss that plant!  Also I miss that house!  The tree fit perfectly in that corner by the window.  I hope the new owners have a tree.  I suppose by next year Tessa will be the one tearing the tree apart.  That's OK...it is a small price to pay for having kids to share Christmas with. 
Ben has been really interested in Tessa this week.  Yesterday I had her laying on a blanket on the floor and he was laying by her so I laid her on him so he could snuggle her.  Now he wants to hold her and snuggle her all the time.  He grabs her blanket and spreads it on the floor and tries to pull my arm to bring me over to it and lay her down.  When he holds her he tries to push my hands away so he can do it on his own. 

It's really cute and I don't want to discourage him but it also is nerve wracking!  I am afraid that he will try to pick her up when I turn away for a second to go to the bathroom or get a drink in the kitchen. 

She thinks he should take a hint and leave her alone! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend (which didn't include any shopping!).  The weekend started slow because our furnace malfunctioned and first didn't produce any heat so the house was 58 degrees.  A repair person came and after he left it was on and soon I realized it was REALLY on and it was getting hot even though the thermostat said 70 degrees.  Our weather station showed that it was in the upper 70s and eventually in the 80s and the repairman wasn't able to come back until after 7 p.m. when we had hoped to be long gone from here and not sitting around sweating in an 86 degree house. 
We didn't make it to our destination, my parents farm, until very late at night but it was worth it to wake up at "home" for Thanksgiving and be able to watch the parade on TV and do all the holiday things I have always done.  I have always looked forward to Thanksgiving even though it doesn't have the hype and excitement of Christmas.  We always had fun.  We got together with relatives and if we were at the farm we would pay outside and sled and snowmobile if it was snowy.  If we were not at the farm we would go to a movie or play games.  We always did a Christmas related craft project.  If it was my dad's side, my Grandma brought the kids a present which was always a Christmas ornament.  One year my basketball team went to the state tournament and there was so much excitement and hype in the days before and after the event that I forgot about Thanksgiving until I realized that we didn't have school the next day on Wednesday.  That was a great surprise!
Tessa met her three surviving great grandmothers over the weekend. 
Tessa and Great Grandma Dorothy.

Tessa and Great Grandma Phyllis.

I finally wrangled my mom and grandma into taking a four generation photo.  I always meant to do this with Ben and never got around to it.  It is possible on my dad's side as well and unfortunately my grandfather died before we could get a photo with him and my dad and Ben and I so I want to try to get them taken while possible.  Although I look seven months pregnant in this photo I am still glad I have it.  And, I must add, that I did indeed wear jeans over the weekend so it is not as bad as it looks!

Here is Tessa with Great Grandma Irene.  We visited her on Friday. 

The first of many Thanksgivings!   

On Saturday it was a still day and not too cold...a perfect day to light a huge fire in the front yard and burn a bunch of stuff!  My dad and Justin and my brother started a bonfire to burn several piles of bulldozed trees, some junk from around the house yard and some old furniture from my grandma's basement.  Ben had fun "helping" the men. 

Look at that inferno!  Grandpa Tim can really start a blaze!

Now that it is December it is a fun time of year for little kids...Christmas pajama time!  There are few things cuter than little kids and babies in Christmas pajamas.  I bought Ben some last winter on clearance. 

They have a reindeer on the side that you can't see.  Tessa has a pair as well that are size 3 months.  They should fit in no time. 
I tried to take some pictures for a Christmas card on Sunday.  I was able to use a few pictures although it was not easy getting Ben to cooperate and sit still next to his sister for a few seconds.  I am not going to share many of them because I don't want to spoil the Christmas card!  Here are their outfits that they wore. 

Ben...I think you are too big for that chair!  Your sister is not happy that you are doing that!

She says, "Ben!  Get out of my chair!"
Tessa had her two week appointment this morning.  She weighs 9 lbs. and 15 oz.  She has gained more than two pounds since leaving the hospital.  The doctor said she wants to see babies at least gain back their birth weight in two weeks so she is doing great!  This is such a relief to me after worrying about Ben's slow gains.  Once he passed the newborn phase it took him months to gain two pounds so I am enjoying this while it lasts.  He is starting to eat more like a big kid and gain more too so hopefully I can put the weight gain worries aside for awhile. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

'Tis the Season

 Every fall, usually in September, the seasonal flavors start hitting the stores and coffee shops.  It seems like every year pumpkin spice foods and drink become more popular.  I don't know when this started but I know Starbucks has had pumpkin spice coffee drinks for a long time (and only for a limited time!) in the fall.  I like pumpkin flavor even though  do not frequent Starbucks or any coffee shop.  This year I bought a bag of pumpkin spice M&Ms and they were OK.  But they don't compare to my favorite seasonal flavoring!  It's candy cane/holiday mint season! 

I have already consumed the whole bag of mint M&Ms and there are only three candy canes left from the pack that I bought last week.  That candy cane tea is delicious too.  The only way it would be better is if it weren't decaf!  I don't know who wants decaf green tea.  It has a minima caffeine content in the first place.  Other things I look forward to having in the next few weeks include ice cream with mint flavor, baked goods, and possibly some ice hole peppermint schnapps!  Yeaaaah!  I keep forgetting that I can have that now if I want! 
I am excited for Thanksgiving.  We thought maybe we would stay around here but after two weeks of sitting around the house in sweatpants I am ready to get out of here.  Newborns travel well anyway and Ben really needs a change of scenery so we will be visiting family for Thanksgiving.  Tessa will be able to meet our grandmothers and I will be home to help lug all the Christmas decorations out of the attic of the old house one last time!  Although that process is generally a big pain I'm sure I will feel nostalgic about it anyway. 
I was excused from contributing anything to Thanksgiving but I have had the urge to bake something holiday related.  Don't ask me why.  It doesn't hit very often!  I settled on spritz cookies since they are really easy and we had all the ingredients in the house already.  Also, they only take a few minutes to bake and don't require any rolling or messy hands so I knew I could get the batch done fast.

The spritz dispenser is seeing the light of day!  It only happens a few times each year around Christmas and Thanksgiving! 

I love these bottles!  I hope McCormick never changes them.  They have been the same my whole life and probably forever.  When watching my mom bake as a child it was fun being able to squirt in the drops.  It was really fun when we were making a snack for school and I got to pick what color it would be.  They last forever!  I have had this box of food coloring for a long time.  I don't know why I first bought it but I will probably have them for several more years. 
I tried to let Ben get in on the fun since he likes to pull up a step stool and be a helper lately.  He really enjoys throwing laundry into the washing machine.  Usually his helping makes a big mess but I hate to take away his chance to learn.  He lost interest in this project in no time and proceeded to use his stool to mess around with the dirty dishes in the sink and to throw a full pack of milk storage freezer bags around the room while my back was turned for five seconds. 

He did like the cookies!  I may have let him sort of spoil his lunch by eating three of them...
Tessa was sleeping during the baking process.  She still is.  She had a pretty good night of sleeping last night which included a four hour stretch!  Then she was up for over an hour but went back to sleep for almost three more.  I feel so much better today than I have for awhile.  I hope she continues to regulate her sleep schedule to include longer stretches at night.