Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Snow finally came to DC. Apparently Mark and I didn't hear the news, and I was shocked at 2 am to find a white blanket on our yard after an Allie feed.

Jackson and I ventured out in the morning to build a snowman and shovel our walk. Too bad I realized snow pants and snow gloves make a huge difference when you're playing in the snow. Since he's the oldest, it would probably be smart to invest in these things, but it's so hard to justify it when we don't even know if we're going to get snow!

Classic Shaunel style, we pulled enough stuff together to combat the chill, but the fleece pants and little cotton mittens were no match to snow melt. We lasted through shoveling the sidewalk and came trudging in with frozen hands.

 A few days later, much had melted and I wanted to save some snow for an upcoming lesson. Jackson and I gathered a bit and decided to stay out and enjoy the white fluff in better weather. Apparently this classic serving spoon was not meant to stay in the kitchen.

Love multiple uses for things I inherited from college roommates!

Allie got a taste of an oldie but goodie that I feel like we just barely put away.

Yay for the hand-me-down exersaucer!

We are totally rocking the 90's geometric shapes. It still works great!

Allie also started playing a favorite classic game all on her own (at a mere 5 months).

Does this video look familiar? Perhaps you recall Jackson wowing us with the same game when he was a good 7 months old. Funny how they look completely the same minus the eye color. Wild!

And more classic Shaunels: I guess I learned how to spell peek a boo in the 2 years since I videoed Jackson. 10 points for me!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stars of the Week

Jackson is definitely the star of the week. But, goodness this cutie actually holds still for pictures, so she gets most of the photo love. Can I help it? Holy smokes. I still just want to eat her all day.

We are definitely loving the semi-gender neutral pj's. Pink backgrounds are essential since I accessorize her as much as I personally accessorize--at least 1/year.

Allie is full on chew toying. She loves her Sophie giraffe, plastic bags (sorry kid), and my fingers.


 She is also half rolling and shimmying all over the place. Her tummy roll (documented last week) can be seen in action at the bottom of the post.

And, back to the star of the week. I happened upon a gem of a potty training book by Teri Crane, that takes an insanely fun approach to potty training. It's based on the original "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" book by Azrin where the kid teaches a doll to use the potty. Teri just adds a party. Talk about Jackson's dream! We had a crazy day of goldfish, gold stars, potty movies, book, and games, with Jackson hitting nirvana after receiving more concentrated positive attention from me than he has ever received. [We're still recovering...] Mr. Monkey (in the pink bumbo) learned how to use the potty most of Friday morning, complete with a few accidents and many successes in the toilet.

After an hour of not napping, Jackson got to get up and put his awesome new Thomas undies on.

I was completely paranoid of an accident. We kept the picnic blanket under us the whole afternoon. We went and sat on the toilet at least 2 of the 5 hours we were potty training. Thankfully, every child's potty book from the library said the first time the kids tried, they "sat and sat and sat and sat." The accident came--right outside the bathroom the first time. Then... he figured it out. It was amazing, and I still can't believe it. Even today, a week later, he's amazed by it himself. His face is lights up with excitement as soon as his pee comes out. Jackson has done phenomenally, averaging less than one accident a day. I am aware that his siblings will be completely different when training, but I can't believe I'm not dreading it! The whole day was quite fun, and completely enabling for both of us. Keep it up Jackson!

And the Allie roll:
(This was only her second roll... you'll have to excuse the lack of fluidity)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Remembering Moments

The computer power cord is having difficulties, but we've had some big and little moments that should be remembered. So we will lack pictures, but I will let my thumbs fly on my new little iPod and attempt to capture these important things. 

Allie successfully rolled over on January 3rd (tummy to back) and has done so repeatedly many times since. She mostly uses the weight of her ginormous head to leverage the rest of her body to follow. We're thrilled. 

We've also started to let her "fuss it out"  when she needs to take a nap (sounds so much better than "cry it out"). This is a bit less thrilling, but helpful on the arms. 

Jackson may or may not be potty trained by next week. But no matter what happens on that front, his latest quotes are so cute we'll be keeping him around. 

-while erasing a picture on his magnidoodle, "mommy! It melted!"
-trying to convince me he didn't want to go to preschool, "they cut  the preschool down mom." "Who did, Jackson?" "The kids. They cut it down"
-stalling in bed at night, "mommy my pajamas aren't working!" (Mark goes in to investigate) "you took them off, Jackson" "they're broken dad."

I'm sure there should be some interesting quotes coming from our adventure on the potty this weekend.  Looking forward to the stress and entertainment ahead!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cousin Lovin'

Mark's family's Christmas tradition is to have all the "kids" line up in order before going into look at what Santa brought. Last year's picture had only Rebecca and Savannah at home. It was a bit different this year.

I was glad we took this picture, because everything else I took was of Allie or Jackson, and yet there were so many other amazing people to snap pictures of! 

Despite 3 viruses being passed around a house with 15 people sleeping under one roof (and 4 frequent visitors), we had a fantastic time visiting Mark's family in AZ.

Lots of cute cousin-ness, aided by the best aunties in the world.

Addie and Jackson were certainly a pair (or at least that's what Jackson thought). Addie just went around her make-believe world and was thrilled to have others come too--as long as they didn't mess up any of her plans. Jackson was fully inundated with imagination and Addie's gigantic vocabulary. 

(The angel and the wise snowman during the nativity on Christmas Eve)

Christmas morning commentators

Care Bear Power!

Poor Cole was the worst victim of the viruses, and spent his first few days saying "Daddy, I sick" and hacking up a little storm. Oh it was sad. We were convinced he and Jackson were destined to never have healthy play time.

Amazingly, Jackson's flu shot and our endless hand washing torture kept him from getting the worst of anything and after a few days, the boys were playing like this:

Oh my cute. Couldn't have gotten enough of that.

The best part of watching Cole and Jackson was noticing how similar they were when their two-ness would hit. i.e. when butter was put on Jackson's waffle or Cole didn't want to drink out of that one cup. They melted into tantrums in such a similar way--it made us parents feel so much better about wading through these terrific twos. 

Grandpa and Grandma got plenty of baby time. Allie looks huge compared to little Samuel, but they're a mere 3 months apart.

Both of the kiddos certainly became famous for their common tendencies.

Jackson's signature move:

 And Allie Ballie's:

We had a fabulous time, so glad to have survived sickness all together!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tour Worthy

May I present the von Brown family:

On the piano

and holding down the percussion


So amazing, we decided to take them on tour:

Good thing the pianist's muscles are developed enough to carry his own bag.

A more detailed rendition of the tour is scheduled soon.