Sunday, January 7, 2006

Like everyone, December was busy for us. Between Christmas card pics, first Santa visit, decorating the house for Christmas, and our trip back to VA/WVA, we were on the go. We didn't think the kids would enjoy the holidays as much as they did. They loved the tree and lights. We would take walks or drives in the evenings to look at all the Christmas lights (fortunately a lot of people in our neighborhood decorated). They would squeal and say "more," especially when they saw the popular blow up figures.

Christmas Day was special for us. We met Kai and Sierra for the first time on Christmas Day in 2004 (see our ornaments below from 12/25/2004). It's amazing how much they have both grown since then. It's true what everyone says that time goes by fast. We stayed at our home for Christmas 2005. This is the first time in 9 1/2 years since we've been married that we didn't spend Christmas back home in VA/WVA.


We did travel back to VA/WVA after Christmas for a week. The kids did good on the plane trip. We lucked out and had an extra seat for both of them on the way up, but had to hold them in our laps on the flight home. This is our 2nd plane trip with them since Kaz and they've done surprisingly well (although we come prepared with snacks, books and toys and make sure to book a direct flight, all of which help).

The pictures mostly tell the story this month, but here are a few miscellaneous factoids:

  • Kai is becoming a bit picky when it comes to eating his vegetables. Although, we've found a way around it - dipping. He loves to dip things and is not picky about the condiment (i.e., green beans in mustard). He'll tell us he wants to "dip, dip"
  • Both Kai and Sierra are feeding themselves (we still help in order to increase the amount of food that ends up in their mouths).
  • Sierra continues to have no fear. She stands and climbs on everything. She hangs from the kitchen counters. She even went down the slide the other day on her stomach.
  • Both Kai and Sierra are saying more and more words. They are both at the stage where they try to repeat a lot of what we say. Many things they will speak and sign at the same time. Of course, most people wouldn't be able to understand what they're saying but, we usually can.
  • They have both found out where the phone is in our bedroom (the old fashion kind with the spiral cord - an added bonus to play with). Often, when we're on the portable phone, we hear the other end pick up. Sierra in particular loves to pick it up and jabber. The biggest "real" conversation (usually with Grandma, MeMaw or PawPaw) she's had to date is, "Hi" (she usually waves at the phone when she says hi), "Da U" (for love you) and "Bye Bye" (she usually waves again). During the month of December, we also added "Anta" (for Santa) to the conversations (prompted by "Tell them who's coming to see you"). NOTE: to anyone who calls us, the phone is often off the hook because when the kids are done with it, they just throw it on the floor.
  • We have two cats, Leroy, who is nice, and Jasmine who is not very sociable (doesn't really like anyone except Jim and Carla - definitely doesn't like little people charging at her). Sierra loves all animals and wants to lay on them and "give them love." Jasmine would rather not have any love so she hisses and spits when Sierra gets near her. So to reciprocate, when Sierra sees Jasmine, she curls up her fingers (like claws) and hisses, whereas when she sees Leroy, she meows. Her "mean kitty routine" is popular now to show off for others.

Below are some pics from the month:


The first Higgins family Christmas card with Kai and Sierra

It took about 4 roles of film to get this one shot
(it's harder than it looks to get two 1 year olds
to look at the camera and smile at the same time) --- Thanks Amanda C.
and thanks to Kathy J. for the cute Christmas outfits!


First visit to see Santa

Kai and Sierra did great with Santa. Not real "smiley" but they were fascinated with him. We were surprised how well they did so we jumped in the picture while we had cooperation and a photographer (not easy getting pics of all 4 of us looking in the same direction).


"Anta" (that's how Kai and Sierra pronounce Santa) and the Higgins Babies


"I want a pink piano so I can make lots of noise in the house..."


"I would like to have a big Tonka truck... yes, I've been good."


Snowsuits in FL (ICE exhibit - 9 degrees F inside)

The Staypuff Marshmallow Man.


"Daddy, it's freezing in here" (we made the not-so-wise decision to skip nap this day, Sierra was a little "edgy" -- and promptly fell asleep when we started driving home)


Sierra's first haircut

"Why are you subjecting me to this... I don't even have that much hair."


"Cool, an animal cracker..." The world is good again.


Higgins House Christmas for the holidays

Kai and Sierra's first Christmas tree. We kept it in a gated room (mostly for Mom's sanity). They would "drive by" each day and peep in (and would also let us know if the lights were not on yet).



Our Christmas Stockings. Kai and Sierra's are handmade from Kazakhstan. We wanted to make sure we incorporated some Kazakh items into our holiday.


Our Grandfather Frost and Snowgirl dolls from Uralsk, KZ (Kai and Sierra's home town).


Kai and Sierra posing with their birthday sign for MeMaw.


We've been letting letting Kai and Sierra feed themselves. They're doing pretty good, although it's usually quite messy.


"When you can't stab it with the fork, just pick it up and put it on yourself... that's what I do."


Daddy and the two elves at "Santa in the Park" day.


Christmas Day 2005 (a year ago today, we met Kai and Sierra)

"What time is it anyway?"


"What's all the fuss... you never bring a camera in here in the morning."


"Wow... no gate and look at all this stuff!"


The piano was a big hit. Maybe we'll have two little musicians on our hands.


"This truck serves as a toy for me to push, as well as a seat... very versatile."


Sierra looking through our Kaz trip photo album. She recognizes "baby Sierra." We've decided to make this a part of our Christmas tradition.


"Merry Christmas, Mr. Dick."


Kai and Sierra's first Christmas dinner.


"Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm" Kai doesn't like his food to touch. If something from one section falls into the other, he promptly has to put it back. He also, doesn't like getting food or drink on his hands. He often uses Jim as his napkin.


"I especially like the potatoes."


Vacation (WVA/VA to visit our family)

Kai reading on the plane.


Sierra mastering the buckle on her seat belt.

Sierra and Kai going to see MeMaw at the airport.


Sierra liked the animated nativity scene at MeMaw and PawPaw's house.


The New Year's Easter Bunny

"MeMaw is making sure my feet stay warm."


Nicholas (the big cat) makes a great pillow (and fortunately is tolerant of Sierra's love). .

"How do you like my big girl boots?" Sierra put these on and wanted to walk all over the house in them.


Jumping on the little trampoline with MeMaw.


"Bud, just get me a little closer please."


Sierra and Aunt Kit.

Sierra's cousin, Torrie, reading to her.

"It's nap time, why am I still up?"


"Aunt Bunny, play the dancing Santa again."


"Say cheese."

"PawPaw's hermit crabs are cool."


"Mama, can I have one?"


Sierra found a new toy she likes.. the moonwalk at Hunter's 5th birthday party.


Kai and his cousin, Hunter.


"More presents.." Cousin Ginny brought some Christmas goodies out for Kai and Sierra.


Bud and Kai having a man-to-man chat.


PawPaw (the resident photographer) didn't end up in any of the pics, but here he is taking some of Kai and Sierra.


"Where's the snow... I'm ready to go?"


"Is the hat necessary? It's making my cheeks look like a chipmunk?"


"I think I fell in a pile of deer poop."


Sierra signing "bird."


Sierra talking to Aunt Allison's horse.

Kai and his cousin, Seth.

"Nay, Nay... "

"Would you like to hear some Mozart or Bach?"


Sierra and Grandma.


Kai helping his cousin, Evan tune the mandolin for Ryan.


Ryan playing his mandolin for Kai (the new "toy" that he's taking to Iraq this month)

Aunt Allison is on juice duty.


Aunt Nancy and Cousin Carly.


Daddy dancing with Kai.


"This is awesome..I'm tall enough for the buffet line."




"And I'm tall enough to get what falls off onto the table."


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