Mar 4, 2013

Maximus' first birthday

Little Maximus celebrated his birthday like a boss with his angry bird themed festivities.  This was much more low key than Lily's crazy disco party, but we still had plenty of fun.

The fondant pigs stole the angry bird eggs...

...while they were distracted with the cake (while on a cake)

The enthusiastic birthday boy ... will appear in the following picture

Getting ready to sing

We also made homemade angry bird pizza

Our ghost babies had plenty of crafts

A life-size angry bird game

Then some more crafts

Some music playin'

And finally some present openin'

Lily's first birthday

Let's just get right to this.  It's circa summer of 2010 and Lily is turning a year old.  We gots to celebrate, and it has to be done right.  There is essentially only one option: going disco!  At that point we were going to a regular play group each week with a dozen or two other dancing queens and princes (I don't think they make dancing kings these days, but if there is one thing that prince harry has taught us it's that a prince knows how to boogie).  So anyway, we hijacked play group that week for our own selfish celebratory purposes.  Enough narrative, let's get down to pictures:

The kids got dancing lessons...

...and the adults jumped in

Lily's birthday cake was a disco ball made with metallic fondant mirrors

The afro dude, mirror ball, and disco diva cupcakes were a hit

Lily and her custom lady leisure suit with hey groovy Mama

Ready to dig in!

A few of the attendees

Lily definitely enjoyed her day!

Feb 2, 2013

Catching up

Okay, it has been over three years since my last blog post.  It's absolutely shameful, I know.  The last time I posted, the original iPad hadn't even been released and 3D television consisted of wearing red and blue paper glasses.  Androids were for the most part humanoid robots.  Back when I started this blog, I was a full time grad student, married with no kids, working part-time.  Then came the kids, the full-time employment, doctoral coursework, dissertation, etc.  But still, three years?!  Let's start the review process from the top:

When Lily was born, Livia was working at the Joffrey Ballet in downtown Chicago.  After 6 weeks of maternity leave, Livia returned to work.  She quickly transitioned into a community outreach role (from an executive assistant role).  Her work was very satisfying and challenging.  However, she decided that she wanted to shift her career to a more domestic position, and after about 6 months she worked out a way to modify her hours to a part-time role.  After a few month of part-time work, she transitioned into more of a consulting role so that she could focus on being a full-time mom.  This is a career move that she hasn't regretted for a second.

Livia spent a few years working to teach music to the children in our church primary.  This was again a challenging and rewarding role for her, as her responsibilities were outside the scope of her comfort levels at the time she began teaching.  But she very quickly warmed up to the role and the children warmed up to her as well!  Eventually she was released from that role, but the children still love her and are very excited to see her when she visits the primary.  She is now serving as the ward librarian, making good use of her organization skills and serving the teachers of the ward.

Livia with the primary children

In the past few years, Livia has enjoyed her opportunities to sew, quilt, and scrapbook.  She continues to be incredibly creative and even took sewing courses which taught her how to create dresses and refine her skills.  For Lily's third birthday (summer, 2012), Livia worked for weeks in order to sew costumes for the kids.  The theme was Rapunel (Disney's Tangled), and she sewed Rapunzel apron/dresses for the little girls and Vests with satchels for all the little Flynn Ryders.  The kids loved their costumes and still talk about that birthday party.  (I'll include pictures from the party in other post)

Of course Livia's most significant accomplishment of the last few years is introducing this world to our newest family addition, Maximus Alexander Nufer.  We call him Wasabi.  He is an amazing little man with grit and an energy for life.  He has definitely made our house so much brighter, and Lily is an amazing big sister.

So Lily is just an amazing little girl.  To describe her, I would say that she is incredibly creative with a vivid imagination.  She loves exploring, playing music, dancing, and crafts.  Last Christmas season Livia took Lily to see The Nutcracker, and now Lily is always asking to listed to the music.  She will play a drum solo or a flute melody and say "Did you like that?  It's the nutcracker!"  In fact, once she even asked "Can I listen to the Nutcracker treat?"  After a moment I equated: treat = suite (sweet).

She is way too cool for Old Navy

A summer stroll through the neighborhood

Lily loves family home evening and preschool.  For preschool Livia does crafts with Lily, including playing with clay and playdoh, working with flashcards, coloring or painting, singing songs, and learning the alphabet.  She doesn't like numbers so much, but the other day she counted up to 50.  Lily loves going to church and is enjoying her time as a Sunbeam in the primary.

Lily also loves going to Portuguese school on Saturdays, as well as her ballet class during the week.  Not only does she love dancing, but the other little girls in her class love having Lily in the class.  Each week when she arrives the other girls are so happy to see her and they jump up and down and surround her.  She's a little celebrity sometimes.

Lily's favorite shows/movies include Daniel Tiger's neighborhood, Super Why, Tangled, The Secret of Kells, Brave, and Toy Story 3.  We just started taking her to movies in the theater.  She saw Wreck it Ralph, Finding Nemo, and Monster's Inc., all in 3D (lucky girls).  And not only does she love every movie that has a princess in it, but she has a closet full of princess dresses - thanks to her Mommy - so she dresses up whenever she watches her movies.

Maximus Alexander (Wasabi)
And then we get to our little man.  He is an amazingly curious little person, just like his sister was.  Lily is a great big sister, but Wasabi is also a great little brother as he puts up with Lily's more aggressive concepts of what "play" is.  Fast forwarding quite a bit, Wasabi just turned a yer old last week.  In that time he has learned how to crawl and walk, as well as how to say mama and dada, and I'm pretty sure he is saying up when he wants us to hold him.

Okay, so I distinctly remember the need for us to childproof our house when Lily was little, but it seems like little Max is so much more of a maelstrom than she was.  Not only does he love clearing out the cabinets of pots and pans and emptying all the tupperware from our drawers, but he gets upset when we secure the drawers with rubber bands.  It's as if he is entitled and obligated to make the biggest mess that he can all the time.  Again, this is not necessarily a new concept to us, but the little guy really turned up the intensity on us.  We had to clear out the shelves in our hallway dresser and dedicate them to his toys.  But not even that is enough for him:

also, he is figuring out how to solve the rubics cube

He had some rough dietary restrictions early on in life and seemed to react adversely to many foods.  So he didn't start with solids until several months after the benchmark.  But it seems as though he is no longer reacting to foods now and he eats anything and everything in very impressive quantities.

Wasabi definitely takes after his big sister in that they both charm everyone with whom they come into contact.  This is probably just a parent's bias, but we really believe that our children have such pretty faces and magnetic personalities.  Both kids are very cuddly and they are going to have a lifetime of melting peoples' hearts, for sure.

Well I've had quite an adventure as well in the past 3 years.  I transitioned from a part time worker in my school's marketing department to a full-time member of the instructional design team.  I was able to grow and develop for a couple of years in that role until I got a promotion to become an eLearning specialist.  This involves working as an instructional technologist as we strengthen our online classroom presence.  These positions have afforded me fantastic opportunities for professional development.

Academically, I began my doctoral coursework in Fall 2009, but didn't technically wrap up my master's thesis until the following summer, so I actually had some overlap in programs.  I defended my dissertation last March, less than two months after baby Max was born.  Unfortunately there are no graduation pictures because I forgot about commencement (plus I missed the deadlines to petition for commencement).  But at least they mailed me my diploma.

As Prince Charming and Dopey @Disneyworld

In church I have spent the last three years being juggles around in the YM and EQ presidencies, and currently as the ward clerk.  I have enjoyed every position in which I have served and am always finding myself learning and growing.

And so that is the news from us.  It has been quite an eventful few years in the Nufer family, and we will be looking ahead to many more adventures.

Our family enjoying a vacation with the grandparents

Dec 28, 2009

Little Baby Girl: the summer months

August and September brought some pretty fun milestones. We actually saw the first smiles early on, such as the first smiles, lifting the head up during tummy time, crying throughout the entire night, sleeping all day long, recognizing contrasts and crude shapes, and so on. Those were the cute days, fo sho! She could do no wrong (and still can't really).

Lily began life at 7 lbs 2 ounces, but quickly lost about half a lb in weight (which is typical). Before she left the nicu she had regained all her original weight and has steadily put on lbs. She is now in the 75th percentile. The following pictures are posted in the order in which they were taken.

first bath

Two-and-a-half weeks

defying gravity (oops)

This is around the one month mark

The boxing gloves help her to not scratch her face

Practicing the tummy time

One of the first baths in the tub

These next pics were taken on the day of her baby blessing.

Here she is with grandma and grandpa

And her aunt Amanda

This one is perhaps our favorite thus far. Taken on a beautiful day at the Botanical Gardens. We were covering her head with a thin blanket to protect her from the sun. She ended up peeking out over my shoulder and Livia captured the moment.

At this point (almost 6 weeks), holding her head up became very natural, to the point that if she was on her tummy she wouldn't allow her head to rest, but would rather be looking all around at her surroundings. Perhaps planning, plotting.

And that wraps up the first couple of months with little baby girl. We were fortunate to spend all our time with her during that first little while, but eventually life started catching up to us and work, school, etc., began occupying more of our time. She really is a great baby. She has a wonderful personality and is extremely affectionate. She loves getting kisses all the time and rarely ceases to smile.

One of the things that we noticed during the first few days is how alert she is. Even within the first few hours of life she would turn her head toward our voices. When her vision started coming in, she would follow us as we would walk around. And now she searches for us if she can hear us even at the other end of the house. We definitely dream about life without baby Lily.

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