Bubba rapping, Nicky dancing

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
oh my crazy family...

Christmas in California - 2009

Christmas 2009... It was a busy and hectic week visiting family and friends and enjoying the holiday season. We were lucky we even made it. We woke up late - 4:27 am to make a 6 am flight out of Austin. Not sure even how we even made it, but we did. Half way to the airport I also realized I forgot to pack formula for Brandon.  Luckily the stars aligned, we finagled our way through check in, flew through the handicapped security line (sorry!) and made it on our flight with moments to spare. I'd love to say that the boys slept and it was a piece of cake, but then I would be lying. Lets just say that  we made it and survived.

Wednesday morning we headed up to Grass Valley (an hour north of Sacramento) to visit my Dad and Ellen, but first made a stop in Alameda to visit Kathleen and her new baby Evan. What a sweet precious baby he is and I am jealous how great she looks and that he already sleeps. It only took B 5 months! In Grass Valley, we enjoyed good company, cool weather, the Great Debate of 2009, and good beer. It was nice to see the gimp (my dad broke his kneecap) and I enjoyed watching Brandon open his first gifts of the season. Nicky loved to run outside and feed the neighbor's horses.

Every Christmas eve Dan goes to his mom's house for her crabfest and poker games, while we have our own crabfest and pesto fest at my mom's. This Christmas Eve my mom had a big dinner party, and my Uncle Mikey flew in from Indianapolis and it was his first time meeting the boys. His daughter and my cousin Dawn Marie, my cousin Steven, and my Auntie Donna were also there to celebrate along with our neighbors Mitzi and Terry. It was even more special because my mom bought me a princess cake for my birthday! YUMMY! The only thing missing was Val. She was enjoying her Christmas having a pint in London - an awesome tradition we need to bring to the states.

After dinner, we changed the boys into their Christmas pajamas and put them to bed so Santa could come.  And boy did Santa come - Grandma Bubba and Grandpa Papa went all out. I was a little worried Nicky would be overwhelmed, but not only did he embrace the gift receiving practice, he made sure to open each and every gift to test it out. And how fun it is to open those boxes of kids toys. I love all those wires, bendy ties, and tape - each box is like fort knox! (Let me also stop here and point out that "Santa" aka, Bob and Lenore, also sent 2 huge and massive gifts before we left for the bay area. The boys came home to a new Playscape and Melissa and Doug Train table and Dan has more boxes in his garage! (ps, mom doesn't Bob want to RETIRE??! haha (and thank you)))

This was Brandon's first Christmas and he was happy to play in the paper and get some new chew toys for his teething. His favorite present was a crinkly star blanket and his new True Religion jeans. He also enjoyed chewing on all of Nicky's new trains. Nicky's favorite toys where his construction trucks, Wonder Pets Fly Boat, shake em up race car, musical school bus, and anything his little brother was playing with.

Christmas evening we had a lovely dinner at Grandma Lala's (Larissa) Nicky was in fine form making animal noises, while we had a break when Brandon went to bed early. This year we missed Crazy Uncle Frank and Auntie Amy who were spending the holidays with her family in the OC, and Auntie Jennie and cousin Katie were celebrating together in Philly. We hope next year we will all be together again. Nicky and Brandon got to meet Uncle Nick, play with Auntie Alex and Cooper, and hang with Papa Ray, Lee and Mark. It was a great way to end our Christmas of 2009...topped off with the gingerbread and pear cake!

Saturday morning we started really early visiting with Kelly and Alexis. Brandon and Nicky got to meet Alexis and play with their new friend. Kelly told her daughter "take your pick!" haha! (Alexis, stand in line...Avery, Kylee Jo, and Haylee,  may have something to say about that ) its so fun to see our kids together and will be great watching them grow up. Alexis is only 1 month older than Brandon and what a little doll..seriously, she poses at the camera. Its too cute.

Saturday night, my mom treated me, Roneeta, and Amy to a night out - dinner at Perbacco and the musical Wicked. Right before we left Bob surprised us with a treat - car service to the city! How fun and sweet! Roneeta coined a new phrase "How do I get a Bob?" (Lenore, do tell..?) All i can say is that Wicked has to be the best musical I have ever seen. I adored it. I loved having a girls night out while Dan (and Grandpa) watched the boys.  It made me a *teeny* bit less stressed, even knowing that Dan went out leaving them boys all alone with Grandpa.

Sunday was really relaxing, Dan went to get ramen with Ben, then to visit with Marcel and Connie, Peggy Lucey stopped by to visit and we got to see Marta, Steve, gorgeous Paloma, and darling Matteo. The big boys danced with Santa, while Steve cage fought with Brandon.

After the Sangervesi's left, Brandon, Nicky, and I went to visit with Jess, Dom, and Kyle. Nicky was enthralled with the train table, and we saw our futures when we get home - total consumption with trains, wheels, and things that go. Kyle is such a big strong boy, and he showed Nicky how to jump on a trampoline and how to ride a baby dinosaur, while Dom and Dan played with Brandon and talked guy stuff. It was hard to leave because it made us remember how much fun we used to have together and how much we miss our friends back home. We managed to survive because we had Round Table when we got back to moms! Seriously thinking of franchising out here in Austin....

and we left on Monday. I missed seeing lots of my usual friends, Claire and her family, Hilary, Eric and Avery, Mike, Nicole, and Parker...Tiffani didn't come home this year, and all my friends at VMware. but I love you all and will see you soon. Nicky misses Bubba and asks for her every day.

This week the boys are back at school and I am working from home  this week (can't you tell ;)??!)

Have a wonderful New Years and here is to a happy and healthy 2010!

Merry Christmas from the Abeling's

Our christmas card for 2009.
Happy Holidays ~ with love ~ the Abeling's: Dan, Victoria, Nicky, and Brandon


Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The idiom the straw that broke the camel's back is from an Arab proverb about how a camel wearing shoes is loaded beyond its capacity to move. Kinda like what it feels like when you get no sleep

This is a reference to any process by which cataclysmic failure (a broken back or ME) is achieved by a seemingly inconsequential addition (a single straw or LACK of SLEEP) - something is deemed to be the last in a line of unacceptable occurrences. It was obvious our sleep training for Brandon wasn't training any sleep and that has become unacceptable. And my own sanity was on its way to a cataclysmic failure.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. We had to get Brandon to sleep through the night. But what do we do? I have been too tired to read any sleep books, I have no time, when I do have time, I just want to sleep. Vicious circle of pretending we had a system and hoping that the next night would be the last. Finally we resorted to the tried and true Cry it out. Monday we began our new regime.

And hardly a regime it was...It's been 2 nights now and Brandon has slept through the night both nights. What a champ. What a big boy! (even better Nicky never woke up once either!) I've gotten some sleep and I swear I'm a whole different person. I showered today! haha. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I have a whole new outlook on life. Every cloud has a silver lining, and that's a proverb I like.

Santa Babies

Friday, December 11, 2009
We were at a holiday bazaar in Steiner Ranch and they had a Santa for pictures. Not a very festive picture, except for the big man in a red suit, but Brandon survived without any screaming and Nicky didn't seem to care all that much. Actually Brandon looks bored as hell, and Nicky looks up to something, We'll be home on the 24th and will take pictures at Hillsdale in their official christmas outfits. I like official.

No Luck...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
...In getting a picture of the 2 teeth!


Christmas Tree Shopping

This is my MOST favorite time of year. I love tree trimming! I love my red and green trees!  I love garland and cute ornaments! I love picking out the perfect tree. I couldn't wait for this weekend.

We took the boys to our local tree lot and Nicky picked out the perfect tree; a nine foot Noble fir. BTW, when did Christmas tree start costing over $100?!

Brandon enjoyed looking at all the trees and getting to wear a new knit hat. I think he looks thrilled to be christmas tree shopping, don't you? ;)

Nicky also had his first candy cane, and wasn't to sure about it at first, but quickly finished it and wanted more. He has a sweet tooth like his Mama.

We finished the decorations last night. Dan helped me with the lights (that's why they are all funky) if you look close, you may notice that we did not put any ornaments at little tiny finger level...or puppy level. I am afraid to go home to see what Zeus did with the tree...I hope he ignored it.

The front of the house is also done. I'll take pictures tonight! Merry Christmas!

Ho Ho Ho

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ho Ho Ho, originally uploaded by victoriaabeling.

Playing around with my new Photo editing tool. Maybe next year I make my own Holiday Cards! Yee-Haw!

New Pictures Posted

New Sets added to flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriaabeling/sets/
  • Nicholas -18 months
  • Brandon - weeks 18, 19, and 20
  • Decorating boys room and playroom
  • Nicky's Rash (turns out it was eczema!)
  • House Updates and Stella and Dot party
  • Thanksgiving feast at Primrose
  • Thanksgiving in Austin
  • Vintage Babies

Dear Nicky - 18 month letter

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Dear Nicholas,

Last week you had your 18 month check up. It was a little late because we canceled your first one last minute to go visit your Auntie Val in Party City.  What a great trip that was, just you and me. You are growing up so fast, its hard to believe in 6 months you will be 2!

Not too much has changed since last time except you are now 32 inches tall and 28 pounds! Your weight is in the 75th percentile and your height is in the 50th. That means your a little above average, but Daddy and I think you are way above average. You are wearing a size 6 shoe and pretty much fit perfectly into 18 - 24.

18 months and you still prove to be challenging in some areas and in others you continue to blow us away, especially how smart you are. You have started to say sentences and put multiple words together like:
  • Thank you
  • Where did it go?
  • I don't know
  • Come Zeus, Come Ra
  • No, mine
  • All Done
  • and my favorite I love you. (when asked)
Right now we are working on Merry Christmas. It comes out Merry Nah.

Our biggest worry right now is how to help you stop crying at night. It breaks our heart every night when we hear you cry out for us. We would do anything to take all that sadness away....but are your REAAAALLLLY sad, or just know how to play the game, mister??  On the occasion you do break us down and we go back upstairs to tuck you back in, you are just fine. So happy we are there, just to point out the moon and stars. You will even lay there pretending to be asleep while we sneak out, just to have you jump up crying again. Daddy and Mommy may have to start turning off the monitor...and I can't begin to imagine how this will all work out once you figure out how to climb out of the crib. I do not look forward to that day.

At 18 months, you love trucks and trains and anything with wheels. You love to point out buses and fire trucks and make siren sounds when you see an ambulance. You pick me flowers. You love sticks and old pipes. You love to clean and we have to pry brooms out of your hand. You still ADORE your Daddy. Puppies and bubbles are still top of your list. You've started to play by yourself and have your own make believe.

You can count to 2. (go Nicky!), say ABC, and every color is green, but we're working on it. We can get a blue, white, yellow, red, and purple out of you when prompted. You can sign a lot of words, and love to be outside. Ant bites make your skin flare up and you hate bugs. You still have your nini (pacifier) but we're working on it.

and at 18 months you still dance...

...and you make us dance. we love you poops.


Nicky and Nature

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nicky and Nature, originally uploaded by victoriaabeling.
Nicky's Auntie Amy took this picture and I just love it. You almost miss the old PVC pipe he picked up from the open lot next door. Nicky was being a total boy and hitting anything that moved (or didn't). I love his Uggs too! His mommy has great taste ;)

Black Friday L*O*V*E

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Love you Leifsdottir. Happy Black Friday

Auntie Val and her Boys

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I didn't think Brandon and Nicholas looked that much a like. Until today! I took one of  my favorite pictures of Valerie and Nicholas and made her pose with Brandon this morning to recreate the same picture, like I did with Roxy and her boys. Below are the pictures side by side! Guess which one is which?! :)

Nicky is 15 weeks and Brandon is 19 weeks in these pictures. Valerie is 31 and 32 ;o)

Brandon's Good Eats

Monday, November 23, 2009
Brandon has added pears to his diet. Brandon loves Pears! You can't hear him but he is squealing in delight! :)

When I got home from Park City....

I had two of these pretty boxes waiting for me!! My N and B initial necklaces I have been wanting forever! Thank you to the best husband in the world! Now what do I need for my birthday and christmas...? hmm......thinking....

Nicky Adventures

Last weekend we had another Mommy and Nicky adventure!  Nicholas and I went to Park City to surprise Valerie for her first World Cup Bobsled race of the season. We left early on Friday morning to be there in time for the race at 3pm.

Nicky did great on the plane. He didn't sleep, but he was very good. We arrived in Park City and there was just a little snow, even though I brought a full on snow suit and all his new snow gear. I kept my secret all week, but couldn't wait to surpise her at her front door. I called her on my way up the mountain I was so excited.

Nicky saw snow for the first time at Vals house and said EWWWW when he touched it. Baby steps. Nicky did pretty good at the race on Friday night but after about 2 and a half hours the cold got too much and Nicky has a mini meltdown. Thanks to Shauna's family and the girls friend Nina,  we were able to keep him warm enough to get to the car. Once we got to the car, he quickly fell asleep in my arms. Val and Shauna didn't have a great start to the season, but there are more races and its a big year for both of them.We met Val and Shauna after the race at Redstone brewery for dinner. Nicky had fun , hestayed up till 10 pm and danced in the streets in Park City.

It was good to see Val and spend time with her before she left for 9 weeks to go on tour in Europe. Nicky loves Val (Vawl) and loved spending time with Grandma Booba (Bubba) and Grandpa Bob (Pa Pa).

The rest of the trip was spent exploring Park City and we headed up to the Utah Olympic Park to take pictures of Nicky in the bobsled and explore the museum. Its snowed on our last day and Nicky loved to catch snowflakes on his tongue. It was a great trip and the ride home was just as nice. Nicky danced in the airport to Pour Some Sugar On Me and made everyone laugh. He is so charming! I loved this picture of Nicky on the plane with his Nemo.

I posted more pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriaabeling/sets/72157622718265601/with/4120757038/

Happiest Baby on the Block

Friday, November 20, 2009
The thing about Brandon is that he is so happy. He laughs. He giggles. He coos non stop. He gurgles and hiccups. Its hard to remember that babies can be easy after you have a Nicholas. I personally think this was God's way of making sure I did not jump off a deep end with another "high need, high maintenance" child :)
Here is Brandon talking while Daddy and Nicky put together the new table and chairs in the play room

And here are some more pictures from weeks 17 & 18 of the happiest baby on the block!

Brandon - 4 Month Wellness Check!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Brandon had his 4 month check up and had a great progress report.  He is now 15 pds, 10 oz and in the 75th percentile in weight. He has the chubbiest little goishies (thighs) and I love to squeeze them and blow raspberry kisses.  He is 25 inches long and that puts him in the 55th percentile. He is in 3-6 months clothing and filling out all over. His head size jumped and did get bigger in the last 2 months and is now in the 50th percentile. Its neat to compare to Nicky at the same time. Both are 18 weeks at their 4 month check up. Both are 15 pds, and 25 inches. (But different percentiles! weird, I'll have to check on that. lol)  No teeth have pooked through yet, but the Dr seems to think it could be soon since his gums are a little swollen.

We tried a little food yesterday, but he hasn't gotten the hang of it yet. He is still a little wobbly and can't hold himself up for long periods of time. We practice our baby pull ups every day and he is getting better and stronger. He still gets up 2-3 times a night and its really taking its toll. I hope in the upcoming weeks we can move Brandon to his room and Nicky into his new room. Brandon is truly a happy baby. He smiles more than Nicky did and is starting to laugh outloud. He is content to hang out and is rolling over from tummy to back and ALMOST from back to tummy. Just a couple more days of practice. I took this from my friends blog so I could post some of his milestones.

Here are some of the four-month milestones and how Brandon is doing:

"By four months, your baby ... should be able to:
- on stomach, lift head up 90 degrees (yes)
- laugh out loud (yes and its the best sound in the world!)
- follow an object in an arc about 6 inches above the face for 180 degrees, from one side to the other (yes)

... will probably be able to:
- hold head steady when upright (yes, but kinda wobbly at times)
- on stomach, raise chest, supported by arms (yes)
- grasp a rattle held to backs or tips of fingers (yes)
- pay attention to an object as small as a raisin (no, i don't have any raisins)
- reach for an object (yes)
- squeal in delight (yes, very loudly too)

... may possibly be able to:
- keep head level with body when pulled to sitting (Yes! we love baby pull ups!)
- roll over one way (yes, from tummy to back. back to tummy is still a little hard)
- turn in the direction of mommy's voice (yes, he LOVES mommy)
- say "ah-goo" or similar vowel-consonant combinations (Brandon talks all day long).
- make a wet razzing sound (we're working on raspberry sounds!)

... may even be able to:
- bear some weight on legs when held upright (yes, he's so strong!.)
- sit without support (no, but spends lots of time in his Bumbo)
- object if you try to take a toy away (not yet)
- turn in the direction of a voice (yep)


Below is an email I sent out back in Oct 08 when Nicky was 4 months old. 3 weeks later I would get pregnant with Brandon...so crazy!

ps. Funny, here we are a year later and I still owe people thank you cards from Brandon's baptism. I am SO bad at that and i am SO sorry.

Hello Friends and family!

2 weeks ago, Dan and I had pictures taken of Nicholas at 4 months old.

He loves the camera already, probably because I have taken 8,000
pictures of him! (no joke...) I included our favorite picture.  If you
are in Austin and want a recommendation, I highly recommend Bonnie
Berry. She is fantastic.

Nicholas is 15 pounds now, and has 2 teeth! Its crazy...and he likes
to put everything in his mouth. He is starting to sit up, and tries to
crawl like an inch worm. He LOVEs dogs.

Week 18 (sept 8 - sept 14) was a rough week for us. He was 4 months old this week; He is 15.1 pounds, 25 inches long. His weight is 60% percentile, height 75% percentile, and head is 40% percentile. He got his second round of vaccines. That night his fever spiked to 101.9. We were up all night with him, but he was better the next day. He still wakes up a couple times a night as he rolls over, but has now embraced the tummy sleeping. He is sleeping in his room now, and dan and I take turms sleeping in the guest room so we can be closer to him. I miss him in our room so much. He doesn't nurse as much now and I am very sad.
His teeth has popped through and he is still very fussy.
This week we met Dan's father at Cafe Blue on the Lake. We had a great week with some cool weather - our over 90 degree summer looks like it is coming to an end. we also did not get any rain from Hurricane Ike. 

 I hope everyone is doing well, and I'd love to see pictures of your
families - actually facebook has kept me up to date on most of you! ;)
Who else feels like a voyeur???! Ok, back to work and talk to you all
I posted week 20 pictures on Flickr:
and the latest videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=viccifleming

Love, Vicci, Dan, and Nicky...Roxy  &; Eleanor too!
ps. If I owe you a Thank you card, i am SORRY i'm working on them. :o)
My mother thinks I am the WORST - and wishes I was more like Kathleen.

Holiday Pictures!

I LOVE Christmas! I love the music! I LOVE getting Christmas cards. Every year its a big deal for me to find the perfect card, the perfect outfits, and the perfect picture. Needless to say this amounts to even more stress but I enjoy it. I drive my husband crazy, but its worth it when I get my freshly printed cards in the mail and send them off.  And I can't wait to get them in return too!

This past weekend the whole family posed for some pictures for our 2009 Holiday card.  It was a little bit of a fiasco, but we did get a handful of good pictures. It was almost impossible to get everyone to look at the camera, pose nicely, hair in place, and noses clean. This one I posted below reflects the chaos that IS our life right now and I think it is perfect. Brandon also passed out for the last 20 minutes of the session. I uploaded a handful of pictures on FLICKR for a sneak peak before the card goes out! The rest will be posted in December

Family Chaos

Reclaimed Wood

Monday, November 9, 2009
Reclaimed wood is rough and fun. Simple and majestic. Like my boys. and like my boys I love this table. and I want it badly. It was made to go in my house and I need it. Dan doesn't agree. So.........

I settled for second best. I had these fun and adorable blocks personalized for the boys rooms. Also reclaimed wood. Not really the same, but $4,000 cheaper.

Run Nicky Run!

Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Fleming Twins were fast back in the day. Val still is. I...not so much. Hard to stay fast when I haven't exercised in months.

It turns out my son takes after the Fleming side. He's fast. He runs around the couch. He runs from the diaper monster (every changing) and he runs on our walks. Let's hope he doesn't run like daddy as he gets older! 


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