Monday, December 31, 2012

December in Photos

Christmas with Family

It is always a blessing when you get to spend the holidays with family and when I am not able to be with mine - Loving Husband's is just as awesome and fun to be with.    We headed south on the 23rd a tad later than our schedule after we first dropped off Pixel at his boarding place with Christmas presents scheduled for their delivery to him on the big day.   I was a tiny sad we wouldn't be spending the official Christmas with him, but sorry, it was only a fleeting sadness.  ;-)  

We arrived at Aunt and Uncle's house which was thankfully live-tree free (a HUGE thank you for abandoning your Christmas tree and opting for a fake one exclusively to accomodate me, Aunt and Uncle!!)  and had a great evening with them and met Uncle's dad and his family that were also staying with them.  He and his wife have two kids similar in age to Ace and Mae and for being in the same house together for 3 days they did wonderful together.   

On Christmas Eve we occupied our time with Grandma Carol making snowflakes with all the kids and a few other of the adults joined in on the fun from time to time as well.   Some played Scrabble, for a while all the kids enjoyed games on various Aunts, Parents, Grandparent's phones.... it was a pleasant day and night. 

I cheated and looked on Pinterest.  Martha Stewart hooked me up on the how to. :)

Germa came over and she gave them candy canes.   Mae ate the entire thing and was the fastest AND cleanest of the four of kids.  :)  Uncle did very well to keep us very well fed as well throughout the day!

Christmas eve we went for a walk and enjoyed a stroll past houses decorated in Christmas lights.  I created a little scavenger hunt sheet for each of the kids to take with them and find the items on various houses as we walked.  They had fun with it.  Mae called it her purse and was quite upset a few times when it fell to the ground.  :)  After our stroll the kids were settled into the bed, Grandmas went home,  and the rest of us remained awake and enjoyed a semi-traditional game of Kings Cup and some Taboo as well.   It was a lot of fun.  And we enjoyed a skype visit with Gran and Pop Pop to ring in Christmas day officially.   :)

Christmas morning arrived and we ate and had slow start to the morning and then the time to unwrap presents was upon us!   It was a lot of fun with all the kids.  :)

We had a lazy rest of the morning, I skyped in to see my nieces and the rest of my family opening some Christmas, and then Aunt, Grandma Carol, and myself bid adieu to the rest of the family and headed to the movies!  Yes, we had 1:30 tickets to see Les Miserables!  Now, let me just say I absolutely LOVE this book.  I've read it three times, I've seen the Broadway play (off Broadway) three times, I own and exhausted my VHS (yes, VHS) copy of the 25th Anniversary stage production, and I have stomached through the movies that thus far had been produced (deplorable by the way)  so when I heard that a rendition of the musical adaptation was going to be produced I waited with baited breath in the hopes that this amazing work of art would be done justly.    Let me just say I was not disappointed.   I was breathless at the acting several times, the raw emotions the actors brought to the character was bone chilling in some instances and heart warming in others.   The directors choice to have the actors sing live was by far the best one ever made. Ever in film production.  Ever.     Did I like it?  I loved it.   It was the perfect thing to do and see on Christmas Day (yes I know it's kind of a downer in many respects but the beauty of the humanity and love that surpasses the bleak times gets me every time and I love it.)   We left the theater and headed home happy with our experience. 

Dinner was just getting underway as we came home: prime rib and lobster - why THANK YOU Uncle!!    It was delicious and a perfect end to the visit.   The kids said good night to their aunt as she was headed to work at 6am the next day and we were headed home around 10am and they were off to bed.    The adults finished off Christmas night watching Die Hard.  :)  

A wonderful visit and great time with some of our favorite people.   We drove home, got Pixel who had a perfect report card but was super happy to see us and we went home.   Another great Christmas for our family.   Truly a blessing.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas at Home

This year our family of four celebrated Christmas on the morning of the 22nd.  Why?  Well because on the morning of the 23rd we were venturing south to spend the holidays with his family down there.   So bright and early on Saturday morning the kids awoke to Christmas morning happily buzzing downstairs with the yule log streaming on an electronic device in the fireplace.  ;-)  It was a fun morning of presents from aunts and uncles and from the family.  It was a lot of fun and kind of exciting that it was a bit early! :)

Pixel enjoyed his first Christmas with us and enjoyed his new bones he got to chew on and was a good puppy avoiding consumption of wrapping paper, new toys, etc..    Mae enjoyed her first Christmas not spend in an ER!   Yes, Mae's second Christmas was much more a traditional fan fare - and yes on our Christmas night we reintroduced the same food to M that caused her allergic reaction (nearly) one year prior.  Don't worry we had a blood test done to determine that M is in fact allergy free from her previous food allergy - something we are extremely thankful for and hooray she loves the food too! :)

She was telling us all about ripping the paper.

Ace had a lovely FIFTH Christmas.   I cannot believe that he's had FIVE Christmases - but as pictured... it's true.  Sigh my how time flies!!!

The kids had a great time - Mae enjoyed PRINTHESSES and the boy LOVED his Hot Wheels racing track that we got them.  There were many MANY more presents from their adoring friends and extended family.    They (and we) are very blessed.    It was a nice day to spend just the four of us (plus Pixel)   :) 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Adventures of Ellie

Yes our little Ellie the Elf had a grand ol' time - she even got to venture to another state!  What fun!    This was another great year and this year Mae had a lot more fun with trying to seek out the elf.  Ellie did make some repeat adventures to some of the same spots that Holly her predecessor had, but there was still plenty of new places to seek out and trouble for Ellie to get into!  

Ace really enjoyed the hunt but Mae loved to hug on Ellie once she was found!  Can't wait to see what next year will hold for the little elf and my two!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you for reading my blog!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Christmas Program

I was so glad that Ace was able to attend his school program at school after he had missed his class party from being sick.    He made an adorable shepherd even if he wasn't terribly keen in participating in the songs or actions after that much was complete.   I still loved to see him in the program and I caught a few glimpses of excitement here and there.  :)    Regardless, this mama was proud to see the boy in a nativity play.


It's surreal to think that this was his first and only Christmas program in preschool.   Our little man is growing up and will be in kindergarten next year!   Gasp!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Little Elf Express

Last year with a nearly one year old M and an adorable three year old boy one evening while Loving Husband was out working late I took the kids out 'hunting' for Christmas lights.  We had a lot of fun and driving around aimlessly searching for GOOD Christmas lights.  :)     It was so much fun that  this year I wanted to punch up that theme a bit more so off to Photoshop I went to draft some tickets and turn our vehicle into a Christmas Train:  The Little Elf Express.

With tickets printed, an evening where the whole family could participate, and two kids believing they were headed to bed - I disappeared and decorated the car.  I had battery operated light strung through the garland above their heads.  Ellie the Elf was in the car hanging out in the back on a strand of the garland.  We had warm apple cider in all the cup holders and we had some red and green M&Ms to keep us munching.     I brought out to the car our Christmas themed blankets and then Loving Husband and I switched - he got the car going with warming it up and put on some Christmas music and I presented the kids with their Christmas hats and their tickets to ride the Christmas 'Train'  the Little Elf Express!

They were so excited to go!   They enjoyed all their treats and Ace even made the cute statement "Mom, I won't eat too much because candy makes me hyper."  :)    Mae was adorable and was on the hunt for every snowman that she could find after seeing a giant blow up one at the first house we drove by "NOMAN!!!!"  It was cute - she would just giggle so loud and full of joy it was so much fun to listen to!

At one point in the adventure we allowed Ace to give the directions - we give him options of "left, right, or straight"  (sometimes only a combination of those three)  and he chooses.    He chose really well once and he guided us to an amazing house that was covered in a million lights.   Bless them and their electric bill, yikes!    We pulled over and let the kids unbuckle and take it all in!   It was a good find and a good way to (almost) end the evening.

I say almost the end of the evening because you see Miss Mae here - this is at the giant display.  She had fallen in love with Mickey Mouse.   She did not want to get back into her seat.   So Mommy promised her a visit to a different Mickey (there was one we had previously driven by) so she complied in order to go say hi to that Mickey and we were on our way.   On our way to see that Mickey we drove past a super sized Mickey and turned to go see that one instead.   It was a lot of fun and they headed to bed as soon as we got home.  
An excellent beginning of a fun tradition with the whole family!  :)  

The husband grabbed this shot in which he claims this captures the theme of the evening... aka mom with her camera.  I have to say - I only brought the cell phone camera and I did not take many more pictures than the husband did.  ;-)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twenty Three Months Old

"Ok!"  "Jellybutter!"   "No... NOT!"   are just a few of the words and phrases that are floating around this household these days.  Yes, Mae is growing up fast and her vocabulary is exploding!  She is regularly stringing together 2 word 'sentences' now although occasionally will get stuck in a loop of one word repeat for example:   Say 'Please, up.'  "up" ... 'Please, up'  "pease"  - it's adorable albeit frustrating at times (although rarely.)    Things that are frustrating are her ever increasing desire of the use of "NO!"   Ace never was 'that child'  he skipped over the outright defiance for the sake of it (he has plenty now with purpose, but just the NO! phrase never was his cup-o-tea.)  Mae however has embraced it like a budding two year old would.  Yeck.     We still find her sweetness to outweigh her two-ness. 

Newness for her 23rd month?   A dentist appointment where they brushed her teeth (her first appointment they don't really do much,) the stomach flu, breastfeeding weaning, semi-consistent sleeping through the night,

Let's tackle that list backwards.   Sleep.   Yes, M has taken an interesting course on the way to independent sleep.    She's been sleeping in a bed for nearly a year now for at least one stint in the night but for over the last month+  she has been electing to sleep in the pack and play instead.   We're not sure why she prefers it, but my objection is little as there are many nights that she will sleep until nearly 6am before making a peep.  It's not regular or every night but I'll take what I can get.   She's taken to wanting all her friends tucked in with her and around her.  Piggy and Bear Bear are still prominent figures but she has a rotation of other friends that join her at night as well ranging from owls, princesses, bunnies, minnie or mickey mouse.  :)  It's cute and sometimes a tad excessive.    

Less than thrilling excitement on the sleeping front is her continued desire to strip off all her clothes.  She does this during the day as well but at night she adds an additional prize element of stripping off the diaper as well.   BOO!   So we have taken to putting her in onesies and on some nights she still strips those off and on other nights we put her pjs on backwards.       We are slowly trying to get her to go back to her bed and sleep there all night.  We'll see how that ultimately goes.  Last night it was ok and she didn't show up in our bed until 4:30am. 

In other areas of sleep is weaning from breastfeeding.   At the beginning of December I invoked a strict schedule of  morning, nap, and bedtime feedings only.   This was met with some particular protest, but like with Ace, I simply encouraged the notion that mommy never runs out of hugs, but she does run out of milk.   At the end of the first week of December after much preparation and explanation leading up to it - Mae and I enjoyed our last feeding before bed.    We replaced it with rocking and for the first several nights she didn't ask once for milk when it was time for bed.  I was really proud of her.   She loves to rock and often uses it as a stall tactic in asking for more.  It's sweet and I'm glad that element of the transition has been going smoothly.  

After Christmas I will remove the morning milk from the rotation and leaving us with only milk before naptime (an option that she already for the most part doesn't demand too often.)   I suspect the hardest milk will be that first thing in the morning milk.  She loves it and I do too.    I'm sad that our time with mama milk is drawing to a close, but I am so thankful for the bonding time we've had and my ability to do it.    I'll write more on this in a separate post - so moving on! 

The flu.... yes in November while on vacation poor M caught her first tummy bug and for several hours on the floor of my Aunt and Uncle's tile floor she threw up over and over.  Poor thing was very sad and doesn't like to throw up at all... all she wanted to do was sleep.    Diapers for the next week were quite icky and it ran it's course through our household and all the guests that visited for Thanksgiving.   Yeck! I am very thankful that we've all recovered from that one.

Also in Cali we got to enjoy lots of family, cousin play, and yes more Disneyland!   It was a lot of fun and she loved the Pirated and would sing (and still does)  "Yo ho, Pirates! ... and ME!"   It's adorable and it's so fun to see her excitement - she'd wave to all the characters in the parade saying "Hiiiii and Byeeee" as they went by.   She covered her ears at the fireworks say "Loud"  but watching them with excitement.    It was a lot of fun!  

M enjoyed her second visit to the dentist office and did very well after some initial trepidation to the visit.    Eventually, she let them clean her teeth and she was excited to receive her rubber ducky as a gift in exchange for her compliance.  :)

Mae is such a sweet girl.  She loves printhesses, PONIES!!!! (My Little Pony), and to change her clothes a zillion times a day (most happy when she's wearing nothing at all!)   I love that she calls peanut butter 'jellybutter'  and that she has learned to nod and shake her head in affirmation or dissent to something.       She has lost the phrasing of Pih-Ul  and now calls him "Pisal" which is adorable and she loves to pet him.   She yells at him (in a very eerily similar vocal tone)  KIATE! (quiet!)  whenever he barks.     She is communicating what she wants very well these days and it is such a joy to watch her vocabulary expand, her understanding increase, and her excitement as well.   She's trying to count.  She can hold up 3 fingers and say "Free"   she knows when there are two of something (but not so much 1 or 3)  she has properly identified letters when given the option on Super Why (a favorite of hers.)     And her absolute favorite song right now is "JINGLE... ROCK!"   Yes, Jingle Bell Rock is requested nightly and only is substitute for "Frosy NoMan"  a second favorite.      If Jingle Bell Rock comes on the radio she squeals and screams "JINGLE!!!"  

She is fascinated by the Christmas tree and loves to touch all the ornaments.  She is gentle enough with them.  :)    She loves for mommy to take pictures of her and is a very happy model most of the time.     I'm so excited to see her this Christmas season and in her final weeks before she turns two.    She's a hearty 19lbs 3oz - something that makes me quiet excited to hear.    She dainty and healthy and we are so thankful for her health.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ten on Ten - December

Now that's how we start off the day!!

I love this time of year!

A little editing in the morning

Pick up from school!

Waiting without kids... I could sit here all day in the silence.

Oh the excitement!

Thanks, Pop Pop & Gran for watching them while mommy had her eye appointment!!

Never ending...

Reading for Advent

Rocking is a new special thing in place of mama milk before bed. 
She's done so well the last two nights! Didn't ask for the milk once!
Such a good day!  We've now entered M's final month she arguably could be referred to as a 'baby' ... we are counting down to TWO, people!!  Middle of the day met with some disappointment, but ah well it happens.  It's the Christmas season so you can't stay bummed for too long,  there is always something to smile about this time of year.  If you can't think of anything - buy the person behind you in the next drive thru their meal - I bet you'll smile then.   Tis the season of giving! 

 To see more Ten on Ten stop by A Bit of Sunshine to see what I am sure is many festive posts!