Friday, December 31, 2010

12.31.2010

peace out 2010!

It's been a good one for the most part.
I'm so ready for 2011.
so ready for the best year ever.
new year - new opportunities - new lessons learned
I can't wait!

Thanks to all of my readers out there, especially if you made it through this long month, and letting me share all the little bits of my life this past year. And a super big thank you to those who comment. I don't know a blogger that doesn't get a little warm and fuzzy after seeing a nice comment on their blog posts. It's nice to know that someone enjoys what they are reading. You rock!

Tonight: we are having a very low key celebration. The littles are in bed, and Mark and I are going to crack open our favorite adult beverages (beer for him, wine for me) and watch a new-to-us movie. Probably Inception. I'm going to try my hardest to make it to midnight, but I'm not making any promises. I hope all of you have a safe and fun evening and a Happy New Year! See you in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

12.30.2010

Christmas is over.
The tree is still here though.
The decorations are put away.
Along with the advent books for next year's countdown.

I think, overall, the book countdown went well.
As good as can be expected with a 2 year old.
Sometimes Morgan was excited about opening that nights book.
Others she didn't really seem in to it.

These are just some of the books that we loved to read over and over:
Duck and Goose - It's time for Christmas
The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
Counting Christmas
Merry Christmas Curious George
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Snowmen at Night
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree

Plus, Olive the Other Reindeer
from Grandma and Grandpa Frahm last Christmas, and
Frosty the Snowman
narrated by Grandma and Grandpa Goulding

Next year we'll add a few new books into the mix.
I might just see what I can find now on sale...

One more day of this crazy post-a-day schedule. Despite a little burnout, I'm getting pretty anxious to physically put this album together. Hope no one minds if I take a little break after all this? :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12.29.2010

Today, I felt the need to do another 'loving right now' type page.
  • Morgan's new haircut. At 2 1/2, I'm a little shocked this was her first professional cut. Don't worry grandmas - it was just a light trim. Not even an inch. You can hardly tell but it was long overdue.
  • Parker's army crawl. I'll have to post a video, it's super cute. I know one day he is just going to get it and GO.
  • slowly starting to take down the Christmas decorations. I'm excited to move a little furniture and get the living room set up. It's going to feel so empty without that big 'ol tree in there.
  • anticipating the arrival of my new 2011 planner in the mail. 45% off + free shipping. Uh, yes please. It's like the start of a school year for me. I love love love filling up a fresh new planner.
  • Santa realized he forgot one of Morgan's gifts. I think she is going to get it under the tree tomorrow morning as an 'oops, look what I forgot in my sleigh!'
  • our new Airport Extreme. I'm pretty happy I don't have to be oriented a certain direction just to get a wireless connection and I can print coloring pages for Morgan from the kitchen table. Nice.
  • tomorrow is garbage day. Somehow it's been forgotten the last 2 weeks and now, on top of it, we also have Christmas boxes and wrapping paper to recycle. Can't wait to clear out the garage and see the neighbors gawk as we line the street with our trash.
I'm having some 'not loving right now' feelings too. Like the headaches. The exhaustion. The sore throat. I was bound to get sick after the holidays, right? It happens every year, why not this year? The random lists all over the place. I'm just spinning in circles and nothing is getting done. And the lack of sleep is finally catching up with me. That stuff, however, will stay out of the album. I just need to go to bed and stay their until the New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12.28.2010

 
Mark took our little snow princess out to the sledding hill at Heritage Park after lunch today. Mommy stayed home while Parker napped and promised mugs of hot cocoa and marshmallows when they got home. But, after just one run, she had enough. Mark said she seemed to be enjoying the ride down the hill until they got to the bottom. "It's too fast, daddy. The hill is too big and scary. I want to go home." Poor Morgan. And poor daddy. Maybe next year kiddo. Funny, this was her exactly a year ago today.

12.27.2010

We visited our good friends, Tim and Andrea, and their little boy, Brody (who's just a couple months younger than Morgan) today. They are all moved in to their brand-spankin'-new house and it only increased our desire to build our dream house. Some day. Definitely, some day. We had a great day chatting and catching up, playing Wii and watching the kids play and chase each other around the house. Morgan fell asleep in the car, before we even made it to the highway!

What was really on my mind today was my Grandma. Earlier this month we found out my mom's mom has lymphoma. Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She begins her chemotherapy today and I hope her treatments go smoothly and as painlessly as possible. Hugs Grandma. Stay strong. We love you so much!

12.26.2010

 
It was a day to relax.
a day to play with our new toys
and organize their new homes.
to start reading new books
to preview new workout videos
and wear cozy new hoodies (and socks).

a day for football on the big screen (go Lions!)
a day to reflect on the holiday
and everything I learned about hosting a party.
what I'd do differently
and what I will do the same next year.

breathe. relax. repeat.

12.25.2010

Our Christmas was wonderful. So many stories to tell, it is hard to choose just one for the day. One of my favorite moments was first thing in the morning. Mark, Parker and I were all up pretty early. We relaxed in bed for a bit and were pretty surprised Morgan wasn't up yet. Especially since we left the Christmas tree lights on all night and the tree is just 10 feet away from her partially opened bedroom door. It's usually no secret when she is awake, since we can hear her run across the living room floor over to our room. Finally, just before 8am, we heard her thud-thud-thud and then this:It was wonderful being home for Christmas, and even more memorable that all of our closest family members were here to share it with us. Thank you for the yummy food, the helping hands, the perfect gifts, the fantastic company, conversations and gossip, and so much more. Thank you, thank you. Each and every one of you. Thank you.

I hope you all had a great day as well and got everything you wished for! Santa was very good to us!

Friday, December 24, 2010

12.24.2010

Busy day here, as I'm sure many of you had too. I'm ready to crash! But first, here's a bit of our day.

I got Morgan busy with a little painted candy cane art project while I cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast (daddy's pancakes!)


We made cookies for Santa:
Morgan and Parker opened their Christmas pajamas after dinner. Morgan said "These are great pajamas." Everything is great lately!
Baths, our last advent countdown book and watching Santa on Norad. Before Morgan went to bed, we set out some cookies and milk for Santa by the fireplace, along with a few carrots.

I am so ready for Christmas. So excited to see their faces in the morning. So excited to have our families over to celebrate and enjoy each other's company. So excited to consume large amounts of eggnog, hot cocoa and decaf with Bailey's.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day and a safe weekend.

I think I hear Santa now... ;)

12.23.2010

We both have our own to-do lists in preparation for hosting Christmas at our house this year and Mark has been working non-stop tying up some loose ends - painting trim, installing molding in the kitchen and concealing all of those stubborn tv/stereo/computer cords and wires into the shelves.

It's been so nice having you home the past few days, but I'm really looking forward to you not running around trying to get something done. It's time to relax and enjoy a beer (or 6) and your family. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate everything you've done. Our house looks awesome and it's really starting to feel like home. Love you bub!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12.22.2010

 
Right now, you are sleeping soundly next to daddy on the couch. Fast asleep while watching Polar Express for the first time. We wondered if you would stay interested long enough to watch an entire movie. And I think you would have if it wasn't so late. And if we skipped the post dinner drive through town to look at Christmas lights. And if you didn't fight us about taking a nap this afternoon.

Sweet dreams baby girl. 2 more nights...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12.21.2010

I am already feeling a little melancholy about the holidays. This week is it. It's going to come and go in the blink of an eye and I'm trying to soak up every little bit of it. Today: Morgan helped me wrap gifts. We finished our shopping for the kids. We lost our power for about an hour. I freaked out a little a lot when the estimated time the power would return was Friday, December 31! I cleaned our guest bedroom so you can actually walk into it. I finished planning our Christmas Day menu. Santa assembled Morgan's big gift, which we are absolutely giddy about her opening. Mark worked his last day until after the New Year and we are all very excited about that. Every morning, Morgan tells Mark, "Daddy, don't go to work." It's especially cute when she puts her hands on his cheeks and makes sure he is looking at her. She's gonna be one happy girl when daddy says "Okay!" the next 12 days.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12.20.2010

Today's lesson: How to Ride a Bike.

It wasn't easy explaining to her all of the different things she needs to do all at once - peddle (up, down, up, down), steer and look straight ahead - but between riding a few laps through the kitchen and living room last night before bed and a few hundred times today, I think she's really got the hang of it. She's had her first (and second) wipe-out already. Going too fast around the turn and trying to ride through the "snow" under the Christmas tree. I'm sure it won't be her last. Morgan loves to look behind her while she rides, or look at her reflection in the sliding glass doors and tv. Even through the frustration when she gets stuck in a corner and a few falls, she keeps repeating "This is a great bike!" Man, I love this girl and her incredible attitude.

12.19.2010

We started our Christmas celebrations today in Lansing. First stop: Mark's mom and stepdad's house for brunch and gifts along with Mark's brothers, Nick and girlfriend, Cortney, Derek, Pat and our nephew, Mason.
would be such a cute picture if I wasn't making that face...




I'm so excited for this little guys first Christmas. I wasn't surprised that Parker was pretty thrilled about tossing around a few boxes. Getting them unwrapped without a little paper in his mouth was a struggle though. :) He just squealed and screamed the whole time.
We all got some great gifts, but I'm most excited about our family membership to the Detroit Zoo! What an awesome idea! Morgan's favorite was her first big girl bike - the cutest little pink Huffy! And just as I anticipated, Morgan also loves Parker's toys. Especially his activity table and stuffed puppy. He also got a little boat that Morgan will likely be the first to break-in in the bath tub. She's got to make sure it works and all. You know, such a protective big sister.

Parker's excitement quickly turned into over-stimulation, so he was quick to fall asleep for a nap. After he woke up, we went to Mark's grandpa's house to celebrate with the rest of the extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins and kids. I never know how Morgan is going to react to being around a bunch of relatives that she only sees a couple times a year, but as soon as we walked in, she was happy and talkative. Phew! She even got a hold of her great-grandpa's Santa hat and was yelling "ho ho ho!" while all the men were trying to watch the end of the Lions game. Ha ha! By the way, how 'bout them Lions? An article about their first road win in over 3 years will likely make it into my album for today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12.18.2010

One more week til Christmas! Who's ready? Not me!

This morning, Morgan and I tackled the grocery shopping for next week and weekend. Man, was she a trooper! I hardly heard a peep out of her during the hour and a half long trip. Thank goodness for car carts.
I'm going to include my grocery list and the 18" long receipt in an envelope for today.

Friday, December 17, 2010

12.17.2010

Today was just an ordinary, hang-around-the-house day. Parker napped extra long this morning and I got to spend lots of one-on-one time with sweet Morgan. All she wanted to do is play with mommy - how could I say no, or ask her to wait a minute while I finished what I was doing, or say maybe later. We had so much fun and I was so focused on her and the stories we were playing out, that I forgot to snap a picture of us. I wish I had a picture, other than the one in my head, of her smiling and giggling and running circles around me. It was moments like this that remind me that my babies will not be little forever. They will not want or need our constant attention forever. That I need to cherish this time with them. Because there is so much other stuff that can wait. And time flies.

We have had some especially trying times, with both Morgan and Parker, this past week. Between the teething, the crying, the growth spurts, the separation anxiety, the jealousy, the tantrums, the increasing independence and more, I'm reminded that not every problem is something that needs fixing. Instead of researching and reading and looking for a cure, a solution, I should follow my heart and my mommy instincts. Hopefully, with less guilt or stress. Every day is different and every morning we wake up hoping for a fresh start and another opportunity to learn and spend time together.

So, today's page is going to be all about words. I am writing a letter to Morgan and Parker. About how much I love being their mommy, about the things I've learned, about the traditions we are starting this first holiday season as a family of four, and I hope as they get older, that they have fond memories of this special time of year.

I am so excited to complete this little album. Not just to look through it again next December. And the next. But for Morgan and Parker to get to flip through the pages in a few years. And read them when they are older. And see what life was like during some of their first Christmases. And know just how much they are loved and adored.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12.16.2010

Today I just took some random photos of what was going on around the house. These were just a couple...

the Christmas presents are starting to roll in:
I ended up scribbling some notes from the day right on my template page.
I used Stampin' Up Crystal Effects to make the heart in "loving" raised. It's hard to photograph.
I plan on adding other stuff for the day, like cutting up an address label from one of the boxes we received today, a 'list' that Morgan scribbled and my Plum Market receipt.

Anyone else in shock that Christmas is almost one week away?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12.15.2010

The car has been parked in the driveway since Sunday and as much as I wasn't looking forward to bundling up the kids for Parker's 6 month appointment this morning, it turned out to be perfectly fine. Somehow 22 degrees didn't feel that bad.
So close to 19 pounds! I was not-so-secretly hoping for 20. ;) Everything was great, except the whole waiting thing with two antsy kids. Waiting to get in the room, waiting for the doctor, waiting for the nurse with the vaccinations, waiting to make a 9 month appointment. An hour and a half later, we were back in the car, Parker was fast asleep, and Morgan and I were discussing where we should stop for lunch. Anyone surprised she wanted chickie wickies?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12.14.2010

 
It's hard to be motivated to do anything but snuggle under a blankie on the couch, with my favorite girl, in front of the new TV, when it only feels like 4 degrees outside. New windows are going to be a must-buy next year.

Morgan's funny of the day: After lunch, we were washing our hands in the main bathroom (which happens to be about a mile and a half away from our hot water heater, so it takes a while to get hot water over there) and Morgan turned on the hot water. She put her hands under the faucet and said "C is for cold and H is for cold too!"

I'm happy to have finished addressing our holiday cards and got them out in the mail. I saved one for us and will add it to the album today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12.13.2010

Morgan and I took a very brief stint outside this morning, because she did not understand that 9 degrees is very cold. We got bundled up and it only took one slip on the ice in the driveway to get her back inside. We opted to head to the kitchen instead and try take two on the holiday Jello jigglers. This time I read the correct directions. After their afternoon naps, we tried them out.

"Good job, mommy" Morgan said. Love the post-nap bed head.

And I couldn't leave sweet Parker out. I considered it a little sensory activity for him! He loved it!

Tonight, we are snuggling by the fire and eating popcorn in front of the big screen. I don't want to get up!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12.12.2010

Big snow is the news for today. I'm going to add this screenshot of the weather, plus I copied and pasted the Winter Storm Warning to add to the album. Other than a quick trip to the grocery store for milk, we are staying put inside, with hot cocoa in hand.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12.11.2010

Today was our annual Christmas Cookie Making Day. This year, I hosted and my mom, sister and I spent the afternoon making Chocolate Thumbprints, Peppermint Snowballs and Cashew Caramel Cookies. They are all so yummy! I'm going to include copies of the recipes in my December Daily album. Mark took a bunch of great photos for me today - these are just some of the highlights:
 

Friday, December 10, 2010

12.10.2010

Today was nothing short of fun + productive. A great Friday! I hope this is what the rest of the weekend is like. Here's a bit from our day, in my favorite form, a list.
  • We woke up to snow! A whopping half inch. Morgan was thrilled nonetheless.
  • Finished putting out decorations.
  • Shoveled the driveway. Just in time for the sun to come out and melt it all away. Oh well, I got some exercise, the kiddos got to test out their new gear and Morgan was all about going out to play. (Parker was pretty indifferent about the snow. He wasn't jazzed about being so bundled up and all I could do was laugh because he reminded me of Randy from A Christmas Story. He was a trooper though.)
  • Lunch, complete with hot cocoa and loads of marshmellows for Morgan and I. It was her first hot cocoa and she was pretty lukewarm about it. If it's like warm chocolate milk, mom, then can't I just have chocolate milk?

 
  • Nap time!
  • Experimented with making some simmering potpourri (and it smelled fantastic. If you are interested, I will follow-up with my 'recipe.') 
 
  • Finished writing greetings inside our holiday cards, addressed and stamped the envelopes. Ready to mail!
  • Bought our new 60" TV for the living room. Obnoxious, yes. But the price was great. And it is so damn sweet.
  • Signed up for Ali Edwards Big Picture Class One Little Word. Yes, put her name on anything and I will buy it. I am excited, and am already brainstorming my word.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12.09.2010

Share has been a big word around here the last couple weeks. Now that Parker can actually sit and play with Morgan, he wants nothing more than to play with her. Morgan isn't always thrilled about that. For as long as she's known, they have all been her toys. Of course, she is a toddler, and to her, everything is MINE!

if it's mine it's mine,
if it's yours it's mine,
if I like it is mine,
if I can take it from you it is mine,
if I am playing with something ALL of the pieces are mine,
if I think it is mine it is,
if I saw it first it's mine,
if I had it then put it down it is still mine,
if you had it then you put it down it is now mine,
if it looks like the one I have at home it is mine,
if it is broken it is yours.
So, it has been a bit of a challenge explaining to Morgan that yes, these may be your toys, but you are going to share with your brother because he shares his toys with you. As if he had a choice. She has already claimed several of "his" toys as her own, including a sweet little stuffed puppy she has adoringly named Stinker.

But I think, maybe, it may be sinking in. Tonight after dinner, I heard Parker digging through the bin of Little People (he loves to tip it over and dump them out!) and Morgan squealed "NNOOOOOOO PARKER! That's mine!" Mark reminded her that those toys are for both of them, and she needs to share. She replied with a very enthusiastic and agreeable "OK Daddy!" Then she ran to me in the kitchen, very proud of herself, and said "Mommy, look, I'm sharing with Parker!"

Opening Christmas presents could be interesting this year. I wonder what Morgan will claim as hers.

P.S. Can you tell Morgan is ready for the snow? She loves wearing her new snow pants around the house!

12.08.2010

Last night, we wrapped our Christmas tree in lights.
 
Mark tried to get Morgan to help follow him around the tree with the lights, but they were "too heavy."
 
A little to the right, daddy!
 
Parker just squealed with delight and Morgan said it looked very pretty. She is still more interested in the tiny fiber optic tree on the other side of the room. Remember her with it two years ago? She says that is her and Parker's tree. The big one is for mommy and daddy.

We've also received our first holiday cards. I need to figure out a way to display them. And I better get crackin' on addressing ours.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12.07.2010

Today's opening page is an envelope that I will slip all of our wish lists into. I think it will be fun to look back at these in the years to come.And the back:Today was all about this little guyParker is 6 months old today, so it was his half-birthday. And all he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth! Look at that drool. And those cheeks! Mwah!

12.06.2010

Snow flurries are blowing around today but nothing seems to be sticking. Soon Morgan, soon. I pulled our Christmas decorations out today so I could slowly start putting them out. I don't have a ton, just a few little pieces to put here and there:
 
berries and pinecones with a yummy holiday candle and caramel Hershey kisses on our dining table
 
my red beaded wreath a la Martha
I had a couple extra pinecones and put them on the window sill over the kitchen sink with the pine tree branch Morgan took from the tree lot.
The framed "This is Not a Final Certificate" is a sort-of permit that Mark found in the walls behind the wood paneling in the living room. I just had to keep it. It's original and as old as the house. And it's dated with my dad's third birthday. :)
  
Morgan did this little hand and foot painting last year at school. I would love to do it again this year with both her and Parker. Damn, that would have been a cute Christmas card idea!