Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry (late) Christmas!

Where to begin? I have always loved Christmas and it was even more special this year with Jake. Even though he didn't "get" it, it was still amazing to experience our first holiday season with him.

Christmas Eve was nice and relaxing during the day and we did some traditional activities (see previous post for 2 of these activities), such as setting out cookies and milk, writing a letter to Santa and having daddy read "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Please note how Gracie snuck her own request onto the note for Santa. After all of that, it was time to get to work on bringing out the presents. Here is the end result...Jake must have been a VERY good boy!
After FINALLY falling asleep that night (yes, I'm still like a little kid who can't sleep on Christmas Eve!), it was morning!! Brian's family eats breakfast before opening gifts, which is quite different from my family, whose idea of breakfast on Christmas is shoving some cookies in our mouths partway through opening gifts. I found the idea of having to eat first to be some type of terrible torture and seemed like cruel and unusual punishment. But the good news was, we got to do stockings while eating, so that made it a bit better.

Then, it was finally time for the main event!!! While he wasn't quite sure what to do with all of the gifts and wrapping paper (aside from eating it), Jake LOVED the bows on the gifts. In fact, he spent a lot of time that morning carefully taking the bow off of one gift and very gently placing it on another gift. Super cute. He got a great assortment of, a sled, puzzles, books, PJ's, clothes, etc...
Here he is opening his first gift of the day, then showing off some of the other stuff that he got (no, the Miller Lite was not one of his gifts...that was one of daddy's gifts)

I had been curious all week as to what the present under the tree for me labeled "to cookie monster" could possibly be....I got my answer that morning.

Oh yes, my was The Cookie Bible. Everything in it looks who wants to bake the stuff in it for me?? I'm happy to do all of the sampling of your work. Ironically, I also received "The Biggest Loser Families Cookbook" from Brian....any gift that is prefaced with "This isn't meant to be offensive" before opening is always interesting. But it was a good gift, he bought it because the recipes are supposed to be both healthy (duh) and easy (a necessity for me).
And don't worry, Gracie got spoiled too. Treats, bones, toys....the works. she has this thing that she seems to think ALL presents are for her...therefore, she was running around that morning from person to person, assuming that gift was for her. At one point, she actually tunneled her way through a stack of gifts, turned around under the tree, then sat amongst the unopened presents, probably hoping they were all for her.

After morning nap time, we headed over to Brian's aunt & uncle's house, where we stuffed ourselves with delicious food AND got to meet the new baby of the family, Gwen! Here are all of the ladies (plus Jake):
We hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas & a safe and happy new year!! :)

Silent Night

I promise to blog fully about Christmas soon, but I had to make a quick note first about one of the festivities of Christmas Eve...due to Jake's bedtime, we were unable to attend church that night. Not wanting us to feel deprived on Christmas Eve, Nana Sally decided that we should start 2 new traditions....the first was that we would all state some of our favorite memories of Christmases past (which was very nice and no one got injured...unlike the 2nd new tradition)

The next activity was that we would have our own candlelight service to "Silent Night" Nana Sally busted out some candlesticks and put the classic Mariah Carey Christmas CD in. We dim the lights, light our candles and press play on the CD player....a nice thought right? All was fine (aside from the sarcastic remarks and eye rolls from Brian & his sister) until the wax from the candles started dripping down onto bare hands (so that's why they always have those paper things on them at church!). These injuries caused people to say things that were not very Christmas-y while they yelped in pain.

Lessons learned from this experience:
1. Always provide some type of protective covering to candlesticks
2. Try to find a short version of "Silent Night" (Mariah Carey's version might be the longest silent night EVER)

 A painted hindsight gloves a chocolate past the hungry plastic.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You better watch out, you better not cry....

Jake is not familiar with the instructions in the "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" lyrics just yet....there were many tears when Santa came to town (well, when he came to the local mall) I didn't have high hopes for the Santa visit, since it seems to be a rite of passage to look terrified on the lap of the big guy....that combined with the fact that Jake has recently entered the "I want mommy" stage in a big way, my expectations were pretty low. Here we are in line, giving Jake a pep talk and letting him know that Santa doesn't bite:

Unfortunately, they didn't let you take your own pictures unless you purchased a package from them (the cheapest picture being $15 for a 4x6...highway robbery if you ask me!) so Brian's dad had to lurk around in front of Santa's workshop and secretly snap some shots (we were hoping no one would mistake him for a creepy child stalker and have him removed from the mall....if that were to happen, we already had it planned out that we would just pretend to not know him to save ourselves the embarrassment and meet him in the car later) So anyway-since he couldn't get very close, we only got one shot of Jake first getting on Santa's lap, before the waterworks started.

We'll have to see how it goes next year!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Beware the Abominable SnowBaby!!

Even though Pittsburgh didn't have a white Christmas this year, Nazareth, PA did and Jake was able to enjoy his first sled riding trip. Sure, we spent more time stuffing him into his snowsuit and bundling ourselves up than we did actually being outside, but it was worth it. I'm not sure Jake knew what to make of his trip on the sled, but the dogs sure had a good time playing in the snow!

We're baaaack!!

After spending the holidays across the state with the in-laws, we have returned to home sweet home (aka-the new Toys R Us stock area) Needless to say, Jake had a great Christmas, got spoiled rotten and enjoyed seeing friends and family. We are very grateful to have so many wonderful people in our lives who love spending time with Jake.

It might take me a little while to get caught up on blogging, as I am still trying to dig my way out of a toy pile at our house and have a gazillion pictures to sort through, but I promise, I'll document all of the highlights very soon!! For now, a picture of the best Christmas present ever will have to do...he even comes gift wrapped :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Holiday Card: The Outtake Reel

You know how sometimes in movies, the best part about it is the blooper reel at the end? As cute as our "good" holiday pictures of Jake turned out, I have to admit that I LOVE the outtake shots that we got.

"Awww, how want me to pose in nothing but my diaper and a Santa hat? OK! Oh and a Christmas ornament? Score!"

"What? You don't want me to eat this?? But it's sooooo good! Nom-nom-nom-nom"

"Ok, I'll sit in this chair & look really cute. I won't try to eat the ornament and I'll even give you a nice open-mouth smile."

"Ok, I'm done...I'm so over this sweater vest!!"

"No, I'm serious....take this ridiculous looking outfit off NOW!!"

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!!! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

It is now officially Christmas in our house....the tree is up!

Ever since we have lived together, Brian has talked about going out to one of those tree farms where you chop down your own tree, then drag it through the woods to your car, "Christmas Vacation" style. And ever year, something has come up to prevent us from doing so...and while I feel bad that something has always come up, a part of me is always relieved. Why? A number of reasons:
1. I hate the cold. I get whiny when I'm one needs to hear that.

2. I hate the cold even more when there is physical activity involved...there's nothing worse than your lungs feeling like they're going to explode because you're out of shape and hiking through the woods, then the cold makes it feel like someone is stabbing you with an ice pick.

3. I don't understand the point of having to do manual labor, then pay someone else while you do it. (especially when you're paying twice as much for the tree!)

So back to this year...we had full intentions of going out to a tree farm for the family adventure...however, when Saturday rolled around, it was just too bitter cold to do so. (Phew!) After a promise to Brian that next year we would go to the farm, we headed out to Lowe's for a good old fashioned tree picking.

Once we got it up at home, I of course had to introduce Jake to the tree & get some pictures (I have a feeling I'm going to be saying the phrase "No touch" a lot over the next few weeks....)

(and no-he's not posing as Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, he tipped forward at school & has some battle wounds)

I also have to show off our new favorite ornaments from my friend, Teri...we did an ornament exchange at my book club meeting this month and she got me these in honor of our annual Luau Party :)

It was a very productive weekend....but it was one that left Gracie feeling quite exhausted.

Book Review "Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea"

Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea" (Chelsea Handler)

Sarcastic, hilarious & mildly offensive in some parts...I loved this book. If you ever watch her show, "Chelsea Lately", the book sounds pretty much just like she talks on there. There were a few parts that I laughed out loud at...unfortunately, I was on the bus so I was a bit embarassed (fortunately, on a bus full of weirdos, laughing out loud by yourself does not attract all that much attention)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Go Elf Yourself.

I was directed to this site today and I was almost in tears at my desk watching the end result of the Elf transformation of my family. (I was in tears for 2 reasons....1 because I was laughing hard & trying to hold it in since I was at work, 2 because I really had to pee and again, trying to hold it in until I could make it to a bathroom)

Here we are, embracing our inner elf:

I really found that Gracie stood out during this performance....she must practice her moves when we're at work all day.

Want to elf yourself? click here. enjoy!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gobble, Gobble

We had a really nice Thanksgiving...we went to my aunt's house, where there were 4 kids under the age of 2. It made for some adorable pictures and it was nice that Jake was able to spend time with his they are, practicing their rock band skills:

Something that doesn't happen very often, a full family shot:
Nate, practicing his baby holding skills on Baby V:
Trying to get a cute family shot...would be much easier if someone (I'm not naming any names, but he's small, has chubby cheeks and drinks a lot of milk....) wasn't trying to give us "kisses" the whole time:
I leave you with Jake sampling his first taste of turkey:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It has been brought to my attention from Jake's teachers that he has become quite the thief at school recently. Hot item #1? Binkies. Keep in mind Jake doesn't actually use a binky....however, the curiosity must get the better of him and he wanders over to innocent binky babies & snatches them out of their mouths, then wanders away with it.

Hot item He hasn't actually been able to take anyone's food yet, but the teacher informed me that during snack time, he has recently noticed that other babies have different food on their tray than they see him leaning over his tray to check out what other babies are eating and possibly plotting a hostile takeover of their food stash. I'm pretty sure he gets this from my mom, who has long suffered from Food Envy. (whenever we go out to eat, she will order something, then longingly eye up everyone else's food when it is brought out and has also been known to check out the food at the table next to us, across the room, etc....)

The eyeing up of the food could support my theory that Jake thinks we are going to starve him and make him hibernate with winter approaching. Another new trick of his is that he stores food in his cheeks like a little chipmunk. I sometimes will find said food stash in various places around the house....we'll finish up dinner, pull him from the highchair, then hours later, peas will mysteriously show up in the living room....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A sad, sad day here in the 'burgh

I got to my desk this morning and started my normal morning routine of checking email and signing on to theburghblog, only to find out that as of today, she is no longer blogging :( I relied on that blog for my daily dose of entertainment and I am devastated to see that I have to find another source.

RIP, will be greatly missed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A baby of many trades.

A train conductor:

A reader:

A stair climber:

A law student:

A Puff Master:

A Handyman:

A Sports Enthusiast:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday, Gracie Lou!!

Can you believe my furbaby is 4 years old?? She's been a member of our family since January 2005 (much to Brian's dismay!) Brian grew up with big dogs (think golden retrievers and labs) while I grew up with a small dog (rest in peace, Otis) :( so when we moved in together & started to talk about dogs, obviously we had conflicting interests. Fortunately for me, we were in an apartment at the time with not much room for a big dog, so for my 24th birthday, Brian said we could get a small dog!

We started to research small dogs and Brian immediately ruled out anything so tiny that it resembled a hamster, so that eliminated some of my early picks, such as Yorkies or Malteses. I'm not even sure how I came across Lhasa Apsos, but the pictures that I saw of them online were adorable & they got a little "bigger" (average is 12-18 lbs) so it seemed like a good compromise. I met Gracie by myself one day....she was the only female left in the litter, so she was kind of our choice by default. I had told Brian I was just going to go look at her, but of course it was love at first sight! (even though she resembled a fluffy guinea pig)
We brought her home in early January and she's made herself right at home with us ever since!!

Here are some of Gracie's baby pictures....enjoy!

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