Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Recap

Remember I said things got a little bit crazy this week?  It all worked out in the end, but it initially started with us thinking that my in-laws wouldn't be able to join us for the holiday; my mother-in-law was in the hospital with a very severe stomach flu.  We were really sad that they wouldn't be here, but lo and behold...she was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve with assurance from the doctor that she was no longer contagious after being on antibiotics for over 24 hours, so they decided to make the trip out here that night! 

This might put us in the category of "big meanie parents" but we decided to not tell Jake that it was Christmas Eve.  I know, I seems cruel (and I was a bit sad, because it meant we couldn't put out milk and cookies or any of that fun stuff)...but seriously, it would have been bad.  This is the same kid who last month couldn't fall asleep the night before PJ & movie day at school, and then proceeded to wake up at 2am begging to go to school already.  And that was just PJ's and a movie!!  Can you even imagine what the arrival of Santa would have done to the poor kid??

But it was fun getting to tell him on Christmas morning :)  And Santa certainly came!!

 Jake got the gift that he has been asking for for months...the giant, talking Finn McMissle.  I have a video of him opening it, but blogger isn't cooperating right now for uploading videos, so I'll have to post that one later.  His other big gift was a set of skis (thanks again, Joy!)...I'm not sure who was more excited for them though, Jake or Brian :)

He also got a bike from Nana and PopPop!  It was warmer here yesterday, so he was able to test it out in the was a success!

Don't worry, Liam got some stuff, too!  Santa brought him some Puffs, fork/spoon set, plate, and a Little Tikes swing to add to our outdoor swingset in the spring.  And of course, the grandparents hooked him up!  He has been loving this Leap Frog drum from GG and Pappy:

He would have been just as happy if we would have let him do nothing but eat the wrapping paper all day.

After the marathon of gift opening, we spent most of the day taking toys out of their force-field like packaging and assembling them (by "we" I, of course, mean Brian, Uncle Nate and the grandpas)  and testing each and every one of them out.  (the next day was spent sorting through old toys and sneaking some up to the attic while jake was napping and couldn't protest!)

After not napping all day, Jake was finally starting to come off of his sugar/toy high around 7:30pm and went to bed without much of a fight...after we agreed to let him snuggle with his new favorite toy :)

Everyone was fairly healthy for Christmas, so we were grateful that we could all be together..the germ invasion started pretty much the day after Christmas and has led to a tiring week for all of us...more on that to come.  we hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas is over?!?!?

It never ceases to amaze me that something we spend what feels like weeks and weeks getting ready for, is over in the blink of an eye. I'll have to do a full post at some point when I have more energy to recap our somewhat crazy Christmas this year, but I just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. As you can probably tell from these smiles and hugs, these two boys had a fantastic Christmas:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas.

"Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store...maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more"

I just wanted to wish all of our friends and family a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or any other holiday celebration...I'll be taking a blogging break after today to spend time with my 3 favorite boys at home, a fluffy little puppy, and all of the family who will be coming to visit us over the next few days.  We feel very lucky to be able to spend time with everyone, and I am counting down the days until Christmas to be able to share this special time with Jake and Liam.  I can't even begin to put into words how excited Jake is for's going to be so much fun watching him enjoy the magic of the day. 

Santa came to daycare yesterday and Jake was all excited to tell him his main item off of his list (the giant talking, Finn McMissle) and I was told that Liam got to meet the big man and wasn't afraid of him.  Tomorrow is PJ and movie day at school which of course, Jake is very excited for...and he made this adorable ornament earlier this week (the snowmen are his handprint):

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Call me crazy.

Remember my post a few weeks ago where I said I wasn't going to go crazy with Christmas prep this year??  For the most part, I can pat myself on the back and say that I've held myself to that. (go me!)  I was feeling right on track, happy with the way everything was going and felt very prepared, overall.

Last Friday, I had scheduled a day off of work, and my plan was to drop Gracie off for her holiday haircut, go grocery shopping (trying to get most of the stuff purchased that I would need for the Christmas dinner), then wrapping up a few stray gifts and doing some light cleaning in the afternoon.  That would have been a great plan, had I not woken up overnight with a FEVER OF 102.5 AND THE FEELING OF DEATH COMING UPON ME.  Are you kidding me??  neither of the kids are sick, Brian felt a little run down the day before, but bounced back quickly...why me??  UGH!!

Now, this is where I should have gone back and read my old post, the one where I vowed to NOT go crazy.  Because crazy I went.  I popped some tylenol, chugged a bunch of water, got my temp down a tiny bit and felt at least somewhat functional (in this case, the definition of "functional" means able to hold my own head up, which was an improvement from pre-tylenol).  I knew my own name, and I knew how to drive to walmart.  Good enough for me!  Off I went.

Worst.idea.EVER.  At some point around the paper products aisle, the tylenol started to wear off...I got a terrible case of the chills and aches so bad I wanted to cry.  But I was already there, with a cart already starting to be loaded up...what was I going to do??  I made it through the shopping trip, I just had to stop in every other aisle and sit down on the bottom shelf to rest for a few minutes.  I got more than a few strange looks, and one lady did ask me if I was ok....I waved her off, saying I was fine, just needed a bit of a rest!!  I seriously probably looked deranged.  I guess most people don't need to clear out a space on the bottom shelf in the cereal aisle to sit with their head between their knees.....

Oh and I mentioned this was the grocery shopping for Christmas dinner...the main thing on the menu that day is turkey.  I found the turkey bin at walmart, stared at it, limply stuck my hand in to start to dig for the proper sized turkey and I had to stop myself. I couldn't even move one side to side to check the weight, there was no way I was going to be able to lift it out of the bin and into my cart.  I was so overwhelmed by the thought of doing that, that I swore at the turkeys in my head for being so heavy and cold, then walked away.  

By the time I got through the check out line (I'm pretty sure I set a record for longest time taken to put all food on the conveyor belt EVER) and into my car, I was already kicking myself for thinking that this was at all a good idea.  Then it hit me that I also had to get this car load of stuff INTO the house.  Our garage goes into the basement, so that means I also had to carry it up a flight of stairs. I briefly considered knocking on a neighbors door and offering them cash to carry it all in for me...but I figured it was one thing for strangers in walmart to think I'm crazy, it was another thing for the people who I have to live near for an indeterminable number of years to think the same thing.  I performed a little triage type assessment of my groceries in the trunk, then took in and put away only the refrigerated and frozen stuff.

I got the items that made it through my triage assessment put away, popped some more tylenol, put on my PJ's and collapsed on the couch.  I took a nap, and woke up drenched in sweat, which I took as a good sign that my fever broke while I was sleeping.

I still felt pretty horrible and ran a fever the rest of the day, and a little bit the next morning.  I haven't had a fever since Saturday morning, but man....that brief illness must have really done a number on me.  I still don't feel 100% like myself, and it's Monday afternoon!  I don't feel sick at all, but just drained...getting dressed and ready for work this morning felt like I had run a marathon by the time I was finished.

BUT, if we're looking at the bright side of least I wasn't sick ON Christmas.  And most of my grocery shopping is done. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Love this shot!!

It barely covered the ground, but it was enough to get the boys bundled up and out to go sled riding! 

I don't really want to talk about it, but the forecast has changed and is no longer calling for snow on Christmas.  Boo. Fingers crossed that it changes again in the next 6 days.....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Forecast for Christmas day in Pittsburgh....please, please, please let it be true!!  Or maybe even change it to snow on Christmas eve, too? 

Snow Shower High


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas.

More Spider Chippy

Rainforest playmat-fun for all ages.
I'll have a skinny latte, double espresso, extra foam, hold the whip....
All aboard the Spider Chippy Express!
I ordered the extra-extra-large slurpee with this popcorn, has anyone seen my slurpee??

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recipe: Make ahead mashed potato casserole

These potatoes turn out sooo delicious, and the best part about them?  You can make them ahead of time.  Which means one less thing to be spending time in the kitchen for on Christmas day, score!

5 lbs potatoes
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 milk

-Mash potatoes & add cream cheese
-cut up butter and blend
-add sour cream, milk, eggs & salt
-stir all ingredients & mix; put in greased casserole dish
-refrigerate overnight; bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

Dishing out the compliments

A few days after we had decorated the house for Christmas, Jake said, "mommy, I have to tell you...your decorations are beautiful."  He said it in the sweetest voice, and in the most sincere way, I had tears in my eyes.  Really, I did.  He noticed and asked why I was crying, and I told him it was a happy cry, that what he had just said to me was very nice, and that I appreciated it.

Jake must have filed this away in his "how to get brownie points with mommy" part of his brain, because every few days now, he tells me again that my decorations are beautiful.  :)  And it gets me every time!!

The other day, I told him he looked very handsome in the sweater he had on...his response was, "awww...thanks, are so sweet to say that".  Maybe that's something I say?  It sounded so adult-like coming out of such a little guy.

Sometimes he'll randomly compliment Liam as well; the other day Liam was wearing a new pair of PJ's and Jake said "Oh wow baby Liam, those jammies are really nice.  I have some nice jammies, but not ones like that!"  He cracks me up!

Here he is, enjoying some time with his baby brother (in their nice jammies) in some containers...who needs toys when you have this stuff around the house?  It provided easily 45 minutes of entertainment for both of them.  first it was a fishing boat, then a ride, then a hiding space, then a car....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Show 2011

You may remember Jake's big stage debut last year, that resulted mostly in tears and sadness.  I'm very happy to report that it was a much more positive experience for him this year!  He had been cast as a sheep (although when his part was first revealed to him, he confided in me that he was disappointed, he had been hoping for the role of a pig or a cow...I'm not kidding, he really said that...but eventually, he fully embraced his role as the sheep)  Here's a video of one of the songs, he's the enthusiastic sheep right in the middle of your screen :)

I was really proud of him, I know he tends to get nervous when he's in front of a lot of this was a big moment for him! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

If you have kids, are you doing the Elf on the Shelf?  I was too cheap to actually buy the book/elf doll set from the store, but I happen to already own a creepy elf (thanks to my brother, who bought it as a joke for me years ago) so we decided to participate this year.

Last Sunday, I stuffed the creepy doll into a box, and while Jake was occupied in another room, put the box on the porch and rang the doorbell.  He tore into the box when I told him it was addressed to him, then I read him the note that was sent from Santa, which explained the elf and told Jake that he had to name him. 

After some intense deliberation, he decided on the name "Spider Chippy Elf".  Spider, as in Spiderman, and Chippy, after the Elf that's featured on the Elf on the Shelf TV special that he's been obsessively watching.

A perk to the elf is that parents can use him as leverage for good behavior; I tried this for the first time the other night when Jake was doing something, I can't even remember what, so it must have been a minor offense, and I told him that he'd better stop, Spider Chippy was watching and reports everything back to Santa.  This statement was met with a blank stare, followed by the statement "No he doesn't mommy.  Spider Chippy can't talk."  WHAT?  I cannot be outsmarted by my 3 year old.  Thinking on my feet, I told him that he can't talk around any people, that his magic is only used when everyone is sleeping, just like on the TV show.  He still looked suspicious, but said, "Oh.  Ok.  I hope Spider Chippy talks to Santa tonight".  Phew. 

So the thing with doing this is that I have to remember to move Spider Chippy every night after Jake goes to bed. I forgot to take a picture the first day, but I put him at Jake's seat at the kitchen table.  Since then, Spider Chippy has been doing some interesting things in our home..... 

Away in a manger
Yo-ho-ho, mateys! (ho-ho, get it??)

Stay tuned for more adventures of Spider Chippy Elf....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

6 month report

We had Liam's 6 month well visit earlier this week, and everything looked great.  Here are his stats (at 6.5 months, technically):

16 lbs, 14 oz (25th percentile)
27.5 inches tall (75th percentile)
44.5 cm head circumference (50th percentile)

I looked back at Jake's stats from his 6 month appointment, and he was 17 lbs, 10 oz and 27 inches tall.  So Liam is a bit lighter, but 1/2 inch taller.

Overall, he's been very consistent in his growth and they were pleased with his development and all of that good stuff.  We discussed his reflux, which much to my dismay, has not improved.  I was really hopeful that we would be weaning OFF the meds by this point, not increasing them.  But he's still on 2.3 mL of zantac, twice per day.  We discussed the possibility of needing to see a GI specialist at Children's, but the dr. didn't feel it was totally necessary at this time, since Liam is gaining weight appropriately for his age, and the zantac is working when it's the correct dose.  He said it would be something that he would consider down the road, if we max out on the zantac dose or he were to start losing weight.  But for right now, he just doesn't feel that it would be necessary to send him there to have procedures done that probably won't tell us too much aside from just verifying that yes, he does indeed have reflux.  He said that while "most" babies start to outgrow it by 6 months, there are some who don't outgrow it until closer to 12 months; I guess we just fall into the latter category. 

On a lighter note, he has started to sit up completely unassisted!  I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that he started doing the whole "tripod" sitting with his hands in front of him....then it was just like one day out of the blue last week, I put him down on the floor, he lifted his hands, sat straight up and hasn't looked back since.  I was proud of course, but also sad in some ways since it's just one more milestone that he's reaching that means he's becoming less and less of a baby all the time.  At least he's not mobile...YET! 

Now that he is spending more time in an upright position, Jake has been excited to play with him a bit more, which is really cute.  He'll bring him a bunch of toys, line them up in front of him and start talking to him about what the toys do, he'll show him how to play with them, and reminds Liam that many of the toys were his when he was a baby :)  Here they are playing with one of Liam's Christmas gifts (thanks, Martini Family!)

We also gave him a sippy cup the other night after dinner, mostly just to see what he'd do with it.  I filled it with water and handed it to him, and after examining it for a moment, brought it up to his mouth.  At first I was impressed, thinking he was drinking it, then I realized he was using the spout as a teether :)  Hey, whatever keeps him occupied!

He's still loving his food...since I last wrote about it, we've introduced green beans, avocado, sweet potatoes and apricot.  This is what happens nearly every single night at dinner when his food is all gone and he sees me put the dish in the sink:


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Are you on Pinterest?  If not, you should be!  You know, if you like to find new sources of absolute time suck.  But seriously, it is a great site.  Before discovering Pinterest, I would save ideas in a Microsoft Word document...I would have a million documents going at one time, with recipes, decorating ideas, crafts for Jake, luau ideas, pictures I wanted to take, etc.... Instead, this is an amazing place you can go and just "pin" all of these fabulous ideas onto one place.  Genius, right?? 

My latest favorite Pinterest find was this free Christmas subway print.  It's being featured on the table in our entryway:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll remember that thanks to Brian, we've become the family who goes out to some farm and chops down our own tree.  However, we weren't sure that would happen this year since we had Liam.  After some deliberation last week, we finally decided Saturday afternoon to throw in the towel on the experience this year, with the promise that we'll make an effort to do it next year.  We checked out the selection at Lowes first, but those trees were deemed "wimpy" by the King of All Christmas Trees himself, and we ended up at a lot right across the street from our development.

While he might have initially been bummed about not going to chop it down ourselves, Brian came around very quickly when he found the tree that ended up coming home with us.  It's huge and really full, we were very excited!  To give you an idea on the size, when the guy was done trimming it and bundling it, he asked me which truck was ours.  I replied that we didn't have a truck, it was going on the Elantra parked right in front.  The other guy working turned around really fast and said, "you're putting that thing on a car??"  :-)

Liam slept through his first tree selection.
And what would Christmas be without some type of mishap??  Brian put the tree in the stand on Saturday night, but we forgot to put water in it (which actually ended up being a good thing...keep reading). We got up on Sunday morning & wanted to decorate it...I was testing the lights and Brian put water in the stand.  A few minutes passed and I looked down on the floor and noticed water leaking all over my living room floor!!  The stand must have had a crack it in.  FAIL.  So, at 7:30am on Sunday, Brian made an emergency trip to the store, bought a new stand, then had to re-do the tree.  At least we hadn't decorated it yet!

Once we finally got all of that sorted, we were able to decorate.  Jake was so excited he could barely contain himself :)

Liam was intrigued by the lights, and Gracie was super helpful as usual.

 Drumroll please...the finished product!

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