Monthly Archives: December 2013

Goodbye 2013

I’m sitting here watching tv and really wondering if I’m going to make it to midnight. Not really sure I’ve made it to midnight for the last several new year’s eves. I’m fine watching it in a different time zone and pretending it’s me. Especially when there are two little ones who know what time zone they’re in: early.

I know everyone else has said this too but this year seems to have just flown by. In a blink, it was gone. It was a good year, lots of fun from the kids – they’re at fun ages – and no major stressful transitions like new jobs, house or car. I guess you could count potty training…

Now we’re looking to 2014 and excited to see what it brings. We’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage, for one. Amazing. Mia will start kindergarten. Amazing. Yep, it will be a big year.

One thing for sure, I’m keeping up with tradition and celebrating the new year with people who do not live in my time zone. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Happy 2014, folks!

Christmas and Playing Catch-Up

I was really hoping to use the time I had off from work to get caught up on the blog. But, being off work has meant more time to do more fun stuff and no time to blog. What’s even worse is that more fun means more pictures, which means more to post. The vicious cycle….

I’m still going to try and backtrack and catch things up, I still have birthday parties and fall stuff to get up here but for now, I’ll post the most recent happenings. Christmas. Watch out, there’s plenty of pictures in this post. It may take you the rest of the year just to get through it…

We were at Jeff and Liz’s a few days leading up to Christmas, stayed through Christmas morning and then did Christmas all over again at Mark’s parents house. Finn got really, really good at asking about “opening presents?” In fact, just tonight before bed he asked if we were opening presents in the morning. Uh, no buddy…that ship has sailed. Let’s just say that a birthday and Christmas close together are great for perfecting the art of receiving gifts.

When we got to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Liz’s, this is what was waiting for us:


An awesome sign. And Judy, their new dog. She was so, so good with the kids. Pretty sure Finn would have put her in his pocket as he was leaving if she fit.


There was a whole lot of this going on while we were there. Didn’t matter who was chasing who. Those two were just in it for the fun. But she was also super gentle and sweet and let the kids hug and kiss her.

When they heard that one of the things Mia really wanted to do this winter was go ice skating, they made it happen. We all got on skates and got out there. Let’s just say I kept really close to that wall. Not sure why we decide to get out on slippery ice with weapons on our feet. Whoever thought that was a good idea. Oh, and let’s put them on children…. but look how cute and happy they are:








I’m just so glad Uncle Jeff and Aunt Liz were around. Mia took off and had a great time!





Finn went around with us, but then was ready to explore the trails around the skating rink with a cup of hot chocolate.


Christmas Eve, the kids always get a new pair of pajamas and a new book from us. They were so excited to finally open a present, after so many days of staring at the wrapped gifts.


Speaking of which, I wrapped most of the gifts this year in brown paper and used colorful twine and cute tags. I loved how they turned out.


Mia wanted to have coordinating pajamas with Finn. They didn’t need to match, but she wanted them to go together. This proved harder than I thought since Mia is officially out of toddler girl clothing and Finn is in toddler boys. Not an easy task. I finally found these and while they were my second choice (my first only had a much too big size for Mia), both kids loved them. The books were a huge hit too, so much in fact that they had to be in the picture.



And then, so did Judy… 🙂



And she was there again Christmas morning when it was all getting started. I told you the kids loved her. (I realize there aren’t any Callie pictures in this group. I have some, but they’ll be in Finn’s birthday party post…)


Oh the anticipation!



I love this one of Finn. His smile is just so sweet….


After gifts, Finn went over to one of the dog beds and played with some of his new toys. He was pretty comfy there for a while and really, it was the perfect size for him.


This picture doesn’t fit in with anything, but is just one that I thought was cute of Mia. She has started really posing for pictures so every once in a while we get a really good one.   IMG_0674  

Course then there’s this….



She’s going to love me for that when she’s older. Fell asleep in the car, with chick-fil-a chocolate chip cookie all over her mouth. Pure bliss. Or sugar coma. Whichever.

The weather in Texas was so different than what is going on back at home. We took advantage and did a lot of outside stuff…because word is that we’re going to have a long winter so gotta play when we can.

Grandpa showed the garden to the girls and had them help bring stuff in for dinner.



All the cousins played soccer outside. Yes, that’s Mia…with no jacket on…in December. Who knew that could ever happen?

We walked to the park with cousins and both times, they all wanted to hold hands with each other. Not sure who started it but it was cute.





Scoping out the Texas scenery…

Of course, there was also a lot of inside play (especially when a cold front came in and walks to the park were a no-go…).

Grandpa showed the kids his train set. They had a great time watching the train go around and then all the stopping and backwards and forwards that Grandpa could make it do.


Aunt Marcy found matching dresses for the girls and then Aunt Linda found those halos for them. They had a great time pretending that they were going to a ball.



Those halos crack me up:


Especially on Finn!




The girls all got to ride with Grandma one day…that was a lot of red and pink in that back seat.


There was snuggling in hammocks and on couches:



So cute of Finn with cousin Luke.

The kids got some games this Christmas so we had some fun trying those out.

I played Hello Kitty dominoes with Mia (watch out, she’s good…):


Finn played for a while (and actually caught on better than I thought he would), but then decided he wanted to play dominoes his own way:



Since stacking seemed to be fun, we got into the Jenga game. Finn, is so good at the game. I thought he would try to knock it all down on purpose but he doesn’t. He puts his little finger out and starts tapping different ones until he finds one that’s loose and then puts it on top.  CAM00265


Mia is good too and she actually beat Dad. Sorry, Mark…couldn’t keep that one a secret…had to make up for the chocolate-lip-sleeping picture.




We saw a lot of family on this trip. We got to spend some time with Mark’s grandma, which was so good…



Mia really wanted to take a picture on the bench outside her house. Told you she was into posing….

And there was a lot of playing with cousins (seconds, once removeds, whatever you call them).



This is Alexandra, Mark’s cousin’s baby.


The kids were getting her to laugh and the more she laughed the sillier they got. This picture cracks me up because Finn is having a great time laughing but he is not going to pass up on the opportunity to keep eating that pumpkin muffin…

There was a lot of stuff going on every day and there were times when things got loud and chaotic, understandable when there are rooms and rooms just filled with people.

At different times, both kids kind of slipped away and played with the nativity at Aunt Linda’s house. Mia was setting them all up and making up conversations between all of them…


And then later Finn goes and plays with the same nativity set:


And loads them all up in the Radio Flyer wagon. Ha.

And then, there were just times when Finn couldn’t hold on anymore. He still naps every day but with so much going on, it was really hard to get a nap in sometimes. He slept a lot in the car going from place to place and then on two different days, I noticed he was really still and out. Kind of fun excuse to get to snuggle a little bit with him…



School/work doesn’t start for a few more days – we still have another holiday to celebrate! – but we’re looking at trying to get things back to normal. Naps in beds and bedtimes closer to what they should will be great, but we’ll miss all the fun that packs into our days when we’re with family    

And until we have to really get back to work and routines and boring stuff like that, I’ll try to get the blog up to speed. We have a brand new year coming up after all, don’t want to be stuck in the past too much! 🙂

Back to it…

We made it to school/work yesterday and then this morning we had a playdate and let me just say this…those may seem insignificant and run of the mill things but after 7 full days of being semi-stuck at home, they were just so, so wonderful.

We did get out twice in that week – once to go to our community group Christmas party where the kids went sledding and then another time for Mia’s gymnastics class.
I was so glad they opened for practice, even when all the schools were still closed. Even if it’s the same toys we’re playing with at home, a change in scenery is so nice.

So, here’s what we were up to in those many, many hours of bonding…

Playing in the snow

This isn’t great quality but they were so excited to go out.




They lasted longer than I really wanted to be out there. So I was happy when they finally agreed to come inside. Even if it did mean I had to bribe them with hot chocolate to come in. Finn’s hands were so cold though that he needed to get inside.

Cuddled under the electric blanket, after playing in the snow.


There’s a great little hill next to our friends’ house perfect for sledding. The kids had so much fun. I pretty much knew Finn would love it. I mean, sliding down a hill on a disk at high speeds? That has Finn’s name written all over it. But Mia, being the more cautious one of the two, I thought she wouldn’t be as intense about it. I was wrong.


Here comes, Finn. (In his coat that is two sizes too big because we seem to have left his at church – the day before the big storm, naturally).IMG_0571

All smiles….




I just had to be ok with the fact that if we were going to be stuck inside, the house was going to look lived in. Very lived in. Things got messy. A lot of times. Finally today, I feel like the house is finally back in order. And while it’s nice to have a picked up house again, I knew that I needed to be ok with things being all over the place or not folding that laundry while it was still warm from the dryer. Sometimes, you got to just let it go to make sure the little ones have things to help with cabin fever (and yes, they watched tv. a lot.)

This happened several times. Jumping on piles of blankets, forts in the living room, just lots of moving of blankets in general.


I got some containers and scoops and toys and let the kids dig and scoop and stir and pour rice, beans, stale oyster crackers and flour.

And yes, this is what my kitchen looked like when they were done…CAM00177
But it was totally worth it.

Mia helped me bake sugar cookies and then we decorated them after dinner. Again, very messy….but even Finn was focused for a long time so it was a good activity. Course, the fact that he kept licking all the frosting off his cookies and reapplying helped increase his attention span time (and his sugar intake).

Notice Mia’s tongue. This is serious business folks.

I was impressed with how she was holding the squeeze tube. That looks like a pretty natural cake decorator hold….hmmm.

IMG_0636 Notice the licked cookies in the background.

We also tried to do some crafty stuff and some school work (although we didn’t do as many worksheets as I, or Mia, wanted to. Another time, another snowstorm.)
Finn’s finally to the point where he wants to do them too. He doesn’t last as long but it’s fun while he’s there.

I made a shape of a snowman and then the kids were supposed to put marshmallows over the lines to make the outline of a snowman. Finn went a little more abstract on his. This is him saying “ta-da-snowman”. Pretty sure he ate more marshmallows than what ended up on his paper. Also not sure how much white glue he ate. We’re just going to pretend he didn’t dip them before eating them.

I made this hanging snowflake thing for our mantle. I wanted it to be a Mommy-Mia craft and while she did help, it proved to be a little more tedious than she was into at that point. Besides, when sounds of wrestling come from the other room, my little craft-loving girl goes all tomboy on me. I love it. It’s probably one of my favorite decorations this year.



And apparently, this happened while we were snowed in, too…



There’s probably 20 more: of just her, her and the doll, smiling, staring, you name it. I literally laughed out loud when I checked the camera for pictures for this post. They’re actually pretty good. Silly kid.

So yes, now that things are melting and we’re rejoining outside reality, it’s hit me that Christmas is in a week and a half. Not ready. We have 3 parties this weekend, plus one on Monday and then I feel like it’s just hold on to the sled we’re going down the hill.

Hope we’re smiling as big as the kids were once we get to the bottom…