Christmas gifts (for a 1.5 year old)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kitchen- I researched a bunch of options and went with Ian's expert 2 year old opinion- my sister said what he loves most about this kitchen is that the buttons make sounds (like the microwave, stove, phone, oven etc)  He also got this play food and these dishes.  They're great!

Table  He LOVES it and has eaten every meal there since he got it.  I'm working on paint colors!

Blocks We found these at a local toy store.  Super cute!

Book He loves construction equipment, of course!

Rainboots A few months ago he figured out how awesome it is to stomp in puddles and now he'll be prepared for the next rainy day!

Train tracks We only had a few tracks so this set makes for more fun with trains!

T- ball set This isn't the exact one he got, but very similar.  We've only played inside so far and we're working on his swing- big improvement from the first day when he used the wrong end of the bat!

       There were other awesome gifts that I will write more about after we used them more!

A (sort of) Merry Christmas

our living room a few days before Christmas

The Merry:

  • Christmas morning at our house was everything we could have dreamed of and more!
  • When we walked into the living room he jumped out of my arms and ran to his presents and started playing with his wrapped gifts!
  • It took 1 hour to open 4 presents because he loved each one and would play with each toy before opening another!

  • He loved that Santa ate the cookies and he remembered where we left the plate!

  • His reaction when he realized the kitchen he unwrapped was for him- pure amazement and awe!
still shot from a video

  • Jumping with Ian on his trampoline saying "jump jump!"  
  • Hugging the Christmas tree when I told him we have to say "night night" to it.  Then waving and saying "buh bye" as we took it down.
  • Sitting at his new table and kicking his feet as he looked side to side admiring his new kitchen set up!
  • Christian and me laughing hysterically at ourselves while we watched our video of Christmas!
  • We all loved our gifts and feel so fortunate to have our loving and caring family.

The Not-so Merry:

  • Canceling Christmas Eve celebrations with Christian's family because Carter was sick and coughing non-stop and either screaming or sleeping on us all day.
  • Not being able to play with Ian on Christmas day because Ian was so sick and went to Urgent Care and had croup   
  • None of us sleeping on Christmas night
  • Attempting a rescheduled Christmas with Christian's family but Carter wasn't too cooperative
  • Going to the pediatrician and Carter having an ear infection (and Christian and I getting sick too)

It definitely wasn't how I envisioned our Christmas, but the merry times were very merry!

(Christian was all about the videos so I have almost no pictures- is that a mom fail or a success for living in the moment?  I'll count it as a little of both!)

Thanks to my sis-in-law for the only good photos we have this year!

Our Christmas Card 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

-the back-

After trying out many cards on many websites, I went with TinyPrints this year!

Santa, Santa! Ho Ho Ho!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

This morning we went downtown to see Santa. 
We didn't go last year so this is our first Santa picture.

We've been talking about Santa and we've been practicing the "Special Santa call" from MMC. 

 "Santa, Santa! Ho Ho Ho!"  

So when we saw Santa sitting in the corner of the lobby Carter's eyes were glued on him.  We walked up and said hello and Santa handed Carter a candy cane, which Carter actually reached out and took!  I was amazed and thought- wow, we're in, this is gonna be great.  

Then...I tried putting him in his lap.  Hysterical screams.
There's something about screaming children in Santa's lap that is so adorable, right?!

We collected ourselves and stopped to pet some reindeer on the way out.

A few minutes later I said, "Wasn't it so great meeting Santa?!?" and he answered, "Yep, Yep!"  

Thanksgiving weekend

Monday, December 2, 2013

We spent Thanksgiving at Christian's parents' house.
Here is Carter's cute place card that my mother-in-law made!

Carter had so much fun on Thanksgiving!  He kept saying "Happy" for Happy Thanksgiving.  So cute! 

But Friday morning we went to the pediatrician.  Carter had pinkeye.  It got better pretty quickly with the drops and I did lots of laundry and sanitizing.  Luckily no one else got it!

A little case of pinkeye didn't stop us decorating the house!  

He was tree-obsessed.  He moved the same ornaments about 27 times each.  He just giggled and clapped each time he hung one on a branch!  

Almost immediately I discovered that most of our ornaments weren't going to work anymore .  After the third ornament broke, I closed the box and said it's time to go shopping!  
Our tree is much more family-friendly now (especially the bottom 2/3!)

On Sunday we went to Dutch Winter Wonderland with my parents and Ian.  

The boys were so excited.  Carter just kept repeating "rides!"  
We went on a bunch of rides and saw tons of Christmas lights.  

It was a little overwhelming, I think and he insisted on being held the whole time.  
My arms ache today from my 2 hour arm workout!  

Every time we asked if he liked a ride or was having fun he enthusiastically answered, "yep yep!"  

It was so wonderful to have this break from school and spend so much fun time with our family!  
And now it's just a few weeks until Christmas!!

five on friday 11/29

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's been many weeks since I've had the time to put together a five on friday post---
 Thanksgiving break is a beautiful thing!!



Everyday I thank God for all of our blessings and most of all for Carter.  we are lucky.

christmas cards

last year's card
Obsessed!  I've already spent way too much time on this!  I think I found the one, but I just can't commit (a good sale and free shipping could make that easier!)

Have you used "Find it fast" on Minted where you upload a pic and they automatically put it in every card? Brilliant!!!  LOVE IT! Why doesn't every website do this?!?  

 Last year I was just playing around with it, not looking seriously and BOOM!  Perfect card.  Done!  


                         Watercolor Brush Grand Calendars
Last year we got personalized calendars for our parents and this year I decided we're getting one for ourselves too.  

Minted calendars are the best- such cute layouts and I like that you don't have too many options...some websites give you a gazillion layouts and options...and that's just too many decisions.  So in between my card shopping I've been arranging and re-arranging pics and months.

No, this post is not sponsored by Minted...I wish!!!

Oh, and BIG lesson learned- I must stop with the iPhone pics.  Almost all of them come up blurry and not high quality enough.  UGH!  Time to get the big girl camera out (or schedule pic sessions with my photog friend, more like it!)

iPhone cases

How hard is it to choose a phone case lately?  Cute ones are everywhere, but I'm not into spending $$$ for one and then seeing a cuter one the next week.  But since Christmas is coming up...I think these will be on my wishlist.  I can't decide which I like better so I'll let someone else choose for me!

time to deck the halls!!!

 I made this last year - I found it on Pinterest, of course.
FYI..I used glitter paint, super easy and no mess!
It's the day after Thanksgiving so that means--Christmas decorating!  Our (fake, pre-lit) beauty will be dazzling in just a few hours.  Out with the pumpkins and in with the glitz and reindeer!  

I'm hosting two holiday parties next week so it's time to get festive!

Happy Friday!  

Thanks girls, for hosting the link up!

Our First Trip without Carter

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This weekend we went to Florida for my sister's wedding.  This was my first night (2 actually) away from Carter.

Christian's parents happily agreed to watch Carter.  Christian and I did a lot of debating about what would be the best for everyone.   A few weeks ago I suggested that Christian change flights and come down on Sunday morning in time for the wedding but so that it would only be 1 night away from us.

But we continued on with the original plan...

On Saturday morning we left for the airport with a kiss and wave and he happily played with Christian's mom.

We got to the airport and I was immediately overcome with a feeling of freedom...for the first time in 18 months I was only responsible for myself!  Christian and Paul said I was twirling around like a crazy person who'd never been to an airport before!

Saturday afternoon our phones were flooded with pictures of Carter beaming happily, playing at the playground, hanging with his cousin.  We were situated in our ocean front room, the cocktails were flowing...loving life!!!
my view
happy boy at home!

Until Sunday morning at 8:30 when I got the text that Carter was up from 12:30-5:30am. What?!

Cue the anxiety-ridden momma.

But we came up with a plan and I did my best to relax- there was really nothing I could do.  So I decided to go to the pool for the 20 minutes I had before getting ready for the wedding.  Those 20 minutes were like bliss.
I laid on the cozy pool chaise, watched the palms trees swaying, listened to the spa music, sipped on an iced latte, and soaked in the hot tub.

Then it was wedding time. It was sunny and beautiful and everyone was calm, but excited.
At the cocktail hour Michael Jordan and his wife made an appearance having brunch on the patio.  My champagne glass was constantly being refilled...back to the blissful state.
beautiful bride, Julie and groom , Karl and friend, Sandy
After the wedding we decided to check in to see the status...and as they answered a dagger was stabbed in my chest as I heard the blood-wrenching screams of my poor, tired sweet boy.   The day was not going swimmingly...

Another plan was set in place and I headed back to the pool to breathe and reboot...(after of course, we'd checked all airlines and airports to see if we could get an earlier flight home)

The full moon was rising over the ocean as we joined the group on the oceanside patio for drinks. We were worried, but had fun...

Everyone assured us that "He won't remember any of this..."  And then my dad (who is 72 years old) piped up with a story about how he remembers being left at his grandparents for a weekend when he was 2 and he cried the whole time and he thought his parents were never coming back and he remembers all of it.

Omg!  We all died of laughter as my mom was poking him saying that was the wrong story to be telling!

Then on Monday morning we got the text that he slept through the night and things were better, but not great.
We were so happy to see him when we got home and after a few minutes he was back to fun-loving Carter!

A nice gift card is on its way to Christian's parents... It could take weeks for them to recover.

Lessons Learned:

1. Take a night away from your high-need toddler-you really need it!

2. Start with going away for only one night

3. Always listen to the mom, ignore any directions from the father that contradict the mother -she knows best, of course!

4. Always have your phone ready to catch a pic of the celeb sighting at your wedding

5. You never really appreciate the small things until you're a mom and you're by yourself and you have time to notice them

weekend at home

Monday, November 11, 2013

 Just a few pics of our weekend at home.. lots of outdoor exploring, running errands, and playing!
loved the little rides outside of the outlets, no coins necessary
There are new houses being built in our neighborhood and we spend a lot of time there...
watching a man put the gutters on the roof...interesting stuff, definitely should find a comfy place to sit down!

Out for Mexican...dipping some chips

it's 6:30am and this is what we do!

favorite books

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Carter loves books!  We still read all board books because a single paper page wouldn't stand a chance against Carter.  I rotate books for the seaons and holidays and you can typically find books scattered everywhere in his room.

When he was younger he only had the attention span for touch and feel books or lift the flap books with few words.  But as he's gotten older he appreciates more words and they don't have to be interactive (although he still likes those too!)

Here are some of our favorite books:

Time for Bed by Mem Fox- Such a sweet bedtime story- it rhymes and has pictures of all different animals going to sleep.  We have the padded board book and I love it!

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman- We just put this board book in the mix!  I love it, especially because this was the reading we did for Carter's blessing.  

My First ABC Book- This has been one of Carter's favorites for  many months.  He now points and says the names of the objects on the pages.  It's a great way for him to learn the names of many things and there are photographs, not drawings. 

Bright Baby Board Books- We have First Words, 2 truck books and Fall.  They are great because of the simple pages and photographs.  Carter loves them and points to the pictures and practices saying some the words too!  Based on the books we have, I would totally get other books in this series too.

Llama Llama Books- I love Llama Llama Nighty Night.  It's simple and quick and love the rhyming.  We also have Wakey Wake, Hoppity Hop, and Zippity Zoom.

Baby Touch and Feel Books- We have a few of these.  Carter loved these when he was a little younger, but still reads them sometimes too.

Lift the Flap Books by Sandra Magsamen- We have Peek a Boo I Love You, Merry Christmas Little One and I love You Little Pumpkin.  Carter loves lifting the flaps!  You've got to have some holiday books in the mix!

Karen Katz Lift the Flap Books-  We have a few of these and Carter loves lifting the flaps and they're seasonal too!

You are My Cupcake and We Belong Together are super cute too!  (photo by Jessica)
What are some of your favorite books?!?!

Working Mom: update

Saturday, November 2, 2013

45 school days have passed and we have our routine and it works.  

The good:
Days fly by because I never stop.
I like teaching.
I like having things to do and getting dressed in the morning.
Every minute that I spend with Carter I'm totally engaged in playing with him.
I look forward to picking him up everyday.
Carter's doing great at school and learning so much!
The paycheck (and lots of online shopping!)

The not-so-good:
I never stop.
I have virtually no time for myself (to eat, go to the bathroom, blog etc.) 
Caring for, teaching, (and dealing with parents of) 22 6-year-olds is stressful and exhausting.

In an ideal world, I would love to work 3 days a week so I could still work, but spend more time with Carter and not be quite as crazy-busy.  

on an afternoon walk with my favorite person

Halloween 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

On Halloween I took a half day at school so Carter could get his flu shot and I could go to his school for the Halloween parade!  He came out with his class and held hands with his teachers and just looked around.  Then as soon as he saw me he high-tailed it over and that was the end of the walking.  

no hood, of course!

at the parade
Then after school we headed to Lauren's house to see Jonathan and Ava.  Carter was not loving the costume again and wasn't too cooperative with the pics.

Ava is a candy corn princess- cutest costume ever!
Afterwards we trick or treated at a few of our neighbor's houses!

And just for fun here is Halloween last year!

October Weekend and (Mommy & Me)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The ups and downs of our weekend---
The ups...
1,Sunday ended with some much needed girl time at a wine bar.
2.Carter loved everything about the farm where we picked our pumpkins
He could't get enough of the farm animals...
and he loved pushing the wagon

 The downs of the weekend...
1. Carter's been super fussy from teething (we guess)
2. Guiliana and Bill were in town for a Breast Cancer Event and I was so excited to see them....
only I thought it was on Sunday and it was actually on Saturday 

Anyway... I'm linking up with Emily from Dear Owen for a few Mommy & Me pics from the weekend

 We were just hanging out on Saturday 
when he grabbed my cheeks with both of his hands and planted a big kiss on my lips....omg.