Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Fast update before we pack up the fam for a long weekend and head to a world of water, 84 degree temps, and fun in the great indoors.  Yeppers, it’s time for Great Wolf Lodge! I’m ready for a much needed break and here's why:

Remember how I previously mentioned listing our house for sale in two years? About that…two years turned into two minutes.  We're 97% sure that our house is being listed for sale.  Like, soon.  Like as soon as the painters get done painting the outside of our house and the mulch gets laid (three inches of snow in mid-April will wreck even the best laid outdoor sprucing up plans) and the flowers bloom. 

My heartstrings are being tugged on.  We ADORE our home.  Six years in this home has brought us from a recently engaged couple, to husband and wife, to a family of three and shortly thereafter, a family of four.  We had vision in this home and we brought those visions to life.  From the little things of updating every last doorknob and painting every last piece of baseboard trim, to the big things of demolishing and renovating our master bath to adding livable space in the basement, we've poured our hearts in this home. 

But the time has come to say goodbye.  While the school district we’re in is good, it’s not the best.  Three of the best school districts not only in the state but in the nation are literally right at our fingertips.  One district is in the town I work in.  The other is in the neighboring town.  The other is in our current town but to the northwest.  While school districts were not of most importance to us six years ago, they are now.  So away we must go. Plus we want to get in before interest rates and home prices rise even higher.

However, obstacles are in our way but let’s start with the positive.  It’s a sellers market so we should be able to sell fast with a nice profit.  Now let’s go to the negative.  It’s a sellers market.  Homes are selling fast and inventory is low.  This week three houses were listed that I really liked.  They’re already off the market.  It’s only Wednesday.  You do the math.  Also good school districts = less bang for your buck. 

Thankfully though we have a lot of great people helping us through this process.  The CEO of a large real estate agency is our client so he directly referred us to the best real estate agent in our area.  My coworkers are all Michigan born and raised and just this morning I took a 30 minute tour with one of them around potential neighborhoods.  We’re on the right path, and I’m sure we’ll find something, but I’m ready for this to be a long process.  Checking out three homes tonight so we shall see!

Whew, so much for a fast update! Other things going on:

Parker is in full blown playdate mode. Last weekend’s playdate was at a roller rink.  Parker rocked and ROLLED (hehe) it. I was SO proud of her for trying and actually learning how to skate.  The rink had an instructor, the Easter Bunny, and Parker’s name was drawn and she won an Easter basket full of goodies.  Earlier that week she won a drawing at school and was awarded a bear.  I’m thinking we should take her to the casino this weekend. 

Duck face preschoolers.  Posing all on their own. I know, we're in trouble.
Teagan is in love with hats.  Winter hats.  In spring. 

Doing it!

This happened.  On April 15.  BUT this did set us over the Michigan record for most snowfall in a season.  I can already hear myself saying, "back in my day..."

Dentist success! Parker rocked it.  I was SO proud of her bravery.  While I got my teeth cleaned Parker chilled on the chair with me and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Next it was her turn and there was no fussing, no resistance, and no tears.  At the end she was rewarded with a Disney princess toothbrush, three toys from the toy chest and high fives.  

Trying to sell my dad on the tastiness of Lacroix via a cute pic.

What else, what else...

My baby girl who refuses to keep her hair up in anything while at home :) 

What is it about belly laying and coloring that is so darn cute? 

Obligatory library photo.

So there you have it & this girl is off to bed.  Happy Easter all!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Teagan & Parker at a glance & another goodby

Last week we lost an amazing man, my Pap Paul. The kindest man he was and I have nothing but fond memories of him.  It’s no secret that I love taking pictures, editing them to my liking.  What surprises me though is that in the moment of taking photos I often do not appreciate the true beauty and meaning until a reason comes along to make me appreciate it.  Casually I snapped photos during a late August visit with Grandma Robbie and Pap Paul unaware that I would treasure these last photos of Pap and my babies more than anything.  The joy on his face is clear.  We will miss him so very much. 

Always smiling, always called me Stacie Jo.  In turn, Parker Sophia is affectionately called Parkie So ) 

With Kris in France it was a girls trip to Ohio for half of the week.  With a little help from boarding for Syd, and a lot of help from Elsa and Anna (what DID kids do in cars before DVD players?!) and even more deep breaths and silent cursing of the wind and rain, we drove down to Grandma’s then spent time in Columbus with my parents.  While not the happiest of times, the girls of course brought their smiles and goofiness to the table.  

After a long week we’re all back home.  And I’m back to my sporadic blogging ;)

Teagan Noelle!

Baby girl is now 18 months old! (she was early into her 17th month when I started this part of the post, but I’m in the middle of my own personal hell—tax season—so the posts come when they can).

Babe is constantly asking for "hat and bits! hat and bits!" (boots).  Sometime she asks for shoes and yes, she does know the difference ;) 

-Pouches: or “powsh!” as Teagan calls.  Breakfast she wants a powsh.  Lunch, more powsh.  Snack and dinner, powsh and more powsh.  I buy four Costco sized boxes of pouches at a time and between T and her big sister, that barely lasts a month. It’s all fruit and veggies so fine by me.

-Blanket rides:  one by one I’ll pull all blankets and body pillows off the bed, T & P lay on them, and then I drag them all over the house.  This is sure to result in giggle city. 

-Sleeping: having a child who sleeps all night long is a luxury! 18 months in and I still don’t take for granted the fact that we can lay Teagan down in her crib, alone, and she will stay put all night long.  Pumpkin doesn’t even make a peep when she wakes up in the morning.  If it wasn’t for the video monitor we’d have no clue when she’s up to start the day. 

-Talking: OMG is this girl a little parrot! New words include: Buckeyes (seriously!), a pick up (pick up), Ni Nee (Sydney), behboom (bedroom), brush (wants to brush her teeth), ewww, poopy, weeee (for anything fun, like going down the roller coaster in the basement) and she will try to repeat everything we say.

-Toothbrush: Teagan is obsessed to the max with brushing her teeth.  I literally have to hide the toothbrush from her because if she sees it, she wants her teeth brushed.  Surprising since I subject her to Tom’s strawberry flavored toothpaste.  I accidentally put that on my toothbrush one night and practically vomited on the spot. 

-Mimicker of Parker.  P screams, T screams, P jumps off the ottoman, T jumps off the ottoman (the ottoman is now in hiding).  P sits on the couch to watch Frozen, T sits on the couch to watch Frozen.  Then rolls off and wacks her noggin…we’re still figuring things out J

-Daddy. Or should I say, 100% over the moon obsessed with this man.  “A pick up, Daddy,” is often heard and boy oh boy, if Kris is paying “too much” attention to Parker, we will all know it.  Teagan will yell “na ni! (not nice), proceed to yank Parker’s hair, then jump into Kris’ lap all while grinning over her triumph.

Parker Sophia!

-Lego Duplo love—Parker is able to build Legos all on her own by looking at the instructions.  Over and over and over again.  With no help!

One of her Lego masterpieces on the right  You go girl!

-Frozen love—since the DVD/Blu-Ray release date last week, we’ve watched Frozen about six times.  Yep, six.  Don’t judge, it’s amazing.  Plus we were stuck in the car for 12 hours. With Frozen comes a lot of pretending; Parker is Elsa, the older sister, and Teagan is Anna.  Parker drapes a cape around her neck, yells “Anna! I’m coming to save you,” and off they go running, laughing, loving life. 

-True Love—recently we purchased Beauty and the Beast.  Parker doesn’t like the Beast.  “He’s mean in the first part.” So I explain to her that yes, the beast is mean but Belle helps him find true love in his heart.  “Parker,” I ask, fully expecting the answer to be me, Kris, or Teagan, “who do you have true love for?” The response?

C, her forever friend (that happens to be a boy, details schmetails) at school. 


-Imagination city--from Barbies to stuffed animals, Parker makes up elaborate stories and we play.  It's so very fun to see her create fun all on her own.  

-"I can do it myself!"--Parker has always been a do-it-myselfer and that is still going strong.  If breakfast is cereal she will pull the ottoman to the pantry (see why the ottoman is banned??), open the door, use the pantry as a stool, pick her box, grab the milk from the fridge, pour it all in a bowl, and munch. If we're going somewhere you dare not to help her putting on her outside gear. 

I ask Parker what kind of women we are.  What does she say? "Strong women." Atta girl.

-Calming down--have I mentioned this? I'm not quite sure. If so here it is again. Parker is great at self soothing now so we've really cut down on wild tantrums.  When Parker is losing her cool we'll ask her if she needs to take a minute and calm down.  9 times out of 10 she will say yes, retreats to our room (still bedsharing), and she will lay down with her paci (still...) and take some time to herself.  

We tried time outs with her for a brief period and it was a disaster.  Have I mentioned that she's strong willed? Because she is.  This child refused to stay seated in our time out location (red couch).  After a handful of ineffective attempts, we switched to self soothing and it's really worked out the best for all of us.

Other happenings
-P's first dentist appointment is this week.  Do you think the dentist has an open bar for the adults? If not they probably will after Thursday morning.  

-Disney dining reservations are made! So far we've blocked our dates and times at Cinderella's Royal Table, Chef Mickey's, Akershus (princess city), and Hollywood & Vine, aka Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.  

-We've decided to move within the next two years, prior to Parker starting kindergarten.  Nothing insane, we're staying in Michigan.  Actually more that likely in the same town as the downtown, the feel, the amenities, all of it is fab. And while we love our home and all upgrades we've spent time and money on, our eyes are set on one of the best school districts in Michigan. The school districts in MI are much different than Ohio.  In our town alone there are four separate districts.  We've been pouring over test scores, statewide rankings, and the housing market.  Two years might seem a while off but it could be sooner and I like to be prepared :) We've even spent some family afternoons touring new construction, driving through fun subs with pools and playgrounds, and getting the feel of the neighboring lake community.  We have learned a lot in this long process!

All we do, we do for you.

How could we not :) 

If you made it this far you deserve a medal. Adios all!

Friday, March 7, 2014

::knock knock:: anyone home??

Can you hear all these crickets in this blog like I can?? I have to get back on the blogging train.  No better time like the present!  Just what have we been up to the past month…

*Sesame Street Live

Slowly getting more blond with each salon visit.  Me, not Teagan, though her curls are coming in :)

Fab fab seats

Parker really was having a blast.  The blinding light of the phone flash has her looking dazed.

Good show all around.  Parker really got into the mood and started shaking her thing in the aisle.  Teagan was THE wiggliest worm in the world so Kris and I were busy passing her back and forth.  Out of the corner of our eyes we saw the larger than life Cookie Monster sprinting, literally sprinting, down the aisle with utter disregard to our 39 inch 30lb dancing machine.  No exaggeration, Kris swooped Parker up mere seconds before the inevitable collision.

During the next song we asked Parker if she wanted to dance again.  She politely declined. 

*Disney vacation all set? Check!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas-- Kidani Village, Savanna view, will be the place we call home for a week in September.  Our balcony will look out on the savanna where the animals roam free.  Zebras, flamingos, giraffes and more, right outside or own personal balcony.  Add the incredible views to one of the top rated pools of the Disney resorts and I am beyond ready for this trip.  

Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village - Condominiu
The hotel!
Loving this lobby.

Yes please!

I’m also excited to see how it is to stay onsite. We debated for a long time where to rest our heads, at a Disney resort or non-Disney hotel but at the end of the day all the perks Disney offers won us over.  From the around the clock transportation options (key with two little ones and two bigger ones who may need naps), the new FastPass+ (allows you to make reservations for up to three attractions per day, encompassed in a fun bright wrist band that also functions as your credit card and room key so you can keep that wallet away!), the extra park hours, free shuttle service and baggage pick up/drop off to and from the airport, the ability to give our souvenirs to a Disney member who will deliver the gifts to our room, how could we possibly pass that up?

Next round of to dos will be to book the must dos:  a meal in Cinderella’s Castle (my alarm is all set to wake at 545am on Monday when the reservation window opens--a must because this fills up, and fills up fast) and definitely  Bippity Bobbity Boutique (where the girls will have their hair and nails done by Fairy Godmothers all while in a princess dress they pick out).  From all your seasoned Disney vets, what else is a must experience or must eat that we cannot miss out on?

*In addition to Disney, Kris and I were planning on a couples only trip.  First it started out as a week in Hawaii.  Then fear took over me—the distance away from our girls—so we thought maybe something closer like the Caribbean for a week.  But then the fear took over me—an entire week?!—so we thought maybe a long weekend away.  Right now we’re at a standstill so we’ll see what happens.  I’m obviously a big chicken when it comes to leaving those lovely ladies for days on end.  Though with temps still in the single digits and snow still falling on the regular, a beach getaway sounds pretty appealing!

Exhibit 1 for what's preventing a couples trip: the cute curtsey

Exhibit 2: the princess wave
Exhibit 3: cuteness overload

*Parker’s still enjoying dance class very much and mama bear is looking forward to her June dance recital. Speaking of dance, her dance studio was recently featured on the TV show Dance Moms! This exciting footage is hanging out on my DVR right now so I’m looking forward to checking it out soon.  In addition to moving and grooving, Parker will also be kicking and running next month.  Yeppers, she’s starting soccer! Rochester has a great and popular soccer program so we’re lucky to have her enrolled with such a successful group.  I’ve heard a handful of horror stories of three year olds and soccer but we shall see how baby girl likes it.

Parker is also learning at lighting speed.  Not only can she recognize and trace all letters, but she is also able to tell you words that start with certain letters--A for apples, C for cat, etc.  P is also able to trace numbers and recognize some of those as well.  Keep learning baby girl!

*Teagan turned 17 months old and her sweet yet bold personality is so ever apparent.  Bold like if you take a toy I yank your hair, sweet like I'll smile after I do it. We're in the repeating everything phase.  If I say daddy, she says daddy.  If I say where's your belly, she lifts her shirt.  More on that soon!

*Kris is traveling to France for work next week and I’m very excited about this. Why you ask? Is it because it’s easy juggling two little ones on my own in addition to a full time job? Including one little one who is in the “if you sit me down I will scream bloody murder and forever make you regret that decision” phase? Or that I love pushing 70lb+ trash bins to the end of the driveway in the never ending snow? Or that I obsess about robbers breaking into our house so every little creak has me busting out the metal bat? None of that.  My excitement is all due to Kris’ promotion which isn’t as travel oriented as his current role.  Yippity do da!

Parker making sure everyone is tucked in.  Even Sydney, or "Ni-nee" according to Teagan :)

*Next month we’re looking forward to another getaway to Great Wolf Lodge.  I’m sure this trip will be even more fun than the last because we’re staying more nights and Teagan wasn’t walking last time.  Now she’ll be able to get around just like sis, even more so now that we picked up a Puddle Jumper for her at Costco a couple weeks ago. 

My heart explodes at this.  For the record, Parker is in the phase of dressing herself and going for the boho look with her hair.

*Mama’s got (another) new car! 2014 GMC Acadia here I come.  Now if you recall, my current Acadia is only a tad over one year old.  But I picked a seemingly bad one out of bunch and after repeat airbag issues I calmly, coolly, yet matter-of-factly told the dealership that I was not getting back in that vehicle.  So they brought a loaner Acadia to my office, took my car back to the dealership, and after a few days of talking are buying back my car, refunding me my trade in value, down payment, and extended warranty, and mama gets another shiny new SUV for about the same price.    And that is what sticking to your guns and using your children to your advantage does for you.  Yes, I did in fact advise that I refused to put my three and one year old baby girls in a vehicle with a safety defect. 

Kris likes to say that even one of the biggest car companies in the world can't win an argument with me.

*Other randoms:

Family artwork for Teagan's class:

100% unstaged:

Hopefully I won't be a stranger around here anymore.  I need to post about Teagan's 17th month before she hits the big 1-8 (months) and about what Parker is up to.  Until next time!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hearts full of love!

I'm a holiday junkie. Valentine's Day is no exception.

First up was a date day, just me and Kris.  Give us one day to ourselves and we will do it all.  In the span of time from 8am to 4pm we went out for breakfast, caught a movie (American Hustle along with my movie weakness, a blue Icee), went out for lunch, threw footballs, basketballs, and skeeballs at Dave and Busters, and night capped it with a leisurely stroll around Costco (of course we did, it's like my favorite place to shop ever). Oh yeah, and we also stopped in PetSmart to get some vday goodies for Sydney and of course it was pet adoption day.  For the record, I have less than a zero desire to bring another furry creature into this house but man, even I was tempted by those pups! Good thing I didn't have a drink with lunch or I might be out right now walking a little puppy in these frigid temps.

After that, it was home to spend the rest of the day with our littlest Valentines:

Food, more food!

Shoe addiction at age three.  Like mother like daughter. 

Parker and Teagan both had big V-day events at school.  Parker--a bring your own lunch for picnic day, V-day box decorating, V-day art, and V-day card exchange. Teagan--a potluck, V-day bag decorating, V-day art, and V-day card exchange. Throw all that V-day candy on top of the Halloween and Christmas sweets that we have yet to get to!

There's not such a thing as too many bubbles! Both girls handed out the same Valentines.  Easy!

P's packed lunch, heart shaped open face grilled cheese included.  No extra bread, no ratio of two slices of bread to one slice of cheese, no way.  Girl knows what she wants.

At home we kept the party going strong.

Balloon sticks, reckless limbs, and little eyes do not mix.  Live and learn. 

Mix of some of my fave colors!

Don't all 30 year olds with two little ones drink mustache wine? No? 

Girlies also enjoyed the love from Nani and Papi via flower crowns, bath toys and bracelets!

True love!

Another fun holiday under our belts. Next one up--Presidents Day! And yes, that is a legit holiday because this girl has an office with a closed sign on Monday. Kris works though so it's going to be a girls only day.  I see visions of the mall play place and double decker merry go round in our future!

Little goofball Parker!