Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jingle all the way

Respecting holidays seems to be a thing of the past.  Halloween plans are made in summer.  Thanksgiving is locked down pre-college football season.  Black Friday deals a week before the actual Black Friday (yes, that IS a holiday :-P). Christmas in July. And so on and so on.

Typically I like to enjoy one holiday before even thinking about the next one ahead.  Why rush things, right? But I'm breaking my own rule.  Growing up we always decorated for Christmas the Friday after Thanksgiving.  But we'll be traveling this year and all that goes with getting home from out of town--the unpacking, the laundry, and such, there's just not enough time to decorate while actually enjoying the experience. 

So, today started the festivities.  Actually, last night did as we started a S family tradition.  Going to our outdoor mall to see the parade and lighting ceremony as we typically do with an added twist--having an in-car pizza party.  That's right.  We were lucky enough to find a parking spot, unbuckled, dropped down the third row, and indulged in the pizza and cheese sticks I picked up on the way home from the office.  Poor T had to have a cheese free version but still enjoyed it.  Even though it was cold, we all had a great time seeing Santa.

Teagan danced the entire time to the band.  Girl cannot help herself but to move when there's music.

Oh, Parker! I promise you, she was having a great time!

My girls!

And to top it off, we watched the video Santa sent to Parker :) OMG did she love it.

Parker's message from the North Pole

To officially ring in the Christmas season, our elf, Sparkles, arrived straight from the North Pole.  As he will every year, he brought the girls their personal Christmas tree and a note.  For those who don't know, this whole elf thing involves an elf who hangs around your house all day and leaves every night to report back to Santa.  When he arrives back to the house, he's found in a new place, typically causing some sort of mischief.

Silly Sprinkles all wrapped up in garland

I asked Parker to put the tree skirt on.  And she did.  Just not on the tree :)

I debated over the plush or plastic elf.  Glad I bought the plush (and yes, it may have to do with the fact that the plastic elf scares me.  Creepy looking thing).

Nothing but love for Sparks.

 The artificial tree is set up in the basement.  Next weekend we're doing it Clark Griswold style and cutting down our own real tree for upstairs.  The girls and I took a trip to Lowes today and stocked up on those huge inflatable Christmas things.  We need to pick up some icicles and such and boom, it's Christmas!

Of course, we could not have accomplished any of this without hot chocolate with cut out whipped cream.

Me: Parker, show me your shape P::shakes::

There's that shape!

Baada boom!

Wonder what that elf has planned for tomorrow??

And randoms: Sandy the horse. T's first time! Atta (cow)girl!

Scarf--the must have accessory of the season.

Meijer, of all places, where my faith in humanity was restored.  Somehow after we did the self check out, we neglected to put our paid groceries back in the shopping cart. A young college guy ran after us to let us know.  Yep, young college dude did not steal our Cuervo among other things

Then, of course, this deadbeat mom who puts everything on her AMEX (cash back!) did not have even a penny to ride Sandy.  A passerby saw my dilemma and footed the bill.

Little things, yes, but it truly is the little things that matter the most.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where we are & what we've been doing

I feel like my only blog updates as of late have come to you all in the form of bullet points.  Probably because that’s exactly how it’s been.  I like bullet points—keeps things organized—and in the middle of school activities, birthday parties, dance classes, gift buying and wrapping, figuring out how to optimize my DVR time, etc, organization is key.  Sooooo:

-Last week was spirit week at school.  I’d say we have just a wee bit of fun with it:

Wacky day.  Parker very much so enjoyed rocking out her wacky do and T enjoyed being a wild child. 

Animal print overload, if that's even a thing. And can we talk about her hair finally fitting into a side pony?!

This won't be so funny when she comes home 12 years from now with the same do in non-wig form.

Hee haw, it’s Western Day! Parker went the traditional route while Teagan sported modern western chic with a hint of leopard shoes.

Of course horsie came to school on this particular day.

Quite the dignified cowgirl.

The other days included pajama day (my own personal fave), Hollywood Day where I curled Parker’s already curly locks and teased them up with hairspray and Teagan was awarded the coveted Best Hug trophy, and animal print day. 

Sideways, but you get the point.

-I am IN LOVE with Target Grocery.  Target is a mere three or so miles from my office and the basis of my survival as a working mama is running errands during the day.  Being able to pick up groceries in addition to all the other randomness Target offers is an absolute lifesaver for me.  Not only does it free up other days for me to run errands, but it also makes Costco the only non-work errand I have to run.  One, because there’s not one close to work and two, because it takes a year and a half to get through the joint.  

Displaying 2013-11-17 11.46.08.jpg
One of my fave Target finds--Market Pantry brand restaurant style salsa with roasted jalapenos.  The taste is that of an authentic Mexican restaurant.  It's GOOD. So good that Parker was so inclined to dip her banana in it. 

-The warm weather was taken advantage of by all of us.  A little leaf raking and a lot of leaf jumping.  I know a lot of people complain about the cold, the rain, the snow.  Not this girl.  You couldn’t get me to live in a warm weathered area if I had any choice in the matter.  These seasons and all they bring, like watching pure joy come to my children as the result of a few dried up leaves and the throwing of snowballs that is only mere weeks away, keeps us always looking forward to the magic of the seasons.    

-Home projects used to be our thing.  We’ve dropped a lot of time and money transforming our house into a reflection of us.  Every single wall has been painted, carpet has been replaced, our master bath was tore down and built back up, new roof, fluorescent lighting replaced by recessed lights, granite kitchen counters, all new stainless appliances, bathroom cupboards repurposed with a bucket of paint, all new doorknobs and light fixtures, turned our empty basement into our favorite haven, and all the little things that come along with home ownership. 

It’s been a long time since we’ve tackled anything.  But with both girls napping at the same time we have some extra time to get things done.  And the current thing is a new fireplace. Buh bye old tiles.  And see you later non-existent mantle.  You are being replaced! Kris designed the entire thing—stone going from floor to ceiling, rustic wood mantle, and mounded TV will complete the project.  It will be done in time for Santa.  It’s a must to hang your stockings from the mantle!

As a result, we'll be saying goodbye to that TV stand.  It's the remaining piece of our vintage collection from our college years.  Kris bought this cheapo stand while in college.  It traveled from Athens to Columbus to Royal Oak to our first house (this home!). It's had many faces--black, mango, and brown.  It's endearingly awful in a dumb way.  Perhaps we'll repurpose it and save the memories in the process :)

Displaying 2013-11-16 16.45.19.jpg
Destroyed.  My house is still decorated for Halloween.  All the spooky outside decor has been boxed up and put away for next season but the, I'll have it down before the Christmas things are up!

--It’s possible that we have Teagan’s dairy issues figured out—thanks to all for your helpful advice! After the soy milk trial we switch to cow’s milk to see what would happen.  Within ½ hour of drinking only a few ounces, Teagan puked then proceeded to have one of the worst sleep nights of her life.  So in a sleep deprived state I switched her off to Kris and drove to the grocery store at 545am.  On a Friday. Before a long day of work.  Never a dull moment! We decided on almond milk in the morning and evening, toddler formula at lunch for extra nutrients, and absolutely no dairy after noon—latest.  Of course one night I forgot about the no-milk-after-12pm rule.  I whipped up Annie’s mac for the girls, put a splash of milk in, and served it up.  Another god awful evening of sleep, or actually, lack thereof. 

One of T's fave things.  She'll actually blab blab blab as she "reads"

So that's about it.  We have a busy next couple months ahead of us.  This weekend is Santa and lighting at the outdoor mall, dance, and a birthday party at Parker's gymnastics studio for one of her good daycare buddies, then Illinois for Thanksgiving, then Santa's Christmas parade, then recital time, then Great Wolf Lodge (YAY!), then Columbus for Christmas, then actual Christmas at home, then NYE, then Sesame Street Live, then...I don't know, a nap?! ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

In the middle of the best time of year--fall!

Fall is usually when things slow down for us.  Long days at the beach and pool are swapped for at-home crafts, “leaf adventures” invented by yours truly (entails pulling the girls in the wagon around the yard and sub, grabbing various leaves, and yelling, “LEAF ADVENTURE!!”—I swear, I’m only about 60% insane :-P), and yummy hearty dishes cookin away (like the turkey we cooked up this past weekend).  But we’ve been on the go the past couple weeks.

Colors like this are good for the soul.

Recognize a little three year old in this pic?

Friday: gots my new hairs.  I had five gray strands.  That’s five too many.  Plus I’m over long hair so 2 ½ hours of salon time later and I’m a new Stacie.  The end goal is more caramel mixed with blond and a tad shorter.  Baby steps. I'm in love with the end result:

After my pampering, Kris and I met up with friends for dinner and drinks.  The girls stayed entertained thanks to one of our fave teachers playing the role of babysitter.  Fun night had by all

 Saturday: dance followed by trick or treating at an outdoor small business-y “mall”.  I’m a planner.  From meals for the week, to clothes for the next day, to vacations years in advance, to future kiddos, I like to know what’s going on and when it will go down. So two months prior to this date I went to the website and plugged the date and time in my calendar.

Welp, the place pushed the time an hour back a couple weeks ago, unknown to this pre-planner.  Fine, so we walked around and rode the carousel until it was time for actual ToTing.  By this time it was pouring.  No other choice but to sprint through the rain.  Parker and friend had an absolute blast. 

Some of the cute shops. The yellow one taught me that I cannot understand a Scottish accent for the life of me.

Waiting for her buddy.

Sunday: RELAXED! + dance. 

Monday: back to the grind but an evening filled hanging out at home.

Tuesday: Parker and mama date night! Party City and Target.  PC two days before Halloween is wild beyond belief.  And probably not the most appropriate place to take a three year old with such a mix of creepy + slutty costumes.

Wednesday: office Halloween bash. The adults dress up (well the fun ones do!) and the kiddos come in to trick or treat around the office.  We loaded up not only with candy, but juice boxes and money as well.  Yes, cash was given out.  Remember, I do work at a brokerage firm ;) I also was awarded the grand prize for best costume. 

Do you like my costume a latte?

Teagan enjoyed trying to put candy down my straw.

Thursday: actual Halloween.  It was pouring.  I think this is a Halloween requirement. And if not rain, snow.  Teagan is in the middle of a cold so we stayed back and handed out treats while Parker ran around with her BFF in the sub.  All adults and children arrived back at our house.  Soaked, but blissfully happy.  The kids from the candy, the adults from the spiked cider.  Good neighbors!

Shocked that the child who hates getting messy actually touched the inside of a pumpkin.

Paint all day in school but the second I try a craft it's like baby torture.

You don't scare me, moving hand!

Never stand in the way of a drenched child and her candy.

Friday: Disney’s Pirate and Princess show! When I saw this was coming to Michigan I knew we had to make it happen.  Parker’s obsession, Sofia the First, was the main attraction.  And Cinderella even made an appearance! Between that and the Sofia snow cone + mug combo that took Parker 1 ½ hours to fully consume, we all left happy.  

My two little princesses. Though you don't need a costume to know that ;)


Good seats for the big show!

The look on her face made this snow cone purchase the best decision of the evening.

Saturday : dance where finally FINALLY I got to observe the class. I was as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning.  I didn't really know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.  Parker followed each and every instruction.  Tapping, dancing, singing, ballet, all of it! I couldn't get over how focused she was on the teacher and mimicking her moves.  Not to wish away time but December 14th (recital date) cannot come soon enough.  We were also handed all the info and costume order form for the June recital.  Talk about planning early!

My parents visited for the day as well.  Girls loved having extra playmates for the day.

All smiles in that big blue tutu

 Sunday: birthday party for P’s friend, dance, and my all-time fave leftover turkey meal ritual—TurkeyChilaquiles a la Martha Stewart. 

 Whew.  Thankfully this week is looking pretty tame.  Let's keep it that way!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Baby Teagan is 13 months, or should I say toddler Teagan!

The life and times of Teagan Noelle at 13 months

Enjoying a chilly afternoon at the cider mill with daddy, goats, and cider.  How could you not smile?

·         Crawls up the stairs.  Out of the blue one day, with no prior attempts, and made it up both flights of stairs.  And again and again and again.  This is T’s method.  Once she’s finally ready, she does it.  None of this practicing garbage, nuh uh. 

What kind of mom doesn't realize when a goat is about to munch on her own child? This mom.  But in a turn of events, the goat ate my Uggs instead. 

·         Still such a smiley thing.  Many of my coworkers haven’t met Teagan yet (big office) so it was introduction day at our Halloween Bash. Of course she gave all these “strangers” their fair share of grins. 

Halloween trick or treating--round 3 of like 7.  No joke.

·         Semi-picky eater.  My homemade zucchini and cheese latkes? Forcibly removed from T’s mouth by herself and thrown on the ground.  Same with raspberries (do you know what a mess raspberries make when thrown around your house? Because I do), hummus, guac, etc.  Favorite items include cheese (obvi, she was birthed from my body after all), yogurt, pasta with marinara, and whatever I’m eating.

·         Stands on her own for a couple seconds

·         Throws herself back when mad—can we say temper tantrum?!

Fell asleep, sitting up (which never happens) from (most likely) Rotavirus.  Ughhhh.

·         Likes handing things to us and saying “tank u” for “thank you”

·         Plays everything with Parker—princess castle, balls games, all of it.

·         Superb skills.  This has been going on for a while, but Teagan really knows how to manipulate toys.  She understands cause and effect—I press this button, it makes a sound.  I put this doll in this chair, she sings a song.  It’s pretty neat just to sit back and watch her learn. 

· but to dance when music is on, whether it’s TV or toy. 

·         It hurts to even type this, but bad sleeper. I’ll fully admit it.  I was sleep smug T’s first year of life.  The kid rarely woke up in the night.  She sleeps in a crib (what was a foreign concept to me).  We lay her in said crib and walk out of the room and she falls asleep.  On her OWN (mind blown).  So I got cocky and decide to throw a wrench in everything thinking we would walk out unscathed.

Pointing at everything.

First thing—I quit nursing at 10 ½ months and switched T to formula.  I could not have been more over nursing.  Really, the pumping is what put me over the edge.  I’m not even going to get into my routine of pumping while driving (for serious, and it’s safer than it sounds) and being pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 3 ½ years. 

I just can't tell if she likes the hayride.

So we made the switch and finding an organic formula was tough.  So tough that we had to order it from Europe.  Not a single US organic formula is truly “organic” much to my dismay so when ran out during vacation, without access to boat to take us to England, we bought a small tub of Earth’s Best, mixed it with whole milk, and started the transition. 

Note to self: do not wear heeled boots at a cider mill.  Especially when you go on a hiking path.  A wet hiking path. 

Since vacation in early September, T’s sleep has been wack.  Thrown off first by no more nursing, then by the not so comfy pack-n-play and new condo digs.  Then it was a cold, a fever, a cough, possible Rotavirus.  And now after two months of horrible sleep, like really horrible—I was up from 345am to 515am with her a couple nights ago, after not being able to lay her back in her crib, trying to cuddle with her, and multiple screaming wake ups, and we’re at a loss. This is after being up with her from 11pm to 3am just a few nights prior.  Kris and I take shifts--him one night, me the next--so we've both had our fair share of all nighters. Perhaps it’s the whole milk so we’re switching away from that for the time being.  If anyone has any milk alternatives and healthy fat options to replace the fat in whole milk, I’m all ears.  We’re doing fish oil and daily egg yolks for the time being and soy milk since we’re in a bind. Almond milk isn’t allowed at school (due to nut allergies) and I saw coconut milk but know nothing about it.  Goat’s milk is too close to that of cows, so what next?  

Happy 13th month, miss Teags! Love you a little more each and every day.