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!