Thursday, January 17, 2019

3/52: Will's Wellness Visit @ 21 Months

You guys. In less than 3 months, this little dude is going to be TWO years old! 

He had his 18-month checkup last week (nearly 3 months late), because our Pediatrician was way overbooked and I only have 2 pictures to show for it... The reason for this is that our main man is going through a major leap in growth and has decided to stop napping for his grandparents. Basically, he's been pretty pissed these past 3 weeks. I still need to look it up to verify that he's in the middle of an actual "leap", but I am certain he is, because all the signs are there. 

At his wellness visit, he cried when we took his clothes off to be weighed. He then cried when we wouldn't allow him to run back and forth on the examination table. He also cried when we pulled him out from under the dirty bench in the examination room. This guy cried for around 40 minutes of our 1 hour visit and this was all before he even got his shot!

It wasn't until Mama gave him his Mickey that things got better. Our Dr was able to use his favorite mouse to get Will to let her examine him, by pretending she was giving Mickey a checkup first. It really did work like a charm and thank Gawd because this was one of the most difficult wellness visits we've had and Mama is more than ready for this phase to pass. 

In the meantime, he still gives us the best smiles, so that's good! 

-- Growth Stats -- 

Height: down from the 90th percentile to the 86th percentile
Weight: up from the 13th percentile to the 14th percentile, LOL

So yeah, still super tall and super skinny! My beautiful boy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Twinkle Light Parade & Christmas Slime

* Twinkle Light Parade * 
There's a few events in December that are staples for our family and symbolize the beginning of the holiday season. The Twinkle Light Parade is always the first of these events!

For years, we attended the parade as watchers, lining the streets with the rest of the city to catch a glimpse of all the brightly decorated floats as they passed by. It was always freezing and super crowded, but so much fun! Then, a few years ago, my Mom decided that she wanted to put together a float for her Christmas charity and the rest was history. Every year since the first, our float gets bigger, more kids participate and there are more and more lights! This year however, we were thrown a few unexpected curve balls that almost ruined the day. Thankfully though, we survived and it ended much better than it began!

I'm telling you guys, having a second kiddo is a total game changer - or it has been for us, anyway. We're always running late (which drives me crazy)! I mean, who wants to be those people who are always late to everything?! Because we no longer use a diaper bag, we almost always forget to bring along something important that we need or we lose something important while on an outing. It's like we just can't get our shit together, a vast majority of the time, lol. It doesn't help that Gracie is the most active and "spirited" child on earth, constantly adding to the happy chaos and for some events, things just seem to fall apart. This was most def the case for this year's parade.

We were running late (per usual) and on the way, G and I got into a debate about where we needed to meet our group to board the float. I said we needed to meet at the same place we met the year prior, while Georgia was convinced that my mom mentioned a different street, located much closer to the parade route. G being the "master navigator" that she is, she drove us to the place she thought we were supposed to meet everyone and we then spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot. Once we finally did and unloaded everything, we realized that Grace forgot to bring her elf hat that I put right by the door and ask that she grab, like a hundred times. We got walking and around 4-5 blocks later a truck pulled up and said they thought they saw us drop a few Santa hats down the road... sure enough, G checked her handful of stuff and she didn't have our hats. Ugh! By this point she was in the worst mood and insisted that we keep walking toward the main parade route, while she doubled back to get the hats.

When I arrived on the corner she thought we needed to meet, my mom's float was nowhere in sight. Long story short, we (and by we, I mean G) got it wrong and we were supposed to meet at the same place as the year before - which was literally 20 blocks up the road. When I told Georgia this, she blew up and then I blew up and we both shutdown and just started marching up the street. We totally overreacted to the stress of being late and cold and a bit hangry. It didn't help that Grace was melting down because she forgot her hat and was afraid that the float was going to leave without us, or that we left Will's pacifier at home.

By some sort of Christmas miracle, my friend Adam ended up saving the day and picked us up in his minivan to drive us the remainder of the way, just in time to catch the float before it left. It was a miracle that we made it and once we did, all the stress of what happened leading up to our arrival went away. My mom had another hat for Gracie and Will forgot about his pacifier once he was around all the kids and bright lights. G and I both gave each other the, "I'm sorry I lost my shit" look and we did our best to have a great time - which we did!

Grace got to meet all sorts of new friends on this year's float and looked just adorable in her elf jammies from last Christmas. It was freezing, but my mom had the foresight to put heaters on the float so we were all comfy, bundled and happy to waive at everyone and pass out candy canes. It was definitely one of those experiences that I'm sure we'll look back on in years and laugh, only remembering the fun parts and not the craziness that led up to the holiday fun! :) 

Check out this Christmas cutie! I found this hat at the bottom of a clearance bin at Gybmoree before Will joined our family. I just love seeing him in the special little things we picked out for our 2nd born, when he was still just a dream in our hearts!

* The Grinch Christmas Slime * 

If you have a kiddo between the age of 6-10, chances are high that they're obsessed with making slime! Gracie is for sure and from what I hear from other moms, this seems to be the case with most kids these days. Our gal is so obsessed that she's asked to have a slime making station at her next birthday party and literally begged us for two weeks to make Christmas slime, so I had no choice but to make it happen! 

Here's what you'll need to make your own Christmas Slime:

- 1/2 TBSP of baking soda
- 1 TBSP of contact lens solution
- 4 fl oz of white Elmer's Glue
- Your choice of food coloring
- Glitter, the more sparkly the better!

1. Find a bowl, cup, or plate to mix your slime in 2. Pour out the entire contents of a 4oz of Elmer’s school glue into the bowl. 3. Add ½ TBSP of baking soda and mix.

4. After mixing, add your choice of food coloring. 5. Mix and/or add more food coloring until you get the color you want.

6. Add 1 TBSP of contact lens solution 7. Mix until slime forms and it begins to get harder to mix 8. Take the slime out and begin kneading with both of your hands 9. If needed, add ¼ TBSP contact lens solution to make the slime less sticky. To make your ordinary slime into Christmas Slime, add some festive glitter to the mix! 

And ta-da! Presenting Gracie's Grinch Christmas Slime. When she was finished making it, her and Will played with their slime for OVER an HOUR! It was wonderful and we'll most definitely be making it again.

More about our Christmas coming soon! Until then, here's a bit of snow day fun! This was our first bit of snow for the winter and we've had quite a lot more since this. The kiddos are loving it. :)

Monday, December 31, 2018

52/52: My Forever Date

2018 Best 9 + Most Read Posts!

Well friends, another year has come and gone and I feel as though 2018 flew by, even faster than previous years! This year has been full of change for us. We've had so many new experiences as a family of 4. There were big career changes for Georgia, we began our journey to become fit moms; I purchased my first brand new grownup ride and the list goes on and on. 2018 was good to us and I'm thinking 2019 will be even better! 

Our plans for tonight are to order our traditional NYE sushi feast to enjoy as a family, before putting the kiddos to bed and celebrating with a cocktail or 2 (or 4), as we ring in the New Year. It's snowing like crazy right now and it's supposed to snow all the way through Wednesday, so we'll be closing my office early and I'll be heading straight to the grocery store to prepare to be snowed in. 

Spending the New Year all cozy at home with my little family watching movies, as our neighborhood is blanketed in snow, sounds like a dream NYE to me! So, as I close out 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms, I thought I would share our 9 most popular pictures posted on social media, along with a list of our 9 most popular blog posts shared over this past year. As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to check-in and visit this space. We truly appreciate all of you for following along as our 2 mom family raises 2 beautiful babies in the Southwest. This is a community that we need and do not take for granted. We just hope you all know that!

#4: 364 views | A Letter to My Wife

#5: 281 views | Keto // The Game Changer

#9: 169 views | 12 Months of William

:: Our Instagram 2018 Best Nine ::

Wishing you all a very happy New Year's Eve and a wonderful 2019!  
See you next year. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

51/52: 10th Annual "Girls Christmas"

I'm not sure how it's possible, but me and the homies just celebrated our 10th Annual "Girls Christmas". Girls Christmas, is a tradition we started way back in 2008, when we all used to work together and it's one of the things I look forward to most every year. A group of us, which has gone from 7 to 5 (some have moved away) get together every year to do a Secret Santa gift exchange + favorite Christmas foods potluck + consume massive amounts of alcohol, ha! Over the years we've grown a bit older, some have sent kids off to collage; we no longer all work together and so many other things have changed, but our friendship remains the same. I'm just so thankful for each and every one of these humans!

Crazy to think that I only have one more of these to go before wrapping up another 
year of Project 52! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Family Photos & All the Feels

December is always a month of so much reflection for me. If the year's been difficult, I spend the month going over all we've experienced with hopes that things improve and when it's been a good year, I'm left feeling very thankful (and slightly nervous for the upcoming year... hello anxiety). For me, 2018 was a mixed bag of both blessings and some struggles. There were challenges with G's sudden career change and that was tough. If I'm being completely honest though, other than the job stuff, this past year has been one of the good ones! 

I've been super excited to share our 2018 family holiday photos, but wanted to wait until Christmas cards went out and were received - so here we go! Below are a few favorite snaps of my beautiful family this holiday season, accompanied by some of the things that I'm most thankful for, as this year comes to a close. My apologies for what I'm sure will be a bit of a sappy post. Y'all know I've never shied away from sharing the hard stuff and I hope to always have the courage to do that. With that being said, it's also important that all of us make time to celebrate the good and give thanks where thanks is due.

The older I get, the more that good health seems to climb my list of what's most important to me. We've experienced our share of struggles with health in years past; whether it be infertility, Gracie's cleft lip and surgeries, pregnancy loss, or family members and animals getting cancer. Thankfully, things on the health front have been good in 2018, in so many ways! My sweet babies made it through several strong strains of the flu in our community, without getting sick. In fact, neither experienced any serious bugs or sickness of any kind this year. Our sweet boy outgrew his egg allergy, which made us so happy and his eczema seems to get better and better, the older his gets. Then there's the HUGE changes that G and I made to improve our health, beginning this past June. As I type this, we are on day 203 in our quest to become fit moms. We began our journey unsure of where it would take us and yet we've stayed committed (for over 7 months) to eating better and staying active, working out 4-5 times/week, every week! This is a first for us, in the 12+ years that we've been together and I'm just so proud that we've made it this far and are still going strong! 

I'm grateful for how much our babies have grown, learned and developed; individually and as sister and brother. They have this amazing bond and get along incredibly well, 90% of the time. I attribute this mostly to their 5 year age gap, but also credit us mamas for showing them what it means to love and support each other. Gracie's parent/teacher conferences at school continue to outline what a shining star she is among her peers, testing a grade above her level in several areas since kindergarten. Academics are so important to us, which is why we started Gracie in pre-k at 2.5 years old and plan to do the same with Will (dude's been on the co-ops waiting list since he was born, haha)! Even more than this though, it makes us most proud to hear that we have some very kind kiddos. Kindness needs to come first and that's what we try and teach, everyday. Some days we drop the ball, as all parents do, but the lessons and message is always clear. Be nice. Help others. Show respect. Love yourself and love your family. 

The relationship that Georgia and I share is also something that I am very thankful for, even when I occasionally want to strangle her. ;) For all different types of reasons, we've had 4 friend couples that we know, separate or file for divorce, this past year. I was shocked when I learned of the first and then I began to get worried about what the hell was going on in the world, when I found out about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th... to call it quits. It scary stuff to see a marriage end. It's heartbreaking to see friends go through it and you almost can't help but let it get under your skin. The wife and I spoke a lot on this topic this year and at the end of the day, it was a great motivator for us to check-in with each other more often and connect more than we had been. Marriage is hard work, you guys. Some years it's butterflies and date nights and amazing sex and some years it can feel lonely and frustrating. The thing is, we all have one choice to make when it comes to this kind of commitment and that choice is: are you going to show up for each other and keep showing up, everyday? It takes honesty and putting one another first. It takes making time to have fun together and intentionally working to be more than just exhausted co-parents, passing like ships in the night. Let me tell you, it's damn near impossible to do this when you have a new baby at home, but I'm here to say that it's worth the work and as long as you both want to make it better and make that effort - you can get back to where you want to be.

And while my wife will likely never read this, I want to tell her thank you. Thank you for being an honest and true person, always. Thank you for loving me, even when I haven't felt lovable. Thank you for making me laugh and thank you for the love and commitment you show me and our babies. 

This life, with these three. I'm a lucky Mama and I recognize this, with all my heart.
Merry everything, friends.

Visiting Santa + No Tears!

Yes, you read that right! Our big 20-month-old handled his visit with Santa like a champ! I was pleasantly surprised by this, considering all the tears our sweet boy shed last year. I was also surprised by the fact that we even made it to see Santa this year.

We've visited the same Santa since Gracie's 3rd Christmas, so for the past 4 years. There's a local photographer who specializes in mini photo sessions for things like Christmas, Easter and Halloween and we've always loved her Santa session setup and the fact that it's allowed us the opportunity to skip those horrible lines at the mall + we've been able to jump in on a few Santa photos with the kiddos. This year, we noticed that once again the mini sessions went up in price and the sessions went from 20 minutes to 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes - which is just a bit ridiculous, if you ask me. I booked anyway, because I wanted to keep the same Santa (he's a really good one) but didn't realize when I booked that I picked a date that we would be in AZ for Thanksgiving. Thankfully our photog was super understanding and allowed us to reschedule, so that worked out. 

Another thing that totally worked in our favor was that the matching Christmas outfits we received last year, still fit! My sis was so sweet and gifted us a set of matching family jammies that she sent all the way from Vancouver BC, last Christmas. I was super bummed when they arrived just days after Christmas but thought I would hold onto them, just in case they still fit the following year - and they did! The kid's jammies said "lil' Deer" and ours said "Lady Deer" and they're adorable!

Gracie was such a ham and smiled from ear to ear for every single picture, just like she has since meeting Santa for the first time at just 9 months old! Will wore the puppy slippers that G bought for her future child years and years ago, when Will was just a twinkle in her eye. :) Our photog is amazing and super LGBT friendly, so she insisted that we take the smooching mom pic, a photo pose that I adore. 

Here's a few more pictures from our evening visiting Santa and a few from decorating our lovely tree, earlier in the day. 

Only ONE week until Christmas! Yay!

Monday, December 17, 2018

50/52: Our 2018 Christmas Card

My quest to become more of a minimalist and overall less-stressed Mama, continues! This year my goal was to simplify the holiday family pictures and Christmas card combo. I booked a mini holiday photo session for the fam, rather than a 1 hour, $500+ session like I've done in years past... but more on that in a separate post. I also designed and ordered our Christmas cards through Costco Photo Center, saving myself the pain of shopping through 100+ card designs on Etsy and Shutterfly, while also saving even more mula! 

I will say that I'm proud of myself for taking an easier route at so many different points, over this past year. What this effort has shown me is that we don't always need to go with the fanciest thing available and we don't always need to select the more expensive option, as moms trying to do our best for our kiddos. Often times, easiest is best! 

Just look at these beautiful babes! I ordered our cards in about 30 minutes and paid 1/3 the cost, while the wifey made our return address labels, DIY style! The best part is that I love the way they turned out and none of it stressed me out (even when Will decided he didn't want to wear his sweater and we were running late, lol). 

Cheers to an even more simplified 2019!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

All Things Halloween | 2018

Holy Halloween Batman! October was quite possibly the busiest month we had all year. We had events every week, the entire month and most weeks there were multiple things on the family schedule. I'm thinking this is why I really didn't have the time to write about any of it, lol! Thankfully, I adore Halloween and so does my tribe, so it was welcomed and super fun chaos for us. This year our little cuties coordinated their costumes and dressed up as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger! The costume theme was Gracie's idea, which was the result of a mama + daughter trip we took to Target (our fav place on earth) where she spotted a Hermione costume and just had to have it. I explained that with it being so close to Halloween, I would only get it if she wanted to be Hermione for Halloween, to which she replied - YES please! I honestly feel like our gal's obsession with all things Harry Potter is born of the fact that her Mommy loves it but for whatever the reason is, it has her reading Harry Potter books, watching the movies constantly and what's not to love about that! HP is such a nice dude and he's smart, so it's a win/win! 

When the bean declared that she wanted to be her favorite wizard for Halloween, the idea immediately came to me that Will would have to be Harry and just the thought of that had me swooning! When we came home and shared the news with my Harry Potter obsessed wife, she just about died and I got planning. I really wanted to sew William's costumes until he's at least 5 years old, like I did with Gracie and so I jumped online and started looking for a HP cloak pattern. You would think that it would be easy to find a baby pattern for this, but let me tell you... it was not. It took about an hour of searching to find a custom baby pattern, but then I ran into delivery time issues as both patterns I found had a 6 week delivery and looked to be coming from Germany (which was sold on weird looking website that seemed a bit sketchy). Nani suggested we just buy a big kid size, cut it up + sew it back together and create a whole new costume using the bigger one - so that's exactly what we did! The entire project was finished in one afternoon and I'm so happy to report that for the first time in my 6 year sewing career, my mom didn't have to step in and help me! I turned a kids size 6 into a 2T and the result was just the cutest thing imaginable. Look!

The week of Halloween we had soooo much stuff going on. We had our annual pumpkin painting party and invited Gracie's BF and her mom, so that was all sorts of Pumpkin Patch fun for us! G found cute little outfits for the kiddos because she knows that I love sending them off to school and Gaga & Papa's all dressed up in festive gear the week of all holidays. Above is one of the matching shirts she picked out that had dinosaurs dressed in Halloween costumes, which were just the cutest! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE dressing these stinkers alike? I thought it would be hard to do this when we found out that we were having a boy, but I was way wrong about that. Little cuties! 

The totally adorbs trick-or-treating bags that I had custom made for the kiddos arrived that week of Halloween too (which gave me a mild heart attack) but were totally worth the wait! You can't really tell in the picture, but they're made of bright and shinny, durable material that is washable and super cute. Each has their names with Gracie's having a cute little pumpkin and Will's complete with his name on a black bat. We carved pumpkins a few nights before and by we, I mean Georgia and Grace carved pumpkins while Will drove cars across said pumpkins, while I baked Halloween goodies. It's a tradition for G and little G to carve together and I just love seeing what they create every year. My work had our annual Halloween party complete with costume contest, pumpkin carving contest and bake off, none of which I won... but it was still a good time! I dressed as Minnie Mouse this year and totally threw my costume together at the last minute and loved it. I had considered ordering a Harry Potter themed hat at first to go along with the kiddos' costumes. It was a replica of that hat they use to pick which house the wizards go to, but then I forced myself not to purchase it when I realized it was $87 dollars! Turns out, if you spend some time cleaning your 6-year-olds room, you will find all sorts of costume stuff in the mess and if you're lucky, you'll also come across a set of bedazzled Minnie Mouse ears with the perfect amount of bling and a pretty red bow. I painted my nose black and was ready to go! 

That week before the best holiday of the year we also had Gracie's Boo Bash! This is her second Halloween at her school and Georgia and I just can't get over all of the amazing things the PTA does to celebrate holidays, especially Halloween! Two of the Bean's besties from Pre-k go to elementary school with her, so we love that all us mama friends still get to get together and do fun school type stuff throughout the year. G's little bestie T and her mom and baby sis met us at this year's Boo Bash and we all basically chased the girls around the school as they played games, won prizes and ate way too much candy. This year Will was old enough to really enjoy the sights and sounds of the bash, but because there were so many people and stairs everywhere, we mostly wore him. I figured that it would be difficult to put him in the carrier with his cloak on, so I ordered a little Harry Potter outfit made of cotton that was super comfy like jammies. I swear, this guy was the hit of the night and had people coming up to us constantly to tell us how amazing he looked. People were really surprised that a one and a half year old would happily keep his Harry Potter glasses on and honestly, we were surprised too - but he did and he looked adorable! 

We had a pretty HUGE surprise for Gracie this year that she had no idea was going to happen! About 8 months ago her uncle A and G got together and decided to surprise me for my bday (which is 6 days before Halloween) with tickets to the off Broadway show, Wicked! I had the awesome fortune to see Wicked in NYC on Broadway 12 years ago and I have regularly talked about it since. When G and A began seeing advertisements for the show, they thought this would be the most awesome way to kick off my bday week and they were right! Because of where G and A work, we had preferred seating right next to the orchestra and could see everything! This was the Bean's first show experience and she was in total awe! She sat, completely engrossed in the experience from the time the curtain lifted to when everyone took the last bow and told us it was the best night of her life, haha! 

It was just the most amazing surprise and a perfect way to begin my birthday week / the week of Halloween! Now that we know Gracie is old enough to sit through a show that lasts several hours, we'll definitely be going to more!

Because my birthday falls just a few days before Halloween, the week of is always cray cray and shared by lots of other Halloween type happenings, as mentioned above. I'm so thankful though that even though I share the week with lots of other stuff, my wife knows me well and knows how much I enjoy doing it up for my bday and so she goes all out! This year, in addition to my Broadway show experience that kicked off the week, my sweet humans woke me up with the most amazing witch bunt cake that tasted like heaven! Totally worth every carb! That morning of my birthday day, Gracie woke up extra early to get her brother dressed for the first time ever and put on his shoes, as a "gift to me". She even put together a little plate of goodies to "feed him breakfast" so I could get ready and not rush. It was seriously the cutest thing EVER and made me cry happy tears, just a bit.

Gracie then sang to me, the entire drive to school and gave me a big kiss before telling me to have the best birthday ever. My girlfriends took me to lunch at my favorite place and G and the kiddos took me out to the new neighborhood brewery for dinner and a tasty beverage. I had the next day off, so G and I stayed up watching movies + wine sipping and had just the best night. It was a great birthday, for sure. :)

And this brings us to Halloween! Our day started with getting Gracie in costume and doing her "Hermione hair", which was basically taking out braids from the night before and fluffing out her hair to look like her favorite wizard's do. The Bean had all sorts of fun stuff planned for the day at school and was just so excited to get out the door. After school, my awesome MIL brought the kiddos over to my work to do some trick-or-treating at my office, where they were spoiled beyond belief! We were expecting around 30 kids at the office, but only ended up having around 15 little visitors (because it was freezing out) so my co-workers literally dumped their bowls of candy into Gracie and Will's trick-or-treating bags... I ended up retrieving most at home and bringing it back to the office breakroom, but they were beyond excited to be spoiled so much!

My mom hosted a big Halloween party at her and Grandpa K's house and had everyone over to watch our fav Halloween specials, have Frito Pie and then go trick-or-treating! Will and Gracie looked sooooo stinkin' in their costumes that I could just die and they had way too much fun. Our night ended with 2 exhausted little ones that were more than ready for bed. William stayed up way beyond his bedtime and was out the moment we buckled him in his car seat. 

I honestly can't believe that another Halloween has come and gone or that Gracie just celebrated her 6th Halloween! Where does the time go?! I already have an idea of what these two will be next year, however Gracie will ultimately be the one to decide, so hopefully I can persuade her, haha!

I'll leave ya'll with this - my favorite picture of our boy from Halloween. I had planned to have a mini photo shoot at the park across from Gaga and Papa's house of our boy in costume, like I did last year but it was FREEZING and Will was not having it. Instead, I got one picture of this pouty little wizard clutching his wand and owl and I just love it. He's getting so big, but is also still such a tiny baby and seeing him with that little lightening bolt on his forehead and his cloak was such a heart melter! 

I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween too! :)

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