Monday, December 31, 2012

How does a doggie go?

Grace: “Woof, woof!”
Baby girl started making her doggie sounds this past week while our family was visiting.  My sister loved it and asked her to “woof, woof” about a hundred times, lol! 
Our smart little gal.  She amazes me every day!

*Happy New Year’s Eve*   

I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013!

December iPhone Dump

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gracie's First Christmas

I am sitting here under the glow of our Christmas tree, looking over pictures of Gracie’s first Christmas and I am feeling, in a word, blessed.  Blessed to have the family that we have.  Blessed to have celebrated a truly magical Christmas and blessed to be the mama to one very silly and sweet little girl.  I feel as though the holiday season took forever to get here and yet it has come and gone in a flash. Time flies when you’re having fun.  Well, it was mostly fun… 

Our Christmas got off to a bit of a rough start.  On Saturday, I came down with the worst cold and proceeded to lose my voice and cough until my throat felt like it was going to fall out for 4 straight days!  I got sick the night before our family began arriving, which made for a rough time doing final housework.  Thankfully my wife is a trooper and picked up my slack.   

We always begin our Christmas Eve at my great grandparents home and this year our visit was extra special.  My grandma is 95 years old and my grandpa is 93.  Because of their age they both decided that this would be the last year they would host Christmas Eve and it was Gracie’s first holiday there.  This made our evening very bittersweet.  Grace fell asleep during the 45-minute drive over and woke up grumpier than ever.  Her grumpiness carried into the evening and she was not at all happy about it (and neither were her mamas).  She refused to smile for most pictures, fussed a whole lot and didn’t want to be held.  Thankfully, she was over it by the time we arrived at Georgia’s parent’s house later in the evening.

To say that Grace was spoiled by her grandparents would be an understatement.  She loved her presents but especially LOVED the wrapping paper.  Now, because I’m a photo junkie and I took something like 200 pictures, it’s just easier to tell the story of Gracie’s first Christmas using photos.  So, without further ado, may I present our 2012 Holiday photomontage!
G’s family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, which meant that baby girl had two days of wrapping paper fun.  One of the gifts that brought even Georgia to tears came from Gracie’s uncles.  They gave her the Hallmark recordable storybook, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Dean and Chris took turns narrating the story so that Gracie can hear their voices anytime she wants even though they live so far away, tear.  Baby girl got a ton of fun toys but I think the gigantic Hello Kitty she got from grandma and grandpa may have been her favorite. 

On Christmas morning, Grace gave her moms the gift of sleeping in until almost 9am.  It was marvelous!  Me and G decided a few weeks ago that we would keep our gifts to Grace minimal knowing full well that she would get more than enough stuff from family and friends.  Growing up, my siblings and I always received one big gift from Santa that was not wrapped and this is a tradition we wanted to continue with Grace.  About a month ago, G came across a coupon discounting a convertible wagon so that ended up being her gift from Santa.  She also got some puzzles, books and blocks from us.

After opening our gifts we headed over to my mom’s house in our pajamas for her annual Christmas morning brunch.  On Christmas Eve, we gave our niece Mia pajamas that matched the ones Grace wore and the two of them looked adorable together!  My brother and sister-in-law gave baby girl the most heartfelt gift imaginable, which once again made me cry.  They named a star that was discovered on her birthday after her through the International Star Registry.  As a part of the gift, she received a plaque with the star’s new name, a map with the coordinates for finding the star and information on the star registry.  How cool is that?!

The rest of our day was spent eating, visiting, opening more presents and enjoying each other’s company.  Even with a cold, this was the best Christmas I’ve ever experienced and I imagine they will just keep getting better.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well and from my family to yours – Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pre-Christmas Catch-up

The fact that I’ve only posted twice in nearly 3 weeks is one indication of how busy things have been around here – I’m missing my blog friends!  We have been on the go non-stop and have had a full house for the past week (which we LOVE) but this leaves little time for blogging.  Georgia’s brother and his boyfriend Chris went back home to LA on Wednesday and my little sis goes back to Vancouver tomorrow, boo!  I’m hoping to post pictures of Gracie’s first Christmas this weekend once all the dust from the holiday settles. 

In the meantime, here are some of the holiday shenanigans that have kept us occupied the past couple of weeks.  Per the usual… get ready for a picture heavy post. ;)

::Operation Santa’s Child::

My mom hosted her 18th annual “Operation Santa’s Child” charity event and it was a huge success!  It’s really important to me and G that we instill a sense of philanthropy in Grace and this is one family tradition that will do just that!  Helping others in the community and giving back is, after all, what Christmas is all about.

This year our little family adopted a 4 year old boy named Mike. 

Several of our friends donated gifts to kiddos in the other families as well!  Thank you all so much for making Christmas possible for these kids and for participating in this event.

::Annual Girls Christmas Party::

Some of our closest friends also happen to be people we work with and this year we all got together to celebrate a tradition we start 7 years ago – the annual “Girls Christmas Party”.  Gracie had her 2nd sleepover which meant that both mamas got to partake in some yummy wine sampling.  It was so nice to let our hair down and catch up with friends. :) 

::Christmas Cooking::

Christmas cooking is a staple activity in our house as I’m sure it is in most of your homes during the holidays.  This year we had our cooking day on an afternoon when Gracie’s uncles and aunt were chillin at our house and it was so much fun.  My sister made her signature shrimp tamales and Dean and Chris helped with the gluten free baked goods and mimosas.  I heart mimosas!

::Road trip to Madrid, New Mexico::

Together with my mom, Missy and our nephews, we all took a little road trip up to Madrid, NM to see the Christmas lights and have dinner.  The Village of Madrid is super old, very quaint and just beautiful.  My favorite part of the day was the scenic drive up to the mountains and back.  A long drive, while catching up with family makes for some good laughs.

::Ugly Sweater Christmas Party::

My childhood BFF’s throw an Ugly Sweater party every year and for the past several years we've had to miss it due to other family activities.  This year we were free so we joined the group wearing the ugliest sweaters we could find and had a blast.  We laughed so hard I literally lost my voice the following day.  Good times. :) 

::Santa Claus Prep::

And lastly, the wife and I spent nearly 3 hours assembling Gracie’s “Deluxe Ride & Relax Wagon” from Santa.  The wagon took way longer to put together than we anticipated but was totally worth the time!  This thing converts from a standard wagon to a wagon with 2 bucket seats equip with seatbelts as well as a bench (that can seat adults), 4 cup holders, a cooler and umbrella!  We have since taken her for a stroll in it and I think this is going to be one gift she will enjoy for many years to come!

Well, that about wraps up our pre-Christmas catch-up.  What fun things do you do with friends and family during the holidays?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Crafting: DIY Christmas Card Display

When I think back to my early childhood years, I don’t really remember the vacations we took as a family or many of the other “big things” that took place like my first day of school.  And while I don’t remember the details of a lot of these events, I do remember all of the holiday traditions, d├ęcor and overall feel of the holiday season that filled my house growing up.  I think this is why it has been so important to Georgia and I that Grace have a truly magical first Christmas.  As we decorate the Christmas tree every year, my favorite ornaments to put up are my baby ornaments and the ones I made as a kiddo (thank you mom for letting me have these, by the way)!  They are worn, missing most of their glitter but still they are so special to me.  My hope is that Gracie and any other babies Georgia and I have in the years to come, share in this holiday spirit.

One decoration in particular that I can remember clear as day, is the card display my mom made when I was in elementary school.  It was red and green, made of felt and had candy canes hanging from it.  This is where my family hung the holiday pictures and Christmas cards we received from family and friends.  As a kid I remember sitting near the front door with my little sis in front of our card display while we took turns picking our favorite holiday card for the year.  I know that’s a totally random memory but I can still picture it like it was yesterday… funny the things we remember. :)

Along with the Cookie Cutter Ornaments I made last week, I chose a card display as my other Christmas craft.  This project cost less than 10 bucks and took all of 45 minutes to make.  Our Christmas card displays are now hanging on each side of the front door and are quickly filling with beautiful pictures and cards from our loved ones.  It will be funny to see how many days they last before Gracie crawls over and tears them down, hehe!

Here is what you’ll need: 2 large pre-made Christmas bows, 20 feet of Christmas ribbon, nickel alligator hair clips, 2 colors of thin Christmas ribbon, scissors, a glue gun and glue sticks.

Step 1: Cut 2 strips of ribbon to your desired length.  Make 2 triangular cuts on the end of each ribbon giving them a finished pointed look.


Step 2: Remove the cardboard packaging from the back of your Christmas bows.  Twist the twine once to secure bows.  Take the unfinished end of each cut ribbon and attach to bow using remaining twine.  Apply glue from glue gun to secure the twisted twine that is attaching your ribbon to bow.


Step 3: To make the clips that you will use to hang Christmas cards from your display, simply tie 2 different colored cuts of ribbon into a bow.  Once bows are made, glue each bow to the top of your hair clips.


Step 4: Wait 10 minutes before using clips to hang your Christmas cards. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Crafting: DIY Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Every Christmas I try to do some sort of fun baking or crafting project and I’ve even been known to trap G into helping me a time or two.  Last year, we began the holiday season by making jars of Christmas Cookie Mix for our families and they LOVED them!  The only downside to that project was the cost of the jars but from the feedback we received, the recipe was yummy and it seemed to be totally worth the money.  This year, I wanted to do something a little more on the crafting side and I really wanted to make it a project that would commemorate Gracie’s first Christmas as a part of our family.

As I posted a few weeks ago, we recently took family pictures for the first time as a family of three and there were so many adorable pictures captured of the babe that I knew this needed to be a part of my project!  This is when it dawned on me – I would make Christmas ornaments elementary school style.  Years ago, I made something very similar in the 3rd grade (I think) and it was easy peasy.  Below are the instructions and supplies needed to make your very own cookie cutter ornaments.  I ended up making 7 in a little over an hour for very little cost.  If you try this Christmas DIY project, be sure to leave a link in the comments so I can see how yours turned out!  Happy Christmas crafting. :)

What you’ll need:

Aluminum cookie cutters ~ Elmer’s tacky glue ~ Glue stick ~ Scissors ~ Cardstock paper ~ Wallet sized prints of the pictures you plan to use ~ Colored elastic string or thin ribbon ~ a sewing needle ~ Colored beads (optional)

What to do:

Use selected cookie cutters to choose which picture fits best in each cutter.

Trace each picture using the cookie cutter you have paired with the photo; cut out.  *If your picture doesn’t fit exactly in the cutters shape, glue the picture to a piece of cardstock paper using a glue stick, trace the picture on cardstock; cut out.

Dab Elmer’s tacky glue along the cookie cutter’s thicker edge.  Press your photo in place on the cutter and set aside to dry.  Check ornament after a few minutes to see if you need to press down on your photo again to ensure it is adhering to the cookie cutter.

Once glue has dried, use your needle to poke a small hole in the top of your cookie cutter’s paper/photo backing.  Thread your ribbon or elastic string through the hole and wrap ribbon around the top of the cutter tying in a knot.  To add a little color, thread assorted beads onto the tied string on top of your ornament and tie a second knot to secure beading before tying your final knot for hanging.   

And that’s it!  You now have adorable Christmas ornaments commemorating a special moment in your life.  

What fun Christmas crafting projects do you have planned for the holiday?  Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament or decoration your look forward to unpacking every year?  I would love to hear all about it!  Merry Christmas. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

9 Months of Gracie

You’ll never believe what I did this month.  I let my precious little baby crawl right off the bed in the middle of the night.  I was devastated and it was quite traumatic.  She cried… I cried… Georgia freaked out.  It was horrible but thankfully she was ok.  You’re probably asking yourself, “How in the hell did you let your baby crawl off the bed”?!  Allow me to explain.  On the occasional nights that Grace wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, the routine is for Georgia to put her in bed with me before warming her bottle and then I feed her.  Well, on this particular morning, G jumped out of bed to warm the bottle and I didn’t realize there wasn’t a pillow on the other side of Gracie.  I then fell asleep while her bottle was warming (which I don’t usually do).  One minute she was lying by my side falling back asleep and the next I was woken by a loud thump followed by crying.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life!  I literally started making this screaming/animal type noise when I realized she was on the floor, which of course freaked her out even more and sent G sprinting into our room. 

Thankfully, Grace somehow managed to land on all fours and didn’t smack her head on the wood flooring.  We still called Dr. C and spent the next several hours following the make sure your kid doesn’t have a concussion protocol.  Baby girl was absolutely fine but that didn’t keep me from crying several times the following day.  The mental picture of Gracie on the floor that kept playing over and over in my head, PLUS the guilt I felt was a bit too much for me.  I definitely lost some mama points on that night and I still feel guilt about that, but we have all since recovered.

In other 9-month Gracie news… This is going to totally sound like an excuse BUT we’ve had to delay moving Grace to her room due to the holidays, pause for judgment ;).  In less than 2 weeks, we are going to have Grace’s two uncles and her auntie as houseguests.  This year it’s Chris and Dean’s turn to have the guestroom, which means that my sister will be crashing in the nursery on some sectionals from the living room couch.  My sis typically stays up all hours of the night on her Mac working and has a little Yorkie who isn’t that loud but does bark occasionally.  Anyone with a baby would agree that this sleeping arrangement = baby waking up all.night.long.  So in other words… baby’s move to the nursery is not happening this month.  

Here is a bit more of what our Gracie girl was up to in month NINE ~

* She can say “hi” and wave and has started to wave goodbye too.

* 2 teeth have surfaced and another top tooth looks like it’s going to break through very soon.  These days, our girl is a drooling machine!

* She can pull herself up to a standing position and just figured out how to sit back down without freaking herself out.

* Her meal schedule is still 3 servings of solids a day.  She has a serving of fruit or veggies for her first 2 meals and cereal mixed with fruit and cinnamon for dinner.

* She is doing great with the pincher grasp.  She can pick up her crunchies, yogurt bites and really any small snack without a problem. 

* The babe is on the move.  She can transition from the coffee table to the couch and can slowly scale along one side of the coffee table to the other while standing.

* Some new foods she tried this month include: black olives, Greek yogurt, black beans, cauliflower, parsnip, cottage cheese, garlic, cabbage, onions, orange slices and Little Crunchies, which she LOVES!

* Still wearing 9-month sizes but can fit into a lot of her 12-month clothing.  Her onesie for this month’s shoot is a 12-month size.

* Based off her weigh-in at our last check-up 3 weeks ago, I would estimate that she weighs around 19lbs.

* Bedtime is still between 8-8:30pm but she rarely sleeps through the night these days.  She usually wakes up around 4pm, then just as quickly goes back to bed.  I’m not sure exactly when or why this change occurred but I’m ready for her to go back to the old STTN pattern!

* She is finally saying MAMA (as opposed to ma or mum) and says it often!  I’m pretty sure she’s already figured out that all she has to do is say the word and I’ll do whatever she wants. ;)

* This girl is working hard to master the art of standing.  Once she pulls herself to a standing position, she’ll get her feet planted and slowly let go of what she’s holding on to.  Her stance only lasts a few seconds but she sure does get a kick out of it!

Grace has now officially been a part of our everyday lives for as long as she was cookin in Georgia's belly.  Isn’t that just crazy?!  What did we ever do without her!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Meeting Santa…

Went off without a hitch!  No crying, no terror, can you even believe it?  I’ve got to say, I was very much surprised considering how things went down with the Easter Bunny earlier this year.  We had high hopes for that encounter because Grace was rested, post nap and super happy while we were in line.  Much to our surprise, the second we handed baby girl over, the floodgates opened and hysterics soon followed.  She was NOT a fan! ;)

When we decided to take Grace to meet St. Nick, we knew exactly which mall we wanted to visit thanks to our friend Sandi.  She shared a picture with us last week of her son with Santa and he looked like the real deal!  We were totally sold so on Friday when we got out of work we headed over around 3pm.  We figured this would be a slow time at the mall and early enough in the month that we would avoid the mob of shoppers making last minutes purchases.  We ended up being second in line and were in and out of there in minutes, yay!

If you ask me, it’s all about the hand off.

After meeting Santa we were on the hunt for the perfect Baby’s 1st Christmas ornament and ended up finding it at the Hallmark store.  It’s Precious Moments and it is adorable!  I bought Gracie’s first “it’s a girl” Precious Moment a few months ago and I already have her “1st Birthday” figurine so this was a nice little addition to her collection. 

It’s crazy how fun all these baby milestones are for me and G.  Seriously, who would have thought that buying an ornament could mean so much! Even Georgia’s turning into a sap like me, lol!

What are you looking forward to doing with your kiddos most this holiday season?
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