Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Our year in pictures

Happy New Year to our friends, family and all of the amazing people I have met over these past 4 years blogging here at More Than Words.  You all inspire me to be a better wife and mama everyday, and for that I feel so very blessed. 

Thank you for following the story of our life.

December iPhone Dump

Monday, December 30, 2013

A different kind of Christmas

This year, Christmas was unlike any we’ve experienced before.  My beloved Great Grandmother who hosts Christmas Eve every year, decided last year that at 95 years old, 2012 would be her last year hosting our very large family.  Because of this, we found ourselves with a lot more free time on the eve of Christmas then we normally have.  This turned out to be a very good thing because our little gal came down with a pretty bad 48-hour flu bug, which kept us at home for the evening. :(  G’s parents were a great help and had no problem changing their evening plans from having us over at their house, to relaxing at ours so that the bean wouldn’t have to go out in the cold.

The evening started out pretty rough because Gracie’s bug was getting worse and she began developing a bit of a fever, which worried her mamas.  She spent the majority of the afternoon and evening lying half asleep on the couch hardly making a peep.  She got sick a few times early in the day so as I left to pick my sister up from the airport, G loaded the babe up on Pedialyte, giving her as much as she would drink.  By the time I got home she was willing to eat a little bit of chicken noodle soup and that, followed by a 2 hour nap, made things much better.

This is really when our Christmas began because Grace finally had an appetite again and was ready to open presents!  Thank goodness. :)

The Bean’s uncle Dean and uncle Chris found a way to spoil her even though they weren’t here with us this year.  They sent her box after box of play food, dolls, dress-up accessories and a Princess Sophia crown and necklace.  As you can tell from the pictures, she LOVED the Sophia gear.  It’s a good thing she loves Sophia because Gaga and Papa gave her a big chest full of princess dresses and accessories that I’m sure she’ll be playing with for years to come!

Our Christmas Eve definitely didn’t start the way we thought it would, but we were just so thankful that our gal rallied and enjoyed the end of the night, if nothing else.

After G’s parents went home and we put Grace to bed for the night, we got to do the thing we look forward to all year – prepare for Santa’s arrival!  Gracie’s Santa gifts were already assembled (we learned our lesson last year) and were covered with sheets in the spare room, so all we had to do was set everything up while we prepped our breakfast dish for the morning.

Aren’t the Santa gift tags the cutest?!  
I swear my wife is craftier than she gives herself credit for.

The morning started with a trigger shot in my ass… so that was fun... ;)  In all honesty, I was pretty damn happy to be getting a shot in my rear-end.  This meant that our TTC #2 journey was officially underway and IUI #1 was set for the NEXT day!  I was so excited that it hardly hurt (thanks babe).  We woke the bean and were greeted by my mom and sis who came over to watch Grace open her presents.

Baby’s first heels, haha. ;)

On Christmas morning we had the traditional Christmas breakfast at my mom’s house followed by more presents.  We gave our niece, Mia a matching highchair and Sophia Doll similar to Gracie’s and I think she really liked it.  The girls wore matching pink polkadot PJ’s with reindeer, which looked just as cute as ever.

Gracie got her very own Elf on the Shelf for next year, courtesy of her auntie Missy, so we’re all super excited for that.  I’m already thinking of all the fun things we’re going to do with that elf!  Gracie is going to love it! 

The rest of the day went by in a flash.  We visited my brother’s family but didn’t stay long because Grace was newly on the mend and wasn’t feeling it.  We weren’t feeling too hot either so we decided to call it a night earlier than usual.  While our Christmas Eve started a bit bumpy and Christmas day was cut short, it was still a wonderful Christmas full of lots of great memories.  As I look back on this past year and all that we had on our plate, I feel blessed for everything we have despite some of the challenges we faced.  All in all, it was a happy Christmas and a good year. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Catch-up

Here we are, the day after Christmas and much like last year, I find myself writing a Christmas catch-up post because the month has flown by and hasn’t left much time for blogging.  It has been a busy holiday season for us this year, that’s for sure, but it’s also been lots of fun and very low stress.  Our house that was spotless two days ago is now covered in toys and empty boxes and while I know I should be cleaning, I’m holding onto every last bit of Christmas cheer I can and choosing to sit under the light of our Christmas tree watching movies instead.   

Grace woke up with a little flu bug the morning of Christmas Eve so we spent a good part of the day cleaning baby barf and cuddling our feverish gal.  The good news is she no longer has a fever and seems to be in good spirits, so I’m thankful for that. My poor honey… There is nothing worse than watching your baby get sick knowing there is very little you can do about it. :(   

While our Christmas Eve started off a bit bumpy and we opted to stay home, things improved the next day and we made it out of the house.  Grace was spoiled beyond measure and seemed to have a fun day with family.  Santa definitely came to town and once I have a moment to pull some photos off our camera and my iphone, I’ll share my favorites.

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to these past couple of weeks. Prepare yourself for lots of pictures (I know, shocking)… 

*Operations Santa's Child*

We attended my mom’s annual Operation Santa’s Child philanthropy event, as we do every year.  It was held at the Elementary school I went to when I was a little girl so it was fun to see how much it’s changed over the years.  This year, we volunteered to get socks for all the children in the families that were adopted and joined the group in dropping off gifts and singing Christmas carols. 

*8th Annual Girls Christmas*

We got to enjoy a night out on the town with friends for our 8th Annual Girls Christmas party.  It was a much needed evening amongst grown-ups accompanied by lots of tasty wine and tapas.  G’s Secret Santa gave her the most adorable snowflake ornament with Gracie’s picture from our Christmas cards in the center.  Isn’t it cute? :)

*River of Lights*

This year G’s brother celebrated Christmas in Houston with his boyfriend so we didn’t have Gracie’s uncles here with us. :(  When the boys visited at the end of November/beginning of December, we wanted to do something Christmas themed so we headed over the Botanical Garden for the River of Lights.  We had our niece Mia with us and the girls seemed to have a really fun time.  It was cold but so beautiful.

*Santa Prep*

We snagged a smokin’ deal on Gracie’s main gift from Santa last month and she LOVED it!  This year Santa brought her a Fresh Market Kitchen along with a shopping cart and highchair for her babies.  It’s the coolest play kitchen I’ve ever seen because it’s half kitchen and half grocery store.  It is divided into 3 sections and even has a display case for pastries and cakes.  The bean has played with it 24/7 since Christmas morning. :)

*Tamale Making*

When Gracie’s uncles were visiting earlier in the month, we also made tamales together for the first time.  My sis makes tamales every year but I’ve never really helped so it was a fun experiment in cooking.

*Christmas Crafting*

The past month has been the craftiest Christmas I can remember having in a long time.  We’ve made dough ornaments and pine cone ornaments.  We made Peter Rabbit homemade Christmas cards (that ended up looking a bit frightening… probably shouldn’t have used red paint, lol).  Even the wife has hopped on the Christmas crafting train making me the most beautiful wine bottle lights.  She spent her evenings this past week working on the project and I think it turned out awesome!  Good work babe! 

I love that Grace totally gets Christmas this year.  When you ask her what Santa says, she responds, “ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas!” in the cutest voice.  Her auntie Missy is staying with us this week and as you can see in the post below, she was able to join us for my first ever insemination this morning.  I’m so happy that she was able to be a part of it.  Talk about a good luck charm. :)   

Happy holidays to all of you out in blogland.  I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season with your families!  Stay tuned for a second Christmas post and a TTC #2 update!  My two week wait has officially begun!!!!

52/52: Two Week Wait :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hi Santa!

Friday was quite the eventful afternoon for our kiddo.  Not only did she visit Santa but she got her ears pierced, as well!  Georgia and I had plans to pierce Grace’s ears after her second round of vaccinations when she was little, but we totally forgot about it.  Months later we planned to pierce her ears before her one year pictures, but didn’t get around to doing it.  Then the summer came and went and, well, you get the idea.  Fast-forward several more months and a, "we’re here at the mall so we might as well do it" situation presented itself and tada – pierced ears!

The Bean’s Gaga and Papa joined us on our visit to see Santa so they were able to come along for the ear piercing as well.  I was convinced that Grace would flip out when we handed her to Santa because I feel like all the Santa pictures I’ve seen this year have been crying pictures, but she surprised us all.  When we were next in line, we told her that she was going to sit on Santa’s lap and needed to tell him what she wanted for Christmas.  Her response, SOFIA!  I swear she loves that little princess and since she’s been a good kiddo this year, I’m pretty sure Santa is going to bring her one. ;)

To be totally honest, the freak out – crying hysterically, Santa pictures are my favorite!  This is the face the bean gave me when I asked her to smile, lol.

There were two ladies working the counter we visited to pierce Gracie’s ears so thankfully they were able to pierce both ears at the same time.  Here is a play-by-play of how things unfolded…

A little chapstick to get the party started!

And a little distraction candy…

Umm… mommy, what’s going on here?

Sweet Jesus!!!  What have you people done to me?!  

Nothing a little ice cream and candy can’t fix.

After some sugar and a dinner out, we left the mall with a happy girl in tow wearing two pretty pearl earrings. :)

How is it possible that our gal has already visited Santa for TWO Christmas’?

In Christmas crafting news... When I was 3, I made a little pinecone ornament in Bible School and even though it’s tattered and has barely any glitter left (29 years later), it’s always been one of my favorites.  I knew I wanted to make a matching one for the bean, so when we took her on her first camping trip last year, I collected a pinecone from the woods and I’ve been holding on to it since.  Tonight after Grace went to bed, I made her a pinecone ornament just like her mama’s.  I hope she loves her ornament in 30 years as much as I love mine. 

Christmas, oh how I love thee.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Crafting: DIY Dough Ornaments

In keeping with tradition, I decided to make another set of DIY Christmas ornaments this year.  Last year, I made a few for the bean out of cookie cutters with some of our first family photos as the backdrop.  I had only made one set for us, so when my sis came to visit over the holiday and wanted to take all of them home with her, I knew I would need to make more than a few the next time around.

I came across several dough ornament ideas on FB but liked this recipe the most because it looked to be the easiest!  There wasn’t a source listed on the picture I based my recipe off, so thank you to whoever shared this idea on the World Wide Web!  They baked perfectly and turned out super cute.

I knew that Grace was still too small to help me make the dough mix but in place of that she was given lots of flour, some dough and several cookie cutters to play with while mama worked and she seemed to have a blast with it!  Aside from the 3.5 hours cooking time, the entire project took about 2 hours from beginning to end.  The painting took the longest but that’s only because I painted one at a time over several days.  Here are the steps I followed …

What you’ll need: flour, water, salt, (white, red & black) paint, paint brushes, string or ribbon, clear acrylic sealer, a rolling pin and a cookie sheet.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

Step 2: In a large bowl mix 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup salt, ½ cup water and knead until dough forms.  This will make enough dough for 3-4 ornaments.

Step 3: using a cutting board and rolling pin, roll a ball of dough flat.  Make sure the rolled out dough is big enough to get an impression of your little ones hand in the middle.  When making your impression, push down on your kiddos hand and finger to get a good imprint!  I placed the rolled out dough on the cookie sheet before having Grace make her hand impression.

Step 4: once finished with your handprint, cut the print out with a butter knife and poke a small hole in the top.  This will be used to hang the ornament with string or ribbon.  Place cookie sheet in oven and cook @ 225 degrees for 3.5 hours.

Step 5: Allow time for your ornaments to cool before painting.  Once ornaments are painted, tie a piece of string through the hole and spray the front and back with the clear acrylic sealer.  The sealer dries pretty quickly and then you’re done!

Here is Gracie 2013 DIY dough hand ornament.  I think it turned out pretty stinkin’ cute if I do say so myself. :)

  Now, I leave you with this little video of our gal counting @ 21 months.  She LOVES to practice and has even made it to 20 a few times!  This voice makes me so very happy. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Prep: Toddler Edition

If you’ve had a toddler for some time now, or a little one just entering toddler-hood as ours is, this post is for you!  At 21 months, our gal is into ANYTHING she can get her sticky little fingers on.  She climbs every piece of furniture in sight.  She is constantly on her tiptoes trying to reach for things on table tops and shelves.  She looks through any and all bags left on the floor like she’s digging for gold and if we bring something NEW into the house – well you can pretty much magnify the above mentioned behaviors by 10. 

To date, Grace has pulled the giant coat rack in the entryway down on top of her… It’s now mounted to the wall.  She has snatched crayons off the kitchen counter like a ninja and “decorated” the front of the refrigerator and the tile in the kitchen (several times).  She once pulled the metal fireplace cover down off the fireplace barely missing her head and she’s even figured out how to get into the pantry while appearing to be just days away from opening the front door on her own.  Little does she know, her mamas are on to her shenanigans and keep that door locked, at all times!  Did I mention that all of this has taken place in the three rooms she plays in that are baby gated off from the rest of the house?  I can only imagine what other incidents I would need to add to this list if she had free reign of the entire house!
Having said that, please don’t get me wrong… I love, LOVE the Bean’s curious nature and her strong desire to learn all about the environment around her.  It can just get a little stressful for a mama who is already a naturally anxious person.  Because of our gal’s endless ability to get into everything, the thought of bringing a 12 foot Christmas tree, glass ornaments with tiny metal hooks, and porcelain decorations into her baby gated area, gave me a bit of anxiety… Can you blame me?

A few weeks ago, I began brainstorming ways to keep Christmas accident-free and my Christmas decorations intact (aka, not broken by tiny toddler hands).  Below are a few of the safety precautions we took this year with our very active toddler.  So far we’ve had our décor up for 6 days and other than Grace taking a few ornaments off the bottom of the tree, so far so good!  If you’re entering the holiday season and you too have a toddler, I hope you find these ideas helpful. :)

Toddler Prep #1: mounting the Christmas tree to the ceiling.

I can’t take credit for this idea because it’s something I came across online long before G was even pregnant.  We have a 12 foot “tall & slim” style Christmas tree so it tips easily.  This prep step seemed like a great way to keep a kiddo from accidently pulling the Christmas tree down on top of themselves, so I made a mental note of it.  Once we decided where the tree would go this year, Georgia installed a hook in the ceiling.  She spray painted the hook white and with a little fishing line secured the tree to the ceiling.  Grace hasn’t made any attempts to pull on the tree but it’s good to know that even if she does, it’s not going anywhere.

Toddler Prep #2: sorting out “baby safe” ornaments to be placed around the bottom of the tree.

I can honestly say that about 80% of the ornaments that decorate our tree every year have some sort of sentimental value for Georgia and I.  Whether it’s our engagement, wedding or Gracie’s first Christmas ornament, we love them all.  We even have a few that we made as kids that are now 30+ years old!  Here are a few of our absolute favorites!  I’m sure you can tell which are me and G’s from when we were little. :)

Because of this, I would be super sad if one were to break.  More importantly, we all know how easily ornaments shatter and how scary it would be if a kiddo got their hands on the broken glass or sharp hooks…  To prevent this from happening, I spent all of 5 minutes separating the “toddler-friendly” ornaments from the fragile ones and those are the only ornaments we put within baby girl’s reach on our Christmas tree.

Toddler Prep #3: replacing hooks on “baby safe” ornaments with twine or ribbon.
I don’t think this step requires a lot of explaining, lol.  Remove hook – replace with ribbon.  Done. ;)

Toddler Prep #4: relocating breakable décor to out of reach areas.

This step was a bit more difficult because I’ve decorated our home for Christmas for the past 6 years and with as much decorations as we put up, I’ve been pretty set on where things go.  I wanted to set my Tree Lot up on the ledge of the fireplace this year but with Grace running around, that just wasn’t possible so it went on our pub table.  Other fragile things like our hand painted manger stayed in the box this year.  When Grace is older and/or when we have a larger home, I’ll takes these types of decorations out again.

And that’s about it.  Sure, there’s other Christmas decorations that could cause issues if the Bean is left unsupervised, especially considering she can climb like a spider monkey… but as my mom has always said, “I never baby-proofed when you kids were little.  I just explained to you what was off limits and why”.  I’m thinking she’ll do just fine with everything else.  Happy decorating friends. :) 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thank you Little Monsters & Mommies!

I absolutely love the LGBT blogging community!

The wife of one of my fellow blogging mamas handmade this slouch beanie for Grace and sent a bundle of suckers along with the very special delivery. Grace had never had a sucker before so as you can imagine, she gobbled up two little Dum Dums in one sitting and loved every minute of it.  Big, huge THANK YOU to K&A over at Little Monsters and Mommies for taking the time to make such a beautiful gift for our gal.  As you can see, it came in handy on her trip to get a Christmas tree this afternoon. :)

{21 Months of Gracie}

Happy 21 months to our sunshine girl!  You, my little lovie, are going to be 2 YEARS OLD in just three months time!  Can you even believe that?  I feel like I say this every update but the past three months have been some of my favorites.  You’re talking up a storm and repeating everything you hear me and Mommy say.  You have your very own unique personality that shines through more and more everyday, and while you have become quite mischievous, you are a total love bug.  How did we get so lucky?

The biggest hoopla these past three months has centered on your crib behavior and your newly developed talent as an escape artist.  One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, Mama went to wake you up only to find that your bedroom door was LOCKED!  After suffering a mild heart attack and screaming for Mommy, we quickly figured out that you had climbed out of your crib and somehow locked the door.  Fast-forward 15 minutes + the removal of one very stubborn doorknob and you were once again safe in our arms.  Here’s a picture of hurricane Gracie that hit your room following the great escape… all while your moms were sleeping…

At first we thought that you used your crib buddies to climb up and make your escape so those stuffed animals were promptly removed.  This did the trick for a few days but you were out of your crib again by the end of the week… Our next idea was to transition you to a toddler bed but it turns out that the wooden guardrail needed takes 10 weeks to come in!  We were running out of ideas when your mama visited some mommy chat rooms and learned all about Sleep Sacks and guess what?  They work!  Since putting you to bed in your sleep sack, not only have you slept great – but you can’t climb out of your crib!  7 days and counting, yay!  We’re hoping this will buy your mamas enough time to order the parts we need to transition you to a big girl bed.

You also got your FIRST haircut this past month!  We wanted to wait for your Uncle Dean to visit so that he could be the first person to cut your hair.  Now, when you’re older, you’ll get to tell all your friends that you got your first haircut from someone who does the hair of A-list celebrities in Beverly Hills, CA (and also happens to be your Uncle)!  You are one lucky little gal. :)

Here are a few things about you at 21 months that I want to always remember!

These days you LOVE

To dance!  Your signature move is a combination of a skip and a gallop and it is adored by many.  At a wedding we went to last month, you had a whole group of your uncles doing their best impersonation of the “Gracie dance”.  They had us all laughing.  Here’s a little clip of some of your best dance moves.

Pizza, pizza and more pizza!  This Italian dish has become your absolute favorite food.  You get pizza from our favorite local pizza place every couple of weeks, but if you had it your way, you would eat pizza every single day.  You also love all types of beans, Annie’s mac & cheese, Goldfish, really any kind of fruit and you’re a dipper.  You especially love dipping things in ranch dressing.

You love your family so very much but your Papa holds a very special place in your heart.  These past three months he’s been up north preparing his summer home for the winter months and boy have you missed him.  Above is a recent picture taken of the two of you dancing together.

Finding Nemo, Despicable Me and Monsters Inc. are your favorite movies and have been since you were first able to sit through an entire movie.  We try and limit your viewing but you love watching these movies so much that we let you probably more often than we should.  You can name all the main characters in each and hum along to most of the songs.

You’ve become quite the singer and hum the tune to most songs.  You even know the words to a few.  Your favorite song to sing is Happy Birthday.  You also love singing the ABC’s, row-row-row your boat and the itsy bitsy spider. 

You have a ton of stuffed buddies, but these 10 are your favorites.  Some are your sleeping buddies who live in your crib, while the others take up permanent residency in the living room and mommy and mama’s room.  You can be very particular about when and where you need your buddies, especially the ones you sleep with.

At 21 months, you CAN

Say more words than we can even keep track of.  Your vocabulary is unbelievable.  You basically repeat everything you hear us say (even a bad word once, which you thankfully forgot about)!  You regularly say 3-4 word sentences now and you are so polite when you speak.  You always say “peas” (please), “than-you” (thank you), “bless-ou” (bless you) and “welcome”.  It makes your mamas so happy to see what a kind little girl you’ve grown to be!  Right now we’re working on – no, thank you.

Playing catch, or just throwing stuff in general is one of your favorite things to do and you’re so good at it.  Mommy is convinced that you’re going to be an amazing athlete because you have a very controlled throw and great aim for a kiddo your age!

Aside from breaking out of your crib a few times, you are an A-mazing sleeper!  You go down for your naps without giving us any grief and sleep around 2 hours, once a day.  You’ve only had one tough night that I can recall in the past couple of months right around daylight savings time.  Other than that, you sleep 12-13 hours solid every night. 

Here are a few of the things you say that your mamas are lovin’ the most right now:

“Oh, man”
“Holy moly”
“Oh my gosh”
“Mommy, mere” – translation: mommy, come here.
 “Toots” - said anytime you (or anyone else) passes gas. LOL!
“HA-WOOOW” – said in the loudest voice when pretending to talk on the phone.
“Night love you miss you too” – said in one run-on sentence every night when you go to bed.

You amaze mommy and me every day with how incredibly smart you are.  You have a great memory, so much so that we have to be careful of what we promise you because you do NOT forget.  Whether it’s a promise of something we’re going to do after naptime or the following day, you remember. 

A few weeks ago you and I were driving home from Gaga and Papa’s practicing your counting together as we usually do, when you gave me the biggest surprise!  We counted to 10 together only when we got to 10 you kept counting… all the way to 18!!!  I just about died of shock.  You skipped 7 and 15 but still – amazing!

And then there’s the “other” stuff

These days you can (very quickly) go from this…

To this…

You’ve become a little pincher!  If you’re frustrated… or being picked up when you don’t want to be… or being taken out of stuff you’re not supposed to be in… or just really excited – the pinchers come out!  Even though your hands are tiny, those pinchers hurt so we’re working on breaking that habit.

“No, no, no!” and “go away” are things we hear every once and a while because you have been and continue to be, little miss independent.  You know what you want and make sure we know if something is not making you happy.  Thankfully, you seem to have dropped the “go away”.

You’re really not much of a tantrum thrower but you do enjoy testing the limits.  You understand what stuff is off limits and will often do it anyway while looking right at us with a mischievous grin.  This is really the only behavior that lands you in timeout.  You visit “the slammer” about once every two weeks but since you learned how to crawl out of your play yard in November, we don’t currently have a time out area.  

P.S. This is not your timeout spot... you climbed into this dog crate all on your own!  Such a silly girl. ;)   

Happy almost birthday!  I can’t believe you’re going to be 2 years old soon!  We’re already throwing around ideas for your birthday party.  

You LOVE Minnie Mouse, so a Minnie Mouse theme it is!

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