Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Merry & Bright, well mostly.

Talk about playing Christmas catch-up! Six posts in one week has got to be some kind of record! I’ve been off the grid for a couple of different reasons but I’m back and catching up on all of your lovely holiday blog posts. 

And here is ours. :)

Christmas, ohhhh Christmas… This year was tough on us so I feel I should be honest in saying that it was no easy week of holiday bliss. It definitely wasn’t a bad Christmas, just a tough one. Tuesday was my first day back at work and of my 7 days off, 5 of those days were spent taking care of a very sick baby girl and wife. My sister and I also butted heads quite a bit during her visit, as sisters often do so that didn’t help. For now, I’m just so glad that Gracie no longer has a fever. I’m thankful that I’ve finally caught up on all of our laundry and that I didn’t catch what everyone else had because if all 3 of us had fallen ill during the holidays, it would have been the saddest Christmas ever.

If you remember, last year Grace got sick on Christmas Eve. Thankfully it was a little 24-hour bug and she was back on her feet the next day. This year we weren’t so lucky. It started with G who began to feel sick two days before Christmas. She attacked it with Airborne and was able to manage with meds and rest. Then on Christmas Eve as G was beginning to feel better; Grace started to have a cough, which progressively got worse. By Christmas morning she threw up twice in the Jeep on the drive to my mom’s for brunch and had a few accidents at Nani’s because she had the runs, poor baby. By the day following Christmas, she was still throwing up but now had a fever and things just continued to go downhill from there. I honestly don’t think we’ve ever had so much laundry to do. We were just drowning in it and my poor little girl… She was so excited all month for Santa to come and she tried so hard to have fun even though she was sick. Unfortunately, when your fever is teetering around 101.5, you have a non-stop cough and runny nose and you keep getting sick, it makes for a pretty crappy time (both literally and figuratively speaking).

The one sunny side to all of this is that both G and I got all the snuggles that we’ve missed since our gal turned into an independent and very active toddler. She wanted to sit on our laps, sleep with us and be right by our side for days. And while I’m not happy that it took her getting sick to slow down and cuddle with her mamas, I still loved feeling like we had a little baby again.

Despite all the Christmas and post-Christmas sick days, thankfully, our gal was in great spirits on Christmas Eve.

As we do every year, we took a drive out to spend some time with my Great Grandparents before heading to G’s parent’s house. Georgia’s family does all of their gift opening and big celebrations on Christmas Eve, which means our gal gets spoiled for two days in a row every year. This year she had a HUGE surprise waiting for her from her uncles Chris and Dean. The boys bought Grace a Barbie Mansion and all the furniture and Barbies (even a Ken doll) to go with it!!! We started the evening exchanging gifts and waited until the very end to unveil her Barbie house. She didn’t seem to know what to do with herself when the blanket was lifted from her present. She looked at the house, then back at us with the biggest smile and then she promptly ran off to collect her Barbie’s and Barbie furniture to start playing. Thank you to the best Gaga, Papa and Guncles a girl could ask for! She LOVED her big gift! 

Later in the evening G and Gaga made a yummy posole dinner for us while I took my little sis to Wal-Mart to do her holiday shopping. Yes, you heard me right. My sister (who never manages to plan ahead for the holidays) had me at Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve, late at night with all the crazies. I was not at all happy about it but she’ll probably do it to me again next year, so it is what it is. Our night ended with G and I preparing for Santa’s arrival, which is my absolute favorite thing about being a parent at Christmas. We put Gracie’s Santa presents together and put out the "Frozen" cookies she made earlier in the day for Santa as well as a few carrots for his reindeer and milk. We both then headed off to bed because we knew our gal would have us up early the next morning.
Santa brought the Bean the Princesses she asked for as well as an art easel, art supplies, some babies and a few other little things on her list! Our poor gal had a horrible cough while she opened her presents but her excitement overshadowed any sick feelings she was having. To see her tear into everything so excited made it all worth it! The preparation that goes into Christmas, the expense, the shopping trips and the booked calendar – to see her smile ear to ear is why we do it all. :)

Oh, and the Christmas morning bedhead! LOVE!

The Bean wasn’t the only person spoiled on Christmas! The wifey got me the new iPhone 6! It’s rose gold and takes amazing pictures and I love it. I’ve been staring at a cracked iPhone screen for 6 MONTHS waiting for Santa to bring my replacement, haha! I honestly don’t know how I waited that long. Thanks Baby cakes!

After we all finished opening our gifts it was off to Nani’s on what would soon become a very messy drive. 20 minutes and two emergency stops due to projectile vomit later and we arrived. It was the weirdest thing. Grace had a cough in the morning but seemed fine aside from that. Then she got sick twice on the drive over but once we arrived and she was cleaned up, she seemed ok again. She made it through opening gifts with a huge smile and even ate some of her brunch. She was super pale but didn’t have a fever (yet) and she seemed fine. I’m just so glad that she enjoyed herself. Isn’t it amazing how Christmas can make any situation better?

Georgia and I got the girls matching jammies again, as we do every year and they both looked so big in the pictures of them side-by-side. Grace was spoiled beyond belief from our family getting her first ever Cabbage Patch and Frozen everything including a dress that plays the theme song. Brunch was lovely and so was the rest of our day. We ended up going back home and staying in for the night because come 5pm Gracie had a fever and wasn’t doing well. G’s family came over and we all just relaxed and finished the day with some yummy gluten free cupcakes. It was a somewhat stressful Christmas but a great Christmas at the same time. I felt so blessed all day as I looked around at all the people who make up our family. We are so very lucky to have each other.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Another Christmas Catch-Up

Every year I have the best of intentions to post all about our holiday adventures. I make plans in my mind to create these perfectly worded entries about our holiday traditions and why they mean so much to us. I plan to share photos and stories of every small detail regarding our holiday season and then guess what happens? Life happens. Some years I have all the time in the world to share and some years, like this year, I don’t.

Right now Grace is screaming, (SCREAMING!!!) in the other room because we accidently woke her from her nap too soon while trying to take her jacket off. I’m recovering from my first day back at work following the Christmas break and G is attempting to intervene with our inconsolable toddler because everything I’ve tried didn’t work.

What better time to catch-up on some Christmas posts, right?

Here’s what has occupied our time these past couple of weeks. It’s been a crazy month for us here in New Mexico! Crazy but really fun. :)

As we do every year, we made a little family night out of decorating the Christmas tree. Last year we separated our ornaments putting the fragile/breakable ornaments aside for the top of the tree and filled a box full of ornaments that are “Gracie safe” for her to decorate with. We waited until she woke from her nap to get started and left the box of ornaments sitting under the tree just for her to decorate with. She was so excited! The controlling Scorpio in me wanted to dictate where she placed her childproof ornaments but I fought the urge. It’s a good thing I let her do what she wanted because those ornaments didn’t end up spending too much time on the tree anyway… Right now there are a few candy cane ornaments in our master bedroom, her Little Mermaid ornament needs to be repaired (she lost her mermaid tail in a traumatic toddler encounter) and I’m pretty sure we’re missing most of the remaining kid safe ornaments because the bottom of the tree is pretty bare, lol! I’ll worry about finding those this weekend when we pack everything up. Whatever I don’t find this weekend I’m sure I’ll come across over the summer. Ha!

A few favorites from our day of decorating. :)

G and I enjoyed a much needed date night earlier this month in Old Town, NM and it was glorious! My sis-in-law watched our kiddo for us while we did some Christmas shopping and strolled around one of the oldest parts of the city taking in the sights and sounds of Christmas. You forget how nice it is to be san-toddler when you’re so used to having your little one attached at the hip. There’s something to be said about just taking some time to stroll around, arm in arm.

For years we got together as a family to make and exchange cookies and then around 2011 we stopped because of busy conflicting schedules. We started the tradition back up again this year because the little ones were finally big enough to help! G and I hosted at our casa and the kids helped out (for about 30 minutes of the 3 hours that we baked). I mean, who wants to decorate cookies when all your friends are over and you have a playhouse in the backyard?!

I didn’t mind the little ones running off because it gave us mamas’ time to catch-up with each other and plan our holiday family stuff. We ended up making sugar cookies, peanut brittle, oatmeal cookies, fudge, double chocolate cookies and peppermint patties. Everything was YUM!

Well, almost everything. What’s a cookie baking party without a sacrificial burned batch. ;)

I signed-up to be the parent volunteer for Gracie’s holiday party at school and it was such a fun day. The kiddos had holiday themed reading circle and music hour and had an entire lesson on the history of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. They also made adorable mini-luminarias and ornaments while enjoying the Santa strawberries Grace brought to share with her friends! I loved that the Bean’s school celebrated several holiday events and not just Christmas. It really showed me that there’s a reason the Co-op’s Mission Statement includes the word diversity. :)  

Georgia picked out the perfect teacher gifts for Grace’s two main teachers and we gave all of Gracie’s school buds candy canes with Christmas cards. I told G as we were preparing everything the night before the holiday party, “can you believe we’re wrapping up our daughter’s gifts for her TEACHERS?” It made us feel like she was such a big girl!

As some of you know, the wifey and I work together. That’s actually how we met. This year our company surprised the staff by hosting a holiday office party at Dave & Buster’s. We got to act like a bunch of kids for a few hours playing games and opening gifts. It was good times all around. :)

And to save the best for last... This Christmas marked 20 years since my super awesome Mom started Operation Santa’s Child! She started this holiday philanthropy at a time when my family was struggling and we didn't have much. Even then, as a teacher, she knew that there were families in our community that didn't have anything at all and needed support and love during the holidays. Together with family and friends, my ma has made Christmas possible for 1,342 children in New Mexico and has impacted countless lives. I'm so grateful that Grace has all of these wonderful people to show her what Christmas is really about!

Watching this little one deliver gifts was the best part of my Christmas. 

And that wraps it up! It was a fun filled month but I'm also exhausted and so glad it's January!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

52/52: Gracie's 3rd Christmas

December iPhone Dump

51/52: Haircut #2

The perks of having an uncle who is a stylist to the stars!

Elf on the Shelf!

Last year for Christmas, Gracie’s auntie Missy surprised her with her very own Elf on the Shelf! Because she didn’t receive her little elf until Christmas morning, this was the first Christmas we had with Santa’s little helper. Grace was in charge of naming her and without any suggestions from us; she named her little elf {Twinkle Toes}. Is that not the cutest name you’ve ever heard?

Her elf visited the North Pole every night in December and was in a new place in the house waiting for Gracie every morning. Some mornings, Twinkle Toes was really creative and got into lots of mischief, and some mornings she got back to the house late and was discovered just sitting there doing a whole lot of nothing, lol! Either way, Grace had a blast with Twinkle Toes and couldn’t wait to pop out of bed and find her elf every morning.

Below are a few of our favorite Elf on the Shelf pictures. If this is something you’re not already doing with your little ones, I would highly suggest it and not just because it’s super fun. It’s also a great way to encourage your kids to be on their best behavior at all times. As we often told Gracie throughout the month, “Twinkle Toes is always watching and she tells Santa if you’re nice or naughty!” It worked like a charm. :)

Twinkle Toes. She’s a total girly girl.

Someone got into Mama’s ribbon drawer last night…

Little miss loved hanging out in the tree lot!

Quite the little stinker.

“Twinkle Toes brought treats for the doggie, Mama!”

Someone’s been in Mommy’s pantry…

How did she know Little Mermaid is Gracie’s favorite?

Who knew elves liked to color?!

Waiting by the front door with a little gift for the Bean!

She’s got skills.

See you next year Twinkle Toes!

Friday, December 19, 2014

{Fun Food Friday} Christmas Edition!

Here's this week's snack for the Bean and her preschool buds! For those of you looking for an easy and inexpensive holiday snack, this is it! It only took about 30 minutes to make these and the kiddos LOVED them! Happy holidays. :)

50/52: Christmas Cards

Sunday, December 14, 2014

“Santa’s my buddy”

Yes, that’s right! According to our almost 3 year old, her and Santa are total buds! Today was a big Christmas and Santa themed day. We woke up to find Twinkle Toes (Gracie’s elf), wrote a letter to Santa, watched some holiday cartoons and then headed off to meet St. Nick!

This year we tried something completely new in the visiting Santa department. A local photographer (that I’m obsessed with) offered mini Christmas shoots for $40, which is what we normally pay for mall pictures with Santa, so we jumped at the opportunity. I’ve wanted to work with this photographer since G was pregnant but the price tag for her newborn photography packages were waaaay out of our price range. Then this little opportunity came up, so we snagged it!

Our mini-shoot included a scheduled 15 minute session, so no waiting in lines. We arrived a few minutes early and were given cookies and coco in the garden patio and there was a little Santa dog that Gracie and the other kiddos got to play with. It was fan-freakin-tastic! Best 40 bucks we’ve ever spent. I mean just look at this kid. Heart melts.

Grace was so excited to meet Santa! We waited until just a few days before to tell her that we were going to meet him because we knew that once she was in the know, she would ask to go see him every day, which she totally did. ;)  Together we wrote her first ever letter to Santa this morning. I asked her what she wanted me to write and what she wanted Santa to bring her. This year she asked Santa for paint, a snowflake, a book and a few princesses. The snowflake request killed me. So cute!    

Once our session began the bean was a bit shy, which was totally what we were expecting, but no tears. She’s never been one to cry during Santa visits (although I wish she would, just once because those pictures are the best!) Like today, she just needed a little warm up time. 5 minutes in and she was giving huggies to Santa and hamming it up for the camera. Our photographers loved her and loved us! They told us that we were their first two mom family and they were “thrilled” that we picked them for our Santa photos. They even asked us to get all our lesbian mama friends to come take photos with them too, lol. And while this year’s Santa session completely booked up in less than an hour, we’ll be sending our lesbo mama friends their way next year! ;)

It was such a fun day and it’s been decided that this will be our new Santa tradition! Here are a few more pictures of the afternoon ~

And here’s my favorite outtake of the day. Us mamas just had to get in on the action and can we please talk about Santa’s face in this picture, HA!

Another year in the books. :)

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