Thursday, January 31, 2019

5/52: New do, who dis?

How cute is this big boy of mine?! We almost always wait way too long to take him in to see Uncle D at his barbershop and every time we finally make it in, we swoon at how handsome he looks and vow that we will not wait so long the next time! *but then we always do...

I just can't believe that my baby's going to be TWO years old in just over 2 months. I guess I better get started on the party planning! Bet you can't guess the theme??

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Twinkle Toes Elf | Year Five

Our beloved Twinkle Toes made her glorious return to our home this past December; only this year she brought another little elf! Yes my friends, TT has a brother who has yet to be named. Initially G called him Jose, but that's only because he looks much more Hispanic than Twinkle Toes does, hehe! Like we did with TT, William will be the one to name his new little elf, once he's old enough to do so and so until then, Jose it is! ;)

This was TT's 5th year visiting us, (6th if you include the Christmas that Gracie was given her sweet little elf from Auntie Missy). With this being the first year that there were 2 elves crashing at our pad every evening, it was a busy month for all of us! 

Mama was afraid that after all these years, our visitors may run out of places to play and while it did require much creativity and thinking outside the box to surprise our kiddos with new places to visit every morning, (places that they hadn't visited before) - they managed to do it. These are some very talented elves, if you ask me! I think it did help that there's a fairly new outer space themed nursery that they were able to explore.

They had so much fun playing with all of the Bean's holiday school projects she brought home, like the little elves she made in her weekly art course. It worked out perfectly that there just happened to be a little Gracie elf happy to hang from the chandeliers with our trouble makers!

One of their absolute favorite visits of the year was the night they got to go fishing in the kitchen! They worked together for over an hour to get the water just right for Gracie and Will, because it just had to be the perfect color of blue! That next morning, Gracie came running to her Mamas screaming, "Moms! I found our elves and they're fishing in Diet Coke"! LOL! Thankfully TT and her little brother elf were fast asleep at this point, so they didn't have to hear that the water they worked so hard on, didn't end up looking like water at all! Ha!

The outfits these two sported every day didn't disappoint either, because as you can see, this duo is quite fashionable. Will's little elf dressed as a solider on day one and then insisted on wearing his royal blue shorts the remainder of the month, while TT changed outfits on almost a daily basis. Gracie got such a kick out of that! Unlike previous years, these guys scaled down the gifts they brought from the North Pole for their humans, mostly because there's two of them now, but they still got some cool little gifts! There was candy left for our stinkers, along with Christmas socks, more decorations for Gracie's bedroom Tree Lot and lots of stickers.

Sister Bear will turn SEVEN this March and her Mamas' only wish for next Christmas, is that she continue to believe in the magic of her special little elf; because while it may be a lot of work preparing for our elf visits every year, it's something us Mamas absolutely treasure.

Here's a few favorites from visits in years past ~

Twinkle Toes | Year Four
Twinkle Toes | Year Three
Twinkle Toes | Year Two
Twinkle Toes | Year One

Until next year, you two. 💝

4/52: Check her out!

Sister Bear learned how to tie her shoes this past weekend, so G took her out and let her pick a brand new pair of kicks, with big girl laces! No more velcro for this almost-seven year old!

When I asked if she was excited to tell all her friends at school what she learned to do, she replied, "No Mama, I should have learned last year"! In response to this statement, I asked our Google Home Smart Speaker, to which it responded: According to Parenting Magazine, the average age that a child learns to dress themselves is 5 years old. The average age they learn to tie their shoes, is between 6 and 7 years old.

Once she heard this, her face lit up and she began jumping around shouting that she couldn't wait to tell everyone at school... So the question here is, should I be concerned that my kid trusts the word of an electronic device over her own parents?! 

Meh, oh well. At least she's proud of herself! ;)    

Monday, January 28, 2019

Brace for Impact...

I can't believe that I'm sharing this picture... but alas, I am. When I started this journey to a healthier me, 8+ months ago, I promised myself and you guys that I would be 100% transparent about where the journey took me. This means sharing the good and the bad. It means showing what it really looks like to lose a significant amount of weight and for someone like myself (who was living 100+ pounds heavier than I should), that makes for a slow transformation, but that's ok. My motto from the beginning has been - slow and steady wins the race and I'm happy to report that as I near month 9, I'm finally seeing some results and so is Georgia! My results definitely show progress and not perfection and that's something that I continue to remind myself is 100% ok. 

One very frustrating thing for me has been that my bo.obs have remained just as gigantic as they were in June of last year (hence my ugggggghhhh face in that second pic)... and now that my waist is a bit smaller, they look even bigger! Grrrrrr. A friend had to remind me that I wore a C cup in middle school and was a DD cup by high school, during a time that I was quite thin... so giant bo.obs may just be what I'm genetically destined to have. I wish this wasn't the case, but it is what it is and G doesn't want them going anywhere, so there you have it. Ha! 

If I could turn back time, I WOULD NOT have taken my before pictures in underwear... but I honestly didn't think that any of this would work out, or that I would be in a position to share a photo of my progress at any point, so underwear pics are what I'm stuck with. I edited out the bottom half these horrific und.ies (even though it's basically the same as wearing bathing suit bottoms) because I felt like I needed to. With me being a wife and mom and considering this photo will live forever on the interwebs, editing was a must... still, I feel proud sharing this, here in this space.

I had a friend recently post on IG about how bad it is to take progress pictures like this, stating that it's self defeating and an unhealthy thing to do, emotionally. If I'm just being honest, I would have to completely disagree with her views on the topic. When I look at this comparison picture, the first of what I'm sure will be many progress pics, I don't see weight loss. What I see is hard work. I see that keeping it Keto-ish has resulted in less water retention and swelling for me, overall. I see progress and strength in my arms, sides and legs from pushing myself to do cardio 5-6 times a week - these past 34 weeks. I see much clearer skin that's been the result of clean(er) eating and massive water consumption! Most of all though, I see a much less swollen belly and that's a HUGE deal for me. Heart disease runs in my family and took the life of my dad at just 39 years old. If you know anything about heart disease, you know that a swollen belly is a clear indication of an overworked and unhealthy heart. It's dangerous and had become a scary thing for me, as I turned 37 years old.  

On Friday I ran my first 5k in 12 YEARS and I did it with yoga pants falling off my butt the whole time and a sore knee! I know that a 3+ miles run is a stroll in the park for many of you, but when I began this journey 8 months ago, I couldn't run 5 minutes without getting winded and dizzy - so this is a big deal!

I didn't used to be a fan of posts like this, because they always made me evaluate my own health and that was uncomfortable for me. So if you're still reading this and something in the back of your mind is saying, it's time to get healthy, I'm here to tell you that you CAN DO THIS! You CAN set goals. You CAN start small. You can meal prep and have cheat meals. You can push yourself, one workout at a time and have rest days. You can celebrate every fitness victory, no matter how small. You can lift weights and choose to not weigh yourself and you can do it without pills or magic shakes or special wraps. You can make this journey whatever YOU want it to be and I'll be here to cheer you on! 

On to month 9.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Falalalala Lala La La!

Tis' the season for holiday school events, falalalalala lala la la! We almost went broke, 
buy-ing things for them, falalalala lala la la! 

Ha, I'm kidding, but not about being broke though, falala lalala la la la! Tis' the life of 2 moms with 2 kids, Falalalala Lala La La! :) 

  Bet you didn't know that I have a talent for rewriting songs, did ya! 
In all honesty though, we really did love every minute of our holiday fun at the Bean's school this year, even though there were a lot of activities. Like, a lot. The school went all out again, just like last year. There were holiday concerts, cookie decorating days, Christmas pajama days, a themed week of fun, a holiday book fair and a book exchange. There were gifts picked for teachers and Christmas goodies sent for school buds and new dresses and Christmas accessories and a big happy (and slightly exhausted) family there to watch every minute of it. Here's some cute pics of what our gal was up to in December. ~  

* 2018 Winter Holiday Music Concert *

Is there anything more heartwarming than watching your beautiful baby perform on stage?! Answer: no way because it's the cutest! I love that Gracie has zero stage fright and actually really enjoys performing for others. Notice how she towers over everyone but her friend C? He's the tallest of the 1st graders and our gal is the 2nd tallest! 

Way back in September, the Bean began singing Christmas carols in the evenings after school, indicating to us that Winter Concert prep was in full effect. You would think that hearing the same 4 holiday songs being sung at full volume for months on end would drive any parent nuts - but no, it was just really cute. If you ask Will this same question, he would NOT agree with this statement, ha! He got to the point with his sister's singing that he would yell, "STOP IT, STOP IT" any time she would get going with the Christmas songs, especially when she would sing in the car on the way to school. It was torturous for him, but super funny for us. ;)

I was so happy to hear that the Bean's school rented a hall from the University for this year's concert because the cafeteria was bursting at the seems last Christmas. The venue was gorgeous and Gracie looked just as cute as ever. 

I don't have many pictures of her concert (which made me sad) because it was a bit of a chaotic scene. The student families once again completely filled the concert hall, so finding enough seats for us + both sets of grandparents was a feet in itself. I arrived early with Gracie, as she had to attend a 20 minute rehearsal prior to the concert and when we arrived, she ran off to see her friends before I could take a single picture of her. Then I met up with the fam, we finally got seats and the concert began. When it was over, people were everywhere trying to pick up their kiddos and get the heck out of dodge, so there weren't any places open to take pictures, but I did get video of our beautiful performer! She did so great and so did her buddies.

* Chocolate Making for the Best Teachers Ever *

Our gal adores her teacher and teacher's aide and is always thinking of sweet things she can do for them. This year, I was gifted a kit for making chocolate molds and Grace decided that she wanted to make her teachers chocolates as a gift and so we did our best to make that happen. We ended up failing - like epic fail! Ha! The chocolate didn't melt like it was supposed to. We didn't have enough chocolates for the molds we started using and we ended up burning the hell out of everything! I chalked it up to quality time and a good learning experience. That's what counts, right?! ;) 

* Making Christmas Cookies for Friends *

It's safe to say that Gracie and I made more cookies together with G and Will this Christmas than we ever have before. We were a bunch of cookie makin' fools and Grace did most of the work herself! She can now crack eggs with no shells left behind and can read and measure ingredients, which makes the whole process all the more fun!

Last Christmas G ordered these super cute Star Wars cookie cutters and this year was the first we got to use them. Our first batch was made for Gracie's USA Girls Swim holiday party and the kids LOVED them, which Gracie got a kick out of! She was so excited watching the kids attack her batch of cookies first before grabbing for any others and kept tugging on our arms to say, "look mom, they love our cookies most"! 

I hope our gal grows up always loving to bake. :)

* It's a Christmas Classroom Pajama Party *

In my previous career, I had 7 weeks of PTO per year, so I never missed a thing when it came to the holidays. In my current career/position, I only have 3 weeks + a few holidays, so it's been quite the adjustment these past couple of years. The thing that's been hardest for me is that I've been unable to make it to all of Gracie's school events and it really does kill me when I can't go to something. Last year I had to miss her classroom cookie making party, due to my lack of pre-planning, but not this year!  

This December, Mama was not only front and center for our gal's classroom party, but I was the designated volunteer parent, so I got to participate in all the activities with the kiddos and take pictures for the teachers - Gracie just LOVED that! 

We decorated cookies and as you can see by Gracie's batch, some kids went just a bit overboard with with the frosting and sprinkles... The kids also participated in a book exchange, which was just the funniest. Think White Elephant Game + 6 and 7 year olds. It was chaos, but the giggles could be heard from the school hall and everyone had a blast! Grace ended up negotiating her way into taking home the very book she brought. It's what she wanted, so girlfriend made it happen. 


They all wore their favorite pajamas, watched Christmas movies and had so much fun!

And the highlight of the month for both Gracie and us, was that once again she was selected as student of the month - this year for December! Each month there are 4 kiddos selected for each grade, so the fact that she's managed to make the cut 2 years in a row, has her mamas feeling all those happy and proud feels! 

These kids. They're something else. :)

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. :)

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