Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Intentions

This is the first of a short series of posts to get all caught up on Christmas happenings.  I started the month off strong and had high hopes for all kinds of great Christmas-y plans this year.  But then something happened.  My pregnancy caught up to me.  A picture I almost snapped of Ben (but then he woke up right as I was about to click the camera) sums up perfectly how I felt this Christmas season.  In my rear view mirror one day I saw Ben fast asleep in his car seat clinging tightly to a half-eaten candy cane.  And that was me this last month.  I was clinging tightly to all of my well-laid plans to make this Christmas fun, magical, and meaningful for Ben, yet my body was screaming at me I'm tired, slow down, no more!  So I started to listen.  And guess what, everything turned out just wonderfully.  I had to keep listing to myself the things that we had done during the very fast Christmas season though to keep from feeling guilty at times.  I know it's not all about these things we do or think we need to do, but I didn't want to completely surpass all the fun traditions of the holiday.  So we did manage to...

get and decorate an extremely large real tree (almost eleven feet).  Despite the fact that it fell down on us twice- once after completely decorated- and took us nearly a week to go from purchasing to decorating the tree for the second and final time, every time I look at it I think to myself it is the most beautiful tree I've ever seen.
hang our new Etsy stockings with care on a "real" mantle.  I love our new stockings and loved to include our almost new addition Jackson in the mix.
decorate some fine smelling gingerbread people.  It was an intense endeavor for Ben as you can very well tell.
drove around looking at Christmas lights and found the mack daddy of all houses thanks to a tip from our neighbor, Sean.  A house we have named "the crazy house."  We heard their PG&E bill for the month of December is $5,000.  Crazy!  The best part was the house next door was completely devoid of all lights, except a light sign that said ditto with an arrow pointing to the crazy house.  Best part was that it is right in our development, so we got to stop and marvel over the crazy house many nights on our way home from various Christmas activities. 
and of course wait in line for the one, the only Santa Clause.  Ben was thrilled to tell Santa he wanted a Buzz Lightyear (I also had to convince him that he wanted an art easel, since I already purchased it.  And then just days before Christmas he saw Santa again with his Mimi and new baby cousin, and told him he wanted a t-Rex.  I told him it was too late to change things up on Santa, and luckily he was fine with it.  Phew! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm An Auntie

Very early Monday morning, 12/12/2011 at 5:27 am I became a first time auntie, and my sister, a first time mommy.  I must have been subconsciously anticipating the arrival because I hardly slept all Sunday night (less than usual), and was already wide awake when my mom called me at about 4:30 am to tell me they were at the hospital and Katie was already 8 centimeters dilated.  I had Ben and I up and ready in ten minutes and we were on our way to witness the amazing miracle of birth (or so I thought).  Baby girl just couldn't wait for me and my mom called me a short thirty minutes later to tell me that she was here!  My sister labored mostly at home, and actually wasn't convinced it was the real-deal until morning.  So either she is a LOT tougher than we ever give her credit for when it comes to pain, or possibly it just wasn't all that bad . . . yet.  She finally woke up her husband and they headed to the hospital where he was timing her contractions at just two minutes apart.  Katie immediately started asking for an epidural upon arrival only soon to find out that it was too late and the baby was coming, now.  My brother-in-law said that Kate looked like a very scared child, looking up at the nurses with huge blue eyes, begging for the medicine. Can you believe it, just an hour and a half after entering the hospital doors and ten minutes of pushing, my niece had entered the world.  My sister got through it drug free, and without screaming according to my mom, but with lots of teeth grinding and holding her breath so much that Tim feared she would pass out apparently.  I was sad to have missed it, but loved every moment of the time I got to spend with baby Ashlynn Christine Wadkins on her very first day of life.  So proud of my sister.  I know if you can do it, I probably can too (I'm going to try my hardest to have a drug-free labor and delivery without having an absolute agenda to do so-- if that makes any sense).  Ashlynn is very healthy and eating and sleeping great so far.  Can't wait for her and her baby cousin to grow up together and experience many firsts together.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Since it is nearly Christmas already (this month is flying by), I thought that I better post about Thanksgiving.  It really was another great Thanksgiving this year.  For the first time in a long time I didn't go watch the husband at the annual Turkey Bowl (I told him my days doing that were over-- soon he'll have sons to go with him anyways).  And for the first time in an even longer time, James did not play in a football Turkey Bowl game, but rather a basketball Turkey Bowl-- it was too cold outside.  When James got home from the game we headed to my parents house.  Ben helped his Nana and Papa prep for their dinner, we took a few family pictures, and then left around two to Sausalito to Tom and Staci's house for dinner.
Holidays at the Reilly's house are always fun because of Tom's great family.  Plus all of James' siblings were home from college, so it was nice to all be together.  Dinner was yummy, although I should have eaten more- don't know why I didn't go back for seconds, : )  


After dinner little Dylan was extremely worn out so Staci asked the girls to give him a bath and get him ready for bed.  Of course Ben had to get in on the fun.  It was such a cute sight when I went upstairs and saw this.  Makes me really excited for Baby #2 and lots of fun times to come and seeing my two in a tub together!
I have so much to be grateful for this year: a baby growing away in my belly, a super funny and intelligent toddler, a driven husband who is a great provider for our family, a beautiful home that I am enjoying slowly decorating, and a growing extended family (a new brother-in-law and as of two days ago, my first niece!)

Christmas is coming way too quickly and I have lots to catch up on before then, so wish me luck.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vegas Baby

Last week James had a week long work conference in Las Vegas.  And since he was already going to be there and we found out that Lady Antebellum was performing in our favorite venue, The Joint at the Hard Rock, on the last day of the conference, I decided to fly in Friday morning.  Little did we know that that maybe wasn't the best idea.  Because little did we know how exhausting James' days would be with all day meetings and how busy his nights would be with company dinners, after parties, concerts, and bull riding (yes, bull riding- James made the finals and had a shot at $200 but was already in his pjs in his hotel room by the time he knew.)  What is so great for James about his job is how much he loves his "team."  These guys (and two ladies) are seriously best friends.  He had such a blast with them in Vegas; it helped that two of them are recovering alcoholics and two are mormon- makes it easier when you are not the only one not drinking.
I am also so, so, so proud to report that James was awarded to amazing honors that week.  The first he received by his manager in front of just the ADR team, and that was 2011 ADR of the Year.  The second he received (or didn't receive- he actually was late and didn't get to accept his award) in front of the entire HP quota carrying enterprise sales team, and that was 2011 Inside Sales MVP of the Year!  I couldn't be prouder of James.  He has only been with the company, in fact in the tech world in general, for just shy of fourteen months and the success he has already had amazes me.  Actually it doesn't really amaze me.  It confirms things that I always have known about James.  I know that he can go and do whatever he sets his mind to and it really confirms our decision to take on the tech world and I have nothing but excitement for what the future holds for him and our little family.
Now the reason I said that me flying in maybe wasn't the best idea is because by the time Friday rolled around and I was ready to have a good ol' time in Vegas, my lovely husband was completely exhausted and wanted nothing more to do with the strip.  He did manage to maintain his energy and we had a great time at the concert.  I'm proud to report that this 32 week preggo lady was able to stand for the entire 3 1/2  hour show and we managed to maintain a very comfortable distance from any rowdy intoxicated fellow concert goers.  Baby boy enjoyed the music very much as I often felt him dancing away in my tummy throughout the night.
The next day we both slept in till eleven (crazy) and then after being up for only a few hours, James slept again for another several hours while I enjoyed some shopping time with Nana.  We laid low that night and enjoyed a yummy Panda Express dinner with Nana and Mike and some good conversation and then flew home in the morning to pick up a very cute little boy from his Mimi and Papa's house.  A little boy who had a blast playing with his girls, Tehya and Alyssa, but has told me many times since Vegas how much he missed me when I was in Las (pronounced Yas) Vegas!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Day to be Thankful For

Today Ben's preschool had a short Thanksgiving program and feast at his school. When I arrived he was seated with his class and when he spotted me he gave me a big wave and then attempted to make his way through the crowd of parents to me. His teachers quickly got him seated back with his class, but it sure made my day. Unfortunately he didn't sing along the song they had been practicing- even though he knows all the words- but he sat there with his class very well and made me proud all the same. After the songs his teacher read the children's responses to the question: what they are thankful for? Ben's response just cracks me up (see below). He rarely even watches that show funny kid.
My parents got to come and Ben was happy to have his Mimi and Papa there. He gave them the grand tour and we all sat down for some yummy Thanksgiving fixings (can't wait for the real thing now). For the last half hour or so of school he played around outside and for the first time ever didn't want to leave preschool.
Afterwards we went down to Blackhawk Plaza and fed the ducks. Funny how much kids love doing that isn't it. And when we got home and the grandparents were gone, Ben and I settled into my warm bed for a long winter's nap.
We topped our day off with a matinee showing of Puss & Boots at the theater down the street. I sure love my little companion. He keeps me great company, even when his Daddy is out of town for the week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Sister's Shower

When it came to planning my sister's shower, I knew that cutesy wasn't going to fly with her. Nothing totally girly and nothing cheesy- like she absolutely vetoed the playing of any "shower games." So I thought why not go a little modern and yellow. And then I decided that a brunch would be casual, flexible with people's schedules, and yummy (breakfast foods are my favorite). Once getting my mom (my co-host) and sister on board, I ran with the idea. First I was inspired to make favors out of baby food jars by my friend Kristina's blog as she turned some of her daughter's baby food jars into little turkey gratitude jars with her son. I simply sprayed the lids yellow, glittered them up, and filled them with assorted yellow candy. Very simple and inexpensive; especially since my son's preschool gave me the jars (they have boxes of them).
I wanted to keep everything white and yellow and went with a very clean table scape. I sewed the table runners up with some yellow fabric from Joannes and made the napkin rings from pom pom trim. We then used our own mixed and matched white plates, and kept things simple with plastic cups and yellow straws. I really would have rather used mason jars for the glasses, but things fell through with a friend I was supposed to borrow them from.
The show stopper was this beautiful yellow and white fondant cake that my mom's friend made. The inside was just as impressive- just imagine caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate in a cake! Very yummy.
The brunch buffet was equally impressive and large in quantities (due to my mom's major fear of not having enough food for everyone). Between the fresh whole fruit, yogurt, granola parfait, three types of egg casseroles, hot off the grill Belgium waffles, banana chocolate-chip muffins, custom made donuts, and croissants- I don't think anyone left hungry. Actually they didn't even leave empty-handed, as we insisted that people take home some of the many leftovers!
Lastly all of my sister's friends and family (my family too) were very generous and she left the party with most of what she needs for sweet little Ashlynn, who is arriving in just about a month. Can't believe it.
Doesn't my sister look great for 36 weeks pregnant? Let's just not play the comparison game to me and my only 31 weeks pregnant figure. : ) I would say based on that smile that Katie enjoyed her shower and it was all worth it. Love you sis! And by the way, isn't my mom beautiful. She always seems to get her skinniest when I'm pregnant. What's up with that!