Monday, January 19, 2015

Tahoe NYE 2K15

We spent another fantastic New Years in Tahoe with James' family.  The whole gang was there this year and we got to spend our longest time there ever- six whole days.  It was perfectly relaxing and oh so cozy.  Once again there was not much snow.  However, we arrived late in the evening our first night and about ten minutes later it started to snow.  The boys ran out on the deck without shoes or coats on and intuitively stuck their noses towards the sky and opened their mouths wide to catch the magical falling snowflakes on their tongues.  Right when I went out to film them, Jackson ran back in stating it was cold.  Duh!  I was sorta hoping that we would wake up the next morning to a winter wonderland, but no such luck.  Which was a good thing really since the rest of the family was driving up that day.  Nothing scarier than driving in lots of snow.  The weather however was freezing cold (unlike last year), so we pretty much stayed put for two days until venturing out to Northstar on NYE for the fireworks.  
At first I was going to stay back at the cabin with Jackson and Elle, but then worried about the fit Jackson would throw and started to fell sad about us missing out.  I decided that I could get us bundled enough to stay warm.  Ironically Jackson and Elle stayed toasty, but Ben was the one who ended up complaining of cold.  Poor kid and his Hunter boots.  We double socked him and everything but the plastic wellies just didn't keep his piggies warm enough.  Luckily we only had about forty minutes to kill before fireworks, so we spent some of that time in a candy store (just keeping warm), and then bundled up and drank hot coco till the show started.  I love the fireworks at Northstar and it's been a fun tradition of ours for the last four years.  
Elle promptly went to bed when we got home but those crazy boys of mine made it till midnight.  Although I don't think they thought it was worth it.  They were pretty letdown by the countdown and sparkling cider salute (that's it, mom! that's what we've ben waiting all night for).  
The rest of our time was pretty much spent indoors playing games and watching football.  Ben converted some of the group to Minecraft and he was in heaven playing on a server with these guys.  They told me he mines like a fifteen-year-old.  I didn't know if I should be proud or worried.  Ha.  
Jackson enjoyed all the attention from everyone and all the new toys (why do kids play SO much better with other people's toys?)  Elle enjoyed taking it all in from her Bumbo chair, and getting passed around.  
Our last day it was finally warm enough to venture outdoors so we headed to Squaw for some sledding.  We got a bit of a late start so the tube sledding was sold out (which explains Ben's grumpy face below).  Grandma came to the rescue and found a plastic sled for purchase and we joined the rest of the rebels on the hill right next to the tube sledding, where a sign No Sledding was clearly displayed.  Whoops. 
Man the boys had so much fun sledding.  But man is it terrifying to watch as their mother.  Seeing your child flying down a hill at an uncomfortable speed, only a thin layer of cheap plastic between them and the icey floor.  Plummeting towards a crowd of people and trees hoping they're able to doge them all in the end and stop before reaching the pavement.  Yes see, terrifying I tell you.  Luckily they were pleased after just a couple times down.  James and Jackson were hilarious as the snow absolutely sprayed them in the face on the way down.  Jackson was all smiles coming down but then immediately stood up and ran towards me shaking off the snow and complaining of being cold.  
On the second to last night someone (ahem, me) suggested we play charades.  We were hooked and played the next night too for over an hour each night.  You forget how much fun the simple games (without cards, pieces, or boards) can be.  They've always been my favorite.  Hopefully we will make our way back up to Tahoe before next New Years (but the year always seems to get away from us and before we know it the year is almost ending).  Crazy how that happens.  At least we always have New Years.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I was a huge fan of dolls as a little (and not so little) girl.  I played with them regularly till I was probably twelve.  I had Cabbage Patch dolls and dolls that peed and looked creepily real (remember those?)  I didn't know about American Girl dolls until I was maybe nine.  My friend Nicole had Samantha and I was hooked.  The magazines started coming to my house and I would spend hours looking through them.  Before I got a doll I started to read the books, and because at the time I had thick rimmed glasses, when it came time to pick a doll I choose Molly.  I got her for my tenth birthday in February and Christmas that year I received a hand made armoire and bed from my Grandpa, beautiful handmade clothes made by my Grandma, which hung on tiny iron hangers welded by my uncle.  It was seriously the best Christmas ever.  From then on for any occasion my mom ordered me a new outfit from the catalogue and my grandma continued to make me clothes.  I have an amazing collection, I really need to photograph it all when I get my hands on it.  It's at my parents house but I am seriously considering packing it into my car next time I'm over there and finding some space in Elle's tiny nursery to set it up.  I already cannot wait to pass it down to her.  But alas it's going to be some time before she is old enough to play with that kind of doll.  In the meantime, however, I am going to feed her hopefully love for all things dolly by starting to build her very own collection of handmade dolls.  I am in love with all of the handmade doll companies sprouting up on Etsy and Instagram and I cannot wait to get my hands on some of those beauties.  Just like with other handmade items, I love all of the love that goes into each hand crafted doll.  They are seriously works of art. 
The first one that has been on my radar for sometime now is the Emma doll from Candy Kirby Designs.  Elle's crib sheet is from there and the doll's skirt matches it for goodness sakes, and Erin makes the most fun and vibrant baby items.  Her dolls sell out in a snap so I'm hoping I can somehow snap up Emma for Elle's Easter basket.
The next covet worthy dolls comes from a brand new shop, Giddyup Gertrude.  Her dolls are amazingly beautiful.  I knew I wanted one, but after going online and seeing that this beauty below is named so perfectly "Miss Elle," now I know I have to have it!  I'm hoping to get this one for Elle's first birthday.  I already daydream about getting a matching outfit for Elle for her party.  Seriously people these are the things I daydream about.  I gotta get a life.  : )
Sweet Littles Handmade makes the sweetest ballerina rag dolls.  I love the ribbon hair and the long limbs.  And c'mon those tutus and ribbon ballet shoes are amazing.  

Another Etsy shop, Rovingovine makes the sweetest rag dolls.  She has so many cute ones to choose from, but I'd love to collab with her on a totally custom doll at some point.
And lastly (for now) I am crushing on this little fairy doll from The Land of Nod.

And because a girl needs to keep her dollies close at all times (and needs some assistance walking while doing so), this little wooden pram is a must too.

Let's just hope that my very own Miss Elle is just as much into dolls as I was.  Because I seriously cannot wait to play with her.

Five months

Baby sister turns five-months-old today.  I hate to see time fly by so quickly, but I'm also loving this stage.  She is becoming more and more like a baby and less like an infant every day.  It's fun to see how much she is interacting with us and her surroundings and how she's participating in life so much more (now that she isn't sleeping ALL the time).  I missed her four month update so this update will span the last two months.  Her new tricks include rolling from her back to her tummy and reaching for and grasping toys.  She doesn't hang on to them very long but she's getting stronger and more interested in toys every day.  Elle also loves to be in her Bumbo chair sitting up and enjoying all the action from a different viewpoint.  We love to have her as a centerpiece on the table as we eat or do homework.
Elle is now exclusively on formula.  Sadly, she weened herself as my supply become low and she grew frustrated with the lack of flow.  She is slowly but surely starting to gain and weighed 12 lbs. 9 oz. at her 4.5 month checkup and moved from the 4th to the 8th percentile.  Her pedi thought that was good progress.  She also recommended that I hold off on any solids till six months as its better for allergies and eczema.  That will be our fun new adventure for next month.  The boys are really excited for that and keep asking me when she can start eating.  Speaking of eating, no teethers yet for Miss Elle but they are most definitely coming.  She is a drool machine and her poor little gums have been bugging her big time.  A little Orajel naturals has been doing the trick so far.  Also her fists or feet (see below) in her mouth seem to be soothing.  Forget the teething rings, she's all about them hands.  She hasn't settled on any particular part of her hand yet, but instead goes from thumb, to fingers, to whole fist. 
Overall she's just a sweet little thing who as long as she's part of the action she is usually a happy camper.  She's still a great sleeper although her nights really have no solid routine to them.  She does go down right at seven every night and typically only wakes up one time before rising at around 7 am.  But that one time is all over the map.  Sometimes as early as one.  Other times around three.  And sometimes she makes it all the way till five.  We've carved out a pretty good napping routine; one short nap around 10 and then a longer nap around 2.  Luckily she can still sleep on the go and can sleep through anything.  I mean ANYTHING.  It's nuts, but so so useful in a tiny house with two rambunctious brothers.  We humans sure know how to adapt to our surroundings thank goodness.  As girly and sweet as she is, she can sure grunt, pass gas (ahem), and snore like a trucker.  She seriously snores louder than both her brothers and even her daddy.  
We sure do love you Baby Sister Girl (I really don't think she even knows her real name).  Fist pumps for us all surviving your first five months.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas morning

Christmas was so fun this year with two very excited little boys.  We woke up to find (despite Ben's suspicions) that Santa had come.  Ben begged for a Leap TV and due to its educational nature, we caved on the no video game rule.  Elle needed something to keep her entertained as she grows both at home and in the shop, so Santa brought this very fun bouncy play station.  She already loves to sit in it and spin the little wheel and chew on everything else.  All Jackson wanted for Christmas was a baby monkey.  He used to have one and then lost it about six months ago.  He never forgot about baby monkey though.  He actually used to call out sometime while going to bed, "I miss you baby monkey.  I'm sorry I lost you."  Jackson loves monkeys and his favorite stuffed animal is "monkey," a Build A Bear monkey that James made for me when we were in high school.  Then one day he found an old monkey of Ben's at my parent's house and that became baby monkey.  James found the exact same one that comes in the suitcase, and Jackson was thrilled to be reunited with baby monkey.  And so was "monkey," who kissed and hugged him when he saw him Christmas morning (we have video- too cute).  
This year was extra sweet with the addition of this girl.  Elle's first Christmas!

Jackson's other main present was a play kitchen.  I always find him playing in the little kitchen at our gym or at friend's houses, so we thought it was time he had one of his own.  I think that he and Elle are going to have lots of fun playing with this together in about a year.  
Besides the Leap TV, Ben got a few Minecraft paper kits, a Minecraft lego set, and some art supplies.  
All I wanted under the tree were my instagrams printed and in my hands.  Thanks to Chatbooks I now have all 1000 or so in print.  Nothing better than looking back at all these sweet memories of the last almost three years.  
The aftermath.  Ben just dug right in and opened up everything; creating an even bigger mess for me. Jackson wasn't feeling too well (we actually had to coax him into opening all of his presents), and he was exhausted, so he just wanted to lay down and watch a show.  After presents I made breakfast and then we got ready to go see some of James' extended family.  Our night ended with a Full House christmas episode marathon.  So awesome!  I think we struck a pretty good balance this year between extended family time and cozy downtime with our own not-so-little anymore family.  As always looking forward to years to come and the evolution of our family and Christmas traditions.  
And because Christmas really is the whole month and not just one day, we also celebrated by . . . 
  • watching lots of Christmas movies.  
  • going to see the temple lights.  The first time we went, when we pulled off the freeway and rounded the corner that the temple is on, Jackson exclaimed, "I want to go there!"  
  • decorating a gingerbread house.  And then slowly eating the candy off said house all month long. 
  • decorating gingerbread people and having an Instagram/Facebook contest for the best one.  I think James ended up winning.  I love though how Ben got his sight word flashcards out and put the word "like" next to his to encourage voters.  We also got a huge laugh out of James' photo-bombing ginger man.
  • attending our ward's Christmas party and sitting on the big man's lap.  
  • attending my family's annual Christmas party and seeing family we usually just see once a year. 
  • reading lots of Christmas books.  I kept our stash out this year in the living room for easy accessibility for bedtime and anytime reading.  
I love how Christmas was the whole month for Jackson and not just the one day.  Christmas was the decorations and all the festivities leading up to it.  I think sometimes if we place all our anticipation on just the big day it can be a letdown, because it comes and goes in a blink of an eye.  We didn't take all our decorations down till January 9th.  Around January 7th Jackson was talking about Christmas and I told him that Christmas was over.  He went into the living room, looked at the tree, and said, "no, Christmas not over."  Wish we could have kept it going all this month too.  But alas, the decorations are in boxes, and the tree is on our front lawn (waiting for the garbage man to haul it away).  Till next year.    

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Eve

In order to have a less busy Christmas day, we had an eventful Christmas Eve.  Which didn't conclude till midnight for the kids and 3 am for mommy/santa's helper.  James had to go into the bakery in the morning while the kids and I slept in.  Our first stop of the day was my parent's house.  We started with sugar cookie making and frosting.  The kids ate the ones they frosted and then my sister and I frosted some for Santa.  Once James arrived (he was busy delivering Christmas cheer in cake form), it was time for presents.  I love my parent's stockings for the grandkids from Pottery Barn.  Newbies Emma and Elle got coordinating ballerina stockings.  The children were showered with gifts from my parents and sister.  Jackson received pots and pans, dishes, and play food to go with his new kitchen.  Ben was the very happy recipient of a science kit and tickets to go with his papa to see Walking with Giants (a live show featuring thirty foot high robotic dinosaurs- they had a blast!)  Elle received a walker (even though we have a pact that she's not going to get any bigger on me) and some cute clothes of course.

Around 6pm we said our goodbyes and headed to the in-laws for dinner.  As per tradition we opened our eve present first- new pjs of course.  James stumbled upon these adult onesies at Abercrombie and took over the pj shopping.  Everyone loved their cozy onesies and they made the perfect lounging outfit for our upcoming trip to Tahoe for New Years.  After getting cozy we began to open presents.  We open presents one at a time, youngest to oldest, so it takes a while.  The boys were very patient though and enjoyed seeing what everyone else was getting too.  Jackson kept opening up his and exclaiming, "yeah, a box!"  He was very excited every present he opened and made the gift givers very happy I'm sure.  Ben got the coolest lego block sorter where you shake it and the pieces fall down into the slots based on size (and this after I  asked my MIL how she used to store legos- perfect find).  We can't wait for Jackson to give his new plasma car a go.  I know he's going to love it.  Of course some more stylish duds to add to Elle's wardrobe, and I about fell off the couch with excitement over my Freshly Picked purse.  Now my babe and I match!  We took a little dessert break and I ate way too many of my mother--in-law's delicious sugar cookies.  I don't know how she gets them to be so dang soft.  Near the end of presents, and close to midnight, Jackson began to ask if we could go home.  When we got loaded up in the car I told the boys that it was Christmas.  Ben said, "no christmas is tomorrow."  And I said, "well, it is tomorrow," since it was 12:03.  Kinda like Christmas and NYE all in one!  

The boys were too tired to put out Santa's cookies and passed the job on to me.  I couldn't help snapping some pics of my sleeping babe next to the cookies before setting them out with the milk.  The Honest Co. that delivers Elle's diapers sent us the sweetest Christmas package of sugar cookie mix and this snowflake cutter.  I just had to frost them to match the snowflake print diapers and of course I had to document it.  She stayed asleep the whole time.  While Daddy put together Elle's new play center, I set out the stockings and the Santa presents, and finally crawled into bed around 3 am.  Only to be awoken by a very excited six and a half year old boy stating, "now I know Santa isn't real! There are fruit snacks in Jackson's stocking and there are fruit snacks in the pantry!"  Busted!  He's always been a very practical, feet on the ground sorta kid and he'd been questioning the whole santa thing all month.  So he wasn't devastated or anything.  I neither confirmed nor denied his accusations.  Let's just hope he keeps his mouth shut for his siblings next year.