Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Grandma and Grandpa graciously agreed to babysit for us tonight so that we could go out for a festive New Year's Eve with Kelly & Matt (and this crazy dude, Juan).

Juan's wife Steph knows the staff at Stones Cove Kitbar in Herndon, so we were hooked up all night with awesome food and fun drinks. It is a unique restaurant/bar in that the kitchen is the center of the restaurant, and the tables are different sections of bars surrounding the kitchen so you get to see your food being prepared. We got to try the lobster cones, filet of beef sliders, and mackinac and spinach & artichoke flatbreads. All the food was delicious, we are already looking forward to going back again sometime.

We were actually going to stay up to see the ball drop ~ can't remember the last time we did that! (Little did we know, Owen would also stay up to see the ball drop! Who knew he could keep his little eyes open that long!?) I took a few photos with my Blackberry and let me just say that they were pretty funny to look through the next day. :)

Such a fun night with old friends and new friends Juan, Steph, Katie and Brett. Thank you so much to Grandma and Grandpa for staying over to babysit so we could have a night out.

I need to think about my New Year's resolutions. I am going to write them down this year in hopes of actually accomplishing them. In the past when I've taken the time to write down goals, it makes me more accountable and I tend to follow through better.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Kiwi Crate #1

Grandma & Poppy sent Owen a 3-month subscription to Kiwi Crate as a Christmas gift and today we received it in the mail and dug in.

This month was all about the solar system and rockets! While Vivi napped this morning, we did the first part of the solar system craft ~ punching out the stars and planets and painting them! Owen did such a great job and had a lot of fun.

Then once they were dry in the afternoon, we tied string to each piece and assembled the space mobile. We also did the second activity, building your own personal rocket out of paper, ribbons, tape and a big straw this afternoon, but Mommy had to take Owen's away since he thought it was fun to use his sister as a target. :)

He was so proud of his creation:

Can't wait for next month's Kiwi Crate! Thanks Grandma & Poppy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Driving my tractor

We used to watch this YouTube video and Owen always loved it (all of the Barefoot Books on YouTube are awesome for kids).

Now he sings it as he drives his tractor. My little farmer.

Luckily he just pretends that he has a heavy load in his trailer, instead of putting Vivi in there. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas pictures

Christmas morning

Ben and I woke up around 6:30am this morning. He wanted to inflate the race car to put it out under the tree, and I wanted to have a cup of coffee (from our new Cuisinart coffee maker ~ thank you Grandma & Grandpa!) before the craziness began.

Here is what our Christmas morning looked like before the kids woke up.

Christmas morning video

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Milk & cookies for Santa

Tonight we wrote Santa a little note to go along with the milk and cookies we left him.

And of course we couldn't forget a few carrots for Rudolf and the other reindeer! (Owen drew the map to our house himself.)

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started off with some cleaning by Mommy while Vivian napped and Owen & Daddy did some last-minute shopping. Then it was lunchtime and time to get ready for the big afternoon & evening ahead of us.

We met up with Kelly, Kayla, Ryan and Jen at the Children's service at the Methodist church down the street from our house. They were having a live nativity scene outside and then a children's choir singing about the story of the birth of Jesus, which we thought was perfect for the kids this year. It was a beautiful service, and Owen was very into it all, so that was fun to see. Our plan was for the kids to skip their naps so that they would sleep on the drive over to Grandma & Grandpa's after church, but Vivi fell asleep in my arms at church during "Silent Night" (how appropriate!) and Owen fought sleep the entire drive he was so excited, so he never had a nap.

We had appetizers and then a lovely dinner with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Hillary. They had very strategically "wrapped" the doorway between the kitchen and the family room with Santa/Frosty paper which Owen commented on several times. :) After everyone ate, we heard jingle bells outside and knew that Santa and the sleigh had flown by! We headed into the family room to see if Santa had stopped in. And boy, did he!!!

Santa had left Owen a John Deere tractor with a trailer to haul stuff! He was over the moon. We spent the next hour opening gifts and toys for the kids. Santa remembered the tow truck that Owen asked him for when he sat on his lap at Clyde's last week! Vivian got a little overwhelmed at one point, but we made it through by giving her a bottle and then it was time to head home for bedtime. Santa had left the tractor plugged in so that it could get a full battery charge, so Grandma and Grandpa agreed to bring it out to us tomorrow so that Owen could try it out. :)

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas craft gift

I got this cute idea for an ornament gift via Pinterest. This blog gave step-by-step instructions on how to make them. They were super easy and fast, and the kids had fun, except Vivi got a little annoyed that I was using her toe after the fourth ornament. (I did Owen's thumb print, but figured it would be challenging to use her thumb so I opted for her big toe instead and it worked perfectly.)

You put their name and year on the bottom of each ornament with a Sharpie, do the prints, let them dry, then add the antlers and eyes with the Sharpie and finish with a dot of red paint for the nose. So fun!
It's almost Christmas Eve!

Potty time

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Little People Nativity

Look what Grandma and Poppy sent Owen & Vivian ~ just in time for Christmas!

Heading home

This morning we packed up at my mom and dad's place and headed over to Gigi's to say goodbye. Vivian took a nap while Gigi finished up some yummy Gingerbread cookies to send us home with, and then we took a few pictures before packing up the car. I put Vivi in one of the cute dresses Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Mike sent for her birthday and the colors in the dress matched her colorful eye. At least I can see it healing.

We met up with my high school friends Amy and Rochelle at the Hershey Grill for lunch before getting on the road to home. We had such a fun visit, it was hard to say goodbye to Hershey.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trains at the Hershey Antique Auto Museum

Our good friend Cindy met us at the Hershey Antique Auto museum this afternoon and treated us to tickets to see the train display and the museum decked out in lights and Christmas decorations. Owen LOVED the trains! He cried big tears when we had to leave. (The lady had to actually shut them off so that we took the hint that they were closing up, ha!)

Thank you so much Cindy! So great to see you and catch up!

Christmas cookies!

This morning we baked Christmas cookies with Gigi! She found an incredible recipe for spritz cookies and Owen did a great job of decorating with the sprinkles. :)

At one point when Grandma and I were cleaning up (Vivi napped the entire time we baked), Owen was also cleaning up - a marble game that he had been playing with. He proudly showed me how he fit all the pieces back into the box (completely on his own - if you know me, I would have just shoved them all in the box - this shows how much he is like his father.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Visiting Gigi in Hershey

Today we packed up and headed to Hershey for a few days to visit Gigi and my friends Amy and Rochelle who was home for the holidays from CA. The kids did so well on the drive there. I stocked a reusable shopping bag full of books and a few little toys and stuck it inbetween the two car seats. Owen was able to reach the goods and even gave Vivi a few things to play with when she woke up towards the end of our drive.

We had lunch with Gigi when we got there and then took a quick outing to Chocolate World which both kids loved. Gigi made fried chicken and fresh veggies for dinner and then it was time to head over to my parent's condo for bathtime and bedtime. The weather was so dreary, but we were so glad to be able to spend time with my Grandma.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas playdate & Vivian's first ER visit

It was a good and a bad day. First, the good. My old college suitemates and I all have boys and thought it would be fun to get them together for a little Christmas playdate. Mindy offered to host and the kids looked so cute in their matching GAP Christmas sweaters.

The boys played with Lucas' train set and checked out the Christmas tree while the mommies caught up. Mindy had some cute crafts for the kids: gingerbread men ornaments which they decorated with sparkly dots and stickers and wreaths made by threading Fruit Loops onto pipe cleaners.

After crafts, Mindy made an awesome lunch: reindeer fluffernutter & PB sandwiches, pretzels and fruit for the kids and chicken salad on croissants for the moms. Cole let us borrow his highchair, and stupid me put Vivi into it without buckling the seatbelt thinking, "I'll just remember that I don't have her buckled when I go to take her out". Uh, yeah. That didn't happen. Poor baby fell out of her highchair and landed facedown on the rug. She cried right away, I scooped her up and started crying myself for being so ridiculously stupid. She calmed down after a few minutes and I packed up the kids to head home and call the doctor. I knew from past experience when Owen fell once when he was around 18 months, that the main things to watch for were vomiting and loss of consciousness, and she had neither. But I was still extremely shook up over it and was watching very closely the entire drive home.

I called the pediatrician when we got home and spoke with one of the nurses. Vivi was following me around while I spoke to the nurse and she could be heard giggling in the background. The nurse told me she was likely just fine, it was an accident and to try not to beat myself up about it. She said it was okay to put her down for a nap, but that if she was sleeping longer than 2 hours, to gently wake her to check on her.

Vivi slept for about an hour and 45 minutes before I got anxious and woke her myself. She woke up in a good mood, and I strapped her in her highchair to give her and Owen a snack. As she was munching away at some grapefruit and Cheerios, I kept looking at her eyes and thought that her one pupil looked slightly larger than the other. Another call to the pediatrician and they said to bring her in to the ER right away.

Of course I freak out at that point. We jumped in the car and headed over to the hospital. It took about 15 minutes to get checked in, and the nurse looked her over. The doctor came in and checked her out, but Vivi was upset by the entire situation and was crying so they couldn't get a great look at her pupils. They recommended we do an MRI just to double-check that there wasn't a skull fracture because of the fall. She cried through most of it, but did surprisingly well during the scan. The doctor told us that they have a state-of-the-art pediatric MRI machine which emits the lowest level of radiation necessary for the picture, which was reassuring.

Took another thirty to forty minutes before we had the results. Owen was entertained the entire time by a cart of books in the hallway, and Vivi just wanted to walk around the room and check everything out, even with the little toe heart rate monitor thingy hanging off her foot. I knew everything was okay when I saw the doctor's face as she walked towards the glass door of our room to tell us the news. Everything checked out fine, thank GOD.

By the time we got home it was 7:30pm and as I fed her I noticed Vivi had developed the beginning of a black eye. :(

I cannot stop thinking about what happened and am just so thankful that she is okay. Things can happen in a split-second. I'm trying to forgive myself, but in reality, I don't know that I ever will. I am trying to remember that I am a good mom who made a mistake, but with my Type-A personality, it's challenging. Especially now with the constant reminder when I look at my baby. I'm hoping she'll be more forgiving of me than I am of myself. I hope that anyone who reads this post learns from our experience and always, always, always uses the seat belt buckles on the highchair. I know I will.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2nd annual Christmas playdate with the Southworths and the Taeschners

Since last year's Christmas playdate, we've added two more babies to the mix. And in only about 8 weeks (or less!) we'll be adding another. :)

This year Molly & Tim hosted and they made a delicious lasagna in addition to an artichoke dip and Kel & Matt brought an Italian platter to munch on before dinner. We had fun chasing the kids around and watching football before the craziness of the gift exchange took place.

We took the customary "kids on the couch" picture. Ben and I look forward to taking our turn to host next year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Today was Grandpa's birthday! To celebrate, we met up at Ozzy's for dinner. Yesterday Owen helped me pick out his gift: an indoor remote-controlled helicopter! Just what he needed/wanted! :)

Happy Birthday Grandpa ~ we love you!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Little ballerina


Don't tell Vivian, but she's getting this cute purple tutu for Christmas! (made by yours truly thanks to this tutorial.)

Love me some chubby little legs in a ballerina tutu! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teacher gifts

Today Owen helped me make homemade sugar scrub for his preschool teachers as part of their Christmas gift baskets. We used the recipe from The Krazy Coupon Lady's website and I think it came out pretty well. We scented them with almond and coconut extracts. They smelled yummy! Owen had a ball mixing up the sugars. We put it in a jar and tied it with a pretty holiday ribbon.
I forgot to take a picture of the finished basket, but we also included a Nivea Lip Balm/Gloss, a set of chocolates and homemade chocolate-covered graham crackers with crushed candycanes on top. (You can never have too much chocolate, right?)

We'll give them to Miss Karlene and Miss Jessica tomorrow on his last day before the 2-week holiday break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

J is for Jellybean

Me: "Owen, why aren't there any jellybeans in the sixth jar?"
Owen: "I guess somebody just ate them."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The last sticker in the pack

* Wearing some 12-mo & mostly 18-mo clothes
* Size 5 diapers
* Drinking whole milk (mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with the remainder of the formula we have) in bottles at breakfast and bedtime, but we're starting to wean to just sippys
* Has three teeth with the forth cutting through and waking her up in the middle of the night this week :(
* Sits in her high chair to eat meals with us
* Loves Cheerios, bread, bananas, pears, and YoBaby yogurt
* Drinks water out of her sippy at mealtime
* Still sleeping with her paci, sleepy giraffe, and silky blankie
* Still not fond of most diaper changes, but less squirmy
* Not that happy about being in her carseat for trips that involve multiple stops. I've learned that she can only really tolerate one errand a day.
* LOVES walking around everywhere, usually leans over when you're holding her to signal she wants down
* LOVES bathtime and splashes around constantly
* Still enjoys giving sloppy open-mouth kisses on command ~ so cute
* Is more and more vocal every day. I think now that she's mastered (for the most part) walking, she's ready to focus on learning to talk
* Started signing this week!!! Signs "milk" often and "eat" once.
* Favorite playmate is her brother. Most of the time. :)

12-Month Stats:
Weight ~ 23 pounds, 12 oz
Height ~ 28 & 3/4 in
Head ~ 18 & 1/2 in

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy First Birthday Vivi!

It is hard to believe that a year has gone by. It's feels like just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital to meet her big brother. She has brought us so much joy to our family. I love starting each day with her to see what new thing she will do.

On this special day, we had breakfast and then Vivi opened her presents from Mommy, Daddy and Owen. (Owen was more than happy to help with the gift-opening.) Owen picked out a fun set of bath toys for his sister and Mommy and Daddy got Vivian her very own Cabbage Patch doll!

Grandma and Poppy sent Vivi an adorable outfit and a fun LeapFrog birthday cake! You can light up the candles and then actually blow them out ~ it's pretty cool.
Then it was off to Brunch with Santa at Clyde's with Grandma and Grandpa! (We missed Aunt Hillary, but totally understand her need to be studying hard for finals and we wish her the best of luck this coming week. Those long hours of studying will definitely pay off.) We got to see Kayla and Ryan there too and took a few family photos for them. Owen loved getting to talk to Santa and tell him what he wanted for Christmas (a new tow truck), but Vivi wasn't too fond of the stranger with the white beard and glasses.

After lunch we came back to our house to open presents and have cake. Grandma and Grandpa showered Vivi with lots of fun toys, a new book, cute peacoat, and several stunning new outfits! She had fun exploring all the new toys and Owen was just in heaven too. Then it was on to cake!

She loved the cake ~ chocolate, of course! A sweet treat for our sweet baby girl on her first birthday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vivian's first sign

Owen started signing when he was 16 months. I am so impressed with Baby Signing Time. It's so fun to communicate with your baby before they start speaking!

Disclaimer: My sing-songy voice is so annoying - I must apologize in advance. :0)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Walking up a storm now

Vivi wants to show off and walk everywhere now. It gets a little dangerous when you are carrying her up or down the stairs, as she sometimes leans forward to try to signal she wants to be put down. (Because of this she is mostly walking up the stairs herself these days). She is becoming very independent, but also loves to snuggle occasionally.

Hard to believe that she's a year old on Saturday. Where did the time go?!?!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Playground pics

Went to our favorite playground last week on Friday, and I'm just now getting a chance to post the pictures. Took some shots with our new 50mm lens.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Funny things Owen has said recently:

(The local news is on in the background as we were making dinner, some story about a crime at a Target store was being discussed)
Owen: Mommy!! Look, it's Target!!! We live there!

(Driving home from the library last week)
Owen: Mommy, look at this booger!
Me: Owen, please don't pick your nose.
Owen: Okay Mommy.
(a few seconds later...) I put it back in my nose.

Boys. Love him.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homemade babylegs!

I was shopping the other day at Old Navy and saw this tube of knee-high girls' socks on sale while I was waiting in line. I remembered reading on Pinterest that you can make homemade babylegs legwarmers out of them, so I grabbed one to try.

It was so easy! All I had to do was snip off the ankle of each sock, slip it around the sewing machine tray, and sew a zig-zag stitch along the cut edge while stretching it a bit. It made a cute ruffle edge for the bottom of the legwarmer!

I was able to do four out of the five pairs before my bobbin ran out and I had to make lunch for the kids. After they ate, I asked Vivian to model a pair for me so that I could see how they came out. Pretty cute on her chubby little thighs, huh? :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Date night!

Grandma came over tonight to babysit so that Ben and I could go on a date: out to dinner with Kel, Matt, Molly and Tim, and then to Missy & Randy's Christmas party in Arlington. Grandma brought over all kinds of goodies for the kids: wind-up toy snowman and Santa, a Santa lunchbox with candycanes inside, Christmas books, a Christmas CD, Christmas ornaments to add to our tree, and the best part: cookies to decorate!

Owen had so much fun decorating Christmas sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies with Grandma. He entertained himself for a long time by scooping up sprinkles with his toy digger. :)

Thank you to Grandma for letting us go out on a date night!