Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012 ~ Romper Room Style!

Sarah and Mark invited us down to Richmond for a New Year's eve overnight celebration with the kids. They have the perfect house for a big party, with plenty of room for everyone to stay over, and we were so excited to catch up with everyone since it had been since October in California for Chelle's wedding since we last got together.

We arrived around 2pm and got settled in for a weekend of FUN! The afternoon was spent enjoying drinks and plenty of appetizers, playtime in the basement, catching up with Alevia's parents and feeding the little ones. After the kid's dinner, they all played for awhile until it was time for the real party to start! :)

It was finally bedtime! A parent's favorite time of day. :) We each set off to put the kids to bed, but not before Mr. Colwell took a few group shots for us.

 The kids went down easily, each practically with their own bedroom. Romper room had tuckered them out, apparently. We whipped up some of Rochelle's Holiday Gin Fizzes and toasted the New Year as Mark put the finishing touches on the incredible dinner.

Pre-dinner photo op:

We ate smoked turkey, roasted brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce until we were stuffed. It was delish! It didn't even feel like 10pm. We cleaned up and put together the breakfast casseroles for the next morning, before settling on the couch to play some charades and watch the cheesy New Year's specials on tv. 

We all made it to midnight before calling it a night. Such a fun day and evening with life-long friends. Couldn't ask for a better way to start the New Year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

It was so cute to see the kids coming down the stairs this year, whispering to each other the whole way, wondering whether Santa came the night before and left toys and ate the cookies they had set out.

Turns out he DID make a visit to our house, big time! These two must have been very, very good all year because there were a TON of presents under the tree. 

The kids took their time opening gifts, and oohhed and ahhhed over every single one. They were so excited! It was so much fun to watch them. Brought back lots of memories.

 After all the gifts were opened, we sat down to eat the yummy casserole that Ben had put into the oven when the gift-opening started. He and I enjoyed our first Starbucks Verisimo coffees (thanks Curt & Tish!) as we had breakfast and talked about all the fun toys the kids would be playing with this year. 
(post-gift-opening chaos)

After breakfast, we got ready and headed over to Grandma & Grandpa's to enjoy Christmas lunch with them and Aunt Hillary and exchange presents. Santa left a bunch of stuff at their house too!

We spent the afternoon enjoying a delicious lunch, watching the kiddos tear through more presents from Santa, and exchanging gifts. It was such a fun day. We got home in the late afternoon and relaxed as the kids ran around from new toy to new toy, playing the day away.

In the evening, as we had Cinderella on and the kids were mesmerized, we called Grandma & Grandpa on the new ipad mini to do Facetime. So much fun. We also had some Facetime with Grandma & Poppy in Florida. We're looking forward to celebrating Christmas with them in mid-January.

So blessed. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday dinner party

We invited Matt & Kelly and the kids over for a little holiday dinner party. I found this meal inspiration on Pinterest, sent Ben to the store and then put him to work in the kitchen while I cleaned up around the house and set the table. 

Matt picked out two amazing bottles of wine and we fed the kids while we (and Vivi, of course) enjoyed some shrimp bruschetta appetizers that he brought over. The kids had dinner and then we set them up (home theater style) in the family room with some Christmas specials found on Netflix.

Us adults were able to enjoy a nice meal while the kids relaxed watching He-Man & She-Ra's Christmas crusade (Ben's choice). Afterwards, it was time for cocktails and cookies for the grown-ups, and cookies and milk for the little ones. Such a fun evening for everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Potty training Vivian - attempt 1

Since the kids are out of preschool and Mom's Morning Out until January, I thought today would be a good time to start Vivi in Potty Training Bootcamp. I was planning on doing it the same way I trained Owen - putting her in underpants and setting the kitchen timer to go off every 30 minutes while encouraging her to use the potty I had out on a towel next to her potty chart.

I forgot that when I trained Owen I wasn't working from home, so therefore I could focus all my attention on helping him "get it". We watched the PottyTime DVD non-stop for 3 days and it eventually clicked.

Vivi is definitely interested, and over the summer for a good couple of weeks she was doing both in the potty pretty consistently. But I was working and wasn't ready to take the leap into underpants with her at that point.

This morning she did great. Only 1 pee-pee accident and one poop on the potty. So that was wonderful. Until we went upstairs so that Mommy could take a shower. While I was in the shower she peed on my vanity stool by accident saying "potty" while going. After we had another wet accident downstairs while I was trying to check my work email, I decided it wasn't a good idea to do this quite yet. We'll get there eventually, but for now it will have to wait awhile.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Preschool Christmas celebration

Today Owen had his preschool Christmas Sing & Celebrate performance and Christmas class party! The Sing & Celebrate was so cute. The music teacher told the story of Christmas and as she did, described the characters and asked for volunteers to play each part. Owen chose to be a shepherd, probably because of the cool prop he got to hold: a candy cane staff. :)

After the story of baby Jesus' birth, the kids all got to pick out bells for "Jingle Bells" and they sang (really they just shook their bells and forgot to sing, but it was still super cute.) A few more songs were sung, and then it was party time!

As room mom I organized the party and delegated tasks to the other moms who offered to help. It all came together nicely in the end, even when I had to scramble to find a solution to the snack problem (we wanted to do snowmen sugar cookies which the kids could decorate and eat, but due to the school allergy policy I couldn't find any that worked so instead we did Rice Krispie Treats cut out with cookie cutters and they frosted and decorated those - HELLO SUGAR RUSH!).

Then the kids played "Pin the Nose on the Snowman" and they had a ball with that. The final activity was creating a snowman printed ornament using their thumbprints. After it was all said and done I realized we should have done the ornament first so that it would have dried before everyone took them home, but it all worked out regardless.

We presented Owen's two wonderful teachers with a gift basket that another one of the moms graciously offered to put together with donations from the class. They loved them and everyone wished each other Merry Christmas as we said goodbye until January. It was a fun way to wrap up preschool for the winter break.


I turn my head for a minute and these two are up to trouble.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baking cookies with Grandma & Aunt Hillary

Today I dropped the kids off to spend the afternoon with Grandma and Aunt Hillary baking cookies and playing games while I went to a nearby Panera to work. I got a ton of stuff done and they had a blast making gingerbread cookies and decorating sugar cookies. We were sent home with two baskets and a couple of platefuls of yummy treats!

The kids both fell asleep on the drive home since they skipped their naps due to all the excitement of baking cookies. But look: Owen never let go of his cookie basket! That's my boy! :)

The Skittles/Sprinkles game

Owen brought a fun sorting/counting/color-identifying game home from preschool this week, and this morning after breakfast we decided to play it together. Vivi was so interested in the game that I made her a smaller version of her own and since I didn't have any Skittles in the house, used red and green cookie sprinkles instead. They LOVED it and played several times, even swapping and doing each other's version. So neat to see my kiddos having fun with learning games.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Surprise treat

Our door bell rang at 5:30 tonight and the kids ran to see who it was. Turned out it was a drop-off surprise Christmas treat from our realtor, Kevin LaRue, who had sold us this house we now call home. :)

 Thank you so much, Kevin!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandpa & Congratulations Aunt Hillary!

Grandpa's birthday is exactly a week after Vivian's and to celebrate, we all went out to dinner a day early at Wildfire in Tyson's II. We were also celebrating Aunt Hillary's graduation from nursing school! Everyone had such a great time and the kids were very well behaved in the fancy restaurant. Vivi helped blow out Grandpa's birthday candle after we sang Happy Birthday! Afterwards, they even caught a glimpse of Santa! :)

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
Congratulations, Aunt Hillary! We're so proud of you!

Friday, December 14, 2012

When the unthinkable happens

the only thing I know to do is pray. Hard.

Praying for the community of Newtown, CT 
as they mourn 28 lives lost so tragically.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Princess Doctor Vivian in the house!

Kayla & Ryan gave Vivi an adorable pink shimmery dress-up dress - her very first one! - and a doctor kit for her birthday! It's the cutest thing to see Owen & Vivi play together with the doctor kit. Kinda makes me wonder if one day we may have a doctor or nurse in the family.

Thanks so much guys for feeding her imagination! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perfect afternoon for...

Hot cocoa! It was freezing today, so after Vivian woke up from her nap, the kids had a snack and I decided a cup of hot cocoa would be perfect to help us warm up. I used my mom's (Hershey's) old recipe and heated it up (just a little since neither of them have ever had a warm beverage before) on the stovetop and for fun we used their little teacups and saucers from the play kitchen. We even had some whipped cream for on top which added to the excitement. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1st Cardiologist check-up

Vivian had her follow-up with the cardiologist this afternoon. Everything looks great! We go back at the end of January for her final check-up. The kids loved playing with all the toys on the floor of the exam room.

Don'tcha just love it when your kids sit all over the floor at the doctor's office???

Gifts from Uncle Mike, Aunt Lindsey & cousin Max!

The mail has been slow due to the holidays, but Vivi's box of presents from Uncle Mike, Aunt Lindsey and cousin Max did arrive on time. Only thing was, it was 8:30pm when they arrived and Vivi was already asleep. So she got to open them today! They sent her very first finger painting set, two awesome girly books and a set of Disney Princess tiny board books!

Thank you so much guys! 
Can't wait to see you all in January to thank you in person!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opening presents on Birthday morning

Grandma & Poppy and Uncle Mike, Aunt Lindsey & cousin Max sent Vivian some special presents for her birthday. She opened them today and was so excited to find art supplies, new books, a jewelry box, and a birthday princess shirt with her name on it! She was in heaven!

Vivi's Birthday Playdate

We had our friends over to help us celebrate Vivian's 2nd Birthday today! Ashley, Ricky and William, Mindy, Lucas and Cole, and Molly, Nate and Drew all came over to play. The lucky birthday girl was surrounded by BOYS! :)

We made snowman ornaments, decorated gingerbread Santa sleighs and had reindeer fluffernutter sandwiches with cherry noses for lunch. The kids had a ball running around playing together and the strawberry cake came out of the oven just in time to frost and sing Happy Birthday! Vivian is so blessed to have such wonderful, loving friends.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Early Birthday dinner

Grandma & Grandpa Marshall and Aunt Hillary came over tonight to celebrate Vivian's birthday a day early with Ben's famous pizza and incredible cupcakes they brought from a bakery near them.

Vivi was showered with gifts: her very first doll house, several beautiful outfits, a jewelry box, books, games and art supplies. Thank you so much Aunt Hillary, Grandma & Grandpa!

Christmas family brunch

Another tradition we've created with our best friends is Christmas family brunch. It's a time for us all to get together, enjoy delicious food and drinks, watch the kids exchange gifts and decorate cookies together. Since last year, we've added two more babies to the brood: Ryan and Drew. We just keep multiplying! Molly hosted again this year and everyone had a wonderful time. It's always one of my favorite days in December. Nothing beats good friends and the holidays!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Brunch with Santa

For Vivian's 2nd birthday, we decided to take the kids to brunch with Santa at Clyde's. They loved checking out the gingerbread house, Santa's sleigh, the gigantic Nutcrackers out front, and all the magic of Clyde's at Christmastime. They were unbelievably well-behaved the entire time. We had to wait for our table, so while we waited the kids got their faces painted - Vivi got a candy cane to match the candy canes on her dress and Owen chose a Santa face. We then waited our turn to sit on Santa's lap, and although she was excited to see him and we thought she might sit on his lap, she was a little scared an opted to just say hello from Mommy's arms instead. Owen told Santa what he wanted for Christmas and then we sat down for lunch. It was such a fun afternoon and the kids really enjoyed getting to see Santa up close. Such a fun tradition we've started.

Christmas candy cane cookies

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elf in the wreath

Buddy made himself comfortable in our dried flower wreath last night and the kids found him this morning.

Silly elf.