2016 Christmas Card Outtakes

DSC_0122This was all about 5 months ago, but better late than never I suppose.

A good lesson we learned this year is, don’t give your kids green lollipops BEFORE you are done taking photos. Their mouths and the surrounding areas will inevitably turn green and they will end up looking like the Hulk, and in James’ case, acting like the Hulk as well. We promised them lollipops if they cooperated. James did not pretend to cooperate, not even for a second, so we gave him the lollipop early, then tried to TAKE THE LOLLIPOP AWAY, and make him pose for more photos. Thus, tantrums ensued and we can only blame ourselves.

Here are our Christmas card outtakes.

DSC_0119

DSC_1505DSC_1553DSC_1556DSC_0020DSC_0004DSC_0120DSC_1558DSC_0049DSC_01059adbbf944650431a862400257c39ada0

On Sisterhood

094

As one of four girls, my sisters have been some of my greatest gifts in life, and today, they are my three best friends.

This is not to say that at some point in my life, I wouldn’t have gladly traded one of them for a brother; but now as an adult, I know how lucky I am. Yes they steal your clothes, hog the bathroom and the phone (back in the day of landlines), can piss you off more than anyone else in the world, and in my case, even physically assault you (no, really, we came to blows on many occasions.) But there is comfort in having people in life who know all of you, who are bound to support you no matter what and who aren’t afraid to tell you (loudly and perhaps in public) when you’re being an asshole.

One hope I have for Reese is that she will have a sister.

I used to think about this often and lately, as she gets older, I see that regardless of what happens in the future, Reese won’t miss out on a lot of the things sisters share. And that is because she has her cousin Mira.

Mira is 4 months older than Reese and she is the cool older cousin everyone has growing up. She was Reese’s first friend, and today Reese says she is her best friend. Mira lives close enough that we can see her fairly often, but each time we do it’s like Christmas. They tell secrets at the dinner table, giggling behind cupped hands. They disappear from family parties together and jump on beds. They plot new ways to torture little brothers. They imitate each other. They fight. They chase each other around the back yard and someone usually ends up crying.

I’m not sure that there are many other relationships in life like the one sisters have. But if there are, I would imagine they are a lot like those of close cousins (but without the physical assaults.)

We love you Mira-belle!

542928_3834620824129_1413523531_n

1014316_10151510861643386_1257154377_n

602796_3957045684674_1495320186_n

IMG_1691

IMG_3158

DSC_0811

IMG_4181

DSC_0870

DSC_0748

DSC_0735

IMG_4006

IMG_3657

DSC_0658

 

 

Halloween 2015

Halloween is a big friggin’ deal when you are a kid.

This year we went to a Halloween party at a farm, a trunk-or-treat (apparently this is a thing now) at Reese’s school, a Halloween party at a playplace near our house, and then of course the normal trick-or-treating on Halloween night. We got our money’s worth out of this year’s costumes.

I have come to accept the fact that as much as I want to be a crafty person whose kids always have homemade Halloween costumes, I will never be that person. Remember last year’s attempt?

Reese had been asking to be a mermaid for weeks before Halloween. When we were at Target I saw a mermaid costume which was, unfortunately, hanging next to an Elsa costume. Once she saw the Elsa costume, the mermaid was out.

So this year, Reese was Elsa, James was a Dalmatian, and Andrew and I were the un-fun parents who don’t dress up.  FullSizeRender (4) FullSizeRender (5) FullSizeRender (6) FullSizeRender (7) FullSizeRender (8) FullSizeRender (9)

FullSizeRender (10)FullSizeRender (3)

Princess Diaries

It is full-fledged princes mania around here these days, much to my chagrin.

IMG_3908_phixr

When I was pregnant with Reese we wanted the gender to be kept a surprise. We got all neutral clothes, toys, gear etc. As a baby and a toddler I made the effort to avoid the all pink princess everything. We painted her room a light gray, we got her toy trucks and dolls, and I rarely bought her pink, frilly clothes.

Now, at three years old, she asks to wear a dress every day, to have her nails painted and have “red lips”, and wants to know why she can’t wear her “jewels” to bed. I don’t even know where these things came from. Red lips and jewels? I never imagined that I would end up with such a girly girl, but here we are.

IMG_3016_phixr

I think there was a princess birthday party somewhere along the way that got the ball rolling, then we got a few princess gifts, she started noticing the little girls in Elsa costumes at the grocery store, etc. Then she discovered the Disney princesses and there was no turning back.

I still do my best to keep it to a minimum but I am not above buying a nine dollar coloring book featuring all the Disney princesses (Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose/Aurora, Jasmine, Tiana (?), and I’m sure I missed a few others) because I knew when Reese saw it she would totally lose her shit. And she did.

IMG_3696_phixr

 

IMG_3657_phixr

 

What is my problem with pink, flowery, princessy, girly stuff? I have no real vendetta against it, I just worry sometimes about the message it may send, but if my daughter loves it then I am over it. Especially since most of the princess stuff out now is much more girl empowering, and much less beauty oriented than it used to be. But, the emphasis on looks is still there and the underlined theme that beauty is equivalent with goodness is not lost on my three-year old. So yes, when my daughter is brought tears when I ask her to wear pants, and cries “but I won’t be pretty!” I take pause. And I blame Tiana and her band of bejeweled skinnies in gowns. But really, she will see this everywhere in a few years, except worse, she will see it in real life and not in fairy tales. And she may even see some of it from her own mother (eeek) because I too am guilty of reading the first ten pages of the Brazilian Bikini Diet book so I can look just like Giselle.

I am probably just overthinking this whole thing, and when this phase is over and she is asking me to buy her clothes at Justice I will be wondering what I was complaining about.

IMG_1926_phixr

 

 

 

 

Christmas Card Outtakes

DSC_0382

Every year, I am always so impressed with the beautiful family pictures we receive as people’s holiday cards. I will never understand how all of these people are able to get such great pictures of their babies/kids. Pictures of families dressed all in the same color, on a beach somewhere, with babies who smile on cue and kids with hair that is neatly combed and yogurt free.

I anticipated a struggle with getting a respectable picture of our two, so I started the quest early.

Here are some that didn’t make the cut.

DSC_0489

DSC_0542

DSC_0510

DSC_0626

DSC_0405

DSC_0412

DSC_0326

DSC_0342

DSC_0419

DSC_0435
And here’s what we ended up with. The only one where both kids were looking at the camera and no one was crying or scowling.

MIN-5GM-HYC_A_FRT

 

James At Six Months

DSC_0423

 

DSC_0251_022

James2

The smiley-est baby ever. Everyone gets a smile, even his sister as she’s grabbing all the toys away from him. It’s the greatest thing ever.

Nicknames include Jamesie, Jamers, Jamesie Jones, Jamerino, and the occasional Jimbo.

At the six month mark he is 20 lbs strong and 26.5 inches long; the 34th percentile for height and the 88th for weight. Strangers still comment on his girth on a daily basis. We started food around 5 1/2 months and although he still seems to prefer nursing, he loves pureed apples, squash, bananas, peaches, plum,  pears and sweet potato. No teeth yet.

James is easy-going, happy, a great eater, and content to being dragged around on errands, to playgrounds, walks etc. He can hang anywhere and even lasted for a few 6 hour beach days this summer. My only complaint– he is not a great sleeper and the sleep deprivation is slowly killing my soul. He still wakes 2 and sometimes 3 times a night to nurse. At his six month checkup the doctor suggested giving him some rice cereal right before bed. Um, have you seen him?? I don’t think the kid is starving.  More on this soon.

He is on the move. Through a combination of rolling and army crawling he can get around as much as he pleases.

Reese is still his favorite person in the world and the only one who can draw fits of laughter straight from his belly.

I’ll say it again –this is going by much too fast. I feel like I just gave birth to him and now he’s moving around my living room floor all by himself. I know the day he no longer wants to be held in my arms will come much too soon, so we are doing a lot of that these days.

 

James6

DSC_0391

James4

James3

DSC_0216_020

james1

 

 

Reese At Two Years And 8 Months

 

unnamed

 

6

 

5

Reese will be three in November. We are in the midst of the terrible twos. I agree that two can be terrible, but it can also be hilarious and fun. When kids start talking and conversing with you, you learn a lot. You learn what they really think about the way you look, the things you are doing, the clothes you are wearing, the way you talk, etc. Reese does not hold back and if you’re having a bad hair day, girlfriend will let you know.

Her first love is still all things food, but currently, other obsessions include Calliou, Curious George, Laurie Berkner, swimming, and princesses.

Two has been fun because we can do more things that she can truly appreciate. She can hang for a full day at the beach, the zoo, a kid’s museum etc. No more paying big bucks for tickets to the amusement park where she sits in the sandbox for 2 hours!

She now actually likes playing with other kids. Especially older girls. Whenever we go to the playground she asks if there will be other kids there. When we get there, if there is an older girl there she immediately runs up and says “Hi, I’m Reese, what is your name?” If they don’t answer, she asks again. If they try to leave, she follows, and asks again. She has her father’s persistence and her mother’s social skills.

Reese takes swimming lessons once a week at the YMCA and she LOVES them. It was here I learned that she has also become fearless. If I don’t have her hand in a death grip when we walk to the locker room at the end of class she will try to jump into the deep end of the pool. Every time. More than once she has slid down the kiddie slide into the pool before I was at the bottom to catch her.

She talks nonstop. Mostly to ask questions. Her favorite question is “why?” “Why is that man eating his lunch?” “Why is that girl playing on the swing?” The worst is when she asks questions about people who are within earshot as if they weren’t there at all. “Mom, why is that man talking to the girl? Why does he talk like that? Why is he holding that? Why does he have those glasses on? Where is his Mom?”

Reese’s speech is great for the most part but she still hasn’t mastered her S words yet so it sometimes takes us awhile to understand what she is talking about.  Poon is spoon, tairs is stairs, etc. My favorite is cream instead of scream.

No new news on the potty front. Should it be taking this long?

Relations with James are improving. I have caught her telling him, “It’s ok James”, when he’s crying and the other night she even asked me if we could move James’s crib into her room.

Every day is still something new and when I look at James I am reminded of how much they change in such a short time.

So we are soaking in all that two has to offer; the terribleness and the hilariousness.

 

051 (2)

 

027 (2)

 

009 (2)

 

018 (2)

 

007

unnamed4

unnamed3

unnamed2

002

And Then There Were Four

FebMarch2014 092_phixr

I am happy to announce that I am no longer pregnant.

James Eli was born via C-section on March 5th, 2014 at 1:55 PM and has been charming the pants off us ever since. Isn’t he a handsome devil?

We are tired, busy and tired. Some days we don’t shower. Did I mention we are tired?

Big sister is warming up, ever so slowly, to her new little brother and we think they may be friends one day. Recently, she has begun showing genuine concern when I enter a room without James in my arms. She asks “What happened to James?”, and sometimes her tone sounds accusing.

Big changes happening in our house and once I stop using my “spare” time to eat, sleep or shower I will fill you in.

In the meantime, here are some pics of our first day with our beloved baby boy.

James 2 009_phixr James 2 018_phixr James 2 023_phixr

James 2 051_phixr

 

Big Girl Bed Still A Big Hit

We are probably setting a bad precedent, but Reese’s favorite thing to do is jump on her new bed. She says “I want to jump!” and she likes to have an audience when she does it. When her cousin joins, it is even more fun. My mom, sister and I were cracking up as the two of them went crazy on the bed (Mira got so crazy she lost her pants.)

There were some tumbles, a couple of collisions, and some run ins with the wall, but I think this my have been the best day of Reese’s life.

014_phixr

017_phixr

011_phixr

001_phixr

2013

2013 was a big year for us.

Reese turned two in November.

077_phixr

This is what a lot of two has looked like so far…..110_phixr

She may not have loved her birthday party, but some people had fun.

109_phixr

My sister got married in November and Reese was a flower girl. We got her to walk down the aisle by bribing her with lollipops. I learned an important parental lesson; candy gets shit done.

038_phixr

We found out that baby number 2 would be coming to us in February 2014 and that Reesie would be getting a new cousin (her third!) in early March.

1456513_10200847851338686_909691302_n

Glasses were a big hit this year.

001_phixr

106_phixr

Reese understood Christmas a little more this year. By this I mean that she knows nothing about the day being a celebration of the birth of Christ but everything about Santa, candy canes and presents.

101_phixr

104_phixr

It was a year full of exciting firsts; first time eating an ice cream cone, first time swimming in a lake, first time riding an unenclosed train in frigid cold temperatures when Mom forgot your hat and mittens, etc. There were also some  “oh my god she’s no longer my baby” lasts. Your second, and last year as an only child, the last time you used a baba (pacifier), the last time sleeping in your crib (more on this soon.) The list goes on, and we know it is only just beginning.

Cheers to 2014. We can’t wait to see what it will look like.

117_phixr