Friday, December 28, 2012

Kansas City Christmas

We just got back from Christmas in Kansas City!  We had a great time and were able to spend several days this trip instead of our quick two day turnaround like usual.  We left Saturday morning and drove 8 loooong hours to Blue Springs.  We were happy to be out of the car and JJ was excited to be at Nana and Papa's house.  We just hung out on Sunday and Monday before our Christmas Eve gathering.
Airplane with Jackson.  There were lots of giggles.

"I got your nose."

Nana and Charley

We bought this memory game for Jackson.  With 72 pieces, it is better suited for the bigger kids.  It turns out that Jackson doesn't understand what to do even with 4 cards.  We'll get there.

We hung out with the Alexander clan Sunday night.  Bryan always attracts the little ones.
 We always celebrate our big Christmas on Christmas Eve with my mom's dad and brother's family.  This is when we open all our gifts.  JJ was pretty overwhelmed with all of his gifts but we got some good smiles out of him.  After gifts and desserts we played a trivia game and a drawing game that I put together.  It was so fun!

Mike and his girlfriend Lindsay. She is so fun!
 The Pajama Elf delivered the kids' pajamas!

"Twas the night before Christmas" reading with daddy.  Charley was there too but I had to hold her per Jackson's request. "No Chardey on the bed."
 We got Jackson a big train table but we couldn't set it all up since we had to bring it home in the car.  This was all we put together.  His initial reaction was great!  Then, withing three minutes he was crying, screaming, and throwing the trains and tracks.  Ugh.
This picture pretty much sums up his mood for a majority of the trip.  My parents even said they aren't sure how I don't go crazy staying at home with him all the time. He's hard!  But it's so fun to watch him when he's happy.
We had a wonderful time and it was so good to see everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Photo Dump

We have been busy getting things checked off of our holiday traditions list!  Here are lots of pictures in reverse order since that's the way I accidentally uploaded them:
Saturday we went to Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier.   It was fun but super crowded!  Bryan is going to take a day off next year to go mid week.  I'm thinking it will be a fun tradition for the kids to miss a day of school to go as they get older. 
 This picture was funny.  A sweet lady offered to take it.  We're juuuust barely in it.
 They had balloons that JJ was thrilled about.
 "Frosty!  I see his carrot nose"
 At the bottom of a big slide!  He was fearless!
Candy cane tunnels
We went to Bass Pro yesterday with our friends Renee, Addison, and Rece.  The kids had a great time!  Jackson and Addison walked around holding hands the whole time and everyone thought they were twins.

Sidenote:  We went to see Santa a couple weeks ago and this was the best picture we could get.  JJ watched the other kids and was very cautious when it was his turn.  We had to take a family picture first because he was hanging around my neck so tight.  I jumped up to look at the picture and noticed he was fine there so I motioned for Bryan to get out of the picture.  So, we got this picture with neither kid smiling and my sunglasses on Santa's armrest.
When my friend Renee said she was going to Bass Pro I didn't think Jackson would want to do Santa again.  I was SOOO wrong.  He waited his turn and waved at Santa between every kid.  When it was his turn he ran up and jumped on his lap!  He was thrilled!
Sunday night we took Jackson through a drive through light display!  He liked the tunnel of lights the best and didn't understand that once we were out, we couldn't do it again.
 Saturday night we got a sitter and went to dinner and saw Let It Be Christmas at our church.  I love this program!  Two brothers at our church wrote the whole thing and it's awesome!  It's the nativity story told with all Beatles Songs.  Amazing.

And finally, our Christmas card!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Proof is in the Pin Link Up

Today I am sharing a couple Pinterest ideas I have tried in a link-up with Sarah's blog, Life{Sweet}Life.  I love it!  She does a monthly post called The Proof is in the Pin and I remembered to take a picture so I thought I'd share. 
The first one is the sweet peasant dress I made for Charley.  I pinned this dress when I saw how easy it looked to make.  And it was!  Four rectangles is the pattern.  This is a bad iPhone picture and it's all bunched up on her now but it fits great and it was so easy.  The only thing I did differently was to add the trim at the bottom instead of just hemming it.  From start to finish I think it took 2 hours.  I bet it will take less time next time I make it since I know what I'm doing and won't have to re-read the instructions mulitple times.

She always ends up with unicorn bows.  I put them on the side and within 3 seconds, they are smack-dab in the middle of her forehead.
The next thing I tried was Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments.  I was shocked that you could make a dough with JUST cinnamon and applesauce.  I wish I would have gotten cinnamon from the dollar store because you use a lot but it was an impulse decision to make them so I bought McCormick because that's all there was.  It was really easy to make them...but they're still sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counters two weeks later because I never put them on the tree!!!  Super lazy.  I was kind of hoping they would smell and they really don't.  It still felt festive while I was making them though! 
I'm always making things I find on Pinterest so hopefully I can keep this up!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jackson's Cookie Decorating Party

Right after Charley was born I decided I wanted to organize/host weekly play dates for moms in our area.  There was a group of us from Cradle Talk that still met frequently and the topic of weekly dates kept coming up.  I just decided it was finally time to organize it and it has worked out great.  Some days we play at our house and other times we go places.  This past Tuesday we hosted a cookie decorating party!  It was so fun!
I made 5 dozen sugar cookies and just had red and green icing for the kids to spread on.  I was going to do shape cookies but realized how long it would take me to make that many and I didn't figure two year olds would care.  Several moms brought sprinkles and that was all we needed! 
I wanted to the kids to have something to take home so I made each kid their own cup.  I just ordered outdoor vinyl (so it's waterproof and dishwasher safe) and made these designs with my Silhouette.  They were a big hit. .
 Addison was a great cookie decorator and sat in this chair for far longer than I would have guessed a two year old could.
More mommas juggling kids.  Most of us have two kids now so our house was very busy!
Jacob was a great decorator.  I love the pile of sprinkles in front of him.
Jackson actually gets a little overwhelmed when we host these play dates.  It would be hard to have 10-12 kids come over and play with all of your toys.  He decided he wanted to "paint" his cookies about 20 minutes after all the other kids were done.  Sweet boy.

Quality control.

The huge mess that the kids made was a great representation of how much fun they had.

I think I will make this a tradition for JJ and his friends!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Charley's Head- Exit Pictures

Like I mentioned in the Thanksgiving post, we had an unexpected surprise when we went for Charley's final band adjustment the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and they said she was done!  She was going to wear it one more week but we noticed that she was getting some red spots which is a sign she was growing out of it.  Since we weren't going to make a new one just for one week, she got to graduate early!  I was so excited to have one less thing to worry about on our trip.  But of course I worried more about her still being on her back a lot.  I mentioned that fear to her therapist several times but she said it shouldn't be a problem.  Usually kids are just getting the bands at 5 months and wear them for about 4 months so when they exit, they are rarely on their backs.  Well, Charley JUST turned 5 months so she is still on her back a lot!  And she still sleeps on her back most of the time.  I was told to do the best I could and that her skull was not as moldable now as it was earlier.  Of course, I still worry.
Here are more scary pictures of her head with the sock on for before and after.  I can't tell what I feel about these picures.  I know that they say she is done and I can't really argue with that.  I just wish it was glaringly obvious that it looks much better.  Some of it does but some look the same to me.
In this first picture the focus is on the bulging over her ears.  The lower right picture shows less of an upside down triange and more of the oval it is supposed to be.  Nothing crazy here but I can easily see the difference.
 These side view pictures are interesting to me.  She looks MUCH better from the side as she really got that bump to come out on the bottom.  I was worried about the flatness above that and the therapist said that a lot of kids have that and it can't be fixed because those bones fuse at about 2 weeks old. (Some kids come in for treatment and can't get any because their bones have already fused and they wouldn't move.  Luckily, that wasn't the case for us!)  I think I can tell the biggest difference in this set of pictures.
 This last picture is the one where I don't see much of a difference.  The top right does show a more rounded head shape than the left but it's not super obvious to me. 
We are thankful that this process was pretty easy and FAST for us!  Charley is happy to have the band off too!  They say that the babies don't mind it and it shouldn't affect their sleep.  Bryan and I both think she's happier without it.  I can't blame her!  The night she got the band on, she started waking up 5-6 times a night.  The first night with it off, she only woke up twice and she's been waking only once or twice a night since then.   I would be happy to have it off too!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Festive Start to December

Yesterday was a great start to the festive season.  Bryan left early to run the Santa Hustle with his friend Clayton.  I joked with him that he should be dressed as an elf when he hangs out with Clayton because he is soooo tall that it makes Bryan look really short.  They had fun.  Bryan said it was the first time he's ever been giving a chocolate chip cookie in the middle of a race.  They were passing out M&Ms too!
 The kids and I stayed home and did some baking for my friend Andrea's Annual Christmas Dessert Party!  The first year I went I came in first place but I spent HOURS making cake pops and I'm not sure it was worth it.  The following year I came in dead last as I should have because I was super lazy with my cookies.  I was hoping that this year would land me somewhere in the middle, and it did!
Jackson wanted to help and he enjoyed "clean up" the most.
 Here are some of the desserts.  Mine were the puppy chow cookies served in the green dog bowl in the back.  There were Thin Mint girl scout cookie re-makes, an Andes mint cake, lemon blueberry cheesecake cookies, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, double fudge brownies and Andes mint cookies.
 These were white chocolate peppermint cheesecake squares on a cookie dough crust.
 This was a cherry fluff dessert and it was fabulous. 
Each person judges based on three categories:  Taste, Presentation, and Originality.  It's always a lot of fun and so yummy to try a bite of all the treats.
I actually didn't get a picture of the winning dessert though!  They were individually packaged in boxes and it was a chocolate caramel tarte with chocolate ganache.  Andrea's friend Stephanie made them and she wins a lot.....but she's also a culinary student!  NO FAIR!!! 
It's always a lot of fun and so great to get away from the kiddos for a bit!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Caroline Jane~ Five Months

I got closer to a smile this time! I have so much trouble taking pictures in our basement with no natural light against a black chalk board wall.  So, when I play around with the settings, I miss the smiles and get a good exposure or I get a great smile with a terrible exposure.  Oh well!  This time she kept falling over and laughing. 

Caroline Jane, at five months you:
  • weigh about 18 pounds.
  • drink 6oz bottles, about five times a day. 
  • are sleeping a little bit better!  You now wake up only once or twice between 7pm and 5am.  I can usually put your pacifier back in and then you go right back to sleep.  After 5am though, it's harder to get you back to sleep.  I think I'll give you until 6 months before I stop coming in to replace your pacifier.  Get ready, girl!
  • no longer have to wear your DOC band!  You are so much happier without it.  And so is Momma!
  • are fitting best in 9 month clothes.  You can still fit in some 6 month clothes but 9 month is definitely the best fit.
  • are finally starting to put some weight on your legs.  I know I shouldn't compare you and your brother but he was supporting his weight on his legs when he was just a few weeks old.  You are just now putting any weight on your legs.  I don't think you'll be hitting any physical milestones early, sweet girl.
  • are not enjoying the car like you used to.  If you aren't sleeping, you're crying.  It makes car rides no fun.
  • are liking the exersaucer.  You still don't play with toys in front of you but you look at them and smile.
  • blow raspberries constantly. 
  • have two teeth! 
  • have tried oatmeal cereal and you like it but still have a hard time keeping much in your mouth.  You open your mouth really wide but you push most of it back out with your tongue.  We'll keep practicing!
We all love you so much sweet girl.