Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Year In Review


Big event... the boy's first birthday!! He was a pro at eating cake right from the beginning.
At the end of the month we went to El Paso, TX. Jordan and Ben met their second and third cousins for the first time. Although we were there for a sad reason, it was nice to catch up with Dave's family and have them finally meet the kiddos.


Jordan turned THREE! She also became fully potty trained!


With warmer weather approaching, we were able to go to the playground and for the first time, Ben was able to PLAY! It was great having two little ones running around the playground.


Jordan got her first bout of lice... EEK! Hence the shortest hair cut she's ever had. It was a disgusting experience I hope to never repeat!
We also took the kids on a train ride, which was definitely awesome in Ben's opinion!


Dave got his first ever grill. YUM!


The kids took their first trip to California for Grandma Luisa's wedding. They also had their first beach experience. They were excited and had a lot of fun. Definitely worth the plane ride. They got along great with their new grandpa!!


Acquired a red wagon. This made all our trips to the zoo and Six Flags much easier! Loved this yard sale find!!


August was a busy month. We went to Pittsburgh to see my parents and my sister+family.
Then my friend from college came to visit. We saw THOMAS!!
And finally I got to meet lots of lovely ladies from my February 2007 Baby forum! It was amazing getting to see a bunch of people that I "knew" so well but had not actually met in person. They came from Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, and South Africa!!


September was a pretty laid back month. Dave and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary, I had my 29th birthday. We were busy with Jordan's first month of preschool, so no major outings.


We got to visit my best friend in St. Louis this month. We loved visiting so much that we went TWICE! Jordan and Ben fell in love with their new friends right away. During the second visit, we saw the St. Louis Arch and went up!


Ben is a full blown train lover so we went to the Museum of Science and Industry for the first time and he went NUTS over the train exhibit. Here he is trying to kiss the trains.


My parents were able to come out and visit in December. They hadn't been in over a year, so it was great to have them visit.
Christmas was so much fun this year! Both kids were really into the holiday and it was a delight to celebrate with them!

I don't know what 2011 will bring for our family, but I cannot wait to find out!

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Upholding Traditions

Last year we made this gingerbread house:

Although it was challenging, only the second one I had ever made, and my child was not quite as patient as I would have liked, I thought that the making of gingerbread houses/objects would be a really fun activity to turn into a holiday tradition.

This year, while visiting the Chicago Botanic Gardens, we happened upon a gingerbread train kit. I LOVED this kit. It came with candy (though I prefer M&Ms so I picked up some at the store), and the icing!

My daughter REALLY wanted gummy bears to be involved in the process, so I decided to use the icing to glue them down, like passengers waiting to board the train. This was a lot of fun and I can't wait to build another one next year! Maybe even do a house AND train.

Another tradition we have started with our kids is the matching PJs. This year mommy and daddy picked out spongebob... I NEVER thought I'd have kids that would love spongebob so much, but they do. Our almost 2 year old breaks out in the theme song multiple times a week. Pictures of said PJS will be posted later, after they have been unwrapped!

We still haven't decided if there will be other traditions started with our family. I do know that I am thrilled to not be traveling this year. As much as I miss my family and friends back in Pittsburgh, I feel so much more relaxed knowing I don't have to pack up and drive 10 hours with the kids! Dave has a church gig this year, so our big meal on Christmas day will be brunch, when he gets home from the church. So far I have apple bread french toast, cinnamon rolls, turkey bacon, eggs, and cut up bananas on the menu. Not sure what else we will have, maybe some sort of apple pastry since we have lots of apples to use up.

In case I don't get on the computer tomorrow, which is likely because I've been a bit of a slacker lately, I would like to wish all of you out there in blog land a very merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sundae On Sunday FAIL

Have you ever agreed to something that you thought was possibly a bad idea but wanted to be the good guy and it turned out wrong anyway? That was me on Sunday. I thought I was the COOL mom who let their kids eat an ice cream sundae for lunch.

Dumb, right?


We went to the Museum of Science and Industry in the city to see the trains and tornado exhibits. Our kids were pretty much done for at about 11:30am, right when the ice cream shop in the museum opened. Great, lets use our new membership and get 10% off, and get a really cool brownie ice cream sundae. Kids were in HEAVEN! 3 scoops of yummy vanilla ice cream on top of a brownie, each ball of ice cream surrounded by tons of whipped cream, and a cherry on top of each. Oh, and smothered in hot fudge.


Let me just say, now that I am an experienced mom.... Ice cream + lunch time + hour car ride home = daughter puking.


Thankfully daughter said later, when she was feeling better, "I am never going to eat ice cream and brownie at the same time again. It made me sick!" Let's see if she remembers that next time she asks for a sundae.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone out there in blogland!!

I have so much to be thankful for- my family (immediate and extended), friends (online and "real life" both of which help hold me together!!), my kitties, my husband's job, our amazing house we got in August, the fact that we are able to afford to send our daughter to preschool this year, my children growing up and becoming friends and playing nice together (sometimes), we can afford food, nice phones, Starbucks... (no , seriously).

Of course not everything is perfect, my sister moved farther away. But at least she is still a short plane-ride away should we be able to afford to visit. My job isn't exactly secure, but I know there will be other opportunities out there when the kids are in school full time and I can dedicate more time to working. My mom had back surgery in February, but I am so thankful she has been recovering well and will finally be able to visit us tomorrow. She has not been to see us since September 2009. I am thankful my aunt was able to move closer to my mom and not be so lonely anymore.

I wish we had more "extra" money so that we can help others. I would love to be able to buy a toy (or many) for every Toys For Tots I see. I would love to be able to volunteer or give more than we do. One day, perhaps, when we are a bit more secure and not living paycheck to paycheck I can do that. For now, we do our best to support those we know and those we don't. I am so thankful for our friends here in Great Lakes and being able to help each other out when we need it. I hope we are able to find such great friends each time we move.

Anyway.. I'm rambling on and I have baking to do!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Craft

Why did it take my daughter's speech therapist to do this awesomely cute craft for me to realize you can print holiday coloring pages from Google?! I had a major DUUUUUH! moment recently after trying so hard to find Thanksgiving themed crafts for my kids, and failing, only to have the speech therapist tell me she printed the coloring page from Google images. So yesterday I went online, and Googled "thanksgiving coloring pages" voila! There was this cute little turkey plus many others.

From now on, I will be using google for many of our holiday coloring! Next on our list is pilgrims/indians, and a cornocopia!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dino Bones

What mommy? You mean there is a museum that is only for dinosaurs?!

My kids like dinosaurs... just a little bit. They aren't obsessed, but they definitely like them. My daughter has outgrown them slightly, not playing with all the figurines that we have acquired over the past 2 years. My son, however, has just discovered dinosaurs over the past 3 months and thinks they are the bees knees. Can you see the excitement on his face??

There is a museum not too far from us that is all about dinosaurs, and is FREE. SWEET! Granted, it is incredibly small. One big room of bones, and one room with kids crafts, dino bone digging, and books about dinosaurs. But that's ok, to an almost 2 year old and almost 4 year old, two rooms was just right. And the price was just right for mommy and daddy - only the cost of two Starbucks. ;)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Technology Overload

I love technology. I love that I can talk to all my mommy friends from around the world via my computer. I love that family and friends can talk to us through video chat. I love my iPhone. I love my Wii and instant watch on my big TV. I can keep in contact with everyone via Facebook. I love reading books on my Nook anywhere I go and not worrying about children pulling out my book mark or tearing pages.

I DO NOT however, love preschoolers throwing tantrums over wanting to play on my phone. I do not love children fighting over the tv "I WANT TO WATCH SCOOBY DOO" "NOOOOO... I WATCH THOMAS!!!".... I do not love my husband oblivious to the family because he is absorbed in his game of Civilization on his phone.

I have yet to figure out a balance with all this lovely technology. How much tv is too much when I really just want 30 minutes to myself or to be able to cook dinner or bake without kids screaming at me. When should I stop them from playing on the phones and interact with us. Should I buy that Thomas book for my nook for my son.

I think back on my childhood, I didn't get my first video game until I was in 7th grade, and even then it was only tetris for our computer. I didn't have cable, netflix, game consoles, first cell phone was a clunker when I went off to college. My kids are better at video games than I am and they are only 3.5 and nearly 2! Of course, I has about 1/5 of the toys my kids have too.

Right now my daughter is watching tv, my son is reading his books, and my husband is practicing. I am blogging. Should I turn off the computer and tv and be a more "attentive" mother? The guilt-o-meter rises by the minute every time I get on the computer. Yet I keep doing it. I wonder if every mother judges themselves like I do. Constantly wondering how my mother got by without all this, how she got the house clean, children happy, family fed, and kept her sense of self without the aide of a million gadgets.

How do you all keep control of the technology in your households? Do you give in like I do or keep it under lock and key, only to be used in extreme cases?