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Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013.

I just went back and read my year-end post for 2011. I planned on writing about what my goals for 2013 might be, and as it turns out, they are identical to what I hoped for 2012. Hm. So much for reaching goals.

Although, I should mention that in the past year, we had a lot thrown our way! A pregnancy, a baby, a home renovation. So since my goals to become more organized and lose weight were sort of achieved and then completely unachieved (not a word, I know.) I think it's reasonable to set the same "resolutions" for next year too.

We finally finished our basement in the last year. There's a little left to be done, but nothing substantial. In the process of the renovation, a lot of junk that was just down there for storage stayed down there and basically had walls built around it. Most people would clean that up before that whole ordeal. We evidently aren't most people. My goal for 2013 is to get it cleaned out completely and have no garbage or strange and unnecessary paraphernalia from our high school days. Today I showed Marcus "the bracelet he got me a long time ago", only it wasn't from him at all. So yeah. Threw it in the trash. I also found a picture that was in my dental file that was given to me years ago. Makes sense to keep that, for sure.
Don't throw me away!


We found old cell phones from 10 years ago and we brought up all the reasons why they were awesome at the time. Like mine, for example, had a feature where I could customize what color light showed when different people called. Talk about fancy. Marcus's was a nextel so there was actually nothing ever cool about it ever. BLOOP BLOOP.

My next resolution for 2013 is to lose the baby weight and not put in all back on in the same year with another pregnancy. Oye. Ideally, I'd lose it in the next 8 weeks as we've got a family vacation planned with the in laws. But I've fully embraced the mom-suit, and feel no sense of urgency as far as looking hot goes. I was browsing the internet for swimwear, and I truly think that Victoria's Secret is insulted if I purchase from them. I don't think I'm exactly their target demographic anymore. That's okay. However, I think I might be the target demographic for Pillsbury. Not as okay.

I guess my main goal for 2013 is to feel settled in my role as a stay at home mom of 2. I've only been staying home for 7 months, and while I mostly enjoy it, I need to do a better job at it.
I was telling my husband how Lena is no longer a newborn, it's time for me to get dressed for the day (on a daily basis.) I mean, I change my clothes, but it's not like I'm presentable to society. I'd like to maintain myself, and the house a little better this year. So yeah. Let's see if that happens.

Happy New Year!
What kind of crazy stuff would you find in your storage space?





Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas with our Little Loves


There's something sort of cliche about even mentioning the magic of the Christmas season when you have children. But I never knew the joy that they could bring an already joyful time of year. 
Little things like sparkly lights, first snowfalls, and the hand motions to Christmas songs got Charlotte all giddy and sweet, and I just ate it up. We had a very busy 4 days, and by the end we all crashed. Charlotte is either becoming a terrible 2 (her birthday is in 7 days!) or she's exhausted (even though she sleeps like Rip VanWinkle) or she's fighting a bug. I really hope it's a bug, because there's hope that she'll be back to her old self in no time. 

But overall, it went great, and we all had a lot of fun.



Self timed forced family photo. The best kind.

Note: open things like trains and play kitchens after the boring stuff like books.

ah! I've been wanting this gift all of my life!

Charlotte and her cousin John (4 months older) making each other hysterical. 

Two new babies this year!


My husband knows me so well.

Baking cookies

My mom searched the whole internet and surprised me with this little gem.
if you need  refresher, click here.

All tuckered out. She was not sleeping, but she did not want to be bothered.
Another Christmas is behind us, and that means it's on to Charlotte's birthday.
Are the twos as terrible as they say or do you think it's moved to the threes?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our Vacation to Disney World! (The Resort)

My first post on Disney was our travel experience. You can read about that here.

We stayed at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. We did a lot of research when it came to where we would stay. We checked out hotels and resorts off the Disney property, and decided that it'd be nice to take advantage of Disney's Magical Express (where they take your luggage to and from the airport for you) and the free transportation. Then we had some deciding to do when it came to where we'd actually stay on the property. We looked at the value, moderate, deluxe and deluxe villa resorts. Of course, I immediately check out deluxe vilas, because I am a spoiled snob and I wanted to see if it was something even close to our price range. 

Simply put: they're not.

However, we were directed to a phenomenal website where there are great deals for the deluxe accommodations. We made a request to see what was available, and it still was outside of our price range, so we continued to look elsewhere until we got a last minute deals email. We made another request and there were two room types at Saratoga Springs that were available. We decided to go for a one bedroom villa since Charlotte goes to bed much earlier than we do, and we didn't want to keep her up too late and ruin a perfectly fun vacation. But since it was a "last minute deal", we were leaving in TWO weeks.

The resort was beautiful. It wasn't Disney overload, and our room was perfect.
View from balcony looking in. Full kitchen, so we didn't need to dine out for every meal with two little kids!

Our view. It was so peaceful and calm. No wailing kids or anything obnoxious.

We had a few groceries delivered so we could enjoy a quick breakfast at "home" instead of spending $50 dining out.

There was a pack n play available, but Charlotte slept on the pull out couch, which was her first time sleeping  without being stuck in a baby jail. There's something funny to me about seeing her sleep somewhere besides her crib or a pack n play. The first morning, she waited until she saw a light turn on to call to us. Later that day, she napped in our bed while we were out in the living area. It was completely quiet when we saw a little figure scamper towards the door. Charlotte had silently opened the bedroom door, and wandered out, but didn't know the layout of the place so she was headed for the exit. 

After we caught the escapee. Love that bed head!
Lena slept in her car seat in our bedroom. That's all I have on that.  She's little, and doesn't do a whole lot. What she did do, was sleep really well the entire trip. She gave us 7+ hour stretches every night. She got a little congested on the last two nights and was coughing a bit. I think it was just the air in the hotel or something. It would have been really nice to have packed the baby saline spray, but I didn't think of it. (Something to consider when traveling with your littles.)

Saratoga Springs is very close to Downtown Disney. We learned that we could walk if we wanted to, but there was ferry transportation also. We did both. The resort is enormous, so you have to be okay with doing a little walking to get where you want to go, I think if you had two small kids who weren't in a stroller (think 4 or 5) you may want to take advantage of the bike rental. They're really cute carriage-like with a surrey, and the whole family can ride on one.

The pools were fantastic. I'm a moron and forgot swim diapers, but fortunately the shop had some available in packages of one or two, That's a lot better than needing to buy a package of 20. Charlotte loved swimming way more than she did this summer. The pools have a great activity schedule which would be great to take advantage of if you have a little more time to spend there. 

She wanted to do this SO.BAD. but looks terrified. She went down 3-4 times.

Lena loved the pools too.

High Rock Spring Pool

The Paddock pool (my favorite)


There are also quick dining options at the resort, but we never went. Overall, I really liked this place, but would definitely like to check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge next time. :)

Next up: our experience at the parks!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Quiet

I've been quiet the last few days. In the wake of the terrible happenings in CT, I feel like anything I would share would be trite and meaningless. I may get around to something, but then again, I may not.

What I will share today is how I feel the need to focus on some positivity. (Wait. is that not a word? why am I getting the red squiggle under that? I googled it like a moron. Is everything in my life a lie?)
I need some warm fuzzies (red squiggle again! fuzzies is a word!! wtf!) and if I need create warm fuzzy situations, so be it. Extra bubbles in the bath, heck yes. A big muffin and cookie at breakfast just to see how much Charlotte enjoys it, no problem. Dance party, followed by stories and singing in bed, my heart explodes. I may not be able to control the bad things that happen in life, but I can do my best to contribute some happy things.
Here are just a couple of things that have made me smile in the last few days.

Popping blood vessels from extreme weight lifting

Tucking in all of her babies (including Minnie Mouse)

hey. my eyes are up here.

Practicing for the luge. 

sparkles spread cheer

This is what she'll look like at 90 when she takes her dentures out

Good leggings gone bad


What are the little things that have made you smile lately?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Beep



Tonight I was taking video of Charlotte eating because she was totally scarfing down her dinner and I wanted to show my husband, who had to work late. The video doesn't capture how fast she was eating at the moment, but it does capture something else. 
Make sure your volume is turned up.


video






Yes, she calls farts "a beep." And burps, and sometimes hiccups. While I don't encourage potty humor at the dinner table, I find this hilarious because she has no clue that farts are gross, funny, or whatever else people think of them. To her, it's just "a  beep." and clearly, they are somewhat surprising to her as well. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santa, Clowns, and other Terrors

Today we took the girls to a special Christmas brunch hosted by the club my in laws are members of. There was a special craft, a clown, and Santa!
Knowing very well how Charlotte reacts to a giant bearded man shouting "HO HO HO", we've been talking him up a lot the last several days. How nice he is, how he brings you presents, and that he's watching your every move via Gus, his scout elf.
She seems to get excited when "See-ta" is on TV, or if she sees a picture of him somewhere, but in real life it's another story.
Santa came marching into the dining room today and Charlotte was literally trembling. She was so, so scared. I'm not one of those moms who thinks it's hilarious when my kid is terrified. I won't shove her in Santa's lap just so I can get a picture of her crying. I don't try to baby her either, but I just don't think it's necessary for her to be horrified when she need not be.

Then that bastard clown came around and she started to freak out again. I just looked at him, shook my head, and mouthed "noooo." and off he went. You could hear children crying throughout the dining room as Santa and DeeJay the Clown made their rounds. It really was quite comical when you think of it, but it's no fun when your kid is finally eating a plate full of food for the first time in days, and then she's so scared she won't swallow her broccoli. I kept smelling her butt to see if she pooped, but it was just her disgusting chewed broccoli mixed with tears and snot breath. Such a magical day.

But really, in all honesty, it was a lot of fun. I took Charlotte into the room where Santa was greeting kids, and we just watched for a while. She saw that he was giving them gifts (the members gave ideas for the kids so they all got a gift picked out especially for them), and once the line was down, we walked up together and talked to him. She even said hi.
so, I hear you have presents.

Lena didn't cry about sleep ALL day. Even at bedtime. Santa is magic.

Today Charlotte learned that if a scary man gives you a present, you no longer need to be scared. terrible message.

We get dressed up for a family picture and this is the best one we get. 

This evening before Charlotte went to bed we talked about her day, and she recalled that Santa gave her a gift (Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck bath squirt toys) and I realized I should probably teach her about the real meaning of Christmas, since we keep missing church and whatnot. We sang a few Christmas songs, and I taught her the motions to Away in a Manger. I know it sounds really corny, but it was a really sweet ending to the day. Especially since she had just thrown a tantrum of epic proportions about changing into her pajamas. 

Did you believe in Santa growing up, or when did you find out it was a big fat giant hoax?





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Toddler Speak and Infant Sleep

Charlotte is starting to talk a lot more. And when I say "talk" I mean the language that only moms and dads understand and it pisses everyone else off.
Lately, when Charlotte sees a body of water, she'll say "row boat" and we find it really strange because there won't be any boats, let alone a row boat, and who taught her what a row boat is?
Turns out this is what she means:

video
So while in Florida, she kept shouting a mix of "row boat" "robot" and "robert".

We started the whole Elf on a Shelf business this year, and we needed to name the elf something that Charlotte can say. You'd think "Robert" would be a good option, but she has no idea that's what she's saying. So since most things she can't pronounce are said as "das", we named the elf "Gus".

There's the little creeper!
Speaking of nothing I was speaking of, Lena is still a great sleeper. When she's sleeping. She's a terrible fall-asleeper. The crying gets to be so excessive. She can fall asleep in my arms without too much complaining, but I can't hold her all the live long day. And yes, I have a moby wrap and an ergo, but I like to have my kids learn to sleep in a bed. I didn't really do much work on Charlotte's sleep as an infant until she was maybe 3.5-4 months, but with a toddler running around while there is a giant Christmas tree sparkling and getting her attention, I would prefer not to be rocking the baby all day. Earlier today, Charlotte dragged her chair towards the stairs and then tried climbing on it, only to fall down the stairs (it's only 2 stairs) and have the chair fall on top her. Holding Lena doesn't make it easy to hop up and help.

The good news is that when she's not tired, she's almost always super happy. She's always grinning and cooing and it cracks me up.
dimples!

Would you rather have a baby that falls asleep easily but is up frequently, or deal with the crying to get a nice long stretch of sleep?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Vacation to Disney World! (The Travel)

Last Saturday we left for our family vacation to Disney World. It went so well! There is of course some anxiety associated with traveling with a toddler and a 10 week old, but it went pretty much as I expected it.
I did a ton of research before leaving, and I write this to maybe help others out if they are planning a trip to Disney with their little ones.

We drove to Chicago to fly to save a couple bucks and I still don't think it's worth it. The ride there is always fine, but when you get back, all you want is to be home as soon as possible. Driving 3 hours in the middle of the night is no way to end a vacation. The drive there went great, Lena slept almost the whole time, and Charlotte was happy for the first two hours, and then I popped in an Elmo DVD and she was content for the rest of the trip.

We were sort of disappointed upon airport check in that they wouldn't let us take our stroller through the airport because it was too heavy to gate check. This is one of the things I went back and forth over and over on, but we ended up taking it, just to have to check it. It wasn't a big deal, but if you have a Baby Jogger City Select and you fly out of Chicago, you will have to check it with your luggage. I was thankful we picked up a travel bag the day of our trip!

Charlotte and Lena both did great during the flight. Charlotte was really excited to "fly in the sky" and said it over and over (and over and over), and as soon as we were above the clouds, she immediately crashed (bad choice of words) and slept the rest of the flight.

Proof that Lena was there. The only pictures we have are of her in a carrier or in her car seat.
Poor second child. 

She slept this way the whole time! 

Airplane head

Once we landed, we made our way to Disney's Magical Express, where we boarded a motorcoach to take us to our resort. It was around 11:00-11:30 when we got on, and Charlotte was wound up!! She never stays up that late, and she basically got a 2.5 hour nap, so she was ready to party. We waited forever to get moving, and since she's never been on a bus either, she was pretty psyched about that too. "a bus! a bus! a bus! OH TOODLES! a bus! toodles! toodles! oh toodles! a bus!" Anything that has Mickey ears is "oh toodles" even if it's Mickey Mouse. Sometimes she'll say "mouse" but it's usually toodles. She wasn't bothering anyone, but she was so slap happy. Lena was doing alright, as far as little babies go. It's good to be a portable milk machine sometimes. We were all so ready to get to our resort.

We stayed at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and it was really nice. We arrived at about 12:30am and were so, so ready to just go to bed. But this resort is enormous and sprawling and after we checked in, we had to get on a golf cart shuttle to our room. So we had to fold up the giant stroller again and watch as the bellman hung it precariously on some dolly thing attached the cart. (seriously...consider renting a stroller if you have two little ones), then after our cold cart ride, we arrived at our room and finally got settled in for the night.

I'll post about our resort later, as this post is about the travel. Saratoga Springs is very close to Downtown Disney, and they have ferry shuttles to take you back and forth, or you can walk. We did a lot of both.


Staring at strangers. 

We traveled to and from the parks by the complimentary shuttle service, which is great, but there is some waiting involved. For the most part it wasn't too bad, but it was sort of a pain folding up the big double stroller each time we got on and off. Our stroller specifically is a challenge because it doesn't fold up nicely when it has both seats on. It is the perfect stroller while in use, but it is a little bit of a beast when you're trying to fold it up quickly. So that's something to consider if you have one and plan on traveling with it. The bus drivers were usually very helpful and quick to remind me (if I seemed frazzled by trying to hurry) that "you're on vacation, take your time, we're here to make it easier for you." and I thought that was very sweet.

I would say if there was any challenging part of the trip, it was getting to and from our destinations. That being said, it was a very small challenge.

This post has been like 3 days in the making as coming home from vacation usually leaves you busier than you care to be.

Have you traveled with your babies or toddlers or do you say NO WAY until they get a little older?