Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Christmas Movies

I love wrapping presents. More accurately I love wrapping paper. I love covering a gift in pretty paper and on occasion topping it with a pretty bow. I am pretty particular about how the gifts I give look, so the hubs never gets to help wrap even though he asks at least 15 times a night. While I'm sure that if I wrapped at the kitchen table my back would love me more, I like wrapping on the floor of the living room in front of the TV. In previous houses I used to pull the table into the living room but that isn't an option in our current home, so on the floor I wrap.


The kids have lots of presents. I think I wrapped 15 books last night, a few movies, some boots, shoes, clothes, and a few toys. Wrapping took much less time when I didn't have 6428 little kid presents to wrap. Not that I'm complaining. I like to wrap, and I like to have lots of things for them to open. The same goes for nieces and nephews too. A few smaller presents is more fun than one big one when you're that age, or at least I think so. Maybe I should poll the kids on that to be sure.

Anyway, the whole point of this is that while I wrap I like to watch Christmas movies. I have quite a few that I have to watch every year. So I thought I'd share my Christmas movie favorites and see if anyone has recommendations for ones I need to add to my list.

  • Home Alone
  • Love Actually 
  • The Holiday
  • Christmas Vacation
  • The Year Without A Santa Claus
These are my absolute must watch, it isn't Christmas unless I do, movies. I haven't watched The Holiday yet this year, but I'm hoping to watch it this weekend during nap time. It's not one that's high on Rob's list, so I try not to watch it when he's home. Love Actually however, he has to put up with. Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, and The Year Without A Santa Claus have been watched many times already.


Now that the kids are old enough to watch a little TV, or on some days a lot, we watch a lot of Christmas cartoon. We've watched Mickey's A Christmas Carol at least 5 times already and they love saying Bah Humbug. Ebeneezer Scrooge is apparently hilarious if you're two and a half. Frosty and Rudolph have also been played a couple times. We have yet to watch the Grinch, but I think we may need to find time over the next week.


I'm almost ashamed to say I've never seen Miracle on 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life, so I know I need to get them watched. What other Christmas movies do I need to watch or add to my list? What are your faves? Not that I mind watching Christmas Vacation 15 times in one holiday season, but a little variety might be nice. So please, share your Christmas movie wisdom.






Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Eve Style

For as long as I can remember, my family has gone to Christmas Eve mass.Usually the early children's mass, but on occasion even midnight mass. I don't ever remember going to mass on Christmas morning. Christmas Day at my parents is always a laid back affair and often times we are still in pajamas when lunch time rolls around. Christmas Eve is a wee bit fancier, but everything from jeans to suits is appropriate atire. So when picking out Christmas outfits for the kids, it's always for Christmas Eve.

Gray Jeans, Fair Isle Sweater, Fair Isle Hat (Gap, Sold out), Tan Boots, Fur Trimmed Pea Coat


I bought Brooke's Christmas Eve dress and shoes on clearance last year, so her outfit was easy. I just needed to piece together the accessories. The girl loves accessories. The tights, bow, and necklace pictured she'll be wearing along with a gold and cream faux fur purse we picked up at Target a few weeks ago. Harrison will be wearing his favorite Gap skinny jeans along with the fair isle sweater. There's a very good possibility he will be wearing a monster truck shirt underneath, because getting him to wear a sweater means I'll need to compromise somewhere.

As for me, I found this great cream sweater with, surprise, sequins, that I'm hoping looks as good in person. Pair it with my favorite Express skinnys, black stiletto boots, and that's a wrap on Christmas Eve style. 

Gap has 30%-50% off today, Old Navy is offering 30%, and Target has some 30% markdowns too. If you still need to do last minute clothes shopping, so today is a great day to do it. What will you and your littles be wearing? Do you fancy it up for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let Them Eat Icing

This weekend was the busiest weekend I can remember in a long time. We had a full schedule, and we had fun every minute of it. Friday morning I got unexpectedly called into work. Thank goodness my mom lives close and is retired, because she was able to watch the kids at a minutes notice while I covered the morning shift at the daycare. Less than 5 hours of sleep paired with a morning of crazy dogs made for one tired me. Not even a quad venti peppermint mocha could give me enough energy to make it through the day.


As soon as I got home from work, the kids and I laid down for our afternoon nap. I was still tired when we woke up, so in one of my finer parenting decisions I decided we need a pizza, ice cream, and movie night. Green pepper and green olive pizza, mint chocolate chip and cherry cordial ice cream, and Toy Story 3. We were all pretty happy with how the night ended.

Saturday morning we woke up and got ready for breakfast with Santa at the Y. We had breakfast, decorated tree ornaments, played in a big bounce house, H sceptically talked to Santa, and B pet a reindeer. Brooke refused to get close to Santa and Harrison wanted nothing to do with the reindeer. At least one of them did each.



When we left the Y, we headed to Jungle George's for the kids' BFF Sophie's birthday party. There was lots more bounce housing, some game playing, and a whole lot of cake icing eating. Brooke and Harry had their first experience with ski ball. Harry went for the overhand throw and Brooke decided climbing up the ski ball ramp and placing the ball in the hole was the way to go. Maybe we need to wait a couple more years for ski ball. They did however manage to win over 300 tickets playing a dump truck game, which is way more than the 5 tickets I won playing ski ball.

Stop taking pictures and let me eat my cake in peace.

Saturday evening we dropped H and B off at their Auntie's house for a sleep over, and Rob and I headed out for his work Christmas Party. We almost didn't know what to do with a kid free night, but we let loose with some of his coworkers and broke curfew by a few hours. I was the DD and still had a blast, which means it was definitely a good night.


Sunday morning Rob and I slept in late and then grabbed breakfast just the two of us. We don't get out sans kids nearly as much as we should. Having some extended one on one time was much needed. After we picked up the kids we headed to our baby cousin's b-day party. Brooke was very excited to go see Baby B, and even more excited to eat more cake.



Long afternoon naps were followed by dinner at The OG and a drive through The Fantasy of Lights. We went last year and enjoyed it, but this year the kids were so excited about it. There was a whole lot of excited screaming going on in the van while we drove the loop. Mainly from Harrison. He was so happy to point out things he saw. The kids sipped hot chocolate, or more accurately spilled it all over themselves, while Rob and I drank peppermint mochas.

After a weekend full of fun, I am looking forward to the next few days where we have nothing planned. I'm hoping to get the rest of our presents wrapped and maybe even do some cookie baking. But mostly, I just want to chillax with my munchkins.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered our Jameson Monroe giveaway! Congrats to the winner, Ashley Evert. I know you will love whatever you chose from their amazing shop!












Friday, December 12, 2014

Fiver

It's Friday, and I'm sure by now you know that that means it's time for some random Fridayness. Or Friday randomness, either one.


Shirt
One - I am officially done with the kids' Christmas shopping! I still have a few things that haven't been shipped yet, but with the purchase of a Mickey Police Motorcycle from Amazon yesterday, I am done. Harrison changes his mind every day when it comes to what he wants Santa to bring him. I am sure he'll be happy with the fire engine and motorcycle he's getting, even if he asks for a tractor on Christmas Eve. Brooke only asks for a Minnie Cart and books, so I know Santa is bringing her what she wants.

Two - Twin Talk Blog has been featuring gift ideas for twins all this week. Each day boy/boy, boy/girl, and girl/girl twin moms have put together gift lists that their kids would love to receive. We are being featured today with gift ideas for 3 year old boy/girl twins, or really any 3 year olds. I am officially done with H and B's shopping and a few of the items on the list will be under the tree from Santa, and a few we're hoping they get from Grandma and Grandpa. Definitely click over and check out the gift lists if you still have shopping to do. I have been impressed with what the other moms have put together so far.

Three - I found these boots on clearance as DSW last week. After striking out at Macy's because they didn't have any boots I liked in my size, I was stoked to come across these. I love the buckle detail, and I scored them for less than $50. Major win!!


Four - Today is my last day of work for a couple weeks, and I am so excited to have an open schedule with the kids. They don't mind going to the daycare, but it makes our days so predictable. I'm looking forward to an evening dinner or two with some of our friends, and of course lots of family time come Christmas week. Poor Brooke will have to miss out on the excitement of playing with red solo cups. ;) I doubt she'll mind.

Five - Today is the last day to enter our Jameson Monroe giveaway. Entering is super easy, and you have chance to win a $50 gift card. If you don't already own any Jameson Monroe Headbands, you need to. They are fabulous!

We have a crazy weekend ahead of us. Santa, two birthday parties, a work Christmas party, and potentially a Christmas play. Although the last part depends on if we're hungover from the work party. Cheers to the weekend!










THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A couple weeks ago I was making chicken noodle soup. As I was cutting up vegetables, I started feeling a little queasy. I remembered briefly having the same feeling the day before. The first thought that popped into my head wasn't "maybe I'm coming down with something," it was "maybe I'm pregnant." So there I stand in the kitchen counting cycle days trying to figure out if it's even possible.

Robbie and I have been married for almost 10 years, and we've been trying to, or not trying not to, get pregnant for almost 7 of those years. In that time, I've learned more about reproduction and fertility than I ever wanted to know. I have also learned, and come to terms with the fact, that we will probably never get pregnant on our own. That still doesn't change the fact that every month I hold out hope for a miracle. And every month I am disappointed when a new cycle begins.

I am past the point of charting my cycles. I don't cry anymore when another month comes and goes. But I know enough to know when there is that less than 1% possibility that it could happen. And it never does, but it could. And so I hold onto that hope, and the disappointment that comes with it. I feel like that's a good thing.

When we had frozen embryos there was never any question as to whether we'd try for more. The answer was always yes, we'd like to have more. But then that option was taken away from us, and we had to really consider what we thought our family should look like. Robbie and I are both in agreement about another round of IVF, but there are days that I question if the expense is worth it. We have two amazing children and I know we could be happy if we are never more than a family of four. We're prepared for that, and we will gladly enjoy every day, just the four of us, if that's where our journey takes us.

The disappointment every month reminds me that the desire for more children is still there. It confirms to me that we are making the right choice to go through this again. So while I hate the feeling I get every time a new cycle begins, I'm glad I still feel the sadness 7 years after we started on this journey. I don't think infertility ever gets easier, at least for me it hasn't, but I've learned to live with it. I've learned to cope with the feelings of sadness, disappointment, and emptiness. Because along with those come feelings of hope, anticipation, excitement, and joy.

After the start of the year, we'll begin testing to make sure we're ready for our upcoming IVF cycle. While I don't necessarily enjoy blood work and ultrasounds, I'm excited about them because of what they mean. They mean we are getting closer to having a real chance at expanding our family, and that is something to be happy about. I will take the other emotions as they come, but being optimistic and happy is what I will choose to focus on.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Sterile Cup

Yesterday I had an experience with the kids that made me think WTF while it was happening, and has left me laughing about it after the fact. A little pre-story; Brooke has been telling me her "gina" hurt for a few days. So, we made an appointment to see their pediatrician bright and early yesterday morning. We amazingly made it on time with coffee, two smoothies, a can of La Croix, and two bacon sammies in hand. After getting the run down from the nurse, we worked on getting down to business. If you have ever had to get a urine sample from a toddler, I'm sure you know how not easy it is. Telling them they need to pee in a cup doesn't exactly work.

Visit 1 - Brooke says she needs to go. We sterilize and then sit on the toilet. She doesn't need to go, but doesn't want to get off the toilet. I'm sitting on the floor of the bathroom, holding her up and hoping by some miracle we'll actually be able to get a sample. She's been refusing to go on the toilet for a few days now. Meanwhile, Harrison is trying to open and close the door to the bathroom while B still has her pants down. 

We head back to the check up room, and I try to convince Brooke she needs to drink her smoothie or the water I brought. She takes a few sips of water and asks for her sandwich. I tell her she has to go potty before she can eat her sandwich. She says she needs to go, which I know she doesn't yet, but we head to the bathroom anyway.

Visit 2 - Sterilize again, get her on the toilet, and I'm back to sitting on the bathroom floor. I'm holding her up, trying to make sure the cup is ready but that I don't touch the inside, and making sure Harrison doesn't open the door to show everyone B's naked booty and the shit show that is going on in the pediatrician's bathroom. Brooke doesn't need to go, but insists she does because she wants to eat that bacon sandwich in the other room. Good job on my part. :/ 

She is now hugging me and stroking my hair. A super sweet gesture, but maybe better for when we're not on the toilet. Harrison sees the love fest, and joins in. He's now sitting on the floor, stroking my back, and telling me he loves me too. Where is all of this sweetness when we're at home and not in a semi public bathroom? This lasts for a good 5 minutes. Harrison stops with the mini massage, and I turn around to see him laying down on the bathroom floor, cheek smushed against the vinyl tile. And with that, visit two is over. Still no sample.

I am finally able to convince B to take more than tiny sips from our water. She works on drinking half a can of water that, "has oranges in it," according to her, while I read them a nursery rhyme book. 10 minutes later the water is gone, partly thanks to Harrison, and their pedi has come in for a physical exam. Everything looks good, but we still have no sample. Back to force feeding my kid water. I refill the can from the faucet, she drinks a little more water, we finish the book, and head back to the bathroom.

Visit 3 - This time I find the step stool make a great seat, so no more floor for me. Harrison is trying to let any passersby into the bathroom again, and I am trying to make sure I don't miss the big event while telling him to leave the door alone. This visit ends with barely enough sample for them to test. Thank God. The kids finally get to have their sandwiches, and I can drink my now cold coffee and breath a sigh of relief that this is over. I'm praying we didn't contaminate the cup during the process, otherwise we may get to do this all over again tomorrow.

While we were headed back out to the van, we noticed a few trees in the lobby, so we stopped to look at them. One of the trees was adorned with Mega Blocks tied up with white ribbon. I thought it was a cute, creative tree. Then I noticed some of the blocks had names and dates written on them. Our pediatricians office is connected to the children's hospital. Friends and family were able to write names and messages for their children who were being treated at the hospital, and for those who had passed on to meet their maker. I thought it was such a beautiful way to remember these children that I wanted to share.  It also made me realize that what we went through in the pedi's office is nothing compared to what these children go through on a daily basis. I pray for theirs, and their parent's strength as they undergo tests and treatments. And I hope they get to experience the joy of this Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

50K and a Giveaway

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Last week this little blog reached 50,000 page views! I started blogging as a way to share our daily lives with all of my family that lives out of town. I have come to really enjoy blogging about Harrison, Brooke, and whatever else is on my mind. Whether it's sharing a pair of boots I love, new recipes I've tried, updates on our infertility journey, or just what we did as a family, you all have been reading along and I am beyond grateful. 



To thank you all for following along with my ramblings, I teamed up with the fabulous woman behind Jameson Monroe to bring you a giveaway. Chelsea is the woman behind the brand, and she is fabulous to work with. The first headband I bought on Etsy for Brooke was from Jameson Monroe. We were hooked with the first headband and have been happy customers ever since. Between GroupDealz, flash sales, custom orders, and Etsy orders, we have built quite the collection of Jameson Monroe Headbands. 






Her headbands and clips range from small flowers, to oversized blooms, to beautiful bowties, and everything inbetween. As fabulous as the hair accessories are, that's not all she does. She also has fabulous baby blankets. How great is the houndstooth pattern lined with minky dot? So perfect for a little boy or girl. Her lace crowns are a big hit for birthdays, and the custom pieces she comes up with for kid's big days are beyond. I can't say enough about the fabulous work she does.


Now onto the giveaway. One lucky reader will get a $50 giftcard to spend on Jameson Monroe goodies. On top of that, I have a coupon code for anyone who wants to place an order with Jameson Monroe this week. You can get 20% off your order by using the code LITTLEM20. The code is good now through Thursday, so get to shopping. And make sure to enter below. There are multiple ways to enter, and you have until Thursday at midnight to get in all of your entries.