Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Week

We had such an amazing Christmas week and weekend, I don't even know how to fit it all into one post. It was great to have most of my siblings in town for the week, and while I missed my brother and sister in law that couldn't make it, we had tons of fun without them. Sorry M&M! I will try to not be too long winded, but there will definitely be a lot of picture sharing. Here we go.

My sister, her husband, and my nephew arrived via the red eye bright and early Monday morning. We spent the day at my parents hanging out, playing trains napping, and trying to fix the mess up that happened with the kids' comforters, more on that later. In the evening, an old family friend came over and we did dinner and a few cocktails. Jules got her first taste of Grandma and Grandpa's ever. She found their dog's bed under the treat table, and she happily napped the evening away.

On Tuesday morning, the kids and I rand a few daycare errands to make sure everything was taken care of before the holiday. Then we went to my parents to spend the rest of the day. The kids wanted to have a movie night, so after a healthy dinner of Chicago style pizza, they all piled into the recliner(s) upstairs and watched some Christmas movies.

While they were doing that, my dad and I headed to the mall to obtain the stained duvet for Harrison's bed I had just returned the day before. Long story short, I ordered a duvet cover on Black Friday, it came and sat in the package for weeks. When I opened it, it was stained so I called to order a new one and made sure they knew I needed it by Christmas Eve. That was on Monday morning. Monday afternoon, I return the defective merchandise to the local store. Tuesday afternoon, I get a shipping notification letting me know it will be arriving Friday. Um WHAT!? After lots of time on hold with UPS and the retailer, it is decided the best option is to go back to the store and repurchase the stained one I had returned the day before. Thankfully they still had it in the store, and the crisis was averted. Luckily Harrison didn't notice, and wouldn't care, about a stained duvet cover. So maybe not as short of a story as intended, but there was my Christmas freak out. The new one did arrive on Friday and is not stained.

Wednesday morning it was back over to my parents. My other sister and her hubs had arrived the night before, so we wanted to get in some hangout time with them. Even though I tried to keep us on time, the kids were late getting down for naps, mostly because they were overtired and couldn't fall asleep. So we rushed to get ready for mass, and thankfully made it on time. Thanks to Brooke's accessory choices, we go a few giggles and stares on our way in. This girl is a diva in training.

She refused to take off her sunglass for the first 30 minutes of mass.

The kids did ok for mass, but not as good as they usually do. Too much excitement. After mass we picked up Robbie and headed to his parents. The kids had way too much fun opening gifts. At one point Harrison was screaming like a banshee every time he would open a gift, and it wasn't just his presents either. If he helped someone open, he still went ape. It was ridiculous. Brooke was very good at helping hand out our gifts to family, which I was very proud of. We made it home shortly before 9, and the kids went straight to bed. Rob and I went straight to work on bed assembly. It took us as long as it took to watch Home Alone, so not too bad.

Christmas morning was great. They came out yelling "two beds," and immediately hopped up and dug into their stockings. We had to make it to my parents house, so we rushed them through opening a bit more than we should have. Lesson learned for next year. They were so happy and content, I'm sure they would have hung out in their beds all day if we would have let them.

By the time we made it to my parents' house they were hungry and overstimulated. Harrison slowly lost his cool and eventually refused to open gifts, or act like a normal human being. It was early nap time for them, and thankfully the afternoon went much better. We enjoyed a late lunch, they opened the rest of their presents, and we spent some time with our loved ones.

One of my favorite gifts of the day.

They were loving Cousin Charlie's new game.

We headed home in the early evening so we could get the beds moved around. They watched Cars, a gift from Santa, while we disassembled and reassembled beds. When we tucked them in that night, they asked for their old beds, and then asked if they could sleep in the living room. Maybe the new beds weren't as big of a hit as we thought? Thankfully we haven't had old bed requests since Christmas night.

Family shot after lunch on Friday

Our weekend was filled with lots and lots of family time. My brother, his fiance, and the kids' Godmother, and I got to sneak away for a little adult time at Eddie's on Friday night. Saturday evening we finally started to tackle the after Christmas mess. Thanks to Space Saver bags, I freed up enough space in the garage that we can now store toys they have outgrown. We also put together a big donation pile.

Sunday morning we opened gifts with Robbie's brother and his kids. After naps we headed over to my uncles for dinner and one last round of gifts for the kids. Then we closed out the evening with a little SNF action. Go Steelers!

"Oh my goodness!! Charlie has a present!!"

Putting his bath time shaving kit to good use.

The week was utterly exhausting, and I'm pretty sure I'll be catching up on sleep for the next month, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Since my siblings all live hundreds and thousands of miles away, we have to squeeze every last second out of the time we have together. As of 11 am this morning, all of my siblings were on their ways home, and now it's back to, mostly, life as normal.

I hope all of you had an amazing holiday week and weekend as well. Does anyone have any big New Year's plans? We are taking the kids and heading to some friends' house for a low key get togther. I'm sure there will be board games, and of course lots of drinking involed. Cheers to another short week!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Family Photos - Fall 2014

We were late getting our family pictures taken this fall. Like December 7th late. I was a wee bit worried we wouldn't get the pics back in time for Christmas cards to get mailed, but our amazing photographer didn't let us down. I got the images back last week, and thanks to Tiny Prints 1 day shipping, I was able to get them out last Wednesday, so everyone should have received them on time. YAY!! 

We definitely got a good card worthy photo, and a few awesome single shots of the kids which are going to make perfect Grandparent presents. I hope you're ready for picture overload, because here it comes.

Awkward hand holding, check!

It was freezing outside, but the kids were troopers and we managed to grab a few outdoor shots the Firefighters Museum.

I am so happy with how the pictures turned out. I always feel like maybe there will be one or two good ones, and there are always a bunch of framers. I will definitely be getting a couple canvases printed from this photo shoot. If you live in The Fort and are in need of a good photographer, definitely check out Gillian Dyan Photography.

Happy Christmas Eve! I felt like I was so on top of things for this year, and then thanks to a mess up on my part, and a big mess up by a retailer, I have spent the last couple days placing last minute Amazon orders, speaking to customer service for longer than anyone ever should, and going to the mall multiple times during the week before Christmas, which is something I always try to avoid. Thankfully we have found a resolution to the problem, so Harrison won't have to wonder why his sister has a new pretty comforter for her bed, and he just has sheets.

I am so excited to go to mass with my family this evening and then spend the night with the in laws. I know the kids are going to enjoy every second of it, and I'll enjoy watching them. Merry Christmas Eve! I hope all of you have a blessed holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2014


This weekend was so busy, and yet we didn't do much. With only a few days left until Christmas, we were trying to get all of our last minute things done. And somehow, there's still a lot more to do. For as long as I've know that Santa and the Elves were really my mom and dad, I remember my mom pulling late nights to try and get everything done. 4 am bedtimes are not an uncommon thing for my mom this time of year, and I totally understand why. Trying to make Christmas perfect for your kids is a lot of work. I love making sure all of the details are just right.

Friday morning we made a big grocery store trip to acquire all of the accoutrement for making cookies. H and B were surprisingly good helpers. We got there early enough that it wasn't too busy, but by the time we left, the store was crazy. A couple other quick errands, and we were headed home. 

Friday evening we had a few friends of for sushi takeout. I had a bit of a sore throat, so we had mimosas along with dinner. Since TWD went on hiatus, we haven't been seeing our besties as often, so it was nice to have a few of them over. Also, I may have drank a little too much mimosa.

Saturday the kids and I stayed in our jammies all day and baked cookies and other treats. They were very excited to help. Their version of helping involved eating the red hots off Christmas wreaths. Sorry to anyone who gets a naked Christmas wreath. Now you know why. 

We did do a snowflake painting craft. They love painting and had fun doing it, but it didn't keep them occupied nearly as long as I hoped it would. They were very helpful at cutting out sugar cookies. I let them pick which cutters to use and to help push them down. We ended up with a lot of holly and candy canes. We ended our night with a little Mickey's Christmas Carol, and then it was off to bed for all of us.

Sunday morning we were back at it with baking again. The elves checking in on the kids Saturday night, so they had coloring books and crayons in their stocking. Their new coloring books and crayons kept them occupied for while a while, and I was able to knock out another batch of cookies. 

When Robbie woke up, I went to pick up their new beds which thankfully fit in the back of the minivan. When I got back, the in laws came over, and we had soup and watched the Steelers win. When the game was over, we woke up H and B and exchanged a few gifts. Brooke was a very good helper, and did an awesome job handing out presents. Of course they both loved opening their gifts too. Harrison got a Chuck the Truck toy, and he played with it until bath time last night.

Once the kids were in bed, I finished icing cookies and then rob and I moved their beds into the guest room to await their Christmas Eve assembly. We decided it is time to switch the kids forward facing in their car seats, so we read the manual and switched their seats around last night. I have a feeling they're going to be super excited this morning when we head out to run our last few errands.

I still have a lot of wrapping to do and a few other small things to get done before Thursday, but we are so close to ready. The first of my siblings arrives in town today, so there will be lots of time spent at my parents, I'm sure. Harrison and Brooke have been talking about having to share Golden Thomas with their cousin Charlie, so I think we are all looking forward to today. 

Happy Monday! And I really mean that. It's the start of a great week.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday 5

Today is the last Friday before Chirstmas! Does anyone else have a hard time believeing that? I feel lke Thanksgiving was just last week. It's crazy how quickly the last few weeks have flown by, but they always seem to this time of year.

One - We went to see Santa last night, and it went much better than expected. Brooke almost didn't make it to Santa's lap, but after a pep talk the tears subsided and she decided it was worth it. Last year there were tears and screaming, so I consider her look of annoyance a win.

Two - Did anyone else watch The Red Tent? I absloutely love this book. The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down. I definitely finished it in only two evenings. I was sceptical when I saw they were making it into a mini series, because movies are never as good as the book. I have been surprisingly happy with it. I am not quite finished yet, and still have an hour to go, but so far I enjoy it. I think the casting is spot on, and haven't found myself rolling my eyes or complaining too much while watching it. I do want to read the book again now, because it's been a good 10 years since the last time I read it.

Three - Today is Jules one year adoption anniversary! I am so glad we decided to adopt a young dog instead of getting a puppy. While the crazy girl drives me nuts on a regular basis, I love her. And so do the kids, and on occasion even Rob. Tyson is especially fond of her. He definitely needed a friend to replace Layla, and JuJu has been perfect for that. Happy 1 year anniversary, Jules!

Four - The kids are are are going to be baking a boat load of cookies this weekend. I tried out this recipe for a friend's baby shower a few years ago, and they were fabulous. So buttery and delicious. I remember cursing the dough at the time, but I'm going to give them another go. I'm thinking sugar cookies, peppermint blossoms, maybe some cornflake wreaths, and an oreo truufle ball or two.

Five - How amazing is this shirt? We love Ry & Rue kids, and jumped on this shirt as soon as it became availble. Most of their sizes have sold out, but they still have a few left. Brooke and Harrison are both getting one, and I can't wait for them to wear them. They are going to freak when they see these shirts. Mickey and Minnie are their besties.

I am linking up with the lovely ladies below. Click the icons to visit their pages and join the link up too!


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


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.

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!