Thursday, December 29, 2016

Scarlett and Clark are 1

O-N-E!! My babies are one. They've passed that unofficial line from baby to toddler. They are still no where close to walking, so maybe I can call them babies for a wee bit longer. We celebrated their birthday with family and friends already, but I want to make sure that their birthday never gets lost in all of the excitement of the holidays. I know from speaking to friends with Christmastime birthdays, that birthday gifts often get wrapped in Christmas paper and are received at holiday celebrations. Parties are pushed aside when other plans and obligations take precedence. The actual birthday becomes just another day between Christmas and New Years. I don't ever want them to feel like their birthday isn't special just because of the holidays that surround it. We will celebrate their birthday and celebrate them every year regardless of what other holiday obligations we have. Their birthday is a super important day to us!

I knew we weren't going to be going anywhere on their birthday, so we made it as special as we could at home. Donuts and birthday balloons were on the agenda, and it turns out they loved one of those things. I blew up about 50 balloons the night before and had them waiting in the living room for when they woke up. I would have put them in their room, but someone still wakes up multiple times per night. Yes Scarlett, I'm talking about you. They were so happy to play with the balloons. Clark crawled through them trying to hit every balloon along the way. Scarlett put them in her mouth, because everything must go in her mouth. She chewed on the ends of the balloons and I thought for sure one would pop in her face when she bit down, but as of today it still hasn't happened.

Once they started playing with their toys instead of the balloons, we moved on to breakfast. We stopped and got donuts from one of our favorite bakeries. Rise N Roll's cinnamon caramel donuts are the bomb, yes I just went full 90s there, and their first birthday seemed like a perfect time to introduce the babies to them. Well, they couldn't have cared less. Who are these children who don't want donuts? Certainly not mine. ;) They settled for fruit instead, and everyone was happy.

In true big kid fashion, they only took one nap yesterday. We played with balloons A LOT. We played in the bounce house. We dropped Brooke and Harrison's play kitchen back down to baby height, which Scarlett and Clark seemed pretty excited about. They took two steam baths, their favorite thing lately, and then they called it a night after reading a couple of their new birthday books.

It was a really fun day that I know they won't remember, but I will, and so will their big brother and sister. The last year with them has been so special, and I'm glad we made it a point to celebrate their big day. Happy Birthday, Scarlett and Clark!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!! Every Christmas is special, but this one was especially great for us. Scarlett and Clark's first Christmas. In all honesty, they couldn't have cared less. To them it was a couple days of short naps, late bedtimes, and lots of people, but it was great fun for us to watch them experience it all. Brooke and Harrison are at the best age for Christmas. Brooke was literally shrieking yesterday morning, "Tomorrow's Christmas! I'm so excited!"

We always do the Christmas Eve children's mass and then go to Rob's parents after to celebrate with his extended family. Mass with 4 kids is a juggling act, but snacks and books got us through. Santa showed up at the end of mass and invited the kids to join him at the manger and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Brooke thought it was great and jumped at the opportunity. Dinner and exchanging gifts followed after, and I managed to get zero pictures of all the kids. Harrison and Brooke were willing to pose for a picture in front of the tree before bed. I asked them to not pose, and Brooke promptly told me she likes posing. Then Harrison mimicked her posing. These two. :)

Scarlett was up to nurse at 6:20am, so I was already awake and had coffee made when H and B came bouncing in at 6:50. Scarlett went back to sleep after her morning top off, and we got some one on one time with the big kids to do stockings before the babes were up. My parents arrived soon after the babies woke, so we had breakfast before diving into presents. French toast casserole, sausage and egg casserole, muffins, fruit, minosas, blody marys. Holidays that involve breakfast food are kind of my favorite.

The rest of the day was a blur of opening gifts, trying to organize said gifts, snacking on leftover breakfast, drinking iced coffee, and playing with new toys. The babies weren't much into opening gifts. They just wanted to play and hang out on laps. When Brooke opened the balls for the bounce house, they suddenly became very interested. They both thought the balls were great, especially Clark. He crawled back and forth through them laughing the entire time. 

Rob's parents, brother, and niece joined us early in the afternoon. More gift opening, eating, and playing with toys. Rob got a VR headset in his stocking, and it was definitely a favorite of the day. Brooke and Harrison decided they were all about it, and it was what caused the major meltdown of the day that put two 4 year olds in bed by 6:15. I knew an early bedtime would be needed, but I had no idea how spent they were. Christmas is so much fun and so exhausting for them. Scarlett and Clark made it to their usual bedtime and even got to have some FaceTime with my brother and brother in law before bed. 

I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but I know I'll remember Clark's excitement with the balls. How much Harrison loved his super hero city. Brooke riding around the house on her BB-8 scooter. Scarlett's obsession over everything her big brother and sister were doing. Christmas with young kids is truly one of the best parts of parenthood. Harrison and Brooke are old enough that they remember things from last Christmas, and I'm sure they'll be talking about today for the next 365 days. It was as wonderful as we could have hoped for, even with the major meltdown. I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Onederland

Scarlett and Clark don't actually turn 1 for another week, but when your birthday falls on a Wednesday between Christmas and New Year's Day you celebrate a little early, so we celebrated over the weekend. I decided to go with a Winter Onederland theme since I could use most of our Christmas decorations as party decor. We served soups for lunch, peppermint vanilla cupcakes, and a hot chocolate bar. All things I could make ahead. My best friend offered for Brooke and Harrison to spend the night at her house, which was quite possibly the best thing ever. I had plenty of kid free time the night before and during the babies' naps to clean and prep for the party, plus the house actually stayed clean for more than 10 minutes.

The weeks leading up to the party were spent cutting out snowflakes, which is not nearly as much fun as I remember it being when I was a kid. I also broke out some spray paint, ribbon, and glitter and DIYd snowflake wands and paper mache letters. I am quite certain I will be cleaning silver glitter from every flooring surface in our house for the next 4 months. 

Since Scarlett and Clark aren't big into party games, we skipped games and activities for the kids. We had a few older kids that came to the party, and they were quite content to jump in the basement bounce house. The rest of us ate soup, beef vegetable, white chicken chili, and baked potato, and conversed until it was time to serenade the babies with Happy Birthday.

Harrison and Brooke's best friend's birthday was the day before the party, so we actually got to sing Happy Birthday 3 times. Once we gave them their cakes, Scarlett went in face first. She didn't exactly smash her cake, but she definitely went all out on eating cake and icing. Then she tried to eat her brother's cake and eventually threw her cake on the ground. Yes, that's right, she thinks she's Andy Samburg. #happybirthdaytotheground

Clark was happy to sit there and take it all in, but he wasn't much into eating his cake. He had a few bites, but mostly he just watched. Later that evening he did get sick, so I'm guessing an upset stomach may have played a part in his less than enthusiastic cake smashing.

Once the babies were done with cake, they opened a few party gifts, but as is evidenced by the presents still on the gift table today, they don't quite understand presents yet. They are figuring out that ripping the paper is fun, and Brooke and Harrison have been happy to help them open along the way.

I am a firm believer that kid's birthday parties should involve adult drinks. Themed drink bars when possible. ;) This seemed like the perfect time for a hot chocolate bar. I used Archer Farms dark chocolate hot cocoa mix, and made a carafe full at a time. For toppings and mix ins we had crushed peppermint, chocolate chips, caramels, pirouettes, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and three kinds of marshmallows (snowflakes, snowmen, and mini marshmallows). For adult mixers, Kahlua, whipped vodka, and chocolate liquor.  This was so easy, and such a hit. A few friends even took adult hot chocolates to go. Cheers!

I know they won't remember their first birthday party, but I'm glad we decided to have a big party to celebrate their first year. On their actual birthday, we'll be spending the day at home and getting ready for their first vacation. I think donuts for breakfast may be in order, because if you aren't having birthday cake, you should definitely be having donuts. Happy almost birthday! I can't believe you'll be one in just a week.

Party Hats - Little Blue Olive
ONE onesies - Olive and Birdie
Various Christmas Decor - Target and Michael's