Monday, December 26, 2011

Halau Christmas

While Gammy and Gampy were here we went to my aunt's halau Christmas party. TG and I were a bit nervous about how the littles would behave, but other than the one incident when Camden tried to sneak out of the party room and out the front door the kids did great and we had so much fun!

There was tons of yummy food (oh the kahlua pig, rice and family potato salad), live music and other little friends to play with!

Camden entertained himself by jumping up, down and all around.

A group of older girls shared their crayons with Riley and she happily colored while we finished eating.

Camden loved the live music.

And then...SANTA CAME!!!! Riley was beside herself with delight. She was jumping up and down, waving her arms and saying, "Santa! Hey, it's me Riley Kalei! Hi Santa! HI!".

Obviously, she jumped right up there when it was her turn. She laughed loudly at all his jokes and was so thankful for the gift he brought her. She kept saying in awe, "I can't believe he brought this just for me. It's the perfect gift. I love it so much." It was a sweet moment.

No fear here! Camden hated the mall Santa, but after he had time to watch all the other kids get their gifts he decided he wasn't so bad and climbed up there.

It was a late night for our babies, but we were so glad we went.  My parents said it was the favorite part of their whole trip to see everyone, eat yummy food, and see my kids so excited over Santa Claus.  It was a wonderful start to the holiday party season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Best Playmates

I wish my parents and younger sister lived closer for lots of reasons, but mostly because they love my children.

Crazy love, like playing horsie even though you've just spent hours flying here.

From the minute they arrive for a visit they immediately turn all their attention on the littles. Whatever my children want to do they do. Whatever story or commentary Riley wants to tell they actively listen to. They sing on command, tell fairy tale after fairy tale, play multitudes of games, and happily agree to all their requests like...

Getting down on the floor of the kitchen and coloring with them after a special 4 hour trip to the mall with their very energetic 3 year old granddaughter.

Agreeing to let them squeeze in behind you for a nap and then laying there patiently while they continue to sleep even though you're sweating and have to go to the bathroom.

Playing broken chair with them and all the daycare kids over and over and over again until everyone dissolves into a fit of laughter on the floor.

And somehow in the midst of all that they manage to help me too.  They wash and fold laundry, fix things around the house, wash dishes, organize all my cabinets, remind me to do Elfie each night and entertain 6 children.

I sob like a baby every time they leave because I'm so thankful for their help, I'm touched by how much they do for my children, and I miss them terribly when they are gone.

Come back again soon Gammy and Gampy!


Thursday, December 22, 2011


In spite of our best cheering efforts, Army lost to Navy.

It was the first time for both kids to tailgate and go to a football game. I know, I know - what were we thinking? A football game with a 19 month old and a 3 year old? Crazy.

Of course it was a little bit crazy, but I kept my expectations for their behavior (especially sans naps) low and made a plan to roll with the punches. There were some tears, and a moment where I thought to myself, "what the hell was I thinking?!? when Camden stated that he was "done MA" five minutes into the game, but we ended up having a great time!

"Done MA!"

My father is retired Army, and Matt's grandfather, father, and two uncles all went to West Point. So this shindig was a family affair. Everyone trekked up to our neck of the woods from the south for the game at FedEx Field. We didn't originally have plans to tailgate, but Matt's aunt and uncle have friends in the area who were kind enough to let us crash theirs.  They brought tons of delicious food, drinks, music and a football - the perfect ingredients for an awesome tailgate.

Camden was all about playing some football with the big boys.

And both of my babies loved the chance to visit and play with their cousins.

We all got to gawk at how big everyone has grown since we moved North.

 Riley and I snuggled to stay warm.

A whole bunch of family men posed for a picture with an unwilling baby boy. All he wanted was that football.

After a great tailgate, I strapped a very angry Camden into the ergo and we all hiked up to the stadium. When we got there we were greeted by a ridiculously long (we stood there for an hour) security line. Instead of sweating it I took the opportunity to give little man a much needed snooze. He slept through the entire wait and woke up when the fly over roared by.  That's him all snug in his hoodie with me.  Lots of (drunk) people were shocked I had a baby on my chest.

From there we made the monster hike up the ramp to the tippy top of the stadium.  Best view in the house.

Like I said, little man thought he was done 5 minutes in, but we let him climb and move around as much as we could and he made it to halftime. Riley just loved every minute of it.

For a 1 1/2 year old boy Camden did so well. Could he be any cuter all bundled up in his seat with his beloved monk monk?

Camden and I only made it to halftime when I made the command decision that it was getting too cold for his chubby little hands that refused to be mittened.  Luckily we had two cars so he was warm in his seat, happily watching Elmo, 10 minutes from home by the time the rest of  the hardcore fans followed.

We're already looking forward to next year and hopefully an ARMY win!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Tour

I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. So what you're about to see is a whole lot of Christmas cheer packed into an "itty bitty living space"...Part 1.  I blame Pinterest.  :)

Come on in. Our tree is lit and lovingly decorated with all the ornaments we've collected since TG and I met.

Even our "home" sign has gotten a sprucing because in my heart I'm always home for Christmas.

We may be tight on space, but I've managed to put 7 trees up. Including this one that's full of my childhood Winnie the Poohs.

I like hanging wreaths indoors, especially if they wish you a happy holiday even though they are on a wall that's still not finished.

Our OTC PB inspired advent calendar is up and our table is decked with things new and old and our little table is full of Christmas decor including my jingle bells, two Christmas trees, three Home Goods glass containers, my little IKEA lantern and a DIY Christmas bedazzled monogram.

Every seat has a different view, but lucky Camden gets to see my favorite red reindeer at all his meals.  This year (thanks to Pinterest) I was dying to use cranberries in my decor so I filled a large glass jar with water, faux garland, a floating candle and of course the crans.

Our family rules remain, a perfect reminder for this time of year, but it's been joined by some merry new friends.

Our bannisters have been greened and are just waiting for your Christmas card.

My favorite buffet is so jolly!  I kept my beautiful Jim Shore angels, coffee filter tree, and DIY noel banner from last year.  But I edited a little and added my Lucketts votive holder, fresh boxwood from Cox Farms, some height in the form of an ornament vase, mini framed Santa pictures from every year, and of course our dear Elfie.

As you leave don't miss your chance to get a chuckle at this year's Santa picture. It features a very pretty little lady with a very mad little man who is the spitting image of his sister a mere two years ago.  And have yourself a Merry Christmas.

What's your house look like this time of year?  Has the invention of Pinterest inspired your decor like it did mine?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Polar Express

We followed up Christmas Tree fun with a week of North Pole adventure. At the end of that week instead of taking a field trip we opted for a Polar Express party.

We gathered at Twinnie's house and all the kiddos wore their jammies and slippers

Drank hot cocoa from their sippies.

 Ate delicious candy canes.

And watched one of my favorite books in movie form.

It was so much fun and all the kids (the sappy adults too!) enjoyed it. Of course we wrapped up our mini viewing party with a small jingle bell for each child that we hope will ring for them for many more Christmases to come


Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Wonderland

A week ago it was Christmas Tree week at our daycare. We wrapped up the fun with a special trip to Cox Farms on Friday.

During the Fall, Cox Farms is the pumpkin patch place to be. During the winter months they shut down that half of the farm and operate a Christmas tree market. Not just your parking lot tree place either. A whimsical and charming market full of twisty aisles of evergreens, a patio with a fireplace, and a playground for children.

 And photo ops. My word the photo ops.

We let the kids play for almost an hour at the wooden winter wonderland the farm had. They enjoyed sailing in a pirate ship, riding in Santa's sleigh, marching back and forth across the bridge, and more, so much more.


Judging from the picture I'd guess that Twinnie told them to say "Ho, Ho, Ho".

On our way out we noticed the smell of a wood burning fire so we weaved through the trees, two full double strollers and all until we found it. A warm fire pit complete with skewers and marshmallows for roasting! It was the perfect parting treat before we headed home.

If you live in our area and are looking for some fresh greens, a tree, or just a fun and free Christmas adventure with your kids you have to check this place out!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Craft Cabin 2011

Which I also affectionately refer to as "Lord Bless, Mama got herself a kid free weekend away to sleep in, shop alone, eat at my leisure, take long hot showers, and sit with a warm drink in hand, crafting by a roaring fireplace, surrounded by friends."

Let me take a moment to thank my amazing husband who made this happen. I love you TG, for loving me enough to take one for the team.

I didn't take enough pictures but the weekend was delightful and sometimes when I'm having a rough day or week I sometimes close my eyes and imagine the peaceful craft cabin.

How did this magical retreat happen?

Enter twinnie.

She's a woman of action. I had been rolling the idea of a craft getaway around in my brain ever since I saw Jess of The Macs post about her retreat. I had the idea, just not the logistics which is odd for me since it's usually the other way around. Anyway, twinnie rounded up the peeps, booked us a perfect cabin, scheduled all the meals and left us to bring what we needed to enjoy ourselves. Like, diet coke, trash mags, glitter varnish, moscato and mod podge. Lots and lots of mod podge.


Since I've had children I've learned an important fact about myself.  I can suddenly do things in way less time than it ever took me before.  Give me an hour sans kids and I can grocery shop and clean the whole house while making dinner and folding laundry.

 Given 36 hours? I wrapped, created, painted, baked, crafted, and most importantly RELAXED and enjoyed spending time with my friends without a little one tugging on me, asking me for something, or needing me. I am confident enough in my obsessive love with my children to say...that it was heaven on Earth to be away from them for a bit.

I'm already counting down the days until next year.