Monday, December 26, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

We did it... we made the drive to MA with two children and survived!  The drive had gotten so much "easier" over the past few years as Georgia got older. Hand her an iPad and see you in 8 hours!  Check!  This year, I was a nervous wreck as to how Grant would do in the car.

Luckily, all was calm.  We piled sleepy children into the car at 4:30am and we were on our way.  Grant fell right back asleep all snug in his car seat.  Nick dozed in the passenger seat with a blanket over his head.  Georgia was too excited to see Mimi and just wanted her iPad.  I drove us to NYC where we all stopped, inhaled our annual Burger King breakfast, and piled back into the car for the second half of the drive.  Nick took over driving so that I could pump (nothing like flashing half the drivers on the GW Bridge - hey NYC!!!). By 12:30, we were pulling into Mimi's driveway.  Grant barely made a peep the entire ride.  Success.

Mimi did an amazing job gathering, borrowing and buying baby stuff to make Grant comfortable at her house.  He loved the jumper right next to the Christmas tree.

Laughing at his sister

My absolute favorite hobby in the world right now is just watching Georgia and Grant interact with each other.  He just LOVES, LOVES, LOVES her!

We spent Christmas Eve Day catching up with family and introducing Grant to his cousins and aunties.  Slight panic in the morning when Mimi woke up with a classic case of her "dizzies," but she powered through and refused to rest.  Apparently December 24th is not a good time to get said dizzies, so they were banished!

Grant and Auntie Lisa

I am soooooo NOT okay with the fact that Nathan is now like 12 feet tall and can hoist up Georgia like she is a feather!

Although Auntie flew down to meet Grant a few months back, both the boys had yet to meet the new guy...

Matthew and Grant

Nathan and Grant

Then Auntie told them to all scram so she could reclaim her little buddy!

Meanwhile on Boomerang...

In the evening, we hosted Nick's family over for Christmas Eve.  Typically we head to his brother's house for dinner, but with a new baby and a crazy pumping schedule, that wasn't going to happen this year.  Nick's parents were also in MA this year, so they joined us in a full house.

Thoman cousins

Uncle Paul also dropped in to visit on Christmas Eve and got to meet the new man.

Uncle Paul and Grant

This year was our 2nd annual Christmas jammies tradition.  Fred the Elf managed to score some matching jams at Target a few weeks back.  Unfortunately, he couldn't find total matching outfits for all of us, so Nick and I had to pair up and the kids had to pair up.  Nick may never speak to Fred again... and by Fred, I mean me.

Uncle Paul was jealous and totally wanted to join in...

Papa too...

And then we waited for Santa!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Questions...

Usually around this time of the year, I post a house tour of our decorations or my favorite things from the month.  This year, I spotted this cute little 12 question Christmas "interview" online and decided it might be a fun way to show you around the house and share a bit about our Christmas traditions and ways...

1. What is your favorite Christmas film?
Already a tough one for me.  Hands down, "Love Actually" will get watched multiple times this month.  It's just a given for me.  I love everything about that movie - the actors, the humor, the sap, the music, etc.  Nick knows that if I'm flipping channels and I scroll by that title on the menu, it's getting turned on (much to his excitement).  However, "Elf" also gets the same treatment at our house.  If it's on, I have to at least watch until Buddy the Elf tries to get on the escalator! 

 Image result for love actually

But, I'm a classics girl too.  I love "It's a Wonderful Life" and give me any claymation "Rudolph" or "Frosty" and I'm hooked.  

Image result for claymation christmas

My new favorite are those cute little elves from "Prep and Landing."  

Image result for prep and landing

Bottom line, I love anything and everything about Christmas movies!!

2. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Absolutely!  When you grow up in New England, a white Christmas is pretty much the norm.

3. Where do you usually spend the holiday?

We travel to Massachusetts every year and Santa finds us at Mimi's house on Christmas morning.  Typically we spend Christmas Eve with Nick's family who also happen to live in Massachusetts.  Christmas Day is spent at Auntie's house eating ourselves silly, opening presents and catching up with everyone that we barely get to see all year long.

This year is extra special since it's Grant's 1st Christmas and first trip home to Massachusetts to meet most of the family.  It's also extra special to me since this is the first time that I've been home in a year.

4. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

I'm going to have to go with Mariah on this one.  Who doesn't belt out that song in the car?!?!  And now I have Georgia belting it out too.

But, I'm also a sucker for any of the oldie songs too.  I pretty much have the holiday channel on in the car 24/7. 

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas eve?

When I was younger and enjoyed sleeping in, this was a must so that we weren't running around crazy trying to get out of the house for Christmas with the rest of the family.  Now that we have young kids, it's all about Christmas morning and Santa's arrival again!

6. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? 

I work in an elementary school.  Yes!

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

Georgia is at such a fun age and really appreciates all that the Christmas season has had to offer this year.  

We always put up the house decorations on Thanksgiving weekend.  Once those are up, it feels like it's a rush to squeeze in as many fun activities as possible.

We always kick off the season with Cookie Bake.  This year was year #15.  It was Georgia's 6th Cookie Bake, Grant's 1st, and my 9th.  Not sure how long Nick has been attending - probably involved in all 15 in some way/shape/form (aka - eating cookies).

Unfortunately, due to timing, we didn't make it to ICE this year.  Hopefully, we can squeeze that back on the calendar for next year.

This week, Georgia had 3 gingerbread decorating parties.  I think I'm keeping all the nut free frosting companies in business as I keep running to the grocery store for her own supplies for these events.  Earlier, we also had the Check's 2nd annual gingerbread house making party too.

Gingerbread decorating at school... with all her safe ingredients!

We also managed to hit up the Winter Lights festival for the second year in a row.  Grant was out cold in the back seat the entire time, but Georgia loved popping out of the sunroof and seeing the lights from above.  

Wearing Daddy's hat and hanging out of the car (literally)

Georgia has loved checking out her nightly after dinner treat with her advent calendar.

A newer tradition... Christmas jammies.  Fred the Elf delivered them earlier this week!  Georgia cannot wait to wear them to bed on Christmas Eve.

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake. 
Fake and proud of it!  I couldn't handle the stress of a real tree and I think the fake ones are prettier.  I've offered to Nick that he can totally have a real tree on the deck!

This year, Fred our Elf, also sneaked into the house and set up a small Christmas tree in Georgia's room!  She's loving it.

9. What is your all time favorite Holiday food / Sweet Treat? 

I will forever go home for Christmas as long as Uncle Paul is making his roast for dinner!  He threatened to retire one year, so I'm making Nick apprentice with him this year.  It is absolutely hands down my most favorite meal of the year.  

10. Be honest, do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better? 

Give.  Give.  Give.  I could care less what I get for Christmas, but seeing someone open up a present that they wanted or needed is the best.  I love shopping for the kids, Mimi, Nick and all the aunts/uncles/cousins/nephews/niece/etc.  Finding the perfect gift is like the ultimate scavenger hunt for me.  It starts on Black Friday and continues all December long for me.

We were pretty shocked to find Santa on our street last weekend!

11. What would be your dream place to visit for the Holiday season?

Probably somewhere in the Swiss Alps?!?!  It always looks so magical on tv and in the movies.  I've only visited Switzerland in the summer and most of the snow had melted by that point, except for the tip-pity top of some of the surrounding mountains.  It was the most beautiful place I've ever been, so I can't imagine it all covered in white!

12. Are you a pro present wrapper, or do you fail miserably? 

I think I'm a pretty pro-wrapper.  I learned from the best.  Mimi can wrap anything and make it look good.  I actually love wrapping and adding pretty ribbons and bows.  The only problem these days is lack of timing and the fact that half our presents get squished on the ride to MA.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December in a Flash...

It's official... I am now lobbying that Christmas be moved to the end of January.  Ask anyone I know, I'm all about it.  Why?  Simple.... From Halloween until Christmas, it is a madhouse.   55 days of chaos.  Poor Thanksgiving barely even gets a day now with Christmas sales starting at 3pm on that day.  The turkey hasn't even been digested and we've fully 100% moved onto Christmas.  So, I think Christmas should be moved to the end of January.  We all try to cram 3,098 activities, parties, cookie making, shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. into 3-4 short weeks.  No less than 3 friends have commented to me this year that their tree is up, but not decorated because they haven't had the time to do it.  Let's make time.  Let's just make it an even 8 week holiday season from Thanksgiving until Christmas and we'll all be good to go.  The stores will love it.  The economy will love it.  It's a win-win for everyone.  Nothing happens in January anyway, except for fake diet/exercise resolutions... might as well delay those until February too!  #January25 

Thanks for the new book, Mimi!

Thanks for my new Vineyard Vines bib, Auntie Sherrie!

Now that I've shared that little mini-rant with you, back to the regularly scheduled program post.

My happy guy loves a good mirror selfie!

Life certainly hasn't slowed down since my last crazy post where I laid out in detail my 16-18 hour days (this may be influencing my new passion for moving Christmas to January).  This week's crazy included my birthday - Cheers to 37 (it's the new 27!), a follow-up allergy appointment for Grant (I desperately needed a "win" at that appointment), and Georgia's 68th gingerbread building activity.  I joke.  Sort of.  I may be solely responsible for keeping nut-free sprinkle companies in business this season.

How I survive the weeks!

The best news of the week came at the allergist's office where Grant received another round of skin testing to determine if he has any food allergies before we start solids in January.  Amazingly, everything is coming out clear right now.  His body still generates a massive histamine response (you can see in the pictures that is the red "control" area spreading on his back), but the allergist wasn't too worried about that for now.  So, the plan is to move straight to a peanut butter challenge in January.  

No worries, Mama.  I got this!

Oh those arm chunk rolls!

The red splotchy area is the control

Yes, you read that correctly.  My 5 month old baby will be eating peanut butter at the allergist's office in January.  I asked her if the appointment comes with a xanax prescription for myself because I may not survive that appointment without hyperventilating.  My blood pressure already ticks up just thinking about that day.  To further complicate things, if he passes, we'll need to be giving him peanut butter or peanut products on a fairly regular basis.  If anyone has ideas on HOW to do that without killing Georgia (literally), please email me!  :)  I'm envisioning Grant and I sitting in the empty garage eating peanut butter and then me cloroxing the baby from head to toe so that he can go back into the house (and pray that he doesn't spit up anywhere near her!).  Pray for my sanity.

Hanging out with Scout

In Georgia news, she helped me this week by learning all about how to be a "Santa."  She's gotten to that age where she's realizing that there appear to be a lot of different Santas (ex. the mall, outside stores, in movies/shows, etc.) and they all don't look alike.  So, we had a little chat about how all those Santas are really just helper Santas.  She loved that.  I explained that sometimes even Mommy and Daddy get to be a Santa and help buy things for other people.  She immediately replied, "Then Mimi is a Santa too because she's always buying things for me!"

Then, I really rocked her world.  I asked if SHE wanted to help be a Santa.  Talk about eyes lighting up.  I explained that I needed to buy some stuff for a few little kids at my school who weren't as lucky as us and needed some new clothes for Christmas.  We had the opportunity to be a "Santa" for that family.  Georgia absolutely loved every second helping me shop for those girls, especially since they're just about the same age as her.  We picked out some clothes, a toy and some other winter gear for the girls and then wrapped it all up so that I can bring it to school this week.  I really think she understood the lesson and importance of what we were doing for these families.

To learn more about the holiday gift drive, my friend, Liz, wrote a nice piece about it on her blog (HERE), as well as some tips for helping to set up your own gift drive.  My neighbor, Courtney, took the lead on this one and it was so much fun to join together with neighbors to help support families in need and we all were able to teach our own children a valuable lesson about giving. 

 Take a second to check out Liz's company, /giv/.  Each item purchased supports a charity.  I've been rocking a gorgeous piece from Headbands of Hope.  With every purchase, the company then donates a headband to a child with cancer.  If that's not a reason to buy something this holiday season...

Gifts for the girls