Thursday, December 29, 2016


These type of posts promise to be somewhat uninteresting to the general public but that's the beauty of having a personal, non-monetized blog - I do what I want.

This Christmas was the first time I truly felt like I came into my own as a grown up and really enjoyed a Christmas with the family I created. That sounds bad. Here's the background, with a warning that I obsess about Christmas a lot. It's my favorite holiday. Sorry not sorry.

For Dalton's first Christmas, I was beyond grateful that he was in our lives. I loved spending time with him. But he was barely 3 months old, I'd just gone back to work, and I was still struggling with PPD. I was in a bad place. After nearly 30 years of spending every single Christmas in the house where my parents brought me home from the hospital, I was breaking that tradition. And traditions are HUGE in my family. I felt like suddenly I went from celebrating in the role of child, relying on my mom to make Christmas magical, to being the mom, a role I hadn't quite adjusted to yet.

He appears to be strapped in to the bumbo...first time mom much?

I didn't feel like I was home. We were still living in an apartment, and while I hadn't had a problem with Christmasing there in the past, it didn't feel like an adult home. I was so excited to share the traditions that I loved from my own childhood with my son. Except, at 3 months old, he obviously wasn't quite ready. While we went through the motions, Christmas kind of felt like any other day and deep down, I was bummed. Eric bought and wrapped most of his own gifts that year (in addition to a ton for me and Dalton, probably in an attempt to cheer me up). While this makes it sound like I was miserable and ungrateful - I certainly wasn't. I just wasn't feeling what I expected to feel in my first Christmas as a mother, a moment I'd been waiting to experience for such a long time.

Last year, I was ready to nail Christmas. It was our first Christmas in our house, I thought Dalton was old enough to kind of "get it", and I was excited to enjoy our last Christmas as a family of 3.

Then...I got hit with some sort of sinus infection/stomach bug. I spent the whole day either in bed or puking. Lame. Of course, this was a good year for it to happen, since I was way off in my expectations of Dalton. Turns out, 15 months is way too young to "get it". He liked looking at the tree and his new toys, of course, but it was just a normal day to him.

At the time, I was totally like "my baby isn't a baby anymore" and now looking back - that's a baby!

THIS YEAR WAS EVERYTHING. It was the magical, wonderful Christmas I'd been dreaming of. Finally, at 33, as a wife, homeowner, and mother of 2, I actually felt like a grown up, and like the family I've created is my immediate family. Right now, our kids are at an age where traveling is just horrible for them (and, of course, as a result for us), so we celebrated just the four of us. (We decided when we had kids that they would always have Christmas morning at our own house, but we traveled later in the week the past two years). I missed our extended families a lot, but I didn't feel like something was missing, if that makes sense.

I overestimated Dalton last year, and it seems I underestimated him this year! His receptive language is way ahead of his expressive language right now (aka he understands much more than he can tell us). While we are all in on Santa, we just didn't talk it up too much this year, figuring the kids were too young and we know there was no way in hell Dalton was getting near one in a mall or anything. He would yell Santa when he saw one on Christmas decorations, but that was about it.

Then all my friends' 2 year olds were talking about Santa all through December and I realized that we were selling him short. Of course he didn't "get it" - we had barely explained it to him! We started intense Santa education on December 23. Which maybe was for the best anyway, since toddlers aren't know for their patience or understanding of elapsed time.

Christmas Eve, we dove right into the traditions.

Appetizers for dinner.

Opening Christmas jammies for everyone.


Watching the Santa tracker and Elf while drinking homemade hot chocolate (Dalton asked to watch Santa for like 3 days afterwards).

He wanted a straw #toddlers

We also lit the menorah, since this year Christmas Eve coincided with the first night of Hanukkah. Dalton was so excited! Every night he asks for "fire" and loves watching.

Christmas morning was...anticlimactic. Royce and I got up first, which is typical. I enjoyed the fancy coffee my mom sent me in my new special Christmas mug, with a side of baby snuggles. Aka, the best start to a day anyone could ever have. We had let Dalton stay up *a bit* late to watch the movie the night before, so he didn't even wake up until Royce was down for his morning nap. Eventually, I heard him and it was the moment I had been waiting for! I got him up, told him Santa had come and filled his stocking with presents, and...nothing. He didn't care.

First, he just wanted to go upstairs and wake Eric up. While in our room, he found an empty pill bottle, and discovered it made a fun noise when he ran it along the heating vent. Every time we tried to convince him to go open presents, he yelled NO. Toddlers. #buythemnothing

We finally convinced him to open a gift. Except then he got distracted rolling around our giant Costco jug of coconut oil. Then he started playing with the tags on the couch cushions. Not even joking. #buythemnothing

Eric got his first gift started, and he sort of jumped on board.

It was...a box full of big packing bubbles! Every time gifts came in the mail, Dalton got super excited to open the box and pop them, so we saved a bunch and wrapped them. #buythemnothing He loved it.

We Facetimed with my sister's family so we could open our gifts from them. And...Dalton wanted my gift, a "World's Most Caffeinated Mom" mug. Of course.

We did, of course, buy him a few things. Finger paints, a few books, some clothes, and his favorite: a police car.

He got some nice gifts from extended family as well, and we are celebrating with my mom and stepfather when they visit next month. And of course, Royce got some exciting items like clothes, new pacifiers, bath toys, and teethers. Speaking of Royce - he started crawling on Christmas Eve! He's been army crawling for a few weeks, but he figured out the up on all fours style and now he's off and running, so to speak.

My mom sent Royce a copy of "Where's Spot", a top family pick since 1983, when I was a baby. It was one of Dalton's favorites, but his copy is well loved, and it was time Royce had his own. Dalton is thrilled and not only demands that we read it over and over, but has been caught several times "reading" it to himself, which is actually the cutest thing in this world.

Christmas day was spent lounging in our awesome new matching pjs, slowly trying to convince Dalton to stop playing with random crap around the house and open gifts (#buythemnothing), and baking cookies.

It was pretty much the perfect day with my favorites.

#buythemnothing source - something on instagram that my mom told me about but I was too lazy to look up, let's just be clear that I didn't come up with it though.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The most wonderful time of the year!

I had a bunch of stuff I planned to blog about, but life happened and now I can't remember any of it so here are some random updates while I'm home with mastitis (breastfeeding is so magical).

I attempted a Thanksgiving turkey trot. I ran the 5k last year while pregnant and pushed Dalton in the stroller. Last year I couldn't believe I would have a six month old next to Dalton in a double stroller come Thanksgiving 2016 and I couldn't wait to find out what it would be like.

It was like my own little slice of hell. It started adorably.

Then at 1.5 miles, both kids basically lost it and after stopping a few times to try to improve the situation I realized there was no option other than to just finish this race as soon as humanly possible. I broke into what qualifies as a sprint when pushing a double stroller, and was that crazy lady pushing the screaming children through the race course. 

Long story short, I parked like a tenth of a mile from the finish line but at that point I had no interest in adding a tenth of a mile of this nonsense to my life so it was a DNF (did not finish). I also ended up doing the last 5-ish minutes walking, holding a screaming, kicking two year old, while a very nice mother of a 15 year old boy calmly pushed my screaming baby in the stroller. A high point for me, for sure. It takes a village, and all that. I promised to pay it forward in 15 years. Hold me to that. 

After that, Royce's first Thanksgiving was wonderful. Another win for the spring baby timing: having him sitting at the table and eating solids during the holidays is a lot of fun. 

This picture doesn't show that, but it's so cute.

Dalton loved being part of the preparations, of course.

Taste testing
Also over Thanksgiving weekend, we did potty training bootcamp.

It Or something. 
We are now diaper free, aside from naps and nighttime. Diaper free, with still plenty of accidents. This potty training - not for the faint of heart. I am 150% in the two under two camp....but for the first time I see why people space out their kids a tad more and get this out of the way without an infant in the mix.

Royce is still loving eating solids! It's the only time he really ever gets mad, when he can't get the food quickly enough. Last night Dalton fed him some Saag Paneer (one of my #1 go to recipes, but not with tofu, real cheese!) and I just sat back and wondered when Dalton will be old enough to bathe and dress him as well.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Seeing four stockings hanging in my house makes me so happy. Dalton's first Christmas was when he was only 3 months old, and I was still really struggling with the adjustment to motherhood. Last year, I was throwing up all day and had a bad sinus infection and barely made it out of bed all day. So I have high hopes for this first Christmas as a family of four to really be magical!

Dalton made a gingerbread man candy dish at one of the Home Depot free workshops for kids - toddler moms, go immediately! Dalton loved it, and they have one every month!

Royce met Santa (at Home Depot). Dalton wanted no part of that.

Dalton did enjoy making and decorating Christmas cookies with his buddy.

Particularly once he realized he was working with edibles. 

All that's under my Christmas tree currently is my work bag that I threw down yesterday, with 15 days to go I'm woefully behind on gifts (although is still considered behind if that's what I do every year?). However, I did make good on my big 2016 New Year's Resolution and ordered Christmas cards. Look for one in a mailbox near you!

I got Lularoe Christmas leggings and I'm obsessed. I also had a party, and now I have plenty of LLR in my closet. It sucked me in, and I'm not mad.

I also got a Spectra pump. No regrets. 
Dalton can now climb out of his crib. Terrifying. He hasn't done it on his own yet, only when we are there, but it's fairly easy for him. This morning he climbed right into Royce's crib to give him a hug when we got him up.


At 7 months old, Royce can now sit up on his own.

Happiest baby ever.

He can also army scoot all over the room, and he gets up on his hands and knees all the time and rocks. He's so close to traditional crawling!

We think he's about to take off 72 times a day.

#twoundertwo was one thing. Having a talking, opinionated, potty training two year old and a mobile infant is another!

Just hanging out on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf.

 I can't think of a non-cliche way to say that I love it but it's crazy and exhausting. So there you have it.

What fun holiday activities has everyone done?