Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hopes for 2012!

Happy New Year!!! So tomorrow I have a post planned to reminisce a bit about 2011, but I'm starting the year linking up with Samantha at Adventures with Gwen to share my hopes for 2012!

In 2012...

I hope to meet and meet-up with other mommies more.  I have friends with kids, but they don't necessarily operate on our schedule.  Or live close by.  And this might be asking too much, but I'd like to find an actual "friend" in there for me, too :).

I hope to spend less.  A lot less.  Because I'd like to save more.  And stock pile it up.  Make sure that we're investing right for our future.  We don't have much debt because we pay off as we spend (usually!), but I'd like to make sure we save our money wisely.   This probably means a drastic reduction in my trips to Target.  But I've done that before (twice, including the time I gave it up for Lent!).  And more couponing.

I hope to start living a healthier life style.  I know.  That's such a New Year's resolution, right? But seriously, this goes hand in hand with my desire to spend less.  Brian and I eat out a lot.  Way too much.  For our waist lines and our budget.  We have a free gym membership (thanks to trade!), that we hardly ever use.  We are getting big on encouraging each other to get healthy.  It's nice to be able to run after your children and not have to worry about running out of breath (so I've heard)!

I hope to stop hmmm, well isn't this a hard one?  I hope to stop letting other people's actions and decisions affect me.  That's probably a big one.  When I feel like I've been wronged, or my family has, or a friend has, or a whole group of people for that matter, I'm quick to act.  There have been many (many, many) times that Brian (or Brian's voice in my head) has stopped me from sending a text I shouldn't send, or I've just bitten my tongue because it's probably the right thing to do.  Sometimes where I fly off the handle and make up worst case scenarios in my head.  I get worked up.  Now, on some level, I know this isn't awful.  I don't want to be apathetic.  But I should probably remind myself that people (for the most part) don't intentionally set out to hurt or anger me.  And if they do, well, they're probably not people I want around anyway, right?

I hope that I prioritize my time better than I did in 2011.  For serious.  I would like this year to be a quiet year.  I'm quickly becoming annoyed by the extra noise in my life, especially the TV.  I want to spend more time teaching my kids, hanging out with them, talking and laughing with my husband, and being outside (at my parents' house.  In their pool.  Well, I guess our new fenced in backyard works, too).

My hope for my family is that we have a blast together.  That we continue to learn and grow together, and that we continue being "us."  I spend my days surrounded by four pretty amazing people, especially the tiny humans.  I want "us" to stay "us," and I want to make sure that we all feel the strength of our family around us.

My hope for my children is that they continue to become who they are supposed to be.  I want them to be healthy and happy, of course, but I love watching this journey that they're taking as they grow. Watching Wyatt play sports, listening (and watching) Reese's hysterical antics, and watching Hudson grow and learn more everyday.  Each one of them has their own, distinct personality, and they each bring something so special to our family.  They amaze me!

My hope for my marriage is that we always make sure to put each other first.  Date nights, date days, (thanks to great grandparents who also think that our marriage is important!) quick phone calls and texts, and always being there for each other.  When we're in the right place, I know that our family is.

I'm starting 2012 a very thankful and happy camper, and I can't wait to see what this new year brings (besides my thirtieth birthday!)!  What are you hoping for?  Head over to Samantha's blog and link up!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day!

Santa was very good to us this year...this is just half of it!
 Brian and I were up late on Christmas Eve (much later than I thought we would be!), and we got an awesome Christmas present - Wyatt slept in until 7:15!  He is an early riser (to put it mildly - up before 6 most days), and him sleeping that late was totally unexpected, but much appreciated by his parents!  The other two are great sleepers, Reese is usually up around 7:30 and Hudson after that, so we had to wake them up!
 They were very excited to open presents, but we told them that we were going to wait until their grandparents got there at 8 to get started, and they actually did a great job waiting patiently!

I know Santa leaves some kids presents out and unwrapped, but for some reason at our house, he likes to draw the morning out.  He wraps all of our presents and leaves them in these cute Santa bags.  Which reminds me, I need to mail them back to the North Pole tomorrow :).
 Wyatt and Reese were both great helpers when it was time for Hudson to "open" his presents!

The big kids both got new bikes - Reese's was actually a gift for her birthday that Brian finally put together!  Wyatt has the same trike in red.
 And Wyatt got this sweet Schwinn, too!  He needed a big boy bike, and this one was perfect.  We saw it at Sam's on a shopping trip and went back the next day to get it!
 We had breakfast (I made sausage casserole in the crock pot, sticky buns, and French toast casserole - all Pinterest finds) and relaxed a bit before they opened their presents from us. Brian and I snuck in a little time to open out gifts, too.  Including my new Kindle and two new charms for my Pandora bracelet!  I'm so excited to start reading, but I need suggestions!

We went to Brian's parents house for dinner and presents late that afternoon, after we had all napped and were refreshed.  Actually, Wyatt doesn't nap, but he did watch Cars 2 quietly  on the laptop in his room so the rest of us could!
 The 4 big kids checking out Reese's gift from her cousins!
 "Look Mom!  It's just like the Toy Story Mania ride at Disney World!"
 Reese opening her Lion King kissing Simba and Nala.  She unwrapped them, and then she yanked them out of the box!  We left their presents at Mimi and Baba's that night and she had an emotional breakdown when she had to go to bed without them!
I love the look on Hudson's face here!  He spent the day less interested in presents and more interested in helping to pick up bits of wrapping paper!  We had a fabulous Christmas, and I hate for it to end!  That's probably why I'm dragging out blog posts about it.  And why I have no intentions of taking down my trees yet!  Ha!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bye Parker!

After we said goodbye to Parker on Christmas Eve, he was apparently up to some shenanigans!
 He put streamers outside Wyatt and Reese's bedroom doors (this was Reese's - Wyatt army crawled into her room to get her the next morning so she could bust out)!
 He also hung streamers in the kitchen on our Christmas wall (all the kids artwork from December), and from our chandelier.  If you look on the chalkboard you can see his "note."
I edited this in Picasa and printed it at CVS.  They were so excited to see a message from their little elf friend.  I can't wait to welcome Parker back next year.  Even though Reese's exact words when she saw the presents on Christmas morning were, "See Mom, Santa brought us presents even though we were naughty!" Yeah...

Christmas Eve!

We traditionally spend Christmas Eve at my parents' house (2010, 2009, 2008), where we have a nice Italian meal (my Dad made some AWESOME lasagna this year), spend time together (watching football), and open presents!

It was really fun this year because Hudson is a lot bigger than he was last year, and because Mason was celebrating his first Christmas!

I forgot our Rebel, so all of our pictures are from Brian's iPhone.  Reese opened up her present from my parents - a Story time Belle.  This doll is awesome, but Reese opened it and said, "I already have a Belle."  This was not the only time were heard this, and it drove me crazy!  We explained the difference, and now she is in love with this doll.  It went everywhere with her today!
 Wyatt got some assistance opening his Toy Story space ship from his little cousin.
 How sweet are these two staring at Hudson's Little People Pirate Ship?

We packed up the toys (including the new air hockey table from Uncle Marc and Aunt April!) and came home in time to open our Christmas jammies (yes, we ALL get new pajamas on Christmas Eve).  Brian read the big kids some stories while I got Hudson snuggled in for the night, and we let them watch one Christmas show before bed. They said good bye to Parker (I think they became attached!), and then went to bed quickly!  They were very anxious for Santa to come!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Week, Pre-Christmas!

Is there a more hectic time of year than Christmas?!  The kids have been out of school since Friday, the sixteenth, and we have been busy!

Our court is full of kids, and we love to have fun get togethers for them.  Big Memorial Day barbecues, Fourth of July parties, movie nights, and we had our first Secret Santa party last weekend!  Only 19 of the kids were able to come to this, but they had the best time.  It was funny to watch the crowd shuffle when it was someone else's turn to open their present.  Wyatt got Don't Break the Ice, and he just LOVES that game!

We spent each night doing something fun.  We went to the Lights at the Beach (basically, you drive down the boardwalk and look at Christmas lights), the Lights at the Gardens, and drove around to look at lights!  This little beauty is down the street from our house.  It is over the top for Christmas, but it is over the top all year.  They live in the kind of house that is so crazy on the outside that the inside gives you nightmares of awful wallpaper and cherubs.  
We took this picture of Reese in  the Ice Princess' throne before we saw Santa.  Then we were told to put our camera away.  The princess wasn't even there!
We obsessively tracked the days until Christmas with our train Advent Calender, as well as our Fisher-Price Nativity countdown.  The only problem with the countdown is the Sant-icipation.  These kids were SOOOO excited on Christmas Eve!
Thursday night Brian and I went to Reese's dance class "showcase."  They did a cute little dance to "Run, Run Rudolph."  Reese did a really great job, we were so proud of her!  Not a hint of stage fright.
On Friday we ran lots of errands and then came home to make foam snowmen.  I honestly didn't think this craft would occupy a ton of time, but boy was I wrong.  Reese sat at the table making these for at least and hour and a half - she made 8!  She is very proud of each one!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here is our Christmas card.  I ordered it through Tiny Prints, and I just can't say enough about how much I love the way this turned out!  

We've got everything wrapped and ready, so I'll just be doing some cleaning and cooking today.  Then we're off to spend Christmas Eve with my parents and family!  
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visiting with Santa!

Brian is on vacation for two weeks, which coincides with the kids' Christmas Break (yes, my husband only had to work about 8 days this month.  This never happens!).  We have put off some things off so that we could really enjoy his time off together.  We tried to go see Santa last weekend and the line was a nightmare.  So we pushed it back to this week, when we knew we'd be able to go on a (hopefully) slow weekday!

We only had to wait in line for 5 minutes!  The big kids did so well, and they told Santa what they would like for Christmas.  Wyatt has already sent a letter to the North Pole (Parker took it for us one night), but he added something - a fire truck. And Reese only asked for one thing - a Teddy Bear.  We're done shopping. (Although my husband is out shopping right now, so I really don't know that we're done!) That would be the downfall of taking your kids at the last minute!

Here is this year's Santa picture!  Hudson was NOT thrilled to be sitting on Santa's lap.  I tried to hold Brian back from passing him to Santa, but the lady in front of us would not make up her mind about what she wanted!   So we ended up with a crying baby picture!

And some Christmases past -
2010 (yes, Wyatt is wearing the same shirt, but I bought it in a size up last year and figured, what the heck?!)

I have no idea where my digital copy of '09 is - but here is a super sweet one from 2008! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reese's Christmas Program

Reese had her first Christmas program on Thursday!  She was very excited.
 She was beyond excited to see her cheering section when she walked out.
 Singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
And of course she performed "Feliz Navidad" as well.  She couldn't get a hang of the Spanish, but she sang her little heart out when she got to, "I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!"

We went to her classroom for her party afterwards, and watched her eat and she gave us our present, her little handprint.  She was very excited to show me how her hand fit into the mold!  She is such a good little girl - all the other kids were done and playing, and she asked for more carrots!  She cracks me up!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wyatt's Christmas Program

Wyatt had his Christmas program on Wednesday.  Even though it's his second year of school, it was his first  Christmas party - last year we had two snow showers in December, and the first caused school to be cancelled on the day of his party!
 Singing Holly Jolly Christmas!

 The "grand finale" was a performance of "Feliz Navidad" with the three year olds.  Wyatt can actually say "Prospero Año y Felicidad." And he sounds absolutely adorable when he says it!  Maybe we'll start working on Spanish homeschool after he starts reading!  I have no idea how to speak Spanish, but I guess 7 years of French could help some?
Wyatt with Daddy - taking a break from enjoying his Rudolph cupcake!

Two things happened at school that cracked me up.  The first is that Natalie's mom (yes, Natalie who we ran into while we were trick or treating) told me that Natalie can spell two names - her own and Wyatt's.  And she wrote Wyatt's name all over her Mom's birthday present! This was after Isabella's mom (who is by far the person I hear about MOST when we talk about school) told me that she hears about Wyatt all the time, too!

Then I actually heard a mom refer to Wyatt as "the one with the good hair."  Yes.  My four year old son has earned that moniker.  Seriously?  And that wasn't the only time that day I heard it!  Brian also said that a few moms at basketball practice remembered Wyatt because of his hair!  

So I've started calling him by a new nickname.  And being the Grey's Anatomy fan that I am, it has something to do with this guy:

And Wyatt doesn't seem the least bit embarrassed when I call him McDreamy :)!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My B-Baller

Wyatt had his first basketball practice last night!  We were excited to sign him up and expose him to a sport that he hasn't really had a lot of practice with.  He was also very excited.  Especially when the Y gave each child his own basketball!

We don't really watch NBA games.  Like, ever.  We do watch college basketball when Duke is on because Brian is a fan.  And because Reese is going to school there.  But even then, Wyatt doesn't really watch it. He sees highlights when we watch Mike & Mike every morning. So he is very excited to learn to play (and he'll probably want to watch some games, too).

 Last night the team learned about defense.  He was very excited to show me his defensive moves when he got home. 
 If Brian and I have our way, our kids will be involved in something year round!  This year Wyatt played baseball in the spring, took swimming lessons all summer, played baseball and soccer in the fall, and he is playing basketball (and probably starting swim lessons again) this winter.  Reese took swimming lessons, played soccer and is taking dance at school.
Obviously we want them to have fun and we don't want a bunch of couch potatoes, but we also want them to learn all the other important lessons as they get older and get more involved in sports.  We are very excited to watch him play basketball this year, and I think he is even more excited to play!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catch Up!

I feel like I have been playing catch up since we got home!  Out of control laundry, out of control house, getting ready for Christmas - everything is so off!

Wyatt went back to school Monday, and Brian stayed home Monday and Tuesday.  Fortunately the kids (especially Hudson who I was most worried about!) jumped back into their routines really quickly.  Wyatt is waking up really early (like 4:45 early), but other than that, we're good!

On Friday we finally got our family tree up and lit.  I was up until 1 (Yes really. I do the lights.  I'm specific about them - I took lessons from a friend who does 4 trees a year and I've done them ever since).

Saturday was still my morning to get up with the kids, so we got up, had breakfast and got ready for our cousins' birthday party!  Derek and Sophie turned 5!  It's so hard to believe that they are 5 years old - mainly because it means that in just three and a half months this little guy will be 5!

Surprisingly, this was Wyatt's only ride on the pony!  I thought that he might take a few more rides, but he decided to go play with the group of boys instead.  He is really having a lot of fun playing with Derek lately - and when they all decided to go play sports and run Wyatt was definitely in his element!

Reese on the other hand....

I don't think she could have loved riding this pony more!  She stayed in line to ride it the entire time - she would ride the loop, hop off, and then get in line behind Sophie and the other little girl who were in the same routine.  I think she's planning on asking Baba to get her a pony to live in the barn :).

Brian missed the entire party because he had to leave!  This is so TMI, but it's a funny story, I promise! He had a headache all morning, but decided to go anyway.  About 10 minutes after we got there he felt nauseous and went to the car.  Apparently he was sick, but there was a plastic bag in the bag seat that saved him.  His dad was able to drive him home, and he took this with him "just in case."

There were no tools in it because I'd JUST purchased it for him as a Christmas gift.  I bought it because I think that his current big, metal toolbox smells like vomit.  Well, you can guess what happened when he turned the corner to our neighborhood.  Needless to say, I'll need to buy another one because this one smells, too.  Fortunately it was only $7!

He felt better by that night, so we were able to drive around to look at some Christmas lights.  We made an attempt to go see Santa on Sunday morning, but the line was WAY too long.  I think we'll be going on a weekday instead!  

This week is going to be SO fun (and busy!)!  We have Christmas parties and programs at school, and lots of fun activities to do.  Plus, Wyatt starts basketball!  Crazy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Days 6 & 7: More Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom

This is the last time that I will bore you with the details of our vacation (for awhile, I have a "Princess post," a post about our hotel, and a post about a few "must do's" that I'll share later)!   On Friday we went back to Hollywood Studios - I guess we thought that we should let the kids redeem themselves!  Ha!

Wyatt wanted to ride Star Tours again - and this time it did a number on Brian and I.  I get sick on that kind of stuff (not throw up sick really, but headaches) and even though Brian usually doesn't, he didn't feel very well either.  I worry about the kids having my tolerance for this stuff, but Wyatt seems to be fine!  I think Reese might get a little queasy sometimes, though!
We rode Star Tours, took the back lot tour (which has changed since my first trip 11 years ago - I remember The Golden Girls house being there?), had lunch, ran into one of Brian's former employees working as a housekeeper (I literally ran into her in the bathroom and she followed me out to say hi to  Brian), rode Toy Story Mania again, caught the Little Mermaid, shopped, and watched the Pixar parade!  Hudson likes to be the conductor whenever he hears music!  It was a really fun day!

On what turned out to be out last day (we added an extra day for $32 total just in case we decided to go back on Sunday) we went to Animal Kingdom.  We rode the safari and went straight to Camp Minnie-Mickey to meet some characters.  It turned out to be a great decision because there were no lines and we were done in a half hour!
We had to see Thumper because each of our kids were read Goodnight Thumper every night for the first year and a half of their lives!  Brian and I definitely have that one memorized!

This picture was originally supposed to be Brian and I - and then Wyatt jumped in!  We are big fans of The Amazing Race, and practically every season one of the tasks involves rickshaws, and we wanted to pretend like we were on the Race!

We really wanted to go back to the Magic Kingdom, but we decided to stay for the parade that afternoon.  The kids really seemed to enjoy it.
We took a few pictures of this amazing tree.
Including this pretty cute one!

We were still hoping to make it to the Wilderness Lodge for a visit (we've stayed there on every other  trip and it is amazing, especially at Christmas), and to the Magic Kingdom.  But we had packages to drop off at our hotel and we ended up going there, catching a bus to the Magic Kingdom, immediately getting on a bus for the Wilderness Lodge and then having dinner there.  

We got on a boat to go the Magic Kingdom and ended up stuck on it for 45 minutes - which didn't really matter because it was 8:45 and completely packed!  Brian and I debated on going to the park in the morning, but decided it was better to get on the road early.  We really wanted the Magic Kingdom to be their last experience of the trip - but we were also ready to get home!  We had so much fun on our trip, and even after a few setbacks (like me realizing that I left the laptop in the safe in the room after we'd been on the road for 15 minutes and then turning around to go get it!), we made it home in exactly 12 hours!  Pretty amazing!  I really can't wait to take them back - and we've already started a list of things we'd do differently - ha!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 5: Another Trip to the Magic Kingdom

We headed back to the Magic Kingdom to visit with more characters and ride some of our favorite rides.  One of our first stops was Woody and Jessie's spot. As you can see, the majority of our kids had a great time.  Hudson, not so much....

He was just a little bit scared when Woody walked up to say hi.  The funny thing is that Hudson was asleep when we first got there, and he woke up when he heard a little girl scream "Wooooodyyyy!"  He bolted up and started pointing at Woody and Jessie, but then he didn't really want to visit with them.
 Woody was a little embarrassed!
 We love Toy Story so much that we needed a family picture!  You might not be able to find me because I'm just a little bit taller than the kids!

The boys went to play on Tom Sawyer's island for awhile, so Reese, Hudson and I made the rounds.  We visited with the Fairy Godmother, and then waited in line forever to meet Tiana!

I loved their shirts!  I ordered them from this etsy shop, which is also where I got Reese's turkey shirt.    We took a little break in the day to get our sillies out.
 And to take some pictures in the gardens.
 We were able to ride a lot of rides, meet more princesses, and fit in two more parades!  The kids were very excited to see the light parade (even though we almost just ran into it on the way out of the park - we had decided to leave).  But they were in awe of the floats.  We were seated behind an older couple, and she sat down to make room for the kids.  Reese basically walked up and sat on her lap!  I apologized, but she said that Reese was fine.  Reese asked me later if that grandma minded that she sat on her lap!