Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Pregnancy PhotoBook

I mentioned that I'm always running behind on stuff.  Like Christmas cards.  Ahem. They're going out tomorrow. :) (along with 2010 cards & Lily's birth announcements)  Well, they're adorable and I'm still sending them, so family and friends end up with a random "good mail" day instead of just bills and junk. 

In addition to being THAT far behind on things, I just completed a pregnancy book. Yes, for my pregnancy with my 17 month old. 

Someday I may catch up.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day is Here

Merry Christmas!
Lily was pretty excited to get up and go see what Santa brought!

Santa was up until who knows when and Mrs. Claus went to be at 3:30am.  *yawn*  I think it was around 7:30am when the kids woke up.  They were excited when they came downstairs and saw the tree and all the goodies Santa had left!

The biggers had BIG boxes left for them this year... but you just never know what you might find inside. They each told us and Santa what was on the top of their lists and hoped for the best!

The unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped until they found the last box to be unwrapped. 
Andrew's sourpuss face in the bottom right picture is because when he finally got to his last package, he thought he got a pair of socks. hahahaha!

But, alas, he did not get a pair of socks!
He got his desired iPod Touch.
"That's the only thing I want. That and Modern Warfare 3."
And Reag's top of her list gift was a Fijit!
Lily got a play kitchen!

It was a Merry Christmas with all three kids!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve started off lazily, well kind of.  Andrew wrapped his gifts, Lily had breakfast and watched her morning tv shows, I cleaned and George slept in. Then he headed to pick Reagan up at noon.

When they got back we got ready to go see Santa.  After our mall time, we ran a few errands we had left to run, grocery stored it and headed home to get ready for our Pittsburgh Parents' house.  This was a new event for us this year and we had a lot of fun!  We're so thankful to them for including us and inviting us into their family.

We had a fondue supper which was a first for Andrew and Reag and Lily too, of course.  Reag loved it! She thought it was awesome to cook her own little pieces of steak and bread!
There was a lot of excitement as we celebrated Christmas with grandparents, aunts, uncles and the kids of our chosen Pittsburgh family.
There was a lot of laughs, some pouting, a lot of anticipation and more love than words can express in one room.  We're so thankful to have them and for them to have invited us into their lives. The kids adore them and so do we!  Thanks, Granny and Pappy. You are loved.

The kids have traditional Christmas pjs from Oma to open on Christmas Eve too. They always look forward to it!

Lily had some too, but Mama gave 'em to her early... woops!  Oma mailed them earlier and I was supposed to wrap them up for Christmas Eve, but I just thought they were cutie pjs she mailed her favorite baby girl granddaughter. (Lily's the only baby girl...the other granddaughters are older. ;) )

Merry Christmas to all....and to all a good night!

Andrew wonders why he has a kinked neck some mornings. ha!
My sweet baby Lily (in her cutie reindeer pajammies)
I had to uncover Reag's head to show she was there! She buries herself when she sleeps.
Santa's coming!!!

Happy Birthday, Oma! :)

WHO is This Guy?

We've traditionally gone to see Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve, so why break tradition?  This was the longest we've ever had to wait though and even that was only about an hour.  George wandered with the big kids around the mall for a little bit while Lily and I waited in line.

She was content eating her full-sized candy cane while we waited.  Yep. Full peppermint candy cane.

She kicked her feet up, yawned a little bit and waited.
Daddy and the big kids came back just in time for Lily to get to sit on Santa's lap by herself and then with Andrew and Reagan.
I tried putting her on his lap just facing me and backing away from her still looking at me, but no such luck. She knew she was with someone she did NOT want to be with.
I could not stop laughing. It did not get any better at all and I just snapped away with my camera cracking up the whole time. George was trying to get her to smile and stop crying up near the Santa camera, but she wanted no part of any of it.

 Even when Andrew and Reagan finally sat with her, she closed her eyes like she does when she thinks you can't see her.
See the box of candy canes right near Andrew's leg?
After the Lily screaming by herself pictures, when we added in the big kids, she was still crying and trying to get away, so while Andrew tried to wrestle hold her still, he and she knocked over the entire box! Candy canes went flying all over the floor! I could not stop laughing as I was trying to get them picked up and put the display back together. I wish someone had gotten that on video because it was hysterical. Screaming kid, flying candy canes all for one picture.  I'm betting Santa didn't find the whole scene as funny as I did.

I'm thankful Andrew appeases his mama and sat with Santa this year. Reagan is still a believer, so she's a must and she didn't visit him this year except with us.

Lily's perfect professional shot: She's sitting just like a big girl with her legs all straight doing exactly what she's supposed to be doing. :)  I think this will go down as one of my all-time favs.  We'll see how next year goes though.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Finally Decorated

Well after another hectic week, the kids finally put the ornaments on the tree this week! I hope we can figure out something that works out earlier next year, honestly. However, it's up, with ornaments and lights and the kids are happy. 

Watching Lily's face every. single. time. the lights are turned on is totally worth it. She's enamored and in awe each time! I love it.

So far only one ornament has been pulled off and it's non-breakable, so that's a win!

One thing I really love is that Andrew and Reagan are happy to put all the ornaments on (with a little guidance of breakables) and we have this smorgasboard of memories on our trees.

Nothing matchy matchy.

Just history. 

We still put many of mine and Andrew's ornaments before we met George and Reagan and many of theirs before us. And then of course, ornaments we've collected during our life together. It's a perfect representation of all of us. 

We upgraded to colored LED lights this year that are bigger and we all really like them. I wasn't so sure about them because I tend to stick with not changing what works and I really love traditional colored lights. If I could get away with it, I'd have those big colored bulbs from when we were kids on the tree!  But, the LED bulbs are pretty and adding in purple makes for something new that I think is pretty too.

Lily woke up from her afternoon nap crankypants, so she wasn't as thrilled about the decorating as we'd hoped, but still managed to participate.

Trying to capture pictures of the 3 of them together with an on-the-go, mind of her own toddler has become increasingly difficult. At least Reag's a good sport! Andrew too. hahaha!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Learning as We Go

Recently Reagan got in trouble at school for something.  We were pretty surprised since she's pretty much one of those kids who is a pleaser.  Doesn't like for anyone to be upset with her.

It's one of those situations that becomes more difficult because of the living under two roofs family situation. So, George and I simply handle it in our home as we feel is best.

The details of her actions aren't crucial to the story because it's something that we believe every child tries and goes through and we strongly believe that this was simply a kid thing, not something based on the circumstances of her life. How it's handled and how it's reacted to will ultimately tell if the lesson was learned.

Suffice to say we were simply disappointed in her choices.

What is ultimately difficult with Reagan is finding something as a consequence that is impactful on her.

As we talked with her, she teared up a couple times recognizing our disappointment in her actions.  Of course, we were trying to deal with this on an evening we were trying to get out the door to Andrew's band concert and the night before she'd be heading back to BM's house for the weekend. 

She was pretty solemn most of the evening.

When George shared with her that she wouldn't be able to participate in her pajama day at school, she tried to hold back her tears as she listened. He explained that it was difficult for us as well because we don't want her to miss out either.

It was impactful.

When she came home yesterday after the weekend with BM, she shared that BM & stepdad said much of the same to her as we did about her actions.  (omg, I about fell over!)

Although, of course even in a situation that we seemingly all feel the same about, it was fraught with comments to her, such as:  "Well, at least your dad got something right for once in his life." and "At least he finally got one punishment right." and "Well, they're basically telling you it's ok because that's the kind of people they are and they do that too." 

I wish so much for Reagan that even that mistake she made could have just been left as something all of her parents agreed about and that was that.  Instead it was (of course) turned into sarcastic, negative comments about her dad.  Yeah, ok, 'cause that was the point. *rolling my eyes*

We're hopeful that Reag took the experience and learned the lesson. 

Time will tell.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

5 years

After writing about picking out our Christmas tree yesterday, I decided to look back at the previous years since we've lived in Pittsburgh.  I discovered that I was wrong about our first Christmas together.  We used my husband's pitiful fake Christmas tree that first year. Then we moved on to our live tree tradition.

I showed Andrew this first picture and he said, "We look so LITTLE!"

I do love this tradition we've created together!  O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree...how lovely are thy branches...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Picking Out the Tree

The last few weeks have been fraught with one thing after another during the week and since Reagan is only with us weekdays, we have to make sure we continue family traditions during the week this year. The kids have had a lot going on with Scouts and Brownies too, and also Andrew's band concert and rehearsals.

This week we were finally were able to go and pick out our Christmas tree!

Lily is thrilled to just walk everywhere, so she roamed around checking out the tree selection.

 George and Andrew held up a few that we'd narrowed it down to. Andrew yelled out that he was the star.

Doesn't Andrew look absolutely thrilled to be holding up the tree? 

The kids accomodate my picture taking well...always.  I love being able to compare previous years to see how much the kids have grown and changed. We've been going to the same lot for our tree since 2007, when Andrew and I moved here.  My husband accomodates my desire for a live tree since I didn't have one growing up in Arizona despite being allergic to pine.  Love him!

Well almost always....

Finally we found what we were looking for!

Now to decorate....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winning...Not Charlie Sheen Style

Hey, that Plum District deal for a $50 Restaurant.com gift certificate AND a $25 Target gift card is still available.... If you click through this link you'll get $5 towards your purchase!

Well after a long awaited delay in an announcement I FINALLY have the results of my very first giveaway!
Thanks to all who entered. I wish I could have all of you win...seriously!

For the rest of you... I have a treat to share!
Use my code: STMMMS44093 to get:

I also have some freebie page templates I will be posting soon too!! I love this company!

The winner is..............................................................................................................

YIPPEE, Amy!  I'm super excited for you!!!
(email me for your code for your prize!!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Love a Great Deal

Ok, friends and fam...

For $25.00 you can get a $50.00 gift certificate to Restaurants.com AND a $25.00 Target gift card.

Use promo code "FABULOUS" for an additional 10% off!!!!

What are you waiting for.....

Click here for the Plum District great deal!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Under the Same Roof

One of my all-time favorite tv shows is Parenthood.  I loved the movie back in the day too. (going old school)
It's one of those shows I look forward to every week and when it's not on, I'm disappointed. It's just that good.  I laugh and cry every. single. episode. If you don't watch this show, YOU. ARE. MISSING. OUT.

A few weeks ago, part of an episode really struck me regarding families. 

There is a character--Jabbar: a 6 year old boy, whose parents were planning on getting married but are no longer. They split up and in this episode had the realization that their son didn't know they wouldn't be getting married even though they all no longer lived under the same roof.

So, they sat down with him together to explain as much.

As they talked, they discussed different types of families with him.   The scene finishes with this 6 year old boy somberly saying,

"I wish we were an under the same roof family."

(You can watch the scene here from 17:13 to 19:14 or so.)

I know at times Andrew has wished for that.  And Reagan has too.

I remember taking Andrew to the airport when we still lived in Arizona for him to fly to visit his dad and the line was FILLED with kids waiting to get on airplanes alone to visit another parent somewhere.  Tears immediately filled my eyes as I was so overcome by how the makeup of families has changed so much and my son was a part of that as well.   It's sad, really.   I don't wish Andrew's dad and I were still married (obviously). I'm so glad that Andrew has a great relationship with all of his parents and we all are able to love, encourage and support our son peacefully.  I cannot imagine what that means to him. He's never known any different, but has been witness to the drastically extreme difference between Reagan and all of her parents and his.

Andrew's struggle is that his dad and I live in two different states, so his time with his dad isn't as frequent.

Reagan's struggle (one of them) is being allowed the freedom to love all of her family.  Being told Lily is only her "half-sister" and wouldn't even be that until her dad and I were married (yeah, nevermind genetics) but then having a new baby at BM's that is allowed to be her "sister" even though technically she's a "half" too.  Again, why do this to your own child?  Just let her love them and be excited about them.  Of course, Reagan, is now more comfortable in her role as big sister since Lily is 16 months old, so it's been really exciting for her to see a newborn and have some "experience" under her young 7 year old belt. ;)  She talks to us about this new baby just as excited as she did about Lily.  However, she also has shared some sadness throughout this process... BM telling her she was the last to know that the baby was born or BM saying to her, "this isn't a free-for-all for you to talk about Lily now that the baby is here." Well, since Lily is Reag's experience, of course she's going to talk about her.   So, since she's an under two roofs family member, she gets to share HER life in our house. My heart just breaks for her.

Last week I was at school to take some pictures for one of the committees I'm on and saw Reag while I was there.  We smiled and waved at each other and then I saw her turn to a friend, "That's my mom!"  Immediately tears filled my eyes. I was overwhelmed by emotion...love, pride, relief, joy...and the feeling that "we have done this."  After all the turmoil that this child has been through and despite every hateful, horrible thing said to her about me under one of her roofs, she called me her mom. 

We're doing something right.

Although, two of the three of our children do not have an "under the same roof family" with their biological parents, we are a family and we are raising children who will have the tools to be successful in their lives...in all facets.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yes, It's Lived In

Ok, so I have recently come across a blogging messy house soulmate in Becky. I'm not sure how I found her, but oh I love her!  If we didn't live across the country, we could be real life friends. I mean it.  How awesome would it be to have someone over who totally gets the laundry baskets, the turned over toys, the sink full of dishes, the piles of art stuff and papers on the table, the stuff waiting for a bin to be bought so it can be put away?!

I decided to take a few pictures of Tornado Lily after the 937853249th time I had picked up after her because, well, I was just plain exhausted and didn't want to deal with it.  This all occured while I was making supper.  AFTER I had picked up before my husband got home from work.  

Welcome to my world.

I had forgotten how exhausting a toddler can be.  Add to it a 7 year old girl who doesn't pick up after herself with ANYTHING and a 12 year old boy who leaves random items of clothing all throughout the house. His room? Well, that's another story. 

I've been inspired to get real about what a lived in house looks like.  :)

Don't forget my giveaway ends tonight!