Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Day

Ez in the beginnings of a Christmas Toy Daze
I hope you all had a lovely family-filled Christmas! We definitely did, and once Christmas week arrived it flew by in a flash. I seriously can't believe tomorrow is 2015. I'm sure I'll still be writing 2014 well into March ;)

Our Christmas day was a little more mellow than Christmas Eve. We didn't have to spend half the day traveling, and technically we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn, but Ez decided to anyway. I guess that's just a Christmas tradition with kids. We started the day around 6 am with breakfast #1 at our hotel:

We were actually fans of the hotel breakfast. Hot eggs and biscuits every day, yum! Afterward we opened our stockings in the hotel room. 

Ez got a baby doll because I thought maybe that could help explain the whole baby sibling on the way thing. Unfortunately they already have a love/hate relationship. Snuggles, then pushing the baby face down onto the bed. Maybe he's trying to explain the sibling relationship to me? Anyway, we'll keep working on that one.

Lakers Santa for Joe

After stockings we went to my parents' house where we ate breakfast #2: eggnog french toast, cinnamon rolls, and a zucchini egg bake. So delicious. 

After all that food it was onto opening the mounds and mounds of presents, mostly all for Ez. To say that boy got spoiled this Christmas is the understatement of the year. Actually, we were all pretty spoiled - thanks Mom!

In the spirit of Christmas, Ez did try to share all his gifts with Grampa. Since he was wearing the Santa pjs, he was in charge of present distribution, and he tried to give every single gift under the tree to Grampa. And then he would stand there excitedly waiting for the applause he knew Grampa would give him. It was pretty cute.

Here's Gangy trying to reach for her gfit, which he has decided belongs to Grampa instead.

After presents we went out to "dinner" with my grandma and aunt. I say dinner tentatively because, it was only 2:30. So if you're keeping track, we're already on meal #3 before 3:00 pm. And that doesn't count the Christmas cookies and See's candies I've already consumed. I guess it's just not Christmas unless there's plenty of food and sweets involved.

One of my favorite Christmas memories was Ez leading a round of applause for himself for something silly, like opening a present. He just stood in the center of the room and then went around facing each person and clapping until the whole room was clapping. It was too funny. We didn't get any video that day, but here he is later that week trying to recreate the moment:

And heaven forbid that you don't clap on command, cause then this happens:

Merry belated Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Christmas Eve

Ez hamming it up while road-tripping.

We're back! We spent the last 5 days visiting family and friends in Modesto. I thought maybe I'd try to post a few blogs while I was there, but obviously that didn't happen. We were so busy visiting everyone and soaking up the company that there wasn't time for bloggy stuff. In other words, it was exactly the way Christmas should be ;)  Expect several posts about our trip this week, because we did way too much to cram it all into one post. We'll start with Christmas Eve.

For as long as I can remember, with the exception of last year when Joe had to work, I've spent Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family at my aunt's house. Joe got lucky this year and he only has to work from home from Christmas Eve through January 5th, so bright and early (or actually, just early, since the sun wasn't up yet) we hit the road, grabbed breakfast, and made the 6 hour road trip up to Modesto. Ez slept most of the way, and aside from one little fussy period when we stopped at Target for snacks and cheap toys, Ez did great. I bought him a 5 pack of mini-tractors and just handed them back to him one at a time as he got restless. That entertained him for a good two hours. $5 very well spent.

We arrived before noon, and Joe stuck around the hotel to do some work while Ez and I went to my parents house to help make sugar cookies. One of my favorite Christmas traditions - so yummy!

That evening we all packed ourselves into two cars and headed over to my aunt's house. There are a lot of cousins, so it's always a full house and a ton of fun. This was Ez and Joe's first time going, and since Ez is the only little kid in the family at the moment, he got spoiled BIG TIME. He got a rocking giraffe, a motorized Lightning McQueen, a Go Go Smart Wheels, and several other toys. He loved sitting in his shiny new Lightning McQueen and ripping out the steering wheel, which we couldn't figure out how to attach correctly. After a few rounds of laughs when he grabbed the steering wheel, waved it in the air, and demanded that Grampa re-attach it, he decided that was the funnest game of the night and proceeded to do it over and over. And over. Whatever keeps him happy, right?

We stayed until 11 pm, and of course Ez fell asleep as soon as his head hit the carseat. There's nothing cuter than an exhausted baby in Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Early Christmas Celebration

We'll be spending this Christmas in Modesto, so on Sunday night we went over to Grandma Kat and Grandpa Brett's house for an early Christmas celebration. We had enchiladas for dinner (yum!), opened presents, ate a ton of desserts, and walked around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Ez was so excited on the walk that he pretty much sprinted half the way. And then promptly fell asleep once his head  hit the carseat, of course.

Ez got so many great toys and books, I don't think he knows what to do with them all. And this is just the beginning, buddy! His favorites were a set of cars (of course) and an airplane that plays music and comes with three passengers. He kept playing the same song over and over and over. And over. Thankfully he seems to have gotten it out of his system, because I was sure I'd be hearing that song on repeat all day long (goodbye, batteries!), but he seems to be more in a car phase right now. 

We all had a lot of fun, and for us this officially kicks off a very busy holiday season where we'll be making the rounds to different family and friend's houses from Christmas Eve through the 27th. Love this time of the year :)  Merry Christmas week, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Weekend Before Christmas - Eek!

To be honest, I do feel fairly ready for Christmas. Presents are wrapped. Packages have been sent. We even had our first family celebration of the season last night (more on that later). But it's still hard to believe this month has come and gone so quickly, and that it's practically 2015. 

One thing that I've never done before that I see all over Pinterest and blogs is a Christmas-themed breakfast. Last year around this time Ezzy was barely eating solids, so there wasn't really any need to go all out for breakfast since Joe and I aren't really on the same eating schedules (he's up before the crack of dawn, and I prefer my sleep). This year I made Joe wait to eat, got up before Ez, and made a crescent roll Christmas wreath (stuffed with eggs, cheese, and fake bacon, and topped with guacamole and cherry tomatoes - recipe here), a strawberry banana "candy cane", tater tots, and I attempted to make these festive shaped pancakes, but after the first batch burnt and stuck to the cookie cutters, I decided to just add Christmas sprinkles to the batter, make mini pancakes, and call it a day. Nobody seemed to mind that they weren't shaped like little Christmas trees.

After breakfast we took a walk to the park:

That evening we decided we still hadn't had enough holiday lights (you may remember we went last weekend as well), and found a few new places that we may just add to our annual tradition. One of them was way out in Woodland Hills, but it was cool because there were about 4 blocks of houses that were decorated and the whole experience was more like a Christmas festival than your run of the mill holiday light tour. There were churro and funnel cake carts, hot chocolate, and cars and people everywhere. We decided to walk instead of dealing with the crazy traffic. Ez loved every minute of it because there were both cars AND Christmas lights. A combo that can't be beat. 
Thomas the Train was a huge hit with the kiddos.
On Saturday afternoon Ez went to his first Christmas party! There were two other toddler a little older than him, and three tiny babies. Lisa, who hosted the party, used to be a preschool teacher and she had a ton of fun crafts planned. In a two hour span the kids painted, made hand print ornaments, played with playdough, and made little easter egg/bean maracas. Ez loved each activity, and it made me realize maybe I'm slacking a little in the crafts department at home. He was so concentrated on his painting, and sorting the beans for the maracas kept him busy for the remainder of the party. I guess it really is the simple things, right?

As you can see, Ez wasn't a huge fan of the bounce house.
In case you weren't convinced, here he is trying to escape.
More in his element.
My little Picasso even painted his own face. I think it came out great :)
Play dough time!
Ez insisted on sitting in the bumbo seat.
We did a book exchange at the end. Of course Ez loved the wrapping paper most.
Obligatory end-of-party picture where none of the toddlers are looking in the same direction.
On Sunday evening we celebrated an early Christmas with Grandma Kat and Grandpa Brett. I'll save that for another post though, since there's already so much Christmasy stuff in this one ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Baby #2 Bump Update: 13 Weeks

With Ez I started taking "bump" pics as early as 7 weeks. Obviously there was no bump yet, but clearly I'm slacking a little on this pregnancy. Sorry baby #2! I blame it on my denial that I do indeed have a bump, instead of just a "holiday belly." The other night Joe had his hand on my belly and he was asking how far along I am, and then he asked if it's normal to already have a bump. In case anyone reading this knows somebody else that's pregnant right now, you should probably add that to your "things never to say to a pregnant lady" list. But, sadly, he's right, I do have a belly. I wore a regular pair of jeans last week, and the jeans don't lie. I could not get those things off fast enough when I got home. We are definitely in the elastic waistband stage of pregnancy now.  

One important thing I learned from pregnancy #1: I will not be keeping track of my weight on the blog. Cause that's no fun. And I will mysteriously "forget" to include those updates halfway through, so why even start?

Symptoms have been pretty mild. Still have the itchy, dry skin. And the never-ending hunger. No more real food aversions though, so I'm back to cooking dinner and eating veggies which is nice. I've been getting back into the habit of working out too. With Ez I had a pedometer and made a point to walk 10,000 steps a day. My pedometer needs a new battery, but I have been walking at an incline on the treadmill, and walking Ez to Starbucks and the park a few times a week. Plus, I think Christmas shopping counts as cardio. Am I right?? One thing I forget to mention in my last pregnancy post is that I absolutely hate bras when I'm pregnant. Like pretty much from the instant I become pregnant I feel like I can't breathe if there's anything against my rib cage. This happened with Ez too. As soon as I would get to work, the bra would get unhooked. Super professional, I know. I had to upgrade to size 40 bras, so they just kind of hang there with minimal contact. Sorry if that's tmi. 

Things I'm loving: still eating eggs and oj every morning. Handfuls of mixed nuts, cuties, hummus, hard boiled eggs, and chocolate are my go-to snacks. One day last week I had to have cream of wheat with butter and sugar, which I hadn't eaten since I was like four. I'm sure the box will sit there untouched for the next year or so. When I was pregnant with Ez I got a craving for peppermint ice cream in January, and of course there was none to be found, so I bought a carton this time, just in case. I think Ez and I have shared one bowl in the last week or two. Also, a Santa Fe panini from a local cafe always hits the spot. It has fake turkey, black bean spread, sundried tomatoes, corn, romaine, and this spicy chipotle dipping sauce. So good! Mexican food/taco bell will forever be my pregnancy faves. 

Things I'm hating: No real aversions right now. Coffee is ok in small doses, same with iced tea. Ice cold water is my favorite drink though. Also, it'd be nice if I could indulge in a holiday glass of wine or beer, but that'll wait till next year. 

Baby updates: I swear I felt a kick last night. It was very pronounced, but there was only one, and it wasn't the little flutters that I would expect to feel at this stage. Also, nothing since. Maybe it was psychosomatic (or however you spell that). We had a doctor's appointment today with the specialist/3D ultrasound doc. The same doctor was able to tell us Ez was a boy at 13 weeks, so we were a little hopeful going into the appointment. Apparently Ez was flaunting his package, and this baby was a little more modest. The doctor didn't spend too much time looking today, so no gender reveal yet. We did get a pic though:

And here's a little comparison of me pregnant with Ez at 14 weeks. I think I have more of a bump now, but I had a post-surgery lower belly pooch then (You can read the full bump update here):

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Holiday Photos

I love seeing everyone's family photos this time of year, either on blogs or on the Christmas cards that are rolling in, so I thought I'd share ours as well.

We got our photos taken the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at JCP. They were having what they call a "gray Wednesday" sale and their photo cd, which is normally like $130, was on sale for $60. And then they sent me a $50 off coupon. Sold! The key with JCP is to go in there with a plan. We brought two outfits and went for one Christmas-y background and one wintery, because it just doesn't look right to have Santa hat photos up all year long. Also, don't be afraid to keep asking for more shots and poses. I think they allot like 20 minutes per session, but I say go over if you have to! They would have gladly stopped at 10 shots, and I just kept asking for more and more, until we wound up with almost 40. 40 digital shots at $10 I can live with. 10 shots at $130 is insane! Just sayin... So to sum it up, my number 1 tip when it comes to JCP photos is be a diva. They won't tell you no ;)

The cuteness. Seriously, I can't help but smile every time I look at this picture. 
And, because there are hardly any pictures of just Joe and me:

Also, you know I love my throwback photos, and this one's too cute not to re-share:
Ez's 1st Christmas!
So there you have! I think JCP does a good job, especially with babies/young kids. I much prefer natural outdoor settings, but sometimes timing and budget have to be factored in, and I'm very happy with the results.