Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Do you ever look back on life and feel like some years went by so much more quickly than others? 2015 was definitely one of those years for me. So much was packed into twelve months. We moved. Twice. Our sweet little Declan joined the family and Ez grew by leaps and bounds as he took on the role of big brother. If it weren't for this blog and the insane amount of pictures I took I don't think I'd realize just how much these boys of mine have grown. In size, obviously, but also personality for both of them and maturity for Ez. It's just so crazy to think back on last New Years when it was just the three of us and I was barely in my second trimester of pregnancy. I mean, is this even the same kid??

And don't get me started on this guy:

He's grown twice as much as big bro in half the time. Obviously that's the kind of stuff that can get a mom all teary eyed. So before I start thinking about fresh starts and new beginnings and goals and all that fun stuff you'll have to give me a second for pure nostalgia as I look through old posts and pictures. If I had to oversimplify the last year into twelve posts to sum up all our major happenings, these would be them:

January: We sold our house and moved. Again. I know, we're always on the move.
February: We found out Declan's gender! This feels like ages ago and reading this post brought back all kinds of happy emotions.
March: We were all over the place: San Jose (back before we knew we'd be living here), San Francisco, and San Diego all in one month.
April: My mom threw me a surprise baby shower. Technically I found out beforehand, but it's the thought that counts. Thanks mom!
May: Ez turned 2. And it boggles my mind that he's almost 3. Sob.
June: Declan arrived! And as I sit here looking at my chubby, cooing six month old I can hardly believe how tiny and helpless he was six months ago.
July: Joe and I turned a year older. It was a lowkey birthday weekend, but will forever be one of my most memorable ones as we adjusted to being a family of four.
August: We moved again. Yes it was crazy moving with a toddler and a newborn. But it seriously has been the best thing for our family. We love it so much and we're excited to put down roots here.
September: We fit in one last family trip to Disneyland before the big move. Believe it or not Declan has somehow managed three Disney trips in his six months of life. We got caricatures done, visited Cars Land, and ate our favorite foods.
October: I shared a typical day in our life with a toddler and baby in our new place. Nothing groundbreaking here, but in this crazy, sleep-deprived stage of our lives, I know I'll look back at this and smile one day.
November: Joe and I hosted our first big Thanksgiving dinner and I think it went pretty well.
December: I know everyone says this, but this year's Christmas really was the best ever. Until next year, that is ;)

As lovely and momentous and life changing as 2015 was, I have a feeling 2016 will be a great one too. We've got some big things planned, maybe a few trips, a little family reunion and wish me luck because potty training is in my near future and I'm terrified. Toddlers can smell fear, can't they? 

In all seriousness though, I'm so excited to see what the next year has in store for us. And I wish you all luck on your goals and hope 2016 turns out to be the best one yet. 

Happy New Years Eve!

Christmas, Pt. 2

This is the last of my Christmas posts. Sad face. Our tree is gone and our house is as empty and quiet as it can be with two young kids. We miss the hustle and bustle and we're so grateful to all the family that traveled to be with us on Christmas. The day was chaotic and messy and filled with family, food, games, and laughs. Exactly the way Christmas should be and I hope we created quite a few traditions that will continue for years to come. Thanks to everyone both near and far for all your cards, well wishes, gifts, and generosity, both at Christmastime and all year long. We truly are blessed to have such amazing friends and family in our lives. Love you all and wishing you health, joy, and prosperity in the new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our Christmas Morning

These lucky boys technically had three Christmases, starting on Christmas Eve, and then two on Christmas day. After a late night Ez and I slept in the longest on Christmas morning until I couldn't contain my excitement any longer and woke him up. I'm sure this is the last year that will ever happen. 

Joe's mom and her husband were spending the weekend with us, and once everyone was gathered we checked out our stocking loot. Ez's favorite thing was a storm trooper tractor that Santa must've picked up at Disneyland. Declan got lots of teethers plus an adorable lion beanie.

After that it was onto the mounds of presents, not only from Santa but from grandma too. To say those kids got spoiled is an understatement. After I sensed a lull in the present unwrapping velocity Joe and I ran upstairs to grab Ez's big present, a Radiator Springs table set complete with 11 wooden Cars characters. I only even knew the thing existed thanks to Liz's Instagram, but once I saw it I knew Ez needed it. That thing had approximately two hundred pieces and took a certain elf three hours to assemble and in the end it was basically only tied for first place with a $13 motorcycle set that required zero assembly. When will I ever learn? Although to be fair Ez has given equal love and attention to every present received. And not only his presents, but Declan's too. It's like a toy store exploded in our living room and he's in toddler paradise.

After unwrapping presents we ate a crockpot breakfast casserole which had been cooking overnight. I'd never tried that before but it's definitely the way to go on Christmas morning.

Then it was time for playing with all our new gifts. Ez raced some cars, played with his motorcycles, and piled all his vehicles into a dump truck just to dump them all out over and over while jumping with excitement. I relaxed in my new papasan chair with a book. Meanwhile Declan attacked any bit of bubble wrap or wrapping paper he could get his hands on. 

Then we headed outdoors to take Joe's new toddler bike seat for a spin. I thought Ez would be a little hesitant since he'd never ridden a bike before, but he loved it! He kept saying "whee! I'm on a bicycle!" and demanding to go again the second Joe stopped. 

After all that excitement it was time to clean up as best as possible before more family arrived and we started Christmas, round 3. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Eve

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Raise your hand if you're dealing with the post Christmas wreckage of toys and decorations this week. My house looks like the picked over aisles of Toys R Us right now. I'm not complaining though, that's the sign of a fun, family-filled holiday and we loved every second of the last week.

For as long as I can remember it's been our family tradition to go to my aunt's house on Christmas Eve. We have a big family and everyone gathers together for Christmas pizza, lots of cookies, and too many presents to count for all the kiddos. When I was younger my cousins and I would run around until all hours of the night trying out our new toys, but now everyone is grown up and Ez and Declan are the only kids. So they get spoiled. Alot.

But before we went to my aunt's house we started off the afternoon at my mom's for Christmas baking. My mom probably bakes a thousand cookies for various friends and family each Christmas. Helping my mom with her sugar cookies each year is one of my favorite traditions and this year Ez joined in on the fun. He loved being in charge of sprinkles. And of course taste testing. That's my favorite part too, kid. 

On our way to my aunt's both boys fell asleep in the car and they woke up in grumpy moods. Ez was on the verge of tears until he spotted a bowl of candy. Then he received a few presents to entertain him, including a giant dump truck and a few toy ambulances, and his mood did a 180. Declan on the other hand never completely regrouped and he threw plenty of screaming fits to let us know just how he felt. 

After lots of visiting we called it a night around 9:30 and headed home. I thought for sure Ez would fall asleep in the car since it was over an hour drive, but nope. After weeks of seeing presents sitting under the tree he finally got his chance to open a few and he was pumped up. Just as I was thinking we might be in for a long night he thankfully went straight to bed as soon as we got home. Of course that means Declan woke up all bright eyed and ready to coo and chat with me. I tried getting him to sleep a few times before I gave up and let him help me fill the stockings. He made a great Santa's little helper and it was fun having the company. Too bad we can't make that a yearly tradition

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Random Holiday Festiveness Pt. 2

Two sleeps until Christmas! I'm equal parts disbelief that Christmas is here and so so excited to see the boys' faces on Christmas morning. Things have been quiet around the blog lately while we do "one last round of shopping" approximately twenty times now... Take it from me, this is not the best time of year to forget that one crucial thing off your shopping list because there's no such thing as a quick run to the store the week before Christmas. 

Thankfully Ez and Declan have been troopers. When we haven't been waiting in lines we've been having lots of fun as we continue traditions from last year and add a few new ones to the mix as well, all while Christmas music plays in the background. 

About 80% of our presents are wrapped, and this year presented the new challenge of trying to explain to a toddler that he is not the recipient of every single package. Sometimes we actually give presents to other people. That little talk didn't go over well. I'm hoping when Christmas comes and he actually gets to hand the presents to all his family he'll feel differently. 

I've also been in full on Christmas movie mode. Both boys seemed to like Elf, Charlie Brown's Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas plus of course Mickey's Christmas Carol. It was a proud moment when I asked Ez if he wanted to watch Cars and instead he requested Chawley Brown. For me it's just not Christmas without Love Actually, which I've yet to watch. Saving the best for last. Here's what else we've been up to this month:

We decorated Ez's first gingerbread house awhile back and he took his job as candy placer very seriously. 

We made salt dough ornaments:

and decorated cookies:

I got my parenting act together this year and made some hand and footprint Christmas crafts. I'm so sad that I skipped this Ez's first Christmas, but better late than never. The handprints are salt dough (1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water - refrigerated for awhile before handling, then baked at 200 for 3ish hours). And I used each boys' foot to make one half of a Christmas tree:

Happy Christmas Eve eve!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Photos

The last time we took family photos Declan was just a week old and three out of four of us wound up in tears. I may have been a little melodramatic when I said I never wanted to get family photos taken again, but it turns out the trauma hasn't quite faded because I decided to skip professional family photos this holiday season. The idea of paying someone to get a bunch of shots of my kids crying or running away from the camera didn't seem like the wisest use of funds right now. Instead I got out my real camera and we bought two tripods, one for the real camera and one for our phones so we could attempt our own photo shoots. Plural. Because I'm still on the hunt for that elusive money shot where both kids are looking happily at the camera. Let me tell you, photographing kids is hard. If one kid is smiling you can bet the other one is half squinting. Or staring blankly off in the opposite direction. Or screaming. Or eating their shoe. Or eating dirt. This can't just be my kids, right?? If you did get real photos taken this season, make sure you give your photographer a Starbucks giftcard or all the chocolate because if I thought it was frustrating with my own kids, I can only imagine how hard it would be to get pictures of other people's kids. 

Even though I'm still working on getting that perfect family shot, I did wind up with lots of imperfect shots that I love all the same. So here's a little glimpse at a few (dozen) of my faves: 

Happy Holidays!