Monday, November 30, 2009

Sitting With Santa

This was the best we could get, forget the smiles, at least they're both looking at the camera.

Brendan's history with Santa is tearful to say the least. His first, he was 6 months old and looked rather suspicious as I left him in the strange man's arms. His second, he was 18 months old and screamed bloody murder (made for a memorable picture!) until his cousins agreed to join him on the jolly man's lap and bribed him with a candy cane (second picture resulted in a half smile with obviously evident tear tracks lining his face.) Needless to say, we chose not to humiliate him with such torture last year and skipped the Santa picture altogether. So when he expressed excitement this year we held our breath with skepticism. "I want to see Santa so I can tell him I want cars!" he told us. "I'll tell him I've been a good boy too!" When I asked if he could tell Santa what Aubrey wanted he explained "yup... I'll tell Santa that I've been a big boy and Aubrey's been a big baby..." I know it sounded like a good thing in his mind :)

We entered Santa's Village and he clutched my hand. I could tell that Santa seemed much more intimidating in person to my brave little man. I promised him that Aubrey would join him and that mommy and daddy would be just a few short feet away. The tears welled up... I feared a major meltdown then spied the basket of candy canes. "You can have one of these, buddy, if you climb up there with Aubrey and tell Santa what you want!" (I am NOT above bribery... who's to say we can't reward our children for doing what we want them to do?!) And so he slowly warmed up. And while Santa didn't reach his friendly "let me tell you about all my cars and trucks and everything I did last week and my friends and my sister..." status, he got a shy, whispered wish for a few simple gifts. And that was enough for me.

Aubrey, on the other hand, would have gladly taken up permanent residence on sweet Santa's lap. She couldn't stop staring and smiled with excitement. It was out of annoyance in a "hey... I'm checking this man out" sort of way that we finally got her to look at the camera.

But despite the near anxiety attack, Brendan can't stop talking about Santa and wondering if he'll be bringing the gifts on his list... oh how I love the sweet innocence of childhood...

Aubrey: One Month at a Time


1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

One Year Old

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Year Old

She woke up this morning with a smile on her face. And as I began reliving the day she came into this world, exactly one year ago, and softly sang Happy Birthday to my beautiful baby, the tears fell as I realized how fast it all flew by. Before I know it she'll be walking, talking, going to school, riding a bike, dating, driving a car, leaving home... I was overwhelmed with sadness.

She's so close to walking, tests her bravery by letting go and standing all by herself. Gave up baby food for real food and has gotten pickier in her choices. Gave up nursing (I cried then too) and is transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup. Loves her daddy, her dollies, her teddy and her lovey and terrorizes her brother whenever she gets the chance. Taught herself how to climb the stairs and moves even faster when she hears me coming to get her. Her vocabulary includes "mama, daddy, baby, no no, bye bye, whoa, uh oh, go, hi, and Aubrey." Her seventh tooth has made its appearance and we're anticipating the 8th anyday. She's fiesty but sweet, stubborn but loving.

I love you sweet girl, you're everything I ever wanted in a daughter and you capture my heart every chance you get. You are my sunshine, the light of my life and you'll always be my baby...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Snow Day

A little late in being posted, we had about 3 inches of snowfall last Saturday night. Our friends from Portland had come to visit for Aubrey's birthday party and their kids were ecstatic to wake up to the fluffy white stuff. A few inches was more than enough to have a little fun, but a little too dry to roll into snowman parts. Give us some time, it's only November. It'll thaw out here sometime around April...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baby Birthday Bash

Between our two children we have a near Father's Day birthday and a near Thanksgiving birthday. So inevitabley this means, if we want any guests at our parties, we have to plan accordingly. It was for this reason that we chose to have Aubrey's first birthday party a week in advance. Saturday we invited our firends and family to give this sweet girl the best birthday party ever. The tears are being reserved since, to me, it won't feel real until I relive the exact day that she came into this world.

The girl was a party animal. While the older kids played, the adults socialized and mommy proceeded to fill the house with smoke (who knew that a Costco take-n-bake pizza would cause so much frustration?!?) she managed to find the stack of presents and took it upon herself to begin the opening process. And so the real party began. Of course she had "helpers" (her brother and her boyfriend :) who not only "helped" open the presents, but "helped" show her how to play with her new toys. Then while mommy salvaged the edible parts of two badly burned pizzas (and Daddy quickly ran to Costco for an emergency pre-baked version) she found the most joy in all the wrapping paper and ribbon.

She donned the princess birthday hat and beads for a quick rendition of "Happy Birthday" and ceremoniously stuck her tiny fingers into the frosting. Screamed when Mommy took the entire cake away to cut her a piece and devoured her own serving in 60 seconds flat. The double coconut cake with creamy coconut frosting seemed to be a hit.

After all was said and done, she was out like a light, and her brother(s) had a tea party in her honor with her very own new tea set... This family knows how to party...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hair Cut

Way overdue, it had been over 6 months since I last had it cut and OH, it feels so good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Losing My Keys and My Sanity

Question: who in their right mind would take a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old to the grocery store just 45 minutes before naptime? Answer: a crazy woman in desperate need of milk and bread to feed her family.

It only takes seconds for chaos to surround me when I'm with my children, especially when it involves the grocery store. Ten steps in the door and Aubrey is screaming out of frustration as she realizes I've strapped her tightly into the cart (picture if you will a sweet baby girl standing backwards in the cart seat as if she's contemplating diving into the back and you have a mommy who will let her child ride strapless no more!) I detour to the book aisle hoping to find something to distract her and succeed with a small children's book. To which Brendan softly whines "what about me?!" which results in a U-turn BACK to the book aisle for yet another book. But the entertainment is short lived as Aubrey decides the book is better suited for the pickup game and proceeds to throw it on the floor. After several attempts to keep it in the cart, I give up and shove the book onto a shelf of ketchup pickles and olives (no chance I'm traveling all the way back to the book aisle at this point!) I navigate the aisles quickly with several angry glances from the occasional senior citizen whose hearing aids, no doubt, are chirping to the sound of my daughter's shrill screeching. I hand her my car keys, desperate for a reprieve. One swift toss to the ground and my mind is set on finishing quickly and getting out of the store. I pick up the keys and set them next to her in the cart. Quick trip through the produce aisles and on to the self checkout. "Mommy, this isn't closed all the way..." I look down to find Brendan covered in curry powder as he squeezes the small plastic bag I had collected it in. It's the least of my worries that my son now smells like Indian cuisine. I'm focused on getting us out the door. Bags packed, kids intact, grab the receipt and we're on our way. The convenience of the Starbucks strategically placed outside the exit decreases my anxiety level as I treat myself to a coffee and a scone. And here's where the real fun begins. I place the coffee on the rear bumper of the van as I search frantically for those entertaining car keys. Pockets? Nope... Shopping cart? Nada... Purse? oh dear... I double check them all to no avail.

Leave the coffee on the bumper, toss Brendan back in the cart and push the full cart (as fast as possible while loaded with groceries and two children) back into the store to retrace our steps. One trip in reverse and a stop by customer service and still no keys ("can you describe them for me?" the lady asks... "seriously?!! they're car keys!! what do you THINK they look like?!") Aubrey has found a stray banana from a shopping bag and is proceeding to eat it from the inside out. As my frustration turns into panic I reach into my pocket for my cell phone, planning to call my husband hysterically. As if things could get any worse, I realize my cell phone is sitting conveniently next to the telephone at home! Two more trips to retrace our steps with a few strange looks (after all, my son is singing to himself, my daughter is chewing on a banana peel and I just look lost!) I gather my wits and realize that Aubrey would be better off if I OPENED the banana so she could eat the fruit instead of the peel. She takes a large bite, chews, and spits the mushy pulp out into my hand. When I refuse to let her RE-eat the regurgitated fruit, she lets out a scream that flies through the store taking my sanity with it. Fifteen minutes later I resign myself and return to the customer service desk to ask for a phone to call for help. The lady smiles as I ask for a phone. "I have your keys" she says "didn't you hear me page you?" ("yes, I heard you page me but decided instead to search frantically through the store losing my sanity in the process... and I thought I'd call my husband just to let him know that you FOUND MY KEYS!") No, I smiled politely and thanked her profusely. FINALLY, out the door and back to the van. Two cranky kids in their seats, warm coffee in hand, naptime quickly approaching.

Moral of the story? Absolutely, under NO circumstances is it EVER necessary to go grocery shopping immediately before naptime! (oh yeah, and car keys are NOT to be used as a baby toy!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just like a Girl

Does this mean she's destined to spend her life talking on the phone? I was cleaning the kitchen when I heard the recorded operator saying "if you'd like to make a call, please hang up..." and heard Aubrey replying with "hi... hi... hi" She had found the phone that I had apparently left sitting on one of the dining room chairs and was having the time of her life chatting with the operator. I contemplated letting her keep the phone since it was creating such entertainment. But I quickly remembered the time that Brendan was only a few months older when he dialed various random numbers which resulted in a 9-1-1 operator immediately calling back to verify that everything was all right. Talk about an embarrassing motherhood moment. So, much to her dismay, after I took the photo I had to take the phone away. Poor baby...

My helper

What? You mean, I'm not supposed to be IN the dishwasher?! Just trying to help, mama.

Monday, November 2, 2009


It seems as though every time I find myself with a little extra "time" on my hands (this means I have a long stretch off from work and I spend the evenings indulging in my hobbies...) I find a boundless amount of energy to do some of the things I enjoy. This past week I worked on sewing together the pieces I had cut out for this beautiful sling bag (which is functional as a purse/diaper bag) that I had been putting off for months. I learned some new things and was ultimately proud that I ended up with a finished product that didn't look like a novice had butchered it. But when my sweet husband kindly announced that it was almost as impressive as his cardboard fire truck I had to bite my tongue and tell him "yes dear... almost..." Complete with a gusseted bottom and pockets conveniently sized for bottles, diapers and wipes (oddly enough this pattern wasn't advertised as a diaper bag...) And large enough to hold an array of various other items.

But as if the bag wasn't enough of a challenge, I also decided to finish a blanket that I had been wanting to make for Aubrey and finally found the perfect combination of fabrics. Pink and brown flannels mixed with a heart-embroidered ultra soft pink "minkie" fabric (which also lines the back.) Cut out the fabric on Monday and put in the finishing stitches Friday night. The finished product is actually about 40x48 inches but I folded it up for picture taking purposes.


I won't deny that this wasn't my idea... although I wish I could take credit because it was truly one of the best ways to spend Halloween. My friend Tracey contacted a local retirement facility to ask about bringing in the kids in their costumes to visit the residents. So off we went, kids in costumes, to do some good old trick-or-treating. Only, when we got to the facility we realized that the extent of handing out candy consisted of a handful of residents faithfully seated at their respective tables in the dining hall who may or may not have random candy to shell out. My first response was a feeling of awkwardness. All eyes were on us as we paraded our kids around the room, table to table letting the residents shake hands, pinch cheeks and shed a tear or two as they cherished a short moment with the innocence of my sweet children. And it was then that the awkwardness turned into a sense of bittersweet sadness as I realized that we were providing them a cherished opportunity that would not be forgotten.

But true to my antics of motherhood, this trip was not without slight misadventure. It was understandable that Brendan would believe that the sole purpose of everyone seated in this large open room was to smile, coddle and adore him and then gladly hand him candy. However, in a room of 50 residents or more, there were only a select few who actually had anything to give. It took a few tries to remind Brendan that instead of greeting with "trick-or-treat" it would be better to just say "Happy Halloween" so as not to make them feel as if they were required to hand over whatever they could find. But as Joe praised him for his renewed sense of extroversion, he slipped and tossed out a "trick-or-treat" to a kindly woman who had nothing but the dinner on her plate. In a matter of seconds she reached out her grilled cheese sandwich and Brendan gladly took a big bite. My 3-year-old food critic who denies almost everything his MOTHER puts on his plate, gladly took a mystery bite from a lady he's never met. It was when we got home and Joe stated "all I could think was 'I hope her medication wasn't in that sandwich'" that I was glad the debacle hadn't unfolded in front of me. Motherhood at it's best...

Sunday, November 1, 2009