Monday, December 31, 2012


E - are we doing vestments?

Lee and I look at each other and smile.

Vestments - translated = vespers = evening prayer in the chapel... With Christmas carols of course.

Guess we're doing that : )

Days off = excellent

Prayerful children = precious

Changed living room landscape

Enjoying our Christmas presents and their takeover of our living room

Sleepy Elmo

E made Elmo a nice bed of building blocks

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Real Life - Christmas Cards

I figure this is a fitting topic as we are knee deep in the Christmas season...

Don't you love taking Christmas card pics?

1. To date I have mailed 130 Christmas cards, hand delivered 5 and have 4 addresses that I am missing. I have no idea the number of different states but I would guess at least 12, one card went to Canada.

2. I addressed most of our card with the family's last name - no Mr and Mrs etc. Why I have no idea...

3. I addressed a few of our cards to kids of the house - because what kids don't like receiving mail. One card was addressed to a baby who will not be born until April so hopefully her parents opened it for her and got a good chuckle.

4. I let E tell me who she wanted to send some cards to. For a few of her friends who have younger siblings we had to send them to the friend, sibling and Mama. That did not happen. She wanted to send one to a little boy in her class. Gah! Eye roll! I relented and said what the heck it is Christmas time - but come to find out she always has to sit next to this little guy during circle time... Silly 2 yr olds

5. I spent more on postage that I did on the cards...

6. The sisters pic was seriously the first pic I snapped of them. I took about fifty and all the rest were not great. But the above pic was the most hilarious pic of them but clearly I did not choose this one for the card.

7. I handwrote the addresses but printed our return address. One in red and one in green. Yes I am a Christmas nerd.

8. We have probably received about 20-25 cards. Its better to give than receive right? Seriously I think I am going to weed some names out next year only because our list is based on our wedding invitee list - and that is going to be 5 yrs old next year! gasp!!!

9. Last year we received a Christmas card the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year I think we did not receive one until after our vacation... so around December 10. I don't send ours out until less than 7 days until Christmas. Partly an Advent thing. Partly because I usually don't have my act together!

10. I don't know if its a Mid-West thing but it seems like we get a number of the long family essays from people in the MW or roots there. I think they are AWESOME. I would not have the patience to write a page. Maybe next year I'll include a link to the blog on the card... NOT!

To reminiscence on Christmas cards of the past... and this years. Who knows what the cards of Christmas future will hold!

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012

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Post Christmas Piles

We had a great Christmas!

Now to get through the piles of loot. Some of which will require some serious rearranging of the downstairs!

Thanks to all the family and friends for the great food and fellowship and for supporting us through our daily toddler epic meltdown of meltdowns. We are back on a food napping schedule today so fingers crossed we can be spared one today!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baby + Christmas Lights = Pensive Child

R seemed like she has alot more to think about the light than E did when we did this. R is a thinker and was not too much of a ham for the camera but this very much captures her for her first Christmas!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Nutcracker Adventure!

Some of us insanely brave mamas sought to make an adventure of taking our young daughters ages 2 and 3 to the Nutcracker in Raleigh-world. Brave you say?

Are you brave enough to risky losing the ever necessary afternoon nap?

Are you brave enough to bring noisy kiddos to a not entirely kid friendly environment?

Well we were and the girls were great! First we had to get all the carseats aligned in the third row- thank minivan!

We came prepared with drinks and snacks - which there are currently remnants in the van.

We got there with 2.5 secs to spare and even made it to the potty! Yes we are that good.

Planned on leaving at intermission but we are gluttons for punishment - I mean haven't had a meltdown so what the heck.

Got a snack - no liquid for E lest we risk a run to the restroom.

Used the two lollipops I had in my purse from the DR trip to pull us through the end.

Wow that's a lot there! But wait we head to melting pot for dinner and survive that too!!!

E melted down on the way home which I was just thrilled she was not doing it in public and really had little behavior/attitude/listening problems from her so I definitely was not upset.

I cannot wait to hear about what she remembers/ liked! She loved the Christmas tree and Nutcracker while the ballet was going on. I really did have an enjoyable time and could definitely see making a trip to the Nutcracker an annual mama daughter thing because who knows how the papas would handle it! I know they would step up to the plate for their little girls but it sure would be fun to hear about!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Real Life - Let's Give this a Whirl

Let's give this Real Life thing a whirl because I enjoyed reading Kate's post and its Thursday and I have a two yr old with my mother in law and a baby who is supposedly down for a nap but is currently talking to her monkey and baby. Here's to taking off the mask!

1. I don't do the cooking around here. Lee is the chef. I will fill in the gaps over the summer and might even pull out a recipe book - my mom has given me at least two and everything sounds easy in theory - but really cooking with a toddler and infant is not the easiest thing in the world. I think I am going to have to step up my game come next summer because our head chef will be back to late evening arrival again.

2. While we are on the topic of food - I love black beans. I mean seriously could eat them once or twice a week and would not have a problem with it. I think I left part of my tummy in Guatemala. I am joyfully passing on this taste for black beans to my girls - much to Lee's dismay - last night E had two black bean burritos and R had three helpings of black beans! I should mention Lee abhors black beans and will not go near them!

3. I really have gotten used to / LOVE our minivan. Gasp! Seriously if you have kids you need one of those things.

4. I think I would go crazy or broke if I had not discovered MMO. Being able to work part time and stay at home part time really enables me to be a mom and have goals and responsibilities outside of the kids. Ever so grateful for my understanding/flexible employerS.

5. My only qualm with being married to a deacon is that it means one less set of hands on Sundays - and it seems that my kids are at their worst during church. Lee has told me it only seems like they are worse because I want them at their best. That does not make the situation any better though. Thank goodness for the ladies who let me pass off E or R so I can tend to the other!

6. I cannot stand stop lights. I cannot explain why. I mean of course I like them in principle and the traffic efficiency that they create - but there is nothing like waiting at a stop light! Though one of the benefits of the Mount versus Raleigh-world is that the Mount has way less stop lights!

7. If you had asked me when I started college what I would be doing with my life I probably would have told you I wanted to be a nun and live in another country - living the charism of nuns like Mother Teresa. Husband and kids were not even on my radar screen...

8. I am not crafty. The most craft thing I do are the cross stitch stockings. I never lifted a needle (other than to sew a hole or button) until I started E's stocking - much to everyone's disbelief. Now cross stitching has taken the place time of reading.

9. When I am alone in the car I like to roll down the windows and turn the radio up and blast the music and sing along - and yes I have done this on several occasions in the van. I even will go past the house and down the road just to finish the song - if its a good one

10. I rarely wear makeup - even to work. Its not even like I think its a ton of work - I can never get my eye make up right and I happen to find that insanely frustrating

11. My first road race was a marathon. I have not done one since and the only reason I would want to run one again would be to qualify for Boston. I have run a few half marathons for which the training is so much more manageable.

12. To round off the top twelve, I like to sing when I run. Its crazy. I am sure my neighbors think I am crazy. I know it is horrible for my breathing but sometimes I just don't care : )



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Anxiously waiting at the dentist

E's first dentist appointment. Hopefully this will go well

T-Minus 5 days... A reflection on the final days of Advent

Okay I admit I am getting super excited for Christmas. I had to open up all the Christmas lights I got on Amazon to make sure that they were not broken - no really it did say that on the boxes. Seeing the lights really brings my mind into the holiday season Christmas spirit. I have not put the lights up yet but I am already seeing the lights up in the yard in my mind.

The tree remains outside much to Elizabeth's disappointment. The anticipation of the feast of Christmas is certainly building in the final days of the Advent fast. We are waiting in darkness for the light of Christmas.

I was recently asked if we celebrating Christmas because I told someone we did not have our tree set up. I assured this good friend that we did despite delaying our Christmas tree set up.

Lee was speculating this morning about how long we would keep our lights up as I was testing the final strings. I told him February 2. He looked at me and laughed. I told him that it is only fair if our neighbors can put their trees up in late November and keep them up until early January then it is only fair that we put our tree up in late December then we can keep it up until early February - effectively the same amount of time.

In regards to the other parts of house decorating, I was unsuccessful in finding 10 reasonable priced wreaths for the windows and front door. I am hoping that we can make some decorating amendments in the few days after December 25 when all the stores have the Christmas stuff insanely marked down.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Few nights ago , E had her Christmas program at school. It was pretty stinking hilarious. The twos sung Jingle Bells before the other kids did the pageant part of the program.

The teachers lead them up on stage with their Christmas-a-fied line rope. Bright lights. Blank stares. Nervous faces. A few tears. A a paci or two...

Everyone got their jingle bells and we were off. One girl kept on saying Hi to her parents which was hilarious

E was really into the shaking her bell. With one hand she jingled and the other she braced herself. We could see her mouth moving a little bit.

Overall, very very cute.

We are still having a hard time convincing her it is not officially Christmas time with all the Christmas activities that have been going on. We have not put our tree up yet so we told her when it is up then it will be Christmas time. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012


"Mama I'm going to Twinkle myself" (takes Nini, goes into room, sings Twinkle without me, closes door, in for a nap)

I admit... I am a proud but kinda teary eyed mama. Okay not really about the second part but really? You are two? You still need me!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hunting down a Christmas Tree

We hunted down our tree at the NC Farmers Market. Ran into Grammy and Grandpa Joe. And did not account for the van not having a roof rack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hugging Your Children

On such a somber afternoon my heart goes out to all the families whose lives have been ripped apart by such a senseless act. I watched my girls sleep through their naps and I thought to myself about all the parents who would not be afforded the chance to watch their child sleep another night - they are with God now - which I am sure does not make their loss any easier. Every day is a gift and tragedies like these are an unfortunate reminder of this fact.

On a lighter note, I was grateful for the opportunity to take the girls Christmas picture today and here is my favorite outtake 

I am not going to lie, I bribed E with some Smarties and I think it was worth it

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So this is the twos that everyone dreads...aka the TRYING TWOS

Up until we got back from our trip I had forgotten the phrase the terrible twos. And while our twos are not 'terrible' she definitely has become more trying in the past few days. Example yesterday E woke up from her nap with an awful attitude. She and R were supposed to have their pics taken. The night ended in a car ride without a shirt on and no pics of E. 

Tonight it was controversy over brushing teeth? I ask her nicely patiently to brush teeth twice and counted to three etc and nothing. Enter raging E. Won't stay in her big girl bed put her in her crib and try and climb out E. Not recognizable child/behavior/attitude... 

Then 5 minutes later she comes out pitiful little baby. Hello?!?!?! Where is my child going during these fits of anger? I am not going to back down on things that I ask her to do... aka brushing teeth and if it does not happen when I ask and when I try and help. It is over. 

If I thought that she did not understand what I was asking or if she was not obedient most often then not it would be different but I feel like I am being disrespected by my two yr old - which is not okay with me. I am sure everyone has moments like these and I know we will get through it but I think standing firm, correcting inappropriate behavior and hugs at the end will get us where we need to be.

Ideas? Anyone?

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Carpet Art

This is no bueno...

And we have a crawler

She is so cute when she waddles along... Then crash landings and thinks it is funny

The Pre-Trip

Once Lee and I finally decided (slash Lee made the executive decision) that we were going to go on our family trip my mind was in full speed how are we going to get through this safely and with some fun - relaxation was thrown out the window which we were okay with - it was not about us. We are not able to take time off during the summer because the pool business is in overdrive.

First things first. In order to get to the Dominican Republic it requires a passport - which requires pictures and paperwork. We went to Sam's and got the pics taken. Both girls have insanely crazy hair! Then I found the paperwork for the passports online. Now when applying for minors both parents must be there. So Lee and I finally found a day when we both could go and he was not working out of town. Enter the library. Two little hungry kids in a library... not the best combo. As it turns out I forgot their SSNs. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Lee gets a paper that he gets notarized so he does not have to come back but gives his permission for passports for the girls. Excellent. I fill out the paperwork early one morning - since water was on the first set - I get the SSNs and voom voom off to the library, again... with two hungry kids - yes I went at lunch time because I have to work and the hours of operation of the passport people is minimal. Roll up to the counter. give E some pens and paper. R is on the floor - germs! "I'm sorry ma'am the forms must be filled out in black ink not blue" Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... Now if you have filled out one of those forms you will know how long it is and having to do two sets is no easy task. Enter screaming of both girls and hello shredded mama nerves.

So we eventually got through the passport issue and got them in the mail. Now, how to get the girls through the airport in a controlled - non-holligan like manner. I had seen these airport rolly things before and they look kind of ridiculously awesome. So I did some research on Amazon with the different brands. We have Britax carseats and that roller did not have the best reviews. The one I wanted was backordered so I settled on the GoGo Baby one. We tried it out at home and they worked. R's carseat is more like a recliner so it was a bit for cumbersome to get on. Let me tell you those things we lifesavers. No worries about if E was wandering anywhere. She was strapped in and going with us. E and R did have to get out through security which was fine. Also, getting through the aisle of the plane Lee and I did have to pick them up in the seats to get through the aisle but it was not bad. Another plus is that E and R did not have to sit in the germ-a-fied airplane seats. Yes I am a germ-a-phob but only with my kids.

Finally I knew I needed a master pack list. I did get motivated to make this and start assembling the bags before the day before we left. Everyone needed clothes for the trip, a bag for the airport, and a bag for Grammy's house since we were staying there the night before and going to the airport from their house. I am a bagger - I think better when things are compartmentalized. Oh and St. Nicholas had to come while we were at the beach too so that was more stuff!

Enter is everything that we did not plan for.

Saturday I was packed and ready. House was clean. Laundry was done. 1:05 Sunday morning. I wake up to - as usual - to check on the girls etc...I cover E up and R is set. Not more than 90 seconds later I hear cough cough over the monitor. Awesome E is sick ... like throwing up sick. She is distraught. Lee gets up cleans the sheets and I get E in the shower. E is upset that Nini is in the wash. She gets sick three more times... We made it to the bathroom the last two but trying to convince a toddler to get sick in the potty is not worth it - spread out towels and hope the clothes are spared. About 4 am I am on the floor in her room and Lee is back in bed. I am thinking it was the sub she ate for dinner because Lee and I had something different than her. So we are still okay.

7:00 AM Sunday - t minus 24 hrs til blastoff - Lee goes to church I stay home with the girls. There is nothing in the house because well we were not supposed to be here. Fortunately I have an awesome mother in law who bring formula for R and OJ for E. I start to feel horrible. I turn on PBS and hope for the best by 10 I know I am getting sick too. E is better though and no fever but I start to get worried R might get it. As soon as Lee walks in the door from church I get in bed and hunker down. I just lay in bed wondering if we are going to even go on this trip. As my knees and back ache I am thinking not - but what a waste all the planning and packing would be.

Later that night Lee and I finish the final pack - in the off chance we do decide to go in the morning. I sit around and make sure everything that needs to go goes. and retreat downstairs because I cannot take it anymore. Lee goes out and get me a Gatorade - which I cannot even stomach. The trip is looking more and more doubtful as Lee heads to the couch for the night.

3:30 AM wake up call - living close to an airport is such a luxury sometimes. Lee feels fine. I don't feel horrible. R never got sick and E is on the mend so load em up and head out. The only think I can trace the sickness to is some cheese E and I had for lunch on Saturday because it was not the flu - neither of us had a fever and the sickness was over in 12 hours.

So the trip is not starting out on the best of feet but at least its a go.

More trip details forthcoming : )

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas in the Yard Ideas...

With all the Christmas lights up around I have been wondering what to do at our house - specifically in the yard. Inside, I know we will have the tree and Nativity set but outside is a different ball game. Last year in the old house I did not mess with anything Christmas other than our fake little tree because we were moving in 2.5 weeks - but now we are here to stay and I can start collecting stuff to put up in the yard.

Here is what I am thinking - its all in my head and I have no idea how anything will turn out. Candles in the windows - the people who built our house were geniuses and have a special switch upstairs that turns all the plugs on but the windows upstairs. Wreathes in the windows? That would require ten. I would love to do luminaries along the walkway but I would have to have electric ones before there is no way I am going outside to blow out candles. Then along the drive way I found these sweet red candles - and love them but of course Amazon is sold out (thumbs down)

So I found these nifty candy cane stick arches which are classy, right? I think we'd need about 10 packs... 

For the rest of the yard, maybe a few fake little trees and a spotlight on the house. Or maybe not on the trees. No lights on the house for a few reasons. 

A. I am planning on doing this decorating myself during the day on 12/24 while Lee is at church and the kids are... TBA. 
B. I am not getting on a ladder by myself
C. I am not a staple gun fan
D. I would never get Lee to take them down - he hates ladders
E. I have the inside of the house to do too - tree with lights and ornaments 
F. Hopefully I'll have a half day to do this because I will likely have to work until lunch

I am really exciting about the big change nothing to a lot for the transition from Advent to Christmas time. E keeps on asking "It is Christmastime?" and we tell her it will be here soon. Hopefully we'll get a bigger rise out of her than we did with St. Nicholas this year because she cared but then kind of didn't. 

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From the sand to the leaves

Our little outdoors girl loves the leaves as much as the sand....

7th load of wash is about to go in!

Post Illness , post trip laundry

I have not even tallied the number of loads that will be done today. This is not even half of it and the is a load in the sink you cannot see and a load in the washer. I'll bet it is somewhere is the 14-17 load range. Lee tried to keep up with the sick laundry but Sunday night he was worried about me and doing the final pack.

Oh well. Just happy to be home!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Another 7 Quick Takes for an Unusual Friday (version 2)

--- 1 ---
I cannot believe that we actually made it down to the beach. Sunday after E and my bout with some crazy food poisoning or something I really was questioning making the trip. So glad that Papa and R were spared and we made it off. I promise a more detailed (but not too detailed report soon)

--- 2 ---
I have no idea what I am going to hang over E's head now that the pool and beach are not a 2 minute walk away. "If you want to go to the pool you better get back on your bed" : )

--- 3 ---
I wonder how I am going to tell E that the nail polish has to come off her toenails. We let E have painted toes only for the beach. She has been interested in painting nails since last summer and Lee and I are not big fans of little girls having their nails painted so this was a big treat for her. She was so thrilled to get them painted and kept telling me it was tickling her.

--- 4 ---
Everyday now since Monday R has fallen asleep on Aunt Mary's lap. I am thrilled she is going to sleep but she won't ever fall asleep like that on me! So I am trying not to be too jealous : ) I hope when I am older I can be a baby whisperer too!
--- 5 ---
Thinking about if we are going to make our connection in ATL or if we will be making the midnight drive back to the Mount. Hoping for the former, planning on the latter.
--- 6 ---
Very thankful for the opportunity to come on our family trip and the people who helped us out (Jibbe and Aunt Mary). We have had such a great time but I think we are all ready to get back home to our friends and routine!
--- 7 ---
I'll post a full detailed report when we get back States side and the laundry is done - or at least part done. I have so much to say!

Hasta luego DR - it has been real fun!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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