Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

I think Christmas just keeps getting better and better for us. It truly is a million times better to experience Christmas as a parent. Both kids were so excited about the whole thing and their energy was contagious. It took me a little longer to get in the Christmas spirit this year, but the kids helped pull me in with their excitement. It was exciting to go through the family traditions and start some new ones as well. All the anticipation and excitement made for a great Christmas season and we are all a little sad to see it go.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Family Pictures and Merry Christmas

Our tradition over the past few years has been to do a family Christmas mini photoshoot with Magnolia James Photography. We love Nikki and she has done all of our Christmas pictures since 2012. This year's session got moved a couple of times due to terrible weather, but it was worth it in the end. I am so excited about how these pictures turned out. Both of my kids were cooperative and smiled. It was like an early Christmas present for me!

These were the photos I used for our Christmas card. I was so happy with how they turned out.

I am so excited for Christmas this year. Both kids are excited and anticipating Santa's arrival and I can't wait to see their happy faces on Christmas morning.

I hope everyone has a joyful and merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

November 2014

Its that time of year where we we barely have time to breathe, let alone time to sit down and write blog posts. I realized just last week I hadn't even uploaded pictures from my phone for the month of November and that's pretty unusual for me. I try to keep those backed up because I'm terrified of losing them, but it hadn't even crossed my mind in the last few weeks. So, I decided today I really needed to get caught up because I am getting old and my memory can only hold so much so its time to purge.

Luckily, November was quiet until the end. The early part of the month was focused on me switching titles at the hospital and starting to look for a nanny. I was given the opportunity to have a more consistent schedule with daytime, weekday hours working in the IOP program so I gladly took it. I am still a PRN worker so I can also work extra hours in the ED or the unit as needed, but I have a much more consistent schedule which makes our lives a little easier. The downfall to the schedule is I am required to work on Mondays and have to be available to work on Tuesdays, which means I need child care for Mason. We really didn't want to pull him from preschool so we decided to start searching for a part-time nanny to keep him on Mondays and Tuesdays. The search started out well and we interviewed 3 candidates, but the one we offered it to couldn't take it and the other 2 just didn't work for us. So, we are still searching at this point and I've modified my schedule to work while Mason is in school on Mondays and beg my mom to help when I get called in on Tuesdays. It works for now, but I really hope we can find a permanent solution soon.

We got the Christmas season started early this year by decorating at my in-laws' house the weekend before Thanksgiving. While it goes against my beliefs to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, it was the only weekend that worked for everyone, so we just went with it. The kids enjoyed putting their little ornaments on their tree while Todd and I decorated our college tree.

We held our annual Thanksgiving lunch at our house and it was awesome. It is so stressful to get it all together and make sure we have everything, but so worth it in the end. While we got ready, the kids watched the Macy's parade. They were both fascinated by the balloons and performers, which was perfect to keep them out of our hair.  We had 14 people crammed into my house by lunch and food covered every inch of my tiny kitchen and it was fantastic. After lunch, we hung out with our families and enjoyed our turkey highs. We ended the evening with a little dart gun marathon in our living room and it was pretty entertaining to watch.

I was supposed to work the day after Thanksgiving, but luckily I was called off. It was a great blessing because we had planned start potty training boot camp with Mason and go buy the Christmas tree. Mason has been ready for weeks to start potty training, but we needed a solid 3 days to do the  boot camp so Thanksgiving weekend was perfect. However, combining the first day of potty training with decorating was tough. Mason didn't have one successful potty trip that day and went through 8 pairs of underwear. We really weren't expecting that kind of disaster because Aubrey only had 1 or 2 accidents the first day in underwear so we thought it would go that easy again. Wrong. We were trying to put lights on the tree (which ended up requiring a whole new set of lights at the last minute, necessitating a trip to Wal-Mart) and Mason was running around peeing and pooping at the drop of a hat. It was pretty stressful and we were exhausted by the end of the day. The next day brought progress with peeing in the potty, but no progress on pooping. He only had 2 pee pee accidents on day 2, but was just as stubborn as Aubrey when it came to going number 2 and just went wherever he felt the urge. Day 3 of boot camp was better, with no pee pee accidents, but still no poop in the potty. This trend went on for a quite a few weeks and I'll give the update in next month's post.

So, that was our November. I probably should start writing December's post now and maybe I'll have it ready by the end of January because next month looks to be just as nuts. Its our crazy life and I love it, even when its crazy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

October 2014

October is my absolute favorite month of the year. The weather is awesome, there are lots of fun fall things to do, and my birthday gets thrown in just for fun.

We started out the month with pumpkin patch visit #1. Aubrey's class went on their first field trip to Lineberger's Farm in Dallas. I grew up 20-ish minutes from this place and never had the chance to visit it, so I was excited about going. Aubrey was more excited about getting to ride the school bus to the farm than being at the actual farm. I couldn't chaperone because I decided to bring Mason with me so we drove separately, which really upset Mason because he thought he was riding the bus, too. We got there a little before the buses so we explored the little market area of the farm and it was so neat. They had pumpkins and gourds galore along with some other locally grown produce. Once the buses got to the farm, we listened to one of the owner's tell the history of the farm and then she explained how pumpkins grow. After that, the kids got to spend time in their awesome play area before taking a tractor ride around the farm (which was Mason's absolute favorite part). The trip wrapped up with each kid (and me) selecting a pumpkin to take home. It was a fun trip and I hope to take the kids back to that farm again in the spring for strawberries.

About a week later we did our annual trip to Hodge's Farm for pumpkin patch #2. Linebarger's Farm is much more kid friendly, but we've been going to Hodge's since Aubrey was a baby so we had to go back. The kids enjoyed seeing the farm animals and walking around their huge pumpkin patch. We needed up with 3 more pumpkins from this trip, making our total pumpkin count in this house 6.

Unfortunately, my Great Uncle Bob died on October 21 and I knew I couldn't make it to the funeral, but I really wanted to pay my respects at the visitation. It was being held in Burlington, NC, which is a little less than 2 hours from home which meant I had to leave before Todd got home from work and the kids had to go with me. I hated the thought of taking them, but there really wasn't an option so I explained as gently as I could to Aubrey what would be happening. She seemed a little nervous about the whole thing, but handled herself well at the funeral home. Mason, on the other hand, was a complete wild child. I think everyone understood that he didn't know what was going on, but it still made it difficult to manage him. It was nice to be able to visit with some of my extended family because I haven't seen many of them since my grandfather died 4 years ago. However, it did make for a long night and we didn't get back home until close to 11:00 so the next morning was rough. Not an ideal situation, but I guess sometimes you just have to make the best of it.

We celebrated my birthday on the 26th, even though admitting I am getting older is not any easier year to year. It was still nice to celebrate and even better to eat some yummy Public cupcakes. 

Aubrey's school decided they needed to keep Halloween somewhat "educational" so they decided the kids could dress up as book characters and have a parade around the school. There was no doubt Aubrey would be going as Pinkalicious. She was so excited to be able to wear so much pink to school. 

The night before Halloween, we finally carved 3 of our pumpkins. I usually leave this task to Todd and the kids because they have so much fun with it. Todd did a great job carving and the pumpkins looked pretty cool sitting outside. 

The grand finale of the month was Halloween. Back in the summer when I ordered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes for the kids, Todd said we should all dress up as turtles for Halloween and I blew him off. I was not wearing a green unitard around our neighborhood. But, he got the kids all excited about it so I decided to play along and search for a decent costume. I managed to find a girl turtle outfit so I ordered the costumes and was ok until I tried it on. I guess this was supposed to be the "sexy" turtle costume (ridiculous that everything for females must be sexy) because this costume was shooorrrt. And I'm a short girl, so I can only imagine how short it was on taller ladies. I was able to to make it work with some leggings and the kids were thrilled when I walked downstairs in my get up. We did the obligatory pictures before making the round of the neighborhood. I walked for a bit with the kids before going back to the house to hand out candy. It was a little embarrassing to be dressed up and sitting all by myself on the porch so I was glad when the other 3 turtles of the house got back. The kids enjoyed handing out candy as much as they did receiving it so it was a good night all around. 

Except for the sad news about my great uncle, October was a good month. Now its time to prepare for the holidays and I can't wait!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

September 2014

This is something different. Sitting down to write this post and its not half way through the month. Yay, me! I think we are starting to get in our groove as far as school and the routine, so I am better able to judge time needed and allow things to be no so crazy.

We didn't have a lot of of happenings going on in September, which we really needed after the past month of craziness. I also haven't been working as many hours, which has allowed us more freedom and flexibility in our schedule.

Mason and Aubrey are both settling into the school routines. We are now knee deep in sight words, math problems, and fundraisers and the nerd in me is loving it. I always loved school and both kids seem to be enjoying it so far, which makes me happy. Aubrey got her first progress report from school and she is on track in all of the measured areas. She also got her first note home from school telling us she is struggling with paying attention and following directions in class, which was not a huge shock considering this is a big problem for her at home. This was also noted on progress report, so its something we are really trying to work on more in the evenings.

Some bad news of the month was that Aubrey had to have a lot of dental work done this month. I finally took her back to the dentist last month, which was long overdue. Her last dental visit had been at age 3 and it didn't go well so we held off as not to scare her off from the dentist. Unfortunately, they told us she had 4 cavities in her back teeth, none of which would be falling out soon so they required work. All of them were between her teeth, which means the problem isn't a lack of brushing, more a lack of flossing. I never remember flossing as a child, nor do I remember having any sort of cavities before I was like 8 or 9, so I was really surprised to hear this information. She handled the first 2 fillings like a champ. They gave her nitrous oxide prior to doing the work and she said she felt no pain. She seemed fine after the visit and went right back to school. She had the last 2 cavities worked on Tuesday, and due to 1 cavity location, she had to get a crown instead of a filling. This visit did not go so well and she was a miserable mess after we left. She cried or whimpered the entire way to school. I gave her a dose of ibuprofen and hoped she would feel better after a few hours. We've added a fluoride supplement to her brushing routine, as well as twice daily flossing in hopes that we can prevent anymore cavities because I hate the thought of having to do this to her again.

The bright spot of our month was going to the beach for our 7th wedding anniversary. We've skipped our anniversary trip the past 2 years because of low funds, but now that I am back to work we could afford it this year. We decided to just do a quick weekend visit to Oak Island because of Aubrey being in school. Oak Island is where we went for our honeymoon and holds a special place in my heart after years of childhood visits plus our honeymoon. Mason had never been to the beach and I really wanted him to experience it, so leaving the kids at home wasn't an option to us. We got down there late Friday night but still wanted Mason see the beach so a quick walk down the water was necessary. We got up early Saturday morning and spent most of the day out on the beach. It was overcast outside and cool, which made for a comfortable day of playing in the sand. That evening, we went to Southport for dinner, and unfortunately, it started raining so we weren't able to walk around the town. We had to get up early Sunday to pack and head out, but not before taking a trip to see the Oak Island lighthouse and the Oak Island pier. We are already considering a week-long trip back to Oak Island next summer because the kids really enjoyed themselves and want to spend more time there.

We wrapped up the month by taking our first trip to the Huntersville farmer's market. I've worked so many Saturdays that we have never been able to attend, but since I had a Saturday off and it was so gorgeous outside, we decided to take advantage of it. Its a neat little place to visit and I hope to go back next summer. The best part of the trip was noticing that the town of Huntersville was hosting a fall festival so we had to take the kids for a walk through. There were games and bouncy houses and free prizes so the kids enjoyed themselves. Mason was thrilled he got to sit in a real fire truck and walk through the fire department. He is becoming obsessed with all things on wheels and fire trucks are pretty high on the list, so he was in heaven.

So, this month was a nice transition month for us. The fall is shaping up to be busy for us so it was nice to be able to relax and spend time together as a family while the weather outside is so awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The little guy's turn

Months ago we made the decision that Mason would start preschool this fall. I know most children don't start until age 3, but we knew he needed it. His only real socialization has been with Aubrey and her friends, with the occasional child his own age thrown in. The preschool Aubrey attended offers a 2-year old program and we loved the school so much with her we had no hesitations in sending Mason there as well. I sent the registration form in the same day I got it in February and didn't realize quite how fast those 7 months would fly by us. Before I knew it, I was getting an email with teacher assignments and supply lists. We prepped Mason all summer by telling him he was going to Aubrey's old school in the fall and he seemed pretty excited each time we talked about it. He always wanted to stay in her classroom and play when we dropped him off so we knew it wouldn't be a big change for him.

We went to open house a few weeks before the big day. He was so excited to finally play with the toys he coveted during Aubrey's preschool days. In fact, he was the child screaming when it was time to go because he wanted to keep playing. It seemed a little surreal to me to see his name on the board and see a little spot for his backpack and jacket. I tried to keep reminding myself it was just preschool and this was a good thing, but that lump still formed in the back of my throat. 2 open houses in 2 days made this momma a mushy mess.

Unfortunately, we had to wait almost 2 weeks between open house and the first day of school. He asked me everyday if it was time to go to school and would get downright mad when I told him it wasn't.

Finally, his big day arrived. Unlike all the other first days of school, it was just him and me taking pictures. He wasn't as excited to take pictures by himself as he had been with Aubrey, but I managed to get a few.

When we got to the preschool, he wasn't quite sure about everything without Aubrey and Todd being there. He pulled my hand to the table to look at some toys and then seemed ok. He ran off to look at other toys and I had to call him back to give him a hug and kiss bye. I was a little sad that he didn't seem too bothered by the fact that I was leaving. My little boy is quite the big kid now and that's a tough pill to swallow. 

I had to go straight to work after I dropped him off, so my mom picked him up after school and said he had a great day. He was excited to show me his school work when I saw him later that afternoon, but otherwise didn't seem to care as much about the big day. 

Now that we have 2 weeks under our belt, I would say he is doing a great job. He's still a little unsure of himself when we get there, but that lasts about 15 seconds before he runs off to play with the toys. He always seems happy at the end of the day so I think he's enjoying it. 

So, both of my kiddos are officially school kids now. I have kept myself busy with errands while they are both at school because I don't think I'm quite ready to be at home by myself yet. I'm sure I'll get used to the quiet, but for now I'll just enjoy the kid-free time while I shop and distract myself from the fact my kids are getting older by the minute.