Sunday, November 30, 2014

Halloween 2014

Just one month late posting about Halloween! :)

We knew that Carlo and Katherine's wedding in Mexico was over Halloween weekend from the beginning, but we didn't know what to do about it. Should Michael go and I stay behind to be there for Bennett's first Halloween? Should we bring the kids, even if they'd miss Halloween? With the generous offer from my 'in-loves' to come watch the kids, we decided that we were willing to miss Halloween in order to have a first vacation just the two of us since having kids.

So Judy and Fred took the kids out on Halloween, which I think is adorable that they could all share that. June wanted to go as Ariel and wear the dress she already had. At first I wanted to insist that she can have a new costume if she wanted, but then I thought, eh, plenty of years ahead for expensive costumes to buy. Let's just let this one be a re-use.

So we decided to have Bennett go as Sebastian the crab. (His costume might have been a lobster costume, but who's counting?)

They all went out first, then Bennett fell asleep so Judy and he came home. Apparently the little crab was so deeply asleep that he didn't even wake up when Grammy took him out of the stroller.

Fred and June went on to trick or treat some more and they really brought in the loot! I guess June was a little shy about going up to the houses at the beginning of the night, but by then end she was fully confident and determined.

For some reason the pictures that Judy sent me are showing as very small on my computer, so I decided to have another little fashion shoot to get a high-quality close up for Bennett's baby book. 

June was a good sport even though she kept reminding me that it wasn't really Halloween again.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Around Here Lately

Playing princesses on her little castle/stables toy. This usually involves us needing to think of a million activities for her princesses to do.

June taking photos:

Needing to bundle up before walking to daycare in the morning:

And loving the leaves:

Going to June's Thanksgiving feast at school:

Going on a hot date to see Mockingjay:

Which was just 'meh' in my opinion, by the way. It was obviously a Part One of a two part movie, meaning that there was no real conflict or resolution, just a lot of build up for the second movie.

But anyway, I've been bad at blogging lately, so I hope this quick post can convey some of what we've been up to!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Toss the Toy, Save the Box

Boxes are THEE toy around here the days. June calls them her 'boats' and she loves it when she and Bennett snuggle in together and play. 

I have to supervise pretty closely or else I'll hear this sad little whimper from the other room when Bennett is tired of the game and can't find a way out of the box without tumbling head first. 

It's so fun watching how they start to play with each other as Bennett gets older. June's always been able to climb all over him and give him kisses and grab him when she wants. But now he can follow her around, grab onto her, try to stick his fingers in her nose. She laughs and deflects him then whizzes off to some other place in the house, only to return 3 seconds later.

One second she's holding his hands and trying to help him stand, the next minute she's trying to distract him with a new toy so she can play with his current one, the next minute she's trying to drag him by his feet across the room and the sound of baby hands squeaking on the hardwoods is what brings me in from the kitchen.

Basically what I'm saying is, this stage of them together is so funny and fast and challenging and cute and precious.

But boxes. Right.

Friday, November 21, 2014

June Feeding Bennett

You know how it gets some nights. It's hectic and you're trying to get dinner ready and it's taking longer than it was supposed to, and the baby's hungry. One night Bennett was doing his little whine to let me know how hungry he was, so I set him up in his chair and let June feed him. 

She's fed him a bite or two before, but tonight I just kind of set her to it. It was funny, at first Bennett just looked back and forth between us, not opening his mouth for a bite from June. But once he got one bite in, they got a nice little groove going.

The only problem is that I now have to fight my preschooler over who gets to feed Bennett each night. We've compromised and usually split it half and half.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Advent Activity List

I think I've written before about how sometimes it sneaks up on me that I'm a grownup with my own family now. This feeling is particularly strong around the holidays when I realize that it's up to me to make traditions that could stay with our family for a long time. (And which traditions to keep from our own families, of course. I think June's going to get her first annual scavenger hunt for the 'big gift' this year.)

Of course I've heard of advent calendars before, usually the ones with little chocolates to eat each day. The other day I read a short list of activities that people were suggesting for an advent activity calendar and I loved the idea of stretching out the season all month by having a special something to do with the kids each day. So I took that list and added my own, cut out some ones that didn't fit for us and came up with my tentative list of advent activities for this December.

I know I'm a little early posting about Christmas already, and I don't want you to think I've forgotten about Thanksgiving! (I'm also hoping to do some activities leading up to The Day of the Bird.) But since I already made this list (early, so I could gather supplies and be ready for December 1), I figured there is a small chance someone else out there might be doing something similar and wouldn't mind sharing ideas.

The list isn't 100% finalized. I might swap out a craft if I see something cool on Pinterest. And I'll have to look into volunteering and see if there are any jobs appropriate that June and I could do. I'll also have to rearrange the list a little to make sure the more time-consuming items fall on weekends.

We'll see how it goes! And if you have any other ideas, please share them in a comment!

Activity Craft Sweets Activity Service
Decorate the Christmas tree

Roast marshmallows on the fire, drink hot cocoa

Watch a Christmas movie

Make Christmas Cookies
Donate clothes or toys to children’s charity

Make ornaments X

New Christmas books

Go on a nighttime walk to see Christmas lights

Go ice skating

Look at lights in the Fab 40's

Get picture taken with Santa

Salvation Army Angel Tree Angel

Volunteer at food bank (or other?)

Buy and donate treats/toys to an animal shelter

Hand print reindeer (painting) X

Make peanut butter pinecone feeders for birds/squirrels X

Decorate gingerbread house
Make a list of favorite Christmas memories

Eat 'reindeer poop' for breakfast (donut holes)

Write letters to Santa

Christmas Music Dance Party in Pajamas

Carriage Ride in Old Sacramento

Candlelight bubble bath with Christmas Music

Polar Express Day (Book, movie, hot chocolate)

Sleep under the tree


Maybe if all goes well, I can post weekly Advent Activity Roundups where I post pictures from our activities that week!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mexico Nights

The first night we were in town, Thursday night, there was a cocktail hour at this home perched on a mountain near the sea. It made for some incredible views. I'll admit that it was HOT. As soon as I stepped into the humidity, my body was like does not compute and I immediately started sweating from every pore.

I tried curling my hair to prove to Michael that I do sometimes not wear a bun on the top of my head, but my hair made that sound of air being slowly released out of a balloon and it was pretty floppy by the end of the night. 

I was a little nervous going to this wedding because I only knew one other person well (Jacob) besides the bride and groom, and a few others vaguely, and I knew Michael would often be off doing groomsman duties. But I was so pleasantly surprised that everyone I met was just so nice and happy to chat. 

Friday night was the rehearsal dinner. We ate at a restaurant in a part of downtown Vallarta called La Zona Romantica (the Romantic Zone) because it has all the bars and clubs. It was an outdoor restaurant with vines growing up the walls, old light fixtures and an overall authentic feel to it. 

After an hour of margaritas and chatting, the father of the groom introduced a full 12-person mariachi band. I was sitting front and center from where they performed, so I got the full blast of power from the vocals, trumpets and the rest of the group. It would not be an exaggeration for me to say that I had tears in my eyes the entire first song because everything was just...beautiful. My heart was exploding. 

After dinner we walked a block down to the beach where there was a restaurant/bar right on the beach. The restaurant was open-air indoors, but we ate out on the patio, which was actually just the covered beach. So we listened to an unlikely duo of Mexican guitarist and old, long-haired hippie on jazz flute with our bare feet in the sand.

The final night was the wedding, of course. It took place at a villa just down the street from our resort. 

The ceremony took place on top of the pool, with a little stage built over it. It was a pretty big bridal party, too, so I'm sure the ones on the end were a little nervous about accidentally taking a step back!

I got an awesome spot in a row that was up a step from the patio, so I got a perfect view of the ceremony AND felt a little bit of the air conditioning wafting from the house behind us!

It was a beautiful ceremony...short and sweet, with Carlo and Katherine writing their own vows.

The reception took place just down a spiral staircase to a little private beach space. I kicked off my heels instantly, as did most of the wedding guests. 

I also threw up my hair ASAP because I was already sweaty and we all know how much I commit to wedding dancing. (And not just any wedding dancing, because this wedding had SALSA wedding dancing!)

It was just...a really wonderful wedding, and a really wonderful trip. Can I go back next weekend?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mexico Days

When we were first invited to Mexico for our friends' Carlo and Katherine's wedding, we went back and forth considering our options for attending. Michael was a groomsman, so he was definitely going. But would I join, and would the kids? We'd need a babysitter once we were there since it was an adults-only reception. We asked my in-laws for a huge favor to watch the kids and suddenly the plan was set in place for us to go on our first vacation without kids! And a Mexican vacation, at that!

After catching an early flight on Thursday, we arrived in Puerto Vallarta early enough to still enjoy the afternoon. Due to limited options and a block of suites available to us, we ended up in a gorgeous suite complete with full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

I've been to Vallarta once before on a cruise ship, but I didn't remember a whole lot about the place. It's so beautiful, with mountains that jut right up from the beaches which are covered in lush jungle. So while the main part of the hotel was down on the beach, our tower was up on one of the hills, so we took a trolley or golf cart up to reach it. 

We spent our days in the the ocean or in the pool, drinking cervezas or margaritas. Paddle boarding, kayaking and eating. On Saturday I got to have some spa treatments (Michael's anniversary gift to me).

At least once a day I would literally tear up with happiness. The first day it was when I swam up to the ledge of the pool that tilted inward from the negative edge. I could rest my body against the slant while holding my piƱa colada in one hand and look out at the waves crashing twenty yards away.

Later that night it happened again. We'd had a big gathering with the whole wedding group, but afterwards groups were either going back to the resort or going out downtown. Michael was going out with the rest of the bridal party but I was exhausted and headed back to the room. I drew a bath and opened my Kindle and nearly melted into a puddle of happiness.

What I guess I'm getting at was that it was a wonderful vacation. It was what we needed. It was maybe the first vacation we've had in years where I left it feeling rejuvenated and rested.

Pictures of Mexico nights to come!