Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

  • The Retreat

    Date: 2015.01.12 | Category: Family, Health, Holidays, Life, Love, Mark, Me, OMG YAY!, Travel | Response: 2

    My husband is notoriously difficult to shop for.  He likes tools… none of which I could even begin to pick out.

    Leading up to Christmas this year, we were beginning to prepare our three bedroom house for the addition of two more people. We have been cleaning out and purging what we can to make room. Everything has been attacked: from the girls’ rooms, to our closet, to our garage and office. We still have a way to go, but we are making room.

    So, for Christmas this year, I decided to do a little something different for Mark. I had read several blog posts and talked to a few people about the importance of setting aside time specifically for you and your spouse. It’s so incredibly hard to do with small children. Their needs always come first, and with both of us working full time, we feel like we should spend all of our free time with our children. And by the time bedtime rolls around, we are either both working some more, or retreating to our own selfish creature comforts.

    So, this year for Christmas, I decided to give Mark a retreat: a night away from everything dedicated to just the two of us. I made sure the girls would have a place to stay overnight with their Nana, then I booked a night at a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches. It was far enough out of town where we would be going away, but close enough that we could easily get back home if we needed to.

    I put a lot of research into where we would stay and eat during our short getaway, and even wrote and illustrated (with crayons!) a poem to give to him on Christmas Eve.

    This past Friday was the big day. After a week back of trying to get the girls back into their post-Christmas routine, we were ready. We counted down the days, then the hours.

    At go time, we drove down to Natchitoches to Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast.

    This place was AMAZING. It was an old house owned by a Civil War veteran. After being handed down to family members through the years, the couple who own it now bought it and completely renovated it. There are several gorgeous rooms to stay in, each with their own unique and beautiful features. I opted for the Garden Room with the giant bed and jacuzzi tub (of course). Because it was their off season, we were the only ones there, and we had the whole place to ourselves.

    After bringing our bag in, we headed out to dinner. I polled Facebook, and learned that one of the newer restaurants, Maglieaux’s on the Cane, was supposed to be delicious. Mark put all the planning in my hands, and we were both so pleased with our candlelit Louisiana seafood dinner. We had crawfish cornbread, Caesar salads, seafood stuffed mushrooms and chicken, and white chocolate bread pudding. Every single course was perfect. And, best of all, we got to sit and eat without having to feed anyone else or cut anyone’s food up. Win!

    Being the old homebodies that we are, we left dinner and went straight back to our room (after stopping by their kitchen for a couple of complimentary drinks). You know how most of the time staying in a bed besides your own isn’t all that great? Well this bed was lush. King-sized, pillow-topped, with tons of pillows. And that jacuzzi tub! I don’t think I would have gotten out of it ever if we didn’t have a check out time.

    I was so thrilled that I could stay up as late as I wanted with no repercussions… but fell asleep at 10:30 anyway, because that bed.

    We slept until 7:30 the next morning and got to wake up, lounge around and talk without anyone crawling in between us or digging their cold little toenails into our legs.

    Breakfast was served in the dining room at 8:30, and we wandered down to the kindest lady who was prepping a huge breakfast just for the two of us. The china was finely set, the coffee and juice were amazing, and oh. that. food.


    Raspberry croissant bread pudding for first course breakfast? Yes, please!

    The second course was Southwestern style and included eggs, grits, tomatoes and an English muffin. Later, when I asked Mark what his favorite part of the getaway was, he immediately and without hesitation said BREAKFAST.

    Following breakfast we checked out and strolled a little down by the Cane River and through downtown before heading back.

    That trip was more than I hoped it would be. We (mostly) put away technology, and just spent time completely relaxing and enjoying ourselves together as a married couple. We talked and laughed and sat in comfortable silence. We felt recharged and rested. It was good for our souls and our sanity.

    Immediately we started talking about when we could do it again. Who knows? Maybe we can divide up our four children for our anniversary and slip away in the fall. If not, I already know what I want Santa to put in my stocking next year – and next time it will be for two nights.

    If you live in the area, I can not recommend Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast enough. It’s extremely affordable and beautiful. The food is delicious and the hospitality exquisite. And even if you’re not in the area, I can’t recommend taking a retreat for you and your spouse enough. We love our children with all our hearts, but sometimes it is best to put one another first.

  • The Biloxi Adventure

    Date: 2015.01.04 | Category: Baby, Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy, Sarah, Travel | Response: 2

    Adulthood friendships are unique. Chances are if we are friends as adults, then we have common values. With our friendship time limited due to family and work, it takes a special bond and sometimes quite an effort to keep a strong friendship alive. I am so blessed to have several women in my life who I count among my close friends, who keep me sane in times of stress and who blow me away with their generosity.

    So for me, the part of the holidays I was looking forward to the most was the opportunity to spend four days with my very best friend in Biloxi. Susan and I were roommates for three years in college, and when we hang out there are no obligations or expectations. We eat what we feel like, watch our girls play and no one complains when we wind down for bed at 8:00 p.m.

    This trip was especially important, because due to life and work circumstances, we likely won’t see each other again until a couple months after the twins arrive. I’m not going to dwell on that right now because it makes me too sad. So, on with the happy!

    Our trip to Biloxi was perfect (well mostly perfect – the four of us did have mild colds, but we pushed through them).

    Susan’s daughter was forced to share all of her new Christmas toys with my girls, and, for the most part, did pretty well with it. They all wanted to be in costume the whole time, which was fun.

    Our first full day there, Susan and I got to spend the morning together, kid-free. We were mostly running errands, but then we stopped at a local coffee shop and got to just sit and catch up without anyone demanding our attention. It was so cathartic, and I think we both needed it.

    We ate a lot of delicious food and had a great time taking the girls on a “nature walk” and to the park. It was just a little “froggy” out, as Sarah would say.

    The great thing about having a friend who lives on the Gulf Coast is the proximity to beaches and the nice temperature increase. It was about 10 degrees warmer than home, with temps in the low 70’s most of the time. That meant getting our feet wet wasn’t out of the question.

    And building sand castles is always fun.

    Though Norah did get royally pissed off after she made a break for the ocean, face-planted into the cold water and was forced to get out despite the fact she thought she could swim just fine by herself.

    Oh, and Mark was there, too.  We had to tag team chasing down the baby.

    Our last night there, the three grown ups went to The Half Shell, a nice New Orleans style restaurant, and enjoyed ourselves so much. I, of course, couldn’t drink, so I volunteered to be DD. The seafood was outstanding and the key lime pie some of the best I’ve ever had (it’s not good, after all, unless it makes your mouth clench up a little from the tartness).

    And while we had our share of mishaps on the trip with the kids (Susan’s daughter stole my toothbrush and ate Mark’s toothpaste at one point and Norah decided the toilet was an excellent place to play), overall the trip was so nice and so much fun. I’m so thankful we got to do it before it gets too uncomfortable for me to travel.

    And I think it’s safe to say the girls had a great time, too. You know they did when at least one of them does this as soon as we hit the road to drive home.

  • A Plague Upon Us

    Date: 2014.12.31 | Category: Family, Health, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah, School | Response: 1

    I get really excited about doing stuff with the kids during the holidays. This year was particularly overwhelming though, with work and events planned every weekend for nearly three months in a row. It made it hard to take time out and do things especially for and with them. So I was very excited that Sarah’s school was having a Christmas program, complete with required shepherd costume made by her aunt MC and months of song practice.

    As the anticipated week approached though, something started to go very wrong. It started with my brother-in-law, and then my sister, and then my nephew: the stomach bug was rearing its very ugly head. Still though, about three days had passed since we had been around them and I held out hope… until Wednesday when Mark went down hard. We confined him to the bedroom and stayed away. But by Thursday afternoon, I started to feel really bad.

    Thursday night was miserable. I didn’t think having the stomach bug could get worse, but I had never had it with two one pound babies inside my body, laying on my stomach and sucking up all calories and nutrition I managed to conserve. Needless to say, there was no way I could make it to the Christmas program Friday morning, despite my weak effort to get up and put my shoes on. I was heartbroken. I helped Sarah get into costume, and we both cried as daddy pulled out of the driveway to take her to school. Mark was still feeling bad, so he had to drop her off and come back home, too.

    Thanks to Team Grandma though, Sarah had a loyal fan base in attendance. Both of her grandmothers were there to witness her star performance as one of many tiny shepherds singing Christmas songs and acting out scenes from the songs.

    Right before the performance was due to start, I remembered that the Cathedral where the performance was to be held, had a webcam. Thank goodness it was up and going! We got to watch Sarah on the front row, performing her little heart out in her shepherd (or according to her, “Mary shepherd”) costume from the quarantined safety of our home office. It was amazing. I was so proud of her and she enthusiastically waved to her grandmothers when she walked past them.

    And perhaps, best of all, the school’s development director and I know each other very well, and she snapped some beautiful pictures of my girl’s performance.

    So while neither Mark, nor I could be there in person, the webcast, the pictures and the grandma fan club certainly went a long way towards making the day special.

    I’m glad she had a great Friday, because on Saturday evening she and Mimi both had their short, but fierce, turn with the stomach bug. Ah well, at least we got that nastiness out of the way in time for Christmas to still be healthy and special.

  • Dear Santa

    Date: 2014.12.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 0

    Before I had children, one of the things I got most excited about when I thought about having them in my life was celebrating the holidays with them. And for all the craziness that kids bring into our lives, that aspect does not disappoint.

    Suddenly we’re out on the streets on Halloween trick-or-treating again – watching them don their costumes and excitedly (or sometimes warily) approach each house to ask for candy. We get to put them in beautiful spring dresses for Easter and church, and then afterwards watch them slide under bushes and scamper up trees to reach hidden eggs.

    I feel like having children has totally brought back the magic of Christmas. I smiled with joy as Sarah begged me to “get out Jesus’ house (the nativity scene) and set it up.” I watched with exhausted delight as she pulled up her step stool to put the breakable ornaments high up on the tree so Norah couldn’t break them. And her enthusiasm at helping me bake has made the kitchen a mostly better place (we’ll just gloss over that flour disaster).

    But perhaps one of my favorite moments this year is having Sarah dictate her letter to Santa for me to write and send. She carefully picked out a pink piece of paper, brought it to me with a pen, and then told me exactly what to write. Here’s the result:

    I told her she could tell Santa five things she wanted. And despite the fact that she’s been a “good, fancy, princess girl,” it turns out filling Santa’s shoes is sometimes a tall order.

    Some things were easy. A crown? Easy and cheap. Check! The requested Alexa Barbie doll even happened to be on an Amazon lightening deal. Score! Cinderella was a little tricky, but it turns out that Little People makes a pretty convincing set, albeit without Cinderella actually holding the pony. Now that Elsa doll though – turns out it is the hit toy of the Christmas season.

    Thinking to get an early jump on my shopping this year, I decided to go ahead and order her off the internet about two weeks before Thanksgiving… except that she was sold out everywhere online… except Amazon who wanted $65 for her. Um, no. So we started our ground quest for Elsa. Mark and I visited several local big box stores, only to see that they were also sold out. I admit at this point my inner Grinch started to rear its ugly head. So this is why parents get mad at Christmas… I sort of get it now. But then I checked myself. Elsa dolls are not what Christmas is all about and I hated how materialistic my focus was becoming. Still though, it was the one toy she repeatedly asked for and I decided to just sit, wait and watch. Mark called his mom and she visited a Wal-Mart near her house and low and behold, there were exactly TWO singing Elsa dolls left – all for the great low price of $28. Done and done!

    Now about that last requested item: Star dancer shoes. Just what are star dancer shoes , you say? Well that is a very good question. I asked Sarah very pointed questions about these shoes. We looked at pictures of shoes online, but nothing was matching her description of “shoes that are pink with stars and sparkly that you can dance in.” I came to the conclusion that she had made these shoes up, which presented a small problem. I briefly considered Converse shoes, but didn’t want to drop the money on them if they weren’t the right thing (plus, let’s face it, she’ll outgrow them in six months). I finally found some that sort of matched her description at Target for $7. I guess we’ll soon find out how well honed Santa’s intuition is.

    And Norah? Well Norah just likes her creature comforts. I’m pretty sure she would think it was the best day of her life if we gave her an ice cream sandwich and a satin pillowcase. We did get the pillowcase and a beanbag so she, Sarah and Leela can stop fighting over the one we already have.

    They should know Leela always wins.

  • Biloxi

    Date: 2014.07.08 | Category: Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 4

    Ever since our beach trip in May 2013, Sarah has been begging us to go back to the beach. She has set up towels in the living room, put on her swimsuit and pretended to swim through the water. She jumps in her kiddie pool in the backyard and tells me she’s a mermaid in the ocean. She spreads newspaper across the living room floor and calls it her beach picnic.

    So, it was with regret that I had to tell her that because Mama had a baby and burned all the vacation time on maternity leave, that a beach trip was not going to happen this year.

    She persisted in playing beach though and continued to ask when we were going to go to the beach.

    ***

    Last year my best friend Susan was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to her and her sweet little girl as they packed up their bags and moved over six hours away.

    She’s been able to come in town a few times and visit, but the trip for us to go see her was impossible for a while due to new baby and my total lack of vacation time.

    Fortunately though, July 4 fell on a Friday this year and I figured it was high time to make a trip down to Biloxi and see my best friend.

    And while I vaguely knew there was a beach in Biloxi, I was thrilled to drive along it as we made our way to Susan’s house. Sarah cried out in delight when she saw it, yelling “Hey beach! Hi beach!” and then sobbed dramatically when we turned off Beach Boulevard. We had to reassure her that we would be making a trip or two to the beach while we visited.

    ***

    My reunion with Susan was sweet and we made the most of it by drinking wine and catching up while we watched our three girls play with one another. We took turns cooking and picking up food. And, of course, there were a couple of trips to the beach.

    The beautiful thing about Biloxi beaches is, that while they may not have the glowing blue water the Florida beaches have, they are relatively shallow and don’t have strong waves. That means they are perfect for adventurous, beach loving little girls.

    We did lots of other fun things too, like visiting the swimming pool and splash pad, tried out some amazing BBQ and event went to a Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives restaurant (Blow Fly Inn, anyone?)

    All of that was fun, but getting to hang out with my best friend for four days was the best part of all.

    Oh yea, and the beach was pretty nice too.

  • Mermaid Day

    Date: 2014.05.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 10

    Day to day life can make having fun, quality family time tough. After a full day of work, evenings are often spent cooking and doing dishes, eating together, cleaning up and then, if we’re lucky, we will spend 30-45 minutes playing outside or cuddled up on the couch together. And weekends? Well that’s when I have to try to tackle the mountain of laundry that I’m never really caught up on (how did adding one more kid increase laundry by that much?!), do our grocery shopping and visit with friends and family. Sure we get some spare moments together, but I always feel the pressure to clean/do laundry/grocery shop/do dishes, etc. So when we get an unexpected day off, it’s like a family staycation, a gift, the excuse I need to step away from the chores and just enjoy our family.

    This morning I told Sarah that she wasn’t going to school today because it was Memorial Day. Her response? “Yay! It’s Mermaid Day!”

    Mark and I both laughed. But then my wheels started spinning. I’m always looking for fun ways to engage with my girls and I thought Mermaid Day would be the perfect way to spend our lagniappe day together.

    So what does one do on Mermaid Day?

    Well for one we painted our toenails “mermaid purple,” according to Sarah, while we watched Sofia and the Floating Palace (a mermaid movie).

    From there, we went to the Dollar Tree where we spent $10 on mermaid goodies…

    including the biggest hit of the day, mermaid hair.

    There was a sandwich shaped like a castle and whale crackers for lunch.

    Then the girls put on their mermaid swimsuits and took to the water, splashing happily and trying out Sarah’s birthday princess slip and slide.

    After snacks and rest, we opened up the Dollar Store mermaid book and printed  Little Mermaid coloring sheets off the Internet. (Side note: During our mermaid coloring I learned that Sarah can color in the lines now – who knew? I’m impressed!) We also completed a mermaid puzzle.

    We spent most of the evening outside. The weather was perfect – low 80’s and overcast. I prepped dinner and Mark grilled it. The girls ran, jumped and played.

    And then we ended Mermaid Day with mermaid pajamas!

    I looked at Mark tonight when we were sitting down with our girls and said, “I know I am a really huge nerd for doing all this, but I really enjoyed it and I think Sarah did too.” He assured me that I was not a nerd (ha!) and told me how much he enjoyed it as well.

    It was so nice to spend the whole day playing with my girls, soaking up all their love, smiles and laughter. And they thoroughly wore us out, too.

    Memorial Day always makes me think about my great uncle Thomas “Mix,” who was in the Army during WWII and loved the beach. In fact, I still occasionally dream about him and he is always at the beach in my dreams. Something tells me that he would appreciate Mermaid Day coinciding with Memorial Day.

  • The End of the Year

    Date: 2013.12.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Halloween, Health, Holidays, Home, Kitties, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sam Cat, Sarah, Travel | Response: 1

    As I was looking back through photos from this past year, I found myself in awe over just how big my Sarah girl has grown. She looked like such a little baby way back in January, but now she is a big, talking, silly little girl. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about 2013, but we, mostly, had a really fantastic year.

    I typed up a pretty lengthy summary, but feel free to skip all that and just watch the video. :)

    2013 from Jessica Rinaudo on Vimeo.

    In January we found out we were expecting another baby, which changed our whole world. Sarah would no longer be an only child, and my yearlong obsession with getting pregnant again came to a close. We let our families know we were expecting by allowing Sarah to walk into their homes proudly wearing a “Big Sister” shirt.

    In February we took Sarah to her first Mardi Gras parade – the animal parade downtown. We missed the others we had planned to take her to thanks to illness. She also got sick on Valentine’s Day  for good measure. We also got to see our little bean on the ultrasound for the first time that month too!

    In March I quickly discovered that pregnancies show much faster the second time around. We spent a lot of time playing outside and going to friends’ birthday parties. We spent Good Friday at the pediatrician’s office after Sarah landed herself with croup. This meant we couldn’t go to church for Easter, but Nana and grandaddy were willing to let her come around them, so we visited there and hunted down a few Easter eggs.

    In April Sarah turned two and we celebrated with a Alice and Wonderland themed “Mad Tea Party” in our backyard. Friends and family came and jumped in the bounce house and ate homemade cupcakes. A few days later my nephew Jacob turned two and we celebrated at his construction themed party. Sarah also got to meet her “Italian granny,” Sr. Martinette Rivers, while she was home for a month.

    May was super exciting! Not only did we learn that we would be having another little girl, but we took Sarah on a big vacation that included her first trip to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We hit up the aquarium and ate lots of great food before heading to the beach in Florida. We stayed there with Susan and her family and had a great time in the sand and water. Sarah still talks about the beach all the time. We will have to plan another trip in 2014!

    In June my friend Tammy and her daughter Kiri came down for a visit from Indianapolis. I also got a new, bigger, family- sized vehicle that month to replace my tiny, but wonderful, Honda Fit. I also went to my conference in Denver in June with my friend Becki. In addition to the conference (where we won a big award for our magazine!), we ate at a lot of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants, went to the top of a mountain and checked out some campy museums. That was the longest I’d ever been away from Sarah!

    In July our cat Sam ran away and never came back. We held out hope for a long time without any good news. We also went to Austin in July to visit our friends Dana and Scott. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids, and I loved the comfort the pool gave my growing pregnant body. Mys sisters also threw me a “Baby Sprinkle” in July, where close friends and family came and brought lots of goodies for baby #2, including some much needed diapers!

    In August I started having excruciating pain in my right side that lead to several rush trips to the OB’s office and lots of tests. A GI doc finally figured out that I had a bulging ligament that was pressing on a nerve. When the baby would move a lot, she would hit that spot and it would get inflamed. It was horrible! We also went to Baton Rouge in August to see my Aunt Amy get married and I had a great time with my whole family and spent more time in the pool!

    In September my coworkers threw me a baby shower and we started preparing ourselves for Norah’s scheduled c-section on September 23. Due to some horrible problems with Sarah knotting up her hair, we took Sarah to get her first haircut. On September 11 I was rear-ended and, for the sake of my 9 month pregnant baby, was taken by ambulance to a hospital where I stayed overnight to make sure we were both ok. I also had a false labor run on my sister’s birthday, and then went into labor for real on September 20, three days before my scheduled section. We welcomed Norah into the world at 12:38 p.m. and were immediately in love with our beautiful little girl.

    I started October off by turning 29! Cassie came to visit from Pittsburgh and helped us clean and paint our house while she was in town. October is also  when we began the long, hard road of dealing with colic. Norah kept us up every single night screaming hour after hour after hour. It quickly unfolded into months of sleep deprived torture. Mark and I learned the true meaning of being a team and worked out a way to take shifts with her all night long. It was terrible. We also took both girls trick-or-treating in October. Sarah went as Olivia the pig and Norah as Minnie Mouse.

    November gave us no relief from the colic, but we learned that Norah loved the Moby wrap and we put her in that often. Sarah also learned to start sleeping through the long nights of screaming. We also took Norah to meet her great grandparents who live an hour away. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.

    In December we started counting down until Norah turned 12 weeks – the magical age when the doctor and several friends said colic usually stops. At 12 weeks and 4 days old, Norah slept through the night for the first time because she found her thumb. We rejoiced! We took the girls to meet Santa (Sarah hated him, Norah liked his beard). We decorated for Christmas and then celebrated it with our families. It’s also the month Norah got her first honest to goodness cold – the same cold the whole family managed to share just in time for the holidays.

    A new baby, a couple of big trips, a new car and a lot of love. You were good to us 2013!

  • Christmas

    Date: 2013.12.30 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 1

    Our first Christmas as a family of four was wild and fun and exhausting.

    It started when Sarah caught some sort of coughing snot virus that she passed on to me by coughing directly into my mouth. So nice of her, huh? And instead of resting and recovering (hah!) I spent my time prepping for Christmas Eve and Day by cleaning and baking and wrapping like a crazy woman. I may have been feeling bad, after all, but Norah’s first Christmas would be memorable. And this was really the first year Sarah understood the whole Santa Claus thing and had requests.

    The Christmas list of a two-and-a-half-year-old was surprisingly specific and included some of the following items:
    1. Doc McStuffins shoes (Santa had to go to eBay for that one).
    2. A Puppy Princess (Ummmm?)
    3. All the mermaid things ever made.
    4. A Doc McStuffins doll and a Sofia doll.
    5. Butterfly wings.
    6. Daisy Duck.

    And she informed me that Sister wanted a ladybug.

    We spent Christmas Eve eating Chinese food with Mark’s family and opening gifts. I have to say, Christmas presents are much more fun with kids in the mix. We all sat back and watched them rip through paper. And when Sarah was done opening all her gifts, she started opening everyone else’s. Obviously we were not moving quick enough for her.

    Her grandaddy really surprised her with this awesome 1949 Pontiac pedal car that he bought and restored for her. She loves it! Her grandparents also loaded her down with a shopping cart and groceries. She immediately started moving the groceries from her cart to her car, and then put her baby doll in the car and took off. Girl’s got it down.

    Santa came that evening and brought all the goodies and then some.

    One of Sarah’s favorite toys was her Doc McStuffins doctor bag.

    Her other was her mermaid costume.

    And Norah? Well she was sort of overwhelmed.

    Santa filled my stocking with my favorite chocolates, a gift card to TCBY and scratch offs (I won $24!) Good job Santa!

    After Santa, we went to my parents’ house for family, food and more presents.

    Sarah got an awesome Little People princess castle and Jacob got a Little People farm house. I love both of them and secretly want to play with them while the kids are away.

    And Norah? Well she was rather drooly over this bear that makes the same noises as a mother’s womb.

    I was so proud of Sarah and Jacob this year for sharing their gifts and not fighting. A big improvement on last year! They even sat and ate kolaches together while watching Raffi. And they  dressed up as Mary and Joseph (or Jofus, as Sarah calls him). We volunteered Norah to be Baby Jesus, but she decided to go nap in her manger and skip the photo op.

    We all got so many nice things and so enjoyed spending time with family. We did more family visiting Christmas evening, but our day after Christmas plans came to a grinding halt when my cold finally caught up to me and took me way down for several days. Sarah too. But I’m still glad we powered through Christmas. It was amazing and wonderful and I couldn’t be more thankful for my family and the time we got to spend together.

  • Happy Halloween!

    Date: 2013.11.08 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Norah, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 1

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a post on Halloween – Norah’s first and the first time Sarah really understood what trick-or-treating was all about.

    We all gathered at my mom’s house, who lives in one of the best trick-or-treating neighborhoods around.

    My sisters and I dressed up as the  Sanderson witch sisters from the movie Hocus Pocus. My youngest sister orchestrated all of our costumes and hair. It was so much fun and everyone who saw us recognized our costumes and loved it!

    Sarah went as Olivia the pig, a famous children’s book character who also has her own TV show on Nick Jr, and my nephew went as Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

    Sarah was not an elf, as several people thought she was.

    Norah was a baby Minnie Mouse and quite enjoyed the trick-or-treating in my and her Aunt Marthy’s arms.

    We pulled the kids around in a wagon, and Sarah absolutely loved it.

    She only hesitated once when she was halfway up a driveway and saw a man sitting there in a scary clown mask. She turned around, looked at me and shook her head no. I agreed with her assessment and we moved on.

    But the best part of the night was, of course, the candy. And after we finished trick-or-treating, Sarah took it upon herself to inspect what we were handing out (while Norah passed out).

    It was a great night with beautiful weather – a perfect Halloween!

  • Happy Halloween!

    Date: 2013.10.31 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Norah, Photography, Sarah | Response: 1

    Olivia the pig

    And Baby Minnie Mouse

    Wish you a spooktacular Halloween!