Archive for 2016

Christmas 2016

December 30, 2016
Merry Christmas Friends! 

On Christmas Eve Jacob and I found ourselves at the mall, Jacob eating Auntie Anne's for breakfast while I did some last minute shopping. I HATE having to do things last minute but with only one day off work to prepare, I was a little behind this year. There was an epic fit thrown when we had to leave the train table at Barnes and Noble, which half embarrassed me thanks to the long check out line of people and half validated our decision to get Jacob a train set for Christmas. We baked and decorated some cookies for Santa last minute too. I couldn't find any Christmas sprinkles and I was not about to head back out to the stores, so I pulled out some Easter and Valentine's sprinkles and went through them one by one pulling out the red, white, and pastel green ones. Next year I'll be better prepared, I hope. Jacob had to taste test a few to make sure the quality was good enough for Santa.

I finished up all of the present wrapping while Jacob napped so that we wouldn't have to worry about it later that night. I also got Bernard the elf put away since it was time for his departure until next year. Christmas Eve is also Daddy's birthday so once he got home it was presents and cake and then we were off to Dinner. Daddy had no intentions of telling anyone at the restaurant that it was his Birthday but Jacob ratted him out loudly proclaiming "Happy Birthday Daddy!" (he'd been practicing all day) right in front of the waiter. He was rewarded with some singing, clapping, and an ice cream sundae which he happily shared with Daddy.

We ended our night letting Jacob open his Christmas Eve Box. He put on his PJs, we made hot cocoa, and he happily snuggled on the couch with us to watch his new Thomas the Train Christmas movie. Once Jacob was tucked in bed Daddy and I got all the presents out and under the tree and then spent some time playing Santa - assembling his train set and his scooter from Santa. Once everything was all set up under the twinkling tree and ready for the morning I was finally able to sit down, breathe and relax with some hot cocoa!

Christmas morning dawned sooner than we hoped, with Jacob waking earlier than everyone else as usual. We got him out of bed then raced downstairs so that we could see his face when he came downstairs. He FLEW down the stairs on his belly and then stared at his train set in amazement. He was so excited and kept saying "my trains, my trains." He did briefly notice his scooter from Santa and asked if Mommy was going to ride it! But mostly he played with his trains while we made cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast, and saved his scooter to try out later in the morning. After breakfast we opened the rest of his presents, including his much loved super hero cape, some puzzles, new shoes and boots, and an Olaf towel. We almost forgot all about his stocking, so he opened that last. 

We spent the afternoon with some cousins eating lunch and letting Jacob play. He loves to be around other kids and they are so good with him. Then we house hopped to Jacob's Grandparents where he tried out his new bicycle before throwing a tantrum and taking a nice, long, nap. Then there were more presents and a delicious ham dinner that Jacob wanted no part of. He did enjoy creme de menthe cake for dessert though! 

We ended our night back home with Jacob heading to bed and Mommy finishing up packing for our early morning flight to Michigan in the morning for Christmas round 2. I'm sure our tree and decorations will probably still be up when we get home after New Years, and we'll probably be sending Daddy out to hit the after Christmas sales for us. I hope you all had the happiest Christmases with your families and loved ones! XO

The Christmas Eve Box

December 23, 2016

The Christmas Eve Box is one of my very favorite traditions that we started back in 2014, Jacob's First Christmas. 

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

December 16, 2016

Our tree has been up for a few weeks now, and it has become Jacob's #1 stalling technique. Right before bed time he'll request that we plug in the lights, crank up the tunes, and dance our hearts out. He get so much JOY out of our little holiday dance parties that it's impossible to say no.
His dance moves are limited to bopping up and down and collapsing on the floor in giggles, but that's half the charm of a toddler right? He seems to request the same upbeat songs every night so finally I put together a playlist so they can all just play in a row. His #1 favorite is the Beach Boys "The Man with all the Toys."

Stocking Stuffers: Toddler Boys

December 12, 2016
The stocking has to be my very favorite Christmas morning tradition. As a kid I loved sitting crowded on the couch with my siblings getting to open our stockings, full of all kinds of little treasures, before moving on to bigger presents. Now as a mommy I get so much joy out of picking small toys, snacks, and crafts for Jacob and seeing how much I can stuff in there before it overflows! Here are some of my favorite picks, most of which are already stuffed into Jacob's Stocking! 
*some links are affiliate links*

Mailing out the Merry with Tiny Prints

December 7, 2016

It's my favorite time of the year, when Christmas cards start arriving in our mailbox! I love opening Christmas cards and seeing everyone's smiling faces. I'm always amazed at how much kids have grown, and my own kid is no exception! I keep all of our own Christmas cards from past years together in a box and it's so crazy to look back and see how much Jacob has grown and changed from his first Christmas back in 2014. 

Christkindlmarkt 2016

December 4, 2016

This weekend our little family got the chance to go together to our local Christkindlmarkt. Getting to go anywhere all three of us is pretty rare, so these are some of my very favorite times. Christkindlmarkts originated in Germany in the 1500s and our local American German club keeps the tradition alive even here in sunny Florida. It might not be quite as magical as it is in Germany with fresh snow, but it's a lot warmer, so we'll take it! Every year little man understand more and more about the holiday season which makes every year even more fun than the year before - even though I always think that just isn't possible! 

Grinchmas Snack Mix & the 25 Books of Christmas

December 3, 2016

" He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"
- Dr. Seuss

Bernard's Arrival

November 30, 2016

Our scout elf Bernard arrived the day after Thanksgiving. We named him ourselves because we don't trust our two year old to make those kids of decisions. Jacob has been smitten with him ever since he showed up, looking for him each morning. 

Turkey Day 2016

November 27, 2016

We started our Thanksgiving holiday the way we always do - with the Macy's Day parade and Cinnamon rolls. Last year I made Jacob's roll into a turkey with bacon as the feathers and he loved it so I decided to do it every year from now on. 

I got ambitious this year and instead of popping open a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls I made some from scratch using the Pioneer Woman's recipe. I didn't realize until I was elbow deep in cinnamon sugar that the recipe makes seven pans of rolls. Yes, you read that right, SEVEN. They were worth it. And our neighbors love us now. That's the second half of Thanksgiving right? Giving? Nailed it. 

Jacob loved the parade and watching for all the different balloons. The red power ranger was his favorite, and he shouted " Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!" When Santa and Mrs. Clause arrived with their reindeer at the end. He watched the majority of the parade from the wooden crate that holds his truck and cars. (which were strewn all over the room) We just pretended it was his Mayflower ship. 

After long naps and showers we ended our day at Pop Pop and Mimi's for Turkey and Pie. We may have hit a store on the way home, despite our stance against Black Thursday shopping. But just one. 

We sure are thankful for our family and friends near and far, and for our little turkey most of all. 

Toddler Friendly Holiday Movie Nights

November 21, 2016

One of our favorite holiday traditions is a Christmas Eve present filled with PJs, popcorn, and a holiday movie. We love to snuggle up on Christmas eve with a warm blanket, hot chocolate, and watch a holiday flick to get us feeling all warm and fuzzy before bed. 

Slowing down Time

November 9, 2016

We were racing out the door to swim class, late (as usual) when I heard it. "Hurry up, Mommy!"

A Pirate's Life For Me {Halloween 2016}

November 3, 2016

I swear each holiday with this boy just gets better and better. Last year he enjoyed wearing his costume and walking around, but cried every time we went to someone's door thinking that we were dropping him off. This year, he totally got it. 

Halloween Candy: How to Keep it All For Yourself (without a fuss!)

October 31, 2016

Name your addiction of choice - peanut butter cups? skittles? sour patch kids? Regardless of which you like I'm here to tell you, they're yours if you want them. 

The Boo Crew: A Halloween Playdate

October 24, 2016

Calling all ghosts and ghouls, we've got exactly one week until Halloween ! I've got plenty of spooky run for you, so round up your little ones and their favorite friends for a scary good time!

Our First Hurricane

October 18, 2016

Hurricane Matthew was a first for Jacob AND mommy. I moved to Florida in 2006, after all of the hurricanes of 2005, and we haven't had any since. 

When the news started reporting on Matthew, and a possible hit, I knew my luck was up. 

We returned from Michigan on Monday (Rosh Hashana) and that was around the time they started talking about this being a major storm. The track had shifted west, towards us, putting us in the cone of error. I remember joking with my sister in law in Michigan that I like to call it the "cone of terror."

Tuesday we had school as usual. Tuesday night they made the call that there would be school as usual Wednesday, but no after school activities. School would be closed Thursday and Friday. 

gas lines were so long they backed up traffic on the street
Tuesday evening we skipped swim class and stocked up on hurricane essentials. Stores had already begun to run out of things like bottled water and batteries as people started to panic, but luckily we already had those things. We grabbed non-perishable food and snacks based on what we thought Jacob would actually eat, which was a bit tricky. Jacob had a complete meltdown in the store and I began to worry about how he would handle the possibility of days without power. 

Wednesday at school we calmed any anxious children and focused on learning the facts about hurricanes - what they are, how they form, and how we can prepare. On the surface, I was the face of serenity. Deep down, I was terrified of the unknown. 

Wednesday night, daddy closed the storm shutters for the first time in the history of our home ownership. Apparently you are supposed to condition them with WD-40 every few months. We had no idea so it was quite an ordeal getting them closed. 

Thursday everyone was home and the day felt like it stretched on forever while we waited to see what would happen. We took many walks outside in case we were about to be stuck inside for quite a while. It was eerily calm outside.

Daddy helped some of the neighbors with their shutters, and all up and down the block we saw the same - neighbors helping out those who needed it. I'm sure we weren't the only ones going through our first rodeo! It was nice to see everyone helping each other out. We left the news on 24/7 and waited. Daddy brought in all of our outdoor furniture, cooked up some meat from the freezer in case the power went out, and closed up the last shutter.

I've always thought our house was pretty dark without a whole lot of natural lighting, but with the shutters closed up, it was a whole nother story. We gathered all of our flashlights and candles in one place in case we needed them, and we set up camp downstairs in the living room. 

In the afternoon some of the outer bands started to come through with rain and wind. It wasn't anything out of the normal for us and Jacob enjoyed watching it so we sat out on the porch for a while and watched the rain. A hurricane warning came through on my phone and I started to panic just a little.

We put Jacob down for nap after lunch in his crib like normal, but by evening the wind and rain had really picked up. We ate dinner, watched the news, and tried to keep Jacob as occupied as possible. He knew. I don't know how, but somehow he knew something wasn't quite right. I don't think I'll ever forget him asking over and over "what's wrong Mommy?" and I promise you we were NOT showing signs of worry on the outside. We told him over and over "Nothing's wrong, it's all ok because we're together and safe in our house."

We put Jacob to bed in his crib, since he won't fall asleep anywhere else, then moved him down to the couch bed with us once he was asleep. I just didn't feel comfortable with any of us being up on the second floor, let alone Jacob being by himself in his room since we still weren't sure exactly what this storm was going to do. We watched the news quietly while he slept and then tried to sleep ourselves in our too-dark house. I got very little sleep that night, partially because of the storm, and partially because I was sleeping next to a toddler in my living room. Every time Jacob moved or coughed, I woke up. Every time the wind really started howling, I woke up. Tree branch against the house - I woke up. You get the idea. We were VERY tired the next morning.

Luckily for us, Matthew turned north at the last minute and we never got hit with the brunt of it. Some tropical storm wind and rain was the worst we got, though it did knock our power out in the middle of the night. Our house is REALLY dark, with no light coming in from outside or from inside. We lit a lantern for a few hours until the power came back on.

In the morning, we checked around outside and found that we were really lucky with no damage. Some large tree branches had fallen, and there were leaves everywhere, but that was it! It was kind of nice to have our first hurricane be "not-so-bad" but lets hope we don't have any more anytime soon!