Thursday, December 26, 2013

Baby's First Christmas

This is how Shae felt about his first Christmas:

Pure excitement and joy right there.

Although he was probably just excited that there were so many people awake with him so early in the morning, or that he had just gotten nails cut...I really don't know, but I love that you can see his top two teeth.

With a house full of adults, we made sure that everyone was agreed on still waking up early, after all, two of us would be waking up early no matter what. Everyone agreed and we let Shae be the alarm. He kindly slept in until 7:30am and then we got Christmas going. We started by opening our stockings to see what Santa brought us. I didn't finish two of the stockings that I've been working on in time so Shae used Uncle Scotty's stocking. I used my stocking growing up and Darin used the one that I finished.

This is the one stocking that was fully finished. Not perfect but not to shabby either.

I honestly thought that Shae would have been more interested in ripping the paper off of his presents but he really couldn't have cared less. I think he was actually overstimulated after about an hour because he became really cranky quickly and went down for a nap before we were even done opening presents. He did really like his Sesame Street books that Grandma Sharon got him (we read through them while others were opening presents), as well as the rattley ball toy from Grandma Tammie (anything that rattles, he loves). I loved all the clothes. Thanks guys!

Dad stopped wearing his wedding band on his finger awhile ago because it was getting so thin that he was scared it would break. Mom bought him a new band as a Christmas present with the hope that all the single ladies will stop hitting him. It was cute to watch her propose to him.

This was my Christmas beauty. Darin and his mom and sister must really love me. I was SO excited. Like, freaking out excited. My kitchen is now complete. I can't wait to use it. (On Christmas day Darin says, break it out! Bake something!).

The rest of the day was spent cooking, overfilling our bellies with way too much food and candy, playing games and watching Mormon Messages about Christmas/Christ.

It twas a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the Week Before Christmas and...

~I was caroling with the youth at a nursing home (Did I mention that I was called as the Young Women's President? Really, presidency...)

~We were making/eating/dropping off WAY too many of these cookies. I'm addicted.

~We were enjoying a Friday night Christmas party with our branch. Shae was scared of Santa (picture to come later...I didn't have my camera...).

~We were driving North. Stopping at the temple for a session and Christmas lights. Continuing on to Pennsylvania.

Shae and I hung out in the Visitor Center for a bit while waiting for the others. We waited in the confined room "8 stories." This room brings back memories of working at the MTC because of these huge pictures and the videos of the missionaries from the District II. I watched these videos SO many times while working there. Feels like home.

~Listening to the beautiful music/wrestling a sleepy baby during the Stake Christmas Concert. (A.J. had a solo!)

 Shae made some little girlfriends while waiting for the concert to start. He gets so excited when he sees other kids running around. They run and then you see him crawling as fast his chunky little legs can take him a few seconds behind them. It kills me. 

~Getting pumped to talk to Sister Kretchman on Wednesday!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Family Movie Night

It wouldn't be Christmas without Christmas movies! And last night I can legitimately say that we had our very first family  Christmas movie night (really our first family movie night, ever). Usually Shae is bed before we start any movies or if we do start a movie early he watches for a whole two seconds and then starts flipping over in our laps to climb us.

Thanks to a late nap after we got home from afternoon church, the boy was up a little later than normal which was definitely okay by me as he sat on my lap for a good half hour watching Polar Express with Darin and I. He spent the next half hour glued to the TV behind Darin like this:

Must have been the choice in movies. I think the animation was just perfect for him. He never sits to watch anything cartoon, but the Sesame Street "puppets" he loves. I was hoping he would like the animation in Polar Express as well since it's a little different than your normal cartoon, and he did!

I'm so anxious to start family traditions with this kid; Last night gave me a little taste of  what that might feel like.

Friday, December 13, 2013

10 Months

Double digits!

My mom asked me last month, "So when are you going to stop torturing your child by putting him in that 0-3 month outfit?" Those weren't her exact words, but more or less. You get the point. I mean, "I've come this far, probably at least till his fifth birthday," I replied.

 But really, only two more months of "torturing" my son. I promise.

Some of our favorites over the last month:

Darin's favorite: Mimicking us. We cough, he coughs. We make a raspberry noise, he makes a raspberry noise. We brush our teeth, he freaks out until we hand him his toothbrush as well. 

My favorite: His excited face. Picture this, me pulling out a cracker to give him. He straightens his arms completely, makes little fists, stretches his neck out to the point of seeing the veins pop out while he forms an oval/rectangle with his lips and says "eeeeeeeee" and then grabs the cracker and shoves it into his mouth. It's pretty darn cute. He does this when Sesame Street is on, when I mention  milk, when he sees food, etc.

Shae's favorites: Climbing the stairs. He just figured out how to get passed our stroller barricade. Looks like we need something stronger. And this grin, he wears it the ENTIRE way up the stairs. He loves it.

 The dishwasher. When he hears it open he will rush into the kitchen to be right there unloading the silverware with me. 

Round ball ornaments.

Socks! He collects socks and holds on to them while crawling and playing.

Sesame Street. I can't get over just how excited he gets when it comes on. I die. 

New gadgets that he has recently discovered in the bathtub.

He also:

Does a great job with finger foods but seems to prefer being spoon-fed.

Doesn't like potatoes! Guess that Idaho blood hasn't fully sunk in yet. He spits them right out. Maybe with time (or a little butter and sour cream) he will come to like them better.

Has two top teeth coming in. One that is already half-way out and the other that will probably break through the skin any day now.

Dances whenever music comes on (as in, he bobs up and down and bounces on his bum).

Waves bye-bye...when he wants to. He's especially good at waving daddy off to work in the morning.

Sleeps through the night most nights thanks to the cozy, warm snow suit our friends are letting us borrow.

Can stand pretty steadily by himself.

Started clapping. Claps while he dances and when he is excited.

(Click here to watch the video.)

Happy 10 months Shaester! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One-On-One Time

I get a lot of one-on-one time with Shae. I mean, A LOT. It's really easy to take it for granted. One of my goals this week has been to enjoy the little moments at home with him more. And I have! I've tried to play with him more, sing with him more, read to him more and watch him more. I love sneakely observing him from behind a book or the laptop (I have to be so careful not to make eye contact or let him see me because as soon as he does he bolts right over to me and pulls at my pants until I pick him up and the observing fun comes to an immediate halt).  

It's funny how we sometimes have to decide  to feel a certain way and then just do it. I'm a full believer in attitude-decisions (most of the time) and think that we are in full control of what we feel, it just takes a decision on our part to feel that way. Right now I have decided to be happy at home with my little boy and happy I am.

(We had a little picnic outside last week and decided to snap some selfies. Warning: Neither of us had put on any makeup for the picnic).

Something that makes me super happy without needing to be decided at all is when Darin and Shae get one-on-one time. They don't get it very often since Darin is gone at work all day but Shae sure does love it when he gets some "man" time. (Especially when it mean watching ballet like they are doing in the below pictures. Very  manly. HooRah. Grunt Grunt. Burp Burp. Plie plie. ). 

(Side note: Shae ALWAYS pulls his socks off, but I pulled out these Santa slippers-- that he is wearing in the picture--the other day that I got at a clothing exchange, they have a little bell on them and he was trying to pull them off/eat them all day, and they stayed on! Poor guy, he was so frustrated that he couldn't't get them off, but at least I knew that his feet were warm :).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thank You Mr. Snow Suit

I went running in shorts and a short sleeved shirt today and came back nice and sweaty. What. the. heck? Is it really December? It is 76 degrees outside right now. Where am I?

I don't like hot weather in December. It's just not right.

Something else I don't like: Waking up early.

I don't just not like waking up early, I hate waking up early. I hated it all throughout my mission as well. I never "got used" to waking up early. What does that even mean? And after almost 10 months with baby boy I still cross my fingers nightly and wish upon the far away starlight star bright that he will sleep in until seven. You'd think I would just "get used to it." But no, every morning I hear him, look at the clock and think, "What! My wishing didn't work AGAIN." One of these days people, one of these days it will work and it will work for more than a day. Maybe a week. How glorious that day/week will be.

While I'm at it, can I go ahead and tell you something else I don't like? I don't like being woken up by someone else every single time I sleep. It's like my sleep has an expiration date that ended up being waaay earlier than I thought it was when I bought it.

Now you're all like, well, you should have thought about that before deciding to have a baby. Don't be fooled, I did think about it, doesn't mean I have to like it.

And now that I sound like a selfish, woe-is-me, bratty mommy let me tell you something that I love. I LOVE that Shae has finally started sleeping through the night. We can thank the snow suit for that. (Thank you snow suit! And Lukes for letting us borrow it!) It did the trick. Now he's nice and warm and cozy (even his head!) and most nights he sleeps straight from around 7pm-5:30/6am (And then begins the frantic, please please please, just 5 more minutes. Here's your pacifier. Here's your blankie. Turn off the night light so its super dark! We try it all. Every single morning even though the result always seem to be the same). And as much as I complain about waking up early, not waking up in the middle of the night is so nice...well...I imagine it will be once I stop waking up out of habit...

Oh the price we pay to have cuteness in the home. 

Before nap:

During nap:
After nap:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap Part II

We put up the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. My family is letting us borrow their "little" tree (they now have a much bigger one). I say "little" (in quotation marks) because it is double the size of our itty bitty Charlie Brown tree that we have used the past two years. It's an upgrade for us! I love it. It's nice to have a "bigger" tree and it fits perfectly in our not so large living room.

I'm loving our living room right now with the Christmas tree and white lights hanging all around the room. We also rearranged which was more than needed. Maybe we'll follow the rest of Williamsburg and leave the lights and tree up and have Christmas year round. It adds such a good feeling to the house, now how can I convince Darin to let me do it?

Our living room wasn't really a living room for a few days. We only kept our mattress down there one night because man, my parents can snore! 

Darin schooled us in Risk. Like, bad. He took us all out in one turn. It was embarrassing. One of those wins that makes you feel awful because the game just ends all of a sudden with no real competition. Thanks Darin. But really, he deserved to school us all because he got schooled pretty terribly in a game of Monopoly earlier that week.

Saturday was beautiful and Darin was feeling somewhat back to normal so we went out and walked around Colonial Williamsburg. Found an art gallery with some really cool paintings and statues. We also went into the church right in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg which we hadn't done previously. Old churches are so beautiful. This one was extra cool because it had names of people on the pews and at the very front was George Washington and John Adams.

 The house seems so quiet now that everyone is gone. Good thing I have this kiddo to entertain me.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

My family arrived at about 2am Wednesday morning. The traffic was bbaadd. Can somebody please move Washington D.C. to another part of the United States? It would make family travel so  much easier.

Needless to say, Wednesday was a pretty chill day (especially because Darin was still sick for the 2nd week in a row. boo). I took the fam out to Yankee Candle in hopes that Darin could get some peaceful sleep. I know I've mentioned this about a million other times, but I love  Yankee Candle. Such a fun, chipper, christmasy place. After walking around looking at all the fun things and trying a few samples we found Shae's favorite shop:

When we got home we started making desserts and stuffing and started our LOTRs marathon by watching the Hobbit.

Shae was really excited about Thanksgiving and was kind enough to wake up the whole house at 5am (and it starts again...). (My mom and brothers got pretty good at sleeping through him crying and then playing right next to them in the living room so early in the morning). We were able to stream the Thanksgiving Day parade which made my morning (I was sad about our cable going out mostly because I didn't think we'd be able to watch the parade which is one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions). We cooked and did dishes and cooked and did more dishes pretty much all morning. And then we ate.

The Menu:
A.J. made this broccoli casserole.
Philip made yummy sour cream filled mashed potatoes.
Mom made her delicious pumpkin dump cake that I remember eating as a kid.
Dad made his special corn casserole.
Darin mastered the turkey and his mothers stuffing (first time making both and they both came out great).
I made this sweet potato casserole, these rolls, this apple pie and this pecan pie.

Our friend from church, Heladio, came over to share the meal with us. Everything turned out great. I went back and forth on what to do with the sweet potatoes for so long. I love sweet potatoes as they are and have always been scared of the marshmallows that people put all over them. I was skeptical of making a "sweet" sweet potato dish but I loved  this dish and will definitely be making it again. I'm also so glad that I found this roll recipe. Fluffy, buttery perfection. I've been searching for "the one roll recipe to rule them all" and this one is it until something better comes along. 

This is us right after eating. Tired and full and Shae ready to get his play on. Goodbye after-Thanksgiving-day-feast-nap. See you in 10 years? Maybe?

This year I am more grateful than ever for my body. The human body really is a miracle. Child birth is a miracle. Feeding a baby from your body is a miracle. It has been really special to see my body work in new ways this past year and understand more and more what a wonderful blessing it is.

I am also thankful for that crazy baby boy in the above picture. We may never take a Thanksgiving day nap again but he truly is a spark of light and joy in my life and I wouldn't trade him for all the naps in the world. I'm also very grateful for that hairy Chelsea loving husband next to me. He sees beyond my weaknesses and annoyances on a daily basis and lifts me up and supports me through thick and thin. He is my rock. 

I'm thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ which pushes me to look for ways to learn, grow and change on a daily basis. I'm thankful for the opportunities that I am given to learn more of the Savior and his plan for me and my family.

I'm thankful for my family and Darin's family and old lifelong best friends and new friends as well. I'm thankful for Netflix and peanut butter and cardigans and blankets and hot chocolate and missionaries and home-made bread and candles and Harry Potter and loofas and nice people who give away their 42" TVs because they have three others.

The End. 

(My families Pumpkin Dump Cake Recipe)
(It might be your families recipe too).

1 29 oz. can pumpkin

Follow the directions on the back of the can on how to make pumpkin pie. Follow those directions to the T, seasonings, eggs, evaporated milk, all of it. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 in. pan. In a separate bowl, combine cake mix and 1 stick of butter (I grate in cold butter and then stir so that it spreads throughout all the cake mix) You can also add chopped walnuts to this mix if you want. Pour the cake mix all over the top of the pumpkin mix and pat it down. Cook according to the can directions, the same way that you would cook a pumpkin pie (higher temp for a little and then lower it).

You can eat it hot or cold (I prefer cold). Top of Cool Whip. As you can see, the pie mixture is just the same as pumpkin pie but for some reason I think that this is so much better than pumpkin pie..mmmmm...