December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays...

...from a very wet Chicago! What weird weather we have been experiencing the past few days. I have so much to tell about our travel woes and our wonderful Christmas with family... stay tuned! I hope everyone is enjoying their time with family and friends!

December 22, 2008

Christmas, Parts IX, X, & XI

So, all this holiday fun will have to be crammed into one post- I have some serious packing to do! Saturday, we attended the holiday party. Sassy had a great time, and so did we. The food was great, the crafts were fun (if I do say so myself) and the kids all had a ball.
Saturday night was the mom's gift swap. We did a semi-white elephant swap. Everyone was to bring a nice, wrapped gift valued at $25, but then we did the drawing numbers and stealing gifts thing. Of course, my original gift was stolen at the last minute, but all was well. I ended up with a really nice set of mugs, some coffee that smelled delicious brewing in my kitchen, and a few other goodies. OK, seriously, M&M premium mint chocolate M&M's are like my new favorite thing! Besides the fact that they are almost too pretty to eat, they are delicious. I made the mistake of bringing the bag in bed with me yesterday afternoon when I was curled up under a cozy blanket finishing New Moon, and I "accidentally" ate half the bag. Oops! Anyway, the swap was a great time. I laughed harder than I had in a while, and I am so thankful to have those girls in my life!

This morning was the kids gift swap at Chuck E Cheese. Thank God someone other than myself ran it this year- it went so much more smoothly! Sassy got a new Belle doll, which is perfect considering Belle is her new obsession! Little A brought home a neat stacking cup toy. I'm sure she will love playing with it very soon! Sassy enjoyed a few rides and games. She collected 116 tickets, with the held of daddy playing ski ball, so she was very excited to pick out her prizes!

As I type, Ty is off getting his hair cut, the girls are sleeping, and I am obviously procrastinating to the max by writing this instead of putting away laundry, packing suitcases, and starting dinner. So, with that, I sign off until next time!

December 20, 2008

Christmas Part VIII

Last night, we went to one of our favorite hot spots in Wichita- nothing like a little bit of Friday night-life. We went to the Wichita Children's Theatre & Dance Company's production of The Gingerbread Man, part of the "Once Upon a Time Series" geared toward the 8 and under crowd. We love going to these plays. They do approximately a show a month during the colder months and then 4-5 different shows during the picnic series over the summer. We had Sassy's first birthday party with them, and we have been going ever since.

For the Friday night show, they serve pizza and pop, and there is always a little craft or activity for the kids to do relating to the show. Last night, of course, the kids got to color little gingerbread men. We had a fun time. Even Little A enjoyed herself. This was actually the first time we have been since she was born, so she did great for her first show. Many of the regular actors were back after taking some time off over the summer, so I was happy about that. I would say that they group of 4 that were in last night's show are my favorites! Very entertaining- we ♥ WCTDC!

4 months... and 2 days!

Can you believe it? Little A turned 4 months old Thursday. Seeing as Thursday was a bit rough for me, I actually forgot to take her 4-month-old milestone picture. Bad mama. But, I took some last night, so I included one to share.

Little A is doing great. She had her check-up yesterday, and a series of vaccinations, so poor thing is feeling a bit under the weather and sleeping... a lot! She weighed in at 12 pounds 9 ounces. I actually thought she was going to be closer to 14 lbs. I don't know, she just seems like a giant compared to what Sassy was like.

Miss Little A is getting really strong. She loves to "stand" on our legs and look around. She adores her big sister, and follows her around the room with her eyes. She is starting to giggle and squeal in delight when she is happy. Her new found love is her hands- she has them in her mouth constantly! Dr. said that her gums are inflamed, so the teething process is starting. Of course, he did say it could be months and months before she cuts a tooth, but Sassy didn't get her first tooth until the week of her first birthday! I guess we will have to wait and see...

Lastly, I have been hearing so many people tell me that Little A looks like me, yet almost everyone says she looks SO much like Sassy, who we all know is a "daddy clone". I just can't decide. What is your vote?

December 19, 2008

Christmas Part VII

We did it, we did it, we did it, yeah! We exchanged our gifts amongst each other a bit early. We are leaving for Chicago Tuesday, so we figured Monday night was out due to last minute packing and preparation. We have a super busy weekend, so we just went ahead and did it.

Sassy was SO excited. I kid you not, she opened every single present, regardless of who was the recipient amongst the four of us. She wouldn't even let Ty or I open any for ourselves. She was very good about being excited for Little A about her gifts. I was impressed, actually. She was happy for what Little A got, which was nice to see.

Sassy loved her new backpack and her Tinkerbell stuff. She wanted to take a bath right away so that she could put on her new Tinkerbell jammies and watch the DVD with her new doll. The photo book I made her was also a big hit (thanks, Oprah)! She thought it was beyond cool that she was the main character of the story, and that her friends and family were in there. Both Sassy and Little A got cute monogrammed hooded towels, which they needed. Both girls got a new outfit. Both got a book. Sassy got some new princess jammies. Little A got a stuffed peacock toy for her car seat.

Ty and I did well, too. I got a great charm necklace from the girls- I will post a picture as soon as I get a chance to take one. I got some perfume, the new Tess Gerritsen book, The new JK Rowling story, a couple of shirts, and some Wallflowers. Ty got a new book, passport wallet, and swim trunks for his cruise. He also got a sweater and shirt, an air compressor, a charging station for his dresser, and a jogging stroller blanket so he can take Sassy in the winter.

Not going to lie- I do think Sassy was a bit disappointed in regards to the general lack of toys and other playthings. Almost as soon as we were finished, she assured me that she would be getting more gifts at Nana's house. I laughed and reminded her that Santa had yet to visit, also. He, graciousness is a learning process, right?

December 18, 2008

My Zeke...

So, I am SO upset right now. I just received a phone call from my mom a couple of hours ago, and she told me that she had to have Zeke put to sleep. He was perfectly fine this morning, and after he ate, he was retching. Then his abdomen became distended, and he went outside and was vomiting and urinating blood. My mom rushed him to the vet, and he had gastric torsion (bloat), which is very common in large dogs. My mom is a freak about making him lay down after eating because of this risk, so it is just really too bad.

Zeke was a fabulous dog and a great friend. He would have been 10 years old this Christmas Eve, so he lived a very full, long life for a Great Dane. He was the biggest baby imaginable- he loved to sit on laps and give kisses and cuddle. He had his own spot on my parents couch that he liked to curl up on, and if you were lucky, he allowed you to wrap your legs around him so you could have a spot on the couch, too.

I'm trying to remember some of my favorite Zeke moments... One thing that always made me laugh was his food stealing abilities. Unless you have owned an insanely large dog, you may not understand how easy it is for them to steal food. Once, my dad brought home McDonald's, and Zeke snarfed up his Quarter Pounder quicker than a blink. My dad was so mad. Another time, Zeke stole a fresh baked loaf of bread off the counter while it was cooling. Once, I brought muffins home from work at Something's Brewing, and not only did Zeke think to steal some, he proceeded to knock over enough muffin to the floor for the other dogs to enjoy before he took some for himself. What a generous heart...

Zeke loved to eat snow! My mom would always yell at him because the cold upset his stomach, and he would almost always throw up afterwards, but that didn't stop him. He loved getting ice cream in the summer, and he loved finding the sun sports to lay in on the floor.

I could go on and on. Zeke was a great dog and I am thankful that, although he experienced a lot of pain today, he didn't suffer through a lengthy illness or a slow degeneration. He ran around like a puppy, all 10 years of him, until today. He will be missed very much!

December 17, 2008

Dragon Kisses...

Sassy and I were cuddling in my bed this afternoon. I asked Sassy for a little kissy, my wish was granted. She asked for a butterfly kiss, we fluttered eyelashes. I asked for an eskimo kiss, our noses rubbed together. She asked for a "dwagon kiss". I asked her what a dragon kiss was. She proceeded to smash her face into mine so fast and with so much force, I thought surely my nose was broken. She thought it was hilarious.

I'd better watch out for those dragon kisses... could be dangerous!

Isn't it pretty?

What do you think of the new look? Do you like it? I think I remembered to add everything back in. I am in the process of finding out how to change over my "previous posts" tab from Portuguese to English... betcha didn't even notice, huh?

December 16, 2008

Can I get arrested if Sassy smothers the baby?

It's becoming a real concern of mine. I mean, what exactly are the legal proceedings like? I knew this was going to be a problem from jump street. Before Little A even arrived, Sassy would "play babies". This involved lining babies up methodically, covering them up with some sort of blanket (any washcloth, dish towel, or scrap of fabric would do, regardless of how much of the baby it actually covered), giving them each a kiss, and then turning them over on their stomach and covering them head-to-toe like they were headed for a body bag. Hmm...

So, when Little A's arrival was close, we had many a conversation with Sassy about how we cannot cover the baby's face. That was "DANGER". Once Little A came home, I quickly realized that this rule had to be broadened for the sake of the new one. We told Sassy over and over, "No covering Little A. Do not touch the blanket"... you get the picture. 4 months later, and still a struggle. Sassy just loves those darned blankets. She tries to pull them up over Little A's head on a daily basis. Luckily, Little A has become enlightened enough to scream upon this occurrence. She's a little one who knows what she wants..... (to live)......

So, in the meantime, Sassy will just have to settle in on smothering Little A with kisses!

December 15, 2008

Sassy Says, Part I

These are the things Sassy has already told me this morning:
--"Mommy, my dwagon scared away the monsters yestewday"
--"You need to clean my room... it's messy"
--"I want some pancakes... in a bowl... my don't want sywiup, though"
--"Can I watch Box and the Hound? Can I, can I, can I?"
--"Turn on the lights! It's dark out!" (Meaning the Christmas tree lights... and it's NOT so dark)
--"When Daddy gets home, we'll haf some fun. Can we do somefing fun?"
--"I want a story... the piggie one. Can you tell me a story?"
--"Let's sing a song. How 'bout Twinkle Little Star? Sing, Mommy!"
--"Say Bless you, Mommy. I sneezed."

I am already tired, and it is 9:30. Sassy has been awake approximately 20 minutes. Only 720 to go before bedtime. I wonder what she'll come up with next!

December 14, 2008

Can I get OUT of the kitchen, please?

I really don't want to see the inside of my kitchen again for a long time! The past two days have been spent making food for the mom's group meal swap and cookie exchange tomorrow. Why, oh why do I always choose to make recipes I have not made before? My Greek Chicken pasta, although lovely tasting, took 4 hours yesterday to cook and assemble for 10 families. Ugh... it felt like 14 hours. Today, I have Tyler slaving away at my toffee shortbread for the mere sake of my sanity. We need 7 dozen cookies, and we are about half done. Next week, we will be making more pumpkin spice bread for gifts, plus Andes Mint cookies to take up to our OB with a Piggies & Paws print. Geez... whoever said cooking was fun obviously never tried to accomplish anything with a sassy 2-year-old and a hungry 4 month old in tow...

December 12, 2008

Christmas, Parts V and VI

The festivities continue... this week we had two special Christmas events. Tuesday night was the Parents As Teachers Christmas dinner and visit with Santa. PAT provided soup and chili, and each family brought a side dish or dessert to share. Sassy enjoyed sitting on Santa's lap again, and Little A got to be held by Santa this time, too. Each kid received a goodie bag filled with educational toys- a tennis ball, play doh, a whistle and a book.

Last night, Sassy's preschool had their Christmas program. Each classroom went up on stage and performed 3 songs. Sassy's class sang "Jesus Was his Name-O", "Away in the Manger", and one other song that has slipped my mind. It was a riot watching all the little kids up there. Sassy did not sing a word of the first two songs, but for "Away in the Manger", she seemed to sing a bit and do all of the choreography. Too cute! I didn't get any good pictures during the program, but here are a couple before we left the house:

December 9, 2008

The Christmas Dog

Have you ever seen something and thought that you just HAD to have it? Not next year, not another day, not later, but NOW? Well, that happened to me last year when I saw the most adorable Christmas decoration that ever was. I saw it and I just couldn't imagine life without it.

The decoration I speak of is the cutest little holiday dog figurine. It is bright and bold and quirky and cute- just my style. She sports a snazzy green sweater with glittery yellow stars, some very fancy high-heeled boots, a chic pink scarf, a party hat, and some killer pink lipstick. She has spunk, she has style. She is the dog that has it all for the holidays.

So, in any normal circumstance, I would just have to buy her on the spot. But, this was no ordinary circumstance. See, I wasn't shopping when I saw her. I was at my cousin Kelli's apartment. We were in Chicago visiting family, and I had stopped by to see her new apartment and all of her holiday decor.

So, I played it cool. "Cute dog," I said to her, pointing at my newest holiday obsession. "Thanks," she said, "I just bought it at [some store like TJ Maxx or Marshall's- I was way too focused to actually be paying attention]". My eyes lit up. "So, it's really cute," I said, "Maybe I will go pick one up for my house." "Good luck," she tells me, "My mom and I picked up the last two that were there." OK, so now I have seen the decoration of my dreams and been informed that TWO members of my family own the thing, and one of them is not ME?!? "Oh, that's too bad," I replied and stared coolly into space plotting my next move...

Time goes on, we talk, we visit, blah blah. The gears in my mind were turning. A million things race through my head. Why, oh why did I leave me coat in the car? How can I conceal this dog under my shirt alone? Will it fit in my purse? What can I replace it with so that she won't notice? How am I ever going to get away with this one?

It is finally time to go, and I resign myself to the fact that it will be MUCH too obvious if Christmas dog goes missing now, after I have admired her so. Drat. I will just have to spend Christmas each year without this adorable, funky holiday dog statue that is me to a "T". I take one last look at Christmas dog. 'Goodbye, you sassy thang,' I think to myself as I throw one last glance her way. Just then, I am caught in the act. "Oh, just take the thing," Kelli says. "Really?" I ask. "Yes," she insists. Hooray! She's M-I-N-E!

It's one year later, and all I can think of when we are unpacking the Christmas decorations is my dog! I tell Tyler how I can't wait to put up my Christmas dog. He, of course, could care less about her. So, when I find her and take her carefully out of her box, I know in an instant that there is only one place for her to be- smack dab in the middle of our mantle. I place her up there, along with a few other things, some garland, some lights. When I am finished, Tyler looks at me like I am cRaZy... "That is what you are choosing to place in the prime Christmas decoration spot in our entire house?" he asks. My answer, of course, was an unequivocal, "YES!!"

December 8, 2008

Elf Yourself

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Christmas Part IV

Sassy concentrating hard on the decorating at hand...

Deck the Halls with boughs of holly... FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA! We have officially decorated our humble abode for Christmas. Sassy has been talking about decorating for exactly 16 days, which is, coincidentally, the number of days since she has known and seen that Lynzee and the gang have had decorations up at their house... thanks, Lynz.

We pulled our 4 big red and green totes from storage in the basement. It's always so fun to open each tote and see what is inside... because, really, you forget what you have from year to year. I am one of those people that can look at a decoration or ornament and remember the time, the place, the people... One of my very favorite things is to unveil the things purchased during the after-Christmas sales from the previous year. It's so easy to forget what goodies you found when they were never really on display. It's like a built in surprise each year.

The one thing we could NOT find was our Christmas lights. We tore apart every tote, every box, looked under every bed, in every closet, and scoured the garage. No Christmas lights. So, we took a last minute trip to Target to buy some new ones (Sorry, but it's not Christmas without lights)... I promise you, as this blog is my witness, we will find those darn lights the minute we go to pack everything up until next year. Oh, well, that means twice the lights for next year. Maybe we can deck out the outside of the house, a la "Christmas Vacation"!

Sassy was SO into the decorating this year. It practically killed her to be patient while us "gwown-ups" put the tree together, and strung lights and garland on the tree, mantle, and staircase. She pulled out each "ormanent" one by one, and felt very important hanging them with care... in the bottom right corner of the tree. Yes, we have a bit of a congregation of "ormanents" in one spot, but I tell you, our tree looks better than it ever has before... at least to me.

Of course, we rounded out the evening with some homemade Scotch Shortbread, Plum Dumplings, and eggnog (for Ty and Sassy, at least. I say Y-U-C-K to the eggnog). Nothing like getting hopped up on a bunch of sugar before bed!

Now our tree is up, the ornaments hung, and the lights are aglow. It is so relaxing to me to sit in the front room with some Christmas music on and just take it all in. It's over way too soon!
Sassy taking the meaning of the word "stocking" way too literally... what... do we live in 1892? I mean, who calls them stocking anymore, anyway?:

Sassy, pre-decorating, enjoying some eggnog and the shortbread spoon. Mmm...

Tyler and Little A checking out some ornaments:

Sassy working hard to make her corner of the tree look pretty:

Sassy showing Little A an "ormanent":

Sassy with her post-decorating goodies:

Christmas Part III

After Tyler's work party Saturday, we went downtown for the annual Christmas event. The concept of living in a small town resonated from the Christmas music blaring out of speaker atop the light posts by the library and being audible throughout town, to the familiar faces seen even though we do not really "know" many people here, to the local organizations having various "feeds" (i.e. spaghetti feed, soup feed, and so on) at every corner. They put on a pretty neat event.

It was just cold enough to feel like Christmas, yet not cold enough to be miserable. There were horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, pony rides for the kids, arts & crafts, cookies and hot chocolate, and Santa was at the bank for the kids to visit. Little A was much happier being outside this time around, and Sassy had fun riding the "horsey" and making an angel "ormanent" and a reindeer "ormanent".

December 7, 2008

Christmas Part II

We attended Ty's department Christmas party yesterday. This is the first time since he has worked at Cessna that they have done something like this, and it was really nice to meet some of the people he talks about all the time and have them see the girls, etc. It was located at The Museum of World Treasures, which we had not been to yet. It was reminiscent of The Field Museum, on a very small scale. The had some dinosaurs and other fossils, some Egyptian artifacts, a lot of historical documents, a "Hall of Presidents"... things like that. Sassy enjoyed running around and playing with the other kids. We mingled for the first our and had some appetizers, and then we checked out the museum for a wort while. Due to the timing, the girls skipped their afternoon naps, so Little A had about had it, and we didn't stay long. Despite that, we had a nice time as a family!

Sassy all grown up with her "coffee cup":

Little A, cute as can be:

Sassy and her one true love:

Illuminations, or Christmas Part I

Friday night, we took the plunge. We did it. Our family of four attended the first of many Christmas events this season. Only 20 days before Christmas, this falls within my "appropriate time frame for all things Christmas" ideal. Ty and I took the girls up to Illuminations, the holiday lights display at Botanica, the Wichita gardens. This is the first year we have decided to go to this event, and it was really nice.

They had tons and tons of luminaries lighting the pathways, and then various light displays set up off the path. There was a neat little working train, candy cane lane- with a special butterfly craft, and then the girls got to visit with Santa and tell them all of their Christmas wishes. Little A was less than thrilled with the cold, or maybe it was the hat that I made her wear... not really sure. We didn't last for too long, but it was really enjoyable to get some crisp fresh air and walk around. We went inside and Tyler, being the sweet tooth that he is, bought out the baked goods booth and we sat and had some treats. We also entered the fundraising raffle, so stay tuned for news of my prize package complete with a trip to Vegas! Here are a few pics from the evening:
The girls & I all bundled up right before leaving the house:

Little A a bit unsure of whether she wanted to be there or not:

Sassy & her buddy being the sweet angels that they are:

My awesome attempt at photographing the lights. I'll spare you any more:

Sassy at the butterfly craft table:

All the girls (minus Little A) visiting the man himself:

December 5, 2008

Sassy counts...

She was very enthusiastic about the second round! She reminds me of the owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop ads... "A-one, A-two, A-three..."

Smile... it's Friday

It's the end of the week! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It has been a short week for us due to our return travel, but it has felt so l-o-n-g! I am looking very forward to our "holiday-season filled" weekend, and I am SO glad it's here! We are finally going to be putting up our Christmas decorations, we have Christmas parties to go to, the whole nine yards! Yeah! Here are a couple pics of Sassy and Little A to help you celebrate your Friday with a smile!