Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Emilie's First Thanksgiving!

We had a nice Thanksgiving last week, especially loving the time we had with family. Jason and I ended up hosting our first Thanksgiving at the last minute, after my Grandpa spent a few days in the hospital with some chest pains. Luckily, he is okay. Jason really sprang into action at the last minute, and threw together a delicious Thanksgiving with all of the fixings, for my parents and my Uncle John and us in less than 24 hours. As my mom put it, he saved Thanksgiving.

After a nice celebration at our house, and a good walk to burn off all that we'd stuffed ourselves with, we headed to my Grandparent's house to bring Thanksgiving to them. My Grandpa is doing much better and although it was different, it was nice to spend time with my grandparents on Thanksgiving. And, although against doctor's orders on Emilie's high fat diet (my dream!), it was here that I gave her her first taste of mashed potatoes. Since I made them myself, I can assure you there is nothing low fat about them, although I wouldn't normally serve her what is in the potatoes, either. Chalk it up to being the second child.

My mom and I did get in our annual shopping and lunch day the next day. It was such a treat to spend time with my mom one on one. Can you believe I didn't take one picture?! That's a first.

We spent the rest of the weekend visiting with Jason's family at his Aunt Jean's house. Marin had a great time running and playing with Jason's cousin's kids and it was great to have everyone together. A lot of fun moments playing Wii. For some reason Marin decided to strip down and play in her undies, which made it hilarious for when she'd squat and jump to play the skiing game.

And now Thanksgiving has come and gone and like the rest of the world, we are in full Christmas mode. But we had a very nice long weekend together, recounting all that we have to be thankful for. Mostly, family, friends and each other.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bathing Beauties

Definitely thankful for these two at the end of each day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mashed Potatoes according to 7 year old me

Molly recently unearthed the Thanksgiving cookbook that we made with our 2nd grade class. Feel free to use my recipe for Mashed Potatoes at your Thanksgiving table this year. Be sure to triple check the recipe before you head out to the grocery store though- you don't want to forget the cherries. After all, what are mashed potatoes with out the cherries, beans and mushrooms?!
Molly's recipe for cornbread makes a lot more sense. We should have known that between the two of us, she'd turn out to be both the most logical and the better cook. Apparently I cared more about the very specific way that the food was decorated, than the way the dish would actually taste. Ah, something never change.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Circus!

The girls spent the weekend with my mom and dad last weekend, while Jason and I stole away to Chicago for the weekend. Heaven. The girls had a fabulous time with Grandma and Grandpa, the main attraction being the circus on Saturday afternoon!

Ever since then, Marin has been walking around pretending to be on a tight rope and is even teaching her dollies to tight rope. She loved the animals and the "silly clowns" and the lights and the music- and of course, the enormous snow cone. What are grandparents for, if not to spoil? :)

Emilie loved it too- especially the bright lights and the music!

Both girls came home with a souvenir stuffed animal, and Marin is still asking to watch the video clips of the circus on the computer to relive the experience. What a thrill!

The girls rounded out their weekend with Grandma and Grandpa with church downtown Chicago, lunch with GG and OG, bubble baths and making popcorn on the stove. Great memories made for sure!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emilie- Six Months Old!

6 Month Stats:
12 lbs. 10 oz.
25 inches long

Well, the biggest news with our sweet little Emilie at six months, is that girlfriend needs to gain some weight. And quickly. Her six month doctor's appointment showed that she has fallen off the charts in the weight department (and actually lost weight from her four month check up). I feel horribly terribly awful. Her doctor thinks that she may get distracted when she eats, and because she's so easy going, she doesn't really let me know that she isn't exactly full. This likely decreased my milk supply and since she's more active now, she is burning more calories than she is getting. Let's hope that's the only problem anyway. So now she's on a high calorie diet of breast milk, followed by formula with the addition of rice cereal and PediaSure. I am basically force feeding her around the clock. She'll go back for a weight check in a month, and if this solves the problem, we can move on with life as normal. Fingers crossed for that outcome.

Otherwise, life is moving quickly. I can't even begin to tell you how quickly the time is flying by. I know that I say that every month, and that it is the biggest cliche in the world, but literally I can't believe that my baby girl is half a year old already. Didn't we just bring her home?

That's not to say that we're not busy! Emilie has a lot of tricks up her sleeves these days as detailed below.

* She is sitting up for a few seconds at a time. I think the longest is only about five seconds, but she's getting stronger and trying to hold her balance for a little longer every day.

* Emilie remains the happiest little baby. She just smiles all day long, especially at Marin.

* She loves to "stand" and bounce and play in the excersaucer as much as she loves to be held and snuggle and smile up at whomever has the pleasure of holding her.

* She loves soft animals and toys, and sleeps with them every night.

* Emilie is reaching out and pulling for things all the time. She loves all books, but Marin has showed her how to feel all the textured pages of the books with furry animals and these are Emilie's favorite.

* She is sleeping much better. Probably because she is finally getting enough to eat. Ugh. Bad Mommy! Our little routine is bath, jammies, sleep sack, book, feeding, prayers and a little snuggle while I sing her "Let me call you sweetheart." Marin always kisses her goodnight before she goes to bed. We lay Emilie down awake with her paci and her lovies and she puts herself to sleep within minutes.

* Emilie loves to pet Norah, and feel her ears. Norah rewards her with kisses back.

* Like Marin was at this age, Emilie is quiet most of the time. When she does babble it is the sweetest little sound, but she doesn't talk just to hear her voice. I am pretty certain that she is just taking in the world, and will soon be talking up a storm; whenever her sister lets her get a word in edgewise. ;)

Emilie, you are a little love bug. Your daddy and I love watching all that you are learning and are delighted to see you change as you do something new all the time. We check on you at night before we go to bed, and watch you sleeping so peacefully snuggled up with your giraffe and blankies, on your side. Your sister is amazed that you are growing so quickly, and already asked me if you could have a sleep over in her big girl bed with her. I assured her that you'd jump at the chance someday. You are a joy and a delight, and we couldn't be more proud of you. We love you so very much!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Fish, Two Fish, White Fish, Orange Fish

About a month ago, we inherited two fish- or should I say, we rescued two fish- from my grandparent's house. My grandparents had been to a benefit, and a fishbowl with fish served as the centerpiece at every table. Near the end of the evening, the M.C. asked everyone to look under their seats, and sure enough, my 91 year old grandpa had the sticker under his seat for their table, and they went home that night with four fish.

They tried to pawn them off on my cousin, but she is a smarter person than I, and ran like the wind. So, my grandparents kept them hoping to find them a good home. Now, it should be known that my grandma is the nicest woman alive. I know this isn't generally a stretch for a grandma, but let me just put it this way: At nearing 94, my grandma cleans with her cleaning lady, Anita, and serves her a full course lunch when she comes every other Monday. And we're not talking about cold meat sandwiches- she makes the works, and has grown to know Anita's favorites, and fixes them for her often, and sends her home with leftovers. The best part; my grandma can't believe that no one else does this for Anita. However, as nice as my grandma is, the woman clearly was not meant to have fish. She was feeding them bits of club cracker. One day, she told me, my Uncle Reed fed the fish some bits of cookie. Oh boy. Believe it or not, only three survived on that stellar diet. So naturally, when she asked me during a visit to their house if we wanted some fish, I had to save them. Marin got all excited, and named them Marin, Emilie and Norah. By the time we left that afternoon, Fish Norah took a swim down the sewage system. On the way home, I told Marin that GG and OG kept one of the fish, so that's why we only brought Fish Marin and Fish Emilie home with us. Fish Marin is orange, Fish Emilie is white.

Also on the way home, we stopped to buy the poor fish some proper fish food. And, because with two small children, and a big ole dog I have nothing else to do, I know feed the fish three times a day, and clean the bowl and change the water every other day. I'm such a sucker. I told my brother that he owes me, because he was next on my grandma's list, and I'm positive he would have taken them. That kid is such a softie for animals, its almost embarrassing. He sings to his cats. Made up cat songs just for them. He's sorta weird. (Love you, Jake!)

Meanwhile, every morning I was rushing to make sure Fish Marin and Fish Emilie weren't floating on top of the water. I knew for sure I didn't want Marin to discover this as she told them, "Good morning, fishies!" as she loves to do. If she makes it through the getting ready process every morning without any whining, she gets to feed them. (Side note: I can't believe this works as well as it does!) One morning, I discovered Fish Marin having a little trouble swimming. Panic set in. Marin would be so sad if something happened to Fish Marin or Fish Emilie. I'm pretty sure no one has ever willed a goldfish to live quite like I did. Knowing the inevitable, I told her that Fish Marin wasn't feeling so well. And a few mornings later, I found her floating on the top of the bowl. I scooped her out, flushed her down and braced myself to tell Marin after she woke up.

She took the news pretty well. I asked her if she remembered that Fish Marin wasn't feeling well, and she had. Then I told that she died that morning and went to fish heaven. She just said, "Oh." And then perked up, "Prolly if I go sing to her, she will feel all better!" I told her what a sweet thought that was, but that unfortunately it wouldn't work. Then I suggested maybe she could sing to Fish Emilie, because she might miss her friend. Marin loved that idea, and sang to her right away.

Fish Emilie seems to be doing well. Our friend Rob, once won a goldfish at his elementary school carnival, and it lived until he was in college. I'm praying to the fish gods that I don't have to take care of this fish for that long. But I'm also equally hoping that she lives long enough to where Marin loses interest, so we won't have to replace the fish with a likely longer living, healthier one.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Fish Emilie and, (may she rest in watery peace), Fish Marin.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yummy, yummy, yummy! Rice cereal in my tummy!

Emilie joins us at the table for our meals every day and just watches the utensil from our plate to our mouths and back. It was time to start this girl on some "real" food. Although, I'm not sure you can consider completely liquefied rice cereal as a gourmet specialty exactly, she gobbled it right up.

As you'd expect, she's a little confused by the spoon. She tries to lick the cereal off the spoon with her tongue like a cat. It's pretty funny. But when we can get the spoon past her tongue, she does keep most of the cereal in her mouth.

I can. not. believe! that we are at this point with Emilie already. Time is going so quickly. But she's ready, and she definitely likes getting in on the action. She was grabbing at the spoon, already wanting to put it in her mouth herself! When I said we should try giving her some cereal Marin was quick to tell me, "No, baby Emmie's too little for cereal." She's growing quickly. I don't know who is in more disbelief- Marin or me.

In retrospect, I maybe could have spruced up a little (like, out of my pj's) for the sake of recording the milestone, but it was early Sunday morning, and let's be real. I'm not really sure the girls will be exactly shocked to remember me like this some day. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween M&eM's!

After six parties, Halloween 2011 is behind us, making it almost as celebrated as Christmas. When did that start happening? No skin off our back though- you know we love a good party.

Marin and Emilie were M&eM's for Halloween. Jason had the idea after they were born and we got a present from Mika and Joey from a store in Glen Ellyn called M and Em's. Until then we hadn't realized that their names were M and Em. The Amazing Molly found time between, helping people in need, running marathons, being a triathlete, cooking amazing meals every night, and taking awesome pictures- and oh yeah, she also has a big time full time job- to make the costumes from scratch. Molly is literally the best person I know. For some reason she decides to keep me around- probably for when she decides to slum it with someone who showers four times a week and spends half her life talking about time outs. And, because she is super woman, she surprised us with a matching costume for Norah, too. I die. We are eternally grateful to Molly for making our costumes once again. They were the talk of every party and every outing. All props to you, Mols. Thank you SO very much!

The fun started in September when Molly came to measure Emilie and Marin for their costumes. This meant we got to see Molly for a bonus visit, which is rare, since, when we moved to Geneva two years ago, I broke our unwritten rule to never live father than five miles apart. Molly asked Marin what color she wanted to be and what color baby Emilie should be. After Marin said red and green, and I tried to sway her in a different direction, Molly stopped me, saying that what Marin wants, Marin gets. This is what Marin thinks too, sometimes. Hence my aforementioned talk about all the time outs. The girls and I met Molly downtown for lunch to pick up the costumes and were instantly in love.

Marin was excited to help me make these treats to give to all of Marin and Emilie's friends.

We kicked off our Halloween celebrations on Thursday afternoon, by trick-or-treating at the merchants in downtown Geneva. Marin's friend Joy, from ballet and her sister, Lily and mom, Lara, met at our house and we walked to the shops together. We saw so many of our friends there, and Marin just ran up and down the streets SO excited to see everyone in their costumes. True to her social roots, I think she loved seeing her friends more than she did getting the candy.

Friday we had a Halloween party at Kathy's Kid's, Marin's old daycare. Kathy invited a lot of alumni, so Marin got to see a lot of her old friends. Kathy went all out, as usual, with cookies and candy and hot cider for the adults, as well as lots of other treats too. Then we all went trick-or-treating in her neighborhood, which happens to include my parent's house. Marin loved ringing the doorbell and yelling trick-or-treat at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Friday night we invited my parent's over and carved pumpkins. Actually, if I'm telling the truth, Jason carved pumpkins, I supervised, and Marin "cooked" the guts with her play kitchen pots and pans until they fell and splattered everywhere, and that was the end of that. In keeping with tradition, we put Emilie in the pumpkin like we did with Marin on her first Halloween. (Refresher picture of Marin on the right.) Emilie, the happiest baby in the world, didn't seem to mind as much.

Saturday morning we took the train to Glen Ellyn to meet Mika, Tom and Tess for Glen Ellyn's costume parade. It was so much fun, and we'll definitely do this every year. How adorable is Tess, dressed as a pumpkin princess? I could eat her with a spoon. Marin loves Tesser, as she calls her, and was so excited to run in the middle of the street with her at the "hip parade" (which is Marin for parade- derived from hip hip hooray, which she thinks is pronounced hip parade, and thus calls parades, hip parades). Taking the train (just like Daddy does) was a huge hit, too. Add that to trick-or-treating after the hip parade, and you have the makings of a 2 1/2 year olds perfect day.

Saturday night, Lindsay came to babysit the girls, while this Girl Scout and her Eagle Scout escort went to a murder mystery Halloween party. Yes, that is my original vest from 1987. I was 9. You bet your sweet a that I earned all those badges. I also carried my badge book in my girl scout bag that I stenciled myself. Hot. Jason really was an Eagle Scout, and wore his original shirt from when he was 17. Insert nerd joke here. Marin took one look at my hairdo and said, "Mommy! You look beautiful with those ribbons in your piggy tails!!"

Sunday afternoon we had a family party at our friend the Szklarek's. Marin loved seeing her friend CJ dressed as Peter Pan (his mom and dad were Tinkerbell and Captain Hook!), Kai dressed as an adorable dinosaur, and Alex, the dragon. Abby made a lot of really good food for the adults, and adorable Halloween treats for the kids. Such fun! On the way to this party, we stopped to visit my Grandma and Grandpa, who were at my parents house, so they could see the girls in their costumes.

Finally, Monday was Halloween, the main event. We continued our tradition of trick-or-treating with all of our neighbors, which is so much fun! There are 18 kids total who run all costumed, giggling together. The adults trail along and hang back on the sidewalk to making sure the kids say thank you, and don't run through the yards. And okay, adult beverages are also consumed. The Nitschke's hosted us again- we all met there before hand, and after trick-or-treating we went back to their home for soups and cocktails and conversation. All the kids snuggled on the couch to watch a movie after they ran around and played doctor in the basement. At this age, that's still innocent. We all stayed up past our bedtime, and I went to bed so grateful once again for being blessed with such a fun group of neighbors.