Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm most thankful for...

These two little faces:

and the personalities that go with them!

I am also most thankful to the man who gave me his heart, gave me my family, and shares his life with me in our beautiful new home.

I am also most thankful for the family I was born into(and has grown into), the family I married into, and all of the friends I've gathered along the way.

I am also very thankful for the health of those I love, and for the happiness I experience every day.

This year, like many of you, I am just thankful to have the life I've been given.

Happy Thanksgiving readers!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Visiting with Santa...

On Sunday, we went back to the mall to do some retakes. Needless to say picture day Friday did not go well. My boys were a mess. I would love to say that they were sick or tired, or hungry, but the truth is they just weren't having it. Matt refused to smile, and Z was all over the place. If he wasn't scampering around, he was zoned out and expressionless. The results were definitely not the dream shot I hoped to see hanging on the wall for years to come. I actually told the photographer that there really were no pictures I wanted to pay for. Fortunately, Lisa got some adorable shots of her kids from that day, so it wasn't a total wash.

My sister could sense my frustration so when the photographer suggested we come back on Sunday, I agreed. So Sunday morning I convinced Wayne to come along hoping his presence would help keep Zach focused, and Matt entertained. Well picture time came, and the results were not really that much better. The pictures were pretty much a 50/50 split. Only two out of the four kids smiled at one time, no matter how many faces, stern warnings, or pleas we issued. in the end, we will have a picture. A perfect picture, hell no, but a shot of the 4 grand kids at this time in their life, and all the drama that goes into it.

At the end of the photo shoot I was beaten, Wayne was astonished at how obstinate the kids had been, but we let them go see Santa. I let Zach go because there was no line, and he was super excited to see him. Plus I had promised if he smiled in his pictures he could see Santa and about 1/2 of the time he complied.

Zach was such a chatterbox, talking away with Santa. He even climbed up onto his lap to tell him what he wanted. He talked for a good few minutes with Old St Nick about his reindeer and about his sleigh. It was all going so splendid so I threw Matt into the mix.

You see, last year I wanted a picture of the boys together with Santa, but Matt was asleep in his stroller when we finally got our chance, and Zach was terrified, so I was glad to get one shot at a picture. This year Zach was so thrilled to see Santa, I'm sure he would have been content to sit on his lap for the photo or the rest of the day chattering on about Rudolph. Unfortunately, the moment Matt met Santa I knew he wasn't thrilled and that little bugger is strong, so I had Santa hold him tight, and moved Z to the rocking horse. My efforts to get a nice picture sort of paid off, because Zach is gleefully saying "Cheese" so nicely while Matt makes his "Popeye" face. I figure from far away it might look like Matt is smiling instead of grimacing! Who knows, if the proofs from Sunday turn out terribly, this little beauty might just end up on our Christmas card this year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's official...

This little man:
Is now officially ONE years old!

Happy Birthday to my baby Matthew! I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by. Matt is walking and trying to talk more and more everyday. So far he can say Mama, Dada, Ball, Bye, Hi, Baba, and likes to sing and dance. He loves to wave bye bye and he absolutely loves getting into everything. These days Matt is opening doors, climbing stairs, scaling furniture. He loves exploring his limitations. Generally Matt is easy going and smiley, but when he's teething or tired, he miserable. Matt is definitely going to keep me on my toes in his teen years, because every time I tell him NO, he just looks at me and smiles, and then turns back and tries to do it again. Oh how stubborn he can be! There is no greater smile in all the world, and when he laughs Matt just makes your heart melt. I couldn't ask for a more loving and wonderful son, and lucky me, I have two of them!

Here are a few photos from our low key day. This morning Matt spent some time in his very own chair, Zach has one, and now that Matt is officially a big boy, he has one too. Here he is chillin on his chair:

laughing for Daddy:

And doing what he does best...getting into EVERYTHING!

I just love this little man so much. I can't believe a year ago today I met him for the first time. A part of me feels like my children have been in my heart forever...and now they always will be. Happy first birthday Matthew, Mommy loves you very much and can't wait to see what our next year together holds. I take comfort in knowing that no matter how big you and Z get, you will always be my babies, and I will always cherish these early days when I got to cradle you, literally. We love you Mattie, and I think I speak for all who know you, that you have made our lives so much sweeter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


When I found out I was having a second son, 21 months after my first, I knew picture time was going to be tricky. You see, I'm 14 months younger than my sister, and growing up we can be seen in more than a few photos wearing the same outfit. To be fair, often times they were different colors, and probably more than likely we wanted the same things, so it wasn't really a big deal. Its just that sometimes when I see those photos I wonder, were people wondering why we were dressed like twins? Did they think I was just more petite or headed for dwarfism? I am not sure what they thought, but with two sons I am faced with a challenge come picture time.

To match or not to match? This is a tough one for me. If they were twins, or triplets as these lovely girls are, I would think it was adorable to match them:
So cute right? But sometimes the matching thing, just looks a little off. Take this next photo as an example:
And then there are those clear cut moments when anyone should realize that the matching has gone a little too far:

Like I said, the matching outfit thing is tricky. So tomorrow when we head off for the boy's Christmas photo they will have the same sweaters on, but in different colors. This way they look coordinated, but not like I am trying to pawn them off as twins, or as clones of each other(although that would be tough since Z is so fair and Matt is dark) It will be interesting though since we are going to do a grandkids shot with Emma and Jack and Matt and Jack are wearing matching outfits!

So tell me readers how do you feel about matching outfits?

Monday, November 15, 2010


I love mornings these days. I think its the fact that Matt has been sleeping the night again, and that with the time change it is finally light again when I get up. I think that rising with the sun makes a difference, don't you?

I also really like that my boys are so different in the morning. Matt is a lot like Wayne, once he's up he's up and ready to go. His priorities are pretty much, eat and play. After a few good hours of getting into everything he is ready for his morning nap. Just look at all he got into and this was in a 5 minute time frame:
Meanwhile Zach likes to take his time waking up. He usually waits a good 1/2 hour to hour till he wants breakfast, and he likes to chill in front of the tv. Sometimes he takes breaks and goes off and plays with Matt, but for the first hour of the day, Zach really enjoys just lounging around. In that way he is more like me. Now I should also say that once Zach gets going, he doesn't stop till nap time, and that he is very energetic throughout the day, but I love that he is mellow in the mornings, and in the hour leading up till bedtime. Here he is vegging in front of the tv:

Our morning routine works well because it allows me to have individual playtime with both boys. As Z is enjoying his PBS, Matt and I are playing together, and then when Matt goes in for his morning nap, Zach and I can get out some of those "choking hazards" toys and play together as well. I think I will miss mornings with the boys most of all when I go back to work in February. There is something so comforting in knowing that they aren't being woken up early, rushed to eat breakfast and hustled out the door to accommodate "our" schedule. Right now mornings are great, its like Saturday morning as a kid everyday around here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We all have them. Lately I just keep spending money. I know I know its the holiday season...who isn't? Unfortunately not all of the things I am buying are on the "list" and they are all not for children or family who have been good all year long. Lately my vice has been prepping for my 1st Christmas in the new home. I have all of these big dreams and the Pottery Barn catalog is not helping one bit. I just love Christmas. I always have. Perhaps its because my parents always made the day and the weeks leading up to it so magical. Damn you Mom and Dad.

One of my favorite things to do while I was living at home was help my Mom put up the 12 foot tree and decorate it. I loved stringing the lights on and reminiscing as we hung the ornaments. I also loved driving around on Christmas Eve and looking at all of the lights on the houses, dreaming of the day I'd have my own home to decorate. At night I'd look forward to basking in the soft glow of the lights as I sat on the couch in the chilly evening. When we were little my sister and I used to warm our feet on the hearth of the fire(real then) and look up under the tree to see a million little colored lights floating above our heads like little stars. Are you seeing it yet? I have a serious Christmas decorating issue.

When I moved into my first apartment with my best friend Jenn, I spend over a thousand dollars on decorations. Yes you read that right. Our 700 sq ft apartment looked like Christmas had literally exploded inside it. I had lights everywhere, garland, glitter snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and I even wrapped all of the wall art with paper and bows. It was gaudy, but I loved it!

Since then, I've toned it down a bit, collecting a few things here and there, and working with what I've had for the past few years. I no longer go over the top in the house, because well, the kids destroy it. A tree, some stockings and some tasteful decorations I've gathered over the years sprinkle the house. This year I am fighting the urge to buy a ton of stuff to put on my mantle. You see, this is my first year having a mantle, and it is pretty exciting to envision how pretty it would be with lighted garland, and new sparkly candles, and cute sequined stockings created/purchased with love. I can envision the Christmas frames and the new stocking holders, but I am fighting it people I swear.

Instead I have dedicated my thoughts and money to the outdoor decor. Obviously since my new house is almost double the size of my last, I needed more outdoor lights. Naturally, I also just had to buy some timers and clickers to turn the things on as easily as possible, and of course I need new bows for my lights, since I've gone from two to four. See all of this is reasonable, sound, sane. Where things have gotten a little out of control is my need for new lawn decorations. I don't want to go over the top, but I have always wanted a light up sleigh with reindeer. When I say always, I mean for the last five years, as I've stared at my old neighbor's house. Well a new neighborhood, in my eyes means potential to get that sleigh without looking like a copy cat. Sure my next door neighbor might have one too, but how was I supposed to know, this is my first Christmas here! You see my point, clean slate.

So I searched and searched and I was able to find this beauty at The Home Depot:


Of course one reindeer wasn't going to be enough to pull my sleigh, so I ordered a 2nd because I NEEDED it. I have to say after putting the set together, I just hope they last through the wintry gusts and snowfall of the Northeast, because they aren't exactly made out of steel, but I love them!

Then tonight on a quick outing to get zip ties and stakes, I ended up coming home with a new lighted tree for the porch. This time I got something similar to this little stunner at Lowe's:

Of course I needed two of these as well...unfortunately, or fortunately, they were sold out, so I'll have to check back for the 2nd in a few weeks.

At this point even I have to hold a buyer's intervention. I am cutting myself off from buying anymore outdoor decor, and am even going to hold off on getting new items for my windows. Every girl has a limit and I've hit mine for this season at least. From now on I am sticking to the list of presents for others, and the house will have to wait...unless of course I find something just perfect for going on my lights, since the bows I got were a failure. See, loopholes people, loopholes.

One thing is for sure, after enduring this post. I will be sure to post some pics of the finished product for you. And Wayne if you are reading, I do swear that I won't come home with six bags again when I was going out for one...well at least not with Holiday decor in them! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1st Birthday Party Recap...

Sometimes I forget how hectic throwing a party can be. Especially when you have 40 adults and 18 children all in the same space. Sometimes I forget how to savor how special that moment is, that so many people take time out of their daily lives to celebrate the life of the baby you brought into the world. It really was a truly special day, even if I almost forgot to take pictures and video.
The party was not really a one day event, but rather a weekend of activity:

Friday- Although it was our 5th anniversary, Wayne and I spent the day gearing up for the 1st party in our new home...the 1st birthday party in honor of our baby. (Wayne did sneak in giving me a wedding bell charm for my Pandora and a beautiful pair of earrings)Wayne did a ton of cleaning, while I tidied up and baked the cake. Friday night, my sister came over and helped me put the cake together. Ok. I actually helped her. At one point in our 4-5 hour cake prep process, I really thought we were done for. That was when the dinosaur's cake head fell off. My sister, never one to panic, told me she would make one out of fondant. Of course you will Li, doesn't everyone know how to sculpt a dinosaur head in minutes? Sure enough she saved the cake! In fact even though it was a tedious process at times, I really enjoyed spending that time with my sis, without kids, apparently she enjoyed it too, since I am now hired to assist with Emma's 1st birthday cake, a princess palace! In the end we were really proud of our cake, and I absolutely loved the fondant fish that my sister sculpted! It is so nice having talented family. Here are some shots of the cake. In case you can't tell the dinosaur in on sand(ground up golden Oreo), while he is fishing by the lake:

Saturday- The morning flew by as we tried to get the house together, decorate, and take care of the kids.Here are some of the decorations:Fortunately my Mom came over early to entertain the boys, or Wayne and I might have answered the door in sweats.(Can you spy Zach in one of the next four pics?)

This little guy was dressed in his My 1st birthday onesie,
and was in pretty good spirits as long as he was being held:
He had a blast playing with Grandma on the horse that she and Papa bought him. Yes you read that right, she bought him a horse, a Radio Flyer kind, but a horse none the less.
Good thing I just got a bigger house. Otherwise "Liberty" would have to be stabled at Grandma's.

As the party progressed the kids had a blast, everyone enjoyed the food, and Matt grew increasingly overwhelmed and tired. Here are a few of the kids playing our party game:

By the time dinner was over, and it was time for cake. Matt had already been melting down for an hour. I swear the poor boy was crying between bites of his dinner, which is sooooooooooooo not like him.

He fluctuated between tears and smiles until it was cake time. He loved everyone singing to him!

By the time Matt got to eating his cake, he was fried. I hear tell that my sister in law has a happy picture of Matt eating his cake, but this is what I captured:

Needless to say, after dessert, Matt went straight to bed, and Mom got the pleasure of opening all of his fabulous and generous gifts. I love how frazzled I look in this pic...even I was intimidated by the mountain of gifts this boy got!

I would have had his brother help me, but that boy was MIA most of the party, whisked up in playing with all his cousins and friends, and couldn't be bothered to help little old me. At least my cousin captured a pic of him...just looked at the flushed cheeks from all his running.

Matt really enjoyed waking up and playing with his toys, although I think Zach still thinks they are his.

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for the festivities especially my sister in law Lisa who made perfect chocolate cupcakes which were super tasty, my mother in law Alice who spoiled Matt silly, and my parents for their help in the prep work, the new kids table that was put to use, and the over the top horse that I have been not so secretly cursing. (Although the boys love it) I also want to thank my sister for helping me pull off the cake, my husband for cleaning all the bathrooms and floors(pretty much the house), Ryan,Olivia, Grant and Alice for coming again Sunday to help us eat some of the leftovers, and everyone who attended for their time and generosity. It was a great 1st birthday party, which is good, because he doesn't get a do over! I do think though I will try to take some pics on his actual birthday of him opening his gifts from us, and putting his hands in his cake. So I guess that's a sort of mini do over. Only a few weeks and my baby is officially a toddler! WOW!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five years ago...

I had never owned a home, let alone built one from the ground up,
I had never had a puppy to call my very own,
I had never felt life move inside me, once let alone twice,
I had never slept night after night with the man I love,
I had never had my life so entertwined with another human being,
I had never seen my sons cradled in the arms of their father,
I had never known that being called "wife" was the fulfillment of my dreams

Five years ago, all I knew was that I couldn't wait to get to the end of the aisle to be with you, and today, every day, I still can't wait to share the day with you.

Happy Anniversary Wayne, I love you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween in Pictures...

Since I have a 1st birthday party coming up in a few days, a house that needs to be cleaned, a cake that needs to be made, and decorations that need to be put together, I am just going to recap Halloween 2010 in pictures. You will see Matt, the only way he was able to be photographed, in his high chair eating, the other times he was either sleeping or crying. Aside from some hilarious highlights of my Mom running through dark streets pulling two children in a wagon behind her, and Zach playing with some woman's door, and when asked what he was doing, saying "I'm sorry!" the pictures should be self explanatory. Enjoy!