Thanksgiving 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving. This year we have oh so very much to be thankful for. We have been blessed with so many wonderful memories made as a family of three, and starting in mid-July, a family of four. Not every single day has been picture perfect, but if anyone who has a toddler and an infant at home tries to tell you otherwise, know that they must be joking! This year's Thanksgiving marks G's first BIG holiday, and he enjoyed every single minute of all of the extra attention he received from aunts & uncles, cousins, and grandparents. 

To prepare for the big day, we read lots and lots of The First Thanksgiving (a cute little lift-the-flap book all about pilgrims and indians)10 Fat Turkeys (C loved this one!), and Turkey Trouble (a story about turkey trying to avoid becoming the main course on Thanksgiving). When the day arrived, completely unplanned, but worth mentioning, all THREE boys in my family ended up wearing vests. Upon arrival at Grandpa & Grandma W's house, the boy's uncles were questioning if they missed a memo! Joking aside, we enjoyed watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade during the morning, eating lots of delicious food (homemade mac & cheese, dinner rolls, and Grandma S's stuffing were C's favorites, while I'm about 99% confident he didn't bother to try the turkey or ham...#pickyeater), and spending time with family.

This year, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family the weekend before Thanksgiving. C loved sitting at a table his own size with cousin J, and G had fun being passed around the house between all of his aunts, uncles, and grandparents. 

I hope you all had a wonderful day! Happy Thanksgiving!

A Weekend in La Crosse

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, we packed up my car and took an overnight trip to La Crosse, Wisconsin. T & I lived in La Crosse the first year of our marriage as T was finishing up his residency at Mayo Clinic La Crosse. Our trip was planned in part thanks to a surprise party for the residency director of his program, Dr. Thomas Grau, who is retiring this year. I'll be honest, with two little people in tow, I didn't get to partake in the big celebration at Freighthouse Restaurant or the drinks downtown afterwards at the Bodega (bummed I missed catching up with some of our old friends), but the boys and I had a good time hanging out at our amazing hotel and watching the Iowa Hawkeye football game Saturday night.

We stayed at The Charmant Hotel, which when we lived in La Crosse was a high-end furniture store. It has since been remodeled into a spectacular boutique hotel, and we had so much fun staying here. The rooms were amazing (I booked a corner room that had floor to ceiling windows overlooking the mighty Mississippi), and we had plenty of room for our two pack'n'plays, baby gear, and extra space to play. C immensely enjoyed loading and unloading the in room mini-fridge (thank goodness there were no sensors to charge us every time), and I enjoyed my late night hot chocolate from the hotel coffee shop before quarantining the boys in our room for the night while T was off partying.

After getting all of our gear dropped of in our room, we immediately headed out on a search for late afternoon dinner as a family before T headed out for the evenings events. Lucky for us, our hotel was situated immediately across from one of our very favorite restaurants in La Crosse, Four Sisters Wine & Tapas. The weekend was unseasonably warm for mid November, and we were able to sit patio-side without bundling up in extra layers. The tapas were as usual, amazing, and we discovered that there is no better place to take a toddler than a tapas restaurant. I mean...we chose the cheese journey off the menu, and when it arrived, it was immediately obvious that this restaurant would be C's dream come true. All of his favorites, cheese, crackers, dip, peanuts, bread, fruit, and pretzels. Seriously...the best. I so wish that we had a similar restaurant close to us locally! We would be regular customers for sure!

The boys had so much fun sitting outside and people watching on the patio. There happened to be a rodeo in town at the events center, and C loved watching all of the horses walking by on their way to the show.

After dinner, back in our room, the little boys and I got ready for bed, had story time, and watched the Iowa game. I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of how well our little people would sleep both being in the same room, but it worked out pretty well (or at least as well as can be expected). C was not about to miss a wink of the Iowa Hawkeye game...which of course was a night game with a 7pm kickoff (his usual bedtime), so it was almost 9:45pm when he finally called it quits after the game ended. After the boys fell asleep however, everyone was out for the night, and slept until around 7:30am the next morning.

 After getting everyone ready and going in the morning, we went downstairs to the in-house coffeeshop and restaurant for breakfast before starting the days adventure. C enjoyed reading a magazine and drinking a milk while we waited for breakfast, and was particularly amazed at watching the chefs in the open kitchen as they prepared orders at the restaurant. 

We didn't really have a particular plan in mind for the rest of the day, so we took it easy and went on a walk around downtown, stopping in some of the shops, and then a walk along the riverwalk on the Mississippi before getting packed up to head home. On our way out of town, we drove by the hospital that T has so many memories from of his years of residency, and our first place we lived together. It was only after getting home that we realized that we took a picture of the wrong condo! Our first place was in a big complex, and neither of us could remember exactly which house number we were! Oh well! They all look the same, and the boys will never know the difference! 

All in all, we had a fantastic, albeit quick visit, and decided that we need to make it back more often. Who knows? Maybe next time we will even stick around long enough to hit the trails for some biking, take our littles to the park, or even get some squeaky cheese!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The stars aligned this year, and the little people in my life found themselves dressed up in costume for Halloween. The past two years, we have forgone celebrating Halloween...or rather opted out of dressing C in costume and doing the whole trick'or'treat routine. This year, C was old enough to take notice of all of the Halloween magazines being delivered to our mailbox, Halloween books read at story time, and talk of Halloween when playing with his peers. Right away when I asked him what he would like to dress as for Halloween, he pointed to a picture in the Pottery Barn Kids magazine, and firmly stated 'punkin'. And so...the hunt began, because, of course, by the time I wrapped my head around spending money on a fancy costume that would only be worn once or twice, the obvious choice from PB Kids was sold out in the sizes I needed. Go figure! Lucky for the boys, Grandma J swooped in and was able to score a couple of pumpkin outfits last minute on an impromptu shopping trip!

Baby G thought that Halloween was a pretty silly idea, and got a kick out of being dressed like a pumpkin. His costume basically turned him into a little bowling ball, and he enjoyed being able to sit up unsupported on the couch for our little photo shoot.

This could possible be my favorite picture to show just how very excited C was to be dressed up like a pumpkin for Halloween! Since our boys are too young for most candy (or rather, I'm not crazy about the idea of C eating only chocolate for a solid week), we kept the trick'or'treating to just a couple of stops visiting both sets of grandparents. C may have had more fun helping to pass out candy to all the trick'or'treaters at Grandma & Grandpa W's than he did actually trick'or'treating himself! I have to agree, it is lots of fun to see all of the fun costumes that come knocking at the door!

After trick'or'treating with Grandma and Grandpa N, C was delighted to learn that Grandma J had brought a pumpkin to carve. Last year, C & cousin J shared pumpkin carving responsibilities at Grandma's house and had so much fun, so C was thrilled to continue the tradition continued this year. Of course...why anyone would carve a pumpkin without shades on is beyond comprehension, so we'll just chalk it up to safety. Sunglasses are a bit like safety goggles right?

G even got in on the pumpkin carving action, and after giving it a good once over decided it was all a pretty funny idea.

The finished product! C dubbed this year's pumpkin 'Jack'O'Ween', and loved lighting it up every night for a solid week as a centerpiece on our dinner table.

Happy Halloween!

Graham: Four Month Update

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Four months have flown by, and our hearts are so full of love for this little fella that it's amazing they haven't burst!

Age: 4 months
Height: 26 inches
Weight: 14 lbs
Diaper size: 2
Clothing: 3-6 months or 6 months

Grabbing for toys on playmat
Rolling over (front to back)
Tummy time
Sitting up in seat
Standing up on moms lap
Trying to take steps while being supported
Learned how to maneuver his hands to chew on his fist...has found his thumb a couple of times, and is so pleased with himself, so we may have another thumb sucker on our hands!

G's schedule this month looks much the same as at three months. Our day typically starts about 7:30-7:45a.m., is relatively chaotic following big brother C's schedule throughout the day, and comes to a close around 7:45-8:30p.m. when G goes to sleep for the night. There is still no rhyme or reason to G's nap schedule, and he goes in spurts of staying awake all day one day, then sleeping most of the next. He usually catches some shut eye whenever we are in the car, but still continues to ride the struggle bus when it comes to napping in the Pack'N'Play at any sort of set intervals throughout the day. In general, G naps in the morning for a couple of hours around 9:30a.m. (if he's fallen asleep in his car seat after running errands), and usually takes another nap in the afternoon while C is napping if I am holding him. Ooooooor, G & Mom just get some quality one-on-one time to play. I'm hoping to get the nap schedule a little more on track in the next month!

G has been loving his playmat this month, and has such a fun time grabbing for the various hanging toys and studying the different shapes and textures. He has also figured out how to put things in his mouth, and is all about the Manhattan Toy Winkel. It is the perfect size for this age, and G loves to chew on the various colored tubes. At the very end of this month...around 3.75 months old, I started putting him in the Jumparoo, and he has been loving it!

G doesn't yet have a favorite book he enjoys, but we have stumbled into the routine of laying out blankets on the floor in C's room after he wakes up from his afternoon nap for storytime. C picks the books, and G enjoys listening. G has also enjoyed tagging along with big brother C to storytime at the library a few times this month. I just learned about a baby storytime held at another local library on Monday evenings, and am hoping to take G on a mommy & me date some night soon.

G continues to nurse for most of his nutrition. Occasionally, we have given him the odd bottle of formula when we are on the go, or I am unavailable. He's never had more than an ounce or two of formula at a time, and we view it more as a 'snack' than a true meal, giving him just enough to hold him over until I am available to nurse him. I'd say on average, he gets 2, maybe 3 bottles max throughout the week, so nothing too significant. Usually, G gets a bottle when we are on the go...think storytime at the library, church, or occasionally while I am trying to cook dinner. C never took a bottle, so we introduced it relatively early with G to make sure we would have the opportunity to leave the house for the occasional date night...have we done this recently? No. Can a girl dream? Yes.

Watching TV (college football and the World Series are favorites...A.K.A the only time our boys get to watch TV)
Playing on the playmat

Having to wait for a meal
Being put down - he much prefers to be held, and doesn't want to miss out on anything


The boys got to dress up for Halloween this month, and they were just the cutest little pumpkins in the patch. C had never dressed up for Halloween, and he requested to be a 'punkin', so we were so happy when Grandma J happened upon the perfect matching pumpkin outfits while on a recent shopping trip. G didn't seem to mind being a pumpkin, and it was too cute setting him on the couch to sit up. The shape of the pumpkin supported him enough to sit up briefly by himself before tipping over.

We took an overnight trip to our old stomping grounds in La Crosse, WI where T & I lived our first year of marriage. It was fun to visit some of our favorite spots, and show the boys where we used to live. We stayed at Hotel Charmant, and I can't say enough good things about it. We had a HUGE corner room overlooking the Mississippi River with floor to ceiling windows, and had more than enough room for all of our gear AND two Pack'N'Plays. The hotel even set us up with a baby soap travel kit in our room. So thoughtful! We were lucky to catch an unseasonably warm November weekend to visit, and enjoyed dining on tapas on an outdoor patio of one of our favorite restaurants, Four Sisters, that just so happened to be directly across the street from our hotel. The boys had a great time, and after watching the Iowa football game back in the hotel, finally settled down for the night about 9:45, sleeping through until morning.

We watched lots and lots of college football this month, and as you can tell, G was just about as much of a fan of the losses as all of the big boys in the family! Put me in coach!

Both boys enjoyed exercising their right to join their mom while voting for the next president of the United States of America. We read lots of This Little President: A Presidential Primer over the last month to get prepared for the election. C was in a bit of a daze, and ate through an entire snack bag of Ritz Bitz while mom voted, and Graham enjoyed watching the chaos that is election day. I'd say it was a success!

Little G has been trying his hardest to laugh this month, and has been known on occasion to get a mini-belly laugh going. It is just about the cutest thing ever, and we are looking forward to many many more laughs in the near future!
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