Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Even if Angry Daryl hadn't subtly and shyly teased about the seemingly obligatory end-of-the-year reflection blog post, I wouldn't have even known where to begin. This year feels like it didn't even exist, like we're gearing up for 2011 right now. I can't believe we're in another election year, and that I will turn the big 3-0; most days I don't feel a day over 16. Like every year, this one had it's ups and downs, good moments and not-so-good moments. But the important things stayed constant: my wonderful husband, the greatest little baby in the world, fur babies that frustrate me - but that I love - to no end, family, friends, and my job. 2012 will bring what it brings and I'm just at the point where I'm like.....whatever.....

But I'm already ahead of the game, our Christmas card for next year (not that we sent one out this year):

 Figuring out the camera timer. And trying to hurry so Zoey doesn't freak out because we're not completely focused on Yo Gabba Gabba.

There we go (sort of). Thank you for the Y sweatshirts, Uncle Aaron!!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Vids to Close Out the Year

I could talk endlessly about Zoey and her awesomeness. But sometimes what I say just can't do justice. Plus, given my penchant for long-winded-ness, I figure you all could use a break too. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Merry Christmas Indeed

Christmas was busy, but it came and went so quickly, I feel like it's still the holidays. Last year was our first Christmas as a family, in our own home, so we happened to started a few traditions. We've been buying our tree for the last few years because it's just easier and less time-consuming. Plus, you never know where you can and can't cut down a tree these days, even if it is from your own backyard. We got one of the scraggly ones nobody wanted from one of the few tree establishments still in business, and I think it was our best one yet.

Saturday was a normal weekend day, only there was a lot more cheer throughout the house. I still had to do laundry and clean and the like, but since it makes the decorations look better, it's not completely thankless. I finished last-minute shopping and wrapping of gifts while we planned for our special Christmas Eve evening which included a fantastic dinner - ham, mashed red potatoes, and green bean casserole - egg nog with rum, Sangria, candy, and PRESENTS.


 Her giant bus, monster truck thing.

 YUM-MO Gerber Puffs. She didn't like them when she first started eating solid foods, but with these that Grandma and Grandpa sent her, she was eating them by the double-handfuls.

 Inspector Louis, on the job.

 Opening her Olivia doll from Grandma and Grandpa. It's a show on Nick Jr. about a very dramatic pig. Zoey calls her Ya Ya.

"It's Ya Ya!"

 Showing Olivia to Durbin. She knows he's the dog who doesn't care about stuffed animals.

 An Elmo for the bath! Life vest and everything.

 Jacob opening his awesome shirt from my mom and dad. It looks very good on him and he really likes it. It's even label-y and everything, some motorcycle thing I'll have to ask him about later.

 Zoey's adorable new ensemble from Grandma.

 Yup, Daddy's helping her adjust her purse strap.

 Ensemble complete!

 Once we showed her how to open a present, she was pretty into it. She was probably hesitant since we're constantly telling her not to rip the flaps out of her pop-up books, but I think she got the idea. Here we are opening the Corn Popper Grandma and Grandpa got her. The noise really isn't that bad, compared to a lot of her other toys. At least the popping can't get stuck in your head.

 Trying it out, she was pretty entertained.

She does vacuuming motions with it.

We opened presents after dinner so, unfortunately, it wasn't long before it was bed time. It was bath night anyway so what a perfect opportunity to play with swimming Elmo!

 Elmo has never been in her bath before so I think she was pretty thrilled about that. Oh, and she loves baths.

My parents sent Jacob and I some really cool things too. My mom sent me some very cute pants and tops and - of course - candy! She sent Jacob another shirt and his favorite candy, and both of us some house-stuff, SO much appreciated! My mom also sent me a cookbook for different kinds of cookies, so who knows what my next cookie man might be!

I managed to get the house back from the brink of Christmas explosion and not get to bed too late. We woke up at the usual time because my body absolutely refuses to let me sleep longer than 7 hours, and Zoey usually gets up at 7am. We packed up our other batch of presents and headed up to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Columbus.

 Getting started with the wrapping.

Our haul, ready to go.

By 9am, us and all of our crap were ready to go. It's amazing how it always looks like we're moving anytime we go anywhere. Once we got to Grandma and Grandpa's, everything multiplied.

Jacob, Zoey, and I got a lot of wonderful things. I got a bevy of kitchen things that I've been needing (and that will aid in my baking and general June Cleaver-ish-ness), Zoey got more toys than she knows what to do with, and Jacob's parents gave us a fake, pre-lit tree. There was always yummy, delicious food on the table and someone to talk to, something to play with, or look at. And Layne and Zoey just ran circles around each other. Coincidentally, they both refused to take naps in the afternoon.

 Playing with Layne's cars that came from his cart 'o cars.

 Playing with the new Little People Farm from her Uncle Todd, Aunt Rachael and Cousin Layne.

 Introducing "Bank" to her new farm. We discovered later that it takes batteries and makes farm noises.

But what she loved more than her toys, the wrapping, or the boxes they came in were chairs. She was obsessed with the two little-people chairs in Grandma's living room. She's got her own way to get in them that includes me having to remind her to turn around and sit on her butt. She runs towards them saying, "Chair!" just like she runs towards her sleep suit exclaiming, "Schute!!"

We had a great prime rib dinner but, unfortunately, had to leave before we were able to try Jacob's dad's homemade cranberry ribbon cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust. Good thing we took some home.

The best present ever is that I get to be home this week (I write this as Zoey "naps" in her crib; i.e. talks to everything in her room). Monday was a bank holiday but that doesn't mean everyone would have had it off - Jacob had to work no matter what. What a rude awakening after the events of the last two days.

We don't have anything planned for this weekend - New Years. Zoey is going to have a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa and I'm sure Jacob and I will be in bed by 11pm as usual. I'm glad I have this week to organize, go through things and essentially "start fresh" with the new year. Until then, nap time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

Eggnog with rum in hand, I finally feel ready for Christmas. I started shopping in October with grandiose ideas of being done by the start of December. But thanks to ordering shit online, that didn't happen; the later in November I ordered, the better chance there was of me getting an e-mail that my item was out of stock. My last batch of presents came 2 weeks after I ordered it, and only contained 2 of the 5 presents I actually ordered. We had to do supplementary shopping but, in the end, I think we did it all relatively fiscally-conscious. It sucks people even have to think about that this time of year, I just want to buy everything I see for someone. But it could be worse, we could be wondering how we'll afford Christmas dinner, so thank God we aren't in that position.

Even with thinking about Christmas 2 months early, it still sort of feels like it snuck up on us. We were too busy and/or lazy to get a Christmas tree until yesterday and it looked as it it was almost going to be a lost cause. But then we found one, and I think it's the best one we've had yet.

 Zoey scoping out the tree. She was just a few months old last Christmas so she's really ready to party this year.

 About to get started.
(Sidebar: those are ASU socks I'm wearing. :-))

 Telling me something truly awesome.

 Helping Daddy with the lights.

 Helping Daddy with the lights while eating waffle.

 Yes, I think I shall hang this one! She found my Spongebob Squarepants ornament and even though she's seen a total 30 seconds of his show, she calls him "Bobba."

 Daddy helping her place it where she wants.

 She got into it and wanted to help decorate the tree.

 She wasn't quite sure how it's done, she just sort of shoved ornaments at the tree in the general vicinity of where she wanted them.

Then she found her Elmo ornament from last year and was absorbed with that.

Our Christmas trees are still "new" in that we have yet to completely decorate them with homemade/sentimental ornaments. But we do have a few that hold special meaning:

 My mom sent this to me for Jacob and I's first Christmas in the same state. Jacob had planned to put my ring under the tree and propose on Christmas morning. He managed to wait until December 5th. We woke up to fresh snow and were chatting as we looked out the window. All of a sudden he said, "I don't want to wait," got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, then made him ask me again so I could remember it. That night turned out to be even more special, we found out a month and a half later it was when Zoey became a glimmer in the Old Man's eye.

 Along with Zoey's Elmo ornament, I got her this Cookie Monster ornament. It sounds so silly, I originally bought them because Zoey would give me huge grins when I'd hold up a new diaper, point to Elmo or Cookie and say, "It's Elmo!" And, ok, also because they're my personal faves. Now she loves them because she's a fan of Sesame Street (which, I'm sorry, watching it as much as we do, I wouldn't be heartbroken if Elmo had an unfortunate accident).

 Oh, and, Elmo also has a present labeled "Zoey" so that was the clincher.

 Jacob and I both have these apples (although I think mine is somewhere with my parents). We made them in our 3rd grade classes.

 Long after 3rd grade was ASU. Gotta represent!!

 Of course, our tree wouldn't be complete......

 Zoey got distracted so Spongebob eventually found a good home.

Even though we don't have ones made with dried pasty and spray-paint (yet!), all of our tree ornaments are special because we went out and bought them specifically for us. We bought the tree, the lights, the ribbon, and ornaments to make it specifically ours so, in that way, our trees are very sentimental.

 Our finished product. Jacob's mom gave us the angel on top a few years ago. It's a bit more see-through than our previous trees, but I think it's way better. It was easier for Jacob to put up, he didn't even need me to hold it straight. And with more room, we had more places to put ornaments. In previous years, we've had some left over because you couldn't go any deeper than the surface branches. Maybe Charlie Brown had it right so you can proudly display all of your ornaments.

Zoey and I and our handiwork. Her contribution included dancing around to Christmas music with ornaments in her hands.

We didn't want to, but we had to go shopping yesterday. Shit, I had to even today. Unfortunately, you still need to buy household items during the holiday season, and we needed a few other gifts. It was relatively painless, but still completely ridiculous. We thought it would be no problem to do Christmas shopping with Zoey. We were sort-of wrong, and wound up giving her something we might have otherwise wrapped because she saw it and wanted it and it was too big to cover with something else. And yes, ok, we're complete suckers and she has us wrapped around her little finger:

 That's Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba (if you haven't seen it on Nick Jr., or the traveling tours they do, you might catch it being made fun of on The Soup). She spotted him in the store, gave a huge smile, chanted his name and refused to let him go in the cart. Our hands were tied, what could we do? Once home, she showed him all about eating waffles.

Before we got started decorating, we put on our new Christmas pj's and had some waffle, or "fooffle."
I did have to go out shopping today, I ran out of wrapping paper. I also really wanted some egg nog (to go with the rum and Irish Creme Jacob bought me) and it was surprisingly difficult to find. I also needed more baking supplies so I can crank out some more cookie men. Wal-Mart was pretty much what you would expect but thankfully it was the only place I wound up having to go.

Now, the rum is in the nog, the ham in the oven, presents under the tree, and 24-hours of A Christmas Story in the waiting. Merry Christmas eve!!