Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve

First there was church.

And hugs at church.

And Daddy's little girl at church.
And then home for pizza and salads with the fabulous in-laws.
I'm sorry your in-laws aren't nice.  Mine are fabulous. I can't relate.
I finally remembered that it's important for mommies to be in pictures too. So I made hubs get behind the camera. He took about 20 AMAZING  pictures that were fatally underexposed. Seriously, almost all 20 pics had three people smiling into the camera. ARRRGHGHH!  So I popped up the flash. And I edited these pics better but Picasa didn't translate the edits into Blogger. wth. Grr!

In-laws left. Kids were bathed and jammied.
Cookies were chosen for Santa. 9 perfect baby carrots were counted out, one for each reindeer.
Bizarre turn of events though, Santa drank all the milk, ate most of the cookies (I mean seriously, the guy doesn't eat ALL of eVERYONE's cookies right? That'd be like 18 mil cookies in one night. He's got a magic sack, magic sleigh, magic reindeer, but magic stomach? That I doubt.) But the bizarre twist was that 3 carrots remained un-touched. So that leads me to believe that 3 reindeer told Santa "No more carrots, big guy. We need to rest our tummy tums." Or maybe the Prep and Landing elves were mad for stepping in reindeer poo again so they left behind the carrots for the three reindeer in question. Or maybe, just maybe...Santa grabbed the cookies for the elves and he ate the carrots himself, but no way does he have time for 9 carrots, 6 yes, but 9 ---no.
Oh Santa, you confound me.
Anyways, doesn't this plate look delish? Next year I hope to remember to have a bigger plate for Santa, Prep and Landing elves, and reindeer snacks.  And great-grandma G.G. told us that reindeer also need water, so when her son, Papa, was a kid they left water for the reindeer. And so in 2013 I shall research how exactly Santa would like me to leave the water. A bottle? I imagine the reindeer have a dish to drink from. And would I leave 9 water bottles? That seems excessive. So what would you say, bloggies? Apparently the reindeer will survive without getting water at every house (our house is proof of that)... but does anyone happen to know just what provisions the reindeer need?

Merry Christmas to all, and to all...good night!

Gingerbread House Party!!!

One of our favorite treats this Christmas season was inviting friends over for a Gingerbread House decorating party!  I slaved away all week perfecting my recipe and baking gingerbread (AKA hitting up Trader Joe's for their $7.99 Gingerbread House kits!).  One Saturday morning we had our friends over for pizza lunch followed by decorating our gingerbread houses. I totally adore the friends we had over. The kids get along great and each of them have the sweetest personalities. And their mommies are the best part. Despite all the stress we each have as working mommas, these girls bring the fun every time. I might be the most insecure one in my mommyhood, and every time they reassure that sometimes, being a mom is crazy hard!  Once the mimosas were flowing we each confessed that week's crazy momma moments and got down to the business of managing five kids and 3 gingerbread houses.  Crazy hard, but crazy fun!

Yes, that's my kid in a Spiderman Santa shirt.
That's also my kid using his hands to ice the ENTIRE roof of his gingerbread house.
It ended being a cool snowy effect after it got the momma touch up job. He then proceeded to stack on as much candy as that sucker could hold. Adorably messy. More is more kid! (I'll be back to add the final pic)

When houses were done the kids needed to burn off the energy from eating their candy decor, so they ran around outside and climbed the tree.  Precious little monkeys!

We tried for a group pic.... Five kids, four pictured, two out of four looking at the camera, zero smiles.

And finally, the last thing to do is wait for Santa to come!
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My Bestie's Baby Girl Shower

In October my girlfriends and I threw a shower to honor our best friend, Victoria.
After a few Pinterest-comparing sessions we came up with the pink and brown theme to match her nursery.  She had also picked out her baby's name and wanted to reveal it at the shower, so we had the awesome task of figuring out fun ways to reveal the name.

Shower must-have #1: Tissue poms in light and bright pink colors. Here's a link to a super-easy tutorial.  You can tell from my pic that I opted for the rounded petal-y ends on these poms. Um, and how presh is that blog? Read it, then come back to me. Because I love you.

One of my co-hosts, Jessica, has an uber-talented mom who made this beautiful diaper bouquet.  She stuffed the vase with rolled baby wash cloths and the pink tulle amongst the little diaper tulips makes it so soft and pretty.  At the bottom is the handmade photo album with adorable, melt your heart quotes and detailing. All the mom-to-be has to do is stick in her baby's pics and add birth details. So beautiful!  One day she'll open an Etsy shop and I'll spread the word. Until then, I don't know how she does it. It's a true talent and such beautiful gift to share!

Okay, so I've left you hanging on how we did the name reveal. We got pink deco mesh and used ribbon to shape it into a bubbly garland. That hung over the name banner that a friend made for us using her Cricut machine.  On the pink deco mesh we had each guest write a quote, advice, or memory and clip it or tie it to the mesh.  It made for a really sweet backdrop behind the chairs as Victoria opened her shower gifts.

For dessert we ordered mini cupcakes and cake balls in a variety of flavors.
We couldn't pick just one flavor, and figured for a baby girl shower the more sugary treats the better! They turned out beautifully!
And for the final detail, the name banner made from the Cricut.....
The name for the sweet baby girl, Tori Elizabeth! 
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Card Photo FAIL

In efforts to always keep it real, I thought I'd share our top Christmas Card Photo FAILS from our mini shoot last weekend.  My mom and dad were the ever-patient photogs.  Both have a love for photography, so I handed over my Canon Rebel to Mom and Dad used his own, and between 3 memory cards and over 300 snaps we were able to get some great choices for our annual Christmas card.  Howevs, there were MANY bombs.  Instead of just deleting those, I thought they deserved their own special spot on the blogiverse.

Photo Fail #1: 
Parents smiling at cameras, kids most definitely NOT.

Photo FAIL #2: 
Kids running away. Dad being patient. Mom with psycho smile at camera.

Photo Fail #3:  
Great backlighting.  Amazing effort from children to totally disregard commands to look at the camera.

Photo Fail #4: 
Both kids screaming like banshees. Devyn looks like a lunatic. I kind of love it!
It was SO HARD to find a pic of this child with her beautiful smile and looking at the camera. She is so very 16 months old. Focus = not an option! 

And so, so many more. Those were my faves. There were so many of Cade's gorgeous smile, but I settled for the card pic I chose because Devyn looks calm and sweet.... um, and my hair being the close second requirement to what pic makes the cut for the card. 

Anyways, for all you parents out there who struggled through your own family photo shoot, this post is dedicated to you!  Kudos.  I really truly love the photo cards I get in the mail, it's what makes every day of this holiday season so special. I love the pics of newlywed couples, sweet dog pics, pics of whole families, pics of just the kids. I. LOVE. PHOTO CARDS.  They all go into a special holiday album that I started last year and will be organized by year so we can see the families of our friends grow up. They are so special to me. I love my mom's photo album that she had growing up and looking back on the pics of our family's friends from the 80s and 90s.

Happy holiday! 9 more days of shopping, gotta run and get to it!
love ya,
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Perfect Park Playdate

Last weekend we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed downtown to meet our best girls, Amy and Audrey.  We had heard awesome things about Klyde Warren Park (aka the Park-They-Built-Above-Woodall-Rodgers-Fwy).   Um, total blast. Ultimate playdate mecca. I'll the pictures speak for themselves.

Immaculate grass on the kid zone. Super fun slide zone for kids, perfect perch for parents to watch the littles have fun.

Girl talk on the rock.

Devyn was in seventh heaven. Places to run, slide, hide.  Food to eat. Dogs to watch and pet. Baby girl had a v. happy day!

Can we discuss food trucks?  A few years ago you would have "food truck" and maybe a shady vehicle that parks by construction sites with pork rinds and peanuts comes to mind. Nowadays you say "food truck" and you see a line around the block of ten or so gourmet-on-the-go brightly painted, enticing trucks. Our first stop was the beer and margi truck. Nothing hits the spot on a playdate quite like an ice cold Miller Lite. We hit up a great food truck for burgers, Jack's ChowHound. This here is the Chow Chow Burger. Spicy corn relish mixed into fresh ground beef, buttery bun, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, special sauce. It was so juicy and fresh, way to go!

They served Sprite and Cheetos. So, that's all Cade needed, but he chowed down on the Chow Chow.

Cheesy finger high fives.

Devyn loved the dogs, I laid back on my blanket chatting with Amy and Devyn walked around the park saying hi (um, kissing and hugging) all the dogs.  Klyde Warren is such a friendly, laid back spot all the dog owners were so sweet and patient with the kid visitors. It was nice to be able to let the kids run without being A. overcrowded or B. afraid of creeps. Oh-kay, so there was one creep. This man was clearly some type of profesh photog with his vest and camera bag and mega-lens but when he walked by and snapped pics of the kids and us without smiling or asking first, that irked me. It's creepy. Trust me, here I am with my kids snapping away. I love photography. Love kids. But don't be doing that... Sorry, you're a dude. You're by yourself. You're taking pics of my kids without asking. It's weird.

I am SO happy that Devy girl is big enough to play with the big kids. They were amazing with her, it was so much fun to watch.

Okay, so back to the business of reviewing the park. The Dallas Morning News sponsored a mini-library of periodicals and children's books and games that people check out on the honor system. There was a volunteer/paid friendly guy checking out checkers and Candyland to some kids from a kiosk. That was cool, so much fun to encourage kids to play outside and have some good ol' fashioned fun free of charge.  There was also a guy playing some James Taylor songs on guitar. Amy and I kept saying, "This is the best park ever!!" 
Back in the kid area there were some awesome climbing structures, a splash zone, sand area, and more. So beautiful!

 The kids used their powers of persuasion to beg for frozen bananas on a stick. I desperately wanted to try the ice cream sandwich truck (um, hello red velvet cookies with chocolate chocolate chip ice cream in between!), but..... the kids. They wanted these bananas. On a stick.  For $5 we were the proud owners of the most perverse looking dessert.  Cade enjoyed 3 bites before giving up. I was either hungry or cheap or whatev, but I ended up eating the rest, much to the amusement of the beautiful group of gay men on the blanket next to us. Glad to be of service ;)   It was yummy, but I'm certain it wasn't as good as that ice cream sandwich looked.

Overall Momma Review of Kylde Warren Park:
Cost: Free
Parking: 50 cents an hour, some free spots aroudn if you're clever
Kids: Fun for all ages
Dogs: There is allegedly a dog park, we didn't see it.
Bathrooms: They are in the process of finishing up the bathrooms, in the meantime they have super luxe bathroom trailers with sinks, paper towels, etc. The Rolls Royce of portolets people! Hint: you flush with the pedal on the floor. The kids loved that part.
Alcohol: Beer and Margaritas
Mommy Tip: Bring some snacks, the food trucks are foodie friendly, not toddler friendly. Prices range from $5-$10 an entree and drink and bag of chips for one person.  They do take debit/credit cards in addition to cash. Bonus!
Mommy Tip 2: You can park at the Nasher or DMA and walk over after a museum visit.
Mommy Tip 3: Next time we are going to park in Uptown and ride the trolley down to the park. Not ideal if you're bringing a stroller and one mom/2+ kids, but doable with a friend or spouse.

He's baaaack!

Our elf, Jingle Jangle, has arrived! He came Dec. 1 and brought a breakfast of fruit and snow donuts from the North Pole. The kids were so happy! I read the book to them while they ate.... (and if you've done the math and are realizing this was all on a school day, you are correct! Momma woke them up at 5:50am so they could see the magic in the kitchen. And, we weren't late! Booyah!)

The elf let us open two of the holiday crackers. Cade got a purple crown and a silver dolphin keychain. Devyn got an orange paper crown and a flashlight keychain. Coolness. They were uber happy with surprise prezzies.

She wouldn't sport her crown, but she would rock the bedhead. Go girl!

And that face is all worth it.

Very seriously contemplating the snow donut.
Once she had a taste she was giggling and so happy. I was loving reading the book to her because she waved whenever Santa came on the page. Totes adorbs.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A perfect fall day

Flashback: October 2012
Yes, I'm really that late uploading pics from my camera.
You could say I've been having fun.
Or been crazy busy. Whatevs.

This Sunday afternoon we had the best day ever. It was chilly, so after naptime we made some soft pretzels from an Auntie Ann's kit I had bought at Walmart over the summer. It was a TON of work, but so freaking delish!  Totally worth the $10 and hour and a half it took to make.
Cade and I had a blast working out the dough and making shapes.

I had one of those moments where my desire to be picture-perfect and my desire to be a supportive mommy had a clash. We mixed ingredients, rolled the dough, and then it was time to make the pretzels into pretzel-shape. Maybe I secretely envy the skill of the mall pretzel shop people who just quickly and effortlessly loop their perfect little lines of dough to make uniform pretzels. Maybe I thought, "I can do that!" But I kind of had to restrain myself from reforming Cade's lopsided loops and mounds of dough. One even looked like a curl of toddler poop. So gross but he thought it was awesome. Maybe he missed that it was the white version of what he leaves behind during his evening constitutional? I dunno. It was sick. But I let him have it. I made minor adjustments behind his back.

Of course Cade and Daddy wanted to eat the pretty pretzels  (AKA the ones Mommy made). Again, self restraint in effort of modeling kind behavior for my children, I let them have it. I ate the poo-pretzel. It was damn good. And tasted great with beer. So, take THAT mall pretzel shop! There's my one up on ya!

The teacher in me did win in making initial pretzels for each family member. Here is Dev going after the "D" pretzel.

Daddy and Cade do NOT do pumpkin guts.
Mommy to the rescue!

I have some mad pumpkin carving skills.
Bruce Wayne was pleasanty surprised by  my bat signal-o-lantern.

Anddd.... you know you're a momma to kids under 3 if you have a glass door that looks like that.
I SWEAR it did not look that bad before the flash went off.
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