Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Time in the City

Ring a ling...here them sing!
My goodness, it has only been a week or so since I last posted, but it seems like so much has happened! Micah's first Christmas came and went so quickly! Even though he is too young to understand the difference between every day life and the holidays, Phil and I enjoyed trying to make things festive for him and our parents. We spent a wonderful Christmas Eve with our three parents at Phil's mom's new apartment (we are so lucky that she moved to be closer to us!). We hosted our family here for Christmas day and aside from my mom not feeling well and a peppercorn incident, it was great! I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

I began December with some holiday decorations. My mom made us really pretty white felt stockings last year, so I hung those with some pretty old Scandinavian looking store bought ones on our exposed chimney. I was wondering how I was going to hang them and then came to find that the felt miraculously stuck right to the chimney!
I was so excited to find out that felt stockings "hang" on their own on a chimney!
During the December days before Phil had his week off of work, Micah and Charlie and I spent our days hanging out by our tree. I kept the lights on most of the time since the season is short and it helped keep things festive at our house.
Keeping it festive night and day
For some reason, I got it in my head that our tree had to have a star to top it off. We haven't ever had a real tree before and so I went on a mission to find one (it was a short mission as it began and ended at Target!). I passed over the glittery stars and forgot that it would be fun to get one that lights up. I completely forgot about getting an angel for the tree top, which is funny since both Phil and I had angels on our tree tops growing up. Instead I found this fun recycled paper crafty looking star from Target. I'm not sure it will remain our forever tree topper, but it was fun this year.
Wish I could say I made this, but I didn't. Fun find at Target.
One of my favorite things about the holidays is all the holiday cards that come in. It is so fun to receive mail and even better when the mail contains so many loving and friendly faces! I created a fun little display on our "beverage center" side of the kitchen by stringing twine in a loop around each cabinet door and then using a combination of clothespins, clips, and paperclips to hang the cards (basically whatever I could find). Next year, I'll hopefully remember to purchase more pretty clothespins to standardize the whole operation. If you sent a card our way, thank you so much!
Loving our holiday card display in our new kitchen! Thanks everyone for all the love!
Micah continued to grow so much this month, as you read in Three Months Old. His sleep habits continue to be sporadic (some awesome sleep nights and some sleepless nights), yet he is developing a bed time around 7:30ish. My favorite things about Micah right now are the way he gives little smiles as he nods off to sleep, the way he kicks his feet like crazy all the time, his cute little laugh and talking noises, and the way he has started to grasp onto me when I hold him and rub his eyes and bury his head against me when he gets tired. Phil and I agree that being a parent is unparalleled and completely rocks!
Hanging with my boys

Brotherly love!
My parents flew in Saturday before Christmas...just in time for the 49er/Seahawks Sunday night football game. My dad received an awesome gift of 6 tickets to the game from a friend who works with the 49ers and so Phil, Dad, our cousin Julien, Phil's coworker Steve, our friend Mike, and my dad's friend Tom all got to tailgate and go to the game. Luckily their seats were under the overhang of the Clink (yes, for you non-Seattlites, the stadium formerly known as Quest Field, is now Century Link field and is referred to as the Clink) since it was dumping rain (or raining cats and dogs as my Gramma would say). The group was quiet the hodge podge of football fans, since there two neutral Broncos fans, three Seahawks fans, and two Niners fans! I'm sorry to say that the Seahawks creamed the Niners and my dad came home wiping away tears and dragging his tail in between his legs admitting that at least he was with good company and had a good tailgate. As much as I wanted to join the boys, I decided to sit it out this year and hang with my mom and Micah. We did some last minute shopping and rented a movie. The next morning we all went to brunch at Portage Bay Cafe (our favorite!) and walked downtown to see the Gingerbread houses.
If only I had better control of my new camera! Love this photo of my parents!

Luckily it's still cute with Micah's Nana and Papa blurred in the background
 We missed out on my sister-in-law's second annual Gingerbread House competition, but you have to check it out! We have extremely talented family and friends as seen on Beth's blog. Both sets of our siblings did an amazing job...a candied ice fishing lake and Squaw Valley Ski Resort recreated...people, wow!. Almost as amazing as the "Once Upon a Time" themed gingerbread displays at the Sheraton downtown Seattle (our family holiday tradition is to go see them).



When walking around downtown, we happened upon a Starbucks in a big high rise building that has a beautiful fish tank. Micah loved it! It was so fun to watch his eyes and whole head follow the colorful fish back and forth and up and down. We decided to make a trip to the Seattle Aquarium as soon as possible.
On Christmas Eve, Micah's Gramma Susan hosted all six of us for an amazingly scrumptious holiday meal.  She made the tastiest salmon with the best cream sauce (something with mint, cilantro, Greek yogurt, etc.). She made two kinds of Scandinavian meatballs...Swedish and Norwegian, both equally yummy and two kinds of Pierogis. You've heard me rave about Susan's baking before on this blog, but her cooking is just as good. Not only is she extremely talented in the kitchen, but she has the greatest knack for decorating her home. Unfortunately my photos didn't do the decorations much justice, which I plan to work on in the new year.
Nothing says I love you like little hands grasping and holding on.

My mother-in-law has the best decorations for the holidays!

more camera fun

Xmas Eve details from Susan's home. Phil bought her that cable car ornament on his first trip to visit me in SF.
Santa came Christmas morning for Nana, Papa, Mommy, Daddy, Micah, Charlie, and even for Gramma Susan! We all enjoyed a lazy morning and gathered around to open our wonderfully filled handmade stockings (isn't Micah's Nana so talented!?).
The beautiful stockings that my mom made

Cutest little aviator style hat in Micah's stocking!

Such a curious boy now!

Ha! So many possible captions for this photo!

Charlie loved his new Xmas toy...so much that it was destroyed by the evening.

Some of the gifts require full examination.

Papa says Micah "is special beyond belief and represents all that is good in life".
In the evening, we hosted our local family, which is always a ton of fun (how could it not be with two pre-teen/teenage boys around!). We made a giant beef rib roast with Au jus sauce, Ceasar salad, with a sauteed squash medley. Thank goodness for Phil and Susan. I ended up hanging out with and taking care of Micah most of the time and my mom wasn't feeling good, so Phil and Susan did the bulk of  all of the cooking. A few things I was reminded of: 1. Make sure to wash all of your dishes ahead of time to ensure that everyone has a clean water glass for dinner (I don't mind clear solo cups, but they don't exactly scream special occasion!) 2. Try to plan out your dishes ahead of time to make sure you have the right size and type of serving dishes and utensils...nothing like a good last minute scramble to remind you of that 3. Don't plan too many desserts...people will already be pretty full by that time 4. If you don't want to serve your special Christmas beer that was a gift...take it out of the fridge ahead of time 5. Pre-make all parts of the meal that you can ahead of time
Xmas Dinner. Micah hanging with the boys. Phil, Julien, Mark, Caden, Micah, and Jay

Phil helped Johanne bake her pie. Johanne loved his cheap torch

Mark laughing at the big to do about nothing torching the pie

This was so entertaining that we all had to capture it

Johanne finishes up and the lemon pie tasted scrumptious!

I made a Hot Chocolate Bar that was super tasty!

Somehow the pepper grinder broke and about half the bottle ended up in our Ceasar salad

The Indo Board kept the boys entertained all night
While we didn't get our White Christmas this year, we did have lots of love and laughter and joy shared with family. I hope that those of you that celebrate had a wonderful Christmas too.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Help Me Give a Secret Santa Gift!

As I mentioned previously, I signed myself up for a Blogger's Secret Santa exchange.  I was a bit nervous about it since I feel like I am such a rookie at all this blogging stuff like link ups and blog hops and rafflecopter give aways and exchanges. But, I thought "'Tis the Season" and "why not?" and so I signed up. Wouldn't you know what happened!? The completely random computerized match maker matched me with the freakin Host of the whole Secret Santa thing! The host! Talk about nerve wracking! Luckily I checked her amazing website, and she described a lot of great virtual gift ideas that seemed doable. I studied up on the amazing website to try to get to know her and...oops, maybe this would be a good time to introduce you. I am the Secret Santa for Sara Carbaugh over at Creating Purple Fire! Please find my gift to her below, but most importantly (and a much better gift for a blogger), visit her website here! You can find my favorite post of Sara's here and many other interesting posts of hers in the links found below! Although she is interested in many things that I've never heard of or don't care for such as Doctor Who and Star Trek and she is way more crafty than I will ever be, she seems like an amazing Mama and a super funny and interesting person who ponders similar life questions that I do (like what passion to pursue full time). I can definitely see us being friends if we lived nearby! 
 
Happy Boobmas!

Dear Sara,
Happy Boobmas and Merry Xmas! I've gathered together a playlist based on you and your website (and some of your posts) with links. It's pretty random, but I think it's fun! Enjoy!
Keep up the great blogging,
Ali

1. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix (because of Creating Purple Fire!)
2. Light My Fire by The Doors (because of Creating Purple Fire!)
3. Bad Case of Loving You by (because you like Doctor Who)
4. End of the World (because of this post)
5. Mickey Mouse Club theme (because that's what I thought of when I read this post)
6. Question by The Moody Blues (because of the life questions you are pondering)
7. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers (because you are figuring out the importance of money)
8. So Much Cooler Online by Brad Paisley (because you are a self professed nerd!)
9. Paperback Writer by The Beatles (because you enjoy writing & blogging)
10. Sugar Pie Honey Bunch by The Four Tops (because you like to bake and share fun recipes)
11. On Broadway by The Drifters (because you say you would love to be an actress)
12. Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall (because some day soon you will figure out what you want to do/be/celebrate!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Three months old!

I will probably start each monthly update this way, but I can't believe how much he's grown already!
This month Micah has:
  • Started teething (no teeth poking through but he puts his fists and our fingers in his mouth and drools a ton!)
  • Gotten really strong when lifting up his head
  • Discovered his hands and feet and studies them curiously
  • Gained more control over his hands and even starts to try to reach out and touch things
  • Developed the cutest laugh to go along with his loveable smiles
  • Gathered an array of talking sounds, but ah-goo is still most common
  • Become even more friendly with strangers who love to peek at him
  • Stared and stared at familiar faces with his big wide eyes
  • Had a handful of nights sleeping in his bassinet!
  • Started to like being swaddled again (right now the combination of swaddling, heating the bassinet with a heating pad, and turning on white noise of rain and fan help get him to sleep in it)
  • Nurses to sleep unless he's in the Ergo carrier being rocked to sleep
  • Had his first bottle from his Daddy (too bad Mommy didn't have enough milk stocked up!)
  • Clearly shown disinterest in all forms of pacifiers
  • Slept many nights for five hours at a time
  • Slept many nights for one to two hours at a time
all smiles!

this is his most common look


My little laugher

Really mom? Another photo!

What is this thing?

Proof that I'm teething!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Week in review

I started feeling like I lost my blogging steam, but then I realized that we had guests from out of town which just distracted me for a bit. To back up a week or so, Phil let me meet up with my new friend (don't you just love new friends?) for coffee on a Sunday morning and he watched Micah. I was excited to get back out there as "my old self" for a bit (three whole hours actually!), but I was also nervous since we had yet to try feeding Micah from a bottle. As my new friend Jodi and I sat chatting about school, our families, Pinterest, and more, Micah loved the bottle so much that he drank all three bags of stored milk that I had! Yea and shoot at the same time! As I think about returning to work in about a month and a half, I'm excited since I will get to work with Jodi, since I get to have my class all day instead of just two and a half hours, and since I know Micah will be in amazing hands with my mother-in-law. This may be a bit T.M.I. for you non parents out there, but what I'm nervous about is figuring out this whole pumping thing and building up a milk supply! I mean...for whatever reason it's been a bit challenging to do so far and I have all day to try. Just wait until I have to try and fit it in at fifteen minute recesses where I usually only get a minute or two after dealing with follow up conversations with my kindergarteners.

Wow...sorry for the tangent, but that is what's been on my brain a lot lately (that and the tragedy at Sandy Hill, which I just can't even think of without starting to cry and picture what I would do in the same scenario with my students. I thought about writing a post specifically about it, but I've decided against it. The whole thing hit way too close to home for me being a new mom and a Kindergarten teacher. I have all those families and the staff of that school in my thoughts and prayers and forever will).

So, last week was Micah's first Hanukkah. I feel a little bad that I didn't get him anything, but he won't remember this Hanukkah anyways and besides he is still getting 'welcome to this world' gifts! We did get to eat yummy latkes and spin the dreidel on the second night with my friend Anna and her family. They have made us feel welcome and adopted into their Hanukkah traditions which is nice as its easy to let Hanukkah kind of get left as an afterthought to our busy lives otherwise without a lot of family around town. We did light the candles each night (minus one, since I kept waiting for Micah to wake up, but he slept straight into the night!). One night we got to face time with my parents while lighting the menorah and on the second to last night we went to our new temple's Hanukkah service, which was great since I kept trying to remember all the words to the Hanukkah songs that I learned as a kid and wasn't having much luck (they had the words up on huge screens while a kids choir sung them, which was great except that I've already forgotten them again!). I am looking forward to next year when I will actually do the whole one small present a night thing for Micah. He is such a lucky kiddo to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, but then again so was I!

Fun dinner with Anna & Ryan's families...look at the cute GlassyBabies Menorah on the table

Anna looks good with a baby, doesn't she?! ;-)

Micah's first Hanukkah

This weekend Phil and I panicked a bit as our friends came into town from Idaho a whole day earlier than expected. So in between feedings, naps, and diaper changes I raced around cleaning our mess of a house as best as I could and Phil came home from work a few hours early to finish taping and mudding the new dry wall in the guest bedroom and to clean up the ginormous mess it all makes. It was a whirlwind trip for the Adams family. We got to meet their little five month old, Porter, and see their two year old, Charlotte. They were super cute, but can you believe that Charlotte weighs only about 24 pounds and Porter is already about 20?! It was definitely eye opening to see what having two kids looks like. Since having Micah, this cute and pretty calm baby, I've been pondering the idea of cranking out a couple more kids right in a row. After seeing what two kids right in a row look like, I am pretty sure that I would like to have a few years in between each kid! In other words it was great birth control for another few years!
Dry wall is up, windows are now cute out, and the taping and mudding has begun

Porter

Charlotte was very entertained by (and occasionally scared of) Charlie

We also managed to squeeze in Isaacs first birthday party! Krista did such a great job planning, decorating and hosting with a fun Brown Bear theme. The good company, the yummy popcorn, and seeing Isaac interact with all his new loot made the two screaming crying long car rides to and from their house worth it (it seems like Micah is one of the few kids who hates being in the car and screams every time instead of falling asleep!).

Isaac with the Xmas Tree lights behind him

Phil and Micah at the birthday party

Such a cute display of photos from each month in Isaac's first year

Brown Bear birthday!

Super fun decorations! I'm so going to copy this for home and school!

He's too cute...I had to throw in a few pics of him too!

Again...super cute decorations Krista!

Isaac loved this little Jack-in-the-box. Here he is playing with "Aunt Jenni"

And the proof that it was a great party by the guest of honor!

I have so much more to share about Micah's development, but since he turns three months officially in just a couple of days, I'll save it for that post.

As my Gramma would say..."I could just eat you up" toes!

Mr. Bubbles

Happy holidays everyone! I hope your shopping is done soon and that you get to be with loved ones. We have all but one gift checked off the list and we will get to spend Christmas with all three of our parents.