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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year (Mrs.) Santa Clause Got Caught

"What are you building, Aunt Jill?"

These are not the words you want to hear as you are getting Santa presents ready for your children late on Christmas Eve.

First, a little background: We spend the night at my parent's house on Christmas Eve along with my sister, her husband and two kids. There is plenty of room at their house...4 bedrooms upstairs. Almost everyone gets their own room-Maryclaire has her own room with a crib, Asher and Maddie (both 4) share a room and Lucas (2.5) still fits in a pack and play in a room with my sister and her husband.

Asher and Maddie always give us a hard time going to bed when they spend the night together at Nana and Grandbuddy's. A parent, or two, usually has to lay down with them to get them to go to sleep. Christmas Eve was no exception. Vaughn laid down with Asher until he was sound asleep and we ***THOUGHT*** Maddie was asleep as well.

It was late already and we were eager to get Santa started to we could all go to bed. My sister and I has discussed putting this little bell on the kid's door so we would hear them if they came out. Somehow, the ball got dropped and no one actually did it.

Hmmm, Maybe Mc wasn't such a good girl this year!

So what do you do?

The next few moments are like slow motion to me. "Maddie! What are you doing???" I exclaim as I jump up and in one swoop grab her up and run out of the room.

I ran to the kitchen with her not having a clue what to do. Cy, her Dad, was in the next room putting together a toy and then all in the same moment Vaughn comes rounding the corner with Asher's bike from Santa. He's not usually very observant, but he got really wide eyed and practically ran back to the garage with the bike.

Jen and Cy showed up in a second and spent the next 30 minutes trying to calm her down. She didn't really know what was happening, but she knew something was amiss and my reaction was definitely off from my usual demeanor. I about jumped out of my skin when I saw her!

What Mc's Santa was supposed to be!

We quickly decided Maryclaire's santa gift just couldn't be. Maryclaire wouldn't know the difference this year what she got but Maddie sure would know what Mc got from Santa!

My sweet mom let us use the toys they bought for Maryclaire as her Santa. We managed to find a baby doll and some books under in the sea of wrapped presents under the tree.

As for the Mc's big Santa gift, we just stuck it in the other room with the other wrapped gifts and none of the kids even batted an eye.

Disaster averted, lesson learned. I won't say I wasn't really SAD over it because I was. Two weeks later, I'm glad I can laugh and think it's hilarious.

And I'm certain Santa will be overly cautious at at our stop next year!

Christmas 2011

I can't believe Christmas came and went already. December seems like it was just one big blur of a month sprinkled with happiness. The last thing I feel like I REALLY remember is putting up our Christmas tree...and then things took off into warp speed and didn't slow down until this week.

I've missed so much blogging I really don't even know where to start. I took the week before Christmas off from baking (you know, my little night job that I'm only supposed to do after the kids go to bed....ha....not so much these past 6 weeks!). I am so glad I did and don't have any regrets. I envisioned spending it making cutesy little crafts with the kids and assembling gingerbread houses, but alas, we simply just hung out and it was PERFECT! I enjoyed having Asher home from school so much.

I also had to do just about all my Christmas shopping. So, between my mom watching the kids for me one morning and running out after the kids went to bed, I got it done. I love wrapping presents, but this year I was in such a rush it looked like a 5 yr old wrapped most of the gifts under the tree. Oh well, no bother, and in the end, I don't think anyone cared.

I carved out time to take Asher to see "Arthur Christmas" on Friday and it was such a cute movie. I loved having a little date with him, minus little sister.

Saturday morning we had our annual Christmas brunch at our house with Vaughn's family. The morning flew by and soon we were in a mad dash to get out the door for our Christmas Eve service.

Wrangling two small, squirmy children for 1.5 hours was not exactly the religious experience one would hope for, but it is what is is! We actually left a few minutes early in an effort to NOT lose our minds and to get to our next party destination, my aunt's house.

Christmas Eve is such rush cramming in church, my aunt's house, and then getting back to my parent's house (where we spend the night) at a decent hour for the kid's bedtimes. I wouldn't change a minute of it, but it's not exactly relaxing!

We visited for a bit at my aunt's and made it to Nana and Granbud's house around 9. My kid's usually go to bed around 8 if that tells you anything. My sister and her crew had just arrived so ALL 4 kids went WILD for the next hour. It was a mad dash for baths, pj's, putting out Santa cookies, bedtime stories, etc.

Finally, the impossible happened and all the kids were in bed asleep...OR SO WE THOUGHT (more on that later!).

Out came the hidden boxes to be assembled, the toys to be carefully laid out, the stockings to be know, the fun part for us adults.

We worked like eager little elves trying to please a jolly old man until finally everything was ready to roll for the next morning. Morning came much too soon when you figure in several night waking from Maryclaire and even one from Asher. Bleary eyed, we watched as the kids enjoyed (and fought over) their gifts from Santa and we all opened gifts from one another.

My mom hosted dinner for my entire extended family so we didn't have much down time before we got busy getting ready for company. I love Christmas, but boy is ours exhausting!

We stayed one more night at my parent's house and Vaughn and I stayed up and watched Elf after everyone went to bed. It was the perfect end to an wonderfully exciting and exhausting day!

Up next, just how did Santa, or should I say Mrs. Clause, get caught? And by who? You'll want to read this one...even if it's just for the learning curve!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy 12 Months, Maryclaire!

I am almost two weeks late with this post. Shame on me! I owe my sweet, baby girl so much better. In my defense, it IS the busiest, most exhausting time of the year!

Better late than never, I guess.

Oh Maryclaire, you get more and more spunky everyday and I LOVE seeing your BIG personality come out. You absolutely amaze me these days.

At 12 months you, 1. Weigh 16.9 lbs and are 28 inches tall. That's 1% for weight and 30% for height. I think you'll be two before we turn you around in the carseat, which is great since you like looking at big brother so much!

2. You are wearing size 3 diaper and 9 and 12 month clothes. You wear a size 3 shoe.
But, you look so chunky lately, I was so surprised you don't weigh more. Your little face is getting round and chubby and you are belly first when you walk!

3. You go to bed between 7:45 and 8:15 and sleep until 6:45-7:45 the next morning. You are still waking once or twice a night...teething has been rough on you lately at night. You always want a bottle when you wake up and I am not ready to fight that battle yet, so eat you do! You take 1 or two naps a day. It depends on what we have planned for the day and how late you sleep.

4. You are eating all table foods, Your tastes change everyday. You are not consistent with what you seem to love mixed veggies lately, anything in tomato sauce and ground meats like sausage, hamburger, ground turkey,etc. 5. You are walking everywhere. You started about a week before your birthday. You still fall down a lot and you look like Frankenstein while walking, but you are doing good. I'm so proud of you. You are a determined little girl!

6. You understand so much of what we say to you. I am really impressed with your cognitive and verbal skills. You will even follow simple directions. We call you "baby" much of time and will tell you to go sit in baby's chair and you'll go sit in your little chair. You go to the bath when we tell you it's bath time. You grab at your diaper when I tell you it's time for a change. You feed the doggies their food piece by piece when we tell you to feed the puppies. You got baby dolls for Christmas and Nana taught you how to give the baby love. Cutest. thing. ever.

7. You say mommy, baby, blankie, nana, and I swear I've heard your say a lot more. Or it could just be that your babbling sounds like a lot of other words! :) You don't say bubba much anymore, but thats ok because I am trying to phase out bubba and teach you Asher. You daddy's feeling are hurt you don't say daddy yet, but I remind him I waited 18 months for Asher to say mama!

8. I can definitely tell you have an older brother! You love your baby dolls, but you also love cars and boy toys. You've even started making little sounds when you play with Asher's cars.

9. You seem to have a little stranger anxiety again. It comes out more at men and when you are tired, but sometimes it seems to have no rhyme or reason. You flipped out on this sweet little old lady while we were eating out the other night. I felt so bad for both of you!

10. We are teaching you body parts and you have learned where your belly is. We tell you to wash your belly when we're in the tub and you rub, rub, rub that big belly you are sporting these days.

11. You have definitely developed an attitude! You have been so mean to your brother at times this past month. One day, you clawed the mess out of his face and left him with a nice scratch under his eye. You get mad when we tell you no! It's so funny. I can't believe how early these sibling rifts begin!

12. You got 3 teeth this last month. Your gummy smile just got real goofy looking! You were sick through all three teeth and didn't sleep well at all. It was rough!

It seems like everyday you learn something new and it excites me so much. You are so sweet, funny, spunky, and neat! I love you so much and I can't believe how quickly how the past year has gone by!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maryclaire turns ONE!!!!

I can't believe my baby girl turned ONE! It seems like just yesterday she was making her (very quick) debut into this world on the coldest day of the year. Time has gone by too quickly, especially these past few months.

We had you the sweetest party a few days before your birthday. I decided to go with a brunch and everything was dainty, pretty, sweet, and petite just like my little girl.

My mom, sister and wonderful aunts all helped me out and brought goodies...the only thing I made was the cake, party favor cookies and roasted potato bites. I felt bad I didn't do more, but what a blessing it was.

We worked so hard getting the house ready since no one had seen it yet. We were packed in since it's so small, but it was a wonderful feeling having everyone here.

You have such an amazing family that loves you so much, sweet girl. I hope with all my heart that you are able to comprehend that at an early age.

You got some cute outfits, neat toys and a fabulous chair for your birthday! You were in a very clingy mood the whole time and wouldn't leave my arms. I joke you are my little monkey. I was hoping you would show off your walking skills for everyone, but you wouldn't have it.

You wouldn't even get in your highchair to eat your smash cake on the first try. You finally gave it a try after you made sure you weren't in the spot light anymore. Funny girl. And then you made a gigantic mess playing in all that frosting.

I love the way your cake turned out....the colors were a little off than what I had visioned in my mind, but I loved it. And I never want to put stripes on a cake again!

I wish I had more pictures, but Vaughn was in charge on the camera since I was 1. playing hostess and 2.had my arms full of a baby girl the whole time.

I'll post your 12 month post before the end of the week. You have made leaps and bounds of development the past month and I can't wait to share it.

Happy, Happy First Birthday my sweetest baby girl!

And if anyone can help me fix my header picture to be centered I would be forever thankful! Not sure why I started to mess with something that was already fine, but I did!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where in the world is Jill on the Journey?

Can you believe I'm beginning another blog with the words, "I've been so busy"?? No, Not me! ;)

Almost three weeks without a peep so you know it's been INSANE!

You know that Target holiday commercial where everyone is getting their tasks "Done." I love that one, so to follow suite, here goes what we've been up to.

1. Atlanta Christmas parade: Done
2. Getting lost on the way to parade: Done
3. Conquering weeks of sickness with the kids: Done
4. Losing my voice completely for 3 days: Done
5. Baby girl sprouts another tooth:Done
6. Baby girl learns to walk: Done
7. Throw fabulous 1st birthday party for baby girl: Done
8. Finish countless house projects for party: Done
9. Spend lots of quality time with my sister and her kids:Done
10. Asher's school Christmas party and last day school until the new year: Done
11. Make 2 awesome cakes, 72 mini cupcakes, dozens of marshmallow pops and cakes balls, and 500 decorated cookies (and I'm currently turning down orders!): DONE!!!

I could add so much more to this list, but I'll keep it short and simple. And now to play catch up on all the daily stuff that didn't get done last week, add in some unfinished Christmas shopping, and making some Christmas memories with my sweet kids.

And I hate that I don't have more pictures with this post, but our internet connection has been wacky and I can't stay connected long enough to upload more. But, when I can, watch out....I have much blogging to unload!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Family Photo Shoot

My brother took our family pictures about a month ago. It's the first shoot we've had done since Maryclaire was born. They turned out AMAZING.

My brother is ridiculously talented. BUT, he doesn't really "do" family shoots. I'm lucky enough I'm his sister and I can play the family card...on occasion!

He went to this really cool school in Atlanta called The Circus School. He now teaches at the school and is a free lance photographer. He generally only works with professional models.

I joke that I think we're pretty close...Ha!

There are so many good ones it's hard to pick a favorite!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Every year I paint this magical scene in my head about what Christmastime is going to be like in our house. Picking and decorating the perfect tree, snuggling up to Asher while we watch old school Rudolph, baking get the picture right? I mean, it's probably pretty unreal.

((((Big Sigh)))))

We ended up at a new tree farm this year...small, quaint, nice...picked a good tree in 75 degree weather. (failing in my mind #1...sweating)

I asked my hubby 5 times if he thought our tree stand was big enough. All 5 times he said yes. (Back up a year ago, we eventually had to cut TWO feet off our tree AND nail it to the ceiling with wire so it would quit falling over. There were many broken ornaments and an over-emotional pregnant lady involved).

By the time Vaughn got the tree in the stand this year (and after I sent him out to buy a bigger one after a unsteady moments with new tree!) the moment was nothing magical...more along the lines of grumpy. (Failing in my mind #2)

We kept Asher up until 10:30 decorating the tree (failing in my mind #4). I forgot to put his Christmas jammies on him (failing #5).

He had a great time, but still not the way I had played it out in my head!

We are going to the Christmas parade this Saturday in Atlanta. Magical, right? I know something will go awry...most likely it will have to do with getting there...on time...I digress.

I realize none of these things is what the season is all about. I am in constant prayer that God would help to focus on celebrating the Divine birth of Jesus Christ, and not all the "magical" moments I build up in my head.

Here's to having fun, but focusing on what CHRISTmas is all about!

And to leave you on a funny note...a couple from Asher.

Mistletoe? We have the mistleTOAD!

Candy Canes? How 'bout Candy Corns!

Mommy, "I heard my name in a Christmas song! (You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and...)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

12 Days of Thanksgiving Catch Up

I have NEVER been so busy before in my life. Seriously ever. In the past 3 days I have made 1 Harry Potter birthday cake, 12 cupcakes more than 50 cakes balls, and around 125 decorated sugar cookies.

I have been up WAY past my bedtime (still am!) and waking up at the crack of dawn to get busy again. I even had to hire a babysitter yesterday...the first time EVER someone other than family has watched the kids. Insane. I am pooped big time.

And all this cake and cookie business has a mean learning curve. I shipped 40 cookies to Ohio and lost $10 on shipping b/c of the Thursday holiday. And my profit margin is not great enough to eat $10. I seriously paid myself about .50 an hour for 15 hours . Yes, very mean learning curve.

Oh, ok, back to the 12 days of Thankgiving. I'm going to wrap it up in the post b/c I just don't see it happening tomorrow.

Day 10 - I am thankful for the seasons. I love Fall, but I am excited about welcoming the Winter weather too. As Asher and I took a walk the other day I commented on how I wished the leaves could always be so pretty. The moment I said it I thought that if they always looked so beautiful, colorful and perfect, I certainly wouldn't appreciate them the way I do now. And so is life, don't you think?

Day 11 - I am thankful for good health for my entire family. At times, I am plagued by fearful thoughts of something happening to myself, vaughn, the kids, my parents, etc. , and I am so blessed we are all healthy. Seriously Thankful.

Day 12 - I am thankful for God given perseverance and seemingly endless energy. He will supply my every need, and give me rest in him when I can no longer go. But until then, I give thanks for running the race...uphill, through the rain, past the nut house....ha! :) Really, it's only by God's giving that I make it through some days.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!