Mini “Gingerbread” houses

With all the sickness and warm weather, it hasn’t seemed much like Christmas around here.

So here is my latest attempt to get into the holiday mood: cookie cottages. And I think my first attempt came out pretty cute!

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I basically followed Martha’s directions, including making her royal icing, and I think that was helpful with construction. And it wasn’t too hard to make.

There are other blank ones in the background, going to try to have JJ and one of his good buddies decorate them tomorrow.

After doing one, it is kind of difficult! Certain requires more coordination and patience than a 2 year old might have. So I suspect there maybe more candy consumption rather than cottage decoration, but that’s ok. I think it will be fun and cute! And I have back-up gingerbread men to decorate.

Invaded

This past week has been the hardest in recent memory. Jack got sick over the weekend and a trip to the doctor on Monday morning confirmed he had RSV. Blah.

I had to go to 4 drugstores to purchase nebulizer, and poor J started breathing treatments that night.

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Boom is such a good dad – once I told him J has to wear a mask and do breathing treatments, he realized how to make it “fun” (or at least tolerable) to J – it is his “Darth Vadar” mask! (Why, you might ask, does a 2 year old know about Darth Vadar? He really only has seen a pic in an old book that used to be Booms.)

I was impresses with Boom’s thought to make the treatments kinda fun, instead of just muscling through, like I figured we’d have to.

The poor DD got the RSV – the doctor did tell me to keep he boys apart, on different rooms. That is just super easy to do, with 2 babies. Here he is on the way home from the doctors… So tired!

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Wednesday and yesterday were super hard – I was thrown up on more times than I can remember and I was in tears at least once. I do think the worst is past us, thank goodness. Boom was seriously concerned for my mental health. As he always says, it is a short ride to crazy town for me.

I just want everyone to feel better and be my normal good boys!

JJ’s 2nd Birthday Bash!

Dearest JJ -

I can’t believe you are two!!! Your 2nd birthday was last month and we had a big fire engine themed bash for you, since you love fire trucks!  Lucky for us there is a fire station literally a couple blocks from our house that we pass on a nearly daily basis – so fun for you to see the fire engines, fire chief’s car, and ambulances!

You are a great boy!  Even in your trying twos (which you have been in for a bit now), you really aren’t as trying as you could be.  More importantly, you are funny!  and you know it.  You’ve started saying “that’s funny” and “Jack’s funny”, which is hilarious to me!

The prep for this party kind of reminded me of when I was getting married – I was barely sleeping, barely eating, just working on all the projects I had in mind for the party.  Didn’t help that we were out of town for 10 days right before the party.  I didn’t get everything I wanted done, but I was really happy with how it all turned out!

The 3D fire engine cake was AH-mazing!  The baker is a real artist!  Just building and decorating the cake took forever – after all the cake was baked, she started working on it at 12noon on the day before the party, worked straight until 5am of the day of the party, napped for 3 hours, then worked on it from 8am until 2pm, just in time to deliver it to us.  It really was awesome and just perfect!

The firefighters were so great – they came to the house with siren wailing and lights on! (I think they kind of were laughing at me when we went to the fire station that morning and I handed them my typed letter, full of reminder – lights / siren being one of them)

You loves trying out the drivers’ seat!  What an awesome and unique experience!

Luckily for us, the West U FD doesn’t get too much action, so the engines are quite literally sparkling clean.  They probably wash the engines 2-3 times a week.

I even asked if one of the firemen could be dressed in the full regalia (when I asked, I was all “make one of the newbies dress up” and the fireman I was talking to got a kick out of that).  At least it wasn’t too too hot that day.

Look at all these people who love you!  All told, there were 75 people (adults + kids +babies) at your second birthday party.  I am beginning to think that your nana is right that you won’t really know what a “normal” birthday party is like.

Since I knew we’d have to be in the front yard, I transformed the garage into the main sheltered area of the party.  I wish I had counted how many balloons we used to decorate – it was a large number!  PoPo blew up all the non-helium balloon!

We also got a bounce house – here you and Mustang (dressed in his Cookie Monster Halloween costume) are enjoying being the first ones in!  This bounce house was a point of debate between Dada and me – I am so glad that we got it – you loved it, as did all the other kids!

DD was ready to party!  The photo booth was one thing that didn’t quite work with this set up – mainly since we were unsure if it was going to rain or not, so kept bringing things into the house then back out.  Luckily the rain didn’t come.

I had a dessert table (in addition to the cake) with fun “pops” – Smokin’ S’mores (giant marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham crackers) and Fire Axe Pops (double stuffed blonde Oreos dipped in red candy coating) – I think anything on a pop is just so fun (also had Petite Four Alarms – thanks, Boom, for the cute name help!).  Looks to me by your double fisting that you approved!  (Hmm, I wonder who gave you both of those at the same time!)

Many thanks to Auntie Yarbs for taking all the photos!  and for tying labels onto the fire dog favors that the firemen handed out, among many other things.  It is so great to have a sister in town that I can ask to bring dinner over and then work until 10pm the night before the party!

and many thanks to PoPo for coming in the week before the party so that I could do as much as I could get done in trying to fulfill my crazy vision for your second birthday party. PoPo loves you and DD so much!

and of course, many, many, MANY thanks to Dada who didn’t think it was odd for me to have sleepless nights over the minute details of the party.  Dada lives with my craziness day in and day out and is nice enough to not point it out all that often.

So, JJ, I hope you had a good time at your party.  I think you kinda realized all the hoopla was about you – you certainly loved having everyone sing “happy happy” to you!  I know this sort of a 2nd birthday party probably seems a bit ridiculous to most, but the day you were born was the best day of my life (as was the day DD was born) – so I think it is only fitting to really celebrate (and I mean REALLY CELEBRATE!!!) your birthday.

As my first born, you will always have a special place in my heart.  You are no longer a baby, and that makes me sad, but you are so much fun these days!  Even when you are being contrary, you usually make me laugh.  I do wish you’d let me give you a thousand kisses all at the same time without pulling away, but I guess I can see how that might be slightly annoying.  It’s fun being able to have a conversation with you – and that you remember so much. I love being your mama so much.  I love you, my sweet pea!  (but know that next year I really am going to tone it down for your birthday)

Love,

Mama

8

Dear DD -

So month 8 – you are still smiley as ever!  and getting quite big – you are wearing full on 12- month clothes.  Clothes that I remember your brother wearing when he was walking!  and your feet and hands are quite large – I think you are going to be a tall one, lucky boy!

Your sitting got to be very sturdy – I could plop you down and you could sit no problem.  But you started not liking to have me / Dada / PoPo / Auntie out of your sight.  So whereas I used to be able to sit you down to grab the dry laundry to bring out to fold, around this time you started to not like not being able to see me.  I know that is totally normal, but JJ never really was like that, so it is just taking some getting used to.

It was your first Halloween, and you were Pooh’s hunny pot!  One of the ladies in my old bootcamp told me how she had dressed up her 2 kids as Pooh and the hunny pot, and I knew I had to do that for you guys!  I think I always want you guys to be some sort of duo (as long as you are agreeable to it).  I can’t wait for Batman and Robin!

We took a trip up to the Northeast to see Dada’s family.  Loved getting you out on the windy beach for some photos!  We found out on this trip that you are a champ when it comes to car rides.  We drove for 3+ hours from Nana and Grampy’s house to Little E’s and you literally didn’t make one peep!  It was amazing.  At one point, I asked Nana to take a look at you to make sure you were OK, you had been so quite!

You loved meeting your new cousin Hank!  You were always trying to scoot to where he was on the floor.  He was only a month old – and teeny!

We also found out on this trip that you are not a huge fan of plane flights.  You did alright on the 3.5 hour flight up, but the 4.5 hour flight home you were not please. At all.  You basically screamed for 3.5 hours – and there were no other babies so we couldn’t blame it on anyone else.  I think after the 2 hour drive to the airport, you were basically done.  Then the flight was an eternity and a half – I really didn’t think I was going to make it.  It literally was one of the worst experiences of my life.  You are just at the worst age to fly  -  you just wanted to be down and scooting around, not being help for hours on end.  Once we got you in your car seat in our car, you were out like a light.  But we all survived and it was worth it for everyone to get to see you and your brother.

Basically you started crawling after we got back from our trip.  You want to crawl to where ever JJ is, and play with whatever he is playing with.  Ah, such a little brother!  I think JJ is still getting used to you being so mobile.

You really are a joy to be around.  Such a happy boy – I often times call you Mister Smiley, because you are!  Everything is good – you are eating well, napping / sleeping well, getting around well, very curious about everything!  You are a fearless explorer (much like his mama, I like to think :-)  I think you are liking being read to a little more – you just don’t like to be still for anything!

I love you, my little butterball.  Your cheeks and thighs and fat little feet are just too adorable!  Your little belly sticks out and it is just the cutest.  You are just perfect, in my book!

Love,

Mama

7

Dearest DD -

Sorry, sorry for the delayed letter(s).  This fall, life has been just whirling by.  I am really excited to get caught up soon!

Month 7 was a lot of fun – you are a lot of fun!  You are so chill and good – if you are not too tired or hungry or being held , you usually won’t make a peep!

You like swinging – the weather was still hot in October, so we were able to get some park time in.  When you get in the swing at first, you are a little scared, but once you realize it is fun, you are just fine.  Sometimes I put you and JJ back to back, so riding tandem in the swing.  It is really cute!

You love your belly and loved the skydiver move – on belly, with hands and legs off ground – everyone commented on your strong core!  Here you are trying on a fire helmet, getting ready for JJ’s 2nd birthday!

You were so ready to crawl!  We call you our little bulldog when you are on all fours.  When you hit this point, we knew it was only a matter of weeks before you started crawling!

You have endured so many photo shoots in these 7 months.  Check out this one from your 6 month shoot.  I really love this photo of your maternal side of the family.  Everyone loves you and your brother so so much!  So amazing that we are in Texas so that you and your brother can see PoPo, GongGong, and Auntie a lot!  (Thanks, Boom)

You are loving playgroup – and so am I!  I love that you have your own set of friends, and not just JJ’s friends.  And I really like all the ladies we have in playgroup – everyone lives all over the city (generally inside the loop, or close to the loop), so it is kinda fun to explore – especially since we meet during the day so traffic isn’t bad.

You love your brother most of all.  It really is adorable how much you love watching him and being near him.  Pretty soon you guys will be able to actually play together!

Thank you for always having a smile for me.  I love being your mama so much – you made having 2 babies under the age of 2 as easy as possible (even though 2 kids is a game changer – not double as hard, try exponentially as difficult!).  Dada thinks we are twinks – I am honored to be put in a category with someone as cute as you!

Love,

Mama

Happy Half Birthday, DD!

Dearest DD -

I can’t believe you are six months already!  Time does seem to fly (sometimes, others, it just crawls by).  This month was really fun – you are doing a lot more and definitely more aware and your little personality is coming out!

You are a big baby – 100%tile for height (29 inches), 90%tile for weight (20 lbs) and head size (18 inches).  That is good – you are growing to your fullest genetic potential!  and you are just thriving – a healthy, happy baby is all I ever wanted, and you certainly are both.

It was a big month of firsts for you, as well…

First playgroup meeting.  You are all, I am going to rule the playgroup roost!  Hahaha!  You are not the oldest one, but you were the oldest one at this first meeting.  I think you will likely be the biggest baby :-) for a while.

You also started “school” this month.  So far you have gone 2 times and came home with 2 different pieces of “art” that you did.  I love it!  There are 3 babies on the day that you go, with 2 teachers – I am sure you all get so much loving.  Both times, on your daily report, they have put down for your “General Mood” as SUPER happy!  Yay!

We have been working on sitting up a little bit, and you can do it for a few seconds, but then you usually flop over.

You love love LOVE being on your belly!  And in the full Superman pose – head and knees / feet off the ground, arms back with hand in a very aerodynamic position.  Dad tried this pose with you, and after about 1 minute he was exhausted, but not you – can do this all day long.  Such a strong boy! (We tried to get JJ into this pic, but he was very suspect and stayed away)

JJ loves having you around.  When you are not, he is always asking about “baby”.  and you love having him around – one morning J was not feeling so well, so he came in with me to put you down for your nap, and I didn’t think it would really happen, but it did.  You did not mind at all having him there!

Auntie Yarbs also loves being around you.  She is so helpful – on Thursdays her schedule is such that I don’t have to bring you to drop off or pick up for JJ’s school.  It is quite fabulous!  She loves your kisses and to snug snug with you.

And you love your Dada so much!  You always have a huge smile whenever you see him.  You love to slime him, that is for sure.  and he doesn’t mind at all (now that is love for ya!).

DD, Dada and I love you and your brother so much!  We are so excited for you two to be the best of friends!  Thank you for being such a sweet, sweet baby.  Love you guys more than anything in the whole world!

Love,

Mama

Hello!

Wow, so I knew it had been a while since my last post, but I didn’t realize that a full month had gone by!  As I tell Boom (when he complains that the blog content is getting “stale”), I am too busy living life to have time to blog about it!  I do need to get better.  I will get DD’s sixth month photo and do a proper monthly letter, but until then….

Yesterday after our walk, the two boys had quite a moment.  DD was on his belly and JJ took it upon himself to entertain and make DD laugh! It was really too too adorable!

I like to think that this is just a flash into how great it will be once DD is a little more interactive – I know JJ is ready for DD to be able to play!  As you can see from DD’s huge smile, he loves his big brother a lot.

Days are still long and tough sometimes, but every week things get a little easier.  I think right now is a little bit of a tough time as JJ is really entering the trying twos and asserting his independence and DD really can’t do too much yet (working on sitting up), but wants to.  We are all surviving (and the boys are hopefully thriving) – sometimes I look around and can’t believe so much time has gone by.