Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Winter Onederland Party!

Ok - a little bit of catching up is needed...

We did a LOT in the month of December (um - FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY?! and a 12-month doctor check-up... and a first plane ride (15th-ish for Button!) to Texas for Christmas!)

So I'll just go chronologically - we had Ms. Mack's birthday party on the 10th - with an actual birthday on the 21st (and a trip looming to Texas!) we decided to move the party up a few weeks to steer a bit clear of the holidays... (hey - maybe next year we'll have it on Halloween. LOL)

Here I was, thinking I wouldn't go as crazy for #2's 1st birthday party (remember the months of planning and crafting for Button?? Check out his birthday awesome-ness here!)

Anyways- I didn't make as much stuff for Ms. Mack's party - I totally just went the Amazon route - but I definitely went a little bit as crazy... just a hyper-speed crazy, ordering box after box - shipped in just 2 days! - from Amazon. (MAN they have everything there...)

I found an awesome marquee light at Michaels (of course) and hello - Christmas decorations were just PERFECT for a Winter Onederland party! Anytime I stepped foot into a Joann Fabrics or $1 Store, I'd load up on more stuff! plastic snowflakes to hang, candy cane boxes, mini fir trees, sparkle deer figurines, little polar bears...
and the best part is - no lingering unusable decorations - I can use all this over and over each year for Christmas time!
One of the few things I did make were - printables!
I love making signs like this in photoshop (especially when I see Etsy stores selling these digital downloads for $$$ - WHAT?!)
And it really pulls things together at the party!
The SnowBalls sign wasn't used because I forgot/didn't get around to buying powdered munchkins from Dunkin.... but if that's all that was missing/forgotten, I did a good job!!

(The Snowflake Design was your trusty-old coffee filters and child-safe plastic scissors, and of course - AmazonTreasure snowflake stamps!)

Another small-ticket "item" I made were the stickers for the hershey kisses (again - Etsy tried to sell me "Custom Digital" files for like, $8! I made them in photoshop in about 5 minutes, bought the sheet of circle stickers (OH AMAZON HOW I LOVE YOU!) for maybe $3... wam-bam. maybe I should be selling this stuff on Etsy!)
((I'm a sucker for the small touches like that... did anyone really notice those? shrugs - but even if a few grabbed them to snack on and saw the little stickers and thought, oh how cute! - ALL WORTH IT!
Also. look at the cute pictures I got for posterity!!!!))

 My BFF Dee came to the hall with me Friday night to decorate (I brought the beer!)

We blew up balloons, hung silver crepe, fluffed pink pompoms to hang, spread confetti and glitter on each table...

and before I knew it, it was almost MIDNIGHT!!

I made a mental list of things that needed to be done the next day (pick up cake, finalize dessert table, get food accessories and table set out) and we headed home...

And when I pulled up to my house, there was this massive deer just chilling on my front lawn, snacking away!

I couldn't wait to show Button the pictures the next morning!!

The day of the party, it was blustery, cold & clear...
(And I just now remembered - Button had been so sick with a cough/cold, we had considered getting a daycare teacher to come babysit, wondering if we would be those parents who brought a sick kid to a kid's party, regardless of the fact that it was his sister's first birthday party... but.
we drugged him up (calm down - just some children's muccinex) and crossed our fingers (and reminded him to COUGH INTO YOUR SLEEVE!))

Last minute (Thursday night) I got her monthly pictures printed to display (multi-purposing the X MONTHS stickers from SIL!)

fBFF made chocolate covered oreos (and pretzel rods) and "gave" it to me "as part of [Ms. Mack's] gift!"
Because charging me $15 would have been f*cking ridiculous.  ((OH OH - guess who just asked me to take pictures at her son's christening in February... should I make it "part of his gift" ?!?!?))

 The local grocery store made the cakes (and the candy cane cupcakes) and they did a great job (as always. remember Button's circus creation?)

The IL's showed up at the hall a bit early - some of them helped finish up the decorating (and some just played with Button in the corner - AHEM - MIL!)

We got Ms. Mack dressed, but she needed a nap so bad... so...

Then it was party time - things went perfect...
(Ms. Mack eventually warmed up...)

The kids dug into the "snowflake' coffee filters (and stamps), and they raced and chased each other around the hall (same hall as Button's Superhero 2nd birthday party!).
((They mostly ate all of the BYO-Snowman accoutrements... ))

Ms.Mack even had a quite successful smash-session!
(It totally helped that she was parked right in front of the heat vent, so she stayed comfortably warm in her ruffle buns!)
And I mean - she ate every piece of that cupcake! Girl knows what's good!

The party was a hit - complete with a mini-flurry of snowflakes (someone said, "oh my gosh it's snowing outside!" (not sure why they'd sound so shocked... it was December. in New Jersey... lol) and it was - perfect big fat flakes, right at dusk...)

(Everyone LOVED the hot cocoa bar, totally destroyed it! (in a good way!))
BTDubs - those mugs? I had leftover from our wedding favors (from 6 years ago!)
which were mug+saucer sets with chocolate dipped biscotti...
leftovers for the win!

Such a great day for a Winter Onederland!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

a whole lotta nuthin'... and AF..

So... I've been a bit spotty in blogging lately, and can't even quite blame busy life when I sit at a desk all day and still have the same available time to blog (time when I should be working, but need a break from the mind-numbing spreadsheets/numbers/census data I've been working on...)

I think it's just because - well - I feel like I don't have much to say lately... this was such a great outlet after we lost our first pregnancy at 11.5 weeks (omg almost FIVE YEARS AGO) and tried to keep busy while TTA...

And then it was the perfect place to come and bitch on CD1, and analyze/agonize over the TWW and crazy/imagined symptoms while TTC our Button...

And then it was somewhat lifestyle - Making Things Monday, Wardrobe-Wednesdays, Carride Chronicles... a Reading Challenge... having fun with a growing little boy...

And I quickly fell back into the swing of things as we began TFAS to bring us Ms. Mack...

But now, here we are.  A family of four that may or may not* be done with kids...
*(if you ask E, he's done - thanks his lucky stars that we were blessed with two healthy children - and wants to quit while we're ahead...... ***even though, you know - we're 2 for 3...)

but if you ask me? (which people frequently do... and what business is it of theirs?!?!)

If you ask me, I don't feel done... in the sense that I look back at pictures of Ms. Mack as a pink, twitchy mewling newborn and think, I want that again!!!
I remember what-felt-like-constant nursing (which of course, at the time could be inconvenient - OMG I just want to get through this store and get home before she needs to nurse... but now I'm like, WHIP IT OUT ANYWHERE! Girl's gotta eat!) I remember that and think, I miss that!!! ((I also miss the being off of work and being able to nurse 'round the clock... but the pumping at work? NO THANK YOU))

Anyways - I'm not convinced we're done.

So, here we are, a family of four FOR NOW... And what do I blog about?

I feel like I've just now begun to master the juggling of work, laundry, dishes, play time, personal time (what is that?!) and time with my husband - there's no time for anymore Lifestyle...
(well, yes - I'm still wearing clothes on Wednesdays... but by the time I think to take a picture, I've been in PJs for over an hour already... and the closest I get to MakingThings now is when I make dinner - and half the time it's pre-seasoned meats from the butcher that I just chuck in the oven and serve with frozen vegetables (defrosted and cooked, of course))

Anyway - I thought I'd have this neatly segued into getting my first AF and setting up an appointment for an IUD, but - I have no clue how that went originally in my head...

I got AF for the first time last Thursday (since MARCH 2015!!! (excluding the postpartum bleeding a year ago)) and realized I wasn't making birth control a high-priority to-do because I was pretty sure I wasn't ovulating (while nursing).

But over the last month, we've dropped to nursing twice a day (upon waking in the morning and before bed at night).  I kept that up through our trip to Texas at Christmastime (mostly to make sure the flights went smooth (and they did - just kept sticking a boob in her mouth! lmao) and to keep a semblance of routine while traveling...)
The first full week back to work after the holidays, we dropped our morning session (omg totally left us with a precious extra 10-15 minutes each morning!)
Somewhere along there, my hormones triggered and I must have ovulated (thank goodness we played it safe and E pulled out during NYE sex!!!!!) because last Thursday morning, as we were getting ready, I wiped after peeing and was like,  wait - wha....... is tha- HOLY SHIT!

So - now that I AM ovulating, it is high time to see about birth control - also because, for possibly the first time since getting pregnant with BUTTON, I feel like I have my "normal" sex drive back! OMG PRAISE JEEBUS FINALLY!!!

IUD consult appointment is made for next Thursday! (even though I've done a decent amount of research, and polled and read through opinions on facebook (ha!) and have pretty much settled on the Mirena...)
And the nurse said they wait until during AF to insert (yeck really?) so hopefully timing will work out perfectly, and I'll be ready to get it come next AF!

(I also dusted off old Fertility Friend to at least just chart right now for the sole purpose of knowing when to wear black pants and underwear in expectation of AF each month... lol)

Here's to worrying about period underwear again!

(have to admit - it's kind of weird/NICE to have AF back again and it just be "another thing" versus RUNNING MY LIFE for years of TTC and TTA and TTC-AL...)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I Married My father...

We had our annual hibachi Friends Holiday dinner last weekend (after a few minor changes - like the bad weather (snow & ice) that built up through the day, generating a change in venue (to something closer and not up on a mountain) and giving us a few less friends around the table (Dee was coming solo - no babysitter - and got nervous slipping and sliding in her car, so she turned around and headed back home..))

I got drunk (but not so bad that I was severely hungover Sunday morning... just slightly, that when I put down Ms. Mack for a nap at 11:30 I joined her... lol) and fell over in my chair at dinner - it was that kind of night...

but - I made a random epiphanic observation as I watched E goof off with his friends, cracking jokes and being the one to make everyone laugh:

I married my father!

And I totally say that in a good way...

I started to notice as I got into teen years and a bit older, that my dad loves social gatherings - and loves to perform and be the jester - loves to make people laugh and smile (or shake their heads and chuckle at his lewd jokes. yup. lol)

No wallflower for sure...

So as we were all hanging out / pre-gaming (zomg I used to do that at 10pm before heading to Hoboken for hours... now our pre-game is done at 5pm. HAHA) in our kitchen with friends before our annual dinner (babysitter had the kids in their playroom, so we let loose a bit...) I watched him do the same thing I've seen my dad to at numerous social gatherings - entertain.

I had always heard, "A girl marries someone just like her daddy!"

And I never realized, it's true! (More and more, I realize - as my mom treats me more and more like a peer, and complains about him not listening (yup, I married my father!) or insisting he remembered correctly when they disagree on who messed up the shopping list... (YUP I married my father!!)

But. I like that. 

A girl's first man is her daddy - and apparently, so is her last man!

 Also - the other day as I was picking him up, Button drank from a Danimals smoothie he found in the garbage at daycare...

forget marrying daddy - like father, like son?!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Year in Review...

It's 2017... an entire calendar year (and then some) has passed since a crazy little girl entered our lives...

So she technically came home to us in 2015, but still... 2016..... what a year...

And holy cow - December felt like such a hot mess... I guess it started around Thanksgiving... 
we had that holiday, and then a birthday party, a birthday brunch...
 driving around to all the parties...

and then Maddie's birthday party (oh holy pictures to come...) and then another birthday party the very next day...

and then it was prepping for a trip to Texas, getting gifts exchanged with family (inlaws) (which we didn't do until after we got back) and getting gifts for secret santas at work, and seeing the Rockettes with my bestie Dee...
 (saw the tree first in Rockefeller Center, followed by the awesome light show (see below - Macy's I think?) and dinner/drinks before the show...)

 and making MistleToes with my MommyTribe and their babies...

And having our recently-divorced friend, Mr. Potato Head - remember the PotatoHeads?! - over almost every weekend...
We had started to set our alarm clocks a little later each morning, and snoozed "just one more time" too many times...

whew - 3 work days into the new year, and we've made it out of the house not even on time but EARLY each morning.  I changed my alarm clock back to what it should be, and only snooze once or twice.  (It also helps when Button cries out early each morning.  For us to fix his blanket.  Which is just at the foot of his bed..... -_-)

Yes, the sink is still filled with dirty dishes (and - um.. maybe some crusty dip from Sunday when the in-laws were over to exchange Christmas gifts...) and there is still a load of whites in the dryer that need to be folded before I start the laundry cycle all over again tomorrow night...
But.  I made it to hot yoga last night, and I've made it to work early the past three mornings - in part because I've been picking out my clothes the night before!

2017 Goals so far?
1. Wash my coffee mug out each morning at work (I used to just rinse it... oh, every few days.... BLECH)
2. Pick out clothes (for kids AND for me!) the night before! NO MATTER WHAT!

Also - I recently saw this on another blog (thanks NSChica!) and wanted to do the same!
(Another andplusalso- as I read these questions for 2017, I wish I'd seen it for 2016! So for some of the answers, the 2015 response will be there as well in pink!)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
parented 2 children?? lol really - learned how to balance work and making dinner and loving on my kids and letting unimportant things (ahem - dishes and laundry) fall to the wayside...
I also made my first article of clothing! I made Ms. Mack a poncho! (first edition - many revisions needed, like a zipper on the front - and I'll be attempting #2 out of fleece soon!)

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
  I'm not sure I made a point to make any resolutions last year.... (goes back to read first 2016 posts...)
 (oh yea - that's why - I was a little preoccupied with weigh-ins and boobs. ha)
I will make more for this year! first being the two mentioned above - washing my cup out daily at work, and picking out clothes the night before...
I also want to get more organized - I'll be buying (maybe tonight!) shelves and cube units for the kids' playroom in the basement...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  We're not quite as close as "before" - but she's still in my "circle" of friends (her husband is in E's circle at least) - fBFF had her second baby (second boy) in July (on E's birthday!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
E's great uncle (and our former neighbor (I guess what made us close)- we lived across from him in our first apartment) died in August...

5. What countries did you visit?
The country of Texas (lmao - E always gets a kick out of all the big Texas flags there - like, "why don't they fly the AMERICAN flag?!"
but really - first year in a while we didn't travel much - stayed in the 'States in 2016!
in 2015 - we went to Cancun! Button's first visit abroad (oh his passport photo is so funny....) and Ms. Mack was only 8 weeks along!

6.  What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
  a bigger kitchen and attached open-plan dining room... (hint - we may start house-hunting soon and I've started to make my wish-list!)

7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  I have to say, there are no big individual moments - but more overall experiences... like the experiences and friends I gained during the breastfeeding journey (and oh the moments nursing a little... when I wasn't freaking the f*ck out and popping her off and on and off and on, cursing and swearing, with tears running down, that she wasn't latching right and not getting enough..... sigh)
or the decorating I did the night before for a big Wonderland First Birthday Party, getting everything just-so... (just like I'll always remember hanging those red and white "Circus Tent" swathes of fabric throughout our entire garage 3.5 years ago for a Circus Bash...)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
hm. well there's the whole feeding a human with my body (WOOOT!) that required several months of hard work... and there's the whole buying a sewing machine and teaching myself to sew (with echoes of lessons from my mom when I was a tween years ago)

9. What was your biggest failure?
  I don't quite see it as a failure but definitely a part of my life that could use change/work - and that's probably the relationship with husband - just in the We just went from us three to us four, and if you felt like you took backseat all of a sudden to our first child, you probably feel like you just got pushed back even farther on the bench of priorities sense.  Physical intimacy flew out the window so far (both during the pregnancy and in 2016 - probably due to the still-crazy hormones of nursing...) but I have to say, in the last few weeks it has already started to improve...
I also recently saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 where Tula's family is all, "You were a girlfriend before you were a mom!"
So that's good to keep in mind as we try to schedule dates (big annual friends' dinner this Saturday! time to get a sitter, get dressed/glitzed up and get our drink&dine on!)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
  I think I bought too much to sift through and label "the best"... but it wasn't a year we bought a house (2012) or a car (mine in 2014) or anything else major...

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
hm. I've seen answers say their big-sibling kids because they were such great big-siblings.. except Button almost dislocated Ms. Mack's arm once, so.....
but really,  he adapted to losing his only-child-status very well (could have something to do with sharing time with two other dogs pre-Ms. Mack!)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
towards the end of the year, E's adopted sister (19yo) scared us all when she told someone she thought of hurting herself... she was hospitalized briefly, and then came to stay with us for about a week... I honestly do not believe she's at risk of self-harm, but has now begun acting out - skipping school, left her sister at their joint-job without a ride home, got into a minor car accident when she let a boy (unlicensed!) drive her (FIL's) car...
It's debatable if she'll graduate high school, and I really really wish she would - you need a diploma to get so many places....
   (2015 was the year ex-BIL left SIL - he ruled that year for being despicable...)

14. Where did most of your money go?
   LuLaRoe.... (lmao) just my personal money... of course most of our joint money goes to our mortgage and daycare costs...

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
  My parents' visit in July - and I had most of the week off - I love having them love on my kids!

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
  happier - I'm sleeping through the night! LOL
b) thinner or fatter?
  totally thinner... less than 2 weeks PP versus 1 year PP and working out regularly =P
c) richer or poorer
  hm probably neither - probably have just about the same amount of $$ in the bank...

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
  more blogging! I used to blog at least a few times a week, and I just discovered I only blogged a few times (if that) per month in 2016... I love having the memories/stories to look back on and read, and I can obviously tell I was much busier than before - but still...

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?
  personal shopping... I definitely love to shop, and can tell I get into "shopping moods" where I buy and buy. and then can be in NotTheMood and can load a shopping card - "Window Shop" if you will - and then abandon the whole cart... but how much personal money I could have saved on stuff that I really didn't need...

19. How did you spend Christmas?
  with my family in Texas!!! (talk about an epic post coming.... but first, must post about Mack's bday party!)
2015? also with my family who came up from Texas to see little miss, but more importantly - spend it with little miss cuddled up on me...

20. Did you fall in love in 2016?
  Absolutely - with my daughter... I try to find reason behind why she's so much more tied to me than Button is (she nursed 12+ months and he only nursed 5 weeks? or I had a much longer actual maternity leave with her (we were literally together 24/7) than with him ?) but she is.  She's my little bug, my shadow who will toddle around after me when we get home from work/daycare and who only wants to see my face (and boobs lol) first thing in the morning as she stands up and peers over her crib rails...

21. What was your favorite TV program?
OH-MAI-GAWD I read Outlander and then got addicted to the show on Starz (like, binge-watched 4 hours worth at 11pm one night...)

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
  Hate is such a strong word, and no - I don't hate anyone now that I didn't last year... (some people have gotten on my nerves, that's for sure! lol)

23. What did you want and get?
   There's not much I need or want - and if it's something like going out with friends for a relaxing drink, or finally getting a haircut (after almost a year!), or even a pair of shoes I like - I usually get it for myself. so - lots. I wanted to get my hair cut before our Texas trip and I sure crammed it in...

24. What did you want and not get?
 more like what did I want to do and not get to? lol - finishing (crocheting) Ms. Mack's quilt... (need cream-colored yarn!)
ooo - I wanted Cinchers to take off and make money - but then I got booted from the BuySellTrade LLR group for selling non-LuLa. LOL whatever

25. What was your favorite film this year?
   I can't even remember what movies I've seen - it's usually months/years after they hit the theaters... I saw Girl on the Train with E at a fancy-ass dine-in theater, so it was more the ambiance AND the actual movie that made it my favorite...

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
   I turned 31 this year in August (agh) and honestly just had to go look at my personal calendar to remember what I did to celebrate lol... the night before my actual birthday was my date with E - a fancy dinner which was over by 7:30 (lmao oh my how times have changed) so we ended up going to a local Anthony's CoalFirePizza to have some drinks on their patio... I think we were headed home by 9pm... so lame...
The actual day was at my IL's for their other daughter's high school graduation party (I'm sure blended in with birthday cake and gifts...)
2015 was spent with friends at a wonderful dessert/drinks restaurant, in a fabulous backless dress - with a little half-baked-bump along for the ride...

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
  (Well, just check out my Wardrobe Wednesdays!)  but really - mostly nursing tanks and cardigans (which worked best with skirts!)
After I stopped pumping at work around October, the options opened up!!! I do a pretty casual "business casual" and loved my skinny jeans and boots and puffy vest for the fall!

and in 2015, it was the year of unbuttoned pants, stretch tanks, and maternity clothes... =P
28. What kept you sane?
  Honestly? being able to have a glass of wine at night after the kids went to bed - whether I folded laundry while drinking it or sat on my ass and read... lol

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
   no words....
ok some words... I binged on reading books 1-3 and binged on watching season 1 and first half of season 2... and then tried to give myself a break - I found that I couldn't dive into book 4 right away... and so, when I started back up with watching episodes from season 2, I think I literally said, while watching on the computer in the basement with my glass of wine, "Oh my LORD I forgot how sexy he is..."

30. What political issue stirred you the most?
   oh gosh - probably like most people answering this question, it was the political shit show election of 2015... I truly don't know what to expect for the next four years, for better or worse - but I work in healthcare and I'm sure there'll be changes...