Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decorating the Tree

I love how a lit up Christmas tree and some Christmas songs can brighten anyone's mood... Today I planned for us to put up the tree and decorate it this afternoon/evening after nap time. I had intended to put up the tree during naps and then let Jillian decorate it afterward. Well, I slept during nap time. So after nap, I dressed Jessie in her "Christmas tree decorating outfit" and got Jillian up. Jillian didn't want to wear her matching "decorating" outfit. I put her in it anyway. Sometimes, Mommy veto power rocks. Anyhow, I left her upstairs crying about it and came downstairs to assemble the tree. Jessica decided to spend some time shrieking in her swing. What a great start to our decorating...Jilly crying upstairs and Jessie crying downstairs. Awesome. I wasn't deterred, however, and put in a Christmas song CD, turned it up, and put the tree up. Jessica was instantly mesmerized by the lights...one crier silenced. As I was getting the nativity out, Jillian came downstairs. She loves playing with the nativity. She saw the tree. And bingo, crier #2 was happy again. And thus began today's decorating experience. *sigh*






And after we were done, I tried some self-timed portaits of me with the girls. The flash did some serious flashing. I don't know that I love any of them...though there are things about each one I like. Which is your favorite?
Attempt #1

Attempt #2

Attempt #3

Attempt #4

Attempt #5

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shopping

I do believe that Christmas is my favorite holiday. Normally, I despise shopping, but for some reason, shopping for Christmas presents is really fun for me. I have found that this season can leave me a bit overwhelmed, so I've made a big effort for several years now to not have to go to the mall (or any major shopping venue) after Thanksgiving. Because I dislike crowds. Greatly.

Shopping for gifts has been easier for me since we cut back and only give gifts to our parents, our kids, and each other. And we aren't worrying about gifts for each other this year; we're probably going to pool what money we would have spent and splurge on a new tv. After picking up knitting again this year, I decided everyone would get scarves. Well, I didn't make them for everyone, but the ladies of our family will be getting handmade scarves. I picked gifts for the men of the family, and ordered one online before Thanksgiving. We've got Josh's main gifts and already too much stuff for Jillian (some of it will get put in her 'birthday' pile for January). And just like that, I feel like I'll be able to relax and enjoy the season a bit more!

So I'm curious...are you done your shopping? Have you started? Am I a total weirdo for hating to shop after Thanksgiving? Take the poll on the left hand side and weigh in!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Baby!

Jessie spends a lot of time fussing. And not being the only child (like Jillian was when she was born), she doesn't get very much one on one play time. Thank goodness Jillian loves going to her Bubbie & Paw-Paw's house for the weekend, so that Jessie and I have some time to just play and laugh together. And I get to see adorable faces like these!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving

Every year around this time, I think about what I'm thankful for. And I usually come up with the standard: God, family, friends, etc. But this year, I don't have to think very hard. At the end of last year, we were very excited to ring in 2010. 2009 was not the best year ever for us, and we were ready to kiss it goodbye, with hopes that 2010 would be a much better year.

Well...2010 has not been a stellar year (aside from welcoming a new addition to the family). John's business continued to struggle, financially we have been barely making ends meet, providing our own health insurance has been a debacle again, etc, etc, etc. You wonder what I'm thankful for then?

I'm thankful for the amazing amount of support we've gotten from our friends, family, and church. I've never been one to ask for or accept help easily, but when I started having problems with the pregnancy earlier in the year, I kind of had to get over it. Folks from our church, my family, my moms group friends, and my other friends all pitched in to help when I couldn't be up and around. After baby Jessica arrived, we saw an amazing outpouring of help from our church with meals coming three times each week for six weeks! When I've needed a break from the girls, our family has stepped up and watched the girls or taken them for a night or two. With John working two jobs and gone a lot of the time, people are lending a hand to help me out with the kids.

I couldn't have made it through this tough year without the help we've gotten from all angles and I don't have to look far to see all the things and people that I'm grateful for this year. So to all of you out there reading this who have helped us out this year, be it by keeping us in your thoughts and prayers, by bringing food, by visiting, by babysitting, by lending an ear when I've needed to vent, or however you've helped out, I'd like to say THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mild November

So far, it's been a pretty warm November. Temps were in the 60's again today, so we ventured over to the airport park. We walked, Jilly in the stroller, Jessie in a carrier, for a little over a mile and did some exploring.





This is Jillian's "loud" face as an airplane flew overhead.


And finally, Jillian got to play on the playground.

My Cloth Diapering Adventure

Several weeks ago, Jessica developed a nasty diaper rash. And by nasty, I mean REALLY nasty. Her skin was bright red, hot to the touch, inflamed, etc. And no creams did anything to help it heal. For a while I washed her butt with baby soap and water after every poop, and that helped it stop getting worse, but it was no closer to getting better, either. My next thought was that I'd have to cloth diaper. Followed by this thought: "UGH".

Now, cloth diapers have come a long way from when I was a baby. But still, I've never had any desire to cloth diaper. You see, I don't like poop. Especially having to touch poop. And the idea of cloth diapering doesn't mesh well with my dislike of poop. Thankfully, my friend Emily had used cloth diapers and happened to have a handful of them not in use by her baby Henry. She offered to let me borrow them, and you know what? It wasn't that bad! After about three days, Jessica's diaper rash had completely healed.

After her rash healed, I started playing with the balance of disposables on the go and overnight and cloth diapers at home. Because who wants to rinse poop out of a cloth diaper at 2am? Certainly not me....

My other friend Jill had a couple of a different brand cloth diaper that she had received as a gift and never used. And was not going to use. So she offered them to me. I've found that each brand has features that I like, but I've got to tell you something. These FuzziBunz are super soft! They feel like fleece against Jessica's skin. The downside? The inserts are VERY bulky. But (now I hope I don't jinx it here) I think she is really warm and cozy in them. The past three nights I have put her in the FuzziBunz for the beginning of the night. And she has slept no less than 7.5 hours in them!!! It could be a total coincidence, but seriously? Waking for the first time with the baby at 4am is fan-tastic!

Here are pictures from today of Jessie in her cloth diapers - both kinds. So you can see what I mean by bulky!

Picture #1: Emily's Bum Genius diaper
Picture #2: Jill's FuzziBunz diaper


Needless to say, this has been an adventure I had not anticipated, and little by little, I think I am actually preferring the cloth diapers. Who knew?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

We only do family pictures once a year, Christmas time. Mostly for our Christmas cards. This year we scheduled our pics for a weekend when Josh was with us. The pics of the kids turned out great! Target (though crowded) did a great job with the photos again. I LOVE LOVE LOVE our family picture, but since it's the feature of our Christmas cards, I won't share it yet.


I've knitted two gifts already, have two more in progress, and have bought gifts for most everyone else on the list. One more "main" gift to buy, and I think John and I may not exchange gifts and splurge on a new television instead. I can't stand going to stores after Thanksgiving, so I try to get the shopping done before then. Looks like we're on track to do just that!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unique

Jillian is a unique little girl. I let her "paint" using her do-a-dot markers today. Here she is sporting her princess big-girl panties and new Skechers Twinkle Toes boots while painting.

And here she is with one of her defiant looks. Yes, she has several. I believe this is the look I got when I told her not to take the cap off another marker while she had one already open. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What? Santa? Already?

Yep. Who knew? I sure didn't.

Tuesday I dropped Jillian off at school at called Sears Automotive. See, I've been driving around on a half-dry rotted tire for a while now, and it's been stressing me out a bit. I've had to put air in it 2-3 times each week and it just looked scary bad. I got a quote from Sams Club last week to replace two tires, but they don't have my tires (aka, anything that fits my car) in stock. So I'd have to order them on the website. Grrr. I thought I'd give Sears a try. At least I could walk around the mall with Jessica while they were doing my tires. Sears said that yes, they could replace my two tires in an hour that morning, and off we went.

As we walked around the mall, I saw something startling. Lo and behold, Santa's village was all set up. Already. Complete with Santa himself. Seriously. "It's not even Thanksgiving", I thought, a bit peeved with it. For goodness sake...Christmas is six friggin' weeks away! And then I saw something that is every mom's dream (or at least a dream of moms who plan to take their unruly toddlers to see Santa)...NO LINES. Not one person in line.

I quickly went downstairs to see what the deal was. Apparently no one expects Santa to be there before Thanksgiving. They're even running a special promotion where you get a $10 mall gift card if you spend more than $30 on Santa pictures before November 30th, as long as it's Mon-Thur.

What did I do, you wonder? I waited for my car to be done. Then I picked up Jillian at school, took both girls home, fed Jessica, dressed both of them in their Santa/Christmas Eve service dresses, and shuttled them off to the mall. We got to Santa's village promptly at 1:15pm, just as Santa was finishing his lunch break feeding his reindeer.

Jillian got to write a letter to Santa (draw him a picture), mail it, try the naughty-or-nice meter (which was clearly malfunctioning because it said NICE), and both girls sat on Santa's lap. Not rushed. It was fabulous. Here are some of the pictures we got of the girls.




You may notice that Jillian has a weird smile on her face. She promptly told Santa what she wants for Christmas upon approaching him - Toy Story (3, the movie). I think she expected him to hand it to her right then and there. We'll have to work on explaining THAT a bit better next year....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Energy Burner

Jillian was quite a mess yesterday. Full of cranky toddler energy and tantrums. Ugh. So I thought it might be a good idea to go to the park today, in an attempt to purge some of that energy.

It was overcast, but relatively warm (in the 50's), and there were few people around. Just the way I like it!

We saw some birds...

This guy was pecking his way into a big tree trunk. A hairy woodpecker?

And this blue jay was not especially well camouflaged...

We checked out some nature...



Jillian did some climbing...

And the best part? We saw a train! It was stopped (parked?), so we saw it at the beginning of our walk and at the end of the walk.

But most of all, we enjoyed the fall air and a little peace and quiet.

As usual, Jessica is absent from my pictures since I was wearing her, in the Ergo for the first time today. So here she is all happy and fed after we got home.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Clemyjontri Park

Today we took a 'quick' trip to Virginia! We stopped at the Falls Church Trader Joe's to stock up on some inexpensive wine. And it occurred to me to look and see where Clemyjontri Park was exactly. I've been meaning to take Jillian to visit for some time now, and just haven't gotten around to it. Turns out it was only about six miles from our Trader Joe's destination and on the way home. So of course, we stopped to do some playing!

Clemyjontri is a two acre playground that was designed specifically so that "children with and without disabilities can play side-by-side". It's really neat, and if it hadn't been so windy today (what is it with us picking windy days to do outdoor stuff???), we would have had lunch there and stayed even longer.

There were tons of these springy ride-ons.


I thought this fire engine was awesome. Jillian is on it, but was on and off everything so fast I could barely keep up. There was LOTS to see and play with!

Jilly did great learning to climb across these, and they had neat 'practice' areas with bars to work on new skills.


Jillian really liked running through the maze. And it had all sorts of cool stuff in it...from panels depicting dinosaurs, to maps of the US, to the solar system, and more!

Jillian can never pass up swings, and here she's trying out the different swings, with higher backs designed for children who need extra support. I thought it looked a lot like being strapped in and ready to ride a roller coaster!

This playground definitely goes on our 'visit again' list!

That Was Then


And this is now...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Just Love These

The comparison pics! Jillian would have been around 10-11 weeks; Jessica is between 8-9 weeks.


And the sisters together...