High Fiving - The Thankful Edition

I love Thanksgiving. It's seriously the best. An entire day dedicated to family and friends, gluttonous glory, football, and giving thanks for all that is good in our world. It doesn't get much better than that. We should try to make every day Thanksgiving, with maybe the exception of the gluttonous part… My waist wouldn't appreciate that very much.

To add to the already awesome start to the weekend, here are a few of my thankful high-fives.

1. I'm thankful for friends and family.
A group shot of our Thanksgiving. My amazing cousins hosted yet another perfect dinner. We were surrounded by lots of love, laughter, food, wine, and views of the ocean that are impossible to beat. Pretty much the best day ever.
Soak it up little man. It's not every day you see a sunset like that.
2. I'm thankful for my ability to run.
Before any Thanksgiving festivities began Scott and I decided to gear up and go out for a quick 5k. We normally participate in an organized run on Turkey Day, but due to traveling we knew we wouldn't have time. So, we made up our own 5k (which actually turned into 3.5 miles).
Let's point out a few things here:
1) Marcus looks unamused (shocking).
2) Scott was kind enough to push the BOB.
3) Helllllooooo hair. That's what it looks like if I don't tame it. YIKES!
Obviously I need to run with Scott more often! But, I'm pretty sure my SPRINT the entire time we were running was a mere jog for him (while pushing the 50 pounds of BOB/baby). 
3. I'm thankful that a TINY part of my mom's crafty-ness was passed on to me.
It's been awhile since I've unleashed my inner-DIY. I opened up a container of glitter and went to town making Christmas ornaments (more to come on these later).
4. I'm thankful for being able to travel to beautiful places (and taking my running shoes with).
While we were in Mammoth I snapped a shot of my shoes after a hike to McLeod Lake and tagged Saucony . They liked my pic enough to re-post. I can't help but feel giddy about this. It doesn't take much to make me happy - clearly. (And yes, I love my shoes that much. Go get yourself a pair. Saucony really should be paying me, or comping me shoes, for this plug…)
5. I'm thankful for laughter - and those who have the ability to make us laugh.
If you have seven minutes to spare you should probably watch this (warning, there is some adult language). Have kids? Awesome, you'll relate and find it hilarious. Don't have kids? Not to worry, you'll find it equally as hilarious and awesome.
I'm off to pull out our Christmas decorations - YAY!!
Have a GREAT weekend!


Giving Thanks

There is a long list of things to be thankful for, and my list starts right here.
Happy Thanksgiving! 


The Outtakes

I need to preface this post with a tid bit of info about our little man. Marcus tends to seem very serious when it comes to new environments, new people, new things in general. He needs ample time to observe, digest and dissect. Once he's comfortable he's good to go.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that Marcus wasn't really feeling our family photo shoot. We had a GORGEOUS day, an AWESOME location -which happened to be very foreign to Marcus, and one rather unimpressed toddler.

During our photos, soliciting a smile from Marcus was tough work, but our photographer was awesome. (I could seriously gush on about her all day - if you live in Cleveland and want to check her out, let me know. She also does a *lot* of traveling and is often in other cities.) She captured some really fabulous shots, and left us with several to choose from that would be worthy of this year's Christmas card.

Here is a look at a few (by few I mean 418) photos that didn't make the cut for our Christmas card.
Shoes are NOT of priority of Marcus', is it obvious?
Oh little man, such a rough life you lead.
Naturally, I'll post the Christmas card and its photos once they've been mailed out.


20 Months Old!

Dear Marcus,

Three days ago you hit 20 months. TWENTY MONTHS! My mind is still trying to process this little fact. Some days seem to crawl by, but the weeks and months just slip right between my fingers.

You, my dear, are *all* boy. There is no mistaking that. Puddles and dirt be damned. You will find them, you will play in them, and you will undoubtedly come away very dirty and very happy. 

I would be lying if I said this past month was easy. It was not. We (you) battled a cold that lingered for two weeks. Said cold left you cranky, irritable, and often the both of us were at each others wits end by noon every day. That cold also left you sleeping in our bed most nights, and a bad habit quickly formed. We had to revert back to the Ferber method to get you sleeping in your crib again, a transition that was neither fun nor full of sleep. 

Though our month was kind of bumpy, we certainly had copious amounts of fun, laughter, discovery, and excitement. 

We are always on the go, and the only time we stop is when you're sleeping.
Unofficial stats
Height:  36 inches (95th percentile)
Weight:  32 pounds (95th percentile)
Clothing: size 2T - this month we seem to be having some sensory issues with clothes, all of them - getting a diaper changed and clothes on is often a daunting task
Shoes: size 6/7
Diapers: size 5
Other highlights from this month include:
Your vocabulary continues to expand. However, you will say a word one time, and then never repeat it again. I think you do this just to prove to me you can use your words, you just choose not to - which can be very frustrating for the both of us.
Words added to your list include:
Amy, beep, boom, bubble, eye, hat, hey yee oh (here you go), hot, Mickey Mouse, mine, moo, more, oh boy, pants, pee-eh-oo (peek-a-boo), please (you said it once, for the love of manners, please say it again!), pup (ie. puppy), truck, wee, woof
Your favorite words continues to be "no," "uh oh," and "hey yee oh" (that one is my particular favorite).
You love pointing to different objects and having me tell you what the object is. Often, it sounds as if you're pointing and saying, "And this?"

Usually you'll try the things I make for lunch and dinner, but you're pretty set in your macaroni and cheese ways. You enjoy snacking on red, yellow, and orange peppers, blueberries, and granola bars. Usually you have 3-4 sippy cups of milk during the day, mostly with meals. Otherwise, you drink water, and lots of it. We still haven't given you any fruit juices, and don't have any plans of introducing them to you.

You were such a great sleeper until the cold that never ended. We're still working on nights, but *usually* you're in bed by 7:45 and sleep until 6/6:30. Your nap happens late morning/early afternoon, and is anywhere from 1.5-3 hours long.

We are outside all.the.time. Our sprinklers go off every morning, leaving a puddle right outside our front door. You scout out that puddle and jump and splash in it every morning. I honestly don't know what we would do if we lived where it was cold and snowy (mommy doesn't do cold and snowy). It's a safe bet we'd both go insane.
Stacking with building blocks has become quite the highlight. Every night we build towers and knock them down (that part is the most fun - obviously). Placing the blocks into one of your several dump trucks and pushing the trucks around is also a pretty big deal. Hide and seek, and chasing or being chased also provide endless fun and laughter. You're such a ticklish little thing, and I take great delight in tickling you as often as I can - your giggle is infectious, and it's a sound I can't get enough of.
If I had to guess, you love our nightly routine after dinner: the tv and any other technological device are turned off/set aside, and we play hide and seek, chase each other around, and have dance parties.
Each night before bed we go through our routine of bath time, play time, reading books and singing songs. Before we place you in your bed we ask you for a kiss good-night. No matter where we are in your room you will happily toddle over to us and plant your sweet kiss. Each night my heart simply wants to burst. 

There is so much more I know I'm forgetting. But, the one thing that will never be looked over is how much you are loved (lack of sleep and all). My days would be so cloudy if I didn't have you as my sunshine.

I love you to the moon and back, twice. 


Happy Marcus Monday!

So the last two Sundays didn't go quite as we were hoping…
But, 9-2? We'll take it.
Happy Monday!


Those Are Some Big Pine Cones

That might have been the longest week ever. Each and every morning this week I woke up thinking it was Friday, only to be totally disappointed to discover it was not. Today is very much welcomed.

Time for a few high-fives.

1. We received our photos from last weekend. I was so worried we wouldn't get any good ones - Marcus was, um, not feeling a photo shoot. Buuuut, here's just a peek…
2. I have an idea swirling around in my head about Christmas ornaments I want to make out of these… If all goes accordingly, I'll have them made this weekend. Stay tuned.
The pine cone on the left is from Lake Tahoe. The one on the right is from Mammoth Lakes. I thought the one from Mammoth was big, but I'd forgotten how HUGE the pine cones are in Tahoe!
3. We are going to celebrate this little girl's 2nd birthday this weekend. Tell me she isn't the cutest.
This was taken at Marcus' birthday party, eight months ago. These two have grown so much in that eight months!

4. Looking ahead to next week… We're spending Thanksgiving with family in San Diego this year. The last time we celebrated with this bunch I was over half way done baking Marcus.
We can't wait to celebrate with good food, great people, and gorgeous views of the Pacific!
5. I don't care if you're a domestic engineer (also known as a mom who works within the home) or if you work full-time outside of the home… Every mommy needs to watch this.

3 Queens from Matt Bieler on Vimeo.
Big thanks to my friend, Barb, for sharing the video with me! 

Have a great weekend!


The Interloper

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Marcus. That little boy was full of energy and spunk and could sleep all the way through the night in his own crib like a pro.

Then, one day (three weeks ago) that little boy came down with a harrowing cold. The cough that accompanied the virus would wake little Marcus in the middle of the night. No consolation could be found for poor little Marcus unless he was snuggled safely next to his mommy, in her bed.
Marcus isn't the only one taking up space in bed.
The routine of coughing, waking, and slipping into his parents bed (right around 2:00AM) continued until Marcus was well.

Except, that routine soon became the every night reality for Marcus and his parents.

Now, Marcus has become an interloper of sorts. As much as his mommy loves the snuggles, she does *not* love the constant kicking, and turning, and poking, and prodding. Nor does his mommy enjoy waking every night to try to comfort an inconsolable toddler who should be sleeping *all* night long. In.his.own.bed.
These two are serious bed hogs.
The moral of the story? This mommy is tired and has decided it's time to put the kibosh on the whole co-sleeping bit. No one enjoys it, or gets any sleep… Except Marcus.
Between Marcus, Drake, and Izzy there is literally no room left for anyone else in our queen size bed.
Until three weeks ago we *never* co-slept. Now, we are in what seems to be a vicious nightly cycle. Tips on breaking this nightly bad habit are more than welcome!!  


Rays of Sun

A while back I was nominated for the Sunshine Award. Wouldn't you know it, I was nominated again, this time by two of the sweetest ladies I know.

If you've never stopped by to say hi to Laura from Mice in the Kitchen, you must. She has become my unofficial handbook on parenting.

Kristen from 31 Million Seconds writes some of the greatest posts. There is something about the way Kristen writes that has me drinking up every word.

Because I figured 20 questions would get a bit lengthy I took some liberty to adjust the rules. I selected 5 questions from each lady that I would share.

Here are Laura's questions:

Favorite memory growing up?
My dad's side of the family is pretty large. There are *several* cousins. I LOVED holidays when we would all get together. There was just something about the loving chaos that was so much fun. From flying kites at Easter, to the Christmas crafts and sweet treats, to exploring Grandma and Grandpa's farm, to endless summer days at Cutty's… There were just so many great times. Too many to narrow down to just one.

What motivates you?
Scott and Marcus. I want those two to be proud of me, no matter what it is I try my hand at.
If you could have one dream come true what would it be?
That I could be completely happy with myself. There's always *something* that doesn't seem to be quite good enough. There may or may not be a touch of body image issues going on.

Are you a dog person or cat person? Why?
Though I have both I'm much more of a cat person. I always have been. Drake, buddy, I love you, but cats are just so much easier. The fact that cats don't have to be taken outside to pee is just icing on the cake.

You found a bottle with a gene and you get three wishes what would they be… and no wishing for more wishes!! 
My first wish would be for good health for my family. It's inevitable that we all get old, but getting old doesn't seem to be easy. I'd love nothing more than for everyone to have great health until the day The Man upstairs calls us home.
My second wish would be to win one of those really big lotteries. We'd be able to save the way we really want, spend the way we'd like, and donate the way we wish we could.
My third wish I would donate to Marcus. Who knows if/when the little man would need a wish.

Here are 5 from Kristen:

What was your favorite subject in school?
Literature. If all of my classes could have revolved around good reads I would have been the happiest student alive.
Image source
Where do you want to retire?
Can I have a place on a beach and in the mountains? I'd like that very much.

If you were invisible, where would you go?
The movie theatre! Over, and over, and over. $12 for a matinee is not a bargain.

Are you the type of person with a lot of friends or a few close one? 
I have a lot of acquaintances, but I have just a few really close friends.

If you were stranded on an island who would you want to be stranded with?
Well, that's easy. Scott and Marcus. They are the only two people who would be able to put up with me if help wasn't immediately on the way. :)

Happy Hump Day!


A Day Out With Thomas

Our weekend was beyond busy. I'm pretty sure we blinked, took a nap, ate a meal or two, and then the new week began. Though we were busy it was a good busy, a fun busy, the reason weekends exist.

Saturday we woke so early we had to wake Marcus up - this may be a first, I don't ever remember having to wake *him* up; our roles were reversed.

After an hour and a half traveling inland we made it to our destination.
We had a date with Thomas the Train!
I'm no fan of the Thomas show, and Marcus has never seen an episode (mommy controls the remote), but the little man *is* a big fan of trains in general. I figured this would be a fun experience for all of us.
The location we visited had all sorts of different electric cars, cabooses, and steam engines. Marcus seemed so enamored with it all.
Scattered around the grounds were several little 'trains' for kids to play in and around.
I think this little electric car reminded Marcus of the Red Car that we frequently ride. When this particular train didn't take off Marcus was pretty upset.

Along with trains the place had many different old railroad signs and crossing signals.
The lights and moving parts kept the little man pretty entertained.

But, the real reason for our long journey was to see the big blue steam engine.
The train ride itself lasted 10 minutes - tops. But, Marcus soaked up every moving second.
By the time the ride wrapped up Marcus was beyond exhausted.
We had a chance to get up close with Thomas and Marcus was pretty much over it all.
Little man was just done. He wouldn't look up at the camera to save my life. Oy. All that traveling, all the fun of the train ride, and a less than stellar photo op with Thomas.

Immediately after snapping our ('illegal') pics with Thomas we hightailed it back to our vehicle. Not two minutes after being strapped into his carseat Marcus was lights out.
I'm going to take that as a sign that Marcus throughly enjoyed every second of our time at with the trains.

Hopefully we will have another chance to see Thomas. And, hopefully then we'll get at least one picture where Marcus smiles.


Happy Marcus Monday!

We took family photos yesterday.

After chasing Marcus around the Santa Monica Pier for about an hour it was clear how he felt about the whole deal.
 Over. It.

Happy Monday!


All Things Fall - Cara Box Reveal

This round of the Cara Box exchange was a lot of fun. I loved having three months to really get to know my swap partners. It was great to read up on the blogs, email back and forth, and really try and get to know the ladies.

I was paired with Dara, from Not In Jersey (I sent to her), and Elina, from The Life of One Hot Mess in a Wolf Pack Circle (she sent to me).

Dara is so sweet, and lives in KC! I loved reading up about her family, and seeing all the fun things they do in my old stomping grounds. It was also great to gather new ideas as to what fun things we need to do in KC that we haven't already checked out. Be sure to swing by Not In Jersey, say hi to Dara, and check out the box of goodies I sent her way!

Elina has several of the same interests as me. Loves to cook and bake? Check. Loves to take her kiddos to fun places to create lifelong memories? Check. And, she's a fellow Californian!

Here are all the fun rings Elina so sweetly picked out for my Cara Box.
So much fun stuff!
1. The cutest little flower magnets. Elina must have known our fridge is bare and boring.
2. Dinos for the little man! Marcus has already taken these guys for a dip, or 10, in our pool.
3. Kids bandaids. These are genius. We only have plain old bandaids, and rest assured, Marcus is *not* into plain bandaids. These will be perfect for the next big boo-boo.
4. Glasses case. There is a good possibility I lost the case to my glasses forever ago. And, there is a good possibility I've been in need of a case since then.
5. Such a fun calendar!
6. I'm excited to give this tea business a try. A few blogging buddies (hi Kristen!) are big tea drinkers. This is the perfect opportunity to check it out.
7. We've been using these as coasters. Marcus loves to search the living room for where we've last hidden them.
8. This note pad is wider than my regular note pads and I love it! It's perfect for grocery lists or jotting down recipes.
9. The journal is so unique, and the cover has so much character. I can't wait to start filling it's pages.
10. Coin purse! I don't carry cash, so I never have change, BUT this is perfect for my chapstick (that's always getting lost in the diaper bag) and a tube of lipgloss.

This little number needed its own picture:
I LOVE how compact this little fold-up bag becomes! It's perfect to store in our car, for those "just in case" moments!

Thanks Elina for such a thoughtful Cara Box!!