Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in (mostly) Photos

Just when I was doing so good about getting caught up on my posts, Christmas comes along and gets me all off track! We had a great Christmas here at the Maxwell House. It was, as always, too fast and too busy, but I think we managed to enjoy it as much as possible. I think I'll save my words on this post and share mostly photos...with a few descriptions, because I just can't be that quiet.

We always do snack foods on Christmas Eve, and this year we ordered pizza. I hope this is a new tradition, because it made things so easy! I didn't have to worry about making any chili or soups and clean up was a cinch. Which is nice since I make Christmas lunch the next day.

My step dad and nephew.

My grandparents, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Isn't my boppy cute?

A little introduction to the next two photos. You know how sometimes you're just taking photos and don't realize what you're capturing? Well, my husband is the king of this. When he's in charge of photo taking I know there will be at least 100 photos of whatever the occasion is. He just shoots everything. So when I asked him if he noticed what was going on in the next two photos, he said he had no idea. It's a progression of sorts. Are they each just scratching their noses?

Nope, that's just full blown picking! Apparently I was quite oblivious too, since I was sitting right next to them and didn't see it either.

The sugar cookies just waiting on the kids to decorate them for Santa. This was a new sugar cookie recipe that I tried and I give it 5 stars! I'm not usually a big sugar cookie fan because they're usually too sweet and I don't like them thin and crispy. These were fat, soft, very mild flavored cookies. I ran out of time to make the frosting the recipe suggested, I think that would have made these perfect!

Making our reindeer food. All the kids got to make a small batch to take home to sprinkle on their yards for the reindeer.

Sprinkling our reindeer food on the snow. Also, can I mention how much I love our new camera?! It was about 8:00 pm and very dark when this picture was taken!

A very tired girl after a long Christmas Eve.

Jackson on Christmas morning looking for Bailey. He was ready to open presents!

I love this picture! Nick captured Bailey just as she saw all the goodies that Santa left for her under the tree. And I was capturing it on my new Flip camera, which is pretty darn cool too.

Making sure Santa ate her cookies.

I think she was almost as excited about this big sucker in her stocking as she was about all of her toys combined!

Jackson enjoying one of his gifts from Santa.

Shew...that was a lot of photos! But yet, once again, there's not a photo of the three of us!!! Oh well, maybe next year I'll remember to get one of the FOUR of us. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Update

Okay, so I realize I've not talked about my pregnancy much, and after a request from Sarah on a comment yesterday, I thought maybe it was time for an update.

I will be 27 weeks this Friday. I can't believe how fast the time seems to be flying by! The first 3 1/2 months crept by because I was so sick, but since then it's like someone has hit fast forward. I think it also helps that I'm not as anxious as I was the first time around.

Me at Home:

It's nice to be in the stage of pregnancy where I have energy again! I think Nick handled almost all of the housework during my sick period while I slept!

I seem to have hit the nesting stage as well. I completely cleaned and reorganized our laundry room, am caught up on laundry and do at least one load every night and am compulsively picking up after everyone. I even drew a sketch on how we can organize the garage...seriously, this is not me!

It is getting harder to give Bailey her baths. It hurts to try and lean over the tub, but luckily Nick's always willing to help out when I just can't do it.

Me at Work:

Thanks to my friend Emily, I haven't had to buy any new maternity pants for work. She let me borrow her Belly Band and I use it 5 days a week! I'm hoping to get through the rest of the pregnancy without new work pants, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Since I'm on my backside a lot of the day, I still wear heels almost every day. It doesn't matter what I wear anyway, my back always hurts.

I'm stressing a little less about maternity leave because I think I've figured out we can actually live on half of what I would normally bring in a month. That means cutting back on some savings during that time, but it's worth it. It would be awfully nice if I actually got paid during my leave though!

Me in a Nutshell:

Overall, I'm feeling pretty good. Except for the fact that I just lost my voice thanks to some sinus infection junk. And as I mentioned earlier, I am having a lot of back pain. My back hurt with Bailey, but no where near this bad. It's my very lower back. It doesn't matter if I'm sitting, standing, wearing tennis shoes or heels, it hurts.

I'm sleeping okay. I have nights where all I do is toss and turn and get up to go pee, but luckily those are usually only a couple of times a week.

As far as how I feel about my body this time, I actually feel pretty good. I've gained about the same amount of weight so far, but I started out 20 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant with Bailey.

**Okay, I know some menfolk in my family read this from time to may want to stop reading here or skip the next part**

My only real complaint about my body are these huge boobs I have to pack around! The bra I am currently wearing is a size G. I told Nick that must stand for "good golly those are ginormous!". Seriously, a's just ridiculous. But, since I'm about 98% sure this will be our last child, they should be gone in a little over a year. I'm so excited about the thought of a breast reduction that I can barely stand it!

We have a first name all picked out for our little bundle of joy, but are still working on a middle name. I don't want to say her name on here until we have her full name finalized. I'm just waiting on my husband to finally give the okay and then we're all set...he doesn't seem to be in any hurry though!

Bailey and the Pregnancy so far:

She talks more and more about her little sister every day. She talks to her a lot and hugs and kisses my belly. When she's eating her dinner she'll make comments about how she needs to eat her veggies so she can grow big to be a big sister. Here's my favorite conversation we've had so far...

We were sitting on the couch watching cartoons one morning when out of nowhere Bailey starts saying, "I'm going to show her that the sand isn't scary mommy. And I'll show her not to be scared of the pool, the beach or the lake. I'll walk right down to the water by myself and get water in my bucket for my sandcastle, to show her it's not scary."  "What are you talking about?" "I want to show my baby sister not to be scared of those things mommy. That's what big sisters do."

Really, it doesn't get much sweeter than that! I can't wait until I can hold both of my princesses in my arms and just love on them!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus

We finally had a successful trip to see Santa! We had done the sleeping baby picture (she was only 2 months old), crying picture, the Bailey sitting on mommy's lap with Santa behind us...but this year, my big girl actually sat on his lap and talked to him!

We have been talking about Santa for what seems like forever. Every day she either asks me something about him or reminds me that Santa likes it when we share and when we're nice to our friends. We also talked about how you had to sit on his lap and tell him what you want for Christmas in order to get those things...I think that's what really sealed the deal.

Aunt Brittany gave us the Elf on a Shelf book, and that has helped too. Our elf is named Charlie. He has landed all over our little house, and it's a good thing that it's almost Christmas because Charlie is running out of places to sit! She gets so excited every morning looking for him around the house.

The first morning she found Charlie.

Where Charlie was this morning.

Since we started talking about Santa, Bailey has been saying that she was going to ask for a Belle dress and Belle glass slippers. That's all she wanted Santa to bring her. Easy enough. I made sure we had both. Then, the day before we make our trip to go see him (which was December 17th), she decides she wants one more thing: a Christmas puzzle. Okay, that should be easy enough to find, right? Wrong. The only Christmas puzzles I could find were the regular ones with the tiny pieces. Nick ended up finding one on Amazon and it only cost $5. In order to get it here by Christmas though? An extra $12. But, she'll be happy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow Day!

There's not a whole lot I miss about being in school, aside from the whole no responsibilities thing of course. But I do miss the excitement of watching the snow (or snow AND ice, in our case) fall and waiting in anticipation to see if we would have school the next day. Once you're a grown up and have a real job, however, there aren't many snow days in life. Snow just means your commute will take longer, you'll have to get up earlier to scrape your car and let it warm up and that your feet will be cold all day long.

Sometimes, if we're really lucky though, we might get one or two of those long lost snow days. And friends, yesterday was my lucky day! My boss told me to stay home and that they would call if they needed anything. I think part of this generosity had something to do with the fact they were afraid the pregnant lady would slip and fall on the ice...whatever the reason, I'll take it!

I had big plans of what I would get accomplished on my snow day, and managed not to do a single one of them. But I have no regrets. It was absolutely wonderful to be a couch potato and do N-O-T-H-I-N-G!! As I'm sure all of you can agree with, the holiday season seems to leave all our weekends jam packed with something. There are parties, shopping, wrapping presents, preparing for Santa and all kinds of other things that take up our time. So yesterday, I soaked up every bit of my free time and just relaxed. Here's what we did manage to do at the Maxwell House on our snow day:

*Make pancakes for breakfast, with the best kitchen helper ever.

*Play hide and seek, Elefun, puzzles and lots of other games.


*Make sure Jackson didn't feel left out and snuggled him in blankets too.

*Order pizza and eat in the living room while watching Frosty the Snowman.

Waiting on her pizza. Love that her belly is hanging out!


*Stay in our jammies ALL DAY LONG!

*Make chocolate chip cookie bars. Again, with the best kitchen helper.

*Spend lots of quality time together.

All in all, a great snow day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Dinner Party

As I wrote last year, my husband and I host a holiday dinner party every December. This year marked the 5th annual Maxwell Holiday Dinner Party. I love having all of our friends over and listening to their laughter fill our home. As I've also mentioned before, I prefer sending out real invitations as opposed to evites. Even though I could have simply called/facebooked/emailed every one that attended, I thought it would be nice for them to get a special invitation in the mail. Usually I hand make the invitations, but this year I decided to step it up a little. While I wanted to order custom invitations, I still wanted to be as frugal as possible. Snapfish is probably my favorite site for all things photo related, and they always have great coupon codes and promotions. However, I couldn't find just what I wanted. I browsed several different sites until I found what I wanted, and then redesigned it myself in Publisher and uploaded the image into a blank card design that Snapfish offers. Here's the finished product.

Here's the front...ignore the white lines, that was just private info :)
The full inside

Close up of the menu

The back

This year was extra special as there were three little ones to love on! Until a few months ago, Bailey had been the only kid in our group, but now there have been two cute little babies added also. So that meant we had 12 adults and three little ones! It was a full house indeed.

Baby Claire and baby Drew.

Look at that smile!

That giraffe tasted good!

My cowgirl and her Christmas tree.

Bailey getting her practice in holding a baby!

Love this picture!

So excited about her presents!

Now, on to the food. I decided to put the food that I would be providing in the invitation so that everyone else knew what was needed/what was available to bring. We ended up with a great selection of food and desserts! This year we decided to brine and roast the turkey instead of frying it. I thought it turned out terrific! The meat was very juicy, and by following Alton Brown's recipe, we ended up with a wonderfully brown bird. The mashed potatoes were of course, The Pioneer Woman's, and so was the macaroni and cheese. I made the rolls using this recipe, and they are delicious, and very easy! The broccoli casserole and dumplings are just simple recipes that I've gotten from family members.

Brooke brought her requested broccoli slaw that was a big hit from last year, Brittany provided the appetizers to hold everyone over until dinner was ready, Emily came bearing a rum cake and brownies, Elyse brought a rice dish and Shana brought corn, green beans and these fabulous cake pops!

I'm afraid I wasn't the most entertaining hostess after the dinner was finished. I was so exhausted after being on my feet all day preparing everything and I felt like my back was going to give out at any minute. After cleaning up I pretty much stayed on the couch the rest of the evening. While I was kind of a bump on a log, I enjoyed listening to everyone have a good time.

I love all these people and am so thankful that they let me play hostess and get the "I wanna be Martha Stewart" tendencies out of my system.

The girls.

The guys. It looks like they called each other to coordinate!

The whole gang!