First Father’s Day

It’s so funny to me how all of the holidays throughout the year that used to be no big deal are now so important and exciting for me. I mean, we’ve always celebrated Father’s Day with our families, but since we weren’t actually parents yet it wasn’t nearly as awesome as it is now. Now? I want to snap a million pictures, soak up all the memories, and enjoy every little holiday to the fullest.

I mean, this is the only first Father’s Day we’ll ever have!

We had a very relaxing Father’s Day this year and it was fabulous. We went out to eat with family, hung out, and just generally enjoyed our little family. I’m so blessed to have such an awesome partner in this crazy parenting adventure, and I can’t imagine doing it with anyone else.

As a little Father’s Day tribute, here are the top 3 things I love about Corey as a dad…

-Jackson’s whole face lights up when he’s interacting with Corey. He looks at him with an admiration that he doesn’t look at anyone else with, and it melts my heart every time.

- I love seeing who Corey is as a father. I’ve always known he was a sweet and wonderful person, but watching how gentle, caring, and just generally awesome he is with Jackson makes me love him even more.

- I love how much Corey loves our son. He gets so excited when Jackson learns something new, and it’s so sweet to see how much he clearly loves him. I could sit and watch them play together all day long – and watching Corey walk around the house with Jackson and talking to him? One of my favorite things in the world.

How was your Father’s Day this year? Anyone else want to share a few things you love about your partner as a parent? Or, if you aren’t one yet, just what you love about your partner in general?

My First Mother’s Day

I’ve gotta say, it was pretty surreal to actually be a part of the celebration for Mother’s Day this past weekend, and not just celebrating for other people. It was an incredible feeling and I felt so honored to be able to call myself a mom this year!

We had a pretty low-key Mother’s Day weekend, which is just the way I like it. Jackson came home from daycare on Friday with a pretty nasty cough, so we spent most of the morning on Saturday at the doctor’s office, just making sure it wasn’t anything serious. We got the all-clear and the doctor told us it was probably just a cold, so we went back home to let Jackson get some rest. When we got home, I requested that Corey take over baby duty for a couple of hours so I could deep clean the house (yes, I’m a dork). It was so therapeutic to get the house nice and clean, and it felt good to be active all day. And really, who doesn’t love a clean house?

That evening we went out to get dinner at Which Which since we didn’t have any food in the house, and I did some shopping at Target (these new “mom hips” don’t fit into any of my old shorts quite the same way they used to!). This is probably my favorite time of the year weather-wise. It’s warm enough outside to be in shorts or dresses, but you aren’t sweltering yet. It’s perfect for eating outside, going for walks, and just generally soaking up the feeling of “almost summer”.

On Sunday, we had lunch at my sister’s house. Corey and my brother-in-law were supposed to cook for everyone, but when they heard Jack was sick my sister and brother-in-law insisted on taking over. It was much-appreciated, since he ended up taking an almost four hour nap that morning – poor boy was definitely not feeling well. At least I got some Mother’s Day snuggles!

Lunch was absolutely wonderful – my sister’s house always looks amazing and I’ve never had a meal over there that was anything less than fabulous. And after his crazy nap, our little Monster was happy and ready to interact with his family. You know, until he got tired and started screaming again. Poor, sick baby.

It was a pretty wonderful first Mother’s Day, and I’m so grateful for our little family of three. Sometimes I still have a hard time believing he’s actually ours!

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?

Easter 2014

Yesterday was our first major holiday with Jackson around (Valentine’s Day doesn’t count since we don’t usually celebrate it and he was only about two weeks old)…and it was fabulous!

Every Easter we head out to my grandmother’s house for a big meal, hide some eggs, and spend time with the family. Jackson (obviously) isn’t old enough to participate in the egg hunting, so he napped while the rest of us hid eggs and watched my nieces hunt them. They’re both old enough now that we really have to get creative with the hiding, so it was quite a challenge to find new spots that are harder than our go-to spots we hide eggs in most years.

It’s pretty crazy to think that next year Jack will be old enough to participate in the hunting (though we’ll have to make it really easy for him)! I’m already pretty baffled by how fast he’s growing. He’s started rolling over when he’s on his tummy, and he’s become fascinated with toys – I’m so used to him totally ignoring them that it’s super strange to see him so interested!

This made me even more excited for future holidays with our little family. Jackson is only going to get more fun and interactive from here, and it’s so rewarding to experience all the same old things through his eyes. He’s encouraging me to take more photos, do more fun things, be more present, and enjoy all of the little celebrations in life that I didn’t appreciate before.

He’s pretty awesome. And I have to say, half the fun is just getting to get him all dressed up for the day! I mean, what could possibly be cuter than a baby in a sweater vest?

Absolutely nothing, that’s what.

How was your Easter?

The Holiday Bucket List

I shared about our holiday bucket list and what we had accomplished so far a couple of weeks ago. We decided to go this route this year instead of an activity advent calendar, and I’m so glad we did. It was very laid back, easy to keep up with, and I didn’t put a ton of pressure on myself to cross everything off. I was all about enjoying this holiday season in whatever way I was in the mood to do, and I wasn’t about to force myself to do an activity I didn’t want to – I figure we have plenty of years of doing crazy holiday things for Monster ahead of us, so this was one of our last chances to have a very relaxed holiday season.

Now that December’s over, here’s where we ended up with our list.

- For our “top 5″ from the year, we decided to each write down the top five moments or memories from 2013 and toss them in our little memory jar. We opened it up on New Years Day, and it was so much fun to relive all of the highlights from the year. I’m so glad we did this jar, because I loved looking back and reading all of the little moments we jotted down as they happened. I don’t know that we’ll do it again for 2014 – we weren’t very good about keeping up with it – but it was very fun to try out!

- Corey took me on a surprise date to our favorite movie theater a few days before Christmas – I had no idea what I was in for until we arrived, but we were going to see a sneak peek of the new season of Downton Abbey! It was a free event put on by our local PBS station, and it was so much fun. We got to watch the last 45 minutes of the last season finale (and I bawled and bawled all over again), then we got to watch the entire season premiere for this season. It got me really pumped for the new season and I can’t wait to start watching it in a few weeks when it comes out!

- We baked tons (and tons) of cookies in the days leading up to Christmas. It’s a yearly tradition for us to do two rounds of cookie baking – one to give to friends at work and one to bring to my Grandmother’s for Christmas Eve. It was, as usual, a blast and one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

- Our attempt at a family photo this year was a major flop. The dogs are getting harder and harder to corral now that there are three of them (last year Hadley was still a puppy and relatively easy to hold still), so this was the best “family photo” we managed. Ah well, it was worth a shot right? I think we decided that starting next year we’re kicking the dogs out and it will have to be a humans-only family photo – it’s just not worth the stress!

- In addition to playing a ton of Marbles (what my family calls it – I’m sure it has a more official name) over the holiday season, we also tried out a new game for our game night. Corey got a super nerdy new game for his birthday a few months back (called Munchkin) and hadn’t ever really had the chance to play it. It’s supposed to be a game played with more than 2 people, but the directions are like 7 pages long and super confusing, and I’ve been afraid to play it with him (or ask anyone else to play with us) because I was convinced it would be awful. One night, though, we decided to try it out just the two of us to see if we could get the hang of it, and it was FUN! It took a while to learn, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it (although, I’ll warn you, it’s DEFINITELY nerdy!) – we ended up spending a few nights earlier this week playing it, and now we’re excited to introduce it to some other people so we can actually play with the proper amount of players. So,  I can definitely say we were able to cross “game night” off our list!

There were a few things we didn’t get around to this season – we never watched The Grinch (sad!) or went to look at Christmas lights. We also skipped having a picnic under the Christmas tree, mostly because at 8 1/2 months pregnant, the last thing I want to be doing is sitting on the floor. We didn’t have our “No technology day” this year, mostly because we want to do it on a day where we can actually leave the house and do fun things (it’s hard to spend the entire day at home without resorting to the television or our computers), but thanks to budget constraints (prepping for a baby is expensive, y’all!) we spent most of our break at the house and decided to pass on a big day out of the house where we might spend a lot of money! And, we haven’t eaten s’mores or gone out for ice cream yet, but we still have a few days left in our break and I think we may be able to accomplish at least one of those before we head back to work!

What did you want to accomplish this holiday season? Did you cross everything off your bucket list?



December Bucket List

For the past few years, Corey and I have done an activity advent each December in order to ensure that we do some fun, Christmas-y things in the days leading up to the 25th.

Last year, we had an activity for every day in December – it was a blast, but some days we felt pressured to do the activity, even if we didn’t have time, and we didn’t get to do a lot of the activities because the weather didn’t corporate (for example, it was 80 degrees on the night we were supposed to light a fire!). So, this year I decided to just create a general bucket list for the month instead – it accomplishes the same purpose, but is a little more flexible. We can pick and choose which days we do different things, and we can cross out multiple items in a night/skip some nights if we aren’t feeling it.

So far, it’s been great – we’re feeling the Christmas spirit, but we aren’t stressing out about getting it all done. In the end, the purpose is just for us to have fun, so we don’t want to worry too much about actually crossing all of them off…as long as we feel like we get the most out of our holiday season, I’m happy!

I really enjoyed updating on our activities last year when we did this, so I figured I’d do the same this year – this week I’ll share everything we’ve crossed off the list so far this month, and next week I’ll try to pop back in with a quick update on the other things we accomplish. Hopefully we’ll get all (or most!) of them done by the 31st.

The above photo was taken earlier in the month, so we’ve actually knocked off a few more items since then – in addition to what you see crossed off, we also:

- Had breakfast for dinner
- Made gingerbread houses
- Went out to eat

We’ve had several fires already this year – we had quite a cold spell earlier this month, so our fireplace was basically always going.

We also have watched our fair share of Christmas movies already – we’ve been in the mood for cheesy Hallmark-y movies, so we’ve been streaming some of them from Netflix and basking in the incredibly cliche plot lines. They’re definitely not high-quality movies, but they make you happy every once in a while, you know? Of course, the dogs are loving all the movie watching – it means more cuddles on the couch for them!

We also did gingerbread houses with my family this past weekend. It’s turned into a yearly tradition and I LOVE it. It’s so much fun and has definitely become one of my absolute favorite nights of the whole Christmas season.

This week is the last week for both of us before our Christmas break, and we’re hoping to cross a few more things off the list throughout this week and over our two week break. It’s been a super stressful past few weeks at work for me, so I’m counting down the minutes until work is no longer a worry and I can start truly enjoying the rest of my holiday season!

What do you like to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas? Anyone else have a bucket list going?