Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas Nightcap...Oops, I Mean Recap

On the first day of Christmas, Santa left for me...

My own personal winery!!
That's right, the Big Guy left Mommy a DOZEN bottles of wine under the tree. I knew I was good this year :-)
Christmas was a blast! Seamus had picked out presents for us at school at "Santa's Secret Shop," and I helped him wrap them on Christmas Eve. He was so proud!
Look at these angelic faces just before leaving for church...yeah, somebody sure knows that Santa is on his way!!

"Nanny, PULL!" Seamus trying very hard to get into his gift from Aunt Chachi and Aunt Ashy (a super-cool TAG reading system!)


A few highlights from Christmas morning! Every year we take a picture of ourselves in our jammies in front of the tree. My mom bought Grace and I matching pajamas this year! Daddy got a Dan Marino jersey from Santa, which he did not take off all day. (Santa loves eBay.)
Hey, who gave this kid yet another stick and projectile?? This is why Mommy needs wine!


Gracie loves her bear given to her by her big brother.



Check out these two cool dudes.
One of the favorite new toys...Geotrax Grand Central Station!
The visor was actually Seamus' gift to Daddy, but then he realized he needed to wear it so he could look like "Nicklaus." (Jack Nicklaus)
Another big event over the weekend...Grace has moved into her toddler bed! She loves sleeping in a big-girl bed and has transitioned to it perfectly. I was a little sad to see the crib taken apart and packed away...can't believe my baby girl is going to be 2! In other big news, she is also in the midst of potty training!

A very merry Christmas was had by all, and we hope that it was just as wonderful for all of our friends!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Survey

I love these things!


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? A combo...but I looooove to wrap with wrapping paper.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial and pre-lit. Doesn't get much better than that.
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually on Thanksgiving or the day after
4. When do you take the tree down? I leave it up as long as possible...once the Valentine hearts arrive, I know it's time to pack it away
5. Do you like egg nog? Yes! Have to have it this time of year.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Wow, that is a tough one to narrow down...but my American Girl doll stands out
7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom!
8. Easiest person to buy for? Seamus and Grace
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a Fisher-Price Little People nativity set
10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail...the trick is getting them done in time to actually arrive BEFORE Christmas!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Thirteen tubes of Chapstick and two packs of gum from my darling husband 3 Christmases ago...oh, he's lucky I love him!
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Who hasn't?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? my Aunt Sue's Genets
16. Lights on the tree? Of course, but the real question...white or colored?
17. Favorite Christmas song? Christmas Eve/Sarajevo by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? A bit of both...we stretch Christmas to last about 2 weeks
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Forward, backward or jumbled up? Yes, I think I can
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Always an angel growing up, but now a star on our family tree
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The scrooges...I say bah humbug to them...I love Christmas!!!
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Nothing beats a homemade ornament given to you by your children
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? We usually do Italian on Christmas, chicken parm, yum!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Just love, laughter, and lots of pictures to remember it all :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Unplugged (or, ICE STORM '08!)


Well, we did it. We survived Ice Storm '08! While I actually thought the ice-laden trees of our winter wonderland were quite pretty, they wreaked major havoc on our roadways and electrical system over this past weekend. Schools and businesses have been shut down for four days now, with no heat or power. I love how in the Northeast they give these natural phenomenons front-page billing on every newspaper with names like ICE STORM '08! Like it's some major concert event we're all dying to get tickets to. ICE-A-PALOOZA! WooHoo! Sign me right up!
The fun-filled weekend I had planned - kids' cookie exchange party, quick overnight getaway in CT with my college housemates, and Seamus' Christmas concert Sunday afternoon - all came to a screeching halt when we lost power Friday morning. So did 80% of our city. The temp Friday night was predicted to be 15 degrees. BRRR. I called five hotels and managed to land us a room, and we all stayed warm and toasty. Saturday morning, still no power. Saturday evening, still no power. Yay, Nanny and Poppy's power goes back on! We all shuffled over there for a slumber party. Sunday, still no power. Wow! Even I am in shock...and I'm a diehard Northeaster, who will take a mountain of snow and chilly temps over heat and humidity anyday. But as you can see we had some serious ice, ice baby...

This limb snapped off a tree in our yard and landed on the deck. We were very, very lucky...there were many uprooted trees that smashed right through people's homes.
On Sunday we battled our cabin fever by attending a Toys for Tots fundraiser that my dad was DJing. Gigi was excited to get all dressed up in her pretty dress...
And Seamus couldn't wait to wear his festive Pimp Daddy hat...

They spent the entire afternoon on the dance floor, hula-hooping and limbo-ing away. (If you're looking for a way to keep your preschoolers entertained, download the music and teach them how to do "The Freeze." Hilarious!)
When it came time to visit with Santa, I said all I wanted for Christmas was for our power to be turned back on. (Well, that and a shiatsu massage cushion. And a Kindle. And a new Fiestaware place setting. And what the heck, world peace.)
I must have been a good girl this year because we got our power restored at noon on Monday! We were so fortunate to have had a warm place to spend the weekend, and I know there are still many, many more who do not yet have heat. But I am grateful that ICE STORM '08! has come and gone, and wonder when we should get in line for BLIZZARD '09!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

O Christmas Tree...

Here's another one for the "Things I never thought I'd hear myself say" file...

"SEAMUS! Underwear does NOT belong on the Christmas tree! Santa won't put presents under a tree that has UNDERWEAR on it!"




Just gotta say...(and I know this is 'evil mommy' of me) I am LOVING the Santa Claus threat. I've never seen anything work so well in my life!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hula-rious!

I just came across this in my uploading and had to share because it is so darn funny.
Last month at the Sock Hop, my dad organized a hula-hoop contest for the kids. There were some great hula-ers out there, and Seamus got a kick out of watching it. A couple of days later, I found him in his room with a glow-in-the-dark necklace around his waist.
"What's that, Seamus? Your belt?" I asked him.
"No, it's my hula-hoop," he said.

I was dying laughing, and of course couldn't wait to see him try it out! Here's a video of him imitating the hula-hoopers he saw, with my dad providing the background music. (And please ignore the mess in my house. It was...well...I wish I had a good excuse, but apparently it was just a mess that day.) Enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mean Girl

Yeah, that would be me. Mean, mean, mean. I yelled at my husband last night and stomped around the house in fury. I had a look of disgust on my face. The reason? He went to bed at 8:30.
You are probably thinking, Uh, what's the big freakin' deal?

Well...here's the thing. I was attempting to bake brownies, pack lunches, load and unload the dishwasher, wipe down the counters and iron a mountain of clothes all in the 60 minutes between the start of Ugly Betty and the start of the new Grey's. (BTW, I am freaking over Grey's. What is up with the Denny thing??)

So I'm rushing all over the house like a crazy woman and I run up to the bedroom, and there's hubby...all snuggled up under the comforter. WTH? (And I really didn't know what he was doing in that 60 minute time period but I assumed it was something productive. My first mistake.)

So I'm all like, "What ARE you DOING??? Is something wrong with you?? Are you SICK???"

To which he calmly replies, "No. I'm tired."

Me: "Well, this is a little STRANGE, isn't it? You being in bed THIS EARLY???

Him: "I'm...just...tired."

Well. This is just beyond my realm of comprehension. I start huffing and puffing, yanking the ironing board out, knocking the iron to the floor, tossing around piles of kids' clothing...because really, who in their right mind is allowed to just go to bed when they're tired?? There's ironing to be done, for crying out loud!

And my husband had the sense to just ignore me, instead of jumping up on the bed and screaming what I know he was probably thinking:

"If you weren't such a psycho-crazy lady about ironing and just put the godforsaken clothes in DRYER, then you too could be enjoying blissful slumber at 8:30 in the evening! But NO! You must iron! So iron away, wacko, and let me get some freakin' sleep!"

But he didn't say that.

So. I was a mean girl for yelling at my hubby, who truly does more for me and our family than I could ever ask for, and who deserves to go to sleep at 8:30 if he wants to.


But I still think it's weird.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Day Mission Accomplished!

My very first running of the Annual Troy Turkey Trot was a success! With a record 4,083 runners, this was the largest 5K in the history of the trot. My dad even joined me for the run! We're so proud of him.

Here is my dad and I before heading downtown for the race.


My friend Sam ran along with me and kept me motivated...thanks, Sam! It was so exciting to be running along with thousands of people, and hearing everyone out in the streets cheering for us. But the best part was coming across the finish line and seeing this...
Devon made me this awesome sign that says "Mommy's Finish Line." I almost cried when I saw it!

I was hoping to finish under 35:00, and my official time was 31:18!!! It felt great!


After the race, we headed to my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner. The little stinkers would not stand next to each other for a picture, so here they are:

This is me, my sister Ashley and the kids, after we were completely stuffed full of Mom's yummy food.

All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving! I am hoping to sign up for another 5K over the winter, because finishing that race was an incredible high. I hope all of you had a very Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks

We just returned from a little mini-vacation for the past four days. With all the chaos of the holidays surrounding us, I had a chance to really reflect on the things in my life that I am thankful for. I was having so many "mommy moments" and found myself getting tearful quite often!

First stop on our trip was Wilmington, Delaware, where Seamus had his bi-annual checkup at AI DuPont Hospital. He saw Dr. Bober and Dr. Mackenzie, and did fantastic! While we were at the hospital, we encountered many children with severe disabilities and illnesses. My heart was aching, when I realized that so many parents will never see their children smile or laugh, never watch them play, never feel their arms hugging them tight or hear them say, "I love you, Mommy." It really puts things in perspective...no matter how tough life is, there is always someone out there fighting a harder battle.

I am thankful for the health and happiness of my children. I hope to never, ever take one smile, laugh, kiss or hug for granted.

After the appointments, we checked into the Ronald McDonald house, which is right across the street from the hospital. Seamus LOVES coming here, and can't wait to sit outside on the bench with "Happy Donald." The House is amazing, and everywhere you turn there are fun playrooms and comfy couches to relax. There is a huge kitchen, a workout room, a movie theater, and toys galore. Also, we get the opportunity to spend time with other families who have traveled to the hospital for their children.
Here is the room we stayed in.

One of the many great play areas, with an awesome Bob the Builder mural!

I am thankful that the Ronald McDonald House provides a caring, comfortable place of refuge for many families and children who are scared, confused, and often very far from from home. I plan on showing my gratitude by volunteering and fundraising for our local RMD House.



Our visit to Delaware was extra-special, because Seamus' best buddy Ethan also had appointments on the same day! The boys were so happy to see each other! We all went to dinner at a yummy hibachi restaurant, and on Friday we left DE and drove to Camden, NJ to visit the Adventure Aquarium. What a great place! We saw hippos, sharks, sea turtles, and Seamus' favorite, jellyfish.

The kids had a great time!
Family shot outside the aquarium

Here are the two goofballs being silly at lunch, each wearing a pair of my mom's reading glasses!I am thankful for great friends and the bonds we share. I hope that we keep making memories together for a long time to come!


After lunch on Friday, we said goodbye to the Weissers and headed to Somers Point, NJ to stay with my Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jon for two nights. It was Aunt Maureen's birthday, so we had a delicious dinner and some birthday cake. Grace's middle name is after my aunt. Here are the two of them together!
Saturday morning we got up and went separate ways; the girls all headed off for some retail therapy, and Devon and Uncle Jon took Seamus on a train ride (MAJOR excitement, as I am sure all of you with 3-year-old boys understand!)

Here is Seamus and Uncle Jon on the Seashore Lines.
Seamus was so happy to be riding a real train.

And check it out...even the Big Guy came along for a ride! (Notice the classic Santa-picture face of excitement mixed with fear and apprehension.) But what a great-looking Santa!

Thanks for the great visit Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jon!

I am thankful that my children grow up surrounded by such loving extended family. We are blessed to have their constant love and support.

I hope all of you have as many wonderful things to be thankful for. I'm getting pumped up for the Turkey Trot 5k, here's hoping I cross the finish line and make it home for some pumpkin pie! I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving, eat, drink and be merry!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seriously?


"STOP LICKING THE DOOR!"

"I am not kidding, if either one of you puts your tongue on that door one more time...I mean it!"

"That's IT! The door-licking is over!"

"Get your tongues off of that door, we're having a TIME OUT!"




*actual one-sided conversation between myself and my children, when said children were furiously running their tongues up and down our fogged-up glass outer door. File away in category, "Things I never thought I'd hear myself say."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Let's Go to the Hop!

Last week we attended the Sacred Heart School annual Sock Hop. It's a super fun event that the school holds every fall. The kids have a blast dressing up and then dance the night away! There's a twist contest, hula-hoop contest, and the limbo. The fifties' music is so fun and perfect for kids. Seamus and Grace's Poppy was the DJ, as he is every year. We have taken the kids in previous years, but this was the first time that Seamus attended as an official Sacred Heart Pre-K student! Here they are getting ready to rock around the clock...



Seamus decided he wanted to participate in the limbo contest...at the time I'm sure he was thinking, "What the heck is so hard about walking under a stick?"

But then it got a little lower...and a little trickier...now he's thinking, "Look guys, you're doing it all wrong. Just bend forward! Oh man, I've got this contest in the bag!"



I think we have a future limbo pro here!


I didn't have time to get Seamus a little leather jacket and grease his hair, so I'm already thinking ahead to next year. He could get decked out like Danny from Grease, but I'm also tempted to dress him as Buddy Holly:





And Grace looked so cute in her poodle skirt, but I'm also thinking she'd make an adorable Lucille Ball!

Here's a video of Seamus and Poppy getting their groove on!

Be Bop A Lula!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We've Landed Here

So we have moved to a new location...so sorry to be a huge pain in the butt for all of you who have blog links! Hopefully you found us and won't leave us. I was having trouble with the old link and this one is much easier to remember...I mean my brain is mush and all, but I think my own name will stick with me. I think.

I finally got around to finishing the story of Seamus and how we came to be where we are. It's posted over on the right and I'll also put it here (I really just think it's so cool that I can do a hyperlink now) Our Story
It's very long, but there it is, and I'm so glad that's finally all written down. It actually felt great to write it. So if you have a minute (or an hour...sheesh), feel free to check it out. I know it is these stories that bind us LP families together, and for that I am grateful.

Here's a few random thoughts for the day, courtesy of my dad (Poppy):

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?


And my personal favorite, because I know I definitely do this (the domestic goddess that I am):

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the
vacuum one more chance?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dancing Queen (and King)

Last week I went with my mom and couple other friends to see Mamma Mia! at Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady. The show was phenomenal, and I was inspired to dig out my old ABBA Gold CD - one of the first I ever bought on my own, probably at age 13 or 14. I'm so glad I did, because the kids absolutely LOVE the music! If you ever get a chance to see the show, DO IT! You will not regret it. And if you don't see the show, at least download some ABBA tunes...there's just nothing like the sweet sounds of Frida, Agnetha, Bjorn and Benny crooning such classic lyrics as "Gimme, gimme, gimme, a man after midnight..." Gotta love 70's Swedish pop!

Here's a few videos of the kids enjoying Mamma Mia and Honey Honey, their two faves. In classic kid fashion, however, the exuberant singing and dancing tones down significantly when I whip out the camera! Tuning in to YouTube to find our ABBA songs is now a nightly ritual!




Oh and I forgot to mention the whistle...you are right Kim, such a boy thing! Seamus is obssessed with his gym teacher, Mr. Burns...and Mr. Burns has a whistle, so of course Seamus needs one too. He blows it and shouts, "Let's go guys, let's go!" while doing the exercises that Mr. Burns leads them in. Too cute.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

You Are So Boo-tiful to Me

Our Halloween adventure is over, and what fun we had! First there was pumpkin-carving on the deck with Daddy (notice how Seamus has turned his seed-scooping spoon into an impromptu guitar.)

Seamus wanted a "scary" pumpkin, and Grace wanted a "cute" pumpkin. Good job on those faces Dad!

Even more fun was putting a candle inside and watching them glow.


And then the big event itself! Just a note...as of the Tuesday before Halloween, my children were NOT going to be clowns. They each had a perfectly adorable pre-made costume that we borrowed from friends - Grace had a ladybug, and Seamus had Chicken Little. Despite my mother's protests, and the fact that I can sew, I couldn't see the point in making elaborate costumes for the approximately twenty minutes of trick-or-treating that we would be taking part in. Then, my mother gets a new sewing machine. She buys a clown costume pattern to "practice" with. She tells me, "Oh, I'm just going to make a clown for Seamus to play dress-up in." Fine, no problem...but I should have seen right through her evil scheme! She brings the clown costume over to our house last Tuesday evening...and well, you can just imagine what happened when Seamus tried it on and saw himself in the mirror.
"I LOVE this clown!" he exclaims.
Poor Chicken Little, out the window!
And then Grace looks up at me with those big blue eyes...
"I be a clown too, Mommy?"
Um...well...
I sighed. Of course. Of course she can be a clown, what kind of mother would I be if I sent one child out trick-or-treating in a handmade costume and not the other?

So I'm sure you all can guess what I was doing until 10pm on Thursday night! The end result, however, was definitely worth it. I think we had the two cutest clowns around. Seamus has had quite a fixation with the American flag since about the age of 1, so he was thrilled to be an "American clown." Maybe it has something to do with being born the day after Independence Day?


My little "Rainbow clown."

On a mission...to get some candy!



Getting tired...taking a little rest on our neighbors Peg & Lou's lawn!

The stash of candy they got was outrageous, even though we only went around the block. I'd like to give a shout out to all the awesome people who handed out pretzels and Goldfish...we love you!
Hope everyone had a very Happy Halloween!