Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 in Pictures!

 Our Christmas week has been full and so much fun!

We started on Thursday night, where we took a trip to town where they have a giant star lit up on a cliff.  It looks so magical from far away, and the town is so pretty from up there!  We knew Reilly would love the Christmas lights from way up high.

Look how teeny Daddy and Reilly are under the star!


 Her face in this picture makes me laugh!  Mommy and Reilly overlooking the town!

Blurry, but the lights were so pretty!


 Us with the star!

When we were leaving, Reilly said, "Bye sarr!", and then blew it kisses.  Then we went to Wal-Mart for some last minute things, like milk, and to Dunkin Donuts for some ice cream and a munchkin for the little lady.  She passed out in the car on the way home, and stayed asleep all the way to her crib!  It was such a fun night.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and I had a list of things to be wrapped/painted/baked/cooked/prepared.  Hubby helped me a lot so I didn't over do it, which was so great.  I concentrated on drinking a lot and sitting when I could, to keep little new baby happy in there.

For dinner, I wanted to make something special.. So I put a pot of homemade sauce on the stove at 9 am, and prepared braciole to go in the sauce at 11 am.  I had never made it before, but heard how amazing it is.  I used my grandma's recipe, and was so nervous for this undertaking.  I had never even eaten it before, I was just banking on everyone else, mainly my mom, saying braciole was so good.  Putting raw onions and bacon into the sauce made me nervous, so I cooked it for a good 5 hours in the sauce.

Let me tell was amazing!!  The meat absolutely fell apart with a fork. The bacon, breadcrumb, onion and cheese made the most delicious filling.  I'm so glad it was such a success!!  I made a simple salad, and zucchini chips as an appetizer.

This is the face Reilly makes when we tell her to smile, and I don't know why, but we laugh every time.

All DONE!  And all covered in sauce, and ready for her second bath of the day!

By the end of the day,  I was exhausted with barely enough energy for the wrapping and preparing, but was so excited for the next morning!  I was having Braxton Hicks, so Hubby kept saying "What else needs to be done, please sit down."

The next morning, Hubby and I were lying in bed awake at 5:30, way to excited to sleep.  It was so much fun being Santa and getting everything ready for our girl!!  She finally woke up at 6:15, and we were so excited to show her what Santa had brought her.  She piked up her first present and right away said, "Open it?  Help you?"  So we helped her open her first gift, which was really a gift of necessity - some more forks.  But nonetheless, she was obsessed with them!  She was so excited and wanted them out of the package right away.  When I asked her to smile so Mommy could take her picture, she did this:

 She knows how to work the camera, man!

 Here she is opening a painting from Mommy!  It's all her favorite guys from Sesame - a decoration for her room-makeover when her new sibling comes.  She loved it so much and named and kissed every one of them.  (Post to come on Christmas paintings for this year!)

 Modeling her new smock!

 Life-size elmo sticker book!

 Oh, the excitement was endless.  Here are Daddy and Reilly coloring later, trying out all her new stuff!

 They are such cuties!  We watched the Lion King together, another treat from Santa!  I just love this picture, so snuggly.  That pillow was also from Santa (Reilly calls it "Abby", it must remind her of Abby Cadabby?), for Reilly's big girl bed!  Which she will be moving into in about 2 weeks...God help me, I will cry!

Speaking of cutie..check out her Christmas dress!!  I could just melt when I look at her with her little shoes.  She was looking at Dada, which is what made her smile so big!  She felt very pretty, when we put on her headband and special shoes.  She ran to show Daddy, so proud.

I told her to go get Santa and take a picture with him, and this is where she decided Santa should be in the picture. LOL!

 Later in the afternoon, we went down to Hubby's family's house and had dinner and chased Reilly around, while the boys played their new hunting video game.

All in all, it was such a fun and relaxing Christmas!  And we have more celebrations to look forward to, and lots of more gifts to exchange!  I am so excited for our festivities this week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 From our growing family, to yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


There is a lot of excitement this time of year!  Hubby's on vacation, travels to see family, lots of surprises and giving, spending all day on a glorious Christmas Eve feast (Confession: my favorite meals are the ones that I have to spend all day on. I love it.), relaxing, painting orders are getting finished up and delivered (via pick-up truck, not sleigh), Christmas morning cinnamon buns, and lots of Elmo to unwrap.   I am counting my blessings this year, as every year.  Lots to be thankful for.  Most of all that God's son was miraculously born, and that is what all of this excitement started with.

And this year, it's beyond exciting to see this magic through our little angel's eyes.  She points to every baby or angel and says, "Baby Dee-sus" and of course her obsessions with "Ho-Ho" and "Snew-mans" are going strong.  The best part is, she has no idea of the surprises that are to come, the smiles, and the memories that are ahead of her!

Thank you God, for your Son.  Thank you God, for our girl. Thank you God, for our little squirmy baby.  Please let he/she not be born in a manger.  Mary is a stronger woman than I.  Amen.

Reilly the Hairdresser

 The other morning, Reilly's hair looked so long to me.  It looks extra long in the back, as if it had a growth spurt.  People might think that since I spend every day with her I don't notice little changes, but I do.  I think because I'm obsessed with every inch of her.  But I notice when she does new things, says new things, speaks in a new way, understands differently, or develops in some way.  So many times, I'll be talking to my mom and say "Wait till you see Reilly, her hair grew since last time you saw her."  And sure enough, she'll always say, "You're right, look how long it is!!", even if it was only two weeks since she last saw her.

So, her hair looked extra long, and was basically begging for braids.  So I somehow got her to hold still (she was so busy texting on her Leap Frog phone), and practiced my braiding skills.

Her short little hair dos make me laugh. 

I think she's going to be hair-obsessed, because she just got a set from her auntie's with a hair brush, straightener, curling iron, perfume, and a hair dryer.  She says, "Mommy, sit."  She has me sit on the floor, sprays the perfume in my hair (like it's hairspray), and says "shhhhh" to make a spraying sound.  Then she brushes it and blow drys it and says "Byoo-full!"

I swear, I don't know where she gets this stuff.  ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Little Baker!

 Since Mommy is pregnant this Christmas, we have been going Christmas cookie CRAZY!  Two things I'm not ashamed to do when I'm pregnant: eat cookies at all hours of the day, and nap.  Okay I'm never ashamed to do these things, but I actually feel they are good for me when I'm pregnant!

We have been baking so much, and it takes at least twice as long because I have Reilly help.  It is SO much fun to see how much she loves it though.  She is so patient, and sits in a big chair at the kitchen table.  I do all the measuring, she does all the pouring.  And we both share in the stirring, with help from KicthenAid when we need it.  Even if there is a little teaspoon of something, I'll measure it and put it in a big cup so she can pour it in - she is so proud!  We have spills (and she says "OH NO! Happened?), but we roll with them and clean up at the end. 

This day, we were making little Jelly Melties, or thumbprint cookies.  She is hugging the KicthenAid.

And helping "stir".
 This is the face she made right after she discovered that if you eat the batter, it tastes delicious.  Tee hee.

 My little muffin!  While we were making these, I rolled tiny balls, handed them to her, and then she placed them on the cookie sheet.  We did this like 60 times, and she was so patient.  Only 1 ended up in her mouth, but didn't get ingested.  I thought those odds were pretty good!

 A Mima and Poppy's, we made sugar cookies.  Look at those eyes.  They kill me.

My mom wanted to know if she was always so quiet and serious when we baked, because it's so funny how she acts!  I make such a big deal about her being a "big girl helper", so she really takes her job to heart.

Now we are having fun eating all our treats!  And Reilly is learning how to become a master baker.  Next week, she's in charge of the cake for Jesus' Birthday.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Friday, December 16, 2011

At 19 Months

At 19 Months:

- Reilly's favorite song for my to sing her is our (slightly altered) version of Adele's "Someone Like You".  This is one of Daddy's favorite songs, so it became one of hers.  And she requests me to sing it as a lullaby.  She also love "Silent Night", and sings along.

- She loves to "color", with any writing utensil at all.  She'll say "Color-Paper! Color-Paper!" because I instilled in her so strongly early on that we only color on paper- not on floors, walls, furniture, mommy's already painted signs (this happened), or mommy's white tank top while she is wiping up the floor while it is on her (also happened). 

- She loves being picked up, but also loved holding hands.

- She LOVES other people, adults or children, and will just tap people in public places just to say hi.  She likes adults better, because they all love her back and engage in conversation with her, and most kids don't speak and run away.  And she looks at me like "Ma, what gives? I just said hi."

- We have to spell everything because she picks up on everything we say.  I am a champion speller.  I can spell as fast as I speak.

- She has taken to pointing at signs that I have around that house and naming each letter.  I have a sign that says "Farmer's Market" and she points at is and says, "F-A-R-M-E-R-S".  She is beyond proud of herself when she does this, and waits for me to jump up and down and throw her a party, which I do every time.

- She won't eat without a fork ("fort") or spoon ("foon").  As soon as food goes on her plate she points at her silverware cabinet and says "FORT! FOON!" in a panic as if I'll forget.  Even if she's eating toast, a fork is necessary.

- Dancing to her means shaking her hiney back and forth.  If it's a slow song (like Silent Night), she'll shake her hips very slowly.  Hilarious.

- She is obsessed with trucks passing our house.  She'll hear them and say "TRUCK TRUCK!", and has recently started distinguishing and announcing the sound of airplanes as well.

- As a side note, the above picture, specifically her sleepy eyes and her button nose and her daddy's pout, make me melt. MELT I TELL YOU.

- At 19 months, Reilly is in love with Santa, and points out any many with remotely white hair, a beard, or who is wearing any type of red.  She points at three men at our last Wal-Mart trip and said "Mommy!! HO HO! SEE HIM??"  She pointed, in case I didn't "see him".  One of the men was thin, brown hair, scruffy face, with a big red coat.

- Her development seems out of control.  I will ask her open ended questions on purpose, as little experiments like I used to do with students to encourage higher-level thinking.  I know it sounds crazy, but this stuff was jammed into my brain for 4 years, it kinda sticks with you.  So we were leaving the house, and I have her tell me everything we need to do before we leave.  I said "Time to leave the house! We need socks and shoes. What else do we need to do?"  Totally not knowing what she would say.  So, of all things, she points to the Christmas lights and said "Off. Yites." (Lights)  Impressed, I pushed her a little more.  She pointed to our coat rack and said "jacket".  Then I asked her what else we needed, and she said "Keys. Keys, car," and pointed outside to the car.  It makes me realize not only how much her brain is growing, but how much kids really are capable of if given the chance.   I like listening to her.  I like when she surprises me and makes me laugh.  I like when she says something smart, and is so proud of herself.  I like when she says something funny, and is even prouder. 

But mostly I like that at 19 months, she still lays on my chest when it's time to sleep and gets calmed by the sound of my heartbeat.  But sometimes lately, she lays on my belly, since there's a bit of a pillow there now.  Maybe she hears baby's heartbeat and likes that sound too.  I think it's crazy that soon my chest won't just be hers to snuggle on, and there will be room for another little lover-munchkin.  I know that my heart will grow and this baby will take up a part as big as Reilly's - it already owns a piece of it, who's strings are pulled when I look at my sonogram pictures.  But right now, it's crazy to think of this love times two.  But then again, like with a 19 month old is nothing if not crazy, so bring on the crazy love as well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Artist

 I have, for obvious reasons, wanted to start fostering Reilly creative genes as early as possible.  Since probably conception, I have had dreams of the beautiful creations we would make together.  Finger paint, massive canvases that require us to cover the entire floor in newspaper, markers, crayons, pastels, colored pencils, charcoal - no medium would be foreign to my girl by the time she was, well, five.

But then she ate crayons.  Every time she used them.  Although she stopped putting every single thing that crossed her path in her mouth, she still would put crayons her her mouth.  And chomp, and chew, and her mouth would turn color.  Which made me really appreciate the once-ignored-by-me phrase that has graced the cover of my beloved crayolas since I was a child - Non-Toxic.  This is going back to when she was about a year old, and I would tape the paper to the floor so she could color freely.

I would try every so often, with the same result.  Then we had a brief period where I tried colored pencils.  She did really well with them, but they posed as a hazard because she loved running around the house with the grasped in each fist.  I'm sure you are cringing at the possibility of danger there as well.  And so, colored pencils went away until she was a bit older as well.

And then, Reilly's persistence to create pushed through.  I began noticing her sitting over by the window in the kitchen - and sifting through Daddy's mail/bills basket.  For a few days in a row, I would find her over in there, leaning over something on the floor.  And then I saw what she was doing.  She was taking a pencil and deposit slips, and "coloring" as she called it.  Every day, the same thing.  And she would hold down the tiny deposit slip with her little hand, scribbling away with the other.  I couldn't believe it.  My baby is this desperate to create, that she thinks a pencil and deposit slips is COLORING?  This was astonishing.  I didn't care about eating crayons anymore, we were breaking out the big guns.  She was ready to learn to color.

So we got out giant banner paper, pretty much the opposite of deposit slips.  And took her clothes off, she could get messy.   And Reilly was introduced to her new love - MARKERS.  Look how adorable she is holding the paper with her left hand, and coloring with her right!  And I'm a little freaked out by how well she holds the marker, as it's even better than I can.

 She would use one color, then hand it to me and say "Close it.", then find a new color, hand it to me and say "Open it, please." And continue on this way using one color at a time.

 Due to the glory of the Magic Eraser, I never care if anything gets on the floors.  And I let her get as messy as she wanted, without intentional coloring-on-the skin.  I was astonished at how much marker could end up on a person unintentionally!  Even I was covered.

 She laid on her belly for a while, which I suppose is a child's coloring instinct.

Scribble, scribble, scribble!  That full diaper was not going to stop her. :)

 Here she is, all proud of her new activity.

 And showing me her hands, all covered in marker.

 The she decided to check out those hands for herself.  What the heck is this??

 I'm not sure if you can tell, but her legs and t shirt were also covered.  It was hilarious, she was a little walking rainbow.

 Then she decided her project deserved a kiss.  Because everyone deserves Reilly kisses.

 And here is our finished product!!  We obviously have it saved for framing.  I am so proud of her!
Since then, she has become a pro.  We have broken out mommy's box of 96 crayons, which get totally dumped all over the kitchen every time they are used.  But the joy is unparalleled.  And I remember it like it was yesterday, they joy that 96 different colors can bring, so it never ceases to make me smile.

I love wondering what she will be, what she will become.  I love helping to shape what she will be, and teaching her new things every day - fun things, silly things, educational things.  Watching her learn it all is so much fun.  We have "painted" before, but only to do hand/foot prints.  The day when finger painting descends upon the home will be epic - it's not far away.  I'm beyond excited to have a little art partner!