Category: Holidays

Our Kindness Elves Part 2 of 2

The second half of our kindness elves stay was not as exciting. At Lucille and Lennon’s young ages it just wasn’t exciting after about 5 days. Oh well. Next year they’ll understand better. Anyways, here were our activities days 7-12.

Day 7: Spread Christmas cheer by singing Christmas carols

Day 8: Help mommy cook dinner (Lucille had a lot of fun with this one!)

Day 9: Help mommy send out Christmas cards

Day 10: Surprise a friend with a visit

Day 11: Bring some popcorn to NayNay’s house for a Christmas movie night

Day 12: Learn about the holidays being celebrated by those in other cultures (we had an Elmo DVD to help us with this.)

That’s it for this year. I’m sure Eira and Shep will be back next year repeating some of these assignments and giving us some new ones. I can’t wait!




Our Kindness Elves Part 1 of 2

This year Santa sent our family 2 adorable little kindness elves to help the kids to be thoughtful this holiday season. Their names are Eira and Shepherd and they will be with us for 12 days. I wasn’t sure how well my kids would understand, but they are actually really excited about their daily letters and “assignments”. It’s been a lot of fun to watch so far.

Of course since they’re so young (Lucille is not yet 3 and Lennon is a little under a year and a half) their letters have talked about some pretty simple things. I thought I’d share what the elves have asked our family to focus on the first half of their stay.

Day 1: We wrote letters to Santa Clause thanking him for sending us our Kindness Elves.

Day 2: We went shopping and picked out stocking stuffers we thought Daddy would be excited to find on Christmas morning.

Day 3: We had to share our Christmas cookies (that were being eaten way to fast) with a friend.

Day 4: We had to do something extra nice for our cat. (This also came with a reminder of how lucky we are to have animals because so many kids ask for pets every year but Santa can’t give them animals because their parents don’t want them to have them. This was due to the elves observation that Lucille wasn’t being nice to our cat the past couple days.)

Day 5: Have to make things fair… Do something extra nice for the dog today!

Day 6: Color a picture for someone you love!



Christmas Wishlist for my Kiddos

So far we’ve kept Christmas a pretty low key holiday. Don’t get me wrong, it’s filled with fun, family, food and excitement. But we’ve kept the gifts to a minimum. And we plan to continue to do so. For two reasons, really. One: we don’t need more stuff. We’ve only been parents 2 1/2 years and I can’t believe how very much stuff we have!! Two: I really want Christmas to be more about the spirit of giving, helping others, spending times with loved one and less about material stuff.

You probably notice we had no ornaments on our tree last year.... they had to be taken off well before Christmas...

You probably notice we had no ornaments on our tree last year…. they had to be taken off well before Christmas…

That being said, my extended family doesn’t seem to share in my “less is more” motto. They like to spoil the kids. And they also ask for ideas. So, I’ve been brainstorming ideas I think the kids will love, but shouldn’t take up too much room in our overly crowded and cluttered home.

Now that we broke down and bought a mini van I’m really hoping that Santa will bring my kids a DVD player for us to plug in and use for road trips. I’m super excited to be able to comfortably take the kids on long trips and definitely plan on taking them somewhere fun this spring. If Santa brings us this (I have a feeling he will) then we would be happy to receive some movies to add to our collection, especially:

Rio 2: have I ever mentioned Lennon’s obsession with the movie Rio? He loves it and sings about it all day long. I just found out there is a sequel to the movie…  watching the same characters ina new situation sounds slightly more entertaining than watching the original a 1,543rd time. Just kidding, if you don’t have the original, it really is cute. I think Lennon and Lucille are drawn to it because it’s so colorful and has tons of music.

Speaking of music: my kids love to sing and dance. For Lucille’s birthday she got a beach boys CD as Barbara Ann is her favorite song. But I’m thinking some actual children’s CDs might be good too, for car trips and for dance parties in our house.

Clearance Halloween costumes: my kids love to play dress up and I expect this will be a love of theirs for years to come. I know I loved it throughout much of  elementary school. Halloween costumes are so pricey but sometimes in November and December you can find them for just a few bucks.

Experiences: We love getting tickets to experiences. Plays, museums, zoos, etc. To me, this is the BEST kind of present! A fun filled day that creates tons of memories and no extra clutter.

What suggestions do you have for 2 toddlers who need nothing but enjoy everything? What are you hoping Santa brings your kiddoes?



Trick or Treating!

Halloween this year was a blast! Lucille went with Peter’s mom and trick or treated at a few houses last year… but this was our first time taking the kids trick or treating ourselves. I was a little lazy with the costumes, but that doesn’t matter because we had so much fun.

I love group costumes (see last year’s list of possibilities here) but this year I wanted to dress the kids after their namesakes: Lucille Ball and John Lennon. I bought an orange wig for Lulu, but then I (irrationally?) felt mean dressing them in costumes for my amusement instead of one’s they’d love. Lucille is obsessed with butterflies and Lennon is obsessed with birds so that’s what we went with.

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Rio is a favorite movie in our house. Lennon’s costume looks like Blu from the movie so he spent the whole night singing the theme song. Lucille wasn’t as thrilled to be a butterfly as I had hoped, I think she was distracted by all the excitement of friends and candy.

We brought our wagon trick or treating and I assumed Lennon would stay in it the whole time. This was not the case. He was just as into trick or treating as his 9, 6 and 4 year old cousins. He got impatient if we didn’t move to the next house quickly enough. And he didn’t want to be carried to the doors but needed to walk, so we all had to take turns holding his hand and waddling down the sidewalks with him.

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Most the candy they got is not appropriate for their ages. But Lucille knows there is candy in the house. She keeps yelling for her “bucket.” So I think I’m heading to the store for clearance Halloween candy to replace all the overly chewy stuff I don’t want them to have. Thinking maybe I can start using this candy to get some consistency with potty training….

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Growing up I went trick or treating with my siblings and my cousins every year, so I was really excited for my kids to do the same this year. I hope we have many years of cousin trick or treating in our future. And no, I don’t have pictures with all the cousins…. the kids move too fast on Halloween it’s a wonder I got any pictures at all!



Tis the season

Our holiday season was crazy hectic (isn’t everyone’s?). In addition to all sorts of holiday fun I had 3 large events for the radio station I work at, my brother graduated college and my best friend had a baby, all in December. I wish I had kept track of all the fun activities better but since I didn’t, here’s a little recap. This is an email I wrote my kids. (I made each of my kids an email address when they were born. I send them emails to document their lives, my emotions about their milestones, etc… In all honesty it’s not something I do nearly enough!)

I just wanted to send a note to thank you both for giving me such a magical holiday season. In 2012 around the holidays I told your daddy that by Christmas 2013 I wanted a baby on the way because kids are what makes Christmas fun. Well, by 2013 Lucille was on the way, 2014 we celebrated her first Christmas and by Christmas 2015 we had Lennon and got to celebrate another first Christmas.

This year we did a lot that I hope we will do again and make into traditions.

To kick off the holiday season we went to Christmas in Perry with the intention of meeting Santa. The wait, however, was over 2 hours. So we skipped that, but we did watch the parade. Lucille loved watching all the lights on the fire trucks, as did cousin Walter who we met there. Lennon, you slept through the whole thing.

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The next day we went and got a Christmas tree. As we’ve done for years we went with Nay Nay, Pop Pop, Aunt Kray Kray, Uncle Adam, Uncle Joe and Aunt Marcy. Meaning we had to pick out 4 trees. The weather was beautiful. I had you both dressed in winter outfits and I had to strip you down because you were overheating!

We went to Byrncliff to try to meet Santa again, and this time it worked out much better! We were the first family to get to the buffet breakfast and when we finished Santa was supposed to be arriving in 10 minutes. We went to the room he would be in to get in line and nobody was there yet. There were activities set up: a coloring table, cookie decorating table, a place to write a letter to Santa and a marshmallow toss. So Lucille did all these things with the elf that was there until Santa came. When Santa came we had him all to ourselves. Lennon was more than happy to sit on his lap. Lucille liked him from a bit of a distance. She did give him several high fives. I think it was really special that we got to see him all by ourselves. It definitely made it less scary for you two.

We also got to make Christmas cookies with your cousins Tristan, Maddy, Gus and Alli! Making Christmas cookies is my very favorite thing to do in the holiday season and I’m so glad we have an extended family that we can enjoy it with!

My favorite part of the holidays this year was our new Christmas Eve tradition. Instead of going from place to place on Christmas we decided to celebrate with my side of the family on Christmas Eve. This makes Christmas last 2 days!! We had so much fun spending the entire day with our loved ones, watching Christmas movies, opening presents and then playing with them, and of course eating!! Then before we left Aunt Sarah got emails from Santa Claus for each of you, as well as one for each of her kids. Lennon, you of course didn’t understand yet. But Lucille you loved watching the videos, way more than I expected!

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Christmas day we woke up and opened presents at home just the 4 of us. Then we spent mot of our day at NayNay and Pop Pop’s. Again, it was so nice to see them for a whole day instead of just a couple hours. In addition to the immediate family Uncle Mike, Uncle Beaver, Carmen, Kris and Khloe all came over too. Lucille you followed Khloe around like she was the coolest kid in school haha. Lennon, you have been so happy throughout all these festivities. You’re definitely at your best when you’re surrounded by friends and excitement!!

A few days later we went back to Aunt Sarah’s for our extended family holiday celebration. Uncle Tom and Aunt Sherry were visiting from Vermont and Uncle Mike and Aunt Kathy from Wisconsin!

For New Year’s Eve we went and had an early dinner (3:30 so our noisy kids wouldn’t disrupt most people’s dinner plans) at the Club. I loved bringing you 2 out to a fancy restaurant with us to celebrate the end of a fantastic year and the start of a new one! This is definitely going to be a yearly tradition. When you get older you can have some Shirley Temples with dinner. Lucille, we tried to give you crab cakes because you loved them when you tried them over the summer. But, you refused to eat them and just ate our oyster crackers and most of our dessert, which was sherbert. Lennon, you pooped yourself shortly after we got there and then slept the rest of the outing.

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I love you both so much and I know next year the holidays will be even more special!!

XOXO,

Mommy

On another note, now that we’re a week into the new year I’ve also finally set some resolutions:

  1. Blog at least twice a week
  2. Try a new recipe or attempt to improve an old one once a week
  3. Read to the kids every day
  4. Go on a date with Peter every month
  5. Don’t let stress make me a grumpy mom. Enjoy all my moments with my kids and remember they are what’s most important. Not my job, how clean my house is, etc.




Family Halloween Costumes

With Halloween just a few short weeks away I thought what better way to kick off my blog than a list of Family Halloween costumes? Halloween is kind of our family  holiday as I met my hubby at a Halloween party. And what’s not to love about Halloween? It’s basically a day devoted to playing dress up!

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And the fun shouldn’t be reserved just for the kids. This is our chance to pretend to be someone else for the night too. My sister’s family did family themed Halloween costumes for years and some years I joined in on the fun. Other years I stayed at college and dressed in themes with my friends. (See above, our “Christmas” Halloween costume. My 2 favorite holidays combined!)

I’ve spent lots of time thinking about ideas for Halloween costumes. I’ve thought of more than my family will ever be able to use. (After all in 6 years or so Lucille will start putting her foot down and demand her own costume, the Disney princess of the year or if she’s like her Mom, a Pink Power Ranger!)

So here are my favorite ideas. If you have more ideas feel free to share them in the comments!

1 Parent, 1 Child

Kangaroo & Joey- This one is great if your baby is still young enough to stay strapped to you.

Mary Had A Little Lamb- Mommy just dresses up in an old fashioned dress and baby is a cute little lamb.

 

Family of 3

popeoye

Popeye, Olive Oyl and Swee’ Pea- We did this one last year for Lucille’s first Halloween. Because we weren’t going out at all, I was a little lazy with mine and Peter’s costumes. But I think the trick or treaters, or at least their parents, knew who we were supposed to be.

Fred, Wilma and Pebbles Flinstone

Barney, Betty and Bam Bam Rubble

Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma and the Big Bad Wolf

 

Twins

No I don’t have twins, but my sister and I have daughters just a few months apart. So when we were pregnant I thought about Halloween costumes we could do for the 2 of them. (We ended up not doing any because I wanted to dress up with my daughter! haha)

Sonny and Cher

Mickey and Minnie

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Raggedy Ann and Andy

Mario & Luigi

Twin Cabbage Patch Dolls- This is what we decided to do before I decided our family would do the Popeye theme. Put them side by side in a double stroller and put a box around the stroller to look like a toy box. You can make your own cabbage patch wig by following the instructions provided by Kristina of Mother’s Niche, just click here!

 

Big Ol’ Group

peter pan

You’ll notice I list a lot of Disney movies in this section. Almost any popular animated film can be turned into a big group costume. This list includes some that I think would be the most fun, and some that my sister’s family has done in the past!

Peter Pan and Friends -Wendy, John, Michael, Captain Hook, Smee, The Crocodile, Tinkerbell, other pirates, more lost boys… this costume can include the whole extended family! My sister made a great Smee at 8 months pregnant.

winnie the pooh

Winnie the Pooh

Wizard of Oz

Shrek

Mickey Mouse and Friends

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Carebears

Circus- This is the one I am most excited to do in the future. But I want to wait until we have Baby #3 so we can have 3 animals. I picture myself being the ring master, hubby being a clown and the kids being a lion, monkey and elephant. Other ideas are a tightrope walker, a tiger… it’s another costume that allows for an unlimited number of people.

The Simpsons

monsters

Monsters Inc- Mike, Sully and Boo are obvious but if more people want to join in the fun, they can create their own monster.

Toy Story

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Scooby Doo- I have to give my sister credit. Turning her wagon into the Mystery Machine really put this costume over the edge.

Sesame Street

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Friends- This costume would not only be adorable but pretty easy! A boy in a striped red shirt and a blanky is Linus, a girl in a dark blue dress is Lucy, a light blue dress is Sally…. all these items can probably be found in your closets. And as long as you’re all together and one person dresses as a beagle, you’ll be easily recognized as the Peanuts!

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

 

I hope you found an idea for your family. Have a safe and happy Halloween!!