Friday, January 23, 2015

2014 Reading Recap

image courtesy of

 Here is the full list of books that I read in 2014:

  • "The Rosie Project" (Graeme Simsion)
  • "If I Stay" (Gayle Forman)
  • "Safe With Me" (Amy Hatvany)
  • "Goldfinch" (Donna Tartt)
  • "We Were Liars" (E. Lockhart)
  • "The Tao of Martha" (Jen Lancaster)
  • "The Vacationers" (Emma Straub)
  • "The Island" (Elin Hilderbrandt)
  • "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends" (Courtney Robertson)
  • "The Honest Toddler" (Bunmi Laditan)
  • "Summerland" (Elin Hilderbrandt)
  • "Happily Ever After" (Trista Sutter)
  • "Me Before You" (JoJo Moyes)
  • "Allegiant" (Veronica Roth)
  • "Insurgent" (Veronica Roth)
  • "Divergent" (Veronica Roth)
  • "Sisterland" (Curtis Sittenfeld)
  • "The Storyteller" (Jodi Picoult)
  • "The Husband's Secret" (Liane Moriarty)
  • "The Interestings" (Meg Wolitzer)
  • "And the Mountains Echoed " (Khaled Hasseini)
  • "The Girl You Left Behind" (JoJo Moyes)
  • "Emily and Einstein" (Linda Francis Lee)
 I would say of the ones listed, my favorites were:


Don't laugh at my last pick, it was one of the most entertaining reads of the year for me!! :)

Player of the Week

Jake was recently selected as the "Player of the Week" for his class; not only did he get to be the teacher's special helper for the week, but he got to make this giant poster about himself and have it displayed at his school!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday, Jake!!

Dear Jake,

7 years old.  1st grade.  How did these things sneak up on me? It seems like this was just yesterday, not 7 years ago!

So much has changed, but you can still make us smile, just like we are in that picture above.  You are funny, witty, smart, and athletic.  While you sometimes get frustrated with school work (especially homework), we know that you are trying your hardest, and it's a great feeling to see the huge smile on your face when you come home with a good grade on a test. 

Your love for skiing has continued into this year, and I know you're excited that there are still a few more months left to enjoy your favorite sport.  You gave basketball a shot earlier this year and didn't love it, but you stuck with it and have already said you want to play baseball again this spring. 

Your favorite shows right now are the new Star Wars cartoon you just discovered along with some of your old standbys, like Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  And you'll sometimes volunteer to watch Paw Patrol with Liam; you like to act like you're doing it for him, but I know you love it too :) 

If given the chance, I'm convinced you'd be outside 24/7 if we let you.  You are happiest when you're running around the yard, or riding your bike, or shooting hoops in the driveway.  If you must be inside, you can usually be found building Lego structures, playing Minecraft, sketching football players and helmets in your new sketchpad, or rearranging your various "collections" (football cards, tiny football helmets, etc)  And football!  Football, football.  We play football, we read books all about football, we watch football.  This has been your new obsession as of late.

For as independent as you have become, there are moments when you will still come curl up in my lap and just want to sit there.  You always want to snuggle in as close as possible if we're watching a movie or reading a book (you especially love to "tuck your feet in", meaning that you like to slide them under my legs to keep them warm....but only if I'm wearing cozy pants, you get very frustrated if I have on jeans!)  And Jake, I hope those moments don't stop anytime soon.  You are go, go, go all day seem to have endless amounts of energy....but when you do pause to snuggle, it makes my day.  I can immediately remember sitting in your glider late at night in your nursery, holding you, enjoying the quiet, and breathing in your baby smell.  Your hair now smells like regular shampoo, but it doesn't matter :)  I still sniff it sometimes anyway, which sometimes causes you to wiggle off my lap and say "Mooooooom!" but I just can't help myself.  I try to remind myself that these moments won't last won't always want me to lay with you for a few minutes before you go to bed.  So even though I always feel like I have a hundred things to do once you guys go to bed, I try to enjoy those few minutes of just laying there with you.  It's sometimes when you turn into the most chatty you've been all day and share things about your day with me. 

Daddy and I are so proud of you, for your effort in school, your progress in sports and most importantly, for the kind heart that you have.  Happy birthday, Jake!!

1 week old baby feet!
2 weeks old
15 months old-passed out cold while eating Easter dinner :)
2 years old
2.5 years old
3.5 years old
4 years old
5 years old
5.5 years old
5.5 years old-and a moment in Jake's life that he still talks about as being one of the best :)  fighting Darth Vader at Disney World!
6.5 years old
allllmost 7 years old :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Hello is my name"

Liam has been learning "The Lord's Prayer" at school. The memorization is going pretty well so far, he just needs to work on a few lines, including this one that makes me smile every time:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hello is my name....

Part of me wants him to continue to say it that way :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas Break 2014 Recap - The Lazy Edition

I still can't figure out why 2 weeks goes by so quickly!!  Christmas break ended up being a nice balance of spending time with friends and family, enjoying all of our new stuff, and being completely and totally lazy.  I definitely spent more time in PJs or sweatpants than I did in real clothes over the course of the 2 week break, and I consider that to be the sign of a good vacation.

The day after Christmas (Friday), the boys spent a huge chunk of time in the morning enjoying their new toys, and I spent a huge chunk of time in this position:

Oh yes.  Those are new slippers. New PJs. New blanket that is like a little slice of heaven covering your body.  Those are my kids in the distant background, playing and not fighting.  That's coffee in my hand.  Basically, this is a picture of pure, mama bliss, my friends.


The boys loved checking out all of their new toys, and it was even warm enough to test out roller blades and roller skates in the driveway that afternoon! In pajamas...obviously.

On Monday, Nana and PopPop headed home and the kids were stuck with just me once again :) I went from knowing nothing about Beyblades (one of the most coveted items on Jake's Santa wish list) to being an expert by the end of the day.  #boymama

We enjoyed some new Wii games, including Ninja Turtles (which I don't really understand how to play, but Jake loves it) and Toy Story Mania (which the whole family loves):

Jake taught me how to play chess....maybe "tried" to teach me is a better way of putting it.


we played a lot of Go Fish:

We read some books....

Watched some movies:

Popcorn and a movie at 10am?  Sure, why not?  it's Christmas break!
The kids spent a lot of time breaking in their new markers and colored pencils:

Gracie did a whole lot of this:

And of course, there was lots of time for snuggles:

My new mug from Anthropologie!!  Thanks, mom!

Liam often asks to "hold hands in the house" <3 comment-3--="">

One night, the kids begged and begged to have a sleepover in Liam's room.  We figured it's break, why not let them try?  They LOVED it.  And actually did it a few more times over break :)

Jake the bed hog

That's it for part can probably see why I titled this recap the lazy edition.  I promise, we really did leave the house over break.  Not much, but we did.  Until next time, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas 2014

ahhh, favorite time of the whole year and the time that flies by like nothing else.  We had a wonderful Christmas this year....I have to say, it might have been one of my favorites with the boys so far because I feel like it's the first year that both of them really got it.  I mean, Jake caught on years ago, but Liam was still a little confused by the whole thing last year...this year?  That kid was a pro!  He was so excited the entire month of December, so Christmas morning with both of them was a blast!! 

As always, I was the biggest child and was awake about 15 minutes before either kid woke up.  Liam woke up shortly before 6 (which is kind of sleeping in for him) and Jake was up right after. 

 Once I made my way down the stairs and got my coffee (of course) and the camera in place, we unleashed the beasts. 


 I don't think I mentioned it on here, but Santa spent an excessive amount of time early in December trying to track down some Paw Patrol items.  Liam is obsessed with Paw Patrol right now, and you may remember from an earlier post that Liam had 3 things on his list this year: Paw Patrol toys, something steelers, and a little sister he could name Elsa.  Well, I really needed to deliver on items 1 & 2 because #3 was not happening!! 

Who knew little dog figures would prove to be so hard to find?  I had half of my family and some friends searching for me...thankfully, my mom was able to snag some and my MIL found the other one I needed.  PHEW.  It was the first year that I've really been that parent, scrambling to find the hot toy! was all worth it in the end, because look at this reaction....priceless.

Santa also brought a game table for the has football, air hockey, basketball, ping pong and's been a hit!

They both got a lot of great gifts...thank you so much to everyone for your generosity!!

Just when you thought Christmas sweaters couldn't get any uglier, these two took it to a new level with a gift from my mom and dad:

And Gracie got a new (not so ugly) Christmas sweater:

Somewhere in the middle of the present opening extravaganza, a slight Christmas crisis took place.  It's no secret that I hate cooking....but I like to think I've mastered the art of cooking a turkey.  I mean, it's a turkey....right? 

I decided to put the bird in the pan face down for the first hour, to try and make it juicier (it really does work, just for reference!) so after the hour, the timer is beeping, but there are also a bunch of people talking, music playing, and toys making I'm sitting there asking what the beeping is.  Someone points out that it's my timer, so I run into the kitchen and turn off the timer.  Or, at least I think that's all I turn off.  I flip the bird, stuff him back in, reset the timer and walk away.

Fast forward to an hour later, I open the oven to do some basting.  hmm....nothing to baste, oh well...shut the oven door.  Fast forward to an HOUR after that (so 2 hours total) and my mom goes to check on him and notices that the oven isn't hot.  Say what??  After a few minutes of confusion, we piece together that I must have turned off both the timer AND the oven when I went to flip him over.  Ooops.  So, um, yeah...the turkey was now 2 hours behind on cooking.  I didn't want to crank up the heat for fear of this happening:

Fortunately, no one seemed to be too angry (at least not that they shared verbally, aside from the mandatory teasing about it the rest of the night)....thank goodness for appetizers!!

Having to wait for dinner gave the boys a chance to force everyone to play with their new toys:

And it gave us time to take some goofy selfies:

Then, it was finally time to EAT!

The food was delicious, even though it was 2 hours later than promised :)  And more importantly, we had so many of our family there with us to celebrate (although we really missed Amy and Ben!!)  After Liam said the blessing before we ate, I almost teared up looking around the table and seeing everyone together.  I feel very lucky that both sides of our family are there to join us on Christmas Day.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, too!!

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