Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

 Our family had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas at home this year. I had NO idea how much work it would be to make all the food, buy/wrap presents, and establish family traditions. So although I can let out a sigh of relief now that it's over, it was a wonderful time and we shared some special memories celebrating together at home in Milwaukee.

 We were supposed to have Thanksgiving dinner with our friends and neighbors, but since the girls ended up being sick (and had been sick since Halloween), we decided to spare everyone from a terrible bug and took turns running back and forth to bring over our food and fill our plates. It was a scrumptious feast and we felt so blessed.
My first homemade French Silk Pie - Yum!
 Oh, and did I mention that Thanksgiving happened to land on my 25th birthday? I can't believe I'm getting so old... I love having birthday pie!
 After Thanksgiving, we wasted no time in getting ready for Christmas. The girls loved decorating the tree!
 This family picture was taken at the ward Christmas party. There was a lovely dinner, a nativity program, crafts for the kiddos, and a Santa!
Lydia making Christmas cookies
I was pretty proud of how our Christmas cookies turned out. Lydia was a big helper, and by that I mean that she ate everything she touched.
Christmas Party with our fellow M3 families!
 The countdown is over - it's Christmas Eve!
 Christmas Eve dinner of clam chowder, homemade rolls, sweet potato casserole, salad, sparkling cranberry juice, and mint brownies for dessert. Perfection. (Despite the fact that I burned the rolls...)
 The girls were pretty excited to have a special candlelit dinner
Growing up my family would color a page of a "Twas the Night Before Christmas" coloring book every Christmas Eve. That was one of those unique family traditions that I absolutely loved and it seems that Lydia enjoys it as well :-)

 Christmas morning just before going to see the tree!
 For some reason oranges always taste best when they've been in your stocking...
 Lydia loves her new Frozen nightgown. We had a very difficult time getting her to wear anything else.
 Austin got an R2D2 nutcracker
 Opening the Santa gifts!
 Lydia was so excited about her princess crowns that she insisted that we all be princesses for the day. She even made Austin wear a tiara. We spared him from a photo.
 Brynn was so sleepy that she passed out right in my arms. Baby snuggles = heaven.
 Christmas breakfast included a Swedish tea ring, honey baked ham, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and orange julius. Once again, I made way too much food but it was amazing.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Daddy Comes Home


The girls both light up when Daddy gets home from work. Brynlee saves her best wheezy laughs for Daddy, while Lydia is always prepared to jump on him when he gets back. There really is nothing cuter than a Daddy playing with his little girls. Oh how I love my sweet little family!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tackling the Terrible Twos


Yesterday Austin came home from work at the hospital and I informed him that I would be buying Ben and Jerrys that night as soon as the girls went to bed and there was nothing he could do to stop me. Luckily he's a really good guy and understood what that meant. Being the wonderful hubby that he is, Austin tried extra hard to help out with the girls and even volunteered to go get my ice cream for me later that evening. Seriously, though, how did I get so lucky? 

The past two days we have slammed hard into Lydia's terrible twos. It was just in time for my first solo adventure to church with the girls (since Austin has to work most weekends now). I was expecting it to be hard, but that was something else. We stayed in the hall for all of the first hour and by the end of church I had the diaper bag slung over my shoulder, Brynn in one arm, and Lydia kicking, thrashing, and wailing in the other. My legs are covered in bruises from this escapade. When I thought my arms were gonna fall off and I finally let her down, Lydia ran and hid in a bush and the only reason we finally made it to the car was thanks to our sweet sister missionaries who braved the prickly bush to retrieve her. Then on our half hour drive home, Lydia screamed almost the entire way and only stopped when she somehow managed to escape from her car seat. We had to pull over and fix that, which led to another thunderous tantrum. I had tried so hard to reason with her, ignore the bad behavior, and kept going through all the positive parenting tips I've read about in my head, but nothing was getting results. My nerves were shot.

That was our jump start into the terrible twos. I'm honestly quite terrified by this transition. It's like Lydia has transformed into a whole new person. Not even a person - a little monster on steroids. It's scary! Ever since then it's been a cycle of tantrums, timeouts, apologies, repeat. The only good news is that Brynlee still adores Lydia despite all the bullying she's put up with. Brynn gets very upset whenever I put Lydia in timeout - even if Lydia's doing her time for hurting her sister. She'll crawl up to Lydia's door and tap on it with her pudgy fist while making these sad little whimpering noises until Lydia is ready to come out. I'm so thankful that Brynlee is always there to remind me that babies are sweet, cute, and definitely worth it.

I keep telling myself that this is just a phase and it'll pass - but it's been a whomping three days and it feels like an eternity. I can deal with sporadic tantrums, but nonstop... that can't be the whole year, right? I think her top molars are still working their way in, which might be putting her more on edge than usual. Hopefully that's the cause and she'll snap back to normal once they break through.

In the meantime, I'm trying to survive and maintain as much sanity as is humanely possible given the circumstances. Thank goodness for beautiful autumn weather! Last night for family night, I decided to teach a lesson on how to talk about our feelings. Lydia loved holding up all of the different faces and identifying what each one was feeling. I told a little story about a girl named Sally, who talked about her feelings when she had a friend over to play - and needed to share her toys and say good-bye when it was time for her friend to leave. Lydia seemed to really empathize with Sally. She's been playing with the faces ever since, so hopefully it'll sink in and she'll start to communicate a bit better so we can prevent future tantrums.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I admit that I don't love every aspect of being a stay-at-home mom. There are definitely moments and parts of it that I cherish, but it's really not all that glamorous all of the time. That's just life, I guess. Some days/weeks are wonderful, and sometimes you just gotta survive and trust that things will get better.

Now this is the face of the Lydia I know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Random Lydia/Brynlee moments

I can't believe how fast my girls are growing up! I figured I should post my videos and random pictures of them before I forget.

Brynlee has started appealing on Lydia's behalf to end quiet time early. Those two are becoming inseparable!

Can you tell those two are sisters?  Lydia is an energy bunny and Brynlee feeds off of that energy. Without Lydia around, Brynn is very calm and mellow.

Brynn lights up whenever Lydia notices her. Lydia loves pretending that Brynlee is her baby and enjoys having someone's undivided attention every second of the day. It works out great. They are so dang cute together!

We finally started combining their baths and they love splashing together  :)
Brynlee loves her exersaucer!
Caught mid-bounce! She takes after her sister :)
Embracing the spirit of Autumn during Family Night
Squash soup, homemade rolls, apple cider, Halloween sugar cookies, and painting pumpkins - can life get any better?!

On the move!
Brynn likes to twist her tongue

She's always such a beam of sunshine

Lydia loves giving her baby sister lots of hugs and kisses.
My sweet Brynlee bean
Sneak peak of Brynlee's Halloween costume