Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I went to look at last year's resolutions to do a re-cap and for once I never made any.  Excpet to lose weight.  That's a given every year.  Here's my resolutions for 2012:
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Get more organized
  • Get the girls on an earlier going to bed/waking up schedule
  • Use more coupons/try to save more on groceries by meal planning around sales, etc./spend less in general
  • Call my dad more and send him more pictures (sorry, Dad!)
I also have a list of projects I/we plan/hope to get done in 2012:
  • Replace the girls' toddler beds with twins, paint and redecorate their room.
  • Hang curtains in our dining room and bedroom (we've been in our house 4 years and still haven't done that!)
  • Purge/de-clutter/reorganize the entire house and garage.  Did a bunch of that today and it felt great.
  • Finish putting photos in albums and/or scrapbook (I've had piles of photos just hanging around in envelopes or boxes for years and I finally started but didn't finish).
I'm sure other thing will come up throughout the year but that's a start.  Oh, and I also hope to run in my first 5K!  We'll see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas

Our Christmas celebration started on Christmas Eve morning.  We let the girls open a few gifts from us so we'd have less to haul down to the in-laws.  Then after breakfast we headed down and got there around 1:00 PM.  We had lunch and then went for a short walk.  Then we changed clothes/got the girls in their Christmas dresses and went to their church's Christmas Eve service, then home for dinner, presents and dessert with their good friend and her daughter.  We finally got the girls to sleep around 10:00 I think, and they slept until 8:30ish on Christmas morning.

We had brought their stockings with us, since Santa wouldn't have been to our house yet before we left home, so we did stockings and Santa presents first, then had breakfast (eggnog french toast-yum!) and then the marathon present opening began.  Paul's parents (well, mom) really goes overboard with gifts.  The girls were actually tired of opening and losing interest toward the end.  But, they got some really great stuff.

We had a wonderful turkey dinner and then some other friends came over for dessert, then we spent one more night and came home on Monday after stopping briefly at a friend's house, where the girls got to play with their 3 kids and 2 cats.  Since then, it's been non-stop cleaning/organizing/purging.  Paul had yesterday off, too, so he put together their play castle (I helped).  This weekend we will take down the tree and any other decorations that are still out and then we're going to shampoo our carpets (just the downstairs).  They need it SO badly.

The one time of year I dress them alike, although if I can ever find two different Christmas dresses that look good together, I will!

And that wasn't even all of them

Santa gave Olivia a guitar (and a microphone-she loves to play "American Idol")

Kayley wanted a Thomas train...

...and a Cars guitar

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Follow Up

I let the girls sleep until 9:00 this morning, figuring they needed it since Kayley was up so late and Olivia's sleep kept getting interrupted (I do think about giving them separate rooms from time to time but most of the time there's no issue).  I thought we'd have no problem getting them to bed at their normal 9:00ish, but then Kayley fell asleep around 5:00.  We didn't let her sleep long, though, because we were trying to have an early dinner so we could go to Snowflake Lane.  On the way back, Olivia fell asleep in the car.  Now they are both wide awake at 9:46.  Sigh.  They should be back to normal in a day or two.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Frustrated

The girls keep sleeping until 9:00 or 9:15 and I keep letting them because I like to sleep in, too, because I stay up kinda late (11:00, 11:30) because I like to read or watch TV or play on the computer for awhile after everyone else goes to bed.  So this last week I've been getting up later than normal most days, like between 8:30 and 9:00 (one morning it was 9:20!  What mom of small kids, stay-at-home or otherwise, can ever do that?).  But then instead of getting the girls up then and there I like to get on the computer for awhile, so I let them sleep.  Then they sometimes don't go to bed until 9:30 or later, which is why I have to stay up until at least 11:00 or 11:30 to have my alone time so then I'm unable to get up early enough to get them up earlier.  It's a horrible cycle.

Today they got up at about 9:15.  Surpringly, Olivia told me at 7:05 that she wanted to go to bed, but then she wanted to take a bath first so she ended up going to bed at 8:30.  Kayley on the other hand, acted like she was going to go to sleep too, but proceeded to come out of her room a few minutes later (while I was engrossed in a movie) wanting a snack.  Daddy was in the kitchen so I sent her down there for a snack, then she wanted to play so since it wasn't quite her normal bedtime I let her stay up to play for a bit.  Then I put her to bed again and several minutes later she came out again, all dressed up in her princess garb.  I put her back in bed and told her to stay there or else.  Several minutes later she came out because she had to go poop.  So she did, and I once again put her back to bed.  This time I was so annoyed (but she couldn't help having to go to the bathroom, obviously) it was all I could do to not scream and wake Olivia.  Olivia did stir several times during the repeated commotions but didn't really wake all the way.  Now it's 10:00 and she's FINALLY quieting down, although I think I hear her reading quietly to herself.  What I need to do is go to bed now, so I can get up early enough to have some time on the computer or with the Today show or whatever and still get them up before 9:00, but darn it, I like to have some "me" time in the evening after they finally go to sleep.  I guess I might just have to start setting an alarm for the mornings.  And part of the reason I end up sleeping so late is because I'm usually awake for a good long while when hubby gets up for work between 4 and 5, so it's not as bad as it sounds.

Anyway, off to finish my movie.  It's now 10:22 and...oh my gosh.  I was going to say she's just now quite but she came out AGAIN!  She said she had to go potty and I didn't really believe her but I took her and sure enough she went.  So I just put her to bed again and poor Olivia kind of woke up half way again.  GO TO SLEEP!!!!  It's 10:30!  THIS IS MY TIME!!!!!!!   LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!  GEES, I'm so mad and frustrated.  I think tonight is a record as far as how many get-ups.  I was going to do some wrapping tonight but it's so darn late and I'm so annoyed I just don't feel like it.  I don't know when I'm going to get it done.  Probably at the very last minute like always.

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Christmas Program


There they are-front and center in the green dresses

The girls sang in their very first Christmas program at church last night.  They did so good!  I really wasn't sure what to expect--I thought maybe they'd get up there and freeze, just staring out at the audience and not singing a note.  But they sang the whole time and did the hand motions and everything.  I was so proud.

I took some video with just our camera (we don't have a camcorder) and had a little trouble zooming and holding it steady but at least I got something.  Most of the pictures I took didn't turn out because I had the wrong setting-grrrrr.  I swore I checked.  But we did do a photo shoot before we left.







Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Kick-off

We are officially in full-on Christmas mode.  Yesterday was our annual trek to the tree farm for our Christmas tree.  The girls were really into this year and did a great job helping us pick the perfect tree.

This is it!


Enjoying  a post-tree hunt oreo



We spent the whole afternoon decorating it and the house, then at 5:30 we headed to our town's annual Tree Lighting and Santa arrival.  We had a carriage ride, some cookies, warm apple cider and hot chocolate, and the girls got to sit on Santa's lap for a picture.  Last year Kayley was too scared but this year was no problem.

Window clings

Photo op with Rudolph

On a carriage ride




Tonight we tried to get some pictures of the girls with the cats.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Favorite Christmas Movies


Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge


Wow, I can't believe it's December already.  Today's Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge topic is favorite Christmas movies/specials, and now I'm totally in the mood to start watching them all, and I'm also going to try to find a bunch I've never seen on TV and watch those, too.

My all time favorite is Charlie Brown.  Every year my mom would make popcorn and my brother and I would curl up with our favorite pillows/blankets and watch.  And I love that they still play it on TV in this day and age of political correctness even though (gasp!) it mentions the birth of Christ as the real meaning of Christmas.  I'm surprised it hasn't been banned from network television.

Anyway, I have a couple favorites that most people probably don't think of as Christmas movies, but hey, they take place at Christmastime.

And then there's Christmas Vacation that we watch every Thanksgiving weekend, and one of my latest favorites, Elf.

Of course, I love all the classic specials like Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  When I was little I used to cry every time when Frosty melted, even though I knew he came back to life later.

It's funny that I never watched classics like It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, etc., until I was an adult.  I love those too, but didn't grow up watching them, for some reason.

Let's Play A-Z

I'm a sucker for stupid games like this.  I did this one on Facebook a few years ago and found it again to at And Then There Were Four, who found it at Faith, Hope & a Whole Lotta Love.  Feel free to play along.

A. Age: 42

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore that you hate:  Folding/putting away laundry

D. Dogs:  Love them and hope to get one some day, but cats are so much easier if you ever spend a night or two away from home, so right now we have 2 kittens.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee!

F. Favorite color: Purple

G. Gold or Silver:  Silver

H. Height:  5-2 1/2".  I've shrunk 1/2" in the last few years :(

I. Instruments you play:  Make that "played":  Trumpet and Piano.  I can still read music, barely, and try to play stuff on an electronic keyboard but it's really hard.

J. Job title:  Mom

K. Kids: Twin 3-year-old girls, Olivia and Kayley

L. Live:  Near Seattle, WA

M. Mother’s name:  Barbara

N. Nicknames:  None

O. Overnight hospital stays:  4:  7/03 Appendectomy, 5/04 laparotomy for endometriosis, 8/07 food poisoning while 12 weeks pg w/the girls and 2/08 C-section.  There was also a day surgery in there for a lap for endo, 6/06.

P. Pet peeves:  Drivers who don't signal, using the bathroom stall/treadmill/whatever right next to you when there's a whole row of available ones, leaving shopping carts in the parking stall so a) no one can park there and b) it could hit someone's car if it rolls.  Lazy people in general.  Waiting for a parking space instead of just parking a TEENY bit further away...etc.

Q. Quote from a movie: "I have to go shopping now" from Pretty Woman.

R. Right or left handed: Right.

S. Siblings: Two brothers

T. Time you wake up:  First time between 4 and 5 when hubby gets up, but then I go back to sleep and get up between 8 and 8:30, usually.

U. Underwear:  Depends what I'm wearing/doing, but usually just pretty but cotton.  No granny panties, and not against thongs if the outfit requires.

V. Vegetable you hate:  Lima beans

W. What makes you run late:  Having two 3-year-olds.
X. X-Rays you’ve had:  Dental, of course, and several back/neck at various chiropractors over the years.
Y. Yummy food that you make:  Chicken caccitore, oatmeal cookies

Z. Zoo animal:  Giraffe.  Proof that God has a sense of humor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Children's Museum

I stumbled upon free passes to the KidsQuest Children's Museum through our local library-score!  I've been wanting to take them there forever so I was thrilled to get free passes.  We went today and the girls really enjoyed it.  They only had certain days available, though, all weekdays, so Paul couldn't go with us.  But since it was for 4 people I was able to have a friend who is currently unemployed join us, but she couldn't stay long.

Anyway, the big hits were the scarf shooter, water tables and this machine with gears and levers to manipulate balls through various chutes and holes.  Totally fun.

We made polar bear claws

 
Playing with a boy at the scarf shooter

Letting the machine blow the ball in the air

Puppet show

Colorful magnetic shapes

Riding Clifford in the mall

Holiday Traditions




Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge



Today I'm joining Amber and Neely's Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge where the topic is Favorite Holiday Traditions.  Paul and I have enjoyed creating several Christmas traditions since we got married.  First, we always watch Christmas Vacation sometime during the Thanksgiving weekend.  Next, all 4 of us go to a local tree farm to select, cut down and purchase our Christmas Tree (aptly refered to as the Nelson Family Christmas Tree).  We used to do this the Friday after Thanksgiving, but in the last few years we've waited until the first weekend in December.  We spend most of the day the first Saturday in December getting our tree, putting it up and decorating it.  We also put up our outside lights that weekend.

Last year we took the girls to see Santa for the first time, and that will become an annual tradition.  Finally, we always take a drive around the neighborhood one evening to look at all the lights.  And, of course, it wouldn't be the Christmas season without an eggnog latte from Starbucks!

One tradition I'm hoping to start this year is taking the girls to "Snowflake Lane" at the Bellevue Square Mall.  They have a drum line and I don't remember what all else and I think there is fake snow or something.
 
I love these traditions and hope that we're making special memories for the girls.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

I can't believe Thanksgiving weekend is over.  Those 4 days just flew by!  We went to my brother's house up in Mount Vernon for Thanksgiving and had a great time visiting my family.  The girls got to play with their 2nd cousins (whose mother is my niece/their 1st cousin) which is so fun for them.

Friday we took them to their very first movie, The Muppets.

They did pretty good, but not quite as good as I expected, considering that at home they would watch TV all day long if I let them and certainly never have an issue with sitting through an entire kids' movie.  I think if it had been an animated Disney/Pixar film they would have done just great, but they really don't "know" the Muppets so they liked 'em for awhile but got kind of bored toward the end.  I loved it. I grew up with and loved the Muppets so it had sentimental value for me.  Anyway, they liked it well enough and really enjoyed the whole experience of being in a theater and having popcorn and all that.

Saturday Paul's mom and sister came over (she was visiting from Portland for the weekend) to watch the girls while we went Christmas shopping.  They made sugar cookies and had a blast playing with Auntie Cheryl.  I also got some decorating done in the morning before they came, and now we just need to get our tree and put our lights up.  That will be next weekend's project.

Today was back to normal, sort of.  Usually we stay home all day on Mondays and I do tons of laundry and try to get the house back in order from the weekend, but this morning we had to take the cats to the vet for their third and final round of shots, and then after lunch we took advantage of the sunny (albeit cold) day and rode bikes and went to the park.  Then, when Paul got home I went to the gym for the first time in a week!  Yikes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bedtime

I don't know what it is about evenings, but every night in the hours between dinner and bedtime the girls morph into something akin to this:



 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Playdates

We don't do a ton of playdates.  We might do one or two a month with my mom's group, and every once in awhile I might get together with another mom somewhere.  Other than that it's just storytime at the library, sunday school, the park, etc.  But lately we suddenly have a bunch of playdates on the calendar.

Last Tuesday we had one with the mom's group to make Thanksgiving crafts.  I still maintain that glitter glue and 3-year-olds are not a good combination but at least it washes off easily :).  We (I helped) made some cute foam turkeys.  They love doing crafts and I'm sure we'll be doing tons more for Christmas.

How cute are these?
Mommy accidently put the feathers on the wrong side on the one on the left.  My bad.

Stickers and glitter glue = hours of fun

Friday we had a playdate at our house with another set of twins.  Boy/girl twins that are 2 1/2.  I met the mom through another friend.  That was really fun.  The girls rarely have friends over (they end up seeing/playing with neighbor kids outside, mostly) so they really enjoyed it and everyone played really well together.

Next Tuesday we have a playdate with the twin boys across the street at their house, and Friday we have a princess themed playdate with the mom's group.  They've already been talking about that one for a week or so.  They can't wait to be able to wear all they're princess garb (other than just at home).  Fun times.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Preschool Hunting

We are in the throes of searching for a preschool for the girls.  I thought I had it narrowed down but then I found a few more to check out and just today I got a flier in the mail for a brand new one just down the road, like literally 2 minutes away at a church we briefly attended when we first moved here.  I really want to find out more about that one, and hope maybe they're a little less expensive, but probably not.  They also have classes starting in January, so maybe I won't have to wait until September to get a few hours to myself a few days a week!  Not that I'm counting down or anything.  Besides, we maybe would wait until September anyway just to save money.  Anyway, I've been busy calling and emailing and we're hoping to make a decision soon so that we can get on a waiting list if need be.  Preschool already (well, not already.  Most kids their age started this year).  What happened to my babies?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Night

The girls were so excited to go trick-or-treating last night.  They barely ate any dinner.  Our friend Jerri came over to help give out candy so we could both take them around the neighborhood, which was great, because usually I stay behind to give out candy and only daddy gets to take them.


A fairy and a mermaid


Olivia did NOT want to pose for a picture


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meet the Kitties!

Last Saturday we finally made it to the shelter after talking about it for weeks and came home with two adorable kittens.


Cleo

Maisy

How cute is this?

I love animals and never thought I'd be petless for this long (it's been about 4 1/2 years since our last cat died), but then the girls came along and the last thing we needed was yet another demanding creature living among us.  But now that they're older we figured it was about time.  Although, in hindsight, having witnessed these poor kitties being picked up by the neck, chased and smothered (not literally, but with pets and cuddles) it might have been better to wait another year or two, but actually the cats are pretty tolerant and handling it quite well (meanwhile, we're coaching the girls on how to handle them and what not to do).  It's really fun to have cats again.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Issues with Couponing

Kelly's Show Us Your Life topic today is couponing.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom I've tried to explore the world of couponing a few different times, but have given up on it.  I have two main issues.

1.  I have found that most coupons are for items that I don't need/want.  Things like Hamburger Helper or canned veggies.  No thanks.

2.  Coupon items that I actually need, like paper towels or cleaning supplies for instance, are still more expensive than the store brand, so I just buy the store brand instead.

I've also had bad experiences with coupon websites.  I've tried them a few different times and have always had to download software or a special application to my computer, and then I've had trouble trying to print the coupons.  The first time I tried it I couldn't get any of the coupons to actually print, and the second time I finally got one out of several to print, after much effort.  So I've given up on those websites.

I do find store coupons for things like eggs, cheese, butter, bread, orange juice, etc., in the paper and I'll use those, but that's about the extent of my couponing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Windy Day at the Park

So last week and the week before the girls were fighting colds and we didn't get out much.  Then after being gone most of the weekend, I spent most of Monday catching up on housework and laundry, although we did get outside to ride bikes for awhile.  So by yesterday I was desperate to get out for some fun stuff, and the weather was supposed to be great, so I made plans to go to a new park (not new but one we'd never been to), see the trains (there's a railroad museum in our town and a bunch of old trains along the highway with a walking path along the tracks), and run an errand or two.  I almost scrapped those plans when it also turned out to be very windy (I despise wind), but finally decided what the heck.  So to the park we went where I endured the super annoying wind and on the way back, we stopped to look at the trains, which I've been talking about doing all summer.  Now I can finally cross that off my list.




Mount Si

 
Someone was flying a kite






"Try to catch us, mommy!"


Today we went to storytime and will get haircuts and go to Trader Joe's after lunch, tomorrow the girls get flu shots and Friday I plan on taking them to the mall to play (supposed to be rainy the next several days).
Much more fun than last week.  Well, except for the flu shot part!