Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Drumroll Please....

So I actually held out until Christmas morning - and did NOT peek at the results of our ultrasound. (Can you believe it?) And, we found out - definatively - that this baby is indeed a



Yep, his little pee pee was in clear shot in the ultrasound photo - if I can ever figure out how to use the scanner I'll scan the picture and post here.

As for his name - well that is still under debate. Not that we're having a huge debate over it - we just don't know for sure what his name will be. We wanted to use family names for the first two kids - now we're opening it up to any name that suits - which can be a bit overwhelming.

A - by the way - wants to call him 'snowflake.'

A's reaction to the news she was having a new baby brother was less than enthusiastic. She actually cried Christmas morning - in the middle of unwrapping a present - to say 'but I wanted a baby sister!' We told her we had not control over it - and that she would love being the only girl in the house. Eventually she came around - and is getting used to the idea.

Or so I thought...

Sunday night at dinner she looks at me and says:
"Mommy? That baby in your tummy is a boy, right?"
"Yes, A, it is."
"Well, can we have a girl next time?"

pause - while mommy chokes...

"Uh, no sweetheart - there will be no more babies in this house after your new brother is born."
"Well, mommy can't have anymore babies."

I'll spare her the lesson in tubal ligations for now...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cuties

Check out these super cute outfits I ordered from http://www.palmettokids.net/ They are wonderful! I know I know - I need to get over my 'matchy matchy' problem - but they're just too cute in their matching outfits not to make them wear them!
* Notice diva A - diving into J's picture along with him! Poor boy - he'll probably never get a picture alone given A's propensity to steal the limelight!

Christmas Cookies at Our House

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas in my world without certain cookies - made from long withstanding family recipes. The first are the traditional sugar cookie cut-outs. I remember making these every year with my mom - she'd make the dough from her original Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the '60's (remember the ringed binder one with the plaid hard cover?) She'd roll the dough, then let me help cut out trees and santas. Once they came out of the oven we'd cool them on our Burnt Orange formica counter top on paper grocery bags that we'd cut apart to spread open. Finally she'd mix frosting (powdered sugar and milk) and let me help ice them - completing with task with multi-colored sprinkles that she always said looked like little colored Christmas lights on the green trees.

This year, A helped me make and ice the cookies - she's getting to the age where she not only wants to help out - but is interested in the stories behind the cookies. She asked lots of questions and listened intently as I told her the tale of making cookies with her Nonna. She sprinkled her cookies with artistic flair - alternating the colors and designs and making each cookie unique.

Another traditional cookie I grew up with is the pizelle. My grandmother used to make these Italian treats by the armful - and she always had them stashed throughout her house - stored in old coffee cans (which are the perfect size and shape for storing these delicate cookies.) A and J were delighted - A of course wanted to help - but when she realized mommy wasn't kidding about the burning hot pizelle iron, she was content to sit and watch and snitch a cookie or two.

J, however, he kept reaching for everything in sight - repeating "hot" when he got near to the iron (but still reaching nonetheless) - and was in pure sugar heaven to enjoy his first taste of this traditional family cookie. (As evidenced by his face in the picture below.)

It always makes me feel closer to my family when I make these treats - the recipes are a part of our family now - and I'm thrilled to be sharing them with my children, and making memories for them to one day share with their own families.

It also makes me a bit melancholy ....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A's Trip to see the President's Wife

The President of USC's wife that is - apparently some confusion was a-brewing throughout A's 4-year old pre-school class when they were told they were going on a field trip to the President's house. Many of the kiddies thought they were going to see either George W. or Obama - I was proud that most of them actually knew who the president and president-elect were!

Anyway, several other moms and one dad (yeah L's Daddy!) chaperoned the class trip across campus to the President's house for a "holiday" party with the university president's wife. We hauled the kids up the hill through campus to the historic Horseshoe where the kids had a chance to run and play before the party actually started.

It was great fun, the house was decorated to the nines for the holiday season - with fresh magnolia and evergreen boughs draped over anything standing still, a beautiful Christmas tree, and several different religions decorations (nods to the different holidays.) Mrs. Pastides read several stories to the kids who enjoyed milk (or juice) and cookies and song singing.

The one downfall for my dear daughter A was the delight of many of the other children. Cocky made a guest appearance, to "read" a story to the kids (actually pantomime out while a 'friend' read the story), visit, and hand out books for the kids to take home. A is desperately afraid of all large costumed creatures, and even though she had been sufficiently prepared, and had told mommy and daddy at breakfast that she was going to be a 'brave girl' and even give Cocky a hug - she completely dissolved at the site of him.

Yes, that would be my child trembling in fear, screaming at the top of her lungs, and begging and pleading with me to take her home. That would be the same child that dove under the table and floor-length tablecloth in fear when Cocky came within ten feet of her.

That would also be the same child who blew kisses at Cocky, waved at him, and giggled at his flirting with her (from afar) as Mrs. Pastides was reading stories.


When it was all over and we were heading back to her pre-school, I asked her if it was really that bad. She said "no, Cocky is pretty silly, actually - and he's really just a man in a big chicken costume."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Holiday Weekend

We survived the busiest holiday weekend our household will have this season - and actually had some fun despite the harried pace!

Friday night was my corporate Christmas party - we're a small, laid back office, so it was a nice evening out at one of the city's nicest restaurants. Good food, good drink (I heard), good laughs. It was the first time D and I had been out alone - without the kids - in I don't know how long. Seriously. I think the last time we had adult time away from the kids was sometime - lord - I honestly can't remember! Horrible. At any rate, it was nice to get away - but came at a premium. I know I totally overpay babysitters, but the people I choose to let watch my kids aren't the neighborhood teenage girl who will sit on her behind, chew gum, talk on the phone, and watch movies. (I know - I was once a teenage babysitter...) No, we hire the teachers from the kids' school, and they come at a premium. Which is probably why we don't get out that often.

Saturday D took J for his second big boy haircut. Ms. Yolanda did another great job - it's kinda short - but he looks so grown up! We hosted my book club Christmas party Saturday night, so there were a lot of preparations to take place and a lot of cleaning/picking up to do. Thankfully one of A's classmates had a birthday party to attend in the evening (pizza included) and J was allowed to attend - so D had both kids out of the house for 2 hours before our party started. It was amazing all that I could accomplish with both kids out of the house for two solid hours! It was odd though - the silence that resonated throughout the walls...

The party Sat. night was nice - nice to see people I hadn't seen in a long time, to catch up, visit, eat some good eats. The only drawback was that A didn't go to sleep until the last guest left - so she was up well until 11pm. Which made for a grumpy little girl the next day.

D and I are visiting a new church - the reasons why we're not happy with our current church are the subject of another post - but we've committed to visiting this new place of worship through Advent. A and I went last week (D stayed home with J and his tummy issues). Both of us loved it - so we returned as a family this week. Three of us enjoyed it - the littlest one HATED the nursery. I don't think it was the place or the caregiver - just that it was new and he has separation anxiety. It was horrible. I haven't seen my son cry like that - ever.

So we made it through the Sunday school portion - but had to bail out of the church service early - which made me sad as it was the Lessons and Carols service that I always find so beautiful.

And then, Sunday afternoon, my good friend J and her two girls, A, and I all attended the Nutcracker. It was amazing - and A loved every minute of it. I loved watching my favorite ballet of all times through her eyes. It was lovely.

Of course I was emotional and teary when the first strains of the Overture started and the curtain rose - because seeing the Nutcracker is a tradition my mom and I started years ago.

I miss her.

We topped the weekend off with dinner out with our friends - and finally put one overtired A and one overtired J into their respective beds.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Ready for the Holidays

So started the holiday decorating extravaganza at our house. So far, the bottom third of the lights on our "fake" pre-lit Christmas tree (that we put in the den) have gone out (to be replaced by more colored lights OVER the string that is out in true classy style, half of the lights we tried to put on our "real" tree in the living room do not work at all, most all of the outdoor light displays are in various stages of not working... yes, the makings of a wonderful holiday season...
I'm trying to stay focused, not lose my temper when these things happen, but its hard. I just want everything to be finished, put up, boxes stored away - instead of looking like Christmas threw up all over our house.
I'd really like to focus on the fun things this holiday season (like making gingerbread houses) which was fun (after I had to remind A that she may not like every type of candy that came in the kit to decorate the house - it doesn't matter - it's not to be eaten). I'm looking forward to making Christmas cookies with her (when I ever have time) and taking her to see the Nutcracker (which is scheduled for this weekend.)
J is a little bit harder to celebrate the season with, being only 19 months old. He does enjoy the lights though - last Friday we took them through the Saluda Shoals Park Christmas lights display - he had a ball - although I think what he really enjoyed was being released from his car seat to sit on daddy's lap and help 'drive' the car (we were going less than 10 miles an hour and wanted the kids to see the display - so what for safety rules, right??)
All in all, it is a busy time of year -but one that I hope we can enjoy as a family. Even if it kills me.

Christmas is Coming...

... and it's not the goose that's getting fat - it's me! I've popped out with this pregnancy - which is early for me - usually I'm farther along before I look SO pregnant. Someone asked me the other day how far I am - when I said 20 weeks they asked that horrible question that people ask - thinking they are being funny but really being irritatingly obnoxious - "are you sure there's just one in there?" Ha ha ha. I'm laughing. Seriously.

Actually, my weight gain has been minimal - probably due to how sick I've been and not wanting to eat much - but all seems well.

We had our "big" ultrasound last week - and everything looked good. No worries - it always puts me at ease once that milestone is behind us - that the baby is developing and growing as he/she should.

Speaking of gender, yes, we did have the technician note the gender of this baby - but no, we don't know what that gender is yet. D and I decided to have it written down on a card - that we'll open together Christmas morning. We're not exchanging big gifts this year - mostly focusing on the kids and trying to get ready for this new baby - so what better gift to eachother than the knowledge of us having a son or a daughter.

(My money is on another boy - by the way - just a thought - for a while I thought girl - but now am feeling boy...)