Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shutterfly Cards 2011

I love Shutterfly. They have given me 25 cards to blog about my Shutterfly Christmas card experience, but I honestly order from them all the time. Last year we created ABC books with photos from Caitlin’s first year. Sean’s Baptism invitations? Shutterfly. It was pretty enough that we used it as part of the decorations.

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Valentine's Day. St. Patrick's Day. Easter. Fourth of July. You name it, we've created a card for it.

I’m pretty good at remembering events thanks to e-mail reminders I’ve set up, but we stink at actually sending cards and gifts on time. Being able to create a greeting card online with photos of my little darlings to send directly to the recipient is worth its weight in gold.

I am a bit of a photo card snob. I check the back of the cards we get in the mail to see where they are from. To each their own, but I love the look of Shutterfly photo cards. These are not the plain boring photo cards of years gone by! We went to she beach dressed in Santa hats and the mall dressed in Christmas PJs. We take our cards seriously!

The Irishman and I sat down and went through hundreds of options tonight. We quickly narrowed it down – we wanted a 5x7 folded card. I love the new compare feature. (They didn’t tell me to say that. I am a regular user so I noticed it. Such a great idea!) We used to click back and forth to decide which card we like best.

We had a lot of fun playing with the different options. I saved each one as we went along until we came to THE card. As soon as we plugged in our pictures we knew our search was done. I’m not going to share the finished product on the ol’ blog, but let’s just say I’m looking forward to getting my orange envelope in the mail!

P.S. I love their special offers and coupon codes. I have a coupon code for $10 off a $50 purchase that I got in the mail. It was one of those “One for You – One for a Friend” deals that expires Dec. 15, 2011. If you would like the code, leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I will send it on to you.

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I recieved 25 free cards from Shutterfly. All opinions are my honest thoughts.

Daddy’s Girl

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Muppet Memories

The Irishman and I have spent a lot of time in the last week working on the house. We had almost gotten things the way we wanted them after acquiring the new entertainment center when it was time to take out the Christmas decorations. A lot of what needs to be done is easier to do when a certain 2-year-old is not around. We’ve had a lot of late nights lately!

Last night we decided to take the night off. Caitlin hadn’t been to “school” in a week. I go back to work in just two weeks, so I don’t want it to be too great a shock when she is back to full weeks. (I’ve been keeping her home 2-3 days a week)

The Irishman was off today but we decided make an effort to get as much work done as we could. We ordered a car seat. We did laundry. We hung the last of the lights outside. We planted poinsettias. We unpacked boxes of decorations. We filled picture frames. We made plans and ordered Christmas presents.We packed away boxes that used to hold decorations.

Then Morgan left to pick up Caitlin for a Daddy/Daughter date. He had been planning this one for a while now. You see, the first movie my husband saw in the theater was The Muppets.

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He has always been a huge fan. I’m pretty sure he started planning today as soon as he heard the movie was coming out.

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The Irishman picked up his little girl from school just as nap time was ending.

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Kermit the Frog came with them to the movie.

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I’m told Caitlin did very well. She cuddled up with her daddy to watch the film. They took a break in the middle and headed out to the lobby.

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Caitlin loved the “kitties” she met there.

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They went back into the theater for the finale. I think the Irishman was a little disappointed to have missed part of the movie, but I know he enjoyed getting to share the experience with his little girl.

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After the movie Daddy, Caitlin, and Kermit all sat on a bench outside.

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They finished the slushy

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as they chatted about the film.

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I would have loved to have joined them, but I am thrilled that they had such a nice time on their “date.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photos by Ruth

The Irishman took a whole week off for Thanksgiving this year. What he didn’t mention was his real motive behind the time off. This week has been devoted to Christmas-ing our lives! He is one of those people who gets the Christmas bug early. We have agreed to wait until Thanksgiving to start the festivities, and he takes it seriously!

The first order of business was taking pictures for our Christmas card. Last year we took pictures at the beach when my mom was in town. He LOVES these photos. All year long he has been working on ideas for recreating or “topping” last year’s photos. I caught him googling Christmas card ideas in July.

(This is his favorite picture from last year)

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The first order of business was finding someone to take the pictures. My husband asked Ruth months ago if she would mind taking our pictures. We were both thrilled when she agreed!

Up first was to recreate the poster. It was this sight that had strangers on the beach taking out their cell phone cameras.

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We weren’t sure how to show off Sean. He is only (almost) 4 months old, so sitting and standing were out of the question. We tried a basket.

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It wasn’t long before we gave up on that idea.

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Ruth took about 400 pictures for us. We have spent the last few days going through them and trying to decide what to use for Christmas cards. The Irishman ordered prints today. I’m pretty sure he is hoping to leave them up year-round.

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A trip to the beach like this is not complete without an outfit change. We have framed some of these pictures from last year, so we tried to recreate that as well. By this point the kids had had enough, but you can see how our family has grown!

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I’m not sharing our Christmas card pictures just yet, but this is the 12x18 inch poster that will be hanging in my husband’s office beginning next week.

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Expect more pictures to follow soon. The family shots are lovely, but some of the other ones are just spectacular! Ruth as a talent and we are grateful that she was willing to accept the challenge of taking pictures with Santa hats, a toddler, and an infant.

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Ruth also took the pictures I used to make my new blog header. It may still be in the mid-80s, but we are feeling festive with all these photos!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

In the last week we have taken well over 500 photos. Interestingly enough, I did not take most of them. We had a Groupon for a department store portrait studio, so Tuesday afternoon we used that up before it expired. The Irishman and I were thrilled with the pictures, but then…

Wednesday we were fortunate enough to have the wonderful Ruth take family pictures for us at the beach. (Sadly our computer is not the healthiest these days so I am having a hard time adding links without the computer freezing up. It doesn’t like visiting blogs…including my own. Thank goodness it doesn’t hold a grudge against Google Reader or I would never get to keep up with my favorite blogs! Point is, I am going to *try* to link to Ruth’s blog here, but I’m not sure it will let me!)

Back to the pictures…

Let’s just say that I saw more than one stranger on the beach with a cell phone camera out taking pictures of us.

Ruth sent on the photos this morning. The Irishman had just gotten home from a quick trip to the store for a newspaper. He was more excited about the pictures than he was the ads. This from the man who starts his Black Friday Ad research months in advance and has an app on his phone that allows him to search the sales. The pictures are THAT good.

We have so many wonderful pictures to chose from – it is almost overwhelming! We hope to pick out the Christmas card photo tomorrow before we decide which ones to share. Ruth has posted a few pictures she took of Caitlin on her blog, so you can check them out there.

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Today was a WONDERFUL day. It actually ranks up there in best Thanksgiving Days ever.
Last night I was on Pinterest and I followed a link on menu planning to a blog where I found a recipe for kolaches. Now, going for kolaches is one of our favorite things to do on Thanksgiving morning in Houston, so this was exciting. I discovered that Walmart sells the dough used in the recipe, so I talked the Irishman into going there to buy the paper in the morning.

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The Irishman declared them good, but decided the dough to be not quite sweet enough. Regardless, they were a nice treat this morning and something we will make again.

We were eating kolaches. Caitlin had a new pack of dollar-store play dough that she transformed into food for her play kitchen. For over an hour we marveled at how she entertained herself. The parade was on in the background and she would stop when one of her favorite friends came on the screen.

As I started preparing a few dishes to take with us to my grandparents, Caitlin came over to help. I was worried about time and not crazy about the pint-sized assistance. As it turned out, she did a great job snapping the green beans. We worked well together on the task, and after a bit she said, "Thank you Sweetie." Then she kissed my hand.

Be still my heart. It was all worth it!

We finished up with the green beans just in time to see Santa in the parade. Caitlin hasn’t been too impressed with the man in red so far this year, so the Irishman REALLY made a fuss over his arrival on TV.

Caitlin has started talking SO much more these days! She was shouting, “GGB!” as we turned the corner to my grandparents’ house. (Okay so it sounds more like BBD, but that’s okay. It is the thought that counts!) We had a lovely meal!

I had pictures of Caitlin’s first Thanksgiving at GGB’s house wearing this same bib.

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She was a lot smaller though when she wore it! Much like Caitlin’s first Thanksgiving, Sean slept through the meal!

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My grandmother was holding Sean after dinner and Caitlin decided we should take a picture.
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Here they are giving Sean some sugar.

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Caitlin blew kisses to Daddy behind the camera, too.

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She wanted her picture taken again. And again. And again. She’s too funny!

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Both kids fell asleep on the car ride home. It isn’t that far, but they were worn out from such a great day! Once they were both in bed Morgan and I made our final plan for Black Friday shopping. (He is out now picking up a few Christmas gifts for the kids.) I think I have the 5am shift. Oddly enough it is Home Depot I am most looking forward to in the morning. It makes me feel so “grown up” to WANT to go to Home Depot. As a kid that trip was considered a form of punishment! Oh, how things change!

It has been a lovely day. I really am so very thankful for the blessings in our lives!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Future Rugby Player?

While the Irishman and I are more into soccer and American football, Sean has his share of rugby gear. I took these pictures during our last cold front. It was so long ago I don’t even remember it happening!

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I’ve heard there will be another front tomorrow. Here’s to hoping that Thanksgiving is not in the mid-80s!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Caitlin’s Birthday Morning: The Presents

Okay so her birthday was a while ago now, but I still have pictures and video to share. We were back at the pediatrician's office again yesterday. Even though Caitlin has been acting fine and seems to feel fine, I thought she was wheezing at little at Mass on Sunday. The doctor confirmed that yes, she was wheezing just a little bit and he gave her some medicine for that. He warned that it might make her hyper.

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Last night she was bouncing off the walls. We (foolishly) decided to do fingerpainting and she was staring at her hand going, “Wow!” I’ve never seen anything quite like it. She could breathe better, but it was too much! We lowered the dose (like the doctor suggested) and she has been much better today.

That being said, a sick toddler does not make for blogging time! Thankfully the Irishman is off for the rest of the week so we should have some nice family time coming up. I’m looking forward to it!
So, here are pictures of Caitlin opening presents on the morning of her birthday. She had a second round of present opening a few nights later when a number of the out-of-town packages arrived in the mail. I *think* the Irishman got video of that…for some reason I didn’t take out the camera.

Grammy got Caitlin a musical card and a very soft doll. (And the car bed, but that was already in use!)

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I found the baby swing on clearance a few weeks ago. It fits the doll perfectly!

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Aunt Julie sent an adorable jumper and the Aquadoodle. Caitlin was so excited she tore open the box herself!

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Of course Cookie Monster was a big hit!

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Nana got Caitlin the barnyard version of her favorite cat book. She loves it! Nana also bought us tickets to see a play last weekend…more about that soon!

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The felt dolls were a hand-me-down from a co-worker. Her daughter is now in college and she thought Caitlin could use them. I took one of our old cookie sheets and spray painted it before gluing a sheet of felt on the inside. She now has a felt/magnet board to play with.

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She loves all her goodies!

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Thank you to everyone who sent out little birthday princess goodies! She is working on her thank you art!

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In other news, Caitlin has been dodo –free since Thursday of last week. It started almost as an accident when we couldn’t find one and I went with it. She found one hidden in her play kitchen this morning, but I managed to hide it away after breakfast without incident. I am SO happy to have the pacifier out of her mouth!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sean and the Crib

Sean has started taking naps in the crib in the nursery. Caitlin was not thrilled at first to see her brother in ‘her’ crib, but she is warming up to the idea. They will start sharing the room at night over Christmas.

As for the little guy himself, Sean isn’t so sure about the pink sheep mobile, but we are working on that!

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He is such a sweet baby boy!