Friday, December 30, 2011

Calendar from Pint-sized Prints

It was a homemade Christmas. Thanks to being home on maternity leave until mid-December, I had lots of ideas from Pinterest and planned out some thrifty projects. My favorite homemade gift started as an idea back in October. A copy of the finished product made it across the pond to my inlaws yesterday, so it is safe to share now!

I began pinning hand and foot print ideas on a board on Pinterest.  In college I thought I wanted to get into scrapbooking. I bought all sorts of papers, stamps, punches, scissors, etc. I had a hard time figuring out where to start, so I didn’t. I used to make homemade cards, but after half a dozen moves from one apartment to another, it has been a while since my supplies have seen the light of day.

After stamping plain footprints and handprints from the kids onto construction paper, I pulled out all my supplies again for this project and I had a blast! I used ideas I’d seen before and created my own. (The sheep and the footballs were things I’d thought of myself.)  Thanks to the grasping reflex it was almost impossible to get Sean’s handprints, but his little feet are so darn cute it didn’t matter!














The Irishman scanned the originals for me so we would have a digital copy. I added some of the text using Picnik. I recently upgraded to their premium service, but you can do a lot with the free version, too. We’d bought a Groupon for Vistaprint so that we could order calendars for our family and close friends at a great price. I also made one for my classroom.

I had SO much fun with this I am already planning for next year’s calendar!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve

On Friday night Caitlin we thought Caitlin might have been tugging at her ears, so we decided to pop into the pediatricians’ office on Christmas Eve to have it checked out. It didn’t seem that bad, but we had a fear of was seemed like nothing becoming a Christmas disaster. Thankfully we got the all-clear!

(Side note – I LOVE our pediatricians'’ office weekend hours. They do not take appointments. It is drop in only for three hours Saturday morning and two hours Sunday morning. Just enough for peace of mind!)

Anyway, after leaving the doctor, Caitlin and I headed to Target to pick up some stocking stuffers for the Irishman. Caitlin repeated, “Daddy – Treats!” the whole time! I was more than a little nervous about venturing out with a toddler on Christmas Eve, but she was great.

(The handful of stickers we swiped from the doctor’s office helped. I figure in the last month my co-payments alone have been far more than enough to stock the sticker basket, so we make use of it!)

Once home we ate some lunch before deciding to head off to get Caitlin’s haircut. She wasn’t thrilled about it, but they offered her multiple lollipops, so she let them cut her hair.

(There seems to be a trend going here with our daughter and bribes…)

After a quick stop to pick up one last Christmas gift we headed home to get ready for Mass. We met my cousins and their parents there. It was not our usual parish, but I wanted to find a Children’s Mass. It was a little too long for our kiddos, but it was a beautiful service in a magnificently decorated church.

(My cousin Amy took this first picture with her phone after Mass)






In the car on the way home the Irishman was able to video chat with his family in Ireland from his phone. Technology is amazing! They opened the gifts we got them for us to see. It was pretty neat. It was almost like being there!

We’d baked cookies earlier in the afternoon, but once we got home Caitlin ate the plate of cookies and milk we left for Santa. She just didn’t get the whole thing!

As I mentioned before, the Irishman and I had a very late night. By the time we went to bed Santa had already come and gone.

In Ireland, Santa always left a pillowcase of goodies for each member of Morgan’s family. My family had stockings. Our family tradition has become Santa Sacks. We leave stocking and Santa sacks under the tree for the man in red to fill. A wonderful former co-worker sent us a gift card when Sean was born that allowed us to order these beautiful Santa Sacks from Pottery Barn for each of the kids. They are fantastic. The Irishman and I hope to upgrade our Santa sacks next year!


Between Santa, family, and friends these kids did VERY well!


We went to bed looking forward to the morning so see our babes’ reactions!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Warm Holiday Wishes

I have many, many pictures from Christmas. At 3am Christmas morning the Irishman posted on Facebook, “The NORAD Tracker says Santa is in Las Vegas. Let me assure all of you, he is still hard at work in Florida.” That should give you an idea of the kind of night we had!

We may have only had three hours of sleep, but we had a lovely Christmas! I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of those photos, so I will start with the day after. Like we did for Caitlin’s first Christmas we took a trip on St. Stephen’s Day to the beach.


I’ll be honest… it wasn’t my idea. It was late in the afternoon. Caitlin was fussy. Sean was close to feeding time. I wanted to stay home, but I knew it was important to Morgan, so we convinced Caitlin to put on more than just a diaper and we headed out.


It was lovely. The weather has been warm even by Florida standards, but it was a treat to feel the sand between my freshly painted toes.

(The photo is for my mom. She enjoys bright nail polish. I told her that Santa brought me a shade of blue I would not typically wear and she mentioned something about me actually wearing it. The proof is in the photo…and the sand!)



We said we’d go back another time this week to take pictures, but a random woman on the beach stopped and offered to take our picture. It was a great moment to capture.


I know we likely won’t live in Florida forever, so we try to enjoy things like this when we can!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Train, Some Deer, and the Man in Red

Friday morning we called our friend Lyndsay to see if she and her boys would like to join us on an adventure. With three adults and four kids we loaded our the Tri-Rail train for Bass Pro Shops.


Lyndsay’s twins had been to the outdoor store before to see the fish, so they knew all about this particular photo spot.



Our primary reason for the trip was to see Santa’s Workshop. As soon as we walked in and saw the display at the front of the store we knew it was worth it!


(Though they did enjoy the fish as well!)


The kids had a great time with the trains and cars.


Caitlin found something to add to her Christmas list. She climbed up herself and was thrilled to “ride” it.


The Irishman had wanted to go to Macy’s to mail a letter to Santa, but we hadn’t made it out that way. He was thrilled to see that we could write a letter to Santa here!


When we first lined up for Santa, Caitlin was not impressed. Along the way I mentioned to her that Santa was going to bring her surprises. That was all it took to change her mind!

photo 25

Dylan and Logan did a great job!


This is the first picture of the kids and Santa without an adult. It isn’t perfect, but I considered it to be a success!


We had a lovely time. I’d heard wonderful things about the Santa’s Workshop at Bass Pro Shops and it did not disappoint. Add to that a train ride and you have three very content kiddos!

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Thursday night we ventured out past dark to visit the 100-foot Christmas tree.  Festive dress was required…


Caitlin has a thing for stars, so she was thrilled to see the top of the mammoth fake evergreen. The tree is visible from a couple of blocks away, so we got to listen to, “Wow!” and “Star!”


Sean slept most of the time.



Caitlin was also pleased to see Mary, Baby Jesus, and the sheep. Poor Joseph didn’t get any attention!


We decided to treat Caitlin to an ice cream cone from the family-run place across the way. The Irishman had to wait while the machine was warming up, so they gave him this huge ice cream cone free of charge for his troubles. It was late in the evening, so thankfully Caitlin lost interest before eating too much ice cream!


The carousel caught her eye right away. She begged to go on the “horsies” but as soon as we bought a ticket and got on she decided she wanted off. Thankfully another father saw what was happening and had his school age son move off the bench for us. She cried for the first couple of trips around and then warmed up to the idea. I wanted to post a sign in front of the screaming toddler saying, “This really was her idea.” I guess we’ve all been there before!


Sean woke up for some family pictures before we headed home.



It was a great end to a fantastic day!

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It has been quite a week! It has been such a blessing that both the Irishman and I are off for our Christmas break. It all started last Friday…

We had a half day at school so I hadn’t checked my phone all morning. When I did I found half a dozen missed calls and a text and e-mail all from the Irishman. He’d dropped off the kids at day care, but then the car wouldn’t start. After a long saga of nothing going right, the car made it to the shop.

We were supposed to go to a party that night, but we had to arrange pick up of Caitlin’s latest medicine while we were down a car. She won’t take liquid, so we thought we would try capsules and mix it into applesauce. When that didn’t work I tried mixing into melted white chocolate. I had a tiny pit on my finger and tasted it. It was TERRIBLE! We realized then that there was no chance of mixing the capsule contents into any food. To say I was stressed might be the biggest understatement of the year.

Thankfully Caitlin never ceases to amaze us. The kid can swallow the capsules. We hand the “no bite” pill to her with a cup of juice. She will swallow it and then cheer for herself. It is most impressive!

Saturday we met some friends at a boat parade.


At one point we thought we saw Caitlin tugging at her ear, but we didn’t think much of it because there were fireworks at the parade and it was loud. By Sunday morning she was complaining about an ear ache. By Monday afternoon we had a follow up meeting with the ENT.The double ear infection was showing no improvement and her hearing test was not so great. After going over our various options we were scheduled for surgery for tubed for the next morning.

We had to be at the surgery center at 6:30am Tuesday, so we kept our PJs. Caitlin was so brave!


We didn’t have a sitter, so Sean came, too!


She was away from us for only about 20 minutes. When we got back to her she had just woken up from the anesthesia and she was M.A.D. We have never seen her like that! I’d been warned that she would be upset, but I was expecting sad and weeping, not screaming and violent! She crawled around on the floor, she yelled, she kicked, she bit us. The Irishman got her to the car and she refused to talk or look at us. We were relieved when she fell asleep!

When she woke up we were at Sonic. The Irishman cautiously asked if she wanted something to eat. The reply he got back was a sing-song, “Okay!”

Our baby was back! Caitlin loves breakfast burritos, so she was thrilled.


By the time we got home she was all smiles. We could tell a difference as soon as the drugs wore off!


Caitlin is really good about taking her medicine, but right now there is a lot. She has a chewable allergy pill once a day, 4 antibiotic capsules a day, and ear drops 3 times a day. Needless to say we have stooped to bribes. Take your medicine and we’ll give you some chocolate. You want a marshmallow? Take your medicine!

Her favorite though are the lollipops!
My parents made this lollipop trees years and years ago and I recently ended up with it. Caitlin is in love!


Today was a wonderful day. The Irishman dropped the kids off at school this morning so that we could finish up our Christmas shopping. We’d planned to do a lot more early in the week, but we ended up at the doctor, surgery center, and the mechanic instead. (BTW, the car us okay. It spent 4 days in the shop, but the repairs ended up being minimal!) This afternoon Morgan moved some boxes for me in my classroom. We made gifts for the kids’ teachers. We had a lovely lunch. We bought the last of our Christmas gifts. It was fantastic.

Tonight we enjoyed more Christmas festivities as a family of four, but more about that later. For now it is late and past my bedtime. The kids are sharing a bedroom tonight for the first time, so we will see how it goes! Let’s hope we all get a good night’s rest!