Just so Thankful

We have so much to be grateful for this year.  
It's been a year of lots of changes and the stress that comes with change, 
but overall we've been so, so blessed.  
This year's Thankful Tree has been especially fun because Jilly is so into it.
She's had lots of writing practice adding leaves to our tree 
and I love to hear the sweet things she comes up with to be grateful for.  

2013, 2012 Thankful Trees - definitely my favorite Thanksgiving tradition


five fact friday

1.  Mattie went to nursery for the first time last Sunday.  I was sure it was going to be a complete flop, but as long as someone besides me dropped her off (Bryan took her initially and then after they brought her to me for a diaper change my friend took her back into nursery) she did great.  Can I get a hallelujah?!

2. I've grown soft in the past few years and was not prepared for the polar vortex to come and suck all warmth from my life.  On Tuesday it was a whopping 27 degrees and super windy.  I really thought we might all die while running from the car into the gym.  It's been better since then- still very cold but sunny and I'm developing coping mechanisms- fuzzy socks, hot cocoa, and at least 15 layers on at all times.

3. I couldn't hold it in anymore- I busted out a few Christmas decorations.  We put a little Christmas tree in Jilly's bedroom and I love how magical it feels.  Janssen posted her Christmas book list which was all the convincing I needed to find and wrap all our Christmas books and then go on a library book requesting frenzy.

4. Yesterday we had some work done on our car so we were stuck at home all day.  I'm usually go-go-go and can't stand to spend a whole day at home but it was actually an amazing day.  We read books, made cookies, and did a Thanksgiving craft.  The girls got to wear dress-up all day long, play with dolls, and have a tea party.  I vacuumed and mopped, and everyone helped clean the basement.  Perhaps we should have days at home more often (but not too often because I would go crazy.)

5.  I know some people hate these mini carts, but we just had to make a quick trip for a couple things and thanks to this cart it was the dreamiest shopping experience.  Jilly happily followed right behind me and I could carry ultra sleepy Mattie the whole time, which she loved.  Now let's just hope Jilly forgets about these carts next time when we have a more extensive shopping list 


Mattie: eighteen months

Eighteen things about eighteen-month-old Mattie Claire

1. She loves her paci and blankie and gets super excited to go in her bed with them

2. She takes one afternoon nap that is somewhere between 1.5 hours and 4 hours (I much prefer the latter)

3. She loves Dannon yogurt smoothies and would eat 5 a day if I let her 

4. She's way into Frozen and says "Let Go!" every time she sees anything Frozen-related

5. She talks way more than Jilly did at this age (which I'm sure is because she has an older sister that she listens to all day long.)  Our favorite things she says are Gi-ee (Jilly), Careee! (scary), Dan-doo (thank you) Lookit! (look at this, always said while pulling us over to see something), Mee Mou (Minnie Mouse), and I tinky (whenever she needs her diaper changed)

6. She loves shoes- especially Jilly's shoes and any dress-up shoe

7. She's an iphone whizz- can flip through my phone and find exactly what she wants.  I'm not proud of this.

8. She's very shy and doesn't like when strangers talk to her at all

9. She loves to brush her teeth- perhaps a future dentist?

10. Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and at the end of the show can always be found right in front of the tv singing "hot da" while doing a little shimmy

11. We have some Minnie Mouse pajamas she loves that are way too big so I let her wear them over her pajamas every night

12. She's teeny tiny and after going through a multitude of tests we've finally decided she's just petite

13. She loves dogs and has to stop every time we see one, but usually isn't brave enough to actually touch

14. She hates her carseat

15. But, she loves little seats or little spots where she can hide

16. She insists on giving each member of our family a big, wet, full-mouth kiss before she goes to bed

17. We taught her to throw things away in the trash but she'll often get confused and put her dishes in the trash when she's done

18. Her favorite toy is Potato Head and she thinks it's hilarious to put the Potato Head pieces on her own face


a Party fit for a Princess

I really debated having a birthday party for Jilly this year.  I knew she'd love it (and I'd love planning it), but she's still young and I was not interested in hosting a party full of whining, crying girls.  So I made it simple- we only invited 5 girls, just planned some basic activities, and had it on a Saturday when Bryan and my mom could be there to help.  We had a few tears, but for the most part it went really well, and Jilly loved it.

Naturally Jilly wanted a Princess Party so all the girls come dressed up.  We painted their nails, read a princess book, and decorated wands (I hot glued foam crowns onto dowels and let the girls decorate with jewels and foam stickers- I didn't get many pictures but they were cute and so fun to make.)  Then the girls had a princess lunch of heart-shaped pb&h sandwiches, apples, and popcorn.  We played Pin the Nose on Olaf, Princess Says, and turned on music to let the girls dance and play Follow the Leader.  Jilly opened her presents and then we ate cake- a strawberry cake with white frosting and strawberries on top- her very specific request.

Jilly still talks nonstop about how she had her friends over for a party and has already requested a chocolate cake for her birthday party next year so definitely a success!

^ We got this cake plate for our wedding and it has been at my parents' house for 7.5 years because it would never have survived a trip out west.  So fun to finally get to use it!

^ suuuper blurry but how amazing is that Olaf Bryan drew free-hand?



Jillian was so so so so so so so excited for her birthday.  For the last week she asked me every night "when I wake up will it be my birthday yet?  So we were all pretty happy when it finally arrived.  On the night before her birthday Bryan said he was more excited than he had been for his own birthday.

On her birthday morning Jilly found balloons in her doorway, we had pancakes with sprinkles, and she opened a couple presents.  Then we did some shopping and playing at the mall and met Bryan for birthday donuts.  In the afternoon Jilly spent over an hour playing with her new princess play doh set (win!) then we went to Chick fil A for dinner (where else would we go?)  Later we skyped with Bryan's parents so she could open their presents.  It was a happy, fun day celebrating our big four year old.

Jillian's Four Year Old Birthday Interview-

favorite color- pink
favorite toy- balloons
favorite fruit- apples
favorite TV show- Doc McStuffins
favorite thing to eat for lunch- heart shaped sandwiches
favorite outfit- what I'm wearing now (her new ballet shirt and a pink skirt)
favorite game- Uno
favorite snack- grapes
favorite animal- zebra, giraffe, and panda bears
favorite song- "Let It Go"
favorite book- Elsa
best friend- Kate
favorite cereal- don't have one
favorite thing to do outside- swings and go down slide
favorite drink- oatmeal
favorite holiday- Christmas
what do you take to bed with you at night- "Tigie" (her baby tiger)
what do you like to eat for breakfast- pancakes
what do you want for dinner on your birthday- chicken nuggets and french fries
what do you want to be when you grow up- Cinderella


friday five

one- As new Baltimoreans (I had to look up how to spell that) we are naturally Ravens fans.  It's also exciting to have Dennis Pitta is in our ward.  But, what really tipped us into purple territory was that every Monday after a Ravens win we get a 50% off pizza at Papa John's and free Big Macs.  So, yes, food is the clear path to our hearts.

two- I got a new mop this week (thanks to Lisa's recommendation) and am a tad embarrassed to admit just how exciting this development is.  And, more than a tad embarrassed to admit how many layers of sticky grime I finally got off our kitchen floor.

three- Jilly got some birthday money so I took her to Target.  I showed her lots of options but what she wanted the most was Christmas decorations.  She chose this penguin and some giant jingle bells.  I was quite proud.  

four- Speaking of Christmas, Bryan and I have made a compromise- I can listen to all the Christmas music I want if he can drink all the Egg Nog he wants.  It's working beautifully.

five- I believe that unicorn bath hair will never cease to be hilarious


hey birthday lady

After spending a weekend with my family my sister said "I think being Jilly's mom would be exhausting."  
I'd never thought of it that way, but she's quite right.
Jilly is a ball of energy, constantly on the move and constantly needing attention.
But she's also sweet and helpful and thoughtful and my best little friend.

Happy, happy birthday sweet girl.  We love you to the moon and back.


Zoo Day

On Election Day my mom, Tyler, and Bethany came up and we went to the National Zoo in D.C.
I'll admit- I thought the colorful leaves were almost as exciting as the animals
And nothing could beat the company.
But the animals were awesome; our favorites were the panda bears and the elephants, both of which we saw up close.
I really, really wanted to take the baby Panda home, but I think that would have been frowned upon
And Mattie just wanted to take her Uncle Ty home.


Six on Saturday

1. Halloween was so fun.  We had some friends come over to trick or treat with us, and the girls got quite the haul (which Bryan and I happily helped take care of.)  At the risk of sounding like the most obnoxious mom ever, I was so impressed at Jilly's thank you-ing.  If she forgot she'd run back up to the door to yell thank you.  Also, Jilly dressed up as Rainbow Barbie Princess this time because who wears the same costume twice?  (Barbie and the Secret Door is our jam these days.)

2.  Mattie's had a phantom cough this week- nonexistent during the day but constant all.night.long.  It's been a rough week in the sleep department and some of us have been less pleasant than others.  This has been Mattie's outfit of choice and I have been very obliging.

3.  My grandparents came to visit us last night and it was so fun to see them.  Mattie (who usually is super slow to warm up to people) loved my Grandma and kept bringing toys and books one by one to show her.  They also gave Jilly a little purse for her birthday that she is in love with.

I didn't take the picture til Mattie was very, very tired but she was happy, I promise!

4.  Jilly drew this family portrait (to scale, obviously) and it makes me so happy.  Can't decide if my favorite part is where she started to draw my head then decided I was definitely not that tall, or floating legless Mattie.

5. We brought Bryan's helicopter out of retirement this week and it's been the source of much after-dinner excitement.   

6.  Today may be the greatest day of my life.  I slept in til 8:30 (!!!!!), Bryan made pumpkin french toast for breakfast, we all went to the gym and Mattie didn't cry in the child watch (a long-awaited first), I went to Target with just Jilly, and now both girls are sleeping, Bryan's at a church meeting and I'm catching up on tv.  Also, we have delicious leftovers from last night to have for dinner.  Pinch me please.


happy birthday

He builds forts with the girls on Sunday mornings
When he reads bedtime stories he always does the best voices
We all cheer/breathe a sigh of relief when he comes through the door each night
He's smart and funny and works hard and takes excellent care of his girls
We love our Bryan and were thrilled to celebrate his birthday this week

As per usual, we spread out the birthday celebrations over a few days.  
On Sat. night we did some birthday shopping at the mall and got dinner while we were out
The restaurant was all out of kids' cups, which should be a crime 
The girls didn't mind drinking chocolate milk out of a glass cup but Bryan and I about killed ourselves taking care that said glass cup didn't break 

On Monday night we had ice cream cake
Mattie was a little terrified of the candles but Jilly was happy to help blow them out

And then on Tuesday (his real bday) we had crab for dinner
Our first taste of real Baltimore crab and it didn't disappoint
We're quickly learning that Old Bay Seasoning is Maryland's love language
And we're digging it too

Happy Birthday Bryan!! We love you