Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Town

Every year at Christmastime Busch Gardens transforms their park into Christmas Town. We wanted to go last year but ended up going into labor prematurely. So this year we were able to go and take Claire with us. It was so much fun. The whole park was covered in real Christmas trees covered in lights. The walkways smelled of fresh pine. Hot chocolate was sold at every snack cart. There were Christmas shows in every food hall. If you are ever in the Williamsburg VA area at Christmas time I highly recommend it.

There were two things I wanted to make sure we got to do with Claire. Go see the Clydesdales and the Sesame Street Christmas show. We started the night eating dinner in Octoberfest while watching the Deck the Halls Christmas show. After that we walked through the park looking at all the lights while sipping our hot chocolate. Next we went to the Clydesdales barn where Claire was able to pet one up close. She absolutely loved it. We ended our night at the Sesame Street show. Claire loves Sesame Street especially Elmo so I knew she would just light up with excitement once the show started. Which she did along with dancing and clapping to all the music. It made the whole night for us. Here are a few pictures from the night. Enjoy!

Outside of Octoberfest there is a childrens choir singing Christmas carols on the balcony.

Santa's Workshop

The North Pole

This was part of France. (The park is set up as different countries)

One of the many walkways covered in real Christmas trees and lights. Claire loved these sections.

The polar pathway

Waiting for the Sesame Street Show to start.

Sesame Street Christmas Show

Thursday, 6 December 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Last week was the big decorating week around our house. It took me two days to get my tree up this year thanks to Claire. It was easier to work on it during her naps than it was to try and keep her entertain and not going after everything for the tree. But its up and beautiful and so relaxing to just look at every day. This year I didn't put any ornaments hanging off the bottom of the tree and the ornaments I did put on are not breakable ones. So far so good our tree is still standing. Though Claire and I haven't gone in the family room to play since we put it up. I guess you could say we are avoiding temptation...haha.  Hope you enjoy a little glance into our winter wonderland. Outside christmas light picture still to come (I keep forgetting to take it).

Family room...I love Claire's little table and chairs her grandparents got her for Christmas.

Close up of our tree. Red and Silver with poinsettias and icicles.

Living room

A few small details: Front door, coffee table and dining room.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Santa....I Know Him!

We took Claire to see Santa last weekend. The Yankee Candle Factory has a year round full time Santa. In the summer time he wears a hawaiian shirt and shorts and hangs out in the Christmas Village of the factory (Christmas year round...I love it). At Christmastime he has a nice set up in the center of the factory and is even joined by Mrs. Clause.

I figured she would do well as Claire absolutely loves people and other children but I got a little nervous since pretty much ever kid before her broke out in tears. But when it was her turn she went right to Santa. She loved the white fur on the sleeves of his coat. He talked to her, they read a book and took so many cute pictures together. It was a great day! The family is definitely getting a Santa picture along with their gifts this year. We will be going back again next year for sure.


I was a good girl this year!

What do you want for Christmas?

I love this book!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Reindeer Games...

I was tagged in this Christmas blogger game going around by the lovely Katie Ridings from "My Blossoming Bud".  The game is intended to help bloggers get to know each other, and what better way than a pass it along Christmas questionnaire. These are the five questions that I was tagged with by Katie. Once you answer the questions on your own post, tag five other bloggers that you follow. Let's spread the Christmas cheer and get to know each other a little better. Merry Christmas!

1. What makes Christmas such a special holiday for you & your family?
From as early as I could remember every Christmas my whole family (parents, sister, cousins, aunts, great aunts, grandparents and great grandparents) would start our Christmas eve at my great grandmothers tiny two bedroom house. We would enjoy dinner and pies before we all opened presents that my great grandma worked all year saving up for. She had such a big heart. She didn't have much money but everyone got a gift albeit usually a sweatshirt and underwear it was the meaning behind it that mattered. After we finished there my more immediate family would caravan to each others houses opening gifts. Then when Christmas morning arrived we opened our Santa presents and stockings before joining my immediate family at my grand parents house to spend Christmas day together.

2. Were you told the truth about Santa Claus by your parents or did you find out another way? & do you plan on lying to your kids (if you plan on having kids) :)?
I don't remember my parents ever telling me Santa wasn't real. I was raised to know the biblical meaning behind Christmas but also was raised with Santa being part of our Christmas Spirit. I think as I grew older is was one of those things I just figured out on my own. To this day we still get "Santa" presents. We plan on carrying this same tradition on with Claire so she can experience the wonder of the Christmas season.

3. Real tree or fake tree?
Artificial tree, though I love the smell of a real tree they are so messy and don't last as long as I would like. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is decorating the Christmas tree. I love to be able to enjoy it as long as possible. There is something magical about seeing my lit up Christmas tree through my living rooms picture window as I pull into my driveway in the evening. 

4. Do you open presents on Christmas morning, Christmas Eve, or both?
Both: My family opens on Christmas eve but opens Santa presents and stockings on Christmas day. Christian's family opens gifts on Christmas day. 

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie to watch, & favorite Christmas song to listen to?
I have so many Christmas movies I love. I live for the 25 days of Christmas on ABC Family. But some of my must haves that I own and must watch every year are Home Alone, White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Elf, Surviving Christmas, A Christmas Story and The Family Stone.

Now time to pick five bloggers to repost & share the Christmas fun.

1.Cindy-Life with my Celiac Sweetie
2. Tanya- The Little Pogue
3. Stephanie- Crafty Auntie
4. Meg-Henning Love
5. Megan Brink- A Brink Adventure

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Thanksgiving was so much fun this year! I have to admit, last year I was having some baby blues. Claire was born the week before quiet early and she was in the NICU. There is nothing harder than having to be discharged from the hospital and leaving without your baby. But having to spend her first holiday with her in the hospital was an extra sting to the heart. So this year Thanksgiving was a much happier day for me. I feel like it was her "first" Thanksgiving since she was actually home, even if it wasn't.

 We had a nice small Thanksgiving at home this year. Which was nice, no pressure just family and we all enjoyed it. In the morning we watched the parade and after that was over my sister and I went to work in the kitchen and my husband and brother in law went to work on the turkey in the back yard. On our menu was fried turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, rum cake and pumpkin pie. Everything turned out perfect!Only one snafu with a broken thermometer but nothing major. We all enjoy our delicious feast (including Claire). Then spent the evening watching movies.

Our little turkey!

Watching the parade.

Watching daddy and uncle cook the turkey (don't mind the milk face)

Enjoying her feast!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Minnie Mouse Birthday Bash

Claire's birthday party was on Saturday and it was a hit. Almost everyone we invited showed up and she had the most amazing time. It was wonderful to see how many people she is blessed to have in her life. The day was a happy and emotional one for me just thinking about what she was doing last year.

This time last year I was spending my days in the NICU day in and day out and this year I was watching my baby girl crawl around chasing her friends and laughing away. Not to mention last year she was getting liquid fat by IV in the NICU and this year eating her birthday cake. I hope you enjoy the pictures of her special day. The smile on her face made it all worth it. I love her so much!

Minnie Mouse Birthday Bash
Claire's Corner
Some of the details
From birth to 12 months
Highlights from opening gifts.
Cake Time
Candid of our 1 year old!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Claire Lucille

Hard to believe that one year ago she surprised us all when she came into this world early! She has been through a lot in one year and continues to amaze us everyday. She has brought us pure love and joy! She is our world and we love her more than she will ever know! Happy 1st Birthday Claire Lucille!

At birth she was 4lbs 4oz and 17in long and now at 1 year she is 16lbs 10oz and 28in long. She has quadrupled her weight which is amazing even though she isn't on the growth chart yet. She loves to eat, lately her favorites are cottage cheese and pineapples, quesadillas, mixed veggies and toast. She is now on whole milk (fortified for extra calories though) and loves it. Some of her favorite things is going to the park to swing and go down the slides, her sit to stand walker, Minnie Mouse and Elmo.

Her Minnie Mouse Birthday Bash is tomorrow and I am so excited. I made all her decorations, there will be lots of yummy food, friends, family, presents (of course) and I can't wait to see her smash into her cake. A lot of pictures to come from today and her party so stay tuned!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Prematurity Awareness Month

Did you know 1 in 8 babies in the US are born premature? Claire is 1 in 8, weighing barely 4lbs when she was born. She has struggled to overcome some of the issues resulting from her prematurity but with the help of modern medicine, an exceptional NICU and a team of amazing doctors she is happy and healthy.

November is Premature Awareness month. I am thankful for organizations like the March of Dimes that work to help mothers have full term babies and research the problems the threaten babies lives.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek of some of the decorations I've made for Claire's birthday party this coming Saturday. A lot more pictures to come, so be on the look out!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Typical Day

Oh how my days have changed since I was a working mom. Before my days were non stop and exhausting, I didn't usually sit down until around 9:30/10:00 at night. I really don't miss those days. My job yes but not the scrambling to get everything done and ready for the next day. By the time the weekend arrived my husband and I were so exhausted from the week we didn't want to do anything. 

Now that I stay home with Claire and run everything in our home my days are filled with order, flexibility and Claire's doctors appointments (no kidding she has one almost once at week). It was a hard transition at first but after a month or so I settled into my new role. Myself and our family is so much more stress free now and we can actually enjoy our evenings and weekends together. I've also actually been able to go on extra trips home to California for family events, which before I always missed out on because of work. 

Thought i'd share a typical day for Claire. It's always interesting to see other babies schedules especially if your trying to work out a schedule for your own. Of course it's subject to change depending on her appointments and other events we have going on like MOPS. But this will give you a basic idea of how  we spend our days now. 

Claire's Typical Schedule

8:45/9:00: Wake up
9:00: Morning sippy cup (6oz) and breakfast 
9:20-10:30: Play time (toys, books, sit n' stand walker and her jumper)
10:30-12:00: Morning Nap
12:00-1:00: Snack time and table top toys or activity center
1:00: Midday sippy cup (6oz) and lunch
1:30-3:00: Errands or walk to the park and playtime
3:00-4:30/5:00: Afternoon Nap
5:00: Evening sippy cup (6oz) and a snack
5:30-6:30: Play time
6:30: Bath time
7:15-8:30: Play time
8:30: Night bottle (6oz)
8:45/9:00: Bedtime

*She drinks water and snacks at will throughout the day*

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Fall Has Arrived....

Fall has arrived, which as much as I love fall, the cold weather and the change of colors it also means all the acorns and leaves start falling in our trees. The last few weeks the acorns have been falling. We will be in our living room and just hear them one right after another drop onto the house, roll down the roof and then drop to the ground.

Christian and I had been talking about raking them up over the weekend before the leaves start to fall, when he mentioned that he wished there was something we could do with all of them besides bagging them up to throw out. That got me thinking, surely I could do something with them.  I quickly did a quick search on Pinterest and then made a trip to the craft store and whipped up this wreath! Overall i'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm thinking I could do something similar for a Christmas wreath too. We'll see if I feel up to it once I finish all of the projects I have going on for Claire's birthday this month.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Claire's First Halloween

Yesterday was Claire's first Halloween. Its actually also her last "first" holiday though I don't know if I count Thanksgiving since she spent that in the NICU. Anyway as usual I like to go all out! I can't help it, I love any and all holidays! Unfortunately my poor Claire Bear was sick. She has been fighting a horrible cold all week so we didn't take her out trick or treating especially since at this age it would really just be for us anyway. We spent the evening watching Halloween movies and we dressed her up in her costume to help us pass out candy to all the kids trick or treating, she loved that! All in all it was a great Halloween. I cant wait till next year since she will be walking and talking and can truly enjoy this fun holiday.

Happy Halloween from Minnie Mouse

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Claire's New Ride!

The last few months especially as Claire has gotten increasingly more advanced with her developmental milestones I noticed she wasn't as happy in her infant car seat (Chicco Keyfit 30). We love her infant seat, it fit her when she was a tiny 4lb peanut and has grown with her as she has grown. But even though she is nowhere near the weight limit of her seat and had a couple of inches left height wise, she just didn't like being at such a recline anymore and didn't like not being able to look around and see out. Plus it would be much easier to get her in and out in a convertible seat.

I began my research on convertible car seats. There are so many out there on the market it can be quiet overwhelming. I made a list of requirements that I wanted in a convertible car seat; safe (of course), compact especially front to back space (I drive a Volvo S40 and Christian has a 135i), easy to install with premium LATCH connectors and good height and weight limits.

On my short list for seats to look at once I eliminated what didn't meet my criteria was the Diono Radian RXT, Graco MySize 70/Size4Me 70, First Years True Fit and Britax Roundabout 55. The Radian is a fantastic seat it has very high height and weight limits, has a steel frame and its very compact but because of the high height range the seat is very tall and it is not a user friendly install. I felt it would be to big of a seat for Claire since she is so small so I crossed it off my list. I was really leaning toward the Graco MySize 70 for awhile it also has a very high height and weight limits and it's very easy to install, but the buckle can be a bit tricky and it had big head wings. This seat also seemed like it would swallow Claire. The True Fit was a nice seat but I didn't like that it didn't have much of a base to it, it has such a recline to it I felt it wouldn't be much of a difference when rear facing than Claires infant seat. Finally the Roundabout 55 I was really surprised at just how compact this seat was, installed rear facing I was able to put my front seat back all the way. Its steel reinforced, has great side impact protection without having massive head wings, the quality of the material is amazing, very easy to install, the height and weight limits are good especially with Claire being so small, made in the USA and one of the added perks to this seat is you can buy replacement covers (with Claire's reflux this is a great feature).

After comparing all the pros and cons of each of  these seats we decided on the Britax Roundabout 55 and couldn't be happier with our decision. Oh and Claire loves it too! She looks at herself in her car mirror and chats away and I see her looking out the window all the time.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

11 Months Old...Where did time go?

Happy 11 Months Claire Lucille!!! I can't believe she's been in our lives for 11 months already. Its been such an amazing 11 months. It amazes me how much love I have for her. She has been such a blessing in our lives. Her newest achievement is pulling up! She pulled up for the first time about 2 weeks ago. Every since then she tries to pull up on everything! She is started to learn to transfer her weight and walk with the help of us and her activity walker. Its amazing to see what she learns every day.

She likes Mexican food (the whole family stuffed her full of it while we were home), pulling up, her activity walker and Minnie Mouse.

She dislikes teething, bumps and bruises from learning to pull up and walk and her reflux.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Claire's Nursery

When we found out we were having a girl I was at a loss for what I wanted to do with her nursery,since about 90% of baby girls bedding sets are pink and I hate pink or at least baby pink. I don't understand why baby girl bedding sets have to be pink? I can do a little pink or even a dark pink but why does it have to look like pink threw up all over a baby girls nursery?!?! 

So I searched all over the internet to find just the right color combination. My first thought was my mom or sister could make it, but that is time consuming and if I could find one to order that would be easier on everyone. Finally after several weeks of searching I found the perfect set on Amazon (my favorite website of course). Once the bedding set was selected I started planning all the details. Unfortunately I had just got her nursery cleaned and the furniture set up when my water broke and I went into preterm labor, leaving my husband to finish the nursery for me which included picking the paint color. I have to say I think he did a great job and I love it!

The wall color is called Moonshade and we went with cherry furniture to match her cherry wood blinds. 

Her bedding is Migi Sweet Sunshine
In the beginning we did a lot of feeding here in the middle of the night. Now we love to rock and read in this cozy corner.

This is a custom canvas piece my friend made for Claire. I love it and it looks perfect in my glider corner.
Dresser and changing area. We selected a long dresser and added the changing pad. It looks great and we won't have to buy her another dresser when she doesn't need a changing table anymore.
Wooden Rocking Giraffe the sits underneath the other window. 

Her toy basket. Sits between the door to her room and her closet door. 
Claire's hair bows/flowers and head band hanger.  We hung this on her closet door. My sister made it for her. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Please Stay Tuned...

I apologize for my recent absence. I had been trying to get a blog post done on Claire's nursery, in fact I even took the pictures already. Unfortunately about the time I was going to sit down to make the post we found out we had a death in the family and had to make an emergency trip home to California. We just got back and I promise I will get the post up this week. I hope its worth the wait and I appreciate your patience.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Claire Bear is 10 Months Old

I tried but still didn't manage to make this post on the 16th...maybe next time. But another joyous month of my little miracle has passed. She amazes me everyday. She babbles so much now. I hear "bababababa" and "dadadadada" all day long. She's even starting to add "lalalala" to the mix. She gets quicker at her army crawl everyday. She gets everywhere if she's not baby gated in the living room. Her newest mobility trick is pulling herself up on the fireplace. Can't wait to see what she does over the next month.

She likes chasing the cats and petting them, her My Pal Violet, breaking loose into other rooms that don't have baby gates yet and chicken.

She dislikes the cats jumping over the baby gate when she chases them, when mom leaves the room, her reflux and pasta.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Claire's 1st Birthday is Approaching

Its hard to believe that Claire's first birthday is quickly approaching. For now i'm excited that she has overcome so much in her first year of life, however I know the closer it gets to her birthday the more emotional i'm going to get.  In the meantime its time to start planning her birthday party. I have been torn on what theme I wanted to go with, I was thinking a fall theme since she has a November birthday but was also thinking a giraffe theme would be great since she has everything giraffe. But I finally decided on a Minnie Mouse theme.

I want her decorations to be personalized and made just for her. I have found a lot of decorating ideas on good ol' pinterest. A lot I could actually just buy off of etsy, but why do that when I am actually very crafty and I can save money doing it myself.  It will take some time to make since I have to work around Claire and things I need to get done at home. The plan is to start working on it now as I have time that way I won't be in a last minute panic the week before her party. Here are some of my inspiration pieces. Now to make a list of supplies I need and get started. Stay tuned to see my final products.

This is the inspiration for the banner I am going to create for Claire

Inspiration for Claire's high chair banner.

And Minnie Mouse ribbon topiary inspiration.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Pack N' Play Ball Pit

Since the day Claire came home from the hospital she has slept in her own room and in her crib. We set the tone from the beginning that her room and her crib was for sleeping. However since we have a big 2 story house we thought it would be good to have a pack n' play for downstairs for her to take naps. We tried putting her down for naps in it but when she did nap there it wasn't for long since she associates her room and her crib with sleep not her pack n' play. So we decided to just have her nap in her room instead no big deal really since we have a video monitor. Which was exactly what she needed, she immediately began taking nice long naps. However this left us with a really nice unused pack n' play (except for when we travel). One Sunday an idea came to me. Why not repurpose it into a ball pit. I put Claire in the car and one trip to Target and a $14.99 bag of plastic balls later we had ourselves a ball pit. It was cheap, she enjoys it, and as she gets older I can add more balls to it for more fun.