Thursday, November 29, 2012

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"

We pulled out our Christmas decor on Sunday and I love how it fills our little home. 
Twinkle lights, green and red, and memories from past adventures and moments in our lives.
I was impressed that I still remembered where I had packed them all away almost 2 years ago and said goodbye.
There is still one box with La Befana from Italy and a few other European ornaments that I need to find by Saturday for an International Holiday presentation Tys and I are doing. Wish me luck, because I know I've gone through almost all the boxes once already!
Let the Christmas music play!

 Some of our international Christmas collection. 
Our Due Torri ornament from Bologna, Italy
A little manger scene that Tys and I searched for together on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy.
A traditional European Santa with his long red coat that I bought with my sister in Rothenburg, Germany from the Kaethe Wohlfahrt Christmas store.
Not pictured
A Nativity from  my Study Abroad in 2009 from Assisi, Italy
A European angel ornament- I love their unique faces
Le Befana"kind old witch" from Bologna, Italy


Truth be told, when I pulled out our stockings, the third one still said "mason" on it. We had to laugh that it seems like so long ago we made it for "him" when I was 7 months pregnant. We were happy to make a few changes on it for Taryn.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A cure through Cookie Dough

By 11 am this morning I was way beyond the "I'm gonna pull my hair out" moment. So far, in fact, that I considered giving myself a big mommy time out. But because life keeps moving forward, it wasn't an option. 
So instead, I made cookie dough. 
Taryn was my little helper and it was actually the only thing that took away those big crocodile tears for a couple of brief moments in time. I had tried painting, naps, coloring, games, playing with puff balls and ice trays, going outside, etc....
 But then again, after a small handful of M&M's, what toddler wouldn't be happier sitting next to you helping you pour flour into a mixing bowl?
 I had to keep reminding myself all morning long that she was overly tired and cranky because no one slept for more than 30 minutes at a time last night because Taryn kept waking up, unable to self soothe. My frustration appeared multiple times last night as I searched for her sippy cup, fumbled in the dark to fill it with milk and give it to my little one. 
By 5 am I had given up on sleeping and put all my energy and frustration from lack of sleep into a good morning run. When I returned home at 7am I found Taryn and Tyson still fast asleep- the longest duration of sleep all night long and I wanted to freeze time. But soon the house was buzzing with our normal morning routine, and thankfully, Taryn woke up as happy as can be (only to last a wee bit of time)
 I think the only way I am still standing right now is because of a great thing called endorphins.

So even after the crying and even though my little apartment looked like this all morning long, I had found that 5 minutes of peace in making two batches of different cookie doughs all to be used during this busy weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2012

We may have started a new tradition

On our last day in Williamsburg we went to the Christmas Mouse, a christmas decoration store. There  were many christmas trees filled with there own themed ornaments like the Shoe tree, the Job tree, the Holland Windmill tree, the Sports tree, Baby first Christmas Tree and so much more! 

We picked up some ornaments and also made sure not to leave without buying Taryn her "First Christmas" ornament. I know, she's 21 months old and I am just now getting her one?!! Well, this is her first U.S. christmas so I thought it was fitting. Plus, I can't remember seeing any "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments in Bologna, Italy that I liked. Tyson found the perfect one for her and I actually cried when I saw it. For me, when you cry over something, it means it's a perfect fit. 

Down the street from Peter and Ashley is the biggest Yankee Candle store I have ever seen. The picture above is just half of it- my camera couldn't fit it all in from where I was standing in the parking lot. Clothes, toys, candles, candy and Santa's workshop were waiting for us inside. It was incredible!

After lunch we hit the road and sailed home. I was so happy that we never had to deal with traffic and that we got to spend so much time with our good friends. Peter and Ashley were so awesome to host us in their beautiful apartment, cook such yummy food and Miles was so happy and adorable! Tyson and I are lucky that we live so close to them and get along so well with the Dansie's.
 Thank you to the Dansie's for a wonderful Thanksgiving that we will never forget!! 
We loved every minute!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012, "Friendsgiving"

 I was nervous to prepare my first turkey for not only my little family but two other families! I combined different methods of turkey preparations and roasting and the finished product turned out beautiful and very yummy!

Peter craved his very first turkey thanks to the help of YouTube and Tyson- his rewind, pause, and play assistant. 

Being inside forever was very hard on Taryn. There was much to be done for the dinner so Tyson came to the rescue and was Super Dad as he tended to Taryn, took her to a nearby park for hours, played outside the condo with her and kept her entertained with various building blocks, games, and some Curious George netflix.

It was a combined effort to decorate the table. I brought my table cloth, cloth napkins, and decorative balls. I remembered from years past that we used fresh fall leaves on the table and they looked beautiful inside Ashley's Charleston Dish (I love that we both have one!). Ashley prepared place cards and had cute napkins to use along with her beautiful tableware. It's amazing to me how much we were able to do once we combined our "things."

Everything was delicious and we continued to eat again and again through the night and the next day. Thanksgiving wouldn't be right without a little game action either. We learned to play Bohnanza and loved it.
Such a successful, flavorful dinner!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg

We were so very lucky to be able to spend this Thanksgiving in Williamsburg, Virginia with our dear friends, Peter & Ashley Dansie and their newborn son Miles. It was a Thanksgiving to remember with so many sweet memories made. I truly feel like I am bursting inside, just wanting to convey to all of you how happy we are that we have been blessed with such amazing friends in our lives.

About a month ago when I met my childhood friend at the Air and Space Museum, she and her husband invited my little family to join them for Thanksgiving. We wanted so badly to go and became very fortunate that circumstances lined up perfectly allowing us to make the drive down to them. We woke up bright and early the Wednesday before Turkey day at 3:00 am to be able to leave a little after 4:00am. We had heard horrible stories about traffic and nonsense surrounding holidays in the greater D.C. area that we wanted to get a jump start on our weekend and avoid all of that. We sailed through the highway and made it into Williamsburg before 7am. Sweet!


 Completely famished and super tired, we stopped at The Astronomical Pancake & Waffle House (I laugh every time I say that name!) and fueled up again on the most delicious breakfast foods. Little did we know that we had made the best breakfast choice. After driving a bit further towards the Dansie's house, we found out that Williamsburg was loaded with Pancake houses...and Christmas stores! What a perfect way to experience more of such a wonderful place.

We spent the day touring around William & Mary, where Peter Dansie attends law school, Colonial Williamsburg (oh how I wish quaint town centers like that still existed everywhere!) and preparing for the big day of Thanks.

It was a perfect day outside and well, actually, and perfect weekend outside! The air was crisp and cool, the leaves crunched under our feet, and with the Christmas wreaths hanging from the windows of the charming houses, I felt all warm and toasty inside- full of Holiday Spirit. Our babes did a wonderful job of sleeping (and staying bundled and warm) while we wandered the streets.

I remembered bits and pieces from my time here as a little girl when my big family of 10 made an epic "South Trip" through all the southern states of the U.S.A. and made our way up towards Virginia for a Scott Family reunion. I have so many fond family memories of that road trip together as a family before my oldest sibling went off to college. From Colonial Williamsburg, I remember one of my brothers and my dad participating in a town trial, playing early settlers games, and so much more. To be back years later with my little family, and to be visiting good friends who live there is just amazing to me.

Tyson & Peter in front of the Governor's mansion.

The cute little shops had our hearts as we looked at candy, ornaments, soaps, mixes, jams, candles, and more. It was a prefect first day to our Thanksgiving weekend trip.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Celebrating this past weekend

Congratulations to my sister Brittany and my soon to be brother in-law Seth! 
They got engaged this past weekend and we were so happy that they live so close so we could celebrate with them! 
Sparkling apple cider, poppers, fire crackers?!!, silly string, chocolate and balloons! 
We are so excited for them to be married!
Congrats you two!

Ramblings: Another museum checked off our list (kinda), and a clothing exchange

Sweetest little leopard print bum

 Messy pigtails are the best. A true sign that someone if living life to the fullest!

National Gallery of Art
(magical light tunnel) 
After conquering this museum experience, I was on cloud nine and thought I could do it every week. Well, I can't. 
I'm happy to entertain those once in a blue moon moments when things work out magically and I am surrounded by helping hands. But sometimes, things come crashing down, FAST, and that's ok too. After being in the museum for only about ten minutes we got separated from one friend and her son. We made it to a section of the museum we had wanted to but things unraveled quickly after that.
Thankfully, I was able to laugh about it after when recounting the crazy minutes spent inside the museum with Tyson that night. One museum at a time.

And maybe this is silly to blog about but....

 I came home last Saturday with a couple of big bags full of these clothes. All for free. A church down the street from where we live was hosting a free clothing exchange for children. They do this every year and I was hoping to find some key items that I was lacking for Taryn.
  • Snow boots
  • Rain boots
  • Winter apparel 
      Check, check, and check.

 98% of the items were "gently" used and perfect for Taryn. I was also totally happy that Taryn's size- table was overflowing onto the floor with good finds.
My happiest moment was split between three things- finding rain boots, then those adorable leopard pants that I could never justify buying for Taryn, and helping my friend stock up on baby boy clothes for her baby due any day!
I've made a mental note to go to this every year (if we are still living here) or to put on something similar in the new places we live in the future.