Friday, December 30, 2011

Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove

Over the Christmas vacation week we took the kids to see Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove.

Jacob is OBSESSED with Captain Hook and Mister Smee from Peter Pan. There is a show currently on Disney Junior called Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Disney brought back Captain Hook and Mister Smee as characters on the show. Jacob LOVES them and all things pirates so when I saw a commercial for Disney on Ice and saw that Peter Pan was one of the features of this show I HAD to get the kids tickets!

I found out when tickets went on sale and started looking at seats. I found out by chance that VIP tickets were already on sale if you had a presale code and after Googling like mad for 15 minutes I found out what the presale code was. The only information I could get out of the website was that we were Loge 6, Row F, Seats 1-6. Row F? Does it go 1 through 99 and then A through Z? Is it A through Z and then 1-99? I couldn't figure out where our seats would be and the map on the TD garden website was useless since it only showed our section, but I figured it was worth a shot. They were only $35 seats and there were two price points above us, $45 and $90, so I figured they probably weren't the best. They did say VIP, but I had no idea what THAT meant. I hit the ORDER button and hoped for the best.

When we arrived at the TD Garden in Boston we handed the usher our tickets and he started down the steps. As we dropped further and further into the depths of the Garden the look of shock on our faces (our in-laws attended the show with us) was apparent. We just kept going and going until he stopped mere feet from the ice. We were SIXTH ROW, FRONT AND CENTER! I was so pumped. I had no idea we would be THIS close!

Disney didn't disappoint and the kids were enthralled with the show. They saw Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and Smee, Rapunzel and Flynn, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid and at the end of the show, during the finale, ALL of the Disney Princesses and their Princes came out. Eli came with us and after scaring the life out of me and screaming for the first 90 seconds of the show (it was the initial noise at the start of the show that scared him) he passed out cold and snoozed on me and Ian through the whole show.

There is nothing better than seeing your child's face light up as they see their favorite characters come to life!
Grace and her Gaga:
Jacob and his Papa (ignore Jacob's "flash face"):

We ended the day with lunch at Not Your Average Joe's and to say the kids were exhausted when we got home was an understatement. There were no naps that day, but the kids had a blast and slept well that night!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Five Months

Eli, you are five months old today!

You are growing like a weed and I cannot believe how big you are! Everyone that sees you comments on your size. Since you will not be seen again by the Pediatrician until your 6 month appointment I have no idea how big you are, but I am assuming you have passed the 17 pound mark! I decided to try and pull out a few 12 month clothes and was shocked that they fit....and don't have much room for growth! The pants are all still big, but all the shirts and onesies fit you perfect. I can no longer put you in 6 month pants unless they are sweatpants because you end up spitting up everywhere from them being too tight! For now I am putting you in 12 month pants, adjusting the adjustable waist and cuffing them! You are still in size three diapers and can still squeeze in some of your 6 month stuff, but you are wearing 9 and 12 month stuff already!

You are doing great at practicing sitting up independently and the days of the Bumbo are gone. You try and arch yourself right out of it and your fat little thighs are just too hard to squeeze in there now. You absolutely love the jumperoo and rolling around. Sometimes you work so hard in the jumperoo you simply pass out! You are not a fan of the swing and bouncy seat and I think it is just about time to pack them away.

We have started letting you play and nap in your crib and you love your FP Ocean Aquarium on the side of your crib. You love to turn it on and off all by yourself. You are reaching and grabbing for things that you want constantly and talking like crazy! You still LOVE your big brother and sister. You talk, smile and laugh at them all the time!

I had to throw this picture in here because I think you look just like your Uncle Josh in it:

You are still nursing exclusively and will go longer stretches between feedings. You have been kind of cranky this past month and will unlatch to gnaw on your fist constantly so I am wondering if those teeth are starting to make their way through. Jacob and Grace didn't have any teeth until 9 months so I am wondering if maybe you will be early?

We love you so much and can't believe next month it will have been half a year since you entered this world. We are so thankful for you each and every day. You are such a blessing to our lives and we thank God for you every single day. Your brother and sister are at that age where they fight constantly and sometimes I think I would lose my mind if I didn't have your sweet, smiling face to remind me how lucky I am!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Four Months

Eli, you are four months old today!

This month we celebrated your very first Thanksgiving!! We spent the morning at Auntie Jill and Uncle Eric's house for brunch and presents and then went to your Great Aunt Pam's for dinner. Unfortunately, you were too little to participate in the feast, but you had fun napping while we all enjoyed dinner.
You have started rolling 3/4 of the way over and I know you will be going all the way anytime now. You are still getting getting stuck on your chicken wing just like you big brother! You have started jumping in your jumperoo and are even starting to tripod! I was shocked the other day when I decided to try and see what happened and you stayed upright, without any assistance, for about 20 seconds! You love playing in your bumbo seat and you laugh at everything Jacob and Grace do.

You are officially wearing size three diapers now that I sold all of our leftover size twos on Craigslist! You are also still sleeping through the night (on average 9-11 hours) and nursing exclusively. You are still wearing 6 month clothes, but I pulled all Jacob's 9 and 12 month stuff down and started washing it and putting it in drawers. You will be wearing them in no time! Unfortunately, most of Jacob's 6-12 month stuff is Spring/Summer even though you guys were the same age at the same time of year. Jacob was a peanut and you are a moose which takes me to your stats:

Weight: 16 lb 3 oz 63%
Height: 24.8 in 27%
Head: 42.5 cm 74%

At four months old, you are the biggest (and the shortest) of all our kids! Even Grace, who we nicknamed "Michelin Man", was only 15 lb 5 oz at this age and you are shorter than she was! You are a true roley poley!

You have the best personality and are so easygoing. Everyone comments on what a perfect baby you are. I can't wait to see what comes in the next month!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Before I had kids I worked in the financial industry. The only holidays we had off were the ones when the NY stock exchange was closed. Since they were open the day after Thanksgiving I always had to work, but I drove by one of the biggest shopping centers in the state every day on my way to work. Every Black Friday, I would notice the usually empty parking lot full when I drove by around 8 AM and think, "Those people are crazy! Who in their right mind would get up on their day off, at the crack of dawn, to go shopping with a million other people?"

Fast forward a few years and I am now one of those people!

The first year I went was shortly after we took Jacob home from the NICU. He was 7 months old and had been home for almost 4 months. He was sleeping through the night, but that night I just couldn't sleep and since everything opened at 4, 5 or 6 AM I decided to go to the Mall to check it out and see what all the hoopla was about. I wandered through the mall and picked up a few things at a few name brand clothing stores, but as soon as I entered Target I immediately backed away and ran for my life. That place was a MADHOUSE! The line snaked through the store and I saw two women almost attack each other over a DVD....A DVD!

Each year that has passed, I venture out a little earlier as the malls seem to open their doors earlier every year. This year, that large shopping plaza that I used to drive by every year was opening at midnight as well as Toys R Us! I thought how perfect! I will go at midnight, get what I want and be home by 2 or 3. Then I can sleep for a few hours before Eli wakes up. Well, I arrived at midnight, but the one store I expected (and heard) was going to be open at midnight never opened its doors. I was disappointed, but I hit up a few children's retailers that were open and one store for myself. I had driven by Toys R Us on the way up there and the line was crazy. People were camped out in lawn chairs with blankets and coffee and two carts each. All I wanted to take home was this:

which was on sale for $99!!! It is an interactive, 3 foot tall pony named Butterscotch. It whinnies, eats a carrot, you can brush her mane, she makes galloping noises when you ride her, etc. Jacob has the boy version, Kota the Triceratops, that I also scored for $99 a few years back and the kids play with it everyday! I knew Grace would love to have her own Pony version.

Once I left the Plaza around 2 am I decided to stop at Toys R Us on my way home. The line had to be gone by now since they opened at midnight. I drove by and the line was still WRAPPED AROUND THE BUILDING. Due to fire codes they were only letting so many people in at a time. Our local mall, which is rather small, also opened at midnight (select stores) and was right next door so I decided to stop there and see if maybe, just maybe, Gap had opened yet. Nope. I drove by Target and to my amazement it was empty! I guess everyone had come at midnight and left already (it was now around 4 AM at this point) so I decided to venture in and have a look around. Nothing spectacular and nothing worth purchasing and it was now almost 4:15. Gap opened at 5. Could I hang on that long? I had now been up for almost 24 hours. I was getting tired. I decided to go catnap in my car and figured instead of sleeping maybe I would drive by Toys R Us just ONE more time. I was sure all the Butterscotch Ponies were gone by now, but if I didn't check I would never know. That is the one thing I wanted to go home with.

To my surprise, Toys R Us had cleared out. I entered the store and approached the first person I saw who just so happened to be a manager. I asked her if there were any Butterscotches left where would I find them? She informed me that they were a ticket item and tickets were handed out to the first however many people in line that wanted them. They were long gone. I thanked her and was about to walk away when she stopped me. She explained that she had informed all ticket holders that if they hadn't turned in their tickets to pick up their items by 5 am they were being re-released to the public. Could I be so lucky?! She said if I wanted to hang around until 5 she would check with people already waiting in line and if there was one left out back it was all mine! Just as she was telling me this another employee walked by and heard her. She told us that someone had actually changed their mind and turned in their ticket for Butterscotch at Customer Service. Now I was getting giddy! She told me to hang tight and in 45 minutes to check back in. I sat myself in the corner of the store and didn't move for 45 minutes. One of the security guards commented that I was the calmest and most patient Black Friday shopper he had ever seen. I told him I would wait two more hours if it meant that I could get Butterscotch. I also explained that at this point I was way too exhausted to be anything more.

At 5:01 am (I went easy on them) I approached the girl who was supposed to help me. She paged the manager who went to check the stock room and everyone left in checkout line (which was STILL snaking through the store). Fifteen minutes later she emerged and shook her head yes. IT WAS MINE! I asked her where to go and the security guard who had commented on my patience let me skip the line and go right to the next available register. He said I had waited long enough.

As I drove home the sun came up. I couldn't believe I had been out that long and Eli would be up in an hour. I was so tired and ready for a nap, but I drove Butterscotch home, quickly assembled her head onto her body and waited for Grace to wake up. It was worth it when I saw the look on her face!

I am happy to report that Butterscotch has been a huge hit. I am happy I got the one thing I was hoping to get or I would've been seriously disappointed. Especially since I was out 7 hours and Gap was a huge letdown. I only bought one thing there!

I can't wait for next year! Maybe someday when Grace is older and likes to shop we can make it a mother/daughter tradition.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for my firstborn, Jacob. Born at 24w and weighing only 1 lb 7 oz he only had a 39% chance of survival. Thank you God for the precious miracle you have given us. I love you, Jacob!

I am thankful for my baby girl, Grace. She is a little spitfire, and at two years old, has plenty of sass and attitude to go around these days, but we love her more than anything and don't know what we would do without her. I love you, Gracie Girl!

I am thankful for my sweet baby Eli. I am blessed with the happiest, most content of babies and for that I could not be more grateful. He is definitely a "roll with the punches" kind of kid and being the third in line I think that is a good thing. I love his cuddles and how his face lights up every morning when he sees me. He makes my heart swell with joy every day (and secretly makes me want 10 more babies, but that is just between us). I love you sweet boy!

I am thankful for my husband who goes to work every day to provide for our family so I can stay home and raise our children. It has not been easy to run your own business in this economy and he has struggled, but has never given up. He pulls more than his share of the workload at home as well and I don't know what I would do without him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Each year in the US one in eight babies is born prematurely. Worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon every year. Prematurity is the leading killer of America's newborns and those who survive often have lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss.

Today is the first ever World Prematurity Day!

For those of you new here, my son Jacob was born at 24w5d in 2008 weighing only 1 lb 7 oz and 11.5 inches long. He spent 4 long months in the NICU before he could come home to be with us. Those first few days in the NICU were numbing and I don't know what we would have done without our NICU nurses and the March of Dimes representatives. Until you walk into a NICU and see your baby attached to tubes and wires that are keeping him alive you will never quite understand. Those four months were the longest months of our lives and we lived in fear every day that we might never get to bring our baby boy home.

The March of Dimes uses campaign funds to research and find the causes of premature birth, and to identify and test promising interventions. Premature babies are at risk of many serious medical complications. One of the most common of these is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Babies with RDS struggle to breathe because their immature lungs do not produce enough surfactant, a protein that keeps small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. March of Dimes grantees helped develop surfactant therapy, which was introduced in 1990. Since then, deaths from RDS have been reduced by two-thirds. Jacob received surfactant at birth and would not be here today if it was not for the grant that was used to develop surfactant therapy.

Today we wear purple to honor all babies born too soon and to help bring awareness to prematurity. Please visit the March of Dimes website to make a donation or find other ways you can help!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A TV update

Well, you probably remember this post from back in May when we decided to haul our 46" LCD TV to the basement and subsequently decided to sell it at a yard sale. I figured I would give you all an update on how life is going without the TV in our living area.

When we first got rid of it right before Memorial Day weekend, I wasn't that concerned about the long term effects of being sans television. The weather was finally starting to get nice and we were outdoors far more than we were in so we weren't missing it all. Jacob was still wrapping up his first couple of months in the public preschool program as well so we were preoccupied with that.

Eli was born in July and we transitioned rather nicely. Unfortunately, work slowed down considerably for Ian due to the economy so he ended up having almost two months off with only a few small jobs here and there. I don't think he worked more than 2-3 days a week until the end of September. I have to say it was quite the luxury having him home that long as we transitioned from a family of four to a family of five. The first week and a half of school I didn't even need to pack up all the kids to bring Jacob to school since I had Ian at home to sit with the other two. Slowly but surely, his work has started picking up. He is now booked solid through the Spring and I am on my own once again.

When Eli first came home from the hospital my sole responsibility was recovering from my c-section and taking care of Eli. For the most part, Ian was wrangling the other two. He took them outside to play on the slide, took them for long walks around the neighborhood before dinner and helped them ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac. I don't think they even noticed the TV had disappeared.

Now that the new school year has started, Jacob is in school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and we decided that in order to get them into good TV habits now we would set a family rule that there is no television on school days. We go to church as a family on Sunday so we also decided that there will be no television on Sundays. This leaves Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. On Monday and Wednesday we take our time around here in the morning since we aren't rushing out the door to school so I let them watch one half hour show in the morning on our bedroom TV (which is now the only TV in our house) while I feed Eli and get him dressed for the day. We have shows pre-recorded on the DVR and they usually watch The Fresh Beat Band or Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Once that show is over they don't watch TV for the rest of the day.

About a month ago, we decided to try and implement "Friday movie nights" and eliminate Saturday TV since we were usually so busy on the weekends that they ended up not watching TV anyway. The first week we did this we decided to try out Peter Pan. I didn't have high hopes since Jacob isn't really into things he isn't familiar with, but we figured it was a good start since he is OBSESSED with Captain Hook and Smee from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I was blown away by the fact that he sat through the entire movie and laughed hysterically the whole time.

**On a side note, can I also mention how violent Peter Pan is? I don't remember Disney movies being so ruthless, but Hook was calling people "blithering idiots", smoking like a chimney the entire movie and shooting fellow pirates with his gun. I digress, but I think we're retiring Peter Pan for a few years.**

We have since watched Cars, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Cars 2! The kids love our Friday night tradition (we also order take-out) and start talking early on in the day about what movie we should watch that night.

Since selling our TV, we spend more quality time together as a family. We are reading more. I am a cleaning/organization fool and I have been baking and cooking more. I have also been going through all of our pictures and creating photo books with the 3,000 pictures I have taken in the last three years.

Most importantly, the kids are spending more time playing together, doing puzzles, reading books, etc. It was the best decision we made to eliminate the TV from the living area! I will say that I am happy that we kept our small TV in the master bedroom. The kids and I have been sick once already and we spent one whole day in bed watching movies and for that I was grateful. I also still rely on the news every morning and evening for weather updates and I still watch my DVR'd episode of CSI on Thursday every week, but if anyone else is considering making the leap I say go for it! As a former TV junkie, I thought it would be way too hard, but it has actually been quite liberating.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Three Months

Eli, you are three months old today!

This month has been the best so far! You are doing much better with tummy time and we have even started sitting you in your Bebe Pod. Last night you rolled from belly to back for the first time and you did it TWICE! You also started laughing this month and I find myself doing everything I can to pull that belly laugh out of you. I absolutely LOVE that sound!

You are currently wearing 3-6 month clothes and are still in size two diapers, but only because I am desperately trying to finish off the size two diapers we have left. You should definitely be in size threes and I don't know how much longer I can squeeze your fat, little tummy in these size twos!

You have become so much more aware of your surroundings and it is getting kind of hard to nurse you. You are constantly rubbernecking and want to look around to see what is going on. You are still nursing exclusively and still sleeping through the night. The other night you went 12 hours for the first time ever! I was thrilled to be able to sleep in until almost 8 AM! You typically feed when you wake up (average is around 7 AM) and sometimes you can go 4 hours until your next feed. Every other feed during the day is typically three hours.

This past month we took you to Day Out with Thomas, leaf peeping in New Hampshire and the pumpkin patch. You did well at all three and slept most of the time.

You are such a good baby and your Daddy even commented the other day how you seem to be the most happy and content out of all three of our babies. We hope you continue that! You are such a joy to be around and we are anxious to see what you will do in the next month. We anticipate you will start rolling from back to belly and we are a little scared. I don't think we are quite ready for you to be mobile yet!

Jacob and Grace still love you to pieces and Grace tends to dote on you more than Jacob. She mimics us a lot and will talk to you in a sing song baby voice saying, "Hi wittle, wittle, wittle, wittle boy." It cracks us up! They both love to hold you and let us know when "Baby Eli sad". Grace tries to give you a bink and Jacob will lean his head on yours and say, "Awwwww".

Unfortunately, it is hard to get a picture of the three of you together. Usually nobody is looking or smiling. Kind of like this:

I hope you will all grow up close and stay that way when you are older and have kids of your own. Uncle Josh and Auntie "Ria", as Grace calls her, are coming over tonight to visit you. I hope someday you can look back at this blog and see how much you were loved by so many people.

We love you, Eli!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

As I said in a previous post, I am currently obsessed with pinning. It has helped me rediscover my love of cooking and I have been trying new recipes every week.

My kitchen leaves much to be desired and I was having a hard time getting motivated to cook. I have no counter space, no cabinet space, no pantry, etc. It is near impossible to prep to cook a decent meal, but since finding Pinterest and rediscovering my crock pot I am more motivated than ever.

I am also on a mission to save money and I am spending about $50 less a week on our grocery bill by digging through our cabinets and finding recipes to use up the goods we have in there rather than buying more stuff to fill up the cabinets. That is how this week's recipe came to be. I present to you:

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins!

1 - 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 - Box of yellow cake mix

Spoon the mixture into a muffin pan or paper liners and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


I had both of these on hand and was very excited to try these out since our house is a big fan of all things pumpkin. I Googled for some reviews of this recipe and everyone gave it 5 stars! I was a little worried, since it was just a boxed cake mix and one can of puree, that the muffins would be dry, but NO! Many of the reviewers did say they used a spice cake mix and since I had yellow I decided to modify the recipe by adding the following:

1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 bag of semi-sweet morsels

Since I had all of these ingredients on hand, I cleared out some space in my non-existent pantry and used up some of the food we had. We'll have these for snacks and breakfast this week and that helped trim our grocery bill. Even though I added the spice and chocolate chips you CAN make this recipe with just the box cake mix and can of puree. It's so simple!

I have a lot of catching up to do this week with my blogging. There are lots of pictures to be uploaded and many events/milestones to be recorded. Eli will be 3 months old tomorrow so I should have that post up tomorrow afternoon and then Pumpkin Patch pictures and an update on how we are doing sans Television in this house. Until next time....

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day Out with Thomas!

Last weekend, we headed out to Edaville Railroad for Day Out with Thomas with my brother Jon, my sister-in-law Jean, Jean's mom Mary, my nephew Kevin and my brother Josh! Kevin is smack dab in the middle of Jacob and Grace age wise so it is great to have a cousin so close in age to hang out with.

My kids don't watch Thomas, but Jacob has a few Thomas train sets and they have a couple of books including a Thomas the Train Look and Find book which they love. Even though Thomas isn't a staple in our house like Woody and Buzz he is a recognized face and I knew the kids would be ecstatic to see him in person.

First of all, let me say that the people who run this event should be ashamed at how much they charge! Kids under 2 were free so we didn't have to pay for Eli, but the tickets for the four of us cost $21.65 EACH. It cost us $87 for the four of us to go see Thomas. Let me also say that many people who go to this event throughout the country don't have Edaville which is also a small amusement park in addition to the train. In other states, you simply get a 20 minute train ride and they have Thomas themed booths set up with story time, mega block playing stations, face painting, etc. Nationally, everyone pays the same price to get in to Day Out with Thomas regardless of the amenities. Needless to say, if we didn't have Edaville this would not be an event worth going to, but the kids had a blast on the rides and attractions at the park and I got fried dough so all was right with the world!

The day we went was a warm 75 degree day which is pretty unusual for the first weekend in October. The train was 800 billion degrees and we were literally all dripping sweat. The cars are heated in the Winter, but unfortunately they are not air conditioned in the Summer. There were a few windows at the front and back of the car so when we went around a bend we would get an occasional breeze that would pass through, but it was sweet relief to step off of that train when the ride was over!

The first amusement ride we attempted were those little two seater airplanes where you pull the lever and go up. We thought this was an adult friendly ride (most are), but unfortunately as we were loading the kids in we were told this was for kids only. In a split second decision, we decided to let the kids go on by themselves. There is a lap belt on the ride, but anyone who knows Jacob knows this could be a disaster, however, they both did great and stayed seated the entire time (phew!). Jacob finally caught on after we yelled to him the 100th time to "PULL!!" and he pulled the lever and they rode up in the air the entire ride! My heart was beating out of my chest the whole time they were up there and I decided that they would only be going on rides with us the rest of the day. :)

Next was a stop at the carousel! A family favorite. The last time we went to a local carousel Grace cried for 45 minutes after we left because she wanted to go back. This time they took their ride and climbed down with no temper tantrums!

We rode on the flying elephants, had our picture taken with Thomas and then the park was scheduled to close in about 30 minutes so we took a short walk down to the little kiddie train and let the kids ride that one. At this point, Ian somehow convinced me that it would be a good idea to take our kids on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Yes. The Tilt-A-Whirl. Bad, bad idea. Grace had that look plastered on her face when the g forces are too much for your little face to handle and Jacob instantly brought his knees to his chest and clutched Ian the entire time. I think we scarred them for life. There were no tears just looks of horror. Meanwhile you can hear Kevin (who was in the next car over) going WHEEEEEEEEE! Apparently, he enjoyed the ride and was not as terrified as my own two!

We stopped for a snack/dinner at the cafe and ate outside on picnic tables while the kids ran around and burned off some energy.

Overall, it was a great day with family and the kids had a blast. I would be very hesitant to take my kids to Day Out with Thomas if it was just at a railway, but since we had the amusement park to play on all day it was well worth the money! Just beware if you plan on attending this event locally that you may be in for a world of surprise when you find out just what is included with the ticket price.
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