Sunday, December 31, 2017

a look back on 2017

This was a year of milestone birthdays! Here's a look back on our notable moments from 2017:

Top Row (left to right): Mae wearing her adorable Easter dress; celebrating Dad's 60th birthday with a trip to the lake; celebrating Mae's first birthday; and celebrating Mom's 60th birthday

Middle Row: Celebrating Oliver's first birthday; a summertime visit from Aunt Colleen; a trip to the beach to celebrate GranE's 60th birthday; and a mini weekend getaway to celebrate our 5th anniversary

Bottom Row: Mae learning how to "cheers" during an extended weekend visit from GranE; Mae and Oliver on the little car ride at the amusement park; a busy little bee on Halloween, and whispered secrets with Santa!

We finished out the year with a big snowfall! We braved the nasty roads to drive and visit my high school friends and their kids Friday night, and then took Mae out to play in the snow Saturday morning. It took me a little to realize that "NO!!" meant "SNOW!", and that she wasn't just disagreeing with everything I said. It was bitterly cold (and I stupidly didn't pack her new snow suit and boots), so we bundled her up in random accessories and a borrowed coat! At least she stayed toasty warm... even though she looked pretty silly and could hardly move her limbs!

Looking forward to 2018! Should be pretty busy with a new house and the terrible twos... I've heard those are a blast!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

christmases 2 and 3

The holiday festivities continued at my parents house where we celebrated Christmas 2! Friday evening, we went to the annual Christmas show at the symphony and Mae had her first real babysitter.

Saturday morning, we woke up to more presents and Mae really got the hang of opening her gifts. She was very excited to get a little tricycle and her own doll and stroller!

You can see Oliver had a bit of trouble waking up, and Mae was buzzing with excitement so it was hard to get a good photo. Good thing I have a super cute picture of them eating candy canes while we picked out Christmas trees over Thanksgiving!

Shortly after opening gifts, we packed our bags again and boarded a plane to visit Dan's family for Christmas 3! Mae and I both fell asleep shortly after takeoff and we snuggled and snoozed the whole flight. Probably my favorite airplane experience ever. GranE and Batman picked us up from the airport. Mae now knows her grandparents' names. She knows that GranE is *uses index finger to make popping sound with cheek* and Batman is "Bahmah" spoken in a deep, gravelly Christian Bale voice.

Sunday, we went to Christmas Eve mass at a family friend's house and then on to Aunt Ann and Uncle Ed's house for dinner. Mae stayed up late but woke up right on time for Christmas morning! She opened lots of cute clothes and fun toys including a farm set (E-O! E-O!) and a school bus!

After nap time, we went to Aunt Sheila and Uncle Bob's house for dinner. Mae didn't last quite as long as the night before. She was exhausted from all that play time earlier in the day!

After Christmas, we spent a few more days with Dan's family before flying back. We visited Mae's great grandma the day after Christmas and had a tasty but tiring dinner. Mae couldn't sit still after the long car ride so we took turns chasing her around the restaurant in between bites of shrimp. At least we had a nice little visit with Grandma!

On our last day, we took Mae to the Benjamin Franklin Institute where she had fun climbing through the giant heart and watching the ball machine.
During Mae's afternoon nap, Colleen and I went for a short run to the top of the Art Museum steps to do our best Rocky impressions!

We finished out the day with a visit to Dan's parents' brand new home that they just bought last week. We enjoyed a Wawa picnic dinner on the floor, and Mae had fun running through all the open spaces and empty closets.

Lastly, Dan and I woke up to a very nice gift on Christmas... an offer on our house! After a little back-and-forth we've agreed on a price and a plan to close mid-February! Everything is starting to feel a little more real now!

P.S. Mae has very strong opinions about the 10 little monkeys jumping on the bed. If she hears any mention of monkeys, she will insist, "Mo mo' MON-keeeees!" (No more monkeys!), though sometimes she gets stuck in a loop, saying, "Mo mo' mo' mo' mo' mon-keeees!"

P.P.S. Mae's Disney movie obsession has begun, and the lucky winner is "Moana." She can't see an iPhone or a TV remote without begging, "NANA? NANA??" Then she dances her butt off any time the soundtrack plays.

Monday, December 25, 2017

santa! i know him!

Merry Christmas! We celebrated three different Christmases this year, so here's some photos from the first one!

After work on Wednesday, Dan, Mae, and I went to the mall for some last minute shopping and a visit to Santa (or as she calls him, "DaDEE"). I gave Mae a pep talk while we waited in line to meet the man in the big red suit, and she was pretty excited by the time it was her turn. She ran up to Santa with her arms outstretched. She sat on his lap and babbled away, pointing out Mama and Dada and announcing her own name "Mah-eee." When her time was up I asked if she was ready to go and she said, "No no no no no" and tried to stay in his lap. Successful Santa meeting!

Thursday morning, we woke up to find Santa had visited our house early! He must have known we would be traveling on Christmas Day. Mae got a train set from Santa and a play kitchen from us. She ran to her kitchen right away and started cooking: turning on the burners and opening all the cabinets.

Mae also had fun digging through her stocking for goodies like Play-Doh and snack cups. She immediately wanted to open her box of goldfish crackers but I distracted her with raisins instead. She snacked and played all morning until it was time to nap and then drive to my family's house for Christmas 2!

Friday, December 8, 2017

the busiest week

Monday after Thanksgiving, our realtor came by to take a look at our current home and discuss pricing. He had initially mentioned trying to get our house on the market by December 9th, so we were expecting to have 2 extremely busy weeks of cleaning and organizing as we prepared it to sell. We didn't have anything major to do (thank goodness we replaced the run-down vanity in the second bathroom a few months ago!), but we had a ton of work to make everything show-ready. Everything was going well during our chat (price seemed good, marketing plan seemed sufficient, area competition seemed reasonable), until he dropped the bomb on us... "Do you think you can have the house ready by Friday?" Uh... sure! We weren't counting on every minute of those 2 weeks for prep, right?? We can get it all done in 4 nights?

And so began one of the busiest weeks in recent history. We worked every evening from the time Mae went to sleep until we collapsed into our own beds after midnight. We decluttered, rearranged furniture, took down artwork, patched nail holes, cleaned out closets, replaced light bulbs, scrubbed walls and stairs, and repaired cabinets. Dan came home early on Wednesday and we did a year's worth of yard work in one afternoon (mowing, edging, raking, mulching, weeding, and cleaning out the garage). We rented a storage unit and Dan drove back and forth every evening to hide away our excess furniture and off-season clothing.

Even Mae helped out with the preparations. We put her to work mopping the kitchen floor, decorating the moving boxes, and entertaining Charlie while his table was packed away in storage. As soon as she saw the big cardboard boxes on the floor, she ran to the kitchen to get her crayons. The artist cannot resist when a blank canvas presents itself and inspiration strikes!

Thursday evening, we cleaned everything top-to-bottom. Friday morning, I finished spreading mulch and touched up the bathrooms before dashing off for the inspection on our new place and then rushing back to meet the realtor to take photos. I was absurdly proud of how much we accomplished during the week and how pristine everything looked. It will all be worth it if the house sells quickly!

Friday evening, we packed up and drove to my parents' house. Dan and Mae decided to stay with them for the weekend so that our house could be available for showings and an open house. Then Mom, Kelsey, and I met Aunt Ruthann and Erin in Chicago for our girls' weekend. Apparently each of us had a super busy week and we all felt like we had earned a little shopping/indulgence on Saturday! I bought some Christmas gifts and some treats for myself and we enjoyed a tasty dinner at Grand Luxe. Such a nice end to a crazy week!