Tuesday, December 31, 2019

a look back on 2019

Life with a three-year-old has kept us pretty busy this year! Take a look back on our biggest moments from 2019.

Top Row (left to right): Snowy fun sledding on our driveway; a weekend getaway to Sin City; GranE’s spring and fall Mae-cations; and saying a sad goodbye to our beloved parakeet, Charlie

Middle Row: Spending a fun Easter weekend with the family; celebrating three years of our amazing little girl; our vacation to Rhode Island and Lake George; and a late summer trip to GranE and Batman’s beach house

Bottom Row: Introducing Mae to nature walks; celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary with a visit to the amusement park; our cute little Halloween Octonaut; and our first Christmas at home!

We are back home after spending the last few days visiting Dan's family. We packed our bags on Christmas, and drove to the airport early on the 26th. This was our first trip without a stroller, and Mae did great. She was so excited to pull her suitcase through the airport that she forgot to complain about her legs being tired!

On our first night, we had dinner at GranE and Batman’s house and celebrated Christmas with our third round of opening gifts. Mae has loved zipping around on her new scooter and giving everyone check-ups with her doctor kit. We also all got new Batman shirts!

We spent the next day at the playground, on the scooter, and resting inside while watching The Great British Baking Show. Mae likes the show and always feels bad for people when they have “a bad bake.” Mae also made tacos for Pepper with her new taco kit. Pepper wished they were real tacos.

In the evening, we went to Longwood Gardens, which has beautiful Christmas lights and a spectacular greenhouse. We climbed the treehouses and explored the children’s garden. I love this place!

Saturday evening, we went to Dan’s cousin’s bar/restaurant for dinner and drinks with GranE. We had a tasty meal, and Mae danced herself silly next to the table. We hung around just long enough to say hi to other cousins and family who stopped by, but had to leave to get Mae back for bedtime. The holidays are rough on kid’s sleep schedules! (I didn’t take any photos at the bar, but Mae did. I’ll have to look through her camera!)

On Sunday, we drove to Maryland to visit Dan’s Grandma and Batman’s side of the family. We went out for a delicious brunch, and enjoyed visiting with Dan’s cousin, aunt, and uncles along with Great Grandma.

Monday’s weather was dreary and gross, so we stayed inside most of the day. Colleen brought over her Kirsten doll and clothes, which kept Mae entertained for the afternoon. Kirsten even got a check-up from Doctor Mae.

After a bit of a flight delay Tuesday, we finally made it home. We enjoyed all of our Christmas travel, but now we are looking forward to a few quiet days to ourselves before we head back to work. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

home for the holidays

Merry Christmas!

I’m typing while sitting on the couch, surrounded by the scattered aftermath of Christmas: new toys, discarded boxes, bits of wrapping paper, candy wrappers, and pine needles (so many pine needles). Dan is next to me playing a new video game while Mae is conked out upstairs after a long, fun day. Our first Christmas at home was a success!

Last Friday we drove to visit my family for some pre-Christmas festivities. We kicked the weekend off with a trip to the theater to see the latest Star Wars movie with Dad, Kevin, and Christopher while Mae stayed home with Grandma. We spent most of Saturday lounging around the house and made a quick visit to the Christkindlmarket in the evening. Sunday, we drove downtown for one of my favorite traditions, the symphony’s Christmas show. We left Mae with a babysitter, but she’ll be old enough to enjoy it next year. I am so excited to share the experience with her, since she will love the music, dancing, and beautiful costumes! We finished the evening with our sibling gift exchange.

On Monday, we opened our gifts from Mom and Dad.

Mae was so excited to get her very own suitcase, a Bitty Baby, and a little camera. She spent the rest of the day packing everything up, “traveling” to different cities, and taking photos... lots and lots of photos.

We went to the zoo in the evening to see the Christmas lights and the dolphin show. Mae ran to each animal, snapped a photo, and then ran on to the next animal. We could barely keep up!

Christmas Eve morning, we woke up early for Breakfast with Santa. (Mae asked Santa for candy canes. “Big ones. And little ones.”) We ate breakfast and then took Mae to play the little carnival games they had set up. She also got to meet Anna and Elsa. (She just saw "Frozen" for the first time last week when she was home sick from day care. She liked it, but I don't think she has "frozen fever" yet, thank goodness.)

We took pictures with Christmas props at the photo booth.

I laughed until tears were rolling down my face when Mae put on this giant Santa head.

On our way out, I made Mae pose behind this sign that said “TEAM.” It was too perfect of a backdrop to pass up (with some strategic cropping and a bit of leeway on the direction of the E.)

We drove back to our house straight from breakfast to celebrate our first Christmas at home... ever! Mae took a quick nap, and then we went to early evening mass. Afterwards, we had homemade pizza for dinner (topped with pepperonis and spinach for Christmassy colors). We opened our last advent calendar door, watched “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street,” set out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, and read ‘Twas Night Before Christmas. Mae took a long time to fall asleep with all the excitement.

In the morning, she called out to me and I went upstairs to get her out of bed. She looked worried and said, “I don’t think Santa came.” She came down the stairs and ran to the fireplace to find that the cookies, milk, and carrots were gone. Then she ran to the living room to find her presents!

She was excited to open a Playmobil school, more wooden train track, and the game Loopin’ Louie. We spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, playing (and setting up) the new toys. We even went to the playground in our jammies, since it was in the 60s and beautifully sunny! We made a delicious ham dinner and snuggled in for our third viewing of “Muppet Family Christmas” this season.

We had a cheerful, relaxing, quiet Christmas, and it was wonderful! Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

a fall mae-cation

We had a fun time with GranE when she came for a short Mae-cation in early November. I didn't manage to take many photos, but we packed a good amount of activities into just a few days!

While Dan and I went to work on Thursday, GranE and Mae enjoyed their typical day: fashion show in the morning with all the new clothes that GranE brought for Mae followed by a trip to the coffee shop for a jelly-filled cookie. They played blocks and magnatiles before having Mae's (current) favorite lunch: peanut butter and jelly. (I'm excited that Mae has finally developed a taste for peanut butter. Makes life much easier when there's no real lunch food in the house!)

GranE even got this photo... as proof that Mae SOMETIMES snuggles! Usually she's just way too wiggly, but she loves to snuggle GranE!

Even as a tiny baby, GranE was her favorite snuggler.

On Friday, I got to tag along on the morning coffee shop trip. We followed it up with a trip to our local toy store, which has added an awesome play area in the basement. Saturday, we attended a family event organized by my group at work. It was held at our local "fowling" facility, which is a hybrid of football and bowling. (You throw a football at bowling pins that are set up on a board, kind of like cornhole. It's surprisingly challenging, mostly due to the unpredictable football bounce.) They also had a couple bouncy houses and a giant inflatable slide where we spent most of our time. GranE and I both took Mae down the slide a couple times. So fun!

It was a fun little Mae-cation!