Saturday, November 30, 2013

We've Moved!


Surprise! Change is HERE!

My NEW blog can be found at:

From here on out, please visit my new site to read all about the Shove family adventures. :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Man with the Bag

I broke my cardinal Christmas rule this year, which is to see Santa early before the madness begins. We've all been sick over the last month and Ryan's been traveling like crazy, so somehow Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. As November slipped quickly by, I could feel the pressure mounting; getting your child into see The Big Guy post-Thanksgiving can be a total nightmare, a nightmare I didn't want to deal with. So, on a whim, we packed E.V. up after her nap on Wednesday and decided to join all the crazy people doing pre-Black Friday shopping. To my surprise we walked straight into see Santa with no line! (His "elf" told us we had missed the crowds by about 30 minutes...whew!)

Emma Vance wasn't quite sure what to make of ol' Kris Kringle (giving him the same look of confusion as last year), but she sure had fun running around his North Pole for a while! Eventually one of Santa's Little Helpers lured E.V. over toward Santa with the promise of a noise-making toy, and three quick pictures later, it was over! In and out in about 10 minutes? We'll take it!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2.0

Our Turkey Day was about 1000% slower this year than it was last year. For E.V.'s first Thanksgiving, we had three houses to visit and were out until late into the night celebrating, and, truthfully, it was fun but exhausting! This year was quite opposite.

We woke up casually and without any real agenda. We didn't have to be anywhere until mid-afternoon, so I cooked E.V. a "special" Thanksgiving breakfast (read: the same ol' thing served on a thematic plate), and when we were done, I looked around and thought, "Hmmm. Now what?"

Ryan was still enjoying his holiday by sleeping in, so I decided to get in the spirit of the season by baking cookies (E.V.'s first time!). Despite deciding to bake on a whim, I randomly happened to have all of the ingredients on-hand--which I was thankful for because it was so FRIGID out this morning that there was NO WAY I would've made the trek to the grocery store to fight over flour with the last-minute Thanksgiving chefs. ;) I decided the best way to incorporate a one-year-old into my project was to bake cookies mise en place, so I measured everything out before pulling Emma Vance up onto a chair next to me. I had envisioned her enjoying dumping the bowls of ingredients into the batter, but, as I should have expected, she was more interested in taste-testing the chocolate chips than actually helping me. Go figure. Oh, well! Whatever floats your boat, kid! And then, of course, she had to taste-test the batter for approval before I placed the cookies onto the baking sheet. That's my girl! It ended up being a fun activity for our quiet Thanksgiving, and Ryan was ecstatic to wake up to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in bed! We spent the rest of the morning watching the Macy's parade, playing and napping, and then it was time for the Turkey Day festivities to really begin!

With my brother and sister-in-law and E.V.'s four cousins having just moved to California and Ryan's brother and girlfriend traveling for the holiday, we had the rare treat of having both my family and Ryan's family together for Thanksgiving. Wendi and Mike hostessed my mom, dad and oldest brother, and it was so nice to only have one house to visit for our holiday festivities. The gist of the typical holiday madness didn't change much by combining dinners, however: E.V. ran around like a wild child, climbing on everyone, dancing, begging for snacks, playing with toys and reading books while Wendi and Mike cooked a fabulous dinner. (I'm still full four hours later!) My dad made for entertaining and outrageous conversation (as usual); I picked Jon's brain about HTML code (his world, not mine); and Ryan carved his first turkey (like a freakin' boss). It was a fun night to have the two families together for a meal, and afterwards as we all packed up leftovers, Emma Vance explored the glowing lights around Wendi's house.

Since Thanksgiving fell so late this year, now that the turkey is eaten and the dishes are washed, all I have to say is this: Christmas here we come!

(practicing her stirring while I measure out ingredients)

Yup. Go figure.

The things I have to resort to doing in Amityville!
Our oven is SOOOOO hot, and I'm terrified E.V. will touch it one day!

Someone didn't want to take pictures. But I still laugh at her silly face... :)

Emma Vance's Thanksgiving placemat that she made at preschool!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

23 Weeks Pregnant

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving everyone! Being pregnant during this time of year means I get to eat whatever I want without any guilt, right? I mean, in any sort of fair and just world, mashed potatoes have to be good for a growing baby. ;)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Evolving v. Devolving

These days are filled with fleeting moments, meaning I'm desperately trying to live in these moments while I can, but every once in a while I pause for a second in a state of pure revelation. One of these pauses happened today.

I was deep within thought, contemplating how Emma Vance actually walked with me at the park the other day. I pushed an empty stroller; she insisted on carrying her snack. She stayed obediently by my side; I walked at about 1 mph to accommodate her. It was perhaps the most joyful I've seen her lately, healthy and awash in new freedom. I was contemplating what her ability to walk with me meant on a deeper level: the scary rate at which she's becoming an independent child, the excitement of having a semi-autonomous child who doesn't need me for every little thing, the implications for next spring when I'll be pushing a newborn while E.V. walks at my side...sigh. And then I snapped back to reality.

In the midst of my daydreaming, I had removed E.V. from her high chair and was finishing her rejected lunch (chicken and veggie rice). And when I say "finishing," I mean literally standing in front of her empty high chair, scooping up cold rice with a miniature spoon from a Cookie Monster bowl. (Motherhood...) I had snapped back to reality because apparently although E.V. wasn't interested in her lunch, she sure as heck didn't want anyone else to have it and was pushing me away from the highchair as if I was stealing her last morsel of food. 

It was in this somewhat confusing, post-daydream moment that I realized that perhaps as my toddler evolves into a responsible, independent member of society, I'm conversely devolving into a kid who rarely ever has a grown-up meal anymore? Is this possible? :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Toddler Thanksgiving

Yup, that's about right.

What is Toddler Thanksgiving?

Well, in a nutshell, Toddler Thanksgiving is madness. Pure, unadulterated (pun intended) MADNESS.

In all actuality, it's a Thanksgiving-themed play date complete with crafts, favors and a Thanksgiving-ish lunch...and lots of tiny toddlers ransacking the poor hostess' house. :) We celebrated Toddler Thanksgiving today with a few of Emma Vance's friends, and I have to say I was unprepared for the meltdowns, the yelling, the injuries, the sudden fear of paint (my child!) and the mess. However, it was also SUPER fun, as evidenced by E.V.'s falling asleep within 10 seconds of being clicked into her carseat. Whew.

My contribution to the play date was rather tame (in Talie terms)--just some cupcakes. Some store bought cupcakes. (Shhhh! Don't tell!) I had visions of grandeur when it came to my dessert responsibilities; cupcakes had been requested, and my plans included decorations that would've surely taken twice as long as the actual baking would have. However, after dinner last night I had a moment of panic as I realized that Toddler Thanksgiving was in the morning. (How did that sneak up on me so quickly? I blame vacation.) I ventured out into the cold night to pick up baking supplies, but upon wandering through the bakery section of Publix, I thought, "What the heck? Who cares? Certainly not the kids..." Resolved that I don't have to do everything super-creatively, I grabbed a dozen pre-done cupcakes and called my duties completed. It worked out well, considering the toddlers spent most of the play-and-craft time begging to eat the cupcakes, although I did NOT think through the yellow and orange frosting very well. It ended up everywhere, including staining E.V.'s white top. ;) Oh, well. Next year, sugar cookies...that is, IF we lose our minds and opt embrace the madness again! :)

(E.V.'s is the incomplete one on the left because she all of a sudden developed a fear of paint. Go figure.)

Aw. The littlest turkey!