Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kenley Drew - 3 Years Old

Oh Kenley.  How I can't believe it's been three years since you completed our family, and yet, how has it only been three years, it feels like you've been part of our lives for so much longer.

You are a spitfire and you keep us on our toes.  You two girls could not be more different, but thankfully you couldn't love each other more.  You are fiercely independent and sometimes we feel you were sent to us to make sure we understood other parents with 'strong-willed' children and that we weren't going to breeze through this parenting gig.  Despite your ability to still throw an epic tantrum, you have grown and accomplished so much in this past year.

You started with a ditching your crib in lieu of a big girl bed, then quit the paci habit shortly after.  After that we tackled potty training which I was so glad to be through by swim season, even if we then visited every public bathroom possible.    For the second half of the year, you started pre-school, gymnastics (non-parent child classes), and most recently dance.

You have been learning a lot at school and will randomly surprise us with what you know.  You have always loved to draw and paint and I was pretty impressed when you started drawing actual faces over the summer without being really taught to.  You now can draw our family.

Your favorite book is Twelve Dancing Princesses and can name at least eight of the princesses, even if you do call Clover, Alice.  I also like to read Uni the Unicorn afterwards every night and recently have fallen into my trap to get you to enjoy the story of the Nutcracker.  I may be preparing you for your first trip to the ballet by getting you familiar with the story and some youtube videos so you'll stay in your seat at the performance.  You do fancy yourself a ballerina, which you were one for Halloween.

We have been working hard with getting you to control your emotions and use your words when faced with a problem, which at 2 years old, can be tough, but you have gotten a lot better at calming yourself and will even tell us when it's time to take deep breaths or that you just need a hug.

But being strong willed isn't your only leading characteristic, you are a clown.  You can be so silly and regularly have us in stitches. You love a knock knock joke, and tell us the same one with potty humor daily.  'Knock knock' 'Who's there?' 'Baxter' 'Baxter Who?' 'Baxter go potty!'... and it cracks you up harder than any one else!

Our favorite on running gag is that you refuse to accept Drew as your middle name and insist yours, too, is Hazel, like your sister.

Me: "Hey there Kenley Drew!"
Kenley: "No!! I'm NOT Kenley Drew!  I'm Kenley Hazel!"
Me: "No, Ashlynn is Ashlynn Hazel, you're Kenley Drew"
Kenley: " No, she Ashlynn Drew, I'm Kenley Hazel!!!"

This has been going on for a solid 8 months, possibly longer.  

You are incredibly athletic and live by the motto of the one and only Ricky Bobby,  "If you ain't first, you're last".  Even while walking the dog or getting to the car, you HAVE to be first, or watch out.  You LOVE tv, you continued through your Daniel Tiger phase for months, before switching to our nemesis Special Agent OSO, and now are hooked on StoryBots and any Mickey Mouse Christmas movies netflix can offer.  You're favorite activites are coloring, playdoh, and playing in your kitchen making me pancakes and various soups.

You love to cuddle and find your way to our bed pretty much nightly.  You love the dogs, especially Baxter, even if he is 'grumpy'.   We are so excited to see you grow this year and your personality is going to shine through everything you do.

Happy Birthday, Little Biscuit!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Home for the Holidays

Being in a new home for the holidays is both exciting and bit uneasy.   I am excited to start new traditions in our new town, but also nostalgic for the traditions we already had and anxious to see if they will continue with the same anticipation in our new space.

Kicking off the holiday season, we are spending our first Thanksgiving as a family of four here in our new home, just us.  It's a bit melancholy, to not spend the day that's fixated as holiday with a bustling house full of guests, without any, but between the distance and the potential to go from a family dinner to a SNL sketch before the pumpkin pie is cut,  well... it is, what it is.   And on the plus side, I don't need to worry about ironing my table linens, holler! 🙌

I know the girls are so excited to get ready for Christmas and decorate the house and tree.  I do think this will definitely be the best Christmas yet.  Ashlynn has been scouring the Target and Toy R Us toy catalogs and already has written an unofficial list for Santa.  Kenley is pretty excited to be turning 3 next week and will tell anyone with a set of ears. We have a town tree lighting and tickets to the Nutcracker so the season will kick off strong.   The Elf on the Shelf game will need a kick in the ass this year as I'm pretty sure I'll no longer get by moving it around every few days.  Our Advent calendar will need an upgrade too since I'm pretty sure last year at least a week's worth of days were left empty of activities or ornaments to hang.

On the bright side, I am ready for the Christmas book countdown and already have the books wrapped and ready to go under the tree December 1st.   I thought I'd reshare this list of 25 MORE Christmas books from last year in case you were looking to add a few more to your stash!  (24 and 25 are my pop culture favorites!)

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25

And speaking of pop culture, who's ready for the Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Countdown Deals

Not sure if anyone else is prepping their list for Santa Claus, but the countdown to Christmas is on!  While I definitely don't start pulling out the tinsel until after the turkey is eaten, I do start prepping my shopping list so I can appropriately sale stalk.  I like to price watch items and check for store coupons so I know I'm getting the best deals on the items, I'm planning on buying any way.  Plus, it keeps me on task instead of grabbing random things and going off of budget.  

We will be heading to Toys R' Us later so the girls can get some ideas for Santa.  We headed to the mall last week and he was already there!  Kenley was terrified and Ashlynn was overwhelmed with being unprepared.  We told her we'd come back (probably in a month!) to put in our request :)

Some great deals going on today include...

Some super cute Land of Nod items actually worth their discount!  Check out the other Zulily sales to save on shipping!

Save on lots of Ravensburger and Wonder Forge games on Amazon's daily deals.

... and Free Shipping on all stockings too.  

Save up to $60 on American Girl BeForever Holiday Collections, all priced at $150.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween 2016

Hello.  I'm just going to pretend like I regularly keep up with this... is that okay?  I really didn't expect to fall so off the blogwagon, but between still getting settled and trying to rush through last three seasons Gilmore Girls, we are finally getting there with the house and I'm just getting into Season 7.

After our girls trip to the pumpkin patch, we had a really great October.  Dad traveled almost every week, so the girls and I had a lot of time to explore our hood, meet neighbors and make some new friends, and of course all things Halloween.

This last weekend started with Pete running a 5K in Charlotte.  It was a Hero Run, so Iron Man, Captain America, and Wonder Woman were there to entertain the kids (and scare Kenley).  We did our family duty cheering at the finish line, thankfully dad was a beast and clocked in under 22 minutes so our wait for brunch wasn't a long one.

After brunch and getting into costume, we headed to the neighborhood Fall Festival where the girls bounced themselves silly on moonbounces on every corner, sampled free cake, accepted candy, and even had Queen Elsa make them each a balloon animal.  Since it was in the mid 80s (WTF Carolina, where is Fall?!) we headed back before heading to friends for an evening hang and child meltdowns.


On Monday, the girls had their Halloween parade at school, adorable as always, and then trick or treat.  We were told Halloween was insanity in our new hood, and compared to most, people really do go all out.  However, we were told to have at least 1000 pieces of candy, but come Tuesday morning, I returned two jumbo unopened bags to Target.  I guess being a Monday, it wasn't as crazy as the past years.  Since the girls are young and did have school the next day, we were a bit relieved.

Other fun things in October included that the girls got off the waitlist for gymnastics and suckered me into getting them signed up for dance as well.  I never imagined myself a Dance Mom, but my gosh, sneaking peeks in of them in class couldn't be cuter.