Christmas Vacay

There's no place like home for the holidays. 

(Sorry for the lack of text...there was way too much to type...I figured most people would just want to look at pictures anyway. Basically there was a trip back home, and it was awesome).

Family photo/barf session

Yesterday we got together with the fabulous Amy Buchanan (see her website here) for a family photo shoot. My mom would have died had we not done this. The pictures turned out adorably, in spite of all the goings on before and after the pictures. 

The day before, Eliza (my 1 year old niece) spent the night throwing up. That morning while we were getting ready for pictures Michaela was throwing up. Then on the way to the shoot location, from the back seat I hear "I'm choking! I'm choking! I'm going to throw up!" Milly woke up out of a dead sleep to declare moments before orange vomit spewed out of her mouth, all over her car seat, and her one and only outfit for the pictures. 

It smelled horribly. James even said, "It smells orange.."

She proceeded to throw up once more during the photo shoot, off to the side in the grass somewhere. 

On the car ride home (we were all in 3 different cars because of all 8 of us plus 3 kids in car seats), my Dad had to pull over twice so Michaela could vomit on the side of the road. Well...the first time she didn't quite make it to the side of the road. And Milly threw up 7 or 8 times in the car (fortunately into a bag this time). 

By the time we all got home and night time came, Kimber and my Mom were also getting sick. 

Blegh. Here's to hoping the flu James, Jillian and I already caught guarantees our immunity from this barf fest. If not, I can't promise I'll be getting on an airplane tomorrow to make the trek back to Utah. 

Here's a sneak peek of some of the pictures: 

Baby's First Christmas

Christmas day was fabulous. We woke up and went to church, where there was an AWESOME Christmas program. Then we came home, put on our traditional Christmas jammies and opened presents.

I'm pretty sure Jillian loved crinkling the wrapping paper more than the actual toys/clothes/books she got...but either way we cheesed up every moment by helping her open each gift. 

Ryan, Kimber and the girls got there just in time for Christmas brunch (which was as fattening as it was delicious- quiches, baked french toast, bacon, breakfast casserole, holy smokes!). Then we exchanged gifts with them and settled down for a nap. 

We decided to also do a big Christmas dinner this year (usually it's just brunch), which was also amazing (beef wellington, mashed potatoes, green beans). And then we all sat around feeling extremely glutenous, but happy. Very happy. 

Merry Christmas! (or Murry Cri'mus! as some say). 

Christmas Eve Traditions

Every Christmas Eve all the family gets together at my grandparents house for dinner/Christmas program/secret Santa delivery. Each year there have been less and less people though as families move, visit their in-laws, or whatever else it is they do. Thus leaving Michaela and Spencer to be Mary and Joseph in the little nativity skit (who came out in towels and toilet paper as costumes, no less). They need to work on their acting skills. Jillian was supposed to be baby Jesus, but she was asleep for her big debut-along with James, might I add- so they used a little wooden Jesus from a Nativity scene. Classic.


She earned her wings.

My weeks of anxiety about the plane ride out to Florida were extinguished, as Jillian did FABULOUSLY on both legs of our trip. Cumulative crying time = 5 minutes. Good thing because as soon as we got on the plane some people already gave me the "oh crap..she has a baby" glare. Once she figured out how to rip the pages out of Sky Mall magazine and crinkle them up, she was golden.

Now let's hope the trip back to Utah goes JUST as smoothly..


(Knock on wood).

Dear Jillian (5 months)

Dear Jillian,

There is this saying that "kids grow like weeds." This is completely true. However what the simile excludes is how adorable, huggable, and laughable said kids are- which weeds are not. You grew out of your 3 month clothes in like 3 weeks. You're wearing most of your 6 month clothes now (only some are too big). I'm pretty sure your feet are already like the size of an 8 month olds...blame your dad for that one. You weigh 15 pounds now (around the 55th percentile for weight for your age).






You did some landmark things this month. You REALLY started cooing. Before you would just kind of grunt and occasionally make other sounds by complete surprise, but now you have full on conversations with whoever is willing to listen. Your timing was quite impeccable because I was just starting to get a little worried about how quiet you were (especially since they're diagnosing autism these days like passing out fun size candy bars on Halloween). But no worries! You're normal. And we're glad.

You also rolled over from your back to your tummy! That took a lot of arm strength..but you reaaalllyyy wanted that toy you were going for. So I'm thinking your days of immobility are numbered. One night you even rolled to your tummy in your crib and fell asleep on your arm. You weren't too happy about that when you woke up and discovered your predicament. Speaking of which, you move around in your sleep like CRAZY. You'll roll from side to side. When you are on your tummy, you're starting to move your legs more and more, and a few times you've almost pulled them up underneath you (like a pre-crawl position). You're getting the hang of things, kid. 

You found your feet! It was kind of the same process as your fingers...first you would just stare at them like some foreign object...then you realized you could control them...then you grabbed them! You haven't started sucking on them yet though, so maybe I can squeeze in a little toe polish for the holidays? We'll see. 

You want food SO BADLY!! You stare and grab and whatever food we are trying to eat. Sometimes you even attempt to dive bomb towards a plate of food with your mouth open and ready. However, at your 4 month check-up, Dr. Kendall said to wait to give you rice cereal until you are 5 1/2 months old, and fruits and veggies at 6 months (because of food allergies- that's the recommendation now)...so you'll have to hang in there just a little bit longer. 

Sometimes you can sit up by yourself...for about 2 seconds...before you face plant into the ground (most times I catch you before that happens...most times...). You love being up and around whatever is going on though. 



I just asked your Dad if I left anything off of the list of things you do...he said, "Chews on her fingers, laughs really loud, squeals like a pig..or a cat." 

There you have it. 

You've been doing great with all your reflux stuff though. We tried to wean you off of one of your medicines a few weeks ago and it failed miserably...so I guess you aren't quite ready for that. But we'll try again in another month! I think we've got your medicines/feeding routine down like pros. 




You are seriously the CUTEST little person I have ever met (I'm probably biased). I can't get enough of YOU! 

Love ya like crazy,



Partaay Weekend

This weekend was biiizonkers. Holiday happenings are in full swing. Friday night we went to James' work Christmas party, with like 498 other people. They do drawings for door prizes and James' ticket number was ALMOST called like 4 times (only the last digit would be off)- dang it!! Jillian was a doll the entire time. She stayed up 2 hours past her bedtime and wasn't even grumpy about it! Quite the opposite actually.

Speaking of her, she has REALLY started cooing. I've been kind of worried lately because she started to do it a couple of months ago, then completely stopped and would only grunt sometimes (but would still laugh and smile). I figured if she didn't start again by 6 months then I'd probably have something to worry about...but we're in the clear now because she DOES and it's friggin' ADORABLE. 

Anyway. Saturday was also insanely busy. My morning started at 8:00am (should have started at 7:00 with Zumba..oops..) and I went grocery shopping for the ingredients for the spread I had planned for our Christmas party. I ended up going to three grocery stores just to find this stinkin' bread I was looking for (still didn't end up finding it, so I just had to substitute with something else). I came home with enough time to drop off groceries, give James the recipe for the chocolate peppermint cheesecake, and run back out the door to my hair appointment (Did you catch that? Yes, JAMES made the cheesecake! He has a hidden baking talent I don't even think he knew he had).

Chocolate Chunk Candy Cane Cheesecake. Get the recipe here.

Then it was off to my classroom and the dollar store for a few game supplies. As soon as I got home it was cooking/cleaning/getting Jillian ready for bed until our party at 7:30. Crrrazy busy.

In light of all the parties- and holidays in general- I've eaten so much crap...I'll never lose this last 9 pounds of baby weight if I keep this up! But hey...9 is much better than the 35 I started off with, right?

Cream Filled Strawberries. Get the recipe here.

Other recipes from the party:
Sun-dried tomato & spinach torta with crostini (the fav of the night). Recipe here.
Cinnamon white chocolate pretzels. Recipe here.

But back to our party...we played some Minute to Win It Christmas style games- so funny! 

                  Photobucket  Photobucket


Now I just have to get myself through the next two and a half days of school and then Thursday morning at 9:15am it's off to Florida for Christmas vacation!! AND I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!


The 10 people you see at Zumba

Zumba one day post-flu and 2 hours post-coconut chicken with sweet chili sauce is not the best idea I ever had. Totally just going through the motions. Not trying. This gave me a lot of time to think...and since I've been an avid Zumba-goer for the last 3 years (mostly stalking the great Cecilia Mills where she teaches [I've never felt so incredibly sexy and grossly out of shape at the same time] and am able to pick up choreo fairly easily (thanks to Kelly Christie and endless hours of dance rehearsals), sometimes I just turn on my inner "auto-dance" and scan around the room. 

And tonight it hit me.

There are very different types of people who go to Zumba. As I was halfheartedly shakin' my grove thang, I saw it oh so very clearly.

Ahem. Allow me to explain the ten types of people you will see at any given Zumba class:

1. The Motivators: These people will take it upon themselves to motivate everyone who looks even slightly winded. They will dance around everyone and even at times in front of someone to try to boost the energy in the room. I get what you're doing, but holy crap you're annoying.

2. The Latinas: You're totally legit. Not only do you understand the lyrics to the song, but you manage to make every form of Latin dance completely effortless. You have my respect. 

3. The "Other" Latinas: You look Latino. You don't dance Latino. 
4. The Fellas: guys at a Zumba class fall into either one of two sub-categories: funny, outgoing OR extremely nerdy, awkward and uncoordinated. There is no gray area. 

5. The Resolutioners: The larger crowd who make it their New Year's Resolution to just "lose that last 50 pounds!" every year. These people are the reasons gyms make so much money. Bless your heart. There's always next year.

6. The Skinnies: Shut up. Go eat a taco.

7. The 80's Jazzerciser mom: No matter what you do. How hard you try. Every move you do will always look like something straight out of the 80's. (Although those white high socks and scrunchie in your hair aren't exactly helping either). 

8. The White Girls: We try. It's a 50/50 chance of looking cool. 

9. The Out of Body-ers: These people have no concept of their body movement or the personal space of others. These are the people who will often bump into you while flailing their arms and throwing their hips around. And somehow they really think they're doing the same moves as the instructor? Really?.....Really?

10. The Sororities: The girls who come with like 10 of their girlfriends, giggle a lot, and also like to randomly grind on each other at some point during class.

Which category describes me? Total white girl. 

Love Zumba.


Santa, meet Jillian

We went on somewhat of an impromptu outing tonight, which rarely happens...taking out a 4 month old in the cold requires lots of planning (at least for me anyway). But a onesie, 2 pairs of jammies, one hat, and a blanket later we made it. We went to Milawi's Pizza at the Riverwoods mall. I LOVE Riverwoods at Christmas because everything is lit up. It's borderline magical. And Milawi's has some of the most delicious pizza, and THE best dessert pizza.

Jillian also got to meet Santa. She loved him. I have a hunch she'll be getting everything she asked for this year.







Happy weekend to all, and to all a goodnight!