We have a house!

So…whoops…life’s been a bit busy these past few months and this poor blog has been sadly neglected. But things are finally starting to settle down thanks in big part to the fact that we (finally) found a house!!! We had NO idea how stressful it would be to find a rental here in Asheville. When we first moved (at the beginning of April) we figured that we would stay with my parents for a few weeks while we searched; imaging that we would be in our new home (easily) by May 1st. My parents warned us about the “hot rental market” but we kind of just nodded along thinking “yeah, yeah, how hard could it really be, I mean this is a big city!”

And then we got here. And oh boy, saying that Asheville has a “hot rental market” is an understatement. We quickly learned that there is something crazy like a 1% vacancy rate here in town for rentals (why are all these darn people moving here?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and that we would be competing with a million other people to get a house. (Okay so a million may be a bit exaggerated, but it sure felt like it at times!!) Stalking Zillow and other rental websites became my full time job and I would call/email/text a property as soon as it hit the market. And then Brett and I would go see it and there would be like 10 other people viewing it at the same time; everyone eyeing each other up to see who their biggest competition would be to snatch the house up first. Let’s just say it was EXHAUSTING. Thank God we had my parents (who have been enjoying their time with the grandkids and were not pushing us out in the least) but with 2 kids and a big dog let’s just say that we have seriously taken over their house these past 2 months. Long story short (and seriously, it is a long story) we finally found a house!!

Leah sitting on the front steps on move in day!

We are still settling in (We just moved in Sunday) but we are so, so excited to finally start growing some roots here in our new city.

I am in love with our new bathroom. Also, this is the first time in our married life that Brett and I have a double sink in the master bath, which is thrilling. I’m sure more pics of the house will soon follow, once it isn’t a mess of boxes and furniture…

So, while we searched and waited for a house, I decided to just jump in and potty train Leah. We had put it off for a LONG time, but with so many recent changes (a new baby, and then a big move) I felt weird throwing too much at her at once so we waited and waited some more. But with her 3rd birthday around the corner, I knew she was more than ready! I will write a whole post about it (promise!) hopefully soon, but it’s been an exciting time for her!

I will just say that she has done SO well and we are extremely proud of how she has handled the big change! But more details about our “potty plan” will follow. (I know, I know, you’re all just on the edge of your seats!)

Besides that, Claire turned the big 6 monthsย  (how has it already been half a year?!) And I haven’t done her monthly letter since 4 months. #secondchild. This girl is sweet and chubby and delicious and basically just the world’s cutest baby. A full 6 month update will come soon…

So there you have it. A bit of a life update (have we done more these past 2 months than house hunt and potty train?? I’m not really sure) and a promise to (hopefully) get back in the blogging game soon.

Cousin love

Back at the beginning of the month my sister and her family came to visit for a week and we had so much fun. Even now, weeks after they left, Leah is still asking “Hey, can we go to the pool (or beach, or playground..) withย  Millie!?” And when I tell her (yet again) “Honey, Millie went back to her house!” She gets sad all over again and grumpily responds, “But I don’t WANT Millie to go bye-bye!!” Me neither kid. Me neither. We fit a lot into their 5 day stay and we had a blast. Since they were escaping the cold, snowy, Vermont weather, we made sure to fit in plenty of beach and pool trips and just spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine. It’s crazy to think that last March when they were here, Millie was Claire’s age and Claire was just a thought and a hope and now, one year later, we had 2 toddlers and 1 little babe playing on the beach. ๐Ÿ™‚ Leah absolutely LOVED playing with her cousin Millie and it made me excited (yet again) for when Claire is old enough to play because I just know they are going to be the sweetest little friends!! Some pictures from our visit with cousin Millie and family…

^There was lots of cute hand holding between Leah and Millie (although some of it may have been just a bit forced on Leah’s end…) and it melted my heart!

 


We had so much fun with Aunt Lauren, Uncle Evan, and cousin Millie!! One of the most exciting aspects of our move north is that, because we will live right by my parents, we will get to see all my siblings and the cousins every time they come into town to visit grandma and grandpa. See that guys, we are saving you money so you don’t have to make two separate trips to see us and the grandparents, so now you can do even MORE trips to see us both!! Although I think they may be a bit bummed to lose their Florida spring break trip every year….
One thing’s for sure, we sure can’t wait to see them all again soon!!

Leah at 2.5 years

Some of my favorite Leah-isms:

“Psst! Psst! I have a secret to tell you!”
“Want to go play with all my guys!?” (her baby dolls)
“You are being mad to me!” (whenever she is being scolded for something)
“Let me ugga ugga your nose” (Coming from Daniel Tiger, her favorite show)
“I don’t love coffee” (what she tells me EVERY morning as I make myself a large mug)
“You want to talk? Let’s talk about doggies” (At the dinner table every night)
“I think I’m gonna be a little bit sad..” (walks around with her head down, frowning) 2 minutes later….”Okay, I’m happy now!”
“Because why?” (Questioning EVERYTHING we say….)

Other important 2.5 year old mannerisms I want to remember:
~The way she dances “ballet” with over exaggerated arm movements.
~Her complete love and obsession with all things Frozen.
~Her sweetness towards Claire and the way she tells her “Hold on Claire, 2 more minutes!” whenever Claire starts fussing in the car.
~Her insane ability to memorize books which enables her to “read” for hours. (Boy, does this girl LOVE books)
~Her amazing imagination and how she is really starting to create actual story lines and scenarios with her babies and toys.
~The high pitch voice she uses when she makes her dolls (or Claire) talk.

One thing’s for sure, 2 year old’s are the cutest.

Leah bakes

So, for the month of December, my mother-in-law had the cutest idea of sending us an Advent calendar for Leah. Each day contained a different small gift and/or activity which was awesome, not only to get her excited for Christmas, but also to make her feel special since she was dealing with this brand new baby in the house. One of the gifts at the end of the month was a box of funfetti cake mix and frosting so she could bake a cake with mommy. But, you know, with a new baby and all, we ended up ooing and ahhing over the cake mix before promptly sticking it in the cabinet for “later.” And then a month went by. Whoops. So yesterday I decided to pull it out and let Leah go crazy with some cupcake making. Now, I tend to be somewhat of a neurotic baker. I like homemade desserts, I like cleanliness and I like when my desserts look pretty. I knew Leah’s cupcakes would be none of these things. But, I also knew that little miss independent would have a total blast if I just let her at it alone, so I tucked away my type A personality and I let her take charge. She measured, she dumped, she stirred, she even cracked the eggs (which, did end up giving the cupcakes some extra “crunch” with some fallen in eggshells. C’est la vie). She poured the cupcakes into the tray, resulting in some cupcakes being overflowing mondo cupcakes, and some being 1/3 filled mini cupcakes. Obviously the girl had a plan. Then, once they were baked and cooled, she frosted each and every one, some with just a small dollop of frosting, while others had a large mountainous clump. And of course, every last cupcake got a healthy dose of sprinkles. Half of the container of frosting ended up in her own mouth, which made my teeth hurt just watching her. But, every time she took a nice, big lick, she would give me this sweet, shy smile like she truly couldn’t believe she was getting away with this, and that alone made me keep my mouth shut. And once those cupcakes were all done, we poured a glass of milk, picked the best cupcake, set it on her table…..where she promptly gave it one lick, drank her milk, and said she was done. Alrighty then! And now for some pictures, because this little baker really is just too cute.

^^Lucy is all ready for any frosting droppings….

This sweet girl makes everything so fun and I have been so proud of her since her little sister has gotten here. She is seriously such an amazing big sister and I was happy to be able to do something (as small as this was) to make her feel special. We love you so much, our Leah Grace!

Life

Sorry it’s been so quiet lately here on the blog. Turns out, 2 kids is a lot more work than 1. Who knew?! ๐Ÿ˜›

So, after almost an entire month of having family visiting on and off, I’m officially on my own with both kids. As intimidating as it was the first few days, we’ve seemed to have seamlessly slipped into a routine that works well. Since Leah was used to going to school every day when I worked, the girl craves structure. She likes to have planned activities and she likes to know what’s coming next. At bedtime, as I say goodnight, we talk about what we are going to do the next day. We talk about reading books, going for a walk, the playground, the store, etc and, when she wakes up the next morning, she will repeat the day’s schedule back to me. And, as a planner myself, it has made the days much more enjoyable! We have time for reading books, time for playing outside, time for snack, and time for (mommy’s new favorite!) a nap. I told Brett the other day that I have been shocked to find that the days are flying by! Running around with two kids makes my days go way faster than they used to when I was working! And, even though there have been fits here and there, it really has been a blast. Leah is such a joy to hang out with and I am LOVING watching her grow and change every single day. (As well as hearing all the new, funny expressions that come out of her mouth; my current favorites being “Okie dokie artichokie” and “Oh, sorry about that!”) Being a mom to these two sweet little girls makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. Here’s a little of what we have been up to ever day:

1. Splash park playing. I have to say, we’ve had a fabulous winter so far this year in Florida. And by “winter” I mean that it hasn’t been 90 degrees with 100% humidity every single day. We’ve had some “cold” days in the 50’s and 60’s and a lot of perfect sunny days in the mid-70’s. Leah LOVES the splash park (which is funny since, just a few months ago, the girl would barely touch the splash pad with one toe) and will happily play in there for hours. And mommy likes it because she is able to just sit and relax while Leah has a blast.

^^I call this look Leah’s “J-Lo booty” AKA a diaper full of water….

2. Ice cream eating. Because, obviously this is needed when the weather is nice.

3. Walks, walks and more walks. I haven’t been doing a ton of exercising yet, but I have been trying to do daily walks. As much as I LOVE my new double stroller, it definitely took me awhile to get used to pushing this heavy, “stretch limo” as I affectionately call it, around. I am so used to the BOB, which is super smooth and easy to push, but a double stroller is a different story. I swear my arms are getting quite the workout on our long walks. I’ve also finally mastered the double stroller PLUS puppy walk, which I’m quite impressed with. (It’s the little achievements, right!?)

4. Playground playing. Almost every night, if I ask Leah what she wants to do tomorrow, she will answer with “Go to the playground!” (That or, “Watch Frozen!” but, you know, the playground request gets approved a lot more than the Frozen watching, much to Leah’s chagrin). We have a lot of playgrounds around our neighborhood so we walk or drive to new ones daily. We are just getting to the stage where playground playing is more relaxing for me, now that Leah is more independent and I don’t feel the need to follow her up and down and all around the playground. Which comes in handy when you have an infant strapped to your chest.

5. Outside playing. Again, with the awesome weather, we are full on taking advantage of playing outside as much as possible. Leah’s current favorite outdoor activities include drawing with chalk on the driveway (in her Elsa nightgown, obviously) and pushing her baby (usually her Elsa baby) around the block in her new double stroller.

6. Reading. Leah LOVES books and she will read for hours (or, really, have me read for hours) if I let her. She gets into a rut where she wants to read the same book over and over again for weeks on end. So much fun. Brett and I will keep trying to introduce a new book, “Hey, how about this one!?” but she will inevitably shoot down our suggestion and instead go with her current fave. Luckily, she always tends to move on to a new one after a few weeks. Her most recent fave was a book “A Fly Went By” about a bunch of animals chasing each other for no apparent reason and, let me tell you, it goes on just a bit too long if you ask me. Not one of mommy’s favorites. And, sadly, once you read it correctly once you can’t change up the story or skip a little because our kid has a memory like a vault and she remembers every single word and will totally call you out if you try and skip a page or two.

7. Entertaining myself, which, inevitably, ticks Leah off. Maybe I’m a mean mom, but I get a kick out of putting Claire in Leah’s toy stroller and toy pack and play…unfortunately Leah does NOT share my sense of humor…..

8. Enjoying this new little chub of a cherub that has joined our family. Leah LOVES holding baby Claire and, coincidentally, baby Claire LOVES being held (maybe not so much by Leah…) Having 2 kids makes me even more thankful for baby wraps/carriers because I don’t know what moms do without them. Claire seems to be under the impression that being put down is a form of torture, so she tends to be in my arms 24/7. And when I actually NEED my arms, she’s strapped to my chest.

And that’s life around here these days. That, and many, many trips to Trader Joe’s because I’m just a bit obsessed with their food (okay, let’s be honest, I’m mostly obsessed with their snacks). Now excuse me while I go snack on some Cowboy Bark and take advantage of nap time to catch up on some reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas 2014

We had such a fabulous Christmas this year. Christmas Eve was full of homemade pasta and cookie making, followed by a candlelit church service. Christmas Day was filled with coffee cake eating, present opening, Frozen watching, family time. Although this was Leah’s 3rd Christmas, it was really the first year that she truly GOT what Christmas was all about. Leading up to Christmas, we read her so many books about the birth of baby Jesus that, on Christmas morning, every time she opened a present and we asked her “What do you think it is!?” she would answer back with glee, “I think it’s baby Jesus!!” Unfortunately for her, none of the presents actually contained a wrapped up baby Jesus, but hey, at least she understood “the true gift of Christmas” in her own way, right?! She also understood that, thanks to VERY generous grandparents, plus gifts from Santa, 90% of the gifts under the tree were for her. Every time anyone else opened a gift she would get a very concerned look on her face and say, “Well, what about Leah?” Let’s just say that Leah received more than enough gifts this year. I would say her top presents were her beloved Elsa doll from my sister, Lego’s from Santa (aka mommy and daddy) and her new toy double stroller from my parents, which she stuffs full with at least 4 baby dolls on a daily basis. Brett and I soaked in the holidays, thankful for the new addition to our family, a sweet little chub, who I don’t think was put down for more than 10 minutes during the holidays, as she was passed from family member to family member and given tons of snuggles. Now, with the holidays over, Leah, coming out of a fun-filled month of visitors, is slightly depressed to find only mom here every single morning, instead of grandparents who spoil her rotten all day long. Sorry kid, welcome back to the real world. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And now we are ready to begin 2015 as a family of 4. Excited for all the adventures this year brings!!

Halloween 2014

 

The world’s cutest Minnie Mouse right there.

When I was thinking about what Leah should be for Halloween, it didn’t take me very long to decide on Minnie Mouse. This girl is a HUGE Mickey and Minnie fan. She doesn’t watch much TV and she is still oblivious to the new super popular Disney channel characters, such as Doc McStuffin or Princess Sofia, but Mickey and Minnie? Those two she loves. We own a few Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVDs and, when a car ride or doctor’s office wait becomes too long, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse YouTube videos are what we turn to. So, Minnie was the perfect choice. However, when I started searching for a costume I wasn’t happy with anything I could find. Every costume was either WAY expensive, or really fake and cheap looking and I just wasn’t sold on any of the choices. So I casually brought up the fact that Leah wanted to be Minnie for Halloween to my super talented mother, and before I knew it, a gorgeous, custom made, Minnie Mouse costume showed up on our doorsteps!! Gotta love grandma and her sewing machine!! Thursday afternoon Leah and I trekked out to Party City to find some Minnie Mouse ears, which now, looking back, was the dumbest idea ever because, seriously, who goes to Party City the DAY before Halloween!? Everyone. Everyone goes to Party City the day before Halloween. It took me about 2.5 seconds to find the ears, and another 30 minutes to get OUT of the store, as we waited in a line that snaked up and down 2 aisles. But, at least Leah and I were kept entertained as we watched two mothers behind us almost get into a real life fist fight over the last red Ninja Turtle costume. True story. Craziness, I tell you!!

So the ears were then bought and Leah and I spent Friday practicing how trick or treating would work. She quickly got the phrase down and would yell to me “trick or treaaaaaatt! Now I get candyyyyy!!!!” So the girl was a quick learner. Brett and I figured that we would just go up and down our street like we did last year and then call it a night, but this girl had other plans. Once we hit up the first 2 houses and she quickly realized how fun it was, there was no stopping her. Lucky for us, I don’t think she truly understood what it was she was collecting in her Elmo Easter Halloween basket. Even when someone held out the whole bucket of candy and said “take what you want!” she would still look into the bucket and then very thoughtfully choose one piece to stick carefully in her basket. So it was much more about the collecting than the reward for her. An hour and a half later, as she lugged her heavy basket with both hands (which, side note, weighed about 5 lbs at this point and every time we asked if she wanted mommy or daddy to hold it she would respond, “nope! Leah hold it!”) we finally made our way back home. We had so many trick or treaters we ended up giving out all of our candy (over 160 pieces!!) PLUS all the candy of Leah’s that I didn’t want (Tootsie rolls, I have no use for you) and with that, Halloween was over. Luckily, Leah has seemed to have forgotten (or just doesn’t care) about the candy she collected and hasn’t once asked for any of it. Which leaves pregnant mommy to eat all her Twix and Milky Way bars. Win, win! Next year we will have two little girlies trick or treating and you better believe that they will be wearing coordinating costumes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope everyone had a great Halloween!!