Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Celebration

Woo. FINALLY, we are caught up on laundry from the whirlwind month of December. How does traveling do that? We had dirty clothes coming out our ears, and every time we unpacked, it was to wash things and then put them right back in the suitcase. Just a tiny bit sick of seeing that never ending pile.

Probably doesn't help that both kids have decided to grow, especially Meredith. (Midseason, ugh! Don't they know I just switched out the closets!?) Big girl actually wears 24 months or 2T in leggings these days, it's the first time our peanut has been ahead of her size! Makes all that snacking she requires worth it;) 

But lots of travel also means getting to see lots of family! Here's a run down of our three day Christmas. 

First stop was our own living room after a brisk trot around the neighborhood. We originally planned a family walk to look at holiday lights and decorations, but it was freezing and so we only made it around the block. 

These two were just a tiny, little bit excited. 
Yes, that's a broom. Otto specifically requested it. They also got a toy vacuum, which is a huge favorite.

Oh Meri, you are just the cutest thing. She opened her stocking, found four bracelets, and was done. Otto had no problem opening the rest of her presents though, big brothers for the win.

We spent the day with Chris' family on Christmas Eve, and I was a total meanie and made people pose for pictures. 
What really surprised me during our visit was Meredith's comfort with Daniel. She's only met Daniel a few other times, because he isn't stationed nearby, and she had no anxiety about letting him hold her. BIG case of brave for Meri! Normally she even avoids Chris when we are in large group settings. She definitely won a fan in Daniel though, which might have been her plan all along:)
Lisa and her babies!

And then, Christmas Day was spend with my family. Everyone made it!
Again, I was the crazy person dragging everyone out into the yard for a picture. I my haste the kids shoes were forgotten, but whatevs, there where lots of hands to carry them.

Meredith and her Abbey, favorite since the beginning.
Hey look! A Chris and Lydia picture. Never enough of these in the world;)
Israel, generous uncle that he is, got Otto a pellet gun. I know. Otto was thrilled.

They set up a balloon target practice area in the backyard over the pool, and Uncle Israel gave Otto a lesson in gun safety and proper usage. He showed Otto how to aim and popped a few of the balloons before giving Otto his chance.
(Please note posing Meredith, who is five feet behind the barrel, but flat pictures are weird.)
And (not) surprisingly, my genius child totally popped a balloon on his very first try! From 25 feet! Note Uncle Sam's look of shock and awe. The gun is staying with Otto's uncles, but I'm sure he will enjoy practicing with it when we visit.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!



Monday, December 23, 2013

Florida Continued

After spending the weekend on the coast, we drove inland to Orlando. Chris was attending a training M-F for work, so the kids and I entertained ourselves while he was in class, and each evening we used Yelp to find the highest rated hole-in-the-walls in the area. Shout out to The Purple Orchid, delicious.

We had a great time exploring the parks close to our hotel, and even saw an alligator in the pond across the street while on an evening walk. Florida is a lovely place, but I'm not sure I could live there full time. Alligators AND snakes?? Yikes!
We went to the Orlando Science Center, which was fantastic. Fifty percent of it was well over the kids heads, but they were thrilled by it none the less. The dinosaur replica exhibit blew Otto away.
All of the exhibits and rooms had interactive portions and we easily could have spent a second day there. If you are ever in Orlando and have a spare day, this is the place to go!
"I'm just like Papa, Mom."
If you ever see this girl driving a train, run! She's a wild woman behind the controls. 
We also went to Downtown Disney, but it wasn't a hit.  Both the kids enjoyed riding the water taxi, but really didn't understand the characters. Meri isn't quite old enough for princesses, and Otto is more of a Diego kid, so they weren't too thrilled. The lego table did catch his eye though.
Orange picking, however, was so much fun! A very kind orchard employee named Anthony let Otto pull the wagon, explained to the littles how to tell which fruit was ripe, and even peeled an orange for them to sample.


We picked lemons, tangerines, grapefruit, and several varieties of oranges to bring home. Best I've ever tasted!

Poor Chris really wasn't on vacation, working all day and spending most nights in the hotel business center finishing a term project. But on our last night before heading home he did get to enjoy a little of the beautiful weather with us.
Aren't these two boys the cutest?
We are very thankful for a Daddy who thinks road tripping across the US with two little people is great fun, and let's us join him on work trips!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Meredith at the Beach

Our first stop in Florida was Sarasota. Chris' BFF for life and then some, Shawn, and his wife Jessica, are now residents of the Sunshine State and live just minutes from some of the prettiest beaches in America. 

Because the weather was simply perfect (80 degrees and clear skies) we spent our first morning relaxing on the sand. Both the kids LOVED it. 

But this post is really about Meri. Apparently oceans are her jam, just look at that face. Think she's excited just a touch? Also, monogrammed swimsuit that finally fits in the dead of winter--hello cuteness.
Into the water they go! (Please note that Otto, while excited, is being carried. Someone (SAM!) told him a little too much about sharks, and now he is very worried about safety in large bodies of water. Anything bigger than a bath tub gives him cause for concern.)


No fear. She's alone in these pictures because Chris was running Otto back to me so he could follow her into the water.
Meredith heading for the waves, while Otto checks for sharks.
Her expressions in these next photos are just the best. Posting them all because I can.




See? You know you're smiling. She's the most adorable mess.

And Otto, he did make it out to about waist depth....eventually.  He was very happy digging in the sand with Jessica, while I policed Meri, and Chris and Shawn body boarded.
Wonderful, relaxing morning for sure.  Meri was asleep before we left the beach parking lot, it's hard work being so cute!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Surprise! We Went to Florida!

We heard a rumor that an ice storm was headed for the metroplex and so we packed our bags (and winter white selves) and hit the road for sunny Florida. 
It was beautiful, and warm, and I have a slew of pictures. The 'Meri Takes on the Beach' shots are my favorite so those are up next!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is my favorite. Food and family without all the craziness of shopping for gifts.
Juan, Lisa, Chris, Otto, Michael, Justin, Stephen, Angela, Abbey, Meredith, Judy, and Mike
Chris, stud muffin that he is, invited our families to celebrate at our house this year! Makes me happy to have (most) of our people in one place!
And not only were they good sports about road tripping to our house, but they also all participated in the games we had planned. :)

There was table tennis, bean bag toss, and paper football, but the most hilarious was this 'art' project. The goal was to draw a turkey...behind your back without looking.
Sam, Angela, and Michael were the three finalists. Sam was deemed the winner, because he not only drew his turkey from a rear view, but he also (attempted) to sign his name.
I'm including this shot because there aren't enough Chris and Lydia pictures in this world...and I'm not cropping it, because hello, photo bombers should be punished rewarded.  Creepy T-Rex anyone? 
Speaking of Abbey, she is doing fantastic! Thanksgiving was the one year anniversary of getting out of the hospital, following her diabetic coma. We are so, SO glad that we get to continuing celebrating with our Abbey, and that she is such a rock star in managing her disease. We even love it when she photo bombs;)
Abbey and Michael
 Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone, and we hope you had as beautiful day as we did!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meredith at a Year and a Half

And then I only blogged twice in November. I'm blaming Instagram. It's just so easy to upload a single picture and move on.

But, truth be told, I'm a little burned out on blogging. When I started this blog I actually had two brain cells to rub together and could form complete sentences. I even posted without using pictures, what was I thinking?! Now, post babies, it seems my brain has atrophied and I only have the ability to post a blurry picture or two with a caption about how ridiculously adorable my kids are...and they really are, I just feel like I fail to present it in an articulate way.

So. I'm going to go back to my original plan for this little space on the internet. I don't blog for profit, or to make some incredible impact on the world, the goal is to document the little details of our life. I don't keep baby books, and would make a terrible scrap booker, so blogging is it for me.

That being said, how about some details about Meredith?

Last month she got two new teeth, both lower canines (right then left), and is really working on the uppers.  She has started making great strides with her speech, and while most people can't understand her, she can easily get her point across to us. She is even stringing a few phrases together, "Where are you?" and "Yeah, yeah, yeah".

She is all girl. Today, we were outside building mud pies, and while she was happy to help, had to have her hands cleaned every few minutes.

Shoes are a must. For her especially, but also for anyone in her vicinity. Some days she naps in her leopard flats or bunny boots because they are just that important. In the mornings, she requests a bow before leaving her room, and then immediately asks where Otto is.

She cheers for you when she approves of your actions. Find her pacifier? Offer her a drink? (Water only please, homegirl doesn't have time for juice.) And you will be praised with "Yayayaya!" and clapping.

She LOVES to sing. Current favorites are Old MacDonald, Where is Thumb-kin, and If You're Happy and You Know It.

She is a artist, and will happily color for twenty minutes. Otto is just getting to the point where he can stomach one activity for that amount of time, so this just blows my mind.

And let's talk about that hair. These pictures are from last month, but they definitely just the point across. We are rapidly approaching her third haircut, some shaping is a must. 

Most days she sports this look, messy bun haphazardly pinned up on top of her head. It keeps her hair out of her eyes and away from flying food.

We really love this girl, and yes, she is ridiculously adorable, both on the inside and out.