12.30.2010

New Years Resolutions

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I make them every year, although every year I say I'm not going to.  Well guess what... it's December 2010 and I have NO CLUE what my resolutions were last year.  Probably to lose weight, be better with my money... blah blah blah.  Same stuff every year, and nothing changes.  This is where having a blog comes in handy! I'm going to post this years resolutions right out here in the open... that way in December 2011 I can come back and see how I've done.

1.  Improve my relationships... with God, my husband, my sister.  These are the relationships in my life that I feel need the most work and would benefit the most from extra efforts.  I've already started making an extra effort and seen results in all areas, which I would love to continue to help blossom to their full potential.

2. Push myself harder to do more with Abby. (Simpe stuff like actually sitting and playing in her kitchen area with her instead of just letting her bring me "food" while I'm on the couch... or actually coloring with her instead of just setting it up for her then walking away to fold clothes)

3. Take more time for myself to do my hair and makeup instead of just throwing on a hoodie and pulling my hair up in a ponytail every day.

That last one is BY FAR going to be the hardest one for me.  I love how I look when my hair is down and straightened, my eyebrows are freshly done, I have a full face of makeup, decent clothing... it's just sooo hard to make the time to do all of that. I met up with a friend for a playdate the other day and she looked great! She had on jeans, a nice sweater, straight hair, makeup... the works.  I had on yoga pants, a hoodie, a ponytail and just mascara and chapstick.  I like being so low maintenance, but I feel like I need to step it up a bit more often.

Anyway, those are my resolutions for 2011! Good luck on your own resolutions, whatever they may be. :)

12.29.2010

Abby turns 2!

Yesterday was Abby's second birthday... let me just stop and reflect on that for a second... MY BABY IS TWO YEARS OLD! How did that happen?!? Wasn't it just yesterday that she looked like this:


Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital, bundled so sweetly?

Now my darling little baby has turned into a gorgeous, sassy, intelligent toddler!


To celebrate this enormous milestone in her life I took the day off from work and planned a fantastic day for us girls... full of her favorite foods and her favorite activities: shopping, baking, playing. :)

We started off the morning with a breakfast of blueberry waffles and turkey sausage. Yum! After breakfast we played with Abby's new Christmas toys for a bit then got dressed and ventured out to the store.  She picked out a couple outfits, some favorite snacks,and some new pajamas... then I told Abby that she could pick out any toy in the store that she wanted... which resulted in us making SEVERAL laps around the toy section, with her picking up toys, checking them out, then putting them back... until we came upon the bike... and Abby loudly proclaimed "That the one, mama! That the one!"

Loving her new bike, which she does a great job of pedaling around the house. :)


After our shopping adventure we came home and played with her new bike then settled in for a movie.

Enjoying some apple juice and crackers while watching Finding Nemo on her new tv in her room!

Soon after that it was time to bake her birthday cake! So we put on our aprons and got down to work...




The cake baked and we played some more... then while the cake cooled we headed over to Bouncing Off The Walls with my friend Dayna and her son, Dylan.

 The kiddos had a blast in the "jumpie" (if you ask Abby) or "bouncy" (if you ask Dylan)

They were shockingly really good at air hockey!

Enjoying some climbing, running, jumping, yelling fun!


After we were all bounced out it was time to come home.

A special balloon for the birthday girl


All of that bouncing wore her out!


After a long and refreshing nap it was time to decorate the cake!

The sprinkle queen... 

Yum!

After cake decorating we played some more, ordered some pizza and Abby got in her new pajamas!

Thumbs up on the birthday pizza, mom!

After singing happy birthday (twice) and having some cake, it was time to settle in for the movie of Abby's choice... Despicable Me.

What a cozy ending to a great day!

I still find it difficult to believe that two years has gone by, but I'm amazed by our daughter every single day.  She makes me smile, makes me laugh, makes me want to pull my hair out... but it's all worth it to get to see her grow and mature into the fabulous little girl that she is.  I love you, Abby!!!!


Snow Day!

We had our first big snowstorm of the year this past weekend.  Mike was at work for over 24 hours straight while the east coast was pounded with about a foot of snow in our area.  Abby and I enjoyed our snuggle time in the house while the wind howled and the snow fell... but come Monday morning Abby was ready to go out in that snow and play!

"Come on, mama! Let's play!"

She was wiping snow off of every surface that she could... like it was her job to clean the yard. :)

Attempting to make a snow ball

Having a blast in the snow with Roxie... who thought it was her job to EAT all of the snow in the yard.

This was her attempt at a snow angel... she wasn't crazy about lying down in the snow, so she sat. Haha.

Uh oh... snow got in her gloves!

After about a half hour of playing in the snow we'd had enough of the wind and freezing temps and went inside to warm up... but we had a blast while we were outside! :)


Christmas 2010

Christmas this year was amazing... nothing went exactly as planned yet it all came together so wonderfully.

Christmas eve we had a take-out dinner at home of our favorite meal... Hibachi! (Everyone else went out to dinner, but Abby just isn't ready for a sit-down meal in a restaurant yet, so we decided not to stress ourselves out on Christmas eve by forcing it) It was delicious, and after dinner we got dressed up and headed over to my Grandmothers house for dessert and presents.

Me and my amazing little family of three :)

Abby and her guitar from Aunt Erica

 Abby and Aiden, having a blast together, as usual

The Abster and I, with my mom


We left my Grandmothers house just in time to get home and finish some Christmas Eve traditions of our own...

Mike read "The Night Before Christmas"

...and I finished wrapping presents 

After opening one gift (her Christmas pajamas), singing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus and saying our prayers, it was off to bed for one little girl while daddy and I got to work being Santa's elves... putting together a new kitchen playset!

Christmas morning arrived bright and early (especially after staying up so late to put together said kitchen. lol) and Abby was AMAZED to see that Santa came! I don't have pictures of her opening her gifts because I was too busy enjoying the moment... but we did get the whole event on video.

The haul from Santa... good stuff!

Abby LOVED her new kitchen (from Grandmom and Poppop... and maybe Santa) ;)

After gift opening my parents came over for more presents and a delicious breakfast... I served a blueberry french toast casserole and thick-cut bacon. YUM!!!

The casserole turned out amazing...


Christmas day afternoon we headed over to the Hofmann house for another Christmas celebration! More presents, tons of great food, and wonderful family.

Yes, we are outfit repeaters. Haha.

We also had an amazing Christmas miracle happen that night... Abby's cousin Lucy was born!!!

We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying our time together as a family and exploring the new toys...

Abby loves her new tent from Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Danny <3

Her favorite gift from Santa was definitely this playdoh kit... she has used it every.single.day. since Christmas.

Having a blast with her Weebles playset from Grandmom and Poppop

So, all-in-all, Christmas this year was everything that I wanted it to be and so much more.  I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas!!! :)

12.23.2010

Merry Christmas!!!!!

It's 3pm the day before Christmas Eve and I'm so anxious and excited to get home and start Christmas break!  I finished up the rest of our Christmas shopping on my lunch break today and all that's left is to wrap Abby's gifts, put together the gift baskets for the family and tomorrow night after all of the festivities Mike and I will put together Abby's kitchen playset and create a Christmas wonderland for her to wake up to!

This is a picture of my family last Christmas:
and I hope to get a cute one of all of us together this year... maybe actually smiling and looking at a camera. LOL.

This right here...
is the crazy insanity that I'm soooo excited for! She was only one last year, but she still had a blast. I know that she'll love it EVEN MORE this year. Yahoo!!!

And just like last year...
I'm hoping to end up with one happy little baby. (And looking at those toys, I'm thrilled to say that she actually still plays with most of them!)

Abby has impressed me by showing a pretty clear understanding about what Santa does and who he is... so clear in fact that we had this little conversation this morning:

Abby was screaming in my face after I took the box of cake truffles away from her (which she climbed over a gate and onto a chair to get): "I want treat! I want TREAT!!!!!"  
I told her, "I want a daughter that doesn't scream in my face and follows rules." 
She replied with: "ask Santa".

Little stinker.

I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and enjoys this time with friends and family.

12.22.2010

Finding Baby Jesus

I was driving to work this morning and passed a church that had a nativity out front.  I thought something looked "off" about it, so I slowed down for a closer look.  There was no baby Jesus! I'm not sure if someone stole it, or if the church takes it inside overnight "just in case"... but the manger was empty. This reminded me of a story that a friend told me about her own nativity set and finding her baby Jesus.  Here it is, directly copied and pasted from my friend Lisa's blog: (http://www.theunskilledexpert.com/2009/12/story-of-my-nativity.html)

"The story of my Nativity

I have to start out by saying that I've never been a very religious person, I consider myself very spiritual but I don't classify myself into one specific religion.  But that's a whole other subject that I could write pages and pages about!  This story is about my Nativity scene and how I acquired it.  I still get goosebumps talking about it.

I bought the Nativity scene a long time ago.  I believe it was around 1998.  I was living in Ames, IA and was doing some after-Christmas shopping to get a few 75% off bargains.  For anyone that is familiar with Ames, this was before the new Target open, it was a just a little hole-in-the-wall store over by JoAnn Fabrics.  As I was scanning through the 75% off Christmas clearance, I saw this Nativity set.  I had always wanted one but for one reason or another never bought one.  But I wanted this one, it was really nice.  I think it was around $3.00 for the whole set.  The box was torn open, the figures were all over the place...and that's when I noticed one big problem.  There was no baby Jesus in the set. Well what good is a Nativity without the baby Jesus??  I put it in my cart anyway and did more shopping, trying to decide what to do with it.  Downtown Ames is full of little gift shops and I knew that several sold the figures separately, so I bought it!  I finally had my Nativity, now I was on a mission to find a baby Jesus!

I can't remember if it was the same year or the next year when I brought my Nativity out for the first time, but I started shopping around for a baby Jesus for my Nativity.  I swear that I looked in every little gift shop in town.  They were all either too big or too small to fit my set.  It would look akward having a 2-ft tall Mary along side a 2-ft tall baby Jesus!

I worked at Kmart at the time, as I did for the whole time I lived in Ames.  I rememeber everything about this day perfectly, except the actual date.  I believe it was around Christmas time the year after I bought my set.  I was pushing a flat-bed cart back to our stockroom in the back of the store.  I was walking by the shoe department and remember watching a little girl playing with the snowboots while her mom was shopping.  She looked at me and we both smiled at eachother.  And as my cart was passing right by the snow boots, a children's snowboot fell off of the shelf and right in front of my cart.  I noticed something fell out of the boot, but at the time assumed it was just the paper stuffing that comes with new shoes.  I backed up my cart, picked up the boot, and I could hardly believe what I saw.

A tiny baby Jesus figure.

I stood there, with it in my hands, staring at it for a few seconds before asking the little girl if it was hers.  I just assumed she was playing with it.  She said "no" and ran to her mom.  At this point, I know I was still in shock.  I ran the cart back to the stock room as fast as I could and then hurried over to our Christmas department.  Surely the baby Jesus was part of a set that we sold at the time.  Nope. He was the perfect size, the perfect color.  He was plastic, where the rest of my Nativity was ceramic...but he was still perfect.

To this day, I have no idea how that baby Jesus ended up in a boot at Kmart, and what made it fall off the shelf at the exact time I was walking by.  Like I said, I still get goosebumps talking about this and sometimes I think that it's just a story that I made up.  But I have my Nativity and I have that little baby Jesus, and it's not just a story.  Here are are the pictures of it:


Here is a close-up of Mary and Jesus, you can see that Jesus is plastic and Mary is not.





I hope everyone reading this made it through the whole story.  And for those that have heard it before, I apologize for repeating it."
 
Thank you so much for allowing me to share your story, Lisa! I love it. :)

12.15.2010

What I Love Wednesday... is back!

So I replaced WILW with Thankful Thursdays in November in honor of Thanksgiving... and I forgot to start up WILW after that! So here we are... back again to talk about what I am currently in love with. :)


I am so totally 100% in love with my daughters personality and sense of humor.  She is so goofy and fun-loving and will do anything to get a laugh from me.  She also cracks HERSELF up, constantly.

Example 1:
Apparently putting the hair from a My Little Pony on top of the head of Donald Duck is ridiculously hilarious. She was cracking herself, and me, up.

Example 2:
Here she is just enjoying her goofiness.  Wearing her "glasses" in the house and jumping on my bed.

She's constantly putting her face up really close to mine and making a silly face or a silly noise to make me laugh and the girl absolutely LOVES to dance.  I'll just be cooking dinner in the kitchen when she'll randomly come up to me, grab my hands and say "want dance, mama?".  She is so silly, innocent, fun, smart, sassy and just plain adorable that even when she's driving me up a wall... it's all worth it. <3



12.14.2010

Randomness...

The busiest time of year is rapidly (and I do mean QUICKLY) approaching and my thoughts are all jumbled up right now with so much going on... I thought writing them out might help me get organized and not forget anything important.


*This past weekend was amazing! It was such great family bonding and husband/wife bonding time.  We did some shopping, did some cooking, wrapped some gifts, did a lot of playing, some movie watching and relaxing... I had a glass of wine (or two) and we really spent some time together as a family without having to rush around and be busy with a million other things.  I feel like our weekends have been NON-STOP action since before Halloween, so to finally have some down time was truly healing and renewing.  Mike has been being so sweet and thoughtful lately and I've honestly never been so happy. My little family of 3 (plus Roxie) is truly heaven.


*This upcoming weekend- Our cousin James is turning one! We'll head over to his party on Sunday afternoon (I still have to buy him a present... ) and other than church on Sunday morning, we have nothing planned.  Probably just some Christmas gift wrapping, cleaning, maybe some shopping and relaxing.  I am working on a very special Christmas gift for someone (is it you?!) and I'll be putting in some time on that this weekend as well.


*Next week- I'll be working on baking, finishing up and putting together Christmas gifts, finalizing plans, last minute shopping (hopefully I won't need to do this) and whatever else may come up.


*Christmas Eve- I am soooo grateful to have off from work on Christmas Eve this year!I know that we're going to my Grandmothers house (as always) for Christmas Eve dinner. Abby will probably wear her new skirt and cardigan set, hair in pigtails. I have no clue what I'll wear... maybe my dress with the red top, empire waist and black/white patterned bottom. Hair straightened for sure as I only do it a few times a year. LOL. (Oh! and my new fancy headband that Meg made) Christmas Eve services at our church are at 5 and 7 (the celebration service that we attend) so whether we make it or not depends on the timing of dinner at Grandmoms. Hopefully we can attend at least some of the 5pm service. After dinner we'll head home, I'll give Abby her new pajamas (I can't decide between two pairs that I just bought) and Mike will read "The Night Before Christmas".  This is a tradition that he started last year and wants to do every year... a special "daddy" thing. I love it!  Then we'll set out cookies and milk for Santa and hit the hay!

*Christmas Day- We'll wake up as soon as Abby is ready (I'm anticipating 6:30-7:00) and head out to the living room to see if Santa came.  After presents are all opened we'll settle in for some breakfast and relaxing.  Hopefully my parents will be there by 9ish, in time for breakfast. I'm looking for recipes of what to make... probably a casserole of some sort (I found a yummy sounding recipe for blueberry french toast casserole) and then eggs and bacon.  After some Maiorino family time we'll get dressed and head over to the Hofmann house! Abby will probably wear her candy cane jumper and a ponytail with her new ponytail holder that Meg made. :) No clue what I'll wear yet... it's usually (thankfully) pretty casual so probably just pants and a sweater... and my new headband that Meg made. I'm so excited to wear that thing! lol. We'll have an afternoon of fun, food and more presents, then head home again to enjoy some Christmas movies, a fire, hot chocolate and family snuggle time.


*Abby's actual birthday- I'm really excited to have off on Abby's birthday! She'll be two years old on the Tuesday after Christmas. Unbelievable! For some reason two is hitting me much harder than one did.  I guess it's because she has grown up SO MUCH this year and really is a little kid now. There is no trace of babyness to be found.  I want to make that day extra special for her... a mommy and daughter bonding day.  So far I'm thinking that I'll decorate the house the night before while she's sleeping. (Maybe even take down the Christmas stuff, depending how ambitious I'm feeling) I'll cook her a special breakfast (not sure what yet... though she loves turkey sausage and blueberry waffles, so that will probably be it) then we'll do some shopping (probably Target or Walmart so she can pick out some clothes AND a toy) and then home to bake a cake (she loves helping me in the kitchen, especially with baking).  While the cake is cooling we'll head over to Bouncing Off The Walls (hopefully with Jamie and Abby's BFF, Dionna) for some jumping and running around... then home to decorate the cake.  After a dinner of her choosing (she kept saying "mmm... I love it" when I made something a few weeks ago... I'll have to remember what that was) we'll settle in for a movie of her choosing and some birthday cake! Sounds exhausting... but hopefully it will be the perfect day for the Abster. :)


*New Years Eve- I'm looking forward to staying home (and anyone else that wants a relaxing evening is welcome to join us!) and making some appetizers and having some wine... kissing my two loves at midnight and heading to bed. (If we're even awake at that point. LOL) We were invited to a few parties but are declining all invitation this year. We really just want to be in our own house, all together.


*Abby's birthday party (January 8th)- I was originally (and still may be) going to go with a farm theme since she's totally into all of that stuff... but lately she's been OBSESSED with The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so we may be switching to that.  She can name all of the characters and plays with her little figurine set of them every. single. day.  She also has big Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck stuffed animals that she has been insisting on bringing to bed lately.  Actually, the more I think about it, the more I feel like MMC is the better choice for her party.  We're keeping it small this year and just having Abby's grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and her BFF and family.  Not sure if I'm going to do a brunch again or something else. Either way I'm excited about it and I know she'll have a blast being the star of the day.

Phew! It's going to be a busy and exhausting few weeks... but I'm jumping in with both feet and I'm ready to make great things happen. :)

12.10.2010

YAHOO!!!!

We are all well and healthy again... and just in time... as my SIL is due any day now with  my first niece! I cannot wait to meet her. :)

12.09.2010

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

*Disclaimer: I am posting this to my blog so that I don’t lose it.  I plan on having this blog printed into a book one day for Abby and myself… so sometimes this blog may seem more like a diary… but it’s my blog so I can post whatever I want. J

There has been a game going around Facebook lately where people anonymously post how they really feel about someone on their page.  I was curious to know what some of my friends and acquaintances think about me, so I participated. 

I was absolutely blown away. 

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life… and I’m humbled and honored at the wonderful things that they had to say about me.  Reading these comments is definitely going to inspire me and give me motivation to try and live up to their views of me.

(This one came through an email to me… but it felt appropriate to share it here as well) "Even though I have only been in a few bible study sessions with you, I was struck by your insight and maturity. You are wise beyond your years and you are a great asset to our group of women.  I love that we are all different ages and in different places in our lives. I well remember being a young mom and I was nowhere near as grounded as you are."


"you my friend, are fabulous! I love how you always tell me the truth, even though most of the time I dont wanna hear it! lol you are gorgeous and I am so glad you came into my life! youve helped me get through some pretty tough times and I love you for it!"


"You are an amazing mom..great friend and all around wonderful person! So happy I got to share your special day with you...xoxo"


"One of the most good hearted people I met in my life. I am so happy for you and your family.. :D. Keep up the good times :D"


"Your spirit and commitment to God awes me. You are such an awesome mom! You are wonderful with your little girl and it shows in her smile. I love the way you listen to everyone, you don't get in the middle of arguments, and you help find a resolution. You are kind to everyone and I know that there isn't a person who meets you that doesn't love you. Your kindness and heart seem endless."


"You are an AMAZING Mom! You are the type of mom I always dreamed of being but never will be. Your daughter is very lucky! We need to get together again soon! You are a great friend! You are never afraid to be honest, and upfront, and I applaud your ability to remain neutral in sticky situations. Love you!"


"Wow its been LOOONG! Maybe what 23 years? You were one of my first friends! I remember me and carla babysitting ur guinea pig and we thought we were sooo cool. Haha! You are a great woman and mommy. You are raising a great little girl. She is lucky to have u as her mommy! I'm glas that we are back in touch with each other!"


"We weren't close in high school but I'm glad we've gotten to know each other better since then. Ur a wonderful mommy to a beautiful and smart little girl! Ur ideas and info u post encourage me so much! I've learned u will do just about anything for any1 and that makes u an awesome person!!!!"


"Always level headed and the voice of reason... well ours... def should get together again sometime ... granted it wont be like the good ol days but should still be some laughs !!!"


A lot of people think that Facebook games are silly... and most of them are! I love ones like this though. Games that are meant to brighten someones day.  It made my day to read these... and I hope that the posts I wrote about other people made them smile as well.

12.06.2010

Hello friends!

As my attentive hubby so graciously pointed out... I've been slacking on the blogging. I have a good reason though.  EVERYONE in my house (including our poor pup) has been sick!  Abby is still suffering with a cough and runny nose, although thankfully the stomach bug from last week is gone.  Mike got hit hard with a bad cold too... coughing, sore throat, fevers, lost his voice... the whole nine yards.  I felt icky for a day or two, but nothing too bad. (As my LOVING husband pointed out so kindly to me... "You're sick all the time anyway, you're used to functioning while sick." Gee... thanks for the sympathy babe. lol) The sickest of all... our poor puppy, Roxie. :(  Roxie had a week-long stomach virus (which resulted in multiple shampooing of our carpets... gross) and a double ear infection! I'm still cooking her ground beef and rice for dinner and breakfast every day and hoping to introduce her dog food back to her tonight.  Please pray (for my carpets sake) that all goes well.

HOWEVER... we haven't let all of this sickness get us down. Since I'm fine and Abby is mostly well again we've been keeping busy.

 We had a spur of the moment dinner at BK and enjoyed some playplace fun while our carpets dried one night.  Abby scared the bejeezus out of me by climbing all the way to the top and then telling me she couldn't get down. Great.  I was about to make Mike wiggle his butt inside of all of those tubes to rescue our daughter when she finally figured it out and came down on her own... only to climb right back up. LOL. She did have a cute little admirer following her around the whole time. I wish I had thought to introduce myself to his mom for future play dates! Oh well... maybe we'll run into them again.

This is Abby in her new pajamas from TCP (The Children's Place) which we bought during our mall trip Saturday morning.  We had a blast! They were having a children't festival, so we got to do arts and crafts, get a hand tattoo, play games and ride the carousel! Abby was also lucky enough to get new Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck stuffed animals from the Disney Store... they were BOGO!

After our mall adventure it was off to my Grandmother's surprise 80th birthday party!  This is a picture of my parents... it was great to see them.  Unfortunately, since it was nap time and Abby doesn't do well in restaurants even on her best days, we weren't able to stay very long.  It was a beautiful party though... my Grandmother is blessed to have so many friends and family that adore her.

After the party (and a nice long nap) we got to spend some time babysitting my nephew, Shawn!  These two were so adorable together. :)  We spent some time playing at our house and then took a trip to Target to exchange my Kindle case.  It was a great reminder that I'm not ANYWHERE NEAR ready to have two kids. Haha. Lugging around an infant carrier, toddler, diaper bag, purse, etc is no picnic. Not to mention that Abby has no interest what-so-ever in sharing her mama with anyone or anything.

Saturday night I finally got my act together and finished our Advent calendar, so we were able to start it on Sunday morning (only a few days behind... hehe) It took a little explaining, but Abby finally understood the concept that she only gets to open one piece a day and that something special happens on the last day.

Last but not least... this is how my poor dog spent most of her weekend. Sleeping. Since giving her a special diet, some antibiotics and ear drops, she has shown a lot of improvement and is back to her spunky self... even rough-housing with her daddy last night. :)

It's going to be another busy week in our house (truly, when is it not these days?) as I have a doctors appointment tomorrow to discuss when I'm getting tubes in my ears, bible study Wednesday night (which I've missed for 3 weeks now! I'm dying to get back) and then this weekend is our work Christmas party and our church Advent dinner. Busy, busy, busy!