Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014

I can't believe Christmas is over and by tomorrow at midnight will be bringing in the New Year. I always get a little sad after Christmas because more than anything I love the anticipation of the holidays, but this year all I could think about was how many new and exciting milestones we have to look forward to with Bendelle! I can't believe that next Christmas she'll be walking! 

We hosted both Christmas Eve and Christmas, but my sweet Mamma really did all the work. It really is harder to host with a (always hungry and still somewhat of a newborn) baby, so I was so thankful to have the helpful hands of my family around. :)

Overall we had a wonderful Christmas. Bendelle had so many gifts from our family, I felt like I had another baby shower! Among my favorites were an outdoor swing and a cute little pink Paris rocking chair (just stop), both from my Mamma. I loved watching everyone open their gifts, and so did Bendelle. Most entertaining day of her life, for sure.

I don't know if you can tell, but Bendelle's eyes are bluer than ever! They were grey when she was born, and about a month ago they turned blue! So funny because both Aaron and I have hazel eyes. I wonder if they will stay . . .  

I have been feeling so under the weather (it's been going around!), and have been so nervous about getting Bendelle sick, so my Mamma (the best mom in the world, if you haven't already figured that out), came up with my sister to help out for a couple of days. They were lifesavers. Seriously, made dinner, watched Bendelle while I took a nap, and took care of the pups. Aaron has to sleep during the day because he works at night, so the help was definitely appreciated! 

Today was tough as I was still getting over whatever the heck I had, and Bendelle also had to get a couple of shots. It was heartbreaking. But on the bright side, it snowed! And I like to think that brightened her day a little bit. ;)

We are excited for the New Year and to celebrate with our best friends, who plan on being part of our little winter wonderland for a night. I hope this year was as beautiful for you as it was for me.  :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Playing Santa & Seal Beach Weekend

I cannot believe that Christmas is THIS WEEK! Where has the time gone?? I honestly (and surprisingly) feel more prepared than I anticipated but of course I still have things on my to-do list.

My favorite goodies this year--chocolate covered pretzels. Also, the easiest thing EVER to make!

This weekend we went to Seal Beach (mom's house) for the first time ever with Bendelle! It was so nice to be back by the beach and celebrate my sister's 24th with her. We went out to a few of our favorite places and got our grub on, and got to check out a few new shops on Main St. that had their opening debut this weekend. It was fun to be back in civilization and enjoy all the perks of city living that I remember loving. From shopping, to baking, to dining out, getting drinks, grabbing coffee and walking around Seal Beach with the pups and Bendelle, we had such a blast. I was able to get some bonding time in with both my mom and sister, and Aaron, which is all I ever want for my weekends. 

We actually weren't planning on getting Bendelle any gifts this Christmas just because she is so young and won't really know or care about presents, but my mom convinced me to buy a couple of things for her (toys around 6+ months), and I'm so glad I did. Even though Aaron will have to open her gifts for her, I'm excited to play Santa for the first time ever and fill her stocking with a few small goodies. And I can't even imagine when I get to see her finally play with her toys this upcoming year!

Totally obsessed with the little piano I picked out for her!
It was such a nice change to have my mom around to help out and watch Bendelle. My mom is seriously the baby whisperer, and even offered to watch Bendelle one night while Aaron and I went out for a drink on my sister's birthday.

So this year not only are we hosting Christmas Eve, but we are also hosting Christmas day! It is going to be a little crazy, I'm sure, but oh so much fun! ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2 Months with Bendelle

I am six days late with this, but better late than never! 

I can't believe this little beauty is two months old already. I am loving this new stage of her being more alert and interactive. A huge milestone was when she first smiled around 4.5 weeks old, and since then it has been so rewarding and entertaining to see her flash that gummy grin.

Ever since she was born I said she seemed wise because she was so alert and curious. Her curiosity and vigilance grows daily, as she is able to now focus on our reflection and her own in the mirror, and studies objects and people with such interest.

A huge milestone for me was when she finally allowed herself to sleep in her bassinet through the night. We struggled with co-sleeping as she loves to be held, and it was very clear she preferred sleeping with us. I wasn't too nervous about me harming or suffocating her because I would literally stay in the same spot all night when we slept together. And as sweet and precious as it was to sleep facing each other all night, I was pretty uncomfortable (I'm a squirmy sleeper), and I was sick of everyone giving me that look when I told them she slept with us. 

So I tried EVERYTHING. Seriously everything. And finally one night, swaddled, with her Sleep Sheep on "rain," and pacifier securely in her little mouth, I rocked her to sleep in my arms and carefully put her in her bassinet. Her pacifier fell out of her mouth every 5 minutes, so every 5 minutes for an hour I would get up to put it back in, but thank you Jesus, she slept through the night. And the next night. And the one after that. And that whole week. And now, at last, we have a nightly routine and I could not be more proud of this seemingly small accomplishment.

I am told this first year flies by. One day you are holding your tiny baby in your arms and the next day they are walking and saying their first words. So I continue to hold on to these sweet little moments and milestones and cherish every moment this year will have to offer with my little miracle. :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Wonderland

This weekend really felt like winter up here in the mountains. We had a ton of rain and some snow, which the pups were thrilled about! If we are still living up here next year, I can only imagine how much fun Bendelle will have in the snow :)

crappy photo quality, but you get the idea
Last week Bendelle and I went to a "Friendsgiving" celebration with a bunch of wonderful people of Idyllwild. I have missed spending time with friends (as home life seems crazy with Bendelle and the pups), so it was nice to reconnect with everyone all while showing off my cute little sidekick ;)

My sister came up for the weekend, which is always fun because we've lived together most of our lives so when we get together, it's always easy and feels natural. My sister is great with babies and kids and offered to babysit one night, so Aaron and I finally had our first night out together! We went to a new(ish) restaurant in town called Idyology, that we've been dying to go to that's only open for dinner. We had a blast. Idyology had such a fun vibe and great food and wine. I also know some of the staff (waitress, bartender, chef), so it was great to see them in this new, trendy element. It was such an exciting, different night but after two hours I was happy to come home to my little lovebug.

This week my mom will be staying up here in her cabin to get some work done and prep the cabin for Christmas because our Grandparents are flying in from Florida and will be staying with her and her husband. Bendelle has an appointment on Wednesday to get some shots and come this weekend we are planning to head down to Seal Beach for the first time ever with Bendelle! I know it will be a little hectic, but I am excited to go down and spend time with my sister for her birthday.

I am so glad I am done with my Christmas shopping, because I have a feeling Christmas is going to come quickly!

Now if I could only get some baking done . . .  ;)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

Hallelujah! We have our Christmas tree!!! I waited patiently all last week for Saturday to roll around so we could get our tree, and after a couple decided they didn't want to throw down that much money on the beautiful tree they had untied and twirled around to confirm there were no bald spots, we snagged the best looking tree on the lot. Aaron totally pulled a Clark Griswold when he convinced me the nearly 9 ft tree would miraculously fit under our 8 ft ceiling. Needless to say we had to cut the top off, but other than that it's perfect! Haha.

We spent the weekend decorating the tree, (which is one of my favorite things to do during Christmastime!) as well as wrapping presents, listening to holiday music, watching Christmas movies, and doing some online Christmas shopping. We were obviously craving the funny stuff because we watched Elf, National Lampoon, and Deck the Halls. Oh and 22 Jump Street. Yes, the one with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Yes, it was funny, but of course the first one was way better. . . which is the case with most movie sequels with the exception of Twilight.

Anyways, we are so excited for Bendelle's first Christmas even though she won't really understand what's going on. And even though she is way too young for it, I am totally eying Elf on the Shelf. I think she'll be ready for it in two years. What do you think? Good age to introduce it? 

But for now we are completely satisfied with this beautiful, pure and innocent stage she is in. I am soaking in her baby smell, gummy smile, and goo-goo, gaa-gaas. Not to mention her hilariously loud toots and poops you can probably hear from across town. Sooo precious. ;)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December is here!

Happy December everyone! I absolutely love this time of year but hate that it always feels like it just flies by! These last few days I have been doing tons of Christmas shopping online (cyber Monday anyone?), as I am trying to get my Christmas shopping done ASAP so that I can focus on other festivities :)

Last year when we hosted Christmas! So many people & so many gifts!

Right now it is pouring outside, and although we don't have our tree yet (guess what's happening this weekend?!), it feels very festive and cozy inside. My sister helped us pull out our decorations last weekend so our house feels Christmasey but I'm feeling like we really do need some more Christmas decor ;) We don't have outside outlets so unfortunately we weren't able to put up Christmas lights outside last year. We have been wanting to get an electrician out here to install a few outlets but it always feels like we have about 19843294872 things on our to-do list.

Yesterday kind of sucked because it was the first day back to reality after Aaron's vacation. We loved having his mom out here with us and it was so hard to say goodbye. My mom and sister also came up for about a day so it was nice to see them and celebrate my mom's belated birthday together. Saturday we went into town for all the holiday festivites--Christmas booths, small buisness Saturday shopping, and Bendelle's first time sitting on Santa's lap! That night was the Tree Lighting Ceremony which really kicked off Christmas for me! 

Since Sunday it has been raining off and on up here--perfect weather to go see a movie! So that's what my sister and I did while my mom watched Bendelle for a couple of hours (Aaron squeezed in a few hours of sleep before work). We saw Catching Fire Part 1 which of course was great, but just like the books, I liked the first two movies better ;) And of course I couldn't stop checking my phone during the movie, worrying about Bendelle the whole time (#momlife). And of course she was fine :)

Looking forward to sharing my Christmas favorites & traditions this month! Happy December :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holidays with Mr & Mrs G

Our little pilgrim
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a festive Black Friday! We had a low key first Thanksgiving with Bendelle and her Gma and a very relaxing day after. Even though we didn't host a huge Turkey Day for a ton of people, I really appreciated being able to wake up slow, sip coffee and lounge around in my pjs before we all gathered in the kitchen to cook together.

 We took our time waking up today and made our way down to the desert in the afternoon. We didn't really do any crazy shopping, but I DID snag some deals online this morning--the best kind of shopping! My favorite shopping sites? JCrew & JCrew Factory, Abercrombie, Banana Republic, & Amazon.
Still looking forward to some Cyber Monday deals too :)

More than anything I have been loving getting to spend time with Aaron, Bendelle and her Gma. I don't want this week(end) to end. I wish we got to spend quality time together like this more often.

This weekend we will be taking down our fall decor and replacing the gourds on the mantel with Christmas stockings! We just ordered Bendelle a matching monogrammed stocking from Pottery Barn and a stocking holder to go with it, so hopefully we will get it soon! I am very excited for Christmastime this year and hope the season doesn't go by too fast!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

We have so much to be thankful for this year, and I'm glad that we get to take a day to really celebrate and reflect everything we have and are grateful for. And not only do we get to spend the holiday with this wonderful little cherub, but we are also blessed to spend Thanksgiving with Aaron's mom this year.

On the menu for Thanksgiving:

Cornish game hens
Green bean casserole 
Rosemary truffle garlic mashed potatoes
Stuffing with fresh thyme
Sauteed brussel sprouts 
Some kind of salad?
Debbie's (Aaron's mom) homemade apple pie

And Bendelle will just be sipping on lattes (mama's milk) all day long. I love watching her eat--it really is the cutest thing. She gets so ravenous and eats so often in (relatively) small increments. Her theme song is "All About That Bass" except we've changed the lyrics to all 'bout that milk, 'bout that milk,  no powder.
And speaking of, today I breastfed for the first time in public at a restaurant. Even though I covered up, it was still a big deal for me and made me feel better about taking her out to eat with us (we've taken her to several restaurants so far, but I've always pumped and brought bottles).

Today marked the first official day of Aaron's week-long vacation and it has truly been AMAZING having him home (and even more amazing that my mother-in-law is here too). Time together is something I will never take for granted.
We have been enjoying family walks, nightly fires, pretty fall drives, watching all of our favorite movies, going out to eat, visiting the desert (what we did today), shopping, and taking a walk around Lake Fulmor while capturing some family shots for our Christmas cards this year (I can't wait to share the winner!).

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week! I know we are all so excited for Christmas, but don't forget to take time and really give thanks for all you have to be thankful for :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thankful Tuesday

First of all, I just want to say thank you to all the kind and encouraging comments from everyone (via Facebook) after my last post. You guys are the best!

Today Bendelle had her appointment with the doctor nurse practitioner in town. Let me start off by saying that I am so thankful we have a health center in town and that we don't have to drive all the way down the hill to take her in for check-ups and shots! I am starting to love our nurse practitioner because she really takes her time with Bendelle, and unlike my experience with a lot of doctors, she isn't quick to write up a prescription and send us on our way. After carefully looking over Bendelle's rash, she said it could either be from fragrances (we wash all her stuff in fragrance free detergent, but have been using Gain to wash our clothes and throw blankets, etc.) or from overheating a little. I think it could be either. We are often worried that she could get sick because it has been very chilly over here, so we have been bundling her up real good for walks and trips out of the house. Also, we use Burts Bees products and some of them have "natural fragrances," so I don't know if that could be causing the rash as well . . . For now we are going to try to avoid all products with any kind of fragrance and I am going to give her more oatmeal baths but bathe her less often. Even though we don't have a solid solution, I feel soooo much better after visiting our nurse. Pray her little rash gets better!

Onto more festive topics, Aaron's mom is coming to visit this Saturday for a whole week! I can't believe how fast time has flown by since Bendelle was born. November is already over halfway over and soon we will be decorating for Christmas! I am holding off until the day after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas decorations, but let's be honest, the Christmas music has already begun! I absolutely love this time of year, and as crazy as it sounds I love the Christmas commercials on TV. I know, strange.

One of my FAVORITES!
The weather has been getting so cold and brisk over here and it has totally put us in the festive holiday mood. Aaron's schedule at work has just changed, so it has been a bit of an adjustment for everyone, but I am excited that he has a week off of work when his mom comes and we will have more family bonding time. This will be the first time Aaron's mom meets Bendelle, and also the first time she visits us in November. Even though she won't be spending Christmas with us this year, we are very excited for a Thanksgiving together.  And maybe we'll even get to do a little Christmas shopping together :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Manic Monday

Who knew that Mondays could be so hectic without even leaving the house? Yes, it is one of those  days. The kind of day where you change baby girl's outfit three times after she messes each one up because you don't want her to be uncomfortable, and everything seems to upset her today, yet you are stuck in the same National Lampoon's Christmas shirt with five layers of spit up caked on it that you put on yesterday, and you can't help but think how when you first put the shirt on it felt festive and fun and now it is the scariest thing ever because Christmas is less than six weeks away and you are nowhere close to buying all the gifts you need to buy and being ready for your favorite holiday ever.

Yup. Welcome to my day.

Poor Bendelle has developed this rash, and today it is worse than ever. It has spread from all over her face to her neck, chest, and belly. I made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow and gave her an oatmeal bath today. I can't help but feel terrible for her because it looks so uncomfortable.

So needless to say, today has been crazy. It has taken three hours to fold laundry because every time I put her down she screams like there are zombies hobbling up our driveway. And it doesn't help when someone actually is coming up the driveway because the dogs go batshit crazy and wake her up from her four minute nap that I was hoping would last two hours. No I don't want to buy firewood from you, and yes, I am happy with my religion. I really need to make buy one of these signs to make my life easier.

And it doesn't help that the house looks like the Sons of Anarchy came busting through here.
Because every time she starts to cry, I abandon the banana I was eating, the shirt I was folding, the shower I was about to take, the tea I was about to make . . . you get it.

After a weekend spent with my mom and sister, who helped out with Bendelle and kept her entertained and happy, my once seemingly possible goals when I woke up this morning of cleaning, vacuuming, doing a couple more loads of laundry, getting a head start on online Christmas shopping, and making a new recipe for dinner are now so far gone, I can't even imagine what I was thinking. Because the reality is I didn't put on a bra until 3 pm today. And as far as brushing my teeth goes? Yeah, that hasn't happened yet.

And no matter how many snacks I happen to get my hands on, my stomach is growling and I realize I am exhausted before it is even noon. I haven't worked out in months but my body is begging for rest and I somehow feel more worked than I did after spending two hours running hills in this altitude a year ago.

And I'm realizing this is sometimes what a day as a mom looks like. Chaotic. Messy. Unplanned. Yet in the midst of it all, you know every diaper blowout and projectile spit up to the face is completely worth it. Because at the end of the day you have this beautiful little miracle you get to hold in your arms, and she is everything. Even if that means you have to hold her in the same position throughout her nap to keep her happy. Because writing this blog with one hand took a little longer, but you did it :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Month of Bendelle

I can't believe my little bumpkin is one month old already! It's still a little unbelievable that I have this beautiful baby girl, and it has been so fun watching her slowly grow. She already has so much personality, I can't even handle it.

She is a big eater, adorable sleeper, and loves to be held more than anything. Ever since she was born, we've said she is so observant because her little grey eyes are always opened wide and looking around. She lets us know when she's hungry by crying and sucking on her left hand. And when I feed her she's very dramatic with her gulping noises and deep breaths.

Right before she gets upset she'll do this funny little laugh. It's hysterical because it sounds like this nervous, evil little "hehe" right before she cries. We think she kind of sounds like a mad scientist. 

She loves her baths, just like her mama. And I'm also thankful that she is usually calm and relaxed when I take my baths because I have been sick all week (and weekend!), so sometimes I take two a day!

Aaron and I love taking her out on walks with the dogs. She usually falls asleep or we'll catch her looking up at all the fall trees and colorful leaves. It has been our favorite thing to do together as a family, especially since fall is our favorite time of year and the weather has been absolutely perfect up here.

As we celebrate her first month of life, I am so excited for all the other "firsts" yet to come. It has been such an amazing change in our lives, becoming parents, and I think it has only made us stronger as a couple. Bendelle, we love you more than anything :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy November everyone! It's a little sad that Halloween has come and gone, but I'm more excited than anything to continue the holiday season with Little Miss B :)

Obviously Bendelle was too young to really enjoy Halloween this year, which meant the holiday basically revolved around me and Aaron. Leading up to Friday night we watched tons of scary movies (like every Halloween sequel ever made), and kept the fireplace lit up as the weather stayed nice and cool. 

Friday morning Bendelle had her first doctor's appointment, where it was confirmed that she is a very healthy baby! She gained a little over a pound and was one inch taller, three weeks after birth.

I gained a WHOLE POUND? her expression reads
Aaron came home in the afternoon, we ate lunch, and then went into town for the Halloween parade. We took Bendelle (dressed up as Bat Girl) and Darcy (dressed as a crocodile, hilarious), but poor Bennet is not good with strangers and had to stay home.

We were blessed with perfect Halloween weather that evening--brisk, foggy, and beautiful. It was fun to see everyone dressed up in their costumes in town, especially families dressed up in themed costumes. Instead of going door to door, kids trick or treat in town at local businesses and up and down the main street in town that gets closed off from traffic where locals sit out and give away candy. The holiday kind of brings the town together, which I really love. 

People go all out for Halloween in our town, so it was entertaining to see a guy run around with a chainsaw, and a serial killer clown.

It was so cute to see all the dogs in town dressed up, and I can easily say Darcy had the time of her life. She was so proud in her crocodile costume and loved socializing with all the other dogs. :)

We decided it was time to go once we could see our own breath and it started to get dim outside. So we ended the night watching scary movies and eating Ben and Jerry's . . . which was absolutely perfect.

Saturday was a wonderful lazy day. We woke up to rain and decided to lounge around in our sweats and keep the fireplace going all day into the night. We ventured out in the evening to the coffee shop in town and drank caramel lattes while Bendelle napped in her car seat.

Sunday my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin came up to visit and totally spoiled us by cooking us dinner and bringing up gifts for Bendelle. It was a big deal for everyone because not only was it their first time seeing Bendelle in person, but she is my grandparent's first great grandchild. It was so sweet watching my grandma and grandpa take turns holding her. My grandpa was so proud of his little great granddaughter and after raising five children it was apparent my grandma still had her magic touch with babies.

I was especially sad once the weekend was over and Aaron had to return to work, especially after such a fun and peaceful few days together as a family. But we have so much to look forward to with our moms coming to visit this month! And I can't believe that this Friday Bendelle will be one month old!