Monday, January 31, 2011

Time to Get Away!

Here's a little departure from normal - a post just about Neal and me! Ahhh - we are just a few days out from going on an amazing cruise with just us two! I was a little nervous about leaving the girls for so long and then being stuck in the middle of the ocean in the event that they needed me....but I was thrilled to find that I was able to relax and just enjoy our vacation while our girls were pampered and loved with Gigi, then Bubbie, and then finally, Aunt Sandy.

We started off with a day at sea where we slept in, hit the gym (where I decided that if I had a treadmill within walking distance of my bed but with a beautiful ocean, I might work out every day - good thing I can't really make that threat a reality!), and then spent the rest of the day on the deck relaxing. I am sure there was a nap in there somewhere (I am pretty sure that was on the agenda each day!) before heading off to dinner - such great food the whole time!
Neal documenting us dressing for dinner the night we boarded the ship
Posing on the stairs with the Tron-esque elevators in the background
Here was the "atrium" all lit up - pretty fun!
Neal relaxing with a pretty great view
Me and my date on Formal night - which followed our first full day on the cruise.

Day 2 we docked in Progreso, Mexico. We were all about relaxing the whole trip, so we hit a beach resort, where we had a really great waiter who brought us our choice of drinks right to our chairs. The wind was really strong, so it was pretty chilly - I just left my jacket on and went on reading a great book and enjoying the view. The beach was also scattered with more seashells than I have ever seen in one place - so I had lots of fun collecting some for the girls!
Our ship, docked in Progreso...I guess I was too enthralled with my book to take more pictures while in Progreso!
We headed back to the ship for dinner - another great one, I am sure! And after dinner, we got to come back to our room for one of the towel animals. We took pictures of these every night to show the girls and this one included my bear, Sylas that Meredith insisted needed to come with us. Sylas was the first Christmas present Neal gave me, so he is really special and I didn't mind too much him being there with us! Poor towel bunny, however, Neal accidentally beheaded shortly after this picture :(

We sailed the rest of the night and arrived in Cozumel for another beach day! The weather was warmer, so I was able to leave the jacket behind and I actually even enjoyed some time in the waves!
Happy, relaxed Neal!
Man, I love the beach. I would go back right now!

After another fun day at the beach, we again headed back to the ship for, guess what? Dinner! We met a fun couple that we then headed to a trivia game together. We hit the end of the trivia questions but were there just in time for the cruise version of Minute to Win It. We all signed up, but only the two guys got picked.
Neal had to work to get a chocolate chip cookie from his forehead into his mouth before his opponent. Look at that perseverance!
It paid off!

Don't be jealous. Yes, he not only won the cookie-eating trophy, but he had also already won a movie theme show quiz trophy from earlier in the cruise. Perfect - one for the mantle and one for the office. Or maybe they have been given to a couple cute girls.

Our last day before we headed home, we splurged with a couple's massage and then lots more relaxing around the boat - this time inside because it was really cold and windy!
We braved the cold wind to say good-bye to our time at sea!

We came home to the girls at Aunt Sandy's - they both came to the door, Meredith kind of waved and Jillian pointed at Neal, declared "Dada" and then headed the other direction. This came after calling the girls from Mexico....first, Meredith told me "I don't even miss you, I just look at pictures of you." And Jillian would just ask me for snacks when she talked to me. This only further proved that they are very well-adjusted with all of the people that love them if we aren't there. I am so thankful for the time we had and the wonderful care Meredith and Jillian had while we were gone -is it too soon to ask everyone to repeat it so we can go back?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meredith's Turtle Pizzeria

Today was Meredith's school's Occupation Parade, where all of the 4 year olds get to dress up like whatever they want to be when they grow up. Meredith was very excited to get to be a Pizza Girl since she wants to own a pizza shop when she grows up (actually she wants to own a pizza shop, row a boat, be a cowgirl, teach dance class, and be a mommy) but she proactively chose to only portray one of those professions today! I was excited to use my new sewing machine for the first time to make her a pizza girl apron, complete with her logo! Then we borrowed a chef's hat from a friend and talked the people at Cici's into letting us have a pizza box. Then on Monday, Meredith and I cut out decorations for her box and she had a blast covering it! Then came the super-fun part of making a paper pizza. She chose to make the spinach pizza (that she loves at Cici's) to include in her box. She could not be more proud of that pizza and the box! She couldn't wait for today to show all of her friends and her teachers - and it looked like she had a blast during the parade!
Showing off the complete look!
Meredith's class on parade
Showing off her spinach pizza
Waving to her adoring public (aka Jillian, who then cried when we had to leave her!)

My silly girls

I had a couple of cute pics from this week of my girls being silly and wanted to share them.

I missed the purpose of this picture by focusing on Jillian's face too much - oops! But both girls have been insistent on carrying kitties around with them. Meredith has one that looks like my parent's cat, Jack, so then Jillian wanted one too. I found her a small one and also a dog, Woof. So it was very important that I take a picture of her with them. But, like I said, I zoomed a bit too much!

Yesterday, both girls decided it would be fun to play in Jillian's bed - which led to a fun pillow fight!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

This weekend I celebrated my birthday with all of my favorite people! Neal and the girls started by taking me out to breakfast so I could get my favorite - french toast! When we got home, Meredith could not wait to let me open presents. Neal had taken the girls shopping in the Target dollar section, but the enthusiasm from Miss Meredith was certainly worth 1,000 times that!
Forget pictures! Let's open those presents!
"They are sponges for you to use when you clean your kitchen!!" Hmmm...maybe I need more fun hobbies? Seriously, this girl was so excited and I don't blame her....they are cute sponges! She was so sweet from the moment she bought them (I was with them but hid on another aisle) she made sure I didn't get too close to the basket so I wouldn't see what she had picked out. Then the whole way home, she kept trying to get me to guess and kept giving me hints. And the second we got home, she and Daddy were on a mission to wrap them in the best paper she could find!
Daddy said he really only thought Meredith would pick something out, but as soon as they hit the section, Jillian had grabbed princess zip-lock bags and threw them in the cart! Meredith is very excited that I can pack chips for my lunch in them, but she has also asked if I will please share! Jillian immediately wanted the box opened so she could have one and kept making sure I knew that "Rella" was on them.
Meredith also picked out a card for me (which was really important to her) but also loves making "books" for people on their birhdays. She drew all the pictures and wrote all the words and stapled it all by herself. It is about Meredith when she is 5 and also has Jillian in it. Love it.

After the presents, I got a super-special birthday nap. And while I was relaxing, Meredith and Neal went to work on making birthday cupcakes!
Such a proud chef!
My chocolate and green cupcakes! The one in the middle was all mine! She made it especially for me because it was the biggest. And she found a 3 candle from her 3rd birthday that she used and added a regular candle behind it so it could say "31" Pretty smart thinking!
Ready to sing with my girls
Jillian approves!

We finished out celebrating my birthday with Neal and I heading to dinner and to a comedy show, but started back up celebrating on Sunday. I got spoiled with lunch at Bubbie and Grandad's house and then dinner at Babe's with my whole family, where we celebrated my birthday and my Grandma's (she will be 87 on Wednesday!)
The birthday chicks at Babe's
Love my Grandma!
I got a "thank you for participating" comment from the waitress. Which probably means that I looked even more ridiculous than most people.
Meredith was impressed and asked to share my beak.

What a great birthday and what a great year!

Keeping warm!

This past week has been really cold and we even had a little ice on the roads on Monday. So starting off the week, we just spent the day at home in PJs! We had so much fun...

First up: Art time!

We tried out the new finger paints and aprons that Aunt Sandy gave the girls for Christmas. This was the first time I had braved finger paint with Jillian and it was well worth it - she loved it!

Then we moved onto playing babies and treating Ruffles like a baby!
And our favorite part of the day...dancing! We flipped on the music and Meredith brought out her dance shoes. She threw on her ballet shoes and next thing I knew I saw Jillian...
So what that they are 6 sizes too big...

...but if you put them on the wrong feet and wear them over footy PJs, they fit just fine!
And boy are they fun to dance in!
Luckily, the ones that actually fit Meredith's feet are great for dancing too!

Then we headed into lunch following a very close game or two of Pretty, Pretty Princess
The rightful princess in her crown and jewels

Camp In

There is probably nothing that Meredith likes doing more with her Daddy than building a tent! Daddy opted to try out a living room camp out in the living room so he could utilize the couch for his bed instead of the guy!
Jillian and Meredith were both a little bummed that Jillian couldn't stay for the whole camp out, she did love playing with them in it and watching the Smurfs (which Meredith picked out for Daddy at the library)
Love those matching playful eyes!
Waiting for Daddy to join the girls!
Daddy loving on his camping girls - oh and this picture reminds me how glad this mustache only lasted that evening!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What a New Year's Day!

Spending the day in the ER with a sick baby isn't quite what we had planned for how to celebrate the first day of 2011, but...

Jillian came down with a really nasty stomach bug on Wednesday of last week, she was probably the sickest I have ever seen her (or even Meredith for that matter). She spent the whole day on Thursday like a little doll in my arms. I hated that she was so sick, but I really loved getting to just hold her and cuddle her! Luckily Neal was home, she he scooped Meredith up and they went ice skating while Jillian and I just relaxed. After talking to the doctor, who warned me that this could last 72 hours, I was thrilled that she was almost back to normal around dinner time - demanding to "EAT!" and being silly and playing. She did great all day on New Year's Eve, too, so we kept our plans to hang out with friends and Gigi offered to let Jillian stay with her. The next morning, when I called my mom, she told me that Jillian had been throwing up all night again. We went to go get her and she was really miserable. She threw up more and would just say "Oww!" over and over. Then I started getting concerned, when she just started crying uncontrollably for about 30 minutes - and realized that she cried no tears. And she hadn't had a wet diaper since early that morning. I called the doctor and they advised us to go to the ER. We headed to Cooks, got there and were pretty quickly sent back to a room. Of course, as soon as we paid our co-pay, Jillian started acting chipper again! After the nurse watched her high-five him and giggle, I think we got moved down on the priority list because we then sat in the actual patient room long enough to watch Tinkerbell and Bolt in their entirety. It was much better than being out in the waiting room though!

They tried every trick they had to get Jillian to drink fluids - but every option we gave her (including popsicles!) received a big defiant "NO!" They decided to do some blood work, and thankfully, her electrolytes came back great. So then, they said we could go, but they wanted her to drink something first. She absolutely refused! Just before they came to check on us, she had her first wet diaper of the day, which made them feel good enough, I guess to let us go...but with lots of instructions on how to try to get some fluid in this little girl.

So far, today she has done really well - drinking more (of course, she won't do Pedialyte or Gatorade like they would like, but only wants either Capri Sun or Apple Juice. Oh well, I decided a liquid is a liquid when we are at this point!) So, I am just praying that this doesn't creep back up on her again or that it doesn't hit anyone else in the family! Please, oh, please!!

New Year's countdown

We are loving our New Year's tradition - a party at the Hooks' house with our friends - and best of all, we just let the kids tag along and put them to bed while we ring in the new year from the next room. This year, the kids stayed up later than they had in the past and really had a great time. Going to sleep was harder because there were a few more kids, which meant it was a more fun party! Meredith was actually still awake after midnight (although she did a pretty good job of staying in the girls room). The adults all had fun with a fun re-gift exchange and just great time with friends!
The girl's room at the beginning of bedtime. I think it dwindled down to two girls by the time we scooped Meredith up to go home!
Happy New Year!

Move over Ruffles

Jillian is quite attached to her little puppy/bunny blanket, but lately she has found a new object to love at bed time. It started one day when Daddy got the girls dressed to go to the park. He threw on Jillian's Longhorn jersey and off they went. Later, we tried to dress her more warmly, but she insisted her jersey must go back on over her sweat shirt. Then she insisted it come to bed with her. I thought she was over it until it came out of the wash, she spotted it, and then it needed to go right back she is in her choice of jammies that night. I don't think Daddy could be more proud!