Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween from Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!!!

You know I love comparison pictures so I could not resist looking at our Halloweens of the past. I get a little sentimental with this holiday since it was the first one we had Miller for and he was only 3 weeks old.

We have been in full force Halloween mode this month. We have done lots of activities that are themed for Halloween and I think Miller has really enjoyed it. Here we made a spider web out of crepe paper for Miller to climb through. It lasted about a day until Scarlett destroyed it.

We also used crepe paper to make Miller a mummy. He loved this one but it fell apart with every step he took.

He said that this bat was a broom so he practiced flying around the room.

She was wearing one of the props from Miller's party.

The weekend before Halloween, we planned on going to Boo at the Zoo. We had to run to Knoxville last minute so we decided to go there. We had heard it was packed but we were shocked when we found that traffic was backed up on the shoulder a mile before the exit to the zoo. We decided to skip it and go find something else to go to since by the time we would get there, it would be over. We got off at the next exit and decided to just go by the main entrance to see how busy it was. We had to take some side roads because of construction and ended up just arriving in the parking lot and bypassing all the traffic. It was awesome!

Earlier this week we carved our pumpkins. I LOVE this part of the holiday but I can not wait until the kids are old enough to help. It was mostly me doing everything while the kids ran around the deck. This is the extent of Scarlett's participation.

Here is how our pumpkins turned out. Miller has a book that goes through the typical Halloween monsters (witches, vampires, frankenstein, etc.) in a cute way but his favorite has been the "musty dusty mummy" and the "boo boo boo oogity ghost". We decided to do our white pumpkin as a mummy and he insisted on doing a cat for the other one.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Miller's 3rd Birthday Party -Decorations

We actually got to have Miller's birthday party on his birthday which I really liked. I picked Scarlett's party theme before she was born I think but with Miller, I had no idea for the longest time. I made him watch "Peter Pan" and he really liked it so I decided to go with that. I LOVED this theme and had so much fun planning it. There are more pictures of the people than I have in this post but I am going to include them in another post. I did not want to overload one post.

Thank goodness we moved into this house and we had a dead tree. It contributed to a lot of the decorations. 




Peter Pan went up a few weeks before his party and is still up. He has just become a part of the  family so I am not sure when it will come down. 


The playroom was Hangman's Tree.

This game moved outside once I was sure that it was going to stay sunny and not rain. 

The kitchen was Mermaid Lagoon.The decorations are also still up in there.


I tried to find an crocodile pinata but had the hardest time. This is a mini dinosaur one. Either way, the kids had a blast with this.

Like I said, I have more pictures of people from the party for another post.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Miller Update: 3 Years

It is so weird to think that Miller has been around for 3 whole years. When I pictured becoming a mom, I pictured having babies. Now I have this little person running around who I have conversations with.

Look how he has grown. 

Weight: 32.5 lbs (+24 lbs 6oz)

Height: 37" (+ 15.5")

Sleep: We made the leap that I have feared for years, the big boy bed, well it is actually the toddler bed. My child is not the kind that will just eventually drop when they become exhausted. He is the type that would be up until ungodly hours. Once in TN, he stayed up until 1:30AM and then got up at 5:30AM, had no naps for those days and he was still running around like crazy. I was so scared of taking off that front rail to the crib. I saw the loss of naptimes (which mommy needs for her sanity) and that my freetime at night would be cut down because we would be dealing with him. Let me go back.

He climbed out of his bed a few times last year but each time he got in trouble and then did not do it again for a few months. For the past few months, he fought me so much at naptime by throwing things out of his crib, taking off his diaper, trying to grab at things he could reach (even though I had no idea he could reach them) and he never napped anymore. I was going crazy! Two months ago he started climbing out of his crib like there were no rails. We knew it was time so I readied myself with a sticker chart and bribes and prepared for the worst. The first couple of days we had to put him back in his bed a few times but he would sleep, even at naptime. He has eventually cut down his playtime before bed and he puts himself to sleep quicker than I ever thought he would.

I was so scared but this has been soooo much easier than I imagined and he is sleeping so much better. The only downside is that he is getting up much earlier and this is making mommy and Scarlett super tired. Sorry, I rambled but this is so exciting to me.

Eating: Still a snacker but we limit the amount of junk food. He has a good smoothie everyday so I know that he is eating some vegetables at least.

Best Moment: Getting through the transitions of toddler bed and potty training smoothly was awesome. I have dreaded them for years and as Miller approached 3, I knew they were impending and closing in on me. I am so happy that we just followed Miller's lead and it worked out.

Milestones: Big boy bed and potty trained. Here is another long story. We got a potty and started talking about it forever ago. Sometimes he would want to sit on it once or twice a day. Sometimes he peed, sometimes he just sat there. We got big boy underwear and tried to just put him in them for a few days and hope he got how it works. Yeah, in one incident he peed on my phone and Scarlett simultaneously and mommy gave up.  I decided that I would make a bigger push after we got back from Disney.

As soon as we got back from the beach back in early August, he asked for his underwear. We both told him some other time. He asked me the next day, so I said sure. He had two accidents that morning and then none for a few days. That was it! He has the occasional accident and we still put him in a diaper at naptime and bedtime but he has done amazing. I am still nervous when we go out but he tells when he has to go and we remind him every time we pass a potty. I never thought that I would be this proud to have a potty trained child.

Wisdom: While I know that this can be the terrible three's (my mom has been telling me about what a holy terror I was during that year), I really do enjoy Miller right now. Sure we have tantrums and do not even get me started on the mischief, but I also think he is so much fun. I want to try to enjoy him at every age and stage.

- We are changing up our preschool routine a little because we have both been getting bored.

Things Miller is doing:

- We have been doing a loose preschool curriculum for the past few months and this kids grabs on to so much  stuff. I am amazed at what he remembers and understands.
- Lately he has been into the Disney Princesses. I think it is adorable because I think he likes them because they are pretty. He tells me that I am Belle and he is the Beast. I will take that as a compliment.
- He can be the best big brother sometimes. The other week Scarlett was in her high chair whining and not eating her cheerios. Miller kept saying,"Skarkey, eat them. Cereal is good". He eventually climbed over  to her and put one in her mouth which she gladly ate. "See Skarkey. Cereal is good".
- We listen to music sometimes during the day and he knows the words to so many songs. It is adorable to listen to him sing "All About That Bass".
- He is getting into spelling certain words. The first word he spelled was "ikea" and I did not teach it to him, he was just studying the catalog. He is an expert at spelling his name.
- The sticker chart that I started for potty training has been great with teaching him numbers. We are up to 35. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Scarlett Monthly Update: Month Ten

We hit double digit months. 

Weight: 21lbs 11oz (+13lbs) (Miller was 21 lbs 4oz)

Height: 27.5in (+6in) (Miller was 29in)

Head: 18.25in (+4.5in) (Miller was 19.5"in)

Sleep: Pretty much the same as the last month. She sleeps for 4-7 hours, wakes up to eat and then back to sleep. Sometimes she wakes up another time but most nights she does not. At Disney World she slept great in the pack n play and then in bed with us. The other night she actually slept a whole 10 hours, which was awesome, but the next night she would not lay down and go to sleep until almost midnight. I would like more of sleeping through the night. As for naps, she takes a 2-3 hour nap and maybe another cat nap depending on when we wake up. Miller keeps waking us up early since he is now in a toddler bed so her and I might have a catnap on the couch mid morning.

Eating:  I have been trying to get her more food and meals when we eat which she seems to enjoy. We have been giving her a sippy cup for months and she just chewed on it and did not understand that she needed to suck on it. Finally, in the last week or so, with one of Miller's cups she got the hang of it.

Best Moment: Her and Miller are finally at the point where they can play together some. I love watching them interact. Miller is constantly pulling out her paci and leaning in so she will give him a kiss, and she almost always obliges. 

Milestones: The girl is walking. She took her first steps when we were at Disney World. With Miller, as soon as he figured it out, he was running. She is a little slower but once we got home, she started getting braver and taking more steps. As my mom said, that is 3 generations of walkers at 9 months (her, me, Miller and Scarlett). It is adorable watching her wobbly steps.

Monthly Wisdom: I remember having so much fun with Miller at this point (and it still has not stop), but this time around it is a blast sharing Scarlett being so fun with Miller.

Goals for the Upcoming Month: I am trying to slowly transition her out of the swaddle so I am continuing with that. Once that happens, I hope to get her in her bed the whole night. We stopped with Miller when he was 9 months old but right now she is not bothering me. I just know that it is something on the horizon when her sleep regulates a bit more after the swaddle.

Things Scarlett is doing
- Climbing the stairs. Uh oh!
- Waving and clapping like a champ.
- The girl can dance. I was just singing a song the other day and I looked down and she was on the floor dancing.
- When I ask her if she wants milk, she pulls out her paci and throws it.
- She says "mama" and "ma", even in the proper context. If Miller annoys her, she shrieks, says,"ma", and looks at me to see what I do.  

Look at Miller's shaggy hair. I have no idea why we waited another two months to get his first haircut. Her hair is growing but not nearly as fast as Miller's was. It was actually laying down in this picture and not fuzzing up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Disney '14: Part 3

Day 5: Another character breakfast this morning but this one was later at 10:30 since we had the morning off from the parks. We got to ride the monorail two days in a row and the kids loved it. Since we have been home, Miller keeps pretending that his train set is a monorail.

We got to the Polynesian a little early so we walked around a bit.

Our first visitor was Mickey which of course Scarlett slept  through.

Miller only recently learned who Lilo was but he still liked her.

Same for Stitch. That is his new best friend and he got a stuffed one as one of his souvenirs.

Both of the kids really liked Pluto.

She gets so excited and this face happens. I love it!

Mickey came back around and I was able to get him with Scarlett awake. She kept giggling at him and trying to give him kisses.

We walked around the grounds of the Polynesian and decided to take the boat back to the Magic Kingdom to get to the bus stop.

We kept telling Miller to hold hands and he would say, "I hold my own hand".

That night we went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We did it last year and it was so much fun. For our next trip it will be later in the year so we can go to the Christmas party.

We were at the point where we had ridden most of the rides that we wanted to so we repeated some and then went on some extra ones. I had never been on the Astro Orbitor in all of my trips but we were right there and the wait time was short. I took Miller while Ben ran the stroller to my mom who was staking out a spot for the parade. I do not know why but this was one of my favorite times from the whole trip. Just my baby boy and I snuggling and laughing getting to experience this ride for the first  time together.

As soon as we got off the ride, Ben was already in line again and took Miller with him. I waited down below and the Monsters dance party started. Last year he did not know the movies but we have done the rotation of them being his favorite this year. As soon as he got off the Astro Orbitor, he just joined the crowd and started dancing. I am so happy we took videos of that.

Sitting with Ninny waiting on the parade to start. I believe I underestimated how entertaining those would be for the kids because they loved them.

As soon as the parade was over, we ran to the Princess Fairytale Hall to see Anna and Elsa (like literally, we raced there). We had continually seen wait times of 75 minutes of more so we got there when it was down to 40 and even then only waited 30 minutes or so. This was more for Ruby and Isla but Miller was super excited too. I did notice that he was the only boy in line who was not there with a sister who was there to see them (Scarlett does not count).

We came out to the fireworks which last year we missed because Miller was too scared. This year he loved them (thank goodness)! We did some trick or treating but then decided that we wanted to spend what time we had left riding rides. Mom watched the kids for us again and we got to go on the brand new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was awesome. Then the older kids wanted to ride Dumbo (for the 4th time) but Scarlett and I went to Under the Sea again. I got out when it was 11:57 and literally ran across Fantasyland to Peter Pan's Magic Flight. They were closing the ride but let me on. I was the last one on the ride and I admit, I was a bit afraid that they would turn it off and it would just be Scarlett and I stuck on there but it was fun. Scarlett sat next to me and just looked around and squealed. Again, one of my favorite moments of the trip. 

We stayed until midnight that night and those kids were troopers. Miller again loved the buses and got some as a souvenir this year.

We were able to ride 24 out of 34 rides and see all the characters we had on our list plus some (17 where last year we saw 7). It was an awesome trip! I am definitely glad that we did not go for as many days and will be doing that again in the future.

I have received so many comments from people asking how we can afford this two years in a row but just know, we do Disney cheaply. We stayed at the cheapest resort and went when they were having a sale. We only did two days at the park plus the Halloween party with no park hopper. We did not do a lot of sit down meals and brought our own snacks with us. We also budgeted for vacations all year and we used our anniversary budget for this.

I also get comments about why would we want to take kids when they will not remember it. Well, because we will. We do some many things for our kids that they will never remember, Christmas, birthday parties, the zoo, etc, but we do them to make family memories. I will never forget riding the Astro Orbitor with Miller giggling in my lap as we saw the sun setting behind the castle. Or Scarlett trying to give Mickey Mouse a big slobbery kiss when we saw him. Or her sitting next to me squealing on Peter Pan's flight at midnight at the Halloween Party. Miller got to meet all of these characters that he knows and loves. He was even excited to go potty at Rapunzel's tower and in the Beasts castle. There is only a short time where they see the magic of Disney and I definitely do not want to miss out on that.

I will admit, I have drank the Disney Kool aid and I am okay with that. I look forward to taking my kids traveling but I also look forward to coming back to Disney World. There is just no experience like it and we have the advantage of being somewhat close to it.  We are already planning our next trip, just not for next year.