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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas whirlwind...

I can't believe the holidays have already come and gone - this year seemed especially fast and as I sit here typing my holiday recap next to a tree that's seriously clinging onto it's last days (let's just say I could probably rub some of it's branches together and easily spark a flame...), I'm feeling a little sad that they're over. Sad and in an utter state of panic for what's to come in the next couple of months... We're supposed to be closing on our house in less than two weeks, moving shortly thereafter and welcoming baby #3 soon after that (gulp!). Oh and the huz and I also decided to take a last minute babymoon to Cabo in between now and the house closing. Crazy? Maybe. But I sure won't care when I'm lounging by the pool on what's bound to be one of my last kid-less vacations for quite some time!

Before I launch into my new years resolutions for 2016 (check this space tomorrow), it would be remiss of me to recap the last couple of weeks of holiday shenanigans... 
Loving his new police jammies from Auntie Wee Wee and Uncle Ryan...
Demolishing the gingerbread house Hayes and Grant made at school...
Hayes' school, GBCP has an adorable holiday potluck every year where you're paired up with another family to eat dinner and celebrate the festivities. This year, we were paired up with Hayes' bestie's family, Santiago and had our traditional Chinese food dinner (how stereotypical Jew is that?). The kiddos treated us to the most adorable Christmas presentation before dinner. I die.

We spent Christmas with my parents in Scottsdale; the boys had an absolute blast tearing their house apart (sorry Mom and Dad!) and Hayes was sad when I told him it was time to go home. I always say the sign of a good vacation is not wanting it to end and it was definitely the case for that guy. We spent plenty of time relaxing at the house and playing with new toys but we also managed to get off the rock a couple of times, taking the boys to see the lights and the train at the Fairmont Princess on Christmas Eve and to the Phoenix Children's Museum one afternoon, which they loved. It was a lovely Christmas (complete with a house visit from the big man in red himself!) and we've enjoyed the last couple of days being in a relatively quiet Los Angeles while everyone is away for that in between Christmas and New Years limbo. 

With a Lobster look-alike elf at the Fairmont Princess...
With Santa (who sounded an awful lot like Papa!) on Christmas Eve...

It's getting harder and harder to get a good family shot of the four of us, a task that I'm confident will be near impossible once we're a family of five...
Hayes was an excellent present-getter Christmas morning...
The chaos continues...
Delicious Christmas morning spread, including this amazing make-ahead French toast bake, courtesy of the trusty Pioneer Woman...
From the photo-booth at the Children's Museum. Greyson's expression in the second picture down when he realizes what exactly is happening in the booth is priceless!
Hope you all had a nice Christmas!

And here's a glimpse of the bump at 30 weeks - feeling large and in charge these days! 
10 weeks to go!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Life around here lately...

So it seems I've failed at my weekly snapshots of what's going on in our family - looks like that initiative stalled in week 31 - so instead of pretending that I never skipped a month, I figured I'd just give y'all a glimpse into life around here lately.
Hayes is absolutely LOVING the holidays, which couldn't make this mama more proud. He basically decorated the entire Christmas tree himself and every morning, he eagerly runs downstairs to seek out his beloved elf friend, Lobster. He's in full countdown mode, thanks in part to his trusty advent calendar, which he gobbles up every morning after breakfast. And for the past 8 nights, we've lit the menorah, singing a combination of our ABC's, Let it Go or for last night's finale, the Happy Birthday song. When the boys aren't glued to the DVD player in the new car, he's requesting Christmas music - his favorite song being "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Oh, and he's watched Home Alone every single day since I tivo'd it at the beginning of December, reciting lines like "Leave it on the doorstep and get the hell out of here!", which is hilarious and slightly cringe-worthy coming out of a 4 year old's mouth. I am absolutely loving seeing the Christmas spirit through his eyes and am a little sad that the big day will be here so soon - oh how I wish I could slow down time...
Greyson is following suit, not quite understanding the whole Christmas hoopla but definitely enjoying the abundance of holiday sweets and festive gatherings we've been attending. Every morning when he wakes up, he demands his advent calendar chocolate - we make him wait until after breakfast...as if that's any better. He knows the words to a variety of Christmas carols; it still astonishes me how communicative this kid is when his brother was basically still mute at the same age. He requests to wear Christmas jammies every night, just not the footed kind - turns out he does NOT like those! And he's super eager to break into the gingerbread house his brother and Grant made at Hayes' school gingerbread house decorating party last week, although Hayes has made it quite clear that it's only for decoration for the time being.
Grant and I are trying to keep up with everything - all of the social engagements (turns out Hayes has a lot of friends with December birthdays!) and millions of last minute decisions that have to be made when putting the finishing touches on a house you built from scratch. We celebrated our 17 year dating anniversary this past Saturday, which unfortunately came and went with little fanfare because of everything else that was going on and because sadly our babysitter, Grandma Nini had a case of appendicitis last week and had to have emergency surgery, poor thing. We intend on going out to a nice dinner this upcoming Saturday and a relatively newish restaurant Republique that we've been dying to try.

On the house front, it's looking like we're {hopefully} going to be closing on Esther in mid-January and moving in shortly thereafter. The house has come together amazingly and with every fixture and coat of paint that goes into the place, our excitement about moving in increases. The backyard and pool won't be done when we start calling Esther home, but that's okay - all this talk of a little thing called El Nino might make the whole needing an outdoor space thing a little unnecessary for the near term so it's not the end of the world. Hoping we'll have about 6 weeks or so to get settled before Baby Cohen gets here (fingers crossed!).

(these are all from a couple weeks ago, but to give you an idea of the progress...)

Exterior - front steps are in now, as well as the outdoor sconces...
Kitchen - countertops, sinks cabinets and subway tile are in now, appliances being installed this weekend - kitchen actually looks a lot different now than it did in this picture! And it will be glorious!
Maybe my favorite room of the house - our master bath - look at those floor tiles - LOVE!
And speaking of Baby Cohen, I'm 30 weeks tomorrow (eek!) and feeling pretty good! The past week or so, I've started to feel a little larger - it's harder to get up off the couch and a little cumbersome to roll over in bed. But overall, not many complaints, which I'm thankful for and I'm happy for the little bean to stay snug as a bug for as long as possible since we are most definitely not ready to add another little monster to the crew at this present moment!
This was taken two weeks ago at 28 weeks..
So that's life around here lately! Lots of holiday shenanigans and shopping, house planning, baby baking - hectic, but fun and it's all going by in a flash. We're off to Scottsdale next week to go see Nana and Papa, which we're all excited for. And for the first time ever, we've elected to stay in this NYE so Grant can watch football and I can likely pass out on the couch at 9pm. I think this means we're officially old...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Officer Hayes

Hayes has been deep into the whole police thing for a long time now - probably close to 6 months, which is an eternity when talking about the interests of a 4 year old. 

It started with an obsession with anything Paw Patrol. His favorite character was Chase, the police dog and from that, he became interested in anything having to do with the men in blue. 

He {obviously} was a policeman for Halloween and the costume he picked up at Nana and Papa's has definitely gotten it's money's worth and then some. He puts it on as soon as he wakes up and often wears it to brunch and dinner. It's become so routine that it doesn't even phase me anymore and I frequently find myself wondering why strangers are snickering and giving us warm smiles as we walk by them until I remember we're being escorted by a little man in uniform.

This past Friday night, we walked over to the Grove for dinner, like we always do on Friday nights while living at the Palazzo and since we were going to see the old man in red, Hayes, of course, insisted on wearing his uniform. 

We knew it was going to be a memorable evening when as soon as we walked into Nordstroms, we saw 5 or 6 police officers congregating in a circle. Hayes waltzed right up to them to introduce himself and ask what was going on. There had been a shoplifter who had gotten away and they were on the lookout. After a few minutes of chatting, an officer gave him a baseball card and we were on our way to go see Santa.

Greyson insisted on the whole family joining for this year's Santa picture - I'm happy my festive red flats made the pic!

I didn't think the night could get any better - I mean, real police officers on the job, a visit with St Nick where Hayes proceeded to give him the below wishlist - what more could a little boy want?? 

But then we stumbled across a Toys for Tots display that the CHP was putting on, complete with an officer and his motorcycle. The boys were able to sit on the motorcycle and put on the flashing lights, Hayes asked as many questions as he could possibly think of and he was even featured on the local CBS news - our own officer, a celebrity!

Check out his segment here:

I think it was one of the best nights of Hayes' life ;-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thankful for good food and new family members!

We have lots to be thankful for every year, but I spent Thanksgiving reflecting on just how much I have to be thankful for this year in particular.

The best family photo we could get...
Most looked more like this ;-(

Our two little guys could not bring us more happiness - I am constantly reminded just how fast time is slipping by and how quickly they grow up. Hayes is going to be five in February. FIVE! Whaaat?! It's hard to appreciate every moment during the mundane daily routine, but then he goes and says or does something that I wish I could bottle up and keep forever and I find myself desperately grasping to hold onto this time in all of our lives.
This might have been the best moment of Hayes' life...

And Greyson... he was a baby just yesterday, right? How is he already a fully functioning, communicating two year old? How is he already going to be a big brother in 3 months?! Where did the last two years go?

I'm thankful as well for Grant, my rock, my best friend for almost 17 years... We were babies when we met and now we're raising babies of our own and I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else in the world. I know how lucky I am to have him and I know how lucky we are to have the solid relationship that we have.

I could go on and on and of course that's a good thing. It's been a crazy year full of changes and surprises and next year is bound to be even crazier. But when I looked around on Thanksgiving day, I was feeling extra grateful for our solid support system of extended family members and friends (those who we were lucky enough to be with and those who we celebrated with from afar) who we can count on to be a constant in our lives. 

And the added bonus this year was the fact that we got to add a new family member to the brood. Aunt V and Thomas finally got engaged and we were able to be a part of it, which was pretty darn cool. Although we've considered Thomas a member of the family for quite some time already, it's nice to officially welcome him as Victoria's fiance and we're excited for the celebrations that lie ahead, not to mention spending some more time with his family who were all there for the big day and who we instantly fell in love with. 

The happy couple ;-)
Thomas thought of everything, even bringing ring pops for the boys...
Grant naturally acted as bartender for the big occasion...
And V's best friend, Clara came in for the afternoon to partake in the celebrations...
Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. 
Let the Christmas Countdown begin!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Greyson's Birthday Celebration

In lieu of a big birthday bash for our tiny two year old, we decided to keep it small and simple and celebrate with just the family + Nini and Pa. Greyson doesn't exactly have a lot of friends yet (sorry, but it's true!) and since we don't have a house to entertain at currently, our options were limited.
Opening pressies in the morning - Hayes picked the winners, a Mickey Mouse fire truck and ball ;-)
Donuts for breakfast...
There's a place nearby called Duff's Cake Mix that I've been dying to try ever since it opened. The concept is simple - you go there and decorate cakes and cupcakes, which you can then eat. Duff is apparently some big Food Network pastry chef, even though he looks like the kind of creature you'd run into at a Cave Creek biker bar. I've looked into going there with Hayes before on one of our Monday afternoon dates, but the packages were always pretty pricey and required decorating like a dozen cupcakes so we've never gone. 

I found a gilt city a few months ago for a half a dozen cupcake package and quickly called to make a reservation for the 15th. And it was perfect - 6 cupcakes (we chose a combo of marble and funfetti) that you get to decorate with frosting, toppings and fondant of your choice. It kept the boys busy for an hour and felt like a festive thing to do for the birthday boy.

We followed it up with dinner at a local pizza joint and it really was the perfect celebration for our little guy.

Happy birthday Greyson, we love you!