Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today is officially Halloween, but our celebration started days ago. It's been both fun and exhausting and this was really the first year that Shyla understood Halloween; I also think it is the last year that she will let me choose her costume, and I took full advantage of that.

The festivities began last Thursday night with the Fall Festival/Literacy Night at Shyla's school! There was trick-or-treating, story-time and free books(!), and of course a jumping castle! Kids could go in either their jammies or their costumes. Shyla attended in her jammies! Zac attended in his costume: Zackary Yager.

However, for actual dress-up I dressed both my girls up as a Care Bear this year. And I made their costumes. For under $20 I made a Love-A-Lot Bear for Shyla and a Cheer-Bear for Harper and a new candy bag for Shyla (sorry, Harpey, no candy bag for you!)

On Saturday night we went trick-or-treating at La Encantada Mall with some of our really good friends. Here is Shyla's costume:
And the view from the back:
And her new candy bag:
And a close-up of her cute little face:
And my peaceful Harper:
Have you ever tried to take a picture of 5 kids in the middle of a really busy mall? It's fun! But every now a then you might get a winner! (I'm defining "winner" here as a picture in which all kids' faces can be seen and are looking nearly in the right direction.)

Of course there is the quest for the decent family picture. This one is not too bad:
Most of our family pictures look more like this one:
The whole experience was a lot of fun and we had such great company! Shyla liked the idea of trick-or-treating but did not understand the concept of putting the candy in her bag and saving it for later. So every time she got a piece of candy she'd hold it up and yell, "I want it. Open. Open. Open. Please." She probably ate more candy that night than she's had in her whole life.

Flash forward to today, Halloween day. Monday is a school day for Shyla and the kids could dress-up but I thought her Care Bear costume would be too warm for our 90 degree temperatures (apologies to anyone on the east coast, although I don't think I have any readers from there). So, she wore Lilly's old UA Cheer Outfit (see below).

I spent a lot of time preparing food today. I made cake-pops that look like eyeballs, spider crackers, jack-o-lantern crackers (for Shy's school party), and cake-pops with black and orange sprinkles.

Then tonight we did our annual "block party" at my parents cul-de-sac. It seems as if it's growing every year and it's a lot of fun. They don't get many trick-or-treaters but they do have some "regulars." Aunt Holly, Michelle, and Isla joined us this year and Isla wore a giraffe costume that Shyla wore for her 1st Halloween:
There was lots of candy, but no actual trick-or-treating.
And Harper, excuse me, Cheer Bear had a good time too!
Shyla tried to convince us to allow her to bring her candy bucket to bed with her. I think she would have fought it more if she wasn't so tired. It's been a busy couple of sugar-filled days.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tummy Time!

We try to do Tummy Time a couple times a day for a few minutes. Harper is getting really good at it and she is strengthening her neck muscles too!

(In other news my parents got me a new lens for my camera so I can take pictures like this without being 10 yards away!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Week 2011

Birthday week runs each year from October 19 through October 26, meaning today is the last day of BW2011. I don't have any pictures from this year's festivities, but here is a recap:

October 19: Beth turns 28!
The girls and I (after recovering from my scorpion incident) went to Beth's house in the morning with homemade breakfast quiche, fruit salad, Dunkin Donuts, and 2 large DD coffees! We had playtime and breakfast with Beth and her folks. Happy Birthday B!

October 23: I turn 29!
The day started with the CatWalk at the UA. This was our 3rd year doing it and it meant even more this year after we lost Pat to cancer in 2011. I finished my 5K in just under 32 minutes which is good for me and Stevie finished his 10K in under 50 minutes which is really good and that was his goal. After the race we met at my parent's house for lunch and fruit pizza (my favorite!) and of course many more present than I deserved. It was fun and delicious and grandma and grandpa came too which was great! The kids did a lot of playing before crashing for nap-time. It was a great day! My birthday celebration continued to yesterday when Harper and I were treated to lunch by Beth at BJs. Yummy!

October 26: Stevie turns 29!
Today is Stevie's birthday. As I type this, he (and both girls) are sleeping and I have Baked Apple French Toast in the oven. We actually "celebrated" his birthday both on Sunday at my parents and last night at Caruso's. Last night was a bit of a disaster, though, because Harper was doing her night-time fussies and Shyla got tired at 7 which is her bedtime. But, at least we can say we tried. He doesn't know it, and he never reads the blog, but I am going to get an ice cream cake (his favorite!) for dessert tonight...I just hope he doesn't have to work late!

WW - week 8

I went to Weight Watchers yesterday dreading the weigh-in and thinking I had gained weight. It had been a fun weekend but I hadn't counted any points, which made me feel out of control.

I also hadn't been as motivated to get out and walk as frequently. Really the only good exercise I got was the Sunday morning 5K.

I thought about waiting until Wednesday to weigh-in, but we had planned a big Tuesday night dinner so I decided to just go to my normal meeting and face the music.

I cannot for the life of me explain how, but I lost 1.6 pounds this week.

That weight loss makes me happy, but I don't like feeling out of control and I don't approaching the scale unsure of the outcome. For those reasons I want to make this upcoming week a better one; I like to know what's coming.

Week 8 Weight LOSS: 1.6 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 18 pounds

Pounds to Goal: 26.8 pounds

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Maybe you were just laying on it wrong."

Picture this: it's 12:45 AM. I am sleeping peacefully. Stevie is sleeping peacefully on my left and Harper is sleeping peacefully on my right, in her bassinet.

Then I feel something crawling, yes, crawling, on my head. Instinctually I brush it off my head and immediately feel a sharp pain in my finger.

I knew right away that something bit or stung me so I sprinted to the bathroom and turn on the light to inspect my finger. Nothing. No mark whatsoever but it feels funny and then I felt a tingle all the way down to my elbow.

So I wake Stevie up because I know we need to find whatever it was and we need to make darn sure it is nowhere near Harper. Stevie helps me look, inspects my finger, and then says, "maybe you were just laying on it wrong." By this time I have no feeling in my finger, I'm tingly down to my elbow and my face feels weird. And I think to myself, "Stevie, I love you but you're an idiot."

Good news: I laid down on the sofa (after we made sure there was nothing around our sleeping Harper) and got a little bit of rest.
Bad news: we never found it.

The next morning I called Poison Control. After the nice woman listened to me tell my story and my symptoms, she said "that was, without a doubt, a scorpion."

Yep, it was one of these nasty guys:
It has been nearly 7 days. My finger is still numb in just the {invisible} sting point. The tingly feeling lasted about 12 hours and the numbness in my face lasted about 24 hours. The fright that I felt about the possibility of Harper or Shyla getting stung is still with me. We have sprayed every inch of the house, washed all sheets and towels, and vacuumed to every corner. Gotta love the desert.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Holiday Card Time! {and a giveaway!}

As most of you know, I love Shutterfly. I use it for all-things-photo including storing my photos, sharing my photos, printing prints, making cards, invitations, posters, canvases, wall art, Christmas ornaments, and of course photo-books! I'm passionate about it and will tell you all about it, if you'll listen!

How do you organize your pictures?

Here is my organizational strategy:
1) Take lots and lots of pictures and upload them to my laptop regularly.
2) At the end of the month, upload that month's pictures to shutterfly account.
3) At the end of the month, add that month's pictures to shutterfly share site.
4) At the end of the month, update the Forgacs Family Photo Book and order prints using my prepaid print plan.

Do you send holiday cards?

I've been sending holiday cards since 2007 when Stevie and I got married. Take a look at what I've done in the past with my annual holiday card:

2007 - This was a great way to showoff a wedding pic!

2008 - This card announced our pregnancy with the words, "growing family."

2009 - (sorry about the orientation) This, of course, showcased 7 month old Shyla May.

2010 - This is my favorite card to date and was centered around our professional photo shoot!

2011 - It's a surprise! Check out Shutterfly's Holiday Cards by clicking HERE or Christmas cards by clicking HERE.

Do you send non-holiday cards?

However, cards are not only for holidays. Think about the last time you received a card in the mail (yes, real snail-mail). I bet you love getting random cards and so do your friends and family. Take a look at this (small) sampling of some cards I have made:

I made this card to showcase the beautiful portraits that Gabi took of Harper when she was just 6 days old. These types of cards can be made HERE.

We used this card as Harper's announcement. You can take a look at the hundreds of birth announcements by clicking HERE.

And this card to ask Dan and Erin to please be her god-parents.

A few reasons why I love Shutterfly (in no particular order):
  • The website is easy to use.
  • The quality of the products is great.
  • The speed of production and delivery.
  • There's always something new to choose from.
  • I don't have to change out of my pajamas or leave the house.
  • We have given Shutterfly gift-certificates as gifts for the last few weddings we attended because it's a great gift for someone who's going to have lots of pictures (I just realized it would also make a great baby shower gift).

{The Giveaway}

Three lucky readers will win 25 free Shutterfly cards as this post is part of their 2011 holiday promotion! Wahoo! Thanks Shutterfly!

To enter the giveaway simply look at Shutterfly's Christmas Card Collection and leave a comment telling me your favorite design. The three winners will be randomly drawn on Halloween night! Don't delay - enter today!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WW - week 7

Another Tuesday and another weigh-in. It was a fairly typical week for me with the exception of Saturday and the double-party situation. I didn't even bother counting my points that day, but I did manage to avoid the cupcakes and cake at both parties.

So, good news, I lost 1.8 pounds this week!

One thing I like about the WW online e-tools is the graph produced each time you record your weigh-in. Look - here's my graph! I think it's really motivating!

This week I am going to try to stick to my points and drink much more water than I have been.

Week 7 Weight LOSS: 1.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 16.4 pounds

Pounds to Goal: 28.4 pounds

Monday, October 17, 2011

Buckalew Farms

We spent yesterday morning at Buckalew Farms! This was our third year and it has become quite the family tradition that I hope continues for many years to come. Again, a huge and giant thank you to my parents. We would never be able to do things like this without them and our kids (all 4 of 'em!) are SO VERY lucky to have them!

Chelsea and I ran in the 5K (that I think was a bit longer than that) along with Michelle, Jon, Torey, Ben, and hundreds of other people (including, unfortunately, the lady that yelled at me)!

It was an early morning to get all the way out there by race time but we did it! My time was just over 34 minutes but I ran the whole thing so that makes me feel good.

Our good friends, the Rileys, also made it out! We got to visit with them briefly but then lost track of them when it came time to pick pumpkins and, unfortunately, didn't get any pictures of them.

Jon, Michelle, and Isla :)

After the race (and actually before the race while with Grandma and Grandpa) Shyla wanted to run! And run, and run, and run. She is amazingly fast and has good form!

After the race and a Harper feeding and time playing on hay bails, it was time to ride the tractor out to the pumpkin patch. Although she isn't showing it here, Shyla LOVED riding on the tractor!
Auntie Chelsea and her kids out in the pumpkin patch!

This was when Shyla declared, "Pumpkins all gone." Not really sure what she meant by that!

Here is the pumpkin Shyla found.

It is just her size! Perfect!

After the pumpkin patch and before the mother-of-all-meltdowns, there was time in the jumping castle (or "jumping cay-sel" as Shyla says). She talks about jumping castles almost daily so we were glad that she had some time in one.

We love, love, love this tradition of running the race then picking pumpkins! It is fine, family fun! We were sad (and so was he) that Stevie had to miss it but there will be more fun ahead.

Two Parties in One Day!

This past Saturday Harper and I went to 2 parties!

Stevie was in Scottsdale for a wedding. Thank goodness for my mom who took Shyla to swim lessons, put her down for nap, waited for me to get home, got Shyla ready for the second party, then took care of the crazies in the evening.

Party #1 was a baby shower for my dear friend Hillary! She is due with Baby Boy Emmett Doll on December 20th, which happens to be Zac's birthday and she is going to be an amazing mama!

Auntie Emily got to meet Harper for the first time! Here she is with Auntie Karen too!

Kristen, above with Jessikah, left straight from the shower for her move to Texas. We are going to miss her so much as she has been such an important part of our lives for the last few years and has been so good to Shyla and Harper.

Here's Alexia, Hillary, Laura, and Kim.

And Kim, Karen, Hillary, Kim, Jessikah, Kieren, and Laura.

And me with Alexia and Harper!

It was a lovely shower and we are so excited for Hillary and Eric and the adventure that lay ahead!

The second party was the 1st birthday for Baby Sadie!

I didn't take as many pictures since I was trying to keep an eye on Shyla and Harper, but again my mom was a huge help!

Sadie really liked our card!

And the infamous smash cake! Too cute!

Happy birthday Baby Sadie! We love you!

Work Can Wait

Today was supposed to be my first day back to work after maternity leave but thanks to my supportive husband and caring principal, I have another 11 weeks or so. I know that when the time comes I will still be sad but I will be forever thankful that I got this extra time.

Another bonus to this time has been all the extra time with my Shyla, who is going to preschool 2 days a week and with us the other three. I have sincerely enjoyed getting to know her better than I otherwise would have. We are having lots of fun together!

So here's to another couple months of fun and quality time with my girls!

This is Shyla playing restaurant. The other day when I ordered a cup of coffee she asked me, "two splendas?"

And this is Shyla dipping her green beans into her chocolate pudding. This girl cracks me up!