Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, and before we welcome 2012, I thought I would take a moment to remember and reflect upon the year.

On the first day of 2011 we lost Grandma Forgacs after her battle with cervical cancer. Shyla was just a year and a half, I’m not sure that she remembers her but she recognizes and can identify her in pictures.

Three months later, on March 25th, Kirsten and Jim welcomed their twin girls: Sophia Rose and Simone Patricia. We didn’t get to meet them until the end of May, but have seen them a few times since and hope that all the cousins get to know each other well and grow up together.

After suffering with a gall stone that I thought was labor and gestational diabetes (with subsequent finger pricks and insulin shots), Stevie, Shyla and I welcomed Harper Ann on July 15th. Our family went from three to four seemlessly and we all fell instantly in love with our beautiful, happy, easy-going little girl. There is nothing better than watching Shyla and Harper play together and nothing better than hearing them laugh together.

One month later, in mid-August, I was granted a leave of absence from work which extended my leave an extra 12 weeks. I became a domestic goddess and I loved every minute. I wish I didn’t have to work at all, but I also feel very fortunate to have gotten the extra time.

We took a few road trips as a family-of-four. In September we went to Pinetop to visit with Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Pop on their way back from Michigan. November found us in Coronado for family time and a half-marathon and then we hit Vegas in December for a night-time half!

Although I am quite certain I will be awake at midnight tonight as the ball drops, I can also say with 100% certainty that I will not be partying and if I am kissing anybody it will be Harper. But here’s to 2012! I’m sure it will be a fantastic one!

Snow on Mt. Lemmon!

Let me say, just for the record, that it is much more fun to play in the snow on Mt. Lemmon than it is to run 13.1 miles up it!
My parents really wanted to get the whole family together for some playtime in the snow so we got bundled up and headed up the mountain! Turns out it was a really warm day and LOTS of fun!

Shyla's 1st Haircut!

In preparation of our upcoming family photo shoot, we took Shyla for her 1st official haircut! Shelley, who cuts my hair, offered to do it and she did a great job.
Shyla was, as expected, really uneasy when we first arrived even though she had been so excited before we left the house. Shelley is great with kids and Shyla warmed up to her quickly, although she wouldn't let her wash her hair.
She was able to get her bangs cut (straightly) above her eyebrows so we can see her beautiful face, and took just a little bit off the back.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Let it be Christmas....

Ahhhh Christmastime! What a wonderful time! I love Christmas and all its traditions and all the time I get to spend with my family.

We sing a lot in our family. One might even say we are like the Von Trapp family! So, in preparation for Christmas, there have been many Christmas songs filling the air around here! Shyla (and, truthfully Harper also) has been loving Rudolph and Jingle Bells. One of my favorite Christmas tunes is "Let it be Christmas" by Alan Jackson:
Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

But enough about that! Let's take a look at Christmas and the days leading up to it!

A few weeks ago we took Shyla and Harper to meet Santa. You may recall that the 2010 meeting didn't go so well. We were pleasantly surprised to get a good picture this year! Although he didn't ask, Shyla went ahead and told him that she wanted "candy" for Christmas. She was supposed to tell him that Harper wanted a ball, but I guess she forgot.

After meeting Santa we went tree hunting! You might also recall that Stevie and I have an annual fight about trees: I want an artificial tree so I don't feel like a tree murderer and don't have to vacuum up all the needles. He wants real trees only because the tradition of picking out the perfect tree makes him feel warm and fuzzy.

I didn't fight too hard this year...I mainly sat back, listened, and chuckled to myself as this was the constant conversation heard in the tree lot:
STEVIE: "Shyla! Isn't this the best tree you've ever seen?"
SHYLA: "No."
STEVIE: "Shyla, do you think we should bring this tree home?"
SHYLA: "No."
And so on. You get the idea.

When we got home and the tree was put up (and after great deliberation, the "perfect" side was determined and set facing the living room), I noticed that within an hour of being in our house one of those pesky needled ended up in Harper's butt! Yep, I have the picture to prove it!
Each year we add to our ornament collection. This year Shyla got a "big sister" ornament because she is a great big sister and Harper got a "baby's 1st" ornament for obvious reasons.

Once the tree was decorated and we broke up the clump of ornaments that Shyla put up, I had the girls pose for a picture and it warmed my heart that Shyla took Harper's hand. See, she is a great big sister!
And then one of my favorite holiday traditions: The Winterhaven Festival of Lights! We have been going to Winterhaven for as long as I can remember. We got bundled up and headed out with BOB and the cutest cupcake hat ever (thanks Auntie Cicely!)
I had to snap a picture of my favorite house: Occupy Winterhaven.

And I had to get a picture of me and Harper to show off the hat!

Then Christmas Eve Morning! We had a feast of a breakfast at Grandpa Steve's house along with Auntie Kirsten, Uncle Jim, Simone, and Sophia. And, of course, there were presents galore! Shyla liked opening the presents, even the ones not for her.

And Harper got some one-on-one time with Uncle Jim(s).

Then Christmas Eve Evening! Shyla and I made sugar cookies and we had yummy homemade mac n' cheese.
The girls each got new pajamas and Shyla set the cookies and milk out for Santa before going to bed.
Then Christmas!
When Shyla woke up on Christmas morning and we went into the living room I asked her "Does it look like Santa was here?" And here response was "no." Are you sensing a pattern here? I choose to believe that she didn't understand the question.

You will notice that there are 2 dolls under the tree that Santa didn't wrap. Even if this is just because Santa ran out of time and energy to wrap another single present, I am going to choose to believe that it is really because Santa is brilliant! Having an unwrapped present sitting out kept Shyla from whining while we waited for Harper and Daddy to wake up (she chose the purple haired doll and named her "Shyla" and decided the pink haired doll would be Harper's and her name would be "Angel.") Thanks for the brilliance, Santa!

Once those two sleepy-heads were up, we sang Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus and Shyla blew out the candle on his blueberry coffee cake.

Stevie got the largest bag of gummy bears ever (3 pounds of gummy goodness!)

Harper got a new blankey!

Shyla got a tricycle and helmet!

And we all got lots of other things too. Apparently we were all on the good list because Santa was really good to us!

Then onto my parents house where we sang Happy Birthday again, had mass pandemonium while we opened the way-too-many-gifts that Santa and my parents had for us there, and took a family picture since I learned how to use the timer on my camera.

Then onto my grandparents house where we crammed over 20 people and 9 kids into a small mobile home! The kids were, again, spoiled with gifts and they got to play with cousins they rarely see.
We took a picture of Grandpa Steve with his 4 grand-daughters.
Harper got some one-on-one time with Auntie Kirsten.

And then...A Christmas Miracle occurred! We somehow got all 9 kids (who are all under the age of seven) to sit on the sofa for a picture. I'm not gonna lie: it was my idea and there were some who said it couldn't be done. Well it was, and we have proof!

Harper got some one-on-one time with Grandma Barbara!

And, even though she was cooking up a cold and teething, she was still the belle of the ball. She and Shyla and all the other kids are what Christmas is all about. They are each a Christmas Miracle and blessing in their own ways and are each loved more than words could ever express.
It was a downright amazing Christmas. We are spoiled by gifts and by love and luck.

Merry Christmas to all and now....good night!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why she's not sleeping all night....

As I mentioned previously, Harper often gets an arm or leg stuck outside her crib which causes her to cry in the night. This morning when I went in to get her she was happy enough, but had two legs outside the crib. So, yes, I opted to take a picture of it before getting her up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Books!

2011 will be the first Christmas that Shyla actually kind of understands. She is excited. She knows who Santa is and that we will leave cookies for him and carrots for his reindeer. She knows that presents get wrapped and that the ones under the tree are not for her. We have been singing lots of off-key Christmas songs. She helped pick-out and decorate the tree.

But does she know what Christmas is all about? Not a clue.

Aside from the nativity scene, we have done a pretty poor job of keeping Christ in Christmas.

And so, the arrival of 4 new books that I am super psyched about! They are all by Crystal Bowman, formatted as board books, and written in rhyming couplets. And they all carry the message that although we celebrate Christmas with trees and gifts, the reason for Christmas is Jesus.
I think my favorite might be My Christmas Gift and I was thinking it would be nice to read it aloud prior to opening any gifts (perhaps a new tradition?)

I'd like to share just a couple of my favorite verses from these new books:

"My Christmas tree story is simple but true, for all those who seek him, will find Jesus too." -from Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree

"So next time you look at the stars shining bright, remember the star that glowed in the night, To let the world know of our dear Savior's birth, when God sent His Son down from heaven to earth." -from A Star for Jesus

"It's fun to find presents under the tree, and give Christmas gifts to your family. But the very best gift comes from above- it's Jesus the Savior, wrapped in God's love." -from My Christmas Gift

WW - week 16

I really don't want to be writing this post right now.
I have been dreading this post all day, or truthfully for a few days now.
I would much rather be blogging about meeting Baby Emmett today, or the seemingly thousands of reindeer noses I made for Shyla's teachers, or about Christmas traditions new and old.

Or, even better, about how when I took a shower this evening and left Stevie in charge of the girls, they both pooped at the same time and Harper's ended up all over Stevie's lap.

But, instead, I am writing this darn post.

This week I earned a whopping zero activity points. So, not surprisingly, I gained weight. A lot of weight. {looking sheepish and disheartened} I gained 3.8 pounds this week.

This was a combination of it being too cold to exercise with the girls (excuse), Harper not nursing as often (excuse), feeling depressed about returning to work in two weeks (excuse), making flax-seed cookies to promote breastmilk (excuse), and flat-out not caring.

I need to find my motivation again. Right now my motivation socket is empty.

Week 16 Weight GAIN: 3.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 21.6 pounds

Pounds to Goal: 19.4 pounds

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harper is 5 Months!

My little Harper is 5 months old! I am a little late in posting this but, don't worry, we celebrated right on time!

I am loving this age and I think it might be my favorite!

She is routinely rolling over, mostly from her back to her belly, and she no longer looks surprised when she does. Smiles can regularly be found on her face (and therefore on those around her), mostly when she is looking at her big sister. She still likes to watch Shyla take her bath and when she dances Harper looks at her longingly. It won't be too long before they are playing together and I am pretty sure there is no better sound than the sound of my two girls laughing together.

Everything is going in her mouth these days! We have surrounded her with lots of toys that are acceptable, yet she still likes to chew on our fingers, or paper, or anything else she can get her hands on.

She is still nursing well. There have been a handful on nights in which she's taken a few ounces of formula (honestly, probably about 16 ounces total) so she is mostly on breastmilk which makes me happy. I am hoping to continue this trend, even when I return to work in just a few weeks (boo).

I knew the sleeping-through-the-night-at-just-two-months was too good to be true and it was! But mostly she will wake up to eat and then go back to sleep. On occasion, however, she will wake up simply happy and wanting to play. These are the tough nights because I want her to learn to sleep at night and play during the day, but I also treasure those hours in which it is just me and her. Also, almost every night, she cries because she gets an arm stuck outside of her crib. Usually I just gently reposition her and she returns to sleep but, short of using bumpers, I'm not sure how to prevent this from happening.

She takes the binky, but doesn't rely on it.
She is wearing 3-6 month clothing and looking fabulous in the skinny jeans I bought her!
She likes to look around at her surroundings (so thus be held looking out) but she is also getting used to the baby carrier.
She is not sitting up on her own but she is trying and she also enjoys the bumbo chair.
She is trying to crawl! Last night Stevie and I just watched (ice cream in hand) as she tried and tried to push herself around the carpet.
She met Santa, and didn't cry.
Her hair is still unpredictable.
She is my baby. And always will be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WW - week 15

Before discussing my results from this week's weigh-in, let's take a look at my life this week. Disclaimer: this is in no way meant as an excuse, it is purely informational.
  • Shyla has a bladder infection. This included 2 trips to the doctor, 1 failed catheter, I "adhered" bag and a lot of waiting for pee-pee, 10 days of antibiotic, and 1 screaming toddler. Also, have I mentioned that I eat when I am stressed?
  • Harper has decreased her nursing (a huge calorie-burner for me). My mom thinks it's because she is teething and likes the feel of the rubber nipple on her gums. I hope she is right.
  • Neither girl is sleeping through the night. Shyla has been waking up crying (read: screaming) for me and Harper has been waking up hungry (for a bottle, not me) and generally happy. This makes for a tired mommy.
  • It has been cold and rainy here. I love rainy weather! But, it is a problem for exercising because it's been too cold to take the girls in the stroller.
Okay, that being said, I only earned 9 activity points this week. That is a new low!

Okay, that being said, I only gained 0.2 pounds this week. I'm going to call it a wash (and somewhat of a victory) and start fresh this week.
Week 15 Weight GAIN: 0.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss: 25.4 pounds

Pounds to Goal: 15.6 pounds

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Viva Las Vegas 2011

Another successful Forgacs family vacation!
Last Friday morning we hit the road at 3:00 AM. We planned it perfectly as the girls both slept until Kingman. It was there that we stopped for breakfast and playtime and to wait for Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Pete. We were there for an hour and a half then it was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump to Vegas (or as Stevie declares, The Promised Land).

We stayed at The Flamingo (thanks Uncle Pete!) and were lucky enough to be upgraded to a mini-suite. We were also fortunate to be right across the hallway from Grandma & Grandpa. Vegas is certainly a different experience with kids! We spent a good amount of time just playing in the hotel room, avoiding the chaos of Sin City.

When it was time for an outing we walked to the race expo so Stevie and I could check-in. I couldn't resist this photo op:
On Saturday morning we had a great breakfast at Margaritaville and were lucky enough to have Becky and Andy join us and meet Harper for the first time!
And then we were off to Circus Circus! My mom had promised Shyla a lollipop so she got this blue dice shaped one and held onto it for the rest of the day.
Shyla had fun at Circus Circus! We watched two shows, played some games, and ate a snack. I love this picture because it looks like my dear sweet Shyla is flipping the bird at the camera!
And then we took a decent family picture.
And took the best picture ever (Stevie says I say that too much):
Have you heard the story about the Michael Jackson Immortal Tour tickets? Here's the reader's digest version: back in November 2010 we were preparing for our Vegas trip and became aware of this MJ Cirque show being there the same weekend so we bought those tickets immediately. And then we realized we had bought the tickets for 2011. Nice.
It was our date night as my parents took care of the girls in our room. The show was awesome, minus the disorganization of Mandalay Bay (a theme that continued the next day). Stevie really loved it and wants to see it again. I was just glad that the lady next to meet didn't put her acrylic nail through my eyeball doing all her dancing.
And then Sunday rolled around. The main reason for the trip: the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon. This was my 3rd year in this race and Stevie's 2nd. It was the first time it was held at night. Running the strip at night was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It was dangerously crowded and surprisingly disorganized, but we did it! I set a new Personal Record with a time of 2:32 and Stevie finished in 1:57. I had to leave some formula for Harper to have while I ran which made me really sad and emotional, but I am proud of what I accomplished and she's going to be just fine.
All in all it was another GREAT vacation! We had lots of quality family time together and my parents had lots of quality time with my girls which makes my heart happy. Another HUGE thank-you to them for making it possible and for joining in on the fun!
A few quotes from the trip:
  • "I don't like beer" -Shyla
  • "Big shoes!" -then hearing Harper laugh
  • "Must be shorter than 5'7" to ride on top"
  • "I like Uncle Pete" -Shyla
  • Shyla asking Grandpa to fix the escalator with batteries and the way she laughed at the fish-netted legs!