Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ah, 2009

Here we are, at year's end. I would have to say that New Year's Eve is probably my least favorite day of The Holidays. It's like that song, "And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun." That song falls somewhere on the bottom of my Least Favorite Christmas Songs list. That song and New Years Eve make me start thinking of all the things I could have or should have done differently this past year. I do think it is good to stop and evaluate life every once in a while, however, don't ask me "what have you done?" That makes me feel like you are telling me I didn't do enough, like I have to prove myself, and I feel like my year was pretty darn full. So there.

There, now that I got that off my chest, moving on.

The Little Things List:

* When I think back to the beginning of this year I think about how the girls were just starting to become obsessed with everything Princess and how that changed my life this year - specifically how I spent my time. I spent a lot of time being a princess. This is the first year I lived with royalty in my house :)

* My little baby Berlin turned 1 this year and I think of the countless times I told the story of how she was born in the backseat of our car. Our car that has, this year, taken a turn for the worse and developed transmissionitis. Soon Berlin's birthplace will be gone forever.

* Trynica turned 3 this year and managed to become even more beautiful. If this continues to happen I am entirely scared to write a post in 2019. "Trynica had 15 boys calling her every night this past year..." *Sigh* Stay away.

* Steve and I got to take an amazing vacation to Mexico together. That was definitely a highlight.

* Thinking about the times we have not been with our girls...we are thankful for people like Gennae, Leah, Rebecca, Amy and Paisley, Becky W, Becky A, Larissa, Arianna, Mom, Dad, Tia, Kristy and Andy, Kathy, Jillian, Cait - people whose trustworthiness shines through the adoration in our daughter's eyes. Thank you for helping us be better parents and for being people we can trust and for loving our kids.

* Thinking about the numerous times Steve and I stayed up really late playing Catan with Rollie and Cait.

* The summer of 2009 was the summer that the girls and I tried to fit in as many trips to the beach as possible. The result? We love the beach and Tryn still talks about it at least once a week. She is going to love next summer.

* Berlin learned how to talk in 2009.

* Glad that Uncle Tim, Uncle Jordan, Uncle Joel, and Uncle Doug could all come and visit us at least once this year. The girlies sure love their uncles.

* Steve and I both started working at CPC this year. Steve had been unofficially working at CPC, but started officially in January. I started in September. This has been good for our lives in so many ways.

That's what comes to mind right now. Mainly, I am thankful that nothing bad happened to us this year. We didn't lose jobs, we didn't get in accidents, we didn't lose important people in our lives. It was a good year. Onward, to 2010.


(picture from last Christmas, my how they've grown.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Twas the day before Christmas
and all through the house
Not a creature was settled
No, not in my house.

The stockings were hung
But the presents not wrapped
The floor is not clean
The dishes not stacked

Meh. It's going to be too much work to finish that. You can probably get the gist of how I feel. I definitely do not have time to write a blog, but I am going to anyway!

So, nobody tried to guess what the girls first gift was, but I am going to tell you anyway. Because I am so nice like that. Here is a picture of the girls from last night in their gift!



Big huge absolutely adorable tutus!!! These might be the cutest tutus I have ever seen. Tryn calls it her "fancy" dress and Berlin thinks it is like the tutu that Fancy Nancy wears (we love Fancy Nancy in our house). The girls didn't take them off all day yesterday. Or today either.

Here's Berlin reading her morning newspaper book in her chair, wearing her tutu.



I even let the girls wear their tutus when we made our emergency run down to Cub for an emergency ham. We will have something to eat for Christmas dinner incase we get snowed in and can't make the trek up to Duluth tomorrow. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but we are prepared...just incase. I wouldn't normally let the girls wear tutus to the grocery store in a snow storm, but, heck, it IS Christmas after all. Isn't it? The girls were adorable walking around Cub in their tutus. No less than 10 people stopped to tell the girls how cute their skirts were and when we were walking across the parking lot a guy rolled down his truck window to yell me, "Those are perfect Christmas dresses!"

And I am feeling very sentimental about this sweet girl today. I don't know if it is because this is my fourth Christmas with her, the fact that she is going to start having Christmas memories, or the fact that she is just so darn excited about today and tomorrow, but I am just feeling that feeling. Like when I look at her my heart wants to burst and while I was eating breakfast and listening to her talk about Christmas I actually started to cry. And I am not an extremely emotional person. She is just getting so big. And beautiful. The funniest thing to me right now is that Tryn has no concept of life after Christmas. She keeps asking me, "Mom, what are we going to do after Christmas?" Like Christmas ends and the world ends. How could we go back to regular life after something so great?



Last night when I was putting Tryn to bed she asked me what we were going to do today and I said, "Well, we are going to make cookies for Santa! And open a present! AND, it's going to snow all day!!" You should have seen how big her eyes got. It's hilarious because she just thinks that's what happens on Christmas, it snows! Of course.

And we did bake some cookies for Santa. I cheated and just bought the pre-made dough during our grocery run though, because I am that kind of mom. And I may or may not have snapped this picture of Berlin eating a huge spoonful of frosting before I told her to stop, because I thought it was so cute, and because I am that kind of mom.




AND, I may or may not have gotten this huge box of assorted dark chocolates at the store this morning too. Just incase. There may or may not already be one missing. Because I am that kind of mom.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gift

Trynica and Berlin received and opened their first Christmas gift today. Gennae, our wonderful upstairs neighbor, gave them each a gift that they used the entire day. They loved it! Can you guess what it is?



I will post a picture of them using it tomorrow if you can't figure it out!

Also, I think this is hilarious. I gave Tryn a tangerine tonight and this is what she did with it before she ate it. She also "interacted" with each piece before she ate it. She was pretending something, but talking too quietly for me to hear what she was actually saying. Gosh, I just love this girl. She may not look a thing like me, but there are definitely some ways that I know she is my daughter! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Holidays

Something really, really great about the holiday season? Well, Christmas cookies, of course!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Not Important Important Details

I said that we decorated the tree, but I forgot about the most exciting part! The first year that Steve and I got married we got some red, gold, and white ball ornaments for the tree. Then, slowly, we added things here and there, until the past two three years we have mainly had a white, silver, and gold tree - with a little bit of orangey-brown, one of my most favorite colors of all time. This year, as we pulled out all our tree decorations we decided, at 9:30pm, that we needed an update. This is one of the great things about living here. We called upstairs and found out that Kevin and Gennae were home, in exchange for some homemade apple pie (and which they normally do this for us out of the kindness of their hearts, regardless of apple pie or not) they took a monitor for us and we were able to run out to Target. Also, kudos to Target for having extended holiday hours and being open until 11:00pm so that people like Steve and I can decide last minute to change our tree decorations.

What we did was add blue to the orangey-brown that we already had and ended up with a tree that has my all time current favorite color combination right now, blue and orangey-brown. When we buy a house I really want to have an orange and blue bathroom or bedroom, it's my fav. I love our tree results. Love.

I also, for the first time ever, put candy canes on the tree. I don't like candy canes, nor do I really like them on my tree, but I knew that the girls would be excited about them. And they were/are. Oh, the sacrifices of a mother. :)


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Holiday

That's what the British call it, right? When you go away for a weekend or have a break from work it's called "holiday"? Like, this last weekend we had a mini-holiday. I think. I guess my sister-in-law can let me know if I am wrong, seeing as she was born in England and all. Anyway, we did have a mini-break or...whatever.

As I mentioned, Steve had the weekend off and we officially did just about nothing. I mean, we did a lot, but, really, we did nothing.

Friday morning Steve took off to have some time alone. Tryn had a friend pick her up and bring her to Disney on Ice where she got to see life size princesses skating around - pretty much mini-heaven for her. Berlin and I stayed home and did all sorts of important things like play with Play-dough, dress up babies, and read books.


We also did really important things like write letters to Santa to tell him what we want for Christmas.




Steve helped Tryn draw pictures of what she wants. She wants glass slippers (check!), the new Snow White movie (check!), a ball, and a doll with a pink dress. Also, though, when I asked her what she really wanted, if she could have one thing, she said, "Well...a boat. Because I don't have a little boat." ?!?! I don't know, don't ask me. Berlin wants a green dress, glass slippies, a princess, and a book. Unfortunately, we forgot to take the letters out of the mailbox today before the mailman came and he actually took the letters. I have no idea what he is actually going to do with them, I intended to keep them. *Sigh*

We also played with princess stickers, of course. How can a day be complete without princess stickers?! It can't.

I took a picture of Berli's shiner so I could show you all. Sad :( This was the second day, the third day actually looked the worst though as far as color goes. Poor baby.

And Berlin practiced being a good mommy to Teddy.


One fun activity that we did do on Saturday morning was take the girls to the new movie The Princess and the Frog. It's the new obsession in our house, of course. Tryn's new favorite princess is Princess Tiana from the movie. It was Berli's first time seeing a movie in a theater and she pretty well. Her max attention span is about 45 mins to an hour for a movie, then she just gives up and gets bored. It was the same in the theater. Thankfully, she loves popcorn and ate more than anyone else (except me:p), it was a great distraction.

On Sunday we stayed home all day. Steve and I watched our first whole Vikings game together this season. It was perfect.

The end.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh, Just Thursday

I asked Tryn what she wanted to do tonight and she said play Hide and Seek, so we did. The first time she hid I found her in plain view sitting on top of my bed. The second time she was laying on the couch giggling with her hands over her eyes (so I couldn't see her). It was hilarious. I think we need to work on the goal of that game a little bit. Especially since every time I hid and she couldn't find me right away the panic in her voice rose in serious levels. Like I said, it was humorous.

One of my children got her first black eye yesterday. Can you guess who? :) Yes, it was Berlin. She was climbing into her chair for dinner trying to "do it self!" and attached the tray to her chair. Well, she fell off the chair onto the floor and her face connected with the tray that was still, sort of, in her hands. She had a huge welt on her cheek bone right below her left eye (thank goodness she didn't hit her eye) and today the underneath part of her eye is purple-ish. So sad. The term "act like a baby" really shouldn't be used as much as it is though, she is acting far better about a black eye than I would. I don't even think she remembers at this point. She didn't mention it all night. I would've.

So, that's it. It's just Thursday. And I am very excited about the weekend!! Steve finally has another weekend off!! I don't know if you remember, but I blogged about the last weekend he had off. It was Labor Day weekend back in September. Steve was asking me what I wanted to do this weekend and I suggested that we just stay home. Our girls are not at all used to have both parents home at the same time for more than about three hours max, so this could be fun for them. Here's to the our upcoming family days this weekend! Though they are few and far between, I am sure they will be fun and I am sure there will be pictures to share!

And I know, this picture of Berlin is a little blurry, but doesn't it still melt your heart? Even blurry? It does mine.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Appeal

I made this really great dinner last night. I can’t take any credit for it, I got it out of a Real Simple magazine. It’s healthy and easy, which is the best!! In fact, it’s so easy that I can give you the recipe right now!

You need two sweet potatoes, cut up into long thin-ish wedges (about half an inch to an inch thick). This is the hardest part of the making the meal. Sweet potatoes are so hard to cut!! I feared for my fingers at one point. Anyway, cut up them up and put them in a roasting pan. Then cut up one purple/red onion into larger wedges and add them to the pan. Toss these with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, fresh or dried Thyme (I used dried because I am not cool enough to always have fresh on hand), and a little salt and pepper. Make sure to use enough EVOO that all the potatoes get some, otherwise the outsides will be dry and not as yummy. Now, the original recipe says to cut up a whole small chicken. No. Don’t have time. Instead, I just used some chicken legs. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and put them on top of the sweet potato and onion mix. Put it in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Voila! Done and so, so yummy.

I love this meal, probably more than anyone in my family. The girls love the chicken, but not the veggies, Steve likes the veggies, but not oven baked chicken so much. I love the whole thing. Anyway, the point…

As I was cutting up dinner Tryn starting whining, “Mom, I don’t want to eat sweet potatoes! I don’t like sweet potatoes! I don’t want to eat them.”

I turned to her and said, very sternly, “Trynica, that is not a nice thing to say. You are not allowed to talk that way about the dinners that mommy makes for you. You don’t have to like everything, but you are not allowed to whine and you are not allowed to say that you don’t like it before you have even taken a bite.”

She was really quiet for two whole minutes.

Then, in a way that I swear I didn’t figure out until I was 16 years old, she made an appeal. This was the very next thing she said to me, in a very calm and non-whiny voice, “Well, Mom, do you think that maybe I could not eat the sweet potatoes? Like maybe I could only eat this many bites?” she held up four fingers.

So I negotiated. She took six bites.

She would make a good lawyer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sweetest Voice

Here's just a taste of what I hear from the sweetest voice I know...

video

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Words?

There is something, maybe fortunate maybe unfortunate, that I think our girls get from me. They have a special ability to make up their own words. They will add or change sounds so that normal words are different. These are outside of the normal words, like fossball (softball) and princessessess that they regularly mispronounce.

Some of Tryn's:

Sophanator (Sophie, her dog)
Berlin-y-lynn (Berlin)
SpankyManke (Mankie/Blankie)

Tryn will really just try out any new sound along with a word to see how it sounds, which is something that I find myself doing occasionally - especially if it rhymes. It's just more fun that way.

Berlin even does it, although at a more limited level:

Slippies (slippers)
Shoesies (shoes)
Sockies (socks)

She mainly just likes to add "e" sounds onto the end of words that she can say perfectly fine otherwise.

Crazy kids. I don't know where they get these silly ideas from.
___________________________________________________________________

Haha!! Oh, and if you noticed who was in every single picture with Trynica in the previous post give yourself a pat on the back. Yes, she was with Tryn the entire time.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And Then, The Tree

I love the holiday season. Truly, I do. Of course, I am so thankful for the reason there is even a Christmas season. However, I also just really love everything about the end of November and all of December. I love the decorations, the lights, cookies, holiday desserts, traditions, advent, candles, snow (when there is any), and I even love the busy stores. I might be a holiday season junky.

I don't overly decorate our house, or really decorate our house at all. But I love getting the Christmas tree. I love to get it the day or two after Thanksgiving so that we can have it up for as long as possible, mainly because I just think Christmas trees are beautiful. So it has become our tradition to get our tree Thanksgiving weekend. And, if possible, we love to cut down our own. Here are some pictures.









What's great about this place that we found up north of Andover is that there are short little hayrides with a wagon pulled by actual horses and...Santa Claus is there. Tryn has never visited Santa, mainly because the whole mall Santa thing in the cities is ridiculous. I don't want to stand in line for 20 minutes with the chance that the kids won't want to talk to Santa anyway/cry when they actually see him. Fortunately, Tryn marched right up to him like it was no big deal. He asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she told him she needs new glass slippers (as several of hers are broken). When he asked Berlin she copied Tryn, of course, and said that she wanted "slippies" too. It's my favorite that she calls them slippies.






It was fun. I learned something about Steve in the process as well. He is much pickier about what our tree looks like than I am. I would say, that compared to him, I am not really picky at all. So I have to give him the credit, he found our perfect tree. It's a good one. The only sad part of the day is that Berlin lost one of her cute gloves forever out in Christmas tree land. Bummer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Sorts of Thanksgivingness

I made this for Thanksgiving

and this

both for the first time ever, and they were wonderful. I am normally not a pie person, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate are my weaknesses. However, I have had three pieces of this apple pie so far, and I will probably have one more. It is so wonderful. The cheese ball was pretty much a total miracle. I have never made anything close to resembling a cheese ball and can't remember the last time I actually ate one. And I forgot to look at a recipe before we went grocery shopping, so after we got home I researched cheese balls based only on ingredients that I already had. This one contained Worcestersire sauce, green chilies, and garlic. Sounds nasty, right? It was SO good. I can't believe it. Seriously, a miracle. I am not trying to say I am a good cook here. I am saying, "Oh my goodness!! I made something and it actually turned out!! Not only did it turn out, it was good. Good enough that I want to eat it again." That's all.

Here's Steve with his hand up a turkey bottom.

Actually, here he has his hand between the meat and the skin, working on putting the herb rub all over the turkey. Also, so yummy.

I felt a little bit like Rachel Ray or Martha Steward or some really great creative interior designer when I had the idea of doing this for place cards.

I wrote on Christmas tree balls with a silver sharpie, and voila! Cute little place cards to hang from the glasses. It also added a nice touch of color to the table.

Everyone chipped in, even Rollie, who helped peel potatoes.

And yes, those are mimosa ingredients on the counter, if you were wondering. And Tums and an iPhone.

This is my beautiful friend Cait

who made all sorts of dishes like creamed corn, green bean casserole (with frozen green beans, not canned, which makes all the difference in the world, kind of want to eat some more of it right now), and lemon-pear salad. Such yummy food!!

The girls, in their new holiday dresses (a.k.a. "party dresses", as Tryn called them when I got her dressed that morning) spent a lot of time taking advantage of our friend Stew.


They played catch and read books. Stew was a good sport about it, like I said, everyone pitched in.

This picture is here for one reason only.

Can you figure out why? Probably not. Well, see the reflection in the potato pot? Yup, the camera and headless body? That's me. The only picture of me from the entire day. Moving on.

Although this is the funniest picture of the day, this is, unfortunately, the last picture of the day.

By this point we were running around in a stressful totally calm and composed manner trying to get everything done and on the table. In the chaos I forgot to make the cranberry sauce and we forgot to bring out Cait's lemon-pear salad, which we still got to eat later during snack/seconds/dessert time. I also didn't get any pictures of our other guests, Dan, Sinead, and Gabi. Or Kevin, who came over for breakfast. Nor our friend Ryan, who stopped by after work to partake in snack/seconds/dessert time with us. Didn't take any pics of the table all set up so pretty, nor my absolute favorite Thanksgiving food - sweet potato pie. I am also not a sweet potato person. I don't dislike sweet potatoes, but I don't really like them either, they are just meh to me. Except when they are sweet potato pie. I can't wait for leftovers dinner (again!) tonight.

I am thankful for all our friends who came over to celebrate Thanksgiving with our little family this year. It was absolutely, completely, totally, and especially so much fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

T-day, 33 hours and counting

Goodness, it almost seems as if I have forgotten how to blog!! I was doing pretty well, then November hit. It's almost like November 1 comes and life feels automatically 5x's busier! This last weekend I was in Brainerd hosting a baby shower for my sister - who, as I have mentioned, is bringing my first niece into this world. I think I also mentioned that I was very excited about that, still am :)

But what has kept me even busier than the preparation for a baby shower is that Steve and I have been preparing for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. See, Steve and I stay here for Thanksgiving. We don't go anywhere, see any family, and this is our choice. It started one year when I had to work the day before and the day after Thanksgiving...like my boss literally would not give me either of those days off. Only a certain number of people could be gone at one time and I was one of the newest employees, stupid company. Ahem. Anyway, instead of driving 4 hours in one day just to go eat a meal with people, we decided to stay home and make our own Thanksgiving dinner. That year we made ham because we were too scared to make a turkey and we had a really great time. We decided staying home for Thanksgiving was fun and have done it almost every year since.

Two years ago I realized that a turkey did not cost $50, as I always thought it had, and decided to give it a shot. I figured if I ruined $10 and Steve, Tryn, and I were the only ones to suffer that it wouldn't be so bad. We also bought some ham for a backup. I had no idea how to cook a turkey, but this is why I love the internet. I typed in something really brilliant like "how to cook a turkey" into Google and was rewarded with hundreds of recipes. After reading maybe 10 I just picked one. Oh, it was so yummy. It turned out perfectly. It actually tasted so much better than I ever remember turkey tasting. I don't know if that is because we made it or because our recipe was just that good, but mmmmm. Delish. Steve and I have made it three times since with the same results, so I think there might be something to be said for the recipe.

Anyway, this is the first year that we are also having friends over for Thanksgiving and are hosting the big old turkey day like real adults! (Seriously, by the way, what is up with all the adult-ish-ness in my life lately?!) We are totally excited and just got back from our grocery-shopping-for-thanksgiving-day-trip. Ugh. It will be worth it though, and I, of course, will post pictures :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Love You

On Saturday Steve, the girls, and I were shopping. Steve and I were busy and distracted, on a mission I guess you could say. We were at Ikea and we each took a cart, one for each girl to sit in. I was pushing the cart with Berlin and every time we walked away from Steve and Tryn she would start to get worried, "Daddy? Daddy! Daddy?" until I would point Steve out to her and then she would, very relieved, say, "Ah-is!" (i.e. there he is).

There were times when we were also walking next to each other. During one of these times Berlin was trying to get Steve's attention, "Daddy. Daddy...Daddy. Daddy. Daddy." She persistently just kept repeating his name, and he was distracted, looking around, trying to manage the crowds of people with his cart. When he finally realized that she was trying to get his attention he asked her, "What Berli?"

"I uv oo!" She told him.

This was the first time she has ever said, "I love you," without coaching, prompting, or someone saying it to her first. Out of the blue, she just wanted to tell her daddy, "I love you." It was just about the sweetest thing ever.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Grownups

I had a little shock of reality last night. We went to some friends house for dinner. They have two little girls only months apart in age from our little girls. Our friends Justin and Rebecca (who live in our building) were also there with their daughter Addi who is two months older than Berlin. There were five little girls running around the house ranging in age from 18 months to 3 years old. They actually all got along famously and played really well together. At one point during the evening four of the five of them were decked out in princess attire - just about the cutest thing ever. I managed to get this one picture with my iPhone just before it died, but you can at least get the gist of things.



Aren't they all adorable?

The kick of reality came when I was sitting at the dinner table and was struck with the thought, "Shoot! I am a grownup!" We were having a deep discussion about being pro-life and pro-war and how one person can believe in both of those things at the same time. Then I realized that my parents used to sit around with their grownup friends and have very similar discussions. And it was always so boring! And they were always so grownup and I never really understood most of what they were talking about. And couldn't understand why in the world they would want to sit around and talk about things like that. And I realized, shoot, I am part of The Grownups now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, my heart

Tryn has always been a happy sleeper. What I mean by that is that once she learned how to put herself to sleep when she was three months old we have not had a problem with her going to sleep or waking up. We have always just laid her down and, without crying, she will go to sleep. Then, when she wakes up she will just talk to herself and play, completely happy, until we come to get her - no matter how long it takes us. She never starts crying for us to come and get her. She still does this, and will wake up from her afternoon naps and the only way we know she is awake is that we eventually will hear her playing with Sophie or her blankies.

Berlin is different. I feel that the very best benefit to Trynica and Berlin sharing a room right now is that Tryn has taught Berlin a lot about being happy pre and post sleep. Every morning when the girls wake up together we never hear crying. We hear lots of playing and happiness. Because of Tryn. It is the longest time that the girls spend together during the day when we don't hear any screaming or fighting...maybe because Berlin is confined to her crib :). It's nice because we don't have to jump out of the bed the second they wake up.

However, when Berlin wakes up alone from her naps, she is not such a happy camper. She doesn't scream and cry, but she normally wakes up with a little maddness. Then she will just sit in her crib and pick someone to call for, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY, mommy," or "Daddy, daddy, daddy...daddy, DADDY, daddy." Over and over again until someone will come and get her. Today was the first time that Berlin woke up and didn't call for me or Steve. Instead she called, "Tryn, Tryn, TRYN...Tryn, Tryn, Tryn."

It made my heart happy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Typical Saturday Morning

What do we do on a typical Saturday morning in the Haines household? Play with toys, of course.