Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#DisneyKids Preschool Playdate

Show Your Disney Side 
*I received free products in order to host this Disney Kids Preschool Paydate. The opinions expressed here are my own.

We got back from Walt Disney World Resort almost 2 months ago, and we are in withdrawal! After the fun we had at our last #DisneySide playdate, we couldn't wait to share some more Disney magic with our friends!  This time we invited Jake and the Never Land Pirates fans for some swashbuckling fun.  The kids ate healthy snacks, like gluten & cholesterol free Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps  (cholesterol free is very important in our house), enjoyed some new toys and games (Who Shook Hook was my favorite), and talked Disney! The kids had a blast, and I got to spend some quality time with friends before my return to work.
JD and O enjoyed burying doubloons in the Kinetic Sand . This is going to be great all winter while we are missing the beach. 
Jake Party table
My boys are currently using those Mickey chore charts on the left to earn new MEGA Bloks sets.
A was able to dig up the treasure without putting down his Clif Kid ZBar  
O became a crunchmaster finishing off these crackers.  (The boxes in the back are the supplies to make our wedding favors.  Major crafting posts coming soon!)
The bigger boys couldn't be pulled away from the MEGA Bloks.
boys in Jake Ts
The boys were rockin their Jake gear!  Some were happier than others to stop playing to pose. 
Jake goodies
Everyone went home with a bag full of Jake goodies and Disney Side luggage tags for their next trip!
If you are interested in hosting your own Disney-themed playdate or party, tons of ideas, recipes, and printables can be found here.

*Thank you to Walt Disney World Resort and MomSelect for providing free products for our playdate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November Update

Apparently it's November.  Mid November.  And we packed so much in the past two months, that including it all in one post will be a challenge.  

We celebrated K3's baptism.  It was the first time we had all our friends and family over to the house, and thankfully we had some great help with set up and food!
baptism family portrait

baby in baptism suit

We went to Disney and Great Wolf Lodge.  Traveling with an infant is a lot easier than it looks, and K3 was certainly the easiest to please no matter where we went.

family disney pickid at great wolf lodgebaby at great wolf

O turned 4!  We celebrated by going to the aquarium with our family and then hosting a scientist party for his classmates and friends.
o at aquarium

little scientist

I had a tough time handling my emotions when my baby turned three, but four has been pretty awesome.  He's grown into such a thoughtful, sweet, and silly big brother, and so far I'm loving this age.

We enjoyed Halloween. I bought their costumes as soon as Party City put them out in August to make sure they had their favorite turtle in their size.  I should have bought out all the Elsa costumes they had at the time and sold them on ebay. 
3 ninja turtles

This baby is growing and growing and growing.  He started rolling over the day of his 2 month well visit and hasn't stopped.  He is constantly trying to roll, no matter where we put him or how he is restrained.

2 month old3 month old

baby sleeping on belly

And the biggest time suck of all is that I've been dealing with some health stuff and had open abdominal surgery last week, which required fitting in lots of doctor appointments and scheduling help with the kids.  
After birthing three kids and thinking that I'm pretty much a super hero, I vastly overestimated my pain threshold and underestimated the seriousness of the procedure.  I still cannot wrap my brain around how much my incision hurts.  We planned to bottle feed K3 during and after the procedure until anesthesia was out of my system and I could switch to safe-for-breastfeeding pain meds.  It seemed like a sensible plan- for someone who didn't understand exactly what I would be feeling like after surgery.  I didn't know how hard it would be to sit up, (I HAD to pump. WHY can't the pump do it's job while I'm lying down?) and the okay-while-breastfeeding pain meds made me woozy and the baby drowsy.  So I chose stabbing pain over nausea and guilt. The mom guilt never ends.
I'm still technically not supposed to be lifting more than 10 pounds, but with a 14 pound baby, that isn't realistic.  I'm very thankful for the awesomeness of my mom and Keith for keeping everyone alive and entertained and clean, and hopefully I'll be walking upright by my return to work this month.
There will be a lot written about this return to work, but that's it for now.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back-to-School Interviews

While preparing this post, I watched the previous years' videos and shed a few tears.  I can't believe how quickly they are growing up and how they have changed/not changed at all.  
O still wants to wear whatever he is wearing the day of the video, and JD decides this year... clothes, duh. 
JD has (hopefully) reached the peak of this Ninja Turtle craze, and O is pretty evenly split between asserting his own favorites and wanting whatever his brother wants.  I hope this year in separate school buildings will help him develop his own individual preferences more.

For comparison, here is the 2012 post, and the 2013 videos for JD and O. It blows my mind that next fall K3 will have things like a favorite food, toy, and book.  I have no memory of how many words JD & O had at 12 months, but now I will probably spend too much time going through old videos to figure it out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mabel's Labels Giveaway

It's back-to-school time, which in our house means Mabel's Labels.  I've been ordering from Mabel's Labels since I met them at a media event years ago, and I keep going back.  I had already ordered labels for K3 when they contacted me to do a review and giveaway here, but the more labels the better!
Here is a Tag Mate on a smock.  We're big into hand-me-downs and sharing here, so I use the boys' last names on the labels.
We use them for labeling all the school supplies (smocks, lunchboxes, etc.) as well as clothing (coats, sweaters, hats... basically anything) and bedding and pillows.  JD and O used to bring labeled sippy cups to daycare and the labels lasted longer than the cups!  K3 will need a ton of labels for changes of clothes, bottles, diaper cream- and eventually food containers, sippies, and all that other toddler stuff I'm forgetting about.

We've used them to label sporting equipment and shoes- especially snow or rain boots that they change out of at school, and I would highly recommend labeling dance shoes and cleats.  (As a former dance teacher, nothing is worse than losing a toddler ballet slipper in a room full of little people changing in and out of identical shoes.)  
Lasted the whole season on JD's bat handle
The Ultimate Back-to-School Combo contains 40 Skinny-Minis (dishwasher & microwave safe), 50 Tag Mates (washer & dryer safe), 16 Shoe Labels (waterproof and UV resistant), and 2 metal Teeny Tags with rings (also waterproof and UV resistant).  You can choose colors and designs from a huge selection, and they ship super fast!

You can win an Ultimate Back-to-School Combo of your own with the easy entry below!  And if you don't want to wait to win, they are currently offering 10% off for signing up for their mailing list and free shipping (dispatched in 24 hours) on their website.

Disclosure: Mabel's Labels provided me with an Ultimate Back-to-School Combo to review and another to give away. All opinions are my own, and I've happily paid full price for all my other labels.  It's money well spent!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

September Update

With so much change happening over here, I want to start documenting it monthly.  So for now, I'm going to cover the kids, wedding planning, and other things that will eventually include going back to work and house buying.

3 brothers

JD had a big month! He is now riding his bike without training wheels!  Swinging independently is also a new favorite.  It seems like we've been explaining how to pump his legs for years, but something Keith said to him a couple weeks ago clicked, and now he's running straight to the swings and flying super high for the entirety of our playground visits.  He had his 5 year checkup and is tall, thin, and healthy.  I cannot wait to see how well he does in Kindergarten!

5 year old riding bike
very serious and cautious
O is now comfortable wizzing around on his two wheeler (with training wheels), and he also finished two sessions of swim lessons at the town pool.  He is fearless, funny, and totally determined to do everything his big brother does.

slowing down to smile
He asked me to take a picture of his sticker after class every day.
K3 is now 1 month old! He is a great sleeper and a very happy, easygoing little guy.  At his one month checkup we learned that he'd gained over 3 pounds and grew 2.5 inches.  We've had a lot of real smiles, and we sometimes catch him smiling at his toys on the bouncy seat, although it's love/hate for them. 

They can't get enough of him.  I'm hoping his first words aren't "get out of his face" because he hears it all day.
Personally, the transition to 3 boys has been going smoothly. I was nervous about forgetting things like how to burp a newborn, but it all came back.  We started giving K3  bottles of pumped milk at 3 weeks because I want to make sure there are no issues with bottles before I go back to work.   JD never took a bottle, and O wasn't a huge fan either, so even though pumping and washing bottles is annoying, I am committed to giving him at least one a day until I go back.  So far he's drinking it, but he's not really happy about it.
He's happy about almost everything else.
JD and O recently got back from spending a week with their dad.  It was good timing for Keith and I to have some bonding time with the baby, and the older boys had a lot of fun.  The house was too quiet and I missed them terribly, but the positive that I focused on was that I got to nap when the baby napped.  

JD left this note for me and told me to look at it when I missed him.  He's such a thoughtful, sensitive sweetheart.
There was also celebratory cake for keeping everyone alive and well this summer.
Wedding planning is slowly happening.  Most importantly, we've chosen a date for next June and booked the venue and band. 
We're getting married in the backyard of this beauty.
It will be an outdoor, tented reception, and we're going for a family-friendly, rustic-ish, North Fork feel.  We love that our caterer only uses foods from the east end of Long Island (Montauk tuna, Aquebogue duck, Peconic Bay clams, Briermere pies, etc.), and we're having fun picking out our menu.  
Keith has a big collection of antique bottles that I am hoping to incorporate.
We have a few ideas for decor/theme, but can't figure out colors. I have to start thinking about bridal dresses, but I really want to lose at least ten more pounds before I even think about trying on dresses.  My goal is to have as much of the planning (and paying) done before I go back to work so it doesn't feel stressful.  

I was really hoping to get an update posted on the first of every month, but since I already blew that, I'm going to aim for an update around the beginning of each month.  This will make up for the guilt I feel at being 4 years behind in getting pictures printed and into books- at least I'm preserving some moments in time so I can look back at them and smile whenever I'm about to lose my mind.

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