Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Card Reveal!

I think most everyone should  have gotten our Christmas Card by now, so it's time for the blog reveal haha. (In the interest of being thrifty this year  I didn't order as many as usual---and I know a lot of family and friends read this blog and see all the pics here anyways! So don't feel bad if you didn't receive a hard copy.)

This card was *not* what I envisioned---it was cold and windy so Raya's hair is all  over and their little faces were turning red haha. And trying to get a picture where they were looking *and* holding the letter so that  it was readable was a challenge. But  hopefully everyone can appreciate my intention LOL.

Click photo to enlarge

And on another side note...I have never taken the girls to see a mall Santa. That is just one thing that I don't r emember doing as a kid and it's never been a "must do" item on my holiday activity list. Plus Raya  hasn't really cared until  now anyways.

Well today we were at the mall and Raya saw Santa. She seemed like she wanted to see him so I was trying to read the sign (because  I had no idea if you had to pay money to sit on his lap or what) and before I knew it *both* girls were stinkin' sitting on Santa's lap and Raya was rattling off her wish list! haha. She had no fear---and Brielle was smiling away (and I find it funny that if my brother so much as looks at Brielle funny she screams, and yet she runs up and sits on the lap of a strange man in a red suit without a problem!)

The lady working there then told me it was free to sit on Santa's lap...good to know! I  skipped the picture because frankly we hadn't really dressed for pictures today. But now  that I  know they love Santa maybe we'll  go back for a picture another day.

Raya  told Santa she wanted a "bake oven" and "pink kitchen" ....luckily Grandma is getting her an easy bake oven and "santa" already has the pink kitchen---we're good! :-)

Lastly, in case you're curious both girls slept all night without issue again last night. We got this sharing a room thing mastered ;-)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Mouse

First off, I  have the best kids ever! Get this--I put the girls to bed last night, they were both asleep within jsut a couple minutes, I woke up at *6:30am* this morning and was like "OMG, they slept all night!" ....and then I went to listen at their door and I heard quiet talking and giggling. So I opened the door and what  do I see? Raya *in* Brielle's bed, cuddling her, and them both giggling! Awwww...stinkin' melt my heart! Then Raya said "Mama, we're having a sleepover until it's morning and you come get us!" 

Needless to say I  think Brielle is officially moved to her  big girl bed---she's awesome! When I mention bedtime now Brielle even says "no, big bed!" because she gets worried I'm going to put her in the crib and she knows she's a big girl now haha.

Someone asked on my last post about how we switched Raya over to a big girl bed...and honestly, it was just as easy! We didn't move her until she was almost 2.5 years though...when we moved into this house we just never set up her crib in her room---we moved her straight the a twin and she slept all night from day one. So i guess my only  advice to someone thinking about making this transition is  to just do it! And then if you don't luck out like I did you can troubleshoot from there. But clearly some kids are able to transition without blinking an eye, and thankfully I got two of those kids it looks like!

In other news, tonight Raya had her first ballet performance! She was a mouse in the Holiday Showcase. It's just an informal "recital" he studio puts on this  time of year, and since Raya is in the  youngest class they didn't have costumes---just some face paint. They were mice and they did "fast feet" and made "whiskers" while they ran around on stage for 30 seconds hehe.  Some kids just stood there, but Raya had no fear! She came right out on stage, immediately spotted me (i have no idea how!) and screamed "Hi Mama!" and waved...and then proceeded to run around like a little mouse without a care in the world, and apparently oblivious to the auditorium full of people lol. Tonight when I was putting her to bed she said "sing me the  sunshine song  because I was the best mouse tonight!"  She's modest :-P

Here are some pics  I snapped once we got home---I didn't even try to take any while we were there---it  was too crowded and crazy!

She told me this was  her "mouse pose" ...ha!

Here is a quick "what Raya wore" segment---today to preschool she wore this show stopping number hehe. This is a perfect example of how you can take everyday "cheap" brands and create a stellar outfit :-) Jeggings and boots are Target, shirt is Walmart, and vest is BabiesRUs.

Today she found Twinkle the Elf and Dora the mermaid having a pool party in the bathtub---that's why she has Dora!

In the middle of her tantrum today Brielle paused to say "cheese" haha...what a dork!

Goodbye from the cutest mouse ever! :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Big girl bed UPDATE!

I've discovered something about myself---I  am constantly underestimating my girls. It  happens all the time when we gear up for big transitions especially. Like when I took  Raya's paci away, moved her out of her  crib, potty trained her, etc. etc.....I  always envision the worst possible scenario and then usually end up being  pleasantly surprised!

Last  night was no different. The girls went  to bed around 7:30 and were both sound asleep within 10 minutes. I never heard a peep from them until  3am (when Raya randomly woke up and  thought it was morning, and then when she was calling for me  she woke up Brielle). At that  time Raya went right back to sleep when  I explained  it wasn't morning, but  Brielle got confused so I did put her  in her crib at that time. But overall a great night!

And now today Brielle is still napping, and she's alone in her big girl bed  (because  Raya doesn't nap anymore)....and she did just  fine.

Dare I saw that within a week or so I might be confident enough to take  down the crib?! Fingers crossed, but  so far  it's been easy peasy! I think Brielle loves the bed too---she has more room, the mattress on her  new bed  is more comfy than the crib mattress, and she has all  kinds of blankets and pillow now to roll around on ;-) And Brielle  never once attempted to climb out of her  crib, and so far has  made no attempt to climb out of her bed either. She *can* climb out of the bed because she's done it numerous times when playing on Raya's bed before, but  it seems like she's going to do the same thing Raya did when we made the switch---which is bed too scared to get out of bed  without my "permission" ...which works out great!

And this morning the girls had fun "christening" the new bed by having a little  jumpfest ;-)

So yay Brielle! I  can't  believe what a big girl  you have become--thanks for making things a little easier on your Mama :-)  up, getting rid of that bedtime paci! hehe.

To end today, a few random pics of Brielle  today---Grandma F. you will recognize this sweater as the one you got Raya, Harper, and Brielle back  when Brielle was first born! (Brielle now fits into the one originally bought for Raya!)

And goofy Raya, hiding under the barstool :-P
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

Here are some Tuesday Tidbits!

1) Happy 1st Birthday today to my nephew Ryan! We can't wait to see you in January :-)

Birthday  wishes from your cousins! (And cousins' cousins ;-)

2) Can you believe that today was  also Twinkle the Elf's birthday?! Yeah, I had no idea either.

The girls were watching TV while I was still sleeping (early) this morning....I woke up about 20 minutes after they were up to SCREAMS of "Mama, come quick!" I jump out of bed and run to the kitchen to see what is wrong---and then realized that they had simply found Twinkle for the day lol

Raya loved this mornings set up. She was very excited about the "friends" Twinkle had chosen to invite to her party haha.

Now the reason Twinkle is often on the counter is to keep her out of reach of Brielle! But after I took this picture I realized the elf was a little creepy sitting there next to our knives LOL

It made me think of this ecard I saw on Pinterest the other day

Sawyer was very interested in our elf. Once  he figured out how she  "worked" he got right  down to business with Raya, showing  Twinkle various Toys-R-Us ads for items he wanted her to tell  Santa that he wanted ;-)

The kids also all made  Twinkle birthday cards today.
3) Today all the cousins enjoyed the Christmas lights on our little trees :-) We're planning  to get our real tree on Saturday!

4) Lastly, tonight Lee picked up Brielle's new bed, which was finally ordered in! We got it all  set up and Raya *insists* that we at least try to have Brielle sleep in there tonight I am going to try laying them both down  and see what happens. I expect to get Brielle not long after and stick  her in the crib, but maybe she'll surprise me! I'm anxious to take the crib down and turn that room into a playroom! :-)

We still need to paint the other  nightstand and put it  on the other side of the tree. And behind Rayas bed is our really old kitchen set, which we will be throwing away after santas visit :-P

The big wall above Brielles  bed  is just waiting for me to decide what  I want to do there haha. I'm debating many ideas. I also want to maybe do monograms above their beds---either on the wall or mounted directly on the headboards---not quite sure yet.
Wish  us luck tonight! lol.

**ETA: Within 5 minutes Raya was asleep...I heard Brielle say "Raya?" one time and then she fell immediately asleep too! I'm still bracing for a middle of the night freak out, but so far so good!.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Twinkle the Elf check-in

In case you missed my initial Elf on the Shelf blog post, be sure  to look back  a couple days to find out how we first met Twinkle :-)

Twinkle  has been here a few days now, and she has been doing an amazing job of keeping Raya's tantrums in check lol. If Raya is on the verge of tears or tantrum I  just shake  my head and  say "oh, poor Twinkle is going to have to  report this to Santa" and then Raya immediately dries her tears and says "I'm being good Mama!" in her *sweetest* possible voice :-P Brielle on the other hand does not  fear Twinkle in the slightest---she continues to tantrum away!

There are no shortage of ideas online as to difference scenarios you can set up for your Elf on the Shelf...but  I've learned three things so far. First, all  of my ideas must  take place well out of the reach of Brielle's little  hands. This means that pretty much everything takes place above counter height! This limits my options greatly. Two, I  don't think Raya would really "get" and appreciate some of the more elaborate elf  set ups (I  mean, if  she is thrilled by me spending 15 seconds  sticking a random item in Twinkles hand, then why waste any more time doing something more complicated, right? haha. I'll save all  the better  ideas for next year when  she cares!). Three, Raya LOVES it when Twinkle takes  something of hers. Pretty much all  month long all  I have  to do is  move Twinkle to various spots around the house, each time having her  hold a different item of Rayas :-)

So with  all  that in mind, here is what Twinkle has  been up to.

After her first trip to report back  at the North Pole Raya woke  up and discovered Twinkle and  Minnie swinging together from our fruit stand.

Lee told me this was a little  innappropriate haha---they were just swinging and having fun people!

Raya loved that Twinkle took  her toy and told Twinkle to put Minnie back the next time she went to the North Pole.

Then the next morning Minnie  was back  in the toy box, but we found  Twinkle on top of our little Christmas tree---eating one of Raya's suckers!!

Raya's wheels immediately  started turning and she said "Mama, Twinkle will get all  sticky  if she eats that! I think she can just let me eat it"   haha. I told her we'd have to see what  Twinkle decided to do!
So then this morning Raya woke  up and saw this sitting at her spot at the table

Raya  happily ate it with her breakfast this morning haha---hey, who am I to argue with Twinkle's request! :-)
And then after breakfast  Raya found Twinkle....

Hanging around in the laundry room!

She  had washed Raya's panties! Silly  Twinkle :-)    ...Raya thought this was just the most hilarious thing she had ever seen....she laughed and laughed

So Twinkle is now quite  a silly member of the family and Raya  is really  enjoying it! Brielle on the other hand is much too young and doesn't understand any of it, although when she hears you mention Twinkle she always runs to wherever Twinkle is and points her out and squeals excitedly that she  "found" her lol

(On a side note, see the polkadot skirt Twinkle is wearing above? Well through a mistake on Amazon's part I ended up with two of those, and I'm looking to pass my extra on to someone. However I think  the g irl elves are new  and so far everyone I've  asked has boy elves! So if you have a girl elf and would like a skirt for her please message me through my Etsy shop and let  me know your address and I'll  send it to you! First person to message me can  have  it :-)

Can't  wait to see where  Twinkle shows up tomorrow!

In other news, our house is now officially decorated....and seriously, lights are a big rip off! No wonder we never did them before haha. For *3* strands of lights we paid $60 (granted they were the LED ones or whatever for high efficiency, but  still!) needless to say Lee wasn't spending much more than that! So this is how our HUGE light display turned  out hehe ;-)

Raya is  absolutely thrilled  though and thinks our house  is "beautiful" now
We should try and get some after Christmas sale lights for next year to add to our big display!

Of course poor  Lee had one of the coldest days so far to stand out there and put up lights  haha.  The girls wanted to help too, so I bundled them up!

Ready to go!

They didn't  last out there for  long though---watched from inside!
The last bit of news today is that we brought out the holiday clothing! I like to get everything holiday themed and/or festive colors gathered up so we can make sure to wear it all month long!

I love  this Gap shirt and hoped Raya could wear it one more year, but  it's officially too small lol...we'll  put it away after  today!

Brielle in Gymboree penguins! I  found a big  lot  of used Gymboree  penguin stuff for an awesome price, so she's also got some other penguin stuff this year :-)

More of Brielle's  stash---everything is either  hand me down, bought  second hand, or bought ahead at last year's after xmas sales for dirt cheap!

The last of Brielle's  stash---once again, nothing bought new in store this year! Love bargain hunting :-)

Raya's stash is not nearly as great because  she doesn't get hand me downs! But  all of hers is also either  used, handmade by me, or bought dirt cheap at after xmas sales last year. The only "new" thing I bought  her  in store this year was that ballerina outfit from Crazy 8.

I'm stretching---sorry Raya....cherries  are kinda xmas-ish right? lol

So look out for cute  fashion shows  I"m sure of  all these goodies in the coming weeks! :-)

And to  end, speaking of hand-me-downs, I  had to laugh at Raya this morning. This is what I posted on my facebook  page after talking to her today:

"Brielle was wearing Raya's hand-me-downs today and I said something like "you wore these as a baby Raya, but now they are too small so Brielle can wear them" ...too which she replied, "no, I didn't give them to Brielle because they were too small--they just weren't nice anymore and I only wear nice things. She can have them because they aren't even nice anymore" LOL---and so it begins! :-P"

Heads up on Cyber Monday deals!

Here's a quick rundown of some children's clothing cyber monday deals you may want to check out!

First up, Gymboree is $15 dresses, $15 sweaters, $10-12 fleece, and free shipping with no minimum purchase for rewards members (free to become a rewards member---not a credit card!)  Gymboree
You can stack a coupon too, and there are 20% coupon codes floating around  everywhere right now. At one time I heard you can text the word GIFT to 38109 for a 20% coupon---not sure if that is still  working, but worth a try!

Next up is Crazy 8...nothing  insanely exciting here, but they are doing an additional 25% off everything, plus free shipping over $50. You can stack a coupon on top of this sale too. There promo today for cyber monday is $8 skirts, and with a coupon on top that's a pretty good deal. Crazy 8

My favorite Naartjie is doing free shipping with no minimum purchase today, which they pretty much never do. And  shipping for them is usually $7 even if it's just one item, so that's a good deal! They are also doing one item every 2 hours today that is 50% off---seems like mostly leggings and various odds and ends, but if you happen to want one of those items it's an awesome deal. The free shipping alone is good though. Naartjie

Boden USA is also having a pretty much  unheard of sale right now. We only own 2 boden things (bought used) right now because they are really pricey, but their stuff is sooooo cute! And I actually bought a couple things during this sale because it's a great deal. It's 30% off, plus if you use the code "Q753" you get an additional 25% off and free shipping!!! Things sell out quickly during a sale like this so sizes are a little picked over, but check  out some of their adorable applique shirts and stuff. Boy stuff at Boden is REALLY CUTE too! (If unfamiliar with sizing I find they run a little big. Raya is normally a 4T/5T is other brands, and can almost get away with the 3/4 at Boden. So don't order up.  Mini Boden

Lastly Gap/Old Navy/etc. are doing 30% off today.

So enjoy shopping!!! (And no, I didn't buy at all these stores today! LOL....just online browsing for the most part, but I did get myself some adorable Gymboree giraffe line (which just came out today!) and those couple Boden things :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving part 2

I've got a ton to do tonight so I'll keep this short! Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with my immediate family and Lee's parents as well. We took some family photos, but unfortunately I had  my shutter speed set really low for some reason! So lots of them got really blurry---damn! Oh well, at least the ones we were taking for my mom's Xmas card seem fine.

The ones for my mom's card are top secret for now, but here are a few others---enjoy!

A Christmas card outtake :-)

I know, we're just so adorable :-P

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Twinkle the Elf update, as well  as a peek into the girls' holiday clothing stash! Which I fully intend to dig into very soon hehe.