Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas!

Last year I mentioned that we weren’t sure how we were going to top 2016…well we figured out a way!! Our biggest news of the year was having a go at IVF, which thankfully was successful!  We are expecting our first biological babe in July 2018, our hearts are bursting with excitement and our nerves are hopeful this babe sticks around for the long haul!

We’ve kept ourselves busy yet again this year with a bit of travel: Disneyland twice (May and September) and decided to become Disneyland Passholders since we love it there so much, many trips to Selah to visit Thomas parents in their new home, a road trip to Montana, countless day trips to Vashon Island, and an 11 day cruise in the Baltic (Denmark, Norway, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden) with the girls and Ashley’s dad.   The girls are practically expert travelers at this point and have enjoyed every trip so far, Ellie keeps asking when we’re going back on our White Cruise Boat and Finnley is reminded of the cruise with every bite of cream cheese she has.  We are over the moon with making these memories with the girls and cannot wait to add another babe to our family – though life will definitely get a bit more tricky, we’re sure we can handle it and if not you can just find us all hiding out in Disneyland just trying to survive ;)

Thomas: is still teaching and has taken on a new subject, Psychology, which is keeping him busy.  Cycling and Fly Fishing are still his favorite hobbies and spending time playing with the girls is always at the top of his list.

Ashley: is doing well in the early stages of pregnancy, thankfully the nausea hasn’t been too bad although she does get exhausted half way through the day.  She is still nannying twice a week and enjoys keeping things real with her blog “Life with Kids”.

Ellie: started Pre-K this year and is excelling at her learning.  She can spell/write her name, identify most of the letters and can count to 40.  She started ballet this year and had her first recital in May, she loved it so much we signed her up again.  She loves to sing and dance and laughing is seriously her favorite thing to do.  Ellie is still as obsessed with Finnley as ever, and now is very excited about having another sibling to boss around and love on.

Finnley: is growing like a weed, she is only about 4 inches shorter than Ellie and she is running around causing trouble.  Her favorite things to eat come out of pouches (thank goodness for their creation) and Mac’n’Cheese.  Her vocabulary is growing by the day, though most of her words are hard to decipher.  Her love of Mickey Mouse runs deeper than any of us and while her facial expression is usually a stone cold stare…when she’s silly her faces are just the best.  Finnley is still enamored with her sister and is most comfortable with her around, though she has recently discovered the dogs…which they don’t seem to be too pleased about ;)

With Love,
Thomas, Ashley, Ellie and Finnley
The Farm Animals: Paladin, Ragtime, Cooper, Sakari, Annabelle, Penelope, Delilah, Stella, Ma and Solo

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Christmas Home Tour 2017

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to share our Christmas Home with y'all...but I guess that's life with two kiddos and a pregnancy.  SO here we go!!

We really tried to simplify our decor this year and honestly....I love it.  Just some light touches here and there, though I do dream of having some live pine/fir garland in our house but when you have a dog that's allergic you have to make sacrifices.

In our Living Room we put our tree in the corner again this year and I love how it completes the room. We actually got a new tree this year from Target, since our original one finally bit the dust last year.  It searched and searched for small airy artificial tree and I love it just as much as I thought I would.  We also went with colored lights, it took 4 strands to cover this little tree but it was well worth it.  I stopped in at Ikea to pick up some more of their boxwood wreaths because I love them so.

Last year my dad gave Ellie the Polar Express Train and it was perfect to go around our tree this year.  It's been quite the hit with all the kiddos.

just a sampling of the presents we had for Christmas Eve.

And then some touches in the bedrooms.

I have been on the lookout for an affordable Christmas pillow for our bed all season long that had more green than red and I finally found it in the Dollar Spot at Target and it's been the best addition to our room.

The girls rooms are pretty simple this year with some holiday sheets and their personal trees.

And that finishes up our simple Christmas Home Tour this year!  Thanks for stopping by.

♥ Ashley

Friday, December 22, 2017

Twas the Friday before Christmas...

and all through the house we were ready, or almost at least!!  I seriously cannot get over how quickly this season is flying by.  We officially entered the winter season yesterday and I am just so excited to experience Christmas with the girls again this year!  Last year was pretty magical when we got to celebrate with our two little munchkins and now its going to be even more special as we have another babe on the way!  This pregnancy thing is all pretty crazy, I had another appointment (first with my new clinic since I "graduated" from the RE) and they already scheduled me for my very first midwife appointment for next week!! It's just going by so quickly.

We've been pretty busy lately so let's give a little catchup on what's been going down here on the farm.

First things first, I've been debating over and over about trimming Ellie's hair.  I love her long hair and it has grown past the waist of her pants and since it's never been cut the ends are 4.5 years old and a bit scraggly.  So I was finally able to convince myself and my girl that we should just go ahead and get it over with.  It's been a really hard decision because I've been saying for years that she isn't allowed to cut her hair until she is 18 like Rapunzel, but I just couldn't handle it anymore...and she's been great going along with that idea too.  So after much debate we went for it.  I only took off about 3/4 of an inch and it made a world of difference.  Her hair is still super long and aside from it looking cleaner you can't really even tell that I cut anything off.

Another fun activity that Ellie and I did together was go to Belle's Christmas Party at this cute little party place downtown.  They whole place was decorated for Christmas with twinkling lights, decorated trees, garlands and wreaths galore.  They had activity stations set up for Cookie Decorting, Fairy Wings, Snow Globes, and Picture Frames as well as a station to sit and have a tea party with Belle herself! Once all of the kiddos made it to each station they then all got together for Belle to read them a story and sing a few Christmas Carols.  I was a bit skeptical of Belle's singing ability but she seriously knocked it out of the park and Ellie has the best time ever!

The girls and I also threw our annual Ladies Christmas Party a couple weekends ago and it was a total hit!! We got the house all decorated (more detailed post to come) and lots of friends in attendance!!  I totally went the easy route this year when it came to food, since I've been so exhausted lately and it all turned out smashingly!  I served some red wine, a couple different types of tea, and then all the foods: Irish Soda Bread, Pirates Booty, Hummus platter with veggies and pretzels, butterhorns with assorted jams, cheese plate with salami chips, rice crispy treats, assorted packaged cookies and a chocolate cake from Trader Joes.  Each guest got to take home a goody bag filled with candy canes, caramels, and a holiday tea bag.  The girls had a blast playing with their friends and I loved just hanging out with a bunch of ladies and fellowshipping with them.  My best friends made it and we all cracked up at how they are both practically a foot taller than me.

I've totally embraced being short and I love that my BFFs compliment that.

from Bump Buddies to Mom Buddies.  I wouldn't trade this 33 year old friendship for anything! (our moms were pregnant together and then we had our girls a month apart!!)

We seriously had the best time and I cannot wait until next year!

We have plans to visit Santa this afternoon and then Ellie and I are off with my MIL to watch the Nutcracker tomorrow!!  Happy Friday everyone and a Merry Christmas!!

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cruising with Kids (part 1)

This past August we had the opportunity to go on a cruise with my Dad to the Baltic Sea.  We went on an 11 day cruise and visited 7 countries Denmark, Norway, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden.  We added on a couple of extra travel days to Denmark and we really did have a fantastic time. We took two carry-on suitcases and two backpacks for the four of us.

 Diapers, food, and wipes for the entire trip

 clothes for all 4 of us for 14 days!!

Traveling over 12 hours on a plane with two kiddos is not for the feint of heart (especially when one of them is a lap child) but we were lucky that they both slept for parts of the trip 😉.  The craziest part of our whole trip was getting to Copenhagen, once again the flights that we chose had a very short layover time in Paris.  We had to go through security where they made us take out all 120 baby food pouches that we brought for Finnley to test and then when we got in line for customs there was an "emergency" and all but one of the agents left their stations.  So the process went excruciatingly slow...thankfully the couple in line in front of us had hours before their connecting flight so they let us cut in line in front of them (and that was our saving grace) we then had to run through the Paris airport trying to find our gate (with baby attached to my body) rode the wrong elevator and once we arrived at the gate they had already closed the boarding!!! I swore very loudly and elbowed my way past the line of people to the ticket counter and learned that we weren't the only ones in this predicament and they hadn't actually closed the plane door yet and we were all able to board!!  We finally made our way to Copenhagen, located our double stroller and made our way to the taxi line.  Our taxi driver was the best ever and gave us all sorts of information about all of Copenhagen, helped us to schedule our taxi for the following day to get to the boat and was just an overall stand up guy.  We actually rented an Air bnb and it was so lovely to have an apartment for the 5 of us rather than just a double room.

 passed out in the taxi on the way to our airbnb

Once in Copenhagen we walked around the city found a great spot for lunch, saw the house of Hans Christian Anderson and then made our way to our Air bnb since it was finally time for "check in".  The place was great and fit our needs we were all pretty exhausted, so we all laid down for a quick nap.  I kept waking up because I didn't know how long we were supposed to be napping for and gave myself a migraine.  We ended up sleeping through to the very early hours of the morning (3am) and all that was available to eat was some spaghetti noodles, so I cooked those up for the girls (myself included) and we just goofed around until it was an acceptable time to venture into the city...turns out the city is still asleep at 7am and not much action happens until 9am when the coffee shops open 😒...however the lack of people made for some awesome photo ops. We also walked over to the Rosenborg Castle and Grounds which were stunning.  There was a playground of sorts for the girls, a free public restroom, and the Castle itself was gorgeous...especially the Crown Jewels.  Once we got our fill we realized it was time to head back to the Air bnb to meet our taxi to take us to the boat.

 delicious burger and curly fries at Cocks & Brews

(Ellie was so exhausted she was passed out in the stroller, while Finnley was in the ergo with me...and then she peed and I got completely soaked.  And of course the bathrooms in Copenhagan are the size of a toilet with no surface to change a I had to change her on the floor - good thing I've gotten used to these sorts of quirks while out traveling. Also thankfully we still had our luggage with us so I was able to change)

 cute little train they have that gives tours around the city center

 at Nyhaven

 Hans Christian Anderson's old residence is now a restaurant

 finally in our AirBnb...passed out for the rest of the day!!  All four of us managed to sleep on the queen bed.

 empty streets of Copenhagen at 7am

empty streets of Copenhagen at 7am

empty streets of Copenhagen at 7am

Rosenborg Castle Gardens

Kids play area in Rosenborg Castle Gardens

Statue of Hans Christian Anderson

 more gardens at Rosenborg Castle Gardens

 from the Rose Garden looking at Rosenborg Castle

Then we were back to our Airbnb to wait for the Taxi to go to our boat.

We managed to get pretty lucky since we had the girls with us and got moved to the front of the line, then to the priority check in, and finally we got on the boat in record time.  Our room was a great size and we were able to push the beds together to make a King size bed for us.  Finnley had a pack'n'play they delivered to our room as well.  Then we got out of our room and explored the boat a bit.  It was huge, had a large dining area, a bit outdoor pool (that was hardly heated) several "hot tubs" and a private adults only pool area.  It was evident that this boat was geared towards the retired demographic as there weren't a whole lot of activities available. However, they did have a kids club where we could drop off Ellie or stick around for Finnley to play too, which was so nice for the girls.  We then had our mandatory emergency procedures gathering and then back to our room to try and get some sleep.  We woke up just in time to make it to dinner (my dad chose to pass on dinner and continue sleeping) which was delicious and then back to wandering the boat, hanging out in our room watching movies and finally to sleep for the night.

 first dinner on the boat, Ellie ordered a hotdog..get it girl! Thomas and I both had the Prime Rib - delectable!

Playing air hockey in the Kids Zone!
I'll be back later to share about our ports and excursions as well as some other fun bits about the boat!

♥ Ashley