Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dad's Turn- Family Christmas Card

Well... I made the mistake this year of saying to Kas "I don't think I need to write a Christmas letter because we didn't really do much, ill just write a blog post or something."

So here I sit on Christmas Eve, doing exactly that, and updating the world on our year.  I also have all my wrapping to do, and a little pink bike in the crawl space waiting to be assembled... quite the honey do list for a holiday if you ask me.  And three four glasses of Champagne sure isn't going to help.

But I digress.  Like I mentioned earlier, 2012 was a whirlwind; what with a baby and a move across country so naturally this year felt somewhat vanilla.  One exciting thing we experienced early this year was the longest streak of weather in MN under 60 degrees since 1861 (October- May).  It was nice to be a part of history and all but we decided the best way to celebrate was to get the hell out of here.  We used Kassi's 30th birthday in April as an excuse for a seven day trip to Jamaica (which luckily we booked before paying our taxes on April 15th).

I had never been to Jamaica before but for all knew we could have been anywhere, we never left the hotel pool, much less the resort.  I felt kind of bad not getting even a taste of the local culture but then I realized I was lying in the tropical sun having buckets of red stripe delivered and that I couldn't care less about the culture.  Except of course for the bobsled team but they were unavailable for some reason (might have been because I demanding to meet them at the concierge desk in nothing but my swim trunks... at 9am).

In 2013 Lyla grew into a full blown kid.  Gone are the days of her quietly crawling around on the floor.  Now if she sits still for more than 30 seconds it's because she is asleep or because Dora The Explorer is on.  She is constantly on the move, constantly gabbing up a storm, and constantly demanding to have things her way... very much like her mother, not me.  I actually resisted momentarily when Kassi insisted on bringing home my parents vast collection of books on parenting a strong willed child but then decided to just let her win that one.  Happy wife happy life they say.

We also perfectly nailed the conception window for baby number two this year and we are looking forward to welcoming Everly Joy Chapman to the clan in March.  That was the only month we had available due to Lyla's second birthday in February and my 30th birthday in April.  Needless to say Evie is already more punctual than either of her parents.

No big promotions this year for either of us, but work for both Kassi and I continues to be pretty great.  Kassi loves Oracle and I love Life Time and for the time being both fit pretty perfectly into our work, family, baby, blogging, cooking, rugby, another baby, cats, and a dog kind of life.

So here is to the momentary conclusion of yet another year.  We are thankful beyond belief for the blessings we have received and for each one of you.  Our friends and family, near and far, mean the world to us and we wish we could see more of you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!


 Ryan, Kassi, Lyla, Evie, Tim, Carlos, Kevin

Monday, December 23, 2013

A JOYful Christmas

I know it happens every year, but I swear the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas has passed in the blink of an eye.  Somehow I managed to stay on top of almost everything, even buying, wrapping and shipping all of our family's presents in time to get it there several days before Christmas AND even avoided expedited shipping costs.  That right there is a Christmas miracle.

I'm not sure why, but this Christmas season has been one of my all time favorites.  I've always loved the word "joy", and having decided to use it as the middle name of our second little girl it suddenly seems to stand out even more.  I notice it everywhere and have just felt it.  It has definitely been a joyous season, and entire year.  In some ways I wish I could just bottle up the year and play it on rerun in my mind for the rest of my life.  It was that good.

I'm sure a lot of the joy this season has to do with creating the build up of excitement for Lyla as she realizes more and more who Santa is, and to see her excitement and anticipation of presents.  At least once a day she sits by the tree, grabs a present and says "uh! uh! uh!", pretending to tear at the paper, then looks at me and says "open?"  I tell her we have to wait until Santa comes, and we talk about what she wants and if she thinks he'll bring it.

But I think the real reason for such a lighthearted and joyful Christmas is that even though we talked an awful lot about Santa and reindeer and presents and cookies, we really focused a lot more on the real reason for Christmas.  We played with her little nativity scene and she loved setting out the "baby cheez-us" and mama and dada.  I'd often find the donkey on top of the manger instead of the angel, and the baa (lamb) packed up in her back pack, but she loved that nativity scene.  Reading books about the story of Christmas and explaining why we give gifts, and celebrating Jesus' birthday was a good lesson for Lyla, but truthfully I think it made a huge impact on my own perspective during what can be the most crazy and stressful part of the year.

I seriously can't believe tomorrow is already Christmas Eve, but I've never been so excited and can't wait to see our little girl's face light up Christmas morning. 

Wishing you all much JOY this Christmas!

- K

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Moon

Lately Lyla has had a fascination with the moon, constantly pointing it out in books, obsessing over it in Despicable Me, and looking for it in the sky day and night.  Unfortunately it's been pretty cloudy most nights so we rarely end up finding it, but we always have a pretty cute conversation about Gru stealing it.  It usually goes something like this:

Me: Lyla, where did the moon go?!
Lyla: Gru!!!
Me: Did Gru take the moon?!
Lyla: Gru!!!  Moon!!
Me: Gru!  Why did you take the moon?!
Lyla: Back!!
Me: Gru!  You put that moon back!!
Lyla: giggle, giggle, giggle

And over, and over, and over again. 

Well, first thing this morning we finally spied that darn moon and Lyla was so excited that Gru put it back!  My favorite part is her and Ryan's matching bedhead.  :)

- K

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Breakfast Date with Santa

This weekend we had "Breakfast with Santa", a cute event that Ryan's company puts on.  Lyla got all dolled up, and one of my very favorite things right now is when she gets dressed with dad and runs into my bathroom to show me her outfit.  Her little face all lit up, waiting for me to excitedly praise whatever it is she has on, then her proud smile as she sways back and forth and swings her arms after appropriate amount of oohing and aahing.  It's just about the most precious thing ever.

She had a ball at the breakfast, and was a little timid at first with Santa but loved the blow up bear behind him.  I'm pretty sure she photo bombed at least half of the kids' pictures when she'd escape my grasp and run and hug that bear as fast as she could.

She finally made it up on Santa's lap and told him she wanted a bike (something we've both been buttering Dad up on for a while now) and didn't really touch her reindeer pancakes but had eights or ninths on the red strawberry nose.

My favorite part was how Ryan made me wear an ugly Christmas sweater because "Everybody's supposed to!", then wore his totally normal sweater.  (Insert sarcastic straight face here.)

- K

Friday, December 13, 2013

Meowy Christmas

Today I came across the cats' festive Christmas bow ties, and Tim was really feeling it.  I don't know why Carlos didn't come out all day...  ;)

Also, tonight I made peanut butter cookies which Ryan described as being made out of "really delicious sand". 

Happy Friday!!

- K

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Little Puke Princess

Last night at 2am Lyla woke up and started crying in her crib.  After about 15 minutes I went in to see what was going on and the poor thing had thrown up all over.  She climbed right into my arms, and snuggled up in all her pukey glory.  After peeling off the sheets, blankies and millions of stuffed animals that were also covered in that nastiness we stuck her in the bath, put clean sheets on and got her ready for bed again.  In about 20 minutes she started crying again, and low and behold she'd thrown up again.  We started the process all over, and needless to say this morning came way too early.

Our poor little girl was so sick all day, barely holding down any food or even liquids.  She kept up a pretty good attitude until later in the day when she threw up for the umpteenth time, clinging to me and crying no, no, no, no!  The poor little thing just had to be held tight every time, resulting in frequent clothing changes for me too.  It's so heartbreaking seeing that tiny girl so miserable.

I think we're on the mend though, or at least I hope so.  She managed to drink some PediaSure juice and eat some mashed potatoes at dinner time, so I'm just praying we don't get another middle of the night wake up call.

On a better note we had our neighbor come over on Saturday to snap a few quick pics of us for a Christmas photo.  They turned out better than I expected, and it was a hell of a lot colder than I think we managed to make it look.  Here a few of those photos.  Now I need to go address all those envelopes and try not to fall asleep before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.  Priorities, people.

- K

Monday, December 9, 2013

Date Nights and Christmas Parties

Last night  Ryan and I got a babysitter and went out on the town.  We had an amazing dinner at this swanky steak and sushi place called Seven.  Unfortunately I can't have raw sushi, which is my favorite, but we did get a great cooked roll, delish truffle mac and cheese with lobster (YUM) and I'm pretty sure the best steak I've ever, ever had.  It was a pregnant lady's dream come true.

Not a pregnant lady's dream come true?  Heading straight to the Drake concert and apparently being sat in the cigarette/cigar/joint chain smoking section.  Indoors.  We'd been looking forward to the concert forever, but as soon he got started the place went up in smoke...and I headed straight for the doors.  It was kind of a bummer, but I honestly should have known better.  On the positive side, it was fantastic people watching.  Being totally sober at events where most people are far from that is just hilarious.

The cutest part of our weekend though was a little Christmas party we took Lyla to on Saturday morning.  Lyla wore her Christmas Eve dress for the second time already (thank goodness I got a back up ;) and was little miss fancy pants with her sparkly shoes, bow and tulle galore...and then couldn't put down the boy's toy trucks.  She just might be a heart breaker some day.  You know, when she's like 30 and we finally let her talk to boys.

The party was so fun and Lyla had about a week's worth of sugar.  She wasn't so sure about santa, but seeing her slowly back up into daddy's arms for protection was the sweetest.  Makes my heart melt all over again just thinking about it. They're my favorite.

- K

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dad's Turn- Night at the Museum

A few weeks ago when my folks were in town I called Kas on my way home from St. Paul for work to see what they were up to. "Checking out some museum"  she said.  Well, turned out she was five minutes from where I was at on the University of Minnesota campus (which for the record is an incredible campus).  So I decided to swing by.

Being in a suit on a college campus must be becoming an increasingly rare sight these days because I was stopped by a couple just a few yards from my car and told "we saw you speak earlier and it was great!"  I couldn't help but respond with "oh, why thank you, glad you enjoyed it!"... wonder what I spoke about.

Anyway, The Bell Museum of Natural History is not a big place, entry cost about $4, and is located in a building that appeared to be about 100 years old.  It instantly recalled for me the nostalgia of my own college days.  That mixed with the memory of my home town's Denver Museum of Natural History ("Earth and Science" these days).

Turned out that Lyla looooooooved it!  She ran from display case to display case literally screaming at the top of her lungs.  The 3-4 elderly people enjoying the museum that day on the other hand, had an absolutely terrible time.

The most unique thing that the Bell Museum features is the "Touch and Feel" room (and 'yes' the inappropriateness of that name is completely lost on the staff of the museum... who were clearly on a very low work-study wage).  Lyla got to pet a "mama" lion, ride a bear, pet a live snake, and smack a turtle on the shell as hard as she could... much to the terror of the archeology student holding said turtle.

I soon had to return to work but the hour long combination of my entire family and rehashing a cherished childhood experience with my own daughter was enough to make my entire week.

- R

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Bedtime Story

I was going to post those photos from the museum I'd promised, but tonight was a night that will go down in my memory record books and I had to share it here.  Ryan had to be gone past bedtime so I got to give our girl a bath and get her ready for bed on my own.  She loves for me to get in her crib with her, which I oblige more often than not because I tend to get the very best snuggles when I'm in there.  Tonight was no different and after her bath she wanted straight in her crib, then stuck her fat little pointer finger into the bed next to her, saying "mama".  I threw in her lotion, comb, and pj's and climbed right in.  I tend to sing all sorts of silly songs when we're getting ready for naps or bedtime and tonight I started singing that Barney song, you know the one.  "I love you, you love me..."  We haven't watched Barney in a really long time, and I haven't sung that song in forever but as I got to the hug part she stood up and threw herself at me, wrapping her little arms tight around me.  As I continued to the "kiss from you to me" she pulled her little head back and gave me a big old smooch right on the lips.  I think my heart literally smiled, skipped a beat, and jumped for joy.  It was pure magic.  I asked her where she knew the song from and she just looks at me and says "Barn Barn."  I laughed and said "How did you get so smart?!"  And she goes "Dora." 

That little girl seriously kills me.

- K

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Last week Ryan's family was in town for Thanksgiving.  Ryan's sister, Alycia, got into town before everyone else last Saturday.  She came to watch Lyla on Sunday while we flew to Greenbay for the day to see the Vikings - Packers game with Ryan's company.  The day trip is pretty cool and a little fancy-jet-setter ish, but we're not exactly die hard Vikings fans, it was by far the coldest I have ever (EVER) been, and Lyla ended up with a pretty bad case of separation anxiety, so the jury's still out on if it was "fun" or not.  ;)

When Lyla's grandparents showed up on Wednesday it took her about .5 seconds to warm up and then she proceeded to run in circles around the living room while screaming.  Then the hand grab and drags and "wa-mwa!" "papa!" shouts started.  She was slightly excited.  I seriously can't get enough of the way her face lights up when visitors are around.

We had a mini Christmas morning session since we won't be going home this year, and of course the typical baking and cooking frenzy on Thanksgiving.  It's always nice to have family around, particularly during the holidays.  We even managed to get our Christmas lights up, tree picked out and all of our decorations up!

I was pretty terrible about taking photos, but here's a few from the week.  I'll post more from our trip to the museum tomorrow.  Let's just say I got some amazingly blurry shots of L on my phone (which I get to upgrade on Friday, finally!  Hallelujah.) and we will NOT be taking any trips to the library in the near future.

- K

the homemade tag blankie was an immediate hit :)

a talking minion was a huge success too!


his new favorite coffee mug

these family photos...

it's only going to be harder next year...