Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Asher's First Birthday

Asher Grace turned ONE on the 19th!  We had such a fun day celebrating our girl, she opened two gifts (a little doggie that walks around, and a some little piggies that go down a slide and swing in a swing). I made a chocolate cake from scratch and put some batter in a separate ramekin to bake so Ash could have her own little chocolate cake to dig into.  She was stoked on it.  After naps we took her to see Santa walk around and see the lights at Riverwoods, ride the train, and eat out at Tucanos.

At one-year-old Asher already has a very strong personality and knows what she likes and doesn't like.  She nurses three times a day still, and also eats three solid meals.  She loves most food but her favorites are broccoli soup, potatoes, and candy.  She takes two 1.5 hour naps a day and sleeps at night 8pm-8am.  She is a very good communicator and always lets us know what she wants with gestures and noises.  She smiles easily, but it takes some work to make her laugh and only Berlin can get the really hard laughs out of her.  She is super affectionate to mom and dad, but refuses to go to anyone else and is very clingy.  She can stand without holding onto anything and take steps while holding our hands.  She says "Dada, hi, hello, uh-oh, and Alexa"  and we love our sweet Gracie Girl.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Turning Thirty

I left my twenties behind last week and even though it was tough entering a new, adult-er decade, my birthday weekend was super amazing and special (thanks to Jack). :) My birthday was on Monday, but he made a whole weekend it for me.  Saturday Jack's sister came over to stay with our girls while we went to a movie (Allied, we both loved it), we picked Asher back up from her and then went up to Salt Lake to have dinner with friends at a sushi place we had never tried (Sapa), the meal was super good and Asher shoveled everything into her mouth haha. We picked up cookies from Ruby Snap, they have a sweet potato-pecan-molasses cookie that is one of the best I've ever had!  We checked into our room at the Grand America, put Ash in her pajamas, and then went downstairs to go window shopping and see the lights and fountain.  After putting her to bed in the room we snuggled in to eat our cookies and watch a movie, then took a bath in the big tub before bed.  The next morning we had an amazing breakfast at Market Street before heading home.

Sunday evening Jack called me downstairs and my entire family was there singing Happy Birthday.  He had put out a bunch of snacks and a big chocolate cake.  We ate and played board and card games until late and it was super special.

Monday was my birthday and I just wanted a super restful, relaxing day with nothing to do.  I slept in while Jack took care of the kids and got Liv off to school.  Had breakfast and then came down and opened up so many awesome, thoughtful gifts from the BEST husband.  Hamilton sheet music, a big bound Hamilton photo book, a novel, the next season of a TV show I've been watching, a super cute scarf, some chambray joggers, a $50 Target gift card, and my big gift: a new Canon t6i with bag, lenses, accessories, cards, and Adobe Lightroom.  I have been using a Nikon, but broke the body and the focus is off.  I LOVE my Nikon, but wanted something a little less bells-and-whistles for more everyday use and need to send it in to get fixed anyway.  I have had so much fun using the new Canon and it is such a great gift!  We went to lunch, went shopping, and then I sat in bed and watched my new show and played with my camera, took a long hot bath, read, relaxed.  That evening we ate an entire family sized pizza and watched Little Women.  It was an amazing weekend and I woke up Tuesday bummed it was over.  Bummed to be thirty...but grateful to be waking up to the products of my years and those who make my life so worth living and progressing through.  Thanks babe for making all my birthdays and all my years just so golden.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Most years we are able to have a thanksgiving meal with both my family and Jack's, but some years the timing of one meal (usually his because they have the input of a larger family) doesn't work for us to squeeze in my family (which is smaller).  Last year was his family's "on" year to get together and they planned it for early afternoon so we only did his, and this year when they got together with extended family early afternoon on his siblings' "off" year we decided to just host my family at our house.  It was actually really fun and low stress because of how much everyone pitched in on side dishes, I had so much fun setting my own thanksgiving table, and I still love seeing what our new house is like hosting things like that.  We baked a ham, I made cauliflower au gratin, and we had about 10 pies (Jack's favorite part of thanksgiving).  I made two chocolate layer pies from scratch and we bought the rest from different places: pecan, apple, razzleberry, strawberry rhubarb, lemon merengue, and my mom made a peanut butter pie.  After the meal my family stayed and played Wink and Cranium and that night after they left Jack and I took our girls out to do some Black Friday shopping.  It was actually really fun having them with us even though the line at Target was insane.  We each took an older girl and Jack held Asher and each of our little buddies stuck to us in the crowds and helped find things they'd want.  We ate McDonalds on the way home and then Jack and I had late night pie after the girls were in bed.
On Friday we did some more shopping and went to lunch and then that night had Pam and her kids, Dan and his kids, Jenny and her kids, and Amanda over for late night games and most of them slept over.  Saturday morning we all got up and went to see the new Disney movie, Moana.  It was such a fun Thanksgiving weekend and so neat to see how each holiday is evolving as our family does.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

New England Day 5- CT to NYC to Philly

When Jack was on the phone getting us tickets to Hamilton, he was speaking to a ticket agent who was close with the cast members.  They talked for quite a while about the show (because anyone he talks to feels like his best friend obviously, haha.) and he had mentioned that our hang-up was dropping our baby off with a friend outside of the city and then having to go pick her back up.  The agent told him that the broadway cast members leave their babies with some of the moms while they are doing auditions or during the matinee shows and that she was sure we would be welcome to leave Asher with the other babies while we saw the show.  He spoke to the main woman in charge of that setup (who was also super warm and kind, and is a broadway actor herself, we found her on IMDB) and she said that anyone who watches the babies goes through background checks and that they are in a building with ID access only through a front desk person.  Feeling good about the situation, we went ahead and paid for the tickets. 

We woke up in Connecticut Wednesday morning and ordered breakfast through room service and then took our trays out to the beach chairs next to the water and enjoyed our food while watching the seagulls and collecting seashells to take back to Olivia and Berlin.  We then packed up and headed to Manhattan.  I know that most people would not drive into Times Square, and we were super nervous about it just being completely nuts traffic, but we came into town mid morning and escaped any gridlock.  We had the Marriott Marquis booked for that Friday and they were so great to let us park our car there for a couple of hours while we saw the show (another big hurdle overcome- parking in downtown for less than an arm and a leg!)  We had lunch at Junior’s (Jack had a brisket sandwich between two potato pancakes, I had a burger), then scoped out Asher’s temporary digs.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of anxiety associated with leaving my kids places.  Because this was such an unknown for me, it was a big, big deal.  And many of you may think we are crazy to leave her with people we had only spoken to on the phone, but after seeing the location and situation, speaking to the minders in person, and seeing the other infants there, I honestly felt okay about it.  I may have cried on the elevator ride down, but there are some times I have to step outside of my comfort zone in order to have experiences, and travel calls for a lot of that.

We walked into the Richard Rodgers Theatre and when I saw how amazing our seats were I was just absolutely giddy.  Only a few rows back, in the middle, and on the end for more legroom.  They couldn’t be better.  We got snacks and drinks and then sat to take in the stage and the theatre.  From the time the show started until the final bows I was on the edge of my seat.  I have NEVER seen a more genius and entertaining piece of theater.  I’m biased because I’m so into the music and the history of it, but WOW.  And I’d even go so far as to say that Jack was even more into it.  Our production had a couple of the original cast members (also from the soundtrack), Peggy/Maria was the same, as was Hercules Mulligan/James Madison.  I loved our Alexander Hamilton so much (Javier Munoz), at the risk of sounding blasphemous maybe even more than Lin-Manuel Miranda?!  He was fantastic.  As was Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson (Seth Stewart).  The ensemble was also just out of this world.  With that choreography, they barely even needed a set.  Totally worth the money and I would have paid twice the amount we did.

We picked up our little bundle, gave her babysitters a large tip, (they had sent us pictures during the show of her playing and sleeping in her stroller, so cute and such peace of mind), and went to the Disney Store in Times Square before sharing a meal at Shake Shack and taking off out of the city towards Philly.  Again, traffic was on our side and we made good time to our hotel right above the Constitution Center.  It was late by the time we got settled in and put Ash to bed so Jack walked down the street and got himself a meat and potatoes kind of meal and me a big delicious salad.  We fell asleep excited for another day chock full of American history!

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