Thursday, December 26, 2013

A First for our Family

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning as a family...just the four of us. I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Christmas without being with my parents, or without being with Tyler's family. I thought it would feel like just another day. I was so wrong!

Christmas Eve started with going out for Chinese food. Then, once back home, we each opened our Christmas Eve gifts - PJs, Christmas books and the DVD of The Polar Express. Holland had fun finding places for each of our Christmas stockings to be laid out and then we slipped the kids in their new PJs. Holland was loving that they were matching. We read the new Christmas stories and said our family prayers, then after putting Tagg to bed for the night, Tyler and I snuggled up with Holland in the family room and watched her new favorite movie (she's been watching it on YouTube for weeks!) - 'Polo Espress.' To say that she loves it is a serious understatement. And not just the movie, the book and the soundtrack as well. She's got all three memorized! Listening to her sing the songs is beyond adorable.

Oops! Open your eyes, Tagg.

Before going to bed, Tyler and I filled the stockings and laid out the gifts. It was at that moment that I got really excited at the thought of how fun Christmas morning was going to be.

Morning came. Tagg woke up early. Holland slept in.

We brought the stockings to the kitchen table and let the kids pull things out of them while they ate their breakfast. Tagg was, understandably, pretty oblivious as to what was going on. However, he did smile now and then as he pulled out a new toy from the stocking. Pretty sure he was most excited about the banana slices on his highchair tray that he was shoveling into his mouth.

Holland's favorite stocking item - the finger lights! I had to search a few dollar stores in SLC to find them. Maggie had received them at our Eppley Family Christmas Party a few days earlier and had let Holland play with them. It was a little difficult to get Holland to give them back to Maggie that night. So, ya, she loved that she got her own Christmas morning!

Once breakfast was over we went into the living room we had the kids go into the living room. Tyler tried to point out to Holland that she had more gifts laying on the couch. Holland was so unsure about it all that she literally started running in circles. Hysterical! I think she was so overcome with the fact that there were more gifts she just really didn't know how to contain herself.

Needless to say, our first little Christmas as a family was pure perfection!

Photo by Holland

Holland loving Tagg's gift from Grandma Maggie
 We then headed to my parents house for the rest of the day. I was so excited to give my parents their Christmas gift. I had a small snapshot of their wedding picture edited, enlarged and framed. I thought their would be tears, but their weren't. Dang. But they loved it - tears or not. ha!

After giving my parents their gift, we got to open gifts from them. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness, time and love that went into the gifts. My mom had made fleece blankets for each of the grand-kids and had pieced together, then had professionally finished, the most gorgeous quilts ever for each couple! On top of that, my dad made copies for each of us of his grandparents' life history. I'm still amazed, and I'm sure I will be forever, at the tenderness that accompanies hand-made gifts.

I felt like we then ate all day long! We had brunch, then Skyped with Missionary Geoffrey Eppley, then ate some lunch...and then there were treats, and more treats...and ya, I might have gained 5 lbs. yesterday. Totally worth it!

For sure, a Christmas to remember!

Oh...and Holland LOVED playing in the snow, wearing her new snow pants and coat, with Grandpa for probably and hour, if not more. She loves her Grandpa. Thanks Dad!

Side note, and no picture (darn it!): Tagg broke out in a rash that ended up being Rosiola. No wonder he had a low fever the past couple of days and wasn't sleeping all that well. Good times! We made a stop for Benedryl on the way home. He slept like a champ...and so did I. A Christmas miracle!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ugly Christmas Sweater

For our Eppley Family Christmas Party we had dinner, games and....and an Ugly Sweater Contest. It was seriously so much fun! I tried finding sweaters at DI. No luck. I happened to find two sweaters of Tyler's that went out of style years ago - for real. I think he said he had them in high school. They are both size large. What the heck? No way would he have fit these when he weighed like 120 lbs. I'm going to have to search his old pictures to see if there is proof that he wore these.

Tyler won the category of  "Ugliest". He was a good sport to wear the design I came up with - Christmas Dog pooping down the front of him. Yep, I'm just that creative.


The Hostesses with the Mostest
"Best Sport" award should really go to my dad because I know that this was totally and completely out of his element. Or, maybe the award should be titled "Best Husband Award" for going along with my mom's idea when I'm sure he really didn't want to. I love that my mom mixed up our family party to add this fun activity - LOVE HER!

Lisa, Todd, Nathan, and Christopher
Christopher's little gingerbread man was actually a dancing Christmas decoration. It was so funny! Wish I would have gotten video of it.

And now, for a category that wasn't an actual category at the party, but is totally a category in real life. The winners of the CUTEST KIDS EVER AWARD:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holland Bliss - 2 1/2 years photoshoot

This picture. I can't stop laughing!

Taggart Craig - One Year Photoshoot

Trying NERDS for the first time...anything to help him to smile!
All photos captured by the amazing Kathryn Turley with Sunlight Photography. I'm so blessed to call her my friend! And, I'm forever grateful that she has frozen in time some of the most adorable moments in my children's lives.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Miss Bliss...Lately

I have been meaning to do an update on Holland ever since October 28, which was her HALF BIRTHDAY. Yep, this little baby of ours is 2 1/2!

She has mostly moved on from all things Baby Signing Time, which has turned into all things CARS. She loves to watch the movie on the Kindle, listen to the soundtrack every time (E V E R Y  T I M E) we get in the car (Seriously, we get in and she begins chanting, borderline demanding, "Cars. Cars. Cars."), wearing Cars pajamas, playing with her "Mack" truck (borrowed from nursery), and pretending to be Lightening McQueen.

Pretending has progressively become a favorite thing of hers over the past several weeks. When she's Lightening, I'm Sally. When she's Caillou, I'm Caillou's mom (she'll say, "Um...Caillou's mom..."). When she is Sally, from Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That, Tyler is Cat and Tagg is Nick. When she is Sister Bear, Tyler is Papa Bear, I'm Mama Bear and, of course, Tagg is Brother Bear. The Bearenstein Bears are for sure my fave to act out with her. I can't get enough of her calling for "Papa Bear." Her imagination is so great.

In fact, when she wakes from her naps, she has a full on conversation with who knows who for a long time. We could probably leave her in there for at least 15 minutes and she'll just talk and talk and talk. She's usually talking to/with Lightening, Calliou, Cat, Brother know, any of the characters from the  shows and/or movies that she knows.

Holland loves her Grandpa Charley (I'm trying really hard to get her to call him that! Hope you don't mind, Dad! Ha!) He made her the most A M A Z I N G play kitchen a couple months ago which she loves. Tagg gets in on the kitchen action too...mostly banging pots and pans. Whenever she has a play conversation on one of the many old cell phones or play phones that we have around, it is almost always a conversation with Grandpa. Funny thing is, when he calls for real, she gets all shy and won't really talk. Bug! She asks to see Grandpa a lot. She wants to watch Cars with him or "swing in the blue swing" or drink chocolate milk with him, (or eat green beans with...ahem...Grandma Lucy!) And she would, everyday, if I didn't mind driving an hour, both ways. Wish my parents lived closer!

Her Grandpa Craig, who we miss like crazy, is often mentioned as well. She tells us all the time, while pointing to a church or a temple, "That's where Grandpa Craig lives, huh?" We have a picture of Holland squished between Grandpa Craig and her daddy, which was taken on Tyler's birthday in 2011, hanging right above her changing table. I quiz her all the time and talk to her about him a lot when I change her diaper or get her dressed. I want her to always know how much he loved her and what an incredible man he was! Thank goodness families can be together forever.

Holland loves to be read to, but also loves to "read" (recite) books to us as well. She knows all of the words to several books, including Dr. Seuss ABCs, Are you My Mother, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Rollie Pollie Ollie, On the Moon, The Day You Were Born, Under the Ground, Pirate Ship, Railroad Toad, Mr. Brown Can Moo, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and more.

Things Holland loves: trains, her pink baby, the Kindle, fruit snacks, TV (ugh!), riding her trike, swinging, playing at the park, building towers/temples out of her Mega Blocks, serving us play food that she makes in her kitchen, having pretend phone conversations, coloring (her favorite color has recently shifted from blue to purple), helping with chores around the house (sweeping, folding and putting away laundry, wiping mirrors and vacuuming), performing and instructing dance and/or exercise moves (usually while standing on the coffee table), her BFF Carson, and her cousin Zack (if only he lived closer!)

Things we can get her to eat, occasionally (she is still not big on eating): rice, nachos, apples, cheese, raisins, fruit snacks, marshmallows, green beans, cold/hot cereal, pancakes, toast, quesadillas, yogurt, Gogurt, french fries (oh ya!), "Daddy Chips" (tortilla chips), Jello, and pasta.

Things she doesn't so much like: strangers (she puts her hand over her eyes and glues herself to me if they even look at her from a distance), meat and all foods not mentioned above, the monster that she thinks lives in her room, being touched when she's in a bad mood ("Ouch! Don't touch me!"), and having her diaper changed when she's poopy (ewww...sick!).

Holland keeps us fully entertained! I laugh a lot, every day, at little things she does and says. Like tonight, we were rolling cars back and forth and I was trying to explain to her to stand up and put her legs apart so I could roll the car through. So as I'm explaining I tell her to stand "like a bridge." So she does it and I send the car rolling under her legs. As soon as it goes under, she looks at me and says, "Oh. You mean a tunnel." Oh ya, I guess that would have been a better description than a bridge. Duh, me.

She pesters Tagg a lot. Sometimes it's because she doesn't want him to touch what she is playing with, sometimes it's because she can, and other times it's because she just loves him so much and can't seem to keep her hands from hugging (strangling) him and her lips from smothering him with kisses. It's pretty hysterical and frustrating all at the same time. Poor little guy. But man, he's lucky he's got a sister who loves him so much, right?

Holland's typical day starts between 6:30-7:00 am. I've tried and tried to get this wake up time to be later, but to no avail. She takes a 1 1/2 hour nap in the early afternoon and is in bed for the night between 7 and 8 pm. I don't work at all in the mornings, so I usually try to get her out of the house, or at least do some interactive things with her one-on-one while Tagg takes his morning nap. She loves when we go to the "Dancing Library" which is a kids yoga class at the Whitmore Library, and she still loves This is the Place, the Zoo and the Aquarium (which is unfortunately closed for a while). She's a great sport to go shopping or run errands with me or with Tyler, but she's not a big fan of the kids area at the gym or at "mommy bowling" (I'm on a league...that's another post all to itself!)

To sum it up....WE LOVE HOLLAND! She is growing up so fast, but we are loving every little second of it. Here are a few pictures of Holland between May and November:


Taken on her half birthday - October 28