Alex’s Visitors

We are so lucky to have such great family and friends that have come to visit us! Here are some pictures from the hospital and at home.

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Alexander Charles

The newest little addition to our family arrived on November 17, 2014 at 10:30AM. He weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 3/4″ long. I had another scheduled c-section and everything went as planned. I am recovering well (maybe too well since I sometimes overdo it) and the girls love him!
We had a bunch of visitors at the hospital. It was so nice of everyone to take the time to come by to see us. I will have to put together another whole post of visitors! We have had many visitors at home as well, and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family with food, gifts and sweet notes. (Now I need to get my act together and send out my thank you cards!)
 
He's been such a good baby and so happy. The only time he really gets upset is if he's decided he is starving and once in a while he just hates his car seat. :)

Maddie and Dannie love to snuggle him and are so sweet and cautious around him. They need to say goodnight to him and love to help me with him. They are such good big sisters!

We couldn't be more happy with our little Alex and our wonderful family of FIVE!
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Annibirthary 2014

Last week, Chuck and I celebrated our 10th anniversary! And on the same day, I turned 34. It was a big day last week. We spent our day in a pretty unconventional way for an anniversary…packing/decluttering our house. (But we did take our early anniversary trip a couple months ago to NYC.)

We did have a few visitors. My friend, Nicole, and her daughter came by in the morning to play. The girls love her daughter and they play really well together. Her daughter is the same age as Dannie and she is due with a boy a few weeks after our boy is born. Nicole brought some pizza for lunch. My dad also stopped by to bring me my birthday potatoes. Yep. That’s what I wanted….twice baked potatoes. He gave me lots of them and they are delicious! He also brought a fruit bouquet. It was a yummy lunch!

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And my mom came by to bring some lovely flowers, dinner (Chinese food), a couple cards and then stayed through nap time to help us clean out some things and helped Chuck move some furniture around the house that I can’t help with. It was such a helpful and wonderful gift.

I was also a super spoiled girl! My sweet hubby got me a new iPad. I got an iPad right after Maddie was born and the girls have pretty much taken it over. So as a birthday/anniversary/new baby is coming gift, he surprised me with a new one! I was so excited. My case came for it yesterday, so now I feel like I can use it more without the fear of breaking it every time I touch it. Smile

I was also lucky enough to have two birthday dinners with some girlfriends. I have some wonderful people in my life and I am so thankful for all of them!

It was a wonderful year and I am so excited for all the big things that are to come for our family this year!

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November MOPS Calendar

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I know you have been waiting on the edge of your seats for the November calendar from MOPS. Well, wait no longer. Here it is. I didn’t know that November 1st was “Book Lover’s Day”. And since our niece was just adopted from China, it’s good to know that the 22nd is “National Adoption Day”!

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NYC

Chuck and I went to NYC for an anniversary trip. We haven’t been on a big anniversary trip in years (if ever). Especially not since the girls were around. We debated a lot about where to go and had a long list of places/things we wanted to see. It was such a fun trip and so nice to get away for a little while. I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time of our trip, so we weren’t sure how much I would be up for. You’ll be impressed with all we did. Smile I’ll try to remember everything.

*FRIDAY*

We left in the evening on Friday and arrived pretty late in NYC. We took a terrifying taxi ride to the hotel and checked in. We decided to stay right in Times Square at the Hilton. You could see the New Years Eve ball from our window (but we couldn’t get a good picture from the window). It was late (about midnight), but I couldn’t miss out on walking around Times Square on a Friday night. It was quite the sight to see. The people and the lights and just everything is so much to take in. After a quick trip down there, we headed to bed to rest up for our first day of sight seeing.

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*SATURDAY*

We woke up bright and early (about 7) and got ready to begin our day. We walked the length of the High Line. What a neat thing to see in the middle of the busy city! Then we took the subway to Central Park. Seriously, Central Park has to be my most favorite place. It’s a really fabulous park inside the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s so gorgeous, and huge and quiet! I could have spent all day there! While we were at the park, we went to the Central Park Zoo. It’s hard for me to visit somewhere and not visit the zoo!

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After the zoo, we walked around the park a little more and went to the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum. I had to take a picture on the steps for a friend of mine because we both watched “Gossip Girl” and they spent a lot of time on those stairs in the show. Smile In front of the Met and about a mile down that block, there was a race going on. So we watched the runners for a little while.

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We headed back to the hotel for a little rest (for me) and then headed to the Intrepid Museum. It was a little rainy, but we walked the few blocks over there and back. It was a really neat museum. We toured a submarine and an aircraft carrier. It was also the only museum we actually went into on our trip. Neither of us really had much interest in visiting the other museums, although I know they are probably wonderful.

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We walked around Grand Central Station and called the girls to chat on FaceTime. They were having a great time with grandma! Then we walked down 5th Avenue for a while, but since we had no interest in buying anything, it wasn’t all that interesting. We stopped in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was gorgeous, then took the subway to the 9/11 Memorial to see in the dark. It was still a bit wet outside, but it was so cool to see the memorial all lit up at night.

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We took the subway back to Times Square and had a late dinner. Then we walked around/sat in Times Square again to people watch. I was running out of steam, so we called it a night (after wandering through a few stores) and went to rest up for our next big day.

We totaled 16 miles of walking today.

*SUNDAY*

We were up about 7 again and off to the subway to visit Battery Park on our way to catch the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Wow is all I can say about seeing them in person and being there. Just amazing all around. If you ever have the chance to visit them, it will be worth it and an experience you won’t forget.

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After spending the morning there, we walked on Wall Street and saw the NY Stock Exchange (it wasn’t all that exciting on a Sunday morning). Then we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial again to see it during the day. It was just as stunning and mesmerizing during the day as it was at night.

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We found a little pizza place to have lunch (which was so delicious) and ate our pizza in Zuccotti Park. Next we made our way over to Rockefeller Center and went to visit “Top of the Rock” which is an observation deck to see the city. What a stunning view. We had a really clear day so we had a great view of everything. People like visiting this observation deck over the Empire State Building because you can see Central Park. When Chuck told me that, I was sold and wanted to go to that one. And since I was so excited, we got the passes to visit it again at night.

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After “Top of the Rock” we headed back to the hotel to rest for a little while and get ready to go to our Broadway show. We chose “The Lion King” and I am so glad that we did. It was such a great show and there’s something about the song “The Circle of Life” that makes me cry and so, of course, the crazy pregnant lady was sobbing during the first 2 minutes of the show. Smile

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After the show we headed to “Top of the Rock” again for the night viewing. Just gorgeous! We didn’t stay too long since we had already been there during the day and I was really tired. So on the way back to the hotel, I got brave and bought some food truck food. I was a little worried about it, but it was so delicious and I am so glad I got something!

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After eating my yummy food, I promptly fell asleep and got ready for day 3.

We totaled 12 miles of walking today.

*MONDAY*

Sadly, day 3 was also our last day. Of course, we were up by about 7 again and got our stuff packed and checked out of our room. They had a nice little holding room for your luggage, so we took advantage of that before heading out.

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We hopped on the subway and headed over to Chinatown/Little Italy. They were quite interesting. It’s strange, you really feel like you are walking into a different city. Then you cross the street and you’re in yet another city. Just bizarre. While there, we walked around and visited a few parks. Mostly to take some walking breaks since I was running out of steam on my pregnant little feet!

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We took the subway back to Central Park. We had seen everything (and more) from our initial list, so I wanted to spend some more time in Central Park since I loved it so much. On the the way, we stopped by the Apple Store. What a strange little cube sticking out of the ground. You have to take stairs or a glass elevator down to the store which is underground.

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We walked through Central Park and visited the reservoir. We ate lunch at The Boathouse that a friend recommended. We just ate at the café there and not the fancy (yet beautiful) restaurant. Next we visited the Belvedere Castle. The views of Central park from the castle were so pretty. I just stood there taking it all in for a while!

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Then we headed back to Times Square and picked up some gifts for the girls at the M&M store (which is HUGE by the way….3 levels of chocolate!). Then we went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. We decided to skip the taxi ride and took a bit of an adventure to the airport. We took the subway to Queens/Astoria then got on a bus to the airport. Then I collapsed in a chair and waited to get on the plane to head home.

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Then, after an uneventful flight, we found the car and headed home. It was so nice to take a trip, but there’s nothing like coming home after being away!

We totaled 10 miles of walking today.

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Some other little tidbits about the trip:

  • I did get to see some subway entertainment and I loved it. I thought it was hilarious and Chuck told me to stop paying attention to them because they would come over and try to get money. I still looked. Smile
  • Street entertainers crack me up. From the nutjobs in Time’s Square to the cool dancers all over town. I couldn’t stop watching them and being captivated by all of them. I sure the fascination wears off, but it sure didn’t after 3 days for me!
  • The stores in Times Square are so cool. They are huge and bright and just such a sight to see. Many stores are multi-level (even the McDonald’s) and above them are these HUGE screens with ads on them. It’s so much to take in!

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  • Taking the subway was an interesting thing. I think I just get weirded out by the fact that they are underground. I about lost my mind when I realized some go under the water. That just doesn’t seem right. And that there are multiple layers of them underground…it’s just not right. Smile But once I got over that initial shock, I sat back and enjoyed the weirdos. Also, many (or most? or all? of them) have some artwork on them. We took pictures of a couple of my favorites.

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  • People watching is amazing there. It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s someone fascinating to look at. I wanted to take WAY more pictures of people, but I felt awkward doing so. Although, the people doing the crazy things would have loved it!

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  • It’s amazing to see all the tall buildings and to think about how much they fit into that tiny space. There’s so much to do and see there. It’s remarkable how much fits into the space they have and how different one area can be from the next.
  • We took an astounding number of modes of transportation to, from and during this trip: car, taxi, bus, subway, lightrail, airplane, ferry/boat, escalators, elevators, feet, stairs……geesh, are there even any others? Smile
  • We walked over 40 miles during the entire trip! Phew! That’s something I need to jot down in this baby’s baby book! Smile

Overall, it was an amazing and exhausting trip. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We had a great time hanging out together and doing things on our schedule and not that of the kids. And I can’t believe it was already almost 7 weeks ago since we went.

And here’s a link to all the pictures we took on our trip if you want to see the others.

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Larger Than Life & Where There’s Smoke

A while back, a friend told me to download Larger Than Life when it was free on Amazon because she knew I liked Jodi Picoult. I recently finished reading it and found out it was a prequel to one of her new books, Leaving Time. Then I found out there was another short story about some backstory to “Leaving Time” called Where There’s Smoke and thought I should read that, too since it was free. Here’s a little about them:

Larger Than Life:

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A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.

Where There’s Smoke:

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Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up a troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

Both were really good stories and I couldn’t put them down. I read the second one before bed thinking I would just start it. I always get engrossed in Picoult’s books. I liked having a bit of a backstory to one of her novels. I know I am going to have to read that one now since I read these two books.

They were both really short, so if you’re looking for a fast read and like Jodi Picoult, I definitely think you should read them. And if you have already read “Leaving Time”, let me know what you thought of it!

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was the pick for my book club this month. We chose it because our city does a program called “OneBook, OneRosemount” where the pick a book for all ages and then have the author come speak. They only do this once every other year. Here is a bit about the book:

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Overall it was a cute story. It was written for about 6th grade, so it wasn’t a challenging read. But it was a good story with a good message. I didn’t go to hear the author speak, but a friend of mine said she had heard her before and she was inspirational and interesting to listen to.

I’m not really going to recommend this because it was a book for such young readers, but if you have kids, this might be a good book to read along with them. I know a friend of mine had planned to do that with her daughter.

Happy reading!

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Our Dannie

Dannie is really the funniest little thing. She makes the goofiest faces, laughs at everything and is just so sweet and happy. I have been collecting some videos I have taken of her recently. Enjoy.

Dannie eating Cheerios. She thought this was the best game ever. I have no idea where she got it, but chances are she learned it from watching her sister.

She also likes to wear this owl bucket around on her head (something she also learned from her sister). This time she was walking around making owl noises.

Dannie was being so funny and pretending to be a frog. At least I think it was a frog. That or a rabbit. But she kept saying “laahhhdeeet” over and over. That is how she says rabbit, but also ribbit. So your guess is as good as mine.

DeeDee is so excited when someone comes in to get her out of bed. This morning she was using her bed like a trampoline. Admittedly, this isn’t something I should encourage, but she was just so cute with her crazy hair, I couldn’t help myself!

We went to Chuck’s mom’s house the other day and Dannie just loved the rocking horse that Chuck’s grandpa made. She couldn’t get enough!

This morning we went to my friend’s house to hang out and D kept playing with this bouncy dog. It was so cute to see her bouncing on it. But when I took the video, she couldn’t stay on it. It was hilarious.

There’s a few videos of our silly little monkey. And as a side note, I call her all sorts of names. Dannie is the most common, but I call her “D” a lot and she calls herself “DeeDee”. I think the last one will really stick because we all tend to call her that. And it’s so cute when she points to herself with that big smile and says “DeeDee”!

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Wrestling

Not a day goes by that Chuck and the girls don’t wrestle on the big pillow Chuck’s mom made us. The girls like to run laps around the island and bombard Chuck. It’s hilarious!

Dannie also really likes to get airplane rides. It’s pretty amusing, too. Smile

I just love how much they love their dad and how much fun they have wrestling with him. I hope Chuck doesn’t end up too injured from their rough housing, though….the girls are getting pretty good at their attacks!

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Sports

Most nights after dinner we go outside to play. We either head to the park, go on a walk or play in the driveway. One night Maddie wanted to play some sports.

First she took out the t-ball set. She’s pretty good at hitting the ball…when she makes contact!

(I was sure I had posted the pictures of Maddie playing t-ball a while back, but I can’t seem to find the videos archived on here. So if you are interested, you can watch more videos HERE.)

After she had her fill of t-ball, she wanted to play some hockey. She was schooled a bit by Chuck, but they had fun. Smile

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