Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our First Thanksgiving

We decided last year that if we were settled into a house this Thanksgiving, that we would stay home and host my family.  My parents were willing to drive from Pittsburgh, as well as my brother, Alex, and his girlfriend, Lauren.  For Chris, it was as simple as flying into Detroit instead of Pittsburgh.  We were excited for everyone to come and see our new house (my parents had come out in October), and for my brothers and Lauren, it would be their first time in Michigan.  Of course, all of us getting together is something very rare and since my dad was unable to make it to our beach vacation, we haven't all been together since last Christmas (and not even on Christmas Day).  That means that a group picture is in order (above).  Kiro was an angel, and Brady was much better than the prior year where he had to have his sippy cup to even sit still.

We always do multiple image Christmas cards and always do one fireplace shot where Brady is in his Christmas outfit.  It's safe to post it now as everyone should have received their cards in the last few days (if not, they're in the mail).

When it comes to the actual Thanksgiving dinner, no one in our family had really cooked a full turkey before.  My parents have done turkey breasts before and I think Alex made on in cooking class in high school.  We made sure to do a test run about a month before, while inviting our friends, the Reese family, over to be guinea pigs.  That bird turned out very well, and we felt pretty ready to tackle it again.  The difference on acutal Thanksgiving was that Bethany had brought the stuffing and rolls.  My dad made the pies at home and brought them from Pittsburgh, so that was one less thing to worry about.  We don't have a double oven, so the whole oven was taken up by the turkey.  We had to wait until it was ready to come out to tackle the stuffing, sweet potatoes (courtesy of my mom), and the rolls.

The one thing none of us had anticipated was that my brothers and Lauren would decided to go to the Detroit Lions game that's played every Thanksgiving Day.  It's a 12:30PM game, so they figured they'd be home in plenty of time for dinner.  They'd asked me before purchasing the tickets if I was alright with them going and I said of course, since it's their time off from work/school.  My finals words were, "The bird's done when the bird's done."  As irony would have it, the game went into overtime and for some reason the turkey cooked way faster than we expected from our experience a month before.  Andy kept turning the oven temp down to try and delay a bit.  Of course, the game went almost the entire OT period before Detroit ultimately lost.  They walked in the door as we sat down at the table, which was amazing.

At the game, they handed out hand towels with mustaches on them for Movember, which is in support of prostate awareness.  Brady thought it was fun to hold it up so he had a mustache.

Andy was the main chef, so he was exhausted after the meal and passed out laying on the ground.  Brady loves Kiro and he ends up wearing Kiro out, so he passed out right alongside Andy.

My dad and brother, Chris, were excited to see that there is a White Castle right down the street from our house.  They went there the night before Thanksgiving after Chris flew in, and then decided that all the boys would go on Sunday.  I personally can't stand it, but had no problem with them going.

Before my parents left on Sunday afternoon, Brady decided to play doctor with Dubby.

Everyone was gone by Sunday afternoon, except Chris, who had a flight back to California early Monday morning.  I took this pic because both Chris and Brady are slaves to technology and at that moment, they were side by side, with Chris on his laptop and Brady on my iPad.

We had an awesome time hosting everyone in our house for four days and enjoyed the company.  The boys and Lauren were already talking about going to the Lions game every year, so maybe we'll have everyone up again next year if they're willing to come to us again.  Brady had a blast playing with Kiro (although he did have a few timeouts for being too rough).  He talks about Dubby and Uncle Chris everytime we pass the White Castle and every time he sees an airplane, he thinks Uncle Chris is on it.  He'll be so excited to see everyone this Christmas.  We won't all be together until we make it up to my Oma's house in NYC the day after Christmas, but it doesn't matter.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Portraits 2012

Last week we had Brady's Christmas portraits taken.  The past two years we've done them the week before Thanksgiving because portrait studios are crazy busy and crowded right after Thanksgiving as everyone goes to get Christmas portraits.  This way we avoid the rush and can relax knowing there isn't someone right behind us breathing down our necks.  I was a little nervous after this summer's trouble getting portraits taken with Brady.  I made sure to practice with him and tell him where we were going.  He loves to say, "Boo," and for me to act surprised or scared, so I figured that might be my trick to get a genuine smile and it worked a good bit.  We didn't get as many great shots as in the past, but I'm happy with what we got.  I probably save more money when he doesn't take a million great shots and I can't choose between them.  The top one I bought because it shows off his whole outfit, even if the smile isn't quite as genuine.

Andy really liked this one, but I don't know what it is about it that I feel it doesn't look like Brady.  Maybe it's the hair not having a chance to grow out more, making his teeth and eyes more prominent.  We will see if I break down and buy a few as I have 90 days to order additional prints.

I bought several of this one because again, you can see the whole outfit.  It's also cute how the photographer had him stick his hands in his pockets, making him look so grown up.  I can't tell you how glad I was that he didn't try to run away this time and knew the red dot was where he was supposed to stand.

The photographer tried to get a silhouette shot, but he wouldn't keep his mouth closed.

Every year, we do the formal Christmas outfit and then a pair of Christmas pajamas (or Christmas related informal outfit, depending on what I see in stores).  We used the same present box in the pic above that he was seen sitting in at 9 months old.  There were things inside the box and of course, Brady couldn't resist.  He found a small stuffed gingerbread man, but was distracted by it, so the box and toys went away quickly.

 Every year, I buy the Christmas Pooh bear that Disney sells.  I usually buy the pajamas first and so far, I've been very lucky that the colors on the Pooh bear have matched.  He was happy to see Pooh (we'd hidden him so he'd be excited), and these pictures turned out better than the formal shots.  I got a TON of this shot and it's the one that will end up on our wall for years to come.

The photographer had the idea to have him lay on his belly and hold Pooh.  She was a little slow to snap the shot above because he'd just finished smiling and looks like he's pouting instead.

The second attempt went much better and we bought several of this shot as well.

They always try to sell you on enhancements which are way more expensive than getting the regular portraits.  I haven't gotten any in a while and didn't get any this time, but they're still fun to share.

I can't wait until next year, when I can put Brady and Izzie B in matching Christmas outfits.  Gymboree is where I've bought Brady's outfit each year and they always offer coordinating sets for boys and girls from newborns up to age 12.  It's always hard to see the adorable girl outfits that have matched his over the years and I can't wait to get to buy one next year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trick-or-Treat Overload

This is the second year that Brady has been able to participate in trick-or-treat.  We've been working on getting him to say trick-or-treat for the last month and he can say it really well now.  Initially, it was "Treat! Andy (how he says candy)!"  We also made sure he knew to say thank you at each house.  He's a very polite boy and tells us thank you after we do the littlest things like get his milk out of the fridge, but we made sure to reinforce it anyway.  Above is a picture of him on Halloween morning, eating breakfast.  He was saying, "Boo!" to scare me and was smiling so big afterwards, that I tricked him into thinking that I was taking a pic of him saying, "Boo!" when in reality, I waited for the smile afterwards.

Our friends, the Reese family, invited us to a trunk-or-treat at their church the Saturday before Halloween.  What happens is the kids walk to everyone's trunk to get their treats.  It's a little safer than on the real day where there are streets.  Sam was a cowboy, Ainsley was Red Riding Hood, and of course, Brady is Mickey Mouse.

Andy and Brady ready to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood.  My family went to Disney when my brothers were 8 and 12, so they got a Goofy hat and a Fantasia Mickey hat so they could be those that Halloween.  We borrowed the Goofy hat so it would go with the theme.

Brady did really well out in the neighborhood.  Last year, he was in the stroller, and in Europe, every time we decided not to take a stroller, he decided he didn't want to walk and instead wanted to be carried.  We were worried what would happen here, especially since he's very independent and often doesn't like to hold hands.  Andy took some videos of him screaming at Andy to stay back and that he could go up to the houses by himself, which he did at every house.  Andy was worried about the cold, but that kid came in soaked in sweat!  He had a great time, and when he rang the doorbell at the end, I could hear his tiny voice through the door say, "Trick-or-treat Mommy!"

Due to Hurricane Sandy, most of the trick-or-treating in Pittsburgh was suspended until Saturday.  It just so happened we were going home for my Mimi's 80th birthday and my youngest cousin, Ava, was eager to take Brady out with her.  Look at the back of the picture and you can see my Mimi wearing the Goofy hat ;)

Ava was Pocahontas.

Brady running up to my grandparent's old house they had in the 60s before the built a house and moved about a half a block down the street to where they live now.

Hanging with some of the other kids in the neighborhood.  Andy told me that my Mimi was proudly telling all her neighbors that he was her great-grandson.  We moved when he was five months old, so she hasn't had many opportunities to show him off.

Brady had a blast every single time he went out.  Of course, he went out three times in a seven day span, so it's been hard to tell him this week that he won't be trick-or-treating.  Each time he went out, he wouldn't allow Andy to help him carry his candy bucket, and he had quite a bit, so it was heavy.  I'm sure he thought Andy would try to steal some.  His bucket is full and he earns a piece every time he goes on the potty, which is more and more frequently these days.