The Great Coloring Contest Scam

Each year at Peter’s firm’s Christmas party, they host a coloring contest. The contest is divided into age groups and there are first and second prizes for each group. And the prizes? They are stuffed animals the size of the contestants.

Last year, we left before the results were read. Baylor was convinced for months after that she had won and Peter was holding her over sized bear hostage.

The beauty of this party is that the parents can mingle a bit while the kids do arts, crafts, color and eat with some friendly elves. Little did we know that while we were eating, Baylor was working on a plan to make sure that either her or Auggie was going home with a stuffed animal.

As they read the results for Auggie’s age group, I was stunned to see a very well colored picture held up. I was way too good for a two year old…I was even more surprised to hear them call Auggie’s name! Baylor accepted on his behalf as he was in the back of the room. She of course, selected the GIANT pink unicorn.

Next was Baylor’s age bracket. Second prize went to another kiddo and first place went to Baylor. She ran up, grabbed a more boy appropriate giant bear, ran back and said “We WON!! Now let’s get out out here”. Confused as I was to her rush, we complied and carefully walked down the stairs with our booty.

As I looked at the winning pages, I realized she had not only submitted more than on entry for herself, she had submitted two under Auggie’s name as well. When I asked her about it she said “Well, I did draw some for him. How else were we going to win?!”.

And I’ve never been prouder. Those don’t hate the player, hate the game life skills will carry her far in business and in life.

Meet Pinky Pie and Bear Bear

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Oh How They Grow

We got the best surprise at Auggie’s school Christmas program last week – he sang! My money was on him crying his eyes out the entire time. But instead, he quietly sang along to 1 Little 2 Little 3 Little Reindeer and was particularly enthusiasic about the HEY! arm swing and all.

Sadly, his perfectly matched and pressed pants did not make it to the show. Sigh. Oh well. At least he was wearing pants, even if they were his back ups.

Please forgive my pictures – I was A. hiding from him and B. not using a flash so I didn’t distract them!

IMG_8035 IMG_8037 IMG_8038At this point my mom leaned over and said “Goodness they are tiny! I can’t believe B was this small at her first show!”. I dug around and sure enough, they were that small. It’s so cute to see all her buddies in these pictures were singing with her this year too.

IMG_3603 IMG_3607 This kid has never been shy a day in her life!IMG_3613

 I’m trying not to get emotional thinking about this being her last preschool Christmas program…

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Singing her face off…

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Holiday Do Over

I want a do over.

All of the Wand’s in our house fell like dominoes to the nasty flu virus the week of Thanksgiving. Slowly but surely, we went down one by one. We visited the doctor 4 times the week of Thanksgiving; fevers of 103, croup (momma learned her lesson – I refused to leave the office without steroids), wheezing, vicious secondary infections…by the time Monday rolled around, I took both kids back to the doctor and with very little examination, everyone walked out with antibiotics. I think our doctor took one look at my face and knew I meant business. There would be no “wait it out” on bronchitis.

That said, here we are a solid 2 weeks later and we are just now getting to enjoy the holiday season. We missed a whole two weeks of holiday fun. Instead of happily putting up the Christmas tree, it was a race to finish before the DayQuil wore off. Rather than enjoying hot chocolate, snuggled on the couch, we were downing fluids and hiding under the covers. We traded fun parties for household 7pm bedtime. Instead of the smell of warm, cinnamon candles, our house smelled like we had invested in Vicks Vapor Rub and bleach.

So now that everyone is feeling a bit more human, we’re catching up on all the fun. I’m squeezing our lost two weeks into the next two weeks. We’ve updated and added to the decorations. We’ve done Zoo Lights and watched Prep and Landing at least 15 times WITH hot chocolate (and a little Baileys…), presents are wrapped, cards are out. We are ready to participate! Christmas 2014, here we come!

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Thanksgiving Prep

I think for the last two Thanksgivings, someone in our house has been sick. And this year, sadly, is no exception. Baylor started running a fever over the weekend and it is still going. Now Auggs has decided to join her. I’m currently spraying them and their room with Lysol while they nap and simultaneously popping zinc.

All the care taking and a lack of recovery from Peter being gone for SEVEN DAYS (more on his hunting trip later when I’ve recovered from my adventure in solo parenting) has left me with a little less zeal for Thanksgiving this year. It kind of feels like it’s snuck up on me. And I can’t summon the excitement I usually have for entertaining. However, the show must go on and as Peter pointed out, you can’t reinvent the wheel on Thanksgiving, which should make it easier to tackle. None the less, there’s still a very long list of things to get done before our 18 hungry guests arrive. Here’s what I’m doing to keep the urge to say screw it and open a bottle of wine for some day drinking:

1. Scale Back

We typically have dinner outside at the great table PW built for me a few years ago. But getting the patio, plants, table, table cloths, string lights, heaters, etc ready is a lot of extra work. So we decided to move inside. This might prove to be a terrible idea later, but it’s allowing me a lot less work on the front end so that’s a good thing. Prioritizing your to do list and or editing it is essential.

2. Create A Lot of Lists

I’m a list person any way, but the holidays call for many more lists and a lot more detail. I started a spreadsheet last year with tabs for each topic: guests, food, grocery list and a few recipes. That way I only have to amend each tab instead of redoing all the work. Keeping them each separate allows you to separate your thoughts and print each one individually.

3. Schedule 

I start a schedule about 2 weeks out based on how much work I need to do. I try to divide all the tasks so that I can do a few each day. This leaves a lot of room for last minute stuff and GASP! maybe even some down time. Starting ahead on cleaning votive holders, stemware, locating serving pieces, ironing napkins, etc is all essential to not loosing your mind the day before.

4. Ask For Help

Everything from some child care to bringing various dishes, ask for help. Most guests like to participate so let them bring their favorite dish. Just be sure to prioritize oven space and time for baking off vs reheating. Use crockpots for things like potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans.

5. If You Can’t Ask, Buy Some Help

It’s often worth not only your sanity but your time to pay for some help. Yard maintenance, house keeping, professional laundering of linens, window washing and even store bought dinner are all great ways to make everything come together AND actually enjoy yourself!

 

 

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

I keep seeing this recipe on TV and it makes me hungry every time.  I made it for the kiddos and at first they were reluctant, with a some promises of treats and a few threats, they ate and they liked! These are now part of our kids meals – and Peter and mine too.

It’s super simple and the kids can help shredding the chicken and mixing everything together!

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup diced cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken from the Deli works AWESOME)
1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can biscuits

Shredded cheese

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 375°F

2. Mix veggies, soup and chicken together

3. Roll each biscuit with a rolling pin (you can use your hands, but the rolling pin goes faster and flatter) to about 7 inch diameter

4. Put each biscuit into a greased muffin pan. Fill up and pinch corners to keep the filling in

5. Bake for about 20 minutes, sprinkle with a little cheese and voila!  Serve as is for the kiddos and with a side salad for the adults

Halloween Recap

Better late than never, yes? Totally worth it when you see Auggie in his Olaf costume.

Trunk Or Treat was bigger and better than ever! We had the “party section” with an extra space for chairs, pizza and umm, we’ll call it juice.

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It was 90 degrees so Olaf was not happening. Good thing his Fireman costume from last year still worked (with the hem ripped out anyway…).IMG_8019 IMG_8021 IMG_8014The C Family haunted truck!

IMG_8016 IMG_8026It’s such a bummer no one was dressed as Elsa…

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Too much juice

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Actual Halloween was cooler…but still involved me cutting Olaf’s sleeves off

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I always get really excited to carve pumpkins. Then the reality hits when we sit down to get to work and realize that the kids can’t use the knives. Thankfully B was happy to sort out the seeds for roasting.

If I was a nicer mom, I would let them draw something and then I would carve it. But how can they deny me when I have such talent?!

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Say Cheese

While at the lovely wedding of Ryan and Lisa, I crossed paths with the photographer. After she snapped a picture of me and the banshees, she said “I’ve taken your picture before!”. I’m usually great with faces, but I couldn’t place her. Finally she said “Scottsdale Moms Blog! I took your head shot!”. And it’s still on my About the Author page today.

After seeing the pictures she took at the wedding, I immediately booked her for a family session. Right after that, I started a Pinterest page and the photographer, Stacey and I  set out to coordinate the clothing. I asked the neighbors if we could use their yards as alternative back drops and started threatening everyone in our house that they better get on board because I wanted SMILES in these pictures!

Then something amazing happened…they all enjoyed themselves and actually smiled! They cooperated! It was amazing. And Stacey from Dream Photography Studio is a huge reason why. The best complement I can write is that Peter’s response post session was “That was actually pretty fun. And really easy”. 45 painless minutes yielded so many great pictures, we’re having a hard time choosing which go on the wall!

So here’s just a sample of the gallery we received. If you like, go to Dream Photography Studio to book a session!

View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wand

Day Trip to Flagstaff

Have you ever tried to keep a two-year-old still? If not, I’m sure you can imagine what fun it is.

Before our overnight to the hospital with Auggie, we had been planning a day trip to Flagstaff. I wanted to see the leaves changing and we wanted to get out in the cool air to hike. We decided that the cool air and forced rest (strapped in car seat, strapped in hiking pack, back to car seat) might be just what the Auggie boy needed.

Saturday morning we threw some stuff in the car and took off. That’s the best part about a day trip – light packing. We didn’t need as much which made getting out the door so much easier!

Excited to get there.

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Perfect hiking weather.IMG_7950

Ready to go!

IMG_7947The destination: Red Mountain. The trail was 3 miles round trip and B walked the whole thing!

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Counting tree rings

IMG_7959The trees changed from Pinons to Ponderosa Pines

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B was really into the light layers. Notice she has two sweatshirts and a hat tied around her waist.

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How could he pick just ONE stick?!
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The trail winds through the a volcanic cinder cone. The gravel they are walking through was volcanic rock.IMG_7966 Can you see them way up in the middle?IMG_7968This might be the best picture I’ve ever taken

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This worked just fine on the way up. We didn’t think about how to get down….

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We made it!

IMG_7975IMG_7978Exploring the Hoodoos

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The hazards of baby wearingIMG_7990

Little different picture on the way home

IMG_8011We took the long way home through Sedona to catch a few more changing leaves. Totally worth the detour! Especially when a skeptical Peter declared “Slap a bumper sticker on the truck because I am a Leaf Peeper and I don’t care who knows it!”. Which was a hilarious way of saying that he was enjoying himself. I snort laughed for the next 2 miles.

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As we pulled into Phoenix, we were welcomed home with one of the most amazing sunsets. A perfect end to a great day!

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If you want to check it out, see the link below for directions. This was a fantastic hikes for kids – flat and lots of interesting things to keep them moving and exploring!

Red Mountain Trail #159

What to Bring to the Emergency Room

Just a week ago, Auggie and I were sitting in the Emergency Room. We had been sent there by his pediatrician after he explained that he did not have the kind of breathing treatment Auggie need for croup. The poor guy’s lungs were working great, but his trachea was so inflamed, he was struggling for each breath.

Thankfully we live near a great pediatric ER (Scottsdale Healthcare Shea campus was fantastic!) and shortly after arriving, he was breathing easier. But because he was still having some difficulty, we got to stay overnight at the hospital so they could keep an eye on him.

As I laid on the bench in the quiet hospital room listening to Auggie breathe while he slept, I thought about what I would do for a sweatshirt and socks. Being that it had been 90 degrees that day, I was in shorts and flip flops. And I was freezing. But it was late and it had been such a long day, I didn’t want to wake anyone up. I eventually crawled into the bed with Auggie and layered on the blankets – all in the name of making sure he was breathing ok, of course.

So. If I had to do it all over, knowing what I know now, here’s my thoughts on what you need to bring if you find yourself in the same situation:

1. Sippy Cup.

This one I actually had. Auggie is a big water drinker so I usually have a cup in my bag. For almost any condition, they are going to be pushing the fluids on your little one so having a familiar cup is helpful.

2. Ipad. Iphone. Electronic game of some kind!

What a lifesaver. We don’t normally let the Ipad go with us, but he was feeling so crummy, I let Auggie bring it to the doctor. Thank goodness we did because you know what isn’t on those super fancy TVs in the ER rooms at 6pm? That’s right, cartoons. And when your munchkin is hysterical over the face mask they have to wear and are generally feeling bad, there’s nothing like a little electronic distraction.

3. Chargers.

If you have a second to think before leaving the house, grab your phone and Ipad charger. I did not have either and my phone died about 3 hours into our visit.

4. Sweatshirt and Closed Toe Shoes.

Hospitals? Are freezing. It’s good for keeping germs down, but not so good if you’re trying to keep your teeth from chattering.

5. Blankie / Lovey / Pacifier.

I thought more than once that having one of Auggie’s blankets might have made him a little more comfortable.

6. Call in Favors.

I think one of the reasons that we didn’t have to wait forever in the waiting room of the ER was because A. our pediatrician called ahead. They gave the ER the details on the medications Auggs had been given in the office as well as dosages so they were able to hit the ground running. And B. Peter called a friend of his who is an ER doctor at another campus of the same hospital network. He was kind enough to call the doctor at the ER we were at and ask him to get us in quickly. While I think we would have been well cared for without those things, it sure doesn’t hurt. Especially when you are stressed with a sick kiddo.