catch-up part 1 of 4

2015 Babies

It’s been a while… 

Meredith turned two-years-old this month, and it’s only fitting as her new year begins, for me to play massive catch up. The last update was when Meredith was 6 months, so there has been a lot of growth happening around our household, including a sweet little boy. He keeps getting bigger and sweeter; you’ll see that, too. This means it’s been almost a year+ since I’ve updated you on their sweet transitions from baby to toddler. My heart aches a little because I feel like all my photos and all my memories aren’t solidified until they are published on this little blog. So, instead of starting now with the new renovations, recipes, and moments, and there are exciting ones (eek!), I’ll do a mini catch up, in four parts, to make my heart happy and hopefully yours, too.

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Let’s do this…

We spent the fall 2015 enjoying Dallas again. As the summer temperatures slowly faded, we embraced the fall weather with open arms. Jack enjoyed entertaining Dad with his Mizzou gear. We really do love football season around here. MIZ and Go Packers are definitely words our babies know well.

Mizzou Jack
Plano had their annual balloon festival, where we arrived just in time for the lighting of the balloons and to worry Jack a little with the sounds of all the balloons being blown up.
Plano Balloon Festival
We visited pumpkin patches at the Dallas Arboretum to get our yearly fix of pumpkins! In Dallas, pumpkin patches are more like a glorified outdoor petting zoo for kids with pumpkins dispersed about. Jack and Meredith absolutely loved it!
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Jack riding pony
PicMonkey Collage
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Arb Pumpkin Patch
We celebrated Meredith’s baptism weekend with family. We’re always so grateful for our families making the trip down to Texas and only wish we could have them down more often. Or be closer to home. I guess I’ll just have to keep having babies so they keep making the trip! Ha.
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Meredith had a wonderful time taking up the spotlight on her big day. What a beautiful day for our sweet baby girl. She did great in church, but enjoyed her Papa even more.
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We picked my brother and sister-in-law as Meredith’s godparents and were so thankful they were able to make the trip down for the occasion. Meredith’s smiling ice-blue eyes are identical to my father’s and brother’s, so it’s only fitting we have Eric as her godfather.
J+E Baptism
And then it was back to our normal routine as a family of four. There were a lot of lazy mornings spent lounging, playing, and making brunch. This usually involved good breakfast food and long adventurous walks.
French Toast
Jack always has to stop for sticks or rocks on our walks. This kid can find them anywhere and Dad loves him bringing them back to our home and yard.
Walking Babies
Jack had his first injury that fall. He was laying on Boston and as Boston got up, Jack hit his ear on the coffee table. I finally reaped the benefits of my day job on this one, though, the doctor I worked with was kind enough to come in and help stitch up Jack’s ear. “You don’t want to sew up your own son, Sarah. I’ll be in to help.”  Jack was a trooper, and I think we missed dinner that night and went straight to ice cream to celebrate his first stitches, not having to go to the emergency room, and Jack taking it like all like a boss! Go Jack! I think sour gummy worms can heal all wounds.
Jack's Ear
When Halloween rolled around, we were prepared for the occasion with 1st Halloween jammies for Meredith. Mer was’t too sure about her first Halloween, but Jack was there to reassure her with hugs; this was going to be a great day!
Halloween Morning
We celebrated with our neighbors, Jack’s first actual trick-or-treating, lots of candy, and some beer for us adults. For Meredith’s first Halloween, she enjoyed being her older brother’s sidekick as a football. The cutest football I’ve ever seen, actually!
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And Jack was a football player. Again, the cutest football player we’ve seen!! Side Note: Mom broke her sewing machine sewing in those cute shoulder pads for Jack! But it was totally worth it!!
J+MBabies on Halloween
Jack's 1st Trick or Treat
Meredith's 1st Halloween
Neighborhood Halloween II
Neighborhood HalloweenWe ended our night passing out candy to the big kids that could stay up after dark.  We also enjoyed the fruits of their labor, splitting a kit-lat with Jack.
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That night Jack and Mer washed up and got into their matching jammies. The next morning and the month to follow, Jack would ask if he could trick-or-treat again. Please mom, just around the block, that was fun! Ha. (Sorry, this one was from my phone and a little blurry. But I loved it too much not to share!)
Halloween jammies
Meredith had her first plane ride in November. I flew alone with her up to Wisconsin. We were lucky enough to sit in first class and have this wonderful grandfather of two sitting next to us. He even held her by the bathroom door after I changed her, so I could go to the bathroom. PSA: I know it’s hard, but be kind to parents with children on the plane; they want their children to be quiet and calm as much as you do. I’ve been pretty lucky with our two travelers and more empathetic than ever before to others.
Mer's 1st plane rideWhile Mer was up in Wisconsin, because I was still nursing full-time, Jack spent Thanksgiving with Grammie and Papa at their farm. I don’t think he was too upset about that.
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Meanwhile, the hubs and I spent Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field with my brother and sister-in-law. Back in August, he surprised me with this awesome gift to see the Thanksgiving game at Lambeau, and to have my brother and sister-in-law there too, was a wonderful (and too quick) trip for all!

Green Bay welcomed us back with rain (we were wishing for snow) and cold temperatures. You can definitely figure out who lives in Fargo and who lives in Dallas from the picture below. We had amazing seats provided by my Dad and waved to Bart Starr and Brett Favre that night.  Brett got inducted into the football hall of fame and I became a Brett Favre fan again, a little, that day. Why the Vikings Brett, Why?!? Gosh, I hate purple and those stupid Vikings!

Packer Game
Lambo IIWe drove down to Missouri after our magical night with Meredith and picked up our sweet baby boy in Missouri. Their cousins were there to keep them entertained and not wanting to leave.
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We headed home with heavy hearts always longing for more time and to be closer to our family. We stopped at our usual Steak n’ Shake to fuel up for the rest of the ride home. Jack enjoyed a cheeseburger, fries, and split an Oreo shake with Dad. All were happy campers to get out of the car for a while!
Steak and ShakeIn December, we continued to enjoy the Texas mild weather with park dates and long walks.
Park Date
My favorite season was upon us now! We scurry around decorating for the Christmas season and try to absorb all the magic of the season. I always wish Thanksgiving and Christmas weren’t so close and Christmas could last three whole months. The tree falling on the hubs started off the season with a literal bang! Luckily, no one got hurt and the tree looked beautiful as always when it finally was in the stand.
Xmas Tree 2015
Jack spent the majority of the season counting ornaments and being told not to touch them. It was a tough task all season. Mer on the other hand worked on her lego eating skills, started to crawl, and holding herself up. Oh, the magic of the season.
Xmas Tree
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Jack and xmas tree
Jack and I also had a heated debate about the importance of not throwing anything at the tree. To this day, we are still missing two magnets from Jack’s magnadoodle he got that year, and no one seems to know where they went?
IMG_2335We went to the Dallas Arboretum for their display of Twelve Days of Christmas. My favorite was Seven Swans a Swimming, with two of my favorites gazing in awe.
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Dallas Xmas Arb
Our sweet community puts on a Santa’s Village throughout the Christmas season. Every night, Santa graces us with his presence, coming in a on fire truck and greeting all the children waiting in line. Jack talked up a storm in line waiting for the jolly guy, but when it was our turn it was nothing but tears. Oh, sweet Jack, maybe next year!!
Visiting Santa
We spent our “Christmas Eve” making cookies and assembling “minimal assembly required” toys until midnight! I enjoyed a couple sips of coffee before reading the directions for the hubs.
Christmas Eve.jpgOur Christmas at home was wonderfully simple. We woke up with coffee in hand and enjoyed the kids wide-eyes at all the treasures under the tree.
Mer's 1st Christmas
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Then it was time for the Christmas shuffle as we hit the road to enjoy Christmas with our families afar. We spent Christmas in Missouri, but we decided to spend a few days at the farm before heading into the city to spend Christmas with the family. Jack absolutely loved it, and I was happy I packed his rain boots.
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JPS Farm 2015
After our time at the farm, we headed to see the whole crew for Christmas. We spent more time outdoors. Jack and Mer loved playing with their big cousins, and the weather was wonderful for December.
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Sweet Jack postponed his nap, so the big kids wouldn’t have to wait to open presents. He was in a daze the whole time, but endured the chaos of the moment and loved opening up his gifts.
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Plus, he had a lot of help if he got sleepy.
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Mer kept busy with all the cousins and aunts that wanted to hold her.
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New Year’s was spent in Wisconsin and another airplane ride. Jack is becoming an old pro on flying by now. Plus, the stars aligned and there was an open seat next to us! So Mer was able to stretch her little legs, and I didn’t have to have her on my lap the whole time! Win-Win!
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My dad picked us up and we stopped off at Mullin’s Cheese to enjoy a Wisconsin delicacy: The Cheese Curd! Wisconsin genes are strong in Jack. He loved them, squeakiness and all! Mer took a little cat nap and will enjoy some cheese curds in her milk later!
Cheese.jpgThere was a lot of lounging and sleeping during our Christmas/New Years in Wisconsin. Jack slept with Grandpa Wayne at night. He was in a crib in my Dad’s room, woke up saying he was cold, so my Dad brought him into his bed and was the perfect heater. I walked in to get him in the morning and saw them both sound asleep. My heart skipped a beat that morning.
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We opened presents New Year’s Eve and visited my sweet Mom in her assisted living facility. I did my usual prayer and cursing of God for the disease she has but thanked him for the amazing gifts I have in my life and my children. I always find comfort in my made up idea that she had a talk with God many years ago, giving up her own health to guarantee her grandchildren’s health, because these kids are pretty perfect. I know it’s silly, but it’s the only way I can make it through those sour moments at her assisted living seeing a shell of what she once was. She hasn’t known me for years now, but what hurts me the most is that she will never know her grandchildren.
That night I stayed up to see the New York ball drop at 11pm and was fast asleep around 11:10pm. It’s hard getting old.
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Mom 2015
We were off again to Texas. Another plane ride with my wonderful babies and another year upon us.
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This ends 2015! I’ll be back with the first third of 2016; including Meredith’s first birthday collage, Easter and many moments in between.

Welcome Back, Friends.

christmas cut-out cookies

Cut Out Cover

I was feeling down that I hadn’t made Christmas cookies during the allotted weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Between being sick, sleepy, holiday parties and having a busy office, I didn’t have time. The weekend before New Years, I found time to whip my favorite rendition of cut out cookies and suddenly my world was complete again. It comes from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, and I love them. They come out fluffy and perfect every time.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups powered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Easy Creamy Frosting

    • 1-2 tablespoons half-and-half
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Start by mixing all the “wet” ingredients. Softened butter, powered sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda, cream of tartar. Mix together. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet and mix until combined.

Mixing Cookies (wet and dry)

Place dough in a mixing bowl and place into a refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

mixed cookie dough

Once dough is chilled, take out about 1/4 of the dough and start rolling it on a floured surface.

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Roll dough to about 3/16″ thick and start using your Christmas cookie cutters! I love mine; they are super old-school and make great sized cookies.

Cutting out cookies

Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 7 – 8 minutes. Pull out cookies when they look nice and fluffy and a very, very light brown on the edges. You don’t want to overcook these babies; they’re the best soft!

baked cookies

While the cookies are cooling, start making your frosting. Mine again comes from the classic Betty Crocker cookbook. Combine all ingredients and mix together until smooth.

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You can frost them with just the white frosting and maybe add sprinkles?

Frosting Cookies

Or add some food coloring to make your cookies really pop! I personally like food coloring with no sprinkles, but enjoy them any way you like! Happy New Year, Friends! I may just wipe up another batch for Valentine’s day, too!

Cut Out Final

christmas 2012

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Holy Cow 2013, hold on! I still have a couple things (two more posts, to be exact) to talk about in 2012! :) 

If someone would have said going into the medical field you might not be able to take off during the holidays, I might have reconsidered. Seriously. It’s the sacrifices I have to make and I’m glad my family and spouse understand. This year we only made it to St. Louis instead of our usual Christmas festivities in both Missouri and Wisconsin. In lieu of work, we were able to squeeze a couple of days in St. Louis with our family. We spent the weekend enjoying each other’s company, ate way too much, and laughed often. On Saturday morning, everyone got up to start the Christmas excitement of opening presents and climbing on presents.

Climbing on present

Climbing on presents

The excitement of all the kiddos was so much fun to watch. It really never gets old!

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Even our dogs got some love and presents!

Anna & Boston

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After all the festivities, everyone went their separate ways. We drove back earlier than expected because of the weather forecast and spent Christmas day in Texas with our boys. I captured a couple more pictures of our festive house. We even got a little snow on Christmas day! White Christmas!! Yay!

Christmas Lights

Entryway Xmas

Christmas Tree 2012

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I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season with your friends and family! Happy 2013, friends.

kringla

The in-laws made another journey down to help us with some household projects, enjoy some fun Halloween activities, and to teach me the Norwegian art of making kringla. My mother-in-law is Norwegian and has come from a long line of kringla-making family members. It was my turn. This fabulous floury cookie is wonderful with coffee and milk!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks margarine (I used butter)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups flour

Start by creaming sugar, butter, eggs, and salt.


Add buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.


Mix well. Don’t be afraid of over mixing! Make sure to mix everything well, especially the butter.


Put mix in refrigerator overnight or until cold.


Once the dough has chilled, roll dough on floured cloth. We used a Bethany Pastry Cloth.


Start by spooning out about 1 cup of dough and rolling it into a ball with floured hands. Then roll the ball into a log roll that is about 1″ thick. Place the rest of the dough back into the refrigerator.


Cut log roll into 1/2 inch sections.


Roll sections into about 8 inch lengths or the size of a pencil.


Then fold the “pencil” dough in half.


Twist and form a circle!


The wreath or infinity are the most common shapes in our household.


Bake on greased cookie sheet at 450 degrees until they puff up (about 2-3 minutes).


Then put them under the broiler until they are light brown on top! Watch very very closely on this process; you can burn them in seconds! Trust me!

This is one of those floury, semi-sweet gems that taste so good as a snack, or for breakfast or dessert. My mother-in-law even suggested giving them as Christmas gifts! What a fun idea. Thank you to Julie for sharing her skills; I think all the photos above were of her cookies. Ha. But don’t worry if they don’t look perfect, they still taste great!

Enjoy and Happy Week!

good morning 2012

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’
Now the days go by so fast

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California I think you should

Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it’s one more day up in the canyon
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean I guess I should

Thank you Counting Crows ~ Here’s to a little, okay A LOT of hope that 2012 could be better than the last, well, last couple years… Long story. 

Paul and I spent our New Year’s Eve day working around the house. It’s amazing how different New Year’s Eve plans change when you are old-ish. Years prior, I would plan weeks, months in advance, to figure out what to wear and where we were going to celebrate the ball drop. Now, I spend most of my New Year’s Eve figuring out what I want the new year to be/bring and reflect on the good and bad that had come from the year or years prior. I try my best to bring the good into the new year and correct any bad. I can say I’ve probably learned the most this past year in my relationship, self, the world, and employment than I have any other year in my life. I’ll keep the positive and try my best to push the sad things of 2011-or so, to the back of my mind. I’ll leave the knowledge I’ve acquired this year to myself. But the two main things: The world isn’t black and white and there’s more than one way to skin a cat… and make yourself happy, selflessness in moderation. 

Otherwise, Paul and I had dinner with Amelia and Bryan, a sweet Dallas couple at Sevy’s!  What a great meal and conversation.

We opted to head home for the ball drop and enjoy the first minutes of the New Year with Boston and Otis…

My New Year’s Resolutions

Personal Growth

  • Read a book a month
  • Continue with design & photography (take more photos of people!)
  • Be honest with myself and others.

Health

  • Floss!
  • Get more toned…

Religion

  • Go to church, every week I’m in town.
  • Volunteer.

Work

  • Be early to work (15 minutes not 2 minutes).
  • Meet new PA’s in the area.

Relationship

  • Be 100% in it…
  • Travel home to my family every other month.
  • Communicate more with friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful 2012!

christmas 2011

I spent the Christmas holiday in Wisconsin.  It was so nice to be up north at Christmas with the whole family and cooler weather!  There is something great about celebrating the holidays in the elements, or at least looking outside at the elements, while staying warm indoors.  I flew to Minneapolis and caught my connecting flight to Wisconsin; during my layover, it started to snow! I captured a photo of at the airport, as I was getting really excited for the upcoming adventure home to celebrate the holidays!I got into my family’s home and couldn’t help but take pictures of the Christmas decorations. I’ve come to think this is standard operation in everyone’s household but have since realized how lucky I am to have had such a warm and inviting home every season.The Christmas festivities have taken on a new and exciting meaning this year with the new additions to our growing family.  My brother (and sister-in-law) have 2-year-old twins and a 3-month-old, which are really starting to enjoy and understand the magic of Christmas!  The twins know “Santa” and Ho, Ho, Ho and PRESENTS! Lots of presents! And Santa is watching, don’t do that.  Works like a charm!  It’s been a really fun transition for the Christianson household to go from three adult couples to now three amazing children running around!I’m excited for the years to come where they truly understand the Christmas traditions.  Aunt Sarah is really excited to conger up more lies about the North Pole, reindeers, and Santa!  They will thank me, too, because I’ll be right there with them yelling at Grandpa C, as he tries to explain the necessity to take a shower prior to anyone heading downstairs to see what Santa has brought them!

COME ON GRANDPA!

We had our annual family traditions of eating and drinking way too much and celebrating with the ladies on the Christianson side with our annual lunching on Christmas Eve day!  I love this tradition and am so lucky we have such strong and vocal women in our family.  This extends to my Michalik side as well!  After lunching, we have the whole Christianson clan over for Christmas Eve dinner.On Christmas day, after opening all of our presents, we decided to frost Christmas cookies with the twins!  I think this will be another Christmas tradition!  It was so much fun for them.  Though we did find sporadic cookies on the floor licked clean of any frosting…  I wonder who that was?

The twins loved the sprinkles!!I’ll leave you with my favorite holiday pictures!  Kids in jammies! Except I didn’t get Ms. Eleanore in her princess ones…What a magical Christmas!  Seeing Christmas through children’s eyes makes everything more fun!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

a few of my favorite holiday things

door decor

fresh cut christmas tree’s

fireplaces & stockings

holiday baking

christmas cookies – with old school cookie cutters.

puppy chow

new places

my 5 favorite holiday movies… minus It’s a Wonderful Life.

a big yellow dog

starting my new year’s resolution early… but realizing the need to bring the point-and-shoot.

otis

vino, lots of vino.

Happy Holidays.