Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 364 - December 30

I feel like I should have something super special for the last couple of days of the year. Instead, I just have the only pictures I took for the day. But they're funny.

And I'm using two because neither one tells the true story all by itself.

So I was talking to Mom on the phone this morning. I sat down on my bed and Cate promptly "asked" to come up with me.

She climbed into my lap and, the next thing I knew, she had gotten very quiet and still.

Because she fell asleep like this.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 363 - December 29

I no longer have to go totally and completely out of my way to get Dunkin.

The new one opened here in Mobile just before Christmas, and there was much rejoicing in the Dorval household. Especially since it's pretty much right next door to the ballet studio, so Jason will be able to go every single week when he takes Michaela to ballet. Happy man.

I don't get down to that part of town often, but a highlight of going gown shopping today was knowing I'd get to drive right by it on the way home. I needed the pick me up after gown shopping. Happy girl!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 362 - December 28

Back in November, we got crafty with buttons at my MOPS meeting. I then framed this about 3 weeks ago, and it's been leaning against the wall in the office since then.

Oddly enough, it took about 5 minutes to hang it today. Go figure.

Look how crafty I am!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 361 - December 27

Obviously the younger sister gets to see her older sister dress up a lot. And, apparently, dressing up looks fun.

Which is how this ended up happening today.

The face, well, that's just Cate.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 360 - December 26

We got to extend Christmas a little, thanks to a box of gifts getting here today.

And, my goodness, did we have a VERY happy girl on our hands!

(Well, two girls. But Cate got her big gift from them already because they shipped it directly to us. I took the picture of that yesterday, but I figured I'd give them both fair play.)

The quote of the day:

"I finally got my tail!!"

Day 359 - December 25

Merry Christmas!!!!!

I'm fairly certain that, due to a small child deciding she didn't want to sleep for a while sometime around 10pm-ish, therefore pushing back our entire to-do list on Christmas Eve, this picture was taken just after midnight, technically on Christmas.

And, because I couldn't choose one, or even two, pictures of the girls from Christmas morning, I'm going with this one.

Day 358 - December 24

These girls....

My heart....

Day 357 - December 23

Not a bunch to say about this one...

Lulu's last ride for 2013. We'll see her again next year!

Day 356 - December 22

Every once in a while, Jason is a genius.

Like tonight, when he put together Michaela's bike instead of waiting until Christmas Eve.

Smart man!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 355 - December 21

Holy cow! Only 10 days to go!! Once again, the question is, do I try to keep going or go back to a regular blog and hope I keep up with it. I've been so crappy about staying on top of this over the last few months that I'm not sure I want to attempt it just to fail. Ugh. We'll see how I feel on the first.

Meanwhile, the year's not over yet.

I was a busy girl this morning. Jason took the girls to the park so I could finally get to wrapping presents. They've been hanging over my head and it's been driving me nuts that I hadn't gotten them done yet.

So in his hour and a half or so away from the house, I knocked it all out. Santa gifts are wrapped, gifts from relatives who nicely shipped stuff to us directly for me to wrap, and even Jason's gifts all got wrapped.

This picture is the before and after of the Santa gifts. I'm just glad we've paired back to the whole "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" method of giving because it makes for a much smaller pile of stuff!

Day 354 - December 20

I found this dress at one of the consignment sales I went to this fall and couldn't resist getting it for Michaela. It has about 700 layers of petticoat tulle and, of course, is the most twirly thing in the world.

If you'd paid attention at all, you know that Michaela's criteria for how much she likes a dress is how twirly it is.

This one wins.

Day 353 - December 19

I couldn't choose between pictures tonight, so I'm doing three.

We went to Bass Pro to go see Santa, taking advantage of Jason's day off and getting the low crowd levels you get on a weekday versus the weekend.

We had a lack of desire to go near Santa on both children's parts, but, after going through once, we went back around and Michaela decided to brave it alone (our first picture has Jason, holding Cate, along with Michaela in it). Cate maintained her death grip on Daddy, so there are no solo pictures of her. I think kids crying on Santa's lap pictures are hilarious, but I just can't bring myself to do it to my own kid. So we'll hope that, in three years, Cate will be over the fear, too. Otherwise, we'll just have the one picture with her as a baby like we'd had of Michaela up to this point.

For those who haven't been before, Bass Pro does a whole big winter set up in their Santa area with toys and games for the kids to play with, tons of cute decorations, and, of course, the big guy himself. So at least I had another opportunity to get a picture of Cate in her cute outfit and a Christmas-y looking scene. And, to round things off, there's a picture of Michaela testing her ability to shoot (it's not good).

Day 352 - December 18

It was school party day for Michaela today.

I won't go into my long rant about the choice of McDonald's for their party lunch (ugh), but at least she had fun.

Who doesn't like decorating a cookie?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 351 - December 17

Cate woke me up by kicking me in the side this morning. She woke up at about 6:20, looking to nurse, and Jason wisely just left her in bed with me as he got ready for, and then left for work. She very kindly slept until 7:45, at which time she promptly started kicking me and crawling on me. Then she pointed to the door in her way of asking to get down and go see Michaela.

I helped her down and she came back a few minutes later with sunglasses that she wanted me to put on her. And she wanted to get back on the bed, probably because her pacifier was still there.

Cate can be cool, even first thing in the morning.

Day 350 - December 16

Today's picture is a picture of a 16 year old picture.

In a facebook group I'm in, we were telling the stories of our engagements. So, of course, I had to dig this one out. And take a picture of it because we didn't have digital cameras back then.

This is moments after we were officially engaged, in October 1997.

We look like kids. Probably because we mostly were.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 349 - December 15

Ten days until Christmas. WHAT?!?!!?

I think I'll just take in the glow of the Christmas tree instead of thinking about how much I still need to do. Otherwise I might flip out.

Day 348 - December 14

Jason and I are giant suckers. A Disney show pops up in our email anywhere locally, and we jump through hoops to try to make it work to go.

This time around, it was Princesses and Heroes on Ice.

I got presale tickets a few months back and then promptly forgot how close our seats were. We were so surprised by how close we were that we sat in the wrong place at first, figuring we couldn't possibly be any closer.

We were about twenty feet from the ice. I took these pictures with my 85mm lens, but it was pretty much what our actual view was. Michaela and Cate were both fully entranced.

Day 347 - December 13

Technically, I took this picture Thursday night. But she wore the same thing to school on Friday, so I'm counting it for then.

Michaela's class was told to dress up as any part of the Nativity scene for school on Friday. Because I'm not at all creative or crafty, the best I could come up with was a blanket and a ribbon to make her into Mary. Oh, and a doll wrapped in a blanket.

I'm going to have to step my game up, I think. Thankfully, Michaela is still too young to notice what a slacker I am. She thought this was the best thing ever.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 346 - December 12

This is what your Christmas "wrapping" looks like when you're a Coast Guard family.

FedEx was happy to see me coming with my two giant IKEA bags full of all these boxes.

Merry Christmas, family!

Day 345 - December 11

I'm getting ridiculously busy as we get closer to Christmas. Thank goodness Lulu provides opportunities for pictures because I haven't had much time to take any others.

Last night, she decided she wanted to check out Cate's gift from Ryan and Gina.

Day 344 - December 10

It's no secret that we like Disney World.

We went there on our honeymoon. And then we went back in 2003 when Disney was giving free tickets to military members and there were ridiculously cheap hotel deals. Of course, those cheap hotel prices cost us thousands in the form of the timeshare we bought, but we've used it almost every year since then.

And that's how I became a Disney geek.

And that's why I squealed when the box showed up the other day with our Magic Bands in it for our upcoming trip!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 343 - December 9

It could be a long few weeks until it's time to take the tree down....

Or I could get tired of saying "No touch, Cate."

Day 342 - December 8

I think Jason may be having a little more fun with this Lulu the Elf thing than he'd be willing to admit to....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day 341 - December 7

We tried to have a little more Christmas-y fun today but ended up slightly underwhelmed by another party.

It wasn't a complete loss, though. Michaela got to decorate a cookie, which is pretty big business to a little kid. She was very deliberate and careful with Christmas-tree-shaped sprinkle placement and then proceeded to eat the cookie in about half as much time as it took her to decorate it. No real surprise there!

Day 340 - December 6

We checked out the North Pole Stroll downtown last night and then figured out that we would've been much better off not bothering.

It was a pretty poorly organized event, a little underwhelming in reality versus how the organizers had talked it up on the facebook page, and, to cap things off, we got blocked into a parking area by an idiot who didn't realize that the reason no one was in that "spot" was because it was the only way out. Ugh.

At least Michaela got to have the fun of writing a letter to Santa and mailing it off. The best part was that it goes to North Pole, AK - a place we've been. I was sure to write our address on the letter, so we should get a return letter as well. Michaela doesn't know about that and I'm super excited to see her reaction.

Day 339 - December 5

I'm hoping to limit the Lulu pictures, but, if all goes well, she'll be a good source of them through the rest of the month.

Jason and I thought her decision to replace the stocking with some of our socks was pretty funny. Michaela, on the other hand, was very concerned about where our stockings went and why Lulu took them away. She was very relieved to see them reappear the next day.

Ah, the mind of a four year old!

Day 338 - December 4

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Boxes everywhere....

This is three different places around the house, and we've added to the piles since. Time to start sending presents to their new homes and get to wrapping!

Day 337 - December 3

There are some nights that, in the thick of things, I sometimes think it might've been better to stop at one kid.

I love Cate and I can't imagine our family without her anymore, but she makes it hard to be her parents sometimes.

This picture shows the aftermath of a night when she literally woke up screaming every 20 minutes. And the little bit of sleeping she did was on top of Jason, in a chair, in the living room. (Which, unfortunately, is not far enough away from the master bedroom for me to sleep through the screaming!) Needless to say, everyone was pretty wiped out the next morning.

And, shortly after I took this little gem, and right before I was going to head out to go to MOPS, Cate vomited on Jason. It was an isolated vomit incident (and gross!), but it gave us a little bit of an idea as to why the night was so bad.

Day 336 - December 2

Michaela's creativity when it comes to various costumes and outfits she's been wearing around the house lately has been pretty awesome.

You never know what she's going to be wearing when she comes out in the morning, or after her "nap" (which is in quotes because she doesn't seem to be sleeping anymore).

This is a sugar plum fairy (apparently they've been talking about The Nutcracker a lot at ballet lately).

Day 335 - December 1

Back to December! One month to go!

While at Hobby Lobby picking out some new decorations for the house, I saw these adorable little trees and ornaments and thought Michaela would love to have her own tree.

That's an understatement. She had a blast picking everything out and even more fun decorating it. I, on the other hand, had to almost tie my hands behind my back so that I wouldn't rip the ornaments off as she put them on so I could spread them out better and make it "perfect."

It's perfect to her, and that's all that matters (I told myself a million times).

Day 334 - November 30

Lulu is back!!!

Michaela was VERY excited, especially since she got to share a little of the lore of Lulu with Mimi and Papa while they were still here.

Now, if only Lulu does the job of keeping her in line like she's supposed to!

Day 333 - November 29

It was our annual trip to Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens!

I busted out the fisheye lens for one part of the lights, where they sort of have a tunnel that's made to feel like you're under the water. I think the effect was kind of cool!

I wish I'd had my settings a little different on my camera so the colors were a little bolder. Probably if I wasn't trying to get caught up on something like 9 days worth of pictures I would've had time to edit and play with it a little. But this will have to do for now.

Day 332 - November 28

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We had a quieter-than-usual Thanksgiving this year, with just Jim and Maryanne joining the four of us.

I just realized as I was getting ready to put the picture here that we didn't even put the leaf in the table. That's a small Thanksgiving!

Day 331- November 27

On our night away, we stayed at the Battle House Hotel downtown.

I think it's safe to say they know how to decorate for Christmas.

(Meanwhile, none of this was there when we checked in the night before!)

Day 330 - November 26

An amazing thing happened on the 26th (and I'm so far behind that I'm writing this on Dec 7th, ugh!).

Jason and I got to go away for a night with no kids.

Jim and Maryanne got into town at about 11 in the morning, and by 5 at night, we left them alone with the two hellions.

The highlight of the night (besides getting to sleep without being woken up by the littlest Dorval) was a fancy dinner out. The food was amazing, but the best part was that we spent 2.5 hours at dinner, talking and laughing and eating and drinking and just getting to enjoy each other's company without having to tend to the needs of the kids in between bites of food.

And I was that person who took pictures of her food. Except that, by the time dessert came, I'd had too much to drink to remember to take a picture of that!

But my entree was DELISH. Coq au vin with a nice slab of foie gras on top, an amazing sauce, and yummy potatoes and veggies. Mmmmmm.....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 329 - November 25

I am such a sucker!

I went to Kohl's today to make a return and an exchange, and maybe spend some Kohl's cash. While waiting in line, Cate got antsy in the cart, so I let her get down and run around a little. She found the Kohl's Cares for Kids display rack.

And Woodstock.

And then I put Woodstock back.

And then she found another one. And hugged it. And walked around like it was already hers.

And then I bought it for her.

I'm a sucker.

Day 328 - November 24

I don't usually get excited about movies coming to the theater. I'll think, "Oh! I want to see that one!" but I don't go all crazy and stand in line for midnight showings or anything.

But "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" came out last week and it was killing me that I wasn't sure when I'd get to see it. Jason and I wanted to go together, but we still don't have a regular babysitter, so we weren't sure when it would happen.

Then a friend was looking for someone to go and Jason kindly told me it was ok if I went to see it before him.

It was fantastic!

I just need someone to explain to me how $8.25 is a bargain at all.

Day 327 - November 23

Michaela was born 4 years and 4.5 months ago (roughly). I have waited that long for this to finally happen.

To this point, both of my girls have both managed to be the kind of kids who fight off sleep like champions once they get past the age where all babies fall asleep anywhere. I think they even fought it off in circumstances when most babies wouldn't be able to.

But Cate finally took the high chair nap.

She's still in the in between stage of kind of needing a morning nap but kind of not, so most time we try to keep her occupied so she doesn't take one. Today we went for a walk before lunch to get everyone out of the house and burn off some energy. It had been a slow start to the morning for the parents, so we had a couple restless kids on our hands. Plus, Cate was trying to fall asleep waaaay too early and a walk will keep her awake.

When we got home, it was lunch time. Cate enthusiastically dove in to her lunch. Until sleep slowly took over. So she had a little snooze and, when she woke up about 15 minutes later, she immediately scooped up a grape and went right on eating like she'd never stopped.

My only regret is that I didn't get the big camera out to take a picture of this. Because it's literally never happened before and probably won't happen again.

Day 326 - November 22

Somehow, Michaela got to be old enough to go to school and to do school programs while there.

All I've been hearing about for weeks now was her up-coming Thanksgiving program and how hard they've been practicing for it. I got a whole dissertation the other day about why she wanted to be able to say "Bang bang" like the pilgrim men and didn't want to say "Mercy me!" like the pilgrim women. I guess she didn't think it was fair that only the boys got to be the men and the girls had to be the women.

She embraced her part, though, and the little program was adorable (if not just slightly gender and racially insensitive....).

There's my little pilgrim woman in the midst of saying her "Meeerrrrcy meeeeee!" line.

Day 325 - November 21

I looked around tonight after dinner and I wondered if maybe some extra kids snuck into the house at some point and helped make the mess. Because I honestly don't know how two children, one of whom can't even talk yet, can make this kind of a mess.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 324 - November 20

It got to be 9-ish tonight and I realized I hadn't taken any pictures today either (like yesterday).

Michaela was already in bed, so Cate was my only choice. Thankfully, she was mesmerized by "The Voice" on my laptop and I could get a quick picture of her without it being all blurry like they usually are when trying to capture the perpetual motion machine!

*sigh* This kid.

Day 323 - November 19

This is a horrible picture - it's a screen shot from a blurry video. But I took no regular pictures for the day so this is what you get.

Cate will dance to any music. Today it was the "CupiG" shuffle, courtesy of the little dancing pig that Mimi gave the girls for Valentine's day last year. She kept getting either Michaela or me to push the button so he'd sing his song again, and then she was dancing in a circle around him.

Crazy kid.

Day 322 - November 18

I'm so proud of Michaela!

When I picked her up from school today, her teacher told me the greatest story!

Apparently, there's a boy in Michaela's class who won't play with anyone at school. He won't do anything when they're in the gym for PE class, he won't play on the playground. The teacher has been working with him for the whole year so far, to no avail.

But somehow, in the gym, Michaela got him to play! I asked her how she did it and she said, "I don't know, I just rolled a ball to him and then we rolled it back and forth!"

Even when she's totally infuriating at home, I can't help but be so darn proud of her for what a great kid she is!

Day 321 - November 17

Because the outfit the other day wasn't enough...

Michaela has decided she wants to wear a bathing suit around the house all day, every day because (as she says), it's too cold to swim so she needs to have an indoor beach party.

Again, there are some battles that aren't worth having. So she wears a bathing suit (it's now Wednesday as I'm writing this and she's worn one every day since Sunday).