parties holidays

thanks

i went to my wordpress dashboard to maybe start a post on life lately, and saw a draft titled “thanks” with this one picture from dane’s first thanksgiving. i created it in september when i apparently came across this old photo and wanted to be sure to include it in my thanksgiving post.D11i know it shouldn’t come as a shock, but bay looks so much like dane! i am so entertained by it.

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we hosted this year… it was nice and low-key and we all ate and drank a lot. the night ended with mike passed out in bed snoring in his sweater and underwear with a mostly full can of coors light on his night stand (and shakespeare at his feet snoring along with him).

i have almost no photos from thanksgiving, sadly, but i did manage to get some ad hoc gopro footage (link to my video masterpiece (sarcastic) HERE!)

2014 holidays etc

just catching up over here. and so ready for post-holiday down time (and sleep!).

but first, c h r i s t m a s .
i was more excited this year than i have been in a long time.
“now!?” dane would say every time we talked about riley and avery coming over and our christmas “party” and santa coming while he slept.. (only if he was a good boy). there was so much anticipation this year, which i think is what the holidays lack when you don’t have little ones to experience the build-up and magic through.

also, santa threats. they really work. we are totally getting that elf next year.

i’ll skip over the early hours of christmas eve including when we let these two zone out in front of a christmas thomas show so they would stop fighting over this balloon (which dane would still not release for fear riley would get his hands on it… a fate worse than death…) (2015=sharing lessons) ).
at least he’s a hugger. riley clearly not feeling it.
later, my brother todd’s family arrived from california and the 3 cousins had their annual reunion. so special.
we bribed them with cookies to cooperate for some of these pictures. is that wrong?
who wants a cookie???

clam chowder and reubens is our xmas eve dinner tradition.

shakey’s christmas presents. every year.

and every year we sit these two down together with the night before christmas book. how precious are they? the little pottery barn kids jammies – worth every penny.

finally, it was here. christmas morning. they somberly walked down the stairs not knowing what to expect… riley was up really early & we had to make liz stall so they could come down together.

i think dane honestly would have been happy with just the little toys in his stalking.
i set up his new trains & tracks in the other room & we told them the elves were playing with them last night… they loved it.

and mike put two presents in the front yard & told them they “fell off santa’s sleigh”… they went nuts. this age is so fun.

christmas was really awesome. its pretty exhausting hosting, but i wouldn’t want it any other way.

then there is b r e w s t e r…
we had a guy renting it for about a month and a half. he left mid december and we went to check on the house.
not good:
there was a dehumidifier malfunction in the basement.. it was basically pumping all the water from the air onto the floor. soaking wet, ruined carpet. we tried to fix it and dry everything up, but it was too far gone. the pad was soaked and we didn’t want to risk any mold.

so we ripped up the carpet and are now faced with a major decision of what to do for flooring down here. more carpet? tile? paint and big area rugs? i wasn’t in the mood to think about this around the holidays. i mean, i usually am and to be honest, now that i’ve had some time to research, i’m sort of obsessed with a particular option that i will share later. of course its on the more expensive end of the spectrum, so i need to let it marinate.

the joys of multi home ownership.

in effort to not end the post with with damp basements and water buckets… here is the buffet with my new chairs and pillows. its coming along! i need to make the cushions and add a couple more pillows but its definitely progress.

mv for riley’s big day

alternative title: 20 pics of cute kids.

friday was pj day at school…

then we woke up the next morning in mv for cousin riley’s birthday party!

the 3 year-old!

3 toddlers tearing apart the house…

the four-legged love of my life..

being spoiled by grandma…

dane’s “why don’t i get any presents” face…

smiley bday boy

cool hat.

dane having a 2 year old moment..

milk face smiles the next morning..

and just when we thought the weekend couldn’t get any better, they leaf surfed.

homeward.

the end.

halloween and other mom things

some very important fall stuff:

for halloween, dane and riley (and mike) were chickens. they were painfully adorable and its hard for me to accept that we might not be able to dress them as matching farm animals for the next decade’s worth of halloweens.

they were so cute and funny and once they realized they got candy from every strangers’ house, they were so into it.

i think mike enjoyed his costume the most (the beer from all our neighbors probably helped).

i have a million pictures, but this little video should capture the essence of the night. 

rewind a week to our pumpkin carving party. we have so much fun with our neighbors!

rewind further to dane’s official half birthday. the big two point five!

 here he is (much blonder!) last year..

i can’t believe how big he is.

two and a half has been huge. dane potty trained like a champ and transitioned into his big boy bed all in a matter of weeks. i’m so proud of him. it was all so much easier than i anticipated. however, i must say that we are seeing a little bit of those terribles. he has some strong, not-always-rational opinions these days and it can really be trying. for example, a major meltdown in the car because the car carrier that drove by us only had cars on the top, not the bottom. he found this intolerable… then when we were at the pet store and i told him all the toys were only for dogs, forget it – super-sized tantrum. my sister promised the phase will pass. riley was a little saint when they visited over halloween weekend… i may have asked her if we could trade for a little while (kidding, kidding).
most of the time, he is the sweetest, cutest, most lovable thing. i am so so excited for this holiday season.

cape cod vaca #4

this was our 4th summer spending the 4th in cape cod. our 4th 4th…  our golden 4th of july!?oooooooooh…

each year has been quite different… pre baby, new baby, with a one year old, and now with this maniac:

this year we had a house full of family- just how we like it.
sister em, her boyfriend quincy, and their sweet pup deliah were our first visitors to arrive. they came thurs. night and we had a lovely evening chatting over delicious vacation beers (don’t they just taste better on vacation?). it was pretty awesome to have a night alone with emmy because i don’t get nearly enough q.t. with her and man i just love this little sis to bits.

the 4th of july, as we know, was a total wash out. but the 7 of us (em, quincy, deliah, me, mike, dane & shakey), the adventurers that we are, got up early and headed to nickerson state park to do our favorite nature walk in the sprinkley rain to our secret beach spot on little cliff pond. we just love it here. since brewster is a jerk about not letting dogs on any beaches during the summer, this is shakey’s favorite place to swim jump around in 1.5 feet of water and dig for phantom clams.
riley, liz & the grandma arrived later that day. despite the storm, we had a wonderful time celebrating “america’s birthday” (i swear we’re not all naked in this picture).
this popping-the-balloons-full of-confetti game was supposed to be like indoor fireworks. riley, however was “traumatized” (my sister’s word) and was hysterically crying. which goes to show that some things that look wonderful on pinterest just don’t translate well to real life (tho dane was sort of into it)…

deliah and my mom were the last to rise saturday morning…

then we had a great big breakfast thanks to emily and quincy. we actually used our new-ish banquet style seating quite a bit over the weekend for the first time since the big kitchen redo!

..the boys’ morning indoor bike ride…

we got in a couple pretty perfect beach days during riley’s visit. the first day the tide was high so we swam, fished and boogie boarded the afternoon away.

the next morning we caught low tide. the weather was glorious. i could have stayed all day. so could dane and riley..
that is, if it weren’t for a very necessary thing called a NAP.

so we napped and regrouped… nonnie & pop joined the party and we had a picture perfect evening at veterans field in chatham where we brought take-out from lorino’s and scored a prime real estate picnic table for dinner.

the coolest part was, i actually knew the starting pitcher for the chatham a’s… i really love cape league baseball.

part of the reason chatham is our favorite cape league destination is the epic playground.
check out that glowing sun setting behind the trees… sigh…

… here with my family watching a little baseball while dane and riley go to town on the playground… white wine in solo cup… it does not get much better than this.

after the game i made mike swing in to alli’s beach where we watch the fireworks every year. because of the rain on the 4th, i knew there would be tons of fireworks along the bay the next couple nights. i was right. they were so good. poor dane was so sleepy. he eventually was like “mamma we go home now?” my sweet baby.. we headed home and crashed hard.

everyone cleared out monday afternoon. it was such a fun, fulfilling weekend. we were so sad to see them go but still pretty euphoric about the fact that our vacation had only just begun!

the rest of the week flew by. we hit up the beach every day. walked to the general store, to brewster scoop, to see trevor the juggler at the church. the camera didn’t come out as much as i wish it had…

casey, lich & chase visited thursday and we spent an awesome day in wellfleet at the beach and the beachcomber.

where both two year-olds successfully napped on the beach! #miracle
dane became a regular beach bum. the bay is so perfect for little guys (he wasn’t so fond of the surf in wellfleet). this reminds me… we also got to watch a bunch of world cup games on vacation. so fun.
as is always the case, we had to put some time into readying the house for renters on friday and saturday. during this time, dane may have spent a little too much time with bob the builder (a particularly intense episode pictured below).
but we feel like the house is better equipped than ever for summer renters. we hope everyone enjoys our house (and are very very kind to it!!).
an awesome week…  it always is. we’ll have to wait until labor day to be reunited with brewster. but its worth the wait!

dane’s 2nd birthday

i blinked and my baby was a 2 year old. his actual birthday was on a school night, but we still wanted to celebrate, so we invited the neighbors over for pizza and cupcakes. they got him some celtics gear, a cool truck and this ridiculous singing, marching donald duck-dressed-as-bunny that he absolutely loved.   bday number 2 was off to a strong start!

shakespeare gets a little jealous of dane’s toys.

this is what one little year can do. it turned my baby into a little person. so crazy.

2013

saturday was party time. the gale fam, auntie emmy, uncle chris and aunt michelle, nonnie, pop and grandma along with his buds dylan and chase were all in on the fun. what a lucky little man to have the best friends and family around. it was a casual, unscripted event, but here is my photo-heavy recap attempt:

this is pretty much the extent of my decorating. we picked up some more pizza, put out some fruit and veggies, chips and dip and called it a day. we would be lost without pizza.

i told the boys to hold up two fingers for this picture…

eventually dane produced this (we’ll have to work on that)..

i tried to get a good picture of him in his funny little birthday shirt but he was always on the go. i asked him to show me his belly & this is what i got.

i filled a cow pinata up with little toys and stickers from the dollar store.

it was cute until dane had a major meltdown when it was someone else’s turn. the terrible twos are for real.

little progress was made until uncle chris stepped up to bat.

we had a lot of helpers when it was time for gift opening. dane got so many fun new toys.. everyone was so generous and dane was on cloud-nine.

the melissa & doug birthday cake was a big hit with the little guys. they were blowing out the candles and couldn’t quite grasp the fact that it wasn’t real!

they all attempted to eat it at least once… just in case…

finally the big toy grill was revealed.

dane has been playing with this every night since the party… “makin steak” and “makin food warm”… then we pretend to eat & he says “dee-licious” and we die….

the gloomy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon and everyone got some outside play time before the cake. early april is an iffy time of year, but we have really lucked out for dane’s past two bday parties.

why i left the cake up on the stand, blocking his face, i do not know. but you can still see that loves blowing out candles and all things cake!

this was his first ice cream cake encounter and he was clearly caught a bit off guard. haha.

ultimately, the dairy queen blizzard cake was a big hit. 

later, the party began to disburse. most everyone was back downstairs watching the final four, while these three got a 3-way tubby session.

i will be so sad when they are too big to wear these footy jammies. i plan to buy them for him straight through high school.

dane is so happy when he wakes up to find his cousin riley is still here. the next day we got to play a little more before the vineyarders had to pack up and head to the ferry.

its becoming more and more clear how much trouble these two will be causing some day.

and i kinda love it.

dane,
you have changed everything. it has never been more clear to me what matters and what doesn’t. i don’t know what i did to deserve you. i miss you every single second we are not together. you are so smart and funny and so so sweet. the more i get to know you, the more i love you. you make me LAUGH and smile. i swear i am not being biased when i say you are freakishly good at hitting a golf ball off a tee.. like borderline two-year-old tiger territory… but no matter what you choose to do in life, i will always be your biggest fan. keep growing and thriving, but slow it down, would ya??!!

love,
mom

this christmas

first things first…
dane had been hearing a lot about this guy santa and just wanted to check him out before letting him creep around his house christmas eve. i thought this was a reasonable request, so we took a train to the north pole. the only train to the north pole…
 

the polar express!

we went to edaville in carver, ma where they have a big holiday light festival, carnival rides, and a train ride to hear the story of the polar express and meet santa claus. dane is really, really into trains, but at first he was very cautious and quiet..

taking it all in as we boarded.

when we arrived at the “north pole”, he was still a little shy.

but soon enough, he was totally on board with the santa thing. the night made for a really nice memory of dane’s first santa encounter. way better than waiting in a line at the mall. he was so cute waving and pointing.. genuine excitement.

in the end, i think the cookie trumped santa.

fast forward to christmas eve.
pure magic.

christmas eve is my favorite. this is how i wish my living room always looked.. a couple guitars, a couple dogs, a fire (and buffalo dip)…

i stayed up late setting up the scooters (from santa), cleaning and clearing the house for the impending christmas morning chaos. when i finally went to bed, i was so giddy with anticipation. i just wanted the morning to come.
 
everything else i have to say about christmas this year is really trite…
the pitter patter of little feet, the wide eyes and big smiles. i seriously forgot christmas could feel like this.
shakespeare was the first to open a gift..

then these two quickly became pros at dismantling gift wrap. they worked efficiently and methodically until every toy was exposed.

aw. just look at the gale family.. i love capturing these moments!

when dane woke up from his nap, much to his dismay, everyone was gone (“yaya?…YiiiiYAA!??!” (that’s how dane says riley)). he got over it pretty quickly when he saw his new train village and then we had a very peaceful christmas evening, just us four.
i didn’t realize quite how special the holidays would become with these little people around. the next few years will only get better. i must give a shout out to emily for handling all the food and cooking. i was able to be the biggest slacker-host ever. thanks davis – fatz family for the best christmas in a looong time! xo

holiday card 2013

a little holiday talk (before i divulge perhaps the biggest cosmetic update to our house yet…)
this year’s christmas card! a simple message of peace & joy, because that’s what i feel when i’m with these two.
2013
have you seen a rounder, more kissable cheek in your lifetime? or a cuter doggie bum for that matter? your answers are no and no WAY.
and now the cards of holidays’ past:
2012

2011

2010

2009

i can’t believe how many we already have in the collection. the years are zipping by!

photo sessions with these two guys are straight up cardio workouts these days. one of us just snaps away while the other corrals the models. it is definitely a two-man job, and yes, there is sandwich meat in the back of the coup.

i chose one of the more candid, artsy photos for the card (there was some really cute stuff we passed up!)

this was the runner-up..

then this happened and our photo shoot was a wrap.

then he befriended a reindeer and everything was ok.

i love our holiday card tradition. i use tiny prints, but there is so much good stuff out there these days for photo cards, they have come such a long way.

my cookie swap

saturday i invited everyone over for my second annual cookie swap. i’m excited to have this new tradition for my family and hopefully all of my friends’ families to look forward to each holiday season.
party hosting is an acquired skill. i get a little better each time and more importantly, feel a little less stressed now that i have a few sessions under my belt. i didn’t have a place for coats. i forgot napkins entirely. dane ate 17 ritz crackers for dinner. but all in all, the night went really well and everyone seemed to have a nice time. how could you not when you are under the same roof as a table that looks like this:
some people made simple cookies and some people made amazing creations such as these kahlua pudding shots in edible dark chocolate cups (whaT.). amazing.
a highlight for me (and naturally the most photographed element of the night) was the four little toddlers running around. all between 18 and 22 months. 
mine is the beefcake in the middle of course.
they even got the chance to make some cookies of their own.

dane and chase were really into it. they worked tirelessly until every last sprinkle was emptied from the shakers.

i was so impressed with dane’s attention span and understanding of the concept. he patted the dough with the fork and pushed the chocolate chips in with his chubby little fingers.. and shockingly didn’t eat a thing! (ok, so clearly he may not have realized it was food).
these three little guys seriously MELT MY HEART.

we also had a big old yankee swap. there was some good stuff.

and some silly stuff.

as the night went on the kids went home and my photography got progressively blurry. 
holiday vests

and inevitably, the grown ups began to play with the kids’ toys.

and that’s what i have to show for my cookie swap party. great friends. great fun.

side note: soda water (or in my case, flavored seltzer) really works for spills & stains. there were a few big spots of chocolate ground into the rug in the aftermath, but the fizzy seltzer lifted them right up. small victories people.