Hollen Holidays | Christmas 2017

Christmas has already come and gone this year and I'm left with a bunch of boxes sitting under the tree that still need to be cleaned up. But, boy...was it a good one. So good, that I hardly took any photos this year. I've decided that is a good sign of how the day went. I hate being so attached to my phone all of the time and I'm truly trying to work on putting it down and living our lives. Yes, I like to document many things but constantly having my phone in my family's face really doesn't help anyone. Anyways...

Marin and I did get some of our Christmas baking in this year. We made reindeer chow again, the same as last year. We were planning on making cookies as well but didn't quite get to those. Now I have a ton of Hersey kisses sitting in my pantry. Darn. That's a such a bad problem to have, right? Marin loves baking only if she can sneak chocolate chips and help me stir the contents of the bowl. She also likes being able to accessorize with a cute apron. I also have been trying all season to get her to watch Elf and she finally said that she wanted to. I love that movie. We've watched it too many times now, but at least she was down for it this year. 

Christmas Eve was a blur and both of us had to work. Marin had a slumber party at the grandparents house the night before. Working for a church, I had a long day ahead of me that started at about 6:30am and didn't really end until about 7:00pm that night. I had a little break in the middle there to go home, try and eat something, and head right back to work. Ryan also worked all day but was able to make it to the evening service. Since Christmas Eve landed on a Sunday, we have 3 services. Two in the morning and a Christmas Eve service at night. Everything went smoothly and the day really wasn't as tiring as I had expected. I did hit almost 20,000 steps that day. Ouch feet. 

The next morning started nice and early thanks to Marin waking early. We opened gifts from each other and the ones that we bought for the kiddos. Marin's biggest wish was a Barbie House, which she didn't get from us. She kept asking about it like..."I did ask Santa for it...so where is it?!" Oh, kiddo. That's not always how it works. But, don't worry, her day ended with a Barbie House. 

After we got ready for the day, we headed to Loveland to have Christmas morning with my side of the family. The morning was filled with lots of kids, food, and opening presents. I soaked it all in and enjoyed it so much. Christmas with a bunch of kiddos around is so much better. 

That afternoon, we headed to Ryan's brother's home for chili, cinnamon rolls, and more gift unwrapping. Marin finally got her Barbie House. It was the last gift she opened that day and I thought she was going to explode with anticipation. She made it though, to the very end. 

The day was a good one. I love that all of our family is near and that we can spend our holidays with them. We ate way too much, got way too many amazing gifts, and the kids both fell asleep on the drive back to our home. Our kids have enough toys to last them through a few years at this point. So many toys. Marin is in heaven. Sully is a little to young to realize that he got a bunch of cool stuff, but Big Sis is making sure his toys also get played with. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Until next year...

Baby Sullivan | Week Twenty Five

Sullivan will be 6 months old in a few days and we are preparing for a new year. I keep coming to the realization that we definitely do not have a newborn anymore. Sully grows a little more every single day. I'm always surprised when I go to feed him in the early hours of the morning and he seems to have grown even within the night hours while he sleeps away in his crib. It's hard for me to believe that we are already almost half way through his first year of life. I truly feel like I was just big and pregnant, wobbling around in our home praying that his delivery would go smoothly. I feel like I was just in the hospital, waking with him every few hours to work on nursing and learn how to be a mother to two little kiddos instead of just one. He fits into our family so well and I am so thankful. 

We dove into feeding Sullivan his first food last week. I thought we went with sweet potatoes but I didn't read the jar well apparently. His food food was officially some carrots. Overall, he did great. A bit messy, but that's to be expected. He went for it and I think he will be a good eater of solid foods just like he is a good nurser. I would really like to expand his palette a lot more than we did with Marin as he grows. Marin would literally eat the same 3 things all of the time and has a hard time expanding her horizons. I need our second child to not survive on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheese. I know, every mom probably says that, but seriously. I hope to introduce him to a lot more foods that we did with Marin. 

That night after we fed him his first solid food was pretty rough though. It took us about 2 hours to get him to finally fall asleep. His poor little tummy was pretty upset and not used to the solid food yet. We haven't tried again, honestly...but I hope to dive back in this week. I plan on not introducing new food so late in the day too. That was our first issue. Poor guy. We are going to take this one meal at a time. 

He is also working on cutting more teeth. His has one on the bottom that is slowly popping out of his gums. I can feel some top teeth making their way out as well. This is all so foreign to me because Marin was so late in getting teeth. He's already a biter and I'm sure we are going to have to work on that. I hope to breastfeed him for at least a year and he needs to be nice to me. 

Week Twenty Five. 

Hollen Holidays | Christmas Decor 2017

I always love this time of year and I say that every year. Decorating for Christmas is always something that I love doing, no matter what season we are living through in our lives. This is the season of a baby and preschooler at home. That being said, a lot of our set up is similar to years past. I added a few new ornaments and some new twinkle lights. We also have a new front door wreath that I didn't take a picture of. It lights ups and the lights are battery operated on a timer. Pretty neat. 

Most of my shopping was done weeks ago for Christmas but until a few days ago, the boxes sat in our spare room. I kept trying to get to it during afternoon nap times but the kiddo's naps and quiet time were all over the place. I finally finished them on Saturday. It is nice to actually have gifts under our tree now. We only get to enjoy them for a week, but oh well. 

I was going to move all of the baby stuff out of the living room before taking pictures but decided that this is our real lives. All of the baby gear is part of our lives at this moment in time and I wanted to document it. I will be glad though when I can sell all of this stuff and not trip over it constantly. 

Marin is very excited about her hanging Christmas tree, the snowflakes on the window, and her ginger bread house. I love all of these things too because it feels like home to me. Don't get me wrong, I do love a perfectly set decorating theme but as long as we have small children, this is how things will be. 

Blink-o always finds his place on our kitchen counter as well. He's a family tradition on the Hollen side and I always like getting him out every year. 

Here's a look at the Christmas decorations of our past, at least far enough back as what's on the blog. I love being able to look back to see how much our home has changed over the past few years. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Twenty Four

Week Twenty Four....We have hit a few milestones this week and I feel like Sullivan will be a teenager eating us out of house and home by next Tuesday. Slow down, kiddo. In a few weeks, he will be 6 months old and I can hardly believe that we will be half way through the first year of having Sullivan in our little family. Time passes so quickly lately and I feel like I was just pregnant or laying in a hospital bed with a newborn in my arms wondering how we were going to do this family of four thing. 

I'm looking forward to Sully's first Christmas this year. I'm sure he won't remember it but it's still fun to wrap up some presents for him and have him experience all of the festivities. I've been singing Christmas songs to him all week at the top of my lungs. He appreciates my singing but Marin tells me to stop. Nope, kid. Not stopping. 

I brought the high chair up from the depths of our spare room in the basement. This Ikea highchair got us through Marin and now Sully gets to use it. It's super cheap and super awesome. You can just hose it down when it gets too messy. I like the look of it and it will find its home at the end of our kitchen table. Our table has two drop down sides and we drop one and put the high chair there. I like it because it feels like an extension of the table and he gets to be up close and personal with all of us. The highchair was the first milestone that this past week presented to us. 

Now milestone two....we have a tooth! It's just starting to bust through the surface of his gums, but it's there! Marin didn't get teeth until almost 44 weeks old! She was really late in the teeth game. Now I do have an explanation for the added fussiness we've experienced this week with Sully. Poor little guy was working on that tooth! He's normally a very happy, chill baby. Teething is proving to be super fun. 

In the next few days, I plan on starting to introduce some food purees to Sully. We usually are in the camp of "food for fun 'til one." I bought some new bibs and bowls. The high chair is in the kitchen. Sullivan watches your every move when you eat already and I'm sure he's ready to dive right in. I'm sure it will be a fun mess. 

Baby Sullivan | Week Twenty Three

This week has been a good one. We are finally all feeling a lot better than we have been in the past. Marin has just a little cough that comes and goes. But, we are finally pretty healthy. I'm just praying it stays that way through Christmas. Growing up, my sister and I always seemed to be sick at Christmas and that is no fun. 

We've been doing lots of Christmas-y things around here. As my previous post mentioned, we met Santa Claus and traumatized Marin forever. I will cherish those photographs forever and just pray that she does better next year. She just keeps saying, "I was trying to be brave, but that Santa was kind of scary." Better luck next year. 

Saturday night we went with the Hollen clan to Spring Creek Gardens to see their light display. It was very cool. Tons and tons of lights, carolers, Santa Claus. There was no way we were standing in line to see Santa again though and I'm sure Marin was totally fine with that. We are getting a lot of use out of our double stroller these days and I'm very glad we found it when we did. 

Monday we went out to dinner in Loveland with my parents and the kiddos. Afterwards we went to a sculpture park with another light show there. We went and watched the ice skaters at the rink and Marin is totally enthralled with ice skating now. She thinks it's pretty cool. 

I'm certain Sully is nearing the 20lb mark and I can hardly carry him in his carseat anymore. That's going to have to change soon. I can't keep paying for the chiropractor because my kiddo is such a beast. But, he's adorable and we love him. There's just a lot of him to love. I've been having a lot of aches and pains lately and I'd really like for them to go away. 

He's been waking up at least once per night, anytime between 2:30am-4:30am. Mama is getting pretty tired. I think he just wakes up and thinks he needs little snack. I need to research night weaning. I don't think he needs to be fed at that point anymore but he also soaks a diaper at night and I think that wakes him up. I would like to get a little more sleep. Lately if it's close to 4am, I just get up. Granted, I get some uninterrupted mommy time after I feed him, but it's still freaking early. 

Week Twenty Three.