December Days

Since coming home from New York I feel like life has been a whirlwind of holiday events. As usual, this month is passing by way too fast and I think I should have done a better job planning it out so that we could relax and enjoy the season a bit more.  Already marking off dates for next year ;) 
We have done lots of fun stuff so far though including getting our very first real Christmas Tree!

We made a trip to our local Christmas tree farm to pick it out and it was so pretty right at sunset.  The weather was warm enough to just hang out and look around for a while before we picked out the perfect tree.  I was a little disappointed when Chad refused to cut the tree down himself, but we opted for the pre cut since we were running out of daylight.  We bought big, old fashioned, colored lights to decorate it with and little O just loves it.  I have yet to put any actual decorations on it yet (or take a picture of it), but I kinda like it that way.
Olivia (and Chad) attended her first Gardendale Christmas parade!  She got to stay up way past her bedtime and eat lots and lots of candy so I think she had a pretty good time, even though she wouldn't smile for the camera to save her life.  She had a blast with her cousins and their friends too.  She walked around giving everyone hugs to pass the time before the parade started :)

Everyone has heard of the Polar Express, right?  Hot chocolate and cookies in your pj's on a real train to the North Pole to visit Santa himself!  You know we had to jump on that experience.  I had been excited about this one for weeks, we even got our tickets months in advance.  I dressed Olivia in her cutest jammies and matching bow and I even wore coordinating pajamas with her.  We picked Chad up at work because you can't be late to these things.  Approximately 1 mile from our destination my child starts pulling on her car seat and saying "out, out, out" and we tell her just a minute, we are almost there.  It wasn't soon enough.  She threw up everywhere.  Not just a little.  I am talking all over her and the car seat soaking her perfect little jammies and covering the straps of her seat so deep you couldn't even see them across her chest.  I pulled into a gas station to assess the damage. I opened the back door and one look (and sniff) was all I could handle.  Poor Chad had to dig her out of her seat while I tried not to watch being totally useless, I know.  He handed her to me and I peeled her clothes off and wiped her down with a wet wipe the best I could and covered her up with a blanket.  You know, all good moms carry an extra set of clothes with them wherever they go.  I of course, had nothing with me at all.  I was just about ready to hang it up and head home when Nana called and assured me she would be fine in an oversized t shirt from the gift store and her jacket.  Olivia was dancing in the front seat, pushing every button she could get her little grimy hands on and seemed to be feeling fine, just car sick.  We decided to go ahead with the evening and ended up having a good time.  We did almost miss the train and my kid looked like a homeless child we picked up off the side of the road, especially since I brought her barefoot because I was rushing from the car to the train we were about to miss.  It was only 40 degrees outside, who needs shoes?  She danced her little merry shoe-less self to the Christmas carols and screamed her head off when Santa came near (as expected) and it was a jolly good time.  I guess I can say I will never forget her first trip to the Polar Express.

Supper club this month got switched to our house and I was super excited to make it festive.  We had white chicken chili, grilled cheeses and salad along with a ton a yummy sweets.  I am so thankful for these sweet friends and that we make a point to hang out at least one night each month.  Life is so busy it is so nice to just hang out with your friends sometimes.

I hope everyone is enjoying their December so far and soaking up every last minute of holiday goodness!  I have about 73 presents to wrap so I guess I better get to it!
Only 10 days until Christmas, you ready?

New York, New York!

Ever since I was little I have always loved watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv and only dreamed that someday I might get to experience the magic in person.  This year we decided to make it happen.  My parents and brother Jacob joined Chad, Olivia and me on the big trip.
I was a little nervous to take a baby to New York and mostly nervous about the plane ride with a child who does not do well in confined places.  Even though she had to get up early this chick was all smiles running around burning some energy off before our flight.

I brought lots of snack and a few new toys to try and occupy her.  Chad and I both ended up with stickers from the tips of our noses to our fingertips.  She did surprisingly well even without a nap all day.  She did fall asleep propped up on my hand in the cab ride to the hotel and I even managed to put her on my shoulder and get checked into our room before she woke up.  We had dinner that night at the hotel, in a super fancy French restaurant.  My child ran amok and I ended up having to take her back to the room early so the other patrons didn't get together and start throwing things at our loud table.  I am proud to report that baby girl slept in the crib in her own little room (we had a suite so it was really the living room area) every night we were there!
We had a jammed packed schedule to make sure we got to see everything that we wanted to see.  My family had never been to New York before so we hit up all the major tourist traps.  Sunday we went to the statue of liberty.  We brought the stroller and didn't even end up using it.  I strapped her in the ergo and we traveled the city tandem all week.  I highly recommend this if you plan on taking a baby to a big city with a lot of walking and public transport.   The weather was absolutely perfect the first part of the week.  It was in the high 50's and even got up in the high 60's one day.  We couldn't have asked for better sightseeing weather.

That evening we went to Top of the Rock (the observatory at Rockefeller Center).  The views were amazing, but Olivia had a blast in the rainbow room.  She stayed in there forever and was dancing and putting on a show for everyone who walked in. 
One of our favorite parts of the trip was brunch at the American Girl Doll Store.  Olivia is obsessed with babies right now and she had a blast.  Everything there is so cute and they really cater to the little girls.  They even have a wall of dolls and you get to pick one out and let it eat with you, in it's own high chair and everything, I die! 

They brought her doll a cup an saucer and Olivia fed her every bite that she took as well.   If you have a little girl who enjoys baby dolls this is a must do!  We went down to the shop after brunch and let Olivia pick out her first doll.  I was going to get one of the bitty babies at first, but we both fell in love with Caroline.  We let her get her out and play with her there, but then put her up for Christmas.  Hope she doesn't remember ;)
Later that day, Chad Olivia and I went exploring around central park.  It was such a beautiful day and not too crowded since it was a weekday.  After seeing some of the famous sights we found a kiddie park and let little O swing.  We were surrounded by locals and I thought it was so cool.  It was mostly nannies with the babies and it was packed out, I guess because it was such an unusually warm, pretty day.  I love getting to experience some of the culture when I go places and Olivia loved swinging, as always.  We ate a hotdog from a street vendor and headed off to our next adventure.

Tuesday we went to the 9/11 memorial and museum.  In hindsight, maybe not the best place for a toddler.  It was very beautiful and heartbreaking and I wish that I could have spent more time reading every detail and looking at everything, but my child was not feeling it at all and since she was strapped to my chest, she won.  After waiting on the others to finish in the museum we grabbed a slice of pizza and a local hole in the wall place that turned out to be great.  Olivia stole my piece of pizza and ate almost the entire huge thing!

We also went to the Empire State building after lunch.  Olivia had enough excitement and fell asleep on the subway ride.  I have to say how nice everyone was on the subway.  It was very crowded most of the trains we got on, but I always had at least a couple of people offer me their seat, since I was carrying Olivia.  I guess they don't see a whole lot of babies up there either because everywhere we went people would stare and even come talk to her saying things like " oh look, a baby!"  It was a very unexpected, pleasant surprise.

This girl couldn't miss the views from the top, she was wide awake for that.  We decided to make a day of it since she already had a little nap in the carrier and go exploring some more.  We went to Macy's on the hunt for Santa.  We traveled all the way up to toyland on the 8th floor to find out he was gone and wouldn't be back until after Thanksgiving.  It would have been nice if one of the employees we had asked for directions in the store had mentioned that, but oh well.  I wish I had more time to really look and shop a little in there, it is huge!!!  It was still a fun experience.
(yeah I know, all of our pictures are pretty much me and Olivia strapped in, but that is what you get when you have three people and two of them are conjoined and one doesn't care for pictures too much anyways)

After Macy's we went down to the Brooklyn Bridge.  We only walked half way across since it was getting late, but I loved getting to see that piece of history.  I tried to talk Chad into stopping through Chinatown on the way back to the hotel, but he and an ill child decided we needed to get back to the room and rest before dinner.
Mom and I went to see Wicked and it was so amazing!  It was also fun to have a little girl time alone with my Mom since we never do anything like that.  It was such a great show and a fun night. Excuse the super close selfie. We also laughed until we cried taking about 50 selfies before the show started to get one that we both approved of. 
Thanksgiving Day we had reservations at 7:30am at the Landmarc restaurant in the Time warner center, right on the parade route.  The food was delicious and Olivia and I went to the viewing room early to get a spot. 

We watched about half of the parade there and it got so crowded event though we were in the front I had children climbing all over me and stepping on me and O was not loving it so we bailed.  We fought our way through a mob to get back to our hotel and as we were walking in I looked to the end of the block and there was the parade!!!  Why our hotel didn't tell us that the parade passed right by, I don't know, but we were so excited.  It was freezing cold and raining/snowing so Chad took Olivia up to the room and Mom and I stayed out to watch the end of the parade.  I have to say that seeing Santa in person was pretty magical.  It really got me in the Christmas spirit.

That night we had dinner at Ruth's Chris and I enjoyed some yummy turkey and dressing.  It was very important to eat turkey on Thanksgiving and I was thrilled when I saw the menu.  Olivia did not take a nap at all that day and after getting up at 6:30 am to make it to breakfast she was one ill pill by dinner.  I ended up walking around with her until her ice cream came and she gobbled it up and made a huge mess.   I didn't get any pictures at dinner, but we snapped a cell phone pic out on the terrace at the room before we left with the Empire State Building all lit up for Christmas!
Although this vacation was far from relaxing and we had our challenges with a toddler in the big city, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  We had so much fun and I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with Mom, John and Jacob too. I really missed my other family that wasn't there, but we had a dinner at my Mom's when we got back on Sunday so we still got to celebrate with them too.
At the end of the day, Thanksgiving was perfect because of these two.  Love my little family more than words can say...
I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day!  Now it is Christmas in full force around the Pearson household.  Blink and you'll miss it!