Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Wow, it really seems like 2009 went by fast this year!! So many wonderful and fun things happened this year, and it was really fun to watch lil Max grow and flourish over the year.

Here is the year in review (more for my recap and memory, but I thought some of you might enjoy it too):

January - Nina was born and lil Max got his first real taste of baby jealousy, lil Max got his first haircut and started his first swim lessons, and continues to be a real treat for mom and dad.

February - we moved the blog to its current location, lil Max gives up his infamous knee-walking in exchange for actual walking, just in time for Nina's baptism, and at 15 months he was 22lbs 14 oz and 31 inches tall!

March - Our first trip to the public library, lil Max continues to hone his walking skills by starting to RUN, big Max travels to Denmark for work.

April - language starts to explode with both his signing and his talking, and of course, don't forget the infamous 'raptor noise' he used to make (I am secretly glad this has been forgotten), he had 10 teeth, loves singing, pointing out his body parts, and was transitioning from 2 naps to 1. We also took a trip to MN for Uncle Fran and Aunt Denyce's wedding reception. I also started the Couch to 5K program this month with the goal of running a 5K this year.

May - We got a wonderful visit from fellow Nov 07 mommies Melanie and Emily, Emily took photos of our family that I still swoon over, lil Max turns 18 months old: 24 lbs 9 oz, 33 inches; and Jim, Bridget and Maddie came to visit us over Mother's Day weekend.

June - Summer is here! We spend a lot of time playing outside or at the park, Max and I take a romantic vacation to Paris (well, it was a vacation for ME at least...) you can see pics here, here, here here, here, here, here or HERE.

July -- vocabulary continues to explode, now Max can say all his colors by name, loves watching NEMO, has 11 teeth, we went strawberry picking, we frequent the Birds Down Under exhibit at the zoo because lil Max LOVES seeing all the birds, and I ran my very first 5K!!!

August - Mom takes a trip to St. Louis to visit some of the other November 07 mommies, we made our annual trip to the WI State Fair and lil Max had his first cream puff, our home garden continues to be bountiful, Max turns 21 months old and some of his favorites are: the cat, being loud, Nemo, eating in general, sleeping (yah for us!!) and swimming! He also has used the potty a few times, but nothing consistent. This month we also found out we are expecting #2!!

September - We had a plethora of apples from our apple trees, so we spent most of this month making apple cakes, apple sauce or apple butter, we also announced the new addition to our family this month. Friend Melody came to visit with her family and we went to lil Max's first Brewer game!!

October - Max has become a talking machine!! He has a love for running AROUND objects and likes to order others to run with him. He can count up to 10 (sometimes 20) and knows a lot of his letters. He loves to sing. Favorite songs include: twinkle twinkle, ABCs, BINGO. We went trick or treating again this year, and lil Max was able to reuse his turtle costume from last year!!

November - lil Max speaks his first word in French "Bonjour" :), the weather was unseasonably warm so we got to do a little late fall hiking, Max turns TWO!!! He is 26 lbs 5 oz and 34.5 inches tall! Uncle Fran and Aunt Denyce also welcomed Lillian Rae this month! Yah for new cousins!

December - We had our big 20 week ultrasound this month for #2 and found out that lil Max is going to have a baby BROTHER!! :) We had our first snow storm of the year (and first snow DAY too!!) And finally, our first year celebrating Christmas at HOME! It was wonderful and I promise to upload video soon!

And finally, to recap, here is a fun slideshow of the year's events:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas
to you and your family,
from our house to yours!

Photobucket

And a video, just for the heck of it:


video

Love,

Stef, Max, lil Max and McDuex

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cookie Baking 2009

Every year for the past few years, some of my highschool girlfriends and I have gotten together for our annual Cookie Bake-Off.

The rules are simple: come prepared to make at least 1 (maybe 2) different recipes of Christmas cookies, and come prepared to make 1 dozen of your recipe for every participant in the bake-off.

This year, we had our date picked way ahead of time to accomodate busy schedules, but fate had other things in store for us. Between sick children, sick adults, and other issues, the role call for the day ended up just being Me and Amanda! :) We made the most of our predicament and still managed to crank out 4 seperate recipes of cookies this year. ALL of them were delicious!

On the menu for this year:
1. Santa's Surprises
2. Gingersnaps
3. Sugar cookies with candy cane kisses
4. Mint meltaways



The countertops were strewn with ingredients, recipes...and, of course, the obligatory COFFEE!



Santa's Surprise cookies required 2 bags of mini-snickers. Did I tell you how good these were? You should make them (recipe at end).


Doesn't this just make you want to start drooling? Don't worry...the recipe accounts for the fact that you will likely eat a few BEFORE they make it into cookie form....


This is what they look like after baking. They taste good warm, cold, frozen (and even still in dough form...SHHHH..don't tell my OB....)



Amanda prepares the balls for her sugar cookie with mint kisses recipe...She is an expert ball roller...



With these on the top...we also crushed these up and sprinkled them over the glazed mint meltaways for a double-minty experience. It was delicious!!!


Santa's Snickers Surprise Cookies:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 package mini-Snickers--originally one, but best if you get two just in case and for eating
Milk chocolate to melt

Combine butter, peanut butter, and sugars with a mixer on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until combined. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of chilled dough and press into the palm of your hand. Wrap around a mini-Snickers. Repeat, trying to not eat too much dough or too many Snickers. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 325° for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Melt milk chocolate and drizzle over top of cooled cookies. Cookies are better if you freeze them and then thaw to eat.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Snowstorm of 2009-2010

Wednesday was a SNOW DAY for our house!

A winter storm passed through that dumped about 10-12 inches of HEAVY WET SNOW over night. We were actually pretty lucky -- some areas further inland of Lake Michigan got closer to 18+ inches!!!

Here are a few shots of our wonderful winterland. And yes, we DID go play in the snow. Lil Max had a blast using his SHOVEL, GREEN, BIG to "dig dig dig". :)



Lil Max and daddy made snow men -- but the head fell off of Daddy's!!


This was our poor birch trees, AFTER shaking off most of the snow. The limbs were literally touching the ground before hand. We were very lucky that all we lost were a few limbs from our pine trees -- there was a lot of tree damage during this storm because of the wet, heavy snow and many of our neighbors lost WHOLE trees!!!


Here you can see some of the limbs that fell out of the big pine trees surrounding our house.



All in all, it was pretty snow -- but the drop in temperatures the next day was not so pretty. It basically turned all the snow into a big block of ice! I'm sure as winter progresses we will get sick of the snow, but for now, BRING IT ON! Here's for hoping for a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Flashback

I was sorting through a bunch of pictures today, and was just amazed at how quickly lil Max has grown up, and how much he has changed over the past 2 years.

So, here for your viewing pleasure is a flashback from the past 2 Decembers and present (I tried to post pictures as close to today's date as possible...)

Dec 7, 2007 - almost 3 weeks old.




Dec 5, 2008 - Just over a year; on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico with Dad.


Dec 5, 2009 - Just over 2 years old, giving **kisses**

His personality amazes me day after day. He is such a great kid!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MR. McDuex

Today, we had our 20 week ultrasound!


Now, keep in mind that we didn't find out the sex of lil Max until he was born, so the compromise was that we WOULD find out with our second one...Needless to say, the anticipation for this ultrasound to happen was GREAT! It's amazing to me how content I was not finding out the sex of my firstborn for 40 weeks, and then the insane OBSESSION I had with finding it out for this one!


We tried recording a portion of the ultrasound for a keepsake/to share, but unfortunately that isn't allowed in our OB's office, so this written account will have to suffice...


Overall, the little one was mostly cooperative, revealing HIS gender within the first 30 seconds of the ultrasound. As the tech was doing a normal view of the spine, HE decided to kick up his leg and WHAMMO -- there it was. No mistaking it! It was confirmed again with a traditional between the legs shot...but I won't be sharing that on here...those are PRIVATE parts, people!


But, he did have a pretty memorable other LARGE body part....his BIG TOE! We laughed, because big Max has a fat big toe too -- so it seems this little one is going to take after daddy, just like little Max. I am going to be run out of the house by testosterone!


Big Toe!


Of course, we think he's pretty cute already, but with ~20 more weeks to cook, he's only going to get cuter! :)



He's a thumb/finger sucker already -- just like lil Max was at this age! I'm hoping they have a lot more in common too!



So now we're going to have a little bit of a difficult time deciding/agreeing on a name for a boy -- we already had a girl's name picked out (that'll just have to wait for #3, I guess...). Stay tuned, that announcement will be made in another 20 weeks! :)