Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Recap

Months of planning and anticipation, done and over in just two days.  Every year I look forward to Christmas, as I'm sure most people do.  It is my absolute, hands down, most favorite holiday EVER!  It has always been such an exciting and eventful time of year, especially after getting married.  Between both Kolt and I, we usually have a scheduled route mapped out days before hand just to make sure we see all of our family.
Our First Christmas in Sitka was a sad, lonely, somewhat depressing holiday, for me at least.  It was the first Christmas we had spent away from our family and our busy holiday traditions.  It was our first winter in Alaska, so we were still adjusting to the cold dark weather.  I was in my first trimester of my pregnancy, so I wasn't interested in food, wearing anything besides yoga pants and a sweatshirt, or socializing with anyone other than Kolt or Gunner.  Since we didn't know a whole lot of people we hadn't established very many close friendships and so it was just Kolt and I.
I was NOT going to let that happen.  Ever.  Again.
Once we decided to stay in Sitka for Christmas, I immediately started a list in my head of things to do, crafts to make, traditions to start, and treats to bake.  I have become obsessed with making all Holidays fun for Brinleigh and Christmas is no exception.I don't care that she's only one and won't remember when she's older.

So, for the 2013 Holiday Season in Sitka we....... 
Had a bake day.  The girls baked at one house while the guys watched the babies and hung out at our house.

Visited Santa.  Twice.  Both times ended in hysterical crying from our sweet girl who apparently did not like Santa this year.

Drove around looking at all of the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music on pandora and sipping on hot chocolate (warm milk in a bottle for Brinleigh).

Had family pictures taken for our very first family Christmas cards (which were sent out late due to arriving late).

Shopped online, checked the front porch eagerly every day for packages, and then wrapped a crazy amount of gifts.

Dressed Brinleigh in Christmas Pajamas and festive outfits.

Attended the annual Coast Guard Christmas party.

Decorated the entire house, including our brand new 6' Christmas tree, and even went a little overboard on the outdoor Christmas lights.

Attended my work Christmas party. 

Made stockings for our friends who were coming over for Christmas dinner.

I actually sat down and watched the movie "A Christmas Story" from beginning to end for the first time ever.

Made Christmas crafts. 

Planned a dinner and gift exchange with friends for Christmas Eve.

Had our close friends over on Christmas Day for a wonderful dinner and to open stockings.

Our 2nd Christmas in Sitka, 2nd Christmas as a family of three, and our little Family's First Christmas by ourselves away from the rest of our family..... was awesome.  We still missed the family, the traditions, the crazy schedule, and all the driving around town, but it was definitely not a sad, lonely, or depressing Christmas.  At All.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tis the Season

If we weren't already in the Christmas spirit, this last weekend sure did the trick.  It was packed full of Christmas events and activities.  We didn't necessarily have Winter Wonderland weather to accompany our events, but we did have what seemed like hurricane force winds and rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

The annual Coast Guard Christmas Party was on Friday night and Kolt decided that we were going to attend as soon as we made the decision to stay in Sitka for the Holidays.  This party is adults only, which meant we had to get a babysitter for Brinleigh.  This was our very first time going out, just Kolt and I, without the baby.  Our first date night as parents.  I had prepared myself for weeks in advance and surprisingly, I was perfectly fine with everything.  It wasn't nearly as hard as I was expecting it to be.  Since all of our friends that we trust to watch Brinleigh are also in the Coast Guard, it was going to be near impossible to find someone that I felt comfortable with, to watch Brinleigh for the evening.  Until.... I realized that the Coast Guard Air Station party was on a different night than the Coast Guard Cutter Maple Party. Brilliant!
Our next door neighbors, Jon and Kelly, are stationed on the Maple and have a daughter, Mary, who is four months older than Brinleigh.  We know what kind of parents they are and we really like them so we offered a trade.  If Kelly watched Brinleigh for us, I would watch Mary when they went to the Maple Christmas party.  Win!  Brinleigh loves Kelly and her and Mary could also entertain each other for a little while as well.  Kelly was awesome, sending me a picture and texting me updates until she put Brinleigh to bed.  She said that Brinleigh did awesome and was so good.  I was very relieved to hear that there were no problems or complications with Brinleigh, it being her first time going to bed without Mommy or Daddy putting her to sleep.
I think that waiting as long as we did after Brinleigh was born, her being a toddler and not necessarily a baby, and the fact that we were literally only a 4-5 minute drive away from home really helped us relax about the whole thing.  I guess the cranberry and vodkas probably contributed a little too.

  Kolt and I had a great time at the party.  It was nice to get dressed up and get out for the night, have a few too many drinks, and socialize with other adults.  Kolt also won the Grand Prize Raffle, which ended up being a fully paid trip to Anchorage to take a ride on the Alaska Railroad.  We still have to look into everything to find out exactly what all this entails, but we are probably going to try and take this trip in the Spring or early Summer before we transfer out.  We might have to pay for Brinleigh, but we are very excited to have the opportunity to see more of Alaska before we move.  We were a little disappointed that we had only really been able to see Sitka while living here since it is so expensive to travel around Alaska.

 Saturday morning we woke up.... hungover, but dragged ourselves out of bed nonetheless, to take Brinleigh to see Santa.... For the Second time.  The Coast Guard was having the annual kids Christmas party at the air station where there was food, crafts, a bounce house and of course, SANTA!  Who was arriving via Coast Guard Helicopter at 10:30am.  I do believe Kolt and I deserve some kind of recognition for getting our asses out of bed and out of the house ON TIME to see Santa arrive, so we could stand in line for an hour just to have Brinleigh scream and cry as soon as she got within a 4ft perimeter of the Jolly old man (who btw, was not really an old man, it was just Rescue Swimmer, Chris Belisle.)  BUT, we got the picture that we had set out to get, Brinleigh got a free book, and Momma almost got sick.

 Saturday was also a girls bake day that I had planned months ago.  So after the kids party, my friends, Kate and Camille and I all met at Camille's house (3 houses down from me) prepared to bake an endless amount of sweets.  The guys all hung out at our house with the babies.  I made butterscotch fudge, chocolate fudge topped with walnuts and chocolate chip cookies.  Kate made rice crispy treats and cake pops.  And Camille made bon bons and almond crescents.      

Sunday evening we went to my work Christmas party at one of the restaurants in town.  We were able to bring our kids so Brinleigh got to run around a little bit.  She seemed to have a lot of fun and threw a fit when we picked her up to get ready to leave.
We also got a little bit of snow which always helps get me into the Christmas spirit.

I have been super busy trying to get all of our Christmas shopping done, get family pictures taken, and ordering Christmas cards.  With all the bad weather a lot of my orders have been delayed and I still have yet to receive some stuff.  I am having most of the gifts shipped to me so that I can put things together or because they were part of a combined order so I still have to ship things out after I get them.  My Christmas cards say that they aren't even scheduled to be delivered until December 23rd, so just a warning:  Christmas gifts and Christmas cards may be a bit late this year.  So here's a little sneak peak of our family Christmas pictures.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas List

I really like the idea behind "something you want, something you need, something to wear & something to read" as a guideline for kids gifts.  I know from personal experience how fun it is to shop for a baby, and I even thought it was fun to shop for toddlers.... until I had to start Christmas shopping for Brinleigh this year.  I am honestly still trying to figure out exactly what kind of toys she likes to play with.  I have once again, made "wish lists" for her on and, for anyone who needs ideas or for those who have been asking what kinds of things to buy for her.  Kolt and I were so excited to buy her this little Disney princess ATV ride on toy as her "Santa gift" only to be denied at checkout with the whole "we regret to inform you that we cannot ship this item to your shipping address."  Blah, blah, blah.  We found something else, but it's definitely nowhere near as fun as the ATV would have been. 

Clothing size: 18 months & up
Shoe Size: 4 & up
Needs: shoes, socks, pants (not jeans)
Books:  Any board book! (she will tear, rip, & eat regular paper pages out of a book)
Want:  Wish List on & 

Brinleigh is currently interested in:  small board books, small stuffed animals that she can carry around (even though she has a million already), board books, small bags and purses (what can I say?  She is her mother's daughter), books, Micky Mouse Clubhouse (or any of the other shows on Disney Jr.), and books (the girl loves her books).  Other random items that she is infatuated with include remotes, oven mitts, shoes, and dishes. 

Brinleigh does have a savings account and any money she receives will be deposited into that account.