Monday, November 30, 2015

'tis the season to be jolly

Our halls are decked!
This year, after Luke hauled up the boxes and set up the trees, he left me and the kids to our own devices. Our big tree is definitely a little bit bottom-heavy because the kids worked faster than me and I was left with very few ornaments to put on top :) But can I just say that our tree is looking very lovely, especially against our new wood floors? Because it is :)

I am so sad to say, though, that 3 ornaments were harmed in the making of the tree. Two by Will and one by....ME! The two broken by Will were store-bought so I don't even care. The one broken by me, however, was the snowman handprint I made for Will last year. I never blogged about it, but it's similar to this one that I made for Anna. *insert all the sad emojis*
^^"Nobody move!!"^^

As for the kids' tree, as soon as they saw it, they started putting those leftover Pokémon ring toppers from Will's birthday on the tree. I knew immediately that we should have a theme for this year kids' tree and the theme should be Pokémon!! So on Sunday morning, I gathered all the supplies (I had everything so $0 was spent) and got to work immediately to make some Poké Ball ornaments. It turned out to be a messy project. Took forever! So, so many flaws too, but from far away, at just the right angle, they ain't half bad.
pokeball tree
^^Love our kids' tree tradition.^^

So the trees are up, the stockings are hung, and soon the countdown will start. I am feeling excited for another holiday season...may it be merry & bright.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Day 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Yesterday morning the kids and I made these "thankful pumpkins" that I thought turned out great. Cute, meaningful, and super easy to make. It's a little tradition in our family to make a Thanksgiving craft each year. I was thankful to be able to carry it on for another year :)

Here is the kids' thankful list at 5 1/2 and 4 years old:

Anna: "I luv Pokémon", friends, Wii, "Dady", "Momy", me, birthday, earth, everything
Will: big punching ball, Pokémon, ice cream, family, school (Lucas & Luca), play fight, croissant, Anna, mommy

I hope you all had a great day off! We ended up going to my parents' house first thing in the morning. After hanging out for a bit, we made another 40-minute drive to Manassas to have lunch with Luke's side of the family, picking up Boston Market along the way. I had been looking forward to my Boston Market feast since Black Friday 2014, but I have to say that this year was a letdown. We went to a different location, and somehow the food just wasn't as good. Also this particular location took down their regular menu for the day and their "holiday" menu was double the price that I paid last year.... ANYWAY. It was all still fine :)
^^Baby Andrew is a fun toddler now!^^

Because the weather was so mild and we had bought tickets to go to Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights a couple of weeks ago off a deal site (CertifiKid...and the deal is still available!), we decided to go last night. We went right at 5:30pm and I thought that, because it was Thanksgiving and people were probably still in the middle of eating turkey, we would have the whole place to ourselves! Haha, I was so wrong. The park was hopping with people, especially at the beginning of the path where everyone entered at the same time. Eventually, it did get better though.
^^Flowers, flowers everywhere.^^
^^Sitting down near the lake for an animated light show set to holiday music.^^
The first time we did this Winter Walk was 3 years ago! Here is the post I wrote on that trip (*sniff* look at my little kids!)... Well, even with the huge crowd, it was still very pretty and we all enjoyed it, except for Will who said he did not. Not sure if he was just trying to be the contrarian again, but I know he was very tired from not napping.
^^This little butterfly garden was very pretty.^^
^^Me and my big girl who really is too big for me to carry now :)^^
^^Dazzling lights everywhere we looked!!^^
^^"Try to catch the meteor shower!"^^
All in all, we had a great Thanksgiving!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, November 23, 2015

monday morning catch ups.

/1/ OMG, GUESS WHAT?! I won a two-night stay at a resort in Williamsburg! The last time I won anything was a pair of tickets to see Amy Grant back in high school, so I am very very excited. Did you know that Williamsburg was named one of America's best towns for the holidays by Travel and Leisure? I didn't either...but I got even more excited after learning that little fact. I know it's a small winning (retail value is around $450), but man, I am still shaking my head in disbelief that I actually won :) Out of over 1200 entries! I feel that I should be entering more giveaways since luck apparently is on my side. I can't wait to go.
/2/ We recently added 3 new games to our game stash -- Monopoly Junior, Spot It!, and Uno. The first time we played Monopoly Jr., I was so happy to finally go bankrupt because that meant the game was finally over, haha. Spot It! is a heart-stopping game that I admit the kids are quicker than me to identify the matches. Kids have sharper eyes, so true :) And Uno is just a classic to have around.
/3/ Last Thursday was the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon at Anna's school and parents were invited to join their kids in the cafeteria. Of course, I attended to show support. The picture above was the school lunch I bought for $3.90 that I couldn't stomach to finish. It was sooooooo bad! The neon yellow gravy especially. You can see that I tried eating around it :) Oh well, the food was gross, but my lunch partner was a delight, so it was time (and money) well spent.

/4/ Right now, I am shopping for: a good pair of mom jeans (high waisted to suck my belly in), a couple of long sweaters, and a plaid shirt. Suggestions/tips/advice? I am tempted to try Stitch Fix...

/5/ Have you noticed that Korean skincare products have been getting quite the hype lately? I am starting to try them out for myself. When (If) I achieve that glowing, dewy, perfect skin with not a single pore in sight, I will blog about it.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Will turns 4.

So....a couple days ago, my baby boy turned 4 years old. It happened to be a Sunday so we got to spend the entire day together. First, he woke up to a Pokémon decorated house: 
Will doesn't smile easily so it was hard to capture his happiness, but trust me, he was thrilled with the fuss that we made for him.

Then, we did the unthinkable. Yes, we said we would NEVER go again after last year, but I guess the lesson here is never say never. My parents once again treated us to some good old fashioned fun :) Will loved it. A birthday at Chuck E Cheese's is always a win.
Back at home, here is Will with his awesome Poké Ball cake, aka the best cake ever.
For his birthday dinner, he requested noodles, so we went out for pho.

I can't believe Will is 4 years old. Right now he's still this little bundle of joy who shows affection easily. Every morning, as soon as the clock turns green, he comes over to our bed and squeezes between us with his stuffed animals. He's doing great at school. He eats school lunches and takes naps there and has a bunch of little boys to run around with. I feel that Will is growing up lot faster than Anna. When Anna was 4, she was probably still entrenched in Mickey Mouse Club House, but Will, under the influence of his big sister, is all about Pokémon, which seems more grown up and complex.

Before I used to think that it sucks that Will missed the kindergarten cut-off date by 2 months, but now I am actually happy that he has more time at preschool. I will do anything to keep him little a bit longer.

Will is very concerned about my happiness. I know that won't always be the case so I am loving it right now. He asks, "Mama, are you happy with me?", usually after he did something wrong. He gets super stressed when I say no (and tell him the reason), but as cute as he is, I still have to be the parent. We hug it out pretty quickly though and all is right in the world. He still wants to marry me when he grows up :)
^^The family on Will's birthday. All I wanted was one good picture, and this was all I got.^^

Anyway! For Will's birthday, we also delivered a dozen of cupcakes to Will's class. I found these Pokémon cake toppers on Amazon. Dang, they were expensive and I mulled over for days and days. Would he even care?? He did :)
Luke and I were both there for the 5-minute shindig, haha. It was actually very silly. We could have dropped off the cupcakes when we dropped off Will in the morning. But because we didn't trust the teacher to put the toppers on, we both left work in the middle of the day to do this. Sigh, crazy things parents do for their kids... It was all good though.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our best son :)  We love you!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

wednesday morning catch ups.

/1/ My quest for the best ramen in the area continues. Unfortunately, I did not find it in Kizuna. Their ramen was bland and very greasy. On top of the mediocre food, I think it's expensive for what you get. $13 for a bowl and it doesn't even come with egg. Still...we had this meal without the children AND it was a Friday lunch so I got out of the office for a bit...all was good in the world :) 
/2/ I didn't talk much about how we fared during the whole hardwood installation process in my last post. Overall, it was fine. For the first two days, the contractors didn't arrive until the kids and I were already out of the house so no problems there. But, at night, they didn't leave until 5:15 to 5:45. Since we get home earlier than most people (4:15), there were some inconveniences. Like the kids had to retreat to the basement and watch TV (which they most definitely loved) after school. And I couldn't cook like I wanted to, but that was OK by me. I only didn't like the moving/rearranging stuff part. Every night, we dusted and wiped and tried to return to normalcy only to get disrupted again the next day. Keep in mind that we had already moved our stuff last month for the paint job, too. That's a lot of shuffling around in the last few weeks! In the end, I am just glad that it's all over now and our house looks a million times better.
School Pictures_2015
/3/ School pictures for the blogging record. Do you buy school pictures? I am a sucker for them, even though they are way over-priced. 

/4/ I am coming along nicely on my fall bucket list. I already ate homemade apple pie (twice!), volunteered/attended school events, ToT-ed, read more fall-themed books, saw foliage every time I left the house. Soon I am going to make Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana....I just love that soup. And Will's birthday is this Sunday and then my Boston Market feast in 2 weeks :)

/5/ Who else is excited about Fuller House and Gilmore Girls?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, November 9, 2015

new floors

The floors are done and IT LOOKS GREAT. It has completely transformed the look of our little house! Here it is! - our living room, with new floors and new wall color.
For comparison, here is the before.

While installing new floors, we also asked the contractors to remove the railing that was between the family room and breakfast area. Our house was already pretty open, but getting rid of the railing makes it even more so.
Originally, we thought the project would only take 2 days (Thursday and Friday) to complete, but it ended up running into the weekend.

Usually I would be annoyed, but it turned out just fine because the kids and I (along with my mom) went off on our own to have some fun outside of the house.
^^Peanuts Ice Palace at Fair Oaks Mall. You can get pictures taken with Santa already!^^

We also had a very good outing at Great Falls Park. Weather was gorgeous! The kids were enthralled with rock climbing. I was just happy that no one slipped.
^^For serious rock scrambling, Overlook 1 is the best.^^
^^This spot is kind of off the beaten path. I didn't let them get too close to the river.^^

The flooring work was finished on Sunday afternoon and we began the final cleaning (so much dust and sawdust!) and moving things back. We are 95% done...just need to finish putting a few more things away.

Well, we are super pleased with our new floors. Originally, we weren't planning on doing this big project until a few more years down the road, but in the end, we figured why wait? I am a cheapskate, but definitely glad we updated our home with hardwood floors. This is why we work and save, so we can enjoy little luxuries like this! 

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”


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Monday, November 2, 2015

A Pokémon Halloween 2015

Happy Halloween from the fighting Pikachu and Squirtle!

So how was the big night? Ours was great...full of happy and hyper kids :) For the third year in a row, we went to my friend's neighborhood for trick-or-treating and it was probably our best year yet! We had a little group of 7 kids, all ages 5 and under, and they seriously RAN from door to door and did not stop until the last house was visited. Haha, it was very fun to watch.
^^The most festive house in the neighborhood!^^
^^A jack-o-lantern paper lantern on Halloween night.^^
^^My favorite part of Will's Squirtle costume was the little tail, it flopped side to side whenever he walked.^^

I made the kids nap that day because I thought it would be a late night. Turned out, the kids zoomed by the houses so quickly that we found ourselves driving home by 7pm. After we came home, took inventory of the goods, and showered, we all snuggled up in bed and read short scary stories from In Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (all pretty tame, but The Green Ribbon actually shocked me a little). Then because I had promised a family sleepover, the kids fell asleep in our bed that night. It was the best night ever for them :)

So...another great Halloween in the books. Bring on Thanksgiving and the holiday season!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!