Friday, January 15, 2010

New New Year's Tradition

For the first time in almost 10 years, we did not host a New Year's Eve party at our house. We've been scaling down for the past several years, and just couldn't pull one together this year. Instead, we decided to have our own family party, and it was a blast! The boys didn't really understand the concept, but it started sinking in as it got later and later. They were also pleasantly surprised when we said YES to all of their candy, snack, and junk requests. Here's how our night unfolded.
Round 1:
Cookie baking with left over Christmas M&M's
Round 2:
Heart Attack Mac'N'Cheese
I watch a lot of shows on the Food Network. Guy Fieri watched a chef make a mac'n'cheese dish at a diner and it looked so good, so I tried to replicate it (without a recipe) and it turned out great!
2 words - BACON GREASE!
Round 3:
Picnic time while watching Night at the Museum
Round 4:
Texas Chocolate Cake and Hot Chocolate while watching Night at the Museum 2

This is how Jake celebrated

At midnight, we went outside and popped some poppers.
It was cold, so we went back inside to pop the rest.

The boys then crashed in the living room. We had a great time, and hope to continue it as a family tradition. :)

Cards and such

Here's what we sent out as our "New Year's Bundle"

Better late than never, right?! Really…it’s the only way it was going to happen this year. And we’re trying something new: The New Year’s Bundle - Christmas Card, Family Update Letter and Birth Announcement.

2009 was a very exciting and busy year for us. As you can see from the pictures and birth announcement, we have a new addition to our family. Jake was due on Thanksgiving Day, but despite all of our pleading with him to come early, he decided to come a few days late. He’s been a joy and such a good baby. Eric and Nick have adjusted really well to being big brothers and they help out a lot. Matt has been able to take off 2 separate weeks already, which have been a blessing to this sleepy mommy.

As for the rest of the year, there have been a lot of fun times and big changes. In February, Matt and I were able to go to Australia for 11 days, just the 2 of us. The boys still talk about those “11 days at Grandma’s house”. (THANKS Mom and Dad!!) We had an amazing time, cruising around Tasmania for 8 days and then sightseeing in Sydney for a few more. Then, in June, the four of us went back to Tennessee for a week to visit my family. The boys love hanging out with their cousins, and catching up with my brother and sister-in-law is always a treasured opportunity.

Matt and I made the decision, early on in the year, to not run again for the leadership team in our class at church. We had been the socials coordinators for 4 years, and felt like we needed some “time-off” before becoming a family of 5. But, God had other plans for us. Instead of stepping down, God was prepping both of us to step UP into much bigger service areas. Matt took a position as a deacon at church, and enjoys serving wherever he’s needed. This includes parking duty (at the church parking structure), communion, and new-membership classes. I am now co-coordinating the MOPS program, which has been a huge undertaking, but a growing experience as well. Matt also changed positions within Otis and is now in the Service/Maintenance department and working on elevators in Century City (west L.A.). It’s definitely been a time of transition for us due to the longer drive and different hours, but it’s more stable in the long run. And of course, we’re thankful for such a wonderful job. I spent all year sewing items for my website (since my office needed to be turned into Jake’s nursery) and taking on several custom orders as well.

Eric is now in Pre-K and loving it. He learns so fast and has made several new friends. He is still in gym class once a week, and participated in a couple sports camps through our city’s programs. Nick started attending preschool this year as well, going once a week. He loves it and wants to go more than just one day. He likes hanging with his buddies and doing “share time”. It’s amazing how quickly they become mini grown-ups. Both boys love books, puzzles, trains, and TV (“movies”). They DON’T like to eat… unless, of course, it’s “mac’n’cheese” (Kraft only, please), Chick-Fil-A, peanut butter sandwiches or grilled cheese. They share a room now, so it’s handy that they are in to all of the same things. I still run the playgroup, so we get to go to a lot of fun places with amazing moms and their kiddos. Our boys are upset if we go anywhere and “our friends aren’t going to be there?!?” They are just as social as their parents.

2010 is sure to be another crazy, busy year, but maybe with fewer changes this time. We are excited to see Jake grow and start playing with his older brothers. I’m sure there won’t be a dull moment with 3 active little boys, but we wouldn’t trade these times for anything. May the year ahead be full of blessings for us all!
Much love from the Steinmeyer 5,
Matt, Laurinda, Eric (5 years old), Nick (3 years old), Jake (1 month old)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Month 1

Well, we already have the first month behind us. For me, it's the most exciting, but the most challenging. Getting to know our new little man has been fantastic. I am trying to savor every moment. When I could just put him in his crib and let him nap, I'd rather just cuddle with him on the couch. He's been a really good baby too. That first week was really rough in the "routine" real sleep, just eating and changing diapers. But week 2 hit, and something clicked. Jake went to sleep late, and woke up early, but would only wake up once to eat. Week 3 & 4, he was super congested which threw everything for a loop. He had a really hard time sleeping and breathing. He also has a clogged tear duct that has made his eye really gross and green and gooey. :( It's been like that since he was 5 days old. We finally took him to the dr., and they gave him some eyedrops. It's helped, but it's still gooey. One of our biggest struggles has been poopy diapers. He blows out of almost each one. It's made for some very awkward moments as I try to "contain" a huge mess. In general, it's been a fairly smooth transition. We're so blessed to have him here, and for him to seem very healthy. Thank you God!
I made these "brother" shirts. :)
Just a few days old

Smiling in his sleep during that first week
"working" with mommy
Jake was 2 weeks old when he went to Disneyland for the first time. Matt and Eric's pass was expiring, so we wanted to go as a family of 5 before we couldn't anymore.

Jake started crying a little while we were in a line and he found his thumb for the first time. He definitely favors the pacifier though.

Hangin' with his oldest Bro
Eric is such a great helper. I was trying to get ready one morning and Jake was crying a bunch. So Eric sat on the couch with Jake and held his paci in. I did my hair, my make up, and got breakfast cleaned up. He's so good to mommy. :)

Christmas Happenings

The boys at their Christmas Program for school
We got to our tree trimming a little late this year, but we did get it up.
Jake wasn't really into it.....

Of course, we needed cookies and hot chocolate to get us through the evening. The boys couldn't decide on one flavor of cookies, so we just made 2 batches.....there were a lot more cookies than I thought we'd get.

Christmas Eve with the family.

Christmas Morning at our house starts early: 530am. The boys stumbled downstairs and discovered their stockings.

This was the first year that the boys bought each other gifts, so it was neat to see them get excited to GIVE, just as much as GET.

Then it was off to Grandma and Papa's for the rest of the day.
Nick watches Papa Carl sign all the handmade gifts that he made for us.....
......and then reads a book with Grandma Carl.
Eric helped Grandma call bingo this year.
Checking out the bingo prize with Uncle Mickey
Our precious gift this year

Eric got a box of magic tricks from Uncle Mickey, so he quickly learned a few and "performed" for the crowd. :)

My fantastic Fam!