Our 2016 Christmas Celebrations

This year our Christmas celebrations were very low key and simple, yet joyous. Being in the third trimester I had to scale back a lot this year, and it still kicked my butt. Last year I wasn't pregnant, and I put up 7 Christmas trees and fully decorated the house in November. This year I struggled decorating the one Christmas tree that we put up, on midnight Christmas Eve. We almost came to the conclusion that we would have to skip Christmas this year, as we were all so sick. Me and hubby caught a bug from the kids that resembled the flu, and it affected me more as I already had an abundance of annoying pregnancy symptoms. All of us were stuck at home with fevers, sore throats and aches and pains. I vomited every day and had to go to the hospital because I couldn't breathe. Christmas almost didn't happen! BUT..... we toughed it out and I managed to decorate the tree, prepare a nice dinner, wrap the presents, and hubby put together the outdoor Christmas decorations, all just in time! I think I enjoyed it that much more knowing how hard me and hubby worked and pushed ourselves to make it special for the kids. They had the best time of their lives and that just made it so worth it for us. Hubby spent a lot of time and energy decorating our deck and turning it into a winter wonderland with lights! Every night the kids would run around the house super excited about the outdoor decorations. Valentino calls our huge inflatable Christmas bear "Mismis bear" and the snowman "owman" and the Christmas tree "Mismis tree"! Caspian's favorite thing to do is stare out all the windows to look at the lights, and he also likes to grab at the lights on the Christmas tree. He's so naughty. They melt my heart. 

Here's a peek!

outdoor christmas decoration ideas

leila rahmanian

family annual christmas card

caspian rahmanian

Christmas dinner table

Christmas table setting ideas

Christmas dinner ideas

Christmas table setting ideas

Christmas dinner ideas table setting

toddler Christmas crafts ideas

Christmas dinner ideas table setting

outdoor Christmas decoration ideas inflatables

outdoor deck Christmas decorations lights

Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights

The night before we officially started potty training Valentino, we thought we should celebrate the last night of being able to go anywhere for a very long time, and so we went to see Meadowlark Botanical Garden's Winter Walk of Lights! 

We bundled up the kids with multiple layers, hat, mittens and the works, and went off to see the lights. 

We met up with Valentino and Caspian's school friends, and enjoyed a nice walk in what seemed like subfreezing tempertatures. It was SO cold! We had bundled up Caspian so much that he could hardly move! It was cute. It was bitter cold at first, but once we started walking it helped to warm up.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

The kids loved the lights! I don't think they minded the cold either. Valentino would point to everything and name the colors of the lights. He got probably 4 out of 5 correct. Yay for progress! 

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens winter walk of lights

Fun Filled Birthday Weekend!

Valentino and Caspian recently had a fun filled birthday weekend. It was three days in a row of non stop celebrating. By the end of the weekend I couldn't feel my feet! 

Valentino had recently turned 3, and Caspian will turn 2 very soon. They are both December babies, so we always celebrate their birthdays together. This year we threw them a party at an indoor playground, and they absolutely loved it. 

We started out the weekend celebrating Valentino's birthday at home by getting his favorite dinner to go and eating cake. In addition to celebrating their birthdays together, they each also have a small family only celebration on the actual date of their birth. They both also have a small celebration at school as well. 

celebrating birthday at school

So Valentino is still kind of scared of balloons, but he's getting better at it. He definitely thinks they are alive, but he does enjoy looking at them (just not touching :) Caspian will gladly grab them and tear them apart.

three year old boy birthday party

Throughout the weekend Valentino would say "BIRFDAY!" over and over again, and then he would (attempt) to sing the birthday song, and then would constantly clap for himself. Caspian then copies everything that Valentino says and does, and it's just the cutest thing when they both try to sing happy birthday together and then clap their hands together and say yaaaay!!!! We call Caspian a parrot because he repeats everything he hears! 

The day after our little celebration for Valentino, we were invited to Valentino and Caspian's classmates birthday party. They had a Winter Wonderland theme. I LOVE that birthday theme. Valentino's first birthday was also a winter wonderland theme! They had a fake snow play area for the kids that Valentino loved. He was making snowballs and snow angels and had completely covered himself from head to toe with fake snow. Caspian thought it was scary and refused to play in it. He's so funny. 

winter wonderland theme birthday party ideas

winter wonderland birthday cake ideas

Then the following day we celebrated the kids's joint birthday party! All of their school friends came and they had such a fun time running around the playground. We were nuts and booked the place for four hours to accomodate everyone's nap schedules. By the end of the four hours Valentino's face was bright red from all that running around, and Caspian was so tired he had passed out. 

chibis indoor playground ashburn va birthday parties

I had so much fun putting together the goody bags.....How cute are these guys?

winter goody bag ideas

I am glad the kids enjoyed their birthday weekend. We still have one more small family birthday celebration yet to come for Caspian. Watching them run around and laugh and play with their friends literally melts my heart. I love them so much and wish they could always be this happy in life. 

I cannot believe another year has passed and my babies are no longer babies :( Every day they are learning something new. They both just blow my mind with the progress they have made in such a short span of time. 

Our next challenge is potty training Valentino before baby #3 arrives.....and having baby #3 arrive. 

Wish me luck for both! 

Thanksgiving 2016

This year for Thanksgiving we celebrated by going out for brunch, and for dinner we celebrated at our house with our family and my mom and sister. My dad was at work, as it's one of Cafe Renaissance's busiest days of the year. We missed him and also hubby's parents who were there in spirit. 

Because I'm pregnant I wanted to make Thanksgiving as low key and simple as possible. No fancy feast for a ton of guests, and no killing myself to make the house look perfect. These days, being in the third trimester, AND running around after two toddlers all day make me feel like a zombie by the time 6pm rolls around. 

However I did last minute throw together a pretty Thanksgiving tablescape, and I made a DELICIOUS turkey. This year I made the turkey a bit different and made a CROCKPOT TURKEY! I honestly had no idea how it would turn out but oh my goodness it was really good and it's something that I'll be making on the regular from now on as it was super easy and quick to prep. I'll post the recipe another time though. The kids ate so much turkey that I literally was worried they might explode if they ate any more, and hubby begged me to make this ALL the time as he loved it as well. I have to admit, I've always liked the look of a whole turkey better, but cooking it in the crockpot tasted way better, and it was definitely easier and SO flavorful and juicy. 

The kids had such a great day. They loved eating brunch at the Marriott, and afterwards ran around the hotel lobby making friends with some Indian kids who were there for an Indian wedding. They were so fascinated with all their pretty traditional clothing. For dinner they were ecstatic to see grandma and their auntie, and by the time the night was over they were bawling their eyes out and desperately trying to postpone bedtime. They are the cutest. I am so thankful for my family. 

Thanksgiving tablescapes

pomegranate

kids thanksgiving table tablescape toddlers

Thanksgiving Westfields Marriott Fairfax Dining Room

Thanksgiving brunch

Caspian Rahmanian

toddler thanksgiving crafts

crockpot turkey recipe

thanksgiving desserts tablescape pictures photos

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pregnancy Updates

I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 on Father's Day during the summer. What a fantastic Father's Day present to hubby! I AM SO EXCITED that I don't know what to do with myself. I have already planned out Valentino and Caspian's lives, now I'm working on planning out this little one's life. I have spread sheets done, activities and routines planned, and made ready a list of acceptable colleges. Tiger mom you have nothing on me. 

If pregnancy wasn't really hard on me (thanks mom, for those HORRIBLE pregnancy genes!) then I would have considered having maybe nine kids? ten? Ok jk. I really love kids though. I feel like they are little presents, wrapped in a blanket with cute little noses and chubby little cheeks. They melt my heart. Three kids who are three and under? No big deal. I got this $h!t  I thrive on routines and structure and organizing my life so that we have smooth sailing. But once a newborn shows up everything is just chaos! It's okay though, as the rough parts only last three months.

When I found out that I was pregnant I was in the state of Ketosis and on the Ketogenic diet, which I had done for over a year and had become a lifestyle. Upon finding out, I immediately stopped the diet and introduced carbs back into my diet. Eating carbs suddenly after refraining from them for over a year really gave my body a shock. That in addition to first trimester pregnancy symptoms really knocked me out for like 4 months! At first I thought, I will probably only eat healthy carbs like whole grains and fruit. That idea lasted for like two days, and then saltine crackers, plain rice and ginger ale became my best friends. 

Then I gained a lot of weight. This didn't surprise me, as most people who stop this diet gain all their weight and then some back. I'm not worried about it one bit though, because I know how to lose it all, and I know I will lose it all. So for now I can have my cake and eat it too. What a great perk of pregnancy! On the downside, however, I am already up 50 pounds and not even in the third trimester. Ok, maybe I need to back off of that cake. I can't help it though, it's what the BABY wants! 

As I'm easing my way into the third trimester I have been resting a lot and enjoying my time with my two boys until baby #3 arrives. I have been totally spoiled as hubby is now in charge of everything that I used to be in charge of. I am lucky that I don't have to work while pregnant either, and that the kids attend a fantastic montessori toddler program every day for 4 hours. The kids also do a great job of enternaining themselves and playing with each other. I love that they are so close in age, my little Irish twins.

I cannot wait to add baby #3 to the mix. Life will definitely be a lot more hectic, crazy and busy! I'm ready to say goodbye to sleep AGAIN :) Although pregnancy takes a toll on me and I feel like I have to take a year off life, what's a year of hardship compared to a lifetime of joy and happiness? Life is seriously such a gift and I'm really thankful to be blessed with this baby #3.