Friday, January 9, 2015

Week in Review

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday -- and that your new year is off to a great start!

I'm so sorry that I've been missing in action for the last couple of weeks! I ended up taking a hiatus from blogging over Christmas -- and took some time to simply enjoy life. There's been so going on that I've honestly spent little to no time at the keyboard.

In any event, I'd like to catch-up and fill you in on all of the incredible happenings in my life! I'd also like to hear about what you've been up to!

We had a wonderful Christmas at home. It was great to watch Emily open her gifts -- and all of my presents too! Boy, does she love to unwrap gifts and tear paper! It was also fun to see her reaction to Santa Claus in our very own living room. 

The holiday was fabulous! We've also had a very exciting and eventful start to the new year!


I'd like to fill you in on all of the details of my new year in a new format, thanks to my friend Katie, who blogs at Cup of Tea. I met Katie virtually on FaceBook through a blogging networking and support group. She's a mom and a great lady to boot! 

Katie is one of four bloggers who is co-hosting a High Five for Friday link up. For those of you who don't blog, I recognize that this might sound a bit wonky. You may ask: What on Earth is a blog link up?

A link up is basically a Blogapalooza. It simply means that hundreds of bloggers are writing about the same topic. Blog post links are then compiled onto a common or shared list.

So, for High Five on Friday, hundreds of bloggers are writing about five things that occurred during their week. The bloggers are then listing their blog post link on a community docket. The link up is a great way to find other blogs that you may enjoy. It is also an opportunity to take time to reflect on the past week, find out what others have been up to, and make new virtual friends all over the world. 

With no further ado, (drum roll, please), here is my... 

Five for Friday

1. Surprise Visit.  My parents made a surprise visit to our Virginia home -- all the way from California! 

My husband, Craig, initiated the trip. Our preemie-toddler, Emily, was also in on the plan. I don't know how the four of them kept the visit a secret for so long. I honestly had no clue until I saw my parents in our living room!  

Upon reflection, I should have known that a covert operation was brewing based on some of the Christmas gifts I received -- a warm hat, heavy winter gloves, and hand warmers. And, I should have been even more suspicious when Craig proactively washed the guest sheets -- immediately following a lovely planned visit from his sister and brother-in-law, which included an amazing Christmas celebration, tons of delicious snacks and meals, a fun trip to a local brewery, and lots of play with new treasures. 

2. The Winter Classic. If you follow hockey, or were flipping through television last Friday afternoon, then you may have seen me if you squinted and put your imagination to use. 

Craig took me to the National Hockey League (NHL) Winter Classic, which is an annual event held by the NHL on or around New Year's Day in which a regular-season ice hockey game is played outside. The game is typically at a football or baseball stadium. This year, the Chicago Blackhawks played against our home team, the Washington Capitols, at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. 

Craig invited Grandma and Grandpa to Virginia to babysit Emily so that we could enjoy the game. They were thrilled to spend the day with Emily and watch portions of the game from the comfort of our warm home.  

Being bundled up outside to watch the Capitols play hockey was much different than being in the Verizon Center. We wore full face masks, hats, warm gloves, jackets, and multiple layers to protect us from the cold. At one point, I even donned sunglasses with my face mask. I kid you not -- but I was mistaken for Cousin Itt by another fan. We may not have gotten any fashion awards, but we were warm and that's what counts! 

In the last 13 seconds of the game, the Capitols scored and won the game by 3 to 2. Craig called the event a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

3. An Overnight Away. In addition to the Winter Classic, Craig surprised me with an overnight to Old Town Alexandria. 

We stayed at the Morrison House, which is where we got married. 

We also roamed the streets of Old Town, bumped into a friend at my former place of employment, and had an intimate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called the Columbia Firehouse.

Grandma and Grandpa once again saved the day by babysitting so that we could have some alone time. This was a BIG DEAL. We haven't found a babysitter for Emily yet -- and have only been away sans Emily one other time.

4.  Early Birthday Celebration. Emily turns two tomorrow. Can you believe it?

Two years ago today, I was told that a c-section was imminent. I had been in the hospital for almost three weeks with reverse end diastolic flow and was doing everything I could to keep my little one cooking. The doctors said we couldn't wait any longer. 

Within 24 hours, I would see my beautiful Emily Marie enter the world at 28 weeks gestation -- and our 67-day Neonatal Intensive Care Unit journey would begin.

We've come a long way since then and have so much to celebrate, including walking, talking, and running! In fact, we already started to informally celebrate Emily's birthday on Sunday. 

Craig and I made her an Elmo-inspired birthday cake. She absolutely loved it! 

Emily's birthday celebration will only continue over the upcoming days and months. Ideally, I'd like to hold a formal birthday party and invite other children to attend. I plan to hold off until it's closer to Emily's due date and the weather is a bit better.

5. Kitchen Play. This week, I've gotten a lot of joy out of watching Emily cook in her very own kitchen. 

For Christmas, Emily was given a beautiful Pottery Barn kitchen that I found on Craig's list. It's been fun to watch her wash her hands, give stuffed animals pretend baths, and make dinner plates for her beloved Elmo. 

Bentley's even started working as her sous chef!


All in all, 2015 is off to a great start. It's been so incredible that I probably needed a High Ten on Friday! And, I know the journey has just begun. 

I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to let me know that you're reading my blog. Post a comment and let me know what you've been up to over the past week! 

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  1. I love the surprise visit from your parents. So sweet of your husband. Great memories!

  2. We were so happy to be with Emily, Bentley, you, and Craig. Craig gets a gold star for planning the surprise and getting us out there. Michelle, even without notice, you are a great hostess seeing we were well taken care of. Thanks a bunch for a wonderful week!

  3. My daughter loves Elmo, too!

    Thanks for linking up with H54F!

    Caitlin @ Coffee with Caitlin

  4. Happy birthday, Emily!!! And I'm still so impressed that everyone kept your parents' visit a secret. Even Emily! What a family :)

    I'm so glad you came to link up! Hope to see you this Friday, too!
    Hugs, my friend!! Katie @ Cup of Tea

  5. Happy Birthday Emily! My brother was a 27 week preemie. God has truly blessed us. I'm so glad you got to have some date nights. Every mom needs a little me time. Thank you so much for linking up to High Five for Friday!!!

    Della@Della Devoted