visiting santa, and other christmas festivities!

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before baby conrad arrived last sunday morning, josh and i tried to fit in as many holiday activities as we could around the city with eleanor and samson since once the baby would arrive, we knew we’d have to take things a bit slower. it was also a nice excuse for me to force myself to get out everyday, even past my due date, and tire out my body to try to bring on labor!

a few photos from the past week or two below…

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^^^the windows at bergdorf goodman are always impeccable. the architecture window is my favorite this year!^^^

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^^^i mentioned this performance in my NYC holiday guide, but peter and the wolf at the guggenheim is one of our favorite new family traditions! eleanor and samson and i spent the entire day last friday out and about the city together… we got donuts with friends in the morning, then read books together at one of our favorite children’s book stores, had lunch and then made our way over to the upper east side for this performance.  it was our third year attending, and probably the best one yet.  i love watching E and S’s faces more than watching the stage. i’m so glad this city offers so many wonderful cultural opportunities for little ones! anyway, this show is really wonderful (as are E and S’s “cheese!” smiles beside the poster, right? haha!)^^^

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^^^there is no longer a baby in my tummy which means, i’m going ice skating somewhere in the city this year!!!!!!!!^^^

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^^^i want to share more on this later, but we’ve been working on ways to teach eleanor and samson about giving at christmas time, and not focusing so much on “getting.” we had them pick out gifts at the toy store last week for a little boy their age and participated in a sub-for-santa.  it was a bit harder for samson when he wasn’t able to get something for himself too, but i think he understood as we reminded him that we were just getting something for the little boy.  i am so proud of the two of them!^^^

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^^^family dinner at shake shack! their hot cocoa is one of my favorites in the city (it’s salted caramel this year, too!) you gotta try it if you’re around. also, a million hip hip hoorays for the crinkle cut french fries being back!!!^^^

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^^^we stopped by our church’s christmas party last saturday where samson was more than happy to climb up on santa’s lap. (reminded me of his first year meeting santa!)  eleanor wasn’t as into this santa.  she didn’t want to go up to him. afterwards she told me it was because he was being really silly. (we had just visited santa at the plaza the day before and i think it confused her a bit to see another santa so soon after with such a different demeanor.)^^^

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^^^the origami christmas tree at the natural history museum! (my favorite.)^^^

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^^^crepes for lunch!^^^

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^^^santa at the plaza! he is the nicest. samson blew him several kisses as we were leaving, and eleanor was ecstatic to show him her blue tongue (we’d just been at the bank where she got a blue sucker from one of the employees.) neither E or S were willing to sit with santa without us, but it all worked out ok because somehow everyone looks pretty decent in this photo, our last family photo as a family of four!^^^

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^^^a standing piggy back ride! i don’t think they have any idea just how cute they are together.^^^

have a great weekend, everyone! merry christmas!

a name, a few favorite photos and a video!

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we are home safe and sound from the hospital and enjoying life as a family of 5. (!!!!!) what a blur the last few days feel like! our first night back home, samson developed a fever and cough as the night progressed (isn’t that how it always goes? you take every precaution in the book to make sure your toddlers are as healthy as they can possibly be in the middle of winter as you bring home a newborn and then BAAM, it still happens.) so now we’ve been working on trying to juggle a household of sickies while also trying not to get the baby sick as we readjust to life with our newest addition.

here are a few photos from our time at the hospital with our new little one,

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wow! that is so fun to type out!  we are completely smitten with our baby conrad. he was born sunday, december 14th at 4:10 in the morning, weighing 8 pounds even, 21 inches tall.  third time around and there is still something so magical about holding and cuddling a new little life in your arms. it does not get old! it only gets better! these tiny babes, so fragile and dependent, always extra cuddly with the faintest smell of sweet milk on their breath… you cannot help but kiss their cheeks 5 million times between feedings and whip out that annoying baby voice you swore you’d never use as you talk to them about the most mundane things. heaven is some sort of version of this in my mind.  i’m thankful for the chance to experience it here in a small way.  i absolutely adore and cherish my title as a mother. it is nothing short of a privilege to hold this role with eleanor, samson, and now, little conrad.

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^^^a smile! i think he likes his papa!^^^

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^^^eleanor and samson showed up the minute visiting hours began sunday morning and brought mama flowers! even though josh and i had been up all night, visiting hours at 11AM could not come fast enough for either of us. we couldn’t wait for E and S to meet their new little brother! i won’t ever forget that image of the two of them walking into my hospital room so proud and wide eyed carrying these flowers. “we picked them out for you! because they are your favorite color!” eleanor said. and then they climbed up onto my hospital bed in their coats and shoes and gave me the biggest hugs. even in pain and going on 36+ hours of no sleep, they made me feel like a million bucks. ^^^
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^^^a special moment was when eleanor and samson were both sitting on my hospital bed and josh was about to pick up conrad from his bassinet to introduce him to E and S. he asked them if they thought the baby was a boy or a girl. eleanor said, “a girl!” and samson said “a boy!”. when josh said, “samson, you’re right! this is your new baby brother!” samson lifted his shoulders up and tucked his head down into his chest with his hand clasped together tightly and started laughing excitedly as his entire body shook! he literally was so excited he was shaking! it was kind of the sweetest thing ever. eleanor is excited the baby is a boy as well. she made the observation yesterday at the breakfast table, “mama, you and me, we are girls. but we sure do have a lot of boys in this family!” and last night she called out, “i love you conrad!” before going to sleep.^^^

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^^^a hospital that gives you a buttercream congratulatory cake? i’m definitely down with that kind of hospital. ^^^

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^^^prop up you feet, mister samson. have a piece of cake. stay a while. ;) ^^^

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^^^all buckled in ready for his taxi ride home! and wearing that beloved hat eleanor and samson both once wore on both of their rides home from the hospital.  it’s been four years since i was given that hat by a girlfriend and i still can’t get enough of it.^^^

now that we’re all home, we’re taking turns being fascinated with our baby conrad. i had to share this little clip from a video i took yesterday. when you witness your 2 1/2 year old scoot the space heater over to your baby’s crib and sit down on it, then voluntarily begin to read one of his favorite books to his new baby brother, you can’t help but think, “are you kidding me? this is the best life. i am living the very best life.”

welcome to our family, conrad! we all love you so much already!

welcome to the world, little one!

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early sunday morning, december 14th, we welcomed a handsome and healthy little boy into the world! and he’s been stealing our hearts minute after each passing minute since! some of my  most precious memories in this life were made during the last few days with my family. meeting and holding and feeding my new baby, seeing josh with him, and then siblings meeting siblings, you guys…. that last one? hands down, the most incredible thing i’ve witnessed as a mother so far.

thank you all for your love and support when we shared the news yesterday on social media. i can’t wait to share more when i get home from the hospital…

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christmas sugar cookies!

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there was this moment last week where i was like, ugh. where is this baby? just come already! but in the same thought, i realized it’s actually kind of nice to have these last few days together with just eleanor and samson, getting in all our holiday traditions and activities together, before i’ve got my arms completely full of a little newborn for the next several weeks.

we spent an afternoon making homemade sugar cookies together while listening to christmas music and had such a good time! i’ve learned a lot about patience this year with these two in the kitchen. they are always dying to help with any task, and while it’s usually a slower process and 10x messier to have their little helping hands around,  i’ve learned from my own upbringing (where i didn’t really get to participate in the kitchen much) that it’s important to me that i bite my lip and just let them have fun and learn and do and help as much as they want.

we partnered with pottery barn kids this month, who make these darling little monogrammed rudolph aprons and a few other fun holiday kitchen dishes and decorations. so the experience was even more cool for E and S since they weren’t just little bakers, but bakers with their names on their aprons! and, aprons with pockets!!!! the aprons are maybe being requested to be worn on a daily basis around our house these days, whether we’re in the kitchen or not…

a few photos from our sugar cookies baking day below…

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^^^she’s incredibly good at measuring the most perfect and precise cups of sugar.  now, getting all that sugar into the bowl and not onto the counter when pouring it in on the other hand, we’re working on it. ;) ^^^

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^^^caught red handed sneaking cookie dough into her mouth!^^^

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^^^the amount of frosting and sprinkles a toddler can fit onto each individual cookie is quite impressive.^^^

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^^^i don’t even know how many cookies samson took bites of while frosting.  but someone’s gotta try them out to make sure each one tastes good, right?^^^

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we delivered the cookies to all our friends and neighbors in our apartment building after dinner that evening (we saved all the ones samson took bites of for us. don’t worry!) we have a second batch of dough in our freezer (the recipe makes a lot!) and look forward to making one more round to deliver to our tiny friends this coming week! now that they’re old enough to do it with us, i think i just might look forward to this tradition of making and decorating cookies together and delivering them as much as (or more than) the kids do in the coming years.

we used this sugar cookie recipe, but we ended up using much more flour than the initial recipe called for.  it was still quite a sticky dough to work with, even with the additional flour, so if you do end up trying out this recipe, don’t be nervous to add generous amounts of additional flour.  our cookies still turned out delicious!

this post is in partnership with pottery barn kids. they have a darling line of holiday items this year. you can find a few of the other items we picked out and featured in this post right here: the cute rudolph plate set and tumbler set, christmas plaid table runner and chrismas plaid napkins, this felt reindeer decor for the table. not featured but so cute that i just have to share are these christmas pj’s! (i’m clearly such a sucker for christmas pjs…)

merry christmas!!

taza’s hair tutorial: twisted braids

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hi everyone! i wanted to share a quick hair tutorial i put together a few months ago.  it’s the twisted heidi braids hairstyle  i love to wear in my hair and am often asked how i do them.  it is honestly one of the most simple hairstyles to do, takes just a few minutes and a few bobby pins.  i know there are a lot of hair tutorials out there and great beauty bloggers who could put this together far better than me, but since i’m often asked how i do this “do,” i wanted to share my way below. a special thank you to hairstylist aubrey nelson and photographer nicole gerulat for helping me put this tutorial together for you!

anyway,”twisted braids!” broken down into 4 quick steps below!

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hairstyling for this tutorial by aubrey nelson.  ps. for the beachy/texture spray, aubrey used sachajuan ocean mist and finished it off with oribe superfine hairspray.

photos by nicole gerulat of nicole’s classes. nicole’s offering 30% off all of her online classes this week too with the code TAZA30.