Category Archives: About Us

Don’t Touch the Tree!

we're moms too

Written by Ashley as part of the We’re Moms Too series.

For the past six years, my husband and I have spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving going to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. Having come from an artificial tree family, this has been one of the highlights of my adult Christmases.

We’ve had many tree adventures over the past six years. The most memorable was when the tree fell off the roof on the highway. I still remember the feeling of snow falling on our noses and the wind gusting, from both the sky and the 65+ MPH cars flying past, as we attempted to prop that baby back up on the roof. The rope had broken and the only thing we had was a tarp, so we rolled it like a breadstick, threw it over the top of the car, secured it in the side doors and drove 15 MPH in the berm until the next exit. Good times.

Now that we have a family of our own, the traditions, and memorable moments, continue – like the four times that the tree toppled over last year. This year, for the first time, we had two kiddos in tow to cut down the tree. My 3 month old son was wrapped all snuggly in his carrier, while my husband and daughter meandered through the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

Tree-farm

It’s crazy what a difference a year makes. Last year, my daughter couldn’t even walk. This year, she was running around the trees proudly proclaiming “Tree! Home!” In toddler language, this means “We’re taking a tree home!” This led to “Tree! Car!” when we strapped it to the roof, this year securely.

After naps and the football game (I’d like to personally thank the NFL for game time starts at 1pm for us parents of toddlers), it was time to put up the tree. Of course we ran into a snag – the tree was closer to 11 feet tall than the 9 feet we had estimated. After more chopping and slicing, it fit in its designated corner, ready to decorate. My husband brought out the step ladder for my daughter to climb to help hang ornaments. She pointed to her preferred destination for each, clustering about 20 ornaments on four branches. After she hung a few herself, all she wanted to do was touch and explore. I tried explaining to her that she could place the ornaments, but not touch them. That went over well – telling a toddler not to touch something always results in listening – right!?

Trimming Tree

At the end of a long day, everything fell into place (luckily, not the tree). It was exciting to be able to share the memories of the past 13 years (before becoming mom and dad) that hung on our tree with our daughter, from “our first Christmas” in 2001 when we were Juniors in high school to the key chains we turned into ornaments in 2008 when we were recent college grads living on powdered potatoes; and this year, we’ll be adding “baby’s 1st Christmas.” Nothing is better than seeing years of memories aglow right there in our home.

WM2_AshleyAbout Ashley
Ashley is a self-proclaimed fashionista, social media maven, and proud mama of two. She is the Digital Communications Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanksgiving Traditions

I believe the best time of the year is now upon us. Not only have the leaves dropped here in Northeast Ohio, but so has the temperature. This can only mean one thing- my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Thanksgiving is not only my favorite holiday for the vast amount of food or the all-you-can-watch football, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of my family’s traditions.

Ever since I can remember, I would wake up on Thanksgiving morning and the wonderful aroma of the dish my mother was making would fill the house. My family would eat a small breakfast together before piling into the car to travel about an hour and a half to my grandparents. The car ride always felt like an eternity because of the excitement to see everyone. Our family Thanksgiving gathering consisted of getting to see my grandparents, all my aunts, all my uncles and all eighteen cousins. We would always have a huge Thanksgiving spread, the typical kids table and adult table and we would always have a rousing game of “Bingo” after dinner, including prizes (enough for everyone to have at least one).

Thanksgiving tradition

Even though we lived the furthest away from my grandparents, we would always seem to stay as long as possible. When I was younger, I never understood why we would stay so long. However, now that I’m older, I realize the real reason.  We stayed because Thanksgiving, to us, is about being thankful for the things you have in life and what my family is most thankful for, which is having each other.

What are some of your family traditions? What are you and your families thankful for this Thanksgiving?

About Matt
BioPhotoMatt is a major sports fanatic. Whether it is cheering on the Cleveland sports teams or hitting the links at the local golf courses, he can usually be found browsing for new additions to his baseball card collection. He also enjoys traveling and is hoping to visit all 50 of the United States someday. Matt is part of our Digital Communications Team at Step2.

Mini-Vans, Saxophones and Soccer Cleats!

minivans saxophones and soccer cleats

Written by Tonia as a part of the We’re Moms Too series

We’re more than a month into a new school year and fall sports are in full swing. I get asked at least 5 times a week, “How do you do it?” When you work full-time job and have an 11-year-old and six-year-old twins in a multitude of activities, you figure out how to make it work. Does it take a village? Sometimes. Does it take organization and patience? Absolutely. A bottle of Excedrin doesn’t hurt either.

Two Christmases ago my husband bought me a wipe board calendar. I bet you’re thinking I must have been on Santa’s good list to receive this amazingly romantic gift, right? Oddly enough, this wipe board has turned into our lifeline. It keeps track of vet appointments, birthday parties, after school activities, and much more. It even came with 5 markers so we can color coordinate for each member of our family. After updates are made, I snap a pic of it with my phone for reference on the go.

schedule

I’ll let all of you in on a secret, some nights aren’t pretty at our house. When it’s time to leave work, I sprint to pick up kids and get them prepared for the first activity of the night. After getting them home, what’s for dinner? Typically, I make a few meals on Sunday that can be quickly reheated later in the week. One thing I have learned is that there is no joy greater than wrestling with soccer socks and cleats for our twins while they are eating dinner and working on homework (don’t spill pasta sauce on your homework, please!). And thanks to double booking, some nights we have to sacrifice one activity for another. It happens, and that’s okay. We explain it to the kids and they have accepted it. They have also accept that sometimes they have to do homework in the car or while waiting for their sibling’s practice to be over. They are also becoming accustomed to multiple activities in one night with locations spread throughout the area. We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful friends who are crazy adventurous enough to sign up for a lot of the same activities we do. This network is armed with extra car seats and will gladly transport a child to any activity. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the wipe board, the network, the mini-van and the aforementioned Excedrin.

Is all the running around worth it? Absolutely! There is no greater joy when you see the smile on our little cheerleader’s face during a routine, when “Beckham” and “Hamm” score a goal or when our oldest hits a perfectly pitched note on her saxophone.

Is all the running around worth it? Absolutely! There is no greater joy when you see the smile on our little cheerleader’s face during a routine, when “Beckham” and “Hamm” score a goal, or when our oldest hits a perfectly pitched note on her saxophone.

About Tonia:
toniaTonia is a wife, mom of three energetic kiddos and two four legged friends who enjoys quiet walks in the aisles of Target.   Born and raised in the Cleveland area, she is a sports fanatic who loves all things Nashville.  Tonia is the Digital Analyst at Step2.