Three reasons why Lansing’s Brunch with Santa rocks

For the last several years, one of my favorite traditions to kick off the holiday season is Downtown Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City. And last year, for the first time, we enjoyed the annual Breakfast with Santa event at Troppo.

Stella was three years old, and the opportunity to start a special holiday tradition with her when she’d “get it” was one we didn’t want to pass up. Also with Margot’s due date just days after Christmas, it felt as though our entire Christmas holiday was going to be up in the air. We didn’t want to commit to anything, not knowing when little Margot might show up. Turns out, she waited until New Year’s Day. What a gal!

I was very excited to see that despite some changes to Troppo, the event will continue on during Silver Bells weekend this year, November 18-19.

I have our family all signed up for Brunch with Santa, and here are three reasons why I think it rocks.

  1. You get a quality photo with Santa Claus (and Mrs. Claus!) with no rush, no mall crowds, and no crazy-expensive prints. For Stella’s first couple visits to see Santa Claus, we went to Meridian Mall. That Santa Claus was awesome, but to purchase the photos was very expensive. Who needs a dozen wallet-size photos of your kid with Santa? Instead at the Brunch with Santa at Troppo, I was able to take photos with my own camera. There was also a photographer who shot a photo that we could purchase and receive digitally. The cost was minimal in comparison to mall prices, and I was glad we bought it. It turned out much better than my photos did. I also loved getting our photo with Santa knocked out in November so that I could order Christmas cards and not worry about expediting the printing and shipping.
  2. Crafting stations and activities like cookie decorating are included. When you’re done eating your pancake breakfast (which, by the way, is served very promptly. Awesome when all your kid wants to do it see Santa), you can head upstairs to a large room filled with holiday crafts. We spent a good 30 minutes making fun etching and painting crafts, and also decorated sugar cookies. This area is great to help break up the wait for Santa and also extend the fun.
  3. It’s a special way to celebrate the beginning of the holidays with your children right in downtown Lansing. Admittedly, we haven’t taken Stella to the Silver Bells in the City parade yet. Often it’s either very cold, very crowded, or both. And for the last many years, we’ve gone out to dinner with Zack’s cousin Brian and his partner Rion in downtown Lansing during the Silver Bells festivities. I hope to bring our girls to the parade in a few years, but I love that we can enjoy the spirit of the weekend together as a family without fighting crowds, traffic, cold, and bedtimes. Along with a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a daytime visit downtown means getting some great photos of the state Christmas tree outside the Capitol building. If the parade isn’t your thing, Brunch with Santa is an excellent way to get little kids excited about the holidays… as if they needed the help!

Reservations are strongly encouraged and time slots usually sell out, so it’s good to book ahead of time. This year they have an online system, which is much easier than calling the restaurant during business hours. It helps make selecting a time and paying a snap.

Click here to make reservations. Maybe we’ll see you there!


When did Stella grow up?

Thanks to my iPhone and digital camera, it’s safe to say my girls’ lives have been well-documented, from big moments to the most ordinary, day-to-day occurrences. There are many times I’ll scroll back through photos on my phone or marvel at my Facebook memories and see how much the girls have changed already.

But it really hit me when I received Stella’s school photos this week, taken by Allison Davis, a wonderful local photographer and her classmate Fletcher’s mama. Stella has been going to the same adorable preschool since she was two years old, and by next fall she’ll be off to kindergarten. Allison has taken the children’s photos each year.

Seeing the school photos from this year was one thing, but comparing them to the photos from the previous two years made me emotional to say the least. Looking back at when she was two years old, she looks like such a little girl. And this year, she’s looking like a young lady.

In some ways, I can start to imagine how she’ll look in the years to come. It’s becoming less of a mystery as she loses the last bits of baby from her face. Her hair is less wispy, her smile more purposeful.

It makes me really proud and sad all at once — I guess that’s what it’s like being a mom, right?

Continue reading “When did Stella grow up?”

Hello, mobility. Goodbye, sanity.

At nine and a half months old, Margot is mastering new skills each day. She loves to clap her hands, say “yeah yeah yeah” (thank you, “I’m Still Standing” from “Sing”), and eat Puffs one piece at a time in her high chair.

But there’s a milestone that fills me with pride and dread all at once: mobility. Although Margot isn’t interested in traditional crawling, she’s perfectly content to roll herself across a room, pivot on her tummy, and change directions. In the last month, mobility has completely changed the game. I’m ready to put a bell on her.

For a few glorious weeks, Margot could sit unassisted at her activity mat and play with her toys and would. Not. Move. Need to unload the dishwasher? Set Margot down with her toys. Grabbing the laundry to fold?Set Margot down with her toys. Quick Mama bathroom break? Set Margot down with her toys.

Those all-too-brief, sweet days are over. After getting bored, Margot now leans herself forward, gets her legs free from beneath her, and she’s on the move.

Continue reading “Hello, mobility. Goodbye, sanity.”

Strangers, please don’t tell me I have my hands full

When I run errands with my two girls, there are a handful of things that typically happen. The combination of automatic doors and Midwest politeness means there’s almost always help getting in and out of a store. There are remarks about the girls being cute, or questions about their ages. A lot of times at the grocery store, people will say Stella is such a good helper as she wheels around her Stella-sized cart while I push Margot in the stroller.

The questions and comments are something I don’t mind; in many ways I’ve grown used to unsolicited conversations with strangers ever since the first time I was pregnant. Often they’re well-meaning, but can stray into inappropriate town. “When are you due? What are you having? Are you having twins?” Over time I think all moms learn how to smile, nod, and be polite when faced with the infinite and limited loop of questions about themselves and/or their children.

But the seemingly innocent, throwaway comment that grinds my gears the most is when someone says, “you have your hands full.” At least people have enough of a filter to leave out the “wow” or “eesh” or “good luck to you, lady.” The sight of a woman simultaneously pushing a stroller and pulling a cart with another kid riding shotgun must seem overwhelming enough to elicit this response. To me, it’s a Thursday.

This proclamation clearly has a negative, glad-I’m-not-in-your-shoes connotation. It doesn’t offer something positive, it doesn’t lend a hand. It’s also stating the obvious. Yes, this shopping trip would probably (okay definitely) be more productive if I were flying solo right now. Yes, I am rolling deep with two ladies under the age of five. My hair is also brown.

What’s annoying is that I thought I was kicking ass in this department. I have figured out where to park and who to unbuckle first and the easiest way to navigate a store. More often than not, shopping trips with my little ladies have been relatively pain-free up to this point, save for the mid-trip potty break for Stella or digging through my bag to find a toy for Margot that’ll keep her occupied for a few more minutes. Yet nearly every time I’m shopping with the both of them, I hear it. “You have your hands full!”

I don’t need a medal or a pat on the back for doing what people do each and every day, even though a successful errand with kids can feel like a personal triumph. I also don’t need a stranger’s verbal assessment of what I have going on. In this increasingly scary and wild world, filled with hateful people and extreme weather events and devastation, my “hands full” is pretty low on the totem pole compared to what others are dealing with.

When it comes down to it, moms are pretty incredible. My cousin Alexis just flew alone with her four children back to Germany, where they are living the next couple years for her husband’s job. My friend Amy sent me a Snapchat today of herself having to pump on the floor near a choir room at her school. My friend Stephanie teaches Zumba throughout the week and does graphic design work while her girls are napping. My friend Julia taught yoga up until the day she gave birth her second daughter.

That is just a handful of the amazing, multitasking moms I have the pleasure of knowing. We’re all doing our best and kicking ass and don’t have time for people saying our hands are full instead of helping hold the door or giving a smile that says “you got this, girl” or simply going about their own days without the running commentary.

Yes, sir, I guess my hands are full. So is my heart.

Now can you please move your cart so mama can get her hands on some of that Halo Top?

loving: Sigh Studio of Music in Old Town

When it came to being home with two little girls this summer, I learned how ever-important it was to have at least a couple outings planned per week. That is, beyond adventures to the grocery store that either went very smoothly (a patient baby Margot) or not so much (a Supermarket Sweep-level of maneuvering with the cart in the middle of Kroger for a Stella potty break).

Last Friday was our first visit to the Sigh Studio of Music in Old Town, which was holding a free demo class for children. I first met Melissa Sigh a few years ago, when she was holding music classes at a location off of Saginaw in Lansing and at Mother & Earth Baby Boutique in Old Town. Stella enjoyed the classes very much when she was smaller, so the free demo seemed like a great opportunity to see how Margot might do.

Continue reading “loving: Sigh Studio of Music in Old Town”

That time Margot was the #Hamilkid of the week

Last September, my husband and I had the insanely good fortune of seeing “Hamilton” when we were in New York. It’s everything we had hoped for and more.

At the time, I was pregnant with our daughter Margot, and spent much of the show feeling her kick the right side of my tummy. Her favorite songs were with the Schuyler sisters.

My husband’s cousin Jessi made us an adorable set of embroidered onesies when our first daughter Stella was born, and we were treated to some very special ones from her when Margot was on the way. This “Hamilton” onesie is one of my personal favorites!

I tweeted this photo when Margot turned seven months old earlier this month and used the #Hamilkids hashtag. Little did I know our Hamilton baby would be featured on the newly-released Hamilton app as the #Hamilkid of the Week:

Nice work, sweet girl! And special thanks to my friend Jack for spotting Margot on the Hamilton app! 🙂


Someday, someday
Yeah you’ll blow us all away…

Hello my name is…

Hello and welcome! My name is Stefanie.

When I was in high school, I used to spend hours a night crafting LiveJournal entries filled with teen angst, song lyrics, and mindless quizzes.

Six years ago, I started a blog when I worked at FOX 47 in Lansing called The Pohlite Blog. I am not above puns, clearly. With The Pohlite Blog, I often wrote about local businesses I loved, shared recipes, and did reviews of traveling productions that performed at the Wharton Center. After a few years and website changes, The Pohlite Blog became no more.

Since then, I’ve been waiting for the right time and place to flex my writing muscles once again. As of this year I am a mom to two little girls, Stella and Margot. and am taking this time in my life to stay home and be with them. My husband Zack has always been supportive of my writing, and after having him and friends saying I should have a blog, I’m finally committing myself to making it happen.

I hope with this blog that I can share my adventures in mommyhood, the fun places I discover in mid-Michigan, the times I get a little crafty, and ultimately shed a light on all the things I love.

It’s most definitely a crazy wonderful time of my life.

Welcome to mostefinitely.