Monday, December 31, 2012

Family time

For our family experience we stayed at the Hampton Inn downtown, because of their awesome kid's pool. Michael had points from his travels to stay for free, and Isabella had seen the pool once driving by and asked about going swimming there. She was so excited to pack her suitcase, ride on the elevator, and play on the phone the second we got in our room.
Checking out the lights of the city. 
We got unloaded and ordered Hideaway and Michael left to go get it.

Pizza picnic in our room!
Then we suited up and headed downstairs for the main reason we were there. I was amazed at how brave Isabella was with her swimming compared to this summer. She would go out to where she couldn't stand and kick her legs to go after balls.

She wanted Daddy to go with her on the slide the first time...

Then came a common phrase these days: "Just Izzy do it".

There are few things I enjoy more than watching my child laugh, sing, and play happily.

She didn't want to go back to our room.

Watching some Lion King and having snacks before bed.

Breakfast time.
After breakfast we swam some more before packing up to go home. Isabella had so much fun, and other than Michael and I not sleeping well sharing a bed with her, we all had a great time!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My birthday was Thursday. I've been the first one awake this Christmas break, so on the morning of my birthday I got up and slipped out to starbucks for my favorite holiday drink.
When Isabella and Michael were up, Michael made pancakes and chocolate syrup. We had a good morning at home until it was time to leave for my favorite lunch spot. I don't know if it was exhaustion from the holidays or what, but Isabella had a HUGE meltdown when it was time to go. I tried for about 30 minutes to get her calm, she kept saying she wanted to stay home, but she wanted to stay with me. We decided for Michael to stay home with her, so I left for lunch with her screaming for me. :( That was kind of terrible, but she fell asleep soon after I left, for what was an early nap, so she must have been really tired.
After lunch we went to Anthropologie for a little while, then went to pick up Michael. My dad came and watched Isabella while we went to see Les Miserables. I've been so looking forward to see it! It was also my dad's first time to keep Iz by himself, and after the morning...I was a bit nervous, but they got on great.  The rest of my family met up with us for dinner, and then we went back to our house for chocolate cake and peppermint ice cream.

Michael persevered in making my cake, even with some obstacles. It tasted great!

Goodbye 30!

Overall I had a great birthday, doing some of my favorite things with my favorite people. I received many great and thoughtful gifts and birthday money! I'm looking forward to the adventures 31 will bring.

We woke up to an unexpected beautiful snow this morning.  We ate breakfast together watching it come down.

For the past few days every time we have told Isabella it was time to leave to go somewhere she has cried. And while she's had fun when we got where we were going, it seemed she was in need of a day at home. So we declared she would not leave the house today. Also known as "holiday detox" as my friend called it. :) We did our best to keep her regular naps and some schedule over the holidays, but there were several late nights and a lot of going. Michael and I each ran some errands separately today, but for the most part we were all at home in our pjs just hanging out.
She finally got to play in snow. We were probably outside about 15-20 minutes before she said, "lets go inside Mom".

Tomorrow night we have the last of our Christmas celebrations with my Mom's extended family. It is hard to believe this year and Christmas are coming to a close. This time of year always finds me reflective, nostalgic, and ready to get our home back to some kind of order. But I am also relishing the things about right now.

Christmas 2012

I got up Christmas morning and put breakfast in the oven and finished making bread rolls for lunch. Michael's parents came over and we waited for Isabella to wake up. She finally did, and she had no idea it was Christmas morning. We put her last ornament on her countdown tree, and I told her it was Christmas morning. She asked me if she got to open her pink presents. She had seen them under the tree and knew she couldn't open them until Christmas.
 Isabella has plenty of toys that she loves and plenty of toys that she doesn't even play with. So we tried to keep things simple by following the "something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read" motto for Christmas that has been all over pinterest and blogs. It was a bit harder than I thought as I would see fun things when I was out shopping that I wanted to get for her, but already had something in that category. I think it will really make me think about what she will really like and use and choose quality things over just having more. I wanted Christmas morning to be fun and special for her, but tried to remember fun and special doesn't have to be all about things. And after everything else she got for Christmas, she has no shortage of clothes and toys. We are abundantly blessed by our families. So I think for now we will follow this, plus their stockings, and then next year adding "something to give". For this we will give the child money to give to a cause or something to help someone else. And we will also do a gift of fun family experience together. I meant to print off a picture of what we are doing to put in Isabella's stocking, but I forgot.

She asked to paint when she saw her easel. But we got her started on her stocking before getting the paints out.

A harmonica!

We started a new tradition this year of a ornament given at Christmas breakfast that will symbolize a new skill learned, or favorite thing or event from the past year specific to that child. I'll write something about each ornament and give them to the kids when they leave home. Can you guess Isabella's for this year?

Over the year we rode trains at Frontier city, the Orr family farm, in Colorado, at the day out with Thomas, the Christmas train, and probably a few more I'm forgetting. We played trains at Barnes and Noble and at home a lot. We read Thomas books and watched Thomas dvd's. We can hear the trains at our house and we could at our old house too, and she gets excited every time she hears one. It was a year of trains.

It was just a matter of time before her hands went in the paint, but she did refrain from painting her face. 

Snow falling on my parents back porch. 
We got ready and left for my parents' house. Isabella kept asking if she could play in the snow, but there still wasn't enough to play in.

Snow watching. 

Watching Papa put out more food for the birds. 

The red cardinals were so pretty against the white snow.

Isabella got a kids table and chairs the perfect size for her. There will be much coloring, creating, and tea parties to come at this table.


Carper came just in time to join us for Christmas.

Our holidays were busy, but I'm grateful we were able to spend time with all of our family. We were blessed with so much family, food, and gifts. And while we didn't get as much snow as I hoped, having some snow on Christmas was a special treat. Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve

Isabella wandered into the kitchen Christmas eve morning while I was making candy cane cheesecakes. She helped me do some of the mixing and got to lick one of the spoons from the melted candy.

She went on a trip to the mall with Daddy to people watch and spend some of daddy's Christmas money.
When they got home I had sugar cookie dough ready to make cookies.

She helped do some and then ran off to play with a new toy.

We spent Christmas Eve with Michael's Dad's side of the family. And as Isabella said that night as we drove home "lots of people, there's lots of people".

Isabella got a cash register from Mema, who she has renamed, Granma.

She has been playing with it a lot, it even went with her to the mall today. She calls it her "casher". 

We came home and put Isabella to bed, made part of Christmas morning breakfast, set the table for breakfast, cleaned up the house some, finished some last preparations, and set out our stockings and Isabella's gift. We had talked about opening our presents and stockings Christmas eve, but at 12:45AM we were too tired and went to bed instead. I am cherishing things as they are this Christmas, the last as a family of three, and also thinking about how we will have 4 stockings next year and a new member of our family to join in our celebrations.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scenes of Christmas Eve eve

We spent time with Michael's immediate family on Christmas eve eve. We watched ELF, which I still hadn't seen this year. We enjoyed a relaxing evening in our home with family and good food.
Isabella wearing her new baby.
Following a string to find a present. 

Out in the garage was a truck!

Playing blocks.
Trying to figure out my new camera lens. (Me not her) 

She's been on several trips to Florida and the North Pole since she's had her truck, oh and the grocery store.

I'm so grateful for the relationship Isabella has with her grandparents and time we are able to spend with them. Happy Christmas Eve eve.