Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jolie's 3rd Birthday

I cannot believe my baby is three.  It's crazy talk.  But it's also very exciting.  She's growing up and turning out to be quite a fun, sweet, smart little girl.  I'm not surprised; she was that sort of baby.  But still, it's wild to see just how quickly time can fly.

This year we opted to do a fairly low key birthday party.  We always say we should make it just a family affair, but I tend to get over excited about birthdays and parties and make it into too much of an event.  This year, I kept things pretty simple.  I was worried that because of this simplicity Jolie wouldn't feel like there was an adequate fuss made over her, that she wouldn't feel special enough.  But I was wrong.  You don't need a crowd to have a party.

For weeks leading up to Jolie's birthday, she had started telling people, "When my is three, my is going to go to ballet school!"  I'm not sure when or why she got that into her head, but she was pretty confident in it.  It kind of crushed me, as this was not in our plans.  So I looked into it, just to see what was available.  Turns out, there were several options and a couple that were doable.  But none of them felt like the perfect fit, and the scheduling etc stressed me out.  So - after much contemplation and a good amount of googling, I decided that I was going to take things into my own hands... I was going to teach Jolie and her friends ballet! (So much for not overdoing it, lol.)
The night before Jolie's birthday, I made the cake(s) and Derek and I decorated the house so that she'd wake up and feel excited and special.  I love doing this. It's like playing Santa or something; it's very exciting.  And it was effective.  She was very excited and (I believe) felt very special.  She's so sweet.  It was fun making her happy.

The morning of her birthday was the first ballet class.  She opened one present that morning: her new, adorable ballerina shoes!  We ate breakfast, got all ready and headed out.We met at the clubhouse as there was lots more room and it would feel more official.  The friends we'd invited to do ballet with us were: Kamry Beus, Lucy and Janie Francom, and Anneliese Bradfield.  Five little girls total.  Perfect.  The first day was kind of crazy (three-year-olds aren't particularly great at following orders and do not have stellar attention spans, ha) but also very fun.  We ended up doing the ballet classes once a week for about seven weeks total.  They got substantially better at being obedient little ballerinas, and it was really fun to see them progressing and developing.  Lots of work but so, so worth it!  

After ballet we came home to eat lunch, send James off to school, read a ballerina story in the newly-created princess fort, and take a wonderful nap.

Later that night, we had Jolie's low-key birthday party.  Michael and Grandma Marilyn joined us, but that was it.  Small, simple, lovely.  We ate crepes for dinner (sugar) then followed it up by a delicious pink cake (sugar) and pink ice cream (sugar).  Then she opened presents and played with her spoils.  

My sweet little Jolie felt special for sure.  I needn't have worried.  She was happy and fussed over all the day long.  And I sure hope she knows that we love her to bits. 

I love you, Jolie baby.  I am so, so glad you're mine. xo

Happy 3rd Birthday.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vegas, Baby!

This year the Anderson family (Derek's mom, siblings, etc) took a vacation to Las Vegas over New Year's.  It was loads of fun.  And best of all, it was waaarrrmm.  Apparently we missed some bitter, 20 below kind of weather up here, so we were especially grateful to have been able to go.  Derek's sister from Alaska and his brother from Georgia were able to come with their families, so it was a wonderful excuse to get to see them.  We had a lot of fun.  Here are a few (sarcasm...a bazillion would be more accurate) photos of the trip.




Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012 was very laid back and chill, which was very nice.  We didn't go anywhere, but we did have some family come here.  Hosting both Christmas Eve dinner as well as Christmas (Day) dinner was fairly stressful, especially with our teensy tiny table.  But it worked out fine and was very pleasant and enjoyable in the end.  The grandmas were super helpful, and everyone was very kind and complimentary about it all.  It was loads of fun. A Mary Poppins Christmas... practically perfect in every way.

Christmas Eve, I traditionally make gingerbread cookies with the kids.  This year was no different.  Grandma Julie, Grandma Marilyn and Uncle Michael all joined in on the fun, too, and we went a little crazy decorating the little guys. There were even abominable snowmen (coconut)!  It was fun.  Then we opened our Christmas Eve jammie presents, which the kids especially enjoyed.  We read Luke 2 by the lights of the tree and sang Christmas carols and got to bed.

Santa came in the middle of the night and left wonderful presents for us all.

Grandma Marilyn and Uncle Michael did not stay the night, but they came to our house bright and early on Christmas morning.  After they got here, we came out into the living room to discover what Santa had left.  We were all very excited.  I was worried that James would feel gypped because his Santa gift was much lower scale than Jolie's (they each got what they'd asked for, but still I worried).  But it was not a problem in the least. They were both so happy for their own gifts and even for one another's that it was a non issue.  I was so proud.  My kids surprise me sometimes, and I love them all the more for it.  After discovering and playing with the gifts Santa left us, we delved into the wrapped gifts under the tree.  Christmas morning is so magical. It was a sweet and exciting (not to mention exhausting) morning.

Mom and Michael went home after lunch, and our little family took much needed naps.  After nap time, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Polly arrived (having driven up from New Mexico).  We opened presents with them, and the kids got even more spoiled.  It is so great that they travel up here every six months or so; it really helps the kids stay connected with them.  And that makes me happy.  It was a very fun afternoon, still low key and chill- and very pleasant.

That evening, we crammed around our little table for Christmas dinner.  We even got out the fine china!  It was quite funny to see how smooshed we all were, but it worked out just fine.  We enjoyed wonderful company and wonderful food.  It was a (you guessed it) wonderful day.

I am so grateful for family, for my little family that I love beyond words and for the fantastic extended family that we have.  Christmastime makes this gratitude even more pronounced.  There is just nothing that compares to spending a holiday surrounded by those you love.

Merry Christmas, one and all.