Sunday, December 27, 2009

December in a nutshell

Is it just me or has December flown by? It seems like Thanksgiving was a week ago, and yet Christmas has already come and gone! It's kind of sad. I am relieved to have the craziness out of the way, but bummed I didn't give myself more chances to just relax and enjoy. There were moments of bliss, don't get me wrong. Christmas music, Christmas smells, baking, watching the snow fall, planning out gifts for loved ones, admiring the tree, and most of all, seeing the magic of the season shine through my children's eyes. But for some reason I was extra stressed this year, and as a result, more vulnerable to the pressures of the season. What's ironic is that we didn't travel this year, nor did we have guests! So what really should have been the most relaxing Christmas yet, wasn't. Needless to say, I've reflected lots, and come to the conclusion that I was the one creating the pressure. After a good slap on the hand, I am ready for next year, to put my focus on the simple pleasures and off the still good, but less important things.

December was a full month! Here are some of the high lights (in no particular order).

Zippy, the elf made his appearance shortly after Thanksgiving and stuck around until Christmas Eve night when he flew home to the North Pole until next December! If you aren't familiar with The Elf on the Shelf, you need to be!

Each morning, Chloe would come racing out of her room asking, "Where's Zippy?!! Where's Zippy!?" Then the second she'd spot him, her eyes would get big, her jaw would drop, and out would come an exuberant gasp. It was so fun watching her excitement and enthusiasm. I love the faith and innocence of a child. Chloe was sad to see Zippy go on Christmas Eve, but I suppose he wouldn't be so special if he hung around all year.

We had a preschool Christmas party, where the kids each brought a wrapped up book to exchange. It was a little chaotic, but a lot of fun! Reese is missing from the pictures, because he had already left. :(

It was impossible to get all 5 kids to look at the camera at the same time, but I gave it my best.

As many of you know, a good part of my youth was spent in ballet class. I performed in Vacaville Ballet's own rendition of 'The Nutcracker' for more years than I can count, and as cheesy as it sounds, it became a part of me. I could hum the music from start to finish if you asked me. I love the story, the music, the magic and the tender memories all of those things bring back. Since I was a teenager, I have dreamt of taking my daughter to see the Nutcracker ballet, and this year that dream became a reality. It was much more special for me than it was for Chloe, but I know as the years pass and we make this a tradition, she will grow to appreciate it more.

We went to a local performance. It wasn't spectacular, but then again I'm a Nutcracker snob. The important thing is that we had a good time! The first ten or so minutes engaged Chloe, but after that she couldn't sit still, nor keep her mouth shut. Strangely enough, she was more interested in the Nutcracker and soldiers than she was the dancers who were all dolled up in tutus and shimmery costumes. That's especially weird for Chloe, who is about the girliest four year old I know! When she saw the soldiers with guns, she asked, "Are those guns real? Are they going to come after me?" While it wasn't exactly what I envisioned, it was a precious time with her, and I'm so glad we did it.

Daddy took our picture before we left.

Here's Chloe anxiously waiting for the show to start.

Afterwards they had a 'tea party' for the guests with treats to munch on. While Chloe and I enjoyed some goodies, the dancers wandered around greeting the guests, and these 3 stopped by to say hello to Chloe. She felt like quite the VIP!

Here's a little peek at our Ward Christmas party. I took a handful of other pictures, but, thinking I'd already copied them to my desktop, I deleted them off the memory card. Naturally I realized this after the fact, but our friend, Andrew was able to retrieve this one photo for us. I had a pretty hilarious one of terrified Ryan on Santa's lap. You could hardly even see his face because he was trying so hard to crawl out of his arms! I am mad at myself that I wasn't thinking more clearly when I emptied that memory card because it would have gone perfectly with a certain picture I have of Chloe when she was Ryan's age doing the exact same thing.

As you can see, Ryan was pretty traumatized!

Neil and I were able to sneak away last Thursday to Winter Park for a day of skiing. We scored two free lift tickets when we attended Warren Miller's show in November, so it didn't cost us a dime! I'll be honest. I wasn't excited to go, mainly because I didn't want to burden someone else with my kids for an entire day, but by the second run, I was quite enjoying myself! It was a beautiful snowy day, and the park wasn't crowded at all.

Thanks, Dan for joining us! And thanks, Allison for taking both of the kids for a full 10 hours!

Chloe and I had fun baking Christmas cookies, fudge, popcorn balls and other holiday goodies! We read Christmas stories, watched Christmas movies like Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and Elf! Chloe has now seen the movie Elf so many times that she recognizes not just the Christmas songs from the movie, but the actual recordings! The other day we heard Ella Fitzgerald sing, 'Sleigh Ride' and Chloe immediately said, "Mommy! That's from Elf!" She's a smart one that Chloe girl.

On Christmas Eve we went to our dear friend Cindy's for dinner and an early celebration. To say Chloe loves Cindy would be an understatement. She absolutely positively ADORES this woman! Luckily Cindy adores Chloe too. And on several occasions she has taken Chloe on little dates, which has helped me out greatly! A couple weeks ago, she took Chloe out for her birthday. First stop was Build a Bear, followed by dinner at Chick-fil-a, complete with an ice cream cone! She has been very good to us. She might as well be part of the family.

Isn't this a great picture!?

Thanks for the jammies, Cindy!

The other day, Neil was taking a rest on Chloe's chair. Concerned that he might be cold, Chloe let him borrow her blanket and a couple stuffed animals too! Neil was very appreciative!

She loves her daddy. There's no doubt about it!

Here are a few other random December pictures.

More pictures from Christmas morning to come. I think this post as about reached its limit!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Hope yours has been magical...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chloe's latest

Here's the post I had intended to finish on (or close to) Chloe's 4th birthday. Hey, I'm only a month behind!

Stats and shots

Chloe's 4 year check up was on November 19th, and went relatively well. This was the first time she had to have shots and was actually old enough to comprehend beforehand what was about to take place. I did what I could to prepare her the weeks leading up to the big appointment. Her cousin, Chase had shots just a few days before she did, and we talked a lot about his experience and how well he handled himself. We also went and picked out a Princess Barbie doll, and I promised her that if she was a brave girl, we would go pick up the doll after her doctor's appointment. She was surprisingly cheerful the entire day and even during her appointment. That is.. until the medical assistant walked in with the needles. Then the reality sunk in. She hadn't even been poked before she was crying. When she was actually poked with the needles, the screaming naturally intensified, but luckily only lasted a solid minute or two before she was distracted by the cool band aids on her legs. It was then that she realized she could show these band aids off, and announce to everyone that she'd endured 3 shots! I'd be willing to bet that from the time we walked out of the exam room until the time we reached the car, 12 different people were informed of her recent trauma. When we finally made it to the car, low and behold, there sat a wrapped package on her car seat from the "Shot Fairy"! And wouldn't you know it was the very Mulan doll Chloe had asked for only a few days prior. What would we moms do without all these fairies to help us out?

Current stats:
32.8 pounds (31st percentile)
38.5 inches (23rd percentile)
She may be little, but that personality of hers is of a giant's!

Little Nurturer

Chloe is such a great big sister. I'll admit she has her moments or torment and taunting, but it is so evident to me that she adores her brother like no other. Lately I've spotted her and Ryan in the living room dancing to Christmas music together. She also loves to play "Ring Around the Rosy" with him. He loves it just as much as she does, especially now that he's getting to be more stable on his feet.

When Ryan wakes up from his naps, Chloe is usually the first to hear him. Immediately following this discovery comes the question, "Can I go talk to my brother?" And moments later I hear them in his room giggling over who knows what. She's usually making him laugh in some silly way (and cracking herself up too). I really can't think of a more rewarding image or sound than to see or hear my two children enjoying one another. They are best pals, and I am grateful that Chloe plays the role of protective, encouraging and loving big sister so well.

From the mouth of...

Every single day Chloe makes me laugh out loud. And while I don't jot everything down that she says (that's a physical impossibility), I have managed to document most of the good stuff. Here's the latest.

"If the train doesn't stop, I'll just have to stay there!" (referring to the train at the pumpkin patch)

"When I was a baby, Grandma Jill was my mommy. But I wasn't there yet! I was still up in heaven! ... Did you know that?!"

After Neil referred to me as "Mommy", Chloe sharply replied, "Daddy, you do NOT call her mommy! That's NOT appropriate!"

"We'd better say another blessing 'cause the food's still hot!"

After asking Chloe for the third time to finish her lunch, she quietly said, "I'm four!" to which I replied, "And what does that have to do with anything?" Chloe's response: "Mommys can't tell four years oldses what to do!" Did anyone else miss that memo?

"So mom, how's your week doin'?"

Chloe: "Mommy, where does Santa live?"
Me: "Santa lives at the North Pole!"
Chloe: "Does he have his own room?"
Me: "My guess is yes!"
Chloe: "What does it look like?"
Me: "Well, I don't know. What do you think it looks like?"
Chloe: "I think it's pink and purple, and has ponies and hearts and diamonds in it! I really do!"

Chloe: "Can I have a brownie?"
Me: "No, because you haven't eaten any lunch yet!"
Chloe: "I don't want any lunch!"
Me: "Why don't you want lunch?"
Chloe: "Because I don't like food... ...just desserts."

She calls gobstoppers "stop whoppers", and whipping cream "whooping cream".

A mind of her own, and then some...

To say this girl has a mind of her own would be an understatement. She is constantly demanding to do things her way, and always wants to be in control. On a regular basis, she'll come marching out of her room wearing a different colored sock on each foot, up to 3 layers of shirts, and a skirt, often over her pants. If she could have it her way she would wear only skirts and dresses. She has also been known to raid my closet for treasures. Scarves, hats, shoes, you name it. The other day I walked into the office to find her at the piano wearing a pair of swimming goggles! She's too much.

She never goes a full day without pulling her hair out. On Sundays she'll sometimes make it through church, but the second she walks into the house, out come the pony tails! I keep telling her that princesses like to keep their hair in all day, but she doesn't care.

Chloe recently learned in preschool that if you fold a paper in half and and cut out a design, the end result is a piece of paper with identical sides. She has since cut out about 100 diamonds and taped several to her bedroom door, and other various places around the house. She is obsessed with diamonds! Whenever we are checking out at Costco, she requests the worker draw one on the back of our receipt. Other common requests include a happy face, a flower and, of course, a crescent moon.

Chloe never ever stops talking. Whether she's having a conversation with you face to face, saying hello to a complete stranger in a public place, talking on the phone with Grandma or singing to herself as she sits on the toilet, her mouth is always going. It's really no wonder Ryan hasn't said any words yet. She does all the talking for him!

Life would certainly not be as entertaining without this cute girl. I can't wait to see what future years bring. She's bound to do big things.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chloe's birthday party

Chloe had a birthday party a few weeks ago with some of her preschool pals. It was a hit! The night before as I was scrambling to come up with ways to entertain 8 three and four year olds for an hour and a half, I found myself beginning to stress! What's funny is we ended up playing generic games like Duck Duck Goose and Hot Potato, and they just thought it was the greatest thing ever! It never ceases to amaze me how something as simple as sitting in a circle with a bean bag can entertain a child.

For weeks Chloe told me she wanted a Tinkerbell party. She also told me she wanted only boys at her party. Maybe it's just me, but an all boy party with a Tinkerbell theme just doesn't mix! Needless to say, we made some compromises.

Want a simple and inexpensive solution to satisfying 8 hungry children?

-1 (8 ct.) tube Pillsbury Grands biscuits
- Pizza sauce
- Shredded mozzarella
- Pepperoni

Place 1 biscuit on a plate for each child. Have them flatten their biscuits, then decorate with sauce, cheese and pepperoni (or any other desired toppings). Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. It doesn't only feed 'em, it entertains 'em! Always a plus!

And what's a birthday party without a Tinkerbell pinata? Luckily, each child had a turn to whack the thing around before the birthday girl finally knocked it to the ground!

Time for presents!

This process was pretty entertaining to watch. With each present opened, the kids migrated closer and closer to Chloe. By the time the last present was opened, they were practically on top of each other!

Time for some birthday cake... or should I say a Tinkerbell cup cake tower!

Thank you, Better Crocker, for being more creative than I! I never would have thought of this on my own! Then again, cake decorating was never my cup of tea.

Starting this year, I began a tradition that's been in Neil's family for generations. I wrapped pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters in wax paper and inserted one in each cup cake. Growing up, Neil said this was always one of the highlights of birthday celebrations, and that the goal was always to end up with the piece of cake containing the quarter!

All in all, Chloe's party was a success! Thanks, Allison, for helping with crowd control. It was great fun and even three weeks later, Chloe's still talking about it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Birthdays and wedding rings

First I want to wish my nephew, Grant a Happy 1st Birthday today!

We are thinking of you lots and wishing we could be there to witness the destruction of your cake! Enjoy!


And second, a big CONGRATS to my sister-in-law, Lori, who became Mrs. Croft on November 13th!
Friday the 13th, that is!

We are so happy that Jared has joined the family. He and Lori are like two peas in a pod. I know that sounds cliche, but I've seriously never met a man and a woman who were more alike and meant to be together. They will be very happy.

Fun stuff going on in the Andersen family these days...