Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Eve: New Traditions

Once upon a time, Robby and I used to host Christmas Eve. Robby has to work on Christmas Eve, so we are never sure what time he will be home. The children would wear their Christmas outfits, Santa fly by and leave one present for each of them to open, and they would go to bed in their Christmas pj's. Melissa spent Christmas Eve with her in-laws, so it was a smaller family gathering and "our event". The past two years Christmas Eve has been moved from one location to another in an attempt to find a new normal.

This year, in the morning we got to celebrate with Peyton and Reagan! Santa made an early stop in Tucson to deliver their presents, with the promise he would be back for our little ones later! :) We spent time opening presents, decorating cookies, and just enjoying being together. Our time together passed very quickly and before we knew it the girls had to go home.

So happy to be able to spend the morning together!

Peyton and her new Barbie wedding set.

Miss Reagan and her 3 new purses filled with Christmas treasures.
She does not want to share her treasures! :)

Enjoying decorating Christmas cookies!

The "babies"...they aren't so little anymore.

Someone loves Reagan's new puppy!

Christmas Eve 2011

We were invited to attend a family friend's Christmas Eve charity dinner at her house in Phoenix. We agreed to attend with very mixed feelings. Although we knew the family would have a great time, Robby and I were not looking forward to the 2 hour drive to northern Phoenix...and a very late night when we made the drive back home. The drive up went smoothly and relatively quickly. We made a quick pit stop to change the kids into their Christmas Eve finery and then arrived at our destination.

T.C.'s house

Maybe Santa will appear later???

The pool area

My munchkins in Christmas outfits!

Who is ready to party?!?

I AM!!!

Ready to shoot some hoops!

Katie with her girls!

Daddy and his boys!

A chocolate smile that melts my heart!

Enjoying the kids area!

Now we get to explore the pool area!

Golf anyone?!?

(Don't look at his pants! It's just evidence of the fun he had
climbing on the play structure.)

Our Family 2011

Nana and Uncle Paul

We can reach it if we try!!!

Bobby the Slugger takes a shot!

Katie takes a whack at the pinata!

Last. but not least, Andy's turn with the whacking stick!

Scooping up the goodies...notice Bobby's hood as he crouched
under the pinata! (Gotta save some for later! :))

Katie joins the carollers for a song!

Santa made a quick stop and had a gift for each
child. Bobby's name was the first one called!
Bobby got Madden 2012 for the Wii.
Katie got a puppy...NOT a real one!
Andy got Mater's garage.

Santa stopped by our house too and unloaded his bag!
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"

We had a fantastic time and made some wonderful new Christmas Eve memories! T.C.'s house was incredible and the evening was put together with Christmas magic in mind. We have all agreed that THIS is our new Christmas Eve tradition. (Maybe next year I can be in a few more phots...gotta teach my hubby a few photo tricks!) Until next year...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Nutcracker

The week before Christmas was a big week in our house! School was winding up and winter break was approaching. Our winter vacation started with 3 back-to-back performances of The Nutcracker. Our little ballerina loved every moment of the fast paced schedule! After we turned in her costume and closed the book on this year's performance, I asked Katie what part she wanted to be next year. Her answer: "The snow queen mommy! She's the prettiest dancer in the whole ballet!"

Our little ballerina

Katie & Miss Carrie (her ballet teacher)

Performing her Chinese Tea Act
Ballet = F-U-N!!!

Nana, Nini, and the ballerina

Mrs. Hoffner came to her final performance and snuck backstage with me!

Katie picked out a new nutcracker ornament for our tree. We started this tradition 3 years ago when "the girls" first began attending the ballet.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Magic

The magic of Christmas is always around us. It fills the sky during the days and nights leading up to that magical can feel joy, hope, and love filling the air. Despite the hustle and bustle of the season, the magic of Christmas surrounds us all. Sometimes we forget to stop and feel the magic. Sometimes life gets in the way of the magic. Sometimes our hearts aren't open to the magic. That is when the magic of Christmas refuses to be silent and true Christmas miracles occur...

May the wonder, joy, hope and love of the Christmas season fill your home, as it has filled ours this year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My American Girl

Table for three four, please...

One of the most memorable things I have done with Katie is to take her for tea at the American Girl in Chicago. While we were visiting family last October, we found time for Chris, Katie and I to go for tea and hors d'oeuvres at American Girl Chicago. It was a wonderful experience that I hope Katie remembers for years to come.
American Girl Chicago
Katie & Bitty Twin Julie

This year, we decided to continue the tradition of having girl time on our trip to Los Angeles. We made reservations for lunch at American Girl Los Angeles...and once again were not disappointed by our experience! On our way to the store, we had our very first star sighting! Mario Lopez was interviewing Kelly was too crowded to get a good look or picture!
We headed into the store a little early so that Katie could take Lanie, her dollie, to the salon. Lanie had her hair done for our special day and even got her ears pierced! Katie was so excited to watch Lanie's make-over and loved exploring every inch of the store while we waited. Of course we had to do a little shopping too! Katie had saved up her piggy bank money for our special outing and purchased a puppy for Lanie. Nana felt that Lanie needed a new fancy outfit for lunch. Katie happily picked out a new outfit, complete with shoes and a matching hair ribbon!

Lanie gets a make-over!

They are ready for lunch!

Katie and Nana

They make any little girl feel like a princess as they greet you at the door with a special seat for your dollie. Once you are seated at the table, you are given a box of conversation cards. They cards are open ended questions about things you have done or would like to do. Katie had fun "reading" her question cards to us! During our meal, our waiter bailed on us...he headed to a room right behind our booth to cater to the needs of some special guests. Star sighting #2...Amy Brenneman (from Private Practice) was attending a birthday party and walked right by our booth! Despite this setback, we had a fabulous lunch and enjoyed our girl time!

American Girl Los Angeles
Katie and Lanie

Our waiter told Katie that if she wanted her
dessert she had to wear the daisy in her hair! :)

My American Girl

I have enjoyed both of our experiences at American Girl so much! I know that it is something I will look on with fondness for many, many years to come!!! I wonder which American Girl we will visit next? I would recommend this to anyone who has a daughter. Katie's eyes lit up with excitement the minute we walked through the door and she couldn't stop talking about it for days! I love MY American Girl to pieces!!!