Sunday, December 30, 2007

Playhouse Disney Live!

I've been looking forward to this for a while, and tonight was finally show time! I got some great, center stage, 7th row discount tickets at work to take our family to see Playhouse Disney Live. The show featured many of Elise's favorite characters including the cast of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, & Goofy), Handy Manny, The Little Einsteins, and Tigger & Pooh! Elise really enjoyed the show and participated by singing, dancing, shouting, and clapping her hands. It was so much fun to watch her...and the show was cute too. Jamie and I kept looking at each other and giggling at how much fun Elise was having and how amazed she was to see the characters from TV and the computer come to life before her eyes. She got a Handy Manny hat and wore it during quite a bit of the show. Here are some pictures of the event:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 In Review

When I first began thinking back on 2007, it seemed like a pretty low key year. I started to go through pictures to do a slide show, and I realized that we actually had a really busy and eventful year! I think overall it was a pretty good year too. Rather than type out all the highlights, I posted the slideshow that I created at the top of the page. It is narrated with captions, so enjoy our year in review!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Today a King is born

We have exchanged an unreasonable amount of gifts this year. And to think this was supposed to be a low key Christmas. We definitely did not end up sticking to that plan. It's been a little difficult to keep focus on the real meaning of Christmas with Elise. She is still pretty young to grasp that concept, but we have been talking about today being Jesus' birthday. I'm looking forward to her getting a bit older so we can really start learning more about Jesus. This year it is safe to say that the gifts have overshadowed things a bit! I am starting a One Year Bible reading group on January 1st, and our little group will endeavor to read the entire Bible in 2008. Having said that, check out all these gifts!!! This is a combination of gifts for both sides of our family, though.

We had a great time last night with my parents, my grandmother, and Jamie's dad and stepmom. Dinner was yummy as usual, and then we spent the rest of the evening opening gifts and having coffee, hot chocolate, and dessert!

After all the activity last night at mom's house, we headed home and prepared for Santa! Elise sprinkled reindeer food in the yard and we put out cookies and milk for Santa. Then it was off to bed!

"Sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve night,
Rudolph's nose will make it sparkle bright.
As Santa's reindeer roam,
The scent of oats will guide them to our home."

This morning we all woke up super early to be sure we caught the first glimpse of Elise coming downstairs! Santa was very good to her this year.

The boys also enjoyed getting a lot of new toys from Gizmo, Scrappy, Carmella, and Santa!

It's been another great holiday season. This is traditionally the time of year when I'm very thankful for all that we have been blessed with...and also very thankful that we are returning to normal!! Elise has a hard time when deviating from her schedule. She also has some difficulty with transitions. The combination of the 2 make this time of year a little bit tricky. We have a lot of great fun, but it's hard on her to an extent. I think she has definitely been overstimulated a few times in the last couple of days. I will be glad to put some order back to the house tomorrow and get back into our routine. No more candy for breakfast!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Let the fun begin!

Yesterday the formal Christmas fesitivities finally began! One of our traditions since Jamie and I married is to decorate Christmas cookies for Santa with some old-fashioned, homemade icing. It is something that Jamie's mom used to do with him every year when he was a kid. I bake the cookies and he makes the icing - then we all decorate! They are sooo yummy!

We also have an annual celebration with Ken, Mary, and Eric. Mom put out a really nice spread this year and we ate a ton of food, enjoyed good company, and exchanged gifts.

Mom and Ken at the buffet!

My love and I

The whole fam!

Mary and Elise enjoying the dancing Santa

Mary, Elise, and Grandmother

All the guys

It was a nice evening, and we are looking forward to our family gift exchange tonight.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Elise Mommy Talk"

Okay this is hilarious, so I had to share.

I bought Elise a Dora Christmas DVD at WalMart on Friday while I was picking up some last minute stocking stuffers. In the video, Dora sings Feliz Navidad.

As much as we've tried to help Elise say "Feliz Navidad", it comes out as "Elise Mommy Talk". And she sang it ALL day yesterday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm so proud!!!

As I have mentioned before, Jamie began working on his masters degree in November. He is taking part in an accelerated program that will be completed in May 2009. He's been very nervous about this, because he does not think he is a very good student. He's been begging me all along to help him with his assignments, but I've been telling him that he needs to try on his own first. I think he sells himself short!

He just found out his grade for the first class, which was completed on Sunday when he took his final exam. He made a 96!!! I knew he was going to do great, and I am so proud!!!

Way to go my love! I knew you could do it. See what a difference it makes when you aren't living in a frat house?? *wink*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Miracle!

Okay, all sarcasm aside, I really didn't think Elise was going to sit on Santa's lap this year. Jamie has the ability to get her to do just about anything - I don't know how he does it!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A word about those kiosks in the mall

Let me begin with a simple disclaimer. If anyone reading this blog works at a local mall kiosk, this is nothing personal. I am sure you are a lovely person.

As you all know, I took Elise to the mall last Friday to have Christmas pictures taken. After our session with the photographer, we went to do a bit of shopping. I also wanted to walk the mall for a while with her in hopes that she would be nice and tired and ready for a long afternoon nap when we got home (it worked, by the way!). We made a few laps around the mall and I became increasingly annoyed with the people working the kiosks.

Those darn things are wall to wall up and down all the aisles of the entire mall. That is fine, but the sales people are bordering on harrassment! In the short time we were there, I was asked to let someone straighten my hair (um, my hair is already straight), put lotion on my hands, sell me a new cell phone, try out a new soap on my hands, and put some crazy looking chia pet thing in my hair to make it look longer!


But that is not good enough. These freaks will chase your ass up and down the mall trying to convince you to try their products. And apparently they don't remember you, because the next time you walk by the exact same person, they try it all over again!!!

On the first lap I tried to be polite. I smiled and said, "No thank you," or "My little one is getting tired and we need to get home." When they persisted, I just kept walking. By the 2nd and 3rd laps, I began to get annoyed, and I ignored them altogether. What I really wanted to do was tell them to BACK OFF.

What is up with this new trend?? Do these people work on commission??

It's not like it is just one or two kiosks to contend with - there are at least 10 or 15. You can't walk more than a few feet without encountering one. As soon as you get past one, here comes another. I am not sure how much revenue they generate for the mall, but I think the owner may really want to rethink having them if they are going to be so aggressive. They make me want to skip my trip to the mall altogether.

I was just telling Jamie about it, and he said, "My love, you should just shop online." I think I might take his advice.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Elise's Christmas Photos (and a walk down memory lane)

Elise got her Christmas pictures taken today, and I think they turned out very well! Of course, I also have to post some of her pictures from past years for comparison - and because it is fun to see them again!

Elise's First Christmas:

My favorite memory of Elise's first Christmas is the snow! It's extremely rare that we ever see any snow at all, so it was very magical that particular year when it began to snow on Christmas Eve. The snow began in the late evening, and well into the night children were frolicking outside and building snowmen. They were all up WAY past their bedtimes, but you don't get that opportunity very often around here - especially not on Christmas!

Santa Claus was an okay guy on Elise's 1st Christmas.

Other than the snow, Elise's first Christmas was rather uneventful. It's awfully hard to enjoy the festivities when you are too little to open gifts, drink hot chocolate, or sing carols.

Elise's 2nd Christmas:

Things were much more exciting by Elise's 2nd Christmas. She was able to unwrap her gifts (sort of) and really enjoyed seeing all the fun things that show up around this time of year. The lights impressed her. Santa Claus did NOT. I had to agree to sit on his lap along with her.

Little did we know on Elise's 2nd Christmas that we were just a few months away from meeting our Coach.

Elise's 3rd Christmas:

Our 1st Christmas in our house together with Coach was very special. He really got into having a child around for the holidays. He helped Elise make special Christmas cookies to leave for Santa!

Sitting on Santa's lap was completely out of the question last year...but she sure did enjoy unwrapping her gifts!

So, that brings us to this year - Elise's 4th Christmas. I cannot believe how time has flown by. Looking at these pictures reminds me of how small Elise was when Jamie first came into our lives and how much she has grown since then! Here are her pictures from today.

That picture of Santa handing her a candycane is the closest that we are going to have to a picture of Elise with Santa this year! That was actually me wearing a Santa glove. I took Elise over to just see Santa from a distance today and observe her reaction. She started crying at the mere suggestion that she might like to go sit on his we will be skipping that little adventure this year! I suspected that would be the case, and now I know. At least I have a few Santa pictures from previous years.

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Decorating Grandma's Tree

We went over to Grandma's house this evening to have dinner and decorate the Christmas tree - a long standing tradition in our family. Decorating the tree has always been a special family event. My mom collects Hallmark ornaments, and they all have a special meaning. She bought the ornaments through the years that appealed most to me and my dad. They all reflect an interest or hobby or memory. As we hang each one on the tree, it reminds us of something in our past. Now that I have a daughter of my own, it's very special to share the tradition with her.

As a child, ET was one of my favorite movies. It was also one of the first movies that I ever saw in a theater. When mom pulled out the ET ornament, she asked Elise who it was. She replied, "A grasshopper in a shopping cart." To fully appreciate her response, you need to see a picture of the ornament in question:

Once we stopped laughing, Jamie and I sighed and said to one another that we must be officially OLD!

We are planning to take Elise to attempt to sit on Santa's lap this Wednesday night, and we have been trying to feel her out to see if that is going to go over well this year or not. Jamie asked her again today if she was going to sit on Santa's lap and she said, "No, I am too busy!" We got a good laugh out of that as well. Later she said that she would go sit on his lap after all. I guess we'll see what happens when we get there. I think there's at least a 50/50 chance that she will be afraid of him and refuse.

Here are a few pictures of Elise hanging ornaments on Grandma's tree. I turned the flash off tonight in order to try to bring out the lights on the tree. As a result they are a little bit dark and blurry, but if I turn on the flash they are completely washed out. So this is as good as it gets!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is...

Last weekend we were having our usual Sunday lunch with my parents, and my mom started asking Elise what she wanted Santa to bring her this year. Jamie and I were listening closely (and a bit nervously), because we had already completely finished Elise's Christmas shopping several weeks ago. Mom was NOT helping, because she kept planting ideas in Elise's head for additional gifts! Her list was pretty funny and included:

*Some new cars like Ethan's
*A doll with a hole in its mouth
*A pink ball
*A swimming pool (HELL no)
*A pink Barbie
*Some cards
*Chutes & Ladders

Much to our dismay, we had not purchased any of those things (thanks, Mom). I am still debating if we will go out and add to her gifts. She really doesn't *need* anymore stuff! But I can't have her thinking that Santa ignored her requests either.