Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

After our pre-Christmas whirlwind weekend, our third Christmas at home started to follow a nice familiar pattern.   

Christmas Eve, we went to the early (5pm) service at church, and then stopped by a party two friends always throw on Christmas Eve.  Then home, and the opening of gifts from family.  The girls got their usual PJs and a book and then a necklace each and a radio clock. 

We sat the radio alarm for 7am and told the girls not to get out of bed before it went off, in case they scared off Santa.  Before we went to bed, we put out Santa's gifts (as usual), when we suddenly heard footsteps upstairs.  As it turned out, Vivian had chosen that moment to wake up and go potty.  Luckily, the next day, she confirmed she just heard us being loud downstairs, and was shocked how late we were up (it was about 11.30 :)

7am the next morning came and went, and no girls were trying to see if Santa had been here.  At some point, I snuck in their room to check, but the alarm apparently hadn't gotten off.  Vivian bolted upright and ran upstairs to discover that Santa had, indeed, come.  We woke Annelee up and all went downstairs.  The girls emptied out their stockings and tore the paper from the gifts and oohed and aahed over them even though they didn't always know what was in the packaging.  Apparently, it's still all about the wrapping and the thought of opening the gifts and we could've gotten away with pretty boxes ...

Although, when all was said and done, the Legos, puzzle, Vivian's first chapter book and Annelee's new tent were definitely hits.

We then spent the rest of the day lounging about and playing with the new toys.  For the first time, I made my Dad's sauces for the fondue and was quite happy with all of them.  Vivian loved the "feast you have to cook yourself" even though she didn't try any of the sauces.  Annelee was rather meh about the food.  Will and I enjoyed it, too.

All in all, a good Christmas.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2014!

The obligatory "Please pose in front of the tree and smile" photo

Vivian is excited about the book she got, but Annelee has already moved onto Vivian's next gift

Annelee unwrapping her gift

An umbrella!

Vivian checking out her do-it-yourself blanket kit with Daddy

Apparently, we got hit by a wrapping paper tornado

Post-gift-opening relaxation with a lollipop

Working on her lego-friends book

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I've been able to circumvent this particular tradition so far, but the other evening, we had a girls' night out and went to dinner.  At the mall (I wasn't thinking).  Of course, the girls immediately spotted Santa.  Luckily, there was no line to speak off, so we finally joined the ranks of the millions of families with the "kids on Santa's lap" photo.  :)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Trip to National Harbor

We met Casey and Ernie for a little time away from  the holiday hustle and bustle at National Harbor.  We browsed the shops, had great food, hung out, and went to see the ice sculpture show before heading over to the Campbells and spending a night with them, and then heading back home to Pittsburgh.

It was a lovely start to the holiday season!

Santa was mighty big at National Harbor

The butterfly bench

Playing in the dry fountain

Casey's scarf made the best fashion accessory

Annelee gets a ride

The girls loved the ride on little train

Casey and Ernie and the girls

The girls LOVED getting a ride from Ernie

The scarf works on every little girl


The ice sculpture exhibit - not quite what we expected - almost all of the ice was colored

But the coats were nice and cozy and warm!

The girls and I went for a taxi cab ride

Monday, December 16, 2013


Like all good siblings, Vivian and Annelee know just how to push each others buttons.  Sharing and taking turns is hard, and they want to play with the same toy at the same time.  Luckily, this is balanced out by moments where they play together like best friends, make each other giggle and share beautifully.  Let's hope that over time, these moments are much more frequent than the disagreement ones!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vivian is Six!

Despite our annual protestation that she needs to stop getting older, Vivian is turning six today!  She's had a busy few months since Kindergarten has started, with some big changes.  She's sounding out words and getting close to reading.  She's constantly spelling things, writing things, and asking us to spell things so that she can write them.  She's made some new friends at Kindergarten and is having an all around good time.  Her teacher at our P/T conference the other day confirmed that she is doing well academically, and socially, too.  Our big girl!

As usual, below is the year in pictures.  Previous years can be found by clicking on the links:  2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

December 2012

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013 
November 2013 (yes, I know Halloween is in October, but it's only a few hours from November and was the best picture I had)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

After last year's longest Halloween, this year came the shortest one.  Since we were gone the week before, we missed most of the parties and the girls ended up wearing their costumes just on the actual day of Halloween.  That was good for two reasons:  (1) I didn't finish them until 1am the night before and (2) they were a bit flimsy this year and by the time they got taken off, being worn all day and the evening rain had most definitely taken their toll on them. 

Annelee had a party at preschool that we didn't get to see (they trick or treat the offices in the building), but Howe has a parade outside of school, led by the Kindergarten class, so both Will and I walked over and watched Vivian's class, before going back home to continue working.

In the evening, I started out with the girls first, and once Rowan and Joel were ready, I went inside to hand out candy and Will went with Joel and the girls.  The rain and wind made it miserable.  Mostly for the parents and Annelee, who couldn't handle an umbrella AND the candy bucket.  Will was smart enough to "lose" Rowan, Vivian and Joel, take Annelee home and then go out to "find" them again.

Afterward, we started to dig into the loot, before the girls crashed in bed.

I was going to say this was the first year Annelee really got into Halloween, but according to the old posts (thank goodness I have a blog to jog my memory), that was last year already. 

Here are the previous years:  2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Vivian and some of her KG buddies leading the parade

We already loved Vivian's teacher, Mrs Munson, before the parade, but this costume (the teapot from Beauty and the Beast) just totally sealed the deal.  She is awesome!

The cute Rowan-mosnter

Will's minion pumpkin was a big hit with kids and parents alike

Purple bat girl, ready for action!

Pink bat girl, looking pretty!

Are you done with the pictures yet?

They kept saying "Cheese" when I took pictures of the capes - just cracked me up!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Greenville, SC

After Summersville, we made our way down to Greenville, SC.  We spent some time with Will's relatives, Norma & Henry and Brenda, went to the Children's Museum and explored Downtown Greenville, especially Main Street and Falls Park, before attending the wedding festivities (which will be another post). 

The falls that give Falls Park its name

We bumped into the Campbells and meandered around with them

Family Photo

More pics of us and the Campbells

Will was kind enough to scare the heron into flight so I could take a photo.  I don't think the photographer that arrived at the "scene" a few seconds later was so thrilled with us ... whoops!

Susan and Dan ran off with our kids (thank you!), so we went for a coffee, just the two of us.  And took a photo to prove it.

The hotel lobby from the top floor.  The picture was taken from the glass elevator.  Probably the coolest hotel lobby I've seen

Yes, another hotel lobby picture.  Did I mention I thought it was cool?  :-)