Monday, December 6, 2010

First Santa Picture

This past Saturday my work had a "Breakfast with Santa" that they hold every year in our cafeteria. (This is yet another reason why I LOVE where I work!)  We didn't go last year since Little L wouldn't have really been able to enjoy it but we knew she would love it this year.  They do a fun breakfast for everyone with french toast sticks, fruit, yogurt, cheesy scrambled eggs, and yummy donut holes!  There is a choir and small orchestra made up of people from my work and they sing and play Christmas songs to keep the mood festive!  There are also tables that have information about how Christmas is celebrated across the world that are staffed by employees from that country (for instance, my boss is actually from Germany so she was working at a table that had fun traditional German desserts, decorations, etc.)  And last, but certainly not least, there is Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Elves!

I had heard in years past that this event gets extremely crowded and the lines can get really long so we decided to try and get there right when it started at 8:30am.  Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and it snowed a good 6 inches on us the night before so the hubby had to get up and snow plow before we could go anywhere.  That meant we didn't get to the breakfast until almost 9:30am but it turns out everyone was deterred by the snow.  The lines were never long for anything which was really nice but we still decided to go get our picture taken with Santa first thing so Little L wouldn't get too messy after eating breakfast.  While we stood in line we got to talk to Mrs. Claus, who gave Little L a cookie and then it was the big "moment"!  Little L was actually excited to see Santa but as soon as I tried to put her on his lap she lost it!  So we were able to capture the "classic" first Santa picture in all its glory!

Sorry for the not so great quality of the picture!  They actually gave us a polaroid that I scanned in.  The hubby took some pictures too but none of them were as perfect as this one!
You can see the donut hole and the cookie we gave her to hopefully distract but that didn't really work!  :)  After the baby torture picture taking was over, they gave us a bag full of "goodies" (mostly fun little leftovers from the stuff they put in cereal boxes as prizes...race car, book, markers, squirty toys, and even a VHS tape!).   Then an "elf" made a balloon animal kitten for Little L (which I think was her most prized gift of the day!).  After eating and saying hi to some co-workers (it's always fun to meet co-workers' spouses and offspring!) it was time to head home.  As we left the cafeteria Little L started saying "more, more, more"!  She was having such a great time she didn't want to leave!  Unfortunately, both Little L and I had the sniffles so we had to get home and rest up.  We were also planning on attending our church's Christmas show, which is AMAZING, but with the two of us not feeling very great we decided to stay home for a low key weekend.  (We are both feeling much better today!  Praise Jesus!)

So, while this picture won't make it onto our Christmas cards (which I still need to finish!) I know it will be a picture we treasure for years to come and I hope it made you smile!

Remember, only 19 days til Christmas!  Make sure you soak up some joy and laughter while you wait for Baby Jesus' birthday celebration!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Full Day of Fun!

Two Fridays ago I had such a full day but it was so much fun!

It started out with a trip to the Children's Museum.  It was Little L and me along with my girlfriend C and her darling boy J!  I think this was Little L's 5th trip to the museum so she is starting to feel at home but C and J had never been before so it was fun to experience the newness with them!

We started off in the Habitot room which is strictly for kids under 48 months.  Usually that is the calmest place in the whole museum but there was at least one if not two, Head Start groups there so it was hoppin'!

Miss C with her Darling J...He loved whipping the rain stick around and around!

Darling J

Little L took a break from the chaos of the Habitot area to go read a few books! 

It was a pretty short lived break though!

After the Habitot room we moved on to the Japan and Nature exhibit.  It was a neat exhibit that showed different aspects of the seasons in Japan and focused on everything from food, school, and cultural celebrations.
Darling J and Little L pretending to eat sushi!

Little L making music on the drum!

Darling J's turn to beat on the drum!

Lunch was next and after that we went into Our World which is a little mini town with a grocery store, post office, restaurant, bus, and more!
Little L driving the bus!  One of the volunteers was so sweet and he got on the bus so the kids could drive him places!

Miss C with her Darling J!

Darling J and Little L both trying to drive at the same time!

Darling J shopping for groceries!

Little L checking people out!  "Do you have any coupons?"  :)

The last stop of the trip for us is always Water Works!  We have to go there last since Little L usually gets pretty wet but it is her favorite part of the museum!  When I told her we were going to the museum that morning she said "water, water, water!"  Darling J had a blast too!

Miss C and Darling J racing boats!

Look at that boat go!

Darling J and Little L playing with the bubbles!

Darling J would make a bubble and then jump up and down and say "I did it!"  It was too cute!

Amazingly, Little L didn't get that wet (at least not as wet as usual).  I'm not sure if she is just getting older or just more comfortable with the water area and not as frantic to splash.  Who knows!  She still had a blast!

After Water Works we packed up and headed home.  We carpooled there so it was fun to watch the kids interact in the back seat!  Darling J had some snacks that he was sharing with Little L and it was too sweet!  Since it was naptime, Miss C and Darling J went on there way and we headed home too!  

My girlfriend Miss N is the sweetest and she was waiting at my house for me with a HoHoMint Mocha from Caribou!  We let Little L run around a bit and calm down and then it was naptime for her and girl talk time for mommy and Miss N!  I had such a blast catching up with her and I'm looking forward to doing it again soon!

Like I said, it was a pretty full day but it was filled with fun, memories, and blessings!

Christmas Cards

Can you believe it's already Thanksgiving week!?!?  It seemed to come fast this year!  As much as I love to actually celebrate Thanksgiving I mostly just seem to be mentally preparing for Christmas.  Especially things like decorating, gift shopping, and of course, Christmas cards!  With finances being tighter this year, even doing Christmas cards can add up quickly but I feel it is such a great way to reconnect with friends and family, especially now that we have our little girl who changes so much each year!  Thankfully I came across this fabulous deal for bloggers to get 50 free photo cards (I just have to pay for the shipping and handling) just for writing a quick post about Shutterfly!  So here it is!  (And while I am getting free cards for writing this post, I want you to know that the opinions are all mine!)

Once I found out about this opportunity I started looking at all of the options Shutterfly has for their cards and I was blown away!  In the past I've felt like all of the companies have the same designs, and while some are cute, they basically all look the same.  Not so with Shutterfly's options!  Here are some of my favorites:

Now, I didn't put my #1 favorite up here because then the folks that are getting it in the mail won't be surprised!  :)  As cute as the front of these cards are, my favorite part is the fact that you get to personalize the insides as well with both pictures and words (you can even pick different layouts for the inside on some of the cards).  That means that I don't have to worry about writing on the back of the cards (like I would on a regular photo card) or even writing a letter.  Instead I can just add a brief note to personalize each one.  I can't wait to start creating ours!

Shutterfly doesn't do just Christmas cards.  In fact they do birthday cards, invitations, and even photo mugs!  My favorite Shutterfly product is their photo books.  I made one for the hubby for his first Father's Day last year and it is truly something that is a keepsake he will treasure for years to come! While I do like to do traditional scrapbooking, I've found that the photo books on sites like Shutterfly are much faster to do and definitely less expensive while still being cute and one of a kind!  If you are looking for an easy to use online photo shop I would definitely recommend Shutterfly!

Just another reminder that I will be getting 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly for posting this but the opinions I put up here are all mine!  And if you have a blog and are interested in this promotion check it out here!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snowstorms and Power Outages

This past weekend was certainly an interesting one!  It all started with snow falling on Saturday morning that we expected to be just a light dusting.  However, the snow just kept coming and it was wet and heavy!  I had my day nicely planned out with all the errands I wanted to do and the hubby had plans of Krav Maga training but that all changed when he went to leave for training and couldn't even drive because of the snow.  So instead of Krav Maga he spent the day snow plowing and we spent the day indoors watching Christmas movies!

The hubby was set to volunteer at church that night so we decided to all leave together around 3:30pm.  As we were getting ready, the power went out (right around 3:10pm).  We figured we would go to church and by the time we got home the power would be back on.  Well, we got home around 7:30pm and there was still no power and the inside temp was down to 60 degrees.  I called the energy company and they told us they had people working on the problem but they couldn't say when it would be back up again.  So we decided to go to bundle up and go to bed.  Thankfully, Little L adores her "bankies" and so she sleeps with 6-8 blankets each night (we knew she would stay nice and toasty even with the lower temps).  After Little L was all tucked in, the hubby and I put some extra layers on with some extra blankets and tried to fall asleep.  We figured the power would come back on sometime in the middle of the night so we left the lights next to our beds on so we would know when it did.  We didn't sleep that great since we kept hoping the power was going to come back on, but when our alarm went off at 6:30am it was still dark and cold.

You can kind of see Little L checking out her flashlight in this pic (it actually wasn't quite this dark in the house since the nearby lights that were on were reflecting off the snow)
I used a flash on this one so you can actually see!

I gave the energy company another call that morning to try and gage the situation but all they could tell me was there were 6,000 customers of theirs (we get power from one of the smaller energy companies in town) that still didn't have power and they had been working through the night to fix it.  We didn't want to sit around in a cold house (it was now down to 50 degrees) with no electricity for who knows how long so the hubby called his parents and we asked if we could crash at their place for the day.  We stopped at McDonald's on the way up for breakfast since we couldn't even boil water (our stove is electric) and I didn't want to be going in and out of the fridge.

Going to Grandma and Grandpa's was the fun treat that the power outage gave us!  Little L loved running around while we watched the fabulous Vikings game and ate yummy leftovers.  Of course, something else had to happen to make things more exciting for us so Little L ended up having a leaky diaper and, the wonder mom that I am, I had forgotten to grab an extra outfit as a "just in case".  Thankfully, we are a creative bunch!  I quickly rinsed out Little L's clothes and threw them in the dryer and while we were waiting for them to be done, we made a makeshift dress out of one of Grandma's shirts!  Hey, it worked!  :)

After the game was lost done, we gave our neighbors a call to see if the power had come back on yet (the neighbors to the east of us actually had power the whole time so they were extremely gracious and went over to our house to check on it every once in a while!)  Unfortunately, at 3pm we were still dark.  Around 4pm the hubby and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do in case we didn't regain power that night. Thankfully, just as we had agreed upon our next steps, we got a call from our neighbor with the awesome news that our power was back on only 25 hours after it had gone out!  So we packed up our things and drove home.  Little L wouldn't nap at Grandma and Grandpa's but she did get a short one in on the drive back to the house.

By the time we got home, the power had been on for a little over an hour so the house was actually pretty toasty!  It felt so amazing to be back home and I was just overwhelmed with thankfulness for all of the blessings we have in our lives.  There are so many that don't know where they will sleep tonight or, even if they do have a place to call home, they don't have all of the fabulous amenities that we take for granted everyday.  We found out after the fact that at the peak of the storm there were over 200,000 customers without power and some of them (I think around 10,000) lost power Saturday morning and didn't get it back until Monday!  And even though our weekend didn't end up looking like we thought it would, we were still able to have some unexpected fun with family and make some memories too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Random Pics from October

I had a couple of pictures from October that didn't really merit me posting their own blogs but thought I would share them here!  Enjoy!

Carving pumpkins with Daddy!

At the Children's Museum when I was out of town for work...I LOVE the Pebbles hair-do that is Daddy specialty! of Little L's newest hobbies!

Little L loves to put on Daddy's hats!

After Halloween I was able to pick up a Fireman's outfit and a Princess outfit for super cheap...the funny thing is she wanted to wear them both at the same time!  I guess that makes her a Renaissance Firefighting Princess!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What we did for Halloween

With Little L getting bigger, this year we were faced with the decision of what to do for Halloween.  I know there are lots of valid opinions out there and so I'm not trying to say one thing is right or wrong, we just wanted to find out what is right for our family.  The main thing I knew is that I wanted to keep anything that could be scary away from her sensitive eyes.  The last thing I want to do is put frightening thoughts into my daughters young and impressionable mind.

So with those thoughts in mind we originally decided we were only going to go to our church's Kid's Studio presentation of "Eddie's Shake Shop" on Friday night.  Kid's Studio is a live show that is made especially for families.  The hubby had actually filmed a video short awhile back that was going to be shown during Friday night's show so we decided to dress Little L up in her Bumble Bee costume and head over.  There were lots of cute costumes and excited kids!  We didn't stay for the whole show since Little L was more interested in running around than watching it but she did sit still long enough to see Daddy's video. (If you want to see the video you can click here and watch episode 802 and the Hubby's video is about 15 or 20 minutes into the show I think)

Here are the pictures from Friday night:

Running around church likes she owns the place!

Headed up to Kid's Studio

Here's one of the few shots where I actually got her face!  Again, she was running like crazy so they were mostly shots of her from behind!

Getting ready to watch the show (and sitting still for a few minutes!)

Totally captured by the show!  (at least for a second!)

Friday night was originally all we had planned until my girlfriend asked if we wanted to join them on Sunday night for dinner and trick or treating in their neighborhood.  They have a great new neighborhood with a good number of young kids so we thought we would join them.  We had a fun dinner and then took out the three little ones (Miss E (the dragon) is 3, Little L (the bumble bee) is 21 months and Mr E (the monkey) is 18 or 19 months).  We kept the 2 youngest in their strollers until the end of the night which was a very smart move on our part!  We let them out for the last two houses and they were off!  Little L loved getting stuff in her bag (she wouldn't even let Mommy hold it since it was "hers!")  She got some great candy (which Daddy and I graciously helped her eat!) along with some cute little playing cards and play-dough!  While I'm not sure if we will trick or treat in the future, we definitely had a great time and I don't regret it one bit!

Here are the pictures from Sunday:

Little L playing with Miss E

She loves their "rock garden"!

Getting ready to head out!

Candy collecting for the little ones!

We kept them constrained for a good reason!

Mommy and Little L at one of the last houses

Ready to go through their bags and look at their goodies...oh wait...Mr. E already went through his!  :)

We made the mistake of trying to get a family shot at the end of the night. ..this is the best we could get even with my girlfriend jumping around and screaming trying to get Little L to smile!  At least she made me laugh!  :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pinehaven Farms Part 2

Here's batch #2 of the pictures from our trip to Pinehaven Farms.  Like I said before, we had a blast!

The hubby as a "pumpkin bandit"

A scarecrow band...they are motorized so they move to some down home bluegrass music!

Little L in one of the many different mazes they have.  This one is made out of hay bales.

One of the few shots I got of her face from this day...she never really stopped running!

Walking with Grandma

The kiddie hay bale maze!

A wiggling Little L with Grandma and Grandpa

The hubby and me!

This is the best shot we could get of the "How Tall This Fall" sign.  Like I said earlier, Little L was not interested in slowing down for a measly picture!  :)

Climbing on the hay bales!

Little L and Grandpa on the trolly ride through the pumpkin patch

This is the pumpkin was A.MA.ZING.  It literally shot a pumpkin something like 1/3 of a mile!

This is the "pumpkin eating dragon".  They do a little show where they "feed" him a pumpkin and do little jokes.  It was super cute!
Little L watching the "dragon"

She was just in awe! 
Riding a horse swing made out of tires.  This was over in the playground area.
Sandbox in the playground area too...I'm telling you this farm has a little bit of everything!

We had so much fun and are looking forward to going back next fall!