Tuesday, January 03, 2017

double digits

The holidays are by far our favorite time of year. We just love everything about Christmas.  Before we could officially start celebrating Christmas there were a few other things to celebrate first. Both of the girls had special days at their schools that allowed for their Nana to come and see what they do on a daily basis. First up was Olivia. They were both really looking forward to this since this is Olivia's first year at her new school. My Mom got the chance to get an inside peak at what Olivia does each day and to meet her teacher, Mr. Goetz whom she just adores. Olivia has adjusted so well to her new school and is having a great year!

Next it was Cece's turn. VIP day is always a hit and this year was no exception. Cece could not wait to spend the morning with Nana showing off her favorite works. My girl has grown to love school and I think it shows on her face!

This November we celebrated a milestone...Olivia's 10th birthday! She had been counting down the days for weeks prior and could not wait to officially turn double digits. It was a weekend full of celebrating and it kicked off with me joining Olivia at school for lunch. Her friend Jayla joined us and I surprised Olivia with Subway!

That night we continued our annual tradition of going to Takaoka for a birthday dinner. We all look forward to this each year. The girls get into their fancy dresses and we head out for some yummy food.

The best part about going to Takaoka is the food prep, of course. Cece was really into the show this year, but the food...not so much. She said she was excited to eat rice and that is exactly what she ate. The only thing she ate, actually. Olivia on the other hand loves the food, just like the rest of us!

We love doing this each year on Olivia's birthday. Cecilia made it known that this year she wants to start going to Takaoka on her birthday too. We will see about that. I think she needs to start liking the food better first.

With this being a milestone birthday I asked Olivia what she wanted to do for a party. I figured she would want to go big this year, but after some thought she informed me that she wanted to do a sleepover again, just like last year. She did have one request though...Sir Twist A-Lot. Who is that you ask? Well he is just one of the coolest balloon animal makers in the Fort Wayne area. We met him at a local restaurant and when we found out he did birthday parties Olivia decided she wanted him at her party.

Sir Twist A-Lot was a hit! Each girl got her choice of balloon animal and he delivered. There wasn't a request that he could not satisfy. Most of the girls had simple requests, but a few were a bit more complicated. It took awhile but it was worth it. This was a great activity to kick off the sleepover.

The rest of the evening was full of various activities including; cookie decorating, crafts, presents and cake. Olivia's obsession with pandas is still going strong so the cake reflected that perfectly. Some of her gifts also fed her panda obsession. It was pandas everywhere, making for one happy girl.We tried the big sleepover thing last year and was surprised that it was a lot easier than I expected. So I was happy to comply with Olivia's request for another sleepover this year. The girls, although a lot of work, were so good. They all got along, and most importantly they had a great time!

The next morning they all woke up with big smiles on their faces which was a clear sign that the sleepover was a huge success. It was a crazy night of crazy little girls, but what I realized through it all is that Olivia has some pretty awesome little friends. This was the perfect way to celebrating turning double digits. Holy cow...I have a ten year old!

With Olivia's birthday out of the way the next thing to prepare for is Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas! Every year on Thanksgiving weekend our dance studio performs at the Festival of Trees. For the past few years Olivia has danced at the event, just like I did as a kid. But this year both of my girls were performing. This was Cecilia's first year of dancing at the Festival of Trees and I was so excited for both of them!

The girls did a wonderful job on stage of the historical Embassy theater. I was one proud Mama. After their performances we took some time to walk around and see all of the beautiful trees and squeeze in our first visit with Santa. The Festival of Trees is sort of the official kick off to the holiday season, and I hope to continue to share this holiday event with my girls each year.

Another way we kick off the holiday season each year...decorating! Our tradition is to start getting the house ready for Christmas on Thanksgiving day. We put the Macy's parade on the TV and quickly fall into the holiday spirit. The girls each decorate their own tree with their own special ornaments. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This time of year means fun times with friends, quiet time at home and quality time with family. We managed to accomplish all of those things. There are so many Christmas traditions we look forward to each year, and sharing them with our girls is a big part of what makes the holidays so special! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

best time of year

It may be the middle of Fall right now, but let's head back to the end of the summer for a minute. After a summer full of fun times at the pool it was time to say good-bye to pool season. These girls made some great memories together this year. The last day at the pool is always tough, because it is the official sign that summer is over. Counting down the days until pool season is here again!

During Labor Day weekend we decided to take a quick trip to Muskegon, Michigan to visit my Great Grandmother. She is living full time in a nursing home now and her dementia continues to get worse. It has been quite awhile since we have all gone for a visit, so it was nice to spend the holiday weekend with family. Nana Cleo was super excited to see the girls. It brought the biggest smile to her face which made the visit SO worth it!

It was a beautiful, warm weekend so we naturally spent lots of time at the lake. My grandma's house is minutes from Lake Michigan and the girls could not wait to stick their toes in the sand and the freezing cold water!

We had one full day in Muskegon so we decided to spend it at the "beach". It was super warm for September which made for a perfect day. The girls had a fabulous time digging in the sand and splashing in the waves. It is so beautiful there!

That evening we went out for a nice dinner and walked the boardwalk near the lake. It was so nice to get out of town with the girls for the weekend...not only to relax, but to spend time with family.

The girls have both settled into their new school year with ease. Cece is loving Kindergarten life. She was able to take a field trip with some of the other kindergarten students in September to a local farm. It may have been a pretty warm day, but Fall was definitely in the air.

Another Fall tradition we look forward to is September Fest, our church's annual fall festival. Our church puts on quite a party each year with so many fun activities for the kids. We never miss it! This year Olivia's friend Aleah even came along.

After an outdoor church service the girls spent the day getting their faces painted, enjoying ice cream and the petting zoo, playing bingo and riding ponies. We could not have asked for a more beautiful Fall day to enjoy another September Fest!

As Halloween approaches we try to do as much fun stuff with the girls to celebrate this fun time of year. This year we were told about a cute little pumpkin farm only minutes from our house. What a hidden gem, and the best Halloween decorations in town!

The highlight was the scavenger hunt for Halloween themed blow-ups. We ran through the corn field checking the blow-ups off of our list. Of course we had to stop and pose with our favorites too. There were so many to choose from!

After our scavenger hunt we walked through the pumpkin patch. Couldn't leave without picking out a few small pumpkins to take home. This was a fun fall activity and we will definitely add it to our list of things to do each year!

A few weeks before Halloween Cece and her class took a trip to a local pumpkin farm. It was a beautiful day and fun to spend time with Cece and her little friends. After learning everything there is to know about pumpkins we took a hayride out to the patch. The kids had time to walk around and pick out the perfect pumpkin. I was so happy to share this field trip with my girl!

Olivia also had a fun fall event at her school...the Fall Family Picnic. This was our first year attending the picnic since we are new to the school, and it was great! So many fun things to do, the girls didn't know where to start! The highlight was the cake walk. I think we left with 3 cakes that day, which shows you how much time they spent walking in a circle hoping to win some cakes. We have been so blessed this Fall with beautiful weather. This day was no exception!

I think my absolute favorite Fall activity every year is picking apples with the girls. We love visiting the apple orchard and picking as many apples as we can carry home. It was in the low 70's that day, which made for the perfect apple picking experience.

Best part of apple picking? Eating the apples along the way! I think the girls consumed 3 apples a piece as we walked through the orchard. We filled our bags until we could not hold any more. I love doing this as a family every year. Although the weather may not have felt very fall-like, walking through the orchard without jackets sure was nice!

After loading up on apples we hit the pumpkin patch. The girls helped us find a couple of perfectly round pumpkins to take home. There is nothing better than picking pumpkins straight from the patch. I think we did a pretty good job! We are so lucky to live so close to such a nice farm with apples and pumpkins to enjoy each year!

Such a fun time of year and we still have to trick-or-treat! Fall fun continues...