Monday, January 31, 2011

bustin' through the winter blues

January is a month filled with snow, ice and the desperate need to see warmer temps. There is usually nothing exciting that occurs in this month and as you slowly recover from the holidays you realize you have another 3 months until Spring! As a parent January is also a month where you desperately search for activities to occupy your very energetic and stir-crazy child. You can only play so many board games or do so many craft projects before you want to start pulling your hair out! We try to come up with creative ways to pass the normally long winters we have here in Fort Wayne and I would say that we are usually pretty successful.

Olivia has been itching to go sledding ever since the first snowfall of the season. Unfortunately we had not accumulated enough snow to allow us to sled up until recently. At first she thought that since Christmas was over there were no more chances for sledding. Not sure where she got that idea, but once I explained that we still had a good few months of winter left she was willing to wait for her chance. A few weekends ago we finally had enough snow on the ground to bust out the sleds. We decided to head over to my Mom's house. She lives on a golf course and there are some pretty decent hills in her backyard. We all got bundled up and headed out in the snow (even my Mom)!

It took a few tries to get a good path packed down so that we could pick up some speed, but once we did the fun began! We all took turns flying down the hill and Olivia could not get enough! She loves adventure and this was right up her alley.

Even this 17 week pregnant lady took a few turns on the sled. There was no way I was going to just watch from the sidelines. It really was the perfect day. It was cold, but not too cold. There was no wind and the snow was perfect. I think we all tapped into our inner child that day and did our part to bust through some of those winter blues, especially my Mom and Todd.

Once Olivia would get to the bottom of the hill she would throw herself in the snow and make snow angels or just roll around. The cold really does not seem to bother her at all. My favorite part of the day were the short videos I shot. Listen to my sweet Olivia as she comes flying down the hill...

They will probably hate me for doing this, but I could not resist sharing the videos I have of my Mom and Todd taking their turns on the sled. Since I was the one taking the pictures and videos I was spared from having a video of myself show up on my blog!

Sledding was a huge hit with all of us! It looks like we will have some more opportunities to play in the snow as we prepare for a huge winter storm this week. Yuck! We really have not had to deal with too much nasty weather so far this season, but it looks like that may be coming to an end in the next few days. I can deal with the snow, but ice and the possibility of losing power worry me greatly. I am glad that we were able to squeeze in our little weekend getaway this past weekend. We took Olivia to Indianapolis for some away from home time. We stayed in a hotel (with a pool), and took a trip to the Children's Museum. She had a blast and it helped to break up the long winter months!

In other news Baby 2.0 seems to be growing as scheduled. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and I am feeling great. We should be finding out the sex next month and then the true planning can begin. Olivia is still excited as ever to be a big sister and she is getting a kick out of watching my belly grow, or become "ginormous" as she calls it. So far things have been pretty uneventful and that is the way I like it. More to come!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

so very blessed

I think this Christmas can go down in the history books as one of the best. We did SO much, received SO much and did our best to make Christmas special for our loved ones. I have already touched on a few of the holiday activities we love to do each year, but we still had a few more things to check off our list before the big day.

For the second year in a row Olivia has visited what she calls the, "Christmas House". Some family friend's have what we consider to be one of the most decorated houses we have ever seen. There are more battery operated Christmas toys than I can count and each year they invite Olivia over to gaze at all of the magnificent keepsakes! She loves pressing all of the buttons to see what each gadget does and of course they always spoil her with a snack and a gift. The Christmas house has now been added to our list of Christmas traditions.

We also squeezed in our annual trip to visit Santa. Each year Olivia's puts on her Christmas dress and we drive out to Jefferson Pointe. She has caught on the to fact that there are multiple Santas out there during the holidays and she realizes that some of them look different. This year and last she has sat on two different Santa's laps leading up to Christmas and she wanted to know which one was the real one. We decided to explain it this way...all of the Santas that you see leading up to Christmas are Santa's helpers. They are the ones that talk to all of the children to find out what they want for Christmas. Then they report back to the "real: Santa at the North Pole so he can add their wishes to his list. She seemed to buy that explanation so that is the one we will stick with. Although I do not have the actual photo of Olivia sitting on Santa's lap to post, I can show you how cute she looked that night.

This year we thought we would try doing a gingerbread house with Olivia. I bought a kit at the end of last year and thought it would be a good holiday activity on a cold day. She ended up working on it primarily with her Dad and it turned out pretty well for a first try. It was a little frustrating for her because it had to be done in stages as she waited for the icing to dry, but she did pretty well with the waiting and loved nothing more than sticking candy all over the house at the end. Here is her masterpiece...with a little help from Dad of course.

We took many trips downtown this year to see the awesome Santa lights. We went down one last time the week of Christmas to take a look and stop into Coney Island, right around the corner. After waiting in a very long line for Todd and Olivia to get their coney dogs we ended up eating in the car, since the restaurant was too packed with all of the holiday light gazers. We jammed as much as we could into the final days before Christmas.

So, after all of those pre-Christmas activities the day Olivia had been waiting for had almost arrived. Before heading to church on Christmas Eve, we let her open one special present...just like we do each year. A few weeks earlier she had spotted a "Rudolph" stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear and decided that she had to have it. I made her think I blew it off, but we surprised her with Rudolph that night. She was beyond thrilled and hardly put him down the entire night. His nose lit up and he said a few phrases from the cartoon. He instantly became her Christmas buddy.

That night we attended the children's service at our church. Olivia was front in center for the sermon. We were sitting close enough that I was able to snap a couple pictures of her listening intently to the pastor. This year we were asked to assist by bringing up the manger in the nativity scene. Olivia was thrilled to have a "job". It was a great service and it made for a very special Christmas Eve.

Olivia awoke on Christmas Day ready to go! While I was still sleeping she ran downstairs to see if Santa delivered what she so very nicely asked for. She found 3 specially wrapped presents under her little tree with her name on them. She immediately came upstairs and woke me up because she could not wait to open them up. As you can tell by the look on her face she was very happy that Santa listened to her requests and brought her exactly what she asked for!

After opening our stockings and some presents at home we leisurely hung around the house for awhile before getting ready to head to my Mom's for more Christmas fun! Olivia wanted some time at home to play with her newest treasure...her Olivia the Pig playhouse! She has played with it everyday since getting it and was so happy that her good behavior leading up to Christmas paid off.
There were more wonderful presents waiting for all of us at my Mom's house. This year Olivia went shopping for Todd and I and picked out special presents for both of us. She was so excited to give them to us and so proud of what she picked out. Todd got some new slippers, which he desperately needed and I got some beautiful silver earrings...picked out by Olivia alone.

Santa made a delivery at Nana's house as well this year. He brought Olivia an Olivia the Pig tea set. She was equally excited about this gift and has had a tea party each day since Christmas. So far all of Olivia's gifts have provided her with a great deal of enjoyment. There was a lot of gift giving and receiving on Christmas morning and everyone was pretty happy when it was all said and done.

We finished out the day by celebrating Christmas with Todd's side of the family. There were more presents and of course more family time. Olivia always spends family gatherings running around with her cousin Ella. They are best buds.

Overall I'd say it was a pretty prefect Christmas and such a fun holiday season in general. We did so much and had so much fun as a family. Hard to believe that next year at this time we will be juggling a 5 year old and a 6 month old! It will be interesting to see how our new, expanded family is settling in to a new routine. With 2010 behind us, I am more excited than ever to see how things will pan out in 2011! Happy New Year!