Sunday, August 24, 2014

birthday celebrations & California trip


Our summer has been so jammed packed we have hardly had a moment to stop and catch our breath. Doesn't look like we will get that opportunity either with school starting and all activities in full swing. Being so busy means little time to stop and work on the blog. So let's back up to the end of June as I attempt to get caught up.


One of the biggest events of the summer was celebrating Cecilia's 3rd birthday. It fell on a Sunday which meant the entire weekend was all about her. We kicked things off with her family party. She requested a Minnie Mouse theme which worked out perfectly since she just performed in her dance recital wearing a Minnie Mouse costume. She had no problem running around the entire night wearing it.



We kept the party small with just family and close friends. It was just the right amount of people for Cece to show off for. As always my Mom came through with the party favors and whipped up some yummy Minnie themed cookies. 



Our girl was smiling ear to ear as she gazed at her delicious Minnie Mouse cake, thanks to her babysitter Holly. The woman worked some magic and whipped up a cake that Cece picked out herself from Pinterest! And it definitely tasted as good as it looked. This girl does not shy away from the spotlight, so she was more than ready to have everyone gather around and sing to her before blowing out her candles!







Seeing the joy in Cece's eyes as she ripped open her presents was priceless. She was pretty pleased with her loot and could not wait for Daddy to open up the boxes so she could play with her toys. This lucky little girl received some precious things that put the icing on the cake (that we had already eaten) of a great party!






On Cecilia's actual birthday we kicked off the day with breakfast out and some presents from Nana at home. The huge smile on Cece's face expressed how much was enjoying the ongoing birthday celebrations. Seeing that sweet face makes me want to celebrate this amazing child every day of the week!




Her present from us was a trip to Build-a-Bear to make her first teddy bear. This was something we did with Olivia on her 3rd birthday, so we had a pretty good feeling Cece would enjoy it as well.



She was in heaven the second she walked into that store. The challenge was keeping her on track with all of the steps you go through to actually build and create your own bear. By the end all she wanted to do was press buttons on the computers that are meant to be used to create your bear's birth certificate. Let's not forget, she is 3.




She settled on a cute white lamb, in a beautiful rainbow dress. That and a spin on the carousel and the girl's birthday was complete!



The day was not over yet. Next up was some swimming at Uncle VJ's before passing out from all of the fun by late afternoon. Cece was a champ. She played hard all day long until she could not fight it any longer. We skipped our daily nap, because who really wants to sleep on their birthday? Unfortunately the lack of a nap caught up with this party girl and she fell asleep poolside!




She did manage to wake up long enough to have one official piece of birthday cake before bed. I think this photo sums up the birthday weekend perfectly. I am so excited to see what 3 year old Cece has in store for us. I can promise you one thing...it will not be boring!



Olivia's summer has been busy as well. She and her friend Aleah attended the Beasley soccer camp again this summer. This week long camp focuses on skills with lots of fun mixed in. Throughout the week they do fun things with the kids like crazy sock day and crazy hair day. The girls really had fun with this. The campers get to top off a week of hard work with a massive water balloon fight. They call out the firetruck to spray the kids as they try to tag each other with water balloons. It's a blast and a great way to end the week of a very well run camp. We will definitely be back again next year!





Soon after soccer camp Olivia took off with my Mom for California for two weeks to visit my Aunt Sue. Cece and I were going to be joining them one week in, but for a few days Todd and I were able to spend some one on one time with just Cecilia. We took her to the annual local festival we have in Fort Wayne. It was nice to spend some time alone with her. It is not something we get to do often, so we made sure to make the afternoon special for her. Her day was made when she ran into one of her besties from school at the carnival!




Next Cece and I packed our bags to head out to California to join my Mom and Olivia. We were met with sunshine and it stuck around for the week! The girls were thrilled to see each other and they spent the entire week getting along swimmingly! On our first day we took the girls to a goat farm. This is where they keep goats that help to make the goat cheese. The farm was beautiful and the kids got a kick out of seeing the goats running around. 




Later in the day we did a little wine tasting. Didn't waste much time once arriving before finding out way to a winery. It is by far one of my favorite things to do in California, but can be challenging with little ones. The girls entertained themselves very well while the grown-ups enjoyed some wonderful wine!






It wasn't long before we ended up at the beach. It's usually one of the first things we do on our annual visits. What I love about taking the girls to the beach is they just play. They don't even really pay attention to beach toys. They just run and jump in the waves. It's simple, and simply delightful to watch!






Since visiting last year my Aunt and Uncle bought a new boat. So I was itching to get the girls out for some whale watching. This would be Cecilia's first time, so I was hoping we would see some stuff. Within minutes of hitting the open water there were whale tails everywhere!





Everywhere we looked there were whales, sea lions and jelly fish! It was amazing! Now Olivia has been whale watching a handful of times during her many visit to California, but this was Cecilia's first time. She was fascinated and unsure of what she was seeing at times, but she loved it.






We were all enjoying the wonder of these amazing animals. Cece soon grew tired and decide to nap through the remainder of our whale watching outing. It was a great experience to share with the girls and I am glad they got to see some cool sea life up close and personal.



My Aunt's boys came into town for the weekend to spend time with us. The girls attached to them both the second they walked through the door and did not leave them alone the entire weekend. My cousin Ryan was willing to be as silly as he could just to get a laugh out of them. There was lots of tickling and wrestling going on, not to mention lots of high pitch screaming coming from them both!



Towards the end of the weekend we took a trip to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I have adventurous girls so they were dying to go on some rides. I hit a water ride with Olivia, while Cece lived on the edge with the whale and dragon ride.





Olivia was super brave and even went on the huge swinging pirate ship with all of us. Cece of course sat that one out with her Uncle Ron, or "Uncle Biggie", as the girls call him. And of course we couldn't leave the boardwalk before playing a few carnival games. My cousin Ryan won silly stuffed animals for both girls. They were beyond thrilled! It was a fun afternoon for young and old!




The nice thing about visiting my Aunt Sue with the girls is that we take it easy. Many evenings we just hang at the house, have some wine and enjoy the sunset. If you are lucky to catch a good sunset it is simply breathtaking. While enjoying one of these sunsets Cece and her Sue Sue got silly.




Another one of Olivia favorite things to do during her visits is shop. She loves nothing more than to go into the little souvenir shops and look at trinkets. She usually ends up buying a seashell or magnet, but she spends her own money so I let her buy whatever she wants. She could spend the entire day going into one little shop after another. The neat thing about walking the pier is the sea lions. They are everywhere, making tons of noise. They are quite entertaining to watch.





Cece was very fascinated with all of the sea life she saw during her visit. I was happy she got to see so much and do so many fun things. With this being Olivia's 9th trip to California she has just about done it all. Her sister has some catching up to do. The girls really have been fortunate to experience a ton of cool things during their visits to California.



Our last day was packed full of things we like to do each time we visit. First up was to have lunch at one of our favorite spots overlooking the water...The Crow's Nest. Olivia loves this spot and the view is amazing. We always sit outside so the girls can run around. On this day we were even able to see whales breaching off in the distance.




That afternoon I took the girls back to the beach one last time. My Mom and Aunt dropped us off this time so it was just the three of us. The sun was shining and the waves were crashing. The girls and I had a great time. I sat back and watched them enjoy themselves. They didn't even need beach toys. They just played with one another. It was a beautiful afternoon and a great way to spend our last afternoon in California.






That evening we had dinner at the neighbor's. They have two full size poodles that the girls just adore...Peter and Simone/ Each time we visit they invite us for dinner so the girls can play with the dogs and explore their amazing house.



They also have a beautiful coy pond, which Cece was obsessed with. I spent the evening by her side making sure she didn't fall right in as she tried to "pet" the fish.



Our visit wouldn't be complete without our annual family photos on the front porch of my aunt's house. Getting the girls to smile and look at the camera at the same time can be a challenge, but these turned out quite well I must say.





Even the outtakes were delightful...




I think the smiles on the girls' faces sum up their time with Aunt Sue Sue. Not sure how things will play out next summer as my uncle recently accepted a new job in LA, but they hope to keep their house in Aptos. Lots can change in one year, so we will have to wait and see.


Time to wrap up this extremely long blog post. Lots more summer adventures to report, but right now we need to focus on the first day of school, which is tomorrow! Instead of busy summer activities it's time to juggle school, dance and soccer schedules. Let the craziness begin!