Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Week of Christmas!

Oh what a week it has been!  We had such a wonderful holiday, filled with fun family events, great food, and fantastic memories.  On December 26, I found myself wondering what to do with my free time...watch tv?  Read a book?  SLEEP???

Ava made this bird feeder at pre-school - it has a bell on it so we know when it's being snacked on!

 
Getting ready to make the traditional German butterballs for our soup on Christmas day

 
Ava wasn't crazy about the food processor.  At first...

 
Then she realized it's not so bad!


 
Counting out nine cups of potato bread crumbs

 
Starting to roll the butterballs!  After which, this process became very messy, and no more pics were taken...

 
Crust mustache!

 
On Christmas Eve night, we spent the evening with Scott's mom's extended family.  Lots of kids made this a fun, crazy night!
 
Jenna - Ava - Tatiana - Savannah - Calleigh - Savante

 
Dancing with Grandma!

 
Savannah is so cute!

 
Getting ready for Great-Grandma's surprise gift!

 
All the kids had to lay down and pretend to be asleep before they could open their gifts (Dream Lites for all!)

 
Once we made it home, we sprinkled reindeer food on the boulevard...sparkly!

 
Let's not forget a treat for Santa. (And carrots for the reindeer in case the sparkly food wasn't enough!)

 
Christmas morning was actually pretty nice and relaxed.  We had a leisurely brunch, and took our time before opening all of the stockings and gifts.  I was excited to try this new brunch recipe - and I thought it was pretty enough to take pictures of! :)

 
It turned out great!

 
Time to open the gifts!

 
This one was wrapped tightly...I love Ava's expression in this one (thanks Grandma Karen!)

 
Even Lucky was intrigued by the mini space shuttle from Denver

 
All she wanted was a doll...and she got it!  But I want to know what's up with that face!

 
And then it was time to go back to work for a few very looong days.  But then, on Saturday night, Scott and I had a double date with Angie and Chad.  We had booked a murder mystery dinner through Groupon, and while the event itself was ok, the company and chance to catch up was great!

 
Did I mention it was a masquerade theme?  And no, I was NOT the only one wearing a mask at the event - just the only one in our little group!

 
One of Ava's Christmas presents was to go to the Rainforest Cafe at the Mall of America, and then to head to Build-a-Bear.  Ava was intrigued with the thunderstorms, rain, mist and live fish in the aquariums at dinner.  Plus, she got to take home this cool frog cup!

 
Think she knows the frog cup is watching her?? We were standing in line waiting to get her bear fluffed!

 
All done!  Welcome to the family, Fruit Snack (now adorned with a lovely flower dress and sparkly shoes.) 


Tomorrow, we'll head south for a New Year's celebration...should be a great time with awesome friends! 

See ya later, 2012...can't wait to meet you, 2013!  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Complete Chaos

What a week!  We had Ava's last night at tumbling, my holiday party at work, Ava's Christmas concert with her pre-school, finishing up Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, gift wrapping, menu planning for the big day, and...even a date night!

Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey came to watch Ava's last night of tumbling, and besides the first 10 minutes of her refusing to uncross her arms, it went rather well. Let's just say that it's impossible to do a somersault with the arms crossed, no matter how hard she tried...


 
Enjoying her last activity on the tumble track...
 
 
The president of BI really outdid himself with this year's holiday party...cosmos, appletinis, beer, wine, a carving station with roast beef, hot and cold appetizers, an ice scuplture, a jazz ensemble, etc...wow!  All he asked is that we dress up for the occasion...so we did!  Some people had on tuxes, most men were wearing full suits with ties, and women were dressed to the nines in cocktail dresses!  It was a very fun evening - I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the season with my fabulous co-workers!
 
The next night we had Maple Tree' Christmas program at the Croatian Hall in SSP.  They had many different activities set up for the kids: decorating cookies, making reindeer food, visiting with Santa, and a even a hot cocoa table.  And it was complete chaos.  The pre-k class went first by singing: I'm Getting Nuttin' for Christmas, Here Comes Santa Clause, and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.  They were followed up by the pre-1 class, and then the toddlers.  Then all the kids gathered together to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas, with a slight twist on the lyrics.  Ava's group did great, getting the words right, doing all the hand motions, and even singing in tune.  Clearly, they were the oldest kids in the group!
 
Saying hi to Santa!
 
 
Ava and Catherine

 
Decorating cookies together

 
Hm. Not so sure about this...

 
Getting ready to perform!

 
And just in case we thought we were bored this week, we managed to squeeze in a few more fun things...
 
A spontaneous Operation game between Scott and me...
 
 
Decorating Christmas cookies with my sprinkle-heavy girl



 
Scott and I even had a chance for a date night last night...we finally saw Skyfall, finished up the Christmas shopping, and had a yummy dinner at Lone Oak Grill in Eagan.  We went to the Cro for a few drinks, but at one point Scott asked me, "What's wrong with you?  You look like a zombie."  So, it was time to go home.  What can I say?  I'm a morning person!  Regardless, it was nice to get out sans Ava.
 
The banana bread for Christmas Eve is cooling on the stove, I'm going to make butterballs tomorrow for the soup on Christmas day, and then we're ready to go!  So looking forward to celebrating this holiday with my little family!  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Countdown 2012

Nine more days till Christmas is here! And someone is pretty darn excited for Santa to come and visit.  She thinks every day is Christmas and that it's time to open the gifts. By the time the 25th rolls around (assuming we all survive the end of the world this coming week), she's not going to believe me when I finally say YES to opening those gifts!

We've had a nice few weeks, including the following fun activities:
  • We hosted a Christmas party at our house, and had a great time eating and catching up with friends. 
  • Ava and I went to the Nutcracker (performed by the Twin Cities Ballet.)  She and Kelsi did surprisingly well paying attention and staying in their seats.  Can't wait to see it next year!
  • The Goers' family Christmas party was this past Friday, and I think I made it till midnight (maybe) before I crashed on the couch with Ava.  Scott, however, made it till 2am.  We had lots of fun seeing all of the cousins!
  • I'd like to say that we're done shopping, but...we've made a big dent in the list, and only have a few items to go, which is a good feeling.  Secret Santa starts tomorrow at work, so at least I'm prepared for that!
  • The weather was a bit drizzly and foggy last night, but we still made it out to check out some Christmas lights. It seems that more people decorated than they had in years past.  It was fun to see what crazy decor some people have come up with.  I think I'm most impressed with the 12' tall Ferris wheel that someone had in their front yard.  There were several "tours" checking out that house - and I can see why!
  • Two different kinds of fudge, and sugar cookies have been made.  Today, Ava and I will decorate the cookies. After that, I think I'm done baking for the season.  So...I think the snowflake peppermint bark will be perfect to make on a chilly January afternoon. :)
We're going to wrap some gifts and work on the Christmas cards today, but I don't think we're going to make it to the Holidazzle parade tonight.  Sunday nights are good nights to stay at home!

Ho Ho Ho!


George the Elf was found holding onto the juice bottle...Ava was worried he was going to be cold.  I reminded her he lived at the North Pole, so he was used to it!

 
Getting ready to head out to the Nutcracker.  We were under a Winter Storm Warning that day, so we had to bundle up.


 
Kelsi, Ava and the Nutcracker!

 
Pretty Kelsi!

 
Ava wasn't as thrilled that Mom was taking pics.

 
George wanted to take some time to smell the flowers! Ava thought he was going to get wet.  She is awfully concerned about George's well-being this year!

 
We've got a busy week coming up...tomorrow is Ava's last night of tumbling, we have an old-school holiday party at my work on Wednesday, and then Ava's pre-school Christmas concert is on Thursday night.  Scott and I are even going to sneak in a date night next Saturday - woohoo! Should be lots of fun!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

It seems like there is so much to do during the holiday season.  While the Type A part of my personality feels a bit of panic when I'm not able to quickly check things off of the extensive holiday to-do list, the very, very small part of my personality that's a bit more easy-going steps in and reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moments.

Now that turkey day is done, we can focus 100% on the Christmas holiday - and boy, have we been having fun!  Yesterday, we had family pictures taken (Ava looks great, we look exhausted), and then met up with Scott's sister and her three boys, and went to visit Santa at Southdale Mall.  Last year, we saw Santa just a few days before Christmas, and let's just say that he was a very popular guy - I think we waited for an hour or so, just to say hi.  But yesterday, there was no one in line!  Note to self: always go early in the Christmas season...

When Santa asked Ava what she would like for Christmas, her response was a "bow."  Santa gave me an odd look, and then asked her if maybe she would like a doll instead.  I didn't hear her answer, as I was trying to figure out if she wants a HAIR bow, a GIFT bow, or a bow that she can hunt with...?  Or, maybe she wants a BEAU!  She does talk about the boys in her pre-school class all the time. :)

We're hosting a little Christmas party next weekend, as well as determining the goodies we're going to bake this year.  Plus, we're starting to check things off the Christmas shopping list - this year, I will be good, and ship the out-of-state packages BEFORE Christmas day.  We also ordered the Christmas cards last night, and finished our tree/house decorating today.  (See, Type A self, things ARE getting done!)

We did have fun decorating the tree last night...there was a toasty fire roaring, Rudolph playing in the background, Ava wanting to hang up all of the breakable ornaments, Scott cursing at the Christmas hooks that kept getting tangled up, me constantly telling Ava to hang the ornaments on more than just the bottom branches...oh yeah, it was fun!  Eventually, we pulled it all together - the tree is done, George (the elf) has come to stay with us for the next 23 days, and even our charity items are all purchased and ready to go. 

Enough words, how 'bout some pics?

Enjoying a little plane ride after seeing Santa at Southdale

 
Making a reindeer necklace - and looking surprised that I had a camera...really?

 
Mission accomplished!

 
Getting irritated that I still had that camera out.

 
Helping Daddy with the garland

 
Ava couldn't wait to put the first ornament on the tree!

 
Almost done!

 
Time for the topper!

 
 
 
I love that Christmas glow!

 
I picked up a cd of kid's Christmas music today, and I'm excited to play it tonight.  Ava's pre-school class has been practicing all of their songs for the Christmas concert in a few weeks, so it will be neat for her to be able to hear those songs at home, too.  This truly is such a magical time of year - as soon as I can get through my list of things to do, I'll enjoy it.  Promise! :)