December 31, 2011

Eleven and Twelve

I love a fresh start. The end of one thing and the promise of something new.

2011 was a WONDERFUL year. It was better than I ever imagined it could be. God put His hand on our family and protected and provided for us in so many ways....

We were able to travel to Savannah in April and Cabo in September.

I left my full time job in August and was given two amazing part time jobs that provide me growth, challenges, and give our family the income we needed for me to stay home with Abby.

We saw just how serious a peanut allergy can be and how the Lord can bring all the pieces together to keep us safe.

We bought a new car to fit our new income- one that saves us money each month and gas each week.

We watched our baby girl become a little girl that is fully potty trained and sleeps in a big girl bed.

We celebrated friends who promised to love each other forever, those that welcomed sweet babies into their homes, and those that announced babies to come in 2012.

I had two resolutions for 2011- memorize more scripture and wear more lipstick.I do wear lipstick more- I love this one and this one, both found in 2011. I know more scripture than I did in 2010, but nearly as much as I want to. 

Looking to 2012- my resolutions all fall into one category- patience. I want to be more patient with my husband and most especially my daughter. I want to be more patient with strangers and offer a smile instead of judgement. I want to be more patient with myself- I don't have to accomplish my to do list by 9 AM- I should snuggle with Abby. I need to focus long term on a healthier body, home, and bank account.

Goodbye 2011, thank you for blessing me repeatedly!

December 30, 2011

Katy and Ike Visit Texas

Our friend Katy and Ike (the ones with the fun wedding in Cabo!) moved to Los Angeles in November and they were home in Texas for Christmas. We drove to Belton Wednesday night where Ike's parents live to visit them over yummy fajitas, thanks Steve!

It was fun to see our friends and talk about life in Los Angeles. Katy just started blogging if you want to follow a Texan learning life in LA. She is a personal assistant to a celebrity and he is a music producer. You can imagine they get to do some fun things! 

We stayed at their house (Abby was with us, but no good photos!) way too late and got home just before midnight. Abby was a champ playing with everyone and watched videos on the iPhone all the way home.

We are hoping we can visit them in March and have lunch among paparazzi, see the sights from a "local" and visit the taping of a show!  

December 29, 2011

Birthday Fun

The greatest benefit of a holiday birthday- we get to spend the whole day with Abby Lu! No business meetings or school to interfere with our fun day! Every year we've tried to fill it with fun things just for her.

Abby was up at 7:30 this morning and we all sang Happy Birthday in our big bed. Then, Abby and Marcus went to the local doughnut shop for our breakfast. She loves her doughnuts!

Over breakfast, we opened her birthday presents.... a family and three story dollhouse!

She had fun playing with the family and furniture while Marcus put the house together. This is our second Kid Kraft product and the assembly is the best! It took less than 30 minutes, had simple to understand directions, and the screws are color coded to match the house. I love that!

We set it up on the little blue table behind the couches. She has played with it all day long! I love the fun colors of the house and how much her imagination goes crazy while she plays with it. She named each of the family members (Mom,Dad, 2 girls, 1 boy, and grandmother) after her own family members except the small girl which should be her. She named her Shelby after the high school Sunday school teacher she obviously loves! Cracks me up!

It wasn't long before her family expanded to include Abuelo, Poppy, Dora (x2) and their cousin Diego.

 All those visitors were too much for Momma and she decided to take a nice long bubble bath ;)

Instead of a pedicure, she asked to stay home and play, so I enjoyed a pedicure all by myself! I then picked up Marcus and Abby and we had lunch outside at Newk's. It is one of Abby's favorites and she loved sitting outside.

This evening after dinner, we had her birthday cake. Since we won't have an official one at her party, we did it tonight. She wanted a blue cake!

She was pretty excited about cake! We save cake for parties and she gets so giddy knowing special cake is coming! All that excitement, and she ate about 2 bites of icing.

Happy 3rd birthday Abby Lu- we had a blast with you today!

Happy 3rd birthday Abby Lu

This blog post is publishing at 1:18 AM, the moment 3 years ago that you entered the world and gave me the greatest title ever, Mommy. I waited so long for you and you have not disappointed me one bit. There is so much I want to remember about you and this age and I fear my memory and words will fail me.

You are by far the funniest kid I know. I am sure most parents think that about their kids and they may all be right. You make up songs, tell funny stories, have a million facial expressions, speak in different characters voices, and entertain at all times. 
 You are loving and caring and show your compassion to those you love. You will get a sappy look on your face, tilt your head and tell me "I lub you so much" at least 5 times a day. You run and give hugs, smother my face in kisses, and tell me things like, "I adore you", "you are the best Mom" and "you're my favorite". I should bottle these kind words up for the years when you hate me!

You are incredibly organized and structured. You are routine. If you have one Yo Gabba Gabba bracelet, you must have the full matching set. If I give you green foamy bath soap, it must go in the green bowl.You never ask for a snack, it is always "a snack and a drink". You want an equal number of blankets to match your baby dolls at night time. Order is important to you. You like to count things and make sure they are all there before moving on. You come by it honestly no doubt and I hope it helps you succeed in whatever God has chosen for you to do.

You are a pretty good eater and sleeper. You have a limited number of things you will eat, but you typically eat a healthy portion of them. Your only vegetables are: peas, green beans, cucumbers, sweet potato fries, corn, carrots (raw or cooked), and broccoli. Any other you have tried have been unsuccessful. You'll eat any fruit we give you. Meat is not your thing yet. You eat chicken nuggets, grilled chicken and lunch meats only. You don't seem to understand assembled food- no pizza, sandwiches, spaghetti, corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.  You will eat anything bread or sweet related! No questions ask- I have no idea how you know! 

A typical day is a cereal bar and milk for breakfast about 7:30, a healthy mid-morning snack of fruit, cheese, or pretzels, and then lunch about 11:45. Your school lunch is cheese and crackers, fruit, and raw carrots with water or a yogurt smoothie. After nap, you get a "treat" and you love little 100 calorie snacks, a lollipop, or fruit snacks. For dinner, we often give you lunch meat or chicken nuggets, a hot vegetable, and a roll or tortilla. You love almond milk, whole milk, and mango milk (yogurt smoothie). We haven't given you juice, but you drink apple juice/water mix at school.

You are a good sleeper, once you fall asleep. Some nights you are out quickly and other nights you'll take 2 hours to go to sleep. For the most part, you will talk to yourself in bed for 2 hours and we don't even know you are still awake! You always sleep through the night. You nap for about 2 hours each day and sleep from about 9 PM - 7 AM. 

We have your 3 year well check next week, but I am certain she will tell us that you are TALL! I can only assume you will stop growing soon and level out with other kids. Between your big vocabulary and your height, people often assume you are already 4. You wear a 2T or 3T clothing. You have a 4T head, 2T waist and 3T length. So, it just depends. Your feet have caught up with your age and you wear a size 8.

I asked you 20 questions after bath the other night and hope to ask these same questions of you each year. Some of these answers came out of the blue.... I would have paid big money that your favorite color is blue, your best friend is Makayla or Kalea, and that your favorite drink is milk!

Happy 3rd birthday babycakes! We love you always!

December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve with Family

Marcus' Mom came into town on Friday night for Christmas weekend. We had a yummy dinner at a local cafe and then drove around and looked at some Christmas lights.

Saturday morning, my Dad and Jacque came over to celebrate Christmas with lunch! They brought pizza and I made salad and dessert. It was super casual and easy! 

Abby recruited Jacque into playing chalk with her!

She also played her favorite game- hide and seek with Granpa and Jacque!

And, had a lot of fun doing everything but smiling for a picture with them!

She was all smiles in her new 6' tall cardboard castle they bought her. She loves to open and shut the doors and windows inside the castle.

We tried hard to get a smiling photo with Mimi, too. Abby wasn't the problem, this time around :) Mimi was so nice to get Abby a Pluto doll to complete the Mickey Mouse set!

Carol and our family went to Christmas Eve service at a nearby church. We didn't attend our church this time, but picked one with an earlier time slot to accommodate our plans for the day. It was the neatest production of the story of Jesus' birth. They used modern songs, language, and storytelling to make it all so relatable. We were also proud of Abby who dropped off without much struggle. Very cool... there was break dancing to Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Unexpected!

After church, we came home and had dinner and then exchanged gifts. We do our gifts to each other (and this time with Mimi) on Christmas Eve. We then do stockings and Santa on Christmas morning. I was most excited to open Abby's choices from Dollar Tree.

She gave Marcus- a large blue crayon, razors, a blue Gatorade, Dora stickers, and a large brush typically used for cleaning your back. She thinks it is a really big toothbrush!

I received a Christmas container, Peace sign headband, fuzzy scrunchies, blue marbles, and little black plastic balls used to fill a vase. Oh, and a birthday card to a son and his wife. Hilarious!

We laid out ginger spice and chocolate chip cookies along with almond milk for Santa.

We also left out food for the reindeer! Abby was given a small baggie of oats to feed the reindeer with at church. She was very clear to us they would need food!

After a long and busy day, Abby went to sleep pretty quickly! We had fun laying out her gifts from Santa and filling the stockings before going to bed early ourselves!

December 26, 2011

Under the Tree

I took way too many pictures this year and don't want to sort and edit them today, but I did want to blog. So, I'll share some of our favorite gifts from Christmas weekend. It isn't the most important part of the weekend, but it is the easiest pictures to grab today!

Marcus is never sure what to buy me, so I always give him a detailed email full of links with the gifts that I would love. It makes his life easier and I get things I want/need. I make sure the list has more options than he needs so that I am still surprised on Christmas morning. This year, my big gift was the mason jar drink dispenser from Pottery Barn. I have wanted this for at least a year and didn't need it, so I never bought it. So excited to have it! I also got Toms and some fun stuff for the kitchen.

I think this was Marcus' favorite... a remote control helicopter like you see at the mall kiosks. He had mentioned one would be fun last Spring and I was glad I remembered come gift time. He also got some gray Converse and much needed clothes!

Christmas with Abby was interesting. She wasn't very excited about having presents, opening them, or the gifts inside. She got some needed items and some fun and exciting things, but none of it really made her "squeal". We stopped opening presents on Christmas Eve because she just didn't care. We hoped it would be better the next morning, but she pretty much wanted to play with what she had.

Here are a few of her favorites.... cardboard castle! I had never seen this, but it has been on FB all weekend with other kids. My Dad and Jacque got this for her. She has fun coming back to color it throughout the day.

Abby has had the most fun playing with her race cards and track. I bought this months ago at a craft fair and am so glad I did. The cars just go on batteries and the track is plastic and assembles easily. We have tried multiple configurations and love watching the cars chase each other!

Abby's "big" gift was actually given to us just a few weeks ago and we hid it in the garage until Christmas morning. She got a battery powered Barbie Jeep with it's own CD player. She was so excited to sit in it and told everyone who called that she got a new car for Christmas, but she got off it in 2 minutes, said it was scary, and hasn't gone back outside? I think she'll warm up to it and drive all over the place before long.

Finally, she has taken to these little vintage dolls since she opened them. She first called them martians? Weirdo! Once we convinced her they were baby dolls, she needed them to have names. Since they are vintage, we named them after 3 sisters of Abby's great grandmother whom she is named after. 

Meet Mary, Mabel and Maxine...

Hope you got all you were wishing for, too!

December 24, 2011

The Nutcracker

Abby and I saw The Nutcracker with Ballet Austin on Friday afternoon. Our friend from church Alexis was performaing as an angel, so we were excited to see her. I bought us the least expensive seats in case we left early and hoping that the people around us would not be as concerned with a 3 year old talking and moving around.

 We had lunch with Marcus ahead of time and changed into our ballet clothes. I knew we would not be able to take many picture at The Long Center. Abby did as well as I had expected. She wanted to sit, then stand, then sit, etc. She has had a hard time remembering to whisper. We left at intermission after having been there about an hour. I didn't think it would get any better and she thought it was over anyway!

 I love this picture- somehow she aged 3 years in this one! 

My little bitty girl as we left the ballet. The Long Center is beautiful!

 I am certain we will go back in a few years and hopefully, see the whole thing!

Merry Christmas Eve! We are busy with family today, church service tonight, and presents this evening! 

December 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Cohen

Happy 7th Birthday Cohen!

We love you and wish you the best day and 7th year!

December 22, 2011

Responsibility Chart

I saw another blogger with a child about Abby's age implement a responsibility chart and wanted to see if Abby would take to it as well as her son did. I didn't want to invest a lot of money so I thought about what we work with her on the most and made a simple Excel spreadsheet for her. I bought cheap smiling face stickers at Mardel and 4 treats from the dollar spot at Target. Pardon the extra Sunday column- I guess I did it a little too fast!

I introduced the chart when she did one of the responsibilities. I gave her a sticker for her hand and told her about her responsibilities and placed the second sticker on her chart. We started on Friday, Mom used it over the weekend and then yesterday morning, something magical happened. I was doing her laundry and she came running into the laundry room and told me to stop. She said, " I want to help you so that I can get a sticker". Heaven to a Mom's ears!


She loves to count her stickers and last night we discussed she was only 1 sticker away from a treat. She could get her treat first thing in the morning if she stayed in bed until "Raider" turns green. Raider is her alarm clock that turns green at the time we set, 7 AM. She ran into my room at 7:02 to announce Raider was green and she earned a treat! She selected a small orange slinky and all morning has told me "thank you for my treat". I love that she is old enough for this type of concept and we can work on her responsibilities with a goal in mind each week.
Way to go Abby- we are so proud of you!

December 21, 2011

Latte and Lights

We love looking at lights this time of year! After an easy dinner of leftovers, we put on our jammies, grabbed a couple of blankets and hopped in the car to see lights!

No light seeing adventure is complete without a little stop at Starbucks! I discovered their Gingerbread Lattes this season and love them! I'll be sad when they are gone.

We drove through a nicer neighborhood in our area and they had some great displays. They also had trucks pulling kids on flat beds in the neighborhood. That sounded so cool to Marcus and so cold to me!
Abby was in the backseat and had the iPhone with her. She made us stop so that she could take a picture of one of the houses with the phone. Marcus and I just laughed- there is no way we were snapping pictures at age 3!

Weekend Getaway

Marcus and I spent the past weekend in Houston and had the most fun! We had planned the trip after our friend Cristina offered us her Houston Texans tickets for Sunday's game. She has the best seats- I've never watched a game from the 50 yard line! Although not in Denver, I did get to see a Texan "Tebow" before the game- ha! The pre-game was lots of fun- great music and the players were all dancing. We love Jacoby Jones of the Texans- he is a fabulous dancer!
The Texans lost the game... boo! We were in a funny position because of Fantasy Football. Marcus was secretly cheering for the Carolina Panthers running back and I didn't want to see Arian Foster score, Houston's RB. We laughed as we cheered and boo'd with the crowd while smiling.

We stayed in Houston Saturday and Sunday night since I had a gift certificate for a hotel near the stadium. We ate way too much food including this yummy Apple Streusel Walnut Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory. Being without Abby for the weekend, we ate lots of desserts with nuts :)

We stayed at the Galleria Mall and they had this 3 story tree in the ice rink! The mall was crazy packed since it was the last weekend before Christmas. There were stanchions creating lines to zig zag through the stores in order to pay. Madness- thank goodness we had free valet parking and could go back to our room when the crowds became too much.

Almost every store was offering 40% off! Great deals to be had for sure. Marcus almost bought this Star Wars Storm Trooper hat. We recently discovered youth hats fit his head- we've always known they fit his personality :)

My Mom stayed at our house with Abby for the weekend- they wore jammies all day, played, sewed, and watched TV. A perfect weekend for them, too!


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