All Things What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Our New Year's Eve Baby turned SEVEN. We can't believe it either. Seven years of having our intelligent, book loving, ballerina around.

She loved her nano from all three of her grandparents.

And the Coraline doll, lunchbox and shirt from the rest of us.

After the lunch of her choice, Port Of Subs, we stopped by Build-A-Bear Workshop because Bella was determined to get Kata a bear for her birthday. I mean, she was determined. She even saved her allowance money. I know, she's four and a half but look at the pride on her face.

Kata also wanted to go see "The Princess and the Frog" so after the movie what is better than appropriately themed cupcakes??

I wish her many magical, princess filled moments and I know you do, too. There is nothing quite like getting a chance to celebrate your seventh birthday, at last.


All Things Green Christmas.

Christmas Morning. Kata was the first one up and she's usually our last to rise.

She was quickly followed by Alex. Note the blue light coming through the windows. That's called "dawn". I'm usually not familiar with its lovely colorful tones because I don't greet it.

The kids were told they couldn't "touch anything". I'm sure that's a mantra repeated in many households on this particular morning. Of course in our house that phrase was followed by, "until Mama gets her coffee." You see, certain elves stayed up until 2:30 am or so it was rumored in our parts and they were very, very tired.

The Pickle Ornament was found. If you don't have a Pickle Ornament, it's just our way of deciding which child gets to open their present first. The Pickle Ornament is the last one placed on the tree by a very weary Mommy and Daddy before they go to bed on Christmas Eve. Look at Bella's expression? She's disappointed that she didn't find it. Don't feel too bad, she found it last year.

Oh, Santa remembered and brought the "black and white kitty". Yeah, we're glad it's not a real kitty.

And Alex got the Wolf Pack jersey he wanted. Kata got the Littlest Pet Shop toy she was coveting.

Can you tell from the blur of action that there was a lot of excitement??

And then...the BIG GIFT. Grandma Sandi generously bought us a Wii. WOW. There were shrill screams of excitement!!!

There is nothing like Christmas Morning which is mercifully followed by Christmas afternoon and that by definition contains a nap. At least it does at our house, for a couple of tired elves.


All Things Christmas Pageant.

Oh, it's Christmas Pageant Time. Our fifth one and hey, my second one as eh gads, (informal) Director.

There's truly not too much to direct when you have talent like this at your fingertips. Note the expressions, yeah, method acting for sure.

Kata and Bella are on the far left (above picture). But, look at all the angels and stars. They are the youngest ones in the Pageant and truly my favorites. Shhh, don't tell the others.

Alex for the second year in a row, begged to play "the bad guy" - King Herod. Hey, he knew the Director, right?

Last minute instructions to the angels to "use your pretty, fluttery wings". Yes, that's me demo-ing the perfect angelic wave. My skating coach would be proud of that extension.

This is where I get a little emotional because you can't fake showmanship and our Kata has it. She loves being in the spotlight and on stage.

King Herod's Big Moment. He points out The Star and directs the Three Wiseman. For me, this just doesn't get any better.

When I get a moment to reflect on all the stress that December brings and then I see pictures like this, well, it's all worth it in the end. Isn't it?

Wishing you a moment of reflection. A chance to put things in perspective and to realize that it was worth the effort.


All Things Big Sister.

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there. " ~Amy Li

As an Only Child Mom who watches her children interact with each other every day, I find myself assisting in the negotiations of hourly battles and I have to admit that yes, I do grow tired of proposing treaty suggestions. But then there are moments like these, where I get a glimpse of what it would've been like to have a sister or a brother and I have to admit I get a little envious.

Kata's First Grade class was having a Polar Express Slumber Party at school and their super sweet teacher, Mrs. Gipe, suggested I come and help and oh, yes bring Bella along.

I was worried that Bella wouldn't behave. She is only four and a half years old but in her second year of preschool so she knows of at least some School Rules, right? Right.

I shouldn't have been stressed, Bella behaved beautifully, waiting her turn and watching patiently how all the other kids behaved. She fit right in. Kata assisted her whenever possible; showing her how to do things like, oh, make an ice cream cone into a frosting glazed candy tree.

It's these tiny little moments filled with wonder that I really need to pause and freeze in my mind when I'm telling them for the umpteenth time to "please, please, for the love of everything, put away your toys".


All Things Snowflakes, Indoors.

Nevada Dance Academy puts on only one recital a year and that's in the summer. But, Ms. Diane likes parents to see the progress their children have made by mid-year so a Holiday Show is held in one of the dance studios during their regularly scheduled class time.

And yes, Bella's class dressed like little snowflakes. They're the youngest and the cutest in their attempts to follow the student teachers and Ms. Diane. They're also, by far, the proudest.

Yes, I'm laughing all over again as I look at these.

You got to love when the only boy in the class takes it all in stride (literally), rolled up tongue in full view. Take that all you fluffy, pinkalicious girls.

Kata's class is next and they're quite the pros by now. Most of them, by the ripe old age of seven or eight, have about four years of dance under their belts. Kata is second from the right.

I almost didn't recognize her as she came out in her toy soldier outfit. So poised and tall, all of a sudden. She's second from the left below, right next to the student teacher.

Ms. Diane has a fabulous Birthday Tradition. Here's Kata seated in the middle while everyone skips around her and sings "Happy Birthday". Note how nicely posed her legs are...nothing like being one of Ms. Diane's girls. You learn to sit properly. Let's see if that holds during her teenage years.

And then everyone dog-piles on top of the Birthday Girl. Because it's not all about being formal, every minute of the day.

Can't deny the goofy, happy grin.

Wishing you all a dog-pile hug moment today. Nothing quite like it.


All Things Dear Santa.

It was time for Holiday Open House at Sunflower Preschool. And I have to admit that this and their wonderful Mother's Day Teas are my very favorite moments at Sunflower.

Bella's class wrote their letters to Santa. And the teachers transcribe exactly what the children say...yes, none of us missed the "today" at the end of Bella's letter. Sometimes, it's good to make short-term goals.

We stopped in right before the girls' ballet classes. Nothing like sugary snacks for breakfast to get their energy levels up.

Oh, and guess who was there? None other than Santa. I'll just bet he read every single one of those letters.

Santa always brings Jingles the Elf. She makes the most wonderful balloons. Including candy cane ones.

It wasn't until we left that I realized this will be our very last Holiday Open House at preschool. Another milestone accomplished. Now, off to make more short-term goals!


All Things Party On.

As most of you know, our middle child was born on New Year's Eve. While we love the celebratory nature of our Party Girl, it's always a little tricky to schedule her actual party with all the other holiday events not to mention school break.

This year she wanted nothing more than a party at Ballocity. See that structure? That's it. That is Ballocity. It's a great place for kids to burn up excess energy especially in winter time.

She wanted a Coraline cake but settled graciously for a Tinker Bell one. I mean, can there be any more butter cream goodness??

And the grand moment. She was seven. Well, not officially.

See this little boy? He apparently has a crush on our Kata. This is what first love should be like. All smiles. No touching.

She got the chance to go into the Wind Machine and Kata, being Kata, grabbed all the coupons she could. Note Bella's wonder-filled smile.

And more of Bella's smiling self. Yes, I know, she's laying plans right now for her own 7th Birthday. Let's see if we can make it to her 5th, first.

Present time. Look at the big brothers (Alex and his friend, Ethan, upper right hand corner) glancing over everything. No doubt plotting what toys they could take over.

I've decided to go through all of our December posts in, that's right, January. It's the only way I can catch up. So thank you for bearing with me and this process. Now go out and enjoy your day and hey, add a little butter cream to it. That will only sweeten the moment, trust me.