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11 December 2014

The Mall Santa

So, as I mentioned a few posts back, before Thanksgiving we went to see Santa at the mall.  HGTV had set up a really cool Santa experience that we wanted to check out.  I don't normally do Santa pictures {where I have to pay for them}, but I was in need of a Christmas picture for our advent calendars we hand out, so I decided to spring for it.

The experience was really fun -- the girls got "scanned" and made it on the nice list, they made a couple elfie videos, and they were able to peek into Santa's workshop while the elves were busy working.  And, then, then they were able to sit on Santa's lap and tell him their wishes for Christmas. {Olivia wants a secret doll and Sydney wants a unicorn.  So, good luck with that, Santa!}

Santa was such a looker -- man, he was super authentic looking.  But, gosh darn it, he was tired.  So tired, in fact, that he fell asleep a couple times.  Once while holding Olivia and then again while holding Sydney.  Seriously.  He kept trying to wake himself up by widening his eyes, but bless his heart, it wasn't working.

See what I'm talking about?!

I think our advent calendars turned out really cute.  The girls gave one to each of their classmates -- the kids were so excited!

08 December 2014

Church Date

We've been trying out a new church these last few weeks with some of our neighborhood/school friends, and while it is a style that is reallllly contemporary feeling to me, I know that both Olivia and Sydney love it.  I love that the location is close, we have friends there, and that the girls are happy and learning about God.   A few Sundays ago, Olivia and Riley showed up in the same gray color scheme and I just had to snap some pictures.

The message that Sunday was on the things that can sculpt our lives and there was a guest artist who was doing a sculpture the whole service.  After we picked up the girls, we took them up to see his work.  He was so sweet with the girls and he let them each add a piece of clay to his sculpture.

I can only hope that we are choosing sweet friends who will help shape our girls' lives in the best way possible.

Beauty and the Beast with My Big Girl

A couple months ago, some of our friends asked Olivia and me to go see Disney's Beauty and the Beast up at the Orpheum over Thanksgiving weekend.  I wasn't sure what our plans were for the holiday, so I sadly said I couldn't commit.  Well, as luck would have it, we were not only in town for the weekend, but we were able to get two seats with our friends so that we could attend the show with them.

In the week or so leading up to the musical, we listened to lots of Beauty and the Beast music and watched the movie.

After our Elf in the Shelf breakfast, Olivia and I started getting fancied up and headed downtown with our friends.  The show was fantastic, and the girls really enjoyed it.  I was so amazed by all the costumes and the music.  My favorite part was the performance of Be Our Guest!  It was really spectacular to see all the costumes, hear the singing and watch the dancing.  I tried to explain to Olivia that she was learning to do those very things in her musical theatre classes each week!

I love being able to do fun things like this with my sweet girl and her friends!

Welcome Back, Bunky and Snowflake Sparkle

... or Noflake Parkle as my little Sydney says.  Sometimes those S's just don't roll off the tongue like they should.

Looking at our end of November and full-on December calendar,  I realized that even though I thought we were taking a more laid-back approach to the holidays, we really weren't.  Not sure who didn't get the memo, but clearly they didn't.  So, our elves had to come back a few days before December.  Sadly, pretty much all of our Christmas decorations were still up in the attic, so I sort of had to wing it, but I think it turned out okay.  The girls were impressed and excited and really, that's all that matters!

We are doing the 25 wrapped Christmas books for advent again this year and we had enough that each of the girls were able to get their own set!  {Special thanks to my mom for helping me wrap these!}  The girls have been loving them.  Tonight, Olivia opened a Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas and she got SO excited!  She kept screaming, Fancy Nancy!  It's Fancy Nancy!  Sydney opened hers and it was a lift-the-flap book with a Christmas tree on the cover, so she started screaming A Chritmas tree!  A Chritmas tree!  I love how excited they get to open a book!

➹ Olivia's donut face! ➹

➹ Sydney's donut face! ➹

Our elf brought the girls some pajamas the night before {again, thanks Mom for making their beds and laying those out for us while we were at the zoo} and a cool activity book!

These smiles -- they sure make getting up early and making little reindeer donuts worth it!  Love them to pieces.

03 December 2014

Black Friday at the Zoo!

Every summer, I hear about the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and want to go.  And then I remember that even driving an hour north, it's still triple digits.  And then, somehow, I forget about going until the next summer.  But, guess what!?  Thanks to a reminder from my dad and another friend about the zoo now that it has cooled down considerably, we were able to go the day after Thanksgiving.  And, it was wonderful!  The place is very spacious and there were hardly any crowds {because, duh, they were at WalMart and Best Buy} and the weather couldn't have been any better.  We had a fantastic day!

Hands down, my most favorite part of the zoo was the petting zoo.  {I really think this is the case for me anywhere there is a petting zoo, even though they usually stink and the goats always try to eat my purse.}  This petting zoo had several little deers, lots of goats, and a llama.  I really wanted to take a deer home with us, but since we couldn't, we ended up taking about 50 selfies with one.

➹ That face! ➹

➹ I mean, seriously.  Look at it! ➹

➹ It's like a giant Magnum! ➹

➹ This one's going in the birthday video for sure! ➹

➹ Llama llama, kissing drama! ➹

The thing I loved about this zoo was how accessible all of the animals were.  We were able to get into a pen with some giant tortoises, and for 50 cents, we could get a handful of food to feed the giraffes.  There were so many birds and monkeys and meerkats and prairie dogs that were just showing off for everyone.  Sometimes when we go to the Phoenix Zoo, we don't get to see some of the animals because they are off in a corner hiding away, so it was nice to be able to see so many up close.

There was a Kangaroo Walkabout area where the kangaroos just hopped all around you.  One even came up to nuzzle David, but got scared off when the girls got close to him.  I had never seen a kangaroo up close like that and it was really interesting to see how they use their tails when they hop.

The girls were really good the whole day.  We were there for about 5 hours {and spent a total of 2 hours in the car}.  We really wore Sydney out because she fell asleep on the way home and was up an extra two hours that night.  Buttttt, it was totally worth it!  {Just next time, I'll make sure she stays awake on the way home.  Ha.}

Thanksgiving Festivities

I really hope you all know that I am not super OCD, but it does bug me when I have to do things out of order, and at the moment I'm feeling a little conflicted.  See, we did a trip to see Santa at the mall the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Santa before Turkeys?!  Crazy, right?  And, I sort of feel like I need to blog that first, but I'm just having trouble putting red and green up on this space before I finish with the orange and browns, ya know?  So, that one will just have to come later.

Side note:  Tonight in the car we were listening to a Christmas cd {it is December 3rd, by the way} and I skipped "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" because I just wasn't in the mood.  And, oh boy, Olivia about lost it.  Not so much because she wanted to hear the song, but because we were going out of order.  Apple, tree, you know the rest.

So....back to turkeys and Thanksgiving and being grateful for things.  The girls each had a little feast at their school, and I was thankful that I was able to attend both.  

I really love Sydney's new school.  At her seat, she had so many little pieces of artwork that she had created.  I love that she has the opportunity to create new things each day, and she was so proud to show them off.   She loved the food at her feast too.  I didn't think she was going to eat the pumpkin pie and then she saw the whipped cream and she was all interested in getting a piece.  I thought for sure that she would just lick the whipped cream, but she ate the whole thing!  Such a big, brave girl!

➹ This dress is still going strong after 4 years! ➹

➹ Love that little turkey! ➹

Olivia's feast was really sweet.  I wish I had thought to take my big camera in and record some of the things they did.  The class sang us three songs {one of them included some sign language} and then they read us a paper they had made that talked about what they were thankful for.  Olivia was thankful for her family.  :)

➹ Love this little turkey too! ➹

On Thanksgiving morning, we went over to our neighbor/friend's house to eat breakfast, watch the parade, and decorate gingerbread houses. {They did that at the first Thanksgiving feast too, didn't you know? 😉}  The girls had so much fun, and it was a nice way to spend the holiday morning.  That evening, we went over to our cousin's house {who also lives in our neighborhood} and ate a delicious dinner there along with my aunt and uncle and my parents.  We have so much to be thankful for, but like Olivia, I am especially thankful for our family and how easy it is for us to spend time together.  Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving too!