Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

2009 sure was a great one! So many fun times and great experiences. So many firsts. So much time well spent.

Here's to hoping that 2010 will bring everyone joy and happiness!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mommy job description, Christmas edition

Job includes, but is not limited to:

- Must enjoy anything Christmassy.

- Must take child to any Christmas event in a 20 mile radius.

- Must coordinate events so that there is still time left for making snow angels and baking cupcakes.

- Must be able to watch the Dora the Explorer Christmas movie at least 50 times without getting tired of it.

- Must learn that the Christmas spirit is about being together, not about how many things you can do in a week.


Benefits:

- Spend endless time cuddling, laughing, and playing.

- See the glow of the Christmas tree on their faces.

- See Christmas thru a child’s eyes!

- Feel more joy than you would ever think possible.

Christmas at the Zoo

The weekend before Christmas the Zoo had a Christmas thing going on. There were pretty lights in the zoo, and Natalie and I got to go there after dark.

Natalie thought it was so much fun to be there after the animals went to bed. Unfortunately, most of the animals actually had gone to bed before we got there, but that was okay. There were some animals in the welcome center that the kids could see and touch, like a snake, a turtle, a rabbit, a parrot, and a porcupine.

We also got to go on a horse wagon ride into the forest. That was very calm and soothing, and very beautiful - the path was lit by candles along the side of the road.

We also ate our supper at the restaurant there. And Santa was there! Natalie asked me if he was for real, and I made the mistake of saying that I wasn't sure, that he might be for pretend. But then she said "I think he's for real", and who was I to argue with that? She even went over to him to say hi, though I think it was more the candy canes he handed out that had her interest.

Since it was just Natalie and me, and I was carrying her a good part of the way, I didn't take many pictures. But here's one that I really like, though. Natalie sitting on a bench looking at the pretty lights. I know it is kinda dark, and you can't really see her face, and... But you get such a great idea of the Christmassy atmosphere that night that I still think it just works:

It's definitely Christmas time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Garden of lights

The local botannical garden was having their annual Garden of Lights festival. We had such a great time there.

We had to park at an overflow parking lot and ride a schoolbus to the entrance. Natalie was so excited about the schoolbus, I think that might almost have been what she enjoyed the most!

Of course the lights were beautiful:
Pretty flowers!

We enjoyed walking around looking at all the pretty lights and talking about the shapes they made. We also took a break on a bench where Natalie could get a snack. Karsten was taking pictures of us when a friendly stranger asked if we wanted a picture of all of us:

The whole family at the botannical garden!

I really like the picture, it is so rare that we get one with all of us in it. What a nice thing for that perfect stranger to do for us!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Party at Daycare

On Friday before Christmas, we went to the annual Christmas party at daycare. Natalie was much more interested in Santa than she was last year:
Looking for Santa...

He's right over there!

Natalie also really enjoyed all the activities in the different rooms:

Making a pretty ornament.


Finding Christmas items in a table full of shredded giftwrap - so much fun!

And of course, a daycare party wouldn't be a daycare party unless she got to decorate a cookie:

That looks yummi!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

You might have noticed that I haven't posted much in December. That's because we've been too busy having fun!

Here in December, we've had something going on almost every day, from daycare parties to holiday trips to the botanical garden and to the zoo, to great family time at home. So, in order not to get too stressed out, blogging has taken a back seat for a while.

But not to worry, there will be lots of posts with lots of Christmas pictures - even though they might stretch into January a bit! Oh, well, nothing wrong with making the holiday spirit last a little longer, right?!?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The birthday party

Last weekend, Natalie's friend Aubriella came over for a birthday party. Natalie had requested Backyardigans decorations, a Tinkerbelle cake, and Yo-Gabba-Gabba games. So that is exactly what we had.

The cake was beautiful:

And of course, it was delicious.


Isn't it amazing how the "eating-cake-picture" gets less and less messy every year?!

For the Yo-Gabba-Gabba games, we had a couple of things going on. One of them was a dancing game which the girls seemed to like. But I think the big hit was this one:

Natalie's watertable filled with packaging chips. And little "treasures" for the girls to find. What made this a Yo-Gabba-Gabba game? Well, the goody bags to put the "treasures" in looked like Yo-Gabba-Gabba characters! Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch, but it worked...

After the game was done, Natalie took all her "treasures" and put them back in the watertable, just so she could find them again!

The girls played all afternoon and evening, and they had such a blast (and us grownups had a great time watching them, too). When it was time to get into their jammies, it turned out that they had matching sets:

Best friends in matching jammies - How cute is that!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Birthday morning

Of course, the morning of any birthday is special. We woke Natalie up by singing Happy Birthday to her. Then she came out to her birthday breakfast table:

She got to blow the candles out all by herself...


The first present of the day was a Dora the Explorer toothbrush set:


You may have noticed the flags on the table in the first picture. It's an old tradition in Denmark to use the Danish flag for celebrations. So this would be a perfect birthday picture - well, at least if Natalie had actually smiled...

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Natalie!

Natalie's birthday was just the other day. Guess who's Three?!?!?


Of course, she had plenty of birthday cake:

And we even got a little video of her blowing out the candles!

video

Happy Birthday, Natalie! You're such a big girl!

Monday, December 7, 2009

December!

We have an old tradition in our family - we call it a Christmas Calendar (some people around here call it an advent calendar). Every day from the first of December until the 24th, Natalie gets a little present. Actually, she gets three, because she gets one from Grandma, one from her Aunt and Cousin, and one from us.

This year I couldn't find the time to wrap it all up until the last minute. So on Nov. 30th, after Natalie and Karsten had gone to bed, I was listening to Christmas music and wrapping up 24 little gifts. I tied them onto an old embroidered "calendar" that my mom made for me when I was little. And I enjoyed it sooo much. There was so much peace and quiet in the house, and I had time to look forward to Natalie opening each present, thinking about if she would like them, etc. I was also thinking back to when I was a little girl, getting all these presents. Good times.

Here's a picture from Dec. first when Natalie got to open the first present:

Such a great tradition.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Christmas Parade

Last weekend, we went to the yearly Christmas Parade:

Waiting patiently for the parade to start.

The firetrucks were pretty loud...

But it helped when we got the first candy.

There were lots of pretty things to look at.

Wow, that's a big ballon!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hi, Elmo!

Guess where we went last weekend?

That's right, the Sesame Street show was in town!

Natalie was very patient while we waited for the show to start. Of course, the blue Icee she got also helped.

Most of the first part of the show she looked like this. Don't worry, she's having a good time. She's just not smiling because she's too busy taking it all in and enjoying the show. And yes, the blue stuff around her mouth from the Icee did come off eventually, about a day later...



For most of the second half of the show, she was standing up in front of the seats, dancing and clapping along. It was awesome. In fact I'm not sure who enjoyed it more; Natalie watching the show, or me watching Natalie watching the show!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a tradition for Thanksgiving - it's the day we put up our Christmas Tree! We had such a good time with it today:

"I got my stepstool, but I still can't reach the top..."

That's where the star belongs.


After all the ornaments came out of the box, it was the perfect place to hang out.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A phone conversation

This weekend, Natalie was playing around in her play-area. I was sitting on the floor a little bit away, mostly just watching her while she was playing.

She picked up the phone from her play kitchen and had a conversation on it, complete with pauses to listen, etc:
"Hello... Uh-hmm... How are you doing... Okay, Bye!"

Then she put the phone down and looked at me while she said:
"That was your Mom calling. She said she was doing good."
Then she kept right on playing, not skipping a beat.

That comment made me smile.

My Mom passed away more than ten years ago.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What a smile!

What is this girl so happy about:

SMILE!

Well, decorating Halloween cookies, of course! Who says we have to wait until Christmas to bring out the colored frosting?

The yummi and colorful result!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A thought on Veteran's Day

Last night, Natalie wanted to look at the flags she got at last years Memorial Day Parade.

We spent some time talking about what the 50 stars mean. And we counted the stripes and talked about why there are thirteen of them.

Then she looked at the other flag and asked "What does that mean?"...

I told her it was for us to remember some people that were far, far away.

Because there are things you should not need to worry about when you are two years old.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween artproject

A few weekends ago, Natalie and I made a ghost family:

In case you are wondering, they are made out of various coffee filters, kitchen towels, and napkins, along with some cotton balls, yarn, and googly eyes. And per Natalie's instructions, we made a Mommy ghost, a Daddy ghost, a Natalie ghost, and a Grandma ghost. You get to guess who is who!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Party at Daycare

On Wednesday, there was a Halloween Party at daycare. Karsten also dressed up... The roadie and the ladybug...

video
One of Natalie's favorite things was the ghost bowling.

Of course, decorating cookies was also a hit.

video
The bean bag toss was another favorite.


And Natalie got to hammer pegs into this poor pumpkin...

She looked for white rubber skeleton in a sensory table full of flour.

I think this picture shows Natalie's opinion about the party. Yay!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun trick or treating yesterday! We started right at 4PM, and Natalie kept going until it was almost 7PM! By then she was so tired that she could barely walk, but she still wanted to go to just one more house...
Most of my pictures from yesterday look like this, though: Natalie going full speed ahead, just enjoying it and having fun.
Most of the time, she walked around at her own pace, just looking at all the decorations and the other kids' costumes. I think she enjoyed the whole experience as much as the candy. And she was really good at saying trick-or-treat at all the houses, and she always remembered (with just a little coaching) to say thank you.

I did get a little video of her sitting in the wagon, after we had gone to the end of one street and were heading back to the car to go to another neighborhood:
video

As for the candy, well, her Elmo bucket got really, really full, and quite heavy. After she got to bed, we sorted the candy a little. Here's what she got - or rather what she brought home, as she ate quite a bit while we were out and about, too:
Now, I don't think a 2 1/2 year old really need all that candy, though I'm sure Natalie would disagree...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Remember to brush your teeth - or else...

A week or two ago, I was traveling for a few days on business. Karsten did a great job taking care of Natalie while I was gone. He must have been struggling a little with getting her teeth brushed, though, so he told her that if she didn't brush her teeth they might fall out... Well, she makes deductions of her own, so here's what Natalie told me when I brushed her teeth the first night after I came home:

Natalie: We have to brush our teeth. Otherwise they will fall out.
Me: Uh-huh...
Natalie: Then they will fall on the floor and get all dirty.
Me: Uhm, okay...
Natalie: And then we would have to put them in the dishwasher!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

At the apple orchard

A couple of weekends ago, we went back to one of our favorite places - the apple orchard. They were having an "Apple-Palooza", so there were extra many fun things to do.

The wooden train is always a hit

And they had facepainting! Natalie did such a great job sitting very still...

Natalie chose a rainbow - very pretty!

There were these fun photo-setups. "Look, I'm a witch!"

Natalie's friend Aubriella met us there. Look how big these girls are getting!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The ring-pop

One of Natalie's friends from daycare brought in treat bags for his birthday. One of the things in there was another first for Natalie: A ringpop!

Yummi!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dressing up

While Grandma was here, the weather was nice enough for a short summer dress for Natalie. That didn't stop her from dressing up in winter clothes, though: Ta-da!

"What are you looking at?"