Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Santa Who?

Explanation: We went to the Zoo last weekend to see the holiday lights, and Santa was visiting in the restaurant. Natalie got to sit on his lap and tell him that she's been good and what she wishes for for Christmas. And no, she wasn't that scared of him, the picture just came out funny that way. Here's a more natural one:
Santa and Natalie.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The gingerbread house

Some of our good friends gave Natalie a ginger bread house kit for her birthday / Christmas. Last weekend, we spent a fun morning assembling it (and sampling the goodies a little, too...)

Let's see what's inside!

Yes, that's green frosting on her finger - what else could it be?

Putting frosting on the house...

... And sampling the candy.

The final result. Very yummi!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December!

This month has been so busy, it's hard to remember that it's December!
But it must be December, because Natalie is enjoying her "Christmas Calendar":
December first - getting the first present!

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.

Traditions can be so much fun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Natalie's birthday party

Natalie's best friend, Aubriella, came over for Natalie's birthday party. And she brought her family too. Natalie had such a great time (as did we). Natalie had asked for a Dora the Explorer party, so of course the basement was decorated with Dora, and the ice cream cake was a Dora cake with purple frosting!

Admiring the cake!

We had one of the same party games as last year - the packing chips in the water table where the girls could dig for "treasures". Except this year it was a Dora party game, because the bags for the treasures was a Dora bag, of course!

Look what I found!

The kids had a blast, and as always, they played so well together. Later, when we moved upstairs, they took turns pulling each other in the car:

Go, Natalie, go!

But I think one of the best parts of the party was the dancing - because what is a party without dancing? The kids danced to Christmas music in the basement. And then Natalie got her present from Aubriella - a CD with songs that included her name. She thought that was the best thing ever! So, the kids kept dancing to that one, too:

video
Dance party!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Natalie!

On Natalie's birthday, she woke up to a special breakfast table:
Birthday breakfast - M&M muffin!

She was a little tired...

Sleepy-head...

And yes, tootsie rolls are totally a breakfast food when it is your birthday - and only when it is your birthday!
She liked her birthday card, though.

Listen, Dora is singing Happy Birthday!

After daycare, I took Natalie to Walmart to pick out a cake. The lady behind the counter was so nice, writing on it with purple icing (Natalie got to choose the color), and she gave us two big butterflies to decorate it with.

After the cake, it was time for presents. Natalie took her time, unwrapping each present and playing with it a little before moving on to the next one. Here's one of her favorites:

A purple unicorn pillow-pet!

I guess I should write the obligatory "where did the time go". And really, those four years went by very fast. But what amazes me most is what a beautiful, funny, smart, curious, stubborn, caring little person she has become. She has her own opinions, and she loves to learn. She wonders about things and notices the tiniest little details at times. She's got her own personality, and it's a great one.

Happy Birthday, Natalie.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Elmo show

Just like last year, we went to an Elmo show. Last year Natalie had her first Icee. This year, she opted for the cotton candy:

Cotton candy - as big as her head!

She really enjoyed the show. The music was great (even for us grown-ups), and of course, Elmo is always a hit. Baby Savanna also really liked it:

Enjoying the show!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Christmas Parade

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we went to the annual Christmas parade downtown! It was a cold and windy day. Too cold for pictures, in fact, except for this one:

Bundle up!

We had a great time, though. Natalie was nice and toasty under all the layers of clothing and blankies. And the earmuffs were helping keep her ears warm in addition to making sure the firetrucks and marching bands were not too loud for her. And I must admit, I didn't really mind getting to hold on to such a nice little bundle for an hour and a half!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Introducing Baby Savanna

Some time ago, Natalie made her first purchase with her own money! She had been saving up for a new dolly, so we took the contents of her piggy bank with us and went shopping with Natalie. She picked out this cute doll, complete with extra clothes, a rattle, a teddy bear, a blanket, etc. A nice little set.

Natalie was sooo proud that she got to buy it all by herself.

Daddy helped unpack:

Natalie's new baby.

Natalie named her new baby Savanna. The picture is three weeks old, and Natalie and Baby Savanna have been nearly inseparable ever since!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

As it is our tradition, we decorated our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day. Natalie and I had been looking forward to it for a while, so the first thing she said that morning was "Can we decorate the Christmas tree now?" And, since a promise is a promise, even at 6:05 in the morning, we got to work. Natalie started unpacking the decorations while I got the Christmas tree up from the basement:

 Pretty...

This year, Natalie was still not quite tall enough to get the star all the way up to the top of the tree by herself...

Ehm, a little help?!?

So Daddy helped her out, and she got to put the star on the tree:

The star on top of the tree - just like it should be.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Last Halloween Bash

Well, all good things must come to an end, or so they say. And so, Halloween is all over. That means that the Halloween decorations had to come down. Sounds like such a boring chore, don't you think? Well, not if you decide to make it into One Last Halloween Bash!

Natalie and I put on the Halloween music and danced through the house while we took down the decorations:
video

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween party at daycare

As usual, Natalie's daycare had a Halloween party. And of course, we all dressed for the occasion:
Karsten was a hippie.
Now, try explaining that one to a bunch of three-year-olds... After a while, Natalie decided that Daddy was just a "cool dude"!

A black kittycat.

And of course, the witch.

There were lots of games at the party: 
Playing in a sea of balloons.

But as usual, Natalie's favorite was the room where there was lots of space and good music to dance to:

Party!!!

Well, I think there was one other favorite: 
Decorating the cookie!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zoo Boo 2010

We went to the Zoo-Boo again this year. And as usual, we had a log of fun.
Natalie wore her Halloween costume:

Such a cute little witch!
Of course, she didn't like wearing the hat, and the broom was kinda in the way, so most of the time, Karsten walked around like this:
Super-Dad!

We did a lot of trick or treating, and we even went on the haunted hayride. Natalie did really well with that, though she thought some of it was quite scary.

And we ended the day on the playground, which is always a hit:
Hello...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The new playground

In mid-October, we had some beautiful, sunny days. We spent one of them at a playground we hadn't visited before (hence the "new" - at least it was new to us...)

Daddy came along, and everyone had such a good time!

Spin me, Daddy!

We were really too busy to take pictures, but here another one, just because... It was a kind of zig-zag teeter-toter:
Up and down.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

In Early October, we went to a pumpkin patch. It was such a beautiful day. Natalie had a blast!

There were many games, like ball toss and ring toss, etc., but Natalie's favorite game by far was the duckie races:
I won, Daddy!

You had to use the pumps to pump water down the ramps, where the rubber duckies were floating along. Such a fun idea.
This is great!

They also had a haybale maze that Natalie could run thru:

Here I am!

... And she could climb on top of it, also:
Quite the view!

And, there was a real corn maze - a first for all of us:
Let's see if we can find our way, Daddy!

And last, but not least, we went to the pumpkin patch and picked out...

... the perfect pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010!

We had the best Halloween!

At first, Natalie was kinda partial to her stroller, preferring to get driven from house to house. No, she wasn't dressed as a diva. She was dressed as a witch, though she didn't like to wear the hat, so it was somewhat difficult to guess her costume.

Natalie and Daddy.

We went trick-or-treating with some good friends, and they had a kid in a stroller, too. So, of course that resulted in this:

Stroller-race!

Not sure who had the most fun with that part, the kids or the grown-ups...

Soon, Natalie warmed up to the idea of walking from house to house:

On to the next one!

Some of the best moments were the ones I didn't catch on camera, though. Like how she took her time and took it all in, looking at all the costumes and decorations, etc., and just enjoying things in her own, unhurried style.

At some point, we were walking to the next house with the porch light on (pretty exciting), and she stopped and picked up this HUGE leaf, holding it in front of her face and giggling "Mommy, look, it covers my whole head!"

Later, when it was dark, she noticed the stars and commented on how beautiful they were. Then she slowed down and started singing "Twinkle, twinkle, little star". It was just about the cutest thing ever (okay, maybe I'm a little biased, but still...)

We were out from just before 4PM till about 7:15PM. Natalie did a lot of walking, and she got a lot of candy. In fact, I weighed the "loot" when we came home, and she had almost three pounds worth of candy! Now, I don't think any kid really needs that much candy. Especially since just last week, I finally tossed the rest of last years Halloween candy... But that's okay. You see, it really wasn't about the candy at all. It was about having a great time as a family and with our friends, and we sure did.

It was a very tired Natalie that finally sat down for dinner that night (mac and cheese, pears, and chocolate milk - a special dinner for a special day).

Soo tired...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Labor Day at the amusement park

Natalie and I went to the amusement park for Labor Day - sort of a "Last Hurray" of the summer. It was a great day:

The rides were great - these cars made Natalie smile - so cute...

We had a picnic lunch there:
This lunch is THIS good!

Natalie even wanted to ride on the horsies. She did great, much better than last year:

Look, Mommy!

We're two cool gals!

This should now end the series of "posts that should have been posted a couple of months ago"... Hopefully I'll get a couple of October / Halloween posts up before Christmas...

Company picnic 2010

My company had a picnic this August. It was a nice, warm summer day, perfect for being at the amusement park. Natalie was really impressed with the magician that did some kid's entertainment - of course, the icecream bar was a hit, too...

Hmm, how did he do that?

So much to see, what should we do next?

The ladybugs are awesome!

The playground was a big hit!

Daddy and Natalie, swinging together.

The helicopters are also great. Look-it, Mommy, we're going up and down!
The trainride was exiting...

Oh, we need to do the helicopters again, so Mommy can get a turn!

All in all, it was a great time.