Saturday, December 31, 2011

A look back at 2011!

A quick look back at this year with some pictures and thoughts, yay!

We rang in the new year in January with friends and settled into the new 2011 with our 2 crazy kids!

February proved to be a wet one... lots of puddles.

March was when I really noticed my cake business taking off in a crazy way! It was excited and a new challenge.

April was Easter and lots of fun with the kids. Xander was really starting to get into the holidays and activities.

May was my good friend Ann and Teddy's wedding. Our first Indian wedding experience and of course we dressed up!

June saw the end of Preschool days for Ariel. All ready for Kindergarten come fall!

July was Auntie Kara and Uncle Chris' wedding, and we were all involved in one way or another. The kids played flower girl and ring bearer.

August brought 2 birthdays, and we were now proud parents of a 5 year old and a 2 year old! Both birthdays brought fun and memories.

September brought a new school for Ariel! Our little Kindergarten girl!

October was filled with pumpkins and candy with our Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. It also was when we lost our dear Papa.

November we said good bye to Papa with a memorial.

December brought the Christmas season and celebrating with our families. It also wrapped up our year and tonight we will welcome 2012.

There is much to look forward to, much to be thankful for and much to experience together. Thank you for following our lives for another year, and I hope you continue to join us for all that is to come! Thank you Lord for letting us experience so much together, and we pray for a year that is full of joy.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well I haven't been around, hence we have been knee deep in Christmas craziness around here. Once the church Christmas concert was done I could focus on the family and get back to the list of things I needed to take care of with work and preparation for us as a family.

I really loved having Ken off for the full 2 weeks this year, especially with Ariel home from school. The kids had a wonderful time with Daddy, and today Ariel said she didn't want to go back to school... aw. I know that means she has had a wonderful vacation, but I know once she is back with her friends again she will be a happy clam as well.

Christmas was different for us this year. Dad and Rita were with her side of the family this year, and so we did our family gathering on the 23rd for brunch. The kids were excited to see their cousin and then had the extra surprise of all 3 of Rita's grand daughters visiting so Ariel was in 'girl heaven'.

We had a yummy breakfast, I brought my favorite overnight cinnamon buns... there were no survivors, haha.

Following that we did our gifts, this year only buying for the kids. Ariel was so excited about her new doll bunk bed. Something I know will be passed down to her kids. I had gotten her to bring along her doll that morning, knowing she would want to try it out. She also got a leap pad, which was also the big hit of the morning. Most of the kids were taking turns on it, and I must say its worth the hype it was getting. Ariel was taking photos, video and such on it, as well as lots of fun learning games - big thumbs up!

Xander got some fun goodies too, including the roundhouse for his Thomas train set. He also got a really cool wooden puzzle set of Cars and a super cozy blanket that I must say I have somewhat stolen briefly, hehe.

Both kids got some money from Uncle, Auntie and cousin H, and Ariel used hers for apps for the leap pad and Xander got a Bertie Bus and Sir Top'm Hat car for his Thomas set. We also got some fun money from 2 wins on our scratch cards from Penny and Bill.

We stuck around most of the day at Dad and Rita's until the kids were ready to crash and we came home. The next day we had Christmas eve service at church, and Xander was NUTS! I don't know if it was the excitement or change in routine but at church he just wasn't happy. Ariel enjoyed the service, especially seeing her old preschool teacher dance. She however was starving since we do appetizers following the service and she refused to eat when we did earlier that afternoon, doh!

We came home and quickly got the food into the oven as Ken got them in their jammies and on the couch for our evening Christmas feature of 'Christmas Eve on Sesame Street'. I never get tired of it, hee. They loved it...

Then they got to open one small gift, which was a new book, The Berenstain Bears - The Joy of Giving. It was a new one and if you haven't seen the new line of books they are all faith based ones, so the bears are in the Church Christmas play, pretty cool actually.

Once the kids were in bed, Ken and I had to finish wrapping gifts and laying out the stockings. I love doing stockings, they were always my favorite thing when I was little and I try hard to live up to the wonderful ones my mom did for us. They were always bursting with goodies and I found some fun stuff for the kids.

Everything ready under the glow of the tree, yay!

It was midnight by the time we were in bed and morning came early with Xander getting up to snuggle with us at 6am. He was good and quiet but we finally asked him if he might like a present and he got all giddy. So we woke Ariel up and got the computer ready for a skype chat with Grammy and then poof, the power goes out. Uh.... crud. Thankfully it was brief, unlike our Thankgiving power outage, haha. We got back on schedule as the kids were eager to run downstairs.

We all did our stockings and then did our gifts from Grammy and the uncles. We got a family ipad! Very cool, and it even has our names on the back. Plus Grammy loaded it with lots of apps for us all, so the kids were every excited. We are now scheduled for wifi hook up next week. Haha.

The kids then did the gifts from us. Ariel got the much wanted friend for Julie. Her name is Kanani, she is from Hawaii and she is gorgeous! Ariel also got several of her accessories and was in American Girl heaven.

Xander opened his big gift, a drum set! Yes we are crazy, lol. He loves it and was eager to drum up a storm. The boy has music in him, so cute!

We finished our main gifts and headed to church for a short service. Ken had promised to help out since Pastor Dan and Amy had to catch a ferry and leave early. About 40 people showed up and it was a nice reflective morning. Afterwards we came home and Skyped this time with Ken's Dad and the kids did gifts with him. Lots of fun goodies of games and Thomas toys.

The kids then played the morning away with their new toys. Ariel's dolls got acquainted and went on an adventure.

Xander was in McQueen heaven...

... and Thomas heaven too.

The weird part of the day was we were alone the rest of the day. It was strange not to be heading anywhere to have dinner with family. Of course I cooked turkey and the fixings but it still was different. The day finally ended and we went to bed. It had been a wonderful Christmas. Xander was so much fun this year, opening and yelling out 'yahoo' when he would see his gift. Ariel was a real gem, really loving her treasures and playing with everything. One of her favorite gifts was a bath robe with cupcakes. Something she asked for a long time ago after seeing us use them. She is eager to use it after baths and in the morning, its very cute!

We are thankful this year for so much. Its hard to believe that 2011 is ending soon, but this will be one of those Christmas years I will remember for years to come. I love my family, my life and all the daily blessings.

Merry Christmas everyone, love from Ken, Jay, Ariel and Xander!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Program

We had our Christmas Concert at church, and I am happy to say it went off without a hitch, haha, a tad stressful in rehearsal but hey they say that means a good performance right?

I was in such 'director' mode that I forgot my camera, doh, but Ken thankfully had the flip camera to film. He taped the whole production into one movie and I couldn't find our proper shrinking program to get the size of the file down properly so its really bad quality, but once Ken goes back to work we can get it fixed, haha. Oh well.

That morning I finally got to see the dance Kara and the girls did for the first time and I was such a proud Mommy. I picked one of my favorite songs growing up, one I thought might hit a chord with those in the audience too. So enjoy....

I can't describe the feeling in our church following the performance. It was like a joy that hasn't been around in ages. So many have been hurting in this time of transition but sometimes it just takes a child to really focus one back to the true meaning of the season... and to what is important in general. I am so thankful for the team of people who helped out and said YES when I asked. It meant so much to me and I am proud of the kids for stepping up and doing such an amazing job.

One of my own personal moments was during the rehearsal and the kids were practicing the singing and Xander who was with Ken watching yelled 'I SING' and ran up and stood proudly beside Ariel, hugging her. He didn't know the words but he wanted to be there too, and I look forward to the day he is!

Lord, thank you for our children, thank you for our friends who are really part of our family... thank you for the little moments that make this world so wonderful... and I pray for our church to move forward... its time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hello Vacation!!!

Um... well maybe for the rest of them, I still have orders over the next 2 weeks... so much for time off, haha. I couldn't turn them down, really fun cake designs and good money for them. I just finished a Gucci purse tonight, will take some pictures of it tomorrow but I am really happy with it, looks like a purse, and who doesn't love a pretty bag... especially when its cake.

Ariel had a fun day at school, and was really sad when she came home. She was in a real funk because it would be 2 weeks until she could go back. So we did our toes tonight with Muppet nail polish, Ariel chose 'Wocka Wocka'. She was wanting to cuddle, and I loved it.

Before school Ariel got a special gift from one of the boys in her class. His mom had talked to me prior saying her son was making her a gift. He had picked out pink polar fleece and made her a scarf. It was so cute and she loved it. I wasn't sure what was cuter, seeing his little face light up when she liked it or his brother giggling that he was giving a gift to a girl. Ariel told me he is just a friend... I think I told my mom the same thing about Ken... haha, ack! Far too soon for boys to come calling, but he is a sweetie so I will let it slide. Haha.

Ariel and I made treats for her classmates last night, using our handy dandy chocolate mold. They turned out super cute and look like we did a lot of work, nope! She loved getting to hand them out at the end of the day, big grin on her face.

Last Sunday afternoon Ariel and I went and took part at the charity pageant. We had adopted 2 families to do food and toy hampers for so it was great for the girls to have fun and give back. They had a photographer on site for the event and Ariel got a few shots done that we can use for other pageants. We always have so much fun meeting new girls and the holiday theme was fun and festive.

Ariel got Best Dressed and a mini princess. She loved watching some of the girls do dances for the talent part, so she is busy practicing so she can do a dance at the next one. She never fails to amaze me.

This week I have been busy getting things together for the kids church program. I am ready for it to be over, haha, lots of stress and trying not to forget anything and getting people organized. I really felt called to do this, stressful and all, because I felt it was critical in our church's healing process. Just because we are in transition doesn't mean we let things go. I really hope it brings joy to everyone one, I think its going to be great... once it comes together, haha.

The past few nights and Xander transitioning to his new bed have been pretty good. A few nights he slept solid till morning, sometimes up early and coming to snuggle with us until morning and one night when he was up every 20 minutes with night terrors. Ugh. All in all, he loves his bed, talks about it to people and spends time in it during the day reading.

Speaking of Xander, the little man is really catching on to colors, numbers etc. This video is from a few weeks ago, finally got around to uploading it, but it gives you a taste of his budding skills. I just love him to pieces... my little man!

Ok, time to get to bed... look for some fun updates during the break with our family fun time! Yay!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One more week!

Wow, one more week and Ariel's off school and Ken is off work for 2 weeks of vacation bliss. Its been really, REALLY crazy here. I have been doing orders left and right, finishing photo editing for people to have their photos for Christmas gifts and some last minute poster designing for Christmas tourism book I did (which I got a copy of last week, eek!) I have been falling into bed dead tired nightly.

How bad is it when my Dad asks, when are you going to up date your blog? Hmmm, I guess its been too long. Too busy, too blah! Meh! Ok, what has happened lately? Besides work, the kids have been enjoying the Christmas fun. Xander got to experience his first chocolate advent calendar, 2 thumbs up... and a slight annoyance that he hasn't figured out that he only gets one a day. Haha.

We all enjoyed the local tree lighting ceremony, which included the tree being lit on the first try this year, haha. Ariel sat with a friend from school, which is one of those fun things about having kids in school, hanging in the community with new pals.

Ariel's school had a Santa Breakfast event one morning and it was early enough for Daddy to join us before going to work, and Grandpa came along too. Yummy pancakes and and seeing Santa... who Ariel informed me isn't the real Santa... because he is at the mall. Haha.

Some Christmas art from school.

We also experienced watching our daughter in her first Christmas concert at school. Something I was praying would happen. If you are local you know how there is a 'job action' with teachers and so the fact our school was one of the few that actually went ahead with it, well, it really meant a lot. Ariel was so so SO excited. She was giddy and her little friends were oh so cute.

Since I attended the dress rehearsal I knew where we should sit to see her well and we could even her her sing that night! Daddy was pretty proud, as was Mommy. A clip from the big finale with all the kids.
The concert was a Pirates Christmas, which was incredibly cute! The Kindergarten classes sang traditional songs that they tied into the story. Ariel's class did Jingle Bells, complete with bells.

We still have our church concert next weekend, and since I am helping organize it I hope it comes together, ack!

Our car turned into a reindeer. Much to Ariel's insistence, haha. Last year were really got a kick out of them and then this year when they started to apprear all over town Ariel started asking. We saw the kits at the grocery store and I passed on it since we were in a rush and they didn't have a price listed. I went back to get eggs the next day and checked and got a pair as they were under $10. That day when I picked her up from school, well, needless to say she was thrilled and screeched when seeing them.

This past week was viewing sessions at Ariel's dance studio. It was fun to see Ariel's jazz class, since that was new for us this year. Got a small snippet of what they are preparing for the recital in June. A few days later I got to take in the ballet class and of course she is just in heaven. Don't they look cute in their blue outfits, hee.

Here is a little peak at the dance stuff they shared in both classes.

After ballet class we walked to the cookie store with friend Sarah and her mom like we always do. We walked by the Thrift store and saw a toddler car bed sitting outside. Upon further inspection its in pretty good condition, and only $12! I decided to go for it, and our wonderful friends with us used their van to drive it back to our place. Xander was asleep at the time and so I took down the crib/toddler bed and put the car bed in his room. We had to move the bookshelf and took the rocking chair to our room to make it work, but it looks super cute!

Ariel was so excited for Xander to see it and they tried it out together. Hoping this helps with him staying in his own bed better. So far so good!

This coming week I need to do our Christmas cards, sew our pjs and start wrapping stuff up. All fun stuff but the hours are fleeting it seems. Looking forward to some family time... ahhh.
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