The everyday little things that make our life perfect.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nine Months

Little Livi-Lu turned nine months old this week!  She has grown a ton this month and thinks she is as big as her sister!  Her face is beginning to look more like a toddler than an infant although she still doesn't have any teeth.  Hannah was about the same age when she got her first tooth so I am not too concerned.

Within a few days of crawling, she decided that wasn't enough and started pulling up.  She is everywhere and into everything.  She loves to explore and hide under our kitchen table.  Olivia loves to chase after our robot vacuum, but isn't too thrilled when it bumps into her.  

Olivia has decided that she is much too busy to take naps during the day.  Most days, she'll only sleep for no more than an hour.  She is generally calm and easy going until she gets hungry or sleepy.  She is still very much a Mama's girl, but is doing much better at entertaining herself at home and not needing to be held all day.  Olivia is finally at an age where she and Hannah can entertain each other for awhile!

We are excited about her first Christmas next week!

This expression reminds me so much of her big sister!

More Christmas Fun

Christmas is less than a week a way!  This month has gone by so fast!  In some ways, I am ready for it to be here, and in other ways, I could use a few more weeks.  We have been having fun each day celebrating the season.  One day, Hannah took a list of items from our church's food pantry and went shopping for others.

Hannah has also asked multiple times when it is going to snow.  Unfortunately, living where we do that most likely isn't going to happen!  So, we had a snowball fight with giant campfire marshmallows!

Hannah also had her class Christmas party and program at school last week.  She did a great job at the performance.  Definitely a ham dancing and singing! She has come a long ways since she cried if she saw us from the stage.

Yesterday, we met some friends at the Gaylord Hotel to walk through the ICE! Exhibit.  It was a lot of fun and freezing!  The room is kept at 9 degrees.  Thankfully, the provide the big blue parkas since we aren't really prepared for that kind of weather!  

Hannah loved the exhibit since it was themed to the Madagascar movies and loved the big ice slides.  Olivia thought it was great, too!  She spent the entire time snuggled against my chest in her Ergo carrier with the parka wrapped around us both.  She was so cozy and warm that she took a nap!

We also purchased the pass for Hannah to go sledding down the snow hills.  The picture is a bit blurry since I was using my phone that day.  Hannah is on the end.  She sledded ten times, each time with a big grin on her face!

After ICE!, we headed over to Rainforest Cafe to eat with our friends.  Such a great day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kicking off the Christmas Season

Christmas is in full swing!  We put up our tree a few days after Thanksgiving and have been having fun ever since!  Hannah loves decorating the tree each year, placing the ornaments in the perfect spot.  Chet received the monorail set last year for Christmas and we couldn't wait to have it circle the tree this year!

As you would guess, our tree is mostly Disney ornaments.  Every year we pick one new ornament together on our Disney trip closest to Christmas.  Some years the ornament celebrates a big milestone like a new baby and other years, we just find one that we really like for the year.

Our elf, Buddy, is back!  We are taking a new approach this year.  Instead of Buddy reporting to Santa each night if Hannah is naughty or nice, Buddy is the one making bad choices.  Hannah has to help him learn to make good choices by being a good example and helping him clean up any messes he makes in the morning.  Santa will still deliver presents to her on Christmas morning, not because she has been good, but because he loves her.

We are taking this approach to help Hannah learn about grace and unconditional love.  It also helps enforce being good, not just to get presents, but because that is how Santa (and Jesus) would want her to act.

Buddy has already been in quite a bit of mischief with zip lining across the dining room, making a snack of all sugary treats, and climbing in all sorts of crazy places.

We started our Christmas Advent Calendar again.  Each day reveals an activity to do that day that has to do with Christmas.  Some days it is pure fun like building a gingerbread castle, painting a Christmas tree, or watching Christmas lights.  Other days, we are more service oriented like buying food for our church's food pantry, donating old toys, buying a new toy for Toys for Tots, etc.  We are definitely having a blast and it is only a week into December!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Love that Mickey and Minnie!

More pictures from our Walt Disney World trip!  There are so many that there will likely be many posts in the weeks to come!

We were blessed to be able to have Mickey and Minnie join us for a few minutes during our meeting time with the agency.  What made it even more special is that they just fell in love with Olivia!  Hannah was off riding Toy Story Midway Mania with her Uncle Bobby.  Between pictures with the agents, Mickey and Minnie just gushed, waved, and played peek-a-book with Olivia.  Once all of the agents were finished, we had a few minutes left of our reserved time.  I asked if they would be okay with me putting Olivia on the floor so she could take a picture with them.  They, very excitedly, said yes and plopped down on the floor with Olivia.  The next few minutes were so special and we loved every minute of it!  These are just a few pictures from that time:

Hannah ran back to join us after finishing her ride!

Minnie insisted that we get a family picture with them as well!

Thanks so much to Aunt Jennifer for taking pictures so I could enjoy those precious moments not behind the camera!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eight Months

Taking our monthly growth picture this month was not an easy task!  Between getting home from our trip, laundry, colds, and Thanksgiving, we had to find a time to squeeze it in before she turned nine months.  Of course, once the chalkboard and everything was set up, Olivia thought it was much more fun to sit until the camera was ready, and then take off towards the camera.  So we managed to get a couple pictures to mark this month and we'll try again next month!

Olivia is definitely crawling now.  She started crawling on our cruise and would go a few steps at a time.  She really took off last Monday, crawling fast and all the way across the room.  She loves to climb over any one who is sitting in the floor.

She is teething but none have pushed through just yet.  We started her on some table foods such as Cheerios and small pieces of bread.  She is still not too sure about them just yet and makes very funny faces!

Olivia has quite the personality and loves to make silly faces.  She has the sweetest grin, but will let you know (loudly!) when she is unhappy about something!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Disney's Castaway Cay

Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, is probably one of our favorite places in the world.  I think we would spend an entire week here if we could!  We decided to rent a family cabana for the day and enjoyed the peacefulness of the island.  We played in the sand, chilled in the hammock, enjoyed the island food, and just loved doing nothing for an entire day!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Hannah decided that she wanted to visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  The boutique is a mini-salon and spa for little girls (and boys, too).  There are two located in Walt Disney World, one in Disneyland, and now one on the Disney Fantasy.  

There are several packages to choose from.  Since this was Hannah's first time, we splurged and got the largest package.  It included the dress and shoes.  She chose to be First Mate Minnie, a dress only available on the ship.  The shoes are red glitter which made her VERY happy!  

Hannah also had her hair fixed, nails painted, and even a little bit of make-up.  Olivia spent the afternoon in the nursery, so this afternoon was all about Hannah.  She loved every minute of it!

The Reveal.  I just love her expression!

Longest Disney Trip Yet...

Twenty one days away from home.  Some of those days were driving days, but it is now our record for our longest Disney vacation yet.  Part of it was vacation and part of it was our annual meeting for Off to Neverland Travel.  Both parts were fantastic!

We started our trip off with a cruise on Disney Cruise Line's newest ship, the Disney Fantasy.  Seven days unplugged from the world and the agency.  No email, no phones... it was definitely a needed vacation.  So much of our time away is not really "away".  Our phones make it possible for us to travel the way that we do and still be connected to the agency and other obligations.  However, that blessing can also be a hinderance to much needed time away as family and from the stress of the world.  The cruise forces us to do just that!

We arrived in Orlando a night early to trick-or-treat at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party with two little Tinker Bell's.

It has become a tradition to eat with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo & Stitch at Disney's Polynesian Resort, the morning we head out on a cruise.

We always have a blast exploring the ship on the first day!

Olivia spent much of the trip in her Ergo Carrier, especially on the ship since we didn't take a stroller. I snapped this picture in the elevator mirror since it is a little difficult to take pictures of her when she is on my hip!

We spent a lot of time relaxing on our verandah.

And helped Mickey and Kermit solve mysteries on the ship with the Midship Detective Agency.  This is Pepe's (the King Prawn from the Muppets) room on the ship.

Sweet girls before dinner one night.

We also got to dress up for Halloween along with all of the characters!  
Both girls were Rapunzel on Halloween night.

Strategizing with Peter Pan on Pirate Night.

More pictures to come!