Christmas Memory Book

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Christmas is such a special holiday that I wanted to document all of our Christmases in one book so that in the future we can look back at all our special holiday memories over the years in one book.  I am not a person who enjoys scrapbooking, so I was interested in finding a pre-made book where I can just pop in our photos and handwrite some special notes.  There are not many options out there so I bought the one that had excellent reviews and seemed like it was going to be perfect.  The book was called Christmas Memories by Lynn Anderson Peterson.  When I received it I knew right away that it was not going to work for me because one of size, it could not accommodate a 5 x 7 Christmas card horizontally.  One of the things I was excited about was to be able to keep one of each  of  our cards each year in the book.  Sadly I had to return the book and I was back and trying to figure out what to do.

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I ended up deciding to buy my own album and making my own pages.  I try to keep it at just about 4 pages for each Christmas.  I start each year with our Christmas Card and I type up a very brief paragraph stating how old Elin was at Christmas, what special things we did that year, and then a few of Elin’s special presents.  Then I put pictures of our Santa visits,  other holiday activities, and then pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I keep it pretty simple and just enough to capture the highlights.  The idea will be that many years from now we can look back and see everything we did in previous years, how the Christmas tree and decor has changed over the years, and to document how we celebrated the holiday.  I think many years from now it will be so much fun to keep the book out at Christmas and have one place where all our Christmas pictures and memories are documented.

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Two More Santa Visits

 

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Last week we went to the mall to see Santa. We choose an evening during the week to avoid the crowds but ended up waiting over an hour to see Santa! Elin was in good spirits and so excited the whole wait. She even caught Santa’s eye a few times and was waving at him. Finally it was our turn and she ran to him and gave him a big hug. When he asked her what she wanted for Christmas she told him presents and surprises again. I am so glad the photographer caught a good smile. I’m so glad she loves Santa. It’s so cute to see her face light up when she sees anything with his face on it.

Here is a cute shot of her patiently waiting her turn and watching other kids see Santa.

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Then because seeing Santa for a second time wasn’t enough, we saw him again at a Gymboree Christmas party.

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She enjoyed giving him hugs and she was thrilled to get a little candy cane striped rubber ducky from him.

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Afterwards, she enjoyed playing in the play gym and making an ornament. The ornament was such a  cute idea!  They were plastic balls that the we filled with glitter snow and then the kids got to pick out christmasy foam pieces to put in it. I liked that they were plastic and easy to make. I might have to look for similar ones of these to make with her in the future.

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Jolly Days at the Children’s Musem

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This past weekend we visited our local children’s museum to check out the jolly days fun and of course Santa! Since it was the weekend the museum was bustling and crowded even though we arrived when it first opened.

We decided to first take Elin to see Santa.  The line was long but it moved along fairly quickly. Before we knew it, she was just a few kids from the start of the line. At this point, Elin had a good view of Santa and she was excited she could hardly stand it. The museum photographer was talking to the next child in line and told them it was their turn, but Elin misunderstood and thought it was her turn. She went underneath the rope and had the biggest grin on her face as she started trotting towards Santa. I quickly grabbed her and had to tell her it wasn’t quite her turn, but she laid flat out on the floor and just wailed! It was the saddest thing! Here she was so excited to see him and now when it was her turn to go up there she had  a tear stained face and was still a little shaken from the incident. It  didn’t take long her her to recover and she quickly made friends with Santa and did not want to leave his side.

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She got up from his lap but then quickly ran around to his side and jumped up on the couch with him. She was checking out the fur on his suit.

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We finally had to drag her away since there a huge line and we had already taken up more time than most.  I asked her what she asked Santa for and she said, “Presents and Surprises.”  That should cover it!

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Then we moved on to  play with a snow castle and some other fun little areas. One of Elin’s favorites was the reindeer area. She had the best time brushing the reindeer’s fur and feeding him reindeer food.

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She loved rubbing noses with the reindeer.

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Next up was a fun train landscape that also allowed you to operate a flying Santa with some buttons on the outside. She thought that was pretty cool.

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There was an adorable area with a huge stove and then all these baking items and play cookies to make Christmas cookies. That area was crowded but she enjoyed checking it out. The biggest challenge was keeping her from popping the pretend cookies in her mouth.

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There were some other attractions that had switches to light up different lights, a play area, and then a snowball fight area.

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The next big main attraction was the big slide. She went down it twice and seemed to love it. I think she would have gone down it more, but the line was fairly long.

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Here is a video of her while she was going down it.

She was also a huge fan of this snow globe! She loves snow globes and this was certainly the biggest one she has ever seen. The kids could operate the snow with a button on the outside.

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She had such a great time and I hope to get her back there before the season is over. It was such a fun way to celebrate the season.

Elin’s Christmas Wish List 2014

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Vanity and Stool, Minnie Jump ‘n Style Pony Stable, Doll Crib, Doll High Chair, Minnie Mouse Dress-up Costume, Dress-up Puzzle, Toddler Elsa & Anna Dolls, Miss Lina’s Ballerinas Book

Elin is excited to and ready for Christmas.  I want her to have a fabulous Christmas, but at the same time I don’t want to go overboard on the presents.  She is very fortunate to have so many toys and honestly she doesn’t need anything thing right now.  We have too much as it is.  Alas, she is such a good girl and I want her to have a good Christmas.

Elin is in love with my vanity and loves to sit at it pretending to put on makeup and I thought she would love a small sized one just for her.  I figure she can use this for many years to come and think she is really going to enjoy this.

She loves all things Minnie so the I thought the pony stable would give her countless hours of fun.

She is loving playing with her dolls more and more each day.  I love the look of the white wooden crib and high chair and they are at very affordable pricing, especially since she can still be rough with certain items.

She loves dressing up, so I got her a few different dress up outfits including this adorable Minnie dress-up outfit.

Puzzles are always a hit and this dress-up themed puzzle looked perfect for her right now.

Ana and Elsa toddler dolls need no explanation.  Every toddler girl wants this, right?

Books, books, and more books.  Elin LOVES books and I came across some adorable ballerina books that I think she will love.  The stories look cute and the illustrations were beautiful.

I think she will love all her presents!  I can’t wait to see her face as she opens everything.

Thanksgiving 2014

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Elin was so ready for this Thanksgiving.  She had been reading many books, watched Thanksgiving themed shows, and had been working on themed crafts.  It was so awesome for her finally start understand holidays and all the little things that encompass holidays. I don’t know if how much she took in, but I tried to remind her of all the things that she should be thankful for. It’s never too early to learn about gratitude.

This year she got to sit with her cousins.  I won’t say she ate much on her own but she did have a ball coloring her turkey placemat!

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Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s on to the best time of the year!  We already have our tree up and most of all the decor placed around the house.  I’m looking forward to Santa visits, the children’s museum, christmas crafts and starting to teach Elin more about the reason for the season. So far she is well aware of Santa and that he brings presents. I can’t believe we only have about 3 short weeks to fit all the festivities in!

I have to share this adorable picture of Elin dancing around in her newest tutu. I just love the look on her little face! Now if only she will smile this good when we have Christmas cards taken…. Of course when there is a photographer involved we rarely get any of her natural smiles.

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2.5 Years Old

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Elin just turned 2.5 years old last Sunday!  Before we know it she will be 3 years old. Somehow the 2s are flying faster than the 1s!  She is such a happy and smart little girl.  She loves to sing and dance.  When she gets in the car she immediately asks for music and she loves to sing along to the radio.  Her absolute favorite song right now is Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” but she shockingly knows the lyrics to many songs on the radio.

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She also loves to watch music videos and she taught herself to do the splits from watching Sia’s Chandelier.

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She repeats and says everything!  She has recently learned my first name and thinks it’s hilarious to say that sometimes. She also loves to repeat all the names of her family.  Her favorite phrases are , “I did it!!”, “What are you talking about?”, “Oh my goodness!” and, “Would you look at that?”

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She is enamored with all things Christmas and loves all the decorations everywhere.  This is the first year she has a concept of Santa and I’m looking forward to her visiting him.  Her favorite holiday book is “Llama Llama Holiday Drama”.

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She loves dressing up and wearing jewelry, playing with her kitchen, crafting and reading books.  She also loves any time outdoors but sadly the weather has not been great for going outside.

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I am very proud of her for trying to be a good girl most of the time.  She is pretty good at listening to directions and minding what she is told. Just being near her brings us so much joy!

 

 

 

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Christmas is here

We are already completely in Christmas mode.  Right after Halloween my mind completely skips over Thanksgiving and is focused on all things Christmas related.  I always liked to put our Christmas tree up a week before Thanksgiving but now we have inched up even earlier to accommodate Christmas card photos.

We have never had to worry about Elin getting into the tree but this year may be different.  She is obsessed with the Christmas tree and wants to look at it all the time.  She was so excited this past weekend when she woke up from her nap and and found all the boxes of our Christmas decor and the big tree box.

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She even asked to take selfies in front of the tree and she was eager to Facetime with her Nana and Papa to show them the Christmas tree.

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The first thing she does when she goes downstairs now is run up to the tree and ooh and ahh over all the ornaments.   We have a Christmas tree that we put up in her room but I am actually considering not putting it up this year because I am afraid she will not sleep with something that exciting in her room.  It might have to get bumped to the playroom.

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Her other Christmas excitement is her new Little People Christmas North Pole House.  She has the Little People Nativity as well but that is yet to be unpacked.

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I found this house in the summer and I am so glad I picked it up! She absolutely loves playing with it.  The Christmas tree lights up and plays music as well as some other things in the house.

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There is still a lot of Christmas decor to put up but it’s always exciting to get the tree up first!

A Very Cold Halloween

Elin was pretty pumped for Halloween this year and sadly the weather was so bad that she only got to go to a few houses this year to trick-or-treat. It was raining and cold!  It even snowed and sleeted a little.  We bundled Elin up and added many layers to her costume just let her go to a few houses on our street and to drive over to her Nana and Papa’s.  Despite the bad weather she loved every minute of trick-or -treating and also loved to answer and the door and see other kids come up to the house in their costumes.  We didn’t have near the amount of kids we usually do due to the weather which was sad.

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I love this picture of her answering the door to some trick-or-treaters.   We had all her pumpkins outside but hauled in all the small ones for her play with.

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We are hopping next year’s weather will be much better!

Pumpkins and Party Fits

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Last weekend we went to another pumpkin patch because Elin loves them and talks about them all the time.  We went on a Friday evening which worked out well because the weather was beautiful and there was not much of a huge crowd.  Elin was on a mission for a square pumpkin like Spookley the square pumpkin but alas he was nowhere to be found.  So she settled on a many others instead.

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We have more pumpkins than we know what to with.

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This particular orchard and patch was very pretty and picturesque.  There was a “cool bus” to pose with and Elin was excited to pose with her Papa.

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Then on Saturday there was a Halloween party at Gymboree.  Elin was so excited and had been talking about it but let me tell you—when we got to party she threw a huge fit and was not in a party mood.  Her costume has a big tutu so I changed her in the back of the car when we got there and she was not a fan of that.  I think that is what set her over the edge.  When we got inside, she did not want to take her shoes off so they let her keep them on and she spent the first party of  the party pouting and being anti-social.  Isn’t that the saddest little puppy on the floor?

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She perked up when she started noticing all the decorations and the non-spooky haunted house.

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She spent a good party of the party in the haunted house with her pal Kelsey and they were very taken with this little ghost that made ghostly noise.  They would get in there and just shriek with happiness.

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I thought the wall of felt monsters was rather creative.  They had a huge piece of blue felt up and then dozens of felt parts and pieces to make your own monsters.  Elin seemed to really enjoy that as well.

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Then is was time for a snack and a monster craft.  Elin was excited to see pumpkin pretzels.  She currently loves pretzels!

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She did a great job on her craft and we left a littler happier than we came.

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Doggie Arrival Day Party

Every year we celebrate the day our dogs came to live with us since we don’t officially know their birthdays.  Every year they get a treat and gifts and doted on for being fabulous.  This year I thought it would be fun for Elin to get involved and excited for their arrival day party.  We started talking about their arrival day and what that means.  We invited over Nana, Papa and their dog Daisy.

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The night before we made cupcakes for the humans. Elin enjoyed being a part of the process and pouring in ingredients.

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I found this cake mix at Target and thought it looked festive and interesting to try.

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I think they turned out pretty close to the picture.  Here are a few of our creations.

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These adorable mini ghost cupcakes were bought specifically at a dog barkery in town.

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On their arrival day we celebrated after we got home from work.  Elin got out her favorite party book to read to get into the spirit.

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The dogs got down to business and quickly devoured their cupcakes.

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Then it was time to try out our cupcakes. Elin donned her party hat and enjoyed the cupcakes we made. She was a huge fan of the sprinkles.

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I also found these adorable party hats for the dogs  at the pet barkery and luckily they were a perfect fit!

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Elin has a special bond with Fifi.  She loves to sit with her and pet her and Fifi is extra gentle with her.  I was so glad to capture this picture of them together.

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We finally coaxed Angel to get into the shot as well.

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We love our dogs to pieces and even thought it’s just silly and fun to celebrate their arrival day every year, I think it’s very important to celebrate them and what wonderful gifts they are.  They truly are such good dogs that are always good and sweet. They deserve this much and more every day of their lives.