Letter to Elin 2015

 

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Dearest Elin,

It has been a joy and a blessing to watch you this past year. Looking back through pictures, it is amazing to me how much you have grown and changed. I am very much looking forward to all the new firsts and milestones coming up for you in 2015. Here is a peek at some of my predictions for you.

Sleep Transitioning: We have been so lucky that you have never tried to attempt to escape your crib and that you have never asked to go into a big girl bed at home despite sleeping in one at Nana’s house. You love your crib and we love that it keeps you safe in the night. Keeping you in a crib is still one small item that keeps you still a baby to us. However, I am sure at some point this year you will transition to a toddler bed.

Potty Training: I know that we have both be slacking in this department. You show a little interest in it but not all the time and then I am not the best about always remembering to make you sit on the potty. This year we will have to buckle down and work on this, especially because they will not allow you in preschool untrained and I know you will want to go to school.

Preschool: I can’t believe that I will be signing you up for preschool in a couple weeks and by mid-late year you will be officially attending preschool. Preschool is such a big step in your small little life. You will learn so many things there and meet so many different people. I’m sure you will enjoy it and that excites me for you but again it will be a little bittersweet because it means that you will grow up even quicker.

Gymboree: Gymboree has been such a huge part of your life. You go numerous times a week and have learned so much there. But, all good things come to and end and I think by the time the summer rolls around it will be time to let our membership go. By this time I think you will be ready to transition to some different activities.

I’m sure there are many more milestones and exciting things that will happen this upcoming year and I am so excited to watch you experience it all. And through it all I hope that you always remember that Mommy loves you.

Snowman Craft

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Do you want to build a snowman? If you ask Elin, she will always tell you an enthusiastic, “Yes!”  She loves all things snowman-related. Since we have no snow in sight, we will be making  our snowman from Hefty foam paper plates and construction paper.

We will be taking down all our Christmas decor this weekend and the house will be in need of some winter-themed decorations.

The Hefty website site offers cute winter craft ideas and that is where we got our tutorial. I purchased the Hefty Everyday foam plates for this craft.

I pre-cut out the snowman eyes, nose, and buttons since Elin is still too young to use scissors with any accuracy. For some educational fun, we did talk about the shapes and colors as we taped them to our plates.

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Then I punched holes in the snowman head and body to tie then together with ribbon. The blue bow is placed on top of that so you don’t see the ribbon. Elin was a bit over-zealous when pushing on the buttons, but these strong Hefty foam plates sprung right back into shape!

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I think he turned out pretty cute and I think the Hefty foam plates have a sparkly sheen and it looks like snow. I love that this is an easy craft that can be made with everyday materials for when we are stuck inside on a snow day. We are planning on making the glittery snowflakes next for extra festiveness.

Here are some other crafts and tips from the Hefty website–I’m going to keep these in mind for next year!:

Thank you to Hefty for sponsoring this post.

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

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I realize that I have not shared any of the pictures from Elin’s Christmas card photo shoot. This shoot was one of the best ones yet.  Usually Elin will clam up when the photographer comes over, therefore making it hard to get nice smiles and natural expressions.  However, this session Elin was into and did not act shy around our lovely photographer.

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I decided to take photos next to Elin’s Christmas tree in her room. We have special ornaments that also go on the tree, but had to take them off because she was enthralled by them and was taking them off the tree branches to get a better look at them. A lot of them are dated and have special significance, so I thought we should wait a year or two before we try to put those back out.

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First Christmas Baking Experience

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“This is the way we roll the dough, roll the dough, roll the dough....” This song and our unit on baking at Gymboree class was helpful because on Sunday Elin helped make Christmas sugar cookies for the first time.

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She has been exited to make cookies because they mention baking in several of Elin’s Christmas books and shows that she has been reading and watching. I knew she was definitely going to want to make snowmen and Christmas trees so I made sure to gather all the essentials for a morning marathon of baking and decorating.

This was my first time making this particular sugar cookie recipe so it was a first for both of us.

Elin’s favorite part was using the cookie cutters to cut the shapes.

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Then after waiting for the cookies to bake and cool it was finally time to decorate them. She had blast making just a couple and then she completely lost interest  and left me to finish them myself. Awesome.

Try not to be jealous of our artistic ability of cookie decorating…..

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Elin managed to pull herself away from playing to come and act as a taste tester and she enjoyed them. I’m going to have to work on my decorating skills for next year.

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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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