Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Hannah has been excited for Christmas for days. And on Christmas Eve day, it no longer could stay pent up, her and Rachel were all over each other like nobody's business and it literally drove me nuts all day long. LOL. It's nothing that could be helped as Hannah knew of the festivities that would follow after Christmas Eve church services.

Our church had no Children's Ministry for Christmas Eve, so that meant the girls had to sit in the service with me. They both did pretty good. But once the service was over, we hightailed it over to my Grandmother's house and joined the festivities already in progress. The display of gifts sitting beneath the tree was overwhelming and exciting for young children. Hannah was especially excited when she opened up presents to discover that everything she got, were things that had been on her list! We left my Grandma's relatively early for it being Christmas Eve, but had good conversation on the way home about the evening and what it was that Hannah was hoping to find beneath the Christmas tree for her the next morning. What a huge relief it was to us when the top two things she listed as wanting the most, were things we indeed had bought!!!

Christmas morning found Hannah in our bed shortly after 6:00. She says she's been laying awake in her room since 4 something, but I have a feeling she woke up, looked at her clock and fell back asleep, all the while thinking she was awake all that time. We snuggled for a while and finally just after 7:00, we let Hannah wake up Rachel, and with that, our Christmas Day had officially begun!

After Rachel got her "big" present, we opened stockings in the living room. Hannah got lots of goodies in her stocking. This hat was one of them, which she loves!Hannah needed to wait to open her 'big' present until Uncle Bart joined us later in the morning. So until then, she opened the other presents from us, opened up mailed from our out of state family, and opened up her present from Rachel as well. For years, getting Rachel a present from her, and vice versa has been of big importance. Last week, when the girls and Steven were doing Christmas shopping for me, they each saw this stuffed Bolt dog at the Disney Store. Rachel wanted one. So Hannah decided that is what she wanted to get Rachel. Steven told me Hannah also had expressed a desire for a Bolt dog too. So last Friday, when Hannah was at a Ballet Recital, we quick ran to the mall and much to the surprise of both girls, they gave each other a Bolt dog for Christmas!!! They were both so excited!Soon after our time as a family, the festivities really kicked into gear when the rest of our family arrived. We didn't make Hannah wait any longer for her present and we let her open it. It was an American Girl Doll! Long story short, last Christmas, she kept telling us she wanted one, but would never give a straight answer to if she wanted one that looked like her or one of the historical ones. So we didn't get her one. Now for months, she's been sure to tell us she wanted one that looked like her! She also had some sort of a deal going with Uncle Bart and she kept it a secret, which was part of the deal, and he kept his part of the deal and helped pay for the doll! She was so excited!! And is already bugging us as to when we can go to the American Girl Doll store in Los Angeles. The rest of our Christmas day, the girls spent playing in their bedrooms with McKenzie and Haylee, their cousins, followed by dinner, and then more playing, and then in the early evening, our friends, Keith and Amy and two of their kids joined us. All the kids loved playing together and had a really great time. Amazingly, Hannah managed to stay awake all the way up until we walked our last guests out just minutes before midnight!!! But it wasn't five minutes in bed and she was out!! It was a great CHristmas!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who follows Hannah and her happenings!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Day at Gramie's!

The weather that we experienced this last week here in Southern California was enjoyable, for some of us. We got a lot of much needed rain, and the local mountains got a lot of much needed snow! Just in time for Christmas vacation! Gramie's house even got snow! Enough snow that it's stuck around for a few days, which is very unusual for living in the high desert. In fact, Gramie hasn't left her house in three days and it wasn't until this morning that her neighbor so kindly shoveled half her driveway so she could get out!

The drive up Cajon Pass was beautiful! Snow atop the low laying mountains and then as we got into the higher elevations, snow covered everything! We stopped at our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch with Gramie and Grandpa. The girls were chomping at the bit to get to Gramie's house to play.

Outside our favorite Mexican place.

We made our way back to Gramie's house and bundled up and gloved up and headed outside for fun in the great powdery substance that blanketed Gramie's entire yard. Hannah LOVED playing in the snow! Absolutely loved it! We made a big snowman and then started on a second and finished out time outside with a snowball fight, Hannah's idea of course. We must have spent over an hour outside playing in the snow, making sure there wasn't any smooth snow patches left. LOL. Eventually the fun came to an end and it was time to go inside and change into dry clothes and warm up by the fire. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, especially so close to Christmas! That's about as "White Christmas" as we'll see!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking at Christmas Lights

This evening, after dinner, we needed to pick up my desktop computer that has been in the repair shop. We were already half way to the a neighborhood in Rancho Cucamonga known for their breathtaking Christmas light displays. We're talking half a million dollar homes covered in lights, several streets, that draws probably thousands and thousands of people the month of December.

We got to the neighborhood about 7:00 and it wasn't too bad. Normally, we park a couple blocks away and bundle up and walk. But it's been extremely cold the last few days here in Southern California, and since the crowds weren't too bad for a weeknight, we got in line and went through the neighborhood in the comfort of our car. We had the windows rolled down so we could hear the music and commotion of the displays, but we had the heat on our feet, and the girls and I even had blankets on our laps. It's been a few years since we've made our way to see these lights. The last time was when both the girls in the double stroller, needless to say, Rachel didn't remember the lights and was very much excited by it all, which made it fun for us too. This house was deemed our favorite for this year (at least mine anyways), it wasn't decorated like this the last time we were here. But the backdrop is Cinderella's castle at Walk Disney World. And throughout the rest of the front yard there were lifesize mannequins of Disney Princesses with their Prince. There was a Cinderella carriage, pulled by fake horses, there was Alladdin and Jasmine on a carpet ride, Belle and the Beast, there was Captain Hook and Peter Pan dueling it out hanging from the second story eaves, Tinkerbell flying across the yard, and a few other Princesses. All the mannequins were covered in plastic (because of all our rain, I'm sure) so we didn't get the while magical feel, but it was an awesome display for this Disney family, to say the least!Viewing the lights from the car was really nice. LOL. We stayed a lot warmer than if we'd been walking, and inevitably, Rachel would have needed to be carried at some point, it was definitely a fun way to view the lights this year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Belt Ceremony

This evening was Hannah's belt ceremony. She's officially a Brown Belt now and after a successful tournament, she says she's continuing on for at least another quarter.

A Hannah Funny

Whether it's birthday presents or Christmas presents, Hannah knows that writing 'Thank You' notes is always a must. With Christmas next week, she knows she's bound to get some presents. This morning she said something really funny, and smart...

She said she should get a head start on her thank you notes now by simply addressing her notes with "Dear _______" and then fill in what she is thankful for when she receives the gift on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

Pretty clever thinking if you ask me!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Karate Tournament

Hannah's karate quarter came to an end last week. She had a belt test and she'll move up to a Brown belt this next week at her belt ceremony. But the ending of a quarter means, a karate tournament. Hannah's tournament was held at a totally different location this time, and between the new, farther location, and it being the busy holiday season, there was a lot smaller turnout than usual.

This tournament was a lot less stressful for some reason. I think having half the amount of kids participating helped, and we were done with both competitions, and a black belt demonstration, all within 3 hours, a far cry from previous tournaments! We were thankful to say the least.

Hannah hasn't practiced at all this last week leading up to today. And has been pretty sporadic with her practicing all quarter long. She didn't want to go today, but that's the attitude every tournament. We kept her cheering section to just us and I'm not sure, but that might have helped with her anxieties, etc.

First competition was Forms. Our little section of parents had it figured as to how the five kids had placed, but we had it all wrong. And much to our excitement, Hannah placed 3rd for her Form!!! Next competition was sparring. Because of her belt color and age, there ended up being only four girls competing, which translates to everyone will place, somehow. LOL. But again, Hannah did well, and won her sparring match, landing her in 3rd place again!!!This is the first time in all the tournaments she has participated in that she has placed in both her competitions. She is so excited this evening and very proud of her enormous trophies. We too are very excited and proud of well she did today! Monday night, she will move up in her belt color, to a Brown belt!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting Older

Last school year, our mornings were awful. It would take forever to get Hannah out of bed. And even longer to convince her she had to get dressed. Breakfast wasn't a pretty picture either. She wouldn't like the two options offered, she'd take forever to eat, she'd fuss and whine.

Fast forward to our current school year....

What a difference. The difference it like night and day. She gets up relatively really easy. She is agreeable to the breakfast options and the morning as a whole goes so much more smoothly, there's no fighting, no tears, no terrible way of starting off the day.

Occasionally there is a morning that has a rough start or takes longer just a little longer to get out of bed, but our mornings are nothing like they were. It's such a relief, such a blessing, such a sign that she's growing up!

Friday, December 05, 2008

We Went To Disneyland...

...this afternoon after school. We met up with long time friends Carolyn and her two kids, Katie and Matthew. When Hannah and Katie were babies (they are 3 months apart), Carolyn and I would pack the diaper bags and strollers and spend hours on end at Disneyland together, back in the good old days of practically being the only ones walking down Main Street. And now, here we are, our daughters both 8 years old and we each have had a second child, who are 6 months apart. Our goal for our time at the Merriest Place on Earth was to take in all the Christmas decorations and lights and magic of the season. It's a good thing we weren't too set on getting rides, because it was extremely crowded, as it was the last day for a lower level of annual passholders before they were blocked out for the remainder of the holiday season. We tried to get on Small World, but the line was way too long. We tried to view the parade, but there was absolutely no where to sit or stand that gave all four kids a great viewing. So we strolled about and spent some time playing in Toontown. We decided to stake out a spot on Main Street to watch the fireworks. We waited for well over an hour and as always we were not disappointed when it comes to Disney and fireworks. Following the holiday fireworks, it snows at Disneyland, and the girls had fun trying to catch the 'snow'.Anytime you plan to stay and watch the fireworks, it's a given that following the fireworks, there is a mass exodus of people down Main Street. And being it was so crowded, it was crazy packed! We finally made our way out to the trams and decided to just walk the half mile to the parking structure, the wait for the trams was going to be a long one, and both Rachel and Matthew were sound asleep in their strollers and we'd have to wake them to take them out of their strollers before boarding the tram, so we walked.

It was a crisp and cool night, and it was fun to bundle up and enjoy the season with longtime friends.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking Like Christmas

Over the long holiday weekend, slowly, but surely, our house transformed from Fall decor to that of a winter wonderland. LOL. Our tree is up, the stockings are hung, every table top is decked out, and we are ready!

This was the second year where I stepped back and let the girls put the ornaments on the tree. They did such a great job, and only a couple of spots needed to have some thinning and relocating to areas that were more sparse. Hannah is older and better understands how far away Christmas really is. But who doesn't like tearing off a paper ring from a paper chain?!? Seeing how today is December 1st, the girls made a paper chain today and we hung it in the hallway where it's a constant reminder of how many days until Christmas!