December 26, 2009

Tour de Christmas...

We had a very nice, relaxing Christmas at home. It is on rare occasion that I get to say those words. They sure do have a nice ring to them!

Tyler and Little A had to come wake Mommy and Sassy up in the morning... not at all what I expected.

We started out by opening our homemade stockings mittens. Sassy's mitten was overflowing, and nearly as big as she was:

Ty helped Little A dig into her goodies:

Then, she took part in the digging, as well:

Santa brought both girls Tag reading systems: Sassy the original and Little A the junior, as well as several books each.

Little A got a tool bench:

Sassy got a slew of dress-up stuff... her favorite:

We are head-to-toe around here:

She now officially thinks she is a princess. She has used it as an excuse at least 7 times since Christmas morning. I can't clean my room, I'm a princess. I can't put my pajamas in the hamper, I'm a princess.

God help us all...

Tyler and I made Chicken Oscar with roasted asparagus, lump crab meat, and hollandaise sauce made from scratch a packet, fresh steamed broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, and Rhodes rolls. Dinner was delicious!

We watched The Hangover and 500 Days of Summer once the kids went to bed, and commiserated over the poor road conditions that thwarted out planned departure for IA and MN this morning.

After a busy day of errand running, doctor's visits, prescription picking upping, and packing, packing, packing... I think we are finally ready to hit the road in the morning. Praying for safe travels for our family... won't you join us?

See you all in 2010!

December 25, 2009

On the Eve of Christmas, Part II

We barely entered the door from dinner, and Sassy was practically tackling anyone in the way of her bedroom door, peddling furiously to get a pair of pajamas on like we told her we would do before we opened gifts.

It took a bit of coaxing, but we finally convinced her to come open this one gift (a new pair of pajamas, pre-washed and wrapped for this very occasion). I had to settle with the fact that she was opening her first gift if the evening in her panties.

Once she opened and tried on her new jammies, she was very excited! Doesn't she look cute in her new owl jammies?

Little A enjoyed wearing her new bird jammies, too. No matter that they were about a foot too long... she kept saying pitty, ooh, pitty... (pretty).

Next, Sassy handed out the gifts that she picked all on her own. I was just tickled by how much she enjoyed handing out her gifts and seeing every one's reactions... even before she opened any of her own gifts. I was really pleased with my decision to take her Christmas shopping- she definitely soaked up the entire concept of choosing gifts and keeping secrets and all that...

Sassy even readily handed over the gift she chose for Little A... and didn't even ask if she could play with it!

Quite the accomplishment...

Sassy concentrated hard on the task at hand. Pure determination opening those gifts, I tell you.

One of Sassy's favorites was her new dance bag, to hold her dance shoes and warm-up clothes. Never mind the fact I ordered said bag before our dance class disaster, which ultimately caused me to pull her from the class, and of which I have not had the emotional fortitude to blog about...

Oh, well. Rest assured that bag will get proper use once a dance studio within a reasonable distance has open enrollment again...

One of the things I was really excited about giving Little A was a sling for her baby . A while back, she got very interested in baby dolls. It was the cutest.thing.EVER. Now? Not so much. In fact, she practically clawed my eyes out when I tried to show her how the slings worked. Fail.

Oh, and get this... during the days leading up to Christmas, Tyler was on the hunt for a certain gift for me. He was searching high and low, making phone calls, etc. I said to him, "I swear to you, Tyler, if you buy me a Snuggie, I will never speak to you again. Like, ever."


I did get the camera lens and lens hood my little ♥ desired. ~XOXOXO~

Sassy was equally as thrilled to receive this adorable Briar.Claire beanie from Mom and Dad. This is what I like to call her tough guy look...

We were forced to take a break from gift opening so that Little A could go to bed. She's definitely a girl who knows what she wants, and when she wants to go to bed, she wants to go to bed.

Tyler and Sassy took the opportunity to whip up a batch of reindeer food:

Sassy even braved the wind and cold for reindeer food dispersal:

There was enough time for a brief session of dress-up, where Sassy modeled her new Tiana look with her matching princess Barbie. She was about in heaven, I swear...

Then, it was time for teeth-brushing, pierced ear cleaning, bed tucking, and telling of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We explained to Sassy that she had to stay tucked in her own bed so that Santa could visit while she was sleeping.

Wouldn't you know it, we didn't hear a peep out of her for the first time in for.ever.

Funny, how that works...

On the Eve of Christmas...

True to form, we stayed busy in the SPH! The night before, Sassy crept into our bed, not something that is outside ordinary. When we woke up Christmas Eve morning, Sassy announced, "I know what today is..."

"What's that?" I asked her.

"Christmas Evening."

"It's Christmas Eve, sweetie," I explained.

"Yep," she said. "Let's go look at the snow."

"Um, I don't know that it snowed last night, dear," I told her as I glanced out my bedroom window.

"It had to snow, mama. It's Christmas Evening, and it has to snow so that Santa can come," she explained.

So began a long conversation about how it doesn't have to snow for Santa to come, and some places get a lot of snow, and some places never get snow, but it is Christmas Eve just the same.

She was disappointed.

So, I couldn't even be angry when, just as predicted, the precipitation began to fall around 10:00 am. First, we got little ice balls the size of, say, nonpareils. (Snow? Sleet? Hail?) My Dad and I decided to take one last trip to the store to pick up some necessities in case the weather worsened.

And, nothing says Christmas Eve like a Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, so we had some of those, too!

Once we got home, Little A was ready for her nap and Sassy was raring to make treats for Santa. We had our minds set on making Santa moon cookies, what Tyler's family calls pecan sandies.

Then, earlier in the week, I received a holiday gift from one of my PAT families. They were so sweet and explained that they tried to choose something I could enjoy doing with my girls, and they gave us a Wilton cupcake stand. Sassy almost died when she saw it. In case you don't recall, she completely ♥'s all things cupcake. Remember, she even had a cupcake birthday party last year.

So, as soon as her little eyes grazed the brand new cupcake stand, cupcakes it was for dear Santa!

We made Holiday Funfetti cupcakes with Holiday frosting.

Mommy and Sassy began the project. This was no coincidence... normally I would have taken my rightful place behind the camera, and Daddy and Sassy would have been to work. But, we decided that Mommy should participate, and so it was.

Sassy was a GREAT helper:

She helped Daddy scoop and pour:

She even snuck a taste after Mom and Dad told her not to (we've been extra cautious since the cookie dough E. coli outbreak a few months back)... hopefully, Santa wasn't paying attention to her blatant disregard of the rules:

While the cupcakes were cooling, Sassy enjoyed some quiet time and Tyler, my Dad, and I watched Four Christmases in the basement. I found it to be enjoyable... I really like Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. Having said that, I am usually one to enjoy a cheesy Christmas movie. Whatever.

After quiet time, Tyler and Sassy frosted the cupcakes. The results were mouth-watering:

Sassy was proud:

Very proud:

And, just like that, we at the SPH were ready for Santa's arrival:

It is our family tradition to go out for a nice dinner every Christmas Eve. We had planned on heading up to a middle-of-the-road steakhouse in Wichita, but the outdoors were blustery, the roads piled with ice and snow, so we decided to stay closer to home.


There just happens to be a delicious higher-end Italian restaurant right in our little town called Luciano's. So, we decided to go there. And, we decided to get dressed up a little bit. This, of course, was the highlight of Sassy's evening...

Little A looked adorable, too, in her little red & green plaid dress and hair pretty:

By some sort of Christmas miracle, I managed to get a picture of both girls in front of the tree... looking at me!

Which was quite a surprise, since Little A kept busy being her ornery little self:

Once we arrived at Luciano's, we enjoyed delicious calamari and sauteed mozzarella to start. The girls and I shared a quattro formaggi salad in a parmesan crisp bowl, a formaggi cream pasta with asparagus, and cotoletta de maiale, the most delicious pork in a mushroom cream sauce. Oh. My. Word. It was good!

Sassy could barely sit still in her seat, she was so excited to get home and open gifts from Mom and Dad. She spent half of dinner in front of the window, amazed at the snowfall outside, and playing I-Spy for Santa and his reindeer in the night sky:

We tried to carry her to the car so that she wouldn't slip or get snow in her dress shoes, but all she wanted was for us to let her crunch her little feet in the new fallen snow. Just precious. She is my little snow princess, after all...

We enjoyed the short, quiet car ride home, filled with anticipation for what was to come...

To be continued...

December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve Morning...

Thought you all may enjoy a few pictures of the girls from earlier this week... ala Portrait Innovations.

Have a safe, joyful Christmas Eve!

December 22, 2009

Piered Ears...

For months now, Sassy has been begging us to let her get her ears pierced. I originally wanted to get them done when she was a baby, but Tyler was set on letting her make the decision. And, I was okay with that.

About a year ago, Sassy really started to pay attention to my earrings, asking me lots of questions about what they were, how I was able to wear them, and so on. She's ask me if she could have earrings, and my response was always Talk to your Daddy.

Soon after, Tyler proclaimed that she was not allowed to get her ears pierced until she was 13. At this point, our opinions were deeply divided. I was fine with waiting until she could make the decision herself, but I have never been one for arbitrary age limits on privileges. Maybe that's because I did not grow up in a household where you had to be a certain age to do things, but rather had to display certain characteristics or prove prudent responsibility.

A few months ago, we were at the mall, and Sassy and I walked into Claire's. She was fascinated by all the trinkets and jewelry, and her attention was soon drawn to the little chair in the corner of the store.

"What's that stool for, mama?" she asked.

"That is where you sit to get your ears pierced," I told her.

Her eyes lit up like shooting stars. "Can I get my ears piered, mama?"

I explained to her that Mommy and Daddy had to agree to this, and so it would have to wait for another day.

For whatever reason, this past Sunday, Sassy decided to lay it on thick. From the moment she woke up, she had it in her mind that she had to have piered ears.

All day long, she asked, reasoned, begged, and pleaded her case for earrings. For the first time, I sat down to explain to her that getting your ears pierced hurts. I explained that it feels like getting shots in your ears, for which I thought her opinion would quickly avert.

No such luck.

By some Christmas miracle sheer desperation for the begging to cease, Ty buckled. We made a few phone calls and agreed to take Sassy to Claire's the following day and let her see the equipment, talk about the process, and let her make a decision based on these facts.

So, I got my way... right?

Later, I began to doubt myself. Was she too young? Was she really making an educated decision? Is a 3.5 year-old capable of making an educated decision? Was it fair, as a parent, to allow her to choose to do something to herself that would cause her pain? Was she mature enough for the responsibility?

So, doing what any person would do at a crossroads, I turned to Facebook.

After consulting my ever-wise comrades, the responses began to pour in. So many thoughtful responses. I really wrapped myself around every one's comments. I completely appreciated every one's advice about waiting until she is old enough to care for them herself- that seemed very logical. On the other hand, letting her go for it was something that I felt pretty good about, too.

In the morning, we took the girls to get their pictures taken, and I was still undecided as to what we should do. During the car ride, I texted my cousin Kelli, one of my very best friends and a person whose opinion I have always been able to count on. Her advice resounded with me.

She shared that we should most definitely let Sassy get her ears piered. As she put it, Sassy is quite possibly the girliest girl on the planet. She loves dress-up and make-up and all things fancy. Of course she wants her ears piered. And, it will mean a lot to her to get to be grown up for the day and make this decision for herself.

So, that was it. My mind was made up. Sassy would get her ears piered.

We went to the mall. Sassy skipped the entire way inside. We entered the store and she climbed up into that stool on a mission. The anticipation was high:

We went over the procedure, filled out the paperwork, and got ready. I felt it necessary to explain to her, again, that this would hurt and burn a little bit, but then it would be over, and she would have beautiful pierced ears, just like Cinderella. She held onto the Claire's bear:

They marked her ears with that famous little purple pen, and then it was time:

Her whole little body shook. I think she was more frightened by the girls closing in on her than the actual pain. Either way, my heart broke a little. And, I felt a wee bit nauseous. God forbid I ever have to witness either of my children suffer. I don't think I am strong enough for that.

She was a tiny bit upset.

After a hug, a tear-wipe, and a glance in the mirror, she began to feel a little bit better.

I gave her another hug as we looked at her big girl pierced ears together.

"Was it all worth it, sweetie, or do you wish we would have not done it?" I asked her.

"It was worth it, mama," she replied.

So, Sassy has her ears piered. She's done a great job so far about letting me clean and rotate them. She loves to show them off, and refers to a multitude of princesses with whom she has joined the ranks in pierced ear-dom.

I have had a few pangs of nostalgia, as I look at her little ears that are no longer as they were when she was a sweet new one. I feel as though she has made her first real big-time decision, and a part of me wishes that she wasn't mature enough to have done that yet.

But, at the same time, I am so proud of the smart little girl that she is, that she has become.

I will say this, though... if this is the beginning of tough parenting decisions, I'm not sure what I signed on for! That was draining enough!