December 31, 2010

2010: A Recap

We rang in the new year with family & friends in Chicago! January brought a fresh start to the SPH, and in particular for Miss Sassy. She began a new preschool and a new dance class, both of which we adore today! Yeah for moves in the right direction! We experienced a crazy weather phenomenon here in KS called hoarfrost, and the girls enjoyed checking that out immensely. I began to plan a baby shower for Kelli!

February brought Tink's 18 month "birthday"! She also refined her singing skills, and practiced daily. Sassy took the hair-cut plunge and went a bit shorter. I flew to Chicago for a long weekend to help throw Kelli's baby shower. As soon as I returned to Kansas, it was time for a family road trip to Colorado Springs! Just gorgeous... we can't wait to go back!

Tyler and I began the month of March by attending an awesome concert at the new Intrust Bank Arena: Elton John & billy Joel! What a treat! I said hello to 28 and promptly contracted a terrible stomach virus. No fun! We did celebrate St. Patty's Day in style, and also enjoyed some beautiful KS weather with frequent trips to the park and the zoo!

April started off with a bang... TUCKER was welcomed into the world. Sassy & Tink immediately began to take their role as "cousin" very seriously. We spent a great Easter with family & friends. April brought a few low points- Tink injured her eye, and also underwent hearing & speech evaluations. My Mom fell ill with ischemic colitis on Easter Sunday, had major surgery, and was in and out of the hospital for a 2+ week span. Some of the high points included Sassy and I seeing Pinkalicious at the Crown Uptown, taking the girls to see Dinosaur Live at the new arena, and celebrating Sassy's 4th birthday a week early with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

May always starts out fabulously in the SPH, and this year was no different. We spent a wonderful day with Sassy celebrating her four years of life, and she began learning to ride a two-wheeler with training wheels! Sassy had her first Field Day and field trip at preschool, and her very first dance recital. We spent Mother's Day together at Botanica, and we manages to squeeze in some strawberry picking later in the month. School let out for the summer, and we celebrated at Great Plains Nature Center. We also celebrated Ty's birthday, the girls attended their first outdoor wedding, and Sassy went through some medical testing and was diagnosed with VUR. We took an impromptu family trip to Kansas City for Memorial Day weekend, where we took the girls tot he T-Rex restaurant, visited Uncle Cory & Jami, and went to Deanna Rose Children's Farm.

We spent lots of time outdoors! Great Plains Nature Center, the pool, Tanganyika, backyard BBQ's with Tom & Lynzee, town festivals, and the fountains were all things on our agenda. We traveled to Chicago for the last part of June and into July.

July was possibly my favorite month of 2010! We spent the first part in Chicago, taking in the sights of downtown, celebrating the 4th in style as we do every year, and taking in all that we could of that sweet little Tucker. Later int he month, Sassy and I took an amazing trip to Cape Cod with Auntie Ashley- we rented a cabin for the week, attended Dawn & Keith's wedding, and had a fabulous time!

We spent the early part of August visiting Ty's family in Minnesota. We spent an amazing weekend at the lake, and we had a wonderful time. Miss Tink turned TWO, and we had a great time celebrating that, as well. She had a watermelon themed birthday at My Gym, and we spent her actual birthday as a family down in Winfield. Sassy started her second year of preschool, and Tink honed her skills int he area of animal sounds! Both Sassy and Tink got their hair chopped, and Tink began to own the pixie look... and attitude.

We spent a good deal of time in September rooting for our Chicago Bears and watching football! We walked the Komen 5K, went camping at a family tent party, spent labor Day at Botanica, and took our first trip to Walter's Pumpkin Patch for the season. We also traveled to Kansas City to see the pediatric urologist at Children's Mercy and get on the best laid plan for Miss Sassy. No trip to KC is complete without a visit with Uncle Cory and a trip to Deanna Rose Children's Farm- at least when we can help it!

We visited just about every pumpkin patch in the area, some multiple times over. We participated in the Buddy Walk {awesome!} and we traveled to Topeka & KC for the Parent leadership Conference, apple picking, and the Ren Fest. We celebrated a wonderful report card with Sassy after her first term of preschool. We participated in countless Halloween activities- Sassy was a purple unicorn and Tink was a cupcake fairy!

Uncle Bastian returned to the States from Germany, and promptly made a visit to KS, which we are so grateful for! We took the girls to a production of The Wizard of Oz and the Wichita Children's Theater and Dance Co, as well as a few trips to My Gym. Tyler's parents and Grandma made the long drive down for Thanksgiving, and we had a wonderful holiday weekend. We took the girls to the Gingerbread Village, and began our holiday decorating and shopping, too!

We kept busy in December attending all sorts of holiday functions, cookie swaps, gift swaps, and the like. Sassy met a real American Girl author! We spent a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home, and as I write this recap {to be published 12/31}, we are about 4 hours from leaving for Chicago... praying for safe travels and an opportunity for new memories to add to this wonderful list of 2010: SPH edition!

December 30, 2010

Ant-i Name Choice...

The other day, Sassy and I were reading Chrysanthemum as her bedtime story. For any of you unfamiliar with the story {what?!?!}, it's about a little mouse named Chrysanthemum who loves her name until she starts school and the other kids tease her about it. The book follows her journey through learning to love her name again and not care what the other mice think...

Anyway, Sassy and I were having a discussion about how to treat kids nicely, and naming things we liked about each of her classmates, and their names. Then I asked her if she liked her name.

Not really, she told me, as she wrinkled her nose.

I was shocked. I asked her why, and told her that I thought her name was gorgeous!

This is what she told me:

Well, my name starts with A and ant starts with A and I don;t like ants very well because they are bugs and scary and a little icky, so I really don;t like my name very much.

HA! I see, I see. Makes perfect sense, Sassy pants.

December 29, 2010

Christmas Dinner: A Menu.

This year, I just couldn't decide what to make for Christmas dinner for the life of me! I am not a fan of ham at all {to the chagrin of the rest of my family}, and we were just feeling turkey-ed out lately. I decided to browse an old standby... Ree, you are a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen!

After browsing around for a short while, I found approximately 576 recipes I wanted to try. After the harrowing task of narrowing it down, I came up with a delightful Christmas menu. Here's what we had:Everything was delicious! I would make everything again. The pear crisp was so simple and sooooooo good. Mmm... Creamed spinach is Tyler's favorite, and The Pioneer Woman did not disappoint. Go. Run to her website. Buy her cookbook. Now!

I'm pretty insecure about my food photography, and I hesitate to share, but I took them, so here goes...

Makes me want to enjoy it all over again...

Nothing was too difficult, all was delicious. I urge you to try out some of the recipes!

December 28, 2010

On Christmas Day.

We had a beautiful, intimate Christmas Day celebration here in the SPH. Sassy came barreling in to make us up at about 7:45... way later than I expected her to wake us! She was shrieking {in a good way, of course} that Santa had been here, and we must.come.QUICK!

Do you think she was pretty excited?

We couldn't even contain them long enough for the grandparents to get upstairs... they tore over to the big, unwrapped gifts that Santa had left for them. Tink got a kitchen and Sassy got a standing jewelry box for her bedroom...

Once Nana & Graycop were upstairs, we all opened our stockings. The girls were stuffed to the gills!

And, so began the spattering of gift after gift after gift. Sassy got all the things she asked for from Santa- Moxie girls, a robe, and a T-Rex book. there were also some surprises int here. Tink got a 4-box kitchen accessory kit and Sassy got an American Girl doll bed. Santa, that silly old guy, brought the girls a donut maker, too. He must know how much they love DONUT PARTIES for breakfast every once in awhile {have I failed to mention that tradition??}

After the girls finished opening their gifts, and following a round of heavy-duty clean-up, we had a wonderful breakfast of MckMama's steel cut oats and we even tried out the donut maker. Yum!

Tyler and I planned and shopped for our dinner menu ahead of time {of course}, but we hadn't decided if we were going to do a late lunch or a dinner. The four adults discussed things a bit after breakfast as the girls played with their new toys, and we opted for a regular dinner-time dinner. My Dad offered to take us out for lunch, and we figured... why not? So, we did something I never, ever imagined we would do on Christmas Day...

HA! It was tasty, though, and one less mess to clean in the kitchen. I {of course} had to document the occasion...

...and my new necklace, Lisa Leonard's Through My Lens, from my Mom & Dad. ♥

After lunch, it was back home for more relaxing, playing with new toys, and the like. Tyler and I began cooking around 4:00, and it was nice to cook in peace & quiet {girls were occupied downstairs with their new stuff and the g'rents} over a glass of wine. Ahh... I'll share more about our dinner menu tomorrow...

Once we had finished dinner and dessert, we changed in our PJ's once again! Santa brought Sassy a matching nightgown set for her and Elizabeth, so of course she had to wear that. Tink decided to wear footie jammies like her baby, as well. Don't they just look the cutest?

We headed to the basement with our blankets in tow, and watched the copy of Christmas Vacation that Sassy bought Graycop for Christmas. Boy, did we ever have sugar plum dreams this night!

December 27, 2010

On Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve started out as a doozy here in the SPH for one SPH mama. I woke up with a migraine. Ugh. I ran to my arsenal of caffeine, Fioricet, my frozen rice bag, and bed. Thankfully, Tyler had they day off and was able to deal with the sweet peas so that i could get some much needed R&R.

The Christmas Eve spirits must have been on my side, because after originally thinking there was no way I would pull out of this one and enjoy myself later, I did. By mid-afternoon I was feeling much, much better and by the time the festivities rolled around, I was like a new woman!

Tyler and Sassy braved the last-minute shopping crowds and did a little shopping themselves. We had 2 $10 off tokens to Victoria's Secret, so I suggested they go in and choose some stocking stuffers from the bath/body section for some family members. Sassy came home with 2 new lip glosses and a roller ball fragrance... for herself. They went into Bath & Body Works with instructions to choose new hand soap... Sassy came out with Twisted Peppermint hand soap... for herself. I sent them to Kohl's with a $10 off $20 purchase coupon and instructions for Ty to choose a sweater to wear to Christmas Eve dinner. Sassy came home with pink 14kt gold Disney princess earrings... for herself. Are you spotting a pattern here? Leave it to a shopping trip with Daddy...

Anyway, before we knew it, it was time to get ready for dinner. I bought Tink a beautiful red dress to match Sassy's from last year on sale after Christmas, in hopes that they would wear the matching red dresses this year. Not so much. Sassy saw a beautiful blue dress on the clearance rack at Target last week, and she just had to have it, since blue is her favorite color and all. I was reluctant to oblige, but she really, really wanted the dress, so I did. Both girls looked stunning. I can say so. I'm their Mama.

They loved being dressed up so fancy (pretty rare around here), and they looked like two little snow angels to me.

The new hair pretties from the Briar.Claire sale a couple of weeks ago were the icing on the cake. Briar.Claire currently has a 25% off sale through December 31st with code DECEMBER25, in case you were wondering...

Then, it was time for dinner. This is the second year we've decided to stay close to home and go to Luciano's. There's a reason for that. It was hands down the BEST meal I have had all year long. My word, the food is delicious. It's truly a dining experience. Oh, and we ate like kings. Bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, insalata di formaggi in a parmesan bowl, mare monti pasta, filleto alla senape, and tiramisu... yep, that's what I had. Bah! To top things off, we received an wonderfully generous Christmas gift from Miss Debbie (my supervisor) and her family- they had called in and prepaid for a portion of our bill after she had heard me say we were planning to go there for Christmas Eve dinner... isn't that amazing?

Here are a few pictures from our wonderful dinner, and just outside following the feast...

The girls were anxious to get home, and thankfully, we were just a skip away. Sassy ran inside and began asking what was coming next. Tyler and I located packages containing the girls Christmas pajamas from under the tree, and they opened those first. They looked adorable! We all took a few minutes to change into something warm and comfy and get settled in. Sassy even chose new hair pretties for herself and Tink to match their new jammies... what a little diva!

I thought Sassy would be chomping at the bit to open her gifts, and she was, don't get me wrong...

...but, she was most excited to give her Dad and I the gift she made at preschool and MDO. Here we are with the snowman she made in Mrs. B's class... she was beyond proud of her craftsmanship!

The girls opened their gifts from Nana & Graycop next. I knew there were big surprises to be had...

American Girl dolls! Tink got the bitty twin boy girl {after a quick outfit swap prior to wrapping} that looks just like her! Sassy got the Elizabeth doll, one of the historical characters that will be archived at the end of this year. Both dolls are gorgeous!

The excitement continued as the girls opened their gifts from us. After scouring the edges of the earth, I was able to get my hands on one lonely little teacup piggy for Tink- I just knew she would love it, and love it she does. I also made each of the girls a Snapfish photo book- Sassy's is a recount of our Mommy-daughter trip to Cape Cod and Tink's is filled with pictures of her, with verses I wrote inspired by this poem, which I have loved for years and years. The girls are hanging off of Ty as he reads Tink's book aloud in one of these pictures...

Oh, and I think my Mom was a little surprised that she got a Kindle. I think. Agree?

After a rousing hour or so gift-opening, it was time to sprinkle our reindeer food out on the lawn...

...and lay out milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa & his reindeer...

...and get to bed! We couldn't wait to see what Christmas Day would bring...

December 25, 2010

A Perfect Love.

Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.
~Lucinda Franks

The Proof is in the {Figgy} Pudding...

What the heck is figgy pudding, anyway?

So, I cannot believe I am posting this. I LOATHE the way I appear on video, and the way I sound in recordings is even worse. Oh, and my office looks like a tornado hit it... literally. But, I am so, so thankful to all of you who participated in the giveaway series, and it was a lot of fun for me to do.

I am eternally grateful for some of the ideas you all have given me for topics. If you ever, ever have suggestions on what you would like to read about or know about, do not hesitate to comment or email!!

OK, so in the spirit of full disclosure, and without further adieu, here goes...

Winner is #302 overall, comment #16, {day 12}...

Congrats, Lynzee! And, hey... if you just happen to want to forget your JillyBean headband at my house when you pick up Fiona Tuesday, I'd be OK with that. I kid, I kid.

Merry Christmas, everyone! ♥

December 24, 2010

A Sprinkling of Holiday Cheer Before the Big Shebang!

Right now, the house is relatively quiet. Tink is supposed to be napping upstairs, but she is choosing to talk to herself in her crib, yet she is maintaining somewhat-silence. Oxymoron? Tyler and Sassy are grocery shopping for Christmas dinner tomorrow and doing a bit of last minute Christmas shopping (bless their procrastinating little hearts). I am recovering slowly from an unfortunate Christmas-Eve-morning-headache-from-ahem...

I should be resting, but I have way too many thing on my to-do list. One of which is getting caught up on blogging so as not to fall into a deep black whole as picture-taking-frenzy-2010 commences this evening and for the next several days in a row. So, here goes. Just a smattering of recent events, pictures, and sweet pea memories...

Remember my bundled picture? Well, I had a few more that were just too cute to pass up. Here is Bundled, Part Deux. Couldn't you just chew her up like a gummy bear? Well, please don't.

Sassy's blue period... I was going to devote an entire post on this topic. Then I got lazy. Sassy has a new favorite color- blue. Everything has to be blue. Her bedroom walls are blue. She has to have the blue cup and the blue plate each meal. She wants blue clothes and blue jewelry and blue shoes and blue hair pretties. Blue, blue, blue. Here is one example- she chose an entirely blue Christmas tree for her bedroom this year.

Last weekend, a group of us got together for Lynzee's birthday and went to Sumo for hibachi. Yum! We also did a little secret Santa gift swap, which is always a blast! My friend Renee drew my name, and she quite possibly came up with the perfect gift: a box of Tazo refresh tea, a fun & funky swirl felt necklace from Sypria, and a gift certificate from The Vintage Pearl. Thanks, Renee!

Sassy was in a mood the other day, and insisted that we took some pictures out front before preschool. She's my little sweet pea... weird...


Our Parents As Teachers group held a little holiday party earlier in the week. One of our devoted members, Robyn, made some of the most beautiful.cookies.EVER. SO generous!

I was running around like a crazy person trying to help everyone out, but I did manage to take a picture of Tink visiting Santa. Sassy wanted nothing to do with him this time!

Oh, and those cozies?? Yeah, we knocked a few out. A few zillion remain unfinished. We'll get there... one of these days...

Hmm... what else?

Mommy group kids' holiday book exchange. Location: the bane of my existence Chuck E. Cheese. The girls had a blast. LOVE their new books, too!

Parents As Teachers December My Gym play group. ♥. Nothing better than letting them burn a little steam at the end of the day...

Meetup gingerbread building party plus story time with moi...

Oh, and just a little preview of Sassy's Christmas Eve hair from our trial run...

With that, I must return to real life... with a sense of accomplishment, nonetheless.

Have a beautiful holiday with your family and friends. Much love from the SPH...

Merry Christmas to All...

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