"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Tangled" Up in Birthday Fun

So my Kaylee bug turns 4 years old this week.  I can’t believe how fast the years are flying by.  We celebrated her birthday on Saturday with a Tangled party!  Tangled is the most recent Disney Princess movie.  And it’s all things princess here at our house.  We took Kaylee to see Tangled a few months ago and she has talked about Rapunzel ever since.  So when I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she immediately said “Rapunzel party, please!”  So, with that said, I set out to plan a fabulous party for my own princess!

I had fun planning this party.  I started weeks ago...decided on the kind of cake I was going to make, ordered decorations, and began looking up fun things to do at the party.

To start our morning, Kaylee got to open her first birthday gift from Nana and Bumpa...a beautiful Rapunzel dress with matching headband and purse.  She was so excited to wear this to her party.  She had told all her friends to dress up as their favorite princess.  When I asked what she was going to wear, she informed me that since she didn’t have a Rapnuzel dress she would just wear her Snow White dress...so she was one happy princess after opening her new dress!

As the guest trickled in, the kids got to color some fun Tangled coloring pages.  Once all Kaylee’s friends had arrived, we played “Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Rider.”  Thanks to Ryan and a co-worker of his, we were able to have a rather large Flynn Rider poster for the game!  The kids enjoyed it and Kaylee even pinned the pan right on the top of Flynn’s head...hmmm...”can you see through the blindfold?”
For craft time, we made Pascal party blowers.  Pascal is Rapunzel’s chameleon friend and I found this idea from the disney family website.  I thought they were really cute and the kids seemed to really enjoy ‘em.
I found some really neat ideas for food for the party from another blog.  Instead of pizza (the easiest food to have at a kids birthday), I decided to make Hazelnut Soup, which supposedly is Rapunzel’s favorite.  Well, due to limited resources here, I was unable to find all the ingredients for my Hazelnut soup and decided to make potato soup instead.  They look very similar.  It turned out pretty good and it was nice to have a bowl of soup on a cold day in February.  Along with the soup I made bread and had blueberries, strawberries, grapes, veggies, crackers, and cheese!  My favorite though was the jello cups!  In one scene of the movie Tangled, Rapunzel and “Eugene” are sitting in a boat watching the floating lanterns...so on top of the blue jello were orange slices to look like a boat!  It was so cute, but I can’t take credit for it...I found the idea online.  Unfortunately, when I went grocery shopping, the commissary did not have “berry blue” jello!  I should’ve known...I was so upset...then I remembered a friend who was home in the states and asked her to bring me some!  I was so glad to have the jello, because the jello cups turned out so cute!  And the kids loved them!
Afterwards we sang “Happy Birthday” and had cake and cupcakes.  This year I made Kaylee a Rapunzel doll cake with fondant icing on top.  Since fondant doesn’t usually taste the greatest, I also made cupcakes!  I made strawberry cake with vanilla icing cupcakes adorned with purple, green, and yellow sprinkles.  The cake was much more of a challenge, but I enjoyed making this one.  The fondant was fun to use.  I actually tried to make home-made fondant, because I read that it taste better.  Well, once I started working with it and trying to put it on the cake, it was too thin and my fingers were going right through.  So I decided to use the ready made fondant by Wilton.  I think that this was a good choice.  I love how smooth it looks.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out...of course I see my mistakes or some imperfections, but overall I was happy with it...AND Kaylee LOVED it...which is all that matters!  She actually wanted to eat the doll cake instead of the cupcake (which surprised me a little), but she gobbled it right up INCLUDING the fondant icing!  She said it was yummy!
So my princess had a wonderful Rapunzel birthday party.  We finished the afternoon with presents and passing out gooding bags.  Kaylee received a few Rapunzel toys, several books, art supplies, and an apron with cookbooks from mommy!  Her goody bags turned out cute too.  I found Rapunzel cups for the girls and filled them with a hairbrush, hair clip, stickers, and candy.  The two boys that attended received an inflatable sword, stickers, and candy.  I had ordered necklaces and bracelets for the girls as well along with the actual bags to put the goodies in, but they did not make it here in time for the party...so frustrating!  So I decided (at the last minute) to use brown paper bags and we called the satchels...like in the movie! 

We had such a fun time!  Kids birthday parties are A LOT of work, but so worth it when you see your little princess enjoying every minute of it!  Happy 4th Birthday Kaylee!  We love you so much and thank God everyday for you!  You will always be our little princess!

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Update

It was just the four of this holiday season and we rang in the new year with a bang...okay, okay...not really.  Our evening pretty much consisted of  pizza with some friends, girls in bed by eight, and Ryan and I watching TV waiting for the new year.  But we’ve had a good start to 2011.

We celebrated Abby’s second birthday in December and she is growing up so fast.    She is talking so much and she makes us laugh all the time.  My favorite is when she politely asks for seconds and when I say okay...she then proceeds to say “ayot” which means a lot.  She wants a lot the second time around.   It cracks me up every time...as if she needs “ayot.”  She’s a big girl and seems to be getting taller every day.  She loves playing along side Kaylee and loves books and Boz the bear videos.

Kaylee will be four next month and she is quite the girly girl.  She loves everything princess and her favorite right now is Rapunzel.  She continues to take ballet and started taking tap lessons a few months ago.  She enjoys both, but I think she has more fun in her tap class.  She is doing very well in preschool too.  I went on Monday for her parent/teacher conference.  Her teacher, Ms. Alicia, reported that Kaylee does well in class and follows directions (if only she’d do that all the time at home) and she plays well with others.  She’s able to trace lines and cut with scissors along those lines.  She has even learned about patterns this year and is able identify and make a pattern...something she could not do several months ago.  So far I have been very pleased with her preschool experience here.

I guess I’ve been keeping busy trying to keep up with all our activities.  It’s fun though.  I am still teaching a baby basics class at the Fleet & Family Support Center here on base once a month and have really enjoyed teaching and meeting new people.  On Tuesdays, I attend the PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) Bible Study.  I started going back in September and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  In the fall I did a study on “Shepherding a  Child’s Heart.”  And now we are doing study on the Bible history.  I have met some really great women and look forward to Bible study every week.  On Tuesday evenings, Kaylee is apart of AWANAs here...what a great program!  Abby and I go too, but that’s because I head up the nursery for the AWANA leaders and workers to have a place to drop their littles ones.

So other than recuperating form the holidays and getting back into our regular routine, not too much has happened in January.  Fortunately, Ryan has been home with us since Thanksgiving and we have enjoyed that!  I’m sure he will be traveling a little more now that the holidays are over, but I hope to keep him home as long as possible!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A New Year's Resolution 2011

Wow, it's been a LONG time since I last posted.  So, with that said, my 2011 resolution is to blog at least once a month to keep you updated on what is going on with us!  My dear friend, Sara, is such a good blogger and has been writing since her first son was born 3 years ago...she now has three boys and still manages to blog.  She is my hero...plus, she is probably the only one who reads my blog.  Love you girl!

So there it is!  Let's see how I can do!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ballets & Fashion Shows

 We have had a busy weekend full of firsts, fun, friends and frustration.

Kaylee had her first ballet recital this weekend.  She and her classmates have been practicing for over a month and they all looked so adorable dancing around.  I was very excited and was hoping that she would actually participate in the show.  After getting her leotards, tights, and shoes on  I tackled "the bun!"  Kaylee's hair is thick and getting her hair in a bun has proven to be a challenge for me, but fortunately with hair gel, 20+ hairpins, and lots of hairspray I got a somewhat cute bun!  She looked adorable!
After arriving at the theater, I think she got a little overwhelmed by all the people/parents waiting around.  She mentioned to me that she didn't want to dance, but I assured her that it would be okay.  She soon found her friend Rhiannon and together they went into the theater (the show was held at the movie theater here on base).
I was so happy that she got up on the stage; however she stood there with her fingers in her mouth the whole time.  She would move side to side or walk around with the group, but she didn't do any of the moves.  But we were still very proud of her!  And her friend, Alison, came with her mother to watch her.  She was very excited to see Alison at the end of the show.  Ali even brought her a flower.  After the performance, we went to Kaylee's favorite, Subway.

Today, Kaylee was part of the Kimono fashion show held at the Home Accents store on base (it is custom appreciation weekend and there are lots of festivities going on).  She and I went into the store together and soon they took us down to the break room, where the Japanese ladies were fixing hair and putting the kimonos on.  Well.....I was really excited to see her all dressed up in traditional Japanese clothing, flip flops included.....but she protested right from the beginning.  I was able to talk her into sitting for her hair to be fixed...thanks to a yummy strawberry lollipop, but getting the kimono on was another story.  Every time they would attempt to put a layer on she would cry and cling to me.  I didn't want to push her to hard, but I really wanted her to do it.  Finally, after a lot of talking, tears, and a few trips to the bathroom (she always has to go at the perfect times), I was able to get her to allow them to dress her.  It still wasn't easy, but I told her that she could get the baby Ariel (that she saw at the exchange the night before) if she would wear the kimono.  That did the trick.  So, she was dressed head-to-toe in full Japanese attire....but she didn't get on the stage for the fashion show...oh well.  We did manage to get a few good pictures and she did stand on stage at the end for group pictures.  After lunch, we headed home for some much needed rest.  

This week will be busy as I prepare for our trip to the US!!!  I am so excited and can hardly wait to see my family and friends!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I can't believe April is almost over!  We have been so busy this month and I thought I would share a few highlights from the month.

This month I signed both Kaylee and Abby up for swim lessons.  Abby and I did a “Parent-and-Child” class in the mornings and Kaylee was in the preschool level in the afternoons.  I thought Abby would be scared of the water and not like it much and I was certain that Kaylee would have a blast...WRONG!  Abby was a little scared at first and had a death grip on my neck for the first class or so.  She didn’t like when I would hold her out to float on her tummy, but she didn’t mind the back float since our faces were close and we all sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  She loved throwing the ball or duckie and then swimming/reaching for it.  Abby also thought it was fun to stand on the side of the pool, while I counted to three and then she would jump in...well, I basically pulled her in, but she liked it all the same.  I am really happy that I decided to do swim lessons with Abby.  Originally, I had only planned to put Kaylee in, but Abby and I had a great time and it was sweet Mommy-daughter time.

Kaylee on the other hand, didn’t enjoy swim lessons the way I was hoping she would.  She liked going and was always very excited the day of, but the only thing she would do was sit on the edge and kick her feet.  The first day, she did get in, but there were a couple of other kids bouncing up and down and water was splashing up on her face...I think she got a little scared...so she climb out and that was that.  A few of the days, the kids got to ride in the boat, which she did and seemed to really enjoy.  By the sixth class, she was actually smiling and laughing and splashing around on the boat.  During a few of the classes, she would jump in with her life jacket on.  However, she would tell Ms. Sasha “just guide me in please!”  She didn’t actually jump, but at least she got a few minutes in the water.  She did really well the last day of class by allowing Ms. Sashi to hold her and swim around.  If only she had one more week, I think she would have conquered it.  Well, I’m sure she’ll get plenty of practice this summer!

Last week Ryan went out at 4:30am to wait in line to sign Kaylee up for Pre-school.  I had called two weeks before and the secretary informed me that there were 40+ spots for the 3-year old two day class and that I probably didn’t need to be there too early, but we didn’t want to take any chances (there are a lot of kids here).  Ryan was the fourth person in line, with the third being a friend of ours.  They opened the doors around 6:50am, so at least he was able to seat inside for the last hour.  He said that the staff was beyond nice and very organized.  And I have heard so many great things from other parents and I really think Kaylee will enjoy it!  Needless to say, Ryan had a very long day, but we are very excited that she’s in!  She will be starting early September!

Two weekends ago, the base held it's Spring bazaar, where lots of local vendors come in and sell Asian merchandise.  We decided to go on Sunday afternoon this time, because they usually will start to mark the prices down.  I was hoping to find a piece of Asian furniture, but I didn't want to spend too much.  We saw a lot of nice things and I got some place mats with chopsticks and a few gifts for friends and family.   I did find a piece of furniture that both Ryan and I liked...it's called a Step Tansu...it's has three pieces and can be arranged to have steps coming down from the top (I'm not exactly sure how to explain it).  We decided that it would be best to put the pieces together instead of arranging it as a step...since we have two little monkeys running around.  I really like it and it gives me more storage and gives my dinning room an Asian feel!  Now if I can just learn to make Yokisoba!
Check it out...

The next weekend, we drove up to Yokota Air Force Base to check out their bazaar and to shop at the exchange.  The base is very big and the exchange is bigger than ours and had several things that we don't have here...they had A LOT more clothes for Kaylee than our children's department has.  So, I bought her a few outfits, Abby an outfit, some movies, kids plates, and books...that's my weakness...children books.  They had a lot of the same things at the bazaar, but I did mange to get two really cute and unique tote bags.  You like?  I wonder if these are in the states.  They are made out of juice wrappers...really neat and they make great bags for going to the library and running errands!

 Yokota Air Force Base

 Driving home from Yokota...Kaylee was holding Abby's hand while she slept.
So this week (the last week of April) has been a little tough, however not as bad as I thought it might be.  On Sunday, we told Kaylee that nap time would be the last time she could have her pacifier or “pa” as it is called in our house.  So on Sunday night we told her that she was a big girl now and that she couldn’t have her “pa” any more.  Luckily, several of her “pas” had holes in them so we had already been tossing ‘em in the trash.  She cried and fussed and screamed, but after about 30 minutes she was asleep.  Monday nap time was a little tougher because I didn’t have Ryan here for moral support.  She got up a few times and cried a little, and she never actually fell asleep.  So Monday night went pretty well, because she was super tired.  She only fussed as I was walking out of her room and I went back in, sang a song, and gave her a kiss and she didn’t cry out anymore and was asleep with 20 minutes.  Tuesday was about the same, she did take a nap though which was nice.  So we are making progress with the no “pa.”  The only thing is she does seem more tired than usual.  She has been waking up around 6:30 every morning and just seems to be irritable at times throughout the day.  So there has been a lot more whining going on lately, which I must say at this point of motherhood, is my pet peeve.  However, I am happy that we have started working on breaking this habit.  I have no issues with pacifiers and found myself more attached to Kaylee having one...I guess taking it away means she’s growing up (sigh) and becoming a true “big girl!”  I’ve caught myself wanting to say “where’s your pa?” as I tuck her in only to realize that she doesn’t have it anymore.  I have thrown out all the pacifiers except one...not really sure why I’m hanging on to it, because I think she'll be fine...soon.  As a reward, when she goes several nights without fussing we will take her to the store to pick out a new toy, book, or movie.  At naps though, I’ve told her, if she doesn’t fuss and stays in bed then she can have a few M&Ms or a Peppermint Patty when she gets up.  So, we will see what the rest of the week holds.
 Kaylee & Abby

Well, May is looking less busy...which is nice not to have to run out the day every morning.  However, I will be preparing for our trip back to the states...we leave in three weeks for a 12 week vacation back home!  I'm very excited about seeing my family and friends!  Unfortunately, we will not see Ryan much, but chances are he'll be traveling a lot this summer anyways.  Please pray that God gives all of us safety as we travel!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lookin' Like Spring!

SPRING…my favorite time of year!  I love the sight of the Cherry Blossom Trees blooming and knowing that warmer weather is around the corner (hopefully).  I love that soon we will be wearing short-sleeve shirts and flip flops.  I love that very soon we will be able to make daily trips to the park and Kaylee will finally be able to ride her tricycle outside.  I love that we will be able to take a walk to daddy's office and stroll down the water front in the evenings.  I love seeing fresh tulips and daffodils in the grocery store and can't wait to stroll down "Blue Street" to buy fresh fruit from the Japanese vendors.

But spring also means…cleaning…and I actually got motivated during naps a few days ago to begin.  I started dusting, sweeping, mopping, organizing…and then the furniture got re-arranged.  Being in a small apartment now, our options for furniture placement is limited, but I just needed a change…a fresh start (so to speak).  Ryan does not like when I get the "bug" to re-arrange the furniture…which usually means he does most of the work and I just give orders and then change my mind.  However, Ryan is back in the states working, so he wasn't here to talk me out of it.  So I did it all by myself.  Of course, I couldn't move the TV cabinet and the bookshelf, but I moved everything else.  I like it…it feels more cozy and homey to me now!  I still haven't told Ryan, but I'm hoping that when he comes in Sunday night he'll like it!

 On Monday, we got a package from our family full of Easter goodies for the girls.  They both got a couple of books, Kaylee got a card game, and they both got two dresses each.  They also got bunny ears…so cute.  Trying to get both girls to keep them on for a picture was tough, but I did manage to snap one of Abby.  Of course, Kaylee was hopping all around and Abby tried her best to hop too.  It was pretty cute to watch.

Spring colors…pink, blue, orange, purple, yellow, green…these are the colors of the eggs that now decorate my kitchen table.  My Kaylee got to color Easter eggs for the first time this morning.  We had some friends come over to dye eggs with us and the kids colored over two dozen eggs.  They had lots of fun and Kaylee even added Disney Princess stickers to her eggs.  I have a feeling she's going to want to do this again tomorrow!

With all the exciting things that spring brings, the most important is our chance to reflect on the love of our Savior and what He did for each of us on Calvary!  I am so thankful for the gift of eternal life and for my personal relationship with my Lord! 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blossoming at 15 Months

As spring is approaching, we have a blossoming little girl on our hands.  Our little Abby “bean” is 15 months old now!  Just this morning I took her for her 15 month well baby check and she weighed in at 27 pounds and is 30 inches tall!  I was very happy with our visit because (1) I only waited 10 minutes...if that...to be seen by the doctor (the last two visits it’s been 30 minutes or MORE!) and (2) the pediatrician was fantastic!  This is Abby’s third or fourth visit with the Navy Hospital’s Pediatric office and I have yet to find a pediatrician that I like.  The 2 or 3 that I have seen come across as having no interest in pediatrics or kids and they never even talked about milestones and if she was doing things appropriate for her age.  Well, today was different!  First, Dr. Foster apologized...TWICE...for keeping me waiting (hello, are you kidding me, that was nothing compared to last time!) and then started talking to Abby (like pediatricians should do in my opinion).  He did the whole assessment while she sat on my lap.  He asked about her walking, talking, and eating and answered my questions with answers that made sense (not just “um, whatever you want to do should be fine”...yes I had a pediatrician here tell me that)!  I was beginning to wonder if these doctors even have a medical degree...It seemed that I knew more as a nurse than they did!  Anyway, I was very happy with our visit and Abby is doing great!

She is walking like a champ now and has already started to climb on whatever she can.  She can say about 10 different words, with her favorite (I think) being “mor”  for more. Clearly, she eats, but she has been my picky eater and I still can’t get her to eat green beans or Mac-n-cheese, which is strange to me because I think Kaylee was born eating Mac-n-cheese.  She loves anything breakfast, grilled cheese, PB & J sandwiches, chicken (sometimes), applesauce, sweet potatoes, and, of course, fruit.  She has a mouth full of teeth now with three more coming through and she really likes when I brush her teeth!
She is such a sweet girl and within the past month has really become quite the snuggle bunny, which I’m loving.  She’s starting to like books and enjoys pointing things out, like birds and doggies.  She loves stacking blocks and knocking them over (if Kaylee doesn’t beat her to it).  Her favorite thing to watch is “Boz the Bear” and she loves to hear songs/music.  Just the other day while riding in the car, Kaylee was singing along to her Sunday School songs cd and Abby was next to her attempting to sing along, it was so precious to see and hear!
When Abby is not trailing my every step, she’s behind Kaylee trying to keep up with her. She seems to like to play alongside Kaylee, which is nice until Kaylee realizes that “Abby just messed up my picnic!”  Ah, the joy of sisters.
Abby is sleeping very well at night and still takes two naps during the day.  Recently, her afternoon naps are becoming shorter, which means she is very cranky by dinnertime.  Fortunately, today she is taking a great nap, thanks to immunizations and tylenol! 

She is definitely having some separation anxiety issues.  As I said earlier, she follows me all over the house (sometimes my going to the restroom is a group event...can we say “p-r-i-v-a-c-y!”) and if she can’t see me she repeatedly says, “ma-ma, ma-ma, ma-ma” until I’m in her view again.  I love the sound of it though.  And I find it so endearing when she wakes up in the mornings calling for “Ma-ma” or better yet, “Da-da”, which means I get to stay in bed for a few more minutes.

There are so many good things about the infant days and lots of new adventures when you have a toddler, but I find this stage of my child’s life so great.  She’s becoming a little person now, with a personality all her own.  She’s discovering her world and learning so much from animals and what they say to blowing kisses and giving hugs!  I love watching them learn...I love how she attempts to do the “Hokie-Pokie” with Elmo...I love that every time we walk outside, she looks for a bird...I love that she laughs when I say, “ewww, you stink!”...I love how she opens her mouth when you try to give her a kiss...I love how she turns towards the door and says “Da-da” as soon as she hears Ryan coming home from work...I love hearing her laugh with Kaylee...I love her big beautiful blue eyes...and I love her sweet sweet smile.  God has truly blessed Ryan and I with not one, but two wonderful daughters and I am so Thankful for both!