Sunday, January 4, 2015

Winter Break/Catching up

Wow, it's been a long time since I've blogged!  Once again, I'll try to work my way backwards to catch up on what we've been up to since August...

I can't believe winter break is already over...I say that every year, but last year was nice and EXTRA long with our two free "cold" days that were added on.  Don't think that's going to happen this year, but a girl can dream...

We started off winter break with Dave and Norah on the tail end of influenza A.  Norah and I made a not-so-quick stop at the "express clinic" only to find out that her fever/cough could last another week, but did get drops for an outer ear infection.  The next day, Dave had to work, so the girls and I went to see the new "Annie" movie.  We all loved it so much!  We came home, put Norah to bed, and bought the soundtrack on Itunes.  Abby was totally into pretending we were foster kids from Annie and cleaning up the house while dancing to the music...she was even scrubbing toilets and mopping the floors!

That night, we had our family Christmas with just the four of us.  We had some favorite snacks (taco dip, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, etc.) for a meal and opened presents.






The next morning was the girls' Christmas program at church.  Unfortunately, Dave's mom wasn't feeling well, so his family wasn't able to make it.  My family came to the second service.  It was quite a marathon morning entertaining the preschoolers and trying to get them all situated on stage!  The girls both did great, and Norah went up on stage each time except for the last song.  She was too busy putting stickers on her paper (a great way to entertain preschoolers during church!) and just didn't want to.  We went out to lunch with my family afterwards.






Dave and I ended up with a couple of free days on Monday and Tuesday--Abby had school Monday and the girls had a Christmas party at daycare on Tuesday.  You would think we would have gotten a lot accomplished in those two days, and I did do a little schoolwork and cleaning, but it was nice to have a true "break" after a busy few months at school.

On Wednesday, we drove down to Iowa to start the Christmas celebrations.  Lunch, gifts, and homemade ice cream/treats were at my grandma Carlson's farm during the day.  Abby, Joe, and Sam were excited about the "Grinch" that showed up outside, while Norah and Trice were not so thrilled.  My cousin's husband and uncle Dave tried to trick them a few times before Dave revealed it was him.






After church, we drove over to Miriam and Scott's, where the girls got ready for bed and put out their stockings and cookies/milk for Santa.  We had a fun evening playing games.  Abby was up the earliest on Christmas morning, but waited patiently for Norah to wake up before opening presents from Santa.  This year, Abby had asked for an American Girl puppy and kennel.  Norah had originally wanted Anna "dress jammies" but had changed her mind and decided on Elsa.  She ended up with both...   We had a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls and caramel rolls and when everyone was up and back at the house we opened presents.  This year, we drew names and came up with a theme for our person.  Each person had 3 or so little gifts leading up to a more "main" gift that had to do with the theme.  It was a lot of fun to try and guess the themes!  We spent the rest of the day playing games, entertaining kids, eating a delicious meal of ham balls, playing bingo, and looking at pictures from Greg and Rose Mary's trip.









Our family headed back to Rochester late the next morning.  That evening, we celebrated Christmas with my parents, siblings, and Greg's girlfriend Rose Mary.





Greg and Rose Mary had to leave the next morning and Dave had to work a short day, but the girls and I stayed in Rochester.  My high school friend, Debbi, came over to my parents' house with her two girls and we caught up while Abby, Norah, and Iola played.  We also did some sledding and playing in the snow--it was the perfect day for that!

We decided to just spend the night in Rochester, and headed to Albert Lea the next day for Christmas with Dave's extended family.  We got together at Gerald's assisted living place and had a nice meal in the party room.  The kids opened presents and we had Christmas treats.





After all of the traveling and Christmas celebrations, we were pretty happy to just be home for a little bit!  We enjoyed the Children's Museum on Tuesday with Kristina, Rhua, and Abby's friend Olivia.

On Wednesday, we hosted New Year's Eve with my parents and aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Some of us went to a fun event called "Escape MSP", which is a fun mystery/problem-solving thing in Minneapolis.  We even won at the last second!

We had a fun evening with lots of yummy food, fun games, party hats and noisemakers.  Of course the next morning, Abby and Norah were up before 7!  We spent the day at our house and then all except my mom and Norah went up to the Timberwolves game that night.  Even though they lost, we still had a blast at the game.  Mara, Bryan, and Connor stayed up in Minneapolis that night and my parents headed home after we came back.

We've had a quiet few days at home ever since our company left--in the meantime, the girls and I put together Norah's new toddler bed and took down her crib, we took down our Christmas tree/decorations, and did some rearranging in rooms.  We've been watching lots of movies, playing, reading, and just trying to soak up every last bit of break.  Just thinking about going back to school tomorrow gives me lots of anxiety, but we have another Christmas to look forward to next weekend (Dave's parents are coming up to stay for the weekend) and Florida in less than 3 weeks!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Abby's music program

This year was the first year that Abby had a music program through school--the first graders put on a Christmas/holiday themed program at the high school.  Dave's parents were able to join us.  The kids did such a great job and were so cute!



I volunteered to do an at-home project to help out with the concert--these teeth were my project.  So much glitter!




Saturday, December 6, 2014

Visiting Santa

This year, I thought it would be nice if Dave could join us when the girls saw Santa (usually we go to a local realtor's office to get a free picture with Santa, and Dave has to work that weekend).  Dave happened to be home the week of Thanksgiving, so he picked up the girls from daycare and met me at my school that Tuesday.  We drove to the Mall of America and caught the light rail up to downtown Minneapolis to go to the Macy's Santaland display.  We hadn't taken Norah before, and it had been awhile since Abby had seen it.  They both loved it, and were excited to see Santa...until we got into the room with him.  Abby jumped right on his lap, but Norah got scared and wanted nothing to do with him.  We convinced her to sit next to him for a picture, but she wouldn't talk to him.  We still got a great picture that reminded us of when Abby was 1 and we got a picture taken with the Macy's Santa and she was crying and trying to escape his lap.  After the Santa visit, the girls had fun writing letters to Santa in the toy shop.  They especially enjoyed the gingerbread cookies on the light rail ride back to the mall.

The girls and I did end up going to see Santa again with Dave's mom at the realtor's office the weekend after Thanksgiving.  This time, Norah worked up the courage to actually sit on his lap AND ask him for the Elsa "dress jammies" that she wanted.  She was confused when we were walking away about why he didn't give them to her right then and there.  :)


Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

We had a fun Halloween this year!  The weekend before was the ECFE Halloween party and the girls and I had fun at that.  They both played lots of games and enjoyed the story time and gift bag.  Dave took Halloween off, so was able to help out at Abby's Halloween party at school (making dirt cup snacks).  We bundled up and went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood after enjoying our jack-o-lantern pizza.  Abby lucked out and even got to hand out candy to a trick-or-treater when we got home (which was better than last year--we don't get too much traffic...).



My pictures of Halloween night are on my phone, so as soon as I get Dropbox and get them onto the computer, I'll add pictures of the girls together!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

MEA Break--Parks with the Clarks part two

We had such a great time on our MEA trip to our friend Tiffany and Pat's family cabin.  The girls and I met up with their family for a picnic lunch at Lake Maria State Park first.  The fall colors were BEAUTIFUL here and we had a great time hiking around and taking in the sights.  Norah trailed everyone and wanted to pick up every...single...acorn along the path.  Her pockets were pretty full!









Dave met up with us at the cabin, and we enjoyed spending two nights there.  The kids played together so well, and Henry and Norah especially enjoyed hide and seek.


We visited another state park--Glendalaugh State Park.  We hiked around and looked at the historical building there.  The colors were pretty, but not quite as vibrant as Lake Maria.  We were hoping to check out the yurts there, but it was too long of a hike for a chilly day.







We had a blast, and are so thankful for such wonderful friends!