Dec 5, 2013

A Visit with Santa

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we headed to the Galleria mall in Roseville for pictures with Santa. After waiting in line and trying to entertain London for 1 1/2 hours last year, and learning of the Santa Fast Pass, we were quick to take advantage of the Fast Pass this year.

Basically, we went online, selected the package we wanted to purchase, along with the day and time we wanted to visit Santa and for a small processing fee, we had our Fast Pass. Our friends, the Moes, planned on meeting us and got the Fast Pass for the same time.

We all arrived right around 10:30 AM. After a quick stop into Payless for shoes for the girls and Starbucks for Nicole, we headed to the Fast Pass line. We were 4th & 5th in line. And we still probably had a 20 minute wait. But the people at the front of the other, normal line, had been there for over an hour already.

We had the girls dressed in cute holiday dresses and London was all set to tell Santa her dreams of Christmas morning. She hopped up onto Santa's lap without hesitation. Sydney, not so much. She clung to me for dear life, almost taking my shirt with her. And the photographer failed to get a picture of her on Santa's lap before we had to grab her - poor Santa was not set up to easily hold both girls on his lap when one was a screaming and squirming mess. So our Santa picture only has London in it. 

A cute picture, of course, but I have to admit I was bummed not to have a picture of both girls, even if it meant having Sydney screaming in it. Those can make some of the best pictures! I'll just have to make sure to take pictures of her on Christmas eve in her dress - she's too stinkin' cute in it.

Sydney did like the shoes we got her at Payless. She tried to put them on later that day after a nap and after I put them on for her, she played around with them on for a few hours - those shoes and only her diaper!

After Santa, we headed to the food court for a quick lunch before the witching hour hit and kids needed naps. Both girls crashed on the way home. 

Dec 3, 2013

Christmas Tree Shopping

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we set aside for Christmas Tree shopping. Given the short Christmas season, I wanted to make sure we got the tree up as soon as possible. And while last year was Sydney's first Christmas, this year she was a much better age to take out to a Christmas tree farm where we could cut down our own tree.

Originally, I thought we would go up to Apple Hill, but after doing some research Saturday morning, thought better. Every Christmas Tree Farm I looked up listed their starting prices at $60. Some went up to $80! I'd rather go to Home Depot or Lowe's than pay that much to cut my own tree down. Luckily, we had Davis Ranch in our pocket. And even though we hadn't been there in 2 years, their prices hadn't changed. $35 for any tree.

We headed out around 11 AM, and both girls took a nice nap in the car on the way. Matt, Lynde & McKenzie met up with us, where they would be getting McKenzie's first Christmas tree.

Within minutes, both families had their trees picked out, but not before London set her sights on a tree much too large for our house. Still, the pictures of her next to her choice, next to Cameron's choice and then our actual choice, are pretty cute.

Cameron brought along his new chainsaw which made for quick work in taking the 2 trees down. We loaded them up on our new trailer (which we got the day before in anticipation of our Christmas tree adventure). We both agreed that it seemed to be quicker to choose and cut our own tree down than going to Lowe's like we had last year. Last year, it was dark and we had to pull each tree out to get a good look at it before making a decision. At the Christmas tree farm, all the trees are on display naturally.

It took a few days, but we finally have the tree decorated. I'm sure the rest of the house won't be far behind but Christmas Card orders need to be made and letters written first.

Nov 21, 2013

Sydney's 1st Birthday Party

Sydney's 1st Birthday Party was held the Saturday after her birthday and was the first party held at our new home. I made it clear it was not a house-warming & birthday party. After all we had been through with Sydney in the two months leading up to her birthday, I wanted it to be all about her. 

The theme of the party was Rubber Duckies supported by the colors pink and yellow. Oddly enough, these were the same colors as London's first birthday party which had a Pink Lemonade theme. 

My girlfriend, Emily, made the invitations as usual. She does such a great job taking my ideas and bringing them into an actual visual design. Emily also made all the tissue pom poms for me and the "Happy 1st Birthday" banner, which included a separate plaque with Sydney's name on it that I could then hang from her bedroom door, just like I had done with the name plaque from London's 1st birthday party banner that Emily had made for her. 

I got a little crafty with some other banners. With the new house and hardly anything up on the walls it was very clear we had a lot of wall space to play with. I had found myself with a spare 1/2 hour back in August while running some errands at which time I ran into Joann's for fun. Fabric was 25% off so I grabbed a yard of pink and a yard of yellow. The week leading up to the party I managed to cut the fabric into triangles and hang the triangles from some twine on many of the walls. I should have sewn the place where the twine went through the triangles, but I didn't have that kind of time, nor have I unpacked my sewing machine, so I improvised and stapled the triangles to the twine. Because I didn't spend so much time on these, I had a much easier time just throwing the banners out when I took all the decorations down. By the way, I had a ton of triangles left over ever after hanging all these banners. A 1/2 of yard would have worked just as well I think.

  For the table centerpiece, I ordered a Jumbo Rubber Ducky and glued on "bubbles" left over from London's 2nd "Bubble" themed birthday party (plastic ornament balls sprayed with iridescent spray paint). I also ordered many mini rubber duckies to place around  the house and for kids to play with.

  On Sydney's birthday we ran into the Dollar Store to pick up the paper plates, cups and utensils. Whenever in there, I like to peruse the other aisles. When I spied some cylinder vases and blue vase pebbles, inspiration hit and I grabbed two of each. I filled the vases with the blue glass pebbles, a little water and then floated a mini rubber duck in each. I think they added just the right touch. Not to mention the roses my mom picked up at Costco the day before the party. That rounded out the decor. 

I kept the food simple - salads and dips. The only effort I truly went to on the food front was baking from scratch white cake cupcakes and a 4-layer chocolate cake. I colored store-bought white frosting blue and made an attempt at making fondant duckies. I was going to order some, but the source I found wanted $2 per duck and then $20 in shipping. I found I could order all the supplies to make them on my own for the same amount! I think they turned out pretty well. Not sure what I am going to do with all the extra fondant as I only made 4 duckies. 3 for the cake and 1 for Sydney's smash cupcake. And no, I did not use a sharpie to make the eyes. I actually found a pen on Amazon for cooking needs. It's called a Gourmet Pen. We may use the pen again this Christmas to make faces on some marshmallow men.

The last thing I did was order a personalized onesie for Sydney to wear that day. I found a shop on Etsy called Spool of Plenty. The lady was great and allowed me to order the onesie even though she was listed as taking a vacation from the shop (she actually just turned her shop back on last week!). It turned out so cute! Unfortunately, I did run out of time and never made a tulle tutu for her to wear with the onesie. Luckily, I had London's 1st birthday skirt hanging in Sydney's closet and it was a good backup. I also apparently didn't get a good picture of Sydney in the onesie. Sorry.

Sydney had a blast as did every one else. Many dear friends showed up for the festivities, including Sydney's old daycare teachers Amber & Jenn. It was obviously they missed Sydney and she missed them. 

Sydney & Jenn
Amber, Sydney & Jen
Amber & Sydney - Amber might as well be her second mom
And Sydney thoroughly enjoyed her Cupcake after we all sang happy birthday. Cameron reported back that she had the cupcake up to her mouth for 10 minutes while she ate all the frosting! And he took plenty of pictures for me - I was busy serving cake and cupcakes to everyone else. The chocolate cake was a huge success. Thanks Martha Stewart for your One-Bowl Chocolate Cake. It seriously is an easy & delicious recipe!

Cake pics: 

Sydney needed a little cleaning up afterward

Nov 20, 2013

Sydney's 1 Year Stats!

Sydney's 1 year Stats are a little late. With the change in doctors and the New Patient visit with our new doctor only being a few weeks before her 1st birthday, we actually had to delay her 1 year Well Baby check up. This was mainly due to the fact that Sydney got the first of two flu shots at that New Patient Visit, and we didn't want to have to have two appointments within weeks of each other for the Well Baby visit and the 2nd flu shot. Since this was her first time getting the flu shot, Sydney needed to get two.

So, on Tuesday, November 12, we went in for both visits at once. Sydney did great, showing off both her babbling skills and her ability to stand up. She decided not to show off how she can take a few steps. Sydney still isn't full blown walking, but she is standing up a lot more than she used to and has taken up to 6 steps at a time. I'm sure that with in the month she'll be cruising on two feet consistently. She is just like London here - why walk when you can get there so much more quickly crawling? And she is a speedy crawler. 

The doctor said Sydney looked great and reported that she was getting in some pre-molars. No wonder the kid can't stop drooling. Any hoo, here is where she stands: 

Head Circumference: 43 3/4 CM (17 1/4")
Weight: 22 lbs 8.5 oz (80-85th percentile)
Height: 29 3/4 inches (75th percentile)

And even though Sydney's ATypical Kawasaki diagnoses and treatment will prevent her from receiving Live-strain immunizations for a year (think MMR and Chicken Pox), she still got poked a bit - 4 total, 2 in each leg. It's almost good she couldn't get the MMR or that would have been 5! Sydney did not like these pokes at all, though she didn't fight them and just cried for a while before falling asleep in car on our way to daycare. Sydney doesn't go back for 3 months now and won't get any shots for 6 months!

Nov 19, 2013

2013 Bishop's Pumpkin Patch


While Sydney had many firsts in the first few months of her life (First Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) they didn't include her first trip to Bishop's Pumpkin Patch. And now she is at a fun age to enjoy a first, so on a Sunday in October, a week before her birthday, we met up with our friends the McGraths and Tarrs and took in Bishop's Pumpkin Patch as much as we could. Unfortunately, we could only visit for an hour before we had to head up to Chico for our nephew's birthday party. Which meant we missed the Pig Races for the first time in 5 years!

Of course, we made it out to the Giant Pumpkin patch for some pictures. And this year, the pumpkin we took the pictures with, went home with us. We were expecting it to cost a small fortune, but it was only $14! We're going to try to save the seeds from it and grow some of our own next year. 

Sadly, they were out of my white pumpkins for the season already. So no white pumpkin for me this year. Cameron promises me we can grow some next year. I'm not sure we'll have the space ; ) Actually I am quite excited for next year as I think we may need to try and grow some decorative varieties along with the good old jack-o-lantern variety. We didn't even carve pumpkins this year, given we weren't home for Halloween and weren't going to have trick or treaters even if we were. 

I'm sure as the girls get older, we will carve some, just to say we did. Any how, back at Bishop's, after Giant Pumpkin photos we headed to the petting zoo. Problem was, it wasn't a petting zoo any longer. You could feed the goats but from outside the pen. I guess someone got bit by accident one to many times. Shame of the parents I say - they should teach their kids that when feeding an animal you hold the food out on a flat palm. I made sure I worked on this with London after paying the $2 for a cup of food. 

We did have fun looking at all the animals and trying to decide what we would like to have. I still think we will start with Chickens, probably in the spring. 

Here are some more pics from our visit: 

We're having a hard time getting London to smile for pictures these days
On this day she wanted to play with the pumpkin more
Finally, a smile - but no pumpkin
This is Sydney's favorite place to take in new surroundings
All the kids together
I Love Sydney's face here
Sydney with Auntie Kim
Sydney looking to pull London's hair atop her favorite perch
She was almost successful too