Tuesday, December 20, 2011

counting down

So there's no snow here yet but we've been counting down for Christmas for the last couple of weeks and now we're just a handful of days away....woo hoo!!
I've been so excited for Christmas this year so instead of waiting to almost the middle of the month we bought our tree and decorated right after the first of the month.

This chair is my early Christmas present!! I made Blake go to a Pottery Barn Christmas entertaining class with me (mostly for the 10% off coupon) on a Sunday early in the month and as we were checking out we spotted this darling chair. We've wanted an armless to add to the living room and this was what I was looking for. So, early Christmas for me!

I needed a mini tree in our bedroom this year just to have another room with glowing lights. I might have to keep this up longer than our usual December 26 purge.

This is Lucy's. But since this picture about 400 more pink sparkle ornaments have been added.

I made a Christmas activity list because the month flies by too fast and I want to make sure we get in as much in as we can. Well there were only a handful of ideas I came up but we ended up doing a lot more...We've done Zoolights, Lucy made a gingerbread house, went to the Nativity in the Glen, adopted an ornament and went shopping for UAID, drove around to look at lights and eat treats, went to my work party at the country club, Blake went solo to his "no spouses" party at Grand America, Lucy saw Annie at Pioneer Theater with my parents, decorated cookies and visited with good friends, made crafty ornaments on a cozy morning with good friends, had my work girls gift exchange and dinner and lots of Christmas movies cozied in at home.

And one of the highlights was Lucy's preschool Christmas program!

Rockin' out on her homemade guitar, strummin' away singing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree".
Preschool has been the best decision ever. I only wish she would have had another year here because it's been such a great experience. Almost every class in December she came home with a darling project. This performance was the best and so was seeing Lucy pop up standing on the church pews looking back for us!

Who knew "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" could be so funny!!

The day after her performance we got up bright and early for Breakfast with Santa at Grand America. The breakfast buffet is delicious (white hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows!) but the highlight of course is Santa and Mrs. Clause. In the middle of breakfast you hear the jingle jingle and then the two of them singing (and having everyone else join in) "Santa Clause is coming to Town". Pure magic!

After they come around to each little table we go into the next room for some one on one time to discuss matters.
Santa got specific requests: American Girl doll, with red curly hair, blue eyes and her ears pierced...let's hope she's been good!

Taking in all of the festive hotel.

We've had such a good month spending time with friends, family and just the three of us. Now let's hope for at least a little snow!

Merry Christmas!
(yeah, I was busy having too much holiday fun to do Christmas cards...so this is it!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Saturday morning we were treated to dancing sugarplums!
Another Christmas recital with Miss Julie and all of her darling dancers. The Toddler & Tiara episodes must be rubbing off on Lucy because she kept asking for more makeup and lipgloss...
sparkle baby!

I think this was our best recital yet. Lucy could not wait to get on stage and perform and she managed to situate herself center stage!

Wednesdays are all about two things: Miss Julie and Lucy's sweet friend Amelia. This is their third year together in dance and it's so fun to see how far they've come and how much they've grown!

Monday, December 12, 2011

happy birthday mom!

Yesterday my mom turned the big...6-0! On Saturday night we all got together for yummy Indian food at Bombay House, chocolate cake and to celebrate my mom.

Nani and my parents.

Caitlin and Brinton had a big announcement for all of us that night....

they booked their trip to Peru!
(waa, waa, waa)

Maybe by my sixtieth birthday they'll have the announcement I'm waiting for!

Caitlin made my mom the Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake it was delicious that night but so amazingly delicious the next morning for breakfast.

Happy birthday Mom! We love you!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Balboa bonanza!

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since we've been back from our trip. I thought about skipping a trip report post because 300+ pictures is daunting. But once I started looking at some of them and thinking about all of the fun we had I knew it must be documented. Enjoy...somehow I managed the patience to upload almost all 300 pictures in this post.

We found a darling house on Balboa Island (near Newport Beach) to rent for the week. We picked this house from the few pictures on vrbo which looked great but you never know what you really end up getting until you're there. Lucky for us it was even better and roomier than we thought. Each family had our own large room so we could retreat at the end of the night if we wanted to. But most of us stayed around the main living space.

My dreams came true when I saw our house had a Dutch door. I've loved these doors so much and almost every house on Balboa has one. It was one of my favorite parts of the house until the very last hour we were there and I hit my head on it and came thisclose to having Blake take me to the hospital...seriously. But it's still darling and I still want one for Christmas!

Balboa is the cutest, most quaint little village. Our house was right around the corner from Marine Avenue which is the main drag through the village. So we'd walk around the corner and pick up coffee, the best sweet rolls ever or a frozen treat at night. If you walked the opposite way from our front porch we were about 5 houses down from a little beach and marina area with a walkway that circles the entire island.

I love looking at houses and when you walk around the island every single house is different. From the tiniest bright yellow cottages to huge palatial villas - every walk we took I saw something else to fall in love with.
Between my sister and I we found plenty of yummy places to eat. Our first night we had delicious Mexican. I don't know if it was the combination of changing time zones (uh, 1 hour is all) and arriving on daylight savings but Lucy seemed to fall asleep in the middle of every dinner.

Our first full day we headed to some tide pools at a nearby beach. It was a beautiful day and we spent quite awhile exploring.

The whole family did one day at Disneyland and then Blake, Lucy and I went back for a second day to stand in line for characters and catch anything we missed. Ten minutes into our first day with the whole family and we ran into Snow White and Cinderella right next to the castle. A magical way to start the day!


Blake could spend all day doing the handful of thrill rides Disney has to offer. Our last three visits or so it's just been the 3 of us so he was thrilled to have a friend. Every chance they got Brinton and Blake were running to rides.

But only after us parade go-ers were properly supplied with cokes, corn dogs and popcorn to watch the best Disney parade ever! Every dream character of Lucy's was in this parade and we had perfect front row seats!

A shot of Toad for Coleman who couldn't make the trip :(

On Tuesday we decided to rent a Duffy boat and cruise around the island. This was at the top of my list of favorite things on our trip. We had a couple of hours to just cruise around all on our own - you don't have to do anything but pay to be able to rent a boat! Blake was very comfortable in his job as captain and we enjoyed lunch, gawking at homes, listening to good tunes on a sunny afternoon.

Wednesday brought the three of us back to Disneyland and there were more touches of Christmas all around the park. Go in November...it's the best!

Storybookland Boats...now one of Lucy's favorite.

Thursday was breakfast at Ruby's (I love you cinnamon roll french toast) and a beach day. Sand castles, chasing waves, reading and daydreaming.

Our hair is morphing into the same color/style.

Thursday night was a little crazy...Brinton had to head home a little early for work and couldn't get on a plane so he stayed at the airport for 9 hours until we picked him up. My dad and Blake headed to San Diego for a Chargers game and it took them like 7 hours to travel 120 miles away and missed half of the game and the four of us walked all over Fashion Island for our girls' night trying to find someplace to get seated to eat. Kind of a crazy night but we all made it back safe and sound and none of us punched each other out...success!

Brinton and Caitlin headed home Friday morning so my parents and us spent our last full day relaxing around Newport. Every time we're in that area we've driven by the Sherman Library & Gardens on PCH. I've always been intrigued and this time we stopped. Oh my gosh! This is such an amazing place and we spent a good chunk of time wandering and admiring the grounds.

A dream succulent garden.

The gardens were such a treat! Lucy felt like she was in an enchanted garden all to herself. It was like $3. to get in and again, another of my top moments.

To end the trip we had a dinner at The Crab Cooker. Lucy is terrified of crustaceans (lobsters, crabs) and she will scream like a hyena if we have to walk by them in the tank at Dan's - like hysterical scream. So of course we took her to Cooker and right past their case of crustaceans. Lucky for us she only squealed as she ran by but she did show us her crab face outside the restaurant. If you want to see something better than the crab face have Blake show you a video on his phone. On one of our beach days he found a dead crab and chased her around while she ran and screamed until she lost her breath. Blake of course laughed and filmed the whole thing...and that is why we are amazing parents!

Now that I've relived the whole trip....I'm ready to go back!