Merry Christmas to all. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. It was quite fun for us this year because of Annabelle. She loved opening her presents, especially once she realized that all of them were new toys for her. I had a tough time convincing her that Santa brought presents for other people as well, and not all of the gifts were hers. Here's a few pictures and videos from the last few days. This first video is one of my favorites. Annabelle is the horse and her one-year old cousin gets a ride. Michael's dad got a Wii for his birthday last month and here is Annabelle and Michael playing on it together. Annabelle's new favorite activity- jumping off the stairs. She's such a daredevil.
Since this year Annabelle understands who Santa Clause is, I thought that it was about time she met him. Santa came to the library last night, so we went and stood in line to get a picture with him. I think I was more excited than Annabelle. I love this time of year and having a picture of Annabelle on Santa's lap just makes Christmas even more enjoyable. After waiting in line for 20 minutes and being totally excited to see him, Annabelle freaked out when it was her turn. She wouldn't even look at him. Thankfully, she didn't cry or scream, she just ducked her head and tried to stay as close to me as possible. But once I told her we were leaving, she decided Santa was a good enough guy and she looked at him and even gave him a high five. This is so silly, but as we were walking away from Santa, I almost started crying because I was so disappointed that she wouldn't sit on his lap. I'm totally blaming the crying spell on the pregnancy. It was such a small thing to get worked up over, but I couldn't help but get all excited about Annabelle seeing Santa for the first time.
To make me feel better, we then decorated a gingerbread house. Well, mostly I decorated while Annabelle snacked on the treats meant for decorations. After a few minutes of this, I was totally under control and pretty embarrassed over my reaction to Annabelle meeting Santa Clause, and I think it was still a good evening overall.
Last week, Annabelle and I were at the library and she decided she wanted to check out a new DVD entitled, "Dora the Explorer Summer Adventure". I tried to get Annabelle to watch that show on tv several months ago, but with no success. Then, out of the blue, she picks it out from the library and now is completely obsessed with it. Nothing is better than Dora right now, which I guess is okay because it's an educational show, but it's weird how this obsession came on so fast. Here is a video of Annabelle singing and dancing along to one of the songs from the movie.
Saturday, I was gone for most of the day and and came home at about 5:00 to find this: I guess Annabelle decided that she wanted to take a nap in the corner of her room, which is unusual for the obvious reason of wanting to sleep in the corner, but also because she rarely takes naps anymore at all. So Michael helped her get comfortable and she did indeed take a nap, although I had to wake her up as soon as I found her because it was way too late for her to be sleeping. As I expected due to her late nap, after I put her to bed that night, she ended up talking to herself until well after 10 before finally falling asleep.
I have been teaching piano for several years, but last week was the first time that I had a recital for my students. All eight performed songs in front of family and friends. I am so proud of each of them.
The recital was held at my house and it took a few days get the house ready to accommodate 30+ people. But I am so happy with the way the evening went. All my students played excellently and even Michael showed off talents. He and I played a duet together. It was a very fun and rewarding evening for me and I am so grateful for the opportunity I get to teach piano. I am always so proud to see the progress my students are making.
Even though it was only about 15 degrees yesterday with the fierce winter wind blowing, Michael braved the cold and put up our Christmas lights. He had to come in the house every few minutes just to get some of the numbness out of his hands, but he did it! We may put up more lights this weekend, but it they won't be nearly as difficult. Just to help illustrate how cold it is, today I took a picture of a snowman that was built at a neighbor's house almost 2 weeks ago. It looks exactly the same today as it did the day it was built. Not a single bit of snow has melted off it. Yikes! And Annabelle wore her "Christmas" dress to church today. I got several compliments of how cute she looked. I couldn't quite capture the cuteness in these pictures, but oh well.
I have been wearing glasses since I was in the 5th grade. As a freshman in high school, I finally switched over to contacts. I hated wearing glasses and so for the past 10 + years, I would only wear them when I got up in the morning or late at night after I had removed my contacts. I've never had a pair of glasses that looked okay on me. Now, almost 11 years later, I have finally gotten a new pair of glasses that I might actually wear outside in public. I found a website that was having a sale on their glasses, plus a buy-one-get-one-free deal. I went through the glasses and found two pairs that I liked. The only problem is you couldn't try them on and see how they looked on you. But the website had this cool feature where you update a picture of your face to the computer and it puts glasses on you in the picture so you can see how they'll look. I finally decided it was worth getting new glasses and so for a total of $23.98, I was able to have two new eye glass frames with my updated lens prescription in them shipped to my house. What do you think?
Since Thanksgiving is now over, I am in full force Christmas mode. The day after we got back from Thanksgiving vacation, I had the Christmas tree out and Annabelle and I had a blast decorating it. Annabelle is now old enough to understand some parts of Christmas, especially the lights. She loves to look at all of our neighbor's lights around their house.
However, we are a little behind in our own lights. I think we might have missed the ideal time to put up lights (pre-Thanksgiving). Michael went out to see if he could do a little bit last night, but found a thick layer of ice on the edge of the shingles, right where the hooks that hold the lights need to go. And the temperature doesn't look like the high will be much above freezing for the next few weeks at least, so it looks like the ice may be here for a while. Hopefully, we'll get something up around the house before Christmas. (And just so people can appreciate what it's like here, at 10:00 am this morning, it was 5 degrees outside, with the high of 23 degrees today.)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We got the spend some quality time with Michael's parents and brother. We enjoyed an awesome Thanksgiving dinner (thanks, Cynthia), pickleball (well, everyone else did. I chose to sit on the sidelines and watch), swimming (indoor pool, obviously), some quality family time playing the new Wii Robert got for his birthday which was also last week, and of course, some BYU vs Utah football, which we fortunately were able to win on overtime.
I have this thing about cleaning my house before going on vacation. I love coming home to a clean house. If it's messy, the homecoming isn't as nice. So to prepare for our trip for Thanksgiving, this morning, I removed all the chairs from the kitchen so I could clean the floor. While I was busy, Annabelle was also busy. When I first looked over to see what she was doing, here is what I saw: A few minutes later, I look over at her again and see this: She had strapped herself into her seat and was walking around. It was pretty funny to see. She walked around like that for probably 20 minutes before unstrapping herself. It's a sad day for part of our lawn. As I was shoveling the sidewalk around the side of our house yesterday, I saw that there was a strip of lawn that had been totally ripped up. It looks like the work of a snow plow, but we'll never know for sure. We just put that lawn in this summer and now it is totally destroyed. Here are some pictures of the mess. Who knows what this part of the lawn will look like next summer.
Now on to part 2 of the update. Michael's law firm rented a billboard space a few months ago and had a large sign that included a picture of two of the firm's lawyers . Well, that has now been replaced with a sign that features four of the attorneys, including my wonderful husband. His face is there staring at you as you wait at a stop light on the busiest street in town. It's a rather large sign and can be seen for blocks. Pretty cool, huh? The firm's new office is currently being built, and the attorneys are excited to make their final move to the new office next spring (they've already been in two seperate office spaces in the last year).
Today, Annabelle and I braved the lines to get the swine flu vaccine. Two of my students canceled their lessons this month becaused they had swine flu. It's been going around here a lot and I know many people that have contracted the virus, and being pregnant, I am very concerned that I (and Annabelle) are as protected as possible. Last week, Annabelle was sick, but I don't think it was swine flu. I am so grateful that Michael and I didn't get sick as well (knock on wood). We are both so busy, it would be the absolute worst time to get really sick. I am so happy to report that we were at the clinic a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes. The workers were really organized and it wasn't nearly as bad as I know other people have had it. But Annabelle has to get a second shot so we'll be doing this again in a month and I hope we have a very similar experience.
Today, I purchased our first snow shovel and some snow boots for Annabelle. While I shoveled the driveway, she had fun playing out in the snow, until her hands became cold and then she wouldn't have any more of the snow. I brought her in crying, put on a show, and let her warm up while I finished. And don't worry, I didn't do anything that a pregnant woman shouldn't do. I mistly pushed the snow off the driveway rather than shoveled it. This week, we are traveling to Michael's parents' house for Thanksgiving and because I'll be gone, I've had to reschedule my students to make up for the missed week of lessons. I am really looking forward to this week where I don't have to do much but enjoy time with family.
A strange phenomenon happens every year at this time. I absolutely love the months of November and December. I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas so much and love the holiday spirit that can be felt. However, every year, time seems to speed up and go twice as fast when I want it to slow down so I can savor all the wonderful things that come at this time of year. But once again, time as sped up and I see it's been awhile since I last updated my blog. I try not to let more than a week pass before posting a new blog entry, but this month has been so busy that I haven't had time to do much of any of my hobbies. This entry will be split into two parts and will recap the last 3 weeks of our lives.
Today, we had the first real snowfall of the season and I think from now on, we'll be seeing mostly white around town for many months to come. We have not purchased a snow shovel yet and so we could not join our many neighbors who were out shoveling their driveways and sidewalks after church. But our neighbors were so kind that they came and shoveled our house for us without being asked. It was so heart-warming to see such service on our little street. A little after we moved here, I decided I wanted to start teaching piano again and joined a music group in the area. The group puts on a music festival every spring and fall where students of the members of the group are invited to perform two memorized pieces as well as some technique exercises in front of a judge who then gives them a score rating their performance. Yesterday was the Fall Music Festival and I had one of my students participate. It was her first time as well as mine. She spent hours over the last several weeks practicing her songs until they were perfect. As she came out of the judging room (which I was not allowed to enter), I couldn't have been more proud her for participating in such an event. I know she was nervous, but regardless of her score, I knew she had performed her best. Later, I picked up the sheet that contained her score. Imagine how I felt when I saw that my wonderful, hard-working student had received a perfect score. It is one of the best feelings ever to see your students succeed and I know this student of mine will go far in not only piano, but life as well. Here she is performing in the foyer of the building after she was finished with her judge. What nicely curved fingers and good posture, eh? To end this first half of the update, I had to post some cute pictures of Annabelle in one of her new winter dresses. I bought it a few weeks ago,but waited until now to actually have her wear it. She has been looking forward to wearing it ever since she saw it. It also came with an identical dress to fit a doll, which I found hilarious. Annabelle doesn't have a doll that would fit the dress, but it was still funny to think of Annabelle and a doll wearing matching dresses. I guess I should also mention that after 2 1/2 years, Annabelle got her first real haircut last week. Her hair is such a beautiful color and so soft that I couldn't bear to cut any of it off (other than the one time last year where I tried to trim her bangs and did a terrible job). Her hair was halfway down her back and very uneven. I figured I could cut of maybe an inch and kind of even it out. Now keep in mind that I have only attempted to cut someone else's hair a couple of times and none of them them worked out the way they were supposed to. Anyway, I am actually quite pleased with the outcome and must say that it looks pretty good. Thank goodness!
Lately, Annabelle has been listening to Disney songs and absolutely loves them. Even if she hasn't seen the movie, she now knows almost all the songs and loves to sing and dance to them. She's pretty good about dancing by herself, but quite often, she wants me to dance with her, which I would normally love to do. However, lately, I have had less energy and am starting to get to the awkward stage of pregnancy where you're big enough that even the smallest tasks become difficult. Anyway, here is a video of Annabelle dancing, which you'll see consists of just moving her feet around as fast as she can. I join in during the last part of the video with pretty pitiful dancing moves. Hopefully, no one will hold that against me.
A few weeks ago, our friends came over and we made an awesome tent. It was even tall and big enough for me to get in with my big belly. We enjoyed playing with Annabelle's play tea set and snacked on a crackers. And the best part, it entertained the kids for an entire afternoon. =)
Does anyone else feel like October went by really fast? I can't believe it was Halloween last night and now we're into November. Anyway, we had a fabulous Halloween. Annabelle has been so excited to wear her princess dress. One of the first things we did after we got up yesterday morning was put curlers in Annabelle's hair. I think she inherited my hair that's as straight as can be and doesn't hold curl very well. This was only the second time I had tried to curl her hair and the first time it worked for about 3 hours and then the curl was gone. Anyway, I hoped that she would have a curly head of hair in time for trick-or-treating. Surprisingly, the curlers stayed in miraculously well for most of the day, even during some rough housing with Michael. However, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I checked one of the curlers to see if it was curling Annabelle's hair and it was a little bit, but not enough that it would stay in for very long. I proceeded to take out the curlers and use my curling iron to curl her hair and then immediately pin each curl with a bobby pin. After using tons of hairspray all over her pinned head, I decided there wasn't much else I could do and hoped it would turn out.
Soon after I finished curling Annabelle's head, Michael returned from doing some errands with some great news. A few weeks ago, I blogged about a rooftop antenna we purchased that didn't work. We wanted to return it and most of the other equipment we bought with it, but had lost the receipt. Hoping that we could somehow return it anyway, Michael left for the store and returned home announcing that they had taken everything back and given us a full refund! This made our Halloween even better as we were over $200 richer.
Later after dinner, it was time to get ready for trick-or-treating. Annabelle was so excited to finally be able to put on her princess dress, she could barely hold still. I gave her a little bit of blush and lipstick, and then couldn't delay the inevitable any longer. It was time to take out the pins and see if she had curly hair. Right away, I could tell that we were going to have success. The curls were beautiful! I was so excited, probably more excited than Annabelle. She was to most beautiful princess ever. As you can see from the video, she just would not hold still for pictures. She just loved to twirl in and admire her princess dress. It took a few doors before she figured out she was supposed to say, "trick or treat" at each door, but she caught on fairly quickly that if she said it, she'd get some candy. We had some friends come over and the wife and her almost one-year old son (who was the most adorable turtle) went out with Annabelle and me, while the husbands stayed home and passed out candy, while watching some football. We went at a slow pace and only hit 3 streets, but we were gone for over an hour. It was so much fun and I have no doubt that Annabelle loved her first real Halloween.