Goal #1: Learn new camera. I am loving my new Sony a350. It is easy to use but I have a lot to learn. I need to practice on NON-moving objects. It is so hard to shoot Alexa sometimes. I really need to take a couple of hours to myself and just take a ton of pictures and get really comfortable with it. The Chief took this photo of me taking a photo of Alexa.
Goal #2: Get sewing! I finally took out my sewing machine after a long time. Don't you just love my pink vintage sewing box? My mom found that for me at an antique store. I actually got my sewing machine for Christmas last year and have not used it much. I took a couple of classes and made a tote bag but oddly enough I really didn't learn much. I was teaching myself and then ran into some snags ( literally), got frustrated and stuck it under the table. Today I took it out, successfully fixed the problem and made a cute tissue cover and a little pillow for Alexa. It wasn't much but I felt good about moving forward.
Goal#3: See that laundry basket on the floor? It is full of Ebay stuff! I have two baskets full of items I want to sell on Ebay. Mostly it is clothes that Alexa wore ( or didn't even get a chance to wear). My plan is to sell it all in a few weeks then use all the money to buy her new clothes that I am lusting over on Etsy!
On Christmas Eve we went to my sister-in-law's house. Here are the kids in the backyard in a little box train that Aunt Kimmie made. My in-laws were also there. We had a fun casual night and were home early to get cookies out for Santa and get Peanut to bed.
Christmas morning started at 5:15 a.m. Alexa burst into our bedroom declaring "Santa was here and brought presents!!" My folks came over ( after an early morning wake up call) and we opened presents. Afterwards we made a big breakfast of Eggs Benedict, hash brown casserole and sausage, biscuits and gravy...yum! My folks went home and we played all day with our new toys ( I got my much anticipated new camera... a Sony DSLR a350 ). Later in the afternoon we went to my folks house for dinner. My mom made a delicious dinner and we all chilled out. It was a day filled with magic, laughter and great memories. We all agreed it was our Best Christmas Ever!
We got an extra Christmas gift yesterday...SNOW! We live in AZ so this just really does not happen very often. Our house is up in the mountains off the Valley floor at 3600 ft. so our weather is colder ( great in the hot summers) so every year that we have lived here this happens once. Alexa, my mom and I were actually down in the Valley and were heading home when the Chief called and said "it was snowing...hurry up" ( it doesn't last long). We rushed home, got bundled up and ran outside. Alexa and the Chief built a snowman while I took pictures...with my NEW camera. It was really fun and Alexa had a blast!
We are enjoying all the excitement leading up to Christmas. Alexa has really gotten into all the festivities this year and it has been so fun to watch her and share in her joy. We saw Santa today at the mall and she wanted NOTHING to do with that guy. I hope she doesn't have nightmares about him coming down the chimney and into our house tomorrow night. We sent him a letter this year so he would know what she was wishing for. She is under great distress trying to keep our gifts a secret. She so badly wants to tell us what we got for the other. She let one slip the other day to me and as soon as it was out of her mouth and she saw my face she immediately burst into tears. I told her not to worry that I would not tell Daddy that she told me my gift. I think she will be relieved when it's all out in the open. : ) Tomorrow night after we get home from my sister-in-law's house I need to wrap all her gifts yet. The only thing that she really wanted was Spike the Dinosaur. I can't wait to see her face when she opens it.
This is such a great age and I love seeing it all through her eyes. What a gift she is!
Today Alexa and I baked Christmas cookies. We started at 10:00 and finished at 3:00. I am sure that I burned more calories than I ate today. Five hours of baking! It was fun though. My mom came over for a couple of hours and pitched in. We made 5 different varieties of goodies. Here we are making Mexican Wedding Balls ( gluten free). I have Celiac's Disease which means no flour/wheat for me, so I try and make things that I can eat too. I did make regular Sugar Cookies for Robert and Alexa. When we were rolling the dough Alexa said " Mom, we're making meatballs." We also made fudge, peanut butter chocolate rice krispies, and peanut clusters. I'm too tired to take a picture of all of them so just take my word for it. ; )
Saturday was my niece Olivia's birthday party at the skating rink. Alexa was super excited to skate for the first time. I put the skates on her and off she went. Aunt Kimmie and I skated with her a bit, then we went and got her one of these red walkers. She really didn't care for that thing too much and after a bit was skating on her own back and forth to me and her Aunts. She did really well and even tried a little jump before we got off the ice. ( She told me in the car that she was going to try that...she is a hoot and I really didn't take her seriously...guess I should from now on.)
With Aunt Kimmie. The quality of the photos is not good. It is tough to be moving on skates and take pictures, especially when you don't know how to skate. ; )
Today was our last( hopefully) day of Christmas shopping. Alexa and I went out together and our plan was for her to pick something out for Robert ( and pay for it with her piggybank $), get the dogs their stocking stuffers and then go out to lunch. Our first stop was Walgreens ( lucky Robert) where Alexa chose her gift for Robert, after me spending 10 minutes explaining to her that no, she may not buy lip gloss today with her money. Then it was off to Petsmart which was quite the fun time. Alexa got the biggest kick out of the gerbils there, she was actually screaming with delight. ( no, she is not getting a gerbil for Christmas!) Then we went to Target for PaPa's gift and a few odds and ends. It was pouring down rain the entire day but we didn't care. We never get any sort of weather here so we thought it was great to splash in the puddles and get wet. Last was lunch at Island Burgers. Going out to lunch with Alexa is like eating with a girlfriend. She is great company and we have been doing lunch together since she was pretty small. After we sat down in our booth she looks at me and says, " So, we can talk now." She cracks me up. Love her!!!!
Alexa decorating her little tree...that thing is loaded! She made the star for the top and cut it out then found a clothes pin to attach it to the tree. I love this pink dress on her, it's so girly and festive.
Our tree is in our family room. We don't have a lot of space so we have a slim 9ft. tree. We have a red star on top that you can't see. I still have Alexa's stocking that says "Baby's First Christmas". I really need to get her a new one after they all go on sale after Christmas. Each dog has their own stocking too. Alexa and I are going to go shopping this week so she can pick out a dog toy for each one. I just love the tree all lit up at night.
Alexa and Isabella, who is our friend's granddaughter
Alexa harassing boys she does not even know.
With Papa watching the parade. PohPoh is over to the left there trying to get out of the photo.
Plugging her ears when the marching band went by.
The Chief in the parade. Isn't he cute?
Last night was the Christmas Parade of Lights in Carefree. Two of our fire trucks were in the parade. The guys decorated them with lights and they looked really great. I wasn't able to get any really good shots, it's tough to shoot while you are holding a 30 pound child wearing a fur vest in your arms! Alexa was so excited to see her Daddy in the parade.
We are back from Sin City. I accomplished 4 out of 5 of my plans and added one miscellaneous ;) I did not managed breakfast in bed but sure enjoyed a lot of good food. We had fun and actually relaxed with is basically an oxymoron in Vegas. We did not stay up late and instead took advantage of the incredible bed at the Wynn, some quiet and no little one waking us up at the crack of dawn. The highlight of the trip for me was the most incredible massage I have ever had. I decided prior to the trip that I was going to treat myself. I never do stuff like this for myself, and as all you moms know we usually take care of everyone else before taking care of ourselves. I think it is so vital to recharge the batteries every so often. So after choosing my massage and paying what amounted to two weeks of groceries, I got naked and got ready for 80 minutes of pure relaxation. If you ever stay at the Wynn I highly recommend the Arabian massage. Oh my goodness. At one point I almost started crying... seriously it was like I finally let go and was just in the moment. I have some self admitted control issues and for me to clear my mind is really tough. At the beginning I was actually laying there thinking, " Hmmm, what am I supposed to tip her?, Am I going to shower in the spa or go up to my room?, What time do I have to get up in the morning?" etc... It's insane. Finally, I was like "Okay, for what I am paying I better enjoy every freakin moment of this." Once I let go it was pure bliss. I am still feeling the positive effects today so I know it was much needed. So, Vegas was a success and we were very excited to see Peanut when we got back home. : )
This is what we used to look like before becoming parents...note...we do not look like this now, but....for the next three days I am going to pretend that we are still wild and crazy as we whoop it up in Vegas! We are off Tuesday morning for a much needed break. Since Feb. 2006 we have literally been away from Alexa one time when we went up to Sedona for a night. We haven't even been out to dinner alone, only lunch twice, but who's counting. ; ) My folks are going to watch Alexa which is awesome for everyone. My plans for the next 3 days are...spa treatment, breakfast in bed, sleep, video poker and liquor..just kidding about the last one, well not really. ; )
Today my mom, Alexa and I went to see The Velveteen Rabbit at the Tempe Center for the Arts. It is an amazing place to see children's theater and this was our second play we have attended. It has this really cool back patio with fire and water and I had about 10 minutes before the show to shoot Alexa. I loved the industrial feel to the backdrop and could have spent all afternoon there taking photographs. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a uncooperative subject today. She was not in the mood to give me what I wanted with the smiles but I did get some cool shots. I am also still shooting with my point and shoot and cannot wait to get my new camera for Christmas!
Amy, we've created a monster....a Smashbox monster! ; )
Working the bows...and the gloss.
We were super excited!
It was actually cold in AZ tonight so I got to wear my boots!
I love this picture.
Tonight was the Celtic Thunder Concert that we have been waiting months to see. They are a group of 4 Irishmen and 1 Scott and my parents discovered them first on PBS. When Alexa and I were on the farm this summer we got hooked too. If you ever get a chance to see them, they are really fantastic. Alexa and I always listen to the CD in the car and she knows all the songs. She was really excited tonight for her first real concert. She took a two hour nap this afternoon since she knew she would be up way past her bedtime. The concert didn't start till 8:00 and she usually goes to bed at 7:00. She was the youngest person at the show by far and as usual people were quite taken with her( which she hates). She really enjoyed the music, knows all 5 guys by name and liked to give a little scream for her favorite numbers. She fell asleep with 3 songs left to go in the show. It was a really fun night with my folks too. Robert couldn't make it because he was home with the stomach flu...oh yes, the bug visited us this Thanksgiving. I spent all of Wednesday sick in bed...well let's clarify that by saying "sick and wanting to be in bed". I felt worse as the day and night went on and by late Wednesday it felt like a bus ran over me. I was so worried about being sick on Thanksgiving ( thank goodness I was not hosting but I was cooking so I needed to be functioning) that I was stressed on top of it. I managed to get up Thursday morning and cook/bake most of what I was supposed to, shower, get Alexa dressed and myself and get over to my parents. Then 2 minutes after we sat down to eat, Robert gets up and announces that he is sick, grabs the car keys and leaves immediately. I managed to eat a little, Alexa had no interest in eating which is rare for her. Finally my mom just looked at me and said " Why don't you guys just go home." So my dad drove us home and that was Thanksgiving. Robert is still recuperating and thank goodness Alexa did not get the worst of it. I am feeling much better and I hope we are all back to normal tomorrow.
I am a fortysomething mom of an amazing daughter that we adopted in 2006 from Hubei China. Alexa is 10 years old and lights up our lives everyday. I am married to my best friend, have 3 crazy dogs and love my life near the beach. We are soaking up life in CA in our new home and welcome you into our piece of paradise.