Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Irony of ironies, I didn't post a Thankful Thursday last week on Thanksgiving...  I spent the day instead with those for whom I am very thankful.

This week, I am thankful:

--that I have a flexible schedule.  Here I am awake at 2 am blogging and Shutterflying.  Bella woke up after being asleep about an hour--since I was up, I let her play a little more instead of fighting her back to sleep.  And we'll sleep as late as we need to tomorrow. thankful.

--for the kids in our youth group.  I know I post this on basically every thankful Thursday post; but since it always follows my Wednesday nights with them, they are in the forefront of my mind and heart.  They're passion and wisdom exceed their years.  The Spirit moves in them and they let Him--and it's just awesome.

--that my mom came to stay with me Monday night and keep Bella while I worked Tuesday.  Not only that, but she stayed up with Bella when she woke up in the middle of the night so I could get some sleep before working the next day (and she folded my laundry in the middle of the night--say wha?!).  She was a huge help and I'm very grateful.  Plus the chance to visit was nice.

--for sweet tea.  When I was in Kansas City, it was very hard to come by.  Sweet tea is my coffee--it's a must have.

--that Hunter and I have both found hobbies which we love.  No more flopping and looking for something fun to do.  I do crafts, he does guns.

--for Christmas music.  I don't know why I love it so, but I do.

--for Fresh Balsalm candles from Bath & Body Works.  It was hard for me to give in and get an artificial tree (finding the perfect real tree was always a big deal for me and my dad...I didn't want to give up my real tree...).  Those candles help my house still smell like Christmas to me.

--for Chocolate Chip Peppermint Shakes from Chick-Fil-A!  Yumm-O.

Be thankful, and share your gratitude!

love, angie

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kansas City, here we come

Now that I've gotten the Google storage issue solved (even though I had to pay for more storage in order to upload any more pictures...), I can finally post again!  Pesky picture problems.

The week before Thanksgiving, AJ and I flew up to spend the week with my sister in Kansas City.   I was thoroughly dreading flying with a one year old, but she flew free so it was the best time to take her.

Southwest got more of our respect during this flight, and probably most of our business from here on out (as long as our destinations are available through them).  Hunter was holding Bella as we went to check in and print our boarding passes, and the lady said she just couldn't bare to see him have to put her down.  So she printed him a security pass so that he could come wait at the gate with us (warning us that this was not something that would normally happen and possibly never again). This was such a huge blessing and help!  We were able to squeeze in a little extra time with our boy before we left--and I had help with our one year old in the airport for an hour...  So we sat at BWW, visited, and watch A&M beat Bama, haha!  Great way to start our trip.

She really was a superb flyer--on the way up, we had a bench of three seats all to ourselves which was unbelievably wonderful.  She played with everyone around us and never got fussy.  On the way home, the flight was completely full...  We luckily were seated with a grandma, so we were able to get some extra loving patience.  However, we were so cramped.  Plus it was nap time (and yay for having a child who will not sleep being held if she can do anything to prevent it...).  She still did really well; it just took a lot more creativity and patience from me to keep her occupied.  But she's becoming quite the little pro :)

That week was our getaway.  It was really slow paced (even though it went by incredibly fast) and allowed us to get some rest.  We played here and there, shopped here and there, and capped it off with a weekend in Branson.  It was a great trip--we love visiting Aunt Chelle!

little diva learning how to shop

 she loved playing in the leaves--such a different world than what she's used to down here

One of the little girls my sister keeps.  The first picture was taken during our visit up there in January; the second was taken during this trip.  It's amazing the difference 10 months can make.

getting her grub on at Cracker Barrel--and hamming it up for the people sitting around us :)

spent one evening at Bass Pro--talk about cheap entertainment.  we played with the fish, examined all of the animals, drove the boats, looked at the lights...we could have stay there for hours.  her eyes were wide and mouth open most of the time we were there :)  just so much cool stuff to see!

we also got to see Santa while we were at Bass Pro!  Bella was just a little star, acting like she was best friends with him.  she sat in his lap and rubbed his furry outfit, looked up at him and grinned, looked at the camera ladies and smiled off and on, all without a single whimper or tear.  I was so excited it was a pleasant experience!  and when we got her back and off to the side, she repeated "Santa" and "ho ho ho" for the first time.  such a rock star.

being cute at the zoo.  she absolutely loved the animals and got so excited when they would move.  the orangutans were especially interested in the girls and the kangaroos did not like us (they pretty much chased us out of their area...not cool, pretty scary).  she also liked the birds and the polar bear.

we brought a friend to the zoo with us!  they were so sweet snuggled up in that stroller side by side.  

she was such a big girl on that carousel.  sat right up there and held on like she knew what she was doing.  all smiles the whole way around :)

becoming snowladies at Christmas village

waiting in line for the train...and then on the train.  baby girl was wiped out.  we got on the train around 5 and that was the first she had slept since she woke up at 7:30 that morning.  she was so mesmerized by the lights and the people that she couldn't sleep (but was still very pleasant).  but as soon as that train started moving she was out like a light.

she's the cutest little prisoner I've ever seen...

aunt chelle being a good sport and riding the frogs with the tot and J :)  it was one of the few rides she was big enough to ride, and she loved it.  she cried when they stopped!

Merry Christmas!

love, angie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ladybug birthday...

just about a month late...

Life has been incredibly crazy around here the past 6 weeks, but I do want to take the time now (before the holiday bustle make things even crazier!) to tell you a little about our sweet little girl's first birthday party.

From the time we found out that we were having a girl, my husband has declared her his "little lady".  He said she wouldn't be a "princess" or "angel"--he specifically called and continues to refer to her as his little lady.  And ever since she was born, she's been my bug.  So as I sat a few months back thinking of what to do for her first birthday, these two nicknames kept rolling around in my head until it hit me--ladybugs.

I didn't want to go all out and be obnoxious about her first party because she's too little to really know what's going on.  But as I've told my husband from day 1, that party was really for me.  Your babies only turn 1 once, and more specifically, your first babies only turn 1 once--so we I had to splurge a little, right?

It was mostly family and a few close friends, which was fabulous.  Two of my close friends have sons only a few months younger than Arabella, so she had some people her size to play with.  Plus, all of the cousins were here, so we were actually pretty high on the kid quota for a first birthday party.

We had the party in our backyard (which would have been 100% perfect if the only windy cold front we've gotten all Fall had not come that weekend...) and moseyed between there and the living room.  We grilled hamburgers and visited for a long time.

Here's a little photo breakdown (you ready for this overload...)

Let's start with this card from her daddy... Melts. My. Heart. 

Goodie bags for her friends to take home--red lunch bags, nametags--Top Note Sizzix Die (Stampin' Up!), ladybug stickers, painted clothespins.

I printed out ladybug coloring pages and also included crayons, mini playdoh, a balloon, a red JUMBO straw, and a ladybug M&M tube in each bag.

I printed out pictures of Bella with each of our family members and attached nametags (Stampin' Up! decorative label punch) with their "Bella nickname" on them.

I found black Solo cups at Walmart (Halloween score!) and used red washi tape and ladybug stickers to add a spot to write people's names on them as well as add a little color and pop.

I ordered these fun plates on Amazon and found the painted wooden ladybugs at Hobby Lobby.

I created large ladybugs using posterboard and cut out black dots for the kids to stick to them (the idea was for them to be blindfolded for that, but most of them didn't was still a cute activity for them though)

Wooden ladybugs from Walmart that I painted and then attached letters cut out with the Cricut.  You would know that all of the Walmart stores around here were out of them the month leading up to her birthday (I bought these five a month before the party and couldn't find anymore in any of our stores).  But when I went yesterday, I looked for them just for kicks, and whaddya know?  Fully restocked!  Of course... 

I painted clothespins red and then used a Q-tip to paint the black dots on them.  These hung the pictures on twine that was draped down our fence.  I used the Cricut to cut out month markers (newborn-12) and organized printed pictures for a visual growth/life timeline.

I also ordered these cute dessert plates on Amazon.  The O-N-E came from Hobby Lobby, and I used them to take pictures of her on her actual birthday (I'll post them at the bottom of the post).  The middle basket on the top holds the ladybug M&M tubes (red tubes with black vinyl dots adhered and a strip that said "Bella Bug's 1st Birthday").  I also made ladybug cookies and rice crispie treats.  The cookies are a simple rolled sugar cookie recipe (I used our drinking glasses to cut the circles) with dyed Betty Crocker icing; the dots are Hershey's drops and the eyeballs I found in the cake decorating section at Walmart (I also made enough of these for the kids to decorate their own ladybugs, but we had too much going on and my nieces and nephew did that after everyone else left).  For the rice crispie treats:  I made them as normal, adding black food coloring at the end (before pouring onto cereal) for the heads, and strawberry Koolaid at the end (again, before pouring; be sure to dissolve completely) for the bodies.  I used a champagne flute to cut out the bodies after they had set.  I used the same champagne flute to cut out the black parts, but cut it into four pieces and then molded each one onto a body piece.  Squeezable black icing made the dots on their backs.

Finally--my six year old niece was in charge of laying out the wooden ladybugs and daisies...

My husband's cousin's wife made her cake, and it turned out so cute!

 Bella's smash cake 

Oh, hey Jax!  You're my friend...

Only family picture we got that day...gotta love the big glare...

She is quite the master opener of the presents.  It didn't take her long to figure out that process.

I could get used to this getting spoiled thing...

(How is it possible that the camera was always able to catch me making the oddest expressions...? Gracious.)

Finally.  Let me at it...

She squished, and squished, and squished.  She wouldn't eat it unless someone fed it to her; she just wanted to play with it.


Oh, I will give you a bite!

She's just beautiful; even covered in cake and icing and mess.

Yay for best friends coming to play with us!  Love our Sassers :)

It was a lot more work than I had originally planned it to be, but it was worth it.  First birthday parties are really for the mamas anyway, let's be honest.

Here's to many more years of blessed adventure with this sweet ladybug.

love, angie