Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Birthday Girl!!

The long awaited day (February 20th) finally arrived and Abby could not have been more excited. My parents arrived in Maryland the day before her birthday so it was fun to be able to celebrate Abby's big day with them. Jason took the day off from work so we took the whole posse to bring her lunch at school (McDonalds...what a treat!!) When she got home from school, we opened presents and then went out to dinner at her favorite restaurant, Golden Corral (she was so excited to eat there because as she said it, "She would finally get full!" I didn't know my little darling was starving with Mom's cooking!)

She also opened up the Elsa dress that my Mom had made for her. My mom had bought the cheaper looking version of the dress and then added on to it to make it a lot fancier. The wig also added a nice touch and she was excited to wear it for her friends the next day at her birthday party.

Jason's parents and sister Jennifer arrived late Thursday night and we were excited that they could share Abby's party and baptism with us. I was thrilled when Abby chose "Frozen" as her birthday theme this year. It fit perfectly with her February birthday, especially after the harsh winter we have endured this year. It was just a really fun theme to work with and I had a blast putting all of it together.

Here were the invitations...(we also included an invitation to her baptism the next day.)
Before her guests arrived, she entertained us all with various renditions of "Let it Go."

Complete with actions...


And the grand finale!!

As each girl arrived in "Arendelle" that evening, she was given a "VIP Pass" that would allow her access to all the games, activities, and food at the party!

We did our best to create our own little "Arendelle"...

Abby was thrilled with the "Frozen" landscape when she arrived home from school that day and was anxious for all of her friends to arrive. 

She invited 11 friends and all of them were able to come. We made snowflake bracelets, painted ice pictures with Epsom salt, drew snowmen while wearing blindfolds, threw snowballs through Olaf's mouth, played "Cold Feet" (putting on as many pairs of socks as possible in 30 seconds...this one was a huge hit), and a few other games to round out the festivities.

Here is the Olaf game (I drew this freehand and it was probably the thing I was most proud of!!)


We then ended the evening with opening presents during her "coronation ceremony" (my mom bought her the crown and wand to add to the "coronation" vibe)...

And then had cupcakes for everyone...

Each girl was then able to create her own goodie bag filled with treats from the candy table...

It was such a fun party and the girls all had a great time. It was also wonderful to have five extra adults around to help out with games, food, and controlling 12 little girls all evening.

It was a great way to celebrate Abby's BIG 8th Birthday!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Almost Baptism Time!

The week before Abby's baptism, we took some pictures of her in her baptismal dress in our backyard. It just happened to be snowing that day which made for an ideal "white background." She made up all of these poses herself. What a sweet little lady!!
(Sidenote: I ordered this white dress from because I loved that it was long-sleeved but when it arrived, I was really disappointed with the poor quality of it overall. Abby is pretty small for her size (wears a size 6 normally) but the size Large (size 8) seemed to be too small for her. It was also very thin and could not be worn without a slip for her actual baptism. I searched high and low for a child's slip, but soon realized that nobody around here sells them. Finally I went to Burlington Coat Factory and found a beautiful white dress (sleeveless of course, but with a nice sweater to got over it) for the same price as the previous dress and I went ahead and bought it. I figured this may be my only little girl with "three white dresses" and I didn't want to be disappointed in her baptismal one!! She LOVED her new dress and I learned my lesson about buying clothes online!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The winter that never ends...

As much as I am ready for Spring, the kids have sure enjoyed all the snow we have had this year. We have had 9 snow days total (we have made up one day by going to school on President's Day) which is crazy to me. Most of the snow has been 2-3 inches (not school cancellation worthy in my book) but last week we got dumped with 14 inches of powdery snow goodness! Nolan and I prefer to enjoy the snow from the comforts of home, but Jason took the kids to the hills by our church building last Saturday and got in some good sledding action with the kids. I think the pictures speak for themselves on how much fun the kids had that day!

You have been fun snow, but I think you've overstayed your welcome just a bit. 
I'm ready for some warmer temperatures now!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lover's Holiday

A major snowstorm blew threw our area on the day before Valentine's Day, cancelling school on both Thursday and Friday. Fortunately the roads were all cleared by Friday night so Jason and I could attend our ward's Valentine's activity. Jason was in charge of activities and music while I did the couple pictures so we were kept pretty busy that night, but it was still a fun way to bring in the holiday. 

We even got a fun little picture of us at the photo booth!

Since school was cancelled on Friday, the kids had their Valentine's parties on the following Monday. I was fortunate to be able to volunteer at both of them. Here is Abby with her two best friends (Amanda and Sydney). These girls are all in the same class, all live in our neighborhood,

and all have birthdays within a week of each other. I think their friendship was meant to be!!

Here is Landon doing what he does best, scarfing down some sugar!!

Valentine's Day in Elementary School is such a fun holiday. You get notes and candy from everyone in your class and your family treats you to some extra special love that day too!
We did do a fun tradition this year of writing love notes to each other starting on February 1. At our family dinner on the 14th, we each took turn reading our notes and the kids were grinning from ear to ear hearing all those nice things about each other. 
Our "Jars of Love!"

This tradition is definitely a keeper for our family!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hershey Chocolate World!

Since Abby's gymnastics meet was in such a fun locale (Hershey, PA) we decided to make a whole weekend trip out of it for our family. We stayed in a hotel on Friday night and got up early the next morning to enjoy their free breakfast and indoor pool (My kids LOVE hotels. We probably could have just done that and they would have been thrilled.)

But you can't be in Hershey without experiencing Hershey Chocolate World! We splurged a little and got tickets to see the 4-D Movie (Abby was even featured in it!)

Got to know some of the Hershey characters...

And then built our very own custom candy bar! This was the highlight of the trip for sure. We got to choose what would go inside each of our candy bars and then watch it go through the production line from start to finish!

We also got a few yummy treats to enjoy on the way home. Landon declared as we were leaving that this was "the BEST DAY EVER!" Ahhhhhh, a chocolate lover after my own heart!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gymnastics Meet #3

Abby had her third gymnastics tournament last weekend in Hershey, PA. She has missed one other meet this season because it was on a Sunday. Her group was actually supposed to compete on Sunday at this meet as well, but the organizers made a special exception for her to compete with the USAG Level 6 girls on Friday night since we don't do Sunday competitions.

She is so fun to watch and has really improved in three events (bars, beam and floor) although vault is still a struggle for her.

What a cute little toothless grin (she lost her two front teeth over 6 months ago and there is not a sign that they are growing back in yet. I sure hope there are some adult teeth up there!!)

Little Abby competing with the much older Level 6 girls. They really took her under their wing and she had so much fun!

I passed out 3 gummy bears every 15 minutes to help keep these spectators entertained. Landon discovered that if he just sucked on them the entire time, they almost lasted the whole 15 minutes!

Sometimes watching their sister compete is quite enthralling...

But it can cause some grumpiness to come out as well!!

But this little man was sure to cheer all the competitors on!!
Abby didn't earn any medals at this meet (it was a HUGE one, but very well organized.) She did earn a participation trophy though, so she was thrilled!!

Funny sidenote: During the awards ceremony, they were playing some music while we were waiting for all the scores to be tallied and all of a sudden we heard a little girl singing into the microphone who sounded a lot like Abby. Lo and behold, it was her, singing her heart out to Katy Perry's "Roar". She sounded so cute and got quite the applause. They tried passing the microphone to other girls to sing along, but all of them were too embarrassed, so they gave the microphone back to Abby and she finished out her performance in true Abby style. What a little performer!!