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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas at Papa and Grandma's

The Christmas fun continues at Papa and Grandma's house!  We all put on our Sunday best for Christmas Eve Mass and then came back to a delicious dinner Grandma had prepared.  Papa and Grandma continued their tradition of giving Livi a recordable story (this year they recited "Santa Claus is Coming to Town") which she loved!

The next morning we were all spoiled with more wonderful gifts.  Josh and Livi also humored me by wearing our matching family PJs one more time.  I'm going to bet those one-piece jammies are not going to fit for a third year next Christmas!

The spoiling continued later that day when Uncle Drew and Aunt Lisa arrived.  One of the many gifts they brought Livi was a trunk full of princess dress up clothes.  They sure know the way to a 2 year old's heart!  The whole family got in on the dress up fun and a parade ensued.  Even Uncle Drew and Aunt Lisa's dog, Charlotte, joined in the fun!

Another one of my favorite traditions we continued was going to Chicago for some fun in the city and then spending the night in a hotel.  This year we checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo.  It looked gorgeous for Christmas, but was also VERY cold since it was right next to the lake.  Afterward we warmed up and had some dinner at R.J. Grunts.  The food was very yummy and also had a bit nostalgia for Papa and Grandma as it used to one of their favorite hangouts in their younger days.

We rounded out our trip with a Christmas party at Great Papa and Great Grandma Szafarczyk's house.  Everyone had a great time playing BINGO (Olivia enjoyed helping everyone pick out their prizes) and eating lots of yummy food.  Olivia also had fun playing with the Govert girls.  Audrey and Jocelyn are great big sisters and Karissa and Olivia have years of trouble making ahead of them!

If you are ready for some serious cuteness overload, checkout the video above.  Papa interviewed Olivia on Christmas morning and results were simply adorable!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas at Home

Have you ever seen someone so happy to be in rush hour traffic?  Although, I guess a yummy muffin and your favorite blanket will make anything better!

We got very lucky with some warm (upper 50s) December weather and headed to Christmas at the Zoo.  We had a great time checking out the lights, riding the zoo train, and taking a spin on the merry-go-round.  Livi loved seeing the animals again and playing photographer with the camera on Josh's phone.

On Saturday, the Banks and Abraham girls got together for a little holiday celebration.  What better way to start a Saturday than with pancakes and presents?  Round it out with a Gymboree class and you have a pretty great Saturday morning!

This year we carried on a tradition we started last year.  The Saturday before Christmas, we get dressed up, go to Mass, and then head to a nice dinner (well as nice as possible while still being tolerable for a toddler!).  Livi and I had a matching skirt/dress combo and she was excited to be wearing something like Mommy.  I think we cleaned up pretty nice!

The next night we put on some much warmer clothes and headed downtown to check out the Circle of Lights.  We ran into Santa (and his motorcycle) and he was nice enough to pose for a photo.  Livi loved running up the steps to the top of monument.  Although, it was so cold I think she was just trying to stay warm!

We let Livi choose where we went to dinner after looking at the lights and she picked Steak N Shake.  I'm not sure if she was more excited about her dinner or the crayons and place mat.

After our fun downtown, we had to prep for Santa's arrival (he came to our house early since we would be at Papa and Grandma's house on Christmas morning).  Olivia and I whipped up a batch of cookies (she thought Santa would like chocolate chip best) and she kept an eye on them while they baked in the oven.

It's Christmas morning (a few days early)!  Santa was very generous and brought Olivia a princess tent and sleeping bag.  She loved it! We all spent a lot of time in that tent over the rest of the day.

Here's a little video of her reaction to seeing the goodies Santa left. She also doesn't mind eating Santa's leftovers!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2 Years, Month 8, Weeks 2 and 3

Wouldn't be Thanksgiving without some leftovers, right?  These gems were hiding on Josh's phone and they were too good not to share!  Grammy tried out a new 'do on Livi for Thanksgiving.  Although she is getting to be big girl, she still has baby fine hair so the curls didn't really hold.  Next time we'll try a little more product.

Our big girl had her 2 1/2 year well visit. She's topping the charts at 30 pounds, 14.4 ounces and is 37 inches tall (73rd and 77th percentiles respectively).  She also took her flu shot like a pro!  Hopefully, it will keep us from seeing the inside of the doctor's office again for a while!

We also went on our annual trek to find the perfect Christmas tree.  Livi helped to pick out this beauty!  Josh also took to decking the outside of the house with lights.  He had contemplated with scaling back this year until our drive back from our Thanksgiving trip up north.  When we turned on our street, we saw all the decorating our neighbors had done to their houses.  As we pulled into our driveway, Livi saw our house and said, "My house no have lights."  Wouldn't you know, Josh was up on the ladder the next night hanging icicle lights, draping garland, and stringing lights around the bushes.

Livi found her cousin Will's Christmas present we bought on Black Friday.  I'm not sure she knew what to make of them, but they definitely don't look like any of her toys!

Another fun holiday tradition is Jolly Days at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  First up was a ride down the Yule Slide.  So fun!  I love that she still wanted me to go down the slide with her.  There are so many times we hear, "No!  I do it!" that it was nice that asked me to go with her.

She had a total blast with the rest of the activities at the Museum as well.  I think the only times she sat down were to go on the slide and eat dinner!

The next night, we tried another visit with Santa.  This time, Santa came to visit her school.  While Josh and Livi waited for me to drive down from Fishers, they chilled out in Josh's office.  Livi made herself right at home!

This visit with Santa went better than the first.  She willingly sat on his lap, but smiling was clearly out of the question!

We had some special visitors in town over the weekend.  Auntie Carrie and Miss Sharla were here to celebrate the grown-ups annual Christmas get together.  The next day we all got together so that the kids could exchange Christmas gifts and we had one more opportunity to hang out.  Our crew certainly has changed a lot over the years!

Livi has really taken to helping with the cooking, particularly at dinner time.  She really is a a great sous-chef.  Plus she shares my love for the finer things.  While we were adding the cheese to one of the dishes, she said, "Oooh, it's getting yummy now!"

The visit with Santa must have been fairly successful because he stopped by our house early to bring Livi one of her gifts.  Like any good fashionista, Livi knows the importance of stylish footwear.  When you are 2 1/2, it doesn't get much better than light-up princess boots!

Those princess snow boots came in very handy for what was waiting outside for us.  It was our first big snow of the winter and Livi was so excited to play in it!  It was the perfect kind of snow for building a snowman (our in our case a snow lady).  Livi was even excited to help Josh shovel.

After all the fun in snow, Livi took an excellent nap and then we headed out to do some more Christmas shopping.  Who wouldn't like some help from an elf like this?

Oh Livi Rie...I had such high hopes for your school pictures this year.  Prior to picture day, we kept practicing our smile.  When the big day arrived, this is what we got!  That night, I asked her to show me how she smiled for her picture and she said, "I no smile."  Well, at least she's honest!  Josh said when he went to pick up the pictures the salesperson mentioned she was at the school on picture day. She said there were four adults who tried to get her to smile and she simply refused.  But, this picture still makes me smile because it's signature Livi!