Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Olivia! 
photo credit:  Karen Feder Photography
Today is your second birthday, Olivia.  I can hardly believe that two years have gone by since I first laid eyes on you...yet, it seems so strange to remember a time without you here with us. 
photo credit:  Karen Feder Photography
You bring such a joy and sweetness to our family.  Your smile and laugh are always contagious.  Your cheerful disposition is such a breath of fresh air as you always seem to find the best in everyone and everything.

photo credit:  Karen Feder Photography
This past year you have truly become your own person with thoughts and opinions that you are now fully able to express.  Once you began talking, you just didn't stop...and you've learned quite well how to make yourself heard in our family full of talkers!

photo credit:  Karen Feder Photography

Today, we celebrate you, dear Olivia!  We love you and can't wait to see what God has in store for you as you continue to grow and learn each day!

photo credit:  Karen Feder Photography

Monday, October 29, 2012

Olivia's Second Birthday Party

Tomorrow my baby turns TWO! 

Olivia is definitely not a baby anymore...a fact that she personally likes to remind me of daily. 

She is also completely ecstatic to be the birthday girl. She even got a little pre-birthday practice during her birthday party this past Sunday.   

The big kids, Ben and I all stayed up a little later on Saturday night (after Olivia went to bed) making sure all the decorations were perfect for Olivia's Minnie Mouse celebration.

When Olivia woke up bright and early on Sunday morning (6:20 am, to be exact), she raced out into the kitchen and was thrilled to see...."MY BIRF-DAY!"  The life size poster of Minnie was her absolute favorite and she even instructed me to take a picture of her by Minnie Mouse. 

After church, we came home and got ready for a birthday lunch of grilled burgers and hot dogs, apples and caramel dip, chips and queso, and baked beans.  As soon as Grandma and Grandpa arrived, we all dug in.  Olivia's favorites were definitely the hot dog and apple dip (she basically just dipped one apple in the dip and licked it off...over and over again). 

Next up was birthday presents!  Olivia has come a long way in present opening and pretty much handled it like a pro this year. 

She wasn't even shy about showing all her Minnie Mouse presents to all of us after she opened them!

However, she just might have taken a little bit of time in between each present to test them out first before going to the next one. 

Of course she needed Allie and Zach's help setting up all her new toys....

I was a little afraid she would be too busy playing to want to eat cake, but as soon as I said "I think it's time for cake," she hopped right up and was the first one in the kitchen. 

Of course, no Minnie Mouse party would be complete without a polka-dot Minnie Mouse cake:

She waited very patiently while we took pictures and was pretty thrilled to be the center of attention as we sang "Happy Birthday, Olivia!"

At the end of our song, she had no problem blowing out the candles all on her own!

And she absolutely wasted no time digging into her piece of cake as soon as it was placed in front of her!

We all had a fantastic time celebrating Olivia with all of her favorite things!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

To end our fun Halloween weekend, we all carved our pumpkins this evening.  Usually an outside activity, we decided we'd rather stay warm and carve our pumpkins in the kitchen instead.  The kids were pretty excited and each had their own ideas of how they wanted their pumpkins carved. 

First things first, though....dig out the guts!

Carving was mostly the job of the adults, but Allie drew her own face on her pumpkin's surface and Zach drew inspiration from my search of Google images for "jack o lantern ideas."  Due to Olivia's love of all things Mickey and Minnie, we decided she needed a Mickey silhouette on her baby pumpkin. 

The kids were thrilled with the final result.

And right before bed time, we made sure to go outside and view our pumpkins in all their glowing glory.

Halloween Parade

On Saturday we decided to head to downtown Anoka to view the nation's second largest Halloween parade.  We've been to the Anoka Halloween Parade in the past and knew the kids would have a great time listening to the marching bands, collecting candy, seeing the crazy costumes, and watching elaborate themed floats pass by. 

Since the parade is quite popular, Ben went to reserve a spot for us along the parade route with lawn chairs early in the morning.  The parade doesn't start until 1:00 pm, but prime viewing spots are always taken by 9am.  It's kind of crazy!

After a quick lunch at McD's, we still arrived to our spots pretty early.  So, after a quick snack of mini donuts, we decided to head up the street and check out the local kids' Halloween carnival before the parade officially began.  All three kids had fun playing a few carnival games (complete with cheesy prizes) and making a craft.  They were also thrilled to receive a free Mickey Mouse Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag...which also came in handy to collect all the candy thrown at them during the parade. 

Finally, we headed back to our seats and settled in to wait for the parade to begin.

I remembered the parade lasting a long time, but I think this is the first year we actually stayed for the entire TWO HOUR duration.  It began with runners finishing a 5k along the parade route, many dressed in costumes, and ended with what seemed like the entire Anoka County Fire department blaring their fire truck sirens. 

I was really happy to discover that this year there weren't many gory-themed floats at all.  Most were incredibly family-friendly and non-scary.  Yay!  I didn't really get any pictures of the actual parade...mostly because we were trying to encourage the kids to dive for the candy (they were a little hesitant at first to run out into the street to get the candy!).  I did, however, manage to snag these pictures of the real Ghostbusters' transportation:

We all had a great time even though it did get a little chilly toward the end (I think the high on Saturday was 40-42 degrees).  Next year, we'll definitely bring more blankets and maybe even some foot warmers! 

Allie's Halloween Parade

We've had lots of fun this weekend participating in all kinds of fun Halloween events!

It all started on Friday afternoon at Allie's school with the kids' annual Halloween Parade.  Allie has been excited about marching in the parade in full costume for weeks.  She told us there was even going to be a marching band.  I thought a marching band at an elementary school costume parade seemed a little over the top, so I told her not to be too disappointed if there wasn't a marching band.  Imagine my thoughts as I walked up to the school on Friday afternoon to see the local high school marching band warming up!  After the parade, Allie did not hesitate to remind me that she was indeed correct and yelled, "I told you so, MOM!" 

Ben, Zach, Olivia and I watched as the kids paraded along the street outside their school escorted by official police cars (sirens blaring) and the high school marching band.  I think all the kids felt pretty awesome to have their very own parade...even though our very own Rapunzel acted a tad embarrassed as we jumped up and down waving our arms at her when we spotted her long golden locks making their way down the street.