Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve

After our baking session at Bubba’s on Christmas Eve, we came home for a good nap and then headed back to Byhalia for the candlelight ceremony at Bubba’s church. It’s always one of our holiday favorites, although this was the first year that they had it in the bigger Flame auditorium instead of the smaller, more traditional sanctuary. Apparently, Helen Grace has had her fill of pictures, so we really had to work to get any photos of her smiling face.

After church, we went to Grandma’s to open our presents in front of her cozy fire. Helen Grace had a ball seeing what was inside her stocking and getting a big surprise from Peggy and Grandma- a HUGE {stuffed} doggy! A silky pink nightgown was another favorite.

We came home to set out some milk and chocolate chip cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer, sprinkle reindeer food in the backyard, and then settle Helen Grace in Mama’s bed so that she could get to dreaming of dancing sugar plums. Such an exciting night!

2013-12-24 22.03.35 20131224_175344 HG refused to be in pics but wanted to take them.IMG_5433 IMG_5434

2013-12-24 21.23.38 HG and Rebel snuggled warm in the bed2013-12-24 22.11.43

Christmas Cookies at Bubba’s

Christmas Eve morning, Helen Grace and I headed over to Bubba’s to make Christmas cookies. Aunt Sharon and Uncle Rod were in town from Louisiana, and Mere Mere was in from San Diego. We had a ton of fun making a mess together in the kitchen. And of course, William showed up in time for quality inspection as the cookies came out of the oven!

IMG_5404 IMG_5407 IMG_5411 How many blondes does it take to figure out how to decorate cookies? Apparently, at least three (HG, Mere, Mama)!IMG_5420 IMG_5425Rod and Sharon got in on the action too.IMG_5428 IMG_5429 Hope there are some left for the rest of the family on Christmas day- ha!2013-12-24 10.47.37

Elf on the Shelf

Helen Grace has eagerly awaited Elf on the Shelf’s newest hiding spot each morning during the holiday season. She usually insists that I take a pic, so I thought I’d share some of her favorites here for posterity’s sake (and so that Elf can remember for next year).

Note to self for future reference:  Remember that Santa shared with you the secret recipe for the magic spray to ensure Elf on the Shelf keeps his magic after Daddy touched him. All you would share with HG was that it had sugar and sparkles in it. Santa made you keep the rest top secret.

2013-12-10 05.57.39 2013-12-12 05.46.52 Elf was waiting on HG as soon as she got home from NYC. I wish that I would have videoed her reaction when she saw him. She was jumping up and down, screaming and cackling!20131216_094125 Too much candy gives you a tummy ache.2013-12-21 23.38.16 2013-12-21 23.42.142013-12-23 07.12.01

Sunday, December 22, 2013

SAA Christmas Program 2013

SAA-SDS had their Early Childhood Center Christmas program on Thursday, and we were all so excited to see her perform- as was she. (Poor Spiffer was stuck at a volunteer event for the hospital where she volunteers.)

While they couldn’t have had too much time to practice since it seems like they just had their Thanksgiving show, the program went so well and was very sweet and church-focused. I can’t imagine how Mrs. Marques (music teacher) and Ms. Gretchen (chapel teacher) were able to teach and prompt six classes of kids throughout a 30 minute program, and they all knew the words and cues. So proud!

I had heard/seen a few bits of their songs and sign language from HG in advance, especially the ‘flicker, flicker, flicker’ part of one song, but I loved the surprise of seeing their songs and prayers in the live show. Helen Grace found us relatively quickly in the packed-out gym and was sure to keep an eye on us throughout the program.

‘Flicker, flicker, flicker’CF6C2933 ‘Hey, Mama!’CF6C2937 SK students acted out the nativity.CF6C2940 CF6C2941 ‘Down through the chimney’ (super cute snorkel move)CF6C2954’Ho Ho Ho’CF6C2956 ‘Who wouldn’t know?’CF6C2957 Found this jewel in her bag afterward!IMG_5381 IMG_5383 

Dance Christmas Party

Our tiny dancers had their dance Christmas party this week. They had a Fancy Nancy themed party in the big dance room where the big girls practice (that’s a BIG deal), and Mrs. Jill asked them to wear their fanciest dresses. Of course, to Helen Grace, that means that Tinker Bell is coming out! The girls had a great time making Christmas books, exchanging books and gifts, and enjoying some sweet treats.

Ms. Brittany, HG, Anna-Lucia, Katelynn, and RileyIMG_5350IMG_5353 And Ann Maxwell arrived!IMG_5359IMG_5362IMG_5371 IMG_5374IMG_5376

NYC at Christmastime

When John mentioned he had a work trip to NYC in December, I fell all over myself to make it work for HG and me to go with him. Seeing New York at Christmastime has always been on my Bucket List. We had to work out the logistics carefully since we were going to Nashville that weekend before, but thanks to all of HG’s grandparents, the drop offs and pick ups all worked out well. The temps there were below freezing (which meant HG and I spent a lot of time arguing about putting on her hat and gloves), but the cold did add to the holiday feeling in the air. We loved experiencing a few days of the holiday season in NYC and came home ready for Christmas and VERY grateful for Memphis’ 60 degree weather in December!

HG enjoyed her first trip to the Delta Sky Club and made herself right at sky clubHer cat nap at the hotel didn’t last her long, and she conked out almost as soon as we settled into our first class seats (my world traveler hubby got us upgraded). She slept the whole way, and John had to carry her off the plane, still half asleep.IMG_5249 Look at those sleepy eyes.2013-12-15 20.09.26 She woke up when we got to the hotel (Intercontinental Barclay)and she was able to touch the SNOW on the ground. They had a big snow a day or two before we arrived. We ate a quick dinner at Aperi Tivo and headed to bed.2013-12-15 21.07.13 2013-12-15 22.59.26 First thing on Monday morning, we headed to Macy’s at Herald Square to meet Santa. Word to the wise- if you want to see Santa there, sign up for an appointment through the Macy’s app within 48 hours of your visit. We walked right in and bypassed the one-hour long line. Here are some great tips. Santa- Macy's Afterward, we walked around the store, checking out all the pretty decorations and then headed outside to see the window displays. Helen Grace will tell you that the stores and window were her favorite things about NYC.IMG_5252 This one was especially neat. As you walked past it, your shadow would loosely reflect on the sky backdrop as twinkling stars.IMG_5253 IMG_5255Then, it was on to the subway for HG’s first ride. We just rode it for two stops to get to Rockefeller Plaza, and HG was taking it all in. She really liked the thrill of it, but the loud noises bothered her.  She said it was so fun, but she didn’t want to do it again.IMG_5257 Waiting and watchingIMG_5261 IMG_52632013-12-16 10.30.59Now THIS was the view I had been looking forward to my whole life!IMG_5265 AHHHH!!!2013-12-16 10.48.41-1 And look who took a break from Macy’s to come skating with us! From afar, she didn’t want to have anything to do with him, but he came up to us as soon as we got on the ice. She was fine with it when she was up close to him.IMG_5268 IMG_5269 IMG_52722013-12-16 11.13.24-1She was so cold that she only made it one SLOW lap, and then all she could think about was hot chocolate and getting back to the warm hotel room. We ran over to Bouchon Bakery and grabbed hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie. On the two-block walk back to the hotel, she wouldn’t let go of the cookie, and her hands were frozen by the time we arrived. Mama wore her out that morning!2013-12-16 11.52.34 After a lot of begging on my part, I finally got her to leave the room for a late lunch. Even at 12:45, every place had an hour wait, so I headed to the cafe at the top of Saks, Cafe SFA, thinking that would be less crowded. Well, it was packed, but with some kind of Christmas miracle, the two of us quickly got a table- and it was overlooking Rockefeller Plaza across the street!!!! I was in hog heaven. And HG was much more interested in her drawing than my excitement or the view.IMG_5290 photo 4Her writing and reading skills are coming along at lightning speed. She wrote ‘zoo’ in the top right corner with absolutely no help from me, and I about fell out of my chair.2013-12-16 14.42.09 Earlier, while I was taking a pic of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, she looked across the street at Saks and said, “Mama! There are those yeti snow things!” I had shown her a picture of them from a friend before we left on our trip, and that girl picked them right out with no direction. After lunch, we checked out the yetis in the Saks windows.IMG_5296 IMG_5298 We headed over to St. Patrick’s, which under heavy construction. Can’t believe they actually still have mass there with all the noise and mess.IMG_5299 Helen Grace lit one candle for Peggy and one for Spiffer.IMG_53032013-12-16 15.15.21We were headed back to the hotel for naptime when John called to say he was done with all his meetings. We decided to push through nap and head to Central Park for a carriage ride. It might have been better in theory because the temps were in the high 20’s, but it sure was beautiful with all the snow, the setting sun, and Christmas lights. When HG wasn’t complaining of the cold, her eyes were trying to close. The horse’s rhythm was putting her right to sleep!IMG_5306 IMG_5310 IMG_5315 IMG_5316 IMG_5319 IMG_5326 IMG_5334 Since she was so sleepy, we tried to catch a cab and go back to the hotel, but after 45 minutes of not finding a cab and because we were turning into blocks of ice, we decided to go ahead and eat dinner at Rothmann’s. She essentially laid on the bench, covered in John’s coat, the whole time. While we were walking around though, we saw some great Christmas lights and decorations on Fifth Avenue. Here are the holiday themed windows at Bergdorf Goodman’s (Valentine’s Day, April Fools’ Day).IMG_5336 IMG_5339 AMAZING creature at BulgariIMG_5341 I kept calling this a star, and HG kept saying, “It’s a SNOWFLAKE, Mama!”IMG_5342 Oh, Tiffany’s, how much do I love you!IMG_5343 We finally made it back to the hotel, and HG was asleep by 7:30. Reminded me of how we spent a Saturday night in LA with a flu-ridden little girl this past March. At least we got to rest well after a busy day. When we woke up on Tuesday morning, it was SNOWING! HG flipped out. She was set on finding a doughnut, so off we went to Dunkin Donuts in the snow.2013-12-17 09.54.27 Sweet success!2013-12-17 10.04.52 We had a quick shopping expedition, and then it was time to head to the airport- a bit early since they were expecting 1-3 inches of snow that day. I snapped a quick pic of Grand Central Station as we drove by.IMG_5345 This is the scene we saw when we got to Laguardia. Luckily, my hubby is a savvy traveler, and he knew we were not going to make the 50 minute connection in Detroit. He got us to the gate early enough to catch the earlier flight to Detroit (that had been a little delayed), and they had a few extra seats. We literally walked directly onto the plane, and I was thankful HG and I had just made a bathroom stop while John got our bags checked in! We still waited an hour for the plane to be de-iced, but we made it to Detroit in plenty of time and even sat down for a nice meal before our flight home. And for the record, Detroit looked just like NYC- covered in snow. 2013-12-17 12.53.15 We saw a beautiful sunset on the way home to Memphis. Our bags didn’t make it home that night, but they arrived Wednesday afternoon. We were so thankful to sleep in our own beds that night that we didn’t care about our suitcases!IMG_5348