Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cat patrol

Alex is now armed to enforce the rules w/ the cats:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Princess Power

This morning we headed down to Shakopee for a playdate with Miss Emma-- Alex was so happy to see her friend! They spent a lot of time dressing up in Emma's princess outfits (Alex kept declaring "I look so DIFFERENT!" over and over again while she layered on the tulle and plastic beads).
Then they got to do some painting! They did such a good job working in close quarters-- nobody painted on each other, although we did have some impromtu self-decoration near the end of the activity.
Last night Auntie Carrie came over for playtime and dinner. Judging by the pile of princess-related presents in front of her, you can tell that Alex has a very doting Auntie. She was so excited to unwrap movies, books, Christmas tree ornaments (for "Alexs'ss very OWN tree") and a coloring book all with Disney Princess themes.
Getting ready to watch the beginning of "Snow White" with Carrie.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Alex's Tree

After our houseguests left today (bye GrandMama, GrandPapa, Auntie Rorie and Uncle Willy!), we ventured out as a family to hit the after-Christmas sales at Home Depot and Target. I realized that (aside from Church on Christmas Eve Day) I hadn't left the property for 5 days! We did find some great 'deals' for next Holiday season, including a little fiber optic tree for Alex's room. We couldn't resist setting it up this evening, so she could enjoy it for at least a few days before all the Christmas decorations get packed up again.

"I LOVE mine OWN Christmas tree!" (she's such a ham)

No more Advent calendar

I'm feeling somewhat lost without a pre-planned activity today. Hmmm....I may just have to make some 'advent-type' calendars for January and February as well ;-)We are still hanging out in Woodbury-- it doesn't look like we'll get to head up to Duluth this year, too much snow and ice make for treacherous drive (Duluth recorded 24" of snow over the last few days). We've been playing lots of board games (Banagrams, Goodnight Moon, Hungry Caterpillar and a homemade version of Dictionary-- using the 'Luciferous Logolepsy' website-- too much fun!) and Wii, too. Alex will definitely have to be deprogrammed from all the video games and movies that have been playing today!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dec 25: Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

Alex has started to 'tease' us recently-- looking outside and saying that the grass is green, for example (and then giggling uncontrollably). She keeps 'teasing' us that it is HER birthday, and that is why we're celebrating. When we jokingly agree with her, she stops and says, very seriously. "No. Baby Jesus'sss birthday."

Santa left her one wrapped package sitting in a brand new Bilibo. It's basically the 'cardboard box' of the next generation. You can do anything in the bounds of your imagination! She has seen them before in her Kindermusik class, so she knew EXACTLY what she wanted to start doing with it-- spinning, spinning, spinning!
Throughout the day, she found more and more uses-- as a receptacle for a beanbag toss game, a helmet, balancing on it upside down, a ball-twirler, and a cat house. I'm so excited for her to discover new ways to play with it.....

The wrapped package was JUST what she asked Santa for. Coconut the cockatoo from the Minnesota Zoo. Coconut has been her favorite for a long time, and she clutched the stuffed bird to her chest and declared "I love it. THANK YOU SANTA!"

After she checked the cookie plate and saw the crumbs and thank you note that Santa left, we waited until everyone else was fully awake and breakfasted before attacked our stockings (Santa even left presents for all the adults). Alex thought it was cool to pull out treat after treat-- books, Schleich animals, and a piggy lollipop!We played with our new toys for the rest of the day and even ventured outside to make a Snowman. What a nice Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec 24: Family Holiday Tea

Alexandra hosted her first official Tea Party this afternoon. We broke out the wedding china teacups and a real teapot for her to pour with!
All of our guests were invited down to her playroom, with the caveat that they 'dress up'. She had a wonderful time hosting, pouring tea "like Mu-Phan (Mulan)" for her guests, and serving petit fours.....ok- so they were Zebra cakes, but they worked!We went to the Children's Service at our church this afternoon, and followed that with a fun dim sum style dinner, complete with Christmas hats constructed a few days ago. After dinner it was time to open presents! She got to move them one by one from the office into the living room so we could open them there.
She received so many wonderful gifts-- lots of books and natural toys. Alex especially loved the fairy costume and felted woolen elephant from GrandMama and GrandPapa.
She enjoyed passing out presents as much as opening them, however!
After leaving out some cookies for Santa and whole grain snacks for his reindeer, it was off to bed. I think we are ALL really excited to see Alex's reaction to her Santa presents tomorrow morning!

Lotsa Lefse

While this post doesn't fit right in with a specific Advent activity, it does narrate a very imporant family tradition- lefse making!GrandMama brought her lefse equipment (griddle, cloth and board, and stick) and we got started bright and early around 7am this morning.
Alex was a big help rolling out the dough for the first few pieces.

Enjoying the fruits of her labor. Nothing is more delicious than fresh, hot lefse! She ate about 2 full pieces while we were making it this morning, and another whole piece (with butter, sugar and cinnamon) with dinner. What a little Scandinavian!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec 23: Sledding!

I put this activity waaay at the end of the month, hoping to have enough snow, and the weather gods were kind! On the eve of the predicted 'Snowpocalypse' (as one tv station coined it as they call for -20" of snow over the next few days), Alex got to go sledding. Now, you may wonder why she is SO protected from the elements. The simple answer is 'to get her ready for ski season'. We figure the more she's out and about with her helmet and goggles, the more she'll be used to wearing them.
Alexandra got to open her BIG present from GrandMama and GrandPapa this afternoon. She was so excited to bring the huge box into the kitchen. At one point she hugged the box and declared "I love this present SO much!"
It ended up being a darling tree trunk fairy house from one of our favorite natural toy stores (The Magic Cabin). Alex was so excited to help Uncle Willy put it together and then place all of her new little fairies (and some of her 'old' woodland animals) in it. I have to admit to enjoying playing with it as much as she does.

We were all surprised when she started thanking Will profusely for his help, and praising his work as well. It was so cute that I had to get her to say it on tape.

She also received a package in the mail from Great-Auntie Kathy, and pulled out a wonderful handmade dolly! She clutched it to her chest and declared her love for her new "Kathy Dolly". She was also excited because Kathy Dolly's dress "is same as Alexs'ss OWN Easter dress". Yep-- pink gingham all around-- how did Kathy and cousin Andrea know??

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dec 22: Making Christmas 'hats'

One tradition we've adopted from Marotz family holiday celebrations is having something slightly 'embarassing' for people to wear at a Christmas dinner. What's better than silly wigs or Santa hats when you're all dressed up?
This year we were able to have help making our Christmas headbands. GrandMama, GrandPapa, Uncle Willy and Auntie Rorie came up a day early to avoid the Christmas blizzard of '09 (scheduled to roll in tomorrow), so they jumped right in at craft time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dec 21: Wrapping Presents

Christmas is just around the corner, and today was our present-wrapping day! Alex had a great time selecting specific wrapping paper and bows for each person on our present list. Great care went into each package!
After our wrapping session, we headed to the Minnesota Zoo to meet our friend Brad. Dave is still on vacation, so Brad volunteered to take a ski-widow and child our for a day of fun! Alex was so excited to share the bird show, monorail (or 'dinosaur train'), and Minnesota trail with him. He treated us to a fabulous zoo lunch, and Alex was sad to say goodbye at the end of our visit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec 20: Decorating Cookies!

My favorite task is painting sugar cookies! Yesterday we made a bunch of snowmen, snowflakes, hearts and trees and today was the day to ice them.We made two types of icing this year-- a lemon icing (inspired by our love of the lemon cookies at Key's Cafe), and a regular vanilla in a variety of colors. Alex has finally learned to keep the paintbrush in the icing, and not in her mouth....although I kept catching her cramming her finished creations in there....

We had to say goodbye to Grandma Mary today-- after a fun lunch and shopping trip at Ikea. Alex was sad to see her get out of the car at the airport, and kept asking for "more playing with Grandma Mary" all the way home.
And, randomly, a video of Alex going on a 'ride' with her doll, Nicki, this morning. Too cute to not include, even if it doesn't really relate to anything else. *Although you can appreciate Alex's original names for her horses......sigh.....*

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dec 19: Baking Day!

Today we began our Holiday baking. Due to the massive amounts of flour all over the kitchen, the camera was put away for safety's sake, however I did get a shot of Alex getting ready to crush candy canes to make some peppermint bark!
Grandma Mary was an invaluable resource--from helping melt chocolate over an improvised double boiler to entertaining Alexandra after she tired of the kitchen drudgery!
The highlight of our day, however, was running into Santa Claus at Trader Joe's. He was just buying some groceries when we walked in, and we stalked him paparazzi-style for a while. Then, as he left he made sure to come over and say 'hi' to Alex, and offer her a mini candy-cane. We decided he must have been buying reindeer food-- How fun is that?!? So, Santa-- if you're somehow reading this blog, thanks for such a special experience!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dec 18: Macy's 8th Floor

When I was a little Minnesotan, it was the Dayton's Christmas display that I got to go to a few times. Macy's took over and Alex got to make her first trip down to "The Big City" to see the 8th Floor Display.

We decided to make it even MORE of an adventure, and instead of driving and parking downtown we took the Light Rail from the Mall of America. It was about a half hour trip, and Alex enjoyed riding on a version of the "Dinosaur Train". The Nicollet Mall train stop is only about 2 blocks from the department store, and it was a very nice winter day out!
Alex in Santa's workshop

After making our way through "A Day in the Life of an Elf", which I was VERY glad to have Grandma Mary's help navigating the stroller through while I held Alex up to see all the fun displays, we stopped at Mrs. Claus' Bakery for some cookies. Alex chose a Santa Claus sugar cookie, and we bought some gingerbread men to bring home and enjoy later!
We took the skyway back to the train stop and rode back to the Mall of America. By this time Alexandra was exhausted, but insistent that we go into the Mall. She had her very first out-and-out screaming, twisting, writhing temper-tantrum when she realized we were going to make her get back into the car without going into the Mall. Let's just say it will be a while before she gets and entire sugar cookie again-- coming down from a sugar rush is not a pretty thing.