Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye Bye 2009!

Well, we're getting ready to ring in the new year! We're going to go eat dinner with some friends and then come back to our house and play some games and maybe watch the countdown. It's funny how there's no more staying out until the new year comes in when you have a toddler. I wouldn't change it for anything, though! :o) The past two days have been nice and relaxing...the in-laws are out of town, so we're babysitting Charley--who is our dog, by the way! Ha! Hallie loves having Char-Lee Echols (as she calls him) here. I'm not sure the feeling is mutual, though. They've enjoyed chasing each other around the house, I think. Yesterday, Hallie painted. And she got introduced to her very first "Super Whooper" cushion. She, of course, thought it was hilarious...but too loud. Ha! Today we had a little girlie day--a little shopping at Target (despite the congestion I'm feeling), lunch at Chick-fil-A, and lots of new friends made (on Hallie's part). It was a great last day of 2009, I think! Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!! What will you be doing to ring in the new year?!

Our little artist

Laughing at Daddy making the whooper cushion "toot"! Ha!

"Char-Lee Echols!!!!!"

And there must be something in our wall. This is the very
spot where Charley spends all his time. I'm not kidding. He
is still standing there. Stood there all morning. He just
stands and stares. Perhaps he sits when we're not watching.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hallie's Top Ten

I saw a Top Ten for 2009 on someone else's I thought I would do the same for Hallie's blog. Hallie's Top Ten Favorite Books for 2009. These books are always in rotation. We read three books each night and she gets to choose them. Sometimes we might read a book two times, but it is always only three books. Otherwise we would be reading the ten listed below plus twenty more from her various book baskets! Right now the first three are her absolute favorite right now. She has loved Llama Llama Mad at Mama for a long time we got her Llama Llama Red Pajama and Ballet Kitty for Christmas and she adores both of them! Ballet Kitty was a hit--she loves pink and she loves ballet! :o) As a teacher, I'm always on the look out for a book that could be Hallie's next favorite. So let me know--what are some favorite children's books at your house?!

Click on the book to see inside at

Llama, Llama Red Pajama

Llama Llama Mad at Mama

Disney's 5-Minute Princess Stories (Disney's Princess Backlist)

This was actually one of my favorite books when I was little!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Little Mommy (Little Golden Book) by Sharon Kane

See full size image

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jumping Party for One!

Hallie woke up this morning with the news that she was going to get a surprise today. At that very moment, she was extremely excited. This little girl LOVES surprises--unlike her momma who despises them. Yes, it is true...I would rather know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas than have to "perform" as I'm opening presents; I would like to know if my parents are coming to visit so I can make sure there are enough towels clean...I do not, I repeat DO NOT like surprises. Now, I love creating surprises for other people, I just don't like to be on the receiving end of them. haha. Moving on. From the moment I spoke the word "surprise", Hallie was questioning me. Thankfully I didn't tell her the moment she woke up...just shortly after! Well, after breakfast and a few cartoons. I digress. I wouldn't tell her where we were going, just that there would be a surprise. Rah-Rah and I took her to Jumping Party--an indoor inflatable fun center. And let me tell center it is! You pay $6 for 4 hours (they have open free jump times)...and adults don't have to pay! The minute we walked through the door, you could see the stars in Hallie's eyes! She immediately took off her shoes as if she had been a thousand times and obediently placed them in a pink bucket (she chose the color) before going out onto the floor. Oh, and this was her first time...I guess all kids just "know what to do"! She was not shy about the inflatables. I didn't really know what to expect, but I have to admit, Rah-Rah and I were both impressed. The inflatables were just the right size for her. She got to practice her climbing skills and show off her fearlessness with the slides! And there were enough inflatables that not every kid was on the same one at the same time. We all had a blast--especially Hallie. We will definitely be going again...and I'm considering this as a venue for her 3rd birthday party. She had so much fun there today, I know she would have a blast with some of her little friends!

Tonight after we read our three night time books--the books vary from night to night but it is generally always three--Hallie sat in my arms snuggling. I could tell her little mind was racing. She looked up at me with those sweet, brown eyes and said, "I loved my surprise!" Bless her sweet little heart! I sure do love that little girl!

This inflatable was BY FAR her favorite! I
think she went up and down this one the
most of any of them!

This was the biggest inflatable there. And Hallie couldn't
climb it alone. She really wanted to do it, though, so I
went with her and we slid down together. I'm pretty sure
she would have slid down it with just me beside her, but
we never got around to going on this one again.

This was at the end of a long obstacle wasn't
as steep as the slide above, so Hallie and I held hands
going down it. It did sort of dump you off at the end,
though...Hallie thought it was hilarious. This inflatable
came in a close second--she loved it!

Our little climber--she was so proud of herself when
she did it "all by myself"!

Even Rah-Rah got in on the obstacle course action.
The first time, Hallie slid down without her (lol) and
went through the course again--all by herself--so
Rah-Rah wouldn't have to slide alone. ;o)

One last time--Rah-Rah and Hallie racing

Monday, December 28, 2009

There's No Place Like Home really, there's no place like home. And I would love to be "home" right now. Home being Alabama. We went home earlier this month for my parents' 40th anniversary party. But because we went then, we weren't able to go again for Christmas for various reasons--the main reason being that Jonathan didn't have any more vacation days to take. Sigh. Needless to say, it has been very different not packing bags and getting on an airplane headed to Alabama. So yeah, there's no place like home. Also, Jonathan's Uncle Donnie and cousin, Derek are heading back to California tomorrow. We met them for lunch today. It has been a nice visit with them. Hallie really loves them--this was her first time to meet Derek and she took to him quickly. So since they're heading back to California, for them...there's no place like home. And lastly, when we returned home from eating lunch at McAlister's, there was a package (from "home") waiting on Hallie. :o) The box brought some cute clothes, some new toys, and some already loved red shoes that look a lot like Dorothy's..."no place like home". Or it could be no place like home for Hallie b/c she always gets presents here! lol. Perhaps now you understand my post title a little better. :o) Here are a few pictures of the day! Disclaimer: Hallie picked out her clothes today. She picked out her beach dress. When I told her that it was too cold for it, she said she could wear a sweater and some pants with it. I obliged since it was not a battle I wanted to fight. I wish I had taken a picture of her b/c she really looked quite adorable (as if she doesn't always!).

Derek, Gramps, and Donnie
(I'm not sure why Derek has his hood on...)

The McAlister's floor with her jeans. haha.

Grandmommy--I got her smiling, but not looking at the camera.

Playing with Gramps!

Opening her presents! When we pulled into the
driveway, she noticed the box. She said, "I bet
there's a dress in there!" I'm not sure why she
said that...but there was a dress! lol.

Oh boy! Polly Pockets! She calls her "Pollyanna". :o)

A clock! Mommy had one of these when she was little!

"There's no place like home". When Hallie took
these out of the box, she actually clicked the heels
of the shoes together! lol.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

Even though I got a brand, spanking new camera, I just didn't take that many pictures on Christmas Day. Shame on me. Perhaps I was intimidated. Perhaps I was just enjoying the moment...either way, shame on me. ;o) I did snap a few that are pretty cute, though. So I'll share those. After a yummy breakfast, Gramps and Rah-Rah visiting, and playing with all our fun new toys, we headed to Gramps's and Rah-Rah's house for Christmas lunch. It was delicious! We laughed, we ate, we enjoyed each other's company. Hallie had one thing on her mind. Presents. We had to postpone desert so the princess could open presents...we had all taken a turn saying, "Hallie--do not open that present yet!" haha. Finally, Hallie got to pass out the presents and dig into her gifts! She was in Heaven! :o)

Giving Grandmommy a present

Hallie helped me open this present--a picture of a
sweater! :o) I had tried this sweater on in the store,
but the medium was too big. And they only had a
small in pink...and that color didn't look too great.
So Gramps and Rah-Rah ordered the green one for me!
I can't wait to get it! :o)

Rah-Rah and Hallie are excited about her next
gift--Colorforms! :o)

Hallie loves her cousin, Derek. This was their
first time to meet!

We (read: Jonathan) gave J's brother a pellet gun
for Christmas...really, he shouldn't be playing
with this in the house...but ALL of the "boys" did!

Is Santa Here?

That is the question Hallie has asked first thing every morning for the past three mornings--"Is Santa here?"...and this morning, our reply was, "He came to see you and left you some surprises!" Much to a two year old's dismay (at least if you're Hallie), he was not actually still here. That, she did not understand. She wanted to see play with him. I know in her sweet little mind, she was hoping he did not forget the beloved "princess castle" that she so lovingly asked him for when she bravely sat on his knee. OK, so she actually climbed up there and just simply blurted out "Princess castle!" to him before he could even say hello, but still. She made her point.

Christmas Eve: The cookies were baked, the Christmas story read. It was time to drift off to sleep and have those visions of princess castles dancing in her head. Much to Mommy and Daddy's dismay, Hallie was a little too excited. Earlier in the evening, we went to our church's Christmas Eve service. Then we visited with Jonathan's parents, brother, uncle, cousin, and grandmother. When we got home, it was LATE! Mr. and Mrs. Claus were already tired and still had lots to do! Somehow, it all got done...I suppose Christmas Eve is magical and it all comes together.

So...Christmas Morning: Santa came, he left a loot...and everyone was happy! :o)

Santa left a partially eaten cookie...Hallie left the gummies
for the reindeer. She said, "I bet they will like gummies."
She's so sweet!

This is the picture my mom took every Christmas--I
guess it's to prove that everything had a place before
my brother and I tore it to shreds. It helps me
remember what the princess received. :o)

The beloved and long-awaited "princess castle"!
Hallie LOVES it! We, er Santa could have only
brought this and she would have been peachy!
It is actually a princess vanity/keyboard...very cute!

Hey, there's a princess in the mirror!

Hallie got a few cute outfits...she got some boots.
Once she opened the boots, she had to assemble
the entire outfit! lol. She's my child! :o)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making Cookies!

Hallie and I finally made our Christmas cookies...she was a BIG helper this year! I just can't believe how big she's getting. I can't believe how quickly the time passes either. Here are a few pictures from our baking'll notice that Miss Priss really enjoys the cookie dough. I got the same report when she helped Rah-Rah make Christmas cookies earlier this week! Ha! She is her father's daughter--we can never keep him out of the cookie dough either! Only a couple of days until Christmas. I don't know about y'all, but we're pretty excited around here! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pajamas and Cookies!

Miss Pattie had a little "Pajama and Cookies" party today. Since it is my Christmas break, Hallie hasn't gone to Miss Pattie's this week. But "she agreed" (ha!) to stop by for a picture. She didn't really want to make the cookies...but she sure didn't mind eating them once she got there! I had my camera with me, so I snapped a few pictures of the crew--I say a few, I think there are 30 on my memory card--lol. I think this was the best one. Hallie is the oldest at her little "school", but finally enjoys going to Miss Pattie's. :o) All the babies were laughing at Pattie's son who was dancing behind me, trying to get the kids to smile.