Saturday, December 14, 2013

New family photos

We finally had some new family photos taken in early November. It had been more than a year since we'd last taken a family photo, so we were long overdue. Here are the best ones of the bunch:

All four of us....

Miss Lila-pie, the recent birthday girl (FYI the red dress she's wearing in some of the pics was a dress I wore for a photo shoot when I turned 3 in July of 1984)....

Mr. Johnny-Cake, almost 5 years old....

And the two munchkins together -- they really are best buddies most of the time....

Friday, November 22, 2013


We were so happy that Papa Jeff and Grandma Bonnie could stay with us through Halloween! The kids had been looking forward to it for months. John had originally wanted to be Green Lantern, but we couldn't find a Green Lantern costume at Costco, so he picked Captain America instead. I had bought Lila her Sofia the First princess costume back in July, when Grandma Bonnie and I had been at the Disney store at Tysons' Corner.

The weather was really warm during the week of Halloween, so we were able to do a lot of outdoor activities. Papa and Grandma and I took the kids to the Burke Nursery pumpkin patch a few days before Halloween. John looks really tired in all these photos since we went there right after school ended, but he was SO excited to be there. Of course Lila was excited too. The "magic carpet ride" was a huge hit with her - she went on it probably 10 times or more. (Thank you to Papa for helping her sit on the correct side of the carpet each time.)

The kids and I had bought our pumpkins from Burke Nursery at the tail end of September, but we waited to carve them until the afternoon before Halloween to make sure they didn't rot (since it had been so warm outside). Papa helped John cut open and clean out the insides of his pumpkin. Yuck! Then I helped John pick out a stencil (Wolverine) and carve it. We asked Lila when she got up from her nap if she wanted to clean out the insides of her pumpkin, but she had no interest whatsoever. She isn't a big fan of getting messy, so I wasn't too surprised. She did pick out a stencil for it, though (one of the characters from the X-Men….maybe Marvel Girl? It was from John's book of stencils). So Mommy cleaned it the pumpkin, and Daddy carved it for her.

On the afternoon of Halloween, it was really hard to keep the kids occupied until it was time for trick-or-treating. They couldn't wait to put their costumes on and go outside! We were ready to go at about 4:15, but we had to wait until 6 to start, haha. Here are the two cuties in their get-ups.

It was a perfect night for trick-or-treating….totally warm enough to go without coats (although it did start drizzling around 7 p.m.). Look at those great photos of Papa and Grandma with their superhero and princess!! We ate pizza for dinner and then went door-to-door in our immediate neighborhood with one of the boys who lives across the street from us, Chris (he's the one holding the orange sign in the last photo). Later, we drove to Fort Belvoir to go trick-or-treating on post with our Army friends who live there.


When we got home from Fort Belvoir, the kids wanted to dump out their candy bags to see what they got. They each got a Ziploc bag to put their candy in - they were SO proud of them!

Lila ended up giving most of her candy to John because it wasn't the "right" color (i.e. not purple or green). Then Mommy and Daddy had to get rid of a bunch of candy because it wasn't appropriate for them (i.e. Big League chewing gum, Warheads…remember those?!). The kids still had a lot left, though, mostly chocolate. Every day for the next 10 days, John poured his candy onto the floor and sorted it by color and/or type. (We couldn't believe how much fun he had doing this. He definitely has a future in the professional organization business.) We let him pick out one little piece of candy to have each day for 10 days or so. He was pleased as punch! Lila, on the other hand, forgot about her candy after the first day, haha.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lila's 3rd birthday

Lila FINALLY turned 3 on October 26th! I say finally because she's been talking about turning 3 since before she turned 2 1/2. She'd tell anyone and everyone that her birthday was "Ah-tober twinny-six."
The birthday celebrations kicked off on Thursday the 24th, when Lila was the snack helper for her preschool class. She got to bring the snacks that day and help serve all her classmates their food and water. Earlier in the day, her teachers had helped her decorate her very own birthday crown, and she got to wear it during snack time as everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to her. 

On Friday the 25th, we picked up Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff from the airport! We were so excited that they were able to come for Lila's birthday (and Halloween, since they stayed until November 2nd).

The morning of her birthday, Lila got to open one of her presents. Not surprisingly, she picked the present wrapped in purple paper (her favorite color), which was from Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff.  John offered up his present-opening skills.

Lila loved her new Sofia the First outfit, purple headbands and temporary tattoos! Also in the box were the Sofia tiara and necklace that go with the Sofia dress Mommy and Daddy had gotten for her to wear on Halloween.

Here are Grandma and Papa sitting with the birthday girl as she ate her "birthday" waffle.

We spent the rest of the morning at Arlington National Cemetery, which is about 10 miles from our house. It was absolutely gorgeous outside -- the perfect day for a visit there. Papa had never been before, so we were glad we could take him. Then we drove the short distance to Georgetown, where we had lunch at a BBQ restaurant and picked up some birthday cupcakes for Lila at a famous cupcake bakery called DC Cupcakes.

After naptime, we had a little gift-opening party for Lila. We were hoping a few of our neighbor friends would be able to stop by to join us for dessert, but they couldn't make it, so we decided to just bring the cupcakes to the restaurant we were going to for dinner. Lila didn't mind too much that she'd have to wait on the cupcakes, since she still got to open presents!

Before the unwrapping began...John was her helper again.

Opening the gift from Mommy and Daddy -- the Ariel Duplo castle set! Ariel is her favorite Disney princess (besides Sofia). Look at these smiles!

Daddy helped Lila open her presents after John was tasked with building the Ariel Duplo castle. She got a Disney princess storybook from her big brother; Snow White and Cinderella Duplo sets from Aunt Katharine and Uncle Jarey; a gift card from Uncle Jesse and Aunt Sarah; and an adorable new Gymboree outfit (in purple, of course) from Grandpa Harry and Grandma Robin. Thank you, everyone, for the great gifts!

The whole purple-y gang! It's hard to tell, but even Daddy is wearing a (light) purple shirt underneath his sweater. 

Lighting the candles on Lila's mini birthday cake! She had told us she wanted a cake for her birthday, so Mommy and Daddy baked and decorated a tiny one for her (in addition to buying the cupcakes).

She was so smiley once she had blown out her three candles! I think she felt like she'd finally turned three because she'd blown them out.

So the sad thing about the cake was that it turned out to be completely undercooked! It had looked strange when I was mixing it, and it had looked REALLY strange when I took it out of the oven, but I figured it was ok and we frosted and decorated it. Then, when I cut pieces for the kids, Daddy and Grandma noticed it looked like dough on the inside, so we had to pitch the whole thing. John and Lila were SO upset and started bawling! In hindsight, I think the problem was that the butter I added to the batter wasn't cooled enough (the directions on the box said to let the butter cool completely). Oh well, at least it looked cute!
Thankfully, we were able to distract the kids from the cake disaster by telling them we had cupcakes to eat after dinner. We packed up the cupcakes and headed to Ledo Pizza -- our favorite local pizza place -- where we met up with some of our Army friends who are stationed at Fort Belvoir. John and Lila are good buddies with Abby, Matilda and Delaney.
Lila and Matilda....

Lila picked a chocolate cupcake for her birthday dessert. She had picked out Disney princess party plates when we were at Target a few days earlier.

Delaney, Abby and Matilda helped Lila get ready for her big birthday moment. What helpful friends they were! Lila got really shy when we all sang "Happy birthday" to her.

We all had such a good time at Lila's birthday dinner and were so glad we could celebrate with our friends from our days at Fort Hood! All of the kids did a great job at the restaurant. It helped that we'd brought the iPad for John to play with and that Lila had a new Barbie doll and vehicle to play with (courtesy of Abby, Matilda and Delaney). It was Lila's first-ever Barbie! The three older girls showed Lila how to play with her.

Our little Lila-pie is such a big girl now. We are especially amazed at what comes out of her mouth these days! Stay tuned for a more detailed post about Lila at age 3. There are some funny sayings that HAVE to be documented, hehe.