Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Birthday Letter

Dear Jenna,

Today is your 20th birthday.
You're 20!

How did that happen?
Weren't you just turning 4 the other day?:

Multiply those candles x5 and here we are.
Now you're all. grown. up!
It's craziness, I tell you.

You are such an intelligent, stunning, kind-hearted lady and I am the absolute luckiest to be able to tell people that I am related to YOU, wonderful you. Sure, we drive each other bonkers most of the time sometimes, but that's what sisters do; Especially sisters who are practically polar opposites of each other, haha. But I just love that even more about you. The fact that, through your eyes, I can see a thoroughly different perspective on life. You are wiser than your years {most definitely more so than I} and have such a level-head. You certainly got the better set of genes. I mean, just look at your juicy, juicy mangoes compared to my teeny tiny mosquito bites! Ha. ;)

I am so proud of you, of everything you have accomplished thus far, and of everything that is sure to come for you in this life. You bring such joy to everyone and anyone around you. I will forever cherish the memories that I have of us growing up together. Particularly our conversations//deliriousness that came about on the rides home from going out to dinner with Mom and Dad.

I just wanted to tell you that we love you. We love you so, so very much.
To the Moon and back, in fact.

Happy Birthday, beautiful.
{Your bunny on crack, forever and ever.}



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Preschool Holiday Party Edition

Peyton is absolutely loving every second of being in preschool.

Seriously, she was born to make friends.
Before we had even enrolled her in preschool, she was constantly making friends with kids anywhere we went. The little boy at Target who was probably 2 years old? Yeah, he was invited to our house for a "sleepover". The 6 year old girl sitting at the table across from us at dinner? She also received an invite. The older boy behind us on the plane ride home from vacation? He got one too. They even held hands walking off the plane!
Needless to say, Peyton was more than ready for some kid-to-kid interaction and I am so glad we made the decision to start preschool last year! {We should have even done it sooner!}

Unfortunately for me, with the way my work schedule is, I don't get to take her to preschool in the mornings or pick her up afterwards. This is a big deal for me and I really hope that some day we'll be blessed enough that I will be able to be a stay-at-home mom and be able to take her to and from school. It's a dream of mine. Some people might think it's a silly dream, but it would really mean a lot to me.

However, with that being said, I don't get to have any sort of interaction with the other children's parents at drop-off or pick-up because it's either my Mom or her other Grandmother who takes her. So, when I found out that she would be having a Halloween and Christmas party (that the parent's could attend, too!) on two Friday evening's, I was ecstatic! (As was she, of course.)

I never blogged about the Halloween one and it's even a little late for the Christmas one, but hey! It's "Throwback Thursday", darn it.

For the Halloween party, they were allowed to dress up in costumes and we brought a delicious rice krispie treat concoction: Homemade rice krispies done in three layers on top of each other. The bottom was white, the middle was yellow, and the top was orange - just like candy corn! Then it had the candy corn M&Ms, brown sprinkles, and actual candy corn pieces sprinkled on top. Very sugary. Very much worth every calorie.

Anyways, she told me that she wanted to go as Merida, the Brave princess. We had already bought a green princess dress from Cracker Barrel for every day dress-up fun, so I figured all we had to do was get the wig of red, crazy hair to match. Well, those darn wigs are expensive! And a can of hair spray-paint is half the price and won't result in an overpriced tangled mess on the floor after the night was over (like the wig would). This is what we ended up with:

Trying to get her to look at the camera and give a genuine smile, on command, is darn near impossible these days. But isn't she just so friggen adorable!? She made for the prettiest little Merida I ever did see. Though, her two classmates (and BFFs of course) Isla and Natalie, both dressed up as Merida, too! I think they not-so-secretly planned that one! ;) 

Peyton & her BFF, Natalie - both dressed as Merida.
Peyton brought a little teddy bear to pretend it was one of her "little brothers", like in the movie.
The party was wonderful and they had pizza and yummy snacks for everyone to munch on. The kids had plenty of fun crafts to do, like make ghosts out of lollipops and tissues or make spiders out of black Styrofoam balls with googly eyes and brightly colored pipe cleaners.

Fast forward a few months and drop the temperature by like 20 degrees, and it was time for the Christmas/Holiday party!

There was, again, pizza and yummy snacks for everyone.
As well as fun crafts for all of the kids and us adults were able to mingle. It was so. much. fun!

Peyton with her classmates Irma and Weylin, making candy cane ornaments out of pipe cleaners and beads.
The best OOTD picture I have of her from that evening, ha.
Cheeseface & Irma taking a break from all of the running around they were doing to eat a quick slice of pepperoni.
Best of all, SANTA CLAUS even made a visit to the party! AND Peyton even willingly sat in his lap, told him exactly what she wanted (a big fluffy horse), and smiled for a few pictures!

I am so grateful that she is adjusting so well to the school environment and that she is blessed with her ability to make friends so easily. It sure does make the idea of kindergarten this fall (AH!) a little less worrisome. I can't believe I'll have a five year old by the end of March. Where did the time go!?


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas Candylane

On Friday, December 13th we went to Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane to walk around and get hyped up on some holiday spirit... and for the delicious Hershey's hot chocolate and our most favorite Kettle Corn!

Baby girl is FINALLY a Reese's! No more "Miniature's" status for her.

Next up, we decided to grab our bag of Kettle Corn early because we've learned that when the park is closing, the line is the longest. Plus, that way we had the deliciousness that is that heavenly bag of golden kernels to munch on throughout the park.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. You can see the Kissing Tower in the upper left-hand corner, the Carrousel, Santa and his reindeer climbing on the Comet in the distance and then, of course, the statue of Milton S. Hershey there in the fountain. 

Our first ride {and the only ride really available for adults since it's so cold there this time of year} was the Carrousel. 
We ended up with a horse that was stationary {aka: didn't go up and down like the others} but we still had a blast, of course!

Next up, PEYTON RODE A RIDE ALL BY HERSELF! You guys, this is a BIG deal considering the last time we tried to get her to ride something at Hersheypark by herself, this was the result:
Photo: circa Summer of 2011
This time, she rode the Hot Air Balloons and she had a blast! I didn't get a great picture of it, but trust me, it was awesome :)

After that, she wanted to ride everything!
Right next door was the Starship! Nick rode with her for this one and it was so cool. 
{They're in the ship that is in the upper right-hand corner.}

We did some walking because we wanted to make sure we saw Santa's reindeer before it was time to go.
These lights were throughout the trees in one section of the park, so pretty!
Again, you can spy the Kissing Tower in the distance.

We soon reached the REAL, LIVE reindeer!
Peyton, of course, wanted to know why Rudolph's nose wasn't actually red...
Momma didn't have a good answer for that one.
She wasn't too impressed.

In the same little area was a {new} ice-skating rink and a hot chocolate station.
Peyton wanted to give the ice-skating a try, and she did surprisingly well for it being her first time and for barely holding on to my hands. She LOVED it!

After we chugged our hot chocolates and played in the rink enough to validate the skate rental fee, we asked her if she was ready to go see Santa. {Mind you, she had sat on Santa's lap probably 3 times at this point this season}. Her response?: "Nah, can we go ride on the slides now, Daddy Nick?!"

So, ride the slides they did.

At this point, it was getting later and we knew the park would be closing soon.
So, we trekked to the Dry Gulch Railroad for our "last hoorah of the evening".

It was nice to just sit and relax and huddle together for warmth while enjoying all of the lights along the train tracks.

We checked out these fancy heaters while walking back out towards the gate.
I wish we could have one for our back patio - so fancy!

It wasn't long after that that we said "goodbye" to the park and headed home for the evening.
Plus, Peyton was exhausted...

So exhausted, in fact, that she passed out on the walk to the car {which luckily wasn't too far away}.

All in all, we had a wonderful time - despite the cold temps. Unfortunately, I waited too long to grab our traditional box of Hershey fudge {something my family has always done ever since I was a little kid}. It felt like a sin to walk out of there without said fudgey-deliciousness, but I'm sure I'll make up for it the next time we visit. ;)