Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holidays, Birthdays & The New Year!

Thanksgiving Weekend 2011
Thanksgiving was celebrated at my parents house with the entire family, including the Coblapoli's cats, which Aaron spent the entire night chasing around the house and under the bed!  A few times we had to rescue him after hearing him from the bedroom "Help!  Help!  I'm stuck!".  Dad made his famous turkey and it was the best one yet!  We hung out, ate, played games, ate, watched movies, ate, took naps, ate........ You get the idea.  The next day we took Aaron to Old Elk Grove because they were having a Dicken's Christmas Street Faire and they had supposedly trucked in tons of snow for the kiddies to play in.  And by tons, as you can see, they meant a small truck bed of snow to dump in a small business parking lot with concrete parking barriers hidden under the snow and a brick wall on one side.  Totally safe and kid friendly.  What you see in the picture is pretty much the entire area.  Also, the street faire had absolutely nothing to do with Charles Dickens.  So...... yeah.  But nonetheless, Aaron had fun playing in the snow for the first time!  And he took a picture with Santa and even sat on Santa's lap and told him that he wanted Flo (from the CARS Movie) for Christmas.  And so begins the "If you're good, Santa will bring you...."

Aaron's 3rd Birthday at The Old Spaghetti Factory
Aaron's 3rd Birthday was next.  I am still struggling to figure out how to celebrate his birthday so close to Christmas without any Christmas influence.  It's super hard because every place is decorated for Christmas, starting in like, oooooh, NOVEMBER.  So, being that his birthday is December 21st, he's pretty much screwed on that point.  The first year I wouldn't even let Josh decorate the house until after Aaron's birthday.  I had the party at his great-aunt Kathy's house and she was kind enough to follow that rule too.  Do you know how hard that is?!  So the 2nd year we had it at our apartment complex' community center.  Which was ok, but it's kind of a big space for such a small group.  Not to mention NO ONE SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT PRIVATE PARTY MEANS.  But I digress.  So this year I decided to try a restaurant.  They still had decorations, but mostly in the lobby.  We went to The Old Spaghetti Factory because, well, who doesn't like pasta?  Especially kids!  The party was ok.  He loved his cake (from Freeport Bakery) and all of his gifts, but I think he couldn't have cared less about the lunch portion.  So, next year I'll be back to the drawing board on that one.  The important thing is that he had family and friends there and that he felt like he was the center of attention.

Nordstrom's Breakfast with Santa 2011
For Christmas we started off with our annual Nordstrom Santa visit.  I thought he'd be going to the fabulous Nordstrom in downtown Seattle for most of his childhood, but that didn't happen.  I decided to keep the tradition though and so for the past 2 years he's had breakfast with Santa at the Nordstrom in Sacramento.  This year was the first year he would really be old enough to ask Santa for something so I was pretty excited about it.  He did so well with the Santa at Old Elk Grove and I was hoping for a repeat on that.  Unfortunately for me, that didn't happen.  He wanted to be shy Aaron, not even really wanting to go up to Santa and just talking to him from a distance.  Eventually, we got the picture above, but I really wanted something that was just him and Santa for our card.  Luckily, this Santa was super patient and nice and he came to visit us at our table after we ate and eventually got Aaron to take a picture with him there, which is what ended up on our Christmas card.  Hopefully next year will go a little smoother!  

We spent Christmas morning at our house opening all of Aaron's gifts from us, The Herring Family and Santa, including of course, Flo!  He was so happy to get that car!  Then we all got dressed and headed over to my parents with the whole family again (yes, even the cats).  This year the "adult children" decided to do Secret Santa (best idea ever!) and stocking stuffers for everyone else.  Except for Aaron, of course.  Christmas gifts are really all about the kids anyway!  I think this is one of the better Christmases we've had in awhile!  We were all relaxed, all enjoyed the gifts we got and had fun watching Aaron tear into all the packages!  He was definitely Santa's Little Helper this year!  Eva got a Wii for her Secret Santa gift so we all had fun dancing to Just Dance (all except my grumpy grumperton husband Josh, who won't do anything he considers embarrassing, even if it is just family!).  Even mom and dad got in on it!  It was a good time with great family and good food.  

Then, on December 29th my sister-in-law had a baby!!  So now I'm an auntie!  I was SO excited!!!  I only wish I could see him in person!  

And now the New Year is upon us.......

I think things are starting to look up for us and most people I know.  I can only hope that this trend continues and grows in the new year.  

I wish all of you a wonderful, happy and prosperous 2012!