Monday, November 29, 2010

A "Grinchy" Thanksgiving Weekend

This year for Thanksgiving we shared it with friends and family. Marissa and Chris flew in from Utah, and even arrived a day earlier due to the "blizzard". My Thanksgiving preparations began Tuesday night by making a pumpkin roll. C3P0(Chris Coates, our brother-in-law)was craving a good pumpkin roll, so I took on the task. I added a little bit of lemon extract to the filling. It was yummy! Wednesday night C3P0 and Chris went and played basketball over at the church, while I baked and Arista played with Marissa and Grandma and Grandpa. I made 2 French Silk pies, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, Jello, caramel sweet potatoes, and favors.

Thanksgiving started out with a big "Turkey Bowl" played at the church. All the men played including Marissa! Way to go! We had a wonderful dinner together along with our good friends Stan and Lea, and Chris' 3rd cousins Mary-Ann, James, Maria, and their little sons Noah and Moses.

After dinner we played games, while a few of us napped. At 10pm Chris and I headed over to Toys R Us to start our black Friday Christmas shopping. We could not believe how many people were there. The line wrapped around the building a few times. We thought we would never get in, and Chris was begging me to go. Fortunately I made him stay, and we only waited 20 minutes before we were running through the store grabbing anything that Arista would love. We ended up with a bundle of great toys for amazing deals. After Toys R Us we picked up Arista and all headed to Potomac Mills Mall. The mall opened at midnight, and I was one of the first people into Old Navy. I was given a free pair of cozy socks, and a free Dance Central X-box game! After Old Navy we all went our separate ways and shopped till we literally dropped into bed at 6am! Around 3am we stopped into Build-A-Bear to build "Hal". He was only $5 and Arista was awake, so we stuffed him. Right after building him Arista fell fast asleep.

The next day was a blur to all of us. We all took turns napping and watching the football games. I didn't pay much attention to the games, other than the BSU game. I was beyond disappointed at the turnout. Hopefully they can still play in a good bowl.

Saturday we still recovered from black Friday. I went and got my nails done, and then came home to a CRAZY Utah game. There were a lot of fun people over watching, and cheering. There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd when Utah blocked the last field goal. C3P0, Chad and Chris went to a Wizards basketball game that night, and missed the end of the game by 45 seconds. They thought for sure that Utah lost, but were shocked to see that they won! While the boys were at the game us girls watched "Eat Pray Love". I LOVED it! I thought it was such a great movie!

Sunday we woke up and all went out to the National Harbor to see "ICE". The theme this year is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". These designers come in from China and chisel and sculpt over 2 millions blocks of ice for this Christmas event. It was incredible! They give us each a huge parka to wear because it is 9 degrees inside.

Arista loved looking at all the ice, but thought it was too cold. I swear her little nose was running like a faucet the entire time. There is an ice slide that you can go down, which we all did. Arista was too little so we went down for her. It went super fast and was freezing on your back side.

At the end of the event there was a beautiful nativity made from clear ice, and a huge ice angel. I could not stop thinking of Preslie while walking through. I know she would have loved it, and would have loved going down the slide.

After "ICE" we went into the Gaylord hotel and watched as Arista and Chris rode the train. Arista loved it! I love the bond this little girl has to her Daddy.

After the train ride we walked to the Peep store and then went to grab some lunch before heading to church. Later that night we had our friends Marci and Craig over for a game of Cranium and Golf. It was a fantastic ending to a fun filled weekend. We are grateful for the wonderful family and friends we have. We are so grateful for all of our blessings, and for the opportunity to spend such a humbling holiday with our loved ones. Although we could not spend it with everyone, we are grateful that we were able to share other wonderful holidays and experiences with them through out the years. Most importantly this Thanksgiving we are grateful for our 2 beautiful daughters. Our daughter in heaven, Preslie and our daughter on earth, Arista. Without them our family would not be complete. We have become better because of them, and our faith has increased through the experiences shared with both of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

They Say it's Your Birthday!

We started out Arista's birthday on Saturday by taking her to the National Zoo. It was a beautiful day outside, but the animals thought it was too cold. Most of them were sleeping but, luckily we were able to see a few.

To end our Zoo experience we bought some cotton candy. There was vending machine that made fresh cotton cool is that? Arista wasn't quite sure about it, so she fed some to Daddy. When she remembered how yummy it was, she went to town!

After the Zoo our friends Stan and Leah came over to meet Arista. They gave Arista 4adorable stuffed beanie babies. Her favorite is the pink and white polka dotted dog. Thanks Stan and Leah!!

Later that night Arista played with Grandma and Grandpa while I started making her birthday cake. Chris and I decorated, wrapped, frosted, and cleaned until 3am! It was totally worth it. I decided to go with a Rainbow theme, because Arista is our Rainbow baby.

We put Arista in her Ariel dress and took her downstairs to open her gifts. She was so excited to see everything.

Arista received many fun toys, clothes, books, etc. She had a blast playing with everything, and even got a little overwhelmed.

Arista wore her first birthday outfit to church, and everyone thought she looked adorable. After church Arista played with her toys and then we stripped her down to eat her first real dinner, spaghetti with meat sauce. She LOVED it!

Here are the cakes I made. Arista's own personal one was german chocolate with buttercream frosting, and ours was german chocolate with the pecan frosting. They were so much fun to make.

After a chorus of singing "Happy Birthday" Arista dug right into her cake. She enjoyed squeezing the frosting inbetween her fingers, and throwing it all over the place. She didn't eat much of it, but had fun playing in it.

The "aftermath"

We were mean parents and put her right into the tub afterwards, which she was not too happy about. After her bath she talked to Grandma Mary on webcam, and opened her main gift...a piano. It's a little upright piano, and she loves it. Even Chewy has been plunking a few notes on it as well.

After a long and tiring birthday Arista fell fast asleep. We were thrilled with how everything turned out, and are so grateful to all our family and friends who thought of her this day. Arista truly is our Rainbow after the storm, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives. Happy First Birthday Arista!! We love you!