Sunday, May 16, 2010

"All Better"

This is my child -- order from chaos. 

Abigail Grace loves nothing more than to make a mess of her crayons by dumping them out on the floor and strewing them around the room.  Just when you're about to pull your hair out, she rectifies this by lining the crayons neatly up into one beautiful row of organized color.  Then, she counts them all and identifies each one by name. 

She loves to make things chaotic and crazy.

And she loves to make it "all better." 

It Was An Egg-cellent Day! :)

Wasn't that title just so stinkin' clever!?!?!  :)  As you no doubt, guessed the subject of this blog is: EASTER!  I'm a bit late as always -- but my blog motto is, "Better Late Than Never!" so it goes with the theme.  :)

My family has always celebrated Easter on the Saturday prior since it was always at our house and all our family would come down from Los Angeles.  Saturday is a much easier travel day than Sunday -- not to mention church on Sunday.  Though the huge party doesn't happen too often any more, the Saturday tradition has stuck and we LOVE it.  It spreads out the Easter fun, allows us to focus on the REAL meaning of the Resurrection on Sunday, and makes for an all-around relaxing weekend. 

All that to say, my parents had an Easter Egg Hunt luncheon on Saturday afternoon (thanks to Grandma for scheduling it before naptime!).  The weather was absolutely perfect -- I know, I know, such a shocker here in SoCal -- and we could barely contain Abby long enough to hide the eggs and wait for a few friends to arrive.  (Thanks to Tricia for having an egg hunt at daycare, Abby was well aware of the fun awaiting her!)  

Okay, fun, yes -- but it was also serious business.  As you'll see below.  Abby was absolutely determined to find as many eggs as she possibly could.


Quite literally, she lost her head over these little eggs . . . see?  It was buried somewhere in those huge bushes of Grandma's yard!

Abby's little basket got to be so egg-laden that she couldn't even carry it any more!  Instead, she began to use it more like a cane than a basket.  She would put the basket on the ground, take a few steps, and then swing the basket with all her might until it was just in front of her, where it would plop to the ground with such force that all the candy and coins would jingle loudly . . . then she would take a few steps more and the whole process repeated.  She was bound and determined to get to the next egg as quickly as possible, but would aboslutely not let go of that basket!!!


She enjoyed the taste of victory and relished in it by counting her eggs over and over and over.  :)  (The focused look above is her concentrating hard on her numbers.)  Thank goodness she didn't figure out the that the taste of the candy in the eggs was quite good too -- we managed to avoid that for at least one more year!!!!  For now, the delight in brightly colored eggs was more than enough.

The simplicity of plastic eggs, beautiful weather, and family to share it with . . .  
that, my dear friends, is a beautiful thing. 

We hope your Easter Saturday and Sunday were just as enjoyable!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Birthday Part 3

Yay!  I'm finally catching up on all the birthday madness of March :)  This year, we had planned to keep her birthday pretty small (after all, she doesn't really know the difference, does she?).  My idea was just to have a family dinner.  Jim agreed. 

But THEN . . . Daddy soon revealed his determination to get his girl a GIANT jumpee.  "Ok," I said, "but if we have a jumpee, we have to invite a few of her little friends to enjoy it, too!"  After that, we decided we didn't want to cook or clean.  So we added taco cart catering to the party list.   As you can see, our idea of a small and simple party quickly was raised to the level of "pretty small" and "slightly complicated." LOL.  But it was great fun!  All in all, we had our family there and just two of Abby's little buddies (and their siblings) :) 

Everyone, especially Abby, enjoyed the Nemo theme.  We decorated in orange and blue everywhere . . . orange and blue balloons, orange and blue cupcakes, orange and blue party favors, and a Nemo jumpee . . . even Abby's outfit was a perfectly planned orange tutu with the cutest blue top you have ever seen! 

Okay, that WAS the outfit I brought for her to wear.  But once she got sweaty in the jumpee and dirty with the sidewalk chalk, we opted for the Nemo play clothes :)  And that little bow in her hair just would NOT stay straight with all the jumping and running around she was doing!  She is a busy 2 year old, for sure!

Eleana is just 4 months younger than Abby and as cute as a button!  Joseph is her energetic (seriously energetic -- as all little boys should be!) big brother .  . . . for those of you out-of-town that know her, these are Anna and Freddie's munchkins.  :)

Rylee was Abby's second little friend enjoying the party (and the monster truck!).  For those of you who know Kristin, this is her daughter.  Kristin and Rob's son, Jaxon, was also there but he was bouncing so hard in the jumpee that I didn't get a good picture of him.  Rylee is also just a few months younger than Abby -- and she has GREAT hair! :) 

Abby has moved on from pie and is officially obsessed with cake.  Ugh.  I was trying to avoid this!!!!  But, I did have fun making color-coordinated cupcakes for her :)  Abby started her 2nd birthday cake eating experience on a high note:

Unfortunately, Daddy let her dive (literally -- notice the blue frosting on her forehead!) into that second cupcake . .  . and this child does not get a lot of refined sugar.  After a few minutes, it took its toll:

Seriously. I thought she was going to puke for a few minutes there!  LOL. 

The above picture is a horrible way to end your summary of the celebrations, but that really is the last snapshot I managed to get.  It was hard to keep taking pictures since it was non-stop action (fun action, of course, but still non-stop) and Abby was getting increasingly close to naptime.  After cake, we quickly went to open her presents -- and let me tell you, this was definitely a fun year for gifts!  Her most favorite was the kitchen set from Natalie :), followed closely by the pinwheel (aka "Flower" in Abby speak) from Rylee and Jax.  Once we got home and everything settled down, she fell in LOVE with the baby doll that Eleana picked out for her.  Abby rocks the baby, gives it the pacifier, and makes sure it's safe and warm.  It's too cute!  

Whew!!!  That was a lot of birthday celebrations!  And I am so happy to be caught up with my blogging :)  Even better -- next year's birthday blogs will include pictures at our NEW house. YAY!  And once again . . .

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ABBY!!!! You are an absolute delight to everyone you meet and I can't wait to see what this next year will bring :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birthday Part 2: Breakfast with "Mama and Papa" and Children's Museum

We were so excited for Abby's birthday this year.  We had it all planned out: Legoland on Friday, family time on Saturday, Disneyland on Sunday and Monday.  How fabulous does that sound, right.  Full of anticipation, even Jim and I went to bed early on Thursday.   The next morning, Abby awoke . . . with a COLD! :(  Ahhhhh!  The best laid plans of mice and men. . . ugh.  This obviously brought all of our plans to a screeching halt. 

Despite her cold, however, she was still in a happy mood so we made last minute breakfast plans with Mama and Papa (aka Grandma and Grandpa).  We went to our favorite diner, where Abby was at least able to enjoy her favorite breakfast (pancakes and sausage).  While there, Abby received her first birthday present of the year:

She looooooooooooooves her babies right now and was pleased as punch with the latest addition to her "family" :)  Thank you, Grandma!!!

After breakfast, we took one look at sleepy-eyed child opted to skip the all-day Legoland trip.  (Bummer!)  We ended up heading down to the San Diego Children's Museum -- this was actually an awesome second choice!  This was Jim's first trip there, and he had a fabulous time exploring the exhibits with her.  On the other hand, I had a fabulous time because there were TWO adults on this visit.  (If you remember right, our first trip to the Museum involved me running around after Abby non-stop.  It was crazy!)  The museum was pretty empty on this particular Friday, and Abby was free to enjoy the textures, sights, and sounds at her own pace.  it was glorious!  If you're in the area and haven't been, it is a definite MUST.  

We came home from the museum just in time for a snack and naptime.  While waiting her her food, Abby relaxed for a few minutes on the couch -- while watching Finding Nemo, of course!!!

We laid pretty low throughout the weekend so Abby could get her rest, but finally ventured back out on Sunday.  Seaport Village is one of our favorite San Diego destinations -- between the boardwalk, shops, restuarants, park, weather, and people-watching, it's a perfect spot for an afternoon adventure.  (We even had our last round of family pictures there!)  Thus, we wrapped up the first weekend of birthday celebrations with perfect weather, a stroll in the park, and all around fun in the San Diego sun. 


FINALLY -- MARCH!!! (Birthday Part 1)


Yes, the month of March brought about Abby's 2nd birthday!  :)  Though we can't believe she's already 2, we are so immensely proud of our little girl.  Before I share pictures from all the celebrations, I wanted to take a moment to give you a glimpse of all her latest accomplishments and milestones:

1. Counting.  Abby LOVES to count anything and everything.  She counts her fingers, her Sesame Street friends, her snacks (i.e. 1 goldfish, 2 goldfish, etc), facial features (i.e. one eye, two eyes, one nose, etc), cars, shoes, crayons, and pretty much everything else that she sees.  She recently began counting all the way up to 20.  Even better, she now recognizes her numbers 1-20, too!  This is a source of great pride to her -- trust me.
2. Organizing.  She has always been a little one who loves to put things in their place.  As she gets older, this trait only deepens.  I frequently enter her room only to see all her crayons on the floor -- neatly placed in a row (sometimes even organized by color)!  She even goes so far as to eat cantaloupe wedges and then carefully put each rind back on her tray in an even row.  She get's really mad when they don't stand upright the way they should.  (Yes, you read that right.)  Everything has it's place: her Nemo figurines go on her chest of drawers, Mommy and Daddy have their places at the dinner table (and don't even think about sitting in one of thier seats!), her cup must sit squarely in it's holder in the car seat, etc.  She's loves order and organizing everything she possibly can. 
3. Nemo.  As you may have heard, Abby is officially obsessed with Nemo and his friends.  But most especially Nemo.  "Daddy Nemo" (aka "Daddy Fishie") is a close second, but Nemo really is her best friend lately. Don't tell Elmo though, because he will be sooooooooo hurt that he's been replaced.  Sesame Street is still her favorite TV show (we call it her morning coffee) and a great entry into the day, but Nemo is now her true delight.  As you'll see in pictures to follow, this was the theme of her birthday party. 
4. Talking.  And talking, and talking, and talking, and talking!!!!  Abby is an absolute chatter box and really does know an immense amount of words for 24 months.  She's even forming sentences that are pretty significant in length.  Let's see how many new words and phrases I can recount:

I see a red car!  Another red car!   A blue car, a black car, white, gray!!!!!!!!!!!
Truck (usually "BIG truck!")
Red gummies (her vitamins and thing close to candy that she gets.  She's addicted)
No, thank you, Mommy (her normal response to, "Is it bed time?" or "Do you want a spanking?")
I love you, Mommy/I love you, Daddy (*sigh*)
Outside, please (she, too, is sick of being cooped up in a condo!)
Mac and cheese! (her newest favorite food -- of course)
Bless you, Mommy . . . Bless you, Daddy . . . Bless you, Abby (always in succession, regardless of who actually sneezed)
Oh, yeah! (when she's dancing)
Disgusting . . . yuck.
More sandwich.
Wheels! (said in a sing-song way . . . when asking for me to sing Wheels on the Bus)
A, B, C's! (and then she proceeds to sing the entire alphabet song)
Katie!  David! (my niece and nephew are her newest favorite people)
Where are you, Mommy?  Where are you, Daddy?  Where are you, Dori/Nemo?  (this is her phrase whenever she is searching for anything that is currently missing)
Daddy soon! (her interpretation of me telling her Daddy will be home soon)

5. Dress Up. Ever since Natalie bought her a TON of dress-up clothes for Christmas, Abby has been addicted.  She loves to throw the entire collection all around the room and then put every piece on her body simultaneously.  This includes 4-5 purses, high-heeled shoes, 2 necklaces, 3 bracelets, 1 ring, and a skirt or two if she can find it -- all at once!!!!  (I accidentally cut off her head in the picture below, but this actually captures her dress up glee the best)

6. Story Time.  Abby has always adored books, but now she particularly loves to sit with us and read -- the SAME book, over and over and over.  LOL.  She also will fill in the words for me if I pause (soooo smart!).  More recently, I will catch her in her room with a book, flipping the pages and "reading" to herself.  I love my little bookworm!
7. Friends.  Now that she's a little older and more interactive, play dates are just as much of a treat for her as they are for me.  :)  Before, play dates were an excuse for me to visit with my friends -- but now, Abby gets sooooo excited to see her little buddies.  Today, in fact, she literally screeched with excitement when seeing Liz and Lohi at the front door.  She then proceeded to drag Lohi into her room and show her all of her most treasured toys.  It's fun to see this new side of her interacting with the kids, playing, taking turns, sharing, and learning. 

For the sake of brevity, I will stop here . . . but not without reflecting on how amazing one year is in the life of a child.  Last year, I was excited at my new toddler's first steps, ability to feed herself, love of bouncy balls, and attempts to say "Mommy".  Look at the difference a year can make!

(Bday pictures will now be in Birthday Part 2)

Monday, March 29, 2010

January and February Snapshots

(The last picture is actually from March 14th -- when the time changed.  Poor thing crashed an hour before bed time . . . Jim and I weren't far behind!)

Christmas Recap 2 (Biancavilla House)

We returned home with a sleeping babe on Christmas Eve.  
The condo was a delightful picture of warmth, light and color. 

(Too bad my camera couldn't quite do it justice!)

Merry Christmas!!!  Abby actually slept in a bit on Christmas morning (she hasn't quite realized the excitement of Santa's arrival).  But, boy oh boy, did she catch on quickly to diving into presents!

The AWESOME monster truck below was the first present she opened -- and she was almost in a tizzy, desperately trying to get the bow off and free it from its cardboard trappings.  Finally: success!

The monster truck radio plays techno tunes that make you wanna dance!!!! 
Just ask Daddy.  He's a pro!

Every year, Grandma is determined to give everyone of us a stocking -- no matter how old we are :)  I love it.  Abby's stocking this year included an adorable, sparkly, and pink Santa hat.  Daddy (in his Giants Santa hat) and Abby were quite the pair Christmas morning!  "We love Christmas!!!!"

Abby was excited about ALL of her Christmas presents, but she especially loved her new baby stroller -- so much so that she decided it was just her size!  After some maneuvering and balancing, she indeed managed to squirm into this tiny contraption.  That smile says it all!  (And three months later, she STILL loves to sit in it and askes us to "please push" her.  It is getting a wee tight, though.)

Each Christmas is getting better and better for the Biancavillas.  It was great last year, but 2009 was so exciting!  Experiencing the entire season with a little one is incredibly special and fun.  :)  I hope your 2009 Christmas was just as merry!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Christmas Recap 1 (Carlton House)

With the normal craziness of Christmas, it should not be too surprising that I didn't take many pictures until the actual Christmas festivities started.  The first big celebration for us was Christmas Eve and Grandpa and Grandma Carlton's house.  We look so much forward to our big family celebration -- it's the designated time for all of us to celebrate together.  My parents, the Biancavillas, Carltons II (my brother Matt, his wife (Deborah), and my niece (Katie) and nephew (David)), and Carltons III (my brother Jimmy and his wife (Nicole)) all share presents and have a yummy meal.  This year, we had tacos for Christmas dinner -- how exceedingly SoCal was that?  LOL.  I think we just wanted a break from the normal holiday food.  

My mom's typically gorgeous Christmas tree.  I adore this Christmas tree -- it is absolutely dripping with ornaments from FIVE generations of my mother's family.  A group of ornaments are over 100 years old!  Every single memory I have of Christmas is centered around this tree, in this exact place.  It is my delight to celebrate Christmas here with my own family now . . . more on our new Biancavilla family traditions in the next post. 

After dinner and before presents, we sang a few Christmas Carols lead by none other than our own DAVID!  My nephew has found a recent love of the guitar, and as introverted as he often is, had no problem playing a few tunes for us.  Abby, who absolutely adores her cousin, was enthralled at his talend!

As you can imagine, Abby was simultaneously thrilled and overwhelmed at all the presents.  She could only focus on one and a time -- and one of her favorites that night was a Little People dollhouse from Uncle Matt and Auntie Deborah.  She spent a good 15 minutes pushing the Little Man around the coffee table and make "weeeeeeeee!" noises the whole time.  It was fabulous!


Yes, this is my mom.  And this is my mom with her new, stylish SNUGGIE.  HAHAHAHAH!  Let me clarify.  This is my mom with her new, stylish Snuggie that she absolutely hates but she was pretty good natured about the Christmas gag gift.  :) 

Ever since a few health issues a couple years ago, my mom is notoriously cold -- all the time.  We suggested that she invest in a Snuggie on several occasions, each time this was met with extreme disdain.  It was the perfect opening for a gag gift.  We couldn't resist the extraordinarily tactful cheetah print, either.  She was a great sport -- though I think the smile above is half grimace, as well.  Hehe!  Don't worry, she got a real present as well :)  (Oh yeah, and in case you're wondering, the Snuggie has been sitting in an unused heap on the side of couch since then.)

Last, but certainly not least, this is our precious little elf at the end of one very fun evening of family, food, and song.  She was so proud to run around and show off her penguin PJ's . . . and despite the late hour and pending arrival of Santa (and even MORE fun!), she was in fabulous mood until the very end.  Little ones bring such joy to this gift-giving holiday!