We've been gone for a while, but now we're back. Owen celebrated his 4th birthday with a Toy Story theme. We debated having the party at home or somewhere like Monkey Bizness, but the home won out. We slightly regretted that decision when we had 20 kids and 14 adults in our house, but it was a lot of fun and Owen really enjoyed it! I made Owen's cake. Andy's bed is a smaller cake that I then placed on top of the "floor". It took about three hours to make, but it was worth Owen's smile in the morning.
We then celebrated Owen and Aliya's birthdays together with friends and family. This was slightly smaller and I attempted a two part cake for the kids. Aliya was finally able to have her first cake and she thought it was okay, but then devoured her ice cream!
Aliya celebrated her 2nd birthday with an Iridessa theme. She was Iridessa for Halloween, so we put her in her costume for her party. She enjoyed playing with her friends.
Aliya is starting to smile again for pictures, so we have been able to get a couple of cute ones of her and of course her big brother wanted to be a scary vampire.
We started off Easter by dying Easter eggs and I had the kids use beaters to put their eggs in and it worked very well. The Easter bunny made a stop at our house and the kids enjoyed looking for Easter eggs and then hiding them again. We celebrated Easter at Grandma Diane's and Gene's new house in Colorado. My sister and her family also came over and we had a great time! It was fun to see all of the cousins play together and actually play together!
Christmas is magical when you have kids. On Christmas Eve we continued my family tradition of eating homemade ravioli. Owen "helped" me make it this year and I took the opportunity to tell him the history of the tradition. We had our good friend Jeff over for dinner and he became one of the privileged few to eat this delectable meal. After dinner Owen and Aliya were allowed to open one gift which is the one from Dave's grandmother. Then we continued our new found tradition of watching The Polar Express and Aliya watched almost the entire movie (albeit she was continually saying "Hi Mommy" and "I love you"). After Aliya went to bed, Owen chose two cookies that he made and poured the milk into the glass. We placed the cookies and milk by the fireplace and then he went to bed.
Owen came into our room at 5:30 Christmas morning and luckily we were able to get him to fall back asleep to a more reasonable time of 6:15. After convincing him to lay in bed until about 6:45, we went to get Aliya. Owen was really excited to go downstairs and he was very excited about what Santa brought. We had breakfast after the kids looked through their stockings and then we dug into the other presents. The favorite toy was the play vacuum. Unfortunately it does make noise and that is what we are constantly hearing. We ended Christmas with Philly Cheese Steaks and Christmas light viewing in the snow. It was a wonderful Christmas and I am looking forward to the new year.
Owen and Aliya awoke to gifts from Santa. Owen was very excited and Aliya followed along. They loved their gifts from Santa and family. Owen declared that it was the best Christmas ever! Here is a video of Christmas morning, I'll post photos later.
We started off the week by going to Owen's school for his Halloween party. Aliya loved being a big kid and hanging out with her older brother. Owen made a paper pumpkin, decorated a Halloween bag, decorated a cookie, and went trick-or-treating around the school. We carved pumpkins the night before Halloween. Aliya liked spreading the seeds around on the table and Owen drew his own pumpkin face which Dave carved. Thankfully the snowstorm ended two days before Halloween and it got warm enough to melt a lot of the snow. Neither kid needed a jacket which is always good. Owen was Superman and Aliya was Iridessa, one of Tinker Bell's friends. Grandma Panesi made Aliya's outfit not once, but twice due to a mailing mix-up (thanks Grandma for making another costume)!