Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Annelise is 4 and I'm 23 weeks pregnant.  This was the most fun Christmas we've had as a family, and also the last as a family of 3.  The Archbishop for Military Services said Mass on Christmas Eve, which was preceeded by a Christmas pageant.  When I first heard that the pageant would be *before* Mass, I was a little ticked off because it meant we'd be at church for 2 full hours, followed by a fellowship dinner.  And then we got to the chapel and realized that it wasn't just a kids' pageant, that the adult choir was also involved and would be showcasing some of our parish's most beautiful voices.  My friend Lisa sang 'Breath of Heaven' and I cried, and then our friend Vince had a solo that gave us chills.  I let Annelise stand on the pew for that one so she could see Mr Vince sing, she adores him and had been very upset that she couldn't see Miss Lisa since she was playing the piano as she sang.

Annelise fell asleep during Mass, so we didn't make it to the fellowship, but she was wide awake when we got home and she realized that our friends Nick and Robin were going to hang out for a while.  She convinced Nick to dance with her in the living room and we had to work pretty hard to get her into bed that night because she didn't want to miss any fun.

Being pregnant, I don't sleep well most nights and I woke up about every two hours that night.  I finally woke John up at 6 and we laid in bed for a little while talking about past Christmases and memories from our childhoods.  His work schedule is a little wonky and I go to sleep pretty early these days, so our times of laying in bed and talking (something we have always cherished) are few and far between and our Christmas morning conversation was a blessing.  We decided to wake Annelise up because I was tired of laying around and John needed to run to work during the morning and drop of treats for the people sitting watch, and it was pretty adorable watching her wake up.  I nudged Annelise awake and told her 'Merry Christmas' as she stretched, and when I told her that Santa Claus had been here, she stopped mid-stretch and her eyes got really wide!  She jumped out of bed pretty quickly and ran to give John a hug, then he carried her into the living room.

Annelise was super excited to see the gifts that Santa brought, a couple of tutus, a computer tablet (kid-style), and a puzzle.  She also loved the Pez dispenser and jewelry box that were in her stocking.  Then we embarked on opening the massive pile of gifts that had been sent, she had a blast opening things but needed help sometimes, John's parents both used sparkly paper that was tough for her to tear.  Annelise's favorite gifts were a Snow White ballerina doll from Uncle Danny and a plush elephant from her baby sister.

Once all of the gifts were opened, I put together a breakfast casserole and John ran into work, then we ate breakfast together (Annelise did so only because she wanted some candy).  We got to work getting the house ready for guests and Annelise played with her new computer and wore her new slippers everywhere.  Three of the guys that work with John, plus one wife, came over for lunch, it was basically the same group that we had over for Thanksgiving.  Jonathan and Cathy made a Puerto Rican-style pork shoulder and delicious rolls, Danny (Uncle Stranger) made Cuban black beans and rice, and Chris made green beans, while we provided Granny's dressing and parsley potatoes.  Lunch was so delicious and afterwards we devoured the break n bake cookies that I made the day before.

Jonathan and Cathy brought a Pink Power Ranger for Annelise, plus a puzzle and a coloring book, and Danny brought her a Power Ranger set with a dart gun, sword, and mask, and a remote-controlled helicopter.  Yeah, the age on that one was 10 and up, but he's a single guy and it looked like fun to him, so he bought it for our 4-year-old.  All 4 guys took turns learning to fly the helicopter and then decided that they each needed their own and went to the BX to shop.  When they got back, they took their copters into the lobby area of our floor and learned to fly them in the hopes of taking them downstairs and flying them to the boss's appartment one floor down.  That never happened, thankfully, but they had a lot of fun and Annelise even got to learn to fly a little once they had figured things out.

Everyone left just after dinner and we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy our evening, our Christmas Day turned out to be pretty awesome!

We also found out this Christmas that Melisa and Trent are having another girl, Tinsley Michelle, and that my friend Christy is pregnant.  Christy is married to one of my high school/college friends and I am SO SO SO excited for them!  This weekend, we get to find out the gender of Dianna and Kyle's baby, I can't wait!

So, after a year of moving fom one Asian country to another, getting pregnant, and settling into apartment living, we've topped things off nicely and are looking forward to what 2013 might bring!  At the top of our '13 to-do list is to name this sweet little girl that we'll be welcoming into our lives in April and setting up her room for her arrival.  John's working on his private pilot's license and Annelise will start preschool in the fall.  My parents will visit after the baby is born and John's mom and brother will visit this summer, so we're going to have to stretch our walls a little to fit extra people!  That probably means that I'll have to get rid of more stuff, but I already feel like I got rid of so much before we left Japan!  I know that we'll definitely have to go through Annelise's things, she has soooo many toys and books, and we need to clean out stuff that she's outgrown or has used up (100 coloring books come to mind...).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Annelise is FOUR

A lot has happened over the past year, but much of that will be covered in my Christmas post.  Annelise turned four last week and I can't believe how much she's grown!

She is 41.5 inches tall and weighs 38 pounds.

She goes to ballet each Tuesday and loves to dance around the house (she's actually doing so right now!).

Annelise attended Vacation Bible School this summer and loved going to 'Jesus School' every day, now she attends Religious Education classes each Sunday.  Her teachers are Miss Lisa and Miss Brooke, and they told me that she always gives her best and loves to color.  Our fridge is covered with the projects from class, and there's even an angel  hanging on our tree that she made from a paper plate!

We finally settled in and got Annelise potty trained at the end of July, just as we moved in to our apartment here in Korea.  Accidents are few and far between, and I'm so proud of how she basically trained herself.  I guess that's what comes of waiting so long to try, she is old enough and independent enough that I didn't have to do much.  On the other hand, I had to change diapers for 3 1/2 years, so I'm not sure how I feel about the trade-off.

Annelise has recently learned to play Candyland and everyone who comes to visit has to play at least one game. 

Because I got pregnant right after we got here and was struck down with 'all-day sickness', Annelise has been watching a lot of tv.  She still loves Dora and Diego, but her current favorite show is Power Rangers Samurai.  Her favorite is the Red Ranger and she was very excited to receive a Red Ranger action figure from St Nick this week.

Annelise has known and recognized her letters for quite a while, but she has recently learned to write them and can write her own name.  We need to work on neatness, but I'm so proud of her!!

One thing that Annelise needs to work on is her coloring.  She has gotten better at keeping things localized to certain parts of the picture, but it's not very neat and she doesn't stay inside the lines.

As always, Annelise is very verbal.  She has learned some big words from Martha Speaks and Sesame Street and we even talked about 'camouflage' a few weeks ago, I love it!

Annelise has made a ton of new friends here in Korea, her closest friends are Aly, Gwen, and Grace.  She also loves playing with David and Gerrit when I go to bible study each week, their moms are in the study with me and the kids play while we discuss the lessons.  The boys are only 1 1/2, so Annelise gets to teach them how to play pretend and they love following her around and copying her every mood.

My favorite thing about Annelise is how sweet she is.  She was very understanding during my period of morning sickness and loves to sing and talk to the baby.  She also loves helping in the kitchen and will talk to everyone we see.  Annelise announced my pregnancy to someone in the elevator very early on, before we were telling people.  Of course, it didn't really matter since we didn't know them anyway!  She has charmed our neighbors and all of the people that work with John, to meet my sweet girl is to love her!

And now to the negatives: Annelise is entirely too much like me, she's messy, has an attitude, and eats us out of house and home.  I wouldn't change a thing, though, I am so proud and happy to be Annelise's mommy!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


After being in Misawa for three years, we're pretty used to snow. We have 3 different snow shovels and an ice shovel-thing, each car has a snow-brush/squeegie/pick, and we have lots of cold-weather clothes. Annelise still fits into the snow bibs that she got last year from Grandma, so all we needed this year was a coat and boots. Grandma sends her a new coat for her birthday and I bought her some boots just days before we got our first major snowfall. And by major, I mean at least half a foot.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to 19 inches of fresh snow that had fallen overnight, with 3-foot drifts in some places. We didn't realize how deep it was at first, I look out of our second-floor window every morning when I wake up and look at the rooftops to guage how much snow we've gotten over night. Because of all of the wind that night, there wasn't much on the rooftops and we opened the door to a BIG surprise! The whole base was delayed that morning and John spent 3 hours digging out both cars and the whole driveway area.

That weekend, John and Annelise went outside to play in the yard, which contained the four-foot-high Mount Snow. I woke up from a nap a couple of hours later to find a snowman and a fort and John begging Annelise to come back in the house because they were both cold and tired.

We've gotten a few inches here and there since then, but not a whole lot at one time. A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Lantern Festival in Hirosaki and had a blast. We loved looking at the lanterns made of snow, eating festival food, and John and Annelise went down the tubing hill that was there. I freaked out at first, Annelise wanted to go down on her own and insisted that John bring a tiny tube for her. She went down the hill like a champ twice, but the second time she flipped out of the tube at the bottom. As a testament to one good thing we've done with our kid, I ran towards her clapping and yelling "Yay Annelise! I'm so proud of you!!" (while freaking out on the inside) and she just got up and smiled. The Japanese people probably thought my reaction was crazy, but that's how we've always been with falls and such. I learned that from some mom friends and now she only cries after a fall if she's really tired or actually hurt. She went down the hill again later in the tube with John and I think she really liked that one since she could sit up and see everything.

This past week, we got together with the spouses from our squadron and the kids who aren't in school for a sledding day at the base ski lodge. Annelise and I went down the giant hill 3 or 4 times, it was a lot of exercise walking back up the hill, but it was also a lot of fun! My favorite part was the snow fight we had at the bottom of the hill. Annelise has horrible aim (she *is* my kid), so snowballs don't really work for her, but scooping up loose snow and flinging it at someone is right up her alley!

Yesterday and last night, we got about a foot of snow and Annelise and I went out to shovel and play in it this morning. After I shoveled just enough to free the car, we had another snow fight that lasted quite a while and moved all over the yard. We had snow in our hair, mouths, down oour shirts, and even inside our gloves! It was so much fun, and I know I'm going to cherish these memories!

No pics of any of this, John has his camera and I can't find mine. :(