We weren't dead set on having Isabelle visit Santa, since we doubted she'd really be into him yet. But she became ever more excited about everything Santa and so we decided we'd do a no-stress introduction to Santa- at the Cougar Mt. Zoo where there was no line (not like that hour+ lines at the mall!) and she could decide to see him or not. We got some pictures all together before having her sit on Santa's lap alone- and she was quite excited afterwards about how he gave her a candy cane. She enjoyed seeing the reindeer and sitting in Santa's sleigh at the zoo too.
So when she and I were at another mall and saw there was no line for Santa, I figured she'd want to visit him again and sit on his lap. But she became more shy (and maybe a little confused about why he looked so different than the first Santa!) and ended up only asking him for a candy cane when he asked what she wanted. (No pictures of this visit).
Funny part is she's still telling people that Santa gave her candy canes for Xmas.
We have had more fun preparing for the holidays this year than ever before, as Isabelle is so excited about every single part of it, it's contagious! This is our first year with her having a Christmas tree. Although we picked one out together, Isabelle was more interested in seeing the blow-up Santa and Snowman on display there. :)
We were a little worried about her pulling off ornaments and getting hurt, so we didn't hang any glass ball ornaments this year. I gave Isabelle a small tree that had its own ornaments for her to play with, while I trimmed our tree. Here are some cute pictures of her taking ornaments on and off "her tree" right next to our real tree.
We had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, after I spent most of November sick in bed with first swine flu and then pneumonia. We were so lucky (and grateful) that Isabelle's doctor snuck her an early swine flu vaccine 2 weeks before I got sick, as she was just barely protected by her vaccine and luckily did not catch it from me. We were pretty scared if Paul got sick too that we'd need a family member to fly out with no notice to take care of Isabelle. We have some wonderful friends in the area who brought us comfort dinners to help us get by while I was sick for so long.
By the time we got to Thanksgiving, I was so grateful that we hadn't made any travel plans. We made a lovely turkey dinner, with homemade cranberry sauce (Isabelle's favorite!), candied yams, and a fresh baked cherry pie. Isabelle loved eating at our "fancy table" and ate mostly cranberry sauce. :)
Wow I'm a whole holiday behind. Better post these and start catching up. It is a busy week for us, with Isabelle's birthday, Paul's 40th birthday, and Halloween 3 days apart! For Paul's birthday we took a nice family hike at Tiger Mountain where Isabelle enjoyed the trail and exploring the hole in the tree we found.
Then we went to a birthday party where the kids wore costumes. So Isabelle wore last year's costume as a ladybug to the party. Paul was nice enough to forego a birthday dinner so Isabelle could go to her friend's party. Here's a picture of Paul blushing while everyone at the party sang Happy Birthday to him. :) Little Calvin who turned 1 was nice enough to share the spotlight with Paul.
On Halloween, we dressed her in her "fuzzy kitty" costume (as she calls it) and raced up the road after her nap to try to join in the neighborhood costume parade, but were too late. Instead, she and her friend Ella played together in Daddy's car and outside and then went trick-or-treating together.
It took Isabelle no time at all to get into the spirit of Halloween, saying "trick treat" at most doors, holding her pumpkin out for candy, and most of all enjoying her first lollipop (courtesy of Ella's mommy) and the M&M's Daddy fed her. We went all the way around our block- she was so tired she was falling down, and still didn't want to stop! That sugar rush kicked in and she zoomed around the house like a tornado for an hour before quieting down.
It was so much fun to truly experience Halloween with her and to anticipate all the years ahead of us of costumes and trick-or-treating.
On Isabelle's actual 2 year birthday, we started out first thing with her doctor's appointment. She is so cooperative at the doctor, we feel very proud of her every time we go. We were amazed by how she's grown as she's now over 97% for height and weight. She was 36 1/2 inches!! And over 37 pounds. Wow! We caught some cute pictures of her in the exam room before the doctor came in. Bringing a friend (aka a monkey) always makes a doctor's appointment more fun!
Luckily we were able to get her vaccinated with both flu shots, with minimal crying. We took her to Kelsey Creek farm to play and visit the animals, as it's one of her favorite places and the weather was lovely. Yes that's a pumpkin the pig was eating- it took her about 2 seconds to eat the whole thing. Isabelle's always a little scared of the huge pig, but each time bravely faces the pig and watches while holding mommy's hand.
After lunch, her friend Ella surprised her for a visit, making her even happier. We had a quiet evening home with her favorite "green noodles" chinese take-out and some birthday cake. This time she actually blew out the candle!
She opened more presents, including some fun books from Grandma Madonna, and loved her new kitchen from Mimi & Papa so much, she didn't want to leave the house again. (Luckily she's gotten past that now).
We are constantly amazed by how fast she's grown and how much she has learned. There is almost nothing we can't communicate about with her, and she routinely strings together 6-7 word sentences, has words for many of her emotions, and continues to be very empathic towards others' feelings. She's just starting to work on dressing or undressing herself (mostly practicing on her shoes), and has started to love dress-up (especially mommy's high heels). We feel lucky every single day that we have Isabelle in our lives, as she's a bright star on even the hardest days.