I thought it would be fun to do a top 10 for the year, or maybe 11 for 2011. But it was too hard to condense the year and narrow down my pictures that much. So here are 18 pictures to recap 2011. It doesn’t have quite the same ring as a “top 10” or “11 for ’11” would, but oh well. As you can tell, we had a lot of fun in 2011. And this doesn’t even include all our park playdates, or our trips to the Children’s Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and Zoo Atlanta, or all her playtime at home, playing dress-up and doing arts and crafts, or a bunch of other random fun we’ve had throughout the year. But it covers most of the big highlights from the year I think. I’m looking forward to 2012 being another great year, and hoping to keep up even better with this blog in 2012.
We’ve had a great time in Washington visiting Paul’s family. It’s been so fun to see Andrea play with her girl cousins, who are 4 and 9. They’ve gone to the Children’s Museum, played a lot of dress-up, decorated one of Oma’s Christmas trees with random toys and other items, played hide-and-seek, and pretended to “exercise”, plus a bunch of other loud and giggly little girl silliness. Here are some cute pictures of the girls from the past week…
Two pretty ballerinas
We flew out to Washington State last week to visit Paul’s family. Flights were a lot cheaper to Seattle than to Portland, so we flew into Seattle and then took Amtrak down to Vancouver, WA, near where Paul’s family lives. It was quite the adventure.
We got into Seattle and figured we’d eat and hang out at the airport for a bit before heading to the Amtrak station, but we found out that there isn’t really any food (or anything else) outside security. So we made our way to the light rail station at the airport and took the light rail up to downtown Seattle where the Amtrak station is. Andrea was fascinated by the light rail train, and even more excited to be going on “Thomas” (the Tank Engine) for our next train ride. (We kept trying to explain that the next train wouldn’t look exactly like Thomas, but she had already made up her mind that it would be Thomas.
We checked in at Amtrak, then walked to lunch at a nearby restaurant. Of course it was cold and rainy. (We were in Seattle, after all.) Andrea loved the adventure though. We packed her rain boots and raincoat in the top of our suitcase and got them out for her to stomp around Seattle in. She was so adorable!
Andrea’s Great-Grandmother (my Grandmother) in Columbia, Missouri was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago. She fought it with chemo for years, but in the past few months, they exhausted all the treatment options and her health began deteriorating. Fortunately, we were able to go up and spend Spring Break with her this year before she really got sick. Here’s a picture I love of her and Andrea from that trip.
My grandmother passed away last weekend, on November 6th, 2011. So Friday morning, we loaded up the car and drove to Columbia, Missouri to be with my family there for the weekend and attend the funeral on Sunday.
Andrea was terrific this whole weekend – she was on her very best behavior the entire time. We are unbelievably proud of her for being such a big girl through a lot of driving and a couple of busy days. On the way up, she watched a lot of movies and shows on her iPad in the car, and took a nice long nap, so that kept her pretty distracted most of the time. But she still asked over and over again throughout the 13 hour trip, “Are we in Missouri yet?” – starting about 30 minutes from our house. On the way back, we drove overnight, so we didn’t have to stop for meals or anything else, and we made it in just over 10 hours. She slept almost the entire way, and then was happy to be moved from her car seat to her bed for a few more hours of sleep.
She loved seeing all the family and wasn’t shy at all. And she loved playing with all my relative’s dogs, especially playing fetch with my aunt’s dog. My cousin’s dog was a little crazier and kept hanging his mouth open, and Andrea kept laughing and telling him, “I’m not tasty!” I told her he was nice and didn’t want to eat her, but she said, “It looks like he does!” and pointed to her own teeth to show me what she meant. LOL! Saturday night she was totally crazy and in full entertainment mode. She kept jumping off the couch onto the beanbag and saying it was a swimming pool, she “helped” the guys play ping-pong, she got her Uncle Thor to help her with some tumbling (and even try a bit of his own), and she did a whole modern dance performance thing for us.
We took Andrea to Florida for a vacation last week. The only other time she had seen the ocean was two summers ago in Hawaii for my brother’s wedding and she was too scared to actually venture out onto the beach or into the water, so it didn’t really count. This time she was super-excited about the beach and the ocean, so it was really fun. We decided to stay in Cocoa Beach, at a family friend’s condo, but we also wanted to spend some time visiting with my grandparents, who live in Melbourne.
Paul invited a friend from Canada to fly down and go surfing with him, so we drove down Wednesday, and picked up Paul’s friend in Orlando late that night. Then I had the brilliant(?) idea to take her to Disney World the next morning (Thursday). That meant a late night and early morning for us, so we were seriously dragging at Disney, but I’m still glad we did it. Andrea probably would have preferred to have spent that day at the beach or the Disney Store, which is what she thought I meant when I said Disney World, but I think she enjoyed it. She didn’t smile much or get as excited as I thought she would, but she is still talking about it. She spent most of the day looking a bit confused and overwhelmed by the whole experience. And the Winnie the Pooh ride scared her of all things, which is all she talked about for a while. (She randomly muttered, “I got a little scared on Winnie the Pooh” for days after…) We only did 5 rides and had lunch before she fell asleep in my arms around 2pm, while waiting for the Jungle Cruise (which she slept through), then she eventually woke up as the parade started to pass. She is still talking about the parade, and yesterday, she even drew all the princesses she saw on the parade route. It was so cute.
We spent the rest of the trip at the beach, the condo pool, or my grandparent’s retirement community for the most part. Andrea called the condo “the beach house” and was completely in love with the fact that was so close to a pool AND the beach. She didn’t really want to go into the ocean, but we waded in to her knees a couple of times before she yelled, “Done! Done! Done-done-done-done-done!”
I have more pictures in the gallery and on Facebook, but here’s a few quick ones…
We flew out to Portland to see Paul’s family for Thanksgiving. It was Andrea’s first flight, and she did soooo well! She was a real trooper cruising through the airport with Mommy carrying her in the sling. The flight was at 8:30am, so we had to leave the house around 6, and she stayed up the whole time, fascinated by the airport and all the new sights. Then once we got settled in on the plane and were ready to take off, she was really tired. She nursed from the time we got on the runway and was asleep before we hit cruising altitude, then she slept for over an hour an a half. When she woke up, she just played on Mom’s lap with the toys we brought for her and we read a few books. She loved just staring out the window and at the little TV screen in the headrest in front of us too. She shared a banana with Mom too, which she really enjoyed. It’s a 5 1/2 hour flight, so after a couple hours of playing, it was time for a nap and we had almost 2 hours left to go. She nursed and fell asleep, and woke up just before we landed. She nursed right through the landing and never fussed a bit. There were screaming babies all over the plane and a toddler behind us crying “My ears hurt, Mommy!” But Andrea didn’t seem bothered at all. Yay!
She didn’t adjust too well to the time zone difference, and being in a strange crib in a strange house, with lots of new people around, but that’s a lot for a little girl to deal with (especially one with a routine as regular as Andrea’s). She had restless sleep the whole trip, and woke up earlier than normal, but she got a little better every day. Poor girl. 🙁
Hopefully the flight back goes as well as the trip out here!