Dec 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

As 2009 draws to a close, it's time to look back at all the fun Stella had this year. In January, we started at the zoo, where she was mesmerized by the seals... In February, she rode the streetcar up and down St. Charles...
She went international, visiting three foreign countries and soaking up some sun on her first cruise...
In March, she celebrated the big "1!"
We partied hard with a house full of our closest friends and family...
In April she caught up with some friends by chatting on the cell phone...
In May she got her first haircut...
Spent some time in the pool...
And attended Chad's college graduation...
In June she helped Tab graduate from high school...
She also hit the beach in Alabama...
In July we had a mini-reunion with some college friends and their kids...
And we went to Hot Springs with Grandpa Crane. On the way back we stopped for some time with Zach and Pop...
She also had a day of fun with Spencer at Sci-Port...
And spent a week at Grandpa Crane's...
In August, Grandpa and Grandmere surprised Stella with her first car!
In September, Stella was back at the zoo to feed the lion cubs some treats...
She also donned her leotard for the first time when she began attending gymnastics...
She even found time to hang out with two of her besties, Rylie and Sadie Sharbono...
In October, Stella searched a local patch for the Great Pumpkin...
And disguised herself as a kitty for trick-or-treating...
She "ran" her first race in November. We use this term very loosely...
In December, she celebrated the birth of the Savior surrounded by family and friends...

2009 was a wonderful year for our family. Though we said some heartbreaking goodbyes, God blessed us beyond measure and reminded us to make the most of each moment we have with the ones we love. We hope that when we look back at 2010, we will have even more good times to celebrate. Happy New Year!

Stella's Day of Fun

Yesterday we ate a delicious lunch of roast, potatoes, and carrots at home and then headed into New Orleans for Stella's Day of Fun. Pretty much every day during vacation has been Stella's Day of Fun, but we wanted to make this one extra special. Our first stop was the Louisiana Children's Museum where Stella poured me a cup of yummy tea... "Here you go, Mommy!"
Just like Goldilocks, she really likes sampling other people's beds. This one was too hard...
She hopped a ride in mini-Jackson Square. Whoa, horsey!
She loved this little house...obviously...
Stella and Daddy inside a giant bubble. Hopefully, we can keep her in our little bubble forever...
Playing tug-of-war with Claude...
Like some other Louisiana drivers, Damon likes to drive with his baby on his lap. I think he enjoyed this reaction time test much more than Stella did...In the Kid's Cafe, Stella served Daddy peas and a taco...
Sometimes she samples the dishes on her way to the table...
"Dinner is served!"
Customer service is very important to Stella, and she knows that listening to your patrons is the first step to making sure they are satisfied...
Putting on the finishing touches...
After leaving the Children's Museum, we took Stella to see her very first movie in the theater! We planned to see The Princess and the Frog at Clearview, but it sold out while we were in line, so we had to drive over to Elmwood for a later showing. While we were there, Stella hung out with some giant chipmunks...
A word of advice to our friends with little ones about the first time theater experience: Stella actually ran laps around the lobby of the theater before we went in. When we did enter the actual theater, it was tough to find seats because the movie was sold out. We also arrived way too early, because Stella lost interest before the previews even started, and was ready to get down and play, which is generally frowned upon in sold-out shows. She did eventually manage to settle down and enjoy a few minutes of the movie and some snacks...
Unfortunately, we had to leave after the first 30 minutes of the movie in order to make it to gymnastics on time. We would have liked to see the rest of the movie, which we were really enjoying since it is set in New Orleans and the characters ride the same streetcar line where we took Stella's picture for her birthday party invitations last year, but our little princess was getting restless and it was a good time to make our getaway. So, to review, when taking a toddler to the movies, you should 1) go to a show that is no longer popular and will most likely not sell out, 2) enter the theater toward the end of the preview time, 3) make sure that you are totally willing to bail on the movie if your child becomes restless. Remember, don't spoil the movie by adding your own soundtrack.
If you would like to see Stella in action at the Children's Museum, watch this video. Disclaimer: this video is over 5 minutes long and will likely only appeal to our family. Enjoy!

Dec 29, 2009

You simply MUST go!

There's a new hot spot in LaPlace, and it's truly scrumptious! Our good friend Ms. Chung Cutno opened her shop on Belle Terre today, Chung's Heavenly Sweets. We have been watching Ms. Chung prepare for the past few weeks, so we couldn't wait to go and sample her goodies. We were so early, in fact, that we had the privilege of being her very first customers! The shop looks and smells terrific, and no wonder, with gorgeous gingerbread palaces like this one for decoration!
Daddy, Stella, and Ms. Chung posed for a grand opening photo...
The shop is complete with a cozy sitting area and lots of cute tables where you can enjoy your treats. Since there were some breakable items whose durability Daddy was not comfortable letting Stella test, we got our sweets to go. As Stella would say, they were yummy to our tummies!

We are actually heading back to Ms. Chung's for lunch between 11:30 and 2:00. Korean barbeque sandwiches are on the menu today. We hope we see you there!

Visit from the Wilsons

On Boxing Day we had a very special holiday visit from the Wilson family. Tab is just home from her first semester of college. I think when she goes back she is changing her major to pre-med. She seemed to enjoy the Fisher-Price medical kit even more than Stella and Spencer did... Dr. Spencer checking out his vital signs...
Assisting his nurse as she prepares for her self-examination...
Stella doing her best impression of a serious teenager with Zach. I should have taken a picture when the 17 year old was playing in the kid's kitchen with Stella...

It was a blast spending the afternoon with the Wilsons! Hopefully we can make it to Arkansas sometime soon to return the visit!

Just Me and My Dad

Over Christmas vacation, Stella has gotten to spend a lot of time with Daddy. Actually, when he is not around now, she fake cries and tells me, "Lella cries. Lella miss Daddy." Here are a few pictures I caught of them having fun together. First, Stella flying with a little assistance from her favorite co-pilot... Next, Stella and Daddy both decided to wear hats to town one afternoon...
Finally, Stella attired as a queen, with her Cinderella crown and the Christmas tree skirt for a royal robe. I guess that makes Daddy her Prince Charming. The tree skirt was actually Mommy's idea...

Dec 27, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas morning five adults were eagerly watching the baby monitor, waiting for Stella to wake up and open presents! When she finally roused herself, she was the cat's pajamas in her cat pajamas. Although she was more interested in her grandpa than she was in the tree or her gifts, she eventually got around to exploring her kitchen from Grandmere and Grandpa... She and Grandmere enjoyed Mortimer's Christmas Manger together...
Her shopping cart came complete with a passenger, but she had to provide her own sound effects...
Before she opened her dishes, she was sampling her culinary delights right out of the pot...
She had to pause during the festivities to take a few important calls...
She got some yummy lipgloss in her stocking...
And this handy ducky nail brush, which will come in quite handy for those hard to reach oreos under the fingernails...
She set sail on the Little People Mayflower thanks to Grandma Tonie...
She cooked up some delicious hamburgers in her kitchen...
My little Emeril...
She had a spot of tea with Grandpa...
Much like Mommy and Daddy, she was overwhelmed by the pile of dirty dishes...
She found time to hit the tub with her new soap crayons from Jamie. Our tub may never be the same (or sections of our sheetrock, for that matter)...
Yum! Brown cookies! Also known as oreos...
After our presents were opened and Jesus' birthday breakfast was over, we packed up and headed to Erwinville for Christmas at Mawmaw Shirley's, where Stella and Daddy shared some giggles...
Stella liked her outfit from Mawmaw Shirley, but she must have been worried that it was the wrong size, because she was much more proud of her gift receipt...
She helped Chad open his gift, and as you can see, the event was documented from all sides...
Cute picture of Stella. Try to ignore the crazy relative making faces in the background...
Stella welcomes Baby Stephanie...
See the parental pride in her eyes...
Such a polite child. She told everyone thank you...
Chad and Alaina had some very useful gifts for Sheila. I am sure they will all come in handy. Especially the fire extinguisher...
Recently, Stella has been telling me that she is a "big girl." Looking at this picture, I have to agree...
We had a great time celebrating the birth of our savior with our family. Stella's second Christmas was even more fun than her first...