Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I don't know about you guys but I am just dying to start 2009. I am so hopeful for a year filled with unbelievable blessings of health, love and prosperity. My wish to you is may the New Year be all that you hope it will be!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Skate til you drop!

Last Saturday we went to our neighbor Madison's 6th Birthday Party at our local Skating Rink. Due to Sam's nap time the boys stayed home and the girls went to the party. I think it's pretty safe to say it's been well over 20 years since I've been on roller skates, not to mention to an actual skating rink. Holy Cow! I think what surprised me the most was that it looked exactly the same as the ones I used to go when I was a child. I'm sorry, did I say exactly? Cause what I really meant to say was EXACTLY!!! The lights, the arcade games, the antique-ish looking skates, the nasty looking technicolor carpet. The music was definitely modernized, I guess they do what they can to stay current, but every now and then they would play and oldie but a goody and I just wanted to strap on a pair of skates (which I never actually did), get out there and show these youngsters how it's done. Of course, they were all literally flying by on their super jacked-up roller blades, so they wouldn't have noticed if I tried anyway.

Madison & Isabella ~ The Sk8er Girls

Isabella wore these teenie weenie skates that weighed about 15 pounds each, I kid you not. You can kind of see them in the picture. On top of how heavy they were, their wheels were pretty much locked. Picture this if you may, she was basically anchored to the floor. So you may be asking yourself how does she skate? And the answer my dear friends is: she doesn't! She walks on these incredibly heavy "skates" around the rink over and over and over again, which by the way she loved doing. By the time we left she was oh so proud of her skating abilities.

I must admit it was fun and funny,... in a "back to the 80's" kind of way. It certainly brought back many memories from my childhood, and I'd be lying if I said the thought of getting a pair of skates and getting out there didn't cross mind once or twice. But I settled for being a spectator instead. Do you think roller skating is one of those "like riding a bike" situations where it just comes back to you? Hmm, maybe I'll have to give it a try next time around.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"OH. MY. GOSH!!!"

That's exactly what we heard in our house over and over and over again on Christmas morning. Well, that and "I just can't believe it!" Yep, that's all we heard while Isabella was busy opening all of her and Sam's presents. And let me tell ya guys, it was absolutely magical.

Although Sam is obviously oblivious, Isabella is finally old enough to get the concept of Jesus' birth and Santa and presents. One of the first things she said when we went to get her in the morning was "Happy Birthday, Jesus!", immediately followed by "Did Santa leave presents?"

There was no shortage of surprise and excitement as one by one she opened presents she has been hoping for since October; a Dora bike and a Dora helmet, a camera and the most coveted Moon Sand all brought to her by Santa. Mommy and Daddy had a few other presents for her but the big surprise from us was a Dora scooter which was a HUGE hit. In addition, amongst many of the presents she received from family and friends , she was especially excited about the LeapFrog Tag Reading System that Grandma and Grandpa sent, since she is desperate to learn to read, and the Polly Pockets toys that Tata & Papa Abu sent from Florida. According to her: "This was the best Christmas EVER!"

As you can imagine, Sam was more entertained by the wrapping paper mess around him than he was by all the toys. However, there was one toy in particular that captivated him for quite a while; the Playschool Busy Gears. They are colorful and they move and make noise. I tell ya, that Santa was onto something when he left this particular toy. We're slowly but surely setting up Sam's toys so that he's not totally overwhelmed. So far, so good!

Yeah, this is pretty much what Sam looked like during the present opening portion of the day. It's almost as if he's pondering whether or not he can take this big box on.

Lucky for us we got to hang around the house in our PJs and play with our new toys for most of the day before heading out to Uncle Chris' house for dinner and our gifts exchange. Sam took a pretty good morning nap, but skipped his afternoon nap altogether. Bad Idea! Undoubtedly this is what you get when Sam skips his afternoon nap:

Yeah, I wish I could you that's a special rendition of Jingle Bells he's belting out there with his cousins, but unfortunately that's not the case. He was this cranky for most of our visit. It was the BEST!

Isabella got to play with her new bike today for the first time and that went a little something like this:

I'm ready to roll people! I'm sitting on my bike and I've got my helmet and my knee pads on.
You know what they say: Safety First!
, why aren't I going anywhere?

WHAT?!?! What do you mean I have to pedal? Are you kidding me? Seriously, you're expecting me to do all the work? Why isn't this motorized? Isn't this supposed to be like a toy or something? Fine, then someone just push me while I "look" like I'm biking. What, no takers?

Then forget this,...

I'm moving on to my scooter. At least then one foot rests while the other one works and they can take turns. I'm so outta here. See ya!

Quick, tell me, what's the first word that comes to mind!!! Just curious, is it something along the line of DIVA?!?!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We are SO ready for Santa

Amazing Christmas Eve service at Hope ~ Check
Christmas music blaring through the house ~ Check
Delicious family dinner ~ Check
Sprinkling of magic reindeer food in the yard ~ Check
Opening of Christmas Eve pajamas and books ~ Check
Cookies and Milk for Santa ~ Check
Two kids in bed waiting for Santa ~ Check

Yeah, I'd say we're ready,...

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Shack

OK, so I just finished up a big ol' serving of some serious faith nourishing food. I'm talking about the book The Shack by William P. Young. I literally just finished reading it and all I can say is WOW!

One of the ladies in my Fall Bible Study group recommended this book a few months ago, and I actually purchased it during Thanksgiving weekend immediately after finishing up the Twilight series.

I must admit that this book was a bit difficult for me to get into initially. But once I got past the first couple of troublesome (due to subject matter) chapters, I found myself wholeheartedly relating to the main character ~ I often ask myself a lot of the same questions about God and this world we live in that he asks throughout the book. Although it is a work of fiction, it's quite unexpected and revealing.

I highly recommend this book, regardless of where you are in your walk of faith. I for one can say that it has both shaken and enlightened me in wonderful ways.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gingerbread House Amateurs

The Butler Family built their first ever Gingerbread House this afternoon. Neither Scott nor I had ever built one when we were kids. Come to think of it, I don't know if it's because of the scorching Puerto Rican heat, but growing up this was definitely not a part of my culture. But hey,... there's a first time for everything, right?

This was without a doubt a family effort. Scott was our contractor providing the necessary direction, I was the carpenter in charge of building the house, Isabella was the decorator in charge of well,... adding the decorative touches, and Sam was busy being a happy spectator while devouring a ton of snacks.

Isabella's favorite part was eating the icing, which she did constantly, and adding the candy onto the roof of the house. And the best part for me was that we got to do it together and we all had a blast in the process.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the prettiest house on the block, but being that this was our very first attempt at anything like this, I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

I'm positive that going forward we'll definitely be making this an annual Christmas tradition in the Butler home.

PS: It's currently sitting on top of our kitchen counter, but I'm not exactly sure what to do with it or how long to keep it out. Due to our amateur status in the Gingerbread House making arena any and all suggestions would be welcome and greatly appreciated.

Chivalry is Not Dead

Last night we went out to dinner with our wonderful friends the Wessons. I've known Hannah since our days of working together going back to 2005 and consider her to be one of my closest friends. We actually met when I was pregnant with Isabella. Hannah is married to Chris, and they are parents to an awesome boy named Jack. We just adore the Wessons and we try to get together with them quite frequently. So obviously Isabella has been around Jack since she was born. As you can see in the picture below, she has actually been pretty smitten with Jack for quite some time now.

This picture dates back to December 3rd, 2005.
She was 4 1/2 months old.
Yeah, she's kissing him.

Let me just start by saying that very much like Isabella, Jack has grown quite a bit in the last three years. He is no longer the little pre-schooler boy pictured above. OK, so with that being said I'll now get back to my story.

Last night as the hostess was walking us to our table Isabella extended her arm and asked, no insisted, that Jack held her hand while they walked. Initially he just kept walking without really acknowledging Isabella's request. Suddenly I hear Hannah say: "Awww, Jack give her your hand". So he finally complied, but just by looking at him you could tell he was absolutely mortified!

We arrive at our table and Jack pulls out a chair to sit on. Without missing a beat, Isabella climbs up on the chair, looks at Jack, flashes him a big smile and says :"Thank you, Jack!" Yeah, by this point Hannah, Chris, Scott and I are totally dying. As I look over to where Jack is still standing, he's got this "Are you kidding me, kid?" look on his face, but once again Hannah saved the moment by saying: "That was very nice of you, Jack!". Thank you, Hannah!

Now, I'm pretty sure that given the opportunity Jack would have had some choice words for all of us, but instead he took his Mom's compliment, pulled out the chair next to Isabella's and quietly sat down. Luckily, Isabella's diva-ish behavior did not continue throughout dinner which of course allowed Jack to enjoy his meal in peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Rockin' Party

Today was Isabella's preschool Christmas party and I was assigned to be one of the party moms. Like I mentioned before, I was responsible for the kids' goody bags which I was thrilled about. One of the other moms (Mom A) volunteered to do the craft and story time, being that she was a preschool teacher in the past and all, and the other mom (Mom B) was assigned snacks. Mind you, their parties last only one hour.

The first thing we did was the craft and let's just say that Mom A was a bit oh, how shall I put it?,... ambitious. The idea was to decorate a big red bucket like Rudolph with antlers, ears, googly eyes and a big red nose. And it would have been really cute if white glue actually worked on plastic and big pieces of foamies.

I'm not a preschool teacher for many, many reasons, and giving thirteen three year olds a cup with glue and a Q-Tip to glue all of those pieces together is NOT my idea of a good time. Holy Cow! Glue was dripping everywhere! EVERYWHERE! Not to mention the kids were getting quite frustrated because nothing was sticking or staying in place.

Once it was evident that this might have been a case of biting off more than the kids can chew, we decided it would be best for us (the adults) to glue ALL of the pieces together with a hot glue gun instead. While we were hard at work with the craft project, Mom A relocated the kids to circle time and read them a few books.

OK, so once we finally turned thirteen buckets into thirteen Rudolphs one of the room teachers asked if we had snacks. Mom B, who by the way doesn't speak any English, handed her three dozen cookies. The teacher asked if she had brought anything to drink ~ Nope! So off the teacher went to find some juice to serve along with the cookies.

Needless to say by now I'm totally mortified with how badly things seem to be going. I know the teachers must think we are the most incompetent group of mothers they've ever had host a party. When suddenly a little boy squeals: "This is the best party EVER!" WHAT?!?! Yeah, I had to double check to make sure he was in the same room I was in. And then it suddenly occurred to me, they're three years old! I'm pretty sure that unless you feed them liver and raw oysters, every party is a rockin' party.

By the way, although it is strongly discouraged that younger siblings attend the parties, I had gotten an OK to bring Sam because well, what was I supposed to do with him? Luckily he was an angel. He sat quietly in his stroller and enjoyed watching the mayhem that was craft time and totally loved listening to story time. I'm sure the Cheerios and other snacks I constantly fed him didn't hurt either.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sorry, False Alarm

Yeah, please disregard my previous post. I just received a call from my Mom and the one topic that will NOT be discussed during tonight's meeting at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic is Hector Torres, also known as my Dad.

Apparently they want him to meet with a Cardiologist (heart), a Psychologist (oh crap! ~ just kidding) and a Nephrologist (kidneys) for further evaluation as well as complete a lung examination before their final meeting takes place. Which of course means waiting some more, you know,... like until next week. Argh!!!

Life can be such a roller coaster ride sometimes, don't you think?

It's Decision Time

OK guys, the moment of truth is finally here!

Everyone who has been involved in my Dad's evaluation at the Mayo Clinic will meet tonight and go through his extensive file to evaluate test results, current health and determine whether or not he's a viable candidate for the transplants. I think my parents will be notified of their decision either sometime tomorrow or Friday.

I wish I could tell you that I've placed all my worries in the Lord's hands and am at peace with whatever determination is made. But I'd be lying if I did. You see, I tend to be somewhat of a control freak so as you can imagine, with this being totally out of my hands and all, I'm a nervous wreck right now. I don't deal well with uncertainty and I'm definitely not handling not being there with them during this time the best I could either. But enough about me, right?

I know that whatever happens in the next couple of days will be God's will. But I'm looking for my prayer warriors again. All I'm asking for is that you please pray that my Daddy and the rest of our family is armed with God's peace and grace to handle whatever comes our way. That's it, my friends! Peace and Grace for the Torres clan.

I promise to keep you all posted as soon as I hear.

Here's the entire crazy family (sans one grandson, Nicholas).
Photo taken April of 2008 at Shelby Farms in Memphis, TN

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Twilight Before Christmas

OK, I just have to share this. Please be warned though ~ this is seriously laugh out loud funny IF and only IF you've seen the movie Twilight. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alpine Village Four-Peat

This is the fourth year in a row that we've been to Trinity Baptist's Church Alpine Village. The church transforms their gym into a village filled with all of these adorable little houses that offer the children a different craft to make, snack to eat or gift/ornament to take home. In addition there is a live Nativity, a "park" where the kids can play with snow, a puppet show and of course the opportunity to see Santa. Can you believe that all of this is free? Well, Isabella absolutely loves everything about it. And just for fun I thought I'd take you on a stroll down Memory Lane regarding our last four visits to Alpine Village:

~ 2005 ~
Our first visit to Alpine Village. Isabella was not even 5 months old yet and although she was a bit overwhelmed by all the noise, she was quite mesmerized with all the lights. Her older cousins on the other hand had a blast.

~ 2006 ~
I love her expression in this picture. Isabella was 16 and a half months old and instantly fell in love with this wooden horse. Sharing was not even in her vocabulary at this time so trying to get her off the horse while explaining that other children deserved a turn was pretty much a catastrophe.

~ 2007 ~
Yep, she's almost 2 and a half years old and definitely in charge. She knows she wants to ride the wooden horse, she kind of knows the concept of sharing, but she's totally unwilling to do so. Luckily she got over her huge tantrum when we distracted her with the other activities available.

~ 2008 ~
This was taken last Saturday. She's now almost 3 and a half years old. Once again the wooden horse is a big hit, but she's now old enough to remember all there is to do once you get past the horses. So she rode it for a while and eagerly let another kid have a turn so that she could move on to bigger and better things,...

Like for example, playing in the snow:
Playing in the snow is definitely the highlight of the entire event. Yes. Snow. In case you couldn't tell it's shredded plastic. It gets everywhere. And it's pretty darn close to impossible to get out of your hair. This, my friends, is the highlight of the entire event!

In previous years we have not been to see Santa for a couple of reason, the main one being Isabella's paralyzing fear of him, so we've gone to the puppet show instead. Well this year is a whole different story. Since she's now understanding the concept of Santa bringing gifts, she's all about seeing him, sitting on his lap and reading off her list.

Now, before you go and make a judgement on the following picture and me personally as a mother, please understand that I try to be the best mother I can to my children, but I am also a scrapbooker. How sad will Sam be years from now when he's looking through his scrapbooks and asks where his first Christmas picture alone with Santa is only for me to respond that there isn't one because he was too scared? No, we can't have that. So luckily I'll have this to show him instead:
Pitiful, isn't it? Poor baby!

While there I also tried to get a picture of the kids together for our Christmas card. Yeah, let's just say my efforts yielded unsuccessful results. But regardless, we had a great time on our Four-Peat visit to Alpine Village.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Checking it all off the list

Although I got off to a pretty late start this year, I'm pretty happy with the progress I'm making.

Preschool Christmas Party Goody Bags: CHECK

I'm one of the party moms for Isabella's Preschool Christmas Party this year, and I was put in charge of the goody bags. A couple other moms have snacks and crafts. The moment I knew what I was responsible for (which was last week) I went to Oriental Trading to check out their assortment. Honestly, so much of what they usually bring home in goody bags is junk and ends up in the garbage. So I was determined to change that and make these goody bags awesome! I was going to stick with a Jesus based theme to remind the kids of the real reason for the season.

I placed some really cool items in my shopping cart (candy cane ornaments, nativity scene sticker sheets and some really cute elf picture frames). When I went to place the $20 order with my $.98 shipping offer, it stated that it wouldn't be delivered until around the 22nd of December. Huh? Did I mention the party's on the 18th? That won't work, at all!

Fine, so maybe I can't use the almost free shipping so I'll order it and pay to have the shipping expedited a bit faster. YEAH! $20 shipping on a $20 order to have it by the 17th of December. First off, that's cutting it way too close for my liking. Second, I wasn't really planning on spending $40+ on these goody bags, which may end up in someone's garbage anyway. And finally, Holy Cow, what do I do now?

OK, so now I'm in desperation mode. I went to Target, Walmart and the two different Hobby Lobbys in town. Nothing! I checked other resources online. Nothing! Finally, I made a trip to Michael's on Friday and wait, do you hear that? Yes, it's the angels singing their lovely tunes as everything came together.

The contents of the goody bars are: a candy cane with the candy cane story, a picture frame and a Santa/Moose/ Teddy Bear jar filled with yummy Hershey Kisses. OK, so other than the candy cane with the candy cane story I wasn't able to find much else that was Jesus related, but I can honestly say that I am thrilled with I did find. Isabella absolutely loves the little jars,.. hopefully so will the other kids. I'll tell you on Thursday.

Teachers' Gifts: Check

I went the easy route on these teachers' gifts this year: a beautiful glass ornament (so much so that I picked one for our tree as well, lol) and some cute Christmas chocolate candy for each of the two room teachers and an ornament for the music teacher. Done! I love, love, love the gift bags I found at Hobby Lobby for them.

The best part of the above mentioned gifts? I'm all about bargains and everything was at least 50% off at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I so love it when that happens!

Christmas Shopping: Almost done

I think I have one more visit to and I'm done! Oh, how I love cyber shopping,... let me count the ways.

Today we're going to our church's late service (11:15am) to join our friends in celebrating their baby's baptism and then to their home for lunch. So I better get going, I still have some gift wrapping and getting ready to do. Talk soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Alright, so let me just get it out there so that we can move on with this post,... I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately. Things have been INSANELY busy and when I do have time to sit, writing about the craziness of it all is the last thing on my mind. So there! I don't know about you, but I feel much better.

First order of business ~ the halls are finally decked! I'm usually one of those people who puts up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day or shortly there after. Nope, not this year. Actually, I'm embarrassed to admit that for a while there I had quite a Scrooge-like state of mind. You see, with all this uncertainty about my Dad and his condition/treatment and whether or not we'd be traveling to FL, I actually debated whether or not to put the tree up at all this year. I kept thinking what's the point? And then it hit me ~ Isabella and her fascination for all things Christmas that light up! She's the point! And although Sam's too young to know it, so is he! So as you can imagine, as soon as I had my little epiphany I got real busy.

This here is a view of our Christmas tree from upstairs. Due to my before mentioned state of mind, I kept the decor pretty simple this year.

This eclectic flocked pink little number decorated with everything from graceful ballerinas to lollipops to disco balls is Isabella's tree that sits in her room.

Of course, Sam inherited Isabella's old tree. He is absolutely mesmerized by the different color lights and ornaments. I'm thinking next year we'll have to "personalize" his tree for him.

This is our Dining Room tree which is the only one that's been up since before Thanksgiving.

OK, so what else have I been up to? Oh yeah, not WW. I just realized that I haven't even reported on my WW progress, or lack thereof, since November. That's NOT good! Let me just be frank here, I have been so unmotivated lately it's ridiculous. The lack of self-control I have had in the last few weeks is a disgrace.

Pounds lost last week: +.2 lbs
Pounds lost this week: .2 lbs
Total lost: 24.4 lbs

So as you can see luckily the damage has not been as bad as it could have been and I have vowed to get back on the program ASAP. Next week there WILL be a loss reported,... I promise hope!

Last Wednesday our friend Laura, brave friend that she is, hosted a Children's Christmas party at her beautiful home. It was all about the kids and it was wonderful! They got to decorate Christmas cookies, eat pizza and play for hours.

There was one itty bitty insy weensy problem ~ I did some major sinning while I was there. You know the commandment that says : "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's ______"? Well let me tell ya, I coveted, I coveted BIG TIME! What was the source of my desire/sin you ask? Here it is:

That's right my friends, it's the 21 piece Willow Tree Nativity Set and it is as magnificent as the price tag is hefty! I was literally trying to figure out how I could discreetly stuff the entire set into my very small purse. HA HA HA. Just kidding,... or am I?

So I'm wondering, is coveting a "sin" if it involves something that is Jesus centered? Yeah,... probably.

Today we went to my niece's 6th Birthday party and then to Alpine Village for the fourth year in a row. I'll post about that later because someone, who shall remain nameless, is hanging on my leg begging me to get off the computer. But before I go I do have to leave you with a funny from this week.

On Tuesday it rained and rained and rained and rained. And just when you thought it couldn't rain anymore you guessed it, it rained some more. Anyway, I was having one of those days when I wanted to call in sick for the day. You know the kind, right? I didn't want to change another diaper, or feed another mouth, or listen to any whining or do anything really. So as if I wasn't irate enough already, the dogs refused to go outside to do their business in the rain until way late in the day. And of course, when they finally did they tracked all this water and mud into the house adding one more thing to the list of things I didn't want to do, but had to.

Anyway, Mick comes back inside and heads straight to the water bowl. When it comes to water Mick can outdrink any dog we've ever known. So he's drinking. A lot. Nonstop actually. Isabella's in the bathroom taking care of her business. So I tell him: "Mick, that's enough". Drink. Drink. Drink. Then I say: "Mick, stop!" More drinking. Finally, I yell at him: "Mick! Quit!" Suddenly, the bathroom doors flies open and Isabella comes out, pants around her ankles and says to me: "Momma, is he killing you or just getting on your nerves?" Yeah I admit it, I laughed hard at this one. She totally changed my mood for the remainder of the day.

OK, gotta go now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

His Cool New Trick

Four easy steps to standing up:

(1) First and foremost, make sure you've got
an acceptable audience.

(2) Then, grab the table with both hands
and pull yourself up on your huge chunky knees.

(3) Muster as much concentration and strength as
possible and pull yourself up to standing position.

(4) Finally, plop yourself back on the floor
and celebrate like it's nobody's business.

Yes, our big boy is now pulling himself up everywhere, ALL the time and chomping at the bit to start cruising. What's my favorite part in all of this? When he plops himself back on the floor and starts clapping and laughing hard belly laughs due to his accomplishing this new trick. So what do we do, you ask? Well, we all celebrate right along with him. Especially his sister, who's positively certain she's taught him absolutely everything he knows. These kids, I tell ya,...

Update on my Dad

Well, my Mom and Dad had their first consultation at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic yesterday, but unfortunately there's not much to report.

Right now they appear to be in the fact gathering stage; drawing blood, running tests, meeting with all the different specialists, and so forth. In about a week to a week and a half everyone involved in my Dad's evaluation ~ all the doctors, nurses, social workers, etc ~ will meet and make the determination of whether or not they consider my dad to be a viable candidate for a kidney and liver transplant.

So, the good news is that after reviewing my Dad's VERY extensive medical charts, they didn't just say there was nothing they could do for him.

The bad news is that we have to wait some time before we know what the next step will be. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not really good at this waiting thing. But hey, as long as there's a chance I will continue to wait, prayerfully,...

Please know, I am so very grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers and feel absolutely blessed to have such amazing people in my life. Thank you!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Isabella's Christmas Program

Tonight was Isabella's Preschool Christmas Program titled "What Can I Give Jesus?" It was SO cute. She had her very own line: "What can I give Jesus as small as I am?", and she kinda sang and kinda danced, kinda played bells and kinda had two wardrobe malfunctions right up on the altar; one major, one minor. But all in all, it was a very cute program and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Even Sam was quite well behaved, considering it lasted about 45 minutes.

With regards to the major wardrobe malfunction previously mentioned, well apparently she wanted to make sure everything was right where it should be as soon as she climbed up on the altar. So she made all necessary adjustments while concentrating on her music teacher so that she wouldn't miss her cue.

I think at one point she thought that maybe the other kids were singing a bit too loud,... unnecessarily. What do you think?

The minor wardrobe malfunction occurred when midway through the program she somehow lost a shoe.

She tried vigorously to put it back on during the performance, but suddenly, like a true star, decided that the show must go on and finished the program without a shoe.

Of course, the evening would not have been complete without a visit from Santa. Isabella told me she HAD to speak to him again and REMIND him of what she wants for Christmas. It's crazy to see how very comfortable she is with Santa Clause this year. Last year she literally yelled the items on her list from what she considered was a safe enough distance. Boy, what a difference a year makes.

The last photo of the evening was taken by Scott as soon as we got home and it's of me and the kiddos in front of our dining room Christmas tree.
This was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.