A Letter: Thirty-four AND Thirty-five Months

Dear Ana,
Today you turn thirty-five months old. Before I go any further I need to apologize for missing the “Thirty-four Month Letter” but October was just one crazy month. You happen to turn thirty-four months while we were in Disneyland (more about that in a minute) and I swore I would just write it once we returned home. Then when we got back I was catching up with all the things that happened while we were gone and time just slipped away from me. I’m sorry to miss your letter, but the fact that I have continued to write these monthly letters for as long as I have is pretty impressive, so I am forgiving myself…just this once. I hope you understand. If not, well, I took you to Disneyland, so consider yourself one lucky little girl regardless.

Now before we catch up to October, there were a few important things that happened in September. The first was that you were a flower girl in your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Nicole’s wedding. They asked you to be their flower girl months prior and leading up to the big day the only thing you would talk about was weddings. Anytime we left the house you asked if you needed to wear your fancy “flower dress.” When you played dress up, you were always the bride. So I knew you would happily handle your responsibilities when the time came. And sure enough, you were amazing. You posed for pictures, handled yourself like a little princess, and even gracefully flicked flower petals as you walked down the aisle. Everyone was so impressed with your attitude and I was approached several times by wedding guests commenting on how well-behaved you were during the ceremony. All I could do was look at you in wonder and say, “I know. She’s amazing.”

Near the end of September we also started up our parks and rec classes again. You are once again back in the Toddler and Me swimming class. I didn’t sign you up for swimming over the summer, partly because we were so busy already, but also because I figured we would be spending so much time playing in the water anyway, it just wasn’t necessary. But I thought you needed a little refresher because by the time the next session starts, you will be three years old and able to take the class ALL BY YOURSELF. Isn’t that exciting? Of course it is. And do you know how I know? Because you are already in a THREE’S class. Your ballet instructor, Teacher Katie, gave you (along with your BFF Lauren) special permission to move up to the Three’s Tip Toes class because you were doing so well! I could not be more proud of you and there isn’t a single day where you have made us regret the decision. You were really ready to be in a class with no parents. While I love that you are independent and confident enough to attend classes without me, it saddens me that there are certain things in your life that you don’t need me for already. Not only that, but it is such a strange feeling for you to learn something that I didn’t teach you (or something that I myself don’t know). But I love seeing the happiness and sense of accomplishment that it brings you.

And that brings us to our Disneyland vacation. Your daddy was speaking at a conference in LA and the timing just worked out perfectly for you and I to fly down to Anaheim at the end of the conference and have ourselves a little vacation in Disneyland. We knew there were going to be some restrictions because of how young you were, but to be honest I think it was nice. All the rides with the really long lines/wait weren’t rides we could even go on with you. Things were short and sweet…just like you. We had a little bit of a plan going in, but mostly just went with the flow and did whatever you wanted to do. Your only request when it came to rides was that we go on “It’s a Small World” each day. But we were more than happy to do so because the ride allowed us to sit down in a nice air-conditioned room for a much needed break! It was great to not have any pressure or expectations, because you didn’t have any. You had no idea what was going to happen, so everything was a bonus. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The only thing that you specifically requested was princesses. And we were more than happy to find them for you every chance we could. To make it easier, we booked a Princess Breakfast at Ariel’s Grotto. We knew this would guarantee you FIVE princesses. Plus, we were able to sit at our table enjoying our meal and THEY came to us. No waiting in line. No fighting with other children. It was prefect.

The only princess we didn’t see at Ariel’s Grotto that you really had your heart set on meeting was Belle. This is where it came in handy to have someone on the inside. My Uncle Don, your Great-Uncle, works at Disneyland and really came through for us. Having seen you prior to our breakfast, dresses head to toe in your Belle costume, he knew how much you loved her. He ran into Belle and sent me a text picture on my iPhone with the caption, “Look who I found!” Upon discovering that she was on her way to Ariel’s just after we left, he sent me another text which read, “She wants to meet you. Go back to Ariel’s around noon. Ask for Rick.” So we did as we were told and when we arrived, discovered that he arranged for you to have a private meeting with your very favorite princess. You and Belle got to chat and she even danced around the room with you. It was the most amazing moment and you were the happiest little girl at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Another one of your favorite things in Disneyland was the face painting. The first day you and I were there alone, you woke up from your (rather short) nap in a bad mood. Trying to think of things to cheer you up, I took you to the face painting booth right next to Pixie Hollow. You were so excited to “wear make-up” that you instantly forgot that you were cranky. It was such a simple thing, yet it made you so happy that we took you back for a different design–all of your own choosing–each day we were at the Park.

That brings us to October, the grand kick-off of fall. Anyone who knows me, knows this is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it. The weather, the smell, the decorations, the food, the pumpkins… My list could go on and on. Since I embrace all these things so wholeheartedly, and you really don’t know it any other way, you do as well. One of our favorite traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch. To really drag it out for all we could, we actually went on three different occasions. (Granted, only two pumpkin patches, but still.)

And then there is Halloween! Luckily we had several parties to attend, so we were able to wear a variety of costumes! You were able to get all girly as a fairy, get fancy as a princess, and still be my adorable little toddler as a silly monkey. We had a great time dressing up with you (when the occasion allowed) and you worked up intricate back-stories and plots to our elaborate game of make-believe. You also went trick-or-treating this year, and after a couple houses really started to get into it. I wasn’t sure how long you would last, but you kept saying, “Just one more house!” until your little banana treat bag was full! We had a great time and, for once, the weather actually held out and make for a truly enjoyable evening.

You have an imagination that rivals most children twice your age. You love pretend, make-believe, and role playing. Your Daddy has discovered he can get you through the entire bedtime process without a single tear if he is King Triton and you are Ariel. All he has to say is, “Ariel, it’s time to get out of the bathtub.” and you reply, “yes, King Triton!” and stand up without any hesitation. When you wake up in the morning you call out, “Beast! I woke up!” and your Daddy says, “I’m coming Belle!”

Lately you have stepped up your pretend play. Instead of simply becoming whichever princess you happen to be at the moment, you have taken to involving yourself in the role play as well. For example, you will be walking around in your Cinderella dress and suddenly stop, pose for a picture that’s not being taken, and say “Ana, do you want to take a picture with me? Smile at the camera!” Or the other night I was tucking you into bed while you were wearing your Belle nightgown and you said, “Is it ok if I sleep in Ana’s bed tonight?” Seeing my stunned expression, you quickly added in a stage whisper, “I’m Belle.” Catching on, I said, “Sure, Belle, you can sleep in Ana’s bed.” You looked skeptical and said, “I think you should ask her. ” So I called into the hallway, “Ana? Can Belle sleep in your bed tonight? She can? Oh thank you!” Satisfied with being given permission, you were finally ready to settle down and go to sleep.

I’m seeing more of your personality emerge every day. You are sweet; pausing your play to come over and tell me, “Mama? I love you.” You are hilarious and provide instant comedic relief; your new favorite expression is, “How’s the bacon shakin’?” You are sassy; when I tell you that you are making me angry you promptly retort, “You’re making me angry too…and you’re ruining my day!” But just as quickly you are able to turn it all around; when you see my jaw tighten and you can practically see me begging for patience, you will politely ask, “Mama? Do you have your happy face on?” to which it is almost impossible for me not to smile and say, “Yes, Ana. I do now.”

I know I say this all the time, but I just love my life with you in it. I think back to before you were born and life just didn’t seem to have a purpose. Things I thought were pretty before now sparkle and shimmer as I see them through your eyes. You are my reason for everything I do, my motivation to live life to the fullest, my conscience when I’m about to make a bad decision. You are my everything, and so very much more.

All my love,

Ana and the Princesses

As I was preparing Ana’s monthly letter (check back tomorrow!) I decided that there were so many pictures of Ana with princesses from our Disneyland trip that they needed their own post. Plus I have heard from several of our friends with little girls that their daughters got so much enjoyment out of looking over the pictures of Ana with the princesses, that I decided I should really make it easy for you and put them all in one places…you know, without the distractions of such lesser things like rides or meals. Without further ado, I present to you, Ana and the princesses!

Ana and Snow White.

Ana and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).

Ana and Princess Jasmine.

Ana and Ariel.

Ana and Snow White. Again.

Ana and Cinderella.

Ana and Princess Aurora. Again.

Ana and Mulan.

Ana and Belle.

Ana and Cinderella. Again.

And as a BONUS, I’m throwing in a few fairies too!

Ana and Iridessa.

Ana and Silvermist AND Tinker Bell.

Ana and Tinker Bell.

All of our Disneyland pictures are over here. Enjoy!

A typical conversation

The other day Ana and I were sitting on the couch watching some iCarly (seriously, this show is totally addicting. If you have to watch something on Nickelodeon, pick iCarly!) and I was letting her be “Queen of the Remote.” This is usually my role in the house, but I guess I was feeling pretty generous that day. Or maybe I was just catching up on Twitter on my iPhone and didn’t care what was happening on the TV. Anyway, I digress, Ana was in charge of the remote and that is all that matters to this story. All of a sudden Ana hit the pause button (her personal favorite), turned to me and said, “Mama? I want you to have a baby in your belly.”

Totally caught off guard, I replied, “I know, sweetie. Me too.”

She looked confused and asked, “But how do you get the baby in your belly?”

Thinking on my feet, I picked an age-appropriate response and answered, “You have to try really, really hard.”

Fully accepting my explanation, she hit the play button and iCarly resumed.

A few minutes went by and Ana hit pause again. As she turned to look at me, I braced myself for whatever she was going to say. “Mama? When the baby comes out of your belly…can I hold it?”

I laughed and said, “Of course.”

A huge smile took over Ana’s face and she exclaimed, “Thanks!” then hit play and went back to watching iCarly without a second thought.

Ana’s Halloween Costumes. Yes, costumes. Plural.

In a house where we play dress-up on a daily basis, selecting a costume for Halloween can get a little tricky. So it was a good thing that we had several different Halloween events–all of which called for costumes–to attend. The first was our MOMS Club Halloween party. For this party, Ana was a purple fairy.

Then the day before Halloween we went to the Pumpkin Fest at Conestoga Rec Center. I let Ana pick a costume in her dress up bin and told her we would dress up in costumes to go along with her. First Ana picked Snow White. She asked Sim to be Prince Charming and wanted me to be the Evil Queen. Then she changed her mind and wanted to be Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, for those of you not in the princess loop). She decided Sim would be a great Prince Charming and I should be Maleficent. (Notice I was once again cast as the villain.) So I got into my spooky costume but as soon as Ana saw me she stammered, “No. No, no, no. Noooo. NO.” I guess I made a pretty convincing evil witch because she quickly decided I made a much better nice Queen and asked me to be Aurora’s mom instead. We decided based on that Sim should be her dad, the King.

For Halloween night, I am more particular about Ana’s costume. In fact, I have two requirements. #1. Ana has to be able to wear her costume in the car seat. (I don’t want to have to change her outfit each time we climb in and out of the car.) #2. It has to keep her warm enough that I don’t have to cover it up with a coat. (Here in the Pacific Northwest, our Halloweens are always cold and/or rainy.) So we dressed Ana up as a nice cuddly monkey.

All the pictures are over here and here. Enjoy!