Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! I hope that everyone is safe in their New Year celebrations tonight! Lon and I will be staying in and spending some family time with the kids, before turning in early for the night. Make sure that if you are planning on drinking, that you have a designated driver to get you home safely. With that being said, have a wonderful time tonight!

We had a decent year this past year. Unfortunately, a new home for us was not in the cards but we did get a new car. Alan and Anna participated in many different activities, from basketball to gymnastics to soccer to dance to t-ball. They are very active kiddos! Lon and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary, as well as Anna's second birthday and Alan's fifth birthday. Even though we are still living apart, we managed to have a good year with our amazing children. I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for us! I hope that a new home is one of those things! Keep your fingers crossed!

Here is our highlights of 2014:

January

***Anna started gymnastics***


***Alan started basketball***

February

***Alan's Valentine's Day party***


***My fifth Thriller performance***

March

***Alan started soccer***


***Saint Patrick's Day parade***

April

***Uncle Tyler and Aunt April's birthdays***


***Aunt Natalie and Benton came to visit***


***Our third wedding anniversary***

May

***Uncle Kalvin and Aunt Natalie's birthdays***


***Anna begins potty training***

June

***Alan started t-ball***


***Renaissance Faire at Zoo Montana***

July

***Anna's second birthday!***


***Benton, Grandma Melanie, Aunt Ariel and my birthday***

August

***Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake's wedding***


***Montana Fair***

September

***Alan's fifth birthday!***


***Alan started Pre-K*** 


***Anna started dance***

October

***Lon's birthday!***


***Halloween***

November

***I bought my first car!***


***Thanksgiving***

December

***The Billings Family YMCA Nutcracker***


***Christmas***

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Santa Over the Years

So last year I did Christmas through the years, and I thought that this year I would do something different. Here is Sant over the years with my family! :D As you can see, Santa has never changed. We love our mall Santa! He has been "in the family" since Natalie and I were children! We love him! He has several different Santa outfits (so if you see him multiple times in the year, the kids don't think Santa has only one stinky Santa outfit lmao). I mean, each picture he has a new shirt on! He has also perfected his Santa voice, and is super kind to the children. Alan loves Santa, tells him that they are best friends every chance he gets! :) Even if there were other Santa's to visit in town, which there aren't in this small town, we wouldn't go! I love this Santa so much, he is such a wonderful guy!

*2010*

*2011*

*2012*

*2013*

*2014*

We love our Santa! Here's to many more years of him keeping the Christmas magic alive for children in our town!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Andersen Family Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!!! I hope that everyone's past two days were just wonderful! Ours definitely were special, even despite receiving bad news about a potential house the day before Christmas Eve. There were still so many things to be thankful for and so many reasons to feel blessed. We did not do too much for Christmas, we stayed in town and visited Lon's family as well as mine.

Christmas Eve was spent with Lon's family and Uncle Aaron! It was so great to see him! Uncle Cameron was also supposed to come down, but something came up unfortunately. Regardless, it was still a blessing seeing the kids with Uncle Aaron. Uncle Aaron is currently stationed in New York with the Army, the last time he saw Alan and Anna was at the Montana Fair in 2012. Anna literally was only a month old then! Uncle Aaron was in complete awe with how much older she was.

Christmas Day started with Grandma Melanie, Grandpa Kevin, Uncle Kalvin and Aunt April. We opened our presents from them and had orange rolls for breakfast, as is tradition. Then we met up with Lon at the Village Inn for our own Christmas morning together. We opened our presents from Santa and from each other, then spent the rest of the morning watching movies by the fire. It was completely perfect! I know it may have been better if we had been at our own place, but we still felt the blessing of our family in full.


The kids made Lon a bunch of crafts for his Christmas present this year. Since he isn't living with the kids currently, I feel like he sometimes misses out on all the crafts and drawings that they make. So we changed that! Clearly he appreciated it. :)


After our family time, we headed to Grandma Amber and Grandpa Steve's house for Christmas brunch.  Uncle Aaron, Aunt Ariel and Uncle Chase were also there. The kids opened all their presents from their aunts and uncles. The kids were spoiled by their aunts and uncles this year! Dang! Thanks guys, you are all so awesome! The kiddos appreciate it and so do we. :) Then we sat down to brunch with his family. It was a great time with the in-laws!




We went to Great Aunt Carolyn and Great Uncle Rick's house in the heights for Christmas dinner. We were fashionably late (by like an HOUR, ugh) so Alan missed out on playing with Sophie for more then a few minutes. But we still had a great time with everyone! Great Grandma Carol and Great Grandpa Floyd were also there, I was so glad that they were! :) We had ham and turkey for dinner, plus so many delicious sides! For dessert there was pecan pie, pumpkin pie or RUM CAKE. Can you guess which one I chose lmao????? I love Rum Cake so much, especially when my uncle makes it. He makes it quite strong, just the way I like it. :P I know that I am weird, I don't like to drink but I enjoy the taste of rum…

I tell you, I am like the blogger of the year… I totally only took two snapshots from our entire dinner at my aunt's house! TWO!!! That is so pitiful, I am ashamed! ***hangs head in shame*** The two that I took aren't even that good of photos either. I even had Uncle Kalvin take our family photo last minute this year. We were on our way out the door when I thought "Shoot! I forgot to get an annual family photo! Kalvin, help!!!!"


And this is what we got lol. He is still learning how to use a camera and zoom, he is only ten and a half after all. I am very grateful for all of his help! And I do have to say, with our track record of family photos thus far, I think it is quite adequate! Our family photos are always quirky in one way or another! :) Thanks Kalvin!

How was your Christmas?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Preparing for Christmas

Happy holidays from the Andersen family! I hope that your Christmas season is going well so far! The kids and I are ready excited for Christmas! I say excited, because I am totally NOT ready this year lol! With the Nutcracker finishing up just last Friday, I have only had a few days to really prepare for Christmas. I still haven't wrapped anything or sent out the Christmas cards. Who am I kidding? I haven't even written the Christmas cards yet. However, we did decorate sugar cookies the other night. And Alan had his last class of the year today, which happened to be his Christmas party. ;)

There were a ton of festivities at Alan's Preschool Christmas party. Santa came for a visit and delivered his stocking gifts to all of the students. Alan was so excited to see him, he told Santa that they were best friends. He is so sweet!


After visiting with Santa, we went caroling around the Y. 


We went caroling at Child Watch, then to the Administration Office, and finally at the Front Desk. Anna followed along, moving her hands along with the other students and singing her own version of the Christmas songs. I was quite proud of Mister Alan too. He doesn't usually sing songs in class, but he was singing along and making the motions with his hands too. He even stood right in front! I couldn't believe it! Great job Alan! You and your classmates sure spread a ton of Christmas cheer at the Y!

We had Christmas treats after caroling. Every kid received some carrots, cheese, broccoli… and TWO different types of cupcakes! Alan had to eat both of them, he was a wired little man after that! Then the kids played a few different Christmas games, including one where they dance in a circle. Anna joined in for that game and she actually picked Alan to be her dancing partner! It was so sweet, it warmed my heart. :)


We decorated sugar cookies for Santa tonight. It is seriously the ONLY thing I have done to prepare for Santa and Christmas. I am so behind! We bought the sugar cookies at the store (I usually bake them, fail!) and we just kind of threw them all together. Blah! Alan and Anna had a great time decorating them and of course enjoying all of the goodies. We had frosting as well as gumdrops, candy canes, M&Ms, chocolate chips and marshmallows to go on top. Yummy!


What else do you need to do for Christmas? Are you as unprepared as yours truly? I doubt it!!! ;)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Gymnastics Showcases 2014

We had our annual winter gymnastics showcase this week, among other crazy things. I also had my first ever fully run show, The Nutcracker, this Friday. Both performances (I should actually say ALL the performances, there were five gymnastics showcases total) went very well. I am so proud of all of my students for working so hard preparing for this performance. I know that it was difficult keeping focused at times, especially with Christmas coming up. But you all did wonderful! Great job!

Now that I am done with all of my performances, it is time to actually prepare for Christmas! I am a bit panicked, I still have so much to prepare for! I have to finish getting my presents for Lon, wrap the kiddos' presents, send out Christmas cards and make sure we are all set for Santa. Gah!! I don't really have a lot of time to write this post, so I will be sharing all the lovely skills photos with y'all. Thanks for  always being so understanding! :P

Tumble One 5:30 class



I had to take two separate skill photos of my Tumble One class, there are so many of them! Congratulations guys, I am so proud of all of your hard work and determination!

Tumble One 6:30 class


Tumble Two 5:30 class



I also had to take two separate photos of my Tumble Two class! There's something about my 5-7 year old classes, I always have at least eight kids in them! Its crazy! :D Glad to see that the young generation is SO interested in gymnastics!

Tumble Two 6:30 class


I passed a total of twelve students to their next progressive level. That is a pretty low number, considering I usually at least pass half of my students. However, with the holiday season upon us, I feel that a lot of students were slightly more distracted this session. It was a difficult session for many, and every student did there best. I am so proud of ALL of my students, even the ones I didn't pass. Wonderful job this session kids!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Festival of Trees 2014

Happy Holidays! I am so excited that I can finally say that! I love December and the holiday season! I have been waiting for this all year! We have been applying for houses like crazy too, in hopes that we will have a place by Christmas. Wouldn't that be perfect? Its honestly all that I want for Christmas this year. Pray for us to get lucky! :) I hope that everyone is having a great Christmas season, I know that we are! We went to the Festival of Trees last night with Grandma Melanie and Grandpa Kevin. Aunt April was performing with her dance studio. She did so awesome, as usual! They even did their new dances, like their Spice Girl song choreographed by Ade! Oh my goodness, it was all so awesome! Great job April! I could go on and on about how wonderful their performance was! Seriously! She even inspired one of my own dance students who was their with family! :D

Aunt April and her crew after their performance
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After Diversity was done with their PHENOMENAL performance, we walked around and looked at all the Christmas trees.


Then we made our way over to the Kids Area. Alan and Anna played several games and we made cupcakes… More like, decorated cupcakes lol, but Alan was totally convinced that we actually made them. :) Silly guy!




Unfortunately, Santa had already left by the time we had arrived at the Kids Area, but his elves gave the kids a candy cane each. We will have to meet up with Santa later. ;) We still had a wonderful time! My parents invited us to Fuddruckers for dinner afterwards, one of Alan's favorite places! We all ordered burgers (WHAT ELSE DO YOU ORDER AT FUDDS???????) and had a great time! Its always nice to go out to dinner with family. Good people, delicious food and great conversation. I will take that any night! What a nice way to end my weekend!

This morning we are headed over to Kelsie's house. She hurt her back pretty badly last week and ended up in the hospital. Now that she is out, her hubby has to go back to work again, so we offered to come hang out and help out around the house. :) Alan is probably more excited about this then he is about Christmas itself lol. He cannot wait! He woke up bright and early this morning and has been bugging me ever since. :) Should be a great day!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Andersen Family Thanksgiving 2014

We had a pretty mellow Thanksgiving this year, it was surprisingly wonderful! My parents and siblings all went to Townsend to see family for Thanksgiving, so we spent it with Lon's family and my father's relatives in the Heights. We were hoping to go up to Townsend to see my mother's relatives this year but as that sounded good in the summer, we just didn't have the funds to actually be able to make it happen. With my car breaking down in August, we spent more money then we had originally planned and couldn't afford to save up for a trip. I am sad about it, but hopeful. Lon reminded me that it only meant that we would have to postpone the trip, not cancel it entirely. We can probably save up for it again after Christmas is over and go in the spring, maybe for our anniversary. That would be cool because we would be able to see everyone AND it would kind of be like a "surprise" or "spontaneous" trip for my family. We usually only try to go up to Townsend for the three big holidays in the year- Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July. If we went in April, it would be totally random, and totally awesome for both us and them! :D I am a little excited, even though it stinks not being able to be up there now.

Turkey Day morning started with watching the Run Turkey Run 5K on our block, while watching both parades on tv (or maybe the same parade, filmed by two different channels and at two different times? Not sure on that one lol) and a messed up breakfast… 

Look at them, running on OUR street! So awesome! Run turkeys!
After our traditional Thanksgiving morning, we headed over to Lon's parent's house for our first round of Thanksgiving meals. Grandma Amber and Grandpa Steve were there, as well as Aunt Ariel and Uncle Chase. It was a much smaller Thanksgiving gathering then the Andersen household is used to, considering that they have six children. But we had a wonderful meal with them regardless. We had a glazed ham with green bean casserole, candied yams, mashed potatoes with gravy and rolls. Yum! We watched a few movies with them and then had pumpkin pie or pecan pie for dessert.


Then we loaded back into the car and drove over to my Aunt Carolyn's house in the heights. There was a considerable amount of traffic close to Walmart, apparently we had planned on leaving right when everyone else wanted to for Black Friday shopping. It took us almost an hour to get there! Blah! :/ It was definitely worth it once we did though! Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Rick were there obviously, as well as my cousins Garrett and Julie. My cousin Ashley and her daughter  Sophie were absent however, only Cody ended up being able to come because Miss Soph had the stomach bug that was going around. Poor sweetheart! Great Grandma Carol and Great Grandpa Floyd were there, as was Great Uncle Jerry. We had four generations of family present! :D

At Carolyn's house, we had turkey. It was pretty cool because we ended up having both ham and turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. ;) She had stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy and rolls as well. It was a delicious second helping of dinner! Yum! Afterwards, Alan and Anna played in Sophie's playroom for a good hour. They really were looking forward to see her, Alan especially! He was quite sad that she was sick, he followed her dad around the house until he left!

Look at the SIZE of this dollhouse!

All in all, it was definitely a low-key Thanksgiving. But it was still a great day, celebrated with my loved ones and my beautiful family. That was all it needed to be. :) I have so much to be thankful for (everyday not just Thanksgiving) and the biggest thing is my amazing children. They light up my day all the time, I wouldn't be where I was without their love and happiness. I love you guys!

I hope everyone who is shopping today is safe and courteous to others, fellow shoppers as well as the employees of the stores you are shopping at! We try to not participate in Black Friday shopping, unless its online, because I have many loved ones who work in retail. Black Friday shouldn't just be about getting the best deals, it should also be a day to give back to those who need it. There are a lot of people at the stores today that are volunteering their time for the less fortunate. The bell ringers… The marines helping with Toys for Tots… Be sure to give back to them, donate a toy or some spare change, and be sure to thank them for their service.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my wonderful readers!

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I am very thankful for all of you! You are all so wonderful! I hope that your Thanksgiving is full of happiness, love, laughter and family. No matter who you are, where you live, or what your situation is, everyone has something to be thankful for. My family has a list so long, it keeps growing the more I think about it! We have had a rough year and some months, but we are getting back on our feet again. That is one thing to be thankful for right there! All of the support we have received from family and friends is another thing. There are many, many more!

We are about to head out for our Thanksgiving festivities, so I will have to drop back in tomorrow and share my "Thankful List" with all of you. But I do hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that everyone is able to spend it with someone they love and care about. That is all Thanksgiving is really about… Being thankful and being with those you love. Lon and I do not have much for our family right now, but we are together with the children today. And we are thankful for so much! :) Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Weekend for the Siblings

This weekend was a weekend for my sisters lol. Saturday was the annual Griz and Cat game (an important Montana rivalry, if you haven't ever heard of it). Since both my sister and her hubby go to University of Montana, we are totally supportive of the Griz! So we had to wear our maroon AND totally harassed anyone that I saw in Navy Blue lol! I mean, I had to! Its a Montana tradition!


And of course, the wonderful Grizzlies won! 

That same night, was Aunt April's first formal dance of the year, Twirp. I remember when they called it Sadie Hawkins, but apparently they think that "Twirp" is a much more attractive name for a semi-formal where the girls ask the boys. In that case, we should rename Prom "Dork" in my opinion. But I digress… Aunt April had asked me to come take pictures for her, since Aunt Natalie (the only other person in our family with any photography skills) was still in Missoula. So Anna and I made a little trip to the Yellowstone Country Club to photograph Miss April.

That place is one swanky place! I forget that almost every time I go there, but dang! It is nice there. :) April was with two other girls and their dates, they made a nice group of six kids. Much better then the twenty plus group she went with last year lol. Much more low-key. I was a little concerned with how Anna would act, worried that she might get bored and started destroying their fancy things. But she was a very well behaved little miss! Everyone kept commenting on how nicely she was sitting and eating her sucker on the chair. I think that may have helped some lol. :P

The two prettiest girls around!

I took a handful of the traditional formal dance photos. There were some newer ideas that I had never heard of, like the girls wearing the guys' jackets and the guys wearing the girls' corsages. That was weird… But most of them were adorable. And April's dress was gorgeous! She looked like a total model, especially with those red heels. Wild girl! :P She had a great time at the dance, which btw was Great Gatsby themed- LOVE IT!!!!!!