Thursday, November 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Ally: 11 Years Old

Today was Ally's 11th birthday. It was a pretty amazing day. 

In the morning before school.

November 16 is teacher Silvia's birthday too, so every year I bring in a treat to share with the before school students and light a candle and we sing to Silvia and Ally. Silvia told another parent this morning it was a tradition. I love that.

After school it was time to open Ally's gifts. She was so excited.
Especially by the 8 cards she received! 

1) Gruncle & Aunt Suzie 
2) Aunt Cindy and Uncle Denny 
3) Grandpa Frank 
4) Aunt Beth
5) cousin Katy & family
6) Aunt Martha 
7) Aunt Louise 
8) Grandma Debbie and Poppy 

Most of the cards had some cash gifts or gift cards. Ally is so lucky to have such a generous extended family. Thank you all.

From her mama and mommy she got some lush products she was really wanting,

A popcorn popper! So she can stop making microwave popcorn almost every day.

A Mermaid Pillow

After gifts we had to head out to pick up two of Ally's gymnastics friends from her old gym, Hannah and Caroline. We had dinner at a local restaurant and then made our way to a special event.

It sure was a party dessert! 

Aly Raisman was having a book signing and presentation. Our Ally was so excited to meet her gymnastics favorite Aly.

The girls with their books.

Many of Ally's current team mates were there. Ally is the 3rd from the left in the middle row standing next to Aly Raisman. 

The girls reading the book while we waited.

Sitting enraptured listening.

After the presentation was the book signing. I spoke up that it was Ally's birthday and Aly wrote Happy Birthday to Ally in her book.

Seriously amazing day and I think a birthday for the record books.

And it was the beginning of a 4 day birthday extravaganza. I baked 71 cupcakes last night for Ally to bring to school today, practice tomorrow and some tbd. I couldn't be happier. And Ally is happy with her very special day.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween was pretty laid back again this year. No trick or treating and not even a big party. 
But we managed to celebrate and get thru this first holiday without my mom.  This summer in Guatemala we learned that Day of the Dead is a big holiday there. I had thought it was just a Mexican Holiday, and given the loss and death in our family this year it seemed really fitting for us to actually celebrate it at home. We set up an altar at home in our dining room:

Pictures of our recently departed cat Nali and Grandma Barbie were at the top along with some decorations.

Underneath were pictures of Becky and my grandparents (except Grandpa Moyer, we don't have a picture of him), and our cat Bryce, who died several years ago, and Ally's hamster Penguin who did earlier this year.  It was really comforting to have this up and see our loved ones. Día de las Muertes is a celebration of ancestors and loved ones who have died. It is commonly a party honoring the dead, with special food and shared memories. 

We had Alice and her mom over for dinner. It was great to spend some time with them.

We also had Clemens and Daniela's families over for chili dinner and pumpkin carving. 

Clemens, Ally, Nina, Sofía, Elena and Daniela (seated). 

The carving creations!

On the 30th Ally had ballet class. Most of the girls (ok all of them but her) dressed up in costume.

That night Ally and Becky painted pumpkins in Day of the Dead motifs.

Then on Halloween night Ally went to practice for a few hours.

After practice she took a bath with a special jack o lantern bath bomb. Ally wasn't feeling great and spent the rest of the evening watching tv in bed. Several of her friends stopped by to say hello. Below she is with Willow (a taxi cab) and Catalina (a spy), maya and Olive also came by. We are glad and grateful that Ally has such good friends. 

Our local Natural History museum had its annual Day of the Dead event on Saturday this year. We picked Ally up from practice early so we could all go together. It is a tradition that we go, this is our 6th year attending and Ally was pretty insistent about going. 

Turns out Ally wanted to write a message to Grandma Barbie at the altar. 

The altar is set up to write messages to loved ones who have passed on. It had an exceptionally special and poignant meaning for us all this year. 

This 2nd altar was set up as a memorial to people who have been affected by natural disasters this year. Ally spent some quiet time with it as well. 

No crafts, or music or face painting. We went for the altars. 

After the event we stopped for FroYo and ingredients for dinner. Becky made delicious rice, beans and homemade tortillas for dinner. After dinner we shared memories of our family in the picture on our altar. Bryce, Nali, lots of grandparents, and Penguin too.  

I look forward to this new family tradition and celebration. It felt really good.