Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Minnie Mouse Birthday Celebration!

Elisabeth was first introduced to Minnie Mouse back in February when I was in a dear friend's wedding. The wedding was very close to Disneyland, and while Elisabeth did not actually go to Disneyland, my mom, who was also at the wedding, bought her a stuffed Minnie who was quickly named "Mimi". Since then, Elisabeth and Mimi have been the best of friends. This summer while we were in Florida for the Jacksonville STP, we were blessed with the opportunity to go to Disney World during the students' Orlando weekend. Elisabeth was able to meet the "real" Minnie and Mickey and had a blast!
Mickey did not get a hug as Elisabeth was partial to Minnie. He was a good sport about it. (Fun tidbit: the picture below is actually from a video clip we took as we did not have any photos from her meeting Minnie, just video. I was sad about that afterwards, but I discovered the day before her party that you can take a photo from a video using Windows DVD Maker. The resolution isn't that great when printed, but they look good in digital form. This is probably common knowledge, but I was so happy to discover this!)

When thinking about her second birthday party, it seemed perfect to have a Minnie theme as they are still the best of friends. She now has three Minnie dolls and we usually have one of them with us on most adventures.

Her birthday is this Friday, December 9, and we had the party at our house this past Saturday. It was so much fun! We had just a few friends over, and Elisabeth had a great time. All the kids were older than her, and I think she enjoyed watching and following them around. They were a sweet bunch.

I had a great time planning her party with the challenge of nothing too elaborate or over-the-top, but some fun little "Mimi" touches here and there. Elisabeth loves cupcakes, so I knew they would be a part of the celebration. When doing a Google search for "Minnie Mouse Cupcakes", I came across a cute blog where I ended up getting nearly all of my party ideas from. You can see the blog at The Idea Room.

Elisabeth's cupcakes were strawberry with strawberry frosting, which was fun because they both had lots of fresh strawberry puree in them. Yum! I found the recipe here.
My mom bought these cupcake tiers for our wedding reception, and when we moved this fall she gave them to us to bring to our new home. A little plastic Mimi, given to Elisabeth by her cousin Abigail, was the perfect topper.

Elisabeth had been waiting all day for her cupcake, so she was a happy girl after blowing the candles out!

The Idea Room blog had great ideas for using Oreos as Minnie Mouse ears, and I used them for the ears on the cupcakes as well as trying a fun experiment called Minnie Mouse pops. I took pictures of the step-by-step process because it was so fun, and the end result was delicious! Basically, they are chocolate-covered Oreos on a popsicle stick. Can't go wrong with that combination! We gave these as party favors to the guests.

We served light snacks which included Mickey mouse shaped cheese bites (I did not cut these out myself, you can actually buy them at Walmart.) I also made the same punch that my sister-in-law, Laura, made for my baby shower. It was delicious, thanks Laura!

The birthday girl was dressed as Minnie herself, and this is her first dress up outfit, which is very fun for an almost two year old!

All the guests wore mouse ears; Mickeys for boys and Minnies for girls. I found many online templates for making Mickey ears at home with headbands, foam board, felt, etc, and it seemed to be a bit much, so I was happy to find paper ears and then just hot glue pink bows on the Minnies. A time-saving, economical solution! I'll admit, they were obviously made for kids and looked a little "goofy" on the adults, but Elisabeth thought they were great and has requested that mom wear them even after the party.

The kids had fun playing "pin the bow on Minnie", instead of pin the tail on the donkey. We had coloring books and crayons available, and they each colored their own bow and then I cut them out for the game. Here are a few of the bows (Elisabeth's is the farthest one on the right. She took off her blindfold and then stuck her bow next to the rest. It was so cute!)

Jason was a champ and blew up pink and black balloons for the party, and they filled the front room. The kids had a great time playing in them, and we left them for Elisabeth to play in throughout the week!
Action shot:

This final picture is not from the party, but is a classic pose of Elisabeth and Mimi together. One of Elisabeth's favorite things to do is to bite Minnie's nose, and it absolutely cracks me up! Who knew those big mouse noses were so bite-able?

Happy birthday to our beautiful, spunky, funny, smart, delightful little two-year old! We love you so much and thank God for you every day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for our newest blessing!

This Thanksgiving we thought it appropriate to announce one of the biggest blessings our family is thankful for~the joyous news that we are expecting a new baby next year!

Yep, Elisabeth is going to be a big sister!

This picture was taken when we shared the news with our families just before our move to San Antonio in September. Elisabeth talks about and prays for her baby brother or sister, and sometimes I think that she thinks she's getting one of each! (She's not). We'll have our big sonogram in January when we'll find out definitively, but for now it's fun to talk about both.

Our littlest baby is doing well so far! We have a tiny sonogram picture and have heard his/her heartbeat. The technology just continues to amaze me. What is most amazing to me though is the way God forms us. It's breath-taking if you stop and think about it. The other night I was reading in our pregnancy development book, and for where we're at right now (around Week 12), all the major systems are already developed, and we're not even one-third of they way there! Below is a link where the size of the developing baby is compared to every day items, like fruits and vegetables. We shared this link wih Elisabeth's pregnancy blog and thought it would be fun to post again. This week, little one is about the size of a lime. We should have limeades in his/her honor!

We love this little baby so much already and have such fun thinking about life with two little ones.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Rosses!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkins and (un)Packing

It has been nearly a month since we closed on our home, and we have only a few more small boxes to unpack and organize. We have considerably more space than our previous home, so we will be filling it up over time. Meanwhile, Elisabeth loves having so much space to run around!

This is a picture of our new home from the outside. I couldn't wait to buy pumpkins, and Elisabeth loves patting them and talking to them any chance she can (except at 4 pm when they are so hot from the sun beating down on them. Yes, it's still 90 degrees here...we're not in Kansas anymore!)

We had great help unpacking the moving truck from some local Navigator staff and a few students, as well as my faithful aunt and uncle who live in Fredericksburg, about 45 minutes away. A few snack breaks helped get the job done smoothly!

Elisabeth had so much fun seeing many of her toys that she hadn't played with in five months. Here she is, in her jammies, hanging out with some of her new-found friends. Happy girl! Later, she decided to climb in the bucket herself!

A few weekends ago we took a family field trip to the Pipe Creek Pumpkin Patch on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Our pumpkin patch attempt last year failed (click here), so I was determined to get Elisabeth to a real pumpkin patch this year! She had a great time! We already had our two big pumpkins (I bought them at Walmart, not exactly a pumpkin patch!), so we let her pick out an "Elisabeth-sized pumpkin" which she loves to carry around.

This is her with her "Elisabeth-sized pumpkin" from last year. My how she's growing up!

We even took a hay ride, which was fun because the pumpkin patch is also a Christmas tree farm. We rode through the rows of Christmas trees and contemplated whether or not we'd come back and cut down a real tree or buy an artificial one. We're still undecided. Any thoughts?

It's great to be back in San Antonio, and we are excited to continue to settle in. We do, however, miss our Kansas friends and family and love getting updates from up north!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We've moved!

We are officially Texans again! We moved into our new home late last week after an eventful closing process, and are now getting settled. We are so thankful to be here and to have our home!

We are in the process of getting internet hooked up at our home so this post will be short and without pictures, but we'll post pictures soon.

Elisabeth loves her new home! My mom has been in town all week helping out, and they have had a great time playing with toys that have been in storage for the past five months. I'm taking them out little by little so we don't overwhelm her.

We are enjoying the cooler fall weather in San Antonio and look forward to spending lots of time outside!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

End of Summer Adventures

(Downtown Jacksonville)

The Jax Summer Training Program finished well and strong, and we are grateful for the opportunity to lead an amazing group of students and staff. Pictured below is the group of women team leaders and staff that I had the privilege of meeting with every week for Bible study. This traditionally has been a highlight of the summer to grow with such an amazing group of women. I miss them dearly!

The cake that the UNF dining hall staff made for us on our final night--the "sand" is graham cracker crumbs! They took such good care of us and I miss seeing their smiling faces each night!

Elisabeth had quite an adventurous summer, as you can see in the pics below: trips to the zoo, the beach, Disney World, and Wycliffe Bible Translators! The last two excursions were during the Orlando weekend with the students, and Wycliffe is always a highlight for the students. Elisabeth had the opportunity to hear singing in Swahili and Spanish!

Jacksonville Zoo: (the day we went it rained in the late afternoon, so we had the opportunity to go back a second time for free!) Can you find the gator?

Disney pics:
I love how Elisabeth and her Daddy have the same stride in this picture, with new best friend "Pink Mimi" (aka Minnie) faithfully along for the ride:

Elisabeth wasn't sure about the princesses, but had fun meeting them anyway! The highlight was definitely meeting Minnie Mouse!

After our three day journey back to the midwest, Elisabeth settled in nicely and has enjoyed spending time outside in the mornings helping water the flowers and feed the birds. She's quite the little gardener:

We are excited about our big move to Texas next month, and our next blog update will include details of our new home.

Happy fall semester!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Recent articles

I recently found two interesting links on CNN relating to the rise of the Hispanic influence in the United States. The first is of particular interest as it discusses the changing face of America's youth. These are our future college students, the young men and women who we will cross paths with on the campuses in San Antonio. The second is a video discussing the historic Hispanic influence in the great city of San Antonio, our future home, with such a beautiful, exciting, and vibrant culture!



Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Halfway Point

As usual, the summer is flying by! We have completed four of the eight weeks, and each week has a specific theme with all elements intentionally designed around it. So far the themes have included:

*Week One: Intimacy with Christ
*Week Two: The Word of God
*Week Three: Relationships
*Week Four: Identity and Position in Christ
*Week Five: Prayer, Faith, and the Promises of God

Elisabeth has really enjoyed living in a dorm with other students, staff, and KIDS! There have been five other staff kids to play with so far, and last Friday a new staff family joined us with two more girls. This coming week more kids will arrive, and in a few weeks there will be a dozen kids running around the dorm. Fun times! She has taken up coloring, and I even caught her coloring on one of the walls one morning (notice the blue to the left). I was able to clean the crayon off the wall, but I couldn't resist taking a picture of her in action!

We still enjoy our morning walks and seeing the geese around campus. We even discovered their secret afternoon hangout: the pond outside Elisabeth's window. This is the view from her dorm room:

We have students who watch the children at various times throughout the week, and they have been great at organizing fun activities for them. Last week some of the boys wanted to dress up as ninjas, so they made toilet paper belts and headbands. Elisabeth wanted in on the action:

With Miss Skye and Miss Emmie (Emily):

I'm always amazed at how little time we actually spend at the beach when we're down here, considering we're so close to the ocean, but we always have to fight to make it there. Elisabeth's first trip this year was a quick one on a Friday evening to take our annual program group picture. It was actually past Elisabeth's bedtime so she and I were there just long enough to snap the photo and then head back to the dorm. She was having a blast giving sand to the girls in the first row:

We have taken one family excursion to the beach, and it was actually on Elisabeth's half birthday, June 9. She had an absolute blast splashing in the water, digging in the sand, and helping her daddy make a sand castle!

We love any opportunity to celebrate life's little joys and milestones, so we continued her half birthday celebration later in the day with cupcakes from a darling little cupcake boutique called Cami Cakes. We took them to the campus dining hall for dinner, and Elisabeth polished hers off like a champ.

This has somewhat backfired, however, because she has learned the word "cupcake", and the dining hall on campus happens to make amazing cupcakes (along with everything else--their food is incredible!) Whenever she sees a cupcake, which is almost daily, she starts demanding one with a strong sense of urgency in her little voice, and I actually have to ask people to hide them so she can focus on eating what's in front of her.

A few weeks ago we took a one-day trip to St. Augustine, 45 minutes south of Jax, and the oldest city in the U.S. Every year this is a favorite road trip destination for students and staff. Naturally rich in history, there is so much to do and see. Our excursion began with a visit to the new Pirate and Treasure Museum, which actually kept Elisabeth enthralled the entire time. I wasn't sure how she would do in a museum, but we took a chance and ended up having a lot of fun.

After that we walked over to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the oldest remaining European fort in the continental U.S. Elisabeth was less than thrilled to be detained for a picture after just getting out of her stroller from the pirate museum!

Our final stop was Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth, but we didn't have time to actually go through the park. Rather, we spent a few minutes gazing at the beautiful peacocks roaming the grounds. Magnificent!

We will be in Jax through the end of this month, and then we'll head back to Kansas to regroup before taking a house-hunting trip to San Antonio.

We hope you are having a wonderful summer!